Monday June 3, 2019

HBO airs the season 1 finale of Chernobyl tonight.

The season finale of Summer House airs on Bravo tonight.

Season 3 of GLOW will be available to stream on Netflix on August 9.

I cannot more highly recommend the Ron Artest Showtime Documentary Quiet Storm, especially if you’re a basketball fan.

James Holzhauer’s daughter is rooting against him on Jeopardy!

The house that Tony Soprano called home is listing for sale 20 years after its television debut. The roughly 5,600-square-foot home in North Caldwell, N.J., where America’s favorite fictional mobster scooped up his morning newspaper and swam with ducks, is being listed for sale by the owners, Patti and Victor Recchia, at a ‘starting price’ of $3.4 million. Set on a 1.5-acre lot, it includes the main house with four bedrooms, four full bathrooms and a powder room; two two-car garages; and a detached one-bedroom guesthouse. The property taxes are $34,005 a year. The price is ambitious for a neighborhood where comparable homes have sold for between $1.5 million and $2 million, according to Zillow. But Mr. Recchia, 65, the owner of Fourth Generation Construction, which built the house, as well as more than 20 in the development where it’s located, said the value exceeds the brick and mortar.”

Vanessa Lachey has joined the cast of the 90210 reboot. She will play Brandon Walsh’s wife.

HBO has confirmed that the upcoming sixth season of comedy series Silicon Valley will be its last. Currently in pre-production, Season 6 will consist of seven episodes and premiere later this year. ‘Silicon Valley has been a career and life highlight for us,’ series executive producers/showrunners Mike Judge and Alec Berg said. ‘We’ll miss it desperately, but we’ve always let Pied Piper’s journey guide the way, and Season 6 seems to be the fitting conclusion. We are forever indebted to our incredible cast, crew and partners at HBO. At a certain point, there’s only so much we can do to make the world a better place.’”

Looking for Alaska, Hulu’s eight-episode limited series based on John Green’s novel by the same name, is set to premiere in October [October 18th to be exact]. The drama stars Kristine Froseth, Charlie Plummer, Denny Love, Jay Lee, Landry Bender, Sofia Vassilieva, Uriah Shelton, and Jordan Connor. Ron Cephas Jones and Timothy Simons also have roles. The story is told through the eyes of teenager Miles “Pudge” Halter (Plummer), as he enrolls in boarding school to try to gain a deeper perspective on life. He falls in love with Alaska Young (Froseth), and finds a group of loyal friends. But after an unexpected tragedy, Miles and his friends attempt to make sense of what they’ve been through.”

ICYMI last week, kudos to IKEA’s marketing department.

An interview with Darren Star about Melrose Place.

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Per Deadline, “[i]n his first series-regular role since Suits, Patrick J. Adams will lead the cast of National Geographic’s scripted series The Right Stuff, based on Tom Wolfe’s best-selling nonfiction book.

“Adams will play Maj. John Glenn in the drama from Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way and Warner Horizon Scripted Television. It takes a look at what would become America’s first ‘reality show,’ as ambitious astronauts and their families become instant celebrities in a competition that either will kill them or make them immortal in the quest to be a part of Project Mercury.

“Glenn is a revered test pilot and committed family man with unwavering principles. He is the only astronaut to have experienced fame before Project Mercury, and he immediately locks horns with Alan Shepard in an unrelenting fight to be the first man in space.

“In the 1983 feature adaptation of Wolfe’s book, Glenn was played by Ed Harris.

“The first season of The Right Stuff, which uses Wolfe’s book as its starting point, starts at the height of the Cold War. To combat a national sentiment of fear and decline, the U.S. government conceives of NASA’s Project Mercury, igniting a space race with the Soviets and making instant celebrities of a handful of the military’s adrenaline-fueled test pilots. These individuals, who come to be known as the Mercury Seven, are forged into heroes long before they have achieved a single heroic act. At the heart of a historic drama populated by deeply human characters, archrivals Glenn and Shepard jockey to become the first man in space.

“Production will begin this fall in Cocoa Beach, FL. for a 2020 premiere globally on National Geographic.

“Subsequent seasons of The Right Stuff will carry through to the epochal Apollo Space Program, where humankind saw one of its greatest achievements — man setting foot on the moon — and missions beyond.

“DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson are executive producers, along with Mark Lafferty, who will serve as showrunner. David Nutter is set to direct and executive produce the series’ premiere episode. Will Staples also is an executive producer. Michael Hampton shepherded this project on behalf of Appian Way.

“Since wrapping a seven-season run as a co-lead on USA Network’s Suits, Adams has recurred on the third season of Amazon’s Sneaky Pete. He earned a SAG Award nomination for his role on Suits and directed several episodes of the legal drama, including its 100th.”

If Mike Ross is in, I’m in.

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Per EW, “Here’s a sneak peek at the future Lady of the Lake.

“Katherine Langford, star of 13 Reasons Why and Love, Simon, goes Arthurian in the first look at Netflix’s 10-episode Cursed, which is based on Tom Wheeler’s forthcoming book of the same name.

Langford stars as Nimue, and the coming-of-age series, from co-creators Wheeler and Frank Miller, is told through her perspective.

“The image sees the heroine holding a certain sword and standing in what we presume to be a certain lake. So, at least she’s a lady in a lake at this point in the story.

“According to the Netflix logline, ‘Cursed is a re-imagining of the Arthurian legend, told through the eyes of Nimue, a teenage heroine with a mysterious gift who is destined to become the powerful (and tragic) Lady of the Lake. After her mother’s death, she finds an unexpected partner in Arthur, a young mercenary, in a quest to find Merlin and deliver an ancient sword. Over the course of her journey, Nimue will become a symbol of courage and rebellion against the terrifying Red Paladins, and their complicit King Uther.’

“The first image from the production arrives as Miller and Wheeler previewed their young-adult novel at BookCon, a panel moderated on Saturday by Entertainment Weekly‘s own David Canfield.

“Wheeler, who will executive produce the series with Miller, serves as writer and showrunner of Cursed, which will premiere on Netflix in 2020. Cursed, the book, featuring illustrations by Miller, will be published by Simon & Schuster this fall.”

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From The Hollywood Reporter: “Big Little Lies is returning for a second season on HBO because there is more story to tell.

"‘I would say we do go a little bit broader, but mostly we go deeper,’ David E. Kelley tells The Hollywood Reporter. ‘There are more stories to tell when you look at the Monterey Five plus one.’

“The creator, writer and executive producer of the HBO drama is, of course, referring to Meryl Streep as the ‘plus one.’ Her character, Mary Louise Wright, comes to Monterey in search for answers about her son Perry (Alexander Skarsgard), who died in the season one finale, and her arrival shakes the Monterey Five tree enough that their secrets might just come spilling out.

"‘In terms of year two, the cast and producers, we didn’t want to come back unless we thought we had a legitimate shot of measuring up to the bar that we all set for ourselves,’ says Kelley, who spoke to THR at the recent New York premiere for season two. ‘Liane Moriarty wrote a novella with some terrific ideas, the best and the brightest being introducing Perry’s mother and we were lucky enough to get Meryl Streep.’

“Since the first season used up all the source material from Moriarty's best-selling book of the same name, the Big Little Lies team asked the author to return to the page for season two ideas. Within her 200-page novella that Kelley would adapt into the season two screenplay was a ‘telepathic message’ to Streep, since Mary Louise is the Oscar-winning actress' legal name. Streep didn't even read the script before agreeing to the key role.

"‘It worked,’ Kelley now jokes of Moriarty's nod to Streep. But, looking back, he adds, ‘We were all daunted and a little bit reluctant to take on year two, because we didn’t want to do it just to do it. But we got excited about the stories and the material and realized there were places to go.’

“He continues, ‘The key at the beginning was not to expand the canvas so much, although we do, but to drill down deeper on what we’ve got. Especially when dealing with the malignancy of the lie. And that’s going to live at a very low level and it’s going to take a little spelunking in order to get at with the various characters. The biggest challenge for me was keeping the entertainment and the fun part along with the dark side. And we’ve been blessed with a pretty gifted group of actors.’

“The stories that Big Little Lies tells in season two will dig beneath the surface of the familiar five women, as the team set out to mine the worlds of the main characters. Beyond the one secret that ties together the Monterey Five — who were all present when Bonnie Carlson (Zoe Kravitz) pushed Perry to his death in a bid end his abuse against wife Celeste Wright (Nicole Kidman) — the effects from other traumas will also come into play.

"‘This season is about digging and the corrosiveness of lies, which is a big theme for the show, and how lies raise everything in your own life to the surface,’ executive producer Bruna Papandrea tells THR. ‘It's about looking at each individual and their relationships, and going deeper and getting more complex to see where that leads all our characters.’

“When season two picks up, Madeline Martha Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon), guilty of having an affair, is still distant from her husband (Adam Scott); Renata Klein's (Laura Dern) rage will be tested in an unexpected way; and Bonnie (Kravitz) has completely shut down. 

"‘I wasn’t really privy or aware of the fans saying, “We need more.” In fact, I heard some of that, but I heard just as much of, “Don’t ruin it. Leave all this alone.” Neither really had a whole lot of play with me. In the end it was about: are there stories to justify season two?’ explains Kelley of taking the storylines and backstories further. ‘There was so much more to tell with the characters, especially with Bonnie. We only hinted about who Bonnie was. We had not mined where she came from and what led to the big push at the end of year one.’

“Then there is the complicated friendship between Jane Chapman (Shailene Woodley) — who newly identified Perry as her rapist and the father of her son, Ziggy (Iain Armitage) — and Celeste Wright (Kidman), the wife and mother to twin boys (who were caught bullying Renata's daughter in school) that Perry left behind. Both women are survivors and season two will follow their very specific journeys to show how they move on, especially with Celeste's grieving mother-in-law over her shoulder.

"‘The journey of healing is complicated and tricky. Both for Celeste and Jane,’ says Kelley. ‘And we don’t shy away from it and Nicole doesn’t shy away from it. She really tunnels in on Celeste — the good, the bad and the ugly. Nicole and I had some conversations, we’re always going back and forth. I think we’ve been on the same page from the beginning. My process as a writer and hers as an actor are very similar: we go inside the character. I went for many long walks in the woods with Celeste and as Celeste. And then you turn the pages over to the actors and Nicole takes it and she drills down even deeper.’

“When speaking during a panel at the Wing's SoHo location ahead of the premiere event, Kidman stressed how being an executive producer, along with Witherspoon, on Big Little Lies has allowed her to contribute to the specificity of Celeste in a way that is unique to her storied career. ‘I’ve been an actress since I was 14 and so much of my life, I haven’t had a say,’ Kidman said. ‘I’ve been able to go in and contribute in terms of a performance, but I never get to go, 'What about if this scene ended this way' or 'What about if this is what was actually being thought through and this is the psychology and what we were trying to achieve with this episode.' Just to be heard is amazing and that’s been the greatest gift for me in terms of producing.’

“Streep, who was also at the cast panel along with Witherspoon and Dern, said she felt part of the appetite for season two had to do with the characters not being emblematic of all women. ‘That responsibility to stand in for all women with a character is what’s exploded in this,’ Streep said, calling the ensemble one of very complicated, flawed, hysterically funny but tragic female characters. 

“And Kidman agreed. ‘After playing Celeste, my connection with so many people who are either living it, or going through it or have been in it, suddenly was augmented,’ she said of connecting with survivors of domestic abuse. ‘I was suddenly able to hear the stories, be a voice for a lot of those stories and I’ve continued on with that. But when you’re dealing with Celeste, it’s her particular story. We’re not doing an overall analysis of domestic violence. It’s very specific. Hopefully it’s incredibly real. And there’s an enormous amount of truth in it. I was adamant when we started the series that she wasn’t a superhero. She wasn’t coming out of this saying, “I’m healed. Off I go. Let’s go.” So you’re going to see the path and her navigating the path of what that means.’

“She continued, ‘I wanted it to be deeply authentic and so did Meryl with what we were doing in terms of our relationship to this man. And the way in which he changed my life, her life, the way we both perceive him. And then with Jane, who has been abused by him, she is also a survivor, has a child and the way in which were all connected — and that’s just one of the storylines. But it’s such deep material and to mine it is just extraordinary to have that chance and hopefully, with that we reach out and reach out to building conversation. Because it will be controversial. There hopefully will be discussion and create more and more awareness and, hopefully, change.’

“Ultimately, Witherspoon said Big Little Lies is about the spectrum of the female experience and raises a universal question within all of the characters: ‘Am I living the life that I'm supposed to be living?’ The producing pair said they fight for the characters in the edit room and they fought to bring them back to the screen.

"‘The situation originally was that it was one go around and I remember Reese and I both going, “Well that’s that, gosh it was great,"‘ said Kidman of the reaction to season one. ‘Then, by popular demand, we had to address whether we wanted to do it again and I had a lot of people who said, 'No, that’s it. It was fantastic one season.'‘

“She continued, ‘And a friend of mine, a male, said those women deserve their stories to be told beyond what was that first season. And I was so touched by that and I went, “Yeah. That’s what we’ve got to fight for now.” We don’t have to just be shut down and told, “No, that was good. You did well and off you go now.” You actually get to explore them on a deeper level and explore the consequences and see their lives unfold in a much deeper way, and that’s what was so exciting for me and having the chance of everyone coming back together with that passion.’

“And even though, similar to the first time around, there is no news on another season beyond these upcoming seven episodes, it seems that Kelley has also learned a similar lesson when asked about a potential season three. ‘My idea is this is the end,’ he tells THR. ‘But, everybody has now lectured me to never say never, so I’m not saying never.’”

Big Little Lies returns on Sunday June 9.

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From The Ringer: “Should a performer be lucky enough to reach the summit of the brutal, arduous mountain that is stand-up comedy, there’s a logical next step: become a movie star. Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, and Patton Oswalt all made the transition and thrived; Amy Schumer is currently trying to, with mixed results. Stand-up, apart from the occasional special, is anchored to a specific time and place, even when that place is an arena. Why not attempt to translate one’s charisma into a more universal, replicable platform like the movies?

“But as comedy has transformed over the past decade, so has what’s expected of its superstars. John Mulaney is one of the most critically acclaimed, commercially successful comics working; after a traditional self-titled sitcom failed in 2015, he’s largely stuck to stand-up, give or take the occasional Sondheim impression, in a move that feels like a return to form rather than a defeat. This weekend, another one of comedy’s biggest names hasn’t so much shredded the playbook as bent it to suit their needs. Ali Wong and Randall Park’s new movie, Always Be My Maybe, may be a feature-length vehicle for Wong to flex her chops, but it’s not a studio-backed venture opening wide at the summer box office, á la last year’s Crazy Rich Asians. Instead, Always Be My Maybe is a textbook Netflix rom-com, a subgenre that’s reappropriated the concept of a made-for-TV movie into an advantage, not an insult. That Wong chose such a project to capitalize on her fame shows how comic celebrity has changed, and how Wong in particular aims to cultivate hers.

“Perhaps not coincidentally, both Mulaney and Wong share an association with Netflix, the streaming service that’s remade stand-up and rom-coms, and might eventually, its shareholders hope, remake all of entertainment. Netflix’s reach and ease of access have helped stand-up become less of a niche than it once was; its deep pockets have also made the profession more lucrative, at least for its upper echelon. Mulaney—along with Schumer, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, and other bold-faced names—got his start before the Netflix era, though his 2012 Comedy Central special New in Town gained additional popularity on the site. A multi-special, multi-comma deal was nonetheless inked on the strength of pre-existing achievements, an M.O. that’s long served as Netflix’s default in its relationships with high-profile stand-ups.

“Wong, on the other hand, represents something new. Prior to her 2016 hour Baby Cobra, her first recorded special of any kind, the San Francisco native didn’t have much of a national reputation. But a combination of release strategy (Mother’s Day weekend), viral hook (Wong’s third-trimester pregnancy), and novel perspective (an Asian American woman sharing her experience with sex, marriage, and parenthood) made Wong an overnight sensation. Just two years later, Wong cemented her acclaim into lasting appeal with Hard Knock Wife,which kept the bracing obscenity while swapping out graphic sexcapades for graphic anecdotes about breastfeeding. In between, New Yorker profile canonized Wong’s genius, which weds masculine bravado with taboo feminine experiences like childbirth.

“That story planted the seeds of what would become Always Be My Maybe. Wong and Park have known each other since college at UCLA, when Wong joined a theater group Park had cofounded, and had since collaborated on Fresh Off the Boat, the ABC sitcom Park coleads and Wong previously wrote for. “Wong also wants to make a romantic comedy that she and Randall Park have been talking about for years,” The New Yorker’s Ariel Levy wrote. ‘Our version of When Harry Met Sally,’ Wong said at the time. It’s an offhand detail in the story, sandwiched between Wong’s reflections on her faux-regressive stage persona and early drafts of material for Hard Knock Wife. Now, it’s a weekend viewing option for millions of subscribers.

“Wong earned the capital required to make this dream a reality by becoming Netflix’s first homemade headliner. The Baby Cobra phenomenon is as inextricable from the rise of streaming as it is from Wong’s considerable talents, though the symbiosis is mutual: Netflix now has a vested interest in Wong’s continued success, and her career now serves as a walking advertisement for what comedians stand to gain by working with Netflix in lieu of its competitors. Last year, the Australian performer Hannah Gadsby achieved something similar with her polemic Nanette; once they were just a click away, Gadsby’s provocative ideas about comedy and trauma built a stateside following from scratch. But in the contrast between where she stood before joining forces with Netflix and where she stands after, Wong’s upward trajectory remains unmatched.

“Earlier this spring, Wong costarred with Tiffany Haddish in Tuca & Bertie, the adult animated comedy from BoJack Horseman artist Lisa Hanawalt. (Wong voices Bertie, a shy song thrush whose passion for baking leads her to a mentor with boundary issues.) With the subsequent release of Always Be My Maybe,Wong has transformed from a Netflix-boosted comic to a full-blown, vertically integrated, in-house Netflix star. Wong now releases specials, coleads a sitcom, and headlines movies—all at the same outlet. Fans know exactly where to find her.

“Wong is not the first entertainer to comfortably fit within Netflix’s all-encompassing umbrella. My colleague Alyssa Bereznak has reported on “Netflix famous” actors like Noah Centineo of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, a new generation of teen idols who’ve followed their audience online. Massive overall deals have brought self-contained industries like Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes into the Netflix fold. Elsewhere in comedy, Mulaney and frequent collaborator Nick Kroll have partnered with the service for efforts as diverse as puberty sitcom Big Mouth and Broadway duet Oh, Hello. But with Always Be My Maybe, Wong is showing how a progression that once required switching media entirely can now take place without ever shedding that trademark Netflix red.

“Though Wong and Park cowrote Always Be My Maybe themselves with Michael Golamco, the film proves an imperfect showcase for Wong’s charms. As celebrity chef Sasha Tran, Wong falls victim to the classic straight-man problem, unable to show off her hilarious eccentricities as well when she’s anchoring an emotional story as when she’s creating comedy for its own sake. (That privilege falls to Keanu Reeves, who airdrops in for 15 perfect minutes as an outsized parody of himself.) Nor do she and Park, directed by Fresh Off the Boat creator Nahnatchka Khan, share an onscreen chemistry to match their real-life friendship. Much of the script, from Sasha’s San Francisco upbringing to her and Park’s character awkwardly losing their virginities in the back of a Toyota Corolla, is pulled from the stars’ actual biographies. Yet Always Be My Maybe still feels curiously impersonal, the delicate rom-com balance between familiarity and specificity skewing heavily toward the former. Commentary on San Francisco’s gentrification rings false, given that the movie was clearly shot in Vancouver; promising threads, like the sexism that poisons Sasha’s dating life as an accomplished woman, end up underdeveloped. Even the typically live-wire Michelle Buteau falls flat as Sasha’s heavily pregnant assistant.

“If Always Be My Maybe doesn’t immediately succeed at establishing Wong as a movie star, however, it does show Netflix as a viable path to becoming one. Social media lit up almost as soon as the movie went live on Friday. The Reeves cameo, as it seems designed to do, has already become a meme. Wong is once again at the center of the cultural conversation; Netflix has once again won the weekend, even one with both an Elton John biopic and an Octavia Spencer slasher at the multiplex, by default. The movie business is changing, and the shrewdest stars are finding new ways to conquer it.”