HBO reportedly is nearing a deal to bring a Harry Potter TV show to life. Samuel L. Jackson returns as Nick Fury in Secret Invasion trailer. Robert De Niro will star in crime drama Bobby Meritorious at Paramount+. A Cruel Intentions TV series is in the works at Amazon. Plus, new trailers feature Chris Hemsworth in Extraction 2, Keri Russell in The Diplomat, and more of the biggest news in TV and streaming.
(Photo by ©Warner Brothers/courtesy Everett Collection)
Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. is close to solidifying a deal that would make the long-rumored Harry Potter TV series a reality: The bestselling book series’ author J.K. Rowling is close to signing on as producer on the project, Bloomberg reports.
This news comes as HBO’s parent company, Warner Bros., is gearing up to announce a new streaming strategy, which would rename its flagship service HBO Max to simply, Max. A major component to this strategy, which CEO David Zaslav has previously stated, is creating new original content based on IP viewers are already familiar with, and Warner Bros. has a deep library to mine.
A new series of Lord of the Rings movies were previously announced by Warner, with other announced items like the highly-anticipated (and currently in production) The Batman spinoff series The Penguin, starring Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot, and James Gunn’s new DC programming slate continuing that model of pushing out stories involving characters audiences already know and love.
The Harry Potter books and subsequent movies (which launched the careers of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint) follow the story a young orphaned wizard who finds himself invited to attend Hogwarts, the world’s leading school for wizards in training. The books are rich with adventure, and a lot of story details did not make it to the big screen.
Unnamed sources revealed that each season of the program would be based on one of Rowling’s seven books, in the same manner that each movie was based on each installment, including the final two-part film. Rowling’s role on the series would be to make sure the program remains loyal to the original material. The author has recently drawn controversy over comments about the trans community.
The popularity of Harry Potter has not waned over the years. The Harry Potter 20th anniversary reunion special on HBO Max was a big hit for the streamer. TBS’s Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses event series and the Hogwarts Legacy video game has kept the fandom happy. A reboot series, in this context, feels like a no-brainer.
We haven’t seen much of Nick Fury in recent years, but all that is about to change. Samuel L. Jackson’s iconic eye-patched creator of the Avengers Initiative will return for Secret Invasion, Disney+’s upcoming alien espionage series.
A new war is looming and, from what we can gather from the new trailer, Fury’s return to Earth will be sparked by insurgent actions by Krull villain Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir). Not all Krulls are bad, though. And the appearance of Ben Mendehlson’s Talos here, teases the return of Fury’s alien ally. Colbie Smulders’ Maria Hill and Olivia Colman’s MI6 agent Sonya Falsworth will also supply support as Fury heads into one last fight.
The big question is: will Nick Fury call on the Avengers for assistance?
Secret Invasion premieres on June 21 on Disney+.
Chris Hemsworth’s black ops mercenary Tyler Rake may have died at the end of the first Extraction movie. But sometimes, death is not the end.
The 2020 film Extraction was the fourth most-watching streaming film of that year on Netflix. So, basically, it was pretty evident this wouldn’t be the last we’d see of Rake. If the above trailer for Extraction 2 tells us anything, it probably won’t be long before he suits up for a third life-saving mission. The second film will see fists flying, kicks a’plenty, and an assortment of weaponized riot shields, among other action-packed sequences, to look forward to.
Also back for the sequel is director Sam Hargrave and Avengers: Endgame directors Anthony and Joe Russo, who are on board as producers. Joe Russo wrote the screenplay.
Joining Hemsworth on screen is Golshifteh Farahani, Adam Bessa, Daniel Bernhardt, Tinatin Dalakishvili, Sinead Phelps, and Justin Howell.
Extraction 2 will hit Netflix on June 16.
More trailers and teasers released this week:
• The White House Plumbers tells the story of how Nixon’s own political saboteurs and Watergate masterminds, E. Howard Hunt (Woody Harrelson) and G. Gordon Liddy (Justin Theroux), accidentally toppled the presidency they were zealously trying to protect. Premieres May 1. (HBO)
• Clock is the story of a woman who enrolls in a clinical trial to try and fix her seemingly broken biological clock after friends, family, and society pressures her to have children. Premieres April 28 (Hulu)
• In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Swordsmith Village Arc, Tanjiro’s journey leads him to the Swordsmith Village, where he reunites with two Hashira, members of the Demon Slayer Corps’ highest-ranking swordsmen: Mist Hashira Muichiro Tokito and Love Hashira Mitsuri Kanroji. With the shadows of demons lurking near, a new battle begins for Tanjiro and his comrades. Premieres April 9. (Crunchyroll)
• A Small Light takes place over two years and tells the inspiring true story of Miep Gies (Bel Powley), carefree and opinionated young woman — during a time when opinions got you killed — who helped hide Otto Frank (Liev Schreiber) and his family from the Nazis during WWII. Premieres May 1. (Nat Geo and Disney+)
• Drops of God is based on the popular Manga and follows Camille, the estranged daughter of a recently deceased wine magnate who discovers she has been left his immense wine collection. The only problem: she must compete in a series of tests against her father’s prized student for the inheritance. Premieres April 21. (Apple TV+)
• The Diplomat is a high-stakes contemporary political drama that centers on Kate Wyler (Keri Russell), the new US Ambassador to the United Kingdom. With war brewing on one continent and boiling over on another, she will have to diffuse international crises, forge strategic alliances in London, and adjust to her new place in the spotlight — all while trying to survive her marriage to fellow career diplomat and political star Hal Wyler (Rufus Sewell). Premieres April 20. (Netflix)
• Fatal Attraction is an updated take on the 1980s thriller that starred Michael Douglas and Glenn Close. Joshua Jackson and Lizzy Caplan star in the new series, which finds a casual fling turn into a stalking nightmare. Like the original, the program explores the timeless themes of marriage and infidelity through the lens of modern attitudes towards strong women, personality disorders, and coercive control. Premieres April 30. (Paramount+)
• Somebody Somewhere follows Sam (Bridget Everett), a woman grappling with loss and acceptance, who turns to singing as her saving grace which leads her on a journey to self discovery and find a community of outsiders who don’t fit in but don’t give up. Premieres April 23. (HBO)
• Clone High is the cult animated series created by Phil Lord and Chris Miller about a high school for clones of historical figures. Nearly two decades after the show came and went, the clones are being thawed out for a new school year. Things are sure to get weird. Premieres spring 2023. (HBO Max)
• Dear Mama: The Saga of Afeni & Tupac Shakur is a deeply personal five-part series from award-winning director Allen Hughes that defies the conventions of traditional documentary storytelling to share an illuminating saga of mother and son, Afeni and Tupac Shakur. Premieres April 21. (FX)
• Shooting Stars tells the coming-of-age story of a young LeBron James and his three best friends – Lil Dru, Willie McGee, and Sian Cotton – as they declare themselves the “Fab Four,” after the famed Michigan Wolverines’ “Fab Five” of that era. Premieres June 2. (Peacock)
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(Photo by Kristina Bumphrey/Variety via Getty Images)
Robert De Niro is set to star in the Paramount+ crime thriller Bobby Meritorious, from writer Billy Ray (The Comey Rule, Captain Phillips). This is the second TV project announced for the two-time Oscar winner; the first being Netflix’s conspiracy thriller Zero Day, which was ordered earlier this year. The series will be set in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, Deadline reports. Threatening to tear this seemingly sovereign kingdom apart is an informant in the district’s biggest case. De Niro will play Avery “The Sage” Accomando, the informant in question. Will he tear this powerful institution apart, or will Bobby Meritorious, a fabled ex-cop-turned prosecutor, stop him?
Game of Thrones alum Kit Harington has joined the cast of season 3 of HBO’s Industry. He will play Henry Muck, the CEO and founder of a green energy tech company named Lumi. (Deadline)
HBO’s It prequel series Welcome to Derry has tapped Taylour Paige, Jovan Adepo, Chris Chalk, and James Remar to star. The details of their roles are currently being kept under wraps. (Variety)
Orlando Bloom will star in and executive produce This Must Be the Place at Amazon. In the TV adaptation of Maggie O’Farrell’s book, Bloom will play an American linguist who finds his current marriage threatened by his earlier lives. (Deadline)
Empire alum Taraji P. Henson will guest star in the April 12 Abbott Elementary episode, titled “Mom,” as Vanetta, Janine’s mother. (Variety)
Amber Ruffin’s NBC comedy pilot Non-Evil Twin has added Dexter Darden, Chloe Bridges, and Robert Buckley to the cast. Darden will play contemporary nerd Marcus, Bridges is Angie’s (Ruffin) corporate nemesis Robin, and Buckley is Angie’s dim-witted lawyer Samson. (Deadline)
Ken Jeong will star in 10% Happier, a new Fox single-cam sitcom based on Dan Harris’ book and podcast. (Variety)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is bringing in some heavy hitting guest stars for its fifth and final season. Hank Azaria, Sutton Foster, Darren Criss, Danny Strong, and Sean Gunn will all appear in the new episodes, with David Paymer returning as Harry Drake.
Apple TV+ released a first look at The Crowded Room, a new limited series created by Oscar winning writer Akiva Goldsman and starring Tom Holland. The series tells the story of Danny Sullivan (Holland), who is arrested following a shooting in New York City in 1979. Told through a series of interrogations, Danny’s life is revealed, exposing the twists and turns from his mysterious past that lead him to a life-altering revelation. Amanda Seyfried, Emmy Rossum, Sasha Lane, Will Chase, Lior Laz, Jason Isaacs, Christopher Abbott, Thomas Sadoski, and Zachary Golinger also star. The Crowded Room will premiere its first three episodes on Friday, June 9, 2023 on Apple TV+
— Rotten Tomatoes (@RottenTomatoes) April 3, 2023
Grey’s Anatomy has added Sam Page as injured Air Force pilot Sam Sutton, a recurring role in the current season. His first appearance will be in the May 4 episode. (Variety)
NBA legend Steph Curry and Adam Pally will star in Mr. Throwback, a sports memorabilia-themed mockumentary series in the works at NBC from Happy Endings creator David Caspe and writes Matthew Libman and Daniel Libman. (Deadline)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, and Richard Madden will star in Killer Heat, a new film from Amazon Studios. Directed by Philippe Lacôte and based on Jo Nesbø’s short story “The Jealousy Man,” the movie follows twin brothers who are caught in a violent love triangle on a remote Greek island. A damaged detective, known as “The Jealousy Man,” is called into investigate.
Taylor Sheridan’s Paramount+ CIA-themed series Lioness has added Thad Luckinbill in a heavily recurring role. He’ll play Joe’s (Zoe Saldaña) old friend Kyle, who oversees a trafficking contract. (Deadline)
(Photo by Everett Collection)
Cruel Intentions is finally making its way to television. According to an exclusive report from TVLine, Amazon has ordered an eight-episode first season of the series adaptation of the 1999 movie that starred Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, and Selma Blair. The movie is an adaptation of the 18th-century novel Dangerous Liaisons.
In development at Freevee, with the possibility of a shift to parent streamer Prime Video, the series will follow two ruthless step-siblings who stop at nothing to maintain their power within the Greek Life hierarchy at their elite Washington, D.C. college. After a particularly heinous hazing ritual threatens everything, they’ll do everything to maintain their status at the university, which includes wooing the U.S. vice president’s daughter.
This isn’t the first time a TV project inspired by the movie was put in development. NBC ordered a sequel series pilot in 2016 that had Gellar reprising her role, but never moved forward. Prior to that, Fox created a prequel series that never aired; the first three episodes of the series were transformed into the direct-to-video sequel Cruel Intentions 2, which hit shelves in 2001. Neither Gellar, nor the rest of the original cast, are currently attached to Amazon’s new adaptation.
(Photo by Dave J. Hogan/Getty Images)
After the success of Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrls, which became the first streaming series to win an Emmy for Outstanding Competition Program, Amazon Studios has extended the global superstar’s first-look deal. The international superstar is also now looking for “women who can also sing as well as dance” and taking applications from “Big Grrrls Performers” through April 9 at biggrrrls.castingcrane.com.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper will executive produce original Amazon’s scripted series Vanderbilt. Tapping into his own family history, the program, which will be an adaptation of Cooper and Katherine Howe’s book Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty, will chronicle the 400-year ascension and eventual contraction of one of America’s most powerful families. (THR)
Amazon is developing Koreatown, a one-hour drama series from Gene Hong and Alan Yang. The program follows two Korean-American brothers — one a slick nightclub owner, the other a recovering addict — who must reconcile their complicated relationship in order to run a drug operation with the goal of keeping their ailing mother alive. (Deadline)
Philip K. Dick’s subversive sci-fi comedy novel Clans of the Alphane Moon is being developed as a TV series at Amazon with John Leguizamo attached as executive producer. (Variety)
Showtime has announced Ghosts of Beirut, a new four-party spy drama inspired by the manhunt for elusive Lebanese terrorist Imad Mughniyeh. The series, which will be told from American, Israeli, and Lebanese perspectives, Dina Shihabi, Dermot Mulroney, Garret Dillahunt, Iddo Goldberg, Hisham Suleiman, Amir Khoury, and Rafi Gavron.
Sarah Silverman will take the stand-up stage in a new special on HBO this May. It’ll be her second comedy special for the network, will feature all-new material, and will be taped live at The Wilbur Theater in Boston, Massachusetts.
Fox has ordered Doc, an American adaptation of popular Italian medical procedural Doc — Nelle tue mani. The updated take on the series will center on Dr. Amy Elias who suffers from amnesia after a brain injury, leading her to navigate an unfamiliar life. (Deadline)
Netflix has ordered the Samara Weaving-starrer Little Sky, the streamer’s first ever pilot episode. Weaving plays Penelope Paul Porter, a struggling news reporter determined to shine in her field. After the Mayor of a town called Little Sky goes missing, she pursues the big story by heading to the spooky, remote town only to discover something much more sinister at play. (Variety)
Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis is attached to star in and executive produce the animated series adaptation of comic book, Hellacious. The show, which is in development at TBS, centers on the Devil’s precocious 7-year-old granddaughter Cherry, who up and steals the soul of Heaven-bound rock icon Briggy Bundy (Kiedis) and embark on a realm-hopping afterlife adventure together. (Variety)
(Photo by ©Columbia Tristar/Courtesy Everett Collection)
This year’s ATX TV Festival is shaping up to be a must-attend event for television fans of all types. Premiere screenings, exclusive talent panels, Q&A events, and more are coming to the annual Austin, Texas festival, which kicks off on Thursday, June 1 and runs through Sunday, June 4.
Dawson’s Creek is celebrating its 25th anniversary, which will include a screening of the pilot episode and a reunion panel moderated by The Vampire Diaries co-creator Julie Plec that will include writers/producers Liz Tigelaar (Little Fires Everywhere), Rina Mimoun (Mistresses), Gina Fattore (Parenthood), Anna Fricke (Walker), and Maggie Friedman (Firefly Lane).
The highly-anticipated return of Timothy Olyphant as U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens will be the focus of opening night as the festival will begin with the premiere of FX’s new eight-episode limited series, Justified: City Primeval. Following the screening is a conversation with the cast and crew of the program.
Other confirmed events happening during the four day festival are:
Badges are on sale now at atxfestival.com. Additional ticketing details and programming will be announced soon.
Previously announced programming includes:
(Photo by Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection)
The Harry Potter film franchise ruled the box office for a decade, but it also managed the uncommon feat of earning Certified Fresh status for every single one of its installments. It remains one of the most successful movie sagas of all time, and it’s even spawned a spinoff series. But while the first Fantastic Beasts continue the Certified Fresh streak, the second became the first Rotten entry in this cinematic Wizarding World. The third Beasts film, The Secrets of Dumbledore, released April 2022. Now, we’re ranking all Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies by Tomatometer! —Alex Vo
(Photo by WB/ courtesy Everett Collection)
Everyone came into the Wizarding World through the Harry Potter books and movies, which introduced us to a gifted 11-year-old, his friends Ron and Hermione, and their hallowed school of magic, Hogwarts. Watching the Harry Potter movies in order, seeing the story unfold chronologically in-universe, used to be as easy as finding the one where Daniel Radcliffe looks youngest and starting from there.
But the series has expanded now with the Fantastic Beasts movies, set some 70 years before The Sorcerer’s Stone. So to watch the Harry Potter movies in order, your journey now begins with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, set in 1926 and starring Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scarmander. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is set in 1927. The third Fantastic Beasts intends to release July 2022, with two more movies to close out the Scarmander and Grindelwald saga.
Then the story of Harry himself begins, starting with Sorcerer’s Stone and concluding in the second-part of The Deathly Hallows, for eight Certified Fresh movies in a row. There’s also a Harry Potter series early in development for HBO Max. For now, see our guide below on how to watch all Harry Potter movies in order. —Alex Vo
(Photo by © Warner Bros.)
Do you like your Harry Potter films light and frothy – like the early years? Or do you prefer your Wizarding World all broody and dark – like the later years? Perhaps your Potterverse sweet spot is in the middle films, like Goblet of Fire, which expertly blend both, capturing Harry, Hermione, and Ron at a time when they’re still innocent enough to be awed by the magic around them, and when He Who Must Not Be Named is moving from lingering threat to fully formed strange-nosed wand-swinger.
Whichever way you lean Potter-wise, you’re likely to have some strong thoughts about our ranking of the Harry Potter films.
Our list orders the movies by their Tomatometer score, which reflects the percentage of critics that gave the films a thumbs up. Not surprisingly, all eight Harry Potter movies score very well according to the Tomatometer, with each earning a Certified Fresh score of 77% or above. (It is the Ravenclaw of movie franchises.) Final film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 comes in at number one with a whopping 96%, with fan fave Prisoner of Azkaban close behind on 90%; in last place is Deathly Hallows – Part 1, which suffered – according to critics – from an inevitable feeling of being unfinished.
In the latest episode of our new podcast, Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast from Rotten Tomatoes), we’re going big. Like, troll-rampaging-in-a-boarding-school-bathroom big…. Or giant-spider-getting-freaky-in-the-woods big. For the first time, we’re tackling not just one or two films, but an entire series, asking whether our ranking of each movie in the Harry Potter franchise passes the sniff test with lovers of the series. Joining hosts Jacqueline Coley and Mark Ellis for this Triwizard Tournament-level task is Syfy and Syfy Wire’s Jackie Jennings, host of the “Who Won the Week” podcast and Potter-head who definitely thinks we’re wrong on this one. Will you agree?
Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”
If you have a suggestion for a movie or show you think we should do an episode on, let us know in the comments, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet the hosts
Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.
Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.
(Photo by New Line Cinema)
TV is set for an onslaught of high-profile fantasy epics in the next few years, and we at Rotten Tomatoes can’t wait. Witness the buzz around The Lord of the Rings television series in development at Amazon — acquired for $250 million and expected to ultimately cost more than $1 billion — along with the Gormenghast series announced in 2018 by FreemantleMedia North America, and HBO’s endless plans for the Game of Thrones world. It’s a big change from the genre’s historical position in the medium.
It may be strange to think of it now, but Game of Thrones was a risky proposition when HBO first began development of the series, and its prospects were buoyed by the fact that its more fantastic elements appeared later in the narrative (we had to wait so long for those dragons). Prior to that, fantasy was relegated to syndicated fare like Conan the Adventurer and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Xena: Warrior Princess was an outlier in terms of quality storytelling, but its occasionally cheesy effects proved to the television executives that fantasy TV was too expensive, while other series proved it was often built on poor story standards. GoT changed that perception, even if the fantasy shows that emerged in its wake — The Shannara Chronicles and Shadowhunters for example — proved closer in story quality to the BeastMaster television series.
But The Lord of the Rings and the Game of Thrones prequels are not the only promising fantasy series in development at the moment. A number of classic fantasy epics and novels will become television thanks to the power of streaming services like Amazon, cable options like BBC America, and other outlets that are worth spotlighting. There are also a few notable series not yet scooped up by the powers in television that we think should get the TV treatment as soon as possible. So here is a handy list of the fantasy series currently in development and a couple we hope will follow them.
TV Release Date: most likely 2021
Based On: J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, an epic tale of four Hobbits, a Wizard, an Elf, two Men and a Dwarf attempting to destroy the Dark Lord Sauron’s master weapon without letting him discover their plan. A war across most of Middle-earth ensues.
The Fanbase: The obsessive devotees of Tolkien’s legendarium and fans of the Peter Jackson film series.
Everything We Know So Far: Amazon is committed to produce a five-season series based on The Lord of the Rings in partnership with Tolkien’s estate and the various rights holders of the Rings and Hobbit film series. Amazon renewed the series for season 2, while season 1 is still early in pre-production in New Zealand, Deadline reported in November. The renewal necessitates a break in filming season 1, so that the writers room can reassemble and address season 2 plotting and scripts — possibly facilitating simultaneous or back-to-back filming of seasons 1 and 2.
While early reports speculated that the series would focus on a younger Aragorn, who roamed the lands of Middle-earth as a Dunedain ranger under various names like Strider and Thorongil, Amazon’s own teases contradict that theory. In February 2019, Amazon released an interactive map of Middle-earth extending into the far east region not included on maps Tolkien made himself; though he sketched out some topography for the area in his notes. The streaming platform also included this enigmatic quote from Tolkien’s Ring Poem: “Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky.” But after weeks of teasing, the map finally changed to reveal a Second Age setting — the time in which the Elven rings were forged and the Dark Lord Sauron conquered lands in the southern parts of Middle-earth.
In July of 2019, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom director J.A. Bayona signed on to helm the first two episodes of the series. He and producing partner Belén Atienza will also serve as executive producers.
(Photo by HBO: Joseph Mawle as Benjen Stark in 'Game of Thrones')
The cast includes Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Joseph Mawle, and Morfydd Clark as Galadriel. In March of 2021, Tom Budge announced his departure from the series, citing the producers’ decision to take his character in a different direction. That same month, Wayne Che Yip took over directing duties in New Zealand.
It’s Most Like: The Lord of the Rings film series. Since the TV rights to Tolkien’s work remained with his estate, hammering out a deal with the likes of Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema, and MGM suggests Amazon has an interest in making the series visually consistent with Jackson’s vision of Middle-earth.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: The Lord of the Rings films are all Certified Fresh at 91%, 95%, and 93% respectively. The Hobbit films less so — 64%, 74%, and 59% — but they were always at a disadvantage by adopting the tone of LOTR. The tale of Sauron and the various people he encounters in the Second Age share the scope and thematic consistency of Tolkien’s classic fantasy novel.
(Photo by Netflix)
TV Release Date: TBD
Based On: The world created by Witcher novelist Andrzej Sapkowski and Netflix’s Witcher television series.
The Fanbase: The various factions of Witcher fans who come to the series thanks to the novels, video games, Netflix series, and that song.
Everything We Know So Far: On July 27, 2020, Netflix announced its intention to produce a 6-episode limited series based on a key aspect of Witcher lore. 1200 years before Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) walked the Continent, a conjunction of the spheres forced the worlds of monsters, elves, and men to become one land. And out of the tumult, the first Witcher was born. Laurence O’Fuarain stars as Fjall, a fierce warrior whose search for redemption leads him into unlikely company. Declan de Barra serves as showrunner while The Witcher’s Lauren Schmidt is also onboard as an executive producer. Production is expected to begin in July. Unfortunately, Jodie Turner-Smith, who was cast as another lead character, dropped out in April over scheduling conflicts.
It’s Most Like: Well, The Witcher, but the prominence on Elves does offer it a slight Lord of the Rings vibe as well.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: The first season of The Witcher produced a Tomatometer score of 67%, but an audience of 91%, so the program will likely please fans of the Continent and its history.
(Photo by Macall B. Polay/HBO)
TV Release Date: TBD
Based On: The yarns of history or myth A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin likes to tell while characters eat sweet meats and plot their next move in the Game of Thrones. Also based on the short stories and longer histories the author publishes while he is not finishing The Winds of Winter.
The Fanbase: Game of Thrones fans, which is a large part of HBO’s subscriber base at this point.
Everything We Know So Far: At one point, HBO president Casey Bloys said there could be as many as five prequel series after Game of Thrones completed its run in 2019. Developed with Martin, multiple premises were in an informal competition for a programming slot. All of those initial programs failed to become series, but a new round of spinoff development began in 2021.
In the interim, the first prequel to get the greenlight in a 10-episode, straight-to-series order, is called House of the Dragon. The announcement was made at the October 29, 2019 HBO Max presentation on the Warner Bros. lot in in Burbank.
The series is co-created by @GRRMSpeaking and Ryan Condal. Miguel Sapochnik will partner with Condal as showrunner and will direct the pilot and additional episodes. Condal will be writing the series. pic.twitter.com/9ttMzElgXm
— ? Game of Thrones ? (@GameOfThrones) October 29, 2019
The series, set 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones, tells the story of House Targaryen. Emmy-winning director Miguel Sapochnik (Game of Thrones) and Ryan Condal (Colony) will partner as showrunners and will also serve as executive producers along with Martin and Vince Gerardis. Sapochnik will direct the pilot and additional episodes of the series, which will be written by Condal.
Martin responded to the news on his blog.
“House of the Dragon has been in development for several years (though the title has changed a couple of times during that process). It was actually the first concept I pitched to HBO when we started talking about a successor show, way back in the summer of 2016. If you’d like to know a bit more of what the show will be about… well, I can’t actually spill those beans, but you might want to pick up a copy of two anthologies I did with Gardner Dozois, Dangerous Women and Rogues, and then move on to Archmaester Gyldayn’s history, Fire & Blood.”
Martin released Fire & Blood, the first volume of a two-part history of the Targaryens in Westeros, in November 2018. Centuries before the events of A Song of Ice and Fire series, the Targaryens fled Valyria and landed at Dragonstone. The book begins with Aegon the Conqueror, who married his sister and created the Iron Throne. The second prequel would cover the events in that novel up through the Dance of Dragons, a bloody, great civil war between Targaryens for the Iron Throne that saw sibling slay sibling and dragon battle dragon.
Did someone say “dragon battle”? Yes, unlike the now-deceased first prequel, the second story should feature some of the most fearsome of the Targaryen dragons, including Balerion (The Black Dread), the only Westeros dragon to have lived in Valyria and whose skull is seen filling the basement of the Red Keep in Game of Thrones.
“But… let me make this perfectly clear… I am not taking on any scripts until I have finished and delivered Winds of Winter. Winter is still coming, and Winds remains my priority, as much as I’d love to write an episodes of House,” Martin wrote in his October 30, 2019 blog post, following news of the series order.
In his September post, Martin gave an update following the intense media attention to news on the second prequel: “Yes, it is based on material from one of my books. (FWIW, those who have read Fire & Blood will realize it contains enough materials for a dozen shows.) This one has a title, but no one else has revealed it, so I had better not either. (But it’s not the obvious title.)
“It has a script and a bible, and both of them are terrific, first rate, exciting. They’re the work of Ryan Condal,” he wrote. “He’s a helluva strong writer, and a huge fan of A Song of Ice and Fire, Dunk & Egg, and Westeros in general. I’ve loved working with him, and if the Seven Gods and HBO are kind, I hope to keep on working with him for years to come on this new successor show, the title of which is… Ooops. Almost slipped. Can’t say yet. I can say that there will be dragons. Everyone else has said that, so why not me?”
Across late 2020 and early 2021, a cast formed including Rhys Ifans, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Sonoya Mizuno, Paddy Considine, Olivia Cooke, Matt Smith, Emma D’Arcy and Fabien Frankel. Considine plays King Viserys Targaryen, a kindly ruler of the Seven Kingdoms whose unusual plan for succession leads to the Dance of Dragons. The other castmembers either play his relatives or other ambitious people within the realm looking to use the instability for their own gain.
In January of 2021, word broke that HBO is also developing as series based on Martin’s “Dunk and Egg” novellas. Currently known as Tales of Dunk and Egg, the proposed program is set 90 years prior to Game of Thrones and will center on Ser Duncan the Tall, aka Dunk, and his squire, Egg, as they journey around Westeros. It is unclear how important Egg’s destiny as King Aegon V Targaryen will be to the program, though.
Beyond House of the Dragon and Dunk and Egg, four other projects are in the works at HBO. These include an animated series of which little is known, a program Bruno Heller is developing about House of the Dragon supporting character Lord Corlys Velaryon – although it is unclear if it is a direct spinoff of that series – a show focusing on Princess Nymeria and the founding of Dorne 1,000 years before Games of Thrones, and another set in the King’s Landing slum of Flea Bottom.
They’re Most Like: Game of Thrones.
Chances They Will Be Certified Fresh Hits: Unless they’re colossal train wrecks, the prequel series will be hits. Until its eighth and final season, GoT never dipped below 90% Fresh on the Tomatometer. And with a new production staff coming in, the senioritis that plagued GoT‘s final year shouldn’t be a factor.
(Photo by DAW Books)
TV Release Date: TBD
Based On: Patrick Rothfuss’s as-yet incomplete trilogy – which began with The Name of the Wind and continued in The Wise Man’s Fear – and other works Rothfuss set in the same reality. The main series tells the tale of a famed scribe and biographer listening to the stories of an adventurer, arcanist, and musician named Kvothe, who appears to have settled into a retirement as an innkeeper.
The Fanbase: Fantasy lovers and musicians like Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Everything We Know So Far: Lionsgate has been developing a series, film, and video game series based on Rothfuss’s novels since 2015. In November of 2016, Miranda signed on as a “creative producer” for the film and TV aspects of the project. The films – the first of which is to be directed by Spider-Man’s Sam Raimi – will concern Kvothe’s chronicle, while the TV series will explore other aspects of Rothfuss’s world. Both the author and Miranda are said to be developing characters for the series, which was in development at Showtime. In February of 2019, Showtime president Gary Levine told reporters showrunner John Rogers (Leverage) and “a group of writers” were working on the series with input from Manuel, but offered no further details. The premise reportedly revolved around two traveling musicians a generation prior to the events of the main novels and eventual film series. By that September, Showtime passed on the series, but left Lionsgate’s television division free to shop it around to other outlets. Reportedly, a number of scripts have already been written and at least one set-to-launch streaming service may be in the process of reading them. In November of 2020, Miranda said working on His Dark Materials gave him a new perspective on the material and that it just needs the right director and script to make the whole thing work.
It’s Most Like: Other fantasy epics with a wonderful Interview with the Vampire–esque narrative conceit.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: It all depends on when it happens. Since the movie appears to be further along in development, it remains to be seen how much crossover will exist between it and the series. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. attempted cohesion with the film franchises for the first couple of years, but eventually needed narrative distance. And without that strong tie to the films, it is unclear if fans will take to new characters without Kvothe as a unifying force. Also, this is assuming the film itself is a Certified Fresh hit.
(Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images; Simon & Schuster, Inc.)
Based On: The Earthsea novels and stories of Ursula K. Le Guin. Set on a planet of small archipelagos, various cultures, and a real magic tradition, the first novel centers around Ged, a young mage who comes of age while trying to escape a demonic shadow he conjured into being. Sadly, Le Guin passed away before anyone could make an Earthsea adaptation that reflected her core concept for the world: a fantasy setting composed mainly of brown-skinned people accepting the inevitability of death.
The Fanbase: Almost every fantasy and science fiction fan on the planet.
It’s Most Like: Itself. The Earthsea series set the standard for so many that followed.
Everything We Know So Far: Optioned for films by Nightcrawler’s Jennifer Fox (pictured) shortly before Le Guin’s death in 2018, A24 and Fox revealed in September of 2019 they will develop the project as a television series.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: Adaptations of Earthsea have not fared well. Studio Ghibli’s Tales from Earthsea, directed by Hayao Miyazaki’s son Goro, rests at a Rotten 43% on the Tomatometer and almost equally bad audience score of 46%. Le Guin was disappointed in its focus on combat and an externalized villain, despite praising its visual beauty. An earlier Sci-Fi Channel miniseries fares a little better with an audience score of 53%, but has no official Tomatometer score. Le Guin was not a fan, as it cast Shawn Ashmore as the brown-skinned Ged among other liberties taken with the material. Her criticisms of the adaptation are far more entertaining than the show itself. All of which means that any new adaptation has an uphill battle as it begins its development as a television series — at least the Tomatometer bar is set low.
(Photo by )
TV Release Date: TBD
Based On: The epic fantasy series by Robert Jordan and concluded by Brandon Sanderson — whose own Mistborn series is getting the film-franchise treatment — after Jordan’s death in 2007. Set in a world that is both Earth’s distant past and far future, the cycle of time is threatened by a Shadow of ultimate evil. It searches for “The Dragon Reborn,” a being of light fated to clash with the Shadow. Various enemies and allies of both sides appear as the main characters learn more about their fate and even cross into parallel worlds. Each book in the latter half of the series — books eight through 14 — hit No. 1 on The New York Times Best Seller list.
The Fanbase: Probably every fantasy fan you know.
Everything We Know So Far: Amazon and Sony Pictures Television announced in February 2018 that they are developing the series in concert, and at a London press event on Oct. 2, 2018, they announced that they ordered the one-hour action-fantasy to series, with Rafe Judkins (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Chuck), who adapted the novels for television, serving as showrunner and executive producer. Rick Selvage and Larry Mondragon of Red Eagle Entertainment, Ted Field and Mike Weber of Radar Pictures (Beirut, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) and Darren Lemke (Shrek Forever After) are executive producers. Consulting producer Harriet McDougal edited the Wheel of Time novels written by her late husband Jordan and is the current copyright holder. In June 2019, Rosamund Pike signed on to star in the series as Moiraine, a woman who leads a group of youngsters across the worlds in an attempt to find the Dragon Reborn. Pike will also serve as a producer on the series. That August, the streaming service announced the five fresh faces who will play those young men and women: Madeleine Madden as Egwene Al’Vere, Marcus Rutherford as Perrin Aybara, Barney Harris as Mat Cauthon, Zoë Robins as Nynaeve, and Josha Stradowski as Rand Al’Thor (pictured above). In September that year, Hawaii 5-0’s Daniel Henney joined the cast as al’Lan Mandragoran, the last scion of Malkier’s noble line. In March of 2021, Amazon released a very brief tease of Pike’s Moiraine declaring “Do not underestimate the women in this tower.”
(Photo by Tor Books)
It’s Most Like: The Lord of the Rings, which may be a problem as Amazon’s five-season LOTR series is also in the works.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: It’s hard to say. Judkins boasts credits on CF seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Fresh season of Chuck, but his primary credits also include a co-producer role on the 27%-scoring first season of Hemlock Grove; that said, the disastrous Netflix supernatural series starred Bill Skarsgård, who’s gone on to roles like Pennywise in CF horror film It and the mysterious prisoner in another supernatural series, Hulu’s CF hit Castle Rock. The key issue now is whether or not Amazon will have money to develop another property with an epic scope once LOTR begins production.
(Photo by DC Comics)
TV Release Date: TBD
Based On: The DC/Vertigo comic book series by writer Neil Gaiman and a variety of artists, including Sam Keith, Mike Dringenberg, Michael Zulli, and Jill Thompson, in which Dream of the Endless – the manifestation of dreams across the cosmos – faces a dilemma when his self-imposed obligations make it impossible for him to continue to function as he has for millennia. Of course, before he can deal with that internal conflict, he must put his realm, the Dreaming, back in order after being held prisoner on Earth for 75 years.
The Fanbase: Goths, Tori Amos fans, and people who started reading books for fun at a really early age.
Everything We Know So Far: After nearly 30 years of attempts to adapt The Sandman into a feature film, Warner Bros. Television and Netflix struck a deal for a direct-to-series adaptation — which is, really, The Sandman’s best destiny outside of the comics. Gaiman will executive produce alongside Krypton’s David S. Goyer — the pair was also attached as executive producers on the last feature film attempt — while Wonder Woman screenwriter Allan Heinberg will co-write the pilot alongside Gaiman and serve as showrunner.
The rumors are true. The tangled story of Morpheus, King of Dreams is becoming a Netflix series! Warner Brothers and executive producer Allan Heinberg (Wonder Woman screenwriter) have signed on to bring the dream of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman into reality. pic.twitter.com/cOMjPL5cqp
— Netflix Geeked (@NetflixGeeked) July 1, 2019
Following the announcement, Gaiman took to Twitter to clear up some confusion about his role in the series. Among the nuggets he offered: the series will be set in the present day — outside of flashbacks to certain incidents in history, we’re presuming — and not the late 1980s/1990s setting of the original comic book series. He will be involved “much more than American Gods” but “less than Good Omens.” He also hopes “we can make something on television that feels as personal and true as the best of the Sandman comics did.” The first season will be 11 episodes and comprise the story told in the comic’s first seven issues (now known collectively as Preludes & Nocturnes) and “a little bit more.” We’re hoping a single-issue tale like “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Calliope” or “A Dream of a Thousand Cats” becomes that “little bit more.” Although, we’ll be stunned if “The Sound of Her Wings” is held back until season 2. The cast includes Tom Sturridge as Morpheus, Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer, Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne, Sanjeev Bhaskar and Asim Chaudhry as Cain and Abel; and Boyd Holbrook as the Corinthian.
It’s Most Like: Good Omens, which is no surprise as Gaiman began writing the series around the time he and Terry Pratchett were writing the novel upon which the recent Amazon series was based. Both span thousands of years of history and see characters learning they are more than their titles. Then there’s also the whimsy to consider, and another role in which Michael Sheen could dress all in white. Although, the Corinthian is a far less agreeable chap than Aziraphale.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: Good Omens was a Certified Fresh hit at 82% on the Tomatometer. Readers seemed to like it a bit more, as it has a 92% audience score. American Gods, also based on Gaiman’s work, came out of its second season with 75% on the Tomatometer and an 82% audience score. Considering Gaiman intends to be more involved in The Sandman than he was during American Gods’ reportedly troubled second season, we predict a high Tomatometer score when the Sandman series eventually debuts. Though the comic was a magnet for Gothy types, it really appeals to just about everyone who gives it a shot. Presumably, its best qualities will make it irresistible to Netflix subscribers and reviewers alike.
(Photo by BBC/courtesy Everett Collection)
TV Release Date: TBD
Based On: Mervyn Peake’s mid-20th century novel trilogy — Titus Groan, Gormenghast, and Titus Alone — and the incomplete follow-ups centering on Titus Goran, reluctant heir to the immense Castle Gormenghast and the surrounding domain. But even as Titus grows up knowing he must eventually become a ruler, an ambitious kitchen boy plots his downfall.
The Fanbase: Writerly types like Neil Gaiman.
Everything We Know So Far: Gormenghast fan Gaiman, Doctor Who scribe Toby Whithouse, and Star Trek: Discovery’s Akiva Goldsman set up a new version of Gormenghast for FremantleMedia North America in 2018 without a streaming platform or broadcaster attached, but in August 2019 the project landed at Showtime. While the 2000 BBC adaptation of Gormenghast, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers (pictured above), focused on the first two novels, the new series will cover all three of Peakes completed novels and the two further stories he outlined prior to his death in 1957.
It’s Most Like: Historical fiction with a few fantasy trappings.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: Unlike most of the other projects in development, Gormenghast is notable for a distinct lack of magic despite its fantasy setting. Like the grounded first season of Game of Thrones, the more realistic world will set it apart from Middle-earth and the Hyborian Age.
(Photo by Walt Disney/courtesy Everett Collection)
TV Release Date: TBD
Based On: The seven Narnia novels by author C.S. Lewis, in which a group of WWII-era British school children gain access to a parallel realm known as Narnia. There, the Great Lion Aslan – a manifestation of Jesus Christ – teaches the children life lessons while giving them dominion over the land. The series eventually pivots from the Pevensie children to their cousin Eustace Scrubb, who goes from being a right git to a proper hero of Narnia. Santa Claus also makes a cameo appearance.
The Fanbase: Fans of high fantasy with overt Christian allegories.
Everything We Know So Far: On October 3, 2018, Netflix announced it acquired the film and television rights to the Narnia book series. The plan includes both films and television series, which suggests there may be a way to include the prequel novel, The Magician’s Nephew, in the story cycle. Mark Gordon, Douglas Gresham, and Vincent Sieber will serve as executive producers for the television series and as producers for features. In June 2019, Coco co-writer Matthew Aldrich signed on to oversee the adaptation as an overall creative director for both the television series and the planned films. In early 2021, Netflix film cheif Scott Stuber mentioned Narnia is still in the works.
It’s Most Like: As Lewis and Tolkien were friends and sparring partners, similarities between Narnia and Middle-earth abound, right down to walking trees. As realized in other media, though, Narnia is not as fully formed as Tolkien’s Arda, with the world, costumes, and critters seeming more traditionally European in concept.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: The Narnia film series followed a downward slope with The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe obtaining a Certified Fresh 76% on the Tomatometer, Prince Caspian following it up with a 67%, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader striking out with a 50% score. But as the series eventually changes protagonists, the switch to Eustace always made Narnia a tougher theatrical sell. He may fare better on television.
(Photo by Universal Pictures)
TV Release Date: TBD
Based On: The stories of Robert E. Howard featuring Conan the Cimmerian who roamed a fictional “Hyborian Age” said to occur after the destruction of Atlantis, but before the rise of “modern” civilization. An accomplished warrior in his teens, Conan became a pirate, thief and mercenary before claiming the throne of Aquilonia in his forties by strangling the man who was sitting in it at the time.
The Fanbase: Everyone from fantasy authors like Robert Jordan to filmmakers like Oliver Stone and former president Barack Obama, as well as fans of the Conan films like 1982 Universal Pictures release Conan the Barbarian, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger (pictured).
Everything We Know So Far: At one time, Amazon was developing a series based more directly on Howard’s stories than later authors’ work or the Marvel Comics series of the 1970s and ’80s. Colony co-creator Ryan Condal was onboard to write and produce with Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik attached to direct the pilot. But years went by with no further developments and both Condal and Sapochnik moved on to House of the Dragon. In September of 2020, word broke indicating Netflix now had the property with Pathfinder Media set to produce. But as before, news on Conan is surprisingly scarce.
It’s Most Like: A Dark Age version of Thrones in which men wear fewer garments.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: In light of the significant change, this one is tough to call. Netflix’s experience with fantasy (The Witcher, Cursed) is encouraging, but without any creatives attached to the project, the program is even more of a wildcard than it was during the Amazon years.
(Photo by Photos by Jonathan Hession -- Sam Strike in 'Nightflyers' Syfy/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images; Jasper Paakkonen in 'Vikings' History)
TV Release Date: TBD
Based On: Stephen King’s flagship fantasy series The Dark Tower. Across eight novels, a number of short stories and numerous connections to his other writings, the series details the journey of gunslinger Roland and his band of friends as they attempt to reach the Dark Tower — anchor point of the multiverse — before the Man in Black can destroy it. Once there, Roland discovers he’s played out this cycle before, clearing the way for film and television adaptations to be sequels of the original novel series.
The Fanbase: King’s wide audience and fantasy lovers who manage to get past the rough first chapters of The Gunslinger, the cycle’s first novel.
Everything We Know So Far: Originally intended as a companion piece to 2017’s The Dark Tower film centering on the life of Roland (played by Idris Elba) in Mid-World, the series will instead start over with Nightflyers’ Sam Strike (pictured above left) as Roland and Vikings’ Jasper Pääkkönen (pictured above right) as the villainous Man in Black. Considering the film’s poor performance (17% on the Tomatometer), it is probably for the best. In early 2020, Amazon passed on the project, although executive producer Glen Mazzara said he hoped the series will find a home elsewhere. One year later, we doubt Roland will ever make it to the Dark Tower in live action.
It’s Most Like: Like a number of fantasy series from the 1970s and ’80s, it openly wears its Tolkien inspiration everywhere. In fact, King says as much in a foreword to the novel series. But it grows by leaps and bounds as King discovers a way to tie Mid-World to Derry, Maine, and his other favorite locations.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: It seems The Dark Tower may be unworkable as either a film or television series. Or, at least, too expensive and unwieldly for companies already engaged in creating things like The Lord of the Rings and The Witcher. In terms of critical reception, any such series would need the full resources of a streaming service or cable outlet to be welcomed favorably.
(Photo by Macmillan Publishers/Annapurna Pictures)
TV Release Date: TBD
Based On: The first novel in author Jenn Lyons’ A Chorus of Dragons series. Young thief Kihrin discovers he may be of the royal bloodline, and he may also be at the center of a prophecy stating that he will end the empire. There are a lot of conditional statements in his life, making him sound more like the most timid Skyrim player to ever live. But the Black Brotherhood, after buying him as a slave, may provide motivation enough for him to care about his foretold destiny.
The Fanbase: Since the book only debuted in February 2019, the fanbase is still forming.
Everything We Know So Far: Annapurna Television optioned the rights shortly after The Ruin of Kings was published. Presumably, the search is underway for key creatives and a home for the program.
It’s Most Like: Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings with its mix of prophecies, scrappy heroes, gods, witches, zombies, and even krakens.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: Even odds. A Chorus of Dragons is such a new concept that a simple logline makes it sound utterly derivative of other popular series. But with fantasy, it is all in how those well-worn creatures and tropes get used. And if reviews of the novel are to be believed, The Ruin of Kings mixes those elements in an unexpected and worthwhile way.
(Photo by Orbit)
TV Release Date: TBD
Based On: N.K. Jemisin’s novels about a world in which the single supercontinent, Stillness, is ravaged every few centuries by a dramatic climate change known as “The Fifth Season.” The most recent Fifth Season proved to be particularly bad, leading some to believe the end is at hand. The society of Stillness is broken into races, castes and species. Those divisions help and hinder the people’s efforts to weather the possible apocalypse. Set against this landscape is the tale of three women with the power to both calm and agitate seismic activity under Stillness. All three books in the series won the Hugo Award for best novel.
The Fanbase: The voting bodies of both the Hugo Awards and the Nebulas, who nominated The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate for best novel in their respective years.
Everything We Know So Far: The Fifth Season was optioned by TNT in August of 2017 with Sleepy Hollow’s Leigh Dana Jackson set to write the pilot. Heroes’ Tim Kring was also set to serve as an executive producer. There has been no news since, but development on even a simple (from a design perspective) high-school drama can take forever.
It’s most like… Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind with a touch of Game of Thrones.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: As suggested above, it could be a strong counter-program to Amazon’s The Wheel of Time and Lord of the Rings series with a strong emphasis on female characters and ecological disaster. At the same time, TNT is not known for long-running fantasy series – unless you count the fantastic elements of The Librarians – with its last true fantasy project, The Mists of Avalon, debuting back in 2001. That miniseries falters at 44% on the Tomatometer, but it should be noted that TNT was very different entity at the time. The current leadership could offer The Broken Earth the money and support it needs to be a special voice in fantasy television.
(Photo by Nelson Doubleday)
Based On: The novellas – and later novels – of Michael Moorcock featuring Elric, a frail albino who also happens to be the 428th and final emperor of Meliboné. Though quite weak, Elric’s sword, Stormbringer, offers him renewed health and vitality, but it requires a constant supply of souls to keep it powered. At odds with traditional Meliboné society, his antics cause him troubles at court and lead to his own nephew plotting a coup against him.
Why We Want a TV Series: In its setting, it may remind some of Lord of the Rings and Conan, but Moorcock actively wrote Elric as an antithesis of the Cimmerian wanderer. Heady, weird, and expressly anti-Conan, Elric’s chances of success commercially or critically are a long shot. But then, an enterprising producer could position a series based on Moorcock’s stories as a compelling alternative to Conan.
(Photo by Wizards of the Coast)
Based On: The Dungeons & Dragons role-playing scenarios by Laura and Tracy Hickman and the later tie-in novels by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis. In the world of Krynn, dragons dominate and dragonlances are the only weapons mortals not adept in magic can use to kill them. In the first trio of novels, the Heroes of the Lance fight to restore order to the realm. Since then, nearly 200 Dragonlance novels have been published.
Why We Want a TV Series: While seemingly obscure, a properly developed Dragonlance series would have the potential to fill the void left by Game of Thrones when it ends in 2019. The upcoming Dungeons & Dragons film is said to be based on Dragons of Autumn Twilight, the first Dragonlance novel, but a full series devoted to the game mechanics of D&D and the world of Krynn could be something revolutionary. And as Geek & Sundry’s Critical Role proves every Thursday, there is an audience for stories steeped in the role-playing tradition.
Watch: David Yates on the final battle of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 above.
In 2019, Rotten Tomatoes turns 21, and to mark the occasion we’re celebrating the 21 Most Memorable Moments from the movies over the last 21 years. In this special video series, we speak to the actors and filmmakers who made those moments happen, revealing behind-the-scenes details of how they came to be and diving deep into why they’ve stuck with us for so long. Once we’ve announced all 21, it will be up to you, the fans, to vote for which is the most memorable moment of all. In this episode of our ‘21 Most Memorable Moments’ series, director David Yates breaks down the Harry Potter franchise’s defining, climactic battle between good and evil.
Movies rarely come with the kinds of lofty expectations that were foisted upon the Harry Potter franchise, but movies are also rarely adapted from existing properties that are widely beloved, pop culture-defining global sensations. Thankfully, Warner Bros. found the right people to place both in front of and behind the camera to bring J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World to cinematic life, and the result was one of the most critically and commercially successful film franchises ever to flicker across the big screen.
David Yates has served as the series’ go-to director beginning with the fifth film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; he’s since helmed every movie in the franchise, including the two recent Fantastic Beasts spinoff installments. His biggest challenge lay in bringing the original series to a close in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and Part 2, the latter of which was to feature the climactic battle between Daniel Radcliffe’s Harry Potter and Ralph Fiennes’ Lord Voldemort. But Yates had a specific vision in mind for the final book in the series.
(Photo by Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros.)
“It was Lionel Wigram, who’s one of our lovely producers, who felt maybe this movie could fall into two parts, because it was quite an extensive book. I read the book and it felt, to me, that you could create two interesting films. One was very much the kind of blockbuster, entertaining conclusion to the whole series, which had lots of bells and whistles and lots of battles and a great deal of scale, and then the first one — when Harry, Ron, and Hermione are out in the real world for the very first time, away from school, having to learn some really hard life lessons — that, to me, felt like it could operate almost as an independent movie on its own terms. Very small-scale, very delicate. A much more intimate movie, if you will.
I used to joke with Steve Kloves, who adapted Hallows Parts 1 and 2, that we were probably making the most expensive European art house movie ever with Hallows Part 1, because it didn’t feel like a big movie, with all the bells and whistles. It felt much more intimate and much more delicate than that. And then, of course, with Part 2, we were able to finally round out the series, and that felt much more appropriate that we sort of went out with a bang.”
“There was… this feeling that, there had been seven movies, and you had to kind of come out in a way that fulfilled everyone’s expectations. Especially your own, in terms of turning this epic story that Jo had created. So I think that was probably the biggest challenge, and knowing that expectations were sky high, and that people wanted to have a properly satisfying emotional resolution to this series of stories. Knowing that you have those expectations on your shoulders, you follow your instincts, and you stick with what you feel is right and what’s true, fundamentally. And I think we did it. Just sitting with an audience in all the test screenings as we were finishing the film, you could feel it in the room that people who had stuck with you on that journey across all those movies felt moved and elated by the end. It was a very satisfying feeling.”
Beginning with the first film in 2001, each of the Harry Potter movies came somewhere between four or five years after their source novels were published. In other words, when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 arrived in 2011, book readers already knew what was coming: an epic showdown between Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort. As Yates explains, he made a conscious decision to deviate from the book.
(Photo by Warner Bros.)
“This relationship has been ongoing throughout this series of stories, but it’s only really in this final movie that we get to spend some substantial time with them finally facing each other. In the book, that confrontation takes place in the Great Hall, and I always felt that it was important, in a way, having waited seven movies for this confrontation to finally take place, I always felt it would be wonderful to give this confrontation almost the feel of a Western. So it’s very iconically defined by these two figures in this vast courtyard, facing off with each other. Not with necessarily a big audience, as took place in the book, but something that felt much more singular, and the architecture and the landscape of the school was very much like a Western.
Harry sort of carries the spirit of Voldemort, in part, and they have this unity, and I had this idea that Harry and Voldemort are at the top of a school tower, and as they confronted each other… Dan would grab Ralph, and actually pull him off this tower, and they would apparate around the school together, and as they apparated around the school together, we’d explore this weird visual synthesis that exists between the two of them, and they’d eventually tumble down into the courtyard.”
“So, I always wanted to get it out of the Great Hall, away from an audience, so the sequence became much more about a boy facing down this nemesis, this demon that had haunted him right throughout his childhood. This is the figure that had killed his parents. And so it became a much more iconic, singular battle between these two figures. I like that singularity and I like that simplicity, because you could really focus right into Harry’s eyes and Voldemort’s realization, in the moment when he loses the Elder Wand, that he’s beaten. So for me, I like taking it into this down and dirty place, where it was literally a scramble in the mud to finally decide who was gonna win that battle that had been going on for such a long time. And that leanness and earthiness was always something that I felt was right for that final confrontation.”
(Photo by Warner Bros.)
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels were a worldwide phenomenon unto themselves, but the film series launched that phenomenon even further into the stratosphere. The so-called Wizarding World now includes a spinoff film series, theme park attractions, video games, and even a West End stage production that follows up on Harry Potter’s story 19 years after the events of Deathly Hallows. The series’ early and frequent success spawned a mad rush to find the next Young Adult-aimed sensation, and others like The Hunger Games, Twilight, Divergent, and The Maze Runner — as well as a slew of unsuccessful would-be franchise-starters — followed in its footsteps.
The Harry Potter series is also one of just a handful that can boast Certified Fresh installments from beginning to end, signaling consistent critical acclaim, and it ranks as the third highest-grossing of all time, behind only the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Star Wars saga. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 is the culmination of seven movies over the course of a decade, and to put it in context, it’s not only the best-reviewed film of the series at a Certified Fresh 96% on the Tomatometer, but it’s also the highest-grossing of the bunch, earning a massive $1.3 billion at the global box office. That was enough to make it one of the top 10 highest-grossing films of all time… until the recent release of Avengers: Endgame knocked it down to number 11. Still, that’s no small feat.
Of course, for those who can’t get enough of the Potterverse, there’s still the Fantastic Beasts films, the most recent of which opened just last November. It’s unlikely that series will be able to replicate Harry Potter‘s extraordinary accomplishments, but as David Yates’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 so clearly demonstrated, it takes time and a whole lot of careful craftsmanship to build to a fantastic, emotionally gratifying finale. Given another decade’s worth of thoughtful storytelling, Fantastic Beasts may yet earn its own “Harry vs. Voldemort” moment.
Daniel Radcliffe may never in his lifetime escape questions about his most-famous role: Harry Potter. Fortunately, the star doesn’t mind fielding fan queries, including those from Potterhead colleagues and the occasional journalist.
“I think there’s like an expectation that I will hate talking about it, which I really don’t particularly,” Radcliffe told Rotten Tomatoes.
Radcliffe now stars in surreal TBS comedy Miracle Workers, which presents Heaven, Inc. as a regular office grind where employees try to answer prayers every day. God (Steve Buscemi) is over it and decides one day that he’s going to blow up the Earth.
(Photo by Curtis Baker/TBS)
Angels Craig (Radcliffe) and Eliza (Geraldine Viswanathan) convince God to give them a chance to prove humans are worth preserving. If they can perform one miracle in two weeks, God will let the Earth live. The prayer they’ve chosen to answer: Help Sam (Jon Bass) and Laura (Sasha Compere) fall in love.
The angels can’t directly interfere with Sam and Laura. They can just set things up and hope they work. It’s like a game of Sims with real people.
“They’re a lot more caring with them than I was with my Sims,” Radcliffe said. “I killed my Sims accidentally. I put the fridge the wrong way around and didn’t realize.”
Viswanathan confessed to even more sadistic Sim abuse.
“I used to take the ladder out of the pool and just watch them suffer,” she said of her Sims abuse, which shocked her costar.
“That’s you killing them!” Radcliffe objected. “I accidentally made my guy die. That’s a murder.”
(Photo by Curtis Baker/TBS)
Heaven, Inc.’s interference on the show also has collateral damage. Obstacles they throw in Sam and Laura’s path may have deadlier impacts on completely innocent bystanders.
“It does, but it is all for the goal of saving the entire world,” Radcliffe said in defense of the angels. “We’re in a world where virtually anything can be justified in order to save the existence of the species as a whole.”
Miracle Workers is a dark comedy that way, but it’s ultimately optimistic.
“There’s a through-line of hope even when it’s really messed up and extremely dark,” Viswanathan said. “They’re just sticking together and believing in something and going for it. That’s very much the ethos of the show.”
(Photo by Curtis Baker/TBS)
Miracle Workers showcases Radcliffe’s comedic side. He has had funny cameos in films like Trainwreck and shows like Bojack Horseman, and he even played a farting corpse in 2016 film Swiss Army Man opposite Paul Dano.
“I’ve always loved doing comedy,” Radcliffe said. “I think I’ve done a fair amount that certain people have seen. Swiss Army Man is a fairly niche film. The stage shows I’ve done have actually mostly been comedy in some way. I love it. It’s a very lovely thing, particularly on a set like this where you just have to go to set and try and be stupid every day and make people laugh.”
And Miracle Workers can be gloriously stupid. One joke is just about how to pronounce “gyro.” Most foodies know it sounds like “yee-ro,” not like a gyroscope.
“I thought it was ‘gyro’ as well, but my girlfriend — near where Erin grew up is a huge Middle Eastern community — and she was like, ‘No, it’s yee-ro,” Radcliffe said.
(Photo by Curtis Baker/TBS)
If Miracle Workers is a hit, there will be a second season, but it won’t be about the same angels. Creator Simon Rich’s plan is to make Miracle Workers an anthology series.
“The idea would be to reset it in a different time, place, characters — sort of to do for comedy what American Horror Story is for horror,” Radcliffe said. “Once you’ve saved the world, it’s hard to find where to go from there for the second series, I think.”
Whether or not that means season 1 ends with a miracle or we all die, it will be a definitive ending.
“The opportunity TBS gave him to do was to do a totally self-contained season so you didn’t have to, as a writer, write an open-ended ending which may or may not go onto something in season 2,” Radcliffe said of Rich’s deal. “Essentially they let us make a three-hour film with commercials.”
(Photo by Curtis Baker/TBS)
Returning to our Potter obsession (and Radcliffe’s patient accommodation), we related that when his Potter costar Rupert Grint spoke to us for Snatch season 2, he said it was weird for him to watch another actor play Ron Weasley in the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Radcliffe hasn’t seen the play yet, but not because of another actor playing Harry.
“I think I would find it weirder just sitting in the audience and know that people were probably looking at what my reaction to the thing was,” Radcliffe said. “That’s kind of the reason I haven’t gone.”
It’s hard to believe that it has been eight years since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Radcliffe has had a whole career since then, but he’ll always be Harry Potter.
“It’s still a big part of my life, but I’ve gotten to go on and do loads of other things,” Radcliffe said. “I’m very happy with how it’s all gone. If you told me at the time that I was going to be sitting here eight years later talking about this amazing, weird series that I love, I’d be very, very happy with that sort of thing.”
Most actors don’t get one or the other. Radcliffe considers himself blessed to have both.
“I don’t think the idea of me always being known as Harry Potter and the idea of me just being an actor who does lots of stuff are mutually exclusive,” Radcliffe said. “I think they can both be true. So far they have been so fingers crossed.”
(Photo by courtesy of HBO)
As this year’s Marvel’s Spider-Man proved, games based on popular film and television properties are best served when they don’t attempt to retell the same stories we’ve already seen on the big and small screens. Following in Spidey’s spandex footsteps, a number of new and upcoming games have adopted similar approaches, cleverly expanding on existing universes rather than retreading them for the interactive entertainment medium.
From blockbuster film franchises (Fast & Furious) to streaming serial hits (Game of Thrones), more and more of our favorite fictional universes are offering fresh, original opportunities for fans to interact with their characters, live in their worlds, and even shape their stories.
Whether you’re a gamepad-clutching Potter fan, a Ghostbusting smartphone geek, or a virtual reality enthusiast with a superhero complex, these 12 titles include some that should keep you busy between TV binge sessions and movie marathons this holiday season, a few great video games to give as gifts for Christmas, and others that you can look forward to in 2019.
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Systems: iOS, Android, Steam
Release Date: Available now
Game of Thrones doesn’t return to HBO until next year, but winter has already come in the latest game based on the Seven Kingdoms-conquering series. Offering a fun twist on the high-fantasy franchise, Reigns: Game of Thrones puts players under the capes and crowns of would-be rulers — from Sansa and Tyrion to Cersei and Daenerys — and lets them live out potential alternate futures and fates based on Melisandre’s mysterious visions.
Developer: Next Age
Publisher: FourThirtyThree Inc.
Systems: iOS, Android
Release Date: Available now
A new take on the location-based, augmented-reality genre that saw millions of players capturing Pokemon in their local park, Ghostbusters World puts players behind a Proton Pack. Well, fans will actually wield their smartphones, but they’ll barely notice the difference once they’re using the smart-devices to suck up Slimer, battle the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man in their backyard, and bust hundreds of other ghosts in real-world locations.
Developer: Wolf & Wood
Publisher: Fun Train
Systems: PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift
Release Date: Available now
Thanks to the immersion-cranking effects of virtual reality, The Exorcist: Legion VR subjects fans to scares more terrifying than those that defined the classic horror franchise. Beneath the reality-ratcheting headset, players assume the role of a demon-hunting detective who — over the course of five nerve-fraying episodes – explores creepy tombs, investigates ritualistic killings and, of course, raises a few crucifixes in the face of demonic possession.
Systems: PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift
Release Date: Available now
Based on the rejuvenated Rocky franchise, Creed: Rise to Glory isn’t just another mindless, button-mashing boxing game. Brought to face-pummeling life in virtual reality, the experience not only puts you in the gloves of Adonis Creed — while training with the Italian Stallion himself — but its physical gameplay offers a workout that’d make Ivan Drago break a sweat.
Developer: Sanzaru Games
Publisher: Oculus Studios
Systems: Oculus Rift
Release Date: Available now
Marvel fans who’ve dreamed of smashing foes from behind Hulk’s fists or webbing-up baddies with a flick of Spider-Man’s wrists will want to suit-up for Marvel Powers United VR. A fan-pleasing mix of virtual reality and Marvel’s massive roster of heroes and villains, the game lets players unleash all the powers and weapons — from Thor’s hammer and Cap’s shield to Deadpool’s katanas and Wolverine’s claws — from a first-person perspective that feels incredibly real inside the Oculus Rift headset.
Developer: TT Games
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Systems: Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PS4
Release Date: Available now
Whether you’ve adventured through the LEGO Harry Potter games a hundred times or you’re a newcomer looking to bust some bricks in the Wizarding World, this definitive, remastered edition provides the absolute best way to kick Voldemort’s block-y butt. This Hagrid-sized compilation, which features both games and spans all eight films, includes enhanced graphics, environments, and visual effects, as well as a pair of magic-expanding DLC packs.
Developer: DIGIT Game Studios
Publisher: Scopely/CBS Interactive
Systems: iOS, Android
Release Date: Nov. 29, 2018
With Star Trek: Discovery prepping to beam up for its second season and Jean-Luc Picard’s return confirmed, there’s never been a better time to be a Trekkie. The fan service continues with Star Trek Fleet Command, a multiplayer mobile offering that combines role-playing elements and real-time battles to deliver story-driven, deep-space skirmishes that should please fans of any faction.
Developer: SMG Studios
Publisher: Universal Games, Digital Platforms
Systems: iOS, Android
Release Date: Late 2018
The next Fast & Furious film has been delayed a year, but fans needn’t wait till 2020 to satisfy their need for speed. Fast & Furious: Takedown puts players behind the wheel of 60-plus licensed rides, including favorites from the films — like Dom’s Dodge Charger and Hobbs’ tank-like truck — before letting them tear up the blacktop in missions guided by the movies’ popular cast of speed limit-breaking characters.
Developer: Blue Giraffe
Publisher: FTX Games
Platforms: iOS, Android
Release Date: Late 2018
This mobile-game take on the long-running CBS crime drama puts fans behind the case-cracking skills of a Behavioral Analysis Unit agent. Alongside favorite characters Rossi, Prentiss, Reid, J.J., Garcia, Lewis, Alvez, and Simmons, players race against the clock to profile suspects, analyze crime scenes, and follow the clues that’ll ultimately help the BAU team put the country’s most twisted criminal minds behind bars.
Publisher: Universal Games, Digital Platforms
Systems: iOS, Android
Release Date: Early 2019
Ahead of next year’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World from DreamWorks Animation, fans are invited to reunite with their favorite fire-breathers in a match-3 mobile offering based on the animated fantasy franchise. Titan Uprising puts a fresh spin on the popular genre, challenging players to build the ultimate team of winged creatures by hatching, nurturing, and creating powerful dragon hybrids to conquer nearly 800 puzzle battles.
Developer: WB Games, Niantic
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Systems: iOS, Android
Release Date: 2019
The clever folks behind the Pokemon GO phenomenon are applying their augmented-reality magic to a new, Wizarding World–themed take on the genre. Of course, it’s the fans who will be casting spells, as they wield their smart-devices like wands in the real/muggle world to interact with the Potterverse and its populace of menacing creatures and mysterious characters.
With Space Jam 2 headed to the big screen, it’s the perfect time for Looney Tunes fans to reacquaint themselves with their favorite friends and foes from Warner Bros.’ stable of animated stars. Looney Tunes: World of Mayhem invites players to do just that, as they build a dream team of toon brawlers, from Yosemite Sam and Sylvester to Tweety and Taz, to take on opponents in epic, explosive, over-the-top displays of cartoon violence.
(Photo by Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/ ™ & © DC Comics)
Though better known for its cosplay and comic book ties, New York Comic Con has become as important a place to debut new trailers as Comic-Con International: San Diego. And considering the stable of properties showing off new material over the weekend, the two conventions may be equal in their media blitzes.
Besides the Wednesday night teases of DC Universe’s Titans and Harley Quinn, fans are already eagerly anticipating previews for shows like Marvel’s Daredevil, Good Omens, The Tick, The Boys, American Gods, and more. On the movie front, 2019’s Hellboy will be the trailer to beat. Not that possible trailer for Mortal Engines and How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World won’t try. We’ll keep adding trailers as they appear and New York Comic Con continues.
Robin (Brenton Thwaites), Starfire (Anna Diop), and Beast Boy (Ryan Potter) must join forces to help Raven (Teagan Croft) face an unimaginable terror. Along the way, they’ll probably become a team. Alan Ritchson and Minka Kelly also appear as Hawk & Dove, a superhero duo affiliated with the Teen Titans back in the comics.
Coming to DC Universe on October 12.
Matt Murdoch (Charlie Cox) may no longer have any interest in being Matt Murdoch, but someone else has an interest in being Daredevil. Will the imposter get in Matt’s way as he tries to assemble the guts to finally finish Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio)? Back in black, the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen may discover his greatest foe is himself.
Or his greatest foe may be FBI Agent Benjamin Poindexter (Wilson Bethel), a character featured in the above second trailer for the season. Based on legendary Daredevil nemesis Bullseye, Dex appears to be the man Fisk finds to wear the Daredevil armor. But will the Kingpin’s plan lead to something — and someone — worse than Daredevil?
Returns to Netflix on October 19.
Harry Potter veterans Natalia Tena and Tom Felton star in a science fiction series about a group of strangers stranded on a spacecraft bound for a distant planet. As the passengers learn to cooperate, they discover one of them may not be human.
Debuts on YouTube Premium on November 14.
Harley Quinn (voiced by Big Bang Theory‘s Kaley Cuoco) is getting out of jail and her habit with the Joker. She intends to become the Queen of Crime throughout Gotham, but based on this tease, she also wants to have some fun. Not that Batman or Poison Ivy seem too interested in that.
Coming to DC Universe in 2019.
Stan (John C. McGinley) and Evie (Janet Varney) are back in Willard’s Mill dealing with the consequences of Stan’s time-travelling to save his dead wife Claire. In doing so, he inadvertently opened a portal between the Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead – allowing evil forces to truly take over the town and even some of its inhabitants. Although always the skeptic at first, Stan must work with Evie to once more save the town – even if it means making a literal deal with the devil.
Adora (Aimee Carrero), a cadet with the Evil Horde, comes into contact with one of the swords of Grayskull and becomes She-Ra, the Princess of Power. Soon, she joins a rebellion against the Horde. As others join the rebellion, Adora comes into conflict with her friend Catra (AJ Michalka) as both learn the truth about the Horde and themselves.
Debuts on Netflix on November 16.
As part of a complicated plan to restore magic, Dean Fogg (Rick Worthy) negotiated the lives of his students, erasing their memories and giving each – except Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) who is now imprisoned by the Library – a new, magic-free identity. Even with their new identities, the others are far from safe since inside Castle Blackspire, an ancient, powerful and unkillable Monster escaped confinement and jumped bodies to a new host, Eliot (Hale Appleman). Will the Monster find what he seeks?
Returns January 23, 2019 on Syfy.
Jason Momoa stars as Arthur Curry, a man caught up in the conflict between Atlantis and the Surface World. When Mera (Amber Heard) comes to to him to prevent his half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) from taking the throne and starting a war, they go on a journey which may finally see Arthur accepting his destiny as the King of the Oceans.
Opens on December 21.
On the eve of D-Day, a group of American paratroopers find their mission to destroy a German radio tower near Normandy means battling as series horrifying, bloody, and violent creatures that are the result of a secret Nazi experiment. J. J. Abrams serves as a producer, which means the film, which features Bokeem Woodbine and Iain De Caestecker, may be happening in the Cloverfield universe.
Opens November 9.
The Paladins face their final challenge as Voltron heads back into space to prevent a final conflict between the Galra and, well, everybody. But as the Witch Haggar (Cree Summer) suggests in the teaser, it may already be too late.
Returns to Netflix on December 14.
In a world where cities are mobile machines bent on devouring smaller villages, Hera Hilmar star as Hester Shaw, a woman looking to get revenge on Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving), a powerful man she blames for her mother’s murder. Unfortunately, she also run into Tom (Robert Sheehan), a Londoner hoping to see more the world. Both soon find themselves ejected from the city; which means Tom will get his wish, after a fashion.
Opens December 14.
In 2093, the crew of the Nightflyer, the most advanced ship ever built, embark on a journey to find other life forms. Their mission takes them to the edge of the solar system, and to the edge of insanity, as they realize true horror isn’t waiting for them in outer space — it’s already on their ship. Starring Eoin Macken, David Ajala, Sam Strike, Maya Eshet, Angus Sampson, Jodie Turner-Smith with Brian F. O’Byrne and Gretchen Mol.
Debuts December 2nd on Syfy.
Shadow Moon’s (Ricky Whittle) journeys with Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) continue as the Gods begin to assemble. Mad Sweeny (Pablo Schreiber) and Laura (Emily Browning) also return for this further exploration of Neil Gaiman’s novel in which the Gods of the Old World and newer deities clash for supremacy.
Returns in 2019 on Starz.
Barry Allen’s (Grant Gustin) daughter Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) has arrived from the future. But in Allen family tradition, she changed time and can’t go home. Her alterations to the timeline may have lead to the metahuman serial killer Cicada (Chris Klein) becoming more of a threat than she remembers. It’s up to Barry and Team Flash to find a solution for both problems before members of the team turn up dead.
Returns October 9 on the CW.
Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Karen Fukuhara, Laz Alonso and Tomer Capon star as a team of vigilantes who take on the more hedonistic superheroes when their tendencies get out of line. But Billy Butcher (Urban) and Wee Hughie (Quaid) have more on their mind than their sense of justice when confronting an alleged superhero group with ties to the death of Hughie’s girlfriend.
Debuts on Amazon in 2019.
Based on the bestselling and critically-acclaimed novel of the same name by Deborah Harkness, Teresa Palmer stars as Diana Bishop, a historian — and a witch denying her heritage — who accidentally discovers a long-lost bewitched manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Its contents lead her into the heart of a dangerous underworld. While on her journey, she meets the enigmatic vampire and geneticist, Matthew Clairmont (Matthew Goode), who hides a dark family secret.
Debuts January 29, 2019 on Sundance Now and Shudder.
Based on the novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, David Tennant and Michael Sheen star as a demon and an angel dedicated to preventing the End Times as they’ve grown quite fond of their quaint British existences. But the rest of creation may not be so dedicated to tea and dreary weather as this pair of unlikely friends, whose relationship spans 6000 years, as the battle lines are drawn in the war to end all things.
Debuts in 2019 on Amazon.
Some time in the 1980s, Marcus Lopez (Benjamin Wadsworth) finds himself plucked off the streets of San Francisco and admitted to Kings Dominion School of the Deadly Arts. There, he is forced to face his own social anxieties, trauma from seeing his parents killed, and a lethal form of otherwise mundane high school experiences. As he puts it, “Just doesn’t matter where they from, kids are all the same – vicious. Only difference is, in this place … the dagger they put in your back is real.” Lana Condor, Maria Gabriela de Faria, Luke Tennie and Benedict Wong also star.
Debuts January 16 on Syfy.
Christopher Meloni returns as Nic Sax, an ex-cop turned hitman whose Christmastime experience with his daughter Haley’s (Bryce Lorenzo) imaginary friend Happy (Patton Oswalt) led to, well, seemingly no redemption as Season 2 of Happy! switches to the Easter Season and Nic still has a refrigerator full of body parts. Ann-Margret joins the series as a former siren of stage and screen while Christopher Fitzgerald returns as questionable children’s entertainer Sonny.
Returns to Syfy in 2019.
Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) takes command of the U.S.S Discovery as Micheal Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) learns her adoptive brother, and Pike’s science officer, Mr. Spock (Ethan Peck) has taken a leave of absence. His disappearance may be connected to a “red angel” Michael saw while on a mission. It may also be connected to Pike’s mission aboard the ship. Meanwhile, former Terran emperor Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) takes a new job at the Federation’s black ops cabal, Section 31.
Returns January 17 on CBS All Access.
It’s No Man’s Land as Gotham City finds itself isolated after the destruction of its bridges. And while Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) faces one last battle for the soul of the city, his army buddy Eduardo Dorrance (Shane West) may prove to the Bane of his existence. The newcomer has dark plans for the city and a design on Alfred (Sean Pertwee) which may leave him completely broken. Yet, a Dark Knight may finally rise out of all of the chaos to prove Gotham always needed a special sort of justice. One served with a cape and cowl instead of a badge.
Returns in 2019 on Fox.
It’s been seven years since Rupert Grint played Ron Weasley, but it could be 70 and Harry Potter fans won’t forget him. So when Grint found himself filming the second season of his Crackle series Snatch in Costa del Sol, Spain, he met Harry Potter fans unlike any he’d met before.
“[They’re] touching, quite tactile,” Grint said. “Hugs are a big thing down there.”
The hands-on fans didn’t hold up filming at all, however. Most of the scenes in Snatch occur in remote beachfront settings. And when the crew ventured into the city proper, Grint was impressed by the Harry Potter devotion he’d see — plenty of fans he encountered had their HP love inked on their bodies.
“The most classic tattoo I see is the Deathly Hallows symbol,” Grint said. “It was nice. They’re quite passionate fans over there. It’s kind of big in Spain. It really sparked something in that culture, I guess.”
Grint shouldn’t have been too surprised, since the off-the-grid actor — he’s not on social media at all — still gets snail mail from fans, many of them located in Spain. But hugs, tattoos, and fan mail are the closest Grint gets to Harry Potter these days. The movie franchise has moved on to Fantastic Beasts, Grint has pretty much ruled out a return. By the time the timeline catches up with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Grint would be old enough to play a Hogwarts teacher.
“I’ve kind of really closed that book, I think,” Grint said. “I mean, I never say never. I saw the play a few years ago, and it was very strange seeing someone else embody a character that you know so well. I’m very emotionally connected to that character so it was a very strange experience.
“If they made a film about The Cursed Child, I don’t know how I’d feel if I saw someone else play Ron,” Grint continued. “That’d be quite weird. A weird experience.”
(Photo by Crackle)
With 20 total hours of Snatch over two seasons, Grint has racked up about as much screen time as Charlie as he did as Ron Weasley. Although the Hogwarts crew reunited every year to make another film, they had the job security of seven books to assure them they were coming back. Season 2 of Snatch was more of a gift.
“This was a little bit more unexpected,” Grint said. “With Potter we always knew that was coming around the corner. It was a much more intense process. Plus I was in school as well, so it was a whole other kind of thing. It’s a very similar experience on Potter really, really getting to know one character you can grow over a long period of time. I really enjoy that.”
The second season of the Crackle series was delayed, and its location was changed several times before the details came together. Series creator Alex De Rakoff considered seasons in Colombia, Fiji, and the Dominican Republic, and each would have told a different story. But something about Spain just made the most sense.
“That is a perfect place to set Snatch, I think: the Costa del Sol,” Grint said. “A lot of British criminals, it’s their first port of call when they leave the country. They go to the Costa Del Sol and hide out. You can really feel that in the air. This place is probably, at that very moment, hiding a lot of bank robbers.”
Season 2 reveals that, after the gang sailed away from England with the money at the end of season 1, hijackers attack the boat on the way to Spain and make off with the score. The group washes up on the beach and subsequently attempts to go straight by running a beachside bar. Albert (Luke Pasqualino) especially wants to run a legitimate business, but it’s not long before the life of crime comes calling again.
(Photo by Sony Crackle)
This restart means it’s a perfect entry point for people who didn’t see season 1.
“The first season is rarely referenced really,” Grint said. “I think it helps to know these characters but it’s a good point because we have nothing. We have to start again. Now Albert is in control, and he’s telling us all what to do, which is kind of great for Charlie.”
Charlie isn’t necessarily made for the criminal life, which made him a very difficult character for Grint to wrap his head around.
“He’s a very strange character,” Grint said. “You never really know where it’s going to go. He is kind of an illusion. Charlie’s just not a very natural fit for this kind of world. He’s just not made for this. He hates violence. He hates guns, which is kind of a problem with this vocation. It’s quite interesting watching him struggle.
“I think in this season he’s very much desperate to take charge,” Grint continued. “That’s why he and Albert butt heads a lot. They’ve got very different strategic plans.”
(Photo by Sony Crackle)
Adapting to the Spanish lifestyle was a major task for both the actors and the characters of Snatch — style included. Charlie still wears suave suits, but they’re much more colorful and bright.
“It’s something I’d never wear myself,” Grint admitted. “It wasn’t the most practical thing to wear in this really hot season, but it was fun. There was a light blue one that was quite cool. The cravats were a new thing as well. Quite an accessory. Whenever you can get as much costume as you can possibly get, it’s more layers, the more of a mask to escape into.”
Even less comfortable was the fake tan they painted on Grint to simulate having spent months luxuriating on the beach.
“They’ve bronzed me up, because he’s supposed to be there for six months, and I am the most palest, transparent person,” Grint said. “They used a lot of fake tan.”
Television has been a fruitful place for the former Hogwarts class. Tom Felton did Murder in the First, an arc on The Flash and the upcoming Origin. Even Daniel Radcliffe has the upcoming comedy Miracle Workers. While separate careers have kept them apart, Grint says the Harry Potter cast will always have a bond.
“We all experienced such a unique way of growing up, there’ll always be a bond there,” Grint said. “Whenever we do see each other, it’s very quick and very easy to reconnect, just like we never left. It was a mad, mad time in our lives, and I think it’s been nice to do new things and unwind from that. We’re still very proud to be a part of it. It’s great to see it live on in lots of different ways.”
Snatch season 2 hits Crackle on Thursday, September 13.
Carmen Ejogo’s career keeps the actress incredibly busy these days, so watching TV proves to be a little more difficult than she’d like.
In just this year alone, Ejogo appeared in sci-fi–horror prequel Alien: Covenant and horror film It Comes at Night, as well as the drama Roman J. Israel, Esq. with Denzel Washington. She also has a few high-profile projects coming up, including the third season of True Detective and the highly anticipated sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, in which she reprises her role as Seraphina Picquery, the president of the Magical Congress of the United States of America.
Ejogo also currently stars in season 2 of The Girlfriend Experience, which reaches its conclusion this weekend. The new season departs from the first by telling two separate stories about women in the GFE business. In one story, Ejogo plays Bria, a woman placed into witness protection to escape an abusive relationship with a former client, a gangster she is willing to testify against. The escort life, however, continues to beckon her, and she starts a cat-and-mouse game with those who are trying to control her.
Rotten Tomatoes caught up with the British actress to talk about her work on the show and to find out what she likes to watch when – and if — she has any downtime.
I’m not a massive TV watcher, but I’ve been watching a lot of Eric André and his talk show [on Adult Swim]. His show is a favorite of mine. I’ve been going back to watching old episodes.
(Photo by HBO)
I’ve been binge-watching and revisiting some shows. For me right now, revisiting True Detective season 1 and 2 to remind myself of how great that show was and what we may achieve in season 3.
There are so many shows I like to watch. I know I want to watch The Handmaid’s Tale. That’s next in the queue, things I need to get around to. And Godless, I should check that out. I keep hearing from good sources that it’s great, so, I definitely need to tune into that for sure.
In addition to what I already mentioned, I’m watching and waiting for new seasons of: Grand Designs, I’m Dying Up Here, Chef’s Table, Insecure, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Atlanta, Peaky Blinders, and black-ish. And movies! Lady Bird — that’s one on my list for sure. I haven’t seen Lady Macbeth, but I’m meaning to — should be phenomenal.
Kit Bowen for Rotten Tomatoes: Your story line in The Girlfriend Experience is so intriguing — what can we expect from the finale?
Carmen Ejogo: Yeah, it gets even more intriguing, trust me. I hope that what other people have picked up on is this notion or concept of agency and complicity: How much is Bria in control or how much is she affected by those around her? That kind of comes to a head by the end of the episodes, and I think it, for me, was a satisfying way to end her journey, even the plays that have been influencing and manipulating her world. I am quite satisfied with the way she ultimately comes out. It’s still complicated and still very much down to one point of view as to whether she comes back whether or not, or whether it is even that simple. I don’t know if it really ever is that simple. There is still some real complexity, but I feel good about where she ended up.
The show is ultimately about sex and power. Were you a little apprehensive about exposing yourself in ways that you maybe never have before onscreen?
Ejogo: Yes, sure. As somebody that has been in this industry for many years, to see the potential of bringing sex to the screen has always been there, as a female actress. I’ve always avoided it, frankly, because it never felt like it was going to be handled in a way that was really nuanced and interesting. I think working with [writer/director] Amy Seimetz made it clear to me that it was going to be all of those things because she is really rad, and she is really interesting as a woman in herself. She is not scared of both sides of the coin when it comes to sex and women and men. So, this felt, for the first time, like the right story to bring to the screen.
I have to go into every job I do with a sense of fearlessness and willingness to take chances and to walk through the space blindly at times and have faith. To be able to have that kind of comfort level, you really have to trust the people you are working with and the filmmaker. It was a real gift to be working with the director who also wrote the piece and who also happens to be a woman, a really cool woman. All those things combined made it feel like it was a trip worth taking.
It is handled in a way that makes sense to the story. It’s very candid, in a way, but also beautiful in the way it’s approached.
Ejogo: I agree and I really am proud of this project. I think you can go back to the viewer and watch it several times, and I suspect that it will be viewed sort of in a new direction every time. And not all material offers that kind of depth of intrigue and doesn’t stand up to that kind of interrogation. This piece really does. So I’m very proud of it. I love the character of Bria, I really do.
We’re also very much looking forward to Fantastic Beasts 2. Is there anything you can tell us about the upcoming sequel and your role in it?
Ejogo: I feel like the worst interviewee when people ask me questions about Fantastic Beasts, because I never have anything to offer. I will be shot if I said anything. [laughs] There’s nothing I can ever divulge.
How about a general feeling about it for yourself?
Ejogo: To be part of the world in any capacity is exciting for me, as it is for you. Being part of the process of filming is so — every person’s dream to imagine what it must be like to have the ideal acting job! Because you’re literally on these fantastic sets, in the most stunning outfits I’ve ever worn. You’re been handled by the best hair and makeup people. The entire character has been realized by an incredibly impeccable group of artists around you and you have to show up and do your bit. It’s just like the dream gig, so I am always happy to show up as Seraphina in whatever capacity I can. I am just very grateful that I get to show up in No. 2.
The Girlfriend Experience’s season 2 finale airs Sunday, December 24, on Starz.
But now, with episode 3, “Context Is for Kings,” which debuted on Sunday, all bets are off. The story leaps into a treacherous new landscape directed by what seems so far to be an unpredictable leader, Captain Gabriel Lorca.
Lorca is portrayed by Harry Potter franchise alum Jason Isaacs — that’s right, the guy who brought Draco Malfoy’s sinister dad, Lucius, to life is at the helm of this starship. And we couldn’t be happier.
In episode 3, lead character Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) eventually deduces that she’s been kidnapped out of her prison transport by Lorca, who, under the guise of “no free rides,” puts her to work. It’s all a test. Lorca has been in control since before she even stepped on that shuttle.
Rotten Tomatoes got an early look at the episode and spoke to Isaacs before it hit audiences to learn a bit more about what makes Lorca tick — and if that ticking we hear might just be a time bomb. While he couldn’t reveal story to come, of course, he did talk to us about the introduction of the Star Trek universe’s newest captain.
— Star Trek: Discovery (@startrekcbs) October 2, 2017
After an “accident” on the prison shuttle, the series engages in some starship porn, including the sexiest tractor-beam action in our Star Trek memory (feel free to disagree in the comments). It’s Fifty Shades of Star Trek, starring fresh–off–the–assembly line U.S.S. Discovery.
The shuttle rescued, introductions made, and a lunchroom dust-up diffused, the starship’s security chief, Commander Landry (Rekha Sharma), deposits Burnham in Lorca’s ready room.
Time to meet the captain.
In a fantastic touch of visual storytelling, stars scattered across a black field reflect in Lorca’s eyes as he apologizes, his back to Burnham, for the darkened room. A recent battle wound requires that he allow his eyes to slowly adjust to light.
“I wanted to think it makes me mysterious,” he says, turns, and pauses. “No?”
Lorca doesn’t care really. He’s not a guy who looks for approval, it strikes us. It’s another test maybe: Will Burnham be lured into a game of small talk and social pleasantries? No.
Over the course of the rest of the episode, we find out that this Captain Lorca isn’t playing by the standard rules of engagement — war, interpersonal, or otherwise. Wartime requires a strategist, and someone, we suspect from this initial glimpse of Lorca, who’s going to throw the rulebooks out of the window. But first he’s going to set them on fire and lay some explosives for good measure. That’s a guess. We’ll see as the season goes on.
But prepare yourself: If either James T. Kirk or Jean-Luc Picard were previously your favorite captain, with this enigmatic new commander, you may find yourself rethinking your allegiances.
Debbie Day for Rotten Tomatoes: I am so excited to talk to you after seeing episode 3. Oh. My. Goodness.
Isaacs: Well you have an advantage, because I haven’t seen it.
RT: Sorry, what? Really?
Isaacs: Yeah, I haven’t seen it. I’m just looking through the script as I’m talking to you to remind myself what’s in it since we have shot many, many, many hours. Just to remember. I know it’s when you first meet me. I remember that, for sure.
RT: Yes, it’s where we first meet you, and it’s such an epic moment — for, I think, any starship captain, the big introduction to the character. No pressure. So let’s just start at the beginning: How does it feel to take on that role?
Isaacs: You know, if I even began to think that I was taking on a starship captain I would collapse in a little pile of jelly. So, it’s just a part. It’s a guy who’s in charge of a spaceship trying to win a war. And I’ve got, you know, various agendas and various cracks in my makeup and stuff, and all the other stuff actually occasionally hits you in waves. You try not to think about it.
So when I stood there and I had the first scene in which I said, “Energize,” a little kind of out-of-body experience and thought, F— me, I just said, “Energize.” Why is nobody else paying attention to that? You know? Why isn’t anybody else kind of welling with tears? But most of the time, in order to stay loose and in order to, you know, do the job, which is to try to win the war, I forget about all of it. I try and — successfully, I think — cast from my mind anybody’s expectations and any of the legacy of it. Because you just couldn’t get out of bed.
RT: I get that. The “energize” — for me, as a fan of the franchise, it was a big moment.
RT: I had to re-watch it, because I thought, Wait, how did he say it?
Isaacs: I mean, you’ve just got to throw it away. Everything in life for me is a tennis metaphor because I’m a tennis player. And you see these people come on who are perfectly able to win, they come on the center court, and they freeze up. And they play like they’ve never held a racket before. And it’s always tension and it’s always expectation and stuff, and so my job is to — if you came to the set, you’d see me clowning around, making appalling jokes, playing bad music, singing in an annoying fashion, and it’s all just to keep myself completely in the moment and fresh and banish any thoughts of Bill Shatner and Leonard Nimoy hitting those dizzy heights.
RT: That brings up some other questions. You said in a CBS video —
Isaacs: Oh, if there’s actual video then I can’t pretend I didn’t say it. Damn, OK.
RT: You said that William Shatner was your captain.
Isaacs: Yeah. He wasn’t just my captain; he was my idea of what a man was.
Isaacs: I was a kid, clammed on the couch there, and that’s — in my family, I don’t mean to describe the cultural desert I lived in in any negative way, it was fantastic, but all we ever did was watch television — that was my entire cultural life. And so all of my pictures of what the world was, and who I might be, and what choices you had came from these characters on television. And he seared himself into my mind. He was a swaggering, macho, witty, fearless, loyal, tough, you know, starship captain. And I’m sure — I’m 100 percent sure I never lived up to any of those things in my head, but he became part of the thing that you model yourself on.
RT: I ask this in all sincerity: Which genius can we credit with you being cast in this role?
Isaacs: Oh, I have absolutely no idea. You know, here’s the thing: You can ask them, and they’ll say they never had anyone else in mind. That’s what people say all the time when they’ve gone through 12 other people who were too expensive or not available. I’ve no idea why I’m in this; I haven’t worked with any of the people before. I’ve worked with all the crew before, on a series called The State Within. I got there and recognized all of them.
But, who thought I was a good idea? I don’t know, and we actually had quite a lengthy chat. At first, I was quite reluctant to jump in, because it’s one long story — I wanted to know what the long story was. And there was a kind of little dance around each other, and on the second Skype call, with a whole bunch of them, at some point Akiva Goldsman stepped in and said, “Look, I’ll be honest with you, we’re not quite sure yet. We want you to be part of the discussion.” And that was what swung it for me, because, unlike the normal Star Trek weekly morality play, this is one rich, complex, single tale.
And I wanted to have some idea of where I was going and what was going to happen, and it was the moment they kind of went, “Come and join the party. These are our ideas at the moment. They may change, and we’d like to hear your ideas,” I thought they sounded like a bunch of people I wanted to work with.
RT: I thought, Brilliant! when I heard that you were cast.
Isaacs: Thank you so much. I mean, I am aware now, having shot most of it, and having engaged online, all the stuff I cast from my mind is very much front and center and making me walk into lampposts. The expectations from people, what they hope for and what they fear, and the very loud noise that people with three followers — which are Russian bots — can make online. I mean, you can’t avoid the kind of analysis that I would run in the other direction from. Everywhere I go, people are telling me what they think. So, I haven’t been on yet, but I have no doubt that every single device I have will be telling me either how well I’m doing or how crap I’m doing, and I know which ones I always believe.
RT: I will find out how people are reacting, and I will probably write about it.
Isaacs: No, I mean, really that’s the weird thing. It’s an amazing community of fans. I’ve started to meet some of them, and they’re just incredible. The kind of depth of both obsessive detail and also the love they have for it, it’s a different thing from the Potter world, because these adults who chose this as adults, they weren’t — A lot of the Potter fans, who are equally passionate, it feels like it was a kind of inner architecture of their youth, those seven books. But this is something people have chosen as adults and chosen to fill their life with. They feel incredibly protective.
So, I have no expectation that they’re all going to love it. Some people are not going to love it, some people are initially going to react against it, and then I’m sure, like all the other series, they’ll become a beloved part of canon. But there’ll be the moment of the bends, you know, where it comes to the surface and it no longer is ours. This thing we’ve been making behind closed doors belongs to everybody else in the Trek world.
RT: I think they’re going to find that your Captain Lorca is — at least my feeling was — a very different captain than they’re used to.
Isaacs: Oh, yeah.
RT: But that’s a great thing, because you don’t want to just see a rehash of something.
Isaacs: No, no. If I’d seen an echo anywhere of any of the other great captains I’ve admired, I would’ve said, “Thanks, I can’t wait to see it.” No, it’s because he was nothing like them at all and a kind of figure who kept himself to himself and didn’t, you know — the others were very accessible; that was the point of their stories. But since the focus of this is Michael Burnham, I’m more of the kind of leaders I’ve actually encountered in the police and the army and stuff when I’ve played those parts. They’re people who are of the mindset that to fraternize too much or to open yourself too much to your crew is to lose authority. So he carries a lot of the burden by himself.
RT: You described your character as a “messed-up guy.”
Isaacs: No, I said he’s a “f—ed-up guy.”
RT: Oh, did you? Because in the video you say “messed-up guy.”
Isaacs: That might be an edit. It might be take two.
RT: I believe you. And I think that was one of the things that differentiated this character from some of the previous captains. I thought, This guy’s a little bit unhinged.
Isaacs: Well, he’s seen a lot of war. He’s a wartime leader. Like in The Godfather, he’s a wartime consigliere, you know. This is a guy who should be in charge during war. May not be the right person to be in charge during an exploratory, you know, voyage and all, when you’re looking to sign peace treaties. But he’s certainly the guy to send in when people are shooting at you, and you want to shoot at them first. And that means, you know, he’s been through some things in the past that have shaped who he is, and he expects things from the people around him that they may not be qualified for, that he needs to push them towards, in his mind, in order to survive. And that makes for the kinds of dramas that hopefully will be engaging to watch.
RT: I think so, absolutely. That was one of my questions, actually, because in the episode — just to dive into the episode itself now — Lorca says that his mission is to “win the war and send everyone home safe and happy.”
RT: Which is such a departure from the Enterprise’s mission: “To explore strange new worlds, seek out new life —”
Isaacs: Well, of course, the Enterprise is 10 years later, so some of the people, the Federation’s directives, and the kind of atmosphere that you see on the ship in 10 years’ time are not the ones you’re going to have at this time. They haven’t fully been formed, and it may not be as united as it was. And there are wars — this war, at least — to get through. Maybe others. And you know, they will come to a point in 10 years’ time — if the series is on for 10 years or however long — they’ll come to a point where we meet, you know, where we present the world as we first met it, at the beginning of the original series. But it’s not that world. It’s not there yet.
RT: I was going to ask you about introductions, but since you haven’t seen the episode, I’m not sure if —
Isaacs: No I have, I’ve seen that scene, because you have to ADR a lot of these scenes. There’s a lot of door noises and creaking, so I have actually seen a couple of the scenes. And I’ve had a chance to look through the script as I was talking to you.
There’s a couple of things I felt told you a lot about Lorca, and one of them is that he’s always looking out, he’s looking out the window when you meet him. And he’s looking out at the screen when he fights. He doesn’t sit in the chair — I didn’t want to sit in the chair. He’s a man of action. He likes to be up and doing things, he doesn’t like to be sitting down, pressing buttons or giving orders. So he can’t keep himself sat down. He stands in front of the big screen on the bridge and conducts the war like an orchestra, and even in his little ready room, he feels trapped, he feels like an animal, trapped in there. And so he’s constantly looking out the window at where he thinks they ought to be, or he wants to be. And I thought that tells you something about his restless nature.
RT: I hadn’t actually thought about that, but come to think of it — thinking back on the episode, you are correct, sir.
RT: That definitely is something that comes across.
Isaacs: Well, unless they put a different edit in. You can’t embarrass yourself as an actor and talk about a scene and then, you see the thing and think, Oh sh–, it’s not there anymore. But anyway, I think that’s in there.
RT: It’s all in there. Exactly what you just described is definitely in there. I was just going to say that the introduction of the ship is so visually beautiful that it might actually upstage your introduction, I’m sorry to have to tell you.
Isaacs: Yeah, fair enough. I was in Hollywood last week where we had the premiere of the first two episodes, which I’m not in, and all of us were stunned by the stuff we didn’t see, because we just filmed on the set. And all of a sudden there’s space and there’s incredible effects and there’s the ship and a bunch of, you know, battle stuff, and none of us had seen it before.
It reminded me of some of the times — in Harry Potter, for instance, there’s a whole sequence where I have a mask on my face. And they sell that mask everywhere, and I sign lots of them. And I never saw a mask, there was nothing there when I shot, I just put my hand in front of my face, and they — it was created in some motherboard, months later. So, similarly, the scale, and beauty, and elegance and intimidating — otherworldliness of so much of these episodes wasn’t there when we shot, and we were all slightly slack-jawed the other day when we saw it.
RT: Well, I can’t wait for you to see all of episode 3 — it’s amazing.
Isaacs: Well, there’s some other stuff that happens, as you know, later on, to do with the — ah [clears throat] we’re not going to talk about, but the particularly unique science that is available on the Discovery and the reason it might be the ship that helps them win the war. And it read like they were going to do something extraordinary, but I had no idea what they would come up with. You know, the drive, and what when I give Sonequa a little sample of it. So I can’t wait to see what they did with that.
RT: Lorca seems to have this menagerie of wondrous and dangerous things, including the Tribble and his new kitty. Is he a casual collector, or is that part of the mission?
Isaacs: Oh, no, god no. This guy is gathering resources to work out how best to win this war against this superior enemy, who have superior technology everywhere. So, in the ready room is a Tribble, and that’s just enjoyable and relaxing, but in his study, in Lorca’s study — you know, menagerie, science lab, den, whatever you’d like to call it — there are all kinds of deadly and lethal things, and that’s why he puts the tardigrade there, you know. There are all kinds of things that may or may not be the key to some breakthrough that will help give him the edge.
If you don’t have superior firepower, or man power, people power, whatever it is, then you better find some edge, and this is technological war. And it’ll be won by the people that can kill the most the fastest.
And, so he’s got a bunch of stuff that is banned in there, technically banned, but the Federation have given this guy license because they’re panicked. Of course that’s what happens in war, you know? We have the Geneva Convention until, suddenly, you think you’re losing, and it goes out the window. So, you know, Britain was observing the international rules of engagement, until things didn’t go well, and then we carpet-bombed Dresden. So, he’s the guy that has been given license, you know, a kind of discretionary nod, to do whatever’s necessary.
And these are things that, you know, unfortunately we’re still engaged with in the world today. There was a period of time when almost all civil rights that we had come to think were fully enshrined in the Constitution and in British law, too, were suspended after 9/11. When the Patriot Act came in and various — The right to silence disappeared here [in Britain]; you know, you’re implicating yourself if you didn’t defend yourself, a bunch of other stuff, and redaction, waterboarding, all these things. All these things are part of what makes our show, set in the future, so relevant today.
RT: So the episode includes references to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Applying that as metaphor, is Lorca the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, or the Queen of Hearts — or something else?
Isaacs: I’m going to say something else. Lorca’s Lorca. And Lewis Carroll missed a trick by not putting him in the story.
Star Trek: Discovery streams Sundays at 8:30/5:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS All-Access.
Watch more: Jason Isaacs spoke to Rotten Tomatoes in June about his role on Netflix surprise hit The OA, which has been renewed for a second season.
This week in TV news: Showtime gives a tasty first look at Twin Peaks limited series, Harry Potter franchise star added to Fargo season 3, Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail is working on a miniseries based on classic film Metropolis, and more.
Fargo has added to the cast of its third installment, with David Thewlis (Harry Potter films), Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire), and Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show) joining previously announced stars Ewan McGregor, Carrie Coon, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Set in 2010, the next installment of Fargo will feature an all-new “true crime” tale centered on Emmit and his slightly younger brother Ray Stussy (both played by McGregor). Rounding out the cast are Scoot McNairy (Halt & Catch Fire), Shea Whigham (Vice Principals), Karan Soni (Blunt Talk), Fred Melamed (Casual, Lady Dynamite), and Thomas Mann (Me, Earl and the Dying Girl). Production is set to begin in Calgary in January for a 2017 premiere.
In development news this week, a TV adaptation of the 1992 film Single White Female has received a script order from NBC. Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot) is working on a miniseries based on Fritz Lang‘s 1927 sci-fi classic Metropolis for Universal Cable Productions. New eight-episode A&E docu-series Generation KKK will feature footage from cameras embedded within the hate group. The series premieres Jan. 10. ABC drama Somewhere Between, about a woman who knows her daughter is going to be murdered, will begin shooting in Vancouver and air in summer 2017. Classic sitcom producer Norman Lear has entered into talks with Netflix to potentially launch reboots of All in the Family, Good Times, The Jeffersons, and Maude as part of an anthology miniseries in which contemporary actors will act out scripted scenes — as originally written — from the vintage shows. And, finally, people are talking about Russian reality show Game2: Winter that will purportedly allow rape and murder as part of contestants’ survival tactics in the Siberian wilderness.
Original scripted television is up 71 percent since 2011 across cable, broadcast, and streamers, according to FX Networks Research. Streaming content is up 1,450 percent for the same period. “Peak TV was once again far from peaky in 2016, with a record 455 scripted original series across broadcast, cable, and streaming sources,” Julie Piepenkotter, FX Networks’ executive vice president, Research, said in a statement. “This estimate reps a +8 percent increase over just last year (421 in 2015) ― but an astonishing +71 percent increase over five years ago (266 in 2011) and +137 percent over a decade ago (192 in 2006).”
Amazon will stream the original Unsolved Mysteries series with case updates in 2017, according to TheWrap.com. The reality-based series started airing in 1987, was hosted by Robert Stack (Airplane!), and featured dramatic re-enactments of mysterious stories — from strange deaths to UFO sightings. Law & Order star Dennis Farina took over hosting duties in 2008.
…and it’s of creator David Lynch eating a doughnut. So it’s a character study, really — Lynch plays FBI Regional Bureau Chief Gordon Cole in the Twin Peaks limited series that will air on Showtime in 2017.