Young Sheldon is a Warm Fuzzy Disappointment

If I had to give a one-word review of Young Sheldon I would have to say “disappointing”.

Don’t get me wrong here… It’s a very well-written, well acted, well produced program. It just isn’t what I expected. I am a HUGE fan of “The Big Bang Theory”. I’ve seen every episode some of them multiple times. It is currently my favorite sitcom on TV right now. It probably ranks in my top three or four sitcom favorites of all time alongside such classics as Seinfeld and M*A*S*H. So when I heard they were going to make a spinoff series based on the early life of Dr. Sheldon Cooper I was really excited.

I think my biggest problem with it is I’m not entirely sure it’s a comedy. While it did have a few funny moments there were more parts that could be better described as poignant, sentimental, heartfelt or many other adjectives not necessarily comedic.

The adult Sheldon comes across as eccentric and at times childlike but because he’s an adult your approach is to laugh at him. The other characters put up with his eccentricities with an attitude of “Oh well… that’s Sheldon. You take him as he is flaws and all.” And it’s easy to laugh at him. But in many ways he really is sort of a pathetic character. You take that same pathos and apply it to a preteen child I’m not sure it’s so funny. You end up feeling more pity for him and it’s harder to laugh at him.

Given the tone of the series, I applaud the fact that they are not doing it as a typical three camera sitcom taped in front of a live audience. It’s a single camera edited program with no live audience and no laugh track. That was a good choice. Again especially because I’m not really sure it’s a comedy.

I’ve heard people compare it to shows like “The Wonder Years” but I never saw that program. So I can’t really comment on that. Many have suggested that Sheldon Cooper is an excellent example of someone with Asperger’s syndrome. I think the young Sheldon perhaps confirms that diagnosis. So appropriate comparison among TV families would be Max Braverman in Parenthood. Although that show did have its funny moments spread throughout, you’d have to call it a drama for the most part.

If we take Sheldon’s Asperger’s as a disability, one could draw comparisons to the cerebral palsy character JJ DiMeo in “Speechless”. But that character is not at all deeply flawed in his personality as is Sheldon. You can sympathize and empathize with him and the show is definitely played for laughs even though it does contain some poignant moments. In Speechless you can laugh at the situations that JJ encounters without laughing at him personally. You’re not making fun of him or his limitations. That formula just won’t work with Sheldon.

Zoe Perry does a reasonable job as Sheldon’s mother and her characterization matches well with the portrayal by Laurie Medcalf. I saw one reviewer suggest that the show would be better if she was the focus of the show and they had Medcalf do the voiceover instead of Jim Parsons as the adult Sheldon. I think I might agree with that. His twin sister provides a few comedic moments with her snarky comments. His older brother and father sort of cruise through the show without contributing anything useful to the story.

One of the things that makes the adult Sheldon not be totally pathetic and unlikable is the way that his character has evolved in recent seasons mostly through his relationship with his girlfriend now fiancé Amy Farah Fowler. The problem is we don’t have an opportunity for young Sheldon to grow because we already know what a deeply flawed person he was in the early seasons of Big Bang.

We know that at some point along the way his dad is going to die so that’s going to be a real downer. Annie Potts has been cast as his MeeMaw for future episodes so she may add something interesting to the mix.

I hate to say it but I think the whole concept behind the show is deeply flawed and I’m not sure what can be done to fix it.

For now I’m giving it a very mild rating of “Could be watchable”. I will continue to give it a chance for a few episodes but I’m not very hopeful.

Star Trek Discovery Is Worthy but Is It Worth It?

It was 51 years ago that the original Star Trek series premiered on TV. Since then we have had 4 other TV versions of Star Trek and over a dozen movies. So one has to ask do we really need another TV series in this franchise. After seeing the first two episodes of the new Star Trek: Discovery, I think the answer is a definitive yes. Well… Maybe it’s not so much that we need it but we can definitively say that it now that it is here, it is a very welcome and worthy addition to the long-running franchise.

Although it is a bit early to tell, it appears that for the first time the central character of a Star Trek series is not going to be the captain. Our central figure is Cmdr. Michael Burnham, an African-American female human played by Sonequa Martin-Green whose previous credits include 8 episodes of The Good Wife, 7 episodes of Once Upon A Time and most notably 69 episodes of The Walking Dead. In the opening scenes one might guess that she was a Vulcan. She’s wearing a hooded costume on a desert planet so you can’t see her ears. She is speaking in very logical, precise, Vulcan-like manner. Throughout the opening episodes however we find out that Burnham is a human whose parents were killed in a Klingon attack. She was raised on Vulcan as the ward of none other than Sarek who is, as all Star Trek fans know, the father of Spock. In this version Sarek wonderfully played by James Frain.

Not only is Sarek her adoptive father and adult mentor, they also share a long-distance telepathic link courtesy of a special mind meld during a near-death experience when she was a child. Throughout the opening episodes she communicates with him either by subspace radio or by this telepathic link wherein he advises her on her current situations.

We also have flashbacks that show her first days in Starfleet wherein she appears to be even more Vulcan-like then she is in the current time period. Speaking of time period, this series takes place just 10 years prior to the events of the original Kirk/Spock/McCoy original series.

During the first two episodes Cmdr. Burnham is assigned as first officer of the USS Shenzhou which is captained by Capt. Georgirou portrayed by guest star Michelle Yeoh. The fact that she is listed in the opening credits as a special guest star is your first clue that she isn’t going to be around for very long. We will try to avoid too many spoilers and not tell you exactly what happens.

The only other major character we get to know in the first two episodes is Saru played by Doug Jones who is accustomed to playing aliens in fullface makeup. He was recently seen as Cochise in the alien invasion series Falling Skies. Jones by the way grew up in Indianapolis, attended Bishop Chartard High School and Ball State University. In this show he is the science officer and is constantly cautioning the captain to play it safe. At first he comes across as cowardly but later we learn why his background makes him so overly cautious. He explains that humans live on a planet that has a food chain with humans at the top but on his planet everything is either exclusively predator or prey. His species was always the prey. They were essentially bred to be eaten. Their entire life was based on the idea that they were destined to die. However in the second episode when the only option available was to fight, he is not hesitant to help the crew plan the attack on the Klingons. Essentially his character is constantly in a fight or flight situation and while he often chooses flight over fight, when all else fails he is definitely up to the task of fighting.

Given the unique background of Cmdr. Burnham being a Vulcan-raised human and the unusual back story of science officer Saur there appear to be rich opportunities for great storytelling in future episodes.

Again trying not to provide too many spoilers, Cmdr. Burnham will not be serving on the USS Shenzhou in future episodes. She will be transferred to the USS Discovery under the command of Capt. Gabriel Lorca played by Jason Isaacs. He did not appear in the first two episodes. You may recall seeing him in the one season USA Network series Dig.

Essentially the show is going to do a bit of a reboot after these first two episodes so it’s a little bit difficult to know what the actual series is going to be like.

The storytelling is definitely up to excellent Star Trek standards and is a worthy successor to previous versions of the franchise.

The set design, props, and most of all CGI special effects are way beyond what we would come to expect from a Star Trek TV series or any TV series for that matter. The opening scene on an alien planet is so far beyond the kind of alien planet environments that we saw in the original series 50 years ago that it makes the old show looked totally ridiculous. One of the criticisms of this new show is that the sets are so detailed and technical that they seem out of place in the canon of Star Trek stories as a prequel to the original series. The critics accuse Star Trek Discovery of being noncanonical as if it is using technology that didn’t exist in the original series. I don’t find a problem with that. In the first two episodes I didn’t see any real technology that seemed out of place in a ten-year prequel. Just because they spent more money designing the sets and props and the CGI is so far superior to anything that we were capable of creating with practical models 50 years ago doesn’t mean that we violated any continuity. At least that’s my opinion.

The other major deviation from previous incarnations of Star Trek is a complete redesign of the Klingon race. Click here for a video showing the differences. We’re told that the Klingon consist of various tribes or houses that have been split from one another and that part of the plot of the opening episodes is an attempt to reunite the Klingon race. Each of the various tribes seems to have a different facial structure. All of them have fullface head makeups not just the traditional Worf-like forehead piece or the even more minimal Klingon makeups from the original series. That lack of continuity doesn’t bother me but it may bother some people.

A quick browse through YouTube reviews have been mostly negative because people are saying “it betrays 50 years of Star Trek” but that so-called betrayal is only continuity issues such as the redesign Klingons. I’ve not seen any negative reviews that really answer the question is it contrary to the heart of Star Trek. I don’t think it is. So if you don’t like the continuity errors, don’t collect a prequel. Call it a re-imagination. The JJ Abrams Star Trek films get away with changing things because of a alternate timeline excuse. Even though this series doesn’t have that gimmick excuse, I still think people should judge it on its own merits as good sci-fi entertainment and if it has the same level of quality we expect from Star Trek. One negative review described it as “Game of Thrones” in outer space. Pardon me but I’ve got no problem with that.

Overall everything that we’ve seen the way of special effects over these opening episodes makes it look very much on par with a current theatrical movie and far beyond what we normally see on a weekly TV series. They are definitely putting in a lot of money into special-effects on this show. Now it may be that they blew their entire CGI budget on these opening episodes to get you hooked and the quality may deteriorate in future episodes. We will have to wait and see.

One of the disappointing parts of the show, this may seem trivial, was the opening title sequence. The new theme song seems Star Trek worthy with lots of audible references to previous themes and it even concludes with a few bars of the original Alexander Courage theme song. However the graphics are completely uninteresting. They are animated set of technical drawings and some other strange animation. I would’ve rather seen a traditional Star Trek opening sequence with the spaceship flying through space. See for yourself in this YouTube video.

I recommend you check out other videos from the Star Trek YouTube channel for more behind-the-scenes info about series.

The biggest problem with Star Trek Discovery is its availability. While the opening episode was broadcast on CBS network, it left you with a cliffhanger. Episode 2 and the remaining episodes which will appear weekly are only available using a subscription paid service called CBS All Access. Outside the US where CBS All Access is not available, the show is airing via Netflix. I don’t know if it’s possible to use a VPN to spoof Netflix into thinking you are outside the US. If it were available on Netflix everywhere then it would definitely be worth it to subscribe to Netflix because of all of the other things that you would get along with it.

The real question is if it is worth it to subscribe to CBS All Access just to get Star Trek Discovery. Of course after the airing of this first episode, subscriptions of the new service increased phenomenally as was expected. In some ways we have to presume the entire creation of this new series is just a gimmick to get people to sign up for the new subscription service. As of right now, the only other original programming available on CBS All Access is the reboot of “The Good Wife” as a show called “The Good Fight” staring all of the original cast and characters except for Julianna Margulies. The first season of “The Good Fight” already streamed late last year and was an excellent series especially if you are a fan of the original “The Good Wife”. Although there are new original series in the works for CBS All Access, currently these two shows are the only original programming and everything else is reruns at archives of CBS programming.

While I imagine diehard Star Trek fans will find it worth it to sign up for CBS All Access just to watch the new series, the irony is that the average Star Trek fan probably has the technical skills necessary to acquire the series from bootleg sources without having to pay for it. Until and unless something more compelling than Star Trek Discovery and The Good Fight are available on CBS All Access is available, I doubt that the average TV watcher will bother to subscribe.

Meanwhile Star Trek fans will definitely want to see this new series and they will watch it by whatever means available whether that is from legitimate subscriptions or other methods.

For now I’m rating it “I really like it”.

By the way it occurred to me that the initials of this series are “STD”. It took everything I had not too title this review “STD is infectious” 🙂

The Orville Works as both Sci-fi and Comedy

Seth MacFarlane’s new sci-fi comedy “The Orville” has been described as either an homage or a spoof of Star Trek. However he insists it’s really its own show and although it draws heavily on Star Trek genre it should be considered on its own merits. Having seen the opening episode I think all of the above is true. It is part spoof, part parody, part homage and a legitimate sci-fi adventure in and of itself.

If we set aside the issues of Star Trek connections and just judge it on its own merits as a sci-fi adventure and a comedy I think after one episode I have to say it works on both levels. It really is a decent sci-fi adventure show with a reasonably credible sci-fi plot. It also made me laugh really hard several times even if it is at times over-the-top silly.

MacFarlane plays Capt. Ed Mercer who in the opening of the show finds his wife in bed with a blue skinned alien. We fast-forward one year to find him down on his luck and depressed over the failure of his marriage. However Adm. Halsey played by guest star Victor Garber tells him he’s being given command of a mid-level exploratory shape called the Orville. Apparently there are 3000 ships in the fleet and they are little shorthanded for captains so despite the fact that he’s been a basic screwup over the past year they are giving him a shot at redemption despite his recent troubles.

Unfortunately his dream assignment turns into a nightmare when he finds out that his first officer is going to be his ex-wife Kelly Grayson played by Adrianne Palicki.

His best friend Gordon Malloy played by ER veteran Scott Grimes is going to be his new helmsman who is supposedly the proverbial “best pilot in a galaxy” but is also a ne’er-do-well alcoholic. We are also introduced into a variety of other alien crewmembers such as his petite female security chief Alara Kitan played by Halston Sage whose size hides the fact that she grew up on a planet with much heavier gravity and so exhibits superhuman strength. We also have a Worf-like character named Bortus played by Peter Macon who you might recognize as Dominique’s police officer father from Shameless.

One surprise bit of casting is Penny Johnson Jerald as the ship’s medical officer Dr. Claire Finn. You will remember her as Capt. Gates from the detective/romance show Castle. It’s a little bit hard to imagine her in a comedy but the character she’s playing seems to be very straightlaced so it might work after all. She does however have some genre credit because she played Kasidy Yates on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

As a sci-fi show the opening plot was actually not too bad. Their first mission is a resupply mission the scientific colony but when they arrive they find out that they aren’t really there to resupply but are to guard a new piece of technology that can speed up time. While it has peaceful uses such as making crops grow quicker it can also be used as a weapon by making your enemy age 100 years in a few seconds. The alien enemy race the Krill are after technology. There is an outer space battle and a ground attack that provides lots of action.

The show also works as a comedy mostly by humanizing the crew in ways that traditional Star Trek type shows do not. For example 2 crewmembers meet in a hallway and one of them asks “Do you have a minute we can talk?” And the other replies “I only have a minute… I’m on my way to pee.” It calls to mind the strange fact that after decades worth of Star Trek we’ve never had anyone talk about taking a leak. In another scene the navigator asked the captain if it’s okay for to keep a drink and his console. The captain agrees as long as he keeps his under the desk and doesn’t spill it on anything. Later in the middle of a tense moment we see the navigator sucking on a Slurpie.

The humor isn’t really so much jokes or funny situations as it is breaking your expectations of what a space adventure is like. In another scene the captain needs to stall the attacking alien while they try to repair the ship and so he engages in a debate with his ex-wife/first officer over there marital problems and they asked the alien commander’s advice. It’s all pretty silly but for some reason it works.

Despite what I’ve said about this not being a Star Trek spoof there are plenty of Star Trek influences everywhere. The design of the bridge echoes features of Star Trek: The Next Generation as does the orchestral soundtrack. On the other hand it breaks some Star Trek conventions such as one-shot that shows an extremely long hallway that had to be done with some sort of optical effects. Traditional Star Trek and other sci-fi spaceship based adventures rely on short corridors or curved corridors to minimize the size of the set. So in some ways is not so much what is similar to Star Trek that makes this show interesting. It’s the ways in which it is different. But you have to be a fan of the original to see and appreciate the differences.

They have ordered 13 episodes and I don’t know if there options to extend it to a full season if it’s a hit or if it’s intended from the beginning to be a limited series. Time will tell whether or not the silliness gets to be too silly and whether or not the hard-core sci-fi aspects continue to hold up episode after episode. For now I’m giving it a rating of “I really like it”. I recommend you check it out for yourself. It might provide an alternative to the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery which will only be available through the streaming subscription service CBS All Access. The first episode of The Orville is available on demand. Episode 2 is next Sunday and then it moved to its regular timeslot on Thursday nights beginning September 21.

America Horror Story: Cult Capitalizes On Political Fear

Normally I only bother to review new series however American Horror Story is an anthology series that reboots itself every season with totally new characters and new situations. It even takes place in different time periods. So in many respects it is a new show each season.

This particular installment for season 7 begins with election night 2016 when Trump was elected president. Considering that as a liberal and Hillary supporter I thought that evening was terrifying enough, I wanted to see what the team from AHS was going to do to capitalize on an already scary situation.

The first three or four seasons of the show I thought were really well done but in recent years I’ve been disappointed. Season 5 titled AHS: Hotel took a very long time to get going. They seemed to go for the shock value of lots of blood and gore for the first three or four episodes before they really got into the character development. Eventually the characters began to reveal themselves with the memorable performances but the overall plot I thought fell very flat.

Last season premiered with great secrecy and hype not revealing the subtitle “My Roanoke Nightmare” until the premier. There were promises that this season was going to tie together all previous seasons. With a few minor exceptions that were references to previous season characters I thought that aspect fell flat. The structure of last season was based on a reality documentary series that recounted the events in a haunted house. The second half of the season was in the form of another reality documentary revisiting the haunted house and re-examining the events from the first half of the season. Overall it was sort of a gimmick season that in some ways was a commentary on fandom of shows like AHS. I sort of liked the gimmick even though it was very gimmicky .

This season is titled AHS: Cult however it’s not really clear yet what the cult aspects of the show will be. Although we do get one very bloody scene near the beginning of the episode, fortunately we do dive right into character development which is where AHS has always been strongest. The opening scenes are of different families witnessing the election results and reacting to them in different ways. On one end of the political spectrum we have Kai Anderson played by AHS veteran Evan Peters. He becomes hysterically giddy with joy over Trump’s election. Throughout the show he reveals himself as an anarchist who sees the election as validation of his radical views. In one scene he goes before the local Town Council to speak against a proposal to allocate police overtime to guard a local Jewish Community Center. He goes into a diatribe about how people love fear and how the Jewish people in particular craved being persecuted. He suggests we allocate no additional resources to their protection because they love to live in fear.

On the other end of the political spectrum we have Ally Mayfair-Richards and her family. She is portrayed by AHS veteran Sarah Paulson. She and her lesbian partner Ivy played by Allison Pill have a 10-year-old son. Ally also becomes hysterical over the election results but out of total abject fear of what it means for her as a lesbian. We later learn however that she also is a deeply disturbed person who is haunted by crippling phobias of clowns, objects with holes in them, and either irrational fears. We learned that the only way she was able to overcome these phobias was through the stable relationship with her partner Ivy. But now that the political climate seems to threaten their way of life, her entire life becomes unhinged. She begins hallucinating that she is being taunted by clowns. But then again is it really hallucination or is it real?

One of the interesting things about this season at least through the first episode is that we have seen nothing that requires a supernatural explanation. The psychotic evil of Evan Peters is all too real. And Ally’s psychosis does not require any supernatural basis. I seriously doubt that the show will avoid dipping into the supernatural considering how heavily it has relied on those themes in the previous six seasons. But I think this would be a much more interesting season if they made it more reality-based. I’ve got my fingers crossed but I’m not holding my breath.

Overall I like the fact that they’ve gone into interesting character development right off the bat and I’m very optimistic this will be an interesting and enjoyable season. For now I’m giving it a very strong rating of “I’m Watching It

Bates out Roberts in at AHS; Killjoy lives but Dark Matter dies; Letterman and Shonda move to Netflix; and more

This is going to be a difficult installment to put together because a major computer malfunction caused me to have to reinstall all of my software. For the most part my data was kept intact except when it uninstalled Feed Demon which is my RSS newsreader, it also destroyed all of the previously captured headlines. So I had to go back to my main entertainment website and do it the old-fashioned way and just browse through the articles page by page.

The new fall season kicks off tomorrow with the premier of American Horror Story on FX. Here is a calendar of other premier dates courtesy of TV line.

Fall Premier Calendar from TV Line

In other news I went to see “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” in 3D. I can’t really figure out why it was such a box office flop. It was every bit as visually standing as the previews implied. Lots of really cool looking aliens, state-of-the-art effects, big space battles. Parts of it were a little bit cheesy but you don’t go to one of those kind of movies for a deep plot or Oscar worthy acting. Probably the acting was the only really bad part of the movie. My tradition is to see a film on the second weekend in order to avoid crowds but my friends were unable to take me that weekend so we went the third weekend. By that time it was only showing in two theaters here in Indianapolis and there were very few showings available in 3D. I suppose my biggest disappointment is since it was a box office flap we will not be seeing any sequels.

I also was able to see Dunkirk in IMAX at the Indiana State Museum downtown IMAX screen. See my review in a separate blog post here

In the Links below read

Three new programs to appear on CBS All Access subscription streaming service

Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated August 2

Spoilers from Inside Line dated August 9

Postmortem interview with producers of Orphan Black about series finale. Two articles.

Interview with “Inside the Actors Studio” host James Lipton about his most memorable moments of the show

Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated August 23

Also of interest but not linked below…

RIP actor and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Sam Shepard age 73 of ALS

Former Y&R soap opera star Hartley Sawyer will guest star on The Flash as “Elongated Man”.

Kathy Bates will not be in the next season of American Horror Story. You can however see her on the Netflix comedy series “Disjointed” about a woman who runs a legal marijuana dispensary.

Marlee Matlin will join the cast of Quantico playing a former undercover FBI agent who lost her hearing by being too close to a bomb blast.

Carol Burnett will have an unscripted show where she interviews kids on Netflix in 2018

We now know how they are going to explain the exit of Kevin James wife Donna on “Kevin Can Wait”. They’re going to kill her off!

Allison Williams will costar with Benedict Cumberbatch in his upcoming Showtime limited series named “Patrick Melrose”

Emma Roberts is returning to American Horror Story next season

Audra McDonald is joining the cast of The Good Fight for season 2. She had previously guest starred in The Good Wife.

ABC announced the upcoming season 9 on sitcom “The Middle” will be its last premiering October 9.

CW will have a four show superhero crossover event November 27/28 beginning with Supergirl followed by Arrow on the 27th in concluding with The Flash and legends of tomorrow on the 28th. No plot details available yet.

The reboot of “Will and Grace” will completely the previous series finale in which all four main cast members broke up and went their separate ways. The new revival act like that never happened. The revival has already been renewed for another season even though this one has not yet premiered.

The spinoff from sitcom “black-ish” which will follow the college exploits of their own list daughter has been renamed from “college-ish” to “grown-ish”. It will premiere on the Freeform network formerly known as ABC family network.

The “Divergent” film series is likely to be continued as a TV series for Starz Network.

Sylvester Stallone will play himself in upcoming episodes of This Is Us as Kevin’s war movie costar.

NBC says Celebrity Apprentice will not be returning to the network anytime soon. Last season’s version with Arnold Schwarzenegger had terrible ratings much to Donald Trump’s delight.

NBC is considering a reboot of Miami Vice

There is going to be a book and movie about New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to be titled “12”

There will be a “The Dark Tower” TV series based on the current film and Stephen King novel series.

Bruce Willis will star in a remake of the vigilante film “Death Wish”. The original starred Charles Bronson.

RIP British actor Robert Hardy who was 91. He appeared in Harry Potter movies, “All Creatures Great and Small” and portrayed Winston Churchill in a miniseries.

Netflix has renewed “Anne With an E” for season 2 based on the Anne of Green Gables stories.

“Annihilation” a sequel to “Ex Machina” will hit theaters in February 2018

Rapper Suge Knight have been arraigned for threatening F. Gary Gray the director of “Straight Outta Compton” in a dispute over the film.

ESPN8 was a fictional channel from the comedy film Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. However on August 8 ESPN will temporarily transform ESPNU into ESPN8 to play along with the joke.

ABC has canceled its plans for a show “The Little Mermaid Live”

USA Network announced season 3 Mr. Robot will premiere October 11

“This Is Us” has lost one of its 11 Emmy nominations. A nomination for contemporary costumes has been rescinded because too much of the episode in question takes place in flashback and therefore was knocked “contemporary” time period.

RIP Haruo Nakajima who was the actor side the original Godzilla suit. Aged 88 died of pneumonia.

David Letterman is going to do a new interview show with a single guest for Netflix sometime next year.

RIP Glen Campbell aged 81. The singer had been battling Alzheimer’s for many years.

Netflix has renewed “GLOW” comedy series about women’s wrestling for season 2.

Brooke Shields will have a recurring role in the upcoming season of Law & Order: SVU.

Tom Cruise suffered a broken ankle during a stunt on a set of Mission Impossible 6

Producer Shonda Rhimes has signed a deal with Netflix and is leaving her current agreement with ABC Studios

A female stunt driver has died during an accident on the set of Deadpool 2

This summer has been the smallest movie gross sales in 25 years. Strangely no major new movies are being released this Labor Day weekend.

Daniel Craig has confirmed he will be James Bond at least one more time.

This season 7 finale of USA series “Suits” will be a backdoor pilot to a spinoff staring Gina Torres a.k.a. Jessica Pearson. The new series will not be a legal drama that will focus on Chicago politics.

According to Forbes magazine Emma Stone was the highest-paid actress in 2017 followed by Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lawrence.

RIP actor Sonny Landham who played the Native American tracker in the 1987 film Creditor. He was 76 and had congestive heart failure.

Donald Trump will not attend this year’s Kennedy Center Honors. This was actually a classy move. The reason given was they wanted to avoid a distraction for the honorees. Some recipients have already said they will not attend a ceremony at the White House afterwards.

Adam Nimoy son of Leonard Nimoy is engaged to Terry Farrell who played Lieut. Dax on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

RIP comedian and social activist Dick Gregory age 84.

RIP comedian, filmmaker Jerry Lewis 91. Loved his work. Disliked him personally.

Netflix viewership dropped 10% during the solar eclipse.

Morgan Freeman will receive the SAG lifetime achievement award next year

EPIX channel has renewed “Get Shorty” for season 2

Amazon has renewed critically acclaimed “Transparent” for season 5

RIP actor Jay Thomas known for his roles on Cheers and Murphy Brown as well as frequent appearances on David Letterman. He was 69.

Ryan gosling will host the season premiere of SNL September 20 with Jay-Z as musical guest

Bill Nye the Science Guy is suing Disney for $37 million over profits from his series

RIP director Tobe Hooper famous for Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Age 74

RIP actor Richard Anderson known for playing Oscar Goldman on “$6 Million Man” he was 91

HBO announced there will be a “True Detective” season 3

RIP comedian Shelley Berman known as a sitdown comic rather than a standup comic. Age 92. Very funny old school comedian. I was a fan.

Syfy Channel has renewed “Killjoys” for 2 final seasons but has canceled “Dark Matter” and I’m disappointed it’s gone.

RIP Walter Becker founding member of Steely Dan age 67

Three new programs to premiere on CBS All Access subscription streaming service

Spoilers from Michael Ausiello dated August 2

Matt’s Inside Line: Scoop on Arrow, Grey’s, Once, Lethal Weapon, Supergirl, The Night Shift, NCIS and More

‘Orphan Black’ Co-Creator Talks Series Finale, Movie Reunion & #Clone Club

Orphan Black EPs Talk ‘Quieter’ Series Finale, Helena’s Birth Scene, [Spoiler]’s Unhappy Ending and Movie Hopes

‘Inside The Actors Studio’ Host James Lipton On His Most Memorable Moments During The Show’s Two Decade-Plus Run

Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on The Flash, Grey’s Anatomy, This Is Us, Scandal, Supernatural, Lucifer, Chi Fire and More