Apple continues to make deals to provide content for its fledgling Apple TV+ streaming service. The Cupertino firm has signed an exclusive “first-look” deal with “Divorce” and “Catastrophe” creator Sharon Horgan.
Deadline reports the multi-year agreement covers all future projects that Horgan writes, and it follows the end of her deal with Amazon.
The deal was made by Apple’s U.K. television division, and the company’s director of worldwide video, Jay Hunt, will oversee the project. Hunt has worked with Horgan on previous projects, as he commissioned “Catastrophe” for Channel 4 in the UK and Amazon in the U.S.
If you haven’t yet watch “Catastrophe,” I highly recommend it. The series showcases Horgan as an Irish primary school teacher that has a fling with a U.S.-based advertising executive. Horgan’s character finds out she’s pregnant, and the couple gets married. Sophisticated comedy ensues.
Horgan also created the recently-ended HBO vehicle “Divorce.” The show starred Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church as a middle-aged divorcing couple.
Horgan’s current projects include “Shining Vale,” a half hour horror comedy and HBO Max show “Delilah.” She is also signed to appear in the upcoming Amazon TV project, “Game Night.”
Apple is reportedly in negotiations with MGM and the Pac-12 in an effort to get additional content for its Apple TV+ streaming service. It is looking to take advantage of MGM’s movie library, and to offer college sports events from teams in the Pac-12.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple executives met with MGM and Pac-12 Conference this year for preliminary discussions that have “yet to reach an advanced stage.”
If Apple could reach an agreement with the Pac-12, it would provide the fledgling streaming service with its first live sports content, offering it a leg up in competing with other streaming television services. An MGM deal would give Apple access to the movie studios massive catalog of content. However, it isn’t known if the discussions so far have involved original content, would be for existing content, or both.
If Apple pulls of a deal with either entity, or both, it will be the first time third-party content would appear on the Apple TV+ service, alongside Apple’s own original productions.
While much of Apple’s initial Apple TV+ content has been well received, and some shows have been nominated for awards, their limited content library has no hope of competing with the huge contant catalogs offered by competitors such as Netflix, Disney+, or others.
Christmas may only be one day, but somehow it manages to knock a couple of weeks out of the year. It’s no different with TMINE, either – just imagine our office party! – as we’ll be closing down on Friday until 6 January 2020.
Holidays are coming, as a certain yearly advert puts it.
That means this’ll be the last WHYBW of 2019 and indeed the decade for anyone who isn’t a great big pedant. Have I prepared anything special? Of course not. Don’t be ridiculous.
All I can say for my round-up of 2010-19 is that this decade, TMINE published more than 6,600 posts and more than 1,500 TV reviews, sometimes of multiple TV episodes, which is an awful lot of writing about and watching tele. I hope you’ve enjoyed it!
What’s coming this week
I’m going to push the boat out and say there might be an Orange Thursday, tomorrow, seeing as I’ve now watched both The Fear of God and Netflix’s new movie, 6 Underground. I’ll just need to write the reviews. However, that’s easier said than done, particularly given I’m seeing the new Star Wars in the evening. So we’ll see what transpires.
But after the jump, as promised, I’ll be taking a look at Apple TV+’s Truth Be Told, as well as the slightly unexpected Virgin River from Netflix.
Otherwise, the reviews will start again in the New Year.
With Christmas nearly here, most of the regular shows have scaled down, but after the jump, we’ll also be talking about the latest episodes of Evil, For All Mankind, The Mandalorian and Mr Robot, as well as the season and (probably) series finale of Watchmen.
Whenever the year starts nearing its end, people tend to get nostalgic over their experiences during the past 11 or so months – new jobs, places traveled to, finding their (hopefully) true love…
Well, we’ve recently been reminiscing over the best that the TV industry gave us in 2019 and I’ve gotta say, it’s overwhelming!
We were blessed with so many amazing shows over the year that it was almost impossible to narrow it down to the list we’ve got for you in this article. Given that, the shows we’ve included in this article of the biggest TV shows of 2019 were definitely some of the most talked-about this year.
With the multitude of shows out there this year, let us know what other shows you think should be included in the comments below! And let’s jump right into the list!
Stranger Things just keeps getting better and better. Season 3 was released this year and unfolded a brand-new chapter of the story that, to be honest, just left us with even more questions. Also, it was so refreshing to watch the gang’s character development this season – they’re definitely not kids anymore.
The teaser trailer for season 4 takes us out of the fiction town of Hawkins, and there’s just no telling what otherworldly situation Eleven, Mike, Will, Max, Lucas, Dustin, Steve, and everyone else’s favorite characters are going to be dealing with next.
Game of Thrones
Speaking of character development, Game of Thrones had an interesting take on that in their final season this year. With millions of fans waiting to find out who would take the Iron Throne, suffice to say there were a lot of mixed reactions after the series finale.
After years of building up Daenerys Targaryen as a badass breaker of chains and mother of dragons, people just weren’t expecting her to go mad like her father and then be killed by the man she loves. Sigh.
Still, there’s no denying that this show has been one of the most iconic ones of the decade and will definitely live on as a classic.
Despite only being released roughly a month ago with the launch of Disney+, The Mandalorian has become a huge internet sensation. It’s not just the die-hard fans of Star Wars that are talking about it either – it’s become a pop-culture meme, thanks to the appearance of “Baby Yoda”, as he’s been dubbed by social media.
Of course, The Mandalorian is only made even greater with the stellar cast of Pedro Pascal, Carl Weathers, Taika Waititi, and many other stars.
Nobody can resist a great superhero show, and Watchmen is just one of the few currently on the air (special shout-out to the amazing shows in the Arrowverse, from the DC Universe!). Thanks to HBO, this sequel to the original Marvel comic of the same name has graced our screens with the first season, and it was a pretty darn awesome one.
It builds on the foundations set in the comic but introduces us to a whole new slew of characters (mostly outside of those already introduced in the 2009 movie) that ultimately gives the series life of its own. Review site Rotten Tomatoes rates it at 96%, which is pretty impressive!
It’s rare for a non-English show to make tidal waves internationally, and that’s just a testament to how good Money Heist is. Particularly after it was released on Netflix. It follows the story of a group of robbers as they prepare for one of the biggest, multi-day heists on the Royal Mint of Spain and then, in the latest season that premiered this year, the Bank of Spain.
It has remained one of the most-watched series’ on Netflix, and the iconic red robbers’ costumes and Salvador Dali masks were a regular at costume parties, carnivals, and even media advertising. Talk about pop culture impact!
Part 4 is slated to premiere in April 2020.
According to a review by Alicia Lutes of IGN, Russian Doll “will easily stand as one of the best shows of the year”, and we are more than inclined to agree. We may have seen various iterations of the time loop trope in TV shows and movies, but none have done it so seamlessly – and outright hilariously – as Russian Doll.
With layers upon layers of an expanding storyline every time Nadia Vulvokov, the main character, dies at the end of the 36th birthday party, viewers will never get tired of watching her relive the same day over and over again as she tries to find her way out of the loop.
Created by Natasha Lyonne (who plays the lead role as well), Leslye Headland, and Amy Poehler, Russian Doll was nominated for four Emmy Awards and won the Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding New Program.
When Netflix released the first season of Mindhunter in 2017, the true crime genre had already started to gain traction. In fact, the genre was already getting pretty crowded. Yet, it still managed to make a name for itself with critical acclaim from a variety of review sites, even landing in Metacritic’s list of best shows of 2017.
Season 2 premiered this August, and we wouldn’t be surprised if it makes that list yet again. Building on the dark atmosphere that made its first season so captivating, it was once again a spine-tingling experience to watch such realistic portrayals of the world’s most notorious serial killers. And yet, we just couldn’t look away.
In the wake of the Me Too and Time’s Up movements against sexual abuse and harassment, it comes as no surprise that Unbelievable gained such a large audience viewership at 32 million viewers, despite it being just an 8-episode miniseries.
Unbelievable is a true-crime drama that focuses less on the perpetrator and instead, zeroes in on the experiences of the victim. Particularly one who was accused of lying about being raped. It evokes feelings of anger and sadness and is the jolt of reality we all need to realize that this is something that happens too often.
I still sometimes channel surf. Is that no longer a thing? That used to be how we found shows to watch. We’d settle on something after saying “100 channels and nothing to watch!” Now we say “1000 channels and nothing to watch” and go to Netflix.
But this night I stumbled upon an old episode of PERRY MASON on MeTV. By old I mean black-and-white from the late ‘50s/early ’60s. I always enjoyed Perry Mason when I came across it but never loved it like my parents and grandparents. If there was a Western on another channel I was gone. But it wasn’t written for me back then.
PERRY MASON was on the air well into the late ‘60s. In much the same way that NCIS and LAW & ORDER are sort of comfort food TV, PERRY MASON was a very popular show, regularly pulling in 30,000,000 viewers a week.
It was clearly formulaic. There would be a murder, Perry would defend the leading suspect, there were always four or five others who could have done it, and ultimately Perry corners the real killer into admitting the crime. How District Attorney Hamilton Berger kept his job I’ll never know because he always lost.
Raymond Burr played Perry and had all the things you need to be a TV star – very likable, good looks, and a giant head. The writing was pretty decent. Perry generally figured out who the killer was before you despite you being privy to the same clues.
The acting was generally terrible. Very melodramatic and overblown. Burr was the only actor who didn’t recreate the death scene from CAMILLE any time anybody was asked to state their name on the witness stand. But it was cheesy nostalgic fun.
And looking back, there are great cameos by actors who went on to become big stars and young directors like Arthur Hiller would cut their teeth megging episodes.
But the thing that struck me about the show, and why I ultimately think it became such a big hit for so many years was this – We as a country celebrated intelligence back then. Perry Mason won because he was SMART. He was smarter than anyone else. His super power was his brain. America, regardless of the State color, admired his ability to see through smokescreens and find the truth. The “comfort” comes from justice always winning out. We had faith in our institutions and those sworn to protect them.
So even though there are a thousand channels and another few thousand options on streaming sites, it was fun to watch a 60 year-old program and long for the days when justice and education were actually valued. And Angie Dickinson looked amazing in 1959. Source: kenlevine.blogspot.com
There’s a fascinating special on Netflix that’s called THE PUSH. Now be careful because there are two shows on Netflix called THE PUSH. The other has to do with a snowboarder or something. I watched the first five minutes of that and thought, “this can’t be about human manipulation.”
So turning to the other PUSH:
The mastermind is Derren Brown who is described as an English mentalist, illusionist, and author. Through the power of suggestion and our need to conform to society he gets unsuspecting people to do unimaginable things. In THE PUSH the goal is to get someone to push a person off a roof to their death – in other words, commit murder. And do this within one hour.
The ruse is very elaborate, requires lots of actors, ingenious pre-planning, and carefully orchestrated steps to mold the subject’s behavior and bring him to the brink where he would push someone off a roof. You say people can’t be that gullible but look at who’s president.
It’s almost like a sting-type movie or the brilliant British series, HUSTLE, about sophisticated con artists pulling off spectacular heists (like stealing the Crown Jewels).
THE PUSH is an amazing (and frightening) study of human behavior, but what struck me is this what comedy writers often do. When characters get out of their comfort zones and all reasonable options are cut off, they do crazy (and hopefully hilarious) things.
Comedy writers are sadists. We find a character’s weakness then put him a pressure situation and just keep tightening the vice. We heap on more and more things to keep him off-balanced. Two great examples of this are the movies THE OUT OF TOWNERS (the original version) and TRAINS, PLANES, AND AUTOMOBILES. Everything that can go wrong, SHOULD.
Farces are built on this. A character must lie to preserve some dire secret. But circumstances prevail that complicate the situation. So the lies increase, and the complications expand, the stakes get even higher, and characters wind up saying and doing things they never would, often with comic results.
THE PUSH is worth seeing for its psychology, and if you’re a writer, a great example of how to structure a comic story and work out your anger issues. Source: kenlevine.blogspot.com
Apple is today launching a new feature for Apple Card which allows cardholders to purchase a new iPhone then pay it back over 24 months with no interest. The company announced its plans for the program during its October earnings call, but now the program is actually opening up to all Apple Card customers. In addition, Apple is sweetening the deal for purchases made in December. Instead of the usual 3% back on Apple purchases, the company is offering 6% back on all Apple purchases made from December 10 through December 31, 2019.
This includes purchases made at Apple Stores, on Apple.com or through the Apple Store app.
Apple already offered customers a way to pay for their iPhone purchases interest-free through its existing iPhone Upgrade Program. That program required a 24-month installment loan from Citizens One, but could still charge other fees — like those on late payments, for example.
The new iPhone installment program is a first-party offering with all the advantages that entails, including the 3% or 6% back — depending on when the purchase is made — as well as the ability to manage payments directly within the Apple Wallet app on the iPhone.
Apple says the monthly installment payments will be automatically added to the cardholder’s minimum payment, so customers only have one payment to make per month. The percentage back is added to users’ Apple Cash, and this can then be put toward the payment or spent through Apple Pay.
The iPhone installment program lays the groundwork for what could grow to become a larger subscription offering in the future. At a later date, Apple could choose to layer in its other subscriptions along with the iPhone purchase to create a bundle of some sort. By doing so, customers could buy the iPhone and the services they wanted to go along with it — like iCloud, Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple News+ or Apple Arcade.
Already, the iPhone installment program will allow customers to bundle in AppleCare over the 24-month period.
Apple is also experimenting with other subscription bundles on a smaller scale, as it recently announced a bundle for students that offers both Apple Music and Apple TV+ for the price of a music subscription alone ($5/mo).
The installment program won’t replace the existing Apple Upgrade program, as that will remain available for non-Apple Card users. However, Apple Card owners will likely choose the first-party program the next time they want to upgrade for all its obvious advantages.
When Chris Williams founded entertainment platform Pocket.watch in 2017, he was certain that no one had yet found the right way to work with the generation of children’s talent finding its audience on platforms like YouTube.
Convinced that packaging creators under one umbrella and leveraging the expanding reach of even more media platforms could reshape the way children’s content was produced, the former Maker Studios and Disney executive launched his company to offer emerging social media talent more avenues to create entertainment that resonates with young audiences.
On the back of the breakout success of Ryan’s World, a YouTube channel which counted 33.6 billion views and more than 22 million subscribers as of early November, it appears that Williams was on the right track. As he looks out at the children’s media landscape today, Williams says he sees the same forces at work that compelled him to create the business in the first place. If anything, he says, the trends are only accelerating.
The first is the exodus of children from traditional linear viewing platforms to on-demand entertainment. The rise of subscription streaming services, including Disney+, HBO Max and Apple Plus — combined with the continued demand for new children’s programming on Netflix — is creating a bigger market for children’s programming.
“If you’re a subscription-based service, what kids’ content does for you is it prevents churn,” says Williams.
That’s drawing attention from new, ad-supported streaming providers like the Roku Channel, PlutoTV and SamsungTV Plus, which are also thirsty for children’s storytelling. Williams says he sees fertile ground for new programming among the ad-based, video-on-demand services. “Kids and family content tends to be the most highly engaging that creates consumption in homes. That creates a lot of opportunities for advertisers.”
The Roku Channel and Viacom’s PlutoTV service show that there’s still demand for ad-supported, on-demand alternatives that are more curated than just YouTube. It’s a potential opportunity for more startups, as well as an opportunity for studios looking to pitch their talent and programming.
“When we’ve launched a new 24-7 video channel and AVOD library and omni services… [we] know that content is surrounded by other premium content,” says Williams.
For all of the opportunities these new platforms bring, Williams says YouTube isn’t going anywhere as one of the dominant new forces in children’s entertainment, despite its many, many woes. In fact, one of Williams’ new initiatives at Pocket.watch is predicated on changes that YouTube is seemingly making in terms of the programming that it promotes with its algorithms.