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 hidden shows of Facebook Watch.
Always Be Watching is written by Dan Barrett
A name becoming increasingly important to the longterm viability of Star Wars as a storytelling engine is Dave Filoni. His association with the property began in the mid 00s when he was hired to run the production on the Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoon. Starting next week, he’s one of the key creatives on the first-ever live-action Star Wars show The Mandalorian.
People from Filoni’s Western Pennsylvania neighborhood tend to stick to the familiar, but Star Wars made him dream of distant suns. He came to Southern California to make animation. Still, the journey from fanboy to Jedi master remains unbelievable to him. “I thought it was a practical joke,” he said, recalling the 2005 telephone call asking him to travel to San Francisco to meet Lucas about a job. At the time Filoni was a director and story artist on Nickelodeon’s mystical martial arts show Avatar: The Last Airbender. He thought the crew from SpongeBob SquarePants was punking him. Even when he grasped that it was real, he didn’t believe it was really real. “My whole expectation honestly was: I’m going to meet George Lucas, and I’ll have a great story when I’m in line to go see [Revenge of the Sith] that nobody else has. But I’m certainly not going to get this job,” Filoni said.
What if you made a show for the biggest platform on the planet and nobody knew it existed? It means you’re possibly making a show for Facebook Watch.
FYI, you can watch Limetown on the incredibly poorly implemented Facebook Watch HERE.
You might also want to check out the critically adored Sorry For Your Loss, which is also on Facebook Watch. Stream it HERE.
Foxtel has signed a deal with NBCU for a new, multi-year agreement covering movies, drama, comedy, entertainment, reality and news for the Foxtel Group’s broadcast, on demand, and streaming platforms. Included in the deal is full seasons of The Office, 30 RockandParks and Recreation. There’s also multiple seasons of the Law & Order and the Chicago franchise shows.
Also announced by Foxtel was the launch of two more Fox branded channels which will launch Dec 17.
FOX SLEUTH celebrates the murder mystery genre by presenting beloved and iconic characters including classic whodunnit series Vera, Endeavour, Murder, She Wrote, Murdoch Mysteries, Poirotand Magnum P.I.
FOX SCI FI is the doorway to non-stop supernatural, paranormal and science fiction programming including Heroes, the original Charmed, Battlestar Galactica, the Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyagerand Star Trek: Deep Space 9.
Analyst Alan Wolk, from the not-very-creatively named TV[R]EV site has this to say about Apple TV+:
Now clearly someone thought that was a good idea, a way to capitalize on all those rental and purchase deals they already had in the bag and that it was much more cost effective than, say, buying Tubi or Xumo with some of that $250 billion cash reserve in order to get access to a whole lot of library content they could not charge people for, but rather just include in the subscription price for free.
What Alan is missing is that Apple would have zero interest in buying platforms like Tubi or Xumo - both trade in catalogues that are mostly comprised of low-tier content. Meanwhile Apple is a premium brand. It would hardly meet the image of Apple to sell someone a two thousand dollar phone and then onboarding them to a TV platform that streams Titanic 2, Return to Gilligans Island, and Beach Babes From Beyond.
(Yes, these are all films that are streaming right now on Tubi).
Alan suggests in the article, as many have, that Apple should have bought a library of content to offer alongside its originals. But… that would defeat the point of what Apple are trying to do with their service. The entire point of Apple TV+ is to get Apple viewers to use the TV app more and move their subscriptions, like HBO, over to the TV app. Doing that lets Apple customers keep their billing in the one place and lets them play content from within the TV app (no more switching apps to watch content from different providers) and puts a few dollars in the pocket of Apple.
If Apple offered a rich library of content, customers wouldn’t be hungry enough to subscribe to other services, thereby depriving Apple of making money.
In other bad Apple TV+ takes, here’s Jeremy Horwitz at Venturebeat:
From my perspective, though, launching Apple TV+ in its current form was a big mistake. There were multiple compelling alternatives, including turning the entire iTunes TV show library into an all-you-can-watch subscription service (akin to Apple Music), or bundling access to multiple existing third-party channels with original Apple content in a single service. Apple already had the relationships and properly encoded content to make either of these deals happen in a snap, but it didn’t. Either of these options would have been an instant “yes” for millions of existing Apple customers, who would gladly have paid for a true rival to Netflix with different on-demand content.
That’s right - Apple should have just bought every single TV show that it sells on iTunes to stream to its customers. I can’t believe nobody at Apple thought of that. Surely an idea like that couldn’t cost Apple eleventy billion dollars a month… *cough* *cough* *splutter*