A Star Wars anniversary! Nerd babies blocked by Rotten Tomatoes over Capt Marvel! And Netflix bundles!

Always Be Watching is from Dan Barrett who is just getting started on True Detective.

With movies based on Breaking Bad and The Sopranos coming soon (and Deadwood. Let us not forget Deadwood), does this represent the conclusion of TV’s golden age?

Last month, upon the 20th anniversary of The Sopranos’ debut, I confessed that I felt nostalgic for a time when shows were “afforded the space to be important, to ‘hang out’ in my consciousness and make a lasting impression, without so much pressure to constantly move on to the next thing.” This “golden age” was as much about how TV was structured as it was the shows themselves. At the time, the post-Sopranos era felt like a break from what TV used to be in the 20th century, an explosion of the medium that resulted in richer, more novelistic storytelling. But in retrospect, that era seems more connected to the old days than it appeared to be at the time. Even if TV was “better” than it used to be, it was still experienced largely via over-the-air networks by an audience gathered in front of their sets at the same day and time every week, over the course of several months, which allowed for a certain kind of critical mass to be achieved.


It feels at times like there are two conversations taking place around big franchise movies - there’s obviously the SJW’s with their devilish attempt to address gender-imbalance in traditional Hollywood tentpoles by consciously casting more women in lead roles and people of different ethnicities, but then there are the online nerd men who have a big cry every-time this happens.

Now, I understand why some of the guys are feeling threatened by this - for a lot of men, they have crafted an identity around their inability to fit into mainstream culture (and a big part of that is difficulty engaging with the fairer sex), so have instead fully embraced the culture of video games/comics/big dumb movies.

Whenever a cultural identity is threatened, those affected tend to lash out. I get why this happens, but also, these guys need to pick their battles more wisely. What benefit comes out of attacking a Captain Marvel movie because it stars a woman? That stops being an issue of cultural identity being threatened and instead is outright misogyny.

Because of online coordinated campaigns to sink movies like Captain Marvel, Rotten Tomatoes has ditched its previous practice of allowing user reviews before a movie is released.


Another four episodes of Axios will air on HBO.


There’s two interesting conversations in this Harvard Business School article talking about Netflix bundling.

  1. As the article directly discusses, Netflix have re-engineered the Hollywood theatrical movie market by offering subscribers a bundle of all the movies they may have gone to see over a period of a few months. Instead of contributing to Hollywood, it is replacing the entire Hollywood experience for $15 a month.

  2. There are often industry commentators talking about the eventuality of being able to buy a cheaper bundle of streaming services together, replicating the cable model. This has never made a lot of sense to me, especially in Netflix’s case. Netflix is aiming to be a one-stop destination for your video needs. The idea of them already serving as a Hollywood replacement bundle talks to this as a reality.



I haven’t yet read this as I only just got started on season 3, but Alan Sepinwall at Rolling Stone has a piece about the redemption of True Detective this year.


And finally…

I want to hear about your favourite TV series of the year so far. Please reply back to this email and let me know what it was and one line about why.