December 23, 2020
We’ve tracked the best (and worst) TV and streaming offerings since mid-September, gathering a list of all the premieres this season — series, miniseries, and TV movies across cable, broadcast, and streaming — and ranked them by Tomatometer.
To be included, each TV show on the list must have received at least 10 critic reviews, while TV movies had to have at least 20 reviews. So if you’re wondering why your favorite show or TV movie isn’t on here, it likely just doesn’t yet have enough reviews to qualify under our criteria. And remember: a Certified Fresh badge generally means that a show or film has earned the respect of the majority of reviewers weighing in (at least 20 for a TV season and 40 for movies on TV and streaming), including some of the industry’s top critics.
The series included have premiered since September 22, so if you want to see a title like the second season of Amazon Prime Video’s The Boys, have a look at how it did on our Spring-Summer TV Scorecard, which tracked TV series and movies that premiered between March 20 and September 21.
Since 2020 was a rather unique year, there are definitely more streaming films included in this list than in years past. But unsurprisingly, TV shows that wound up on top include the well-reviewed sensation The Queen’s Gambit, HBO Max whodunnit The Flight Attendant (which started as a limited series but has been renewed for a second season), and the fourth season of The Crown. The lack of broadcast series on this list is unquestionably due to pandemic-related production pauses, in case you were wondering about the network representation.
Ultimately, seven different series and films wound up at the top of the list with Tomatometer scores of 100, while a dozen more rounded out the top of the pack with scores of 97, 98 or 99. Read on for the full list of Fall TV shows and movies that premiered through December 20.
This month boasts some buzzy sophomore efforts from Fresh new series alongside the final swan songs of some small-screen gems — plus one massive The Walking Dead binge that’ll keep you busy all the way through Halloween. Check out our 10 must-watch binges of October below!
What it is: A 19th century San Francisco–set Peaky Blinders–style action-drama, Warrior follows Ah Sahm, a martial arts expert who immigrates to the U.S. from China to search for his missing sister. Portraying the city’s brutal Tong Wars, he is soon entangled with Chinatown’s most powerful organized crime family.
Why you should watch it: Originally plucked from the mind of the late, great Bruce Lee, Warrior was finally realized onscreen last year thanks to his daughter Shannon Lee, Fast and the Furious director Justin Lin, and Banshee creator Jonathan Tropper. The series runs on high-octane, gritty action, lush period set pieces, and a sprawling ensemble of memorable and complex characters — you’ll care what happens to them as the wheeling, dealing, and killing gets underway over the first season’s 10 episodes. Season 2 premieres Oct. 2 on Cinemax.
Commitment: Approx. 10 hours (for the first season)
What it is: Funnyman Anthony Anderson stars as Dre Johnson, a Black, upper-middle-class family man who — in a predominantly white neighborhood, school, and culture — still wants his kids to retain a sense of black identity.
Why you should watch it: Creator Kenya Barris is a writer who boldly goes there. Even within the confines of the network TV sitcom structure, he has conjured stories over the past six seasons that are absolutely resonant, timely, fearless, and hilarious. Tracy Ellis Ross and Anderson are especially show-stealing (and Emmy-nominated several times over). Barris’ Grown-ish, and Mixed-ish also boast Certified Fresh first seasons. He’s also responsible for -ish-unleashed Netflix comedy #blackAF, which he also stars in and, though it wasn’t as popular with critics, it has a higher audience score on its first season than any of the -ish shows. Catch up on the family series that started it all before Black-ish returns with an Oct. 4 election special and its seventh season premiere Oct. 21 on ABC. Plus, watch for the upcoming Old-ish.
Commitment: 51 hours (for the first six seasons)
What it is: If you don’t know what The Walking Dead is, you may want to check your pulse…
Why you should watch it: Based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard’s post-apocalyptic premise of zombies walking the Earth and ending mankind as we know it, the acclaimed series developed by creator Frank Darabont indulges in gore and “what if” fascinations. These are characters brought to life with bone-deep precision from a stable of some of TV’s greatest talents. You just never know when your favorite will bite the dust, but that’s admittedly part of the fun, too. We recommend you strap in for a super binge of this beloved franchise by first watching the original Walking Dead in the lead up to Oct. 4’s season 10 finale, which marks the return of a series-favorite: Maggie Rhee! Then make your way over to spin-off No. 1, Fear the Walking Dead, before its sixth season premieres Oct. 11, and — since you’ll surely be wanting more blood, guts, and zombie gore — may we suggest the next addition to the franchise? The Walking Dead: The World Beyond premieres Oct. 4. The Walking Dead universe airs on AMC and streams on the network’s streaming service AMC+.
Commitment: Approx. 109 hours (for the first 10 seasons of The Walking Dead) and approx. 52 hours (for the first five seasons of Fear the Walking Dead)
What it is: Ghosts, demons, and other monsters better watch out for Sam and Dean Winchester. After their mother is killed by an unknown demonic force when they are just children, the brothers’ father trains them to be soldiers against the world’s paranormal evil. Supernatural charts their journey as they hunt down and kill those otherworldly enemies.
Why you should watch it: Not all network series are lucky enough to be renewed for a second season, much less 15! It’s an astounding feat that Supernatural has accrued such a devout fanbase over the years. Creator Eric Kripke (most recently the mind behind The Boys) is a master of the genre, and we’d follow Sam and Dean (played with charisma and complexity by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, respectively) to just about any haunted house, vampire den, or unearthly plain they want to take us. Its season 15 rollout was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and we’ll be sad to see it go after it returns with its final seven episodes Oct. 8 on the CW.
Commitment: Approx. 235 hours (for all 15 seasons)
What it is: Loosely based on Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel of the same name, The Haunting of Hill House jumps between 1992 — when Hugh and Olivia Crain and their children Steven, Shirley, Theodora, Luke, and Nell move in to renovate the titular mansion — and 2018 — when the surviving family is forced to revisit their dark past with the home and the supernatural tragedies therein.
Why you should watch it: It’s not often that a horror series is universally acclaimed as a must-watch series, but The Haunting of Hill House provided some of the best and most addicting hours of television around with its 2018 Netflix launch. It really is scary as all hell — the “Bent-Neck Lady” guarantees chills that will haunt your dreams. In the spirit of the Halloween season, we recommend a binge of the first installment of this anthology series before creator Mike Flanagan does it again with an all-new story, The Haunting of Bly Manor, which premieres Oct. 9 on Netflix.
Commitment: Approx. 9 hours (for the first season)
What it is: Star Trek: Discovery is set 10 years prior to the original series and in the same universe as Kirk, Spock, and the Enterprise, and sees the titular ship venturing out to discover new worlds and quell violent alien forces. As always with a Trek series, the cast of characters on board is the series’ beating heart — and you can expect some returning franchise-favorites along the way.
Why you should watch it: Creators Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman, as well as star Sonequa Martin-Green and the rest of the ensemble cast faced the franchise fandom’s lofty expectations when the series premiered in September 2017. They were rewarded with Certified Fresh Tomatometer scores of 82% on season 1 and 81% on season 2. The third season premieres Oct. 15 on CBS All Access.
Commitment: Approx. 26 hours (for the first two seasons)
What it is: Revisiting one of the most famous families on network TV after over 20 years off the air, The Conners stars Laurie Metcalf, John Goodman, and the rest of the original clan (minus Roseanne Barr) and is as insightful and heartwarming as ever.
Why you should watch it: You’ll likely remember the off-screen controversy and Roseanne reboot cancellation that led to The Conners hitting the small screen, but the series quickly found its groove and audience without Barr and is still going strong with positive ratings and reviews. Telling it like it is for working-class, family-first Americans, it resonates widely in today’s divisive times, while still making us laugh.
Commitment: Approx. 14 hours (for the first two seasons)
What it is: Everyone knows a “work family” is essential to getting through the day-to-day, even when they’re as eccentric as the workforce of Superstore’s Walmart-esque Cloud 9. This is their story.
Why you should watch it: We’re so glad Superstore found its footing. After a promising, but slightly jumbled start out the gate, the beloved comedy series is now six seasons in and better than ever. As the central Amy, America Ferrera (who we will always stan for Ugly Betty) is a stalwart of the screen you can always count on to bring the heart and laughs. Throw in a wacky crew of other comic actors at the top of their game (no one steals a scene like Crazy Rich Asians breakout Nico Santos), and Superstore may just be her best project yet. Her departure from the series was pushed back due to the pandemic, so catch up before the coronavirus-themed season 6 premieres Oct. 22; Ferrera will be in the first two episodes before bidding Cloud 9 adieu.
Commitment: Approx. 36 hours (for the first five seasons)
What it is: From creator Jon Favreau and starring Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, and Giancarlo Esposito, The Mandalorian is Star Wars’ first live-action television series. Set five years after the action of Return of the Jedi, it follows the titular Mandalorian, Din Djarin (Pascal), a lonely and mysterious bounty hunter as he traverses the outskirts of the galaxy just outside the New Republic’s reach.
Why you should watch it: Two words: Baby. Yoda. But that criminally cute, internet-famous creature aside, The Mandalorian is the best thing to happen in a galaxy far, far away in a very, very long time. A Western action-adventure that both reboots the Star Wars universe while reinvigorating the aspects we’ve loved about it all along, the series truly has something for everyone. And the industry at large agrees: Who had “The Mandalorian scores an Emmy nomination for outstanding drama series” on their 2020 bingo card!? Season 2 premieres Oct. 30 on Disney+.
Where to watch: Disney+
Commitment: Approx. 5.5 hours (for the first season)
Listen, we get it: This is the time of year that you want to be soaking up some sunshine and staying away from the various screens in your life. But with a crop of 13 certified fresh returning series like this, how can you resist!?
What it is: An extension of the zombie apocalypse world of AMC mega-hit The Walking Dead that takes place in Los Angeles before the events of its mothership series and shows how city dwellers deal with the virus outbreak.
Why you should watch it: It comes as little surprise that if you love The Walking Dead, you’ll love Fear. Its engrossing backdrop and cast of memorable characters is enough to tune in week to week, even through some of its more languid, slow-boiled pacing. Season 5 premieres June 2 on AMC.
Commitment: Approx. 40 hours (for the first four seasons)
What it is: This BBC drama follows a brilliant Detective Chief Inspector (Idris Elba) who finds it difficult to strike a work-life balance as he struggles to toe the line between genius and madness.
Why you should watch it: Elba is a four-time Emmy nominee and Golden Globe winner for his spellbinding performance as DCI Luther, a magnetic cross between Sherlock Holmes and Columbo, in this gritty character study that adds a new dimension to the cop show genre. Season 5 premieres June 2 on BBC America.
Commitment: Approx. 17 hours (for the first four seasons)
What it is: Basing its title on the black, reflective screen of a powered-off phone, tablet, or computer, this hit anthological Channel 4-turned-Netflix series from creator Charlie Brooker examines mankind’s dark, twisted (and thankfully, for now, hypothetical) future when beholden to modern technology.
Why you should watch it: Few other sci-fi series today have proven as prescient on technology, sociology, and politics as Black Mirror, and it just keeps getting better. Plus, the Emmy-winning series has helped launch the careers of U.K. talent like Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Alex Lawther, Hayley Atwell, Domhnall Gleeson, and many others.
Where to watch it: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 20 hours (for the first four seasons)
What it is: Set in a not-too-distant future and adapted from Margaret Atwood’s acclaimed novel of the same name, The Handmaid’s Tale is the harrowing imagining of a society where fertile women are forced into slavery to help procreate for the rich and powerful. A gripping and prescient look at modern patriarchy’s darkest corners (and possible futures), it truly is must-watch TV.
Why you should watch it: Last year, The Handmaid’s Tale became the first-ever streaming series to take home the Television Academy’s top honor: the Emmy for best drama. We’d follow its formidable cast — Elisabeth Moss, Ann Dowd, Joseph Fiennes, Alexis Bledel, and Samira Wiley among them — and behind-the-camera creatives anywhere, maybe even to Gilead. Season 3 premieres on Hulu June 5.
Commitment: Approx. 19 hours (for the first two seasons)
What it is: David Guggenheim’s political thriller imagines what would happen if an entire presidential administration was killed in one fell swoop and the low-ranking cabinet member tapped as designated survivor (a true-life position here played by Kiefer Sutherland) was sworn in as leader of the free world.
Why you should watch it: This network drama-turned-Netflix reboot marks a welcomed return to TV for Sutherland, who, as the titular survivor Tom Kirkman, holds no prisoners as a man between a rock and hard place. Paired with crackling scripts and an excellent ensemble, Designated Survivor is a mile-a-minute thrill-ride and a worthy follow-up to 24. Season 3 premieres on Netflix June 7.
Where to watch it: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 30 hours (for the first two seasons)
What it is: From creator David E. Kelley and based on the novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies is an murder mystery of intertwined upper-class mothers living in Monterey, California.
Why you should watch it: Big Little Lies is one of the buzziest ensemble dramas on TV today, and that’s thanks in large part to its stacked cast of A-list stars and producers: Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoë Kravitz — and, in an twist that just about broke the internet, Meryl Streep is co-starring in the new episodes as a woman whose arrival in the rich seaside town of Monterrey causes trouble for the main women. Season 2 returns by popular demand on HBO June 9.
Commitment: Approx. 7 hours (for the first season)
What it is: Niecy Nash stars as Desna Simms, the takes-no-prisoners owner of a nail salon in the swampy town of Manatee County, Florida. She’s flanked by a scene-stealing assortment of coworkers and patrons. The drama flares, however, when she and her employees turn to organized crime and start laundering money.
Why you should watch it: Full of camp, high-stakes crime drama, and firecracker scripts with performances to match, Claws is some of the most fun you’ll have with a TV series this summer. Plus we’ll take any excuse to see two-time Emmy nominee Nash execute her perfect blend of humor, brawn, and heart as the leading lady. Season 3 premieres June 9.
Commitment: Approx. 15 hours (for the first two seasons)
What it is: From creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Steven Canals, Pose depicts New York City’s ballroom and voguing scene of the 1980s with sickening pageantry, tea-spilling drama, and high fashions for the gods.
Why you should watch it: Pose made waves upon its premiere by being the largest ever ensemble cast of transgender actors playing trans characters on TV. But aside from its progressive stamp of approval for onscreen representation, it’s also just damn good TV, expertly acted, written, and directed, and unafraid to tackle LGBTQ+ issues that we’ve never seen explored in such a way before. Season 2 premieres on FX June 11.
Commitment: Approx. 6 hours (for the first season)
What it is: After the unexpected death of their father, estranged siblings Ralph-Angel (a conman fresh out of prison), Nova Bordelon (a New Orleans–based journalist and activist), and Charley Bordelon (an upper-class Los Angeles mother to a teenage son) move to rural Louisiana to claim their inheritance: hundreds of acres of sugarcane farmland.
Why you should watch it: Queen Sugar is the result of women both behind and in front of the camera joining their powers: executive producer Oprah Winfrey; executive producer, director, and writer Ava DuVernay; stars Rutina Wesley and Dawn-Lyen Gardner; and other female directors for each episode of its three seasons. And their work isn’t the only stunning aspect of the series — sprawling locations under the Louisiana sun and timely discussions of racial prejudice, mass incarceration, and more make it a thought-provoking family drama. Season 4 premieres on OWN June 12.
Commitment: Approx. 32.5 hours (for the first three seasons)
What it is: Sex and the City helmer Darren Star strikes gold again for city-dwelling women of a certain age with Younger, starring theater vet and now small-screen charmer Sutton Foster as a single mother who lies about her age to pursue her dreams in publishing.
Why you should watch it: Foster is absolutely pitch-perfect in this fun, sexy, metropolitan comedy, and she’s matched by a bevy of scene-stealing co-stars: Miriam Shor, Hilary Duff, Nico Tortorella, and Debi Mazar, who are all stellar. Season 6 premieres on TV Land June 12.
Commitment: About 25 hours (for the first five seasons)
What it is: Private detective/hard-drinking superhero Jessica Jones overcomes abuse and reluctantly helps save the residents of New York City in the final season of Netflix’s Marvel propjects.
Why you should watch it: Krysten Ritter is sublime as the jeans-and-leather jacket-wearing titular superhero, and her nuanced performance is vital to the portrayal of abuse on screen. Plus, the supporting cast — led by Rachael Taylor and Carrie-Ann Moss, plus David Tennant as the insidious first-season villain Kilgrave — is second to none. Season 3 premieres on Netflix June 14.
Where to watch: Netflix
Commitment: About 17.5 hours (for the first two seasons)
What it is: The Detour follows the Parker family as they embark on a roadtrip from their Syracuse, New York home to Florida for a family vacation.
Why you should watch it: As its title would indicate, not everything goes to plan in this well-meaning family road trip, and missteps and mishaps abound. Created by husband-wife duo Samantha Bee and Jason Jones (who stars as the central father with Natalie Zea, Ashley Gerasimovich, and Liam Carroll), the scripts are funny and heartfelt while still leaving room for some unexpected run-ins with the law and other twists. Season 4 premieres on TBS June 18.
Commitment: Approx. 11 hours (for the first three seasons)
What it is: This foreign-language streaming series from creators Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friesehildren combines elements of time travel sci-fi, horror, and family drama to tell the story of the fictional German town of Winden; its children are inexplicably disappearing, leaving residents in varied states of emotional disarray.
Why you should watch it: Netflix’s first German-language original series is a doozy: spine-tinglingly eerie, fantastical, and at times downright terrifying, it’s a must-watch for any fans of the genre. Season 2 premieres on Netflix June 21.
Where to watch it: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 8.5 hours (for the first season)
What it is: While Legion is among the most original—and undefinable—series on TV today, in the simplest of terms, it’s the story of psych-ward patient David Haller (Dan Stevens) and his sidekick-turned-nemesis Lenny (Aubrey Plaza) as David more fully becomes what he’s always known himself to be: a mutant.
Why you should watch it: To anyone who says they’re tiring of the superhero genre overtaking film and TV, we say, “Have you seen Legion?” Noah Hawley’s absolutely singular X-Men–based vision is a mind-bending and engrossing head-scratcher that’s well worth committing to. And committing is exactly what Stevens and Plaza do with their no-holds-barred, fearless performances. Season 3, its final season, premieres on FX June 24.
Commitment: Approx. 15 hours (for the first two seasons)
(Photo by ABC/Kurt Iswarienkio; Freeform/Alfonso Bresciani; Cara Howe/Netflix; Richard Ducree/The CW; Katie Yu/The CW)
Sometimes the major heroes of television shows based on comic books just need some support. It can be in the form of a best friend, a worthy opponent, a character to carry a secondary plot or someone just to be there and literally tell the main character that they’re doing a great job. Characters can start out as the latter and emerge as fan favorites. They can also remain on the periphery of the frame, offering commentary or a key piece of info. And then there are also a few who are just criminally underutilized.
So let’s celebrate the characters who help make the heroes look good, be they guests, recurring parts, or reliable presences. Here are a few of the best supporting characters in 2018.
In some ways, it is a cheat to bring the superlative Carl Lumbly onto Supergirl as J’onn J’onzz’s (David Harewood) father M’yrrn. But as Lumbly defined the role of the Martian Manhunter on television – he voiced J’onn in the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated series – it was also fitting to bring that persona of dignity and gravitas to the part.
In doing so, it opened up M’yrnn to a wealth of new experiences and some of the best moments in Supergirl’s third season. His delight in discovering coffee, his karaoke night with the gang, and J’onn’s attempt to give them more of a family life by moving them both out of the DEO and into an apartment all revealed added and welcome dimensions for both characters. Sadly, Lumbly and M’yrnn were not to be permanent additions, as the writing team saw fit to almost immediately give the character a degenerative brain disease. But even as that story line continued to its inevitable conclusion, both performer and character embraced their scripted fate with dignity and a performance far beyond the material as written.
As opposed to his comic-book counterpart, it is easy to imagine the Herr Starr of AMC’s Preacher would like a quiet retirement. Despite being the most efficient and ruthless agent of The Grail, the strain it puts on him is easy to see even as he carries out its directives. It is also the underlying reason why he’d rather see Jesse (Dominic Cooper) become the Messiah over The Grail’s inbred scion Humperdoo (Tyson Ritter). Granted, any sane person would make that choice as well, even in the insane world of the show.
But for all his motivations and skills, the guy can’t catch a break and finds himself forever at Jesse’s heels, even when he should have the upperhand. That said, it seems he finally has a way to hold sway over Jesse thanks to a deal with Gran’ma Marie (Betty Buckley) and the ever-present carrot of Jesse’s Genesis-infused soul. Will he finally get everything he wants exactly how he wants it?
Well, if the show follows even just 10 percent of Starr’s story from the comics, it seems unlikely. Nonetheless, it makes Starr the best of the supporting foils on Preacher.
As the top lawman in Purgatory, Sheriff Nedly would like nothing more than to see the town resume its sleepy ways. But that’s really a front, as he has always known Purgatory and the surrounding Ghost River Triangle is a magnet for supernatural happenings. He does his best to keep the strange incidents Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) and her friends get into from becoming public knowledge. And while initially standoffish with Black Badge Division agent Xavier Dolls (Shamier Anderson), he ultimately embraced his presence as another line of defense against the demonic forces in the region. He also proved to be an able mentor to Officer Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell), a woman who, like Nedly, seems destined to tangle with the unexplained.
And yet, Nedly faces those horrors with a quip and that gruff, irritable manner we saw in the first season — even if he has become something of a teddy bear to the main cast. He faced down the widows of Sheriff Clootie by asking if they were Pokemon and had, perhaps, the best reaction to being glamored by vampires by dropping his irascible facade entirely and embracing an ascot. Nedly may not be a constant presence on the show, but he is definitely welcome whenever he appears.
(Photo by David Giesbrecht/Netflix)
Malcolm has come so far since his days as Killgrave’s (David Tennant) victim and Jessica’s (Krysten Ritter) junkie neighbor; in fact, this may even be the last time he will still be considered a “supporting character.”
While The Defenders and the early parts of Jessica Jones’ second season saw him dutifully fulfilling his self-appointed role as her sidekick, we soon saw Malcolm’s own innate detective skills and sense of justice leading him away from Jessica. In his spare time, he replaced his drug habit with a long string of hook-ups, leading to a one-night stand with Trish (Rachael Taylor) that both seemed to regret in the end.
And though moving away from Jessica as a truly supporting player, his emerging B-Plot highlighted one of Jessica’s big faults – her inability to embrace people – while defining him as one of the best characters in the second season. Sadly, his success meant he had to leave Alias Investigations entirely for a rival P.I. firm and stealing away Jessica’s best client, Jeri Hogarth (Carrie Anne Moss). Hopefully, it will work out for Malcolm and, just maybe, he and Jessica will mend things before too long.
(Photo by )
When Ashe was first announced as a new permanent member of the Legends team, the character was said to be something of a foil for the established characters. But when she finally debuted, she quickly went from criticizing the ne’er-do-wells’ habit of making situations worse to munching on kettle corn while watching them do it. But considering she came from a 2042 in which A.R.G.U.S. turned the United States into an anti-metahuman police state in which food was scarce, it makes absolute sense she would abuse the Waverider’s food replicator and collection of video games.
Though haunted by the death of her brother in 2041 and stand-offish with the team for the first few months, Zari finally embraced them as friends after spending an incalculable amount of time inside a time-loop which reset with the Waverider exploding. While still sarcastic and occasionally emotionally distant, Zari accepted the ship as home, aiding the team in fashioning a Beebo doll powerful enough to stop the demon Mallus.
And even though the treat to her life from Mallus was over, she choose to remain with the Legends. We’re definitely glad she did.
(Photo by Freeform/Alfonso Bresciani)
Making her presence felt in the second episode of Cloak & Dagger as an almost completely silent detective, O’Reilly quickly distinguished herself as an upstanding officer of the law. With a keen eye for detection — she knew almost instantly that Tandy Bowen’s (Olivia Holt) first stabbing was in self-defense — and a true sense of justice — she chaffed after being told she could not pursue Tandy’s case any further — she quickly became Tandy and Tyrone Johnson’s (Aubrey Joseph) only real support; in fact, she was more supportive of the two than they were of each other.
When neither the light-wielding Tandy nor the darkness-controlling Tyrone could turn to their parents, she became the go-to adult. But as viewers saw, her willingness to bend some laws for a greater good or even do a line of coke for pleasure and business suggests she is more than just a good cop, making her a rough balance of the Johnsons’ tendency toward precise order and Melissa Bowen’s (Andrea Roth) love affair with chaos. Created by Bill Mantlo in the first issue of Cloak & Dagger in 1985, O’Reilly was always a supporting character for the duo. Including after she died and became something else – a change in status seemingly teased in the closing moments of the show’s first season.
For some, The Walking Dead never quite worked because Morgan was missing for so long. Debuting in the first episode as a distraught man readying himself to shoot his zombified wife’s corpse, James made a staggering impression in what was his only appearance until a single episode in season 3. The character remained alive in the story via a walky-talky and Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) constant attempts to give him some clue of where his group was headed.
But when the pair finally reunited in season 5, Morgan was a changed man. His journey to Alexandria was not an easy one, and it saw his strength collapse into profound grief over the loss of his family and a willingness to kill anyone who got in his way. Eventually, he met a man who helped him recover some of his humanity. After which, he choose to find Rick.
Despite learning a way of peace, events since joining Rick’s group have led him back to violence. Still suffering from PTSD, the control Morgan thought he had wavered in the face of the world Rick and other groups were building. Consequently, he began to kill again and later suffered hallucinations of some of his victims. When last seen, Morgan appeared ready to leave the group and heal.
Now, on Fear the Walking Dead, Morgan is maintaining his wish to be alone while healing, even if he’s coming to understand that isolation is just not practical. To those he encounters, he’s something of a soothsayer, but it may just be a matter of time before Morgan resumes the way of violence.
(Photo by Dean Buscher/The CW)
If there is one character on Riverdale who genuinely remains in the support category, it’s Kevin Keller. While presented as important part of the gang – he is Betty’s (Lili Reinhart) confidant – he is not one of the main four and often finds himself either aiding Betty or offering quippy commentary on the events of the week while passing through the halls of Riverdale High. Early in the second season, the Black Hood story line dovetailed with Kevin’s penchant for cruising, but it was dropped before anything truly meaningful could come of it, and that’s despite Kevin’s decision to come out to his father.
Nonetheless, Kevin is always around to back up the gang or literally set the stage with his production of Carrie: The Musical. And his continued presence as a supporting player may be rewarded in the third season as he and Josie (Ashleigh Murray) – another underutilized character – find themselves living under one roof when their parents decide they should become a family. Hopefully, it will lead to more of a presence for Kevin (and Josie) going forward.
After all these years, it is difficult to remember a time when Mack was an agent of a rival version of S.H.I.E.L.D., looking to steal Nick Fury’s Toolbox from Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). But as the show looked back on itself during season 5, Mack’s original status on the show underscores where he is now – the resident healthy skeptic. Even after traveling through time, experiencing another life in a computer and becoming possessed by the Spirit of Vengeance, Mack is always the first to call shenanigans on any new ridiculous threat or tech the team encounters.
But even as a plant, Mack endeared himself quickly by becoming Fitz’s (Iain De Caestecker) interpreter while he recovered from brain trauma and an indispensable part of Coulson’s core team when the two S.H.I.E.L.D.s merged late in the second season. Not that it’s been easy for him. He’s tried to quit multiple times and always ends up with more responsibilities as a consequence. He also carries the memory of a child he lost in real life and in that computer simulation, and his relationship with Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) has hit one of its roughest patches going into the sixth season. Through it all, Mack perseveres, though. Sometimes thanks to his faith — he’s also the only truly religious member of the team — and sometimes because he’s the guy holding the shotgun-axe.
Though Black Lightning is still a young series – its first season ran 13 episodes – it worked hard to get to places some of its CW brethren would reach far later in their runs. Consequently, the show opens with a team practically assembled already – the Pierce family; in fact, a threat to the family forces Jefferson (Cress Williams) into taking up his Black Lightning identity again.
But in the subsequent weeks, younger daughter Jennifer distinguished herself as a character to watch. While headstrong, she is not necessarily bratty. And in those times when her antics are the legitimate actions of a brat, she always finds a way to square things with Jefferson, her mother Lynn (Christine Adams) or older sister Anissa (Nafessa Williams). Despite being the odd one out in the family, the bond she felt for them was strong and always workable. And that’s before the onset of her powers.
Once her abilities emerged, and her family learned about them, Jennifer became one of the most intriguing characters on the show because she did not want them. Finally revealing that she wants “a normal life,” she took a key step toward maturity and defining who she will be even as it seems she has embraced her powers.
While much of the talk about Luke Cage’s second season centered on new villain John McIver — aka Bushmaster (Mustafa Shakir) — the show-stealing Mariah Dillard elevated the program in unexpected ways; for one, Bushmaster’s real conflict was with the former councilwoman and criminal mastermind. Luke (Mike Colter) just kept pushing his way into the crossfire. The character’s attempts to go legitimate underscored the legacy of her grandmother and the ugly truth about her daughter Tilda Johnson (Gabrielle Dennis), revealing the real theme of the season while also giving Mariah a layered relationship with Shades (Theo Rossi). As Bushmaster unraveled Mariah’s schemes and pushed her closer and closer to the Stokes legacy, so too did Mariah’s ability to maintain her composure and lie convincingly to those closest to her.
Add a legitimately award-worthy performance by Woodard and you get a stunningly complex look at a woman on the brink of getting everything she wanted, but failing to get it or the peace she was really looking to find. Even in her final acts, she chose to be vindictive instead of resolving her remaining grief with Luke or Tilda.
This week on home video, we’ve got an explosive entry in the DCEU, a dark children’s tale, a trio of Certified Fresh films worth a look, the Bridget Jones sequel, and more. Read on for the full list.
Meryl Streep (who just won a Critics’ Choice award) and Hugh Grant star in this lighthearted true story about the woman who famously became an opera singer despite her less than angelic voice. Bonus features include deleted scenes, a Q&A with Streep, featurettes on the period design, music, and adaptation process, and more.
Renée Zellweger reprises her role as the titular singleton, who must figure out who the father of her child is after a pair of trysts results in a pregnancy. Extras include a gag reel, deleted and alternate scenes, an alternate ending, and a multi-part making-of documentary.
Eva Green and Asa Butterfield star in Tim Burton’s adaptation of the eponymous 2011 novel, about a boy who discovers a secret house where a mysterious headmistress presides over children with exotic supernatural powers. Special features include interviews with the cast, crew, and author Ransom Riggs; a look at the creature design; a music video; and more.
Kata Mara and Ana Taylor-Joy star in Luke Scott’s sci-fi thriller about a lab-grown organism whose potentially lethal powers prompt a visit from a consultant sent to assess whether or not “she” should be terminated. Bonus features include deleted scenes, a short film by Scott, a look at the science involved, and more.
Will Smith and Margot Robbie star in David Ayer’s entry in the DCEU, about a group of misfit outlaws who are forced to do the US government’s bidding when a supernatural threat manifests itself in their city. Extras include a look at the history of the characters, the actors’ training regimens, the relationship between Harley Quinn and Joker, and more. Also available in special 2-disc sets with either a Harley Quinn or Deadshot figurine.
Jack Huston stars in Timur Bekmambetov’s reimagining of the classic Lew Wallace novel about a prince who is falsely accused of treason and forced into slavery, then returns home to confront the man who betrayed him. The Blu-ray comes with a look at the source material and its legacy, the casting process, the adaptation process, and more.
As usual, we end with a couple of releases from Criterion, including this classic John Huston noir starring Sterling Hayden (and a young Marilyn Monroe), which centers on an aging criminal just released from prison who plans jewel heist. The new Blu-ray includes a 1983 documentary about Hayden, archival footage of Huston talking about the film, interview excerpts with Huston, and more.
And finally, we have Federico Fellini’s loose collection of vignettes that portray Rome from the director’s perspective, particularly as a young man. Special features include deleted scenes, a new interview with filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino about Fellini, and more.
While not as chock full of premieres as the fall TV season, summer can churn out some doozies of its own. Like we did around this time last year, we’ll be treated to shows that draw immediate engagement (Mr. Robot, Penny Dreadful, Orange is the New Black, Wayward Pines), television movie premieres (Sharknado: The 4th Awakens, The Dresser, All The Way), and special events (Just Let Go – Lenny Kravitz Live, Every Brilliant Thing, SyFy Presents Live from Comic-Con). Add some anticipated series premieres (Roadies, Lady Dynamite, Outcast, Preacher) and miniseries (Roots, Houdini & Doyle, O.J.: Made in America) to the mix, and your DVR hard drives are sure to reach max capacity. So the questions is, which shows will you be deleting first, and which will rise to the pinnacle of your summer viewing list of faves? Check out the full (ever growing) list here:
Sunday, May 1
Penny Dreadful season three premiere, 10 p.m., Showtime
Tuesday, May 3
Person of Interest season five premiere, 10 p.m., CBS
Wednesday, May 4
Maron season four premiere, 9 p.m., IFC
Friday, May 6
Grace and Frankie season two premiere, Netflix
Sunday, May 8
Wallander season four premiere, 9 p.m., PBS
Monday, May 9
Every Brilliant Thing special event premiere, HBO
Tuesday, May 10
First Impressions series premiere, 10:30 p.m., USA
Wednesday, May 11
Chelsea series premiere, Netflix
Thursday, May 12
Submission series premiere, 11 p.m., Showtime
Friday, May 13
Just Let Go – Lenny Kravitz Live special event premiere, 8 p.m., Showtime
Wednesday, May 18
Royal Pains season eight premiere, 10 p.m., USA
Saturday, May 21
All the Way television movie premiere, 8 p.m., HBO
Sunday, May 22
Preacher series premiere, 10 p.m., AMC
Monday, May 23
Whose Line is it Anyway? season 12 premiere, 9 p.m., CW
Wednesday, May 25
Wayward Pines season two premiere, 9 p.m., FOX
Monday, May 30
So You Think You Can Dance season 13 premiere, 8 p.m., FOX
The Dresser television movie premiere (US), 9 p.m., Starz
Roots miniseries premiere, 9 p.m., History, Lifetime, and A&E
Mistresses season four premiere, 10 p.m., ABC
Wednesday, June 1
Rock this Boat: New Kids on the Block season two premiere, 8 p.m., POP
Young & Hungry season four premiere, 8 p.m., Freeform
Baby Daddy season five return, 8:30 p.m., Freeform
Kingdom season two return, 9 p.m., DirecTV
Cleverman series premiere, 10 p.m., Sundance
The Night Shift season three premiere, 10 p.m., NBC
Sunday, June 5
Feed the Beast series premiere, 10 p.m., AMC
Monday, June 6
Angie Tribeca season two premiere, TBS
Barbarians Rising miniseries premiere, 9 p.m., History
Devious Maids season four premiere, 9 p.m., Lifetime
Rizzoli & Isles season seven premiere, 9 p.m., TNT
UnREAL season two premiere, 10 p.m., Lifetime
Tuesday, June 7
Casual season two premiere, Hulu
Friday, June 10
Voltron: Legendary Defender series premiere, Netflix
Thursday, June 16
Aquarius season two premiere, 9 p.m., NBC
Friday, June 17
Orange is the New Black season four premiere, Netflix
Saturday, June 18
Mother, May I Sleep with Danger television movie premiere, 8 p.m., Lifetime
Sunday, June 19
Endeavour season three premiere (US), 9 p.m., PBS
The Last Ship season three premiere, 9 p.m., TNT
The Jim Gaffigan Show season two premiere, 10 p.m., TV Land
The Tunnel series premiere (US), 10:30 p.m., PBS
Tuesday, June 21
Pretty Little Liars season seven premiere, 8 p.m., Freeform
Wednesday, June 22
Big Brother season 17 premiere, 8 p.m., CBS
American Gothic series premiere, 10 p.m., CBS
Friday, June 24
The Fundamentals of Caring television movie premiere, Netflix
Saturday, June 25
Center Stage: On Pointe television movie premiere, 8 p.m., Lifetime
Sunday, June 26
Dancing on the Edge series premiere (US), 8 p.m., PBS
Ray Donovan season four premiere, 9 p.m., Showtime
Murder in the First season three premiere, 10 p.m., TNT
Roadies series premiere, 10 p.m., Showtime
Thursday, June 30
Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll season two premiere, 10 p.m., FX
Friday, July 1
Between season two premiere, Netflix
Marcella series premiere (US), Netflix
Marco Polo season two premiere, Netflix
Killjoys season two premiere, 9 p.m., SyFy
Dark Matter season two premiere, 10 p.m., SyFy
Sunday, July 3
The Hunt series premiere (US), 9 p.m., BBC America
Sunday, July 10
The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth season one return, 8 p.m., Showtime
DB Cooper miniseries premiere, 9 p.m., History
The Night Of series premiere, 9 p.m., HBO
Monday, July 11
Making of the Mob season two premiere, 10 p.m., AMC
Wednesday, July 13
Penn & Teller: Fool Us season three premiere, 8 p.m., CW
Suits season six premiere, 9 p.m., USA
The A Word series premiere, 10 p.m., Sundance
Mr. Robot season two premiere, 10 p.m., USA
Thursday, July 21
SyFy Presents Live from Comic-Con special event premiere, 8 p.m., SyFy
Friday, July 22
Bring It! season three return, 9 p.m., Lifetime
Saturday, July 23
Looking: The Movie television movie premiere, 10 p.m., HBO
Thursday, July 28
Ripper Street season four premiere (US), 10 p.m., BBC America
Friday, July 29
Home: The Adventures of Tip and Oh series premiere, Netflix
Sunday, July 31
Sharknado: The 4th Awakens television movie premiere, 8 p.m., SyFy
Friday, Aug. 12
The Get Down series premiere, Netflix
Thursday, Aug. 18
60 Days In season two premiere, 9 p.m., A&E
Sunday, Aug. 21
Fear the Walking Dead season two return, 9 p.m., AMC
Wednesday, Aug. 24
Gomorrah series premiere (US), 10 p.m., Sundance
Sunday, Aug. 28
The Strain season three premiere, 10 p.m., FX
Wednesday, Aug. 31
You’re the Worst season three premiere, 10 p.m., FX
Frontier series premiere, Netflix
Halt and Catch Fire season three premiere, AMC
Happy Valley season two premiere, Netflix
Masters of Sex season four premiere, Showtime (July)
Suits season six premiere, USA
This week at the movies, we’ve got a wild child (The Jungle Book, starring Neel Sethi), non-stop conversation (Barbershop: The Next Cut, starring Ice Cube and Cedric the Entertainer), and implanted memories (Criminal, starring Kevin Costner and Gary Oldman). What do the critics have to say?
It’s really hard to equal — much less top — a beloved classic. But critics say director Jon Favreau may have done just that with his live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book, which takes the timeless tale of a child raised by wolves and elevates it with some of the best CGI every committed to film. It doesn’t hurt, of course that he’s abetted by a strong cast that includes newcomer Neel Sethi and voice performers Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, and Idris Elba. The pundits say the Certified Fresh The Jungle Book is a family friendly film of a very high order.
Everything’s coming up aces for Ice Cube these days. The recently-minted Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer is back with the third entry in the Barbershop series, and critics say it’s got all the warmth, ribald humor, and insightful commentary that made the first two entries big hits at the box office. Once again, Barbershop: The Next Cut doesn’t have much of a plot, but its fine cast — which includes Cedric the Entertainer, Regina Hall, Anthony Anderson, Common, and Nicki Minaj — makes for terrific company.
On paper, a spy thriller starring dependable folks like Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, and Tommy Lee Jones alongside comic book heroes Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot sounds like a can’t-miss proposition. Unfortunately, critics say Criminal misses pretty badly, mostly because its story — about a violent felon whose brain is infused with the knowledge and memories of a crack CIA agent — is both preposterous and badly paced.
Outlander returns for a second addictive season of mystery and sweeping romance as Claire and Jamie take on Paris.
Catastrophe delivers a strong second season that deepens the drama while remaining spit-take funny.
Fear the Walking Dead sets sail in its sophomore season with an intriguing backdrop that doesn’t always disguise its deficiencies in comparison to its predecessor.
Also Opening This Week In Limited Release
On Fear the Walking Dead, Madison Clark and Travis Manawa are a couple, so I found it curious that Kim Dickens was paired with Colman Domingo for interviews. She plays Madison and Domingo plays Strand, the owner of the yacht on which the survivors sail away from Los Angeles.
Dickens and Domingo were in Los Angeles to discuss the second season of Fear the Walking Dead, the companion series to The Walking Dead about the beginning of the zombie outbreak. Fear the Walking Dead returns April 10 on AMC and we spoke to Domingo and Dickens about what’s coming up.
Interview pairings don’t dictate the way the season is going. To be fair, Cliff Curtis, who plays Travis Manawa, was paired with Lorenzo James Henrie, Travis’s son Chris, so Dickens had to be paired with someone else. Colman Domingo made sense for discussing the new season.
“[Our pairing] does foreshadow that we have a dance or two that we go through,” Dickens said, with Domingo sitting right beside her. “We have a couple of really strong characters that have sort of obligated themselves to each other. We get Strand to his home and to his boat. He therefore offers us safe passage but we don’t quite know each other and don’t quite know where the other’s moral compass lies.”
Travis and Madison still depend on each other. “You know, they’re tough,” Dickens said. “They have a strong bond and I think they’re opposites in a lot of ways and that’s been complementary, with some struggle. They usually find their way back together and make an even stronger unit. We all enter this season being sort of haunted by the loss of Liza and how that had to happen. I think we’ll be forever changed so that’s all I can say.”
Most of us are watching a show about people fighting zombies. Domingo says there’s a little more to it than that if we look closely. “I think there’s a lot of symbolism actually this season,” he said. “There’s symbolism of the water being a conduit for change. The water’s dark, the water’s light, and it has its own emotional core and moral compass. I think we have themes about spirituality. Spirituality plays a strong part in the season.”
Which characters on Fear the Walking Dead will become spiritual? That’s something we’ll tune in to find out. Few on the show have yet learned that this “infection” is actually the dead rising from their graves. That sort of revelation could give anyone a crisis of faith. Domingo says season two will show us who on Strand’s boat goes there.
“That will be revealed because I think that’s something you don’t know unless you’re in that situation,” Domingo said. “We will explore that because they’re trying to find answers. Like you saw in season one that Griselda held a spiritual core, and that’s going to be explored as well. Trying to figure out how to survive and what to hang on to and what it’s all about.”
The survivors on the boat include a mix of men and women, adults and children, Caucasian, Latino, Maori, and African-American. This microcosm of the world will soon question societal roles of gender.
“I think thematically we’re going to explore things about gender, about roles women and men play, strength of character,” Domingo said. “All the rules that we have in our culture, I think we’re going to be turning them on a dime. It doesn’t really become that defined anymore. I think we all certainly become equals and you just play to your strength. You do what you can. If you know how to scuba dive, then you go do this. If you know how to do this, you do that. You just throw all your best talents in the pot.”
Very soon, the survivors learn that Strand makes the rules on the yacht, and he might not be wrong, even when he refuses to stop for refugees on the water. Strand may already be thinking further ahead than the other survivors.
“I wasn’t surprised that Strand reacted the way he does [to the refugees] because I think he lives in very black and white terms,” Domingo said. “He already laid out the terms of what he thinks is survival, at least for today. This is how we need to move along today so we can at least find our way through. And we can’t sacrifice ourselves. Of course we have other people in this boat who have other needs and other wants and who are still dealing with these people as being human and not as a threat, but Strand of course feels differently. There’s some engaging conflict there.”
Other characters may have thought their troubles were over once they fled the city. Dickens said, “I think Maddie probably thought, ‘Oh, we’re free and clear,’ because she didn’t think that far ahead. He probably knew we were going to be dealing with some gutter snipes.”
Nick (Frank Dillane) helped Strand escape from a National Guard quarantine. Now Strand has given Nick’s family safe passage on his yacht. As far as Strand is concerned, the quid pro quo has been met.
“Yeah, we’re hanging on by a thread with this guy,” Dickens said. “It’s tricky. There are moments when Madison has to agree to a very uncomfortable alliance with him. To be in partnership with him means you have to reconcile, become complicit in some behavior you really didn’t want to identify with yourself. They’re challenged. These people are challenged.”
That said, it’s not like there’s nothing the Clarks or Manawas have to offer Strand. He’ll keep them around as long as they remain useful.
“He needs help on the boat,” Domingo said. “That’s initially, but also I think that whether he even recognizes it himself, he does have a need for others. I think no man is an island truly and I think that he has such a strong sense of a character, the veneer that he’s put on, that I think that is part of his journey as well, to find out underneath that he did [need people]. What was his use for Nick? Maybe he needed him more than just someone to help him out. Maybe he needed someone else.”
Dickens was still able to appear on season four of House of Cards, but there was even more planned for Kate Baldwin had she not had to go to Baja to shoot season two of Fear.
“I did do House of Cards but I wasn’t able to do as much of the story as they had intended because it overlapped just a little too much,” Dickens said. “I just was told that the story arc would be that she hands over a story. Where she was going I think was probably going to dig up some skeletons, or at least try to. But I like the way it played out. Bringing the editor back was amazing.”
If both shows can coordinate, Dickens wants to return to House of Cards. “I just hope there’s room for her again,” Dickens said. “It’s one of my favorite shows and I love just banging around in the White House. It’s pretty fun. We’ll see if I get to go back this summer because I love that show. I love that character too.”
Fear the Walking Dead season two picks up right where the season finale left off. The Clark and Manawa families escape on Victor Strand (Colman Domingo)’s boat, only to find more danger awaiting them on the water. They have to bypass other survivors in the interest of self-preservation.
Frank Dillane and Alycia Debnam-Carey were in Los Angeles this month to discuss the return of the Walking Dead companion series. Debnam-Carey also just ended her run on The 100, so we were able to discuss the heartbreaking goodbye on that show, as well as the new possibilities of Fear the Walking Dead season two. Fear the Walking Dead returns April 10 on AMC; here are seven things we learned from Dillane and Debnam-Carey.
Alicia Clark (Debnam-Carey) lost her boyfriend in season one of Fear the Walking Dead. In the season premiere, Alicia mans the radio on Strand’s yacht and connects with the voice of another survivor. It gives the audience a chance to hear what the zombie outbreak is like from another side, but gives Alicia a sense of normalcy too.
“What I like about it is that it’s a moment of lightness for this whole story and new world,” Debnam-Carey said. “A lot of this show is very dark, and for her, it’s trying to have a connection with someone, trying to find some normality. I think she doesn’t really know how to adapt to this new world yet. The first season she was really kept in the dark for quite some time. She’s only just coming to terms, really, with a lot of the information and events that have taken place. She’s tried to take the initiative and do something helpful by seeking out the radio and survivors, or any kind of indication of life. Instead, she finds herself just being able to be the teenage girl that she actually is. It’s only been such a short amount of time, too, so you don’t suddenly relinquish those habits of just wanting a connection with someone and trusting someone. And finally, just forgetting about this world falling down around you. Yeah, it’s innocent. It’s an innocent, very kind of sweet moment.”
Strand owns the yacht that allows the Clark and Manawa families to sail off from Los Angeles, and he also helped Nick escape the National Guard quarantine. That means it’s also Strand’s call not to pick up other survivors and to make hard decisions to protect the boat. This is still new to Nick, and he might have a new mentor in Strand.
“Nick spends a lot these first seasons just watching,” Dillane said. “I think he’s learning a lot from the brutality and the sort of pragmatism of Strand and what it takes to make a decision and stick by it. So I think he is probably learning. So far, so good. He’s got a boat, hasn’t he? He’s not given us any reason not to trust him. I don’t know. We may live to regret it, but not yet.”
So far, Nick has been open to all of the hard choices Strand makes and hasn’t put up any resistance. It’s still early in the season, though. “There’s nothing that I’ve resisted so far,” Dillane said. “I think he’s still finding his morality and understanding who he is and what is right and wrong in this world. I think he’s willing to learn before he’s willing to put his foot down.”
Dillane wouldn’t go so far as to say that Strand is becoming a father figure to Nick. “I don’t know how consciously anyone looks for a father figure,” Dillane said. “I don’t know if Nick’s consciously seeking one out or if just coincidence has it that he finds himself in a jail cell with this man. I don’t think Nick sees him as a father figure. Maybe everyone else does. I don’t think Nick is looking for a father figure. He’s a grown man.”
Season one of Fear the Walking Dead was, by design, a slow burn. The producers wanted to show the world reacting to the first signs of the infection spreading and the undead rising. They would not react like people in zombie movies, the way The Walking Dead began with survivors arming up to fight the walkers.
The companion show also received criticism for taking too long to get rolling, but season two promises to keep the action going every week.
“It’s condensed, and there’s a lot more action,” Debnam-Carey said. “There’s a lot more that happens in a very small amount of time. That’s the thing fans can definitely look forward to this season.”
The actors are glad to have 15 episodes to explore their characters, too, since they barely scratched the surface with six episodes in season one.
“I felt by the end of episode six I was thinking I could at least do four more, at least,” Debnam-Carey said. “I think we were all looking forward to doing our second season because we finally got to spend a lot more time together, be on location together, and know that we had a proper chunk of time to really immerse ourselves in it.”
Fear the Walking Dead is a completely separate show from The Walking Dead and even shoots thousands of miles away. The Walking Dead is in Atlanta, GA and, per above, Fear has relocated to Baja, Mexico. One actor, though, made it onto both shows playing both a full walker and an infected.
“I know we’ve had one,” Dillane said. “He’s done both. I think he was very good.”
Both shows do share producers Gale Ann Hurd and Robert Kirkman, so this zombie actor made such a good impression in Atlanta that he got hired in Baja too.
“Because they rate the zombies, they have a spectrum of how good you are at being a zombie,” Debnam-Carey said. “So I guess the ones they know that can deliver, they use.”
Get used to some bobbing and swaying when you watch Fear the Walking Dead. Much of the season will be set on the water, but it won’t get too carried away with wavy effects. The boat at Baja Studios is actually on a dock, so they just create the ocean effects in camera.
“It’s steady,” Debnam-Carey said. “The tank itself is pretty steady. We have to maneuver the boat around, too, so that we can get the right angles for all the shots and everything, so that’s really the only moving that happens. We were all worried we were going to be seasick for a while but it was very calm.”
Ultimately, Debnam-Carey had to leave The 100 to fulfill her duties to Fear the Walking Dead. Her character Lexa departed the show tragically, which hurt fans, especially because Lexa was one of the few gay characters on television. The 100 producer Jason Rothenberg published an apology for neglecting to consider the ramifications of how he wrote Lexa out of the show. Debnam-Carey appreciates the passion surrounding Lexa.
“It was hard, but it was also just time,” she said. “I was a part of this, and I was so excited to be able to be a part of this show. Lexa and The 100 taught me so much, and I had the best time on it, and I’ve never been able to collaborate on a character so much before as I did Lexa. So it holds a very, very special place in my heart, and it’s amazing to have such a passionate response to a character like that.”
As The 100 continues, we will see who becomes the recipient of the flame, the chip removed from Lexa’s neck. If part of Lexa is indeed saved on the flame, it’s entirely possible she could appear in the future as a vision to her successor. “I mean, I guess it’s always a possibility, isn’t it?” Debnam-Carey said.
San Diego Comic Con saw the release of two AMC trailers for Dead-lovers everywhere. First up, The Walking Dead season six, which premieres Sunday Oct. 11 at 9 p.m.:
So we have to wait three whole months? What are we gonna do until then? We just might decay! How about we watch the debut season of prequel series Fear the Walking Dead to get us by? For that, we only have to wait until its premiere on Sunday, Oct. 23 at 9 p.m. And hey, we have a trailer for that one too:
Creator Robert Kirkman promises that the two shows will coexist separately, so viewers won’t feel a need to know the first series in order to enjoy the new one. Beginning next month, we should have enough rotting flesh to entertain/disgust us through the end of the year. The big question is, what new nicknames will the writers concoct for the dead? They’ve already used: “walkers,” “biters,” “rotters,” “roamers,” “skin-eaters,” and “lame-brains.” More random monikers are assuredly on the way!
Fear the Walking Dead will premiere on Sunday, Aug. 23, at 9 p.m.
Season six of The Walking Dead will premiere on Sunday, Oct. 11 at 9 p.m.
Both shows are on AMC.
Fans of The Walking Dead are eager to experience this year’s new spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead, but, as writer/producer Robert Kirkman told us, audiences will not need to be familiar with the seed series in order to enjoy the new one, which takes us back to the beginnings of the plague outbreak. Here are five things we thought you’d like to know about the differences between the two shows and our chat with Kirkman, who’s been relatively silent about the new show until now.
Kirkman told us that fans of The Walking Dead will be surprised by the new show, that we’ll see elements previously glossed over in the original series. “Having Rick wake up from his coma was certainly a fun dynamic and a great way to open the original show,” he said, “but actually watching civilization crumble around these people and getting to experience them learning how to adapt in a much faster way, with much more danger and much more uncertainty, I think, is going to make the show very different.” He promised a “very unique experience for people, even if they have watched the first five seasons of The Walking Dead.”
Kirkman and the other producers felt strongly that Fear the Walking Dead should stand alone with regard to story and characters. The location is Los Angeles at the beginning of the plague and will look very different visually from the seed series. “For one,” he said, “we’re not shooting on 16 millimeter. It’s actually shot digitally. And so there’s just going to be a very different feel to this show which is really exciting and I can’t wait for people to see it.”
The look of the zombies themselves will be different, as well, since the timeframe begins at the outburst of the plague. They won’t look as decayed or as monstrous yet which, Kirkman feels, will make the violence startling because the Walkers will be much more human than what audiences are used to. But he assured us, “There’s not going to be any loss of zombie action or excitement… So, I think we’ll be bringing you the best of both worlds.”
Kirkman maintains that the origin of the plague is “not an important aspect of the story,” though “there will certainly be aspects of watching civilization crumble that will give you a better insight into what is happening here.” He doesn’t think it’s important to the story to dwell on the origins because “if we were to do a spinoff of The Walking Dead and it was about a bunch of scientists that were working to find the cure and finding out the origins, I just — that would bore me to tears. And I don’t really know where that show goes…
Struggling in a world where civilization is breaking down is much more interesting than trying to fix a virus. So that’s not an angle that we’re taking.”
Where The Walking Dead revolves more around the lives of individuals and strangers being forced together, Fear the Walking Dead will focus on the “extended, unique family,” according to Kirkman. “What we have is Madison and her family and we have Travis and his family. And they’re both building a relationship. They’re getting ready to be married. Civilization is crumbling around them and they both have kids from separate marriages and it’s just an interesting family dynamic to deal with in any story. But having all of the intricacies that come from that kind of family dynamic and setting it against the fall of civilization and the face of the zombie apocalypse just makes things that much more interesting.” Such family dynamics have yet to be explored in the seed series, allowing both show to live similtaneously and separately, without overlap.
Fear the Walking Dead premieres this summer on AMC.