Variety: ‘South Park’ Sets Hour-Long Pandemic Special (Watch). “In terms of the plot, viewers will see Randy comes to terms with his role in the COVID-19 outbreak as the on-going pandemic presents continued challenges to the citizens of South Park. The kids happily head back to school but nothing resembles the normal that they once knew; not their teachers, not their homeroom, not even Eric Cartman.”
Digital Trends: KweliTV is a streaming service that puts Black stories first. “The streaming service is home to over 400 indie films and television shows, with over 35,000 registered users and growing. But it’s more than just a ‘Black Netflix.’ Rather than try to compete with larger services that boast millions in revenue and funding, KweliTV wants to thrive in the gap, by being deliberate about the content it hosts. Spencer considers KweliTV’s list carefully curated, and maintains that the service is purposeful about only hosting movies that don’t just feature Black characters, but also feature Black directors, writers, and producers.” I don’t often cover pay services, but this site a) has a free tier, b) has a day pass for $2.99, and c) even at full price is all of $5.99 a month. If you’re a college student you can get the service for $3.99 a month.
Make Tech Easier: TuneFind and Other Ways to Identify Songs from Movies and TV Shows. “With many shows boasting high production values, everything including the soundtrack is impressive. For many people, while watching your favorite show, your ears perk up thanks to the soundtrack. Great music-identifier apps like TuneFind and Shazam do the job better than ever, but you can now identify your favorite songs without even requiring a third-party app!”
Digital Library of Georgia; Decades of episodes of Augusta, Georgia’s pioneering African American gospel television program Parade of Quartets now available freely online. “Parade of Quartets, broadcast on WJBF-TV in Augusta, Georgia since 1954, is a rare example of a sustained African American media presence on a southern television affiliate. Hundreds of well-known Black gospel musicians such as Shirley Caesar, Dottie Peoples, the Mighty Clouds of Joy, the Dixie Hummingbirds, and the Swanee Quintet have appeared on the program. In the last few decades, the program’s content has expanded to include local and national African American political leaders’ appearances. Some of them appear in the digitized materials, which cover the period from 1980 to 2011.”
BBC: Fawlty Towers John Cleese backs Torbay social distancing plea. “Fawlty Towers legend John Cleese has joined in a call for social distancing in the seaside town where the comedy series was set. Cleese tweeted: ‘Going forward if I see you too close to one another I shall lay down in-between. Social distance!’ The tweet by Cleese who played hapless hotelier Basil Fawlty in the TV comedy, added ‘2 metres = 1 Basil Fawlty’.”
Variety: ABC News Readies ‘American Catastrophe,’ A Look At How America Missed Chances to Fight Coronavirus. “ABC News will on Tuesday, July 28, at 9 p.m. unveil a ’20/20′ report that is three months in the making. “American Catastrophe: How Did We Get Here?” will give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at how the United States missed opportunities, warning signs and chances to prepare for the coronavirus pandemic, and interviews past and current U.S. officials in an attempt to figure out how the nation will proceed.”
New York Times: How to Shoot a Sex Scene in a Pandemic: Cue the Mannequins. “Of all the weird ways that Covid-19 has affected life in this country, one of the most bizarre is taking place on a soundstage in Los Angeles. That’s where actors on the CBS soap opera ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ have been shooting intimate scenes with mannequins.”
Mashable: Netflix drops ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ evidence on Reddit to help internet sleuths solve cases. “Netflix’s recent revival of the beloved Unsolved Mysteries series is a hit, with the show appearing on the site’s Top 10 Most Watched list since premiering. While a lot has changed in the reboot itself, the biggest change is arguably how the show now exists in a world with Reddit sleuths.”
Engadget: ‘Mad Men’ will stream for free on IMDb TV starting July 15th. “All 92 episodes of the show will land on IMDb TV starting July 15th, as part of a deal Amazon struck with Mad Men producer Lionsgate Television, Variety reported. It’ll join several Disney-owned shows that stream for free on IMDb TV, including Lost, Malcolm in the Middle and Desperate Housewives.”
Hollywood Reporter: Remote Comedy From ‘Blindspot’ Creator Nabs NBC Series Pickup. “NBC is the first broadcast network to greenlight a scripted comedy series set in the time of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The network has handed out an eight-episode, straight-to-series order for Connecting, an ensemble comedy about a group of friends trying to stay close — and sane — through video chats as they share the highs and lows of these extraordinary times.”
Lifehacker: How to Create a Watchlist Directly In Google Search. “Sure, assembling a list of things you’d like to see is simple when you’re just using one streaming service, but if you’ve doubled down on your options or have taken advantage of a free trial or two, keeping track of what interests you on all of them can be a bit overwhelming.”
Screen Rant: Watch TV From The 70s, 80s, & 90s On This Cool Retro Website. “A website called My Decade TV, created by Joey Cato, lets users watch TVs from the 70s, 80s, and 90s that offer a variety of different channels, including cartoons, game shows, movies, news, music videos, and more. Cato explains in the TV manual, which can be accessed below the TVs, that the websites were created because he wanted ‘to honor the pop culture memories of decades past.’ He went on to add that ‘each site aspires to simulate the vintage experience of channel-surfing on a TV from a particular era,’ so to support that, ‘channel content may not necessarily start playing from the beginning.'” This might be “just” a YouTube wrapper, but even if it is it’s ridiculously good. Warning: timesink.
Rolling Stone: Entire ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ Catalogue Hits Streaming Platforms. “Nearly 50 years after it aired its final episode in 1971, the legendary Ed Sullivan Show is officially headed to all streaming platforms. From the Beatles’ debut to Elvis Presley to the Rolling Stones, iconic clips and low-resolution bootlegs of the variety show have been available for years, but this marks the first time the entire catalogue will be available digitally — thanks to a deal between UMe and SOFA Entertainment Inc.”
ZDNet: Best free video streaming services in 2020: Crackle, IMDb TV, Pluto TV, and more. “There are currently 11 good free services to try, and good old-fashioned over-the-air (OTA) antenna TV. Yes, you do have to put up with commercials on all of these — and there’s not a DVR features to be seen — but they are free. With so many selections to choose from, I can guarantee you’ll find something to watch that won’t hurt your pocketbook by even a single penny.”
SportsMole: BBC launches Programme Explorer tool. “The BBC has launched a new service called ‘Programme Explorer’ to allow users to quickly search its archive of programming. The new feature scours more than 200,000 pieces of content across iPlayer, Sounds and News and allows results to be filtered according to media type and availability.”