Starz, like PBS and BBC America, has had some success in second-runs from or co-productions with the British. But are we getting a delicious second brewing, or leftovers? Dancing on the Edge (which originally aired last winter on BBC2) is, in many ways, both the perfect British export, and the perfect mix of English and American-ness. It feels a great deal like an Agatha Christie novel — wealth! garden parties! intrigue! murder! — but also incorporates the very American element of jazz.
The miniseries covers the rise and quick unravelling of the fictional Louis Lester Band from 1932 to 1933. They’re a hidden gem of a group, lead by their highly educated and charming band leader Louie (Chiwetel Ejiofer), and a pair of alluring chanteuses, Jessie (Angel Coulby) and Clara (Wunmi Musaku). Their introduction and integration into London society is helped along by an ambitious and cocky music writer, Stanley (Matthew Goode), who arguably also helps usher their downfall. Hit the jump for more.
Viewers will not have to wait until spring to get another dose of the middle ages. The White Queen, a BBC limited series picked up by Starz, chronicles the Wars of the Roses, which incidentally was an inspiration for George R. R. Martin when writing Game of Thrones. The White Queen is based on the book series The Cousins’ War, by author Philippa Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl). It begins in 1464 just as Edward IV (Max Irons) rose to power as King of England after taking the throne from his cousin, Henry VI, and follows the course of York and Lancaster backstabbing that eventually leads to Richard III’s rule. Hit the jump for more on the series.
This coming Friday’s season two finale of the drama series Magic City will also act as the show’s series finale. Starz announced today (via THR) that it has opted not to move forward with a third season of the Jeffrey Dean Morgan-fronted show, which takes place in 1959 Miami and centers on the owner of a glamorous hotel. The series suffered from low ratings and mixed critical reception throughout its run, so Starz’s decision isn’t necessarily surprising. Spartacus still remains the only Starz original series to last longer than two seasons, but the network has plenty of new offerings in the coming months. The Michael Bay-produced pirate drama Black Sails begins in January and Battlestar Galactica showrunner Ronald D. Moore’s adaptation of the Diana Gabaldon series Outlander just received a series order. Moreover, David S. Goyer‘s period series Da Vinci’s Demons was renewed for a second season.
Some developments regarding upcoming pay-cable series have been announced. First up, AMC has given series orders to a pair of pilots: Halt & Catch Fire and Turn. The former takes place during the 1980s computing boom and “is told through the eyes of a visionary and an engineer prodigy whose innovations directly confront the corporate behemoths of the time.” Halt & Catch Fire is set in Texas’ Silicon Prairie and appears to be loosely based on the rise of Apple and Microsoft. The impressive cast is led by Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, and Kerry Bishe, with Jonathan Lisco acting as showrunner. The series was created by Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers, with Breaking Bad’s Mark Johnson and Melissa Bernstein acting as executive producers.
Hit the jump for more on AMC’s new Revolutionary War show Turn and Starz’s very early renewal of Michael Bay’s pirate series Black Sails.
It’s been a few years since Battlestar Galactica showrunner Ronald D. Moore had a series on the air, but he’s now poised to be behind not one but two shows on television. Moore is an executive producer on the upcoming Syfy series Helix, and now Starz has ordered to series Moore’s adaptation of the Diana Gabaldon book series Outlander. Described as spanning the genres of romance, science-fiction, history, and adventure in one tale, Outlander follows a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously transported back in time to 1743 where she is forced to marry a romantic young Scottish warrior.
Production on the 16-episode first season will begin in Scotland this fall, with the show poised to air on Starz next year. Moore will write the series himself and will serve as executive producer alongside Jim Kohlberg. Gabaldon’s series currently spans seven novels with an eight to be released later this year, so Moore is definitely not at a lack for source material. Starz is geting pretty heavy into the period series game, as it recently renewed Da Vinci’s Demons for a second season and has the pirate drama Black Sails and the miniseries The White Queen on tap. Hit the jump to read the press release.
Starz is teaming up with screenwriter Rod Lurie (The Contender) and Brad Pitt‘s Plan B Entertainment for the post-Civil War drama Monsters of God. Starz has really stepped up to the table with premium competitors HBO and Showtime in creating worthwhile original entertainment, such as Magic City and Da Vinci’s Demons as well as the one that kicked it all off: Spartacus. It’s upcoming collaborations with The Departed‘s William Monahan as well as a series about the Vietnam War, Airborne, also sound very promising.
Monsters of God will take place in 1867 Texas during the Comanche Wars, a period of American history Lurie has spent a long time studying. Also, as a West Point graduate and former Army artillery officer, he certainly has the background to pen such a work. Hit the jump for more on the project and what else Starz has coming down the pike.
Starz has released a full-length trailer for its new limited series The White Queen. Based on Phillippa Gregory’s best-selling series of novels that dramatize the War of the Roses, the show is told from the perspective of three women who laid claim to the English throne in the mid 15th century: Elizabeth Woodville (The White Queen), Margaret Beaufort (The Red Queen), and Anne Neville (The Kingmaker’s Daughter). It’s clear from this debut trailer that the show is very heavily influenced by the success of HBO’s Game of Thrones, but the prospect of telling an historical story from a female perspective is certainly promising. Moreover, the “limited series” (ie. miniseries) nature of the show means that Starz will be telling a complete story from beginning to end in 10 episodes.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer. The show stars Rebecca Ferguson, Max Irons, Janet McTeer, James Frain, Amanda Hale, Faye Marsay, David Oakes, Eleanor Tomlinson, Aneurin Barnard, Ben Lamb, and Tom McKay. The White Queen will premiere on Starz on August 10th.
Starz has announced a premiere date and unveiled the first poster for the Michael Bay-produced pirate drama series Black Sails. The show takes place 20 years before the events of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel Treasure Island and centers on Captain Flint (the deceased pirate who literally put the treasure in Treasure Island) and a young Long John Silver as they fight for the defense of notorious criminal haven New Providence Island. The series has been slated for a January 2014 premiere, and it should make for a nice pairing with the network’s period-centric Da Vinci’s Demons, which premiered to successful ratings earlier this year and has already been renewed for a second season.
Hit the jump to check out the first poster and two teaser videos for Black Sails, and click here to watch the debut trailer. The series stars Toby Stephens, Luke Arnold, Zach McGowan, Toby Schmitz, Hannah New, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Clara Paget, and Tom Hopper.
It appears that Starz is happy with the numbers and vision for executive producer David S. Goyer’s new drama series Da Vinci’s Demons. The network announced today that it has greenlit production of a second season of the show, with filming poised to get underway in Wales next month. The series premiere set records for the network, nabbing 2.14 million total viewers. The show stars Tom Riley and centers on the titular artist/inventor/swordsman/idealist living in Renaissance Florence, struggling to exist within the confines of his own reality and time as he begins to not only see the future, but invent it. Season two is expected to air on Starz in 2014. If you missed Steve’s extended interview with Goyer about the show, including the producer’s thoughts on a second season, click here.
Starz recently launched the new drama series Da Vinci’s Demons from executive producer David Goyer, but today the network has unveiled a first look at one of its other new shows set to debut in 2014: Black Sails. Executive produced by Michael Bay, the drama series takes place 20 years before the events of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel Treasure Island and centers on Captain Flint (the deceased pirate who literally put the treasure in Treasure Island) and a young Long John Silver as they fight for the defense of notorious criminal haven New Providence Island. Based on this early trailer, it’s very clear that the show is influenced by the monster success of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Black Sails does promise to have a swell production value, but it’s too early to tell how fascinating the characters are. Since filming is still underway in Cape Town, South Africa, this footage is likely from the pilot, which was directed by Neil Marshall (The Descent).
Hit the jump to watch the trailer. The series was created by showrunner and executive producer Jon Steinberg (Jericho), and stars Toby Stevens as Flint and Luke Arnold as the young Silver. The eight-episode first season of Black Sails will premiere on Starz sometime in 2014.
Something about Da Vinci’s Demons, a new 8-part Starz miniseries, felt very familiar as I was watching its first two episodes. The handsome, fit young man, the flowing blouse (chest always exposed), the leather “tunic” that really just looks like a regular modern leather jacket, a portrait of a genius as a young, lusty rogue — yes, I’ve got it: it’s Shakespeare In Love! Tom Riley, as Leonardo da Vinci, is particularly reminiscent of Joseph Fiennes in his portrayal of a young and lusty William Shakespeare, and it’s neither a wholly good or wholly bad thing. Hit the jump for my preview of this upcoming drama (which is worth a watch) and why, as it says, “history is a lie.”
Starz has announced its plans to develop the original drama Airborne, a coming of age story set at the beginning of the Vietnam War. The series comes from Gideon Yago, with Rob Tapert (Evil Dead) as its executive producer. If Yago’s name sounds familiar, it’s probably because you watched MTV in the early 2000s, where Yago worked for the channel’s news department. Though he may be more familiar as having appeared a few times on TRL and doing the 10 to the hour news, he also spent a lot of time near the end of his time at MTV focusing on politics and creating specials for the network about the Iraq War.
Since then, Yago has spent most of his time continuing to write about war and the Middle East for national outlets, and he worked as a writer on Aaron Sorkin’s HBO series The Newsroom for its first season, penning two episodes. Hit the jump for more on Airborne and what Yago has to say about it.
A couple of new trailers have been released for two new pay cable drama series. Showtime has unveiled an extended look at its new series Ray Donovan, which stars Liev Schreiber as a “fixer” for the rich and famous in Los Angeles whose life is complicated when his powerful father—whom he may or may not have framed—is unexpectedly released from prison. Despite the bland title, the show actually looks like a fairly interesting character drama with a pair of strong performances by Schreiber and Jon Voight. The series premieres on Showtime on Sunday, June 30th.
Additionally, Starz has unveiled a new look at its period series Da Vinci’s Demons. From executive producer David S. Goyer (Batman Begins), the show stars Tom Riley as the titular artist/inventor/swordsman/idealist living in Renaissance Florence, struggling to exist within the confines of his own reality and time as he begins to not only see the future, but invent it. The series premieres on Starz on Friday, April 12th. Hit the jump to watch the trailers for Ray Donovan and Da Vinci’s Demons.
STARZ handed out a few announcements today for the following shows:
- The premiere of Da Vinci’s Demons will be Friday, April 12, 2013 at 9pm ET/PT. The network also released a new trailer for the series from David S. Goyer (co-writer of The Dark Knight Trilogy) starring Tom Riley (Monroe).
- The second season of Magic City, featuring the addition of James Caan (The Godfather), can also be previewed in a new trailer.
- The new series Black Sails, produced by Michael Bay and Platinum Dunes with Neil Marshall (Game of Thrones) set to direct the first episode, has officially begun production in Cape Town, South Africa.
Hit the jump to watch the trailers for Da Vinci’s Demons and Magic City, along with the press release for Black Sails.
The ever-busy William Monahan is looking to dip his toe into the world of television. The Oscar-winning The Departed scribe is currently gearing up to direct his second feature film, Mojave, with Oscar Isaac and Jason Clarke in the lead roles, and now word comes that he’s poised to delve into pay-cable TV as well. THR reports that Monahan is developing the 1960s Britain-set drama Crime for Starz. Monahan will write the script, and the project is described as “a study of criminal enterprises and scandal across 1960s Britain.”
Crime was originally developed as a feature film from a treatment by Vanessa Sadler, but Monahan will take the reins to turn the property into a television series. The scribe has been keeping plenty busy as of late, recently signing on to pen a remake of Park Chan-wook’s 2005 film Sympathy for Lady Vengeance as a star vehicle for Charlize Theron. He also penned the sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and a remake of The Gambler.