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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.
Warner Media unveils DC plan (kinda).
ALSO: Dan's Top 5 of 2020. AND: Much more.
Expect a lot more DC movies on your cinema screen
Big screen films will still factor into Warner Bros release strategy - it’s just that a lot of them will be DC superhero product. Starting 2022, you will see up to four big screen DC movies (that’s Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Nubia, and many more), along with an additional 2 superhero films made for HBO Max. The HBO Max productions will be focused on riskier, less known characters.
Some of these films will be part of a shared universe like the Marvel films, but expect a lot of them to exist outside of that, kind of like the Joker movie from last year.
Walter Hamada is President of DC Films within Warner Media and he has plans that involve cross-platform IP exploitation. He has been interviewed by the New York Times today and the roadmap for DC is getting clearer:
With every movie that we’re looking at now, we are thinking, ‘What’s the potential Max spinoff?
This is being facilitated by AT&T breaking down the silos between its various entertainment divisions.
“In the past, we were so secretive,” Mr. Hamada said. “It was shocking to me, for example, how few people at the company were actually allowed to read scripts for the movies we are making.”
What you probably won’t see as part of the strategy? More films from Zack Snyder.
At least for now, Mr. Snyder is not part of the new DC Films blueprint, with studio executives describing his HBO Max project as a storytelling cul-de-sac — a street that leads nowhere.
Soul more watched than Wonder Woman in the US?
Samba TV reports that 2.2 million US households watched Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max, while nearly 2.4 million US households streamed Pixar’s Soul on Disney+. These numbers are softer than the reality with Samba only measuring smart TV use and not connected devices (ie Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast). So the real viewership will be much higher.
Regardless, getting close within .2 million is a great result for HBO Max considering the significantly higher number of Disney+ subscribers. The numbers I want to see reported? HBO Max subscriber numbers over this Christmas holiday season and whether HBO Max can grow them into 2021 with its direct-to-streaming feature film strategy.
Make sure your front door is locked. Convict Lori Loughlin has been released from prison. Source: Deadline
Nintendo once turned down a collaboration with Kanye. Read: Complex
Want to know more about the Wonder Woman villain Cheetah? NYT has you covered. For some reason. Read: NYT
Feature films are being released to streaming. No problem - home theatres are being built into a lot of new houses. Read: Bloomberg
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom on Netflix, Hamilton on Disney+, What the Constitution Means to Me on Amazon, and David Byrne’s American Utopia on HBO Max. Noel Murray writes in defense of the filmed stage play. Read: Mel Magazine
What was the best film score of 2020?
Here’s a collection of some Best Of lists. Me? I just want to know what the best soundtrack is to type to. Radiohead’s Kid A is starting to get a bit worn after 20 years of continued listening while typing…
I’m not going to do a dedicated post with a top 10 2020 shows or anything like that this year. 2020 has been a strange year with so much comfort viewing: mixing a lot of older shows with new, while also watching a lot of TV for pure enjoyment rather than stimulation. The ‘Best’ TV simply isn’t the best TV to have watched this year.
So instead, I’ve created a very short list of five shows that gave me a lot of pleasure throughout the year. Are these actually my top shows of the year? Maybe. 🤷
The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
Twenty years ago The Queen’s Gambit would have just been a compelling feature film about a chess prodigy whose life goes a bit off the rails. It’s a struggle getting those sorts of films made now, so instead Scott Frank has written and directed that same story stretched out across seven episodes. I’d be happy to argue that The Queen’s Gambit would probably have worked great as a feature film. But also, at no point through the seven episodes did I feel that Scott Frank was treading water.
The Queen’s Gambit is absolutely what we want from a prestige series - a self-contained story with great performances, compelling characters, a smart script, and gorgeous visual design.
The Eddy (Netflix)
Set in a modern-day Paris nightclub, The Eddy was written by brit Jack Thorne, with the first episodes directed by Damien Chazelle. Like The Queen’s Gambit, an argument could be made that this would have been better served as a feature film, but there was considerable joy to be found while luxuriating in the world of The Eddy (as stressful and as painful as it could be at times).
The Eddy stars Andre Holland as Elliot Udo, a jazz performer of global fame (within jazz circles) who is now running a failing jazz club that is the target of local organised crime. His teenaged daughter comes to visit from the states as Udo’s business partner is murdered, an event that causes Udo’s personal relationships to crumble even further.
The Third Day (HBO)
Despite TV breaking free of the shackles of a broadcast schedule, it is rare to see TV break free of the format restrictions in ways other than occasionally offering different episode lengths.
The Third Day was hugely inventive - the first three episodes starred Jude Law as a man visiting an island near where his son had recently died under mysterious circumstances. The second three episodes replaced Law as the star of the series with Naomie Harris as a woman visiting the island. And in-between the two blocks of episodes: A livestreamed 12-hour live theatre event on Facebook which bridged the storyline together with a camera exploring the events on the island in a single recorded take.
The show was the brainchild of Punchdrunk, best known for the Sleep No More live theatre show.
The show was weird, bold, and highly immersive. It won’t be to everybody’s taste, but for fans of weird TV - it was THE event of 2020.
Don’t have 12 hours to watch the live theatre event? A truncated version of it is available to watch HERE.
Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
This year Larry David opened a spite store.
This is every Saturday morning cartoon show that we watched as children fully realised as a huge budget live-action TV show set in the Star Wars universe. Saturday morning cartoons were really there to sell more toys which viewers would then play with and create their own imaginary stories during playtime.
While we’re not playing with toys after every episode (well, not all of us), it is taking that same spirit of play and delivering it on screen. As kids we would take toys from different toy lines or even entirely different shows/movies and mix them together. The Mandalorian takes that same spirit as it pools from the extensive Star Wars iconography and mashes together characters/locations from across the Star Wars universe and media from the movies, cartoons, video games, novels, and comics.
Ultimately, it isn’t any more ambitious or original in its storytelling than Star Wars comics have been pumping out for decades now, but it has never been done as a TV show. If you’re on board with Star Wars, there is no other show that has been this much fun on a weekly basis.
The Netflix Afterparty starts on Jan 2.
Starting January 2, join the biggest stars on Netflix at the "The Netflix Afterparty," a weekly comedy show that dives deeper into your favorite shows with hosts David Spade, Fortune Feimster and London Hughes.
Season 2 of Blown Away debuts on Netflix on Jan 22.
A new batch of glass-blowing artists from around the world battle the heat, the clock and each other in 10 dynamic challenges.
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