This Week in TV:
American Gods Casting; Elijah Woods joins Dirk Gently; Veep trailer; Togetherness canceled; Special Correspondents trailer; Powers season 2 Trailer; Bloodline first look; Fear the Walking Dead featurette; Gwendoline Christie joins Top of the Lake; and CBS renewals.
American Gods Casting Update
Starz has announced new cast members joining American Gods, the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s award-winning novel from Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller. The first is Sean Harris (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation), who will be playing Mad Sweeney, a down-on-his-luck leprechaun who is always looking for a fight and works for Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane).
Yetide Badaki (Masters of Sex) has been cast as Bilquis, an ancient goddess of love. Bilquis craves the worship she enjoyed in the early years of humanity and hopes to inspire that same worship in the modern day. The final new addition to the cast is Bruce Langley (Deadly Waters), who will be playing Technical Boy, a New God with reign over all things technology. Described as dangerously unpredictable, he struggles to gain power and respect in the world.
American Gods is set to premiere on Starz sometime in 2017.
Elijah Wood joins Dirk Gently
Elijah Wood is set to co-star in Dirk Gently, an eight-episode series based on Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. The series is a comedic thriller that follows the eccentric detective Dirk Gently and his assistant Todd (Wood) as they try to solve one seemingly insane mystery over the course of the season. Todd may be Gently’s assistant, but he doesn’t think of himself as a sidekick. At one point, he tells Gently “I’m not your Watson, a*******. I am not up for side-kicking on something I am not involved with.”
The adaptation was penned by Max Landis (Chronicle), who wrote the series on spec and will serve as executive producer on the series. The series is being co-produced by AMC Studios, Ideate Media and comics publisher IDW Entertainment.
Veep season 5 Trailer
HBO has released a new trailer for the upcoming fifth season of Veep, the Emmy Award-winning comedy series starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Selina Meyer (Dreyfus) is back, dealing with the fallout of a tied election from the season 4 finale. It will be up to congress to determine who the next president will be as Meyer tries to earn her first full term in the Oval Office.
The series has been an incredible success for the network, consistently taking home multiple Emmy Awards every season, including an Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series award for Dreyfus for last four years straight. With the departure of series creator Armando Iannuci after the fourth season, replaced by David Mandel (Curb Your Enthusiasm), it will be interesting to see if the series can keep up its award-winning form in season 5.
Veep returns to HBO on April 24, 2016
HBO cancels Togetherness
HBO has decided not to renew Togetherness for season 3. The comedy series from Mark and Jay Duplass is currently in the middle of season 2. The show, which follows the lives of a group of people connected by marriage and friendship, never really found a strong audience despite earning critical praise. Even still, the cancellation comes as a bit of a surprise as the Duplass brothers were already working on scripts for season 3 and the show’s small budget seemed to be a strong factor for its continuation.
HBO released the following statement regarding the cancellation:
“Although we have decided not to proceed with another season of ‘Togetherness,’ we look forward to continuing our strong creative collaboration with the talented Jay and Mark Duplass.”
The Duplass brothers are currently under an overall deal with HBO, a two-year agreement signed in 2015. The pair currently serve as executive producers on the animated series Animals, currently in its first of two ordered seasons on the network.
Togetherness airs Sunday nights on HBO at 10:30pm EST.
Special Correspondents Trailer
Netflix has released the first official trailer for Special Correspondents, the upcoming film from Ricky Gervais (Derek). The film stars Eric Bana (Lone Survivor) as a reporter for a radio news outlet alongside Gervais, who plays his lead sound engineer. The two provide daily updates on an ongoing war in Ecuador, sharing the horrific details of the front lines all from the safety of a New York City apartment building. When the two supposedly go missing in the war-torn country, they must actually make the trip to Ecuador before the international manhunt reveals they never left the city.
The film is a remake of the 2009 French film Envoyés très spéciaux, written and directed by Gervais. The movie also stars Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air), Kevin Pollak (The Usual Suspects), America Ferrera (Ugly Betty), and Benjamin Bratt (Modern Family).
Special Correspondents premieres on April 29, 2016.
Powers Season 2 Trailer
Sony has released the first trailer for season 2 of Powers. The PlayStation original series returns this May with new showrunner Remi Aubuchon (Falling Skies) after his predecessor Charlie Huston left the series over creative differences. Season 2 will be based on the first story arc of the comic source material, finding Detective Christian Walker (Sharlto Copley) and his partner Deena Pilgrim (Susan Heyward) investigating the death of the Power known as Retro Girl.
The season will also introduce new characters, including Michael Madsen (The Hateful Eight) as the Superman-analogue Super-Shock and Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica) as FBI Special Agent Lange. The 10-episode season will be available for free for all PlayStation Plus members.
Powers premieres on the PlayStation Network on May 31, 2016.
Bloodline Season 2 First Look
Netflix has released the first images from Bloodline season 2, premiering on the streaming service in May. The second season will focus on the Rayburn family as they try to deal with their unspeakable crime from season 1. Strangers from Danny’s past turn up with a dangerous agenda and deadly secrets, as law enforcement gets closer to the truth. The once strong family ties that kept them afloat for so long begin to unravel. Trust evaporates and the “good people” of the Rayburn clan might be forced to do more bad things.
The series was created by Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman, and Glenn Kessler, who previously worked together on Damages. Bloodlines season 2 will see the return of Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights), Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight), Sissy Spacek (Carrie), Linda Cardellini (Mad Men) and Norbert Leo Butz (Dan in Real Life).
Bloodlines season 2 premieres on Netflix on May 27, 2016.
Fear the Walking Dead Behind the Scenes
Ahead of the season 2 premiere, AMC has released a behind-the-scenes featurette video for Fear the Walking Dead. The video gives viewers a look at Baja studios, the studio where films like Titanic and Deep Blue Sea were filmed. The reason for filming there is that the second season of the spinoff series will largely take place at sea, aboard “The Abigail,” a superyacht belonging to Victor Strand (Colman Domingo).
The boat is large, but forcing the survivors to live in such close quarters, especially surrounded by an endless sea, is sure to elevate tensions between the characters. Working at Baja studios will allow the cast and crew to present fans with new settings unseen in any of the previous episodes of either The Walking Dead or Fear the Walking Dead.
Fear the Walking Dead season two returns April 10, 2016.
Gwendoline Christie joins Top of the Lake
Game of Thrones actress Gwendoline Christie has joined the BBC series Top of the Lake for season 2. She joins returning star Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), who plays a police detective in the series. The first season saw her investigating the disappearance of a 12-year-old girl and season 2 follows a murder investigation taking place four years later. Series co-creator Jane Campion returns to direct the second season and will write the scripts alongside her co-creator Gerald Lee.
Christie released the following statement:
“I am so delighted to be working on ‘Top of the Lake’ 2. Jane Campion has been a major creative influence throughout my life and I could not feel more privileged to be working on the next installment of her unique and enthralling drama, alongside the brilliant Elisabeth Moss.”
Top of the Lake season 2 is expected to premiere in 2017.
CBS announced a new slate of renewals this week, ordering a new season for 11 of their current series. Those shows include Blue Bloods, Elementary, Hawaii Five-o, Madam Secretary, Mom, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, Scorpion, 2 Broke Girls, Survivor, and The Amazing Race. These join The Big Bang Theory and NCIS, which received new season orders earlier this year.
CBS CEO Les Moonves previously revealed that the network plans to renew five of their freshmen series, all of which are curiously absent from the list. This year, the network introduced the following: Limitless, Code Black, Life in Pieces, Supergirl, and Angel from Hell. CBS also plans to introduce two new series later this spring: Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders and the Rush Hour TV adaptation. Moonves also specified that of the five planned renewals, CBS owns four of the series.
Moonves’ exact quote follows:
“We have about five new shows on this year. Of those five, I believe all five of them will be renewed, and we own four of them.”
CBS owns Limitless, Code Black, Angel from Hell, and Criminal Minds. However, Angel from Hell has already been canceled so it seems that Moonves might have misspoken. If Moonves is correct about the upcoming TV slate, Supergirl and Life in Pieces stand a good chance for renewal, so it’s likely those two will round out the five.