It’s been a big week for me.
Yesterday I finished working at SBS, which was a pretty big deal for me. More than any other Australian TV network, SBS has shaped a lot of my cultural interests - mostly thanks to its commitment through the 90s of playing all sorts of cult movies and TV. This was the TV network that exposed me to MTV cartoons like Aeon Flux, Liquid Television, and The Maxx, in addition to all manner of wonderfully weird movies. Working there was a blast, but I had to make some dull, grown-up decisions and decided to take my day-to-day work elsewhere. I am, however, still planning to do some freelance work there and you will still hear me on the ORVILLELAND podcast for the rest of the season.
What does this mean for Always Be Watching?
Well, good things. The newsletter will continue on as it has been. Plus, it means I am now free to get a companion podcast up and running soon. I’m still figuring out exactly what shape and form that will take. But, stay tuned.
There’s not a massive volume of new things to watch this week, but all three things I have below are things I have been looking forward to for some time. High Flying Bird, particularly. A new Steven Soderbergh movie will always get my attention and I’m really interested in how he’s evolving his work in filming his movies via iPhone. There’s a good review here at Rolling Stone.
Vox, meanwhile, has a solid write-up of Pen15:
PEN15’s central joke is that Erskine and Konkle, both 31, are playing seventh-grade versions of themselves alongside actual teenage actors. The conceit is hilariously jarring. The humor of grown women masquerading as preteens while the actual preteens around them play it straight results in the physical silliness of Erskine and Konkle crushing on unattainable boys or facing the wrath of mean girls.
NEW TO WATCH THIS WEEK
High Flying Bird - Netflix (US)
A sports agent pitches a controversial business opportunity to a rookie basketball player during a lockout.
American Soul - BET (US)
Inspired by the personal trials and professional successes of a young, ambitious and troubled impresario, Don Cornelius, this is an unflinching look at the entrepreneur, his Soul Train dancers, crew and musicians in an unforgiving Hollywood in the 1970's. How they work, play, rise and fall against the backdrop of Soul Train - "the hippest trip in America" and one of the most predominant television shows responsible for the way African-American culture was perceived by the world.
[WATCH NOW - BET]
Pen15 - Hulu (US)
PEN15 is middle school as it really happened. Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle star in this adult comedy, playing versions of themselves as thirteen-year-old outcasts in the year 2000, surrounded by actual thirteen-year-olds, where the best day of your life can turn into your worst with the stroke of a gel pen.