I enjoyed Living With Yourself, the new Paul Rudd Netflix series. It is not a must watch, but you could do worse. More below.
I also very much enjoyed Watchmen.
Lots of Watchmen takes out there this morning.
Here’s one. Another below.
HGTV premieres Rock The Block tonight. I’ve seen the finished work from this show and it’s pretty damn remarkable what these women were able to do.
Fox has picked up a 2nd season of Bless The Harts.
I ran into Jessica Pearson at the grocery store. I was starstruck.
Catherine The Great premieres tonight on HBO.
Could You Survive The Movies? is now available on YouTube Premium.
“Netflix plans to raise $2 billion dollars for what it refers to as ‘general corporate purposes,’ which it says ‘may include content acquisitions, production and development,’ among other things. Here is the full relevant language from the Securities and Exchange Commission filing: ‘Netflix intends to use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes, which may include content acquisitions, production and development, capital expenditures, investments, working capital and potential acquisitions and strategic transactions.’ The senior unsecured notes, which reach $2 billion in aggregate in U.S. dollar and euro denominations, will be offered in two series.”
“Mina Kimes is preparing to take ESPN into a new frontier. The sports-media giant has launched a SportsCenter for Snapchat and tested baseball telecasts for kids. Now it’s hoping to set up shop in another media venue. Starting to[day], the Disney-backed company launches ESPN Daily, a weekday morning podcast that aims to tap its vast array of reporters and analysts. Kimes, who will host the program, has already been working on stories. ‘We will certainly be engaging with the news and the sports calendar, but we also want to find stories that aren’t the obvious ones, the ones people wouldn’t hear about otherwise,’ Kimes says in an interview. The show will last about 20 minutes and tackle everything from stories about the biggest names in sports to narrative investigations and some quirkier stuff.”
Jennifer Aniston has picked up 15.2M Instagram followers in a week!?
Per Rolling Stone, “Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen landed on comic book fans in the fall of 1986 with the force of a thunderbolt, if not that of a giant psychic interdimensional squid. (You kind of had to be there.) The series was, among other things, a murder mystery, an alternate history commenting on that particular era of Cold War pre-apocalyptic paranoia, an extremely R-rated superhero story, and, oh yeah, a ruthless deconstruction of superhero comic books. Across 12 issues, Moore and Gibbons dismantled, harshly examined, then garishly reassembled every structural and thematic device the medium had been using all the way back to the birth of Batman and Superman. What kind of person, the book asked, would put on colorful tights and a mask to go beat people up in public? How different would our world be if people with godlike powers existed? Watchmen interrogated everything, down to the way individual panels were traditionally laid out. It was a comic book for adults, not just because of the sex, the language, and the excessively graphic violence, but because of its themes and the way it questioned the very nature and purpose of stories like it.
“Watchmen, along with Frank Miller’s Batman story The Dark Knight Returns, utterly transformed the image and aspirations of the comics industry. They birthed the perpetual cycle of ‘Zap! Bam! POW! Comics Aren’t Just For Kids Anymore!’ headlines, and inspired other creators to tackle more mature content. But most of Watchmen‘s creative descendants only skimmed along the surface of what made it so radical. They adopted the sex, the violence, and the sense of self-loathing about superheroes themselves, in a desperate cry to be taken seriously, but lacked Moore and Gibbons’ deeper ambitions. At the same time, Watchmen itself began to gather a reputation as unfilmable, with directors as varied as Terry Gilliam, Darren Aronofsky, and Paul Greengrass trying and failing to make a movie out of it. Eventually, Zack Snyder succeeded with his 2009 movie version. Snyder’s take has its moments (particularly an opening credits montage inserting superheroes into iconic American images across four decades), but in faithfully adapting the comic’s pulpy plot, it missed all the conceptual daring that was the important part. Characters who were meant to illustrate the absurd arrested development of superheroics were instead badasses having fights with bullet-time effects. It was like someone proving they could trace over a Picasso painting, without understanding what the original artist was doing with his strange rendering of the human anatomy.
“Even the Snyder film’s most ardent supporters admitted the source material would have been better served as a premium cable series, which would have room for both the story and its many weird flourishes, and for the larger questions the comic raised. A decade after Snyder, Watchmen has finally landed at the screen home where it probably always belonged, HBO, but in an unexpected fashion. Damon Lindelof, the inspired, divisive mind behind Lost and The Leftovers — two shows with a generous helping of Watchmen DNA already — is in charge. Rather than simply retell the comic story at greater length, Lindelof has taken an enormous swing. He’s sidestepped adaptation altogether and created a sequel set in the same universe as the comic, that is faithful to the events of that story but only features a few characters from it. The setting — present-day Tulsa, Oklahoma — is completely different. So is the show’s central theme of white supremacy.
“Where Snyder’s focus on following the letter of the law with Watchmen caused him to utterly miss the spirit of the thing, Lindelof’s disruptive approach comes far closer than you might expect at first, given how many departures he’s taken from where the comic book left off. Not all of it works, but it’s a fascinating — and frequently thrilling — attempt to rebottle some of the same lightning that Moore and Gibbons unleashed back in the Eighties.
“Lindelof’s take isn’t a deconstruction of superhero shows, nor of TV dramas in general, in the way that the comic picked apart other comics. Television has been deconstructing itself plenty in the post-Sopranos era, and even some comic book dramas have done it, whether through the psychedelic imagery of Legion or the self-aware goofiness of Legends of Tomorrow. But he’s successfully taken the comic’s larger sociological questions and extrapolated them out to the terrifying world we live in now. In Ronald Reagan’s America, for instance, the thing that seemed on the verge of destroying us was nuclear war, and much of the comic’s story was fueled by fear of everyone dying under a mushroom cloud. In Donald Trump’s America, the existential threat is white nationalist extremism — and, beyond that, more casual but pervasive forms of racism — which Lindelof turns into the Seventh Kalvary, a KKK-style movement whose members wear masks inspired by Watchmen vigilante Rorschach. The Kalvary’s terrorist actions in turn have forced police officers to assume costumed identities, like Regina King’s Tulsa cop Angela Abar, who patrols the streets in a fetish nun outfit, calling herself Sister Night.
“Cops dressing like superheroes is an inversion of a plot device from the comics, where masked vigilantes were legally banned in the Seventies. But it also feels unnervingly applicable to our world, where events like Botham Jean’s murder (and its violent aftermath) can create the impression — particularly in minority communities — that the police are already a team of untouchable vigilantes. That Angela herself is black is a complication the series examines early and often, with Lindelof again taking advantage of the fiery brilliance of King, who was briefly part of The Leftovers ensemble.
“The story deftly toggles between our own history and the alternative one Moore and Gibbons crafted. We open decades before any event from the comic, with a horrifying depiction of the real-life 1921 massacre in the Greenwood section of Tulsa, which at the time was known, to the displeasure of local Klan members, as ‘Black Wall Street.’ And then we land in a version of 2019 where Robert Redford has been president for a quarter century, and where Angela and her boss, Judd Crawford (Don Johnson) are at open war with the Seventh Kalvary. The series takes its time explaining how our past is connected to its present, particularly via an inscrutable man in a wheelchair played by Louis Gossett Jr. It’s also in no hurry to reveal how figures from the comic book — including Jean Smart as an older, hard-bitten version of Laurie Blake, who once fought crime as the scantily-clad Silk Spectre; and Jeremy Irons savoring every bit of scenery he can chew as an enigmatic exile who sure seems to be smartest man in the world Adrian ‘Ozymandias’ Veidt — figure into this new story. There are parts that may be impenetrable to viewers who don’t know the original story (or even the movie’s slightly modified version of it), but the eventual explanations — and particularly the link from the Greenwood prologue to the present day — prove incredibly effective.
“Along the way, Lindelof and his collaborators (including fellow Leftovers alum Nicole Kassell as lead director) continue to ask how the world would be different — both better and worse — if it had superheroes in it. The series as a whole isn’t a takedown of Peak TV, but there’s a great running gag involving show-within-the-show American Hero Story, a stylized anthology that’s Zack Snyder crossbred with Ryan Murphy. And through the use of this more cynical Laurie Blake — played with delightful and very necessary wry humor at all times by the great Jean Smart — the show nimbly continues the work of analyzing why someone would put on a mask to get what they want, whether they’re a would-be hero or a racist villain.
“At times, Watchmen falls into some of the same traps that could make the first season of Leftovers so difficult to get through. The tone can be dour, the show’s visual palette frequently more muted than the material seems to demand. (The hypnotic synth score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is more up to the challenge than many of the photography choices are.) But then we’ll cut to whatever ridiculousness Jeremy Irons is up to, or alien squid will rain out of the sky (again, you kind of have to be there), and Watchmen will come to dazzling life in the same jaw-dropping manner in which Lindelof’s two previous series so often did. The sixth episode, a largely black-and-white trip back to New York in the late Thirties, unlocks the show’s secrets and themes so smartly and audaciously, it left me feeling the same visceral, disbelieving thrill I haven’t experienced since Kevin Garvey sang karaoke to escape The Leftovers‘ afterlife, if not since we found out that Lost‘s John Locke was in a wheelchair before the plane crash. It’s the best kind of magic trick, where you can’t stop wondering how they pulled it off, even as you keep applauding the end result.
“Alan Moore has famously disavowed any filmed adaptations of his work, and anyone else working with Watchmen in particular. It’s hard to imagine him even watching this show, let alone approving of all the deviations between his work and Lindelof’s. But I’d like to imagine an alternate version of history where Moore hasn’t been burned too often in the past by others playing with his toys. In that timeline, he sits down to watch what Lindelof has done with his signature work. He’s baffled at first by how little resemblance it bares to what he and Gibbons once did. But gradually, he lets the tiniest of smiles peek out from under his signature Old Testament beard as he sees how much this Watchmen can feel like his Watchmen, even if they look nothing alike.”
Per The Hollywood Reporter, “[This story contains spoilers for the finale of Netflix's Living With Yourself.]
“After eight episodes of Old Miles trying to figure out how he can coexist with the cloned and better version of himself, Netflix's Living With Yourself delivered a happy ending — sort of.
"‘I like these characters and I wanted them to have happy endings — whatever that means,’ creator Timothy Greenberg tells The Hollywood Reporter about the finale's unconventional resolution. Then clarifying, ‘I would actually say “satisfied” endings; it’s not always happy. That’s important: sometimes bad things can be satisfying or appropriate in a different way. I want audiences to feel hopeful that there’s a future for the characters, but it’s going to be really challenging. Because that’s sort of the best you can hope for anybody.’
“In the finale of the sci-fi dramedy starring Paul Rudd in a dual role, Old Miles has finally realized that he wants to fight to get his life back. But when he finds out that wife Kate (Aisling Bea) tested out the waters with his better version, aka New Miles, Old Miles vows to kill his cheating clone. With Rudd playing both of the Miles characters, a fight ensues that required the actor to develop a technique in order to truly play opposite himself and takeover both sides of the shots. In the end, after a near-death moment for New Miles, Old Miles comes to terms with the fact that he loves his life, and he even loves his clone.
“That's when Kate walks in to tell Miles-squared that, after trying for years to have a baby with Old Miles, she is now pregnant, and she doesn't know which Miles is the father. Looking to Old Miles for the cue, the father-to-be is overcome with emotion and the show ends with a three-way hug, where Kate is cradled between two ecstatic Miles'. The camera ends on her face, however, which signals a more realistic reaction that reads, ‘Is this my new normal?’
“Greenberg says they tuned that final moment with extra care. ‘First you are on her face and, it’s a big hug! Then we drop out the music and you hear this kind of sigh," he says of the final scene. "You are supposed to understand that, this is the best thing ever! But, also... what the? It’s meant to feel both like it’s wonderful and also, 'how is this ever going to work?' at the same time. That’s kind of the fun of it. If Kate had said at the end, 'This is great but, wait, what?' and the show had cut out after her saying that, that would be the equivalent line to her expression.’
“Greenberg began writing Living With Yourself more than four years ago, and though he pitched it as a series, he always intended for the first season to be a satisfying story. That pitch was also part of the appeal to Rudd when the Marvel star signed on for his first starring TV role. But with so many questions left up in the air by the final scene development, Greenberg concedes that he has ideas for a season two — should the audience demand more.
"‘Paul had never done TV before. He was very leery of getting into some open-ended thing and playing a character forever," says Greenberg. "I wrote the story that I had in mind. We did tweak it a bit so that it could be the one season, and then we’ll just see where it goes from there. I have ideas for what could be future seasons. But we definitely talked about how we wanted it to have an arc this season that was entire unto itself. Somewhat because, what if there is only one season? Then we can walk away feeling happy. But, more important, because that’s the kind of story that I like telling. That said, obviously, there’s more to be done if everyone involved in the world cares to see more. If there's a desire for more of these characters and this universe.’
“There is indeed much to explore in the immediate aftermath of the decision. For example, what would the car ride home be like for the newly committed throuple? And when they arrive home, would Old Miles move in?
"‘What they do 10 seconds later is definitely very funny,’ says Greenberg, picturing what would happen after the show fades to black. “So, do I still live here? Am I moving in? What’s happening’’ That is that moment you never see in the movie. I do think [a second season] would have to do with what you do from there and how you continue to go about your life.’
“Should Netflix renew Living With Yourself for a season two, Greenberg would also want to expand out his vision.”
"‘You would absolutely need to open it up and do something different. This premise as it is, you can’t just keep going like this. I’m happy to say that people seem interested in these characters and want to know what happens to them. But you can’t keep doing the, “Oh, you’re the better one and I’m the worse one” in the same way, because I feel like we’ve covered that particular area,’ he said of the core Old Miles vs. New Miles tension of this season. ‘I feel like what we haven’t done is delve at all deeply into: what does it mean to live with yourself? How do you come to terms with that? All they’ve done so far is not kill each other (laughs). They haven’t gotten that far!’
“He continues, ‘They are literally standing there in the wreckage of this battle where they almost killed one another and now they’re having a baby. They’ve solved season one; there are certainly other big issues to come. And I also think that there are other perspectives to be looked at here that I would want to get to because I think that it would get a little claustrophobic otherwise. It would be interesting to see if we get that opportunity how we would do it. I have a lot of ideas, but it’s not all figured out yet.’
“As for Rudd, he remains more focused on the current season of Living With Yourself, and says he hasn't given much thought to what the future could hold. ‘I only have so much bandwidth — as do we all!’ he jokes to THR when asked about interest in doing more. ‘Who knows what that would look like or where anything goes. But when we were looking at that last episode and reading it I just thought, “Oh, well of course. This is what is has to be. Of course.” I thought it was a poetic stroke to make this the last moment of the season of the show.’
“Directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, who helmed all eight episodes, said the entire ending — one they described as touching but ‘still kind of messed up’ — hinged on the final expression viewers see from Old Miles when he accepts the idea of raising this baby all together.
“Of the decision to end on Kate's face instead of the Miles', Dayton says, ‘We had to keep it twisted and odd enough so that it didn’t just become singular. That we have all the different feelings. And that’s why we end it on their backs and with seeing her face as she, like us, is absorbing what that moment means.’ Farris adds, ‘Being caught between this very strange relationship, holding the two of them.’
“No matter what the future holds — imaginary blue skies or a second season — Rudd says he wanted this season to be one "that would be emotionally satisfying" for audiences. ‘We wanted it to feel like that was a complete experience and, great if it feels right to do more, but we really wanted it to feel like it had an ending,’ adds Faris.”
This article has been condensed.
Per TheWrap, “HBO Max has picked up Amy Schumer’s pregnancy documentary Expecting Amy, the forthcoming streaming service announced on Friday.
“The film will document the ‘struggle, strength and ambition that has made Schumer one of the singular comic voices of all time,’ according to HBO Max. ‘It takes viewers behind-the-scenes as Schumer goes through an extraordinarily difficult pregnancy while touring to prepare for a stand-up special. From hospitalizations to going out in front of a crowd of thousands, to quiet moments at home with her family, Schumer shares it all.’
“Schumer produced the film herself, with Alexander Hammer, who previously edited Beyonce’s Homecoming for Netflix, serving as editor.
“‘Amy Schumer is an inspiration and this project is such an honest look at her experience being on the road while preparing for her special,’ Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max, said.’Her willingness to showcase her immense vulnerability, during the most challenging time in her life, is both empowering and hilarious.’
“‘Women are warriors, every one of us. And I hope sharing my story brings more awareness to the challenges of pregnancy and childbirth,’ Schumer said.
“The project will be available on HBO Max following the platform’s launch in spring 2020.”
Another major loser for HBO Max, a streamer that seems to be on a road to nowhere prior to even launching: “Celebrity stylist and TV personality Brad Goreski and Family Guy producer and writer Gary Janetti are heading to HBO Max in a new lifestyle follow-doc series. The upcoming WarnerMedia streaming platform has given a green light to Brad & Gary Go To…(working title), from Married to Medicine producers Purveyors of Pop and Entertainment One. The six-episode series will follow the Hollywood power couple as they go on a jet-setting culinary adventure around the globe, inspired by their Instagram stories.
“‘Brad and Gary have become an Internet sensation and it was actually their over one million followers who requested this series. These same fans also helped turn Gary’s go to Starbucks order into a viral sensation known as The Gary’ said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max. ‘We can’t wait to travel the world with them and capture their fabulousness and hilarity.’
“Brad & Gary Go To…(wt) will be produced by Goreski and Gary Janetti as well as Purveyors of Pop (Married to Medicine, Ex on the Beach, Lady Gang, and Real Housewives of Miami) and eOne. Matt Anderson, Nate Green, and Cooper Green will serve as executive producers for Purveyors of Pop and Tara Long for eOne.
“Goreski is a host of E!’s Live From the Red Carpet and fashion correspondent for E! News. He previously hosted his own show on Bravo It’s A Brad Brad World and was a host on E!’s Fashion Police. Goreski has traveled the world styling clients, photoshoots and campaigns and served as the brand stylist for Kate Spade for four years.
“Janetti is an Emmy-nominated producer and writer of Family Guy, Will & Grace, and Vicious, among others. His first book, Do You Mind If I Cancel? is set for release on October 22. Janetti has generated recent buzz on his Instagram account with his satire of British Royals through the eyes of young Prince George of Cambridge.”
Not if it were the last show on earth.
“Trey Parker and Matt Stone, along with Viacom Inc., are nearing what's likely to be a rich deal for the streaming rights to South Park.
“Numerous companies are bidding for exclusive U.S. streaming rights to the full library, with sources confirming to The Hollywood Reporter the potential price tag of up to $500 million. Bloomberg first reported the bidding.
“Currently, the Comedy Central cartoon is available to watch on Hulu, which a source says is among the current bidders. Before that, it was on Netflix.
“South Park is in the midst of its 23rd season and recently was scrubbed from the Internet in China and banned after a critical episode about the Chinese government, which also mocked Hollywood for shaping its content to please the Chinese censors. Because of that, Parker and Stone have become folk heroes to the protesters in Hong Kong.
“In recent months, bidding wars have emerged for popular library shows as the streaming wars heat up. Hits from the past like The Office and Friends represent safe bets for the emerging platforms as they look to lure new subscribers.
“NBCUniversal's direct-to-consumer platform paid $500 million for exclusive streaming rights to The Office for five years and WarnerMedia ponied up $425 million to move Friends to its HBO Max service for the same length of time. Netflix, for its part, spent north of $500 million over five years for Sony TV's Seinfeld, while HBO Max paid out upward of $600 million for The Big Bang Theory.
“The eye-popping deals offer a considerable windfall for a show's creators, producers, writers and directors who had previously negotiated ‘points’ in the series. Actors are less likely to have ownership of a show, unless they're a big star like Jerry Seinfeld or Steve Carell.
“Parker and Stone created South Park while in college together at the University of Colorado Boulder. The show started as a short animated Christmas card that was passed around Hollywood before Comedy Central greenlit a pilot.”