TV Talk

Breaking Bad Star Bryan Cranston Returns to TV for Showtime Legal Thriller and More TV News

Showtime announces limited series Your Honor, revives The L Word. Star Trek honcho discusses Michelle Yeoh's Star Trek: Discovery spin-off and animated series Lower Decks. Plus, Anna Paquin on sassy Flack.

by and | February 1, 2019 | Comments

The latest TV news coming out of the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Los Angeles, where networks present their new shows to reporters, is just one degree away from Kevin Bacon. Read on below.


Star Trek TV Universe Honcho Alex Kurtzman on Picard, Section 31, and Animated Series in Development

Pictured (l-r): Executive Producer, Alex Kurtzman; Executive Producer, Heather Kadin during the STAR TREK: DISCOVERY Winter TCA Panel, held at the The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 30th, 2019. Photo Cr: Francis Specker/CBS © 2019 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.
(Photo by Francis Specker/CBS)

Star Trek TV universe series in development — including Patrick Stewart‘s Jean-Luc Picard series, the Michelle Yeoh–starring Section 31 series, and animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks — will be connected (sort of), executive producer Alex Kurtzman (pictured, above left) told reporters after his TCA appearance in a panel for Star Trek: Discovery on Wednesday afternoon. Kurtzman appeared on the panel with Discovery executive producer Heather Kadin (pictured, right), star Sonequa Martin-Green, and season 2 newcomers Anson Mount and Ethan Peck, the series’ Christopher Pike and Spock, respectively.

“[The various series will] be connected, I would say, mostly peripherally,” Kurtzman told Rotten Tomatoes and a number of other outlets. “It’s incredibly important to all of us that each show is a unique prospect; that it doesn’t feel like you’re getting the same thing from each show. Each show has to have its own identity. That means it’s about certain things, the tone has to be unique and yet still be Star Trek, it has to visually look different from the other shows that we’re planning on making.

“And we’ve worked very closely with All Access to set out a plan so that you aren’t feeling overwhelmed by 20,000 of them at once. It may sound like you’re getting all of them at once because there’s a lot in development right now, but you have to keep in mind it takes two years to build each one,” he continued. “So, we have to look at the calendar in advance and say, ‘All right, knowing that it takes eight months just to do visual effects for one episode alone, how much time are we gonna need to get it on the air in time?’ So, hopefully, one episode, one series ends, you take a breath, another one starts, that runs its course for a season, you take a breath, another one, and then you’re getting a nice flow.”

Pictured (l-r): Anson Mount; Sonequa Martin-Green; Ethan Peck during the STAR TREK: DISCOVERY Winter TCA Panel, held at the The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 30th, 2019. Photo Cr: Francis Specker/CBS © 2019 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.
(Photo by Francis Specker/CBS)

Kurtzman revealed that Yeoh pushed for the Section 31 series.

“In season 1, Michelle came to me and said, ‘Let’s do a spin off on this character,'” he said. “I took a minute because it was clearly such a brilliant idea, except the series hadn’t aired yet. No one had seen even season 1 of Discovery. Nobody really knew what it was gonna be, and we didn’t know if it was gonna be successful or not. So the minute it became successful, we started that conversation again.

“We’re sort of breaking story now,” he continued. “Our hope is that we will have a script in the next couple months, and then as soon as Discovery season 3 is good, we’re rolling right into that show. That’s my prediction.”

Short Treks short-form videos will not exclusively be tied to Discovery, he said.

“I’d love to expand beyond. Discovery … was, like, really a test,” he said. “We wanted to see if they worked, and they ended up working really well. So, the idea that we can apply those to all of our shows — maybe we’ll do one before Picard, maybe we’ll do one before Section 31, maybe we’ll do one before the animated — just so that we can start getting audiences talking and thinking about what we’re doing, the setting and history.”

CBS All Access announced a two-season order of half-hour animated adult comedy Star Trek: Lower Decks, focusing on support crew on lesser Starfleet ships, in October.

“Animation … it takes a year,” Kurtzman said. “But it’s actually very much like what we’re doing on those other shows with visual effects, because it takes a year from writing the script, doing the animation, getting it back, refining it. We don’t ever want to rush anything out until it’s perfectly ready. And the beautiful thing about streaming is we don’t have to! We get to keep doing it until we all love it and then you get to watch and hopefully you love it to.”

The series is being developed by Rick and Morty head writer and executive producer Mike McMahan, and is the first original animated series on CBS All Access and the first project from CBS Television Studios’ just-launched animation division, CBS Eye Animation Productions.

Click here to read more about what Kurtzman had to say about the Picard-focused Star Trek series.

Reporting by Sophie-Marie Prime


Bryan Cranston to Executive Produce and Star in Showtime Legal Drama

Bryan Cranston stars in Breaking Bad (AMC)
(Photo by AMC)

On Thursday, Showtime took the stage with news on its upcoming series, including an announcement that Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston would star in a 10-episode limited series. The legal drama Your Honor tells the story of a respected judge, played by Cranston, whose son is involved in a hit-and-run that leads to “a high-stakes game of lies, deceit and impossible choices.”

Peter Moffat (Criminal Justice) serves as showrunner and executive producer and will write multiple episodes, including the first episode. The series will go into production later this year in New Orleans.


Penny Dreadful Next Chapter Art Released and More Showtime News

On social media, the network dropped keyart for Penny Dreadful sequel series, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels. The series, which will “employ all new characters and storylines,” according to a Showtime statement, begins production later this year with Paco Cabezas as director and original series creator, writer, and executive producer John Logan in those same roles.

“The next chapter opens in 1938 Los Angeles; a time and place deeply infused with social and political tension,” according to the network’s official description. “When a grisly murder shocks the city, a detective is embroiled in an epic story that reflects the rich history of Los Angeles: from the building of the city’s first freeways and its deep traditions of Mexican-American folklore, to the dangerous espionage actions of the Third Reich and the rise of radio evangelism. Penny Dreadful: City of Angels explores an exciting mix of the supernatural and the combustible reality of the period, creating new occult myths and moral dilemmas within a genuine historical backdrop.”

Showtime might be bringing two of its most popular series to a close — Homeland and The Affair are both working on their final seasons — but the network has plenty more in store for 2019. The network is reviving its popular The L Word for a sequel series, set to begin filming this year and hopefully airing in late 2019. The new series will be run by Marja Lewis-Ryan, with series creator Ilene Chaiken executive producing and original series stars Jennifer Beals, Katherine Moennig, and Leisha Hailey set to star. The network has also ordered a 10-episode limited series set in New Orleans; Your Honor will star Bryan Cranston “as a respected judge whose son is involved in a hit-and-run that leads to a high-stakes game of lies, deceit and impossible choices,” and will begin production in the city later in 2019. The series will be run by The Night Of’s Peter Moffat, with The Good Wife’s Robert and Michelle King executive producing.


How Thick Will City on a Hill’s Boston Accents Be?

Showtime’s newest drama, City on a Hill, stars Aldis Hodge as a district attorney and Kevin Bacon as an FBI agent who team up to tackle the corrupt criminal justice system in Boston in the early ’90s. Boston accents are notoriously hard to nail, but star and Boston native Jonathan Tucker thinks his costars are nailing it — and they can’t please everyone.

“Everybody’s accent has been terrific. I’m interested in pushing it as hard on the rail as possible just because it’s a fun exercise for me,” he told reporters. “And I’m sure I’ll say something that somebody in my own neighborhood’s going to say, ‘That’s not [right]. What’s he talking about? Where’s he from?’ I’m like, ‘Well, you know, I’m from your neighborhood.'”

Plus, he said, “Kevin’s accent’s great. It’s a really good accent.”


Desus and Mero: Hennessy Ambassadors

The hosts of Showtime’s new late-night talk show, Desus & Mero, pride themselves on the fact that their interviews are unlike most celebrity interviews. For starters, they give their guests Hennessy.

“We did give Jason Sudeikis Hennessy for the first time ever,” The Kid Mero revealed. Added Desus Nice, “He’s never been the same.”

The duo also like to make sure their guests aren’t only visiting their show to promote projects.

“No one wants to see that, because that turns the show into an advertisement,” Nice said. “We want an earnest, heartfelt interview and, it’s just like, ‘Yes. You are in this project, whatever.’ Talk about the project, but also talk about your life around the project. Don’t just come, like, ‘Yo, my movie opens Friday, blah, blah, blah.’ Like, for example, we had Michael B. Jordan on talking about Black Panther, and he had done 50,000 interviews talking about Black Panther, doing ‘Wakanda Forever’ or whatever. Our interview with him was completely different, because we were talking about, ‘What was the press room like? What do you like being living on set?’ We try to ask questions that allow them to promote their picture, but at the same time show the humanity behind the person.”


Your New Nature Documentary Obsession

Bear from One Planet: Seven Worlds by BBC Studios Natural History Unit and presented by David Attenborough (BBC America)
(Photo by BBC America)

Sir David Attenborough is back with another nature documentary. One Planet: Seven Worlds (the current working title) will consist of seven one-hour episodes exploring “how each distinct continent has shaped the unique animal life found there,” according to a BBC America press release announcing the news. The series is from BBC Studios Natural History Unit.

“Sir David Attenborough never rests!” AMC Entertainment Networks president Sarah Barnett said in a statement. “With this groundbreaking series, we will once again be able to experience life on this One Planet of ours through a lens of transporting wonder. It continues to be a great honor to have narration by this legendary storyteller, whose voice is synonymous with BBC natural history programming on BBC America and all over the world.”


Anna Paquin’s True Inspiration for Flack

Pop
(Photo by Pop)

The upcoming Anna Paquin–led dramedy from Pop, Flack, promises to pack an edgy punch — and, according to executive producer and Paquin’s real-life husband Stephen Moyer, “endless” cameos.

Flack parodies an international publicity firm with Paquin executive producing and starring as Robyn, a PR rep about to topple from the top of her game. During the series’ Wednesday TCA panel, the actress swore that the series is “absolutely not” based on any of her publicists and said the stories have a “ripped from the headlines feel,” several involving the familiar apocalyptic social media aftermath, too.

Creator Oliver Lansley, however, teased that “any story in this show comes from a true story that I’ve heard, pretty much.” Lansley described the characters as “an amalgamation of a lot of people, not all of them publicists” at Wednesday’s TCA panel.

“It’s very hard to undo something once it’s out of the box,” Lansley said of the internet’s impact on public relations.

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