Netflix boss defends controversial special
And is The Sopranos the new Friends?
What to know
Ted Sarandos defends Chappelle’s “artistic freedom,” Netflix suspends 3 employees for crashing exec meeting in protest of comedian’s trans jokes… This is a very messy situation. I understand Sarandos not wanting to alienate any creative partners but he’s trying to have it both ways. He acknowledges that the content is hurtful to people but falls back onto “artistic freedom” as to take no responsibility for his programming decisions. Good on those Netflix employees who were willing to risk their jobs. 🍿
Is The Sopranos the new Friends?… Probably not, but thanks to The Many Saints of Newark it is breaking HBO Max records. The 22-year-old drama series broke HBO Max’s record for highest daily viewership last Sunday and weekly viewership of a TV series. I’ve heard so many good things about this Sopranos show, I guess I should check it out! 🍝
The Ghostbusters: Afterlife reviews are in… and are mostly good! It apparently trades in a lot of nostalgia and references, but does manage to put a refreshing spotlight on its young cast. Based on the trailer, that sounds about right. Can’t say I’m going to rush out to a theater to see it, but I’ll catch it on streaming 👻
Ted Lasso will get to use Premiere League trademarks and branding in third season… Ted Lasso just got all the more realistic — but how about that finale?! How’s everyone doing after? Emotionally gutted? Yeah, me too. What happened to the happy show where everyone loves each other? ⚽️
Timothée Chalamet broods in first image from Wonka, which is also a musical… The costume design is reminiscent of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s Wonka, which is definitely a choice. I’m not convinced Chalamet has the mischievous spark this role demands, but at least he’s going to sing. 🍫
Venom 2 features some Matrix Resurrections helicopters… The two movies were shooting at the same time, resulting in a very unexpected crossover 🚁
Disney+ is expected to be bigger than Netflix by 2025… Wow, Grogu will be 56 by then! 📺
Netflix signs merch deal with Walmart… Your Squid Game Halloween costume just got a lot easier 🦑
David Gordon Green to direct Walt Disney biopic about building Disneyland… somebody get Tom Hanks on the line 🏰
Emma Corrin to star in Retreat, a murder mystery series from The OA creators… in case you needed another show about people at a retreat 🔪
For more pop culture news, discussion, and what-to-watch recommendations subscribe to my pals over on the Kickball Friends podcast. 🎙
Dropping this week:
Chucky — Oct 12 Syfy horror series | 🍅
Dopesick — Oct 13 Hulu drama series | 🍅 63%
What Happened, Brittany Murphy? — Oct 14 HBO Max doc series | 🍅
Halloween Kills — Oct 15 theaters & Peackock horror film | 🍅 62%
Succession s3 premiere — Oct 17 HBO Max drama series
What to watch
Is now the best period of television ever? The conventional argument goes, “No, the prestige era of the early-to-mid 2000s was the best ever. Now is the era of the most television ever.” But I’m not so sure that’s true anymore. It seems that by having the most, we have made room for the best. There is no other way to explain the breakthrough that is Reservation Dogs, a perfect example of why now is the best period of television ever.
Sterlin Harjo’s modern coming-of-age comedy series about Native American teens growing up on a depressed Oklahoma reservation takes inspiration from things like Stand by Me and Atlanta, but it holds an identity all its own. More than any other show I’ve recommended, I can confidently say, you have never seen a show like this before, because these voices have never been centered on TV before. Unless you’ve visited or grew up there, you’ve probably never even seen this part of the country before. Harjo set out to capture what it’s like to grow up in the Indigenous community, to portray its distinct sense of humor, its values, and its adjacency to tragedy. He was exceedingly successful. Reservation Dogs is a funny, beautiful, mystifying, and heartbreaking portrait of an underrepresented and oppressed community that is so much more than token representation.
It also happens to be wonderfully written and performed. Harjo and executive producer Taika Waititi (ever heard of him) do a very smart thing in the way they structure their season. They start the show out as a fairly straightforward hangout comedy, but without the viewer noticing much, they lay two subtle tracks of fantasy and tragedy. These elements bloom in full later in the season in truly dazzling ways. They pull off a similar feat with their cast. A lot of modern comedies do the side-character-gets-an episode thing, but Harjo proves not only is his universe versatile enough to handle multiple engrossing side adventures, so are his revelatory young actors.
So why is now the best era of TV? This show could not have existed in a prior era of television because the gatekeepers would have never let it through. The prestige era had to give way to the peak TV era and now the post-peak too-much-TV era to even make Reservation Dogs a reality. Like the series itself—and the community it portrays—there is a tragic-comic irony in that. We’ve got more TV than we’ll ever be able to watch, but it’s opened the door to so much diversity and vital new voices. I implore you to seek them out. The bubble might burst at some point and TV might become exclusively franchises and reheated IP — but for now we have Reservation Dogs and that’s f*cking amazing.
Reservation Dogs’ entire first season is now available on FX on Hulu.
For all past ‘what to watch’ recommendations, see the full list here!