D+ Day’s Here for Star

The channel that some are picking will help Disney+ surpass Netflix in subscriptions five years from now goes live tonight.

Star will offer a Hulu-like smorgasbord of entertainment that’s more general and generally more adult than most of the family-oriented fare already on Disney+ under its Disney, Pixar, National Geographic, Marvel and Star Wars channels.

Even before launch, readers like Trevor have discovered the new service will open with even more titles than was publicised, including Alita: Battle Angel (and in 4K), Big Trouble in Little China and M*A*S*H the TV series for the first time in HD (albeit at the expense of the original 4:3 image being cropped for 16:9).

Another surprise, given the handful of titles announced pre-launch, is the wide range of 4K streams, including Patton, BraveheartMurder on the Orient Express, Life of Pi, The Martian, The Mountain Between Us, Joy, JoJo Rabbit, Keeping Up With the Joneses, Spies in Disguise, The Greatest ShowmanDeadpool, The Peanuts Movie, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Terminator: Dark FateIndependence Day, Ready or Not,The Longest Ride and the original Predator.

Because of varying licensing deals, expect the NZ service to subtly differ from Australia’s and the UK’s.

There will be other quirks, too, such as some movies, like Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, being available to stream on 4K on Apple TV but only in HD on the platform that owns these movies!

Overall, however, the launch of Star looks like delivering Kiwis a well-rounded mix of modern and classic movies that’s unmatched by any other service in this market for the price.

The TV slate is less impressive, comprising many of the shows that tanked on TVNZ and led the broadcaster to renegotiate its Disney deal. But HD remasters of M*A*S*H and Hill Street Blues are welcome and there is a handful original TV series: Big Sky, Love, Victor, Hellstrom and the animated Solar Opposites.

Big Sky is a glossy David E Kelley thriller about the abduction of two women in backwoods Montana that’s hit the headlines in the US for shocking plot twists (at least by network TV standards — it airs on ABC).

Love, Victor is a sexual-orientation coming-of-age comedy on Hulu that most critics liked but thought suffered from its adult themes being Disney-fied.

Helstrom is another Hulu import, a Marvel entry about a brother and sister sired by a serial killer that was poorly reviewed yet earned high audience approval on Rotten Tomatoes: it averaged a 27% critics’ rating and 85% viewers’ rating.

Solar Opposites follows a group of aliens who flee their planet after it is destroyed by an asteroid and end up on Earth. From Rick & Morty’s Justin Roiland, it earned two thumbs up from both critics and viewers.

As for what else is due this year, AVForums reports the following:

Y: The Last Man

This long gestating project is a new FX drama series based on DC Comics’ acclaimed series of the same name which sees a post-apocalyptic world in which a cataclysmic event decimates every mammal with a Y chromosome but for one cisgender man and his pet monkey. In his travels, Y meets the various survivors of this new world as they struggle with their efforts to restore what was lost and the opportunity to build something better.

The Old Man

Another FX drama, Jeff Bridges stars as a former CIA operative who is forced to reconcile with his past.

American Horror Stories

A new anthology series from Emmy and Golden Globe award winning producer Ryan Murphy (making a small detour from his usual home at Netflix) spun off from FX’s biggest, longest running original drama hit, American Horror Story.

Only Murders in the Building

Only Murders In The Building follows three strangers (played by Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez) who share an obsession with true crime and suddenly find themselves neck deep in one.

Dopesick

A dramatic look at the ravages caused by the opioid scandal in America starting at the epicentre of the struggle at a distressed Virginia mining community all the way to the DEA authorities and the Big Pharma manufacturers with a financial and political investment in the whole arrangement. Stars Michael Keaton, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg, Will Poulter, John Hoogenakker, Kaitlyn Dever and Rosario Dawson.

The Dropout

The Dropout is inspired by the ABC News podcast of the same name chronicling the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes (played by Kate McKinnon) and her company, Theranos. The series will explore what caused the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, once heralded as “the next Steve Jobs,” to lose everything in the blink of an eye.

In addition, Disney+ recently announced the first ten European original shows that are being produced, including projects for its Star brand.

The slate of 10 projects range from fantasy Parallels and music documentary Soprano: Sing of Die from France, to Italy’s The Good Mothers a mafia story told entirely from the women’s perspectives, to Sultan City a dark comedy from Germany. These will make up 20 percent of the expected 50 new shows due over the next few years.

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3 Responses to “D+ Day’s Here for Star”

  1. I just watched a bit of MASH and WOW,it looks amazing. It’s like a brand new show, whoever did the remastering did a wonderful job. I see Jojo Rabbit is on there as well 🙂

  2. Quite agree re M*A*S*H, Trevor. After decades of re-runs where the colour had faded to khaki, it’s amazing to see a 50-year-old show so vibrantly rejuvenated. And JoJo Rabbit is another surprise: it wasn’t announced at launch and it’s in 4K!

  3. I had a feeling there would be a few surprises. I’m watching Die Hard at the moment, one of my favourite movies 🙂

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