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post #33211 of 33391 Old 12-02-2019, 02:52 PM
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TV Notes (Cable)
‘Dr. Who’ Premieres on BBC America Jan. 1
By Michael Malone, Broadcasting & Cable - Dec. 2, 2019

“What better way to ring in a new decade than with our favorite Time Lord?” said Courtney Thomasma, executive director at BBC America.
Sigh! Why doesn't anyone know math. The calender started at year 1. First decade is years 1 thru 10, 2nd decade is years 11 thru 20, and so on. Decades, centuries and so on do not end on a year 9, but on a year 0.
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post #33212 of 33391 Old 12-02-2019, 03:00 PM
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TV Notes
On The Air
MONDAY DEC. 2, 2019 Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)
From Zap2it.com's TV Grid

CBS:
8PM - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Special) (R)
We usually dont have snow on the ground yet when Rudolphs on so between that & the fireplace blasting its gonna be really good watching tonight.

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post #33213 of 33391 Old 12-02-2019, 03:26 PM
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Sigh! Why doesn't anyone know math. The calender started at year 1. First decade is years 1 thru 10, 2nd decade is years 11 thru 20, and so on. Decades, centuries and so on do not end on a year 9, but on a year 0.
What was your favorite decade? Mine was the 80s.

Sorry, math loses this fight.
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post #33214 of 33391 Old 12-02-2019, 03:42 PM
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What was your favorite decade? Mine was the 80s.
60s
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Sorry, math loses this fight.
Nope, it does not. When you define a particular set of 10 years, like saying the 80s, 60s, etc., that is totally fine. But, when you DO NOT define a particular set of 10 years, then it defaults to starting with 1. The decade was not defined by the BBCA person.

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post #33215 of 33391 Old 12-02-2019, 04:03 PM
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60s

Nope, it does not. When you define a particular set of 10 years, like saying the 80s, 60s, etc., that is totally fine. But, when you DO NOT define a particular set of 10 years, then it defaults to starting with 1. The decade was not defined by the BBCA person.
Well, I suppose you only have to be annoyed with this a few more times The BBCA person assumed the fact that they were talking about the 20s was obvious.
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post #33216 of 33391 Old 12-02-2019, 06:00 PM
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A “decade” is a period of ten years. Any ten contiguous years. My first decade started in 1951, and my son’s started in 1984.

Math and common usage can stop fighting now. (But really, 1990 was not part of the 80s. Although I would consider an argument that 1970 was part of the 60s.)
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post #33217 of 33391 Old 12-02-2019, 06:07 PM
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A “decade” is a period of ten years. Any ten contiguous years. My first decade started in 1951, and my son’s started in 1984.

Math and common usage can stop fighting now. (But really, 1990 was not part of the 80s. Although I would consider an argument that 1970 was part of the 60s.)
Definitely! At least the parts of it I remember anyway.
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post #33218 of 33391 Old 12-02-2019, 06:59 PM
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Well, I suppose you only have to be annoyed with this a few more times The BBCA person assumed the fact that they were talking about the 20s was obvious.
Yep, with any luck. You can not assume what someone else was assuming.
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post #33219 of 33391 Old 12-02-2019, 10:59 PM
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Sorry, 0 is a number. The teens are almost over, good riddance.
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post #33220 of 33391 Old 12-03-2019, 09:37 AM
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Sorry, 0 is a number.
No one said that it wasn't. But, at the time of the change in the calendar to start counting, the number zero didn't exist. Not on its own anyway. It took another 500+ years before it was established as a number.

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post #33221 of 33391 Old 12-03-2019, 03:52 PM - Thread Starter
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TV Notes (Cable)
'The Misery Index' Renewed for Second Season on TBS
By Rick Porter, The Hollywood Reporter - Dec. 3, 2019

TBS is happy with its Misery.

The WarnerMedia-owned cable network has renewed comedic game show The Misery Index for a second season. The pickup comes as the show has seen its ratings grow over the course of its six weeks on air.

Hosted by The Good Place's Jameela Jamil and inspired by the card game Sh*t Happens, The Misery Index asks contestants to rate hilarious and miserable real-life events based on a "misery index," a ranking system devised by a team of therapists. Comedy troupe The Tenderloins — the stars of Impractical Jokers on TBS' sister network TruTV — are regular panelists.

"Jameela and The Tenderloins have wholeheartedly translated the most miserable of mishaps into absolute amusement, giving the audience and contestants permission to be entertained by these misfortunes," said Brett Weitz, general manager for TNT, TBS and TruTV. "We couldn't be more excited to continue our relationship with these five brilliantly talented comedians."

The Misery Index averaged 606,000 same-day viewers over its first six regular episodes on TBS (not including a late-night preview following a baseball playoff game on Oct. 15). After hovering just below 500,000 viewers for its first two episodes, the show grew for three straight weeks to a high of 745,000 on Nov. 19 before retreating some to 624,000 a week ago.

Nonetheless, the show has grown by 21 percent over its premiere so far; delayed and multi-platform viewing will push those numbers substantially higher.

TBS says the series ranks among the top five new cable comedies of 2019.

Andy Breckman (Monk, Saturday Night Live) developed The Misery Index with Ben and Dan Newmark of Grandma's House Pictures. The trio executive produces with former TNT and TBS executive Michael Bloom of Bongo Pictures and Howard Klein of 3 Arts Entertainment.

The show is part of a TBS roster that also includes Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, Conan, The Last O.G., Miracle Workers, American Dad and the upcoming Chad. The formerly comedy-focused network will add dramas to the mix starting in 2020, including action series Obliterated. TBS also simulcast the third season of Claws with TNT.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/li...on-tbs-1259321
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post #33222 of 33391 Old 12-03-2019, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Technology/Business Notes
Roku Soars with Disney+, Sours with Morgan Stanley
By Daniel Frankel, Multichannel News - Dec. 2, 2019

Roku counted its wild ride on Wall Street this morning, cratering around 15% after the equity research arm of Morgan Stanley issued a note that said the stock had culminated its most recent rally and now it’s time to sell.

Since it’s IPO in September 2017, Roku has been the hottest stock in video streaming, and among the most volatile among publicly traded companies on the Nasdaq.

As Roku has swiftly transformed its business model from a mere manufacturer of OTT devices into a purveyor of a globally dominant media ecosystem, the news coming out of the company has generally been good.

According to research company Apptopia, as consumers downloaded 15.5 million copies of the Disney+ app over the first 13 days of the service, downloads of the Roku app correspondingly surged 30%.

“The main utility of the Roku app is to act a remote when using the platform on your television. Since Disney+ is available on Roku, we’ve seen a boost in new users and user sessions on this app as well,” an Apptopia report published last week reads.

https://www.multichannel.com/news/ro...morgan-stanley
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post #33223 of 33391 Old 12-03-2019, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Technology/Critic's Notes
Facebook, Apple TV+ or 5G: Which tops the list of Tech Turkeys for 2019
By Jefferson Graham, USA Today

Thanksgiving is behind us, but there's one more serving on the menu: our annual look back at the tech turkeys of 2019.

Last year, we picked the Facebook Portal, the video chat device that asks you to have the nerve to willingly put a Facebook microphone and video camera in your home for more monitoring. This year, the honor solely belongs to Apple and its cupboard-bare-thin Apple TV+ streaming service.

Apple knows how to put on a show – to sell products such as iPhones and iPads. For TV+, it followed the hype playbook by signing up big stars such as Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg and that did, indeed, make a splash. With a great sounding price tag of $4.99 monthly, or one year free to anyone who buys an iPhone, iPad, Macintosh computer or iPod Touch, TV+ seemed like a sure bet.

Then TV+ debuted – with only four scripted adult series at launch, led by Aniston-Witherspoon's "The Morning Show."

Netflix and Amazon have thousands of shows. Two weeks after Apple TV+ launched came Disney+ with 7,500 television episodes and 500-plus movies, virtually its entire library available, plus Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm, National Geographic and on and on.

Disney+ made TV+ look that much more pathetic.

It gets worse. When you take a look at TV+, you're most likely in the Apple TV app, which displays many programs available via streaming and video on demand within the Apple universe. Everything from ABC, Showtime, FX or whatever you've added to your library. A sprinkling of them happen to be the new premium shows and some hard sell.

If you like "The Morning Show," why not watch "Wild" with Witherspoon for $3.99, or "Horrible Bosses" with Aniston for $2.99? When Netflix makes viewing suggestions, you've already paid your subscription, so you're not getting dinged.

And it's not like Apple's new shows got raves. Critics roasted "The Morning Show."

Maybe a year from now, Apple will get its act together and offer consumers a compelling reason to renew their subscriptions. But for now, it's one big turkey.
And there's more!

Samsung Fold
A new phone that turns into a tablet selling for nearly $2,000 is bad enough (awfully pricey!), then, when the product was sent to critics, it began falling apart. Then its launch was delayed again and again. No thanks.

Netflix
Speaking of streaming, a big boo to the company that on Dec. 1 is forcing people to chuck old Roku streaming players and many models of Samsung and Vizio TVs over what it calls "technical limitations." No, Netflix changed its software system and wasn't straight with the public about what was going on. Buying a new Roku for $25 or so is easy if you have the money to spare – switching out a big TV is more cumbersome.

Google, Amazon and Facebook's privacy grabs
Facebook didn't have any major Cambridge Analytica-style data breaches this year, but it was just as grabby with our personal data, if not more so. Many consumers we spoke to this year were convinced that Facebook was listening to our conversations. (The social network denies this.) It's certainly gotten way more advanced in learning about our interests by mining our data. Ditto for Google and Amazon.

Turkey time: Amazon, Google and Apple were caught hiring contractors to listen to the recordings of our queries. Once caught, they apologized and said they would change their policies. But they wouldn't cop to stop listening. Amazon brazenly records every query you make to the Alexa personal assistant, and if you don't like it, it sends you to the smartphone app to delete them.'

Not cool.

Facebook
No one tech company deserves the Turkey of the Year award more. Its stance of refusing to fact-check political ads enraged Washington (at least pols that don't use the social network to stretch truths) and journalists. To keep with our gadget theme, Facebook stubbornly refused to give up on last year's turkey winner, the poor-selling Portal video chat device, and released a new version that still violates basic privacy considerations (Facebook knows who you call, how long you spend on the phone, where the caller lives, etc.). It was touted as new and improved, but the only thing new about it, really, was a lower (by $20) price.

Sky-high streaming prices
Remember when we wanted to cut the cord to save money from super high cable bills? Then AT&T Now (formerly DirecTV Now), a cable alternative with cable-like menu and no equipment rental, went from $35 to $65 monthly, YouTube increased from $40 to $50 and Hulu with Live TV grew from $45 to $55. Cable's not looking so bad anymore.

5G
You've heard a lot of hype from AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint about 5G, super-fast wireless service that may one day be really cool. It certainly isn't now. AT&T's service is invite-only, Verizon and T-Mobile are available in only selected cities, and the offering is so not ready for prime time that it works only on certain blocks. That's fine, except the companies charge a premium to customers for 5G access, even though there's little there. No need to be early adopters here.

Travel websites, hidden fees and semantics
How did a hotel room offer of $137 a night for two nights turn into $373.38? Hidden fees when I got to the cart. Travel websites are notorious for hooking you with great offers, only to blow them up to something you never agreed to in the first place. I've used Expedia for years, but in 2019, it was one of the worst offenders in hooking you in with cheap fares – then sending you to airports nowhere near your home. We tried to book flights to Seattle from Los Angeles International Airport, where we were quoted $169 round trip, versus an average of $300 and up on other airlines. Once we clicked enough buttons to get to the cart, we saw that the flight originated from Ontario Airport, about 60 miles from home, not LAX. Ahem, Expedia, Airbnb and the others, you're going to eventually lose the sale anyway, so how about being upfront with consumers about what things actually cost in 2020?

Sunsetting
Remember how before the digital era, you'd buy things such as lamps, stoves, TV sets and the like, and use them for years and years? Not so in techland, where companies such as Apple, Netflix and others don't bat an eye over "sunsetting" their products and making them unusable. Such is the case every September when Apple releases its new iOS software update, which works only on phones going back four years. This year, the Apple iPhone 6 from 2014 was eliminated. People pay good money for these things – they should be able to hold onto them for longer than five years.

Giant power bricks
Come on Google, Apple, Amazon and seemingly every tech manufacturer out there. Your power supplies have grown way too large. At one point this year, when trying to review three competing products in one six-outlet power strip, I could only fit two of them in there. If the companies truly cared about the consumer, they would find a way to fit their power the old fashioned way--into a regular plug that fit in any wall socket, without blocking the neighboring device.

Smart TVs
They sounded like such a great idea. Internet-enabled sets that brought in Netflix and Hulu without you having to bother switching HDMI inputs. Then it was revealed that the reason set manufacturers could sell them so cheaply was because they were watching us and selling our viewing data to third parties. If that's not bad enough, many of the sets from Vizio, Samsung and others come with preloaded apps and no way to get new ones. Which meant no access to Disney+ when the year's most-desired new streaming service launched. Roku, which makes the popular streaming player, also monitors your viewing on some channels. So either live with it, or pay premium for Apple TV's set-top box, which starts at $149 and doesn't share your viewing information.

Apple starts the piece as a turkey and ends up a hero.

Happy device buying, everyone!

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/...19/4303720002/
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post #33224 of 33391 Old 12-03-2019, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
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TV/Production Notes (Broadcast)
Schooled Showrunner Out as ABC Orders Additional Season 2 Episodes
By Andy Swift, TVLine.com - Dec. 3, 2019

Schooled will remain in session at ABC, albeit with a slightly different administration at the helm. The network on Tuesday announced a full-season order for the Goldbergs spinoff, bringing its sophomore episode count to a complete 22.

Tim Doyle, who assumed showrunning duties from series co-creator Marc Firek back in August, is being replaced by co-executive producers Tom Hertz and Vanessa McCarthy, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Hertz and McCarthy will reportedly work closely with series co-creator Adam F. Goldberg.

“We’re incredibly proud of Schooled and are thrilled to order a full season of this sharp, fresh and funny comedy that has proven to be a consistently strong pairing with its Goldbergs lead-in,” ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke said in a statement. “We’re so grateful to the show’s top-notch cast and crew, and we’re looking forward to bringing more hilarious stories about the teachers and students at William Penn Academy to our viewers.”

Set in 1990-something Pennsylvania, Schooled stars AJ Michalka, Tim Meadows, Bryan Callen and Brett Dier as faculty members at William Penn Academy.

New episodes of Schooled air Wednesdays at 8:30/7:30c. The comedy’s next new episode, airing Dec. 4, finds Coach Mellor (Callen) turning into an “overbearing sports-type father” after encouraging Toby to get “competitive” in the school’s Pokémon club. “Meanwhile, Lainey supplements her salary as a teacher by working at the local video store and learns an important lesson,” according to the official synopsis.

Your thoughts on Schooled?

https://tvline.com/2019/12/03/school...ew-showrunner/
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post #33225 of 33391 Old 12-03-2019, 04:20 PM - Thread Starter
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TV/Production Notes (Streaming)
Kristin Chenoweth To Headline ‘The Biggest Star In Appleton’ Comedy Series In Works At Disney+ From Paul Rudnick & Dan Jinks
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - Dec. 3, 2019

EXCLUSIVE: Disney+ is developing The Biggest Star In Appleton, a half-hour, single-camera comedy from playwright/screenwriter Paul Rudnick, actress Kristin Chenoweth and producer Dan Jinks, I have learned.

Created/written by Rudnick, The Biggest Star In Appleton stars Chenoweth as Carol Dannhauser, a Wisconsin mom, wife and waitress who, while devoted to her family, finds her deepest satisfaction in small town stardom at the local community theater. Her status is threatened when Tara Hubley, a struggling New York chorus girl, moves back home with dreams of her own.

Rudnick, Chenoweth and Jinks executive produce. 20th Century Fox TV, part of Disney TV Studios, is the studio.

The project reunites Chenoweth and Jinks. Chenoweth co-starred in the Jinks-produced ABC series Pushing Daisies, which earned her an Emmy award.

Rudnick and Jinks previously collaborated on dark comedy I Shudder starring Hamish Linklater, which went to pilot at TV Land.

Rudnick has written such popular movies as Sister Act and Adams Family Values. His plays include Jeffrey and The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. He is currently writing the book to the Broadway musical The Devil Wears Prada with a score by Elton John.

Jinks won an Oscar for producing American Beauty. His other producing credits include features Milk and Big Fish, the Broadway adaptation of Big Fish and the TV series Traveler. He’s currently producing Marley, A Christmas Carol musical feature in the works at Disney with a screenplay and direction by Bill Condon and a score by Stephen Schwartz.

Tony and Emmy winner Chenoweth is coming off a Broadway run of her Kristin Chenoweth: For the Girls.

https://deadline.com/2019/12/kristin...ks-1202799300/

* * * *

TV/Production Notes (Streaming)
‘Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge’: Jar Jar Binks Actor Will Host Disney+ Game Show
By Geoff Boucher, Deadline.com's 'Hero Nation' Column - Dec. 3, 2019

Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge, a new game show aimed at kids and hosted by Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best, will premiere on the Disney+ subscription streaming service in 2020.

The live-action skills game show is a first for the Star Wars brand, which is getting major Disney investment these days with J.J. Abrams’ The Rise of Skywalker due in theaters this month and the live-action drama The Mandalorian already streaming on the still-new Disney+ service. Disney’s Lucasfilm is already ramping up more Jedi Universe adventures for the small screen, too, including an Obi Wan Kenobi series starring Ewan McGregor.

The game show “tests young contestants’ abilities in the core Jedi principles of strength, knowledge, and bravery as they face thrilling and fun obstacles,” according to Disney executives.

“This is definitely a kids game show like no other,” says Lucasfilm’s senior director of Online Content & Programming, Mickey Capoferri. “The various challenges will test a Padawan’s connection to the Force in three locations — a forest planet, on board a Jedi star cruiser, and inside a Jedi Temple — immersing them and the audience in a fun, humorous, and exciting competition.”

From a Disney press release: “Best’s unique set of skills as an actor, dancer, martial arts expert, STOMP musician, and Star Wars fan make him the perfect choice as the show’s host and mentor…. Best is joined by a hilarious humanoid droid companion, voiced by Mary Holland (VEEP, Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre).

“Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge brings together the best of Star Wars – competitive spirit, harrowing obstacles and a hero’s triumph over challenges – in a totally new format for the franchise,” said Dan Silver, vice president, Originals – Unscripted Content, Disney+. “A game show set in the Star Wars galaxy is a perfect fit for Disney+.”

Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge is executive produced by Lucasfilm, Dean Houser, and David Chamberlin and Mike Antinoro from Endeavor Content.

https://deadline.com/2019/12/star-wa...ow-1202799403/
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Media/Critic's Notes
The Snyder Cut: Everything we know about the other Justice League
By James Hibberd, EW.com - Dec. 3, 2019

The Snyder Cut is an alternate edit of the 2017 film Justice League that’s taken on a mythic status as a possible redeemer for the DC Comics team-up, a secret vision of cinematic cohesion that might someday emerge from what was previously viewed as narrative chaos and bombastic disappointment.

But what is The Snyder Cut, exactly? And does it exist? And if it does, will it ever be seen?

Some background: Director Zack Snyder helmed 2013’s Man of Steel and 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice before setting his sights on the climactic Justice League, an ambitious title bringing together six DC heroes and potentially launching a new string of films à la Marvel’s The Avengers.

Six months before the film’s release, Snyder stepped down from the film after suffering a personal family tragedy. Warner Bros. hired Joss Whedon (The Avengers) for extensive rewriting and reshoots that significantly altered the film, along with swapping Junkie XL’s soundtrack for a new one by Danny Elfman.

When Justice League was released, critics were scathing (a 40 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). The box office was disappointing given the genre’s high standards ($657 million). And Warner Bros. dramatically shifted its future plans (Ben Affleck was replaced as Batman by Robert Pattinson; a Flash movie announced for 2018 was delayed; a Cyborg movie scheduled for 2020 was never greenlit).

Soon began a drumbeat of fans online wanting to see “The Snyder Cut.” Snyder himself released images from deleted scenes (like Aquaman stabbing Steppenwolf, below) that have added fuel to the movement, as did conflicting yet supportive comments made by cast and crew about the Cut’s existence. Ben Affleck (Batman), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), and Ray Fisher (Cyborg) have all urged releasing the Cut on social media.

The most bullish comment was from Momoa who has outright declared he’s seen The Cut and that it feels like a different movie than what Warner Bros. released, and even sparked speculation about its completeness (“Oh, you, you think Zack couldn’t finish it?” he playfully asked MTV News). Watchmen showrunner Damon Lindlof also seemingly hinted this direction (“I’m not saying I’ve seen it, but if I HAD, I would unequivocally support the powers that be to #releasethesnydercut ”).

What seems most probable at this point is the following: There is very likely a Snyder Cut of the film and it’s not a total cinematic unicorn after all. Given the timing of Snyder’s departure, it’s likely the cut is — or was — unfinished (typically a film at that stage would have incomplete CG backgrounds, visual effects, and sound). So quite possibly the only way to “release The Snyder Cut” would be to actually finish making The Snyder Cut, which would require Warner Bros. to spend millions. A second, purely speculative possibility is that Snyder used his own money to complete an unofficial edit after his departure.

Warner Bros. has remained silent on the topic, preferring instead to focus on making and promoting upcoming DC titles, of which there are many (Wonder Woman 1984, Birds of Prey, The Batman, etc.), rather than invest more time, money, and attention on a film considered a disappointment. A recent Variety story on the future of DC quoted one Warner Bros. insider saying that fan efforts to get The Snyder Cut released in theaters or on HBO Max were “a pipe dream … there’s no way it’s ever happening.”

That said, it seems extremely likely something resembling a Snyder Cut will be seen eventually — at minimum, a home video version of Justice League containing a bevy of the director’s previously unseen deleted scenes. That’s because Hollywood history has many instances of studios re-releasing sci-fi and fantasy titles on home video with alternate edits for enthusiasts and collectors — even if the original film was considered a disappointment (such as The Abyss and Alien 3). And seldom has there been so much interest in an alternate edit of a film than there is for Justice League.

In other words, fandom obsession with The Snyder Cut means there is a market for the edit and therefore sooner or later WB will get around to tapping that revenue stream because it would be silly to leave that money on the table forever. So perhaps the real questions are: How long will fans have to wait? Restored versions often come out many years later, long after the wounds of failure have healed — it took a decade for a proper director’s cut of Blade Runner, and that was Blade Runner. Other questions: How involved will Snyder be? And how complete will the new version be?

Of course, there is one more question too, and perhaps it’s the most important: Could a Snyder Cut truly improve Justice League, or will it simply confirm the studio made the right call in the first place and what we witnessed in theaters is actually the better version?

Waiting years to see an edit of a film that’s even more disappointing … why, that would be the unkindest cut of all.

https://ew.com/movies/2019/12/03/the...ustice-league/
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Nielsen Overnights (Broadcast)
Primetime Ratings: Fox Wins With Robust ‘9-1-1’
By Michael Malone, Broadcasting & Cable - Dec. 2, 2019

Fox had top honors in Monday prime, with 9-1-1 leading the net to a 1.1 in viewers 18-49, per the Nielsen overnights, and a 5 share. That got by the 0.9/4s that CBS and NBC tallied.

ABC, Fox and NBC split the win last Monday.

9-1-1 grew 17% to 1.4 and Prodigal Son posted its regular 0.7.

CBS had Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer leading the way with his brightly lit nose at 1.5, down 12% from last year. Repeats of All Rise and Bull followed.

NBC had two hours of The Voice off 8% at 1.1 and then the premiere of craft show Making It at 0.5. Making It opened at 1.1 in summer 2018.

ABC got a 0.7/3. The premiere of The Great Christmas Light Fight did a 0.7 from 8 to 10 p.m. after it opened at 1.1 the last two seasons. The Good Doctor scored a flat 0.9.

Univision averaged a 0.5/2 and Telemundo a 0.4/2. Univision had the premiere of Ringo at 0.5 and La Rosa de Guadalupe at 0.5, then El Dragon at 0.4. The latter two were down a tenth of a point apiece.

Telemundo had the El Sultan premiere at 0.2 and El Final Del Paraiso down 20% at 0.4. El Senor de los Cielos shot up 25% for a 0.5.

The CW posted a 0.2/1, with 0.2s for All American and Black Lightning. Both were flat.

https://www.broadcastingcable.com/ne...h-robust-9-1-1
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TV/Critic's Notes (Streaming)
Now’s the Time to Make The Expanse Your New Epic Obsession
By Alicia Lutes, Vulture.com (New York Magazine) - Dec. 3, 2019

It’s easy to say something is “the next Game of Thrones.” Throw a politically minded premise filled with deception and power grabs into a genre framework and someone somewhere is going to try to dub it the successor to the HBO epic’s throne. But few of these series actually have the combination of plotting, casting, production value, devious machinations, twists, and world-building necessary to deliver on such a high promise (regardless of your thoughts on that final season). But having devoted much of my professional life to covering Thrones, I can say with confidence there is one show among the many claiming this title that actually lives up to it: The Expanse. The former Syfy series, recently moved to Amazon Prime Video, is extremely well-positioned to be your next epic obsession; so much so that I feel comfortable dubbing it the next Game of Thrones … in Space!

Set hundreds of years in the future, The Expanse establishes a world where humans have populated many parts of the solar system, leaving our planet a mere outpost, with Mars and the Asteroid Belt being the other primary locales for human life, work, and advancement. Instead of the great houses of Westeros and beyond, The Expanse offers three factions of the human race, which has evolved and adapted to their new homes dotting the solar system. With a tenuously threaded peacetime agreement between the United Nations–led Earth, the military base turned military nation Mars, and the Belters, a disregarded underclass living within the Asteroid Belt who mine lithium and other necessary minerals (but see none of the profit), any little thing could set off an intergalactic war among the human race. Who’s right, who’s wrong? It’s not at all as simple as that — and that’s before the threat of a mysterious extraterrestrial “protomolecule” shows up.

With humanity spread out among the stars and dependent on technology, a caste system, and the unknown elements of outer space, it’s no surprise that things get messy fast — especially once a missing rich girl enters the picture. But the mystery at the series’ center gets so much bigger than you could imagine, unless you’ve read the James S.A. Corey novels on which the series is based. To say much more would spoil something you don’t want spoiled. (Thankfully, with eight books already in the can and more to come at a quicker–than–George R.R. Martin pace, The Expanse outpacing its source material doesn’t seem like a concern here. Plus, the men behind the pen name, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, have been extensively involved in writing and producing the show.)

It’s worth acknowledging here that early moments of the series, featuring glimpses of Thomas Jane floating around in a fedora and Flock of Seagulls hairdo, could make it seem like The Expanse is destined for an early demise, but stick with it. The slow burn of the mystery combined with the expansion of the political, human, and scientific elements helps elevate the series to the realm of must-watch epic, one where the human squabbles are merely a distraction from a larger, more existential threat (sound familiar?). What starts out as a little show about police detective Joe Miller (played by Jane) looking for a missing woman named Julie Mao (Florence Faivre) quickly spirals out in many directions, introducing us to a badass leader of the United Nations–run Earth in Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) and the team aboard the ice-hauler spaceship the Canterbury, helmed by Steven Strait’s James Holden.

The Thrones comparisons carry over to The Expanse’s cast, which is quite, ahem, expansive itself. With actors like Cas Anvar, Dominique Tipper, Wes Chatham, and later Frankie Adams spread out across the galaxy, and joined by impressive guest stars like Jared Harris, David Strathairn, Terry Chen, and more, there are no slouches here, and every character feels fully realized. And the series needs that in order to pull off what could otherwise seem confusing or borderline offensive, such as the patois-heavy Belter language, an amalgamation of many of planet Earth’s dialects and accents, spoken by people of many different races. But that, like the hard science the series commits to with to fascinating effect, is deeply entrenched, considered, and overseen by experts, like linguist Nick Farmer and the series’ showrunner/resident physics Ph.D, Naren Shankar.

This leads us to the series’ biggest deviation point from Thrones, which also happens to be its greatest asset: In The Expanse, the women of color are the heroes — and almost all the women on this show are women of color. And the series doesn’t just walk the walk in its diverse casting, it talks the talk in its downright feminist underpinnings. The creators made a conscious decision to move beyond our Earthly, gendered attitudes about women to pursue stories that exist outside of that paradigm, and that, in many ways, is a game-changer. A universe where women are simply allowed to exist and not be scoffed at for their tiny lady brains allows for storytelling of a different stripe; within a universe mired in sociopolitical scandal, interpersonal drama, intergalactic intrigue, and a very timely refugee crises, women are allowed to run things (like Earth!), or to **** up and be selfish, or anything in between.

The Expanse being scooped up by Amazon after season three was arguably a best-case scenario for all involved: The show was a lot for a little network like Syfy to take on, making the challenge of building its audience that much harder. And as a show that heavily features space travel, new life-forms, and extremely cool spaceships, it lives and dies by the seamless believability of its CGI effects — just like Game of Thrones and its dragons — which The Expanse’s production house, Alcon Television Group, has handled quite capably throughout its run (especially for being on a network like Syfy, which has been home to some series with decidedly less-than-cinematic effects). But the third-season finale set the stage for season four to be even more VFX-heavy than its previous iterations, and based on the episodes I’ve seen thus far, moving into the house that Jeff Bezos built has allowed The Expanse to elevate something that was already impressively done.

With those episodes on the horizon, and three seasons of the show just sitting there ready for new viewers’ bingesumption, it feels like The Expanse is now primed for exactly the sort of delayed catch-on we’ve previously seen with series like Game of Thrones or even Breaking Bad — especially since Amazon has already ordered another season after this one, so you know you won’t get your heart broken. Those first few seasons unfold a thrilling, science-filled journey into space with a huge, huge mystery that may be far more than humans, of Earth or otherwise, could’ve ever bargained for, and you’ll be all but salivating for more by the time season four drops on December 13.

https://www.vulture.com/2019/12/the-...azon-syfy.html
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Technology/Gaming Notes (Mobile)
Mario Kart Tour was the most downloaded iPhone game of 2019
By Andrew Webster, TheVerge.com - Dec. 3, 2019

Despite launching relatively late in the year, Mario Kart Tour was the biggest game on the iPhone in 2019. Today, Apple revealed its top charts for the year, and the free-to-play version of Mario Kart, which debuted in September, topped the free game charts. Nintendo’s offering beat out strong competition from Call of Duty: Mobile and Fortnite. Apple didn’t reveal any specific download numbers (though we already know that Call of Duty was downloaded an estimated 100 million times during its first week, across both iOS and Android), but even still, the charts provide a window into the tastes of App Store users.

Here are the complete charts for games across both the iPhone and iPad:

Top free iPhone games
1. Mario Kart Tour
2. Color Bump 3D
3. aquapark.io
4. Call of Duty: Mobile
5. BitLife - Life Simulator
6. Polysphere - art of puzzle
7. Wordscapes
8. Fortnite
9. Roller Splat!
10. AMAZE!!

Top paid iPhone games
1. Minecraft
2. Heads Up!
3. Plague Inc.
4. Bloons TD 6
5. Geometry Dash
6. Rebel Inc.
7. The Game of Life
8. Stardew Valley
9. Bloons TD 5
10. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Top free iPad games
1. Roblox
2. aquapark.io
3. Paper.io 2
4. Color Bump 3D
5. Magic Tiles 3: Piano Game
6. Fortnite
7. Polysphere - art of puzzle
8. Wordscapes
9. Tiles Hop - EDM Rush
10. Helix Jump

Top paid iPad games
1. Minecraft
2. Geometry Dash
3. Bloons TD 6
4. Plague Inc.
5. Amazing Frog?
6. Stardew Valley
7. The Game of Life
8. Heads Up!
9. Terraria
10. Bendy and the Ink Machine


Aside from the breakout success of Mario Kart, there aren’t a lot of surprises. The free charts are filled with unheralded time wasters and big-name titles like Call of Duty, as per usual, while Minecraft continues to dominate the paid mobile game space. With the exception of Stardew Valley, premium indie games are also generally absent from the paid charts, which could be a byproduct of the launch of the Apple Arcade subscription service.

The news does represent something of a change in fortune for Nintendo’s mobile efforts. The company made a big splash with the launch of Super Mario Run in 2016, but a year later the company said that, despite 200 million downloads, the game didn’t reach an “acceptable profit point.” Since then, the Kyoto company has shifted to more aggressive free-to-play mechanics with titles like Fire Emblem, Dragalia Lost, and Animal Crossing, culminating in the blockbuster success of Mario Kart Tour this year.

https://www.theverge.com/2019/12/3/2...-duty-fortnite
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Obituary
‘Star Trek’ Writer D.C. Fontana Dies at 80
By Cynthia Littleton, Variety.com - Dec. 3, 2019

Dorothy Catherine Fontana, a writer on the original “Star Trek” series who had a long association with the franchise, died Dec. 2. She was 80.

Fontana’s death was confirmed by the official “Star Trek” website, which described her as “the legendary writer who brought many of ‘Star Trek’s’ greatest episodes to life.” The website reported that she died after a brief illness but offered no other details.

Fontana was active in the Writers Guild of America for many years, and most recently worked as a lecturer for the American Film Institute.

Fontana was the rare example of a female scribe on the original NBC edition of the enduring sci-fi franchise, although she used the gender-blind screen credit of “D.C. Fontana.” She was credited with creating key elements of the “Star Trek” mythos, including the details on the backstory of Mr. Spock’s upbringing by his human mother Amanda and Vulcan father Sarek.

All told, Fontana had writing credits on 11 episodes of the original “Star Trek,” which ran for three seasons from 1966-69. The list included the standout 1967 installments “Journey to Babel” (which introduces Spock’s parents) and “This Side of Paradise” (in which Spock and other members of the Enterprise crew get goofy after being sprayed with flower spores). Some of Fontana’s episodes were credited to a pseudonym Michael Richards. Fontana reportedly decided to mask her gender with her screen credit in order to avoid discrimination as she sought work in what was then a decidedly male-dominated business.

Fontana went on to work as a writer and associate producer on the 1970s animated “Star Trek” series. In 1987 she teamed with “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry to write “Encounter at Farpoint,” the two-hour premiere episode for “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” She wrote additional episodes of “Next Generation” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” She also penned “Star Trek”-themed novels, including “Questor Tapes” and “Vulcan’s Glory.”

Earlier in her career, Fontana penned episodes of such series as “The Wild Wild West” and “Ben Casey.” After the original “Star Trek” ended, she worked on a range of 1970s primetime series including “The Streets of San Francisco,” “Bonanza,” “Kung Fu,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “Logan’s Run,” “The Waltons” and “Dallas.”

Fontana was feted for her years of service to the WGA with honorary awards in 1997 and 2002.

Fontana is survived by her husband, cinematographer Dennis Skotak. The family requests that donations be made in Fontana’s name to the Humane Society, Best Friends Animal Society or the American Film Institute.

https://variety.com/2019/tv/news/sta...80-1203422727/
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TV/Critic's Notes (Broadcast)
The Bittersweet Lessons of Law & Order: SVU
Twenty years into its run, the show has fallen prey to a revealing paradox: As it has grown in relevance, it has lost its urgency.
By Megan Garber, The Atlantic - Dec. 2, 2019

Here is something that will come as no surprise if you are familiar with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The show, as it airs its 21st season on NBC, currently has a character caught in the limbo of a cliffhanger. During SVU’s most recent episode, members of the New York City Police Department’s sex-crimes squad, under the leadership of Captain Olivia Benson, investigate a shady billionaire who lured teenage girls into his orbit, grooming and, finally, sexually abusing them. The story is uncanny in its contours, and the detectives spend the episode steadily building a case against the Jeffrey Epstein–esque mogul and his Ghislaine Maxwell–esque assistant. The conclusion, however, will also come as no surprise if you are familiar with reality: The billionaire buys his way out. The detectives are left to watch as he hosts a party on his yacht—attended by both the victims of his abuse and the power brokers whose loyalty had a purchase price.

But the party isn’t, it turns out, the final scene of the episode. The show instead tacked on one more twist. The father of two of the girls who had been abused by the billionaire tracks down Amanda Rollins, one of the detectives who had been working his daughters’ case. Distraught, desperate, he holds a gun to her head.

“To be continued,” the episode’s intertitle announces, giddily, before the credits roll. Tchung-TCHUNG.

You could read that conclusion as typical of SVU, a show that weaves the aesthetics of the soap opera into the cadences of the police procedural. But you could see something else in it as well: the show’s assumption that to land a full punch to the gut, its retelling of the Epstein story needed to involve a threat to one of the show’s more familiar characters—one of the people to whom, over the course of several seasons, audiences have been used to expanding their empathies.

That is its own kind of plot twist. In the world beyond Law & Order, after all, the Epstein story is notable for not only its outrages—more than 80 women have accused him of assaulting them when they were young—but also the fact that, for years, those outrages were effectively ignored. SVU, for all its melodramas, has claimed to shed light on people who might otherwise be resigned to the shadows. It has claimed to care just as much about the supporting casts as it does about the stars. The gun that is currently aimed at Rollins’s head—a prop so anti-Chekhovian that it reads almost as camp—makes a different claim: The horror of the Epstein story is, for the show’s purposes, not quite horrific enough.

* * * *

It took me a while to start watching SVU. I was aware of the show, definitely—some works of culture are so ubiquitous that they take on atmospheric properties. I knew the show’s premise and its cast and, somehow, the fact that Taylor Swift had named her cat Olivia Benson. But that was pretty much the extent of it. I write about sexual abuse as part of my job, and TV is a Darwinian proposition. When, after a long day, you can watch humanity at its worst or, alternatively, you can watch as a kindly British grandfather gives it his all in his bid to be named Star Baker, the decision pretty much makes itself.

I knew something else, too, though. People—women in particular, who comprise the show’s primary audience—love SVU. And they have loved it for decades, not only because melodrama has its merits, but also because SVU, long before it occurred to most other shows to do so, took sexual consent seriously. It took survivorship seriously. It had grim wisdom to impart. “Women, we don’t watch true crime,” the comedian Jena Friedman has observed. “We study it to make sure we don’t end up on it.”

And so, my curiosity finally winning out over my trepidation, I started watching SVU. I began with the pilot episode, first aired in 1999, when the show revolved around Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and her partner Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni). And I went from there, as new detectives and district attorneys came and went, as American culture changed while the show’s core premise did not. SVU is now the longest-running prime-time live-action series in American history, and the feat of endurance alone provides a queasy commentary: The show features more than 20 hour-long episodes a season. It has never lacked for fresh material.

I came away from the watching both riveted and disappointed. On the one hand, the show, by its nature, sensationalizes sexual violence; on the other, it explores the ongoing effects of that violence on its survivors. On the one hand, there’s the “ripped from the headlines” pulpiness; on the other, there’s the sense of purpose. On the one hand, SVU converts suffering into entertainment; on the other, it finds value in the alchemy. Fiction but nonfiction, stereotype but nuance, the trite but the true—there are so many yes, buts in this show. There are so many compromises and concessions. Is SVU good for women and survivors? Yes. But.

* * * *

“Why you working this so hard? He attack somebody who matters?” a sex worker asks in an early episode of SVU. It might as well have been a mission statement; the premise of SVU is that its detectives care deeply about people who have been abused, whoever those people might be. The show’s investigators often speak in statistics—about assault that takes place in prison, about the national rape-kit backlog. (Joe Biden, then the vice president, made an appearance as himself in a 2016 episode that tackled the rape-kit crisis.) A recent arc found the team learning trauma-informed interviewing techniques. Each episode begins with a rumbling voice-over introducing the “dedicated detectives” who focus on sexually violent crimes in New York. “Dedicated” has a double valence, because, as the show suggests, attention can be its own form of compassion.

But SVU is a soap opera perched on a soapbox. It is often outlandish in a way that can chafe against the seriousness of its subject matter. Many of its plotlines about sexual violence involve preposterous twists and deus-ex-machina resolutions. A 2005 episode begins with a school shooting and ends, approximately five pivots later, with the uncovering of an underground neo-Nazi group. Another begins with the discovery of a toilet cam mounted in a public restroom; the episode goes on to deal with pedophilia—and the discovery that the pedophile in question had a brain tumor that, her lawyer argued, was causing her behavior. At the end of the episode, viewers learn that she is pregnant with the baby of one of the boys she molested.

There is much more in that vein. “You’re telling me that I married my own rapist?” is a line that was uttered in Season 10 and, at that point, I was shocked it had taken so long to materialize.

SVU’s earnestly absurd approach to storytelling has led, unsurprisingly, to missteps. The parade of guest stars that has become one of the show’s trademark elements can bring the thrill of familiarity to the stories it is telling, while also verging on self-parody. One episode, its plot centered on the trafficking of women from Latin America, included Rita Moreno, Angela Lansbury, Alfred Molina, and Bradley Cooper. Another, Season 12’s “Bully,” featured the journalists Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski playing themselves and Luann de Lesseps, the reality star, playing someone else. In one significant lapse of judgment, Mike Tyson, a convicted rapist, made an appearance on the show, his presence breaking a fourth wall that had no need of breaching.

SVU gets away with a lot, though, because of the kind of work it is doing. At its best, the show is modeling a better world. It rips its stories from the headlines, yes, retelling many of them as faithfully as defamation laws will allow. Many of the conclusions it writes, however, engage in savvy revisionism. That is how you get so many scenes of abusers getting handcuffed. That is how you get an episode that culminates in a Steubenville-style rapist apologizing to his victim in court, his voice shaking with regret. Catharsis is the show’s currency: SVU offers the justice that reality too frequently fails to provide. Its moralisms are tinged with magic. The show is a gritty police procedural; its true genre, however, is the fairy tale.

But deep tensions are embedded in the vision SVU is selling. The show, after all, celebrates police detectives as uniquely compassionate during a time when many Americans’ trust in law enforcement has plummeted. It has built its fantasies around an institution that many, correctly, associate with tragedies. “We’re not gonna hurt you, guys. We’re the police,” Olivia says in an episode of Season 5, and it is a line that could not have existed in later seasons.

SVU has dealt with the tension, sometimes, directly. Early on, it began making references to the civil-rights abuses accompanying the Patriot Act. Later, it began featuring more elliptical acknowledgments of the fact that, in the world beyond its universe, unarmed civilians have been regularly slain by police officers.

The show has also managed this real-world friction, in part, by focusing ever more narrowly on the individuals at its center. In particular, it has aimed its spotlight on Olivia—who, once Meloni left the show, became SVU’s singular star. Her heroism is both insistent and tidy. “There are two things you need to know about me,” she tells a new colleague in Season 17, by way of introduction. “First, I like an open and free exchange of ideas. And, second, I’m usually right.”

As Olivia has risen through the ranks of the NYPD, her character has come to question, ever more stridently, the institution she is a part of. During a bottle episode in Season 20, Olivia and her colleagues engage in a passionate—and nuanced—debate about the sharp divisions between justice, as the system conceives it, and empathy. Olivia, who is the product of her mother’s rape, has also blurred another line: She is an investigator of sexual violence who is also a victim of it. One arc, during which she went undercover in a women’s prison, found her brutally beaten by a sadistic guard. Another—through a cliffhanger ending that anticipated the one in which Amanda Rollins is currently caught—found Olivia kidnapped by a serial rapist and assaulted and tortured.

Those story lines are evidence of SVU’s galling appetite for violence; they also, however, work to preserve the show’s fragile fantasy. They exempt Olivia from a justice system that too often fails to serve justice. The real world is a place where police departments have nicknamed their sex-crimes divisions the “lying bitches units,” and where Brock Turner got only three months in jail, and where Donald Trump bragged about assaulting women and was held accountable by being elected president. In the SVUniverse, on the other hand, accountability is possible in part because Olivia Benson, investigator and survivor, will entertain no other option. Fiction is faith, too. The philosopher and legal scholar Martha Nussbaum sums it up like this: “You can’t really change the heart without telling a story.”

* * * *

That SVU is both radical and regressive makes it, for all its antics, typical. Women and survivors are, at this point, accustomed to compromise in the stories American culture tells about them—used to the literature of their lives being dismissed as empty diarism, or to watching as Sansa Stark, raped and brutalized, announces with beatific acceptance that the abuse has been for the best. For anyone who has not been seen as a direct heir of American culture’s canons, entertainment can demand small acts of forgiveness. You overlook this because of that. You take what you can. You find yourself wishing, for example, that SVU had handled its latest take on the Epstein story with more nuance—but also feel grateful that a show is handling it at all.

Today, thankfully, more series are doing what SVU has been doing for so long. There are shows such as Netflix’s Unbelievable, which was thrilling in the detail and empathy it brought to its treatment of stories of rape. Unbelievable is adapted from a work of journalism, ProPublica’s “An Unbelievable Story of Rape,” and this version of the SVU feedback loop—the journalism, reimagined as entertainment—is revealing. So is the popularity of recent documentaries such as Surviving R. Kelly and Leaving Neverland, which engage in the work SVU has tried to do, but without the melodrama. Pulp has been one way to make sense of a sexually violent world. As more creators grapple with the question of how to portray that violence on-screen, SVU will have more counterparts doing what it has long claimed to do: taking sexual abuse out of the realm of silence and shame. SVU is still uncomfortably relevant; the show is less urgent, however, than it once was.

And so Amanda Rollins waits, her fate both uncertain and, the demands of a network drama being what they are, sure. She is at the mercy of a man and his pain and his gun. But she is also held in another kind of thrall. She is the subject of a show that, two decades after it began, still makes uncomfortable deals in its effort to turn real-life horror into ratings-grabbing fiction. She is part of a series that took in the Jeffrey Epstein story and decided that what the story really needed, if it was going to make for good TV, was more drama.

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertai...t-time/602686/
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TV Review (Streaming)
True Crime Drama Truth Be Told Isn't a Disaster—But It's Everything That's Wrong With Apple TV+
By Judy Berman, TIME.com - Dec. 3, 2019

Five years after the debut of Serial, podcasts and true crime are still thriving to such an extent that in retrospect their rise looks less like a trend and more like a paradigm shift—one that has changed television almost as much as radio. Inevitably, podcasts have been adapted into great (Homecoming) and terrible (Dirty John) TV dramas. Once confined to trashy news-magazine shows and niche networks, crime stories proliferated across platforms. True-crime podcasts have even become framing devices for fictional murder mysteries (see: True Detective season 3). Apple TV+ has taken that conceit a step further by enlisting Serial host Sarah Koenig as a consultant on Truth Be Told, which bills itself as a meditation on crime podcasting itself.

Debuting Dec. 6, the series features the service’s most impressive cast this side of The Morning Show (with which it shares an executive producer in Reese Witherspoon). Octavia Spencer stars as Poppy Parnell, a Bay Area journalist who made her name covering the 1999 murder of Stanford professor Chuck Buhrmann. Her reporting proved instrumental in the conviction of the victim’s 17-year-old neighbor, Warren Cave (played as an adult by Aaron Paul). But 19 years later, new evidence that a witness, Chuck’s then-teenage daughter Lanie (Lizzy Caplan), was coached compels Poppy to retrace her steps—in a revelatory first-person podcast, naturally. It’s like Serial, in other words, if Koenig had helped put Adnan Syed behind bars in the first place.

It stands to reason that when Poppy shows up at San Quentin, Warren isn’t exactly overjoyed to see her. The surprise is that his arms are covered in white supremacist tattoos; at some point during his two decades in prison he joined the Aryan Brotherhood. Truth Be Told wants us to ponder whether a black journalist is morally obligated to help a Nazi whom she believes was wrongfully convicted, even if his incarceration is partly her fault. The dilemma is cumbersome enough to come across as a contrived-for-TV thought experiment more than a smart inquiry into real ideas about race and ethics.

And it cements that impression before Lanie’s twin sister Josie pops up in New York with blonde hair, a fake English accent and a new name. (Nothing in the four episodes sent to critics gave me as much pleasure as the realization that Josie is basically a Lizzy Caplan character impersonating an Emily Blunt character.) It’s in scenes centered around the Buhrmanns and the Caves, which illustrate how the media can warp the families whose tragedies it distills into entertainment, that the show finds some resonance. The cast does the best it can with thin characters; Elizabeth Perkins brings engaging pathos to Warren’s cancer-stricken mom Melanie. Sadly, Truth Be Told doesn’t seem to have much to say on their plight that superior predecessors including Netflix’s hilariously sophomoric true-crime mockumentary American Vandal haven’t already covered.

The show has other weak points. An adaptation of the novel (originally titled Are You Sleeping) by Kathleen Barber, its scripts are cluttered with lines that might’ve looked all right on the page but sound unwieldy when spoken aloud. “Your son is bone-deep in that ragged tribe,” Spencer proclaims. Also: “Penitentiary walls stop nothing.” An unnecessary love triangle emerges. And especially after his breathtaking performance as a traumatized Jesse Pinkman in this year’s Breaking Bad sequel film El Camino, it’s a waste to cast Paul as a character with so little heart.

None of this makes Truth Be Told any worse than your standard network detective drama; you can imagine it scraping together passable ratings with an NCIS lead-in on CBS. But it marks another misstep for Apple TV+ because it’s so bland and forgettable. Historically, the shows that have made their respective platforms’ reputations for original programming have been (at least in their debut seasons) contemporary, revolutionary and just plain excellent: Orange Is the New Black, Breaking Bad, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Shield, Transparent. It takes more than a timely hook like true-crime podcasts to launch a subscription service, especially amid the current glut.

A month into the life of Apple TV+, the weird, exuberant Dickinson remains its most endearing show simply because it’s the only one with the urgency of a passion project. Apple might well be in the streaming wars for the long haul, but it won’t establish a real following until it consistently gives viewers more than just imitations of what they’re already watching—a reasonably diverting horror serial (Servant), a middling Shonda Rhimes ripoff (The Morning Show), a phoned-in fantasy epic (See). With Truth Be Told, the service has added a prosaic crime drama to the mix, but it remains a platform in search of an identity.

https://time.com/5743101/truth-be-told-apple-review/
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^^^ Over Thanksgiving dinner I accidentally busted my sister's iPhone. We were taking family photos, she tossed me her phone so I could take pics and I couldn't catch it. Fell to the ground and, well, cracked glass. It's an old phone (iPhone 5 or 6, not sure), so I talked her into letting me buy her an iPhone X(R) rather than spend a small fortune fixing the broken phone. Sis is hesitant to let go of the headphone jack and Home button (the reasons her hubby is sticking with his iPhone 8), but I think going from a 4.7" to a 6.1" screen will compensate. You know, first-world problems.

Anywho, an unexpected bonus of me purchasing a new iPhone for my sister is that I'll have Apple TV+ for a year. I share my passwords with my closest relatives (like they do with me for their subscriptions; between all of us we have access to all the major streaming services), so it looks like there will be plenty of Apple turkey to go around. God forgive us if a year from now one of us actually wants to keep the Apple TV+ subscription going.
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TV/Critic's Notes
From ‘Survivor Africa’ to ‘Island of the Idols’: Same Name, Different Show
By Alex Strachan, TVWorthWatching.com's 'TV That Matters' - Dec. 3, 2019

So much of TV is in-the-moment. We’re constantly rushing onto the next thing, and have little time to reflect on the past.

Streaming has opened up a whole new world of possibilities, though, and it wasn’t until I signed up for CBS All Access — having cut the cable cord this past summer — that I realized that one of the less-talked-about benefits of CBS’s streaming service is access to every, single episode of every single show CBS has owned or had a part of over the years.

One might not naturally think of Survivor as being a candidate for repeat viewing — not when the alternatives include such stalwarts as the original Twilight Zone, Hawaii Five-0 — both the Jack Lord original and the noisy, action-driven reboot — and CSI, in all its guises and versions. But those old, early seasons of Survivor were one of the first things that jumped out at me.

The thing about reality TV — that we’ve been led to believe, anyway — is that its shelf life is less than zero. Once you’ve seen a season of a reality-competition program like Survivor, why would you want to watch it again?

I was curious, though, about those early seasons of Survivor and how they might compare to today’s edition, with the show now in its 39th cycle. The current season, which airs a new episode this Wednesday (the season finale is projected for later this month), revolves around the return of past serial winners Sandra Diaz-Twine and Rob Mariano, in the role of mentors to newcomers in the game. Clearly, Survivor has come a long way since the day Sue Hawk lectured Richard Hatch on how people behave in the real world, on a beach in Borneo in the spring of 2000.

Having traveled extensively throughout East Africa’s wilderness in the years Survivor has been on the air, I was curious to re-watch 2001’s Survivor Africa. The show debuted just weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks and was recently rated by one of those entertainment-zine websites as one of Survivor’s worst seasons ever.

I wanted to see if, after all these years, Survivor depicted an accurate view of what it’s like to try and survive in Kenya’s wild, semi-arid north country and whether it held up over the years as a TV show.

As someone who has watched every minute of every episode of Survivor over its run, I was startled by what I found. Survivor has undergone dramatic changes over the years, some for the good, some for the bad.

All TV shows evolve, of course, but Survivor is in a league of its own in that regard.

Consider, for example, that Mariano and Diaz-Twine, the hook behind this present season, titled Island of the Idols, are two supposed idols who were unknown to the wider public 20 years ago, whose only claim to fame is that they’ve won Survivor on several occasions. (Mariano interestingly lasted just several weeks in his debut appearance, in 2002’s Survivor Marquesas, which I watched immediately after watching Survivor Africa, again thanks to CBS All Access. Mariano was aggressive, opinionated, and full of himself, and when the tribe had spoken, his tribe-mates were happy to see the back end of him. The fact that he was invited back to the program in one of those “all-star” editions, a new person, more calculating and better at playing “the game,” counts as a kind of personal growth, I suppose, though it’s always tricky to read real-life personal growth into a situation as contrived as those that Survivor places its contestants in.)

Watching Survivor: Africa today, it’s hard not to be struck by how genuinely arduous and draining the experience of day-to-day survival was. Northern Kenya is semi-arid desert and thorn-bush country; the contestants were dropped into Kenya’s sparsely populated Samburu District (I know, I’ve been there) with no drinking water and little food, and more-or-less told to fend for themselves. The group challenges were insanely physical, bordering on dangerous, under an equatorial sun in temperatures that edged toward 100° at times. The inevitable result, from a “game-playing” point of view, was catastrophic. The contestants became sick and dehydrated quickly, and such relatively trivial matters as alliances in the game fell by the wayside as the contestants tried to make it from one day to the next. Survivor: Africa — rated by fanzines, remember, as one of the show’s worst seasons — would change the show forever.

It’s fascinating to watch today — gritty, harsh, unrelenting and genuine, hardcore and real, and arguably a testament to the human will to survive. It’s not one of the worst seasons; it’s one of the gripping and hypnotic to watch, because you, the viewer sitting at home, get a sense of what it must be like to really be out there, in the wild, fending for yourself. When you can’t even rely on your drinking water to be safe, life takes on a whole added meaning.

Jeff Probst (top), in an interview with this reporter, admitted Survivor: Africa changed the game in profound, long-lasting ways. From that season onward, the contestants would be guaranteed access to clean, unlimited quantities of fresh drinking water. Limited amounts of food would be supplied, where there was no food easily at hand to forage. (Survivor Marquesas, the next in the series, did not provide contestants with food because the lush tropical Pacific island a day’s sail north of Tahiti, had plenty of food for foraging, in the form of coconuts and tree fruit.) Probst said it was important to the producers — and the show — that the contestants not need to worry about day-to-day survival, because Survivor’s raison d’être is the interplay between tribes and different personalities.

The continent of Africa was a fascinating but basically flawed backdrop to Survivor in those early seasons; 2008’s Survivor: Gabon, Earth’s Last Eden would prove to be the last straw. Probst said that contestants and crew — especially the crew, who he works with on a 24/7 basis throughout Survivor’s 39-day film shoots — had to put up with basic living conditions that verged on the unliveable at times. He vowed that Survivor would stick to relatively accessible tropical beach locations from then on, and in recent years Survivor has settled on Fiji as a semi-permanent film location. Probst is now a senior executive producer, too, so he gets what he wants. Also, with Survivor holding up in the ratings — even after all these years — there’s a feeling that little needs to be changed. Why mess with a good thing?

The most profound change now, of course, is the contestants themselves. They are all Survivor fans and have watched virtually every season, minute-by-minute, on DVR and old-school videotape players, learning the ins and outs of a game that, to paraphrase the inimitable baseball guru Yogi Berra, “is ninety percent mental and the other half physical.”

The old innocence is gone; it’s no accident that every one of this season’s contestants so far who have met Mariano and Diaz-Twine in person practically swoons in delight at encountering Survivor stardom.

Other changes over the years included the introduction of double eliminations; hidden immunity idols — overdone in recent seasons, to the point where it sometimes seems as though there might be almost as many hidden immunity idols as coconut trees — castaway islands, where unlucky contestants are exiled in order to “find themselves” before being parachuted back into the game, more often than not with a new target on their backs; and introducing making-fire challenges as a way to break tied votes, instead of the original picking lots by blindly choosing a colored rock out of a bag (the dreaded “purple rock o’ death”).

Some of these changes are for the better, some not so much. Personally, I still find Survivor to be intriguing enough to watch every moment.

These new episodes are nothing like those early seasons, though. The whole tone of the show has shifted, from genuine survival to interpersonal dynamics and personal politics, not so much a latter-day Lord of the Flies as a reality-TV take on The Office, set on a tropical beach.

A final note: Survivor: Africa is not one of the worst seasons, no matter how much the fan sites might have you believe so. It laid the ground for the show Survivor has become today, by showing that genuine hardship, while eye-opening and revealing, doesn’t make for terrific entertainment where a reality-TV show’s long-term prospects are concerned. Club Med is more fun than Devil’s Island.

http://www.tvworthwatching.com/BlogP...x?postId=19217
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TV Notes
On The Air
WEDNESDAY DEC. 4, 2019 Network Primetime/Late Night Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET. Network late night shows are preceded by late local news)
From Zap2it.com's TV Grid

ABC:
8PM - The Goldbergs
8:30PM - Schooled
9PM - Modern Family
9:31PM - Single Parents
10PM - Stumptown
* * * *
11:35PM - Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Tom Holland; Ana Gasteyer; Angel Olsen performs)
12:37AM - Nightline

CBS:
8PM - Survivor
9PM - SEAL Team
10PM - S.W.A.T.
(R)
* * *
11:35PM - The Late Show With Stephen Colbert (Eddie Redmayne; Pharrell Williams performs)
12:37AM - The Late Late Show With James Corden (John Travolta; Aaron Taylor-Johnson; director Sam Taylor-Johnson)

NBC:
8PM - 87th Annual Christmas in Rockefeller Center (Special, 120 min.)
10PM - Making It
* * * *
11:34PM - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (John Lithgow; singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette; Alanis Morissette performs)
12:37AM - Late Night With Seth Meyers (Sam Rockwell; Lucy Boynton; Les Savy Fav performs; Steve Gorman sits in with the 8G Band)
(R)
1:38AM - A Little Late With Lilly Singh (Constance Wu)
(R)

FOX:
8PM - The Masked Singer[
9:01PM - The Moodys (Series Premiere)

THE CW:
8PM - Riverdale
9PM - Nancy Drew

PBS:
8PM - Nature: Dogs in the Land of Lions
(R)
9PM - NOVA: Ultimate Cruise Ship
(R)
10PM - SuperNature -- Wild Flyers
(R)

UNIVISION:
8PM - Ringo
9PM - La Rosa de Guadalupe
10PM - El Dragón (120 min.)

TELEMUNDO:
8PM - El Sultán
9PM - El Final del Paraíso
10PM - El Señor de Los Cielos

CBSSN:
7PM - College Basketball: South Carolina at Massachusetts (LIVE)
9PM - Inside College Football (120 min.)
* * * *
11PM - College Basketball: California at San Francisco (LIVE)

ESPN 2:
7:15PM - College Basketball: Virginia at Purdue (LIVE)
9:15PM - College Basketball: Wisconsin at NC State (LIVE)
* * * *
11:15PM - College Basketball: Utah State at San Jose State (LIVE)

ESPN U:
7:15PM - College Basketball: Nebraska at Georgia Tech (LIVE)
9:15PM - College Basketball: Wake Forest at Penn State (LIVE)

ESPN:
7:30PM - College Basketball: Notre Dame at Maryland (LIVE)
9:30PM - College Basketball: Ohio State at North Carolina (LIVE)

BRAVO:
8PM - The Real Housewives of New Jersey
9PM - The Real Housewives of Dallas
10PM - Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen (Ashley Tisdale; TV personality Jennifer Aydin)
* * * *
11:30PM - Blind Date

GOLF:
8PM - PGA Tour Golf: Emirates Australian Open, First Round (5 hrs., LIVE)

NBCSN:
8PM - NHL Hockey: St. Louis Blues at Pittsburgh Penguins (LIVE)
10:45PM - NHL Overtime (45 min., LIVE)

OWN:
8PM - One Fine Christmas Unwrapped (Special, 120 min.)

TNT:
8PM - All Elite Wrestling: Dynamite (120 min., LIVE)

USA:
8PM - WWE NXT (128 min.)

VH1:
8PM - Black Ink Crew: Chicago (Season Premiere, 120 min.)

BET:
9PM - Tyler Perry's The Oval
10PM - Tyler Perry's Sistas
* * * *
11PM - Copwatch America

FREEFORM:
9PM - Movie - Ghosting: The Spirit of Christmas (2019)

GSN:
9PM - America Says: Cool Moms vs. Puppeteers

HISTORY:
9PM - Vikings (Season Premiere, 122 min.)

MTV:
9PM - The Challenge (124 min.)

CNBC:
10PM - Five Day Biz Fix (Series Premiere)

COMEDY CENTRAL:
10:30PM - Crank Yankers
* * * *
11PM - The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Guest TBA, 35 min.)
11:35PM - Lights Out With David Spade (Adam Ray, Andrea Savage & Brent Morin)

E:
10:30PM - Nightly Pop

TBS:
10:30PM - Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
(R)
* * * *
11PM - Conan (Guest TBA)


http://tvlistings.zap2it.com/?aid=gapzap
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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post
Over Thanksgiving dinner I accidentally busted my sister's iPhone. We were taking family photos, she tossed me her phone so I could take pics and I couldn't catch it. Fell to the ground and, well, cracked glass.
How is that your fault? She’s the one that threw it at you.
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I'm the older brother, I should be able to catch. Damn this buttery fingers of mine! (shakes fist at invisible cloud in a clear sky sky)
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TV/Technology Notes (Streaming)
Disney+ Experiences Technical Problems
By Abid Rahman, The Hollywood Reporter - Dec. 3, 2019

Streaming service Disney+ appeared to be hit by technical difficulties on Tuesday evening, according to tech tracking site Downdetector.com.

Downdetector, a site that tracks technical disruptions and outages of major online services, experienced a spike in reports of users experiencing problems logging into Disney+.

Downdetector showed 2,070 reports of problems at 9:48 p.m PT, and the tracking company's heat map for Disney+ showed a disruption all over North America with a concentration on the West Coast. There were also problems reported in Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, the only other countries so far where Disney+ is available.

The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Disney for comment.

At 11:15 p.m. PT, Downdetector reported only 44 reports and Disney+ appeared to be back working as normal.

This is not the first time Disney+ has experienced technical problems. The service infamously had tech issues on launch day last month. Following the problems, Disney released a statement that overwhelming consumer demand for Disney+ had caused the tech problems.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/ne...oblems-1259472
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TV Notes (Streaming)
HBO Max Lines Up 1-Hour Comedy Specials
By Jon Lafayette, Broadcasting & Cable - Dec. 3, 2019

HBO Max, the upcoming streaming service from AT&T, said it greenlit four standup comedy specials, two featuring talent from the Turner cable channels.

Tracy Morgan of The Last O.G. and John Early of Search Party, two TBS shows, headline two of the specials.The others feature rising stars Rose Matafeo and Ahir Shah.

“We are incredibly proud to showcase this expansive range of comedic talent on HBO Max,” said Suzanna Makkos, executive VP of original programming, comedy and animation, HBO Max. “From legends to newcomers, this impressive slate of specials will complement the library of premium stand-up specials that HBO has become known for.”

HBO Max previously announced a partnership with Conan O’Brien and Team Coco to create specials. O’Brien will host two specials and curate three others. HBO Max also purchase the rights to a special featuring comedian James Veitch produced by Team Coco.

https://www.broadcastingcable.com/ne...omedy-specials
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Cable/Business Notes
D.C. Urges Comcast to Keep Starz Channels
By John Eggerton, Multichannel News - Dec. 3, 2019

The D.C. City Council has joined Baltimore in urging Comcast not to drop Starz and related channels from its system on Dec. 10 as planned.

The D.C. Council has passed a resolution similar to one passed by Baltimore--it even cited Baltimore's resolution--that said Comcast has an obligation to maximize diversity on its cable systems and urged it to do so.

But while Baltimore stopped at issuing a general sense of the council that Comcast needed to comply with its franchise requirement on diversity, D.C. went further.

It pointed out that Starz, Starz Edge, Starz in Black, Starz Comedy, Starz Cinema, and Starz Kids and Family, would be removed from Comcast packages, and said "it is the sense of the Council that Comcast should maintain Starz channels and associated on demand content in its packages until the contract issues are resolved."

Citing the need to manage programming costs, Comcast told viewers it would be replacing Starz and Starz On Demand in its cable packages with EPIX channels and told viewers that still wanted Starz they would need to buy it a la carte for $12 per month, though that might only last until the end of the month.

Comcast's contract to carry Starz programming ends Dec. 31 and it has yet to reach a carriage deal beyond that date.

https://www.multichannel.com/news/d-...starz-channels
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