PODCAST: “THE GOOD WIFE” FINALE SPOILER: IT’S NOT A ROMCOM!!

 

 

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Was “THE GOOD WIFE” Series Finale inspired by “THE SOPRANOS”?


When a beloved and critically acclaimed series comes to an end viewers look for closure to the stories of the characters they’ve followed for years. Shows like BREAKING BAD and SIX FEET UNDER provided very fitting, closed ended finales while THE SOPRANOS series finale left viewers wondering if their cable had gone out during the last scene and they had missed the conclusion to the mob family saga. In fact, series creator David Chase purposely wrote an open ended and quite ambiguous ending for the show leaving some fans calling it one of the most disappointing g series finales in tv history. But it’s still one of the most talked about series finales to this day. 

On May 8the CBS will air the final installment of THE GOOD WIFE and in a recent interview with Variety series star Julianna Margulies said that after filming the final scene she told co-star Christine Baranski, with whom she shared the final scene, that fans will either love it or hate it and there will be no in between. It seems Alicia’s story isn’t tied up neatly and will viewers wondering “what’s next?” for the often put upon legal eagle. 

Will you be ok if THE GOOD WIFE series finale leaves you wanting more? 

Click here for the full story in Variety. 

Are You Ready to Say Goodbye to “The Good Wife”?

  
After tonight’s incredible episode of “THE GOOD WIFE” there are only three episodes left until the May 8th series finale. 

Tonight’s episode left us with a lot of questions:  will Peter go to jail? What does Jason want from Alicia? Will there be more repercussions from Alicia finding out that her phone calls are being monitored by the NSA? What has Cary been up to since he walked away from the law firm? Will Josh Charles really return as Will Gardner?

So many questions with so few episodes left. At a Q&A at the Tribeca Film Festival, Variety wasn’t able to get many spoilers from “GOOD WIFE” creators Michelle and Robert King, but series star Julianna Margulies did say call the script for the series finale “brilliant.”

Are you ready to say goodbye to the best drama on broadcast tv?

Click here for the full story in Variety. 

CBS Should Cast O’Shea Jackson as the Young Lead in TRAINING DAY!

 

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Showbiz 411 is reporting that the CBS pilot for TRAINING DAY, based on the movie that earned Denzel Washington his Academy Award for Best Actor will not be casting an African American man as the rogue detective with a questionable moral compass.  Instead the network is looking to cast a white actor in the role.  This would have been a meaty role for for a black actor in his 40s.  My shortlist for this role included Shemar Moore (CRIMINAL MINDS), Cuba Gooding Jr., and Malcolm Jamal Warner.  Shows like EMPIRE, SCANDAL and HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER have proven that audiences love and are accepting of black actors portraying multi-layered, sometimes messy characters. But, my guess is that the network wants to remain in its comfort zone of having a procedural drama with an older caucasian man as the leading man.

According to Showbiz 411 in the new version, Frank Rourke is the “wolf, a rogue cop, and a man who lives by the law of the jungle.” His protege is Kyle Craig, a young naive black trainee who will try and take Frank down. That would be the Ethan Hawke part from the movie.

So, if this is truly the case, CBS should cast O’Shea Jackson (STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON) in the role of the young cop paired with veteran cop.  Jackson gave an amazing performance as STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON portraying his father Ice Cube during his time as part of the rap phenom N.W.A.  In his first movie role, he showed a great amount of range inhabiting all of the rage and frustration felt by young black men living in Los Angeles during the late 1980s/early 90’s. O’Shea was also very charming in the scenes where he got show the softer edges of Ice Cube.  Hollywood was buzzing about Jackson’s performance in the film, his first movie role.  Many were surprised when he didn’t land on the list of Oscar nominees in the Best Supporting Actor category.

By casting O’Shea Jackson in TRAINING DAY, CBS has the opportunity to appeal to a younger audience that’s probably not very familiar with their other shows.  He’s young, handsome, and can act!  And maybe his famous father would take time out of his hit movie making schedule for a cameo or two if the show goes to series. This would be a smart casting move by CBS that would get a lot of notice.

Why CBS should END this version of “THE GOOD WIFE”

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Fist off, I’ve loved “The Good Wife” since it premiered in 2009. The story of Alicia Florrick, played by Emmy winner Julianna Margulies, as she tried to rebuild her life and law career after her husband Peter’s affair with a call-girl was exposed combined juicy family and political soap opera with weekly law cases (keeping with CBS’ staple of procedural dramas).  But “The Good Wife” transcended any procedural drama on CBS or any other network quickly becoming the best drama on broadcast television.

Co-creators of “The Good Wife” Robert and Michelle King announced this week that they are leaving the series at the end of this season. They’re vision for the show was a seven season story arc and for them this is the end.  It’s rumored that CBS is trying to negotiate deals for an eight season of the show, which means a new show runner and vision for “The Good Wife.”

I believe CBS should allow the Kings to complete their vision for “The Good Wife” at the end of this season and viewers should say farewell to Alicia Florrick and company.  Alicia deserves her happy ending and be allowed to walk off into the sunset gracefully.  However, “The Good Wife” is such a good brand that there is a way for CBS to evolve the show with new protagonists and stories.

Other networks have had success with anthology storytelling in recent years and “The Good Wife” could be a way for CBS to get into the game. The show should focus on a woman of color who is running to replace her late husband as Governor. Her only political experience has been that as First Lady of her state. She’s built a career as a successful Chief Financial Officer of a Fortune 500 company.  Her opponents will of course use her lack of political experience against her.  And even though she was able to turn her company’s financial turmoil around when she came on board, he opponents will spin things to make it look like it was her fault.  And, because she’s had a success full career, they’ll call into question her dedication to her family because she wasn’t a stay-at-home mom.  The show can focus on many themes including women in politics, race in politics, the effect of local politics on the community and the double standards when it comes to women and power.  There could also be an umbrella mystery surrounding her husbanding dealing while in office and the circumstances surrounding his death.For continuity, CBS could enlist one or two, at most, of the current characters to make guest appearances on the new incarnation of “The Good Wife” as legal counsel, or old love interest from the new “wife’s” past.

“The Good Wife” in its current incarnation should go out while still in a good place creatively.  This season hasn’t been its strongest, but it still stand out as one of the only quality dramas on broadcast tv.  CBS should give the show the dignity of going out with the vision of its original creators, the Kings.

What do you think? Should “The Good Wife” wrap up at the end of season 7?  Would you watch a new incarnation of the show in a new setting?  Comment below.

 

 

3 TV Shows That SHOULD Get a REBOOT!

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Most of the tv development news coming out in recent months has been about reboots of old series and in some cases movies.  Networks are trying to lure viewers with known brands, some of which weren’t that successful the first time around such as THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO which originally aired on ABC and is now in development at FOX.

I decided to get in on the fun and offer up some ideas for three series reboots that could be fun, compelling and relevant.

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QUEER AS FOLK originally aired on SHOWTIME from 2000-2005 and at the time was a groundbreaking series about a group of gay and lesbian young adults navigating their love lives, careers, and the political landscape of the early 2000s. I watched all five seasons of the show and thought it was at its strongest creatively in its final season.  This is when the characters took on political activism at the local level fighting for gay rights.  Ten years later, watching reruns of QUEER on Showtime, I realize how ahead of its time the show really was back then.  They were telling stories about the fight for gay marriage, HIV treatment, and job discrimination. Sadly, SHOWTIME didn’t have as high a profile for its original series as it does now so the show didn’t get the mainstream press coverage it would receive today. That’s why QUEER AS FOLK is a perfect candidate for a reboot.

The show could explore the pressures of Michael and Ben’s relationship as a married couple raising their adopted daughter. Ben, who is HIV positive, now has better treatment options with the virus now undetectable. Michael could be one of the early users of PrEP and is now an advocate for use of the drug. Now at 40, still single playboy Brian wonders what his future holds as each of his friends begin to couple off leaving him feeling like the odd man out. Brian could also suffer a bit of a midlife crisis as he discovers his age to be a challenge in the dating scene. Both Michael and Brian have children with lesbian couple Lindsay and Melanie. Gus who is Brian’s son with Lindsay, would now be a teenager and has a lot of story potential. Gus, could be an aspiring artist like his mother and a young rogue like his father.

There’s so much story potential with QUEER AS FOLK that SHOWTIME should revisit the series.

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A DIFFERENT WORLD is another show that I think found its voice during its latter seasons.  The real magic of the show was the relationship of engineering student Dwayne Wayne and socialite Whitley Gilbert. They were truly one of the best primetime love stories of the late 1980s early 90s.  By the series finale in 1993, Dwayne and Whitley were moving to Japan and expecting a baby.

22 years later, Dwayne and Whitley have returned to Virginia after Whitley accepts the position of Dean of Fine Arts Studies at Hillman College. Dwayne, who made a fortune developing video games, has “retired” and agrees to take an adjunct faculty position in the Hillman Engineering department.  Dwayne and Whitley’s oldest daughter took time off from her college studies and is now starting her junior year at Hillman. Part of  Dwayne and Whitley’s motivation to returning to Virginia is to keep an eye on their daughter.  They could have a son, who like his father was, is a late bloomer and is starting his freshman year at Hillman.  The couple find themselves to be surrogate parents to their children’s group of friends while dealing with their marital issues.  Now being financially comfortable, Dwayne would prefer if he and Whitley spent time traveling but Whitley feels as though this job at Hillman is finally her chance to be seen as more than a wife and mother.

A DIFFERENT WORLD explored issues such as date rape, racism, and domestic violence, all issues that are still relevant today.  The setting of a historically Black college is perfect to touch on contemporary issues facing young African Americans.  With Dwayne and Whitley as the entry points to the series, a reboot of A DIFFERENT WORLD would attract a multigenerational audience.  This would be a great project for NETFLIX since they’ve already revived FULL HOUSE (now FULLER HOUSE).

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MURPHY BROWN aired on CBS for 10 seasons and was widely acclaimed for its political satire. Murphy, brilliantly played by Emmy winner Candice Bergen, was a sharp investigative reporter/news anchor, recovering alcoholic, single mother and breast cancer survivor.  The show was unafraid to cover social and political topics with biting humor.

Today we’d find Murphy having just handed over the reigns of the nightly newscast that she anchored to a younger man. Still under contract with CBS Murphy has developed a daytime talk show, a la THE VIEW. Corky Sherwood (Faith Ford) has become Murphy’s producing partner and serves as the executive producer of the new talk show.  While Murphy envisions the talk show as a platform for discourse on social and political issues, the network wants it to have more mainstream appeal and Corky is called upon to try to convince Murphy to participate in some of the more populist aspects of the daily show, such as doing live commercials for advertisers and presenting segments about products at discount prices.  Murphy would be joined by Jessica Silverberg, the daughter of Murphy’s former producer Miles Silverberg.  Jessica’s claim to fame is as a conservative blogger with no real journalism experience. While Murphy is still fond of Miles she has little patience for his daughter. Murphy’s son Avery, now in his 20’s is following in his parents footsteps and aspires to be a journalist.  He works as a production assistant on Murphy and Corky’s former newsmagazine show FYI.  Murphy’s new talk show studio is next door to FYI, allowing Avery to stop by and see his mom and flirt, to Murphy’s horror, with Jessica.

Revisiting MURPHY BROWN would allow a television comedy to look at contemporary issues through the lens of two women from different generations and political parties. Smart, sophisticated comedies are in short supply on the broadcast networks and a reboot of MURPHY BROWN would be the perfect companion to the CBS sitcom MOM.

The Reboot of the Reboot is Being REBOOTED!

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It’s long been common practice for the movie industry to develop remakes or reboots of franchises (BATAN, BEN-HUR, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK) and television development executives are following their lead. It seems as though every day a network is announcing a reboot of an old tv series or an adaptation of an 80s or 90s movie for television. The short list include tv revivals of HART TO HART (with a gay twist); FULL HOUSE (now called FULLER HOUSE); TWIN PEAKS; THE X-FILES; PRISON BREAK; THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR; XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS: THE A-TEAM; MACGYVER; AMAZING STORIES; GILMORE GIRLS (as a limited series on NETFLIX); and this season’s THE MUPPETS and HEROES: REBORN.

In the past, most of these shows would have just returned as television movies, but with the expanded platforms from which viewers have to choose, everyone is looking for content with built-in name and brand recognition.

Among the movies being adapted into tv series are: MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING; LETHAL WEAPON; ALL OF ME (1984 movie starring Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin); FATAL ATTRACTION; and CRUEL INTENTIONS, which was previously developed as a tv series called MANCHESTER PREP for FOX but the pilot was ultimately released as a movie on home video.

It’s not uncommon to see popular movies in the tv development pipeline. Often times they don’t make it to series but again, they’re a known quantity and it helps networks and other content platforms with their marketing efforts if they don’t have to spend a lot of time introducing the concept to the audience.  In the old days, this was often done with spinoff series, but that practice seems to have lost favor.

Development executives must be having a difficult time getting writers to pitch exciting original ideas.  And, with the myriad of content providers, experienced show runners are in higher demand.  This is both good and bad. It gives new talent an opportunity to shine behind the scenes, but sometimes that lack of experience can show in the execution. On the  other hand, we get new concepts such as BLACK-ISH (ABC), CLUB DE CUEROS (NETFLIX) and TRANSPARENT (AMAZON).

The burning question is just how much do viewers care about revisiting some of the brands being adapted and rebooted. This season has seen mixed results with MINORITY REPORT on FOX finding its episode order reduced after poor ratings results and LIMITLESS on CBS getting a full season pickup this week. My guess is that fans will flock to GILMORE GIRLS since the series didn’t get the satisfactory conclusion it deserved. FULLER HOUSE will probably garner some interest but since the show went off the air series star Candace Cameron Bure has become quite polarizing because of her religious and political leanings.  I still don’t get the PRISON BREAK reboot. The series had such a limited concept to begin with and ran out of creative steam by the end of season 2 of its four year run.

None of the movie adaptations really excite me.  FATAL ATTRACTION could have some soapy fun but seems limited in scope. There are stalking laws that can resolve this story by the end of the pilot.  ALL OF ME seems an odd pick for an adaptation. Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin made for a fun comedic duo, but no one remembers the film.

It will be interesting to see how far some of these projects get in the development process. Hopefully, among all the reboots and adaptations we’ll see original projects as exciting as EMPIRE, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER and BLOODLINE. There are a lot of writers out there with fresh ideas, I hope network heads are encouraging their development executives to seriously consider these projects.

Are you excited for any of the reboots or adaptations? Are there any other shows or movies you’d like to see on the small screen?  Comment below.

Also, check back to read some of my ideas for series I think would be fun reboots or television adaptations. Oh, and bonus points for anyone who can name the inspiration for the title of this article.