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NEWS: Exploring Jack Ryan as a character, Norm MacDonald gets real, and the world is introduced to Miss Sherlock. And more…

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Can Jack Ryan Be the Hero in 2018?

Krasinski is the fifth actor to slip into the great man’s suit jacket/bulletproof vest. “I am not field personnel—I am only an analyst!” protests Alec Baldwin, playing Ryan in 1990’s runaway-submarine thriller The Hunt for Red October, based on Tom Clancy’s blockbuster debut 1984 novel. Soon, he’s on the sub anyway. “You’re not a field man, Jack,” some chump bureaucrat crows to Harrison Ford in 1992’s Patriot Games. “You never were. You are an analyst. Analyze that.” The chump does not return for 1994’s Clear and Present Danger, but Ford sure does. “I’m a—I’m an analyst,” stammers Ben Affleck in 2002’s The Sum of All Fears. “I don’t go on the, the, you know, mission.” He goes on the mission. “No, I’m just an analyst,” objects Chris Pine in 2014’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, trying to squirm out of a trip to Russia. He goes to Russia, where he drowns a would-be assassin in a hotel bathtub. Reluctantly.

Amazon’s luxuriously gritty reboot, created by Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland—and executive-produced by, among others, longtime Jack Ryan steward Mace Neufeld and Michael Bay—spares no expense in terms of the shootouts, the explosions, and the grim travelogue scope. Jack Ryan at least aspires to delicacy and nuance—the characters in Yemen are more thoughtfully developed than the characters in D.C., and our tale takes some odd, queasy, prestige-adjacent detours. But as always, in addition to whatever global disaster our unstoppable hero is trying to stop, there is a deeper, more personal crisis to avert. It’s a battle for the soul of a character often described by his frenemies as a “self-righteous Boy Scout” naively devoted to the platonic ideals of “loyalty, cleanliness, and knot tying,” to quote Clear and Present Danger’s particularly odious chump bureaucrat. On a long and dark timeline, with his beloved CIA’s public image constantly soiled from within and without, can anything stop Jack Ryan from turning into Jack Bauer?
[The Ringer]

Real Talk with Norm Macdonald

At the diner, in a booth, Macdonald ordered a beef sandwich with a bowl of dip, and Steere ordered chili in a sourdough bowl. They talked about the ideal kind of talking. “I was trying to make it real intimate,” Macdonald said of his Netflix series, which is called “Norm Macdonald Has a Show.” Most guests are camera-savvy, but he likes to throw them off their talk-show shtick by keeping the production loose. At one point, someone drove a forklift through a shot.

“That looks fake, but it really happened,” Steere said.

“I’d never tell anyone when the show had started,” Macdonald explained. “The guy would be doing my makeup, and I’d go, ‘What the fuck are you doing? I’m trying to do a show.’ ” One guest, David Spade, wondered aloud whether he’d been summoned for a test episode. “That’s the spirit of the show,” Macdonald said. 
[The New Yorker]

Matthew Goode confirmed for Downton Abbey movie – but he says he will only be “popping in at the end”

The last time we visited Downton, Lady Mary was pregnant with their first child and Henry had set up an automobile shop with Tom Branson (Allen Leech) named Talbot and Branson Motors.

So you’d expect him to have a pretty meaty role in the upcoming feature film.

But Goode tells Radio Times: “I’m just popping in at the end, which is a nice way to do it.”
[Radio Times]

Media Watch highlights product placement in Neighbours storylines

Media Watch has revealed a storyline in which Karl Kennedy (Alan Fletcher) searches for a sibling led him to searching through the genealogy website.

KARL: They give you hints. See all these little green leaves, you click on one of those, it takes you to options to find other people you could be related to. They don’t show the name or the age or the location of anyone living. It’s just one huge puzzle waiting to be solved. 

Neighbours, 29 August 2018

Across several episodes Ancestry.com was mentioned by the characters as blatant product placement, accompanied by paid advertisements in commercial breaks.
[TV Tonight]

‘The Purge’ comes to TV, but isn’t quite binge-worthy

Written and produced by creator James DeMonaco, the opening episodes are plagued by a hit-miss quality, suggesting that not all Purge-related stories are created equal. The show also has a certain “Black Mirror” feel — or at least aspires to that — as the various players prepare for what’s to come, connected by a tension-building onscreen countdown with graphics like “97 minutes to Purge.”

The series takes place a decade into the Purge — a political infection confined to the United States — and there’s obviously a dystopian quality to a society so indifferent to its population as to sanction murder once a year. In this variation on the theme, it’s a situation that some people are determined to stop, others to exploit and most would just like to survive.
[CNN]

Supernatural Boss: ‘It’s Challenging to Write Episodes Without Dean’

After 13 years on the air, Supernatural will do something it’s never done before when the CW series returns this fall: have episodes without Dean Winchester in them, while his portrayer Jensen Ackles takes on the role of archangel Michael.

“The show’s built upon two pillars, and those two pillars are Sam and Dean,” co-showrunner Andrew Dabb tells TVLine as part of our Fall Preview Q&A. “We’ve taken Sam away for little chunks of time here and there, but never in a huge way. He’s been soulless and things like that, but he’s still kind of present. Demon Dean was kind of a one-episode thing, and largely, the action happened off-screen.”
[TVLine]

Rehabbing the World’s Greatest Detective: The Brilliant Reinvention of ‘Miss Sherlock’

Miss Sherlock is the first major series to cast a woman to play the titular detective. HBO and Hulu co-produced the show, which aired in Japan and across Asia earlier this year and now premieres in the U.S. with new episodes airing each Friday. Yuko Takeuchi plays the legendary detective with a quirky, but fashionable edge; Shihori Kanjiya plays Dr. Wato Tachibana—Wato-san—Sherlock’s frumpy junior partner who’s taking a break from the medical profession following some harrowing field work in Syria. In the show’s premiere, Sherlock meets Wato-san, a key witness in a series of gruesome murders, and the episode concludes with Sherlock agreeing, at her brother’s insistence, to take Wato-san on as her roommate in Tokyo apartment 221B. Reluctantly, Sherlock and Wato-san forge their classic partnership. Tokyo police inspector Gentaro Reimon invites Sherlock to scrutinize various crime scenes; meanwhile, clients drop by 221B in hopes of solving their own, private troubles. Sherlock cites Wato-san’s medical expertise and also occasionally uses her as bait. Instead of a diary, Wato-san recounts their misadventures to her therapist.
[The Ringer]

‘Bobby Brown’ puts new spin on BET edition of his story

The two-part production fares best when it’s reveling in the music, offering a reminder that Brown had a life and career that went beyond the tragedies involving Houston and their daughter, Bobbi Kristina. Perhaps inevitably, the second night becomes a rather morbid affair down the stretch, chronicling those losses as well as the deaths of Brown’s parents.
[CNN]

Dan Barrett

Dan Barrett is the Editor of Always Be Watching and is a big fan of 1980s sitcom Cheers. Prior to Always Be Watching, he produced the website and podcast Televised Revolution, was the Deputy Editor of Mediaweek Australia, and was the TV critic for Radio National’s Breakfast show.

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