Monday October 7, 2019

That was some set up for the season finale of Succession. More below.

I did not like Nikki Glaser’s Netflix special.

But I absolutely loved Gary Gullman’s HBO special and highly recommend you watch it.

Season 3 of Big Mouth is exactly what you’d expect it to be.

Bravo unveils a new season of Below Deck tonight, followed by the premiere of Cash Cab.

The Voice officially entered its post-Adam Levine era in September — and Levine seems to be OK with that. In an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that will air today, the former Voice coach reflected on his departure from the NBC series, admitting that he’s happy to have a more relaxed schedule. ‘I really do miss it. I loved the people that I met and worked with, and obviously, we all know how I feel about Blake [Shelton],’ Levine said. ‘I do miss it, but I also don’t miss how much I had to work. I was just constantly working for so many years. Very lucky, very fortunate, very blessed and all that. But to be able to stop in this moment to spend time with my new, young family and have the greatest time ever — now I’m just a stay-at-home dad. I stay home and do very little.’”

A court has ordered a temporary stop on real estate seminars endorsed by HGTV stars Tarek El Moussa and Christina Anstead, with the Federal Trade Commission claiming the promotion efforts on the classes were ‘misleading.’ In its complaint Friday, the FTC said that Utah-based Zurixx LLC advertised ‘free’ real estate seminars that used endorsements by the popular El Moussa and Anstead to lure attendees. However, at the events, the attendees were urged to sign up for a three-day class costing $1,997. That class instructed attendees to apply for new credit cards and increase the credit limits on existing cards. Once that was accomplished, the FTC claimed instructors would try to get signups using the enlarged credit to pay for additional training costing more than $41,000. Zurixx would offer refunds when customers complained, the FTC said, but only if customers agreed to refrain from writing negative reviews or speaking to regulators. Zurixx issued a statement saying it welcomes the scrutiny and anticipates ‘a positive outcome as we work directly and openly with the agencies involved.’ In the meantime, Zurixx’s assets have been frozen and could be used to reimburse customers. HGTV has not yet commented.”

Good news for Golnesa ‘GG’ Gharachedaghi! The Shahs of Sunset star, 36, is pregnant with her first child, she exclusively tells PEOPLE. ‘This is what I wanted my entire life,’ Gharachedaghi raves. ‘When little girls were talking about their perfect husband and their perfect weddings, I was talking about the 10 kids I was going to have.” “I just always knew I’d be a mom someday,’ she adds. ‘I’m finally at this point where I’m ready to make this move. I can’t wait to give this child a life of unconditional love without judgment, the same way my mom has shown me my whole life. I just wish she could teach me how to cook! I still haven’t figured that out yet … ‘ Gharachedaghi, who lives in Los Angeles, is single and plans to raise her child on her own. She used a sperm donor, and successfully completed a round of in vitro fertilization in August.” Mazel tov.

“Walt Disney Company has suggested the days of letting streaming-video titans run free in TV commercial breaks may be over. The company, which will launch its widely-anticipated streaming service next month, has told Netflix it will not run its commercials on entertainment networks like ABC, Freeform and FX, according to a person familiar with the matter. Disney will still take Netflix ads on ESPN, this person said. And Disney is telling most streamers that it will not run their commercials unless the company has a broader relationship with Disney that could encompass not just advertising, but such things as distribution or programming, this person added. Disney declined to make executives available for comment and a Netflix spokesman said the company declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal previously reported Disney’s decision to narrow where Netflix advertising could appear across its portfolio.”

Summer House stars Kyle Cooke and Amanda Batula have not picked a wedding venue, but they are certain on the region where their nuptials will take place. ‘It’ll be on the East Coast,’ Batula, 28, told Page Six at The Pink Agenda Gala in New York on Thursday. ‘We’re close to signing a venue and solidifying a date, and then the rest of the planning will follow.’ Cooke, 37, and Batula had a rocky relationship before getting engaged last Labor Day Weekend. The pair dated for two years, and Cooke admitted on Season 3 of Summer House that he cheated on Batula just months before proposing. The bride-to-be now says she is ‘very behind’ on wedding planning and has not even decided on a dress. ‘My Instagram saved categories for weddings is extremely long,’ she said, adding that she hasn’t decided which castmates will be bridesmaids. ‘We’ll see after I see how this season airs,’ Batula teased. The couple has tried to lock in a venue, but Cooke said it didn’t work out twice before.” I’m floored that they are still together.

Former child actress Crystal Scripps McKellar — best known for playing Becky Slater on The Wonder Years — has been accused of conducting a ‘whisper campaign’ to ‘undermine’ Mithril Capital Management, the venture capital firm co-founded by Peter Thiel and Ajay Royan she was previously employed at. In a lawsuit filed in a Texas county district court, Mithril claimed that McKellar made “false, anonymous complaints to Mithril’s limited partners, portfolio companies, and other third parties” after leaving the company, where she worked from June 2012 until this February.”

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From The Hollywood Reporter: “Are Tom's days as a Roy nearing their end?

“In the latest episode of HBO's savage media-elite satire, the head of Waystar Royco's Fox News-like channel, played by Matthew Macfadyen, tanks in front of the Senate Committee on Commerce as it investigates sexual misconduct in the company's cruise division, where Tom formerly worked. Not only did Shiv Roy's (Sarah Snook) bumbling husband admit in front of Congress that he knew a former manager in the division was "creepy," emails in which he talked explicitly about using "human furniture"and seemed to coordinate the destruction of sensitive documents were blasted to the world on C-SPAN. At the end of the episode, Logan Roy (Brian Cox) admits to Shiv that the only way he sees the Roy family maintaining control of Waystar prior to a shareholder meeting is to commit a "blood sacrifice" — and, given Tom's performance on the hill, he seems likely to fall victim.

“Macfadyen himself, who has not seen the ninth and penultimate episode of the season, won't give away any spoilers about what happens to his character in next Sunday's finale. However, he reveals in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, ‘there was a lot of chat between actors and hushed whispers in corridors at the studio and on location’ about Tom's future.

“If Tom ends up being the sacrificial lamb, he'll go out with a bang, given the iconic scenes the character has delivered to Succession fans thus far this season. Who can forget his Boar on the Floor performance, the breakup with Cousin Greg Greg Hirsh (Nicholas Braun) or Tom's tortured attempt to flirt with Rhea (Holly Hunter)? How about the burning of the cruise division's incriminating documents on the balcony of his apartment or remarks about "his majesty, the spinach" at a business dinner? Besides Kendall's (Jeremy Strong) rap, Tom has been the most reliable progenitor of Succession memes this season.

“In an interview with THR about DC, Macfadyen discussed how he prepared for Tom's Senate hearing, the resilience of his friendship with Cousin Greg and what viewers can expect from the season finale:

Logan ended the episode by threatening that the company would have to make a "blood sacrifice" keep shareholders' confidence. Is the family finally going to fully throw Tom to the wolves?

Well, I can’t say anything because that would be a spoiler. There was a lot of chat between actors and hushed whispers in corridors at the studio and on location, going, “I don't know who it's going to be, maybe it’s going to be you.” We didn’t know until the read-through [for the finale], so it was really enticing. And I think they redacted the bit in the script, so it was just the people in the read-through who knew and [the secret] couldn't be spilled.

Before you ended up reading the script for the finale, were you walking on eggshells?

I’m never really worried because the writing is so good, it’s so exciting what they come up with. It’s so thrilling being in their hands, because everything they come up with is surprising and faithful to the story as a whole. So I kind of thought, “If it’s me, great, if it isn’t, great, because they'll make the right decision." I thought, "I don't care what they write, I'll just do what they want to do."

In his testimony on Capitol Hill, Tom tried to keep Greg out of the narrative around Cruises but ultimately was caught in a lie. Is the political scrutiny finally going to sever their bond, or is Tom and Greg's strange friendship immortal?

I hope it’s immortal, I really do. There's that hilarious bit where they say, "Do you know Greg Hirsch?" And I say, "No, no, no, I don't." But he's sitting right behind me. And I go, "Oh, you mean, do I know him, know him, yes, I know his face." It was so joyful doing that scene, but it was slightly tinged for Nick and I because we were both thinking, “Oh god, I hope it’s not [the end of the relationship]. I hope we still get to do [scenes together]." I don’t think they would [separate us], but you never know because it seems like it’s splitting. That would make me very sad, if I didn't see as much of Nick, a.k.a. Greg, as I do.

How did you prepare to play the Senate hearing scene? Did you watch any other Senate hearings?

I don’t really prepare for anything because the script is so brilliant, I don't need to — maybe I ought to — but it’s all there for you. I honestly feel like very often with Succession, I don’t learn the lines, they just go into my head because I just want to say them. But I had watched [Trump lawyer] Michael Cohen and Elijah Cummings a little bit, and I’d seen a bunch of those Senate hearings on C-SPAN and stuff, but not to prepare for Tom, just [on my own]. They'd also they built this extraordinary set: It looked like Washington and they built it at the studio in Queens. So once it was full of people and press and all the rest of it, it was quite never-wracking going in there, with the 100 background artists, so my heart was banging away anyway; it wasn’t a great leap of the imagination at all. When the world is so brilliantly created in such a detailed way by the designers, it’s just there for you, you don't need to bring anything to it, you just need to react and say the lines.

As Tom demonstrates after the Senate hearing, he's become pretty aware of how much the family is exposing him to public scrutiny. Does Tom have a breaking point, or will he always follow the Roys wherever they lead him?

There’s more to come in episode 10, of course, but if he does as a breaking point, it’s being tested. Even if he’s a terrible subservient idiot in many ways, Shiv has been pimping him out to do all kinds of stuff which he's not happy with — trying to wheedle his father-in-law, who he's terrified of, and trying flirt with Holly Hunter's character [Rhea] — it's really embarrassing. But he's doing it for her and for the idea that the family's a team. He's on rocky ground with that because he's trying mightily to be in this open relationship, so there’s all these things building with Tom, which is great to have bubbling under the surface. But you sort of feel for him, and the "Boar on the Floor" stuff, it’s pretty hard. I mean, he’s insufferable, so there is that, but there is something quite sweet about him: None of them are monsters. Except maybe Logan.

This season, Tom seems to be far more aware of his surroundings than he lets on. What are your thoughts as to how insightful Tom actually is — is his goofiness a bit of an act, or is fundamental to him?

I think it’s a bit of both. There's a lot of people jumping around in Tom. I heard Nick say that it’s very funny seeing Tom with Shiv: He was saying it was very extraordinary seeing [Tom] Wambsgans be tender, quite straight and sweet with his wife, while he sees this unpredictable asshole, where you never know where you are with him, at work. He's both, Tom: He’s managing a huge, multibillion-dollar news corporation, so he’s a moron but he’s not stupid. He has insight and he has understanding, and I think when you’re scared all the time, you behave in strange ways. I wonder about the people working in the White House, say, in this current [environment]. People might look back and go, “What was I doing?” You might examine your behavior years later and go, "I was behaving in that way because we were in a certain culture," or in a very high-powered company. It's interesting how that impacts the way people are with each other and the decisions they make.

Over the course of the season, we've seen Roman try and change his image in the family from court jester to a power player. Could Tom also redeem himself in the eyes of Logan and Shiv's siblings?

I think he’ll always be outside a little bit because whenever [the siblings] get together, even in couples, like Shiv and Roman when they're bullying Tom at the table, their M.O. is bullying, competing and scoring points. There never seems to be any safe space with them, it’s always point-scoring. And so Tom is always outside of them; he can’t compete just by dint of not being in the family. I do think, like Roman, the potential is quite exciting. The Toms and the Romans could be plausible: I don’t think it’s an impossibility that they could turn or that Tom could become a little harder, a little colder. That’s the joy of doing longform TV and the joy of having such gifted writers because it really could go anywhere. The exciting thing is getting the script in your email box, usually two days before we start.

If push comes to shove, would Shiv save Tom if it meant siding with him over her family?  

That’s a really good question. I wouldn’t dare answer that; I don’t think Tom would either, I think it's too near the knuckle. Sarah may have a view on that and I don't know that I do.

What was your favorite scene to film this season?

There are three, really. I love the scene with Shiv in their kitchen where she’s telling him that she was offered the job as the head of the company, and he’s desperately trying not to appear shocked and upset and trying to keep his shit together and be supportive. Pretty much everything with Nick [I love], like the scene in the wrong panic room with the bottles when he breaks up with me. And I especially loved shooting the stuff that you’ve seen and I haven’t, the congressional hearings, it was such fun.

What can we expect from Tom in the series finale?

What can I say? At the risk of being boring, I don’t know what I can say, and also it’s weird because the memory of shooting it is one thing, and actually what it's like is another thing, so I won't say anything at the risk of pre-empting [the show].”

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Per Vulture, “Succession relishes playing the name game. The regal and imperious air of the Roy family is reflected in their on-the-nose last name, French for ‘king.’ The duplicity and nastiness that the Roy children assume as birthright comes out in the nicknames for firstborn, Connor (‘Con’), and lone daughter, Siobhan (‘Shiv’). Throw in the names of longtime Waystar Royco counsel Gerri Killmann as well as the rival media family that proved to be just as cutthroat as the Roys (the Pierces), and the ruthlessness of the dramatis personae is revealed before the first insult is delivered.

“Dig even deeper into the show’s naming patterns and you’ll find a further layer of nomenclatural richness. Again and again, ancient Greek and Roman references bubble up in episodes and lurk behind the names of pivotal characters, adding to both the gravity and the humor of the show’s unfolding drama, while also pointing to where the show may be heading and how the succession in Succession might play out.

“But before addressing the names drawn from Greek and Roman myth and history, it’s worth first noting just how thickly such references occupy the show’s air. At the Argestes retreat for the superrich, the setting of an episode of the same name, this is quite literally the case: Argestes means ‘clearing’ or ‘brightening’ in Greek and became a name for the South Wind, whose gusts were thought to have a clearing effect on the skies. The retreat produces such an outcome for the Roys, as the venue sees their built-up tension with the Pierces cleared in sweeping but messy fashion in the episode’s dramatic final sequence: Pierce family matriarch Nan calls off the deal between the families and storms out of the retreat, with Logan chasing after her in a panic. The clarifying gust provided by Argestes turns out to be more of a tornado.

“Another display of the show’s Classical pomp comes in the plumed Corinthian helmet that peers out from behind Logan’s desk (a nod, perhaps, to Brian Cox’s turn as the equally menacing Agamemnon in 2004’s Troy). And then there is Rhea Jarrell’s suggestion to Shiv in Return that Nan Pierce ‘wouldn’t mind putting a fucking sharp, burnt stick in your dad’s cyclops eye’ — an image that casts Logan as the boorish, myopic cyclops Polyphemus, poised to be outsmarted and ousted by the next Odysseus who crosses his path.

“Also bandied about are references to the myth of Oedipus, the Greek hero who unwittingly kills his own father, succeeds him as king of Thebes, and marries his own mother. In Which Side Are You On?, youngest son Roman approaches Waystar Royco board member Lawrence Yee about the plan he and brother Kendall are hatching for a vote of no confidence in their father. ‘You and Kendall are thinking of killing your dad? Well, that’s a little Greek tragedy,’ responds Lawrence, whose partner adds, ‘Yeah, Oedipus.’ Roman picks up from there, follows the myth through to its next disturbing episode, and entertains the thought of sleeping with his mother-in-law, Marcia, since ‘that’s, you know, that’s like phase two.’ But it is the pointed differences between the Roy sons’ Oedipal narrative and Oedipus’s own that are perhaps most interesting. First of all, Logan’s children have, to this point, failed in any attempts at corporate patricide. Secondly, their efforts are not unwitting. Betrayal is the modus operandi of the Roys, as indeed everyone in their orbit knows. When Rhea first meets Kendall in Safe Room, she extends her hand with the greeting, ‘And you must be Oedipus Roy.’

“It is in and around Rhea that many of the Greek and Roman references in Succession’s second season converge. She arrives on the scene in Safe Room, visiting the Waystar Royco headquarters in her capacity as the CEO of the Pierce Media Group to entertain offers for a buyout. Her visit prompts longtime Roy family advisor Frank Vernon to confide to Logan, ‘She could be our Coriolanus.’ The reference is to Gaius Marcius Coriolanus, a quasi-historical Roman general (and subject of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus) who betrayed Rome and besieged the city while commanding the army of a rival state.

“Logan replies to Frank’s learned analogy with the unforgettable quip, ‘Why don’t you take your library card and fuck off?’ (Which would surely be his response to this piece, too.) But Frank’s prediction proves to be more or less accurate: Rhea does betray the Pierces, does come to work for Logan, and, in Dundee, is announced by Logan as Waystar Royco’s next CEO, its lead general.

“While Rhea emerges as a Coriolanus figure, the other mythical reference in this character is more direct. Rhea is the name of one of the Greek gods known as the Titans. She is the daughter of Earth and Sky, the wife of Cronus, and the mother of the Olympian gods Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, and Demeter. She is a divinity of great influence, and, crucially, an expert at the machinations of divine succession. When the powerful but paranoid Cronus is scheming to devour his children so as to prevent the rise of a successor (sound familiar?), it is Rhea who outsmarts him, conspires with her parents Earth and Sky, and gives birth to eventual successor Zeus in a concealed place.

“Parallels with Roy family drama are not precise, but the name Rhea surely evokes this formidable goddess and her pivotal role in the divine succession myth. And it leads viewers to wonder: Has Succession’s Rhea, like her mythical forerunner, outmaneuvered the Cronus-like Logan? Does she have the smarts to align with other powerful players, as the Titan Rhea did?

“While the figure of Rhea from Greek myth looms large in season two, connections with the ancient Romans run strong across the arc of the show. In the Roy family’s big meet-up with the more cultured Pierces in Tern Haven, Logan offers a toast and introduces the Roys as ‘like Romans among the Greeks. I’m sure you find us all rather, you know, big, vulgar, and boisterous.’ His words draw on an age-old stereotype of Rome as militaristic, moved along by men of action, with aspirations of imperial dominance. In Dundee, Logan’s brother and fierce detractor, Ewan, picks up on this comparison when reflecting on the damages done by Waystar Royco’s media empire. He hearkens to a celebrated Roman historian when saying of Logan, ‘Tacitus comes to mind … He’s made a wasteland, and calls it an empire,’ prompting a spot-on bit of literary criticism from Ewan’s grandson, Greg: ‘God, Tacitus … all killer, no filler with him.’ Ewan is loosely quoting a statement Tacitus included in a speech by the Caledonian warrior Calgacus, as he rallied his men to stand up to Rome’s invasion of Britain in the first century C.E. (actual quote: ‘They make a wasteland and call it peace’). And so one proud Caledonian — that is, Ewan — picks up on the words of another, each decrying an empire that is sprawling out to world dominance. Bad news for Ewan, though: Calgacus and his Caledonians are summarily crushed.

“In spite of condemnation from the likes of Ewan, neither Logan nor the Roy children seem at all interested in downplaying their ‘Roman-ness.’ Quite the opposite: Their vulgarity, boisterousness, and airs for domination are an essential part of the family identity. And this brings us back to the youngest Roy child, whose name is simply Roman. For the Roy who is the most vulgar, the most preening, the most like the boy-emperors Caligula and Nero, Roman is the perfect name.

“However, the name Roman is not enough for this Roy. Across the show, Logan routinely uses another name for his youngest: Romulus. In Roman myth, Romulus was the son of Mars, the god of war, and he rose to be the first king of Rome after killing his twin brother, Remus, in a contest for the throne. Do Succession’s nods to Romulus and his tale point us toward similar developments in the empire of Waystar Royco? After all, it is only Logan who calls his son Romulus. And he does so at key moments — in their very first exchange in the pilot, in the first season episode when Logan pressures him at the boardroom table to backstab his brother Remus (er, Kendall), and when Roman votes to tank the investment in Vaulter, the website that Kendall had championed. Are Logan’s well-placed drops of this name signs of the coronation that is ultimately to come? Is this a case of nomen as omen? Will Romulus Roy (‘King the King’) emerge, after boardroom bloodshed, as Succession’s successor?

“Or will Succession only confound things further, pulling in more threads of myth, piling on more Greek and Roman references, filling the air with more ancient and ominous spirits?”

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Per EW, “The Walking Dead was out of this world on Sunday’s season premiere — in more ways than one. The episode began not on this earth, but out in space where a Russian satellite was plummeting toward our planet. And not just toward our planet, but right toward our heroes at the Hilltop and Alexandria.

But fighting the fire to keep it from spreading meant crossing the border that Alpha had marked, and the episode ended with a stare-down of epic proportions between Alpha and Carol. Why go to space? And what does that moment between Alpha and Carol mean moving forward? Those were just a few of the questions we asked showrunner Angela Kang, who also weighed in on the big Daryl and Carol scenes as well as a possible romance between Daryl and Connie. Read on for all the insight and intel, and also make sure to check out our season premiere Q&As with episode director Greg Nicotero and star Norman Reedus:

So, Angela. This is a question I never thought I’d be asking you, but: Why outer space?
ANGELA KANG: We were talking in the writers’ room about: What is stuff that happens over time? When years pass, what goes on? And somebody was just talking about, “Well, you know satellites and stuff, they have to be maintained otherwise they start to fall.” So there was this idea that, wouldn’t they see things start to fall from the atmosphere after time? We thought that was just an interesting way to do something a little bit new at the beginning of the season. And there’s also this technology that they’ve gotten from the satellite, which comes into play within the season as well. We just thought that was a fun way to try something new for the show while still reflecting a reality that would happen as time goes by.

And then obviously you follow that up with this training sequence. What is that setting up in the rest of the season in terms of the story you’re telling and the importance of what’s happening here with all these communities coming together and doing that at Oceanside?
Last season we’d set up this promise between Tara and Rachel at Oceanside before Tara unfortunately was killed by the Whisperers. And they said, “We should train together. This should be part of the pact now that all the communities are united again, let’s work together.” And Rachel offered up Oceanside, so we’re paying off that promise they made to each other and showing that in the time that’s passed, our people have not been sitting idle, even though they haven’t seen the Whisperers in a while. They’re actively working on becoming stronger as a community.

And it’s also playing on this idea of the intercommunity militia from the comic book. It’s part of the transition from satellite into the training. People may feel this or not, but satellites are often used to communicate, but also they can be used to spy. So much of the season is this threat of these people who may be watching them at all times, that just seem omnipresent, and there’s this element of paranoia. Here’s what they’re doing to try to fight that off. That that all plays into the theme for the season.

Tell me where you came up with this format of repeating the same time frame three times to show what’s happening in three different spots at the same time. Where did that idea come from?
We’ve done versions of structures like this before. What’s fun about working on the show is that there’s no formula as to what an episode looks like. Sometimes we’re in linear time, sometimes time is sitting on top of itself, sometimes we do flashbacks. We do all kinds of things with timeline. And, in this case, it felt like we were dealing with different little groups that were dealing with this kind of paranoia that is stirred up, but it’s in slightly different ways. So it just felt interesting to do them as these little chapters that start in the same place and then end with the same conflict. But, in the meantime, here are these slices of life. So it’s just fun and experimental. Hopefully it works. We never know, but we’re always trying to tell the story in the best way that it feels for what people are going through in the episode.

Carol has been living out at sea, but then she and Daryl joke about just taking off out west on his motorcycle. They both over the past few years have wanted to be on their own, so what’s stopping them from doing that?
Carol and Daryl, they’re certainly characters the audience has really responded to, but also we as writers have really enjoyed writing for because they’re both so interesting. They’re interesting on their own, but they’re also really interesting together. They both have this aspect that’s a lone wolf aspect to them. And yet when they’re together it feels like, yeah, these two are bonded in some really special way. I think ultimately, even though both of them at times feel like they’d be better off alone, they love the people that they’re with so much, and it’s to the point where it’s painful. And I think that in some ways, neither of them have run off for good because what that means is really abandoning everybody else, and that’s hard for them.

Even when Daryl was off in the wilderness last season, he was still maintaining ties to the community. It’s just that it had been a long time and Carol felt him slipping away. I think Daryl being a little bit in a different place emotionally right now feels that fear that maybe Carol is slipping away. And then on top of that, she might be slipping away into something really dark. His fear is that she is just on a revenge quest, and that she’s not just at sea trying to heal and being off and having this moment of just being away from it all.

He’s afraid that she’s hunting Alpha. She said that’s not the case. We’ll see whether or not that’s true. But I think for both of them, having that lone wolf mentality means that draw of just going out there is always very strong for them. And they go through a push and pull of whether they should stay, whether they should go, whether they’re better off alone with just each other, with the group. That’s just what I think is interesting about them, both as characters and as people who are being asked to step up to leadership by their communities.

And obviously that’s not the only interesting thing going on with Daryl this episode. You know I’m going to ask about Daryl and Connie. I mean, you know that when you put that stuff on the screen, that once you talk to me, that I’m going to be asking what’s going on here. Are they in a relationship? What’s happening?
What I really enjoy about those two together, they have such an interesting dynamic and chemistry, which just has popped from the beginning. I think what we’re showing is that they certainly have a blossoming friendship and connection. We see that Daryl has been teaching himself sign language, which certainly says something, that in the mildest form he is doing his best to welcome somebody who needs to use ASL to communicate.

But I do think that even amongst the characters, there’s this really fun moment that I love, and this was not scripted. This is just what the actresses did and we kept it in because it was such a fun moment. Kelly sees Daryl coming up and Connie’s talking to him. And she just gives that little eyebrow raise, like, “Huh, what’s going on there?” And then Connie responds by doing a “Stop it,” which I thought is really great. I think even amongst the characters in the show, they’re wondering if there’s something more here, and that’s just part of the story for the season.

Well, will there be more story there for the season with those two?
I can’t spoil anything. You’ve just got to watch for that. I think the audience and the characters are very much in the same place, is what I’ll say.

The very last scene is Alpha and Carol locking eyes. Alpha’s seeing Carol has crossed the border and Carol is seeing the woman who killed her adopted son. What does that mean moving forward?
This really gets our people right back into more of a head to head conflict with the Whisperers. And you’ll find out that there’s a lot of weird stuff that’s been going on with the Whisperers, within their camp. But certainly Carol, who had been planning to leave on the next boat, it’s like now she’s there and she’s seeing this woman, and the fact that they cross into their borders have consequences. And the fact that Carol saw Alpha there, it just reignited every feeling of hatred and desire for vengeance that she had. That has consequences and that really sets up a lot of the main conflicts of the season going forward.”

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From The Ringer: “There is an understandable fervor surrounding the release of El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, an event that never seemed possible—or arguably, necessary. At a time when Dexter Morgan became a sad lumberjack and Damon Lindelof had to go into hidingBreaking Bad was the rare prestige drama with a series finale that yielded near-unanimous praise from viewers and critics alike, closing the chapter on chemistry-teacher-turned-meth-kingpin Walter White while offering a light at the end of the tunnel for the oft-tortured Jesse Pinkman. (Indeed, creator Vince Gilligan’s script for the finale wraps up Jesse’s driving off in Todd’s El Camino with, ‘From here on, it’s up to us to say where he’s headed. I like to call it “something better,'“ and leave it at that.’)

“Of course, it won’t be left at that. El Camino is, first and foremost, a movie sequel about Jesse’s post–Breaking Bad fate, as he evades authorities for a chance at freedom with the help of old pals Skinny Pete and Badger. (That’s pretty much all we can say; El Camino has been shrouded in secrecy.) But while every Breaking Bad fan in your life is no doubt stoked about this sequel, El Camino arrives with a twinge of apprehension. By extending the Breaking Bad universe beyond its stellar finale, does Gilligan risk tarnishing the legacy of an all-time-great series? It’s not not fair to ask—don’t mess with perfection, etc.

“But even well-meaning fan anxiety seems to disregard the fact that Gilligan and Co. have already succeeded in expanding the Breaking Bad–verse. Which is to say, you oughta be tuning into Better Call Saul.

“The AMC prequel series is four seasons strong, and with a fifth arriving in 2020, Better Call Saul will, at the very least, log as many seasons as its sister series. It’s also just as brilliant, by working as the inverse of Breaking BadBreaking Bad centered on its evolution of a terminally ill man with good(ish) intentions—using his skills as a chemist to make meth in order to leave money for his family upon his death—into a monster of unrepentant greed and ego. Yes, you could say that [Captain Obvious voice] Walt wound up breaking bad. But if you rewatch Breaking Bad, as I’ve done during bouts of #Funemployment, you’ll probably find Walt’s behavior despicable much, much sooner than you did the first time, since you’re not making excuses for a guy who you now understand to be morally reprehensible.

“Conversely, Better Call Saul wields your built-in knowledge of Saul Goodman—a criminal lawyer, emphasis on the criminal—as its own narrative device. There are no assumptions that this character is going to forge a better path; the series is a prequel, after all. And yet there’s just enough humanity in the man first known as Jimmy McGill that you’re actively rooting against a predetermined fate. Better Call Saul isn’t as explosive as Breaking Bad; there’s no chance Jimmy ever will do anything along the lines of masterminding prison assassinations. But having its lead character cross steeper ethical boundaries—putting other characters at risk in the process—becomes just as devastating to watch.

“I swear this isn’t just recency bias: I love Breaking Bad, but I think Better Call Saul might be an even better show. In lieu of loud, groundbreaking developments, Better Call Saul focuses on the minutiae of its characters and their lives and operates at a more leisurely pace. It’s telling that the series’ signatures montages thus far include Mike Ehrmantraut’s tediously inspecting his car for a bug and Jimmy’s slowly drifting away from his on-again, off-again love interest Kim Wexler. (Kim, for what it’s worth, might also be the most compelling character in this whole damn universe. It should be an actual criminal offense that Rhea Seehorn hasn’t been nominated for an Emmy yet.) The show deploys confident, richly detailed storytelling with just the right amount of Breaking Bad fan service, with the likes of Gus Fring and various members of the Salamanca family popping up in their pre-Heisenberg existences.

“For the characters that do overlap between both shows—namely Saul, Mike, and Gus—that extra attention adds to our understanding of the characters. The Saul we meet on Breaking Bad—a quintessential sleazeball with wacky suits and even wackier ads—is effectively a caricature of himself. (At the time, Saul seemed like an odd choice to helm a follow-up series; many fans would’ve loved to have seen the Rise of Gus.) The character’s artifice, however, was the point—paradoxically, Saul is the kind of lawyer New Mexico’s criminal underbelly can trust because he lacks moral principles. Knowing what lies ahead on Breaking BadBetter Call Saul luxuriates in Jimmy’s journey to monstrosity—as well as Mike’s descent into Gus Fring’s inescapable vortex.

“The dimensions that Better Call Saul adds to its characters, however, are not the kind of things that should directly inform El Camino. Again, Better Call Saul is a prequel, so there’s more time for character development between it and Breaking Bad than there is between Breaking Bad and El Camino. Searching Better Call Saul for some El Camino breadcrumbs would probably be fruitless, with one potentially big exception: Cinnabon Gene. (Spoilers for Better Call Saul ahead.)

“Throughout the four seasons of Better Call Saul, the series has sprinkled in black-and-white flash-forwards of Jimmy working as a Cinnabon employee in Omaha, Nebraska, under a new identity: Gene Takovic. The intention of these flash-forwards is not entirely clear, though it’s possible that the prequel will eventually stop being a prequel and make Saul-as-Gene its main story line to wrap up the series. The sequences have been sparse on details, but it’s clear that the specter of Heisenberg and New Mexico is hanging over Saul’s head. In one of the Omaha vignettes, he freaks out when his cab driver has Albuquerque memorabilia in his car. Is Saul’s paranoia over the cab driver unfounded? We don’t find out, and that’s the best part:

“If Jesse were to escape authorities for good in El Camino, he would likely need a new identity, which would theoretically put him in the orbit of Robert Forster’s Ed, the man who created identities for Saul and Walt. How that would connect Jesse to Saul-as-Gene is unclear, but it’s the closest thing Better Call Saul and El Camino would have to a through line—even if the connection is as simple as Jesse being just as paranoid as Saul after the events of Breaking Bad. Alternatively, the Galaxy Brain take would be that all of this stuff becomes connected—Jesse’s journey in El Camino, which takes place directly after Breaking Bad, bleeds into Cinnabon Gene, which bleeds into the Omaha vignettes in the next season of Better Call Saul. It’s fun to speculate on, even if mulling all this over is akin to Charlie Day’s It’s Always Sunny vision board.

“For the most part, though, the best thing Better Call Saul can do ahead of El Camino is provide reassurance that the expansion of the Breaking Bad universe isn’t an inherently bad thing, especially when it’s handled with nuance and care. Gilligan has insisted he’s continuing Jesse’s arc only because he found a great story to tell. Gilligan and the Breaking Bad brain trust don’t just deserve the benefit of the doubt after creating an exceptional series: They’re due even more. After all, they’ve created something just as great, and possibly even better, in its predecessor’s image before.”

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“Seven Bucks Productions and The Nacelle Company are teaming to produce the docuseries Behind the Attraction for Disney Plus, Variety has learned exclusively.

“The series takes viewers into the history of how popular Disney attractions and destinations came to be, how they have changed over time, and how fans continue to obsess over them. The series will feature interviews with fans as well as Disney Imagineers and other people behind the scenes.

“Disney Plus has ordered 10 one-hour episodes.

“Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia, Brian Gewirtz, and Kevin Hill from Seven Bucks Productions will executive produce along with Brian Volk-Weiss, Robin Henry, and Cisco Henson from The Nacelle Company. Volk-Weiss will also direct the series.

“News of the series comes after The Nacelle Company found success with the Netflix docuseries The Toys That Made Us, which explored the history of popular toys. The company’s past projects include CW’s Discontinued and Netflix’s Kevin Hart’s Guide To Black History. It is currently producing the Mad About You revival for Spectrum Originals and Sony Pictures Television.

“’Behind the Attraction is the quintessential Disney+ project,’ said Dan Silver, vice president of originals – unscripted content for Disney Plus. ‘Best-in-class storytellers collaborating across multiple Disney units to mine and pull back the curtain on our rich Disney history. Dwayne, Dany, and Seven Bucks have not only established themselves as some of the most accomplished and prolific producers across multiple genres, but have been long time valued members of The Walt Disney family. And Brian and Nacelle’s track record, mindset, and uber-geekdom make them the ideal partners for this project. This is going to be a special series.’

“Seven Bucks most recently produced Johnson’s film Hobbs & Shaw, as well as many of Johnson’s other theatrical releases like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Rampage. The company also produces his HBO series Ballers and shows like The Titan Games, Finding Justice, and Rock the Troops. Seven Bucks is also producing Johnson’s upcoming film The Jungle Cruise, which is based on the Disney ride of the same name and comes out next July.

“Disney Plus is gearing up to launch in November. The streaming service will offer a range of both scripted and unscripted originals in addition to library content. Other unscripted shows at the service include The World According to Jeff Goldblum from National Geographic, and Encore! executive produced by Kristen Bell.”