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.
Wonder Woman goes to streaming
ALSO: Adam ruins the Obamas. AND: For All Mankind dates
Wonder Woman heads to HBO Max
Great Hera! It is as the God’s foretold. Or rather, it was speculated in the trade press last week.
In the US where the pandemic rages on, Wonder Woman 1984 will debut on Christmas day in both cinemas and streaming via HBO Max. It will only be available on HBO Max for a month, but included in the standard monthly price.
Internationally where HBO Max is still yet to roll out, the film will still be released in cinemas the week prior.
The release of the film via HBO Max solves two problems for WarnerMedia - delaying the film any longer would mean pushing the film into an already crowded 2021 schedule. (Ultimately, this isn’t a HUGE concern - WW84 would be one of the biggest titles of the year and would simply force other films to move). But it also gives HBO Max a huge title to drive some subscriptions over the holiday break.
Could WarnerMedia make more money with WW84 in cinemas if they just delayed the release? Certainly. But despite news of vaccines on the way, there’s still no guarantee that cinemas will be open anytime soon in key US markets (Los Angeles, New York). It’s entirely possible that it may be late 2021 before things are returning back to a state of near-normal.
This is, obviously, of huge benefit to HBO Max. Despite having a pretty incredible library of content, it has struggled for several key reasons to get much traction in the US - it hasn’t had availability on key platforms like Roku and Amazon Fire, and there hasn’t been a big name exclusive launch title. It had planned to launch big with a Friends reunion special, but the pandemic pushed that back into 2021. Wonder Woman will get subscribers at least sampling the streaming service.
Just an aside - if you’re curious about what is on HBO Max, this is a screenshot of what’s on the service’s home screen today:
Go deep inside the Star Wars Holiday Special
A Disturbance in The Force may be the most important/consequential documentary produced in our lifetime. Directed by Jeremy Coon (Napoleon Dynamite) and Steve Kozak, the documentary examines the making of the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special.
“Most attention on the ‘Holiday Special’ just focuses on how bad it is and doesn’t go deeper,” Coon told io9. “Our film is not going to be 90 minutes of dumping on it because no one wants to watch that. We’ve gone really deep in the research and, like an onion, there are a lot more layers as to how the ‘Special’ happened than you would expect.”
Free streaming service Tubi continues its global roll-out. I quite like the service - it’s filled with a lot of older archive shows and movies that aren’t available anywhere else. It’s the dumpster dive of streaming.
Here’s a panel for MIPCOM Online+ moderated by World Screen’s Anna Carugati. She speaks with Tubi’s Adam Lewinson about the FAST platform’s content strategy. Banijay Rights’ Matt Creasey details how the distributor works with Tubi, and Foxtel’s Mark Frain discusses their partnership in the Australian market.
For All Mankind sets return path
Space drama For All Mankind will return to Apple TV+ for season 2 on Feb 19, 2021. This show is one of those great TV gems that not enough people are watching. The show asks the question: What if the Russians beat the US to getting a man on the moon?
That simple change provides an alternate history with the cold war between the US and Russia focused heavily around the space race. The impact on American culture, technology, and social dynamics is significantly different.
It’s the height of the Cold War and tensions between the United States and the USSR are at their peak. Ronald Reagan is President and the greater ambitions of science and space exploration are at threat of being squandered as the US and Soviets go head to head to control sites rich in resources on the moon. The Department of Defense has moved into Mission Control, and the militarization of NASA becomes central to several characters' stories: some fight it, some use it as an opportunity to advance their own interests, and some find themselves at the height of a conflict that may lead to nuclear war.
Fresh from annoying you on television with a series based on the phrase: “Well, actually…”, truth-telling pedant Adam Conover from Adam Ruins Everything has a new series coming to Netflix. Produced by the Obama’s Higher Ground productions, Conover hosts The G Word with Adam Conover. It’s based on the book The Fifth Risk and will go into production in 2021.
The G Word with Adam Conover, which will go inside the machine of government and introduce viewers to the civil servants who make it work. It will ask whether government is a dirty word or a trusted institution.
A concerning story regarding the king of movie book novelizations Alan Dean Foster. Since Disney acquired Fox, he hasn’t been receiving royalty payments for his work. These are books based on the company’s most valuable IP: Star Wars, Alien, etc with some of his ideas (especially in the Star Wars novelizations) later reflected back in the movies. Be sure to take a read of this - it’s outrageous that it is happening. Read: SFWA
TV Line asks the question: “Is Saved By The Bell: The New Class canon?”. I ask: Who cares. No, really. Who on earth would even care? Read: TV Line
Project 007 is a new video game in development that will explore James Bonds origin. Read: Variety
The Underground Railroad is coming to Amazon Prime Video in 2021.
Godmothered debuts on Disney+ Dec 4.
Put Chico Bon Bon and the Very Berry Holiday at the top of your Netflix queue when it debuts on Dec 3.
Giving Voice debuts Dec 11 on Netflix.
Executive produced by Viola Davis and John Legend, "Giving Voice" follows students in the annual August Wilson Monologue Competition inspired by the late playwright.
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.