A hit Showtime horror series returns from the dead, Amazon acquires Coming 2 America, Warner Bros. TV honcho will step down, and more of the week’s top TV and streaming news.
Not only are we excited to see the further misadventures of Dexter Morgan, serial killer of the worst of the worst, but Showtime’s newly announced limited series reboot of the 2006-13 drama Dexter means the chance for all of us to be able to wipe what is, hands down, one of the worst series finales in TV history from our memories.
No spoilers for those who haven’t yet, but definitely should, catch up with the series, but one word: lumberjack. You’ll see what we mean.
Joining Michael C. Hall in the return to the series that earned a Peabody Award and numerous Emmy and Golden Globe statues is showrunner Clyde Phillips.
“Dexter is such a special series, both for its millions of fans and for Showtime, as this breakthrough show helped put our network on the map many years ago,” said Gary Levine, Showtime co-president of Entertainment. “We would only revisit this unique character if we could find a creative take that was truly worthy of the brilliant, original series. Well, I am happy to report that Clyde Phillips and Michael C. Hall have found it, and we can’t wait to shoot it and show it to the world!”
Tentative plans are to begin production on the new episodes early next year, for a fall 2021 premiere. No word yet on storyline or other returning cast members, but it’s not a huge spoiler to say many Dexter regulars and scene-stealing guest stars probably won’t come back. There was a lot of death in those eight seasons.
(Photo by Paramount Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)
Eddie Murphy’s much-anticipated Coming to America sequel, Coming 2 America, was scheduled to hit movie theaters in December. But, like so many other movie projects this year, like Aaron Sorkin’s Trial of the Chicago 7, which just debuted on Netflix after an abandoned theatrical release, streaming is riding in to save the day for viewers.
Variety reports that, with movie theater business yet to rebound during the pandemic, Paramount has made a deal to release the sequel on Amazon instead. It will premiere on Amazon on Dec. 18.
Coming 2 America finds Murphy’s Prince Akeem, who married his American love Lisa (Shari Headley) in the original 1988 comedy classic, set to become the new king of his native Zamunda just as he finds out he has a son he knew nothing about in America. With his father (James Earl Jones) hoping that the grandson will be made a prince, Akeem returns to America to unite with his son.
Arsenio Hall also returns in the sequel, as Akeem’s best friend, Semmi, as does John Amos as Lisa’s father Cleo. Also in the cast: Jermaine Fowler, Wesley Snipes, Leslie Jones, Garcelle Beauvais, Rock Ross, Louie Anderson, and Tracy Morgan.
(Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Dunhill)
Jamie Dornan is out of the title role in Peacock’s upcoming podcast-inspired drama Dr. Death, and The Affair/Dawson’s Creek/Fringe/Little Fires Everywhere alum Joshua Jackson has signed on as the new series lead.
Based on the podcast of the same name, the series is the fact-based story of Dr. Christopher Duntsch, a well-respected young member of the Dallas medical community as a neurosurgeon. But just as his career really began to take off, his patients, ones going into the operating room for fairly routine procedures, began leaving permanently harmed … or worse. Two fellow surgeons – to be played by Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater – began to suspect Duntsch of some very sick behavior, and set out to stop him from continuing to perform surgeries. Unfortunately, they found out that the patients who needed this protection might be the last ones to get it.
Dornan had to drop out of the project because of pandemic-related rescheduling, as did Stephen Frears, who was set to direct the first two episodes. Maggie Kiley (Dirty John and Riverdale) will replace him, meaning there will be an all-female directing lineup for the limited series.
The next installment of HBO’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s acclaimed fantasy novel trilogy premieres November 16, 2020. Season 2 of His Dark Materials begins after Lord Asriel has opened a bridge to a new world, and, distraught over the death of her best friend, Lyra (Dafne Keen) follows Asriel into the unknown. Season 2 series regulars include Keen, Ruth Wilson, Amir Wilson, Ariyon Bakare, Andrew Scott, Will Keen, Ruta Gedmintas and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Joining the cast this season are Terence Stamp, Jade Anouka and Simone Kirby.
More trailers and teasers released this week:
• The Crown season 4 takes viewers into the Princess Diana era of the British royal family. Stars Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth, Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip, Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles, and Emma Corrin as Princess Diana. Premieres Nov. 15 (Netflix)
• Hillbilly Elegy is the Ron Howard-directed adaptation of J.D. Vance’s memoir about growing up in a southern Ohio Appalachian family with an addict mother, and making his way to Yale law school. Stars Glenn Close, Amy Adams, and Gabriel Basso, and premieres Nov. 24 (Netflix)
• The Mandalorian, season 2, finds the return of Pedro Pascal, Giancarlo Esposito, and Baby Yoda, and new figures played by Timothy Olyphant, Rosario Dawson, and Michael Biehn, Premieres Oct. 30 (Disney+)
• Soul is Pixar’s next animated movie, directed by Pete Docter, about a music teacher ( Jamie Foxx) who is separated from his soul just as he gets the chance to make his dreams come true. Also stars Tina Fey, Questlove, Daveed Diggs, Angela Bassett, and Graham Norton. Premieres Dec. 25 (Disney+)
• This Is Us season 5 kicks off with a two-hour premiere, and the aftermath of that awful thing Kevin said to Randall in the finale, on Oct. 27 (NBC)
• Firefly Lane is a drama about a teenage friendship between two girls, which continues across several decades. Starring Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke, and based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Kristin Hannah (Netflix)
• Operation Christmas Drop is a romantic comedy about a congressional aide who falls for an Air Force pilot whose base – and holiday gifting program – she may be shutting down, starring Kat Graham, Virginia Madsen, and Alexander Ludwig. Premieres Nov. 5 (Netflix)
• Pennyworth season 2 finds Jack Bannon returning as Alfred Pennyworth in this origins story of Batman’s beloved butler. Premieres Dec. 13 (Epix)
• The Stand is a limited series adaptation of Stephen King’s apocalyptic tale of the same name, starring Whoopi Goldberg, Alexander Skarsgård, Greg Kinnear, James Marsden, Owen Teague, Marilyn Manson, and Heather Graham. Premieres Dec. 17 (CBS All Access)
• American Gods season 3 continues the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel, with Ian McShane and company returning and Ricky Whittle’s Shadow Moon fleeing and assuming a new name to hide from the New Gods. Premieres 2021 (Starz)
• Animaniacs is the reboot of the ‘90s animated classic, with Steven Spielberg returning as executive producer. The series will include Yakko, Wakko, and Dot, as well as Pinky and the Brain. Premieres Nov. 20 (Hulu)
• For Life season 2 follows Aaron Wallace (Nicholas Pinnock) as he leaves prison and tries to forge a new life as a licensed attorney on the outside in the 50 Cent-produced drama. Premieres Nov. 18 (ABC)
• John Bronco is a mockumentary about the titular (fake) spokesman for the Ford Bronco, played to perfection by Walt Goggins. Premieres Oct. 15 (Hulu)
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(Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
Adam McKay’s upcoming Netflix film Don’t Look Up, about a pair of astronauts who set out to warn the public about an asteroid that is about to destroy the planet, has added a list of talent to join previously announced lead Jennifer Lawrence. Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Matthew Perry, Cate Blanchett, Jonah Hill, Himesh Patel, Rob Morgan, Timothée Chalamet, Kid Cudi, Tomer Sisley, and Ariana Grande join the movie, which is written, directed, and co-produced by Oscar winner McKay.
HBO Max has announced the cast for Mindy Kaling’s comedy The Sex Lives of College Girls, about four young women randomly thrown together as roommates at a prestigious New England college: Pauline Chalamet (The King of Staten Island), Amrit Kaur (Star Trek: Short Treks), Reneé Rapp (Mean Girls on Broadway), and Alyah Chanelle Scott (The Book of Mormon national tour). And yes, Chalamet is the older sister of the aforementioned Timothée.
Better Call Saul star Rhea Seehorn will lead the voice cast of the CBS All Access animated comedy The Harper House, about the “overconfident female head of a household, as she struggles to regain a higher status for herself and for her family of oddballs, after losing her job and moving from the rich side to the poor side of an Arkansas small town.” To save cash, the family moves into the Harper House, an old Victorian fixer-upper they inherited. Jason Lee, Tatiana Maslany, Gabourey Sidibe, and Gary Anthony Williams also star.
Susan Sarandon will be the lead in HBO Max’s psychological thriller Red Bird Lane, about eight strangers invited to an isolated house, with no idea of the danger they face. Danny Huston and Kiersey Clemons also star in the series written by Sara Gran and with John Wells as executive producer.
Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kelly Marie Tran, Matt Lanter, Tom Kane, James Arnold Taylor, and Dee Bradley Baker have joined the cast of Disney+’s LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special, which premieres on the streaming service on Nov. 17.
Keira Knightley has dropped out of the Apple TV+ adaptation of the novel The Essex Serpent, about an abused woman whose husband dies. The period drama was set to begin filming next month, and is on hold until Knightley can be replaced. (Daily Mail)
Stumptown star Michael Ealy has joined the cast of the upcoming ABC medical drama pilot Triage. He will play a brilliant neurosurgeon and good friend of the surgeon played by Parisa Fitz-Henley. (Deadline)
Pen15 star Maya Erskine, Brenda Song, George Takei, Masi Oka, and Randall Park are the voice stars of Netflix’s upcoming animated action series Blue Eye Samurai, about a sword master (Erskine) who is living in disguise while she seeks revenge, set 400 years ago in Japan.
Manifest’s Yasha Jackson will have a recurring role in The Flight Attendant, HBO Max’s dark comedy thriller starring Kaley Cuoco as the titular airline employee who wakes up in a hotel room with a dead man, and no idea how she or he got there. Jackson will play a fellow – rival? – flight attendant.
(Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
Four-time Emmy winner Regina King, most recently for her role in HBO’s limited series Watchmen, is producing the in-development supernatural drama Slay at The CW, with her producing partner, and sister, Reina King. The series revolves around teen Carson, who has otherworldly gifts that allow her to protect a haunted area of Virginia from evil forces. (Variety)
After 22 years at Warner Bros., Chairman of the Warner Bros. Television Group Peter Roth will step down from his Studio responsibilities in early 2021.
The legendary Norman Lear – 98-year-old Norman Lear! – is producing a Fried Green Tomatoes adaptation that will star country singer Reba McEntire. The NBC drama would be set in current times, and feature relatives of the characters in the original FGT book by Fannie Flagg and 1991 movie that starred Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, Cicely Tyson, Mary-Louise Parker, and Mary Stuart Masterson. (Variety)
HBO Max has ordered 10 one-hour episodes of a Green Lantern series that will feature many different Lanterns, including Guy Gardner, Jessica Cruz, Alan Scott, and Simon Baz, as well as new characters and favorites like Kilowog and Sinestro. The DC Comics series will be written by and executive produced by by Seth Grahame-Smith and Marc Guggenheim, with Grahame-Smith also the series’ showrunner.
Channing Tatum is an executive producer on SpaceX, a six-episode HBO Max series that will unfold the backstory of Elon Musk’s space exploration company, based on author Ashlee Vance’s book Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future.
HBO Max has made a deal to be the U.S. home for Billie Piper’s British dramedy series I Hate Suzie, about a woman trying to rebound from a computer hacking that resulted in compromising photos of her being made public. (Variety)
When They See Us creator Ava DuVernay will return to Netflix to write, direct, and produce a movie adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson’s current bestselling book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, about, how, “beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate.”
Ewan McGregor confirmed on last week’s Graham Norton Show that his Disney+ Obi-Wan Kenobi series will begin filming in March 2021.
One of the biggest TV delights of the year, the 10th season of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, will be followed up with another season next year. David’s co-star, Jeff Garlin, revealed on Instagram this week that the Curb crew goes back into production in November. Oh, to imagine the fun Larry will have with pandemic lockdown.
Prepare for the elf to leave the shelf and show up all over your Netflix next year. The streaming service has bought the rights to Elf on the Shelf and will turn the beloved book/toy combo into live-action and animated projects aimed at families.
2 Dope Queens’ Phoebe Robinson and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star Rachel Brosnahan are teaming up for Yearly Departed, an Amazon special that will feature a lineup of female comedians delivering eulogies about 2020. The special will air next winter, by which time we hope anything about 2020 will be funny.