Always Be Watching - 24 September 2018
Always Be Watching is curated by Dan Barrett who spent his weekend watching The Bodyguard
A big day of TV today for anyone who has been watching the BBC series The Bodyguard, which has its series finale today. The show was a huge success in the UK, for very good reason. It’s a dramatically strong, entertaining drama that nicely mixes personal and political drama elements nicely. It ends with a 75 minute finale today, but vierers elsewhere will be able to watch the show on Netflix from late October.
Apple are launching a streaming service, but the difficulty for them will be in providing sophisticated dramas that can compete against those on HBO, Netflix, and Amazon. For those services, violence, sex, and other adult themes usually toned down on broadcast networks are a staple. For Apple, it needs to maintain a certain family wholesomeness to meet brand expectations. Disney will have this same problem. Word has it that Apple’s content is so toned down, staff internally have called it: “Expensive NBC”.
There was a minor controversy last week after DC Comics published a Batman comic in which you could see the dark knight himself full-frontally naked. In a piece that I wrote for SBS Life, I argue that it is actually important for viewers to see characters like Batman naked in non-sexual situations for reasons of body image. It starts with Batman, but it’s an issue for TV and film more broadly.
DC later censored Batman’s batarang. This is the censored artwork:
One of my GOAT shows is Aaron Sorkin’s first TV effort Sports Night. Over the weekend it marked 20 years since it debuted on TV. Vulture ranked every episode from its two-season run.
The former head of comedy for the BBC has written for Radio Times, with an essay criticising the lack of comedy on the BBC today. He may have a reasonable point.
A New York Times review for the new Magnum PI, which I am inexplicably excited about seeing this week.
Having spent much of this review looking back to the old “Magnum P.I.,” it’s time to acknowledge that the real reason there’s a new “Magnum” is most likely synergy (and shared production costs) with the rebooted “Hawaii Five-0.” A “Five-0” character, the medical examiner played by Kimee Balmilero, crosses over into the “Magnum” pilot, and there will be more. Under Mr. Lenkov’s supervision, the shows share a high-gloss, production-line finish and an emphasis on joking male faux-vulnerability. (Mr. Knighton, the most engaging performer, is playing a version of Scott Caan’s querulous sidekick from “Five-0.”) There’s no evidence, however, of the old “Magnum” twinkle.