Picard launches! ALSO: Jim Lehrer dead at 85. AND: James Corden fakes it in Carpool Karaoke

Always Be Watching is written by Dan Barrett who only fakes it when he wants to go to sleep.

US news anchor Jim Lehrer has died, aged 85. The PBS news host was seen for 36 years on the air and has hosted more US Presidential debates than any other newsperson.

His show, The Jim Lehrer News Hour (which continues still, now named PBS News Hour following his 2011 retirement), airs here in Australia on SBS every afternoon, which is where I became familiar with him on TV.

“I have an old-fashioned view that news is not a commodity,” Mr. Lehrer told The American Journalism Review in 2001. “News is information that’s required in a democratic society, and Thomas Jefferson said a democracy is dependent on an informed citizenry. That sounds corny, but I don’t care whether it sounds corny or not. It’s the truth.”

Source: NYT

Jim Lehrer in 2013. A fixture on public television for decades as an anchor, he also moderated a dozen presidential debates and wrote novels and plays.

Word has gotten out that James Corden isn’t necessarily even driving when doing Carpool Karaoke.

Imagine that… something on TV being fake. It really shakes your faith in the whole system.

You know who does actually do his driving though?

Image result for comedians in cars getting coffee

Polygon criticises the Apple TV+ show Little America for pandering too much to white audiences - making a show that seems almost like a PR exercise.

the notion of ‘the good immigrant,’ which maintains that immigrants and people of color deserve to be treated humanely because they’ve earned their humanity, not because they’re human.” There’s a similar undercurrent to Little America, in spite of the series’ good intentions. Almost all of its stories follow a rags-to-riches formula of hard work, and to some degree, conformity, being the path to triumph in America.

While I think the show is generally good, Karen Han does have a valid point here.

Read the full piece: Polygon

A woman carrying a basket on her head leads her son, who holds a stuffed bear, in Little America

Also over at Polygon today is a look back at the long history of licensed Star Trek comic books.

A massive figure, shirtless and wearing a turban with a curved saber on his belt, despite how he is floating in space, grabs the Enterprise in one hand on the cover of Star Trek #10, Gold Key (1971).

Source: Polygon

Of course, the reason they’re talking about Star Trek is because new Trek show Star Trek: Picard debuted yesterday in the US on CBS All Access and will be available globally via Amazon Prime Video from today.

Zack Handlen has this positive review of the show that is worth a read.

There’s a reassuring confidence to the way the story unfolds, regardless of how you feel about its pacing, and while some of that confidence comes from following familiar tropes, that’s not necessarily a flaw. You could say Picard plays it safe, doling out small servings of reassuring fan service and leaning on structures which have been old since before Patrick Stewart was young, but safety can be a good thing. And I’d argue that it’s not entirely safe. Because, again, Data is dead; and Picard is no longer in Starfleet; and he is old. He is lovely and warm and kind, and he is old.

Source: The AV Club

I’ve seen the first episode and I agree that it is rather good. I really appreciated that viewers don’t need to be overly versed in Star Trek knowledge. There’s a few reveals that will pay off if you know what you’re looking at, but otherwise I think they just come across as dramatic moments.

Largely, this is a character study that is focused on Jean Luc Picard - a former Starfleet Captain who is haunted by the decisions he made in his past and finds himself in the final act of his life unsure about what value he has anymore. This series is about him discovering purpose. It felt similar to the film Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Kahn, which had the still-active James Kirk also questioning his worth as he reaches the final stages of his career.

Alison Pill and Patrick Stewart in 'Star Trek: Picard'

The sequel everyone has been waiting for. To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You debuts on Netflix Feb 12. Rest up…. it’s not long now.

Also on Feb 12 is this Netflix film starring Anne Hathaway and Ben Affleck. The Last Thing He Wanted is about the Iran Contra Affair.

And finally…

There’s a new news channel launching soon. The Comcast owned NBC Sky World News channel is intended to compete with BBC World News and CNN International. The new channel will be based out of the UK and launch mid-year. Beyond that, details are light…

Source: Deadline

How long would it take to watch EVERYTHING on Netflix?

Always Be Watching is written by Dan Barrett who needs more minutes generally.

What does it mean to have watched a TV show? I say if you watch half of an episode and turned it off because you weren’t into it, you could probably say comfortably “I watched it… it wasn’t for me”. I don’t think you could say you watched half of a movie and still get away with saying that you had watched it.

But, what does Netflix say? Well, in the past they considered a view of a show or movie as watching 70% of it. As of their most recent earnings report, a viewer now only needs to have watched 2 minutes of it. And so Netflix can now report that viewership is way up at the same time that the streamer is facing increased pressure from the launch of Disney+, Apple TV+, and the soon-to-launch HBO Max & Peacock.

Under the new reporting system, Netflix can now say that 76 million people watched its new series The Witcher.

Also, you can probably say you’ve watched the entire Netflix catalogue in under a week if you just power through every title dedicating just 2 minutes to each.

But the new system inflates viewership data by as much as 35 percent, according to the company. Netflix said the new method was fair because it treated short and long pieces of content equally. The new count reveals a viewer’s “requests,” the company said, akin to the “most popular” section of a news site.

Netflix anticipates adding seven million total customers for the first three months of 2020, down from the 9.6 million it added in the same period last year.That has partly to do with the competitive landscape and a price increase Netflix instituted last year.

The company’s balance sheet is also improving. For the current year Netflix anticipates it will have to spend $2.5 billion more in cash than it takes in — a financial metric known as cash flow — which would be an improvement over last year, when it burned through more than $3 billion.

Source: NYT

Henry Cavill in a new Netflix series, “The Witcher.”

Patrick Stewart came to Whoopi Goldberg during an episode of her panel chat show The View with an offer she couldn’t refuse: An invitation onto season 2 of his Star Trek show Picard, reprising the role of Guinan (she was a recurring guest star during Star Trek: The Next Generation).

This weekend I have plans to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the release of the film Before Sunrise. I probably won’t walk around the streets of Vienna through the night, but I’ll for sure watch the film. And its sequel Before Sunset. And the third film Before Midnight.

And then I will read this FANTASTIC oral history of Before Sunrise.

Read it now: NYT

Delpy and Hawke in a scene from the film, which premiered at Sundance 25 years ago.

There is a remake in the works for UnREAL, the TV drama about the behind the scenes activity on a reality show. That’s the same show that everyone loved during the first season and quickly stopped watching in season 2. I’m told it got better.


This isn’t an English-language remake. No, this is being made in Brazil. And, I’d be very interested to see what this looks and feels like through a different cultural lens.

Source: Deadline

Star Wars: The Clone Wars returns in Feb on Disney+ for its final season. Great news for fans of the show and of Adult Yoda, who appears in the show.

And now for something completely different…

Terry Jones from Monty Python has died, aged 77.

The Monty Python alumnus Terry Jones. He jointly directed “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and was the sole director of “Monty Python’s Life of Brian.”

Source: NYT

The familiar new Pokemon film. ALSO: Altered Carbon returns. AND: Hello to Horse Girl.

Always Be Watching is cobbled together by Dan Barrett with little more than scotch tape and a dream.

Welcome to what we in the screen culture daily email game call a ‘slow news day’. I really think that term is going to take off…

Good news Pokemon fans, the new movie Pokemon: Mewtwo Strikes Back - Evolution is coming to Netflix on Feb 27. The feature film had been released in Japan last year. It is actually a CGI remake of Pokemon: The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back.

The more you know…

Feb 27 is also the return date for Altered Carbon, with its second season on Netflix

Horse Girl is a new film launching Feb 7 on Netflix.

It stars Alison Brie as a socially isolated arts and crafts store employee who finds herself more content in the company of horses and supernatural crime shows than people. And then she starts to have difficulty distinguishing her surreal dreams from reality.

So, ultimately it is the story of all of us.

The film will debut at Sundance ahead of its Netflix release.

The global Disney+ roll-out has its next launch in its sights. Europe (or more specifically: UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland) will launch March 24. That’s actually a week earlier than originally planned. The price will be £5.99/€6.99 per month, or £59.99/€69.99 for an annual subscription.

Source: Deadline

And finally…

The season 7 finale of Ray Donovan apparently ends on a cliffhanger. If you want to see it resolved, a write-in campaign may be needed. Or so says Mr Donovan himself, Liev Schreiber:

What an amazing journey it’s been. I’ve been reading your comments, and the outpouring of love and support for our cast and crew has been truly overwhelming. I know the big question on everyone’s mine is whether there will be a season 8. Truth is it’s in the networks hands. So if you want more, reach out to them at @showtime, @raydonovan, and @CBS and let them know how you feel. Either way it’s been an amazing ride and we have all of you to thank for it.
January 21, 2020

Netflix lands Ghibli. PLUS: A 'new' David Lynch film

Always Be Watching is put together by the barely together Dan Barrett

This was unexpected news: Netflix will be the streaming home of Studio Ghibli movies for the next few years (at least) across the world - except in the US, Canada and Japan. When HBO Max was unveiled mid to late last year, one of the announcements was that the new streaming service would have the Ghibli library, which is why it won’t be available on Netflix in North America.

Netflix are doing right by the catalogue and will offer the films in Japanese with subtitles. But the streamer will also offer newly-recorded dubs for up to twenty languages and offer subtitles in 28 languages.

The films are being released in batches:

Feb 1
Castle in the Sky (1986)
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
Only Yesterday (1991)
Porco Rosso (1992)
Ocean Waves (1993)
Tales from Earthsea (2006)

March 1
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
Princess Mononoke (1997)
My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)
Spirited Away (2001)
The Cat Returns (2002)
Arrietty (2010)
The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (2013)

April 1
Pom Poko (1994)
Whisper of the Heart (1995)
Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
Ponyo (2008)
From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)
The Wind Rises (2013)
When Marnie Was There (2014)

This is fantastic news for fans of Studio Ghibli’s works, but also for film fans generally.

Indulge me for a moment - I visited Japan early last year and visited a cafe that only sold baked goods modeled after My Neighbor Totoro.

A David Lynch short film What Did Jack Do? was released via Netflix last night. This was initially released in 2016 and played at several film festivals, but it is the first time the film has seen a wide release.

The film stars Lynch and involves him interrogating a monkey. You can watch it here.

Read more: Dark Horizons

Image result for what would jack do

Something very cool that I stumbled upon yesterday was an episode of the podcast Song Exploder that spoke with Patrick Carney and Ralph Carney about creating the theme song to Bojack Horseman.
Listen now: Song Exploder

The TV show Spencer: For Hire was based on a series of novels by Robert B Parker. After Parker died, author Ace Atkins took over writing the Spencer character. One of the books Atkins wrote, Wonderland, has now been adapted into a new Netflix movie Spencer: Confidential. Starring Mark Wahlberg, it is directed by Peter Berg and will be released on March 6.

A new head of Eurovision has been selected with Martin Österdahl appointed as Executive Supervisor.

Source: TV Tonight

And finally…

In big news…

BBC Director-General Tony Hall has announced that he’ll step down from the role this coming summer (the Australian winter).

Source: Radio Times

Disney stops Baby Yoda sales. ALSO: Amazing Stories is coming really soon.

Always Be Watching is curated by Dan Barrett too many days a week.

If, like me, you’ve spent all weekend knitting Baby Yoda’s for your Etsy store, know that Disney is coming after you. A number of Etsy sellers have found their Mando baby products have been delisted by the site. If you want to support these craftspeople, you’ll now have to search for “The Baby Child” and other similar names.

Source: The Verge

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is plotting her next TV series. She’s just signed a deal with Apple TV+, which will be where her next show will be. Her deal is for projects she will produce, but also for projects she wants to star in.

Source: Variety

Apple TV+ has unveiled its first UK commission withe the Rafe Spall/Imelda Staunton series Trying. It’ll debut May 1.

Source: Deadline


Also in Apple TV+ news, there is now a launch date for its Amazing Stories reboot: March 6. A trailer, one would assume, is coming soon.

Source: Deadline

Amazing Stories (Courtesy of Apple)

New Walking Dead spin-off The Walking Dead: World Beyond is not planned as an ongoing series. Instead, it will be a 20-episode show told over two seasons. This makes all the sense in the world to me - nobody needs every Walking Dead series to be a continued nihilistic story which reboots its interests every few seasons. Shorter run complete stories using The Walking Dead brand is actually kind-of appealing to this long-lapsed viewer.

Source: Uproxx

And finally…

We end today with this TV Line gallery listicle (sorry) of 30 TV shows that were cancelled which have since revealed what would have happened in subsequent seasons had they continued.

Now you can die knowing what would probably have happened in season 2 of The Mysteries of Laura.

Source: TV Line

Cancelled The Mysteries of Laura Spoilers

Loading more posts…