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Inside Streaming (Nov 3rd, 2017)

Following allegations of sexual misconduct against star Kevin Spacey, Netflix has indefinitely suspended production on the sixth season of "House of Cards." According to CNN, which spoke with eight unnamed people who at one point worked on "House of Cards," Spacey created a "toxic" work environment through a consistent pattern of sexual harassment and assault. Last week, actor Anthony Rapp publicly alleged that Spacey had made sexual advances on him in the 1980s, when Rapp was 14 years old. On Monday, Netflix announced that the currently-in-production sixth season would be the show's last. Variety reports that Netflix and production company Media Rights Capital are exploring potential "House of Cards" spin-offs, including one focused on political aide Doug Stamper (played by Michael Kelly). – BALTIMORESUN

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Analysts from investment firm Morgan Stanley estimate that Disney's streaming platform could draw up to 30 million subscribers over the next decade, giving it a potential value of $25 billion. The firm calculated the total, in part, by charting subscriber growth on Netflix, as well as considering the significant library of new and classic titles that Disney could potentially offer. Currently, the global pay-TV market is made up of about 1 billion homes. Equity analyst Benjamin Swinburne did note that - unlike competitors such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon - Disney has not yet demonstrated "core competency" at building, operating and marketing a streaming video platform. – BI

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Nielsen has released preliminary viewership numbers for the second season of Netflix's "Stranger Things," estimating that each episode was viewed by about 4 million people in its first three days online. An estimated 15.8 million U.S. viewers watched the first episode of "Stranger Things 2" in the same time frame. As well, Nielsen identified 361,000 households that viewed the entire nine-episode season within 24 hours, a practice Netflix recently termed "binge-racing." Nielsen's numbers do not include mobile viewership, and were not confirmed by Netflix. – THR

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Startup Passionflix has raised $4.75 million in seed funding to create a romance-themed streaming platform. Passionflix will charge $5.99 per month for access to a curated library of titles, including "Amelie" and the 2005 remake of "Pride and Prejudice." (Though the service will be available worldwide, most of the initial content will only be licensed for US audiences.) Users can browse films by the moods or emotions they evoke, and by their level of "naughtiness." There are also plans to fund original productions with budgets under $1 million. The company was co-founded by filmmaker Tosca Musk, the sister of entrepreneur Elon Musk, who was motivated by what she sees as an unmerited lack of enthusiasm in Hollywood toward the romance genre. – TECHCRUNCH

[DISCLAIMER: Inside founder Jason Calacanis is an investor in Passionflix.]

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A report from Digital TV Research estimates that digital piracy will cost the major streaming services over $50 billion between 2016 and 2022. The report includes data from 138 countries, and folds in both loss of potential subscription fees and ad revenue. Despite the large numbers, the report does note that the gap between legitimate revenue earned by streaming services and revenue likely lost due to piracy is widening. In 2016, streaming services earned $37 billion, compared to $26.7 billion in potential revenue lost to piracy. This year, those totals will likely equal about $55.5 billion and $37.4 billion, respectively. About 6.5% of North American households access pirated streaming services each month. – VARIETY

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Marvel's "Runaways" is the rare adaptation based on a recent property, without the need for significant updates or alterations to the backstory. The forthcoming Hulu original series is based on a comic book by writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Adrian Alphona, originally published in 2003. The story follows a group of teens who leave their homes when they discover their parents are super-villains. Showrunners Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage previously produced the hit high school dramas "The OC" and "Gossip Girl." "Runaways" debuts on November 21 on Hulu. – MASHABLE 

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The Amazon Prime Video app is now available internationally, for the first time, on the XBox One. Amazon released the app for Microsoft's gaming and home entertainment console in Canada, Mexico, France, Italy, Spain and India. As well, the app will be available for the forthcoming Xbox One X console, which launches next week. Use of the app is free for subscribers to Amazon Prime. A separate subscription just for access to Amazon Prime Video content is available in many countries for $9 per month. – TECHCRUNCH

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REVIEW: "RYAN HANSEN SOLVES CRIMES ON TELEVISION"

You may not know the name Ryan Hansen, but if you watch enough TV, you'll almost definitely recognize his face. He was Dick on "Veronica Mars," Kyle on "Party Down," Blaze on "Burning Love," Ben on "The League" and a bit player in dozens of other shows. In YouTube Red's latest series, the alternatingly awkward and clever "Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television," he's taking on his toughest role to date: himself. OK, well, a version of himself who has been tasked with solving LA mysteries.

The show starts with a convoluted high-concept meta-gimmick. It's probably too convoluted. The mayor of Los Angeles, for obscure reasons, has decided to hire character actors - like Ryan Hansen - to assist detectives in solving major crimes. Hansen, who has fully thrown himself into the role, has decided to turn his experiences with the police into an original series for YouTube Red. He's calling his version "Celebrity Vice Squad," but it's essentially the show that we're already watching. It's full of winking self-aware references to the fact that the characters know they're already in a show, and we're watching them. 

A number of other recognizable Hollywood types also portray heightened versions of themselves (Eric Christian Olsen of "NCIS: Los Angeles" is essentially Hansen's nemesis), but Emmy nominee Samira Wiley ("The Handmaid's Tale") co-stars as Hansen's fictitious partner, Jessica Mathers. Her "real" detective, a recent transfer from Cleveland, serves as Hansen's straight man, setting up a constant flow of gags in which he's depicted as the ultimate airhead industry-obsessed doofus.

The show is the brainchild of writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber, best known for broad comedies like "Dodgeball" and "We're the Millers," and each episode is PACKED with jokes, both good and bad. Several of them felt pretty specific to Los Angeles and show business; I'm not 100% sure bits about YouTube Red's business model and the "Star Wars" callbacks process are REALLY going to connect with audiences in the heartland. But maybe I'm wrong.

The show definitely suffers from an almost-immediate feeling of repetitiveness. Most sequences take on a strikingly similar theme: Hansen and Mathers arrive at a crime scene, or to interrogate a witness, and she's all business while he screws around. But eventually, Hansen's deep knowledge of nonsense like social media trends, the local club scene or self-tanning will provide a vital clue. Obviously, the show has comedy on its mind, but I can't help but think that a bit more investment in the crimes and the mysteries and this fictional Los Angeles would have been refreshing, and kept everything from feeling quite so one-note.

(It's really not even much of a parody of cop shows. Nearly all the humor is focused on Hansen and his clueless C-list self-delusion.)

Scenes also tend to play out until ALL of the possible bits are drained from the set-up and material. I know YouTube Red shows have limited budgets, but you can almost FEEL the production dragging its heels, taking a bit of extra time at each location, hoping to get in another minute of dialogue before having to move the cameras somewhere else.

Having said that, it's not a total loss at all. Hansen is funny, and willing to make himself look pretty despicable for a gag, and Wiley's a good enough actress to turn a really thankless role into what almost feels like a real fleshed-out character. Some of the insider jokes poking fun at lame Hollywood trends are funny and insightful, and many of the cameos and smaller parts are expertly cast. 

I had fun with "Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television" in spots, but ultimately, less self-aware gimmickry and more of the elements that make actual police procedurals compelling would've helped.

THE BASICS

Title: "Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television"
Where to Watch: YouTube Red
Episodes: 8 (1 season)
Running time: 24 to 30 minutes each
Genre: Comedy

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WHAT'S COMING TO AMAZON, HULU AND HBO THIS NOVEMBER

AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK: The latest film from Marc Webb ("500 Days of Summer," "The Amazing Spider-Man") stars Callum Turner as a recent college grad whose life is changed forever by his father's mistress. Jeff Bridges, Kate Beckinsale, Pierce Brosnan and Cynthia Nixon also appear in this indie comedy, available starting today to stream for free on Prime.

LANDLINE: This Amazon original film comes from co-writer/director Gillian Robespierre and star Jenny Slate, who previously collaborated on the indie hit "Obvious Child." "Landline," set in '90s Manhattan, follows two adult sisters who suspect their father of having an affair. The film also stars Edie Falco, Jay Duplass, John Turturro and Abby Quinn. It's currently available to rent on VOD, but becomes free for Amazon Prime Video subscribers on November 17.

THE BIG SICK: One of the best reviewed films of 2017 - Kumail Nanjiani's autobiographical rom-com "The Big Sick" - hits Amazon Prime on November 24.

THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL: This hourlong comedy-drama series comes from creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, best known for the beloved "Gilmore Girls." It stars Rachel Brosnahan as Miriam "Midge" Maisel, a housewife in the 1950s who becomes a trailblazing, controversial stand-up comic. The pilot is available now on Prime, and the full first season debuts on November 29.

HULU

MAN SEEKING WOMAN: The third and, as it turns out, final season of FXX's absurdist romantic comedy series lands on Hulu on November 4.

TABOO: The first eight episodes of this British drama, co-created by star Tom Hardy and his father, Edward "Chips" Hardy, follows an Englishman who returns to London in 1814, after twelve years in Africa. Season 1, which hits Hulu on November 10, is the first of a planned three-season storyline.

FUTURE MAN: Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg executive produced this nostalgia-fueled sci-fi comedy series, starring Josh Hutcherson as an ordinary janitor and video game enthusiast who must travel through time to save humanity. The Hulu original series debuts on November 14.

THERE'S... JOHNNY: This scripted comedy from co-creator Paul Reiser, set behind the scenes at the 1970s Johnny Carson "Tonight Show" was originally produced by the streaming service Seeso, before it was shut down. It will bow on Hulu instead, starting November 16. 

MARVEL'S RUNAWAYS: Hulu's first original series set in the Marvel Universe debuts on November 21.

PRISON BREAK: The full run of this iconic Fox thriller hits Hulu on November 23.

HBO

GET OUT: Jordan Peele's smash hit critically acclaimed horror film, holding strong at 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, premieres on HBO this coming Sunday, November 4.

EL HIPNOTIZADOR: This Spanish-language HBO Latino series, based on a popular Argentine graphic novel, stars Leonardo Sbaraglia as a hypnotist with crippling insomnia. Season 2 premieres on November 10.

KONG: SKULL ISLAND: The '70s-set monster adventure, starring Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly and Samuel L. Jackson, stomps on to HBO November 25.

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