Tuesday September 26, 2017

Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders premieres tonight.  Here's a review.

Season 2 of This Is Us premieres tonight as well.  More below.

A new season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine drops this evening as does season 2 of The Mick.  How is that still a show?  It's unwatchable, which coming from me, says a lot.

Beating a dead horse, but even more support for Netflix's American Vandal.

A Pretty Little Liars spinoff is coming.

LeBron James for President?

Or maybe Michael Rapaport?

On third thought, Trevor Noah, who was once again spot on last night.

"Armando Ianucci is going to boldly swear where no man has sworn before. The creator of VeepIn the Loop, and The Death of Stalin has sold a comedy pilot to HBO called Avenue 5, which is set in the future, mostly in space, reportedly on a spaceship (think The Orville, but actually funny). Ianucci left HBO after Veep’s fourth season to focus on Stalin, but now has the time to focus on a new series. Since this is an Ianucci show, we can’t wait to hear the Avenue 5 characters spit out reams of filthy dialogue that rivals the beauty and complexity of the great beyond itself."

Inside Jeffrey Dean Moran and Hilarie Burton's relationship.

Check out Taylor Kitsch as David Koresh in Waco!  "Waco chronicles the infamous 1993 standoff between Koresh’s spiritual community and the FBI and ATF in Waco, Texas, beginning with a gun battle and ending with a raid and massive fire that killed 76 people. The miniseries is based on a pair of biographies, one by a Branch Davidian member who survived the fire, and another by FBI hostage negotiator Gary Noesner, who led the bureau’s efforts to negotiate with Koresh and his followers. Kitsch stars along with Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire), who plays Noesner, Supergirl star Melissa Benoist (as Koresh’s legal wife Rachel) and John Leguizamo (as ATF agent Robert Rodriguez)."

In-flight Netflix will be available on more airlines in 2018.

"A How I Met Your Mother fan theory has gone viral after suggesting that Ted may have manipulated his portrayal of Barney in his narrative to prove to his kids that he was a better match for Robin."

"Amazon.com Inc said Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her producer-husband Daniel Palladino have signed a multi-year deal with its studio division to make original shows.The producer duo’s first original series for Amazon - The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel starring Rachel Brosnahan and set in 1958 New York City - will debut this fall on Amazon Prime video. Amazon has been spending billions of dollars a year on creating and licensing TV shows and films, as the retailer gears up to better compete with market leader, Netflix Inc. Wall Street analysts estimate Amazon’s spending on content would triple to more than $4.5 billion by the end of this year from 2014. Sherman-Palladino created in 2000 Gilmore Girls that focused on mother-daughter relationship in an imaginary town. Time magazine listed the show among its '100 Best TV Shows of All Time.' Her husband, Daniel Palladino, started working for TV series in 1989 with ABC hit Who’s the Boss? starring Tony Danza, Judith Light and Alyssa Milano."

The story behind Betty White and Bea Arthur's infamous feud.

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"When the second season of NBC's This Is Us premieres [tonight], creator Dan Fogelman will need to prove that the biggest show on network television has staying power. The actors have helped him on that front: Sterling K. Brown won an Emmy last week for his role as Randall Pearson. This season, Fogelman says the Pearson children (Brown, Chrissy Metz and Justin Hartley) and their mother (Mandy Moore) will find themselves on wildly different journey than what the audience might expect.

"Fogelman spoke to TIME about why he doesn't understand the controversy over Chrissy Metz's character, how his own mother's passing inspired the series' bittersweet tone and what we'll learn about Jack's death in season two.

What was it like to watch Sterling K. Brown win the best actorEmmy?

It's easy to be happy for Sterling. He's so incredibly gracious. He worked a full day after the Emmys and brought the Emmy to set. He made a beautiful speech to the crew about sharing the award with everybody, and everyone went home with a selfie with Sterling holding the Emmy.

This Is Us was originally conceived as a film involving octuplets. How did you cull those characters down to just three for the series?

I realized I had to pull back on some. There was a woman who had developed an English accent — like some Americans do when they move to England — to throw you off the scent that she was a sibling. There was an actor who was in the midst of a divorce, which was something that is obviously very much the opposite of the couples in our show. Those were two main ones that were getting the most screen time in the film.

I just culled it down to what it felt like were the most essential characters: the big three and the parents.

The show is very hopeful. Even when bad things happen, they seem to happen for a reason. Is that your life philosophy?

It’s my philosophy and the philosophy of the people who seem to be working on and enjoying the show. Personally, I have what I hope is a realistic view of the world, but it’s also a positive view of the world. I’m aware of what’s going on in this country — how divided and divisive and scary everything is right now . But I like to think the best of people. And I like to think out of loss or tragedy or dark moments can come goodness or improvement or growth.

I think it’s that's the philosophy of a great many people, including the actors and the writers and the directors of this show. But it’s not like we set out to do a show about that. It’s more like it’s kind of something that’s intrinsic to all of us, and I think it’s coming through on the show.

Have you always been such an optimist?

I lost my mom very suddenly and very tragically, and we were very, very close. It’s something that intrinsically is in my bones right now, which is taking a hardship or taking something that is difficult and finding light on the other side of it. I’m finishing a film right now that explores similar territory [to This Is Us]. I’m not setting out to necessarily do that, but I guess it’s something that’s been in my mind in the past decade.

How do you balance tear-jerking twists with that uplifting message?

Our second season revolves around this death that everyone’s been talking about for the last year. So there’s a natural kind of darkness and sadness that informs the second season of our show, both in that storyline and other storylines. It’s going to be very sad and brutal at times in many different ways.

But we’re taking great pains right now to make sure that when the show gets very sad — and it does get very sad — whether it’s in that episode or four episodes down the line, that the gentle journey of this season will ultimately always be uplifting. That's what we're keeping our eye on this season.

Does that mean that we’re going to find out how said death happened at some point this season?

Yeah, I think it’s fair to say that kind of mystery or conversation about that will have evolved into new stuff by the end of the season. The first episode holds a giant piece of the puzzle that I think will feed the beast of the appetite of people wanting to know what happens without giving every single answer.

And the season in general will be a journey to understand all that and what happened in that year.

How has people's response to the series changed how you write, if at all?

I try not to read too much because I don’t want to change what we’re doing. But we all do. We see it and we hear it. I think if anything both the popularity of the show and how important is has become to a lot of people in terms of seeing themselves reflected in it — whether they be things like trans-racial adoption or anxiety and nervous breakdowns — it makes us continue to want to treat things responsibly. We want to get it right.

We don’t want the show to become an “issue of the week” show but because it’s real life, we do explore a lot of different things. I’ve been touched in my family by body image issues. We bring in a lot of speakers. We do a lot of research. We feel like we have this microphone right now, and we want to make sure that we use it responsibly.

There has been some criticism around Chrissy’s character and whether her storylines could focus on more than just her mission to lose weight—

I’ve read all the criticism. To me, it is so bizarre that that even got any kind of traction, this idea that Kate's story is only about her weight. In the course of a first season of this show, this woman was figuring out her career, dealing with processing the loss of a parent, in a love triangle with two different men, embarking on a romance, deciding at the end of the first season that she wants to embark on a singing career.

The one that started her story was the journey about her wanting to attack her weight, which is a big storyline for that character. As someone who lived with a family of people and has a writer’s room that’s full of people who have battled weight and body image issues, it is a driving force for a lot of people. But to say that her storyline is only about weight is like saying that Randall’s story is only about his identity or Kevin’s story is only about his acting career. They are starting points for where we started the series.

I think it’s one of those things that is very easy for people who haven’t really been touched by body image issues to say, “I wish you had a story about weight different than what you do.” They don’t quite get it is my personal opinion. I wrote it so what the hell do I know?

What kind of stories can people look forward to this season, beside the "big mystery"?

It’s hard not to spoil anything because I think our storylines are a little surprising. Everything starts in the first episode, picking back up where we left off this season, which is Kate is embarking on a singing career. Kevin is at this crossroads with his potential movie career. Sophie and Randall are contemplating adoption. And Rebecca and Jack are at this crossroads in their marriage.

That is definitely the storyline we follow through in the first episode. But all three of their storylines for the big three go in very surprising directions. It’s hard to talk about them without giving stuff away. But I think at the midpoint of our season, they’ll be in a place where you wouldn’t have expected them to be after watching the first episode."

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I'm thrilled to be in business with these guys.  Per Deadline, "Facebook’s new video platform, Watch, is 'working spectacularly for us,' said Ben Lerer, CEO of Group Nine Media, the Discovery-backed owner of Thrillist, Now This and The Dodo. 'We’ve done well over 100 million video views and 100 million minutes of viewing, which is important. So people are staying for longer. We have over half a million followers to our shows in the three weeks' since Watch launched.

"Group Nine launched 24 shows as Watch lit up, and Lerer said the shotgun approach was intentional. By testing out a wide range of genres and styles, including animation and live action of varying lengths, some of it binge-released and other titles sequential, the company hopes to refine its offerings. 'The idea is that we can collectively take the learnings of all the different kinds of programming we’re creating and continue to have this advantage, where data and creativity meet.'

"Lerer’s comments came during a panel about the digital video explosion on the kickoff day of Advertising Week, the annual brand-a-palooza now in its 14th year. Before the panel, which also featured Suzy Deering, VP and chief marketing officer at eBay and Andrew Robertson, president and CEO of media agency BBDO, moderator Carolyn Everson, delivered a 10-minute presentation highlighting the company’s overall video focus and growth on Instagram.

"The session, which did not feature audience Q&A, steered clear of any mention of the ongoing difficulties Facebook has encountered over its role in Russian interference with U.S. elections or what marketers call 'brand safety.' The latter has been seized on by traditional TV networks, whose upfront pitches have stressed their reliable environments for ads, depicting Facebook as a massive platform capable of mixing objectionable programming or profiles with brands.

"Given that 75% of mobile traffic will be video within three years, Everson said Facebook Live has become an increasingly valuable tool. She cited its ability to capture the reality on the ground during recent hurricanes. 'It will fundamentally change the way disasters are covered moving forward,' she said. MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle, she noted, brought a crew down to the storm-ravaged British Virgin Islands, which she had gotten to know previously as a visitor. When Ruhle was unable to broadcast via traditional methods due to downed infrastructure, she delivered video reports via Facebook.

"Consumers’ voracious appetite for video is borne out in statistics. According to Everson, video draws five times the engagement of static content on Facebook or Instagram.

"Compared with the olden days of 30-second TV spots, the notion of video online is a vast array of possibilities, she and panelists described a race to catch up to consumer habit. 'Calling video video would be like calling the Beatles just a band,' Everson said.

"The average person touches their phone 2,617 times a day, she added. In this increasingly tactile landscape, Instagram has now reached 800 million accounts, gaining its most recent 100 million faster than any previous 100 million user increment. Half a million accounts are created each day, and the amount of video uploaded to the site has increased fourfold over the past year.

"Lerer said Group Nine, in which Discovery Communications owns a 35% stake, has specifically avoided trying to make videos that go viral. 'We like to say it’s not content for everybody; it’s content for somebody,' he said. 'We’re focused on raising the floor. We look at the stuff that’s not working. … Many of our worst-performing videos still have over a million views.'”

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"Despite his political background and consulting credit, no one listens to Designated Survivor actor Kal Penn when he makes suggestions for the show.

'They never listen to me,' Penn, who worked in the Obama administration, told a crowd at the Tribeca TV Festival on Sunday. 'Like the badges the ambassadors were wearing [in the episode that screened] were wrong, there’s like all this stuff that’s wrong … It should have been a pink A badge, which means they’re a foreign national.'

"He continued, 'So they take creative liberties. I’m the really annoying guy who tells them the way it actually is … and at some point they’re like, ‘You realize how boring it would be if we took all of your notes, right? We’re making a TV show about a conspiracy theory.'

"However, the creative liberties and outlandish plot lines on the show aren’t always too far from home.

"The cast revealed during the panel that the end of Season 1 had to be changed because it hit too close to home.

“'Twice, maybe three times this season already we’ve shot an episode about something happening and then it happened,' actress Italia Ricci said. 'Where it’s like the exact headline … but it wont line up because when we shoot it, it airs months and months later. But say that episode was set to air that week … I don’t think we would have been able to air it. It was too close.'”

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Per Recode, "[i]f you’re on the fence about paying an extra $6 a month to watch some TV shows without ads, 21st Century Fox would like to make a more persuasive case: It is adding a bunch of additional inventory to its FX+ service.

"In narrow terms, that means that FX+ subscribers will now be able to stream some shows the service didn’t have when it launched earlier this month, including older seasons of The Americans.

"Fox says it now has every season of 31 different original FX productions available on the service. FX+ is available to some pay TV customers — but only in addition to the pay TV packages they’re already buying.

"That still doesn’t mean FX+ subscribers get everything that’s been on FX. Notably absent is The People v. O.J. Simpson, perhaps FX’s most popular show ever, which is currently running on Netflix.

"If you make media, monetize it or get it in front of people, you’ll want to be there.

"Meanwhile some shows that will run ad-free on FX+ will also run on other platforms, at least for now: You can also watch the first four seasons of The Americans on Amazon’s Prime video service.

"Bigger picture: Fox, like other big studios/networks, has been making noise about reclaiming its old shows from other people — namely, Netflix — and it is starting to do that: If you want to watch old Fox shows, you increasingly have to watch them on Fox properties (or Hulu, partly owned by Fox).

"That’s definitely a negative for Netflix, which has to spend more money creating its own shows to replace the ones being hoovered back up by their original owners.

"And it’s hard to argue that it’s a positive for viewers, who increasingly have to do more thinking about what streaming service their favorite show is on.

"But it may be worth it to the Hollywood guys, if it slows down the erosion of their own value."

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Per Uproxx, "[i]t’s been a good year for Making A Murderer subject Brendan Dassey, if any year spent in jail for a murder you clearly had nothing to do with can be considered good. Over that time his team of appeal lawyers have won court victory after court victory, starting with a successful appeal last August that saw a federal judge throw out his conviction for the first degree murder and sexual assault of Teresa Halbach and demand he be freed.

"No physical evidence ever linked Dassey to the case, and the judge determined that police violated his constitutional rights by coercing a confession from the intellectually impaired 16-year-old back in 2006. The state of Wisconsin appealed, but in November another judge upheld that decision. In June, a three judge federal appeals panel agreed as well.

"Unfortunately for Dassey, the Wisconsin State Prosecutors Office has thus far successfully kept him behind bars while they continue to appeal each new verdict in his favor. The latest step in this drawn out process: a re-hearing of the case by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

"Oral arguments will begin Tuesday September 26th, and as before the legitimacy of the confession made by Dassey will be the crux of the defense’s case. On the prosecutor’s side, they plan to argue that Dassey cannot be given relief because a statute called AEDPA (also known as 'one of the worst statutes ever passed') sets specific deadlines on how long a defendant has to file a habeas corpus appeal. So even if all the judges on the Seventh Circuit agree that Dassey’s confession was bogus, they still may rule against him on a technicality.

"As usual, it’s an uphill slog for the defense to clear Dassey’s name. Even if the Seventh Circuit upholds the lower court rulings that tossed Brendan’s conviction, it’s expected that Wisconsin will appeal yet again, bringing the case to the Supreme Court. But if an overwhelming number of judges on the Seventh Circuit agree that Brendan’s confession was coerced, the Supreme Court may deny to even hear the case. At that point the state wouldn’t be able to appeal any further, and Brendan Dassey would finally be free."

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Per Yahoo!, "[y]ou might think The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper isn’t the most likely TV character to rate a spin-off show. Sheldon has a fussy manner, precise diction, and obtuse social skills: not the sort of creation to prompt mass-audience identification, right? But think about it: You could apply those same characteristics to Kelsey Grammer’s Frasier Crane, and his Cheers spin-off show turned out pretty well. So it is with Young Sheldon. In the new show, a nine year-old Sheldon is played by Iain Armitage, and there’s an emotional richness to the show, right from the start, that makes you want to see more.

"Set in 1989 in East Texas, Young Sheldon brings us into the squabbling house where Sheldon was raised. We knew from Sheldon’s sketched-out back-story on The Big Bang Theory that Jim Parsons’ Sheldon had a trying relationship with his family, and Young Sheldon makes this the focus of the new show. A prissy little twerp with a clip-on bowtie, Armitage’s Sheldon is the odd-boy-out at home, where his mom and dad (Zoe Perry and Lance Barber) and his brother and sister (Montana Jordan and Raegan Revord) look at him as though he were an alien who’d crash-landed on their property. Sheldon doesn’t fit into the rabid-football-fan East Texas culture, much to the chagrin of his athletic-teacher father.

"It’s a refreshing novelty to see a major character on a TV show talk enthusiastically about the pleasures of learning and school. The pilot episode takes us to Sheldon’s first day of high school — he’s jumped a few grades due to his advanced intelligence, and while he’s eager to be challenged, he also has some social adjustments to make. The new show, overseen by Big Bang’s Chuck Lorre and Steven Molaro, is careful to make Sheldon smart without being too supercilious, and awkward without being foolish. The taunts he endures are just mean enough — not mean verging on cruel, as much of the humor on Lorre’s Two and a Half Men was.

"Even better are Sheldon’s scenes at home. Yes, it was clever casting to have Sheldon’s mom played by Zoe Perry — the daughter of Laurie Metcalf, who plays Sheldon’s mother on The Big Bang Theory. But Perry immediately establishes her own personality, voice, and approach to this character, and her line-readings get as many laughs as Armitage’s do. Lance Barber, beloved by some of us for his portrayal of the awful TV writer Paulie G on The Comeback, is equally good as Sheldon’s father. It’s difficult to play the grumpy-dad in a fresh way, but Barber has found a way to do it.

"Because it features a nostalgic voice-over (from Jim Parsons), is set in an earlier era, chronicles a boy’s youth, and is a single-camera, no-studio-audience effort, Young Sheldon has a certain Wonder Years glow to it. The challenge for the show going forward is to keep young Sheldon a believable, likable kid while also emphasizing the eccentric qualities that make him an effective comic creation. From this first episode, it really feels as though that’s not going to be a problem."