BBC Announce Renewal of W1A

While its star Hugh Bonneville will be busy this week promoting the new series of ITV period drama Downton Abbey, he will not have to look too far down his schedule for more confirmed work, with the confirmation that BBC’s BBC-based mockumentary W1A, which he also stars in, is to come back for a second season next year.

bbc_w1a_castThe spin-off of Olympic administrative mockumentary Twenty Twelve, W1A will add to its existing tally of 4 episodes in 2015, with Bonneville at the centre of it all as ‘Head of Values’ Ian Fletcher, facing a frustrating working environment whilst overseeing the renewal of the BBC Charter.

The series has no further casting announcements (such as whether Jessica Hynes and Olivia Coleman will reprise their continuing roles in the overarching story), but has been confirmed to be produced in-house as ever, premiering with a 60-minute special and following up with three more 30-minute episodes, for a total of 8 over 2 brief seasons (in addition to the 13 in 2 slightly longer seasons that Twenty Twelve had). Returning as a writer on the series is creator John Morton.

An official BBC statement on the unofficial behind-the-scenes of the BBC noted of the comedy: “Until the cameras roll, it won’t be known exactly what crisis will be averted or indeed where Ian’s desk will be. With charter renewal in 2016 getting ever closer, Ian’s job as Chair of the Way Ahead Task Force will be even more important than ever”.

Whether the series will continue to receive critical acclaim in its new run remains to be seen, but for now it’s confirmed as being back, so that’s all good then:

Latest TV searches:

bbc has, downton abbey blog

Bryan Cranston Leads Off Post-Season With One-Man Show

While his headlining work for 2014 includes Godzilla, All The Way, and a special reunion sketch, Emmy award-winning Breaking Bad actor Bryan Cranston can now add ‘baseball superstar’ to his resume of acting work taken on since the AMC series ended, as he participated in a ‘one-man show’ to promote TBS‘ upcoming baseball coverage.

bryan_cranston_one_man_the_showWith the network set to air part of the post-season of Major League Baseball starting 30 September with their coverage of the American League Play-Offs 2014, Cranston has starred in a 6-minute commercial for the cable channel, in which he tries to encapsulate the spirit of baseball and post-season with his lifelong dream performance, getting help along the way with theatrical experts, a former Polo Grounds stadium organist, and former Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez.

Claiming to be inspired by the works of Bugs Bunny, Cranston attempts to convey the emotion of a post-season by playing every position on the field, in the booth, and on every team (presumably, with some of the video’s featured franchises already out of play-off contention).

The video description notes: “Looking for a new challenge in his career, actor Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad puts on a one-man recreation of the MLB Postseason in this new commercial for MLB on TBS. “

Whoever of the 10 play-off teams succeeds the Boston Red Sox as World Series champions, surely they have enough room on their rosters to draft in 58-year-old unsigned prospect Walter “The Heisenberg” White for 2015? Just look at the dramatic passion he can put into “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”:

They just need to play this before every game he plays:

Latest TV searches:

bryan cranston, bryan cranston on mlb network

Amazon TV Introduces Spotify Connect

Increasing their range of options on offer through their connected TV platform, Amazon TV have launched support for the Spotify Connect music streaming service.

spotify_connect_logoThe service is one that enables premium subscribers to the overall ad-free version of the streaming brand to direct the tunes to play out of their set-top boxes, with Amazon TV now joining that list of available carriers… at least in America.

Spotify Connect is noted as being able to ‘transmit music’ between one device and another through a WiFi connection regardless of whether or not the receiving product has a Spotify app installed.

An official Spotify blog post on the matter explained: “From today, music lovers in the US can enjoy Spotify on their Amazon Fire TV using their mobile or tablet as a remote. Using Spotify Connect on your Amazon Fire TV allows you to control your music using the Spotify app on your mobile or tablet. You can seamlessly switch your favorite music from your mobile to the TV and continue to make calls, use other smartphone apps and go out of wifi range, all without interrupting the music.”

Joining a selection of ‘Spotify Connect’ hardware partners that includes Denon, Panasonic, Pioneer, Revo, Samsung, Sony, and Yamaha, will Spotify Connect be a much-used service for Amazon TV users, or a one-time niche at best?

Latest TV searches:

amazon tv box, freeview uk channels, samsung televizyon servis

Netflix Wraps Up European Launch week With Belgium and Luxembourg

It’s been a busy week for Netflix as they expand around the globe, and in the space of five days they have launched in six European Countries, with began with Belgium and Luxembourg being the final two.

Netflix-EuropeThroughout the week Netflix have launched their streaming service officially in France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland,which now means the service is available in around 40 countries and opens up an extra 63 million potential customers.

Netflix revealed the news in a press release which had CEO Reed Hastings saying, “We’ve received a very warm welcome throughout Europe. Consumers love choice – in series and films and in when and where they watch. We are delighted people are embracing Netflix in our newest territories and, particularly, the incredible viewer enthusiasm for our original series.”

Original Netflix shows will be available in some European countries for the first time including Orange is the New Black and Bojack Horseman. Upcoming Netflix series such as Fargo, From Dusk Till Dawn, and Penny Dreadful, will also be available.

Due to a strange quirk of fate, Netflix’s biggest original show, House of Cards will not be available in all the new countries as Netflix have already sold content rights to local broadcasters.

Netflix also promise local programming as well as dubbed and subtitledcontent for the newmarkets. The service will cost from EUR 7,99 monthly in France, Germany, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg and from CHF 11,90 in Switzerland. A one month free trial of Netflix is available on sign-up.

Movie Studios Turning The Screw On Netflix VPN Loophole

The days of accessing Netflix from outside it’s territories by using a VPN (Virtual Prive Network), may be coming to a close. It’s an open secret that viewers around the world are using a service such as Hola or any number of other VPN’s both free and paid to watch more and better content from Netflix US.

netflix-piracyBut after getting roundly chastised by the boss of Australian Quickflix, Netflix are now said to be getting heat from even more content right holders. The news comes from CNET Australia, who report that movie studios including Warner Bros, and Universal are pressuring Netflix to stop Aussie users accessing the US Netflix streaming service.

Even though Netflix has not yet launched in Australia, it is estimated that nearly quarter of a million Aussies are streaming Netflix using a method that tricks Netflix into believing they are in the USA.

VPN services are legitimately used though by subscribers that do travel abroad, so a wholesale ban would be unpopular. And like piracy, stopping determined users from performing this kind of trickery would be impossible anyway.

Of course Netflix could just launch everywhere and stop using prehistoric content licensing practices for different parts of the world and everyone would be happy.

Latest TV searches:

piracy australia, roku outlander series, get paid to watch netflix movies, hola vpn, i s outlanders series on Netflix, outlander roku

Judd Apatow Will Love Two Seasons On Netflix

The latest new addition to Netflix‘s ‘upcoming original series’ will be from the high-profile mind of movie director (and part-time The Simpsons writer) Judd Apatow, who has agreed to have his new concept airing exclusively on the streaming platform.

judd_apatowIn an unprecedented ‘two-season, straight-to-series deal’, Apatow’s new concept of Love, a ‘relationship comedy’ featuring Paul Rust and Gillian Jacobs, will debut in 2016 with a 10-episode run batch, and followed in 2017 with a 12-episode second season.

It is noted that Love will have production coming from Apatow Productions and Legendary Television, whilst executive production staff members will include Apatow, Brent Forrester, and co-creators/writers Rust, and Lesley Arfin (Brooklyn Nine-Nine).

Apatow said of the move to take on the format by Netflix: “I am so excited to get to work with Paul and Lesley on this project. Netflix has been supportive in ways I couldn’t create in my wildest fever dreams.”

Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s ‘chief content officer’, summarised: “Judd Apatow has a unique comedic voice that manages to be delightful, insightful, and shockingly frank – often at the same time. Together with Paul and Lesley, he’s bringing a whole new level of agony and ecstasy to this modern day comedy of manners.”

Having sent out a strong commitment with an order of 22 episodes (which… actually doesn’t balance out too well when compared with the length of one season on most network TV shows), will Love leave a strong impression and reward the faith of two guaranteed seasons?