American Gods, STARZ – April (date TBA)
Bryan Fuller and Michael Green are bringing Neil Gaiman’s American Gods novel to the small screen later this year. While it may not be on a big network station or a widely read novel, American Gods is a great story with many die-hard fans. Like some of Gaiman’s other work (Neverwhere, Stardust, Coraline), this novel should lend itself well to the audio-visual medium.
The series starts as protagonist Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) “is released from prison to a life turned upside down.” His wife Laura (Emily Browning) is killed in a car accident and, while flying home for the funeral, he meets a curious con man known as Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane). After becoming Wednesday’s bodyguard, the two set off on a cross-country trip and Shadow not only learns that Gods and magic are real, but he gets drawn into a conflict between the old Gods and the new.
There is little we know about the TV series now, but anything based on a Neil Gaiman – one of the greatest and most unique living writers – novel has a lot of potential. It also doesn’t hurt that the developers have a decent track record; Bryan Fuller wrote
Bryan Fuller wrote Hannibal, Pushing Daisies, and Dead Like Me and Michael Green produced Heroes and Smallville. I haven’t spoken to many of my colleagues about this show, but as a huge Gaiman fan myself I’m very much looking forward to it — too bad American Gods will likely go overlooked because of what channel it will air on.
Girlboss, Netflix – April (date TBA)
Based on Sophia Amoruso’s real life and adapted from her autobiography, Girlboss tells the story of the Nasty Gal fashion empire. Tomorrowland star Britt Robertson will portray Sophia ,”a rebellious, broke anarchist who refuses to grow up [and] stumbles upon her passion of selling vintage clothes online.”
In her early twenties, the freewheeling freegan begins selling clothes on eBay then eventually becomes a highly unlikely businesswoman. Apparently, the show will begin long before Sophia even has the idea to start a business and is instead a punk teenager cursing “the man” every chance she gets.
#GirlBoss is described as part memoir and part business/life advice, so it should be interesting to see how that adapts to television. Very little has been said about the rest of the cast or the exact premiere date, but we do know the series will be adapted and run by Kay Cannon (New Girl, Pitch Perfect, 30 Rock) and produced by Laverne McKinnon, Charlize Theron, Christian Ditter, and Amoruso herself.
Despite Nasty Gal filing for bankruptcy, the book has been very successful and the show has potential to be a surprise hit as well.
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Great News, NBC – April 25th
There are A LOT of new shows coming in 2017 but if there’s one thing lacking it’s comedy. I’m not sure why, but networks just don’t seem to be greenlighting comedies as much as hour-long dramas. That’s part of the reason why I’m excited for the Tina Fey (30 Rock, Saturday Night Live) produced comedy Great News.
From the official site: “getting along with office colleagues can be rough, but working with your mom? That’s a whole different story, and it’s the headline for Katie Wendelson (Briga Heelan of Ground Floor and Undateable Live), a smart, ambitious news producer at ‘The Breakdown,’ a national cable news show that shoots in Secaucus, NJ.”
Andrea Martin (SCTV, My Big Fat Greek Wedding) plays Carol, Katie’s overly supportive mother who has been a stay-at-home mom for thirty years. She decides that she’s been telling her daughter to follow her dreams for years, so now it’s her time to do it – then she lands an internship at “The Breakdown,” which is Katie’s worst nightmare.
The rest of the cast is a comedy who’s who including John Michael Higgins (Pitch Perfect, Best in Show) as blowhard co-anchor Chuck Pierce, Adam Campbell (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Mixology) as dashing producer Greg, Horatio Sanz (Saturday Night Live, The Dictator) as laid back video editor Justin, and the show’s creator, and Tracey Wigfield (30 Rock, The Mindy Project) as the creepy meteorologist Beth.
Aside from Fey and Wigfield, the show is produced by other 30 Rock alum David Miner and Robert Carlock and directed by Beth McCarthy-Miller (30 Rock, Modern Family). I think this show has tons of potential and if it’s half as good as 30 Rock I’ll be satisified. The only problem is, comedy doesn’t always do too well and gets canceled prematurely (see: Arrested Development). Hopefully, Great News delivers and then ultimately lasts a while.
The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu – April 26th
Adapted from Margaret Atwood’s classic science fiction novel, The Handmaid’s Tale tells the story of a totalitarian society, Gilead, that was formed after the collapse of the United States.
Fundamentalism and a militarized regime bent on returning to “traditional values” rose up through environmental disasters and a plummeting birthrate to seize power in Gilead. Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men, Get Him to the Greek) plays Offred, one of the last living fertile women who, in a last ditch effort to repopulate the world, is forced into being a sexual servant of the Commander.
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Offred must navigate between domineering Commanders, their evil Wives, and fellow backstabbing Handmaids in her quest to find the daughter that was taken from her.
The cast also includes Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls), Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love), Yvonne Strahovski (Dexter), Samira Wiley (Orange is the New Black), and Max Minghella (The Social Network) among others. The Handmaid’s Tale was created, with help from Atwood, by Bruce Miller (The 100, The ER) and directed by Reed Morano (The Skeleton Twins, Frozen River). The source material is supposedly fantastic — in fact, now that I know what it’s about I will try to get my hands on the novel — so I have a lot of hope in the show. Many describe it as “1984 for feminists” and that sounds to be right up our alley here at Nerd Much.
Dear White People, Netflix – April 28th
First of all, I’m writing this after the sneak peak trailer dropped and I just have to address this: Dear White People is in no way racist. We live in a time where everybody loves to be outraged (see: Starbucks’ cup colors) and the trailer for this series, which is based on a movie that already exists, is no different. People were quick to jump on the bandwagon and call this show “racist towards white people,” but, in fact, they’ve likely never seen the movie and have no idea what it’s about.
The film is about an African-American college DJ who is, actually, slightly racist towards white people but then she learns better. Anyway, I’ve only seen bits and pieces of the film but I’m excited for the Dear White People Netflix series because it looks like a funny, thoughtful show that examines race and prejudice.
It feels like this show couldn’t be coming out at a better time as there seems to be a huge racial divide in America right now and a series that addresses this topic with light-hearted humor (rather than dark drama, like Shots Fired) is certainly welcome. Like the film, Dear White People “follows a diverse group of students of color as they navigate a predominantly white Ivy League college where racial tensions are often swept under the rug. The series is a send-up of ‘post-racial’ America that also weaves a universal story about forging one’s own unique path” (The Hollywood Reporter).
Justin Simien, the writer-director of the indie film, wrote the series and directed the pilot; Stephanie Allain Bray and Julia Lebedey, both of the Dear White People film, as well as Devon Shepard (Weeds, House of Lies), produced the series. Marque Richardson, Ashley Blaine Featherson, and Brandon P Bell of the original film will star in the series alongside newcomers Atoinette Robertson (Atlanta, Hart of Dixie), John Patrick Amedori (The Vatican Tapes, The Butterfly Effect), and Logan Browning (Bratz, Meet the Browns).
If anything, the backlash has made me even more interested in the series than I already was and I can’t wait for April 28th.
Anne, Netflix – May 12th
The 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables is being rebooted (yet again) by Netflix as the simply titled Anne, and it will be released fairly soon. I don’t know much about the original series so I had to consult other sources for some information.
According to Deadline, “the series centers on a young orphaned girl in the late 1890s who, after an abusive childhood spent in orphanages and the homes of strangers, mistakenly is sent to live with an aging sister and brother, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert.” This eight-episode series doubles as both a coming-of-age story and a period drama. It’s not quite my thing, but I’m willing to check out anything Netflix puts out there – they’ve really been putting out some great stuff lately, and 2017 looks to be even better.
Relative newcomer, young Irish-Canadian actress Amybeth McNulty (Morgan, Clean Break) beat out almost two-thousand other girls for the role of Anne. She will be joined by other relatively unknown young actors Christian Martyn (who plays Billy Andrews), Lucas Jade Zumann (Gilbert Blythe), Ryan Kiera Armstrong (Minnie May), and Aymeric Jett Montaz (Jerry Baynard) as well as adults Jonathan Holmes (Mr. Barry) and Helen Johns (Eliza Barry). Anne is being adapted by Emmy award-winning writer/producer Moira Walley-Beckett (Breaking Bad, Flesh and Bone) and the pilot was directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider, North Country).
Star Trek: Discovery, CBS – May (date TBA)
It’s been fifty years since Star Trek first premiered, and since then it has become one of the most influential and iconic television/film franchises. Star Trek: Discovery will bring a whole new crew of characters, new missions, and a few new ships, while still embracing the same ideology and aesthetic that inspired a generation of Trekkies.
Apparently, CBS doesn’t have much faith (or perhaps they just think this method is better) in the series, though, because they will only be airing the pilot on television and the rest of the episodes will be released on CBS All Access and Netflix. That won’t stop true fans, even if they are a bit leery.
Star Trek fans were a little taken aback by the news that the executive producer will be Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Pushing Daisies) and the series will be run by Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts (Pushing Daisies) – a group of people who aren’t exactly known for their work in the world of science fiction. We don’t know an exact date in May yet, but we do know the crew of the new starship will be led by Captail Georgiu, played by Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Sunshine).
Rounding out the rest of the crew are Maulik Pancholy (30 Rock, Weeds) as Dr. Nambue, Doug Jones (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy) as Lt. Saru, Sonequa Martin-Green (The Walking Dead, Toe to Toe) as Lt. Cmdr Rainsford, and Anthony Rapp (Rent, A Beautiful Mind) as Lt. Stamets.
Other than the cast and a premiere month, we’ve gotten a sparse description of the story: “set roughly ten years before the events of Star Trek the original series, and standing apart from the timeline of the current feature films, Star Trek: Discovery follows the crew of the starship USS Discovery, while exploring an event previously mentioned in the history of the original Star Trek timeline.” Personally, I’ve never been a huge Star Trek fan myself, but I know plenty of my colleagues here at Nerd Much are very excited for this series.