Hit TV show Downton Abbey is to end later this year (15) after six series, according to a new report.
The period drama, which was first broadcast in 2010, will reportedly draw to a close so creator/writer Julian Fellowes can work on a new project, and the stars of the show, including Michelle Dockery and Hugh Bonneville, have been seen holding meetings for future work. A source tells Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper, "It's an open secret that Downton is ending this year. Some of the actors are keen to let it be known they will be available for work after the summer. Some are interested in the U.S., where Downton is as popular as it is in the U.K. "Joanne Froggatt, Edith (Laura) Carmichael and Allen Leech were in Los Angeles for the awards last week and there were several meetings about both TV and film roles."
R&B star R. Kelly is expanding his resume by releasing a house music album inspired by his hometown of Chicago, Illinois.
The I Believe I Can Fly hitmaker is working on a new record influenced by the music created in the Windy City in the late 1970s.
Kelly revealed his new project during a concert in Chicago last week (06Jul14), when he was caught on camera saying, "I want y'all to know a secret. I'm working on a house album right now, and I want y'all to know, it's coming."
"And y'all know, I love music and I feel like I can do anything when it comes to music because I am music - just like y'all."
The house music record is just one of many projects the singer is working on - in March (13), he announced he is planning a follow-up to his 2013 LP Black Panties, titled White Panties, and is reportedly also putting together a holiday album called The 12 Nights of Christmas.
Getty Images/Kevin Winter
The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony will air on Monday (oddly enough), August 25, and will be hosted by Saturday Night Live vet and Late Night host Seth Meyers. Here are the nominees recognized for their achievements over the course of this past year in television.
Best Comedy SeriesThe Big Bang TheoryLouieModern FamilyOrange Is the New BlackSilicon ValleyVeep
Best Drama SeriesBreaking BadDownton AbbeyGame of ThronesHouse of CardsMad MenTrue Detective
Best Actor - ComedyLouis C.K. - LouieDon Cheadle - House of LiesRicky Gervais - DerekMatt LeBlanc - EpisodesWilliam H. Macy - ShamelessJim Parsons - The Big Bang Theory
Best Actress - ComedyLena Dunham - GirlsEdie Falco - Nurse JackieJulia Louis-Dreyfus - VeepMelissa McCarthy - Mike and MollyAmy Poehler - Parks and RecreationTaylor Schilling - Orange Is the New Black
Lead Actor - DramaBryan Cranston - Breaking BadJeff Daniels - The NewsroomJon Hamm - Mad MenWoody Harrelson - True DetectiveMatthew McConaughey - True DetectiveKevin Spacey - House of Cards
Lead Actress - DramaLizzy Caplan - Masters of SexClaire Danes - HomelandMichelle Dockery - Downton AbbeyJulianne Margolies - The Good WifeKerry Washinton - ScandalRobin Wright - House of Cards
Best Mini-SeriesAmerican Horror Story: CovenBonnie and ClydeFargoLutherTremeThe White Queen
Best TV MovieKilling KennedyMohammad Ali's Greatest FightThe Normal HeartSherlock: His Last VowThe Trip to Babylon
Best Actor - Mini-Series/TV MovieBenedict Cumberbatch - SherlockChiwetel Ejiofor - Dancing on the EdgeIdris Elba - LutherMartin Freeman - FargoMark Ruffalo - The Normal HeartBill Bob Thornton - Fargo
Best Actress - Mini-Series/TV MovieHelena Bonham Carter - Burton and TaylorMinnie Driver - Return to ZeroJessica Lang - American Horror Story: CovenSarah Paulson - American Horror Story: CovenCicely Tyson - The Trip to BountifulKristen Wiig - Spoils of Babylon
Best Variety ShowThe Colbert ReportThe Daily ShowJimmy Kimmel Live!Real Time with Bill MaherSaturday Night LiveThe Tonight Show
Best Reality Competition ShowThe Amazing RaceDancing with the StarsProject RunwaySo You Think You Can DanceTop ChefThe Voice
Best Supporting Actor - Comedy SeriesFred Armisen - PortlandiaAndre Braugher - Brooklin Nine-NineTy Burrell - Modern FamilyAdam Driver - GirlsJesse Tyler Ferguson - Modern FamilyTony Hale - Veep
Best Supporting Actress - Comedy SeriesMayim Bialik - The Big Bang TheoryJulie Bowen - Modern FamilyAnna Chlumsky - VeepAllison Janney - MomKate McKinnon - Saturday Night LiveKate Mulgrew - Orange Is the New Black
Best Supporting Actor - DramaJim Carter - Downton AbbeyJosh Charles - The Good WifePeter Dinklage - Game of ThronesMandy Patinkin - HomelandAaron Paul - Breaking BadJon Voight - Ray Donovan
Best Supporting Actress - DramaChristine Baranski - The Good WifeJoan Froggatt - Downton AbbeyAnna Gunn - Breaking BadLena Headey - Game of ThronesChristina Hendricks - Mad MenMaggie Smith - Downton Abbey
Best Guest Actor - ComedySteve Buscemi - PortlandiaLouis C.K. - Saturday Night LiveGary Cole - VeepJimmy Fallon - Saturday Night LiveNathan Lane - Modern FamilyBob Newhart - The Big Bang Theory
Best Guest Actress - ComedyUzo Aduba - Orange Is the New BlackLaverne Cox - Orange Is the New BlackJoan Cusack - ShamelessTina Fey - Saturday Night LiveNatasha Lyonne - Orange Is the New BlackMelissa McCarthy - Saturday Night Live
Best Guest Actor - DramaDylan Baker - The Good WifeBeau Bridges - Masters of SexReg E Cathey - House of CardsPaul Giamatti - Downton AbbeyRobert Morse - Mad MenJoe Morton - Scandal
Best Guest Actress - DramaKate Burton - ScandalJane Fonda - The NewsroomAllison Janney - Masters of SexKate Mara - House of CardsMargo Martindale - The AmericansDiana Rigg - Game of Thrones
Universal via Everett Collection
Who can save you now!
Whether you're ready or not, Flash Gordon, the savior of the universe, is headed to the silver screen once again. No, this isn't a reprise of that long-winded running gag from Seth Mcfarlane's Ted. The classic Flash Gordon comic strip is really being rebooted into a modern film. 20th Century Fox has recently picked up the screen rights to the character. John Davis is set to produce the film, while J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay are lined up to pen the script.
The pulpy adventurer was originally created in the pages of a 1930s comic strip. The character and his adventures have been featured in numerous serials, radio shows, and television shows over the decades, including a recent TV adaptation on the Syfy channel, but none have made the same cultural impact as the cult classic 1980 film. Looking back, the film is a hokey, camp-laden joy ride that's clearly a product of its time. In the film, Flash Gordon, the quarterback for the New York Jets, is whisked away to the planet Mongo where Emperor Ming the Merciless rules with an iron fist and immaculately crafted facial hair. Given how ridiculous the original movie was and the recent failures of other classic heroes (John Carter and The Lone Ranger come to mind), it's a wonder why anyone thinks it's a good idea to resurrect a hero whom most adults even have a tough time remembering. Just looking at the original theatrical trailer for the 1980 version of Flash Gordon gives us plenty of reasons why the character should probably stay in the past.
-The shot of Earth in the beginning looks like someone stole a globe, hung it with some chicken wire, and spun it in front of some black construction paper. Boom, special effects!
-But Flash’s hair. It’s honestly wonderful. And it's always perfectly coifed no matter what sort of action is going on.
-Queen's bombastic theme song. It’s so '80s it hurts.
-Emperor Ming’s beard is a feat of manscaping. One the world has not since topped, and should not expect to.
-The costumes make the film look like it was wardrobed by a Party City clearance rack.
-The film stops mid-movie for a game of Fabergé egg football. Get it? 'Cause he's a quarterback.
-What the heck is even happening at 1:03?
-Why is Flash wearing a t-shirt with his name on it? Does he just sometimes forget who he is, or did people just do that in 1980?
Given the recent statements Beyoncé has made along with some backlash she's received from others, it has to be asked: Is Beyoncé a fake feminist? On the one hand she makes grand statements, like this one, taken from a recent Out Magazine interview:
There is unbelievable power in ownership, and women should own their sexuality. There is a double standard when it comes to sexuality that still persists. Men are free and women are not. That is crazy. The old lessons of submissiveness and fragility made us victims. Women are so much more than that. You can be a businesswoman, a mother, an artist, and a feminist—whatever you want to be—and still be a sexual being. It’s not mutually exclusive.
It sure sounds like a feminist sentiment, doesn't it? She is saying all of the right things here. But Beyoncé is an icon, a businesswoman; she's someone whose very career depends on (among many other things) her ability to say the right thing. But what do some of her actions, or inactions, tell us about her true thoughts on feminism?
Thigh Gap and Messages About Body Image
Beyoncé recently came under fire with accusations of photoshopping an Instagram shot of herself. In the picture, people claimed that the gap between her thighs was created through photo manipulation (they observed some strange effects on other parts of the picture). If it's true, then that is certainly problematic for a so-called feminist. Obviously, Bey gets photoshopped all of the time for her high-fashion shoots (which are fabulous), but to do so with an Instagram picture sends another message: that her natural, un-retouched body is not something she wants to share with everyone. This is a corrosive message to send to her fans, especially the younger lot, considering our culture's epidemic of body image issues. Beyoncé is often such a great champion of her curves, but this alleged manipulation sends a contradictory message.
Mrs. Carter Versus Beyoncé
When Bey announced the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour she got a lot of heat from fans who wanted to see their Queen Bey, not Jay Z's wife. The very concept of taking your husband's last name still sparks debate among women and feminists, but to be a pop star known for songs like "Independent Women," "Survivor," and "Run the World (Girls)," calling yourself "Mrs. Carter" is bound to spark some controversy. Around this time, Beyoncé also released the track "Bow Down" which many found offensive to women (due to the repetition of the lyrics "Bow down b**ches"). In her defense, it has to be said that being proud of your husband's name (especially when your husband is Jay Z) should not automatically be deemed anti-feminist. And "Bow Down" was really a playful track that functioned as an ode to Houston trap music. She also used the song to address her break from music and her new position as a wife and mother: "I took some time to live my life/but don't think I'm just his little wife."
The "Drunk in Love" Conundrum
Bey has been attacked in the past, most recently for her husband Jay Z's lyrics, playfully referencing the abusive relationship between Ike and Tina Turner on Beyoncé's "Drunk in Love" track. But Jay rapping "eat the cake, Anna Mae" is just that — it's playful. The joke may be lost on some — and may, indeed, be inappropriate, but one could argue that asking people to stand by literal interpretations of their music is problematic. Still, Beyoncé never spoke on the issue... but does she ever address specific issues in feminist debate?
Gender Equality, According to Bey
Now, in Beyoncé's defense, she did write a piece titled "Gender Equality Is a Myth!", and has spoken up about equal pay — props for that! And, sure, that alone could make her a true feminist! But it was another piece filled with clichés. Do we know where Beyoncé stands on harder issues like abortion and birth control? No. And we probably never will, if Beyoncé plans to keep on being Beyoncé. She's not a controversial figure, for the most part. She's loved and enjoyed by feminists and non-feminists alike. So she seems to say just enough to claim the title "feminist," without alienating any other part of her fan base. And the truth is, there's nothing wrong with this. It could even be that she is, simply, a pop star first and a feminist second.
If Beyoncé is a fake feminist or a real feminist (a difficult question ultimately, because everyone does not agree on the definition of the word), it's significant that she claims the title, and that she's speaking up (even if in clichés) when she could really say nothing. Some ask, "Who cares?" Who cares if our celebrities are feminists?" But for some of us, feminism is actually a fairly simple idea that should be embraced by everyone. So yes, it matters if Beyoncé is a feminist. And, even if it's difficult to discern her true intentions, it's good to see her bringing awareness to the very idea. Now, if we can just get her (and other celebrities like Miranda Kerr and Kim Kardashian) to stay away from the photoshop tools they have (allegedly) been using on their Instagram pictures, we'd be making great strides over here.
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Director Randall Miller is considering moving production on his stalled Allman Brothers biopic to Los Angeles after a camera assistant was killed in a freak train accident on the set in Georgia. Sarah Jones, 27, was struck and killed by an oncoming train while shooting Midnight Rider on a railroad trestle in Wayne County in February (14), four days before cameras were officially due to start rolling on the project.
Production was suspended immediately after the tragic incident, but now Miller is making plans to get back to work and is contemplating relocating the cast and crew to California, where his production company Unclaimed Freight is based.
According to Deadline.com, filming could begin in L.A. as early as June (14).
William Hurt and Tyson Ritter signed on to portray Gregg Allman present and past in the project, and Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell's son Wyatt was cast as his brother Duane.
Meanwhile, the Georgia District Attorney is expected to meet with Wayne County Sheriff John Carter on Monday (21Apr14) to decide if any criminal charges should be filed over Jones' death.
Paramount via Everett Collection
In what is likely revenge on the public for not buying enough comic books in the last 20 years, Marvel is continuing its hostile takeover of popular culture with yet another television spin-0ff of its cinematic universe. According to Deadline, a television show based on Captain America's own Agent Peggy Carter will possibly go straight to series. The proposed show would star Haley Atwell as Peggy Carter, the no-nonsense army officer and one-time love interest of Steve Rogers A.K.A. Captain America. The show will likely detail the genesis of our favorite multi-national clandestine organization, S.H.I.E.L.D., as well. The character was first featured in Captain America: The First Avenger, and later on in her own one shot film called simply Agent Carter.
While the news is exciting to hear for Marvel fans, the company clearly has a lot to learn about the TV game. Its first live-action television outing, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., has exhibited flat storytelling, two-dimensional characters, and dull mysteries that have taken too long to unfold. While the show has enjoyed a recent upswing in quality thanks to a Captain America: The Winter Soldier tie-in plotline, this first season has been far from great. Here are a few things the Agent Carter series can do to avoid the mistakes made by its sister program.
Create better stand-alone episodesThe bane of many a TV watcher, standalone episodes are a necessary evil of adeventure-themed television shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. A show like this needs to build an overarching plot while padding out the season, so the dreaded villain of the week plotline is oftentimes a must. But one-off episodes don't have to be a slog. Shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, and Fringe excelled at creating fantastic stand-alone episodes that were engaging, and still taught us about the characters.
Don't waste so much timeS.H.I.E.L.D. took the better part of a season to become truly competent hour of television, and that was only because The Winter Soldier forced it's hand due to the game changing affects of that film. If Agent Carter wants to have a better start, it needs to come out swinging with a good overarching plot that hooks the viewer in. Nobody likes to play the waiting game.
Don't be afraid to get weirdThe Marvel universe is filled with C and D grade heroes to plum stories out of. Since the show will ostensibly occupy the same world as Captain America: The First Avenger, a film that wore it's Spielbergian camp on its sleeve, this show should readily embrace the comic book silliness of that film and take it a step further. The show should crack open the comic book anthology and embrace the antiquated, campy, and just plain weird heroes and villains that Marvel wouldn't dream of putting anywhere near one of their multi-million dollar productions.
Feel free to change the Marvel canonOne of the reasons why Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has never felt like a true part of Marvel's cinematic universe is that it has been too afraid to make any actual changes in its own story. The show has never been able to veer away from the finally calibrated status-quo set up by the films, and the adventures have always felt like they carry much less weight than say an average Iron Man adventure. Simply put, S.H.I.E.L.D can't make any changes to the Marvel universe without affecting the films, and because of that, the show has felt largely inert. Since Agent Carter would take place in the '40s, long outside of the current scope of Marvel's films, the show should feel free to craft a more personal mythos and chronology that the writers can play and morph into something unique and special to the show.
The final scene of the fifth season of Justified ended as it began: at night, with a Crowder on the Harlan County bridge that has played home to so many illicit activities. This time, it was Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter), and she was there for an task that surely ate at her soul — being a CI for Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant). It was Givens who was able to pull her out of her predicament at the penitentiary and he wanted her to show her gratitude by gathering information to help the Marshal's Office put away Boyd for at least the next 50 years.
With that sequence of events, the show left us no room for error for what will transpire in the final season. Boyd, who has already had a number of bad guys out gunning for him, is going to be feeling the squeeze of the law. And that group will be led by Givens, who used to work in the mines with Boyd a lifetime ago, before the two went on very, very divergent paths. This would likely put an end to the occasional alliance that exists between the two and will probably have Boyd reconsidering his decision in the second season to save Raylan from being whacked open like a pinata by Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies).
If they are smart (and Graham Yost and his crew have proven themselves to be near Mensa-level geniuses at crafting some of the most compelling television out there), the showrunners will spend the final season of Justified back in the hands of the Core 3: Givens, Ava and Boyd — the meat of the show from its early days.
There have overarching villains in nearly every season of Justified but the first. The only villain needed for this final go-'round is Boyd. That way, the focus can be on those central characters, relegating some other favorites to satellite roles (like Rachel Brooks and Tim Gutterson), the likes of Wynn Duffy and Katherine Hale to occasional components of the story, and the newly retired Art Mullen to a cameo appearance or two.
We might even go so far as to predict (or hope) that the final scene of the show somehow emulates the last moments of the pilot, with Raylan shooting Boyd, but this time, with no reprieve. (For those who don't know, Boyd was supposed to die in that pilot, like he did in the short story "Fire In The Hole." However, Walton Goggins blew everyone away with his performance and was granted a starring part.) However the series ends, it needs to come right down to the relationship that made the program so compelling in the first place. This is a show about Raylan and his toxic roots, and nobody better exemplifies those roots than Boyd.
In a big change of pace, Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) didn't have to kill any major bad guys this season on Justified. The villains still met their end as the heroin business took its toll before sales even started. And like always, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) somehow survived it all.
Season 5 of Justified leaned heavily on the dysfunction of the Crowe family. The arrival of Daryl Crowe (Michael Rapaport) and his crew caused a lot of headaches for Raylan. Daryl even joined forces with Boyd to smuggle heroin from Mexico. The newest Justified villain proved that he can't be trusted as he turned on Boyd, which made the Mexican cartel that provided the drugs angry, and worst of all, convinced nephew Kendal Crowe (Jacob Lofland) to confess to shooting Chief Deputy Art Mullen (Nick Searcy). Daryl was the man holding the smoking gun, but he'll let Kendal — a minor — rot in lockup, even if it meant he gets tried as an adult. Even for a bad guy, Daryl is a world-class lowlife.
Justified is never short on antagonists. Many criminals are up to no good, but this season underutilized some baddies. In the beginning of the season, Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) and Boyd teamed up to move heroin. It appeared that Mr. Duffy would play a big part in the criminal underworld, but then he stayed in hiding where it was safe. He probably didn't want to get tortured by the Mexican cartel, fuming because of all the trouble Boyd and Daryl caused getting the product across the border.
Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter) spent the entire season locked up for trying to dispose of a dead body in season four. Although she was no use to the outside world, her prison adventures were an interesting side story this season. However, the presence of the cartel was completely wasted. Yes, the three members played a prominent role in the finale, but they could have evolved to be the main antagonists. And only three members? Certainly they could have brought more backup. If there had been more members, Boyd wouldn’t have outsmarted them by luring Marshals Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel) and Tim Gutterson (Jacob Pitts) to Ava's house. The cartel members all died on the front porch after a shootout.
Raylan Never Got His Hands Dirty
Rough outlaws such as the Crowes usually meet their maker after Raylan pulls the trigger. Not so this season. Danny Crowe (A.J. Buckley) actually faced off against Raylan, but accidentally killed himself when he misstepped and pierced his neck with his own knife. The big showdown between Raylan and Darryl never materialized as Wendy Crowe (Alicia Witt) shot her own brother. Raylan wasn't even there to take down the cartel members. Kind of anti-climactic.
Boyd’s Big Brain and Big File
Finally, Boyd will be brought to justice. Or killed. Next season, Justified hits the home stretch. In the final season, we know the marshals plan to nab Boyd for his crimes. Miraculously, Boyd's intellect has saved him from death numerous times, most notably in wiggling his way out of the cartel's grasp. But the case against Boyd, represented by a thick file full of paperwork, is strong. Murder, drugs, prostitution, and other crimes will stick when Raylan and the other marshals pin all their evidence on Boyd. Anything less than a shootout or standoff with Raylan will be a disappointment.
The Justified season finale is fast approaching, and things are gearing up for an explosion. While Art Mullen (Nick Searcy) lies in intensive care, both Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) are dealing with crossing various lines of justice and morality. There's the question of how Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter) is going to survive jail, and how the villainous Darryl Crowe (Michael Rapaport) will meet his end... that is, if he does. Finally, will Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) and his eyebrows live long enough to make the sixth and final season? The thing is, the show seemed to take far too long to reach these meatier points — and this is a problem unique to Season 5.
Over the course of this past set of episodes, the powers that be have taken way too long to set these integral pieces in motion, devoting all their time to foreplay. This obsessive pacing nearly felt like FX was producing a network show with the benefit of many more episodes (and the detriment of inevitable filler ones). But there's no room for fluff in a season that has 13 episodes. That's a maxim that Graham Yost and the others have heeded in the past, but there were signs that they were beginning to wander some in the fourth season. They meandered a touch too long with the Drew Thompson saga, unfortunately rangling the great Jim Beaver's into the mess.
Now, Raylan, who has never had the strongest compass in or outside of work, is drifting even further from the center of the story. He's not seeing his newborn child in Florida and he's making more and more questionable decisions every episode. It seemed to finally come to roost in the form of those bullets that lodged their way in the body of Mullen, the closest thing he has to a father.
As such, the season finale has a lot to tidy up, a few questions to answer, and a few characters (like Tim Gutterson and Rachel Brooks) to tribute properly in light of a short-changing this past year. Let's hope that Season 6 takes a lesson from Ellstin Limehouse, and cleavers off the extraneous bits that bogged down these past several weeks.