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.
Surprise Disney+ launch! ALSO: More South Park. AND: Let's party like it's 1999.
Always Be Watching is written by Dan Barrett who had a really good 1999.
Disney+ has had a surprise launch overnight… in The Netherlands. While The Netherlands was set to launch day and date with the US, this 2-month advance launch was somewhat of a surprise. Customers have been given a free 2-month trial. As you’d expect, the only titles available are the older catalog titles. All of its Original shows and movies will launch on the dates previously announced.
It makes sense that a trial would take place in The Netherlands first. You’ll note that Nordic countries are often used as trial locations for services. For example, HBO Nordic delivered HBO content to the region via its streaming platform a year or so ahead of the US launch of its HBO streaming service. Apparently it is an area of the world that has solid internet connections, is culturally open to a lot of US content, and has a robust economy. It’s a perfect region to test out the technical capability and user behaviours of a subscriber base.
The big surprise for subscribers to Disney+ in The Netherlands has been with some of the titles made available in the region. Disney has been transparent with the launch of Disney+, giving regular details on what the content will be and when it will be available. Where it has been a little murky has been in regards to how much variance there will be with content country-by-country.
One user has reported finding a library of classic pre-2000 Marvel animated shows including: Spider-Woman (1979), Spider-Man(1981), Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends (1982), X-Men(1992), Iron Man (1994), Fantastic Four (1994), Incredible Hulk (1996), Silver Surfer (1998) and Spider-Man Unlimited ('99).
I grew up watching a bunch of these shows. I’m especially keen to see Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and Spider-Woman, two shows I know I haven’t seen since the mid 80s.
There’s also a few live-action shows that are available in the US on Hulu, but won’t be on Disney+ like Runaways.
I’m now very interested to see what regional variance we’re going to find here in Australia.
The New York Times has an extensive list of all the (US) TV shows debuting over the next 3 months.
Both The West Wing and Freaks & Geeks made their debut within a matter of days of each other in 1999. Alan Sepinwall has taken a look back at the debut of both shows 20 years ago.
Of the many memorable TV premieres of 1999 — which also included Law & Order: SVU, Once and Again, Action, Angel, Futurama, Family Guy, SpongeBob SquarePants, and more — The West Wing and The Sopranos are most often pitted against one another. They were each other’s top Emmy competition for years and also symbolized a past/future split. But as shows that were developed in the same system, by the same network, and that debuted within days of one another, West Wing and Freaks and Geeks make for a more fascinating test-case of this pivotal year in television history.
The West Wing was the culmination of everything television had been trying to be for the previous 50 years of the medium’s history: an erudite, slickly produced, unapologetically earnest drama about important issues.
It’s the end of the week, which means there are always a whole bunch of trailers released today.
Looking for Alaska
8-part series based on the John Green novel.
Impulse - season 2
Maddie Hasson stars as Henrietta "Henry" Coles, a rebellious 17-year-old girl who has always felt different from her peers and longs to escape from her seemingly quaint small town. During a traumatic event, Henry discovers she has the extraordinary ability to teleport, and her newfound power confirms Henry's conviction that she really was different from everybody else - but it now makes her the focus of those who want to control her. Missi Pyle stars as Henry's mother, Cleo Coles.
How To Get Away With Murder - season 6
Mr Robot - season 4
The upcoming anthology series from Sing Street and Once filmmaker John Carney.
Inspired by the New York Times column of the same name, Modern Love boasts an absolute arsenal of stars for an eight-episode anthology. Among the series stars are Jane Alexander, Sofia Boutella, Gary Carr, Olivia Cooke, Tina Fey, John Gallagher, Jr., Andy Garcia, Julia Garner, Brandon Kyle Goodman, Anne Hathaway, CatherineKeener, Cristin Milioti, Dev Patel, Laurentiu Possa, James Saito, Andrew Scott, John Slattery and Shea Whigham.
SBS drama series Hungry Ghosts will be delayed and now air in 2020.
It was only a matter of time until podcasting reached the peak of what it could achieve. And that time is this week with the debut of an official Home & Away podcast.
The weekly show is presented by former cast member Jason Smith, who played Robbie Hunter on the show between 2003-2006, and promises to give fans a unique insight into the production of the hit show, as well as delving into its history.
The first episode focuses on the importance of family in Summer Bay, and features Executive Producer Julie McGauran alongside the show’s Script Executive Louise Bowes.
On the launch of the podcast, Julie said “We wanted to extend the Home and Away experience for our audience. By including members of the production team and cast, we’re giving listeners different perspectives about how we make the show and tell stories. And Jason’s insight, from working both in front of and behind the camera, has made for some very interesting and entertaining conversations with guests.”