Remembering Norm Macdonald
And the 'Fresh Prince' drama cast revealed
What to know
How Universal got Christopher Nolan’s atom bomb movie… Universal came out on top in the battle to get Christoper Nolan’s Oppenheimer film. Nolan is leaving Warner Bros after many years it seems because Universal was willing to put up the funds for Nolan’s period piece and guarantee him at least 90 days in theaters. It’s a big win for Universal considering Nolan’s last WWII film was Dunkirk. 💣
Norm Macdonald is dead at 61 after private battle with cancer… The comedy world lost a big one today. Macdonald’s dry sense of humor and specific style of delivery was all his own. He’s probably best known for manning SNL’s Weekend Update desk during the OJ Simpson scandal — but comedy fans of a certain age will no doubt be rewatching Dirty Work and Billy Madison this week.
Peacock announces full cast of Fresh Prince drama redo Bel-Air… How faithful is this drama conversion: It appears that all of the original characters will be included. I’m fascinated by what this is going to look like in juxtaposition with the original. Outside of Lou Grant, I can’t think of another TV sitcom that spun off to a drama. 👑
Tracy Morgan will play Arnold Schawzenegger and Danny Devito’s long-lost triplet in Twins sequel… I’m probably not going to see this, but I can appreciate the casting 👯♀️
Phoebe Waller-Bridge is rumored to be taking up the Indiana Jones mantle… look for her in Indiana Jones and the Wall of Dicks 💀
A real Captain America musical almost happened in the ‘80s… and the world was robbed of something truly special 🇺🇸
Tom Welling, Brendan Fraser action series coming to the CW… the Fraserssaince rolls on 💥
For more pop culture news, discussion, and what-to-watch recommendations subscribe to my pals over on the Kickball Friends podcast. 🎙
Dropping this week:
Y: The Last Man — Sept 13 FX/Hulu drama series | 🍅 70%
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie— Sept 17 Amazon movie musical | 🍅 82%
The Eyes of Tammy Faye — Sept 17 in theaters drama | 🍅 74%
What to watch
Before Christopher Nolan goes off to make his Oppenheimer atom bomb movie, I want to give a hearty nod to WGN’s vastly under-seen prestige-era drama series Manhattan, now available on Hulu.
At the peak of Mad Men and Breaking Bad, Chicago-based cable network WGN tried their hand at a Tiffany drama and the results were quite strong. This WWII period piece has the hallmarks of the prestige dramas airing around it, but never got the recognition it deserves. Manhattan takes place at the top-secret New Mexico military base where scientists and their families were brought during WWII to design and build the atom bomb. It smartly blends the science-making and workplace drama of the aforementioned AMC hits with family and relationship conflict, bringing in historic and fictional characters including J. Robert Oppenheimer) . There are plenty of twists and turns and at two-seasons it’s an easy binge.
But the big accomplishment here is the cast. This series had a murderer’s row of TV talent who either already had accomplished character acting careers or would go on to become series-carrying leads. Let’s break it down: Rachel Brosnahan (Mrs. Maisel), Daniel Stern (Home Alone), Olivia Williams (Dollhouse, The Father, The Crown), Ashley Zuckerman (The Lost Symbol), John Benjamin Hickey (Big C, Pitch Perfect), Katja Herbers (Westworld, Evil), Michael Chernus (Orange Is the New Black), David Harbour (Stranger Things, Black Widow), Richard Schiff (The West Wing), Neve Campbell, Mamie Gummer, Griffin Dunne, among many more.
Looking at that cast list again, it’s shocking this show flew under the radar. I feel confident that most people have never even heard of this show — so if nothing else, impress your friends with your deep knowledge of brilliant yet overlooked TV shows.