Ricky Gervais Makes Netflix Superfan Commercial

While his cannot technically be considered to be in the Netflix original category, English comedian Ricky Gervais is still ingrained enough in the online streamer’s realm of exclusive programming in the USA (through 2-season Channel 4 sitcom Derek) to be asked to be the focal point of a new commercial for them.

ricky_gervais_netflixFollowing hot in the hoof footsteps of esteemed 90′s actor BoJack Horseman, Gervais’ spot for the service sees him audition for roles on leading Netflix programming including House of Cards, Lilyhammer, and Orange is the New Black.

It is clear, though, that he is out of place in these shows (the attacks on his accent not quite as justified), and fortunately he also realises, ending with the tagline “…maybe I’m better off just watching.”

An official video description of the advert summarises: “Ever been so engrossed in a show that you just want to be in it? Ricky Gervais knows the feeling. Start your one month free trial and get sucked into the entertainment of today featuring award-winning original shows like Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Derek and Lilyhammer only on Netflix. Start your free trial at netflix.com.”

While Netflix is growing fast enough for many people to know about what they have the chance to see, will this cross-over commercial help make more of those people aware a little quicker? Below is the trailer in full, complete with the obligatory ‘outtakes’ video:

Friends Fans In New York Have Central Perk

Perhaps in the mould of Secret Cinema but without the ‘secret’ or ‘cinema’ parts, a tribute to former hit sitcom Friends is emerging in less than a month in New York City (USA).

central_perk_friendsFans of the show, or just passers-by, will be able to drop in on a pop-up store version of ‘Central Perk’, a coffee shop that was a favourite hangout of the characters in the 10-season NBC show. Based in the Manhattan area of the city, the month-long run of the shop (from 17 September – 18 October) is being designed in part of celebrations for the 20th anniversary Friends‘ premiere in 1994 (on 22 September), the start of a run that lasted through to 2004, 236 episodes later.

The Central Perk store as with most of these things will act mainly as a memorabilia stop, with the area taking the form of a recreated set that also incorporates museum-style prop displays and cast pictures, complete with the less-protected orange couch that is claimed to be the authentic piece used notably on the show, with the show’s development studio Warner Bros. encouraging that pictures be taken there.

Meanwhile, Eight O’ Clock Coffee, one of the sponsors of the event, are offering a ‘limited-edition special blend’ created to celebrate the show’s 20 years, one of many cups that will be served for free, with even more promotions and special events designed for 29 September, American National Coffee Day.

With big luck for fans of the show, that coffee might be served by actor James Michael Tyler (who played barista “Gunther” in the show), set to make a number of special guest appearances throughout the month, along with weekly musical performances at the venue including original song ‘Smelly Cat’. Additional show-based services at the store will include giveaways and contests, with Friends box sets and coffee packs amongst prizes to be won, and ‘Friends-themed merchandise’ for sale.

Located at 199 Lafayette Street, SoHo, Manhattan, the city’s latest attraction will have plenty of visitors for the free drinks alone, but will it help to continue to pave the way for immersive production-based experiences?

Spotify Introduce Free Service To Windows Phone

The well-known music streaming platform Spotify has announced its widespread arrival for Windows Phone users, with the launch of a new ‘free service’ for the #3 mobile operating system.

spotify_logoThe service is set to serve as both a ‘free music streaming player’ and as a gateway to selling their more commonly known ‘premium subscription service’ on all Windows Phone-operating handsets.

Features of the app, as with its Android and iOS counterparts, will see users able to play ‘shuffle mode’ on any playlist they have or on a single artist’s catalogue, or on their own user-created ‘shuffle playlists’. In order to make the app free as on other platforms, Spotify have employed their usual strategy of ad-supporting the content at various between-song intervals.

Steve Guggenheimer, Microsoft’s ‘corporate vice-president’, said of the Spotify introduction to a wider audience of users: “We’re excited to see Spotify made available for free on Windows Phone. This puts a much-loved listening experience in the hands of Windows Phone fans across the world, and beautifully showcases both our platform and the Spotify service.”

Though they face direct competition from Microsoft-favoured ‘Nokia Mix Radio’ on the Windows Phone, will Spotify’s natural efforts to expand their presence in the smartphone industry be seen as a successful and worthwhile move in both single and all-OS measurements?

Warner Bros. Plan To Take Full House Back Out of Deck

The idea of revivals, whether it is merely a group of actors or an entire film/TV show adding a new installment to their series, is one that seems to have been gaining evermore prominence in recent years, with the latest such proposal seeing classic former sitcom Full House throwing its hat into the ring.

full_house_castThe series originally aired on ABC between 1987 and 1995, lasting 8 seasons and 192 episodes which for almost two decades has been thought of clearly as the statistical summarization of a series that could be used throughout future history in the entertainment history, but it now appears as though there are plans to add to those numbers.

The project is being handled by Warner Bros., who are believed to be planning a recruitment of many original cast members to create a “revamped” version of the show, potentially headlined by John Stamos (who played “Uncle Jesse” in the show). TV Guide report that Bob Saget (“Danny”), Candace Cameron Bure (“D.J.”), Jodie Sweetin (“Stephanie”), Andrea Barber (“Kimmy”), and Dave Coulier (“Joey”) are also being recruited for the revival.

It is a similar situation behind-the-scenes, with series creator Jeff Franklin and executive producer Bob Boyett also believed to have been approached and are now ‘actively involved’ in the project, which originally followed the tale of widowed father Danny Tanner, left to raise three daughters with the aid of his best friend and his brother-in-law.

Stamos had last year said of the potential for a Full House comeback: “We’re sort of working on a twist on a sequel, but we don’t know if it’s going to happen yet or not.”

Whether it will still remains a mystery, but will ABC or a rival network jump at the chance to catch some easy nostalgia ratings in the early run of the format? If they’re feeling lazy and the cast members remain in place (a big ask considering the baby grew up to be the most famous and now most retired of the people involved), they could even save costs on the title sequence:

While a good omen for the show occured early this year, considering the reception half the cast received:

But if it doesn’t work out, then they always have their YouTube highlights clips to look back on:

BoJack Horseman Given Second Stretch By Netflix

The latest addition to the animated comedy market is here to stay another year, as Netflix original BoJack Horseman becomes confirmed for a second season shortly after the airing of its first.

bojack_horseman_barHaving released the entire 12-episode 1st season on Friday (22 August), Netflix have waited one weekend before letting slip to someone at The Hollywood Reporter that they will have the same again next year, a 12-episode 2nd season.

The animated comedy, featuring the voices of Will Arnett and Aaron Paul, is retaining faith in the format following average and mixed reviews since launch, though probably with viewing figures from their own-brand original series to back up the decision.

Created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg, the show is set in Hollywood where there are plenty of animalised humans (or humanised animals?) around, and focuses on a horse-man named BoJack Horseman, a 90′s sitcom star now struggling with the ‘D-list celebrity’ lifestyle, as he attempts to regain prominence and publish his memoirs.

In a move that builds an even greater reputation for Netflix as a content provider that is not as trigger-happy as networks are, will future animated comedy creators, or creators of TV content in general, turn to the online streaming giant as their first choice to pitch to?

Even with failed auditions for other Netflix shows, though, the revitalised fame might be getting to the titular character’s mane head a little:

EA Plan For Billion-Dollar DLC Income

With yesterday marking the start of ‘Madden season’ (while the NFL season it relates to remains around a week away), EA Sports, and parent company Electronic Arts as a whole, will naturally be pleased at the annual injection of funds coming in from one of their regular gaming series, though they predict that they will have made plenty more even after popular titles have hit their peak in sales popularity.

ea_logoCompany spokesman John Reseburg, speaking to Bloomberg, suggested that EA have a target set for how much money they could make from downloadable content (DLC) over the coming year.

In an announcement that is sure to generate ire from customers for the principle as well as the amount, Reseburg claimed that EA are aiming to have generate ‘at least $1 billion’ revenue from additional content across all games, not that it stops free content from emerging from time to time, as recently demonstrated by EA Sports’ new UFC franchise, though on the flip side of that EA Sports’ various trading card-style Ultimate Team ‘services’ generated a total of $380m across the past year.

He noted that the new Madden NFL 15 game, released on Tuesday (26 August) in the USA and more niche-ly in Europe on Friday (29 August) is set to be a ‘major contributor’ to overall 2014 income for the company. And while the many detractors of DLC complain that it is unpopular with the market as a whole, Reseburg notes a statistic that extra content purchased in the Madden NFL series has grown 350% from Q2 2013 to Q2 2014, though whether such figures occur as a result of ‘force’ or from a good-quality overall product (both leading to an ambiguous ‘wanting more from the game’) is up for debate.

Of course, the topic leads to all the usual topics being brought up for discussion, such as: “Shouldn’t the price of the disc cover everything on it?” “Paid-for DLC would never happen to a TV show or movie.” “Additional content should mean ‘additional’, not ‘coded content unlocked’.” “What is the next step they might take in the industry?” “Are they going to DLC-lock the Super Bowl on Madden?” What does the Super Bowl on Madden look like?

And at least the makers of these videos will be happy somewhat that EA are currently at least being clear about their intentions: