The HBO Max streaming service just released a new 10 episode sci-fi series by Ridley Scott titled “Raised by Wolves”. It’s described as the story of human children who are raised on an alien planet by a pair of androids named “Father” and “Mother”. This of course invites comparisons to the 2019 Netflix film “I Am Mother” starring Hilary Swank and Rose Byrne in which an android mother raises a human child.
Wolves however the much more complicated and nuanced story. The premise is there was a war between religious zealots called the Mithraic and atheists. The war ends up leaving earth uninhabitable. An atheist scientist sends two androids to planet Kepler-22b with 12 human embryos. They are programmed to raise and nurture the human children and to be strictly atheist. Meanwhile the Mithraic survivors have created a giant spaceship called the Ark of Heaven with thousands of colonists headed for the same planet. When they arrive, our android friends have only managed to raise one of the children. The others either failed at birth or died of some strange illness.
I’ve seen the first three episodes which are available now with a total of ten coming this season.
While we expect from the first episode that it’s going to be the story of the androids raising the kids, in the next two episodes the narrative also includes a Mithraic couple named Marcus and Sue who have a young son of their own. Marcus is played by Travis Fimmel whose most notable role was as Ragnar Lothbrok on the History Channel series “Vikings”.
Through a series of flashbacks we learn more about Marcus and Sue. We learn of their role in the war on earth and how they came to gain passage on the Ark to the new planet. We also learn some secrets about the origins of the androids especially Mother. Without giving things away I will just say there are a number of “things are not what they seem” plot points to make it especially interesting.
It’s not really clear which side are the bad guys and which side are the good guys. We aren’t always exactly certain who to root for. That makes the story even more interesting because nothing is strictly black-and-white. There are lots of shades of gray.
By the way, Mithraism or the Mithraic Mysteries as it is sometimes known, was a real religion practiced in the first through fourth centuries. Mostly practiced around the Mediterranean and the Roman Empire it involved worship of a deity Mithra which was loosely based on worship of a Persian deity by the same name. The religion was popular among the Roman army. According to my friend retired Marian University history professor Dr. Jim Divita, it is believed that some of the initiation rites for the religion required hand-to-hand combat. So it can be seen why it would be popular among the troops and never got much widespread acceptance elsewhere. It was sort of a rival religion to early Christianity. In the fourth century as Christianity gained dominance it pretty much wiped out Mithraism. In this show, their version of the Mithraic religion focuses on the God Sol (the sun). In the actual religion Mithra is depicted as having a dinner banquet with the God Sol but there’s no indication that the sun God was their primary deity. Rather it was Mithra himself. For more on the religion check out this article on Wikipedia.
Shot on location in barren areas of South Africa the planet looks sufficiently alien to be credible. The special-effects are state-of-the-art. The detailed world building in the series is fascinating and credible without much if any plot driven technology. “Plot driven technology” is my term for some piece of science or gadgetry that works that way just because the plot needed it to. It’s one of my pet peeves. The acting is top-notch. I can’t wait to see where the story goes from here.
I’m giving it a really strong rating of “I really like it” and if you are a fan of science fiction with some politics and religion thrown in then I highly recommend it. This is assuming of course you have access to HBO Max. Check your cable provider because it may be if you already subscribed to HBO you might be able to get HBO Max for free. I’m on Spectrum in Indianapolis and I’m getting it as part of my HBO/Cinemax subscription on cable.
Although my initial review of the show was very positive, it seemed to go off the rails the further it went. The very final episode completely “jumped the shark” with a bizarre twist. Still plenty of room for a second season. I can’t begin to predict where it’s going to go. Maybe you will like it in the end better than I did. It was fun while it lasted.
To start off this week’s entertainment news I can recommend Netflix film “Power Project”. The action sci-fi crime drama stars Jamie Foxx as an ex-Marine in search of his teenage daughter who inherited special superpowers from him after the government had experimented on him. Someone has released a new drug in the New Orleans area that when taken, it gives you unpredictable superpowers for five minutes. You might explode, might become invulnerable, you might turn into a human torch Fantastic Four style. Also features Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a New Orleans Detective searching for the source of the drug and a good performance by teenager Dominique Fishback was a young girl trying to support her sick mother by selling the drug. Really good action-adventure excellent special-effects. Giving it a rating of “I really like it“.
Now onto the news…
The Tony awards committee has announced that 18 productions will be eligible for the 2020 awards. Significantly down from the 34 productions eligible last year pre-pandemic.
We will not bother reporting a huge collection of news items about various TV dramas that are going back into production post pandemic. We will just note that some of them will not even begin production until late September or early October which is usually the time when they would be premiering.
Marvel’s “New Mutants” earned $7 million at the box office last weekend which would normally be a disaster however considering the pandemic and only 62% of all cinemas are open that is considered pretty good. Stock prices on movie chains were up last Friday to celebrate the reopening of many theaters.
Renewals, Coming Soon, and Casting News
TVLine has released a calendar showing premier dates for new fall TV series. See the first link at the bottom of the page. It gives a calendar of September premieres as well as links to articles about the fall premieres of all five major networks. Note however that many shows have been delayed because the pandemic and will not premier until October or November rather than the usual September.
As we previously reported if you want to see the new live-action word of Disney’s “Mulan” you will not only need a subscription to Disney+ but it will also cost an extra $30. It will be available September 5. However today they announced that starting December 4 you can watch it with nothing more than a regular Disney+ subscription for free. So if you can wait till December, don’t waste your money now.
Disney+ has announced that season 2 of “The Mandalorian” will premier October 30.
The cast of “The West Wing” will re-create episode of season three in a stage production to promote Michelle Obama’s “When We All Vote” campaign. It will appear on HBO Max sometime before the election.
The CBS All Access remake of Stephen King novel “The Stand will premier December 17. I’ve never read the book but I really liked the 1994 miniseries version. Do we really need a story about a global pandemic right now?
NBC has greenlit a TV series about “Tiger King” Joe Exotic. Kate McKinnon will play Carol Baskin.
CBS will air over broadcast the first season of “Star Trek Discovery” which was available only on streaming CBS All Access. Also the first season of the reboot of “One Day at a Time” previously only available on Netflix. Also “Manhunt: Deadly Games” which was previously only available on demand for Spectrum customers. These will fill up their fall schedule until scripted series can premier sometime in November.
Netflix has canceled sci-fi series “Altered Carbon” after 2 seasons.
“The Masked Singer” season 4 will premier September 23.
John Harlan Kim who plays Chimney’s younger brother on “911” has been promoted to series regular.
It’s bad enough that we had to get an animated comedy version of Star Trek with the new “Star Trek: Lower Decks”. Now w down e have word that Fox is developing an animated comedy spinoff of “The X-Files”.
The cast of “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” will be reuniting for a special celebrating the 30th anniversary of the show. The reunion will be on HBO Max.
AMC has canceled horror series “NOS4A2” after two seasons. I never got into it.
Chinese science-fiction epic “The Three Body Problem” is going to be adapted to a series for Netflix and be produced by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss who previously produced “Game of Thrones”. I haven’t read the novel but I heard great things about it. I may have to check it out.
HBO Max withdrawing a common special by British comedian James Veitch following allegations of rape and sexual assault. He’s been dropped by his agent and is been edited out of a show on Qubie .
Black-ish will have an election themed , parsley animated episode currently scheduled for October 4 but it may get pushed if the NBA finals run that long.
Kevin Hart will host a star-studded “get out the vote” comedy special for ABC September 14. It is billed as a nonpartisan event to encourage people to vote.
This week’s winner of the “Chris Young’s Sure Sign of the Coming Apocalypse Award” goes to “Dancing With The Stars” who announced that next seasons cast of celebrity contestants will include Tiger King’s Carole Baskin. See the link below for more details. DWTS is based on a British series “Strictly Come Dancing” which this season will feature its first-ever same sex couple. I’ve been wondering when DWTS would do that.
Politics and Showbiz
Facebook announced it will stop taking political ads one week before the November 3 election.
A judge has rejected Roman Polanski’s bid to be reinstated in the Motion Picture Academy so that he can vote on the Oscars. He was banned from the Academy after being found guilty of relationship with a teenage girl.
Season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery will have transgender and non-binary characters for the first time in Star Trek history.
Disney has filed for a patent to use drones to control show elements. So look for dancing drones to make an appearance at Disney parks sometime soon.
Chadwick Boseman final tweet announcing his passing has set a record for the most liked tweet ever.
Magician/stuntman David Blaine set a YouTube record when he flew over the Arizona desert using helium balloons. At one point 770,000 people were watching live stream.
Actor Chadwick Boseman who appeared in iconic roles such as Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, and James Brown. Oh yeah I think he was in a couple of Marvel movies too. Age 43 colon cancer.
Joe Ruby animator and cocreator of Scooby Doo. Age 87.
YouTube star Landon Clifford age 19 after spending six days in a coma however no cause of death has been revealed the preferred released.
Riley Gail lead singer of the Texas thrash metal band “Power Trip” age 34 no cause released
David S. The show Cass Sr. a veteran stuntman and TV director. Age 87
Ceasar Cordova character actor known for “Scarface” and “Carlito’s Way” age 84. Natural causes.
Former NBA All-Star and “Survivor” contestant Cliff Robinson. Age 53.
Leslie H. Freas twin sister of Linda Hamilton who appeared with her in “Terminator 2” age 63. No cause revealed.
Erick Morillo DJ who was known for his music hit “I like to Move It” which was famously featured in the film “Madagascar” age 49. No cause released. He was scheduled to appear in court on a sexual battery charge on Friday.
Timothy Graphenreed composer who penned 2 songs for “The Wiz”. Age 68 no cause released.
Ian Mitchell bass player for the Bay City Rollers age 62.
Also get a series of recent blogs I’ve been asking the question “Is Broadcast TV Dead?” One of our links articles at the bottom of this page describes how the typical half-hour sitcom may be going away from broadcast TV. Sitcoms usually lose money the first four years of production and they don’t really start making it back until they go into syndication and streaming services. But it turns out that sitcoms are not as binge worthy online as serial dramas are. So the producers are trying to renegotiate terms with the networks to make sitcoms profitable earlier on. If a sitcom only lasts two or three years never recovers money. I have to wonder if this is another nail in the coffin of broadcast TV as we know it. As I mentioned, see the link below for details.
Here is an overview of entertainment news August 25, 2020.
“Jurassic World: Dominion” has been filming on the island of Malta but will cutback its presence there due to increased COVID 19 infections.
Ken Jeong has withdrawn as a judge for the UK version of “The Masked Singer” because of Covid 19 travel restrictions.
Directors UK, a British organization representing 7500 screen directors, as updated guidelines for nude scenes suggesting perhaps actual partners be used as body doubles when filming sex scenes and asking them to reevaluate scripts to determine if intimate scenes are absolutely necessary to the story. All of this in light of the pandemic.
The next season of “The Masked Singer” has resumed production after pandemic delays. This year they will have fan voting as part of the format.
In the fall the Tony Awards will be a virtual event. I don’t know how you give awards when Broadway shut down all but a couple of months early in the year but I guess they will figure it out. No specific date has been set yet.
Syndicated talk show “The Kelly Clarkson Show” will return to the studio with a virtual audience. Let’s hope they finally provide with the makeup artist. She looks really strange not wearing makeup in the shows that she has recorded from home.
The Kentucky Derby has decided it will not have fans at the track after all. They had originally planned to allow a limited number of reserve seats. The race will be September 5 postponed from its usual date in May.
The Australian version of “The Masked Singer” has been shut down after several crewmembers tested positive for coronavirus.
The Jimmy Kimmel version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” was one of the last non-scripted shows to be shot before the pandemic. It was taped without an audience. Now season 2 is in production again without audience.
Renewals, Coming Soon, and Casting News
Showtime has canceled “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels” after 1 season and we are VERY disappointed. It was one of the best new TV shows of the year. HIGHLY recommend you go back and catch it on demand.
“Warrior Nun” has been renewed for season 2 by Netflix
All of the American Idol judges and host Ryan Seacrest are signed on for next season however notably absent from the announcement is mentor Bobby Brown. No word on his return.
New Jason Sudeikis comedy “Ted Lasso” has already been renewed for season 2 on Apple+
Comedy Central’s “Drunk History” has canceled its seventh season that had already begun preproduction. Season 6wrapped up in August. The struggles of producing the show during the pandemic were just too big.
Nat Geo drama series “The Right Stuff” about the original Mercury 7 astronauts will premiere October 9 on Disney+. Based on the book by Tom Wolfe which was previously made into a film 1983.
Showtime has greenlit a new comedy called “Moonbase 8” starring Fred Arminsen and John C Riley.
Both Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton will portray Batman in the upcoming “Flash” movie.
Tosh.O will end with season 12 on Comedy Central. Producers are looking to shop the series elsewhere.
Disney will also make its upcoming live-action version of “Mulan” available for $30 by Apple, Roku, and Google in addition to Disney+. It was also announced that the price for other countries such as Canada, UK, and Spain will only be about $26 rather than the $30 US customers will have to pay.
The new “The Batman” series on HBO Max is set to take place in “Year One” prior to the Matt Reeves movie.
CW has announced that they will recast Elongated Man for a brief appearance after actor Hartley Sawyer was fired over past racist and misogynist tweets.
Politics and Showbiz
An upcoming season 6 episode of “Lucifer” on Netflix will feature a “Black Lives Matter” theme.
Cincinnati Reds announcer Thom Brennaman made an anti-gay slur on a live microphone after returning from a commercial break. He made a very sincere apology on air and then left broadcast. He has been suspended by Fox Sports Ohio but no word if it’s permanent or not. During his apology even speculated it might be the last time he was on air realizing the severity of his offense.
NFL Kansas City Chiefs have banned Native American face paint and headdresses at future games. My question is… What if you really are Native American?
Cleveland radio station WTAM has fired news anchor Kyle Cornell after referring to Kamala Harris as “colored”. While I understand that particular word has gone out of appropriate use, I fail to understand why “people of color” is okay but “colored people” isn’t. I guess it goes back to the old George Carlin routine “It’s okay to prick your finger but you can’t finger your prick”.
Former NHL player and coach Mike Milbury has been suspended during the of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for saying that the bubble environment in which the playoffs are being held because of the pandemic is really great “Not even any women here to disrupt your concentration”.
The zoo featured in the Netflix series “Tiger King” has been closed to the public after its federal animal exhibition license was revoked.
At age 98 Norman Lear is the oldest person in history to receive an Emmy nomination.
There is a big shakeup at the CBS courtroom drama “All Rise”. Five of the seven original writers for the show have walked out saying that they had to do much behind-the-scenes to keep the scripts from being racist and offensive. For example one episode slated for season 2 had a Latin American gang preying on citizens with machetes. A Latin American writer as well as costar Lindsay Mendez refused to participate and the script was rewritten.
George RR Martin is suing a production company over the rights to his werewolf novella “The Skin Trade”. The company had purchased the rights to the story but had to start production within five years. Just before the deadline they put together a bare-bones cast and crew and filmed very few scenes then shut down. Martin says the token production was insufficient.
Korean K-Pop group BTS were the first band ever to rack up 100 million YouTube views in 24 hours
Len Goodman Chief Judge of “Dancing With The Stars” has had a skin cancer removed from his for.
The season 3 finale of “Yellowstone” is the most watched cable TV show of 2020 so far. It had 5.2 million viewers.
Actor Ben Cross most known for playing British Olympic athlete Harold Abrams in a 1981 “Chariots of Fire” but also known for playing Spock’s father Sarek in the 2009 Star Trek. Age 72.
Jesse Goins featured on Discovery’s “Gold Rush” age 60. He collapsed on set. No official cause yet.
Todd Nance drummer and founding member of the Georgia jam band “Widespread Panic” died suddenly after complications of a chronic illness. No age given. He had been with the band for over 30 years.
Drag queen Chi Chi DeVayne whose real name was Zavion Davenport who appeared on multiple seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race is died of kidney failure at age 34.
Frankie Banali drummer for metal band “Quiet Riot” age 68 pancreatic cancer.
Frank Cullotta Las Vegas mobster who was a key advisor on the film “Casino” age 81 COVID 19.
Jack Sherman guitarist for the “Red Hot Chili Peppers” age 64
Singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle age 38. No cause given. He is the son of country rocker Steve Earle.
Character actor Alan Rich who was one of the few actors to maintain a career after being blacklisted in the 1950s McCarthy hearings. Age 94. Dementia.
H.P. Lovecraft is a renowned author of many works of horror and fantasy who is most known for his creation of what became the “Cthulhu Mythos” about a group of ancient powerful deities from space who once ruled the earth. Other authors have taken up that same universe of characters and creatures to create their own horror stories and Lovecraft himself has been a character in many other works of fiction. So it is no wonder that author Matt Ruff would you take up the legacy of Lovecraft in his dark fantasy horror novel “Lovecraft Country“. That novel has been turned into a new HBO series of the same name. The series was created by Misha Green known for the TV series Underground and a former writer for Sons of Anarchy. It also has executive producers Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams.
The main theme of both the novel and the TV series is mistreatment of African-Americans in the 1950s. It is ironic because Lovecraft is well known as a racist whose works including two highly racist poems “New-England Fallen” and “On the Creation of N—–s”. (N-word deletion by me).
Despite Lovecraft’s racism, Ruff builds his story around a fan of Lovecraft and sci-fi in general who happens to be African-American. The story depicts the brutal circumstances that African-Americans endure to survive in the Jim Crow era. In one scene our main character Atticus “Tic” Freeman is describing the plot of Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ “John Carter of Mars” series to another black woman. She surprised to hear that the hero of that story was an ex-Confederate officer. She complained “He fought for slavery. You don’t get to put “ex” in front of that.” Atticus replies “Stories are like people. Loving them doesn’t make them perfect. You just try and cherish ’em, overlook their flaws.” I see that as author Ruff’s justification for appreciating Lovecraft’s stories and weird creatures despite the author’s racism.
As a personal aside, I sort of take the same approach to sci-fi author Orson Scott Card whose radical conservative politics and anti-gay stance doesn’t stop me from appreciating his works as long as those works don’t seem to reflect those beliefs. I can still despise Mel Gibson and abhor his anti-Semitism while enjoying his films. I suppose that’s easy for me because I’m a straight, white, Christian and I do not take personal offense at homophobia, racism, and anti-Semitism even though I abhor them. Author Ruff is also white so perhaps it’s easier for him to create a black character who can look past Lovecraft’s racism and enjoy the stories while facing life-threatening racism in his everyday life.
In the first episode of the HBO series, Atticus connects up with his uncle George Barry who is the author/editor of a guidebook for traveling African-Americans similar to the famous “Green Book”. Atticus has heard that his father Montrose Freeman has gone missing. Atticus and Uncle George go on a road trip in search of his father and to make more installments in the Green Book. There are accompanied by his friend Letitia “Leti” Lewis.
Clues left in a letter his father sent leads Atticus and friends to search rural Massachusetts in an area known as Lovecraft Country (an area which was the setting of many of Lovecraft’s stories). Along the way they pass through a number of so-called “sunset counties” which are racist areas where African Americans are warned “Don’t let the sunset while you are here”. It’s basically a sort of “The Purge” type of situation where after sundown, racists are given free reign to murder blacks.
The horror of the very real and deadly racism that they encounter is actually more terrifying than the worst of Lovecraft’s monsters. And by the way while being chased through the woods of rural Massachusetts by a lynch mob they run into some of those Lovecraft monsters. Notably they encounter several “shoggoth” described as a “massive bubble blob with hundreds of eyes”.
The special-effects of them being chased by these monsters and eventually cornered an abandoned cabin is a very well done state-of-the-art sequence. Lots of terror, blood, and gore. There are some amazing special-effects also in an opening dream sequence.
Overall the writing and acting are excellent. You really feel the terror in both the racist and supernatural monster sequences. I will be anxious to see what happens in the remaining 9 episodes. I’m giving it a strong rating of “I really like it” and suggest you check it out. The first episode will re-air throughout this week and is available on demand. The remaining episodes will air Sunday nights.
Here is our entertainment news for the third week of August 2020. Again we are going to experiment with a video version of this report. Please like and subscribe to the video version and share with your friends on social media. First of all HBO’s new horror series “Lovecraft Country” is absolutely awesome. Look for a complete review coming here soon.
The Billboard Music Awards originally scheduled for April, now will be October 14 on NBC.
ABC sitcom “The Conners” like its predecessor “Roseanne” as always begun with a voiceover “filmed before a live studio audience” however now it is sent to resume production on next season without an audience.
“For All Mankind” the Apple TV+ alternate history of the Apollo program had just 2 episodes left to film for season 2 when it had to shut down for the pandemic. Production has resumed this week on those final 2 episodes. It is produced by Sony pictures TV which has been at the forefront of efforts to safely return scripted series to production. They also produce “S.W.A.T.” which became the first broadcast drama to start filming new episodes, Its daytime drama “The Young and the Restless” has been back in production for weeks, “The Goldbergs” is eying a production restart in a week and “The Good Doctor” is expected to resume filming in Vancouver by the end of the month.
Late-Night with Seth Meyers will return to 30 Rock Studios on September 8. Slightly earlier than expected. All of the other major late-night shows have already returned to their studios all without audiences.
Renewals, Coming Soon, and Casting News
Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki has been cast to play Princess Diana in the final two seasons of Netflix’s “The Crown”
Former Supernatural star Jensen Ackles has been added to the season 3 cast of Amazon’s “The Boys”
Speaking of “Supernatural” its final 7 episodes which were delayed by the pandemic are now scheduled to air starting October 8 with a two hour series finale scheduled for November 19.
Although Kelly Clarkson said she felt very comfortable in the chair of Simon Cowell as his temporary replacement for AGT, this week Kenan Thompson will be the fill in for Cowell
Although not quite worthy of my “Sure Sign of the Coming Apocalypse” award… We do have to wonder the decision-making of having Will Smith and Kevin Hart remake of the 1987 holiday classic “Planes, Trains, & Automobiles”. Do they really think they cannot do the original? I don’t think so.
“Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj” has been canceled after 6 seasons on Netflix.
Amazon’s new apocalyptic series “Utopia” the premier September 25.
Politics and Showbiz
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are among the guests scheduled for “A Late Show with Stephen Colbert” as he goes live after the Democratic National Convention
Marge Simpson matriarch of the Simpsons animated family responded via Twitter at a Trump operative who said that Kamala Harris sounds like Marge. Said it was disrespectful.
Eva Longoria, Tracy Ellis Ross, Kerry Washington, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus are among the celebrities who will speak at the DNC this week.
The original creators of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” have withdrawn from the upcoming live-action version in production for Netflix. The fans of the original anime series are pretty upset by the news.
Several DC Universe original TV series will be moving to HBO Max. I have to wonder if that means that the DCU streaming service is in trouble and perhaps going away.
Disney announced that its upcoming series “The Owl House” will have its first ever bisexual lead character
R. Kelly’s manager Donnell Russell has been charged in New York with threatening to shoot up a Manhattan screening of the Lifetime documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly” in 2018
A federal grand jury has indicted 2 men for the 2002 murder out Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay.
A federal appeals court has ruled that Star Trek Discovery’s use of outer space born creatures “tardigrades” does not infringe on a videogame also based on the creatures. Part of the reasoning once that these creatures do actually exist (although not in the size as used in Star Trek) and they have been shown to be able to survive the vacuum of space. So you can’t copyright the properties of the real world animal. See the link below for more details.
Composer Duane L. Tatro who composed music for “Dynasty” and “The Love Boat” age 93.
Linda Manz actress in “Days of Heaven”, and “The Wanderers” age 58 lung cancer
Robert Trump businessman and younger brother of Donald Trump age 71.
Howell Brinkley Tony winning lighting designer for “Hamilton” and “Jersey Boys” age 64
After going for many months without an entertainment news update I’m now going to try to do one every 2 or 3 weeks. As experiment I also decided to do a YouTube version of this blog to see what kind of traffic it gets. So here goes.
Starting off with a mini review… CBS All Access has released its first episode of a new animated Star Trek series called “Star Trek: Lower Decks”. It takes place aboard a starship called the Cerritos and focuses on ensigns and other minor officers who occupy the lower decks of a starship. It is a very offbeat comedic version of Star Trek. I don’t really like the animation style with big bulging eyes similar to “The Simpsons” or “Rick & Morty”. The pace is a little bit frantic and sometimes it seems like they try too hard for laughs that don’t really pay off. I’ve got nothing against comedic Star Trek but my initial reaction is if you want a funny Star Trek you should watch “The Orville”. It may grow on me after couple episodes but for now I’m not very optimistic. For now I’m giving it a “could be watchable”. Brief update. After writing this initial comment I’ve seen the second episode and it’s kind of growing on me. It will definitely be an acquired taste that I’m not sure I will acquire but we will see.
Sadly also cannot recommend the new “Muppets Now” on Disney+. I don’t think I laughed once in the entire half-hour episode. Some of the guest stars were given nothing to do except one or two lines. I’m really disappointed.
If you’re looking for something better to watch I would check out the new “Perry Mason” prequel on HBO which just had its first season finale but is available on demand. Also the second season of “The Alienist” on TNT also is worth checking out. It just wrapped up as well but is available on demand. By the way “Alienist” is a term used to describe psychiatrists who diagnose people who are alienated from their own nature. It has nothing to do with outer space aliens. Still it’s really good stuff.
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD had its series finale this week after seven seasons. I have to say this was probably their best ever. The series finale did not disappoint wrapping up lots of plot lines and including a little “one year later” epilogue they gave us a peak into what the agents were doing after the demise of SHIELD. Check the links at the bottom of this article for interviews with cast and producers.
Actor Brian Cranston reveals he has Covid 19. Encourages fans to wear a mask.
Andrew Lloyd Webber agrees with the critics that the film adaptation of his musical “Cats” was ridiculous. In other news ALW announced he is a test subject for a possible COVID 19 vaccine.
CBS soap operas returned starting August 10. There has not been an original episode since July 20.
Radio City Music Hall has canceled its annual Christmas show featuring the Rockettes.
New York Comic Con scheduled for October has been canceled and will move online
Seth Meyers will not return to the studio at 30 Rock for his late-night show until this fall. He has been producing the show from either a room in his attic or a room at his in-laws house. Jimmy Fallon returned to his studio with the band “The Roots” but no audience a few weeks ago. This week he will have his first in studio guest in the form of a musical performance by one of the members of “Phish”. James Corden has also returned to his studio in LA. Stephen Colbert this week shifted from producing his show at home to producing it at his office at the Ed Sullivan Theater.
The Broadway musical “Diana: A New Musical” about Princess Diana was shut down days before it’s official open because of Covid 19. Now it will premier on Netflix prior to reopening on Broadway currently scheduled for May 2021.
AMC theaters is offering tickets for $0.15 when it theaters reopen on August 20. Note however this only applies to some features. New first-run films such as Marvel’s New Mutants will cost you the regular price.
Coming Soon, Renewals, and Casting News
“Hunters” has been renewed at Amazon Prime for season 2. It is the story of Nazi hunters and stars Al Pacino.
Disney+ will stream the live-action version of “Mulan” starting September 4 however it will cost you an extra $30 above and beyond the regular subscription. They say this is one time thing and not new model for releasing films to Disney+. It will be released to theaters in China. European theater owners are pretty upset about the plan and although it hasn’t been reported my guess is US theaters are not to happy either.
This month’s winner of the “Sure Sign of the Coming Apocalypse Award”… Tony Danza and Alyssa Milano are creating a reboot of “Who’s the Boss?”
Comedy Central is making plans to reboot “The Ren & Stimpy” animated series.
Judd Apatow will make a two-part documentary on late comedian George Carlin for HBO.
“MacGruber” Will Forte’s bumbling hero spoof of “MacGyver” has been ordered to series for Peacock. The character began as a sketch on SNL and had a feature film in 2010.
Reality competition show “Tough As Nails” has been renewed for season 2.
Jonathan Pryce has been cast to play Prince Philip in season 5 and 6 of “The Crown”
In 1978 Lucasfilm released the “Star Wars Holiday Special” which was such a disaster it was never shown again and never released on VHS or DVD. We are now revisiting the Wookie home world again to celebrate “Life Day” but this time with Legos. This November, Disney+ will play host to The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, an animated 45-minute adventure that will see Rey, Finn, Poe, and Rose help Chewbacca race back to his homeworld of Kashyyyk in time to celebrate Life Day with his family—just as Han did in the original Holiday Special’s framing device premise.
Simon Cowell has been hospitalized with a broken back after electric bike accident. Kelly Clarkson is substituting for him as a guest judge on “America’s Got Talent” as it moved to live shows this week.
Al Roker will take time off from the today show for shoulder replacement surgery.
Politics and Showbiz
A controversial episode of “black-ish” season 4 that has been sitting on the shelf for 2 years at ABC is now available on Hulu. The politically themed episode was highly critical of Trump. Hulu is listing it as Season 4 Episode 99 which is common practice for special episodes or un-aired episodes. I watched it and like many reviewers I think it reveals how wimpy ABC is that they would not broadcast it. The plot revolves around Dre calming down his infant son during a thunderstorm by telling him a bedtime story about the “Shady King”. While it is highly critical of Trump, the real theme of the show is fear. It explores not only Dre’s fears about Trump as president but it delves into other fears such as police brutality, climate change and other issues. Keep in mind this was filmed over two years ago pre-pandemic, pre-George Floyd. I actually thought it was a thoughtful and balanced approach. It even cites Obama’s success is being a root cause of the Pro Trump people because Obama brought in so many changes that scared conservatives. What liberals saw as giant progressive leaps were fearful to those who fear change. Having an African-American president, LGBT rights, gay marriage, everything that liberals celebrate scared the crap out of conservatives. So I thought it was a quite balanced explanation of our current situation (or rather the situation we were in a little over two years ago.) I had to scoff at the ABC logo at the beginning of the show and in the corner of the screen throughout the show. If they were not afraid to put their logo on it, why didn’t they let it broadcast?
Broadcast networks have announced they will air one hour per night of convention coverage for the Democrat and Republican conventions both of which will be largely virtual. CNN however plans six hours per night of coverage. Although I haven’t seen any articles about MSNBC or Fox we can be certain they will both provide extensive coverage.
Among the people celebrating the choice of Kamala Harris as the new VP nominee is SNL alumn Maya Rudolph who has received 2 Emmy nominations for her portrayal/impersonation of the California senator. Although she lives in LA she figures they will find a way to get her safely to New York when SNL returns in the fall.
The Democratic National Convention will have All-Star lineup of performers including John Legend, The Chicks (Formerly Dixie Chicks), Common, Billie Eilish, and Jennifer Hudson.
Neil Young has filed copyright infringement lawsuit against the Donald Trump campaign for using his music without authorization.
Miscellaneous Show Business News
Elton John is celebrating 30 years of sobriety. Says if he never asked for help he’d be dead
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has purchased the XFL football league. No word on what he paid but I bet he can afford it easily. He has been named by Forbes as the highest-paid actor for the second year in a row at $87.5 million for Hobbs & Shaw as well as Skyscraper while Ryan Reynolds Deadpool 2 is in second place with 71.5 million.
Disney+ streaming service has surpassed 60 million subscribers which surpasses its five-year goal.
Late Show With Stephen Colbert has fired music producer Giovanni Ciainci after allegations of sexual misconduct.
Epic Games is suing both Apple and Google because they pulled the popular game Fortnite from the App Store and Play Store. Most services require that they get a cut of not only the cost of the game but any in app purchases. Epic rewrote their app so that they get there in app money directly. Pundits are saying that by deliberately violating the terms of service of both stores and then forcing them to remove the games they were setting things up for antitrust lawsuit. More details in the article linked from Gizmodo below.
Alan Parker director of “Bugsy Malone”, “Midnight Express”, and “Evita” age 76 after battling a long illness
Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” star Mahlon Reyes age 38. Heart attack.
Wilford Brindley known for his role in “Cocoon” age 85
Character actor Reni Santoni who played “Poppie” on Seinfeld. Age 81.
Brent Carver Tony award-winning actor who appeared in “Kiss of the Spider Woman” age 68
President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Lorenzo Soria age 68
Wayne Fontana 60s pop star who sang the hit “Game of Love” age 74
Raymond Allen who appeared in “Sanford and Son” and “Good Times” age 91
Trini Lopez after and singer who appeared in “Dirty Dozen” and sang “If I Had a Hammer” age 83. Covid 19.
Normally in my entertainment news blogs I include information on which TV shows are being canceled or renewed. It had been so long since I had done such a blog I decided to separate out that topic into a separate blog. My source of information is the following link from TV Line.
I won’t comment on every show so you might want to check the link to see if they have information on a show I didn’t mention.. Going network by network here are the broadcast TV shows that have either been renewed, canceled, or scheduled to end.
All of their primetime game shows such as Pyramid, Card Sharks, Match Game, Celebrity Family Fusion, Holy Moly, Press Your Luck, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and To Tell the Truth have been renewed. The only one I ever watched was Millionaire.
Reality shows such as American Housewife, The Bachelor, Bachelor in Paradise none of which I watch have been renewed
American Idol renewed however I thought last year’s “at home” version was absolutely terrible. If we don’t get out from underneath the pandemic I would wish they simply postpone it. Singer “Just Sam” won the season all alone in her apartment without any family or friends to celebrate with her. The hometown visit for the finalists never happened. The duets with famous celebrities was completely unsatisfying when done virtually. I thought the whole thing was a disaster. America’s Got Talent is probably down that same rabbit hole and I’m not looking forward to it.
Dancing With The Stars renewed however Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews will not be back as hosts. The same panel of judges are expected to return. I suppose this show would be watchable without an audience but it would probably miss something like the audience booing at the judges especially the Len Goodman.
The following shows were canceled and I either didn’t watch them or perhaps never even heard of them: The Baker and the Beauty, Bless This Mess, Grand Hotel, Kids Say the Darndest Things, Reef Break, Schooled, Single Parents.
How to Get Away with Murder — series ended May 14. I watched all but the final season of this. It was just too tiring to watch with all of the flash forwards and flashbacks. It was a show deliberately designed to keep the audience guessing and it seemed that when all of the questions were answered in the final episode each season I no longer cared about the outcome. It just wasn’t worth the effort to try to reassemble the timelines in your head each episode. I liked the early seasons but it just wasn’t worth it anymore. Goodbye.
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD final episodes now airing. This season has been by far their best ever. It’s nice that they are going out on a high note but I wish some of the previous seasons had been this great. I’m going to miss it.
Returning sitcoms: black-ish, The Conners, The Goldbergs. I only watch the first two and I like them. Spinoff mixed-ish will also return. I watched a few and liked it. Will probably binge the rest someday. The only really good new sitcom last year.
Modern Family — A groundbreaking sitcom that lasted 11 seasons and finished on a nice note back in April. I didn’t see much of the last just because my schedule was full but it was a fun ride while it lasted.
Fresh off the Boat — series finale was February 21. I never watched it.
Grey’s Anatomy will be back for its 17th season without original cast member Justin Chambers as Dr. Alex Karev who was written out late this past. Also related its spinoff Station 19. I continue to enjoy both of them.
The Rookie and Stumptown are new last season cop shows that I rather enjoyed but did not watch that much. They will both be back.
Reality shows Big Brother, Big Brother: Celebrity Edition and Love Island are back this summer. Also Undercover Boss returns and I couldn’t care less.
Survivor and The Amazing Race have been renewed but delayed because of the pandemic. I can’t see either one going back into production until the pandemic is completely under control. I miss them both already.
Sitcoms Bob Hearts Abishola, The Unicorn, The Neighborhood, Mom, Young Sheldon Renewed. I only watch the last two. I never did Heart Bob 🙂 Seemed like a sad ripoff of Mike and Molly. I gave Unicorn good review but didn’t have time to watch it. Wasn’t interested in Neighborhood.
Broke, Carol’s Second Act, Tommy, Man with a Plan, God Friended Me all canceled as I expected. Many friends said they liked Tommy. I didn’t watch any of them.
Hawaii Five-O ended its 10 year run on April 3. I really enjoyed it but finally got tired and gave up on it partway through last season.
Blood & Treasure, MacGyver, Magnum P.I. renewed but I don’t watch.
Bull, FBI, NCIS, NCIS Los Angeles, NCIS New Orleans, SWAT, Seal Team all coming back. I watched all expect LA. Don’t know why I don’t like it. Characters just don’t appeal to me the way the others do.
Criminal Minds aired its final episode February 19. Ran for 15 seasons. I probably watched eight or nine of them but I finally got tired of a new and weirder psychopath each week.
Evil renewed. Did not watch it but intended to. I might go back and binge at some point. Legal drama All Rise renewed but I never watched and probably won’t. Looks like it potential.
911, 911: Lone Star, The Masked Singer, Prodigal Son all returning and I’m very happy. Lone Star isn’t as good as the original 911 but it’s watchable.
The Orville — creator/star Seth McFarlane was too busy to produce the next season in time. So Fox decided to pass on it and season 3 will relocate to Hulu. I really look forward to it.
Empire had its final episode April 21 and is it possibility of a wrapup movie. I watched the first season but didn’t care enough to continue.
BH 90210, Deputy, Flirty Dancing, Outmatched not watched by me and apparently nobody else. All canceled.
So You Think You Can Dance — season 17 called off for pandemic. No word about its future.
The Simpsons, Beat Shazam, Bless the Harts, Bob’s Burgers, Duncanville, The Great North, Hell’s Kitchen, Master Chef, Last Man Standing, The Moodys, The Resident all renewed and I either did didn’t watch or never heard of them.
America’s Got Talent and America’s Got Talent The Champions are listed as “sure thing” however I’m already dreading how AGT live shows will look during pandemic. American Ninja Warrior, Ellen’s Game of Games and The Voice also returning but I don’t watch.
Little Big Shots listed as “a safe bet” while The Wall, Songland listed as “a long shot” and “could go either way” respectively. Making It renewed.
Bluff City Law an excellent legal drama starring Jimmy Smits did not survive its first season. I really liked it.
AP Bio which I never liked is moving to Peacock streaming for its third season. Counsel of Dads, Indebted, Lincoln Rhyme, Perfect Harmony, The InBetween, Sunnyside are all canceled. Superstore returns without its star America Ferrera and I don’t care for any of these. I wanted to like Lincoln but it was just really bad
Blindspot series finale just aired. I’m 2 seasons behind but I still like it and intend to binge it to completion.
All three Chicago shows, Law & Order: SVU Manifest and New Amsterdam all renewed for 3 more seasons. I only watch Manifest but I’m behind a season.
Good Girls, The Blacklist, This Is Us, Brooklyn Nine-Nine all returning but I only watch the first three.
Will and Grace had its second series finale April 23. It was fun to have it back for a couple of new seasons but it was probably ready to quit.
Batwoman returns with a new character. Black Lightning, Legends of Tomorrow, Stargirl, The Flash, Supergirl all renewed and I watch regularly. Arrow had its series finale January 28 and I will miss it a little bit.
Supernatural it’s 15th and final season will premier this fall. I’m about season and a half behind but it still favorite of mine. Probably time for it to go however.
The 100: returned May 20 with its final season. There are rumors of a spinoff. I kind of like it as well as the other YA sci-fi series Pandora which is returning much to my surprise. It’s not great but it’s okay.
All-American, Charmed, Dynasty, Legacies, Nancy Drew, Riverdale, Roswell New Mexico, Whose Line Is It Anyway all renewed but I don’t watch.
Penn & Teller: Fool Us returning and I’m very happy.
Katy Keene I think this is a spinoff from some other CW show that I never watch. It will not be back.
Here is the link to the page that is the basis for these listings.
Obviously neither I nor my source TV Line can cover every cable TV show. This is just a sampling.
Better Call Saul — I’m behind but I plan to catch up for its 6th and final season.
Dispatches from Elsewhere season 1 began April 27 and it looked like it was not intended to be multi-season. Bizarre yet interesting show with a very unsatisfying final episode. No word on its future. The Terror also is a one season at a time kind of show that if it returns will be a totally new premise as was the second season. No word yet.
McMafia and NOS4A2 renewed but I don’t watch.
Lodge 49 was a fun quirky show that will not be back for season 3 and I probably really won’t miss it. But it had its moments.
Fear The Walking Dead returns for season 6 October 11. The Walking Dead will have its postponed season 10 finale October 4 to be followed by 6 additional episodes. Renewed for season 11. New spinoff series The Walking Dead: World beyond premieres October 4 and is scheduled to only run 2 seasons
I never heard of this network. No surprise then it ceased operations sometime this spring.
Doctor Who season 12 started March 1. Sure thing for renewal but no date yet.
Killing Eve award-winning show renewed for season 4 and I can’t wait.
Rick and Morty — season 4 aired May 31 and has been renewed. I know it’s a geek favorite but I never watched it and don’t think I would like it.
The network is no longer producing original programming. Jett season 1 finale was August 9, 2019. Strike Back series finale was April 17. Warrior renewed and will premier this fall.
Awkwafina is Nora from Queens, Drunk History, The Other Two renewed as well as season 26 of South Park. I don’t watch any of them.
Corporate season finale was July 22 and I never watched.
Deep State and Get Shorty no word yet but I hope they are renewed.
Pennyworth will be back for season 2 and I’m anxiously awaiting.
FX & FXX
American Crime Story season 3 will be the impeachment of Bill Clinton
American Horror Story renewed through season 13 with a spinoff ordered. Will be American Horror Stories (plural) it will be individual episodes instead of a season long story.
Atlanta, Breeders, Mr. Inbetween, Pose, Taboo, Snowfall all renewed but I don’t watch. Also Better Things is renewed and I’ve always wanted to see it but never had time.
Fargo season 4 is delayed but will be coming. Mixed feelings about it. Some seasons are good. Others not so much.
Mayans M.C. renewed for season 3 and I can’t wait.
What We Do in the Shadows my roommate Josh is happy season 3 is coming but I never watched it. It’s a vampire comedy series.
Archer season 11 premiered in September. No word on 12. I hope so.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia renewed for season 15. Tried it once and thought it was terrible but it must be popular to survive that long.
Barry, Perry Mason, and Westworld all renewed and I’m very happy.
Avenue 5 renewed. I watched a couple and it had a bizarre quirky charm. I made binge the rest or let it go. Not sure yet. His Dark Materials renewed by haven’t seen it but I intend to go back and binge.
Betty, A Black Lady Sketch Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Euphoria, Gentleman Jack, Insecure, My Brilliant Friend, The Righteous Gemstones, Succession all renewed but I don’t watch.
Game of Thrones series ended as scheduled. Prequel series scheduled for 2022. Silicon Valley ended as scheduled. I should have watched but didn’t.
Room 104, Ballers both canceled but I never watched. “Run” was fun for 9 episodes and then fizzled in the finale. Also will not be back.
Knightfall and Project Blue Book canceled. Only watched the first. Not bad but I won’t miss it.
Vikings second half of final season 6 with no premier date. Spinoff series ordered Netflix.
SpongeBob SquarePants renewed for season 13. Never seen it.
Yellowstone board me to death after one episode but has been renewed for season 4.
I never heard of this network until recently. Flack canceled but moving to Amazon Prime. One Day at a Time previously on Netflix will have season 4 here date undetermined. Schitt’s Creek much nominated comedy series by Eugene Levy ended April 7
The Affair finale was November 3, 2019. Always wanted to watch it but never got around to it after several seasons.
Billions I’m a season behind but happy it is returning even though no dates yet.
Homeland not coming back but it had run its course. It was good while it lasted.
Penny Dreadful: City of Angels was one of the best new dramas this year. No word on renewal but I really hope it is coming back
Back to Life, Black Monday, City on a Hill, On Becoming a God in Central Florida, Work in Progress All renewed but I don’t watch.
The L Word: Generation Q coming back but not as good as the original.
Shameless renewed for final season without Fiona
American Gods and Outlander have both been renewed and I’m very happy.
The Girlfriend Experience, Hightown, P-Valley renewed but I never watch them.
Killjoys ended September 20, 2019 and I will really miss it
The Magicians indent April 1 and I will really miss it
Vagrant Queen ended June 4 I never watched
Van Helsing — I watched a couple of seasons but it wasn’t that good in the long run. Season 5 upcoming will be the last.
Wynonna Earp season 4 just premiered July 26. I watch the first episode of season 1 and really liked it but have not had time to go back and get caught up. I didn’t realize I was so far behind.
American Dad for seasons 17 and 18. Never watched it.
The Last O.G. season 3 ended June 9. No word on future season.
Miracle Workers this bizarre offbeat comedy with Steve Buscemi and Daniel Radcliffe finish season 2. I would be surprised if it came back. No word yet.
The Alienist season 2 premiered July 19 and has been excellent.
Animal Kingdom season 5 coming. I never watched. It’s not a nature show by the way.
Claws renewed for final season 4. Never watched it.
Snowpiercer excellent new sci-fi show renewed for season 2 and I can’t wait.
At Home with Amy Sedaris season 3 finished July 22. No word. Never watched.
I’m Sorry renewed for season 3. Never heard of it.
Tacoma FD it says season 2 resumed July 23. Never heard of it.
Briarpatch canceled after one season. I kind of liked it.
Dirty John previously on Bravo season 2 finished July 14. I heard it was popular but I never saw it.
Mr. Robot really bizarre surrealistic sci-fi that I liked. Officially ended December 22, 2019. I still need to binge the final season.
The Purge has been purged. I watched one or two and it didn’t appeal to me.
Queen of the South renewed for season 5. Never saw it.
The Sinner on very happy and has been for season 4. Interesting twist on a procedural cop show. You know from the beginning whodunit. The question is why.
Suits ended after 9 seasons. I will mess it.
Pearson spinoff from Suits was pretty good but canceled after one season.
Treadstone loosely based on the Bourne books and movies. It was okay but it only lasts one season.
Again obviously we can’t cover everything and I’m not going to even cover everything that TV Line covered. Here is the link to their page if you want more detail.
Bosch we need for final 7. I’ve heard good things about it but never had a chance to watch.
The Boys season 2 starts September 4. Already renewed for season 3. I intend to catch up.
Carnival Row renewed for season 2. I intend to check it out.
The Expanse formally on SyFy Channel one of the best sci-fi shows out there. Happy to hear its renewed for season 5.
Flack previously on Pop TV renewed for season 2. Never seen it.
Fleabag award-winning comedy season 2 released in May now on indefinite hiatus but I guess it will probably be back. Haven’t seen it yet but it is on my must-see list from everything I’ve heard.
Goliath renewed for final season 4. Never watched it.
Hannah renewed for season 3. I may go back and check it out.
Homecoming season 2 released May 22. No further word. On my list to check out.
Hunters season 1 released February 21 no word. Also on my list.
The Man in the High Castle officially ended November 15 after several seasons. I heard great things but never got around to it.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel renewed for season 4 and we are very very happy. Excellent comedy.
Modern Love renewed for season. Never heard of it.
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan renewed for season 3. Haven’t seen it but it’s on my must-see list.
Undone renewed for season 2. Amazing animated drama using a strange rotoscoping animation technique. Really liked the first season although it was kind of strange. I’m surprised but pleased will be back. Kind of messes your mind in a fun way.
Upload relatively new sci-fi series about a digital afterlife. I’ve heard good things but haven’t seen it yet. Renewed for season 2.
Apple TV +
Amazing Stories first season released April 3. No word on renewal. I was kind of disappointed in this reboot.
Central Park and Dickinson both renewed for season 2. I know nothing about them.
For All Mankind this alternate history of the Apollo era of space travel is absolutely awesome. Very happy it will come back for season 2. Highly recommended.
Home before Dark a cute family-friendly show about an eight-year-old girl who is an investigative reporter. I really enjoyed it and it will be back for season 2.
The Morning Show despite the fact that it stars Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell this is a very serious drama about a morning news program. One of the most amazing explorations of the #MeToo issues. Highly recommended and it will be back for season 2.
Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet workplace comedy about video game developers. It will be back for season 2. Never watched it.
See — an interesting post-apocalyptic action show starring Jason Momoa. Not the greatest but I liked it. It will be back and I look forward to it.
Servant creepy horror series from M. Night Shyamalan. I intended to check it out but never got around to it. It will be back for season 2.
Truth Be Told never heard of it but it will be back for season 2.
CBS All Access
The Good Fight renewed for season 5. One of the best dramas on TV. On its own worth the price of subscribing.
Interrogation a CIA comedy starring David Schwimmer just premiered February 6. Haven’t seen it.
Star Trek Discovery season 3 premieres October 15 and I can’t wait. Must-see for Star Trek fans.
Star Trek Picard season 2 has been ordered. The first season started off kind of slow but ended with wonderfully. Looking forward to more.
Star Trek Lower Decks premieres August 6. Animated comedy about minor characters aboard the Enterprise. The previews look really cheesy. I’m not impressed.
Star Trek: Strange New World a spinoff from Discovery starring Anson Mount as Capt. Christopher Pike. I’m really looking forward to this. The characters from this war prominent in season 2 of Discovery. Listed as in preproduction. No target date yet.
The Twilight Zone this reboot by Jordan Peele had season 2 released June 25. The first season was kind of up and down. Some episodes were great others not so much. Haven’t had time to check out the new season. No word on a third.
Why Women Kill renewed for season 2 but I haven’t seen it.
Doom Patrol also available on HBO Max. Season 2 ends August 6. Heard good things but I haven’t seen it yet.
Harley Quinn season 2 released June 26. Just okay animated series. Only watched about half of season 1 but I will probably go back.
Stargirl season one started here on DC Universe and then repeated on CW network. Season 2 moves exclusively to CW. Haven’t seen it yet but intend to catch up.
Titans I’ve heard good things but haven’t seen it yet. Renewed for season 3.
Young Justice: Outsiders renewed for season 4. I don’t know anything about it.
Probably apart from Netflix the best streaming service for your money featuring all of Star Wars, all of Marvel comics, all of Disney, and National Geographic.
Diary of a Future President renewed for season 2. I’ve not seen it.
High School Musical: The Musical:The Series — Really? It takes 2 colons? Season 2 premieres in the fall 2020. Not interested.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars excellent animated Star Wars series you can binge all seasons. Series finale was on May 4
The Mandalorian absolutely awesome live-action Star Trek series. I’m very happy it will be back for season 2. Also check out EXCELLENT documentary “Disney Gallery: Star Wars: The Mandalorian” which gives amazing insight into the creative process and the technology of this wonderful series. If you love behind-the-scenes insight into filmmaking and storytelling even if you are not a Star Wars fan this is a great view.
I’m definitely not commenting on all of these. Check out the link above for more info.
Castle Rock based on Stephen King material season 2 was December 11. No word on more. I’ve heard good things but haven’t seen it.
The Handmaid’s Tale absolutely amazing future history social sci-fi season 4 premieres in 2021. Absolute must-see. I can’t wait.
Marvel’s Runaways teen action drama officially ended December 13. I really enjoyed it.
The Orville moved here from Fox. Season 3 will be late this year and I really am looking forward to it. Very funny yet sometimes serious set in a Star Trek like setting.
Again my list is only a partial list of those covered by TV Line and they don’t cover everything on Netflix. I don’t even think Netflix knows everything that’s on Netflix 🙂
13 Reasons Why somewhat controversial series about teen suicide officially ended due to 5
Altered Carbon interesting sci-fi series I watched about half of the first season and intend to finish. Season 2 premiered February 27. No update.
Arrested Development season 5 released March 2019 on indefinite by you this.
Black Mirror bizarre sci-fi anthology season 5 released June 5. No word on updates.
Cobra Kai spinoff of the Karate Kid previously on YouTube renewed for season 3.
The Crown be needed for allegedly final season 6 although they have recently hinted it could be extended to 7.
Dead to Me renewed for final season 3
Fuller House series finale June 2.
GLOW renewed for final season 4
Grace and Frankie excellent comedy with Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda renewed for final season 7
The Kominski Method award-winning comedy starring Michael Douglas renewed for final season 13
Locke & Key interesting fantasy series renewed for season 2. I’ve heard good things but haven’t seen it.
Lost in Space excellent family action sci-fi story will return for final season 3 in 2021. I can’t wait.
Lucifer moved here from Fox season 5a premieres always 21st renewed for final season 6. A favorite of mine.
Messiah not coming back but it looks like a one season miniseries to me.
MindHunter season 2 releases last August listed as on indefinite hiatus. I’ve heard good things.
Raising Dion show about a kid with superpowers. I’ve heard good things but haven’t seen. Renewed for season 2
Stranger Things probably the most popular show on Netflix I’ve never seen. Renewed for season 4
The Umbrella Academy offbeat superhero show that I enjoy renewed for season 2
YOU a nominated crime drama renewed for season 3
AP Bio moved here from NBC season 3 premieres September 3
Brave New World based on the classic book season 1 premiered July 15. No updates yet.
That’s all folks. In a few days I will try to post info about upcoming new series but keep in mind the pandemic is going to have the schedule very much in flux.
It’s been over a year since I did an entertainment news blog. Much of this is out of date and will probably be lots of obituaries but I’m going to go through the RSS feeds of all my entertainment new sites and try to get caught up before the new TV season starts. Assuming it does start. I hope to find out in writing this what the status is on whether or not production can resume in the face of the pandemic.
I was going to include my usual links to the list of renewed and canceled TV shows but I’m going to do that in a separate blog with my reaction to some of them.
Usually at this point I mentioned movies that I’ve seen recently. But the last movie I went to once “The Joker” which was wonderful. I look forward to getting back to movies sometime soon once the virus runs its course. In the links below here are some articles of interest.
Miscellaneous Entertainment News Bits
Kayla Compton who plays Allegra Garcia on “The Flash” has been promoted to series regular for season 7
Disney+ is developing a prequel series to “Beauty and the Beast” featuring Josh Gad as LaFou and Luke Evans as Gaston.
Televangelist Jim Baker was ordered by the Atty. Gen. of New York to stop something fake coronavirus cures. Why are we not surprised?
Led Zeppelin won it’s copyright lawsuit over “Stairway to Heaven”.
Disney will release a Peter Jackson documentary about the Beatles currently scheduled for September but who knows?
Movie producer and sexual predator Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for rape. While in prison he contracted Corona Virus.
Disney’s “Song of the South” will not be added to Disney+ even with a disclaimer about its outdated racial stereotypes. I understand why but there are still some really nice things about the film like the song “Zippy Due Da”.
Amazon prime has ordered to series “Fernando” a biopic about Formula One champion Fernando Alonso
Rosario Dawson has been cast as Jedi apprentice Ahsoka Tano in season 2 of “The Mandalorian”. The character has previously appeared in animated Star Wars: the Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels but never in a live-action production until now.
Jasika Nicole who plays Dr. Carley on “The Good Doctor” will not be a series regular next season.
Christopher Melonli will return as Ellie Stabler in a “Law & Order: SVU” spinoff series for NBC. Series ordered 13 episodes for now.
In case you missed it, Disney+ has an eight part documentary about its hit series “The Mandalorian”. Search for “Disney Gallery: Star Wars The Mandalorian”.
As expected there will be a film version of “The Hunger Games” prequel “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”. The book was released May 19, 2020. No word on when the movie will start production or potential release dates.
Disney announced “Hercules” will be the next of its animated films be made in a live-action version. This will be directed by Joe and Anthony Russo known for directing Avengers films.
There will be a new “Transformers” movie in 2022
There will be another Star Trek spinoff series on CBS All Access. Called “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” it will feature Spock, Capt. Pike and Rebecca Romin as “Number One”.
FX sitcom “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” has been renewed for a record-breaking 15th season. It is now officially the longest running live-action comedy in TV history surpassing “Ozzie and Harriet” at 14 seasons. Note this is live-action. “The Simpsons” will begin its 30th season in the fall.
FX has ordered new series “American Horror Stories” (note its plural the original AHS is singular). This will be a similar anthology show but each story will only run one episode.
“The Bachelor” casts its first African-American bachelor
NBC’s provisional fall schedule has only one new show a Law & Order spinoff.
After the controversy of Jimmy Fallon wearing black face in a 2000 SNL skit (see link below), Tina Fey has asked streaming platforms to pull several “30 Rock” episodes that had white characters in blackface.
“The Simpsons” will no longer use white actors as voices of nonwhite characters. Kristin Bell is withdrawing her voice and animated show where she played a mixed race character.
Disney+ version of “Hamilton” has 2 “f-bombs” edited out.
Javicia Leslie will be the new “Batwoman” replacing Ruby Rose who left the series at the end of the first season. She will play completely different character takes up the identity of Batwoman.
“The Masked Singer” will have a spinoff titled “The Masked Dancer”. No word on when it will begin.
Ozzy Osbourne announced in January that he has Parkinson’s disease
PS4 videogame “The Last of Us” will be made into a series for HBO
Although Netflix previously announced “The Crown” would end in season 5 they have now confirmed it will be extended to season 6
Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews will not return as hosts of “Dancing with the Stars”. No replacement yet named.
These obituaries are not in any particular order. They are really an order I discovered them my RSS feeds and because of a weird glitch they are not always chronological even though I keep my feed allegedly sorted by date. When the feed gets really full it sometimes gets out of order.
Roscoe Born soap opera star from “The Young and the Restless” and “All My Children” age 69.
Nicholas Tucci who started in Syfy Channel’s “Channel Zero” age 38 of cancer
Danny Tidwell was a finalist on “So You Think You Can Dance” age 35 auto accident
Mark Crowley playwright of “Boys in the Band” age 84
Max Von Sydow known for “The Exorcist” and as Emperor Ming in “Flash Gordon” and as the original Three Eyed Raven in “Game of Thrones”. Age 90
Comic book artist Allen Bellman who did early versions of Capt. America age 95
Lorenzo Brino child star will who appeared in CW’s “7th Heaven” age 21 auto accident
Country Music Icon Kenny Rogers age 81
Terrence McNally Tony award-winning playwright. Age 81 Covid 19
The pet dog from “Modern Family” and one of the Inuit Husky dogs that appeared as a Direwolf in “Game of Thrones”
John Callahan soap opera star of “All My Children” and “Santa Barbara” age 66 of a stroke
Krzystof Penderecki modernist composer whose work appeared in the soundtrack of “The Exorcist” and “The Shining” age 86
Country music star Joe Diffie age 61 Covid 19
David Schramm best known for playing Roy Biggins in the TV series “Wings” age 73 no cause listed
Songwriter Alan Merrill who wrote “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” age 69 Covid 19
Andrew Jack dialect coach and actor who appeared in 2 Star Wars films age 79 Covid 19
Grammy-winning soul singer/songwriter Bill Withers age 81 heart disease
16-year-old actor Nolan Williams played the young version of “The Flash” in 8 episodes of the CW series. Fentanyl overdose.
Rebecca Ramsey produced visual effects on Watchmen, Spider-Man 3 and others age 54 complications of a fall.
Tom Dempsey NFL placekicker who held the field-goal record for 43 years age 73
Actress Shirley Douglas mother of Kiefer Sutherland age 86 pneumonia
Honor Blackman played “Pussy Galore” in the James Bond film “Goldfinger” age 94 natural causes
James Drury of the NBC long-running question series “The Virginian” age 85
John Prine country folk singer/songwriter age 73
Hal Willner music producer for SNL age 64 Covid 19
Danny Goldman the voice of Brainy Smurf and actor in “Young Frankenstein” age 80
Brian Dennehy — Tony and Golden Globe winning Emmy nominated actor age 81 natural causes
Allen Daviau cinematographer for “ET: The Extraterrestrial” age 77 Covid 19
Matthew Seligman bass player for David Bowie and member of the group “Camera Club” age 64 Covid 19
Jerry Stiller comedian, actor, Seinfeld star and father of Ben Stiller age 92.
Frank Bielic Designer for TLC’s “Trading Spaces” age 77
Fred Willard comedian and frequent costar on a variety of sitcoms as well as the comedy series “Fernwood 2 Night” age 86
Phyllis George former Miss America, NFL sportscaster, TV host age 70
Ken Osmond who played Eddie Haskell on “Leave It to Beaver” age 76
Jimmy Cobb legendary jazz drummer age 91
Character actor Richard Herd roles included Mr. Wilhelm on “Seinfeld” and a number of Star Trek characters in various series. Age 87.
Larry Kramer playwright and AIDS activist age 84
Dennis O’Neill comic book writer for both Marble and DC age 81
Joel Schumacher director of “St. Elmo’s Fire” and 2 “Batman” movies age 80
Charlie Webb author of the novel “The Graduate” age 81
Nick Cordero a Tony nominated actor age 41 Covid 19
Carol Lynley actors who played ship singer in “Poseidon Adventure” age 77
Cokie Roberts journalist and political commentator age 75 breast cancer
Robert Evans producer of “Chinatown” and “Godfather” age 89
Brian Tarantina who played Jackie in The Marvelous Mrs. Maeisel age 60
Ron Leibman who played Rachel’s father in “Friends” age 82
Caroll Spinney “Big Bird” and “Oscar the Grouch” puppeteer age 85
Danny Aiello character actor age 86
Chuy Bravo sidekick to Chelsea Handler on her talkshow age 63
Don Imus controversial talk radio host. Age 79
Syd Mead futuristic artist that gave the “Blade Runner” movies their distinctive look. Age 86
Jack Sheldon jazz singer famous for “Schoolhouse Rock”. Age 88
Buck Henry comedian, cocreator of “Get Smart” and frequent SNL appearances. Age 89
Neil Peart drummer and lyricist for the rock group “Rush”. Age 67
Terry Jones of “Monty Python”. Age 77
Jean Reynolds cocreated “MASH” and “Lou Grant”. Age 96
Kirk Douglas legendary actor. Age 103
Orson Bean actor, comedian, raconteur and frequent guest of Johnny Carson. Age 91
Robert Conrad star of “The Wild Wild West” and “Black Sheep Squadron”. Age 84
John Singleton director of “Boyz N The Hood”. Age 51. Stroke.
Doris Day legendary actress. Age 97
Tim Conway comedian and regular on Carol Burnett show. Age 85
Max Wright who played Willie Tanner on “ALF”. Age 75
Rip Torn Emmy-winning character actor. Age 88
Lynn Cohen who played Magda on “Sex and the City”. Age 86
Ja’net DuBois who played Willona Woods on “Good Times”. Age 74
Lee Philip Bell cocreator of soap operas “Y&R” and “B&B”. Age 91
James Lipton host of “Inside the Actors Studio”. Age 93
Naya Rivera former star of “Glee”. Age 33. Drowning
Ronald L. Schwar Oscar-winning producer of “Ordinary People”. Age 76
Benjamin Kerough son of Lisa Marie Presley and grandson of Elvis. Age 27
Kelly Preston actress and wife of John Travolta. Age 57. Cancer
Grant Imahara for more MythBusters star. Age 41. Brain aneurysm
Regis Philbin iconic TV host. Age 88
Olivia de Havilland golden age actress appeared in “Gone with the Wind”. Age 104
Malik B. Founding member of “The Roots”. Age 47
Maurice “Reese” Schonfeld founder of CNN and “The Food Network”. Age 88.
Pandemic Delays and Cancellations
An incomplete list of shows, films and events canceled or postponed due to the pandemic.
Those of you who know me, know how addicted I am to TV. I have a list of entertainment websites that I frequent to get caught up on all the latest entertainment news. For a long time every time I would see an interesting article I would email a link to my friends but pretty soon I was sending lots of emails. I changed my policy and started putting together longer emails with lots of links and lots of other entertainment news items that were a sentence or two long and not really worth a link. I was sending it perhaps once a month to about eight or nine people. Finally I decided in February 2012 to open this entertainment blog and then post the link to Facebook where more people could read it. I also periodically post my reviews of new TV shows and last year I made a serious attempt to review every new show but I wasn’t able to keep up.
I just looked at my last entertainment news update blog was in March 2019 over a year ago. I have posted quite a few reviews since that time and even added a new section of YouTube channel reviews. You can expect more YouTube reviews sometime soon.
I’m going to try to get caught up on some entertainment news and post a blog. It’s probably going to take days to go through my RSS feeds of all my websites. My RSS reader only saves about 8000 articles and I’m sure it has overflowed several times in more than a year. So much of the “news” will be old news. It will probably consists of lots of obituaries. But I would like to get caught up while everything is on hiatus because of the pandemic. When TV production finally does start anew then I will be caught up and ready to go.
As I was scrolling back to previous articles I thought perhaps I would take a quick moment to give you an update on all of the shows that I previously reviewed. The big entertainment news article will probably take me a week or more to prepare. Here’s a follow-up on all of the reviews I’ve written in the past year and a half.
Apparently this BBC America series “A Discovery of Witches” was more well received by the audience then it was me. According to IMDb it was renewed for seasons 2 and 3 although neither one has premiered yet or has a premiere date. I still say it’s a hard pass.
The Jordan Peele reboot of “The Twilight Zone” had a rather uneven first season. Some of the episodes I thought were brilliant while others were just so-so. It was fun to try to spot all of the Easter eggs in each episode. There were YouTube videos that helps you spot them. Season 2 has already premiered but I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet. It’s high on my to-do list.
CBS legal drama “All Rise” was okay and I rated it “recommended watchable” but I never did watch anything beyond the first couple of episodes. I decided I liked the Jimmy Smits legal drama “Bluff City Law”. Sadly Bluff didn’t get renewed but “All Rise” will be back next season. I doubt I will pick it up.
“mixed-ish” did really well and was extended for a full season of 23 episodes and has been renewed for next season. Sadly I did not have time to watch more than a couple of the first episodes but I intend to go back and binge sometime. I still recommend it as the only new sitcom worth watching in the past year.
I really liked this take on an old concept that I described as “overdone”. I managed to watch almost half of the episodes and I do plan to finish it someday. Unfortunately it is a one and done with only 13 episodes made. I don’t know how much of a cliffhanger they might have left or if they resolved the story but it did not get renewed.
I highly recommended “Prodigal Son” after just one episode and it did not disappoint in the remaining 19 episodes. Although IMDb doesn’t show it is renewed, TV Line says it has been and I’m really looking forward to more. A good one to binge on demand.
I didn’t get to watch much of this but what I saw I liked and I will definitely finish it off eventually. Much to everyone’s surprise, at the end of the successful first season, the title star actress Ruby Rose decided to quit. Next season there will be a new actress playing a new character who will take up the mantle of Batwoman. While some people say on-set injuries played a part in her decision, she insists she just didn’t want to play the role anymore. No controversy but lots of speculation.
I gave this a “Recommended Watchable” which means I thought it was pretty good but would not watching it myself. That was true. I never went beyond the opening couple of episodes but the audience liked all 18 enough that it will be back next year.
I really like this new series although it did fizzle a little bit towards the end I am looking forward to a new season. Not worth subscribing to Apple TV+ but if you have it, and are in need of some post-apocalyptic fun action then my recommendation persists “See See”.
I stand by my original assessment and the audience agrees. It was a huge hit and the fans went nuts over the “Baby Yoda” character. EVERYONE is highly anticipating its return. One confession however… I’ve never seen a bad Star Wars movie or series. I liked all nine of the movies in the Skywalker series even the final three. I also liked Solo which didn’t do well at the box office. But I think I’m in the majority on liking this one. By the way there are rumors that Lucas/Disney is considering disowning the final three Star Wars movies saying they are not officially part of canon and would be relegated to the noncanonical “Legends” series. More if I hear anything. Disney+ remains the best value in streaming.
This was definitely intended as a one season miniseries. If you’ve not seen it, definitely check it out. I’m surprised there wasn’t more hype or even controversy about it. Apparently the religious right never discovered it.
The first episode was wonderful. The next five or so were real yawners. But it finished very strong. If you gave up on this one after a couple of episodes, give it another try. It will be back for a second season.
This one kept me on the edge of my seat for the full 8 episodes. However it finished kind of flat. I wasn’t satisfied with the ending but it was a fun ride while it lasted. A very thought-provoking series about the nature of reality and free will. This was definitely a one-shot miniseries and will not be back.
After that review back in March any blogs since then have been about my favorite YouTube channels. I had hoped to post more of those perhaps on a weekly basis but I got tied up with different maker projects (which pay me and this doesn’t) so I got away from that. Look for a big wrapup entertainment news here and about a week and more YouTube reviews soon after that.
Although that looks better than the Golden Globe Awards or the Screen Actors Guild Awards for which I previously reported, the Emmy awards have many more categories including guest actors and actresses as well as reality shows. Broadcast TV earned 18 of its 30 nominations in those categories. Keep in mind that streaming and premium services generally do not produce reality or competition shows. Broadcast TV was completely shut out from Made-For-TV Movies and Limited Series.
Broadcast shows were led by SNL 8, The Good Place 5, This Is Us 3, black-ish 2, How to Get Away with Murder 1, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Modern Family 1, other reality competition shows 4, variety shows 2.
NBC crushed the competition with 20 nominations, ABC had 6 and CBS and Fox had one each.
Showtime got a nomination for Don Cheadle as Lead Actor in a Comedy for “Black Monday” however all 31 other premium cable nominations went to HBO. Cinemax no longer produces original programming. Starz, The Movie Channel, and Epix were shut out.
Netflix crushed streaming competition with 36 out of 66 nominations. Hulu had 13. Amazon Prime had 10, eight of which were for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”. Disney+ add 2 for “The Mandalorian”. Apple TV+ had 5 for “The Morning Show”.
On basic cable, Pop TV had 5 nominations for Canadian produced show “Schitt’s Creek”. BBC America had 3 all for “Killing Eve”. FX 2, Bravo 3, VH1 had 2, Comedy Central 2, TBS 1.
I counted at least 4 series which were nominated in their final year: “The Good Place”, “Modern Family”, “Schitt’s Creek”, and “How to Get Away with Murder”.
TV ratings and award nominations do not seem to show any correlation. For example hit reality series “America’s Got Talent” did not get nominated. On the other hand most of you have ever heard of Pop TV and “Schitt’s Creek” yet it got 5 nominations.
Here is a table I created summarizing the breakdown between streaming, premium cable, basic cable, and broadcast TV
Lead Actor Drama
Lead Actress Drama
Supporting Actress Drama
Supporting Actor Drama
Guest Actress Drama
Guess Actor Drama
Lead Actress Comedy
Lead Actor Comedy
Supporting Actress Comedy
Supporting Actor Comedy
Guest Actress Comedy
Guess Actor Comedy
Lead Actress Limited Series or Movie
Lead Actor Limited Series or Movie
Supporting Actress Limited Series or Movie
Supporting Actor Limited Series or Movie
Reality Show Host
Reality Competition Show
Variety Sketch Series
Variety Talk Series
So we ask again “Is broadcast dead?” The answer is “Probably not but it’s not looking good.” HBO and Netflix continue to broaden their nominations with Netflix surpassing HBO for the first time 36-31. If you want to watch the top award-winning TV shows you are going to have to pay for it.