Greetings from sunny and not rainy at all Southern California! I’m in Beverly Hills for the 2014 Television Critics Association summer tour. Not all of it, however, as this bad boy runs for almost three weeks. I’m here for a few days near the tail end to get inside info on this fall’s television programs.
But what is the TCA summer tour? It’s a chance for cable and network television big wigs to show TV critics (or more specifically, TCA members) what they have up their sleeve for the upcoming year. Every network, from those that stream shows (Amazon, Hulu) to cable (AMC, Showtime) to the big four (Fox, CBS, ABC, NBC) hawk their wares and try to put their best foot forward at this press only event. There are oodles of television execs, writers, producers and actors all on their best behavior, attempting to impress a very tough crowd – TV critics. This is not a fan event, TV critics (as the name implies) are a very cynical bunch.
A lot of what I’ll be seeing and doing will be shared on twitter (@terryterrones if you’re interested in getting the scoop), it just makes a little more sense to use it instead of blog posts as I’ll mostly be getting small bursts of information. But since what I saw yesterday makes for a good photo gallery, I thought I’d post it.
Today (Thursday) I’ll be sitting in on CBS panels, all day. Friday will be The CW and Showtime, Saturday FX and Sunday will be Fox. I’m not planning on any other blog posts so, again, Twitter would be the best place to go if you’re interested in getting an insiders look at the TCAs. But let’s take a look back at Wednesday first.
Yesterday started with a Q&A with the cast and writers of the Fox comedy “Brooklyn Nine Nine.” Last season ended with a cliffhanger where Andy Samberg’s character (Jake Peralta) left to go undercover for the FBI. Before leaving he told his rival/love interest Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) how he felt about her. Show co-creator/writer Mike Schur talked about their relationship. Schur said they weren’t worried about past romances in comedies (he specifically mentioned Pam and Jim from “The Office”) and will just play out the relationship however it plays out. He doesn’t seem worried about how it will affect the show as it won’t be a main focus of the series. The show’s writers also said there will be a time jump to start season two, that Patton Oswalt is likely to return and that they are thrilled about moving to a Sunday time slot.
After walking around the “Brooklyn Nine Nine” set and getting to interview some of the cast, our group took a bus ride to Warner Bros. There I sat in on a panel for the talk show “The Real.” It’s essentially “The View” for women of color. It premieres September 15. This show isn’t really for my demographic but I can tell you I was impressed by Loni Love. She’s very funny. Next there was a panel for “The Lottery,” which premieres on Lifetime this Sunday. The premise for the show is similar to the movie “Children of Men.” Coincidentally the executive producer for “The Lottery” is the same person who wrote the screenplay for “Children of Men,” Timothy Sexton. The series is set in the not-so-distant future where women have been unable to become pregnant. I haven’t watched the pilot yet but it sounds intriguing. Next, “Extra” host Mario Lopez came out and announced the show’s two new on-camera staff members. I’d like to tell you who they are but I wasn’t really paying attention.
Once a break concluded after Lopez’s short presentation, everyone came back to the theater style venue we were in and watched the pilot for Fox’s new drama “Gotham,” which premieres September 22. It was excellent and not exactly what I was expected. “Gotham” is a very gritty and dark police procedural set in the Batman universe. The show introduces a ton of characters Bats fans will be be familiar with (The Penguin, The Riddler, Catwoman, Poison Ivy). I found the performances of Donal Logue and Ben McKenzie to be solid but most impressive was Jada Pinkett Smith. I was surprised by how well she played the vicious mob underboss, Fish Mooney. I’m not quite sure what direction they’re taking the young Bruce Wayne or Selina Kyle/Catwoman characters (Kyle is peppered throughout the episode but never speaks) but if the pilot is any indication this series is in good hands.
My day ended with a trip to the Sony lot to walk around a set of the Showtime program “Masters of Sex.” It tells the story of sex researchers Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) and Bill Masters (Michael Sheen) of Masters & Johnson fame. To be sure, it is quite racy but it’s not quite as salacious as the name indicates. I hung out at the home of character’s Bill and Libby Masters, which was decked out with plenty of 1950s charm. The entire cast was present, including Annaleigh Swanson who plays Betty. Much to my surprise I discovered that Annaleigh is from Colorado and graduated from Wheat Ridge High School.
Alright, that’s enough rambling. A photo gallery is below. You can click on the pictures for an enhanced look if you so choose.