And Adam McKay finally sells next pic
What to know
The writers could strike at midnight Monday, here’s what you need to know… Hollywood is on pins and needles as negotiations between the studios and the WGA come down to the wire. If no deal is reached the writers will strike starting Tuesday, May 2. By the time you read this the writers might already be on strike. Why are they striking? Higher minimum pay, better residuals from streaming, a minimum number of working weeks, protection from AI, and more. What happens if there’s a strike? All writing, and many pre-production and production will grind to halt. The late night shows and SNL will be the first to hit pause, followed by network series (like Abbott Elementary), and then there could be a cascading effect of delayed movie release dates. That said, productions can continue as long as no new writing is done. The streamers and studios have a lot of stuff in the can ready to release (especially Netflix), but the longer the strike goes on the further behind Hollywood could get. Also, a ton of people will be immediately out of work. Last time there was a strike the California economy took a $2.1B hit. Now, if the actors and directors also go on strike (their contracts are up in July), Variety says the town will be facing, “Armageddon.” 🪧
Netflix lands Adam McKay pic no one reportedly wanted… After Don’t Look Up, McKay and Netflix are reuniting on Average Height, Average Build. Starring Robert Pattinson, Amy Adams, Robert Downey Jr., Forest Whitaker, and Danielle Deadwyler, the dark comedy tells the story of a murderer who hires a lobbyist in order to make the laws more murder-friendly. Deadline says McKay took his time trying to find the best home for this movie, but as you’ll recall, McKay was reportedly having trouble selling it due its alleged high budget. I wonder if McKay ended up compromising on budget or if Netflix sees some buzzy upside? 🚦
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True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto steps in to write Marvel’s Blade… According to The Hot Mic podcast, this is reportedly part of Marvel’s effort to increase the quality of their movies by hiring more experienced writers. Pizzolatto ain’t a bad place to start — though I wonder how much writing he’ll be able to do once the strike starts. ✍🏻
Ben Stiller refutes report of Severance season 2 being delayed… The EP and director says the targeted release date is still the release date, “We’re on the same really slow schedule we’ve always been on.” He didn’t seem to mention anything about the co-showrunners not getting along though. 👀
Sly Stallone returning for Cliffhanger reboot… Did you know that the original Cliffhanger made $255 million and helped revitalize Stallone’s career? That doesn’t make me more interested in a reboot, but it is kind of interesting. 🧗♀️
Pedro Pascal joins Gladiator sequel… Good for him, it’s about time he landed a big role that will give him some exposure. You guys really should check out this Pedro Pascal fella, he’s got a big career ahead of him. 👍
9-1-1 moving from Fox to ABC for season 7… It used to be big news when a network show would be saved from cancellation by another network. Now, with the state of network TV, not so much. 🚨
Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part 1 films wraps production 3 years later… That’s an Avatar-length shooting schedule! 🎬
Only Murders in the Building returns for season 3 August 8… Those podcasters just can’t stop getting caught up in murder schemes! 🔪
Apple gives The Morning Show a 4th season ahead of season 3… Those morning news anchors just can’t stop reporting the news! ☀️
The Diplomat scores quick season two renewal at Netflix… The hits just keep coming for the old red letter company. 🍿
Conan O’Brien, Dana Carvey, and Kevin Nealon turning lost Hans and Frans movie into a podcast… Pump your earbuds up! 💪🏻
Rumor says Josh Gad is joining Marvel’s Wonder Man series… I’m surprised he hadn’t popped up in Marvel already. 📺
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves hits on demand tomorrow… And I highly recommend watching it. ⚔️
Next season of Ryan Murphy’s Monster to take on the Menendez brothers… Pass. 🤷🏻
Super Mario Bros. Movie crosses the $1B mark… That’s 10 million extra lives. 👨🏻🔧
Paul Mescal, Jessie Buckley join Chloé Zhao’s next movie… Sounds arty. 🎥
Rob Delaney returning for Deadpool 3… Peter lives! 🪂
White House Plumbers — May 1 | HBO miniseries | 🍅 58%
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story — May 4 | Netflix drama series | 🍅 100%
Bupkis — May 4 | Peacock comedy series | 🍅
Silo — May 5 | Apple TV+ sci-fi series | 🍅 100%
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 — May 5 | Marvel movie in theaters | 🍅 78%
Returning: Star Wars Visions s2, The Other Two s3, Taste the Nation With Padma Lakshmi s2
What to watch
Back in the 1980s, NBC was in last place behind CBS and ABC. In a moment of desperation the network tried something quite bold for the time. Rather than produce lowest common denominator series aimed at everyone, it attempted high quality programming for a more discerning audience. The idea was a success, giving us unprecedented shows like Hill Street Blues, Homicide, and St. Elsewhere. NBC rose back to number one and ushered in a new era of quality TV that stretches into today.
Is Peacock attempting a similar strategy now? Far behind its streaming competitors, the NBC Universal platform does seem to be going for niche-level quality. First with Poker Face, and now with Mrs. Davis. Tara Hernandez and Damon Lindelof’s absurdist high-concept comedy is not going to be for everyone. It’s a bit like Preacher, a bit like Lost, a bit like Idiocracy, but all on its own wavelength. The show is weird and wacky, yet provocative and deep. It mixes high brow mediations on faith, artificial intelligence, and free will, with low brow gags and humor. While our hero Betty Gilpin is giving a thoroughly emotional performance, dialed into the character’s childhood trauma as she attempts to save the very fate of humanity, Chris Diamantopoulos is basically playing a cartoon character with the most exaggerated Australian accent. This is a high-wire act, because one false move in either direction (too broadly comic or too deathly serious) could make the whole thing tumble down. Somehow, Hernandez and Lindelof whip back and forth with intentionality and integrity.
Primarily though, they want to make you say “WTF!” and they’re succeeding. Hernandez and Lindelof have so many extraordinary ideas that all mesh together in a delightful and propulsive tapestry. Its mystery box elements and plotting is as clever, rich, and knotty as you’d expect from a Lindelof show. You’ve just never seen it with this much comedic silliness before. The show’s perspectives on the internet, social media, and artificial intelligence are sticky and harrowing, but where they intersect with faith and belief are the most fascinating and chewy elements of this show. Its ideas stay with you hours after turning off your TV.
If Peacock is looking to win audiences with bold and unique programming, Mrs. Davis fits those two adjectives exactly.
For all past ‘what to watch’ recommendations, see the full list here!