Netflix knows how to pick ’em. Today the streaming service added Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror to its slate of original programming.
If you haven’t heard of the cult sci-fi series, it’s about time you did. Ever since the British anthology show made its way to Netflix, I’ve been spreading gospel about its unique nature and gripping storytelling. I previously described Black Mirror as The Twilight Zone for today’s tech-obsessed generation. Each standalone episode, to varying degrees, pulls back the curtain on what society might look like in our collective not-so-distant future. Episodes are intrinsically satirical, disturbing, unsettling, and most of all, wildly compelling. What’s out there now is a quick binge, too. Brooker produced two seasons (each comprising three episodes) and a special (featuring guest star Jon Hamm) for the UK’s Channel 4 network. All installments (minus the elusive special) are currently available to stream on Netflix, and I highly recommend you add them to your queue, stat.
Brooker has a keen sense of the world’s trepidations as our little “black mirrors” continue to consume our lives (read: smartphones, computers, televisions). Season 1’s “The Entire History of You” is widely considered the series best installment so far; in it, people are embedded with a device that allows you to record everything you do and see and hear. Obviously, this plays to people’s fears about Big Brother always watching, but it makes this fear even more intriguing by adding a personal twist. And then, of course, there’s “National Anthem” which focuses on a fictional Prime Minister who must have sex with a pig in order to save the kidnapped princess. Is a merely a coincidence that Brooker was able to predict something along these lines would actually take place in real life? I think not; he’s that good.
I’m happy to report that Brooker and his executive producing parter Annabel Jones are returning to helm the new episodes coming to Netflix soon. Brooker is already penning the 12 fresh installments, and production begins later this year in the UK. A release date has not been disclosed, but we can certainly cross our fingers for a 2016 launch.
“It’s all very exciting — a whole new bunch of Black Mirror episodes on the most fitting platform imaginable,” said Brooker in a press release. “Netflix connects us with a global audience so that we can create bigger, stranger, more international and diverse stories than before, whilst maintaining that ‘Black Mirror‘ feel. I just hope none of these new story ideas come true.”
“Charlie has created a one-of-a-kind series with an uncanny voice and prescient, darkly comedic vision. We’re tremendously proud to bring Black Mirror to our members as a Netflix original series,” added Cindy Holland, Netflix Vice President, original content.
Calling all sensates! Netflix has renewed its sci-fi-tastic series Sense8. The highly innovative and admittedly addicting and adrenaline-pumping show about eight people inextricably linked by a special mental bond is coming back for a second season.
With Sense8, The Wachowskis brought to TV the awesome sci-fi and physical combat elements they are best known for (see: The Matrix Trilogy, Cloud Atlas, Jupiter Ascending). As fun as those genre elements can be, the filmmakers go above and beyond the expected in Sense8, which really plays out like 12 mini-movies. Each installment–and the series in general–manages to transcend its sci-fi mythology and focus on the even more intriguing and captivating thing going on all along; using a sci-fi lens, Sense8 prioritizes human connection and celebrates the human condition. The first season spans the globe, connecting and exploring the lives of complex characters you quickly come to care about. The season closes like the chapter of a book ends: wholly satisfying with sequel potential bursting at the seams. The initial run of episodes spends lots of time world-building and shaping the sensates. A second season is bound to dive deeper into the mostly unexplored mythos (Hello, Mr. Whispers) and bring together our favorite sensate cluster with a renewed sense of vigor and understanding.
A lacking pilot and pacing issues aside, I highly recommend you binge Sense8 if you haven’t already. It starts slow, but when it gets going (around episodes 3 and 4) there’s no stopping this freight train of pure, unadulterated fun.
We’re only four days away from the launch of the Wet Hot American Summer revival on Netflix! To celebrate this momentous occasion, travel back in time to 1981 in this nearly three-and-a-half minute Wet Hot featurette. In it you’ll go behind-the-scenes and witness the sheer excitement taking place during the first day of shooting when the entire cast from the 2001 cult comedy reunited for the 8-episode streaming series. Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks and all the rest return to play younger versions of themselves since the new Wet Hot takes place during the first day of camp at Camp Firewood (the movie took place on the last day of camp). You’ll hear from the returning cast, as well as some of the newbies including John Slattery (Mad Men), Chris Pine (Star Trek), Jason Schwartzman (Bored to Death), Jordan Peele (Key and Peele), and Lake Bell (Childrens Hospital).
“Working on this just feels like when we shot Wet Hot—it’s really cold, we’re moving really fast and, you know, everybody’s having sex with each other,” says Poehler.
Summer is here and the hits keep on comin’. Masters and Virginia unveil their sex study to the public; Denis Leary reenters the spotlight as a former rock’n’roll legend looking for a way back in; the Bowmans are ready for a second round of give-and-take; everyone’s favorite anthropomorphic horse is back for more introspection; and the misfits of Camp Firewood go back in time to experience another wet, hot, american summer.
We’ve officially entered the month that welcomes back summer. Typically, a TV draught takes place after the big finales in May and avid viewers are forced to twiddle their thumbs until the new season kicks into high gear in September. That has all changed. We’re living in the Golden Age of TV, after all, and the sheer amount of creative content isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The summer months are packed with great programs you simply cannot miss; the broadcast and premium cable networks, as well as streaming giant Netflix, have a number of exciting new series debuting this very month. To see what June has to offer, jump after the break. (Click here for more…)
Article originally published on 5/7/15. Continually updated after the break.
It is May, and the Upfronts are right around the corner. Before the networks make official their upcoming slate of fall shows, they must decide the fate of current series.
ABC made waves Thursday evening, announcing a whopping 16 renewals and 3 cancellations. Without further ado, the following series will be making their way back to the Alphabet network next season.
Shonda Rhimes’ “TGIT” lineup remains in tact, as Grey’s Anatomy (season 12), Scandal (s5), and How to Get Away with Murder (s2) will all return for more intense drama. Veteran Castle (s8) and ABC staples Once Upon A Time (s5) and Nashville (s4) are also coming back–no surprise there. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (s3) is here to stay as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to unfold on TV; also, the TV gods thankfully heard our collective cries to keep Marvel’s Agent Carter on the air which will return for a second season! The low-rated, critically acclaimed American Crime is also getting a sophomore run, as is the surprisingly fun murder mystery series Secrets and Lies.
Over on the comedy side, veteran Modern Family (s7) remains the network’s crown jewel, and other Wednesday night sitcoms The Middle (s7) and The Goldbergs (s3), and black-ish (s2) will follow suit with new seasons next fall. Freshman series Fresh off the Boat and musical Galavant have also been greenlit to return. Though it hasn’t been made official quite yet, Tim Allen sitcom Last Man Standing is expected to make a fifth season.Update (5/10): LMS will return.
Last, the net’s alternative programs that have been renewed include American’s Funniest Home Videos (s26), The Bachelor (s20), Dancing with the Stars (s21), Shark Tank (s7), Beyond the Tank (s2), and newsmagazine 20/20.
Those series not returning include dramas Resurrection and Forever and Friday night sitcom Cristela. While the latter two failed to find broad audiences, the former simply couldn’t manage to sustain its dragged out premise involving dead people coming back to life (good luck, The Returned!). Fans will surely hold onto Resurrection‘s quietly superb 8-episode first season, and thankfully, the season 2 finale happened to bring much closure to the story.
Missing the ladies of Litchfield? Well, I’m happy to report that Netflix is raring to bring them all back to your screen of choice this summer when Orange is the New Black returns for its third season. Though the two-minute trailer embedded above and the following synopsis down below provide little in terms of upcoming plot lines, the outrageously addicting drama and humor you’ve come to know and love from OITNB remains.
With a crisis of faith and their beliefs and loyalties being tested, each character must decide what and who to believe in.
Mark your calendars for the next Great Binge; Piper, Red, Crazy Eyes, and the rest of the orange jumpsuit crew return June 12.
Spring is here! Though we may be nearing the month where most of your favorite TV series wrap up for summer (I’m looking at you, May!), that doesn’t mean this is the end. In fact, there are a whopping 10 series premiering this month, four of which are brand new and demand your attention. Jump after the break for what you need to know. (Click here for more…)
Quick update on series renewals. The following shows will return for a new season!
Netflix has renewed House of Cards and freshman Bloodline for fourth and second seasons, respectively. Showtime’s House of Lies and Shameless are coming back for fifth and sixth seasons. The Cold War will continue on FX’s The Americans in a fourth season. And Fox sitcom New Girl isn’t going anywhere anytime soon with a fifth season pickup.
Showtime exec Gary Levine on the House of Lies pickup: “When you have a gifted acting ensemble led by Don Cheadle and smart, acerbic writing led by showrunner Matthew Carnahan, you expect something special, and House of Lies delivers for us each season.”
FX exec Nick Grad on The Americans: “Remarkably, this season of The Americans has achieved even greater acclaim than that of its first two seasons. The series has cemented it status with critics as television’s best current drama and arguably the best show on TV, and we couldn’t agree more… We look forward to the final four episodes of season three, and beyond, in Philip and Elizabeth Jennings’ riveting journey.”
Fox exec David Madden on New Girl: “Four seasons in, New Girl continues to be one of the smartest and most relatable comedies on television. The writing is razor-sharp, the ensemble is consistently hilarious, and we couldn’t be more proud of… the entire New Girl team. We absolutely love this show and we’re so excited to bring it back for Season Five.”
In related New Girl news, Jon Cho (Selfie, Sleepy Hollow) will guest star in season 5, as will Anna George (Royal Pains) who is confirmed to play CeCe’s mother. Damon Wayans, Jr., sadly, is departing as a series regular at the end of the current season.
Update (4/8): Phil Miller, The Last Man on Earth, will return in a second season! Though it’s still in its infancy, the high concept comedy has already proven to be all kinds of fun and funny. Series creator Will Forte shines as star alongside an ever-growing cast that also includes the perfectly cast Kristen Schaal, infectious nice-guy Mel Rodriguez, and the stunningly beautiful January Jones. The adventures in Tucson will continue, and I couldn’t be happier.
“We knew we had something special with The Last Man on Earth,” says Fox’s David Madden. “It’s one of those rare shows that continues to add depth and dimension to its unique premise, week after week. We are so thrilled that this incredibly bold, original and inventive series has been embraced by both fans and critics, and we cannot wait to see where the creative genius and inspired vision of Will, Phil [Lord] and Chris [Miller] take us in Season Two.”
Quick updates here on the TV series renewal front. On Tuesday, the BBC made it official: Allan Cubitt’s addicting and binge-tastic drama The Fall will return for a third and final season.
“The cliff-hanger ending of season two was conceived in the hope of further exploring the characters and the themes that are at the heart of The Fall. We’re grateful to be given this opportunity by the BBC,” said creator-writer-director Cubitt in a statement.
At the end of season two (spoiler alert!), the game of cat and mouse between Gillian Anderson’s detective superintendent Stella Gibson and Jamie Dornan’s serial killer Paul Spector finally came to a gripping conclusion. That massive cliffhanger Cubitt’s referring to? In the final moments, Spector is shot and fights for consciousness in Gibson’s arms.
Will The Fall live on after a third season? According to BBC Drama controller Ben Stephenson, it doesn’t appear so. “The story is far from over. Allan has known the end game from the beginning – the cat and mouse game between Gillian and Jamie has one last act to play out. Who will win?,” he postulated (I added the emphasis there).
What can viewers expect to unfold when The Fall returns? The action continues in “Belfast as the complex relationship between Det Supt Stella Gibson and Paul Spector intensifies and the story of the investigation into the murders becomes more “complex and intricate”.” Read into that what you will. And as soon as the BBC announces its U.S. launch on Netflix, you’ll hear about it here. Watch a teaser after the break.
Elsewhere, CBS has renewed sitcoms Mom, Mike & Molly, and 2 Broke Girls for a third, sixth, and fifth season, respectively. (Click here for more…)
Posted in Movies,News by Scott Meisner on February 24th, 2015
Nearly five years after posting about this exciting news, it is finally coming to fruition! Today Paul Reubens and Judd Apatow made it official that a new Pee-wee Herman movie is on the way with a distribution model ready to go. Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, starring Reubens’ iconic fun-loving character and Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin,Knocked Up) executive producing, begins production next month and will premiere exclusively on Netflix.
In Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, a fateful meeting with a mysterious stranger inspires Pee-wee Herman to take his first-ever holiday in this epic story of friendship and destiny.
That’s all there is to know about the shrouded plot so far. Reubens penned the script with Paul Rust (Comedy Bang! Bang!, Arrested Development) and John Lee (Broad City, Inside Amy Schumer) is making his feature film directorial debut.
“Judd and I dreamt up this movie four years ago. The world was much different back then— Netflix was waiting by the mailbox for red envelopes to arrive. I’ve changed all that. The future is here. Get used to it. Bowtie is the new black,” said Pee-wee Herman in a press release.
“As a fan of Pee-wee Herman since he first appeared on The Dating Game, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the brilliant Paul Reubens on this film. It is a dream come true,” added Apatow.
“We didn’t hesitate for a moment knowing that Pee-wee’s Big Holiday was such a passion project for Paul and Judd and we are delighted by the opportunity to introduce such a beloved character to a new generation,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “We are thrilled to bring our viewers around the world the wonder of Pee-wee Herman.”
I, for one, cannot wait to see what Reubens and Apatow cook up for longtime fans of Pee-wee Herman. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure from a young Tim Burton in 1985 hit all the right notes and now, 30 years later, Reubens is ready to do it again. I’m happy to report that the man-child’s still got it; I saw Reubens reprise his character in 2010 on Broadway in The Pee-wee Herman Show and he brought back his bizarre, captivating, and imaginative wonder without missing a step. This movie for Netflix will surely satiate nostalgic fans, as well as attract an entirely new generation of kids, teens, and adults. Pee-wee, after all, is for everyone to enjoy!
Mike Judge’s hysterical tech-infused comedy Silicon Valley returns for a second season April 12 on HBO. If you’ve gotten through the first batch of episodes, this minute-long teaser will have you in stitches because it quickly reminds you all about how absurdly funny and crude the show can be.
February is all about quality over quantity in terms of appealing premieres to look out for. The new month packs two specials, one highly anticipated series premiere, and the return of the show that popularized the art of binge-watching. It’s all after the break. (Click here for more…)
Set on the last day of camp, in the hot summer of 1981, “Wet Hot American Summer” follows a group of counselors who are each trying to complete their unfinished business before the day ends. The entire summer of pent-up sexual frustrations, unresolved post-traumatic stress, pending separations and of course, the talent show, all weigh heavily on the minds and groins of counselors and campers alike.
Now follow me here. Flash-forward 14 years after the release of that 2001 cult comedy and coming soon to Netflix is an 8-part limited series that will take us back to the summer of ’81 following the events of the first day of camp!
Who needs a theatrical sequel when streaming giant Netflix can round up the film’s director, writers, and pretty much the entire wildly impressive ensemble cast to make a Wet Hot American Summer TV series?! WHAS director David Wain and his co-writer Michael Showalter (he also played Coop!) are reuniting to produce the show that serves as a prequel to the movie. As maybe not so conveniently explained above, the series takes place at Camp Firewood in the same summer featured in the movie, except this time we’ll be witness to the first day of camp instead of the last. Get it? Good!
The video above blasts out the returning cast and your favorite camp counselors. Think you might recognize a name or two: Elizabeth Banks, Michael Ian Black, Bradley Cooper, Judah Friedlander, Janeane Garofalo, Joe Lo Truglio, Ken Marino, Christopher Meloni, Marguerite Moreau, Zak Orth, Amy Poehler, David Hyde Pierce, Paul Rudd, Molly Shannon, Michael Showalter. Getting this all-star cast to return today to reprise their 2001 roles–especially when many of them like Banks, Cooper, Poehler, and Rudd have turned into massively talented and constantly working actors–is beyond impressive.
Wain and Showalter’s Wet Hot American Summer reunion hits Netflix (you guessed it) this summer.
Update (1/28): Deadline reports new cast additions today and they are: Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Kristin Wiig (SNL, Bridesmades), Jason Schwartzman (Bored to Death), and Chris Pine. “I hear Hamm will play a secret spy, Wiig is playing a snobby counselor at the preppy rival camp Camp Tigerclaw, Schwartzman is the boy’s camp head counselor while Pine’s character is described as mysterious,” reports Deadline. The already amazing cast just got amazing-er.
A smattering of networks are showing extreme confidence in some of their series by renewing them for another season. In brief:
CBS has renewed three freshman dramas Scorpion, Madam Secretary and NCIS: New Orleans.
“These freshman dramas have each made a big impact on key nights of the week,” said CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler. “Creatively distinctive, the series are backed by strong showrunners with amazingly talented casts, and have resonated with a big, broad audience.”
FOX is bringing back cult animated series Bob’s Burgers for a sixth season.
“This gem of a series is a rare feel-good blend of sharp wit and genuine heart that fans and critics alike have continued to love throughout its five seasons on Fox,” said network heads Dana Walden and Gary Newman. “We are proud of Loren and Jim and the extremely talented voice cast who bring these unique characters to life with both humor and charm each week.”
The CW is renewing a whopping eight series to return next fall and they include breakout rookies The Flash and Jane the Virgin and returning series The Originals (for a season 3), Reign (season 3), The 100 (Season 3), Arrow (season 4), The Vampire Diaries (season 7), and Supernatural (season 11).
“Each of these series have helped define what The CW is today, a network that is home to smart, provocative, quality programming, targeting a savvy adult audience,” said CW president Mark Pedowitz said. “By picking up these shows now, our executive producers can start planning next season’s storylines, and rolling these shows out throughout next season guarantees. The CW will have more proven original series for our fall, midseason and summer 2016 line-ups.”
Elsewhere, HBO renewed Girls for a fifth season prior to its season four debut which aired this past Sunday and Netflix is bringing back original series Marco Polo for a 10-episode second season.
New year, new TV. It’s time for the latest installment of what to watch this month! There are a total of 10 new and returning shows to look out for in January so let’s get right to it, after the break. (Click here for more…)
BoJack Horseman is an anthropomorphic horse voiced naturally by Will Arnett who stars in a wickedly smart and funny Netflix original series. If you’ve haven’t binged the 12 episode animated show yet, drop everything you’re doing and get going! Without getting too in-depth so as not to spoil the fun, BJH is about a dude (who happens to be a horse) navigating his life after being in the spotlight starring in a children’s TV show. When he’s tasked to help pen his tell-all biography with a ghost writer, his world slowly begins to get turned upside-down as he is forced to face his past. He contemplates love and so many other things, and it reaches some unexpectedly dark and cynical places, too. All in all, it’s very entertaining and it features slick animation with a stellar voice cast.
Now, onto the good news! It was previously reported that Netflix is already underway with a second season of BoJack Horseman, but seemingly out of the blue today the streaming service dropped a full-length Christmas special for fans of the series. Huzzah! In “Sabrina’s Christmas Wish:
It’s Christmas, and BoJack Horseman wants nothing to do with it, especially when Todd (Aaron Paul) shows up with a giant candy cane and one of BoJack’s “Horsin’ Around” Christmas episodes from his TV star days. But BoJack agrees to watch it with Todd, if only for the residual check. One heart-warming orphan story and lots of cans of beer later, BoJack might be willing to re-think his attitude — unless Todd gets too enthusiastic about the whole holiday thing.
Stream the special at Netflix today. And if you’re new to the show, start with episode 1 right here. BJH season 2 is expected to arrive sometime in 2015.
Now here’s something to tide you over until Disney and Pixar unleash Toy Story 4: it’s another Toy Story TV special, a follow-up to 2013’s Toy Story of Terror! Tom Hanks and Tim Allen reprise their roles as Woody and Buzz Lightyear (alongside other fan favorite characters) in a half-hour tale titled Toy Story That Time Forgot.
During a post-Christmas play date, the Toy Story gang find themselves in uncharted territory when the coolest set of action figures ever turn out to be dangerously delusional. It’s all up to Trixie, the triceratops, if the gang hopes to return to Bonnie’s room in this Toy Story That Time Forgot.
And now, a special message from the White House: Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood returns to our screens on February 27, 2015. The official House of Cards Twitter account revealed the season three premiere date on Monday with a silent clip embedded here. All 13 episodes will launch at once, naturally, on Netflix.