Jim Carrey Isn’t Kidding in This Very Dark Comedy

The idea of Jim Carrey playing a “Mr. Rogers like” host of a children’s TV show looks a little bit creepy when you see the previews. Watching the new Showtime series “Kidding” doesn’t alleviate those concerns. I’ve watched 2 episodes so far and I so can’t figure out if it’s a comedy or a drama. Mostly it’s just weird.

Carrey plays Jeff Pickles a.k.a. Mr. Pickles the host of a beloved children’s puppet show on PBS for 30 years. His personal life however is a shambles because is son was killed in an auto accident one year ago. His marriage which was already in trouble falls apart. He tries to make sense of the world and maintain a good relationship with his surviving son who was a twin of the deceased boy.

In the opening episode he tries to convince his producer Sebastian played by Frank Langella that they should do a show about death. The idea is rejected because not only is this a beloved children show, it is a multimillion dollar branding and marketing institution that could be damaged by taking on such a dark topic.

It turns out that Sebastian is not only his producer but his father. Also his sister Deidre played by Catherine Keener works on the show as a puppeteer.

This is not the over-the-top kind of comedy you expect to see Jim Carrey playing. This is no Ace Ventura by any means. Despite the fact that he’s a grown man with 30 years of television experience he comes across with a youthful naïveté reminiscent of his character Truman Burbank in “The Truman Show“. As I said in the opening paragraph I’m not really sure if it’s a comedy or drama. Let’s call it a very dark comedy with ample doses of tragedy and pathos.

Carrey’s character is a complicated person and is well portrayed. The supporting cast is excellent as well and there are some other dark comic moments surrounding the supporting cast. But don’t expect a lot of laughs in a show whose primary theme is dealing with the death of a child.

I watched these episodes several days ago but have not bothered to write this review because I really wasn’t sure what to say about the show. I’m going to give it a very weak “I’m watching” rating mostly because I’m curious to see where the story will go. Don’t count that as a very ringing endorsement however. Check it out at your own peril.

“Rel” Shows Potential to be Funny but Only Time Will Tell

So we have a guy who is a standup comedian that gets his own sitcom. He has a male and female sidekick who come in and out of his life. We’ve seen this formula dozens of times before. It all began with Seinfeld but no one has been able to recapture that magic that we had between Jerry, Elaine, and Kramer. The new multi-camera half-hour comedy “Rel” starring Lil Rel Howery is another such attempt that at least initially falls short. Then again it’s probably unfair to compare a newcomer to what is one of the most successful sitcoms of all time.

Lil Rel Howery has appeared in the recently canceled “The Carmichael Show” which I enjoyed. However he is most famous for his role in the hit movie “Get Out” as the comic relief sidekick TSA agent who gives Daniel Kaluuya advice over the telephone as he faces his bizarre future in-laws. He is now capitalizing on that success with this new sitcom.

The premise of the show is that he is a nurse living on the south side of Chicago whose wife had an affair with his barber. She takes their two kids and moves to Cleveland. He tries to get over the shame of the loss. He is supported by his best friend Britney played by Jessica “Jess Hilarious” Moore and his ne’er-do-well brother Nat played by Jordan L Jones. Nat is recently out of jail and is constantly denying that he was a meth dealer. It wasn’t meth it was ecstasy like that makes a big difference.

Their father is played by veteran comedian Sinbad who is disappointed in both of his sons. In one scene where they go to church, dad tries to be supportive of his recently divorced son but he insists that he not sit near him because he doesn’t want to be associated with a guy who could lose his wife to a barber. The preacher in the church is also played by Howery made up in a bald cap and a beard.

My ultimate test for a sitcom is “did it make me laugh?” And on several occasions this one did. The first episode was pretty much a one joke story about the shame of losing your wife to your barber. It remains to be seen if the show remains creative and funny or just becomes a string of well-worn clichés.

Admittedly because I’m an old white guy I not going to have as much appreciation for some of the cultural context of an African-American cast and story. I probably will not continue to watch. I already enjoy “black-ish” and found it to be funnier than “Rel”. Don’t let my lack of enthusiasm for the show turn you off. It does have some very funny moments and I suppose once I got used to the characters I might appreciate it more. But in an already crowded space I will not be adding it to my watchlist.

Because I did laugh I will give it a very strong rating of “Could be watchable“. If you’re looking for a good African-American comedy you should check it out for yourself.

That show appears on Fox. The pilot episode was shown September 9 as a sneak preview and is available on demand. Regular episodes premier September 30.

Big Bang Ending; Hamill goes from Jedi to Templer; Legend is legendary EGOT; Reviews and more.

Here’s the latest in entertainment news. We started out with a couple of reviews from this blog in case you missed them.

“Carter” Is the Least Credible of the Overdone Consultant Detective Genre

You Should Purge “The Purge” From Your DVR

Anarchy Fans Rejoice. “Mayans MC” is Everything You Loved about SoA

Here is a calendar of premiere dates courtesy of TV line. Or follow me on Facebook where I will post daily updates for new fall premieres.

In the links below read about:

  • Chris Hardwick returns to “Talking Dead” but several producers resign in protest.
  • Spoilers from Inside Line dated August 14
  • The story behind the decision to end The Big Bang Theory after 12 seasons
  • Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated August 29
  • Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated September 11

Not linked but still of interest…

  • Marvel’s Runaways will return to Hulu with 13 episodes starting December 21 and will pick up within hours of the first season’s finale. There are hints it will somehow connect to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. No details yet.
  • At one time there were rumors of up to 5 Game of Thrones spinoff shows but it appears that 4 of them are dead and one is going forward. It’s the one we previously reported will take place over a thousand years before the current series.
  • Hulu announced that “Castle Rock” based on stories by Stephen King has been renewed for a second season.
  • A Marilyn Monroe nude scene from the John Houston film “The Misfits” that was believed to have been destroyed has been rediscovered.
  • From Jedi to Templer… Mark Hamill joins the cast of History Channel medieval drama “Knightfall” for season 2. I watched season 1 which was just okay and probably wasn’t going to watch season 2 but with him on board I will have to check it out.
  • John Cleese will guest star in the upcoming season of disability sitcom “Speechless”.
  • TLC network has renewed “Dr Pimple Popper” for season 2 starting in January. Reality documentary show follows a dermatologist who operates on gross looking cysts. Started out as a popular YouTube channel and then moved to TV.
  • RIP actress and singer Morgana King who played Marlon Brando’s wife in the Godfather I & II.
  • USA Network has canceled “Shooter” after 3 seasons. The show is being shopped around to other networks.
  • Madonna recently turned 60 years old.
  • RIP singing legend Aretha Franklin age 76
  • TNT has ordered a limited series “The Angel of Darkness” which is a sequel to “The Alienist” with many of the stars returning to reprise their roles including Dakota Fanning, Luke Evans, and Daniel Bruhl.
  • Star Wars: Resistance animated TV series will premiere on The Disney Channel October 7.
  • Stephen Ogg recently seen the “The Walking Dead” will be a recurring character in the TNT sci-fi drama “Snowpiercer”.
  • “Watchmen” comic to be adapted to TV series for HBO.
  • Netflix has renewed female wrestling comedy GLOW for season 3
  • A six part miniseries of John le Carre’s “The Little Drummer Girl” is coming to AMC network November 19.
  • CW network announced a three night crossover of its superhero series “The Flash”, “Arrow”, and “Supergirl” will start Sunday, December 9 and will introduce new character Batwoman.
  • Lip-Synch Battle has been renewed for season 5 by Paramount Network.
  • This season will be the final season of The Big Bang Theory.
  • Timeless which was canceled yet again by NBC will have a two hour movie to wrap up the plot. It will air sometime in December.
  • RIP musician Ed King who is guitarist for Leonard Skynyrd and cowriter of “Sweet Home Alabama”.
  • RIP entertainment journalist Robin Leach host of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” age 76
  • RIP playwright Neil Simon age 91
  • John Goodman reveals that the Roseanne character will be killed off in the spinoff show “The Connors”.
  • Kevin Spacey’s character Frank Underwood will be killed off to eliminate him from the final season of “House of Cards”.
  • Matt Smith a.k.a. the 11th Doctor Who will appear in Star Wars episode 9 in an undisclosed role.
  • HBO has dropped all erotic programming from its lineup including edited adult movies and unscripted series such as “Real Sex” and “Cathouse”.
  • Dancing with the Stars judge Carrie Ana Inaba will host next year’s Miss America competition.
  • USA has announced Mr. Robot season 4 will be its last.
  • Release of the new sequel “Top Gun: Maverick” has been delayed one year until June 2020
  • Emmy Rossum announced this will be her last season on Shameless.
  • The new season of Doctor Who will premiere Sunday October 7 in both the US and UK.
  • Jack is back! Not Jack Bauer but the next best thing. “Designated Survivor” recently canceled by ABC is been renewed by Netflix.
  • HBO has renewed “Ballers” and “Insecure” for a fifth and fourth seasons respectively.
  • A Broadway musical version of “Beetlejuice” will premiere March 2019 at the Winter Garden Theater.
  • RIP 70s film icon Burt Reynolds age 82.
  • 20th Century Fox has deleted a scene from the film “The Predator” the latest in the alien sci-fi series after it discovered one of the actors was a registered sex offender.
  • After Brooklyn Nine-Nine moved to NBC its order has been expanded to 18 episodes.
  • RIP actor Bill Daley who played Maj. Healy on “I Dream of Jeannie” age 91
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, and John Legend are now EGOT winners. This means they have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards. The latest Emmys for producing “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert”. John Legend is the first African-American man to achieve the status. Only 12 other people prior to this had won EGOT in competitive categories.


“Appreciative” Chris Hardwick Returns To ‘Talking Dead’; Co-EP + Others Quit

Matt’s Inside Line: Scoop on NCIS: LA, Grey’s, This Is Us, The Resident, The Gifted, Runaways, SEAL Team and More August 14

‘The Big Bang Theory’: Behind The Sudden Decision To End Series After 12 Seasons

Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Good Place, Empire, 9-1-1, Lucifer, The Flash, Supernatural, NCIS, TWD and More August 29

Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Grey’s, Walking Dead, Power, Young Sheldon, Riverdale, House of Cards and More September 11


Anarchy Fans Rejoice. Mayans, MC is Everything You Loved about SoA

For those of us who have been morning the loss of the hit drama “Sons of Anarchy” our sadness has been vanquished. The anarchy universe has been reborn in the new FX series “Mayans, MC”. Kurt Suter who created “Sons of Anarchy” brings us yet again complex, nuanced characters placed into impossible situations that test their loyalty, morality, and self-image. Known for his surprising plot twists, Suter brings his creative magic to the small screen yet again. Fans of the original “Sons of Anarchy” will find themselves completely at home in this new incarnation. If you’ve not seen Anarchy we highly recommend you check out this new series that shows every indication of being just as compelling as our previous visit to this world.

“Sons of Anarchy” was about a Southern California motorcycle club whose stock in trade was gunrunning, pornography, and prostitution. They often collaborated or sometimes collided with an Hispanic motorcycle club called the Mayans. That club is the basis for this new series. In Anarchy, the president of the Mayans was Marcus Alvarez played by Emilio Rivera. He appears in the opening episode not as the president and as the “Godfather” or sort of president emeritus of the organization. IMDb says he will appear in a total of 3 episodes. None of the rest of the members of the Mayans are carryovers from Anarchy although there are some cameo appearances (such as Robert Patrick) of other characters from Anarchy.

The lack of carryover characters does not in any way make this new incarnation unfamiliar to fans of the original. The complex relationships between characters, the moral dilemmas they face, the test of loyalties, the mind blowing plot twists, phenomenal action sequences, and gut wrenching violence that were the hallmarks of Anarchy are in full bloom. Let’s face it… This is a reboot but it’s a wonderful reboot.

Our main character is Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes played by JD Pardo whose credits include TV series “East Los High“, and “Revolution“. Here’s a prospect or you might a pledge trying to join the MC. He is sponsored by his older brother Angel. Their father Felipe who is a butcher in the town is played by Edward James Olmos. The club president Obispo “Bishop” Losa is played by Michael Irby who has been seen recently in “SEAL Team” and “True Detective“.

The club is in business providing security for the Galindo drug cartel. When one of the shipments gets hijacked it sets off a chain of events that has them doing battle with a rival Samoan club. We also meet a Mexican vigilante group made up of survivors of cartel violence who are trying to take down the cartel because the authorities seem powerless to do anything.

The hijacking reveals that there has to be a traitor among the group which adds to the tension of the situation. It’s bad enough when you are hired to protect a drug shipment worth $2.5 million. But then to try to weed out the traitor among you makes things even more complicated. I won’t go into any more plot details because it would spoil some big surprises. Let’s just say that everything is not as it seems. Nearly everyone is carrying some sort of secret. And a tremendous amount of detail is revealed about secret agendas in the first episode alone.

There is action galore throughout the first episode. The hijacking involves a stunt where a truck flips and explodes. There is a bloody shootout in a cemetery when they confront the Samoan gang about the hijacking. They eventually capture, torture and kill the Samoan leader in ways that will make you cringe. This is a violent adult drama not for the squeamish. And much to my surprise for a basic cable TV show they dropped at least three F-bombs. I had heard that the rules for basic cable were one “F-bomb” per season. At least that’s the rule for AMC’s “The Walking Dead“.

If you were a fan of Anarchy you are already watching this show. If you never saw the original, you don’t need to have seen it to jump into Mayans. Highly recommended show that earns a strong rating of “Must See” on my rating system.

You Should Purge “The Purge” from Your DVR

In our current political climate when Congress seems unable to act and presidents from both parties have taken to the use of executive orders to try to get anything done, the idea of the government run amuck is a ripe topic for a horror/thriller TV series or film. The Hulu series “The Handmaid’s Tale” does a brilliant job of showing us in near future America when the government holds terrifying control over the population. Last season’s outstanding “American Horror Story: Cult” was its first ever season with no supernatural elements but quite effectively drew its terror from the current political climate. Unfortunately the new USA Network 10 episode limited series “The Purge” fails to deliver as either a political commentary or a horror story.

We’ve already had four feature films in the franchise based on the same premise. The basis of the entire franchise is that it takes place in the near future or perhaps an alternate version of America present-day in which one night per year in which all crime including murder is illegal. From 7 PM until 7 AM next morning anything goes. The government has declared this to be a fundamental right that people may exercise. The premise being that if you let people experience total chaos and anarchy once a year to get it out of their system, you can justify more significant oppression and control of their lives the other 364 days. It also serves to thin the herd of some of society’s less desirable and less prosperous people.

The original film “The Purge” (2013) followed an upper-middle-class family who believed they would be safe during the purge thanks to a newly installed home security system. It starred Ethan Hawke as the father. The mother was played by Lena Headley known for her role as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones. It wasn’t a great film but it was watchable on cable. You felt the peril that the family felt as their home was attacked and their lives threatened. They explored the moral dilemma that they faced when someone begged to be let into the house to escape attackers. Can you trust a stranger in need under such circumstances?

While it was a reasonably good thriller, it failed to explore the political landscape which allowed such a situation to rise. You never did get a good feel for why the government instituted such a practice. Had we not already experienced a franchise such as “The Hunger Games” in which the government promotes chaos in order to counterbalance its oppression, the film would have made even less sense.

I have not seen the other three films “The Purge: Anarchy” (2014) which seems a little bit redundant in its title, “The Purge: Election Year” (2016) which probably failed to be any more terrifying than what really happened in 2016, and the recent prequel “The First Purge” (2018). In my opinion the premise barely held up for one film. I can only suppose that the other films were just a way to capitalize on the mild success of the first one and to have an excuse to make really violent movies. I would hope that the “Election Year” version went a little more into the politics of this universe and the prequel similarly filled in some of the back story but I can’t say for sure.

Now we come to the topic at hand which is this new 10 part series based on the films. The episode presumes that you understand either from the films were from the advertising of the show just went is “The Purge”. They didn’t even bother to put up a title card explaining the premise. It’s a little bit difficult after one episode to figure out exactly who are the main characters and who are just supporting roles. We have a young couple who are attending a purge party of political bigwigs who are celebrating the event. They seem to feel uncomfortable being there despite the fact that the venue is under strong security from outside chaos and everyone involved has signed a waiver giving up their right to purge that night. Another woman from some large corporation is forced to work all night on an upcoming merger deal. She and her colleagues are similarly isolated, protected, and have signed waivers not to purge. However near the end of the first episode she sneaks out for purposes yet to be revealed.

The only mildly interesting subplot is of a man looking for his sister. He finds that she has joined some sort of cult in which they are basically a suicide pact which offer themselves up as a sacrifice to the chaos of the purge. They dressed in robes and go out as a group on a bus to an area where they know they will be slaughtered. However this subplot, like the entire plot, seems like a one note story. Once you say “Wouldn’t it be interesting if one night per year all crime including murder was legal?” There really isn’t a lot to explore. Similarly “Wouldn’t it be interesting if there was a religious cult who took that opportunity to commit suicide by offering themselves as a sacrifice to the purge?” Okay so there’s a premise but what of it.

The TV series stars no one you ever heard of before so I won’t bother listing their names or credits. You can always follow the IMDb links if you are curious.

One could be hopeful that some of the back story on how the purge came about or what are the political motivations and consequences of it might be explored in the remaining nine episodes. But that’s a long way to go on nothing but hope. Unless you are a huge fan of the films and have gotten something more out of films 2 through 4 then I got out of the original, you would probably agree with me that this deserves a very strong rating of “Skip It“. If you do want to check it out, the only saving grace might be that it is only 10 episodes. I think your time would be better spent watching “The Handmaid’s Tale” or some other better done dystopian future franchise than this one.

“Carter” is the Least Credible of the Overdone Consultant Detective Genre

I wish that I knew someone who worked as a detective in a police department to ask them a simple question: “Did you ever hire an outside consultant to help you solve a crime?” I would be willing to bet large sums of money that the answer is a resounding “No”. Yet if we were to take TV shows at their word, we would presume that it was an everyday occurrence. We used to have lots of private detective shows like Magnum, P.I. (which is being rebooted this fall by the way) or Mannix and of course classic movies and mystery novels are full of PIs such as Sam Spadeor Mike Hammer. But we seem to be flooded with police consultants these days. The most ridiculous of these just premiered on WGN America in the form of a procedural called “Carter

Of course the most famous outside please consultant from literature is Sherlock Holmes created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887. He has been adapted and re-adapted many times on film and TV. The most recent Sherlock incarnation is Johnny Lee Miller in “Elementary” which will air its seventh season this fall. This reimagines the character in a modern-day setting with a further twist that his companion Dr. Watson is female. Even before that, Edgar Allen Pro perhaps invented the murder mystery genre with his character C. Auguste Dupin who first appeared in 1841 in Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue“. In the case of these classic characters they are such geniuses that we can believe that the police might consult them on a case. On a much lighter note we had “Monk” who was a neurotic super detective played by Tony Shalaoub for eight seasons. He was a Sherlock Holmes style super detective character but at least he had the credentials of being a former police detective.

Slightly less credible as the non-police super sleuth we had Patrick Jane played by Simon Baker on “The Mentalist” for seven seasons. He was a fake psychic showman who was adapt at reading people’s tells and understood the psychology of how to manipulate them into confessing or revealing themselves as the guilty party. The FBI was aware he was not really psychic but just observant. The show also featured the romantic tension between him and his FBI partner Teresa Lisbon played by Robin Tunney. Taking a much more comic approach to the same fake psychic routine was “Psych” in which a super detective actually convinced the local PD that he had psychic powers that he could contribute to police cases when in fact he was just a gifted observer. “Psych” is played strictly for laughs and the show didn’t hesitate to “jump the shark” many times including an all musical episode in its final season. Despite its ridiculous premise, it ran for eight seasons and there have been follow-up TV movies. It’s great for a laugh but extremely far-fetched as a serious detective show.

Unfortunately the trend these days is for people from less credible professions who cross over to take up the role of police consultant. The most successful of these cop consultant shows was “Castle” in which mystery writer Rick Castle played by Nathan Filion who consulted with NYPD to help them solve crimes because he knew so much about criminals from writing novels about them. The premise is ridiculous but the stories were fun and the chemistry between Castle and the detective Kate Beckett whom he later married in the show was genuine. The show was a hit for eight seasons.

In the past year we’ve had several more entries into the genre. First we have “Deception” in which a disgraced stage illusionist teams up with the FBI to use his skills as an allusions to trick criminals into revealing themselves. He also is able to uncover when the criminals are using the art of illusion to throw the police off of their crimes. Again there was a hint of romantic link between the consultant and a female detective that given enough seasons probably would’ve gone down the road of Castle. I liked the show but it only lasted one season.

This year also brought us “Instinct” in which the outside consultant is a former CIA agent, turned author, turned college professor. He gets pulled into a case by the NYPD when a serial killer uses his best-selling book on abnormal psychology to leave clues to his next victims. This character portrayed by Alan Cumming was also paired with a hot young single female police contacted but they avoid the romantic connection because he is gay. His background in psychology and abnormal behavior as well as his CIA background lends some credibility to the story. The show was successful enough to get picked up for a second season. I’ve enjoyed it enough to keep watching.

Finally we come to the most ridiculous cop consultant stories of the bunch. The first is ABC’s new series “Take Two” in which a washed up actress who played a detective in a TV show teams up with a private detective supposedly to prepare for an upcoming film role where she will play a PI. Rachel Bilson plays the actress turned PI and Eddie Cibrian is her PI buddy. The idea that she knows a lot about police work or has some sort of special insights just because she played a TV detective stretches credibility to the breaking point. There is even a ridiculous scene where the bad guy has her gunpoint, forces her to put down her gun and she ends up kicking the gun in the air and hitting him in the face with it thus re-creating a scene from one of her TV episodes. I’ve only seen one episode out of the nine that have aired. There will be a total of 13 this season and it’s too soon to tell if it would get renewed for another one.

As if this genre wasn’t already overloaded to the breaking point, this week WGN America premiered a new series called “Carter” in which Jerry O’Connell plays an actor from a popular cop TV show. As in “Take Two” the actor has suffered a public meltdown although it hasn’t yet ruined his career. He is on hiatus between seasons so he goes home to Canada to get away from the limelight. While on hiatus he teams up with a childhood friend who is a police detective. She is played by Sidney Tamila Poitier. She is the daughter of famous actor Sidney Poitier. This one is played a little bit more for laughs in that they at times poke fun at the TV cop genre. They are still taking the ridiculous approach that being a TV detective somehow trained you to do the real thing. This is mitigated only by the back story that he has been a semi-famous boy detective in his childhood apparently having to do with the case of his mother who went missing. We will have to see where that story goes in future episodes.

Even the TV series “Lucifer” in which the devil himself becomes a police consultant has more credibility than these actor consultants because Lucifer has a certain hypnotic ability that can coerce people into nearly confessing their crimes. The show was canceled by Fox after three seasons but has been picked up for a fourth season by Netflix. Although a bit silly at times, I do enjoy it.

In summary I sort of liked “Deception” even though it lacked a lot of credibility. “Instinct” with its Sherlock-like consultant and “Elementary” with its reimagined actual Sherlock Holmes are both worth watching. But I can’t recommend either of the actors-turned-consultant shows “Take Two” or “Carter” and unless you are more interested in a RomCom than a real cop show. They both get “skip it” ratings from me.

ABC’s “Castaways” is not a “Survivor” clone. May be worth checking out.

ABCs new reality series “Castaways” on paper would appear to be a ripoff of CBS’ long-running reality competition show “Survivor” but apparent from the fact that people are stranded on an island, the shows could not be more different.

Castaways drops 12 people on a series of tiny islands in Indonesia separately from one another. It’s as if they were survivors of a ship wreck. They are dropped off in the ocean just offshore where they will find scattered supplies and luggage that may or may not be their own. They know that there are other contestants out there with them but they don’t know where they are or even how many others there are. It is up to each of them to decide to try to make it on their own or to seek out the other castaways.

There is no post like Jeff Probst on Survivor. There are no competitions or tribal councils to vote people off. Unlike the 39 day duration of Survivor, these participants have no idea how long they will be out there. You either survive to the end or you give up and they take you out of the game.It’s filmed documentary style and includes a peak at what the individuals lives are like in real life. It’s all about surviving and has nothing resembling the game show atmosphere of Survivor or Big Brother. I suppose if you were to compare it to any other reality show it would be more like Discovery Channel’s “Naked and Afraid” without the ridiculous nudity.

The participants in some cases bear little resemblance to the typical Survivor contestant. For example the first person we meet is a food addict who weighs 390 pounds. Another 61-year-old woman struggles to care for her parents who have Alzheimer’s. Others such as X military man, an aspiring Nashville singer, a crab fisherman, seemed to be the more typical Survivor types.

it’s probably too soon to tell just how compelling or entertaining series will be but it’s definitely worth checking out. You can catch it Tuesday nights on ABC at 10 PM. The first episode which is already aired is available on demand. For now I’m giving it a rating of “I’m watching it

Entertainment news: Hardwick commentary; Andrew Lloyd Webber no longer Really Useful; Picard makes it so again; Data is new VP; RIP Ellison, Ditko and others.

I’m still trying to get caught up on entertainment news.

Before we start I want to comment on the Chris Hardwick situation. In case you don’t know Chris Hardwick is the host of the “Talking Dead” after show for both “The Walking Dead” and “Fear the Walking Dead” on AMC. In the walking that off-season he also has his own show on AMC called “Talking with Chris Hardwick” in which he interviews a celebrity guest for a full hour. He is also occasionally hosted and after show for “Better Call Saul” titled “Talking Saul”. He also hosts the NBC primetime game show “The Wall”. He was the founder of the nerd culture website Nerdest.com in which he had a podcast for many years where he interviewed celebrities one-on-one.

Several weeks ago on the day of the season premiere of “Talking with Chris Hardwick” AMC pulled him off the air and canceled his appearances at San Diego Comic Con where he was set to host panel discussions with the stars of the Walking Dead franchise.

It was prompted by a blog post by his ex-girlfriend who, without naming him specifically, described an ex-boyfriend who is emotionally and physically abusive to her. She claimed that after their breakup he threatened and/or actually did try to ruin her career by blacklisting her and discouraging other people from hiring her. Given the hypersensitivity and zero-tolerance state of the #MeToo era we are living in he was guilty until proven innocent. I mentioned that she did not identify him by name but she described the ex-boyfriend as a media icon who started out with a famous online podcast and is now a comedian and talkshow host. And it was public knowledge that they had been a couple so it was obviously him.

Hardwick released a statement saying that it was a nasty breakup but denied any abuse allegations. AMC eventually said that Yvette Nicole Brown who is a frequent celebrity fan guest on the “Talking Dead” show would replace him at comic con and on the TV shows on an interim basis. She made it clear in tweets that she considered it “just filling in for a friend”. When it was announced that Hardwick was suspended I publicly speculated that Brown would be the only logical choice for a replacement. NBC commented that new episodes of “The Wall” would not start taping until September and they were taking a wait and see attitude.

Many genre TV shows have attempted to produce after-shows similar to “Talking Dead” including “Orphan Black”, “Game of Thrones”, and “Sons of Anarchy” but none have been successful because they’ve not been near the quality of those hosted by Hardwick. He is a credible super fan, he has a sensitive yet probing style of interview, his experience doing nerd-based stand-up comedy shines through in his approach to the interviews. There is lots of fan involvement with questions submitted via social media and a weekly question from a member of the studio audience. All of the above combines to make his shows a fun entertaining ride for fans of the series.

I was seriously bummed out that he was off the air because I’m a great fan of his. While there’s no excuse for the kind of abuse that women have suffered at the hands of media people and while I completely support the #MeToo movement, these cases need to be taken on a case-by-case basis. We live in a country founded on the principle of innocent until proven guilty. The current atmosphere makes it much too easy for a disgruntled person to completely destroy someone’s career over a mere accusation. Even if Hardwick is guilty of bad behavior, there are degrees of these things. There was no hint of multiple allegations and there were no details that suggested the kinds of extreme behavior alleged of people like Weinstein, Cosby, and Spacey. I really don’t believe everyone who’s experienced a bad relationship deserves to have their career destroyed.

Fortunately after an investigation by an outside firm, AMC has agreed to reinstate Hardwick as has NBC. Yvette Nicole Brown substituted for him at Comic Con. She also hosted a special edition of “Talking Dead” last week that was a preview of season nine of “The Walking Dead”. She announced that Hardwick would return next week to “Talking Dead” after the mid season premiere of “Fear The Walking Dead”. NBC also announced that he would return to “The Wall”. Last week he was also guest judge on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”. I never saw any news references about that episode or what NBC might’ve done had he not been reinstated. There is no way they could edit him out of the episode especially since the guest judge always gets the opportunity to hit the Golden Buzzer to advance one act to the next round. I suppose had the investigation revealed that the situation was serious, they would’ve had to run the show with some sort of disclaimer saying that it was taped before the allegations were made public.

We’ve seen some extremely high profile actors such as Johnny Depp continue with their career beyond serious allegations about their abusive behavior. I wondered if they’ve gotten more of a free pass because it didn’t reach the level of the big three (Weinstein, Cosby, and Spacey) and they had sufficient economic incentives to turn a bit of a blind eye to the allegations. While Hardwick is a very hot property right now, he doesn’t have the star power Johnny Depp.

I’m relieved to see that someone who is not a megastar like Depp can continue with their career despite previous mistakes. Don’t get me wrong… People need to be held accountable for their bad behavior. But we have a court of law and due process procedures to deal with these kinds situations. My hope is that once the backlog of unreported abuse two things will happen. First women will be empowered to seek legal remedies to the things that have happened to them with more confidence that their claims will receive serious consideration. And second, I hope that anyone who does behave badly is treated like a case-by-case basis and that any consequences of their behavior is proportional to the offenses.

Soapbox mode off…

I’m trying to catch up with my entertainment news.  This blog entry covers June 1 through the present. We’ve been so far behind that I haven’t bothered to include any of my usual links to spoilers from TV journalists Michael Ausiello or Matt’s Inside Line. The “spoilers” that they referenced had already happened however I think we’re getting close enough there’s some useful information in those links so we will start including them as I come across them.

In these links read about…

Article about special-effects on Game of Thrones.

Postmortem interview with actors from Westworld about the end of season 2 and a post credits scene.

Postmortem interview with producers of Handmaid’s Tale about the season finale and going forward.

Spoilers from Matt’s Inside Line dated July 26.

A behind-the-scenes look at auditions for Jeopardy.

What would’ve happened in season five of “The Last Man on Earth”.

Executives at CBS All Access discuss more Star Trek series, Twilight Zone reboot, Stephen King and other topics.

Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated August 7.

Interview with ABC executive about the decision to cancel “Roseanne” and to go on with the spinoff series “The Connors”.


Not linked but still of interest…

We begin with 2 major deaths.

RIP famous sci-fi author Harlan Ellison who wrote the award-winning Star Trek episode “City on the Edge of Forever”, the film “A Boy and His Dog” and who edited and compiled the famous anthology series “Dangerous Visions”. Often quite outspoken and divisive among fans who either adored or hated him. He successfully sued several films for ripping off themes from his stories including Terminator which James Cameron admitted was an inspiration. He never wanted money in these lawsuits. He just insisted on being given credit for his ideas. He was 94.

RIP comic book artist Stephen Ditko who along with Stan Lee created Spider-Man, Dr. Strange and others. Age 90.

Jamie Lee Curtis is set to return in a new film of the long-running “Halloween” franchise.

The “Game of Thrones” prequel coming to HBO soon is set “thousands of years in the past” compared to the current series. Production starts in October.

John Lassiter cofounder of Pixar Animation is leaving as Disney Animation chief after allegations of workplace misbehavior.

Ryan Gosling will star as Neil Armstrong in an upcoming film titled “First Man”

RIP actress Eunice Gayson who was his first “James Bond girl” appearing in “Dr. No” and “From Russia with Love”. Age 90.

Actor Jeremy Renner suffered a broken arm during the filming of the film “Tag” about a bunch of grown men who still play tag with one another. He has recovered and is looking forward to appearing in Avengers 4.

RIP opera singer Neil Boyd who was the winner of season 3 of “America’s Got Talent”. He was 42 and had multiple medical problems.

Ewan McGregor will play grown-up Danny Torrence from “The Shining” in a new film titled “Doctor Sleep”.

Actor Hartley Sawyer has been promoted to series regular on CW network’s “The Flash”. His stretchy character Ralph Dibney has already been a relatively major character the past season.

Liza Minnelli disapproves of the upcoming biopic about her mother Judy Garland which will star Renée Zellweger

Jeremy Jordan who plays techno geek Winn Schott on Supergirl has been demoted from series regular to recurring character. It was his decision to step back from the role full-time.

Jason Ritter whose “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World” was canceled will be back on TV playing a superhero in Netflix’s family drama “Raising Dion”.

AMC theater chain has started a $20 per month subscription program to compete with MoviePass. Unlike MoviePass, it is good for premium showings such as IMAX and 3D but of course is limited to AMC theaters. Meanwhile MoviePass crashed on the opening day of the new Mission Impossible film causing its stock to plummet. At first they said they will no longer support big blockbuster films such as this and that price would go up from $10 per month to $15 per month. Now they say they are keeping me $10 per month but limiting use to three movies per month.

RIP graphic designer Richard Alan Greenberg who designed the title sequences of Alien, Superman, the matrix and others. Age 71.

When I heard that the AMC series “The Terror” had been renewed for a second season I couldn’t understand because the story at basically wrapped up. However similar to American Horror Story the new season will have a completely different setting and topic. This time much of it takes place in a World War II Japanese internment camp. So basically it’s a totally different show.

NBC has confirmed that there will be a two hour wrapup movie for its canceled time travel series “Timeless”. They say it was fan pressure that got the deal done.

Russell Crowe will play Fox News chief Roger Ailes in an upcoming Showtime series

RIP reality TV star Richard “Old Man” Harrison of Pawn Stars. Age 77

RIP actress Deanna Lund who appeared in the late 60s sci-fi series “Land of the Giants”. She was 81.

The Grammy awards is expanding the number of nominees in its major categories from 5 to 8.

RIP Joe Jackson father of Michael Jackson and his siblings and longtime manager of The Jackson Five. Age 89.

Actress Eileen Davidson is leaving the soap opera “The Young and the Restless” in her role as Ashley Abbott after 36 years.

RIP character actor Stanley Anderson who played the judge in the final episode of Seinfeld and played a general in Spider-Man. He was 87.

Showtime has ordered 10 episodes of a new series tentatively titled “Halo” based on the videogame.

RIP former MSNBC host Ed Schultz. Age 64 natural causes.

RIP actor Tab Hunter. He was a teen heartthrob in 1950s movies not later came out as gay and became an activist. Age 86

Release of the new Indiana Jones 5 film starring Harrison Ford has been pushed back to 2021.

Rapper Drake broke the Beatles record for having five simultaneous singles in the top 10 of the Billboard ranking by owning seven of the top 10 for one week. He also broke his own record for having 27 songs in the top 100 including all 25 from his recent album “Scorpion”. He also set an online record for 1 billion streams.

RIP Nancy Sinatra first wife of Frank Sinatra and mother of his children. Age 101.

The Walking Dead season 9 will have its first deaf character played by deaf actress Lauren Ridloff.

Nickelodeon has ordered 22 episodes of the 90s cartoon Rugrats. There will also be a new Rugrats movie.

Supergirl will have TVs first transgendered superhero played by trans activist Nicole Maines.

Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton and Colin Powell will guest star on the season premiere of Madam Secretary.

Production will begin this fall on a new Deadwood movie at HBO. Will premiere in the spring of 2019.

Veep is going back into production for its seventh and final season to premiere in spring of 2019 after delay for Julia Louis Dreyfus cancer recovery.

One of my favorite new documentary series “One Strange Rock” has been renewed for season 2 on National Geographic Channel. Check it out on demand.

YouTube has removed InfoWars videos and suspends live broadcasts from controversial Alt-Right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. He has also been suspended from posting videos and Facebook for 30 days. And also Spotify has removed many of his podcasts from their service. And also Apple has pulled his podcasts from iTunes.

Game show Beat Shazam pulled the episode featuring singer Demi Lovato after she was admitted to the hospital for an apparent drug overdose. She has canceled the remainder of her tour.

Headline “Andrew Lloyd Webber’s theaters no longer really useful”. But seriously folks… He is renaming his theater division “Really Useful Theaters” to just “LW Theaters” to distinguish between that and his other production company which handles his creative output which is called “Really Useful Group”. So I guess he’s still useful after all… Just not his theaters 🙂

Original MythBuster Adam Savage will host a new show featuring experimenting kids titled MythBusters Junior.

RIP William Loud the father of the first reality TV family on the PBS series “An American Family” in the early 70s.

Carrie Fisher will appear in Star Wars episode 9 by using unused footage from the previous two installments. Her family approves. Filming of living actors began in late July.

Fear The Walking Dead and Better Call Saul have both been renewed for seasons 5 by AMC.

The first season of Marvel’s Runaways which originally was released on Hulu is now going to air on Freeform channel. I wasn’t sure I would enjoy a teenage theme show such as this but it was really quite good. Highly recommended.

Octavia Spencer will play Madam CJ Walker in an upcoming Netflix miniseries.

Netflix hit “Stranger Things” season 3 is being delayed until summer of 2019. Producers and writers say they want to take the time to get it right and maintain the quality they’ve been delivering.

CBS president Les Moonves is the latest high-profile executive to be accused of sexual misconduct.

A prequel of the TV series “24”will tell the origin story of agent Jack Bauer. It’s under development at Fox.

Alan Alda has revealed that he has had Parkinson’s disease for three years.

Former Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat will produce a TV series “The Time Traveler’s Wife” for HBO based on the movie of the same name.

2001: A Space Odyssey is being re-released in IMAX in late August and will appear at the Indianapolis White River IMAX in the 70 mm film IMAX format the first week of September for a limited run. I’ve already got plans to see it. I’ve only seen it in a theater one time and that was in the small 2 screen cinema that used to be in Speedway shopping center. Really looking forward to seeing it and near Cinerama format and a decent sound system.

Former Star Trek Cmdr. Data Brent Spiner will guest star as the vice president in the next season reassuring role on Supergirl.

Skydance and Paramount are going to reboot Terminator with a mostly female cast.

Warner Bros. TV is in the early stages of rebooting the 80s and the sitcom ALF.

Steve Coogan and John C Riley play Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy is upcoming movie “Stan & Ollie”

Comedian Chris Rock will star in season 4 of Fargo as a crime boss in 1950s Missouri

FX has ordered a miniseries titled Shogun

American Horror Story has been renewed for season 10 ahead of its upcoming season 9 premiere.

Patrick Stewart is returning to Star Trek as Jean-Luc Picard for a new series being developed for CBS All Access

RIP James Bonner who featured on the TLC series “My 600 Lb. Life” found dead of a shotgun wound. Age 30.

RIP actress Charlotte Rae who played house mother Mrs. Garrett on “The Facts of Life”. She was 92. Meanwhile there are plans to reboot series in progress.

Robert Redford plans to retire from acting after his upcoming film “The Old Man & The Gun” but he says “never say never”.

Showtime announces that “Shameless” season 9 will have 14 episodes (up from the usual 10) but will be split into 2 groups of seven and winter blocks.

Showtime has announced that Homeland will end with season 8.

The final season of Netflix series House of Cards will premiere November 2

FX has acquired the cable broadcast rights to Mission Impossible: Fallout, Deadpool 2, A Quiet Place and other big films.

Ruby Rose who has appeared in “Orange is the New Black” has been cast as Batwoman in a crossover episode CW networks superheroe Arrowverse. She may end up getting her own standalone series.

The upcoming season of American Horror Story: Apocalypse will include lots of people from previous seasons among them AHS veterans Taissa Farmiga, Gabourey Sidibe, Lily Rabe, Frances Conroy and Stevie Nicks.

If you missed James Cordon’s “Carpool Karaoke” segment a few months ago where he visited London and toured Liverpool with Paul McCartney there is still time to catch it. There’s going to be a prime time one hour special with never before seen segments to air on CBS August 20 at 8 PM. The original segment on his show was phenomenal. It included a surprise concert in a local Liverpool pub that was enough to bring tears to the eyes of any Beatles fan. Highly recommended and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do in the one hour special.

TNT will have a new sci-fi drama “Snowpiercer” based on the 2013 movie about survivors in a frozen post-apocalyptic world who ride around on a super train.

Recently the home used for exterior shots of “The Brady Bunch” went up for sale at auction. It was purchased by cable channel HGTV. The starting bids began at $1.9 million but the actual selling price has not been disclosed. They outbid former *NSYNC member Lance Bass who was hoping to acquire the home. HGTV plans to restore it to its former 1970s glory. On the original show the interiors were shot on a soundstage so the inside of the house probably resembles nothing like what we saw on TV.

The producers of “This Is Us” say that the new season will be more “hopeful” now that they’ve put the Jack’s death story behind them. However it will flash back to his days in Vietnam so how hopeful could that be? Time to stock up on tissue before the September 25 premiere.

There will be a new Oscar category starting with the 2019 ceremony that will be for “Popular Film” so that films like Star Wars, superhero movies, and other blockbuster films will have a chance at recognition even if they aren’t rigidly worthy of the critical acclaim of the typical best picture. The move is being met with mixed reaction. Some are praising it while others say they are selling out and diminishing the value of an Academy award.

Former Friend David Schwimmer will have a recurring role in the upcoming season of Will & Grace as a love interest for Grace.

We previously reported the death of former Lois Lane in the Superman movies Margot Kidder. The corner has now ruled her death a suicide.

And we did it! I’m now all caught up!

Out of date Entertainment “News” from January through May

As I mentioned in my previous blog, we haven’t done one of these in over six months so much of it is not really “news”. We already covered my comments about what shows got renewed and canceled. So this is just miscellaneous news, tidbits, links of a different nature. Because I’m so far behind, this particular installment covers January through May. I will post another blog soon to get caught up from June through the present.

Here is a link to a chart showing the new fall schedule. We will probably do a separate blog to talk about some of the new shows before they air and we will endeavor to write reviews of most if not all of the new shows once they do air.

Fall TV Schedule 2018: What’s on When? And Versus What?


In the links below read…

Stan Lee has filed a $1 billion lawsuit against his former company Pow! Entertainment.

Postmortem interview with stars of “Once Upon A Time” about the series finale.

Postmortem interview with producers of “Once Upon A Time” about series finale.

Postmortem interview with producers of “Agents of SHIELD” about season finale and exiting characters.

Postmortem interview with producers of “Madam Secretary” about season finale.

Postmortem interview with producer of “Blue Bloods” about season finale.

Article about new pilot series that did not get picked up. You always hear about what got canceled, what got renewed, but not about what didn’t make it in the first place. Here are a few.

Postmortem interview with producer of “Lucifer” about the season finale.

Interview with producer of “This Is Us” about season 3 and long-term plans for the show. Even though the series is likely to run for years he reveals they’ve already shot the series finale scene.

Postmortem interview with Chris Carter X-Files about the season finale.

Postmortem interview with producers of “The Good Doctor” about the season finale.

Not linked but also of interest…

Freeform has ordered a spinoff series of “Pretty Little Liars” to be called “The Perfectionists” and will run for 10 episodes. Created by the same people who make “Black-ish”.

Cast members of Game of Thrones are speculating that multiple endings to the series are being shot because they don’t trust the actors to keep quiet. It’s more likely they just haven’t decided which ending playwright best.

Kevin Bacon will star in a new crime drama “City on a Hill” for Showtime set in 1990s Boston produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

Jordan Peele is going to reduce a new series for Amazon Studios titled “The Hunt” said in 1977 about a group of Nazi hunters living in New York City. 10 episodes have been ordered.

MTV has suspended production of its series “Catfish” because of sexual abuse allegations against its harvest.

Jennifer Aniston will play POTUS and Tig Notaro will play her partner as the first lesbian couple to occupy the White House in a film click called “First Ladies” for Netflix.

We previously reported are Agents of SHIELD had been renewed for season 6. We now know that it will be just 13 episodes and will not premiere until summer 2019. Executives insist this has nothing to do with the timing of the Marvel Cinematic Universe release of Avengers 4 in May. They also say that just because it’s a short season doesn’t mean it’s the end of the series. They seem to like they have a strong fan base and think that summer run will actually help keep the series going.

Pauley Perrette implied in a series of tweets that she left NCIS as a result of “multiple physical assaults” but she refuses to “spill the beans”. Nobody knows what that means.

ABC executives said that the cancellation of “Designated Survivor” was not only because of poor ratings but concerns on what creative direction the show would be going in the future. They had three different show runners into seasons so the show underwent a lot of turmoil behind the scenes.

Epix cable network has ordered a 10 episode series titled “Pennyworth” about Alfred Pennyworth famous butler to Bruce Wayne. It will explore his origins as a former SAS soldier who opened a security business with Bruce Wayne’s father Thomas Wayne in 1960s London. Although produced by Gotham showrunner Bruno Heller, it is not set in the same “universe” as Gotham and will not have Sean Pertwee who currently plays Alfred on Gotham. He is obviously too old to play the part.

RIP actress Patricia Morrison complained in the original Broadway production “Kiss Me Kate” opposite Yul Brynner. She was 103 years old.

NBC is the winner of the average rating for the season helped a bit by the Super Bowl and Olympics although if you filter out live news and sports events for all networks NBC still comes out on top.

CBS will have a new drama for 2018/19 titled “The Red Line” staring Noel Wyle. It’s about a white Chicago cop who mistakenly suits and kills a black doctor. Wyle plays the husband of the doctor.

NBC announced there will be “America’s Got Talent: The Champions” this coming winter. It will feature fan favorites from the American version plus other acts from “Got Talent” editions around the world.

RIP actress Margot Kidder known for playing Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeve in the Superman movies in the 70s/80s. She was 69.

Connie Britton will not be returning to “9 -1-1” next season. Jennifer Love Hewitt will join the cast as a new character.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus River receives the “Mark Twain Prize” for American humor at the Kennedy Center in October.

HBO is developing a series based on the “Watchmen” graphic novels.

NBC’s next live musical will be “Hair” to be performed and broadcast live in front of a live audience. Scheduled for spring 2019.

Andrew Lincoln will appear in only six or so episodes of season 9 of The Walking Dead before leaving the series for good. No word on if he will be killed but surely so.

Sesame Street is suing the producers of a raunchy R-rated Melissa McCarthy film “The Happytime Murders” in which she plays a detective who teams up with a puppet to solve puppet murders. They lost when a judge refused to grant an injunction against the film.

Helena Bonham Carter has joined the cast of the Netflix series “The Crown”. She will play Princess Margaret in season 3.

TBS has announced that the Conan O’Brien show will be shortened to a half-hour and will feature fewer celebrity guests.

RIP actor Robert Mandan who played Chester Tate on the classic ABC sitcom “Soap”. He was 86.

Kathy Bates is returning to American Horror Story this season and we are very happy.

RIP Frank Avruch the original Bozo the Clown dead at 89

Anson Mount will play Capt. Pike in season 2 Star Trek Discovery. He was recently in “Hell on Wheels” and “Marvel’s Inhumans”.

Game of Thrones recently spent 55 days shooting one battle scene on three locations for season 8.

RIP actor Harry Anderson from “Night Court” died at age 65. No cause of death was released.

RIP actor Verne Troyer who played “Mini-Me” in the Austin Powers movies. He was 49.

Battlestar Galactica alum Katee Sackhoff is to star in a Netflix sci-fi drama “Another Life” about an astronaut on a mission alien intelligence. We can’t wait.

RIP TV chef Anthony Bourdain suicide at age 61.

RIP season 3 winner of America’s Got Talent Neil Boyd who was an opera statement. Died at age 42 part failure, kidney failure, and liver disease.

This month’s Chris Young’s “Sure Sign of the Coming Apocalypse Award” goes to a new animated film featuring the Spice Girls that is in production.

RIP producer writer Stephen Bosco who created NYPD Blue and Hill Street Blues. Age 74

RIP director Milos Forman who directed “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. Age 86

RIP actor R. Lee Ermey who famously played the drill sergeant in “Full Metal Jacket” age 74. Probably one of my favorite character actor performances of all time. I can watch that scene over and over again.

Steven Spielberg is set to direct DC comics film “Blackhawk”.

RIP composer and musician Bob Dorough who created “Schoolhouse Rock”. Age 94

Brad Pitt and Leonard DiCaprio are set to star in Quentin Tarantino’s new film “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood” based on a Charles Manson murders.

Allison Mack who played Chloe on Smallville has been arrested and charged in a sex trafficking case. It sounds like a tabloid headline but apparently it’s true.

The Simpsons has surpassed Gunsmoke as the longest-running scripted TV series in history. Meet The Press is the longest-running TV series of any kind.

RIP Larry Harvey founder of the Burning Man Festival age 70

RIP director Michael Anderson who directed “Logan’s Run” and “Around the World in 80 Days” age 98

Jurassic World 3 is scheduled for June 2021 release. Let me guess dinosaurs get loose and a bunch of people. I should be a screenwriter 🙂

RIP actor David Ogden Stiers known for playing Maj. Winchester on M*A*S*H. Age 75

Renée Zellweger will play Judy Garland in an upcoming biopic titled “Judy”.

RIP actor Jerry van Dyke brother of Dick van Dyke. Age 86

Rock icon Eric Clapton reports he is slowly going deaf.

Neil Diamond has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and is retiring from touring

Thursday Night Football is moving from CBS to Fox this year with a five year deal from the NFL.


Stan Lee files suit against former company

Once Upon a Time’s Lana Parrilla, Co-Stars React to Regina’s Fate in Series Finale: ‘It Is What She Deserves’

Once Upon a Time Bosses Break Down Series Finale’s ‘Epic’ Reunion, Pilot Callback and Other Favorite Moments

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. EPs Talk About Season Finale’s Emotional Exits

Madam Secretary Finale: EPs Break Down Elizabeth’s Monumental Decision

Blue Bloods Boss Breaks Down Finale Twist, Family Dinner’s Surprise Guest

DOA Pilots: What Didn’t Get Picked Up?

Lucifer Boss Talks Series (?) Finale’s Big Reveal, the Scene that Broke His Heart, Plan for ‘Bonus’ Episodes

The end of ‘This Is Us’ is already in the works

The X-Files Finale: Chris Carter Talks Scully’s Secret, That Polarizing Twist and a Gillian Anderson-less Season 12

Good Doctor Finale: EP David Shore Breaks Down Glassman’s Surprising Fate, Shaun’s Big Blunder and More


Commentary on the List of Cancellations and Renewals of TV Shows

It’s been over six months since I did an entertainment news blog. I’ve done a number of reviews of various shows but no general news blog since the first of the year. My apologies to people who look forward to my collection of tidbits.

With the new fall season rapidly approaching I thought it was a good time to get caught up the best I can in preparation for of the new shows about to come. To get you ready for the new season here are some links you will want to check out from TVline.com

First of all a renewal scorecard for the broadcast networks showing what’s been renewed or canceled.


We have a similar scorecard for cable shows.


And a new page… A scorecard for streaming network shows.


Here is a calendar of the premier dates for all of the new and returning TV shows. I will be using it and other sources to post daily messages on Facebook when shows premier.


Before doing my usual tidbits I’m going to do just this blog where I go through the above lists of renewed and canceled shows and comment on the ones that are of interest to me. Use the links to see the full list. These are just the ones I care about or cared to comment about. In the next day or two I will try to go through all of my websites and online sources to do one of my usual blogs but most of it’s going to be way out of date and I missed a lot of news along the way. I think my RSS feeds are only good for about two or three months so we missed a lot.


American Idol: Returning for the second season of its move to ABC. It didn’t quite have the same appeal as the original version but it was still pretty good. It felt like the season was kind of short. It also ate into the time for Dancing With The Stars which I did not like. DWTS had a short four episode season that wasn’t worth the effort.

The Crossing: this sci-fi series about people who are refugees from a future war who time back to the present day wasn’t the greatest but it was good enough to keep my interest. I’m sorry it got canceled but I wasn’t too surprised.

Deception: I thought this show had a lot of potential. It was about a famous illusionist and his twin brother who were working with the FBI to catch criminals by pulling off stunts to trap them into giving themselves up. I thought the main characters had a lot of chemistry. It sort of reminded me of Castle. Unfortunately a got canceled after just one season.

Designated Survivor: Kiefer Sutherland got to be president after a terrorist attack wiped out the entire government. He survived assassination attempts and other terrorist attacks but cannot survive low ratings. It’s gone after just 2 seasons. It was watchable but I’m not really going to miss it.

The Good Doctor: Renewed. I still don’t really buy the premise of this series that someone with that severe case of autism could survive as a surgical resident. No matter how sympathetic I am to equal opportunity for people with disabilities I just don’t buy the premise. But I really like the show because it’s just a good basic medical drama with compelling stories and interesting characters even if I don’t particularly like the main character. Overall I’m glad to see its back and I know lots of people really like it.

For the People: Renewed. I’m so far behind watching TV that I haven’t even started this series but it looks pretty good. I’m hoping I can get caught up before the second season starts.

How to Get Away with Murder: This is a show I love to hate. Their time jumping storytelling technique makes it so confusing to watch sometimes that by the time the big secrets get revealed we don’t care anymore. But the acting is excellent and despite the confusing structure the writing is pretty good as well. I continue to watch it but I keep hoping it will get better. It will be back.

Kevin Probably Saves the World: But he couldn’t save his own show. It was kind of cute with a lot of heart but I won’t miss it that much.

Agents of SHIELD: I continue to be surprised that that show gets renewed each year. I really like it and I enjoy the way it ties into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It looks like one of those shows that a niche group of fans would enjoy but would not have popular appeal and would get canceled. But for some reason it keeps hanging in there. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do next year.

Marvel’s Inhumans: I really was disappointed by this show. Considering how much I am a fan of Marvel shows I expected to like but it just didn’t work for me. I will not be missing it now that it is gone.

Once Upon A Time: the series went through a bit of a reboot this past season and I never did get into very well. It pretty much has run its course and so although I really enjoyed it, I think they had run out of ideas and it was a good time to cancel it. I will have fond memories but it was time to quit.

Quantico: This was another show that I wanted to like more than I did. Sometimes it was good but most of the time it just dragged. I’ve not even started on this season and I may not bother with it. I will not miss it now that it is canceled.

Roseanne: I enjoyed the reboot and was sorry that Roseanne herself went and ruined things. Fortunately it’s being replaced by a spinoff series called “The Connors” which will feature most of the same characters without Roseanne herself. I even wrote on Facebook that would be a good idea. Not that they took my advice but that’s what we are getting and I’m looking forward to it.

Scandal: I really, really enjoyed this show. On the other hand it had pretty much run its course and it was time to quit. I was a little bit disappointed in some of the final plot turns. Too many of the bad guys got off easy. I will really miss it however even though they had about run out of ideas.

Speechless: Show about a family with the disabled teenager continues to hit the spot perfectly. Although it gets a little bit silly at times I still enjoy it and I’m glad to see it coming back.

Station 19: This spinoff from Grey’s Anatomy about firefighter/paramedics looks promising. I’ve not yet started on this season but definitely intend to binge it soon. It’s been renewed.


9JKL: This new sitcom should have been a lot better than it was given its cast but I only watched a couple of episodes and was not surprised it was canceled.

The Amazing Race: Glad to see it’s back again.

The Big Bang Theory: Continues to be my favorite sitcom. Glad to see it’s still going strong.

Blue Bloods: one of my favorites will return.

Bull: It’s not really great but it’s good enough to watch and I’m glad it’s coming back.

Code Black: I watched a few episodes of the first season and it just didn’t work for me. I know people who really liked it and will miss it now that it’s gone.

Criminal Minds: used to be a favorite of mine but it got so dark and depressing. I just couldn’t deal with a new and more terrifying psychopath week after week. I gave up on it two seasons ago but it’s still going strong and will be back.

Elementary: Pleased to see it will be back.

Hawaii 50: glad to see its back.

Instinct: Really enjoyed this new series and I’m happy it’s coming back.

Kevin Can Wait: I only got through a couple of episodes the first season. Killing off his wife for the second season didn’t help that show or so I’ve heard. It’s gone.

Living Biblically: I really liked this show. The premise was fraught with difficulties but I thought they pulled it off pretty well. Not surprised that it did not get renewed however. It was fun for one season.

MacGyver: I only watched a couple of episodes the first season and it just didn’t have the appeal of the original but apparently some people like it so it’s coming back.

Madam Secretary: One of my favorites and I’m glad it’s back.

Me, Myself & I: I really liked that show. Thought it was cute, smart, and had a lot of heart. I’m going to miss it.

Mom: One of my favorites will be back.

NCIS: another favorite back for season 16.

NCIS: New Orleans: another favorite back again.

NCIS: LA: can’t explain why I never liked it considering how much I like the other two. It’s back again but I won’t be watching.

Scorpion: A totally ridiculous and unbelievable show that was a guilty pleasure. It jumped the shark at least a season ago. I’d had enough and won’t miss it. I hope that Katharine McPhee finds another show that makes better use of her talent.

SEAL Team: Of the three new military dramas that premiered this year, this is the only one that survived and I think it’s a good one. I’m looking forward to next season.

Young Sheldon: I expected to like this a lot better. At first I was very disappointed. I stuck with it and it eventually grew on me. It’s coming back and I hope I continue to like it.

Zoo: a kind of guilty pleasure that I enjoyed but not surprised it got canceled. Still have a half of season to catch up on. I will catch it on Netflix.


911: Really enjoyed the first season. Looking forward to the next one.

Brooklyn Nine- Nine: Never did acquire a taste for this. It was canceled by Fox but will be renewed by NBC.

Empire: I liked the first season but didn’t stick with it after that. It’s coming back along with the similar series “Star” which will be returning. I never watched it but they are both pretty popular.

The Four: This reality singing show isn’t as good as American Idol or The Voice but I kind of like it. You can skip through the boring parts and just watch the performances themselves. You can get through a 2 hour episode in one hour so I watch it.

Gotham: Despite terrible ratings they are it bringing back for a final season in which we will finally get to see Bruce Wayne officially become Batman. I will miss it when it’s gone. I’m glad they are at least going to wrap up the story with a final season.

LA to Vegas: Probably the worst new show of the season. Not surprised it got canceled.

The Last Man on Earth: This totally ridiculous but very funny guilty pleasure will not be coming back. It had probably run its course a season ago but I will still miss it.

Lethal Weapon: When Riggs was shot in the chest in the final episode it looked like a fatal heart shot but I figured they would come up with a way to save him. As it turns out he’s really dead. Apparently the actor who portrayed him was such a pain to work with that they fired him. He’s being replaced for next season by a character who will probably be his brother.

Lucifer: TV line listed this show as “A Safe Bet” for renewal and then changed it to “Could go either way” and then finally “Officially Canceled”. I was very disappointed because I really like it. Fortunately it has been picked up by Netflix so I’m very happy it will continue.

New Girl: very popular RomCom that I watched for the first half of the first season but it really didn’t do that much for me. It will not be returning.

The Orville: Extremely glad to see it coming back. Will have to wait for the midseason however.

Prison Break: TV line list it as “could go either way”. I would like to see another season but I would imagine it’s really a long shot.

The X-Files: Listed as “a long shot” I don’t know why but I never watched the original. When it rebooted last year it was just okay but I wished it was better. I’ve liked the current season better. I won’t miss it if it’s gone but I probably will watch if it comes back.


AP Bio: Absolutely terrible sitcom I could barely make through one episode. Somebody must like it because it got renewed.

Better Late Than Never: A guilty pleasure reality show featuring William Shatner, Henry Winkler, George Foreman traveling through Europe and Asia. Not surprised it won’t come back but it was fun while it lasted.

The Blacklist: Another favorite returning.

The Brave: I watched it but it wasn’t as good as SEAL Team and it will not be coming back.

Champions: An awful sitcom that deserves to be canceled and was.

Chicago Fire, Med, and PD: I never got into any of these just because I already watched too much TV. I know they are popular and all three are coming back.

Good Girls: This show about housewives who become criminals looks like it has some potential even though I only saw a couple of episodes. It will be back

The Good Place: another silly guilty pleasure will be returning.

Law & Order:SVU: don’t watch it much but it will be back again.

Rise: Watched a few of them and it had potential but it won’t be back.

Shades of Blue: The first season was pretty good, second season just so so. Did not watch the third final season. Will not miss it.

Taken: I watched it but won’t miss it now that it’s gone.

This Is Us: lives up to all the hype. Must-see TV. Of course it’s coming back.

Timeless: was canceled last year but got a last-minute reprieve. I don’t expect it to get a reprieve again. It ran out of time.

The Wall: This primetime game show is coming back but no word on whether or not troubled host Chris Hardwick will return after abuse allegations from ex-girlfriend. Did not watch it but I will be seriously disappointed if Hardwick does not return to “Talking Dead”. Yvette Nicole Brown is a “temporary” replacement on Talking Dead which is a great choice but we will see what happens long-term.

Will & Grace: really enjoyed the return. Renewed for 2 more seasons already.

World of Dance: pretty good show. Coming back for season 3.

The CW network:

The 100: I’ve not yet started on the most recent season which started late this year. I’ve enjoyed the previous ones and glad to see it is returning.

Arrow, Black Lightning, Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Supernatural: All of my heroes are returning and I am well pleased.

iZombie: I like this cute quirky zombie show but have not been able to keep up with it. Renewed for one more season.

Valor: The worst of the three new military dramas that premiered the season is not coming back. I barely got through one episode.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: I really like this show because it has very funny musical production numbers but I just haven’t had time to keep up with it. It has been renewed for a final season.

Moving along to cable we have…


Better Call Saul: A favorite. Season 4 premiers August 6. Renewed for season 5

Dietland: have not yet had a chance to check it out. No word on renewal.

Fear The Walking Dead: the second half of season 4 premiers August 12. Renewed for season 5. This has been their best so far.

Humans: Just barely watchable. Have not yet started on the current season. No word on renewal.

Into the Badlands: A guilty pleasure martial arts fantasy show. No word on renewal.

McMafia: Barely got through one episode and gave up. Surprised it’s renewed for season 2.

Preacher: season three premiered in June. No word on renewal. I really hope it continues.

The Son: Season 2 premieres later this year. No word on renewal. Pretty good drama series starring Pierce Brosnan.

The Terror: Horror story about a doomed expedition in 1800s to try to find the Northwest passage through the Arctic ice. Haven’t finished the last couple of episodes this season. Surprised it was renewed because I figured the story would wrap up.

The Walking Dead, season 9 premiers October 7. Probably a sure bet for another season. Can’t wait.

BBC America

Doctor Who: The next season with a new female doctor premiers in the fall.

Killing Eve: Absolutely excellent show glad to see it renewed for season 2. Check it out on demand if you’ve not seen it.

Luther: another quality show coming back for season 5.

Cartoon Network

Rick and Morty: Very popular. Never watched it. Renewed for 70 additional episodes.

Comedy Central:

Inside Amy Schumer: After a long hiatus will return for season 5. I can’t wait.

South Park: I only watch occasionally. Season 22 premieres September 26. Renewed for season 23


Berlin Station: absolutely wonderful spy drama very happy to see it coming back for season 3. This recent season stared two of my favorite actresses Ashley Judd and Michelle Forbes. Hard to watch without drooling constantly 🙂

Deep State: have not yet started but looking forward to it. No word on renewal.

Get Shorty: kind of funny but not a big must-see. Coming back for season 2 on August 12. And I will probably watch.


Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger: have not yet seen it but will be checking it out. Season 1 ends August 2. Already renewed for season 2.

FX network

American Crime Story: Have not yet watched season 2 about the murder of Verchai but I intend to. Season 3 will be about Katrina.

American Horror Story: Last season was definitely the best ever. It was amazing in that it contained absolutely no supernatural elements but was just as terrifying as the previous seasons. Season 8 titled “Apocalypse” premieres September 12. Already renewed for season 9.

The Americans: Excellent show. Still have a couple of episodes to watch. I will miss it but it had probably run its course was ready to leave.

Fargo: TV line lists it as “unofficially renewed for season 4” I like this series which reboots every season but it has been a bit inconsistent. Some of the seasons were good others not so much.

Legion: bizarre comic book adaptation that is a bit strange but I like it. Coming back for season 3. I just started watching season 2 and haven’t got a feel for it yet.

Mayans MC: This spinoff of Sons of Anarchy premieres September 4 and I can’t wait.

FXX Network:

Archer: adult animated series renewed for season 10 and I really like it even though it’s pretty stupid.


Ballers: Could barely watch one episode but it’s coming back without me.

Barry: On my list of things to watch someday. Renewed for season 2.

Big Little Lies: ditto… On my list and renewed.

Curb Your Enthusiasm: I like Larry David but I just never got into this. Coming back for season 10.

Deadwood: A follow-up movie begins filming this fall and I can’t wait!

Game of Thrones: The final season 8 premiers sometime in 2019. A spinoff prequel series is in development.

Silicon Valley: I would probably like this show but have never had the chance to watch it. Coming back for season 6.

Succession: on my check it out list. Renewed for season 2.

True Detective: never watched despite its critical acclaim. Renewed for season 3.

Veep: Final season was delayed because of Julia Louis Dreyfus breast cancer. Will premiere in spring of 2019. Still funny.

Westworld: one of my favorites coming back for season 3.

History Channel

SIX: Military drama I watched the first season and it was okay. Don’t have time for the second season and it’s been canceled after that.

Vikings: second half of season 5 premiers November 28. Renewed for season 6. Still a very big favorites.

Paramount Network:

Yellowstone: New Kevin Costner drama about a modern-day rancher. I could not finish one episode it was so boring. For some reason renewed for season 2.


The Affair: Critically acclaimed show I want to watch but have never seen. Renewed for final season 5.

Billions: I love this show about a crooked high finance guy and a federal agent who tries to catch him. Have not yet started watching the current season but will definitely be watching soon. Renewed for season 4 and I’m very happy.

Homeland: Just started the current season. Renewed for season 8. Really enjoy.

I’m Dying up Here: couldn’t finish one episode. Season 2 finale aired July 8.

Ray Donovan: I like the first couple of seasons but did not stick with it. Renewed for season 6.

Shameless: Continues to be a favorite. Season 9 premiers September 9. No word beyond that.


American Gods: Amazing quirky weird fantasy series happy to see it renewed for season 2.

Counterpart: Sci-Fi spy drama about parallel worlds starring JK Simmons. First season was absolutely amazing and I am well pleased to see it coming back. Check it out if on demand you’ve not seen it.

Outlander: Romance, time travel series. Season 4 premiers in November. Renewed for season 5 and 6 and I’m very happy.

Syfy Channel

12 Monkeys: series finale aired July 6. Kind of hard to follow but I enjoyed it. Have not yet started current season.

Channel Zero: First season was terrible. Did not watch any of the rest. Renewed for season 4.

Happy: Bizarre funny fantasy series unlike anything you’ve seen. I’m “Happy” it’s been renewed for season 2.

Killjoys: Pretty good sci-fi show season 4 currently airing. Renewed for final season 5.

Krypton: The story of Superman’s grandparents took a while to get going but by the end of the first it was excellent. Happy to see it coming back for season 2.

The Magicians: Really like this and glad to see it’s coming back for season 4. It’s sort of an adult version of Harry Potter with a little bit of Narnia thrown in.

Night flyers: George RR Martin new series coming this fall.

Van Helsing: Struggled through 2 seasons. Probably will not bother with the third season.

Wynonna Earp: I really liked the two or three episodes I saw but had not had time to finish it or get into seasons 2 or 3. Renewed for season 4. Maybe someday I will binge it.

Z Nation: continues to amuse and happy to see season 5 coming


Good Behavior: One of my favorites. No word on renewal for season 3.

The last ship: Gave up on the fourth season. The first three were barely watchable. Renewed for final season 5.

The Librarians: They wrapped this up nicely for the series finale in February. I will kind of miss it.

Major Crimes: Really enjoyed it but probably won’t miss it.

USA Network

Colony: have not yet started season 3 so I can’t say how much I will miss it not coming back. I like what I’ve seen so far but it may be that it has run its course.

Mr. Robot: still bizarre but still intriguing. Coming back for season 4 and I will watch.

The Sinner: I like the first season okay. Season 2 premieres tomorrow (August 1). Not sure if it will fit into my schedule.

Suits: Watching current season 8. Not quite the same with missing Mike. Adding Katherine Heigl doesn’t seem to add much to the show. Too soon to tell for sure. Still watching.

Suits: Second City: former Suits star Gina Torres reprises her role as Jessica Pearson in this spinoff series set in Chicago that I am anxious to see. This one is about politics rather than law.

Now moving onto streaming services…

Amazon Prime

Bosch: always wanted to watch this but never got around to it. Renewed for season 5.

The Expanse: previously on Syfy Channel it’s now moving to Amazon for season 4. Very happy is continuing. Excellent series.

The Man in the High Castle: really wanted to watch this but haven’t had time. Season 3 premiers October 5. Renewed for season 4. Alternate timeline story where Germany won World War II. Based on Stephen King stories. Looks excellent.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: another critically acclaimed show that I just haven’t had time to watch. Renewed for seasons 2 and 3. Maybe will binge watch someday.

The Tick: based on a comic book. Never had time to check it out. Renewed for season 2.

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan: looking forward to premiere August 31 already renewed for season 2.

Transparent: critically acclaimed but I never got around to watching it. The star Jeffrey Tambor was fired so I’m not sure what season 5 will be about. The final season.

CBS All Access

The Good Fight: This spinoff from “The Good Wife” is one of the best shows on television. Almost but not quite worth subscribing to the service just for this show. Renewed for season 3.

Star Trek Discovery: Fans claim it’s not really worthy of the “Star Trek” name. I won’t argue that. I really like it and I’m happy to see it coming back.

The Twilight Zone: reboot coming soon.

Disney streaming service not yet officially named

Star Wars The Clone Wars: this animated series previously on Disney XD/Netflix has been renewed for a final season 7 and I can’t wait.


Castle Rock: series premiered July 25 based on Stephen King stories. Looks like it’s worth checking out.

The Handmaid’s Tale: one of the best shows on TV will come back for season 3. Can’t wait.

Marvel’s Runaways: Teens with superpowers and parents who are part of an evil cult. Excellent show that I very much enjoyed. I’m happy to see it coming back for season 2.


13 Reasons Why: critically acclaimed but I’ve not had time for it. Coming back for season 3.

Altered Carbon: Excellent sci-fi series I’ve only seen a couple of episodes but intend to binge soon. Coming back for season 2.

Black Mirror: bizarre anthology series I’ve only seen a couple of episodes but will binge it eventually. Coming back for season 5.

The Crown: critically acclaimed and on my binge list but have not yet started. Renewed for seasons 3 and 4.

Grace and Frankie: enjoyed the first season but haven’t had time for the others. Renewed for season 5.

House of Cards: Probably the biggest casualty of the sex scandal #MeToo era. Will return for a final season 6 without Kevin Spacey. Still should be pretty good and I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to miss it when it’s gone.

Lost in Space: Absolutely loved this reboot. Very happy to hear it was renewed for season 2.

Lucifer: Formally on Fox network. Happy to see it got picked up by Netflix after cancellation from Fox. Really like it.

Daredevil, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage: all renewed and very happy to hear it.

Marvel’s the Defenders: Crossover series featuring all of the above superheroes. No plans yet for season 2. It was just okay. I like the standalone series better.

One Day at a Time: Was a big fan of the original series but never caught the reboot on Netflix. Renewed for season 3. Probably won’t ever watch.

Orange Is the New Black: I continue to hear great things but just never got around to checking it out. Season 6 just released on July 27. Renewed for season 7.

Sense8: Sci-fi series that looked pretty intriguing but I haven’t started. Series finale was released June 7.

Stranger Things: another one I’ve not watched but I should. Season 3 will not premiere until 2019.

That’s all for now. I will try to put out a more traditional news blog in the next couple of days./p>