This Week’s MPN Podcast: DCU Projects; Interview With ‘Children of the Mist’ Director; Netflix’s Sharing Crackdown


On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley dissect the James Gunn video he released on behalf of DC Studios, detailing their upcoming slate of TV shows and movies. Charles, ever the comic book nerd, has a ton of insight into just about every one of the properties announced by Gunn, and Charlie’s ears perk up at a couple of them even after getting turned off by the endless parade of Marvel movies rolling through theaters. In short, James Gunn’s vision for DC movies is to preserve the directorial voice of each one of the properties’ leads, which the hosts believe will make them stand out from Marvel. What Marvel movies suffer from is constraining all their movies into the same homogenous look, which really makes creativity suffer, so this plan of DC’s is certainly promising.

Charlie interviews Ha Le Diem, director of Film Movement’s documentary Children of the Mist, which has won awards for its unfiltered look into the childhood experience of a girl in northern Vietnam and the tradition of bridal kidnapping among its Hmong ethnic group. Charlie digs into Diem’s perspectives while filming the documentary, which was done over the course of multiple years, and how she tried to strike a balance between remaining a documentarian behind the camera and making sure the subject of her film remained safe. In the film, the protagonist of the film is herself subject to near-kidnapping, which is an extremely raw scene and difficult to watch. Charlie gives Children of the Mist a strong recommendation.

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Wrapping up the show is a follow-up on Netflix’s plan to crack down on password sharing: after announcing their plans to their U.S.-based users, online backlash caused Netflix to retract the plan and claim it was posted “in error.” Charlie and Charles think that, despite the backlash, it remains a positive sign for Netflix as 38% of survey respondents who access Netflix for free via password sharing would consider signing up, and 40% of respondents would consider a cheaper ad-supported tier. Since Netflix is planning to roll out such an ad-supported plan this year, it’s probable this tantrum over password sharing enforcement will be a short-lived phenomenon.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: Most Anticipated Movies, Shows; Interview With Fandango’s Erik Davis

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley dive into the most anticipated new and returning shows coming to streaming in February, as well as the 10 most-anticipated movies.

Surprisingly, network TV’s offerings dominate the new shows coming this month, with ABC and Fox debuting four of the five most anticipated items from the list. Charlie is looking forward to the new season of “You,” coming to Netflix, which is what you would get if you crossed a sappy Lifetime movie with a staple Netflix serial killer docuseries. 

Among new movies, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania leads the list. Both hosts, however, are skeptical of its level of success, with not much chatter online. If nothing else, once it releases mid-February it will finally unseat Avatar: The Way of Water, which has led every box office weekend since its debut and has grossed over $2 billion worldwide, making it the No. 4 highest-grossing movie of all time.

The MPN Podcast features its first interview with Erik Davis, editor at Fandango, who talks with Charlie about several Oscar nominees that are currently available on Vudu. Erik shares his thoughts about movies such as The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Top Gun: Maverick, and many others, as well as his predictions for who will win their respective categories. His most exciting prediction? A tie for Best Actress between Michelle Yo and Cate Blanchett for Everything Everywhere All at Once and Tár, respectively.

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This Week’s MPN Podcast: ‘The Last of Us’ Viewership Jumps 22%; Netflix’s Reed Hastings Steps Down; Netflix to Launch Paid Password Sharing


On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley recap the shows they’ve been watching recently, as well as the newest post-apocalyptic drama on HBO Max, “The Last of Us.” Charlie finished another HBO Max show, “Peacemaker,” something he was lukewarm on after catching its pilot but, having given the show another shot, ended up loving because of its earnest take on superheroes. If you thought “The Boys” was compelling but tried a little too hard to be edgy, then “Peacemaker” may be just what you’re looking for. Charles finished up “The Good Place,” a former NBC show now on Netflix and deserves a recommendation as well.

“The Last of Us” aired its second episode over the weekend and saw a 22% lift in viewership. Charlie, who had next to no expectations going into the first episode and was pleasantly surprised by it, has since gotten fully onboard with the show. The hosts talk about how lots of prestige TV nowadays all seems to suffer from the same oversaturated color palettes, sweeping overhead drone shots, and meticulously (yet lifeless) crafted set backgrounds. He contrasts this with “The Last of Us,” which so far has successfully pulled off making its post-apocalyptic backdrop look depressingly lived in. It had big shoes to fill given its source material, the critically acclaimed game by the same name. In contrast with a slew of video game adaptations that have turned out to be stinkers on the screen, this show will likely have a bright future.

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Lastly is a lot of news this week from Netflix. Reed Hastings, its co-founder and co-CEO, has announced he is stepping down from his position to take up an executive chairman role. Also planned is to crack down on password sharing: Netflix estimates 100 million of its subscribers share passwords and has been testing a paid password sharing upsell in South America. It plans to roll this out to its broader subscription base in an attempt to monetize some of this usage. It is the hosts’ opinion that if anything hurts Netflix, it will be its habit of canceling shows left and right rather than marginally increasing its users’ monthly costs. And did you know Netflix still has a DVD subscription service? Listen to the end for the latest details on that.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: Critic’s Choice Award Winners Recap; Amazon Relaunches Epix as MGM+


On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley cover some of the results from the Critics Choice Awards. Charlie highlights a couple of the winners he’s had on his to-watch list for some time: the stylish parody biopic Weird: The Al Yankovic Story and “The Dropout,” the limited-run series covering the high profile flame out of the biotech startup Theranos (both on Hulu). Charles has missed just about everything on the awards list, leading to the hosts discussing just how much there is available to watch. 

Afterwards is a quick rundown of a new streaming service of Amazon’s, MGM+. Interestingly, their four advertised original shows and movies are complete unknowns to the hosts, continuing the theme of the overwhelming amount of content to keep up with. And at the theaters, Avatar: The Way of Water crosses $1.9 billion worldwide and maintains its No. 1 spot domestically.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: ‘The Menu,’ ‘Glass Onion’ Reviews; Streaming to Get More Expensive; CES Debuts New VR Headsets; Netflix Cancellations


On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley dissect several articles from the industry that have emerged in the past week, as well as offer up a couple of quick reviews for new movies they’ve caught on streaming. First up, Charlie has finally watched The Menu which is now streaming on HBO Max. It’s a great satirical take on the pretentiousness surrounding high-end luxury dining and well worth a watch. Charles recaps the first Knives Out and shares his thoughts on its recent Netflix-exclusive sequel Glass Onion.

From the latest salvo in the streaming wars, Warner Bros. Discovery CFO was quoted as saying the prices of streaming platforms are “… overall priced too low,” which is troubling considering the merger of Discovery and WarnerMedia (with HBO) have led to many shows and movies being written off and removed from the streaming lineup. One prominent casualty was Batgirl, a completed $90 million film that will now never be released. This, coupled with Netflix’s penchant for canceling shows after only a season or two, implies that not long from now streaming subscribers will be paying more for less content. Speaking of Netflix, Charlie and Charles have a back-and-forth discussion about how Netflix may be setting itself up for failure by consistently canceling its original programming. The cancellation of “1899” last week (after a single season) led to a lot of negative feedback online, and more recently the cancellation of the animated comedy “Inside Job” has Charlie starting to turn more and more bearish on the service. It appears that Netflix subscribers are conditioned to wait until a show completes its entire run before becoming invested in it, which could lead to a negative feedback loop of initial low viewing numbers, leading to more cancellations, leading to even lower viewing numbers.

The last piece of newsworthy content from the industry was CES and a metaverse-oriented showcase that had taken center stage during the convention. Both hosts own VR headsets and spend some time commenting on the VR-specific tech announced at CES. Most things, like a headset containing cartridges that allow the user to smell certain odors during use, come off as obviously dead on arrival while others, such as a new headset from HTC to compete with the Meta Quest 2, are intriguing. The hosts recommend buying a VR device regardless, because watching movies on a giant virtual screen is a great experience.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: Most Popular Streamed Movies and Shows of 2022; Most Anticipated Content Coming in January

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley cover  the year’s most popular streamed movies and shows according to data compiled by JustWatch.

They debate the pros and cons of the lists, while sharing some of their own insights about what they’d seen during the year. In general, moviegoers returned to theaters in droves for the first time since the pandemic, but streaming was still a very popular way to watch new movies. For example, Spider-Man: No Way Home set records for one of the largest theatrical releases of all time, yet was still the No. 4 most streamed movie of the year.

Unsurprisingly, the No. 1 most popular streamed movie was Top Gun: Maverick, the surprise smash of the year that made well over a billion dollars during its theatrical run and maintained strong viewership numbers on both streaming as well as physical sales.

For shows, the dueling high fantasy epics of “House of the Dragon” and “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” both held top 10 spots by popularity, but the most popular streamed show was Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” now in its fourth season. Charlie wraps the segment by remarking on the abrupt cancellation of another Netflix show, “1899.”

The following segment looks ahead to January releases of new movies and shows. The hosts were at a loss for most of the announcements, leading them to conclude that Avatar: The Way of Water would face just about no competition for another month in theaters and easily net at least $2 billion before the end of the month.

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One new show that caught their eye was “The Last of Us,” set to premiere on HBO Max. This is a show based on a video game by the same name that both have played, and given its mature and cinematic content led them to both give it a preemptive recommendation.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: Review for ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ and Recap of ‘Avatar’ on Disney+; Henry Cavill to Leave DC Cinematic Universe and ‘Witcher’ Netflix Series for ‘Warhammer 40k’ Series


On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley lead with a review for Avatar: The Way of Water as well as a quick recap and comparison to the original Avatar (available to stream on Disney+).

In short: the sequel successfully builds on the story of the first movie but the true attraction is the stunning visual effects. In Charlie’s words: it’s as though a documentary shoot took place on an alien planet because the CGI is so seamless and the ecosystem is so vibrant the movie will effortlessly transport you back to Pandora. Charles was similarly impressed, expressing his disappointment with the original but applauding The Way of Water. Both hosts are looking forward to the next installment of the franchise. When it comes to box office performance, as of the time of recording the movie has broken $900 million worldwide and still easily taking the No. 1 spot domestically. It faces little to no competition in theaters until the next Marvel release, Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in February.

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In streaming, it’s been a busy time for actor Henry Cavill. Production disagreements and friction between the showrunners/writers and Cavill on Netflix’s “The Witcher” have led to his departure from the series, to be replaced by Liam Hemsworth in the next season. Simultaneously, due to pivots in DC’s strategy (spearheaded by James Gunn and Peter Safran), Cavill will also not reprise his role as Superman in upcoming movies, despite his character’s recent cameo in the Black Adam post-credits scene. But with a trick up his sleeve, Cavill has announced his new role as executive producer and lead in Amazon Prime Video’s “Warhammer 40k” series, a sci-fi property popular with tabletop role-playing gamers. Cavill himself is a huge fan of the IP and while little is known about Amazon’s plans there is universal positive buzz about his announcement.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: ‘Avatar 2’ Box Office Blowout; James Cameron Quotes and Interviews; Charlie’s Feel-Good Christmas-Time Movie List


On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley cover news around Avatar 2’s release. It had the fifth-largest domestic opening of the year, and made $435 million globally. It was a meaty opening weekend yet it still didn’t quite meet projections. Charles brings in a series of interviews director James Cameron has given over the years and breaks down the characteristics of this auteur director. It’s a spirited discussion around this director because the release of Avatar 2 has such a unique development history, not to mention the ongoing development of planned sequels in the franchise.

Charlie wraps up the episode with an exhaustive list of movies he watched over the weekend while he was knocked out sick in bed. It spans the gamut of thriller/criminal/mystery/revenge films, including multiple foreign films and some mainstream ones that flew under the radar during their releases. He facetiously calls it his “feel-good Christmas-time movie list” but beware that most of the movies he cites tend to get graphic. One movie however, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, gets an asterisk for actually taking place during Christmas. Listen to the episode for the full list.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: December’s Most Anticipated Shows and Movies; ‘The Peripheral’ and ‘1899’ Wrapped Up; Best Shows of 2022


On this week’s episode of the Media Play News Podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley introduce a new segment to the show: looking ahead to the coming month’s most anticipated streaming shows and movies, according to data collected by Whip Media. With 20 items on the list, there’s plenty for the hosts to chew on, and they share their opinions on what is worth looking forward to and what can be skipped. There’s plenty of Avatar 2 discussion as its premiere approaches and, to no one’s surprise, it’s the No. 1 most anticipated movie of December.

Charlie sums up his thoughts with “The Peripheral” and “1899” now that he’s finished both series. In summation, the former is a promising new sci-fi show with the potential to become great, but the latter doesn’t live up to its premise and, in the host’s opinion, fails to be consistent with its storytelling. Charles talks about a fun YouTube channel, “Watcher,” which has a recurring series “Puppet History,” consisting of exactly what the title implies: historical events reenacted by puppets.

Looking backward in time, Charlie and Charles dissect a list of top shows from 2022 according to The Economist, along with shows they themselves liked most. Stay tuned to the end to hear what is worth revisiting from this past year!

This Week’s MPN Podcast: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special’ Review; ‘The Peripheral’ and ‘1899’, Overhyped or Worth it?

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley run through a lightning round of reviews for shows they’ve been watching. First up is The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, which John Latchem reviewed for MPN. Charles shares his thoughts about it, as well as a quick recap of the Marvel Phase 4 set of movies and shows, as this special concludes that series. He also gives his predictions for what to expect in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, James Gunn’s final Marvel-directed movie before committing fully to leading the DC franchise at Warner Bros.

Afterward, Charlie updates listeners on his progress through the Amazon Prime series “The Peripheral” as well as the new cerebral Netflix drama “1899.” The former has proven to be a solid new sci-fi series, but, as for the latter, according to Charlie, it’s off to a rocky start.

At the box office, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever unsurprisingly still took the No. 1 spot over the long Thanksgiving weekend. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery debuted on a limited number of screens but didn’t make a big splash. The hosts, who are both huge fans of the original, expect it to do extremely well on Netflix when it makes its streaming debut in late December. But looming on the box office horizon is the juggernaut Avatar: The Way of Water. It’s no question as to whether it will dominate ticket sales when it finally drops; the question is, exactly how much.

Lastly, the hosts cover an article announcing that Amazon has ordered a miniseries to cover the recent collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange, to be produced by the Russo brothers. Charlie follows that particular tech sector closely and gives some context for the collapse, and the trend of studios to produce miniseries about similarly spectacular implosions of tech companies like Uber, WeWork and Theranos.