Tuesday May 8, 2018

Here's your Arrested Development season 5 trailer. More below.

Fox has renewed The Resident for a 2nd season.  I really enjoy this show. "The Resident, which had an NFL-boosted launch on Sundays, has been an OK performer in its Monday 9 PM slot behind Lucifer, improving the time period by 31% in Adults 18-49 vs. last season. It is Fox’s third-most-watched series behind 9-1-1 and Empire with an average of 7.5 million viewers."

TBS has renewed Final Space for a 2nd season.

NBC has renewed Good Girls.  I couldn't get through episode 1.

Here is an updated list of new network shows for the 2018-19 season.

Ali Wong has signed on to voice one of the lead characters in new animated Netflix series Tuca & Bertie.

Really enjoying Glenn Fleshler's dual role on Sunday nights as Bobby Axelrod's lawyer on Billions and Goran Pazar on Barry.

Emily Nussbaum has penned a very lengthy piece about Ryan Murphy in The New Yorker.   "Murphy’s choices, perhaps more than those of any other showrunner, have upended the pieties of modern television. Like a wild guest at a dinner party, he’d lifted the table and slammed it back down, leaving the dishes broken or arranged in a new order. Several of Murphy’s shows have been critically divisive (and, on occasion, panned in ways that have raised his hackles). But he has produced an unusually long string of commercial and critical hits: audacious, funny-peculiar, joyfully destabilizing series, in nearly every genre. His run started with the satirical melodrama Nip/Tuck (2003), then continued with the global phenomenon Glee (2009) and with “American Horror Story,” now entering its eighth year, which launched the influential season-long anthology format. His legacy is not one standout show but, rather, the sheer force and variety and chutzpah of his creations, which are linked by a singular storytelling aesthetic: stylized extremity and rude humor, shock conjoined with sincerity, and serious themes wrapped in circus-bright packaging. He is the only television creator who could possibly have presented Lily Rabe as a Satan-possessed nun, gyrating in a red negligee in front of a crucifix while singing You Don’t Own Me, and have it come across as an indelible critique of the Catholic Church’s misogyny. When Murphy entered the industry, he sometimes struck his peers as an aloof, prickly figure; he has deep wounds from those years, although he admits that he contributed to this reputation. Nonetheless, Murphy has moved steadily from the margins to television’s center. He changed; the industry changed; he changed the industry. In February, Murphy rose even higher, signing the largest deal in television history: a three-hundred-million-dollar, five-year contract with Netflix. For Murphy, it was a moment of both triumph and tension. You can’t be the underdog when you’re the most powerful man in TV."

Tonight's episode of Rosanne is titled Go Cubs!  You had me at hello.

I'm fading fast on Alex, Inc.

In case you still haven't seen Donald Glover a.k.a Childish Gambino's new video This Is America, here ya go.

And here's more deserved praise for Glover.

"The R. Kelly scandal is getting the Lifetime treatment. The network has ordered a new documentary series as well as a feature-length movie aiming to tell the stories of women who have fallen under the toxic spell of the controversial R&B singer, whose alleged abuse of underage black women was detailed in a blockbuster exposé in BuzzFeed last year by music journalist Jim DeRogatis. The projects are part of Lifetime’s Stop Violence Against Women campaign, which consists of programs that bring awareness to abusive behaviors. In both projects, women are emerging from the shadows and uniting their voices to share their stories. Dream Hampton, a cultural critic, filmmaker and activist, will executive produce the series, while Emmy Award winner Ilene Kahn Power (Gia, Who Killed Clark Rockefeller) will serve as an exec producer on the movie. Barbara Marshall will write the film script. The untitled doc series will investigate R. Kelly, celebrated as one of the greatest R&B singers of all time until his genre-defining career and playboy lifestyle became riddled with rumors of abuse, predatory behavior and pedophilia. For the first time ever, survivors and people from R. Kelly’s inner circle are coming forward with new allegations about his sexual, mental and physical abuse. "

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Per Deadline, "[i]n a competitive situation, Paul Lee’s recently launched independent studio wiip has acquired the rights to Gimlet Media’s new scripted podcast, Sandra, to develop for premium television. Gimlet Pictures (Homecoming), the TV and film production arm of Gimlet, will produce the series, its first project under the banner launched earlier this year.

"The seven-episode podcast, which launched all episodes Wednesday, April 18, is set five minutes in the future and follows Helen Perez, a new hire at Orbital Industries, the company behind Sandra, the world’s most intuitive virtual assistant. As one of thousands of Sandra operators, Helen spends her days peeking into the world of Sandra users and helping them navigate their questions and demands. One problem: the users don’t know she’s real. Along the way, Helen’s own world becomes more difficult to navigate, too, as she struggles to manage a divorce while keeping her boss Dustin happy. Oh, and she also may be in a bit of an increasingly unprofessional situation in her interactions with Tad, a heartbroken Sandra super-user. Kristen Wiig voices Sandra in the podcast, along with Ethan Hawke, who voices Dustin and Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat, who voices Helen.

“'wiip is committed to supporting bold, creative content,' said Lee. 'Sandra is the latest example that Gimlet Pictures has mastered the art of storytelling, and we’re excited to partner with them to bring Sandra’s compelling and complex world to life on screen.'

"Gimlet Pictures’ Eli Horowitz and Giliberti will serve as Executive Producers on the series.

“'On the heels of launching Gimlet Pictures this year, we’re excited to set our first project under the banner,' said Chris Giliberti, Head of Gimlet Pictures. 'We couldn’t be more thrilled to take this step forward with Paul Lee and the wonderful wiip team.'”

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Per The Ringer, "[t]he question that drives the first season of Barry is: Are you what you do, or are you what you want to do? The HBO half-hour from Bill Hader and Alec Berg stars Hader as a depressed Marine-turned-hitman who finds himself drawn to a San Fernando Valley acting class as a potential route for redemption. Most of the comedy on Barry comes from its contrasts: between Barry’s meek, mumbling personality and the brutality of his work; between cheery, guileless mobsters like Noho Hank (Anthony Carrigan) and their criminal enterprise; between self-involved actors and the life-or-death stakes they’re completely oblivious to. Most of the drama, however, comes fromBarry’s genuine desire to leave his life as a gun for hire behind, and his maybe not-so-genuine conviction that he’s a good person forced to do some bad-but-not-too-bad things.

"Sunday’s Loud, Fast, and Keep Going, the seventh and penultimate episode of Barry’s first season, marks the spot where that delusion is finally pushed past its breaking point and both halves of Barry’s double life come to a head. In the cliffhanger that ended last week’s episode, musclebound wild card Taylor (Dale Pavinski) gung-hoed his way into a bloody confrontation with the Bolivian mafia, dragging both Barry and innocent bystander Chris (Chris Marquette) with him. Barry, ever the good soldier, was left to clean up the aftermath. Unbeknownst to his employers, he was also signed up to participate in a Shakespeare showcase that brought an end to his time with self-styled acting guru Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler). As a hitman, Barry’s natural instinct is to repress his emotions, internalizing everything that gets in the way of doing what he has to do. Acting, of course, calls for the opposite, demanding that Barry channel his emotions at the moment he can least afford to be in touch with them. The center that binds Barry’s sense of self together can no longer hold.

"Barry has long justified his profession by telling himself that, while all the killing is 'destroying him,' as Hader told my colleague Andrew Gruttadaro, the people he’s taking out kind of deserve it. 'They’re, like, pieces of shit,' he reassures Gene in the pilot, even as he worries he’ll never be anything more than an exterminator. For the most part, to both Barry’s and the viewer’s relief, he’s been right. It’s not hard to sympathize with a murderous protagonist when the people he’s murdering are mostly drug dealers and anonymous gunmen. There have been moments, like a Bolivian assuring Barry mid-hit that 'you don’t have to do this,' that remind us that the lives Barry’s taking, however compromised, are still lives. But there’s nothing that shatters the fragile scaffolding propping up Barry’s conscience, or that tests the bond between antihero and audience, like what Barry’s called on to do in Loud, Fast, and Keep Going.

"While Taylor and his military buddy Vaughan (Marcus Brown) are immediately killed by Bolivian gunfire, Barry and Chris escape into the desert. A footsoldier discovers Barry—thanks to a text message from his scene partner and crush Sally (Sarah Goldberg), a testament to the devastating consequences of not leaving your phone on silent at all times—and Barry orders a shell-shocked Chris to shoot the Bolivian before he can radio his boss. Chris obeys, but pulling the trigger visibly shatters him. He tells Barry that he needs to come clean about his actions, an unthinking confession that instantly becomes his death sentence. Barry walks away with his hands in his pockets—his signature pose—and calls an Uber to the Shakespeare show. There, he channels all the guilt and trauma of what he’s just done into his single line, addressed to Sally’s Macbeth: 'My lord, the queen is dead.' He’s in tears when he says it.

“'That was acting, Barry,' Sally gushes after the show. (He’s made her look good in front of a medium-shot agent.) She’s unaware of Barry’s irony, and his tragedy: He’s able to act only when he’s not acting at all. Barry isn’t tapping into some hidden reserve of empathy to look so authentically devastated. He’s imagining Chris’s wife and 10-year-old son getting the call about his death, which Barry staged to pass as a troubled veteran’s suicide, like the expert he is.

"Chris is not a psychopath, like Taylor, or an inept gang member, like the Chechens that Barry wipes out in the premiere. He’s just an ex-soldier who thought he was going to have a fun time with his friends. 'I was never in the shit,' he sobs to Barry—he was just in logistics. This was his first time pulling the trigger on anyone, including an enemy combatant. He’s not someone Barry can logic himself into believing deserves to die. And he’s not someone whose death the audience can witness without seriously challenging our belief that Barry ever can be more than a murderer, or if he even has the right to.

“'I didn’t even want to do it,' Chris blurts out to Barry in what he hasn’t realized are his final moments. “You made me do it.” Chris doesn’t know that he’s parroting Barry’s own excuses; to Barry, most of the blame for his current state lies with his family friend Fuches (Stephen Root), who recruited him and acts as his de facto agent. In his own twisted way, Fuches truly cares about Barry, letting out a strangled sob when Noho Hank erroneously tells him Barry died in the botched mission. Barry, too, seems to want the best for Chris, who represents a better version of himself: someone who responds to the act of killing in a way Barry is no longer capable of—the way a normal person would, and should. (Or, as Chris puts it: 'You might might be cool with this shit, but I’m not.') But neither man’s intentions make them less culpable for what they actually do.

"Hader’s performance here is flat-out extraordinary; as arbitrary and inaccurate as awards often are, it’s impossible to watch this episode and not think of an Emmy reel. When Chris first tells Barry he’s going to turn himself in, Barry responds in the quiet, wounded tone we’re used to: 'Why’d you have to say that?' Chris keeps talking, and that’s when Barry snaps: 'WHY’D YOU HAVE TO SAY THAT?!?!' It’s a terrifying reminder that, for all of Barry’s humor, its title character isn’t a hapless fool—he’s a killer, capable of violence that’s finally about to be directed toward someone we like and respect. For the 30 endless seconds between Chris knowing what’s about to happen and Barry doing it, Hader stares out the window with a kind of furious sorrow. Barry is already haunted by his actions, but that’s not going to stop him from following through with them. 'I know you’re not going to do anything crazy, Barry,' Chris unsuccessfully pleads. 'I know you’re a good guy.' Barry proves him wrong in more ways than one.

"We’re now nearly two decades into the antihero phase of modern television, and Barry appears to have learned from that genre’s worst mistakes. Hader and Berg, the latter of whom directed Loud, Fast, and Keep Going, don’t shy away from confronting their viewers with the full extent of Barry’s corruption. (The episode was written by Liz Sarnoff, a veteran of Deadwood and Lost.) They’re also not afraid to confront the possibility that the answer to the show’s central question is that Barry is what he’s done—and by implication, any sense of redemption may well be out of reach. After Sunday, it’s all but impossible to glamorize Barry the way some fans did Walter White, or sympathize with him as a victim making the best out of a bad situation. He’s crossed a line in a way Barry doesn’t even try to play for laughs.

"Throughout the first season, Barry’s inner monologue has been punctuated by fantasy sequences imagining a peaceful future with Sally, kids, and a successful career. I’ve often found these cutaways saccharine and unnecessary, and didn’t understand their purpose until Barry experiences one last bout of wishful thinking en route to his performance. In this version of Barry’s imagination, he’s not massively successful, or surrounded by loved ones. He’s just able to deliver his single line perfectly, giving us a glimpse at an alternate universe where Hader is an accomplished Shakespearean actor. It’s not an especially lofty goal, but it’s still one that’s impossible to reach. The more modest Barry’s ambitions, the further he gets from achieving them. He probably never will."

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, "[i]n another sign of the increasingly complex economics of the television business, the star-studded Arrested Development  cast is not happy with the expanded and "recut" fourth season of the Netflix comedy. 

"Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that actors including Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Michael Cera and David Cross are asking for added compensation after creator Mitch Hurwitz and producer 20th Century Fox Television re-edited the 15-episode season to a full 22 with the hope of providing a new lure for fans and landing a lucrative syndication deal for the comedy. 

"Netflix revived the former Fox favorite for a fourth season, dropping all 15 episodes in 2013 after reuniting the cast for a Rashomon-style story with each episode following one Bluth family member. The stand-alone episodes were created as a work-around to accommodate the busy schedules of its breakout cast. 

"Hurwitz, in a recent post on social media, announced that he had recut season four and shuffled content from '15 individualized stories into 22 interwoven stories the length of the original series' as what he called 'an experiment to find out, well … I guess "if I could make some money,"' adding that he hoped the series would 'syndicate eventually.' (He also recut the season as a 'comedic experiment,' he wrote.) The move, sources say, was instigated by 20th TV, with the studio hoping to score a financial windfall by selling Arrested Development in syndication globally after Netflix’s window. (Hurwitz first revealed the plan to recut the episodes for a 22-episode season back in 2016.)

"Sources say Hurwitz added a few minutes of unaired content that didn't make it into Netflix's original 30-minute-plus season four episodes. The 15 original episodes were cut down to 22-minute installments over 22 episodes that are more in line with its original Fox run and more suitable to be sold in bulk. (Netflix also is airing the new 22-minute episodes on the service.)

"But while Hurwitz may be making more money with the stunt, the Arrested cast isn’t. According to sources, most of the cast — which also includes Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor, Alia Shawkat and Tony Hale —  was paid $100,000 each for their stand-alone episodes, $50,000 for each installment where they had a little screen time and another $25,000 for ones in which they barely appeared. 

"Reps for the cast have asked for additional fees to correspond with the additional episodes but 20th has balked, arguing that it has the right to re-edit the existing episodes that have already aired however it chooses without paying the actors more. The cast position is that the additional episode count effectively reduces the pay-per-episode that was negotiated, especially since the studio stands poised for a financial windfall thanks to a possible syndication pact. 

"Including the recut season, Arrested Development has 75 total episodes — plus its upcoming fifth season, which debuts May 29 and could consist of 17 episodes (per a 2015 interview with exec producer Brian Grazer). That would bring the series into the episode inventory traditionally required for a syndication pact. 

"Representatives for 20th TV and Netflix declined comment."

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From USA Today: "The Goldbergs goes right to the source for its latest ‘80s pop-culture embrace: Rick Moranis will make a rare guest-voice appearance in an episode that pays tribute to his popular 1987 film, Spaceballs.

"Moranis, who largely quit  acting in 1997 to focus on his family, will reprise his iconic villain, Dark Helmet, from the Mel Brooks' Star Wars parody in the May 9 episode (ABC, Wednesdays, 8 ET/PT).

"Moranis voices the character in one of young film enthusiast Adam Goldberg’s dreams, as Adam (Sean Giambrone) 'encounters Dark Helmet storming his bedroom to battle with the Schwartz,' a play on Star Wars’ The Force, according to a description. Adam 'promises to get a sequel to Spaceballs produced before waking up.'

"Goldbergs creator Adam F. Goldberg, who grew up a fan  of Moranis and Brooks, worked for several weeks to get a commitment from Moranis, who has only done a few voice roles after a career that spanned SCTVHoney, I Shrunk the Kids and Ghostbusters

“'I truly think Rick Moranis gave the most underrated and brilliant comedic performance in any ‘80s movie as Dark Helmet,' Goldberg said in a statement. 'I’ve been a lifelong fan of his work and became obsessed with having him reprise the role on my show. As an added bonus, maybe this even gets Spaceballs back in the conversation, and I can get my dream of helping make a sequel!'”  

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From Slate: "Sometimes I feel I am the last man on Earth watching The Last Man on Earth. The ratings of Fox’s post-apocalyptic sitcom, which aired the last episode of its fourth season on Sunday, started out low and then descended. This season it averaged about 1.97 million viewers per airing, worse than every single show on any network other than the CW, with the exception of its Fox stablemates Brooklyn Nine-NineNew Girl, and The Exorcist.

"Nor—in contrast to Brooklyn Nine-NineNew Girl, and the CW bottom feeders Jane the Virginand Crazy Ex-Girlfriend—does Last Man generate accolades or buzz. When it debuted in 2015, it got positive notices (which prompted me to start watching in the first place) and four Emmy nominations but no wins. The following year there was one nomination, for creator and star Will Forte; last year, nothing. Metacritic tallied up the best-shows-of-2017 lists of 125 publications, websites, and critics, from Adweek to YahooLast Man appeared on exactly zero of them. Personally, since the early reviews, I haven’t encountered a single mention of the show, among critics, on social media, or in real life. (Admittedly, I don’t get out much.)

"Adding to my sense of aloneness is the way I watch the showDVRing it on Sunday, then watching it later in the week, when everyone else in my house has gone to sleep.

"The show is smart, goofy, attractively filmed, crammed with satisfying Easter eggs and callbacks, absolutely nonaspirational, superbly acted, sneak-up-on-you funny, and, most important, almost aggressively original.

"Why have I and my 2 million-odd fellow Last Man fans kept watching? Speaking for myself, because the show is smart, goofy, attractively filmed, crammed with satisfying Easter eggs and callbacks, absolutely nonaspirational, superbly acted, sneak-up-on-you funny, and, most important, almost aggressively original. Sure, you could say the premise and story are a cross between LostThe Walking Dead, and Gilligan’s Island. But that leaves out the tone and feel of the show, which are like nothing I’ve ever seen.

"In the premiere, we meet Phil Miller (Forte), who has somehow survived a virus that killed everyone else on the planet. Reminiscent of Tom Hanks in Cast Away, his only company is a collection of sports balls on which he’s Sharpie’d faces, although he does consider striking up a relationship with a mannequin he finds in a shop window. Phil is all savage, hold the noble. The first line we hear him say is, 'Dear God. Apologies for all the recent masturbation.' He amuses himself by bowling with fish tanks and demolishing cars. (Phil is watermelon-dropping David Letterman let loose on a vacant world.) He floats in a kiddie pool, sipping the mega-Margarita he’s filled it with, and when he needs to relieve himself, heads over to a bigger pool and squats over the hole he’s cut out in the diving board.

"At the end of the first episode, Phil despairs and decides to kill himself, only to see a plume of smoke in the air. He follows it and discovers another survivor, Carol Pilbasian (Kristen Schaal). Much of the rest of the first season is animated by a running joke contradicting the title: Phil encounters other “last men,” and women, at the rate of roughly one every other week, usually in a closing cliffhanger.

"A signal feature of the show, from the start, were what-crazy-twist-will-the-writers-come-up-with-this-time? storylines. Selected recaps from the show’s Wiki page give a bit of the flavor:

-Phil parks in a handicapped parking spot, much to Carol’s dismay, but more arguing leads to Phil ramming the truck through the store entrance.
-Phil then heads to a jeweler with Carol for the rings, and gives her a hammer as a wedding gift to choose the ring she wants.
-The next day, the group continues to call Tandy by his embarrassing nickname [Skidmark], much to Tandy’s dismay, which then leads Tandy to show them his skidmark free underwear. (In the second season, because another, more admirable guy named Phil has arrived, the group votes that Forte’s character has to be called by his middle name, Tandy.)
-Tandy confides in Carol that Pat [a paranoid psychopath who intermittently bedevils the group] is really dead. They stage a fake fight between Tandy and a fake foam dummy of Pat.

"I have to admit I was touch and go about continuing with Last Man after Season 1. Forte’s all-in performance was amazing, but gross-out gags only go so far, and I was mainly unamused by the sex farce that took up a lot of the airtime, especially as it came partly at the expense of the marvelous Schaal: Phil’s lust for glamorous new arrivals (January Jones, Cleopatra Coleman, Mary Steenburgen) is constricted by his commitment to unglamorous Carol, made when he thought she was the only woman left alive. But I’d made enough of an investment, and was curious enough about what would happen next, to overcome my misgivings. I’m glad I did: the characters, relationships, and themes have gotten progressively deeper and more interesting.

"And the wackiness remains. A running gag of the past three season is that A-listers like Will Ferrell, Jon Hamm, Jack Black, Laura Dern, and Martin Short turn up, only to quickly die, in ever more bizarre ways. An arc this season featured Fred Armisen, whose brilliant turn as a Hannibal Lecter–like serial killer/cannibal should win him a supporting-actor Emmy. (It won’t.) Ultimately, he was blown up by an exploding Rubik’s Cube that had been introduced early in the season and that, like Chekhov’s famous pistol, was destined to go off. (Jason Sudeikis, Kristen Wiig, and Chris Elliott have also made multiepisode appearances, though they haven’t been killed off. Yet.)

"But mortality isn’t a gag for Last Man—or at least isn’t just a gagTwo regulars have died over the show’s run, and the emotion characters and audience feel is real, though no This Is Us–eantears are ever, ever jerked. Indeed, maybe the most impressive thing about the show is that, while maintaining the element of wigged-out farce, it’s added layers of seriousness. The alcoholism of Gail (Steenburgen) and the firearms-obsessed psychosis of Melissa (Jones) are always on or just below the surface; all the other characters (with the exception of Coleman’s steady and dependable Erica) have their own particular mishegoss. More so than the buzzier but less original and funny The Good Place, the show has come to address issues of what it means to be alive, to be a good person, to commit to someone. 

"Spoiler alert: Sunday night’s season ender went big with its cliffhanger, as the group encountered more last people, and not just one or two. Will Fox renew the show so we can find out who they are? The ratings would appear to be just too low, but TV analysts give it a just better than even chance to stay alive. Why? Last Man does a bit better with the key 18–49 demographic than with the population at large. More important, it’s owned by the network it airs on, which means revenue for the company when the show has wrapped enough episodes to make a syndication deal, a number it would likely achieve in Season 5.

"The decision should come down in the next couple of weeks. If it turns out to be negative, even though I’ve never met another Last Man fan, I’m pretty sure I can predict what the reaction of the entire hardy band will be."

I'm glad I gave up on this one when I did.