Friday April 14, 2017

A new trailer for the 5th and final season of Orphan Black.

ABC has released its summer schedule.  Rejoice!

The series finale of Girls airs on Sunday.  

Veep returns on Sunday!

The season 3 premiere of The Leftovers also airs on Sunday.  I need to get caught up.

Showtime premieres Guerrilla on Sunday as well.  More below.

A review of YouTube TV.

What we know about season 4 of Black Mirror.

I think Alec Baldwin is fantastic as the host of Match Game and continue to find myself enjoying the reboot.

The season 2 premiere of Chelsea is there for you on Netflix.  Reminder, she's doing a once a week show for this season.

"Never fear, Brooklyn Nine-Nine fans! Gina (Chelsea Peretti) survived being suddenly, and violently struck by a bus at the very end of the two-part The Fugutive cliff hanger. As ridiculous as the move was, series co-creator Dan Goor admitted to Uproxx they 'thought it would be funny' to put Gina’s accident right before the show went on a three-month hiatus, and he was right. It was funny, but it also felt somewhat cruel. Maybe that’s why Goor and his team decided to give Gina a reprieve by casting Shooter actor Ryan Phillippe as a new potential love interest. Phillippe will guest-star as a character named Milton in this season’s penultimate episode, set to air sometime in May. He will serve as a possible love interest for Gina, though her co-worker, Det. Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) will be completely opposed to the match for reasons unknown. Whether Boyle’s reasoning for disliking Gina and Milton’s pairing is due to his jealousy over the new character’s Ryan Phillippe-like physique, or just jealousy, remains to be seen."

RuPaul's Drag Race has been renewed by VH1 for a 10th season.

Kim Richards once dated Donald Trump.

Per TheWrap, "[w]hen Aaron Mahnke started making Lore, his podcast about famous myths and urban legends, he only wanted to tell interesting stories and experiment with using audio to tell them. But things happened fast.

"He ended up with one of the most listened-to podcasts on the internet, one that’s earned 12 million listens. He started getting calls to turn it into a TV show in August 2015, just five months after the podcast started. By 2016, he had a show in the works at Amazon.

“'To be a TV show and to get there in just a few months of launching the podcast, that felt pretty good,' Mahnfke told TheWrap.

"Executives and producers are always casting about for fresh show ideas, and have struck a motherlode with podcasts. The best come with pre-existing stories and personalities, as well as built-in audiences. As podcasting grows thanks to hits like Serial and the new S-Town, people in the television world are more and more considering what these elegantly packaged audio shows might look like if they had pictures, too — just like Golden Age TV producers did with radio dramas.

"A new show based on the popular My Brother, My Brother, and Me, podcast, by the podcasting company Maximum Fun, recently premiered on Seeso. Another Maximum Fun property, Throwing Shade, just wrapped up its first season on TVLand. Meanwhile, Gimlet Media’s Startup is getting adapted into an ABC pilot with Zach Braff at the helm.

"The startup, grassroots spirit is exactly what attracts some producers to podcasting.

“'What I like about podcasts is that they start from a place of authenticity,' said Conrad Riggs, Amazon Studio’s head of unscripted development. 'Usually the creator is not doing it for money reasons… they feel like it’s a story that needs to be told.'

"Chris Giliberti, Gimlet Media’s head of multiplatform operations, has been working to get the network’s shows adapted to other mediums for the past year.

“'Unlike a book, a podcast has a script,' Giliberti said. 'You have a pretty strong starting point in that regard.'

"Podcasts also have existing audiences. Lore, for example, spread a lot through word of mouth.

“'So when it takes off and millions of people are listening to it, you know you’re onto something,' Riggs continued. 'You have a loyal fanbase and they tend to proselytize those ideas… they have this organic growth effect. Feels like a good bet to make.'

"There are still questions about how to adapt one of the best parts of podcasts — how easy they are to consume. Podcasts can be listened to anywhere, while TV shows and web series tend to ask listeners to remain seated in place for extended periods of time.

"They’re also easier to make than TV shows, as the creators of My Brother, My Brother, and Me quickly discovered.

"The McElroy brothers — Justin, Griffin, and Travis — launched the series in 2010. At the time, it was just a way to keep in touch, since for the first time, they lived away from each other. It’s partially an advice show, but it’s mostly a comedy podcast, where people listen to three brothers (and occasionally their dad) joke around for an hour.

"Seeso’s My Brother, My Brother and Me isn’t a straight adaptation of the podcast, but does feature many of its elements, including nonsensical rants and inside jokes that consume the brothers with laughter. The first season featured special guests including Lin-Manuel Miranda and Weird Al Yankovic.

"But visual elements were out of the brothers’ wheelhouse. So showrunner JD Amato added segments that included sketches with residents from the McElroys’ hometown of Huntington, W.Va. They add a hometown feel to a show.

"But the brothers had to adjust, too. While they could improvise the podcast over Skype for an hour, they needed a tight 30-minute product for TV — one that takes all day. They didn’t enjoy the change.

“'The first day we recorded, we finished saying whatever things we were saying and there was just a room full of people looking at us,' Travis recalled. 'It was just weird to get from the first day to the last day of shooting looking at people and getting their input. It was so much more a team effort.'

Lore faced challenges, too. Each podcast episode only features Mahnke talking into a microphone and telling a story.

“'I was figuring out how things could translate,' Mahnke said.

Lore just started production, so details are scarce — but it will feature a hybrid anthology structure.

“'I would say you have to envision a hybrid of scripted and unscripted where there are storytelling elements and documentary elements but done in in a way that feels very at home to the ‘Lore’ listener,' Mahnke said."

"Since its debut on Feb. 15, Missing Richard Simmons has become the most buzzed-about podcast since Serial. Now, the makers of the mystery/biography hybrid are shopping it as potential source material for a TV series.

"Topic, the newly branded studio arm of First Look Media, has begun meeting with would-be buyers about a small-screen version of the hunt for the reclusive fitness guru, who dropped off the radar in February 2014, prompting friend and former Daily Show producer Dan Taberski to pursue the story behind his disappearance.

"The studio declined comment, but in an interview with THR last month, First Look president Michael Bloom said it was exploring the podcast for other mediums. “Richard Simmons could have been a lot of things, but it started as a podcast. It turns out it could be a really nice expression in long form,” he said.

"But the Simmons narrative might be taking a new twist in the wake of the podcast’s success. Simmons’ longtime manager Michael Catalano has hinted that the self-help maestro (who recently graced the cover of People magazine but didn’t participate in an interview) might be ready to emerge from self-imposed exile. Now that could be a compelling season two."

Please no.

Per Deadline, "[r]eady for a new sports network, distributed via broadcast TV and digital streams? That’s what Sinclair Broadcast Group has in mind after forging an equity alliance with digital sports media company Silver Chalice and sports commentary provider 120 Sports.

"When it launches later this year, Sinclair’s American Sports Network will be 'rebranded and improved,' the companies say. Programming will include live collegiate games from ASN and Silver Chalice’s Campus Insiders, as well as 120 Sports’ live studio operations.

"It also will provide what they call 'a broad array of postgame highlights, up-to-the-moment news, and original longform programming as well as full-game archives provided by various partners.'

"Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley says that ASN will evolve into 'a vastly improved network with access to exclusive content and a combined linear and premium OTT offering that is the model for the future of television.'

"Decisions about the programming schedule, product offerings, branding, distribution partners, sponsors and studio details 'will be made in the weeks ahead,' the companies say.

"As a multicast channel on Sinclair stations, the new service “immediately will reach millions of homes” over the air and via pay TV distributors.

"120 Sports’ backers include Time Inc., Major League Baseball Advanced Media, the NHL, the PGA Tour, Campus Insiders and Silver Chalice."

Jeff Varner offered an apology to Zeke Smith after outing him on Survivor this week.  "Yep.  I did that.  And I offer my deepest, most heart-felt apologies to Zeke Smith, his friend and life allies, his family and to all those who my mistake hurt and offended.  I recklessly revealed something I mistakenly believed everyone already knew.  I was wrong and make no excuses for it.  I own responsibility in what is the worst decision of my life.

"Let me be clear, outing someone is assault.  It robs a strong, courageous person of their power and protection and opens them up to discrimination and danger.  It can leave scars that haunt for a lifetime.  I am profoundly sorry.  Zeke is a wonderful man and I will forever be amazed and inspired by his forgiveness and compassion.  I thank God for that and the fit of being an example as to why should never do what I did.

"We cisgender Americans live with an enormous amount of privilege and should spend time pondering how we can use that for greater good.  When we disrespect or discrimnate, or turn blind eyes to it, we wound all of us.  I am deeply saddened at what my mistake unleashed and I promise to use its lessons to do the right thing."

A day late and a dollar short

A bit of dead horse beating here, but Jeff Probst talked about Varner / Zeke below:

Okay, so clearly a lot to unpack here with Jeff Varner outing Zeke as trans on national television. Let’s start with your initial reaction when Jeff said that at Tribal Council.
I’m pretty sure my reaction was the same as viewers watching at home. I saw Jeff Varner turn to Zeke and make what was essentially a statement — vaguely disguised as a question: “Why haven’t you told anyone here you’re transgender?” On one hand, it was such a tiny moment… so simple and quiet… that I wasn’t certain I heard what I heard. My brain had to rewind and play it back. And if you watch the reaction at Tribal, Zeke’s tribemates seemed to go thru the same moment. They heard it… but had to process it… and then once it landed they responded quite vocally. And while they were sharing their feelings with Varner, I was still running it in my head. This… just… happened.

It seems everyone on the tribe — Tai, Andrea, Ozzy, Debbie, Sarah — had their moment of telling Jeff in very strong language that what he did was completely unacceptable. What did you make of what I would describe as their unified disgust at what had happened?
In 34 seasons of Survivor, I have rarely, if ever, personally commented on what is said or done in the game. But this is a unique situation that falls outside the normal boundaries. I cannot imagine anyone thinking what was done to Zeke was okay on any level, under any circumstances, and certainly not simply because there was a million dollars on the line. I think the response from the tribe, as it so often does, mirrors what the vast majority of society will feel. You just don’t do that to someone.

Witnessing that moment was so powerful because from my seat at Tribal, I could see it all. Varner was in the middle being attacked by angry tribemates while Zeke sat in the corner, outside of the action in what appeared to be a mild state of shock. It was one of the most surreal moments I’ve ever encountered on the show. From the outside, it looked and sounded like a regular Tribal Council but in reality, it was one of the most raw and painful studies of human behavior that has ever happened on Survivor.

Zeke was so composed in his response to what Jeff Varner did. How impressed were you with his reaction?
We knew Zeke was a tremendous storyteller with an amazing ability to take a specific moment from the game or life and give it a universal perspective. That’s why we asked him back to play a second time. And yet I was still blown away by how he handled the entire situation. It was as if he had been preparing for this absolutely unpredictable, completely public, and incredibly vulnerable moment for his entire life. His composure was astounding. And when he connected the entire event to the word metamorphosis, I distinctly remember thinking — how in the world did you just do that?

I was also very impressed with the compassion Zeke showed Varner. I wonder if some people will say he shouldn’t have hugged him or shouldn’t have forgiven him. But as a viewer to that moment, I found his ability to still find some level of humanity for someone who had just injured him so severely, maybe his crowning moment.

And there is another moment that I hope was as inspiring for others as it was for me, and that was when Sarah told Zeke she was glad she got to know Zeke for who Zeke is and would never see him any other way. That moment — when a police officer from a conservative Midwest background without much exposure to the “gay and lesbian and transgender world” realized her own growth, her own metamorphosis, it completed the circle. This is how change and acceptance happens.

When you spoke with Zeke before his first season during the interview process, did the subject ever come up in terms of whether he planned to tell players he was trans and how he would handle it if someone brought it up?
My story with Zeke goes like this. I met Zeke in casting and loved him. I still have my original notes from that meeting. He was very engaging, gifted in his ability to manipulate with his words, and he wore this crazy Hawaiian shirt and had poofy hair. We knew we were doing Millennials vs. Gen X as a theme and we wanted him on the Millennials tribe immediately. It wasn’t until after he left that I was told he was transgender. From that point forward we agreed that if his story was to be told, he would be the one to decide when, where, and how.

As for someone else bringing it up, Zeke was fully aware someone might suspect it or bring it up and he said, “I will deal with it as it arises.” And I have to add it was never a question of Zeke being worried his story would come out. ,Zeke is a massive Survivor fan and his point with us was very clear — he wanted to be seen as a Survivor player. Not the first transgender Survivor player. I really respected that distinction and I understood it.

The tribe was clearly all shaken by this incident. How were you after Tribal Council finished?
I don’t really remember a lot about my own feelings in the moments after Tribal. I remember feeling that Zeke seemed very centered when he left Tribal, despite what he had gone through and I believed his tribemates would help him work through things back at camp. But we were in touch with the producer on the beach that night to just ensure everything was going okay.

And then the other concern was Jeff Varner. Although I do not condone on any level what Varner did, I was still aware that he was without any of his support group of family and friends. He would be returning to Ponderosa, where voted out contestants go, after making one of the worst decisions of his life. Fortunately, we have a full-time psychologist on staff who knows all of the contestants and is there to help them through any of the many things that come up on Survivor. I think those sessions in the days after the event helped Varner as he tried to make sense of everything.

Have you spoken to Jeff Varner at all since this incident and do you think he is genuinely mortified by what he did?
I spoke with Varner the day after it happened and I think he was still in a bit of shock. It was clear he was upset and the realization of it all was still washing over him. I do believe he wishes he could take the entire event back. I hope Varner is able to take this moment and turn it into something positive. People make mistakes. Granted this happens to be a pretty severe one, but as you saw even with Zeke — there is hope that something good can come from this. That would be my wish… that Varner will seize this as an opportunity to be a catalyst for positive change by owning his mistake and moving forward in a new direction."

"A television team-up between John Ridley and Idris Elba is a good idea that works on more than just paper in the April 16-debuting and 1970s London-set Guerrilla, but the real stars of this smart though sometimes slow effort are Frieda Pinto and Rory Kinnear.

"As a bohemian turned gun wielding urban revolutionary and the Scotland Yard cop on the Black Power desk who is hunting down Pinto’s Jas Mitra and her allies, the Slumdog Millionaire star and James Bond franchise alum are, as I say in my video review above, excellent in the Showtime six-parter, both unto themselves and as foils of sorts in the well-worth-watching drama.

"Primarily written and partially directed by Oscar winner and American Crime creator Ridley and co-starring the Luther actor, who is also an executive producer, Guerrilla parachutes directly into the racially and culturally bifurcated Britain of 1971, a war zone of economic depression and winds of change, to quote ex-PM Harold Macmillan. Similar to today, immigration was one of the pitched battlefields, with the Conservative government of the time passing restrictive legislation and the tabloid press scapegoating minorities amidst rising and manipulated tensions.

"Against that backdrop, Guerrilla finds Pinto’s Jas and boyfriend Marcus, played in boiling understatement by Babou Cessay, suddenly radicalized by a police induced fatality. With Black Panthers, the now nearly forgotten FLQ, heists, philosophical debates, break-outs and bomb blasts, the Ridley and Sam Miller helmed series then starts methodically opening the cabinet of curiosities and controversies that surrounded the era and the narrative with revolutionaries, would-be revolutionaries, class, race, power, betrayal and violence weaving in and out of the over-lapping stories.

"Centering on a time when portions of a dank London were still pockmarked from the Luftwaffe bombings of World War II was wise for Ridley, who often tells his best tales in contrast – as is the case here as the sun had set on an Empire that was still in denial in some circles. Already fighting the IRA over in Northern Ireland and increasingly at home, it was also a time when the UK’s powers-that-be were legislatively at war with many of their own citizens. When one character in the Vietnam era Guerrilla refers to living 'in an age of fear' it is much more than a nod to our own times and what now is clearly seen as a failing attempt to hold on to a certain type of Great Britain that we feel the beats of again in the time of Brexit.

"The seemingly effortless and deceptive performance by Elba, who rarely fails to impress, in the Showtime and Sky Atlantic project is but one of many from a cast as shrewd and varied as the perspectives offered up by Ridley."