A teenage Wednesday Addams will use her powers as a detective in a streaming show directed by Tim Burton. Plus, upcoming premieres from Apple TV+ and AMC Networks, including a new Stephen King series and a series adaptation of best-selling book The Mosquito Coast, and more of the week’s top TV and streaming news.
Tim Burton is making his directorial TV debut with a spin-off of The Addams Family. Wednesday will revolve around The Addams Family daughter, Wednesday Addams, the scene stealer played by Lisa Loring in the original 1964-65 series, and by Christina Ricci in the 1991 and 1993 Addams Family movies.
Series creators Al Gough and Miles Millar (Smallville) will act as showrunners for Wednesday, an eight-episode series that will feature the moody Addams as a teen.
Netflix describes Wednesday as “a sleuthing, supernaturally infused mystery charting Wednesday Addams’ years as a student at Nevermore Academy.” She “attempts to master her emerging psychic ability, thwart a monstrous killing spree that has terrorized the local town, and solve the supernatural mystery that embroiled her parents 25 years ago” while also trying to juggle complicated relationships with her fellow Nevermore students.
NBC’s adaptation of the DC Comics series Constantine lasted just one season, but HBO Max is taking its own shot at the property, for a series that will be produced by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot.
The series will focus on the British detective and exorcist as a young London resident. Unlike the 2014-15 series that starred Matt Ryan as John Constantine, the HBO Max version will be a darker take on the character, Deadline reports.
Author and new screenwriter Guy Bolton wrote the pilot for the new series, and Bad Robot plans to open a writers room in March. The character of Constantine has previously appeared in The CW’s Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow, played by Matt Ryan in both series. Keanu Reeves played the character in the 2005 Constantine movie.
Stephen King’s books are go-to favorites for movie and TV adaptions. But the prolific author has a particular affinity for Lisey’s Story, the 2006 psychological novel he wrote after his wife, author Tabitha King, cleared out his office as he recovered from double pneumonia. The story, which he is adapting as an Apple TV+ miniseries starring Julianne Moore and Clive Owen, follows the widow of a famous novelist. It flashes from the present, as she processes her grief by cleaning out his writing area, to the past when her husband was still alive. A series of upsetting events result in her questioning moments of their relationship that she’d blocked out.
“Lisey’s Story means a lot to me because it’s the one that I love best. It’s a story about love and marriage and creative impulse and it’s also got a kick-ass villain in it,” King told journalists on Friday at Apple TV+’s Television Critics Association press day.
(He also stressed that these characters are works of fiction and that they should not necessarily be compared to his own marriage).
Directed by Pablo Larraín and also starring Joan Allen, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Dane DeHaan, and Ron Cephas Jones, the summer 2021 release is the latest partnership between King and Abrams’ Bad Robot, which also produced Hulu’s Castle Rock and 11/22/63.
In regard to whether any of his work is “unfilmable” either for TV or movies, King told journalists that wasn’t the case from his perspective as the writer, but that directors and producers might feel differently. He also revealed that he and Abrams had talked “a lot about a possible anthology called Tiny Horrors. We got really, kind of, down and dirty about it, and we talked about things that were really, really scary.”
Co-creator and star Rob McElhenney told journalists during the Apple TV+ TCA press day that there will be a changing dynamic between his character, Ian, and his newly promoted co-creative director Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao) — as opposed to, he said, the characters on his other show, FXX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, “where the characters remain exactly the same and never grow or change or learn anything for 15 years.”
“This is the kind of show where the characters are going to evolve and their relationships are going to evolve,” McElhenney said. “Ian and Poppy’s relationship has always been at the center of show, and yet, it can’t always just be this one-note combative relationship … the only way that this is going to work — and has worked in the past and will continue to work in the in the present — is to recognize that it is a fully realized three dimensional relationship that has its ups and it has its downs.”
Apple TV+ also gave journalists a peek at upcoming series The Mosquito Coast, an adaptation of Paul Theroux’s best-selling book about a brilliant inventor and his family on the run from the U.S. government that stars Justin Theroux (the author’s nephew) and Melissa George and debuts on April 30. The streamer also announced Physical, about a lifestyle guru played by Rose Byrne, and musical parody Schmigadoon! that stars Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key, both coming this summer.
“The only people this show isn’t for is humorless people,” says Kevin Can F**k Himself creator Valerie Armstrong of her new, genre-bending series. The show is a combination of multi-camera sitcom/dark single-cam drama and stars Schitt’s Creek darling Annie Murphy as the beautiful, seen-but-rarely-heard wife of a gregarious, schlubby husband in scenes ripped straight from a network sitcom — before tackling that trope head-on with a dark, single-cam look at her character’s rich interior life. It’s an examination of repressed rage and the ways women minimize themselves to serve men.
“I have seen Alison in so many women,” Emmy-winner Murphy told reporters while discussing the new series at a virtual Television Critics Association press conference Thursday. “She has just absorbed so much frustration and so much anger and pushed it down and pushed it down because that’s what you’re supposed to do as a woman. …I really, truly do think that so many women are going to be able to identify and see themselves in this character.”
The show, which is executive produced by Armstrong, showrunner Craig DiGregorio, and Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, is set to premiere this summer on AMC and AMC+.
AMC Networks also trotted out stars and producers of other new shows:
• the upcoming British AMC drama The Beast Must Die, starring Cush Jumbo as Frances, a mom who infiltrates the life of George (Jared Harris), the man she believes killed her son, and is premiering this spring;
• Acorn TV’s four-episode crime thriller Bloodlands (releasing in March), including James Nesbitt as Tom Brannick, a Northern Irish police detective, and Charlene McKenna as his partner Niamh McGovern;
• the ALLBLK sitcom Millennials (from comedy royalty Bentley Kyle Evans, the man behind Martin, The Jamie Foxx Show, and more classic sitcoms), which premieres Thursday, Feb. 25 on the newly renamed streaming service;
• and season 2 of Shudder’s Creepshow, which premieres Thursday, April 1 on the streaming service.
Creepshow creator Greg Nicotero said during the show’s panel that it took about “four seconds” to decide to pull an already-filmed episode starring Marilyn Manson following multiple abuse allegations against the singer.
“We stand by the decision. We stand by the support that that shows,” Nicotero said.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is the much-awaited director’s cut of the 2017 Justice League movie. Stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, and Jared Leto. Premieres March 18 (HBO Max)
More trailers and teasers released this week:
• The Falcon and the Winter Soldier follows Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) as they learn the price of freedom. Premieres March 19. (Disney+)
• Mare of Easttown is a limited series starring Kate Winslet as a small-town Pennsylvania detective trying to solve a local murder while her personal life is falling apart. Also stars Guy Pearce and Jean Smart. Premieres April 18. (HBO)
• Allen v. Farrow is a four-episode docuseries shot in secret across three years, delving deep into the ongoing scandal in which Woody Allen is accused of sexually abusing his daughter, Dylan, by his ex, Mia Farrow. Premieres February 21. (HBO)
• Godfather of Harlem season 2 sees Forest Whitaker return as Bumpy, who continues to try to reclaim Harlem from the Italian mob. Premieres April 18. (Epix)
• Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell is a documentary about the late East Coast rapper, with new footage and input from those who knew him best. Premieres March 1/ (Netflix)
• Dota: Dragon’s Blood is an adult animated fantasy series based on the 2013 videogame Dota 2. Premieres March 25. (Netflix)
• Invincible, about a budding young superhero, 17-year-old Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun), whose father is the most powerful superhero on the planet, Omni-Man (J.K. Simmons). The series comes from The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. Season 1 premieres March 26. (Amazon Prime Video)
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Tiffany Haddish will star in The Bardess, a limited series about Amelia Bassano, the 16th century Black poet who many believe was behind Shakespeare’s works. Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman will executive produce the project, which is being shopped to networks are streaming services. (THR)
Aaron Eckhart has signed on to play President Gerald Ford in Showtime’s First Lady anthology series. Michelle Pfeiffer is playing First Lady Betty Ford.
Uzo Aduba has signed a deal with CBS Studios which will include starring in the comedy Low Country, about an openly gay woman, underestimated her whole life, who becomes the deputy sheriff where a white crime family rules in South Carolina’s low country. Three-time Emmy winner Aduba will next star in HBO’s reboot of In Treatment. (Deadline)
Aunjanue Ellis (Lovecraft Country), Killian Scott (Dublin Murders), and Holt McCallany (Lights Out) have joined the cast of AMC’s legal drama 61st Street, which stars Courtney B. Vance as public defender Franklin Roberts. Ellis, who co-stars with Vance in Lovecraft Country, will play Roberts’ wife and a candidate for local political office, while Scott plays a Chicago police officer, and McCallany plays a police lieutenant in charge of a dirty squad.
Power Book IV: Force, the second Power spin-off, revolving around Joseph Sikora’s Tommy Egan, has added Tommy Flanagan (Sons of Anarchy) as the head of the Irish crime family of Chicago. Other new cast for the Starz series: Isaac Keys (The Oath), Lili Simmons (Ray Donovan), Gabrielle Ryan (The Haves and the Have Nots), Shane Harper (Hightown), Kris D. Lofton (Ballers), Anthony Fleming III (Prison Break), and Lucien Cambric (Chicago P.D.).
Claws star Carrie Preston will play the defense attorney representing the titular Dr. Death in Peacock’s limited series about Christopher Duntsch, the prominent Dallas neurologist (played by Joshua Jackson) whose thriving career came to a halt when his patients who went into the operating room for routine surgeries ended up coming out maimed or dead. Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater also star in the series. (Deadline)
Sex Education star Simone Ashley has joined season 2 of Bridgerton on Netflix, where she’ll play Kate, who catches the eye of oldest Bridgerton brother Anthony (Jonathan Balley).
Joe Alwyn (A Christmas Carol), Jemina Kirke (Girls), newcomer Alison Oliver, and Sasha Lane (Utopia) will star in Hulu’s Conversations With Friends, based on the novel of the same name by author Sally Rooney. Rooney’s novel Normal People was adapted for the 2020 Hulu hit of the same name. Friends is about a group of pals whose relationships may be torn apart when one of the young women has an affair with Alwyn’s Nick.
John Wesley Shipp (Dawson’s Creek) will guest star on season 2 of The CW’s DC’s Stargirl, where he’ll play The Flash … again. Shipp originally played The Flash in the 1990 series of the same name, and has played the character on Supergirl and Arrow, and played Barry Allen’s father on The CW’s current series The Flash. (EW)
Lily Rabe will co-star with Ben Affleck in the Amazon movie The Tender Bar, which George Clooney will direct. The story is an adaptation of J.R. Moehringer’s memoir about growing up on Long Island, seeking out father figures with the customers of his uncle’s bar. Ready Player One star Tye Sheridan plays the Moehringer character, while Affleck plays his uncle, and American Horror Story star Rabe plays his mom. (THR)
Once and Again alum Billy Campbell will star in National Parks, playing a national parks investigator in the ABC drama co-created by Kevin Costner.
Girls Trip writer Tracy Oliver’s comedy Harlem, about the friendships between a group of four Black NYC women, has added Whoopi Goldberg and Jasmine Guy as recurring cast members. Goldberg will play an intense department head at Columbia University, while A Different Worldalum guy will play the mother of one of the women, who wants her daughter to stop pursuing her career as a designer and settle down. (Deadline)
Atlanta star Donald Glover has moved his TV deal from FX, where his Peabody, Emmy, and Golden Globe-winning series debuted, to Amazon, which, among other things, will give him his own content channel on Amazon Video. THR also reports that one of his first series at Amazon in the multi-year, eight-figure deal will be Hive, about a Beyonce-like icon, with Malia Obama hired to work on the project.
Dionne Warwick tells Entertainment Weekly that her life will be the subject of a bioseries that may star Teyana Taylor as the music legend. (EW)
As one NCIS comes to an end (NCIS: New Orleans will end with Season 7), CBS will launch another one: NCIS: Hawaii. The fourth entry in the NCIS franchise would have New Orleansshowrunner Chris Silber as its showrunner. No cast has been set for the series yet. (THR)
ABC is moving forward with Harrity Elementary, a comedy written by and starring comedian and A Black Lady Sketch Show co-star Quinta Brunson, who will also executive produce the series, along with Harley Quinn creators Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker. The workplace comedy follows a group of teachers who rely on their love of teaching and each other to get them through the day at what is one of the worst public schools in the country.
Disney+ is launching Marvel Studios’ Assembled, a docuseries that will go behind the scenes of MCU series on the streaming network. The first episode will premiere on March 12 and will feature WandaVision.
MTV is bringing back The Real World, the reality series that debuted in 1992 and aired for 33 seasons, for a reunion season that will premiere on Paramount+ when the streaming service launches on March 4. The cast of The Real World: New York, the show’s original season, will be reunited for the new series, which may be followed by additional seasons on Paramount+.
After the success and buzz of The New York Times/FX documentary Framing Britney Spears, Netflix has announced its own Spears documentary. It will be directed by Erin Lee Carr, the director of HBO’s I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter.
The Office co-stars and Office podcast co-hosts Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey are now co-authors: the two are writing a book together, BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There, a story of the show, their friendship, and their “love letter to the fans of The Office and to best friends everywhere.” (People)