TV Talk

Avatar: The Last Airbender Live-Action Series Finds Its Azula and Suki

Plus, Halo series gets an official trailer, a Gotham Knights series is coming to The CW, Jon Hamm returns to Good Omens for season 2, and more top TV and streaming news.

by | December 17, 2021 | Comments

Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series expands its stellar cast and a Gotham Knights series is in development at The CW. Plus, trailers for Halo, The Righteous Gemstones season 2, Welcome to Wrexham, How I Met Your Father, and The Afterparty drop, and in more casting, Jon Hamm will return to Amazon’s Good Omens season 2, Michelle Obama is coming to Black-ish, Sam Waterston is in for NBC’s Law & Order revival, and more of the biggest TV and streaming news from the past week.


TOP STORY

NETFLIX’S LIVE-ACTION AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER ADDS 5 CAST MEMBERS

(Photo by Netflix)

The already stellar cast for Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender series keeps growing. Elizabeth Yu (All My Love) is in as Azula, the fire-bending prodigy daughter of Fire Lord Ozai and sister to Yuko. She’s a relentless perfectionist who will stop at nothing to secure her spot as the heir to the throne. Maria Zhang is Suki, the leader of the Kyoshi Warriors, an elite female fighting force. Yvonne Chapman (Family Law) has been cast as the legendary warrior Avatar Kyoshi, a woman revered for her bravery, fearsome fighting skills, and uncompromising dedication to the cause of justice. Tamlyn Tomita (Cobra Kai) is Suki’s mother Yukari, the fiercely protective mayor of Kyoshi Island. Last but not least, Casey Camp-Horinek (Reservation Dogs) will play Gran Gran, the compassionate matriarch of the Southern Water Tribe, and Katara and Sokka’s grandmother.

The show, which is an adaptation of Nickelodeon’s popular animated series, which ran for three seasons from 2005 to 2008, is set in an Asiatic world made up of four nations, each defined by a single natural element — earth, fire, water, and air. In this realm exist gifted citizens known as “benders” who can manipulate these elements. The Fire Nation, which is ruled by a totalitarian regime that raids and oppresses the other realms, poses a steady threat.

The Avatar, according to the lore of the series, can master all four elements and is the only one able to bring order to the world. Aang, a 12-year-old air-bending monk, is the Avatar in question. He reappears after a century’s long state of hibernation to complete his training to defeat the Fire Nation, and their leader, once and for all.

The recent additions to the series join Gordon Cormier (who plays Aang), Kiawentiio (who plays Katara), Ian Ousley (who plays Sokka, Dallas Liu (who plays Zuko), Daniel Dae Kim (who plays Fire Lord Ozai), Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (who plays Uncle Iroh, Ken Leung (who plays Commander Zhao, and Lim Kay Siu (who plays monk Gyatso).


NEW TRAILERS: HALO LIVE-ACTION SERIES TRAILER GIVES A FIRST OFFICIAL LOOK AT PARAMOUNT+’S HIGHLY ANTICIPATED VIDEO GAME ADAPTATION

The Halo live-action series is on its way. And after a lengthy wait for fans of the popular video game franchise, Paramount+ has finally released the show’s first official trailer.

New visuals of the futuristic world in which the Spartans, and Master Chief, battle helps to expand on the story universe first established in the game series. We see their Pelican dropships, the iconic Mjolnir armor, and through it all is the narration of Dr. Catherine Halsey who, it seems, is speaking directly to John-117.

“You’re special,” she tells him. “In fact, I’m counting on it.”

Pablo Schreiber (American Gods, Orange Is the New Black) stars as Master Chief. He’s joined by Natascha McElhone (Californication, Designated Survivor) who plays Dr. Halsey. Original voice actress Jen Taylor returns to her video game role of Cortana. Bokeem Woodbine (Fargo, Wu-Tang: An American Saga), Yerin Ha, Shabana Azmi (24: India, Next of Kin), Charlie Murphy (Peaky Blinders, Happy Valley), Kat Kennedy (Assassin’s Creed Valhalla), Bentley Kalu (Team Jay, Star Wars Battlefront II), Olive Gray (Save Me), Danny Sapani (Killing Eve, Harlots), and Karl Johnson (Lark Rise to Candleford, Too Close) also star.

An official premiere date has yet to be announced, but expect the Halo live-action series to drop in 2022 to Paramount+.

More trailers and teasers released this week:

  • The Righteous Gemstones season 2 continues the ridiculous exploits of the Gemstone family. While we’re sure to get more evangelical-style comedy in the series, things are looking rather complicated for the clan as they’re not only faced with a potential new partner and business venture, a pesky reporter is digging into their personal lives. Who knows what he’ll find? Nothing good, we’re sure. Premieres Jan 9. (HBO Max)
  • Welcome to Wrexham ​​Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds have not only partnered on purchasing Wrexham AFC, a British soccer team (err, football), but they created a docuseries exploring this business venture. Let the Ted Lasso comparisons begin. Premieres 2022. (FX)
  • How I Met Your Father takes place in the near future, and follows Sophie (Hillary Duff) as she tells her son the story of how she met his father. The retelling takes viewers back to the year 2022, where Sophie and her friends Jesse (Chris Lowell), Valentina (Francia Raisa), Charlie (Tom Ainsley), Ellen (Tien Tran) and Sid (Suraj Sharma) are in the midst of figuring out who they are, what they want out of life, and how to fall in love in the age of dating apps and limitless options. Daniel Augustin (David Makes Man), Josh Peck (Drake & Josh) and Ashley Reyes (American Gods) will recur. Premieres Jan 18. (Hulu)
  • Servant season 3 continues the tale of Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) and Sean Turner (Toby Kebbell) whose lives get upended by their son’s nanny Leanne (Nell Tiger Free) who ends up possessing secret occult powers. Needless to say, things aren’t going to be sunshine and roses when the M. Night Shyamalan–created series returns. Rupert Grint and Sunita Mani also star. Premieres Jan. 22. (Apple TV+)
  • The Afterparty is a murder-mystery comedy from Phil Lord and Chris Miller that takes place in the aftermath of a high school reunion, when one of the attendees is found dead. An investigation begins, with each episode changing perspectives, and cinematic styles, to piece together the night’s events from each person who was there. Sam Richardson, Ben Schwartz, Ilana Glazer, Dave Franco, and Tiffany Haddish star.  Premieres Jan. 28. (Apple TV+)
  • The Silent Sea is shaping up to be Netflix’s next big South Korean sensation. Squid Game‘s Gong Yoo and Heo Sung-tae (who played the Salesman and Player 101, respectively) appear in the show, which takes place in a near future Earth where resources are dwindling. A scientific trip to the moon uncovers a deep conspiracy and a deadly threat. Premieres Dec. 24. (Netflix)
  • Pivoting is a comedy that follows three women (Eliza Coupe, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Maggie Q) who, after the death of their childhood best friend, make a series of impulsive, ill-advised and self-indulgent decisions all with the goal of finding happiness, proving it’s never too late to screw up your life. Premieres Jan. 9. (FOX)
  • Dragons: The Nine Realms returns audiences to the world of How to Train Your Dragon; however, this time it’s 1,300 years later. The sequel series takes place in the modern age where a group of teenagers accidentally discover that dragons really do exist and have been living beneath the Earth’s surface. Premieres Dec. 23. (Peacock and Hulu)
  • Good Sam centers on Sam (Sophia Bush), a talented heart surgeon who embraces her leadership role after her renowned and pompous boss Dr. Rob “Griff” Griffith (Jason Isaacs) falls into a coma. When he awakens and resumes work, however, it falls to her to supervise this overbearing man who never acknowledged her talents. Oh, and he also happens to be her father. Premieres Jan. 5 (CBS)

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CASTING: SAM WATERSTON RETURNS TO NBC’S LAW & ORDER REVIVAL AS DISTRICT ATTORNEY JACK MCCOY

Sam Waterston in Law & Order

(Photo by AP Photo/NBC Universal, Virginia Sherwood)

Sam Waterston is coming back to Law & Order. The series veteran will reprise his role as District Attorney Jack McCoy in season 21 of the program, which was originally canceled by NBC in 2020. Waterston will join Anthony Anderson, another series alum, who is set to return as Detective Kevin Bernard. “Very few casting announcements have ever given me this much pleasure,” executive producer Dick Wolf said in a statement via Variety. “Since day one, Sam has had perfect pitch when it comes to Jack McCoy as a character who both reflects and expands our ability to understand the law. He is the ultimate conscience of the show and I look forward to him emulating the career of New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who served until he was 90. With both Sam and Anthony (Anderson) returning, it shows that the 21st season is merely a continuation of where we left off.” Law & Order will operate the way it always has through a bifurcated narrative format that will, as the opening credits sequence states, follow “the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.” Waterston, whose return will mark his 17th season with the show, will lead the series opposite Anderson and join newcomers Jeffrey Donovan, Hugh Dancy, Camryn Manheim, and Odelya Halevi.

Jon Hamm will return as Archangel Gabriel in season 2 of Good Omens. The second season of Amazon’s adaptation of the book by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman will find the Mad Men alum aided and abetted by the angels Michael (Doon Mackichan) and Uriel (Gloria Obianyo).

Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys has added Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn (Small Axe) and Grace Saif (13 Reasons Why) as the two female leads in the six-episode adaptation of the author’s hit fantasy novel. St. Aubyn will play Rosie Noah, a cheerful, wise, good-humored, and kind teacher. Saif will play Detective Constable Daisy Day, who gets involved with multiple intersecting police cases, including a murder. She’s described as smart, efficient, determined and very funny. (Hollywood Reporter)

Michelle Obama is coming to Black-ish. The former First Lady will join the Johnsons for dinner in the season 8 premiere, which is also the show’s final season. The episode, titled, “That’s What Friends Are For,” which will air on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022, follows Bow as she convinces Dre to attend a fundraising event for We All Vote. In an effort to make new friends, as well as increase voter participation in each and every election, Dre ends up connecting with none other than Mrs. Obama.

Michael Ealy (Stumptown), Thadeus J. Mixson (Safety), and newcomer Aderinsola Olabode will star as series regulars in Reasonable Doubt. The Hulu series will also feature Pauletta Washington (Genius: Aretha) and Sean Patrick Thomas (The Tragedy Of Macbeth) in key recurring roles opposite Emayatzy Corinealdi. The legal drama follows lawyer Jax Stewart (Corinealdi) who has a reputation for exercising questionable ethics and wild interpretations of the law. But once you’re the one in trouble, you’ll see her for what she is: the most brilliant and fearless defense attorney in Los Angeles who bucks the justice system at every chance she gets. (Deadline)

Three Women has added Dear White People‘s John Patrick Amedori to its cast. He will appear opposite Shailene Woodley, Betty Gilpin, DeWanda Wise, and Gabrielle Creevy in Showtime’s hour-long drama series based on Lisa Taddeo’s bestselling novel about a group of women on a crash course to radically overturn their lives. Blair Underwood, Jason Ralph, and Blair Redford also star. (Deadline)

Riverdale has added Chris O’Shea in a major recurring role. The actor will play Percival Pickens, Riverdale’s newest resident. Although he presents as charming (and is), Percival’s also manipulative, powerful and increasingly dangerous as he comes into conflict with our characters, most especially Archie (KJ Apa). A descendent of one of Riverdale’s founding fathers, General Pickens, Percival wants to turn Riverdale into a “utopia,” a dark agenda he pursues quietly but ruthlessly. (Deadline)

Fox’s The Cleaning Lady has added Lou Diamond Phillips and his daughter, Gracie Phillips, as guest stars in the upcoming series. This will be the first time the father/daughter duo has acted together on-screen. Elodie Young stars as Thony, a whip-smart doctor who comes to the U.S. for medical treatment to save her son. However, due to a the failings of the medical system, she becomes marginalized and is forced to go underground and becomes a cleaning lady for the mob. (Variety)

Meaghan Rath (Hawaii Five-0) and Jack Cutmore-Scott (Deception) will star in and executive produce Wouldn’t It Be Nice, a single-camera comedy series in development at CBS. The romantic workplace comedy takes place as Walnut Hill on the Water — a small family-run wedding venue in Black Mountain, North Carolina. The series will center on Georgina (Rath) and Nick) Cutmore-Scott), who co-manages the business while yearning for full control of the operation. Together with their dedicated but dysfunctional staff, they work each week to set aside their differences to celebrate couples in love. The program is inspired by Cutmore-Scott’s family wedding business in the UK. (Deadline)


PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT: DC COMICS-INSPIRED GOTHAM KNIGHTS SERIES IN DEVELOPMENT AT THE CW

Writer/producer Greg Berlanti poses with Founders Award during the 46th International Emmy Awards

(Photo by Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

The CW, which kicked off the Arrowverse nine years ago, is developing Gotham Knights, hailing from three Batwoman writers: Natalie Abrams, James Stoteraux, and Chad Fiveash. It’s worth noting that, while the series is based on the characters created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, this is neither a spinoff of the Batwoman TV series nor is it at all connected to the yet-to-be-released Gotham Knights video game. The gist of the show follows Bruce Wayne’s adopted son who, after the murder of his father, begins working with the children of Batman’s enemies, who all end up getting framed for the killing of the Dark Knight. As you’d expect, it’s an uphill battle for this group, Gotham’s most-wanted criminals, to clear their names of the heinous killing. Villains to some, heroes to others — this band of misfits will forge a new path to become the city’s unlikely saviors, better known as “The Gotham Knights.” Gotham Knights is the latest comic book project from producer Greg Berlanti (pictured). Batwoman, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Stargirl, and Superman and Lois make up Berlanti Productions’ current DC slate for the network. (Variety)

Danny Elfman and Tim Burton are at it again. The dynamic duo is teaming up on Wednesday, Burton’s live-action Addams Family-inspired Netflix series. The supernaturally infused mystery explores Wednesday Addams’ (Jenna Ortega) years attending Nevermore Academy. From attempting to master her emerging psychic ability to thwarting a monstrous killing spree that has terrorized the local town, and solving the supernatural mystery that embroiled her parents 25 years ago, she will have a full plate. And let’s not forget all the drama that unfolds at school. Elfman is joining the project to compose the theme music for the program and score individual episodes alongside composer Scott Bacon (Bates Motel).

Amazon is bringing The Atlas Six, a self-published fantasy novel that went viral on TikTok earlier in the year, to life on television. The book by Alexene Farol Follmuth, which is the first in a planned trilogy, follows six uniquely talented magicians who are selected to earn a spot in a powerful secret society known as The Alexandrian Society. The chosen will garner a life of grandiose power and influence. As you may expect, the danger they’ll face is just as epic. (Deadline)

Wilmer Valderrama (The ’70s Show, NCIS) is set to be the next Zorro in a live-action telenovela-style adaptation of the classic Western at Disney Branded TV. Gary Marsh will executive produce along with John Gertz (The Mask of Zorro, The Legend of Zorro) at Zorro Productions, which owns the rights to the masked, sword-wielding character. No network or streamer is yet attached. (Hollywood Reporter)

Calvin Broadus and Curtis Jackson, better known by their rapper names 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg, have partnered up on the next installment of Starz hip hop anthology series A Moment in Time, tentatively titled, Murder was the Case. The program explores true moments in hip hop history, and the second season will take place in 1993 when Snoop was charged with the first-degree murder of rival gang member Philip Woldermariam. (Variety)

Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is working with Starz on Queen Nzinga, a drama series about a 17th-century African warrior queen. The project tells the story of an innocent Angolan princess who transforms into a warrior queen and wages a 40-year guerrilla war against the kingdom’s formidable enemies and the cruel subjugation of her people by Portuguese slavers. Yetide Badaki (Starz’s American Gods) will play Nzinga and executive produce the series alongside Mo Abudu (The Wedding Party), Jackson (Starz’s Power franchise, BMF), and Steven S. DeKnight (Daredevil).

Netflix has acquired the rights to David F. Walker’s post-Civil War action comic “The Hated.” The female-driven western follows the exploits of Araminta Free, a bounty hunter tracking down war criminals in a world where the Civil War ended differently — instead of there being a clear winner, a truce is agreed upon, leaving two America being split in two. (Deadline)

The CW is developing Sweet Valley, a TV series adaptation of the bestselling “Sweet Valley High” YA book series by Francine Pascal. The novels were previously adapted to series in 1994, eventually ending up on UPN — one of the network predecessors of the CW. Ashley Wigfield (Gossip Girl) will write and executive produce the project alongside Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, who originally brought Gossip Girl to the CW, before rebooting the series at HBO Max. (Deadline)

NBC is working on This Beautiful Life, a one-hour drama series from Erin Cardillo and Richard Keith — co-creators of the CW series Life Sentence and Significant Mother — and Modern Family director Jason Winer. The series follows a 30-year-old woman enjoying her single life in the city, only to wake up living in an idyllic small town a decade later, married and with a kid, with absolutely no memory of how she got there. Searching for answers, and hoping she hasn’t lost her mind, she discovers there’s a bigger phenomenon at play. (Deadline)

Paramount+’s Big Nate, an animated project based on the children’s books and comic strip from cartoonist Lincoln Peirce, will debut on the streamer early next year. The 26-episode series follows Nate, an 11-year-old boy traversing the complicated landscape of sixth grade, dealing with disasters at home, and surviving detention at school, all while using cartoons and drawing to express himself through it all. The voice cast includes Ben Giroux, Dove Cameron, Rob Delaney, Bryce Charles, Daniel MK Cohen, Arnie Pantoja, Charlie Schlatter, Kevin Michael Richardson, and Carolyn Hennesy.

Cliffhanger, a series adaptation of TJ Middleton’s English novel (and not the 1993 Sylvester Stallone movie of the same name) is in development at Fox. The book is centered on taxi driver Al Greenwood who, one day, decides to kill his wife. The program will do a gender swap and follow rideshare driver Audrey Greenwood who comes out of the pandemic realizing one startling truth: she never wants to see her husband’s face again. So, one fateful night, she attempts to off him in a fit of tequila-fueled rage. But things don’t go as planned and Audrey ends up immersed in a murder mystery that involves her small seaside town. (Deadline)

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