Inside Streaming - January 11th, 2017

Inside Streaming (Jan 13th, 2017)

Today we're looking at the latest on Amazon's new anime subscription service, Apple Music's original content plans, Netflix's "Lemony Snicket" and more. Plus, our regular "Better Know a Platform" feature highlights FilmStruck and we've got a guide to all the streaming programs that won big at the Golden Globes. Hit us up with any streaming recommendations or newsletter feedback by replying to this email! – @lons

Amazon plans to launch an original, curated anime subscription service later this year. For $4.99 a month, in addition to an Amazon Prime subscription, "Anime Strike" users will get access to a library of 1,000 anime titles, including some shows (such as "Scum Wish" and "Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga") that will stream online the same day they air in Japan. Though Amazon already offers subscription video-on-demand channels from services like HBO, Starz and Showtime, this will be the company's first self-branded sub-channel. Anime-specific streaming platform Crunchyroll already has over 750,000 subscribers, and a library of over 15,000 anime episodes. – POLYGON

According to a report first published in the Wall Street Journal, Apple Music may add original video content to its library before the end of 2017. Though there have long been rumors about Apple producing original shows, there are now indications the company has started reaching out to producers. It does not appear that Apple has yet settled on a business model, though Apple Music has already ordered 16 half-hour episodes of "Carpool Karaoke" - based on the popular segment from James Corden's late night show - and may also release a scripted drama series loosely based on the life of Dr. Dre. – ENGADGET

"Sneaky Pete," starring Giovanni Ribisi and Bryan Cranston, debuts today on Amazon Prime. The series, co-created by Cranston and David Shore (of TV's "House") was originally intended for CBS. It follows the adventures of a con man who, to avoid running into a crime lord he has wronged (Cranston), assumes the identity of his old prison cell mate. Cranston has said that the series is semi-autobiographical, based on his own experiences as a 'Sneaky Pete' who didn't have a lot of parental supervision growing up. The show is getting mostly positive reviews: the LA Times calls it "delicious," Yahoo says it's "a sneaky, surprising delight" and The Daily Beast implies it could be Cranston's "next 'Breaking Bad.'"  – MASHABLE

The FCC claims that AT&T's zero-rated DirecTV Now streaming service violates net neutrality rules. According to a report published Wednesday, the FCC takes issue with AT&T streaming the bundle of over 100 TV channels to customers as part of their annual contract, without charging for data. Rules adopted in 2015 require that ISPs treat all data on their networks equally. Prior to the launch of DirecTV Now, AT&T made the case that the service is net neutrality compliant. Regardless, net neutrality rules may be subject to change when the Trump administration assumes control of the FCC later this month. – DAILYDOT

The first season of Netflix's adaptation of the popular "A Series of Unfortunate Events" books arrives today, and the show has already been renewed for Season 2. Author Daniel Handler, who created the series under the pseudonym "Lemony Snicket," confirmed that the eight-episode Season 1 covers the first four books, a planned second season will cover the next five, and a third season would tackle the final four. Handler also worked on the scripts for the TV series, which stars Neil Patrick Harris as the loathsome Count Olaf and Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket himself. – EW

The 26-episode animated series "Ronja, the Robber's Daughter," from Japan's iconic Studio Ghibli, will debut on Amazon Prime later this month. Ghibli is best known in the US for releasing the animated films of Hayao Miyazaki, including "Princess Mononoke" and "Spirited Away." "The Robber's Daughter," based on a book by Pippi Longstocking author Astrid Lindgren, ran in Japan in 2014. The US version will be narrated by Gillian Anderson. – CNET


A number of shows available RIGHT NOW to stream online scored big at Sunday's Golden Globe Awards. Here's your guide to where you can watch all the big winners:

THE CROWN: This biographical drama about the early years of Queen Elizabeth II's reign won 2 Globes, for Best TV Drama and Best Actress (for star Claire Foy). John Lithgow was also nominated for his performance as Winston Churchill. The 10-episode first season is available on Netflix.

THE NIGHT MANAGER: This limited series, based on a 1993 spy novel by John le Carré, originally aired on BBC One before migrating to AMC and, now, Amazon Prime. Stars Hugh Laurie, Tom Hiddleston and Olivia Colman all picked up Globes for their roles.

BLACK-ISH: Tracee Ellis Ross took home the Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Musical or Comedy for ABC's groundbreaking single-camera series, currently in its third season. Catch up with every episode on Hulu

GOLIATH: Amazon's legal drama, about a down on his luck LA lawyer, scored a Golden Globe for star Billy Bob Thornton as Best Actor in a Drama Series. (The series was co-created by David E. Kelley of "Ally McBeal" and "Boston Legal" fame.)

[NOTE: "Atlanta" and "American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson," both FX series, each won multiple Globes as well, but are currently not available to stream on the FX Now app. Episodes can be purchased on Amazon or iTunes]


FilmStruck combines the library of Turner Classic Movies along with a sample of the Criterion Collection's catalog, making it the premiere streaming destination for classic, foreign and art-house films. Hosted introductions to the available films from experts and critics, plus a variety of creative curated playlists, really speak to the care and attention that's been put into this service.

A baseline version, with a limited selection of Criterion titles, runs $6.99/month. For $10.99/month, you get complete access to the current Criterion library. (NOTE: This does not include all films that have Criterion releases on disc, though it's still an impressive line-up taken all together.)

Here are some current library highlights:

LE SAMOURAI: A slick, razor-sharp 1967 French-Italian crime film, with Alain Delon as a methodical, stoic assassin who lives by the bushido code. Jean-Pierre Melville's classic was remarkably influential: modern viewers will recognize the seeds of pretty much all contemporary stylish loner hitman movies, from "Drive" to "Ghost Dog" to "The Killer" to "The American." No lie, guys. This is one of my favorite films.

THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN: FilmStruck actually has 4 Terry Gilliam films available as a playlist, and you should watch them all, but I'm highlighting "Munchausen" because it's probably his most under-appreciated. This 1988 adventure, about an 18th Century German nobleman with a knack for telling fanciful tall tales, is visually inventive on a level that almost doesn't exist any more, in this age where computers can digitally render just about any desired image. Canadian actor John Neville is remarkable as the titular con man and raconteur, vanishing completely into the role. (The film also features early performances from Sarah Polley and Uma Thurman, plus some fun supporting work from Robin Williams as the King of the Moon.)

CHUNGKING EXPRESS: One of the defining films of the 1990s, Wong Kar-wai's light romantic drama is really two, very gingerly connected stories about lonely police officers who become fixated on mysterious and beguiling new women in their lives. (The script initially contained a third story, but was deemed too long, so this became a separate, also terrific film: "Fallen Angels.") The film is not very much about plot, but centered on imagery, pacing and, of course, the charming central performances. It made international stars of Tony Leung, Faye Wong and Takeshi Kaneshiro. I recommend approaching it as an experience to be taken in and considered, rather than a driving narrative.

ACROSS 110TH STREET: A terrific example of how a relatively straight-forward genre movie can contain an astounding amount of depth and nuance. On the surface, Barry Shear's 1972 thriller resembles a lot of other crime films of its era, particularly from the blaxploitation genre. But it's also a character study, a biting social commentary and a dark meditation on aging and regret. Anthony Quinn and Yaphet Kotto play mismatched detectives - one a corrupt racist past his prime, and the other an ambitious young go-getter - tasked with investigating a gangland robbery turned brutal massacre in Harlem. The film is rightly remembered for its iconic theme song (performed by Bobby Womack), but also features fantastic performances from Quinn and Kotto (not to mention Paul Benjamin as a conflicted and even sympathetic killer, and Anthony Franciosa as a mean-spirited mob enforcer) and timeless cinematography that beautifully captures early '70s Harlem. The final scene is unforgettable.


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