Last weekend I attended Series Mania at ACMI, where I saw the first two episodes of Below the Surface, a Danish thriller from the people behind Borgen and The Killing. The entire series is about to premiere on SBS OnDemand as part of its Crime Time collection. A couple of notes: this is a brief review – I’ve only seen the first two episodes, and I don’t want to spoil anything, but I also don’t know if the show sticks the landing. The other is that I didn’t take note of the actors’ names, so I’ll be going by character names when I remember them. I didn’t take any notes until the Q&A with Kasper Barfoed after the show. On with the review!
Sophie Cadieux, who bears some resemblance to Elisabeth Moss in other stills
Thanks to the Emerging Writers Festival newsletter, I learned that ACMI is hosting Series Mania Melbourne | A Free Festival of New TV this weekend. It started today (Thursday), and ACMI is hosting a series of free screenings for upcoming shows, as well as a keynote talk with Vince Gilligan, which had sold out by the time I’d learned that the festival was even on.
A note about the screenings: You can make some educated guesses (and I have a bunch of press releases and a giant spreadsheet), but it’s not clear. Also before you get too excited, Get Krack!n by Kates McLennan and McCarthy of The Katering Show is also sold out. It will be on ABC later this year.
I’d never heard of Series Mania, but it’s a French festival that aims to be television’s answer to Cannes. It began in Paris, and is moving to Lille next year. Series Mania has been brought to Melbourne by Forum des Images, and is sponsored by ACMI and film Victoria, as reported by Variety. It’s the first time Series Mania has been to another country, and I hope it continues to both expand and return to Melbourne.
via What’s New In Streaming For The Next Seven Days — DeciderTV
Now that we’ve reached July, the streaming is slowing down a bit. Thank goodness. I finished Better Call Saul last weekend (it was really good!), and iZombie had its third season finale on Wednesday. There are a few shows starting up, but since it’s a long weekend in the United States, most ongoing shows are taking a week off, which provides some much needed catch-up time. (American Gods, GLOW, Kimmy Schmidt and Terrace House: Aloha State to name a few). I watched the first two episodes of Gypsy, which I didn’t mind, but based on very minimal chatter I’ve seen/heard around the internet, there are a lot of problems. Since there’s less TV, it also gives me a chance to write about films I like, and I’m looking forward to that. August is already shaping up to be quite busy – Netflix and Amazon both have some big titles dropping.
(Stan is dropping the 1990 film of The Handmaid’s Tale three days before SBS drops the series.)
via Why are Australians waiting for The Handmaid’s Tale? — DeciderTV
The Handmaid’s Tale is my most anticipated television show for 2017. I didn’t know it was going to be a show until January, but upon hearing the news I was thrilled. I did searches every few days to check if Australia had a distributor, and I participated in more than one Twitter discussion about its Australian home. There was a general agreement (as much as there can be on Twitter) that it should end up on Stan, which has built its brand on fast-tracking shows from the United States.
As the premiere date passed, there was still no news. Someone asked me if it could end up on Amazon, and I said maybe. Prime Video carries Hulu’s cult drama The Path, and they have worldwide distribution for American Gods. My next reply was something along the lines of “I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up on SBS,” which is exactly what happened. This was followed by the news that we would have to wait until July to watch any of it, which is when this piece started forming in my mind. SBS isn’t the only network that’s doing this sort of thing: Ten gets some attention in the piece, and Foxtel waited nearly three months to start airing the latest season of The Americans. It seemed things were going really well for a couple of years in terms of access, and they’ve dropped back now that the television landscape is becoming more crowded. There’s more competition in the marketplace, so television stations need to convince people that they’re worth watching. Making them wait a coupld of months for one of the year’s most highly anticipated shows isn’t the way to to do that.
via What’s New In Streaming for the Next 7 Days — DeciderTV
I’ve made some changes to the streaming guide! Stan has been fast-tracking shows from the U.S. for two years now, and Netflix is doing the same with CW shows and Designated Survivor. SBS OnDemand and iview have been doing this with specific shows for a while now, namely Orphan Black and Doctor Who. As streaming grows in Australia, I’ve added more columns to my spreadsheet, and the list of titles gets longer most weeks. I’ve added a section for shows with weekly episodes. Designated Survivor and Underground both return next Thursday (I wanted to watch them yesterday because I’m thinking a week ahead when I write the guides), and Foxtel Play has replaced Presto, which means there are weekly episodes of Big Little Lies and Girls, as well as Foxtel originals including the local Real Housewives franchise. Plus Angie Tribeca, iZombie and Better Call Saul are returning in March, all of which I’m looking forward to to various degrees.
I don’t highlight everything I want to – Designated Survivor is a show that’s more fun than it has any right to be, and Greenleaf is an import from the Oprah Winfrey Network about a family that runs a Megachurch, which sounds like the perfect spiritual successor to Big Love (Bill Paxton, you are missed). Also The People Vs O.J. Simpson is on Netflix as of Monday – it’s a really good week and you can’t include everything. Until next week!
I almost forgot – Donald Glover’s Atlanta has finally come to Australia, and you can watch all of it now on SBS OnDemand. If you prefer the traditional method, two episodes air every Tuesday on SBS Viceland.
The full list of dramas, documentaries, reality shows and movies coming to entertain you next year.
Source: New on SBS in 2016 – we dare you to watch all of it | Guide
The upfronts are perhaps the strangest time in the television season, when the networks announce their lineups for the following years. In the United States, this means the release of a full schedule, which is subject to change, especially if a show gets cancelled after a few episodes. In Australia, it’s rare for the networks to release a full schedule, but they provide a description of their shows, the month it will premiere and the occasionnal trailer. Foxtel had their upfronts a couple of weeks ago and pretty much renewed everything it already had, so there were no real surprises. I have found that the SBS Upfronts are usually the most exciting, because they’re committed to telling a diversity of stories.
A couple of weeks ago on Twitter, I saw Australian television critics talking about The Principal on SBS, as well as photos of Aden Young (a fantastic actor, you should check out his work on Rectify) floating around. It wasn’t until I saw the opening credits for The Principal‘s first episode, that I knew that that’s how those two things were related. The Principal isn’t really about Aden Young, and that’s okay! I just like to see him working. The Principal follows Alex Dimitriades’ Matt Bashir, who has just been appointed Principal of Boxdale High School, an all boys school complete with disaffected youth in Sydney. Bashir went to Boxdale himself, and he’s determined to turn things around. Just when it looks like he’s making progress, one of his students is found dead behind the rubbish bins.