Wednesday February 27, 2019

Fox has ordered 2 more seasons of Hell’s Kitchen?! Honestly, who on god’s green earth is still watching this show? Please identify yourself.

The season finale of SUITS airs tonight. Sigh.

NBC has renewed all three of its Chicago-set drama series from Dick Wolf: Chicago Fire (for an 8th season), Chicago P.D. (7th season) and Chicago Med (5th season).

USA has renewed Temptation Island for a 2nd season. That’s more like it. The show is averaging a robust 0.3 rating among A18-49 with 835,000 viewers for initial airings. Run it back!

Orange Is The New Black wrapped production on its final season yesterday.

Netflix has released the first trailer for Amy Schumer’s new comedy special, Amy Schumer: Growing. I have no intention of watching, but here is your first look.

And here’s one for season 2 of The OA.

“Hulu just dropped the price of its basic subscription plan, which means we can re-watch The Handmaid’s Tale (for way less) while we wait for season 3. The price drop comes nearly one month after Netflix hiked its prices to the highest they’ve ever been. A basic Hulu subscription plan now only costs $5.99 per month. This is down from $7.99, which may not seem like a lot, but in comparison to Netflix’s basic subscription plan, which costs $12.99 per month, it’s a lot cheaper. With the subscription, not only will you get unlimited access to Hulu’s massive library of movies and TV shows, but you’ll also score the ability to watch the newest episodes of TV shows the day after they air”

Oprah Winfrey will interview Michael Jackson accusers Wade Robson and James Safechuck for a special to air on HBO and OWN immediately following Monday night’s HBO presentation of Dan Reed’s Leaving Neverland. The special, Oprah Winfrey Presents: After Neverland was taped before an audience that includes survivors of sexual abuse. The one-hour special debuts simultaneously on HBO and OWN on Monday, March 4.”

Everything you need to know about season 2 of HBO’s Big Little Lies.

If you didn’t see Selma Blair on GMA yesterday, you should watch.

“As the war of words between the Writers Guild of America and the Association of Talent Agents becomes increasingly harsher, the uber-agencies are trying to paint a bigger picture with their scribe clients. Led by people who know how to tell a compelling story, the WGA has largely won the PR battle so far.” Ya think? Let’s see how these pompous a-holes respond. Get your popcorn ready.

George R.R. Martin had a chance to appear in the upcoming final season of Game of Thrones, yet decided against it. The author whose A Song of Ice and Fire novels form the basis for the HBO hit was extended an invitation by series showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss to travel from his New Mexico home to Northern Ireland to be included in a scene in season 8. But the author decided to focus on writing his next book, the long-awaited The Winds of Winter, instead.”

“As the generalist streamers dive deeper into sports programming, specialist sports player DAZN is growing its lineup of originals alongside its coverage of live events. Next up is In Our Blood, a three-part series about three generations of iconic Spanish MotoGP riders: Alex Criville, Jorge Lorenzo, and Marc Marquez. Former BT, ESPN, and Sky programming exec Grant Best is leading the originals charge as senior vice president of original programming and content development. The one-offs and series are being designed to sit alongside and bolster DAZN’s staple fare of live sports, he told Variety.”

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From Realscreen: “ABC News’ Lincoln Square Productions has acquired the U.S. television rights to a new documentary about iconic rock group Queen and their new regular frontman Adam Lambert just days after their opening performance at the Oscars.

The Show Must Go On: The Queen + Adam Lambert Story follows the legendary band and Lambert, who first came together onstage in 2009 on American Idol and have been touring as Queen + Adam Lambert since 2012. Singer and reality TV star Lambert took on singing duties originally belonging to frontman Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991.

“The film tells their story using concert footage, interviews and backstage footage. Interviewees include Lambert, his parents, Queen founding members Brian May and Roger Taylor, American Idol judge Simon Cowell, Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek, and Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins.

The Show Must Go On is produced by Jim Beach and Simon Lupton for Miracle Productions. Matt Lombardi serves as executive producer for Lincoln Square.

“The film will air April 29 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC prior to Queen and Lambert’s latest sold-out tour.”

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Per EW, “[s]eason 2 of Cobra Kai — YouTube Premium’s hit continuation of The Karate Kid franchise — will seek to answer one very important question: Is the Valley big enough for two rival karate dojos? After watching Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and his “no mercy” Cobra Kai school take the All Valley championship, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) will make good on his promise to open a kinder, gentler dojo — Miyagi-do — but it’s going to be a lot harder than selling cars. ‘As we saw in season one with Johnny, it’s not always easy to fill your dojo with students and make an immediate success of it in the valley,’ says executive producer Josh Heald. ‘And with those growing pains comes more rivalry.’ EW got more details about season 2 — premiering this spring — from Heald and his fellow executive producers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg":

What can you tease about the dojo vs dojo rivalry in season 2?
JOSH HEALD: Obviously we ended season 1 with a moment where Daniel had to decide whether to let Johnny Lawrence take over karate in the valley or whether he was going to do something. So season 2 is definitely going to deliver on Daniel’s promise to reopen Miyagi-do as a full dojo, as a karate school. And what we can tease from dojo vs. dojo is that as we saw in season 1 with Johnny it’s not always easy to fill your dojo with students right away and make an immediate success of a karate dojo in the valley. And with those growing pains, comes more rivalry.

In the new photos, we see Sam (Mary Mouser) all suited up in her gi. As of last season, she hadn’t done karate with her dad since she was a kid. What can you tease about her return to the martial art?
JON HURWITZ: You saw at the end of last season that Samantha’s kind of love of karate is still there and as Daniel opens up this dojo I think it’ll be no secret in the advertising that Samantha finds her way back. You’re going to see a lot of karate from Samantha this year. We have the old rivalries of Johnny and Daniel, and Miguel and Robby, but there’s some new rivalries this season and Samantha Larusso will have a rival of her own.

Oooh, male or female?
HURWITZ: Female.

Daniel must be very happy that she’s doing karate again.
HURWITZ: Yes, Daniel is thrilled to have his daughter back in karate with him. It’s been a special part of their connection over the years and he’s thrilled to have her back, but she’s entering Miyagi-do at a time when there’s a true thriller going on, dojo vs. dojo as we’ve talked about, and we’ll just see the effect of that on how Daniel’s feeling about it throughout the season.

Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) and Sam left off in a pretty bad place. Will we see a reconciliation, or are we going to be dealing with a love triangle this season?
HAYDEN SCHLOSSBERG: There’s always hope. I mean I think we get caught up in the soap opera of the young characters as much as anybody and I think part of the fun of having these two rival dojos is allowing us to play with the love triangles and new people getting into the mix. It just gets even more complicated and we get to draw on classic teen drama and action like the Outsiders and West Side Story where you have the Montagues and the Capulets, but there’s sort of relationships on both sides. It’s all the fun of soap opera with the action of martial arts.

Johnny and Daniel didn’t fight last season, but they did test-drive a car together and ended up having a pretty good time. I want them to be friends, and I want you to tell me that’ll happen this season.
[Laughter]

HEALD: Johnny and Daniel are very complicated characters and they are like oil and water at times, and they’re like peanut butter and jelly at other times. And it’s those moments where they can come together and do come together in the series that are really fun for us to write and witness also, because their camaraderie — both in real life and between these characters in that they have so much shared history, both good and bad — but this rivalry runs deep and I think there’s probably a long road ahead before they can be reconciled.

SCHLOSSBERG: It’s the yin and the yang, and in some ways they seem perfect together but they’re also at odds with each other.

HURWITZ: They have rival philosophies on the world and karate, and sometimes that comes in conflict and can short circuit any potential friendship. But what we can promise in season two is that Johnny and Daniel are in several scenes together. There’s a lot of fun to be had. I think that whatever kinds of dynamics you enjoy with Johnny and Daniel, you’ll probably get a taste of it all. It’ll be a fun season.

We’ve gotta talk about Kreese. Much like Johnny, I was not happy to see him return at the end of the finale. What can you preview about his role in season 2?
HURWITZ: Sensei Kreese has an enormous role in season 2. We’ve taken the original sensei and run him into the mix in Johnny’s world, and this is somebody who has a loaded relationship with Johnny. He’s a father figure and a mentor and he’s also been a guy who has disappointed him greatly and literally tried to choke him to death — the last time that we saw them on screen together. They have a very complicated relationship. You’ll get to see more sides of Kreese this year and I think what I would say is that Martin Kove’s performance is fantastic this year. I think it’s one of the revelations of season two that I think people are going to be talking about — kind of in the way where when you watched season one were sort of surprised and enjoyed seeing Billy Zabka return as Johnny Lawrence in kind of a different way than you had seen before, and the performance was so great — the same can be said about Martin Kove in season 2. He’s excellent and kind of commands the screen whenever he’s there, and it’s fun watching his dynamic with the other characters in the series.

SCHLOSSBERG: I think the big difference between season 1 and season 2 is his presence and everything that he brought to the original Karate Kid, he is bringing to this show — so if you’re a fan of the original it’s like, Darth Vader is back! But because this is a series, like last season, you have more time to go through the layers to understand the character in ways that you maybe will look back on the original movie and think a little differently. It’s going to be fun for fans.

One of the things this show does so well is take these characters from kids to full-fledged, complex adults — and Kreese has always been a cartoonish villain. It’s good to hear that he’ll evolve in some way.
HEALD: I can say everything written all over Johnny’s face in the final frames of season 1, all those emotions of shock, fear, bad history, dysfunctional father coming in from the cold, everything written all over his face whill be fully realized, explored, delved into in an explosive way. That does bring that third dimension to a character that didn’t have that room to inhabit in the original movies.

HURWITZ: Just because you see more of the layers of somebody doesn’t necessarily mean, now they’re the good guy, you know? That’s what we tried to do with Johnny too — you see his side of the story, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s good. It’s still an ongoing debate.

HEALD: We play a lot with philosophies in this show, differing philosophies and how they give that path that you’re on in life… I think with the arrival of Sensei Kreese back in this universe people are going to see that a lot of philosophies get challenged.

Daniel’s ex-girlfriend Ali (played by Elisabeth Shue) came up in season 1, when Johnny and Daniel look her up on Facebook. Any chance that she’ll show up with her hot oncologist husband in season 2?
HEALD: Ali is one of those characters from the movies and in this universe that is very, very important and very integral to the relationship and the rivalry and the dynamic and the history between these characters, and I can say no more than that. [laughs]”

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Per Newsweek, “Making A Murderer subject Steven Avery will have his case re-examined by a Wisconsin circuit court, his lawyer Kathleen Zellner revealed Monday. Avery officially won his motion to appeal on Monday, when the Wisconsin Court of Appeals filed their decision.

“Avery was found guilty of the murder of Teresa Halbach, who he claims he did not kill. He is currently serving life in prison. If he is exonerated, it will be his second extended prison sentence for a crime he claims he did not commit.

“Zellner told Newsweek it's a big win for Avery. ‘The appellate court granted our motion to supplement the record with the evidence the bones were destroyed,’ she explained. ‘The case is being remanded back to the circuit court to conduct proceedings, which can include a hearing. The circuit court can grant a new trial, or if not, back to appellate court who can reverse the conviction and/or grant a new trial. Either way, the State opposed this motion and lost. This evidence has the potential to undo the whole case, so it is a big win.’

“Avery, through Zellner, filed a motion to appeal based on a collection of possible human bones, which was said to be in the possession of the Wisconsin Department of Justice. When Zellner filed a motion to have the bones tested for DNA, she found the bones had been returned to Teresa Halbach’s family. According to the state, they had never been tested for DNA.

“Zellner filed a motion for appeal, claiming the return of the bones constituted a Youngblood vs. Arizona violation, meaning potentially crucial evidence in Avery’s case was kept from further testing by handing it back to the Halbach family.

“The Court of Appeals agreed. ‘IT IS ORDERED that this appeal is remanded forthwith to the circuit court to permit Steven A. Avery to pursue a supplemental postconviction motion raising “claims for relief in connection with the State’s violation of WIS. STAT. § 968.205 and Youngblood v. Arizona,” the approval read.

“Zellner briefly celebrated on her Twitter account. ‘Avery Update: We Won!!!!!! Back to the circuit court,’ she wrote, along with the hashtag #TruthWins.

“Now, evidence surrounding the bones can be submitted, and could result in a second trial. A new trial would mean Avery’s team can present new evidence that has been discovered since his first trial. Zellner has come up with a steady theory, which names other possible killers of Halbach, as seen in Making A Murderer Part 2.

“Some of the evidence Zellner could present relies on forensic testing, from a bullet found in Avery’s garage to blood splatter and flakes found in Halbach’s Toyota Rav4. Zellner also told Newsweek about a collection of evidence not seen in Making A Murderer Part 2 in November, including information on her lead suspect, Bobby Dassey.

“Zellner has 14 days to file any ‘supplemental postconviction motions.’” 

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A POV on the Golden Age of Television: “Growing up in the late ’80s and early ’90s, I watched way too much television, regardless of whether it was good or bad. This is what we did in the pre-internet world — options were limited, so you consumed whatever was on the menu.

“By the time I was a teenager, I already had a well-rounded familiarity with TV history from the previous 30 years, the kind of knowledge that is worthless except in the one career field that I eventually pursued. I knew mediocre TV so well that I could appreciate it when one of my favorite contemporary shows, The Simpsons, frequently skewered the corniest and most old-fashioned conventions of the medium on a deeper level. For instance, in season four there was Krusty Gets Kancelled, in which Springfield’s top kiddie TV star Krusty The Clown is feted with a comeback special co-starring luminaries such as Johnny Carson, Bette Midler, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

“I loved Krusty Gets Kancelled, I’m sure, because hours upon hours of syndicated television had educated me about the history of TV reunions. I had seen The Brady Girls Get Married, I had viewed the Return of the Beverly Hillbillies, and I had marveled at The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island. And I was already old enough to witness some of the shows from my early childhood, like ALF and Growing Pains, return in the form of TV movies, though by the ’90s cooler and more progressive shows like The Simpsons introduced a new level of self-awareness about these nostalgia cash-ins. (I had also learned to scoff at TV reunions.) Later, during the seventh season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, a healthy dose of post-modern self-effacement made reuniting the cast of Seinfeld compatible with also satirizing the idea of reuniting the cast of Seinfeld.

“The common thread with reunion specials is an older generation reviving a familiar favorite that was once at the center of culture, and awkwardly inserting it into an unforgiving modern context that emphasizes, rather than eases, the passage of time. The cast members look older, the sets dustier, the wardrobes anachronistic. There is no surer sign that an era has passed than the desperate and ultimately unsuccessful attempts to bring it back to life.

“Perhaps it’s this ingrained aversion to reunions that has caused my ambivalence over two of my favorite shows ever, The Sopranos and Breaking Bad, returning in the form of one-off movies. (Another TV show that I like but have not yet finished, Deadwood, also has a film in the works.) Neither the Sopranos or Breaking Bad projects are straight-up reunion projects — the Sopranos movie, titled The Many Saints of Newark, is a prequel set in the 1960s and starring Jon Bernthal and Vera Farmiga, while the Breaking Bad movie appears to be a sequel to the original series that continues the story of Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul). The Deadwood film, meanwhile, is a full-on reunion that will presumably wrap up the series in proper fashion.

“Like any good fan, I will probably watch these movies and enjoy them well enough. But the specter of pointlessness looms, especially for The Sopranos and Breaking Bad, both of whom are unique among prestige TV dramas in that they put stuck the landing in their finales. Each show ended perfectly for what they were — The Sopranos embraced ambiguity by cutting to black, and Breaking Bad tracked Walter White to his inevitable denouement while Badfinger’s Baby Blue acted as Greek chorus. In both instances, I was satisfied. It’s hard for me to believe that anyone could come to the end of either series and still be hungry for seconds.

“In the case of Breaking Bad, allowing Jesse to flee into the desert night seemed less like a loose end than a tantalizing grace note for the most tortured character in Walter White’s orbit. I didn’t need to know where Jesse ended up. The value in not knowing was the hope that he would somehow be okay. But now, I know Jesse has another two hours of torment ahead of him. Thank you?

“So I don’t sound like a total killjoy, I will admit to being a fan of Better Call Saul, the first Breaking Bad spin-off featuring Bob Odenkirk as unscrupulous sometime lawyer Jimmy McGill, the man who will eventually become Walter White’s sleazy attorney, Saul Goodman. But Better Call Saul swiftly established itself as a markedly different show than Breaking Bad, fixated more on the minutia of Jimmy’s psyche and the slow-boiling tension of watching fate take its course, rather than the bombastic, action-oriented storytelling of its predecessor. While this has hurt Saul in some respects — it’s retained only a fraction of Breaking Bad‘s peak audience — it’s also made the show immune to charges of simply ‘playing the hits.’

“But bringing back the most hallowed programs of the ’00s for another curtain call seems different. It feels like the end of something, specifically the so-called Golden Age of Television, an era christened by overexcited critics in the ’00s during that post-Sopranos run of brilliant shows that also included The Wire, Lost, Mad Men, and Game of Thrones.

“Last month, upon the 20th anniversary of The Sopranos’ debut, I confessed that I felt nostalgic for a time when shows were “afforded the space to be important, to ‘hang out’ in my consciousness and make a lasting impression, without so much pressure to constantly move on to the next thing.” This “golden age” was as much about how TV was structured as it was the shows themselves. At the time, the post-Sopranos era felt like a break from what TV used to be in the 20th century, an explosion of the medium that resulted in richer, more novelistic storytelling. But in retrospect, that era seems more connected to the old days than it appeared to be at the time. Even if TV was ‘better’ than it used to be, it was still experienced largely via over-the-air networks by an audience gathered in front of their sets at the same day and time every week, over the course of several months, which allowed for a certain kind of critical mass to be achieved.

“Actually, Breaking Bad was a bridge to the way we watch television now, during the all-things-at-once post-Golden Age era, as it became a cultural phenomenon once viewers could binge the AMC series on Netflix. The low-rated Lifetime series You just had a similar trajectory, launching into the stratosphere once it appeared on the streaming platform.

“In order to have a reunion, you must actually leave for a little while. But streaming means never having to say goodbye. It also means never missing anything enough to even notice that it’s gone. Recently, while watching Netflix’s Sex Education, it occurred to me that all buzzy TV shows are now like this — you read about it constantly for a week, you watch it in a few days, and then you move on to the next thing the following week. The show itself was also typical: smart but glib, clever but not actually funny, extremely well-curated but devoid of anything truly unique, ‘good’ but not the kind of great that can push idle small talk into an obsessive three-hour bull session. When that’s the norm, I totally understand the allure of the already established and beloved, even if it’s a little less golden now.”