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 most-viewed on Netflix in 2019. PLUS: New take on The Good Fight. And: The best films of 2019.
Always Be Watching is written by Dan Barrett for the last time in 2019. Onwards to 2020....
The new season of The Good Fight (its fourth) will focus less on Trump and more on the effect that the Trump presidency has had on power systems, and societal values & guidelines.
As per series co-creator Robert King:
“If you can just tell the judge, ‘F–k you,’ and the judge can’t do anything to you because you’re too powerful or you can just not obey a subpoena because you don’t want to because you’re tired that day… it’s suddenly an interesting game. It’s not the game we all signed up for, but it is interesting and probably entertaining. So [Season 4] is about the kind of absurdity that comes when people don’t feel they need to obey the rules.”
Oh, and in a bit of news I missed entirely due to the Christmas break… The Good Wife character David Lee will be joining The Good Fight as a regular character in the fourth season.
It’s 2019 and the thing I find most surprising is that people are still playing The Sims. This is not a criticism.
After games publisher EA recently added a Baby Yoda statue to the game in December, Sims fans have been getting very creative about incorporating it into the world of their characters. Baby Yoda now features in multiple shrines, is attending dinner parties, and has been seen officiating weddings.
We’re about to see a massive split in the type of streaming services we subscribe to. There will be services on offer with legacy, established intellectual property, and then there will be services with no legacy IP at all. In the former camp is the Warner Bros streaming service HBO Max, Disney+, NBC’s Peacock, and in the other camp are services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
For Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, each service will need to train its viewers to be less focused on US content and instead consume content from around the world. Their point of difference will be as truly global TV networks. A big piece of that pie will require much a stronger presence in India.
In 2019 Netflix debuted 5 original series from India, while Amazon released 10 new original series.
It’s easy to see why Netflix and Amazon would want to expand their presence in India, and not just because it is home to 1.3 billion people. As in much of the viewing world, streaming has exploded in the country — at least 30 companies now offer video streaming services there, up from nine in 2012.
What sets the American streamers apart is a focus on original programming and an ability to market series for a global audience.
Hotstar, which controls an estimated 75 percent of India’s streaming market, carries critically acclaimed HBO shows like “Succession” and a Hindi version of “The Office” alongside plenty of existing programming from its parent company, Star India. (Like much of the entertainment world, Star is a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company.) Indian streamers that do carry originals, like Zee5 and Eros Now, have had trouble cracking international markets.
Completely unverified is this list of what Netflix says were its most-watched shows of 2019. You can find the US versions of this list at Indiewire. Because the Always Be Watching HQ is in Australia, I’ve published the Australian lists:
Top 10 Most Popular Releases of 2019 (Australia): Murder Mystery 6 Underground The Witcher Isn’t It Romantic Lunatics The Irishman Stranger Things 3 Extremely, Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile Triple Frontier Dead to Me
Top Ten Most Popular Series of 2019(Australia): The Witcher Lunatics Stranger Things 3 Dead to Me The Umbrella Academy Unbelievable Dirty John Sex Education Rick and Morty: S4 You: S2
Top Ten Most Popular Movies of 2019 (Australia): Murder Mystery 6 Underground Isn’t It Romantic The Irishman Extremely, Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile Triple Frontier Aquaman The Highwaymen The Perfect Date Falling Inn Love
Because the world needs more lists, I am ending the newsletter today with my top ten movies of 2019. I think this has been a fantastic year for movies with the ten films below all being films that I am already considering among my all-time favourites.
A few caveats - I don’t see everything, so there are a few films I haven’t seen that would have possibly made it on the list. The Farewell, The Two Popes, High Life, and Portrait of a Lady On Fire immediately come to mind. And then there’s a few films that simply haven’t seen release here in Australia yet - Uncut Gems and 1917 are films I am very keen to see.
Included in the list is Apocalypse Now: Final Cut. Like most of you reading this, I’ve seen Apocalypse Now quite a number of times. But the film has never been better than the current and final version of the film that Francis Ford Coppola released to cinemas this year. As this version of the film has not previously existed, I think it is reasonable to include it in my 2019 list.
10) Weathering With You 9) Ford v Ferrari 8) Ad Astra 7) Brittany Runs a Marathon 6) Midsommar: Director’s Cut 5) Under The Silver Lake 4) Apollo 11 3) Parasite 2) Apocalypse Now: Final Cut 1) Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
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