Bates Motel gave us an interesting and necessary finale to a great season of a (surprisingly?) great show. Though Bates has unfortunately been largely forgotten by most people in the deluge of great TV on at the moment, it’s uncrowded Monday night spot at least gave it the ratings to thankfully warrant a second season. The show has been a surprise and delight in the way it has woven its story in an open, intricate and twisty way, along with the quality of its cast (particularly, of course, Vera Farmiga), as well as its ability to create some compelling new characters (Dylan and Emma) as well as fascinating new situations (the secrets of White Pine Bay). Bates Motel has always had hints that will lead up to the film on which it was based, but it saved the biggest nod until the last scene in this finale, and rightfully so. Hit the jump for why “not in my town, you piece of shit!”
A couple of updates out of the camp of FX pilots. Unfortunately, it looks like Oscar-winning director Ang Lee will be tapping out of production on the drama pilot Tyrant, citing exhaustion from filming and promoting Life of Pi. The story centers on an unassuming American family drawn into the workings of a turbulent Middle East nation; Tyrant’s pilot may be shooting in Morocco. The search for a replacement is currently underway.
For more on what Lee had to say about his departure from the project and for casting information on Guillermo del Toro’s FX pilot, The Strain, hit the jump.
Seth MacFarlane will not be returning to host the Oscars, at least not next year. While the Family Guy creator earned mixed reviews for his hosting duties earlier this year, producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron nevertheless reached out to MacFarlane to see if he’d want to come back and host again in 2014. While the very busy MacFarlane seems like he was up to the task, scheduling issues have forced him to decline via a statement on his Twitter:
“Traumatized critics exhale: I’m unable to do the Oscars again. Tried to make it work schedule-wise, but I need sleep. However, I highly recommend the job, as Zadan and Meron are two of the most talented producers in the business. My suggestion for host is Joaquin Phoenix.”
MacFarlane is currently filming and starring in his second feature directorial effort, A Million Ways to Die in the West, and he’s expected to shoot the Ted sequel later this year, which would account for the scheduling difficulties. With MacFarlane now out, who do you think should be at the helm of next year’s Oscars? My vote is for Neil Patrick Harris or Hugh Jackman.
Soon after Disney acquired Lucasfilm, the axe was put to the popular animated TV series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The show was nixed because it was created before the acquisition, and aired on Cartoon Network as opposed to Disney’s kids channel, Disney XD. But we knew a replacement wouldn’t be far behind, and now the studio has announced that production is underway on the new animated series, Star Wars Rebels. Simon Kinberg (who also working on a Star Wars spin-off/standalone film) will executive produce and write the screenplay for the one-hour series premiere. Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and Greg Weisman (Young Justice) will also executive produce (i.e. these two will probably be the showrunners). The series will take place during the twenty years between Episode III and Episode IV, and shows “a time where the Empire is securing its grip on the galaxy and hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights as a fledgling rebellion against the Empire is taking shape.” If Admiral Ackbar is not a main character, then this entire series is pointless.
The series will premiere in fall 2014 on the Disney Channel before moving to Disney XD. Hit the jump for video of Pablo Hidalgo talking with Filoni about the series. We’ve also included the press release.
Currently wrapping up its first season and already given a second, the A&E drama series Bates Motel gives viewers an intimate portrayal of how Norman Bates’ (Freddie Highmore) psyche unravels through his teenage years. This contemporary prequel to the genre-defining film Psycho reveals the dark, twisted backstory and shows first-hand just how deep the relationship with his mother, Norma (Vera Farmiga), truly goes, as she helps forge the most famous serial killer of them all.
During this exclusive interview with Collider, co-stars Nicola Peltz (who plays Bradley, the beautiful teenager who Norman is in love with) and Olivia Cooke (who plays Emma, the quirky friend with a crush on Norman) talked about how they each came to the show, how familiar they’d been with Psycho, what they enjoy about their characters, how much input they have with their characters, and what made them each want to become actors. Check out what they had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner doesn’t like TV critics, and while most show runners probably have the same perspective, I don’t know why Weiner in particular has such a bee in his bonnet. Mad Men does get criticized and unravelled, and has for the last seven years, but it’s with genuine love and a desire to understand a complicated show. TV criticism is often, to me at least (and I’m biased, of course), a great form of flattery: if your show is worth talking about and dissecting, it’s because it’s a great show. That doesn’t mean it’s infallible, though. But back to my original point, I’m pretty sure that “The Crash” was created just to get TV critics weeping softly at having to review this episode so quickly, because it was so deep and layered. On the other hand, maybe it was created just to mess with all of us. Hit the jump to see which.
Game of Thrones is juggling a lot of stories, as it always has, but this year it feels different because for the first time I think that viewers are really clearly feeling the stakes. We know the major characters, we know the major trajectory. There are zombies to the north and dragons to the east, and a lot of political intrigue in between. What’s been nice about this season too is that we’ve gotten lots of great character moments, even in the midst of so many stories. The storytelling has often been fractured though, but what “Second Sons” did a great job with was actually giving us time to pause and really embrace the plots and characters this week — no Jon, no Robb, no Bran, no Jaime and Brienne and no Theon meant lots of time to spend with the others, especially because so many of them for once shared the same screen. Hit the jump for more on why your brother is now your father-in-law (it is known).
Bill Hader is leaving Saturday Night Live after eight wonderful seasons. In all those years, Hader’s signature recurring character Stefon somehow never grew tired. Hader and co-creator John Mulaney consistently kept the formula fresh, coming up with inspired club names, passwords, and characters for each new Weekend Update appearance.
In last night’s season finale—hosted by Ben Affleck, who also hosted when Stefon debuted—the writers of course had to bring back Stefon for a farewell appearance. It puts a nice button on the romantic tension between Stefon and Update host Seth Meyers, and in doing so, assembles all the crazy characters (most of them midgets) Stefon has mentioned in his guide to New York nightlife. Watch it after the jump.
As someone whose only firsthand experience with the Star Trek franchise comes by virtue of J.J. Abrams‘ two Trek films, I know I’m in over my head when the topic presents itself. When you mention Trek, you’re referencing (either directly or indirectly) a rich legacy filled with peaks and valleys, genre-defining characters and moments, and an international fanbase that rivals any of pop-culture’s most enduring titles. And yet here I am, with two films under my belt (both of which I enjoyed), talking about it. Obviously, I have nothing at stake with regards to Star Trek Into Darkness. Whether you like it or dislike it is of no consequence to me. My only aim today is to extend a humble word of caution to the Trek fans who have years of equity built-up in their beloved franchise: be careful not to dismiss or begrudge it solely because it’s trying to appeal to the largest possible audience. Abrams’ Trek films aren’t above reproach, but they also aren’t void of redeeming qualities. Try to at least acknowledge some of those qualities when tearing into them or risk coming off as someone whose real issue is that a bunch of people now enjoy this thing that you once considered yourself unique for liking.
All preachiness aside, this week’s Top 5 includes several interviews from Star Trek Into Darkness, rumors surrounding Christopher Nolan being approached to direct James Bond 24, the first trailers for Marvel’s new ABC series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a new trailer for Guillermo Del Toro‘s Pacific Rim, and new photos and a video from the set of director Jose Padilha‘s RoboCop remake. If I haven’t lost you yet, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found after the jump.
Showtime has released a full trailer for the upcoming eighth and final season of the drama series Dexter. The trailer shows how the events of last season’s finale will reverberate throughout this new batch of episodes, and we’re also introduced to a new character that could finally spell the end for Michael C. Hall’s Dexter and his secret-keeping. There are some promising bits to be found in this new trailer, but I’m a little apprehensive about how Jennifer Carpenter’s Deb is handled. It looks like Deb’s arc could get really repeptetive really quickly, not to mention being a tad grating. Nevertheless, I’m interested to see how the producers pave the wave for the conclusion of the long-running series.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer, which includes spoilers for season (obviously). Season eight of Dexter premieres on Showtime Sunday, June 30th at 9pm ET/PT.
Thursday evening’s TV ratings are in, and it’s season finales galore. Here’s a brief look at the highlights:
- The emotional series finale of The Office scored a 3.0 rating in the 18-49 demo and 5.7 million viewers, which is up from last week’s 2.3 rating and marks the highest-rated episode of the show since January of 2012.
- The season finale of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, however, topped the night with a 4.4 rating and 14.78 million viewers. That’s down half a ratings point from last week’s 4.9 rating but even with last year’s finale rating of 4.4. The episode was the most watched program of the night, besting even the season finale of American Idol.
- Another season finale on CBS, that of Elementary, was up a tenth from last week’s series low with a 2.0 rating and 8.93 million viewers for the two-hour episode.
Hit the jump for the full ratings report for Thursday, May 16th, including Hannibal, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and more.
Another excellent episode of Hannibal, which continues to be so gorgeously and hauntingly shot. From Will outside of his house in the snow, gazing across the dormant winter landscape, to Tobias in his violin shop with its rich wood and old world feel. I was actually in a violin shop like that recently, and the show captured exactly the feeling of being surrounded by so many beautiful instruments, hand crafted with such expertise and beauty. Though Hannibal‘s violence is much, much more overt than two other recent, excellent series, Top of the Lake and Rectify, they share an intensity and immersive storytelling that wraps up the darkest of horrors in the most stunningly rendered visual blanket. How could such terrors occur in a place that’s full of such beauty and richness? Hit the jump for more on why “life is like a musical performance. We are finite events, unique arrangements.”
One of The CW’s most anticipated new series for the upcoming fall season is The Vampire Diaries’ spin-off The Originals. The sexy drama, set in the city of New Orleans, will follow Original vampires Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and Rebekah (Claire Holt), who quickly find themselves in the middle of tensions between the town’s supernatural factions, which are nearing a breaking point as the city’s leader, Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), commands his devoted followers and rules with absolute power. The show also stars Phoebe Tonkin, Daniella Pineda, Leah Pipes and Danielle Campbell.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, actor Daniel Gillies talked about how much fun he’s had on The Vampire Diaries, how he felt about Elijah’s relationship with Katherine (Nina Dobrev), the experience of shooting the backdoor pilot for The Originals in New Orleans, that the series itself will shoot primarily in Atlanta (where The Vampire Diaries is shot), and that he’s hoping for possible cross-over episodes between the two shows. He also talked about the challenging experience of making his directorial debut, Broken Kingdom, which you can now view on Showtime, along with the documentary about his journey with the film, Kingdom Come. Check out what he had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
Wednesday evening’s TV ratings are in. Here’s a brief look at the highlights:
- The season one finale of The CW’s Arrow matched last week’s 0.9 rating in the 18-49 demo and scored 2.65 million viewers.
- ABC’s Modern Family hit a 3.5 rating and 9.75 million viewers, rising two tenths from last week’s 3.3 rating and making it the highest-rated show of the night.
- Also up on ABC was the drama Nashville, which garnered a 1.8 rating and 5.61 million viewers for a rise of two tenths from last week’s 1.6 rating.
Hit the jump for the full ratings report for Wednesday, May 15th, including Supernatural, Chicago Fire, CSI, and more.
While the networks have been announcing their new series over the past few days at the upfronts, HBO is making a couple of announcements of its own. The pay cable channel has order two pilots to series: a comedy from Mike Judge and a dramedy series centering on a group of gay men in San Francisco starring Jonathan Groff (Glee). Judge’s dark comedy is a single-camera project that takes place “in the high-tech gold rush of modern Silicon Valley, where the people most qualified to succeed are the least capable of handling success.” The series stars T.J. Miller (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World) and Thomas Middleditch (The Campaign).
Per THR, Judge wrote and directed the pilot and will executive produce the series with John Altschuler, Dave Krinsky, and Scott Rudin. Judge previously created and ran King of the Hill on Fox and Beavis and Butthead on MTV, and I look forward to seeing his sharp wit soar outside the confines of network TV. Hit the jump for news regarding another new HBO series from Weekend director Andrew Haigh.