Thursday March 8, 2018

ABC has renewed The Good Doctor for a 2nd season.

Why mix up the tribes on episode 2?  C'mon Probst.

Netflix dropped a trailer for season 2 of Santa Clarita Diet, which will be available to stream on March 23.

Season 2 of Jessica Jones is now available on Netflix for your viewing pleasure.

Top Chef crowns another winner tonight.

"In Sharon Levy’s first major executive move since she joined Endemol Shine North America as President, Unscripted and Scripted Television, she has hired 3 Ball’s DJ Nurre, a veteran showrunner and development executive, as EVP, Unscripted Original Series."  Congrats DJ!

Girls alum Alex Karpovsky has signed on as a series regular opposite Julia Roberts, Bobby Cannavale and Stephan James in Homecoming, the half-hour drama from Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail, which has a two-season straight-to-series order at Amazon.

"Lucasfilm is excited to announce that Emmy-nominated producer and actor Jon Favreau has signed on to executive produce and write a live-action Star Wars series for Disney’s new direct-to-consumer platform. Favreau is no stranger to the Star Wars galaxy having played roles in both the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series and in the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story. . . . Disney’s collaborations with Favreau extend back a decade, when he helped launch the Marvel Cinematic Universe as director of Iron Man and Iron Man 2 and as an executive producer of the Iron Man and Avengers films for Marvel Studios. For Disney, he directed and produced the massively successful The Jungle Book, which won an Academy Award for its groundbreaking visual effects. He is currently in production on Disney’s highly anticipated reimagining of The Lion King, set for release in 2019. The untitled Star Wars live-action series does not yet have a release date."

"Cartoon Network announced a slate of new shows:

Apple & Onion – Apple and Onion, the eponymous characters of Cartoon Network’s newest buddy comedy created by George Gendi, made their debut in a limited run last month. The show stems from Cartoon Network’s global Artists Program and introduces best friends Apple and Onion who have decided to leave their hometowns to experience big city living. New episodes air back-to-back every Friday through the end of March.

Craig of the Creek – Co-created by three-time Emmy-nominated Steven Universe writers Matt Burnett and Ben Levin, Craig of the Creek follows the precocious Craig as he leads his best friends J.P. and Kelsey on comical journeys at their neighborhood creek, transforming everyday afternoons into thrilling expeditions through imaginative play. An episode is available on the CN App and VOD now, with new episodes debuting on linear on Friday, March 30.

Infinity Train – With a groundswell of fan support of the original short created through the Artist Program, this mystery adventure created by Owen Dennis follows a precocious young girl named Tulip who finds herself on a train full of infinite worlds and tries to find her way home. Infinity Train will debut in 2019.

Summer Camp Island – Based on an original Cartoon Network short created by Julia Pott, Summer Camp Island will unfold the mysteries that Oscar and his best friend Hedgehog encounter at a magical summer camp. Having completed a festival run that included Sundance, the series will premiere this summer.

Victor and Valentino –  Created by Diego Molano, this supernatural adventure comedy follows two half-brothers who spend a summer with their grandma in Monte Macabre, a small and mysterious town, where the myths and legends of Latin American folklore come to life. Victor and Valentino can be seen later this year."

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"TruTV has renewed long-running comedy series Impractical Jokersfor an eight season, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The network also has commissioned a feature-length film, the latest extension for the franchise, to be directed by Chris Henchy and produced by Funny or Die.

"The show has been a consistent performer for truTV, averaging 1.7 million viewers, with 1.2 million of them in the 18-49 demographic.

"The 26-episode eight season will extend the series on truTV through 2019 and beyond, 200 episodes in all. (The show already runs in syndication.)

"The film — truTV’s first-ever feature-length film — will star the Impractical crew: James 'Murr' Murray, Brian 'Q' Quinn, Joe Gatto and Sal Vulcano, also known as the Tenderloins. Set to go into production this spring, it’s produced by Gatto, Murray, Quinn, Vulcano, Henchy and Funny or Die’s Jim Ziegler. Executive producers include Marissa Ronca on behalf of truTV, Jack Rovner and Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell. 

"It’s the latest extension for the franchise. There is already an Impractical Jokers cruise — the third one is scheduled for early 2019 — and an exhibit at the Staten Island Museum opening this summer.

“'The Jokers’ authentic friendship and genuine relatability has endeared them to millions of fans around the world, creating one of the most original brands in all of television,' Chris Linn, president of truTV, said in a statement. 'We’re incredibly proud of the partnership we’ve developed with the guys throughout the years, and the growing, multiplatform success of the Impractical Jokers brand.'

"Added the Tenderloins: 'We’re as surprised as anyone that four dudes from Staten Island have been allowed to make a TV show for as long as we have, so the idea of making this movie is absolutely mind-blowing.'"

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NBC premieres Champions tonight.  "Created by Charlie Grandy (The Office, The Mindy Project) and Mindy Kaling (The Office, The Mindy Project), Champions is a half-hour, single-camera comedy that centers on Vince (Anders Holm, The Mindy Project, Workaholics), a washed-up high school baseball star who reluctantly gave up his dreams to take over the family gym in Brooklyn.

"Vince lives with his sweet, naive younger brother, Matthew (Andy Favreau, Aquarius, The Mick), and is on the verge of secretly selling the gym and moving to Florida when his high school fling, Priya (recurring guest star Kaling), unexpectedly drops off their 15-year-old son, Michael (J.J. Totah, Other People, Spider-Man: Homecoming), on his doorstep.

"After raising Michael by herself for 15 years, Priya decided to move her talented and ambitious theater-kid son away from his sheltered life in Cleveland so he could attend a prestigious performing arts school in New York. While she loves her son deeply, she’s delighted at the chance to let Vince and Matthew do the parenting while Michael pursues his dreams. In addition to adjusting to his new home life in the Big Apple, Michael is now a small fish in a big pond and has a lot to overcome before he can make friends and win the EGOT that is his destiny.

"Rigid and old-school, Vince has virtually nothing in common with his son, and in addition to balancing unruly employees and his sensitive brother’s smothering love, he must now learn to become a dad. Meanwhile, Matthew has always longed for a more complete home life, so when Michael shows up, it fills the nephew-sized hole in his heart and frees him to become the homemaker he was always meant to be.

Champions is executive produced by Grandy, Kaling, Matt Warburton, Howard Klein and Michael Spiller, who also directs. “Champions” is produced by Universal Television, 3 Arts Entertainment, Charlie Grandy Productions, Inc. and Kaling International."

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From Uproxx: "[t]he lengthy 'Previously, on Sneaky Pete' montage that begins the Amazon drama’s second season kicks off, as one might expect, with a reminder of its premise: con man Marius (Giovanni Ribisi) gets out of prison and assumes the identity of ex-cellmate Pete (Ethan Embry), laying low with the extended family the real Pete hasn’t seen since he was a kid. After that, though, the montage skips over season one’s main arc — Marius running an elaborate hustle on the gangster who put him in prison, played by the show’s co-creator, Bryan Cranston — in favor of a bunch of story points I’d utterly forgotten in the year-plus the show’s been absent, mostly bits of business involving the trouble Pete’s family got into through no fault of Marius.

"This makes sense as season two (which debuts Friday) unfolds, since Cranston has gone back to his 15 other projects (though he remains an executive producer, the show is still run by Graham Yost and a bunch of his team from Justified), and the new episodes are even more committed to Pete’s family than the first season was. Not only do the various subplots about grandma Audrey (Margo Martindale), grandpa Otto (Peter Gerety), and cousins Julia (Marin Ireland), Taylor (Shane McRae), and Carly (Libe Barer) continue, but the new arc involves Marius’ assumed identity bringing him trouble from the crooks the real Pete allegedly robbed before he and Marius became cellmates.

"It is, once again, a hydra story, as Marius and his fake family keep chopping the heads off of one problem, only to find two new ones cropping up in its place. Half the current dramas on cable and streaming operate along a similar principle, but Sneaky Pete season one distinguished itself from so many of the others with a bunch of smart casting and writing choices. Yost and company filled every role they could with the most overqualified actor available — none more than Cranston himself, playing a big bad in someone else’s show in order to salvage the series after CBS passed on it a few years back — which quickly fleshed out a lot of plot functionary roles into something more colorful. The writers also let most of the characters be smart enough to stay two steps ahead of the plot, where many similar One Goddamn Thing After Another shows keep the story going by making their characters too dumb to predict what the audience can easily see coming. And the sting that Marius and his crew ran on Cranston’s Vince was twisty and fun in exactly the way a story about a con man requires.

"Season two, unfortunately, falls behind the first in all those areas. Cranston’s gone, and the new archvillain is Luka Delchev, a vicious Montenegrin crook played, eventually, by John Ales (Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll), who is good but is, unsurprisingly, not Bryan Cranston. In the early going, his interests are represented by a pair of goons who run a business solving mysteries for bad guys who understandably can’t go to the cops, played by Desmond Harrington (Quinn from Dexter) and Joseph Lyle Taylor (who was Martindale’s eldest son on Justified). They’re also fine, but don’t add quite the same spark to the material that several of last year’s recurring players like Michael O’Keefe and Virginia Kull added. A few fun season one faces return here and there, notably Alison Wright as Marius’ ever-reliable, ever-exasperated partner Marjorie, but the only newcomer to match them is Jane Adams as Pete’s mother Maggie, who is either a psychic, a con artist herself, or both. Adams’ familiar nervous energy makes an outstanding oil-and-water combination with what Ribisi is doing as the perpetually cool and calculating Marius, and scenes where the two of them have to pretend to be mother and son are often the highlights of season two.

"But the gamesmanship between Marius and Luka’s people isn’t as bouncy as what we got last time, even if a lot of the individual cons are a pleasure to watch unfold. Much more frustrating, though, are all the non-Marius parts, and boy are there a lot of them. The season essentially turns into two separate shows that occasionally intersect: the con man drama about Marius, and the escalating series of calamities confronting Audrey and the rest of the family — which are themselves largely separate from one another. And despite a lot of strong performers on that side, Sneaky Pete grinds to a halt whenever the action shifts away from Marius and to, say, Otto and his buddy Sam (Jay O. Sanders) trying to find and move a dead hitman’s car (a challenge to which the season devotes a shocking amount of time), or Taylor working to conceal an affair with the wife of the family’s biggest rival in the local bail bonds trade, or Julia learning how to launder money for the local meth kingpin to forgive a debt. On the brief occasions when one of them overlaps with what Marius is up to, the supporting players spring to life — Ireland is so good at the con artist stuff whenever Julia’s asked to pitch in and help her 'cousi'n' out of a jam, it’s a shame she wasn’t cast in that half of the show to begin with — but then everything goes back to a series of MacGuffins, where each problem exists only to set up the next one, and the next one, and the next one, none of it mattering except to keep the increasingly hollow story moving forward.

"When Otto’s confronted about why he hired the dead hitman to try to kill him in the first place, he shrugs and — in a line that sums up a lot of the decision making in the season — says, 'It seemed like a good idea at the time.'

"The two halves of the show mostly merge by the end, and there are some choice scenes in the middle when Maggie first returns to the homestead — it’s one of the few times all season when the great Martindale doesn’t seem underused — but the family stories are so extraneous, it feels like the series would have been better off abandoning its premise and just following Marius to a new place where he could run a different con, using Pete’s name or not.

"That Yost and company were able to make the first season as much fun as it was was itself something of a miracle, given that they were revamping the show on the fly from a version CBS didn’t want, with the same cast, but structured more as a bounty hunter procedural where Julia taught Marius the family business. (If you know this backstory, it’s funny that a key plot point at the start of the season spins out of the pilot’s bounty hunter plot, which David Shore wrote before moving on to The Good Doctor.) Had Yost been creating a show from scratch, he might not have made the family such a key piece of the foundation, nor set up some of the other plots from that transitional phase early in season one that are somehow still going in this version of what the series has mostly become. He and his team are inventive enough to make some of this work despite itself — Bridgeport, CT turns out to have a Chasidic Jewish car theft ring, for instance — but the season is much more of a chore to get through, which Sneaky Pete very much wasn’t a year ago.

"As Maggie puts it while considering what it must be like to be Marius, adjusting himself to the temperature of each room and changing his identity and plans accordingly, 'Must be exhausting.' A lot of this season is exactly that."

I'm still 100% all in.

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Per The Ringer, "American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson was an impossible act to follow. The Emmy-winning event series found a singular subject in the O.J. Simpson trial, in many ways the flash point of modern celebrity. The series also ran in the run-up to the 2016 election, when age-old American rifts from cultural misogyny to media sensationalism were once again under a harsh national spotlight. But like many of Ryan Murphy’s critically acclaimed shows, American Crime Story was announced as an anthology series—and with the successful first season of an anthology comes a promise the more traditional miniseries never has to make good on: a worthy follow-up.

"After the planned second season—on Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath—hit some production snags, a very different story kicked off in January. American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace had all the makings of a semi-sequel that would fit comfortably within the mood of O.J. (At the very least, the Italian fashion designer’s shocking death seemed to fit much more comfortably in Murphy’s wheelhouse than storm-stricken New Orleans.) Like O.J., Assassination focused on a high-profile case from the ’90s, recent enough to survive in the collective consciousness but long enough ago for a fictionalized account to add a new perspective. Like O.J., Assassination delved into the experience of an identity group marginalized by the American mainstream. And like O.J., Assassination saw Murphy hand over writing and the majority of directing duties to collaborators, allowing him to concentrate on his primary talents of casting and big-picture curating.

"Yet the interpretation writer Tom Rob Smith delivered represents a stark departure from the bedrock principles of Murphy’s blockbuster appeal. Versace is straight-faced where Murphy’s house style is smirking, sorrowful where his oeuvre leans dramedic. Watching one disturbed individual’s vanity, entitlement, and megalomania claim life after life makes for an excruciating marathon of violence and pain, rarely leavened by the campy humor that runs throughout Murphy’s other work. For those who tuned in expecting even a typical Murphy production, not another career peak, Versace’s tone required a learning curve too steep for many to climb.

"Predictably, the numbers have borne out the disparity between O.J.’s addictive spiral — and Glee’s ironic sniping, and American Horror Story’s diva-centric gore — and Versace’s mournful dirge. Versace debuted to 5.5 million viewers, fewer than half of O.J.’s extraordinary 12 million. That drop-off is partly explained by the more obscure nature of Versace’s subject; most casual onlookers, like Smith himself before he began his research, are probably unaware that Versace’s death was the culmination of a string of killings, not an isolated event. (And compared with O.J. Simpson, what isn’t obscure?) But Versace’s viewership has continued to trend downward as the season goes on, with the live audience sometimes dipping under 1 million. American Crime Story’s second installment has also lagged behind in the more nebulous, though still palpable, arena of cultural relevance. Initial critical reception was admiring, though not rapturous; in the following weeks, the conversation around the show has remained within the confines of fact-checking recaps.

"Heading into the final stretch of both Versace and Murphy’s decade-plus residency at FX, it’s time to explicitly acknowledge the subtext of Versace’s relatively muted response. The Assassination of Gianni Versace is not the new The People v. O.J. Simpson; given its challenging form, lesser-known inspiration, and the sky-high expectations set by its predecessor, it’s unlikely it was ever going to be. Besides, Versace’s popular shortcomings are inextricable from its creative risks. By crafting a true-crime story to evade many of the genre’s ethical pitfalls, Murphy and Smith have delivered a season of television that stands apart from the recent wave of ripped-from-the-headlines adaptations—and largely unable to capitalize on it.

"The first and most significant roadblock for viewers excited to learn more about The Assassination of Gianni Versace was that the season’s title turned out to be something of a misnomer. Assassination is as much about the other four victims of 27-year-old spree killer Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss) as it is about Versace (Edgar Ramirez), whose shooting on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion occurs in Assassination’s first scene. The plot then winds, reverse-chronologically, through the violent unraveling of Cunanan’s life, with Versace sparingly deployed as contrast rather than subject. But Cunanan isn’t truly Assassination’s subject, either: a triptych of midseason chapters—A Random Killing, House by the Lake, and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell—functioned more like stand-alone biopics of Cunanan’s less famous casualties than part of a larger narrative about the murderer himself.

"Under Versace’s dreamlike, counterintuitive logic, the more screen time a character gets, the less the audience is allowed into their inner lives. In fewer than 50 minutes, Judith Light is able to shape grieving widow Marilyn Miglin into a self-made woman as vulnerable as she is ferocious; Smith’s script for her spotlight episode, Versace’s third, paints a complete portrait of Marilyn’s complicated, loving partnership with her closeted husband, Lee (Mike Farrell). The same holds for Jeff Trail (Finn Wittrock), whose contradictory identities—to the United States military, if not Jeff himself—as a soldier and a gay man are negotiated and renegotiated within a single hour. David Madson (Cody Fern) gets a spotlight that visibly works to ensure he’s not just remembered, but remembered as more than a footnote to Cunanan’s story, or even Versace’s. Each victim is quickly and convincingly developed into a complete person with hang-ups to work through and attributes to mourn.

"Versace himself, meanwhile, is idealized to the point of abstraction. One of the first images Versace presents of its namesake is his corpse sprawled, Pietà -like, across the lap of his longtime partner, Antonio D’Amico. The religious parallels hardly stop there. Versace died, Smith posits, for the sins of a homophobic culture that was unable to fully accept an openly gay creative genius. The designer is a martyr, but martyrdom can be antithetical to full humanity.

"No one on Versace comes across as more of an enigma, however, than the titular assassin. Such are the hazards of depicting a pathological liar, given to acts of fabulism so extreme they almost dare Cunanan’s audience to call his bluff. And dubious though it would have been, Cunanan never lived to tell his side of the story; eight days after Versace’s murder, the fugitive killed himself on a Miami houseboat, leaving his precise motivations and rationale a mystery.

"Smith adds to these inherent challenges by intentionally obscuring Cunanan’s background—and along with it, any temptation to excuse Cunanan’s behavior or dilute his responsibility. A common criticism of true crime is how vulnerable its storytellers are to the seductive intrigue of the criminal. Villains are almost always more interesting than heroes, a truism that becomes fraught when the characters inhabiting those roles are based on actual people. Serial’s Sarah Koenig and The Jinx’s Andrew Jarecki both had an obvious and uncomfortable rapport with their subjects; I, Tonya all but erased the woman whose assault the movie supposedly litigated. The Assassination of Gianni Versace takes no such risk. Andrew, not Jeff Trail, is relegated to the margins. Andrew, not David Madson, is kept at arm’s length. Cunanan is no anti-hero; he’s borderline inhuman.

"Unfortunately, breaking the link between main character and protagonist creates as many problems as it solves. Conceptually subversive as they might be, when consumed in real time, Versace’s structural choices make for a confounding and even alienating viewing experience with a vacuum at its center. There’s a reason so many shows give in to the temptation of valorizing their monsters: It’s hard to get an audience on board with spending hours on hours, week after week with a person who has no redeeming qualities, however fascinating their pathology or sympathetic their supporting cast.

"Coming from a franchise, and a creator, that promises all the sex and violence of tabloid fare sans network censors, Versace is almost shockingly cerebral. The themes are heady and high-minded—the damage wrought by homophobia on and within the gay men community; how the closet can manifest as ignorance as well as oppression—with a meditative rollout to match. In the binge-watching era, such a protracted, patient rollout can prove fatal; I’m not sure I myself would have stuck with Versace long enough to reap its rewards if FX hadn’t made the majority of the season available to critics in advance.

"Many true-crime stories start with a well-known event and purport to uncover some new angle. Versace is working with events much of its demographic isn’t aware happened in the first place, assuming the mantle of educating as well as storytelling. In bringing the Cunanan victims into focus at Cunanan’s own expense, Smith and Murphy have made a trade-off between moral clarity and entertainment value. I’ve found their gamble has paid off, even if the swap isn’t one every viewer has been willing to make. Taking on a sociopath’s point of view may put a series in a compromised position as an adaptation of true events. It may also be essential for a show to succeed as entertainment."

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Man this guy is a loser. "Something tells us Bekah Martinez will not be receiving an invite to the wedding.

"Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Lauren Burnham sat down with E! News the day after their proposal onThe Bachelor's live After the Final Rose special, and they addressed Bekah's decision to post the direct messages Arie had sent her in early February on Instagram. 

"In case you missed it, the 23-year-old nanny posted screen shots of the messages on Monday night after Arie's breakup with Becca Kufrin aired, writing alongside the images, 'DM'ing your ex is a good look too @ariejr.'

"And Arie clearly feels felt posting your ex's private messages on social media wasn't a good look, exclusively telling us, "I think it just shows her immaturity. I think that's the takeaway from it. I could add to that, but I'll just keep that to myself." 

"Well then!

"As for how Lauren felt about Bekah posting the private messages, she said, 'I thought it was a little uncalled for, but I'm not surprised by it.'

"As for the DMs Bekah posted, one was Arie messaging her on Feb. 2 (after the show) about a picture showing Bekah's face on a milk carton in reference to her missing persons list mix-up. The second one, sent on Feb. 3, was in reference to Bekah's age, saying, 'just realized you were born the same year as my first 2-on-1.'

"Bekah also tweeted how she felt about Arie's decision to have his break-up with Becca filmed, writing, 'hahahahahaha @ariejr is the biggest f--king tool I've ever seen. Becca is a queen. A goddess. Thank the LORD he's out of her life.'

"And during Tuesday's special, ahead of Arie's proposal, Bekah said she hoped their relationship didn't last, bluntly telling Chris Harrison, 'I hope that Lauren gets out of it as soon as possible, I do.'"