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Trump TV and Norman Lear-Inspired Panels Added to the Atx Television Festival Lineup — Exclusive

1 hour ago

The Atx Television Festival has added two additional newsmaker panels to this year’s ever-expanding lineup.

One panel, “Television in a Trumped Up America,” promises a spirited discussion about how writers and TV shows are handling stories in a Donald Trump administration. Another, “The Revival of the Socially Conscious Sitcom,” will examine the recent growth of comedies aiming to recapture the progressive spirit of Norman Lear.

Liz Tigelaar (“Casual”), Monica Owusu-Breen (“Midnight, Texas”), Javier Grillo-Marxuach (“The Middleman”), and Michael Rauch (“Royal Pains”) are on board for the Trump panel, while Danielle Sanchez-Witzel (“The Carmichael Show”), Bob Daily (“Superior Donuts”), Justin Simien (“Dear White People”), and Mike Royce and Gloria Calderon-Kellett (“One Day at a Time”) are set to join the sitcom panel. (“One Day at a Time” is also executive produced by Lear, but he will not be attending.)

Read More: ‘Alias’ Reunion, ‘Parks and Recreation’ Screening Party Highlight New »


- Michael Schneider

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Hilary Swank Joins FX’s ‘Trust’: Why That’s a Smart Move After 4 Years on the Sidelines

5 hours ago

Four years after her last major (and critically acclaimed) role of Mary Bee Cuddy in “The Homesman,” Hilary Swank is returning to the screen – albeit, the small screen. While she does have a couple movies in the works, including the Steven Soderbergh directed “Logan Lucky,” Hilary Swank will also be playing a high-profile role in FX’s “Trust.”

Trust” follows the infamous kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, grandson to the great billionaire oil industrialist. Swank will be portraying the boy’s mother, Gail, who was the first person to receive the ransom request to get her son back.

This meaty role will undoubtedly give Swank a lot to chew on, and cement her back in public consciousness. After all, acclaimed actor Donald Sutherland, and fellow co-star on “Trust,” has made a continuous habit of popping back and forth between TV and film successfully.

Read More: Danny Boyle On How »


- Maya Reddy

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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Alexis Bledel and Margaret Atwood React to the Year’s Most Brutal Scene

6 hours ago

[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for “The Handmaid’s Tale” Season 1 Episode 3, “Late.” Mature content follows.] 

It’s rare to see a famous author rendered nearly speechless. But at Tuesday night’s premiere of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Oh my god!” was all Margaret Atwood could initially say to IndieWire about her reaction to the end of Episode 3.

We weren’t totally shocked by her response, because those final moments might be the most shocking TV moment of 2017 so far… and it’s going to be hard to top. In Atwood’s words, “What happens to Ofglen is pretty ferocious.”

Read More: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Review: The Scariest TV Show Ever Made, Because It Feels So Real

“I thought it was devastating … utterly devastating,” co-star Alexis Bledel said. “It felt like we were filming a scene out of a horror film.”

One of the major promises made with “The Handmaid’s Tale” is that the dystopian adaptation, chronicling a world where a fertility crisis and »


- Liz Shannon Miller

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Jessica Biel Talks Her Daring New Role in ‘The Sinner’: ‘I Just Wanted to Get to Be a Little Nuts’

7 hours ago

Jessica Biel has a killer new role — literally. In USA’s “The Sinner,” an eight-episode limited series based on the international bestselling novel of the same name by German crime writer Petra Hammesfahr, the actress plays Cora Tannetti, a seemingly normal wife and mother who brutally murders a total stranger in full view of a beach full of people.

That murder forms the basis of the series’ intriguing pilot, directed by indie mainstay Antonio Campos and written by Derek Simonds, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on Tuesday night.

Read More: ‘The Sinner’ Review: Jessica Biel Is More Than a Mom and a Murderer in USA’s Intriguing Limited Series — Tribeca 2017

Biel also produced the project, so it’s clear that the twisted new series has become a major passion project for her. And when it came to choosing the role, Biel used a post-screening Q&A (where she was joined by Campos, »


- Kate Erbland

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Jonathan Demme’s Last Project, ‘Shots Fired,’ Airs Tonight — Remembering His Best TV Work

8 hours ago

Jonathan Demme’s films, including “The Silence of the Lambs” and “Philadelphia,” won Oscars, earned worldwide acclaim, and influenced countless filmmakers. But his efforts on the small screen were anything but small in comparison. Over the course of nearly 40 years in TV, Demme directed, wrote, and produced an impressive array of genres and worked with artists like Laura Dern, Peter Falk, Elliot Gould, Patrick Wilson, Aisha Hinds, and Helen Hunt.

Demme died Wednesday morning in New York at the age of 73. The cause was esophageal cancer and complications from heart disease, according to a source close to the family. He was originally treated for the disease in 2010, but suffered from a recurrence in 2015, and his condition deteriorated in recent weeks.

Read More: Jonathan Demme, Oscar-Winning Director of ‘Silence of the Lambs,’ Dies At 73

His last credited project is “Shots Fired,” the Fox limited series for which he directed one episode — coincidentally scheduled to air tonight. »


- Ben Travers, Hanh Nguyen, Liz Shannon Miller and Steve Greene

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The Best Dual Roles on TV, Ranked

8 hours ago

It’s difficult enough for an actor to be tasked with transforming into a new person — in aspect, personality, movement and spirit — from role to role. But when double duty (or more) is required within the same project, that’s when the real challenge kicks in, because the viewer must be convinced that the same actor is distinctly different when they’re playing both parts in rapid succession, sometimes even side-by side or interacting with each other.

Dating back to shows like “The Patty Duke Show,” “Bewitched” and “I Dream of Jeannie,” the dual role usually allowed for storylines involving twins, cousins or other lookalikes. Even “Knight Rider” stuck a mustache and goatee on David Hasselhoff to give him an evil twin. Over time though, these performances became less campy and more convincing, going beyond the fake hair, goofy costuming or “evil” shortcut trappings. These days, dual roles can be »


- Hanh Nguyen

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‘Dear White People’: Justin Simien and More Reveal What This Show Is Really About — Watch

9 hours ago

It isn’t too often that a film to TV adaptation works (“Taken” we’re looking at you), but as seen in the video below, the cast and crew behind Netflix’s “Dear White People” have worked hard to create a compelling story centered around relevant issues, while honoring what made the original film work in the first place.

In anticipation of the premiere, Netflix has released a video featuring Simien, showrunner Yvette Bowser and some of the cast members as they discuss the vision for the series.

Read More: ‘Dear White People’ Trailer: Netflix Taps A Comedic Powder Keg of Racial Unrest in Justin Simien’s Excellent Adaptation

With so much undeserved backlash surrounding the show’s title, Simien reaffirms what the show is and isn’t about.

“This show is about people of color dealing and trying to communicate with a society that doesn’t really always make a space for them, »


- Juan Diaz

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‘Sense8’ Season 2 Review: No More Learning Curve, As Lana Wachowski Revs the Show Forward

18 hours ago

The best way to enjoy “Sense8” as a series is to not question it too much. It’s a show that has a lot of complicated elements, with Season 2 continuing to expand the mythology that creators J. Michael Straczynski and the Wachowskis built from scratch in Season 1, but if you find yourself asking too many questions about the rules that govern this world, you’ll find yourself lost in the weeds.

This isn’t to say that the show doesn’t have an intriguing plotline, which only gets denser and richer in Season 2. But you’ll be missing the best aspects of a show that leads with its heart, first and foremost. In telling this story about eight once-upon-a-time strangers who find themselves bonded together by a psychic link, the creators have chosen to celebrate the sense of connection that underlies this premise.

If you watched Season 1, you know what we’re talking about. »


- Liz Shannon Miller

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Jason Jones On Life and Work With Samantha Bee After ‘The Daily Show’

25 April 2017 5:52 PM, PDT

The Daily Show” may have entered a new era with host Trevor Noah, but it’s not like the old cast went into retirement. Husband-and-wife contributors Jason Jones and Samantha Bee are among the most productive former members of the Jon Stewart “Daily Show” years — which is particularly notable once you discover they came close to taking over the program themselves.

Instead, the pair found a welcome home at TBS, where Bee hosts the weekly satiric news program “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” (which will air the special “Not the White House Correspondents Dinner” this weekend) and Jones serves as an executive producer. Meanwhile, the couple is also behind the TBS comedy “The Detour,” a subversive family comedy that they co-wrote and in which Jones stars.

Now wrapping its second season, “The Detour” began as an over-the-top road trip comedy with Jones as a corporate whistleblower moving his family across the country. »


- Eric Kohn

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‘The Sinner’ Review: Jessica Biel Is More Than a Mom and a Murderer in USA’s Intriguing Limited Series — Tribeca 2017

25 April 2017 5:39 PM, PDT

On a beautiful day at the beach, Cora Tannetti gets up off her blanket, picks up a knife, and repeatedly stabs a random man sitting in front of her. So why does a regular person walk up to a stranger and stab him to death? This is the very basic premise of “The Sinner,” USA Network’s upcoming adaptation of Petra Hammesfahr’s book, starring Jessica Biel (“BoJack Horseman”), Bill Pullman (“Independence Day”), and Christopher Abbott (“James White”).

The murder scene, which happens very early in the pilot, is a shocking, brutal, and blunt moment, foreshadowing more gruesome surprises to come. If the scene marked the start of a traditional series, “The Sinner” would feel like it’s already stringing out its big reveal. There’s too little backstory and too many opaque teases toward Cora’s motivations in the first hour for us to stick around for five seasons »


- Ben Travers

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10 Shows That Changed Critics’ Perceptions of the World — IndieWire Survey

25 April 2017 3:10 PM, PDT

Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of TV critics two questions and publishes the results on Tuesday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best show currently on TV?” can be found at the end of this post.)

This week’s question: What TV show that has changed your perspective on something? How? Why?

Sonia Saraiya (@soniasaraiya), Variety

This is almost cliché given how much we all wrote about it — but “You’re the Worst” really did alter the way that I thought about and understood clinical depression. I think the power that television and storytelling, in general, has to change our perspectives and/or broaden our horizons about experiences that aren’t our own is its most powerful force, and I could point to any number of shows that have slowly and gradually opened up new realizations for me. With “You’re the Worst” it felt like »


- Hanh Nguyen

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Nicolas Winding Refn Teases ‘Too Old To Die Young’ TV Series With Punk Track

25 April 2017 11:49 AM, PDT

Get psyched for “Too Old to Die Young.”

It’s only been a few months since we found out that Nicolas Winding Refn will be turning his artistic prowess towards the small screen for the Amazon crime drama series “Too Old to Die Young.” The filmmaker set Twitter ablaze on Tuesday with a simple post teasing the show.

Read More: ’Too Old to Die Young’: Miles Teller to Star in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Amazon Series

The tweet included a 30-second clip of British punk act The Bollock Brothers’ “The Last Supper,” playing over a dark graphic design reminiscent of the director’s noir-adjacent sensibilities. Only Refn’s name and the title of his show give a hint what the post is about.

Take a look at the tweet:

 

Dear Friends … pic.twitter.com/ysltacZr45

Nicolas Winding Refn (@NicolasWR) April 25, 2017

It doesn’t tell much, but we can read between the lines. »


- Hanh Nguyen

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‘Genius’ Review: Einstein Gets A Superhero Origin Story, But A Human One Would Have Been Enough

25 April 2017 11:49 AM, PDT

In accomplishments, impact, and general appearance, there are few figures in history who need an introduction less than Albert Einstein, a man whose impact on global culture is well-documented and rarely disputed. “Genius,” National Geographic’s largest foray into scripted drama to date, wants to make the point that, even in his day, Einstein was already a celebrity.

Out on the streets of Berlin as a rally passes or in a lecture hall with eager observers lining the rafters, the Einstein of “Genius” becomes a figure that demands attention. His scientific insights made him a target for fascist suppressors and inquisitive thinkers alike, which makes the show’s continuous decision to boldly intone Einstein’s greatness, as if it were something to be proven, all the more curious. Context is vital to understanding the man’s true achievements, but the self-imposed, continuous weight of history somehow robs this series of »


- Steve Greene

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‘Brockmire’: Watch Hank Azaria Discover the Terrifying World of Asmr YouTube Videos

25 April 2017 11:43 AM, PDT

When you’re a famous baseball announcer who’s fallen from glory, you’ll do anything to get back on top… including impressions of animated cats and experimenting with Asmr.

This is where we find Hank Azaria’s Jim Brockmire in this week’s episode, “Breakout Year.” In a bid to keep himself in the cultural conversation — and maintain the value of his name — the former professional baseball commentator voices a cat named “Jim Brockmeower” and then learns about a niche market with big viewership on YouTube.

In the clip below, Brockmire — with the help of techno-savy intern Charles (Tyrel Jackson Williams) — shows just how far he’ll go (and where he won’t) in a sharp, funny snippet from the latest episode.

Read More: ‘Bates Motel’ Finale Review: A Tragic Couple Gets Their Due in a Bloody, Beautiful Series Ender

Brockmire” premiered April 5 on IFC and has been enjoying a well-reviewed first season. »


- Ben Travers

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Albert Einstein, Comedy Icon? 9 Examples of How Film and TV Depict His Lighter Side

25 April 2017 9:42 AM, PDT

The legacy of Albert Einstein cannot be overstated — even when we take the scientist’s accomplishments for granted, he’s one of our planet’s most famous pop culture figures, recognizable across generations. The way he’s been depicted on screen has ranged from well-researched takes on the man’s life, such as Nat Geo Channel’s new anthology series “Genius,” premiering today, to, shall we say, somewhat more out-there fare.

Read More: ‘Genius’: Albert Einstein Undergoes a Heated Interrogation in Exclusive Sneak Peek — Watch

Below are some of the most notable examples we found featuring the great scientist depicted in a less-than-serious state. What’s interesting about looking at all of these examples together is how on the one hand, Einstein as an icon has been utilized for the sake of comedy for decades now. But when film or TV choose to engage with the reality of the man himself, »


- Liz Shannon Miller

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How ‘Planet Earth II’ and Other Nature Docs Manipulate Footage to Mess With Our Emotions — Watch

25 April 2017 9:38 AM, PDT

Does Bambi live or die?

That’s the question that nature documentary producers hope viewers want to know when watching an epic chase scene between predator and prey. That’s according to narrator Simon Cadre for DSLRguide, who revealed in a short video titled “How Nature Documentaries Are Fake” how these nature doc filmmakers use editing trickery to make viewers care about the subjects on shows like “Planet Earth II.”

The first is the use of sound effects, specifically foley to recreate sound, since most nature filmmaking can’t use the audio from the field. The actual audio would either be too loud from a helicopter or other ambient noise, and besides the subjects are often further away than mics can pick up.

Read More: ‘Planet Earth II’ Producers Reveal 6 Sneaky Ways They Filmed Their Animal Stars

The use of a dramatic score is also essential to making viewers feel »


- Hanh Nguyen

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‘Game of Thrones’ Deleted Scenes Reveal Tywin Lannister Fishing In a Rare Moment of Relaxation — Watch

25 April 2017 9:05 AM, PDT

Everyone knows HBO’s “Game of Thrones” likes to pack a lot of plot into a little season. In fact, there are so many storylines in the hit show that some feel underdeveloped while others seem to drag on forever. But that is inevitable when creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have to truncate each roughly 700-page book by George R. R. Martin into one season.

Read More: ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7 Photos: Get You Someone Who Looks at You the Way Tormund Looks at Brienne of Tarth

The show films a lot more footage than it can use, as evidenced by the many deleted scenes in the special features section of the DVD sets. Thanks to a new compilation from YouTube channel WhatCulture, you can experience the best deleted scenes without having to invest in the DVDs. The video is narrated by a cheeky brit who contextualizes his favorite »


- Jude Dry

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Shonda Rhimes Secrets: The ‘Scandal’ Producer On How Not To Get Fired From a Writers’ Room

25 April 2017 8:50 AM, PDT

For an aspiring TV scribe, landing the first writing gig is a feat. Holding on to that job is a triumph.

Shonda Rhimes has some advice for novice writers on how not to get fired: Make some noise around the table, so that you have an immediate impact in the room. The secret seems obvious, but Rhimes told IndieWire that it’s surprising how many newbies clam up and immediately limit their careers.

“I think everybody feels like their goal in their job is to sit quietly in the corner and watch things happen,” Rhimes said. “And that is the most deadly mistake you can make. That is exactly how you get fired. The most silent person in the writers room is usually the first fired person in the writers room. Because people start to either think that the person is stupid or creepy or honestly doesn’t have anything to say. »


- Michael Schneider

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‘Bates Motel’ Finale Review: A Tragic Couple Gets Their Due in a Bloody, Beautiful Series Ender

24 April 2017 8:00 PM, PDT

[Editor’s Note: The following review contains spoilers for the “Bates Motel” series finale: Season 5, Episode 10, “The Cord.”]

A cold dose of reality didn’t sit well with Norman, so “Bates Motel” gave him the fantasy instead. Looking back on Season 5, it’s clear now that Norman (Freddie Highmore) was being forced to choose between the two all along: A world without Norma (Vera Farmiga), his mother, was not one he could continue living in without a major lifestyle change. He had to accept she was dead or be allowed to indulge his delusion that she was still alive.

When push came to shove — or, to be more accurate, knife came to gun — Norman chose the delusion. After suffering a beating at the hands of Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell), Norman turned the tables on his captor and killed him with a heavy stone to the head. He passed out next to the barely covered corpse of his mother, and dreamt of when they first took over the Bates Motel. »


- Ben Travers

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‘Better Call Saul’ Review: The Details Matter Most in A Tale of Two Schemes

24 April 2017 8:00 PM, PDT

Last Week’S Review: Jimmy Is, Once Again, ‘A Little Bit Crooked’

[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for “Better Call Saul” Season 3, Episode 3, “Sunk Costs.”]

Case Summary

While technically last week gave us our first glimpse of Gus Fring, here we really see the man in action in his first one-on-one scene with Mike. It’s just one scene, early in the episode, but the menace Giancarlo Esposito can bring to one relatively subdued encounter remains a thing of wonder. Not that Mike is any less scary. Consider the calm but firm way he makes it clear to Gus that he is not done with the Salamancas, and his methodical actions over the course of the episode that lead directly to Salamanca henchmen getting arrested at the border.

Meanwhile, the consequences for Jimmy’s outrage get unveiled in stark detail: Chuck is pressing charges, in a deliberate attempt to get Jimmy disbarred — which will very likely happen if Jimmy ends up with a felony on his record. »


- Liz Shannon Miller

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