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.
Scandal at WarnerMedia! Leaving Neverland fallout! Alex Trebek cancer! And more!
Always Be Watching is curated by Dan Barrett who is on the phone to tech support.
There’s a new Always Be Watching podcast out now - in episode 2, Dan & Chris discuss season 2 of Secret City (Foxtel/Netflix), Russian Doll (Netflix), Leaving Neverland (HBO), and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix).
Chung Chang, the former Vice President of DramaFever, a service streaming Korean dramas that was recently shuttered by Warners, has accused management of racial bias with a lawsuit:
Chang, 46, was among those who were let go. In the suit, he alleges that three other Asian-American executives were also terminated on the same day, while four white vice presidents were retained. Chang alleges this was in keeping with a pattern of discriminatory comments he and other Asian-American employees had experienced since the Warner Bros. acquisition.
But the bigger scandal has CEO Kevin Tsujihara being investigated by the company for claims that he was using his position to push for an actress he was sleeping with to get roles in Warner TV shows and movies.
Whispers about Mr. Tsujihara’s alleged conduct have circulated in Hollywood for over a year, ever since the #MeToo movement gained momentum, ensnaring men like Brett Ratner, a producer and financier with whom Mr. Tsujihara was once close. The Reporter article, written by Tatiana Siegel and Kim Masters, also detailed text messages between Ms. Kirk and Mr. Ratner involving Mr. Tsujihara and acting roles. Mr. Ratner has denied accusations of sexual misconduct made by multiple women.
Alex Trebek, host of Jeopardy and known man-in-black, has revealed that he is suffering stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He plans to keep working as he undergoes treatment.
RIP the Disney windowing vault.
In the past, Disney used to restrict access to its films for long periods at a time to maintain audience hunger for titles. For example, Mary Poppins may be available for several years on home entertainment, but then allowed to go out of print for some time. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
But that comes to an end now, with every Disney motion picture title to be made available in perpetuity on Disney+. As per Bob Iger:
The service, which I mentioned earlier is going to launch later in the year, is going to combine what we call library product, movies, and television, with a lot of original product as well, movies and television. And at some point fairly soon after launch it will house the entire Disney motion picture library, so the movies that you speak of that traditionally have been kept in a “vault” and brought out basically every few years will be on the service. And then, of course, we’re producing a number of original movies and original television shows as well that will be Disney-branded.
By ‘the entire Disney motion picture library’, will that include Song of The South? That’s the racially problematic film from Disney’s archives that they have not released since at-least the advent of DVD. It’s an important film with great animation and cinematography. And then there’s its soundtrack which includes the beloved song Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, originally composed for the film.
But the racial politics of it are really quite offensive by modern standards. If Disney do decide to add the film, allowing them to say it has every Disney motion picture as one of its core selling points, one would assume they would have to surround the film with a considerable amount of produced material that puts the film into context - with considerable buy-in from prominent African-American people of note.
What I am interested in is the archiving of its older Disney Channel shows. Of particular interest to me was a show I grew up watching as a kid called The Mouse Factory, which was really just a way to package up older Disney content in a half-hour clip show.
I’d also like to stress that the show was quite old when I was watching it as a kid.
Apparently this means something to Lord of The Rings fans. Amazon has revealed the new TV series will take place during the ‘Second Age’.
The Leaving Neverland fallout continues.
A statue of the 80s icon has been removed from Britain's National Football Museum.
Syreeta McFadden at The Atlantic explores the difficulty of a posthumous accusatory documentary.
The film may never yield the same level of accountability that’s been demanded of powerful, living men. But maybe that’s not the point. It’s possible that its impact is far more important than complicating, or tarnishing, the memory of a dead pop god. The film is part of a continued moment that makes space for the stories of alleged victims of abuse, for the continued conversations about their healing. Still, viewers and fans alike can no longer resist taking a harder look at Jackson, the man. “Art orders contradictions and unwelcome longings,” the author Margo Jefferson wrote in her 2006 book, On Michael Jackson. “[It] glorifies what’s perverse or infantile, lavish and dream-bright, suave, abject, incurably romantic.” Leaving Neverland and its revelations insist on a re-evaluation that engages these contradictions and examines the canonization of a deeply flawed man.
I’ve been exceptionally tardy and still haven’t finished playing Red Dead Redemption. From memory, I’m at around the 70% completion mark. Something I haven’t done as much as I should have is sit down to enjoy some of the live stage shows and movies that you can take time out to watch.
As per Kotaku, I’ve apparently been missing out - the vaudeville shows are apparently more than just a distraction and have some greater relevance to the overall story.