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Television

TidBits: Black Panther, Jumanji, Descendants 3, The Umbrella Academy

by on Feb.18, 2018, under Movies, Television

Another weekend TidBits to catch up…

Marvel’s Blank Panther is devouring the box office, likely looking at $150 million this weekend, and possibly opening the window to the entire Marvel universe for a shot in the films. A beautifully visual movie superbly acted – expect a review shortly.

In the meantime, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has been keeping to the top of the charts, winning most weeks since Star Wars: The Last Jedi died down, and provided a lighthearted movie among the more intense competition. It will cross $900 million world-wide today. See what we thought of the film.

Disney Channel has ordered up a third installment of The Descendants, their teen-centric fantasy musical TV movie series. The Kenny Ortega-produced franchise follows the teen descendants of Disney’s well-known princesses and villains and stars Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, Cameron Boyce, Booboo Stewart, Mitchell Hope and China Anne McClain. The teaser (see below) has Mal (Cameron), the descendant of Maleficent, indicate that the new villain will be – her dad.

The Umbrella Academy, Netflix’s upcoming series based on the Gerard Way graphic novels about a dysfunctional academy/family of superheroes, named a number of regular and recurring cast this week. Regular cast announced incclude Cameron Britton (Mindhunter) will be Hazel, an infamously ruthless and efficient time-travelling hit-man; Colm Feore (House of Cards, The Chronicles of Riddick) is Sir Reginald Hargreeves, a wealthy entrepreneur and world-renowned scientist and the adopted father of the academy students; and Adam Godley (Breaking Bad), will portray (via voice/motion-capture) Pogo, a genetically-engineered chimpanzee. Ashley Madekwe (Revenge) will appear in a recurring role as Detective Patch, a fast rising, by the book detective of the police department. Previously announced as starring in the show are Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Ellen Page, Robert Sheehan and Aidan Gallagher.
(continue reading…)


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New Girl‘s Hannah Simone named The Greatest American Hero

by on Feb.13, 2018, under Television

ABC’s reboot of The Greatest American Hero finally has its lead in Hannah Simone, who is just wrapping up her role as Cece on Fox’s New Girl, which ends after seven seasons this Spring.

Simone will play Meera, a tequila and karaoke-loving 30-year-old Indian-American woman who becomes entrusted with a suit that gives her the power to protect the planet, but the planet has not been in more unreliable hands.

Simone was reportedly offered a number of pilots this season, before opting for The Greatest American Hero.


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Once Upon A Time ends after seven seasons

by on Feb.06, 2018, under Television

ABC’s Once Upon A Time, the live action mashup of Disney fairy-tale characters cursed to live in the modern world in the small town of Storybrooke, Maine, will end after the current seventh season.

The show was revamped for the sixth season with a smaller cast and shifted from Sunday to lighter-viewed Friday night, but even at the TCAs they were cautiously optimistic about an eighth season, but the network decided not to renew.

For us, the show appeared to lose steam by the fourth season, as storylines appeared to get stretched to fill seasons, making it more binge-worthy than live viewing, but we did enjoy the take on the characters that would be mixed in from time to time. We’re still sad to see the show go.


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American Gods adds Jesse Alexander as showrunner

by on Feb.03, 2018, under Television

The second season of American Gods finally has a new showrunner. After the abrupt departure of producers Bryan Fuller and Michael Green over budget cuts, The Hollywood Reporter says that Jesse Alexander (Heroes, Hannibal) has signed on to manage the show alongside original novel writer and executive producer Neil Gaiman.

The show has had a lot of uncertainty after reported budget cuts were being imposed by FreemantleMedia on the Starz series. Starz CEO Chris Albrecht says that Fuller and Green were not fired, and have not quit, and will be involved “as much as they can be,” but it seems unlikely at this point. The two would likely retain their executive producer credits. In addition, Gillian Anderson (Media) has already stated she will not return to the show, and Kristen Chenoweth (Easter) is not certain she will return. The former might be replaced fairly easily – the character changes appearances easily, thus far showing up as Lucille Ball, David Bowie and Marilyn Monroe, but Easter looked to set up for a pivotal part in the upcoming war of the Old and New Gods.


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Syfy renews Happy!

by on Jan.29, 2018, under Television

SYFY announced today a second season pickup of the network’s original series Happy!, starring Christopher Meloni and featuring the voice of Patton Oswalt. From Universal Cable Productions, this twisted graphic novel adaptation has been hailed as “one of the craziest, most utterly off-the-wall TV series ever produced” by The New York Times Syndicate and launched as the network’s best series premiere since January 2016 across all key demos. The shocking Season 1 finale is set to air this Wednesday, January 31 at 10/9c on SYFY.

Happy! struck a chord with our SYFY audience and disrupted the TV landscape with its unique storytelling and outrageous performances led by Christopher Meloni,” said Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “If people thought this season was crazy – I can’t wait for fans to see what Grant Morrison, Brian Taylor and the entire cast and crew have in store for Sax and Happy!”

Based on the New York Times best-selling author Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson’s graphic novel of the same name, Happy! follows Nick Sax (Meloni) – 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 named Happy (Oswalt). In the must-see finale, Sax and Happy are locked in a climatic confrontation to rescue Hailey (Bryce Lorenzo) from Very Bad Santa’s (Joseph Reitman) lair, as Merry (Lili Mirojnick) sets out to save Amanda (Medina Senghore) from a far more powerful foe. The series also stars Ritchie Coster (Blue) and Patrick Fischler (Smoothie).


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Tidbits: Daredevil and Krypton cast; Ready Player One date; The Greatest American Hero pilot; Nightflyers boost

by on Jan.26, 2018, under Movies, Television

I am once again trying to play catch up, so here is a rundown of the last several days worth of news…

On the casting side, Syfy’s Superman prequel Krypton has signed Hannah Waddingham (How to Lose Friends & Alienate People) as Jax-Ur, once one of Kypton’s eminent scientists turned leader of the terrorist group Black Zero. An interesting choice, as the character has traditionally been portrayed as a male.

On the opposite side of the comic world, Marvel and Netflix’s Daredevil added Joanne Whalley (Willow), in an unspecified role. However, the finale of The Defenders made mention of a “Maggie” who is believed to be Sister Maggie, a character in the comic series who is in fact Matt Murdock’s mother who left her family to become a nun, and return to nurse her son back to health.

The much anticipated Ready Player One will open a day earlier than originally scheduled. Instead of opening on Good Friday, March 30th, of the Easter weekend it will now open on the Thursday, March 29th. Thursday openings for big movies is becoming more common…based on the 2011 SF novel, the story is set in a near-future dystopian society, in which teenager Wade Watts enters a virtual reality game to look for the game’s “easter egg” which could net him wealth – but there are those willing to kill to stop him.

ABC has ordered a pilot for the remake of The Greatest American Hero with a put commitment (ABC will at a minimum air the pilot as a special/TV movie, or pay a penalty). This version centers around a tequila and karaoke-loving 30-year-old Indian-American woman who becomes entrusted with a suit that gives her the power to protect the planet – but it doesn’t work out so well. Cast has yet to be named. This is the first collaboration between 20th Century Fox Studios and ABC, who are set to become siblings. Fox and ABC studios are co-producing with Fresh Off the Boat‘s Rachna Fruchbom and Nahnatchka Khan’s Fierce Baby.

Lastly, the Irish Film Board just gave a huge boost to the production of George R.R. Martin’s Nightflyers, which will be filming at Troy Studios in Limerick, Ireland. The board granted €850,000 (about $1.1 million) to the production, which is the largest such award in the current funding cycle. Syfy ordered the 10-episode series earlier this month from Universal Cable Productions, with Netflix on board for international distribution.


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Shannara Chronicles canceled by Spike; being shopped to others

by on Jan.17, 2018, under Television

Cable network Spike, which re-brands itself as the Paramount Network tomorrow night, announced that it has dropped scripted series The Shannara Chronicles, which aired its second season on the channel after shifting from its sibling channel MTV.

Sonar Entertainment is reportedly shopping the show to other networks.

It previously announced that it canceled its first original drama, The Mist.

Parent company Viacom announced last February that it is re-organizing its portfolio of cable networks to focus on six “core” networks – BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., and Paramount. Paramount will become the flagship “general entertainment” brand. It remains to be seen what happens to some of its smaller channels, such as TV Land and CMT, but two planned series for TV Land, Heathers and American Woman, will be taken over by Paramount.


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Fox and National Geographic order second series of Cosmos

by on Jan.15, 2018, under Science, Television

It’s about time…several years after 2014’s Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey starring chief science nerd Neil deGrasse Tyson and produced by Seth MacFarlane, itself a sequel of 1980’s seminal science series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage by Carl Sagan, will get its own sequel.

Cosmos: Possible Worlds – the title of which is perhaps a nod to the theme of this series – has been ordered from Fox and National Geographic, with a planned Spring 2019 release. The same creative team will be back as well; MacFarlane will be joined by executive producers Brannon Braga and Jason Clark, as well as executive producer, writer and director Ann Druyan who won an Emmy for writing the 2014 series. Tyson will return as host. The 2014 series was watched by 135 million people worldwide and was the most watched series on National Geographic’s international channels.

Also, this time the series will receive a companion book, much like Sagan’s original series did.

Fox and National Geographic will remain partners for the series despite the impending sale of National Geographic Channel to Disney as part of the giant acquisition.


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Donnelly Rhodes, Battlestar Galactica‘s Doc Coddle, 1937-2018

by on Jan.09, 2018, under Television

Another lost to the stars…Canadian actor Donnelly Rhodes, best known in these parts as Dr. Cottle in the updated Battlestar Galactica but also for his role of Dutch Leitner on the late 70s ABC comedy Soap, passed away yesterday at the age of 80 due to cancer while in hospice care according to talent agency Northern Exposure.

Rhodes most recently made an appearance in the 2016 “Invasion!” Arrowverse crossover as Agent Smith, and he also starred as Det. Leo Shannon in the Canadian series DaVinci’s Inquest. He had many small roles as well, such as the grandfather in TRON: Legacy and a couple of appearances in The Outer Limits anthology series. In all he had appeared in more than 160 series and movies over a 60 year career.


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New trailer for SYFY’s Krypton

by on Jan.09, 2018, under Television

Just released today at the Television Critics Association…

What if Superman never existed? Set two generations before the destruction of Superman’s home planet, KRYPTON follows Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe), the legendary Man of Steel’s grandfather, as a young man who is faced with a life and death conflict – save his home planet or let it be destroyed in order to restore the fate of his future grandson. With Krypton’s leadership in disarray and the House of El ostracized, Seg finds himself in a difficult position. He must redeem his family’s honor and protect the ones he loves while being challenged by familiar DC characters Brainiac (Blake Ritson) and Earthly time-traveler Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos).

Krypton is from Warner Horizon Scripted Television and is executive produced by David S. Goyer (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Dark Knight Trilogy) through his Phantom Four banner, alongside Cameron Welsh, who serves as showrunner. In addition to Cuffe, Sipos and Ritson, the show also stars Georgina Campbell (Broadchurch), Elliot Cowan (Da Vinci’s Demons), Ann Ogbomo (World War Z), Rasmus Hardiker (Your Highness), Wallis Day (Will), Aaron Pierre (Tennison) and Ian McElhinney (Game of Thrones). Based on the DC characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.


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