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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.
Wonder Woman 1984 and Mando update!
ALSO: Curb Your Enthusiasm production during COVID.
Starting the day on a positive note: I travelled to Brisbane for Christmas just days before the Queensland/New South Wales border was closed to anyone travelling from greater Sydney following the recent COVID outbreak. On Sunday afternoon we were informed that anyone who had been in Sydney since Dec 11 were required to get a COVID test. Sunday afternoon was spent queueing for 2.5 hours at the only testing facility open anywhere in Brisbane (seriously).
This morning I got my (as expected) negative test result notification. So, my holiday is back on. But… forced quarantine meant that my wife and I finished our re-watch of The Office by blitzing through what was almost the entirety of season 9. So, swings and roundabouts.
-Dan Barrett (ABW writing guy)
COVID Your Enthusiasm
Jeff Schaffer is the showrunner of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Dave. He has written a piece for The Hollywood Reporter about the challenges of getting both series into production during the era of COVID - including how to get Larry David back filming during the pandemic.
We started writing Curb before COVID, and then when COVID happened we had to change some things. We had to make the decision about what era we were writing — before, during or after COVID — and the real factor was when we would be premiering. We figured we would be coming out in the fall of 2021 and we didn’t want what we were writing in March of 2020 to be so timely that it would feel dated more than a year later. So we made the decision to set the new season in a post-COVID world. COVID definitely happened and we definitely talk about it, but we were assuming that Biden would win and that things would be better by the fall of 2021. COVID is in the rearview mirror, but it happened. And Larry [the character] has opinions on all of it. (Laughs.) I can’t tell you which characters got COVID, but I can definitely tell you that we do examine peoples’ behavior during the COVID era.
The AV Club reviews Bridgerton (which debuts on Netflix this Friday), seeking to overcome the Netflix Marketing Dept rules about what can and cannot be revealed in a review. Read: The AV Club
There’s a Walking Dead holiday special available to stream exclusively on AMC’s digital platforms. An official sign this franchise has jumped the zombie shark. Put a bullet in it, already. Source: ComicBook.com
48 showrunners reveal the shows that got them through 2020. Read: THR
Robyn Bahr mounts a defense of watching movies on the small screen. Read: THR
The billions in revenue on offer to record companies via social platforms like TikTok. Read: Bloomberg
Bob Newhart has a new old special
Bob Newhart is promoting the digital streaming release of his comedy show recorded for Showtime - Bob Newhart: Off The Record.
Well, what happened was they put out the album, and it went crazy far beyond anyone’s expectations. Certainly mine. [Laughs] What they did, because they were music people and not comedy people, the would hear a pause [in the delivery of the material], and they would say we can’t have that two seconds of silence there. So they took it out on the album. I was not in a position to say “call back the album that’s not the way I did it!” But It still worked. So years later Showtime gave me this opportunity to film the album and said do whatever you want to do. I always wanted to re-record the original material the way I had heard it as opposed to the way it wound up on the album. So this was it.
The film will debut in the US on HBO Max at 12pm ET / 9am PT on Dec 25.
The film has opened in China where it has underperformed. Currently international box office is at $38.5 million Source: THR
Wonder Woman 1984 is currently sitting at 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. Katie Rife at The AV Club has reviewed it, saying that it is light on action and it diminishes the titular hero with fewer action sequences forcing Gal Gadot into straight acting scenes (not exactly her strength as a performer).
That first adventure is one of only three major action sequences in a superhero film that’s surprisingly light on superheroics. The rest of Wonder Woman 1984 is largely comedic, reversing the roles Diana and Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) occupied in the first movie, as Steve reacts in wide-eyed wonder at the futuristic world of the ’80s. (How is he back, you ask? It’s so far-fetched it’s barely worth explaining.) Some of this is enjoyable, like a montage where Steve tries on a variety of oversized fashions before landing on a track suit and fanny pack. Some of it is annoyingly anachronistic, like the scene where he’s borderline terrified riding an escalator. (Escalators were invented in the 1890s.) All of it distracts from the overarching plot, which pits Diana against an unethical business tycoon named Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) who’s hijacked an ancient artifact that grants anyone who touches it their dearest wish.
The past and future of The Mandalorian
Jon Favreau has spoken up about the filming of THAT cameo at the end of s2 of The Mandalorian.
“It was very tricky because it’s very hard to keep a secret nowadays, especially with ‘Star Wars’ because people are so curious about it,” the director said. “And there are so many people involved with the process with visual effects finishing, making it, filming it, the studios everything. Every piece of casting leaked, and we were so scared right up until it aired that our surprise cameo was gonna leak too.”
Robert Rodriguez will join Dave Diloni and Jon Favreau as an Executive Producer on The Book of Boba Fett. The new series will debut in Dec 2021, with The Mandalorian season 3 debuting after that. What this means: No Mando in 2021. Source: Variety
The Beatles: Get Back is a new documentary by Peter Jackson. It’ll debut in August.
Charlie Brooker’s Death To 2020debuts on Netflix Dec 27.
The Serpent debuts on BBC1 on Jan 1, then at a later date on Netflix outside the UK.
The eight-part series is based on the true story of Charles Sobhraj, a man believed to be responsible for the deaths of up to twenty young Western travellers in the mid-1970s.
The White Tiger debuts on Netflix Jan 22.
The ambitious driver for a rich Indian family uses his wit and cunning to escape from poverty and become an entrepreneur.
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