(Photo by Amazon)
She’s back! Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning comedy The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is returning to Amazon for its second season on Wednesday, Dec. 5.
Season 2 will see Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) dealing with the fallout from her takedown of Sophie Lennon, making her climb up the comedy ladder even more challenging — especially since she’s still keeping her new career as a standup comedian a secret from her family.
Recently added (updated 12/3): History Remembers George H.W. Bush (Dec. 5), Mysterious Islands (Dec. 26), Great Performances: The Bernstein Centennial Celebration (Dec. 28)
Sunday, Dec. 2
Life-Size 2: A Christmas Eve (2018) 40% 9 p.m., Freeform
Berlin Station: Season 3 (2018) -- 9 p.m., Epix
Inside Syria’s Deadly Dynasty, 9 p.m., Nat Geo
The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Holiday Special, 10 p.m., ABC
Nightflyers: Season 1 (2018) 38% 10 p.m., Syfy
Monday, Dec. 3
Finding Joy, Acorn TV
Vanderpump Rules: Season 7, 9 p.m., Bravo
Unanchored, 10 p.m., Bravo
Wednesday, Dec. 5
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Season 2 (2018) 92% Amazon
Deal or No Deal, CNBC
History Remembers George H.W. Bush, 10 p.m., History Channel
Thursday, Dec. 6
Top Chef: Season 16, 9 p.m., Bravo
Friday, Dec. 7
RuPaul’s Drag Race Holi-slay Spectacular, 8 p.m., VH1
Love After Lockup: Season 2, 9 p.m., WE tv
Sunday, Dec. 9
Counterpart: Season 2 (2018) 100% 9 p.m., Starz
Deadly Legacy, 10 p.m., Investigation Discovery
Monday, Dec. 10
9th Annual CMA Country Christmas, 8 p.m., ABC
Pentatonix: A Not-So-Silent Night, 10 p.m., NBC
Tuesday, Dec. 11
Jeff Beck: Still on the Run, 7:30 p.m., Showtime
Wednesday, Dec. 12
Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors, Marvel HQ YouTube Channel
Champaign Ill, YouTube Premium
Agnostic Front: Godfathers of Hardcore, 7 p.m., Showtime
Paris to Pittsburgh, 9 p.m., National Geographic
Susan Powell: An ID Murder Mystery, 10 p.m., Investigation Discovery
Thursday, Dec. 13
Dr. Pimple Popper: The 12 Pops of Christmas, 9 p.m., TLC
The Carbonaro Effect: Season 4 (2018) -- 10 p.m., tru TV (midseason premiere)
GG Allin: All In the Family, 10 p.m., Showtime
Friday, Dec. 14
Roma (2018) 96% Netflix
Fuller House: Season 4 (2018) -- Netflix
Tidelands: Season 1 (2018) 77% Netflix
Travelers: Season 3 (2018) -- Netflix
Voltron: Legendary Defender: Season 8 (2018) 86% Netflix
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Part 1 (2018) 92% A Midwinter’s Tale, Netflix
The Innocent Man, Netflix
The Protector, Netflix
Sunderland Til I Die, Netflix
LOL: Last One Laughing, Amazon
RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars: Season 4 (2018) 86% 8 p.m., VH1
High & Mighty, 8 p.m., HBO Latino
k.d. lang: Landmarks Live in Concert – A Great Performances Special, 9 p.m., PBS
Korn’s Brian “Head” Welch: Loud Krazy Love, 10 p.m., Showtime
Saturday, Dec. 15
Pete Holmes: Dirty Clean, HBO
Dannemora Prison Break, 7 p.m., Oxygen
Sunday, Dec. 16
Springsteen on Broadway, Netflix
The Simpsons 30th Anniversary Marathon, 9 a.m., FXX
2018 Miss Universe, 7 p.m., Fox
Monday, Dec. 17
Blood, Acorn TV
America’s Got Talent: A Holiday of Champions, 10 p.m., NBC
Wednesday, Dec. 19
() -- YouTube Premium
Schitt's Creek 93%: Holiday Episode, 10 p.m., Pop
Full Frontal With Samantha Bee Presents “Christmas on I.C.E.” 10:30 p.m., TBS
Thursday, Dec. 20
Timeless 91%: Series Finale, 8 p.m., NBC
Friday, Dec. 21
Marvel's Runaways: Season 2 (2018) 88% Hulu
Vanity Fair: Miniseries (2018) 89% Amazon
Bird Box (2018) 64% Netflix
Perfume: Season 1, Netflix
38Below: Tales of Arcadia, Netflix
Derry Girls, Netflix
Tales By Light, Netflix
Bad Seeds, Netflix
Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski, Netflix
Last Hope, Netflix
Sirius the Jaeger, Netflix
Back With the Ex, Netflix
7 Days Out, Netflix
The Casketeers, Netflix
American Dream/American Knightmare, 8:30 p.m., Showtime
Saturday, Dec. 22
Demon’s Path, Netflix
Monday, Dec. 24
Agatha Raisin and the Fairies of Fryfam, Acorn TV
Hi Score Girl, Netflix
Wednesday, Dec. 26
41st Annual Kennedy Center Honors, 8 p.m., CBS
Mysterious Islands: Georgia’s Island of the Geechee People, 11 p.m., Travel Channel
Mysterious Islands: Islands of Eternal Life, 11:30 p.m., Travel Channel
Friday, Dec. 28
Into the Dark: New Year, New You, Hulu
Instant Hotel, Netflix
Murder Mountain, Netflix
Selection Day, Netflix
A Twelve-Year Night, Netflix
When the Angels Sleep, Netflix
Yummy Mummies, Netflix
Great Performances: The Bernstein Centennial Celebration, 9 p.m., PBS
Sunday, Dec. 30
The Orville: Season 2 (2018) 100% 8 p.m., Fox
The Lake Erie Murders: Who Killed Amy Mihaljevic?, 9 p.m., Investigation Discovery
Monday, Dec. 31
Taylor Swift reuputation Stadium Tour, Netflix
Fox’s New Year’s Eve With Steve Harvey: Live from Times Square, 8 p.m., Fox
Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest, 8 p.m., ABC
NBC’s New Year’s Eve, 10 p.m., NBC
(Photo by Jackson Lee Davis/AMC)
Despite leading a show like The Walking Dead, in which any character can die at any time, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) has survived for nine years. But now that Lincoln has left the show — and will star in his own series of The Walking Dead movies — Daryl (Norman Reedus) is stepping up and a whole new crew of survivors is populating the post-apocalyptic world. An older, Walker-wise Judith Grimes (Cailey Fleming) and new characters Magna (Nadia Hilker), Yamiko (Eleanor Matsuura), Connie (Lauren Ridloff), Kelly (Angel Theory), and Luke (Dan Fogler) are among the new blood the series has brought in to fill TWD‘s Rick Grimes–shaped void.
The Walking Dead is only the latest show that has had to move on in the wake of a major cast member departure. Throughout TV history, shows have dealt with losing their stars for various reasons — and in some cases the shows grew stronger with the new cast. Not all benefitted from a cast swap, however — there are certainly some duds on Rotten Tomatoes’ list of the most famous television replacements. Read on to find out who was replaced and why, along with how their departure was explained on screen.
(Photo by ©Aaron Spelling Prod./Courtesy Everett Collection; Courtesy Everett Collection)
Outgoing Character: Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty, pictured right)
The Replacement: Valerie Malone (Tiffani Amber Thiessen, pictured left)
The Explanation: Brenda left for drama school in London. Valerie Malone, a bad girl from Minnesota, came to live with the Walshes for seasons 5 through 10 of 90210. In 1994, Thiessen told press on the set she thought she was cast because “they heard I had a reputation for being easy to work with.”
(Photo by ©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Outgoing Character: Prue Halliwell (Doherty)
The Replacement: Paige (Rose McGowan)
The Reason: According to the New York Daily News, Alyssa Milano gave producers of the original WB show (not to be confused with the 2018 reboot) an ultimatum: It was either her or Doherty. The show’s producers said Doherty wanted to leave, and they let her.
The Explanation: Prue is killed by demons, and, shortly thereafter, the Halliwells discover a long-lost fourth sister, Paige, who ended up sticking around from season 4 through the show’s remaining eight seasons. There’s no bad blood on McGowan’s part, however: The actress wrote to Doherty via Instagram when Doherty underwent cancer treatment: “The men & brainwashed women in our business made it so we couldn’t be friends. I regret that.”
(Photo by Courtesy Everett Collection)
Outgoing Character: C.J. Parker (Pamela Anderson, pictured)
The Replacements: Donna Marco (Donna D’Errico) and Lani McKenzie (Carmen Electra)
The Explanation: C.J. Parker got married off the show, and it took two new lifeguards to fill her sandy footprints. While Carmen Electra told Esquire, “I don’t think I was hired as a replacement,” costar Kelly Packard recalled auditions for “a room of Pamela Anderson–looking women” and Traci Bingham said Donna “thought she was Pamela.” Electra was only on the series for one season and D’Errico for two, but the casting proved that a rotating roster of lifeguards could survive long into syndication.
(Photo by FX)
Outgoing Character: Kate Wales (Selma Blair)
The Replacement: Dr. Jordan Denby (Laura Bell Bundy, pictured)
The Reason: TMZ reported that Blair complained to the producers about Sheen’s unprofessional behavior, and Sheen demanded she be fired. Sheen told Jay Leno that Blair was written out because viewers expected the show to be about their relationship.
The Explanation: Charlie Goodson (Sheen) stopped seeing Kate for anger management therapy, but went into business with Dr. Denby. Reviews for Anger Management were never all that Fresh (season 1 has a 23% score on 35 reviews), so the switch didn’t seem to change much on the series — except perhaps, given season 2’s three meager reviews, that most critics stopped paying attention.
(Photo by Fox)
Outgoing Character: Martin Riggs (Clayne Crawford)
The Replacement: Wesley Cole (Sean William Scott, pictured)
The Explanation: The character of Riggs survived four films and a perma-rumored fifth, but on TV he was shot and killed. Scott told EW, “For a lot of fans that are upset that they’re not going to see Riggs, which I totally understand, I really believe they’re going to feel ‘OK, they handled it in a way that’s really respectful to that character and what he means to the show.’”
(Photo by CBS)
Outgoing Character: Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin)
The Replacement: David Rossi (Joe Mantegna, pictured)
The Reason: Patinkin said that the violent subject matter of the murder-centric series was “destructive to my soul.”
The Explanation: Mirroring Patinkin’s own experience, Gideon also left the Behavioral Analysis Unit due to emotional distress. His former partner Rossi has filled in ever since and continues to lead the show in its 14th season.
(Photo by CBS)
Outgoing Character: Dr. Jeffrey Geiger (Mandy Patinkin)
The Replacement: Dr. Kate Austin (Christine Lahti, pictured)
The Reason: Patinkin wanted to be with his family in New York, while Hope filmed in Los Angeles.
The Explanation: Geiger resigned after he couldn’t save Alan Birch (Peter MacNicol) from a gunshot wound, although the show insisted Dr. Austin was not replacing him. Unlike Criminal Minds, Patinkin did return for guest appearances on Chicago Hope.
(Photo by CMT)
The Character: Rayna James (Connie Britton)
The Reason: When the series was canceled by ABC and moved to CMT, Britton decided to leave the show, working with the writers to give Rayna a dramatic finale.
The Explanation: Rayna died in the hospital from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Doubleday’s singer/songwriter Jessie Craine and Bilson’s Highway 65 record label exec Alyssa Greene joined the cast in the series’ fifth season, with Bilson leaving at the end of that season and Doubleday staying on through the sixth and final year.
Doubleday prepared for the worst when she entered the show, she told The Boot: “If everyone hates me, it doesn’t matter. It’s a paycheck. I’ve felt pretty at home since the day I got here.”
Interestingly, Britton left 9-1-1 after only one season, and Jennifer Love Hewitt stepped in as a new call center operator. She also appeared in only the first of eight seasons of Ryan Murphy‘s American Horror Story anthology series, while other stars from season 1, like Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, and Jessica Lange, formed something like a troupe and continued with the show.
(Photo by Courtesy Everett Collection)
Outgoing Character: Jill Munroe (Farrah Fawcett, pictured left)
The Replacement: Kris Munroe (Cheryl Ladd, pictured right)
The Reason: When Fawcett left the show, she said it was because it prevented her from growing as an actor. Producer Aaron Spelling sued her for $7 million.
The Explanation: Jill resigned from the Angels to become a race-car driver, and — wouldn’t you know it? — she also has a sister named Kris who’s fresh out of the police academy. Ratings held steady enough with Ladd, but dwindled when other new Angels started to rotate in during the final seasons, including Shelly Hack replacing Kate Jackson, and then Tanya Roberts replacing Hack.
(Photo by ©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Outgoing Character: Catherine (Linda Hamilton, pictured)
The Replacement: Diana (Jo Anderson)
The Reason: Hamilton left the series, which ran from 1987 to 1990, when she was pregnant.
The Explanation: Catherine was killed, leaving her love, Vincent (Ron Perlman), heartbroken. Diana offered a potential new love interest, but many fans felt the magic left with Hamilton. Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin wrote for the show and told THR, “You can’t do two seasons of telling the world, ‘This is a love story for the ages, this is Romeo and Juliet,’ and then suddenly third seasons say, ‘Juliet? Forget Juliet. It’s Romeo and Harriet.'”
(Photo by ©Lorimar/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Outgoing Character: Valerie Hogan (Valerie Harper, pictured)
The Replacement: Sandy Hogan (Sandy Duncan)
The Reason: Wrongful termination, as Harper was vindicated in court.
The Explanation: You would think star Valerie Harper would be safe playing Valerie Hogan on a show called Valerie, but Valerie Hogan died in an automobile accident. Michael Hogan’s (Josh Taylor) sister Sandy came to live with Valerie’s Family, later renamed (again) The Hogan Family.
At the time, Duncan told UPI she didn’t know there was any controversy: “The story I got before I agreed to do the show was that Valerie had left the series. Valerie and I have known each other for years. And while we were never friends, we were friendly. And I’m relieved to know she has told people the dispute is not my problem. I refuse to be on the hot seat.”
Despite Harper’s victory, the show lasted four more seasons, including one on CBS, without her.
(Photo by ©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Outgoing Character: Henry Blake (McLean Stevenson)
The Replacement: Sherman Potter (Harry Morgan, pictured)
The Explanation: Blake was tragically shot down while returning home. Sherman Potter joined the M.A.S.H. unit for the rest of its eight seasons, and its spinoff AfterMASH. Morgan had impressed the producers when he guest-starred as a different character in the third season premiere.
(Photo by Courtesy Everett Collection)
Outgoing Character: Chrissy Snow (Suzanne Somers, pictured)
The Replacement: Cindy Snow (Jenilee Harrison)
The Explanation: Chrissy also had a sister we’d never met before. The show went on for eight total seasons and a spinoff, Three’s a Crowd.
Outgoing Character: Mike Flaherty (Michael J. Fox)
The Replacement: Charlie Crawford (Charlie Sheen)
The Reason: Fox’s real-life battle with Parkinson’s.
The Explanation: Mike became an environmental lobbyist for senator Alex P. Keaton (if only we’d gotten a scene of them together!), and Mayor Winston (Barry Bostwick) got a new deputy, Charlie Crawford (Sheen). Sheen earned the show a younger audience, according to The New York Times. Sheen told the paper, “I’m just glad people are responding. I can’t comment on what they’re responding to.” Spin City went two more seasons and Fox returned as a guest star.
(Photo by Kristin Callahan/Everett Collection)
Outgoing Character: Det. Elliot Stabler (Meloni, pictured)
The Replacement: Det. Nick Amaro (Pino)
The Reason: Meloni and NBC couldn’t come to terms on a new contract.
The Explanation: Stabler retired, so Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) needed a new partner. Nick Amaro was that partner, and stayed on the job for four seasons. SVU has made it to 20 seasons, matching the original Law & Order.
(Photo by NBC)
Outgoing Character: DA Benjamin Stone (Michael Moriarty)
The Replacement: DA Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston, pictured)
The Reason: Moriarty claimed he was forced out for speaking out against a meeting Janet Reno had with NBC, believing the Attorney General would impose restrictive laws on television.
The Explanation: Stone resigned and McCoy took over. Now it’s hard to imagine the show without Sam Waterston as DA Jack McCoy, and he’s who you’re most likely to see in a syndicated rerun. In 1995, Waterston was on speaking terms with Moriarty. “I have nothing to say about his reasons for leaving,” Waterston told The New York Times. “But I’ve talked to him since, and I think we’re OK.”
(Photo by Courtesy Everett Collection)
Outgoing Character: Paul Hennessy (Ritter, pictured)
The Reason: Ritter’s sudden death at the age of 54.
The Explanation: In the aftermath of Ritter’s (and his character’s) death, the show added Garner as widow Cate’s (Katey Sagal) father, and then Spade as her nephew who came to live with them. The show completed three seasons with the new cast.
(Photo by ©NBC/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Outgoing Character: Doug Ross (George Clooney, pictured)
The Replacement: Luka Kovac (Goran Visnjic)
The Reason: Clooney fulfilled his five-year contract with ER, even as he ascended to movie stardom.
The Explanation: Ross moved to Seattle after a dispute over being caught helping a mother euthanize her terminal son. The next year, Luka Kovac joined the E.R. an attending physician. Luka even dated Ross’ love, Nurse Hathaway (Julianna Margulies) until the two reunited (with a surprise Clooney cameo) when Margulies left the show too. The series ran for 10 more years, ending after its 15th season (during which Clooney and several other cast members returned).
(Photo by ©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Outgoing Character: Det. John Kelley (David Caruso)
The Replacement: Det. Bobby Simone (Jimmy Smits, pictured right)
The Explanation: Internal Affairs pushed Kelly off the force, and Simone became Sipowicz’s (Dennis Franz) new partner. Eventually, Rick Schroder joined the cast as well. Once Caruso was on CSI: Miami, he admitted he made a mistake leaving NPYD Blue.
The modest Smits wouldn’t take credit for the ratings bump after he joined the show. “I don’t think I solely am responsible for that,” Smits told SF Gate in 1995. “But the people at the network are happy.”
(Photo by Shane Harvey/FOX)
Outgoing Character: Fox Mulder (David Duchovny, pictured)
The Replacement: John Doggett (Robert Patrick)
The Reason: Duchovny’s contract was up after seven years, and he was also suing Fox for syndication earnings. He would later return full-time in the 10th season.
The Explanation: Mulder got abducted by aliens, of course. Agent Doggett became Scully’s (Gillian Anderson) new partner, but without the seven years of rapport and back story, Patrick’s Dogett just didn’t have the same spark. Some critics, however, are reconsidering his seasons.
In 2017, Patrick told People TV he knew the fans weren’t interested in him at first, but “we won ’em over and we got two seasons out of it.” It worked out for X-Files fans, though: Duchovny and Anderson starred in two feature films and then two additional seasons over a decade later.
(Photo by CBS)
Outgoing Character: Charlie Harper (Sheen)
The Replacement: Walden Schmidt (Ashton Kutcher, pictured)
The Reason: Sheen’s public meltdown and lashing out against creator Chuck Lorre.
The Explanation: Charlie was murdered by an ex, and the heartbroken billionaire Walden Schmidt took over his share of the rent. Kutcher said after his arrival that he drew a younger and more international audience to the show.
“The demos for the show have actually started to skew a little bit younger,” Kutcher said in 2012 after half a season. “I can see a reflection of that on on the social media surfaces. You can actually see the international markets that are going to pop with the show. I think we just opened in Germany this week, and it was double.”
(Photo by ©Paramount Television/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Outgoing Character: Diane Chambers (Shelley Long, pictured left)
The Replacement: Rebecca Howe (Kirstie Alley, pictured right)
The Reason: Long wanted to pursue a movie career and left after five seasons.
The Explanation: When Diane left Sam Malone (Ted Danson) before their wedding, he sold the bar to a corporation that put Rebecca Howe in charge, making her Sam’s new romantic foil. It worked. Cheers ran for 11 years total and Alley is arguably even more closely identified with it than Long. The show previously had to fill a void when Nicholas Colosanto died during the third season, which is when Woody Harrelson joined the series.
Did we leave out your favorite replacement? Tell us in the comments.
(Photo by Netflix)
Wondering when your favorite show is wrapping its season? Check out the calendar below to find out TV’s fall finale dates.
Upcoming finales: House of Cards series, You: Season 1, Kidding: Season 1, Mayans M.C.: Season 1, The Purge: Season 1
Thursday, Nov. 1
One Dollar: Season 1 (2018) 80% 3 a.m., CBS All Access
Saturday, Nov. 3
Tracey Ullman's Show: Season 3 (2018) -- midnight, HBO
Monday, Nov. 5
Love & Hip Hop Hollywood: Season 5, 8 p.m., VH1
Drain the Oceans: Season 1, 9 p.m., National Geographic on FOX
Wednesday, Nov. 7
Lucha Underground: Season 4 (2018) -- 8 p.m., El Rey
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 13 (2018) 94% 10 p.m., FXX
Are You the One?: Season 7 (2018) -- 10 p.m., MTV
Cheap Eats: Season 5, 10 p.m., Cooking Channel
Thursday, Nov. 8
Bureau of Magical Things: Season 1, 7 p.m., Teen Nick
Shahs of Sunset: Season 7, 9 p.m., Bravo
How Far is Tattoo Far?: Season 1, 9:30 p.m, MTV
The Return of Shelby the Swamp Man: Season 1, 10 p.m, History
Saturday, Nov. 10
Knight Squad: Season 1, 8:30 p.m., Nick
Fatal Vows: Season 6, 10 p.m., ID
Sunday, Nov. 11
The Circus: Inside the Wildest Political Show on Earth: Season 3 (2018) -- 8 p.m., Showtime
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown: Season 12 (2018) 100% 9 p.m., CNN
The Last Ship: Season 5 (2018) -- 9 p.m., TNT
Paranormal Survivor: Season 4, 9 p.m., Travel
Kidding: Season 1 (2018) 77% 10 p.m., Showtime
You: Season 1 (2018) 93% 10 p.m., Lifetime
Tuesday, Nov. 13
Basketball: A Love Story: Season 1, 8 p.m., ESPN
Driver vs. Driver: Season 2, 9 p.m., Golf
Native America: Miniseries (2018) -- 10 p.m., PBS
Garage Brothers: Season 1 (2018) -- 10 p.m., Discovery
Wednesday, Nov. 14
American Horror Story: Apocalypse (2018) 79% 10 p.m., FX
Dopesick Nation: Season 1, 10 p.m., Viceland
Friday, Nov. 16
Fish My City with Mike Ianconelli: Season 1, 10 p.m., Nat Geo WILD
Haunted Live: Season 1, 10 p.m., Travel
Real Time With Bill Maher: Season 16 (2018) -- 10 p.m., HBO
Saturday, Nov. 17
Deutschland 86: Deutschland 86 (2018) 100% Sundance
() -- 9 p.m., Showtime
Sunday, Nov. 18
The Durrells: Season 3 (2018) 100% 8 p.m., PBS
Hetty Feather: Season 4, 8:30 p.m., BYUtv
Poldark: Season 4 (2018) 81% 9 p.m., PBS
Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle: Season 1 (2018) -- 9 p.m., Sundance
Relative Race: Season 4, 9 p.m., BYUtv
Salvage Dawgs: Season 9, 9 p.m., DIY
Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge: Season 1, 9 p.m., Food Network
The Woman in White: Miniseries (2018) 80% 10 p.m., PBS
This Is Life With Lisa Ling: Season 5 (2018) -- 10 p.m., CNN
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver: Season 5 (2018) 100% 11 p.m., HBO
Monday, Nov. 19
AMC Visionaries: Season 1, 12 a.m., AMC
Dancing With the Stars: Season 27 (2018) -- 8 p.m., ABC
The Real Housewives of Orange County: Season 13 (2018) -- 9 p.m., Bravo
Deadly Rich: Season 1, 10 p.m., NBC
Tuesday, Nov. 20
Keep It Spotless: Season 1, 8 p.m., Nick
The Impeachment of Bill Clinton: Season 1, 9 p.m., A&E
Flipping Out: Season 11, 10 p.m., Bravo
Tosh.0: Season 13, 10 p.m., Comedy Central
The Jim Jefferies Show: Season 2 (2018) -- 10:30 p.m., Comedy Central
Wednesday, Nov. 21
The Wild Andes: Miniseries (2018) -- 8 p.m., Smithsonian Channel
The Little Drummer Girl: Miniseries (2018) 95% 9 p.m., AMC
Man’s Greatest Food: Season 2, 9 p.m., Cooking Channel
Greenleaf: Season 3 (2018) -- 10 p.m., OWN
Stan Against Evil: Season 3 (2018) -- 10 p.m., IFC
Forged in Fire: Season 2, 10 p.m., History
The Real Housewives of Dallas: Season 3 (2018) -- 10 p.m., Bravo
Sinking Cities: Season 1 (2018) -- 10 p.m., PBS
Friday, Nov. 23
The Romanoffs: Season 1 (2018) 49% Amazon
Deadly Women: Season 12, 9 p.m., ID
Thursday, Nov. 29
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Season 20 (2018) 100% 10 p.m., NBC
Friday, Nov. 30
The Paynes: Season 1 (2018) -- 9 p.m., OWN
Sunday, Dec. 2
Camping: Season 1 (2018) 27% 10 p.m., HBO
Monday, Dec. 3
The Good Doctor: Season 2 (2018) -- 10 p.m., ABC
Saturday, Dec. 8
Versailles: Season 3 (2018) 44% 10 p.m., Ovation
Sunday, Dec. 9
Dancing With the Stars: Juniors: Season 1 (2018) -- 8 p.m., ABC
Enemies: The President, Justice & the FBI: Miniseries (2018) 100% 8 p.m., Showtime
Monday, Dec. 10
My Brilliant Friend: Season 1 (2018) 93% 9 p.m., HBO
Tuesday, Dec. 11
Married at First Sight: Honeymoon Island: Season 1, 9 p.m., Lifetime
Saturday, Dec. 15
Room 104: Season 2 (2018) 90% midnight, HBO
Sunday, Dec. 16
Holiday Gingerbread Showdown: Season 1, 9 p.m., Food Network
Monday, Dec. 17
Fake the Great Masterpiece: Season 1, 1 p.m., Ovation
The Great Christmas Light Fight: Season 7 (2019) -- 8 p.m., ABC
Christmas Cookie Challenge: Season 2, 10 p.m., Food Network
Who Do You Think You Are?: Season 9, 10 p.m., TLC
Tuesday, Dec. 18
The Voice: Season 15 (2018) -- 9 p.m., NBC
Loudermilk: Season 2 (2018) -- 10 p.m., Audience
Holiday in Brooklyn: Season 1, 10 p.m., BET
Married at First Sight: Season 1, 10 p.m., Lifetime
Friday, Dec. 21
Titans: Season 1 (2018) 78% DC Universe
Mike Judge Presents: Tales From the Tour Bus: Season 2 (2018) -- Cinemax
Thursday, Dec. 27
The Wine Show: Season 2 (2018) -- 10 p.m., Ovation
A Series of Unfortunate Events: Season 3 (2019) 100% 3 a.m., Netflix
Thursday, Jan. 3
Tell Me a Story: Season 1 (2018) 60% CBS All Access
Sunday, Jan. 6
() -- 9 p.m., Facebook
Escape at Dannemora: Season 1 (2018) 88% 10 p.m., Showtime
Thursday, Jan. 24
The Good Place: Season 3 (2018) 98% 9:30 p.m., NBC
Friday, Jan. 25
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 4 (2018) 94% 3 a.m., Netflix
Friday, Feb. 8
Hell's Kitchen: Season 18 (2018) -- 8 p.m., FOX
Monday, Feb. 18
America’s Got Talent: The Champions, 8 p.m., NBC
(Photo by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; ©Walt Disney/Everett Collection)
The Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox stockholders voted at the end of July to approve Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox. For Disney’s movies, this means they now have access to Fox’s Marvel properties like X-Men and Fantastic Four. Disney will now be the home to the Avatar franchise and classic Fox titles.
For television, Disney gets 20th Century Fox studio, FX Networks, National Geographic, and more. The actual Fox network is not part of the deal. Fox splits off and becomes “New Fox,” which includes Fox Broadcasting Co. and the Fox TV station group, Fox Sports and Fox News.
What this means for movie fans is more clear: for one, Marvel fans hope Wolverine can finally join The Avengers, and now that Disney owns the studio that released Star Wars: A New Hope and its 1997 special edition, maybe they can restore the unaltered theatrical edition.
To find out what this means for TV fans, Rotten Tomatoes interviewed current Fox Television CEO Dana Walden, FX CEO John Landgraf, and prolific creator on both networks Ryan Murphy, and found 7 big ways TV fans win in this Disney–Fox deal.
(Photo by Fox)
Television production arm 20th Century Fox Television produces shows on all networks, like This Is Us on NBC, so they’re not going to pull Fox Television shows off of New Fox just because they’re splitting from the network.
Fox Television currently produces Fox’s The Simpsons, 9-1-1, The Resident, The Gifted, The Orville, and this season’s The Cool Kids, Rel, The Passage, and Proven Innocent. And New Fox will fight to keep the shows that define the Fox network.
“The Simpsons is so much a part of the brand,” Walden said. “There are no plans for them to go anywhere other than Fox. We have a couple years of episodes already in progress on The Simpsons.”
That’s also good news for anyone pitching animated shows to Fox. Look how The Simpsons has anchored Sunday night animation on Fox.
“There’s been such an incredible halo effect of that show and the other animated series that are on our Sunday night,” Walden acknowledged. “Keeping quality shows that help define a network’s brand — there are reasons aside from financial you keep producing shows.”
(Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS)
New Fox may be losing 20th Century Fox Television as an in-house creator of shows, but the split frees them to select from the best new shows all the TV production studios offer. That can still include Fox Television, but also the television arms of Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., MGM, Lionsgate, and more.
“What makes New Fox new: It will be the only network to operate with complete independence,” Walden said. “It will have the ability to pick up the best shows from any production company with no studio agenda. We see this as an opportunity to get vibrant, independent studios back on broadcast.”
Sony and Warner Brothers aren’t hurting — Sony produces NBC’s The Blacklist, ABC’s The Good Doctor, Netflix’s The Crown, and YouTube Premium’s Karate Kid sequel Cobra Kai, while WB produces CBS’s The Big Bang Theory and all The CW’s Arrowverse shows. Walden just wants first dibs.
“We want to be their first choice among the big four networks,” Walden said. “Last season 90 percent of our development came from our own studio. This year we’ll reduce it to 50 percent, with the other half coming from outside.”
(Photo by Buena Vista)
Disney is planning to launch its own streaming service next year, which will include a new live-action Star Wars series as well as catalogs of Disney-owned series and movies. The New York Times reports that National Geographic programming is likely to be added to Disney streaming, though it is still unknown whether Fox’s catalog will be combined. If it were, that would include movies like Avatar, Die Hard, Planet of the Apes, and other major franchises and TV classics (M*A*S*H, L.A. Law, and The X-Files, to name a few), and you get a robust streaming environment with familiar titles that appeals to a broad base.
And if Fox content doesn’t appear on Disney streaming, Hulu is still available. When Fox’s share of Hulu is added to Disney, Disney will own two-thirds of Hulu. Analysts predict Disney can beef up Hulu with Fox shows that are maybe too edgy and adult for its family friendly Disney service. Empire, 24, The Orville, and others may go better with The Handmaid’s Tale and Castle Rock than animated movies.
Disney also owns ESPN and their ESPN+ app, and FX+ is available for $5.99 a month for more options.
(Photo by FX)
Even before the Disney–Fox merger was appoved, Ryan Murphy signed a new deal to develop shows for Netflix, where he’s doing Ratched, a show based on the Nurse Ratched character from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
“Every show that I have established that is running that’s on FOX or FX, my intent is to move forward with them and to keep going with them and to be actively involved with them,” Murphy said while on a panel for Pose.
There won’t be any new Ryan Murphy shows on Fox or FX. Netflix snagged the future of Ryan Murphy, but as long as New Fox and Disney play ball, he’ll keep giving them the good stuff they inherited with the purchase.
“It’s been an interesting transition for me, because in many ways it feels the same,” Murphy said. “I’m still close to everybody at FX and FOX and speak to them almost every day while I’m pursuing my new development. So I’m really excited about the things that I’m developing for Netflix, and I’m also very excited about continuing the properties I have for FOX.”
(Photo by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)
Disney is already developing a live-action Star Wars series, thus making its streaming service a must have for Star Wars fans. Via ABC, they’ve also done Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter based on characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Observer suggests that Disney could turn the Alien franchise into a streaming series too. Think of all the Fox franchises that could open up as series: Planet of the Apes was already a short-lived series, but with today’s technology they can do it right. Or how about the weekly adventures of John McClane? (Our own Comics on TV columnist has been rooting for a Fantastic Four or Silver Surfer series.)
(Photo by Walt Disney Pictures)
FX CEO John Landgraf hopes his network can contribute to the synergy of the Disney-Fox deal. FX is home to edgy adult shows like The Americans, Atlanta, American Horror Story, American Crime Story, The Shield, and so on.
“I think you could make a case Disney does G and PG and PG-13 better than any other company in the history of the world, but they don’t do much R,” Landgraf said. “We do that pretty well. So I think there’s a lot of the properties that don’t readily translate themselves into truly adult stuff, but if you’re asking me if there’s IP locked in there that I’d love to get my hands on, yeah.”
Star Wars has never had a problem entertaining fans of all ages, but surely there are some grown-up fans who would appreciate a more adult and mature take on the galaxy far, far away. If Disney would ever allow such an approach, Landgraf is ready.
“I won’t be the keeper of that flame,” Landgraf said. “If somebody gives us an opportunity to do something with it, I’ll be thrilled, but we’ll see.”
(Photo by Netflix)
Competition is good and a major concern about Disney acquiring Fox is the idea that it’s inching ever closer to an entertainment monopoly. The competitive landscape remains intact even with this merger — it just looks different.
Disney gets more shows for their streaming services, and Netflix will lose all its Disney content by the end of 2019 and will have to come up with even more originals to keep subscribers interested.
Netflix has shown how good they are at creating compelling water-cooler television: Stranger Things, Mindhunter, and GLOW are three examples. The remaining question is: Can they create the next Bambi or Little Mermaid?
When The X-Files returned to Fox in January 2016, fans were apprehensive. Would the revival hold up over time? Could it make up for the original iteration’s lackluster ninth season?
Alas, not all reboots and revivals are created equal. While NBC’s season 9 revival of Will & Grace is Certified Fresh at 86% on the Tomatometer, the CW’s new take on Dynasty fell flat with a 53% Tomatometer score.
On the flip side, some titles like streaming series Cobra Kai, a sequel to the famous Karate Kid films, become big hits. The YouTube Red show premiered May 2 and has maintained a 100% score to land in the top spot of our scorecard of shows based on previous titles that returned from the dead.
The X-Files is now two episodes into its final season — at least if star Gillian Anderson and creator Chris Carter are true to their word. Anderson said she will not play Agent Scully again, and Carter said he would not continue without her. So fans especially hope they make the most out of the last eight episodes, because this may be what they have to remember Scully and Mulder (David Duchovny) by.
Anderson, Duchovny, and Mitch Pileggi joined producer-writer-directors Glen Morgan, Darin Morgan, and James Wong for a press conference on the 20th Century Fox studio lot on Wednesday as part of the Television Critics Association winter press tour. Carter was unable to travel since he was evacuated from Montecito due to mudslides.
The elephant in the room, Anderson’s departure, got addressed right off the bat. She explained how she came to her decision after reflecting on 2016’s six-episode X-Files season.
“I didn’t feel like I would necessarily have been happy if those six were how we said goodbye,” Anderson said. “I thought the way the writers were talking about doing another season — were we to do another season — sounded more like a good ending to me. When I was asked to do another season, I agreed to do another season. It never occurred to me, nor was it discussed or suggested, that now we were starting a new series. So I said, ‘Yes, I will do this.’ But in my mind, it had always been that it would just be one season.”
Anderson said she wants the freedom to pursue other roles without being committed to a series for months at a time. She has many potential new roles in the works but none she would reveal just yet. She did confirm that she is not returning to American Gods.
“I’m not doing any more American Gods,” she said. “[Showrunners] Bryan [Fuller] and Michael Green aren’t either, as has been announced.”
Despite Anderson’s definitive decision and Carter’s seeming resignation, Duchovny still said he could go either way on future X-Files.
“The X-Files is a frame,” Duchovny said. “It’s a show. It’s an idea that Chris came up with many, many years ago. It happens to have these three actors in it that people have become attached to, but I believe that The X-Files as a frame is totally legitimate in any form. Whether it can go on, who knows? I don’t see Nostradamus up here. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Right now, the actors are still finishing up the latest season, although the last scene is in the can.
“We just have a couple things to do on episodes 9 and 10,” Morgan said. “I’m pretty sure the ending has been filmed.”
Many fans were disappointed in season 10, which just barely eeked into Fresh territory with a 64% Tomatometer score. Duchovny gave fans reason to believe in this longer season.
“One of the reasons these 10 are, I believe, a lot stronger than the last six that we did was, because the show is so flexible, the show has so many different tones, if you only have six then it’s a little schizophrenic,” Duchovny said. “If you have 10, you can kind of find a groove between all these different [things]. I think this is a lot more indicative of the kind of show that we used to have.”
Morgan thinks it’s simpler than that.
“That’s why they’re so strong this year; I think the mistake we made was separating them,” Morgan said. “Their chemistry is phenomenal. When I was working with them, they’re improvising and I go, ‘Just keep going.’ They’re incredible.”
That said, Morgan stands by season 10.
“I get annoyed when they say the last batch weren’t as good,” Morgan said. “I feel good about what we did. I thought what Gillian did in ‘Home Again,’ her performance was incredible.”
Episode 7 sounds like a winner, and we mean “sounds” figuratively because it seems like there won’t be much sound to hear in it at all.
“It probably has 15, 20 lines of dialogue in the whole episode,” Duchovny said. “It was really a ballsy move on everybody’s part. I think putting up an hour of television on a network that has maybe 20 lines in it and still be riveting, I’m sure not all of us believed it. It’s one of our more special episodes that we’ve done in a long time.”
Anderson said she still wants the X-Files episode to feel modern, even with minimal dialogue.
“It’s really interesting as an actor to work on something that has no dialogue, because you don’t want to end up miming what you would say were you to have dialogue,” Anderson said. “It was a fascinating challenge to not end up just being Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton in the way that we were communicating to each other.”
Morgan said that silent episode also has no supporting cast.
“Show seven is only David and Gillian,” Morgan said. “They’re the only people in it.”
There is a reason why Scully and Mulder only speak to each other a handful of times.
“Technology is doing more talking than we are,” Morgan hinted.
Every X-Files season has a comedy episode as well, and Morgan said that is the fourth episode of this season.
There’s plenty of love to go around to the supporting cast too. Director Skinner (Pileggi) gets an episode to explore his past.
“Skinner had referenced, when Mulder was trying to resign and he was refusing his resignation, he related one of his experiences in Vietnam that was horrific to him and affected him terribly,” Pileggi said. “You actually get to see that played out. Being able to let the audience know who Skinner is, why he is the way he is and why he behaves the way he does, why he’s done the things that he does, what his relationship is with them and why it’s the way it is, you find out all this stuff about him. There really is a lot that is revealed.”
Look for new and returning guest stars too, some in different roles.
“Brian Huskey is in [an] episode,” Morgan said. “Haley Joel Osment’s in the one with Skinner. Show three, Karin Konoval, who played Ma Peacock, she’s my favorite actor there is. On Intruders, she said, ‘My goal is to play a man.’ So I was going to have her play the Russian commander and then Chris said, ‘Can I use her?’ She got to play three or four different parts.”
Agent Doggett, however, could not be freed from his day job.
“I know we tried to get Robert Patrick a couple times,” Morgan said. “Scorpion shoots 22 episodes. We tried. It’s just a scheduling issue.”
Fans are also itching to see Scully and Mulder’s son, William, since he’s been mentioned in the season premiere. Stay tuned.
“For us as actors, it’s just the human aspect of it,” Duchovny said. “It’s not really who William is, but it’s the fact that you’re dealing with a child after so many years. It’s certainly a very interesting character that just shows up as an adult almost. It’s an amazing thing that we’re that old, that long-running that you can do that.”
And by episode 10, that’s that. Will all your questions be answered? No, but maybe more than you think.
“Some of those questions will be answered,” Morgan said. “Some, I think, won’t because that’s the way this show is. I think to answer whether it would go on in any form is one for Chris.”
Outside of work, Anderson has been busy as an activist. She’s supported the Time’s Up movement on social media and joined the protest at the Golden Globes, wearing all black. The middle of the week following the Globes may have been too soon to ask about the organization’s progress, but the outlook for its legal defense fund — which has surpassed its $15 million goal and now stands over $16.5 million and rising — and other initiatives is bright.
— Gillian Anderson (@GillianA) January 7, 2018
“It’s only Wednesday,” Anderson said. “I think it was a very powerful evening, being there. I think the way it was put together by the initiative itself, that the legal defense fund, the harassment commission that’s being put together by Kathleen Kennedy and others is a really effective, proactive, adult way forward towards fair, equal, accountable workplaces, not just in the industry but as an example in other industries. I think it was very effective, and I think people are paying attention.”
The X-Files airs Wednesday nights at 8/7C on Fox.
(Photo by AMC; The CW; NBC; CBS All Access; ABC)
We surveyed TV fans and asked which midseason returning and premiering series they were most looking forward to in the first quarter of 2018. The top series, according to 623 Rotten Tomatoes users (out of 1,359 total survey respondents), include The Walking Dead (returning from its midseason break), The X-Files (returning for its 11th season), The Alienist (a new TNT miniseries), and, in the reality category, American Idol (getting reboot treatment).
Click through to find out which other series made the top 10 in each category.
These series, chosen by Rotten Tomatoes users, debuted their current seasons in the fall and are returning early in the new year to continue their runs.
Top 10 out of 40 titles:
Top 10 based on 1,359 overall survey responses:
1. The Walking Dead – 10%
2. This Is Us – 9%
3. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – 5%
4. The Good Doctor – 4%
5. Star Trek: Discovery – 4%
6. NCIS – 4%
7. The Big Bang Theory – 4%
8. The Good Place – 4%
9. How to Get Away With Murder – 3%
10. Supernatural – 3%
Danny Tanner, Uncle Jesse, and Uncle Joey must have raised their girls right, because when Kimmy Gibbler and Stephanie Tanner move in with DJ, they recreate the magic of the original Full House. In Fuller House, DJ (Candace Cameron Bure) is now a widow; her husband, Mr. Fuller, was a firefighter killed in the line of duty. So, just like her widower father, DJ moves her sister (Jodie Sweetin) and best friend (Andrea Barber) into the old house to help her raise her children.
The whole cast is back: John Stamos as Jesse, Bob Saget as Danny, and Dave Coulier as Joey, with Lori Loughlin reprising her role as Becky and Scott Weinger as Steve. The only one who’s gone is Michelle (Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen), and the entire cast makes a joke about their absence in the pilot. We sat down with Bure, Sweetin and Barber after their panel for the Television Critics Association and became part of the Fuller House cast game. They were scoring points for reporters who asked them something they hadn’t been asked before, and we won! Fuller House premieres Friday, February 26 on Netflix.
Fred Topel for Rotten Tomatoes: Do you have new appreciation for the roles Bob, John, and Dave played in the original series, since you’re taking on the parental figure roles now?
Andrea Barber: Well, we’re female and we’re moms, so I think we kind of know what we’re doing more than they did when it comes to the parenting of the kids on the show. We always have great respect for them, but we also take our jobs very seriously and don’t crack quite as many bad jokes — off color jokes — as they did back in the day.
Jodie Sweetin: But I think being the adults now and being responsible, not responsible but caretakers of these kids while they’re on set with us, is really something that’s really important to us as former child actors, as adult actors, as moms. It’s something that we take pretty seriously.
Rotten Tomatoes: Is playing sisters different now that you’re both adults and the age difference isn’t quite as dramatic as it is when you’re younger?
Sweetin: It’s like being sisters. When you’re young and there’s that five or six year age difference, I was the annoying little sister that desperately wanted your attention, and now we’re friends, which is kind of what happens with your real sisters.
Candace Cameron Bure: We’re just like, “Help me! What advice can I come to you for? Tell me this, tell me that.” It’s on an even playing field. There’s no age difference once you become adults. We’re both moms, all three of us are moms. It’s a better camaraderie than being young.
Sweetin: We have truly grown up together, and I think now we’ve kind of grown into this really wonderful, beautiful, adult quasi-sibling relationship.
Rotten Tomatoes: Andrea and Jodie, you have taken more breaks since Full House than Candace did. What occupied you during your breaks and what was it like to come back?
Barber: Well, I left show business completely when I was 18. I never planned to come back, because when the original show ended, I had just started college, so I moved right into the dorm and started education. Then I got married and had kids and worked at a college for a while. I’ve been at home for the last several years raising my kids at home, and this show came along at a great time. When Jeff Franklin, our creator, called me and asked if I’d be willing to reprise the role of Kimmy Gibler, I just said absolutely without hesitation. I was ready for it, but the break was good. Now I’m ready to be with these ladies.
Rotten Tomatoes: Would you act again for anything else?
Barber: I don’t know. Someone else asked me that today and I’m so focused on Fuller House and launching this first season that my heart is here right now. I can’t even predict what would happen in the future.
Rotten Tomatoes: And Jodie?
Sweetin: Yeah, I too got busy with my children. I have a daughter who’s almost eight and one who’s five, so I was busy being mommy. I had stepped out of the world a little bit. I did several independent films and a few things here and there, but I kind of moved a little bit into normal life. I think in doing so, it’s given me a huge appreciation for what Full House is, what working with people that I love really is. Kind of being able to come full circle, so it’s been a wonderful experience.
Rotten Tomatoes: You have Macy Gray in one of the new episodes, but which of the great guest stars you had in the 1990s would you love to have back?
Bure: Ooh, good question. We haven’t gotten that one yet. That’s a new one.
Sweetin: We’re always giving points for good questions.
Bure: But it has to be from the 1990s?
Sweetin: We had Stacie Q.
Bure: Tommy Page. We never got New Kids on the Block.
Barber: No, and we really want New Kids on the Block though. We’ll put our vote for that.
Rotten Tomatoes: Would it have to be NKOTBSB now?
Bure: No, that was just for the tour one summer.
Barber: We’re the experts on all things boy band.
Rotten Tomatoes: Andrea, how nice was it to see Kimmy dress up for once?
Barber: Yeah, that was great. They’re like, “We want Kimmy to look pretty.” And I said, “Well…” That was fantastic, to get all glammed up and to wear a fancy dress and then to dance with some hot dudes from Dancing with the Stars. That was one of our favorite episodes to do. I think Kimmy’s always been pretty but just in a very unique and eccentric way. To look just a normal pretty was pretty fun for one episode.
Rotten Tomatoes: Being mothers yourselves, are you up on all the teen lingo like “on fleek?”
Bure: I’m definitely up on most of it because I have three teenagers. I have the oldest kids of the three of us, so my kids are always teaching me or correcting me and basically telling me the words I’m not allowed to use, which would be “on fleek.” They’re like, “Mom, no, you can’t use it.”
Rotten Tomatoes: When they see the show, will they agree “on fleek” is over now that you said it?
Bure: Probably. They’ve seen the shows, though, because they were at all the tapings. They loved it. They think it’s hilarious.
Rotten Tomatoes: Was it different to do a show with all the history of the first series behind it? When they talk about when they were kids, we’ve actually seen those episodes they’re talking about!
Sweetin: I think so, yeah. Rarely do you get to do a show like that. I can’t think of any other television show that has come back 20 years later with a new series and people know all the old characters. There’s the reunion shows and things like that, but to do a completely new spinoff series, there’s very few franchises of television shows that have done that. Yeah, you have this rich history of familial relationships and stories to go off of, things that have happened to these characters, both individually and together, to draw from and create from.
Barber: It’s neat to walk through the set because when you look on the walls and on the fireplace mantle, you’ll see pictures actually of us together when we were ages five and 10. I don’t know any other show that can actually dress their set with pictures of the cast together.
Rotten Tomatoes: Are there any more “turn to the camera and look at the audience” moments after the line in the pilot about Michelle?
Sweetin: I don’t think so, but there’s a few moments where we don’t take ourselves too seriously and we’re very self-aware in some of the jokes. A joke about watching The View or something, things like that, where we know the audience knows but we don’t necessarily turn and break that fourth wall. But I think people will get a kick out of the fact that we acknowledge the things that are going on in our world.
(Photo by Angela Weiss / Getty Images)
The X-Files returns to Fox this week in a six-episode event series. Fans have been waiting 14 years to see Scully and Mulder again and only had one movie sequel, The X-Files: I Want To Believe to tide them over. The cast and creator Chris Carter met with the Television Critics Association to introduce the new series, where Carter revealed he actually wrote a third movie script and scrapped it to conceive this six-episode series instead.
Rotten Tomatoes joined a group of reporters speaking to David Duchovny about his return to the role that made him famous, FBI agent Fox Mulder. When we pick up with Mulder, an internet conspiracy theorist (Joel McHale) convinces him to resume his pursuit of the truth. While back on the FBI payroll, Mulder and Scully (Gillian Anderson) investigate some other new cases too, including a were-monster.
Fred Topel for Rotten Tomatoes: Has it been fun to play Mulder as the skeptical one in a role reversal?
David Duchovny: It’s difficult because Mulder was always the engine of the show, was the guy putting his foot on the gas. It was more familiar to me once Mulder got reinvested in The X-Files after the first episode.
Rotten Tomatoes: Even in the third episode, for comedic purposes, he’s like, “This can’t be a monster.”
Duchovny: That’s a Darren Morgan episode. In these six — and it’s a very interesting thing because we always did it on the show — it was really like doing a different show almost from week to week on The X-Files even back in the day. It’s very tricky as an actor to try to find the right tone all the time on this particular show. A thriller, a horror, a mystery, a quest, a comedy. You’re right to point that out. I was skeptical; I’m skeptical in the first episode and I’m playing it again in a comedic way. Think about it as a gift to the actors and a real challenge to try to play it in different keys.
Q: Do you look forward to playing Mulder more and more, revisiting him again?
Duchovny: When I left the show and when we ended the show, the idea that I was talking about with Chris was to come back and do movies. We did the second one in 2008 and there just didn’t seem to be an appetite at Fox for the movie anymore, which surprises me, because we’re a homegrown property. It’s not some crappy comic book that you’re going to dig up and breathe life into. I’ve never understood. I think there’s probably more money in television, for them. That’s probably why they want to do it. When television reinvented itself in terms of its seasonal quality and the amount of episodes it demands, it became obvious to all of us that we could come back and do it in a way that would suit us at this point in our lives. As much as I would’ve wanted to get away from Mulder at a certain point, I always hoped and knew that if there was a demand we’d be able to come back and revisit from time to time. This would be now.
Rotten Tomatoes: Did you ever read Chris’s third movie script?
Duchovny: No, that’s the first I heard of it. I’m going to ask him for that later.
Q: What do your kids think of this? Have they seen The X-Files?
Duchovny: They’ve seen some. My son has seen more than my daughter. They’re excited about it coming on. They’re very excited about it coming on. I’m kind of happy. The last very visible thing I would’ve done is Californication. There’s no way they’re going to watch that. So I’m happy that they’re going to get a chance to see this. Although, they watched Aquarius, but this is more up their alley.
Q: Could you ever see somebody else playing Mulder?
Duchovny: My role? No, I don’t know how you could.
Q: Would you ever want to go back to The X-Files as a series?
Duchovny: Not a full series, no. Not every year. I think we could do more than six. We could do eight or 10. It depends on how it does. It depends on if people really want to see it. I feel like they do. I feel like it’s going to do really well so I imagine I would bet that we would come back and do another iteration. I’m not sure how many but it’ll never be 22 or 24 episodes. We’re just too old to work that hard.
Rotten Tomatoes: Did you ever think you’d see the day when conspiracy theorists like Mulder were so prolific and had so many forums to express their views?
Duchovny: That sounds like a nightmare. Is that happening? That is kind of the world we live in, isn’t it? It has its good points and its bad points, I guess. There’s so much information available, and there’s not a real vetting process of what’s true and what’s false. I’m much more old school, pre-Google. We had an encyclopedia in my house. That’s kind of where I got my information. I think I still live in that world.
Q: What was it like going to the cemetery with headstones for Kim Manners and Jack Hardy?
Duchovny: I knew Kim very well. Jack less so. Kim is a part of the show and he’s missed. He’s missed as a person and obviously as a director on the show. It was probably Darren. It might’ve been Chris but it was probably Darin Morgan because it was his episode. It’s sad but sweet as well.
Q: Do you prefer standalone episodes to mythology episodes?
Duchovny: I don’t say I enjoy one more than the other. They have different challenges. It’s just that’s what keeps the show fresh for an actor. It’s a cop show. It’s an FBI show, but it’s not really a procedural in that way. Procedurals can get pretty dull for the actors. Aside from having an interesting relationship to play within the procedural, there’s also, as I said, these changes of tone, these changes of subject matter. The frame of the show itself is incredibly flexible. I can’t think of any other show that had the same actors in it. You’ve got something like The Twilight Zone, that’s different actors. When you think about it, it’s very challenging and interesting to an actor to have to go in and do one of Chris’s episodes and then turn around and do one of Darren’s episodes. I think because it’s natural to us, just because we’ve been doing it for so long, it seems de rigueur, but it’s quite crazy when you think about it, and scary. I would be in middle of a Darren episode and somebody described it as a sitcom. It’s like, “Holy s–t, what are we doing? Is this really working?” We don’t know. It’s a little trippy.
Q: After all these years, when did this new series become real for you?
Duchovny: Just right now. Just this moment. I think when I received the first script, you know, obviously I knew I was going to do it. We were signed to do it at that point. But the work or the kind of imaginative reality of it, which is always, to me, the only reality of it. Probably when I got that first script and started to think about, “How are we going to do this? What do we do? What do we do now?”
Q: Did you have to be convinced to come back?
Duchovny: Well, for me, the experience of doing The X-Files, obviously from the beginning, I had no say in what was going on. It was one of my first jobs, and I was just happy to be working and happy that the scripts were interesting and good. But later on, I had more interest in writing or in adjusting sometimes with the scripts. But the trust that I have in Chris as the runner of the show, as the creator of the show, as the conceiver of the show, is complete. I don’t question Chris. If he says he’s got an idea and it’s going to work, six, eight, ten episodes, whatever, Chris is a serious person and an artist. If he says he’s got a way to make it work, I trust that.
Q: Did you discover anything new about Gillian working with her this time?
Duchovny: I think being able to have that history and to let it play in a scene. I think at this point, having known each other and worked together so much for over 20 years, we’ve gone beyond chemistry into history, which is a really cool thing to play as well, because you don’t have to play either. Well, if you don’t have chemistry, you’ve got to figure out a way to make it happen, but if you have history, we’ve all seen movies and television shows where you see a mother and daughter or father and son and you’re like , “There’s no way. It doesn’t feel right. There no history. It doesn’t feel like history.” Gillian and I actually have history, so we don’t have to play it.
Season ten of The X-Files premieres on Sunday, January 24 on FOX after football. Read reviews here.
When we last saw Scully and Mulder, in the 2008 movie The X-Files: I Want to Believe, they were married. To most fans, the question was: what took them so long? Their chemistry in every episode of the show was palpable. But six years later, we get to see them again in the new six episode X-Files series. SPOILER ALERT — We’re sorry to report that Scully and Mulder have split in the time since their last adventure.
Actually, it gives the new show a great place to start when they are reunited. An internet conspiracy theorist (Joel McHale) presents Mulder (David Duchovny) with some convincing evidence of a new conspiracy. Scully (Gillian Anderson) remains skeptical, but even she finds reasons to believe. Anderson sat down with Rotten Tomatoes and other Television Critics Association reporters for a round of questions.
Fred Topel for Rotten Tomatoes: Were you as excited as all of us were to find out where Scully and Mulder were after all these years?
Gillian Anderson: I was. I don’t think I had any expectations when I went into reading the first script and into the series at all. But when I read it, I thought, “You know what? That feels exactly right. That feels exactly where we need to be with this at this juncture.”
Rotten Tomatoes: Was it bittersweet to find out that they had parted?
Rotten Tomatoes: Is it actually better dramatic material this way?
Q: Some people shy away from returning to a famous character of theirs. Were you ready to inhabit Scully again?
Anderson: I think so. I’ve worked really hard to shed her for such a long time, and I think felt like I had enough other work under my belt that, perhaps by taking it on again, it wouldn’t pigeonhole me. So hopefully that will be the case. I think it took me a long time to embrace it after we were done with the series. I think it took a good decade for me to suddenly start thinking of it as the gift that it was and to properly appreciate the opportunity that I had and also how fortunate I was to play such a great iconic character in a show that was iconic in and of itself, and for such a long time and that it could have been something else. It could have been something that I hated or had bad reviews. So I was very lucky, and I think it suddenly hit me some time later.
Q: Scully is still the skeptic but she’s finding hard evidence. How does that change the characters?
Anderson: We’re going to have to see as the series goes on a little bit further, because we’re only at the very beginning. Not all of the episodes deal with that part of the storyline and the mythology in that way. I think almost in the next episode it might be that didn’t necessarily even happen. As they used to, we jump very much in time. You’ll know when we get back to that subject matter, but it might not necessarily be in order, so to speak.
Rotten Tomatoes: When Chris Carter told you there was going to be a comedy episode, what did you think of that?
Anderson: I expected it. There had to be. I wouldn’t have done it if there wasn’t!
Rotten Tomatoes: What sort of funny things do you get to do in it?
Anderson: I can’t tell you anything. Just the same old, a lot of things like we used to do. So there were a lot of moments where we’re like, “Oh my God, we’re doing this again!”
Q: Are there going to be any horrifying episodes in this six?
Anderson: It’s so hard to tell because when we’re in it, it’s not until there’s audience reaction. We knew “Home” was freaky, but we didn’t realize that people were going to find it so freaky. So I’m not sure if I’m always the one who has the right perspective on it, because when we’re in it, I might get the sense of it to a degree when I’m reading it, but I’m not even sure if I do anymore in that respect. It’s after everything else has been added, so I don’t know.
Rotten Tomatoes: Were you excited by the idea that conspiracy theorists have become a lot more public than they were since The X-Files?
Anderson: I don’t know if I’ve ever had that thought before you just said that right then. The fact is that people have always approached us about it. It’s been a topic of our lives more than probably most people’s lives, so I’m so used to it. It doesn’t actually make me flinch.
Q: What are some ways that the ability to dig up this information has changed?
Anderson: I think you have to talk to Chris about that, because I’ve never really been a part of that research. Even on the episode I did, we had researchers. Obviously, with the world of the world wide web right now, it’s going to be easier to access stuff than it ever had before, but I don’t know what their process was.
Q: Has anything fundamentally changed about the way Scully pursues information?
Anderson: I’m trying to figure out whether there’s any examples of it in the episodes that we have. They go to their phones to find stuff like everybody does. That’s different. Having the laptop open to search stuff in the episodes, that’s different.
Rotten Tomatoes: Did you develop any new skills doing The Fall and Hannibal that you were able to apply to Scully this time around?
Anderson: I think it was actually more important to let go of those skills in order to get back to the essence of who she was, so that I didn’t get held up. That was more challenging than I expected.
Q: Was it really difficult to let go of Dr. Du Maurier from Hannibal?
Anderson: No, it’s not that. No, no, no. Not at all. I guess more with Stella [in The Fall] and playing Stella so much more recently. Here we’ve got another, for all intents and purposes, investigative officer at some point. Remembering how they differ and to what degree and what it is that makes them differ, so that when I’m answering questions or even just listening, that it’s Scully’s listening face and not Stella’s listening face. It’s that stuff.
Q: The X-Files was very much of its time. How is this arc of 2016?
Anderson: Well, I think the subject matter that is evident in the first episode, which is again, conspiracy, etc. but the climate of not just conspiracy especially by government, but in terms of how we’re listened to and how we’re controlled and how events have manifested around the world in a completely different way because of that information, etc. are all parts of this first episode. We touch on it, as you have seen, everything that is current that has to do with the things that we have always been interested in. So it’s almost as if the culmination of our fears have manifested themselves in our current world. We’re telling that truth.
Season ten of The X-Files premieres on Sunday, January 24 on FOX after football. Read reviews here.