The Watchman: HBO Special Coasts From Stage to Screen; Kid Koala Whisperer on Netflix

Bette Midler in HBO's Coastal Elites
Bette Midler in HBO's ‘Coastal Elites’ (Image credit: HBO)

Coastal Elites, which HBO calls a “socially distanced comedy,” has Bette Midler, Kaitlyn Dever, Dan Levy, Sarah Paulson and Issa Rae in the cast. The characters grapple with politics, culture and the pandemic. Each performs a long monologue. 

Paul Rudnick wrote Coastal Elites and Jay Roach directs. Both are executive producers. Coastal Elites was set to happen at New York’s Public Theater. Then 2020, and all its madness, hit. 

The producers reworked the scripts to reflect our crazy times. “It was always intended to be right now,” said Rudnick, “and to be as honest as we could possibly get it.”

The actors shot their one-act scenes at home. “Paul’s monologues connect to something that everybody is going through in one way or another,” said Roach. “How they are coping is so heartbreaking and dramatizing, and also darkly ironic and absurd.”

Izzy Bee's Koala World

Izzy Bee’s Koala World on Netflix (Image credit: Netflix)

Izzy Bee’s Koala World starts on Netflix Sept. 15. Izzy is an 11-year-old girl living in Australia. Her parents run a koala hospital, and Izzy keeps the recovering koalas calm and happy. 

“She’s the emotional support person,” said David Glauber, supervising producer. “She’s almost a koala whisperer.”

The koalas, including Cinderella, Juliet and Stormboy, are fun to watch. “Their personalities are unique,” Glauber said. “And of course, they’re adorable.”

Izzy Bee was previously on an Animal Planet series called Dodo Heroes. “We fell in love with her,” said Glauber, creative lead at animal programmer Dodo Kids. “She exemplifies everything we believe in as a brand.”

Koalas had a rough time when the wildfires devastated Australia. Glauber hopes the series provides viewers with a new appreciation for these fuzzy marsupials. “We want the audience to experience the joyful, playful lives of koalas,” he said. 

‘Archer’ Awakens on FXX 

Season 11 of animated comedy Archer kicks off on FXX Sept. 16. Super-spy Sterling Archer is conscious after years in a coma and making sense of the world around him. “After three seasons in Archer’s mind, we’re all excited to come back to the real world,” executive producer Casey Willis said. 

H. Jon Benjamin voices Archer. Adam Reed created the show. 

Willis said Archer has matured across its 11 seasons. The visual storytelling has improved, and the producers work more on character development. “We show more of their journey,” Willis said. 

The key to lasting this long is Reed shaking things up, Willis said, including shifting to Archer Vice in season five, and the coma seasons in recent years. He gives FX credit for sticking with Archer and trusting the producers’ whims. “To FX’s credit, it was always, Sounds great, go for it,” he said. “Other outlets might be a little wary about changing the whole format.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.