AND THE SHOW GOES ON
While the pandemic has created scheduling challenges for everyone in showbiz, cable networks like Showtime can still boast many proud successes.
“Our streaming audience has nearly doubled year over year, and we’ve had the most watched shows in premium cable in Q1 with Shameless and Ray Donovan and in Q2 with Homeland,” noted Erin Calhoun, Showtime’s executive vice president of communications, during their virtual press junket. “Then came The Chi, which continued to grow week over week to become our most streamed drama series, more than doubling its audience over last season,” she added.
“We are glad to be carefully working our way back into production, starting with the final season of Shameless, which started back this week, and final shoots on the upcoming limited series Your Honor, starring Bryan Cranston.” Showtime has also put more emphasis on its documentary filmmaking; Outcry became one of the highest performing series of all time.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Culinary powerhouse Eater recently teamed with Vox Media Studios for Eater’s Guide to the World, a seven episode series that celebrates the vibrant, diverse flavors of the planet. Emmy-nominated actress Maya Rudolph narrates as the show journeys to some of the world’s most prominent foodie destinations, from New York City to Tijuana and Costa Rica to Casablanca.
“In the current and impossibly difficult time for the industry, the series provides us a tremendous opportunity to celebrate restaurants and the beloved talents behind them,” offered the publication in a virtual announcement. “It’s a reminder to the world of what we lose when restaurants shutter, with a hopeful eye toward the future. And it’s the ultimate love letter to eating.”
The series debuted on November 11 on Hulu. Other locations include Los Angeles, Miami, D.C., the Pacific Northwest, and Atlanta. Quests include best on-the-go bites and super late-night (aka early morning) finds.
Netflix’s Holidate follows two strangers, Sloane (Emma Roberts) and Jackson (Luke Bracey), who, fed up with being single on holidays, agree to be each other’s platonic plus one at every event for an entire year.
“I think people are loving holiday rom-coms because there’s a sense of nostalgia,” noted Roberts in a recent press interview. “I know, for me, it’s so comforting watching romantic comedies. I grew up on them, especially my aunt’s [Julia Roberts] movies, like My Best Friend’s Wedding and Notting Hill, which are so iconic. They just really make you feel good.
While there are no surprise endings here (spoiler alert: the two fall for each other), this feel-good rom-com offers lighthearted holiday laughs, and we could all use a little more of that this year. Kristin Chenoweth, Frances Fisher, Jessica Capshaw, and SNL’s Alex Moat co-star.
MOVIE NIGHT HIGHLIGHT
AFI Film Festival churned out some stellar movies this year, perfect for curling up as the weather cools. Among the many highlights:
Rachel Brosnahan, star of Amazon’s popular series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, turns in an award-worthy performance in the ‘70s crime thriller, I’m Your Woman.
Anthony Hopkins delivered a tour de force performance in the poignant drama The Father. Oliva Colman (The Crown) co-stars.
Written and directed by rising star Tara Miele, Wander Darkly follows a couple, Adrienne (Sienna Miller, The Lost City of Z) and Matteo (Diego Luna, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) who, following a sudden trauma, are forced to face the hard truths of their troubled relationship. Our humble recommendation? Have a box of tissues nearby when you watch.
FARGO IS ON
Anticipation has been building for FX’s FARGO, which despite the recent COVID-related challenges, just wrapped its principal photography in Chicago. This time, the popular anthology series, now in its fourth season, stars Chris Rock, Timothy Olyphant, Glynn Turman, Jason Schwartzman, Ethelrida Pearl Smutny, E’myri Crutchfield, Oraetta Mayflower, and Jessie Buckley.
“The production in Chicago, FARGO, was quite something,” enthused John Landgraf, chairman of FX Networks and FX Productions during the network’s press day. “We had about 25 days of production remaining, and we decided to do something we’d never done before, which is we shot [the episodes] both simultaneously with two directors and two full A units, so we had more than 500 cast and crew working at one time. And we did that because we wanted to concentrate the production in the shortest period of time possible and to maintain as much quarantine and isolation as we possibly could.”