Thursday March 22, 2018

"Suits continues to repopulate its ranks for season eight. The USA Network drama is bringing back 12 Monkeys star Amanda Schull as a series regular for the recently announced eighth season. Schull, who has recurred throughout the series as Louis Litt's former associate Katrina Bennett, will return to the firm as a junior partner in season eight. With the promotion to regular, Bennett will remain in the NBCUniversal fold and segue to Suits after wrapping the upcoming fourth and final season of Syfy's 12 Monkeys. Both shows are produced by Universal Cable Productions. The final season of 12 Monkeys will return in the summer. Schull returns to Suits as the series repopulates its cast as original stars Patrick J. Adams and Meghan Markle prepare to say farewell in the second half of season seven. To help fill the void, the Aaron Korsh-created drama has recruited former Grey's Anatomy star and Suits super-fan Katherine Heigl as a series regular and Dule Hill, who was upped to series regular for season seven. "The second half of Suits season seven returns March 28 on USA Network."  6 days and counting . . . .

You can stream Game Over Man on Netflix beginning at midnight tonight.  More below.

"Santa Clarita Diet was quick to establish its strong feminist perspective when its first season debuted last year. As Drew Barrymore's meek suburban realtor Sheila Hammond transformed from living to undead, she also became noticeably more confident and assertive, even aggressive. Now with the second season of Netflix's zombie sitcom premiering Friday, as more and more women are speaking out via the #MeToo movement, the show's take-charge female characters seem even more timely. It's a perspective that Barrymore ironically attributes to the vision of male creator and showrunner Victor Fresco. 'I think Victor is a feminist himself, so I think he writes really lovable and admirable men, but I also think he writes a very strong woman,' Barrymore tells The Hollywood Reporter. 'Myself and [onscreen daughter] Abby (Liv Hewson) have this ferocious, yummy empowerment that is really all coming from him. He just inherently gives women a great opportunity. I certainly had more of an awakening and a more exciting time becoming Sheila than some other characters [I've played]. She had something to her that really was like a weird wake-up call for me. And that's a man writing a woman.'"

Jerry O'Connell will join the Big Bang Theory as a guest.  He'll play Sheldon's brother.

Frank Avruch, best known for playing Bozo the Clown, died on Tuesday following a battle with heart disease. He was 89.

Jon Favreau remembered Avruch with this Tweet.

ABC premieres Station 19 tonight with back to back episodes.  The Grey's Anatomy spinoff is described as: "A group of heroic firefighters at Seattle Fire Station 19—from captain to newest recruit—risk their lives and hearts both in the line of duty and off the clock. These brave men and women are like family, literally and figuratively, and together they put their own lives in jeopardy as first responders to save the lives of others."

The series finale of Portlandia airs tonight on IFC.

Fox is standing behind actor/director Fred Savage after an investigation into a claim that he assaulted a crew member on the set of The Grinder. In a statement issued by 20th Century Fox they said: “Fox takes all allegations of improper conduct very seriously. We conducted a thorough investigation into these allegations and found no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Mr. Savage. We will vigorously defend against these unfounded claims.”  Moving on.

Per Geek Tyrant, "[a]fter 7 long seasons on Comedy Central's popular series Workaholics key cast members Blake Anderson, Adam Devine and Anders Holm have reunited for their first ever feature film, Game Over, Man. The Netflix original premieres on Netflix this Friday, March 23.  I got a chance to sit down with the guys and talk about their big jump from TV to feature films:

GT: All right, so is this the first feature you guys have done together since Workaholics?"

Adam Devine: Yeah this is the first one.

GT: So then it was action, this kind of the genre, always the one you wanted to do first, or why did you choose action?

Devine: The episodes of Workaholics that we had the most fun shooting where the episodes that had some fun action sequences or at least some suspense to them. And so, we did an episode in season one where we got high on mushrooms and decided to camp out in the office at night and we think that we're under attack and it turns out it's just I.T. guys working late. But the whole episode is us trying to escape from the building.

Blake Anderson: High Stakes!

Devine: And we're too high to figure it out.  That was sort of the kernel of the idea for this movie was like...we saw that we could make like an action-ish movie from that very idea.

Anders Holm: Yeah, we realize we were funny when the stakes were high. Does that makes sense?

Anderson: And a lot of the movies we grew up on and love were some of the best actions of all time. So we were kind of just raised on them.

GT: Yeah you got the sense there were little nuggets throughout the movie that were references to those.

Devine: Arnold, Stallone and Jean-Claude raised us.

Anderson:  mhmmm

GT:  There's a lot of crazy stuff happens in this movie. I got to know, is there any of it that's based on actual incidents?

Devine: I'm always trying to fake a suicide with my dick out. So its a running bit that I have. 

Anderson: All right we'll put it in the movie, geez!

Devine: We get it you've been pitching this idea for 10 years. 

Anderson: That's what he kept calling and I'm pitching in something every time he'd walk out naked. 

Devine: WHAT? I was "pitching!"

GT: Also the movie is full of cameos. I was amazed at how many people kept popping up. Who was the most fun set, which of all the cameo folks did you guys have the most fun with?

Devine: We love Daniel Stern!

Holm: Yeah.

Devine: Danny Boy!  What's up D-Stern? I mean he's definitely the guy that when we were kids loved him in absolutely everything that he was in and it turns out we still do. He's the best!

Holm: He's the man! 

Anderson: Super nice guy! Just the best.

GT: And you guys are also known for a lot of physical comedy, there was a lot of fighting in this movie. Are there any stories in getting hurt or anything funny that happened during these fight sequences?

Devine: Oh, I got shot!

Anderson: Adam got shot!

Holm: Yeah, back of the leg, right?

Devine: Ya, I still have a little scar back there. Ya, they use these things called squibs and they're basically like little metal paint balls like super super hard plastic and they explode on impact and, uh, he wasn't part of the stunt team, he was part of the...

Anderson: Stoney Bologna!

Holm: This idiot shot Adam. I mean...

Devine: He was supposed to tag up the wall right next to me...

Holm: Right, so it looks like the bullets are hitting..

Devine: ...or exploding and I'm running out and he just like shoots me back my leg and it hurt so bad! but it was like the first or second day of shooting so like it was so early on that I didn't want to seem like a total bitch about and like complain.

Anderson: I know, it was kinda like, 'Oh, come on Adam." And then he like pulls is pant leg up and it's like BOOM. Oh!

Devine: It's bleeding and its like a perfect circle.

Anderson: And we look up at the guy and he's like... [shrugs]

Holm: He's just perched up and he's like 'Did I tag ya?'

Devine: Did I tag ya? Eh?

GT: Nice. Big fans of Workaholics are sure going to love seeing you guys together again. Can we expect to see you guys join up and work together in the near future?

Holm: Not after this nightmare

[All laugh]

Devine: Anders!

Holm: Nope, it needs to be said.

Devine: Okay this is where he's drawing the line. Well you heard it here first, an exclusive.

Holm: All I need everyday is a sandwich and they kept taking my sandwich.

Anderson: Sorry, dude!

Devine: Sorry, man.

Anderson: But in seriousness, YES I would like to another one with them. They are my best friends and I like to make movies with them.

Holm: Oh my gosh! Will you touch him for me?

GT: You kind of tease a sequel at the end, is it a joke, or is it something you guys are really thinking about?

Holm: We want it to be real, we're like 'hey, man...'

Devine: Yeah, we're trying to will it into existence

Holm: I'll say this, we re-shot the last scene. The scene that was there before was a lot more of a downer, a little bit more of a 'well we're back to our regular lives now' and we all we tested the movie and people are kind of disappointed, they wanted us to like take it to the next level. So we re-shot the last scene and Netflix was like 'Alright we want to see what this is all about' and we said, you know we wrote it in there and we teed up a sequel, and they were like 'OK!' So?

Devine: Could be cool! So yeah, we want to make a sequel and you know we're best friends, we love making movies together so we're going to see how long we can stay on this ride!"

Per Variety, "[t]hirty-four years have passed, but the rivalry between Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence remains in the trailer for YouTube Red series Cobra Kai.

"The streaming platform released the trailer for the upcoming Karate Kid spinoff, where Ralph Macchio and William Zabka will reprise their roles as adversaries.

"The clip opens with a scene from the final Karate Kid battle, when Macchio’s Daniel LaRusso defeats Zabka’s Johnny Lawrence before flashing forward to present day. While Daniel is thriving with his own car dealership, Johnny appears to be struggling until he witnesses a teenager being bullied by a group of students.

"Johnny defends the helpless teenager and decides to reopen karate dojo Cobra Kai. He then becomes the teenager’s sensei, but Daniel isn’t on board. 'He thinks he can bring Cobra Kai back to the valley. Not on my watch,' Daniel says.

"The preview ends with Daniel seemingly preparing for a fight and telling Johnny they aren’t done.

"The series is written and executively produced by Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg. It is produced by Overbrook Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Television.

The show debuts at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 24 before premiering on YouTube Red on May 2." Watch the trailer above.

Looks like a YouTube Red subscription in my not to far distant future.  Sigh.

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"Within the Fargo universe, there is a book: The History of True Crime in the Mid West, containing tales of crimes both major and minor, across a wide breadth of American history. When the book opens its pages once again, the next chapter will fall firmly into the past.

"Speaking with The Hollywood ReporterFargo creator Noah Hawley opened up about his vision for the fourth season of the FX crime series, expected to arrive in 2019 (though it hasn't officially been renewed yet). As with the second season of Fargo, which owes its origins to the 1996 Coen Brothers movie of the same name, Hawley plans to tell a story set in the past.

"'I now have an idea that's less in the corner of my eye and more in front of me,' says Hawley. 'I don't have a lot of time right now to focus on it. What I can say is that it will be another period piece.'

"Thus far, each season of Fargo has focused on new sets of characters in different periods of time. Seasons one and three covered contemporary settings, with some characters crossing over between the two. The second season of Fargo was set in the late 1970s, partly following the story of a younger version of police officer Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson), played in season one by Keith Carradine. For the fourth season, Hawley plans on once again digging deeper into the Midwest region's history.

"'More and more as I think about telling stories in this vein and what the original film is about, these are really American stories and stories about the American landscape, and the things that people do for money,' he says. 'I feel like I have a very interesting and exciting direction to go in. I'm trying to find the time to get it down on paper.'

"With its playful narrative structure, few moments in time are off-limits in the world of Fargo. (Indeed, few moments in space are off-limits as well, as the alien-tinged second season made abundantly clear.) Having already told a story set in the late '70s, how far back in time does Hawley wish to travel? Could a full season of Fargo take place as early as the 1700s or 1800s, for instance?

"'I think it could, as long as there's something unique to say about it,' says Hawley. 'On some level, there's a good joke in the idea that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I don't know if there's 10 episodes in that or not! But if you look at the history of the region and the waves of migration and people coming in, and the things people do for money … there's something interesting to making a period version of it.'

"Hawley feels confident in the idea thanks in large part to the story he told in the second season, involving two small-town locals who become embroiled in a mob war. 'You have that distance and you really understand the time period and what the story was,' he says about the advantages baked into Fargo as a period piece, 'whether it was the end of the '70s and [the Ronald Reagan presidency] was right around the corner, but nobody could see it yet, and what that meant and both the comedy and drama of hindsight.'

"'I'm always interested in trying to expand the definition [of the series],' he continues. 'Fargo can be this, but can it also be this? The only reason to make another one is if you're going to do something different. We've made 30 hours of the show so far, and the last thing I ever want is for someone to say, "You know, it's Fargo. They do their Fargo thing, and it's funny." If you have this tone of voice and this ability to channel this Coen brothers' sensibility, you just don't want to repeat yourself, because they never do.'

"Though a fourth season of Fargo isn't expected until 2019, Hawley has another series returning to FX very soon: Legion, which is set to premiere its second season April 3. He also has plans to develop the Kurt Vonnegut novel Cat's Cradle as a TV series on FX, where Hawley has an overall deal. Even in the light of Disney's proposed acquisition of Fox (which would include FX and is awaiting regulatory approval), Hawley says he's as confident in and committed to his relationship with FX as ever.

"'That being said, I'm sure it's important for the network's value to be as clear as possible, and that the shows they put on and the talent they work with is locked in and reliable,' Hawley continues. 'I certainly have had nothing but a great experience with the network. I'm committed to making shows there for a long time, if I want to make more Legion and more Fargo and Cat's Cradle. I'm very optimistic. It's going to continue being business as usual.'"

Per EW, "[t]he biggest mystery surrounding apartments on Friends was just how the heck they afforded them (the girls’ is a huge, West Village spot and Monica is often unemployed, while Rachel serves coffee for the first few seasons), but one question finally being answered is why the pad was purple.

"Talking to Great Big Story, the show’s set designer John Shaffner explained on why he opted for that bold shade of lilac for the walls in Monica and Rachel’s (later Monica and Chandler’s) place. 'Color is really important in establishing the show identity,' he explains, admitting that no one else was initially on board with the color. 'When you switch to Friends, you see that it is purple and you stay tuned.'

"Considering the comedy’s longevity and popularity to this day, it seems to have done the job.

"Another enigma Shaffner helped clear up? That reason behind that random door to nowhere by the window. 'One of the responsibilities of a production designer is to look into the future. If you can, anyway,' says Shaffner, although he admits he didn’t know that Monica would turn out to be a secret hoarder. 'We put a door all the way up this hallway and we really didn’t say where it went to. I said, "Why don’t we just wait and see where the story is taken?"'"

Watch the video above.

Per Yahoo!, "Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why is a series that not only tackles tough issues, but it also has an impact on how its viewers — especially teens viewers and their parents — discuss them.

"[Yester]day, Netflix shared the results of a study it commissioned with Northwestern University’s Center on Media and Human Development to quantify the influence of the first season of the series, which explores the reasons why teen Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) commits suicide, had on its viewers.

"What the study reveals is striking — and encouraging. Here are some of the key findings, as listed in the announcement:

-Nearly three-quarters of teen and young adult viewers reported that they tried to be more considerate about how they treated others after watching the show.

-More than half of teen viewers reached out to apologize to someone for how they had treated them; and more than two-thirds were more motivated to help someone who was depressed, bullied or sexually assaulted.

-Nearly three-quarters of teen and young adult viewers said the show made them feel more comfortable processing tough topics.

-More than two-thirds of parents reported that watching the show prompted them to communicate with their children about difficult topics; 71% of teens and young adults we inspired to discuss the show and related issues with their parents.

“'From the beginning, because the series broaches uncomfortable topics, we believed it had the potential to be a powerful agent for change,' Netflix VP of Original Series Brian Wright says in a company blog post. 'Soon after the season 1 launch, we saw global conversation explode on the controversial topics covered by the series and understood we had a responsibility to support these important discussions.'

"The full results of the study — which surveyed 5,400 adolescents, young adults, and parents of adolescents from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil between November 2017 and January 2018 — can be explored here. Netflix has added informational resources for processing difficult or controversial issues, such as suicide, depression, sexual assault, and substance abuse, and includes a viewing guide, at 13reasonswhy.info.

"A special video featuring the cast urging viewers to heed the sensitive nature of the show has also been released and can be viewed above.

"13 Reasons Why premiered last year, and even though it is largely critically acclaimed (and earned star Langford a Golden Globe nomination), its focus on mature topics has drawn controversy, including concern and criticism from parents and mental health professionals for its graphic matter. 

"Participating in Yahoo Entertainment’s ongoing Why Teen TV Matters series13 Reasons Why showrunner Brian Yorkey recently shared his hope for the future of the genre: 'I would love to see more shows that speak honestly and personally and unflinchingly to some of the difficult things teens face on a daily basis, and not in a way necessarily that seeks to educate adults, but in a way that seeks to honor the experience of teenagers and to let them know that — as much as they may be feeling they’re the only kid going through — they’re really not alone.'"