TV Talk

Benedict Cumberbatch Is Good Omens’ Satan and More TV News

Plus: The Lord of the Rings series joins Twitter, how The Boys will handle its NSFW moments, Homecoming help wanted, The Expanse update, and more.

by and | February 14, 2019 | Comments

Amazon announced a major Good Omens casting, a Lord of the Rings series update, and much more in the final day of the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Los Angeles on Wednesday.


Benedict Cumberbatch Will Play a 400-Foot Animated Satan in Good Omens

Frances McDormand is playing God in Amazon’s Neil Gaiman series Good Omens — which means Gaiman and his series director Douglas Mackinnon needed to find someone who could go head-to-head with the Oscar winner.

“The glorious young Benedict Cumberbatch is our Satan,” Gaiman told reporters at a TCA panel for his series on Wednesday.

Cumberbatch voices a 400-foot-high, animated Satan in the series, which is based on Gaiman’s book of the same name and follows an angel (Michael Sheen) and demon (David Tennant) living on Earth who unite to stop Armageddon by finding the Antichrist, an 11-year-old boy unaware of his part in ending the world.

Other guest stars in the season include Jon Hamm — “He does say that he did it for the money,” Gaiman joked, “but I know he did it for the money and because it was his favorite book in college” — Jack Whitehall, Michael McKean, Miranda Richardson, Mireille Enos, and Nick Offerman, who stepped in last-minute when another actor had to drop out.

“He texted back saying, ‘I will buy my own plane ticket to be with you,'” Gaiman said of texting Offerman about his casting pickle. “He didn’t have to do that., but two days later he was with us in South Africa.”

Gaiman told Rotten Tomatoes the day before that the series will not necessarily be a carbon copy of his book; in fact, he wants to mess with book readers.

“I wanted to make the people who loved the book really happy, but I also wanted to f— with their heads,” Gaiman said. “I wanted to make sure that even if you’d read the book and you know how plot A, B, and C are going to turn out, you do not know. There’s plot D that you don’t know about, and it’s going to become very important, and you cannot take anything for granted.”

Gaiman’s story of angels and demons has a unique look worthy of Gaiman’s words. You can probably spot the references and homages to other artists, all adding up to something new.

“The more obvious ones are Monty Python,” director and EP Mackinnon said. “Good Omens has got its own style. The tone is it has no tone. We want to make it look epic and glorious and wonderful and warm. There are homages to Doctor Who, Terry Gilliam.”

Even the opening titles will mix and match fantasy artists, said Gaiman.

“Our opening title sequence manages to somehow evoke both Terry Gilliam, Edward Gorey, and Hieronymus Bosch. [We] somehow do that while being an animated 90-second opening sequence. Part of the weirdest thing about Good Omens is its style is no style. It’s whatever we needed to make that scene or sequence work, we do. Because the book includes so many things and does so many different kinds of things, we felt we were allowed to do that.”

Will Peter Jackson Be Involved in Amazon’s Lord of the Rings Series?

Amazon previously announced its plans for an epic Lord of the Rings TV series, a five-season show about the adventures of Young Aragorn, but there’s still no word on whether LOTR big-screen master Peter Jackson will be involved in the show. They do know one thing: he’s not mad about it.

“There hasn’t been any negativity around it,” Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke said. “We just don’t have any news on that yet and what his involvement may be.”

The series is moving along, however, with writers on board and now some social handles. It might not have actually started filming yet, but if you can’t wait for its eventual premiere you can follow it on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram (where hopefully Amazon will release some news very soon).

Joe and Anthony Russo to Direct English Version of Giant International Effort

HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 23: Directors Joe Russo (L) and Anthony Russo attend the Los Angeles Global Premiere for Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War on April 23, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

Amazon also released a bit more info on Joe and Anthony Russo’s sprawling, international project: The brothers will produce and direct a flagship English-language series, but Amazon will produce spin-offs in other countries in their own language. The first two will come from India and Italy.

“Those shows will be under the umbrella of the Russos and creative team but have their own local team of creators and writers executing those shows,” Salke said. “We just think that soon there’s a world that these hit shows can come from anywhere. They can break through and come from countries where English is not the language.”

Help Wanted: Homecoming Season 2 Looking for Julia Roberts–Sized Star

Photo Credit: Amazon

Now that Homecoming season 2 is a go — and star Julia Roberts has said she will not return — the hunt is on for a star as A-list as Roberts was in season 1.

“There’s an opportunity for a star role in it, and there’s a list that’s being discussed with producers about what the strategy is moving forward on that,” Salke said. Roberts will stay on board as a producer, however.

The Expanse Fans, Rejoice! Season 4 Arrives This Year

THE EXPANSE -- Season:2 -- Pictured: (l-r) Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata, Wes Chatham as Amos Burton, Cas Anvar as Alex Kamal, Steven Strait as Earther James Holden -- (Photo by: Kurt Iswarienko/Syfy)

Finally, the fourth season of fan-favorite space series The Expanse, which Amazon rescued from Syfy, should hit Amazon later this year.

“We are working toward having that new season before the end of the year,” said Vernon Sanders, co-head of TV for Amazon. “We’ll have a specific date in the future but we’re aiming for that show to come out before 2019 is over. “

How The Boys Will Handle Its NSFW Moments

Amazon Prime Video’s new superhero series, The Boys, doesn’t actually follow the superheroes that exist in its world — it follows a group of vigilantes out for justice for the damage the arrogant superheroes cause. It’s definitely not a series for kids — as evidenced by the fact that R-rated producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (who are also behind AMC’s Preacher) are on board.

Showrunner Eric Kripke admitted that his source material is definitely controversial.

“The comic book is incendiary in its material. There’s a ton of really shocking s—. Frankly, there’s a lot of stuff in the comic that, if I’m being honest, we would not do in the show. But it’s a really irreverent, really edgy show,” he told reporters at TCA.

But from the beginning, he and his fellow executive producers wanted to make sure the show was more of a character study than anything else.

“You have to take the world very, very seriously, and you have to have fleshed-out people that have hearts,” he said. “We have to tell stories about really what it is to be human, and [we knew] that if we took it very, very seriously then the irreverence wouldn’t be for shock value it would be to further the character. And so for us it was always, like, if something in the comic doesn’t further a character we cut it. But if there was something in the comic or an idea we had that was crazy, but it told us a new aspect of who that character was and did it with integrity, then yeah. Preacher‘s a crazy show, and we want to be a boundary-pushing show too, but we want to do it the right way.”

How Transparent Season 5 Became a Movie-Musical

(Photo by Amazon)

Why transform Transparent’s final season into a musical movie instead of a serialized TV series? Well, that’s originally how creator Jill Soloway envisioned their show. Soloway and her sister thought they’d make a documentary musical about their parent’s transition, and Soloway’s sister was already busy writing songs for a potential future stage musical, so after star Jeffrey Tambor’s departure, they decided to pivot.

“When everything went down last year, and we lost Jeffrey Tambor, we went through so much as a family that felt like this very emotional, there are no words,” Soloway said. “There is no way to just go back to a plain old season 5 and just repair by going back.”

Amazon Prime Video boss Salke said she was on board with Soloway’s idea because she trusted the creator’s instinct and wanted to make sure there was closure for fans.

“I think for us, we would never have wanted to take a special incredible show like that and just end it unceremoniously,” Salke said. “It was Jill’s idea to do a musical movie. We signed off on that idea trusting her that she would come up with something incredible, which she did. [The execs] sat in the front row of a musical run-through of this movie where we were crying. It is really special. …It brings the whole thing full circle at the end. It does everything that you would want it to do.”

In Development: The Hunt From Jordan Peele, The Power Based on the British Book, and Literary Classic Brave New World 

Three new series are officially in the works at major streaming services and networks. First is Amazon Prime Video’s The Hunt, from Jordan Peele and starring Al Pacino, Logan Lerman, and Jerrika Hinton, which follows a group of Nazi hunters in 1977 in New York City.

Next is Amazon’s The Power, which is a “contemporary global ten-part thriller” based on the book of the same name by British author Naomi Alderman, was written and created by Alderman and features The Handmaid’s Tale‘s Reed Morano as director and executive producer. The story takes place in the contemporary world, but suddenly all teenage girls in the world develop the power to electrocute people at will. Filming will take place around the world as the story follows characters from London to Arizona, Nigeria to Moldova, reversing the power balance of the world.

Finally, USA has greenlit a series based on Aldous Huxley’s classic novel Brave New World, about a “utopian society that has achieved peace and stability through the prohibition of monogamy, privacy, money, family, and history itself.”

Tag Cloud

Apple TV+ Emmys black comedy Election true crime canceled TV shows comic harry potter Travel Channel Best and Worst video on demand ITV festival revenge rt labs critics edition President Television Academy mcc Apple Tumblr SundanceTV Binge Guide cooking TLC Marvel canceled Instagram Live Arrowverse Trophy Talk MCU remakes child's play new york 21st Century Fox italian RT21 Drama Comic-Con@Home 2021 mission: impossible History Esquire debate Classic Film biography worst movies sitcom miniseries See It Skip It Rock Amazon Food Network Shudder Holidays boxing worst Video Games HBO know your critic based on movie 2017 Tubi Sony Pictures Opinion scene in color Teen CW Seed social media AMC Thanksgiving finale critic resources Ellie Kemper superhero TCA Awards Pride Month cults Superheroes Academy Awards parents science fiction Masterpiece blockbusters Showtime aliens Sneak Peek screenings MSNBC Exclusive Video spinoff elevated horror GLAAD nbcuniversal A24 Writers Guild of America BBC One ViacomCBS cats children's TV Walt Disney Pictures ghosts stand-up comedy singing competition crime gangster Mudbound TV marvel comics Ghostbusters blaxploitation live action X-Men series Extras prank Mindy Kaling comic books theme song zero dark thirty foreign dragons Infographic blockbuster game show The Witch 2020 comedies hidden camera anime obituary Disney Channel king arthur Universal Pictures all-time ABC movie Summer 007 news Peacock APB BET Awards comic book movie Paramount Network CBS All Access Paramount Plus movies political drama Amazon Prime Video rotten movies we love Year in Review 2021 football universal monsters concert BBC America tv talk nfl Wes Anderson spain Premiere Dates The Walking Dead 99% IFC genre marvel cinematic universe young adult IFC Films El Rey unscripted Mystery sequels video Pet Sematary SXSW TV Land Podcast Disney Valentine's Day ESPN Sundance franchise FOX Emmy Nominations versus Winners sports 72 Emmy Awards Black History Month mob halloween tv Holiday boxoffice 2016 hist Universal best feel good SDCC Fall TV Marvel Television binge doctor who 4/20 San Diego Comic-Con Super Bowl YouTube dc fresh TCM anthology game of thrones spy thriller BBC The Walt Disney Company golden globes olympics DC streaming service TV movies basketball Toys Shondaland Endgame Ovation south america Hulu films renewed TV shows crossover rotten high school romance Funimation Lifetime Christmas movies FX OneApp Cartoon Network dreamworks werewolf crime thriller latino venice Rom-Com japanese women CNN television Biopics Spike reviews IMDb TV wonder woman monster movies comics disaster Dark Horse Comics docuseries Certified Fresh 2018 name the review Sundance Now documentary posters Awards international robots USA christmas movies Horror Lifetime NBC Film Disney streaming service godzilla 93rd Oscars Song of Ice and Fire thriller Trailer james bond Film Festival cops Rocketman Disney Plus VICE TV One Nat Geo 1990s Mary poppins Nickelodeon Comedy Central what to watch Country 24 frames nature HBO Go LGBT aapi slasher indiana jones WarnerMedia Mary Poppins Returns Nominations spanish Britbox 20th Century Fox Oscars Turner hispanic heritage month Comics on TV adventure telelvision zombie justice league Adult Swim ratings superman DC Universe Netflix Christmas movies spider-verse TNT Box Office 73rd Emmy Awards vampires Heroines japan Lucasfilm ID reboot Western Calendar Interview Schedule Crackle fast and furious YA streaming Character Guide hispanic Creative Arts Emmys trailers Cannes DGA adaptation TCA vs. slashers facebook TCA 2017 Hallmark AMC Plus target suspense deadpool Photos 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards dark popular Tarantino Women's History Month GIFs Vudu 45 TruTV rt labs New York Comic Con Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt a nightmare on elm street CMT Netflix lord of the rings composers rom-coms docudrama new zealand australia dceu documentaries french MTV live event Amazon Prime kong teaser First Look spanish language green book asian-american NBA Marvel Studios Tokyo Olympics Alien ABC Family serial killer witnail golden globe awards sopranos mutant DirecTV medical drama Anna Paquin Black Mirror police drama stop motion streaming movies king kong zombies razzies kaiju supernatural E! BAFTA critics A&E Hear Us Out twilight art house Columbia Pictures pirates of the caribbean independent TIFF FXX CBS Action cancelled television Tomatazos Musicals Sci-Fi casting Music scary travel sag awards Disney+ Disney Plus 2015 toronto historical drama The Arrangement Fox Searchlight criterion heist movie Comedy LGBTQ classics E3 Animation Red Carpet Television Critics Association adenture Paramount jamie lee curtis Reality Competition Spectrum Originals Awards Tour new star wars movies TV renewals cartoon Chernobyl Starz transformers NYCC technology indie comic book movies cancelled TV series Image Comics halloween richard e. Grant crime drama Bravo discovery Watching Series HBO Max period drama Avengers scorecard USA Network archives dramedy Cosplay VH1 OWN laika kids Kids & Family chucky cancelled Fantasy festivals Christmas Pixar Comic Book 90s Sundance TV Elton John Apple TV Plus jurassic park dexter spider-man Mary Tyler Moore toy story Syfy Pacific Islander cinemax Chilling Adventures of Sabrina ABC Signature WGN The Purge Pop psychological thriller Star Wars PlayStation satire Lionsgate cars Pirates Baby Yoda The Academy mockumentary FX on Hulu Stephen King YouTube Red Superheroe cancelled TV shows scary movies Crunchyroll book adaptation politics romantic comedy comiccon Family Countdown strong female leads 2019 Pop TV Martial Arts PaleyFest VOD stoner dogs book legend quibi Spring TV Captain marvel DC Comics Acorn TV award winner Polls and Games GoT Hallmark Christmas movies Grammys Freeform Legendary die hard diversity Discovery Channel talk show psycho The CW Winter TV directors YouTube Premium royal family animated Musical action-comedy National Geographic hollywood PBS Neflix black Rocky Broadway saw sequel Brie Larson Amazon Studios American Society of Cinematographers Trivia TBS Quiz screen actors guild Set visit Fox News Marathons Logo First Reviews rt archives free movies biopic TCA Winter 2020 Warner Bros. Epix batman Turner Classic Movies Reality joker war 71st Emmy Awards BET breaking bad natural history Star Trek RT History emmy awards space