Having met Doris Roberts I can say she was a delightful woman. Her work on ST. ELSEWHERE, REMINGTON STEEL, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND and countless other shows was always stellar. She reunited with her RAYMOND costar Patricia Heaton on THE MIDDLE in recent years as a foil for the harried mom played by Heaton. Throughout her career she was awarded 5 EMMY AWARDS.
Click here for more on the story from TMZ.
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.
BOUNCE TV a digital broadcast network recently debuted its original drama series “Saints & Sinners” shattering ratings records for the digi-net. The show centers on a Southern Baptist church and its relationship with its surrounding community. But, don’t let that description fool you, “Saints & Sinners” is not about bake sales and prayer circles. This show is filled with crime, lust, deceit, and passion. The beauty of the show is that each character is written as fully rounded human beings, with not a real saint among them.
When I first heard Bounce was developing this project I was fearful that because the action was set in the black church, the writers would feel obligated to give the show an overly earnest tone but fear not because “Saints & Sinners” is anything but earnest. Pastor Evan Johnson is quickly revealed to be stealing money not only from the church but from his wife Ella’s political campaign as well. The Johnson’s lost their son years earlier when he was the unintended target of a gang shooting. It’s quite evident in early moments of the first episode that the family hasn’t recovered from the loss. Their daughter Christine is a now a doctor running a neighborhood clinic named after her late brother. Christine has two male admirers that is being set up as a potentially explosive love triangle. The least interesting story revolves around Levi, played by Christian Keyes, who returns to town under a cloud of suspicion for insider trading at his firm in New York City. Levi is a solid character but hopefully his New York set story will wrap quickly and allow him to move into more interesting story with Christine and Ella.
The star of “Saints & Sinners” is Vanessa Bell Calloway as Ella Johnson. Aside from being the first lady of the church, she’s an aspiring politician who has a big secret of her own. I’ve been a fan of Calloway’s since she played bad girl Yvonne Caldwell on “All My Children” in the mid-80’s. Most recently in addition to stage work, she’s had a recurring role as Carol, Veronica’s mother on “Shameless.” I’ve been screaming for years that a show needs to cast Calloway as a series regular and Bounce was smart to sign her as the lead in “Saints & Sinners.” She expertly plays the heartbroken wife, mother and stately first lady of the church. But Lady Ella is so much more than that. She’s sultry, sexy and knows how to get what she wants. I’m excited to see how her story unfolds. She commands every scene she’s in and has no problem selling each story twist that comes her way. Another noteworthy cast member is Gloria Reuben who came to fame on in the 90’s on NBC’s “ER.” She and Ella share a complicated professional and personal relationship.
“Saints & Sinners” is the only original drama series on a broadcast digital network. Because BOUNCE is a small network, I expected to be underwhelmed by the writing and production values. But I was once again pleasantly surprised. The show’s writing is stronger than expected and the production is better than the Tyler Perry offerings on OWN. “Saints & Sinners” is more subdued than “Empire” on FOX, but that’s a plus for this show. The storytelling is “edge of your seat” without being over the top, a trait that serves “Empire” well but would be too much for the tone set by the writers of this show.
Season one kicks off with a murder mystery setting up all the players, including local loan sharks, drug dealers, church personnel and the Johnson family themselves for so much drama, there might be little time for prayer. This is a juicy show that’s brave enough to pull back the curtain of the politics and corruption that can occur in the church.
“Saints & Sinners” airs Sundays at 9pm ET. If you don’t have BOUNCE TV in your local market, the network has launched a free app that allows you to watch the episodes on your computer, tablet or phone.
Here’s a look at the show:
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.
I binged all 10 episodes of USA’s dark drama MR. ROBOT and it deserves all the accolades it’s been receiving. Check out my thoughts in the podcast below. Just push play!
If you’re not excited about the showdown between the Broncos and the Panthers in the Super Bowl tonight, here are a few alternate viewing options. But, you’ll probably want to press pause and check out the half time show to see what surprises Beyonce has in store when she joins Coldplay on stage.
In the meantime check out episodes of these shows where available On-Demand, Netflix, Hulu or their network website:
AMERICAN CRIME (ABC):
AMERICAN CRIME is probably the most daring drama on broadcast television right now. Season 2 is tackling the subject of male-on-male rape, what it means and peoples perceptions if it being an actual possibility. Regina King is a stand out among a stellar cast. Listen to my podcast for more of my thoughts on the show.
SHAMELESS is having an interesting season. The Gallagher family has gone through so much over the years, I was hoping this season would be a little lighter and more fun. But, this is SHAMELESS we’re talking about and the show is cleverly tackling teen pregnancy, abortion, and guns in school. The show continues to explore the journey of Ian’s struggle with bipolar disorder and how he’s got to figure out how to move on with his life and not keep feeling sorry for himself. SHAMELESS sets a high bar with this storyline. Don’t worry the show still finds time to be sexy, messy and funny.
Julia Louis-Dreyfuss is brilliant as VP of the United States fighter her way to the presidency. While we might cringe at moments during our current presidential race, the faux pas of Selina and her staff will make you laugh out loud.
BEING MARY JANE (BET):
Gabrielle Union is a stunner in BEING MARY JANE. She plays Mary Jane’s sexiness, and messiness as deftly as any lead actress on more buzzed about shows like EMPIRE, HOMELAND and SCANDAL. As single woman trying to navigate her career and troubled love life, she also has her often needy family to contend with. BEING MARY JANE has set a new bar for the scripted programming on BET and it deserves more notice in the mainstream press than it gets.
MICHAEL JACKSON’S JOURNEY FROM MOTOWN FROM OFF THE WALL (SHOWTIME):
While this is actually a documentary, I highly recommend it to all music or just pop culture lovers. The documentary is filled with interviews with those who worked with Michael Jackson while he was still a member of The Jacksons to his evolution as a solo artist. The doc also features interviews with Michael, reminding us of what a genius he really was.