TV Talk

Netflix Orders Witcher Prequel Series Blood Origin

The mega streamer also reveals Ratched first look, picks up seven classic Black comedies, and greenlights film from Stranger Things and Ozark stars. Plus, the rest of the week's biggest TV and streaming stories.

by | July 31, 2020 | Comments

Netflix dominated the week with several big reveals, starting with the news that a Witcher prequel is in the works. Plus, get the low-down on Ratched, the Ryan Murphy origin-story series about a psychiatric-hospital nurse with her own issues. The streamer also reportedly has a Splinter Cell anime adaptation in the works, picked up seven classic Black comedies, and more in the week’s top TV and streaming news.


TOP STORY
The Witcher Gets a Prequel With Blood Origin

Henry Cavill in The Witcher (Netflix)

(Photo by Netflix)

Netflix has ordered a six-episode prequel limited series for The Witcher, called The Witcher: Blood Origin, and set 1,200 years before the events of the original series.

Logline: “Set in an Elven world 1200 years before the world of The Witcher, Blood Origin will tell a story lost to time — the origin of the very first Witcher, and the events that lead to the pivotal ‘conjunction of the spheres,’ when the worlds of monsters, men, and elves merged to become one.”

The Witcher showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich will serve as executive producer, with The Witcher writer Declan de Barra as executive producer and showrunner, and The Witcher author Andrzej Sapkowski as a consultant.

“As a lifelong fan of fantasy, I am beyond excited to tell the story The Witcher: Blood Origin,” De Barra said in a statement. “A question has been burning in my mind ever since I first read The Witcher books: What was the Elven world really like before the cataclysmic arrival of the humans? I’ve always been fascinated by the rise and fall of civilizations, how science, discovery, and culture flourish right before that fall. How vast swathes of knowledge are lost forever in such a short time, often compounded by colonization and a rewriting of history. Leaving only fragments of a civilization’s true story behind. The Witcher: Blood Origin will tell the tale of the Elven civilization before its fall, and most importantly reveal the forgotten history of the very first Witcher.”


Ratched’s All-Star Cast, Led by Sarah Paulson, Unfolds the Backstory of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Villain Nurse Mildred Ratched

Sarah Paulson in Ratched

(Photo by Netflix)

Ryan Murphy’s latest collaboration with Sarah Paulson (pictured), Ratched, will debut on Netflix on Sept. 18. The eight-episode season features an all-star cast that includes actors from other Murphy projects, like the American Horror Story and American Crime Story series.

Paulson, an Emmy winner for her collaboration with Murphy on The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and a multiple Emmy nominee for five seasons of Murphy’s AHS, will play the titular role of Mildred Ratched, the psychiatric hospital nurse who “presents herself as the perfect image of what a dedicated nurse should be … (but) Mildred’s stylish exterior belies a growing darkness that has long been smoldering within, revealing that true monsters are made, not born.”

Sharon Stone in Ratched

(Photo by Netflix)

The suspenseful prequel to Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and its 1975 film adaptation, for which Louise Fletcher won an Oscar for her portrayal of Nurse Ratched, also stars AHS and The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story alum Jon Jon Briones as controversial Dr. Richard Hanover; Finn Wittrock (AHS, The Normal Heart, The Assassination of Gianni Versace) as serial killer Edmund Tolleson; Sharon Stone (pictured) as eccentric heiress Lenore Osgood; Judy Davis (Feud: Bette and Joan) as tough Nurse Betsy Bucket; Corey Stoll (The Normal Heart) as private detective Charles Wainwright; Cynthia Nixon as Gwendolyn Briggs, a political campaign manager; Alice Englert as hospital staffer Dolly; Vincent D’Onofrio as creepy Governor George Wilburn; Charlie Carver as hospital staffer Huck; Sophie Okonedo as Charlotte Wells; and Amanda Plummer as motel owner Louise.

Don Cheadle, Rosanna Arquette, Brandon Flynn, Hunter Parrish, and Harriet Sansom Harris (AHS and Hollywood) are also among the cast.

Paulson is also as executive producer on the series, which was given a two-season order from Netflix, as is Michael Douglas, who won his first Oscar as one of the producers of the 1975 Best Picture-winning One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest movie.


Splinter Cell Anime Series Reportedly in the Works With John Wick Writer

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell - Ubisoft video game

(Photo by Ubisoft )

John Wick film franchise writer Derek Kolstad will act as writer and executive producer on an anime series based on Ubisoft video game Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, Variety reports.

Netflix has ordered two seasons and 16 episodes, according to Variety sources.

The game’s product description describes the story: “You are Sam Fisher, a highly trained secret operative of the NSA’s secret arm: Third Echelon. The world balance is in your hands, as cyber terrorism and international tensions are about to explode into WWIII … Infiltrate terrorists’ positions, acquire critical intelligence by any means necessary, execute with extreme prejudice, and exit without a trace!”


Girlfriends, Moesha, The Game, and Sister, Sister Among the Seven Classic Comedies Featuring Black Casts That Are Coming to Netflix

The Moesha theme song is already stuck in our heads once again: the Brandy Norwood sitcom, which aired on UPN from 1996-2001, is one of seven beloved comedies featuring Black casts that are coming to Netflix in the next few months.

Moesha will launch on Aug. 1, followed by the first three seasons of The Game on Aug. 15. The Girlfriends spin-off, which starred Tia Mowry and Pooch Hall, aired on The CW for three seasons before being canceled and picked up by BET.

Sister, Sister, starring Tia Mowry and her twin Tamera, debuts on Sept. 1, and Girlfriends, starring Tracee Ellis Ross, follows on Sept. 11, the series’ 20th anniversary.

The Parkers, the Moesha spin-off starring Countess Vaughn and Mo’Nique, debuts on Netflix on Oct. 1, followed by Half & Half, starring Rachel True and Essence Atkins, and One on One, starring Flex Alexander and Kyla Pratt, on Oct. 15.

The series’ addition to the Netflix catalog is part of the streaming service’s Strong Black Lead campaign. “The goal of Strong Black Lead is to celebrate and lift up Black Hollywood,” said Bradley Edwards, Manager, Content Acquisition, and Jasmyn Lawson, Manager, Strong Black Lead. “These trailblazing shows are a huge part of that story. From the classic clown funeral episode of The Parkers to Moesha’s mind-tripping meet-up with Brandy, we’re thrilled that our members can now enjoy these amazing classics.”


Golden Globe Awards Dates Revealed

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards

(Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has announced the timetable for the 78th annual Golden Globe awards: nominations will be announced on Feb. 3, 2021, with the live ceremony airing on NBC on Feb. 28, hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. The eligibility period for movie nominees has been extended to Feb. 28, 2021, because of the impact of the pandemic, though the end of the television nominee eligibility period remains Dec. 30, 2020.


Schitt’s Creek Cast To Participate in Virtual PaleyFest

Schitt's Creek the final season keyart

(Photo by Pop TV)

The first-ever virtual PaleyFest will include panels with the cast of Schitt’s Creek, Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Mrs. America, One Day at a Time, OutlanderOzark, Justin Bieber: Seasons, and Queer Eye. Panels will stream on YouTube, and tickets are available on Aug. 7.


 New Trailers & Videos: Comic-Con TV Trailers, Umbrella Academy, and Kiefer Sutherland Returns to His World-Saving Ways in The Fugitive Remake at Quibi

Comic-Con@Home saw the release of new trailers and videos by some of the most exciting genre titles coming soon to screens. Rotten Tomatoes rounded up some of the top videos that premiered at the virtual festival. You can see them all — movies and TV — here.

  • The Fugitive remake, season 1, starring Kiefer Sutherland and Boyd Holbrook (Quibi)
  • The Comey Rule, a miniseries account of James Comey’s time in the Trump administration based on Comey’s bestselling book, starring Jeff Daniels and Brendan Gleeson (Showtime)
  • Jurassic Park: Camp Cretaceous, CGI-animated series based on the movies, season 1 (Netflix)
  • The Umbrella Academy, season 2, starring Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda (Netflix)
  • Five Bedrooms, Australian dramedy about a group of friends who live together, season 1 (Peacock)
  • Teenage Bounty Hunters, a comedy about teenage bounty hunters, season 1, starring Maddie Phillips, Anjelica Bette Fellini, Kadeem Hardison, and produced by Jenji Kohan (Netflix)
  • Maxxx, a comedy about a former boy band singer, season 1, starring O-T Fagbenle (Hulu)
  • Hitmen, a comedy about two best friends who are also partners in a contract killers business, season 1, starring Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc (Peacock)
  • The Swamp, documentary about congressional fundraising that follows three Republican congressman through a year in office (HBO)
  • Don’t Look Deeper, a futuristic thriller, season 1, starring Don Cheadle, Emily Mortimer, and Helena Howard, and directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Quibi)
  • Filthy Rich, a dramedy about the wealthy family who operates a Christian television network, season 1, starring Kim Cattrall and Gerald McRaney (Fox)
  • Black Is King, a visual album from Beyoncé (Disney+)
  • Absentia, Season 3, starring Stana Katic (Prime Video)
  • The Business of Drugs, documentary, Season 1 (Netflix)
  • Chucky, series reboot about the titular killer doll, who will once again be voiced by Brad Dourif, Season 1 (USA and Syfy)
  • Work It, a teen dance comedy film, starring Sabrina Carpenter & Liza Koshy (Netflix)
  • Last Chance U, season 5 (Netflix)
  • Love in the Time of Corona, a remotely shot four-part romantic drama, season 1, starring Leslie Odom Jr. (Freeform)
  • Immigration Nation, a docuseries about the struggles of people trying to maneuver the American immigration system (Netflix)
  • Selling Sunset, reality realty series, season 3 (Netflix)

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


Casting News: Millie Bobby Brown Starring In and Producing (With Jason Bateman) New Netflix Film

Millie Bobby Brown

(Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix)

Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown will star in and produce a Netflix film adaptation of Tess Sharpe’s novel The Girls I’ve Been, about a con artist who has to use her persuasive ways to save herself and her friends during a bank robbery. Brown’s fellow Netflix-er, Ozark star Jason Bateman, will also be a producer on the project.

Elisabeth Moss has added another pair of projects to her already busy schedule. As part of her first-look deal with Hulu, she will star in the anthology series Black Match, a “psychosexual neo-noir thriller set in modern-day Los Angeles.” She will also star in Apple TV+’s Shining Girls, a metaphysical thriller adapted from Lauren Beukes’ bestselling novel of the same name, and executive produced by Moss and Leonardo DiCaprio.

The Devil Wears Prada star Stanley Tucci will star in AMC’s six-part thriller La Fortuna. Inspired by the popular Spanish graphic novel El Tesoro del Cisne Negro (The Treasure of the Black Swan), the series will feature Tucci playing a treasure hunter named Frank Wild. La Fortunapremieres in 2021.

Billy on the Street star Billy Eichner will play legendary comedian and Hollywood Squares star Paul Lynde in Man in the Box, a biopic about the late actor’s career – he also starred as Uncle Arthur on Bewitched – and Lynde’s “barely-closeted,” flamboyant public persona. The movie is not set up at a network yet, but Eichner and producer Tom McNulty (Night at the Museum) have optioned a script for the story by Edwin Cannistraci.  (Deadline)

Kate Winslet will provide the voice of the titular horse in Disney+’s live-action remake of the movie Black Beauty. Mackenzie Foy will play Jo Green, the orphaned teen Beauty bonds with, while Game of Thrones alum Iain Glen and Claire Forlani also star.


Development News: Mob Epic Coming to Showtime From Sopranos and Goodfellas Writers

Terence Winter

(Photo by Tibrina Hobson/WireImage)

Emmy-winning Sopranos writer and Boardwalk Empire creator Terence Winter is teaming with Goodfellas, Wiseguy, and Casino writer – and frequent mob chronicler – Nicholas Pileggi, and producer Brian Grazer for an untitled Showtime series about the history of corruption and organized crime in America, told through the history of a mob family. (Deadline)

HBO is adapting Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2015 National Book Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist Between the World and Me as a special event this fall, with Coates and This Is Us star Susan Kelechi Watson executive producing. The cable network is making a donation to Howard University and the Apollo Theater as part of the project surrounding the bestselling book.

PBS will debut the two-part, four-hour documentary The Black Church: This Is Our Story on Feb. 16 and 23, 2021. Executive producer, host, and writer Henry Louis Gates, Jr. will trace the 400-year-old story of the Black church in America, revealing how Black people have worshipped and, through their spiritual journeys, improvised ways to bring their faith traditions from Africa to the New World. The docuseries will feature interviews with Oprah Winfrey, John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, Bishop Michael Curry, gospel legends Yolanda Adams, and BeBe Winans; civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton, and scholar Cornel West.

Taraji P. Henson has signed a two-year, first-look deal with Fox that will include her reprising her role as Cookie Lyon in an Empire spin-off. (THR)

Succession executive producer Adam McKay is teaming with HBO for a limited series about the race for a COVID-19 vaccine. McKay will adapt The First Shot, an upcoming book from The Atlantic and New York Times writer Brendan Borrell for the untitled series. (Deadline)

Tag Cloud

Emmys Mindy Kaling Set visit biography Spike Sci-Fi space spanish rt archives green book Musicals Nickelodeon FX Netflix international name the review Mary Tyler Moore sequels ABC Family Winners Comedy Central dceu medical drama TCA 90s adaptation nbcuniversal Columbia Pictures target Vudu Peacock Crunchyroll anthology TV One Paramount Network Ovation science fiction Sony Pictures dragons nature Sundance Now TLC dogs dramedy Amazon Prime Video WarnerMedia Animation Disney streaming service Captain marvel Super Bowl worst screen actors guild facebook singing competition aapi CBS 4/20 cartoon stoner stand-up comedy ghosts Tumblr archives spider-man japan Tomatazos twilight Bravo Podcast kids cinemax politics Lifetime Christmas movies doctor who GLAAD cars unscripted Britbox concert game of thrones joker GoT Hear Us Out emmy awards asian-american foreign police drama Music worst movies Opinion BAFTA Television Critics Association independent Valentine's Day Paramount directors Martial Arts Universal Elton John X-Men video on demand werewolf President A&E Syfy Mary Poppins Returns godzilla children's TV period drama Interview cancelled TV shows romantic comedy 2015 Logo Tubi tv talk Amazon Studios Sneak Peek documentary Awards Rocketman docuseries Arrowverse Schedule Trivia scorecard See It Skip It renewed TV shows game show Ellie Kemper chucky San Diego Comic-Con movie Freeform Holiday indie DC streaming service Family Video Games french crime remakes transformers Fox News cults Superheroe rotten movies we love Black Mirror canceled IFC Films blockbusters Sundance Cartoon Network Comic-Con@Home 2021 Masterpiece Apple free movies vampires Disney+ Disney Plus YA RT21 TCM Pop TV mutant Chilling Adventures of Sabrina political drama films mockumentary Song of Ice and Fire DGA Classic Film ABC criterion kaiju italian El Rey comedies Turner Classic Movies telelvision award winner zombies parents superman fresh YouTube rom-coms aliens ratings Amazon Prime Film Festival natural history crime thriller DC Universe Teen scary movies SXSW TV renewals Lionsgate Fantasy LGBTQ miniseries jurassic park HBO Go travel DirecTV composers The Arrangement james bond scene in color Sundance TV NBC BBC Ghostbusters based on movie Endgame Disney Plus Epix CNN Food Network FXX Netflix Christmas movies Summer batman spain book adaptation Academy Awards CMT sports breaking bad festival Acorn TV PaleyFest prank indiana jones talk show adventure streaming movies Superheroes canceled TV shows Action History halloween tv blockbuster Toys Polls and Games supernatural Fox Searchlight obituary FOX Pop TIFF women The Walt Disney Company Marvel Studios elevated horror Travel Channel hollywood Rocky Shudder a nightmare on elm street Writers Guild of America theme song golden globe awards ITV Character Guide documentaries adenture Fall TV Pirates Film Binge Guide Reality First Look Marvel spanish language Tokyo Olympics halloween cancelled TV series Apple TV Plus PlayStation know your critic new york television universal monsters casting justice league Infographic CW Seed cops HBO Photos venice LGBT 2018 pirates of the caribbean Apple TV+ superhero Rock 2020 TBS news marvel cinematic universe 72 Emmy Awards Christmas Rom-Com jamie lee curtis social media Nominations psychological thriller screenings book classics new zealand Wes Anderson child's play MCU Television Academy kong toronto 2021 Star Trek spy thriller strong female leads revenge anime Western TCA Winter 2020 saw Emmy Nominations blaxploitation Image Comics Lucasfilm The Walking Dead 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Musical Crackle Hulu Pet Sematary Avengers HBO Max TNT Creative Arts Emmys The CW BET FX on Hulu American Society of Cinematographers comics CBS All Access VOD Lifetime Pixar Certified Fresh APB Star Wars Shondaland ViacomCBS Exclusive Video TCA Awards comic books cancelled binge Grammys popular true crime king kong cats A24 Alien Funimation Hallmark Christmas movies Oscars japanese hist south america OneApp teaser Watching Series PBS spinoff quibi live action E3 thriller diversity OWN critics Premiere Dates Mudbound Trailer sag awards festivals YouTube Red BBC America Comics on TV zero dark thirty RT History fast and furious lord of the rings franchise TV movies Warner Bros. black 2017 dark Comic Book crime drama Women's History Month New York Comic Con mission: impossible Cannes Reality Competition die hard TV TruTV witnail IFC deadpool Quiz 20th Century Fox Turner Esquire Walt Disney Pictures TCA 2017 what to watch Broadway Box Office Spectrum Originals ID GIFs 1990s 2016 24 frames satire The Witch Pacific Islander Heroines Mystery disaster Stephen King Nat Geo Anna Paquin trailers Hallmark rotten zombie BBC One reviews Brie Larson harry potter monster movies serial killer Comedy Black History Month ESPN slashers Marvel Television video heist movie DC Comics laika Holidays dc National Geographic Kids & Family 71st Emmy Awards 2019 Trophy Talk new star wars movies YouTube Premium olympics Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt reboot Thanksgiving Baby Yoda USA Network animated Extras sequel football Discovery Channel hidden camera Best and Worst Legendary AMC Starz BET Awards Marathons Spring TV Dark Horse Comics finale all-time cooking TV Land The Academy Paramount Plus razzies Cosplay SundanceTV Disney NYCC Showtime Awards Tour australia robots First Reviews comiccon NBA docudrama toy story 007 Country movies streaming nfl MSNBC Election ABC Signature 21st Century Fox Disney Channel Drama versus war Adult Swim crossover Amazon E! Pride Month 45 psycho suspense USA cancelled television basketball VH1 best Biopics 93rd Oscars stop motion Red Carpet 99% Winter TV high school Tarantino Countdown WGN comic christmas movies boxing romance latino Chernobyl hispanic series richard e. Grant MTV golden globes Horror Mary poppins VICE boxoffice historical drama technology sitcom discovery Year in Review The Purge Calendar SDCC