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.
What does Stephen King think about the many terrible Stephen King shows & movies?
ALSO: Trailers for Walker: Texas Ranger and Bridgerton. AND: The honesty of horny Colonel Sanders
There’s a whole lot of interesting news and features floating around the Internet today. But if you’re short on time - I’d recommend scrolling to the end of the newsletter and take a few minutes to check out some of the new trailers released today. There’s two huge titles - Bridgerton and also the first trailer for the reboot of Walker: Texas Ranger.
I don’t know how much interest *I* have in watching Walker: Texas Ranger 2020 week-to-week, but I do enjoy slowing down to look at car accidents.
Anyway - on with today’s newsletter:
The King speaks
In an interview with The New York Times, Stephen King offers his thoughts on the various TV adaptations of his work. This is in the lead-up to the debut of the CBS All Access series The Stand. And in typical King fashion - he’s pretty honest.
Here he is on Under The Dome:
“The first few episodes were great,” King said. “But the thing was, what CBS wanted was basically meatloaf — nothing too challenging, something to just fill some hours.”
As the series progressed, “it went off the rails,” he said, and ultimately “descended into complete mediocrity.” Not that he was particularly troubled by it.
“It was a sad thing, but it didn’t bother me,” King said. “I stopped watching after a while because I just didn’t give a [expletive].”
Over the weekend the US Lifetime network aired its KFC ‘Mini Movie’ starring Mario Lopez as its horny Colonel Sanders. You can watch the full 16 minute production of A Recipe For Seduction here:
Megan Garber at The Atlantic has a really smart article about it and marvels at how refreshing it was to see the advertisement just blatantly own what it is and not to over-complicate it with an abstract marketing campaign driving interest in the ad.
It’s so tiring that when random hunks of metal start popping up around the globe, it becomes easier to joke about them being the detritus of extraterrestrials than to admit what they very probably are: publicity stunts incarnate—objects made to sell more objects—orchestrated by unknown agents. The bar in all this is very low, I know. An ad is an ad. KFC is KFC. But there’s honesty, in the end, in a work of advertising that is so open about its ends.
What is the future of CNN and MSNBC in a world without Donald Trump as the President? Ratings have been better than ever since the election with tension about Trump trying to gin up support to steal back the Presidency.
With Mr. Trump so central to MSNBC’s ratings surge, some producers see a slide coming. Others at the network say that Trumpism — with its attendant partisanship and politicization of society — will persist, keeping viewers locked in even after Mr. Trump is no longer in the White House. For now, Mr. Conde is focused on finding ways to introduce MSNBC viewers to news programming on NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock, and network-branded podcasts.
Alicia Vikander will star in a TV series based on the film Irma Vep. Read: thefutoncritic
Boots Riley (Sorry To Bother You) has a new TV show that has been picked up by Amazon Prime Video. I’m a Virgo is a coming of age story about a 13-foot-tall Black man (Jharrel Jerome) who lives in Oakland, CA. Read: Variety
PornHub has deleted almost 2/3 of its videos from the platform. Read: Uproxx
There’s a tension within Apple TV+ - It has creative freedom except when shows and movies encroach on areas that make Apple uneasy. Ben Smith at the New York Times has a great deep dive on it. Read: NYT
The AV Club has its list of the Top 25 shows of 2020. If you know The AV Club, everything you expect to see on the list is there. Read: The AV Club
Polygon has listed its Top 20 games of 2020. I’m a casual gamer at best, but there’s a few titles in the list that caught my attention - Kentucky Route Zero and Wide Ocean, Big Jacket are now must-buys for me. Read: Polygon
Uh - why does Mando have a moustache? Read: ScreenCrush
Hulu has cancelled Helstrom - that was the final live-action Marvel series produced by Marvel Television. From now on the Marvel shows are all being produced by the film division. Read: Deadline
Bridgerton is the hugely anticipated first series from Shonda Rhimes (Greys Anatomy, Scandal) for Netflix. It debuts December 25 and based off this trailer - expect this to be huge.
Walker: Texas Ranger is back and now the franchise is all #TeamDean. It debuts on The CW on Jan 21.
Outside The Wire debuts on Netflix Jan 15.
Danish drama Equinox debuts on Netflix 30 December. It looks really good.
In 1999, 21 high school graduates vanish without a trace. Twenty years later, Astrid discovers the unsettling truth behind the disappearance of her sister Ida and her classmates.
Resident Alien debuts on Syfy Jan 27. It stars Alan Tudyk (Firefly) as “Harry,” an extraterrestrial that crash lands on Earth and passes himself off as a small-town (human) doctor.
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