HBO Orders Veep Creator’s Sci-Fi Comedy Avenue 5 To Series

Armando Iannucci is headed back to HBO with the new comedy Avenue 5, as the network makes the series order official. Iannucci has long been associated with political comedies, after heading up such memorably foul-mouthed series as The Thick of It and HBO’s own perennial Emmy-winning comedy Veep. The writer and producer was the showrunner of the Julia Louis-Dreyfus-led series until season 4, paving the way for David Mandel to take the reins leading into its currently airing final season. 

Iannaucci has kept busy since his departure from Veep, writing and directing the feature film, another scathing political satire, The Death of Stalin, which starred Steve Buscemi, Jason Isaacs, Paddy Considine, and more. Now, Iannucci is headed back to television with a series that has a dramatically different premise and setting from what he’s used to. Avenue 5 is a sci-fi comedy set 40 years in the future, and is being billed as a “space tourism comedy… when the solar system is everyone’s oyster.” 

More: Game Of Thrones Season 8 Review: Reunions & Introductions Raise The Series’ Stakes

As reported by TVLine, Avenue 5 has officially been given a series order from HBO, making it the latest new comedy to join the network’s ranks and help fill the void left by the departing Veep. With Iannucci on board and the futuristic premise, the series already sounds like a worthwhile endeavor for the network, and the cast that’s been lined up just sweetens the deal. Iannucci will reunite with Veep guest star Hugh Laurie, as well as Silicon Valley standout Zach Woods, and Josh Gad (Frozen). The series will also feature roles for Niki Amuka-Bird (Hard Sun), Suzy Nakamura (Veep), and Ethan Phillips (Better Call Saul). 

The report from TVLine sees Laurie (will next be seen in Hulu’s Catch 22) playing Captain Ryan Clark who is described as ““suave, outwardly confident, controlled and personable.” Woods will play Matt Spencer, a “nihilist…who can’t wait to get to the end of his final cruise before promotion to a more senior role on Earth.” Gad, meanwhile, will play Herman Judd, the “face and name behind Avenue 5, and the whole Judd brand, including hotels, fitness clubs and space tourism.”

Though Avenue 5 show won’t have a direct relation to politics, it’s not hard to imagine Iannucci using the notion of “space tourism” as a vehicle to satirize any number of topics — politics included. From the sound of it, this new comedy will be a bold step for Iannucci and his unique brand of comedy. 

Next: Bosch Season 5 Review: TV’s Most Reliably Entertaining Cop Show Returns

Avenue 5 does not currently have a premiere date. 

Source: TVLine

2019-04-22 02:04:27

Kevin Yeoman

Netflix Orders Adult Animated Series Described As Gay James Bond

Netflix has ordered an adult animated series called Q-Force, which is described as gay James Bond. The original James Bond series, which officially kicked off with Ian Fleming’s 1953 novel Casino Royale, was a fourteen-novel series that later expanded to something of a cinematic empire, with twenty-four films to its name and a twenty-fifth on the way.

Throughout the years since Sean Connery first portrayed the super-spy known as 007 in 1962’s Dr. No, the James Bond franchise has gone through substantial highs and lows. Perhaps one of the biggest ongoing debates has been the appointment of a black James Bond – in this case, the possibility of Idris Elba taking over from current Bond, Daniel Craig. Regardless of how much momentum or support this talking point gets, however, the concept of altering Bond’s sexual orientation or gender has never been considered a plausible change for a new Bond who’s entering into a new era. As a matter of fact, the idea of an LGTBQ action hero in any capacity has received scant support, especially during this time of original streaming content and providers. Until now, that is…

Related: Pierce Brosnan Talks Gay James Bond: ‘Why Not’?

According to TV Line, Netflix has just commit to ten episodes of Q-Force, an adult-themed animated comedy about a team of LGTBQ superspies who are led by a handsome, James Bond-esque secret agent. The new series is the brainchild of Will & Grace star Sean Hayes and Brooklyn Nine-Nine producer Mike Schur. At present time, there are rumors floating around that Hayes will also voice Q-Force’s lead character, though Netflix has yet to confirm this.

As a team of superspies, Q-Force are regularly underestimated by their colleagues and are constantly working to prove themselves, despite having an excellent history of getting the job done. In addition to the regular obstacles the team faces, they also deal with their own personal challenges as a part of the LGTBQ community. Although it currently doesn’t sound as if there’s a lot of room here for comedy, the series will likely be striving for that comfortable middle-ground between delivering an honest portrayal of real life LGTBQ issues and the laughs that can be found by turning a traditionally hetero-dominant genre on its head. It’s no small task, but one that Netflix and the team behind Q-Force are willing to take on.

One of the best things about the growing number of streaming platforms like Netflix is that they allow new voices, subjects and concepts to be more readily taken on. As the LGTBQ community and other minorities fight for more representation both on and off TV, it is programs such as this that will offer audiences of all sexual orientations the opportunity to see something new. Q-Force may or may not hit the right mark with viewers, but as things stand, it already wins full points for its originality and willingness to challenge a still-changing status quo.

More: 10 Best LGBTQ TV Shows

Source: TV Line

2019-04-04 04:04:31

Mike Jones

Netflix Orders Coming-of-Age Comedy About Mindy Kaling’s Teenage Life

Netflix has ordered a coming-of-age comedy about Mindy Kaling’s life. Kaling made her first big screen appearance in 2005’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin, which also coincided with her first appearance on TV as Kelly in the US version of The Office. Her career as a comedic actor has grown immensely since that time, and to date she’s been nominated for six Emmys.

Earlier this year, industry insiders revealed that Netflix may spend $15 billion on content in 2019. The streaming giant has already made it clear that it intends to build up the amount of original content they currently offer subscribers, and a significant part of organizing that programming is a focus on diverse projects, stories, characters and talents. Often crediting her upbringing as the child of immigrants for providing her writing with a dual perspective, Kaling has made considerable efforts throughout the years at showcasing many of the qualities that a streaming platform like Netflix is looking to support.

Related: Mindy Kaling Thinks The Office’s Kelly Might’ve Eventually Murdered Ryan

With that in mind, as well as the obvious degree of success that Kaling has found in a rather short period of time, it’s hardly surprising that Netflix would make the move to do business with her. TV Line has reported that Kaling has just joined forces with Netflix to bring a 10-episode, comedic coming-of-age story based on her own upbringing to life. Written and executive produced by Kaling, the yet-to-be-named series will mark the comedian’s first official project with Netflix.

Coming of age stories aren’t always the easiest to pull off, particularly comedic ones. For her part, however, Kaling has some solid experience with explaining the comedic intricacies of her life, having already written two New York Times best selling memoirs. And while her new Netflix series has yet to reveal any substantial casting information, the day-to-day life of a teenage Indian girl and her immigrant family is certainly familiar territory for Kaling. In addition to this, Kaling’s work as a writer on her series The Mindy Project has provided her with the much needed experience and insight that are required of a successful TV production. Taken as a whole, Kaling seems more than ready and capable to pull off a suitably entertaining Netflix series.

With all that being said, this is still the often-fickle world of entertainment, and it isn’t rare to see programs that should succeed, fail. Kaling definitely appears to have the deck stacked in her favor, as she approaches this project with the sort of qualifications and experience that should help her series become more than just a standard coming-of-age tale. But with the scale of Netflix’s original programming seemingly growing every day, and with more streaming platforms preparing to launch on a regular basis, Kaling’s new series will have to truly stand out to thrive. Fortunately for her, that’s entirely possible.

More: 10 Best LGBTQ Shows To Stream On Netflix

Source: TV Line

2019-03-20 06:03:22

Mike Jones

Disney Plus Orders Gina Rodriguez’s Diary of a Female President

New streaming service Disney Plus has given a 10-episode straight-to-series order to Diary of a Female President, a TV show about a 12 year-old Cuban-American girl with ambitions to become the President of the United States. The series will be written by Ilana Peña, one of the writers for The CW’s comedy series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

Disney may be dominating the movie market (and set it dominate it even further once its acquisition of 21st Century Fox closes), but entering the field of on-demand entertainment streaming is a challenge. While Disney is set to have a majority stake in Hulu, there’s still Netflix and Amazon Prime to contend with, both of which have an extensive library of original and exclusive content. So, when Disney+ launches this year, it will need to have some great shows lined up.

Related: Disney Estimated To Spend $500 Million On Disney Plus Programming

Now, Deadline reports that Disney+ has added another show to the slate. Diary of a Female President is about an ambitious and precocious 12 year-old, told from the point of view of her diary “as she navigates the ups and downs of middle school and her journey to becoming the future president of the United States.” The series was created by Peña, who will also be the main writer, and produced by I Can and I Will, the production company founded by Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez, as well as CBS TV Studios. Robin Shorr (The Carmichael Show) is also onboard as showrunner.

The timing of this deal works out well for Peña, as Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is currently airing its fourth and final season. That show is about a successful lawyer with unaddressed mental health issues, who spontaneously decides to move from New York City to West Covina, California, in pursuit of an old boyfriend she had as a teenager. Created by and starring Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend achieves a delicate balance between making the audience root for its protagonist while also acknowledging how horrifying and selfish some of her actions are, so Peña clearly has a talent for writing complex and flawed characters.

Rodriguez will also have more time to devote to Diary of a Female President soon, as Jane the Virgin is gearing up for its fifth and final season. That show stars Rodriguez as a romantic and virginal twenty-something who becomes pregnant after accidentally being artificially inseminated by her doctor.

Among the other shows coming to Disney+ are several set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including a series about Scarlet Witch and Vision, another about Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and a show about Thor’s mischievous brother, Loki. There’s also The Mandalorian, a series set in the Star Wars universe, which will star Pedro Pascal and Gina Carano. We’ll bring you more news about Diary of a Female President and these other shows as it becomes available.

More: Disney Plus Streaming Service: Everything We Know About The International Release

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2019-01-31 08:01:41

Netflix Orders Young Wallander Television Series

Henning Mankell’s Swedish detective Kurt Wallander is no stranger to live-action adaptations, but the character is getting an unlikely new start in Netflix’s new Young Wallander series (which will hopefully change its name so as to avoid being joking lumped in with CBS’s Young Sheldon series). Mankell’s creation is the star of 21 books, as well as two television series — one in Sweden and a UK series starring Kenneth Branagh — and a series of films, all adapted from the novels. Needless to say, the character is something of an international success, and perhaps his stock will rise more in the US following the release of this sort-of prequel series on Netflix. 

Curiously enough, the series sounds less like a prequel series and more like a reboot, as it will reportedly take place in the present-day, but focus on a relatively inexperienced Wallander, who has just become a police officer. That presents some interesting challenges for the new series, as modern social and political concerns will no doubt become part of the story and play at least some small part in his growing to become the veteran crime-solver fans know and love. Whether this means big changes are in store for the character or not remain to be seen, but it will certainly be interesting to track the series’ progress in that regard. 

More: Exclusive Westworld Video Explains The Truth Behind Delos & The Show’s Theme

Netflix delivered the news in an official press release, detailing what it could about the series in question, such as the fact that it will be and English-language drama (all the better for attracting subtitle-averse US television watchers) and that, like most of the series that have come before, it will only consist of six episodes in the season. You can read a portion of the official statement below:

“In a bold and original new story set in contemporary Sweden, Young Wallander sees Henning Mankell’s iconic detective Kurt Wallander investigate his gripping first case. The story focuses on the formative experiences – professional and personal – faced by Kurt as a recently graduated police officer in his early twenties. The English-language drama series is told over six serialized episodes and features both British and Swedish cast. Production starts during 2019.”

The Branagh version of Wallander was like that of BBC’s Sherlock, in that each episode was actually a 90-minute, feature-length installment. So far, there’s no indication that Young Wallander will follow suit, it stands to reason that, with the relaxed restrictions on Netflix, the new series may resemble its predecessor in that regard. How else it will resemble previous iterations of Wallander remains to be seen, but with any luck this new series will cast a lead who is at least as captivating to watch as Branagh and Krister Henriksson (from the Swedish version of the series) were during their time with the role. 

Next: Vikings Season 5B Review: Power And Revenge Drive A Methodical Premiere

Young Wallander does not currently have a premiere date.

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Showtime Orders Season 2 Of Jim Carrey’s Kidding

Just a few weeks after its series premiere, Showtime announces that it has renewed Kidding, the fascinating tragicomedy starring Jim Carrey. In addition to Carrey, the series also features the likes of Catherine Keener, Judy Greer, and Frank Langella as members of the Piccirillo family, ostensibly the people caught in the orbit of the national treasure that is Carrey’s Jeff Pickles, aka Mr. Pickles, the beloved children’s entertainer who happens to be going through a massive existential crisis at the moment, as he struggles with the grief over losing a child and seeing his home life disintegrate as a result. 

While that might not sound like the typical kind of comedy Carrey is known for, it does strike a chord similar to his work on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with acclaimed director Michel Gondry, who is an executive producer on Kidding and also directed the pilot episode. The result is a show with a lot of emotion, a dark sense of humor, and that takes place in a slightly heightened world. It all adds up to one of the more unique series on Showtime right now. 

More: The Man In The High Castle Season 3 Review: More Sci-Fi Action Refocuses The Series

Showtime announced the news today in an official press release that included a statement from Gary Levine, the network’s president of programming. Levine said: 

“KIDDING has established itself as one of the most endearing and inventive shows on television. I feel like I have been watching Mr. Pickles my whole life, and I look forward to being entranced by his unique blend of hilarity and heartbreak in season two.”

The news comes shortly after the network axed I’m Dying Up Here, the ’70s-set stand up comedy drama, on which Carrey served as an executive producer. With that series lasting only two seasons, and with the continuation of network’s long-running Shameless now in question, following the planned departures of both Emmy Rossum and Cameron Monaghan (Gotham), Showtime is in a position where a series like Kidding – i.e., one with big stars – could become a key part to the network’s future success. While it’s questionable whether or not the fates of those other two series played a role in Kidding being renewed for season 2 or not, it certainly seems as though the fascinating, melancholic series could be an important part of Showtime’s lineup for quite some time. 

Next: Titans Premiere Review: Mature Content Doesn’t Make For Mature Storytelling

Kidding continues this Sunday with ‘The Cookie’ @10pm on Showtime.

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2018-10-10 02:10:38 – Kevin Yeoman