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.
Star Trek to introduce non-binary & transgender characters
ALSO: Black-ish gets animated. AND: Sign the Golden Girls petition.
Warning - today’s newsletter contains a lot of stuff.
Black-ish to air animated special
Ahead of the upcoming US elections Black-ish will broadcast an hour-long special. The first half hour will be a live-action episode about Junior as a first-time voter who discovers he has been purged from the electoral roll, with the second half-hour an animated episode has Dre’s boss Mr. Stevens making a run for congress.
Black-ish isn’t the first live action show to delve into animation. Thinking about that and my throwaway thought last week in this newsletter that The Golden Girls could work as an animated show, I have launched a petition to see if we can make that happen. This is purely an attention-grabbing stunt to get the idea out into the world.
Please do me a favour and take up to 25 seconds out of your day and sign this petition. Once we get a decent number of signatures, I can start to make some noise.
For an idea of what this could look like, a member of the ABW Facebook community brought this parody to my attention from the cartoon The Amazing World of Gumball:
Mulan gets a date for the Disney+ plebs
The film Mulan debuts on Disney+ this weekend for Disney+ subscribers at an additional cost of thirty bucks ($35 in Australia). But we now have a date for when the film will be released for all Disney+ subscribers at no additional price - December 4. That gives it a three-month window, which seems reasonable.
Audible has teamed with Sesame Workshop for an Audible-exlusive podcast The Sesame Street Podcast with Foley & Friends. Foley is a new character created for the podcast, but will be joined by an on-podcast sidekick and beloved Sesame Street characters like Elmo, Big Bird, and Cookie Monster.
It debuts Oct 15 with new episodes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Episodes will be approx 15 mins each.
The news story floating around today is that Star Trek: Discovery will introduce non-binary and transgender characters. This, it is claimed, is the first time in the series history.
I’m no Star Trekologist, but I would find it very surprising that in the franchise’s 54-year history the show hasn’t featured any characters who could very technically be defined as non-binary or transgender. There are a lot of weird and wild lifeforms in the series.
That nonsense technicality aside, this is a positive move for the franchise which was incredibly progressive out of the gates with the original Star Trek show featuring several actors of color in the cast along with episodes that served as parables for cultural issues.
I don’t think it is unfair to say that from The Next Generation onwards, the show has been skittish in being at all progressive, even if they would tout them at fan conventions. No franchise plays it safer, more conservative, than Star Trek. Heck, the most recent Star Trek movie revealed that its version of Sulu was a gay man in a moment so subtle and barely consequential that I only realised when reading articles online afterwards.
Introduced to Star Trek Discovery will be two new characters. Adira is a character to be played by non-binary actor Blu del Barrio, while Gray will be portrayed by transgender actor Ian Alexander (The OA, The Last of Us Part 2).
"'Star Trek' has always made a mission of giving visibility to underrepresented communities because it believes in showing people that a future without division on the basis of race, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation is entirely within our reach," -Michelle Paradise, co-showrunner and executive producer
With US late night hosts returning to record in studios, they’re starting to play around with the form of their shows.
I love, love, love this move by Conan O’Brien to start filling his audience with cardboard cutouts. He has a small collection of famous people, but he now wants home viewers to send in photos of themselves to be turned into in-theatre audience members. This is fantastic.
A Pretty Little Liars reboot is in the works. Source: Deadline
68 Whiskey has been cancelled after one season. Source: TV Line
This Time with Alan Partridge will resume filming this year. Source: Radio Times
Oliver Jollet has been announced as the new SVP of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia (EMEAA) for ViacomCBS. This will have him looking after digital properties in these regions, which includes the soon-to-be-rebranded CBS All Access as it launches outside North America. Source: TBI Vision
Putting the Dan Cherry in DC Comics
Former Chief Marketing Officer of Activision Blizzard Esports Daniel Cherry has been announced by WarnerMedia as the Senior Vice President and General Manager of DC Comics.
What I find interesting is that his new role replaces that of ‘Publisher’. I guess a Publisher is the head of a publishing company. DC Comics is now more of a vertically integrated brand which manages beloved intellectual property across multiple platforms.
In researching the last blurb about DC Comics I discovered something that will be of little interest to anyone but myself and maybe two of you. Seriously, everyone… just skip to the next story…
Before DC Comics was branded as DC Comics the company was National Allied Publications. It was formed in 1934 by a guy named Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson to publish New Fun, the first ever American comic book that would publish original comics (and not newspaper reprints. Early issues would feature the first comics work by Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel (who would soon go on to create Superman).
Wheeler-Nicholson founded the company, but was pushed out a year later by the company’s co-owner Jack Liebowitz. Essentially Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson is the creator of what we know as comic books.
But that isn’t the trivia I discovered. What caught my attention was this:
Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson’s granddaughter is the actor Dana Wheeler-Nicholson. You’ve seen her in countless movies and shows over the years including Fletch, The X-Files (for a time she dated David Duchovny), Seinfeld, Nashville, Friday Night Lights, and many more. Recently she did a turn in Grey’s Anatomy.
I did warn you interest in that trivia would be limited. I can’t believe you continued to read it.
Ridley Scott’s new TV series Raised By Wolves starts today on HBO Max. At launch three episodes will be made available with one episode released weekly going forward. In Australia the series will be available on Binge / Foxtel.
Debuting on Audible today is the new Alan Partridge podcast From The Oasthouse.
Tehran debuts on Sept 25 on Apple TV+ with the first three episodes and then goes weekly. Tehran is an espionage thriller tells the story of a Mossad agent who goes deep undercover on a dangerous mission in Tehran that places her and everyone around her in dire jeopardy.
Boys in The Band debuts on Netflix on Sept 30.
Challenger: The Final Flight debuts on Netflix Sept 16.
Welcome To The Blumhouse is a new series of original films coming to Amazon Prime Video. The series starts next month.
The Great Pottery Throwdown debuts Sept 17 on HBO Max.
Grand Army debuts on Netflix Oct 16. The show is about five high school students as they struggle with sexual, racial and economic politics and fight to succeed and become somebody. This trailer is stunning.
Criminal Season 2 debuts on Sept 16 on Netflix. The four new suspects interrogated this season are Kit Harrington, Sharon Horgan, Sophie Okonedo, and Kunal Nayyar.
Emily in Paris will debut Oct 2 on Netflix.
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