Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Q and A: Week of March 2

Billy Campbell as Dr. Alan Farragut
Q: I am so glad that “Helix” is back on Syfy. Can you give me any hints of what to expect this season? — Lily T., via email

A: I spoke with series star Billy Campbell not too long ago, and he gave me enough “Helix” scoop to get you through the next few episodes. When we caught up with our season-one survivors when season two began on Jan. 16, we were introduced to two new characters, Brother Michael and Dr. Kyle Sommer, played by Steven Weber and Matt Long, respectively. Billy told me what it was like to work with them: “They’re both, first of all, first-class gentlemen. They are wonderful actors. I’ve known Steven Weber for many years. We first worked together in the mid ’80s and then again on ‘Once and Again.’ And he’s a rake and a rogue and an imp, and I always knew he was a creepy guy inside. And now he had the chance to prove it. He’s one of the funniest and now, I believe, one of the creepiest guys I’ve ever met.”

As far as season two goes, will Billy’s character, Dr. Alan Farragut, continue his quest to uncover the truth behind Ilaria and the virus outbreak? “I would say that I come uncomfortably close to realizing my quest. Everything about the second season ties very neatly into that storyline. If you were shocked and surprised by season one, you will be doubly shocked and surprised by season two. They really outdid themselves. I’m not sure exactly what they were smoking in the writers’ room for season two, but they sure seemed to be having a great time smoking it.”

Stayed tuned later this week to read my full interview with Billy.

Q: I am sad that Will Arnett’s series “The Millers” was canceled. Can you tell me if I’ll get to see him in something else soon? — Jean F., Branson, MO

A: The hilarious and talented actor is set to team up with Netflix again, this time developing a series called “Flaked,” where Will stars as a self-help guru named Chip who’s struggling to stay a step ahead of his own lies. Will also co-created, co-wrote and co-executive-produced it with Mark Chappell. The series will premiere next year with eight episodes.

Q: When will “Mad Men” be back? — Mike D., via email

A: The award-winning drama returns to AMC with its final seven episodes on April 5 at 10/9c. Regarding the finale, series star John Slattery told “Variety”: “It was surprising to the end”; while January Jones said: “It’s a beautiful story. It’s perfect in every way.”

Series creator and writer, Matthew Weiner, told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour that while he hopes fans will be pleased with the ending, “as the person telling the story, I think people sometimes have to be protected from what they want to see happen. To delight them with a surprise, you can’t give them everything they want.”

Christina Ricci as Lizzie Borden
Q: I absolutely loved Lifetime’s “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax,” and was so happy when you wrote that the network was turning it into a series. Can you give me any more information about that? — Steff S. in Florida

A: I do have a few more details about the Lifetime limited series, which sees Christina Ricci taking up her ax again as Lizzie Borden, with Clea DuVall returning as her sister, Emma; the series also stars John Heard, Cole Hauser, Jessy Schram and Jonathan Banks. And more great news for fans: “The Lizzie Borden Chronicles” has been extended from six episodes to eight, with the series airing sometime this April.

“Chronicles” delivers an intense and fictionalized account of actual events and people surrounding Lizzie’s life after her controversial acquittal of the horrific double murder of her father and stepmother in 1892, when the exonerated figure lives a life awash in newfound celebrity filled with scandalous love affairs. But when numerous people close to Lizzie — ranging from her half-brother, William, to Broadway luminaries to business associate/underworld kingpin Mr. Flowers — start to mysteriously die under brutal and strange circumstances, legendary Pinkerton detective Charlie Siringo becomes determined to prove her involvement in their demise. Jessy Schram plays Nancy O’Keefe, an alluring and ambitious actress and dancer who befriends Lizzie; Emmy nominee John Heard portrays William Almy, the business partner of Lizzie’s murdered father.

Q: You told us that “Hannibal” would be back as a midseason show, but I haven’t heard anything about when it will be on. Please help! — Daniel S., via email

A: I promise I did not lie to you, Daniel. NBC merely changed up the timing of the season-three premiere of cult-hit drama. The network announced recently that it will air the series this summer, which I think will actually be good news for the show, which sometimes is lacking in the all-important viewer numbers. With less competition over the summer, maybe more people will find their way to this show and help propel it to a much-deserved fourth season. The new season will take story elements from Thomas Harris’ “Hannibal Rising” and “Red Dragon” novels, and will include a different origin story for Dr. Lecter, according to show runner Bryan Fuller.

Q: I miss Eva Longoria. Will she star in something soon? — Olivia F. in Connecticut

A: NBC has given the green light for 13 episodes of a single-camera comedy called “Telenovela,” which will star Longoria as Ana Maria, the domineering-diva star of Latin America’s most popular telenovela, whose off-screen drama rivals that of her on-screen personality.

According to NBC president Jennifer Salke: “[Longoria] is a perfect fit for ‘Telenovela.’ Her character will try to navigate the hysteria and high jinks that everyone must endure in putting together a daily show.”


Q: I was so excited to see the teaser trailer for “Heroes Reborn” during the Super Bowl this year. Do you have any spoilers or news about it? — Amelia D., via email

A: As I reported earlier, “Heroes Reborn,” which will air on NBC sometime in 2015 (an exact airdate had not been set as of this writing), will be a 13-episode event series. Although this reboot will be a brand-new series featuring new, extraordinary characters, Jack Coleman will return as Noah Bennet, aka HRG. “Chuck” alumnus Zachary Levi has joined the show in an undisclosed role.

Regarding other former cast members returning for the reboot, NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt recently revealed: “I’m not trying to be coy, because we just don’t know, but I think you’ll see several of the old cast popping in to episodes.”

Q: I think this season of “Portlandia” might be the funniest one yet. Please tell me I’ll get to enjoy new episodes for years to come. — Paula T., via email

A: I am happy to tell you that you’ll get at least two more seasons of funny from Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. IFC announced that it has picked up the hit comedy for seasons six and seven, each encompassing 10 half-hour episodes.

Q: I wanted to ask about two ABC shows that I very much miss and wondered if there's any chance they'll be aired again: “Red Widow” and “666 Park Avenue.” I very much enjoyed both shows, especially the eye candy in “Red Widow.”—Marsha R., Naples, Fla.

A: Both ABC series premiered in the 2012-13 season — “666 Park Avenue” in September and “Red Widow” as a midseason replacement — to much hullabaloo and fanfare, however, both were canceled due to low ratings. Of the two series, “Red Widow” is available on DVD, in case you are feeling nostalgic, and want to relive the drama and intrigue and eye candy.

Q: I truly hope the writers and producers of “Galavant” know what a superb show it is. I laugh so hard and watch each episode several times since there are so many jokes and bits every second. I thank them for this wonderful production. If it comes out on DVD, I will buy it! — Nancy M., Venice, Fla.

A: I know a lot of people who feel the way you do, Nancy. And they are all hoping for a second season, as I’m sure you are. If anything, it’s just nice to have the option to watch a series that is inventive and unique, and there really is no other show out there like it right now. I believe in rewarding people for thinking outside the box, and I hope ABC does too. While “Galavant” is one of the shows that started out really strong, it then slipped in numbers as the limited series went on. However, since it is a limited series (meaning each season has fewer episodes than a normal series, and it can air at any time during the season as a place-filler or replacement), its low numbers won’t necessary be nails in its coffin, but I’d still place this show very much on the bubble. We’ll keep our fingers crossed!

Q: I read that Andrew Garfield will no longer star in “Spider-Man.” Does that mean the franchise will be ending? — DeeDee R., via email

A: The franchise will go on — but with a new Spidey. Like Tobey Maguire before him, Andrew is moving on to other things, and a new (not-yet-cast) actor will take his place. The premiere date for the new “Spider-Man” movie has been set for July 28, 2017. Because of this, “Thor: Ragnorak” will now open in November 2017, since Peter Parker and company have taken his release date.

Readers: A few months back I answered a reader’s question about whether “Outlander” would be available on DVD. I answered that of course it would, we just didn’t know when yet. Well, now we know. “Outlander: Season One, Volume One” is now available on DVD and Blu-ray (it came out yesterday). The two-disc set includes the first eight episodes of season one, some “making of” featurettes, a 32-page book with photographs, and deleted scenes. The Blu-ray version has even MORE deleted scenes and featurettes. It might even give you enough to keep you occupied as you wait for the season half of season one to begin on Starz on April 4.

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