Tuesday July 2, 2019

Season 3 of Stranger Things will be available to stream on Netflix on July 4.

Season 3 will be the final season for HBO’s Divorce.

Aloe Blacc is on Songland tonight.

ESPN airs a new 30 for 30 about the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest tonight, called The Good, The Bad, The Hungry.

Perez Hilton is trash and looks like a big old bag of it based on what I saw on The Hills last night.

Aziz Ansari’s new Netflix special will be available to stream on July 9. Here’s a look.

How and why the F are people still talking about Jussie Smollett?

I could say the same about Colin Kaepernick.

Here’s everything Quibi has greenlit thus far.

The series premiere of Seinfeld aired on July 5, 1989. Happy 30th anniversary.

WarnerMedia has ordered Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, a 10-episode, half-hour prequel to the original movie, Gremlins, for its upcoming unnamed streaming service. Per its official description: In the animated television adaptation, we travel back to 1920s Shanghai to reveal the story of how 10-year-old Sam Wing (future shop owner Mr. Wing in the 1984 movie) met the young Mogwai called Gizmo. Along with a teenage street thief named Elle, Sam and Gizmo take a perilous journey through the Chinese countryside, encountering, and sometimes battling, colorful monsters and spirits from Chinese folklore. On their quest to return Gizmo to his family and uncover a legendary treasure, they are pursued by a power-hungry industrialist and his growing army of evil Gremlins.”

“In a break with other talent agencies, Abrams Artists Agency said Monday it is willing end its involvement in packaging and in affiliate productions if the Writers Guild of America will permit it to represent guild members, an Abrams spokesperson told TheWrap. The move makes Abrams only the second agency to go back into business with the WGA since April, when the guild implemented a tough new code of conduct for agents designed to curb packaging and affiliate productions, which the guild calls conflicts of interest. In May, literary and talent agency Verve became the first to do so. But Verve is not a member of the Association of Talent Agents, the group representing major agencies in their dispute with WGA. Abrams is an ATA member, according to the agency spokesperson.”

Gloria Vanderbilt left almost all of her estate to her youngest son, Anderson Cooper — and nothing to her estranged middle son, Chris Stokowski, according to her will. The document, filed Monday in Manhattan surrogate court, says the recently deceased socialite fashion icon’s eldest son Leopold ‘Stan’ Stokowski will get her Midtown pad in a co-op at 30 Beekman Place, but ‘all the rest’ of her property goes to the CNN host. Vanderbilt — the great-great-great-granddaughter of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt — died June 17 at age 95 after being diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer. It wasn’t immediately clear exactly what or how much Cooper will receive. In 2014, he told Howard Stern in a radio interview that he didn’t expect to inherit his mother’s fortune, which has been estimated at $200 million.”

From EW: “It’s mid June and Gabriel Macht is feeling fairly content as Suits reaches the halfway point of its ninth and final season. “Everyone’s got a very positive, upbeat, creative push moving into these last couple months,” says the actor, who plays maverick lawyer Harvey Specter. Not only is he pleased with a cut of the season’s third episode, which he directed, but he’s also just reunited with his former partner-in-winning Patrick J. Adams, which is also invigorating.

“Adams — who left at the end of season 7 — is back as brilliant lawyer Mike Ross in the season’s fifth episode (airing Aug. 14). Macht was so excited to see the actor on his first day back on set that he risked ruining his sleek bespoke look when they reunited in the hair and makeup trailer.

“‘He’d just gotten a haircut. I was worried about getting flakes of hair all over my wardrobe, but it didn’t matter. I gave him a hug anyway,’ says Macht. ‘We haven’t worked together in a year and a half, but it feels like there has been not a second that has passed. There was a moment in the first scene as I walked up to him where I was like, “Holy s—, this is the energy. This is what we had for seven years.”’ And the feeling is definitely mutual. ‘It’s been great,’ says Adams, whose character rode off into the sunset with Meghan Markle’s Rachel after their season 7 wedding. ‘To come back now, make each other laugh, and push the buttons I know how to push better than anyone in the world, it’s a gift.’

“While Adams’ homecoming was welcomed, the same can’t be said of his character’s. The wunderkind, who moved to Seattle for a non-corporate law job, returns to New York for a case that pits him against both his former mentor Harvey and the formidable Samantha Wheeler (Katherine Heigl), and it has long-lasting consequences for the rest of the series. ‘Everything in the second half of the season flows from the end of that episode,’ says creator Aaron Korsh.

“As part of its closing argument, Suits will also hold its characters to task the many ethically questionable decisions they’ve made over the past few years. In the wake of another one of the firm’s named partners (Wendell Pierce’s Robert Zane) being disbarred, the New York Bar Association assigns someone to keep an eye on the firm. ‘Faye Richardson, played by Denise Crosby, is going to some degree force these people to have a reckoning with how they’ve behaved ethically over the past seasons,’ says Korsh. Similarly, Macht hopes fans also take a critical eye to the characters, too, as they watch the final season and reflect on the show once it’s gone. ‘I hope that when you watch this show, you could learn from their successes and you can also understand and learn from their mistakes,’ he says.

“Even though this is the end of the road for Suits, its spirit will live on in Pearson, the spin-off led by Suits alum Gina Torres as regal lawyer Jessica Pearson. The new series follows Jessica’s entrance into the dirty and corrupt world of Chicago politics as Mayor Bobby Novak’s (Morgan Spector) right-hand woman (read: fixer). Like SuitsPearson boasts snappy dialogue and characters who walk a fine moral line; however, the offshoot also forges its own path where the stakes are higher than just the fate of a law firm.

“‘On this show, we’re seeing the compromises [the characters make] affect the working men and women of Chicago. That’s something that really hits Jessica,’ says executive producer Chris Downey.

“As we learned in the backdoor pilot, which aired as Suits‘ season 7 finale, Jessica has family in Chicago with whom she’s trying to reconnect after years of separation. ‘She wants to invest more emotionally. She wants to invest in the world around her,’ says Torres. Showrunner Daniel Arkin adds that Jessica’s family ‘brings out such a warmth” in her. “We see the things she’s willing and wants to do for family.’

“And what about Jessica’s Suits family? Well, the jury’s still out on whether she’ll travel back to New York before the mothership’s final episode. Says Korsh, ‘We’re figuring it out as we speak.’

Suits returns July 17 at 9 p.m., followed by Pearson at 10 p.m. on USA Network.”

I do not want this show to end. Ever.

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Per Vulture, “[r]eturning after a nearly two-year break, Stranger Things is as Stranger Things-y as ever, which is both good and bad. It’s nice to see all these characters again. It’s also fun to once again be immersed in the supremely retro setting — this season takes place during the summer of 1985 and, for large portions, in Hawkins, Indiana’s brand new Starcourt Mall, home to a Waldenbooks and a Sam Goody and a Time Out arcade.

“But the familiarity of the series, created by the Duffer brothers, is also what makes it seem a bit boilerplate at times. If you plan to play a drinking game every time a classic Stranger Things plot development or detail arises, your blood-alcohol level is going to rise quickly.

“Use of walkie-talkies whose signals carry for remarkably long distances? Drink.

“Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) moving people and objects with her mind while her nose bleeds? Drink again.

“Someone draws and/or consults maps as part of a plan to defeat something evil? Drink, then again, and again, and oh great, now you are totally wasted.

“All that said, Stranger Things 3 does move into some new territory. This season is the equivalent of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, in that the adolescent protagonists are now transitioning into their teens and dealing with all the issues that accompany that. Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) returns from a sleepaway camp and reports that he now has a girlfriend. Will (Noah Schnapp) still wants to play Dungeons & Dragons even though all his friends are obsessing over the opposite sex. (It’s implied, as it has been in previous seasons, that Will is gay, though it isn’t explicitly stated.) Max (Sadie Sink) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) are still a frequently bickering item, and Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) are actively dating, too. They often spend time kissing in El’s room while listening to Corey Hart cassettes, a habit that doesn’t sit well with Hopper (David Harbour), who’s now officially El’s father and becomes irrationally obsessed with breaking up the two of them.

“That fixation is just one example of the Duffers and their fellow writers inserting something into the show that feels like a device orchestrated to cause conflict, or a bridge that leads from Preconceived Story Point A to Preconceived Story Point B, more than something rooted in a character’s natural behavior. Here’s another: Joyce (Winona Ryder), whose role in previous seasons has been to, understandably, freak out about her son Will’s well-being, drops everything in her life to try to figure out why the magnets at the general store and in her house have lost their magnetism. I guess Joyce Byers is gonna Joyce Byers, whether she has a valid reason to or not.

“Actually, it turns out there may be a valid reason to be concerned about the magnets, among other things. I can’t go into much detail about the nature of the various threats that arise in Stranger Things 3; Netflix sent a list of embargoed information so long that even the famously spoiler-averse Matthew Weiner might suggest it’s excessive. But I can say that in the first episode, there’s a wide-scale power outage, after which Will once again senses an unwanted presence in the vicinity. Soon, other things begin to seem amiss in Hawkins in ways that give every character his or her own story line, including Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), who turn their internships at the local newspaper into an opportunity to do some rogue reporting.

“The season doesn’t really start to hit its stride until episode four, when the suspense ratchets up on multiple fronts and director Shawn Levy, also one of the show’s executive producers, toggles elegantly between parallel high-stakes moments. The horrors in Stranger Things 3 are messier, in that it’s a little harder to make sense of everything that’s happening; also because they are literally messier. It’s a bit of a stretch to say this season is truly gory, but it’s definitely ookier than the previous two.

“It’s also much more blatantly aware of itself and its place in the Zeitgeist. While Stranger Things 2 was roughly plotted out before the first season became an unexpected phenomenon, Stranger Things 3 was scripted with full and complete knowledge of the show’s place in the culture. Consequently, there appears to be an even stronger interest in giving the viewers what they want. Lucas’s younger sister, Erica, who had a small, fan-favorite supporting role in season two, is an even bigger part of season three. As played by Priah Ferguson, she’s also even more of a sassy-remark machine than she was before. The funny but minor flirtation between Karen Wheeler (Cara Buono), the mother of Mike and Nancy, and the much younger Billy (Dacre Montgomery), stepbrother of Max, gets amplified into its own subplot early in the season. Because Steve (Joe Keery) shared some entertaining scenes with Dustin last season, Dustin spends the vast majority of his time this season with Steve, as well as Erica and new addition Robin (Maya Hawke), Steve’s co-worker at Scoops Ahoy, the mall ice-cream shop.

“There’s nothing wrong with any of this per se, but it adds to the impression that the Duffers & Co. are writing what they know rather than trying to break new ground. Then again, part of Stranger Things’ DNA is that it isn’t inventing so much as reinventing, particularly when it comes to the popular ’80s cinema from which it generously borrows. As expected, there are tons of references, both explicit and more subtle, to films of the era, including Fast Times at Ridgemont High; George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead, which was released in the summer of 1985; The Breakfast ClubAlienFerris Bueller’s Day Off; The Karate Kid; and, above all else, Back to the Future, which hit theaters on July 3, 1985, precisely the time when Stranger Things 3 is taking place. There’s a scene where Robin attempts to explain the Robert Zemeckis blockbuster to a confused Steve that is absolutely delightful. The relationship between Steve and Robin turns out to be one of the high points of the season, partly because Keery and Hawke have a nice, evolving chemistry and also because their relationship takes turns that upend the clichés that tended to run rampant in the teen movies they would have absorbed back then.

“As preposterous as things can get in terms of plot, the actors do a consistently strong job of keeping things anchored. Brown, always called upon to suffer as a girl saddled with superpowers, puts every ounce of heart, soul, anguished screaming, and energetic hand acting she has into her portrayal of Eleven. In some scenes, I honestly was concerned she might burst a blood vessel. As Will, Schnapp quietly shows flashes of genuine emotion, particularly in the intense, concluding moments of the finale. Three seasons in, all of the kids still effectively convey the sense that they know and care about each other in a way that only kids who have grown up within blocks of each other — or, perhaps, become famous on the same TV show — can.

“There are some sad moments toward the end of the season that are bound to instigate social-media conversation. There are also some major story lines that don’t feel entirely resolved, and while the music is generally on point, there are some song choices that don’t make any sense, time-wise. (Looking at you, “I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight,” which wasn’t released in the U.S. until 1987.) That makes Stranger Things 3 a summer blockbuster that’s partly, but not entirely, satisfying. Which, as ’80s as it may be, actually makes this season perfect for 2019.”

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, “[w]ith The Big Bang Theory officially wrapped, star Kaley Cuoco has opted to remain in business with producers Warner Bros. Television Group and has signed a massive new deal with the company.

“Under the pact, Cuoco has signed a new pod deal and will turn her attention from scripted comedy to drama and will star in WarnerMedia streaming thriller The Flight Attendant, which is based on the book her Yes Norman banner optioned in 2017. Cuoco's company will exec produce the series alongside prolific producer Greg Berlanti. The new agreement also includes a talent holding deal for Cuoco's future acting services in a sign of just how competitive the demand for established talent has become in the Peak TV era.  

“Financial terms of the exclusive deal were not immediately available but it is likely considered a sizable deal given Cuoco was making north of $1 million per episode when Big Bang Theory wrapped its run in May.

“The pact extends Cuoco's relationship with the studio that she has called home for the past 12 years. She next will lead the voice cast and executive produce Harley Quinn, the adult-focused animated series from Warner Bros. Animation that is expected to debut in 2020.  

"‘I love that Warner Bros. is my home away from home, and I couldn’t be more excited to continue this incredibly collaborative and gratifying relationship. They’re stuck with me now!’ Cuoco said.

The Flight Attendant is based on the novel by Chris Bohjalian. The best-seller revolves around Cassandra Bowden, a binge-drinking flight attendant prone to blackouts who wakes up one morning next to a dead body and begins to lie as she looks to fill in the blanks from the fateful night in Dubai. Cuoco will star and exec produce alongside Berlanti and his Warners-based Berlanti Productions topper Sarah Schechter. Steve Yockey (Supernatural) will adapt the novel. Cuoco's Yes Norman topper Suzanne McCormack will co-exec produce.

“The thriller is but one of multiple projects Cuoco has in development at Warners. The actress and producer has also optioned Sick Girl, a psychological thriller based on the debut novel from Rachel Hargrove. Yes Norman, led by vp McCormack, will continue to develop projects for broadcast, cable, streaming and digital platforms across all of Warners' TV divisions. The company previously signed a pod deal back in 2017. Many of the Big Bang Theory stars received producing pacts as part of their record-setting talent deals to remain on the CBS comedy that ended as TV's longest-running multicam.

The Flight Attendant is the latest series earmarked for WarnerMedia's forthcoming streaming service. The platform, set to launch in beta in the fourth quarter of the year. It joins Paul Feig's comedic anthology Love Life starring Anna Kendrick; Ansel Egort drama Tokyo Vice, Dune: The Sisterhood, half-hour comedy Made for Love (half-hour comedy) andlimited series Station Eleven.

“The thriller is also Berlanti's first show for WarnerMedia's streaming service and brings the busy producer's TV record back up to 18 scripted series after CBS canceled The Red Line. Those series air across six platforms, including four of five broadcast networks. He now has streaming shows on Netflix (You, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) and Warners-backed DC Universe (Titans, Doom Patrol, Stargirl).”

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Per TheWrap, “Netflix has given a 10-episode series order to a series adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman comic, the streaming service said Monday.

“The live-action adaptation from Warner Bros. Television will be written by Wonder Woman and Grey’s Anatomy alum Allan Heinberg. Batman v. Superman writer David S. Goyer will executive produce.

“‘We’re thrilled to partner with the brilliant team that is Neil Gaiman, David S. Goyer and Allan Heinberg to finally bring Neil’s iconic comic book series, The Sandman, to life onscreen,’ Netflix’s Channing Dungey, vice president of originals, said in a statement. ‘From its rich characters and storylines to its intricately built-out worlds, we’re excited to create an epic original series that dives deep into this multi-layered universe beloved by fans around the world.’

“The series is an adaptation of the Vertigo comic book series created by Gaiman in 1989, which centers on Morpheus, The ‘Dream King’ and one of seven god-like figures known as the ‘Endless,’ as he mends the cosmic — and human — mistakes he’s made during his vast existence.

“Netflix describes the series as ‘a rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy in which contemporary fiction, historical drama and legend are seamlessly interwoven.’

“Hollywood has long had its eye on adapting The Sandman, though the project has languished in several iterations of development limbo for years. Most recently, a feature film adaptation starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt was in the works at New Line in 2013 until the actor announced that he had parted ways with the project in 2016.

“In the meantime, Gaiman has seen several of his other works adapted for screen, including American Gods on Starz and the limited series version of Good Omens at Amazon.”

Happy 4th of July. Back on Monday . . . .