TV news and opinion from across the web,
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Peak TV

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  • Posted Saturday 12/15/18 at 12:22AM EST How TV's blockbuster special effects have evolved to become "movie good"
    Source: Vulture

    "Today, every effects-driven series expects its monsters and spaceships and dragons to look like ones you’d see on the big screen," says Calum Marsh. "...Ask any producer, supervisor, or artist in the VFX industry about the difference between effects for movies and effects for TV and you will hear the same thing: These days, there is no difference. Most major effects houses work on both Hollywood blockbusters and high-profile television shows at the same time; the same people who bring to life, say, the luminescent lasso in Wonder Woman are the ones who cook up the robotic bulls in Westworld."

    # TOPICS: Peak TV, Westworld, Visual Effects

  • Posted Saturday 12/15/18 at 12:22AM EST Celebrities pick their favorite TV shows of 2018
    Source: Variety

    James Van Der Beek loved Atlanta and Ultimate Beastmaster, while Kathy Griffin's favorite show of 2018 was 90 Day Fiancé.

    # TOPICS: Peak TV, 90 Day Fiancé, Atlanta, Ultimate Beastmaster, James Van Der Beek, Kathy Griffin

  • Posted Thursday 12/13/18 at 1:17PM EST FX: Streaming shows now outnumber broadcast shows and basic cable shows
    Source: Variety

    FX's annual Peak TV report found there were 495 scripted original series in 2018: 160 streaming shows, 146 broadcast shows and 144 basic cable shows. Pay cable accounted for 45 shows.

    # TOPICS: Peak TV, FX, TV Studies

  • Posted Tuesday 12/11/18 at 10:34AM EST A limited series based on Audrey Hepburn's life is in the works
    Source: Variety

    The iconic actress' second son, Luca Dotti, is teaming with Italian journalist and writer Luigi Spinola on the potential English-language limited series. The proposed series, which is expected to begin filming in 2020, is from Wildside, the Italian production company behind My Brilliant Friend and The Young Pope.

    # TOPICS: Peak TV, Audrey Hepburn, Luca Dotti, Luigi Spinola

  • Posted Friday 12/07/18 at 10:10PM EST "Blank Check TV": Exorbitant spending on TV shows was the worst trend of 2018
    Source: Entertainment Weekly

    From Amazon's Jack Ryan to Matthew Weiner's "expensive mediocrity" The Romanoffs, "2018 was the year when big money became a kind of new normal on television," says Darren Franich. There was a time not long ago when TV was made cheap, "Hollywood cheap," when there was a clear distinction between movie money and TV money, says Franich. Not anymore. As his EW colleague Kristen Baldwin notes: "Not only is there more television than ever before, the television itself is more everything than ever — the episodes are longer, the budgets are bigger, the concepts are higher, the star wattage is brighter, the language is bluer. Bigger isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but bigger with no boundaries is. With countless networks and streaming platforms pumping out more and more content for our overtaxed eyeballs, it seems the industry’s latest strategy for breaking through the 'clutter' is a) throwing money at a recognizable name, and b) getting out of the way." Sure, some expensive series -- like Homecoming and and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel -- work, but there are too many shows that seem to be given blank checks to spend as much as possible, like Sacha Baron Cohen's Who Is America?, The Romanoffs and Apple’s entire original programming philosophy. Blank Check TV also extends to the TV show trend of "Unnecessary Helicopter" shots, which Franich calls the "single totem for the style of Blank Check television." Netflix, adds Baldwin, "continues to be a prime offender in this space, whether they’re leafblowing money at comedians to make late-night shows they’ll immediately cancel, or boring us to tears with the big-budget bombast of Lost in Space."

    # TOPICS: Peak TV, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, The Romanoffs, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Who Is America?, Matthew Weiner, Sacha Baron Cohen, Binge Watching

  • Posted Friday 12/07/18 at 1:25PM EST Broadcast TV is living in a "golden age" of long-running series: 18 network shows have been on for at least a decade
    Source: The Hollywood Reporter

    "Four of those 18 decade-plus series are in at least their 20th year, and at the extreme end of the spectrum, The Simpsons is in its record 30th season," says Rick Porter. "And in a postmodern twist, several of these shows that debuted before the rise of streaming shows may at least partly owe their continued existence to the likes of Netflix." He adds that network schedulers and researchers say that "in the Peak TV era, the allure of stability has never been greater — and neither have the ways for veteran shows to be found by new audiences." Or as ABC executive vice president of strategy Andy Kubitz put it: "Some of these shows are being rediscovered by younger viewers because there are so many episodes on other platforms that they binge-watch and come back to linear. The perfect storm is where you keep these shows on for many, many years — then they're rediscovered and relaunched and brought to a whole new group. It can become a self-supporting cycle."

    # TOPICS: Peak TV, Grey's Anatomy, The Simpsons

  • Posted Wednesday 12/05/18 at 10:56PM EST As viewers are deluged with shows in the Peak TV era, TV critics must serve as curators
    Source: The Hollywood Reporter

    "People don't watch TV or even read about it in the same way they used to, so catering to an overwhelmed audience is paramount," says Tim Goodman. He adds: "The new reality of television (and television criticism), is that seasons and premiere dates are pretty meaningless. This Peak TV glut of shows — where so many of them are excellent and worthwhile — has long since drowned the average viewer. They are perpetually behind. And they live in a world of streaming services and on-demand options that make it OK to be behind. People are finding series from two years ago today. Others are waiting for today's buzzed-about series to not only finish its season so they can binge it (assuming it didn't drop a full season all at once on a streaming platform in the first place), but also to hear if there's a second season in the works before they bother watching. Viewers have so many options now that almost nothing, excepting live sports or major breaking news coverage, is going to motivate them to watch live. Something new — a premiere! — honestly, who the f*ck cares? Add it to the pile of things to watch later."

    # TOPICS: TV Criticism, Binge Watching, Peak TV

  • Posted Saturday 11/17/18 at 6:41AM EST Why do shows like Criminal Minds and Mindhunter exist when criminal profiling doesn’t appear to work at all?
    Source: Vox

    "The research literature is genuinely strange," says Dylan Matthews. "The consensus is that profiling isn’t very effective, and even profiling-sympathetic people are reduced to arguing that criminal profiles by the professionals are marginally more accurate than ones written by completely untrained people off the street."

    # TOPICS: Criminal Minds, Mindhunter, Peak TV

  • Posted Tuesday 11/13/18 at 10:47PM EST Black Hammer comic book series to be adapted for TV and film
    Source: The Hollywood Reporter

    Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston's acclaimed comic book series is being developed into what its publisher describes as “a multiplatform, interconnected universe of characters and storytelling that audiences today really yearn for."

    # TOPICS: Peak TV, Black Hammer

  • Posted Friday 11/09/18 at 10:34PM EST Will Homecoming popularize the the 30-minute drama?
    Source: The New York Times

    "With today’s expansive TV drama installments typically running an hour (or more), each episode of Homecoming felt like a gift certificate for 30 extra minutes of sweet, unencumbered life," says James Poniewozik. "Thirty more minutes to work, to sleep or — why not? — watch a second episode. "They were no less captivating for being short. They may have even been better. Somewhere in its history, TV formalized the idea that drama is a marathon and comedy a sprint. Network schedules established sitcoms at 30 minutes, with commercials; dramas — with early exceptions like most seasons of The Twilight Zone — settled in at 60." Now Homecoming is part of a welcome trend of half-hour dramas that include Maniac, The OA and Vida. ALSO: To watch a half-hour drama in 2018 is to fling yourself into the unknown.

    # TOPICS: Homecoming, Amazon, Binge Watching, Peak TV

  • Posted Friday 11/09/18 at 10:34PM EST More than 7,000 British people still watch black-and-white TV
    Source: BBC News

    The figure was released by Britain's TV Licensing bureau, which found that there were still 1,768 black-and-white TV sets in use in London alone. The license to watch black-and-white TV is much cheaper, costing £50.50 a year compared with £150.50 for color TV.

    # TOPICS: Retro TV, BBC, Peak TV

  • Posted Friday 11/02/18 at 10:48PM EDT Is Peak TV making the TV stuntperson an even more dangerous profession?
    Source: The Hollywood Reporter

    Following the death of The Walking Dead stuntman John Bernecker in July and the serious injury to MacGyver stuntman Justin Sundquist in August, The Hollywood Reporter looked at the effect of Peak TV on the stuntperson profession. As the trade publication explains, "it’s the dark side of Peak TV: With seasoned pros stretched thin, productions are hiring haphazardly and cutting corners as stunt performers go public with complaints that union regulations have 'no teeth' and new oversight may not go nearly far enough."

    # TOPICS: Peak TV, John Bernecker, Justin Sundquist, TV Stunts

  • Posted Friday 11/02/18 at 10:48PM EDT Why aren't there more shows designed to put you to sleep?
    Source: The Outline

    "It hasn’t been that long that we’ve had devices to crawl into bed with, and it’s been even less time that we could pull up any kind of content we wanted on a screen in order to fill the very particular need of 'content we can fall asleep to,'" says Casey Johnston. "Our parents pioneered the concept of falling asleep to TV, but they had little other than late night shows and probably whatever “video cassettes” made up their paltry collection. Even five years ago, bedtime TV mostly meant scraping something up from network websites or the paltry Netflix offerings, or having planned ahead and downloaded a season or two of a show or two. Those seasons still mostly aired painstakingly, episode by episode, drib-drabbing out each week instead of bursting fully formed onto a streaming platform as they do seemingly a hundred times a year now across Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and various other streaming services."

    # TOPICS: Peak TV, Binge Watching

  • Posted Friday 10/26/18 at 5:20AM EDT Steve McQueen slams the current state of TV: "There’s more of it, but less quality"
    Source: Indiewire

     “I’m not so keen on TV.” says the director of the Best Picture Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave, who is releasing his new film Widows, an adaptation of a 1980s British TV series, next month. Shortly after his Oscar victory in 2014, McQueen dabbled in TV, filming an HBO pilot for Codes of Conduct, a limited series that was ultimately scrapped. “I think basically I got into bed with (HBO) just at that turning point — just before the turning point because I was with them, and then things started to shift,” he said. “When I was with HBO, Netflix wasn’t Netflix then.” Now, he says, TV has become an arms race to create more content. “TV had its moment," McQueen tells Indiewire "It’s fodder now, isn’t it? It’s fodder. There was a moment in the ’90s or early 2000s when it was amazing. And now it’s just, ‘Get stuff done. We need stuff.’ I don’t know what’s happening now, but obviously the quality has gone down a little bit. There’s more of it, but less quality.” As an example, he pointed to Breaking Bad, which he found amazing, but he says it has led to the "rip-off" Ozark. "It’s unfortunate, right now, there’s so much money, and so little ideas," he says. "The problem is when you have no money, you’ve got to think.” McQueen adds: "Writing is one thing, (but) I don’t think TV does what cinema can do. I just don’t think that that’s possible. This is not to sort of say one is better than the other, but I know what I prefer. I prefer cinema."

    # TOPICS: Peak TV, HBO, Netflix, Breaking Bad, Ozark, Steve McQueen (Director)

  • Posted Saturday 10/20/18 at 2:43AM EDT Streaming TV has opening weekends, too -- which Netflix has dominated
    Source: The Ringer

    "Streaming television’s sheer density has created a sort of small-screen parallel to the film industry concept of opening-weekend box office," says Alison Herman. "What’s at stake in the crucial first few days of a show’s lifespan isn’t revenue; as television executives are quick to remind us, streaming is all about the long game, investing in a show so that it will linger in the archives in perpetuity. But the overwhelming volume of Peak TV creates a now-or-never feeling of scarcity when it comes to another finite, all-important resource: audiences’ attention. It’s a more intangible competition than the hard numbers of a box office gross, yet it’s one where Netflix seems to be at a definite, possibly insurmountable advantage."

    # TOPICS: Netflix, Amazon, Binge Watching, Peak TV

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