This Week in TV:
Cameron Crowe's comedy Roadies lands a pilot order from Showtime; Vikings adds three more cast members for season 3; the BBC announces Danger Mouse is returning to U.K. TV after 23 years; Syfy announces a Fourth of July Twilight Zone marathon; and Starz orders The Girlfriend Experience from Steven Soderbergh.
After winning an Oscar for writing his semi-autobiographical film Almost Famous more than a decade ago, Cameron Crowe is returning to his rock and roll roots with Roadies, a scripted comedy that received a pilot order from Showtime this week.
As its title would suggest, the potential half-hour series will follow the hard-working crew behind the scenes of a popular rock tour, while taking an inside look at the lives of a dedicated group who develop a unique camaraderie and share an unbridled passion for the music. Crowe will direct the hour-long pilot and produce, along with J.J. Abrams (Lost), Bryan Burk (Fringe) and Winnie Holzman (My So-Called Life), who will also serve as the series' showrunner.
Cameron's love for rock music and fascination with the characters and lifestyle surrounding it was on full display in Almost Famous, a film that he based on his own experiences as a teenage rock journalist in the 1970s. With Roadies, it appears Cameron will revisit similar ideas and feelings, but everyone involved is considering that a positive after reading his pilot script for the project, including Abrams, who said:
"'Roadies' is Cameron Crowe at his most musically passionate, colorful character best. We had been talking about the series for so long, but when he actually handed me the script, it was funnier and sweeter and wilder than I had ever imagined."
Roadies has yet to secure a cast, but we'll pass along updates when it does, as well as let you know if Showtime orders it to series.
After earning substantial praise for its strong cast in season 2, History's Vikings has added three more talented actors to its roster for season 3 - Lothaire Bluteau (The Tudors), Kevin Durand (The Strain) and Morgane Polanski (The Ghost).
Bluteau is set to play Emperor Charles of France, a powerful adversary to the Vikings who views a war between them as spiritual and earthly. Meanwhile, Durand will play a mysterious man named The Wanderer, and Polanski will portray Charles' elegant, but self-possessed daughter, Princess Gisla. They join previous season 3 addition Ben Robson (Dracula: The Dark Prince), who will play Lagertha's (Katheryn Winnick) second in command.
Following Vikings' highly anticipated season 2 finale, we wondered who would rise up to challenge Ragnar (Travis Fimmel). With the latest casting announcements, it seems he may have at least a handful of new foes to worry about next season.
Vikings will return to History for season 3 in 2015.
Earlier this week, the BBC delighted 1980s and '90s kids in the U.K. by announcing it is bringing their beloved cartoon Danger Mouse back to TV after a 23-year absence.
The show - which ran from 1981-1992 (161 episodes) on ITV - is set to air 52 new episodes on the network's CBBC branch beginning in 2015. Once again, the series will feature its titular Danger Mouse character, alongside his trusty sidekick Penfold, but this time, the modern day duo will be equipped with updated technology and gadgets, including an "i-Patch" with an impressive array of features, instead of Mouse's signature, but non-functional eye patch.
Although co-creator Brian Cosgrove will serve only as a consultant on the new show, it appears it will retain the same comedic formula, charm and sensibility by parodying popular British spy characters, such as James Bond.
"I had no idea the show would be such a huge success, both in the U.K. and overseas. I can't wait to find out what [Danger Mouse] has been up to for the last 23 years."
Look for Danger Mouse to hit the CBBC with all-new episodes in 2015.
While several recent reboot attempts of The Twilight Zone have failed to get off the ground, Syfy may be one of the few networks that believes nothing will touch the original, as it is devoting 16 hours of airtime to the classic series with a marathon beginning July 4.
To celebrate the holiday, Twilight Zone fans will get the chance to binge through some of their all-time favorite episodes from 8 am to 8 pm on July 4. Then after a four-hour break, the television gluttony will continue with four more hours of The Twilight Zone from midnight to 4 am on July 5.
Tune in to Syfy on July 4, 2014 @8am to get your fix of The Twilight Zone.
Starz announced this week that it has ordered a 13-part anthology series called The Girlfriend Experience from acclaimed writer/director Steven Soderbergh, based on his 2009 film of the same name.
Like the film, the series will explore the lives and relationships of highly-paid professional courtesans and their clients. However, unlike the film - which starred former adult-film actress Sasha Grey in the lead - the show will follow a different woman in a different city in each episode. Lodge Kerrigan (The Americans) and Amy Seimetz (Sun Don't Shine) will write and direct the series, which is being co-executive produced by Soderbergh and Philip Fleishman.
Said Fleishman about the new series:
“Many of these women are extremely accomplished. They range from musicians in major orchestras to PhD candidates in the sciences and often feel empowered by the control and economic freedom their work as GFE’s (Girlfriend Experience) affords them. The question is whether they define a new genus of contemporary relationship, or have relationships always been transactionally based in one form or another?”
There is currently no premiere date for The Girlfriend Experience, but we can expect to see it on Starz sometime in 2015.