AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, a series set in the 1980’s and centering around the personal computer explosion, has been renewed for a third series of ten episodes.  Now that the action is being moved to Silicon Valley this next season should be very interesting.  It looks like series three will be coming along next summer.

Halt stars Lee Pace (The Hobbit, Guardians of the Galaxy, Pushing Daisies), Scoot McNairy (Argo), Kerry Bishe and Mackenzie Davis.  Toby Huss also co-stars.

Despite ratings lower than they were last season, the show was renewed due to these things:

  1. It became a critical darling in series two.  The first series was uneven, whereas the show became more focused in series two.  The critics noticed and raved about how much better it had become in its sophomore season.
  2. The show is wholly owned by AMC, meaning all the money it makes however it gets distributed belongs to AMC.  They don’t have to share the profits with anybody.
  3. It may have a small audience, but that audience is devoted and apparently on the upscale side.

Lee is currently filming The Book of Henry, directed by Jurassic World’s Colin Trevorrow and co-starring Naomi Watts and Sarah Silverman.

Glad to see Halt get picked up for a third season.  Now AMC just needs to get smart and move it from Sunday nights, where there’s too much competition.

#HaltAndCatchFire #LeePace


We have a new trailer for the Sherlock Victorian-era special that will air around Christmas, at least in the U.K.  No word yet on an exact date for when it will be shown on PBS here in the U.S.

Martin Freeman’s significant other Amanda Abbington is again playing Mary Morstan (or Watson, not sure if they’re married yet here).

The special episode will be shown on BBC One, and is a Hartswood Films production.  Since this was a one-off, Hartswood decided to do it in the original era of the Arthur Conan Doyle stories.  In the 4th series Holmes and Watson will return to modern day.

#Sherlock #SherlockHolmes #SherlockBBC #BenedictCumberbatch

Take a deep breath — Benedict Cumberbatch and Jake Gyllenhaal are rumored to be in talks to star together in The Current War, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Gyllenhaal is said to be portraying George Westinghouse, while Cumberbatch would take on the role of Thomas Edison.  The film is a Harvey Weinstein project.

Cumberbatch should feel at home in the role, considering his turn as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game.  We’ll see if the talks turn into actual contracts.

#BenedictCumberbatch #JakeGyllenhaal

John Oliver, host of Last Week Tonight on HBO, gave a disabled Syrian refugee girl named Noujain Mustaffa a gift with a little help from some cast members of NBC’s Days Of Our Lives.

To do it, he even brought the character E.J. DiMera back from the dead, which as we know is almost never done with soap opera characters.  Ahem.

Anyway, E.J. portrayer James Scott, who left the soap earlier this year, and Alison Sweeney, who played his wife/widow Sami, created a video just for Noujain, who is a huge fan of Days Of Our Lives.  I’m not sure how she used to watch it — maybe on the NBC Days website where they load up full episodes — but this is apparently how she learned English.

We first meet Noujain in the video below starting at about 3:47 in.  There are two parts to the DOOL story, at 13:05 and 15:45.  But watch the whole thing, Oliver manages to make a very serious subject pretty funny.

I’m a long-time DOOL fan who returned to watching the show a few weeks ago after being gone for a few years, so I’m still catching up.  One thing I’ve learned already though, is that John Oliver is right, Abigail Deveraux is kind of a trollop!  But hey, it’s no secret that DOOL has the best looking men in daytime, so who can blame her?  I’m team Chabby all the way.

#Days #Chabby

Video via the Last Week Tonight YouTube channel

Emmy Winners

The 67th Emmys were last night, and although I didn’t watch it I can give you some highlights.

Diversity got a shot in the arm – or two – when Viola Davis became the first black woman to win the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for How To Get Away With Murder.  Jeffrey Tambor took the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series award for his portrayal of a transgender woman in Transparent.

Jon Hamm walked away with his first Emmy, after seven nominations, for the now-cancelled Mad Men.  But it was Veep and Game of Thrones that were again big winners.  Julia Louis-Dreyfus won the comedy Lead Actress award and the show won Outstanding Comedy Series.  GoT took the Outstanding Drama award, while Peter Dinklage won for Supporting Actor.

While Tatiana Maslany didn’t win for Orphan Black, she was at least nominated this year after being previously overlooked.

The complete list of nominees and winners is here on the official Emmy website.  Congratulations to all!


The Australian television series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is going to be made into a movie.  It will be set in England, which, if you’ve seen the final episode of S3, makes more sense… but it does lead me to wonder if some of the supporting characters will not be showing up in the film.  That would make me very sad – Aunt P, Bert, Cec, Dot, Hugh and Mr. Butler are a large part of what makes this series so great.  I’m hoping Nathan Page will be on board as Inspector Jack Robinson, or I may just have to start a petition.

phryneSeries 1-3 are out on Netflix and DVD.  The third series may also show up on PBS.  In the UK, S3 will be shown on the Alibi channel beginning Wednesday, October 28th at 9 p.m.

Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries is from Every Cloud Productions and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).  It is based on the novels by Kerry Greenwood.

If you’re wondering about a series 4, no word yet, but since this show has suddenly become popular worldwide, ABC is saying they’re definitely interested in another series.  The movie may put a crimp in those plans, though, so I’ll keep an eye on the news to see if we’ll get more television episodes.

Star Essie Davis is becoming busy.  She is now based in the UK, which is another reason why the movie will be filmed there.  If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, she has snagged a short-term part as an actress in a theater troupe.  She will be playing none other than Cersei Lannister, as part of a play about the drama in Westeros.

#MissFisher #EssieDavis

Rachel McAdams has been cast in Doctor Strange against Benedict Cumberbatch.  No word on what character she will be playing, though.  McAdams played Irene Adler in the Robert Downey, Jr. Sherlock Holmes films.  Speaking of which, a third Holmes film is rumored to be happening, but nothing concrete yet.

If you like murder mystery series, you have to be watching Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.  This is from Australia, and is set in the 1920’s.  Check them out on DVD or on Netflix, where series 3 just landed.  Miss Fisher, Inspector Robinson, Dot and Hugh are all back together.  Excuse me while I settle in for some binge-watching.

#Doctor Strange #MissFisherMurderMysteries

Brit Tom Hiddleston may not have been the most obvious choice to play country music legend Hank Williams, but I’d say he does a pretty good job if this clip is anything to go by.

(Via Movieclips Coming Soon on YouTube)

The biopic of Williams, titled I Saw The Light, after one of Williams’ most famous hits, will premiere in the U.S. on November 27th.  It co-stars Elizabeth Olsen and Bradley Whitford.

Hiddleston announced the clip on his Twitter feed @twhiddleston.  He does his own singing and guitar playing in the film.

#ISawTheLight #TomHiddleston

BBC Changes Coming

The BBC looks to be making some big changes.  According to The Telegraph, BBC Four could be eliminated to beef up the budgets for new dramas.  BBC Three will apparently be going online only.

Sherlock has, of course, been very successful, and the Aidan Turner series Poldark has gone through the roof, especially in the U.K.  Downton Abbey had its day also (its sixth and final season will be out soon).  The BBC is wanting to focus its budget on developing more of these kinds of dramas, and they’re not cheap to make.

Cuts by the government is a big chunk of what’s leading to the restructuring.  Another big issue is that the BBC is competing, as is every network in the U.S., with series being developed and released all at once onto online outlets like Netflix.  The article mentions that one thing the Beeb is considering is doing the same with iPlayer to allow for binge watching.

I’ve never understood why the BBC doesn’t give subscriptions to folks who want to see their programming at the same time it’s released in the U.K.  I get that they don’t want to give overseas viewers content for free that their taxpayers are paying for, but I’m sure there would be a lot of folks who would pay a small monthly fee.  Sign me up.

#Sherlock #Poldark #AidanTurner

I got my first choice in the casting of Strange himself in Benedict Cumberbatch, and the casting news rolling in continues to look excellent.

drstrange_viamarvelThe latest rumor is that Mads Mikkelsen may sign on as a villain in the film, according to Variety.  It’s still in the rumor stage, but Marvel has approached him before for a role.  Availability has been the issue, so we’ll see how that turns out now that Hannibal has ended.

Already signed on to play villain Baron Mordo is Chiwetel Ejiofor.  Cumberbatch and Ejiofor starred together in 12 Years A Slave.  There have been some rumors that Daniel Bruhl may also show up in Strange as a villain as well.  His character, Baron Zemo, has already been set for Captain America: Civil War.  Bruhl is another past co-star of Benny’s, in The Fifth Estate.  Tilda Swinton is taking on the gender-swapped role of The Ancient One.

Doctor Strange is out on November 4th, 2016.

Image via Marvel.com

#Doctor Strange #BenedictCumberbatch #MadsMikkelsen


I’m continuing to discover some good podcasts out there, so I’m going to talk about three of the ones I’ve recently found.  I’ll link the websites below, but these are all available free on iTunes as well (or other venues, check their websites).

International Waters is a comedy quiz show pitting U.S. and U.K. comics against each other for bragging rights over who knows the most about pop culture.  Failing that, if they’re wrong they can still earn points just for being funny.  Think Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, only a lot more irreverent, with loosey-goosey rules and swearing.

American Cinematographer magazine now has a podcast!  Full disclosure that I have not yet listened to one, but here’s the description from the website:

American Cinematographer interviews cinematographers, directors and other filmmakers to take you behind the scenes on major studio movies, independent films and popular television series.

Recent episodes include interviews with the cinematographers of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Crow (1994) and Mad Men.

Crime Writers on Serial continues the obsession with NPR’s Serial podcast that covered the murder trial of Adnan Syed and his possible retrial.  We now have podcasts on Serial, podcasts on the podcasts on Serial, etc. etc.  This one gathers true crime authors Rebecca Lavoie, her husband Kevin Flynn, Lara Bricker and Toby Ball in discussions about Serial, Undisclosed (an excellent podcast by three attorneys that digs even deeper into the Syed case), and also extends into other topics, such as the television show True Detective.

So there’s three more worth giving some time to.  If you have any other suggestions, feel free to comment below!

#InternationalWatersPodcast #AmericanCinematographerPodcast #CrimeWritersOnSerialPodcast #podcasts

At the D23 EXPO Disney announced it will be adding Star Wars attractions to Disneyland in Anaheim, California and to Disney World in Orlando, Florida (concept art here).

This is in addition to previously-announced Star Wars-themed cruises on the Disney Fantasy.

StarWarsposterRogue One, the first standalone film of what is to be a series of one-offs, has begun filming and is being directed by Gareth Edwards.  It comes out in the U.S. on December 16th, 2016.  It stars Felicity Jones, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, and Alan Tudyk.

Disney landed Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow to direct Episode IX, which will come out in 2019.  The trilogy begins with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, premiering December 18th of this year in the U.S. and U.K., among others.  It will be followed by Episode XIII in 2017.

Oh, yeah – and here’s the first official poster for The Force Awakens.

Disney also announced that Toy Story will get an attraction at Disney World in Orlando, complete with a Slinky Dog roller coaster.

#RogueOne #StarWars

Hollywood continues its run of remakes of old television shows and reboots of old films.  There are some classics that just shouldn’t be remade, a very few that are actually better than the originals, and some that are a new take entirely and are worthy of a look.  Although I can get a little weary of all the remakes, Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. looked like a good time from the very first trailer.

It stars Henry Cavill (Superman) as American CIA agent Napoleon Solo, Armie Hammer as Russian KGB agent Illya Kuryakin, and Alicia Vikander as Gaby Teller.  In the television series Solo was played by Robert Vaughn, and Kuryakin was played by David McCallum, whom most people now know as Ducky on NCIS.

Hugh Grant also makes an appearance as Waverly, Solo’s boss.

While Guy Ritchie may best be known to some as Madonna’s ex-husband, he has made some of the funniest and best movies out there, including Snatch with Brad Pitt and Jason Statham, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (also with Statham), and the two Robert Downey, Jr./Jude Law Sherlock Holmes films.  He was the perfect director for U.N.C.L.E., putting humor together with a great cast, some excellent action scenes, and 1960’s cool.

Yes, the film maintains the ’60s era style of the television series, along with Cold War-era animus between the CIA and the KGB.  The plot is thin, with a beautiful villainess named Victoria Vinciguerra (Elizabeth Debicki), a nuclear bomb, and hints of what became in the show a shadowy criminal organization called THRUSH.  But the plot is not the draw here, and frankly I’m glad it’s not a convoluted one, because it’s really secondary anyway to the humor and just the sheer enjoyment of watching the interaction between the main characters, as well as the clothes and cars of the era.

Here’s the 5-minute trailer shown at Comic-Con:

The action scenes are great, the chemistry between the three leads is perfection, and overall it was definitely worth at least a matinee ticket, especially  if you’re a fan of the original TV show.  Brit Cavill does a credible American accent (as he did in Man of Steel), and Hammer pulls off a Russian accent as well.  Together they’re a team I could definitely watch again in a sequel that would hopefully not have to spend so much time on character introductions.

Outside of the backstorying, which went on a little long, I have only a couple of gripes.  One is that the action scenes are done so well that you wish there were more of them.  The other one is an odd one, but during one chase scene I thought the music was off.  Not sure why really, but it just didn’t seem to fit and was a bit jarring.

Spoiler alert for this paragraph:  This might not come as much of a surprise, but some people are funny about anything that could resemble a spoiler, so I thought I’d warn you.  At the end of the film there’s a scene where Waverly tells Solo, Kuryakin and Gaby they’re going to be staying together as a team for a while longer, and gives them their next assignment.  So it appears there’s already a sequel in mind (complete with location, so there must be a general notion of what the plot would be).

Tom Cruise’s 99th Mission Impossible flick may take some of the wind out of its sails at the box office, but hopefully U.N.C.L.E. will generate enough bucks to warrant a sequel.

Overall, a fun time, especially if you’re a fan of the ’60s television series, Henry Cavill, and/or Armie Hammer.  If you’re not already, this flick may make you a fan.  (The old series can still be seen on MeTV or you could always go to Amazon and pick up a DVD.)

BTW, speaking of Jason Statham and remakes, one of the previews was for the reboot of The Transporter, this time starring Ed Skrein.

#TheManFromUNCLE #HenryCavill #ArmieHammer

Here’s some great news for Tolkien geeks!  A previously unpublished novel, The Story of Kullervo, will be published this year.  The Mary Sue has the story.

The book is a sequel of sorts to The Silmarillion.  The novel was never finished, so fair warning that you might want to wait for some info on whether it’s complete enough to make good reading.

The Mary Sue’s article states that Amazon will be releasing it on October 27th in the U.S., but the website says a Kindle edition will hit this month, August 27th, with a hardcover to follow next April.

Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:

Kullervo, son of Kalervo, is perhaps the darkest and most tragic of all J.R.R. Tolkien’s characters. ‘Hapless Kullervo’, as Tolkien called him, is a luckless orphan boy with supernatural powers and a tragic destiny.

Brought up in the homestead of the dark magician Untamo, who killed his father, kidnapped his mother, and who tries three times to kill him when still a boy, Kullervo is alone save for the love of his twin sister, Wanona, and guarded by the magical powers of the black dog, Musti. When Kullervo is sold into slavery he swears revenge on the magician, but he will learn that even at the point of vengeance there is no escape from the cruelest of fates.

#Tolkien #StoryOfKullervo

You may have heard that Benedict Cumberbatch is doing Hamlet at the Barbican Theatre in London.  He has asked that members of the audience refrain from using their cell phones, especially to film the play.

This is one of those things people just shouldn’t have to be told.  But apparently there have been several instances lately of theater goers displaying really bad manners and doing everything from texting (actress Patti Lu Pone recently stopped a play and grabbed a cellphone from an audience member who was texting) to trying to charge their phone by going up onstage and plugging it into a (fake) electrical outlet on the set.  I’m not kidding.

Can we all just agree that it’s bad manners — not to mention distracting to the actors — to play around with your cell phone during a play?  Or at a movie theater for that matter.

While we wait to see whether Halt and Catch Fire gets a third season, Lee Pace will be doing New York Stage & Film’s Powerhouse Season from July 31st to August 2nd.  More info here at BroadwayWorld.com.

Speaking of Halt and Catch Fire, the ratings for the 2nd season were not good.  The critics loved it, though, so a third season may depend on whether AMC thinks it’s worth more as a critical darling than a ratings winner.  Here’s a hint, AMC – move it away from Sunday nights.  There’s just too much competition for it to make a dent.

#Theater #LeePace #HaltAndCatchFire


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