I remember being overwhelmed – in a good way. No, not kiss chase, I’m talking about TV in the 1980s and 90s, when the UK only had four terrestrial channels. Every evening I picked up the TV guide, a wealth of opportunity lay at my fingertips, as a plan quickly emerged in pencil, with a few rings marked ‘V’ for ‘Video it, Dopey’.
The US, though, had zillions of channels – we knew that from watching people in films watch TV. I didn’t envy them – most of it looked like rubbish. But someone, somewhere, disagreed. What Britain evidently needed, and countries like Denmark, which only had one TV channel until the launch of TV2 in 1988, was more choice.
The result is I’ve now seen the middle-parts of some films so many times that the opening 15 minutes have an almost mythical quality if I accidentally stumble upon them. “Wait … the Russian roulette scene is coming up. Don’t tell me you’ve never seen it?,” I ask as Saturday quickly becomes Sunday.
Enjoy it while it …
Soon we will look back at the last couple of years with the same sort of nostalgia. As you skim through this online on November 1, the already congested streaming market in Denmark will have been joined by Apple TV+. Initially with virtually no titles, it has guaranteed itself an audience by giving a free annual subscription away with every Apple purchase.
With Amazon and Disney also operating services in Denmark, along with market leaders Netflix and HBO Nordic (strictly in that order), we are approaching a new era – and just like at the end of the golden age of television, you’ll no longer be able to trust that the series making waves on cable will one day make it your way.
As the number of streaming services multiply, we are going to get less bang for our buck, and when the industry eventually consolidates, it will cost us – in terms of both price and quality. We might even have to start buying boxsets again.
Until dickless here …
As you can imagine, Apple TV+ isn’t coming out of the john with just its dick in its hand. In The Morning Show (60 on Metacritic; first two seasons from Nov 1) Steve Carell plays the TV presenter handed his dick on a platter when MeToo catches up with him, leaving his co-host (Jennifer Aniston) struggling to fill the void – a chasm that looks as inviting as Death Valley when a new presenter (Reese Witherspoon) joins the team.
So the question on everyone’s lips who isn’t purchasing a new Apple device this Christmas is when will it be on Netflix? The answer is never.
And the same is true of the rest of these titles, which are all available from November 1, complete with two seasons: Dickinson (68), a period comedy about the life of 19th century poet Emily Dickinson; For All Mankind (67), which reimagines what it would have been like had the Soviets won the Space Race; See (38), a daft looking sci-fi series starring everyone’s favorite turkey baster Jason Momoa; and Oprah’s Book Club – miss it at your peril.
Reverse nepotism beckons
Obviously Netflix and HBO Nordic aren’t too concerned about the opposition, which explains why neither have chosen to release many titles.
On Netflix, The End of the F***ing World (Nov 5; S2) and Atypical (Nov 1; S3) return for new seasons, and we’ve got two vaguely promising series: missing son drama American Son (Nov 1) and historical drama The King (62; Nov 1).
The latter reimagines the fictional Hal-Falstaff friendship (Timothée Chalamet and Joel Edgerton – David Michôd, his director in Animal Kingdom, takes charge) from the Shakespeare plays as one grounded in reality, and there’s strong support from Robert Pattison as the Dauphin, Henry’s foe on the fields of Agincourt, Ben Mendelsohn as Henry IV, creepy British actor Sean Harris as somebody who looks like a backstabber, and Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis’s daughter Lily-Rose Depp as some French tart the producers insisted on adding to give the poor girl a part.
Both of Dafne Keen’s parents are actors, but neither are particularly famous – yet. Reverse nepotism roles lie in store given that their daughter has landed the lead in His Dark Materials (67; Nov 4 on HBO Nordic), which with a second season greenlighted promises to be the next Game of Thrones. The word is strong that the series will realise the potential of Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy, which was rendered a damp squib by the 2007 film The Golden Compass starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. Hopefully their ‘replacements’, James McAvoy and Ruth Wilson (finally free of The Affair), will do better.
Completing the fortnight for HBO Nordic are British druid romp Britannia (Nov 7; S2) and the already cancelled DC series Swamp Thing (67; Nov 8), which is finally getting a bow in Denmark.
Mostly unwelcome returns
Meanwhile, nothing is really grabbing us at the cinema, although maybe we should give Terminator: Dark Fate (54; Oct 31) a chance. It is, after all, a sequel to the second film, bringing back Linda Hamilton and Edward Furlong to play the roles of Sarah and John Connor, with James Cameron back onboard as story creator and, of course, Big Arnie as the T-800.
Nobody from the original cast of The Shining returns for Doctor Sleep (Not Released Worldwide; Nov 7), and Stephen King is most likely cock-a-hoop that the supernatural elements are returning, as he pretty much rejected Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, which many still acclaim as the best horror film of all time. Ewan McGregor plays the adult Danny, complete with his crooked finger and fondness for predicting Grand National winners on the mirror.
Should that not send you to sleep, we’ve got Howard’s End (89; Oct 31) – gawd knows why they’re releasing it – and Midway (89; Nov 7), which looks like a sequel to Pearl Harbor, but is fortunately directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day), not Michael Bay.
As much as I hanker for the mid-1990s, I can do without the likes of Bad Boys, The Rock and Armageddon. In fact, where’s the T-800? That’s one more leg of the franchise I’d gladly watch.