Speaking of which, I'm a few eps in on Orange Is The New Black. I like the idea of the entire season taking place over a very short period of time (3 days to be exact). It's a fresh and risky approach, and so far, so good IMHO.
I finished season 5 of House of Cards and thought it was great. More below.
A Northern Exposure revival? Just stop it.
Bill Cosby will not be testifying in his rape trial.
"Production on Season 4 of ABC’s Bachelor in Paradise has been suspended, according to a statement from Warner Bros. 'We have become aware of allegations of misconduct on the set of ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ in Mexico,' the statement reads. 'We have suspended production, and we are conducting a thorough investigation of these allegations. Once the investigation is complete, we will take appropriate responsive action.' The Bachelor spinoff, which shoots in Puerto Vallarta, was schedule to premiere on Tuesday, Aug. 8."
Per Alison Brie: "Early in my career, I auditioned for three lines on an episode of Entourage that I had to go on in a bikini! Or like shorts and the tiniest shorts. And they were like, 'Okay, can you take your top off now?'”
Why it was time for Gary to bring President Meyer home. "It was a very reluctant promise she made to him when he had his heart attack that I’d like to think she probably would not have made had that other nurse not been standing there. She kind of got caught. As a former president now, it is harder for her to get out of things in general. When she had the presidency, she could always say there’s an important meeting or that something was needed of her that was top-secret. It’s harder for her to lie and she can’t get out of things as much as she wanted to. So here she is. It’s also a reflection of her current status in life."
"Lest you thought Alias would be left out of TV’s endless revival craze, the beloved series’ writers hinted at an ATX panel on Saturday that Jennifer Garner’s Sydney Bristow could be back on our screens before too long. 'It would be amazing to do it,' co-executive producer Josh Appelbaum said of a possible new season. 'We’ve even talked with J.J. [Abrams].' Appelbaum then cautioned that it’s all talk right now, and that nothing is even close to set in stone: 'The right idea would have to come — we wouldn’t want to do it unless it was absolutely perfect.' (Probably the right approach, given the success rate of recent revivals of mid-2000s dramas.) He and the four other former Alias writers on the panel also reminisced about the show’s infamous Super Bowl episode, its unmatched guest star list, and, yes, that ending."
Jennifer Esposito is leaving NCIS.
Anna Chlumsky is joining AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire for its 4th and final season. The Veep and My Girl actress will play chief ontologist Dr. Katie Herman, who is expected to be a central figure in the drama series’ final 10-episode run.
When will Bill Cosby finally be out of our lives? The answer, in case you're wondering, is not soon enough.
“American Grit toughed its way through a trying Season 1 — both in terms of the Fox competition’s in-game challenges and some TV ratings trials — but this summer’s run is more about the mental game than the physical one, host and executive producer John Cena told TheWrap. 'Both were woven with trying to get people to be their best,' the WWE Superstar reflected ahead of his sophomore start. 'Season 1 was a more difficult project because everyone was already disciplined and well-rounded, and we were just putting them through physically punishing things that a lot of times people can’t relate to. I don’t know what it’s like to carry a 240-pound log 15 miles… because that’s something I would never do. I think this season… we asked people to take a big step,' he continued. 'We asked people to be open with their problems, open with their personal lives and then be brave enough to do these series of challenges we put forward.' In other words, Season 2 is more about Cena’s 'Hustle, Loyalty, Respect' mantra than his former Gold’s Gym meathead character’s 'How much ya bench?'" Either way, this show is still going to be horrendous!
Per EW, "[t]he cast of Suits may have gathered for a live table read of the pilot episode during a special 100th episode celebration at ATX Television Festival Sunday, but looking back on the early days wasn’t the only thing on the menu. USA Network also used the gathering to reveal the first footage from season 7, which looks to be a return to form for Harvey (Gabriel Macht) and Mike (Patrick J. Adams), now that Mike is a legitimate lawyer for the first time in his legal career.
“'What do you say we go out and have some fun and kick some ass?'
“'It just felt like it was time to get the band together and see what happens from there,' creator Aaron Korsh told EW of the new season.
"There will certainly be more than ass-kicking and reunions though, as the teaser above also reveals Mike’s fiancée Rachel (Meghan Markle) in the mood to celebrate and Donna (Sarah Rafferty) with some demands of her own.
"And here’s a demand for you: Check out the new season 7 key art [above].
"Suits season 7 kicks off July 12 at 9 p.m. ET on USA. The 100th episode, which will be directed by Adams himself, is slated for August 30."
Robin Wright spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about season 5 of House of Cards. SPOILERS INCLUDED:
Last season you directed four episodes. Going into season five, what were your conversations with new showrunners Melissa James Gibson and Frank Pugliese, who took over from creator Beau Willimon, about which episodes you wanted to direct?
As I recall I asked if I could do the finale. (Laughs.) Because I knew it was going to be a stellar couple of episodes to sink my teeth into.
In the two final episodes you directed this season, tensions are at a high for Frank and Claire. What was the dynamic like while both directing and starring in those scenes with Kevin Spacey?
The good news is I had done it before. I don't think I would have been able to take on that feat without having had an incredible family that we have there with House of Cards. They are seasoned veterans. The camera department, the sound department, the art direction, all of these people have been doing film and TV for years. I have been gifted with getting free cinema school. Going into this I was so coddled, as always, and in directing you are a family. You are all architects of this building and it's not just one person. I just love creating with others.
Looking back, are there any scenes you wish you could reshoot?
Oh gosh, yes! There's always that. I would love to hear some more experienced directors if they feel that as well. No matter what project you do or how much you have under your belt, you're like, "Ahh I missed that shot! I should have moved the camera faster!" I wouldn't call them mistakes, you just learn from every beat that you see postproduction and you take notes and the next time, it is going to be better in that arena. But it's more about getting more coverage or different lenses. And of course you think, "I didn't direct the scene properly in this way. That beat should have been that because that dictates what the end of the scene says." How an actor gives an intonation on a pronoun can change the whole tone of the scene.
For Tom Yates' murder, you and Paul Sparks had to film a deadly sex scene. What were the challenges of directing and starring in that scene?
Paul is an incredible actor and I just loved working with him. When you get to have had a relationship on set as actors for a season and then you come in as a director, that dynamic is more enriched because there's much more conversation on the different planes. How do we want to shoot it? What are you comfortable with? What am I comfortable with? Do we want to show nudity? It's not really this show, nudity. It doesn't enhance [it]. And I love trying to adhere to the structure that [David] Fincher implemented in the beginning, which is this very formal yet intimate environment. Trying to design shots for that scene was a lot of technicality. We had to get boxes and prop up Yates with boxes and then me on higher boxes so that we could get distance for the camera to be over my shoulder. That's a challenge, of course, for all of us. But emotionally, where we got to in that scene and what we decided it should be as opposed to this direct venal act by Claire with her piercing eyes — it was killing her that she had to do this, but she had to do it.
Yates is Claire's only casualty — that we know of. Now that she and Frank are separated, could Frank end up as a casualty as well. Would she be capable of that?
They are both capable of anything and that's what's so great about the mystery of it. They are both capable of anything! As producers on the show, Kevin and I play with that. We just don't want to give the audience what they expect. That is the trickery that we have to play with all of the time.
You chose to direct what may now be the most pivotal moment in the entire series, which also provided the audience with the moment when Claire breaks the fourth wall for the second time of the season. How do you define Claire's direct addresses?
All of that is a collaboration with the team, the writers [and] Kevin Spacey. Kevin has incredible ideas. These decisions come to a fruition with all of us discussing it. What does it mean for the arc? What does this mean for next season? Where are we going to take it? We always have to jump ahead. It's not an isolated incident. It's very thought out. We've got more story to tell down the line.
How many takes did it take you to deliver those two words?
We did different versions of different words. We did probably 12 takes.
What were the different words?
It was a toss-up! We do this every day, which is so much fun because it's a Rubik's Cube and then you go, "Ah! That's the one" when it lands. It was everything from, "Now it's my turn" or a space in between, "Now … my turn." All of those different variations were played with and then we chose collectively at the end which one we would use in the final print.
What can you officially say about a potential season six?
All I can tell you is after season five, things are complicated and interesting for Frank. And things are going to become very interesting for Claire.
What will a Claire presidency look like?
I would personally like it to be the greatest president we've ever had. How she gets there and achieves that is a whole other thing regarding the opera of the show.
What are the biggest differences between Melissa and Frank's vision for the show compared to what creator Beau Willimon originally had in mind?
The vein [and] the artery of the show is so set in stone. We've been doing it so long and Frank and Melissa have been writing as long as we've been acting in it. It lives on its own and we just try to enhance certain things and try not to recycle the same ideas. You're always trying to come up with twists and turns with this kind of drama. And again [having] the key to not give the audience what they expect. Let's shock and surprise them."
Per TVLine, "[i]f Orange Is the New Black had a lighthearted, rough-and-tumble kid sister who liked putting people in headlocks, that sister would look a lot like Netflix’s GLOW.
"That makes sense. GLOW hails from OITNB‘s Carly Mensch and Nurse Jackie‘s Liz Flahive, who have a proven track record of wringing comedy from unlikely situations. (OITNB boss Jenji Kohan also is an executive producer on GLOW.) The subject matter here gives them a head start: Though not a reboot in the usual sense of the word, GLOW‘s heritage is the 1980s TV program of the same name — which stands for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling — a schlocky, silly female counterpart to the wildly popular World Wrestling Federation broadcasts of the time.
"The Netflix series chronicles a B-movie director’s attempts to cash in on the wrestling craze despite various roadblocks, the largest of which is a cast full of women with little experience in the ring and/or in front of a camera. One major exception is Ruth, played with plucky zeal by Community grad Allison Brie. Ruth is a non-working, Los Angeles-based actress who attends the show’s casting call out of desperation. When she gets the gig, she joins a ragtag(team) ensemble that includes a professional stunt woman, a party girl, some hairdressers, the daughter of a famous wrestler and someone who fancies herself part wolf, among others.
"The season, which premieres on Friday, June 23, follows the show-within-a-show’s uneven path from concept to first episode. Much of GLOW‘s joy and comedic success comes from watching neurotic Ruth and her fellow wrestling noobs learn the moves and hone their ringside personas; my only real beef with the series is that the casting process goes on longer than feels necessary, delaying the point where the women can start to do their rope-bouncing, pile-driving thing (or, at least, fake it until they make it).
"As hack director Sam, Marc Maron (Maron) is a curmudgeonly ball of cutting one-liners and exasperated sighs; think a more likable, though no less messed-up, version of Litchfield Correctional Facility’s Caputo. And Betty Gilpin (Nurse Jackie) is perfectly cast as Debbie, a new mom and former daytime drama actress who gets drawn into the action after an unexpected betrayal blows her world asunder. (She also rocks some rather amazing ’80s hairstyles.)
"That brings us to GLOW‘s look, which lovingly embraces the Reagan era’s kitschier notes — thong leotards, blue eyeshadow, neon everything — without letting them distract from the women’s very compelling journey toward creating something new and exciting. In a sense, that’s the approach the Netflix series takes toward its source material, as well, treating an often-mocked concept with gentle humor and a lot of respect.
"Wrestling is 'a soap opera! This whole thing is a soap opera!' one character exclaims in a moment of happy revelation. Damn straight — and GLOW is the behind-the-scenes look that’ll suck you in faster than a Friday cliffhanger."
Hey Netflix, pace yourself. Let some time pass between releasing big titles (House of Cards, OITNB, etc) so people have time to watch. Thanks.
"Executive producer and showrunner Noah Hawley said he didn’t currently have an idea for a fourth season, but he certainly sounded open to a return to the wintry, crime-ridden Midwestern landscapes the show has explored in its first three seasons (the current season wraps up June 21).
“'Here’s the thing — I wasn’t sure there was going to be a second season' after the first, and after the second was in the can, he was similarly unsure that there would be a third. Each time around, he explained, it took him some time to come up with the core concepts for the next season. He noted that FX executives were patient with that process, and added that they had even said after the first season, that he didn’t necessarily need to follow it up unless he had an idea he was excited about.
“'If an idea comes, we will do another one,' Hawley said. 'I am certainly aware of the danger of overstaying your welcome or repeating yourself.'
"He noted that crime stories lend themselves to all manner of philosophical and moral explorations, and even attempts to 'understand the meaning of the universe.'
“'I love telling stories in that vein,' he said, even if he doesn’t have an idea for the fourth season of the show at this moment.
"Hawley also addressed the political parallels that many have seen in the current season. Asked if the show’s crime boss, V.M. Varga (David Thewlis), is the kind of man who would employ someone like Donald Trump — or whether Varga would be more likely to be one of Trump’s employees, Hawley said with a laugh, 'I think those forces cancel each other out — there can be only one.'
"He added, 'It’s not my goal to make something political — the Russia part of it came out' of his own family history, including the story of a grandparent who fled the Cossacks in the Ukraine.
"As he noted, every episode of Fargo has an on-screen preface about the saga being a 'true story' even though every twist and turn has come from the brain of Hawley and his creative team.
“'So what does that even mean — the words "true story’?"' Hawley said. 'I really wanted to deconstruct that this year.'
"He did discuss the idea that these explorations of truth, lies and the manipulation of both had some resonance in the culture at the moment, and he recalled one of the lines spoken by Cy Feltz, Michael Stuhlbarg’s character: ‘"The world is wrong — it looks like my world but everything is different." That’s what we’re exploring this year.'
"Hawley also linked the opening scene of the season, which was set in an East German bureaucrat’s drab office, to the quest of Gloria Burgle (Carrie Coon) to find the truth about some unsettling deaths. The unfortunate man in the office was just as helpless as Gloria, in some ways, when it came to those who would twist the truth in pursuit of their own goals, according to the Fargo showrunner.
“'There’s violence' to the false story that the East German interrogator was imposing on the hapless citizen in front of him, Hawley said. 'It’s mental violence — irony without humor is violence.' That opening scene in that interrogation room 'would be funny if it wasn’t so horrible,' he noted
"As for physical violence, Hawley said that, though there is some gunplay this season, he tried not to have anyone shoot a gun all season long, in part because season two featured a 'big circus of evil' and some epic gun battles. On Fargo, he wants the bloodshed to have thematic and psychological ramifications, not just plot value, and he observed that it is not that hard to be creative about the ways people commit violence on the show.
“'I sort of wish we didn’t have to kill anyone, but I don’t think anyone would watch Minnesota Nice without it,' Hawley said.
"Having appeared in a Coen brothers film (A Serious Man) and Fargo, Stuhlbarg, who was on the panel along with guest star Mary McDonnell and executive producer/director John Cameron, offered some comparisons and contrasts between the two Fargo worlds.
"When he got the Serious Man script, 'there was no rewriting — it was the same the first time I read it and when we shot it,' Stuhlbarg said. 'It’s the same with this [TV] experience — there were no rewrites, which doesn’t happen. I could not have improved upon what I was given and I loved what I was given.'
"That said, the Fargo TV experience brought a new director into the mix every few weeks. 'It was a new energy, a new collaborator,' Stuhlbarg said. 'That kept me on my toes, and that was always kind of wonderful — to have a new set of eyes providing new perspectives on what something could be.'
"The actor added that the Upper Midwest accent was a challenge to learn — but very difficult to say goodbye to. 'Once you learn it, it’s really hard to let it go,' Stuhlbarg said. 'You bring it with you' to the next job."
Per Deadline, "Insatiable, the darkly comedic hourlong pilot starring Debby Ryan and Dallas Roberts, which narrowly missed a pickup at the CW, is getting a 13-episode series order — at Netflix. I hear the Internet network is finalizing a deal with CBS TV Studios for Insatiable, which will become a Netflix original series. It comes from writer Lauren Gussis (Dexter, Once Upon A Time), Ryan Seacrest Productions and Storied Media Group. Netflix declined comment.
"This would mark the first scripted series brought to Netflix by VP Content Bela Bajaria, who oversees the licensing of TV and film content from major U.S. studios for the streaming service. Before Netflix and Universal TV, where she was president, Bajaria worked at CBS TV Studios and launched its cable/digital series operation.
"With the Insatiable deal at Netflix, CBS TV Studios would be going 3-for-3 with its 2017 CW pilots, all of which are being picked up to series — Dynasty and Valor at the CW and Insatiable at Netflix.
"It is a post-upfront tradition — most of the broadcast pilots that were not picked up to series get sent out to other networks with the hope of a series order elsewhere. It almost never works, but, like CBS’ Sneaky Pete, which landed a series order at Amazon two years ago, Insatiable immediately drew interest from potential buyers.
"The darkly comedic and quirky Insatiable was well received by the CW executives but was different than anything else on the network. With a rare crop of six pilots, all of them formidable series contenders, the CW brass had to make some tough choices in May, having already renewed 11 current series. The network ended up picking up Dynasty, Valor, Black Lightning and Life Sentence, originally keeping the remaining two pilots, Insatiable and Searchers, in contention before ultimately passing because the CW’s budget had been maxed out on the volume of renewed and newly picked series.
"Coming from former Dexter co-executive producer Gussis, the Insatiable pilot is said to have a premium feel, which was even stronger in the pilot script and likely will be explored deeper going forward now that the show is on Netflix. CBS TV Studios supplies CBS Corp’s own streaming service, CBS All Access, with original scripted series, so it was logically to consider All Access as a possible home for Insatiable, but CBS TV Studios also has a good relationship with Netflix, which is the international distributor of the studio’s new CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery and carries previous seasons of the CW series via a deal with CBS TV Studios and Warner Bros TV.
"Written by Gussis, with Andrew Fleming directing the pilot for the CW, Insatiable was inspired by real-life Southern lawyer and top beauty pageant coach Bill Alverson. It focuses on Bob (Dallas), a disgraced, dissatisfied civil lawyer-turned-beauty pageant coach who takes on Patty (Ryan), a vengeful, bullied teenager as his client, and has no idea what he’s about to unleash upon the world. The cast also includes Erinn Westbrook, Michael Provost, Sarah Colonna, Kimmy Shields, Irene Choi as well as Alyssa Milano in a major recurring role."
Per Vulture, "Netflix’s true-crime series The Keepers starts with a simple question — 'Who killed Sister Cathy?' — and doggedly pursues multiple avenues of evidence down a winding, seven-episode path that covers everything from the widespread sex abuse in the Catholic church to the difficulty of presenting recovered memories in court to the sobering bureaucratic reality of unsuccessful FOIA requests. The result is a series that’s remarkably wide in its scope. But as director Ryan White tells Vulture, the show started with a tip from his mom. In an interview, White talked about unraveling Sister Cathy’s murder from the Catholic Church’s wider sex-abuse scandal, navigating incredibly tense interviews, and whether he thinks there ever really will be justice for Cathy Cesnik:
I understand you have personal ties to Archbishop Keough High School — your aunt went there. When did you first hear about Sister Cesnik’s murder?
I had never heard of her murder until three years ago when my aunt and mom reached out to me because they found out who Jane Doe was. [Editor’s note: White is referring to the woman who came forward anonymously in the ’90s with claims of sexual abuse against Archbishop Keough High School counselor and chaplain Father Joseph Maskell in the late 1960s.] That generation of women, especially in Baltimore, had always wondered who Jane Doe was. My mom and aunt were shocked because it was a woman they had grown up with and were friends with, and [they] had no idea about Jane Doe or this horrific past. They connected me with her. That was the summer of 2014. I flew out and met Jean [Wehner] in Baltimore and had a five-hour conversation with her at her dining room table and left wanting to partner with her. She spent a few months deciding if that was the next best step for her. Lucky for me, and I think the world, she decided she wanted to do it.
You went to Baltimore specifically to see if her story could be part of a documentary?
Yeah, exactly. I’m so mean to my mom, but I always joke I have a whole email full of her bad ideas for documentaries. [Laughs.] Sometimes she has some really good ones, and this one she hit out of the park. I was skeptical, I’ll admit. I was like, “This story is out of a horror film. This doesn’t seem real or possible.” I remember saying to my aunt and my mom, because I had no budget, “Are you sure this is worth flying out to Baltimore? Are you sure this woman isn’t crazy? Is it worth it?” They both said they don’t know her that well this late in life, but they were like, “She’s a lovely woman, I think it’s worth your time.” They actually persuaded me. Obviously, once I sat down with Jean and got a sense of who she was and how raw and honest she is, I felt so compelled by her in those very first few minutes and increasingly as the hours went on.
The only other person that I met before any filming began was Gemma [Hoskins] because my aunt was also a part of the [Justice for Catherine Cesnik] Facebook group. She said, “You should sign up for this group that these two women started. There are a lot of conversations starting to happen.” I met Gemma in Baltimore in one of those early trips and was just sold right away. She was cinematic gold to me: an interesting character that was such an organic inroad to a true-crime genre that doesn’t normally get that type of investigator character in someone like Gemma.
Your filming started with Jean, but she wasn’t revealed to be Jane Doe until the second episode. How did you decide how to structure the series?
I have a brilliant editing team. I have three full-time editors and three assistant editors who were cranking away while I continued to shoot on the road. We did a lot of reshaping, but to me the real appeal as a storyteller [and] as a creative for The Keepers was what lies beneath. I knew that we were going to be put in that aisle of true crime and I almost deliberately put that first episode in that aisle so as to say, “This is how things seem. This is how this day unfolded, this woman going missing and then being found dead two months later.” Beginning with episode two, it’s the whole world beneath and that’s how I wanted to structure it.
People are calling that second episode such a curveball or a gut punch. I wanted people to understand that things aren’t always as they appear on the surface. That’s what episodes two through seven are. They’re continuing to dig. I realize that can be painful for audiences because it’s digging into things you don’t want to look at. That was the idea of the structure, and then obviously the story spans so many decades. So we begin in the ’60s and then the middle of the series all happens in the ’90s when Jean tried to bring this forward. By the end of episode four, we’ve ended in the modern day with this whole web [of evidence] that still has not come to light.
One of your most harrowing interviews is with Edgar Davidson, who may have been involved in the murder but gives maddening one-word answers. Were there times while shooting or doing research where you feared for your safety or you weren’t sure what would happen next?
Yeah. This is a very unsettling documentary to be making because virtually every day we felt the tension that we were rooting into something that people didn’t want us rooting into. I never felt directly threatened per se, but I definitely felt the emotion and tension of multiple people throughout it saying, “You shouldn’t be doing this.” I mean, I’m alive now. I survived The Keepers, at least so far. Hopefully that was worth it, but there were many moments where I felt like people wanted us to go away.
I’m sure you’re aware of the statements the Archdiocese of Baltimore has tweeted. I suppose it’s to be expected that they would not be thrilled with The Keepers. Do you have any response to what they’ve been saying about the series?
No, and I’m horrified. It’s interesting that you say it’s to be expected because I don’t know if it’s the Catholic boy in me, but I actually didn’t expect that, which is foolish because I had been documenting Jean for three years and understanding how this institution has repeatedly harmed her. I knew that the documentary was made with integrity. I knew it was comprised of virtually all of survivor stories. The naïve Catholic boy in me thought, “They’re going to react compassionately.” That’s not what we saw. I was sickened by it. It makes me very angry having worked with these survivors for so long, being on the phone with them, and then having to be put through the ringer again by this institution that’s continuously harmed them throughout their lives. It’s been sickening, but it’s also made me realize this is what they are. There are new people there. They weren’t around when [Father Joseph] Maskell was there, but they’re still reacting in the ways that are harmful to survivors. I’ve lost all respect and I don’t think it matters to me what their responses are at this point. I see enough of them where they feel empty to me. I don’t want the people in the film — the survivors that I worked with — paying them any credence anymore. It’s empty.
There have been a ton of new developments in the investigation. Would you consider continuing to chronicle the story as it unfolds, or do you want to cover sex abuse in the Church in some other capacity?
No, I don’t need to document the sex-abuse scandals in the Church anymore, but that was never my draw. My draw was Sister Cathy and my draw was Jean Wehner. They, to me, are the central figures in the story, and I feel like Jean invited me on this journey with her that lasted for three years and was painful and terrifying for her. She felt like we reached a point at the end of last year, maybe the beginning of this year, where it was time to end this and put it out in the world and see how the world responds to The Keepers. Even though Jean and I reached the end of that journey, I hope that the theories lead to answers as to who was involved in Sister Cathy’s murder. I think that’s completely possible, and we’re seeing a lot of movement right now. I think the police are getting a lot of information. I wouldn’t say I wouldn’t absolutely do any follow-up, but so far I have no plans to do that. I’m so happy with where we ended it that I don’t plan on continuing to document any of the revelations that come out of it."
This interview has been edited and condensed.