MARCO POLO Trailer Teases Swordplay and a Massive Scale for Netflix’s Biggest Series Yet

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Netflix has released the first Marco Polo trailer for its upcoming historical drama series.  The show follows the explorer’s adventures throughout the 13th century in the court of Kublai Khan, the ruler of the Mongol Empire.  Acting as the ruler’s spy, ambassador, and explorer, Marco treks across the Far East, resulting in a story filled with greed, betrayal, sexual intrigue, and rivalry.  The show was created and written by John Fusco (Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron), and Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) directed the first two episodes.  This trailer certainly teases a massive scope, as this appears to be Netflix’s biggest original series yet.  There’s also plenty of sex and violence, but I’m most struck by the impressive visuals.  Indeed, the drama was shot on location in Italy, Kazakhstan, and Malaysia.

Watch the first Marco Polo trailer after the jump.  The series stars Lorenzo Richelmy, Benedict Wong, Joan Chen, Chin Han, Zhu Zhu, Olivia Cheng, Claudia Kim, Mahesh Jadu, Tom Wu, Remy Hii, Uli Latukefu, and Rick Yune.  The 10-episode first season of Marco Polo will be available to stream in its entirety on Netflix starting December 12th.

SCREAM TV Show Gets Series Order from MTV

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The Scream TV show is officially a go.  THR reports that MTV has given a series order to the 10-episode reboot, which is set to debut on the network in October 2015.  The show is, of course, based on Wes Craven’s incredibly influential 1996 horror film, which revolved around a serial killer with a heavy knowledge of horror tropes who terrorized high school students in a sleepy town.  It’s currently unclear which aspects of the original film franchise will be carried over into the TV show, but we recently learned that Ghostface will not be making an appearance—at least not during the first season.  I’m fine if MTV wants to mine this property for a new TV series, but doing Scream without Ghostface feels a little pointless.  Hit the jump for more on the show.

THE FLASH Recap: “Going Rogue”

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The Flash may be too hot to handle, but Wentworth Miller’s addition to the show is too cold to hold.  The special guest star turned in a great performance as the episode’s villain, and without giving too much away, I think it’s safe to say that we’ll be seeing him again in the future.  Things continue to heat up for the title speedster outside of his life as a crimefighter when a familiar face shows up and offers a possible chance at romance.  Will there be sparks?  Or will one of them get the cold shoulder?

Hit the jump for The Flash recap to find out.

Bob Odenkirk Says BETTER CALL SAUL is 85 Percent Drama, 15 Percent Comedy

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Based on what we’ve seen of Better Call Saul thus far and the fact that Saul Goodman was a major source of comedic relief on Breaking Bad, I assumed the show would be more comedy than drama.  However, according to Bob Odenkirk, that’s not the case at all.  It’ll actually be just 15 percent comedy and 85 percent drama.

The spin-off series will take place five years before Saul’s dealings with Walter White (Bryan Cranston).  At that time, he was going by the name Jimmy McGill and, based on the teaser we got back in August, he wasn’t interested in representing guilty clients because there’s too much aggravation involved.  Hit the jump for more on what Odenkirk had to say about the show.

CBS Renews All 4 of Its New Dramas: NCIS: New Orleans, Scorpion, Madam Secretary, and Stalker

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While most networks stumble to find at least one new show that can survive in the ratings, CBS has picked up all four of its new drama series: NCIS: New Orleans, Scorpion, Madam Secretary, and Stalker.  For CBS, this news isn’t all that surprising.  The network’s formula for the least-offensive programming possible is perfectly suited to an older generation that still holds to Nielsen boxes even though the way we watch television has changed drastically.  That’s not to say these shows are bad (I haven’t watched them), but I can’t think of a single CBS drama other than The Good Wife that gets people talking and has fans encouraging others to watch.

Hit the jump for the press release.

Neil Patrick Harris to Host NBC Variety Show Based on SATURDAY NIGHT TAKEAWAY

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Neil Patrick Harris will host a new NBC variety show, adapted from the ITV program Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.  The untitled series will be shot in front of a live audience and feature “comedy sketches, musical numbers, mini game shows, hidden camera pranks on celebrities and appearances by A-list stars.”  NBC has ordered 10 episodes from ITV Studios America.  The network has not scheduled a premiere date—I would be surprised to see it on Saturdays unless NBC is planning an aggressive programming move.

Harris is the best chance to revive the classic television format for a modern era.  The versatile actor will next show off his hosting talents at the 2015 Academy Awards.  Hit the jump for the press release.

GOTHAM Recap: “Spirit of the Goat”

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Be careful, Gotham; you might just start living up to your potential with more episodes like this.  Don’t get me wrong, the show still has plenty of growing pains to suffer through, but tonight’s episode “Spirit of the Goat” revealed just a hint of the neo-noir storytelling it’s hopefully aiming for.  You’ve got your hard-boiled detectives and their dynamic partnerships, a spooky serial killer and his copycat cohort, and even a femme fatale (or two) for good measure.  All that’s well and good, but do Bullock and Gordon get their goat?

Hit the jump for our Gotham recap to find out.

Official Synopsis for AGENT CARTER Teases Secret Missions for Howard Stark

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Marvel has released the lengthy official synopsis for its second foray into television, Agent Carter.  The initial logline revealed that the show takes place in 1946 and sees Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter character navigating the male-dominated world of the SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve) following the end of the war while also mourning the loss of Steve Rogers.  This new synopsis adds that Carter turns to Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) after she’s stuck doing administrative work for the SSR.  Stark enlists Peggy’s help when he is framed for selling his deadliest weapons to the highest bidder, and he sets his butler Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy) to assist her as she attempts to track down those responsible.  This “desk clerk by day, spy by night” hook appears to be the central conceit of the show, but the synopsis also teases an overall arc as Peggy begins to find that those she works for are not who they seem.

Read the full lengthy Agent Carter synopsis after the jump.  The show also stars Chad Michael Murray, Enver Gjokai, and Shea WhighamAgent Carter debuts on ABC in 2015, likely during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s midseason break.

Rumor: David Goyer Developing KRYPTON Prequel Series Based on Superman’s Home Planet

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With Gotham attracting an audience by being so-bad-its-good as well as Arrow and The Flash picking up viewers who genuinely like those series, and a Supergirl show in development for CBS, it’s no surprise that Warner Bros. might be looking to set up yet another live-action series based on one of their iconic heroes.  According to Bleeding Cool, Warner Bros. has hired Man of Steel screenwriter David Goyer to create Krypton, which would take place before the planet went ka-boom (I presume a series set afterwards would be a more meditative piece as every episode gazes into an abyss for 44 minutes).

Hit the jump for more.

BOARDWALK EMPIRE Series Finale Recap: “Eldorado”

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“Eldorado,” like most of Boardwalk Empire‘s final season, is an example of what it looks like when a TV show knows when it will end.  The whole season has been a long goodbye, but one that also took a side journey through Nucky’s past.  A with legacy was a major theme throughout “Eldorado,” not only for Nucky, but for Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, and Bugsy Siegel.  Hit the jump; “what you leave behind is all that anyone’s ever going to know about you.”

THE AFFAIR Recap: “3″

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In The Affair‘s third episode, the show laid out its own premise through Noah’s novel (which is, of course, doing it’s own life/art, art/life thing).  Noah meets with Bruce’s literary agent, and tells him his new novel is about “the death of the American pastoral […] about a coastal town that get co-opted until it becomes a parody of itself.”  Of course, it’s also about Noah and Alison, or at least, their fictional foils.  “I’ve read it before, why is this different?” the agent asks.  “Because … he kills her in the end,” Noah replies.  Well, someone dies, anyway.  Hit the jump for Helen, “who makes the world seem good.”

HOMELAND Recap: “About A Boy”

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In “About a Boy,” Homeland seems to have settled on its main arcs this season, and many of them continue to surprise.  While Carrie continues to gain Aayan’s trust, Quinn and Fara are on a stakeout to learn more about the cleric who was harboring Aayan’s uncle, Haissan Haqqani.  As Saul is about to leave the country and head home, he keeps his eye on a target at the airport, and phones in the details just before the tables turn.  Secretly acting as the lynchpin to all of this is Martha’s husband Dennis, who ISI is using to gain further intel on the Americans.  Hit the jump for why “I don’t want to lie to you anymore.”

THE WALKING DEAD Recap: “Four Walls and a Roof”

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Are you hungry for more of AMC’s The Walking Dead?  Well then it’s a good thing we’re continuing these recaps which give you a chance to marinate on the show’s happenings and chew on some of the deeper philosophical underpinnings.  Oh yeah, and you get to relive the brutal violence against the undead and the cannibalistic alike again and again!  Tonight’s episode, “Four Walls and a Roof”, certainly sped up the timetable on what was expected to be season five’s central conflict, a turn of events which was equal parts surprising and reassuring that the rest of the season will be just as thrilling.

Hit the jump for The Walking Dead recap.

TOP 5: First AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Trailer, JOHN WICK, THE LOOK OF SILENCE Trailer, BIRDMAN, Brad Pitt Sits BETWEEN TWO FERNS

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With Halloween under a week away, today marks my final horror recommendation of the season. Whether it’s been a while since your last viewing or you’ve missed it all together, this is the perfect (and perhaps only) time of year to check out writer/director Tommy Lee Wallace‘s Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Often regarded as the odd duck of the franchise due to its storyline departure and a severe lack of Michael Myers, Season of the Witch relies less on slasher tropes in favor of sci-fi tinged horror. The gist of the plot is that a popular Halloween mask company (Silver Shamrock Novelties) is planning to kill every kid that wears one of their masks on Halloween night. Not a great business plan, but a serviceable witchcraft/sacrifice plan I suppose. The result is a vintage 80′s horror pic complete with solid practical effects, surprisingly violent deaths, killer androids, an old guy who more or less warns you to get out of town before it’s too late, and Tom Atkins‘ stellar mustache. While I’m not sure Season will hold up well under critical review, if you sit back and embrace the silliness of it all I think you’ll have a new Halloween favorite on your hands.

Recommendations aside, this week’s Top 5 highlights the first Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer, interviews for and Matt’s review of John Wick, a trailer for Joshua Oppenheimer‘s The Act of Killing follow-up The Look of Silence, interviews for and Matt’s review of Birdman, and Brad Pitt essentially getting eviscerated by Zach Galifianakis on Between Two Ferns. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

CONSTANTINE Premiere Recap: “Non Est Asylum”

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Batman.  The Flash.  Even Green Arrow.  These DC Comics heroes are household names, and though some may be more well-known than others, they’ve all got just a bit more recognition in common circles than the antihero exorcist John Constantine.  So it was that NBC took on the challenge of bringing this conjurer and spellcaster into living rooms with its new series, Constantine.  The blessing and the curse of such a project is that the network can draw on the series’ rich mythology while putting their own spin on the character, though it walks the line of confusing new audiences while possibly alienating fans.  However, if the pilot is any indication, then this series may be the surprise supernatural hit of the season.  Hit the jump for my Constantine recap.

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