Always Be Watching - 05 November 2018

ABW is written by Dan Barrett and is presented in its original aspect ratio.

Kelsey Grammer is keen on more Frasier, but unlike when he moved on from Cheers to his own series with the character, he wants to bring the Frasier cast with him.

Which is a shame. Frasier was good while it ran, but I’d much rather see Frasier again move on to an entirely new phase of his life. Cheers was a sitcom about a friendship circle, Frasier was a more direct look at family. Isn’t it time for Frasier to feature in a proper workplace comedy? I’d absolutely be there for a show about Frasier starting in a new job that he knows will be his last before retirement.


Did you know that Mario Mario, the star of Super Mario Bros was named after a real guy? Mario Segale rented space to Nintendo US when the company was developing Donkey Kong. Segale passed away this week, aged 84.


The dramatic increase in the number of TV shows and movies has been hugely beneficial for the tradespeople working behind the scenes on the many productions currently underway across the world. But, with that, there are a lot of new people with limited experience getting work. This has been a problem when it comes to the safety of people performing stunts on camera.

It’s the dark side of peak TV,

On sets from Atlanta to Vancouver to L.A., stunt workers have been getting injured in serious and seemingly preventable accidents. A month before Harris' accident, an up-and-coming, well-regarded stunt performer named John Bernecker, 33, died in a troubling fall while filming an episode of The Walking Dead in Georgia. It was the first stunt death since 2002. Bernecker's case is still being investigated as questions linger about whether proper precautions were taken. In August, stuntman Justin Sundquist on CBS' MacGyver suffered a head injury and fell into a coma. Sundquist, who also was injured in 2016 while working on CBS' Hawaii Five-0, has emerged but has yet to return to work and has not spoken publicly about the accident. That same month, stuntwoman Laurie Harper filed a lawsuit against Sony Pictures Entertainment and other producers of the 2017 comedy Rough Night, alleging negligence. 

Pictured above is Joi Harris, a stunt double for Zazie Beetz on Deadpool 2 who was killed filming her first-ever take, a motorcycle scene.


The longevity of 2 Broke Girls was always painful. It was a mediocre sitcom that was always kind of watchable, despite it not being very good. But, by staying on the air for six seasons, it meant Kat Dennings wasn’t able to do much else during that time. She’s a great talent, so it is of little surprise that she’s leading a new series for Hulu, Dollface:

The comedy follows a young woman who - after being dumped by her longtime boyfriend - must deal with her own imagination in order to literally and metaphorically re-enter the world of women, and rekindle the female friendships she left behind.

The premise leaves me pretty cold - comedies involving the lead characters imagination are almost always terrible. But, I have an open mind…


The True Detective season 3 trailer is here, hoping viewers are forgiving after season 2.


Every country outside the US has its own localised streaming services which will start to feel the squeeze when they start competing against multiple global brand-driven streaming services (When Disney and Apple add to the volume of content, it’s going to be hard to justify subscribing to smaller general entertainment streaming services which have less valuable IP).

What does a longterm future look like for these services? Australian streamer Stan is betting on being viable despite such weighty competition.

A scheme booklet distributed to Fairfax shareholders ahead of a vote on its historic merger with Nine later this month revealed Stan lost $47 million in fiscal 2018, after generating $97 million in revenue.

“We’ve increased investment over time, not because we needed the cash but because we made clear decisions to increase investment in long-term content deals,” Mr Sneesby told Fairfax media.

“The last quarter has been our strongest period of growth in the business,” he said. “Our decision to be burning cash is simply a decision about how fast we want to grow.”


Finally…

I made a huge mistake in the weekend Always Be Watching newsletter. In that edition I compile a list of all the new shows that debuted throughout the week in the US, UK, and Australia. It’s a way to stay on top of anything new and interesting you may want to spend part of your weekend sinking your teeth into.

Despite writing myself several notes, I forgot to include the new Amazon show Homecoming. The problem with not including it: the show is remarkable.

Homecoming is a mystery series built around corporate interests within the military industrial complex from Mr Robot creator Sam Esmail. And like Mr Robot, Esmail has brought to Homecoming a visual style that subverts expected film language and TV conventions, amplifying the unease and subjective truths experienced by the viewer.

Give it a look before anyone ruins it too much for you. Already, I’ve said too much.

Indiewire has a great interview with Esmail and star Julia Roberts about the shows visual style:

In the flash forwards to year 2022, the aspect ratio switches to 1:1 (2018 scenes are shot in widescreen). “There was something claustrophobic and limited about that box aspect ratio that I thought fit what she was going through in that 2022 storyline,” Esmail said.

“‘Sam and the Square,'” Roberts laughed. “That’s what I would call my short essay about making this series. Because at the camera test, Sam says, ‘Oh, Julia. Get over here, you’ve gotta see this. You’ve gotta see this.’ And I go over to the monitor — and I don’t go to the monitor very much. And I come over and there’s nothing on the monitor, so I’m kind of waiting, and he says ‘Isn’t it incredible?’ And I said … ‘Well, it’s a black square.’ I’m waiting for an image to appear. And he’s, ‘Isn’t it unreal? This is what we’re gonna use for… ‘”

Not quite getting it, Roberts said: “‘Okay, you stay over here. I’m gonna go sit behind that desk and do anything you tell me to do.'”

And if you have seen the show in full, know that the article does go on to explain THAT SHOT in episode 8.