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WIRE Buzz: The Mandalorian tops streaming originals, Fantasia Fest honoring John Carpenter & more

By Josh Weiss
The Mandalorian

Per new insights from Parrot Analytics, The Mandalorian is ruling over the streaming galaxy as the most in-demand original series of all the new subscription platforms. We should note that this data is framed within the context of when the platforms were first rolled out.

Since Apple TV+ and Disney+ launched last November, viewers have seen the arrival of two additional services: HBO Max and Peacock. Of course, those platforms are still finding their footing, with a slew of new releases on the horizon. Comparing them to Disney+ (which, as of this week, has over 60 million subscribers) at this time isn't exactly fair. And while Apple TV+ debuted 11 days earlier than Disney+, it's still in second place. Even in its own league, however, The Mandalorian vastly outpaced other Disney+ shows like Star Wars: The Clone Wars and The World According to Jeff Goldblum.

"The Mandalorian is in a class of its own," Alejandro Rojas, director of applied analytics at Parrot, said in a statement per The Hollywood Reporter.

The Mandalorian Baby Yoda

The first live-action Star Wars show made quite the awards season splash last week with an impressive 15 Emmy nominations, including a nod for Outstanding Drama Series. Season 2, which wrapped physical production before the coronavirus pandemic, is on course to premiere this October. A third season has already been greenlit by Lucasfilm and the Mouse House.

At launch, Apple's For All Mankind and See were neck and neck in terms of viewership numbers, while Servant fell behind. Still, the M. Night Shyamalan-produced show has at least two more seasons on the way. HBO Max saw a huge boost from its Looney Tunes reboot; on the other end of the in-demand spectrum, the kid-friendly talk show The Not Too Late Show With Elmo came in last. Peacock landed on the scene last month headlined by an adaptation of Brave New World, among many new original offerings.

"It goes beyond viewership and the traditional way of looking at the industry," Rojas added. "It's all about capturing people's interest and connecting emotionally with the people so they see that show as part of their life."

(SYFY, SYFY WIRE and Peacock are all owned by NBCUniversal.)

Writer/director/composer/producer/genre maven John Carpenter will be honored at this year's Fantasia International Film Festival with the Masterclass and Lifetime Achievement Award. The filmmaker has a longstanding history with Fantasia after the 1998 premiere of Vampires.

Aside from the awards ceremony, Carpenter's presence will also include a "masterclass" seminar in which the filmmaker will "discuss everything from his own festival origin story to his awe-inspiring career, touching on Halloween, The Fog, Escape From New York, The Thing, Starman, They Live, and many more," reads the release. "In addition, the fest will explore his recent resurgence as a touring musician and play you his latest spine-tingling single!"

John Carpenter

Lastly, the festival announced its final wave of films and events, including Daria Woszek’s SXSW-selected Marygoround, Justin G. Dyck’s Anything for Jackson, and a conversation with Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill HouseDoctor Sleep).

Due to the current health crisis, the annual event (usually held in Canada) is going entirely digital between Aug. 20 and Sept. 2. Neil Marshall's plague-centric The Reckoning is set to kick off the festivities. You can learn more about Fantasia 2020 here.

After devouring Daniel Myrick's Skyman in June, we were ravenous for more content about people trying to get in touch with aliens. Netflix has us covered with a new documentary feature, John Was Trying to Contact Aliens. Directed by Matthew Killip, the film follows John Shepherd, a man who spent three decades attempting to contact extraterrestrials by broadcasting music into space. "After giving up the search, he makes a different connection here on Earth," says the synopsis.

Take a look below:

"It grew to encompass an entire bedroom," Shepherd says of his homemade communications setup in the documentary's Stranger Things-y trailer. "That equipment continued to grow ... It allowed me to reach deeper and further out into space. I was always seeking to explore, to look beyond what we have here."

John Was Trying To Contact Aliens

John Was Trying to Contact Aliens makes contact on Aug. 20. The project first premiered at Sundance last year.