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    5 Reasons You Should Give 'Gotham' a Try

    Filed under: TV

    Last week, the Television Critics Association named Fox's "Gotham" the most promising new show of the fall TV season. But does that mean you're going to tune in tonight? We were lucky enough to catch the pilot of Fox's new Batman dark and twisty prequel and we have to admit -- this new series has a lot of promise.

    Here are 5 reasons "Gotham" is worth watching:

    1. It Appeals to More Than Just Comic Book Fans
    There's enough jam-packed in the "Gotham" pilot to make it work for even the non-superhero obsessed or those Batman novices out there. Sure, there are comic book elements and familiar faces to satisfy those looking for the DC connection, but this is a cop show about the crime-addled city of Gotham at its core. Detective James Gordon's quest to track down Bruce Wayne's parents' murderers is the focus here -- Batman isn't a part of this story yet. Showrunner Bruce Heller even said that the show is "about real people and people trying to overcome real problems versus trying to learn how to fly" at the TCA tour panel back in July. "If there is a superhero in the show, it's Gotham."

    2. The Cast Doesn't Disappoint
    Ben McKenzie, who you may remember from his days as troubled teen Ryan Atwood on "The O.C." or Ben Sherman on "Southland," seems to have just the right balance of grisly, naive, and morally committed to play a young Jim Gordon. Donal Logue appears to be a great choice for his temperamental crooked cop partner Harvey Bullock and Jada Pinkett Smith is delightfully wicked as Fish Mooney.

    3. It's True to the Mythology In A Lot of Ways, But It Also Does Its Own Thing
    Speaking of Fish Mooney ... Fangirls and fanboys looking for everything to line up with the original material will have to deal with the fact that mob boss Mooney is an entirely new character. But will it stay true otherwise? "It's not a whole new mythology, but issues of chronology we will play with in a fun way," Heller admitted in the TCA panel. "This Gotham, it's a timeless world. It's yesterday, today, tomorrow, all at the same time. That's the world dreams live in," he explained of the ambiguous timing.

    4. You'll Get to Know the (Sometimes Very Scary) Villains
    You won't have to wait long to meet those famous DC villains you're probably hoping to see in action. The pilot is peppered with appearances by Catwoman, the Riddler, and Poison Ivy and spends a good chunk of time with an incredibly creepy version of the Penguin. We should also expect to learn the backstories behind many well-known Batman characters as this show goes on.

    5. It's Great to Look At
    There are cinematic-level visuals at work here. The filming style wavers from your typical TV crime drama -- there's a lot of creativity with color and movement that makes it pop. It definitely achieves the comic book come-to-life feel that amplifies the experience, and hopefully the directors can keep that aspect of the show up week-to-week.

    "Gotham" premieres Monday, September 22 at 8 p.m. on Fox.

    Photo courtesy of Fox

    Stephen King's '11/22/63' Heading to Hulu

    Filed under: TV
    Stephen King 11/22/63LOS ANGELES (AP) - Stephen King's time-travel novel about the Kennedy assassination is being adapted as a small-screen miniseries.

    Streaming service Hulu said Monday that the nine-hour series, titled "11/22/63" after King's book, includes the author and J.J. Abrams as executive producers.

    King said in a statement that if any of his works cried out for "long-form, event TV programming," then "11/22/63" is it.

    In King's 2011 novel, a high school teacher goes back in time to try to prevent the Nov. 22, 1963, killing of President John F. Kennedy by Lee Harvey Oswald.

    The release date for "11/22/63" and casting weren't announced by Hulu or producer Warner Bros. Television. The series will be seen in the United States on Hulu and distributed internationally by Warner.

    20 Random 'Friends' Facts Every Fan Should Know

    Filed under: TV
    Friends Television Stills Television
    So you call yourself a "Friends" fan, eh? You've seen every episode, know all the lyrics to that darn theme song, and consider classic lines ("could I BE wearing anymore clothes?") part of your everyday vocabulary.

    "Friends" premiered 20 years ago today on September 22, 1994, and we thought we would honor that big anniversary by putting together 20 little-known facts about the iconic series. Want to see if you're the master of "Friends" trivia? Look no further:

    1. Original titles considered for the show included Six of One, Friends Like Us, Insomnia Cafe, and Across the Hall.

    2. The apartment numbers got switched as the series went on. Monica and Rachel's original apartment number was 5, but was later changed to 20 because 5 was too small a number for such a high floor. Joey and Chandler's was switched from 4 to 19.

    3. Jon Favreau and Jon Cryer were up for the role of Chandler. As you may remember, Jon Favreau played Monica's boyfriend Pete in Season 3.

    4. Hank Azaria auditioned for the role of Joey twice and desperately wanted the job. He ended up with the recurring role of Phoebe's scientist love interest, David.

    5. Kathy Griffin and Jane Lynch were up for the role of Phoebe.

    6. Ellen Degeneres was offered the role of Phoebe and turned it down.

    7. Elizabeth Berkley auditioned for the role of Rachel.

    8. Leah Remini auditioned for the role of Monica. She did end up appearing in the Season 1 episode, "The One With the Birth."

    9. Courteney Cox was offered the role of Rachel.

    10. Joey's big white dog statue actually belonged to Jennifer Aniston.

    11. Ross Geller was 29 for three years -- he states this age in Seasons 3, 4, and 5.

    12. In the Season 6 premiere episode, "The One After Vegas," all the actors had Arquette hyphenated on their last names as a nod to Courteney Cox's recent marriage to David Arquette.

    13. Courteney Cox is the only actor out of the six leads who was not nominated for an individual Emmy.

    14. Joey's Agent Estelle is played by actress June Gable. Gable appeared in Season 1 playing a different character -- a nurse -- in "The One With the Birth."

    15. It was originally planned to have Monica and Joey as a couple on the show.

    16. Matthew Perry is the youngest cast member. He was 25 when the show began. Lisa Kudrow is the oldest. She was 31 when the show began.

    17. In the pilot, Rachel leaves her fiancé at the altar and refers to him as Barry Finkel. In later episodes the character is called Barry Farber.

    18. Lisa Kudrow was afraid of the duck. (Of Joey and Chandler's the chick and the duck.)

    19. The original opening theme for the show was R.E.M.'s "Shiny Happy People."

    20. In "The One With Rachel's New Dress," Rachel meets Joshua parents. Joshua's father is played by John Bennett Perry, Matthew Perry's real-life dad.

    Photo by Warner Bros. Television

    Jada Pinkett Smith Just Joined 'Magic Mike XXL' in a Super Secret Role

    Filed under: Movies
    Jada Pinkett Smith is one of three new female additions to the cast of "Magic Mike XXL," confirming in a recent interview that she'll appear in the follow-up to the 2012 stripper drama.

    While chatting with Queen Latifah, Smith told the talk show host that she was excited to start shooting the flick -- and her role was a unique one.

    "Yes, you know, Channing [Tatum] and [director] Gregory [Jacobs] and Warner Bros. really took a chance," Smith told Latifah. "There was a character written for a male that they wanted to turn into a female."

    Smith declined to say more about the role, but insisted that she wouldn't be portraying a dancer.

    "I can't really reveal it yet, but I'm excited about it," the actress added.

    Deadline seems to have solved the mystery, though, writing that Smith would be playing a strip club owner in the "Magic Mike" sequel. We'll have to wait for further word from filmmakers to see if that prediction is correct.

    Smith isn't the only dose of girl power the flick is set to receive: Both Amber Heard and Andie McDowell have also joined the ensemble, in undisclosed roles. They join returning cast members Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, and Gabriel Iglesias; sadly, Matthew McConaughey will not be reprising his role.

    "Magic Mike: XXL" is due in theaters on July 1, 2015.

    [via: The Queen Latifah Show, h/t The Hollywood Reporter]

    Photo credit: Getty Images

    What to Watch This Week: 'Neighbors,' 'Gotham,' 'Scandal,' & More

    Filed under: Movies, Blu-ray DVDs, TV
    Zac Efron and Dave Franco in Neighbors
    At a loss for what to watch this week? From new DVDs and Blu-rays, to what's streaming on Netflix, we've got you covered.

    New on DVD and Blu-ray

    Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen star as a married couple living in a nice suburban neighborhood with their new baby. When a fraternity moves in next door, the Radners struggle with feeling terrible uncool and also having their lives wrecked by a bunch of hard-partying bros. Zac Efron co-stars as Teddy, the head of the frat, with Dave Franco as his right-hand man.

    "Halloween: The Complete Collection"
    Do you need this 15-disc Blu-ray box set comprised of all of the "Halloween" movies, including the producer's cut of "Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers," Rob Zombie's 2007 and 2009 versions, audio commentary, and lots more? "Need" is such a childish word. You won't literally die if you didn't manage to order this giant limited edition release before Shout! Factory ran out, but you definitely might regret it.

    Roman Polanski's take on Shakespeare's legendary tragedy is especially horrifying given the then-recent murder of his wife Sharon Tate by members of the Manson Family. Criterion's release has a few extras, like the mini-doc "Toil and Trouble: Making 'Macbeth,'" but the digital restoration alone is worth the price of admission.

    TV Worth Watching

    "Gotham" (Fox, Monday, 8 p.m. EST)
    This is the series premiere of the coolest new superhero show on the block. Ben McKenzie stars as a fresh-faced you cop named James Gordon who's paired up with a more experienced cop named Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) to investigate the murders of Bruce Wayne's parents.

    "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (ABC, Tuesday, 9 p.m. EST)
    Season two kicks off with a bang as Coulson (Clark Gregg) gets used to his new role as the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson has his hands full trying to recover and rebuild the agency after it was destroyed by Hydra from the inside out. One of the first people they turn to is former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Isabelle Hartley, who now works as a mercenary, played by Lucy Lawless.

    "Scandal" (ABC, Thursday, 9 p.m. EST)
    The tagline for this season is "Where in the world is Olivia Pope?" Well, wherever she is is exactly where we want to be, giant wine glasses and cozy cashmere wraps and all. If you're watching it live and not on DVR, don't forget to tune in to Twitter, where Shonda Rhimes and the cast of "Scandal" tweet their reactions and interact with fans.

    New on Netflix

    "The Firm" (1993)
    This John Grisham thriller stars Tom Cruise as a fresh-faced Harvard Law grad who's hired by a fancy law firm, only to find himself up to his neck in trouble with various murderous baddies and FBI folk. The jam-packed cast includes Gene Hackman, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Gary Busey, Holly Hunter, Ed Harris, and David Strathairn.

    "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete" (2013)
    In this critically acclaimed indie drama directed by George Tillman, Jr., 14-year-old Mister (Skylan Brooks) and 9-year-old Pete (Ethan Dizon) have to figure out how to keep out of trouble, stay safe, and avoid child protective services after Mister's mom (Jennifer Hudson) is arrested. Anthony Mackie, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jordin Sparks, and Jeffrey Wright also appear.

    "Call the Midwife: Series 3"
    If you're looking for a new show to get obsessed with, this BBC drama about midwives in the '50s could be just the ticket. Religion, culture, and class differences all rub up against each other at the nursing convent Nonnatus House, which serves one of London's poorest communities. Jessica Raine stars as new nurse Jenny Lee, alongside Helen George, Miranda Hart, and Bryony Hannah.

    New Video on Demand, Rental Streaming, and Digital Only

    "Transparent" (Amazon Prime, September 26)
    This new show from Jill Soloway ("Afternoon Delight," "United States of Tara," "Six Feet Under") is a funny, sweet drama about the secrets we keep from each other and ourselves. The self-obsessed Pfefferman siblings, played by Amy Landecker, Gaby Hoffmann, and Jay Duplass, are thrown for a loop when their parent Mort (Jeffrey Tambor) comes out to them as transgender and begins transitioning to live as Maura full time. Meanwhile, they've each got their own messy lives to deal with, and questions to figure out. The wonderful Judith Light plays their mom (and Maura's ex-wife) Shelly. All 10 episodes will be available on September 26.

    "My Best Fiend" (iTunes)
    Werner Herzog wrote and directed this documentary about his intense, occasionally violent relationship with the eccentric German actor Klaus Kinski. Kinski starred in five of Herzog's movies - "Aguirre, the Wrath of God," "Nosferatu," "Woyzeck," "Fitzcarraldo," and Cobra Verde" - and their collaborations are legendary, both onscreen and off.

    "True Blood: Season 7" (iTunes)
    If you can't wait for the inevitable multi-disc Blu-ray box set now that "True Blood" has met the True Death, well, here you go. It's the final season of the show, with all its ins and outs, ups and downs, wolves and vamps and shapeshifters and fairies and ghosts and whatnot. Dunzo. Now wipe away those bloody tears and get to writing some Eric fanfic!

    'The Interview' Red Band Trailer Proves Killing Kim Jong-un Is Filthy, Hilarious Work (VIDEO)

    The Interview, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan
    A new red band trailer for "The Interview," in which Seth Rogen and James Franco are recruited to assassinate Kim Jong-un, takes advantage of its opportunity to show off the flick's dirtiest, most vulgar jokes -- and makes the high-concept comedy appear even more appealing.

    The clip is packed with filthy quips about a bald-headed Rob Lowe resembling a certain member of the male anatomy, and an extended scene in which Franco enjoys sniffing ... well, something we can't print here. But suffice it to say, it got our attention.

    But "The Interview" is more than gross-out humor and sight gags -- though it does offer plenty of those -- thanks to its screwball plot to have Rogen and Franco take out the North Korean leader, by way of instruction from a CIA agent played by Lizzy Caplan. What begins with Rogen pleading with Franco to cover real news on their celebrity tabloid TV show ends up with the men potentially becoming news themselves, and the once-reluctant pair eventually go all-in on the ridiculous plan.

    "Kim must die. It's the American way," Franco declares.

    Based on this clip, we're totally on board, too.

    "The Interview," which was initially scheduled to open in October, has now been reassigned to premiere on Christmas Day.

    [via: The Dissolve]

    Photo credit: Ed Araquel for CTMG, Inc.

    Director Bryan Singer Officially Confirmed for 'X-Men: Apocalypse'

    Filed under: Movies
    X-Men Director-Sex Abuse LawsuitAfter months of speculation following allegations of sexual abuse, Fox has officially signed on director Bryan Singer to return for "X-Men: Apocalypse."

    The Hollywood Reporter writes that Singer just inked a deal with the studio to helm the follow-up to this spring's hit "X-Men: Days of Future Past," after a man who claimed that Singer sexually abused him dropped those charges last month. It was unclear if Fox would re-sign the director in the wake of that scandal, but now that there are no more legal challenges facing him, Singer is free to re-join the mutant universe.

    THR writes:

    In June, 20th Century Fox production president Emma Watts told The Hollywood Reporter that she wanted Singer back for the sequel, despite the scandal: "Nothing would make me happier than if it all worked out. It's always been the intention for him to do it."

    It seems that the studio got its wish.

    "X-Men: Apocalypse" is set to hit theaters on May 18, 2016.

    [via: The Hollywood Reporter]

    Photo credit: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

    Kenan Thompson May Leave 'SNL' After 40th Season Wraps (UPDATED)

    Filed under: TV
    2011 UJA-Federation Of New York's Broadcast, Cable & Video Award Celebration
    Kenan Thompson, the longest-tenured African-American cast member in "Saturday Night Live" history, will leave the late night sketch show when it wraps its upcoming 40th season, according to a report from TMZ.

    The gossip site writes that Thompson, who's headed into his 12th "SNL" season, actually wanted to depart following the end of season 39 earlier this year, but was persuaded to stay by producer Lorne Michaels, citing the recent high turnaround rate among cast members.

    "We're told Kenan has no hard feelings and is leaving on great terms," TMZ writes. "Our sources say he's in talks for a new show and plans on moving to L.A. (with his wife and brand new baby) when the season ends."

    But Vulture reports that an "SNL" spokesperson insists that TMZ's story is "incredibly inaccurate."

    "The season hasn't even started and cast decisions aren't made until the end of the season," the spokesperson told Vulture.

    We'll have to wait from official word from Thompson before we find out the truth, but suffice it to say that if he does end up leaving after this season, it will be a bummer for the generation of "SNL" fans who grew up watching him on the program. (He's the most seasoned member of the current cast of the show.) Expect his sendoff -- whenever it may occur -- to be epic and bittersweet.

    Catch Thompson while you can when "Saturday Night Live"'s 40th season premieres on September 27.

    [via: TMZ, Vulture h/t HuffPost Entertainment]

    Photo credit: Getty Images

    'Star Wars: Episode VII' May Take a Trip to Ice Planet Hoth

    Filed under: Movies
    Former "James Bond" star Roger Moore was one of the lucky few who's been allowed access to the "Star Wars: Episode VII" set, and what the actor has reported from his visit could be a major clue about the setting for the first installment of the new trilogy.

    During an interview on U.K. television host Graham Norton's BBC Radio show (as transcribed by The Guardian), Moore revealed that he was just back from the "Episode VII" set, and while he couldn't reveal much, the one hint he dropped seems to point directly to a familiar location from the original series.

    "They were filming something with a lot of mountains and snow," Moore said of director J.J. Abrams and the rest of the crew.

    "Star Wars" fans know that the only location in the galaxy that meets that description is Hoth, the ice planet featured in the beginning of "Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back." Yahoo! Movies points out that Moore's bit of intel jibes nicely with theories that have been floating around about the "Wars" universe returning to Hoth, including that Abrams had been scouting shooting locations in Iceland, and actually shot a few scenes on the Eyjafjallajökull glacier (home to the notorious volcano that erupted back in 2010).

    Moore declined to reveal anything else about his "Episode VII" visit -- "I was signed to secrecy," he told Norton -- but it seems we've already got all the important information out of him anyway. Now we just have to wait until the flick hits theaters to see if our theories have been confirmed.

    "Star Wars: Episode VII" is due to debut on December 18, 2015.

    [via: Graham Norton, h/t Yahoo! Movies]

    Photo credit: Pineapples101/Flickr

    Harry Lennix Says 'The Blacklist' Season 2 Is 'Season 1 on Steroids'

    Filed under: TV
    If you're a fan of NBC's crime drama "The Blacklist," chances are you're chomping at the bit for Season 2's highly-anticipated premiere. Last season (spoilers ahead, by the way!) left viewers with tons of burning questions and we can't wait to see what will be revealed when Red Reddington and company return tonight.

    Fortunately, we were able to get some insight into what will can expect when it comes to the hit series's sophomore season. Moviefone spoke with one of the show's stars, Harry Lennix, who plays FBI Agent Harold Cooper, and he let us in on what's in store for "The Blacklist" and his character, what it's like to work with the great James Spader, and if we will get answers to any of those unanswered questions.

    Lennix has had a long and accomplished career in TV, film, and stage, and has appeared in shows like "Dollhouse" and "ER." He played General Swanwick in 2013's "Man of Steel," so we also couldn't help asking what he could share about the upcoming "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice."

    Moviefone: Let's talk a little bit about Season 2. What can we expect and how will things be different?

    Harry Lennix: The short form answer would be it's Season 1 on steroids. We're gonna amplify it. We do a show that has garnered the attention of the public, which this fortunately has. We want the fans to have more of what they want. This is kind of a super=sized version of Season 1. So, we pick up where we left off, which as you remember, everybody was pretty much in the jaws of danger. I think you'll see more of the same. Red is the same. We will have some extraordinary exciting guest stars on to play Blacklisters. It will just be exciting. I was excited about my friend Ron Cephas Jones coming on, and there's more and more. We've got a new agent working with us in Mozhan Mornò. She's a terrific actress. So, we're excited about it. The most important thing is you can depend on the same level of intrigue, action. and acting.

    The Season 1 finale was just so chock full of suspense and there are a lot of open-ended, burning questions out there. In the Season 2 premiere, will we get answers to any of those questions?

    You'll get some answers and more questions will be raised. We can't solve everything in one episode.

    What can we expect from your character, Cooper, this season? It's safe to say he survived. What does that attack mean for the FBI and will we learn more about his past at all?

    Well, it's interesting. I read something online that said they would go into the past, but I can't say because I'm not in the writers' room. So far as the character is concerned, Cooper is very comfortable with people not knowing anything about him at all. He's a company man. The real purpose of his job is to get as many dangerous people off the streets as possible. To that end, Reddington is the goose that lays the golden egg. Cooper, speaking for himself, would love to keep the spotlight off himself and to put it on these criminals that he's trying to apprehend. I read John Eisendrath, who's the showrunner, that we will find out more about Cooper.

    One big unanswered question that was brought up during the season was an unfortunate incident involving Cooper in Kuwait, information that Red threatened him with. Will we find out what he was referring to?

    I hope so. Harry hopes so. Cooper hopes not.

    What do you think makes people so drawn to "The Blacklist"? This show is sort of unlike anything on TV -- it's comical at times, but deadly serious. What's your favorite thing about playing a character like this and being a part of it all?

    It's an interesting thing. It's one of those things where I think we achieve some form of gestalt. I don't think we knew all of what we had when we were assembling the pilot. But the fact that Joe Carnahan was so adept at action directing, the fact that James Spader is such a masterful actor and Megan and Diego are so winning. And Ryan Eggold was a big surprise to a lot of people just showing how many layers he has. I don't think that we knew all of the assets that we had until it was all put together. It's hard to say and I don't know if there's any one reason that it's gelled so well.

    I think it starts at the top and that's been my experience on television in general. If you've got someone who as meticulous and prepared as James, he's gonna ask the right questions to the right people. From the writing room to the director to the other actors, we're all working together. But he is, in my opinion, he's the captain of the team. He's one of the reasons, certainly.

    I'd say the other thing that makes it work is the writing. In this age of more permissiveness in television the rules have been relaxed a bit in terms of what you can show or what you can see compared to say the '80s or something. We get to do more and we get to see more. Technology is of course important. These cameras and this equipment can do so much and show so much. It's really all worked together to our benefit and whatever the man behind the curtain in Oz is doing, whoever that is, they put this thing together in such a way that keeps people coming back. I guess if I knew the answer to what made it work I'd be a very rich man.

    What's the best part of working with James Spader? Anything that would surprise us about him?

    I don't think so. When you watch him, you see someone who has been doing this for a very long time and who is very good at it, who has developed an expertise in it. He's very well prepared, and I don't think that would be a surprise. I think the thing that's great about working with him is that there are no surprises, really. In terms of the methodology of work, his incisiveness as an actor and the joie de vivre that the character has, I think, is a rare mix. Not a lot of people can get away with it. He seems to be having a great amount of fun doing some pretty despicable things. And that's always fun.

    Anything else you would like to spill about Season 2? Anything that would make our jaws drop?

    I know that they're working on it. I don't know. I don't have anything up my sleeve.

    We have to ask: Can you tell us anything about "Batman v Superman"?

    "Batman v Superman" ... [Laughs] Well, no. Anybody who's a fan of the '86 graphic novel "The Dark Knight Returns," I think will be well pleased by that. This is a historic event. Clearly, Zack Snyder is on the cutting edge of directing movies of this scope and scale. I think you can depend on the acting -- you've got Amy Adams, of course. You've got Henry [Cavill]. I don't think there are any surprises with regard to that. What will happen remains to be seen. I'd probably wind up in a box some place.

    "The Blacklist" Season 2 premieres September 22 at 10 p.m. on NBC.

    Photo courtesy of Justin Stephens/NBC

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