Entertainment News: catching up on news for most of February and March

It’s been since early February that I did an entertainment blog. So some of the news herein may not be so newsworthy after all but there are lots of renewals, cancellations, and sadly obituaries that might be of interest.

Meanwhile before we get onto our usual bulleted lists of news items, we want to take a minute to talk specifically about a couple of shows and films that we’ve seen over the past couple months.

CBS has a new procedural drama titled “Clarice” following the exploits of FBI rookie agent profiler Clarice Starling made famous by Jodie Foster in “Silence of the Lambs”. This series starts about a year after the events of the film. The title role is played by Rebecca Breeds who is unfamiliar to me. I’ve only seen 2 episodes and while it’s not as creepy as “Silence of the Lambs” nor the TV series “Hannibal” is still worth checking out.

In a previous installment of this blog we introduced “WandaVision” after seeing just three episodes. We’ve seen all nine now and it is definitely worth checking out and a must see for fans of the MCU. Similarly we have seen 2 episodes of “Falcon and The Winter Soldier” from the MCU on Disney+ and is well worth your time as well.

Finally we have to talk about the infamous Zach Snyder director’s cut of “Justice League”. A bit of background slider was the original director of the 2017 film but had to drop out of the project after the tragic death of his daughter. Joss Whedon took over the film doing many re-shoots which reportedly lightened up the rather dark tone of the film. When fans learned that there was another incomplete version that was closer to Snyder’s original vision there was a campaign to get it released. Warner Bros. coughed up $70 million to not only complete the special effects of the Snyder cut but to shoot an additional epilogue bringing back Ben Affleck has Batman and even adding Jared Leto as The Joker.

In preparation for watching this epic four hour version I went back and re-watched the theatrical release the day before and then watched the new version. Overall the new extended version is clearly a better film. The original seemed to drag a little bit and I felt every one of the 120 minutes. In contrast the four hour version seemed to fly by. We get extended origin story of the character Cyborg. Additional seems fleshing out the character of Barry Allen as The Flash and some major plot changes along the way.

Unfortunately some of the humor from the theatrical release is obviously lost. There was no way that Snyder was going to include anything that Whedon had added. I could easily envision another cut of the film that included the best of both. Not only was the humor missing there were also some scenes regarding Diana Prince/Wonder Woman and her tendency to hide from public view and rarely coming out to do her superhero thing as publicly as someone as famous as Superman or Batman. I thought the exploration of her being kind of a hermit and her possible leadership role in the Justice League was an interesting subplot that was left out of the new version.

One particularly strange feature is that the new version is presented in a 4:3 narrow aspect ratio instead of a tradition HD 16:9 or wider theatrical format. The disclaimer at the beginning says that it preserves Snyder’s original vision but I can’t imagine his vision was 4:3 . My guess is that the smaller format somehow saved special-effects budgets. I would’ve rather they cropped the 4:3 to a 16:9 and kept the parts that were already done in 16:9 in that format.

The new epilogue is in the form of a dream of the future that Batman has based on information received from The Flash about what the future would hold. This is undoubtedly a set up for Snyder’s intended sequel. However everything we are hearing from the studio is that that sequel will not be forthcoming. Perhaps we will see glimpses of that future of the DCU in the upcoming Flash film. But I would really like to see Snyder’s sequel Justice League. Perhaps fan pressure will get it made in the same way that this extended director’s cut was made.

If you’ve got the time I recommend watching both versions back to back like I did. And if you’re not such a fanatic go ahead and check out before our version. It really is worth seeing. It’s a shame it’s only available on HBO Max and not the big screen.

Now on to our regularly scheduled news blog.

Pandemic News

  • CBS’s Survivor has returned to Fiji to begin production on season 41 after a year delay for the pandemic.
  • American Idol will have a live studio audience. It is the first major network show to return to full in person audiences. Last year’s audience-less final episodes I thought were a disaster.
  • Oscar will create multiple European hubs where nominees can accept their awards remotely and avoid traveling to the US.

Renewals, Coming Soon, and Casting News

  • The first spinoff of “Game of Thrones” to be titled “House of the Dragon” will begin filming sometime this month (April)
  • CBS has renewed “Young Sheldon” for 3 more seasons through 2023-2024. At this rate they will have to rename the show 🙂
  • As expected the NFL is reducing its preseason from 4 games to 3 games and expanding the regular-season to 17 games. The Super Bowl will be February 13, 2020 at LA’s SoFi Stadium.
  • Production has wrapped on the sixth and final season of “Lucifer”. The last half of season 5 will premiere in May on Netflix.
  • Starz has renewed Outlander for season 7 and we are well pleased.
  • Pedro Pascal a.k.a. The Mandalorian has been cast in the upcoming movie “The Last of Us” based on the videogame for HBO. Also cast Bella Remy Ramsey who played Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones.
  • NBC has announced that the upcoming eighth season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine will be its last.
  • Paramount has acquired the rights to produce a new film based on the Rogers and Hammerstein musical “The King & I”. One of my favorites.
  • CBS is considering producing NCIS: Hawaii. Meanwhile NCIS New Orleans will end with season 7.
  • CBS has renewed “The Neighborhood” and “Bob Hearts Abishola “ for additional season.
  • CBS has announced this will be the final season of sitcom “Mom”.
  • Kelsey Grammar will be returning to his role as Fraser in an upcoming Paramount+ series reboot.
  • Showtime has announced “Ray Donovan” will return with the feature-length film.
  • CBS will produce a new streaming version of “60 Minutes” for Paramount+
  • Amy Schumer will produce a series of special episodes of “Inside Amy Schumer” for Paramount+
  • Criminal Minds will return to Paramount+ and will track one case over an entire.
  • The reboot of “The Twilight Zone” produced by Jordan Peele will not return for season 3 on Paramount+
  • Hulu has announced “The Handmaid’s Tale” season 4 will premier April 28.
  • AMC announced “Better Call Saul” will be delayed until early 2022.
  • Seth Meyers has renewed his contract with NBC through 2025
  • CW has announced “Superman & Lois” has been renewed for season 2
  • The Simpsons have been renewed for seasons 33 and 34 which will surpass 750 episodes extending its record as the longest-running scripted television series in history. NBC’s “Meet the Press” is the longest-running show ever.
  • Maria Bello is leaving NCIS
  • Mandy Patinkin is joining “The Good Fight” season five on Paramount+
  • CBS has renewed “The Equalizer” starring Queen Latifah for season 2.
  • ESPN/ABC has signed a seven year contract to carry NHL games 1000 which will be streamed.
  • Kenneth Branagh will direct an upcoming biopic about the Bee Gees.
  • Production on the latest reboot of “The Batman” has completed. The film originally supposed to star Ben Affleck was recast with Robert Pattison. Is currently scheduled for release early March 2022.
  • NBC will not be renewing Jennifer Lopez’s “World of Dance” for another season.
  • AMC announced that “Killing Eve” will end with season 4 scheduled for 2022. However they are looking at a possible spinoff series.
  • Drew Barrymore’s syndicated daytime talk show has been renewed for season 2.
  • Syfy has renewed “Resident Alien” for season 2.
  • Christopher Nolan’s time twisting film “Tenet” is coming to HBO Max on May 1.
  • NBC has renewed the enclosed “Mr. Mayor” for season 2.
  • Amazon prime video has struck a deal to carry 21 New York Yankees home games.
  • CBS has renewed “FBI” & “FBI: Most Wanted” and ordered a spinoff series “FBI: International” which makes no sense to me. How can FBI be international? I guess we have to watch to find out.
  • Sharon Osborne is exiting “The Talk” after the show went on hiatus amid controversy over her defense of British commentator Piers Morgan who criticized Megan Markel for accusing the royal family of racism. She was accused of other racist comments off air.
  • Starz announced there will be no season 4 of “American Gods” however there may be an additional TV movie or event series.
  • Arianna Grande will be replacing Nick Jonas in the season 21 of “The Voice”
  • ABC has announced “Dancing With The Stars” has been renewed for season 30 with the same cast of Tara Banks as host and the usual judges with Derek Hough substituting for Len Goodman.
  • Fox has announced animated series “Bless Harts” will end with season 2.
  • Disney+ has canceled “The Right Stuff” after just one season. I only got around to watching a couple of episodes and wasn’t impressed but people I know online said it was terrible. It is being shopped to other networks and streaming services.
  • The final season of “The Walking Dead” will premier August 22 on AMC.
  • Politics and Showbiz

    • Gina Carano has been fired by Disney from future episodes of “The Mandalorian” and other planned spinoff Star Wars series because of controversial and allegedly racist social media post. She compared the current political climate to that of Nazi Germany which pardon me but doesn’t sound that far off.
    • Fox News host Geraldo Rivera is considering a run for the Senate
    • Matthew McConaughey is considering running for Texas governor.
    • MLB has moved this year’s All-Star game out of Atlanta in protest of George’s new restrictive voting law.

    Miscellaneous News

    • Estimates are that CBS set a record $545 million in advertising revenues for this past years Super Bowl even though it was the lowest rated Super Bowl since 2007
    • When Avengers: Endgame was released it surpassed James Cameron’s Avatar as the highest grossing worldwide box office in history. However recently Avatar was rereleased to the big screen in China and now Avatar has reclaimed the title at $2.18 billion.
    • “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” has broken the Guinness World Record for longest title for a film nominated for an Oscar. At 110 characters the film – usually shortend to “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” – was nominated for two Oscars, Best Actress in a Supporting Role and Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay). The previous record holder for longest title for a film nominated for an Oscar was in 1965 film “Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 hours 11 minutes” with 85 characters. It was also nominated for screenplay but did not win.

    In Memoriam

    • Beverly Cleary acclaimed children’s author who created Ramona and Henry Huggins. Age 104
    • Controversial conservative talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh. Age 70
    • Larry McMurtry novelist who wrote “Lonesome Dove” and won and Oscar as screenwriter for “Brokeback Mountain”. Age 84. One of my dad’s favorite authors he read the book “Lonesome Dove” at least twice and watched all of the miniseries at least three times may be more.
    • Roger Mudd network news correspondent who worked for CBS, NBC, and PBS. Age 93 kidney failure.
    • G Gordon Liddy Watergate fellow who went on to a show business career. Age 90
    • Legendary jazz pianist Chick Corea . Age 79
    • James E. Gunn renowned science-fiction author and editor. Age 97.
    • Lynn Stalmaster the first casting director ever to receive Academy award. Age 93
    • Lou Ottens Engineer for Phillips Electronics who invented the audio cassette tape. Age 94. No truth to the rumor he was lowered into the ground by sticking a couple of pencils in the holes of the mechanism and twisting them.
    • Larry Flynt publisher of Hustler magazine and winner of landmark First Amendment case in the Supreme Court. Age 87
    • Ronald Pickup British character actor who appeared in “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and more than 150 film and TV credits. Age 80.
    • Irv Cross NFL player who became furnished black network sports anchor. Age 81
    • Joan Weldon actress who was terrorized by giant ants in sci-fi classic “Them!”. Age 90
    • Tony Hendra British comedian who is known for playing the stage manager in “This Is Spinal Tap” and miscalculating the size of Stonehenge. Age 79.
    • Cliff Simmons actor who played Ba’al on Stargate SG-1. Age 58 kite boarding accident
    • “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler famous middleweight boxer who empyrean action movies. Age 66
    • Yaphet Kotto actor who appeared in “Live and Let Die” as the first plaque long villain and in the original “Alien” movie. Age 81
    • George Segal Oscar-nominated actor who recently appeared in sitcom “The Goldbergs” age 87
    • Jessica Walter award-winning actress will appear in “Play Misty for Me” as well as TV shows such as “Arrested Development” and also known as the voice of Malory Archer in the animated FXX series “Archer”. Died in her sleep at home in New York. Age 80. Voice recording of season 12 of Archer had completed so she will appear one more time.
    • Don Farmer one of the original anchors of CNN and former ABC News correspondent. Age 82
    • Gloria Henry who played TV mom Allison Mitchell on Dennis the Menace. Age 98.

    Links of Interest

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