This Week in TV:
Ronald Moore's Outlander adaptation releases a new trailer; Starz gives a new comedy from Seth MacFarlane called Blunt Talk a two-season order; Showtime's Masters of Sex adds two guest stars - including Sarah Silverman - for season 2; and Syfy announces plans for a slew of comic book adaptations, including Frank Miller's Ronin.
After releasing its first teaser a few months back, Ronald D. Moore's (Battlestar Galactica) Outlander unveiled a new and slightly longer trailer this week. Take a peek at the preview clip from the anticipated adaptation below:
While this latest trailer only gives us about 30 seconds of new footage, it does manage to show us the first glimpses of the passionate relationship that forms between World War II combat nurse Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) and 18th century Scottish warrior Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). The clip also effectively sets up the mysterious circumstances of Claire's sudden arrival in Scotland more than 200 years in the past without revealing too much else about the story.
For those unfamiliar with the eponymously titled Diana Gabaldon best-seller from which Moore is working from, or his latest series, here the official synopsis and a production update from Starz:
"The 'Outlander' series spans the genres of romance, science fiction, history, and adventure in one epic tale. The series, adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s international best-selling books by Ronald D. Moore ('Battlestar Galactica,' 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,' 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'), is currently filming on location in Scotland and is set to premiere on STARZ this Summer. It follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945, who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743. Upon her arrival, she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. But when she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate relationship is ignited. Now, Claire’s heart is torn between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives."
With its Starz debut rapidly approaching, we're bound to get a more detailed look at the series soon, so stay tuned.
Outlander is set to premiere on Starz in the summer of 2014.
Along with working with one of the biggest sci-fi names in the business in Ronald D. Moore, Starz also revealed this week that it has teamed up with one of the biggest names in comedy too, as it ordered two seasons of a new series from Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) called Blunt Talk.
Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation, X-Men) has been cast in the lead role as Walter Blunt in the live-action comedy, which will go straight to series at Starz for at least a 20-episode run. Reportedly, multiple networks were interested in the MacFarlane project - which is also being produced, and will be run by Bored to Death creator Jonathan Ames - but Starz wasted no time in making a deal with the comedy mogul responsible for some of the most popular animated sitcoms of the past decade.
Here is a synopsis for the new comedy:
"'Blunt Talk' is a character-driven comedy revolving around Walter Blunt (Patrick Stewart), a British import intent on conquering the world of American cable news. Through the platform of his nightly interview show, Blunt is on a mission to impart his wisdom and guidance on how Americans should live, think and behave. Besieged by network bosses, a dysfunctional news staff, numerous ex-wives and children of all ages, Blunt’s only support is the alcoholic manservant he transplanted from the UK to join him in Los Angeles. The series follows the fallout from Blunt’s well-intentioned, but mostly misguided decision-making, both on and off the air."
In handing the showrunning duties to Ames, it appears MacFarlane won't actually be heavily involved with the production of the series, but the project still marks yet another collaboration between MacFarlane and Stewart, who besides being known for his film, TV and stage work, is also remembered as the narrator of Ted and for voicing Avery Bullock on MacFarlane's American Dad.
We'll pass along more news on Blunt Talk as it continues to round out its cast.
With production already underway on its second season, Showtime's Masters of Sex added two cast members this week, including Emmy-winning comedian Sarah Silverman.
While we don't have much information about her character, we do know that Silverman is set in a recurring role for season 2 as a woman named Helen. At this point, it's anybody's guess as to if she will portray a colleague of Dr. William H. Masters (Micheal Sheen) and Dr. Virginia E. Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), or play a unique patient. Either way, fans of Silverman's stand up comedy should have fun seeing her continue to flex her acting muscles on one of TV's most acclaimed shows.
Meanwhile, the series also added Jay Ellis (The Game) as Dr. Cyril Franklin, a rival M.D. who will come to share an office space with Dr. Masters, along with a mix of Masters' patients.
With its season 2 premiere still a couple of months away, Masters of Sex will likely be adding more guest stars in the coming weeks. We'll keep you updated as the ensemble for the show's sophomore campaign rounds out.
Masters of Sex returns to Showtime for season 2 on July 13, 2014.
Sources: Variety, Showtime
After seeing several other networks lay claim to important comic book properties in recent months, Syfy decided to get its skin in the game this week, announcing development on a slew of comic adaptations - which included Robert Kirkman's Clone, Oni Press' Letter 44 and Frank Miller's Ronin.
Along with the aforementioned titles, Syfy also announced it is working on adaptations of the time-traveling epic Pax Romana and Lev Grossman's The Magicians. Some of its planned projects are further along than others, but all are in the very earliest stages of development. Scroll below for some synopses for each potential series.
"Eight centuries after a Japanese Ronin samurai failed to protect his master from a demon, he awakens in a futuristic, nihilistic New York in the body of Billy, a medical experiment. Now Billy/Ronin is chasing the demon, which has reawakened. Both parties want control of a sword with magical properties and will stop at nothing to get it back."
"When retired soldier Luke Taylor investigates a break-in at his house, he never expected who the burglar would be: A clone of himself. Drawn into a vast government conspiracy when his wife is kidnapped, Luke must use all his combat skills and network of military contacts to get to the bottom of the secret biotech program that is responsible and the hidden agenda that goes all the way to the top levels of power."
"It is tradition for the preceding President to leave a letter for the newly elected President on the desk of the Oval Office. In this letter, new President Stephen Blades learns this stunning secret: seven years earlier, NASA discovered an alien construction project in the asteroid belt. A crew of heroic astronauts was sent to investigate and they’re nearing the conclusion of their epic journey."
Centers on "a Special Forces team that travels back in time on the eve of World War III to “fix” the future by altering the past. Their destination: Ancient Rome. Roman legions battle modern day attack helicopters, tanks and soldiers, while thought-provoking themes are explored as the leaders of the expedition fight over their vision for civilization."
"Based on the book series, 'The Magicians,' by Lev Grossman, the one-hour drama follows a group of 20-somethings in New York who study magic and discover that the magical fantasy world they read about as children is real and poses a grave danger to Earth."
While it's almost certain that some of these projects won't make it to air, comic book fans should be pleased that Syfy is aiming to put more of their favorite stories onscreen. We'll just have to see which ones make it to the pilot stage and which ones fade into the background in the coming year.