Inside | Real news, curated by real humans
Inside Streaming

Inside Streaming (Aug 14th, 2019)

1. CBS and Viacom reached an agreement to merge into a single $30 billion company, which will be chaired by Shari Redstone. The newly created company will be known as ViacomCBS. The companies plan to eliminate about $500 million in costs via the merger; they spent a combined $13 billion last year on content. 96-year-old Viacom founder Sumner Redstone oversaw the separation of the two companies in 2006; he deferred management to his daughter, Shari, in 2016. The new company will own CBS and its streaming service, CBS All Access, along with Paramount Pictures, book publisher Simon & Schuster, a suite of cable channels, including MTV and Comedy Central, the premium Showtime network and 50% of the CW Network (which it divides with WarnerMedia). The merger will also bring the entirety of the "Star Trek" franchise -- both film and TV properties -- under a single banner.  – NBCNEWS

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

2. A group of LGBT creators filed a lawsuit against YouTube, citing what they claim are discriminatory practices by the platform. In a federal suit, filed on Tuesday evening, the five unnamed creators allege that YouTube suppresses their content, culls their subscriber base and limits their ability to sell advertising on their videos, and that these practices are "embedded in the business model." Among the specific charges, the suit claims that YouTube's algorithms flag content containing words commonly used by LGBT creators, such as "gay," "lesbian" or "bisexual," and that the company unfairly favors popular YouTubers, even if their videos are "hostile" to the LGBT community. YouTube has not commented publicly on the lawsuit. – WAPO

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

3. WHAT'S NEW ON STREAMING TODAY?

THE 100: Season 6 of the sci-fi drama -- about a group of survivors who return from space to repopulate a devastated Earth -- just wrapped up on The CW, so now it's hitting Netflix. The CW has renewed the series for one more season after this, which will complete the storyline. [Netflix]

HAPPY JAIL: Netflix's new five-part documentary series is set at Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, in the Philippines. This is the same prison that, in 2007, produced a video of inmates dancing to Michael Jackson's "Thriller," which became an international viral sensation. [Netflix]

ALTERNATE ENDINGS: SIX NEW WAYS TO DIE IN AMERICA: Feature documentary from filmmakers Matthew O’Neil and Perri Peltz about Americans' changing attitudes surrounding death, and new approaches to wakes, funerals, and remembrances. [HBO]

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

4. Sacha Baron Cohen will portray real-life Mossad agent Eli Cohen in Netflix's limited drama series "The Spy." The comedian and actor, best known for playing outrageous characters like Borat or Bruno, will portray the infamous Israeli agent, who worked undercover in Syria in the 1960s. Gideon Raff wrote and directed the six-episode series; he previously created the Israeli series "Prisoners of War," which was remade in the US as Showtime's "Homeland." "The Spy" hits Netflix on September 6.– EW

[Raff's breakthrough series, "Prisoners of War," is streaming right now on Hulu. - Lon]

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

WORLDLY WEDNESDAY: "NON-FICTION" ON HULU

The 2018 French comedy-drama "Non-Fiction" is an extremely French movie. By which I mean, it's largely made up of scenes in which erudite characters engage in esoteric conversations about technology, literature, and philosophy, occasionally pausing to engage in various romantic trysts and liaisons. Fans of arthouse cinema and particularly Woody Allen's heady ensemble pieces of the '70s and '80s will find a lot to love here, while almost everyone else, I sense, will be left cold.

The film is NOT plot-driven, but essentially, we're following the parallel stories of two friends: publisher Alain Danielson (Guillaume Canet) and one of his formerly marquee authors, Léonard Spiegel (Vincent Macaigne). Danielson has a testy relationship with his wife, a well-known actress named Selena (Juliette Binoche), and is having a not-so-secret affair with an employee, digital consultant Laure (Christa Théret). Spiegel, meanwhile, has a wife, Valérie (Nora Hamzawi), as well as multiple mistresses, and continually complicates things by inserting all of his real-world relationships into his books. (See? It's very French.)

But rather than solely focusing on the human drama of whom is sleeping with whom (just assume it's everyone with everyone else), writer/director Olivier Assayas shifts his attention between the state of the publishing industry, questions about authorship and autobiography, and even broader questions about the relationship between art and commerce. 

The vast majority of the film is quite literally taken up with smart characters having complicated, far-reaching, provocative conversations: whether listening to an audiobook is the same as reading it, or whether it's fair for an author to take material directly from his or her own life rather than fictionalizing or adapting it, or whether or not tweets should count as "writing." Only after you reach the conclusion do you realize that all of these questions, throughout, have really related back to simple themes about authenticity and honesty, the way that we hide ourselves from one another even long after the truth has become obvious.

THE BASICS

Title: "Non-Fiction"
Where to Watch: Hulu
Running time: 108 minutes
Genre: Romantic comedy-drama
In French with English subtitles

[Assayas is best known in the US for the Kristen Stewart ghost thriller "Personal Shopper," which you can stream now on Netflix. His highly-regarded biographical portrait of the terrorist Carlos the Jackal, "Carlos," is streaming on Amazon's IFC Films channel and Criterion Channel. - Lon]

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

5. Netflix released a full trailer for the third season of "13 Reasons Why," debuting on August 23. The new season picks up about eight months after the conclusion of Season 2, and largely concerns the mystery surrounding a Liberty High School student's death. [CAUTION: The EW link contains Season 2 spoilers if you're not yet caught up.] New episodes will flashback, featuring multiple perspectives on the events of those missing eight months. "13 Reasons Why" is expected to return for a fourth and final season in 2020. – EW

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

6. The Netflix adaptation of the Broadway play "American Son," starring Kerry Washington, will debut on November 1. In addition to Washington, other stars of the original Broadway production -- including Steven Pasquale, Jeremy Jordan, and Eugene Lee -- will reprise their roles for the Netflix film, which will screen at this year's Toronto International Film Festival. Writer Christopher Demos-Brown’s play, directed for the stage by Tony winner Kenny Leon, stars Washington as a mother demanding answers about her teenage son's disappearance at a South Florida police station. – EW

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

7. Netflix ordered a 10-episode first season for the YA series "Ginny and Georgia." The series comes from first-time creator Sarah Lampert and first-time showrunner Debra J. Fischer, who previously wrote for "Alias" and "Criminal Minds." It concerns the unconventional relationship between 15-year-old Ginny Miller (Antonia Gentry) and her unpredictable 30-year-old mother, Georgia (Brianne Howey). The series will debut in 2020. – DEADLINE

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

8. Netflix and A&E renewed the true-crime series "I Am a Killer" for a second season. The series features interviews with various American prisoners who are serving time on death row, considering both their experiences in the criminal justice system and the impact of their crimes on their families, the families of their victims and their communities. The second season will include some female inmates, and apparently, also explore themes of "repentance and redemption." The series airs on A&E's Crime & Investigation network in the UK and streams on Netflix in the US. – DEADLINE

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

9. Two strange fish videos have become viral sensations on Twitter. The first video shows off a contraption designed by Whooshh Innovations to blast fish over hydroelectric dams, known as a "Salmon Cannon." The device can transport about 57,600 fish per day, and so far has been installed in about 20 locations across Europe and North America. An April study confirmed that the device is largely safe for the fish. The Salmon Cannon's popularity caused another fish video from last year to return to prominence; this one features the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources restocking a high-mountain lake with trout, using an aircraft. – USAT

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

10. The first trailer for the Netflix documentary "American Factory," produced by Barack and Michelle Obama, debuted on YouTube. The film, which took the 2019 Directing Award for U.S. Documentary at Sundance, debuts on August 21.

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Lon Harris is the writer and editor of Inside Streaming, and was the very first person to ever write an Inside newsletter. He lives in Los Angeles, California, and also writes about TV and film for Fandom, Screen Junkies, Rotten Tomatoes, Gamma Ray and others. He competes on The Movie Trivia Schmoedown as "The Professor." You can follow him on Twitter @lons

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside), David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology), and Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Subscribe to Inside Streaming