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.


TOP STORY

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

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