The Muppets return to television!

“Are you kidding? We made, like, six movies together, three TV shows…”

It’s been a long time coming, but The Muppets are on their way back to television–this time with a 21st century update on ABC as a single-camera docu-interview style comedy (think The Office).

Even if I haven’t been crazy about the post-Jim Henson era of the Muppets (save for Muppets Tonight, which I think got a lot of things right), they’re still the Muppets, they still do it for me, and, like many parents my age, I’m looking forward to sharing a new Muppet TV experience with my son.

The Muppets airs Tuesdays on ABC this fall.

Mad Men Podcast – The Buchel Review

Throughout the “Game of Thrones” season, The Cinecast devotes a good portion of the show to recapping the latest episode. Surprisingly, it has proven to be one of the more popular segments of the show in the last couple of years. So I wanted to bring listener’s attention to another popular television show podcast that is loosely related to the RowThree media empire: The Buchel Review.

The final episode of the massively popular “Mad Men” is almost upon us and there are loads of resources covering the series and its inevitable conclusion. But we’ve got RowThree family in the mix as occasional/Cinecast/guest, Aaron Hartung, and his pals have been recapping the last few episodes of the final season as they air each week.

If you’re a fan of Mad Men, this is one of the best podcasts you’ll find discussing the show in a “water cooler & cigarettes” format. And as we’ve mentioned before, Aaron certainly has a voice for radio and is very soothing to stick in your ear. Check out The Buchel Review on PodBean and see what you think. Once addicted, definitely subscribe to their feed in your favorite podcast catcher to download the last couple of episodes as they become available.

 

Trailer: Sense8

Not a theatrical release, but possessing all the scope and complexity that was perhaps boiled out of Jupiter Ascending, the Wachowskis are back with a Netflix Original Series, Sense8. Judging from the trailer, it has all the hallmarks of a Wachowski blockbuster, and feels like Cloud Atlas, Lost and The Matrix all boiled into one (sorry Speed Racer fans).

It pleases me immensely that the Siblings keep casting Korean actress Doona Bae, who will be joined by Daryl Hannah, Naveen Andrews, Freema Agyeman and Joey Pants. If the IMDb is to be trusted, it appears that many of the cast will only be in a small sliver (3 episodes) of the show, so I’m not fully expecting the full-on Cloud Atlas simultaneous-cluster-bomb.

The full series, 12 episodes, drops on Netflix on June 5.

True Detective Season 2 Teaser

Be prepared for more grim, angsty personal and professional portraits of cops from Nic Pizzolatto and HBO. This time, it’s Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell looking downward and determined as the music plays. Highways and drought and California nightmares. Plus, Colin Farrell in a thick moustache. I couldn’t be more in.

A bizarre murder brings together three law-enforcement officers and a career criminal, each of whom must navigate a web of conspiracy and betrayal in the scorched landscapes of California. Colin Farrell is Ray Velcoro, a compromised detective in the all-industrial City of Vinci, LA County. Vince Vaughn plays Frank Semyon, a criminal and entrepreneur in danger of losing his life’s work, while his wife and closest ally (Kelly Reilly), struggles with his choices and her own. Rachel McAdams is Ani Bezzerides, a Ventura County Sheriff’s detective often at odds with the system she serves, while Taylor Kitsch plays Paul Woodrugh, a war veteran and motorcycle cop for the California Highway Patrol who discovers a crime scene which triggers an investigation involving three law enforcement groups, multiple criminal collusions, and billions of dollars.

True Detective Season 2 begins its run June 21st.

Review: Amazon Pilots 2015

It was probably before “Lost’s” first season where I finally succumbed to becoming a couch potato, but I have kind of known alongside many other pop culture enthusiasts that television was evolving into something else than mindless TGIF programming.  Obviously, you can even look before “The Sopranos” took HBO by storm to uncover such gems like “Dream On” and “The Larry Sanders Show.”  Around the time that “Breaking Bad” became water-cooler fodder, I was singing the praises to the high heavens that TV was becoming somewhat more interesting than films.  Now that I didn’t love movies still, but more people were excited about television that movies around certain friends of mine who weren’t cinephiles.  Television was exciting at least in a different way, akin to a good book you didn’t want to put down.  Still, I can’t deny that nearly every show I have gotten hooked on still hinges upon the occasional soap opera tactic of a cliffhanger ending or melodramatics.  Which doesn’t bother me, since that “hook” is what keeps me coming back.  I never understood why my mom was addicted to soap operas until the same thing happened to me with Lost and then, Breaking Bad.

So now that I’ve seen shows like “The Affair, Mad Men, The Americans,” etc etc etc, I can safely say that TV programming is keeping me happy and relatively stimulated on an intellectual level but at the same time, much like any accessible medium now, is becoming difficult to keep up with in terms of sifting through content.  Before we had 1000 channels to sift through and luckily DVRs have made it easy to pick and choose.  Now that Hulu, Netflix and Amazon have gotten into production angle, it’s becoming even harder to decide which show to binge watch.  I know a lot of friends who say “I will wait til it’s over” but I think since I grew up waiting week to week for my favorite shows, I enjoy the routine of the waiting game now.  With that said, Amazon has done something very interesting these past couple of years by offering viewers a “choice” of sorts.  They get to vote on which pilots they think will sucker them in for full seasons.  I went through this process last year (or the year prior) and chose “Transparent” and “Mozart in the Jungle.”  I did enjoy Chris Carter’s Lost-esque horror apocalypse “The After,” but wasn’t eager to follow those characters as much as I was a crazy composer and of course, the now Emmy-winning Jeffrey Tambor.    I think a lot of creative minds are getting behind this format and execution especially since a guy like Woody Allen is giving Amazon the thumbs up for his first TV show concept soon to be announced.

Would you like to know more…?

Ash vs. Evil Dead coming to Starz

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It’s not exactly new news (for some, the announcement came as an early Christmas present), but Starz has taken on a monumental nerd challenge: continue the story of Ash Williams and his fight against the Evil Dead and try not to piss people off who have been waiting patiently since 1992.

With the sort-of remake/reboot/whatever in 2013, fans of the series got a taste of the old slapstick horror, but for most, it lacked the soul and originality that made the other three in the series so enjoyable. Some liked it. Most, it seemed, complained or were indifferent.

Now, patient fans will have a proper continuation of the franchise with a 30-minute weekly series that will last ten episodes. It will air sometime later this year on Starz. Most importantly, Bruce Campbell is coming back. Sam Raimi is on board as a producer and potential director of the pilot. The plot, according to EW, is as follows:

Ash is living in a trailer park and working his latest thankless big-box store job when a return of the Deadites prompts him to take a road trip with two young co-workers (and, of course, his trusty boomstick).

For his part, Bruce seems confident that Starz will give them plenty of creative freedom, perhaps something that came as a roadblock over the years when it came to financing a Hollywood sequel. As Bruce put it:

35 years later, we don’t want a lot of people bugging us about stuff. We know this series. We know the character. We’re experienced producers, Sam is an experienced director, I’m an experienced actor. Let us do our thing. And Starz has been really supportive in that respect and as a result we’re very happy.

So, what are your thoughts on Evil Dead hitting the small screen? Should a good thing be left alone? Will TV be a better fit for the creative freedom these fellows need? Would you prefer a film sequel? Chime in with your thoughts in the comments!

Trailer: The Gunman

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Damn. The studio might have considered titling this movie Knights of Badassdom were it not already used. Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone, and Idris Elba all in the same action flick? That’s too much manliness for even the manliest of men to handle.

Well, all right… maybe Sean Penn isn’t synonymous with badass – intense, sure, but badass, eh. Still, since The Gunman is basically just a lovechild of a Bourne movie and Taken (it’s even directed by Taken helmer Pierre Morel), it’s safe to say that Penn really just might reinvent himself with this badass action star persona after all.

I mean, do you remember Liam Neeson’s career before Taken? He was always intense and definitely cool, but that flick transformed him from Qui-Gon Schindler to Hollywood’s go-to old man action thespian.

Anyway, back to the The Gunman. The movie follows an international operative who just wants to retire peacefully with a beautiful woman young enough to be his daughter, but then things happen and people want to kill him and his lady is kidnapped so he has to go, like, get her back and kill people and stuff. With a specific set of skills that only he possesses. And a really groovy Hawaiian shirt.

Check out the trailer for The Gunman below. The movie drops on March 20, 2015.

Trailer: Sonic Highways

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Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters is no stranger to filmmaking. Besides all of his band’s rather cinematic music videos, last year, Grohl directed the superb documentary Sound City (which still proudly boasts a 100% rating on on Rotten Tomatoes) about the San Fernando Valley recording studio that rocked the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, Rick Springfield, Tom Petty, Metallica and Nirvana. While it may have gone relatively unseen and won few awards, it’s unquestionably one of the greatest rock documentaries to ever grace the screen.

This year, the Grohl-led Foo Fighters have collaborated with HBO on a television show, titled Sonic Highways (like their upcoming album), that will chronicle their creation of their upcoming LP which was recorded in eight different recording studios in eight different American cities (Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Seattle and Washington, DC).

As described by Rolling Stone, Grohl says of the show and album: “This isn’t just the making of our most ambitious album. This is a love letter to the history of American music.”

Sonic Highways debuts on HBO on October 17, 2014.

Philipp Meyer’s The Son to be adapted for AMC

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When Philipp Meyer quit his job on Wall Street to pursue writing, I’m sure he never expected his sophomore novel would not only be a Pulitzer Prize finalist, but also that it’d be adapted to the small screen with his intimate involvement by one of the hottest channels in television, AMC.

I first wrote about Philipp Meyer in 2009, after reading his excellent debut novel, the rustbelt Pennsylvania set American Rust, which at the time had been optioned for a big screen adaptation that is currently stuck in development purgatory.

Last month though, exciting news was announced by Deadline: AMC is developing a show based on his second novel, The Son, and Philipp Meyer himself will serve as executive producer.

Last summer, when I read his Texas-set, ambitious, brutal, and sometimes horrific sweeping epic The Son. I was blown away. I burnt through the 700+ pages in two sittings. The novel is not merely good… it’s a masterpiece. An instant classic. An important book in American literature that’s only going to continue to grow in significance as the decades pass. And while comparisons are silly, if you need one, it’s sort of like Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian as interpreted by John Steinbeck before being edited by William Faulkner.

When reading it, I thought the novel, like Blood Meridian, would be nearly impossible to adapt to the big screen. Even on television, which will provide the filmmakers with much more freedom than Hollywood would, it will be difficult as the story follows three distinct generations and time periods of a rising Texas oil empire: the ruthless Eli McCulloch, Eli’s son Pete, and Eli’s great-granddaughter Jeanne.

Meyer himself described it as a “partly historical novel about the rise of an oil and ranching dynasty in Texas, tracing the family from the earliest days of white settlement, fifty years of open warfare with the Comanches, the end of the frontier and the rise of the cattle industry, and transitioning into the modern (oil) age.”

What I find even more interesting, The Dallas Morning News ran an article yesterday describing how Meyer and writers like him are getting on board projects as executive producer.

Writers including Meyer, Brian McGreevy of Hemlock Grove, and Smith Henderson of Fourth of July Creek have formed a writers collective called El Jefe which, according to Meyer, was created to “help interesting, high-quality literary writers adapt, produce, and retain meaningful ownership of their own work for television and film.” Perhaps this was in response to the mess surrounding the American Rust adaptation that fizzled out.

The Son for AMC will be El Jefe’s first production. There is no word yet on casting or filming dates.

If you’ve read The Son, do you think even with Meyer’s involvement they’ll be able to effectively adapt it for television? Who could you envision in any of the lead roles? Chime in below!

Even if God existed, to say he loved the human race was preposterous. It was just as likely the opposite; it was just as likely he was systematically deceiving us. To think that an all-powerful being would make a world for anyone but himself, that he might spend all his time looking out for the interests of lesser creatures, it went against all common sense. The strong took from the weak, only the weak believed otherwise, and if God was out there, he was just as the Greeks and Romans had suspected; a trickster, an older brother who spent all his time inventing ways to punish you. -Philipp Meyer, The Son