The networks continued their big Television Critics Association (TCA) presentations this week, with Showtime making the biggest splash thanks to new details on its Dexter reboot, New Blood, and some frank admissions about how the original series ended. Not to be outdone, ABC made news with an historic first for Dancing with the Stars. Plus there are tons of new trailers – including a look at the second season of Apple TV+’s The Morning Sow – and big casting news, including LaKeith Stanfield’s return to scary stories as the lead of the adaptation of hit thriller novel, The Changeling. Check out all the week’s biggest stories below.
(Photo by © Showtime)
One of the best things about Showtime’s upcoming Dexter: New Blood limited series is that it finally gives all us Dexter devoted a chance to see a proper ending for the serial killer of serial killers.
And it turns out viewers weren’t the only ones dissatisfied with the 2013 original series finale, which saw Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) faking his death … and going off to work for a lumber company in the northwest.
“You know what? Dexter is a jewel in the crown of Showtime, and we didn’t do it justice in the end, I think,” Showtime president of entertainment Gary Levin said during the network’s Television Critics Association (TCA) presentation on Tuesday. “And that has always been a burr under my saddle.”
Hall also said viewers’ unhappiness with the original series was a big reason why he finally said yes to revisiting the role that earned him five Emmy nominations.
“I think a lot of what was mystifying or dissatisfying to people is a lot of what creates the appetite that we’re hopefully satisfying now,” Hall said during the New Blood TCA session. “The show did not end in a way that was definitive for people or gave anybody a sense of closure. We didn’t hear from Dexter. He didn’t say anything to us when the show ended, and I think it left audiences, if nothing else, (in) a sense of suspended animation. Yeah, I think a big part of our motivation was to definitively answer the question of what happened to this guy.”
Levine said he thinks they nailed it this time. “We always wanted to see if there was a way to do it right,” he said. “I have to say, we finally got to a place that I am just – I can’t wait to show it to you and the world. I think this is going to be (brilliant).”
And we can confirm the limited series – or “special event series,” as the network is officially calling it – gets off to a good start. Picking up about a decade after Dexter went off to live his lumberjack life, in New Blood he’s now residing in a small town in upstate New York, going by the name Jim, and ingratiating himself with the townsfolk while he successfully resists the urges of his Dark Passenger.
For a while, anyway … and that’s all we’ll say about that.
The 10-episode event series was filmed in Massachusetts during the pandemic, with original series showrunner Clyde Phillips (who left the series before it ended) back on board, and is intended as a one-off. But would a great ratings performance for the show mean Dexter could become a regular visitor to the Showtime lineup?
“You’re way ahead of me,” Levine said. “I’m trying to finish producing the special event series. Expectation is so high for it. And, again, the series is so special to our network and to me, that that’s my focus right now. Let’s make it great. The future will take care of itself.”
Dexter: New Blood premieres on Showtime Nov. 7.
(Photo by Skip Bolen/Showtime)
— Though the finale of the Bryan Cranston thriller Your Honor was quite definitive, Showtime announced the limited series will return for a second season, after Cranston became intrigued with a storyline idea from writer and showrunner Peter Moffat. Levine said he is still “completely in the dark” about that idea, but Season 2 is a go anyway.
— The Ray Donovan movie that will wrap up that series after its abrupt cancelation with multiple storylines left dangling, is tentatively planned for a 2022 winter premiere. Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight return as Ray and Mickey, with most of the rest of the cast also return, according to Levine.
— The last five episodes of Billions Season 5 premiere Sept. 5, and Levine said despite their pandemic delay, they “come back just shot out of a cannon, and you are immediately thrown back into the story.” Season 6 is scheduled to premiere in January.
— Desus & Mero was renewed for a fourth season.
— Levine said Showtime swapped a long-in-development Halo series for The Man Who Fell to Earth with Paramount+ because Halo was always “an odd fit” with Showtime’s drama-heavy lineup.
— The Wood writer and director Rick Famuyiwa is teaming up with The Chi and Snowfall writer Justin Hillian to adapt the 1999 comedy movie as a potential Showtime series.
(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
— During its TCA panel, ABC revealed the first two contestants for Season 30 of Dancing with the Stars: Olympic gold medalist gymnast Suni Lee, and, in what will be the competition’s first-ever same-sex pairing, pop star JoJo Siwa, who will compete with one of the female pro dancers. The rest of the cast will be revealed on Sept. 8, and the season premieres live on Sept. 20.
— The Connors’ cast is doing live Season 4 premieres for the East Coast and West Coast on Sept. 22.
— Kevin Hart will be a new guest shark on Season 13 of Shark Tank, which premieres Oct. 8.
— John Carroll Lynch’s character didn’t make it out of Big Sky’s first season alive, but Lynch has been confirmed as a returning presence for Season 2. His character, it’s important to note, did have a twin …
— The Goldbergs Season 9 premiere will give George Segal a proper send-off, with a storyline that includes the death of his character.
— Steve Harvey will star in a primetime court show called Judge Steve Harvey.
The Morning Show, Season 2, finds even more drama surrounding the UBA network’s morning show, as Jennifer Aniston’s Alex and Reese Witherspoon’s Bradley appear to no longer be co-hosts! That’s not the only surprise: we knew Julianna Margulies had joined the cast, but so has Will Arnett, who’s playing Alex’s agent, Doug. Also starring: Billy Crudup, Steve Carell, Mark Duplass, Nestor Carbonell, Karen Pittman, Bel Powley, Desean Terry, Janina Gavankar, and Marcia Gay Harden. The new season premieres Sept. 17 (Apple TV+)
More trailers and teasers released this week:
• MAID is a drama series based on Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive, Stephanie Land’s fantastic bestselling book about a single mom doing everything she can to try to give her young daughter a better future. Margaret Qualley is Emmy-worthy as titular, housecleaning mom Alex, while Qualley’s real-life mom, Andie MacDowell, plays Alex’s unreliable mother. Also stars Nick Robinson, Anika Noni Rose, and Billy Burke. Premieres Oct. 1 (Netflix)
• The Power of the Dog is a drama film written and directed by Jane Campion, based on the Thomas Savage novel of the same name, about a wealthy, sadistic early–20th-century Montana rancher (Benedict Cumberbatch) who wages a campaign of torment against a young widow (Kirsten Dunst) when she marries his brother (Jesse Plemons) and moves to their ranch with her son. Also stars Frances Conroy, Keith Carradine, and Adam Beach. Premieres Dec. 1 (Netflix)
• Yellowjackets is a coming-of-age, psychological drama about a high school girls soccer team that survives a plane crash in the wilderness and what happens to the players afterwards. Stars Melanie Lynskey, Juliette Lewis, and Christina Ricci. Premieres Nov. 14 (Showtime)
• Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan is the docuseries about a serial rapist who had no memory of the assaults and was eventually diagnosed with multiple personality disorder, with doctors determining he had as many as two dozen distinctly different personalities. Billy was found innocent by reason of insanity in a groundbreaking legal defense, but that was hardly the end of his story. Premieres Sept. 22 (Netflix)
• Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror is a five-part docuseries about the attacks that “changed the world in ways that have taken decades to understand.” Premieres Sept. 1 (Netflix)
• Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol is an adaptation of Brown’s bestseller of the same name, and follows the early adventures of young Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, who must solve a series of deadly puzzles to save his kidnapped mentor and thwart a chilling global conspiracy. Stars Ashley Zukerman, Eddie Izzard, and Valorie Curry. Premieres Sept. 16 (Peacock)
• Love on the Spectrum Season 2 is six new episodes that continue to tell the stories of people on the autism spectrum as they navigate the world of dating and relationships. With a few familiar faces, and some delightful new ones, this season represents an even wider range of people and personalities, showing just how diverse the autism spectrum really is. Premieres Sept. 21 (Netflix)
• Nailed It, Season 6, features a whole new slew of contestants, including, yes, beloved 30 Rock star Jack McBrayer. Also features guest judge Wayne Brady. Premieres Sept. 15 (Netflix)
• Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles is a cinematic concert experience starring Billie Eilish, fresh off the heels of her brand-new album, Happier Than Ever, playing every song in the album’s sequential order from the stage of the legendary Hollywood Bowl. Premieres Sept. 3 (Disney+)
• 9/11: One Day in America is a four-night docuseries that offers a comprehensive account of 9/11, using archival footage and new interviews with eyewitnesses who have had almost two decades to reflect on the events they lived through. Premieres Aug. 29 (NGC)
• Maya and the Three is an animated fantasy kids series about a warrior princess who is about to celebrate her 15th birthday and her coronation when she learns something shocking. Voice talent includes Queen Latifah, Diego Luna, Gabriel Iglesias, Zoe Saldaña, and Stephanie Beatriz. Premieres later this year (Netflix)
• Goliath Season 4 is the series’ final season, in which Billy (Billy Bob Thornton) returns to his Big Law roots after Patty (Nina Arianda) takes a job at a prestigious white-shoe law firm in San Francisco, and together, they try to take down one of America’s most insidious Goliaths: the opioid industry. Also stars Tania Raymonde, Bruce Dern, Jena Malone, and J.K. Simmons. Premieres Sept. 24 (Amazon Video)
• The Starling is a dramedy movie starring Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’Dowd as a couple who try to deal with their grief after a tragedy strikes. Also stars Timothy Olyphant, Kevin Kline, Daveed Diggs, and Loretta Devine. Premieres Sept. 24 (Netflix)
• Dug Days is a series of five short films starring beloved Pixar pooch Dug, from the Oscar-winning movie Up, who embarks on a world of new backyard adventures. Premieres Sept. 1 (Disney+)
• Intrusion is a thriller movie about a husband and wife who move to a small town, where a home invasion leaves the wife traumatized and suspicious that those around her might not be who they seem. Stars Freida Pinto and Logan Marshall-Green. Premieres Sept. 22 (Netflix)
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(Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Paul Smith)
Grey Worm! Game of Thrones star Jacob Anderson, who played Grey Worm for six seasons on GoT and has already been cast as a new character named Vinder on the next season of Doctor Who, has been cast as Louis, the titular vampire who’s being interviewed by a journalist, in AMC’s upcoming Interview with the Vampire series adaptation of Anne Rice’s classic novel. Australian actor Sam Reid has already been announced as the series’ Lestat, the vampire who mentors Louis. (Variety)
Maya Rudolph and Andy Samberg will co-host Peacock’s holiday baking competition series Baking It. The six-episode series will feature eight teams of two people – spouses, siblings, best friends, and more – who will bake holiday treats in hopes of winning cash prizes. The judges: real-life grandmas who know how to bake up a yummy treat or two themselves.
NBC has found the lead for its Annie Live! musical that will air on Dec. 2: 12-year-old Celina Smith, who appears on the Nickelodeon series Young Dylan. Previously announced cast includes Harry Connick Jr. as Daddy Warbucks, Taraji P. Henson as Miss Hannigan, Tituss Burgess as Rooster, and Nicole Scherzinger as Grace.
Kate Mulgrew has added another role to her very packed schedule: she’ll play Drew Finch, a dangerous, formidable spy, in Showtime’s remake/book adaptation of The Man Who Fell to Earth with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Naomie Harris. Star Trek: Voyager and Orange Is the New Black alum Mulgrew is also reprising her Captain Janeway role in the animated Trek series Prodigy; she’s playing a colleague of Michelle Obama’s in Showtime’s First Lady anthology series; and she’ll star in Lifetime’s Flowers in the Attic: The Origin prequel miniseries. (Deadline)
Josh Duhamel will co-star with Renee Zellweger in the NBC true crime miniseries The Thing About Pam, about the murder of Betsy Faria, whose husband was convicted of killing her. Zellweger plays Pam Hupp, the one-time friend of Faria’s who has a lot to hide, while Duhamel will play the defense attorney for Betsy’s husband, Russ. (Deadline)
(Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
Genius: Aretha Franklin star Cynthia Erivo will star in the 1970s-set thriller series Steel, about a single mother and arms dealer who has to balance her personal life with her very dangerous business ambitions. The drama is not yet attached to a network or streaming service.
Amy Brenneman has joined the cast of Apple TV+’s thriller series Shining Girls, where she’ll play the mother of Elisabeth Moss’s Chicago reporter, who survived a vicious assault and then decides to track her attacker. (Deadline)
Arrow and Chuck alum Brandon Routh will voice Gideon Jura in Netflix’s animated series adaptation of the Magic: The Gathering card game.
Chloë Sevigny will star in Hulu’s The Girl from Plainville, the true crime limited series about the case of Michelle Carter, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for sending text messages that prosecutors said helped talk Conrad Roy into taking his own life. Elle Fanning will play Carter, while Sevigny will play Roy’s mother.
FX has announced the rest of the cast for its limited series adaptation of author Jon Krakauer’s nonfiction bestseller Under the Banner of Heaven, about brothers Dan and Ron Lafferty, who committed a double murder in the name of God. Previously announced leads Andrew Garfield and Daisy Edgar-Jones will be joined by Rory Culkin, Sam Worthington, and Wyatt Russell, playing the Lafferty brothers, Adelaide Clemens, Christopher Heyerdahl, and Denise Gough. The series was created by Oscar-winner Dustin Lance Black, and will be produced by Ron Howard, Brain Grazer, and Jason Bateman.
Spider-Man: Homecoming and Upgrade star Logan Marshall-Green has joined the cast for the second season of ABC’s Big Sky, where he’ll play Travis, an undercover and longtime friend of Kathryn Winnick’s Jenny. Possible romance is afoot.
(Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)
Apple TV+ has ordered a series adaptation of the bestselling book The Changeling, author Victor LaValle’s horror drama about a new father whose wife commits a shocking act, sending him to a “fairytale for adults” world in New York City to find his wife after she seemingly disappears into thin air. Oscar nominee LaKeith Stanfield will play new dad Apollo, and Cruella writer Kelly Marcel will write and serve as showrunner for the series. (Note: the book and series are not related to the popular 1980 horror film.)
HBO Max has ordered the six-episode limited series Full Circle from the No Sudden Moves team of director Steven Soderberg, writer Ed Solomon, and executive producer Casey Silver, with Soderbergh and Solomon also EPs. The drama follows an investigation into a botched kidnapping, uncovering long-held secrets connecting multiple characters and cultures in present day New York.
Writer, actor, and comedian Yassir Lester will be the head writer for upcoming Disney+ Marvel series Armor Wars, starring Don Cheadle as James Rhodes, a.k.a. War Machine. Lester worked with Cheadle previously on Black Monday, and has also written for Kenan, Girls, and The Carmichael Show.
Also at Disney+, the streaming service has ordered Nautilus, a series based on Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The 10-part, live-action series will tell the origin story of Captain Nemo and his titular submarine from the classic novel, which was also the subject of the 1954 Disney movie adaptation of Verne’s book, starring James Mason and Kirk Douglas.
New York Comic Con is, for now, still on as an in-person event for October 7-10. But if you prefer virtual fan events, there are two big ones on the horizon: Star Trek Day on Sept. 8, hosted by Wil Wheaton and Mica Burton, and featuring panels, announcements, and special surprises, live-streamed at Paramount+. And on Sept. 25, Netflix will host TUDUM, its three-hour global fan event spotlighting more than 70 series and movies, including Cobra Kai, Stranger Things, Bridgerton, The Witcher, Cowboy Bebop, The Crown, Ozark, The Umbrella Academy, and Money Heist. BTW, TUDUM? It’s that sound you hear at the beginning of everything you watch on Netflix. Like Netflix’s version of the Law & Order DUN!
(Photo by Geoffrey Short / Netflix)
Speaking of Cowboy Bebop, Netflix released a series of first-look photos, and a premiere date – Nov. 19 – for the space Western about three deadly bounty hunters, played by John Cho, Mustafa Shakir, and Daniella Pineda, trying to track down the solar system’s most dangerous baddies.
More highly-anticipated release dates confirmed this week: Succession Season 3 will premiere on HBO on Oct. 3, while the official Curb Your Enthusiasm Instagram confirmed Larry David’s 11th season will also return in October.
Roku, which hosts series created by the now-defunct Quibi, has ordered a second season of the Quibi drama Most Dangerous Game, which starred Liam Hemsworth in Season 1. For Season 2, Hemsworth will be replaced by David Castañeda, playing a fighter who will become rich if he wins a deadly game, and if he loses … he really loses. Returning for Season 2 is two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz as Miles Sellers, the CEO of The Tiro Fund, a front for a centuries-old game in which hunters pay exorbitant fees for the privilege of hunting humans.
The Golden Girls on the big screen: Fathom Events is hosting “Forever Golden! A Celebration of The Golden Girls,” a nationwide mini-marathon of five episodes of the series – “The Engagement,” “The Flu,” “The Way We Met,” “Ladies of the Evening,” and “Grab That Dough” – on Sept. 14 and 21. A list of theaters and ticket sales are available at FathomEvents.com.
TV swag of the week: Star Wars and Marvel sound effects machines, and to celebrate the final season of The Walking Dead, the official whiskey of The Walking Dead, Sexton single malt, available for a limited time in a Walking Dead Cocktail Kit that makes eight drinks that sound so delicious you’ll want to knock someone over the head with a barbed wire-covered baseball bat.