This week, generations of TV- and movie-watchers mourn the loss of actress Elizabeth Pena. Plus, HBO confirms flashbacks in the new Game of Thrones and a stand-alone subscription service. In the joyous news department, Bill Murray is making a TV Christmas special.
The Walking Dead, Jane the Virgin, Marry Me, and The Affair are Certified Fresh.
It’s a good week for new TV, as four more fall shows go Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Joining the ranks are season five of The Walking Dead
(AMC), which is Certified Fresh at 97 percent and aired to a record-smashing 17.3 million viewers on Sunday night. Showtime’s new series, The Affair
, about a New York City novelist who stays from his marriage with a small-town waitress, is Certified Fresh at 96 percent and airs Sunday nights at 10 p.m. The CW’s Jane the Virgin
, which stars newcomer Gina Rodriguez as a virgin accidentally inseminated by her gynecologist, is Certified Fresh at 100 percent and airs Mondays at 9 p.m. And NBC’s Marry Me
, starring Casey Wilson and Ken Marino as a couple who can’t seem to get their engagement right, is Certified Fresh at 79 percent. Catch up on all the new Fresh and Certified Fresh shows of the fall with the help of our “Where to Watch” guide.
Remembering Matador‘s Elizabeth Pena.
Her most recent TV work, as Tony Bravo’s sweet mother on the El Rey Network original series Matador
, was just one of the many acting credits in the long career of Elizabeth Pena who died Tuesday in Los Angeles at the age of 55. In addition to a filmography that included La Bamba, The Incredibles, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, and Rush Hour, Pena was also a frequent guest-star on ABC’s Modern Family as Sofia Vergara’s mother, Pilar, and starred as a Latin housekeeper Dora Calderon in the ’80s sitcom, I Married Dora. Pena was a founding member of the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors and worked hard to portray her characters accurately. “In the United States, all Spanish-speaking people are lumped into one category,” Pena told the Dallas Morning News in 1996. “But we’re all so different.” Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network issued a statement Wednesday in response to this week’s news: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and colleague, Elizabeth Pena. She was a role model, a truly extraordinary performer and an inspiration in every sense of the word.”
Hallelujah! A Bill Murray Christmas special is in the works.
In an exclusive interview with Variety, Bill Murray revealed that he’s teaming up with past collaborator Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation) on an upcoming TV Christmas special. “It’s not going to be live,” Murray told Variety. “We’re going to do it like a little movie. It won’t have a format, but it’s going to have music. It will have texture. It will have threads through it that are writing. There will be prose.” Obviously, the details are a little sketchy, but Coppola confirmed the news, telling Variety, “We’re working on a Christmas special. Not sure when it will air, but my motivation is to hear him singing my song requests.” Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
Season five of Game of Thrones will include flashbacks.
According to IGN, Game of Thrones
showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss confirmed this week that the upcoming season of Thrones will contain flashbacks. “Making the first season, we set a rule: No prophecies, dreams, or flashbacks,” they said. “We already failed the first two, and this season we broke the third. So yes, this season will finally have flashbacks.” There is no word yet on how extensive these flashbacks will be (who’s in them? how far back do they go?), but IGN reports that at least one character who was rumored to return to Thrones will make an appearance in season five. With the flashback sequences, not only will dead characters be allowed to reprise their roles, but also younger versions of characters we know could make cameos, which brings to mind two of the scariest words in television: Baby Joffrey.
HBO will offer a digital-only monthly service (CBS too).
When Amazon Prime launched a library of HBO original series earlier this year, it was exciting news for “cord nevers,” but recent seasons of HBO series (and all seasons of Game of Thrones) were still not available online for non-cable subscribers. HBO Chairman Richard Plepler confirmed the news of a stand-alone service on Wednesday, saying that there are 80 million homes in the U.S. without HBO and the network “will use all measures to go after them.” Also this week, CBS announced their new pay service, CBS All Access, which will allow internet subscribers to access decades of CBS programming (not including Showtime, which CBS owns, but SHO likely has a similar plan
in the works).