And is "HBO" the problem?
What to know
Everything Everywhere achieves historic sweep, but in the end the Oscars were the Oscars… If you love Everything Everywhere All at Once, and let’s face it, most people do, you’ve got to be riding high today. The new Best Picture champ became the first movie to win 5 above-the-line Oscars, including 3 for its lovable stars! It was so fun to see that play out. Meanwhile, the Oscars brought the telecast back to basics. If you like the Oscars as they’re meant to be, this show probably did the trick for you. It felt like an old school affair. Jimmy Kimmel pulled off a pretty funny monologue and a number of gags (of course constantly ragging on the slap). Ke Huy Quan, Michelle Yeoh, Brendan Fraser, and Jamie Lee Curtis gave great acceptance speeches (did you know this is the first time every acting winner was over 50 years old?), Ruth E. Carter became the first Black woman to win 2 Oscars (!), “Naatu Naatu” brought the house down, and then Ke Huy Quan hugged Harrison Ford at the end. It’s been a great award season folks, till next year! 🏆
Warner Bros. Discovery thinks the name “HBO” might be turning people away from HBO Max… “HBO” has been synonymous with quality programming for decades. The name HBO comes with a certain cachet. People love HBO shows and make an appointment to watch them on Sunday nights. But David Zaslav comes from Discovery, whose biggest networks are TLC, HGTV, and Food Network — aka wallpaper TV, the opposite of appointment viewing. So I can understand how Zaslav might think the name “HBO” is scaring off certain TV audiences looking for this other type of content. There’s got to be a middle ground here. 📺
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The Last of Us will turn second game into multiple seasons… What a powerful finale. Mazin and Druckmann pulled off the rarest of feats in television: A near perfect first season. And of course, it being such a hit, HBO is not going to rush them off the air any time soon. The finale also scored the season’s highest ratings and surpassed House of the Dragon, despite going up against the Oscars. 🍄
Early reactions praise Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves… Color me shocked. The early tweetsponses to D&D are calling the movie an absolute blast. Based on the marketing, it looked mid at best. Guess I got another movie to check out in March. 🐲
Slate: “Get used to it. The Oscars are weird now”… Hell yeah, they are! Hopefully we can leave the Green Book Academy in the past where it belongs. I want to live in the Parasite, Shape of Water, Everything Everywhere Academy era for as long as possible. 👏
Oscar Isaac in talks to play Kurt Vonnegut in Amazon miniseries… And if you’re thinking, “Cool! A Vonnegut bio-series,” sorry, but this is actually a crime drama set before he became a famous writer. Yeah, I don’t know either. 5️⃣
Why did Hugh Grant do this red carpet interview?… Just so awkward. 🤔
Extrapolations — Mar 17 | Apple TV+ drama series | 🍅 56%
Agent Elvis — Mar 17 | Netflix animated series | 🍅
Boston Strangler — Mar 17 | Hulu drama film | 🍅
Swarm — Mar 17 | Amazon psychological thriller series | 🍅
Shazam! Fury of the Gods — Mar 17 | Superhero movie in theaters | 🍅
Lucky Hank — Mar 19 | AMC drama series | 🍅 100%
What to watch
There once was a time when TV had something called “episodes.” Today, we have way too many languid “10-hour movies” that get lost in the sauce of their own serialization. Yet there is beauty in the art of the episode and how a truly episodic series can track a character (or characters) through different stories, while still remaining the thing we love — and maybe even teach us about them and ourselves. Episodic television seems to be a dying breed, but not if Rian Johnson and Natasha Lyonne have anything to say about it. They’ve brought us Poker Face as a reminder of how fun and exciting lightly serialized, but mostly episodic, and yes, even procedural storytelling can be. Their murder mystery show might be on Peacock and come with the gloss and creativity of a modern streaming era hit, but its DNA is classic television. The warm-your-soul, fall-asleep-with-the-set-on kind of classic television. And it’s a joy to behold. Who knew something so old school could feel so fresh? The whole concept is pretty genius too, now that everyone has zagged from the zig of episodic TV, Johnson and Lyonne are bringing sexy back to the zig. And as a bonus, they’re doing it with a heaping of stylistic verve, dark humor, and bombastic stunt casting. The end of every episode isn’t going to hang you off a cliff to get you to watch the next one like some cheap Netflix thriller, but the sheer unpredictability of where this gem of a show could go next will have you clicking for more anyway.