Zach Braff's Wish I Was Here has been rife with controversy ever since it was announced. After a troubled Kickstarter campaign that marred the project before it even started filming, Braff's latest has been receiving a lashing from critics (the film currently holds a meager 36% on Rotten Tomatoes), with film writers throwing out words like "phony" and "self-indulgent" to describe the movie. If you're not up for a Garden State reprise, complete with sounds of crooning indie rockers, purple wigs, and random space adventures, Wish I Was Here might be a bitter pill to swallow. Well, except for one little thing...
JD and Turk are back together. Donald Faison, Braff's real life bestie and former Sacred Heart colleague, pops into the trailer as a charming Aston Martin salesman who takes Braff's family out for a L.A. joy ride. The two actors memorably played best friends on the NBC sitcom Scrubs, which perfectly captured the intricacies of "guy love between two guys," as the song goes. Even in the tiny scene from the trailer, it's all right there: the knowing looks, the banter, all of the electric chemistry from Scrubs is back in full force. But is it worth paying full ticket price for what probably amounts to only a short reprise of the JD and Turk bromance, or would you be better off giving your old Scrubs DVDs another spin in your home theater?
It has begun. After what felt like an eternity of rumors, casting calls, blind hearsay, and yet even more rumors, Star Wars: Episode VII is finally finally filming. In the wee hours of the morning, Director J.J. Abrams signaled the start of filming with a tweet from the Bad Robot twitter account showing a picture of a production clapper bearing title of the sequel, along with the caption "#dayone." Like the pop of a marathon gun, the race to shoot a great Star Wars sequel is on, but now comes the hard part. Shooting a blockbuster, and especially shooting a Star Wars blockbuster, is not a task for the faint of heart, and series creator George Lucas struggled mightily to complete his epic space opera. The production of the original film was plagued with setbacks, and it's frankly a miracle that we're even celebrating the creation of a seventh Star Wars film given the barriers Lucas had to overcome to get his originall film made. Take a look at all the stumbles, issues, and setbacks involved with creating the first Star Wars.
The film was rejected twice before finding a distributorBack when the billion dollar franchise was just a few scrawled notes and a big idea, George Lucas approached United Artist with a pitch for a space opera called The Star Wars. The studio passed on the idea, and Lucas went on to make American Graffiti before returning to his Star Wars project two years later. After tinkering with the story, Lucas wrote a 13-page treatment for the project and presented it this time to Universal, who similarly rejected it, deeming it too strange and complaining that science fiction wasn't popular enough at the time to merit such an expensive film. The film was eventualy picked up by 20th Century Fox, and the rest was history.
Filming in Tunisia was a painLucas originally envisioned Tatooine as a lush jungle planet, but the idea of shooting on location in a jungle seemed more problematic than it was worth, so Lucas decided to change the home of the Skywalkers into a desert planet instead, and began filming in Tunisia. Unfortunately for Lucas, the switch in shooting locations wasn't without its own issues. Shooting fell behind schedule when the set was hit with a rare Tunisian rainstorm. The set was also plagued with electronic breakdowns and prop malfunctions, one of which injured C-3P0 actor Anthony Daniels.
And no one seemed to care about the project except for LucasBefore Star Wars began making actual dividends, the film had it's fair share of doubters, as any film would, but even the cast and crew had a hard time taking Lucas and his epic space opera seriously. Much of the crew laughed off the project as a kid's film and rarely put in their all into filming. Kenny Baker, who played R2D2, thought the film would be a massive failure. Even Harrison Ford had his doubts, remarking how weird some elements of the film were, including Princess Leia's buns and Chewbacca, who he claimed looked like a "giant in a monkey suit."
Lucasfilm Ltd. via Everett Collection
Lucas' own frustrations hampered the filmFacing a film that was grossly overbudget and well behind schedule, the enormity of blockbuster filmmaking became almost too much for Lucas. The director frequently clashed with his crew over creative differences and was largely dissatisfied with the look of costumes and sets, most of which failed to live up to his vision. He became visibly depressed and passed on his frustrations to his actors while providing little in the way of direction. Things got so bad that during post-production, the filmmaker was diagnosed with hypertension and exhaustion, and was warned to slow down by doctors.
The first cut was a complete disasterAfter struggling to get his film finished on time, Lucas was disappointed to learn that the first cut of the film was, in his eyes, a "complete disaster." The first edit by film editor John Jumpson was so bad, it is said that 30 to 40 percent of the footage didn't make it to the final version of the film. Lucas ended up switching his editing team, employing his wife, Paul Hirsch, and Richard Chew to finish the job right.
The greatest directors of the time weren't crazy about itIn 1977, Lucas screened a rough cut of the film for some of his directing buddies, a list that now reads like a who's who of legendary directors, including Steven Spielberg, Brian De Pama, and John Milius. The cut was the very definition of rough. James Earl Jones signature baritone wasn't the voice behind Darth Vader, paper arrows stood in for blaster beams, and instead of a space battle between the Millennium Falcon and TIE fighters, footage of WWII dogfights was spliced in. Reaction to this early cut of the film was lukewarm at best, with Spielberg being the only one of the directors who clearly enjoyed the film. On the other hand, the studio execs greatly enjoyed the early cut of the film, with producer Gareth Wigan saying, "This is the greatest film I've ever seen."
Warner Bros. Pictures
A number of major metropolises will once again have their skylines groomed by rampaging monsters once Godzilla hits theaters this friday. Of course, monsters destroying major cities is nothing new. It's a tradition of genre cinema that dates back to King Kong scaling the heights of the Empire State Building in 1933. Filmmakers have been gleefuly knocking down city blocks ever since, but some cities have been the subject of more monster attacks than others. Here are the five cities most frequently attacked by giant monsters in movies.
Films: Wasei Kingu Kongu; King Kong Appears in Edo; Godzilla (1954); Godzilla: King of the Monsters!; King Kong vs. Godzilla; Godzilla vs. Megalon; The Return of Godzilla; Godzilla (1985); Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah; Godzilla vs. Destoroyah; Godzilla 2000; Godzilla vs. Megaguirus; Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.; Godzilla: The Final Wars; Varan the Unbelievable; Mothra; Dogorat, the Space Monster; Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster; Gamera; The War of the Gargantuas;Daikyojū Gappa; Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla; Terror of Mechagodzilla; Godzilla vs. Mothra; Gamera: Guardian of the Universe; Godzilla vs. Megaguirus; Big Man Japan.
Even though Americans created the giant monster phenomenon with films like The Lost World and King Kong, the Japanese took the idea to new heights. Thanks to the nation's fascination with Kaiju, the Japanese capital of Tokyo has weathered the most giant monster attacks, and frankly, It wasn't even a competition. By our estimation, 27 live-action films have featured Tokyo's destruction at the hands of giant monsters, or Kaiju. Recognizable figures like Godzilla, Mothra, and Gamera have all wreaked havoc on Tokyo's skyline over the years
NEW YORK CITY: 16
Films: King Kong (1933); The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms; The Giant Claw; Destroy All Monsters; Q; King Kong (1976); Mimic; Ghostbusters;Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack; Godzilla (1998); Godzilla: The Final Wars; Hellboy 2: The Golden Army; King Kong (2005); Cloverfield; The Incredible Hulk.With a steep drop off in the number of films, New York takes up second place. It's a tad surprising given New York's reputation for getting decimated on film, and if we were accounting for alien invasions, natural disasters, most superhero films, or all the other destructive tragedies that often befall New York, the city would likely take the top honor, but since we're specifically counting attacks by giant monsters, the Big Apple will have to settle for the silver medal. The city has been the home of three climatic ape-rampages via King Kong, a fight between the Hulk and the Abomination in The Incredible Hulk, and a handful of shake-ups in giant monster classics like The Giant Claw.
Films: The Strange World of Planet X; Destroy all Monsters; Behemoth: The Sea Monsters; Konga; Gorgo; Reign of Fire.In third place is London. The city has been the setting of several giant monster attacks, and just squeaks by other American and Japanese cities that almost made the list thanks to a handful of homegrown sci-fi films.
LOS ANGELES: 5
Films: Them!; War of the Colossal Beast; Mighty Joe Young; Yonggary (1999); Dragon Wars.
Like New York City before it, Los Angeles also seems like a city that has been the victim of more monster attacks, but the City of Angels has been a relative safe haven from monster attacks compared to Tokyo. Now, if we're talking about alien invasions, that's a different conversation entirely.
Films: Beginning of the End; Alligator; The Relic; Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
Last but not least, Chicago rounds out the list, quietly beating cities like Osaka and San Francisco thanks to semi-forgotten monster flicks like The Relic and Alligator.
Another summer, another Transformers film. With Transformers: Age of Extinction, The series is embarking on new, LaBeouf-less territory. This time, a fresh, plucky group of humans have found the rusted remains of Optimus Prime in the heartland. American flags waft patriotically in the breeze, a shadowy organization wants to harvest the Autobots for their cool metal bodies, and there is consistent promise of city-smashing chaos. Yup, it sounds like a Transformers movie.
So it may look exactly like the last few Transformers movies, but at least this one has Dinobots... that's marginally interesting, right? In fact, there are plenty of marginally interesting things in this new footage! Here's our rundown of the 10 most passably acceptable things in the trailer:
10. Mark Whalberg’s arms are pretty big, huh?
9. That one Decpticon looks sorta like a dragon.
8. A boat exploaded. Boats don't usually explode in these movies; that's more of a car thing.
7. Stanley Tucci plays with a piece of floaty metal!
6. That one Transfomer’s face turns into a gun.
5. That one Transformer is munching on a cigar.
4. And he also has a beard made of... coils... or wires… wait, why would a robot even have a beard?
3. Optimus Prime is riding a Dinobot. It breathes fire.
2. That one guy gets hit in the face with a car.
1. Stanley Tucci screams “Oh my God.” Just like in your wildest nightmares.
CBS announced its fall television lineup today, and the network seems to be charting very familiar territory. While the other broadcast players scramble for the next big thing, CBS is firmly in cruise control. It would be easy to say that the the channel is just going through the motions, but the folks at CBS know what works and know their audience even better, which is why they're still the reigning champs of broadcast television. This year, the channel that brought you NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles, brings you their next surefire hit, NCIS: Somewhere Else, plus another half dozen police procedurals and two new comedies... one of which is actually a really old comedy. In these hardscrabble times, it may be difficult to decide which NCIS to watch, so we've rounded up all the new shows in CBS's 2014-2015 lineup.
Scorpion What It Is: Drama.What's It About: Eccentric genius and his team of misfits battle against high tech threats of the modern age, but the socially awkward group needs a translator of sorts, to help them communicate to the world around them.Who's In It: Elyes Gabel, Robert Patrick, Katharine McPhee.What It Sounds Like: The Big Bang Theory meets Criminal Minds. How Good Will It Be: It looks like This show looks like it might try to mine the same kinds of humor as The Big Bang Theory, which often nosedives into silly stereotyping of nerd culture without being actually funny or insightful. This one isn’t looking good at all. How Long Will It Last: CBS might be trying to find a bridge between the faux-geeky comedy in Big Bang and the litany of cop procedurals on the network. Perhaps the network’s audience will pick up on that. Airs: Mondays at 10 PM this fall.
NCIS: New Orleans What It Is: Police procedural.What's It About: The local field office investigates criminal cases involving military personnel. Who's In It: Scott Bakula, Lucas Black, Zoe McLellan.What It Sounds Like: It’s going to be NCIS, but everyones going to be talking about gumbo. How Good Will It Be: As good as an NCIS spin-off can be. Scott Bakula is great, but we doubt he's going to flourish in this.How Long Will It Last: Forever.Airs: Tuesdays at 9 PM this fall.
Stalker What It Is: Police procedural. What's It About: Det. Jack Larsen and his new boss, Lt. Beth Davis, investigate dangerous stalker incidents. Who's In It: Maggie Q, Dylan McDermott.What It Sounds Like: The inevitable Catfish episode of Law and Order: SVU. How Good Will It Be: CBS already has about 90 other cop shows, and this one isn’t doing much to stand out. There’s a new wrinkle (hey, we’re only going after stalkers in this on) but that’s no enough to separate it from the herd. How Long Will It Last: McDermott’s last show on CBS, Hostages, was a big misfire for the network. Plus, there are already so many procedurals clogging up the network’s schedule. We’re thinking some cop drama fatigue might be creeping in. Airs: Wednesday at 10 PM this fall.
Madame Secretary What It Is: Political drama.What's It About: Elizabeth Cord, the newly appointed Secretary of State, balances work and family life while trying to serve the President. Who's In It: Téa Leoni, Bebe Neuwirth, Geoffrey Arend, Patina Miller.What It Sounds Like: House of Cards without all the murder by train.How Good Will It Be: It looks a little staid compared to the wilder political action available from other dramas of its ilk. Still, maybe a slower drama depicting Washington is a move in the right direction.How Long Will It Last: House of Cards and Scandal has shown that political shows can survive and thrive on TV as long as they’re soapy and ridiculous. Madame Secretary looks a bit tamer than those two efforts so thrillseekers might not be interested. We’ll give it a season or two. Airs: Sundays at 8 PM this fall.
The McCarthys What It Is: Multi-camera sitcom. What's It About: The gay son of a brash Boston family wants to leave the city, but decides to stay when his outspoken and politically incorrect father gives him a position as an assistant coach on the local basketball team. Who's In It: Laurie Metcalf, Tyler Ritter, Jack McGee. What It Sounds Like: That one episode of All in the Family where meathead comes out to Archie. How Good Will It Be: We’re excited to see Laurie Metcalf return to TV, but the story itself doesn’t sound all that original or exciting. How Long Will It Last: Since Fox’s Dads failed to deliver ratings, it seems that we might be a bit tired of the whole "outspoken fathers annoying their sons thing" on TV. This one might not get a back nine. Airs: Thursdays at 9:30 PM this fall.
CSI: CyberWhat It Is: Police procedural.What's It About: Special Agent Avery Ryan is in charge of the Cyber Crime Division of the FBI, a team that solves crimes centered on the Internet.Who's In It: Patricia Arquette.What It Sounds Like: CSI meets the Internet.How Good Will It Be: It depends which The Who song they chose for the theme song. How Long Will It Last: Forever, or at least a handful of years.Airs: Midseason.
Battle Creek What It Is: Police procedural.What's It About: Two bickering detectives with polar opposite world views work together to clean up the mean streets of Battle Creek, Michigan. Who's In It: Josh Duhmel, Dean Winters.What It Sounds Like: A more straightforward version of True Detective How Good Will It Be: Dean Winters is always great, and television heavyweights Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad) and David Shore (House) are producing. This could be something special.How Long Will It Last: This series seems darker and grittier than the average CBS procedural, which might not click with regular viewers of CBS’ breezier cop dramas. We’ll be surprised if this gets a second year. Airs: Midseason.
The Odd Couple What It Is: Multi-camera sitcom. What's It About: Charming slob Oscar Madison and buttoned-up neat freak Felix Unger become unlikely roommates after the demise of their marriages. Who's In It: Matthew Perry, Thomas Lennon.What It Sounds Like: Well… The Odd Couple.How Good Will It Be: We can’t imagine what new spin this new show could put on the Odd Couple formula since every other sitcom is basically a pastiche of the Odd Couple anyway. Been there, done that. How Long Will It Last: Matthew Perry has been on a serious losing streak so he may be a bad omen for The Odd Couple. we'll give it a season.Airs: Midseason.
ABC Television Network
Mission BriefingIt's all comes down to this. Coulson and his team mount up for one last life or death mission to take out Garret and Ward, but as Coulson surely knows by now, nothing ever comes easy. Garrett has recently gotten a serious upgrade by way of GH-235, while Fitz and Simmons are still stranded at the bottom of the ocean. Can the team defeat a superpowered Garrett and save their missing tech team.
Mission FalloutAfter getting injected with GH-235, Garrett is looking particularly limber. The chemical compound has not only healed Garrett and made him stronger than ever, but the drug has also changed his brain chemistry, making Garrett prone to waxing on about "the truth" and scrawling odd diagrams on walls. Ward fears his mentor has become mentally unhinged, but Garrett's new outlook has given him newfound vision.
In Cuba, Coulson and his team have fought off the Cybertek soldiers, and managed to implant Skye's trojan horse into their system, which allows her to break into all of Cybertek's computer systems. The team is able to track down the bus thanks to Fitz/Simmons' tracker, but the two agents aren't answering the communications, and the team fears the worst. The agents mount up for a final strike on Garrett and Cybertek, and track him down to a Cybertek facility in New Mexico. The team breaks into the compound, and Skye reprograms the super-soldiers to lead them right to Garrett. Meanwhile, Fitz and Simmons have devised a plan to escape their underwater prison, but the storage unit only has enough air for one person to survive the ascent to the surface. Fitz sacrifices himself by giving Simmons the last of his air, and The two make it to the surface, and into the waiting hands of Director Nick Fury. Fury reveals that he's been looking for Coulson, and heads to New Mexico.
Back at the Cybertek compound, May faces off against Ward while Coulson confronts Garrett and Deathlok. May is able to subdue Ward after some sexually charged fist-a-cuffs, and Fury (A.k.A Director deus ex machina) shows up just in time to give Coulson a much needed hand. Deathlok is about to incinerate Coulson and Fury, but gets a message in his system from Ace. Skye managed to save Mike's son, freeing him of Garrett's control. Mike changes his sights to Garrett and blasts a hole through his chest before stomping him seemingly out of existence. Mike ensures that his son is in safe hands before escaping, claiming that he needs to redeem himself before seeing his son again. With the day won, Coulson demands answers from Fury about project T.A.H.I.T.I., with the former director saying it was an emergency situation, and that he had to do what was necessary to revive his best agent. Fury gives Coulson a small box which he says will help Coulson rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D. before making Coulson the new Director. Coulson follows coordinates found in Fury's box to a new, underground S.H.I.E.L.D. base run by agent Billy Koenig, an agent that looks exactly like the recently desceased Eric Koenig. They could be twins, but were betting Fury might have dabbled in cloning on his off hours.
Later, Rayna meets with a bloodied man and tells him that she knows where his daughter is before handing him a picture of Skye. Coulson wakes up in the middle of the night and begins scrawling the same cryptic diagrams that Garrett has been writing earlier. A likely side-effect of the GH-235 serum that they both ingested.
Most Valuable Agent AwardThe final award of the season goes to Deathlok for giving Garrett what he had coming to in. Hopefully, this isn't the last time we see Mike Peterson.
Mission Highlights and Other Observations- It's been rough ride, folks, and at times things looked bleak. But over the course of the season, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has settled into a good hour of television. The season finale was a perfect synecdoche of all the things that work, and don't work, on the show. Good action is hampered by clunky dialogue, and ambitious setpieces are blunted by cheap looking sets and drab direction. Hopefully, S.H.I.E.L.D. can work on these things over the summer break and come back swinging in the fall.- While the finale was enjoyable, and did its due diligence in setting up some intriguing mysteries for the fall, we do wish we received a bit more in the way of answers. Yarns that have been stretched and teased throughout the entire season still haven't come close to being answered yet. We've learned precious little about who Skye is, and we still don't know the full details about project T.A.H.I.T.I. Did they forget about the big blue alien?- Ward: "Reminds me of the old days." / May: "You were never on top."- When was the last time anyone saw a tag-team wrestling match with four dead guys?"
NBC Universal Media
Television upfronts are upon us. Even though the fall TV season has just barely come to a close, with many shows not returning next year (poor Community), the networks have a new crop of shows ready to premiere later this year. NBC has recently announced its fall lineup, including an interesting mix of comedies and dramas. Here's a preview of NBC's upcoming primetime lineup
A to ZWhat It Is: Single-camera sitcom.What It's About: Andrew (Ben Feldman), a romantic at heart, tries to win the girl of his dreams, Zoey (Cristin Milioti).Who's in It: Ben Feldman, Cristin Milioti. What It Sounds Like: Exactly like How I Met Your Mother. It's so similar it's almost a little shameless. Check this: The male lead is a doe-eyed romantic; the female lead wants nothing to do with relationships; an unseen narrator who is also voiced by an actor best known from a '90s sitcom (Katey Sagal), is recounting the whole story; incredible romantic coincidences aplenty involving particularly colored items. It's madness. But at least they don't share a cast member... oh, wait...How Good It Will Be: It honestly looks like a tepid version of the CBS series, but without any of that show’s subversive charm or quirks.How Long It Will Last: It looks pleasant enough to last through the season, but who wants to watch another eight years of Ted and Robin doing will-they-won’t they.Premiere: Thursdays at 9:30 this fall.
Bad JudgeWhat It Is: Single-camera sitcom.What It's About: Rebecca Wright (Kate Walsh) is a wild party girl who also happens to be L.A.'s toughest criminal judge.Who's In It: Kate Walsh, John Ducey, Tone Bell, Theodore Barnes.What's It Sound Like: A reality show titled Judge Judy: Off the Bench.How Good It Will Be: Judging by the trailer, it seems like the main character’s antics will grow stale after a while. “She’s a high ranking official, yet she’s wildly inappropriate” can only be barely amusing for so long.How Long It Will Last: This looks dead on arrival.Premiere: Thurdays at 9:00 this fall.
The Mysteries of LauraWhat It Is: Cop dramedy. What It's About: Laura Diamond (Debra Messing) is a gifted detective who must balance the excitement of police work with managing her twin boys and a flippant ex-husband.Who's In It: Debra Messing, Josh Lucas.What's It Sound Like: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but with more family drama.How Good Will It Be: It’s hard to tell. The trailer is charming enough and is actually littered with a couple chuckles. How Long Will It Last: We can see this one going the distance.Premiere: Wednesdays at 8:00 this fall.
ConstantineWhat It Is: Supernatural drama.What It's About: Based on DC Comics’ classic series Hellblazer, demon hunter John Constantine travels the country to fight off the forces of hell while looking cool in a trench coat. Who's In It: Matt Ryan, Lucy Griffiths, Harrold Perrineau. What's It Sounds Like: Like Supernatural, with more Brits. How Good Will It Be: The trailer has some genuine creepy moments and looks like a far cry from the Keanu Reeves-centered, sun-drenched L.A. interperatation of the character from 2005’s Constantine. Matt Ryan is a dead ringer for the comic book version, down to the blond hair and british-accented quips. How Long Will It Last: This one has good chances. Even though it’s scheduled for Friday nights, which is usually the death nell for television, NBC’s other supernatural action series, Grimm has improbably managed to survive on the same night. Also, It’s connection to comics will certainly bring in viewers.Premiere: Fridays at 10:00 this fall.
State of AffairsWhat It Is: Drama. What It's About: CIA analyst Charleston Tucker (Katherine Heigl) must decide which international crises need to be brought to the attention of the president. She’s also on a mission to find the people responsible for the murder of her fiancé, who was the president’s son.Who's In It: Katherine Heigl, Alfre Woodard, Adam Kaufman. What's It Sound Like: Like Scandal meets Homeland. How Good It Will Be: It looks like a soapy, glossy network version of Homeland, which could be fun, but could also be terrible. How Long It Will Last: NBC found a surprise hit with The Blacklist, and this show looks pretty similar in story. If it can pick up on that show’s audience it will definitely make it through the season.Premiere: November 17 at 10:00.
Marry MeWhat Is It: Single-camera sitcom. What It's About: After six perfect years together, Annie and Jake are ready to get married, but the universe seems to have other plans for them. Who's In It: Ken Marino, Casey Wilson, Sarah Wright, John Gemberling. What's It Sound Like: It’s basically looks like Happy Endings, which makes sense since it’s also from that show’s creator, David Caspe. How Good Will It Be: The cast has some great comedy chops, and the trailer has some goofy laughs here and there. If this show is even half as good as Happy Endings in it’s prime, we’ll be satisfied.How Long Will It Last: NBC is in dire need of some new comedies so we’re betting this one sticks around for a while. Premiere: Tuesday at 9:00 this fall.
AllegianceWhat It Is: Spy drama. What It's About: Alex O’Connor is a young idealistic CIA analyst, but his life comes crashing down when he learns that his parents are deactivated KGB agents who have just been re-enlisted by the Kremlin to commit a terrorist attack against the U.S. Who's In It: Gavin Stenhouse, Scott Cohen, Hope Davis.What's It Sound Like: The Americans, but with fewer wigs and less '80s music. How Good It Will Be: It’ll be hard for this show to compete quality-wise with The Americans, which is probably the most underrated drama on television, since it is mining such similar territory. How Long It Will Last: You only have to look as far as NBC’s Hostages to see that dramas like this don’t tend to do well on the network. If the show is a critical success it good skate on its prestige like Hannibal, but we don’t see this as being terribly successful.Premiere: N/A
AquariusWhat It Is: Period police drama.What It's About: In 1967, L.A. police sergeant Sam Hodiak investigates a cult leader luring young women to his cause. Little does he know that that the guy he’s hunting turns out to be Charles Manson.Who's In It: David Duchovny. What's It Sound Like: Bates Motel, but replace Norman Bates with Charles Manson. How Good Will It Be: It looks like NBC is trying to mine the success (critical success at least) of Hannibal. If this show is even a tenth as good as that, it will be a home run.How Long Will It Last?: Knowing NBC and it’s audience, If this show does make it to the end of the season, it will be one of those shows that’s permanently on the bubble come renewal time.Premiere: N/A
Emerald CityWhat It Is: Fantasy drama.What It's About: A woman investigating the identity of her biological mother gets swept up into a tornado and transported to a twisted vision of magical world of Oz Who's In It: N/A What's It Sound Like: A dark and gritty version of The Wizard of Oz. How Good Will It Be: Judging from recent “Dark” versions of fairy tales (Hanzel and Gretal: Witch Hunters, Snow White and the Huntsman), we don’t have high hopes. How Long Will It Last: NBC’s recet genre offerings haven’t fared to well, but ABC’s Once Upon a Time shows that there’s certainly an audience for fantasy on network TV.Premiere: N/A
Mission ControlWhat Is It: Single-camera sitcom.What's It About: Dr. Mary Kendricks is a brilliant Aerospace engineer that must survive the boys club of Astronauts in the 1960s. Who's In It: Krysten Ritter, Tommy Dewey, Malcolm Barrett, Johnathan Slavin, Julie Meyer.What's It Sound Like: Mad Men meets Anchorman with some Better Off Ted sprinkled in. How Good Will It Be: Mad Men has found a great amount of drama exploring the old-timey misogyny of the 1960s. A series that can explore the same themes from a comedic lens could be really great.How Long Will It Last: It’s hard to tell. This sounds pretty ambitious from NBC. It doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that people will immediately click with, so Mission Control might not last.Premiere: N/A
Mr. RobinsonWhat It Is: Single-camera sitcom.What's It About: Down on his luck musician Craig Robinson (Craig Robinson... hey, wait a minute...) teaches music to pay the bills, but works harder to inspire his students once he finds out that they’re only taking his class for the easy A.Who's In It: Craig Robinson, Jean Smart.What's It Sound Like: An updated version of Welcome Back Kotter.How Good Will It Be: Craig Robinson is a huge talent, and we’ve been waiting for him to get the chance to carry his own show. Fingers crossed, everybody. How Long Will It Last: Hopefully, old fans of The Office can rally behind this show and help it secure at least a couple of seasons.Premiere: N/A
OdysseyWhat It Is: Multi-camera sitcom. What It's About: A soldier, a corporate lawyer, and a political activist uncover a military-industrial conspiracy involving al Qaeda, the U.S. military, and a U.S. corporation funding the terrorist cell.Who's In It: Anna Friel, Peter Facinelli, Jake Robinson, Jim True-Frost. What's It Sound Like: Traffic with a heaping teaspoon of Homeland.How Good Will It Be: It sounds like an ambitious, international undertaking from NBC. It sounds good, but then again it’s from a director of Grey’s Anatomy. We guess we’ll have to see.How Long Will It Last: Not too long. This doesn’t look like NBC’s usual offerings so it’s hard to think it will last.Premiere: N/A
One Big Happy What Is It: Single-camera sitcom.What's It About: Best friends, Lizzy and Luke decide to start an unorthodox family, but things get crowded when Luke meets and marries the woman of his dreams, Prudence, a british expat scheduled to leave the country. Who's In It: Nick Zano, Elisha Cuthbert, Kelly Brook.What's It Sound Like: A zanier version of Modern Family. How Good Will It Be: It sounds like fun, and Elisha Cuthbert was fantastic in Happy Endings.Premiere: N/A
Unbreakable Kimmy SchmidtWhat Is It: Single camera sitcom What’s It About: After 15 years of living in a cult, a woman decides to reinvent her life by moving to New York and taking on the city that never sleeps.Who's In It: Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess.What’s It Sound Like: Ugly Betty meets The Office.How Good Will It Be: Ellie Kemper is perpetually delightful, and the idea of a woman readjusting to modern life after living in a cult could lead to some absurd situations. How Long Will It Last: Like Mr. Robinson, fans of the office might give this show a boost at least initially. Were thinking this one will at least finish out it’s season.Premiere: N/A
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
Director Nick Stoller's newest flick, Neighbors, is infused with an unhinged, bacchanalian spirit. The film pits a couple just settling into the comforts of family life against an army of rowdy, boozy frat guys that have never met a homeowner association they couldn't piss off. Zac Efron, Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, newcomer Jerrod Carmichael and Stoller dish about filming the insane party scenes, the surprising inspirations for the film, and why Rose Bryne's character is totally down to party with the frat bros.
Director Nick Stoller and his cast discuss bringing the film's wild party scenes to life:
Stoller: "I had some practice shooting party stuff for Get Him to the Greek and so I took lessons I learned from that, both the things I liked that I did and the things I didn’t and brought them to this, and from the very beginning, I wanted the movie to feel like a party and to be cool. I am not cool and I don’t go to parties so I did a lot of research and Seth and Evan [Goldberg, the producer] pitched the idea of a black light party and a hothouse party, which were both cool visual ideas. Then I watched a lot of movies that are much cooler than the movies I make, like Enter the Void was a big visual reference for me. Then another movie that weirdly was a big influence - because there’s a dumb heist element to the movie - so I watched Ocean’s 11 and I took apart that movie to see how it was put togethter. There are certain things, like you put the camera low and it makes it feel epic, you hand out cameras to a lot of extras and that makes it feel more epic."
Jerrod Carmichael: "These party scenes had to be a monster to coordinate. It was like 250 extras along with us. You don’t forget all the smoke and these military grade lights we weren’t allowed to stare into. We had to wear protective goggles."
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: "I went to the hospital after we shot five days in the house with just a bunch of smoke. I was in the hospital for like, four hours. Just being a nerd."
The cast on Dave Franco's now-infamous Robert De Niro impersonation scene:
Dave Franco: "I was most anxious about that scene more than any other when I read the script. So from day one, I was trying to perfect the impersonation so I was looking up videos on YouTube and actually watching De Niro movies, and trying to figure out what he does with his face, and I just couldn’t get it. I’m not good with impressions, so literally the night before I just stood in front of the mirror and just physically pushed my face around and it just kinda took form, and then you throw on the mole and the pleated khakis and give me the cat and I’m just following through with it. It hurts, man, when you’re doing it for six hours. Try to do it for like five seconds."
Seth Rogen: "I couldn't stop laughing at Dave Franco... the De Niro face would collapse"Zac Efron: "It wasn't like he was breaking character or giving up, it was like he couldn't sustain it any longer."
The cast discuss how Rose Byrne's character transcends the nagging housewife stereotype:
Rose Byrne: "We wanted to not make her the usual stock female character. You know, the nagging wife in the corner. We tried to make her as irresponsible and irreverent as the rest of the cast."
Franco: "I just love how silly she is and she just goes toe to toe with Seth. She’s not the typical wife in the movie who’s naggy or just getting walked over by the husband. She crushes it."
Mintz-Plasse: "Rose was holding her own more than anybody. She was hilarious in this movie, probably my favorite character."
Nick Stoller chimes in on why there might not be a clear cut winner in the battle between Frat vs. Family.
Stoller: "I don’t like villains in the movies that I make, and I think all of us are on the same page. We didn’t want there to be any villains because it gets boring really quickly if you’re just like “that person’s bad,” then there’s no real lesson for them to learn. What is cool about the movie is that if you’re young, if you’re the age of the frat kids, you take the side of the frat, and if you’re closer to my age, you take the side of the family, so that was the goal. Those kids in the movie are doing what kids are supposed to do, which is party constantly."
Neighbors is in theaters now.
Peggy Carter, the plucky heroine of Marvel's short film Agent Carter, is getting her own series. Talk of a possible Agent Carter TV show has been rumbling around ever since the character's live-action debut in Captain America: The First Avenger and her subsequent solo adventure, but things were made official today with ABC picking up the property for a series order. The past couple of days have been huge for superheroes on television - this week alone saw pickups for Gotham, The Flash, and Agent Carter by different networks - so to help you decide which comic book crusader to catch on the small screen next year, we've outlined all of the upcoming superhero television series currently hurtling their way to your television sets.
Agent CarterPremiere Date: There's no official word, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, the series will likely be used as a "bridge" during the second season hiatus of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. That would put the premiere date around Spring/Summer 2015.What It's About: Based on the Agent Carter one shot, the series will focus on Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) as she begins her legendary career as a spy and works to form the intelligence agency, S.H.I.E.L.D.Will it Be Good? The original one shot was an incredibly fun romp, and the upcoming series already has an impressive cast forming (Atwell is confirmed to star, and Dominic Cooper will possibly reprise his role as Howard Stark). Agent Carter will also likely be able to side step the pitfalls of its sister program, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., since it doesn't have to align as slavishly to the continuity of Marvel's cinematic output. Plus, the show will be run by Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas, who have proven themselves capable of delivering fun, episodic television from their work on the wonderful, yet sadly short-lived Reaper. We do have some doubts, given ABC's handling of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but Agent Carter looks to be in good shape.
The FlashPremiere Date: Fall 2014What It's About: A spin-off of the CW's wildly sucessful Arrow, The Flash will focus on Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), a costumed crimefighter who gains super-speed after being caught in a chemical explosion at S.T.A.R. labs.Will It Be Good? The CW has proven themselves to be quite adept at creating compelling superhero TV. After some early missteps, Arrow has blossomed into a fun, rollicking hour of television with the right mix of action and melodrama. Given that it's a spin-off, the series already has an established universe to take plots, the scarlet speedster should be in capable hands.
GothamPremiere Date: Fall 2014What It's About: Gotham will serve as an origin story for the entire Batman universe. The series will center on a young Det. Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) during his first couple of years on the Gotham police force, while also exploring the humble beginnings of several classic Batman characters, including Penguin, Poison Ivy, Catwoman, the Riddler and of course, a young Bruce Wayne.Will It Be Good? Creating a series centered on Batman's city sans Batman is decidedly risky, but there's a lot to like in what we've seen of the series so far. Gotham's first trailer is decidedly moody and the actual depiction of Gotham City - a dark and sprawling metropolis with a ton of secrets hidden in every alleyway - looks just about right, but all the child versions of Batman's iconic rogues gallery does give us pause. It might also suffer from the same problems that have plagued Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D's rocky first season, namely being set in a comic book universe without all the cool comic book characters. If the series can weave a compelling and original narrative with the Batman mythos, then we won't miss the caped crusader all that much.
The Netflix Series: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The DefendersPremiere Dates: Sometime in 2015, beginning with Daredevil.What It's About: Netflix is strengthening its original programming output with four original series based on Marvel comics properties. They'll focus on Daredevil, a blind crimefighter with heightened senses; Jessica Jones, a super-powered private investigator; Luke Cage, a super-powered and near-invulnerable hero for hire and Iron Fist, a martial artist endowed with mystical abilities. Finally, all four heroes will come together in The Defenders, an epic mini-series event.Will It Be Good? Much of Netflix's original programming thus far has been pretty great, so it would seem that the streaming service is dedicated to delivering quality material. Also, writer Drew Goddard will serve as showrunner on Daredevil. Goddard has quite an impressive resume, with writing credits on Cloverfield, Lost, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alias, Angel, and World War Z, not to mention his work directing Cabin in the Woods. Things are looking good for Marvel and Netflix.
If thinking about NBC's lackluster coverage of the last two Olympics fills you with a deep churning rage, you might as well get used to it because things aren't going to change for a long long while. The network just inked a deal with the International Olympic Committee for coverage of the game through, get this, 2032.
2032! That's a crazy future date! By 2032, Facebook will become self aware, San Francisco will lose its long-standing battle with the San Andreas fault, and the ghost of Steve Jobs will unveil the iPod 47S, which is only marginally better than the iPod 47. In general, things will be very different, which is why it's so surprising that NBC will still be providing their wildly incompetent coverage of the Olympics 18 years from now. Who knows if TV will still be a thing in 2032? NBC will probably be beaming curling and old episodes of Law and Order: SVU right into our brain folds by then.
So when can we actually expect a competently presented Olympics not presented by NBC, one that isn't full of tape delayed events, truncated closing ceremonies, and chatty presenters taking pot shots at other countries? Well, all these things have to happen first.
2015: Marty McFly travels back to the future in Back to the Future Part II. So we're definitely getting those Nikes and hoverboards next year, right?
2016: The world is supposed to end on February 16th of this year according to that one crazy lady in Ghostbusters.
2018: Forget soccer! Rollerball becomes the world's most popular sport.
2019: Richard Deckard battles replicants in Blade Runner.
2020: Christian Bale and a bald Matthew McConaughey fight for humanity in the middle of a dragon apocalypse in Reign of Fire.
2022: We turn poor people into yummy bite-size crackers in Soylent Green.
2025: Humanity uses giant Jaegers to fight against Kaiju in Pacific Rim.
2029: The T-1000 is sent into the past to kill Sarah Connor in Terminator.
2030: Ted tells his kids how he me their mother. The story takes a while.
2032: Sgt. John Spartan ponders the mystery of the three sea shells in Demolition Man.