Monday May 6, 2019

A Starbucks cup showed up on Game of Thrones last night.

Here is a list of who’s still alive in Westeros and beyond.

This should come as a surprise to no one, but E! has canceled Busy Tonight.

The season 2 finale of The Resident airs tonight.

The series finale of Shadowhunters airs on Freeform.

So does the series finale of Into The Badlands on AMC.

HBO’s limited series Chernobyl premieres tonight. More below.

ABC generated its highest-rated primetime NBA Conference Semifinals game broadcast since 2011 on Saturday, according to Nielsen. ABC’s coverage of the Houston Rockets victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of their Western Conference Semifinals series was up 20 percent from last year’s comparable window. It averaged a 5.5 metered market rating and peaked with a 7.3 rating from 11-11:15 p.m. ET. In the San Francisco-Oakland market, where the Warriors are based, the broadcast delivered an 18.2 rating, while in the Houston market, the telecast delivered an 11.8 rating. Through six games, ESPN and ABC’s NBA Conference Semifinals coverage is averaging a 4.1 metered market rating, up 21 percent from last season.”

At the other end of the spectrum, “[t]he XFL, which has been resurrected by WWE chief Vince McMahon as a bid to satisfy year-round viewer appetite for football, has announced multi-year deals with ESPN and FOX Sports to televise games in its inaugural 2020 season. Games will have broadcast slots each weekend on ABC and Fox, with carriage on cable via ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 and FS2. The schedule calls for back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The XFL will kick off on February 8 with teams in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Washington D.C. The league said more programming and on-air talent announcements are planned at a later date. In its first incarnation, which lasted just one season in 2001, the XFL proved a disastrous partnership between NBC and the WWE. Its revival, announced in 2017, followed a popular installment of ESPN’s 30-for-30 memorializing the first go-round. McMahon and commissioner Oliver Luck have promised a league that is not only entertaining for viewers but also safer than the NFL, whose high-profile issues with concussions and brain trauma have helped suppress youth football participation.”

I watched the first 3 episodes of Dead To Me on Netflix. It’s ok. If you are going to watch, do not read any spoilers or anything about it whatsoever, just dive in. More below, sans spoilers.

If Meghan Markle had a baby and Mike Ross wasn’t the father, why do I care?

How The Act’s actors compare to their real-life counterparts.

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Per The Ringer, “Episode 4 of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, The Last of the Starks, finally set up the endgame for the show. The conflict at the heart of the final two episodes will not pit the living against the dead, of course; despite the internet’s best theories, the Night King did not reappear in this episode. And while the forthcoming fight for the Iron Throne between Daenerys and Cersei takes center stage, that is not the true endgame, either. Nor is it a potential Daenerys-vs.-Jon tension, though that will certainly play a major role going forward as the secret of Jon’s Targaryen heritage spreads like dragonfire. At the heart of all of these conflicts is a broader one that will define the Thrones’ final chapters: Daenerys vs. everyone.

“This episode was a portrait of Daenerys’s increasing isolation. It begins with the first shot: Daenerys standing over Jorah, ready to light his funeral pyre and send him to the Night Lands like she did with Drogo seven seasons prior. Jorah loved Daenerys, and while she could not reciprocate his affection, he was Daenerys’s longest-serving adviser, closest ally, and her dear friend. Without him, she is without a rock that she has relied on since the very beginning of the show.

“Later, at the feast celebrating the defeat of the army of the dead, everyone has someone to spend time with (even the Hound had a few decent conversations!), except for Daenerys. After making Gendry the new lord of the Stormlands and toasting Arya (who wasn’t in attendance, because of course), Daenerys has no one to enjoy her victory with. There are no drinking games for the Mother of Dragons, who instead leaves the feast early, while nearly every living person in the North celebrates the victory in the Great War with some well-earned sex.

“Even when Daenerys finally finds Jon, she can’t help but push him away. The truth that Jon is a Targaryen is eating away at her. ‘I wish you’d never told me,’ she says. ‘If I didn’t know I’d be happy right now. I try to forget. Tonight I did, for a while. And then, I saw them gathered around you. I saw the way they looked at you.’

“‘I know that look,’ she continues. ‘So many people have looked at me that way, but never here. Never on this side of the sea.’ It’s the beginning of Daenerys seeing Jon as a rival. And when Jon admits that he has to tell Sansa and Arya the truth, Daenerys responds with an icy glare and some harsh words.

“As the episode pushes forward, the cracks in Daenerys’s ranks grow deeper. Tyrion, who as Dany’s hand is supposed to be her loyal and trusted second-in-command, can barely bring himself to defend his queen. He can’t answer Sansa when she asks him whether he is afraid of Daenerys; he later jokes to Varys that ‘maybe Cersei will win and kill us all—that would solve our problems.’ Given the amount of anguish Tyrion seems to be in as he tries to serve his queen (as Varys notes, Tyrion is drinking even more than usual), it doesn’t feel like too much of a joke.

“Tyrion says that Dany’s worst impulses are par for the course for ‘every monarch who ever lived,’ but by the end of the episode he and Varys are discussing actual treason. Varys tells Tyrion that he’s ‘served tyrants all his life,’ and the dwarf says little in response. They discuss, again, the possibility of Daenerys sharing the throne with Jon, but as Dany’s terse exchange with Jon showed (and as Tyrion and Varys already know), the dragon queen will never agree to such an arrangement. ‘I’ve spoken as honestly as I can,’ Varys concludes. ‘Each of us has a choice to make.’ The Spider it seems, has already made his.

“Tyrion isn’t ready to abandon his queen yet, but he’s more distant from Daenerys than ever. He tells Varys that the two should check Daenerys’s worst impulses, but that will become more difficult as Daenerys’s situation gets more desperate. Without Rhaegal, Cersei may even have the upper hand.

“We have to pour one out for Rhaegal here, who somehow couldn’t spot some boats or avoid even a single crossbow shot despite soaring hundreds of feet in the air. Euron went 3-for-3 even though he was firing from a boat. Meanwhile Daenerys and her army didn’t think to send out scouts and Rhaegal couldn’t perform even one evasive maneuver. It’s a truly stunning defeat for Daenerys, who now has only Drogon left and is attempting to not blow a 3-0 dragon lead. Yikes.

“And that brings us to the death of Missandei. Tyrion’s negotiation with Cersei failed (as Tyrion and Daenerys both expected). Missandei was the first person whom Daenerys broke out of chains and has long been the quickest person to defend Daenerys. When Jon and Davos asked her about Dany in Season 7, she responded: ‘I serve my queen because I want to serve my queen. Because I believe in her.’ Jon was a bit skeptical, but Missandei was insistent. ‘She’s not our queen because she’s the daughter of some king we never knew,’ she said. ‘She’s the queen we chose.’

“In the previous episode—The Long Night—Missandei is the person who defends Daenerys in the crypts, even as Tyrion hesitates to do so. ‘Yes, without the dragon queen there would be no problem at all,’ she snaps at Tyrion and Sansa. ‘We’d all be dead already.’

“With Jorah’s death last episode and Missandei’s death at the end of this one, Daenerys is now without her most trusted adviser and most vocal defender. Now standing by Daenerys’s side is Grey Worm, who is a loyal general but not exactly a person to eloquently defend his queen; Varys, who is plotting her demise; Tyrion, who seems close to joining Varys; and Jon, whose decision to disobey Dany and tell his secret to Arya and Sansa will soon blow up in his face. It’s not looking great for the Mother of One (1) Dragon.

“Missandei’s final words, ‘Dracarys,’ stand as both a roar of support for her queen and a portent for the bloodshed still to come. That could include the burning of King’s Landing, which Tyrion is so nobly against but which Daenerys seems less determined to avoid. Earlier in the episode, when the heroes are discussing battle strategy in the coming war against Cersei, Tyrion reminds everyone that ‘the objective is to remove Cersei without destroying King’s Landing.’ In response, he gets nothing but a chilly look from his queen:

“‘Thankfully, she is losing allies by the day,’ says Varys. He means Cersei, but by the end of the episode, that quote fits best for Daenerys, whose allies who are dropping like Rhaegal when faced with easily avoided crossbow bolts. Daenerys is running out of friends, and in the war against Cersei, she’s running out of options. The dragon queen once proclaimed that she didn’t come to Westeros to be ‘queen of the ashes.’ It’s looking more and more like her options are the ashes or nothing. How the rest of the characters—from Varys to Grey Worm, Tyrion to Jon—deal with that reality will define Thrones’ final arc.”

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From EW: Warning: This interview contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season 8, episode 4.

“Heartbreak upon heartbreak: The final season of Game of Thrones took another tragic turn in episode 4 when Missandai was executed after a tense standoff between Daenerys Targaryen and Cersei Lannister.

“Missandei — played by British actress Nathalie Emmanuel — joined the story in season 3 as a translator whose talent for discretion and quick-witted tact caught Dany’s eye while she negotiated for her Unsullied army. Over the years Missandei has become the Mother of Dragon’s trusted advisor and fell in love with the Unsullied’s stoic commander Grey Worm.

“At the start of season 8, Missandei and Grey Worm made plans to leave Westeros after the war and go to the beaches of her home country of Naath. It’s a vision of a happy ending that’s been forever snatched away after this latest tragic turn of events: Daenerys’ fleet is ambushed by Euron Greyjoy. Grey Worm puts Missandei onto a skiff to help her escape. The skiff is captured and Missandei is taken to Cersei. Daenerys arrives at King’s Landing and refuses to back down and Cersei refuses to surrender. So Missandei gives a defiant last word, loud enough for Dany to hear: ‘Dracarys!’ And with that, The Mountain takes her head.

“On the set of season 8, EW watched as Missandei and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) had their last joyful moment together on the deck of a ship, and then disaster struck.

“‘I found it heartbreaking for a number of reasons,’ Anderson said afterward. ‘There’s like a cruel inevitability in this show where anybody who finds that happiness is going to have to watch that taken away from them. So I thought either Grey Worm or Missandei, that one would be taken from another. I honestly thought Grey Worm was gone in that episode. And I even had that thought: “Take me!” She’s come through so much s—t that she’s had to deal with her life. As soon as it looks like they’re about to enjoy it, it all gets snatched away. So I didn’t expect it and I had to lay down the script for a bit.’

EW spoke to Emmanuel (who has also been in Furious 7 and The Maze Runner franchise) on the set after shooting the scene. Note: While we knew Missandei’s skiff was attacked and the character died as a result, we didn’t yet know any of the details of her fate when this interview was conducted and the scene had not yet been shot. The actress nonetheless provided some brief thoughts that gave a sense of her feelings about that ‘Dracarys!’ last stand:

At least that was a sweet moment with you guys on deck right before everything has gone to hell.
Yeah, they just like to tease us with a bit of hope and happiness and then take it away, which is why we love it.

What was your reaction to the scripts?
That I can’t believe I’m reading the last ever GoT scripts. I was on a flight coming back from New York as I opened it and I was about halfway through it and this is like the last first episode I’m going to read that that was pretty emotional, really. A lot of people ask when you read scripts do you read forward to see if you survive or not, and I didn’t. I just wanted the story to wash over me.

Think overall?
It was amazing and I could just sort to picture it. It’s gonna be a really epic long shoot and I was excited. Tying up loose ends through the whole show and bringing it together at the end.

What was the table read like?
It’s always like coming back to school a little bit. And coming onto this show you’re seeing all your friends again. This was coming back to do this for the last time. It’s emotional, no doubt about that. When different cast members met their demise everybody cheered each other and showed loved and applauded, when somebody had their final moments the whole room would erupt to show support for that person, which was amazing.

Does Missandei have any doubts about Dany like some of the other characters?
It’s hard to know from my character’s point of view because she does see many of those questionable moments. She would have heard about certain things going on. I do think Missandei is so loyal to Dany because she liberated her and gave her the respect she deserves. They have a really strong friendship. Missandei would probably have justified some of Dany’s actions.

What can you say about her death scene?
I thought it was a fantastic scene. I’ve said in so many interviews that I don’t mind if I die I’m just happy to be here and be a part of the show. But I just wanted it to be really cool and a moment that people remember and I feel like they really give me that moment and I’m excited to shoot it. It’s going to be really emotional and she’s so brave in it and shows her strength and fearlessness even though she doesn’t wield a sword. She believes in her queen and believes in her cause. I’m so happy that she has that kind of exit. It’s emotional. She said she was willing to lay down her life but we hoped she wouldn’t have to. You can watch the end of a show and think the character is living on to do whatever. But there’s a real sadness to the fact that the character won’t. It seems likely to push Daenerys to a scary level.

Did Grey Worm mess up, by telling her to go on the boat?
She doesn’t blame Grey Worm. He was trying to keep her safe.

Was there anything else you wish Missandei could have gotten to do?
I would have loved to see Missandei fighting. I think that’s just me projecting onto her that I want to see her being a badass with a sword or bow and arrow. I feel like a bow and arrow would be her thing as it’s super specific and requires a lot of skill. I guess I was relieved to not be doing 11 weeks of night shoots but there’s a part of me that’s a little sad Missandei didn’t throw down in the battle.

Do you have any regrets?
Fighting, that’s the main thing. [Emilia Clarke] and I enjoyed our lovely friendship scenes and we had those in season 3 through 5, though we haven’t had ones lately.

What’s your favorite scene you’ve ever done on Game of Thrones?
I do think my last scene will be a real moment. It’s probably my favorite scene that I’ve read. My favorite scene I’ve ever done — there’s so many — was when Grey Worm comes to her after he saw her bathing and they have this exchange and it’s emotional and amazing. It’s always really cool when you’re challenged as an actress to play those subtle things … If she lived, I think they would have gone back to her home. They would have lived happily ever after.”

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Per Variety, “[t]he cast of the new Netflix trauma-dy, Dead to Me, came out to support the season one premiere of the series at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, but everyone seemed to have movies on their minds.

“‘It’s been a crazy three weeks,’ said Linda Cardellini, who had back-to-back movie premieres for The Curse of La Llorona and, of course, Avengers: Endgame, which has already emerged as the sixth highest-grossing movie of all time. ‘I think this word sometimes is overused, but that movie truly is epic,’ Cardellini told Variety. ‘To be a part of that at all is incredible.’

“Ex-X-Man James Marsden, meanwhile, talked about next month’s release of Dark Phoenix, which retells the same story of star-crossed mutants as X-Men: The Last Stand, in which he played Cyclops and Famke Jansen portrayed Jean Gray. ‘I obviously know the Dark Phoenix story — the saga was close to me because my character is closest with Jean,’ Marsden told Variety. ‘It’s cool to see a Sophie Turner up there kicking ass as the young version of Jean.’

“Christina Applegate, who also serves as one of the show’s executive producers along with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, teased a potentially reunion for Anchorman 3. ‘Ask Will,’ she told Variety. ‘I think everyone’s kind of doing stuff their own stuff right now,’ she added, referring to the break-up of longtime producing partners Ferrell and McKay. But Applegate seemed to speak for the entire Anchorman ensemble when she said: ‘If there was to be one, I can guarantee you all of us would jump at it — in a heartbeat — just to be together again.’

“As it turns out, filming Dead to Me took a huge toll on Applegate — physically as well as emotionally. At one point in the series, she breaks into an elaborate Fosse-inspired dance routine. ‘I was in traction for a week because I hadn’t danced in 10 years before that day. So it hurt. This old body? This 47- year-old body can’t do it anymore.’

“The scene showcases a rare moment of joy for a widow mourning the sudden loss of her husband, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver. ‘Jen, my character, is grieving in worst way possible, but that’s her way,’ said Applegate. ‘And I think that we should all be allowed to do that when we need to. Grief doesn’t have a timeline. And grief is messy.’

“Applegate revealed that she drew on a past personal loss for this emotional rollercoaster of a role. ‘It tapped into some stuff that I had to face. It was cathartic,’ she said. ‘I don’t know if [it was] therapeutic. Did I start therapy after I shot the show? Yes, absolutely,’ she said with a laugh. ‘To like finally talk about the stuff that hurt you in your life — and heal from that? I think it’s really beautiful thing.’

“As for the show’s creator, Liz Feldman, she had her own struggles. ‘The biggest challenge of getting it made? Acts of God,’ she told Variety. ‘There are things that happen in production that you can never foresee coming, like illness and people actually passing away and inclement weather and fires. Things like that that were just sort of daily obstacles.’ But in retrospect, Feldman has only gratitude, regardless of whether or not Netflix renews her series for a second season. ‘I have to say we really blessed, like something was up there looking down at us, some kind of luck.’”

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From CNN: “Spare, bleak and devastating, HBO's Chernobyl captures a moment during the waning years of the Cold War when the Soviet Union experienced a nuclear disaster, then tried to cover up the extent of the damage.

“The hideous consequences of that are presented in unflinching fashion over a five-part miniseries that's as much a cautionary warning about current technology as a look backward.

“Indeed, the prospect of nuclear holocaust has long been a source of fascination in TV and movies, although the most memorable artifacts -- titles like The Day After, The China Syndrome and Testament -- hail from the pre-Chernobyl era.

"Chernobyl pulls back the Iron Curtain, revealing the incompetence that allowed the disaster to occur in 1986 and the face-saving contortions by the Kremlin that complicated efforts to address the crisis in an open and expeditious manner.

“That daunting ask heavily falls to Valery Legasov (Jared Harris), a leading nuclear physicist enlisted to oversee the response. He's paired with a bureaucrat, Deputy Prime Minister Boris Shcherbina (Stellan Skarsgard), whose steely demeanor is balanced by his lack of knowledge, forcing him to defer to Legasov while recognizing that his proposals and conclusions will land like a lead-irradiated balloon back in Moscow.

"‘It's not alarmist if it's a fact,’ Legasov says in the second episode, although no one seems particularly eager to listen to his worst-case scenarios. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev (David Dencik) says, ‘It seems like it's well in hand,’ before officials realize the modest radiation levels initially recorded are because the available devices can't register the massive scope of the leak -- a threat that, if left unchecked, will spread "until the entire continent is dead.’

“Beyond the political and scientific response, writer Craig Mazin and director Johan Renck humanize Chernobyl with tales of people impacted by the explosion and radiation poisoning, including residents, first responders and those dispatched on what amount to suicide missions -- either immediately or from the cancer sure to follow -- to fix the plant's compromised core.

“Aiding Legasov, meanwhile, is another nuclear physicist (Emily Watson), who has the audacity to tell a political appointee, ‘Before you were deputy secretary you worked in a shoe factory.’ (One of the closing onscreen notes says that her character is a composite of scientists who spoke out about the disaster at the time.)

"Chernobyl's pacing slows in the third and fourth chapters, but the miniseries finishes powerfully. Throughout, the filmmakers produce haunting images and sounds of the sick and dying, as well as quietly horrifying moments, like soldiers killing pets that have been contaminated.

“There's also ample heroism on display by the workers and scientists -- the latter knowing they're imperiled not only by exposure to radiation but if they dare to contradict the state's desperate cover story. As a result, they're treated like Chicken Littles for calculating that the disaster will render part of the region ‘completely uninhabitable’ for a century.

“Harris perfectly captures the terrible position in which Legasov finds himself, knowing that speaking truth to power could have dire consequences. The reluctance to acknowledge the roots of what transpired exacerbates the problem, and attempts to reassure residents with the mantra ‘Please remain calm’ stand in stark contrast to the horrors witnessed.

“The Soviets didn't have a monopoly on stupidity, and the dangers of tampering with such forces are hardly confined by geography or even relegated to the past. Perhaps for that reason, watching Chernobyl provokes a variety of feelings, but calm surely isn't among them.”