15 items from 2014
While everyone is celebrating the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it's easy to forget that the entertainment powerhouse that is J.J. Abrams has been working steadily to fuel our imaginations, our dreams, and sometimes our tears, for almost two decades! If you've got four minutes, you can relive the most popular years of J.J. Abrams' career in a flash with the video below. Thanks to The Nerdist and Vimeo user Jason Rusch, this masterfully put together montage of Jj Abrams' greatest hits as director/show runner/producer, as well as some of his not so successful ventures, is here to improve your day. Unless you consider shows like Undercovers or Revolution as successes. In which case, there's only smiles here. Naturally, the entire video leads up to, you guessed it, the inclusion of Star Wars: The Force Awakens' wildly popular teaser trailer. It's hard »
By Anjelica Oswald
Gugu Mbatha-Raw — whose name is short for Gugulethu, which is Zulu for “Our Pride” — is quickly showing her versatility as an actress portraying an 18th century aristocrat and a hip-hop star over the course of a year. Mbatha-Raw (pronounced em-bah-tah raw) has been highly praised for both roles and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Mbatha-Raw was trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London and in 2009, she starred alongside Jude Law in Hamlet on Broadway.
Prior to her stint on Broadway, she appeared in various television shows and movies, including Doctor Who in 2007.
She followed her Broadway performance with roles in the 2011 film Larry Crowne, with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, and she played one half of the undercover husband-and-wife CIA team in NBC’s Undercovers. The show, executive produced by J.J. Abrams, was cancelled after 13 episodes. She also appeared in the first season of Touch, »
- Anjelica Oswald
ABC has decided to deny admission to Members Only.
The drama, which was to star John Stamos, will not join the Alphabet Net’s midseason line-up as originally planned, per The Hollywood Reporter.
Stamos was to play the billionaire husband of a character played by Natalie Zea (The Following). The cast also included Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad), Boris Kodjoe (Undercovers), Luke Mitchell (The Tomorrow People) and Michael Landes (Save Me).
Gugu Mbatha-Raw is on the move. After eight years of climbing the industry ladder, first with British TV guest spots and then roles in American series "Undercovers" and "Touch," the 31-year-old actress is breaking out in 2014. It all began with her most noteworthy role to date, the lead in Fox Searchlight's Spring art house hit "Belle." The period drama which imagines the life of Dido Elizabeth Belle, a mixed race African woman who lived most of her adult life in English nobility, earned strong reviews and has earned Mbatha-Raw two British Independent Film Award nominations. This weekend she follows "Belle" up with something completely different, Gina Prince-Bythewood's impressive contemporary romance "Beyond the Lights." The film finds Mbatha-Raw portraying Noni, a pop-star on the verge of superstardom. Disturbingly and predictably, the sexualization of the music industry has transformed her into a manufactured product she never thought she'd be. Determined to »
- Gregory Ellwood, Katie Hasty
Created by Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich), the series offers an “upstairs/downstairs” look at life in an exclusive Connecticut country club. Per our sister site Deadline, Stamos will play the hedge-fund billionaire husband of Natalie Zea’s Mickey, whose marriage has bought him membership at the club. (Editor’s note: That is one seriously good-looking couple.)
Related Fall Preview 2014: Your Handy Calendar of 99 Premieres
Created by Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich, A Gifted Man) and ordered straight to series back in January, the midseason drama offers an “upstairs/downstairs” look at the goings-on at an exclusive Connecticut country club. So, a sudsier Caddyshack.
Per our sister site Deadline, Zea will play Mickey, the well-educated and most together member of the club’s founding family. So, a smarter Lacy Underall.
A couple days ago we reported that The Tomorrow People‘s Robbie Amell had found a new home on the CW’s high anticipated fall series, The Flash, and now another former Tomorrow People star has also moved on – even if fans have not. Luke Mitchell, who played John Young on the short-lived CW supernatural drama, has just been cast in ABC’s mid-season drama series, Members Only.
The new show, formerly titled The Club, will center around a private country club. Mitchell will play Jesse, a character from the wrong side of the tracks who was recently employed at the club and although he’ll appears to be a little rough around the edges, he actually has his life together.
Along with Mitchell, Members Only stars Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad), Boris Kodjoe (Undercovers), Callie Hernandez (From Dusk Till Dawn), Chris Conroy, and newly cast Jaime Lee Kirchner (Mercy). Kirchner »
- Lindsay Sperling
Good news for fans of the dearly departed Tomorrow People: Luke Mitchell will be back on your TV — just not on The CW.
The actor has been cast in ABC’s midseason drama Members Only, per The Hollywood Reporter.
Related Fall TV Preview: Photos and Video of 50+ New Shows
Mitchell will play Jesse, a new club employee from the wrong side of town whose scattered demeanor may be deceiving.
Ready for more of today’s newsy nuggets? »
ABC's New Pick Ups
ABC announced this week that it would be adding nine new shows to their line-up, including Felicity Huffman’s return to television and another Marvel spinoff.
Marvel’s Agent Carter is a spinoff of Captain America: The First Avenger and will star Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter. The show will pick up in 1946, after the Captain’s death in the first Captain America film, and Agent Carter returns home to a sexist military and life as a double agent. After her dealings with Howard Stark in Captain America: The First Avenger, Agent Carter works as a spy for the Ssr (Strategic Scientific Reserve) for Mr. Stark, aka Iron Man’s father. Whether »
Boris Kodjoe is heading to ABC. The Real Husbands of Hollywood and Undercovers alum has joined ABC's 13-episode drama series The Club, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. From Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich), The Club is described as a an upstairs-downstairs soap centered on a private country club. Kodjoe will play Deacon Harris, a former Hall of Fame football player who is persuaded to join the country club. He joins a cast that already includes Breaking Bad's Betsy Brandt, Callie Hernandez and Chris Conroy. Photos: Faces of Pilot Season 2014 ABC picked up The Club straight to series. David
- Philiana Ng, Lesley Goldberg
Feature Rob Kemp 24 Mar 2014 - 07:00
Jj Abrams is arguably one of the most successful TV producers of recent times. A bold statement, maybe, but a rundown of his series feels like a name check of some of the greatest genre TV of the past couple of decades. Success though, can be a funny attribute to understand – after all, if we knew what it took to be successful, we’d all be doing it.
With Abrams it could be one thing, or many. It could be his love of fantasy, the way he casts or just an understanding of what an audience wants – a good, interesting and exciting story. There is something however, that we might agree on and it’s that his shows have something »
J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuarón are two of the most exciting and respected filmmakers working today, and their names are often seen as an undeniable sign of quality. Abrams is known for being behind some of the most unique and mythology-heavy television shows of the last decade (Alias, Lost, and Fringe, to name a few), while Cuarón is recognized for his incredible filmography and that nice golden Best Director Oscar that now sits on his shelf for Gravity. So, when it was announced that the duo would be teaming up to produce a show on NBC called Believe, fans of the filmmakers were, as expected, incredibly excited.
Granted, Abrams’ name is often attached to projects that the man himself has little to do with. Often, his production company Bad Robot does most of the legwork, while his name is merely used to sell audiences on the prospect of high-concept television shows. »
- James Garcia
One theme that runs through much of J.J. Abrams' work as a writer and producer is family, from the ad hoc families of the college students on "Felicity" and the castaways of "Lost" to the father-daughter drama of "Alias," the husband-wife drama of "Undercovers" and the father-son drama of "Fringe."
Whatever situation the characters land in - and some of these shows have very fantastical premises -- the core of the story is people struggling with, or forming, close family bonds.
Expect more of the same when Abrams' latest project, "Believe," premieres Monday, March 10, on NBC. Created by Alfonso Cuaron ("Gravity") and Mark Friedman for Abrams' Bad Robot Productions -- with Jonas Pate and Hans Tobeason as the current showrunners -- it centers on 10-year-old Bo (Johnny Sequoyah), a precocious girl who was also born with a range of unusual powers, including levitation, telekinesis and precognition.
But she's not »
There was a period after the instant, explosive success of "Lost" where J.J. Abrams seemed to be creating every new drama on television. I say "seemed to" because in most of those cases, these shows — "Six Degrees," "What About Brian" and "Alcatraz," among others — were shows from Abrams' production company that traded on his name in their marketing, but didn't have him around as any kind of hands-on creative force. Every now and again he might actually co-write or direct one of the pilots with his name on it (for the short-lived "Undercovers," he did both), but Abrams often seems to be most useful simply using his muscle to get shows on the air, and then as a hook to use in marketing. Some of these shows last a while — "Fringe" went five seasons, and "Person of Interest" and "Revolution" are still around — while others have demonstrated the limits of »
- Alan Sepinwall
Carter MacIntyre has found a new place to roost. He has joined as a series regular on USA Network’s upcoming comedy, “Benched.” MacIntyre will play Trent, Nina’s (“Happy Endings’” Eliza Coupe) ex-fiancé and professional nemesis. He filled in an as the resident guardian angel on the fourth season of Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva.” Viewers will also remember him from J.J. Abrams’ short-lived NBC spy dramedy, “Undercovers.” His other TV credits include ABC’s “Mixology,” The CW’s “The Tomorrow People” and a recurring role on the final season of ABC’s “Private Practice.” Also read: ‘Office’s »
- Jethro Nededog
15 items from 2014
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