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 Netflix secret sauce! PLUS: RIP Big Brother house! And Apple TV changes.
Always Be Watching is curated by Dan Barrett who has a case of the Mondays.
One of the best new shows of 2019 has been the BBC drama Years and Years, which makes its US debut this week in the US. Still waiting on an Australian network/release date tho.
Sophie Gilbert at The Atlantic has taken a look. She’s quickly becoming my favourite writer on television and this is an on-point look at the show.
If you’re not across the show yet, take a read of Gilbert’s article. It steers clear of any of the big surprises/spoilers in the show.
Davies interweaves the story of the Lyonses with the political ascendance of a populist leader named Vivienne Rook, played with grim Mancunian relish by Emma Thompson. Though she only directly interacts with the family members a handful of times, Rook (or “Viv,” as she quickly becomes known around the U.K.) is part and parcel of their lives, a symptom and a stoker of discontent across the country. In the first episode, Rook, an entrepreneur, is appearing on a BBC politics show when she launches into a profane tirade about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict overriding issues she insists matter more to British people: parking, litter, trash collection. The audience is electrified. The Lyonses frantically text one another their thoughts while Rook trends nationwide. At the end of her rant, she looks at the camera with a glint in her eye, and says, “I have got you listening now, haven’t I?” Soon enough, she’s running for office.
Breaking: The New York Times has done an expose on teenagers and has concluded that they are not as wild as seen on new HBO drama Euphoria.
The percentage of high school juniors who have ever had sexual intercourse has declined to 42 percent from 62 percent since 1991, according to a national survey of teenagers conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the number having sex with multiple partners has fallen: Fewer than 11 percent of high school juniors have had four or more partners, down from 22 percent in 1991. More teenagers who are having sex are using contraception. And the rates of teenage birth have fallen by more than half.
Following a recent near-miss, the Australian Big Brotherhouse has been Final Destinationed and has been destroyed. Engulfed in a fire set by young teens, the ground zero of Australia’s brief fascination with the bum dance has been destroyed.
As a kid watching Scooby Doo team-up with all sorts of celebrities, I was often confused as to who some of them were. Don Rickles?
It begins anew for a whole new generation of kids.
Urkel appears on Scooby Doo Movies, with the episode debuting this week.
If you're interested in screenwriting and/or Star Trek, this unpublished book by the late Michael Piller is worth a read. It chronicles the writing of the kind-of-okay 9th Star Trek movie Star Trek: Insurrection.
You think of Netflix as a data driven company? Not so says Ted Sarandos who says it is more human-driven than people think.
“The data doesn’t help you on anything in that process. It does help you size the investment. … Sometimes we’re wrong on both ends of that, even with this great data. I really think it’s 70, 80% art and 20, 30% science.”
So, the data is just about how much to pay Adam Sandler? Gotcha.
Toy Story 4 opened over the weekend to a mere $118 million at the US box office. This was below the projected $140 million. Is it possible that expectations for theatrical releases need to be adjusted? Much like how broadcast TV networks in their decline have changed TV ratings measurement.
More recently, last year Pixar’s “Incredibles 2” opened to $182 million. Yes, it had the benefit of Father’s Day to boost it, but how much additional revenue did that provide? “Incredibles 2” also faced competition from a very strong second weekend of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom;” there was nothing remotely as competitive for “Toy Story 4.” It’s clear something has changed.
I’m a Saturday morning movie warrior. I will always check to see what is playing and make an effort to get along to the cinemas to see something. But, I’ll be honest - it’s been weeks since I have made that effort because everything just looks tremendously unappealing. I’m not saying that cinemas need to cater to my taste, but I look at the lapsed box office of late and I consider how disinterested I’ve been in most big Hollywood tent poles and there’s likely a correlation.
This weekend I stayed in and had a great time with the film Under The Silver Lake, which has had an incredibly small theatrical window with the distributor (A24) leaning on it as a VOD release).
The Apple TV is soon expected to have picture-in-picture. Which makes sense for the launch soon of Apple Channels, which will enable users to subscribe to 3rd party streaming services such as linear TV channels - PiP is perfect for waiting for sporting events to start, monitoring news channels, etc.
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.