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Clayne Crawford has spoken out on the Drinkin’ Bros podcast about being fired from Lethal Weapon. Below is the full podcast.

First off, full disclosure – I am #TeamClayne on this one. I’ve said in previous posts that I think Clayne is a massively talented actor, whereas Damon Wayans is… not. I was surprised that Warner Bros. fired Clayne, and even more surprised that they are doing a third season (albeit only 13 episodes for now), replacing Clayne’s Martin Riggs with a new character played by Seann William Scott. I have nothing against Scott, but how you can have Lethal Weapon without Riggs? In my opinion they fired the wrong guy.

At any rate, here’s the podcast. And if you’re on Twitter, look up Anonymous (@BTSinHollywood) for more on what happened behind the scenes. This is someone who has worked on the show from the beginning.

#ClayneCrawford #LethalWeapon

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Billions may be one of the most Emmy-worthy shows out there that has never been nominated for an Emmy, an oversight that is frequently noted by the entertainment press. Also frequently noted is that the show became much more solid in the second season (three seasons are currently in the bag, with a fourth to come next year).

With a cast that stars Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti, you figure it’s already got a head start on being a pretty good show. Lewis is Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, owner of hedge fund Axe Capital, and a multi-billionaire. Giamatti is Chuck Rhoades, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Rhoades would like nothing better than to bring down Axelrod, whom he believes got his money more by crook than by hook. There’s one big problem, though… Rhoades’ wife Wendy (Maggie Siff) is a much-valued psychologist working for Axe Cap.

Also included in the main cast is Axelrod’s wife Lara (Malin Akerman), his right-hand man Mike “Wags” Wagner (David Costabile), and Rhoades’ attorneys Brian Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore) and Kate Sacker (Condola Rashad). Asia Kate Dillon plays Taylor Mason. Both the character and the actor are non-binary gendered and use the pronouns they, their and them. Having a non-binary gendered character in a major series is a first, and they are not a minor character, either. Much of the show actually centers around Taylor, who is a financial genius and Axelrod’s protege. A notable guest star is John Malkovich, who shows up as a Russian oligarch in season three.

The show is exceptionally well written, and the writers seem to delight in creating arcs of intricate plotting. If someone is being set up, the viewer may or may not be let in on that fact until the plot unfolds. It’s hard to tell who are the good guys and who are the bad… or who to root for. Rhoades is as capable of manipulation as Axelrod is – but who is more downright ruthless? Technically you should be rooting for Rhoades, who is supposed to be on the side of the law, but you can’t help but hope that Axelrod gives him a run for his money. (Besides, there wouldn’t be a show with the Axe of Axe Capital spending his days in jail.) Caught in the  middle is Rhoades’ wife, who is stubbornly loyal to Axe, something her husband has issues with. Well, all except for the money she makes.

Along with all this plotting and backstabbing are the obligatory props of the mega-rich, the helicopters, cars, houses, and stacks of cash. Fair warning that if you are not a fan of the F-bomb you won’t like this show – if you were to take a drink every time a character lets one fly, you’d be blotto inside of five minutes. And, as per usual with Showtime, sex and nude scenes are frequent. For the life of me I don’t get how anyone could find Giamatti sexy, but he actually gets more of those kinds of scenes than Lewis. Not sure why, but there you go.

Below is a trailer for the first season. There are 12 episodes per season. I found myself skipping some of the season one episodes just to save time, but if you start on this series be prepared to clear your calendar for some bingeing. Rumor has it it’s almost required watching if you work in finance and want to have anything to talk about around the water cooler.

#ShowtimeBillions #DamianLewis #PaulGiamatti

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UPDATE: There’s good news and bad news. According to Deadline, Lethal Weapon has been renewed for a third season. The bad news – Clayne Crawford will not be back. Sean William Scott is joining the cast as a new character who will be Murtaugh’s partner. I think Clayne is very talented, I hope to see him in another project soon.

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The report of Clayne Crawford being fired from Fox’s Lethal Weapon may be premature. Or maybe not. Who knows? Yesterday he tweeted that he has received no official word that he has been let go. Upfronts are tomorrow (Monday), but I’ve also heard that we may not know until June 30th. So we wait.

Reportedly other actors have been offered the role but have turned it down.

In the meantime, Damon Wayans has been a bit of a diva. First he tweets some anti-Clayne stuff, then he tweets some pro-Clayne stuff, then he claims he was hacked and that he’s under a lot of stress. Well, I imagine the other 200 people who work on the show, all of whom make less than DW, are under stress too. Maybe Clayne isn’t the one that needs to be replaced?

Former co-stars like Hilarie Burton have been defending Clayne on Twitter, and the fans are very anti-recast, so there’s hope that the cast will return intact if Fox and the showrunners want the fans to stay with it.

Let me just say that these behind-the-scenes squabbles have ruined more than one show. Castle went by the wayside because Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic couldn’t get along. Rumor has it that Pauley Perrette left NCIS because she could no longer work with Mark Harmon (sounds like that’s Harmon’s fault, not hers, but who knows)? It would be a shame if LW ends because of squabbling.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for news.

#LethalWeapon #StayLethal

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Disney has given the executive producer job for the upcoming Star Wars live action series to Jon Favreau (Iron Man). Favreau will also be writing for the show.

The series will be shown on Disney’s streaming service, along with their other content. Disney is pulling their stuff from Netflix in preparation for the launch of the service next year.

StarWars.com has more info here.

#StarWars #Disney

 

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Benedict Cumberbatch’s A Child In Time has been scheduled for April 1 on PBS’ Masterpiece.  Cumberbatch plays a father whose child goes missing, and Kelly Macdonald co-stars as his wife.  The show will be 90 minutes, and is a joint production of Pinewood Studios and Cumberbatch’s SunnyMarch production company.  It is an adaptation of the novel by Ian McEwan. Below is a trailer:

Benedict is also scheduled to do the film Rio with Jake Gyllenhaal and, as reported by Variety, possibly Michelle Williams.  The plot, as described by IMDb.com, is this: “A financial reporter travels to Rio de Janeiro to visit a wealthy friend, only to get sucked into a plot to fake his friend’s death.”  Sounds interesting.  Gyllenhaal plays the reporter, while Cumberbatch is the rich friend.  I hope they change the title, though, otherwise some might think it’s another movie about some adorable animated parrots.

#BenedictCumberbatch #JakeGyllenhaal #AChildInTime

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If you haven’t seen the series finale of AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, Ten of Swords, read further at your own risk.  I’m going to do this review assuming that either you’ve seen it, or that you don’t mind spoilers.  If you’d like to catch up, go here to the website to see the season four episodes.

It’s a shame that Halt never got the audience it deserved.  It got plenty of love from critics, especially in the last two seasons, but it never became a ratings blockbuster.  It had an amazing cast, with Lee Pace (one of those actors whom I believe is capable of doing literally anything), as Joe MacMillan; Scoot McNairy as Gordon Clark; Mackenzie Davis as Cameron Howe; Kerry Bishe as Donna Clark, and Toby Huss as John (Bos) Bosworth.

It started with Joe as almost a literal wrecking ball, manipulating others into buying into whatever his vision of the moment was.  The character was an unlikeable brute when the show first began.  Cameron was a genius programmer but working with her was like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall.  Donna and Gordon, married with two small girls when the series first started and later divorced with teenagers, were supposedly the grounded ones.  Hardware was their specialty; they had invented a computer themselves, but it never got off the ground commercially.

And that seems to have been the theme with Halt.  The foursome worked on great ideas that were either never successful, or that worked for a while until someone else came up with something better.  That is, if frayed relationships between them didn’t sink a project first.

In the 1990’s technology was moving fast, maybe too fast for small companies like Mutiny and Comet to compete.  Every time they’d get their product out there someone else would come up with another that made theirs obsolete.  The company where Donna becomes the managing partner has money and isn’t dependent on just one piece of software, so it survives where Comet fails.  Rover is just one piece of the pie for them, one they can afford to jettison when it gets eclipsed by something with a funny name – Yahoo.

But Halt was not just about the emerging technology.  It’s about connecting with other people, via the Internet (remember Mutiny’s Community?), as well as the personal connections they made with each other.  As Joe liked to say, computers “weren’t the thing, they were the thing that gets you to the thing.”  And the “thing” was connecting with people.

By the second season the Cameron and Donna characters were coming to the forefront of the show.  In the last episode we see just how intertwined those two had become, when Cameron first brings up the idea that she and Donna work together again, and Cameron isn’t talking about joining Donna’s firm.  When Donna asks her if she has an idea for something new, Cameron tells her the idea will come later, she just wanted them to work together again.  In a scene where the two of them visit the now vacant Comet offices they run through the possibility, but decide that it would end up like Mutiny.  Cameron tells Donna that this time, though, it wouldn’t break their friendship.  Donna pushes the idea away, until Cameron is getting ready to pull out of town with her Airstream, and then she rushes out of the diner to stop her, with just four words: “I have an idea.”

We never find out what the idea was (something akin to Facebook maybe?), but it’s great that their friendship and partnership is going to continue.

Then we come to Joe and Gordon.  Joe needed Gordon to help carry out his ideas, and Gordon needed Joe to give them to him.  When Gordon died Joe was lost.  His relationship with Haley (Susanna Skaggs) was sweet, particularly when he recognizes that Haley is gay and gently tries to tell Gordon how to help her.  Being bisexual Joe understands the difficulties of navigating that minefield, particularly in the 90’s.  By series end Joe is almost the opposite of how he started.  He’s a big ol’ softie who realizes that his relationship with Cameron isn’t working and he’s lost his best friend Gordon.  I think he also realizes that his ideas were big, but that maybe he’s not capable of making them come to fruition, particularly now that he no longer has Gordon the hardware guy and Cameron the programming genius.  His original idea for Comet wasn’t going to work – Haley was the one who devised the actual software.  He needs a reluctant Cameron to put a fix in for Comet as he can’t do it himself, but when she does so they realize Yahoo has – gasp – toolbars, making Comet instantly obsolete.

So Joe ends up as he began, teaching.  Humanities courses of all things!  He starts the class as he did with the one where he found Cameron, with the words “Let me start by asking a question.”  He’s come full circle, but he’s not the same Joe he was then.  On his desk there are pictures of Gordon, Cameron and Haley, his makeshift family.  Also in his office is an old Cardiff computer.  He’s starting over, but this time he’s taking with him things from his past that wouldn’t have mattered to the old Joe.

It’s interesting that the writers, after the first series, started concentrating so much on the Donna and Cameron characters.  This last episode in particular was all about women in technology.  Donna has a party at her house for all the ladies in her firm, and gives a moving speech about how she has made it in that world.  Haley is taking college-level C++ classes.  Cameron’s software expertise along with Donna’s hardware know-how come into play when Haley has a problem with her computer.  Even in 2017 women can relate to how hard it can be to make it in a male-dominated field.  That co-creators Chris Rogers and Chris Cantwell are men makes an important statement.

So the series ends after four years with the best episodes of the show.  If there’s any justice in this world, there will be Emmy nominations forthcoming.

#HaltAndCatchFire #LeePace

 

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Fall is coming, and with it the anticipated premieres of some television shows that will hopefully get us out of the late summer doldrums.  There hasn’t been much going on in the theater.  I did see The Hitman’s Bodyguard, but didn’t end up reviewing it.  (Long story short: if you really need to go to the movies it’s OK, but the scene stealer in that film is Salma Hayek.)

Anyway, below are some series (and mini-series) I’m looking forward to or that I thought you might be.  Hit the Calendar page also for other upcoming dates of interest.  Entertainment Weekly has a comprehensive list here.

Outlander – Starz – Sunday, Sept. 10

Star Trek: Discovery – CBS All Access – Sunday, Sept. 24; Netflix will show the series outside of the U.S. and Canada, including the U.K., the day after it airs here

The Voice – NBC – Monday, Sept. 25/Tuesday, Sept. 26

Lethal Weapon – Fox – Tuesday, Sept. 26

LiarSundance Wednesday, Sept. 27, ITV Monday, Sept. 11

The Blacklist – NBC – Wednesday, Sept. 27

Will & Grace – NBC – Thursday, Sept. 28

Marvel’s Inhumans – ABC – Friday, Sept. 29

Poldark series 3 – PBS Masterpiece – Sunday, Oct. 1

Marvel’s Runaways – Hulu – Tuesday, Nov. 21

#Fall2017TV #LethalWeapon #StarTrekDiscovery

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As reported in Radio Times, Allison Williams (Girls) has been cast in the five-part series Melrose alongside star Benedict Cumberbatch.  Cumberbatch will also executive produce under his SunnyMarch banner.

Also in the cast: Jennifer Jason Leigh and Hugo Weaving.

The series is based on the Edward St. Aubyn Patrick Melrose novels.  Melrose was born into the English aristocracy, but struggles with an abusive father and a feckless mother.  He becomes a womanizer and substance abuser, but eventually comes out on the other side.  While this sounds like a very depressing read, the novels are also said to be very funny at times and gives the reader a look into the peculiar world of the British upper classes.

Melrose will be shown in the U.K. on Sky and in the U.S. on Showtime, where it’s expected to premiere sometime next year.

If you would like to read the novels, be aware that there are five, not four.  There are compilations out there of the novels, but some fail to include the final one, At Last.

#Melrose #BenedictCumberbatch

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I’m not bitter at ABC for cancelling Ioan Gruffudd’s Forever, nor for cancelling Pushing Daisies, a perennial favorite on the list of Shows That Were Cancelled Too Soon.  OK, maybe a little bitter.  Scratch that – still a lot bitter.

Anyway, the stars of those shows went on to other things (in Lee Pace’s case, he became an elf king, not a bad gig).  As mentioned in the post below, Ioan Gruffudd will be starring in a six-episode series on the Sundance Channel with Joanne Froggatt.

ABC is redeeming themselves a little bit in Gruffudd’s case.  He will be making a series in Australia for ABC Studios International, Harrow.  The show is in partnership with the Australian Broadcasting Company.  Gruffudd will once again be playing a forensic pathologist with a secret to hide.  The series will be shown here in the U.S.  You can find additional info here on Deadline.

If you haven’t been watching Halt and Catch Fire on AMC, you should go to their website and catch up before the fourth and final season starts on Saturday, August 19th.  Set in the early 1990’s the fourth season centers around a Really Big Thing that is about to happen… something called the internet.  The show stars Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis and Kerry Bishe.  Below is a teaser.

#IoanGruffudd #LeePace #HarrowMorgue #HaltAndCatchFire

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If you’ve been missing Joanne Froggatt  (Downton Abbey) and Ioan Gruffudd (Forever) on your television screens, you’re about to be a happy camper.

According to USA Today, the two will star in a six-episode series called Liar for the Sundance channel.

The synopsis is described in the article:

Froggatt stars as Laura Nielson, a school teacher who goes out on a seemingly innocent date with Andrew Earlham, a surgeon played by Gruffudd. When something goes wrong, the two of them get caught in a mix of accusations, lies, secrets and possible crimes.

Sounds intriguing.

The series premieres on September 27th.

#JoanneFroggatt #IoanGruffudd

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Emmy nominations came out yesterday.  The big winners were Westworld (although the biggest snub, in my opinion, was Ed Harris being left out) and SNL.

Sherlock: The Lying Detective was nominated as well as star Benedict Cumberbatch.

The late Carrie Fisher was nominated in the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series category for her appearance on Amazon’s Catastrophe.

The awards show will air on September 17th and will be hosted by Stephen Colbert.

You can see the entire list of nominees here on the Emmy website.  Congrats to all!

#Emmys2017 #Sherlock #BenedictCumberbatch

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It’s been a month since I posted!  With all the crap going on around the world and at home I wasn’t particularly inspired, plus there wasn’t a lot of news to report.  I saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 but after a lot of other folks, and frankly I didn’t write up a review on it because I actually liked the first one a lot better.  I imagine that’s a minority view, but that’s my opinion!

So now I’m going to post a couple of news tidbits from the last few days.

The first is a sad bit of news.  Sir Roger Moore has passed away at the age of 89 from cancer.  Moore was, of course, the third James Bond.  He did seven of the films, including Live and Let Die, The Man With The Golden Gun and The Spy Who Loved Me.  Prior to playing 007 he was Simon Templar, The Saint, for six seasons.  It was his work as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, however, that earned him his knighthood in 2003.  He leaves his wife Kristina and three children.

There are four Star Wars magazine covers I want to mention, and they’re not from EmpireVanity Fair will release in early June covers of The Last Jedi actors in costume, photographed by Annie Leibovitz.  One shows Daisy Ridley and Mark Hamill; the second is of Gwendolyn Christie, Domhnall Gleeson and Adam Driver; Oscar Isaac, John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran grace the third cover, and the fourth has the late Carrie Fisher by herself.  You can see the covers here on VF’s website.

For Downton Abbey fans there’s news of two of the show’s leading ladies.  Joanne Froggatt plays a serial killer in Dark Angel.  The first episode was last Sunday, but you can still catch it online here on PBS’ website.  Elizabeth McGovern will star in The Chaperone, a film written by Downtown creator Julian Fellowes.  After its run in theaters it will be shown on PBS.

#RogerMoore #StarWars #TheLastJedi #DowntonAbbey

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The BBC and ITV have teamed up to start a new streaming service, BritBox, according to Variety.

For us Anglophiles stuck here in the U.S. this is good news!  Many of us have been able to watch some British TV through, say, Netflix (hello, Midsomer Murders!) or if PBS decides to collaborate with or piggyback onto the BBC’s content, but have been frustrated that we’re unable to get ahold of some shows that are up online in the U.K. but are blocked for us viewers here in the States.

Enter BritBox, which brings a mixture of classic and current television.  Old favorites such as Blackadder, Fawlty Towers and The Office are available now, as are back episodes of current shows such as EastEnders and Casualty.  New episodes of those are loaded up the day after they air in the U.K.

If you like detective stories and mysteries, there’s Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes, Helen Mirren’s Prime Suspect, Joan Hickson as Miss Marple and Rosemary and Thyme, among others.

Bleak House, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice and Upstairs, Downstairs (both the original 1971 version and the 2010 remake) are part of the historical drama contingent.

Right now the offerings are a little thin, but I would imagine that’s due to the BBC and ITV wanting to see if this takes off before adding more.  I would love to see Coupling on here, maybe Graham Norton, and possibly some game shows.

The service starts with a 7-day free trial and is $6.99 monthly thereafter.  To sign up go to BritBox.com.

#BritBox #BritishTelevision

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Actor Bill Paxton passed away yesterday from complications after surgery.

He had a long list of successful films, including Titanic, Apollo 13, Twister, Aliens and The Terminator.

Paxton also did a lot of television work.  His current small-screen project was the CBS television series Training Day.  His son James was to co-star with him in an upcoming episode.  He had also appeared in several episodes of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and miniseries Hatfields & McCoys and Texas Rising, among many other roles.

His last film was The Circle with Emma Watson and Tom Hanks, which is in post-production.  That film will be released in the U.S. on April 28th.

Paxton leaves his wife Louise and a daughter in addition to son James.  Condolences to all.

#BillPaxton

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Some snippets of news for your Friday…

To absolutely no one’s surprise, Fox has given Lethal Weapon a renewal for season 2.  If you haven’t been watching this show you’re missing out.  And if someone doesn’t give Clayne Crawford some kind of award then there’s something wrong somewhere.  He’s done an incredible job all year taking on a very difficult role.  Love the rest of the cast also.

To almost everyone’s surprise, NBC has given Days Of Our Lives a renewal for its 52nd season.  Low ratings, Megyn Kelly and writing team shakeups notwithstanding, there will be more sand flowing through the hourglass!  While I only check in on my old soap occasionally, I would be very sad to see it go.  It’s like that old teddy bear in the box stuffed in the back of a closet… you may not look at it often, but you know it’s there if you want to.

Benedict Cumberbatch has another new project coming up, and surprisingly, this one is for the BBC and PBS’ Masterpiece.  According to Deadline, he will star as Stephen Lewis in The Child In Time, adapting the novel by Ian McEwan.  Benedict will also executive produce under his SunnyMarch TV banner.  The plot revolves around Lewis and his wife, and the difficulties they face after their daughter goes missing.

Benedict is filming The Current War, where he plays Thomas Edison to Michael Shannon’s George Westinghouse.  He’ll also be putting on the Cloak of Levitation again in Thor: Ragnarok and the sequel to Doctor Strange.  One busy man.

If you’re a Dan Stevens fan (and you’ve forgiven him for leaving Downton Abbey) then you can catch him in FX’s Legion as David Haller.  This is one of the more obscure X-Men characters.  The role is a big departure for Stevens from Downton and his upcoming princely role in the live-action Beauty and the Beast.

#LethalWeapon #DaysOfOurLives #TheCurrentWar #BenedictCumberbatch #LegionFX #DanStevens

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