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 Shazam TV show! The presumed dead Mouseketeer! How to watch movies in Japan!
Always Be Watching is curated by Dan Barrett who received this newsletter thanks to a kindly wizard.
With the new DC superhero film Shazam out now, it was timely for The AV Club to look back at the 70s live-action Shazam! TV show.
Shazam! ran from 1974 to 1977, and, this being the ’70s, most episodes had a distinct ABC Afterschool Special vibe.Anti-semitism, drugs, a high school girl trying to get on the boy’s varsity team: This Shazam! favored the domestic issues of the day instead of epic showdowns between good and evil.
Today’s ABW newsletter is coming to you from the current home office in Osaka, Japan where the new Shazam film doesn’t open until April 19. It’s not that I’m a huge fan of Shazam, but I’m keen to give it a look and it annoys me a little bit that I need to wait a bit. As I discovered, movie releases in Japan are often delayed significantly with a lot of movies never seeing theatrical release here. For example, Shaun of The Dead never saw a release in Japan… until this past week.
I was keen to see what the cinema experience was like in Japan. It was interesting in that it is very similar to most Western cinemas, only with a couple of minor differences.
Audiences are reminded of cinema etiquette before every screening with a short video telling you to turn off your phone, not be loud, and not to kick seats.
Maybe the humour didn’t connect with the audience, but we were the only ones laughing. It is frowned upon to laugh too loud during a movie in Japan, but everyone was… silent.
Maybe we were boorish westerners in the cinema? Probably.
Plus Japan still run anti-piracy ads. And they’re hugely entertaining. I couldn’t find on YouTube the one I had seen, but it was very similar to this one:
In Osaka, Toho operate a cinema out of two buildings. Shaun of The Dead was screening in the less good of the two theatres (I suspect… the lobby was nicer in the first one I mistakenly went to). That also seems to be where the foreign language (ie English language) films are screened.
There was a quiet uproar from Netflix viewers who have discovered that Netflix are phasing out support for Apple’s AirPlay. The function allows users with an Apple TV to send a Netflix selection from their phone or tablet to an Apple TV connected TV set.
While there’s some conspiracy theory murmurings about Netflix wanting to hurt Apple for chasing streaming services, I think it’s worth taking Netflix at its word on this:
“We can’t distinguish which device is which, we can’t actually certify the devices... so we’ve had to just shut down support for it,” a Netflix spokesperson says.
What Netflix is talking about here is Apple’s recent announcement to open up AirPlay to third party companies. Users won’t need an Apple TV anymore, but rather can use any device that supports AirPlay.
For Netflix, this is actually a headache. Right now it can test Netflix apps on a very wide range of platforms, but unless they are able to keep tabs of every hardware device that can support AirPlay, it becomes unwieldy. Better to discontinue support than face a future of Netflix customers confused on problems they’re having with watching Netflix on devices that the company may not be able to troubleshoot.
This is grim. One of the original Disney Mouseketeers, Dennis Day, may have been the victim of foul play. The 76 year-old former child star was reported missing eight months ago. 2 months ago his car was found 200 miles from his home, in the possession of two people who claim Day let them borrow the car.
A body has just been found at Day’s home. It is yet to be identified.
Alan Partridge is returning to TV in And Did Those Feet, With Alan Partridge. This will have Steve Coogan’s character hosting a show about British history. The BBC show will start filming in May. I’m sure it will be highly educational.