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 TV for the selfie-generation! Also: Game. Of. Thrones.
Always Be Watching is curated by Dan Barrett who is best displayed on a plasma.
We start today’s newsletter in the only place one really can: with Game of Thrones.
I wasn’t wild about this week’s highly touted episode with its hour and a half-long battle sequence. Technically, it was fine (if a little too CG-looking for my taste), and I was okay with the dark lighting on it (street lights in the area were limited). I was bothered by the storytelling - or particularly with one specific arc.
SPOILERS: For the length of the series, we have been following Arya on her journey from young girl to a woman who ranks as one of the world’s greatest assassins. As we see in the final moments of the episode, there was only ever one character who had the skill to get that close to the Night King and take him out. So, why was the episode structured to build towards a surprise build. Yes, we know Arya had the skills, but I don’t see the benefit of scene after scene of fan favourite characters being surrounded by zombie soldiers only to inexplicably escape each and every time when that time could have been spent showing Arya take this final step in her arc. This moment is what seasons of TV had been leading to - why not actually show us the apex of Arya’s hero journey? [END SPOILER]
But that was her plan? Sprint right at the Night King and hope for the best? I mean, I’m glad it worked out and all, but, to put it in Great British Bake Off terms, the whole thing seemed ... a little underbaked.
Jamie Poniewozik at New York Times had an issue with just how dark it was:
But here, the squint-to-see-them images were chaotic even when we were clearly meant to take in information: Who just died? Which dragon bit which?
“Game of Thrones” is a series that speaks visually as much as it does through dialogue. After last week’s outstanding “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” — almost entirely a series of conversations — “The Long Night” did its talking through image. Too often, what it had to say was mumblemurmurmumble.
Meanwhile Jennifer Vineyard at New York Times looks at the episode through the character of Melisandre:
It was really no surprise to see Melisandre (Carice van Houten) strolling up to the Battle of Winterfell in Sunday’s “Game of Thrones” episode, right before the fighting got started. This was, after all, the war she had been talking about since her first appearance — the conflict central to her entire belief system. There was no way she was going to sit this one out.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller are going to run the Marvel/Sony TV universe. Or, in other words: a whole bunch of Spider-Man-related TV shows. It’s part of a broader deal with Sony - they’ll be making more than just Spidey shows.
That said, I’m hoping this opens the door to a Spider-Man 2099 TV show. That would rule.
There was a strange publishing issue yesterday with the ABW newsletter. A small handful of subscribers received it. But, not everyone. I’m not entirely sure why.
It wasn’t a big day for stories. The most interesting story was regarding anti-vaxxers praising The Brady Bunch. Anyone curious about what went out yesterday can find it online HERE.
Director John Singleton has today been taken off life support following a recent stroke. While he has primarily been known as a film director, exploding into public consciousness with Boyz n the Hood, he has been spending time in TV directing episodes of American Crime Story, Empire, and Billions. Most recently he has been writing and directing on FX drama Snowfall.
I get annoyed by people complaining about the kids today filming videos in portrait mode on their phones rather than in landscape. What these people miss is that portrait is the native default for mobile. But, admittedly, when that video lands on other devices, it does make it look funny.
Well, worry about that no more with Samsung’s new screen - The Sero. It’s a portrait-shaped screen designed for displaying your mobile videos.
I don’t know how I feel about this at all. But, it should be noted that the portrait default position can be flipped for landscape display.
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