Got some new casting moves announced this week…first, Syfy’s live-action/animated blend Happy!, based on the graphic novel from Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson, will get Saturday Night Live‘s Bobby Moynihan to voice the animated title character.
The show follows Nick Sax (Christopher Meloni, Law & Order: SVU), an intoxicated, corrupt ex-cop turned hit man, who is adrift in a world of casual murder, soulless sex and betrayal. After a hit gone wrong, his inebriated life is forever changed by a tiny, relentlessly positive, imaginary blue winged unicorn named Happy, making for a strange buddy act.
Meanwhile Katie McGrath, currently playing Lena Luthor – the little sister to Lex Luthor – on Supergirl has been upped to a series regular on the show. McGrath previously starred in BBC’s Merlin and has been a recurring character on Frontier for Netflix. She also had a co-starring role in Jurassic World.
Syfy today announced that it has renewed critically-acclaimed original series 12 Monkeys for a fourth and final chapter ahead of its Season 3 premiere. The network also announced that the series’ entire 10-episode third season will premiere over three consecutive nights, from Friday, May 19 to Sunday, May 21 from 8-11PM ET/PT. The first four episodes will premiere on Friday, with three episodes airing each night on both Saturday and Sunday.
Produced by Universal Cable Productions in association with Atlas Entertainment, the beloved drama, developed by Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett (Nikita), is based on the 1995 Golden Globe® award-winning film of the same name. Said co-developer, showrunner and executive producer Matalas: “Universal Cable Productions and Syfy have given us the opportunity to tell an ambitious, emotional story with a beginning, middle and an end – if not always in that order. I couldn’t be more grateful for their faith and support. Like our fans who may want to turn their clocks ahead to see what we’ve got in store, I only wish I could turn mine back to relive this incredible experience over again.”
“12 Monkeys has a dedicated and enthusiastic fan-base thanks to the epic storytelling by Terry Matalas, and the stellar cast and crew,” said Jeff Wachtel, President, Chief Content Officer, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “We are thrilled to be able to offer fans an opportunity to binge the third season as a reward for their lasting support, and we couldn’t be more excited to see where Terry takes us with the final chapter of this fabulous story in the fourth season.”
“With its time-twisting themes and edge-of-your-seat storyline, 12 Monkeys is the perfect show to air this way,” said Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “It’s grown into a world well beyond the original film, and after seeing the creative strength of Season 3, we couldn’t wait to pick it up for a fourth season.”
Upon its premiere in May, Season 3 will continue the journey of James Cole (Aaron Stanford), a man sent back in time to eradicate the source of a deadly plague, and his partner, brilliant virologist Dr. Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull). While attempting to untangle an insidious conspiracy that’s been spun throughout centuries, the duo embark on a desperate search across time to find the man responsible for the apocalypse – a time traveler who calls himself the Witness. Killing the Witness will save the world, but the journey will come at tremendous personal stakes for the pair. 12 Monkeys also stars Kirk Acevedo (Ramse), Emily Hampshire (Jennifer Goines), Barbara Sukowa (Katarina Jones) and Todd Stashwick (Deacon).
Joining the cast as recurring guest stars in Season 3 are Hannah Waddingham (Game of Thrones), Faran Tahir (Iron Man) and James Callis (Battlestar Galactica). Emmy® award-winner Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future) is set to appear in a memorable guest-starring role as a deadly cult leader with sinister motives.
Matalas, who also has an overall deal with UCP, will make his directorial debut with the Season 3 premiere episode. Original film producer Charles Roven (Suicide Squad, The Dark Knight Trilogy) and Richard Suckle (Suicide Squad, American Hustle) of Atlas Entertainment, as well as David Grossman (Desperate Housewives, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), serve as executive producers.
Syfy today announced a Season 3 pickup of The Expanse, the drama series called the “best sci-fi show on TV” by io9 and recognized for “transforming TV” by Wired. The 13-episode third season will premiere on Syfy in 2018. From Alcon Television Group, The Expanse is currently airing new Season 2 episodes every Wednesday at 10/9c on Syfy.
“The Expanse is a gorgeous, thrilling, emotional series that has quite simply raised the bar for science fiction on television,” said Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “We, along with the fans, are looking forward to continuing the journey with our partners at Alcon Television Group and the series’ brilliant cast and crew.”
The Expanse unfolds across a colonized galaxy 200 years in the future, when two strangers become unwittingly swept up in a vast conspiracy. Based on the New York Times bestselling book series collectively known as “The Expanse,” written by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (under the pen name James S. A. Corey), The Expanse stars Steven Strait, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Dominique Tipper, Cas Anvar, Wes Chatham and Frankie Adams.
Academy Award®-nominated screenwriting duo Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Children of Men, Iron Man) serve as executive producers and showrunners, alongside Naren Shankar (CSI, Farscape).
The Expanse is financed and produced by Alcon Television Group (ATG), a division of Alcon Entertainment.
It’s pilot happy season, and there have been some casting announcements:
Syfy has added Patrick Fischler (Lost, Once Upon A Time), Zabryna Guevara (Gotham, The Get Down) and Ritchie Coster (The Dark Knight, Blackhat) to the pilot for Happy!, based on the graphic novel from Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson. The show follows Nick Sax (Christopher Meloni, Law & Order: SVU), an intoxicated, corrupt ex-cop turned hit man, who is adrift in a world of casual murder, soulless sex and betrayal. After a hit gone wrong, his inebriated life is forever changed by a tiny, relentlessly positive, imaginary blue winged horse.
Fischler will play Smoothie, a well-dressed mob enforcer and sardonic soulless torturer who claims to take a ‘New Age’ approach to his work.
Guevara is playing Amanda Hansen, a single mom facing every mother’s worst nightmare; the disappearance of her young daughter.
Coster is Mr. Blue/Leonardo Scaramucci, the lead villain whose wealth and status as a legitimate businessman in the wine import trade support an increasingly profitable and highly illegal sideline.
In another Marvel pilot, but for Fox, one of our favorites, Amy Acker, fresh off the final season of Person of Interest, will star in the unnamed X-Men-based show written by Matt Nix (Burn Notice) and directed by Bryan Singer. The show focuses on a family of human parents with mutant children, on the run from a mutant-hostile government. Acker will play mother Kate, who is struggling to deal with her separation from her husband Reed (Stephen Moyer, True Blood) and her increasingly challenging teenage children.
And while not technically a pilot since it got a straight-to-series order, Marvel’s Inhumans added a long list of series regulars to the cast. Anson Mount (Hell On Wheels) will play the leader of the Inhumans, Black Bolt, described as “the enigmatic, commanding King of the Inhumans, with a voice so powerful that the slightest whisper can destroy a city.”
Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones) will play Maximus, “…clever and charming Inhuman that is fiercely devoted to the people of Attilan, especially his brother, Black Bolt –though he harbors an intense desire to wear the crown himself.”
Serinda Swan (TRON: Legacy) will play Medusa, “Queen of the Inhumans and wife of Black Bolt — his most trusted advisor, a fiercely resilient warrior who has the ability to move and control her hair the way most people use their hands and fingers.”
Eme Ikwuakor (Extant) will be Gorgon, “Cousin of Black Bolt, member of the Royal family, and leader of Attilan’s military. With super strong legs, complete with hooves, he can generate destructive seismic waves with a single stomp. The yin to his cousin Karnak’s yang, Gorgon would rather fight than talk to solve his problems.”
The seemingly always busy Ken Leung (The Night Shift, Lost) is the aforementioned Karnak, another cousin and Black Bolt’s “closest advisor. His gift is an ability to see the fault in all things — people, plans, structures, everything. He’s Black Bolt’s most ardent supporter and strategist and is often seen as the royal family’s planner and philosopher.”
Mike Moh (Empire) will play Triton, “Black Bolt’s cousin, he’s calm under pressure and supremely athletic. His gift is his fish-like ability to live underwater.”
Sonya Balmores (Soul Surfer) will play Auran, “Head of the Royal Guards on Attilan, a capable and no-nonsense woman. She is fiercely loyal to the King of Attilan.”
Isabelle Cornish (Home and Away) will play Crystal, “the youngest member of the royal family and has the ability to control the elements. Impetuous and independent she is also deeply devoted to her family.”
And last but not least is Ellen Woglom (Hated), who will be playing an “undisclosed character.” All we know is she is “smart, intense, and focused—so focused that often times, social skills take a back seat. Her job at a private aerospace company is her life, second only to her passion for all things space and lunar. She’s primed to be swept up in an adventure.”
Syfy has canceled the Matt Damon/Ben Affleck produced Incorporated after just a single season. The hyped-up show failed to get hyped up ratings, averaging well below Syfy’s other flagship shows. Syfy is lining up pilots with four given green lights so far along with Superstition, which was given a straight-to-series order.
On the opposite side, CBS’ Les Moonves is very confident that the twice delayed Star Trek: Discovery will be ready to debut in early Fall and perhaps late Summer – and he understands the importance of the show to the network.Star Trek is the family jewels,” Moonves says. “We’re not going to rush it in. There’s a lot of post production. But I’m very confident based on what I’ve seen so far.”
Star Trek: Discovery was most recently delayed from a May release last month, given they hadn’t actually started filming yet. Filming started shortly after that announcement, so a Fall debut seems more realistic.
It’s a long weekend here, so here’s a few more tidbits:
In a conversation with Deadline, BBC America president and GM Sarah Barnett tiptoed around the discussion of who might be the new Doctor to replace Peter Capaldi, but did mention that the Doctor Who spinoff Class, which takes place at the Coal Hill School where there first moments of it’s parent program took place, will debut in the U.S. on April 15th.
On renewals/cancellations, it seems several freshman shows will not survive. Spies have been whispering to us since January that Aftermath will not see a second season and Syfy and SPACE have silently killed the show. Star James Tupper also tweeted, “So sad to report #Aftermath will not be getting a second season. #sobummed”. We were hoping for a renewal and though the ratings and the partnership between Syfy and SPACE would help. No formal pronouncement still, but sadly it seems unlikely.
Also on the bubble are the CW’s Frequency and NBC’s Timeless. Frequency did not have an option to pick up more episodes, leaving the first season at 13, and they did essentially conclude the first season storyline. However, the show is on Netflix now, where it might pick up eyes, but we’re thinking it likely will not return. The Timeless season finale airs tonight, and it’s teetering on the edge. It may depend on what NBC decides on other shows and how many slots are available.
Syfy is still looking for a formula to bring cosplay into the limelight, and it will try again with Cosplay Melee, hosted by self-described “super fangirl” Yvette Nicole Brown. Each week, four world class cosplayers compete to create not only intricate full-body costumes – but fully-formed characters that they must bring to life through their own realistic performance. Guiding and critiquing them are a panel of judges including world class cosplayer LeeAnna Vamp, and A-list costume creator, Christian Beckman (The Hunger Games, TRON: Legacy). At the end of every episode, the winner will walk away with $10,000 … and the right to claim cosplay supremacy.
“As a huge fan of the creativity cosplayers bring to their craft, nothing makes me happier than having a front row seat for the amazing creations set to hit the Cosplay Melee runway,” said host Brown. “These talented artists are going to shine!”
Syfy has announced the addition of three cast members for the upcoming pilot The Machine.
Bridger Zadina (Terri, Kill or Be Killed) will play the role of Santiago, an agoraphobic young hacker who — after uncovering the dangerous truth behind those he believed to be his allies — is cast out into the world he desperately fears. Through his harrowing fight for survival, Santiago begins to emerge as one of humanity’s last great hopes in the coming war against rising Artificial Intelligence.
Malachi Kirby (Roots) will portray Aaron, a lonely and out of place young man who created an A.I. as his best friend – benevolent, brilliant, supportive, and in many ways, his equal. Then recruited by the CIA for his creation, Aaron was placed in their cyber warfare division.
Olly Rix (Of Kings and Prophets) will play James, the principal test subject of a secret Ministry of Defense Artificial Intelligence program. A soldier, his badly injured mind and body have been rebuilt using cutting-edge prosthetics and implanted artificial intelligence, elevating him far beyond the limits of normal human capabilities.
Announced last week was Annet Mahendru (The Americans), in the role of Yana, a brilliant but troubled programmer who has created the world’s first super intelligent Artificial Intelligence. With an IQ 500 times greater than Einstein, this S.A.I. is capable of conquering the world’s most complex problems, such as disease, poverty, and environmental devastation.
The Machine, based on the 2013 UK cult film, explores humanity through artificial intelligence when a sentient AI is created, but the military wants to use it for war. Caradog James, who directed the film, is an executive producer with Red & Black Films and John Giwa-Amu, the film’s producer.
Syfy and Universal Cable Productions (UCP) today announced a pick-up of two more installments of the critically acclaimed horror anthology series, Channel Zero. In addition, UCP has signed an overall deal with the series’ executive producer, Nick Antosca (Hannibal, Teen Wolf). Under the agreement, Antosca will develop and produce scripted programming with UCP for the NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment portfolio and for external networks and streaming services.
Each installment of the Channel Zero anthology is based on a “creepypasta” (user-generated horror stories published online). The first installment in the anthology series, the six-part ‘Candle Cove’, landed on several “Best TV of 2016” lists and centered on Kris Straub’s unnerving story of one man’s obsessive recollection of a mysterious children’s television program from the 1980s. ‘No-End House’, the second six-hour installment, is set to premiere on Syfy in October 2017. It follows Brian Russell’s story of Margot (Amy Forsyth, The Path), a young woman who, along with her friends, visits the No-End House – a bizarre house of horrors consisting of a series of increasingly disturbing rooms.
“Channel Zero certainly hit a nerve with ‘Candle Cove’,” said Chris McCumber, President, USA and Syfy. “We look forward to creeping everyone out again this fall with ‘No-End House’ – and can’t wait to see what nightmares Nick has in store for the future.”
“Nick delivered a truly haunting and unpredictable first installment of Channel Zero and was embraced by fans and critics alike,” said Jeff Wachtel, President, Chief Content Officer, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “He is a fresh, passionate talent with a unique vision — precisely what we strive to cultivate here at UCP. We’re fortunate to have him in the family and look forward to developing new projects together.”
“Making Channel Zero’s ‘Candle Cove’ and ‘No-End House’ has been a terrific experience,” said Nick Antosca. “Universal Cable Productions and Syfy gave us a unique space to adapt weird cult horror stories and showcase some of the most talented independent directors out there. I’m so excited to bring more of these stories to the screen.”
Novelist, screenwriter and TV writer Antosca (Hannibal, Teen Wolf) returns as executive producer, showrunner and writer for both newly ordered installments alongside executive producer Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra), with Universal Cable Productions as the studio. Before Channel Zero, Antosca was a writer and producer on “Hannibal.” He has written five books including The Girlfriend Game, Fires and Midnight Picnic, which won a Shirley Jackson Award. He is from New Orleans, Louisiana and currently lives in California. Antosca is represented by WME, Writ Large and attorney Lev Ginsburg.
Antosca joins UCP’s roster of overall deals with A-list and top-notch emerging talent, including Sam Esmail, who is at work on Season 3 of the Golden Globe and Emmy-award winning Mr. Robot; James Frey’s Full Fathom Five, who are currently producing the supernatural horror-drama pilot The Haunted for Syfy; and Doug Liman’s Hypnotic, who recently produced the teleportation drama pilot Impulse with UCP for YouTube Red.
Sharknados do not respect borders…
Syfy and The Asylum announced today that Ian Ziering and Tara Reid will again star in Sharknado 5 (working title – expect a punny subtitle later…), reprising their roles as shark-fighting heroes Fin Shepard and April Wexler. Principal photography commenced today, February 2, in Bulgaria. The latest film in the hit global franchise, Sharknado 5 features the return of original cast member Cassie Scerbo as Nova, a bartender turned badass Sharknado fighter.
Sharknado 5, which sees the deadly weather phenomenon of shark-infested storms bombard cities around the world, will film in more than 5 countries, including the UK and Australia. Anthony C. Ferrante, who directed the first four films, is back to helm this latest installment, based on a script by Scotty Mullen.
The original 2013 Sharknado film, which introduced a cyclone depositing man-eating sharks on the citizens of Los Angeles, became a worldwide phenomenon and spawned a pop culture franchise. In Sharknado2: The Second One, New York City was the target of the disaster, and in Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, a mega-sharknado made its way down the “Feast Coast” from Washington, D.C. to Florida. In the most recent installment, Sharknado: The 4th Awakens, the shark-infested storms went national. The film ended with the Eiffel Tower ripping away from Paris and crashing down on Niagara Falls – a chilling indication that no one in the world is safe!
Now, in Sharknado 5, with much of North America lying in ruins, the rest of the world braces for the inevitable – a global sharknado. Fin Shepard and his family must put a stop to this disaster before Earth is completely obliterated.
Still no sign of a musical version though…
Season 2 begins with with the possible destruction of all magic, and Quentin (Jason Ralph), Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley), Eliot (Hale Appleman), Margo (Summer Bishil) and Penny (Arjun Gupta) are in Fillory to save it. Fillory, which Quentin thought was just a place from a series of storybooks called “Fillory and Further”, is not only real but is the source of all magic. And to save it, it may mean fulfilling the story and becoming the kings and queens of Fillory. Meanwhile, Julia (Stella Maeve), having become a hedge witch since she was rejected as a student at Brakebills, is teaming up with the Beast (Charles Mesure) in order to get revenge on the trickster Reynard the Fox, and her friendship with Quentin won’t stop her.
I don’t think it is a surprise that the students survived the attack by the Beast, although we were left wondering at the end of Season 1 – and it is “resolved” rather quickly. However, this isn’t just a push of a reset button after a cliffhanger – their survival won’t be without issues and consequences that will last through Season 2. So while the show still keeps its whimsical side, it will continue with exploring deep issues, such as Julia’s need for revenge after the being a victim of Reynard’s sexual assaults.
It is interesting that the parallels with C.S. Lewis’ world of Narnia continues as well, with Eliot not only having to become High King, but his fellow students also becoming Kings and Queens – two of each, just like the Pevensies in Narnia. This seems to add to the intrigue of the story, however – it is like seeing someone else’s take on the story, being familiar yet different. And we’ll see a deeper side of Eliot while he is in Fillory with new responsibilities.
I can’t wait to see more of this show…
The Magicians, based on the books by Lev Grossman, follows the 20-something students at Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy, where they discover that magic is hard and the world of fantasy is real.