What’s going on in the TV world?
There have been some charges over at BET. The Quad, which starred Anika Noni Rose and Ruben Santiago-Hudson, was cancelled after two seasons. Despite this cancellation, BET is committed to scripted television. They announced three upcoming shows just before their upfronts presentation — a half-hour comedic reboot of the 1992 Eddie Murphy film Boomerang; another comedy named Peachtree Place, which will be produced by Will Packer and a drama named American Soul which is inspired by the life of Soul Train host Don Cornelius. All of the new shows have been ordered to series. Will Packer is also set to produce three movies of the week for BET for 2019. BET has also ordered a six-episode docuseries entitled Finding Justice from executive producers Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia. Finding Justice tells “the powerful stories of heroes, leaders, advocates and change agents in African American communities across America as they uncover injustices and fight to bring healing and change. Combining the grit and edge of investigative journalism and the profound heart of a powerful documentary, Finding Justice, from executive producers Johnson, Garcia and David Leepson, takes a look at the faces of change in Black America.”
Grammy-nominated singer Antonique Smith has joined the cast of Luke Cage. She will be playing Detective Nandi Tyler, a new character created for the show with no basis in the comics. With Misty Knight’s (Simone Missick) out because of the injury she sustained in The Defenders, Tyler will take over her position. Tyler is possibly a long-time friend of Knight. We’ll see how that relationship changes in the wake of her new position. Almost half of the 13 episodes of Luke Cage‘s second season will be directed by women. Neema Barnette, Millicent Shelton, Kasi Lemmons, Steph Green and Salli Richardson-Whitfield and Lucy Liu are all set to direct this season. Liu will direct the season opener. Season 2 of Luke Cage will debut on Netflix on June 22nd.
Speaking of Netflix series, two of them were renewed this week. Jessica Jones was renewed for a third season. Season 2 launched on Netflix on March 8, which was also International Women’s Day. Critically acclaimed, the second season currently holds an 87% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Netflix also renewed On My Block for a second season. Described as a coming of age comedy, On My Block follows four street-savvy friends navigating their way through high-school and life set in LA’s South Central neighborhood. It currently holds a 93% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The trailer for Ryan Murphy’s new FX drama Pose is out. Set in New York City in the 80s, the series will feature the underground drag ball culture, the downtown New York City social and literary scene and the rise of yuppies. Pose made history by casting the largest number of transgender actors in series regular roles as well as having the largest LGBTQ cast ever for a scripted series. After a six month nationwide search of trans actors MJ Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Dominique Jackson, Hailie Sahar and Angelica Ross were all cast to play transgender characters. Tony winner Billy Porter and newcomers Ryan Jamaal Swain and Dyllon Burnside also co-star. Murphy directed the first two hours of the eight-episode season. Pose premieres on June 3.
The ladies of the Nail Artisan of Manatee County salon are back in a new trailer for Claws season 2. Season 1 saw the five manicurists embroiled in the world of organized crime where they laundered money for a neighboring pain clinic. From producers Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, the show stars Niecy Nash, Carrie Preston, Judy Reyes, Karrueche Tran, and Jenn Lyon. Jimmy Jean-Louis was promoted to series regular for Season 2. Franka Potente (Run Lola Run, The Bourne Identity) will recur as Zlata Ostrovsky, a member of the Russian crime family that has taken over the Dixie Mafia. Claws quickly became TNT’s highest-rated series and one of the top 5 cable series of 2017. The new season will return on Sunday, June 10.
NBC’s Bad Boys television spinoff now has a title — L.A.’s Finest. Gabrielle Union is reprising her role of Special Agent Sydney “Syd” Burnett from the second Bad Boys film where she was an undercover DEA operative, the sister of Martin Lawrence’s Marcus Burnett and the love interest for Will Smith’s Mike Lowrey. Now Burnett is making a fresh start as an LAPD detective. She’s partnered with Nancy McKenna, played by Jessica Alba, a working mom who will soon discover that Syd’s unapologetic lifestyle might be masking a greater personal secret. NBC’s The Blacklist writers and producers Brandon Margolis and Brandon Sonnier are writing the series. Alba and Union are executive producers.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw stars in the first episode of the new anthology series Fabled. The series reimagines classic fairy tales in different realities, exploring stories about age, race, sexuality, gender, and relationships. Directed by Once Upon a Time actor Jennifer Morrison, the first episode of the series envisions a world where Alice from Alice in Wonderland and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz meet. Mbatha-Raw plays Dee or Dorothy. She along with Allie (Alice) are described as “creative young women that blaze their own trails and stray away from societal norms. They crave adventure and dream bigger than what the world tells them is acceptable. After meeting at an extensive behavioral therapy center, they find solace and fortitude in one another. Their bond illustrates the strength of friendship and the power that women can harness when they come together.” The first episode will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Lin-Manuel Miranda is making his debut in the Emmy-nominated DuckTales. The creator of Hamilton will play Gizmoduck aka Fenton Crackshell-Cabrera in the DuckTales episode premiering on Friday, May 11. Fenton is “Duckburg’s preeminent hero who has Latin roots.” “I’m really excited that a new generation of kids will be growing up with DuckTales,” Miranda said. “As a huge fan of the original series, I love that I can share this new version with my sons.” In the episode titled “Beware the B.U.D.D.Y. System!,” Launchpad recruits Fenton after being menaced by tech genius Mark Beaks’ newest invention.
In Movie News…
The full trailer for Ocean’s 8, the spin-off of the Ocean’s Eleven franchise is out. “In 3 1/2 weeks, the Met will be holding its annual ball — and we are going to rob it,” Sandra Bullock’s Debbie Ocean, the sister of Danny Ocean, tells her co-conspirators. “$16.5 million in each of your bank accounts five weeks from now.” The all-female crew of thieves is played by Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter with Anne Hathaway as their target. Ocean’s 8 hits theaters June 8.
Elastigirl, Mr. Incredible, and the kids are back in the new trailer for Incredibles 2. The trailer opens with the superpowered family sitting down for a meal when Violet brings up the elephant in the room – Helen’s new job. While Bob stays home and does his best to care for the children, Helen travels the world being an out and proud superhero. Neighbor and ally Frozone, voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, is also back and featured in this trailer. Incredibles 2 premieres June 15.
Avengers: Infinity War is on track to break records with its ticket sales. It’s currently outpacing the last seven Marvel films combined including successful films like Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardian’s of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Captain America: Civil War. It will most likely pass Black Panther as the top superhero preseller in Fandango’s history. The film is on track for a $175 million to $200 million opening. Avengers: Infinity War opens on April 27. Check out our podcast episodes featuring interviews with Danai Gurira, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Chadwick Boseman, Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle and writers Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus here and here.
DC/Warner Bros. Batgirl live-action film finally has a writer. Sadly, it’s not Roxane Gay. Joss Whedon bowed out in February citing not having a story as the reason. The project has been without a writer since. Christina Hodson, who wrote the upcoming Transformers spinoff Bumblebee, has now been tapped to write the script. Hodson also wrote 2017 Warner Bros. thriller Unforgettable, which starred Rosario Dawson and Katherine Heigl. The Batgirl film will focus on Barbara Gordon, the most iconic version of the character. The daughter of Gotham City police commissioner James Gordon, Barbara Gordon made her comic book debut in 1967.
After 20 years, Spike Lee is making his return to the Cannes Film Festival. His new film BlacKkKlansman, starring John David Washington, Laura Harrier, Corey Hawkins, Adam Driver and Topher Grace is entered in a competition. The film is based on Ron Stallworth’s true-life story as Colorado Springs’s first African-American police. He along with his partner Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan at its highest level to stop their attempt to take over the city. BlacKkKlansman is produced by Jordan Peele. Also making its world premiere at Cannes in the Un Certain Regard section, is the Kenyan lesbian love story Rafiki.
Sanaa Lathan has joined the cast of Native Son. The film is based on the iconic book by Richard Wright. Lathan’s role will be Trudy Thomas, a “widow who is doing her best to raise three children in a small and cramped but tidy Chicago apartment. When her new boyfriend helps arrange a job interview for her eldest son Bigger (Ashton Sanders) to work as a chauffeur for a local real estate magnate, a chain of events is triggered that will have devastating consequences for both families.” Written by Pulitzer winner Suzan-Lori Parks, the film also stars Ashton Sanders, Nick Robinson, Bill Camp, Connie Nielsen, Margaret Qualley and KiKi Layne.
Colombian actress Natalia Reyes and Agents of SHIELD‘s Gabriel Luna have just been cast in the Terminator reboot. They will be joining Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger who are reprising their roles along with newcomer to the franchise Blade Runner 2049 actress Mackenzie Davis. Reyes will play the main role of Dani, a young woman from a working-class neighborhood in Mexico City who finds herself in the battle between humans and machines. Mexican actor Diego Boneto will play her brother. Luna will take on the mantle of the new Terminator. Sources say that Hamilton and Schwarzenegger’s roles will be brief, leaving the bulk of the film’s plot for the new actors.
Finally, the cast of Disney’s live-action Mulan has grown with the addition of Star Wars: Rogue One‘s Donnie Yen and Chinese superstars Gong Li and Jet Li. Currently, Jet Li is in final negotiations to play the emperor of China. In the film, he creates an army by conscripting one male from each household. The titular heroine Hua Mulan, played by Liu Yifei, disguises herself as a man in order to take the place of her elderly father. Yen will play Commander Tung, a mentor, and teacher to Mulan. In a departure from the original film, Gong Li will play a brand new character, a powerful witch, and the main villain. Chinese-Vietnamese actress Xana Tang is also joining the cast in another original role as Mulan’s sister.
If you have anything I missed, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me at @jane_anon. Check back in next Monday for all the exciting news happening next week.