Netflix's new Charlie & The Chocolate Factory show, YouTube & Facebook's original series problems, and the death of The Walking Dead

ABW is another chapter in the Dan Barrett extended universe.

Get ready for the Roald Dahl / Netflix expanded universe of shows that will teach an entirely new generation of kids that there is actually a name ‘Roald’. Dahl books that are set for Netflix adaptations in this new, overlapping universe:

Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryMatildaThe BFGThe TwitsCharlie and the Great Glass ElevatorGeorge’s Marvellous MedicineBoy – Tales of ChildhoodGoing SoloThe Enormous CrocodileThe Giraffe and the Pelly and MeHenry SugarBilly and the MinpinsThe Magic FingerEsio TrotDirty Beasts and Rhyme Stew.

As long as they don’t do Danny, Champion of The World, I will be more than okay with it. The title of that book haunts me to this day.

Here’s the teaser trailer:


And now, from the dark dreams of Roald Dahl to the dark reality of today…

Streaming news service Fox Nation launches today, with executives suggesting it will be a mix of Netflix meets Facebook Live. ie shows on demand and cheap studio nonsense. Expect opinion, quiz shows, and a cooking show by Steve Doocey, as per the schedule announcement in Broadcasting & Cable.


If you have never watched a show on Facebook Watch, you aren’t alone. Facebook are now pivoting away from younger viewers who they believed were watching TV online and are instead focusing on older viewers with more traditional-feeling shows.

Another company said Facebook said it wanted shows for a broad audience, but not focused on anyone who was under the age of 20. Any teen shows need to have adult themes that could attract older viewers. Facebook was also asking for more formats that may be familiar to traditional TV viewers and middle America, like reality and talk shows.

Facebook has pared down the number of shows it is purchasing. The few it supports has more household appeal for post-college viewers. "Queen America" stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, while talk show "Red Table Talk" stars Jada Pinkett Smith. "The Real World," while still on air, has more of a nostalgia factor for Gen Xers.


Which brings us to YouTube. On the same day that it announces a new thriller series from the creators of everyone’s favourite peak-TV drama Sneaky Pete, The Hollywood Reporter breaks the news that YouTube is putting the brakes on commissioning new scripted drama as it re-evaluate it’s strategy. Word has it that executives are looking to break out its original series (such as Karate Kid spin-off Cobra Kai) from the YouTube Premium pay service and instead look to an ad-supported model. If that lifts viewership and starts bringing in revenue, expect to see original series back into production.


A whole lot of A24 movies are now available to stream via Kanopy. I actually checked out Kanopy a few days ago and it is very impressive. It is free for viewers - all that is needed to sign-up is a library card (and many libraries will let you sign-up online nowadays, which is what I did).


Like your local library, Always Be Watching each day is free to read. But, like your local library, it needs to be staffed (by me, the very handsome and nice-smelling Dan Barrett). It takes about 45-60 mins to put together each morning. And if you’d like to help support this endeavour, have you considered becoming a patron and chipping in a few bucks?

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The creator of Spongebob Squarepants, Stephen Hillenburg, has died at the age of 57. The cause of death was ALS.

“We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS,” Nickelodeon said in a statement. “He was a beloved friend and long-time creative partner to everyone at Nickelodeon, and our hearts go out to his entire family. Steve imbued ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ with a unique sense of humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere. His utterly original characters and the world of Bikini Bottom will long stand as a reminder of the value of optimism, friendship and the limitless power of imagination.”


I think a lot about those famed TV pilots that never made it to air. Shows like the Owen Wilson/Jack Black Million Dollar Man parody show Heat Vision and Jack and the Adam West as a private detective show Lookwell. With known IP driving most TV show launches noawadays, it surprises me that TV networks haven’t gone back to some of these failed pilots which have decent name recognition to see if there is any life in them. The show that I think would be a great candidate for it is Global Frequency. Based on a Warren Ellis comic book, the pilot got a lot of support online from fans who really liked The Matrix. I thought the pilot was pretty lousy, but others loved it.


Sesame Street has partnered with a Warner Music imprint to again be publishing music for kids. The deal includes new music and library songs.

Sesame Street first began releasing albums in 1970, but it wasn’t until 1974 that the TV show launched its own independent label. While Sesame Street Records shuttered in 1984, the show continued to partner with labels to release an array of projects, including some with cheeky parody-titles like Sesame Road and Born to Add, which spoofed Abbey Road and Born to Run, respectively.


And finally…

Remember all that talk a few weeks ago about growing The Walking Dead universe into spin-off shows and movies (and theme parks and branded hotels and… and….)? AMC executives might need to recognise that interest in the series is dramatically fading away with ratings for its most recent midseason finale down a massive 35%. This show is sinking!