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I love movies! I’m addicted to television! And in order to keep up with everything that’s going on in the world of movies and television I read lots of entertainment news. Not the trashy gossipy stuff about who’s sleeping with who or what latest scandals are going on in the personal lives of celebrities. I’m talking about what TV shows have been renewed or canceled. What our upcoming plot lines of TV shows going to cover? What new movies are coming out or are in production?

So I read lots and lots of entertainment news to find all this stuff and I like to share that information with friends and family who are as addicted to TV and movies as I am. From time to time I would forward a link from an article to one friend or another but assumes I would hit the “send” button I would find yet another article. So finally I just put the mailing list together of all of my TV/movie addicted friends and I just get all the links in one big e-mail and send them to everyone on the list.

This blog is just a collection of those e-mails so that I can post a link from this blog to Facebook and share my entertainment news research with more people. Like I said before you will read about the tabloid gossip stuff. This is just hard-core entertainment news for movie and TV addicts like me.

Long-overdue Entertainment News

With the holidays and other busy things going on in my life this entertainment news blog is coming a couple of weeks late. I was trying to get one out every week.

I miss IMAX!

I’ve managed to watch at home 2 big blockbuster movies that should’ve been seen not only on the big screen but on the biggest screen IMAX. I’m talking about “Wonder Woman 1984” and Christopher Nolan’s time twisting action flick “Tenet”. Watching them at home on a 50 inch TV with the surround sound cranked up was nice but nothing like actually going to IMAX and being immersed in these fantastic worlds.

Regarding WW1984, it was everything you would hope for from the franchise. Costar Kristin Wiig in some ways steals the show by re-creating one of her Saturday Night Live character’s timid personality. Then doing an admirable job of transforming into a villain and action star even though we have to presume most of the action sequences were either stunned doubles and or CGI. Pedro Pascal as the other main villain wasn’t quite as creepy as he could have been but he was far, far away from his more famous character the Mandalorian.

Tenet had such a confusing and twisted plot in which characters and plot lines move simultaneously forwards and backwards in time that most of the time I was just along for the ride and didn’t really follow what was going on. I consider myself reasonably adept at following complicated plots but this one really stumped me at times. I think by the end I figured most of it out. There’s an article at the bottom linked that attempts to give you a spoiler filled step-by-step explanation of the story. I’m not sure it helps. Despite this, it was still a very fun ride. The special effects and action sequences were stunning and I did actually follow some of the plot which was quite interesting. I might have to buy the Blu-ray just to watch the behind-the-scenes “making of” features. I heard they shut down a highway in Estonia where some of the film shot for three weeks in order to film the huge chase scene. It set box office records in Estonia so apparently they like it. Approach with caution.

I can also report that the new sitcom “Call Me Kat” starring Mayim Bialik is quite disappointing. She plays a single 39-year-old woman who decides to use the money her parents had been saving for her wedding to open a cat-themed café. The opening episode starts with her doing a spit take and then addressing the audience. She pauses to address the reviewers in the middle of the scene all throughout the show. It’s annoying and only mildly humorous. I might give it a second look just because I like but I don’t have high hopes that it’s going to get any better. Now onto our regular news categories.

Pandemic News

  • More than 30 TV shows are extending their holiday hiatus because of Covid shutdowns
  • S.W.A.T. star Shemar Moore has revealed he is positive with Covid. Says he will be okay.
  • Kaitlyn Bristowe recent “Dancing With The Stars” winner as Covid.
  • TV Dr. Drew Pinsky after downplaying coronavirus now has code 19.
  • James Corden and Jimmy Kimmel a both returning to remote broadcasting for their shows because Los Angeles County has such a big Covid surge.
  • The Grammy Awards in LA have been postponed from January 31 tentatively to March 14 which happens to be the same day as the SAG-AFTRA awards and they aren’t too happy about it. Tony nominated “Mean Girls” will not be returning to Broadway whenever it reopens.

Renewals, Coming Soon, and Casting News

  • Hulu has canceled Marvel series “Helstrom” after one season.
  • Fox has ordered a reboot of “Fantasy Island” for the summer of 2021.
  • “Servant” has been renewed for season 3 by Apple TV+
  • The plan reboot of “Lizzie McGuire” plan for Disney+ has been canceled.
  • HBO Max has renewed “Flight Attendant” for season 2.
  • Netflix has renewed “Locke & Key” for season 3.
  • Jim Carrey has announced he will not continue to play Joe Biden on SNL. Cast member Alex Moffet has taken over the role.
  • Disney+ has confirmed a Boba Fett spinoff series from “The Mandalorian” scheduled for December 2021
  • CBS’ new sitcom “B Positive” has been picked up for a full season order of 18 episodes.
  • HBO and BBC have renewed “His Dark Materials” for 1/3 file season.
  • Warner Bros. and HBO Max have already approved plans for a third Wonder Woman movie.
  • Candace Bergen will make a guest starring appearance on “The Conners”.
  • Actor comedian John Bishop will join the cast of “Doctor Who” in season 13. BBC will neither confirm nor deny rumors that the current Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker is leaving the show at the end of the season.
  • The revival of “Dexter” has cast Clancy Brown as the new villain. Should be great.
  • HBO Max reviving “Sex and the City” according to Sarah Jessica Parker. Cast will reunite without Kim Cattrall.

Politics and Showbiz

  • Several media companies and others are suspending all political contributions to lawmakers objected to certification of the election. Some are just suspending all political contributions entirely.
  • Richard and Mayuni Heene that claimed in 2009 that their six-year-old son was trapped in a mylar balloon floating across the Colorado landscape, has been pardoned by the Colorado Gov.

Miscellaneous News

  • HBO Max is now going to be available on Roku .
  • Eddie izzard standup comedian who has long been known as a cross-dresser is now using she/her pronouns to describe herself.
  • Roku has brought the program library failed streaming service Quibi including never released shows. Shows will stream for free.
  • Hulu is cutting the price for US college students to $2/month.

In Memoriam

  • See the link below for TV Line’s list of TV stars we lost in 2020
  • John le Carré author of “Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy” and other famous Cold War spy stories. Age 89.
  • Ann Reinking Broadway star of Chicago, Annie, and All That Jazz age 71.
  • Jeremy Bullock actor who played Boba Fett in original Star Wars trilogy. Age 75.
  • Doug Crane animator for Terrytoons, Hanna-Barbera, and MTV. Age 85
  • Roger Berlind 25 time Tony winning Broadway producer of “Amadeus”, “Book of Mormon” and others age 90.
  • Lin Qi chairman and CEO of Chinese game developer Yoozoo and executive producer of the upcoming Netflix adaptation of Chinese sci-fi saga “The Three Body Problem” has died at age 39 after allegedly being poisoned by a colleague.
  • Bluegrass musician Tony Rice age 69
  • Phil Neikro Hall of Fame baseball player. Age 81.
  • Tuck Tucker animator for “SpongeBob Square pants. Age 59
  • Nick McGlashan Fishman who appeared on “Deadliest Catch” 33. No cause released.
  • Legendary French fashion designer Pierre Cardin . Age 98.
  • William Link TV writer producer and cocreator of “Colombo” and “Murder She Wrote”. Age 87.
  • Joe Clark high school principal who inspired “Lean on Me” age 82.
  • Dawn Wells who played Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island. Age 82.
  • Alto Reed saxophone player for Bob Seeger’s Silver Bullet Band. Age 72.
  • Paul Heller from producer known for “My Left Foot” and other films. Age 93.
  • Phyllis McGuire lead singer of pop music trio The McGuire Sisters. Age 89
  • MF Doom influential rap star died in October age 49 it was just recently revealed.
  • Mike Fenton casting director on hundreds of famous movies including “ET”, “Godfather: Part 2” and countless others. Founding member of Casting Society of America. Age 85.
  • Paul Westphal basketball Hall of Famer. Age 70.
  • Gerry Marsden lead singer of Gery and the Pacemakers a British rock band from the 60s. Age 78
  • Kerry Vincent judge on the Food Network Challenge. Age 75.
  • Tonya Roberts Bond Girl and “That 70s Show” actress age 65. There were conflicting reports first she was dead. Then she wasn’t. Now she is dead real.
  • British actress Barbara Shelley will. Many horror films and “Doctor Who” age 88.
  • Marion Ramsey actors who appeared in “Police Academy” films and appeared on Broadway. Age 73.
  • Neil Sheehan Pulitzer Prize winner New York Times journalist who obtained the Pentagon Papers. Age 84
  • Dave Creek character designer for animated series “Bob’s Burgers” has died after a skydiving accident. Age 42
  • Country singer songwriter Ed Bruce who also appeared as an actor in James Garner’s “Bret Maverick”. He cowrote “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up to Be Cowboys” age 81
  • Michael Apted award-winning British filmmaker who directed “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and other major films. Age 79
  • Antonio Sabato,Sr. father of jr and actor who appeared in “Grand Prix” and “Escape from the Bronx” age 77 complications of Covid.
  • Veteran soap opera actor John Riley appeared in General Hospital and other soap operas. Age 86
  • Patricia Loud matriarch of the “Loud Family” a famous PBS documentary that was the precursor to just about every reality show around today. Age 94.

Links of Interest

Entertainment News: Massive Disney announcements on Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar etc.; more

Entertainment News: Massive Disney announcements on Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar etc.; more

The biggest news of the week is that Disney held an investors conference in which they announced a ton of new movie and TV content. They plan to launch 20 Marvel and Star Wars TV series over the next few years. . They will spend between $14-$18 billion dollars a year on streaming content by 2024. And guess what? The price is going up on Disney+ by $1 per month starting March 2021. See multiple links detailing all this news at the end of the blog.

Pandemic News

  • Ellen DeGeneres has tested positive for Covid. Production on her show has shut down. She said she is feeling fine .
  • Carrie Ann Inaba judge on “Dancing With The Stars” has tested positive for Covid. Has some symptoms.

Renewals, Coming Soon, and Casting News

  • Harrison Ford will return for a fifth Indiana Jones movie scheduled for July 2022.
  • “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” has been renewed by FXX for 4 more seasons. It will be the longest running live-action comedy series in history at 18 seasons.
  • Hulu has renewed “The Handmaid’s Tale” for season 5 just ahead of its season 4 premier.
  • YouTube is streaming the first 19 James Bond films for free
  • CW has renewed “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” and “World’s Funniest Animals” for another season each.
  • Howard Stern has extended his contract with SeriusXM Radio contract for 5 more years and they will own the rights to his archives for 7 more years.
  • Netflix has canceled its basketball seemed adult animated series “Hoops” after one season.

Politics and Showbiz

  • YouTube will be removing any videos posted after December 9 that falsely claim widespread voter fraud.
  • Netflix has no plans to add a disclaimer on it series “The Crown” reminding viewers is a work of fiction. The British government and even some of the actors in the series have been calling for such a disclaimer.

Miscellaneous News

  • Bob Dylan has sold the publishing rights of nearly 600 songs to Universal Music Publishing Group at an estimated price of $300 million.

In Memoriam

  • Chuck Yeager first pilot to fly faster than sound. Subjects of portions of the movie “The Right Stuff” age 97.
  • David Lander who played “Squiggy” on Laverne & Shirley age 73. Complications of MS.
  • Country music legend Charlie Pride. Age 86 Covid complications were both Marguerite Ray who played in “Sanford and Son” and “The Young and the Restless” age 89
  • Tommy “Tiny” Lister known for playing the menacing thug “Deebo” in the “Friday” films With Ice Cube. Age 62. Covid complications

Links of Interest

Entertainment News: Warner Bros. movies to HBO Max; Capt. Jack is back; More Walking Dead; and more…

The biggest entertainment news this week is that Warner Bros. has announced that it will be releasing all of its 2021 movies including the Christmas time “Wonder Woman 1984” on HBO Max the same day that they will be premiering in theaters. They just can’t count on enough theaters being open because of the pandemic in order to get it released wide. Naturally theater owners especially AMC Theaters and Cineworld which are struggling financially during the pandemic are pretty pissed off. Of course media pundits are asking “Is this the end of movie theaters?” It certainly is a setback. It’s all going to really depend on how quickly the virus gets under control, the vaccine gets distributed, and the economy rebounds all of which of course are huge unknowns right now. Of course the same sort of warnings were issued when pay cable channels such as HBO first appeared decades ago. They said that pay-TV would be the end of movie theaters and it wasn’t true. Personally I think the rise of streaming services is a bigger threat to broadcast TV than it is to theaters. See my previous blogs about “Is Network TV Dead?”.

Pandemic News

  • The San Francisco 49ers will play the next two home games in Arizona after Santa Clara County has banned contact sports over Covid concerns.

Renewals, Coming Soon, and Casting News

  • Capt. Jack is back! John Barrowman will return to a Doctor Who holiday special as his iconic character Capt. Jack Harkness.
  • Jeopardy GOAT Ken Jennings will be the first in a series of guest hosts replacing the late Alex Trebek starting January 11. A permanent replacement will be named later.
  • Fear The Walking Dead has been renewed for season 7
  • NBC comedy “Superstore” will end after its current sixth season.
  • Amazon announced “The Expanse” sci-fi drama has been renewed for a sixth final season just ahead of its season 5 from air.
  • Former Indianapolis Colt quarterback Peyton Manning will reboot game show “College Bowl” for NBC. It will run 10 episodes.
  • Amazon has canceled the conspiracy theory comic book series “Utopia” after one season. I liked it at first but it turned very dark and very violent for no good reason. Not surprised it didn’t survive. The British version of the show Branford 2 seasons and I want to try to catch it sometime.
  • Netflix announced that it has canceled the reboot of “One Day at a Time” after 3 seasons.
  • Former Hannibal star Mads Mikkelsen is replacing Johnny Depp as the dark wizard Grindelwald in the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise. Depp stepped down after he lost a court case alleging abuse of his former partner.
  • Anne Heche will have a recurring role in Sseason 2 of CBS legal drama “All Rise”
  • The Masked Singer has been renewed for it for season.
  • Julian Margulies is joining the Apple TV+ drama “The Morning Show”

Politics and Showbiz

  • The UK government is calling on Netflix to add a disclaimer to “The Crown” making it clear it’s a fictionalize story.

Miscellaneous News

  • The Hugo Awards probably the most prestigious science fiction award out there will have a videogame category for 2021.
  • Netflix has removed “Chapelle’s Show” at the request of Dave Chapelle who claims that ViacomCBS license the show to them without paying him.
  • In retaliation for Johnny Depp being removed from upcoming “Fantastic Beasts” films, a petition has started to remove Amber Heard from “Aquaman 2”. It was her allegations of abuse that got Depp booted. Fans are claiming that the abuse went both ways and she was as responsible as Depp.
  • Kobe Bryant will be inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame in a ceremony that has been pushed back until May 2021.
  • Elliott Page formerly known as Ellen Page has come out as a non-binary transgendered person. He will continue to play female character Vannia on the third season of “The Umbrella Academy

In Memoriam

  • Patrick Quinn cofounder of the ALS ice bucket challenge. Age 37. Complications of ALS
  • Robert Garland screenwriter of “No Way out” and “The Electric Horseman”. Age 83.
  • Dena Dietrich actors who played “Mother Nature” in a series of margarine TV commercials. Age 91.
  • David Prowse who played the body portion of Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy. Age 85 complications of Covid
  • Abby Dalton actress who appeared in “Falcon Crest” age 88.

Links of Interest

Entertainment News: Charlie Brown back on broadcast; Wonder Woman to HBO Max; and more.

Pandemic News

  • New Orleans has canceled all Mardi Gras parades for 2021 due to Covid
  • Guns N’ Roses announced the all have the first stadium concert tour since Covid. It will start with dates in New Zealand and Australia in November 2021.

Renewals, Coming Soon, and Casting News

  • Fans were outraged when they learned that “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” were moving to Apple TV+ from the previous home on ABC. Now it has been announced they will also have special airings on PBS.
  • The film “Wonder Woman 1984” will be released to theaters and HBO Max on Christmas Day.
  • The Walking Dead seasonable 10 will resume on February 28.
  • “For All Mankind” the alternate history moon landing drama from Apple TV+ will have season 2 starting February 19.
  • “The Mysterious Benedict Society” based on a series of YA novels has moved from Hulu to Disney+ before it’s 2021 premier. This is the first time a TV series has switched streaming services before even premiering.
  • Netflix has renewed “Space Force” for season 2 and says it will get a “creative revamp” whatever that means.
  • Netflix has canceled its supernatural series “The Order” after 2 seasons.
  • Nick Jonas will replace Gwen Stefani as a judge on “The Voice”
  • Hulu has renewed “Woke” for season 2.
  • Conan O’Brien will leave his late-night timeslot after 28 years in June 2021. Will have a weekly variety show on HBO Max.

Politics and Showbiz

  • A Fox news anchor in Milwaukee has been suspended for staying he wished which McConnell had died instead of Alex Trebek. Which makes him more of an idiot? Saying it or thinking he can get away with saying it?

Miscellaneous News

  • Several Wall Street analysts have up their ratings on Disney despite the pandemics impact on film and theme parks. It’s because of better-than-expected earnings from the streaming media divisions.
  • Iconic franchise “Tower Records” which declared bankruptcy 14 years ago is returning as an online venue selling vinyl records, cassettes, and CDs.
  • Comedian Sinbad is recovering from a stroke.

In Memoriam

  • Paul Hornung Heisman Trophy winner, Green Bay Packers and Notre Dame star who appeared in many TV commercials. Age 84.
  • Doug Supernaw country music singer age 60
  • Walter C Miller TV director for CMA, Emmy0, Grammys, Tony awards. Age 94
  • Lynn Kellogg daytime Emmy winner was in the original Broadway production of “Hair”. Age 77
  • Ben Watkins who participated in MasterChef Junior. Age 14 cancer.
  • Herbert F.Solow an executive at Desilu Production who took Gene Roddenberry’s original pitch for Star Trek as well as other TV executive positions. Age 88.

Links of Interest

Entertainment News: Farewell Trebek; Umbrella renewed; Edgy Dave Chapelle monologue double standard; and more

Delayed premieres of primetime series are finally starting to hit the airwaves. Stay in touch with my Facebook timeline for daily announcements of what premieres tonight. Also check out the previous installment of this blog for my review of the new CBS sitcom “B Positive”. I checked out the new Showtime comedy series “Moonbase 8” starring Fred Arneson and John C Riley. It’s about simulated moon base located in the Arizona desert to prepare for eventual permanent base on the moon. It’s so ridiculous and not funny that I didn’t bother writing a review. If for some reason your huge fans of these guys you might check it out just for them but it did nothing for me.

Pandemic News

  • MSNBC political commentator Rachel Maddow in staying home and self quarantining after being exposed to Covid 19. She has tested negative but will sit out the remainder of the election coverage.
  • During production of “Jurassic World: Dominion” they used 40,000 Covid tests on cast and crew.
  • Billionaire SpaceX/Tesla founder Elon Musk develops flulike symptoms he had 4 antigen Covid tests in the same day taken by the same nurse on the same machine. Two of them will positive and 2 were negative.
  • Disneyland hotels are no longer taking reservations as California shutdown deepens.
  • Good Doctor star Richard Schiff has Covid.

Renewals, Coming Soon, and Casting News

  • ABC has ordered a primetime celebrity Wheel of Fortune.
  • Netflix has renewed “The Umbrella Academy” for season 3.
  • “The Outsider” has been canceled that HBO and is being shopped to other outlets.
  • Disney+ has announced the new Marvel Cinematic Universe series “WandaVision” will premiere January 15.
  • The launch of NASA astronauts aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 Dragon spacecraft will be aired live Saturday on Discovery Channel and Science channel in addition to the usual coverage on NASA and numerous YouTube channels.
  • Dolly Parton will have a Christmas special on CBS December 6
  • Comedian ventriloquist Jeff Dunham will have 3 comedy specials on Comedy Central. The first will be Friday after Thanksgiving and the other two will premiere in 2021.
  • Reality competition series “Lego Masters” has been renewed for season 2 with host Will Arnett returning. This was a guilty pleasure of mine for season 1 even though I never played with Legos.
  • Former “The Walking Dead” star Danai Gurira will appear an upcoming biopic “The Fighting Shirley Chisholm” about the iconic African-American congresswoman.

Politics and Showbiz

  • Twitter announced that once Donald Trump leaves office he will no longer be exempt from being banned from the platform for inappropriate tweets. Up until now they’ve simply been flagging is questionable messages but because he is a public figure of importance they’ve not been completely shutting down his account.
  • Dave Chapelle is being lauded for his edgy opening monologue on last week’s SNL in which he went from bashing Trump to calling for unity. But I’m surprised there has been no comment about the fact that he dropped the N-word multiple times during the monologue and later as a sketch. This further reaffirms the double standard that black people can use the word but it is so offensive if a white person uses that it can destroy their career. Words either are offensive or they are not. If we’re going to have zero tolerance then let it be zero tolerance.
  • CBS has announced that at least 50% of its non-scripted shows such as Survivor, Amazing Race, and Big Brother will be minorities setting a diversity goal.

Miscellaneous News

  • The Notre Dame upset of number one ranked Clemson was the highest-rated Notre Dame game in 15 years.
  • Former “Prison Break” star Wentworth Miller says no longer is interested in playing straight characters. That means no more sequels or reboots of Prison Break. One can only imagine the outrage if a straight actor declared he would never play a gay character.
  • Former St. Elsewhere star Norman Lloyd recently celebrated his 106th birthday.
  • Disney+ now has 73.7 million subscribers. ESPN+ tops 10 million.

In Memoriam

  • A: The most iconic game show host in history who just passed away at age 80 of pancreatic cancer. Q: Who Is Alex Trebek? Episodes of “Jeopardy!” That he had already taped will air through December 25.
  • Norm Crosby standup comedian who was the master of the verbal malaprop. Age 93
  • Ken Spears cocreator of Scooby Doo. Age 82.
  • Tommy Heinsohn MBA announcer and basketball Hall of Famer. Age 86

“B Positive” is Morbid Humor but It Works

We will have to give CBS’s new sitcom “B Positive” credit for having an original premise. Our main character Drew played by Thomas Middleditch is a recently divorced man with a teenage daughter who discovers he’s in total renal failure and in need of a kidney transplant. While at a friend’s wedding he bumped into an old friend from high school Gina played by Annaleigh Ashford. She is a hard partying, hard drinking, drug addicted train wreck. When she’s sober, she works driving a shuttle bus full of elderly people from an assisted living home taking them to doctor’s appointments, chemotherapy etc. She decides to offer him a kidney and hilarity ensues.

Really?

Oh I forgot to mention she has a split personality. Her party persona is Rebecca and her responsible self is Gina.

Like I said… We’ve not seen this premise before. But can we really laugh at a man facing his own demise? He might never get to see his daughter get married, have kids etc. Is it really funny that his fate depends on such an irresponsible person who constantly cracks jokes about the mortality of the people that she drives around in her bus?

The answer is… we might be able to laugh at that. As I’ve said in this blog many times before – the ultimate test of a sitcom for me is “Does it make me laugh?” On numerous occasions this one did for some reason. But these are not very likable characters. Drew is an okay guy but given the enormity of what he’s facing along with regrets over his divorce and disappointing his daughter he’s not a very happy guy. Gina/Rebecca are not at all likable. And if she really does have dissociative personality disorder (formerly known as split personality) can we really make fun of her?

It had its funny moments. It made me laugh. I’ve got a very dark (sometimes sick) sense of humor. My guess is lots of people won’t find it funny and some might even be offended. I guess spending my whole life these past 65 years thinking that I didn’t have very long to live has given me the ability to laugh in the face of mortality.

We don’t know to what extent the old folks who ride Gina’s shuttlebus will play in the show but I did recognize one familiar face in the back of the bus. Veteran comic character actor Bernie Kopell who is most known as playing the Doc on the old 1970s romantic comedy series “Love Boat” makes an appearance on the bus.

The double entendre of the show’s title encourages us to “be positive” in the face of these tragedies and I suppose it partially succeeds. Even though I kind of liked it I’m not sure how many more episodes I will watch. I’m going to give this one a cautionary “Could be watchable” but this one is going to be an acquired taste that some people won’t acquire. Travel with caution.

In case you never noticed before, any actors names or TV or movie titles in these blogs will link you to the IMDb page so you can see what other roles they’ve had or who played in those programs or films. I don’t always list actor’s credits in the text so if you’re wondering who someone is just click on the links.

Entertainment News: Farewell 007; Johnny Depp fired; Connected goes online only; and more.

The delayed premieres of a number of series will be coming up soon. Check my daily Facebook messages to see what’s new tonight. If a new series appears that’s worth reviewing we will review it.

Meanwhile new seasons of Star Trek: Discovery and The Mandalorian are looking really good. Highly recommend both. Now on with the news.

Renewals, Coming Soon, and Casting News

  • Former Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams will star in a new dark comedy for HBO Max called “Two Weeks to Live” starting November 5.
  • A reboot of “Tiny Toons” has been ordered for 2 seasons at HBO Max and Cartoon Network.
  • “Ted Lassio” the Jason Sudeikis comedy has been renewed for season 3 at Apple TV+
  • Remember the juvenile novels you read that as a kid about inventor Tom Swift? CW network is planning a spinoff from Nancy Drew based on Tom Swift. There’s a twist. He’s now African-American, gay, and a billionaire.
  • CBS has renewed “Big Brother” for season 23.
  • Peacock streaming service has canceled “Brave New World” after just one season.
  • Fox is spinning off a show from “The Masked Singer” called “The Masked Dancer” that will premier in December.
  • CW announced delayed premiere dates in January/February for most of it series. See the link at the bottom for details.
  • HBO Max has secured rights to a number of older Comedy Central shows including Dave Chapelle, Key & Peele , Inside Amy Schumer and others.
  • Fox has canceled “Filthy Rich” and “Next” after just one season. Current episodes will complete.
  • Dave Chapelle will host next week’s Saturday Night Live
  • NBC has moved its social distancing TV show “Connecting” off the air and will be on streaming service Peacock.
  • NBC has extended its contract with Jimmy Fallon for three more years.
  • Hilarie Burton real-life life of Jeffrey Morgan will play Negan’s wife in a flashback scene in the” The Walking Dead”.
  • Hulu has announced “Castle Rock” has been canceled after 2 seasons.
  • Christopher Nolan film “Tenet” will be available on home video December 15.

Politics and Showbiz

  • Kanye West has received approximately 60,000 votes in 12 states in his bid to be president.

Miscellaneous News

  • Netflix standard plan is going to cost $14 per month up from $13 per month. The premium plan will increase from $16 up to $18.
  • “Baby Shark” is now officially the most viewed video on YouTube
  • Jeannie Mai has dropped out of the season “Dancing with the Stars” because of an abscess in her throat that led to infected tonsils and other areas. She had emergency surgery and is doing okay.
  • Today show weatherman Al Roker remove he has prostate cancer. He will undergo surgery and the prognosis is good.
  • Johnny Depp has lost a libel lawsuit against the newspaper that claimed he was a wife beater. The judge ruled that the statement was essentially true. As a result Warner Bros. has filed him from any upcoming “Fantastic Beasts” films. The part of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast. “Fantastic Beasts 3” has been filming step September but it is unknown if he had shot any scenes yet.

In Memoriam

  • Iconic Scottish actor Sean Connery the most famous 007. Age 90.
  • British comedian Bobby Ball age 76 Covid 19
  • Nikki McKibbin who reached the final three of season 1 of American Idol. Age 42. Aneurysm.
  • Charles Gordon Oscar-nominated producer of “Field of Dreams”, and “Waterworld”. Age 73. Cancer.
  • Eddie Hassell actor who appeared in “The Kids Are All Right” and “Surface” age 30. Shot outside his girlfriend’s apartment. No suspects or motive.
  • Jeremy Stevens Emmy-winning writer for “Everybody Loves Raymond”. Age 83 renal failure
  • Actress Carol Arthur who appeared in “Blazing Saddles” and “Hot Stuff” and was the wife of Dom DeLuise . Age 85
  • John Sessions Scottish actor and comedian who appeared on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Age 67. A heart condition.
  • Character actress Elsa Raven who was the “save the clock tower” lady in back to the future. Age 91
  • Ken Hensley Keyboardist for classic rock band “Uriah Heep” age 75.

Links of Interest

Entertainment News: Discovery extended; Away goes away; schedule shortened; and more

In our section below titled “Renewals, Coming Soon, and Casting News” we occasionally announce a TV show that has been canceled but rarely have we ever had to announce an entire streaming platform. “Quibi” has been shut down after just six months of operation. See the link from USA Today at the bottom of the blog which explains rather succinctly why it was a service that nobody wanted. The services scheduled to shut down on a about December 1.

Pandemic News

  • In light of the pandemic, CBS has cut its usual full season of 22 episodes for a variety of series including the NCIS franchise, Blue Bloods, Bull, The Neighborhood, SEAL Team, Magnum PI down to 16-18 episodes. The Unicorn originally scheduled for 13 will remain at 13. Still uncertain are sitcoms such as Mom, Young Sheldon, and other series which are expected to be in the 16-18 episodes range.
  • “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” will be one of the first shows to walk back and live in studio audience starting October 28.

Renewals, Coming Soon, and Casting News

  • Star Trek: Discovery has been renewed for season 4 just one day after season 3 premiered.
  • Offbeat comedy “Miracle Workers” has been renewed for season 3 at TBS.
  • Netflix has canceled sci-fi series “Away” starring Hilary Swank. It was one of the least scientifically accurate pieces of sci-fi I have seen in ages. Interesting characters. Great acting. Horrible story. Goodbye.
  • HBO has renewed “The Vow” for season 2
  • ABC has given six more episodes to “black-ish” increasing the season total to 21 episodes.
  • Adele will be hosting Saturday Night Live next weekend. She has been on as a musical guest but never as host.
  • Classic fantasy movie “Willow” will be made into a TV series for Disney+. Warwick Davis will return to the title role.
  • John Mulaney will host Saturday Night Live next weekend.
  • CW has renewed another season of Canadian TV shows “Coroner” and “Burden of Truth”
  • Netflix has renewed “Narcos: Mexico” for season 3

Politics and Showbiz

  • Disney+ has updated a disclaimer that appears before Peter Pan, Dumbo, Fantasia, and Lady and the Tramp (original versions). The statement now reads “This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together. Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe.”

Miscellaneous News

  • Actor Jeff Bridges has announced he was diagnosed with lymphoma.
  • Singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie known for his song “Alice’s Restaurant” and who performed at Woodstock announced his retiring after 50 years of performing. A series of strokes and other health issues that to his decision.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger is doing well after heart surgery.

In Memoriam

  • Spencer Davis bandleader of The Spencer Davis Group who produced hits such as “Keep on Running” and “Gimme Some Lovin”. Age 81.
  • William Blinn Emmy-winning screenwriter who created Starsky and Hutch and wrote “Brian Song” age 83.
  • Jerry Jeff Walker songwriter who penned “Mr. Bojangles” age 78

Links of Interest

Entertainment News: Dexter returns; Tony nominations; RIP “Two and a Half Men” housekeeper; and more

I mentioned previously I was watching the new Amazon show “Utopia” and my initial impressions after 2 episodes were positive. However as the series progressed it turned extremely dark and disturbing. Check out my full review here.

Amazon’s “Utopia” is of Questionable Taste and Not Just Because It’s About a Pandemic

Also I had previously reviewed very positively the new HBO Max series “Raised by Wolves”. While the first four or five episodes were really good it seemed to go downhill from there and a final episode really “jumped the shark” as they say in the TV industry. A bizarre finish which unfortunately left plenty of room for a second season. Go ahead and check it out if you want but be prepared for a strange ending.

Finally check out the links at the bottom. TV Line has updated its broadcast TV renewal scorecards which also contains links to renewal scorecards for cable and streaming services. Also a list of this year’s Tony award nominees and other items.

Pandemic News

  • Production on daytime soap “Days of Our Lives” has been suspended 2 weeks for Covid

Renewals, Coming Soon, and Casting News

  • HBO Max has ordered to series “Green Lantern” and it will revolve around multiple Green Lantern versions of the DC comics superhero.
  • Showtime has announced its bringing back “Dexter” about the serial killer CSI. It will be a limited 10 episode series reboot starring Michael C.but Hall returning to the role. Will start production in 2021 for fall premier 2021.
  • ABC has confirmed that Bobby Bones will return as in-house mentor for the next season of American Idol
  • HBO says “His Dark Materials” season 2 will premier November 16 and scripts are already being prepared for a potential season 3 not yet officially approved.
  • Spectrum Original as canceled “LA’s Finest” cop show starring Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba after 2 seasons.
  • The Tracy Morgan comedy “The Last OG” has been renewed for season 4 at TBS however Tiffany Haddish will not be returning.
  • Showtime has announced “Black Monday” a Wall Street satire has been renewed for season 3

Politics and Showbiz

  • The Commission on Presidential Debates has officially canceled the October 15 event after they changed it to a virtual event and Trump refused to participate. Competing town halls were held with Joe Biden on ABC and Trump on NBC. That programming move by NBC created serious backlash. In the end Biden won the ratings war over the two events.
  • Gal Gadot is moving from Wonder Woman to Cleopatra however she is being criticized for taking on the role of an addiction Queen because she is Israeli.

Miscellaneous News

  • Yahoo has announced that it shutting down its social media platform Yahoo! Groups which has been around for 20 years. It will shut down December 15.
  • Google is shutting down Google Hangouts in favor of Google Chat

In Memoriam

  • Game show host Tom Kennedy from “Name That Tune” age 93
  • Margaret Nolan actress who was painted entirely in gold in the James Bond film Goldfinger. Age 76.
  • Hall of Fame Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford, age 91
  • Hall of Fame Cincinnati Reds second baseman Joe Morgan was also ESPN commentator. Age 77.
  • Conchata Ferrell actress who played the housekeeper on “Two And A Half Men” one of my favorite character actresses. Age 77.
  • Herbert Kretzmer who wrote the English lyrics for the hit musical Les Miserables. Age 95.

Links of Interest

Amazon’s “Utopia” is of Questionable Taste and Not Just Because It’s About a Pandemic

Several days ago in one of my Facebook posts about entertainment news I mentioned that I was watching Amazon’s new series “Utopia” based on a British series of the same name. I had only watched about two episodes and made some positive comments about it but said I would wait to review it until I had seen more. I’m glad I waited because this series which was already dark humor turned extremely dark and cynical and got worse as the series progressed to a depressing finale. Minor spoilers ahead but I’m careful not to spoil major plot twists or the conclusions.

One could ask do we really want to watch a TV series about a pandemic in these times? I initially didn’t let that stop me from giving it a fair shake. And as mentioned, after a couple of episodes I was really intrigued. I thought it was a very funny yet dark comedy. The initial premise is that there is a group of fans of an underground comic book called “Dystopia”. Someone cleaning out there late grandfather’s home finds the manuscript for a sequel comic called “Utopia”. They announce that it will be for sale to the highest bidder at an upcoming comic convention. The five fans who had never met each other in person make plans to meet up, pool their resources, and purchase the manuscript.

The reason there is such fascination about this hidden treasure is that the original “Dystopia” comic contained all sorts of hidden clues about various diseases and viruses such as Ebola, swine flu, SARS and others. While some just enjoyed it as a quirky bizarre underground graphic novel, others based huge conspiracy theories around the story. At the comic convention, bidders were each allowed to see one page of the manuscript and then place a bid and leave contact information. At the convention, 2 mysterious people show up and start tracking down everyone who has seen the comic.

They end up murdering the people who discovered the comic, finding the list of bidders, murdering all them and framing one of them for the murders. Our main characters managed to escape this fate including a young boy named Grant who manages to steal the comic from the high bidder as the bad guys are murdering the new owner.

In what appears initially to be a side plot, a rich tech mogul Dr. Kevin Christie played by John Cusack has introduced a new food product he calls SimPro which stands for “Simple Protein”. It is a laboratory created meat substitute. He has sold it to school districts around the country for school lunches but mysteriously a fatal flu outbreak starts killing children in the schools where his product is used. The conspiracy theorists believe that “Utopia” has more clues to this and other future pandemics which makes it an even bigger hot commodity.

Suddenly a kick ass young woman appears and is also chasing down the new comic and teams up with our young heroes. She claims to be Jessica Hyde which is the name of one of the characters in the comics. Her claim is that everything in the comic is true especially the part about her life story.

While this started out as a dark, funny satire on comic fandom, cosplay, conspiracy theorists, and nerd culture, the story goes darker and darker by the minute. The hitmen who are killing off everyone who has seen the comic are especially brutal. Jessica herself is also a brutal killer having no qualms about torturing or murdering anyone who gets in her way. She is in search of her father who was somehow involved in the entire conspiracy.

While Cusack’s company is cleared by the FDA of having any wrongdoing in the pandemic deaths of the children, we slowly begin to discover that he is involved in a much more nefarious plot. Again I’m trying not to give way too much of the plot but let’s just say he is one of the most ruthless, evil, and heartless characters you’ve probably seen in some time. Especially troublesome about the entire story is the way that children are manipulated and used as pawns in this game. Children are brutally murdered, they are driven to murder, and their parents are killed in front of them. The casual disregard for human life in general but especially are treated is quite disturbing.

Throughout the show we still have these same funny, quirky nerd characters that you sort of fell in love with in the first couple of episodes. But the brutally dark nature of everything else detracts from any feel-good aspects of the show. I managed to watch all eight episodes mostly just because I was sucked in and wanted to see where it was all going.

As I said in the title to this blog, the fact that it deals with a fatal pandemic is not the most disturbing thing about this series. I know people (my sister for example) who seriously disliked “The Hunger Games” because it was about kids killing kids for sport. But at least in that series of books and films you felt like they were fighting the good fight against the repressive government. Although these characters try to be heroes to stand up against the evil corporation, these are not really very heroic people.

While the series attempts to be social commentary about things like nerd culture, politics, greedy corporations, conspiracy theorists and a number of other topics, ultimately it’s just a disturbing mess. By the way the violence isn’t particularly bloody or gory. Most people are killed execution style with a silenced gunshot to the head. However the lack of blood and gore only furthers to underplay the fact that we are really murdering people in cold blood.

As I mentioned I watched all eight episodes and it was good enough to hold my interest throughout. However I’m not really sure if I can recommend it or not. I think what fascinated me to stick with it was just to see how dark and sadistic it could become. Unfortunately the ending was not particularly satisfying and leaves itself open to another season if they managed to dare to attempt one. I guess for the lack of a better term I’m going to give it a rating of “could be watchable” but just keep in mind it’s not going to be a fun ride. The parts that make you stop and think are not exactly worth the effort to get there. I hesitate to say “skip it” because it does have its moments and it is thought-provoking. It just depends on what kind of thoughts you want provoked. Travel at your own risk.