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Playing politics is far more stressful than fighting off brain-eating alien bugs.
That's the lesson I learned from BrainDead Season 1 Episode 2. I'd rather do pretty much anything than be forced to do a stint in our nation's capital.
Solving an X-Files-esque mystery is so much more appealing than playing mind games with your fellow man all to get another chair to further manipulate the masses you so-called represent. Icky.
Probably my favorite moment (politically speaking) of the hour was when Laurel took Annie to the Lincoln Memorial and they read the wall, wondering how we ever got so far away from what our founding fathers wished for us to become.
Granted, Lincoln wasn't a founding father, but you know what I mean, right? When you think about all the crap that goes on in Washington, all the card tricks and back stabbing and wasteful earmarks just to help move politicians »
- Carissa Pavlica
After years of examining the intersection of law, politics and media with tongue firmly in cheek on CBS’ “The Good Wife,” creators Robert and Michelle King have turned their satirical lens on Washington, D.C. itself for “BrainDead,” a political horror-comedy that somehow manages to be far less horrifying than the current political climate. While the show goes to extremes to explore the dangers of extremism, Michelle King admits that the hardest part of writing the show is “to make things seem as crazy as they do in reality.” The series stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Danny Pino, Aaron Tveit, Tony Shalhoub, Nikki M. James and Johnny Ray Gill.
Robert King: The idea came from the government shutdown about two, two and a half years ago, when we were noticing just how crazy people in DC had gotten. The government almost defaulted on its loans, and it seemed to be out of emotional pique, or something. Analyses of it seemed to be that there was this lack of a spirit of compromise, and it was about extremists, and that made us think about the best genre to explore the idea of extremism in politics. Because we’re sci-fi and horror fans, that took us to “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”
How do you feel about where we are in the current political landscape? In some ways, the show has perfect timing, but it also feels like it was a safe bet that things would escalate to the point we’re at now.
Michelle King: We had no idea that this is where we would land when we first came up with the idea, in terms of where we are now with the presidential [race]. At this point it just feels like our job is hard to make things seem as crazy as they do in reality.
Robert King: I think what has changed and then made things even more interesting in the last two years is the extremism most of us react to on the right – the Tea Party and – seems to be finding a similar rise on the left in Bernie Bros. There’s even talk about a political revolution of why does the Republican side have their Tea Party but the Democratic side does not? We wanted to be even-handed about how extremism is not occupied by one side or the other, but is more almost like an infection – as soon as one group of people go into government and say “we will only settle for a hundred percent of our needs,” it provokes the other side to do the same.
It seems kind of telling that Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s character, Laurel, is from outside the world of politics – what makes her the right hero for this tale?
Michelle King: We wanted somebody to be the audience’s eyes, someone who needed to learn a bit, even though she wasn’t completely naïve about politics.
Robert King: We also liked the idea of how someone returns to their hometown, and the people in the hometown seem to have changed, and you’re never sure if it’s about the fact that you’ve been away and you’ve changed, so you’re reacting to them differently, or if they’ve changed. I think Laurel’s in that slightly paranoid place of trying to figure out “who’s the problem here?”
What was the key to striking the right tone, since this is so much more comedic than “The Good Wife”?
Robert King: We started with the idea of satisfying the needs of the genre; obviously, the topic we’re talking about could get kind of earnest and a little full of itself, so it seemed better to be entertaining. If you’re gonna give people genre, give it to them to the fullest. Same thing with “Good Wife” – if you’re giving them procedural, it better have some pretty good twists and turns in it, or people start feeling like “why am I watching this?” We wanted the same thing with “BrainDead.” On the other hand, we enjoy very real characters who have real reactions, and so once we got Mary Elizabeth Winstead in, obviously it was very clear that we needed to live in the world of both dramatic comedy and dramatics — treating these characters as real people, and that is probably the more “Good Wife” side of things.
You have a couple of “Good Wife” alums in the show– how did you approach the casting process? I assume you didn’t want to make it a non-stop parade of familiar faces that might take viewers out of the narrative?
Michelle King: That’s exactly right – plus they are different kinds of roles. We were so fortunate to get Mary Elizabeth Winstead in the center of it; she’s just fantastic, she does have that girl next door quality but she’s also able to sell jokes.
Robert King: I do think it was similar to the process on “Good Wife.” Mark Saks was the casting director for both, and you’re really collaborative with the studio and the network; CBS had a good deal of opinions on things – they’re always looking for people who can deliver both sides of the genre. And we loved working with some of the “Good Wife” people, and also some other actors who we’re having back now over the course of the series – Margo Martindale is coming back … Some people that we really enjoyed working with and tried to get back.
How did you come up with the design for the creatures preying on the brains of Washington’s elite?
Robert King: The first instinct was always the instinct we went with – scarier than big monsters to us is going down to the kitchen at midnight to get a snack, turning on the light and seeing a line of ants anywhere, that’s creepier and scarier to us because that’s something you don’t usually see in reality. There was this real feeling to domesticate the horror, to make it something you could come upon in your day to day. I can’t tell you how many horrible pictures we’ve seen of real bugs crawling into people’s real ears – that’s just a terrifying thought. So we try not to have it being a gross-out, some of it’s meant to look comic and hyper-real, but we did want the line of bugs to be, in theory, in plain sight. These are not monsters that have to be hid, they’re monsters that are as tiny as ants and that’s why people don’t think twice about it when they see them.
What are you hoping people will take away from the show, given the intensity of the current political climate?
Michelle King: I would hope that they would be amused, and also recognize the political satire of how difficult it is to get anything done when everyone becomes more extreme and lives in their own extreme bubbles.
Robert King: If they would follow the lead of the two characters, Laurel and Garrett (Tveit), who are as different as two people could be and find that they really like talking to each other. I think we’re all living in our little bubbles and not talking to people who have different opinions. It’s like what some of “The Good Wife” was about – not a lot of it, but some of it – people are living in their political bubbles, which is making everyone a little more intensely partisan.
“BrainDead” premieres Monday, June 13 at 10 p.m. on CBS.
- Laura Prudom
Artisans break down the anatomy of a pivotal scene in the series finale of “The Good Wife.”
For seven seasons, “The Good Wife” was widely held up as proof that broadcast television can still deliver dramas to rival the best of cable. Although they were crafting a serialized procedural drama on the broadest broadcaster of all, CBS, showrunners Robert and Michelle King always brought something more to the process, including a highly cinematic eye. Robert King believes there has been a “dumbing down” of the perception of cinema, saying that the focus these days is on spectacle, but “really, cinema is just about telling stories through pictures, not words. I think that is something TV can do more of. I think there’s much more visual storytelling going on than there was 10 years ago, or any time before.”
One prime example: a montage in the “Good Wife” series finale in »
- Geoff Berkshire
Let's be honest, regardless of what side of the spectrum you sit on, this year's Presidential election has pushed politics to a whole new level of entertainment. With Donald Trump and gang in the race, fact, fiction, comedy and tragedy are all on display out on the campaign trail — as they are in the delightfully wacky BrainDead from Robert King and Michelle King. Back on CBS less than two months after The Good Wife ended its Emmy-winning run, the Kings' Congress-set… »
The premiere of CBS’ D.C.-set BrainDead — from The Good Wife creators Robert and Michelle King — is peppered with numerous video clips from the current presidential race. And those nods will be updated until the last possible second, even with six primaries being held today, less than a week before the comedic thriller’s Monday, June 13 launch.
RelatedSummer TV Schedule: 110+ Dates to Save in June and July
“Here’s the thing: [Democratic hopeful Bernie] Sanders will still be in the episode even if he drops out after Tuesday, because we can’t change it after Tuesday,” Robert King shares with TVLine. “But »
Alicia vs. Diane — Round 2?
The recently-ordered Good Wife spinoff — starring Christine Baranski (Diane) and Cush Jumbo (Lucca) and set to launch in Spring 2017 on CBS All Access — may very well feature a guest turn by the original series’ leading lady, Julianna Margulies.
RelatedThe Good Wife: 11 Dropped Arcs We Wish the Finale Had Tackled
The Good Wife spin-off launching on CBS All-Access in spring 2017, will pick up a year after the bracing slap that was The Good Wife TV series finale. Christine Baranski will reprise her role as Diane Lockhart. She will be joined by Cush Jumbo as Lucca Quinn. New characters will be added as the story "evolves."
Master P. will play Robert King, who spent 29 years in solitary confinement before his conviction was overturned in 2001. Cinema Libre has obtained King’s life rights, titled the film “Angola 1, 2 & 3” and promised that a significant percentage of the profits will go to the Angola 3 (King, Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace’s estate).
The film will be produced by Cinema Libre Studio and financed in association with Agg Entertainment (Chico Brown and Tommy O’Donnell) and China’s Gaia Studio (Lily Yang and Tk Wong) with filming scheduled to begin Aug. 15 with a budget of $2.5 million. The film will be directed by Philippe Diaz (“The End of Poverty?” from a screenplay he wrote with King.
- Dave McNary
Variety reports CBS is negotiating a spinoff of The Good Wife TV show. If the sequel series comes to pass, it expected to stream on CBS All Access. The Good Wife spinoff is said to follow Christine Baranski’s character, Diane Lockhart. According to the report, Cush Jumbo, who joined the drama series in its seventh and final season, will also be in the sequel.
Good Wife co-creators Robert King and Michelle King are reportedly likely to co-write The Good Wife spinoff with another veteran of the original series. Variety says the Kings will executive produce but will not be the showrunners.
Read More… »
We all knew CBS All Access wasn't going to stop at a new Star Trek series for its streaming service. in fact, the media company has had its eye on releasing an original series every quarter, to keep subscribers interested in digging out $6 a month to keep it.So what might follow Star Trek after it ends its first season in the spring? Think "The Good Wife." Or, think more specifically a "Good Wife" spinoff.The popular court drama ended its run on CBS last week after the show's creators, Robert King and Michelle King, decided they didn't want to continue as showrunners. They are expected to return to write the pilot episode of the "Good Wife" spinoff, although they won't stick around to run the series.Of course, we're using the word "pilot" a bit loosely here. Based on The Hollywood Reporter's »
Don’t read on unless you’ve seen “End,” the series finale of “The Good Wife.”
During the past few seasons, “The Good Wife” has poked fun at Prestige Drama cliches by giving viewers scenes of Alicia watching a pretentious show called “Darkness at Noon.” Viewers could debate which overwrought drama “The Good Wife” was making fun of — maybe it was “Low Winter Sun,” perhaps it was the second season of “True Detective,” or maybe the mockery was targeting another ambitious drama that took itself far too seriously. It didn’t really matter which show “The Good Wife” was dragging, because most of us got — and enjoyed — the joke.
Satirizing some of the most tiresome tropes of dramatic television served a few purposes for “The Good Wife”: It made the CBS show seem more enjoyable by comparison to some fictional, pompous, macho mess, and it made the adjacent point »
- Maureen Ryan
Hours after the series finale of The Good Wife aired, creators Robert and Michelle King got on the phone to discuss the closer, which Robert King admitted had sparked controversy and a split of opinions. It was somewhat intentional, as he and Michelle King said that they were going for a finale that was “a bit unsettling.” They did not want a “forgettable” ending, which is what they felt a classic “romantic comedy” final scene would’ve brought. They did consider such… »
It was the slap heard around the Internet. “The Good Wife” ended its seven series run with an across-the-face slap from Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) to Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), after her betrayal in the courtroom.
Speaking to Variety, series creators and executive producers Michelle and Robert King defend the moment, as well as explaining Alicia’s future, what it was like having Josh Charles back on set, and their plans for “Brain Dead.”
Was this the finale you always planned?
Robert: At least with regard to the last five minutes. How we got there was a bit more of a negotiated route, with regard to what actors were available. We thought Carrie Preston would be the lawyer. We thought there would be moves we would have made if we had the actors available to us. So absent that, yes.
Michelle: We knew what the spine would be, but many »
- Debra Birnbaum
Being a great network drama in 2016 is like being New York Yankee Roger Maris in 1961: It takes you just a little too long to get there. Sure, network shows pull in the biggest ratings, but when it's time for the industry to honor its best, those lumbering beasts seem just a little too unwieldy: The last time a season longer than 13 episodes won the Emmy for Best Dramatic Series was 2006; the last time one was even nominated was 2011.
The Good Wife was that final nominee — to date, and possibly forever. »
Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) got slapped across the face in the final episode of "The Good Wife" and some fans felt the same way about the finale. However, others thought it was a fitting end to the seven-season saga, since the series started with a slap from Alicia to her husband Peter (Chris Noth), and ended with a slap from Diane (Christine Baranski) to Alicia. You could argue that both slaps were justified, or argue that Alicia deserved better in her own send-off. But this has never been a show for tidy endings or total justice.
Peter got a one-year probation plea deal, so he'll avoid jail, but we didn't see Alicia ride off into the sunset with Jason (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). That storyline was left hanging with a voicemail from Alicia asking him to call her back. (The phones on this show deserve their own Emmys.) Alicia reunited with »
- Gina Carbone
After seven successful (and Emmy-winning) seasons of the legal drama “The Good Wife,” co-creators Robert and Michelle King knew that Sunday’s series finale should bring its heroine, Alicia Florick (Julianna Margulies), full circle. “We started with the feeling that it should begin with a slap and end with a slap,” Robert King said in a video posted on CBS.com after the episode first aired. “The show is about a woman who becomes more and more confident and more and more cunning,” he added. “We also had this idea of Alicia becoming more and more of something she also was not liking. »
- Thom Geier
The following story contains spoilers about Sunday’s Good Wife finale. Proceed at your own peril
It was the slap heard ’round the world.
RelatedThe Good Wife Series Finale: Grade It!
“We [felt] that it should begin with a slap and end with a slap,” says Robert King in the above video Q&A. “The story is about a woman who becomes more and more confident and »
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TV Worth Watching
"The Good Wife" (Sunday on CBS at 9 p.m.)
This is it. The end of an era. After seven seasons of heartbreak (she'll always love you, Will!), headaches, incredibly sharp writing, and powerful performances from Julianna Margulies down to the many amazing guest stars, Alicia Florrick's story is coming to an end on May 8. The series finale, appropriately titled "End," was written by showrunners Robert and Michelle King, and directed by Robert King. Margulies told Entertainment Weekly the finale will be "satisfying, uplifting and sad." The showrunners have Not shot down that Josh Charles return rumor, so here's hoping for some kind of flashback/vision/cameo/thing. Also, here's hoping for more of this, from Alicia and Jason:
- Gina Carbone
All good things must come to an end, including CBS’ “The Good Wife.” After seven seasons — 156 episodes — cast members from throughout the years celebrated the series with a last hoorah Thursday night at the Museum of Modem Art in New York.
“I said to Christine [Baranski] when we shot the last scene, ‘Wow. The fans are either ‘gonna love this or hate this, but there’s not going to be a ‘meh.’ There’s no tied up bows. And I hope that the fans can understand the trajectory it puts Alicia on,” said Julianna Margulies regarding the show’s upcoming finale.
“I think [fans can expect] some surprises. We didn’t want to be that show that kind of took a breath and kind of sat back like, ‘Ok, let’s all say goodbye,’” Robert King said. “We wanted it to »
- Alexa Harrison
It is rumored Josh Charles will return as Will Gardner for The Good Wife TV series finale, which airs May 8th. Creators and showrunners Robert King and Michelle King will neither confirm nor deny that Charles is coming back to the successful CBS drama. According to Variety, though, they are, "enjoying the buzz." It seems to us if he were not returning, the Kings would put that out there, so fans would not have unrealistic expectations the finale is unable to meet.
Regardless, TV Line reports Charles will reprise the late Will Gardner character, in The Good Wife series finale, airing May 8, 2016. "Rumor has it he will appear opposite Julianne Margulies’ Alicia in a newly-created flashback sequence (Ncfs). CBS would not confirm Charles’ return."
Read More… »
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