Executioner dead; The player folds; Dominion and Gravity Falls; More Fargo, Space, Longmire; Trek, Blindspot, Horror, Halt & Fire; New Family Name

I’ve been too busy watching TV to write about it.

The first official cancellation of the final season is a big disappointment to me. FX has canceled the new Kurt Sutter series “The Bastard Executioner” or rather it has failed to pick it up for a second season. The first season just wrapped and I really really liked it. I am highly disappointed. The show failed to get even 1 million viewers. I thought it was great and was anxious to see where it went from here. It did go out with a big episode but it was hardly a satisfying ending.


Executioner wasn’t so much canceled as it failed to be renewed. But the winner of the first to be canceled award goes to ABC’s “Wicked City” which was dropped after just three episodes with terrible ratings. It was about a man and woman who are lovers and serial killers get their sexual kicks by killing. It was also about the cops chasing them. Set in the 1980s Los Angeles. I only got to see the first episode and I thought it was a bit interesting if not great.


Other cancellations have not been as definite or obvious. Some ongoing shows have announced their final season and some new shows have had the number of scripts have had their number of scripts reduced and production has been shut down which means they are pretty much dead but just not yet officially canceled. TV Line refers to this as a “soft cancellation”. A few have already been picked up for a full season. We’ve included a renewal scorecard but there isn’t much new filled out yet except for some summer shows that will not be back next year. I didn’t write as many individual reviews as I had hoped to the season but here’s a brief we step of some winners and losers.


The new sitcom “Life in Pieces” did not hold my interest for even one full episode. Nothing to see here… Move along. The ER room drama “Code Black” had some potential but considering that I’m already watching too many shows to keep up with all of them, it was one that I had to drop. If you watch the classic “ER” TV series for 11 or 12 years you’ve seen everything that this show had to offer. In some ways it suffers from the same problems that the original ER had in its early seasons. Patients come and go so quickly that you never get into their stories at the doctor spend so much time treating them that you have trouble getting into their stories. It’s just a continuous stream of medical jargon and flying blood gauze bandages. And predictably at about the 40 minute mark of each episode they went into Code Black status as expected.


Another casualty to my watchlist was “Rosewood” about it private who works in Miami. First of all I didn’t buy the premise that a guy could be a private duty medical examiner in a major city like Miami when certainly they have city or county medical examiners on the job all of the time. While there were some nice looking women running around and it was great to see the sky driving around beautiful Miami in a fancy car, the stories weren’t that interesting, the love interest didn’t have much chemistry, and the subplot about his health issues was just boring. If it was a summer replacement show and nothing else was on I would probably watch it and Code Black.


The next to leave my watchlist that has not quite yet left is “The Grinder”. This is a sitcom with one running joke week after week. The premise is that Rob Lowe played a famous lawyer on TV and when his series is canceled he moves in with his brother who is a real life lawyer. He keeps trying to act like he can be a lawyer because played one on TV. I think the only reason I’m watching it is to see how long they can keep repeating the same story over and over again.


Speaking of “stupid premise” I’m going to continue watching “The Player” despite its stupid premise. It has enough action,, shootouts etc. to keep me interested. Some other brief comments… Quantico is slightly too soap opera in nature but I’m hooked on the story of who is responsible for a terrorist bombing. I’m hoping that the show was grossly unrealistic because if these characters are representative of who the FBI is recruiting these days, this country is a lot of trouble. They are all neurotic misfits.


Minority Report and Limitless are what I would call watchable but neither is as good as I had hoped they would be. The first couple of episodes of Heroes Reborn got bad reviews and it did take a while to get going however it eventually delivered big time and by the ninth or tenth episode it was everything that you ever liked about the original Heroes series. The characters that they brought back from the original series were fun to revisit and the new characters are very compelling. I really hope that even though this was supposed to be a limited event series I would love to see it picked up for more episodes next year. I would have to say it’s my favorite somewhat new show since it really is a continuation of the original series Heroes.


Returning favorites include all of the comic book shows Gotham, Arrow, and The Flash each of which has upped its game. And speaking of “open your game” the clear winner in that category is the new season of The Walking Dead. The action sequences get the first few episodes surpassed many action movies. To see such cinematic storytelling on a weekly series is amazing. And the plot and characters are every bit as wonderful as they have ever been perhaps better.


Also of special mention in returning series have been the incredible performances by Cameron Moynahan as the Joker -like character in Gotham. And the episode of Agents of Shield that told what happened to Simmons while she was trapped on alien planet was clearly the best episode they’ve ever done even if it was a ripoff of The Martian.


The only disappointing returning series is the new round of American Horror Story. For the first two or three episodes it was just wall-to-wall blood and gore with no story and no character. They are gradually starting to reveal a little bit of plot and we are getting to know the characters but it seems like the first half hour of the show is just a showcase of the grotesque and the real storytelling doesn’t get going until about halfway through the episode. They need to find some balance between the gross out and the storytelling.


The jury is still out on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I like the premise of a romantic comedy TV series where people break out into song like a Hollywood movie musical. The solos are extremely clever and are reminiscent of last year’s musical Galavant and the musical episode of Psych both of which I loved. But it’s just so so as a romantic comedy story. A little bit like The Grinder is a one joke story that they keep repeating over and over.


Longtime readers of this blog know that we occasionally issue an award titled “Chris Young’s sure sign of the coming Apocalypse award”. Fortunately we have not had one of those recently. One television event that narrowly missed apocalyptic status was the decision to have a crossover episode between Bones and Sleepy Hollow. Those episodes have aired and I still think was a bad idea. They did succeed in keeping the supernatural elements out of the Bones episode to a certain extent although they did have some s’plaining to do about Ichabod Crane’s handwriting appearing in a 200-year-old document. Overall it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been but it was still a bad idea.


However with this installment of the blog we have created a new award. The first recipient of “Chris Young’s OMG I can’t believe they did such a cool thing” award goes to Gotham. Reports say that Paul Rubens a.k.a. Pee-wee Herman has been cast to play the Penguin’s father in an upcoming episode.


In the links below read…

TV Line broadcast renewal scorecard

Postmortem interview with Cameron Monahan about his Joker -like character in Gotham

Postmortem interview with producers of The Strain about the end of season 2 and what to expect in 3

Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated October 13

Spoilers from Inside Line dated October 18

Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated October 22nd

Interview with Neil Degrasse Tyson about season 2 of StarTalk and other topics

Spoilers from Inside Line dated October 29

Interview with Arrow producers about recent plot points

Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated November 5.

Spoilers from Inside Line dated November 11

Interview with stars of Arrow and The Flash about crossover episodes December 1-2 which will launch new series Legends of Tomorrow

Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated November 18

Interview with producer of Marvel’s Jessica Jones

Spoilers from Inside Line dated October 22

Calendar of fall finale and midseason returns and premieres


Not in the links below but also of interest


HBO is considering a series based on the Watchmen graphic novel and film

CW network has ordered 5 additional scripts for iZombie bringing it to 18 episodes for this season 2. Also additional scripts for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend however we don’t know how many total that is. The report didn’t say.

CBS is developing a series based on the Nancy Drew detective stories for kids.

Peter Sarsgaard will have a recurring role in the Showtime revival of Twin Peaks

ABC Family channel is changing its name to “Freeform” starting in 2016

Animated series Bob’s Burgers has been renewed for season 7 and 8.

Despite what TV line describes as “barely detectable ratings” series “Halt and Catch Fire” has been renewed for a 10 episode third season at AMC.

FX networks has renewed Tyrant for season 3

Fox’s ordered three additional scripts for Rosewood. Quite a full season pickup but still a vote of confidence from the network.

Former King of Queens Kevin James will write and star in a new sitcom for CBS with a 13 episode commitment for the 2016-17 season. It’s a family comedy about a retired cop.

CBS announced that sci-fi drama Extant has been canceled. The story had run its course.

Blindspot has been picked up for a full season. I should’ve mentioned it in my intro to this blog. It has enough action, story, and characters to keep my interest. I think I actually like it better than The Blacklist of which is a ripoff in some respects.

Late update Blindspot has been picked up for season 2!

Fox has cut the order for Minority Report from 13 episodes down to just 10 because of terrible ratings.

David Duchovny has hinted that he may show up in the Twin Peaks revival reprising his role as transgendered DEA agent Denise Bryson.

CW network announced Beauty and the Beast will end its run after season 4. This would never worked for me and I gave up after just a couple of episodes.

Look for Arrow bad guy Damien Darhik to cross over to The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow is future episodes.

Harry Connick Jr. is going to host a syndicated daytime talk/variety show.

Laura Spencer the redheaded gal who is Raj’s girlfriend on The Big Bang Theory has been promoted to series regular. However she will still occasionally guest star as an intern on Bones.

SyFy Channel has canceled its supernatural series Dominion. Although I watched it it really wasn’t that good.

When 2 Broke Girls premiered a couple of weeks ago it was ahead of schedule. That timeslot was supposed to be for a new Jane Lynch sitcom titled Angel from Hell. That show has now been pushed to February.

Showtime’s Homeland producers need to vet their art department better. They hired in Arabic speaking graffiti artist to tag a wall to appear in the background of a scene. He wrote “Homeland Is Racist” nobody noticed until it was too late.

Fox sitcoms Grandfathered and The Grinder have received orders additional episodes and then later were picked up for a full season.

SyFy Channel says that Defiance will not return. Season 3 left Nolan and Doc flying off into the universe. A fitting ending.

ABC has picked up sitcom Doctor Ken for a full season.

NBC Universo has acquired the exclusive rights to The Walking Dead dubbed in Spanish. Season 1-3 will begin airing in early 2016

Dr. Phil has signed a multi-year that keep him on the air through the year 2020.

It’s no myth… MythBusters has been canceled after 14 seasons, 248 episodes, 2950 experiments, 1050 myths and 900 explosions. The latest season really wasn’t up to their usual standards without the assistants that were cut from the show last year. It was fun while it lasted. The final season begins January 9, 2016.

Freeform channel formerly known as ABC Family has renewed Switched at Birth for season 5

ABC has canceled its summer supernatural series The Whispers

Lindsay Wagner will guest star on NCIS as Agent Bishop’s mother. No relation to Robert Wagner place Tony’s father.

CBS has picked up Limitless for a full season order of 22 episodes

NBC has cut The Player down to just 9 episodes.

Brian Fuller will reboot Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories” anthology series for NBC

ABC has trimmed its order for evening soap opera Blood and Oil to just 10 episodes.

FX network has canceled Married

Ricky Gervais will return to host the Golden Globes Awards in 2016

Walking Dead producer Scott Gimpel refuses to say whether or not you-know-who is really dead or not but he did say that the injury to Rick’s hand was not serious and would not require amputation.

NBC sitcom Truth Be Told has been trimmed from 13 down to 10 episodes.

HBO has changed its mind after initially renewing The Brink a Jack Black comedy it has now decided not to renew it after all.

Despite my inability to get through a full episode, CBS has picked up a full season order new sitcom “Life in Pieces”

Starz has renewed Ash vs. Evil Dead for a second season before the first one even began. I need to check this one out.

Norman Reedus will star in a biker themed reality series AMC in 2016

Netflix has renewed Longmire for season 5

RIP Al Molinaro died at age 86 he was the driving owner Al on happy days and on the original odd couple he was Murray the cop

A new Star Trek series will premiere on CBS in 2017

SyFy Channel has acquired a 13 episode series titled Van Helsing with a female lead daughter Vanessa Van Helsing

Former Sons of Anarchy veteran Tommy Flanagan will play a bad guy in the upcoming Gotham

Jon Stuart has signed a deal with HBO to create original digital short form material for HBO Now and HBO Go As Well as for slick rights to some future TV and movie prospects.

The revival of Twin Peaks has been pushed until 2017

David Harvey will host a reality competition series called First Impressions for USA Network that will pit comic impressionists against each other.

BBC America will have a supersized one-off episode of Luther on December 17

NBC has renewed Chicago fire and Chicago PD for their next season. Very early to be doing so.

American Horror Story has been renewed for season 6 at FX. Producers have already invited Lady Gaga to return but no word on if you will accept and what the next story will be like.

Joel Hodgson has launched a kick starter campaign to revive Mystery Science Theater 3000

CBS will have a live addition of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert to air after the Super Bowl.

Bob Newhart will come back from the dead to guest star on an upcoming episode of Big Bang theory

ABC miniseries about Bernie Madoff starring Richard Dreyfus will air February 3-4.

TNT has renewed Murder in the First for season 3.

Former NYPD Blue start James McDaniel will play the Mills sisters father in an upcoming episode of Sleepy Hollow

As a result of the Paris bombings HBO has canceled a live U2 concert from Paris. Also Supergirl and NCIS: LA postponed terror related episodes because of the Paris bombings. The concert has been rescheduled for December 7 the Supergirl and NCIS LA episodes will air eventually. Additionally Undataable dropped its live episode in favor of a rerun and was criticized for it claiming that it was a publicity stunt. Other shows had special opening sequences including SNL and Stephen Colbert

Megan Boone a.k.a. Elizabeth Kean on The Blacklist is pregnant in real life. No word about what it means for her character.

Genifer Goodwin a.k.a. Emma Snow on Once upon a Time is pregnant in real life. No word about what it means for her character.

E! Network has canceled its pop-culture talkshow The Soup after 22 seasons

Original American Idol judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell will return to guest start sometime during the final season of American Idol.

Celine Dion will pay tribute to the victims of the Paris attack during Sunday’s American Music Awards.

Code Black has been given 5 more episodes to bring its total up to 18.

Colton Haynes will reprise his role of Roy Harper in upcoming episode of Arrow

Marvel’s Ant Man is definitely getting a sequel which will also feature The Wasp tentatively scheduled for July 2018

Composer John Williams will be the first ever composer to receive an AFI Lifetime Achievement Award. Much-deserved.

Animated “Guardians of the Galaxy” has been renewed for a second season on Disney XD

RIP actress Maureen O’Hara who is 95. She played opposite John Wayne in several movies.

Mark Wahlberg will star as Steve Austin in a film version of Six Billion-Dollar Man to be released to theaters December 2017

A&E and documentary maker Vice Media will rename the H2 (History 2) Channel as Viceland in 2016

Amazon is developing a TV series based on Marion Zimmer Bradley’s fantasy/sci-fi books Darkover. Unlike Game of Thrones, they won’t have to worry about getting ahead of the novels. There are 25 books in the series.

RIP Melissa Masterson screenwriter who wrote ET The Extraterrestrial. She was 65.

Z Nation has been renewed for season 3 on SyFy Channel

Chloe Grace Moretz will star in a live-action film version of The Little Mermaid for Universal Studios

A remake of the 1965 series Lost in Space is coming to Netflix as a series

Disney XD announced Gravity Falls will end in 2016

FX network has announced Fargo has been renewed for season 3

Other GOP candidates are demanding equal time after Donald Trump hosted SNL if all 17 of them got their own episode it would probably extend past the election 🙂 NBC has offered candidates 12 minutes and five seconds of free advertising or promos as compensation instead.

AMC new series “Into the Badlands” earned the third-best debut ever for a cable show thanks to strong lead-in from The Walking Dead

Advanced sale tickets to the new Star Wars movie are predicted to reach $100 million by opening day

RIP Jim Perry game show host of Card Sharks and Sale of the Century was 82

Despite weak ratings CW has ordered additional episodes of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and iZombie bringing their totals to 18 and 19 respectively

RIP car designer George Barris who designed the Adam West sixties version of the Batmobile age 89

Pixar schedules Finding Dori June 2016, Cars 3 in 2017, Toy Story 4 2018 all sometime in June of those years

Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures have announced “Godzilla vs. Kong” will reach theaters in 2020

From the “I can’t remember if I already reported this department” Chris Rock will host this year’s Oscars

RIP Gunnar Hansen made 68 played the original Leatherface killer in Texas Chainsaw Massacre

CW announced premiere of Flash/Arrow spinoff series “Legends of Tomorrow” will be January 21. Also CW series “The 100” return same day.







TV Line Broadcast Renewal Scorecard

Gotham’s Cameron Monaghan Talks About Deadly Twist, His Animated Idol, Losing Sleep Over ‘Joker’ Role

Strain EPs Clear the Air on Nora’s Fate, Tease a ‘Different, Faster’ Season 3


Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on NCIS, Looking, Vampire Diaries, Castle, Arrow, Scorpion, Once, S.H.I.E.L.D. and More

Matt’s Inside Line: Scoop on Once, Scorpion, Quantico, Major Crimes, Castle, Blindspot, Supergirl and More

Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Supernatural, X-Files, Empire, Grimm, Once, Gotham, Switched at Birth, Flash and More

Neil deGrasse Tyson on StarTalk Season 2: Cosmos, Comedy and Why Charlie Sheen (?!) Is a Dream Guest

Matt’s Inside Line: Scoop on Arrow, Castle, Supergirl, Supernatural, Once, S.H.I.E.L.D., HTGAWM, H50 and More

Arrow EP Talks Oliver/Laurel Face-Off, Sara’s Future, Dig’s ‘Wound’ and More

Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Arrow, Bloodline, Grimm, Supergirl, Scandal, TVD, Supernatural and More

Matt’s Inside Line: Scoop on POI, Castle, Arrow, The Originals, HTGAWM, Supernatural, Jane, P.D. and More

Arrow/The Flash Stars Preview ‘Bigger, Crazier’ Crossover Event — Plus: Who’s MIA? Which Reunion Didn’t Happen?

Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Chicago Fire, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Supernatural, Bones, Flash, Scorpion and More

‘Marvel’s Jessica Jones’ EP Melissa Rosenberg On Luke Cage, Season 2, ‘Supergirl’ & Gender Parity In Hollywood

Matt’s Inside Line: Scoop on Castle, New Girl, Once, The Knick, Chicago Fire, Arrow, CSI: Cyber, Gotham and More

When Will Your Favorite Shows Return From the Holidays? Save These Dates!


More Ship, Sense, Killjoys, Dark Matter, Zoo; No More Proof, Graceland, Exes; Ghostbusters cameos; and more

Time for another entertainment roundup. If you missed some of my recent reviews of new shows you can always check them out on my blog here.



Let’s move on with my usual entertainment news items. Lots to talk about with the new fall schedule in the middle of kicking off. In the links below you can read


Interview with Executioner creator Kurt Sutter about his new show.

Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated August 12

Spoilers from Inside Line dated August 17

Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated August 24

Interview with Ron Perlman about leaving Sons of Anarchy and his new Amazon series “Hand of God”

Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated September 4

Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated September 18

TV Line makes 30 predictions about the fall season including first cancellations and renewals

Interview with Muppets producer about controversial adult jokes (as I predicted there would be controversy)

Spoilers from Inside Line dated September 25

Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated September 30

BBC announces new young adult Dr. Who Spinoff



Not in the links below but also of interest…

RIP former Monday Night Football host Frank Gifford who died of natural causes age 84

Netflix sci-fi series “Sense8” has been renewed for season 2

CBS executive says they will promote Supergirl during CW network’s Arrow and Flash but don’t expect any crossover stories

Parker Young of Fox “Enlisted” will play a new love interest for Thea Queen in the season of Arrow

TV Land has canceled divorce sitcom “The Exes”

Ellen Burstyn will have a recurring guest starring role in CBS sitcom “Mom”

Showtime announced Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex will return for season 4 age

Showtime has canceled Lisa Kudrow’s therapy comedy “Web Therapy”

TNT has renewed The Last Ship for season 3

NBC has renewed American Ninja Warrior for another season

Jimmy Fallon will remain post of the Tonight Show at least through 2021

Arnold Schwarzenegger will take over as host of Celebrity Apprentice. No word on whether he will replace the catchphrase “you’re fired” with “hasta la vista baby”. NBC says that Donald Trump will never return to the show regardless of his candidate status.

Revenge alum Gabriel Mann a.k.a. Nolan Ross will guest star on an upcoming mysteries of Laura

Charlotte Ross will return to Arrow to guest star as Felicity’s mom

SyFy Channel has canceled Haven. Upcoming half season in October will be the end.

Jill Hennessey from the old show Crossing Jordan will play a recurring part on Madam Secretary as Henry’s new CIA handler.

RIP Yvonne Craig who played batgirl in the 1960s Batman TV series. Died at age 78 complications of breast cancer

TNT announced Maj. crimes season 4 has been expanded to 23 episodes which is an increase above the usual 19

RIP Melody Peterson who played Wrangler Jane in the 60s comedy F Troop

Although Twin Peaks started shooting last month, it probably will not reach Showtime until 2016. Also late word that composer Angelo Badalamenti is on board to score the show. It wouldn’t be Twin Peaks without his creeping music. We are well pleased.

David Boreanaz a.k.a. Seeley Booth had a bad reaction to antibiotic over the summer which delayed his return to Bones. Producers accommodated by writing a story line in which he goes missing for the first couple of episodes. He is back at work as of late August and is okay.

Former 24 star Kim Raver will guest star on Bones to help look for Agent Booth

The Strain star Mia Maestro will guest star on an upcoming episode of Scandal

There are rumors there will be a spinoff from Sons of Anarchy based on the Mayans biker gang

Defiance star Julie Benz will have a recurring role on Hawaii 50 the season

USA Network has canceled Complications after one season.

Shohreh Aghdashloo (my favorite actress whose name I will never be able to pronounce) will guest star on Elementary this season

RIP horror movie legend Wes Craven creator of Nightmare on the Street and Scream. Dead at age 76… Or is he (du du dun creepy music)?

Tom Selleck will have another Jesse Stone movie on Hallmark Channel October 18

Jim Gaffigan show has been renewed on TV land

Under the Dome which wrapped up September 10 has been officially canceled. It was time. Perhaps overdue.

NBC has decided not to revive “Coach” starring Craig T Nelson after all. No word on why.

SyFy Channel has renewed Killjoys and Dark Matter for season 2. Still no word on Defiance

Eric Stoltz will guest star on Madam Secretary as Tia Leone’s brother

Falling Skies alum Sarah Carter will have a recurring role on Hawaii 50

America’s Got Talent will be back for another season

RIP Dean Jones famous for Disney’s Love Bug films has died at age 84

RIP Martin Milner star of Adam 12 and Route 66 dead at 83

RIP Judy Carne the “Sock-It-to-Me” girl from 60s comedy show “Laugh In” dead at age 76

Teri Hatcher is joining the cast of CBS sitcom The Odd Couple

NBC sitcom Mr. Robinson has been canceled but The Carmichael Show has been picked up for season 2

Amy Schumer will have an HBO comedy special October 17

The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore has been renewed at Comedy Central

Jenna Coleman will be leaving Dr. Who at the end of the current season.

Alex Kingston will return as the doctors wife for the Dr. who Christmas special

NBC is developing a TV series that will be a prequel to the “Taken” films however Liam Neeson probably will not play the character with a particular set of skills.

RIP Jackie Collins whose books made into many movies and TV shows. Died at age 77

Vanessa Williams will guest star in a recurring role in The Good Wife

TNT has canceled life after death series “Proof” after one season.

ABC has renewed “Mistresses” for season 4

RIP Catherine E Colson who played the Log Lady on Twin Peaks. Dead at age 71

USA Network has canceled Graceland after 3 seasons

One of my favorite villains Robert “T-Bag” Knepper will guest star in the Twin Peaks revival

Cinemax action series Strike Back may live on as a feature film.

Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson and Sigourney Weaver will make some sort of appearance in the new female Ghostbusters movie

Streaming service Hulu has announced its original series will be released on a weekly basis rather than all at once like Netflix

NBC has extended its English Premier League soccer contract for six years 2021-22 season

CW network is ordered more episodes of “Whose Line Is It Anyway” and “Penn and Teller Fool Us”

CW network executive regrets that they passed on Supergirl and but CBS take it

Tracy Morgan will host Saturday Night Live October 17

20th Century Fox is making a feature film “Victor Frankenstein” with James McAvoy as Victor and Daniel Radcliffe as Igor

RIP Bud Yorkin producer of “All the Family” and “Good Times” dead at 89

RIP Dr. Oliver Sacks who is the real life doctor portrayed by Robin Williams in the film “Awakenings”. Cancer at 82

EPIX cable network is announced its films will be moving from Netflix to Hulu. Titles include Hunger Games and World War Z

AMC network has green lit “Preacher” a supernatural drama based on the graphic novels of the same name.

CBS has renewed “Zoo” for season 2. It was the summer’s most-watched scripted series

Woody Harrelson will play a bad guy in the next plan of the apes movie titled “War for the Planet of the Apes”

“Star Trek Beyond” the next film has been delayed two weeks from previously announced release date. I will be released July 22, 2016

Disgraced NBC anchor Brian Williams returned to the air on MSNBC anchoring the coverage of the Pope’s visit

Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Reagan” will be produced for a docudrama for National Geographic Channel in 2016 as were his previous “Killing” books.

Google’s Chromecast device is adding Showtime and Sling TV streaming services to its repertoire

There will be a “Pitch Perfect 3” film to be released August 2017

A “Jack Ryan” TV series is being produced for Amazon streaming

Background actors for an orgy scene HBO series “Westworld” were paid $600 however the union scale pay for background extras is only $157 per day.

Quiz show “500 Questions” will return to ABC for season 2

HBO is in preliminary discussions for a “Watchmen” TV series based on the comic/film




Bastard Executioner Boss Kurt Sutter on Depicting ‘Colorful Brutality’ and FX’s Decapitation Mandate


Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on NCIS, X-Files, Grey’s Anatomy, Arrow, Flash, Castle, Bones, Criminal Minds and More

Matt’s Inside Line: Scoop on Once, Arrow, Castle, The Flash, Scandal, Gotham, Reign, Haven and More

Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Arrow, NCIS, Good Wife, Grey’s, Once, Castle, Scorpion, Chicago Fire and More

Ron Perlman Talks Hand of God’s Take on Faith, Sons of Anarchy Series Finale: ‘When I Was Done, I Was Done’

Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Walking Dead, Vampire Diaries, Castle, The Good Wife, Bones, Big Bang, Supernatural and More

Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Good Wife, Castle, NCIS, Bones, Nashville, Vampire Diaries, Suits, Sleepy Hollow and More

Fall TV Predictions: First Cancellation, Mer’s New Grey’s Love, a Once Return, Super Bang, Chicago Gaga and More

Muppets Under Fire: EP Insists ‘Adult’ Jokes Will Always ‘Work on Two Levels’

Matt’s Inside Line: Scoop on Once, Bones, Sleepy Hollow, Vampire Diaries, Arrow, S.H.I.E.L.D., The Flash and More

Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Grey’s, Castle, Sleepy Hollow, Supernatural, Nashville, Modern Family, Leftovers and More

BBC Lauching ‘Doctor Who’ Young Adult Spinoff


Review: Limitless isn’t

As I mentioned in a previous review, the gimmick for this year’s new TV shows is to have a TV show sequel to a hit film. In this case the show is the new CBS series “Limitless” based on the 2011 film of the same name starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro.

The premise of both (and the 2014 film Lucy) is based on the often quoted yet scientifically unsubstantiated factoid that we only use 10% of our brain. After attributing some equally unscientific higher number to Einstein, the theory posits that if we could use a higher percentage we would have all sorts of superpowers. Both Limitless and Lucy have its protagonists achieve this through a supersecret drug. Lucy took it to an extreme where she could manipulate people by mind control, manipulate matter, the forces of nature, perceive electronic transmissions with her bare eyes, and basically transcend time and space. Fortunately Limitless (either the film or the show) doesn’t quite take it to those ridiculous extremes. It does however use the same “take a smart pill” premise.

In this case it simply makes you supersmart and gives you access to everything you ever seen or heard, everything you have learned and a phenomenal computing ability. So even on the premise is just as flawed and somewhat ridiculous, once you buy the premise, the show seem reasonably self consistent.

The show takes place in the same world as the film. Bradley Cooper who started the film appears near the end of the opening episode in the same character he played in the film. He probably will not be seen very much. The star of the show is Jake McDormand you may recognize from last season’s failed sitcom “Manhattan Love Story” or as Mike Pratt on Shameless. Here he plays a somewhat down on his luck guy named Brian Finch who can only get temp jobs. An old friend of his gives him this smart pill called NZT which allowed him to do two month’s worth of filing at his temp job in just a few hours. When he goes back to get more of the drug, he finds his friend has been murdered. He becomes a suspect but eventually convinces an FBI agent that he’s innocent. The agent is played by Jennifer Carpenter whom you will remember as Detective Debra Morgan who was sister to serial killer/CSI technician Dexter in the Showtime series Dexter. I guess she has no worries about being typecast as a cop.

In the end he convinces them that he is innocent. He ends up working as a consultant to the government to help them solve crimes and unlock the mysteries of the special drug. Meanwhile he was always up connected to the Bradley Cooper character who has some of those secrets about the drug.

If you want a slightly less sci-fi version of Minority Report with some of the conspiracy and intrigue of The Blacklist and/or Blindspot then this may be just the ticket. I will end up watching it for a while but I think that Minority Report, Blindspot, The Blacklist were perhaps the new FBI recruit series Quantico may be better bets in the long run. For now I’m watching it but as I have said before I will watch even bad sci-fi. I would say this is slightly below average but still watchable. With all of the other semi sci-fi and procedural detective consultant shows on TV this one might not last. My prediction is that Limitless isn’t.

Review: Minority Report a worthy sequel

That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9

This Scripture quote describes the entertainment industry exactly. It is an industry obsessed with sequels, prequels, imaginations, remakes, spinoffs and ripoffs. Last season the gimmick was to come up with an American version of some show that had already been successful overseas. This season the theme is make a TV series out of a hit movie. The biggest examples are “Limitless” which we will review separately elsewhere and the new Fox series “Minority Report” which we will discuss here.

In case you missed it, the 2002 film version of Minority Report was directed by Steven Spielberg based on a short story by famous science fiction author Philip K. Dick. It starring Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, and Samantha Morton. The film is set in the near future Washington DC area where the local police have the authority to arrest you for a crime you did not yet commit. This “pre-crime” arrest is based upon information from three psychics called “precogs” who are kept in a semi-coma state. They’re connected to machines which read their thoughts as they have visions of violent crimes which are about to occur. Tom Cruise plays one of the special police officers who are part of the pre-crime unit however he stumbles onto a secret and suddenly he has been accused and is sought for a pre-crime of his own. The title of the film and TV show comes from the fact that the three precogs don’t always agree 100% on what will happen. Sometimes two of them agree and the third one issues a minority report about an alternate future.

The TV show takes place 10 years later. Pre-crime has been abolished because of the scandal uncovered in the film. The three precogs have been released to hide out in a cabin in the woods so that they will not be inundated by visions and other people’s thoughts. The story revolves around one of the three precogs named Dash. He leaves the isolation to make his way in the real world and to try to prevent some of the crimes that he envisions. Not by having people arrested prior to the crime but simply by changing the future and preventing the crime by other means. He teams up with a detective named Lara Vega who discovers who he is and what he’s trying to do.

The problem is that Dash was the weakest of the three siblings. His older sister Agatha would see the big picture of a crime, his brother Arthur would pick up details and Dash would fill them with all items that the other two missed. This particular plot device leaves plenty of room for Detective Vega to use ordinary police skills to try to figure out what bad thing is when to happen. Think of it sort of as “Person of Interest” without the computer.

Occasionally he has to resort to seeking the help from his precogs siblings Agatha and Arthur while attempting to solve a crime. And there the end of the first episode we see that there is some sort of destiny awaiting the three precogs that has yet to unfold.

Detective Vega is equipped with all sorts of futuristic crime-fighting tools that allow her to re-create virtual crime scenes on-the-fly and other sorts of typical sci-fi crime-fighting tricks. The special effects are above average for a weekly TV series and the action is strong enough to keep you interested. The story is peppered with some typical stranger in a strange land kind of humor because Dash has not lived a normal life and have absolutely no social skills whatsoever.

I did not mention the stars of the show because they really can’t be called stars. I didn’t recognize any of them from any other films or TV shows. Even looking up their resume on the IMDb did not jog my memory in a way that would make me say “oh yes I remember they were in ______”.

I’m kind of person who will watch all but the most horrible science fiction show. So saying that I’m going to watch it probably is not much of an endorsement. However this one looks like it is well above average if quite outstanding must-see TV. So it gets a rather strong “I’m watching it” rating. I suggest you check it out especially if you like sci-fi.

Review: Scream Queens for fans only.

The term “Scream Queen” I believe was invented to describe Jamie Lee Curtis for her roles in the Halloween horror movies. It refers to the female protagonists in any teen slasher movie whether it was Jason, Freddie, or even the Scream masked killer from the Scream movies. One of the problems with the teen slasher genre is that the various spoofs and parodies are nearly identical to the films that supposedly take themselves seriously. They’ve all become self parodies. However for the new Fox TV series named “Scream Queens” this one is definitely in over-the-top comedy spoof of the genre. And if you’re going to call the show “Scream Queens” why not get the queen queen of them all Jamie Lee Curtis herself. Being a little bit too old to play a teen protagonist, she is now cast as the Dean Cathy Munch of the University where the story takes place. Munch of course is a reference to Norwegian artist Edvard Munch who created the painting “The Scream” upon which was based the scream mask from the scream movies.

The Scream Queen teen protagonist this time is Chanel Oberlin played by Emma Roberts daughter of actor Eric Roberts. Her credits include a couple of seasons on American Horror Story and a role in Scream 4. Her character is actually queen bitch character who is the head of an uppity sorority. Other familiar faces in this ensemble cast include Lea Michele fresh off her role on Glee. Also Abigail Breslin all grown up from her singing and dancing days in Little Miss Sunshine. You might also recognize Nasim Pedrad from SNL and from her recent role in the sitcom Mulaney. Finally we have former Jonas Brother Nick Jonas (he still their brother, just not in the band).

The serial killer is someone dressed in a red devil’s suit and of course the killings are bizarre and grotesque. A girl gets a spray tan with hydrochloric acid substituted for tanning liquid. A woman gets her face burned off in a deep fryer. Another girl gets her head cut off by a riding lawnmower. And that’s just in the first two hours. According to Roberts on a recent talkshow parents we will get another killing each week.

The humor is over the top as I said before. Chanel terms every kind of racist, homophobic, non-politically correct rant at everyone she encounters. Some of her barbs are so cleverly written you can’t help but appreciate the effort that went into crafting them no matter how offensive they are.

My guess is that this will be a must see for fans of the genre and I enjoyed the 90 minutes worth of the two-hour premiere that I managed to sit through. However I’m just not that big of a fan. One thing that was particularly disappointing to me was the IMDb “trivia” entry which says that the director is filming multiple versions of scenes with people in the devil costume so that the actors themselves don’t really know who the killer really is. That tells me one of several possible bad things. For one the writers themselves may have not yet decided who the killer is. Or they don’t trust the actors to keep their mouths shut. Or they don’t trust the actors to portray the killer in a way that doesn’t give away the identity. I don’t mind that they want to make it a spoof that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it would be nice if there really was an actual ministry at the core of the story that the viewer could spend time trying to figure out. I’m not sure you can do that if the actual actor playing the killer doesn’t even know that they are the one.

I’m giving this one a “could be watchable” rating if you are a fan of the genre but I’m probably going to pass on it.

By the way just for the record I think Jamie Lee Curtis is the killer.

Review: Blindspot is a prettier Blacklist

How does this sound for the idea for a TV show? A mysterious person shows up at the FBI and becomes a source of information for them. This mysterious source allows them to stop terrorist plots, uncover in criminal conspiracies, and prevent a whole slew of nastiness of various kinds. One of the pieces of information supplied by this mysterious source leads to a particular obscure FBI agent. We have no idea why the agent is connected to the source and neither does the agent themselves. A special task force including this agent is assigned to the task of dealing with the source’s information. That task force includes the linked agent. Each week a new clue or tip is revealed in a new plot is foiled all the while trying to figure out the source of the source and the connection to the named FBI agent.

NBC liked the pitch and they gave a green light to “The Blacklist” in 2013 as it has been a big ratings hit for them. The third season premieres October 1. NBC apparently likes that particular pitch so much they’ve created an entirely new series with the exact same premise. This one is called “Blindspot” because who knows… maybe having a title that starts with the letter “B” is also key to its success.

In the opening scene, a large duffel bag is found abandoned in the middle of Times Square bearing a tag saying “call the FBI”. The bomb squad investigates and for some strange reason despite every protocol you’ve ever seen of a bomb squad call out on TV they send an actual human being in a bomb suit to investigate the package. If this was Podunk Mississippi may be so but this is New York City and certainly the bomb squad has remote control robots to do this kind of thing. So much for accurate portrayal of police procedures. The bag begins unzipping itself and up pops a woman closed them nothing but tattoos. The guy is a bomb suit pulls out a gun and tells her to freeze. Seriously… If you were the bomb disposal unit approaching a potentially explosive device to be carrying a gun on you so that if you did happen to get blown up, your gun would start firing off bullets in odd directions taking out innocent people?

It turns out the woman has amnesia and can remember absolutely nothing about her past life. She is examined by doctors and they come up with some pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo that explains how her memory was erased. Even though the doctors seem to completely understand condition they cannot predict how long the amnesia will last because “we’ve never seen anything like this before.”

One of the tattoos on her back is “FBI agent Kurt Weller”. And according to the plot description above, he has no idea why his name is tattooed on this woman’s back.

As the opening episode proceeds, we learn that the woman speaks fluent Chinese including some rare dialects. There’s evidence she may be a Navy seal even though they acknowledge that the seals don’t take women. She proved herself to be especially adept at martial arts at a level you can’t learn at your local dojo so she’s obviously some sort of trained operative. The first tattoo that they decode lead them to a terrorist plot which they managed to foil just in time.

Obviously each week they will decode a new tattoo that will lead to another criminal plot which they will file just in time. The continuing story that runs throughout the series will be to answer the questions who is this Jane Doe? Who did this to her? If they wanted to tip off the FBI why didn’t they just phone it in?

Other than the fact that it’s a total retread of Blacklist it looks like it’s going to be a pretty good show with lots of action and mystery. Jane Doe is played by Jamie Alexander you may recognize as Lady Sif of Asgard from the Marvel Thor films and guest shots on Agents of SHIELD. She’s much easier on the eyes then James Spader. Agent Weller is played by Sullivan Stapleton who is no stranger to the action genre being famous for playing Sgt. Damien Scott from the Cinemax action series Strike Back which is currently wrapping up its final season.

The Blacklist was getting a little boring to me with too many layers of mysteries upon mysteries and secrets upon secrets. It was getting a little tough to follow all of the little subplots and James Spader although was initially interesting is wearing a little thin for me. For now I’m going to watch both and if I end up quitting one of the two it will probably be The Blacklist that I drop just because it’s getting a little bit old. Bottom line is I’m giving Blindspot a rating of “I’m Watching It”.

Review: Executioner Delivers

The only thing that kept fans of Sons of Anarchy from going into massive withdrawal sickness when they learned that the show was ending was the news that creator/executive producer/show runner Kurt Sutter had already sold a new show to FX networks. So it’s a great understatement to say that there are a lot of people, myself included, who have been anxiously awaiting the premiere of “The Bastard Executioner”.

The shires of 14th-century northern Wales would seem to be a huge change from a motorcycle gang in the fictional town of Charming California. However Kurt Sutter has no difficulty seeing the similarities. Both settings are well-suited to violence, betrayal, heart wrenching loss, vengeance, and devotion to family/clan.

The story follows Wilkin Brattle who was a loyal soldier in the Army of King Edward I. He was set up by jealous officers of his own army who felt that he was rising in the ranks too quickly and arrange for him to get caught in a trap massacre in a border skirmish with the Scots. He was left for dead but managed to survive. A vision from an Angel urged him to lay down his sword to become another man. He moved to northern Wales where he settles down as a barley farmer with a wife and kids.

The Shire where he lives is ruled by a ruthless Baron who excessively taxes his subjects. Wilkin joins with a group of his fellow farmers to intercept and kill the Baron’s tax collector however Wilkin uses a wooden club having put away the sword as commanded by his angelic visitor.

The Baron retaliates by destroying his village and massacring the women, the children, and the elderly and burning the village to the ground. Wilkin picks up his sword so that he and his fellow farmer/raiders can seek vengeance. Without giving away too much more of the plot, he ends up faking his own death and taking on the identity of a traveling executioner. He is hired against his will to serve at the Castle of the Baron as their resident executioner. This gives him the opportunity to seek out those who massacred his village.

The amount of blood and gore easily meets or exceeds Kurt Sutter’s usual standards. The evisceration of Wilkin’s pregnant wife is especially gruesome above and beyond the usual sword battles. This show is definitely not for the squeamish. The drama and sadness created by the massacre is also up to Sutter’s usual high standards.

Fans of Sons of Anarchy will recognize many of the actors who have been recast in this new show. However Wilkin is portrayed by newcomer Lee Jones. For the Anarchy fans who were worried about missing Katey Segal, her husband Sutter couldn’t resist casting her in the show as well. She plays a mysterious healer/witch named Annora of the Alder. Fans of her previous character Gemma Teller will be well pleased. There are hints she has more connection to Gemma than is immediately apparent. Sutter himself plays even creepier character with a scarred face who is listed as “The Dark Mute” in the IMDB cast listing. He and Annora lurk in the shadows and seem to have a secret agenda all their own.

There are some lighter moments such as the impish character “Ash y Goedwig” who has a love affair with his pet sheep and the camaraderie among Wilkin and his rebel compatriots is noble and familiar as that of the SAMCRO motorcycle club.

The violence and brutality means that this show, like its ancestor Sons of Anarchy, is not for everyone. But it is definitely everything that Kurt Sutter fans have hoped it will be. For his fans like me this is a must-see. And if you’re new to Kurt Sutter’s work, don’t mind violence, brutality, blood and gore and are looking for some of the best written and acted drama on television then I recommend you check this out.

One caveat, this is not a casual watch show. I actually had to watch the two hour premiere twice through because I missed some plot points and was unfamiliar with the new characters. But now I’m confident I’m up to speed and the storytelling will be much easier to follow.

Review: The Muppets… A reboot of The Office

Last night ABC brought “The Muppets” back to prime time TV but it’s a much different show than the one that we grew up with. Rather than a reboot of the original “The Muppet Show” from 1976-1981, this is more of a reboot “The Office” or perhaps “30 Rock“. The show is from the perspective of a documentary crew covering behind the scenes and the personal lives of the staff and characters of a late-night talkshow. It includes interview segments where the characters talk straight into the camera. They even make fun of this “mock-u-mentary” style while employing it.

Miss Peggy is the host of “Up Late with Miss Piggy” and Kermit is the producer. Fozzie Bear is the on-air announcer sort of the Ed McMahon-type character who attempts to warm up the audience. Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem featuring Animal on drums are the house band. The talkshow format gives them the opportunity to have actual celebrities as guest stars. So in that respect it’s a little bit like the original show. However not only resembling “The Office”, it also resembles “30 Rock” in that is not afraid to make fun of its guest stars. Kermit sent Scooter over to the set of Dancing with the Stars to recruit a last-minute guest for the show. Kermit was unable to suppress his disappointment when he brought back Tom Bergeron. “That’s the best you could do?” he says in disgust.

For me the real test of a kid show is its ability to not only keep the kids entertained with funny fuzzy characters but the ability to slip in a few adult jokes that will be over the heads of most kids. This is been a tradition ever since the days of Rocky and Bullwinkle. The Muppets seem to be taking this to a whole new level. Here are a couple of examples…

Kermit is holding a staff meeting going over what went wrong with last night’s show. Dr. Teeth suggests “Uh, perhaps we should dismystify any further misconfusion with a daily confabulation-type meeting.” To which Kermit explains they have just such a meeting every morning and they’re having one right now. Then Zoot the way too cool saxophone player says “Meeting? I’m in a meeting? Okay hello my name is Zoot and I’m a…” But he gets cut off and is told “It’s not that kind of meeting.” Obviously Zoot thinks he’s in a 12 step program. The Muppets were always cool but they were never cool enough to pull off a drug joke. I will be anxious to see if the adult jokes get them in trouble in the media.

The second example surprised me even more. Fozzie Bear is preparing to meet his girlfriend’s parents. He has a human girlfriend named Becky. As he’s driving down the street he’s telling the unseen interviewer “I really want to make a good impression on Becky’s parents. She’s the first girl I’ve dated in a long time. When your online profile says ‘passionate bear looking for love,’ you get a lot of wrong responses. Uh, not ‘wrong.’ Uh, just wrong for me.” So not only did we get a very veiled reference to harry gay men, we even got a wink and a nod to Seinfeld’s classic “not that there’s anything wrong with that” quote.

So not only will longtime fans be pleased with the usual Muppet antics such as Dr. Bunsen Honeydew abusing his assistant Beaker, Gonzo being Gonzo, Animal being Animal and so on… we also look forward to these next-generation inside jokes aimed at the adults. And of course Statler and Waldorf are still in the audience heckling the gang throughout. They now do it from the front row instead of the balcony but it’s the same old stuff.

If you are a fan of the Muppets no matter what your age, you should definitely check this out. I’m giving it a definite “Must-See” on my scale.

Review: The Carmichael Show

When a TV network premieres a new show a couple of weeks early in the new fall TV season and then shows two episodes each week, it raises a few red flags for me. I tend to think it means they are trying too hard to promote it. That’s not a good sign.

Such is the case with a new sitcom “Jerrod Carmichael whom I never heard of prior to the show. Trying to be another black-ish”. I gave the show mixed reviews last year but decided to stick with it and I do enjoy it. Although I have no objection to the black theme, I do think it works better as an ordinary family sitcom that doesn’t focus so much on its ethnicity. But even the black themed episodes are pretty funny.

Not being African-American, I have to wonder how that particular audience will receive The Carmichael Show. I think it could go either way. It could be criticized for perpetuating too many stereotypes of a black family. Or they could say “Holy shit that character is just like my mom or that one is like my Uncle Joe or whatever.”

My own thoughts are that it tends towards the stereotypes but that doesn’t stop me from watching a show. For example “Two Broke Girls” unapologetically builds its comedy on mostly unflattering stereotypes. But I watch it because it meets my only criteria for liking a sitcom: Did it make me laugh? For at least two episodes of The Carmichael Show it did make me laugh but the third of the four which have aired so far fell a little flat for me.

Jerrod Carmichael himself hasn’t revealed himself as particularly funny on his own. Unlike Seinfeld, Mulaney, we don’t get excerpts of his standup routines. Most of the comedy comes from the crazy characters around him. His girlfriend is starting to be a psychiatrist so she is occasionally going to psychoanalyze situations. She is played by Greek.

The opening episode is about the decision to reveal to his parents that his girlfriend is moving in with him. His religious Christian mother undoubtedly will not approve so he engages his parents in a political argument to deflect the topic from her move in.

His father is played by comedy veteran Loretta Devine. She is been seen most recently on Posted in Could Be Watchable | Leave a reply

Review: “Fear” is Aptly Named

Given that I am a huge fan of the AMC Network series “The Walking Dead”, it’s going to be a bit difficult for me to review the new spinoff series “Fear The Walking Dead”. To say that it has been highly anticipated ever since it was announced that a pilot had been approved is a big understatement for me and all of the show’s fans. We presumed however that since it was being written and created and produced by basically the same team responsible for both the comic book and the original “The Walking Dead”, fans expect it to be of an exceptionally high quality.

For those of you not familiar with either the original or the new show but have just heard that it’s a zombie show, you need to understand that when we say “high quality” were not just measuring how gross the special effects are or how many scary or surprising moments we are delivered or even the technical aspects of the special effects. The Walking Dead is one of the best written and acted dramatic hours on television. In a way it’s a shame that it is so gross and violent because that’s going to drive away some people from seeing what is otherwise a quality piece of television.

This new spinoff series received a green light for an initial six episodes but has already been renewed for a second season. We have seen 2 episodes that you would have to catch on demand or on reruns. (The first two episodes are being shown several times this Sunday Sept.6 all evening.)

The original series follows a deputy sheriff Rick Grimes who as the show opened the zombie virus had just broken out but he was unaware of it. He’s in a car accident and in a coma for several months. When he awakens he’s in an abandoned hospital in the world has gone to hell. So we didn’t get to see how the world got into the shape it is in when Grimes awakened in the first episode of the first season. This new series takes place in Los Angeles rather than Atlanta area and shows us what happened in the first days of the breakout.

Our main characters in this new edition are blended family consisting of Madison Clark played by Kim Dickens. You will remember her from such shows as Deadwood, Lost, and Sons of Anarchy. She is a high school guidance counselor. Her husband Travis Manawa is played by Cliff Curtis you might recognize from 2014 series Gang Related for the 2009 TV series Trauma. He portrays a teacher. She has 2 grown children. One is a drug addict Nick played by Frank Dillane a young British actor mostly known for playing Tom Riddle Jr. in one of the Harry Potter movies.

The show opens with Nick in some drug den in an abandoned church waking up from his latest dose to find that his girlfriend has turned into a zombie and is eating the face-off of one of his other druggy friends. He runs out into the street screaming and is hit by a car in France in the hospital. I guess that’s a parallel to Rick Grimes experience in the other show. However Nick awakens right away to tell his story which of course even he doesn’t believe. In some ways it may have been good for him because it’s scaring him straight. He thinks it was a bad drug trip.

Apart from that opening gory scene, much of the first episode is just introducing this family which extends to Frank’s son from another marriage and his ex-wife neither of which he gets along with.

As it unfolds, Nick is trying to track down his drug dealer to see what the hell he gave him that into such a bizarre hallucination. However Frank investigates and finds out that at least some of Nick’s story may be true. Nick catches up with his drug dealer who leads him to a remote location in the LA River and tries to kill him. There is a struggle for the gun and the drug dealer gets shot and dies. Nick’s mother and stepfather catch up with him and he confesses to killing the drug dealer in the struggle over the gun. But when they return to the scene of the crime, the body is missing. This is among several instances where the audience is familiar with how the zombies work more than the people in the show. We know from our experience in the original series that everyone has the virus dormant in them. When you die of any cause, you turn into a zombie whether you were recently bitten by one or not. The now zombie drug dealer soon shows up and survives repeated attempts by Nick to kill him. All this witnessed by Nick’s parents who were nearly killed by the drug dealer zombie. They now understand everything he was saying was true.

Except for the gory scene in the beginning and the attempt to kill the drug dealer at the end there was little or no action whatsoever so fans of the show including myself were a wee bit disappointed. But the previews of the second week promised we would see more action and indeed we did.

The second episode shows that the zombie situation is about to go public with the police shoot a zombie and it is all caught on camera. Of course the zombies aren’t the wrinkled up dead people that we are used to seeing in The Walking Dead. These are freshly deceased people for whom it’s not immediately evident that they are zombies. LA goes into a complete panic over this apparently unjustified police shooting and you can see things starting to fall apart. By the end of the second episode we are much more familiar territory where you don’t know whether you’re going to be in danger from the zombies or from the surviving humans were behaving badly as civilization is coming about them. So if the second is any indication, we’re going to get all the action we expect out of this series.

the reason I titled this review “Fear is aptly named” is that that first episode even with its lack of action actually gave me a nightmare the following night. There was something quantitatively different about the worlds of the two series even though they are the same world. We’ve come to understand in the original series that although this once was the world that we currently live in, it no longer is. The drama from the original series comes from being in a decimated world where you have to scrounge for resources and avoid not only the zombies but the other survivors who can be as dangerous as the monsters themselves. We can imagine being in a post-apocalyptic world especially because we’ve seen so many examples in movies and television but we never really experienced that world unless you’ve lived in some war zone or disaster area.

The fear factor from this new series comes from the fact that it is set in our world right now. This is punctuated even more by the timeliness of the police shooting subplot. Somehow it makes the series seem all the more plausibly real and that’s where the fear comes in. In my nightmare, I wasn’t being chased by zombies. I was living in a world where there was a zombie outbreak and we were trying to figure out what we needed to do to survive the coming disaster. The show illustrates in brilliant fashion just how fragile civilization is. One minor character, a high school student who has been following the outbreak sort of as an Internet conspiracy theory keeps reminding our other characters how quickly things are going to fall apart. Once people stop manning their posts we are going to lose Internet, television, and even electricity. He’s trying to explain to people just how bad things are going to get and how quickly it’s going to happen. We just celebrated the 10th anniversary of Katrina and we saw how quickly civilization came to an end in that particular situation. “Fear of The Walking Dead” if it has any message to it at all is that we have much to fear whether there is a zombie outbreak or not.

On my standard rating scale this one of course is getting a definite “Must See”.