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.
Taika Waititi's new show - Reservation Dogs
ALSO: Trailers. AND: A plea to watch The Midnight Sky.
Let’s start today’s newsletter with unexpected joy.
This morning I was out walking with one of my dogs. Just out in the middle of suburbia. There was nothing strange about it.
But I saw a kangaroo.
If you’re one of the non-Australians who read this newsletter daily, understand that in Australia we don’t have kangaroos hopping down the street all the time. You generally have to leave the cities and sprawling suburbia before you start to find pockets of land where some native animals wander about. To see a kangaroo on my dog walk this morning - it was weird and exciting.
Another unexpected joy I wanted to highlight today is the George Clooney film The Midnight Sky, which debuts later today on Netflix. I completely understand why this film won’t be to everybody’s taste. It is blatant in wearing its emotions on its sleeve and tugs at some very tender heartstrings. But boy did it work for me. Friend of ABW Wenlei Ma has a write-up about it over at News.com.au
The Midnight Sky reminded me a lot of the Netflix TV drama from a few months ago Away in that it sought to link family drama, sacrifice, and duty on both Earth and via a space mission with astronauts. Obviously, with far greater success in the George Clooney movie - that show was a stinker.
Little Green Bag
This sounds fun. Reservation Dogs is a new series that has just been commissioned by FX. Co-written by Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi. The show is about four Native teenagers in rural Oklahoma who spend their days committing crime … and fighting it.
The private company has mulled a sale for several years but couldn’t seem to find a fit on price. The board is certainly talking; MGM doesn’t have the scale to compete against the biggest studios, but could be a valuable piece for a bigger player. But right now, it’s only talk and we’d be surprised if they engaged bankers to hang a for sale sign anytime soon.
ViacomCBS are looking to scale up to be able to compete with the larger streamers, so you’d have to assume that it would be considering the potential. The other obvious big gun who could get some immediate value out of an MGM buy is Netflix. Not only would it bulk up the film library with known classics, but it would also give Netflix legacy intellectual property. I could imagine Netflix doing a lot with the Robocop and Stargate properties. There’s also ways to grow out the world of The Handmaid’s Tale in ways that align very well with the themes of the book and the progressive bona fides of Netflix as a company.
Jim from The Office gets festive
Some (more) Good News from John Kransinski with a bonus Christmas edition of his YouTube show. This guest stars George Clooney and Dwayne Johnson.
Nicholas Cage’s History of Swear Words drops on Netflix Jan 5.
Mitchell & Webb’s Backreturns in January for season 2.
Coming 2 America debuts on Amazon Prime Video March 5.
Denzel Washington’s The Little Thingsdebuts on HBO Max Jan 29 and, I guess, in cinemas too.
Tiger is a 2-part doco about the rise and fall and rise again of Tiger Woods. Jan 17 on HBO.
New 2-part doco Whitney Houston & Bobbi Kristina: Didn’t We Almost Have It All starts Feb 6 on Lifetime.
An in-depth look at the parallel lives of renowned singer Whitney Houston and her daughter Bobbi Kristina. Both faced similar struggles - living in the shadow of their famous mothers, criticized for their love choices and often used for their fame and fortune - and both turned to drugs and alcohol for relief from the pressures of being in the spotlight, before prematurely leaving the earth in the same tragic way. In an emotional and candid look at the ups and downs of their personal stories, and a celebration of their lives, Whitney Houston & Bobbi Kristina offers intimate conversations with the friends and family that were closest to them.
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