Monday April 10, 2017

Better Call Saul returns tonight.  More below.

The season 3 premiere of Angie Tribeca airs on TBS tonight.

Pete Holmes talks Crashing and offered up these thoughts on season 2: "I think that the first season, in my mind, is about denying his divorce, because he doesn’t believe it. I think second season is going to be Pete accepting it, and maybe even grieving it. And maybe even acting out a little bit, because it’s going to be real to him now. It’s not going to be a trial divorce, it’s going to be the real thing. He’s going to have to find a way to live. He’s going to have to find a new place to stay. And if he doesn’t get better [at comedy], he won’t have a spouse to fall back on, so his ass is even more on the line, which is where we find a lot of the comedy."

Criminal Minds has been renewed for a 13th season.

I watched the first episode of Hulu's Dimension 404.  It's nothing if not different.  The comparisons to Black Mirror are certainly justified so if you enjoy that show, this is worth a look.

I also checked out Jake Johnson's new Netflix film Win It All.  If you liked the movie Rounders, you'll likely enjoy this one as well.  Here's a review.

Barb from Stranger Things talks season 2.

What happens to political satire when the real world goes mad? Veep is about to find out.

Not everyone is a fan of 13 Reasons Why, especially The Ringer.

"A new study reports that a whopping 92 percent of college students have access to Netflix. In that same survey by LendEDU, only 8 percent of college students said that they didn't have an account. The rest have their own account (34 percent), use a friend or family member's account (54 percent), or use a current or former significant other's account (5 percent)."

An interview with Andrew McCarthy, who not only wrote a new YA novel, but has also directed episodes of The BlacklistThe Blacklist: RedemptionOrange Is the New BlackHalt and Catch FireGrace and Frankie.

The Situation might be going to prison for tax evasion.

Les Moonves made a cool $70,000,000 last year.

"Starting this summer, you won’t need a subscription to Amazon Prime Video to catch episodes of the streaming service’s signature series TransparentInstead, you’ll need a cable subscription: SundanceTV has acquired the first two seasons of Jill Soloway’s Emmy-winning comedic drama and will begin airing them in August. The news won’t make much difference to viewers who are already Transparent fans: New episodes of the series will continue to premiere on Amazon, while the previously released first three seasons of the show will continue to be available for on-demand streaming on Amazon as they’ve always been. But the agreement is still noteworthy since it’s the rare — and possibly the first — example of a major streaming service selling rerun rights to one of its original shows to a linear network such as Sundance. While Transparent probably won’t be the last streaming show to go linear, don’t expect a slew of similar platform jumps."

Maybe James Kennedy isn't 100% scum?

Per TheWrap, "[o]n the penultimate episode of Breaking Bad, titled Granite Slate, crooked lawyer Saul Goodman told Walter White he was leaving the criminal life behind.

“'If I’m lucky, a month from now — best-case scenario — I’m managing a Cinnabon in Omaha,' said Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk.

"When Goodman returned, 16 months later, in the spinoff Better Call Saul, Goodman was indeed managing a Cinnabon. Whether it was the best or worst-case scenario for Goodman is unclear, but it’s worked out great for AMC and Cinnabon. The beloved cinnamon-bun chain has teamed up with AMC’s Better Call Saul since the show’s start, resulting in one of the most unique television business partnerships in recent memory.

"As we look forward to the Season 3 premiere of Better Call Saul Monday, we spoke with a Cinnabon executive about how the unlikely partnership happened. It’s a take as twisty and multilayered as — well, you know.

"Odenkirk’s line about Cinnabon in Granite State caught the attention of the mall foodcourt staple’s opportunistic social media team. Eleven minutes after the closing credits, the clever Cinnabon social gang tweeted Odenkirk. 'When you’re ready,' they wrote, with a link to the Cinnabon Careers page.

"Well, apparently executive producer Melissa Bernstein was ready — several months later. Bernstein reached out to Cinnabon to share news that they were creating a Saul-centered spinoff, said Jill Thomas, vice president of Global Marketing for Cinnabon. (Saul still goes by the name Jimmy McGill in the prequel, for reasons we’re not going into here.)

"Peter Gould, the co-creator of Better Call Saul, has said that the original Cinnabon line was a 'throwaway' — that is, until the tweet. And since you’re wondering (like we were), it turns out that no, Cinnabon wasn’t insulted by the hopelessness of Goodman’s reference.

“'If you truly understand the character you know that no matter where he is, it’s a purgatory for him — because he isn’t able to be his true self,' Thomas told us. 'Even if he was in a high-rise in a big city he would still be in Hell. So we never saw it that way at all, and never second-guessed our participation.'

"Poor Jimmy. Or should we call him 'Gene'? After all, that’s what Cinnabon does — and that’s the alias under which Odenkirk actually trained.

"Oh, did we not mention that? The sketch comedy legend actually worked at a Cinnabon, and did the whole thing 'in character as "Gene,”' Thomas said. Odenkirk was coached up by the airport staple company’s most tenured corporate employee, Deb Rowley, who started her career as the very first Cinnabon bakery manager in Seattle, Washington, in 1985.

“'Bob went through significant training as any bakery employee would, although he had private lessons,' Thomas explained. 'He has shared that it’s a great source of pride that he knows how to make a "real, authentic Cinnabon.”'

"At this point we should point out that no money has exchanged hands to or from either side of this deal, further making it a unique sponsorship. This season, Saul (Gene/McGill/Odenkirk/AMC) and Cinnabon are taking their relationship to the next step.

"First, they’ll do so with (very minor spoiler alert) a new Cinnabon sequence, which viewers will see shortly. We asked Thomas how much is in the can.

“'Extensive footage was filmed over several days, but it has been edited down to approximately three minutes in the first episode of each season. This season it seemed to us that it was more substantial than in past years. But we are not "in the know," just fans of the show so we are only speculating — which is fun!'"

Per EW, "13 Reasons Why‘s debut season is a riveting, heartbreaking story of one teenager’s tragic high school experience and everyone who played a part in it. Based on Jay Asher’s successful book of the same name13 Reasons Why tells the story of Hannah Baker, who committed suicide in her junior year … but only after recording 13 tapes explaining her decision.

"The first season hit Netflix on March 31 and quickly garnered a following, which leads to the inevitable question: Will there be a season 2? Of course, the book ends with the finale of the first season, but many shows have outgrown their original source material. But perhaps the question in this case is: Should there be a second season? As great as the first season was, is there an argument to be made for letting the story end there? We think yes, and here’s why:

1. Hannah’s story is over. We’ve heard all the tapes, and they were always the focus of the show. Hannah’s last wish has been fulfilled, and thanks to Clay Jensen, she probably got more closure than she had hoped for (cough, tape 14). There’s no need for a followup on her parents and no need to see what becomes of the lawsuit — this isn’t a court drama. The important thing for her parents was always to get answers, to understand their daughter’s decision, and now that they have the tapes, they’ll get what they need.

2. Both obvious loose ends are too dark. The show leaves us with some unsolved mysteries, the biggest of which are Alex’s apparent suicide attempt and Tyler’s mysterious mission. If there’s a season 2, that’d be two more characters going down dark, terrible paths — paths that could change this show into a crime thriller or a whodunnit, which was never what made the show or its source material special. It would be too much and rings false, which leads us to our next reason…

3. More darkness would start to feel unrealistic. By the end of season 1, we had two suicide attempts, another high schooler talk about contemplating suicide (while in possession of a gun), and another buy a gun in an alley. At what point is there too much? And even when it doesn’t have anything to do with suicide, some characters’ arcs are better left alone; that way, the audience fills in the blanks. That’s more compelling than seeing their subsequent arcs played out. For example, Jessica ends the season telling her father what happened. We don’t see what happens next, but we already understand the emotional weight and importance of the conversation. The same goes for some of the series’ other characters…

4. Bryce confessed. Don’t drag out the legal battles that might ensue. (Again, this isn’t a court drama.) Nobody needs to watch Bryce try to worm his way out of this. Not only would showing hours and hours of Bryce using his myriad resources to avoid punishment take away from Hannah’s closure, but it would cause more pain for Jessica (and any other victims we might not know about). And for the viewer, it’s perhaps more interesting to think about what may happen, given the way real-world instances of high-school jock culture play out.

5. Justin left. That’s yet another dark story we don’t want to or have to see, as compelling as it may be. Either we lose that character in the second season or we follow him on a separate journey that distracts again from what’s happening with the rest of the kids. Plus, do we need to remind you that he left town with a gun in his bag and a bottle of alcohol in his hand? Things are bleak enough as is.

6. Porter is over and done. Do you really want to see that guy again? It’s better to leave him with an ambiguous ending; it drives the point home better, and makes you wonder what you would do in the situation.

7. It would start to feel too repetitive. All in all, if the show were to stick with these same teens and their secrets, viewers will compare it to season 1, and even if it follows a completely new format with a completely new mystery, there’s a good chance it will all feel like an echo of what we’ve seen already.

8. They’ve gone through enough. Seriously, how much is this one high school supposed to take?

9. There was enough closure for Clay and Tony. Unlike many characters, Clay and Tony seemed to be the two who really learned from this experience, who want to do better. Leave them with that optimism; in a way, that’s the best way to underline the point of the show.

10. Some secondary characters already felt like a stretch — and earned way too much screen time. Did we really need entire episodes on Ryan, Zach, and Marcus? It makes sense that 13 reasons = 13 episodes, but so many of these stories could have been condensed to fix the sluggish pacing around the middle of season 1. And more specifically…

11. We don’t need more Courtney or Marcus or Bryce. Enough said.

12. We do need more Jeff, but there wouldn’t be any. He was a supporting player whose scenes were a balm for the show’s open wounds, a lighthearted player in all the darkness before becoming a part of it. We’d miss him in season 2, along with Hannah, of course, which brings us to our final reason…

13. Most of all, it would diminish Hannah’s story. Like reason 1, this drama is about Hannah’s message ringing true and honest. If you do another season, you pretty much erase her point — you take away the idea that there is something to be learned from her death and her death specifically … unless the focus of season 2 is happiness and a school without bullying. But if that’s the case, where’s the drama?"

Per TVLine, "[j]ust how worried should fans of Brooklyn Nine-Nine be about whether Gina Linetti survived that bus accident? We posed that very question to co-creator Dan Goor ahead of Tuesday’s spring premiere (8/7c, Fox).

“'On a scale from 1-10, where 10 is the highest, I would say [fans] should be at like a 7,' Goor tells TVLine. 'We saw a city bus hit a human being… it’s a legitimate concern.'

"The Andy Samberg comedy, which has been on hiatus since New Year’s Day, admittedly won’t make fans wait too much longer to learn Gina’s fate. Goor promises that they 'will reveal what happens almost immediately in the first episode back.'

"The episode, aptly titled The Audit, features the return of Teddy (Kyle Bornheimer), Amy’s incredibly boring, pilsner-obsessed ex-boyfriend who we last saw during Season 2’s least romantic getaway ever. As you’ll recall, Jake surprised Amy by inviting Teddy to join them on an overnight trip as part of a prisoner transfer, where Amy proceeded to dump him over dinner. Now Teddy is tasked with auditing the Nine-Nine, which is facing potential closure as the NYPD looks to shut down one of its precincts.

“'Jake and Amy are understandably freaked out when Teddy shows up,' Goor says. 'Jake feels very responsible for Amy’s breakup with Teddy,' and his guilt isn’t helped by the fact that he is now in a long-term relationship with the auditor’s former squeeze. Both he and Amy worry that 'the fate of the Nine-Nine' could very well rest on their shoulders, depending on how resentful Teddy is of the both of them.

"The guest stars keep a-comin’ in the following episode (airing April 18), when the Nine-Nine takes on the case of a crime that goes down on the set of a Law & Order-esque procedural. Castle‘s Nathan Fillion once again assumes the role of TV detective, this time playing Mark Devereaux, star of the show-within-a-show who believes himself to be Jake and Rosa’s equal.

“'It should be pointed out that Jake and Rosa are huge fans of Mark Devereaux,' Goor says with a laugh, so 'it is with a heavy heart that they realize that he’s actually quite annoying.'”

"Amazon has handed out a two-season order to one of its pilots.

"The retail giant/streaming service has handed out a two-season order for Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

"The hourlong pilot, one of five currently online for 'viewer feedback,' stars House of Cards alum Rachel Brosnahan as Miriam 'Midge' Maisel, a 1958 New York City housewife who, through a series of events, winds up exploring the world of stand-up comedy.

"'In her onstage debut, Mrs. Maisel killed and had audiences responding overwhelmingly with digital applause,' Amazon head of comedy and drama Joe Lewis said. 'Like any great young stand-up, we’re excited to see what she has to say next and for a long time to come. That made it an easy decision to order two seasons from Amy and her incredible cast. We can’t wait to bring it to customers soon.'

"The series is the first new venture for Sherman-Palladino following Netflix's Gilmore Girls revival. Alex Borstein and Tony Shalhoub co-star in the series from Amazon Studios. An episode count was not immediately available and a premiere date has not yet been determined. Multiple-season pickups have become increasingly rare in the Peak TV era as they are typically reserved for high-profile shows like Orange Is the New Black and The Big Bang Theory. Amazon is said to have handed out a two-season straight-to-series order for its David O. Russell package starring Robert DeNiro and Julianne Moore and previously handed a out multiple-season pickup for established comedy Catastrophe.

"Mrs. Maisel comes as Netflix has left the door open for additional Gilmore Girls episodes from Sherman-Palladino, though the double Amazon order and the busy schedules for stars Lauren Graham (she's filming Fox comedy pilot Linda From HR) and Alexis Bledel (who stars in Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale) may now make that even less of a reality than it already was."

From The Daily Beast, "Comedian T.J. Miller talks his new Comedy Central talk show The Gorburger Show, the return of Silicon Valley and working with Steven Spielberg.

"Below is an edited and condensed version of our conversation"

It’s been a long road to get The Gorburger Show on Comedy Central.

Jesus, has it. I started off as a Warner Brothers/Funny or Die-produced talk show. And then it went to HBO for a pilot. HBO is so amazing that they released it and Comedy Central picked it up as a series. And yeah, it’s been a passion project. I’m not really an actor, but when you look at all these people — like Aziz Ansari with Master of None, like [Pete Holmes’] Crashing, like all that stuff, this is my kind of personal show. So instead of doing T.J. Miller trying to be a funny ad salesman — and I love Pete’s show, but Pete’s making Pete’s show. This is my kind of show. Because I’ve always wanted to be a talk show host, every comedian looks to that, but I never wanted to be one as myself. I think the way that I talk to people and the way I interact with people skews their perception of the situation. So it’s like if you go on Seth Meyers or Jimmy Fallon or James Corden you know what you’re expecting, you know what you’re going to get. And it would be the same thing if it were T.J. Miller’s talk show. But Gorburger is this excited alien. He loves American pop culture, and doesn’t understand why humans are afraid of dying. He’s monstrous and has bloodlust. And yet at the same time feels strongly that Usher is the best dancer alive. It’s a very strange version [of a talk show], but there couldn’t be a better representation of the T.J. Miller passion project. And a big part of it is that I got very lucky with The Director Brothers and Miller Davis and Nick Vatterott being the writers. It’s the best team I’ve ever worked with.

Has your experience being a guest on some of those late-night shows informed The Gorburger Show at all? 

Every time I’m on a talk show, I’m anxious for it to go well, right? Gorburger doesn’t really know how to host a talk show. He just loves that idea. So my biggest thing is I want to guests to be comfortable and then for them, after about 30 seconds to a minute and a half, forget that they’re talking to a puppet and feel like they’re talking to an actual entity, which everyone does. Moby kind of put it best when he said, I couldn’t believe it when it was over, because I had gotten into the idea that Gorburger was a real thing. And my response was, well he is. 

Is there a guest that has surprised you in their willingness to play along? 

We love Danny Brown. He’s one of the tip-top. I couldn’t believe that Jack Black did the show, but he’s just so game. And then Larry King! How the fuck did we get Larry King on? Everybody sort of has their own reaction, but the fact that they get into it shows a lot about them. 

And you’re also doing field pieces as Gorburger. Is that something that you’re going to be doing more of and what have those been like to do? 

Well, those are the most fun. Unfortunately, HBO kind of owns the pilot. And we had gone to the Magic Castle and done a field piece where Gorburger goes to investigate whether magic is real. And it blows his fucking mind and he can’t deal with it. He doesn’t understand that it’s a trick. Comedy Central, a network that I love, really said field pieces should be a big part of the show. We want to see him out and in the world. So we want to do that. Our dream is to take him and film in Japan. And I don’t know what he would do, because he doesn’t speak Japanese, but he’s become so accustomed and loves the people who work with him at the studio — that he didn’t kill — so I just think he would be ecstatic to be there but unable to communicate with anyone. And that to me is very, very funny. 

So you mentioned that you wouldn’t want to play yourself on a Crashing-type show, but you do play yourself on Crashing. How close is the T.J. Miller that we see on Crashing to you? 

Yet again Pete Holmes has foiled my plan. [Laughs] I love that people love Crashing. When I saw the first episode that I was in, it’s not really my thing. I watch it and I respect it, but it doesn’t make me laugh really. You’re not really supposed to say that about a show that you’re on.

Or that your friend made.

But I think that it might be that it was so raw, what happened to Pete. It was so fucked up, so strange, out of the blue. It really sent a shockwave through the Chicago [comedy] scene. So I don’t know, I don’t find any of it really that funny. But as far as me representing myself, unfortunately—and my wife will attest to this—that’s pretty much me with a cheaper chain. I think the way that Pete is representing me is his own viewpoint, but I was the guy who was there being like, just fucking be a grateful nihilist. Let’s fucking go crazy, throw yourself into the work. And you’ll find stand-up to be much more rewarding than some fucking bitch who didn’t appreciate you. 

I like the line that Pete has said is something you really said to him, which is that comedians are like preachers, but better “because we’re not lying.” Does that pretty much correspond with your views? 

I think that one way or another comedians are like the new philosophers. Even pop philosophy, pop psychology, who are those books being read by? But comedians have these huge audiences now. Especially in a post-meaning, post-religious society, which has just been hammered by a golden Donald Trump nail into the coffin of how human beings used to deal with the human condition. I think that’s why we’re seeing a huge spike in the consumption of comedy. I’m a bit afraid that this overabundance of media is an opiate indulgence for a lot of people. Which I respect. I mean, you should spend your time however the fuck you want to. But let’s put it this way. When somebody wants to take a picture, I offer a handshake or a hug or at least an experience. And then I tell them, stop recording your life and just live it. 

Seems like good advice.

I mean, shit, I find myself going, “Wait, stay where you are, let me grab a picture.” And [my wife] Kate is like, why are you not living your own philosophy? But that’s the dichotomy of being a philosopher without a system. The nihilist, the Nietzschean apostle kind of has to break his own rules, and doesn’t live by any standards except the ones that present themselves and restrict themselves from adhering to any sort of system or moral value compass. Now you’re really getting into it, you fucking lunatic, Matt! Don’t get me too deep in this rabbit hole. 

Well, the technology discussion at least leads us to Silicon Valley. That show, to me, feels like it’s only gotten funnier as it’s gone on. What has the experience been like for you working on that show for four years now? 

I love it. I love that it’s a lightning strike. And it’s a comedy that people are really excited about. I feel absolutely embarrassed to admit that being on a television series that looks like it’s going to exist in perpetuity until Mike Judge and Alec Berg want to end it — I’m embarrassed to say that it’s easy to slip into autopilot if you’re playing a character for years. Whereas with Underwater, which I’m filming right now in New Orleans, I have to get my shit together and be that fucking person and then it’s over at the end of May. The movie’s made, it’s done, I move on to the next thing. I’ve always been, as a kid, I was enamored with cinema, as a lot of us are. I know it’s the platinum age of television, but I don’t know, when Atlanta and Transparent are winning comedy Golden Globes, like The Martian or something, I’m lucky to be on a show that is a comedy that’s actually comedic. But Gorburger is the only episodic thing I really want to do and I would love eventually to do it live. Right now, we’re in a situation where I think episodic is very interesting, they’ve been doing great things with it, but ultimately don’t we all want a beautiful, hilarious story? Tthat’s what you get when you buy a ticket to a movie. 

And now you got to work with Steven Spielberg [on Ready Player One].

I mean, Jesus, how much weirder could it be? He’s like the Sultan of Hollywood. It’s almost as if he said, “Bring him to me. I’ll judge for myself if this talent is truly real.” And so, I went out there and they kept reiterating that they wrote the part for me. But a lot of it was just watching. You just watch Steven Spielberg work. You act in his film, but there’s nothing negative. If there’s a note, it’s, “That’s good, but do a little bit more of this.” And then the second you do it right, he’s like, “Print it! Let’s print that one, that was perfect. Alright, let’s do one more for safety.” And then he’ll say, let’s do one that’s just for you. So he’s really only looking for three takes and he gets them quickly and he trusts his cast and he’s just the most — it’s not approachable, it’s not grounded — he’s the most unassuming man. You don’t see him look at you and have any other judgement except for, I’m excited to see what we can do together. Collaboration is at the forefront of everything. Ego and self-indulgence is not even present. It’s amazing.

Yeah, you’ve doing more and more high-profile film roles. Is there a desire for you to be more than comic relief? 

I don’t want to do anything except for comedy. I’m not really interested in taking a dramatic turn. You know, Dreamworks bought this movie that I’m going to write. Eventually, I’m going to just start writing and being in my own movies. It just depends what size they are and right now Dreamworks thinks they can be studio size. And I love that. Because my whole philosophical mission statement is, get people laughing as much time on screen and then hopefully even in China where there are suicide nets, even at work at a job that they hate, they’re going, “That fucking guy with the weird hair, he was so funny screaming in Transformers.” I love commercial arts. I love Warhol. I love Nietzsche and what he tried to do, but failed. I find all that stuff really engaging and I think it’s really snobby and pretentious of any of these fucking people who are like, “Ugh, that has mass appeal, I hate it.” You know, go fuck yourself. You have your niche options. People say, “Why are you doing The Emoji Movie?” Because you like Silicon Valley. This isn’t for you. I’m working for more than just the people who get to say what’s cool and what’s not. And I’m working very fucking hard. My CV speaks for itself in that I feel very strongly about creating comedy for the American public."

"MTV has sicced its lawyers on the author of a dishy new tell-all about its hit series Teen MomPage Six has learned.

"We’re told that after a chapter of the book You Have No F**king Idea — written by Matt Baier, the fiancé of one of the show’s longest-standing stars, Amber Portwood — leaked, Viacom ­attorneys pounced and demanded that its publisher slash around 15,000 words.

"Sources say that most of the offending copy — which accounted for some 20 percent of the original manuscript — was about the network itself and Portwood’s nemesis,
fellow cast member and sometime porn star Farrah Abraham.

"Baier — who also appears on the show, which debuted in 2009 — had agreed to let MTV review the book before publication. But when the leaked chapter began circulating online before the network had seen it, we’re told that network execs 'got in a tizzy and read [Baier] the riot act' — then had a senior attorney take a red pen to the text, which is due to be published by Post Hill Press in May.

"Among other allegations, Baier claims in the leaked chapter that an MTV producer told Portwood and Baier to “do their research” on Abraham’s boyfriend, after which
Baier claims that the boyfriend had 'got into a lot of trouble for ­assaulting his ex-girlfriend.'

"He also claims that Abraham’s family tried to control stories about themselves in the press 'by way of threats and intimidation.'

"Baier also claims that a former producer on Teen Mom told him that Abraham’s father had a 'history of physically assaulting people,' and that Portwood had told the network that she 'wasn’t comfortable being the same room as Farrah' before a 'reunion show' taping at which they ended up in a physical confrontation.

"And before the fight, 'security — who had followed us around all day long — suddenly was nowhere to be found. Not to get into any conspiracy theories, but it was almost as if they wanted there to be an altercation.' A rep for Abraham denied Baier’s claims about her family and her boyfriend. Reps for MTV, Baier and Post Hill Press didn’t get back to us."