News about Discovery+ launching in Canada, "What Happened, Brittany Murphy", "Shetland", and more.
Welcome to the May 25, 2021 edition of This Week in WCIW, the weekly newsletter from Where Can I Watch – covering the latest news on where TV shows and movies will be available in Canada.
Scroll down for newly-announced late May and June arrivals on Netflix, Crave, Disney+, BritBox, Hollywood Suite, and more.
Plus, we have some news about a new offering here at WCIW, including a second weekly newsletter – and some implications particularly if you've donated to this site in the past. Read on for more.
A bunch of programming announcements from Crave this week. First, the Bell streaming service has finally confirmed it will be picking up HBO Max's Friends: The Reunion, which debuts on both services this coming Thursday, May 27. In addition to streaming availability, the 105-ish-minute special will air that night on Crave 1 at 10:00 p.m. ET/MT, and on Super Écran 1 at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Crave has also picked up A World of Calm, a narrated imagery series based on the Calm meditation app, which was commissioned by HBO Max and premiered on that service in the fall, but is distributed internationally by All3Media (a company that, coincidentally in light of recent news, is 50% owned by Discovery Inc.). Despite Crave announcing the full first season would be available this past Friday, only a few of the ten episodes are visible as of this writing.
Looking a bit further ahead in terms of HBO Max programming, Crave has also confirmed that it will be carrying the upcoming Issa Rae-produced unscripted series Sweet Life: Los Angeles (for which All3 appears to be handling distribution as well), as well as a revival of Project Greenlight also involving Rae (but with the underlying rights held by Miramax, which is now a joint venture of BeIN Media and ViacomCBS).
Of course, all that is before we get into the actual June arrivals for Crave, which were also announced this past week. We'll do a fuller listing next week, but for now, a few highlights not previously confirmed: the HBO Max co-produced Spanish series Veneno (June 24, presumably via Atresmedia); Warner Bros. movies The Little Things (June 18) and The Witches (June 25); recent Oscar nominees The United States vs. Billie Holliday (June 18) and Another Round (June 25); Sky Studios series Intergalactic (June 4) and Domina (June 25); and the complete original Gossip Girl series (June 11; the HBO Max reboot is expected to premiere in July).
In non-Crave programming news:
- June arrivals for Canada have been circulated for Netflix and for Disney+ / Star. Again, we'll have a fuller list next week, but for now we'll note a few highlights.
On Netflix, a few recent licensed titles of note are arriving after pay-1 windows on either Crave or Prime Video: Spider-Man: Far From Home arrives on June 16, Booksmart on June 19, Long Shot on June 21, and Midsommar on June 29.
On Disney+, the big TV attraction is Marvel Studios' Loki (weekly starting June 9), but Raya and the Lost Dragon will be arriving for everyone on June 4 after a few months of Premier Access exclusivity, and Pixar's Luca will be direct-to-streaming at no extra charge on June 18.
- Among BritBox's new arrivals in June (per a release sent to WCIW) are original series The Syndicate: Double or Nothing (weekly beginning June 1); new seasons of Murder, Mystery and My Family and companion series Case Closed? (June 8), as well as Inside No. 9 (June 22); recent Channel 5 UK miniseries Intruder (June 15); and the first nine seasons of Call the Midwife (June 25; some seasons currently available on CBC Gem).
- Hollywood Suite has announced that it will have the Canadian premiere of the HBO Max' Equal, a four-part docuseries about the American origin stories of the LGBTQ+ movement, narrated by Billy Porter. The series will air Mondays at 9:00 p.m. ET from June 7 to 28. Equal, not to be confused with the recently-aired FX docuseries Pride (or for that matter the 2019 OutTV docuseries Pride), was originally released in the U.S. this past October.
- Amazon has purchased the global (non-U.S.) streaming rights to Nine Perfect Strangers, the forthcoming Hulu original series starring Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy. We might have expected this series to go to Disney+ / Star in Canada and internationally, but it's one of the increasingly rare new Hulu series not actually produced by a Disney subsidiary like ABC Signature or 20th TV. Instead, international distribution is being handled by Endeavor Content, and on a certain level it makes sense that they could get a better return selling to the already-global Prime Video rather than the slightly-less-global Disney+.
- The four major U.S. broadcast networks – ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC – have now all announced their fall schedules. Not surprisingly, there's now a big emphasis on franchises, with FBI and Law & Order following in the footsteps of NCIS and One Chicago in taking over entire nights of primetime.
- On the Discovery+ watch: When visiting discoveryplus.com late last week, we noted that the service's homepage was showing a black screen when visited from Canada (instead of the previous "not available" message). As of today it is showing the same splash page as the U.S., but the content displayed remains U.S.-specific (including references to Verizon), and it remains impossible to sign up (clicking "Start Trial" redirects back to the splash page) or otherwise access content. It's a curious change, though whether it actually means anything in terms of a Canadian launch of Discovery+ is not yet clear.
Recent changes on WCIW
- Last Monday night, we added a page about the Eurovision Song Contest which took place from Tuesday to Saturday and was available in Canada on Omni Television (and Eurovision's YouTube channel, where recordings of the semi-final and final remain available).
What's next at WCIW
We're in the process of making a couple of changes, both to this site and to our newsletters.
Up to now, WCIW has been an entirely free-to-use site, funded by optional donations (for which we have been very grateful) plus a modest amount of affiliate link revenue. Each week, we've sent out a single newsletter with programming updates, and occasionally a bit of analysis about what else we think might be forthcoming.
As we've promised in the past, the majority of the site, including every page that's freely available today, will continue to be free to access going forward. We've also decided to maintain This Week in WCIW, which will focus mainly on general programming information, as a free newsletter for the time being.
However, to ensure the site remains sustainable, and to help provide better value for those that choose to contribute, we've decided to introduce a paid subscription option.
This will include an exclusive second newsletter, which we're tentatively calling What's Next in WCIW. Right now, we expect it'll be sent midweek about every two weeks, containing analysis of one or two big stories – like, say, the discussion of the effects of the WarnerMedia / Discovery merger on Canada in last week's newsletter. The first edition coming later this week will include projections for what the schedules of Canada's private broadcast TV networks (i.e. CTV, Global, and Citytv) could look like this fall, before the schedules are announced early next month.
To access What's Next in WCIW – and more subscriber-exclusive resources that we intend to introduce in the future – we're asking you to consider subscribing for $3 per month, or pay annually for just $1.67 per month ($20 per year). (Transaction fees eat a bigger percentage of the monthly payments, which accounts for part of the savings if you pay annually. We are not currently required to charge GST/HST; if this changes, we'll let you know.)
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