Friday July 26, 2019

The final season of Orange Is The New Black is now available to stream on Netflix. More below.

Here’s a review of the final season of OITNB.

All eight episodes of season 1 of The Boys are available to stream on Amazon. More below.

The next season of Will & Grace will be its last.

A trailer for Comedy Central’s upcoming Good Talk with Anthony Jeselnik.

IFC has picked up a 5th season of Baroness von Sketch Show in advance of the season 4 premiere.

I maintain that Pauly D would be a great hang.

Kiefer Sutherland shared a message with fans after the 2nd cancellation of Designated Survivor.

Ciara, Debbie Gibson and digital media’s David Dobrik will be the judges for the new Nickelodeon music competition show, America’s Most Musical Family. The series will be hosted by Nick Lachey and will premiere on an unspecified date in the fall. The show features families of two or more relatives who perform together, ranging from a father/daughter duo, sibling groups, and a 12-member, multi-generational brass ensemble. Over the course of 12 hour-long episodes and one half-hour special, the 30 musical families will battle for the chance to win a $250,000 cash prize and a recording contract with Republic Records.”

A Little Late With Lilly Singh will premiere on September 16.

Barry Williams thinks HGTV “paid way too much” for the Brady Bunch house. No $hit Greg, who doesn’t?!?

Jeff Bridges “will star in FX’s drama series The Old Man as a retired CIA officer, his first recurring television role in more than 50 years. Based on Thomas Perry’s best-selling novel, the show will tell the tale of Dan Chase, who has lived off the grid since departing the CIA decades before. After escaping an attempted assassination, Chase must reconcile his past to ensure his survival. The series, written by Jon Steinberg and Robert Levine (creators of Starz’s Black Sails), will begin production this fall.”

Inside the making of The Righteous Gemstones with Danny McBride, David Gordon Greene, and Jody Hill.

This is pretty f’ing cool. “Orange Is the New Black is leaving a legacy in the form of an initiative to help incarcerated women. And it's named after the most memorable character the Netflix prison dramedy left behind.

“The Poussey Washington Fund, which takes its namesake from the Litchfield inmate formerly played by Samira Wiley, was announced by creator Jenji Kohan during the New York City premiere for the seventh and final season on Thursday.

"‘We have seen how Orange Is the New Black has impacted you and people all over the world,’ Wiley says in a video announcing the initiative. ‘We've been honored to tell these stories of these characters, and we've learned first-hand that the system is failing women, both inside and outside of prison walls.’

“A fictional version of the Poussey Washington Fund is featured in the final season of OITNBwhich launches its last 13 episodes on Friday. In the final season, Tasha ‘Taystee’ Jefferson, who is played by Danielle Brooks, works to offer micro-loans to women getting out of prison and the storyline inspired Kohan and executive producer Tara Herrmann to bring an expanded version to life.

"‘Through the Poussey Washington Fund, our characters can live on and continue to make an impact after the show has come to an end,’ says Kohan in a statement. ‘Taystee recognized an opportunity to make a difference for her fellow inmates, and we saw no reason why we couldn’t launch our own initiative to have an effect in the real world.’

“The fund that launched on Thursday features eight non-profit organizations that focus on a range of issues surrounding prison and criminal justice reform. The hope is that that viewers who are impacted by the Emmy-winning series — and the timely but shocking death of Poussey Washington, a hopeful black inmate who was murdered by a white corrections officer in season four — will be motivated to show their support. The seventh season ends with a title card that prompts viewers to visit crowdrise.com/PWF.

"‘There are charities in place that are doing really good work, so the fund identifies and supports those charities,’ Kohan explains to THR.

“The Poussey Washington Fund includes organizations that focus on many issues that have been tackled in the groundbreaking series and will continue to play a major thematic role in OITNB's powerful final run. The preexisting advocacy groups focus on criminal justice reform, protecting immigrant rights, ending mass incarceration and supporting women who are affected by the prison industrial complex. The organizations include: A New Way of Life: Reentry ProjectAnti Recidivism CoalitionCollege & Community FellowshipFreedom For ImmigrantsImmigrant Defenders Law CenterThe National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Woman and GirlsunPrison ProjectWomen’s Prison Association.

“When speaking to THR about turning the fund into a reality, Herrmann said they picked organizations who worked with them for the final season or had previous relationships with the actors/activists among the cast. OITNB consultant Piper Kerman, whose memoir inspired the series, also helped to identify the right groups.

"‘Two of the organizations work on immigrant detention and the other six are organizations around the country that focus on women in the criminal justice system and work on a host of different things,’ Kerman tells THR. ‘And a number of them are led by formerly incarcerated women, which is really important to all of us who are associated with the fund.’

“Since writing Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison and spawning the Netflix series, Kerman has advocated for prison reform and sits on the board of one of the organizations in the fund, the Women's Prison Association, which provides housing, family reunification housing and a host of other services to aid reentry into society upon release (something that her TV alter ego, Piper Chapman, played by Taylor Schilling, will also be showcasing in the final season). 

"‘These are programs, quite frankly, that should be replicated in every state in the country. So I am very hopeful that the fans will take their enthusiasm and channel it to give to the fund and/or to make efforts in their own communities,’ says Kerman. ‘Because there are worthy efforts happening all over this country. Anything that is serving women and girls in the criminal justice system is pretty scrappy and needs all the support it can get. The Poussey Washington Fund has the potential to be really transformative to these organizations and I believe the fans will absolutely rise to the challenge.’

“Wiley witnessed the power of the OITNB platform first-hand after the death of Poussey. The fan-favorite was killed off the show in a provocative episode that invoked the Black Lives Matter movement; Poussey dies when an untrained guard accidentally suffocates her when pinning her down with his knee, and he subsequently goes unpunished for the death. ‘There are people who are watching television who might not have a personal relationship with Black Lives Matter, but they know Poussey,’ Wiley said at the time of the impact she hoped the storyline would generate. ‘[Jenji] wants people to not be able to shake this off.’

“Kerman also recently saw the impact OITNB stories can have when she urged lawmakers to pass criminal justice reforms to improve conditions for female inmates. During her testimony, a clip from the first season of the series was shown to help illustrate her point and she says you could have heard a ‘pin drop’ in the room.

"‘I testified on Capitol Hill for a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on women and girls in the criminal justice system and the committee chose to screen the scene when Maria Ruiz [played by Jessica Pimentel] is returned to Litchfield immediately after giving birth [in season one],’ Kerman recalls to THR of the July 16 hearing. ‘It's a short clip; there’s virtually no dialogue but it’s so emotionally powerful. So whether the show has been dramatizing issues around pregnancy and reproductive justice, or this separation of families — which has been taking place in this country for decades ever since the incarceration rate for women began to skyrocket — the show has depicted that in a way that people can really understand on an emotional level. You could have heard a pin drop in that room.’

“During Thursday's premiere event, Kohan and Herrmann announced the Poussey Washington Fund with the moving video featuring Wiley and other members of the OITNB cast who surprised a series of fans who shared relatable stories.”

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Per Mic, “[i]n a few months, the idea of just being subscribed to Netflix is going to seem quaint. We're on the brink of a streaming video explosion. New services like Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max and a streaming platform from NBC are on their way over the course of the next year. All of the streaming services will have their own original programming, classic titles, and price tags that make subscribing to all of them completely nonviable for most people.

“As more services pop up, people are going to have to start making choices about what they're willing to pay for. According to a recent survey conducted by Morning Consult, most consumers are only willing to shell out between $17 and $27 each month for all streaming services combined, with an optimal price of $21. That's going to put the current dominant forces in the field in quite the bind as new competition sprouts up and siphons off paying customers. It will also put viewers in a precarious situation where they have to choose not just what content they want to watch, but what their point of reference will be going forward. When a new season of Stranger Things drops and the internet goes wild, people who chose not to subscribe to Netflix will save their cash but cost themselves some cultural cache in conversations with others.

“Netflix has steadily raised its price over the years up to $12.99 per month for its standard subscription package, and may already be at a breaking point for many people who aren't willing to go much higher for the service. The company's biggest competitors, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, cost considerably less. Amazon Prime Video is $8.99 as a standalone service — though many people have access to it as Prime subscribers — while Hulu starts at as low as $5.99 per month for its ad-supported version. Subscribing to all three creeps just above the preferred price range for most consumers, according to Morning Consult, totaling $27.97 per month — but any combination of two out of the three services puts you nearly right at or a bit below the ideal price point of $21 per month.

“That math is going to change mighty quickly, though. The launch of Disney+ — Disney's looming giant of a streaming platform that will house the company's huge vault of classic content plus originals that take place across the Star Wars, Marvel, and Disney universes — is set to launch on November 12 at a price point of $6.99 per month. Apple TV+ will be hot on its tail, if not arrive a bit earlier (Apple has only said its service will be available sometime this fall) and will bring a lot of heavy hitters including Oprah and J.J. Abrams who will create original shows that should garner quite a bit of attention. There has been no indication of what the price will be, but given Apple is investing more than $1 billion into its programming and the company typically focuses on creating premium products, it's easy to imagine it be closer to Netflix's price point than Hulu or Disney+. Then there's HBO Max, a streaming service that will combine HBO's deep bench of beloved franchises, content from Turner networks like TNT, TBS, CNN and will supposedly eventually have live sports and other events. The service will arrive in 2020 and will likely be the steepest priced of all the available options, rumored to be as much as $17 per month. And, of course, there is NBC's streaming platform set to launch in April for an unknown price. It will surely win over at least some people simply because it will have exclusive rights to the entirety of The Office, which is really all some people need. That doesn't even include other streaming options like ESPN+ ($4.99 per month), CBS All Access ($5.99) and a hodgepodge of other fringe services that cater to specific audiences.

“If you did the math along the way, you probably figured out pretty quickly that all of those streaming services add up to well over $21. In fact, if you wanted to subscribe to all of the biggest streaming platforms once they become available, you'd be paying, at a minimum, about $68 per month, assuming every service stays on the low-end of their rumored price points and you don't opt for any premium version of any of the services. That's more than three times the "optimal" monthly price that people are willing to pay for streaming services.

“Of course, that price point does fall about into the range of what most people pay for a cable subscription. Morning Consult found that a plurality of people — 34 percent — pay between $51 and $100 for cable and a vast majority — 84 percent — pay more than $50 for it. It used to be thought that streaming services would eventually kill off cable because it would offer the ability to select what you want to watch a la carte instead of paying for bundles of channels that you have no use for. And while that is happening — a recent report from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) found that more people subscribe to streaming video services than cable — the problem is that the price point hasn't changed. People have more choices over what content they want, but to get all of it, they still have to pay the premium they would for cable.

“Of course, with streaming services, there is the ability to subscribe and unsubscribe at any time. You aren't locked into a contract with any sort of ridiculous kill fee like you might see with a cable subscription. That provides the flexibility to get a service for a month, binge whatever show everyone is talking about and ditch it before you get hit with an extra month of charges. It's certainly not convenient, but it is doable.

“Unfortunately, as more of these services sprout up, some consumers will get left behind. Netflix has already seen low-income household jump ship from its service as the price has increased. Those consumers will likely go without access to many of these platforms. On its surface, that doesn't feel like a big deal, but there is value in being in touch with pop culture. It's a currency in conversations, and it can provide common ground between people who are otherwise divided by things like race, religion, gender identity, sexual identity, and class. The idea of media touchstones, the shows or movies that everyone watches, are going to go away simply because some people will be walled off from them. That's a change that is hard to account for when deciding which services you'll subscribe to for the coming month.”

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Per Variety, “The Writers Guild of America West is turning up the heat on Endeavor’s planned initial public offering, accusing the parent of WME of widespread potential conflicts of interest.

“The WGA West issued a second ‘Investor Alert’ on Thursday in advance of Endeavor’s IPO, warning that the new public company’s corporate governance structure dramatically favors company insiders including top executives Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell and restricts public investors’ ability to exercise meaningful oversight.

“‘The potential for conflicts of interest with public investors echoes current practices in Endeavor’s representation business that have enriched the agency at the expense of its clients, and that recently caused 1,400 writer-clients to walk away from the firm,’ said WGA West director of research Laura Blum-Smith.

“The alert said Endeavor’s dual-class stock structure gives CEO Emanuel, executive chairman Whitesell, and affiliates of private equity owner Silver Lake control of most of the company’s non-traded Class Y shares, which carry 20 votes compared to the single-vote public Class A shares.

“‘Endeavor’s dual-class structure will likely disqualify it from inclusion in FTSE Russell and S&P Dow Jones indices, which Endeavor notes could adversely affect the market price of its Class A common stock,’ the alert said.

“Endeavor’s structure also includes ‘poison pills’ designed to give company insiders indefinite control, the alert warned.

“‘These provisions are particularly concerning as the company concedes that its top executives may have conflicts of interest with public investors, noting Messrs. Emanuel’s and Whitesell’s, Executive Holdco’s and the Silver Lake Equityholders’ interests may not be fully aligned with yours, which could lead to actions that are not in your best interest,’ it added.

“The alert referenced the current stalemate between the WGA and WME. The WGA called off negotiations with the Association of Talent Agents on June 21 in favor of pursuing individual talks with nine top agencies as it enforces a total ban on packaging fees and affiliated production for agents representing guild members. No new talks have been scheduled.

“‘This is not a theoretical concern as Endeavor’s conflicts of interest with its clients are currently having an impact on the company’s representation segment, where it has lost 1400 writer-clients since April,’ the guild said in Thursday’s investor alert.

“The WGA took Endeavor to task a month ago, sending a June 26 letter to William Hinman, director of the SEC’s corporate finance division, accusing Endeavor of misrepresenting the number of clients it has in its talent representation units in the IPO prospectus. Endeavor strongly denied the guild’s assertion in June.

“Endeavor declined to comment to Thursday’s investor alert with a reprsentative [sic] noting that the company is in a ‘quiet period’ prior to the IPO.

“Following a strong vote of support in March from writers, the WGA instructed guild members on April 12 to ‘fire’ their agents after the sides failed to reach an agreement on a new Code of Conduct that ended longstanding industry practices. The parties have turned to the courts to settle their differences, with the WGA suing the big four agencies, and three agencies so far — WME, CAA and UTA — suing the WGA back.

“The WGA has scored a trio of victories with a pair of midsize agencies, Verve and Kaplan Stahler, agreeing to sign the code of conduct and a group of Abrams Artists agents forming a new agency that will sign the code.”

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Per Wired, “[l]ess than a week ago, 33 people posed for a photo at Marvel Studios' Comic-Con panel, most of them actors who would be appearing in the studio's upcoming film and television projects. While some were veterans, many were newcomers to Marvel's ever-broadening paracosm—a narrative web that already crammed more than 60 heroes into May's Avengers: Endgame, and will continue its combinatorial creep over at least the next three years. As for the logistics of bringing nearly three dozen working actors into the same room on a Saturday afternoon in July: Marvel and its parent company, Disney, control the largest film brand on the planet. They want you there? You'll be there.

“It's into this supersaturated entertainment age that Amazon's The Boys enters, sleeves rolled up and looking for a bit of the old ultraviolence. The 10-episode show, adapted from Garth Ennis' comic book, has scant regard for big-H Heroes, or for the corporate empires that have managed to turn them into movie stars. This isn't the first time Ennis' work has come to the small screen; Preacher is about to head into its fourth and final season on AMC. As with that comically gory show, Seth Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg are cocreators here.

“True to its source material and its shepherds, The Boys enters not with a whimper, or even a bang, but with a gout of viscera. Young lovebirds Hughie (Jack Quaid) and Robin (Jess Salgueiro) are trying to decide where to go for dinner when Robyn vaporizes into a cloud of blood and offal—run through, literally, by ultrafast superhero A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) moving at top speed. A-Train is one of The Seven, the apex predators of the celebri-hero industry. Most of the country's 300 ‘supes’ are small-time, but The Seven is funded and marketed by corporate behemoth Vought International. The septet's members aren't just heroes; they're movie stars, endorsement machines, global icons.

“They're also not all that heroic. Homelander (Antony Starr) is an Aryan fever-dream version of Superman wrapped in an American flag; aquatic specialist The Deep (Chace Crawford) is an insecure idiot who sexually coerces budding heroes. The lone voice of reason belongs to new recruit Starlight (Erin Moriarity), an actual do-gooder who chafes at Vought's corporatized kayfabe. When Hughie links up with Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), a supe-despising mercenary, they and their cohort discover that A-Train is strung out on a mysterious compound that may have contributed to his collision with Robin.

“Such is the reality The Boys reveals behind the idolatry: greed and grift and outright homicide, all the while preaching exceptionalism and sanctimony to the outside world. As one Amazon user wrote in a review of the comic's first collected edition, "Picture Civil Warmixed with Game of Thrones and this is what you get." The best of the palace intrigue comes by way of Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue), a Vought executive who manages by manipulation, subterfuging, and strong-arming her charges in deference to Vought's finances and agenda. Shue turns in a revelatory performance, especially in Stillwell's psychologically fraught relationship with Homelander—by turn steely and seductive, a Cersei Lannister of superpowers.

“Even casual comic-book readers will see The Seven as an obvious analogue of DC's Justice League. A-Train has the foot speed of The Flash, and The Deep is Aquaman down to his friendships with dolphins; Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) and Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell) are able stand-ins for Wonder Woman and Batman. This mapping highlights The Boys' true challenge: How many superheroes do you have room for?

“When The Boys first hit comic-book shops in 2006, popular culture at large hadn't been quite so overrun by capes and costumes. Superman and Batman had gotten franchises, as had Marvel heroes like Hulk and Spider-Man, but comics had yet to become the one-stop shop for film and TV development execs. The X-Men movies were the only ones that even toyed with a larger connected universe.

“Since then, we’ve seen not just superheroes but superhero meta-commentary enter the Hollywood pipeline. Heroes became assholes in a series of book-to-screen projects, from Watchmen to Kick-Ass to Wanted to Powers. In most cases, the results left viewers wanting. Comic books playing with comic-book tropes have always spoken to an in-crowd, complicating the already formidable degree of difficulty in bringing comics to the screen. In book form, Watchmen and Powers were packed with easter eggs and subtext that delighted longtime comic readers. In film and TV form, respectively, the attempts to replicate that layering weighed down the result.

“Now that HBO is re-adapting Watchmen into an episodic series, it seems to be doing so with caution, skirting the original entirely. Not so for The Boys, which is so hopped up on its own frenetic energy that it dares you not to buy in. Yes, those who read the comic will appreciate that Simon Pegg, the original inspiration for Hughie, plays Hughie's father. Yes, those who love comics will thrill to the throwaway gags. But there are a lot of other people out there—the ones already awash in superheroes, the ones who look ahead at Marvel's Phase Four and the Arrowverse and Netflix's Millarverse and every other large-scale comic-book IP push out there and can't help but feel fatigue setting in.

“That effectively makes The Boys a niche project, an leeringly uncouth cousin to The Handmaid's Tale and Catastrophe and Amazon's other award-winning series. And thank Jor-El for that—not only because it makes for a liberating, all-id meditation on power and hypocrisy, but because I don't know how many more cinematic universes I can take.”