Can Better Call Saul’s Monday series finale live up to fan expectations? The cast and creators are not so sure (but they really hope you like it). More news pours out of the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, including tidbits on Anne Rice fantasy-horror novel adaptations Interview with the Vampire and Mayfair Witches; Starz historical dramas The Serpent Queen starring Samantha Morton, and Dangerous Liaisons, which portrays the love affair between young Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont; TCA Award winners, and much more. Plus, three early Emmys for Netflix animated video-game adaptation Arcane, new trailers, and more of the week’s top TV and streaming news.
(Photo by Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)
Better Call Saul fans are all aware that Monday’s episode of the series on AMC is the end of the road for Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman/Gene Takovic — whichever version of Bob Odenkirk’s iconic character sticks in your mind as the real one at this point, they’re all bidding adieu to the Breaking Bad spin-off, which itself bids adieu to AMC and the Heisenberg storyline universe. After six seasons, Saul will be gone with a series finale episode called “Saul Gone.”
Stars Rhea Seehorn and Odenkirk, along with the creator of the Heisenberg universe Vince Gilligan and Saul co-creator and showrunner Peter Gould (all pictured above, clockwise from top left, with season 6 guest star Carol Burnett, center), talked at the Television Critics Association virtual summer press tour panel on Wednesday, and shared their hopes for meeting fans’ high expectations for how their beloved series will end.
“If we don’t win the Nobel Prize for this, I’m gonna be very disappointed,” Gilligan joked. “Yeah, no, they’re high, wouldn’t you say, Peter? What do you think?”
“It’s a lot of pressure. It’s very scary,” said Gould, who created the Saul Goodman character when he was a writer on Breaking Bad, and who wrote and directed the series finale. “A lot of sweaty palms, a lot of sleepless nights. And yeah, I mean, I think when you say, who are we gonna please, I think … those of us on the show are very happy with where it ended. I hope everybody else agrees, because I think the thing that I’m most proud of is, I think the show, it’s true to itself. And we’re playing in the same court that we started with, and I think that’s an accomplishment. But whether people find it all their dreams and hopes … all I can do is, all we can do is hope. But (a) Nobel Prize would be great, yeah.”
Odenkirk, who recently received his fifth Lead Actor Emmy nomination for Saul, shared how the chance to play such a beautifully-written character all these years gave him a newfound respect for acting.
“Did I learn anything from playing Jimmy? I learned that acting can be challenging,” said the actor, who started playing Saul Goodman during season 2 of Breaking Bad. “I didn’t used to think that; in fact, I used to pooh-pooh that notion. I’d say, ‘You’re an idiot.’ But now, I think that’s not true. Acting can be hard. And just an addition to that lesson is acting is rewarding when it’s hard. And that those days that were the most difficult, where I had to really lose myself or connect with something inside myself kinda deeply felt, those are the days where I came home from work thinking that was really cool what I got to do today. So I learned a lot about the job of doing this, which is not something I thought about before I had the opportunity.”
All four shared that though there are currently no plans to continue the Albuquerque- (and Omaha-) set storylines in further spin-offs, they certainly do hope to work with each other again in the future, perhaps playing different characters and genres. Odenkirk might want his co-star to be a bit less the fan favorite next time, too.
“Can I say America’s Sweetheart in the last episode lied to a widow who she was trying to tell the truth to?” he teased Seehorn about Kim’s confession to Howard Hamlin’s widow, Cheryl.
“Bob is so jealous of how people side with Kim no matter what,” Seehorn said.
Meanwhile, with Saul ending and both Odenkirk and Seehorn continuing to work on AMC – Odenkirk on the upcoming dramedy Straight Man and Seehorn on season 2 of the AMC.com comedy Cooper’s Bar – Gilligan reportedly has a new project in the works, and Deadline reports the series is about to set off a bidding war.
At least eight or nine networks and streaming platforms reportedly are planning to hear Gilligan’s next pitch for a series in the next couple of weeks. As for what that series will revolve around, no specifics are available, but the Sony Pictures Television drama will, according to Deadline, “harken back to Gilligan’s tenure on The X-Files … Gilligan was known for focusing more on the human condition in his episodes, which is something he is said to also be doing in his new series,” though not with an X-Files-ish sci-fi or supernatural element for the “blended, grounded genre drama” that is expected to carry “the signature Gilligan tone that infuses drama with humor.”
Other highlights from AMC’s TCA press tour presentations:
• Sam Reid, who stars as vampire Lestat in AMC’s upcoming Interview with the Vampire series, said he doesn’t feel like the series is competing with the 1994 Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt movie adaptation of Anne Rice’s book, because the series cast has an advantage the movie didn’t. “I love that movie, and I’ve always loved the work of Anne Rice, so I was very excited to be a part of reigniting it,” said Reid, who plays the role Cruise played in the movie. “Just even as a fan of the books, I was excited about the fact that it was going to be made at all. But what we do in this adaptation, in this version … is look at an entire series of books. Because when that film came out, she was still writing them, so they didn’t have a perspective of the entire work, and now we do have that perspective. And so when we’re looking at character arcs, we’re looking at a much broader scale … it is a different feeling than that 1994 film.”
• Speaking of Rice, the network offered in introduction to the cast and creators of Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches, which stars Alexandra Daddario as neurosurgeon Rowan Fielding, who discovers she’s heir to a witch dynasty, and Jack Huston as Lasher. “The series was deeply, deeply inspired by the first book, The Witching Hour — the first season — and it starts where the book starts in that mood of New Orleans and the sort of ghost story of this house,” showrunner and executive producer Esta Spalding said during the show’s panel. “The book is kind of an embarrassment of riches. It’s very, very long and full of lots of amazing stuff. The middle section is about 300 or 400 pages of 13 generations of witches going all the way back to Scotland. So we used a piece of that, and then we feel like we’re gonna save some of that great story and saga of all the different generations for later seasons — should we be so lucky. We just took everything that we could and sort of hoarded it and used it as best we could, because it’s full of such delicious, delicious ghostly and just exciting witch stuff.”
• AMC Networks also announced that Tatiana Maslany (of upcoming Marvel series She-Hulk) has been cast in Invitation to a Bonfire, in which she will play a character inspired by Vladimir Nabokov’s wife, Vera; AcornTV’s Harry Wild has been renewed; John Wirth has been named showrunner of Dark Winds season 2; Sundance Now has commissioned new series including dark comedy Totally Completely Fine, starring Thomasin McKenzie, and fantasy mystery series Sanctuary, based on the novel by V.V. James; the guest star line up for the new season of IFC’s Sherman’s Showcase (premiering Oct. 26) includes Issa Rae, Chance The Rapper, Jay Pharoah, Amanda Seales, Chris Hardwick, Porsha Williams; short-form comedy Cooper’s Bar, starring Better Call Saul’s Rhea Seehorn, has been renewed; and fall premiere dates, including a November release for Gangs of London season 2 on AMC/AMC+ (see the full list at amcnetworks.com).
More from TCA Summer Press Tour:
• In its Thursday panels, Starz announced the Nov. 6 premiere date of Dangerous Liaisons, a prelude of Laclos’ classic 18th century novel focusing on the origin story of how his iconic characters, the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont, met as passionate young lovers in Paris on the eve of the revolution. The network also announced a season 3 renewal for Raising Kanan and that docuseries The BMF Documentary: Blowing Money Fast will premiere Sunday, October 23.
• Samantha Morton described her role as Catherine de Medici in upcoming Starz series The Serpent Queen as “almost like a don like in The Godfather.” Based on the book Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France by Leonie Frieda, the series was written and executive produced by Justin Haythe, who insisted during the show’s panel that Catherine was more complex than simply “evil.” “[I] really wonder if this is an evil person with shards of good or it’s a good person who’s capable of evil to survive,” Haythe said. “That’s my interpretation of Catherine because she outlived all these kings and she was supposed to be just a kind of mail-order bride. She ended up ruling over everybody.”
In Rick and Morty season 6, chaos, as per usual, is afoot, with a laser gun fight, flying robots, Black Sabbath, and a big ol’ alien invasion. Stars Justin Roiland, Chris Parnell, Spencer Grammer, Sarah Chalke, Maurice LaMarche, and Kari Wahlgren. Premieres Sept. 4. (Adult Swim)
More trailers and teasers released this week:
• Untold: Operation Flagrant Foul is a docuseries about Tim Donaghy, an NBA referee who was investigated for gambling on his own games. The doc includes interviews with all the players – FBI, lawyers, and Donaghy and his cohorts included – who have some differing versions of events in the shocking 2007 sports and crime scandal. Premieres Aug. 30. (Netflix)
• Mo stars comedian Mo Amer as Mo Najjar, who straddles the line between two cultures, three languages, and a ton of aggravation as a Palestinian refugee constantly living one step away from asylum on the path to U.S. citizenship. His family, including his resilient and spiritual mother, sister and older brother, flee to Houston, laughing the pain away, and learning to adapt to their new world and trying to get ahead through several setbacks. Premieres Aug. 24. (Netflix)
• Do Revenge is a teen movie about Drea (Camila Mendes), who is at the peak of her high school powers as the It Girl on campus when her entire life goes up in flames after her sex tape gets leaked to the whole school, seemingly by her boyfriend and king of the school, Max (Austin Abrams). Eleanor (Maya Hawke) is an awkward new transfer student who is angered to find out that she now has to go to school with her old bully, Carissa (Ava Capri), who started a nasty rumor about her in summer camp when they were 13. After meeting at tennis camp, Drea and Eleanor form an unlikely and secret friendship to get revenge on each other’s tormentors. Premieres Sept. 16. (Netflix)
• House of Hammer is a docuseries in which a member of the Hammer family and several women who were allegedly victims of disgraced actor Armie Hammer, who’s been accused of rape and other violent crimes, detail five generations of disturbing behaviors by the Hammer men. Premieres Sept. 2. (Discovery+)
• Pennyworth season 3, now known as Pennyworth: The Origin of Batman’s Butler, begins after a five-year time jump: the civil war is over, and a cultural revolution has changed the world for better or worse, ushering in a new age of superheroes and supervillains. Stars Jack Bannon, Ben Aldridge, and Emma Paetz. Premieres in October. (HBO Max)
• The Wedding Season is a genre-busting series tells the story of Katie and Stefan who fall for each other at a wedding and begin an affair, despite Katie already having a fiancé. Two months later at Katie’s wedding, her new husband and his entire family are murdered. The police think Stefan did it. Stefan thinks Katie did it. And no one knows for sure what the truth is. Stars Rosa Salazar and Gavin Drea. Premieres Sept. 8. (Hulu)
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(Photo by Cheryl Mann/Apple TV+)
Jon Hamm is having the busiest period of his career. As if co-starring in this summer’s mega blockbuster with Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick, and being all over your TV already in those Progressive insurance commercials wasn’t enough, the Mad Men Emmy winner will star in the upcoming fifth season of FX’s Fargo and was just announced as the new cast member of the third season of Apple TV+’s The Morning Show, playing a corporate exec named Paul Marks.
Speaking of Hamm and Fargo, Joe Keery, Lamorne Morris and Richa Moorjani have also been added to the season 5 cast, joining Hamm, Juno Temple, and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Brian Tyree Henry will lead the cast of Apple TV+’s drama Sinking Spring, an eight-episode series based on author Dennis Tafoya’s drug ring book Dope Thief that is being adapted by Top Gun: Maverick writer Peter Craig and will be directed and executive produced by Ridley Scott. (THR)
Lauren Ambrose has joined the sophomore season of Yellowjackets, playing the adult version of Van. Liv Hewson, who plays the teen version of Van will become a series regular for Season 2.
Another super busy TV star: Kaley Cuoco, already an Emmy nominee as the star and producer of The Flight Attendant and the star of HBO Max’s fantastic Harley Quinn animated series, has just signed on to star in Peacock’s dark comedy thriller Based on a True Story, about “a realtor, a plumber, and a former tennis star whose lives unexpectedly collide, exposing America’s obsession with true crime, murder, and the slow-close toilet seat.” Further details are being kept under wraps, but Cuoco will play a married woman named Ava Bartlett. Craig Rosenberg (The Boys) will serve as showrunner, writer, and executive producer
(Photo by NBC/Mary Ellen Matthews)
NBC and the Television Academy have finally named a host for the Sept. 12 Emmy telecast: Saturday Night Live’s longest-running cast member, and an Emmy winner himself, Kenan Thompson. The actor and comedian will begin his 20th season on SNL this fall.
The next season of FX’s American Horror Story will include AHS alums Patti LuPone, Zachary Quinto, Billie Lourd, and Isaac Powell. Season 11 will also include AHS newbies Sandra Bernhard, Joe Mantello, and Charlie Carver. The anthology series is scheduled to premiere the new season this fall. (Deadline)
Margaret Cho, Joey Lauren Adams, Joanna Cassidy, and Kehlani will guest star in The L Word: Generation Q for Season 3, while Jamie Clayton has been promoted to series regular for the new season, which premieres on Nov. 18 on Showtime.
Paramount+ has announced the casting for its upcoming drama series Sexy Beast: James McArdle leading the way as Gal Dove and Emun Elliott as Don Logan, best friends and small-town thieves, living the good life in ’90s East London; Sarah Greene as Deedee, a captivating adult film star, who has the potential to turn Gal’s whole life upside down; Stephen Moyer as Teddy Bass, a rising name in the gangster world, who Gal and Don are offered the chance to work with on a high-profile heist; and Tamsin Greig as Don’s stern and formidable older sister Cecilia. The prequel series will explore Gal and Don’s complicated relationship as Gal finds himself descending into the seductive madness of the London criminal world during the vibrant and volatile 1990s, while falling in love with DeeDee. The series is now in production for a planned 2023 premiere.
Jason Isaacs will star in a BritBox International and ITV four-part series called Archie, about the life of Oscar-nominated Hollywood legend Cary Grant (real name: Archibald Alexander Leach). (Deadline)
Emmy winner Jaime Pressly has joined the season 2 cast of Fox’s comedy Welcome to Flatch. She’ll play Barb Flatch, a real estate agent who returns to her hometown following her painful divorce.
Canceled reality tattoo competition series Ink Master is being revived on Paramount+ on Sept. 7, with new host, Good Charlotte musician Joel Madden.
Rosanna Arquette has joined the season 3 cast of ABC’s drama Big Sky, which has bee retitled Big Sky: Deadly Trails. The David E. Kelley–produced series, which moves from Thursday to Wednesday nights this season, will play Gigi, a scam artist and the mother of Katheryn Winnick’s Jenny. The season, which premieres on Sept. 21, will also star news cast members Jensen Ackles and Reba McEntire.
Alexander Skarsgård and Nicholas Braun have joined the cast of IFC’s documentary-spoof/homage comedy series Documentary Now!, created by Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, Seth Meyers, and Rhys Thomas.
Yvonne Orji will star in Stronger, a female bodybuilder drama in development at Netflix. Up in the Air writer Sheldon Turner created and is writing the project. (Deadline)
Sean Kanan, currently starring on the CBS daytime soap The Bold and the Beautiful, will reprise his role as Mike Barnes from the Karate Kid III movie in the upcoming fifth season of Cobra Kai on Netflix. Barnes was Daniel LaRusso’s villainous foe in the movie, but no word on whether or not he’ll be a thorn in the hero’s side this time around.
Eva Longoria will star in the Apple TV+ dramedy Land of Women, along with Carmen Maura. The six-episode series, based on the novel of the same name by Sandra Barneda, revolves around Longoria’s Gala, a New York woman who takes her mom (Maura) and her teenage daughter and flees to Spain to hide out when she finds out her husband owes a lot of cash to some dangerous people. (THR)
Max Martini joins the second season of Bosch spin-off Bosch: Legacy on Freevee. He will recur as LAPD Detective Don Ellis, described as a “hardened vice cop … intelligent and fierce and not above getting down and dirty with the criminals he polices.” (Deadline)
(Photo by Momodu Mansaray/WireImage)
Warner Bros. Television Group has signed an overall deal with Emmy-nominated Abbott Elementary creator Quinta Brunson. The exclusive, multi-year agreement means Brunson, nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series, Lead Actress, and Writing Emmys this year, will create new programming for the studio.
Ryan Reynolds’ production company Maximum Effort has signed a multi-year, first-look deal with FuboTV to create unscripted content and launch Maximum Effort Network, a channel on the live-streaming sports platform.
Actor Andy Serkis is taking on a different role for his next project: showrunner and director of Madame!, an epic “hilariously crazy, no holds barred, anarchic, punk caper” series that will tell the story of Marie Tussaud, the French artist known for her wax sculptures and the famous Madame Tussauds museums. (Variety)
Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm saga on HBO has been consistently hilarious and unpredictable, even more than viewers previously knew. Curb showrunner Jeff Schaffer told THR that David was so sure last season, season 11, would be the series’ last season, that he actually filmed a death scene for his on-screen Larry. Thankfully, he then decided to do another season. (THR)
Peacock has given a series order to Hysteria!, an ’80s-set thriller about a high school heavy metal band whose interest in the occult leads their small town to put a target on them when a series of murders, kidnappings, and supernatural events shakes up the community. Game Night directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein will direct the project. (THR)
Sam Mendes (Penny Dreadful) and Veep creator Armando Iannucci have teamed up to get an HBO order for comedy that will spoof the rife topic of the making of superhero movies. The Franchise was conceived by Mendes as a half-hour comedy, about the process of franchise superhero stories, and the question of, even when they’re completed, was the journey more akin to a ”dream factory or a chemical plant”? ( Variety)
Nicki Minaj will perform and receive the Video Vanguard Award at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards, which will be held Aug. 28 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
NBC plans to bring back the Golden Globe Awards to the network in January 2023. The awards were canceled after the 2021 ceremony and a series of articles in the Los Angeles Times detailing a lack of diversity in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s membership, unethical conduct, and troubling financial practices. But HFPA has a new CEO and owner, and after a series of reforms intended to change the organization’s practices and image within the industry, NBC will reportedly bring the Hollywood awards show back to television, with Tuesday, Jan. 10 as the possible date for the telecast. (THR)
Apple TV+ has announced a two-part documentary about Only Murders in the Building legend Steve Martin, directed and produced by Oscar winner Morgan Neville (Won’t You Be My Neighbor?). Martin will participate in the doc, as he explores his life and iconic career.
Disney has announced an upcoming price increase for Disney+. Beginning in December, the ad-free version of the streaming service will increase from $7.99 to $10.00 per month, while a new ad-supported option will cost $7.99 per month.
(Photo by Netflix)
The Television Academy announced the winners of the 74th Emmy Awards in juried categories from Animation, Costume, Hairstyling, Makeup, and Motion Design. The juried awards will be presented at the 2022 Creative Arts Emmy Awards on both Saturday, September 3 and Sunday, September 4 at 5 p.m. at the Microsoft Theater. An edited presentation will be broadcast on Saturday, September 10, (8 p.m. ET/PT) on FXX.
Juried category entrants are screened by a panel of professionals in the appropriate peer groups (Animation, Costume Design, Hairstyling, Makeup and Motion Design) with the possibility of one, more than one or no entry awarded an Emmy. As a result, there are no nominees but instead, a one-step evaluation and voting procedure. Deliberations include open discussions of each entrant’s work with a thorough review of the merits of awarding the Emmy.
The following juried awards will be presented during the Creative Arts ceremonies on Saturday, Sept. 3:
Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation
Arcane • “The Boy Savior” • Netflix • A Riot Games and Fortiche Production for Netflix
Anne-Laure To, Color Script Artist
Arcane • “Happy Progress Day!” • Netflix • A Riot Games and Fortiche Production for Netflix
Julien Georgel, Art Direction
Arcane • “When These Walls Come Tumbling Down” • Netflix • A Riot Games and Fortiche Production for Netflix
Bruno Couchinho, Background Designer
The Boys Presents: Diabolical • “Boyd In 3D” • Prime Video • Amazon Studios, Sony Pictures Television Studios, Titmouse, Kripke Enterprises, Original Film, and Point Grey Pictures
Lexy Naut, Storyboard Artist
The House • Netflix • Nexus Studios for Netflix
Kecy Salangad, Animator
Love, Death + Robots • “Jibaro” • Netflix • Blur Studio for Netflix
Alberto Mielgo, Character Designer
Outstanding Costumes for Variety, Nonfiction or Reality Programming
We’re Here • “Evansville, Indiana” • HBO/HBO Max • HBO in association with House of Opus 20 and IPC
Casey Caldwell, Costume Designer
Diego Montoya, Costume Designer
Joshua “Domino” Schwartz, Costume Designer
Marco Marco, Costume Designer
Patryq Howell, Costume Designer
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Variety, Nonfiction or Reality Program
Annie Live! • NBC • Chloe Productions, The Green Room, Zadan/Meron Productions, Sony Pictures Television
Mia Neal, Department Head Hairstylist
Leah Loukas, Assistant Department Head Hairstylist
Outstanding Makeup for a Variety, Nonfiction or Reality Program
Legendary • “Whorror House” • HBO/HBO Max • HBO Max in association with Scout Productions
Tonia Green, Department Head Makeup Artist
Tyson Fountaine, Key Makeup Artist
Sean Conklin, Makeup Artist
Marcel Banks, Makeup Artist
Jennifer Fregozo, Makeup Artist
Silvia Leczel, Makeup Artist
Glen Alen, Makeup Artist
We’re Here • “Kona, Hawaii” • HBO/HBO Max • HBO in association with House of Opus 20 and IPC
Jeremy Damion Austin, Makeup Artist
Martin De Luna Jr., Makeup Artist
Tyler Devlin, Makeup Artist
To be presented during the Creative Arts ceremonies on Sunday, Sept. 4:
Outstanding Motion Design
Home Before Dark • Apple TV+ • Paramount Television Studios in association with Apple
Jon Berkowitz, Creative Director
Brad Colwell, Creative Director
Kimberly Tang, Associate Creative Director
Nolan Borkenhagen, Art Director
(Photo by ABC)
Yet again, COVID concerns forced the Television Critics Association to honor its annual TCA Awards winner virtually, with ABC freshman comedy Abbott Elementary leading the honorees with four awards: Individual Achievement In Comedy for series creator, producer, writer, and star, Quinta Brunson, as well as Outstanding Achievement in Comedy, Outstanding New Program, and the prestigious Program of the Year Award.
The complete list of 2022 TCA Award winners:
Individual Achievement in Drama: Mandy Moore (This Is Us, NBC)
Individual Achievement in Comedy: Quinta Brunson (Abbott Elementary, ABC)
Outstanding Achievement in News and Information: The Beatles: Get Back (Disney+)
Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming: TIE: The Amazing Race (CBS), Legendary (HBO Max)
Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming: The Baby-Sitters Club (Netflix)
Outstanding Achievement in Variety, Talk or Sketch: I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson (Netflix)
Outstanding New Program: Abbott Elementary (ABC)
Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries, or Specials: Dopesick (Hulu)
Outstanding Achievement in Drama: Succession (HBO)
Outstanding Achievement in Comedy: Abbott Elementary (ABC)
Program of the Year: Abbott Elementary (ABC)
Career Achievement Honoree:TIE: Ted Danson and Steve Martin
Heritage Award: I Love Lucy (CBS)