TV Talk

What Drama? Neil Gaiman Promises American Gods Season 2 Keeps the Faith Despite Off-Camera Escapades and More TV News

Caitriona Balfe on Outlander season 5, the Crawleys turn volume to 11 in Downton Abbey movie, and SpongeBob has a birthday. Plus, is millennial sex comedy Now Apocalypse porn?

by and | February 13, 2019 | Comments

American Gods executive producer–author promises transcendent season 2, Outlander season 5 update, Starz introduces racy new millennial sex comedy, the Crawleys get supersized in Downton Abbey movie, and more.


TOP STORY

Caitriona Balfe’s Claire Fraser Will Have a New Role in Outlander Season 5

Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan in Outlander (Starz)

(Photo by Starz)

Caitriona Balfe is just weeks away from filming season 5 of Outlander. Since season 4 used elements from the fourth and fifth books in the series, it sounds like season 5 will already hit book six, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, which leads up to 1776 in North Carolina — quite a significant year in American history. Before heading off to film, Balfe told Rotten Tomatoes a few more details about about Claire Fraser’s journey in the new season.

“Last season, her doctor side in some ways is put to one side,” Balfe said. “We got to see little glimpses of it. I think now that they’re going to settled in Fraser’s Ridge, it’s a real opportunity to establish herself in getting that kind of professional side of her life back in an order that is very fulfilling for her. So I think that’s exciting too.”

The Fraser clan is growing in season 5 as Brianna (Sophie Skelton) has a baby whose health complications may require a return to the present for medical care.

“[Claire’s] a grandmother this season, which I think is a really interesting time in a woman’s life,” Balfe said. “It’s great to be able to explore that and have an extended family be around and also to deepen this marriage and this relationship in new ways because their life now is very new. This is a new role they’re taking on. It’s a new place and they’ve settled into this new community so I think it’s really interesting.”

The season will cover a fraught time for both the country and the Fraser family, as Claire and her beloved, Jamie (Sam Heughan), are on the front lines of the birth of America as well as their grandchild.

“I think there’s a lot of interesting things that we’re going to get to explore in terms of family, in terms of loyalties, especially in politics,” Balfe said. “It’s very new to me, all of this kind of time in American history. To understand the intricacies of what was going on in America in that time during its infancy, the people that were coming into the country, who their allegiances lay with. It’s all really interesting stuff, and it’s very new so that makes it really exciting.”


Despite Behind-the-Scenes Drama, American Gods Season 2 “Feels Like the Same Show”

The drama behind the scenes of Starz’s American Gods has been well-documented — original showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green departed after writing about half the scripts for season 2, with Jesse Alexander appointed as new showrunner two months later — but creator (and book author) Neil Gaiman told reporters that viewers shouldn’t notice any difference in quality between the two seasons.

“I was on the show before Bryan and Michael came on as showrunners; I got to watch that being made,” he said. “I got to watch them leave and Jesse come on and take season 2. From my perspective, the thing that has been made as season 2 feels like the same show that we had for season 1. Part of that is because we have amazing actors, part of that is because a lot of the people didn’t change.

“It still looks and feels like American Gods,” he continued. “It’s definitely taken a while to get season 2 out, but it takes a while to get good things made and I think we’d all rather have it good than have it quicker — although we’d rather have it quicker too.”


The Crawleys Turn Volume to 11 on Downton Abbey Movie

MASTERPIECE CLASSIC - Downton Abbey, Season 5 (Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited)

(Photo by Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2014)

The Downton Abbey movie hits theaters on September 20, and its stars are still keeping as frustratingly tight-lipped as ever when it comes to discussing the upcoming film.

“I don’t even know what I can tell you,” star Laura Carmichael (a.k.a. Edith Crawley) told USA Today and a small group of reporters on Tuesday. “What can I remember has been released? There’s some new exciting people, which was dreamy. New cast members which you’ll love and enjoy.”

Unfortunately, that’s just about all Carmichael, who next stars in Starz’s drama The Spanish Princess, could say about what happens, though she did reveal that she thinks “everyone will be pleased that we’ve upped the ante. Turned the volume up.”

Whether it’s the end of the road for the Crawleys and their staff is something only creator Julian Fellowes can address.

“I can’t speak for other people,” Carmichael said. “But I can say we all had a dreamy time, it was lush.”


SpongeBob SquarePants Turns 20

SpongeBob SquarePants celebrates its 20th birthday this summer. Like other beloved animated series (including The Simpsons and Family Guy), the series has managed to remain in the zeitgeist for multiple decades (though SpongeBob is a show both kids and adults can enjoy together). How, exactly, has the Nickelodeon series managed to remain so topical?

“Man, that’s the million-dollar question,” said Bill Fagerbakke, who voices SpongeBob’s pal Patrick Star. “I don’t know if there’s a formula. There’s something mercurial and enigmatic about it. And I’ve come to think it’s a magical combination of shapes, colors, and sounds. We don’t know!”

Rodger Bumpass, who voices SpongeBob’s frenemy Squidward, likens the series to Looney Tunes.

“They’re both short cartoons, but different ages of people and viewers get different things. Little kids get something out of it ’cause it’s colorful and it’s animated. And then the little older guys get a little bit more stuff out of it, and adults get something out of it too. And funny is funny, so I think that’s one of the reasons it has struck a chord,” Bumpass said.

SpongeBob himself, a.k.a. Tom Kenny, thinks some of the magic of his character comes from the fact that everyone wants to root for him and he’s avoided any type of controversy.

“SpongeBob really does seem to have this charmed life and this magic power where people, you know, they didn’t just like it a little bit. They started to really like it and love it, and it found its way into the fabric of people’s lives, and it kept finding new life in new ways like memes and things like that,” Kenny said. “And even on the couple of occasions where there’s been something a little controversial that’s happened, SpongeBob still winds up winning. SpongeBob still winds up on top.”

For example, the latest Super Bowl halftime show was a tad controversial, but people didn’t take any umbrage with the fact that SpongeBob made an appearance.

Said Kenny, “People get mad at the NFL. They don’t get mad at SpongeBob. You know what I mean? They don’t hate on SpongeBob. They hate on Maroon 5.”


The Rook EP Explains Why British People Are Good at Spy Dramas

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 12: (L-R) Emma Greenwell, Olivia Munn and Stephen Garrett of 'The Rook' speak onstage during Starz 2019 Winter TCA Panel & All-Star After Party on February 12, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Starz)

The new Starz drama The Rook, based on the book of the same name by Daniel O’Malley, is both a tense British spy thriller and a supernatural drama. When Myfanwy Thomas (Emma Greenwell) wakes up in the rain next to London’s Millennium Bridge, she can’t remember who she is or how she wound up next to a pile of dead bodies. But she soon learns that she’s a high-ranking official in the Checquy, a secret organization involving people with paranormal abilities.

The London-set series was run by two American showrunners, Lisa Zerling and Karyn Usher, though it stars a mostly British cast (save for Olivia Munn). British executive producer Stephen Garrett said the series works because his people are experts in the spy genre.

“The Rook denotes [Myfanwy’s] rank in the organization, and clearly there are bishops and queens who are higher than her, but I think what drew us all to this is it’s a spy show with supernatural elements. The great thing about spy shows, and why the British are good at them, [is because] we’re naturally duplicitous, we’re very good at lying, and we love secrets,” Garrett joked. “So if you’re a spy you can’t tell your friends or your loved ones what it is you do, and I think if you have supernatural powers, you can’t tell your loved ones what it is you have. So you have secrets to the power of 10, and that’s just a heady mix for a great drama.”


Maybe Don’t Watch the Racy Now Apocalypse With Your Parents

Gregg Araki‘s new Starz drama, Now Apocalypse, is a sex-infused, surreal adventure about stoner twentysomethings navigating the dating world and Los Angeles in general. Ulysses (Avan Jogia) also starts having premonitory dreams, causing him to wonder if there’s a dark conspiracy going on around him or he’s just smoking too much weed.

There’s a lot of nudity and sex, but star Jogia told reporters that he thinks the show will attract a “multi-generational” audience. As he pointed out, “the older generation, quote unquote, grew up during sex lib.”

But if you’re thinking about watching the show with your parents, whether that’s a good decision or not really depends on how sexually liberated you and your parents are.

“The show sounds very punk rock, and attuned toward sex and sexuality,” Araki said. “We have BDSM, and we have water sports, and we have a sex club and a sex orgy, and it’s like ‘Whoa, that show sounds nuts.’ But when I watched it for the first time, there’s a real sweetness to it. And this is a testament to the best cast in the whole universe — they really imbue these characters with such vanity and such authenticity. The whole show is grounded in these characters. They’re super-sweet and super lovable. …It’s really about these characters and what they’re going through.”

It’s a lot, he admitted — especially in a show he described as “Girls, Sex and the City meets Twin Peaks with an alien” — but he’s not including those moments for shock value.

“I’m not interested in titillation or making porn,” Araki said. “It’s really about those moments of character truth, and I think that’s the strongest thing about the show.”


Dennis Quaid Heads to Netflix

Netflix has added Dennis Quaid to its ever-expanding roster of talent. The veteran actor is set to star in a new comedy series from Everybody Loves Raymond writer Tucker Cawley called Merry Happy Whatever. The series, according to Netflix, “takes place in the weeks around Christmas as a father is thrown for a loop when his youngest daughter comes home for Christmas with a new boyfriend.”

Tag Cloud

SDCC scary movies Brie Larson Fantasy hispanic TV Land HBO Go Marathons dragons asian-american Dark Horse Comics DGA Tarantino comiccon Chernobyl CBS All Access HBO Max Awards CNN anthology Heroines Columbia Pictures Interview Lifetime screenings game show PaleyFest canceled Adult Swim PBS worst movies Mary Poppins Returns CBS 2020 ITV facebook DC Universe Ellie Kemper CMT Rocky Set visit true crime die hard binge aliens The CW Discovery Channel IFC Films cults TCA 2017 cancelled TV shows BBC One TV renewals transformers Mindy Kaling comics Cosplay Disney+ Disney Plus cops Comedy Central science fiction A24 Video Games quibi CW Seed PlayStation robots Television Critics Association Rom-Com streaming A&E spy thriller versus FX on Hulu stand-up comedy series biography crime drama Awards Tour Shondaland The Purge APB MSNBC historical drama WGN Musical dark Apple TV Plus a nightmare on elm street Quiz movies VICE Syfy Horror Pride Month Superheroe Classic Film Esquire television elevated horror IFC harry potter Anna Paquin documentary Acorn TV joker Mudbound Nickelodeon christmas movies BET Awards superhero indie child's play Emmy Nominations toy story Teen Amazon Studios crime DirecTV Sneak Peek documentaries Academy Awards Spectrum Originals Trophy Talk natural history psycho Lifetime Christmas movies Universal award winner films Kids & Family dramedy spider-man psychological thriller Stephen King nbcuniversal renewed TV shows festival batman rotten Black History Month mockumentary all-time Song of Ice and Fire New York Comic Con Thanksgiving Music video Avengers sequels Logo political drama Bravo remakes Crackle Elton John blaxploitation richard e. Grant casting Disney streaming service LGBTQ dc The Walking Dead Funimation Rocketman composers Crunchyroll technology LGBT indiana jones Sundance TV Peacock Character Guide crossover universal monsters Calendar Sundance theme song zombies Countdown Pixar Ghostbusters Ovation TLC cooking Nominations Amazon Prime Film Tubi unscripted Britbox Musicals adaptation TIFF worst Marvel Television 24 frames 2017 History comic Walt Disney Pictures zombie San Diego Comic-Con TCM criterion Lucasfilm Holiday sequel laika Grammys VH1 sag awards Writers Guild of America NYCC Podcast screen actors guild MTV rotten movies we love medical drama Oscars golden globes FOX Summer Premiere Dates Netflix Christmas movies Spike green book E3 talk show 2018 hist serial killer First Look Baby Yoda Hallmark Christmas movies Binge Guide tv talk Black Mirror Year in Review sitcom AMC stop motion period drama Mary poppins festivals 45 WarnerMedia Freeform supernatural mutant classics TruTV 2015 Warner Bros. DC streaming service OWN breaking bad Sundance Now singing competition space FX football cancelled Cartoon Network Turner Classic Movies foreign chucky docudrama Toys twilight Watching Series Biopics TNT See It Skip It Family Red Carpet slashers TV BBC war Superheroes cats Disney Plus satire Arrowverse Women's History Month Disney Channel The Arrangement ABC Family Martial Arts Comedy miniseries cancelled TV series 71st Emmy Awards witnail Polls and Games Vudu Marvel Studios USA Network Pop TV GIFs dceu FXX NBC Amazon Masterpiece Pirates Epix Netflix teaser based on movie First Reviews X-Men thriller Lionsgate spinoff Hallmark Best and Worst RT History free movies Action President Nat Geo Hulu BBC America latino YA best Trailer finale politics Valentine's Day Winter TV YouTube Red critics jamie lee curtis spain parents police drama movie 2016 cinemax canceled TV shows Spring TV toronto Cannes MCU Marvel RT21 kids ratings Box Office USA DC Comics Star Wars Reality Competition crime thriller Photos YouTube BET justice league stoner Paramount adventure Disney Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Winners Schedule dogs emmy awards Tumblr directors HBO OneApp Holidays 007 Super Bowl Apple 21st Century Fox Election what to watch GoT American Society of Cinematographers mission: impossible anime TCA Animation ESPN Amazon Prime Video Pop Trivia Extras franchise book El Rey Tomatazos YouTube Premium Shudder Television Academy nfl game of thrones Comics on TV 72 Emmy Awards venice blockbuster independent comedies scorecard Creative Arts Emmys animated Country boxoffice spanish language cars revenge video on demand GLAAD 4/20 Comic Book doctor who Film Festival Emmys Fall TV Starz Travel Channel fast and furious strong female leads TBS hollywood ghosts obituary name the review south america reboot Star Trek nature zero dark thirty TCA Winter 2020 diversity reviews National Geographic Food Network cartoon Drama werewolf Endgame SXSW E! Opinion BAFTA Western sports disaster social media Showtime The Witch 2019 romantic comedy Rock halloween Sci-Fi TCA Awards Christmas VOD travel Pet Sematary Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt cancelled television Hear Us Out children's TV Captain marvel vampires romance ABC SundanceTV Infographic news concert Fox News Apple TV+ Certified Fresh Mystery Reality Turner Sony Pictures Mary Tyler Moore 20th Century Fox Paramount Network discovery