As far as ABW editor Dan Barrett is concerned, today marks THE television event of 2021: the debut of a new TV series co-starring Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez. Only Murders in The Building is about three true crime podcast enthusiasts who start their own podcast following a murder in their building. The podcast focuses on uber-local true crime murders (ie murders in their building). Hilarity is sure to follow.
While the series is one Amigo short of casting perfection, it is exciting to have a series starring Martin & Short together - what an absolute gift for people who aren't completely dead inside. It's also worth noting that the show is a bit of a coming out event for Disney+ streamer Star.
While Only Murders in The Building debuts on Hulu in the US today, the show will be available internationally via Star (a channel within Disney+). As more new Hulu originals debut, we can expect to see Disney+ become a much more important destination for grown-up shows. Over the weekend, we also saw the Hulu original comedy film Vacation Friends (starring John Cena, Lil Rey Howery, and Meredith Hagner) debut on Star.
Reviews for Only Murders in The Building have been mostly strong. Mike Hale from the New York Times was especially keen on Martin Short's performance (despite a favorable review that was a few steps shy of glowing):
But it is Short, his frequent collaborator, who gives the show some comic spark and humanity, making Martin and Gomez his foils, in the most charming way possible. He steals every scene, not through grandstanding but with the steady skill of an old pro. He slays with filler dialogue (“You’re kidding me!” when his character isn’t allowed to return to his apartment) and throwaway gags (“Oh, you’re not Scott Bakula?” aimed at the always graciously self-deprecating Martin). You wish he were onscreen every moment.
While the aforementioned Dan Barrett hasn't yet seen the show, he will be eagerly glued to his screen later today when the show debuts. Expect a review of it on this week's Screen Watching podcast.
The Rocketeer to return - with a twist
Beloved 90s family film The Rocketeer was never quite successful enough to see a sequel to the original film, but with its reputation building over the years and Disney's investment in superheroes with Marvel, talk of using the character has only amplified.
Today there's word that Disney is reviving the idea of it for The Return of The Rocketeer. That name is a misnomer, however, with the new film set to focus on an entirely different guy wearing the rockets. The film is set to be produced by David Oyelowo and Jessica Oyelowo and written by Ed Ricourt. No word on a star yet, but it's possible David Oyelowo may do it.
The Return of the Rocketeer will have an all-new creative directive with Ricourt’s story focusing on a retired Tuskegee airman who takes up the mantle of the Rocketeer.
- Jungle Cruise, released in cinemas and via Disney+'s Premier Access, has done well enough to warrant a sequel. Emily Blunt and Young Rock inspiration Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson will return. Read: The Wrap
- Carole Baskin has sold Joe Exotic's zoo. A sale condition is that the property cannot be used for a zoo or have any connection to 'Tiger King'. Read: ScreenCrush
- The Tom Swift spin-off from CW series Nancy Drew has been given a greenlight. Read: TV Line
- Emily VanCamp is leaving her series The Resident after four seasons. One cannot help but wonder if her exit is related at all to the large spotlight placed on her MCU character in the recent Falcon & The Winter Soldier series. One assumes that was set to lead to much more MCU work in the future. Read: Variety
- Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson will star in Ghosted, a film for Apple TV+. The film will be directed by former Press Gang star Dexter Fletcher and is said to resemble films like Romancing The Stone. Yes, please. Read: Dark Horizons
- Also landing at Apple TV+ is Raymond and Ray, a film starring Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke as two brothers living in the shadow of a terrible father. Read: thefutoncritic
- ByteDance (owner of TikTok) has purchased VR headset startup Pico. Read: CNBC
- The Aussie Love Island is moving shooting location from QLD to northern NSW (starring recently as California in Nine Perfect Strangers). The production was unable to easily get cast and crew over the border due to QLD's border lockdown. Read: TV Tonight
- Kyle Chandler will star in the new Taylor Sheridan series opposite Jeremy Renner. Mayor of Kingstown is already in production and will debut in November on Paramount+. It is a fact that no TV series or movie has ever been made worse for having Kyle Chandler in it. Read: Deadline
The Problem with Jon Stewart debuts on Apple TV+ Sept 30.
CSI: Vegas debuts Oct 6 on CBS.
Todd Haynes documentary The Velvet Underground debuts on Apple TV+ on Oct 15. I. Cannot. Wait.
Fires debuts Sept 26 on ABC TV/ABC iView.
The Guilty, starring Jake Gyllenhaal debuts on Netflix Oct 1. The film was written by True Detective writer Nic Pizzolatto and directed by Antoine Fuqua.
What's next? Tomorrow.