TV Surf Report: Super Hero Series Still Trending … And The Newest And Most Welcome Super Power Is Diversity (Thanks, Marvel!)

DCU TITANS

{Updated, Aug. 24, 2019}

Santa Monica, CAMarvel blew everyone away with its film and television slate announcement at the just-concluded San Diego Comic-Con and D23 Expo. The best news is the newest super power in both television and in film is Diversity.

Just when you thought we’d satiated the audience’s hunger for Super Heroes with the ever-expanding but aging Arrowverse comes the DC Universe (which is in jeopardy due to the impending launch of Warner Media Streaming) and Disney’s forthcoming streaming service, Disney+, which I think will be a big big hit especially considering the excitement after the newest box office reigning champion, Avengers: Endgame.

RIP, Stan Lee.  Thank You for everything. Excelsior!

Television is about to get even more crowded (and more interesting) with Caped Crusaders thanks to Marvel and its limited series featuring several AvengersLoki, Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and Scarlet Witch!

That said, Neftlix cancelled all its Marvel shows, including it biggest super hero hit, Daredevil, after three successful seasons; and, both Luke Cage and Iron Fist after two seasons; and The Punisher and Jessica Jones, after 2 and 3 seasons, respectively.

Look for them to return either on Disney+ (launching Nov. 12th!) and possibly as The Defenders (if a deal is reached for a second season, that is).  How Avengers: Endgame Sets Up Marvel Series On Disney Plus, per Nerdist.

Here’s who will be vying for your attention on the small screen:

Marvel TV:

  • She Hulk on Disney+ Just announced at the D23 Expo. Interesting. This is how Marvel continues The Hulk without having to deal with Universal or film rights to a solo movie. Am unfamiliar with this character, though.
  • Ms. Marvel on Disney+ Streaming gets its first Muslim super hero who will also appear on the big screen in Phase 5 of the MCU. Smart to introduce to her first via streaming.
  • Moon Knight on Disney+ Another super hero who I am unfamiliar with, but fans online are rooting for Ricky Whittle (American Gods) to play him.
  • Falcon and The Winter Soldier on Disney+. Set to premiere Fall 2020. Hmm. Am unsure about this team-up as I suspect Marvel is going for an Odd Couple/Lethal Weapon buddy comedy vibe in this 6-part limited series which also features Daniel Bruhl as Baron Zemo and Emily Van Camp as Agent Sharon Carter. Malcolm Spellman (Empire) and Derek Kolstad (John Wick) script. Kari Skogland directs.  Here Are A Few Potential Storylines, per Nerdist …
  • Wanda Vision on Disney+. Set to premiere Spring 2021. Jac Schaeffer (Black Widow) scripts and EPs. Paul Bettany and Elisabeth Olsen will reprise their respective Avengers in a 6-8 episode limited series. Notably, Vision died at the hands of Thanos in Infinity War, and Scarlet Witch evaporated along with half of the universe’s population and was returned thanks to Tony Stark in Endgame, so they both have some explaining to do! Variety Has The Details. Interestingly, Scarlet Witch might be the character who brings in the X-Men to the MCU via a popular comic storyline, The House of M. Kat Dennings set to reprise her role of Darcy from Thor. Interesting.
  • Loki on Disney+. Set to premiere Spring 2021. Tom Hiddleston is set to reprise his role in a series all his own. Lots of source material from which to draw on the further adventures of the God of Mischief (even though he was killed by Thanos in Infinity War!). Michael Waldron (Rick & Morty) set to write and to EP. Storyline picks up supposedly from Avengers: Endgame when Loki vanishes with the Tesseract in the recent past (before Thanos kills him). Kate Herron set to direct.

  • What If? on Disney+. Set to premiere Summer 2021.  Jeffrey Wright (Westworld) is set as The Watcher, an otherworldly being who narrates this animated anthology series exploring What If scenarios in the MCU, such as What if Peggy Carter became Captain America instead of Steve Rogers? All the original actors involved are supposedly set to voice their characters. Sounds pretty intriguing to me.
  • Hawkeye on Disney+. Set to premiere Fall 2021. Jeremy Renner is set to reprise his role as Clint Barton in a limited series that explores his relationship with his daughter, Kate, who at some point, assumes the Hawkeye persona. Marvel is really utilizing its deep bench of supporting Avengers. Jonathan Igla (Mad Men) to script and EP.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at ABC. Is the series still on? Yes, S6 premiered May 8th. Series has been renewed for S7 which will be its last. Joss Whedon EPs.
  • Daredevil on Netflix. Cancelled even though S3 has been hailed as The Highest Peak of Marvel TV.
  • Jessica Jones on Netflix. Cancelled following S3 which premiered in April. Too bad!
  • The Punisher on Netflix. Cancelled following S2. Sorry, Jon Bernthal.
  • Ghost Rider on Hulu. Gabriel Luna set to star. What no Nic Cage????? Not moving forward.
  • Helstrom on Hulu. What in the hell is Helstrom, you ask? Me, too. More to come.
  • The Gifted at Fox. Cancelled after two seasons.
  • Marvel’s Runaways at Hulu. S2 now streaming. Renewed for S3 which premieres Dec. 13th. Elizabeth Hurley joins the cast as Morgan Le Fay.
  • Legion at FX.  S3 will be its last, but the upside is that Professor X makes his appearance as the estranged father to Dan Stevens. Final season premiered June 24th.
  • Cloak & Dagger at Freeform.  S2 premiered April 4th with a 2-hour episode.
  • Howard the Duck (Hulu) Seriously. Kevin Smith to direct an animated series featuring this silliest of super heroes. Nerdist Has The Details Here…

DC Universe

Uber-Producer Greg Berlanti, Hollywood’s $400m Man, has 14 series on the air. That’s all ya need to know about the DC Universe because Berlanti is King of the World there. However, the big news released during San Diego’s Comic-Con is the 5-hour crossover event within the Arrowverse, called Crisis On Infinite Earths.

Supposedly, this Event TV will involve major deaths from each series, but the coolest casting news is that actor Burt Ward returns, presumably as ’60s Robin from my favorite Batman series. Also, Lynda Carter is reportedly returning as Wonder Woman.

I expect this stunt programming will yield big ratings for The CW. I don’t watch any of these series, and I am very into this event.

  • Arrow on The CW. Series star Stephen Ammel announced that S8 will be the series’ last. That’s big news for the Arrowverse and its subsequent spinoffs, The Flash  (renewed for S6), DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (renewed for S5) and Black Lightning (renewed for S3).Ten Episodes Will Wrap It Up In The Fall, per Deadline.
  • Arrow Spin-off featuring Green Arrow and the Canaries is in the works as a backdoor pilot. Stay tuned.
  • Supergirl on The CW. What began as a high profile mismatch on CBS is now a good fit on The CW’s new Sunday night aimed squarely at young girls. Jon Cryer joins the cast as Lex Luthor. Renewed for S5.
  • Batwoman will make her debut on The CW via the Arrowverse with her own spinoff to follow. Greg Berlanti, EPs. Ruby Rose stars as the lesbian superheroine. David Nutter directs the pilot.
  • Titans — Greg Berlanti, Akiva Goldsman, and Geoff Johns executive produce the flagship series for DCU, which premiered 10/12 and is already renewed for S2. EW Gives Titans A Rave.; $8/month subscription will test the mainstream appeal but fanboys are sure to show up to hear Robin exhort, “Fuck Batman!” This series is not for kids. Esai Morales is set to star as Deathstroke in S2, which premieres in September. Here’s the Trailer for a Free Preview.
  • Swamp Thing at DC Universe. James Wan (Aquaman) EPs this series which premiered May 31st and cancelled within one week after its debut.  Len Wiseman (Underworld) directs. Jennifer Beals, Will Patton, and Virginia Madsen set to star. Here’s a 1st-Look Trailer.
  • Lobo at SyFy. This is a pilot spinoff of Krypton, featuring the intergalactic bounty hunter played by Emmett J. Scanlan. SyFy has reportedly passed on this project following its cancellation of Krypton.
  • Lucifer cancelled at Fox but picked up by Netflix for S4 (now streaming) and renewed for S5 (the final season). Graham McTavish (Aquaman, Outlander, LOTR) guest stars.  Here is the devilish S4 T R A I L E R.
  • Krypton on SyFy. The family saga led by Superman’s grandfather continues in S2, which premiered June 12th, however, SyFy has since cancelled the series. No S3 unless DC Universe picks it up for streaming. Here’s the T R A I L E R.

ANIMATED HARLEY QUINN SERIES

  • Harley Quinn — Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) voices Harley in this animated series that finds Joker’s ex-girlfriend sharing a prison cell at Arkham with Poison Ivy (voiced by Lake Bell). Here’s the TRAILER.
  • Doom Patrol was featured on a recent episode of Titans. Spinoff is forthcoming! Brendan Fraser and Matt Bomer star among the voice cast. Here’s Everything You Need To Know, per Rotten Tomatoes. Renewed for S2.Stargirl — Based on the comic created in 1999 by Geoff Johns to honor his sister, this series centers around Brec Bassinger who stars as a high school sophomore and a group of teen superheroes. Justice League Jr.!  Premieres in 2020. Greg Berlanti EPs, natch. The Wrap Has The Casting Details…
  • Stargirl at DC Universe — Geoff Johns created this high school super heroine character to honor is late sister. Premieres in 2020. Hope it succeeds.
  • Gotham at Fox. S5 just concluded as did the series by finally introducing Batman, and yet Batman prequels are all the rage right now. Weird.
  • Pennyworth at Epix — Bruno Heller (Gotham) tells the prequel story of Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred. Jack Bannon (The Imitation Game) stars in the 10-episode series set in 1960s London. Premieres July 28th. Mixed Review From Variety.Nerdist Has More Info Here.

Alfred-Pennyworth

Star Wars:

MANDALORIAN

  • The Further Adventures of Obi-Wan Kenobi (Disney+) Ewan MacGregor has reportedly signed on for a limited series, wherein, he’ll reprise his role as everyone’s favorite Jedi Master. Will be interested to see where this goes as there is lots of uncharted territory for this character after the first three prequel films which I thought were dreadful to Star Wars: A New Hope (which I still love). I’m in. Deborah Chow (The Mandalorian) set to direct.
  • Rogue One (Disney +) Diego Luna stars in a prequel espionage-themed series set before those pesky Bothans steal the plans for the Deathstar which is destroyed in Star Wars IV. Expect the Empire to be quite healthy in this one.
  • The Mandalorian (Disney+) Jon Favreau EPs this action/adventure following a lone gunslinger (Boba Fett anyone?) in the Star Wars Universe. Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnorak) directs a few epsiodes and voices an android, which is exciting. Pedro Pascal (Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Game of Thrones, Narcos)  and Nick Nolte in talks to star. Timeline is post-Return of the Jedi.  The jury is definitely out on this one. Favreau Explains It All, via THR.

Elsewhere:

  • Watchmen (HBO) EP Damon Lindelöf (The Leftovers, Lost) returns to the graphic novel for his adaptation eschewing Zack Snyder’s dreadful feature, and it looks like there’s a new vigilante in town. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails scored the music for the pilot which was directed by Nicole Kassell (The Leftovers). Check out the fantastic T R A I L E R. Regina King kicks some serious butt. Looking forward to this series. Question: Is this property considered part of the DC Universe? Series premieres in October.
  • American Gods (Starz)  Renewed for S3 with Charles Eglee tapped as the new showrunner. Blythe Danner guests as the goddess Demeter. Very interesting as this character was not in the novel. S2 premiered to lotsa buzz and mixed reviews. Ricky Whittle returns as Neil Gaiman’s hero, Shadow Moon, but Gillian Anderson will not return as the goddess Media, replaced by New Media. Clever. Neil Gaiman promises S3 will take us to Laketown, a major setting in the novel, so I can’t wait to see who is cast as Hinzleman! I loved this novel and enjoyed the first season. Fingers crossed it’ll be just as good. Here’s the T R A I L E R for S2. Looks good!
  • The Magicians (SyFy) Lev Grossman’s enthralling trilogy adaptation has been renewed for S5. Never dug the casting here. Ho Hum. Musical episode! I may have to give it a binge, though. More Magic Promised For S5, per EW.
  • Preacher (AMC) has just been picked up for S4, which will be its last. Dominic Cooper stars in this successful adaptation of the graphic novel. Seth Rogen EPs.
  • Umbrella Academy (Netflix)  Ellen Page leads this ensemble of super heroes. Just renewed for S2.

  • The Boys (Amazon) From the guys who brought us Preacher comes a new series from a cancelled DC Comic (too raunchy!) starring Karl Urban (Star Trek) in an ensemble comedy about a group of guys with superpowers who like to hang out together. Already renewed for S2 prior to its premiere. Amazon must feel confident. Here’s the T R A I L E R for the series which premieres July 26th.
  • Ultraman (Netflix) I loved this series as a kid. A fighter pilot merges with a monster, sort of a Japanese version of Incredible Hulk, but with really really bad monsters, voice dubbing, etc. Premieres April 1st. Interested to see how it’s been re-imagined.
  • Future Man (Hulu) Josh Hutcherson stars as a janitor by day, gamer hero by night who saves the day. Seth Rogen EPs. Just renewed for S3.
  • The Tick (Amazon) S2 of this re-boot now streaming. Series has not been renewed for S3.

  • Magic: The Gathering (Netflix) The Russo Bros. (Avengers) exec produce this adaptation of the popular fantasy card game, which will be animated and feature super heroes with magic.
  • Masters of the Universe: Revelation (Netflix) Kevin Smith is set to EP a new anime series of the well-known Mattel toy line.

N E X T   U P:

When Is Too Much TV Just Too Much?!

NEO AS THE ARCHITECT

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Film Surf Report: In 2020, Movie Heroes Will Be Super And Not All Will Be Wearing Capes (Unless Fur-Lined And/or Pink). It’s Kingsman Vs Elle Woods!

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Santa Monica, CA — In 2020, Super Heroes arrive in the guise of Elle Woods, James Bond and Hercule Poirot. For actors Reese Witherspoon, Daniel Craig, and Kenneth Branagh, these iconic characters are their super hero roles, only without the red capes and super powers (unless you count accessorizing, longevity and deduction).

The Future is Always Changing, and nothing could be more true about movie release dates especially concerning everyone’s favorite super franchise. Disney’s acquisition of Fox affects the future of Fox’s Marvel properties (X-Men, Deadpool, Fantastic Four), and over at Warner Bros., DC Comics seems like it’s in complete disarray.

The result is a very cloudy picture of what we can expect to see on the big screen from 2020 and beyond. The good news: We get a double dose of Gal Gadot who will star in both Wonder Woman 1984 and Death on the Nile.

Here is the list of Super Hero Franchise Films (and remember, not all wear capes or possess super powers! Okay, some of them may, in fact, wear capes but they will be fur-lined and/or pink in color!) in the pipeline for release starting in 2020 and beyond:

DANIEL PICARD PHOTO NEAR MEERT

  • Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) — Feb. 7th — Margot Robbie co-produces and stars as Harley Quinn.  Cathy Yan (Dead Pigs) directs from a script by Christina Hodson, who is also scripting the standalone Batgirl film. Ewan MacGregor has signed to play the villain, Black Mask. The other birds include Jurnee Smolett-Bell as Black Canary and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress. Film doesn’t start shooting until 2019. More Info on Black Canary and Huntress, per THR  

ELLE WOODS 2

  • Legally Blonde 3 — Feb. 14th — Make no mistake, Elle Woods is Reese Witherspoon’s version of a Super Hero. This character has influenced a generation of female law school applicants and graduates. Her Super Powers: Inspiration. Enthusiasm.
  • Kingsman: The Great Game — Feb. 14th — Matthew Vaughn has cast Ralph Fiennes and Matthew Goode (A Discovery of Witches) who will undoubtedly show us how Manners Maketh Man in this prequel film. Can’t wait.
  • Bond 25 — April 8th —  Cary Fukunaga (Maniac, True Detective) replaces Danny Boyle who left the production in pre-production due to creative differences. Daniel Craig returns for one last go as Agent 007.  Lupito Nyong’o and Rami Malek are in talks to also star. Monica Bellucci also reprises her role as a femme fatale. Everything You Need To Know, via Men’s Journal.  
  • Black Widow — May 1st — Scarlett Johansson nabs a $15 million payday (per THR) for her own solo film which is supposedly an origin story pre-Avengers, so expect Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury to recruit her to S.H.I.E.L.D. Am assuming the big raise comes on the heels of her 7-picture contract expiring with Avengers 4. Cate Shortland (Lore) is set to direct from a script by Jac Schaeffer (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels). Florence Pugh (Little Women), David Harbour (Stranger Things) and Rachael Weisz (The Favourite) set to co-star. The Journey of Black Widow, per THR.
  • A Quiet Place 2: Even More Quiet (working title) — May 15th — John Krasinski returns as screenwriter to the hit horror film that starred Emily Blunt as someone who can step on a nail and not scream her lungs out! Now that is a super power. Blunt and the actors who portrayed her kids are set to return. Cillian Murphy (Peaky Blinders) co-stars. Krasinski directs.
  • Wonder Woman 1984 — June 5th — Diana, Steve Trevor and Cheetah (Kristen Wiig) have pushed back their release date by seven months. What’s up, Patty Jenkins? Doesn’t really matter cuz I’m in!
  • The Eternals — TBD — Marvel introduces a new batch of Greek-inspired super heroes based on a number of comics from decades past. Chloe Zhao (Songs My Brother Taught Me) is attached to direct. Script is by Matthew and Ryan Firpo. Angelina Jolie is set to star as Circe. Kumail Nanjiani also stars. This franchise will connect the Avengers to X-Men, most likely.  Nerdist Breaks It All Down For Ya… 

BRANAGH AS POIROT

  • Death on the Nile — Oct. 2nd — Make no mistake. Hercule Poirot, the world’s greatest detective, is Kenneth Branagh’s super hero role of a lifetime (not counting Gilderoy Lockhart, natch).  Following the successful re-make of Murder on the Orient Express, Branagh re-teams with scribe Michael Green (Blade Runner 2049, American Gods) to re-make another Agatha Christie classic. Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, and Letitia Wright are set to star.
  • Indiana Jones: I’m Too Old For This Shit (Working Title) — TBD — There’s a writer’s room assembled at Amblin. Spielberg to direct Harrison Ford. Let’s wait and see, shall we? Am still not over the dreadful Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. No script yet, per producer Frank Marshall.
  • Shang-Chi — Nov. 6th — Marvel’s first Asian-American superhero (and next addition to The Avengers) gets director Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12) and write Dave Callaham (Wonder Woman 1984).
  • Black Panther 2 — TBD — Ryan Coogler has signed to write and to direct the sequel to the super hit which will take us all back to Wakanda. Expect a late 2020 release at the earliest (per THR). Who’s the next villain, though? Nerdist Scopes Out Six Potentials. 
  • Avatar 2 — Dec. 18th — Just wrapped production, the sequel to the highest grossing film in history will finally hit theatres in a non-Star Wars month. James Cameron writes and directs, natch.
  • Supergirl — TBD — Yes, DC is giving Kara Danvers’ alter ego another shot at moviedom following Helen Slater’s take in the ’90s and the current series on The CW. Oren Uziel (Mortal Kombat, 22 Jump Street) scripts. No director is set yet.
  • X-Force A team franchise led by Deadpool, Fox will make it work for better or worse (Fantastic Four anyone?). Drew Goddard writes and directs this non-virtuous team of X-Men which also includes Josh Brolin’s Cable. Ryan Reynolds gets an EP credit. Perhaps, the Fox sale to Disney will stall this franchise once Marvel gains complete control. Looks like that is the case. Too bad as I really enjoyed Deadpool 2.
  • Kitty Pryde — TBD — Comics writer Brian Michael Bender and Deadpool director Tim Miller are developing a feature (with the code name 143) around the X-girl who walks through walls.  No word yet if Ellen Page will reprise the role. Miller is set to direct. Am hearing most if not all of Fox’s development of Marvel properties are now dead.
  • Joker & Harley — TBD — DC Comics is such a mess that they are developing another movie around The Joker played by Jared Leto who reprises the role from Suicide Squad. Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Bad Santa) script. The AV Club Has The Details Here…

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HARWOOD

  • Flashpoint   Ezra Miller’s standalone film has been plagued with problems: New script and new director (John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein who wrote Spider-Man: Homecoming and who directed Game Night) caused the film to get pushed back. Hope they get this film on track as Miller was the highlight of the Justice League. This DC film will likely move to 2021 as it doesn’t go into production until late 2019 to accommodate Miller’s shooting schedule on Fantastic Beasts 3 (which means his character survives Fantastic Beasts 2, no?). DC Film Slate Gets All Shook Up  Gal Gadot supposedly returns as Wonder Woman!– Here’s a very sketchy T I M E L I N E of the project’s troubled development, per EW.  Now, the latest is that Miller is co-writing the script with comics writer Grant Morrison. Cool. I’d bet on him.
  • Doctor Strange 2: Wong in Paradise  Marvel has signed Scott Derrickson to direct the sequel starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the Master of Medieval Arts.
  • DC Super Pets — May 21st  — Assuming this one is animated and for the kiddos.
  • The Batman  — June 25th — Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, War for the Planet of the Apes) directs from his own script which is not an Origin Story, thank Gotham. Story remains a Detective Noir piece set within Gotham City. Ben Affleck is out as Bruce Wayne. Rumors suggest Bruce Wayne will face a rogue’s gallery of villains. Fingers crossed for BookwormHere are Nerdist’s Suggestions For The Villain(s)
  • The Suicide Squad — Aug. 6th  — James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, Vols. 1, 2 and script for 3) has signed to write/direct a re-boot of the villainous ensemble which features DC’s The Joker, Harley Quinn, Deadshot & Co. Will Smith has announced he will not reprise his role as Deadshot. Fine by me! Paging Dave Bautista! Idris Elba is likely to sign on for the role.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 — TBD — Writer/Director James Gunn is back on board after Disney/Marvel rehire him.  He’s also back on Twitter, as well, which is where his troubles started. Rotten Tomatoes Has The Details.
  • Aquaman 2 — Dec. 16th, 2022! — No script yet, but David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, the screenwriter credited with the first film, has been set to pen the sequel. Please let there be a coherent, emotionally resonant and fun story. I felt there was way too much going on in the first one and would have been content had DC just told the story of Arthur Curry’s parents, which I found compelling.

N E X T   U P :

When Is Too Much TV Just Too Much?

NEO AS THE ARCHITECT

 

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TV Surf Report: Hollywood Loves True Crime, The Trend That Keeps On Trending…

SERIAL

Santa Monica, CA — Lately every day in America, I feel as though I wake up to yet another True Crime story the moment I turn on National Public Radio:  What has POTUS done today? Which Hollywood mogul has resigned due to scandal? Who is the latest to be Accused? Sadly, a gruesome murder would be a welcome respite at this point. (I jest…mostly.)

While I have certainly tired of True Crime stories, Hollywood most definitely has not.

Blame Ryan Murphy’s multiple Emmy Award-winning limited series, The Assassination of Gianni Versace, for continuing this trend (which picked up a lot of steam with Murphy’s The People Vs. OJ Simpson).

MAKING A MURDERER

If True Crime TV ain’t your jam, check out 33 Great True Crime Books As Picked By True Crime Writers, Per Vulture. My favorite is In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

Podcasts on True Crime are thriving, as well. Uproxx Lists The 20 Best True Crime Podcasts.

Meanwhile back to TV, here’s some of what’s in the ol’ development pipeline and heading your way:

  • Crime Farm (HBO Max) Nicole Kidman EPs this psychosexual drama about a married couple who are crime investigators and the crime that unravels their marriage. Sounds like Eyes Wide Shut meets Columbo! Variety has has the details HERE.
  • Major Crimes (TBD) Director David Ayer and Entertainment One partner on this anthology series focused on notorious LA crimes, dramatizing one crime per season.
  • Unsolved Mysteries (Netflix) Shawn Levy and original creators Cosgrove/Meurer team up for a reboot of the successful NBC true crime documentary series that was hosted by Robert Stack.
  • Interrogation (CBS All Access) Peter Sarsgaard set to star as a detective investigating a young man who murdered his mother. Series order.
  • The Act at Hulu. Calum Worthy, Joey King, and Patricia Arquette star in this seasonal anthology character-based series whose first season is adapted from Michelle Dean’s 2016 Buzzfeed article, Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter To Be Sick, Gypsy Wanted Her Mom To Be Murdered. Here are details via Deadline Hollywood.
  • Making a Murderer at Netflix. S2 premieres Oct. 19th. Filmmakers return to Wisconsin to follow the post-conviction aftermath of a man who allegedly murdered a woman. Here’s the T R A I L E R for S2.The Wrap has all the details about S2.
  • Crimetown at FX. S2 of this podcast explores the corruption in Detroit. S1 focused on Rhode Island’s corruption.  New season launched Oct. 1st. From the producers of The Jinx.

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  • Law & Order: Hate Crimes at NBC. Dick Wolf gets a series order for the latest iteration of his hit series franchise. New 13-episode spin-off will be featured within an SVU and focus on New York’s Hate Crimes Task Force.  How uplifting! Deadline has more details here.
  • Escape at Dannemora at Showtime. Benicio Del Toro and Patricia Arquette star in the limited series about two guys who escape from prison with the help of a female admirer. Arquette recently won a Golden Globe Award for her performance. Ben Stiller executive produces and directs this 8-parter. Here’s the Trailer, per THR.
  • Fever at BBC America.  Elizabeth Moss stars as Typhoid Mary, a immigrant imprisoned for spreading the disease among wealthy New England families. Based on Mary Beth Keane’s novel.  Megan Ellison and Sue Naegle of Annapurna Films executive produce.
  • A Very English Scandal for BBC One. Hugh Grant stars as a disgraced Prime Minister who was accused and acquitted of murdering his ex-lover who is played by Ben Whishaw (in a Golden Globe-winning perf). Stephen Frears directs. It’s already premiered in the UK. Available now on Amazon. Here are 10 Things You Need To Know.
  • Serial at NPR.  S3 of the popular and influential podcast explores Cleveland’s criminal justice system.  Serial Is Still A Juggernaut, per Vulture.
  • Trial and Error: Ladykiller at NBC.  Even True Crime stories are getting the mockumentary treatment as evidenced by this sitcom which is one of my favorite series of 2018.  Trial & Error  is heavily influenced by Serial and Crimetown. Each season stars a new criminal defendant in the fictional town of East Peck.  John Lithgow is featured in S1, and the charming Kristin Chenoweth (American Gods, Pushing Daisies) steals the show in S2. Sorry to report that NBC has passed on a S3.  Could be heading to Hulu or to Amazon. We can all use a little levity, yes?

TRIAL AND ERROR CAST S2

  • Why Women Kill at CBS All Access. Marc Cherry (Devious Maids, Desperate Housewives) fictionalizes the nature of true crime murders in three different decades. All the murders are motivated by betrayal.
  • Defending Jacob at Apple. Chris Evans (Captain America, Snowpiercer) stars in this straight-to-series order about a man whose 14-year-old son is accused of murder. True story is based on William Landhay’s 2012 novel. Variety’s Got The Deets….  

And speaking of Serial, if you never saw Saturday Night Live‘s hilarious sendup of Serial‘s hard-hitting investigation into Santa Claus (featuring the wonderful Cecily Strong and Amy Adams), you must treat yourself to a good laugh:

SNL Serial: The Christmas Surprise

N E X T   U P :

When Is Too Much TV Just Too Much?

NEO AS THE ARCHITECT

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TV Surf Report: Witches Are On Fire, Um, Trending And Audiences Are Spellbound

{Sept. 10, 2019}

Santa Monica, CA — Move over Vampires, Zombies, and Donald Trump, Witches are making a big comeback on the small screen(s).

That Hollywood Zeitgeist strikes again as broadcast networks, streaming services, and cable all seem to be whipping up the same sort of witchy brew. Coincidence? (Or perhaps, it’s the result of very intricate piece of spellwork that would make J.K. Rowling proud!)

It wasn’t too long ago that Charmed, True Blood and Midnight, Texas were casting spells and brewing potions. Still, what’s old is new again these days in TV.

Let’s take a look at those shows coming up that are more or less, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered:

  • Dark Shadows: Reincarnation (The CW) Get ready to possibly return to Collinwood for another go at a supernatural soap opera involving lots of vampires, witches, werewolves, and hopefully, time travel. I loved the original and my favorite character for Dan Curtis’ series was the witch, Angelique. Mark B. Perry (Revenge) EPs alongside Curtis’ daughters. Expect everyone to be quite young and CW beautiful.
  • Circe (HBO Max) Madeline Miller’s wonderful 2018 re-imagining of ancient Greek myths really resonated with me, so I am quite curious to see this adaptation which contemporizes the main characters, settings, etc. Read. This. Book.
  • Practical Magic (HBO Max) In a bit of corporate synergy, Warner Bros. TV garners a pilot order for this 1998 WB film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Story is a prequel to the film and is based on Alice Hoffman’s novel, The Rules of Magic, and centers on a family of troubled siblings descended from witches. Melissa Rosenberg (Jessica Jones) exec produces, which bodes well, I think.
  • Dune: The Sisterhood (HBO MAX) Straight-to-series order for this Dune Universe story about The Bene Gesserit, those witches who train Paul Atreides in Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming re-make of Dune, Frank Herbert’s masterpiece SF novel where The Spice Must Flow.  Interestingly, this spinoff series about A Sisterhood is being directed and written by men. A female showrunner, Dana Calvo (Good Girls Revolt), has since been added, joining showrunner Jon Spaihts. Premieres in 2020 at the earliest.
  • The Pale Horse (BBC One, Amazon Prime) Agatha Christie’s novel gets adapted as a 2-parter. Mystery set in the village of Much Deeping and The Pale Horse, which is home to a trio of witches. Rufus Sewell (Man in the High Castle) set to star.

  • A Discovery of Witches at SKY One (and now AMC).  Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer topline this adaptation of author (and USC professor) Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy.  Book One is ADOW. Series premiered already in the UK, and broke records for Sundance Now, AMC’s SVOD service as well as Shudder, the streaming service specializing in Horror. This is a big hit! Series has been renewed for S2 (which covers the second book, Shadow of Night, and S3. Oxford locations! I’m in. Here’s the very enticing Trailer.
  • Motherland: Fort Salem (Freeform) This drama is set in an alternate reality where witches cut a deal to avoid persecution and now work for the government. Sounds terrible! Will Ferrell and Adam McKay EP. Eliot Lawrence (Claws) scripts.
  • American Horror Story: Apocalypse (FX) The crossover (details here) of two seasons, Murder House and Coven, bring the story back to New Orleans where Sarah Paulson is The Supreme, the witch who runs that coven house which doubles as a school for wayward girls. Here’s a Re-Cap of the First Episode, per Vulture
  • Charmed (The CW) This re-boot from the EPs of Jane the Virgin ditches the San Francisco setting of the 10-year-old original hit and transplants the Sisters back East (or is it Vancouver?!). Now, the Charmed Ones are three Latinx sisters, each of whom shares a different father. Am thinking the timeslot is great (following Supergirl) on Sundays, so The Power of Three may triumph yet again despite the lack of support from original cast members Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano, or Rose McGowan.  Deadline Hollywood Agrees With Their Review. Decent ratings for S1 and  has been renewed for S2 (but with a new showrunner), which is a win. Here’s the Trailer which Explains It All
  • The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix) was to have been a spinoff of The CW’s Riverdale, however, the tone of this re-boot is much darker and in the vein of The Omen. Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) stars as Sabrina. No word yet on a cameo by Melissa Joan Hart, who starred in ABC’s hit sitcom adaptation by Nell Scovell. Series has a 2-season order which bodes well, and has recently been picked up for two additional seasons. Also, I think Netflix has beaten the Buffy re-boot to the proverbial punch. Here’s the Trailer via EW
  • Bewitched (ABC) The EPs of Black-ish have garnered a big pilot production commitment for this re-boot which finds Samantha Stevens involved in an inter-racial marriage. More importantly, who gets to play nosy neighbor Gladys Kravitz or mother-in-law, Endora?  I have a bad feeling about this one. Project has been rolled over to next year.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TBD) The Scooby Gang is coming back but with all new Scoobys and an all new Slayer. Presumably, one or more of the gang will have some Wiccan powers, or maybe, Alison Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg) will return to advise. I miss Anya.  Just me?  Monica Breen (Midnight, Texas) scripts. Joss Whedon consults. Also, have a bad feeling about this one, as well.  Money Grab. Sorry, fans.

                       

  • The Witcher at Netflix. A group of young people hunt demons in this series based on Polish novelist Andrzej Sapkowski’s books.  Sean Daniel (The Mummy) produces.  Buffy 2.0 anyone? Henry Cavill (Mission: Impossible, Superman, Justice League) has signed on to star. Wow! Check out Henry Cavill’s Recent Post on Instagram!
  • His Dark Materials at BBC and HBO. Phillip Pullman’s books are quite supernatural as main character Lyra and her best friend travel the multiverse along with their daemons. It’s quite bewitching without really ever using the word, Witch. Two seasons are ordered for this expensive adaptation that features Dafne Keen, James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Now Shooting in Wales, Per Deadline
  • The Witching Hour (TBD) Anne Rice’s 1990 influential masterwork is the first book in a trilogy set in a mysterious house on First Street in the Garden District of New Orleans, the ancestral home of The Mayfair Witches. I LOVE THIS BOOK. Warner Bros. optioned the book in 1990 when it was first published, then NBC picked it up for a 12-hour miniseries. Expect this property to get hot again once The Vampire Chronicles goes into production at Hulu. Here’s a Summary of the Novel via Wikipedia

WITCHING HOUR BOOK

  • Penny Dreadful: City of Angels (Showtime) John Logan’s wonderful series gets revived with a new storyline set in 1930s Los Angeles, so expect lots of witchy hijinks and perhaps some magical realism. Can’t wait! Natalie Dormer and Nathan Lane are set to star.
  • The Magicians (SyFy) Now in S4, this adaptation of Lev Grossman’s wonderful trilogy has really moved on from the source material and expanded into some serious exploration of its characters. At first, I was not really into the casting or the Canadian locations, but the audience has found it, loved it, and made this show into a hit for SyFy.

N E X T   U P :

 

AUTUMNAL EQUINOX

 

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TV Surf Report: Blame The Re-Boot Craze On Success … And Fear

LOST IN SPACE

{Updated, Sept. 24, 2019}

Santa Monica, CA — Amazon’s hit original series, Fleabag, was the big winner at this year’s Emmy Awards, and fans really really responded to Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s dark comedy about a sex addict and her S2 infatuation with a Hot Priest (played by Andrew Scott, best known as Sherlock’s nemesis, Moriarty).

I fully expect the broadcast networks to add a Hot Religious Person to every new series and pilot this season as they look to copy Fleabag‘s attraction to viewers (and to Emmy voters), so expect ABC to re-boot its ’90s series starring Tom Bosley, The Father Dowling Mysteries, with you guessed it a Priest/Trainer at Gold’s Gym who solves crimes.

Meanwhile, I finally got around to watching Netflix’ reboot of Lost in Space, one of my all-time childhood favorite TV series. The pilot felt (and looked) a bit drab introducing me to the The Robinsons, putting them into immediate jeopardy, but hooking the audience that stayed with them to the end with the introduction of Parker Posey as someone posing as Dr. Smith!

Danger Will Robinson!

I was immediately reminded of SyFy’s reboot of Battlestar Galactica, which also looked kinda drab in its pilot, but under Ron Moore’s brilliant guidance, BSG quickly found its footing and mythology which far surpassed the ABC original series from the ’80s.  BSG was so good, creatively-speaking, that it became an entertainment industry Influencer. (Note: BSG is getting another re-boot. This time, it’s for NBC/Universal’s streaming service, Peacock.)

The successful re-boot of BSG influenced a generation of executives who saw for the first time that a re-boot can far surpass its original in both content and creativity and be financially successful for the studio that owns it. BSG, the movie, has been in development for several years now at Universal.

will-grace-revival

Reboots work*.

  • Hawaii Five-O (CBS) is now in its 10th season, recovering from a public berating over losing Grace Park (BSG) and Daniel Dae-Kim (Lost). The S9 premiere is a re-imagining of the Original 1968 Pilot, “Cocoon”
  • Fuller House (Netflix) Amazingly, this TGIF re-boot is in its 4th season. Picked up for a 5th and final season. This was an unqualified success.
  • Will & Grace (NBC) renewed NBC’s faith in Comedy with its 2-season pickup. S3 will be its last, however. This re-boot has been a tremendous success for the Peacock Network.
  • The X-Files (FOX) Mulder & Scully returned for two more seasons of government conspiracies and alien abductions. The audience returned, too, but ultimately left again by the end. Gillian Anderson says she’s done. Will The X-Files stay closed for good, though? Don’t bet on it.
  • MacGyver (CBS) is now in its 3rd season, but I still have not seen it.
  • Roseanne (ABC) is mutating into The Conners for S2 following the immediate firing of Roseanne Barr after one Tweet. Sara Gilbert, John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf return to Lanford, but the show will be missing its star when it returns. Good ratings have continued, and ABC has ordered a S3.
  • Twin Peaks: The Return (Showtime) After 18 episodes, David Lynch appears to be finished with Agent Cooper & Co. No more pie for You. Some Emmy love might change that, though!
  • Dynasty (The CW) somehow eked out a S2. There’s a new Cristal, too. Not for me. Nicolette Sheridan exits after one season as Alexis. The role is to be re-cast.
  • Lost in Space (Netflix) The Jupiter 2 has been renewed for S2. Lots of twists and turns to resolve…Deadline’s Review Says This ReBoot Never Takes Off

LOST IN SPACE NEW WILL ROBINSON

  • Charmed (The CW) Premiered to decent ratings last Fall on Sunday nights. Original star Holly Marie Combs has been pretty vocal with her non-support. The CW has ordered a second season.
  • Beverly Hills 90210 (FOX) Most of the original cast returns for a limited 6-episode series order where they play heightened versions of themselves (not their characters) pitching a re-boot of the show.  Ratings have slid dramatically after a big opening episode. Here’s a Preview…
  • The Twilight Zone (CBS All Access) Oscar-winner Jordan Peele (Get Out) EPs and hosts the newest incarnation of this anthology classic. Adam Scott and Ginnifer Goodwin are among the actors guest-starring in episodes, which bodes well. If memory serves, a writer by the name of George R. R. Martin once wrote for CBS’ reboot many years ago. Whatever happened to him? Here are the 13 Best Episodes of Twilight Zone, via Syfy Wire.
  • Veronica Mars (Hulu) This low-rated but beloved detective series starring Kristen Bell has never lost its fan base or appeal, apparently. Eight eps. aired to good reviews. Bell says she’ll continue in the role until everyone in the fictional town of Neptune is dead.
  • Deadwood (HBO) Ian MacShane to topline a movie or limited series return to the foul-mouthed Western which is creator David Milch’s swan song due to illness.
  • Tales of the City  (Netflix) Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis reprise their roles. Not sure I want to return, though. Premiered June 7th. Ellen Page joins the cast.  Cast and storylines appear to be much more diverse than the original which is good.
  • Murphy Brown (CBS) Candace Bergen and Diane English’s update did not make it past its first re-booted season. Am not sure how well Murphy and the gang have aged and what they have to say about the current political climate. Tyne Daly joins the cast replacing Phil the Bartender. CBS passed on a S2.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch (Netflix) Originally designed as a spinoff of The CW’s Riverdale, a darker more adult series was sold to Netflix as the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Series has definitely found an audience as Netflix recently ordered 16 more episodes to comprise S3 & S4. Am doubtful Melissa Joan Hart will be making a cameo in this latest incarnation of the Archie comic. Premieres October 26th And Stars Kiernan Shipka from Mad Men
  • Roswell (The CW) The YA soap about aliens living amongst us gets a Latinx twist in this new incarnation. Just premiered to good reviews.
  • Magnum P.I. (CBS) No Tom Selleck.  He’s still on Blue Bloods.  Picked up for a second season. Viva Hawaii! Variety Says New Version Has Plenty of Action But Fails to Soar.

murphy-brown-reboot with tyne daly

Meanwhile, studios are raiding their libraries for Titles like crazy (looking at you Sony Pictures Television), and desperate Networks are buying these re-boots because they are terrified of original ideas and the challenge of marketing them to an audience that is now impossible to reach due to the glut of content.

Here are the latest Titles to be plucked from Studio Libraries in hopes of garnering a Sale at a broadcast network or streaming service:

  • Walker, Texas Ranger (TBD) CBS Studios has signed Jared Padalecki (Supernatural) to topline this reboot of the Chuck Norris series. Expect the project to land at The CW. Anna Fricke (Valor) scripts and EPs. CBS is on a roll with successful reboots of Hawaii Five-O, Magnum PI, and MacGyver, so I expect this series to work, as well. Padalecki is a Texas native and a TV star, which bodes well.
  • Battlestar Galactica (Peacock) Looks the like 13 colonies will be on the run again in a reboot of Ron Moore’s fantastic reimagining of Glen Larson’s original rip-off of Star Wars. Moore is not attached and none of his characters will be involved, so get ready for a space saga with lots of Cylons. Am guessing this ends Universal’s long gestating feature version.
  • Dark Shadows: Reincarnation (The CW) Dan Curtis’ supernatural soap opera gets updated for today’s younger viewers. Upside: More vampires, witches and werewolves from Collingswood. Mark Perry (Revenge) EPs. I was a fan of the original and watched the okay re-make on NBC but skipped the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp feature version.
  • Ultraman (Netflix) My brothers and I loved this series as kids: the terrible monsters, effects, and dubbing from Japanese to English.  So fun. So cheesy. Premieres April 1st. Here’s a Nifty Primer, per Syfywire.
  • Orphan Black (AMC) The network is going back to the Clone Conspiracy well one more time. No writer or story yet, but they’re still going!
  • Unsolved Mysteries (Netflix) Shawn Levy EPs alongside original creators Cosgrove & Meurer on this true crime documentary series.
  • Queer As Folk (Peacock) More revival than reboot, new series will focus on new characters in a new setting than the UK original and the Showtime re-make. Series was set to premiere on Bravo, however, NBC has since moved it over to its upcoming streaming service which is TBA.
  • Night Gallery (SyFy) The Rod Serling Anthology series about dark morality tales gets revived by the EPs of Teen Wolf and Midnight, Texas. Universal TV produces.
  • New York Undercover (ABC) The Fox cop drama returns with Dick Wolf as EP but presumably, new undercover cops.
  • Northern Exposure (CBS) Creators Brand and Falsey and series star Rob Morrow are in talks for a revival, so let’s all cheer on this return to quirky Cicely, Alaska.
  • Penny Dreadful: City of Angels (Showtime) Now, this revival is one I fully support as I loved creator John Logan’s beautiful three seasons chronicling Dracula, the Wolfman, and Frankenstein’s period London adventures. So much Love and Loss. The new series is set in 1930s Los Angeles. Natalie Dormer, Nathan Lane and Daniel Zovatto set to star. And, Rory Kinnear (so great as the Monster in Penny Dreadful, is set to return, presumably in a new role).  Nerdist Reminds Us Why We Loved Penny Dreadful.
  • The Real World (Facebook Watch) The groundbreaking MTV reality series about seven strangers picked to live in a house returns.  Smart move, Facebook. However, fans get to choose one of the housemates, which is less smart. Good luck! Fond memories of the first few seasons, one of which was set on Venice Beach.
  • NYPD Blue (ABC) Steven Bochco’s cop drama gets a sequel featuring the son of Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz). Here are the details via Entertainment Weekly.
  • Alias (TBD) Presumably, this will land at ABC which aired the original series that starred Jennifer Garner and was produced by J.J. Abrams. Meanwhile, Garner stars in HBO’s Camping.
  • Kung Fu (Fox). Uber producer Greg Berlanti EPs, and Albert Kim scripts this gender-flipped action procedural, Grasshopper. Variety Has The Details…
  • Party of Five (Freeform) Creators Chris Keyser and Amy Lippman reimagine their series about orphans, herein, the parents of the kids are deported to Mexico. Topical. Pilot order. Rodrigo Garcia directs. Sony Pictures TV scores another reboot!
  • Bewitched (ABC) Black-ish EP Kenya Barris and writer Yamara Taylor will bring an interracial spin to Samantha and Darrin Stevens. But who will play Gladys Kravitz??? I vote for Margo Martindale. Big pilot production commitment given to ABC Studios and to Sony TV (which owns the rights). Project has been rolled over to next year. Deadline Hollywood Has The Details …
  • Designing Women (ABC) Sony TV has been after creator Linda Bloodworth-Thomason for years to re-boot Sugarbakers. Series star Dixie Carter (and the voice of Bloodworth-Thomason) passed away several years ago, I am sorry to report. This revival seems tailored for CBS, so we shall see.  Here is Bloodworth-Thomason’s Now Famous OpEd About Les Moonves at CBS.
  • Baywatch (TBD) Yes, it’s hard to keep those Los Angeles County Lifeguards off TV for long.
  • The Facts of Life (TBD) Jessica Biel of all people is EPing the reboot. I suppose she must harbor a love for the original as she is the right age to have been influenced by its 9-year run.  Original Mrs. Garrett, Charlotte Rae, just passed away.
  • Alf (TBD) From the files of No Thank You, We’re Good.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TBD) Fox 21 Studios takes over from 20th Century Fox Television to produce the re-boot. The studio has struck a deal with Joss Whedon to EP, but not to write.  He’s got his HBO series to write. Instead, Whedon will oversee Monica Breen (Midnight, Texas) who wants to kickstart a new generation of Slayers with a new ethnically diverse one. So far, this sounds like a continuation of the Buffy mythology, so I hope they use a different title then. Meanwhile, the studio is looking for the highest bidder. David Boreanaz Teases Angel Reunion, per Deadline. I would not be surprised if it goes to sister company, FX. SMG and David Boreanaz Give Their Blessing To The ReBoot, Per EW
  • Frasier (TBD, but CBS is most likely) Star Kelsey Grammar is shopping the revival so expect a deal somewhere. Paramount owns the show, so sister company CBS is the likely winner. Also, it fits their white, older demo. Update: Grammar has recently stated that the reboot was not happening. More Update: Apparently, it’s back in play!
  • Mad About You  Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser are set to revive their roles from their ’90s NBC sitcom for Spectrum Originals. Hunt is set to direct Ep1. Ho hum.
  • The Hills (MTV). Um, who cares? Not I.  Lauren Conrad is not returning. Not that I care.
  • The L Word (Showtime) The ladies are moving from West Hollywood to Silver Lake. Series order. EW Catches You Up Where The Series Left Off.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess (NBC) Seems frozen after the network passed on Javier Grillo-Marxuach’s script. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman is a cultural phenomenon. Wake up, NBC!

(*) Many Re-Boots fail, though: The Bionic Woman, Dark Shadows, The Bradys, Uncle Buck, Ironside, to name a few of recent memory.

Finally, this article is actually a Re-boot, of sorts. I wrote about this depressing Trend almost one year ago. How’s that for cyclical continuity in Television?

If you want to see which Re-boots didn’t go forward from last year, CLICK ON THIS COOL LINK TO SURFING HOLLYWOOD FROM AUGUST 2017

(Hint:  That James Gunn-produced re-boot of Starsky & Hutch never happened. Darn it!)

N E X T   U P:

AUTUMNAL EQUINOX

 

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Surf Report: Man Seeks Coffee Shop

COFFEE SHOP BLUE BOTTLE           PINTO STANDING SURFER BEACH

Santa Monica, CA

Local Man Seeks Area Coffee Shop. Must Open Early (Surfers Hours!)  Coffee Should Be Strong! Discounted Prices For Regulars A+ Please Respond In Comments Section Below If Your Shop Is Available Now! NSA!

My former coffee house, PEETS, closed its doors on Main Street in late December 2017, and I have been Latte-less for nearly eight long months. Eight. Long. Months!

My writing has suffered. (See Blog.) My daily friendships have fallen by the wayside. (Apologies!) To make matters worse, I now brew my own coffee at home. (It’s terrible.)

In Los Angeles, the neighborhood coffee shop is the European equivalent of the corner café or a British Pub: Neighbors, Tennis Partners, Surfers, Artists, Friends. One sees them all. And vice versa. Café Society, indeed.

Main Street Bids Farewell to Locals’ Favorite Peets Coffee

I Just Can’t Quit You.

I follow my former beloved barista, Marvin, on Snapchat. We keep in touch. For a while, I sent him photos of my lame attempts at steamed milk topped coffee. He was unimpressed. He sends me Snaps of his travel adventures. (Marvin could drink me under the table.)

Meanwhile, I will occasionally see other Peets regulars out and about in the world of Ocean Park, and I always stop them to say Do you miss Peets? They all do. We all miss Marvin who knew everyone’s name (and drink). Marvin would patiently endure new manager after new manager and break them in on how Coffee is done on Main Street.

Marvin lasted well over 15 years while each of those new managers maybe lasted a year.

PINTO SECRET LIFE OF

There are an abundance of Coffee houses in my neighborhood, Ocean Park: Dogtown Coffee, Urrth Café, Starbucks, Groundworks, Bulletproof. The Peets Coffee at Edgemar was the Goldilocks of Coffee shops: It was just right.

Supposedly, Blue Bottle Coffee is to take over the Peets location. All the walls have been knocked down, the entire space has been gutted. Currently, there is a trench dug in the concrete floor.

No coffee will be poured anytime soon, I fear. Eight long months (and counting)!

 

N E X T   U P:

ReBoots. Ugh. This Trend Is All My Fault.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA

 

 

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Film Surf Report: Five Movies Starring Female Leads That Hollywood Needs To Make Now (And The Sooner, The Better)

BATGIRL

Santa Monica, CA — I recently read all six novels of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series*, a fantasy series that starts out with a boy becoming a wizard but ends with that boy’s future wife and adopted daughter leading the story while the boy (now a grown man in his dotage) stays home and minds the garden. Fantastic!

While the execs at Warner Bros. and at DC Comics try to figure out how to rescue Superman and Batman from the Zack Snyder Universe with a possible Batgirl standalone film and/or a Harley Quinn standalone film (Birds of Prey), the folks in Burbank are sitting on a quartet of well-known yet underserved heroines who have what Metropolis and Gotham lack: Characters who can win or lose, hurt or be hurt (sorry, Wonder Woman), and an audience that has grown up with them.

Here are five female-centric films just waiting to be made (and Warner Bros. has 4/5 of ’em):

EMMA WATSON AS HERMIONE

  • The Further Adventures of Hermione Granger

Okay, Warner Bros. is all in on Fantastic Beasts with four films on the way following the rather dull first entry in the new J.K. Rowling series.  While I do believe those films will finally get there emotionally with the thrilling climax of Dumbledore defeating Grindewald, the Harry Potter character I most want to catch up with is Hermione Granger.

That’s right: Warner Bros. needs to continue making films with Hermione, Ron and Harry, three Super Heroes, who alright, just happen to be Wizards, but who are in the prime of their lives with lots to prove before settling down with kids and such. Get on with it, J.K. Rowling!

Let’s also be clear that the time has come for Hermione to step up and to take Center Stage with Harry and Ron clambering to keep up with her.  Both the character and actor Emma Watson’s portrayal of her are quite capable of carrying a Story:

  • Did she finish at Hogwarts?
  • Will she meet Viktor Krum again?
  • How are her parents doing after having their memories erased and sent Down Under?
  • Do she and Ginny get a flat together in London and go Bridget Jones on us?

There is a lot of Story to fill in before arriving at Platform 9 3/4 in 19 years.

CARRIE ANNE AS TRINITY

  • The Matrix: Trinity

Meanwhile, another Warner Bros. property has a prequel just waiting to be made, and that’s The Matrix. Where is the Trinity standalone film, and why haven’t The Wachowskis made it?

I want to know how Morpheus recruited her (and from where) and why she became a legend by the time that Neo follows the white rabbit which leads to her. Give me Trinity The Movie (and give it to me now, starring Catriona Balfe from Outlander). I don’t want to see Morhpeus’ origin story (but that’s what’s in development at WB). Yawn.

BLACK WIDOW MOVIE

  • Black Widow: My Life in Moscow (and Beyond)

After years of waiting, there is finally a Black Widow standalone film in development over at Marvel.  Aussie filmmaker Cate Shortland (Lore) is set to direct from a script by Jac Shaeffer (The Hustle).

Storyline for Black Widow is Set pre-Avengers

Thank you, Marvel, and to the fans whose interest in the character got this movie in development while Scarlett Johannson can still kick butt.

I have high hopes for Brie Larson’s take on Captain Marvel, but I am already invested in Black Widow. Geez, there have been three Thor films, three Captain America films, three Iron Man films, a coupla Hulk attempts. About damn time!

Given the timeline, we’re obviously going back to Russia to see how Natasha Romanoff trained and what her first missions were.  Perhaps, she runs afoul of Agent Peggy Carter, founder of S.H.I.E.L.D pre-retirement? Get ready to visit the Red Room.

CATE AS GALADRIEL LOTR

 

  • The Lord of the Rings: Galadriel (and those darned Rings of Power)

Amazon is spending upwards of $500 million on a TV version of The Lord of the Rings, but the one character I want to spend time with learning how she came to be is Galadriel, bearer of one of the Three Rings of Power gifted to the Elves.

(Note: I have, indeed, read The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien)

We all want to know more about this fascinating, really powerful character who has seen and done it all by the time that Frodo and The Fellowship wander into Lothlorien.

Amazon is reported to be focusing on the backstory of Aragorn, so hopefully he spends a lot of time with the Elves prior to becoming a Ranger in the North. Otherwise, yawn.

 

BATGIRL FULL COLOR YVONNE CRAIG

  • Batgirl: Barbara Gordon (Librarian by Day …)

This film is in development at DC Comics. Joss Whedon quit after being unable to come up with a script that worked which troubles me greatly as I think a Buffy-esque approach would work for this character (who is not original to the Batman comics but was created specifically for the ’60s TV series).

Alicia Silverstone gave it the ol’ college try in the dreadful Batman & Robin, so let’s forgive her (and also re-cast her in another role in the Batgirl Universe). Director Joel Schumacher, you are still in Movie Jail, though.

Per Variety, Christina Hodson Replaces Joss Whedon on Batgirl

Hodson (Bumblebee) wrote the screenplay for Birds of Prey and is well acquainted with the inner-workings of DC Comics.

 

 

And lastly, let me get one last plug in for Ursula K. LeGuin:

EARTHSEA    EARTHSEA BOOKS

(*) Le Guin’s Earthsea Series includes:

  • A Wizard of Earthsea
  • The Tombs of Atuan
  • The Farthest Shore
  • Tales from Earthsea
  • The Other Wind

 

N E X T   U P:

To Re-Boot Or To Not Re-Boot: That Is The Question!

buffy-the-vampire-slayer

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Film Surf Report: Super Hero Franchises Save Us From The Winter Of Our Discontent …

Santa Monica, CA — It’s Marvel’s world, and we are just lucky to be living in it, my fellow Surfers.  2019 is a marvelous year, to be sure:  Captain Marvel (March), Avengers: Endgame (April), X-Men: Dark Phoenix (June), Spider-Man: Far From Home (July), and X-Men: New Mutants (August).

Is that enough Marvel for ya?  I am sure it is for DC Comics!

Having recovered from the disappointment I initially felt after seeing Aquaman, I am happy the film did so well at the box office ($1 Billion +). Warner Bros. is happy, too, and the studio seems set for a resurgence with the light-hearted Shazam! and the dark and period-piece Joker set to hit theaters (April, October).

Meanwhile, here’s what/who’s about to hit the big screen. You may want to prepare yourself for multiple doses of Jude Law, Samuel L. Jackson, and James McAvoy:

GLASS

Here’s a Peek at  2 0 1 9:

  • Glass — Jan. 18th — M. Night Shyamalan’s follow up to 2016’s Split and Unbreakable features characters from both films (James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson) who think they are super heroes and/or villains. Looks great. Big Opening Weekend forecast, per VarietyHere’s the Trailer which premiered at Comic-Con

BRIE AS CAPTAIN MARVEL

  • Captain Marvel  March 8th — Okay, Brie Larson. Ya got your work cut out for ya. Story is set pre-Avengers in the ’90s with Nick Fury not wearing an eye patch! Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck direct. Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Tomb Raider) scripts. Jude Law co-stars (in everything!). Film sets up Captain Marvel as the Avenger to beat in the ensuing Avengers 4 where Thanos gets his due. Interestingly, Brie Larson has signed a 7-picture deal with Marvel, so guess she’s the leader of the New Avengers! Here’s the action-packed TRAILER (narrated by Nick Fury).
  • Shazam! April 5th  David F. Sandberg (Annabelle) directs. Zachary Levi stars in a story reminiscent of Tom Hank’s Big, and Dwayne Johnson is set to produce and to star as Black Adam, the villain of Shazam!, in a spinoff film, but Johnson is reportedly not appearing in Shazam! (or is he?). The Trailer Goes For Laughs (And Misses) Meanwhile, there was hope for a Superman cameo, however, Henry Cavill Has Reportedly Hung Up His Cape, per THR.

AVENGERS INFINITY WAR POSTER

  • Avengers 4 Endgame  April 29th — What was to have been a 2-parter from The Russo Bros. (see 1st trailer from them  H E R E) has now become Avengers 4 Endgame which supposedly wraps up the current group, including expensive paycheck players Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man and Chris Evans as Captain America who completes his contract with Marvel with this film. Fingers crossed that Thor survives. Black Widow must because she’s getting her own solo film! Ant-Man and Hawkeye/Ronin return, but where’s Valkyrie? Look for a big assist from Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel, as well. Film is reportedly three hours long! Can’t wait.  The End of the MCU (As We Knew It) Via GQ
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix  June 7th  — Even though this film’s release date has been moved back three times now (per THR), it still feels too soon. I still remember the Famke Janssen version of X3 (co-written by Simon Kinberg), and young Jean Grey was just okay in Apocalypse. Fox is going to the X-Well once too often, I fear. Kinberg directs. Jessica Chastain plays the Villain, who is taken from the original Comic.  Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, and James McAvoy return as does Evan Peters as Quicksilver.  Feels Ho Hum to me. Been here, done that.  Meanwhile, someone dies! Any guesses? Here’s the first Trailer. Check it out!
  • Men in Black International — June 14th —  Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson, Kumail Nanjani, Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson topline this Sony re-boot. F. Gary Gray directs from a script by Iron Man scribes Matt Holloway and Art Marcum.  Hopes high, I think.

MIB REBOOT

  • Spider-Man: Far From Home   July 5th — Tom Holland and Marisa Tomei scored in Civil War and are rewarded with a 3-parter.  Director Jon Watts returns for the sequel. Jake Gyllenhall co-stars as the villain, Mysterio. Gotta say, Tom Holland is really winning in this role (and I am a fan of the Tobey trilogy). Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders also appear. Interesting! (They were turned to dust in Infinity War!). The 1st Trailer has a lot to discuss, considering Avengers: Endgame will precede this film in the theaters. Check out the trailer https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js“>H E R E
  • X-Men: New Mutants  Aug. 2nd — Josh Boone directs a supposedly horror-tinged film featuring a new group of mutants that will likely include Wolfsbane, Rachel Summers, and MagmaJames McAvoy returns as Professor X.  Film’s release has been delayed several times as well and has been finished for a year now.
  • Downton Abbey  Sept. 20th — Make no mistake, Lord Grantham and the Crawley Clan are the super heroes of Public Television, hence this bigscreen outing. Long live Lady Edith!
  • Joker: My Life & Times (working title) – Oct. 4th  — Todd Phillips’ (The Hangover) solo story stars Joaquin Phoenix (See the first look via Rotten Tomatoes!) as Batman’s arch-nemesis following in the notable footsteps of Caesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, Mark Hamill, and most recently, Jared Leto. Here’s the details via Deadline Hollywood
  • Charlie’s Angels — Nov. 1st — Kristin Stewart headlines the new trio who are directed by Elizabeth Banks in the Sony reboot of the franchise once led by Drew Barrymore (who rebooted the TV series). Always up to re-visit the Angels & Co. Film will have stiff competition from another old chestnut, The Terminator.
  • Kingsmen 3 — Nov. 8th — Matthew Vaughn again writes and directs the final chapter of the Eggsy-Harry Hart mentorship.  Supposedly, there’s also a Statesmen spinoff in development, as well. I thoroughly enjoyed the first film and thought the second was not as good.
  • Fantastic Beasts 3 –Nov. 15th– More Dumbledore! Less Johnny Depp. FB2 was not the smash hit I’d hoped for, but the story will escalates between Dumbledore and Grindewald with a big assist by Newt. Am realizing we will eventually get to meet such wizarding luminaries as Bathilda Bagshot and a younger version of Aberforth as well as new characters like Claudia Kim’s Nagini and Zoe Kravitz’ Leta Lestrange!
  • Untitled Fox/Marvel Film — Nov. 22nd — More X-Men! Or possibly, Dr. Doom from Fantastic Four with Noah Hawley (Legion) helming. That Fantastic Four option appears to be lapsing. Or possibly, Multiple Man starring James Franco! Simon Kinsberg produces from a script by Allan Heinberg (Wonder Woman).
  • Star Wars, Ep. IX   — Dec. 20th —  LucasFilm is using previously shot footage so it will be interesting to see how they deal with the untimely death of Carrie Fisher and her alter ego, Princess/General Leia? JJ Abrams returns to the franchise in the director’s chair after a troubling start. I predict the storyline for The Skywalkers gets wrapped up. No more Death Stars, please! Fisher had the last line in The Last JediWe have everything we need. Let’s hope so. Keri Russell has been cast in an as yet unknown role.

CARRIE AS GENERAL LEIA

N E X T   U P:

When Is Too Much TV …. Just Too Much?

 

 

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Surf Report: What’s To Eat In Your Earthquake Kit? (Now is a Good Time to Stock Up on Beefaroni)

405 FWY ON FIRE Santa Monica, CA — Those recent Ridgecrest earthquakes were pretty darn powerful:  7.1 followed by thousands of aftershocks. The years of being reminded that Los Angeles is in the Hot Zone, and that we are way overdue for a major quake started me thinking about Earthquake Preparedness.

I have a hastily thrown together Earthquake Kit but where in the hell did I put that thing???

This story is about preparing for The Big One (or whichever likely Natural Disaster is heading your way!) and having food stored in one’s Earthquake Preparedness Kit that is not just dried and tasteless.

Good Food, indeed.

Now, where did I hide and/or conveniently misplace that box of important Earthquake Survival Food Stuffs?  Ah yes, there it is stashed against the back wall of the closet crammed full of Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, luggage, and assorted boxes for appliances that I just can’t seem able to toss. In the aftermath of a disaster, it will be so easy to locate (sarcasm!).

EARTHQUAKE PREPAREDNESS KIT 0LD BOX      OLD EARTHQUAKE KIT CONTENTS

Unearthing this box (pardon the pun) and discovering its contents is a snapshot of the ’90s which is most likely when I packed it:  Rice Cakes (yuk!), Unfrosted Strawberry Pop-tarts (they don’t even make those anymore! Hope they are still good!), Generic Chocolate Chip Cookies, Mini-Cans of Pork ‘N Beans, canned Tuna (toss!), Saltine Crackers (to go with the Tuna, natch) and one package of D Batteries (but no flashlight). Love those Carbs!

Thank God I have opened this box and can now throw everything away (with the exception of the batteries and those Pop-tarts!)

Time. To. Start. Over.

Water, however, you most likely have not purchased Enough Water.

You have that emergency jar of Peanut Butter. So you are good for the first two hours of what could be a 2-week ordeal following The Big One.

Time to put some thought into What Are You Going To Eat Following An Earthquake?

There’s food in your freezer, to be sure. Hopefully, you will be able to access that food. In a best-case scenario, you will have 24-48 hours in which to grill whatever protein is frozen, so that’s two days covered. Your neighbors will be doing the same or relying on you to share, and vice versa. Keep that in mind.

Also, local restaurants with gas grills that work will most likely be serving up anything they can following a Big Quake.

Get extra water. Keep a flat of water in the trunk of your car. Do it. It’s easy.

EARTHQUAKE CUPBOARD      EARTHQUAKE WATER

Now comes the hard part: Stock up on food that will not only last but is also nutritional and not just junk. The Good News is most of these items are probably on sale right now at your local supermarket:

  • Bagged Nuts in the Shell (like salted peanuts)
  • Canned Fruit (pineapple slices, etc.)
  • Dried Fruit
  • Protein Bars (breakfast bars, etc.)
  • Canned Beans (chili, black, navy, pork and) This means you will also need a Can Opener. Perhaps, put that Swiss Army Knife in your Earthquake Kit. (That’s more of a Note to Self.)
  • Beefaroni (You loved it as a Kid. You will be surprised at how good it will taste when there is nothing else to eat. Also, it’s always on sale at Ralph’s for $1/can.)

So, that’s week one right there, however, a big Snag exists: Caffeine.

IMG_1640

If you are like me, you NEED that cup (or two) of Hot Coffee every morning. In the event of an Earthquake, think about how you are going to get that caffeine.  I get a headache if I don’t have my morning coffee.

Provided the gas has not been shut off, you can always switch to Hot Tea. However, that’s best case scenario. Most likely, the gas will be shut off along with the electricity. So, can you imagine boiling water on a grill just to make Hot Tea or instant coffee (yuck!)?

Get a Thermos.

Other Stuff to Have Handy and/or Reserved Specifically in Case of Earthquake:

  • Toilet Paper (along with a bucket with a top that seals)
  • First Aid Kit(s) that includes bandages, peroxide and antiseptic cream.
  • Batteries (for flashlights, head lamps, radios)
  • Portable Radio (I put my old Walkman in my Earthquake kit – batteries included)
  • Head Lamp (the kind that attaches to the brim of a hat)
  • Fire Extinguisher (You must know how to use it.)
  • A Good Book (what novel will comfort you in a time of emergency and stress? Might I suggest The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings as you will need to really get away!)
  • Tent and Sleeping Bag (I keep mine in the trunk of my car. Your home might become unsafe.)

TOILET PAPER ROLLS      FIRST AID KIT     TATTERED TOLKIEN

Well, fingers are crossed that we are all as prepared as we can be when and if The Big One actually hits.  Remember where you stash your Earthquake Kit. Buy extra Water.

Time to check on those old Pop-tarts!

 

N E X T   U P:

Church Attendance Is Down. Surfing’s Popularity Is Up.

Dawn Patrol in Venice Beach. Photo of Yours Truly by Luke Sandberg of Surreal Surf. Best Morning Ever!

 

 

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TV Surf Report: Adaptations Of Podcasts, Games, Graphic Novels & Music Have Hollywood Aflutter (Books Are Still Cool, Though)

WATCHMEN FEATURE CAST

Santa Monica, CA — The Adaptation Trend has been in full-swing for several years now as Hollywood seeks to break through all the clutter with Intellectual Property Titles that audiences are already predisposed to like (and will thereby, tune in).

Maybe, your great idea should live as Something Other Than A Screenplay … first.

It’s not just popular movies and best-selling books that are being adapted as series, either:

  • Video Games (World-building is a new buzzword!)
  • Podcasts (Did you go to the App Store and Vote for your Favorite?)
  • Magazine & Newspaper Articles (An Evergreen resource!)
  • Songs (Dolly Parton, You Are Talented!)
  • Foreign Series (adapted for the US market)
  • Graphic Novels (about Super Heroes, natch)

HALO

Here’s the latest crop of Adaptations in active development and headed to your streaming device in the very near future:

  • Pachinko (Apple TV) Min Jin Lee’s novel chronicles four generations of Korean immigrants and will be told in three different languages:  Korean, Japanese, and English. Interesting! Soo Hugh (The Terror) scripts and EPs.
  • Time Bandits (Apple TV) Terry Gilliam’s film gets adapted for TV by none other than Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnorak) who will write and direct the pilot.  Looking forward!
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude (Netflix) Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ novel about seven generations of the Buendia Family and the utopian town they inhabit finally gets adapted. This is a big get!
  • Heart of Life (ABC) is inspired by the John Mayer song and centers on two sets of adult siblings who discover they share the same father. I think we’re very much in This Is Us territory here. Pilot order. Harry Shum Jr. (Crazy Rich Asians) set to star. Ben Queen (Powerless) scripts.
  • Lincoln (NBC) Jeffrey Deaver’s book which was adapted for film and became The Bone Collector starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie, now becomes a TV series (pilot) about an injured forensic criminologist called back into service to catch the serial killer responsible for injuring him. Of course, he’s paired with a young female beat cop.  Yawn. Bored now.
  • Four Weddings And A Funeral (Hulu) Mindy Kaling  adapts Mike Newell’s popular British film for the streaming audience.
  • My Glory Was I Had Such Friends at Apple. J.J. Abrams and Jennifer Garner produce/star in this 13-episode adaptation of Amy Silverstein’s memoir about her circle of women friends who helped her as she waited for a live-saving transplant. Premieres in late 2019.
  • The Watch at BBC America. Based on the Discworld novels by Sir Terry Prachett (Good Omens), eight episodes of the punk rock thriller with misfit cops have been ordered.
  • Joyland at Freeform. Stephen King’s novel about a college student working a summer job at an amusement park gets adapted for a pilot. Chris Pena (Jane the Virgin) scripts.
  • It Takes Two at FOX. The memoir of Property Brothers, the home improvement reality series with the photogenic twin brother contractors is being adapted as a half-hour comedy. Cue obnoxious laugh track! Daily Variety Has The Scoop.
  • Ranger at CBS. The novel by James Patterson gets adapted for pilot development.
  • Dracula at BBC One and Netflix. The Sherlock maestros, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, adapt Bram Stoker’s classic novel into three 90-minute episodes (or movies).
  • Whites at NBC. Matt Tarses adapts the British restaurant workplace comedy for Will Arnett and the US audience.
  • Limetown at Facebook Watch. Based on a podcast about a Pulic Radio reporter who investigates the disappearances of hundreds of people in Tennessee, Jessica Biel (The Sinner) stars. Ten episodes ordered. Deadline Has The Details.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia at Netflix. This seems like a big deal to me as these books are evergreen stories that can be re-made for each generation. Seems like Netflix aims to create a Narnia Universe and create series from there while making features from the main titles. Am a bit surprised Disney/Fox allowed the option on these books to lapse. Smart buy, Netflix.
  • Wheel of Time at Amazon.  Series order for this action fantasy drama adaptation of Robert Jordan’s best-selling books, wherein, Magic exists, but only women can wield it. Rafe Judkins (Agents of Shield) writes and EPs for Amazon Studios and Sony Pics TV.
  • His Dark Materials at BBC One and HBO. HBO Acquires Broadcast Rights Outside The UK, per Deadline.  Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) directs this massive TV adapation of Philip Pullman’s fantasy novels with a cast that includes James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Dafne Keen (Logan). Production is underway in Wales on S1. Meanwhile, the BBC Orders 2nd Season of 8 Episodes.
  • Foundation at Apple TV.  David S. Goyer (DaVinci’s Demons, Krypton) and Josh Friedman (Snowpiercer, Sarah Conner Chronicles) get 10 episodes to adapt Isaac Asimov’s SF trilogy about the 1000-year saga of people defying the Galactic Empire. Hmm. I wonder if George Lucas read these books prior to Star Wars. Just a thought!
  • Run Away at Netflix. Adaptation of Harlan Coben’s novel and part of an overdeal that encompasses 14 of Coben’s books.  He has two other series on Netflix:  Safe starring Michael C. Hall (Dexter) and No Second Chance.
  • Shogun at FX. A new adaptation of James Clavell’s novel gets a 10-episode order.
  • Hey There Delilah at TBD.  The Plain White Ts’ hit tune is headed to TV. I love this song and am not discounting this effort. Oh, what you do to me!  Songs That Should Be Adapted For TV, via EW
  • Slaughterhouse-Five at Epix. Gale Anne Hurd EPs this adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s famous novel with Universal Cable Productions. Patrick Macmanus (Happy) scripts.
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife at HBO.  Series order for Steven Moffat (Doctor Who) to adapt the Audrey Niffenegger novel about a married man who travels through Time. A feature adaptation was released in 2009 starring Rachael McAdams and Eric Bana, which I did not see because I loved the book too much.  Looking forward to this version, though!
  • Less Than Zero at Hulu. The Bret Easton Ellis novel was made into a film in 1987 which starred Andrew McCarthy. Here, a pilot has been greenlight starring Austin Abrams (The Walking Dead) in an ensemble of privileged college kids up to no good in Palm Springs. Craig Wright (Greenleaf, Lost) scripts.
  • The Vampire Chronicles at Hulu. Anne Rice, Christopher Rice and Anonymous Content exec produce this series based on 11 of Rice’s Vampire Chronicles books which center on Lestat who becomes a vampire in medieval Paris and continues a long journey of immortality with stops along the way as a rock star, an otherworldly adventure with The Devil, and a body snatching. Looking forward! Shoots in September.
  • Batwoman at The CW.  Greg Berlanti (who else!) EPs this comic adaptation with a crossover event on the horizon within The Arrowverse.  TV gets its first gay super hero. Pilot order.
  • Y at FX.  Diane Lane, Amber Tamblyn, and Timothy Hutton star in the adaptation of DC Comics’ Y: The Last Man, a post-apocalyptic world where only one male mammal has survived. Pilot order.  Michael Green (American Gods) scripts and EPs.
  • 68 Whiskey at Paramount Network . Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment produces this half-hour dark comedy adaptation of  Charlie Golf One, an Israeli series about a diverse group of medics stationed in Afghanistan.  Sounds a lot like M*A*S*H to me! Howard is set to direct. Roberto Benabib scripts.
  • Quantum and Woody at TBS.  The Russo Bros. (Avengers: Infinity War) and the screenwriters from Ant-Man & Wasp adapt this super hero Valiant Entertainment Comic inspired by the characters Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes played in White Men Can’t Jump. Only they have super powers. Pilot order for a TV series based on a Comic that is inspired by a Film. Triple-threat!
  • Halo at Showtime. 10-episode series order for this popular video game from Microsoft with Amblin producing this futuristic conflict. Kyle Killen scripts and EPs with Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) set to direct.
  • Fortnite at TBD. ‘Tis only a matter of time as this is the game of the moment. The Most Important Video Game on the Planet
  • Watchmen at HBO. Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers, Lost) delves back into the Alan Moore graphic novel source material and assembles a stellar cast of Super Heroes that includes Jeremy Irons, Regina King, Tim Blake Nelson, Don Johnson, and Louis Gossett, Jr. Nicole Kassell (The Leftovers) directed the pilot. Series order. Interestingly, Lindelof says his take is more “remix” than adaptation of the graphic novel with some new characters to explore.  More world-building! Damon Lindelof Loves A Sad Ending – New York Public Library Interview
  • Midnight’s Children at Netflix. The 1981 Salman Rushdie novel about India’s independence from British colonialism centers on one character who is telepathically connected to 1,000 other people born at the same hour in 1947. Series order.
  • Invincible at Amazon. Robert Kirkman’s popular comic gets an 8-episode hour-long animated series order for this adult superhero multi-generational story about fathers and sons.
  • Dolly Parton Songbook at Netflix. Parton follows up her successful NBC adaptations of Coat of Many Colors and Jolene.
  • Nightbreed at SyFy. Based on best-selling horror author Clive Barker’s short story collection and graphic novel, Cabal, series explores race relations in America, only the races are humans and monsters. Hmm. Morgan Creek and UCP produce.
  • Resident Alien at SyFy. Based on the Dark Horse Comics title about an alien posing as a Colorado doctor who surmises Humanity might not be worth saving. Pilot order.

INVINCIBLE

  • Tender is the Night at TBD. Colin Callender (Wolf Hall, Little Women) has optioned F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final novel for television with an international co-production likely as the story is set in the South of France and recalls Fitzgerald’s romance with his wife, Zelda.
  • Welcome to Night Vale at FX. A fictitious radio show covering the supernatural news in the Southwest USA. The popular podcast gets adapted by Sony TV.
  • Wolverine: The Podcast via Stitcher. Now, this is interesting. Marvel Studios has launched a 10-episode podcast murder mystery with Logan as the primary suspect based on The Long Night storyline. Richard Armitage (Berlin Station) voices everyone’s favorite grumpy mutant. Check Out The Trailer To The Podcast Here.
  • Les Miserables at BBC. Victor Hugo’s novel about Jean Valjean, a man sent to prison for stealing a loaf of bread, gets adapted (again).
  • Catch-22 at Paramount Network (formerly Spike). George Clooney EPs and directs a 6-episode adaptation of Joseph Heller’s book.

CRIMETOWN

  • Crimetown at FX. Another Podcast gets adapted. Crimetown is from the creators of The Jinx. Organized crime and city corruption in Rhode Island take center stage. S2 Looks Into Detroit’s Corruption.
  • Inside The Church of Chili’s at NBC. Inspired by an article in GQ Magazine, this ensemble comedy centers on Super Trainers who travel across the country opening new franchises of a successful restaurant chain. Conde Nast partners with Sony TV.
  • The Lord of the Rings at Amazon. Warner Bros. TV is producing a prequel series adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien classic novels set in Middle Earth.  Per Rotten Tomatoes, the series timeline take place in The Second Age of Middle Earth.  Am thinking we will see lots of Sauron, the Three Rings of the Elves, and those darn Ring Wraiths and the Nine Kings who were betrayed! Sounds good to me. Writers have been hired, but no Showrunner set yet. Not Ready Until 2021!
  • I Know This Much Is True at HBO.  Mark Ruffalo stars in and EPs this 8-hour miniseries adaptation of the Wally Lamb best-selling novel, playing dual roles (Loved It!).  Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) writes and directs. High hopes for this one.
  • Nancy Drew at NBC.  The teenage sleuth and her best friend get an update (again) after CBS passed on a previous incarnation.  Ah, The Secret Is In The Clock!
  • The Name of the Rose at TBD.  John Turturro and Rupert Everett topline this 8-hour miniseries adaptation of the Umberto Eco best-selling novel.
  • The Blinds at TBD. Neil Sternberg’s novel was just published a year ago (August 1st) and was scooped up by Sony TV three weeks later. Story centers on a Texas town, wherein, all the residents or either former criminals or victims of crimes. The Twist is everyone has had their memories erased and has a new chance to begin again. A Thriller.
  • The Haunting of Hill House at Netflix.  Timothy Hutton stars for Paramount TV and Amblin in this adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s classic novel.  Ten episodes have been ordered straight to series. Mike Flanagan directs.  Here is the T R A I L E R. Premieres Oct. 12th. GQ Calls Hill House TV’s First Great Horror Series.
  • Black Samurai at STARZ. An update of Marc Olden’s novels and a 1977 film courtesy of Jerry Bruckheimer, this is an action-drama about an American soldier who trains with a Samurai master. Common stars and also EPs.

A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES

  • A Discovery of Witches at SKY.  Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer topline this luxurious adaptation of Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy.  Premiere broke records in the US on Sundance Now, AMC’s SVOD service as well as Shudder, the streaming service specializing in Horror. AMC to air an encore of the S1 starting April 7th. It was only a matter of time before Witches got hot again! Oxford locations! I’m inHere’s the very enticing Trailer.

GOOD OMENS POSTER

  • Good Omens at Amazon. Premieres May 31st. Limited series produced by BBC Studios based on the book by Neil Gaiman & Sir Terry Pratchett about the Earth’s final days. Hour-long comedy stars David Tennant, Michael Sheen, Jon Hamm and Frances McDormand. Here’s the T R A I L E R (which I found uneven and unfunny).!
  • The Changling at Annapurna.  No buyer yet for a TV version of Victor LaValle’s novel about a newborn and his parents.
  • Ascendant at Starz.  Veronica Roth’s last entry in the popular YA Divergent series gets a TV adaptation following a lukewarm last feature film. Smart move.
  • The Rook at Starz. Stephenie Meyer (Twilight) sold this project to the BBC last year, and now Lionsgate is on board to produce for Starz, however, Meyer has since left the series which is an adaptation of Daniel O’Malley’s novel about an amnesiac in London with a shady past as a British Secret Service agent.  Emma Greenwell, Joely Richardson, and Olivia Munn star.
  • Homecoming at Amazon. Julia Roberts stars in S1 of this political thriller based on a podcast about government conspiracy. Two seasons ordered! Anonymous Content and Universal Cable produce. Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot) scripts. Sissy Spaceck and Bobby Cannavale also star. Premiered Nov. 2nd, and here’s The Trailer
  • Today Will Be Different at HBO. More Julia Roberts! JR is attached to star in this miniseries version of Maria Semple’s novel.
  • The Nix at HBO. Nathan Hill’s fun novel gets Meryl Streep as its matriarchal lead.
  • The Passage at Fox. Justin Cronin’s very dark alternate future where a vampiric plague has drastically changed the United States still haunts me. Series premiered to decent numbers and reviews. This book greatly disturbed me (but in a good way). Mark-Paul Gosselar stars.
  • Tales of the City at Netflix.  Unclear if this latest adaptation is based on Armisted Maupin’s columns and books or the successful Showtime re-boot of the PBS Masterpiece original adaptation. Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis are set to return to Barbary Lane in San Francisco.
  • The Witcher at Netflix. A group of young people hunt demons in this series based on Polish novelist Andrzej Sapkowski’s books.  Sean Daniel (The Mummy) produces.  Buffy 2.0 anyone? Henry Cavill (Mission: Impossible, Superman, Justice League) has signed on to star. Wow! Check out Henry Cavill’s Recent Post on Instagram!
  • Agatha Christie Mysteries at BBC One and Amazon.  Ordeal By Innocence is the latest of these evergreen properties that are getting re-made following recent updates to And Then There Were None (which Lifetime broadcast) and Witness for the Prosecution (Acorn). John Malkovich stars in the upcoming ABC Murders.

Not all adaptations work, so take heart, Scribes, as there will always be room for a terrific original idea. In the meantime, get to work on that Podcast or Graphic Novel.

N E X T   U P:

Female Characters Who Deserve Their Own Story.

TRINITY

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