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.
The 40 shows to watch in 2019! Scaramucci for Big Brother! And more!
Always Be Watching was today lovingly curated by Dan Barrett and cruelly sent out into the world to face a Monday morning.
Kick-start your week with some television admin. Rolling Stone has a very handy list of 40 shows to look forward to this year. The list is US-centric, but open up the article alongside your Google Calendar - or just wait for ABW to tell you when interesting shows start.
The two I am most looking forward to are Netflix series Russian Doll and Hulu’s Pen15.
Did you know the BBC makes a wide number of scripts to its shows available on the BBC website? Check out the BBC Writers Room for Doctor Who, Bodyguard, Cuckoo, Mrs Wilson, A Very English Scandal, Danger Mouse, and so, so many more.
Meanwhile the official Twitter account reposted this from Facebook, which mostly just stood as a reminder that the show is cast with a bunch of nobodies.
Interesting tweet from stand-up comedian Ron Funches on the weekend:
The ease and convenience of Netflix is really making it hard for competitors to cut through with viewers. Viewers need to realise there TV is an industry and not a state-provided service - behind it all are professionals who gotta eat, which sometimes means that if you want to see something, you might have to go to a certain level of effort or pay a few extra bucks.
Do you find value in the Always Be Watching newsletter? Each day I try and put together the sort of newsletter I would find helpful to start my own morning. It usually takes about 45-60 minutes to do each morning, so if you do find value in it, I’d appreciate it if you would consider a subscription.
Writer Eric Heisserer was responsible for the script for a great film called Arrival. He also wrote Bird Box. He’s now got himself an 8-episode series at Netflix, as per the Hollywood Reporter:
Based on the "Grishaverse" novels by author Leigh Bardugo, Shadow and Bone will be adapted by Bird Box and Arrival writer Eric Heisserer. The eight-episode series is set in a world divided in two by a massive barrier of perpetual darkness that hides monsters who feast on human flesh.
The lead character is a young soldier who discovers she has a power that could unite her country, but dangerous forces plot against her. The series will incorporate elements from Bardugo's Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows novels, which are set in a shared world populated by Grisha, people with supernatural abilities.
Bardugo's books have sold more than 2.5 million copies and have been translated into 38 languages, giving them an international reach fitting for Netflix's global business.
Star Trek: Discovery returns to CBS All Access on 17 January (and Netflix globally on 18 January). Ahead of its return, showrunner Alex Kurtzman has given a number of interviews. This is him talking with EW about the need to respect canon:
We really do spend a lot of time talking a lot about canon and there are people in the writers’ room specifically to tell us where we’re stepping on the line of violation. I did actually note at one point when I was asked about the graphic novels and comics that after 50-plus years it’s literally impossible to stay entirely consistent with canon because there have been very dry years in ‘Star Trek’ and very full years and so many different writers have attempted to fill in the gaps in the dry years of what happened to beloved characters in the absence of a show driving those answers, they end up inventing things and we end up being faced with whether to call that canon. But it’s always a conversation.
The best version of the story needs to be the driver. But what’s the best version of a story is an entirely subjective thing.
Billy Bush, globally famous now for his role in the leaked video of Donald Trump talking to him about grabbing woman by their p-ssy, is set to come back to television after a 2-year absence.
Bush will be joining Extra as an entertainment correspondent. I’ll say this for Bush, he has been incredibly canny about managing his media brand during his absence. Every public comment has been introspective and well-considered. Some people will grumble about his return, but I don’t think it is out-of-line for Bush to return back to his brand of vacuous TV entertainment.
"So that early part was just chaos. But then things progressed, and when you have a big, traumatic event, you go through stages, and it led to acceptance and understanding. And then I found myself in a place of soul searching. And I developed a commitment to become a better, fuller man."
The 20th anniversary of The Sopranos has inspired viewers to go back and re-watch the show. HBO’s on-demand services have seen a spike, with viewership of The Sopranos up 70% from this time last year. Comcast’s XfinityOn Demand Top 20 shows for the week ending 6 Jan has The Sopranos ranking third, only behind Game of Thrones and Surviving R Kelly.
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.