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.
TV tells the story of 2 America's. One fake. The other too real.
ALSO: RIP Joe Ruby. AND: Kevin Meyer leaves TikTok
What a wild year for Kevin Meyer. He started out 2020 running Disney’s streaming services and saw himself as a contender for the CEO role. When he was passed over for that role, he chose to leave the company and become the CEO of TikTok as the Chinese-owned company sought to establish itself as a global entertainment provider. And then the US government (under Trump’s direction) forced owner ByteDance to sell the US arm of the company or else be banned.
Yesterday, Meyer announced that he was stepping down.
"In recent weeks, as the political environment has sharply changed, I have done significant reflection on what the corporate structural changes will require, and what it means for the global role I signed up for," Mr Mayer said in a letter to employees.
"Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company," Mr Mayer added.
One can’t help but wonder if Kevin Meyer might still be working at TikTok had its users not banded together to embarrass Trump at his Tulsa rally by reserving so many tickets that would go unused.
American TV was FASCINATING yesterday. On most channels the Republican National Convention was underway with the party of Trump trying to paint their picture of America. A country where Democrats are destroying democracy and where COVID-19 doesn’t exist.
But there was another story unfolding. A story not represented in the RNC speeches, pre-recorded on Monday.
Following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in the Wisconsin city Kenosha, protests were immediately staged. Noteworthy was a decision made by NBA team the Milwaukee Bucks who, in solidarity with protesters, opted not to go out and play against the Orlando Magic in their playoffs game. Other teams considered doing the same before the rest of Wednesday nights games were postponed. The NBA has also cancelled the Thursday night games with talks underway to reschedule all of these games to the weekend. This is all particularly impactful as the NBA is one of the few professional sports being televised due to COVID-19 restrictions. NBA players have been in a COVID bubble, isolated from everyone except their fellow players.
Following the Bucks decision not to play came this incredible TV moment from commentator (and former player) Kenny Smith:
Later that evening was a fascinating monologue from Late Show host Stephen Colbert. Last week The Late Show went live for the four nights of the DNC and were doing it again this week for the Republican conventions. Despite going live (at 11:35pm at night), Colbert announced that he hadn’t been watching the RNC that night.
“And I just want to say: I feel great about it….Why subject ourselves to their lies that stick to your soul like hot tar? Lies like: Donald Trump cares whether you live or die.”
Colbert went on to explain the contrast between what was being peddled by the RNC and the reality facing America that evening with COVID-19 deaths, “Rambo wannabes,” Hurricane Laura, the police shooting of Jacob Blake, and the NBA’s strike.
Ivanka Trump - now a TV show
HBO is developing a TV series based on the podcast Tabloid: The Making of Ivanka Trump. The show is a tabloid-y look at the Manhattan party scene from the 80s, 90s, and 00s and looks at Trump’s formative years. The show will be EP’d by podcast host Vanessa Grigoriadis alongside former HBO executive Nick Hall. Australian playwright Nakkiah Lui is also involved.
After more games than I can count and a whole bunch of movies, Resident Evil is now being adapted into a TV series for Netflix.
The official synopsis:
In the first timeline, 14-year-old sisters Jade and Billie Wesker are moved to New Raccoon City. A manufactured, corporate town, forced on them right as adolescence is in full swing. But the more time they spend there, the more they come to realize that the town is more than it seems and their father may be concealing dark secrets. Secrets that could destroy the world.
Cut to the second timeline, well over a decade into the future: there are less than fifteen million people left on Earth. And more than six billion monsters — people and animals infected with the T-virus. Jade, now thirty, struggles to survive in this New World, while the secrets from her past — about her sister, her father and herself — continue to haunt her.
The eight-episode series will be written by Andrew Dabb (Supernatural), directed by Bronwen Hughes (The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad), and produced by Constantin Film, the company behind the Resident Evil film franchise starring Milla Jovovich.
Law & Order: Organised Crime (with Christopher Meloni returning) has been delayed to 2021. Source: TV Guide
The team behind Westworld are working on a TV adaptation of Sphere for HBO. Source: Variety
The Grand Tour will continue with Clarkson, Hammond, and May still travelling the globe. Seems easy enough as they are all self-isolated in cars. Source: Radio Times
Netflix German drama Biohackers has been renewed for a second season. FYI, Dan reviews season one in this week’s Always Be Watching podcast. Source: Deadline
RIP Joe Ruby
Joe Ruby, one half of the legendary Ruby-Spears creative team with Ken Spears, died at the age of 87. It is not an exaggeration to suggest that if you ever watched cartoons through the 70s and 80s, Joe Ruby had a hand in almost all of them.
UK panel comedy show Taskmaster has a group of comedians issued challenges every episode. The comedian who uses the most creativity and lateral thinking to take on the challenge wins. It has been a TV show since 2015, but the show started as a live show at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival in 2010.
That show was one year ago (on 27 August 2010). This video recording captures that performance… the birth of Taskmaster:
Also 10 years ago…
Before Always Be Watching, I used to run a website & podcast called Televised Revolution. It ran for many years. Some good. The podcast started with my current Always Be Watching co-host Chris Yates, but after just a few months it transitioned to being a community radio show (Brisbane’s 4ZZZ) where it ran for a few years before transitioning into being a podcast again.
I was reminded yesterday by former co-host and general fancy boy around town Simon Band that it was the 10 year anniversary of that final radio show yesterday. I remember it being a fun recording with a large group of well-wishers joining us in and around the studio to farewell it.
[Pictured from L-R: Simon Band, Hannah Hillhouse, Spencer Howson, some guy, Natalie Bochenski (co-host of Raven On - a podcast that was once about Game of Thrones but is now about the James Bond movies), and Dennis Dugandzic.]
Movie The Babysitter: Killer Queen debuts on Netflix Sept 10.
It’s The Sims… but Star Wars. The Sims 4 Star Wars: Journey to Batuu will be out Sept 8.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga arrives Q2 in 2021 on all major video game systems.
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