Entertainment News: ST: Lower Decks maybe not for everyone; thumbs down to Muppets; Star Wars Holiday goes Lego; SHIELD ends on a high note; and more

After going for many months without an entertainment news update I’m now going to try to do one every 2 or 3 weeks. As experiment I also decided to do a YouTube version of this blog to see what kind of traffic it gets. So here goes.

Starting off with a mini review… CBS All Access has released its first episode of a new animated Star Trek series called “Star Trek: Lower Decks”. It takes place aboard a starship called the Cerritos and focuses on ensigns and other minor officers who occupy the lower decks of a starship. It is a very offbeat comedic version of Star Trek. I don’t really like the animation style with big bulging eyes similar to “The Simpsons” or “Rick & Morty”. The pace is a little bit frantic and sometimes it seems like they try too hard for laughs that don’t really pay off. I’ve got nothing against comedic Star Trek but my initial reaction is if you want a funny Star Trek you should watch “The Orville”. It may grow on me after couple episodes but for now I’m not very optimistic. For now I’m giving it a “could be watchable”. Brief update. After writing this initial comment I’ve seen the second episode and it’s kind of growing on me. It will definitely be an acquired taste that I’m not sure I will acquire but we will see.

Sadly also cannot recommend the new “Muppets Now” on Disney+. I don’t think I laughed once in the entire half-hour episode. Some of the guest stars were given nothing to do except one or two lines. I’m really disappointed.

If you’re looking for something better to watch I would check out the new “Perry Mason” prequel on HBO which just had its first season finale but is available on demand. Also the second season of “The Alienist” on TNT also is worth checking out. It just wrapped up as well but is available on demand. By the way “Alienist” is a term used to describe psychiatrists who diagnose people who are alienated from their own nature. It has nothing to do with outer space aliens. Still it’s really good stuff.

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD had its series finale this week after seven seasons. I have to say this was probably their best ever. The series finale did not disappoint wrapping up lots of plot lines and including a little “one year later” epilogue they gave us a peak into what the agents were doing after the demise of SHIELD. Check the links at the bottom of this article for interviews with cast and producers.

Pandemic News

  • Actor Brian Cranston reveals he has Covid 19. Encourages fans to wear a mask.
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber agrees with the critics that the film adaptation of his musical “Cats” was ridiculous. In other news ALW announced he is a test subject for a possible COVID 19 vaccine.
  • CBS soap operas returned starting August 10. There has not been an original episode since July 20.
  • Radio City Music Hall has canceled its annual Christmas show featuring the Rockettes.
  • New York Comic Con scheduled for October has been canceled and will move online
  • Seth Meyers will not return to the studio at 30 Rock for his late-night show until this fall. He has been producing the show from either a room in his attic or a room at his in-laws house. Jimmy Fallon returned to his studio with the band “The Roots” but no audience a few weeks ago. This week he will have his first in studio guest in the form of a musical performance by one of the members of “Phish”. James Corden has also returned to his studio in LA. Stephen Colbert this week shifted from producing his show at home to producing it at his office at the Ed Sullivan Theater.
  • The Broadway musical “Diana: A New Musical” about Princess Diana was shut down days before it’s official open because of Covid 19. Now it will premier on Netflix prior to reopening on Broadway currently scheduled for May 2021.
  • AMC theaters is offering tickets for $0.15 when it theaters reopen on August 20. Note however this only applies to some features. New first-run films such as Marvel’s New Mutants will cost you the regular price.

Coming Soon, Renewals, and Casting News

  • “Hunters” has been renewed at Amazon Prime for season 2. It is the story of Nazi hunters and stars Al Pacino.
  • Disney+ will stream the live-action version of “Mulan” starting September 4 however it will cost you an extra $30 above and beyond the regular subscription. They say this is one time thing and not new model for releasing films to Disney+. It will be released to theaters in China. European theater owners are pretty upset about the plan and although it hasn’t been reported my guess is US theaters are not to happy either.
  • This month’s winner of the “Sure Sign of the Coming Apocalypse Award”… Tony Danza and Alyssa Milano are creating a reboot of “Who’s the Boss?”
  • Comedy Central is making plans to reboot “The Ren & Stimpy” animated series.
  • Judd Apatow will make a two-part documentary on late comedian George Carlin for HBO.
  • “MacGruber” Will Forte’s bumbling hero spoof of “MacGyver” has been ordered to series for Peacock. The character began as a sketch on SNL and had a feature film in 2010.
  • Reality competition show “Tough As Nails” has been renewed for season 2.
  • Jonathan Pryce has been cast to play Prince Philip in season 5 and 6 of “The Crown”
  • In 1978 Lucasfilm released the “Star Wars Holiday Special” which was such a disaster it was never shown again and never released on VHS or DVD. We are now revisiting the Wookie home world again to celebrate “Life Day” but this time with Legos. This November, Disney+ will play host to The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, an animated 45-minute adventure that will see Rey, Finn, Poe, and Rose help Chewbacca race back to his homeworld of Kashyyyk in time to celebrate Life Day with his family—just as Han did in the original Holiday Special’s framing device premise.
  • Simon Cowell has been hospitalized with a broken back after electric bike accident. Kelly Clarkson is substituting for him as a guest judge on “America’s Got Talent” as it moved to live shows this week.
  • Al Roker will take time off from the today show for shoulder replacement surgery.

Politics and Showbiz

  • A controversial episode of “black-ish” season 4 that has been sitting on the shelf for 2 years at ABC is now available on Hulu. The politically themed episode was highly critical of Trump. Hulu is listing it as Season 4 Episode 99 which is common practice for special episodes or un-aired episodes. I watched it and like many reviewers I think it reveals how wimpy ABC is that they would not broadcast it. The plot revolves around Dre calming down his infant son during a thunderstorm by telling him a bedtime story about the “Shady King”. While it is highly critical of Trump, the real theme of the show is fear. It explores not only Dre’s fears about Trump as president but it delves into other fears such as police brutality, climate change and other issues. Keep in mind this was filmed over two years ago pre-pandemic, pre-George Floyd. I actually thought it was a thoughtful and balanced approach. It even cites Obama’s success is being a root cause of the Pro Trump people because Obama brought in so many changes that scared conservatives. What liberals saw as giant progressive leaps were fearful to those who fear change. Having an African-American president, LGBT rights, gay marriage, everything that liberals celebrate scared the crap out of conservatives. So I thought it was a quite balanced explanation of our current situation (or rather the situation we were in a little over two years ago.) I had to scoff at the ABC logo at the beginning of the show and in the corner of the screen throughout the show. If they were not afraid to put their logo on it, why didn’t they let it broadcast?
  • Broadcast networks have announced they will air one hour per night of convention coverage for the Democrat and Republican conventions both of which will be largely virtual. CNN however plans six hours per night of coverage. Although I haven’t seen any articles about MSNBC or Fox we can be certain they will both provide extensive coverage.
  • Among the people celebrating the choice of Kamala Harris as the new VP nominee is SNL alumn Maya Rudolph who has received 2 Emmy nominations for her portrayal/impersonation of the California senator. Although she lives in LA she figures they will find a way to get her safely to New York when SNL returns in the fall.
  • The Democratic National Convention will have All-Star lineup of performers including John Legend, The Chicks (Formerly Dixie Chicks), Common, Billie Eilish, and Jennifer Hudson.
  • Neil Young has filed copyright infringement lawsuit against the Donald Trump campaign for using his music without authorization.

Miscellaneous Show Business News

  • Elton John is celebrating 30 years of sobriety. Says if he never asked for help he’d be dead
  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has purchased the XFL football league. No word on what he paid but I bet he can afford it easily. He has been named by Forbes as the highest-paid actor for the second year in a row at $87.5 million for Hobbs & Shaw as well as Skyscraper while Ryan Reynolds Deadpool 2 is in second place with 71.5 million.
  • Disney+ streaming service has surpassed 60 million subscribers which surpasses its five-year goal.
  • Late Show With Stephen Colbert has fired music producer Giovanni Ciainci after allegations of sexual misconduct.
  • Epic Games is suing both Apple and Google because they pulled the popular game Fortnite from the App Store and Play Store. Most services require that they get a cut of not only the cost of the game but any in app purchases. Epic rewrote their app so that they get there in app money directly. Pundits are saying that by deliberately violating the terms of service of both stores and then forcing them to remove the games they were setting things up for antitrust lawsuit. More details in the article linked from Gizmodo below.

Obituaries

  • Alan Parker director of “Bugsy Malone”, “Midnight Express”, and “Evita” age 76 after battling a long illness
  • Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” star Mahlon Reyes age 38. Heart attack.
  • Wilford Brindley known for his role in “Cocoon” age 85
  • Character actor Reni Santoni who played “Poppie” on Seinfeld. Age 81.
  • Brent Carver Tony award-winning actor who appeared in “Kiss of the Spider Woman” age 68
  • President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Lorenzo Soria age 68
  • Wayne Fontana 60s pop star who sang the hit “Game of Love” age 74
  • Raymond Allen who appeared in “Sanford and Son” and “Good Times” age 91
  • Trini Lopez after and singer who appeared in “Dirty Dozen” and sang “If I Had a Hammer” age 83. Covid 19.
  • Media mogul Summer Redstone age 97

Linked Articles of Interest

1 thought on “Entertainment News: ST: Lower Decks maybe not for everyone; thumbs down to Muppets; Star Wars Holiday goes Lego; SHIELD ends on a high note; and more

  1. Here’s the thing about “Lower Decks,” if we didn’t already have “Archer” for 11 seasons, this would be super fresh. Consequently, it might feel a little bit like you’ve seen this before. Even down to the excessive shouting and the fact that Ensign Mariner (Tawny Newsome) is basically Lana Kane — more knowledgeable, more experienced, more capable and frustrated at being under-appreciated.

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