The Family Law, Episode 3: “Asians Gone Wild”

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Image courtesy of SBS

Anyone who has read anything about The Family Law in the leadup to its broadcast knows that it’s a comedy about divorce, and that gives the audience an advantage over the characters. This week Ben takes his family to see a counsellor, who decides that Danny should take the children on Saturdays – by himself. Jenny is immediately concerned because Danny has never been alone with the children, but she’s happy to have some time to herself. Ben is busy trying to get his parents back together, Danny is following the advice of the counsellor, and Jenny is worried about custody arrangements. At this point in time Jenny is the only character thinking about divorce, and no one else realises it’s that serious. The idea was planted in her head by the aunties, and the fact that the children had fun with Danny didn’t help. This review has spoilers for the second season of Awkward.

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Showtime Series Find Home Down Under at Australian Streaming Service Stan | Variety

Source: Showtime Series Find Home Down Under at Australian Streaming Service Stan | Variety

Streaming licencing in Australia is a strange thing. The week after Netflix stopped Australians from accessing their US site using VPN blockers, Stan has done a deal that makes their streaming service more attractive.The CBS corporation, which owns the US networks Showtime, CBS and the CW, has inked a deal with Stan that grants the service exclusive streaming rights for shows including Penny Dreadful and The Affair as well as shows that are already available on the service such as Dexter and Californication. Rather than doing deals over individual shows (Penny Dreadful and The Affair are currently available for streaming on Presto), corporations and studios are increasingly making blanket licensing deals with streaming services. In addition to the current Showtime catalogue, this deal gives Stan exclusive access to 2017’s Twin Peaks reboot, as well as CBS shows including Elementary and Reign from CBS and the CW respectively. Shows that are currently available on other streaming services will move over to Stan when their current licences expire.

For Australians who are now limited to the Netflix ANZ catalogue, this makes Stan a more attractive streaming service. Stan has been far more consistent when it comes to acquiring shows, as Netflix is now focusing on creating original content. Netflix is set to double its 2015 output of original programming in 2016, and in his interview with Alan Sepinwall of Hitfix, Netflix content director Ted Sarandos isn’t particularly concerned that networks are more reluctant to licence their contact to the streaming giant.

I mean that the full season stack is exclusively on Netflix and that’s what’s going to be the most attractive way to attract our licensing dollars.  And more and more, what people are excited about Netflix are the originals.  And I would never want to rush into things and take away the shows that people love.  But the viewing is shifting as aggressively as the spending is towards our original shows.

It’s a great interview, which I highly recommend for those of you who are interested in Netflix’s business model.

At present there’s no comprehensive list of every show that will become part of Stan’s library. Nevertheless, it’s another step forward for Stan in the battle of the streaming services in Australia.

Women and the #Hottest100 – it’s not just music

I started tweeting a lot about the Hottest 100 both last night and this afternoon, and it finally got to the point where I knew I should move my comments onto a platform that allows for more space (by the way, I am against Twitter increasing its current character limit. 140 is great). If you’re sick of reading thinkpieces about the Hottest 100, I’ll be okay if you leave. I have a complicated relationship with the Hottest 100 – I listen most years, but I think this is the first time I’ve voted since 2012 – and this year I found myself agonising over my Top 10. I’m posting an image of it, which is something I’ve never done in the past just so we can see how I voted. You can access a full list of the Countdown here.

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Chris Chibnall to replace Steven Moffat as Doctor Who showrunner

Yesterday WordPress sent me a notification to let me know that it’s been 2 years since I’d signed up, and what better way to celebrate than write a bit about Doctor Who? It helps that this news just broke, but anyway. Doctor Who was almost my favourite show between 2006 and 2009 – it was in pretty heavy competition with the original Spicks and Specks. When Russel T. Davies was head writer, the show was wildly inconsistent, but there were occasionnal gems from Steven Moffat, who became one of my faovurite writers when he wrote my favourite episode of the show, “Blink.” When it was announed that Moffat would take over as showrunner, I was happy. He’s a great writer! During Moffat’s tenure however, I slowly dropped Doctor Who from my viewing schedule, as did many of my friends who loved the show under Davies’ guidance.

Steven Moffat has considered leaving the show for a while, and until he decided to stay on for a bit longer, he considered leaving after the 2015 Christmas Special, which ended the saga of River Song, who we first met in the Moffat-penned “Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead” two-parter. River was Moffat’s creation, and while she was always more of a puzzle than an actual character, it made sense for Moffat to end her story at a point of his own choosing. Thus it’s not really a surprise that Moffat has chosen to move on from Doctor Who. Like Russel T. Davies before him, he’s having a farewell tour, as he writes the 2016 Christmas Special (the only episode that will air this year), and a final season next year.

I’m quite optimistic about the choice of Chris Chibnall to replace Moffat as showrunner. Chibnall has written for both Doctor Who and Torchwood as well as the wonderful Life on Mars, and is the creator of Broadchurch. He’s not perfect – he wrote the filler episode “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”, and Broadchurch should have stayed a miniseries – but I hope that this is a signal that Doctor Who will return to great character work. Broadchurch works best as a character and mood piece, and he also penned “The Power of Three,” a lovely story about Amy, Rory, The Doctor and Rory’s father Brian. It’s a good sign for the show, and I’m looking forward to seeing what it looks like in two years’ time.

The Family Law, Episode 2: “Tra-la-la-la-Law”

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Jenny: Even if it was 100%, that still doesn’t mean all the other days are suddenly okay.

I watched the first episode of The Family Law twice – once by myself and once with my family, and I did the same with the second episode. I know the jokes that are coming, but there’s something about anticipating them and seeing which jokes my family likes, which is usually something that comes out of Jenny’s mouth. The “Christmas Episode” (in quotation marks because it’s not an event episode/the last episode of the show before Christmas) of The Family Law uses some of the tropes of traditional Christmas and Thanksgiving episodes, like the person who cooks the turkey getting all stressed and trying to make everything pleasant, but instead of it being Jenny, it’s Ben. Jenny kicked his dad out a week ago, and the children all miss him. They don’t understand her actions because they really have no idea what state their parents’ marriage was in, and maybe everything will be okay if Christmas is perfect. Or not.

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Television Review: The Wizards of Aus

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Jack: I cannot articulate how much I regret this decision.

I was completely unaware of The Wizards of Aus until a week ago, when I first read a review in The Green Guide. By the time the Tuesday premiere rolled around, I’d heard enough on Twitter to check it out. I had no idea what The Wizards of Aus was about, I just assumed it was a children’s show, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. A creation of Michael Shanks, known for his work on YouTube (I’ve been out of the YouTube loop for so long, and to quote Jack, I cannot articulate how much I regret this decision), The Wizards of Aus was originally conceived of and filmed as a webseries with funding from Screen Australia before it was picked up by SBS 2, which is its perfect television home. With six episodes varying between 11 and 17 minutes in length, SBS 2 aired 2 episodes a night from Tuesday to Thursday at 8:30 pm, and all six episodes became available on SBS On Demand on Tuesday night:

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Television Review: Penny Dreadful, Season 1

Penny Dreadful is a show I had always planned to watch, but it was always on at the wrong time. Then when I borrowed Mad Max: Fury Road from a DVD Kiosk, Video Ezy started sending me promotional codes, and they had the first season of Penny Dreadful. You rent one disc at a time, and I had three promo codes, so I ended up not paying a thing to watch this show, which is pretty great. I’m not a huge fan of traditional horror, but I heard that there’s enough camp in Penny Dreadful that I thought I might enjoy it. It’s not the campiest thing I’ve ever seen, but it stands out amongst the paranormal fiction that’s grown in popularity in the wake of Twilight. It does this through story and character, rather than relying on plot twists, even though there were some moments that were genuinely shocking. There are spoilers for the season finale here, so proceed with caution. Continue reading