Today Netflix announced that its series The Last Kingdom will end after its fifth season, but will be given a film to farewell the show.

You may have some questions after hearing that news. Chief among them: What is The Last Kingdom?

The show started out as a BBC series, based on Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Stories, which Netflix picked up from its third season.

You can read about the future of the show here:

‘The Last Kingdom’ feature film in the works at Netflix
A ‘Last Kingdom’ Netflix feature film starring Alexander Dreymon will begin shooting in early 2022.

The cancellation of The Last Kingdom, a show that you have likely never heard of or watched, exposes the biggest problem Netflix has. It isn't discovery. It is intention to view.

They say you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink it. And that's probably true. I know nothing about horses. But I do know that you can put a promotional image of a show on a tile on a streaming service and if that doesn't immediately grab me, I'm just going to move on. I won't have sampled it. I won't have even considered it.

I consider some of my favorite TV dramas. The Good Wife is a show I had dismissed for years as a pretty standard network legal drama - it was only once I sampled some of it that I realised it was actually aligned with strong interests of mine - technology/culture/politics. Plus it was funny and smart and all sorts of things not apparent from a couple of still images I had seen. Gilmore Girls I had zero interest in from the outset. It seemed like a One Tree Hill style of teen-audience generic bit of filler. I didn't realise that was just a smokescreen for a show filled with funny rapid-fire dialogue and really arcane pop cultural references.

And that's the thing - audiences need to be given a taster of a show if they are going to watch something outside of their pre-conceived ideas of what they want to watch. But that taster also needs to be delivered in a way that feels organic to the experience of choosing what to watch. Auto-playing trailers while viewers are scrolling viewing menu options is a distraction. An annoyance. It isn't putting the best foot forward for any of those shows.

Netflix spends so much on content every year with a lot of it immediately dismissed by audiences who might actually be set to discover their new favorite show if given the opportunity to do so. We know that most Netflix viewing decisions are made on platform. And yet that same platform is serving as Netflix's biggest discovery blocker.

Maybe it's time for the streamer to just bite the bullet and play trailers before shows screen. It is common practice on HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, and other platforms. They all come with a Skip It on-screen button.

Audiences like their tastes and assumptions to be challenged. What Netflix offers is not 'discovery' - it is instead just an entertaining maze that never quite frustrates, but it also stops being stimulating after a while when the experience never changes.

The Last Kingdom is something I absolutely might have watched if I saw a clip from it and it struck my fancy. But there was no thumbnail that would ever get me pressing play on it.

Shonda finally delivers a show for Netflix

When Shonda Rhimes signed her massive deal over at Netflix, she took some time to think things through. A lot of time. It was a $100 million Netflix deal (signed in 2017) that yielded its first show in Dec 2020.

What did Netflix get for that? Only their biggest hit to that date - Bridgerton. Is that worth $100 million worth of thinking time. I'm not 100% convinced, but no one can argue that Rhimes didn't deliver a hit show. The thing with Bridgerton is that it wasn't entirely what she was hired for. That show was created by Chris Van Dusen and overseen by Shonda as a Producer. What Netflix were really paying for were the shows created by Shonda and written by Shonda. Those are where she's really had some success in the past. Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal. She has runs on the board.

Her first written and created by series is set to launch soon on Netflix. Today the streamer has released the first pictures from Inventing Anna.

The series stars Julia Garner, Anna Chlumsky, Jennifer Esposito, Anna Deavere Smith, Jeff Perry, Anders Holm, and Laverne Cox.

Written by Rhimes, the series (premiering in 2022) follows a journalist (Chlumsky) with a lot to prove investigates the case of Anna Delvey (Garner), the Instagram-legendary German heiress who stole the hearts of New York’s social scene—and stole their money as well. But is Anna New York’s biggest con woman or is she simply the new portrait of the American dream? Anna and the reporter form a dark funny love-hate bond as Anna awaits trial and our reporter fights the clock to answer the biggest question in NYC: who is Anna Delvey?

That sounds actually pretty fun. And what a cast!

‘Inventing Anna’: Shonda Rhimes’ Netflix Series Reveals First Look Photos
Netflix has released four first look photos of their upcoming drama Inventing Anna, Shonda Rhimes’ series for the streamer starring Julia Garner, Anna Chlumsky, Jennifer Esposito, Anna Deaver…

Could Killing It break the Craig Robinson curse?

Craig Robinson is unquestionably a funny guy with huge screen charisma. He is also a guy with a number of failed sitcoms to his name. But the Craig Robinson experiment is one that will eventually strike gold. And Killing It might be the show to do it.

Killing It is described as a comedy about class, capitalism, and one man’s quest to achieve the American dream while also hunting really big snakes. Robinson plays a man who will do anything to make his dream come true, even compete in a state-sponsored python manhunt.

Okay, that sounds wonderfully dumb. But what is selling me on this show is that the show is being co-run by Dan Goor (fresh from running Brooklyn Nine Nine) and has today announced a fun cast that includes Claudia O’Doherty (Love), Rell Battle (Black-ish), Scott MacArthur (The Mick), Stephanie Nogueras (The Good Fight), Wyatt Walter (Sons of Thunder), and Jet Miller (Bethany).

The name in that which caught my attention is Claudia O'Doherty, who people may know from the Netflix comedy Love. I say O'Doherty is a megastar just waiting for that right moment. I've been crazy about her for a good decade now (I first saw her performing in a tiny conference-room sized theatre space on the top floor of the Brisbane Powerhouse arts venue (I had never seen a show buried in a space there before, nor since).

In Killing It she plays a down-on-her-luck Uber driver who introduces Robinson's character to the world of snake hunting.

Craig Robinson’s ‘Killing It’ Adds Claudia O’Doherty, Scott MacArthur & More
The Peacock comedy comes from the team behind ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine.’

TeeVee Snacks

  • Because it has been at least a month or two since a David E Kelley series was announced... he has a new series for Peacock. The Missing is an 8-episode series to be written by the prolific TV creator and based on the book The Missing File. Read: TV Insider
  • The California Film Commission has enticed The Mysterious Benedict Society and Promised Land to film upcoming seasons in California with a $15 million enticement. The shows previously filmed in Vancouver and Georgia, respectively. Read: Variety
  • Jonathan Lemire has been announced as host of pre-breakfast show Way Too Early on MSNBC. Read: Variety
  • UK analysis firm Digital TV Research says Internet delivered TV will overtake cable TV globally by 2026 with shifts in China causing the tipping point. Read: C21
  • RIP Stu Billett. The creator of The People's Court (the grandaddy of TV reality court shows) died aged 85. Read: Deadline
  • RIP actor James Michael Tyler, best known for playing Gunther on Friends. He died at aged 59 following a battle with prostate cancer. Read: Variety
  • Shea Serrano's comedy series has been picked up to series by IMDb TV. Read: Variety
  • A new character on The Simpsons is a breast cancer survivor. Read: Yahoo
  • Brendan Fraser will be the villain in the new Batgirl movie in the works for HBO Max. Read: Variety
  • Eric Kripke, showrunner of The Boys, has also vowed not to use live firearms on his shows going forward. Read: Twitter

Trailer Park

Dr Brain debuts Nov 4 on Apple TV+. It stars Lee Sun-kyun from Parasite.

Bluey returns for season 3 on ABC TV in Australia on Nov 22.

What's next? Tomorrow.