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 Mandalorian comes to life in your kitchen
ALSO: The Fox News Christmas movie. AND: Could Netflix break an Oscars record?
Protect The Child in AR
Google has partnered with Disney for an augmented reality experience based around The Mandalorian.
What does this mean?
Well, through your 5G Google Pixel phone (and other select 5G Android phones) you can wander around your house from the perspective of a bounty hunter on the trail of Mando himself (Din Djarin) and the Child (baby Yoda). You can interact with the characters in the real world via your phone screen.
New content will roll out every “Mando Monday” to continue your adventures around the home with The Mandalorian.
That all sounds pretty fun. I guess…
*looks at his 2 year-old iPhone XR phone and dreams of another life lived*
In 1937 MGM received five Best Picture nominations at the Academy Awards. That year ten films were in contention for the big prize.
In 2021, with reduced competition from other studios, Netflix has a very strong roster of nominees. Likely nominees include Trial of The Chicago 7, Mank, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Da Five Bloods, The Midnight Sky, and The Prom. Hillbilly Elegy seemed like it might be in the race until critics started seeing it.
More than five Best Picture nominations from a single studio in the one year? Could Netflix do it? It seems… likely.
Variety has an interesting piece on this, which curiously doesn’t mention the likely spoiler News of The World. Of course, it is worth noting that even if News of The World does win, that is still a quasi win for Netflix as it holds international distribution rights.
[On a side note, I saw Mank over the weekend. I thought it was great - even if Gary Oldman is about 20 years too old for the titular role. I do wonder how well the film plays for those who haven’t seen Citizen Kane before or have a pre-existing knowledge of the politics surrounding the release of the movie].
Speaking of great cinema…
The Fox News Christmas Movie
Subscription streaming service Fox Nation (the streaming destination for Fox News fans) will debut its first-ever Christmas movie later this week. That’s right. You read that correctly.
Christmas in the Rockies follows Katie Jolly, whose dreams of a life in New York City are squelched when her father’s sudden injury leaves her in charge of the family business, Jolly Lumber. She has to solve family and business issues all the while trying to win an annual Lumberjack Competition.
Fox & Friends hosts Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt make cameos.
Yeah… I know…
I found this paragraph kind-of interesting. Fox Nation doesn’t get a lot of attention, but the impression given is that it had been a quiet achiever for Fox. Maybe that isn’t quite the case as it appears Fox Nation has been making a gentle pivot from its initial brief:
The original films show Fox Nation making a continued tilt toward lifestyle programming aimed and away from a harder focus on politics. Executives originally envisioned the subscription-based outlet as something of a “Netflix for conservatives,” but in recent months have focused more heavily on documentary programming and lifestyle fare, some of it involving Fox News Media anchors and hosts telling subscribers about hobbies like cooking or books.
See the trailer: Fox News (it looks as great as you’d hope)
The darkest timeline
Jay Martel at The New Yorker has some fun re-imagining the modern, dark versions of classic sitcoms - inspired by the upcoming gritty reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
“Friends?” The haunting title song sums up the mood of this dark drama: So no one told you life was gonna be this way. Whom can you trust when anyone in your pod could be carrying a deadly virus? Follow six poorly socialized friends in New York City as they learn that, when you’re this young and good-looking, vows of isolation are difficult to maintain, and breaking them can be lethal.
“I Dream of Jinn-i” When Major Anthony Nelson returns from the war in Iraq, he discovers that the souvenir incense burner he picked up in Baghdad contains Jinn-i, a supernatural being who manifests as a young Islamic woman. Anthony, who is an evangelical Christian, is torn between his feelings for Jinn-i and the need to hide her from his nosy, xenophobic neighbors—especially Reverend Bellows, who moonlights as an ice agent and is convinced that Anthony is harboring a demonic spirit.
Yesterday the ABW newsletter noted the death of sitcom writing legend Charlie Hauck. The always entertaining and reliable sitcom vet Ken Levine writes in his blog:
Here’s how I first met Charlie. My partner, David Isaacs and I pitched him story ideas when he was the story editor of MAUDE. He rejected us fifty times.
In fairness, it was the show runners above him. We’d bring in ten ideas. He’d like two, send ‘em upstairs, they’d get rejected, and Charlie would ask us to come in with ten more. I really liked him. And if you can like someone who rejected you fifty times he has to be a pretty decent guy.
Following the release of Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit, sales of chess boards at one company shot up 1000%. Read: Vanity Fair
The New York Times asks why 20 years later Gilmore Girls endures. Or rather, the headline asks that question. The article itself just talks about the show. Which is fine. Read: NYT
In the US Comcast charge subscribers $16.20 a month to access over the air television. And then there’s cable box rentals for $7.50 per month. Outrageous. FYI - the cost to access OTA television was just $1.50 in 2014. Read: The Streamable
A Finding Forrester TV series is in development for NBC. Read: Variety
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