Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Monday, June 10th, 2024

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Monday, June 10th, 2024:

Over the past weeks, Netflix has been rolling out a new, refreshed interface to small groups of users. The latest update apparently rolled out last week and includes moving the main menu from the left-hand side to the top, while consolidating some of the choices. There has also been an overhaul of how the program tiles behave when you click on them. Previously, that triggered a trailer (or short excerpt of the program) to autoplay. Now, clicking the tile brings up more information about the title, including its synopsis, the year it was released, the number of episodes, and its genre.

I had an opportunity to speak with someone at Netflix on background about the changes and I'll post a longer piece on AllYourScreens in the next couple of days. But I did want to pull out a few interesting tidbits now.

While there are still likely to be some tweaks to the design, the overall look of the Netflix app won't change all that much. And that's because when user tests were conducted by the streamer, subscribers overwhelmingly preferred the current, more familiar design. I was told that the company has tested several fairly comprehensive changes over the past few years and while a small subset of testers preferred the new look and features, there was a strong enough pushback to discourage the streamer from doing a complete reboot.

The way that the new interface handles video in a less intrusive way, which I am told is in direct response to subscriber feedback and user test results. "No one likes auto-playing video, but the reality is that the video does encourage some percentage of users to then sample the show," I was told. "The changes are an effort to retain that content discoverability while making the user experience less irritating."

There will also be a decreased emphasis on the "Top Ten" TV and movie lists, which can currently be found near the top of the "Latest" page. "We think it's less useful for viewers now that we have added the highlight buttons to titles when they are on the current top ten," it was explained to me. "The top ten lists were always less about keeping track and more about highlighting popular shows for subscribers. And we think there are more effective ways to do that now."

More to come later this week...

The Television Critics Association (TCA) released their nominations for this year's TCA Awards, which will be presented in a live, non-televised event that’s part of the summer press tour on Friday, July 12th. There has been some talk about televising the event, but the consensus seems to be that a lot of nominees enjoy the fact that it airing (or streaming) somewhere. Plus, the non-profit status of the TCA makes negotiating a deal more trouble than it is likely worth.

The tour itself will be an abbreviated 7 days, running from Wednesday, July 10th through Wednesday, July 17th. With a couple of exceptions, the panels are mostly comprised of the broadcast networks. I'll be there for the entire run, so I hope to meet some of you there.

I did have one admittedly quibbling piece of feedback about the TCA Awards.

The TCA release lumps HBO and Max together, which gives the combined service 13 nominations. Except that nearly all of those nominations are for shows that premiered on HBO, while also streaming on Max. The only true Max Original is Conan O'Brien Must Go. A show such as True Detective: Night Country is no more a Max show than Quiet On Set: The Dark Side Of Kids TV. Both shows premiered first on linear networks, but also had day/date or close to it premieres on Max.

For that matter, FX is tied with Netflix with the most nominations (16). But while most of the nominations are from shows that have an FX branding in reality they are shows that premiere on Hulu with "FX on Hulu" branding. I certainly don't think all the shows with some sort of an FX brand show be lumped together. Because in the case of FX on Hulu, the network is essentially serving as a studio for Hulu. 

I am quite sure that the streamers/networks involved are not eager to have things broken out in a more specific way. In this era of consolidation, they prefer to see the larger media conglomerate as one entity with a bunch of different names. But being more specific is certainly a more accurate representation of the industry.

The world is lousy with entertainment-related podcasts and that is one reason I've resisted doing one. Even though it plays into my natural inclinations to a) talk a lot, and, b) share my opinion.

I've been doing some test versions of a daily morning video podcast I'd like to roll out. Something short in which I just discuss whatever story or stories seem the most interesting to me at that moment. 

But I am not the only person playing around with ideas and today David Poland launched a new audio podcast. Which is basically just him scrolling through the stories posted on that morning's industry trades - The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and Deadline. Today's podcast was the kickoff and he spent most of the 15 minutes mocking their reporting, which leaned heavily into the reworked press releases/random comments made on social media pieces.

I have no idea what the podcast will sound like a couple of weeks down the road. But today's edition was snarky and world-weary and a lot of fun to listen to.

While it doesn't premiere on Netflix (and select theaters) until Friday, the review embargo is up and I posted my review of the fabulous Ultraman: Rising. I'm not sure if I expected the movie to be the perfect mix of kaiju-kicking action and the complicated family dynamics and emotional resonance of E.T. But that's what we get and I can't wait for everyone to see it.

* I'm not always a big fan of attempts to remix or mash-up familiar classic rock songs. But this mashup of the Fleetwood Mac song "Silver Springs" into a summer dance tune is pretty amazing. The track can be downloaded for free from Bandcamp, if you're interested.

* Warner Bros. Japan latest anime, Suicide Squad Isekai, is premiering in the U.S. on Thursday, June 27th on Hulu. Here's the logline: "In the crime-ridden Gotham city, Amanda Waller, the head of A.R.G.U.S., has assembled a group of notorious criminals for a mission: Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Peacemaker, Clayface and King Shark. These DC Super-Villains are sent into an otherworldly realm that’s connected to this world through a gate. It’s a world of swords and magic where orcs rampage and dragons rule the skies—an “ISEKAI”!"

Once again, this is just a perplexing decision to license the show to Hulu rather than streaming it on Max. But WBD executives have argued in several interviews that adult animation isn't a priority for the streamer and this is another example of that lack of faith in the genre.

* Pluto TV has just added a 24/7 Mister Rogers' Neighborhood FAST channel, which will feature more than 390 episodes spanning from its debut year in 1968 to 2001. The episodes will also be available on demand.

* The new series Alien Encounters: Fact Or Fiction premieres Wednesday, June 19th on Discovery.


* Divided By Design Series Premiere (HGTV)
* Six Schizophrenic Brothers Series Premiere (Discovery)

* Deadliest Catch Season Premiere (Discovery)
* Find My Country House: Australia Series Premiere (fyi)
* How Music Got Free (Paramount+)
* Keith Robinson: Different Strokes (Netflix)
* Love Island USA Season Premiere (Peacock)
* Motel Rescue Season Premiere (Magnolia)
* NBC News Special: Interview With Celine Dion (NBC)
* Pinkalicious A Pinkerton Family Vacation (PBS Kids)
* Supermarket Stakeout Season Finale (Food)
* 30 For 30: False Positive (ESPN)
* Tour de France: Unchained (Netflix)