The CW Network
After watching their fellow networks unveil dozens of new series, The CW did things a little differently this year: the network only picked up four new shows. Since the network had its best viewership in a long time this past year, with ratings for Supernatural through the roof and new shows like Reign and The 100 becoming big hits, there weren't very many gaps in the schedule that needed filling. Still, the Winchester brothers can only hunt demons for so long, and so The CW has a new show about people with mysterious powers attempting to stop the apocalypse waiting in the wings. Or, if you're looking for more costumed crime fighters, sassy detectives, or a replacement for the cheesy fun of The Carrie Diaries, they've got that covered too.
We've run down all of the CW's new shows for the 2014-2015 shows, along with everything you need to know about them before they start airing in the fall. And yes, like all CW shows, they promise to be slightly terrible, but ultimately very addicting.
Jane the Virgin What It Is: Sitcom.What It's About: A young, career-focused woman is accidentally artificially inseminated, resulting in her getting pregnant even though she’s a virgin. Who's In It: Gina Rodriguez, Justin Baldoni, Brett Dier, Andrea Navedo, and Ivonne Coll.What It Sounds Like: Secret Life of the American Teenager meets Ugly Betty, plus a sex-ed talk from the Coach in Mean Girls. How Good Will It Be: With a premise like that, it’s got to be terrible. We’re hoping it’s so terrible that it actually kind of good. How Long It Will Last: This seems like the obvious replacement for The Carrie Diaries, so it will most likely get around two seasons. Airs: Mondays at 9 pm.
The Flash What It Is: Drama.What It's About: After a freak accident involving a particle accelerator, Barry Allen wakes up with the power of super speed, and uses it to fight crime. Who's In It: Grant Gustin, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanagh, and Jesse L. Martin.What It Sounds Like: Arrow, only he wears red and runs really fast. How Good Will It Be: The CW scored a surprise hit with Arrow, so we have high hopes for this one, even though it too will probably take a while to find its voice. How Long It Will Last: If it gets anything less than five seasons, we’ll be shocked. Airs: Tuesdays at 8 pm.
iZombie What It Is: Drama What It's About: A medical examiner – who is also secretly a zombie – eats the brains of corpses to help solve their murders. Who's In It: Rose McIver, Malcolm Goodwin, Rahul Kohli, Robert Buckley, Alexandra Krosney, David Anders, and Nora Dunn. What It Sounds Like: Pushing Daisies meets The Walking Dead, sprinkled with Veronica Mars.How Good Will It Be: Rob Thomas is on board as executive producer, so iZombie will probably be just as funny and charming as his other shows. Although, if we're honest, the premise is kind of stupid. How Long It Will Last: Three seasons... and then maybe a Kickstarter movie.Airs: Midseason.
The Messengers What It Is: Drama.What It's About: After a mysterious object collides with the earth, five strangers discover they have new powers that they must use to prevent the Rapture. Who's In It: Shantel VanSanten, Sofia Black-D’Elia, JD Pardo, Joel Courtney, Anna Diop, and Diogo Morgado.What It Sounds Like: Supernatural, with a dash of MisfitsHow Good Will It Be: The plot is a bit convoluted and heavy on the mythology and Biblical references, which will probably weigh down what would otherwise be an entertaining show about people with superpowers, which doesn't bode too well for The Messengers. How Long It Will Last: It will either be canceled after one season or it will run for nine years. Airs: Midseason.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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Once upon a time in a far away land there was a beautiful girl named Rose… and she has now made it to Hollywood for everyone to know! Hailing from New Zealand, Rose McIver is just as sweet as she looks, and incredibly hard working, beginning her career at the age of 3. It’s no surprise we love her so much!
How has it been playing Tinkerbell on Once Upon A Time? Can you share any stories from the set?
I have been having so much fun working on this project. I get to fly around in a harness and play a wonderful icon. I am very aware of how lucky I am to have that chance. On set we have such a great group of people who are professional and still know how to have fun, we have had a couple of freezing cold night shoots where we all sit huddled around heaters in a tent on set and it feels like a school camp.
How is it working with Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan on Masters Of Sex? Are there are a lot of laughs on the set?
Lizzy and Michael are both fantastic in this show. They compliment each other incredibly well and are backed up by so many brilliant cast mates. Allison Janney has been an absolute pleasure to work with, definitely a big inspiration to me.
What can you tell us about Charlotte from Brightest Star?
Charlotte is an artist, with strong creative tendencies who adjusts to a different world and mindset. She has a drive and ambition that can be both constructive and limiting. She was raised by very high achieving parents and definitely feels a need to mirror that behavior. She is strong willed and caring.
You’ve been working since you were a child, at the age of 3. How was it growing up with that kind of success?
It never really felt like work. I would partake in projects on weekends or in school holidays, it felt more like an extra curricular activity to me. Instead of playing soccer I would go to set. I am so grateful that my parents wanted me to stay in school, I love that I still made it to my school balls and graduated with my classmates.
How different do you find Los Angeles from New Zealand?
Los Angeles is an incredible city. There is so much opportunity and work potential and you can find so much within a couple of hours drive of the city itself. I really enjoy it, but New Zealand is still very much my home. My family and my oldest friends all live there. There is such a beautiful focus on family and lifestyle and living on the coast there, the summer's cannot be beat.
You’ve been working so much lately, is there anything else we can expect from you in the near future?
I'm looking in to what is next for me at the moment. I am still working on Once Upon a Time so haven't really decided where I am headed next but there are a few exciting projects that may be in the pipeline so as soon as I know something definite, I will be able to throw my energy into those!
To those only vaguely familiar with The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold’s bestselling novel about a murdered teen who observes her family — and tracks her killer — from beyond Peter Jackson might seem like an odd choice to direct the film adaptation. Why would the visual effects maestro who orchestrated such grand spectacle in films like King Kong and the Lord of the Rings trilogy be attracted to Bones’ somber reflective subject matter wherein nary an orc or a goblin can be found?
Shortly after the film's opening moments Jackson’s definitive answer arrives in the form of the “in-between place ” a breathtaking limbo where our wide-eyed heroine 14-year-old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) arrives after her life is cruelly cut short by a next-door neighbor and closet predator named ominously enough Mr. Harvey (Stanley Tucci). Susie’s experience of the afterlife as a sort of spiritual way-station featuring elements of both heaven and hell (but mostly heaven) is a veritable CGI playground for Jackson one in which he can employ all of the digital tools in his vast arsenal in the service of a powerful affecting story.
And what a gorgeous playground it is. As Susie journeys through her wondrous netherworld — sometimes alone sometimes accompanied by a perky young spirit guide named Holly (Nikki SooHoo) — Jackson serves up a succession of exquisitely rendered landscapes for her to explore from placid spring meadows to boundless Alpine slopes to lush green forests. Jackson knows all too well that the issue of life after death especially when considered in regards to those who left us too soon is fertile emotional ground. With the help of an irresistibly expressive Ronan he mines it shrewdly.
Back on Earth unfortunately The Lovely Bones takes the form of a poorly-constructed deeply unsatisfying police procedural. Frustrated by the authorities’ inability to find the killer Susie's anguished father (Mark Wahlberg) mounts an investigation of his own aided occasionally in Ghost-like fashion by his daughter’s unseen hand. Tension rises as the mystery unravels — Jackson having drawn us in with his shamelessly manipulative handiwork has us by the emotional short-hairs so much so that we’re willing to overlook the film’s gap-laden storyline redundant narration underdeveloped supporting characters and a generally underwhelming Wahlberg. We just want payback damnit.
But when The Lovely Bones’ moment of truth arrives Susie abruptly changes her mind effectively turning almost every preceding plot point into an infuriating red herring and depriving us of the emotional release Jackson so steadfastly prepared us for. What we’re left with ultimately is an experience akin to taking a shot of morphine and watching someone play the videogame Myst for two hours (a span that might very well be reduced to 45 minutes if the film’s copious slow-motion shots were all played at normal speed). And once the anodyne buzz wears off the comedown is agonizing.