Thursday August 8, 2019

That BH90210 was one of the single worst episodes of television I’ve seen in a very very long time. The acting was abysmal, the soft-scripted/reality format was atrocious, the corny one-liners were an embarrassment, and everyone associated with writing/creating this should be ashamed. If you were remotely excited about the possibility of this show, sorry to burst your bubble and if you DVR’d it but haven’t yet watched, delete it sight unseen.

Fox has canceled Paradise Hotel.

Congrats to Zac and Elizabeth. More below.

Wu Assassins is now available to stream on Netflix. “An unassuming San Francisco chef becomes the latest in a long line of assassins chosen to keep the mystical Wu powers out of the wrong hands.”

CBS and AT&T have struck a carriage deal, ending the blackout on AT&T-owned satellite giant DirecTV. The two companies have reached a deal, ending the dispute, which has seen CBS stations in NYC, LA and across the nation go dark on DirectTV, DirecTV Now and U-verse cable systems since July 20. The multi-year deal also includes CBS Sports Network and Smithsonian Channel and all stations will return to AT&T homes from today. The two companies said they ‘regret any inconvenience to their customers and viewers and thank them for their patience.’” As well you should!

“Emmy Award-winning Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have found their new home. Nearly three months after Deadline revealed that Benioff & Weiss were being courted by six studios for an overall global deal to write, produce and direct new series and films, we can reveal that they have signed an exclusive deal with Netflix. Nobody was confirming numbers, but sources tell Deadline the deal is in the 9-figure range like some of the other mega-deals signed by show creators like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, each of whom also moved to Netflix. The deal for Benioff & Weiss was brokered by Gretchen Rush, their longtime attorney at Hansen Jacobson Teller.”

Jay Leno is returning to CNBC for the fifth season with Jay Leno’s Garage.

Friends is getting the LEGO treatment.

“Baseball has long been a game that both kids and adults can enjoy. ESPN will soon test whether that maxim still holds. When the Disney-owned sports giant broadcasts one of the games in the annual Little League World Series on Wednesday, August 21, it will offer one traditional telecast on its flagship cable network and another geared for the younger crowd on ESPN2. The ESPN2 ‘kidscast’ will feature two 16-year-olds offering commentary in the broadcast booth and two 15-year-old sideline reporters, who will likely be reporting on the state of the cotton candy and ice cream at the refreshments stand as much as they will on any action in the dugout, says Mark Gross, ESPN’s senior vice president of production and remote events.”

From EW: “Suits’ dynamic duo is back together.

“In next week’s episode, former star Patrick J. Adams, who left at the end of season 7, returns as legal wunderkind Mike Ross, and the above sneak peek shows Mike reuniting with his mentor and best friend, Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht). Even though the men will eventually find themselves at odds in the episode, this scene is very lighthearted and a classic Mike-Harvey exchange: The guys take the piss out of each other before eventually coming together for a hug.

“According to both Adams and Macht, they picked up right where they left off in the season 7 finale. ‘We haven’t worked together in a year and a half, but it feels like there has been not a second that has passed,’ Macht previously told EW. ‘There was a moment in the first scene as I walked up to him where I was like, “Holy sh—, this is the energy. This is what we had for seven years.”’

“‘It’s been great,’ said Adams, whose character relocated to Seattle with Meghan Markle’s Rachel in the season 7 finale. ‘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.’

“Alas, the good times in the clip can’t last for long because Mike returns to New York with a case that puts him in conflict with Harvey and Katherine Heigl’s Samantha Wheeler, and will have far-reaching consequences for the ninth and final season. ‘Everything in the second half of the season flows from the end of that episode,’ Suits creator Aaron Korsh previously told EW.”

Watch the clip above. It warms my heart.

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Per Deadline, “Fox is moving forward with a series order to a U.S. remake of La La Land-influenced British reality show Flirty Dancing. Rob Wade, Fox’s President of Alternative Entertainment, confirmed the pickup to Deadline on Wednesday at TCA.

“‘We’re really exited by it; it’s got a lot of heart,’ said Wade, a former Dancing with the Stars executive producer and major dance fan. The pickup is part Fox brass ‘looking at what’s working in unscripted at the moment, and I feel like that’s a feel-good co-viewing original format,’ Wade said.

“Fox in January ordered a pilot for an adaptation of the Channel 4 series Flirty Dancing, which blends two genres, dating and dancing. In the original, two complete strangers are taught one half of a dance routine and then go on a blind date where they dance. Once they finish the dance, each partner walks away not yet having spoken a word to the other with the hope that they have done enough to warrant a second date.

“‘Sometimes there is a magical chemistry, and sometimes you see they don’t have chemistry, and it’s pretty obvious,’ Wade said.

“Fox has added a twist to the original format, with one of the participants, ‘the picker,’ getting to dance with two partners before choosing which one she/he would want to get to know. ‘The pick’ then has to decide if they too liked ‘the picker.’

“The tweak adds a double-jeopardy, decision-point element to a format that is very warm-hearted, Wade said.

“The Fox version is produced by Second Star, which produces the original, and All3Media America. Second Star, which is run by former Sky exec Deborah Sargeant, is part of Objective Media Group. Sargeant exec produces alongside Tamsin Dodgson and Objective Media Group America’s Jilly Pearce.

“The UK show is hosted by Dancing on Ice judge and Britain’s Got Talent winner Ashley Banjo. Search is underway for a host of the Fox adaptation.”

This sounds utterly unwatchable.

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From The Ringer: “Succession played much of its opening match with one hand tied behind its back. The inciting incident of HBO’s anti-wealth porn was also a departure from the status quo of its insular world: Immediately after backing off a longstanding plan to hand over control of his media empire to his middle son Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Murdoch-like mogul Logan Roy (Brian Cox) suffered a stroke. These two seismic events—one an assertion of Logan’s power, the other a reminder of its fragility—threw Waystar Royco and its feckless overlords into disarray before the audience got to see their amoral business as usual. Such disruption kick-started Succession’s plot, but at the expense of its centrifugal force. Until his devastating, definitive victory over Kendall in the finale, Logan spent most of the season either incapacitated or off his peak. There were echoes of Logan’s might in the deference his minions maintained as a force of habit, yet its full potential largely loomed from offscreen.

“Succession is about the toxic, vicious environment Logan has created in his own image. Removing him from the chessboard so early on was therefore as bold as it was self-defeating. Many critics’ early skepticism toward the show, my own included, was rooted in a fundamental sense of haziness: How were Logan’s four children supposed to relate to one another? What, besides incomprehensible wealth and an unfamiliarity with the word ‘no,’ had made them this way? Some of Succession’s deliberately vague details were part of its unflattering class portrait; when you experience the world from inside a skyscraper, everything outside and below fades into a blur. (Pointedly, the vast majority of Succession scenes are interiors.) But as Season 1 progressed, Logan’s increased prominence made some of the larger, character-based questions snap into place. Nothing clarified the Roy family and their hired help like watching them react to the tyrant they live to fear. And the more specific Succession’s characters became, the more the show had to say besides ‘billionaires bad.’

“So in its second installment, Succession sets about accomplishing what less audacious series do in their first. As of Sunday’s premiere, Logan has recaptured the throne, with no obvious challengers in sight. This frees Succession to establish what Waystar Royco looks like in its natural state, i.e., a totalitarian one. Kendall, who’s lost his seeming birthright to addiction and blackmail, has returned from the brink a broken man. After committing Chappaquiddick-style manslaughter on his way to score drugs, he’s stopped even trying to combat his demons, whether internal (substance abuse) or external (the man who drove him to it). This new Kendall resembles no one as much as Reek from Game of Thrones: obedient, without ambition, and more devoted than ever to the man who subdued him. ‘My dad wants me to do it, I’ll do it,’ he drones early in the season opener—while being yanked from much-needed recovery at an Icelandic spa, no less. It’s a far cry from the man-child who insisted he didn’t want to call his dad (‘Why, do you want to call your dad?’) over a stalled deal in the pilot.

“Unsurprisingly, this domesticated version of Kendall is also the only person on the show Logan has no trouble showing affection for. A Daniel Plainview for the age of fake news, Logan knows only how to love a broken thing, because that thing has been turned into an extension of his will. (“He’s taken his medicine,” Logan informs a family gathering of his over-40 son.) More intriguingly, this change also makes Kendall a more compelling presence within the show. With all due respect to Strong’s remarkable performance, Kendall’s struggle to be a better person and a more dominant businessman was never convincing enough to anchor the story, as it was meant to in Season 1. The character’s great tragedy is how the more obviously and sincerely he wants something, the less likely he is to get it; Kendall’s palpable desperation is precisely what makes him so off-putting and easy to steamroll. Now that he’s accepted his subordinate place in the company, given up on reuniting his family, and relapsed into regular drug use, Kendall is far more charismatic than he is when he’s actually trying. And the less space taken up by his uphill battles, the more there is for other members of the ensemble.

“With Kendall too fragile to bully, Logan needs a new scapegoat. Inevitably, distressingly, that mantle gets taken up by Shiv (Sarah Snook), the one Roy sibling to semisuccessfully build a life independent of her last name. Ever the shrewd tactician, Shiv has always hedged her bets: She married Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), a guileless Waystar executive who serves as her proxy link to the family business, and when Kendall threatened their dynasty by backing an attempted coup, she was angrier than anyone. Rejecting the Roy legacy is well and good so long as it remains a backup plan. (Also, there’s no way her salary as a Democratic political strategist pays for her lifestyle.) Yet Shiv is also the only Roy to earn the audience’s grudging respect by gaining enough distance from her father to occasionally stand up to him. Which is why it’s devastating, and disarmingly so, to watch Logan work to grind down that fighting spirit. His all-out offensive starts as a Trojan horse, with a job offer that’s too good to refuse.

“On paper, Shiv is the logical choice to assume Kendall’s place as heir apparent; in contrast to playboy Roman (Kieran Culkin) and their delusional half brother Connor (Alan Ruck), they’re the only competent members of Logan’s progeny. But no sooner has Logan waved the carrot of actual power than he’s followed it with a series of sticks: browbeating, belittlement, an insistence on absolute discretion. Before long, bringing Shiv back into the fold starts to feel like an extended campaign to prove that, deep down, she’s just as desperate for Logan’s approval as anyone else. He’s only earning her trust to break down her defenses and leave her as vulnerable to his rage as the last plaything. One gets the unsettling feeling Logan won’t let up until his cherished Pinky has met the same fate as her sibling.

“The longer Succession goes on, the more obvious it becomes that Logan has bought into the myth of his own immortality. And why wouldn’t he? One of the season’s most hysterical, disturbing scenes plays out like Eyes Wide Shut meets Lord of the Flies, as Logan forces his underlings to humiliate themselves in increasingly elaborate ways in an attempt to sniff out a rat. When you’ve bent the universe so totally to your will, it’s only natural to start believing it begins and ends with you. Logan insists he wants to keep the company in the family, to fend off outside buyers; he also refuses to commit to an actual succession plan, to keep his inner circle on edge. The older Logan gets, the more likely it becomes that Waystar will collapse into chaos when he dies without a road map in place—and the more apparent it is Logan’s OK with that, because he won’t be around to witness the destruction. It’s the same logic that keeps boomer politicians on a collision course with climate change, enabled by propaganda outlets like Logan’s very own ATN.

“Succession is under no illusions that Logan’s pathology is a unique one. A midseason episode brings the Roys into contact with their mirror images, a WASPy crew of blue bloods whose more civilized politics don’t make them any less noxious. The encounter almost makes you appreciate the Roys, who wear their venality and boorishness on their sleeves. Succession lives in the chasm between the smallness of its characters and the grandness of their surroundings—the base, petty instincts of these people and the elegant trappings they’ve acquired to (unsuccessfully) disguise it. Dozens of small moments emphasize this point without broadcasting it: pool water dripping onto an immaculate marble floor; throngs of servants scrambling to do work no one will acknowledge; a matriarch beatifically presenting a dish handed off by a cook just moments before.

Logan Roy, however, exists in a league of his own. A grunting, roaring beast of a man, it’s chilling to watch him put on his best person mask for the rare person he actually needs to impress. Logan’s presence on Succession works something like the Departure on The Leftovers: a world-historical force that shatters everyone around it in different, equally heartbreaking ways. A common complaint against Succession holds that there’s no one to root for. That may be true, but held up against a black hole like Logan, the Roys start to look more and more like victims of circumstance, guinea pigs in the world’s bleakest social experiment. We keep watching not to see whether they’re beyond redemption, but how, why, and by whom they came to be this way. On some level, we’re all hostage to our parents. The Roys are just in a position to inflict their dysfunction on everyone else.”

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Per TheWrap, “[s]even people who appeared in the 2018 Netflix docuseries Afflicted have sued the streaming service and the show’s producers for defamation, false-light invasion of privacy, unjust enrichment and fraud over the way they were depicted on screen.

“The seven-episode series, which debuted on Netflix in August 2018, follows the stories of people suffering from and attempting to treat chronic illnesses; among the subjects were Jamison Hill, Pilar Olave, Jill Edelstein and Bekah Dinnerstein.

“But in court papers filed Wednesday in Los Angeles, Hill, Olave, Edelstein and Dinnerstein — joined by Dinnerstein’s brother Nicholas Dinnerstein and her partner Jesse Bercowetz, and Edelstein’s partner Janine Feczko — said they were ‘duped’ into participating.

“In the filing, the plaintiffs say they thought the show would be ‘a serious documentary’ that would spread awareness of their conditions. Instead, they say, the result was ‘a salacious reality television program that questioned the existence of chronic illnesses and portrayed plaintiffs as lazy, crazy hypochondriacs and/or malingerers who were deserving of scorn and who have in fact received scorn and abuse because of defendants’ cruel and duplicitous actions.’

“The suit accuses the show of ‘deliberate presentation of factual errors as unequivocal facts,’ of ‘omitting significant facts’ about the conditions suffered by the plaintiffs, and of featuring experts who were ‘lacking the actual background and expertise’ necessary to comment on these conditions or who ‘never examined or met’ the subjects.

“The suit also says that employees of the show’s production company, Doc Shop Productions, lied when asked about the nature of the show and the way subjects would be portrayed.

“Defendants include Netflix, Doc Shop Productions, Doc Shop head Dan Partland, series cinematographer Peter Logreco, producer Stephanie Lincoln and unnamed individuals referred to as ‘Does 1-50.’ Representatives for Netflix, Doc Shop and Partland, Logreco and Lincoln did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“Plaintiffs are seeking damages of at least $2 million, unspecified restitution, a permanent injunction preventing the show from being aired in the future and additional punitive and general damages.”

This stuff makes me sick. Buyer’s remorse from people who signed contracts and aren’t happy with what they saw on screen. I’d be shocked if this wasn’t dismissed in short order, and it’s just another reason to despise lawyers who fed into the Plaintiffs’ malcontent.

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From US Weekly: “The first season of Love Island in the U.S. has officially wrapped — and one couple was left standing! The final four couples — Elizabeth Weber and Zac Mirabelli, Caro Viehweg and Ray Gantt, Alexandra Stewart and Dylan Curry, and Weston Richey and Emily Salch — all went on very different journeys during the summer in Fiji.

“It’s been clear all season that Elizabeth, 24, and Zac, 22, have had a real connection. They paired up on the day one and he asked her to be his girlfriend on day 11. Then, on day 25, they exchanged ‘I love yous.’

“So, it wasn’t much of a surprise that the only original couple were the ones to take home the $100,000 prize. ‘I feel like I always had a little bit a feeling that we might come out on top, ‘ Zac told Us Weekly exclusively after the finale. ‘We kept checking off each other’s boxes.’ Elizabeth added, ‘I think we just had those sparks from the very first moment.’

“While Zac was a grocery store clerk in Chicago and she was living in New York before the show, the pair have plans to live in the same city — eventually. ‘First, Zac is gonna come visit me and meet my family, then I’m going to go to Chicago and meet his whole family,’ the advertising executive told Us. ‘With the prize money, we may take a trip to Europe. I’ve never been, and I really want to go. Nothing’s set in stone, but then we may move out to L.A. eventually.’

“Zac echoed those thoughts, noting that while they want to find a way to live in the same city, they’re ‘not trying to move in together’ just yet. While they’ve been together since day one, their first impressions weren’t the best. She thought he was super shy and he thought she was ‘a little on the cranky side.’ Luckily, that all changed.

“Elizabeth first realized how strong her feelings for Zac were when she went on a date with Cormac Murphy on day four. ‘It was kind of a turning point,’ she said. ‘I just wanted to come back and see Zac and spend time with him. It made me realize how much I really cared,’ she said. When she reacted that way, that ‘really solidified’ their relationship, he noted.

“All the final couples were strong on the finale. Dylan, 25, entered the house and was drawn to Alex, 25. From that day, they were paired off and inseparable. During their final date on day 25, he asked her to be his girlfriend and she accepted.

“Weston, 25, came in and made many connections throughout the summer. However, he felt most connected with Emily when she entered the house on day 18. Caro, 21, spent a lot of time single in the villa but on day 12, Ray, 22, entered the house and caught her eye. The two became official on day 25.

Love Island will return with season 2 in summer 2020.”