Entertainment News: Lots of renewals and cancellations

This installment of my entertainment blog probably would’ve been posted much sooner but the entire cyborg5.com was off-line for over a week because it got hacked and it was sending out massive amounts of spam. Took me a while to get it cleaned up and get everything in shipshape.

 

A number of movies to talk about. First of all “Logan” was a very satisfying end to the X-Men Wolverine saga. I’ve warned a number of parents that it most definitely earns its R rating for extreme violence some of which perpetrated by a young girl. Would be very disturbing to children and even some adults. Still it was an excellent film with a great story and a lot of heart. Basically it’s a remake of the classic Western “Shane” and doesn’t make any bones about it as some of the characters watch the film during the movie and later quote dialogue from it. Everyone who says it’s not your typical comic book hero movie is absolutely correct. We will have to wait and see if it starts a new trend. I guess is we will continue to see the typical heavy action blockbuster comic book movies that we’ve been seeing for quite some time.

 

Speaking of which we also saw Wonder Woman. I don’t really care about the politics of having a female superhero lead or the fact that it was the first film ever directed by a woman to reach $100 million the first week. The real test is wasn’t a fun movie and the answer is most definitely yes. I especially liked when the fight sequences which shift into slow-motion. So many fight sequences or action scenes these days happens so fast you can’t tell what is really going on (cough Transformers). One interesting thing is that the story is completely self-contained. You don’t have to have seen Wonder Woman’s appearance in Batman versus Superman and you don’t really get any clue as to what her role will be in future DC comic films. Some people think that’s a negative but I think it’s a plus.

 

Case in point I pretty much decided I don’t need to see the next Thor movie in the Marvel universe or at least I will wait for cable. With upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming and the Infinity Wars series coming soon there is a risk were getting a little bit of Marvel overload.

 

That doesn’t mean I’m mad at Marvel in any way. I absolutely loved Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Not only did it have all of the silly comedy and all of the over-the-top action that we expect from a Guardians movie, it also had a tremendous amount of heart. The 80s music soundtrack is that just something thrown in as an afterthought. The playing of Cat Stevens’”Father And Son” often can bring me to tears for no good reason. Put it over the sad ending of a movie and I spent lots of time blinking hard to keep my face dry. It actually moves the story forward. Michael Rooker gives the wonderful performance as StarLord’s adoptive father Yandu and really steals the show in many ways. Kurt Russell was fun as is biological father.

 

Most of the items below are about renewals and cancellations. As always we refer you to TV Line’s renewal scorecards to look up the fate of your favorite shows. Also a calendar of season finale’s and summer premieres. And a sneak peek at the fall TV schedule.

TV Line Broadcast Series Renewal Scorecard

TV Line Streaming and Cable Series Renewal Scorecard

TV Line Summer Finale and Premiere Dates

TV Line Fall 2017 schedule (subject to change)

 

 

In the links below read

 

Spoilers from Inside line dated May 9

Syfy Channel unveils new logo, expanding news division, and new series coming

Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated May 24

Postmortem interviews about series finale of HBO’s “The Leftovers”

Another post one interview about “The Leftovers”

Interview with “Fear the Walking Dead” showrunner about surprise death of major character

Spoilers from Inside Line dated June 8

 

 

Not linked below but also of interest…

The Handmaid’s Tale has been renewed for season 2 by Hulu

Marvel’s Runaways will be a new series on Hulu. Their first venture into the Marvel universe

Hulu has also ordered a series tentatively titled “The First” about the first mission to Mars

Alanis Morrissette’s manager sentenced to six years in prison after stealing $7 million from her and other clients.

HBO has hired 4 writers to develop spinoff series for Game of Thrones

PBS and Masterpiece are developing a miniseries Little Women based on the book by Louisa May Alcott

NBC has canceled its remade Wizard of Oz series “Emerald City” after one season

Netflix has ordered season 2 for its controversy of series about suicide “13 Reasons Why”

RIP Robert Wilson pioneer of public television and Father of Luke and Owen Wilson age 75

Jennifer Morrison a.k.a. Emma Swan is not returning to Once Upon A Time next season but may return as a guest star

NBC announced Will & Grace will return this fall

CW network has canceled Frequency and No Tomorrow after one season

USA Network is announced a holiday reunion movie for Psych with original cast returning

Cliff Curtis recently exited from Fear the Walking Dead will have a lead role in all four Avatar sequels

ABC announced it is bringing back American Idol after outbidding Fox to revive the show. No word on judges yet but Ryan Seacrest is widely expected to return as host. Even at its lowest rated season at Fox that would make it the number 2 show at ABC in ratings so they are excited to bring it back. Probably on Sunday nights. Late update Katy Perry will be a judge. Simon Cowell is definitely out. He was asked to return and refused.

Fox has canceled its crime drama Rosewood after 2 see nuns

FX announced The Strain quote will return for its fourth and final season on Sunday, July 16

DIY network announced Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his wife Amy will host the home improvement series. Earnhardt has announced he is leaving NASCAR at the end of the season. The show will premiere in 2018.

NBC has renewed Taken for season 2 despite mediocre ratings.

Fox has ordered to series Marvel mutant story “The Gifted”

Fox has finally canceled Sleepy Hollow. After 4 seasons. Some say that was 2 seasons overdue 🙂

After a Netflix film competed for the Cannes Film Festival awards, rules have been changed that only films with theatrical release will be considered

There will be an animated Marvel Deadpool series coming to FXX in 2018 for 10 episodes.

NBC has announced it will produce a live version of Jesus Christ superstar next Easter. No casting announced yet. We can’t wait.

RIP character actor Michael Parks who appeared in Kill Bill and Argo age 77

NBC canceled time travel series Timeless and then changed its mind and renewed it. Rumors are time travel because the reversal.

ABC has renewed Modern Family for seasons 9 and 10

ABC cancels Tim Allen comedy Last Man Standing. After six seasons despite decent ratings. Rumors are Allen’s support of Trump was the reason.

NBC has renewed Chicago Fire and Chicago Med but has canceled Chicago Justice

CW network as renewed The Originals for season 5 and iZombie season 4

Fox has renewed Gotham and The Last Man on Earth

Fantasy drama The Shannara Chronicles season 2 is moving from MTV to Spike TV

NBC has renewed The Blacklist for season 5

Syfy Channel analysis Superman prequel titled “Krypton” and adaptation of George RR Martin novel “Night Flyers”

Starz has renewed “American Gods” for season 2

ABC has renewed sitcom The Goldbergs for season 5 and 6

NBC has renewed Tina Fey produced sitcom “Great News” for season 2

Jennifer Hudson is joining The Voice as season 13 coach

Kelly Clarkson is joining The Voice as season 14 coach

ABC has canceled American Crimes after 3 seasons

ABC has canceled Secrets and Lies and Dr. Ken

Agents of SHIELD and Designated Survivor and American Housewife have been renewed by ABC

ABC has canceled The Real O’Neill’s and The Catch. I really liked The Catch. Sort of a cross between the old USA Network “White Collar” and a romantic comedy.

ABC has renewed black-ish for season 4. I really like it.

NBC has canceled superhero spoof comedy Powerless without airing the final three episodes

ABC renews Shark Tank, Dancing With The Stars and The Bachelor

Rebecca Mader a.k.a. Zelena The Wicked Witch will not return to Once Upon A Time next season

NBC has canceled The Blacklist Redemption spinoff from The Blacklist after 1 season

ABC has renewed Speechless for season 2. About a family with a teenage son in a wheelchair. Excellent show.

Fox is announced it’s next live musical will be “Rent”

Fox has renewed its series version of “the Exorcist” for season 2

NBC has renewed Law & Order SVU for season 19

CBS has canceled “2 Broke Girls”. It was ridiculous but it was a guilty pleasure of mine. I will miss it.

Emiliea De Ravin a.k.a. Belle will not return to Once Upon A Time

CBS has canceled comedy The Great Indoors after 1 season

CBS has renewed Elementary and there will be a season 30 for The Amazing Race

Fox has renewed New Girl for seventh final season

CBS has renewed Code Black for season 3

RIP actor Powers Boothe best known as Cy Tolliver on Deadwood aged 68 natural causes

CBS has canceled Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders

Fox has canceled Scream Queens

CBS has canceled The Odd Couple after 3 seasons

ABC has renewed Quantico for season 3

Jimmy Kimmel will host the 2018 Oscars

David Letterman will get the Mark Twain prize for American comedy

ABC has ordered a spinoff series from Grey’s Anatomy about Seattle firefighters

ABC is joining the live musical phenomenon with a live-action Little Mermaid

Conan O’Brien has renewed his deal with TBS for 4 years

CBS has canceled Training Day and Ransom

Dennis Quaid will play George W. Bush in FX series “Katrina: American Crime Story”

James Cordon will again host the Grammys in 2018

Sasheer Zamata, Bobby Moynahan and Vanessa Bayer are leaving the cast of Saturday Night Live

RIP former chairman and CEO of Fox news Roger Ailes age 77

CW network will have a new low for series DC superhero crossover in December

Netflix has ordered 10 episodes of a prequel to the 1982 Jim Henson film The Dark Crystal

The spinoff series from Black-ish about the teenage daughter going to college have been picked up for 13 episodes on Free-form network

NBC has renewed comedy Trial and Error but it will likely have a different cast

Zach Snyder and producer wife Deborah Snyder have stepped down from the “Justice League” film after the death of their 20-year-old daughter. Josh Whedon will take over postproduction and oversee a few reshoot scenes. Since he will not change Snyder’s original vision for the film.

RIP former James Bond Roger Moore at age 89

NBC was the top-rated network for 2016-2017 in the 18 to 49 age group despite not having a Super Bowl or an Olympics year. However CBS had most viewers overall.

Tom Cruise confirms a Top Gun sequel is definitely happening. We’ll begin filming “in the next year”

TNT has announced The Last Ship will premiere August 20. Production was delayed when star Eric Dane needed time off to battle depression.

BBC America announced David Tennant crime drama “Broadchurch” third and final season will debut June 28. Very good show.

NBC has canceled its plans for live musical “Bye-Bye Birdie”

RIP former Dallas actor Jared Martin age 75

WGN America has canceled all of its scripted series including Underground and The Outsiders

Cinemax has canceled Quarry about a returning Vietnam veteran turned hitman. Creators unable to find new network.

RIP former Bond Girl Molly Peters who appeared in Thunderball  age 75

Netflix has canceled sci-fi drama Sense8 after 2 seasons

Syfy Channel announced Sharknado 5 will air August 6

National Geographic channel is dropping its plans to adapt Bill O’Reilly’s book “Killing Patton”

Kevin James reunites with his former TV wife as Leah Remini becomes a series regular for season 2 of Kevin Can Wait. Meanwhile his current TV wife Erinn Hayes is leaving the show.

Al Pacino will play coach Joe Paterno in HBO film about the Penn State scandal, Barry Levinson will direct

Cher has confirmed there will be a musical about her life to premiere on Broadway and 2018

Fox has canceled 24: Legacy but keeps open the possibility of yet another 24 like series

Jennifer Esposito is leaving NCIS

RIP Adam West who played Batman on TV. He was 88

 

 

Matt’s Inside Line: Scoop on Arrow, Once, Chicago Fire, Elementary, Blindspot, The Flash, NCIS and More!

Syfy Gets New Look & Logo, Expands News Division Ahead of 25th Anniversary

Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Supergirl, Scorpion, Lucifer, Younger, Will & Grace, New Girl, Bloodline, Arrow and More

The Leftovers Finale: Damon Lindelof Answers Almost All Of Our Burning Qs

‘The Leftovers’ Finale: Damon Lindelof & Justin Theroux On What It All Means, ‘Lost’s Legacy & Their Arranged Marriage

Fear TWD Showrunner Breaks Down [Spoiler]’s ‘Inevitable’ Demise and Previews the ‘Reckoning Coming’

Matt’s Inside Line: Scoop on Five-0, Killjoys, Arrow, Designated Survivor, Zoo, Stranger Things, Riverdale and More

 

My first entertainment news blog since late August 2016. Sad attempts to catch up.

The last time I posted anything in my entertainment blog was a review on October 30, 2016 and the last time I posted one of my lengthy entertainment news updates was way back on August 30, 2016. Since then I’ve spent a month the hospital and tried to put my life back together after that ordeal. I’ve been working day and night on assistive technology projects for myself and for my partners at Adafruit.com. And I’ve been busy trying to catch up on watching TV shows that I missed during all that time. On my bedroom DVR I’m currently about 10 or 11 weeks behind schedule and on my living room DVR I’m about five weeks behind.

 

It took me several days to go through all of my RSS feeds which only dated back to sometime in mid to late November. A lot of these items are out of chronological order and it wouldn’t be surprised to find out I actually reported something twice in this list. The so-called “spoilers” are probably way out of date but I put them in any way in case there’s some good tidbits that you missed.

 

Sadly a huge percentage of the items below are obituaries of various celebrities that have died in the past five or six months.

 

Now that life is somewhat approaching normal I will try to get back to doing one of these every three or four weeks so that the “news” is little more timely.

 

Lots of the news below is about series being canceled or renewed. As always we refer you to TV line keeps an excellent list of what has been renewed and what hasn’t. Here are some links you can check out to see what your favorite shows are doing or not doing.

 

Primetime broadcast networks renewals and cancellations

http://tvline.com/2016/10/03/renewed-tv-shows-2017-renewal-scorecard-cancelled-series/

 

Cable channel renewals and cancellations

http://tvline.com/2015/12/28/cable-tv-shows-renewed-cancelled-2016/

 

Calendar of season finale’s

http://tvline.com/2017/04/28/tv-schedule-2017-may-finale-dates-calendar-sweeps-upfronts/

 

In the links below read…

Spoilers from Inside Line dated January 9

Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated January 20

Spoilers from Inside Line dated January 31

Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated February 9

Spoilers from Inside Line dated February 17

Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated February 28

Interesting article about “Logan” connection to “Shane” and Johnny Cash

Spoilers from Inside Line dated March 14

Michael Ausiello previews deaths, weddings, firings, sex, weddings, resurrections, and Time  jumps for the May sweeps.

Spoilers from Inside Line dated March 30

Postmortem interview with executive producer of Grimm about series finale

Postmortem interview with executive producer Gail Anne Hurd of Walking Dead about season finale and other topics

Postmortem interview with other Walking Dead executive producer Scott Gimpel.

Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated April 6

Spoilers from Inside Line dated April 17

Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated April 26

 

 

Not linked but also of interest…

Netflix announced season 5 of “Hours of Cards” premieres May 30

NBC is going to reboot supernatural show Witchblade

In the case you haven’t heard… Star Wars 8 will be titled “The Last Jedi”

Kristin Wiig has/will joined the cast of The Last Man on Earth in a recurring role.

Stephen Colbert will host the 2017 Emmy awards

TNT has renewed The Librarians for season 4.

RIP Mary Tyler Moore age 80

RIP Mannix star Mike Connors age 91

NBC is canceling the third hour of the today show to make room for Megyn Kelly

Amazon Studios announced that Mozart in the Jungle is renewed for season 4

So You Think You Can Dance has been renewed for season 14

One of my guilty pleasures The Good Place has been renewed for season 2

A new Marvel series “Cloak and Dagger” will premiere on Freeform network

Peter Capaldi is leaving Doctor Who sometime in season 10 probably the end.

Ben Affleck will not be directing his solo Batman movie

Oprah Winfrey is joining 60 minutes as a special contributor

Tamrona Hall his leading NBC news

There will be a Sharknado 5 made for Syfy Channel

Kevin Sorbo a.k.a. Hercules and Andromeda Capt. Dylan Hunt will have a recurring role as a bad guy on Supergirl

Netflix announced season 2 of Stranger Things will premiere Halloween 2017

NBC has considering a 30 minute primetime weekly special based on Saturday Night Live’s weekend update

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has added the words “binge-watch”. So that’s a real thing now.

The final season of Orphan Black premieres June 10

RIP Richard Hatch who played Capt. Apollo on the original 70s version of Battle Star Galactica, age 71

Bill Nye as a new series on Netflix that premiered this week

Netflix announced Oranges the New Black season 5 will premiere June 9

Bob Costas has stepped down as the host of NBC’s Olympic coverage.

Rumor has it American Idol may return to TV this time on NBC

Saturday Night Live ratings are up 50% over previous year in the highest in six years no doubt thanks to Alec Baldwin and Melissa McCarthy impressions of Trump and Spicer

RIP singer Ala Jarreau age 76

Lucifer has been renewed for season 3 at Fox and we are very well pleased

Edward James Olmos will star in Sons of Anarchy spinoff series about the Mayans MC

NBC announced Superstore has been renewed for season 3

Tangled: The Series has been renewed for season 2 at Disney Channel

Starz announced that season 3 of Outlander will premiere in September

Amazon has renewed legal drama Goliath for season 2

American Horror Story season 7 will be about the 2016 election. As if that isn’t scary enough to begin with.

Star Wars episode VIII The Last Jedi will premiere December 18, 2017

Sir Patrick Stewart will provide the voice for the poop emoji in the upcoming animated “The Emoji Movie” released August 4

Former Partridge Family star David Cassidy announced he suffers from dementia

JJ Abrams is producing a 10 episode series for Hulu based on Stephen King’s Castle Rock

NBC has renewed soap opera Days of Our Lives for its 52nd season.

Fox announced TV series Lethal Weapon has been renewed for season 2

Fox announced Star will return for season 2

History Channel announced “Six” about Seal Team Six has been renewed for season 2

“Doubt” a legal drama starring Katherine Heigl after just 2 episodes

RIP actor Bill Paxton dead at 61

RIP Game of thrones actor Neil Fingleton age 36 who played Mag the Mighty. At 7 foot 7 inches he was the tallest British-born person.

RIP Judge Joseph Wapner of The People’s Court age 97

Benedict Cumberbatch will star in a five episode miniseries for Show turning called Melrose about a self-destructive Playboy

Former Hell on Wheels star Anson Mount will start in a new Marvel Inhumans series for ABC

Emillia Clark the Dragon Queen from Game of Thrones will be in the upcoming Han Solo spinoff movie

Discovery Channel Pumpkin Chucking has been canceled after 2 people were seriously injured in an accident when a cannon  exploded.

RIP Barney Miller star Rona Glass age 71

Lucasfilm has confirmed there will be no Star Wars Rogue One sequel. I thought there already was. It’s called Star Wars IV: A New Hope the original Star Wars movie.

RIP producer Grant Tinker of Mary Tyler Moore show and others age 90

Showtime has canceled Masters of Sex after 4 seasons. Probably 2 seasons too late 🙂

Happy birthday to Kirk Douglas age 100!

Rami Malek from Mr. Robot will play Freddie Mercury an upcoming film directed by Bryan Singer

Rumors are CBS is developing a Big Bang Theory prequel titled “Sheldon” about a young Sheldon Cooper

RIP the original Man from Uncle Robert Vaughn age 83 of leukemia

HBO renewed Westworld, Divorce, and Insecure. Westworld will not return however until 2018

RIP PBS journalist Gwen Ifill after a long battle with cancer

Duck Dynasty has been canceled by A&E after five years and 130 episodes

RIP actress Zsa Zsaa Gabor age 99

Dick Van Dyke will appear in the upcoming Disney sequel to Mary Poppins

RIP actor Alan Thicke

Netflix has renewed Fuller House for season 3

RIP Bob start George Michael age 15.

RIP Carrie Fisher age 60

RIP Debbie Reynolds age 84

RIP William Christopher who played Fr. Mulcahy on MASH age 84

Amazon has renewed “The Man in the High Castle” for season 3

CW network has renewed The Flash, Supernatural, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, and Jane the Virgin

Showtime has rendered The Affair for season 4

Showtime announced the new seasons of Twin Peaks will premiere May 21

Fox has renewed Empire for season 4

FX has renewed American Horror Story four seasons 7, 8, and 9

RIP William Peter Blatty author of “The Exorcist” novel age 89

Oscar-winner Jim Broadbent a.k.a. Prof.Slughorn in the Harry Potter movies is joining the cast of Game of Thrones for season 7

The home used as Harry Potter’s home with his aunt and uncle Dursley is up for sale. Only $600,000.

There will be a total of five “Fantastic Beasts” movies spinoff from the Harry Potter series

Mel Gibson is filming a sequel to “The Passion of the Christ” to be titled “The Resurrection”

Director Rick Famuyiwa is the second director to drop out of the upcoming DC film “The Flash”. Left over creative differences. Film slated for late 2018 release.

Netflix announced Longmire will have a sixth and final season.

The Simpsons has been renewed for season 29 and 30 which will make it the longest running scripted TV series in history passing Gunsmoke who had 635 episodes. The Simpsons has already passed 600.

Dakota Fanning has joined the cast of TNT Gilded Age thriller series “The Alienist”

TNT announced Good Behavior has been renewed for season 2. If you’ve not seen this, definitely check out season 1 on demand or streaming if you can find it. Excellent series!

Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” is moving to Netflix. Was previously available on Crackle.

NBC has ordered a 10 episode revival of “Will and Grace” to air sometime during the 2017-2018 season. All four of the main stars will return.

Star Trek: Discovery casts former True Blood bad guy James Frain as Spock’s father Sarek. However the series is been delayed again and there is no set’s premiere date.

TNT has renewed Major Crimes for season 6

Hit family drama “This Is Us” as been renewed for seasons 2 and 3 by NBC. Excellent show.

Amazon has renewed Sneaky Pete for season 2. Stars Giovanni Ribrisi as a con man.

RIP actor Miguel Ferrer who played on Crossing Jordan and NCIS: Los Angeles. Age 61

Season 5 of House of Cards will premiere May 30

Netflix reboot of the sitcom “One Day at a Time” has been renewed for 13 episode season 2

RIP Robert Osborne host of Turner Classic Movies age 84

SNL regular Pete Davison admitted he’s been missing from the show lately because of a battle with drinking and alcohol.

CW has renewed Riverdale for season 2.

Showtime financial drama Billions renewed for season 3 and I’m very happy. I really love this show.

Reduction is underway on Drastic World 2

Sean Austin will play Teddy Roosevelt in upcoming TNT drama “The Alienist”

AMC announced Preacher season 2 will premiere June 19

CW network announced “The 100” has been renewed for season 5

James Cameron announced Avatar 2 delayed again. Will not premiere in 2018. Late word is the four sequels will premiere in December 2020, 2021, 2024 and 2025. That I should live so long.

Mr. robot Season three will not premiere until October which means it will not be eligible for 2018 Emmy award.

StarTalk with Neil Degrasse Tyson has been renewed for 20 episodes of season 3

Tyra Banks is replacing Nick Cannon as the host of America’s Got Talent

Syfy Channel has renewed “The Expanse” for season 3 and we are very well pleased.

Warner Bros. has announced Aquaman has been pushed from October 2018 until December 2018 a slot previously held by Avatar 2 which was delayed.

NBC announced Shades of Blue cop drama starring Jennifer Lopez has been renewed for season 3

RIP rock ‘n’ roll star Chuck Berry age 90

Big Bang Theory has been renewed for seasons 11 and 1248 episodes total

Robert Downey Jr. will play Dr. Doolittle in upcoming films

Former “House” actress Anne Dudek will have a recurring role in “The Flash” as a quirky future genius.

The Carmichael Show will air an upcoming episode featuring uncensored use of the “N-word”

RIP Chuck Barrus creator of The Gong Show age 87

on March 23 CBS renewed 16 of it series including Bull, MacGyver, Kevin Can Wait, Man with a Plan, Superior Donuts, Hawaii 50, Blue Bloods, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS New Orleans, Madam Secretary, Scorpion, Survivor, 60 minutes, and 48 Hours. It had already previously renewed Big Bang theory and NCIS. Still undecided are Criminal Minds, 2 Broke Girls, and Elementary. Also Code Black, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. We are pretty sure “Doubt” is dead because it was pulled after 2 episodes. Pure Genius is probably on thin ice because it did not get a back 9 order. And Training Day is probably no go after the death of Bill Paxton. CBS notes there still could be additional renewals.

Elizaa Dushku is joining the cast of Bull as a potential series regular. I really like her.

Lucifer season 2 is being cut by 4 episodes which will be pushed to the next season for the fall. They were sort of standalone episodes that did not fit into the continuing story.

Robert Rodriguez is going to direct a film remake of Escape from New York. We can’t imagine anything topping the original.

Dave Erickson is stepping down as showrunner on Field the Walking Dead after the upcoming season 3

Harry Connick Jr. syndicated daytime talk show has been renewed for season 2

Elton John, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Tim Rice are bringing animated “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” to the big screen.

NBC will broadcast the 2018 Winter Olympics from South Korea live in all time zones.

Netflix has renewed Drew Barrymore comedy “Santa Clara Diet” for season 2.

The Mindy Project will and after season 6

Ken Burns is producing a Mohammed Ali documentary for PBS

ABC canceled series “Time after Time” based on the film of the same name about Hg Wells and Jack the Ripper after 5 episodes.

Netflix will reboot “Lost in Space” as a TV series in 2018

Rainn Wilson will play con man Harry Mudd in upcoming Star Trek: Discovery series. That should be great!

Sylvester Stallone will not be part of “The Expendables” fourth film

Recently departed Walking Dead Sonequa Martin-Green will be first officer on the new Star Trek: Discovery

Former Dallas quarterback Tony Romo is retiring to join CBS sports. Will replace Phil Simms as the lead NFL analyst

Netflix has a renewed Series of Unfortunate Events through season 3

USA Network has renewed Colony for season 3 and we are very well pleased.

RIP comedian Don Rickles age 90

CBS renewed Criminal Minds at the last minute for season 13

Nashville has been renewed for season 6 on best CMT

RIP Dorothy Mengering mother of David Letterman age 95

Syfy Channel has renewed The Magicians for season 3. I kind of like it.

Arrow has promoted Wild Dog and the new Black Canary to series regulars for season 6

Outsiders has been canceled by WGN America after 2 seasons. It was weird but I liked it.

Filter Walking Dead has been renewed for season 4

Animated Disney XD Star Wars Rebels will end after season 4

The Walking Dead has promoted Simon (Negan’s right-hand man), teenager Enid, and neither of the scavengers Jadis into series regulars.

Kevin Spacey will host the 2017 Tony Awards

National Geographic has renewed its Albert Einstein biography series “Genius” for season 2

Joss Whedon cannot get Marvel to agree to a Black Widow standalone film so he jumped to DC and will produce direct Batgirl

The X-Files will be back again next season for 10 episodes

RIP Erin Moran who played Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days age 56

NBC has pulled Powerless from the schedule not airing the final three episodes

AMC has renewed Into the Badlands for season 3 of 16 episodes

RIP Oscar winning director Jonathan Demme age 73. Directed “Silence of the Lambs” and “Philadelphia” among others

Nicholas Cage broke his ankle on the set of a bank heist movie he’s filming in Bulgaria

Showtime announced the final season of Matt LeBlanc comedy “Episodes” will begin August 20 a full 29 months after its last season and. Also season will five of Ray Donovan will premiere August 6

Showtime revival of Twin Peaks begins May 21

Production has shut down on TNT’s “The Last Ship” because star Eric Dane is battling depression

Ryan Seacrest is replacing Michael Strahan as permanent cohost of Live with Kelly Ripa

Fox’s canceled “Pitch” about the first female major league baseball player. Canceled after one season

Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy have been renewed to 2020 with their existing casts

Season two of “The Good Fight” will have 13 episodes instead of 10. This is a wonderful show. It’s a shame you have to subscribe to CBS streaming service to get it.

Rumors are American Idol may come back this time to ABC

 

 

Matt’s Inside Line: Scoop on Arrow, Criminal Minds, Code Black, Legends, Once, Timeless, S.H.I.E.L.D. and More

 

Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Supergirl, Grey’s Anatomy, Bones, The 100, PLL, Scandal, The Good Fight and More

 

Matt’s Inside Line: Scoop on Bones, Arrow, The 100, Once, Elementary, Suits, Little Liars, NCIS: LA and More

 

Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Grey’s, Empire, The Walking Dead, Good Fight, The 100, Jane the Virgin, SVU and More

 

Matt’s Inside Line: Once Upon a Time Musical Scoop, Plus Bones, Arrow, NCIS, Grimm, The Fosters, The 100 and More

Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Big Bang, Bates, Bones, Nashville, Walking Dead, Flash, Once, Grimm and More

How Johnny Cash and ‘Shane’ influenced Hugh Jackman’s ‘Logan’

Inside Line: Scoop on The Flash, Once, Supergirl, Five-0, Blindspot, Grimm, Chicago Fire, The Originals and More

May Sweeps Scorecard 2017: Deaths, Breakups, Weddings, Firings, Sex, Resurrections, Time Jumps and More!

Matt’s Inside Line: Scoop on Once, Lucifer, Scorpion, Arrow, Grimm, Suits, Mr. Robot, Chicago Med and More

Grimm Finale: EPs Explain All Those Deaths, Rosalee’s Skipped Pregnancy and Who They Just Couldn’t Bring Back

‘The Walking Dead’ EP Gale Anne Hurd On What’s Next, 100th Episode & ‘FearTWD’

The Walking Dead EP Scott Gimple Talks Finale’s Surprise Reunion and Previews a ‘Fast-Paced’ Season 8

Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on The Leftovers, Walking Dead, Grey’s, Bates, B99, Arrow, Originals, Quantico, Supergirl and More

Matt’s Inside Line: Scoop on Supergirl, NCIS: LA, Supernatural, Scorpion, Once, Flash, Chicago P.D., Riverdale and More

Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Walking Dead, Fuller House, Good Fight, Big Bang, Supernatural, Once and More

 

“Channel Zero” is Creepy But Not Much Else

I’ve never been a big fan of the horror genre so it takes a lot to impress me. There are a couple of new offerings in the new TV season that we can take a look at. The first is SyFy Channel’s new anthology series Channel Zero: Candle Cove. They call it an anthology because each season they plan to have a new story with a new cast similar to the way American Horror Story operates. It seemed a bit presumptuous to call it an anthology when they had not yet been picked up automatically for a second season. However it has now been removed for another season after 3 episodes have aired so they must of had some sort of strong feeling that it was going to be more than a one and done situation. The first season runs only six episodes.

The previews for the series didn’t look very appealing to me however it is was created by producer Nick Antosca who was involved with the TV series Hannibal which I really liked. For that reason I decided to check it out.

This story and presumably future seasons are based on short stories which go by the name “creepypasta”. I have never heard of the term so I had to use them research. Wikipedia says it is a horror related legend or image that have been copied and pasted around the Internet. Such cut and paste stories called “copypasta” and since these are creepy copypastas they got the name creepypasta. Here’s the Wikipedia article for more info.

The “Candle Cove” is one of the most famous of these stories. It is the story of a child psychologist who takes some time off to back to his hometown. When he was a child and for other children were abducted and killed. His brother’s body was the only one that was never found. Somehow children’s television show called Candle Cove with creepy looking puppets is at the center of their disappearance. The show mysteriously appears on empty channels and no one knows for sure where the show comes from. Now decades later the show has been reappearing at the mystery of the original disappearance begins to unfold in shocking ways.

The show is more about atmosphere than things jumping out to scare you. There is a bizarre character that is a small child completely covered in baby teeth collected from children presumably from under their pillows.

Having seem to episodes I’m not very impressed with the whole thing. But as I said not much of a horror fan. Given that it is only six episodes if I have time I may watch the rest of it just to see if it gets better but for the most part I would have to say unless you’re a huge fan of the job I would say “skip it”. A much better alternative is the current season American Horror Story

“Westworld” is thoughtful sci-fi with lots of action.

The new HBO sci-fi series Westworld is yet another new TV series this season based on a movie. The 1973 film Westworld starred Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin, James Brolin, and Majel Barrett. Both the film and the series are about an adult theme park where rich guests can live out their fantasies in a wild west setting. The facility is populated by robots that are virtually indistinguishable from humans. You can shoot, stab, rape or pillage with no consequences and although the robots can realistically kill one another to add to the atmosphere, the robots cannot kill you. The film was written and directed by Michael Crichon 20 years prior to his most famous theme park Jurassic Park. He also created a previous TV series in 1980 Beyond Westworld that only ran for five episodes.

The HBO series of 10 episodes as an all-star cast that includes Anthony Hopkins as the chief scientist who invented the Westworld robots. Ed Harris is a mysterious “Man in Black” whom at this point we aren’t sure whether he’s a robot or a human. He is on a quest to discover hidden secrets within the park. Evan Rachel Wood plays a robot Farmer’s daughter. Thandie Newton is a robot saloon madam. Luke Hemsworth is a robotic cowboy. Jeffrey Wright plays one of the designers of the robots and you will recognize him as Beetee the weapons maker in the Hunger Games film series. The series was created by writer/producer Jonathan Nolan whose credits include the screenplay of The Dark Knight and Interstellar as well as the TV series Person of Interest.

The plot is that something strange is going on with the robots. Although they are supposed to have their memories wiped at the end of every day so that they don’t recall being killed or maimed by the parks visitors, some of the robots are beginning to retain their memories and are becoming more self-aware. We are not yet sure whether they are gaining this awareness on their own or someone working within the park is manipulating them and somehow educating them to understand their true nature.

As with most sci-fi’s featuring extremely humanoid robots, one of the underlying themes of the series is exploring the philosophical questions of what it means to be human. It also explores what it is about our human need to play out our fantasies.

My favorite scene so far is at the end of the second episode. One of the game designers is pitching a new storyline to the Board of Directors. Also in attendance is designer emeritus Dr. Ford played by Anthony Hopkins. We are told he generally does not attend such presentations. The enthusiastic young designer has on display dozen or so of the humanlike robot characters. Among them are fierce looking Indian warriors, banditos, and women. He delivers the following pitch…

“This storyline will make Hieronymus Bosch look like he was doodling kittens. I have vivisection, self-cannibalism, a special little something I call the ‘whoroborus.’ Now, I don’t want to appear immodest, but this is the apex of what the park could provide, horror, romance, titillation. Our most skilled guests will fight their ways to the outer limits of the park, besting fearsome braves, seducing nubile maidens, befriending tragically ill-fated sidekicks, and of course, like all our best narratives over the years, our guests will have the privilege of getting to know the character they’re most interested in… Themselves. I present our guests’ next obsession: ‘Odyssey on Red River'”.

The Board of Directors applauds enthusiastically but Anthony Hopkins vetoes the project saying “No. No I don’t think so. What is the point of it? Get a couple of cheap thrills? Some surprises? But it’s not enough. It’s not about giving the guests what you think they want. No, that’s simple. The titillation, horror, elation… They’re parlor tricks. The guests don’t return for the obvious things we do, the garish things. They come back because of the subtleties, the details. They come back because they discover something they imagine no one has ever noticed before… Something they’ve followed up with. They’re not looking for a story that tells them who they are. They already know who they are. They’re here because they want a glimpse of who they could be.”

This kind of psychological and sociological commentary is what sci-fi does best. And for those of you who do want the blood and gore and pillaging we get plenty of that as well. The special effects are excellent. The bizarre 3-D printing machine that creates the robots behind-the-scenes is futuristic, awesome, and freaky. Although the plot moves a little bit slow and there are times when it’s difficult to follow the mysterious conspiracy theories that run throughout the story, we are hoping it will pay off big by the end of the season.

Highly recommended viewing for any sci-fi fan or anyone interested in the themes that the show explores and there is plenty of action for action-adventure fans as well. I’m giving it a very high “I really like it” rating was a borderline “must-see” for hard-core sci-fi fans.

“Timeless” is Time Travel That Travels Well

Although NBC’s new time travel sci-fi adventure series Timeless is not directly based on a previous series or film, it is very much a re-imagination of a number of well-worn time travel stories. It reminds me most of the 1966 TV series Time Tunnel. Both tell the story of a top-secret government facility consisting of a time machine. Our heroes travel back in time sometimes to famous historic events. The opening episode of Time Tunnel took us to the sinking of the Titanic while Timeless allowed us to visit the crash of the Hindenburg. If you’re not old enough to remember Time Tunnel there are also hints of 1989’s Quantum Leap TV series.

The show opens with a very well done depiction of the phrase of the Hindenburg and then jumps to present day where a group of commandos are storming a secret government facility. After a bloody gun battle, one of the attackers is able to successfully steal a time machine. The government then recruits history professor Lucy Preston played by Abigail Spencer to assist and advise them as pursue the thief across time. They make use of a somewhat clunkier looking backup time machine. Spencer has appeared in TV series such as Suits, and True Detective.

She is accompanied by a Delta force commando Wyatt Logan played by Matt Lanter and engineer Rufus Carlin played by Malcolm Barrett. Lanter is most known for his role in the more recent of the two versions of 90210. Barnett is lesser-known but played in the series Better off Ted. The master criminal they are pursuing is Garcia Flynn who is portrayed by Goran Visnjuic who has a long résumé but is mostly known as Dr. Luka Kovac from the TV series ER.

Although I really like the series and I’m going to recommend it to sci-fi fans, it does suffer from much of the “plot driven technology” that I spoke about in my previous review of the new series “Frequency”. I invite you to see that review for more details of what I’m talking about. We get the typical “If we have a time machine and fail in our mission, why can’t we just do it again?” The response is the stereotypical technobabble about the dangers of meeting yourself in the past and the irreparable catastrophic damage that would be done to the space-time continuum. The slightly more detailed explanation of the “rules” is that you can’t visit any event that you’ve already visited. At least that’s a little more specific than the Doctor Who concept of “fixed point in time that cannot be changed.” Because it never really tells us why they are fixed.

There are hints that the bad guy really isn’t a bad guy after all. It suggests that he has some greater purpose for wanting to rewrite history but we are never really sure the details of his hidden agenda. In the opening episode he still wanted the Hindenburg to blow up but to do so on his time schedule. While it initially appears that our heroes have in some way set history right by the end of the show, Abigail discovers that there are some far-flung side effects to the changes they made in history and those changes will affect her personal life in dramatic ways which I will not spoil.

Other episode titles tell us that we are going to visit the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, The Alamo, and perhaps discover what happened to the missing 18 minutes of the Watergate tapes. The opportunity for a bit of social commentary is available because our hero is female and one of her companions is African-American. Neither of them are treated with much respect in the 1930s compared to their handsome rugged white male soldier companion.

The story held my interest. We like the ongoing mystery of who is this bad guy and why does he want a time machine? The negative consequences of changing the past will also add extra tension to the story. Basically after seeing one episode it left me wanting more. I’m giving it a rating of “I like it” and unless you totally hate sci-fi I think you might enjoy it as well.

“Frequency” is Time Travel Without the Travel

We’ve already talked about 2 new TV series based on movies in our reviews of Lethal Weapon and The Exorcist. This time we look at a somewhat lesser known 2000 film Frequency starring Dennis Quaid and its TV reboot on the CW network also called Frequency. In the film Quaid uses an old HAM radio and some strange atmospheric phenomena to be able to talk to his father 30 years in the past. His father was a New York City firefighter and Quaid was able to warn him of his impending death in a warehouse fire. He manages to save his father’s life but it changes the future in a way that leads to the murder of his mother. They spend the rest of the film working together to try to prevent that murder before it happens.

In this TV adaptation the main character is female. Payton List stars as NYPD detective Raimy Sullivan who also connects via an old HAM radio with her father Frank Sullivan who was also an NYPD detective 20 years ago. He was killed in the line of duty but was believed to be a dirty cop. In the opening episode they figure out that they are actually father and daughter communicating across time. As in the film version, she warns him of his impending death and it is prevented. Also as in the film there are disastrous unforeseen consequences of changing the past.

Peyton List has had a number of television roles including over 300 episodes of the daytime soap As the World Turns however I recognize her from her guest starring roles on The Flash as Lisa Snart/Golden Glider.

These two time periods 20 years apart remain fixed relative to one another by those exact 20 years. As events unfold in 2016, events unfold in 1996 in lockstep parallel fashion. You get some of the typical time travel clichés such as the ability to predict the events of a baseball game across time. But you also get a rather spooky way in which events in the past sort of magically manifest themselves in the present. For example Frank and his daughter are communicating using the same radio. When Frank lays his cigar on the radio it begins to scorch a burnt place in the wood cabinet. That burn mark appears and smolders 20 years later. He later uses a soldering iron to scratch a drawing of a flag on the cabinet and the daughter witnesses it appearing in real time “simultaneously” 20 years later.

All science fiction stories struggle with what I call “plot driven technology”. That means that the author sets up the rules of how the technology works in such a way that it helps the plot of the story telling move forward. This is the opposite of what I would like to see which is “technology driven plot” in which the author designed some sort of sci-fi technology be it time travel or spaceflight or whatever… and then the plot is driven by the circumstances and consequences of that technology. The premise behind Frequency does a reasonably good job of being technology driven plot which in my opinion is the way it ought to be.

Any time travel story wrestles with the problem of developing the rules as to how time travel works. Some time travel stories draw the drama out of asking the question “Can we change the past or the future?” Some stories take the approach that our fates are inevitable and no matter what we do, it is what was destined to happen anyway. Others wrestle with the idea of “Should we change the past or the future? Will there be unexpected consequences?”

Someone always asks “If we fail to change things, why can’t we just go back and do it over again. If we could travel anywhere in time why don’t we continually do things over until we get it right?” Some time travel stories explore that possibility and usually end up concluding that it is futile to do so. Typically the author cops out and artificially put the some sort of limitation. In Doctor Who there are so-called “fixed points in time” which cannot be changed. Another new time travel TV series called Timeless which we will review later have already reviewed here had something similar. They artificially impose the idea that once you have visited a past event from the future you could no longer revisit it. To do so would violate some made up mumbo-jumbo about disturbing the fabric of the space-time continuum especially if you meet yourself coming and going. Those are examples of plot driven technology where you manufacture the rules of time travel to avoid dealing with paradoxes and other storytelling impairments.

The premise behind Frequency cleverly avoids many of these issues. Because events in the past and present remain linked by a fixed length of time and events unfold in the two time periods in lockstep parallel fashion, there is no opportunity for a second do over. You get one chance to fix it and if you fail there is no further recourse. The limits on the technology seem to flow naturally out of the circumstances. We don’t need to know why the two time periods are linked. We don’t need some sort of technobabble explanation of why we can or cannot do certain things. While it is true that this particular model of time travel does serve our storytelling purposes, it doesn’t have the same artificial feel that you usually get when such rules of time travel are explained. To me this makes for a more intelligent and thoughtful storytelling premise than you often get in these situations.

Because time continues to flow unceasingly at both ends of the story, it allows for dramatic tension that you’re facing particular deadlines. If you don’t solve the problem in enough time, all is lost. Cutting back and forth between the two time periods adds to the drama. Overall it is a very well done and very satisfying experience for the audience.

I mentioned the other new time travel series Timeless which I will review in my next installment and while I will recommend it to hard science fiction fans, this one is a little bit more accessible to a wider audience. Is more of a typical action-adventure police procedural type of show was a little sci-fi thrown in on the side. The father daughter relationship is also compelling and adds an extra something to make the show even better. We want to feel for our characters and in this instance we really do. The show has a lot of heart.

I’m giving this one a rating of “I like it” and strongly recommend it unless you really hate sci-fi.

Exorcist Reboot Fails to Capture the Magic

In 1973 when “The Exorcist” was released to theaters, it created a huge sensation. People were shocked by the bizarre supernatural events depicted in the film. The mystery surrounding the whole idea of demonic possession and the church’s position on the topic added to the controversy. There were news reports that people had fainted while watching the movie which added to the hype surrounding it even though it was later revealed they were grossed out by a rather gory depiction of a medical procedure rather than anything supernatural. While the makeup effects and other special effects today would seem timid compared to modern horror films, they were state-of-the-art at the time and they added to people’s fascination with the film. The green vomit and the head spinning 360 degrees became iconic and have been offered parodied. It earned a best screenplay Oscar, best drama Golden Globe, and numerous other awards and nominations.

So now we come to the second of three new TV series based on classic movies. It’s hard to imagine that turning this classic horror film into a weekly TV series could generate even a fraction of the fascination of the original. So it’s no surprise when the new series on Fox titled “The Exorcist” would fall far short. Although the character names are different and the setting slightly different, the basic plot is the same. A family believes that their teenage daughter’s strange behavior is a result of demonic possession. They seek the help of a young priest who in turn recruits the assistance of an older priest who is an experienced exorcist.

Geena Davis does a decent job of portraying the mother at least as well as Ellen Burstyn did in the original film. The rest of the cast is mostly people you won’t recognize or at least I didn’t. After watching 2 episodes I am totally unimpressed with the whole thing. The biggest plot hole is there jump to conclusions that this is something supernatural. There is absolutely zero evidence of that until the final minutes of the opening episode. The mother somehow jumps to this demonic possession conclusion simply because her teenage daughter has been moody, reclusive, and there are strange noises coming from upstairs. Hell that’s called having a teenager. While many parents of teens may wonder what possesses their children, rarely do they take that word so literally.

I’m not sure how many episodes have been ordered for this series but IMDb.com shows at least six. I just don’t see how you can take a story that was easily told in a two-hour film can be stretched out over six or more TV episodes. While we have seen some supernatural manifestations exhibited so far, after two episodes we’ve only barely gotten into territory that could not be explained by psychological issues.

The subplots surrounding the older priest’s previous history fighting demons and the younger priest’s questionable yet platonic relationship with a woman don’t really do a lot to improve the story or give you much deeper insights into the characters. The girl’s father and sisters are simply window dressing to add nothing of substance to the story.

I had initially intended to say that the best part of this series was that it retained classic Exorcist theme song “Tubular Bells” by Mike Oldfield however we only got a brief clip of it near the end of the first episode. It is not the opening theme song for the show and the song did not appear anywhere in the second episode.

If you have an unquenchable craving for a story about demonic possession and exorcisms that lives up to modern day envelope-pushing effects and storytelling then I went have to recommend the Cinemax series “Outcast” from Robert Kirkman who also created The Walking Dead. I’ve only seen one episode of Outcast and I may at some point do a review of it. My quick impression is that they are seeking to push the limits of what the audience will tolerate in the way of shocking story and visuals. While I can’t yet recommend it based on one episode, it is probably more worth your time than this movie reboot.

I’ve already wasted two hours looking for something watch worthy here and was unable to find it. I’m giving this one a rating of “skip it”. Unless you are a rampant Geena Davis fan who is desperate to see her on TV or you are possessed with an irresistible desire to watch a bad reboot of an old movie I suggest you skip it as well.

“Lethal Weapon” is a Satisfactory Reboot

In these reviews we’ve already lamented the fact that there’s nothing new under the sun with the reboot of MacGyver and a Kevin James sitcom that is essentially a reboot of his previous work. Many of the other new shows we’ve seen are extremely derivative of other shows. But there is also a trend towards turning hit movies or movie franchises into TV shows and there are three such offerings this season. We will look at each one in a separate review.

The first is “Lethal Weapon” based on the four comedy buddy cop movies of the same name starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as NYPD detectives. In its TV incarnation Glover’s character Roger Murtaugh is played by Damon Wayans. In both the film and TV versions he has a family man and is a pretty much “by-the-book” detective. In the film he was days away from retirement and waiting to just coast through his final days on the job. In the TV version Murtaugh is on his first day back on the job after having a heart attack. He has been told to return to work but keep stress to a minimum which of course will be difficult to do with his crazy new partner.

Mel Gibson’s character Martin Riggs is a nearly suicidal hyper risk-taking cop who acts insane most of the time but always gets the job done even if he does use extremely unorthodox methods. I don’t recall the back story on this character from the original film but in the TV version we meet him six months after the loss of his pregnant wife in an automobile accident. Still distraught over the loss he too is borderline suicidal. The TV version is played by Claryne Crawford who most recently appeared in the TV series Rectify but is mostly unfamiliar.

Wayans does an excellent job of re-creating the original character but Crawford not so much so. He is still unstable, constantly wisecracking, completely rogue, unconventional, and undisciplined. I guess for me Gibson has his own brand of insanity that cannot be re-created but the new character is good enough to make the entire thing work. After seeing only one episode the main thing that we miss is Joe Pesci as informant Leo Getz who joined the films in its second installment.

There is still plenty of action in the TV series with explosions, shootouts, and car chases as is the original films. On Riggs’ first day of the job he walks into a bank robbery hostage situation while pretending to be a pizza delivery guy. While in there he dares the robbers to shoot him. He ends up overpowering the robbers and saving all of the hostages. One of the bad guys that he killed has a bomb strapped to his chest. Riggs casually walks out of the bank eating a slice of pizza just seconds before the whole building blows up. It’s been years since I’ve seen the films but I seem to recall similar scenarios.

There isn’t a whole lot else to say about the show. It’s basically a satisfactory re-created of the original. Nearly as funny. Lots of action. Lots of fun all around. If you liked the original movies then I highly recommend you check this out. I’m rating it “I like it”.

“The Good Place” is Ridiculously Bad but Fun

Generally I don’t bother to review really bad stupid sitcoms but unfortunately “The Good Place” has somehow become a very guilty pleasure for me. I really didn’t want to watch another totally ridiculous show because I already am thoroughly hooked on “The Last Man on Earth” which is very decidedly stupid. But this particular new entry from NBC is ridiculous in new and different ways.

The show begins when Elinor Shelltrop is notified by a man named Michael that she has died. She wants to know is she in heaven or hell? Michael explains to her that the major religions of the world have totally missed understanding the afterlife. They only have about 10% of it right. But basically rather than traditional heaven or hell he describes the options as the Good Place or the Bad Place. He is pleased to tell her she’s in the Good Place.

Elinor is played by former Gossip Girl Kristen Bell and Michael her guide is played by Ted Danson.

Michael goes on to congratulate her for all the great things she did during her life that earned her a trip to the good place. He believes her to be a lawyer who got innocent people off of death row and did other international humanitarian work. The problem is he’s got it all wrong. She actually was a very unlikable person who made a living knowingly selling worthless supplements to sicken elderly people. She treated people terribly throughout her whole life and was basically a pain in the ass towards everyone she ever met. But she has to hide the mistake from him so that he won’t send her to the bad place.

The Good Place is divided up into tiny little neighborhoods of 400+ people all designed to provide them with a happy afterlife. Each person is also paired up with their soulmate. Her designated soulmate is a guy named Chidi who was an ethics professor from Senegal. She eventually confides in him that she doesn’t really belong there. Throughout the course of the show he tries to teach her how to be a good person.

Michael is not only the guide through this journey, he was responsible for designing the neighborhood and seeing to it that everyone has a happy afterlife. This is his first neighborhood he was allowed to decide after spending centuries as an apprentice angel or whenever his job title is. However the design is always in a very delicate balance and if anything is out of place the entire infrastructure falls apart. Bizarre things began happening in the neighborhood and they are all tied to the fact that Eleanor doesn’t belong there. We later there’s at least one other person in the neighborhood who has been put there by mistake.

The entire show is ridiculous, over-the-top, juvenile humor. For example you’re not allowed to swear so every time you try to say something nasty, different words come out of your mouth. For example F bombs get translated into the word “fork”. I thought that joke was going to get very tiresome very quickly but somehow every time someone shouts something like “What the fork is going on around here?” I still snicker.

The neighborhood is populated with lots of other goofy characters that I won’t bother to describe. Let’s just say it’s a very rich tapestry for silly humor.

If my DVR starts to fill up it’s going to be the first row that I delete. But for some bizarre reason it tickles my funny bone and I continue to watch it. I can’t really recommend it unless you’re looking for a mindless diversion. I’m rating it a very weak “I’m watching it”.

“Conviction” is Best New Legal Drama but That’s a Very Low Standard

ABC continues to expand its collection of primetime soap operas this time combining one of them with a procedural police/legal drama. The show is called “Conviction” which appears to be a little bit of a play on words. It is about a small team of lawyers and investigators in the New York City DAs office that reviews old cases to see if people were wrongly convicted. One might think it would be called “Wrongly Convicted” or something similar but I think the pun is that this really is about the characters conviction for various reasons to do this particular job. Each of them seems to have a somewhat hidden motivation for going on this crusade and it is not necessarily because they want to see justice done.

Hayley Atwell who you will most recently remember as Agent Peggy Carter in the Marvel’s Agent Carter this time plays activist and lawyer Hayes Morrison. She is the daughter of a former president and a bit of a socialite. The New York prosecutor who is often her adversary makes a deal with her to sweep under the rug the fact that she was found to be in possession of cocaine. In exchange for the deal she agrees to head up his “Conviction Integrity Unit” which will re-examine old cases which show some signs that a person was wrongly convicted. They make a big deal about the fact that this is not be “Innocence Project” and their goal is not to advocate on the behalf of convicted criminals. If anything it’s a bit of a publicity stunt to ward off criticism of the prosecutor’s office. Morrison therefore is a reluctant participant in the entire project who initially only wants to see herself as a public figurehead. She knows she was tricked into this job because of her notoriety as the former First Daughter. While it’s great to see Hayley Atwell back on TV so quickly, if you’re looking forward to her charming British accent you will be disappointed because she does a great job of covering it and sounding All-American in this show.

She is surrounded by a small team of people to help her re-examine these cases. Sam Spencer previously worked as a prosecutor in the city’s gang unit. He was supposed to be the head of this new unit until Morrison was recruited as the new leader. He is played by Shawn Ashmore whom you will recognize as playing Iceman Bobby Drake in the X-Men movies. You may also recognize him from his sci-fi series Killjoys, Warehouse 13, and playing the young Jimmy Olsen in Smallville however you would be wrong. Although he was Bobby Drake, those other three roles were played by his twin brother Aaron Ashmore. Until I wrote this article I never knew they were two different people.

Also of the team is Maxine Bohen a former NYPD detective played by Merrin Dungey who has been most recently seen as Ursula on Once upon a Time. There is Frankie Cruz is the units forensics expert and ex-con who had a romantic relationship with his former cellmate. He is played by Manny Montana who you have most recently seen in USA Network’s Graceland. Finally is Tess Larson who is a paralegal and alumni of the Innocence Project. She has first-hand experience with wrongful convictions because as a child her faulty eyewitness testimony set an innocent man to jail. She is played by Emily Kinney who is most famous for her role as Beth on The Walking Dead.

The show itself is what you would expect from a legal drama covering this topic. It’s your basic legal/police procedural in which the case goes back and forth where you yourself are not certain whether the person is really guilty or not. It leans a little bit more towards your typical ABC primetime soap opera with lots of beautiful people in powerful positions throwing their weight around and having affairs with one another.

Most of these types of shows increase their drama by some sort of deadline before the client gets the electric chair or something like that. Because not all of these are capital cases, the deadline gimmick comes from their charter which says that they can only spend five days on each case that they examine. While the show is nothing extraordinary, I can’t really complain about it. My favorite legal show in recent years The Good Wife wrapped up last season. The only other new legal show Bull is not as bad as my original review would suggest but it still isn’t great. While Conviction is not up to Good Wife standards it will do for now to fill my fandom of legal dramas and I would recommend it over Bull. For now I’m giving it an “I’m watching it” rating.