TCA 2014: Quick Takes From the AMC, MTV, Pivot, Starz, WE and Sundance TCA Panels

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Day 4 of the 16-day biannual Television Critic’s Association Summer 2014 Press Tour started off with introductions of new programming from MTV, Pivot, Starz, WE, AMC, Sundance. The following is a snapshot look at their new series, as well as what was noteworthy from the featured presentations.

AMC
“Better Call Saul” is the spinoff series from AMC’s wildly successful series “Breaking Bad.” It is a prequel series taking place 6 years prior to the meth-adventures of Walter White, starring Bob OdenKirk and Michael McKean. Also super cool is the casting of Michael Mando (“Orphan Black”) and Patrick Fabian (“Veronica Mars,” “Joan of Arcadia”) to the show. Then keeping with the dark comedy flavor of “Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul” will continue to explore the seedy under-belly of a life of crime and the drug trade that laid the foundation for Walter White’s criminal activity. (Premiere set for early 2015 with 10 episodes on AMC and 13 episodes for the second season.) [Read more...]

TCA 2014: Quick Takes From the WGN America, Discovery and BBC America TCA Presentations

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Day 2 of the 16-day biannual Television Critic’s Association Summer 2014 Press Tour started off with introductions of new programming from Discovery, WGN America and BBC America. The following is a snapshot look at their new series, as well as what was noteworthy from the featured presentations.

WGN AMERICA
“Manhattan” is a new drama series set back in the 1940′s when the U.S. government was striving to discover the secret to make an atomic bomb. It tells the stories of the men and women who were scientists, mathematicians, soldiers and the wives that had to keep this massive secret and were not even sure what the end goal was at the time. Invoking the nostalgia from the era, the show plays like a classic movie with each episode a new chapter in a dark tale of trying to live a normal life in the midst of an extraordinary situation. With secrets and classified material embruing their entire world, there is an underlying boiling tension. It becomes a question of who can you really trust and is the government telling them everything they need to know about their highly confidential mission. The show appears to captured the innate glamour of the era with classic cars and stylish clothing while merging it with the dusty, secret-filled world of a town that was not even allowed to have a name. Apparently, it was just too dangerous to even be a name on the map. (Premieres July 27, 2014.) [Read more...]

TCA 2014: Quick Takes From the Ovation, Al Jazeera America and National Geographic Panels

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Day 1 of the 16-day biannual Television Critic’s Association Summer 2014 Press Tour started off with introductions of new programming from Ovation, Aljazeera America and National Geographic. The following is a snapshot look at their new series, as well as what was noteworthy from the featured presentations.

OVATION
“Young Doctor’s Notebook” (Pictured above) is a remaining of works of Russian novelist Mikhail Bulgakov set during Civil War era of Russia in 1918, and Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliff co-star. Essentially Hamm’s character revisits his younger self (Radcliff) as he pursues his early career journals. It is a comedic recollection of the circumstances that shaped him at a young age and put him on a destructive path in his life. If only we could all go back and give advice and warnings to our younger selves. Morphine addiction would top the list of warnings. Hitting on girls that have no interest would be a close second. With so many regrets, can one truly ever warn oneself from the paths that lead to dark ends? Point of interest: Radcliff was flattered that Hamm recommended him to play his younger self on the show. (Season 2 premieres August 2014 with 4 new episodes.)

“Young Marvels” is a new reality TV series that tells the story of extraordinarily gifted young teens/children pursuing the arts with tenacity and professionalism that most adult performers would envy. Clearly they follow the sage advice: “If you can dream it, do it.” Best of all: “Love it.” The 8 to 12 year olds showcased are truly amazing. (Premieres July 16th on Ovation.) [Read more...]

Today’s TV Addict Top 5: Reasons to Check out the New NBC Comedy GROWING UP FISHER

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Comedy is always much more fun when done with heart. GROWING UP FISHER is a loving look at family where they successfully hid the fact that the father had been blind for years, until the day he got a service dog and moved out. Carefully playing for love and laughter, GROWING UP FISHER handles the father’s blindness and parents’ divorce with delicate aplomb.

During the Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour, the cast and producers of GROWING UP FISHER provided their perspective on their poignant new show. Here are five reasons to check out GROWING UP FISHER: [Read more...]

Today’s TV Addict Top 5: Reasons to Check BBC America’s FLEMING: THE MAN WHO WOULD BE BOND

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At the Television Critic’s Association Winter Press Tour, BBC America previewed its new miniseries, FLEMING: THE MAN WHO WOULD BE BOND, which showcased massive war explosions in the background of some gorgeously filmed and very sexy scenes. As described by BBC America’s General Manager Perry Simon, FLEMING: THE MAN WHO WOULD BE BOND is “a stunningly produce miniseries that tells the story of Bond creator Ian Fleming, who own life was the inspiration for 007.” [Read more...]

Today’s TV Addict Top 5: Reasons Why We Recommend Spying On CBS’ INTELLIGENCE

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At the recent Television Critic’s Association Winter Press Tour, CBS brought their creative team behind its new spy series INTELLIGENCE to talk about the secret to the show’s success. The following are five fun tidbits gleamed about the show. [Read more...]

TCA 2014: Embracing the Sex and Violence of Starz’s BLACK SAILS

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While first previewed at last summer’s San Diego Comic-Con, it was not until the recent Television Critic’s Association Winter Press Tour that Starz fully introduced its new pirate drama BLACK SAILS. Interestingly, based on the fans reaction at Comic-Con alone, a second season was ordered even before the first season debuted on television. So, finally, this Saturday, Starz will premiere BLACK SAILS for the entire world to see.

Helmed by likes of Michael Bay (perhaps best known for his blockbuster films such as TRANSFORMERS), Brad Fuller (THE PURGE), Jonathan Steinberg (HUMAN TARGET), BLACK SAILS has the pedigree required for a truly blockbuster pirate television series.

As described by Starz’s Managing Director Carmi Zlotnik at the TCA Winter Tour, “when Michael Bay and John Steinberg came in and talked to us about this story and this idea about taking Treasure Island, a well-beloved book and telling the prequel to it and somehow combining fictional characters with real historic characters, we were captivated by the idea. . . There are real pirates, based on actual people: Jack Rackam, Charles Vane, Anne Bonny. . . And Flint and Long John Silver are characters from Treasure Island.” Creator and executive producer Jonathan Steinberg further added, “in trying to figure out how do you have a character that’s familiar enough that people are going to care, but malleable enough and open enough that we’re not stuck in a biography – Flint and Silver was the way to get at it.” [Read more...]

Today’s TV Addict Top 5: Reasons To Watch Discovery Channel’s KLONDIKE

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Premiering tonight is the first of the 3-part mini-series KLONDIKE. In its first scripted series, Discovery Channel has struck gold. KLONDIKE tells the tale of two young men who travel to the remote tundra of the Yukon in the late 1800′s to seek their fortune. Despite great odds against them, they not only survived the brutal trek to the Klondike region, but they surprisingly thrived — for a time at least. [Read more...]

The Showrunner Chronicles: ALMOST HUMAN Scoop from Executive Producer J.H. Wyman

One of the hottest new sci-fi shows coming to television this Fall is Fox’s new series ALMOST HUMAN. Set 35 years into the future, robots and androids have become an integral part of everyday life; so much so, that many are paired with police officers in street patrols and to respond to criminal complaints.  ALMOST HUMAN introduces viewers to John Kennex (Karl Urban), a police officer injured in the line of duty, who comes back from his convalescence to find himself paired with an unusual android, Dorian (Michael Ealy). The show seeks to explore themes of what it means to be human and how working together can benefit both humans and droids.  The series is an unexpectedly touching and humorous look at life in the future, which also hides a darker side just as treacherous and volatile as the world we live in today. In a exclusive interview at last summer’s Television Critic’s Association Fox party, creator and executive producer J.H. (Joel) Wyman talked about what inspired the series and the fantastic casting for its key characters. [Read more...]