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Inside Streaming (Dec 1st, 2017)

Netflix has renewed both "Stranger Things" and "Mindhunter" for additional seasons. The company announced plans to produce a third season of "Stranger Things" on Friday, for which creators and showrunners The Duffer Brothers and executive producers Dan Cohen, Iain Patterson and Shawn Levy all are expected to return. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series' young stars - including Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo and Caleb McLaughlin - received only $30,000 per episode for the first two seasons; a renegotiation is likely to happen in 2018. On Thursday, the streaming service renewed serial killer period drama "Mindhunter" for a Season 2. So far in 2017, Netflix has only canceled two original series ("The Get Down" and "Sense8"), while 13 have received renewals. – THR

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Following sexual assault allegations against Russell Simmons, HBO announced that it would remove his name from the title of its "All Def Comedy" series. A new season of six "All Def Comedy" episodes premieres Friday on HBO. Simmons does not appear in any of the episodes, which is produced by his company, All Def Digital. On Thursday, writer Jenny Lumet accused Simmons of sexually assaulting her in 1991. Earlier this month, model Keri Claussen Khalinghi reported being raped by Simmons in 1991, an incident that was allegedly witnessed by director Brett Ratner. Simmons has stepped down from leadership of both Def Jam Recordings and Rush Communications. – VARIETY

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In The Hollywood Reporter, columnist Tim Goodman calls Hulu's "Chance" an "emblematic victim" of Peak TV. Despite enthusiastic reviews, the presence of star Hugh Laurie and support from Hulu, "Chance" never managed to gain widespread attention, build buzz or to find an audience. Laurie stars as a neuropsychiatrist named Eldon Chance, whose life begins to unravel when he gets involved with a troubled patient, played by Gretchen Mol. Though the fate of the series has not yet been announced officially, Goodman theorizes that its second season will be its last. – THR

What are some of YOUR favorite Peak TV series that have gotten lost in the crowd? Hit REPLY on this email and let me hear about them!

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"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" kicks off a long-term collaboration between Amazon and creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino. The husband-and-wife team, who also created "Gilmore Girls" and "Bunheads," signed a deal with Amazon for two seasons of "Mrs. Maisel" back in April, and an overall deal in September. The series, a dramedy about a 1950s housewife who becomes a trailblazing stand-up comedian, debuted on November 29 and has received largely positive reviews. The duo spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the inspiration behind the series, the challenges of working on a period piece and the appeal of working with Amazon over broadcast or cable networks. – THR

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A number of new and classic Disney and ABC TV series are coming to Hulu in their entirety, including "Agent Carter," "Bunheads" and "Designated Survivor." Most of the shows will debut on the platform in the next month. Other series coming to Hulu as part of the deal are "Cougar Town," "Revenge," "The Catch," "Shadowhunters," "Blossom" and "Perception." – AVCLUB

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A variety of video apps on Amazon's Fire TVs will now be controllable through Alexa voice commands. Fire TV viewers can now issue vocal commands including "watch," "play," "pause," "rewind" and "fast forward" when using a variety of third-party apps, including Hulu, NBC, Bravo, Showtime, PlayStation Vue and CBS All Access. Additional voice commands are available to consumers who own an Alexa voice remote, or an Amazon Echo that's connected to their Fire TV. The company said it plans to announce more apps with Alexa functionality in the coming weeks. – TECHCRUNCH

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CBS is considering a 24-hour entertainment news streaming service branded after its long-running "Entertainment Tonight" program. CEO Leslie Moonves discussed the plans during a presentation at Variety's "Innovate Summit" on Wednesday. CBS has increasingly focused on launching new digital platforms, including Showtime Anytime, CBS All Access and the ad-supported news network CBSN. A streaming CBS Sports platform is also set for launch next year. – VARIETY

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HBO's CEO Richard Plepler told a crowd at the Ignition 2017 media conference that his network passed on the "Lord of the Rings" series because it already has "Game of Thrones." When asked about the $250 million that Amazon allegedly spent on the rights to produce the "Lord of the Rings" series, Plepler noted that "If I'm [Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos, that's Monopoly money." Though Plepler praised the ratings for Season 1 of "Westworld," he conceded that there's no way to predict if a show will be a success on the level of "Game of Thrones" or "The Sopranos." – VARIETY

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Hulu's updated app, which includes access to the company's live TV service, is now available for all 2017 Samsung Smart TVs. TV owners will see the app update automatically, and will also be able to access Hulu's cloud DVR option. Among major hardware device manufacturers, Sony's PlayStation is now the only one that does not allow access to Hulu's live TV platform, though PlayStation users can use the app's updated UI and features. – MULTICHANNEL

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On Twitter, "Kong: Skull Island" director Jordan Vogt-Roberts called out HBO for airing the airplane cut of his film. Vogt-Roberts explained that he "begrudgingly made this version," which shifts aspect rations on the fly, in order to preserve his original framing for in-flight screenings. "Keanu" director Peter Atencio replied to Vogt-Roberts tweet, explaining that he had gone through the same experience with HBO on his film "Keanu." According to Atencio, the network refuses to play widescreen films in the correct aspect ratio (with the "letterbox" bars at the top and bottom of the screen) unless they are contractually obligated to do so. "The Wire" creator David Simon has, in the past, complained that HBO went back and reformatted his series (which was originally shot in 4:3 for conventional TVs) to widescreen without his input. – SLASHFILM

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WHAT'S COMING TO NETFLIX THIS DECEMBER

It's the first of the month, so here's a rundown of everything original to look out for on Netflix through the new year!

DARK: This German-language crime/mystery series, about a small town where two young children go missing, aims to scratch your "Stranger Things" itch. It's live on Netflix now.

EASY: Joe Swanberg's romance-themed anthology series has returned for a second season of stories, some of which feature characters who were introduced in Season 1. Dave Franco, Zazie Beetz, Kate Micucci and Jane Adams return while Kate Berlant, Joe Lo Truglio, Aubrey Plaza and Judy Greer join the cast. You can stream Season 2 now.

CRAIG FERGUSON: TICKLE FIGHT: The former late night host's first stand-up special for Netflix drops on December 5.

THE CROWN: Season 2 of Peter Morgan's prestige drama about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, which took Best Drama at this year's Emmy Awards, hits Netflix on December 8. Though John Lithgow will not re-appear as Winston Churchill, Matthew Goode joins the cast as Lord Snowdon, while Michael C. Hall and Jodi Balfour will portray John and Jackie Kennedy. This will be the final season in which Claire Foy plays Queen Elizabeth; she'll be replaced by Olivia Colman for Seasons 3 and 4.

JUDD APATOW: THE RETURN: The famed film director and producer makes his Netflix special debut in "The Return," which was recorded at Montreal's Just for Laughs comedy festival. Apatow recently re-started his stand-up career after a 25 year hiatus.

41 DOGS IN MY HOME: I'll be honest with you, dear reader... This is listed on Netflix's December programming schedule, and seems to refer to an Australian reality series. But now I'm really curious for more details. If you have any info about what "41 Dogs in My Home" might be all about, hit reply on this email and let me know.

ERASED: This live-action series from Japan is adapted from a manga by Kei Sanbe, and was already turned into a popular 2016 anime series. It follows a manga artist who gains the ability to turn back time and prevent past tragedies. Season 1 debuts on December 15.

THE RANCH: This comedy series, set on a fictional Colorado ranch, stars Ashton Kutcher, Debra Winger, Sam Elliott and Danny Masterson. Rather than seasons, "The Ranch" is divided into 10-episode "parts." Part 4 premieres on December 15. The show is continuing despite the recent rape allegations against Masterson.

TROLLHUNTERS: New episodes of Guillermo del Toro's animated fantasy series, about a boy named Jim who becomes the protector of a society of friendly trolls, debut on December 15.

WORMWOOD: Peter Sarsgaard stars in this combination documentary/scripted mini-series from the great Errol Morris. It relates the story of Frank Olson, a CIA operative who famously plummeted to his death from a Manhattan hotel window in 1953, and attempts to determine whether Olson was thrown out or jumped. The series cuts back and forth between interviews with Olson's son, Eric, and dramatic re-enactments of the events leading to his death. "Wormwood" premieres on December 15.

RUSSELL HOWARD: RECALIBRATE: The comedian filmed his first Netflix special on a stop in Brighton, England, during his recent "Round the World" tour. It debuts on December 19.

LA CASA DE PAPEL: This drama from Spain follows a crew planning to enter that country's Royal Mint and print out 2.4 billion euros. The 15-episode Spanish-language show, intended to only run for the single season, arrives on Netflix December 20.

PEAKY BLINDERS: Season 4 of the BBC Two period gangster drama hits Netflix on December 21. 

BRIGHT: David Ayer's fantasy-action-drama film is set in an alternate reality Los Angeles where magical creatures co-exist with humans. Will Smith plays a human cop forced to work alongside an orc (Joel Edgerton) to retrieve a dangerous new weapon. It lands on Netflix December 22.

FULLER HOUSE: The second half of the revival show's third season, featuring nine new episodes, will arrive on December 22.

CABLE GIRLS: Season 2 of this Spanish-language period drama series debuts on December 25. It tells the story of four women in 1928 who move to Madrid to work as telephone operators. 

TODD BARRY: SPICY HONEY: The deadpan comedian's one-hour Netflix special starts streaming on December 26. Barry released a promo in which he workshops material with an encouraging bartender. 

TRAVELERS: This Canadian-American co-production between Netflix and Showtime follows operatives from the future who are sent back in time to prevent civilization's collapse. To do so, these "travelers" take over human bodies moments before people are going to die. Season 2 hits Netflix on December 26. 

DAVE CHAPPELLE: EQUANIMITY: The iconic comedian's third special for Netflix - the last one outlined in his reportedly $60 million deal with the streaming company - was filmed at Washington DC's Warner Theater. It lands on New Years Eve.

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GUEST REVIEW: "INSPECTOR GEORGE GENTLY" ON ACORN TV

It’s been months in the making, and now the last installment of “Inspector George Gently” is finally here. The BBC crime drama, which has been on the air since 2007, culminates with two 90-minute episodes full of more questions than answers.

We catch up with Chief Inspector George Gently (Martin Shaw) as he is being pressured to retire from the force. Detective Inspector John Bacchus (Lee Ingleby) is on edge as he searches for a purpose in both his personal life and career. The best of both men is brought out by Sergeant Rachel Coles (Lisa McGrillis), who often seems to be the only police officer with her head on her shoulders.

Par for the course, all three are pushed to their limits when they take on cases tackling the moral dilemmas of the day. The producers are also quick to remind us that the final series has transitioned from the 1960s to 1970, bringing about a whole new wave of cultural change.

But it isn’t the cases that leave both casual viewers and long-time fans yearning for more. Simply put, it isn’t easy to envision the series’ hero riding off into the sunset (or rather, into retirement). There has been too much of Gently reeling Bacchus in from the edge of disaster to feel comfortable with him leaving the force. And while Coles has repeatedly stepped up to the plate, one has to wonder about her somewhat strained relationship with Bacchus.

It’s these very questions that make “Inspector George Gently” a show that will be missed for quite some time. Viewers can’t help but wonder how the department will move on from the looming departure of such a prolific policeman, meaning the writers did their job – they crafted a character so strong and robust that followers can’t envision a [television] world without him. There will always be reruns, but there can only be one Inspector George Gently, brought to life by Martin Shaw.

– @kavermes

THE BASICS

Title: Inspector George Gently Platforms: Acorn TV Seasons: 8 Episode Length: 90 minutes

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