TV Talk

The Walking Dead Loses Fan-Favorite Star and More TV News

Plus: First-look photos from Big Little Lies season 2, Julia Louis-Dreyfus teases the final season of Veep, Jared Harris takes on another terror in Chernobyl, and Serial heads to TV.

by | February 8, 2019 | Comments

The cast of Big Little Lies revealed a few tidbits about season 2, Jared Harris discussed scary new HBO miniseries Chernobyl, Danai Gurira is leaving The Walking Dead, and more TV news.


New Big Little Lies Season 2 Photos —Plus, Meryl Streep Was As Addicted to the Show as You Were

Shailene Woodley, Zoë Kravitz, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern (Credit: Jennifer Clasen/HBO).

(Photo by Jennifer Clasen/HBO)

If Big Little Lies was going to come back for a second season, the story had to be pretty darn compelling for stars and executive producers Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman (along with costars Zoe Kravitz, Laura Dern, and Shailene Woodley) to sign on. But when audiences continued to beg for more episodes of the Monterey, California moms embroiled in a real-life murder mystery, the cast and creator/writer/executive David E. Kelley said that finally agreed to come back — with a few caveats.

“The storytelling — would it be compelling enough that it would rise up to the first year? Everybody up here can get jobs. We didn’t want to do this unless we could at least have a fair shot of living up to the bar that we felt we had all set in year one,” Kelley told reporters at a panel for season 2 at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Los Angeles on Friday afternoon. “So we met, and we talked about what the stories were. We were very unflinching and candid with each other about the ones we thought were viable and the ones we thought were not good enough, and we didn’t finally agree to set sail until we had the commitment from all of us that this was storytelling that we all felt passionate about.”

Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley (Jennifer Clasen/HBO)

(Photo by Jennifer Clasen/HBO)

While the first season had the novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty to use as a guide, there was no sequel — until Moriarty, who is also a producer, wrote an outline for Kelley to use while plotting season 2’s story.

“We were lucky Liane Moriarty wrote almost like a novella for us to use as a template,” said Witherspoon. “It really helped tremendously that the characters were alive in her mind and have these very rich experiences that were just as interesting, entertaining, as in-depth as they were in the original series. So that gave us some basis for which to go on for each character. We all had unresolved issues — you know, I had an affair and that was never resolved.”

Reese Witherspoon, Zoë Kravitz (Jennifer Clasen/HBO)

(Photo by Jennifer Clasen/HBO)

While Kelley and his cast remained tight-lipped on what the actual plot of season 2 will entail, he did reveal that it picks up after the events of the first season. It’s still a mix of comedy and drama, tonally — “probably more dramatic than comedic this year,” he teased — and the Greek Chorus of fellow school parents at the fatal trivia night is gone.

“When we come back, their lives — like all of our lives — are very well put together on the surface, but then the fissures … begin to emerge and there is a big fault line that lies under all of us, which is this event that happened at trivia night last year,” Kelley explained. “So once the crevices start to widen it escalates pretty quickly.”

Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep (Credit: Jennifer Clasen/HBO)

(Photo by Jennifer Clasen/HBO)

There’s also one major addition: Meryl Streep joins the cast as Celeste’s mother-in-law, Mary Louise Wright.

“I love this show. I was addicted to it,” Streep gushed. “I thought it was an amazing exercise in what we know and what we don’t know about people, about family, about friends; how it flirted with the mystery of things; what was unsaid, un-shown, unknown was sort of the whole gravitational pull of the piece and it was so exciting. So when I got the chance to join the crew I thought, yeah! [As for] the dynamic between Celeste and me, I do love her. And that’s the only thing I’ll tell you.”

The Walking Dead Loses Another Major Star

Danai Gurira as Michonne - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Fans of The Walking Dead are used to their favorite stars exiting the series — there are gruesome deaths pretty much weekly (it is a zombie show, after all) — but this latest departure is going to hurt: Danai Gurira, who plays the badass Michonne, is leaving in season 10. The Black Panther star will appear in “a handful of episodes that will be interspersed throughout season 10,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Not all hope is lost, however — THR reports that she’ll likely join her former on-screen love Andrew Lincoln, a.k.a. recently departed leading man Rick Grimes, in the series of three TWD movies AMC is planning to produce.

Will Veep Give Viewers a Satisfying Ending?

Photo Credit: Lacey Terrell

(Photo by Lacey Terrell)

In such a politically volatile world, it’s been challenging for the team behind Veep to push boundaries in its final season. But the series has given itself one key advantage in its ability to poke fun at politics without garnering too much ire on either side of the aisle.

“We have this great virtue of having not identified a party in our show and not really identified any contemporary political figures,” Julia Louis-Dreyfus told reporters at a Television Critics Association winter press tour panel for the show’s final season. “We’re in an alternate universe and that’s helpful particularly because in many ways it’s why the show’s lasted as long as it has — because it kind of invites everyone to the party. I think in a way it’s more apt than it ever has been given the current insanity that we’re all living in.”

The final season will consist of seven episodes, which showrunner Dave Mandel said will bring the show to its natural conclusion.

“We reached just a very natural point, storytelling-wise, that we sort of looked at each other and went, ‘I think that’s the end.’”

While neither Louis-Dreyfus nor Mandel would get too specific about exactly what adventures ex-president (and ex-veep) Selina Meyer will have in the last episodes, which begin airing March 31 on HBO, they did tease a surprising (and satisfying) ending.

“The one trap that the viewers ever so slightly fall into is assuming that somebody is Trump and somebody is Hillary, and that’s a good thing for us because it means we get to always surprise you. It doesn’t go the way you think it went when they ran against each other,” Mandel said. “I think this season, it sounds so generic, but I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised in a very, you know, hopefully funny way.”

Added Louis-Dreyfus, “I’m not going to say that Selena evolves, except to say that she’s truer to herself by being as true to herself as she can possibly be. By the time this season ends. I’ll leave it for you to determine whether or not that’s a good thing, but I’m not sure that evolution is necessarily her game.”

Jared Harris Tackles a Different Terror in HBO’s Chernobyl

Jared Harris in Chernobyl credit: Liam Daniel/HBO

(Photo by Liam Daniel/HBO)

Is there something about The Terror star Jared Harris that inspires him to play scary, evil, or general sad-sack characters who die horrible deaths?

“I’m a miserable person,” joked Harris at a TCA panel for his new HBO miniseries Chernobyl, about the 1986 nuclear meltdown in the Ukraine. In all seriousness, though, Harris said he was drawn to his role in Chernobyl (and The Terror) because of “good writing. Really, if you’re working on a script that’s really well-written, our job is much, much easier and more interesting as well because you can dig down into the story, you can dig down into the subtext and the substrata of the narrative and you can find stuff there that’s been put down purposefully.”

The five-part miniseries, which also stars Stellan Skarsgård and Emily Watson,  follows the brave men and women who sacrificed so much to save Europe from complete disaster after one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history.

Serial’s Story Continues in The Case Against Adnan Syed

If you are not one of the millions of people who was captivated by the Serial podcast in 2014, HBO’s new four-part documentary The Case Against Adnan Syed will fill you in on the case, which saw Baltimore high school senior Adnan Syed convicted for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend, 18-year-old Hae Min Lee. The podcast examined the evidence in the case and whether Syed was wrongfully convicted. The new documentary will pick up where Serial left off, so it won’t be a retread of the podcast either.

“It’s gone through current events, just as recently as a couple of months ago,” said director Amy Berg.
The documentary follows Syed’s legal team as they prepare an appeal for a new trial after questions about the State’s case and his own attorney’s performance.

“Any time a wrongful conviction seems to be getting successfully challenged the system closes in, it doubles down, it trickles down, and it tries to protect itself and we expected that. We expected we were going to fight as far as it’s going to take,” said Rabia Chaudry, a family friend and lawyer who has advocated for Syed for 20 years (and was the driving force behind the Serial podcast). “The State is going to continue to appeal it. It’s not a surprise. And there’s a reason for that. I understand the reasons for that. It’s not always about the truth. It’s about kind of maintaining status quo. So it’s not surprising. It is more complicated. However, when there’s so much notoriety around the case it gives more incentive for the State to save face and to save the conviction and to fight harder.”

The Kominsky Method Books Major Guest Stars

Alan Arkin and Michael Douglas of THE KOMINSKY METHOD (Mike Yarish/Netflix)

(Photo by Mike Yarish/Netflix)

Netflix’s award-winning comedy The Kominsky Method will welcome three major guest stars in its second season: Jane Seymour, Jacqueline Bisset, and Paul Reiser. Seymour will play Madelyn, a 70-something well-to-do woman with whom Norman (star Alan Arkin) had a mad love affair in the ’60s before he met his wife, and they meet again 50 years later. Bisset will play Gabrielle, Mindy’s (Sarah Baker) mom and Sandy’s (star Michael Douglas) French ex-wife who delights in still being able to push the buttons of her ex-husband. Reiser will play Martin, a 60-something high school teacher who gets romantically involved with Sandy’s daughter, Mindy.

Tag Cloud

ViacomCBS Election American Society of Cinematographers comic book movie Tomatazos finale game of thrones Western Pop TV San Diego Comic-Con TCA See It Skip It travel Extras Lifetime Creative Arts Emmys hollywood new york 99% Reality Competition Schedule PBS technology FX on Hulu Paramount Network Calendar Rocketman satire fresh Super Bowl 2021 USA anime spinoff canceled archives cars BBC America franchise king kong sequels toronto Columbia Pictures documentary superman adventure TV One Prime Video Pet Sematary Travel Channel hispanic 20th Century Fox VICE Disney Plus Britbox medical drama Broadway target cancelled television Comedy name the review VOD TV movies hist Hulu Fox News 2018 know your critic Crunchyroll disaster screenings Superheroes emmy awards thriller spanish indiana jones war Sneak Peek Polls and Games Drama RT21 godzilla live event zero dark thirty scary movies robots PaleyFest Exclusive Video dragons Awards 2019 universal monsters adenture chucky YouTube Premium Stephen King video IFC Films batman spider-man Christmas DGA boxing dexter football Nominations AMC Plus aapi heist movie Heroines spider-verse spanish language comic book movies rotten Chernobyl Mary Poppins Returns Sundance Set visit TV Tokyo Olympics LGBT high school Star Trek game show doctor who rt labs latino twilight Certified Fresh period drama TV renewals Opinion DirecTV sag awards Brie Larson The Academy ITV Video Games unscripted documentaries kong biopic cancelled parents cancelled TV series Infographic dark Logo japanese CNN Summer 71st Emmy Awards MSNBC blaxploitation Netflix facebook Best and Worst Mary Tyler Moore films 90s Shondaland Country Vudu comedies Endgame CMT zombie Funimation Rom-Com foreign Black History Month deadpool prank 1990s HBO Max lord of the rings psychological thriller laika Tags: Comedy Music 45 Wes Anderson HBO Go Tubi Podcast Paramount slashers Star Wars zombies SDCC joker FXX Action Sundance TV leaderboard New York Comic Con Mystery Turner Classic Movies Spring TV RT History king arthur Photos Women's History Month sequel black comedy Comics on TV teaser movies Elton John TIFF Trailer Holiday Amazon Studios Marathons Fox Searchlight 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards natural history Netflix Christmas movies E! DC Universe Reality elevated horror reviews The Walking Dead romance TCA 2017 MTV Animation Amazon classics Grammys quibi Thanksgiving jurassic park The CW Writers Guild of America Marvel 2020 trailers TBS monster movies NYCC First Reviews video on demand OWN independent IMDb TV The Arrangement richard e. Grant Tarantino halloween tv action-comedy X-Men police drama wonder woman critic resources crime stand-up comedy Freeform art house comics Academy Awards TNT adaptation italian Ellie Kemper Hallmark new star wars movies festival posters feel good blockbusters Winter TV First Look Comic Book nature ABC Signature Apple TV+ tv talk harry potter Teen 21st Century Fox ratings spain Amazon Prime Video cooking hidden camera crime drama Tumblr composers Song of Ice and Fire MCU Marvel Studios Syfy SXSW Disney ABC vampires Musicals popular 007 kids Premiere Dates rom-coms Horror festivals fast and furious Crackle stop motion Black Mirror 72 Emmy Awards Valentine's Day Apple Television Critics Association directors casting TLC women Hollywood Foreign Press Association Sci-Fi golden globes Cartoon Network sopranos DC Comics dramedy cults TCM cancelled TV shows Spike Lucasfilm Anna Paquin Film reboot christmas movies Classic Film blockbuster Acorn TV El Rey FX Universal comiccon miniseries scene in color Warner Bros. ABC Family a nightmare on elm street Trophy Talk Toys based on movie news cops discovery Epix Quiz Fargo werewolf 4/20 TCA Winter 2020 Emmy Nominations USA Network Lifetime Christmas movies YouTube television mockumentary CBS mob YouTube Red dc biography Baby Yoda sports what to watch Winners telelvision remakes PlayStation diversity dogs child's play serial killer ESPN YA Spectrum Originals Cannes trophy aliens criterion ID Instagram Live Starz historical drama Holidays spy thriller nbcuniversal President E3 dceu new zealand children's TV golden globe awards A24 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt award winner book adaptation jamie lee curtis singing competition HBO A&E Arrowverse hispanic heritage month Comedy Central romantic comedy 24 frames cinemax Countdown Pop crime thriller kaiju worst Amazon Prime streaming movies National Geographic Watching Series Discovery Channel social media HFPA young adult The Walt Disney Company Hallmark Christmas movies Ovation The Purge Walt Disney Pictures supernatural docudrama 2015 docuseries rt archives science fiction Sony Pictures Turner binge boxoffice true crime scary justice league Family Captain marvel Shudder scorecard canceled TV shows basketball series strong female leads Nickelodeon Sundance Now CW Seed renewed TV shows marvel cinematic universe mission: impossible nfl Trivia BET GIFs mutant streaming BBC book razzies venice australia Superheroe psycho Awards Tour 2016 The Witch 73rd Emmy Awards Dark Horse Comics Year in Review Kids & Family WGN breaking bad crossover Disney Channel NBA live action die hard royal family Biopics Martial Arts Film Festival screen actors guild Mudbound Masterpiece TruTV ghosts TV Land cats LGBTQ political drama asian-american space comic cartoon Rock BBC One Alien worst movies Box Office Neflix GoT legend mcc TCA Awards critics rt labs critics edition saw dreamworks Apple TV Plus marvel comics Legendary Food Network Red Carpet Adult Swim VH1 debate Pirates Showtime Character Guide Fall TV stoner IFC Lionsgate japan best Mary poppins Mindy Kaling james bond obituary OneApp green book Avengers Binge Guide free movies vs. GLAAD black french pirates of the caribbean SundanceTV Peacock Paramount Plus Television Academy NBC Hear Us Out versus APB CBS All Access Pride Month suspense Oscars revenge WarnerMedia FOX indie Marvel Television superhero rotten movies we love AMC Fantasy History Nat Geo witnail 2017 Image Comics Esquire gangster Emmys slasher Comic-Con@Home 2021 olympics south america all-time Bravo Chilling Adventures of Sabrina politics genre BET Awards talk show Interview Cosplay Pixar Ghostbusters 79th Golden Globes Awards international sitcom DC streaming service theme song Disney+ Disney Plus Pacific Islander movie Universal Pictures Musical toy story animated halloween comic books 93rd Oscars Disney streaming service BAFTA transformers Rocky anthology concert