TV Talk

The Walking Dead Loses Fan-Favorite Star and More TV News

Plus: First-look photos from Big Little Lies season 2, Julia Louis-Dreyfus teases the final season of Veep, Jared Harris takes on another terror in Chernobyl, and Serial heads to TV.

by | February 8, 2019 | Comments

The cast of Big Little Lies revealed a few tidbits about season 2, Jared Harris discussed scary new HBO miniseries Chernobyl, Danai Gurira is leaving The Walking Dead, and more TV news.


New Big Little Lies Season 2 Photos —Plus, Meryl Streep Was As Addicted to the Show as You Were

Shailene Woodley, Zoë Kravitz, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern (Credit: Jennifer Clasen/HBO).

(Photo by Jennifer Clasen/HBO)

If Big Little Lies was going to come back for a second season, the story had to be pretty darn compelling for stars and executive producers Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman (along with costars Zoe Kravitz, Laura Dern, and Shailene Woodley) to sign on. But when audiences continued to beg for more episodes of the Monterey, California moms embroiled in a real-life murder mystery, the cast and creator/writer/executive David E. Kelley said that finally agreed to come back — with a few caveats.

“The storytelling — would it be compelling enough that it would rise up to the first year? Everybody up here can get jobs. We didn’t want to do this unless we could at least have a fair shot of living up to the bar that we felt we had all set in year one,” Kelley told reporters at a panel for season 2 at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Los Angeles on Friday afternoon. “So we met, and we talked about what the stories were. We were very unflinching and candid with each other about the ones we thought were viable and the ones we thought were not good enough, and we didn’t finally agree to set sail until we had the commitment from all of us that this was storytelling that we all felt passionate about.”

Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley (Jennifer Clasen/HBO)

(Photo by Jennifer Clasen/HBO)

While the first season had the novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty to use as a guide, there was no sequel — until Moriarty, who is also a producer, wrote an outline for Kelley to use while plotting season 2’s story.

“We were lucky Liane Moriarty wrote almost like a novella for us to use as a template,” said Witherspoon. “It really helped tremendously that the characters were alive in her mind and have these very rich experiences that were just as interesting, entertaining, as in-depth as they were in the original series. So that gave us some basis for which to go on for each character. We all had unresolved issues — you know, I had an affair and that was never resolved.”

Reese Witherspoon, Zoë Kravitz (Jennifer Clasen/HBO)

(Photo by Jennifer Clasen/HBO)

While Kelley and his cast remained tight-lipped on what the actual plot of season 2 will entail, he did reveal that it picks up after the events of the first season. It’s still a mix of comedy and drama, tonally — “probably more dramatic than comedic this year,” he teased — and the Greek Chorus of fellow school parents at the fatal trivia night is gone.

“When we come back, their lives — like all of our lives — are very well put together on the surface, but then the fissures … begin to emerge and there is a big fault line that lies under all of us, which is this event that happened at trivia night last year,” Kelley explained. “So once the crevices start to widen it escalates pretty quickly.”

Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep (Credit: Jennifer Clasen/HBO)

(Photo by Jennifer Clasen/HBO)

There’s also one major addition: Meryl Streep joins the cast as Celeste’s mother-in-law, Mary Louise Wright.

“I love this show. I was addicted to it,” Streep gushed. “I thought it was an amazing exercise in what we know and what we don’t know about people, about family, about friends; how it flirted with the mystery of things; what was unsaid, un-shown, unknown was sort of the whole gravitational pull of the piece and it was so exciting. So when I got the chance to join the crew I thought, yeah! [As for] the dynamic between Celeste and me, I do love her. And that’s the only thing I’ll tell you.”

The Walking Dead Loses Another Major Star

Danai Gurira as Michonne - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Fans of The Walking Dead are used to their favorite stars exiting the series — there are gruesome deaths pretty much weekly (it is a zombie show, after all) — but this latest departure is going to hurt: Danai Gurira, who plays the badass Michonne, is leaving in season 10. The Black Panther star will appear in “a handful of episodes that will be interspersed throughout season 10,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Not all hope is lost, however — THR reports that she’ll likely join her former on-screen love Andrew Lincoln, a.k.a. recently departed leading man Rick Grimes, in the series of three TWD movies AMC is planning to produce.

Will Veep Give Viewers a Satisfying Ending?

Photo Credit: Lacey Terrell

(Photo by Lacey Terrell)

In such a politically volatile world, it’s been challenging for the team behind Veep to push boundaries in its final season. But the series has given itself one key advantage in its ability to poke fun at politics without garnering too much ire on either side of the aisle.

“We have this great virtue of having not identified a party in our show and not really identified any contemporary political figures,” Julia Louis-Dreyfus told reporters at a Television Critics Association winter press tour panel for the show’s final season. “We’re in an alternate universe and that’s helpful particularly because in many ways it’s why the show’s lasted as long as it has — because it kind of invites everyone to the party. I think in a way it’s more apt than it ever has been given the current insanity that we’re all living in.”

The final season will consist of seven episodes, which showrunner Dave Mandel said will bring the show to its natural conclusion.

“We reached just a very natural point, storytelling-wise, that we sort of looked at each other and went, ‘I think that’s the end.’”

While neither Louis-Dreyfus nor Mandel would get too specific about exactly what adventures ex-president (and ex-veep) Selina Meyer will have in the last episodes, which begin airing March 31 on HBO, they did tease a surprising (and satisfying) ending.

“The one trap that the viewers ever so slightly fall into is assuming that somebody is Trump and somebody is Hillary, and that’s a good thing for us because it means we get to always surprise you. It doesn’t go the way you think it went when they ran against each other,” Mandel said. “I think this season, it sounds so generic, but I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised in a very, you know, hopefully funny way.”

Added Louis-Dreyfus, “I’m not going to say that Selena evolves, except to say that she’s truer to herself by being as true to herself as she can possibly be. By the time this season ends. I’ll leave it for you to determine whether or not that’s a good thing, but I’m not sure that evolution is necessarily her game.”

Jared Harris Tackles a Different Terror in HBO’s Chernobyl

Jared Harris in Chernobyl credit: Liam Daniel/HBO

(Photo by Liam Daniel/HBO)

Is there something about The Terror star Jared Harris that inspires him to play scary, evil, or general sad-sack characters who die horrible deaths?

“I’m a miserable person,” joked Harris at a TCA panel for his new HBO miniseries Chernobyl, about the 1986 nuclear meltdown in the Ukraine. In all seriousness, though, Harris said he was drawn to his role in Chernobyl (and The Terror) because of “good writing. Really, if you’re working on a script that’s really well-written, our job is much, much easier and more interesting as well because you can dig down into the story, you can dig down into the subtext and the substrata of the narrative and you can find stuff there that’s been put down purposefully.”

The five-part miniseries, which also stars Stellan Skarsgård and Emily Watson,  follows the brave men and women who sacrificed so much to save Europe from complete disaster after one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history.

Serial’s Story Continues in The Case Against Adnan Syed

If you are not one of the millions of people who was captivated by the Serial podcast in 2014, HBO’s new four-part documentary The Case Against Adnan Syed will fill you in on the case, which saw Baltimore high school senior Adnan Syed convicted for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend, 18-year-old Hae Min Lee. The podcast examined the evidence in the case and whether Syed was wrongfully convicted. The new documentary will pick up where Serial left off, so it won’t be a retread of the podcast either.

“It’s gone through current events, just as recently as a couple of months ago,” said director Amy Berg.
The documentary follows Syed’s legal team as they prepare an appeal for a new trial after questions about the State’s case and his own attorney’s performance.

“Any time a wrongful conviction seems to be getting successfully challenged the system closes in, it doubles down, it trickles down, and it tries to protect itself and we expected that. We expected we were going to fight as far as it’s going to take,” said Rabia Chaudry, a family friend and lawyer who has advocated for Syed for 20 years (and was the driving force behind the Serial podcast). “The State is going to continue to appeal it. It’s not a surprise. And there’s a reason for that. I understand the reasons for that. It’s not always about the truth. It’s about kind of maintaining status quo. So it’s not surprising. It is more complicated. However, when there’s so much notoriety around the case it gives more incentive for the State to save face and to save the conviction and to fight harder.”

The Kominsky Method Books Major Guest Stars

Alan Arkin and Michael Douglas of THE KOMINSKY METHOD (Mike Yarish/Netflix)

(Photo by Mike Yarish/Netflix)

Netflix’s award-winning comedy The Kominsky Method will welcome three major guest stars in its second season: Jane Seymour, Jacqueline Bisset, and Paul Reiser. Seymour will play Madelyn, a 70-something well-to-do woman with whom Norman (star Alan Arkin) had a mad love affair in the ’60s before he met his wife, and they meet again 50 years later. Bisset will play Gabrielle, Mindy’s (Sarah Baker) mom and Sandy’s (star Michael Douglas) French ex-wife who delights in still being able to push the buttons of her ex-husband. Reiser will play Martin, a 60-something high school teacher who gets romantically involved with Sandy’s daughter, Mindy.

Tag Cloud

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