This Week in TV:
The pilots for Uncle Buck and Rush Hour find their leads in Mike Epps (The Hangover) and Jon Foo (Bangkok Revenge), respectively; FXX renews Man Seeking Woman for season 2; FOX’s Frankenstein pilot casts Rob Kazinsky (True Blood) as the monster; The CW’s Tales From the Darkside reboot casts Kris Lemche (Final Destination 3) as its lead; The Devil You Know from Jenji Kohan (Orange Is the New Black) adds three cast members to its pilot, including Eddie Izzard (Hannibal); and James Remar (Dexter) joins the cast of MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles.
The broadcast network adaptations of Uncle Buck and Rush Hour cast leads for their pilots, as comedian Mike Epps (The Hangover) signed on to play the titular Buck for ABC and international star/martial artist/stuntman Jon Foo (Bangkok Revenge) landed the role of Detective Lee in Rush Hour (previously and famously played by Jackie Chan) for CBS.
Based on the 1989 John Hughes comedy that starred the late John Candy in the title role, ABC’s Uncle Buck will center on a childish man (Epps) named Buck Russell who learns how to be an adult by taking care of his brother’s kids. Alongside Epps, Nia Long (The Best Man Holiday) will play Buck’s sister-in-law Alexis, the founder of a non-profit that mentors at-risk girls.
Over at CBS, Rush Hour – based on the successful 1998 action film – is set to star Foo as a stoic, by-the-book police officer from Hong Kong assigned to a case in Los Angeles. Like the film, the series will see the character partner with a cocky African-American officer (originally played by Chris Tucker).
When these two shows were first announced, we projected that they both needed a likable lead – more so than other narrative-based series – to find success. While Epps is a talented stand-up comic and a solid supporting player in several strong comedies, he is unproven as a lead. Some could say the same for Foo, although he is known as an action star overseas and as a skilled stunt performer and martial artist in U.S. film productions such as Batman Begins and Olympus Has Fallen.
We’ll have to wait and see what the response is to each project, and then we’ll let you know if Uncle Buck and Rush Hour are ordered to series by their respective networks.
Despite struggling in its rookie season, Man Seeking Woman scored a season 2 renewal from FXX.
Through its first five episodes, the Jay Baruchel-led dating comedy only averaged a measly 353,000 viewers in the 18-49 demo, but like it has with other some of its other comedies – including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – FX networks is showing patience with the new series. In fact, in the past four years, every live-action series at the parent network has been given at least two seasons.
Strong early reviews also helped in the decision to renew Man Seeking Woman for a 10-episode season 2, which will launch in 2016.
Man Seeking Woman season 1 continues Wednesday, March 11 with “Teacup” on FXX.
The network’s iteration of the classic Mary Shelley tale centers on a morally corrupt retired cop named Ray Pritchard (Kazinsky) who is murdered as an elderly man, but then brought back from the dead as a younger, stronger version of himself by a team of scientists playing God.
Known most to U.S. audiences for his roles as Macklyn Warlow on HBO’s supernatural drama True Blood and as Chuck Hansen in Pacific Rim, Kazinsky joins a Frankenstein cast that includes Adhir Kalyan (Rules of Engagement) as one of Ray’s creators, the brilliant Internet billionaire Otto Goodwin.
Check back in for more updates on FOX’s Frankenstein project as it develops.
The CW’s Tales From the Darkside reboot also found its lead actor this week, casting Kris Lemche (Final Destination 3).
Currently in the pilot stage, the anthology horror/sci-fi series – a reboot of the 1980s series of the same name – will feature just one regular character, a weathered and tortured young man named Newman (Lemche). As a guide for the show, the character of Newman knows the cause the terrifying events that drive the series, but doesn’t know how to stop them.
The original series featured a variety of adapted stories from some of the world’s biggest horror/sci-fi authors, including Stephen King. Although it’s unclear if the elder King will be involved in the reboot, his son, author Joe Hill, will pen the series, which is being produced and by the mega-successful writing/producing team of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek Into Darkness).
Stay tuned for more announcements around Tales From the Darkside as the pilot nears production.
Jenji Kohan’s (Weeds, Orange Is the New Black) HBO pilot The Devil You Know (formerly titled New World) added three performers to its cast, including comedian Eddie Izzard.
First announced two weeks back, the project is described as a period drama that explores the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 17th century New England, “where intolerance and repression set neighbor against neighbor and led a town to mass hysteria.” In it, Izzard is set to play farmer Thomas Putnam, the devout Puritan patriarch of his family and a leader of the village.
Also joining the cast are relative newcomers Nadia Alexander and Ismenia Mendes. Alexander will star as Ann Putnam Jr., who is unsure of her role as a woman in this society, but is determined to find it, while Mendes will play Mercy Lewis, a captured servant girl who must summon her inner resources.
Coming off back-to-back hits with Weeds and Orange Is the New Black, Kohan, as a series creator, seems to have plenty of momentum on her side. This time around, she also has the talents of Oscar-winning director Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting) – who will helm the pilot – and Izzard, who is known for comedy, but has also shown an aptitude for compelling dark turns in drama recently (e.g., as Dr. Abel Gideon on NBC’s Hannibal).
We’ll pass along the latest on The Devil You Know as it comes in.
In the adaptation of Terry Brooks’ book series that follows the magical descendents of the Shannara family thousands of years after the destruction of modern civilization, Remar will play Cephelo, the leader of a clan that roams the Four Lands called the Rovers.
Best known for his role as Harry Morgan, Dexter Morgan’s late father, for eight seasons on Showtime’s Dexter, Remar joins a youthful cast that includes Austin Butler (The Carrie Diaries), Poppy Drayton (Downton Abbey), Ivana Baquero (Pan’s Labyrinth), as well as John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings trilogy).
The Shannara Chronicles was ordered straight to series for a 10-episode first season by MTV last summer and was scheduled to begin shooting last month. There is no premiere date set for the series yet, so stay tuned for when it drops.
Source: The Wrap