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 Good Fight Sued. Hilarity follows.
ALSO: RIP C-fer. AND: BAFTA winners announced
The best story in some time. Big brain lawyer Alan Dershowitz is threatening to sue CBS All Access and the show The Good Fight for labelling him as a “shyster” in relation to his association with convicted (murdered?) sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
In a letter sent on July 17 he demanded that CBS All Access stop streaming the content in question and issue a retraction of the statement with a public apology.
The result of this is that Dersh has brought attention to the scene in a very public way - amplifying the content on a show that is, frankly, not seen as much as it should be.
As per the letter from Dersh’s lawyer:
Clearly, the dialogue and the context in which it is made, with words loaded with innuendo such as ‘massage,’ ‘Epstein,’ the ‘Virgin Islands,’ in combination with the word ‘shyster,’ falsely suggests that Professor Dershowitz engaged in sexual conduct, i.e. a ‘massage,’ with an underage girl associated with Epstein, and is crooked, unscrupulous and lying about it, i.e. a ‘shyster,
The scene in question features Epstein’s ex-layer stating:
“Probably about the time he ditched me for Dershowitz. At least I didn’t get a massage, like that shyster. And for the purposes of any potential lawsuit ‘shyster’ is just my opinion not a statement of fact,”
The statement of opinion and not of fact is played with a wink to the audience. The show was practically begging Dersh to make a public statement.
The letter from CBS legal includes the following phrase:
In other words, as one might explain to a small child, the Series, its characters and the things they say are all make-believe. People don’t watch the Series for factual information about Professor Dershowitz or anyone else
Please take a moment to read the letter from CBS lawyer Johnathan Anschell in full. It’s really funny.
Media watchers were startled (but not entirely surprised) that James Murdoch stepped down from the News Corp board citing concerns over its editorial content. But before you see this as Murdoch stepping away completely from the family business, know that he still has a share in the Murdoch Family Trust. Father Rupert has the controlling interest, while each of his children have an equal stake.
They are: Media executives James, Lachlan and Elisabeth Murdoch, Prudence Murdoch McLeod, and the much younger daughters of ex-wife Wendi Deng: Grace and Chloe.
It is not known what will happen to the family trust when Rupert passes away, but expect a major upheaval of the media holdings once that happens. My assumption: newspaper closures and more of a centrism for Fox News.
If you didn’t see the awards, there is also a good list of things learned from the awards (such as winner Jared Harris revealing that he was a second choice to Daniel Day-Lewis for his role in Chernobyl). Read: BBC
James Hong deep dive
He has over 600 on-screen credits and you have almost certainly seen James Hong in more movies and TV shows than probably any other actor. But how much do you know about him? CNN (via its Great Big Story podcast) has a deep dive article about the actor who got his first big break on Groucho Marx’s You Bet Your Life.
I listen to podcasts at 1.2x speed. Most of the podcasts I listen to are round-table discussions or news-based shows, so nothing is really lost from the experience of hearing things just a little bit faster.
But narrative TV and movies are different. So many emotional beats are changed when you’re watching at a speed that is different to how it was intended. Your brain is speeding up the way you process what you’re experiencing on screen, but in doing that it alters your connection to it.
Netflix are introducing a feature that allows people to watch at variable speeds. Understandably, filmmakers and others with a vested interest in seeing work presented as intended are annoyed by this.
“We’ve also been mindful of the concerns of some creators,” a spokesperson told The Verge. “It’s why we have capped the range of playback speeds and require members to vary the speed each time they watch something new — versus fixing their settings based on the last speed they used.”
There is one group who will benefit from this:
Both the National Association of the Deaf and the National Federation of the Blind commended Netflix on adding the playback features. Since captions are slowed down (and also sped up) to keep in time with the images on-screen, it can help deaf people who might prefer the captions at a slightly slower speed, according to Howard A. Rosenblum, CEO of the National Association of the Deaf. On the other side, many people in the blind community “can understand and appreciate audio played at a much faster pace than what might be comfortable for most sighted people,” Everette Bacon, a board member on the National Federation of the Blind, said in a statement.
There’s no word on when we’ll see Fargo Season 4. But there is a new teaser trailer.
The wild and unprofessional world of X-Men
The X-Men movies mark the 20th anniversary since the release of the first one. Most of them are terrible, but they had a promising start. Only now though are we hearing about the behind the scenes drama surrounding director Bryan Singer.
There is an INCREDIBLE feature from THR that explores the madness that Singer brought to the production.
One of my favourite bits:
Several sources say the story meetings were unprofessional, even by eccentric auteur standards. "Bryan would bring people to story meetings who weren't involved in the movies. Young guys. A different person every time," says one source who was present.
Despite a lineup of A-list writers, David Hayter, who served as Singer's assistant and was answering phones in the production offices for $500 a week, received sole credit.