A daily newsletter guide to what is happening on your screens - TV, streaming, movies, games, VR, AR
Dan Barrett is an industry commentator & TV critic. He does radio - 4BC & ABC GC and co-hosts the Screen Watching podcast. He's a former Mediaweek deputy editor and content creator for SBS.
RIP The Twilight Zone
ALSO: Trailers for The Underground Railroad, Luca, and Army of The Dead
Imagine a world where The Twilight Zone got cancelled
One of the biggest problems facing The Twilight Zone was that it wasn’t very good. Black Mirror had lifted expectations for this type of anthology series and the new version of The Twilight Zone just wasn’t able to match it. It also didn’t help that episodes were 1 hour long - one of the best things about the OG Twilight Zone was just how tight and economic the show was with its storytelling - it’d introduce a big idea, deliver a quick audience shock, and run the credits. There was never any risk of getting bored by early Twilight Zone episodes.
CBS All Access has announced that it won’t move forward with a third season of the show. Sorry, fan.
One of the absolute best and under-watched series is The Knick - it ran for all of 20 episodes across two seasons, with the show airing on HBO’s sister channel Cinemax.
As of this week the show is now available on HBO Max in the US (in Australia, it is on Foxtel’s catch-up service. I believe it may also be available on Binge - I can’t look that up though as I don’t have an account).
With the show now available to stream, director Steven Soderbergh gave an interview to Alan Sepinwall at Rolling Stone where he outlined his plans for a 6-season run of the show.
Our six-year plan was Seasons One and Two as you saw it. Seasons Three and Four were going to skip forward 50 years. It was going to be right after World War II, brand-new characters, brand-new cast. And Seasons Five and Six were going to be set five minutes into the future, with a mix of actors from the previous four seasons. I was really excited to do all of that.
My Little Pony and Transformers will be reimagined in new animated shows for Netflix. Read: Deadline
The Handmaid’s Tale star O-T Fagbenle will play Obama in the new Showtime series The First Lady. Read: Variety
George RR Martin is working on a new HBO drama based on the book Roadmarks. Read Polygon
A new series based on GI Joe character Lady Jaye is in the works for Amazon Prime Video. Read: Deadline
Steven Soderbergh’s next film KIMI will star Zoe Kravitz and will debut on HBO Max. Read: Variety
Justin Kirk and Eric Lange have been upped to regulars for season 2 of Perry Mason. Read: Deadline
WandaVision lives in TV
James Poniewozik is one of the best minds on TV and he does a good job here of bringing some perspective on WandaVision as the show nears its end:
Why, of all the comic-book premises, would America in 2021 be captivated by a story about someone escaping inside classic TV as a refuge from trauma?
Maybe, in part, because that’s where we live.
What, after all, is a sitcom wacky neighbor but the id of the show, its chaos agent? She is the one who can be snarky where it is sweet, libidinous where it is chaste, expressive where it is repressed. She is the perpetrator of the sitcom’s inside job, the surrogate through which we can acknowledge its overperfection while still enjoying it.
May 14 is when you’ll be able to watch Barry Jenkins’ The Underground Railroad on Amazon Prime Video.
From Academy Award® winner Barry Jenkins and based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Colson Whitehead, "The Underground Railroad" chronicles Cora Randall’s desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. After escaping a Georgia plantation for the rumored Underground Railroad, Cora discovers no mere metaphor, but an actual railroad beneath the Southern soil.
Zack Snyder’s Army of The Dead debuts on Netflix May 21.
Following a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries take the ultimate gamble, venturing into the quarantine zone to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted.
New Pixar movie Luca debuts in cinemas on June 18 (maybe?).
“Luca” is a coming-of-age story about one young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer filled with gelato, pasta and endless scooter rides. Luca shares these adventures with his newfound best friend, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: they are sea monsters from another world just below the water’s surface.
Moment of zen
End your week with this clip of Steve Martin wooing Dean Martin’s daughter on a 1968 episode of The Dating Game.
What’s next? Tomorrow.
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