This week’s biggest TV news includes Game of Thrones‘ plummeting Tomatometer score, new trailers for Watchmen and Big Little Lies, and plenty of casting announcements.
Not only is Game of Thrones’ latest episode, “The Last of the Starks,” the lowest-rated episode of season 8 to date, it’s also just the second Rotten episode of the series ever, according to the Tomatometer. Following the epic (and dark — literally) “The Long Night,” which featured the long-awaited Battle of Winterfell and the Westerosi rebellion against the cold-blooded Night King (RIP), the show steered back into the world of political intrigue. While critics accounted for a total of 39 Rotten reviews (and counting), fans on Twitter weren’t too happy with the episode either.
Plenty pointed to the fact that an errant modern-day coffee cup made it into a shot of Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) celebrating the Winterfell victory as an emblem of the showrunners’ negligence in the series’ final moments. Others were livid that — spoiler alert! — Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), a.k.a. the only woman of color left on the series, was killed off at the end of the episode.
'The Last of the Starks' is second lowest rated episode of #GameofThrones ever.
— Rotten Tomatoes (@RottenTomatoes) May 9, 2019
As you can see from the graphic above, one thing is for certain: while the first two episodes of season 8 received average scores (by Game of Thrones standards) on the Tomatometer, there’s been a downward trend since. Currently, season 8 is sitting at 78% — which means that no matter what score the final two episodes receive, it’ll be the lowest-scoring season ever. (Even if David Benioff and DB Weiss manage to course-correct with two 100% Fresh episodes in a row, the highest score it could receive is an 85%.)
ABC has assembled an all-star lineup for its upcoming live re-staging of Norman Lear’s classic sitcoms All in the Family and The Jeffersons, which will see a star-studded cast recreate episodes of the shows on May 22 and is titled Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All in the Family and The Jeffersons.
Woody Harrelson is playing Archie Bunker, Jamie Foxx is George Jefferson, Marisa Tomei is Edith Bunker, Wanda Sykes is Louise Jefferson, Ellie Kemper is Gloria Bunker Stivic, Will Ferrell is Tom Willis, Justina Machado is Florence Johnston, Anthony Anderson is Henry Jefferson, Ike Barinholtz is Mike “Meathead” Stivic, and Sean Hayes is Mr. Lorenzo. The cast also includes Amber Stevens West, Stephen Tobolowsky, Jackee Harry, and Jovan Adepo.
HBO’s long-awaited adaptation of Watchmen is finally headed to the small screen: the cable network released the first official trailer for the series, which is set to debut in the fall. The show is based on the DC Comics series of the same name, and is being adapted for TV Lost’s Damon Lindelof. Set to star in the show are Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Jean Smart, Tim Blake Nelson, Frances Fisher, James Wolk, Hong Chau, Louis Gossett Jr., Tom Mison, and many, many more. You can read everything we know about Watchmen, so far, here.
You can also catch some other major TV trailers this week, including:
The second wave of winners of this year’s GLAAD Media Awards, which honor media for their fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community and the issues that affect their lives, were announced this week. The organization named Pose the year’s Outstanding Drama Series, and The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story as Outstanding TV Movie or Limited Series. The “Trans Rights Under Attack” episode of Full Frontal With Samantha Bee won Outstanding Variety or Talk Show Episode, and Don Lemon of CNN won for Outstanding TV Journalism Segment while CBS Sunday Morning won for Outstanding TV Journalism—Newsmagazine for a segment on conversion therapy. Netflix’s Elite and Univision’s Mi marido tiene más familia tied for Outstanding Scripted Television Series (Spanish-Language). Bravo’s Andy Cohen won the Vito Russo Award (honoring an openly LGBTQ media professional working for LGBTQ acceptance). Vida and Queer Eye were previously honored at a ceremony in Los Angeles.
A plagiarism lawsuit involving Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer was dropped just days before it was set to go to trial. Charles Kessler had sued the Duffers and Netflix, alleging they’d stolen an idea for a TV show he’d pitched them at a cocktail party in 2014, but withdrew his suit on May 5. The trial was scheduled to begin May 7.
“After hearing the deposition testimony this week of the legal expert I hired, it is now apparent to me that, whatever I may have believed in the past, my work had nothing to do with the creation of Stranger Things,” Kessler said in a statement.
Guy Pearce is set to headline an upcoming three-part adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as Ebenezer Scrooge. The joint production between FX and BBC One will also star Andy Serkis as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Stephen Graham as Jacob Marley, Charlotte Riley as Lottie, Joe Alwyn as Bob Cratchit, Vinette Robinson as Mary Cratchit, Rutger Hauer as the Ghost of Christmas Future, Kayvan Novak as Ali Baba, and Lenny Rush as Tim Cratchit. Per the official announcement, this will be a “unique and original” take on the classic and a “haunting, hallucinatory, spine-tingling immersion into Scrooge’s dark night of the soul. Steven Knight (Taboo, Peaky Blinders) will write and Nick Murphy (The Awakening) will direct, and the series will premiere in December on FX.
Last week’s episode of CBS All Access’ The Good Fight touched on censorship — so when, in the place where the show’s weekly animated musical segment would go (yes, that is a thing, and yes, it completely works in context), a black screen reading “CBS HAS CENSORED THIS CONTACT” was inserted instead, many viewers thought it was a joke relating to the overall theme of the episode.
It wasn’t. According to The New Yorker, CBS really did censor the short, which was called “Banned In China” and dealt with “the way that media companies censor content.” The Good Fight showrunners threatened to quit in protest, but inserted the censorship chyron instead as a compromise.
Riverdale is losing a main cast member, but that’s actually a good thing. Ashleigh Murray, a.k.a. singer/songwriter Josie McCoy, is leaving the CW series to be a series regular on another CW series: the Riverdale spinoff Katy Keene. The new series follows the titular character (an aspiring fashion designer played by Pretty Little Liars’ Lucy Hale) and her new friend Josie (Murray, as her Riverdale character), who arrives in New York City to pursue a music career.
Hilary Swank will executive produce and star in Netflix’s new space drama Away, about an astronaut who leads an international space exhibition on a treacherous mission. Former E.R. star Anthony Edwards will star alongside Kiefer Sutherland in the third season of Netflix’s resurrected Designated Survivor. Amandla Stenberg will costar alongside Andre Holland in Damien Chazelle’s Netflix series The Eddy. She’ll play Julie, the teenage daughter of Holland’s character “who suddenly shows up in Paris and forces him to face his past,” per Netflix. Also on Netflix, Kristin Scott Thomas will play Mrs. Danvers in the streaming service’s upcoming adaptation of Rebecca, joining Lily James and Armie Hammer in the project.
Paget Brewster is set to headline a new animated Adult Swim series: She’ll play the titular character in Birdgirl, a Harvey Birdman spinoff that will feature Brewster’s character juggling work responsibilities as a CEO by day and superhero by night (and sometimes afternoon).
The new season of anthology series Manhunt, which is moving from Discovery Channel to Spectrum, will chronicle the hunt for the man who bombed the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Jack Huston is set to play the criminal mastermind who planned the deadly bombing, Eric Rudolph, while Cameron Britton will play Richard Jewell, who discovered the bomb and saved hundreds of people — and was falsely charged with planting the bomb. Season 2 is called Manhunt: Lone Wolf, while season 1 was titled Manhunt: Unabomber, and followed the hunt to find Ted Kaczynski.
Season 4 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt just wasn’t enough for Netflix. Tina Fey announced that the series, which ended in late 2018 after four seasons, will get its very own interactive special (a la Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch) set to debut in 2020.
“Fans will be able to make choices on behalf of our characters, taking different story paths with, of course, different jokes,” the creator said in a statement. “I think it’s a great fit for our show and will be a great way to officially complete the series.”
ABC Studios has signed 2 Dope Queens star Phoebe Robinson to a multi-year deal in which the comedian and podcast host will write and star in projects for the studio. “We’ve wanted to be in business with Phoebe since the very first time we heard the 2 Dope Queens podcast. Her humor, unique point of view and her incredibly fresh, authentic talent are huge assets for us; we couldn’t be more thrilled that she’s joining our studio,” studio president Patrick Moran said in a statement.
Black-ish creator Kenya Barris has announced his first project under his new Netflix deal: Black Excellence, a comedy in which Barris will star alongside Rashida Jones. According to its official description, the series will “pull the curtain back and reboot the ‘family sitcom’ in a way we’ve never seen before.”
Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu has signed a four-year deal to develop new projects with 20th Century Fox Television, the TV studio recently acquired by Disney after the Fox merger. According to Deadline, Chu will develop, executive produce, and possibly direct new projects for the studio. The deal is reportedly worth somewhere in the “mid-seven figures.”
Move over, Marvel: The company behind Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy, Dark Horse Entertainment, has signed a new deal that gives the streaming service first crack at adapting the company’s comics and other properties.
Comedy Central is starting its own studio. Comedy Central Productions will produce original content with some of the network’s top talent, including Broad City veterans Paul W. Downs and Lucia Aniello; Beetlejuice musical writer Anthony King; Klepper and Daily Show executive producer Stuart Miller; and the production company behind Inside Amy Schumer and I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson, Irony Point.