From The Karate Kid sequel on YouTube Red to sophomore installments from contemporary standouts like Dear White People on Netflix, this month offers some critically lauded titles for your binge. Catch up on the series that are not to be missed for May.


Cobra Kai 93% (YouTube Red)


What it is: While this is just the first season of Cobra Kai, a series that charts the re-opening of The Karate Kid’s infamous Cobra Kai dojo from none other than Johnny Lawrence himself, the best way to catch up on the series’ characters and rock ’em sock ’em tone is to watch part one (and parts two and three, if you’re so enthused) of the classic 1980s film franchise. 

Why you should watch it: It’s 2018, and nostalgia is the name of the game. Luckily, Cobra Kai from creator Robert Mark Kamen has it in spades. Featuring committed performances from Karate Kid original players Ralph Macchio as Daniel and William Zabka as Johnny, this 10-episode reboot on YouTube Red feels as comfortable and entertaining as ever, and it’s further brought to life by an ensemble of young actors finding their own footing in the discipline of karate. The streaming service releases all 10 episodes of the series’ inaugural season  May 2, with the pilot and second episode available for free.

Where to watch it: Cobra Kai on YouTube Red; movies: AmazonFandangoNOWGoogle Play, HuluMicrosoft, Vudu, YouTube

Commitment: Approx. 5 hours for Cobra Kai on YouTube Red; another 6 hours for The Karate Kid movies 1-3; around 15 hours if you really commit and continue your binge with The Next Karate Kid, starring Pat Morita and Hilary Swank, and 2010’s The Karate Kid remake starring Jaden Smith


Colony 92% (USA)


What it is: In a not-to-distant future, the city of Los Angeles has been taken over by alien hosts who have recalibrated the entire world order; mankind is now subservient to the new reining power. That power is put to the test, however, when one family decides to sneak across their borders in hopes of saving their son, who was separated from them during “the arrival.”

Why you should watch it: Colony doesn’t want for TV star power: from creator Carlton Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel) to stars Lost vet Josh Holloway and The Walking Dead and Prison Break fan-favorite Sarah Wayne Callies. Their presence alone is enough for many to tune in, but over the course of two standout seasons, the USA sci-drama has grown legs of its own and is grade-A entertainment for fans of the genre. Performances are matched by set design and special effects, but really, it’s a family drama at its core. Season 3 premieres May 2.

Where to watch it: Amazon, FandangoNOWGoogle PlayMicrosoft, Netflix, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 16 hours


Dear White People 95% (Netflix)


What it is: Based on writer-director Justin Simien’s 2014 film of the same name, Dear White People takes place on a predominantly white Ivy League college campus and, through the perspective of several different African-American characters, explores and satirizes the racial tensions, microaggressions, and social injustices experienced while there.

Why you should watch it:  As funny as it is revealing, this truly ensemble piece for Netflix fearlessly goes where other programs don’t dare to, not just representing the current social and political climate, but crystallizing lasting truths within it. Airtight scripts and a bevy of standout performances make season 2 a must-watch for fans new and old. Season 2 premieres in full May 4.

Where to watch it: Netflix

Commitment: Approx. 4 hours (season 1); around 8 if you binge season 2 as well


X Company   (Ovation)

X Company (Ovation)

What it is: This fictional period piece inspired by real, World War II–era events follows five young recruits through their training as spies at a secret Canadian facility called Camp X — and beyond as they infiltrate their European enemies’ headquarters across the Atlantic.

Why you should watch it: This is a period piece that won’t leave you yawning. Sleek, full-throttle espionage-thriller story arcs and memorable characters to match, this CBC-turned-Ovation series is as contemporary a period piece as you’re likely to find. Think more Kingsman and less Downton Abbey. Season 2 premieres May 7.

Where to watch it: On Ovation, Ovation on demand through your cable provider, and on the Ovation NOW app available in the iTunes store and Google Play store

Commitment: Approx. 13 hours


SIX 62% (History)


What it is: Like Company X, Six on History is a fictional series inspired by true events. In this case, it follows the day-to-day at-home lives of SEAL Team Six side-by-side with their high-risk overseas missions. The main plot picks up here when their ex-comrade, Rip, is held hostage by the Taliban and a rescue mission ensues.

Why you should watch it: One name: Walton Goggins. This veteran character actor has been a scene-stealing supporting actor in all genres on screens big and small for years, and after his turn in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, Six solidified his leading man chops as Rip, the troubled SEAL needing rescue. Add to the mix a never-better Barry Sloane and a slew of other robust performances, and this character-driven drama surpasses the action-first fare of its wartime-set contemporaries. Season 2 premieres May 28.

Where to watch it: AmazonGoogle Play, Hulu, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 6 hours


Animal Kingdom   (TNT)

What it is: Based on the 2010 Australian feature film from writer-director David Michôd, Animal Kingdom resets itself in Los Angeles and showcases the city’s grittier side through a crime family led by iron-fisted matriarch Janine “Smurf” Cody (Ellen Barkin). Our point of entry is Joshua “J” Cody (Finn Cole), a 17-year-old who’s swept up into the family business after his mother dies of a heroin overdose.

Why you should watch it: Ellen Barkin, Ellen Barkin, Ellen Barkin. The series’ thrilling writing and direction led by creator Jonathan Lisco is well worth the watch, but Barkin (Tony and Emmy winner and two-time Golden Globe nominee) brings a conniving richness to Smurf that must be seen to be believed. Season 3 premieres May 29.

Where to watch it: Amazon, FandangoNOWGoogle PlayMicrosoft, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 17 hours


Queen Sugar 98%   (OWN)

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 formidable 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 seasons 1 and 2. And their work isn’t the only stunning thing to the series; sprawling locations under the Louisiana sun and timely discussions of prejudice across race and sex and issues of mass incarceration make it a thought-provoking family drama. Season 3 premieres May 29.

Where to watch it: Amazon, FandangoNOWGoogle Play, HuluMicrosoftVudu

Commitment: Approx. 22 hours


Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 96%    (Netflix)

What it is: After Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) is rescued from an underground bunker where she was being held captive by a brainwashing cult leader, she does what any young woman who wants to see the world would do: She moves to New York City! The Netflix comedy is from creators Robert Carlock and Tina Fey.

Why you should watch it: Kimmy, her new roommate Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess), her new boss Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski), and her landlady Lillian Kaushtupper (Carol Kane) are sure to put a little pep in your step (and for more reasons than the titular hero’s incessant optimism) through their New York misadventures (and misunderstandings). The first half of season 4 premieres May 30.

Where to watch it: Netflix

Commitment: Approx. 19 hours

When the first of January hits, chances are you’ll be stuffed with holiday goodies, full of various meats and/or cheeses, and all partied out. You’ll also probably be looking for something to watch as you recover from all the festivities. Luckily, Netflix is releasing a ton of new stuff, particularly on January 1, that should keep you entertained. See below for the full list of new movies, TV shows, and originals coming to Netflix in January.


January 1 – January 7

 

The Age of Shadows (2016) 100%

Song Kang-ho (The Host) and Gong Yoo (Train to Busan) star in South Korean director Kim Jee-woon’s (I Saw the Devil; The Good, the Bad, the Weird) period thriller about two men on opposite sides of Korea’s fight for independence from Japan.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


AlphaGo (2017) 100%

This documentary chronicles the drama leading up to the historic match-up between a human and an artificial intelligence playing against each other in the ancient Chinese strategy game of “Go.”

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


The Godfather (1972) 97%

Al Pacino and Marlon Brando lead an ensemble cast in Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of Mario Puzo’s mob family epic, widely considered one of the greatest films ever made. All three chapters of the Godfather saga will be available to stream on January 1.

Available 1/1: The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Godfather Part III


Apollo 13 (1995) 96%

Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon star in Ron Howard’s Oscar-winning historical drama about the ill-fated titular space mission, during which an on-board explosion forced three astronauts to abort a trip to the moon.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Strictly Ballroom (1992) 91%

Baz Luhrmann’s debut feature is an adaptation of his own stage production about a ballroom dancer with a unique vision and his struggle to compete and win a prestigious competition.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


The Truman Show (1998) 95%

Jim Carrey and Ed Harris star in this dramedy about a man who understandably freaks out when he discovers his entire life has been the center of a television production.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Midnight in Paris (2011) 93%

Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, and a slew of stars breathe life into Woody Allen’s dreamy romantic comedy about an aspiring novelist who, on a trip to Paris with his fiancée, is transported back to an idealized version of the city in the 1920s.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


The Shawshank Redemption (1994) 91%

Frank Darabont’s adaptation of the Stephen King novella stars Tim Robbins as a wrongly convicted accountant who befriends another inmate (Morgan Freeman) while serving his sentence.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Like Water for Chocolate (1992) 87%

Based on the novel of the same name by Laura Esquival, Alfonso Arau’s magical romantic tale centers on the forbidden love between a man and a young woman who can make others feel what she feels through the food that she cooks.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) 91%

Gene Wilder offers an iconic performance as Roald Dahl’s slightly nutty candy mogul, who welcomes a handful of children to his sweets factory with the intention of bequeathing his company to one of them.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) 89%

Arguably the most celebrated — surely the most widely recognized — Audrey Hepburn film. We just prefer to pretend all the Mickey Rooney stuff doesn’t exist.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Batman Begins (2005) 84%

Christian Bale and Michael Caine star in Christopher Nolan’s beloved reboot of the Batman mythology, a supremely effective but dark and brooding affair that set an ill-advised precedent for DC superhero movies to come.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


King Kong (2005) 84%

Naomi Watts and Jack Black star in Peter Jackson’s update on the original monster movie, about a giant ape on a remote island who is captured and brought back to civilization for the amusement of humans.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


The Italian Job (1969) 81%

Michael Caine stars in the original 1969 heist flick about a career criminal who takes on an eccentric team of accomplices for an elaborate robbery.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Lethal Weapon (1987) 80%

Mel Gibson and Danny Glover star as mismatched partners in this comedy about a pair of cops trying to take down a dangerous drug dealer. Its sequel will also be available to stream.

Available 1/1: Lethal Weapon, Lethal Weapon 2


Batman Returns (1992) 80%

For his cold, dark sequel to Batman, Tim Burton gave audiences not one, but two empathetic, pitiable villains: The Penguin (Danny DeVito) and the Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer).

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Stardust (2007) 77%

Based upon Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novel and featuring an all-star cast, this fantasy follows a young man who embarks on a journey through a forbidden kingdom to prove his love to the girl of his dreams by presenting her with a fallen star.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Caddyshack (1980) 73%

Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, and Bill Murray star in Harold Ramis’s directorial debut, a beloved comedy about the unruly, unusual new members of an exclusive country club.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Wedding Crashers (2005) 76%

Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn star in this romantic comedy about a pair of cynical divorce attorneys who spend their time crashing weddings until they both meet their match in two very different women.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Monsters vs. Aliens (2009) 73%

Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, and Hugh Laurie lend their voices to this DreamWorks animated film about a group of abnormal creatures who come to the aid of humanity when Earth is invaded by an alien robot.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Batman (1989) 71%

One of the most hyped movies in Hollywood history, Batman found director Tim Burton jettisoning the plots (if not the dark tone) of Bob Kane’s original comics, and utilizing set designs reminiscent of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and freakish, brooding characters similar to… well, a Tim Burton movie.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Training Day (2001) 73%

Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke star in Antoine Fuqua’s gritty crime thriller about a rookie cop learning the ropes from a veteran narcotics detective with a decidedly questionable moral compass.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Definitely, Maybe (2008) 70%

In this romantic comedy that essentially inspired How I Met Your Mother, Ryan Reynolds stars as a man who recounts his past conquests (played by Elizabeth Banks, Isla Fisher, and Rachel Weisz) to his daughter when his impending divorce makes her insufferably inquisitive.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (2011) 65%

Remember how innocent the Biebz was back in 2011, before all the tattoos and poopy-diaper pants? Watch this naively optimistic documentary about Ju-Bieb’s improbable rise to stardom from the gritty streets of Ontario to the echo chamber of YouTube and beyond.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Bring It On (2000) 64%

Kirsten Dunst and Eliza Dushku star in this tongue-in-cheek look at the competitive high school cheerleading scene that was so acceptable it lead directly to an MCU gig for director Peyton Reed (Ant-Man).

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Love Actually (2003) 64%

Thanks in part to its luminous cast, which includes Bill Nighy, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Laura Linney, Keira Knightley, Billy Bob Thornton, Rowan Atkinson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Andrew “CORRRRALL” Lincoln, Richard Curtis’ yuletide romantic comedy has become a seasonal cult favorite.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Rotten: Season 1 (2018) 86%

This Netflix original series examines the global scope and impact of some common food items, starting from the plate and following the trail of money and politics.

Available 1/5 on: Netflix


Episodes 80%

Showtime’s show business satire stars Matt LeBlanc as an exaggerated version of himself, tapped to play the lead in a new sitcom imported from the UK, and Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan as the put-upon husband-wife creators of said sitcom.

Available 1/6 on: Netflix


January 8 – January 14

 

The Conjuring (2013) 86%

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga star in this supernatural horror story based on true events about a family experiencing unexplained disturbances in their new home who call upon paranormal investigators for help.

Available 1/8 on: Netflix


Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017) 87%

Kevin Hart and Ed Helms lend their voices to this animated adaptation of the popular children’s books about a couple of young pranksters who hypnotize their principal into believing he is a superhero.

Available 1/10 on: Netflix


Colony: Season 2 (2017) 100%

Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies star in this sci-fi drama about a family struggling to survive during an alien invasion.

Available 1/10 on: Netflix


January 15 – January 21

Dallas Buyers Club (2013) 92%

Matthew McConnaughey won an Oscar for his portrayal of unlikely AIDS activist Ron Woodroof in Jean-Marc Vallée’s drama about the Texas man who was diagnosed with HIV and took matters into his own hands to find treatments wherever he could.

Available 1/16 on: Netflix


Bad Day for the Cut (2017) 92%

This indie thriller centers on a farmer who embarks on a campaign for vengeance through the Irish criminal underworld after his mother is murdered.

Available 1/18 on: Netflix


Grace and Frankie: Season 4 (2018) 100%

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin star in this Netflix original series about two women who are forced to move in together when their husbands come out as gay and leave them for one another.

Available 1/19 on: Netflix


January 22 – January 28

A Futile and Stupid Gesture (2018) 67%

Will Forte and Domhnall Gleeson star in David Wain’s Netflix original film chronicling the rise and fall of humor magazine National Lampoon.

Available 1/26 on: Netflix


Dirty Money: Season 1 (2018) 100%

This Netflix original series from acclaimed documentarian Alex Gibney takes an episode-by-episode look at various acts of corporate greed and misconduct.

Available 1/26 on: Netflix


One Day at a Time: Season 2 (2018) 100%

This Netflix original series remakes and recontextualizes a popular 1970s-1980s sitcom about a divorced mother raising two teenage daughters: this time, they’re Cuban.

Available 1/26 on: Netflix


January 29 – January 31

The Force (2017) 87%

This acclaimed documentary takes a look at the men and women who make up the Oakland Police Department, and the department’s effort to reform itself over a period of two years.

Available 1/29 on: Netflix


Cars 3 (2017) 69%

Owen Wilson returns to voice Lightning McQueen in the third installment of Pixar’s Cars franchise, in which Lightning struggles to stave off retirement and makes one last go at winning the Piston Cup.

Available 1/31 on: Netflix

Colony drone, Carlton Cuse (usanetwork.com/colony; Mike Windle/USA Network)

The new year is proving a busy one already for writer and producer Carlton Cuse (Lost, San Andreas).

Cuse will see alien-invasion series Colony return for its second season this week, final seasons of horror series The Strain and Bates Motel, and adaptation of thriller Jack Ryan. He’s also written the screenplay to Rampage, based on the ’80s arcade game in which a giant ape, lizard, and wolf destroy cities.

Respect.

Cuse recently spoke with Rotten Tomatoes about the second season of Colony, which he produces with creator Ryan Condal, and some of those other projects crowding his to-do list.

In season 2, Colony looks back before moving forward. A flashback introduces Devon (Carolyn Michelle Smith), Will (Josh Holloway)’s former partner in a partnership rocky even before the alien occupation by the Raps separated them. Broussard (Tory Kittles) returns home from a military operation, but is curiously absent from the present day action so far. Plus, Katie (Sarah Wayne Callies) is waiting for Will to return from Santa Monica with their son Charlie, while trying to protect their other children Bram (Alex Neustaedter) and Gracie (Isabella Crovetti-Cramp).


COLONY -- "Preoccupation" Episode 201 - Josh Holloway (Isabella Vosmikova/USA Network)

Fred Topel for Rotten Tomatoes: When you introduce Devon in the flashback, were you creating someone who could be an uneasy ally for Will when they meet again?

Carlton Cuse: Yeah, I thought it was interesting that there was this backstory that was kind of shady between them. So here he was now in a position where he had to really rely on her and trust her. The question really was: can he? Could he? Will is in a very tough spot here where he has this critical mission to find his kid and the person that he’s relying on is someone he knows from the past he couldn’t trust.

RT: Flashbacks were a very integral part of Lost. Does it serve a very different function on Colony?

Cuse: I think Lost was fundamentally a mystery and the flashbacks helped unpeel the mystery of who each of these characters were in their lives before they ended up on the island. We don’t see Colony as a mystery show. It’s a story about a family trying to survive in a world that’s been upended. We parcel out a fair amount of information this season. We also like this idea of what information can you trust? There’s a lot of speculation about what’s going on, but we don’t necessarily possess a fully reliable narrator.

RT: Where’s Broussard?

Cuse: Well, you’ll have to wait and see. He’s still very much a part of the show in the second season. We really wanted to concentrate our storytelling in the first four episodes on the Katie and Will story. Believe me, Broussard is still very much a part of the show, and you’ll be seeing a lot of him across the second season.

RT: He couldn’t have gotten far away from L.A., right?

Cuse: No.


RT: Are you increasing the alien technology of the Raps?

Cuse: We definitely are embracing the science fiction aspect of the show much more in season 2. There’s more surveillance, there’s more about the drones. There’s efforts to use this gauntlet that was stolen at the end of season 1 and try to figure out what they can do with that and what its power is.

RT: Might we see any living Raps since we saw a dead one?

Cuse: You might. In the second season, we feel a little bit more comfortable exploring the interaction between humans and the aliens, but it’s still not a lot. What really interests us is the propensity of humans to subjugate each other. What are the relationships that people have with each other when they’re trying to survive in a world where the traditional set of rules is no longer in place? That, narratively, is more fascinating to us than humans literally battling aliens in a direct fashion.

RT: Is the resistance becoming even more violent?

Cuse: Yeah, for sure. The extremism is getting ramped up on both sides. We wanted to start with the world being a little more mellow, where there was almost a sense of “we can accommodate this event.” In season 2, we start to realize the denial of the serious magnitude of what’s happened is a very dangerous thing. The characters begin to acknowledge and accept that they’re in a very dire predicament. Then they’ve got to figure out “What, if anything, can we do about it?”

RT: Are things getting worse for Bram?

Cuse: Things are pretty bad for Bram, yeah. He’s in this labor camp. It’s maybe not as bad as the factory, because the factory, as far as we know, is a one way ticket. He falls in with a woman there who’s a resistance fighter and has a group of people with her. It was kind of our first step in the education of Bram in the ways of the resistance.


The-Strain

RT: The Strain’s fourth season is going to be its last. Did you ever think it could be five before you decided to wrap up?

Cuse: Well, originally when we sold it, it was only three seasons, so I feel like we ended up with one season more that we had originally thought. When Guillermo [del Toro] and I took it out, we imagined one season for each book. As we got into the storytelling, we felt the second book could be two seasons. Really this final season is the third and final book, but it’s really not the book. There are certainly some elements of the book to the final season, most notably, this idea of nuclear winter, but the way the characters interact, the way their stories play out, the events, those are all things we invented for the TV show.


RT: With Jack Ryan, has technology advanced a lot since Tom Clancy was writing?

Cuse: I think what Clancy did that was great was he wrote these geopolitical technothrillers that were very much of the moment. He was able to tap into what was going on in our world and then peer behind the curtains. You’d come to understand a lot of the tradecraft behind the intelligence community, the military community and behind geopolitical events.

That’s very much what we tried to do. Graham Roland and I created an original story for this series. It’s an ISIS-like story, and I think it connects very much to the events of the world. We’ve had two terrorist attacks in the last few days [in December], the unfortunate shooting of the Russian ambassador and the horrible tragedy that took place in Berlin Christmas market. We live in a world where this stuff is happening with a sickening regularity.

Our show is an attempt to pull back the curtain a little bit on what kind of work goes into preventing these kinds of things. There’s stuff that happens, but there’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t happen because of the great work done by intelligence services in the military. We focus a lot on criticizing these organizations [in the media], but they do a lot of really important things to help keep us safe.


Freddie Highmore stars as Norman Bates in A&E's "Bates Motel" (Bettina Strauss/A&E)

RT: You’re also wrapping up Bates Motel. Casting an African-American woman — let alone Rihanna — as Marion Crane, were you thinking of diversity?

Cuse: I was thinking basically that we needed to make sure that our version of Marion Crane was wildly different than the one played by Janet Leigh in the movie. We’re not slavishly imitating the movie Psycho. What Kerry Ehrin and I wanted to do was cross through some of the mythological events of the original movie Psycho, but we wanted to really tell our own story through these characters. Our version of Marion Crane is a young African-American woman who has a different constitution and spirit than the character that Janet Leigh played. We will recognize certain elements of the story, but there’s lots of ways in which it differs from what happens in the movie.

RT: Your original characters like Dylan and Emma are in completely uncharted territory. What can we expect for them in the final season?

Cuse: They’re trying to find happiness in a very dysfunctional world. They’re striving to make a life and achieve some measure of escape velocity from the events of White Pine Bay. The question is, can you run from your past? Or, do you have to confront it in order to move on in life.


Rampage video game (YouTube/NES Guide)

RT: Is your take on Rampage a very serious disaster movie with monsters?

Cuse: No, it’s an action movie, but with a lot of comedy. It’s a lot of fun, and I think the goal with Rampage is to make a really entertaining popcorn movie. I think it’s just going to be a really enjoyable couple of hours in the movie theater with some very eye-popping visual effects.

RT: So a funny disaster movie with monsters.

Cuse: Yes, exactly. It didn’t feel like trying to go all Dark Knight was the way to go at all.

Colony returns Thursday, January 12 at 10 p.m. on USA

Plus: Read our interview with Colony star Sarah Wayne Callies


Correction: This article previously stated that Cuse was involved with vampire series Let the Right One In, which is not the case.

Colony, Sarah Wayne Callies (usanetwork.com/colony)

The series Sarah Wayne Callies stars in always seem to feature epic cliffhangers.

Prison Break offered one every week about how Michael Scofield would get out of his latest jam. The Walking Dead asked who would live or die every week (her character Lori wasn’t one of them — until she was).

Colony left occupied Los Angeles in a fragile state last season. Will (Josh Holloway) is off to Santa Monica looking for his son. He knows Katie (Callies) worked with the resistance, and she returns to an empty house, with cameras watching her.

Callies spoke with Rotten Tomatoes recently about Colony’s second season, which picks up mere weeks later. She also discussed the new nine-episode Prison Break series, which finds Michael alive and imprisoned again, while her character, Sara Tancredi, raises his son.



Fred Topel for Rotten Tomatoes: Has it been exciting to open up the world of Colony in season 2?

Sarah Wayne Callies: It’s been amazing, actually. I don’t actually think I’ve ever been a part of a show or even necessarily seen one that’s gotten so much stronger from season 1 to 2. Usually season 1, you’ve got all these great ideas, and in season 2, you just spend your whole time setting up season 3. It’s been incredible. This year we’ve gone outside of the L.A. colony. We’ve gone outside of L.A. block. I think there’s a much larger sense of the context that these people are living in that you get through the course of the second season.

RT: Katie saw a dead alien in the season finale. Does that change her point of view on them?

Callies: It’s difficult to change somebody’s point of view when you’re dead. I think it’s possible that there are things that happen in the course of the second season that encourage Katie to re-examine her assumptions about who the Raps are. I’m very impressed with the way that Ryan [Condal] and Carlton [Cuse] have created a world where even the aliens are not black-and-white good guys and bad guys. This whole thing is about the slippery slope of making a decision that feels ethical at the time and the fallout of doing things with the best intentions.

In the second season, we start to see hints that possibly that might exist in the alien community as well as the human community. All of a sudden, now there’s a possibility that we’re dealing with people who live in an ethical and moral universe the same way we do.

Colony season 2 - Isabella Crovetti-Cramp, Sarah Wayne Callies (Jack ZemanUSA Network)

RT: Does Katie have any time for PTSD? Because she’s been through war essentially, and seen friends die.

Callies: I’ve always thought that however long this invasion goes on, the most interesting season of Colony — if we’re lucky enough to still be on the air — will be the season of Colony once we finally defeat the Raps. It’s one thing to make a bunch of decisions under duress. It’s another one to look yourself in the mirror when that duress is over. Katie doesn’t have a moment for that kind of reflection in the second season.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I think this season begins in a place where she’s had enough time to think about what she’s done, but the consequences of those actions are still so present that there isn’t really time for PTSD. I think there’s time for a level of self-hatred. There’s time for a level of second-guessing.

COLONY, season 2, Sarah Wayne Callies, Josh Holloway (Justin Stephens/USA Network)

RT: Is Katie still running The Yonk?

Callies: Oh, I love that bar so much. Yes, we will see Katie in The Yonk. We will see a few people in The Yonk. The Yonk is my favorite set piece ever. I remember turning to Josh halfway through the first season and going, “Are Will and Katie alcoholics?” We spend an inordinate amount of time conversing over a cold beer or a glass of bourbon.

We start with a flashback, and we get a sense of what The Yonk was before and who Katie was before, and Will and Broussard and all of these people who we’ve only ever seen in crisis. You get a chance to get a glimpse of them before. It’s also really smart because it means that if somebody hasn’t seen the first season, they don’t need to. It would be great, I’m proud of it, but the first episode will fill you in on everything you need.

It was exciting as an actor to look at Josh and go, “OK, so what was our marriage like before it became a matter of survival?” We discovered some things about relationships that we didn’t know had pre-existed things. That drives straight through until episode four, and episode four is really amazing.


Prison Break's Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller (Fox)

RT: After doing very physical shows like The Walking Dead and Colony, did you feel even stronger coming back for Prison Break?

Callies: I tend to have built myself a career where two or three days a week, my workout is just going to the office and running around and stuff. I love that kind of work. I love it partly because it obviates the need for acting. There’s certain kinds of physical work that just are what they are, and you don’t need to add anything to it. You just need to get through it.

With Colony this year, it was the gun training. Katie finds herself in the position of handling some larger firearms than I ever have before. Running around with those things gave me a new sense of admiration for the sheer physical strength that’s required from our armed forces, in the desert all day with a backpack on.

I don’t know if that necessarily prepared me for Prison Break. My role on that show tends to be more head and heart centered than physical. When ass needs to be kicked, we tend to call Dominic [Purcell] for that kind of thing. Or any number of the strapping men around. We’ve got Amaury [Nolasco], we’ve got Rockmond [Dunbar], we’ve got all those guys. Prison Break was certainly an interesting thing to return to, that’s for sure.

RT: What is Sara Tancredi like as a mother?

Callies: Seven years have passed since we saw her at all, and I don’t think those four seasons of Prison Break took more than 18 months, maybe two years. So she’s changed profoundly the way any one of us does over the course of seven years.

I think you’re right, that biggest change is motherhood, which she’s chosen to define herself as a mother and chosen to articulate her love for her dead husband by raising his son in the way that she believes he would have wanted. I don’t know that it’s changed her values, in that she was always someone who believed in compassion and the human capacity for redemption and healing. But she’s now applying those things to a new life as opposed to rehabilitating people who’ve gotten broken along the way.



RT: Does Prison Break feel like the same show you were on years ago?

Callies: The interesting thing about Prison Break was it never felt like the same show two years in a row. It reinvented itself in a way that I think was probably one of its strengths.

Season 5 is just as different in that it’s this sprawling Greek-inspired epic that starts in upstate New York and takes us to the Middle East. Thankfully it didn’t feel like Prison Break is this worn pair of shoes that we just have to step into and keep walking. Because it’s a show that’s different every season, it felt like there was a lot of freedom to reinvent it because that’s what we always did.

RT: Were there scenes you’d been waiting to do with Wentworth Miller all these years?

Callies: I wasn’t waiting to do them all these years, because I had put Prison Break to bed. I don’t think any of us ever thought that we’d be back doing it again. The only thing I was interested in was making that reunion as honest as possible.

For people who have been apart for seven years under any circumstances, there’s a tremendous amount of pain and a tremendous amount of fear too, I think: Will this man that loved me a lifetime ago even recognize me anymore?

I know what it’s like to look into somebody’s eyes and go, “Yeah, I know, I’m older. I’ve got kids now. Maybe that makes me less interesting or less sexy or any number of things.” But also, knowing in my own head and my own heart I am a smarter, more compassionate, interesting, creative person than I was, “Maybe you’ll give me a chance to see that.”

Colony returns Thursday, January 12 at 10 p.m. on USA; Fox is expected to announce the date for Prison Break soon


winter premieres edt

Clockwise from top left: The Mindy Project, Homeland, Throwing Shade, Reign, Jeff and Some Aliens, The Young Pope

The cold weather ushers in some familiar TV favorites like Homeland, Girls, and The Path that debut new seasons after the holidays, while fall titles like How to Get Away With Murder and The Walking Dead will return from a quick holiday break. Many new shows like The Mick, Planet Earth II, and The Young Pope will debut. Throw in a few TV movies (Beaches, Christmas special Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio) and some events (Madonna: Rebel Heart Tour, Hairspray Live!), and we’ll call it “Winter TV.” Here’s the big list of upcoming premiere dates, starting in December through February. We’ll update this list as more dates are announced.

 


December | January | February | Preview: Spring


 December


Friday, Dec. 2
Fauda: Season 1 (2016) 100% Netflix
Lost in Oz: Season 1 (2017) Amazon (US premiere)
Pacific Heat: Season 1 (2016) 17% Netflix

NUP_173584_0308.JPG

Mariah’s World

Sunday, Dec. 4
Mariah's World: Season 1 (2016) 44% 9 p.m., E!
The Royals: Season 3 (2016) 10 p.m., E!

Monday, Dec. 5
() 8 p.m., FOX (special event)
Timber Creek Lodge: Season 1 (2016) 10 p.m., Bravo

Wednesday, Dec. 7
Shut Eye: Season 1 (2016) 37% Hulu
Hairspray Live! (2016) 76% 8 p.m., NBC

Thursday, Dec. 8
Gangland Undercover: Season 2 (2016) 10 p.m., A&E

Friday, Dec. 9
Captive: Season 1 () 75% Netflix
Club of Crows: Season 2 (2016) Netflix
Fuller House: Season 2 (2016) 50% Netflix
Mozart in the Jungle: Season 3 (2016) 100% Amazon
() 9 p.m., Showtime

Sunday, Dec. 11
The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses (2016) 100% 9 p.m., PBS

Wednesday, Dec. 14
Lee Daniel's Star: Season 1 () 35% 9 p.m., FOX
The Bureau: Season 1 (2009) 100% 11:50 p.m., Sundance (US premiere)

Friday, Dec. 16
Call Me Francis: Miniseries () Netflix
Crazyhead: Season 1 (2016) 100% Netflix
The Man in the High Castle: Season 2 (2016) 64% Amazon
No Second Chance: Miniseries (2015) Netflix
The OA: Season 1 (2016) 77% Netflix

Tuesday, Dec. 20
The Break: Season 1 (2016) Netflix
Call My Agent!: Season 1 (2015) 100% Netflix

trollhunters_103

Trollhunters

Friday, Dec. 23
Sense8: A Christmas Special () 88% Netflix
Travelers: Season 1 (2016) 100% Netflix (US premiere)
Trollhunters: Tales Of Arcadia: Part 1 (2016) 94% Netflix

Sunday, Dec. 25
Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio (2016) 89% BBC America

Tuesday, Dec. 27
Ajin: Demi-Human: Season 2 (2016) Netflix
Chasing Cameron: Season 1 (2016) Netflix


 January


Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in Sherlock season 4 airs on PBS (BBC)

Sherlock

Sunday, Jan. 1
Sherlock: Season 4 (2017) 54% PBS
The Mick: Season 1 (2017) 58% 8 p.m., FOX
Ransom: Season 1 (2017) 47% 8 p.m., CBS

Monday, Jan. 2
My Knight and Me: Season 1 () 4 p.m., Cartoon Network
The New Celebrity Apprentice: Season 15 (2017) 17% 8 p.m., NBC
Shadowhunters: Season 2 (2017) 86% 8 p.m., Freeform
Beyond: Season 1 (2017) 42% 9 p.m., Freeform

BONES: Cast L-R: John Boyd, TJ Thyne, Tamara Taylor, Michaela Conlin, Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz. The 11th season of BONES premieres Thursday, Oct. 1 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: FOX

Bones

Tuesday, Jan. 3
Bones: Season 12 (2017) 93% 9 p.m., Fox
Killing Fields: Season 2 (2017) 10 p.m., Discovery

Wednesday, Jan. 4
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 12 (2017) 90% 10 p.m., FXX
Too Close to Home: Season 2 (2017) 10 p.m., TLC
Man Seeking Woman: Season 3 (2017) 100%  10:30 p.m., FXX

Thursday, Jan. 5
Nashville: Season 5 (2017) 86% 9 p.m., CMT/TV Land
Ghosts in the Hood: Season 1 (2017) 10 p.m., WE tv
Portlandia: Season 7 (2017) 10 p.m., IFC

Friday, Jan. 6
Coin Heist (2017) Netflix
Degrassi: Next Class: Season 1 (2016) Netflix
One Day at a Time: Season 1 (2017) 97% Netflix
Tarzan and Jane: Season 1 (2017) Netflix
Grimm: Season 6 (2017) 83% 8 p.m., NBC
Emerald City: Season 1 (2017) 38% 9 p.m., NBC
Sleepy Hollow: Season 4 (2017) 9 p.m., FOX

Saturday, Jan. 7
Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (2016) 100% 8 p.m., HBO

Tuesday, Jan.10
We're Lalaloopsy: Season 1 (2017) Netflix
Being Mary Jane: Season 4 (2017) 100% 9 p.m., BET
Taboo: Season 1 (2017) 76% 10 p.m., FX

schitts-creek-season-3

Schitt’s Creek

Wednesday, Jan. 11
Schitt's Creek: Season 3 (2017) 8 p.m., POP
Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce: Season 3 (2017) 10 p.m., Bravo
Workaholics: Season 7 (2017) 100% 10 p.m., Comedy Central
Jeff and Some Aliens: Season 1 () 100% 10:30 p.m., Comedy Central

Thursday, Jan. 12
() Crackle
Colony: Season 2 (2017) 100% 10 p.m., USA

Friday, Jan. 13
Clinical (2017) Netflix
The Investigator: A British Crime Story: Season 1 () Netflix
Just Add Magic: Season 2 (2016) Amazon
A Series of Unfortunate Events: Season 1 (2017) 94% Netflix
Sneaky Pete: Season 1 (2015) 97% Amazon

Jenna Coleman stars in "Victoria" (PBS)

Victoria

Sunday, Jan. 15
The Young Pope: Miniseries (2016) 80% 6 p.m., HBO (US premiere)
Homeland: Season 6 (2017) 78% 9 p.m., Showtime
Victoria on Masterpiece: Season 1 (2017) 80% 9 p.m., PBS

Tuesday, Jan. 17
Teachers: Season 2 (2017) 10 p.m., TV Land
Throwing Shade: Season 1 (2017) 10:30 p.m., TV Land

Wednesday, Jan. 18
SIX: Season 1 (2017) 62% 10 p.m., History

BASKETS -- "Easter in Bakersfield" Episode 104 (Airs Thursday, February 11, 10:00 pm/ep) Pictured: (left )Zach Galifianakis as Chip Baskets, (center) Louie Anderson as Christine Baskets. CR: Ben Cohen/FX

Baskets

Thursday, Jan. 19
Baskets: Season 2 (2017) 100% 10 p.m., FX

Friday, Jan. 20
Frontier: Season 1 (2016) 50% Netflix
Voltron: Legendary Defender: Season 2 (2017) 100% Netflix

Saturday, Jan. 21
Beaches (2017) 50% 8 p.m., Lifetime

Sunday, Jan. 22
Mercy Street: Season 2 (2017) 8 p.m., PBS
Hunted: Season 1 (2017) 10 p.m., CBS
Secrets of the Six Wives: Miniseries () 10 p.m., PBS

Monday, Jan. 23
Quantico: Season 2 (2016) 60% 10 p.m., ABC (returning)

Tuesday, Jan. 24
Terrace House: Aloha State: Season 1 () Netflix
Outsiders: Season 2 (2017) 10 p.m., WGN

path-edt

The Path

Wednesday, Jan. 25
The Path: Season 2 (2017) 75% Hulu
The Magicians: Season 2 (2017) 91% 9 p.m., SyFy
Suits: Season 6 (2016) 100% 10 p.m., USA (returning)

Thursday, Jan. 26
Grey's Anatomy: Season 13 (2016) 89% 8 p.m., ABC (returning)
Riverdale: Season 1 (2017) 88% 9 p.m., CW
Scandal: Season 6 (2017) 95% 9 p.m., ABC
How to Get Away With Murder: Season 3 (2017) 90% 10 p.m., ABC (returning)

Friday, Jan. 27
iBoy (2017) 69% Netflix
Z: The Beginning of Everything: Season 1 (2015) 69% Amazon

 Sunday, Jan. 29
Black Sails: Season 4 (2017) 80% 9 p.m., Starz

Monday, Jan. 30
Adventure Time: Islands: Miniseries () 100% 7:30 p.m., Cartoon Network

Tuesday, Jan. 31
The Fosters: Season 4 (2016) 8 p.m., Freeform (returning)
Switched at Birth: Season 5 (2017) 9 p.m., Freeform

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 February


Wednesday, Feb. 1
The 100: Season 4 (2017) 93% 9 p.m., CW
The Expanse: Season 2 (2017) 95% 10 p.m., SyFy

Thursday, Feb. 2
Powerless: Season 1 (2017) 61% 8:30 p.m., NBC
Superior Donuts: Season 1 (2017) 62% 8:30 p.m., CBS
Training Day: Season 1 (2017) 24% 10 p.m., CBS

Friday, Feb. 3
Santa Clarita Diet: Season 1 (2017) 78% Netflix

Sunday, Feb. 5
24: Legacy: Season 1 (2017) 60% 10 p.m., FOX

Monday, Feb. 6
APB: Season 1 (2017) 35% 9 p.m., FOX

NUP_171894_2213.JPG

Imposters

Tuesday, Feb. 7
Imposters: Season 1 (2017) 93% 10 p.m., Bravo
Detroiters: Season 1 (2017) 89% 10:30 p.m., Comedy Central

Wednesday, Feb. 8
Legion: Season 1 (2017) 90% 10 p.m., FX

Friday, Feb. 10
The Collection: Season 1 (2016) 42% Amazon
Reign: Season 4 (2017) 9 p.m., CW

Sunday, Feb. 12
The Missing: Season 2 (2016) 96% 8 p.m., Starz
The Walking Dead: Season 7 (2016) 66% 9 p.m., AMC (returning)
Girls: Season 6 (2017) 90% 10 p.m., HBO
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver: Season 4 (2017) 100% 11 p.m., HBO

Monday, Feb. 13
Humans: Season 2 (2016) 94% 10 p.m., AMC

Tuesday, Feb. 14
The Mindy Project: Season 5 (2016) 80% Hulu (returning)
Project MC2: Season 1 (2017), Netflix
You Me Her: Season 2 (2017), 8:30 p.m., DirecTV

Wednesday, Feb. 15
Doubt: Season 1 (2017) 55% 10 p.m., CBS

Thurssday, Feb. 16
SuperMansion: Season 2 (2017)  Crackle

peii_jungles_02Planet Earth II

Saturday, Feb. 18
Britney Ever After (2017) 8 p.m., Lifetime
Planet Earth II: Miniseries (2016) 100% 9 p.m., BBC America

Sunday, Feb. 19
The Good Fight: Season 1 (2017) 98% 8 p.m., CBS All Access
Big Little Lies: Season 1 (2017) 93% 9 p.m., HBO
Billions: Season 2 (2017) 89% 10 p.m., Showtime
Crashing: Season 1 (2017) 90% 10:30 p.m., HBO

Monday, Feb. 20
The Breaks: Season 1 (2017) 9 p.m., VH1
Bates Motel: Season 5 (2017) 100% 10 p.m., A&E

Tuesday, Feb. 21
The Detour: Season 2 (2017) 100% 10 p.m., TBS

Wednesday, Feb. 22
() % 9 p.m., TNT (returning)

Thursday, Feb. 23
The Blacklist: Redemption: Season 1 (2017) 10 p.m., NBC
Sun Records: Season 1 (2017) 60% 10 p.m., CMT

Friday, Feb. 24
Patriot: Season 1 (2015) 82% Amazon

Taken stars Jennifer Beals and Clive Standen (NBC)

Taken

Monday, Feb. 27
When We Rise: Season 1 (2017) 82% 9 p.m., ABC
Taken: Season 1 (2017) 32% 10 p.m. NBC

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