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Santa Clarita Diet Season 2 - Joel McHale and Maggie Lawson among new cast members

Santa Clarita Diet Season 2

Story by Jack Foley

NETFLIX has unveiled some delicious casting news and a first look photo of the much-anticipated second season of* Santa Clarita Diet*, launching this spring.

First off, Joel McHale and Maggie Lawson have been confirmed to guest star as Chris and Christa, married realtors in Santa Clarita – and a more successful, more aggressive version of Sheila and Joel.

Gerald McRaney also guest stars as Ed Thune, a retired army colonel who Joel finds very intimidating. While Zachary Knighton guest stars as Paul, the chill descendent of Serbian ancestors who has been tasked with pursuing the truth of the undead, no matter who or what stands in his way.

In Santa Clarita Diet, Joel (Timothy Olyphant) and Sheila (Drew Barrymore) are husband and wife realtors leading vaguely discontented lives in the L.A. suburb of Santa Clarita with their teenaged daughter Abby (Liv Hewson), until Sheila goes through a dramatic change sending their lives down a road of death and destruction…but in a good way.

Picking up right where we left off, Season 2 of Santa Clarita Diet finds the Hammonds trying to adapt to Sheila’s now-advanced undead state – even though she’s desperately working to hold on to her suburban lifestyle and not be defined as just another monster.

Unfortunately, while the family has become markedly better at murder, the number of missing people in Santa Clarita is starting to pile up and it’s no longer going unnoticed.

Meanwhile, the Hammonds are chasing the source of the virus so they can stop it from spreading and save humanity – which seems important.

Through it all, Sheila and Joel are grounded by their unconditional love for one another. Sure, being undead – or loving someone who is – isn’t always easy, but don’t all relationships have their challenges?

To find out more, visit the Santa Clarita Diet website

Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz confirmed for Big Little Lies second season

Big Little Lies

Story by Jack Foley

SHAILENE Woodley, Laura Dern and Zoe Kravitz have officially signed up to return to the award-winning drama Big Little Lies for its forthcoming second season.

The trio will reprise their roles as Jane Chapman, Renata Klein and Bonnie Carlson, respectively.

The delay in confirming their return came as a result of the fact that no one had anticipated a sophomore run for the show going into the first season, so no deals beyond that one season had been struck.

It has meant that HBO has had to enter into negotiations with each of its cast members to tempt them back.

The exact plot details of Season 2 remain a mystery but the new run of episodes will explore the malignancy of lies, the durability of friendships, the fragility of marriage and the vicious ferocity of sound parenting.

Hence, relationships will fray, loyalties will erode and the potential for emotional and bodily injury shall loom.

The trio join returning stars Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman as well as high-profile new addition Meryl Streep, who will become a series regular as Perry’s (Alexander Skarsgard) mother, Mary Louise Wright.

Casting is also underway for Bonnie’s father, according to The Hollywood Reporter, among other new roles for season two.

Award winner Skarsgard is also expected to return in some capacity despite Perry’s fate in season one.

Andrea Arnold is directing the second season, with season one helmer Jean-Marc Vallée, who helmed every season one episode, only back as an executive producer.

Writer/showrunner David E. Kelley, who was attached to Big Little Lies when it was a film set to star Kidman and Witherspoon, will again write all seven episodes partially based on a story by Liane Moriarty.

Bokeem Woodbine to star in Jerry Bruckheimer's Main Justice

Bokeem Woodbine

Story by Jack Foley

BOKEEM Woodbine is heading to court as the lead actor in Jerry Bruckheimer’s drama pilot Main Justice.

Inspired by the life and work of former US Attorney General Eric Holder, the show will focus on the character as he navigates the tumultuous world of the fifth floor of the Department of Justice, where he takes on the biggest legal and investigative cases in the country.

Holder did all this while being the youngest person to ever hold such an esteemed position.

Woodbine – best known for his excellent work on the second season of Fargo, as well as playing Shocker in last year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming – will portray a character named Miles, who is recently sworn in as attorney general.

His years of experience as a beat cop and Detroit’s police commissioner have made him pragmatic, tough and grounded. But it’s trial by fire when he takes the reins in Washington.

Sascha Penn (Survivor’s Remorse) wrote the script, while Bruckheimer will executive produce for CBS.

Win Strike - The Silkworm on DVD

Strike: The Silkworm

Preview by Jack Foley

THE second instalment of the acclaimed TV detective series based on J.K. Rowling’s best-selling crime novels written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, Strike – The Silkworm, will be available to own on DVD from February 19, 2018, courtesy of Warner Bros Home Entertainment.

Strike, a war veteran turned private detective operating out of a tiny office in London’s Denmark Street. Following his success in solving the Lula Landry case, Strike’s detective agency has been busy.

A new client, Leonora Quine, appeals to Strike’s sensibilities with the case of her missing author husband, that leads Strike and his indispensable assistant Robin into the depths of London’s literary world.

Win Strike – The Silkworm on DVD

To celebrate the release of Strike – The Silkworm on DVD on Monday, February 19, 2018, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 of 2 copies. Simply answer the following question…

Q. What is the name of Strike’s new client in Strike – The Silkworm?

Simply send the answer to Strike – The Silkworm competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

© Brontë Productions Limited. © 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.

Alan Partridge to make live TV comeback with This Time

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

Story by Jack Foley

ALAN Partridge is returning to live TV as the host of a weekday magazine show called This Time.

The show will find Partridge standing in as the co-host of an evening programme that bears an uncanny resemblance to the BBC’s The One Show. It’s described as a “heady mix” of consumer affairs, news, “highbrow interviews and lightweight froth”.

As with The One Show, Partridge will be joined by co-presenter Jennie Gresham, who is played by Susannah Fielding, of Black Mirror, The C Word and Doctor Who fame.

Tim Key will also reprise the role he played in Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa – although this time, instead of being Sidekick Simon, he’s billed as Simon Denton.

Partridge, played by the actor and comedian Steve Coogan, last fronted live TV in the 1990s with chat show Knowing Me, Knowing You. The fictional show came to an end when Partridge accidentally fatally shot a guest live on air.

In a statement, the BBC said: “This Time is the perfect shop window for a man of Alan’s gravitas and will – or should – see him finally recognised as one of the heavyweight broadcasters of his era.

“With an array of diverse subjects on the agenda, it promises the perfect fit for a man whose broadcasting style has been described as ‘equidistant between chitchat and analysis.”

Filming on the six-part series started on Monday with a view to it being shown on BBC One later this year.

This Time will air 25 years after Partridge made his BBC debut.

McMafia - Final episode reviewed

McMafia

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

WARNING: Spoilers discussed

THE final episode of McMafia confirmed the direction that this series was always heading in: the wholesale corruption of an innocent.

The BBC drama has been compared to The Godfather since its opening episode and, true to form, the journey of banker-turned-gangster Alex Godman (James Norton) was completed in typically engrossing fashion.

By the final minutes, Godman had overseen and carried out the elimination of his main nemesis, orchestrated a position at the top of the tree and all but waved goodbye to the ones he loved (from his disgraced father to his ex-fiancée).

The journey has been an absorbing one. Constructed meticulously, rather than spectacularly, the show succeeded by virtue of its slow-burn approach. The intricacies of rising through the underworld ranks were conducted with the style and precision of a chess match.

True, viewers had to be patient, particularly early on, as the myriad characters and locations came together. But the attention to detail and authenticity paid dividends even when requiring viewers to do a lot of work.

The decision to employ a truly multi-national cast was a wise one, ensuring that each role was occupied accordingly. While the quality of most of those actors also ensured that the power and nuances of the performances more than compensated for the lack of action that some people may have been anticipating.

Primary among these was David Strathairn’s Semiyon Kleiman, a former ally of Alex, turned snake, who was sadly absent from this final episode. Having made his deceptive play in the penultimate episode and placed Alex in the firing line, viewers may have expected some kind of reckoning for the character. Alas, this was not to be. Although his continued existence keeps him in play for any potential second series.

Another of the McMafia‘s biggest assets, however, was used to the max. Merab Ninidze’s Vadim was a towering presence, as he has been throughout the series. Wounded emotionally, following the Godfather III-style death of his daughter in the previous episode, this was a driven man falling apart at the seams, no longer able to make sound business decisions and placing his status at risk at every turn.

By the time Godman stood before him, as unlikely executioner, Vadim was a shadow of his former self, and yet someone we could almost [and that’s almost] sympathise with. We felt his hurt at the loss of his family… even though, in previous episodes, we had witnessed him beat a man to death and extol the virtues of attacking his enemies’ families. It’s the mark of a great actor that Vadim was, by no means, one dimensional.

Alas, the same cannot be said for Norton, whose performances throughout the series provided one of the few weak links. Early on, Norton’s passive nature could have accounted for a certain naivety, or a sly way of making the character unreadable. Yet, as the episodes and twists unfolded [including the loss of his unborn child], Norton very rarely showed the emotion that could really have made his character’s journey so tragic.

Returning to The Godfather comparisons, Al Pacino’s descent into villainy was an agonising thing to watch: conveyed with all the passionate heartbreak that Pacino could bring to the screen. He remained root-worthy even at his most dislikeable.

Norton’s cold Godman was easier to begrudgingly admire than to ‘like’. The tragedy of his journey, as a result, felt less pronounced. By the time he had even out-manoeuvred the Mexican drug dealers who had become belated allies (and openly betrayed Caio Blat’s Antonio Mendez into the bargain), there was a sense of closure that felt as business-like as a Godman handshake (and less personal as a result).

As a result, McMafia – as a whole – remained a highly intelligent, and often gloriously intriguing, drama that remained emotionally cold. The emotional arcs failed to tug at the heart-strings as you perhaps felt they should.

And yet that didn’t ultimately detract too much from the overall enjoyment of the series as a whole. The insights it provided into contemporary organised crime were as grim as they were fascinating, while the locations added plenty of style, and the performances from the majority of the ensemble were exceptional (particularly in the way they gave lesser known actors from around the world the chance to shine).

McMafia therefore has to rate as a huge success for the BBC. And the type of show we would love to see return for a second series.

Read our exclusive interview with McMafia’s Clifford Samuel

Michael Hirst and Martin Scorsese teaming up for The Caesars TV series

Hugo, Martin Scorsese

Story by Jack Foley

MICHAEL Hirst, the British screenwriter behind Vikings and The Tudors, is teaming up with Hollywood director Martin Scorsese to make a series about the Roman Empire.

The Caesars will follow the early rulers of ancient Rome, beginning with the rise to power of Julius Caesar.

The pilot has been written, along with an outline for the rest of the season. The plan is to create a television drama, several seasons long.

Filming is expected to begin next year (2019) in Italy.

Commenting on Scorsese’s involvement, Hirst described the veteran filmmaker as highly knowledgeable and even “passionate” about the Romans.

“He genuinely loves the period and knows a lot about it. He got on the phone to Justin Pollard, my historical adviser. They chatted, partly in Latin, about sources for the stories and Roman poetry.”

On paper, the union between Hirst and Scorsese looks set to be a match made in TV heaven. Scorsese’s film work includes such revered classics as Goodfellas, The Departed, Raging Bull and Taxi Driver, while his small screen work extends to the classic crime saga Boardwalk Empire.

Hirst, meanwhile, shot to prominence for his screenplay for the 1998 film Elizabeth, starring Cate Blanchett, which won one Oscar and was nominated for six more, including best picture.

In North America, Vikings drew up to eight million viewers an episode. It has so far had a run of six series, with 90 episodes. And The Tudors spanned four seasons and 37 episodes, won Emmy awards and was nominated for Golden Globes. Jonathan Rhys Meyers starred as a handsome young Henry VIII.

According to Hirst, The Caesars aims to give a new insight into the young Julius Caesar.

He explained: “In the movies, he’s usually a middle-aged guy, struggling with political complexities. But he was fantastically interesting and ambitious when he was younger. A lot of the Caesars came to power when they were young, and we’ve never really seen that on screen.

“It’s the energy, the vitality, the excess of a young culture that’s being driven by young people. There is something astonishing about the rise of a relatively small kingdom to world power within a very short space of time. It couldn’t have been done by tired old politicos and faded warriors.”

However, despite being set in the past, Hirst aims to ensure that the drama will draw parallels with today, adding: “The past and the present are virtually the same to me, because it’s just continuity. With The Tudors and Vikings, we make them seem resonant and relevant to people today.”

Jessica Jones: Season 2 - Second trailer and new artwork

Jessica Jones S2

Netflix has released the second trailer for its highly anticipated original series Marvel’s Jessica Jones.

New York City private investigator Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) is beginning to put her life back together after murdering her tormenter, Kilgrave.

Now known throughout the city as a super-powered killer, a new case makes her reluctantly confront who she really is while digging deeper into her past to explore the reasons why.

Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones) is joined by an incredible returning cast that includes Rachael Taylor (Trish Walker), Carrie-Anne Moss (Jeri Hogarth), Eka Darville (Malcolm Ducasse) and new cast members Janet McTeer and J.R. Ramirez, among others.

Marvel’s Jessica Jones returns for a second season on International Women’s day, March 8, 2018 on Netflix.

Watch the second trailer

Arnold Schwarzenegger to star in Outrider Western series for Amazon

The Last Stand

Story by Jack Foley

ARNOLD Schwarzenegger is to stat in a new Western series called Outrider for streaming giant Amazon.

The Terminator star is attached to star and executive produce the event series, which is co-written and executive produced by CSI: NY‘s Trey Calloway and Mark Montgomery.

Described as a mystery set in the late 1800s in Oklahoma’s Indian territory, Outrider will follow the story of a deputy who, under orders from a brutal judge, must catch a legendary outlaw in the wilderness while also partnering with a ruthless federal marshal to make sure that justice is properly served.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Schwarzenegger will star as the federal marshal who immigrated from Europe to the US as a kid.

For Schwarzenegger, Outrider marks his first TV series as a regular star.

Westworld reveals new parks and new character via new website experience

Westworld Season 2

Story by Jack Foley

AS ANTICIPATION builds ahead of the start of Westworld‘s second season, a new website tied to the HBO series has revealed more about what to expect from the expanded sophomore run.

Perhaps the biggest revelation is that there are not just two parks – but six in total. And there’s also a new character, played by Peter Mullan.

Of the new worlds, viewers are already well acquainted with the titular Westworld, while the season one finale revealed the existence of Samurai World as well.

But the website includes proposed links to four additional parks — although the identities remain under wraps. Indeed, the four other parks are labelled as ‘authorized personnel only’, with ‘reservations closed to the public’.

The web address of this sure to be sought-after online destination is DelosDestinations.com and visitors have three sections to choose from: about, experience and investors.

The existence of the six parks is revealed in ‘experience’, while the investors section is where the identity of a new character is revealed: namely, James Delos, the founder of Delos Inc.

The section involves a character history of Mr Delos, as well as a picture of Peter Mullan, the actor who has been cast in the role.

The page on Delos states: “Decades ago, a man had an idea as old as human ambition itself, that the only limit to progress is imagination. The ability to see a better world. Delos Inc. was formed from that goal and nothing else, because James had nothing else. He used to joke that where he grew up, having dreams was like fighting gravity. But he never lost faith that his dream could take off, and now Delos is more than a name. It’s a legacy.”

The presence of a website that promises more than has already been shown on the series confirms something that co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have always stated about Westworld – that it will expand beyond the current world as it progresses into future seasons.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in 2016, Nolan elaborated further, saying: “For Lisa and myself, with this show, we never had any intention of staying in one place. We don’t want to shoot on the same sets for 10 years. We want to blow the sets up and move onto another piece of the story.

“So, we said when we started working on the series that we wanted to be ambitious. We wanted each season to increase in that ambition and in the scope of the show. It also follows the story of our hosts. Their lives begin in loops, and then expand and change and grow. It’s an origin of a new species. We want to follow that story all the way to the bitter end.”

Excited? You should be…

If not, then try watching the new Season 2 trailer