“Grease” is the word; so is “Schmigadoon”

For decades, musicals have had a mixed existence.
They’ve thrived on stage – everywhere from high schools to Broadway – but were rare on TV … until now. Suddenly, the streaming networks have jumped in big-time.
The second season of “Schmigadoon” starts Wednesday (April 5) on Apple TV+; “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies” (shown heere) debuts the next day on Paramount+. Two weeks earlier, “Up Here” debuted on Hulu.
Each is a full-scale musical series, with original songs and demanding choreography. “We were in rehearsals from the beginning to the very end …. We’d start the day with Scene 9 of Episode 2 and then end the day with Scene 6 from Episode 3,” said Marisa Davila, a “Pink Ladies” star. Read more…

Apple’s less-is-more approach brings quality

As Apple TV+ sets its line-up, one thing is clear: The less-is-more approach sort of works.
Other streamers are into more-is-more, the scheme that propelled Netflix. They spend billions and run up huge deficitts, to assemble lots of subscribers worldwide. Various reports put Netflix at 223 million subscribers, Amazon Prime at 200 million, Disney+ at 164 million and HBO Max at 77 million.
By comparison, Apple has fewer viewers (34 million last year) and fewer shows. But many of those shows have made an impact; they’re led by the Emmy-winning “Ted Lasso” and the much-praised “Schmigadoon” (shown here), “Severance” and “The Morning Show.”
Now Apple has announced that “Schmigadoon” will return April 7 and “Lasso” will be back sometime this spring. Meeting with the Television Critics Association, it set these dates: Read more…

It’s a golden Schmiga-Lasso time

Television has already had a Golden Age of Drama – twice; and a Golden Age of Comedy – twice. And now? Maybe we’ll call this the Golden Week of Apple TV+.
That streaming service – often outspent and outshouted by Netflix and Disney and more – has two simultaneous successes. On Friday (July 23):
– “Ted Lasso” starts its second season, awash in nominations. It leads the Emmys with 20, including best comedy; it leads the Television Critics Association with five, including program of the year.
– “Schmigadoon” starts its second week. A giddy swirl of music, dance and comedy, it manages to celebrate musical-theater traditions at the same time that it mocks them. Read more…