Disney’s first Polynesian princess is ‘Moana’

Looks like Disney’s got another winner up its sleeve! Following ZootopiaBig Hero 6, and Frozen is Moana, the first Disney film to star a Polynesian princess. 16-year-old Moana, voiced by newcomer Auli’i Cravalho, is about to embark on an exciting adventure of self-discovery across the vast Pacific. The official logline reads:

From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli’i Cravalho) meets the once-mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder. Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.

This is merely a teaser trailer, and it already looks and sounds great. Moana is directed by the filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker, the same duo behind such Disney classics as The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. Original music and score is provided by Opetaia Foa’i, Mark Mancina (The Lion King), and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton). The song featured here sounds a little familiar, does it not?

Can’t wait to see more from this project. Moana splashes into theatres November 23, Thanksgiving Day. READ MORE Disney’s first Polynesian princess is ‘Moana’

What to watch this summer: ‘Orange is the New Black,’ ‘Mr. Robot,’ ‘You’re the Worst’ & more

School’s out and to celebrate this fine occasion, I’ll be recommending a handful of quality TV shows to keep you busy in front of the boob tube over the long, dog days of summer. The months of June, July, and August play host to many of your favorite returning series including Orange is the New BlackMr. Robot, and You’re the Worst. Haven’t heard of them? Stop playing neighbors with Patrick Star and get with the programs! Release dates, times, and trailers are posted after the break. READ MORE What to watch this summer: ‘Orange is the New Black,’ ‘Mr. Robot,’ ‘You’re the Worst’ & more

TV items: ‘Nashville’ picked up by CMT, ‘Orphan Black’ renewed for final season & ‘Curb’ returns

When ABC decided to cancel Nashville after four seasons, I was a bit distraught. The season four finale did wrap up most of the dangling threads and everyone pretty much had their happy ending, except for Juliette Barnes, of course, whose cliffhanger involved her jet going missing. A part of me thinks I could have gone on just fine if that was the end of Nashville. Over the years, the country music drama weaved in and out of being a soapy mess. The series, at its best, focused on the music and the trails and tribulations of making it in the music industry. At its worst, it focused on completely unrelated dramatic twists including Juliette going haywire with postpartum depression and, most recently, Rayna James’ eldest daughter emancipating herself from the family. Soap operas can have fun with drama like this, but when it starts to completely deviate from the soul of the series, that’s when viewers (like me, at least) begin to lose interest.

And yet, that feeling of being distraught wouldn’t budge and the reason is simple, really. A Nashville fan from the beginning, I wadded through the creative ups and downs, knowing I’d eventually reach the series’ natural conclusion. Though most characters did get their happy ending, it was clear that the season finale was not constructed to serve as a series finale. Its various relationships are important to the plot, including Rayna and Deacon and Scarlet and Gunnar finally embracing their inevitable soul mate statuses with each other. But here’s the thing: Nashville can’t end without celebrating the music that makes it so special. I went into this show with a public disregard of country music; simply wasn’t a fan. Nashville managed to convert me, so much so that I went to see the actors perform music from the show live at one of Nashville‘s popular tour stops. The show couldn’t just end without a proper goodbye, and that includes unforgettable music performances that hopefully harken back to season 1’s gems including but not limited to those touching duets by Scarlet and Gunnar.

This brings us to the exciting news at hand: CMT has picked up Nashville for a fifth season, and studio Lionsgate TV intends to produce additional seasons of the show “for years to come.” The renewal also includes a deal with Hulu; the streaming service will air new episodes of Nashville the day after they air on cable. Season 5 will be led by new showrunners, Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick, and the plan is to pump out a full 22-episode season (as opposed to the 10-13 most cable networks do these days). Nashville lives on, and for someone who has invested four seasons of time with these characters and their stories, this is music to my ears.

Jump after the break to get the scoop on Orphan Black and Curb Your Enthusiasm. READ MORE TV items: ‘Nashville’ picked up by CMT, ‘Orphan Black’ renewed for final season & ‘Curb’ returns

E3 roundup: The latest and greatest from Microsoft, Sony & Nintendo inside

Summer’s just around the corner, and gamers know exactly what that means. E3 is in town, and The Big Three console makers are ready to show off the best they have to offer. For 2016, Microsoft took a big swing by introducing loads of new hardware, including a new Xbox console debuting in August, as well as its next-gen beast due out in 2017. Sony and Nintendo, on the other hand, laser-focused on their respective games library. The PS4 is on the verge of transforming into a virtual reality conduit, and Sony packed quite the punch with its PS VR launch lineup. Nintendo, meanwhile, lifted the veil off the next game in the coveted Legend of Zelda franchise and it looks spectacular. If there’s a theme to be had here, it’s that all three companies are churning out visually splendid and heart-pounding experiences coming to systems this year and beyond. It’s a great time to be a gamer.

For the full scoop from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo at E3, jump after the break. READ MORE E3 roundup: The latest and greatest from Microsoft, Sony & Nintendo inside

WWDC: Apple brings big updates to its four major platforms, including Siri for Mac

Apple kicked off its World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) this year by introducing big updates to its four major platforms: watchOS, which powers Apple Watch; tvOS, the driver behind Apple TV; OS X, the desktop operating system running all Macs; and iOS, the mobile operating system that gives life to iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. These platforms see updates on a regular basis every year, but with WWDC in town, they aim to change the game in ways in could only imagine. You may be disappointed to hear there were no hardware unveils this time around, but fret not because these software updates demoed today are worthy of their own stage. The breakdown is after the break. READ MORE WWDC: Apple brings big updates to its four major platforms, including Siri for Mac

Microsoft demonstrates virtual collaboration with VR/AR unifier Windows Holographic

Microsoft’s making a point with its latest glimpse into the future. Instead of choosing a side in the race to develop virtual and augmented reality technologies, the Windows maker is embracing a mixed reality, and it’s a vision that aims to break down the barriers between our physical world and the endless potential of a virtual space. Powering the company’s mixed reality is Windows Holographic, a platform embedded inside Windows 10 that enables end-users to transform the physical world around them with interactive holograms. In the video demonstration above, Microsoft promotes a collaborative experience where multiple users can virtually meet up, plan, and execute ideas in real time.

Collaboration is the key here. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the gamer featured in this clip is not wearing Microsoft’s HoloLens hardware. In fact, he’s sporting a VR headset designed by HTC called Vive. It’s one of the more popular VR devices out today, a direct competitor of Oculus’s Rift. So what is it doing here, featured in Microsoft’s mixed reality demonstration? Well, MSFT aims to bridge the gap (see a trend here?) between competing VR and AR offerings by opening up the Windows Holographic platform to partners including HTC, ASUS, Intel, Dell, HP, Lenovo and other pioneers in the PC market. Whether or not Microsoft succeeds in becoming the definitive holographic interface is a question for another day, but you must commend its forward-thinking initiative for inclusivity.

The first step in creating this future was taken in March when Microsoft began shipping out the first HoloLens units to developers. The company says that there are already hundreds of Windows Holographic-infused apps in the Windows Store today as developers continue to mine the headset and its underlying, universal platform for its potential across a multitude of industries including entertainment and education.

With the Rift and Vive out in the wild, and Sony’s PS4-powered PSVR device just around the corner, VR is about to blow up and it sure will be interesting to watch Microsoft respond with a decidedly different approach to our VR AR MR future.

[Via Microsoft] READ MORE Microsoft demonstrates virtual collaboration with VR/AR unifier Windows Holographic

Upfronts: Preview The CW’s fall schedule including ‘Supergirl’ & one-hour romantic comedy

The CW, CBS’ sister network, is the little network that could, sustaining itself mostly with superheroes and vampires over the years and more recently with critically acclaimed comedies. For the upcoming 2016-17 TV season, the green-hued net has 3 new dramas and 1 new comedy entering the fray, so let’s take a look.

This fall, Supergirl is moving from CBS to The CW where it will join producer Greg Berlanti’s crop of DC-based superhero shows including ArrowThe Flash, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. CW head Mark Pedowitz promises the “biggest [crossover event]” is in the works. Supergirl will continue on in its Monday-at-8 timeslot followed by Jane the Virgin. On Tuesday, The Flash will open for new hour-long romantic comedy No Tomorrow and on Wednesday, Arrow will aim to attract viewers to new drama Frequency, an adaptation of the 2000 science fiction thriller. Thursday pairs the hot Legends of Tomorrow with veteran Supernatural (which is entering its 12th season!), and Friday sees The Vampire Diaries joined with the low rated but critically touted Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which is relocating from Monday.

The single new series being held for midseason on The CW is Riverdale, a live action drama based on the characters from Archie Comics, also produced by Greg Berlanti. For fans of The OriginalsReigniZombie, and The 100, fear not; though they are all being benched in the fall, they will return sometime later in the season.

Jump after the break to view the full fall schedule and preview The CW’s new fall and midseason series with video clips and descriptions. READ MORE Upfronts: Preview The CW’s fall schedule including ‘Supergirl’ & one-hour romantic comedy

Upfronts: Preview CBS’ fall schedule including Kevin James, Matt LeBlanc & Joel McHale sitcoms

CBS is the last of the Big Four Networks to present its fall schedule and preview its new series slate. In all, The Eye has 5 new dramas and 3 new comedies coming soon, and of the 8 new programs, six are ready to go come fall.

ABC’s new entertainment president Channing Dungey doubled down on single-cam sitcoms, and CBS’ newly appointed entertainment head Glenn Geller is following suit by also injecting two weeknights with two-hour comedy blocks. The Big Bang Theory, the most-watched comedy on TV, will anchor Mondays in September and provide a solid lead in for the new Kevin James (King of Queens) multi-cam sitcom Kevin Can Wait2 Broke Girls and The Odd Couple will follow, and returning procedural Scorpion will close the night at 10. When Thursday Night Football concludes in late October, Kevin Can Wait will move into the 8pm slot and it will be paired with another new stay-at-home dad sitcom, Man with a Plan, toplined by Matt LeBlanc (Friends). New legal drama Bull, inspired by the early career of Dr. Phil and starring Michael Weatherly (NCIS), gets sandwiched between NCIS and offshoot NCIS: New Orleans on Tuesday. Wednesday is home to SurvivorCriminal Minds, and, Code Black. In late October, Big Bang will anchor another night, Thursday, and help draw eyeballs to Joel McHale’s (Community) fresh laugher, The Great Indoors. Returning sitcoms Mom and Life in Pieces complete this second two-hour comedy block on the Eye’s schedule, and new hospital-set drama Pure Genius bookends the night at 10. Friday will open with a modernized version of MacGyver and it will lead into returning crime procedurals Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods. With The Good Wife over, Sunday’s lineup now looks like this: NCIS: LAMadam SecretaryElementary.

New series being held for midseason include dramas Training Day–starring Bill Paxton and based on the film but taking place 15 years after it–and Doubt, a legal procedural and Katherine Heigl’s (Grey’s Anatomy) return to network TV (Orange is the New Black‘s Laverne Cox co-stars).

Jump after the break to view the full fall schedule and preview CBS’ new fall and midseason series with video clips and descriptions. READ MORE Upfronts: Preview CBS’ fall schedule including Kevin James, Matt LeBlanc & Joel McHale sitcoms

Upfronts: Preview ABC’s fall schedule including Kiefer Sutherland as POTUS

ABC is network number three to present its new series for the upcoming 2016-17 TV season. There are 5 new dramas and 4 new comedies on deck, and of the nine new series, five will debut this fall. The upcoming season marks a changing of the guard in Alphabet city as Channing Dungey takes over for Paul Lee as the net’s new entertainment president.

In one of her first big moves as network head, Dungey cancelled a significant number of ABC’s shows including the long-running Castle and Wednesday night staple, Nashville. Leading out of Dancing with the Stars on Monday nights now and replacing Castle is a new procedural toplined by Hayley Atwell, Conviction; Atwell, ironically enough, is the former star of ABC’s now-cancelled Agent Carter. Comedy is a big deal for Dungey, and viewers should take notice. A two-hour comedy block has been added to Tuesday, and veteran The Middle is relocating there from Wednesday to serve as the opening course. It will lead into new sitcom American Housewife and the returning Fresh off the Boat and The Real O’Neals. Closing out the final hour of the evening is Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., now in the 10pm hour. A second two-hour block of comedy follows on Wednesday, and the network now entrusts The Goldbergs to kickstart the funny. It will open the night for another new sitcom, Speechless, which is followed by vet Modern Family and breakout hit black-ish. Taking over Nashville‘s Wednesdays-at-10 vacancy is new political drama Designated Survivor with Kiefer Sutherland (24). This fall, “TGIT” takes a backseat since Scandal is being held until midseason (likely because star Kerry Washington is pregnant with her second child). Sandwiched between Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder is new legal drama Notorious (and no, it is not executive produced by Shonda Rhimeshence the halting of TGIT). But fear not–TGIT will return in midseason when both Scandal and another Shonda show The Catch return to the schedule. Friday remains dominated by ABC’s single-cam sitcoms Last Man Standing and Dr. Ken, and Sunday looks familiar with Once Upon A TimeSecrets and Lies (finally returning for its second season), and Quantico.

New series being held for midseason include another Shondaland show, Still Star-Crossed, the third time-travel series to come out of this year’s upfronts, Time After Time (following NBC’s Timeless and FOX’s Making History), and sitcoms Downward Dog and Imaginary Mary (for former including a talking dog, and the latter a completely animated character). Mary is the second live-action/CGI hybrid to debut this week, following FOX’s Son of Zorn. Special event programming include a David Blaine magic special, Ali: The Champion, a special honoring boxer Muhammad Ali, limited series When We Rise, and a three-hour filmed musical event, Dirty Dancing.

Jump after the break to view the full fall schedule and preview ABC’s new fall and midseason series with video clips and descriptions. READ MORE Upfronts: Preview ABC’s fall schedule including Kiefer Sutherland as POTUS

Upfronts: Preview FOX’s fall and midseason schedules, including new ’24’ & ‘Prison Break’

FOX followed NBC out of the gate in presenting its next programming slate for the 2016-17 TV season. In total, the now American Idol-less network is showcasing 8 new dramas, 3 new comedies, 2 new reality series, and a live musical. Of the 13 new shows, four will premiere this fall and the remainders will air in midseason or later. Sound familiar? NBC is playing up stability in the fall, too, debuting only three new series early on and saving the rest for next year. Unlike the other networks, however, FOX shares its fall and midseason schedules at the Upfronts, so we have a clearer picture here as to when benched series will see the light of day.

This fall, FOX’s schedule is unmistakable. Gotham and Lucifer open Monday. Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl provide a comedic launchpad for Ryan Murphy’s fun horror fest Scream Queens on Tuesday. On Wednesday, new drama Lethal Weapon is paired with broadcast juggernaut Empire. Thursday sees crime procedural Rosewood leading into the final season of Bones. Another new drama based on a popular film franchise, The Exorcist, gets the Friday-at-9 slot following Hell’s Kitchen, where it will go head-to-head with NBC’s Friday night genre fare, Grimm. Animation Domination Sunday includes the return of Bob’s BurgersThe SimpsonsFamily Guy, and at 8:30 a new half-hour sitcom, Son of Zorn, which is an eccentric live action/animated hybrid from Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Last Man on Earth). A live presentation of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, starring Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black) and Victoria Justice (Victorious), will air sometime in October, just in time for Halloween.

Perhaps the most anticipated new series next season, the exciting return of 24 and Prison Break, are being saved for midseason premieres. In 24: Legacy, Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer is out and The Walking Dead‘s Corey Hawkins is in as the new lead. Typically FOX announces midseason premieres as we get closer to winter, but the new 24 is a special case because it has snagged the coveted post-Super Bowl slot; it will premiere Sunday, Feb. 5 immediately following the big game, and then it will fall into its regular Monday-at-8 timeslot the day after. The next chapter in Prison Break is being billed as a six-episode event series and it will air Thursdays-at-9 leading out of Rosewood come early 2017; the entire gang is back and it looks incredible. Other new series being held for midseason include dramas APB with Justin Kirk (Tyrant), MLB-backed Pitch from EP Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love), racially charged Shots Fired, and Lee Daniels’ Star, plus comedies The Mick with Kaitlin Olson (It’s Always Sunny) and fun time-traveller Making History with Adam Pally (Happy Endings). Reality series Kicking and Screaming and My Kitchen Rules come later, too. And for all your Sleepyheads out there, Sleepy Hollow will return to Friday next year.

Update (5/20): FOX has made some tweaks to its upcoming schedules, just days after announcing them at the Upfronts. Baseball drama Pitch will now premiere in the fall (alongside the new MLB season, so that makes sense), and this pushes Bones to winter. And that, in turn, pushes Prison Break to spring, when it will air on Tuesday instead of Thursday. Got it? Good. The fall and midseason schedules below have been updated to reflect these changes.

Jump after the break to view the full fall schedule and preview FOX’s new fall and midseason series with video clips and descriptions. READ MORE Upfronts: Preview FOX’s fall and midseason schedules, including new ’24’ & ‘Prison Break’

Upfronts: Preview NBC’s fall schedule including time travel drama & afterlife sitcom

NBC is the first of the Big Four Networks to unveil its new series for the upcoming 2016-17 TV season. In total, the Peacock has 7 new dramas, 5 new comedies, and 3 new reality series in the pipeline to debut next season. Of the 15 new shows, only three will rollout in the fall, and the rest will remain on tap for midseason.

Time travel drama Timeless from Eric Kripke (RevolutionSupernatural) and Shawn Ryan (Last ResortThe Chicago CodeThe Shield) has landed NBC’s most powerful timeslot, the plumb Monday-at-10 hour behind ratings juggernaut The Voice. On Tuesday, ensemble drama This Is Us from Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love) is sandwiched between a second hour of The Voice and the returning Dick Wolf procedural Chicago Fire. This past fall’s breakout hit Blindspot is relocating to Wednesday to give Timeless a fighting chance, where the Greg Berlanti-produced thriller will lead into Law & Order: SVU and Chicago P.D. Comedies will open Thursday nights, with the returning Superstore leading into Michael Schur’s (Brooklyn Nine-NineParks and Rec) next surefire hit The Good Place. The second half of NBC’s “Must See TV” evening is comprised of Chicago Med and The Blacklist. Genre fare Grimm remains on Fridays perched at the 9pm hour, SNL rules Saturday night as is tradition, and football dominates Sundays.

New series being held for midseason include spinoff The Blacklist: Redemption, another Dick Wolf spinoff Chicago Justice, Wizard of Oz-inspired Emerald City, mystical Midnight Texas, a prequel series Taken based on the Liam Neeson movie franchise and sitcoms Great News (from Tina Fey and Robert Carlock), Marlon Wayans’ Marlon, DC Comics-based Powerless, and Trial & Error with John Lithgow. Reality series warming the bench include The New Celebrity Apprentice spearheaded by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Better Late Than Never starring Henry Winkler, William Shatner, Terry Bradshaw, and George Foreman, First Dates executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres, and The Wall EP’d by LeBron James. Special event programming include Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love, Hairspray Live!, and A Few Good Men Live!.

Jump after the break to view the full fall schedule and preview NBC’s new fall and midseason series with video clips and descriptions. READ MORE Upfronts: Preview NBC’s fall schedule including time travel drama & afterlife sitcom

Status update #10 on your favorite new and returning shows

Here’s the tenth and final status update on the fates of your favorite shows across the major broadcast networks. This week brings the Upfronts presentations where the nets unveil their new programming for the upcoming 2016-17 TV season. Before we get to that, read on to find out which shows will be returning for more, and which ones are biting the dust. Fair warning, the networks committed deep spring cleaning, so brace yourselves.

CBS is forging forward with one long-running franchise and saying goodbye to another. Criminal Minds has been renewed for a 12th season, and according to Deadline, its spinoff Beyond Borders is expected to return for a second run. CSI: Cyber, on the other hand, has been cancelled after two seasons. The axing of the spinoff marks the end of an era for The Eye; next season will mark the first time the network isn’t airing a CSI show in 16 years. For those keeping count, the original CSI ran for 15 seasons, and its other spinoffs CSI: Miami and CSI: NY ran for 10 and 9 seasons, respectively. After some negotiation between CBS and studio Warner Bros. TV, Supergirl will produce a second season, but it will do so on sister network The CW. The superhero show, created by prolific producer Greg Berlani, will join Berlanti’s other crop of DC Comics-based series at The CW including ArrowFlash, and Legends of Tomorrow. Elsewhere, ensemble sitcom Life in Pieces was renewed for a sophomore run. We’re still waiting on the fates of hospital drama Code Black and sitcom The Odd Couple, but Deadline predicts imminent renewals on both fronts. Update (5/16): Criminal Minds: Beyond BordersCode BlackThe Odd Couple, and Undercover Boss have all been renewed. Freshman drama Rush Hour has been cancelled.

Jump after the break for more from NBC, FOX, and ABC. READ MORE Status update #10 on your favorite new and returning shows