Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, June 4th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by iced tea and bananas.
THERE'S CONTENT AND THEN THERE'S CONTENT
I spend a lot more time than most people looking at the content available on streaming sites. Especially on AVOD services, which tend to not get the proper amount of attention from the press. And when you do that, one of the first things you notice is that you see the same packages of mid-level movies rotating on and off services. Filmrise has a couple of packages that include a bunch of 1990s made-for-TV action and disaster movies. There is a package of science fiction films from Asylum that was originally produced for the SyFy Network. Both Paramount and Warner Brothers have movie packages that are a mix of newer box office duds featuring well-known actors and better-known movies from the 1980s and 1990s that don't have a great deal of drawing power in 2020. And then there are the random independently-produced films that don't have a permanent home anywhere else.
These movies cycle on-and-off the various AVOD services regularly. They don't cost much to license (relatively speaking) and while they aren't audience draws, they do bulk up the catalog and provide customers with the comfort of some familiar titles and actors.
One thing Netflix, Hulu and HBO Max have in common is that they've opted not to just license titles for the sake of having stuff. They are each curating their catalog in their own way, giving customers a unique viewing experience.
As I've mentioned before, the Amazon Prime Video UI is terrible on many levels, including when it comes to search. It's difficult to see just what is available. And short of just randomly searching genres, it's not easy to seen the breadth of its movie catalog. But when you do look around, it's interesting to see that Amazon has made the decision to include lots of titles that are available on AVOD services. Yes, they do have upper level movies and some exclusives. But they also have a lot of in streaming terms could be considered cannon fodder. Stuff that's there just so stuff can be there. I think it's a reflection of Amazon's decision to provide quantity over curation. And I'm not sure it's a calculation that would work on any streaming service that isn't bundled into a larger package of services.
SPEAKING OF MID-LEVEL CONTENT
I'm somewhat surprised that none of the broadcast networks has picked up the rights to the made-for-Vudu comedy series "Mr. Mom," which is based on the Michael Keaton movie of the same name. As I mentioned in my review when it premiered last September, it's not especially funny. But it is a recognizable title & it's one of the few newer comedies that is available right now.
AND SO IT BEGINS....
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that mobile video company Quibi is asking executives to take a 10% pay cut as part of an effort to cut costs at the struggling company.
Quibi gets whacked by industry analysts like a pinata and many of the criticisms are valid. My personal pet peeve is that once the service launched, the company seems to have walked away from the majority of its efforts to promote new shows. Did you know a new Darrin Criss Quibi show premiered this week? Probably not, since as far as I can tell, no one was writing about it. My experience has been that you can't get emails returned and there is scant info available to the press about new or ongoing shows. Maybe press outreach won't help the future of the service. But for the small amount of money it costs, isn't it worth a try?
AND BTW...I'M FINE
I had a couple of people reach out to me after yesterday's newsletter, wanting to make sure I was okay. I'm fine. But like nearly everyone else in 2020, some days seem more difficult than others. You never realize you're living through a time that will resonate in history while you're in the middle of it. But all of this seems like a historical turning point in the U.S. - for better or worse.
Here is a rundown of the new shows premiering today....
1) Baki Part Three (Netflix)
Granted special entry into the Great Raitai Tournament, a poisoned Baki now faces fighters in China, where the next true Sea King will be chosen.
2) Can You Hear Me? Series Premiere (Netflix)
Three friends in a low-income neighborhood find humor and hope in their lives as they grapple with bad boyfriends and their dysfunctional families.
3) Itch Series Premiere (BYUtv)
This Australian series is a about a teenage boy named Itch (Samuel Ireland) who discovers a rock that’s the "source of unimaginable power." He’s forced to go on the run to protect it from an organization seeking to weaponize it. Based on Simon Mayo’s young adult novel "Itch: The Explosive Adventures of an Element Hunter," the series ran recently on Australia’s ABC Me network.
4) Summer Rush Series Premiere (Food)
In the tiny tourist town of Bolton Landing, N.Y., the population explodes with thousands of summer visitors to Lake George and the Adirondack Mountains. Three members of one family, each with their own restaurant, must make all their money for the year between July 4th and Labor Day. Their restaurants will live or die over the course of 10 intense weeks because it only takes one bad season to finish a restaurant for good.
5) The Clearing (Crackle)
This Crackle original is about a father ( Liam McIntyre) who takes his daughter (Aundrea Smith) ,on a weekend camping trip during a mysterious disease outbreak. Then the zombies arrive, and father and daughter, trapped in a clearing, must fight to make it out of the woods alive.
6) The Day (De Dag) Series Premiere (Topic)
The nerve-racking events of a cold winter's day, seen from two different perspectives. The odd episodes tell the story of a team of police negotiators and special forces who respond to a hostage crisis in a small bank branch. The even episodes tell exactly the same events, only through the eyes of the criminals inside and their victims.
For a rundown of all the new episodes of television premiering tonight, click here.
TOO MUCH TV REALLY IS A THING
This newsletter is called "Too Much TV" because....well, it's hard to keep track of all the new television premiering everyday. To help you prioritize your viewing, click here to see our list of more than 400 upcoming television premieres, movies and finales. You'll find listings from more than 70 networks, as well as streaming services and web shows.
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