TV Talk

Another The Batman Spin-off Is Coming: The Penguin Getting His Own Series At HBO Max

Plus, the Luther movie adds some big names to its cast, Anthony Mackie leads the latest video-game adaptation, Chucky creator Don Mancini promises new series will answer old questions, and more big TV and streaming headlines.

by | September 17, 2021 | Comments

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In DC’s corner of the ever-evolving comics- and superhero-multiverse, news of an expansion to the worlds being created by The Batman filmmaker Matt Reeves: the character of The Penguin, whom we will meet in the 2022 film, is the center of a new spin-off series currently in developing at HBO Max. Plus, the Luther movie fleshes out its cast, Twisted Metal is the latest in a spate of video game adaptations, and Helen Mirren is joining the Wizarding World. Check out all that and more in our comprehensive wrap-up of this week’s (and last’s) biggest TV and streaming news.


The Penguin Will Star in The Batman Series Spin-off at HBO Max

Colin Farrell as The Penguin

(Photo by © Warner Bros. / HBO Max)

The Bat gets top billing on the big-screen, but on TV, it’s going to be all about Oswald Cobblepot: HBO Max is in early development on a spin-off of the upcoming Warner Bros. movie The Batman, with Cobblepot, a.k.a. Gotham City supervillain The Penguin.

In The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader, The Penguin is played by Colin Farrell. He has been approached to continue the role in the series, Variety reports, but has not committed to the project. Lauren LeFranc (Chuck and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) will write the script for the series, while The Batman director Matt Reeves and producer Dylan Clark would executive produce.

If The Penguin series is a go, it would be the second spin-off of The Batman (which is now scheduled to hit theaters next March) at HBO Max; the streaming service is already developing a series set at the Gotham PD.

HBO Max is going all in on the DC Universe, including an upcoming Suicide Squad spin-off with John Cena reprising his role as Peacemaker, a Green Lantern series from Greg Berlanti, and Justice League Dark from J.J. Abrams..

Syfy’s Chucky Series Will Finally Shed Light on the Backstory of the Doll From Hell

That creepy little horror show we know as Chucky is literally becoming a new horror show on Syfy, and at the show’s Television Critics Association panel this week, Chucky creator and showrunner Don Mancini promised the revelation of the Charles Lee Ray (Chucky’s human form) backstory, including his first kill.

“Exploring Charles Lee Ray’s origins has been something that the fans have wanted to see and have been asking for literally for decades now,” Mancini said. “And one of the reasons I was excited about taking the franchise into the medium of television was because having so much storytelling real estate, eight hours of Chucky, provided such a great opportunity for exploring that stuff.”

Chucky, whose BFF in the series is teenager Jake (Zackary Arthur), will be voiced by Child’s Play movie star Brad Dourif, while Alex Vincent plays Chucky’s enemy Andy, Christine Elise plays Andy’s foster sister, Kyle, Lexa Doig plays Jake’s mom, Bree, and Devon Sawa plays Jake’s abusive stepdad – i.e. definitely Chucky’s enemy – Logan.

The series, which serves as a sequel to the Cult of Chucky movie, premieres on Oct. 12.

At the same TCA presentation, NBC also shared the first five minutes of its new drama series La Brea, starring Natalie Zea, Catherine Dent, Jon Seda, and Ione Skye as a group of Los Angelinos who end up in a mysterious place after falling into a massive sinkhole in the city, and those left behind. The series premieres Sept. 28.

And USA provided a peek at its new reality series, America’s Big Deal, in which wannabe moguls get three minutes to pitch their products on live TV, which will be on sale to viewers throughout the show. The person with the biggest sales at the end of the shoppable episode could win a life-changing deal with mega-successful inventor and retail queen Joy Mangano. There series premieres Oct. 14.

More Highlights from Fox and CBS’s TCA Presentations Last Week: 24 Could Be Coming Back… Again, and More

24 - Kiefer Sutherland

(Photo by Daniel Smith / © Fox / Courtesy: Everett Collection)

This Is Us star Justin Hartley already has his next job lined up: he’ll star in the CBS drama pilot The Never Game, an adaptation of author Jeffrey Dever’s thriller about survivalist Colton Shaw, who travels around the United States, using his tracking skills to help solve mysteries. Hartley is teaming with This Is Us producer and director Ken Olin to develop the project.

— A third season of Big Brother: Celebrity Edition will premiere in February 2022, and after the pandemic delay, The Amazing Race will return this season.

— Fox’s midseason country music drama Monarch will star Susan Sarandon as country music queen Dottie Cantrell Roman, with country star Trace Adkins as her husband, Albie Roman. They’re the biggest stars in the industry, but they’ve got secrets, and a potential rival in their own daughter, Nicky (Anna Friel). Singer and songwriter Beth Ditto will play another Roman daughter, Gigi.

— Fox Entertainment president Michael Thorn confirmed the network is considering a revival of 24, but did not elaborate on the premise or whether Kiefer Sutherland would return. The series celebrates its 20th anniversary in November.

— Emmy-nominated Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham will star in the network’s 2022 animated comedy Krapopolis, from Rick and Morty creator Dan Harmon. The show is set in ancient Greece, in one of the first cities in the world, which is run by a family of humans, monsters, and gods. Waddingham plays goddess Deliria, who is married to King Shlub (What We Do in the Shadows’ Matt Berry), a manitaur – half centaur, half manticore. Their son, Tyrannis, is voiced by The IT Crowd’s Richard Ayoade.

— Fox-owned Tubi, the free streaming service, will premiere its first original movie, Corrective Measures, next year. The sci-fi action movie will star Bruce Willis and Michael Rooker.

Ted Lasso Leads 2021 Television Critics Association Awards Winners With Three Honors

Ted Lasso

(Photo by Apple TV+)

Is this a sign of things to come for Ted Lasso at this weekend’s Emmys? The Apple TV+ comedy earned three awards from the Television Critics Association, including Program of the Year, Outstanding Achievement in Comedy, and Outstanding New Program for its first season.

The complete lineup of winners, as voted on by the more than 200 professional TV critics and journalists from across the United States and Canada who make up TCA:

  • Individual Achievement In Drama: Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You, HBO)
  • Individual Achievement In Comedy: Jean Smart (Hacks, HBO Max)
  • Outstanding Achievement In News and InformationFraming Britney Spears (FX/FX On Hulu)
  • Outstanding Achievement In Reality Programming: TIE: Couples Therapy (Showtime), Deaf U (Netflix)
  • Outstanding Achievement In Youth ProgrammingThe Baby-Sitters Club (Netflix)
  • Outstanding Achievement In Variety, Talk Or SketchLast Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO, 2018 & 2019 Winner in Category)
  • Outstanding New ProgramTed Lasso (Apple TV+)
  • Outstanding Achievement In Movies, Miniseries, Or SpecialsMare Of Easttown (HBO)
  • Outstanding Achievement In DramaThe Crown (Netflix)
  • Outstanding Achievement In ComedyTed Lasso (Apple TV+)
  • Program of the YearTed Lasso (Apple TV+)
  • Career Achievement Honoree: Jean Smart
  • Heritage AwardThe Golden Girls (NBC)

At the Creative Arts Emmys, which were handed out in three ceremonies last weekend, the biggest winners were Netflix’s Queen’s Gambit with nine, Disney+’s The Mandalorian with seven, and Saturday Night Live (NBC) and RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1) with five each.

Omar Sy in season 1 keyart for Lupin

(Photo by Netflix)

Individual highlight winners at the Creative Arts ceremonies include Dave Chappelle and Maya Rudolph as Outstanding Guest Actor and Actress in a comedy for hosting SNL, while guest actor and actress in drama went to Courtney B. Vance for Lovecraft Country, and Claire Foy for The Crown. RuPaul won his sixth consecutive Emmy as Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program (and 10th overall statue), while Stanley Tucci won his fourth overall, for Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special, and This Is Us star Sterling K. Brown won his third overall, this one for Outstanding Narrator for Lincoln: Divided We Stand. Comedian Bo Burnham won three Emmys (directing, music direction, and writing for a variety special) for his Netflix comedy special Bo Burnham: Inside, part of the streaming network’s 34-Emmy haul going into Sunday night’s ceremony on CBS.

For a complete list of winners for each of the Creative Arts Emmys, click here for group one, group two, and group three.

And in other TV accolades this week, Time magazine announced its annual Time100 most influential people of the year list, and TV types included are Ted Lasso star and co-creator Jason Sudeikis, Blackish star Tracee Ellis Ross, Mare of Easttown star Kate Winslet, Lupin star Omar Sy, SNL star Bowen Yang, The Walking Dead alum and Oscar nominee Steven Yeun, Grey’s Anatomy and Bridgerton creator Shonda Rhimes, and Fox News star Tucker Carlson.

NEW TRAILERS: Succession Season 3: Logan Roy Is Going “Full Beast” on His Rivals, Including His Family

Succession, Season 3, promises to be worth the wait, as the Roy family continues its dysfunctional, but endlessly entertaining, civil war, each in hopes of being the one to wrestle control of the fam’s media conglomerate from papa Logan (Brian Cox). Don’t eat that mint, Cousin Greg! Also stars Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook, Alan Ruck, Nicholas Braun, Matthew Macfayden, Hiam Abbass, and new Season 3 cast Alexander Skarsgård, Sanaa Lathan, Hope Davis, and Adrien Brody. Premieres Oct. 17 (HBO)

More trailers and teasers released this week:
• In one of the most fun trailers of the year, Hawkeye, a.k.a. Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) is just trying to enjoy the NYC holiday season with his family but some of the enemies he’s made in the past come back to haunt him. Good thing he has super archer Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) to help him! Also stars Vera Farmiga, Brian d’Arcy James, and Tony Dalton. Premieres Nov. 24 (Disney+)
• Maid is the adaptation of Stephanie Land’s bestselling book about a young single mother who tries to work her way out of poverty by cleaning houses. Stars Margaret Qualley, her real-life mother Andie MacDowell, Anika Noni Rose, and Nick Robinson. Premieres Oct. 1 (Netflix)
• Dopesick is the adaptation, developed by Danny Strong, of Beth Macy’s book Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America, the story of the devastation caused by Purdue Pharma’s marketing of Oxycontin. Stars Michael Keaton, Kaitlyn Dever, Michael Stuhlbarg, Peter Sarsgaard, Will Poulter, Rosario Dawson, Ray McKinnon, and Jake McDorman. Premieres Oct. 13 (Hulu)
• Dexter: New Blood brings serial killer Dexter Morgan back into our orbit, and shows us his new life in a small town where he is the happy everyguy … to his unsuspecting neighbors, anyway. He’s even got a new love interest, but some evildoers, and the arrival of his son, is going to pull him in a lot of different directions. Stars Michael C. Hall. Premieres Nov. 7 (Showtime)
• I Know What You Did Last Summer, Season 1, is the series adaptation of Lois Duncan’s classic YA book about a group of friends who find out they’re being stalked a year after a car accident in which they killed someone. Stars Madison Iseman, Brianne Tju, Ezekiel Goodman, and Sebastian Amoruso. Premieres Oct. 15 (Amazon Prime Video)
• There’s Someone Inside Your House is a slasher film about a high school student who moves from Hawaii to a small Nebraska town, and finds herself and her friends in the middle of a murder spree. Stars Sydney Park. Premieres Oct. 6 (Netflix)
• Fear the Walking Dead, Season 7: What’s the one thing the zombie apocalypse was missing? A nuclear explosion, of course. And a Strand (Colman Domingo) who’s declared war on Morgan’s (Lennie James) leadership. Also stars Rubén Blades and Maggie Grace. Premieres Oct. 17 (AMC)
• Power Book II: Ghost sees Tariq (Michael Rainey Jr.) getting deeper and deeper into the business with Monet (Mary J. Blige), while the bench of talent in the cast gets deeper with the addition of Daniel Sunjata and Redman. Premieres Nov. 21 (Starz)
• Narcos: Mexico will end with this third and final season of the drug cartel drama, so savor all 10 episodes, which revolve around DEA agent Walt Breslin (Scott McNairy) in the aftermath of Felix Gallardo’s (Diego Luna) departure. Premieres Nov. 5 (Netflix)
• Colin in Black & White is the six-episode drama about the teenage years of future NFL star and activist Colin Kaepernick, with Kaepernick himself narrating, Jaden Michael portraying young Colin, and Mary-Louise Parker and Nick Offerman playing Colin’s adoptive parents. Premieres Oct. 29 (Netflix)
• Bright: Samurai Soul is based in the same world as the live-action Bright, with the animated spin-off set in Japan during the end of the Shogunate and the beginning of the Meiji period, and exploring a new setting, era, and characters. Kim’s Convenience and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star Simu Liu voices Izou, a one-eyed wandering samurai and the protagonist of the movie. Premieres Oct. 12 (Netflix)
• TUDUM: A Netflix Global Fan Event is the streaming service’s virtual all-star showcase, with 145 of its biggest stars and creators from around the world — representing over 70 series, films and specials. Premieres Sept. 25 (Netflix)
• Locke & Key, Season 2, may veer heavily from the Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s source material, but in the hands of showrunners Carlton Cuse and Meredith Averill, the fantasy horror series promises a thrilling sophomore run. Premieres Oct. 22 (Netflix)

For all the latest TV and streaming trailers subscribe to the Rotten Tomatoes TV YouTube channel.

CASTING: Oscar Winners Hilary Swank and Tom McCarthy Team Up for Newspaper Drama for ABC

Hilary Swank

(Photo by © Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection)

Oscar winner Hilary Swank will play a journalist who moves to Alaska to redeem her career while working at a daily newspaper in an ABC drama pilot from Oscar-winning Spotlight writer Tom McCarthy.

Mandy Patinkin will star in the Hulu drama pilot Career Opportunities in Murder and Mayhem, in which he’ll play Rufus Cotesworth, the World’s Once Greatest Detective, who’s trying to solve what may be a murder among the wealthy, powerful people on a luxury liner sailing the Mediterranean Sea. (THR)

Anthony Mackie will star in and executive produce Twisted Metal, a live-action adaptation of the PlayStation game of the same name. Mackie will play John Doe, a milkman with no memory of his past, and an opportunity to create a community for himself, if he can survive “an onslaught of savage vehicular combat,” Deadline reports. The series is being shopped to networks and streaming services.

And in other video game adaptation casting: Hayley Atwell will voice Lara Croft in Netflix’s Tomb Raider anime series.

Married couple David and Georgia Tennant, who met when she guest-starred on Doctor Who, are developing the Peacock series Hide, a Jekyll and Hyde-ish conspiracy thriller in which he plays a journalist trying to revamp his career, who also becomes the target of some very bad people when he sees something he wasn’t supposed to see. (Deadline)

Matt Bomer will lead Showtime’s upcoming political drama/love story Fellow Travelers, an adaptation of Thomas Mallon’s 2007 novel of the same name. The series, from Oscar-nominated Philadelphia writer Ron Nyswaner (who was also a producer on Homeland and Ray Donovan on Showtime), revolves around the “volatile romance of two very different men, Hawkins ‘Hawk’ Fuller (Bomer) and Tim Kovacs, through purges, wars, protests, and plagues, overcoming obstacles in the world and in themselves,” Variety reports.

Abigail Spencer will reprise her role as Dr. Megan Hunt in the 18th season of Grey’s Anatomy, beginning with the season premiere on Sept. 30.

Shameless alum Steve Howey will play the Arnold Schwarzenegger role in CBS’s series adaptation pilot of James Cameron’s True Lies. His wife, the role played by Jamie Lee Curtis in the film, hasn’t been cast yet. (Variety)

Cynthia Erivo

(Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Idris Elba will be joined by Cynthia Erivo and Andy Serkis in the cast of the Luther movie at Netflix. Series creator Neil Cross is writing the script for the movie. THR reports Erivo will play a detective who is Luther’s foil, while Serkis will play the movie’s big baddie.

Ethan Hawke will voice Batman and Cobra Kai star Jacob Bertrand will voice Bam the Batmobile in Batwheels, the Cartoonito/HBO Max cartoon that will be the first DC Comics animated preschool series from Warner Bros. Animation.

Malachi Kirby (Small Axe, Black Mirror) has been cast as brothers Charles Nancy and Spider in Amazon’s adaptation of the Neil Gaiman bestseller Anansi Boys.

Game of Thrones alum Gwendoline Christie has joined the cast of Netflix’s Wednesday, where she’ll play Morticia Addams’ rival, Larissa Weems.

Billy Bob Thornton will guest star on the upcoming Paramount+  Yellowstone prequel spin-off 1883, where he’ll play a marshal, Jim Courtright, opposite stars Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill.

Showtime’s anthology series Super Pumped, about the rise of Uber, has added cast members, including Elisabeth Shue as Bonnie Kalanick, the mother of Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Variety reports several guest roles also, including Richard Schiff as Randall Pearson, a San Francisco MTA power-broker who tussles with Kalanick; Jessica Hecht will play the wife of Kalanick’s former adviser Bill Gurley; and John Michael Higgins will play Hollywood super-agent Mike Ovitz.

Breaking Bad and Jessica Jones alum Krysten Ritter has joined the cast of David E. Kelley’s HBO Max limited series Love and Death, about Candy Montgomery, the Texas housewife who killed her romantic rival with an axe. Ritter plays the best friend of Montgomery, who’s played by Elizabeth Olsen. (TVLine)

PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT: Helen Mirren Joins the Harry Potter Universe as Host of Hogwarts Tournament of Houses Reality Series

Helen Mirren

(Photo by Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection)

Helen Mirren will host Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses, the four-part event that will unveil Wizarding World fans willing to put their Harry Potter knowledge to the test for the ultimate honor of being named House Cup champion. The show, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, will air later this year on Cartoon Network’s ACME Night and TBS, followed by its premiere on HBO Max.

Netflix has announced a new crime series, Jigsaw, a thrilling, action-packed heist drama that takes an innovative nonlinear approach to storytelling in a way where viewers are in control. Spanning 24 years, the show revolves around the largest heist ever attempted, and the vengeance, scheming, loyalties, and betrayals that surround it. It’s inspired by the real-life story of the case in which $70 billion in bonds went missing in downtown Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy. The stellar cast is led by Giancarlo Esposito, Rufus Sewell, Paz Vega, Tati Gabrielle, Peter Mark Kendall, Rosaline Elbay, Jai Courtney, and Niousha Noor. 

Schitt’s Creek co-creator and star Dan Levy has signed an eight-figure deal to produce TV series and movies for Netflix. His first project will be a romantic- comedy movie, which he’ll write, direct, produce, and star in.

Saturday Night Live will premiere its 47th season on Oct. 2. No details yet on the host and musical guest.

Pedro Pascal and Grogu in THE MANDALORIAN, season 2, Chapter 14

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

Flying high as a balloon in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: The Mandalorian’s Grogu, a.k.a. Baby Yoda.

David Oyelowo and his wife Jessica Oyelowo have signed an exclusive overall deal with ViacomCBS, and their first project will be a drama with David starring as Bass Reeves, a frontier hero who was the inspiration for The Lone Ranger. Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan will be an executive producer on the project. (THR)

The CW has acquired the international series Professionals, starring Brendan Fraser, Tom Welling, and Elena Anaya. Welling plays security op Vincent Corbo, who must protect his clients by any – legal or otherwise – means necessary. When a medical satellite explodes on launch, Corbo is hired to protect the rocket’s designer, billionaire Peter Swann (Fraser), who suspects sabotage, but Corbo faces complications when he learns his ex is now Swann’s fiancée, Dr. Grace Davila (Anaya).

Amazon in early in the development process on the first live-action She-Ra series. DreamWorks Animation would produce the program. (Variety)

The latest must-have Lego TV set: Queer Eye.

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett are teaming again, this time for three TV specials: MTV’s MTV Unplugged: Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga; The Lady and the Legend, a documentary, for Paramount+; and One Last Time: An Evening With Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, which will air on CBS on Thanksgiving weekend. (Variety)

And if you’re looking for one more moment to remember the late, great Norm McDonald, who died this week after a nearly decade-long battle with cancer, could we suggest this, his classic, and told as only he could, joke about a moth.

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Thumbnail image: © Warner Bros., Karwai Tang/WireImage