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Well, we just got over ice-bucket-challenging each other, so we'll see how this new thing takes off. Bob Geldof is attempting to launch a new charity trend amongst his celebrity friends. The challenge is pretty simple, actually: You sing Bono's line from the Band Aid 30 re-release of "Do They Know It's Christmas": "Well tonight we're reaching out and touching you." (You also donate money to Band Aid, naturally.) Geldof nominated The Affair (and yes, The Wire) actor Dominic West, Homeland's Damian Lewis, and Richard E. Grant (known variously from Doctor Who, Withnail & I and Luther). West, for his part, »
- Alex Heigl, @alex_heigl
2014 was a strong year for television, both at home and abroad, but now is the time to narrow down our favourites to only the choicest cuts.
These are Digital Spy's best TV shows for 2014 - continuing today with 20-16. Check back tomorrow for 15-11.
Additional material by Tom Eames and Alex Fletcher
Digital Spy's best TV shows of the year 2014: 25-21
20. House of Cards
It may not have quite hit the highs of the first season - perhaps lacking a little of the heart provided by Corey Stoll's tragic Peter Russo last year - but House of Cards was still a captivating watch in 2014. Much has been made of the Netflix 'binge-watch' culture, but not every show could hold the viewer's attention across 13 straight episodes - this is one.
Its chief selling point remains Kevin Spacey's turn as the malevolent, magnificent Francis 'Frank' Underwood - by turns »
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Lewis called it “one of the great plays of the 20th century by one of the great living playwrights”. American Buffalo will be directed by Daniel Evans, with whom Lewis trained at London’s Guildhall drama school, and will open at Wyndham’s Theatre on 16 April.
Continue reading »
- Ben Beaumont-Thomas
After six seasons of biker drama on FX’s Sons Of Anarchy, Maggie Siff’s long-suffering Tara met a tragic end. However, that show’s loss was Showtime’s gain, as the actress has now signed on to co-star in their upcoming series, Billions.
Touted to be a complex drama, the show will orbit around Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis’ leading characters for this in-depth expose of the high finance world. While it’s not the most dynamic-sounding premise, the official synopsis adds a certain House Of Cards-esque flair to the story:
Billions is a fictional drama that takes a forensic look at the world of high finance by tracking the approaching collision between two titanic figures — the hard-charging, whip-smart U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhodes (Giamatti), and the brilliant, ambitious hedge-fund king, Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Lewis).
The second cast member announced since the two leads were revealed, Siff will »
- Gem Seddon
The cast for Showtimes Billions continues to look very flush.
Maggie Siff, whose credits include of course a six-year ride on Sons of Anarchy as well as a stint on Mad Men has joined the buzzy drama pilot, which already counts Emmy winners Damian Lewis (Homeland) and Paul Giamatti (John Adams) among its cast.
Taking a forensic look at the world of high finance, Billions tracks the approaching collision between hard-charging U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (played by Giamatti) and brilliant/ambitious hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Lewis).
Siff will play the central character of Wendy Rhoades, Chuck’s wife, »
A Sons of Anarchy favorite is riding to Showtime. Maggie Siff, who portrayed Tara for six seasons on the FX biker drama, has boarded the cast of drama pilot Billions, Showtime announced Monday. Billions is a fictional drama that takes a forensic look at the world of high finance by tracking the approaching collision between two titanic figures — the hard-charging, whip-smart U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti), and the brilliant, ambitious hedge-fund king, Bobby "Axe" Axelrod (Homeland's Damian Lewis). Read more Showtime Orders Drama Pilot From New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin Siff will play Wendy Rhoades, Chuck's
- Lesley Goldberg
A major actress from Sons of Anarchy has found her next gig: Maggie Siff, who played Tara Knowles-Teller for six seasons on the FX hit drama, has joined the cast of Showtime’s promising drama pilot Billions, EW can exclusively report. Billions stars award winners Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis as major financial world operatives on a collision course. Giamatti plays a hard-charging U.S. Attorney and Lewis is a ambitious hedge fund king. Neil Burger (Limitless) has signed on to direct the pilot, which will be filmed in New York in early 2015, and its written and executive produced by Brian Koppelman, »
- James Hibberd
The Warner Bros. TV project revolves around a rock band on a large-scale tour as seen from the perspective of the road crew. Wilson (pictured) plays a newly sober tour manager. Poots plays an electrical technician with questionable people skills.
Crowe wrote “Roadies” and is set to direct and exec produce with J.J. Abrams and Winnie Holzman, who will serve as showrunner. Bad Robot’s Bryan Burk also exec produces with Kathy Lingg as co-exec producer.
There’s no word yet on shoot dates or a location for the pilot.
In other casting news:
- Cynthia Littleton
After a four-year slowdown due to the economic recession and the Arab Spring shockwaves, Morocco is back with a bang and proving once again a hotspot for big U.S. shoots.
“Mission Impossible 5,” “Queen of the Desert” and “A Hologram for the King” along with 30 other foreign films and TV productions sailed to Morocco in 2014, investing an estimated $120 million on local soil, a 420% year-on-year jump.
Mendes and Bond star Daniel Craig recently traveled to Oujda, in northeastern Morocco, to shoot a small scene in a train — one that’s not electrified.
“Oujda is pretty spectacular: It’s surrounded by the desert,” said Zakaria Alaoui, who runs one of Morocco’s leading shingles, Zak Productions, and signed a one-year exclusive contract to work on the Bond movie.
The production will return in June »
- Elsa Keslassy
Yesterday Eon Productions announced that Bond 24 will be going by the title of Spectre, but despite the fact it’s still the best part of a year away from release, the bookies are already turning their attention to who will be the next 007 once Daniel Craig hangs up his Walther Ppk. So, who do Ladbrokes think is going to be the next Bond? Well, the favourite is none other than Idris Elba…
Here’s the odds Ladbrokes are offering on the next Bond…
Idris Elba 3/1
Tom Hardy 7/2
Orlando Bloom 4/1
Daniel Day-Lewis 8/1
Henry Cavill 10/1
Richard Armitage 10/1
Dan Stevens 12/1
James McAvoy 14/1
Tom Hiddleston 16/1
Jamie Dornan 16/1
Damian Lewis 20/1
Jon Hamm 20/1
Sam Worthington 25/1
Dominic West 25/1
Gerard Butler 25/1
Michael C. Hall 25/1
Who would you like to see as the next James Bond when Daniel Craig calls it a day? Let us know your thoughts…
The post Idris Elba is »
- Gary Collinson
A version of story first appeared in the Dec. 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. As Homeland nears its fourth season finale Dec. 21, and Monday's Golden Globes ballot deadline, the Showtime stalwart has pulled off a task as difficult as a drone strike: It's generating some of its best reviews and ratings, despite the loss of lead actor Damian Lewis and a notable Emmy snub. Just back from wrapping the finale in South Africa, showrunner Alex Gansa speaks with The Hollywood Reporter about building tension and blocking out the pundits. Read more 'Homeland' Season 4: TV Review How
- Michael O'Connell
It’s been an interesting run for Showtime’s Homeland during its first three-plus seasons. The show was one of the most critically beloved series on TV during its first season, and it even went on to sweep the major Emmy categories, winning for Outstanding Drama Series, as Claire Danes and Damian Lewis also took home the top prizes for Best Lead Actress and Lead Actor. The beginning of Homeland‘s second season was much of the same; critics and fans alike still loved it, and even though some believed the series leaned on the Carrie and Brody romance too much during the second half of the season (spoiler alert: it did), the show was still nominated at the Emmys again. It really wasn’t until Season 3 that Homeland started to be looked at as something of a punchline, as people pounced on picking apart the season’s main storyline, »
- Chris King
President Barack Obama may not be the commander-in-chief of Homeland fans anymore. Beguiling plot twists be darned, apparently, Prince William and Kate Middleton are also really into the intense Showtime series! "He said, 'Catherine and I are huge Homeland fans," Damian Lewis told reporters Wednesday, referring to Prince William after the royal honored the English actor with an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). "He said, 'You appeared again the other night briefly, and we all got very excited.' Which is true—but it was also on Sunday night, which means he is absolutely up to date with the latest episode, and I'm amazed they have time for »
Actor Damian Lewis was toe-to-toe with Prince William at Buckingham Palace Wednesday. And as he pinned the honor (which stands for Officer of the Order of the British Empire) on Lewis, William revealed that he and wife Kate were big fans of the show. "[William] said, 'Catherine and I are huge Homeland fans,' " Lewis told reporters. "He said, 'You appeared again the other night briefly, and we all got very excited,' which is true - but it was also on Sunday night, which means he is absolutely up to date with the latest episode. I'm amazed they have time for that. »
- Simon Perry, @SPerryPeoplemag
When a television series has run past its prime, which some may argue Homeland has, the writers have to work extra hard to convince viewers to stick around for another season. After the Carrie-Brody dynamic brought the intrigue down for most of season three, the quality of the Emmy-winning thriller shot back up when the characters reunited for the final few hours of that season. Without Damian Lewis around, though, Homeland’s supporting cast has had to pick up the weight.
For the most part, the ensemble has fared well. However, as the show continues on the way to its fifth season (and perhaps beyond, this being a Showtime series), one hopes the supporting cast gets more to do. That task may be a bit more difficult considering how Carrie and Saul’s relationship – one that did not get much screen time earlier this fall – finally came to the fore in the past few episodes. »
- Jordan Adler
Since the beginning of its third season, I have been reviewing Homeland for TVOvermind, but a big part of me wishes I had been able to cover the show beforehand, back during Homeland Season 2. There’s many reasons why I wish I had been able to write more about Homeland during its second season, such as the fact that the series had just won an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series and there were no better performers on television at the time than Claire Danes and Damian Lewis. However, if I’m really honest with myself, the main reason why I would love to travel back in time to review Homeland Season 2 is because that’s when the show truly peaked. There’s no denying that the first season of Homeland is a near-perfect season of television, fantastically paced with a great deal of suspense and tension and incredibly interesting character relationships, »
- Chris King
Spoiler Alert: Stop reading if you haven’t seen “Redux,” episode seven of “Homeland’s” fourth season.
The hallucinatory scenes in the second half of the seg, after Claire Danes’ dogged CIA station chief Carrie Mathison is unknowingly drugged by Pakistani intelligence agents, required a lot of on-the-fly experimentation, Franklin said. The effort was guided by the clear vision laid out in a powerful script by “Homeland” exec producer Alexander Cary, Franklin said.
“We didn’t want it to get into the sci-fi/horror arena,” Franklin told Variety. “At the same time we did want it to be scary enough to her so that people would realize what she was going through. It was tough not to step over that line. »
- Cynthia Littleton
Homeland, Season 4, Episode 7, “Redux”
Written by Alexander Cary
Directed by Carl Franklin
Airs Sundays at 9pm on Showtime
There was a moment during this episode where I questioned whether or not I could continue watching this show. It came at the end, when the audience is treated to a surprise appearance by Damian Lewis. That’s right, Brody comes back briefly and though I knew better, it still seemed conceivable that he was actually there and not a figment of Carrie’s imagination. She had already thought the guy in the hospital was Quinn, but it still seemed plausible that Homeland would bring Brody back because it didn’t know what else to do and for the headlines it’d get on Monday morning (it’s getting those anyway, of course).
In these moments, I came to realize how jaded I’ve come to feel toward Homeland. Viewers know how the show works by now, »
- Jake Pitre
(Spoiler alert: Do not read on if you have not yet watched Sunday's episode of Showtime's “Homeland” titled “Redux.”) Claire Danes was off her meds and on her way to a full mental breakdown in Sunday night's episode of “Homeland.” And that put her in the perfect state to need the comfort she could only get from one person. Of course, that one person was dead and gone, so what was Damian Lewis doing on “Homeland”? As Danes fell into his arms, she wasn't sure if what she was seeing was real, and neither were fans at home. See photos: Party Report. »
- Jason Hughes
Politics are everywhere, both off-screen with the midterm elections and on-screen with such red-hot series as Netflix’s House of Cards and FX’s Tyrant. Now, Showtime is getting in on the action by putting its own political drama, titled Anthem, into development. Excitingly, the premium cable network will be teaming with Jon Lovett, a former speechwriter for President Obama, on the project.
Lovett, who previously created the short-lived comedy 1600 Penn for NBC, will be executive-producing alongside Brian Koppelman and David Levien. Both Koppelman and Levien are concurrently serving in the same capacity on another upcoming Showtime series, financial drama Billions.
Now, if seeing the words 1600 Penn made you roll your eyes, don’t count out Anthem just yet. Though Lovett’s past series took a goofy, comedic approach to White House politics, don’t expect his newest offering to look anything like that. In fact, the early plot description »
- Isaac Feldberg
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