Some familiar names and faces to the NBC family will be popping back up in the upcoming 2013-2014 TV season. Both Sean Hayes (Will & Grace) and Dermot Mulroney (Friends) have new shows slated for the network's lineup, as well as the latest from drama dreamweaver Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) and bona fide hitmaker J.J. Abrams (Revolution).
In fact, familiarity seems to be the name of the game for NBC, as the network is also bringing the small screen adaptation of the Oscar nominated big screen adaptation of About a Boy.
Before the NBC upfronts get underway next week, here's what's on the network's upcoming lineup so far:
About a Boy: Remember the movie based on Nick Hornby's novel of the same name? Well, this is the same thing, just brought to you by Jason Katims and replace Hugh Grant with David Walton and Toni Collette with Minnie Driver. Voila!
Believe: From executive producer J.J. Abrams, this drama starring Jake McLaughlin, Kyle MacLachlan, Delroy Lindo, and Jamie Chung follows a young girl with powers and the former prisoner who protects her from evil forces trying to steal said powers.
Crisis: This vehicle for Dermot Mulroney (pictured) and Gillian Anderson is a drama centered around political intrigue, conspiracies, and threats.
The Family Guide: Comedy veterans Parker Posey and J.K. Simmons star as a quirky couple in the process of divorce, and the effect said divorce has on their children. Posey's Joyce Fisher becomes a little too close to her daughter due to her desperate need to be young again, while Simmons' Mel Fisher, who is blind, leans on his son to be his eyes and ears.
Sean Saves the World: Or, at least, NBC is hoping Sean saves NBC with this new comedy starring the Emmy-winning actor as a dad trying to balance raising his teenager and his career.
These five new shows will join renewed favorites such as Grimm, Law & Order: SVU, Parenthood, Chicago Fire and Revolution. Stay tuned to Hollywood.com all week for all the breaking TV news regarding the upcoming seasons from all the networks.
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Now that Shailene Woodley has been cast as the lead in the adaptation of John Green's bestselling young adult novel The Fault In Our Stars, the hunt is on to find her leading man. Woodley plays Hazel, a teenage cancer patient who meets a fellow sufferer in a cancer support group. Agustus is a videogame-loving ex-basketball player who lost his leg to osteosarcoma, and a complete dreamboat. The five young actors testing for the role aren't very famous, so we've rounded up their most well-known credits for you to figure out where you've seen them before.
If you're not hip to TFIOS, get on it. Time voted it the No. 1 book of 2012 — not YA book, all books. Stock up on tissues before you read. And if you are, here are the five young actors testing for Augustus this weekend, per Variety:
Brenton Thwaites, 24 Did you catch Lifetime's 2012 remake of the classic erotic teenage coming-of-age story The Blue Lagoon, Blue Lagoon: The Awakening? If not, then you probably haven't seen this Australian cutie unless you hail from his homeland, where he starred on the long-running soap Home and Away. But you will see him when he plays the Young Prince in the Angelina Jolie-starring fairy tale epic Maleficent, out next year.
Nat Wolff, 18 This star of the long-running Nickelodeon series The Naked Brothers Band played one of the titular bros (along with his real-life sibling, Alex). He appeared in the star-studded New Year's Eve, and plays one of the leads in Palo Alto, the dark drama based on James Franco's short stories.
Nick Robinson, 18 Robinson can currently be seen as Ryder Scanlon, the nephew of Melissa Joan Hart in ABC Family's sitcom Melissa & Joey. On the opposite end of the acting spectrum, he also appeared in an episode of Boardwalk Empire and a few smaller films.
Noah Silver The Internet doesn't have much on this young actor, who we're assuming is French or French-Canadian (due to the multiple French-language credits on his IMDb page. He has three films set for release in the next year, though, including Jamie Marks Is Dead alongside Judy Greer and Liv Tyler and The Last Nights alongside Morgan Freeman and Clive Owen. You can also catch him in three episodes of Showtime's The Borgias.
Ansel Elgort Elgort's already got the advantage of working with his potential costar, Woodley, as her brother in the actress' other high-profile adaptation, Divergent. The stage actor makes his film debut in the new remake of Carrie, starring Chloe Moretz and Julianne Moore.
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The Amazing Spider-Man would prefer if you didn't call it the fourth Spider-Man movie. See this ain't the Spider-Man your older brother knew from ten years ago — it's a reboot. The latest adventure to feature the comic book webslinger throws three movies worth of established mythology straight out the window swapping the original cast with an ensemble of fresh faces and resetting the franchise with a spiffy new origin story. "New" in the loosest sense of the word — the highlights of ASM mainly a sleek new design and spunky reinterpretation of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and gal pal Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) are weighed down by overpowering sense of familiarity. Nearly a beat for beat replica of the 2002 original with some irksome twists of mystery thrown in Amazing Spider-Man fails to evolve its hero or his quarrels. The film has a great sense of cinematic power but little responsibility in making it interesting.
We're first introduced to Peter Parker as a young boy watching as his parents rush out of the house in response to a hidden danger. Mr. and Mrs. Parker leave their son in the care of his Aunt May (Sally Fields) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) who raise him into Andrew Garfield's geeky cool spin on the character. Parker's a science whiz but faces the challenges of every day life — passing classes talking to girls the occasional jock with aggression issues — but all of life's woes are put on hold when the teen discovers a new clue in the mystery behind his parents' disappearance. The discovery of his dad's old briefcase and notes leads Peter to Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) a scientist working for mega-conglomerate Oscorp and his Dad's old partner. When they cross paths Connors instantly takes a liking to the wunderkind and loops him into the work he started with his father: replicating the regeneration abilities of lizards in amputee humans (Connors is driven to reform his own missing arm). But when Parker wanders into Oscorp's room full of spiders (a sloppily explained this-needs-to-be-here-for-this-to-happen device) he receives his legendary spider bite that transforms him into the hero we know.
Director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) desperately wants Amazing Spider-Man to work as a high school relationship movie but with the burden of massive amounts of plot and mythology to introduce the movie sags under the sheer volume of stuff. Stone turns Parker's object of affection Gwen Stacey into a three-dimensional character. Whenever they happen upon each other an awkward exchange in the hallway a flirtatious back-and-forth in the Oscorp lab (where Stacey is head…intern) or when the two finally begin a romantic relationship the two stars shine. They're vivid characters chopped to bits in the editing room diluted by boring franchise-building plot threads and routine action sequences. Seriously Amazing Spider-Man another mad scientist villain who uses himself as a test subject only to become a monster? And another bridge rescue scene? Amazing Spider-Man desperately wants to disconnect from the original trilogy but it's trapped in an inescapable shadow and does nothing radical to shake things up. Instead it settles for the same old same old while preparing for inevitable sequels instead of investing in its dynamic duo.
There's a sweet spot where the film really hits his stride. After discovering his spider-abilities Peter hits the streets for the first time. He's superhuman but still a headstrong teen full of obnoxious quips and close calls with shiv-wielding thugs. The action is slick small and playful Webb showing us something new by melding his indie sensibilities with big scale action. If only it lasted — the introduction of Ifans reptilian half The Lizard implodes Amazing Spider-Man into incomprehensible blockbuster chaos. A gargantuan beast wreaking havoc around New York City promises King Kong-like escapades for the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man but the lizard man has other plans: to rule the world! Or something. Whatever it takes to get Lizard and Spider-Man fighting on the top of a skyscraper over a doomsday machine — logic be damned.
Amazing Spider-Man peppers its banal foundation with great talent from Denis Leary as Gwen's wickedly funny dad and the police captain hunting down Spider-Man to Fields and Sheen as two loving adults in Peter's life to Garfield and Stone whose chemistry demands a follow-up for the sake of seeing them reunited. But it's all at the cost of putting on the most expensive recreation of all time with new demands imposed by the success Marvel's other properties (except that franchise teasing worked). Amazing Spider-Man introduces too many ideas that go nowhere undermining the actual threat at hand. No one wants to be unfulfilled but that's the overriding difference between the original movie and the update. You need to pay for the sequel to know what the heck is going on in this one.
A decade-long gap between sequels could leave a franchise stale but in the case of Men in Black 3 it's the launch pad for an unexpectedly great blockbuster. The kooky antics of Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) don't stray far from their 1997 and 2002 adventures but without a bombardment of follow-ups to keep the series in mind the wonderfully weird sensibilities of Men in Black feel fresh Smith's natural charisma once again on full display. Barry Sonnenfeld returns for the threequel another space alien romp with a time travel twist — which turns out to be Pandora's Box for the director's deranged imagination.
As time passed in the real world so did it for the timeline in the world of Men in Black. Picking up ten years after MIB 2 J and K are continuing to protect the Earth from alien threats and enforce the law on those who live incognito. While dealing with their own personal issues — K is at his all-time crabbiest for seemingly no reason — the suited duo encounter an old enemy Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) a prickly assassin seeking revenge on K who blew his arm off back in the '60s. Their street fight is more of a warning; Boris' real plan is to head back in time to save his arm and kill off K. He's successful prompting J to take his own leap through the time-space continuum — and team up with a younger K (Josh Brolin) to put an end to Boris plans for world domination.
Men in Black 3 is the Will Smith show. Splitting his time between the brick personalities of Jones and Brolin's K Smith struts his stuff with all the fast-talking comedic style that made him a star in yesteryears. In present day he's still the laid back normal guy in a world of oddities — J raises an eyebrow as new head honcho O (Emma Thompson) delivers a eulogy in a screeching alien tongue but coming up with real world explanations for flying saucer crashes comes a little easier. But back in 1969 he's an even bigger fish out water. Surprisingly director Barry Sonnenfeld and writer Etan Cohen dabble in the inherent issues that would spring up if a black gentlemen decked out in a slick suit paraded around New York in the late '60s. A star of Smith's caliber may stray away from that type of racy humor but the hook of Men in Black 3 is the actor's readiness for anything. He turns J's jokey anachronisms into genuine laughs and doesn't mind letting the special effect artists stretch him into an unrecognizable Twizzler for the movie's epic time jump sequence.
Unlike other summer blockbusters Men in Black 3 is light on the action Sonnenfeld utilizing his effects budget and dazzling creature work (by the legendary Rick Baker) to push the comedy forward. J's fight with an oversized extraterrestrial fish won't keep you on the edge of your seat but his slapstick escape and the marine animal's eventual demise are genuinely amusing. Sonnenfeld carries over the twisted sensibilities he displayed in small screen work like Pushing Daisies favoring bizarre banter and elaborating on the kookiness of the alien underworld than battle scenes. MIB3's chase scene is passable but the movie in its prime when Smith is sparring with Brolin and newcomer Michael Stuhlbarg who steals the show as a being capable of seeing the future. His twitchy character keeps Smith and the audience on their toes.
Men in Black 3 digs up nostalgia I wasn't aware I had. Smith's the golden boy of summer and even with modern ingenuity keeping it fresh — Sonnenfeld uses the mandatory 3D to full and fun effect — there's an element to the film that feels plucked from another era. The movie is economical and slight with plenty of lapses in logic that will provoke head scratching on the walk out of the theater but it's also perfectly executed. After ten years of cinematic neutralizing the folks behind Men in Black haven't forgotten what made the first movie work so well. After al these years Smith continues to make the goofy plot wild spectacle and crazed alien antics look good.