Monday April 22, 2019

I really enjoyed Ramy on Hulu. It’s a pretty easy 8-episode watch and I very highly recommend it. More below.

I also finished Shrill on Hulu. Not nearly as good as Ramy IMHO, but still worth a look.

HBO premieres Gentleman Jack tonight. “The series, set in 1832 West Yorkshire, England is inspired by the true-story and coded journals of Anne Lister (played by Suranne Jones), and follows her attempt to revitalize her inherited home, Shibdhen Hall. Most notably for the time period, a part of Lister’s plan is to help the fate of her own family by taking a wife. The prospective wife, Ann Walker, will be played by Peaky Blinders’ Sophie Rundle; Gemma Whelan, known for her role as Yara on Game of Thrones, has been cast as Lister’s sister, Marian. Timothy West (Last Tango in Halifax, Bleak House) will portray their father, Jeremy Lister, and Gemma Jones (God’s Own Country, Bridget Jones’s Diary) their aunt, Anne. The ensemble will also include, Stephanie Cole (Waiting for GodStill Open All Hours) as Ann Walker’s aunt; Peter Davison (Liar, Doctor Who) as Walker’s cousin, William Priestley; Amelia Bullmore (Happy Valley, Scott & Bailey) as William’s wife, Eliza; Vincent Franklin (Cucumber, Happy Valley) as Christopher Rawson, a businessman and fierce rival to Anne Lister, Shaun Dooley (Gunpowder, Broadchurch) as Jeremiah, Christopher’s brother and business partner; along with newcomers Albane Courtois and Ben Hunter as Eugénie Pierre and Joseph Booth.”

Live PD spinoff Live Rescue premieres tonight.

How Game of Thrones characters look in the books vs how they look in the show.

A deeper dive into last night’s episode.

And 1 more for good measure.

And an explanation of the Arya-Gendry scene.

Netflix has released a trailer for When They See Us. “Based on a true story that gripped the country, When They See Us will chronicle the notorious case of five teenagers of color, labeled the Central Park Five, who were convicted of a rape they did not commit. The four part limited series will focus on the five teenagers from Harlem -- Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise. Beginning in the spring of 1989, when the teenagers were first questioned about the incident, the series will span 25 years, highlighting their exoneration in 2002 and the settlement reached with the city of New York in 2014. When They See Us was created by Ava DuVernay, who also co-wrote and directed the four parts. Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King from Participant Media, Oprah Winfrey from Harpo Films, and Jane Rosenthal, Berry Welsh and Robert De Niro from Tribeca Productions will executive produce the limited series alongside DuVernay through her banner, Forward Movement. In addition to DuVernay, Attica Locke, Robin Swicord, and Michael Starrburry also serve as writers on the limited series.”

It will cost you $8/month to listen to Trevor Noah’s new podcast.

A new feature that would randomly select an episode of certain shows for immediate viewing is being tested by Netflix. Likened to the shuffle play feature for music playlists, the new feature will help viewers instantly stream an episode of their favorite show when they’re not particularly searching for something specific. Among the shows reportedly being tested with the new feature are The Office, New Girl, Our Planet and Arrested Development among others. A statement from a Netflix spokesperson confirmed the experiment. ‘We are testing the ability for members to play a random episode from different TV series on the Android mobile app. These tests typically vary in length of time and by region, and may not become permanent.’”

Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate, the 50th anniversary tribute to the original series by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, will premiere on Netflix on May 14. The special, which was taped at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, pays homage to the late ’60s series and includes Lily Tomlin, one of the original stars, playing her iconic Edith Ann and Ernestine characters. The lineup of celebrities for the tribute includes Billy Crystal, Tiffany Haddish, Chelsea Handler, Neil Patrick Harris, Snoop Dogg, Michael Douglas, Jay Leno, Rita Moreno, Margaret Cho, Bobby Moynihan, Rob Riggle, Tony Hale, Jameela Jamil and many more.”

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Per TheWrap, “Ramy Youssef says that the first time his mom watched his new Hulu show Ramy, she was shocked: Was this show supposed to represent a typical Muslim home?

“He told his mother the show was called Ramy because it was strictly about his experience.

“‘I didn’t want to claim at any point that I was speaking for anyone other than myself,’ the New Jersey comedian told TheWrap. ‘This is just one type of Arab Muslim family. We have different food and different experiences from other Arabs.’

“'Ramy follows an Egyptian-American millennial named Ramy Hassan and played by Youssef. He lives at home with his religious parents while also trying to go on dates at hookah bars and hang out with his friends. Each episode focuses on moments when Hassan’s two worlds collide.

“The show focuses unflinchingly on unpredictable cultural clashes. Early on in the series, Hassan’s friends (played by Steve Way, Mohammed Amer and Dave Merheje) criticize him for only sleeping with non-Muslim white women.

“But the reason is complicated: He knows he’s expected to marry someone of the Muslim faith eventually, so being with a Muslim women feels high-stakes in a way that his flings with other women don’t.

“‘I wanted to see the way we stereotype ourselves,’ Youssef said. ‘The reason why a lot of this show touches on sex is because it’s something we avoid talking about. We end up not being with our own people. Are we only putting people in our culture in the marriage category?’

“Youssef said he felt confident about his story, but also dealt with the fear that it wouldn’t work.

“‘It’s like so much of this show is me shedding preconceived notions that I have about what I should be doing or what my community is prepared for,’ Youssef said. ‘It was an emotional battle.’

“Youssef is excited about the premiere of the show, but he has no expectations. He spent years honing his story through his standup comedy.

“And if Hulu is up for a Season 2, he says, there’s much more story to tell.

“‘I’m not waiting idly. I’m ready. We’ve only scratched the surface,’ he said.”

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Per BGR, “[b]ringing a hit TV series like Game of Thrones to fruition is a massive creative endeavor that requires so much behind the scenes to make it work, everything from the obvious elements like a great story, spot-on casting and a network home like HBO that believes in the project and gets behind it in a big way.

“Oh, and because this is a fantasy series featuring dragons, impalement, beheadings and an abundance of gruesome slayings, you also need blood. Lots and lots of fake blood.

“To date, the show has used some 4,000 gallons of fake blood. That’s one of the fun factoids in a piece from CNNi llustrating how the show’s production requirements have massively expanded in tandem with the increasing popularity of the show around the world.

“Here are some other stats that illustrate the breadth of the challenge of bringing the series to the small screen:

The show has used 52,000 bags of paper snow over GoT’s eight seasons.

12,137. That’s the number of wigs and hairpieces used over eight seasons.

The series has relied on the prowess of 40 visual effects companies, in addition to almost 13,000 extras in Northern Ireland.

Seven prototypes were used to get Daenerys’ wig color and style just right.

In all, the show has been filmed in 10 countries, and as an indication of how many special effects are now packed into each episode, the number of weeks of post-production has grown from 17 for Season 1 to 42 for Season 8.

The full piece makes for a fun look at the making of the series over its full run. Only five episodes remain in its eighth and final season, with episode 2 set for this Sunday. Check out our previous post here for an early look at images HBO released ahead of the next episode, which reveal some of the tension, complexity and fear that are beginning to grip the main characters ahead of the big battle that we all know is coming.”

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From Uproxx: “The company line during the last year on how many seasons Better Call Saul will run has always been something along the lines of, ‘We’re closer to the end than we are the beginning.’ That actually makes a great deal of sense, as Jimmy McGill more or less made the full transformation into Saul Goodman in the season four finale. With more Breaking Bad characters intersecting with the Saul timeline, there’s not a lot of runway left for the series before it catches up to Gene in Omaha.

“In fact, after a season five that is expected to center on Jimmy and Kim’s relationship after the Saul transformation, there may only be one season left, according to Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul star Giancarlo Esposito, who plays Gus Fring on both series. Here’s what he had to say to Collider (italics added for emphasis):

“‘There is a new character coming in, Lalo Salamanca, obviously someone I’m going to have to deal with in my travels throughout the show. There will be six seasons, seems like that’s the way, the comfortable way to end this show. I am hoping for more of a collaboration in some way as an artist with Bob Odenkirk; I know as my star grows as Gus Fring [I’ll] be able to handle some of the edginess of the show more and more. And as Gene goes and comes to Saul Goodman, and becomes this nefarious lawyer, then I’ll have more interaction with him as well. So I’m excited about that.’

“Obviously, that’s not a confirmation, but it also makes logical sense, seeing as how Breaking Bad unofficially ran for six seasons (technically only five seasons, but the latter half was split into two eight-episode chunks and aired a year apart) and Vince Gilligan, if anything, loves symmetry. As sad as it may be to say goodbye to the Breaking Bad universe, there won’t even be a season five until 2020, while season six may not arrive until 2022 (and if it’s split into two, that could take us to 2023), and we still have that Breaking Bad movie coming, so there will be no shortage of Breaking Bad universe material to enjoy in the near future.”

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From Darkanator: “The Emmys have repeatedly given nods to Netflix’s favourite full-bodied Sci-Fi series, Stranger Things, for a reason. The show, which propels its out-of-ordinary narrative with an evocative, nostalgic tone, has maintained fine proportions of observance and genius in its two-season run. That is certainly something the makers really want to tap on before Stranger Things returns with its Season 3 this July.

“Over the years, Stranger Things has demonstrated its sharp awareness even in its outlandish plot lines. The show is set in the 80’s. Hence, it mostly keeps its relevance limited to its premise rather than the world outside. This is a general perception of the series’ narrative ambition. But it’s something that will inevitably change as Netflix is blowing the lid off the subtle references the supernatural series has made towards other shows from its real-time epoch. 

“Everything inside Stranger Things is way too unusual to fit into the millennial settings of popular shows. There is; hence, less opportunity for the show to draw a parallel with other successful series to obtain more viewership. Yet, there is always a setting that remains relatable to all kinds of entertainment. Something that is timeless: the afterlife, people have died before, people are dying today, and they will continue to do so until the end of times. This is just a universal fact.

“What happens to them once they depart is something that has received the same level of intrigue in all by-gone eras, and its something that will be just as riveting and fascinating in the times to come.

“When we talk about after-life, there is just one show that we can almost immediately talk about, and no it is certainly not the Ricky Gervais starrer, a Netflix series of the same namesake. We are talking about The Good Place. This TV gem, has the ability to hinge itself to almost any other work of art.

“Recently, through its official Twitter handle, Stranger Things released a clip from the fourth chapter of its freshman season. It was a teaser defining the most fine-drawn acknowledgement by one TV show of another. 

“In the episode, the boys along with Eleven try to break into the AV room to access the radio. Much to their misfortune, their science teacher, Scott Clarke (Randy Havens), intervenes as the club tries to get sneaky. Upon confrontation, the squad excuses their way out of the mayhem by convincing their teacher that they needed ‘alone time’ to ‘cry’ over their friend’s sudden demise.

“Moved by the overwhelming emotions Clarke offers the boys his sympathies and even permits them to use the radio. Later, noticing Eleven, Clarke asks her about where is she from. Dumbfounded, El introduces herself to Clarke as ‘Eleanor’ from the ‘Bad Place’; thus paving way for a ‘spiritual connect’. The boys quickly correct ‘Eleanor’ by lying about her being from Sweden, and her hating the place because ‘it’s too cold there’.

“One big takeaway from this startling revelation is the number of Easter eggs we might have missed during the course of the show. If they had been anything important; Netflix would have made sure that we know about them well enough! 

“It remains a mystery whether this teaser was just a gimmick to pull in more internet attention, or if it has more weight than what we have calculated. At the moment, there are rounds of a possible crossover between The Umbrella Academy Season 2 and Stranger Things Season 3. But if I really have to make a choice, I would definitely call for a Stranger Things- Good Place crossover.