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 secret Sopranos sequel film starring James Gandolfini
Who knew that James Gandolfini filmed a sequel short film for The Sopranos? No, really. He did.
Today's Always Be Watching has two items in it that blew the hat I was wearing right off my head. The first is a really unexpected story about The Sopranos. The second is a trailer for a new Netflix series called Sweet Tooth.
Take a moment to watch that Sweet Tooth trailer. It really is something. The series is based on one of my all-time favourite comic series and is about a former hockey player who is tasked with saving a young child who is a human/deer hybrid to safety. It's a post-apocalypse story with strong echoes of The Road. The book is a thrilling and touching story about loss and hope. I'm thrilled to see it coming to TV in an adaptation that looks worthy.
The Sopranos sequel movie starring James Gandolfini
Did you ever see the short film follow-up to The Sopranos starring James Gandolfini and Edie Falco reprising their roles from the show? After the series ended, apparently Tony and Camilla Soprano entered witness relocation. I never saw it either. You know who did see it? LeBron James.
The produced short film was produced in a failed effort to convince LeBron James to sign with the New York Knicks.
Here's Edie Falco talking about it:
“We got those requests all the time back then and [James] Gandolfini, he did nothing,” Falco said in an interview for the podcast. “And somehow, he agreed to this thing, which I was shocked by. I thought it was a prank when someone said he’s going to do it…[and then] there he was, dressed as Tony. He must have been a bigger basketball fan than I realized.”
New: Mosquito Coast
Apple TV+ debuts new series The Mosquito Coast today. Based on the book and movie of the same name, the new take stars Justin Theroux in the lead role. His uncle Paul Theroux, wrote the book. Luther creator Neil Cross is responsible for the new series, which takes the show in a different direction to the book. Reviews have been mixed so far. Here's Mike Hale from the NYT:
The larger problem with this first season is that, despite its drumbeat of violent action and its continual tugging at the themes of family devotion versus parental secrecy, nothing really happens. In terms of story and character, we end up exactly where we started. There is a hint, though, that the Foxes might actually be on their way to the Mosquito Coast, which would at least constitute a reason for having kept the title.
Returning: The Girlfriend Experience
The Girlfriend Experience is back for a third season on May 2. After a knockout first season, followed by a humdrum second season, curiosity around the third season is pretty high. So far the reviews are good. Here's Ben Travers from Indiewire:
Data acquisition, accumulation, and analysis are massive fields, growing to digitize just about every facet of our lives, and Season 3 creator Anja Marquardt’s story posits one more: “What if desire could be quantified?”
Unlike “Black Mirror,” “Soulmates,” or other TV attempts to turn instinctual feelings into a salable algorithm, “The Girlfriend Experience” is working in R&D, not science fiction. (Or, it at least feels that way.) Season 3 isn’t about what happens when an app from the future picks your life partner. It’s about how that app could (or perhaps couldn’t) be built. Marquardt’s slick direction makes the thoughtful psychological studies she writes into one woman’s quest to define desire all the more intriguing — and the early results are as magnetic as they are mystifying.
That weasel Pete Campbell
Vincent Kartheiser played one of television's great characters, the weasel Pete Campbell, in Mad Men for seven seasons. He has just signed on as the villain The Scarecrow in the third season of HBO Max's Titans series (streaming in Australia on Netflix).
Titans is perfectly fine for what it is... but isn't Kartheiser better than this? His career post-Mad Men has been really uninspired. A run of episodes in the final season of under-watched Hulu comedy Casual, a supporting actor in the single-season dud Proven Innocent, guest appearances in shows like The Path, The OA, and Law & Order: SVU, and he did a season of international series Das Boot.
Throughout the run of Mad Men, Kartheiser showed his chops as a really great character actor - he isn't being used properly and TV is a worse place for it.