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.
Spies! Superheroes! Streaming (re: Netflix)! And more!
Today's Always Be Watching is brought to you by the letter S.
The Twilight Zone may have kicked off this week, but as Variety notes, it is just one of many horror anthology shows currently kicking about:
In addition to the revival of the iconic Rod Serling-created franchise, viewers are already able to enjoy current horror anthologies such as: “Black Mirror” (Netflix); “Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams” (Amazon); “Into the Dark” (Hulu); “American Horror Story” (FX); “The Terror” (AMC); “The Haunting” (Netflix); “Folklore” (HBO)
And several more are on the way. There is Greg Nicotero’s “Creepshow” series coming to Shudder, Lena Waithe’s “Them” — which got a two-season pick up at Amazon — and Steven Spielberg’s reboot of “Amazing Stories” at Apple. Sources also say that a reboot of “Outer Limits” is in the works at a premium cable network.
Though, apparently anthologies are bad business:
The wealth of such shows comes despite the fact that anthologies in general are proving to be hard sells at networks and streaming services. According to multiple TV lit agents who spoke with Variety, networks are “not hungry” for anthology projects at present. The agents said they do not advise clients to do anthologies because they are “thankless” and writers stand to make very little money from them. Unless the project is a big piece of IP or has strong auspices, it generally will not get much traction.
Zero Dark Thirty screenwriter Mark Boal has a spy thriller series set up at Showtime:
Showtime has made a series commitment for “Intelligence,” a spy thriller series which Boal will write, direct and executive produce. The show, based on real stories from around the world, will explore the secret inner workings of power and how espionage intersects with politics, finance, media and Silicon Valley. The first season will dramatize the behind-the-scenes history leading up to the 2016 U.S. election, with each potential subsequent season looking at a major world event through the lens of covert operations.
I’ve long been dubious of the metrics reported by Parrot Analytics. The company reports on the scale of sentiment online around TV shows and converts those into ratings charts. So, a show that has a small, but rabid and conversational following will perform higher than shows with a dedicated and engaged audience, but don’t necessarily talk about it much online. It is all just so… meaningless.
Today Parrot has a report detailing the rise in prominence of shows from Netflix competitors that are gaining a share of voice. Parrot concludes that it means CBS All Access (thanks to Star Trek: Discovery) and DC Universe (thanks to Titans) are set to be a threat to Netflix’s dominance:
As dominant as Netflix has been, the 2018 report shows some interesting insights given the imminent arrival of major streaming services from Disney, Apple, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal and others.
DC Universe, a superhero-themed service rolled out in the second half of 2018, reached a 7% share of the global audience for action-adventure series after just a few months. Titans finished the year as the No. 2 show in terms of demand, trailing only Chilling Adventures.
Parrot are behaving US-centric here and not reporting on both Star Trek: Discovery and Titans streaming on Netflix in markets across the globe. For a great many viewers, these are Netflix shows.