Oscar History

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Entries in TV (488)


Lick It Up, Baby. Lick It Up

“F*ck me gently with a chainsaw,” it looks like Daniel Waters 1989 cult classic Heathers (starring Winona Ryder, Christian Slater and Shannen Doherty among others) will be getting the small-screen treatment in a new anthology series on TV Land. This reincarnation will take place in present-day and feature a modern permutation on the three central “Heathers”. One is a black lesbian, another is a gender-queer male and the third is said to resemble the beleaguered Martha Dumptruck from the original film.

This is not the first cult-classic in recent years to be adapted for television. MTV’s “Scream” (largely eclipsed by “Scream Queens” in the public consciousness) is set to begin its second season May. TV Land itself has also picked up a television adaptation of The First Wives Club set to air next year.

Adaptations of movies into television series is hardly anything new. And there’s certainly precedent of it leading to a TV series that far surpasses the film its based on. Maybe “precedent” is a strong word. One shining example would probably be a more accurate assessment. The point is, for every generation-defining “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” we get about five or six middling “Dangerous Mind” or “Clueless” level retreads (remember these TV adaptations? Yikes.)

Whatever your feelings, qualitatively about high school hierarchy satire, its iconic status is hard to deny. Make no mistake—without Heathers, there would be no Clueless, no Mean Girls, probably no “Beverly Hills: 90210” whatever that means to you in any case. It’s easily the year zero of the high school queen bee sub-genre. Entertainment Weekly even teased the story with the headline “TV Land has picked up this Mean Girls-esque ‘80s cult classic.” Heresy. No one is set to reprise their original roles, which makes sense if you’ve seen Heathers. Here’s hoping that it retains at least some of the biting, note-perfect tone of the original.

Also, Martha Dumptruck did survive the original film, so maybe her return isn't out of the question. You know you're wondering what she's up to.

Will you be watching?


Small Screen MVPs: ill-fitting gloves, a sapphic Miranda, and more.

We're accidentally having nearly a full television day today at our mostly movies site so this is as good a time as any to try to reboot that idea about a weekly glance at what we're loving on TV. So I asked members of the team to name a MVP of their television week and here's what they said...

MVP: "If it doesn't fit...," Scene
Show: The People Vs. OJ Simpson

This show gets better and better. In an episode chock-full of riveting moments, there was never any real doubt that THE moment would be the presentation of the iconic gloves, the gloves the prosecution was so convinced would win the case for them.  After tracing what led to the fatal error of asking Simpson to try them on—Chris Darden’s desire for a “big moment” to beat the defense at their own game, and perhaps to make up for a missed opportunity with Marcia Clark—the show builds up to the climax like a horror movie.  Once Bob Shapiro convinces the defense the gloves won’t fit, F. Lee Bailey and Johnnie Cochran cunningly spring the trap for the prosecution, playing Darden’s ego like a violin.  Then Simpson gives the performance of his life as he struggles with the gloves while the jury looks on, agog, and Darden realizes he may just have single-handedly blown the entire case.  But it’s the great Sarah Paulson's face as Marcia Clark that says it all: you can see her soul being slowly crushed during the whole demonstration, and it’s devastating. 
-Lynn Lee 

five more MVPs after the jump...

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HBO’s LGBT History: Girls (2012-)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions.

Last week we looked at Back on Board: Greg Louganis, a doc that traced the life story of the (now) out gay Olympic diver. That meant that for two straight weeks we’ve been looking back at the latter half of the twentieth century (previously we talked about Robert De Niro’s gay father), and so to shake it up we’re talking Girls this week. Well, the boy in Girls, but still.

With its new season well on its way, and with Elijah (played deliciously by Andrew Rannells) given a heck of a love interest this past week, I couldn't help but write up this most recent episode rather than reach further back. As always when we dip our toes into television we’re focusing on one episode and really, I couldn’t have planned it better if I’d tried seeing as “Old Loves” allows us to talk about Elijah within the confines of a burgeoning relationship and talk about that very steamy (if hilarious) sex scene. The title of the episode, as Lena Dunham has explained elsewhere, is a nod to the Tumblr of the same name which is name-dropped in the episode that puts up pictures of old celebrity couples (Tom Green & Drew Barrymore! Matt Damon & Winona Ryder! Thandie Newton & Brad Pitt!). But it is the “new” love in the episode that will be our focus today.

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Mercedes McCambridge Centennial: "Charlie's Angels" & "Bewitched"

Today is the Centennial of one of the most singular character actresses of the 1950s, Mercedes McCambridge, born in Joliet Illinois on this very day in 1916. We hope you've enjoyed our mini retrospective. We previousy discussed her sensational debut in All The King's Men (1949) her final Oscar nomination for the Texas epic Giant (1956) and her sorry fate in a teensy part in the Airport disaster series. (In the past, ICYMI, we've amply discussed The Exorcist in which she did truly legendary voice work as well as the fiery abandon of must-see western Johnny Guitar.) 

In The Concorde... Airport '79 article, Tim talked about the disaster genre's often disastrous treatment of aged film stars in cameos. But discarded stars of Old Hollywood also frequently collected paychecks through TV guest spots. On the small screen there was the same roulette wheel chances at success. In fact McCambridge was more frequently spotted on TV than in film, switching between both for her entire career after her launch in radio in the 1930s. Many early TV shows are impossible to see now but let's discuss her downright fantastic guest spots on Charlie's Angels (1978) & Bewitched (1968).

Murder mysteries and witchcraft -- and a chance to discuss two classic camp series (oh you know you want to!) follow after the jump....

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A Series of Unfortunate Casting Decisions

Laurence here with some more casting news from the television world. When news broke in 2014 that Netflix would be adapting Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events books into a series, it was exciting. The 2004 film adaptation never really struck a chord, nor was it successful enough to turn into the Harry Potter-esque franchise Nickelodeon wanted it to be. It was received relatively well, but it has become something of a pop culture footnote.

Television is a pretty natural place for an adaptation of a 13-book series, however, and Netflix's love of hurling absurd amounts of money at every algorithmically pleasing premise bade well for a new adaptation.

After a long time spent in 'talks', yesterday it was finally confirmed that the actor cast to play Count Olaf in the series is...Neil Patrick Harris? Now, NPH has been doing solid work in proving his range post-HIMYM. He was enjoyably creepy in Gone Girl, and his stint in Hedwig on Broadway showed he could be, well, Hedwig. But whatever you think about Jim Carrey's performance as Olaf, he was nothing if not indelible.

But NPH as Count Olaf seems, well, a stretch. There's no denying that he has comic chops. But Olaf is an evil, strange, reptilian character, such that casting NPH makes the whole thing feel sanitised and kid-friendly. Add in the fact that their casting of Violet (Malina Weissman) and Klaus (Louis Hynes) seems to be both skewing younger than the film and strangely insistent on replicating the look of the film's stars, Emily Browning and Liam Aiken.

One bright spot, at least, is the casting of Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket, who was played by Jude Law in the film. But despite NPH's Halloween costume bona fides, Netflix could have been more creative. Imagine Kathy Najimy as a genderbent Countess Olaf. Imagine.

Perhaps the most curious aspect is that the series is set to be directed, at least at first, by Barry Sonnenfeld of Addams Family Values fame, who was originally set to direct the film. At the time, he hired Daniel Handler (the writer behind the Snicket pen name) to adapt the books as a musical. Given that they have also cast two-time Tony nominee K. Todd Freeman, it will be interesting to find out if that's what we're going to get. But is that what the books deserve?


Eva Green's Peculiar Children and Geena Davis Returning to TV

Laurence here with a couple of juicy actress news tidbits. After a string of well-cast disappointments, we're all hoping for a return to Tim Burton magic this year with his new film Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. We finally have some images from the film, which has what might be Burton's most formidable (live-action) cast since Big Fish, including Judi Dench, Samuel L. Jackson, Allison Janney, Terence Stamp, Kim Dickens and Rupert Everett. Whoa.

Most importantly, though, here's Eva Green in the title role. [More...]

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Oscar Telecast Ratings Hit Eight-Year Low

We’re currently awash in Oscar numbers and statistics, but there’s another Oscars number to be taken into account. After much discussion of the Academy as an entity leading up to Sunday night, it seemed like public interest would be high going into the ceremony, particularly given the Leo narrative and some high-grossing nominees like The Revenant, The Martian and Mad Max: Fury Road. But numbers for the Oscars telecast for this year have come in, and the Chris Rock-hosted show fell 6 percent to 34.3 million viewers in preliminary numbers and an eight-year ratings low...

If you haven’t already read Kieran’s analysis of Rock’s hosting stint you definitely should, because he gets at a lot of reasons why the ceremony was so uneven and might have put people off watching. But the most telling aspect of the ceremony’s ratings is that the 18-49 demographic only dropped 5 percent, which means that much of the lost audience was older viewers...

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