Your Dream Or Nightmare Just Came True: HBO Make Watchmen TV Series

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Prepare to scream with delight or grind your teeth in furious indignation: HBO announced today that their Watchmen TV series is a go, following recent production of a pilot episode.

To further find your bliss/fuel your anger, writer/producer Damon Lindelof has warned not to expect another direct adaptation likeZack Snyder’s incredibly faithful 2009 movie. Lindelof wrote on Instagram that his version is the “New Testament” to the original’s “Old Testament”. HBO also released the following logline via Indiewire:

“Set in an alternate history where “superheroes” are treated as outlaws, “Watchmen” embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel while attempting to break new ground of its own.”

Lindelof has also said of the show:

“This story will be set in the world its creators painstakingly built…but in the tradition of the work that inspired it, this new story must be original. It has to vibrate with the seismic unpredictability of its own tectonic plates. It must ask new questions and explore the world through a fresh lens. Most importantly, it must be contemporary. The Old Testament was specific to the Eighties of Reagan and Thatcher and Gorbachev. Ours needs to resonate with the frequency of Trump and May and Putin and the horse that he rides around on, shirtless. And speaking of Horsemen, The End of the World is off the table…which means the heroes and villains–as if the two are distinguishable–are playing for different stakes entirely. Some of the characters will be unknown. New faces. New masks to cover them. We also intend to revisit the past century of Costumed Adventuring through a surprising yet familiar set of eyes…and it is here we will be taking our greatest risks.”

The show is sure to raise the ire of many fans of Watchmen, who think the Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons’ story should not be continued (both for moral reasons – as Moore notoriously has disowned anything produced by DC or Warner Bros beyond their original work – and creative reasons – seeing the graphic novel’s story as sacrosanct), and Lindelof’s CV is also filled with divisive productions (Prometheus and Lost among them).

Personally I’m cautiously intrigued by this and with a cast headed up by Tom Mison, Jeremy Irons, Regina King, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Dylan Schombing, Lily Rose Smith, Adelynn Spoon, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Louis Gossett Jr., Adelaide Clemens, Frances Fisher, Jacob Ming-Trent and Andrew Howard, this promises to be, if nothing else, a major talking point when it hits HBO in 2019.

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The Star Wars TV Series Will Cost Big Bucks (And Other News)!

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Details have been thin on the ground since the announcement late last year that Disney’s new streaming service will feature a live action Star Wars TV series.

But a new report by the New York Times has revealed a couple of interesting titbits about the show, currently being developed by Iron Man’s Jon Favreau.

First up is the news that the show, running to ten episodes, will cost around 100 million dollars. That’s, um… about ten million dollars an episode, according to my trusty financial advisor, which might sound like a lot of moolah to you and me, but actually comes across as kind of cheap when you consider the final six episodes of Game of Thrones will cost a staggering $15 million apiece.

Secondly, Favreau has confirmed that the series will take place after the events of Return of the Jedi, (also the timeframe for the upcoming animated series Star Wars Resistance – why, it’s almost like there’s such a thing as corporate synergy in the world). According to a comment made by Favreau back in May, his series will take place seven years after the fall of the Empire, while Resistance will cross the bridge in the timeline and depict the rise of the First Order, which leads towards The Force Awakens.

It’s entirely possible we’ll be hearing more about the Star Wars live-action TV series and I’ll bring you more news as it lands.

Ruby Rose Is Batwoman – DC’s First Onscreen Gay Hero

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In a very welcome piece of news, Orange Is The New Black star, Ruby Rose, has been cast as Batwoman in the CW’s annual crossover event and for her own series next season.

In recent years Batwoman has been at the forefront of LGBTQ+ representation in comics. Originally created in 1956, as a love interest for Batman in order to combat the allegations of Batman’s homosexuality arising from the controversial book Seduction of the Innocent (1954), the character disappeared from comics in the mid-1960s but was reintroduced to the DC comic universe in 2006, when she was established as a Jewish lesbian, becoming the first-ever lesbian superhero title DC character.

The CW’s series, written by Caroline Dries based on the DC characters, sees Batwoman armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind. Rose will star as Kate Kane, soaring onto the streets of Gotham as Batwoman, an out lesbian and highly trained street fighter primed to snuff out the failing city’s criminal resurgence.

Rose’s casting comes on the heels of Monday’s statement from The CW that the network anticipates a pilot for the Batwoman series as early as midseason, but we will get our first glimpse of the character in the big Arrowverse crossover event this December (teaming up The Flash, Arrow and Supergirl, but not Legends of Tomorrow).

Rose, who identifies as gender fluid, has already starred in Pitch Perfect 3, XXX: The Return of Xander Cage and John Wick: Chapter 2, and will soon be seen punching giant sharks alongside Jason Statham, in The Meg.

This sounds very exciting to me, taking a very important step towards more inclusive characters in media, and since Rose has already shown herself to be an intriguing actor, Batwoman would appear to be in safe hands.

Make It So: Patrick Stewart Returns To Trek With New TV Series

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Confirming rumours that have been circulating for some time, Star Trek: Discovery co-creator and showrunner, Alex Kurtzman today announced the return of Patrick Stewart to the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in a brand new Trek TV series.

Taking the stage at the Star Trek Las Vegas show, Kurtzman brought out Stewart to a wild reception from the crowd, and the veteran actor told them “he may not be the Jean-Luc you know.”

“With overwhelming joy, it’s a privilege to welcome Sir Patrick Stewart back to the Star Trek fold,” Kurtzman said. “For over 20 years, fans have hoped for the return of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and that day is finally here. We can’t wait to forge new ground, surprise people, and honor generations both new and old.”

A report at the news site, Deadline, states that the new series is not a Star Trek: Next Generation reboot but will tell the story of the next chapter of Picard’s life. It will be overseen by Kurtzman who signed a deal with CBS TV Studios to develop new Star Trek content.

Stewart also announced the news via Twitter, saying:

“I will always be very proud to have been a part of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but when we wrapped that final movie in the spring of 2002, I truly felt my time with Star Trek had run its natural course,” Stewart said. “It is, therefore, an unexpected but delightful surprise to find myself excited and invigorated to be returning to Jean-Luc Picard and to explore new dimensions within him. Seeking out new life for him, when I thought that life was over.”

“During these past years, it has been humbling to hear many stories about how The Next Generation brought people comfort, saw them through difficult periods in their lives or how the example of Jean-Luc inspired so many to follow in his footsteps, pursuing science, exploration and leadership,” Stewart continued. “I feel I’m ready to return to him for the same reason – to research and experience what comforting and reforming light he might shine on these often very dark times. I look forward to working with our brilliant creative team as we endeavor to bring a fresh, unexpected and pertinent story to life once more.”

The creative team for the new series will include James Duff, a recent addition to Discovery as an executive producer, former Discovery executive producer Akiva Goldsman, Discovery writer, and Star Trek novelist, Kirsten Beyer, and Pulitzer prize-winning Author Michael Chabon.

The new (as yet untitled) Picard series will join Star Trek: Discovery, which is about to launch its second season, and the upcoming Star Trek: Short Treks four-part limited series, so if you’re not a Star Trek fan now might be a good time to take that long vacation you’ve been thinking about. The rest of us will put on our rubber Spock ears and stock up with snacks and Romulan ale to celebrate this very welcome news.

The Co*%sucking Deadwood Movie Is On!

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Rejoice, co*%suckers, because the long-mooted Deadwood movie is on at HBO.

The series, starring Ian McShane, Timothy Olyphant, Molly Parker and John Hawkes, and set around the development of Deadwood, South Dakota in the 1870s, only lasted three seasons but has gained a devoted cult following.

Now the news that fans have been hoping for has arrived: HBO will bring the story to a conclusion in a brand-new film.

“All of these people worked hard to get this together,” said HBO Programming President, Casey Bloys, today. “It’s been a logistics nightmare getting all the cast members’ schedules together but we are there. It is greenlit.”

Further details are thin on the ground right now, but you can be sure I’ll bring you news as it develops.

DC Universe Unveils Titans Trailer

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“Fuck Batman.” Well, that’s a heck of a way to introduce Robin to a post-Nolan DC landscape, I guess.

As reported here recently, the new DC Universe streaming service will feature a whole raft of new, live-action TV shows, and Titans is one of their big guns. Here’s the just released trailer, care of TV Guide:

Fans of the long-running comics will no doubt be pleased to see many of their favourite characters appearing alongside a pissed off Robin: Beast Boy, Starfire and Raven.

It all looks pretty dark and grim… so, uh… grimdark… making it very in line with the pre-Justice League Zack Snyder vision for DC live action. Will the series hue this dark? Stay tuned to DC Universe when it launches later this year!

DC Unveils DC Universe TV

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DC have launched details of their forthcoming subscription TV service, DC Universe, including some interesting and surprising new details.

Alongside already announced new live-action series, including Titans, Swamp Thing and Doom Patrol, as well as animated fare such as animated series Young Justice: Outsiders and a fan-pleasing Harley Quinn show, the service will include back catalogue DC material such as the Christopher Reeves Superman films and the entire run of Batman films, alongside classic live action and animated shows including Wonder Woman and Batman: The Animated Series.

The service will feature a selection of animated movies including, Justice League: The Flashpoint ParadoxGreen Lantern: First Flight, and Wonder Woman.

Somewhat more surprisingly, the channel will operate as a storefront for DC, offering a curated library of digital comic books – 1938’s Action Comics No. 1 through to 2011’s New 52 – a whole range of DC collectibles and even a community space which will include a fan forum. There will be a ‘Breaking News’ section and viewers will be given early access areas to DC-related events and games.

An official statement announced:

“DC Universe is so much more than a streaming service. It’s a welcoming place for everyone to immerse themselves in their own level of DC fandom, with the epic characters, stories, and experiences they have come to expect from DC,” said Jim Lee, chief creative officer and publisher, DC Entertainment, in a statement. “We are investing in and creating original, high-quality shows including the new Titans series, and curating the most beloved nostalgic content, while at the same time elevating the comic reading experience to new heights. Nothing this robust has ever been offered to fans before.”

Whatever else happens with this intriguing new service, DC certainly can’t be faulted for its ambition. Whether or not there are enough punters willing to stump up hard-earned cash for such specific content remains to be seen, and it’s for sure Disney will be keeping a close eye on this before the release of their own streaming channel.

DC Universe is due to launch in beta mode in August, with a full launch soon after.

DC’s Doom Patrol Comes To TV

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Just last week DC Comics’ nascent streaming service, DC Universe, announced they would produce a Superman prequel series, Metropolis, and a Swamp Thing live-action series as part of its initial programming. Now the channel has ordered a 13 episode run of Doom Patrol.

Originally created by Arnold Drake, Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani in 1963 (with several different incarnations over the years), the series is described as a re-imagining of one of DC’s more offbeat teams, featuring Robotman, Negative Man, Elasti-Girl and Crazy Jane, led by modern-day mad scientist Dr. Niles Caulder (The Chief).

The characters come together after suffering horrible accidents, and are mobilized into action by The Chief, who gives them new purpose as they investigate weird phenomena and protect Earth. The show will be a spin-off from DC’s previously announced Titans live-action series.

Berlanti Productions will produce in association with Warner Bros. Television. Greg Berlanti’s company already produces Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Black Lighting, Legends of TomorrowRiverdale and Titans.

Doom Patrol will go into production later this year for a 2019 launch. That’s going to be a whole lot of DC related content by next year. Let’s hope the quality of the shows is as good as, or better than, The Flash and Supergirl, and that there’s a hunger from the public for so much super-hero TV…

Netflix’s Sabrina The Teenage Witch Gets Chilling

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The forthcoming reboot of Sabrina The Teenage Witch today got an official title, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

The news came from Entertainment Weekly, via Sabrina executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s Twitter feed, which also gave us the first look at the character, played by Kiernan Shipka (from Mad Men).

This is exciting as the show is supposedly based upon the recent run of comic books – bearing the same title – from Archie Horror (oh yes, the creators of Archie and Betty & Veronica do horror comics), and if that’s the case we could be in for a fun ride – the comics come highly recommended.

Sabrina, played by Melissa Joan Hart in the 90s sitcom, veers closer now towards gothic horror in the new comics, and this promises to be an intruiging take on that material.

“It’s official! Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is our title! Something wicked this way comes” tweeted Aguirre-Sacasa.

Sabrina will grace our Netflix screens later this year, already pre-booked for two seasons, and will also star Miranda Otto, Lucy Davis, Ross Lynch, and presumably, a much better animatronic/CGI version of Salem, the cat.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Castle Rock – “This Place” Trailer Unnerves…

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The Stephen King screen renaissance seems set to continue (we’ll conveniently ignore The Dark Tower) with a new series, coming from Hulu this summer.

The network has the very welcome team of King and producer J.J. Abrams working on Castle Rock, from Warner Bros. TV and Abrams’ Bad Robot, and here’s the latest trailer to unnerve you…

The official synopsis for the show reads:

“A psychological-horror series set in the Stephen King multiverse, Castle Rock combines the mythological scale and intimate character storytelling of King’s best-loved works, weaving an epic saga of darkness and light, played out on a few square miles of Maine woodland. The fictional Maine town of Castle Rock has figured prominently in King’s literary career: CujoThe Dark HalfIT, and Needful Things, as well as novella “The Body” and numerous short stories such as “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” are either set there or contain references to Castle Rock. Castle Rock is an original suspense/thriller — a first-of-its-kind reimagining that explores the themes and worlds uniting the entire King canon, while brushing up against some of his most iconic and beloved stories.”

If that sets your pulse racing as much as it does mine then we can all settle down together on the sofa when the show drops on July 25th. I just recently revisited the 1994 TV mini-series of The Stand, and despite having a screenplay from King himself that sorry production left me seriously jonesing for a genuinely great small screen take on the novelist’s work (short take: King & co pretty much ballsed-up one of his greatest works).

Will Castle Rock float with Andy Muschietti’s It, or will it linger with the undead stench of Nikolaj Arcel’s The Dark Tower? We’ll know soon enough…