TV Premieres Catch-Up and More
The Hollywood Reporter gave an advance rave review to “Bette and Joan: The Feud”, an FX eight-episode anthology series that began on Saturday, Mar. 5. As the series begins, it’s the early ‘60s, and Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange) is trying to revive her career with the film “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane.” However, she knows she must get long-time rival Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon) to co-star with her to make the film work. The “Reporter” review singles out veteran character comic JACKIE HOFFMAN, 56: “[She] steals scenes with deadpan deviousness as Crawford’s German maid and confidante [who is called] Mamacita.” Also highly praised for his work is the always-good Stanley Tucci. He plays JACK WARNER (1892-1979), the co-founder of Warner Brothers, who was very involved in Davis’ entire career. As studio head, he had a big hand in the making of “Whatever Happened,” a Warner Brothers’ film.
The TLC celebrity ancestry show, “Who Do You Think You Are,” returned on March 5 (new episodes on 10PM. Also on-demand and on website). However, the exact airing schedule of each celeb’s episode-length appearance hasn’t been announced. Worth looking for: JENNIFER GREY, 56, who, according to the show’s advance notes: “Uncovers new information about the grandfather she thought she knew, learning how he survived adversity to become a beacon of his community.” Also interesting---actress Jessica Biel (the wife of Justin Timberlake), who is very surprised to learn that she has a Jewish ancestor and, in common parlance, that she is 1/8 Jewish.
The new Fox series, “Making History,” premiered on Sunday, Mar. 5 and new episodes air Sundays at 8:30PM. ADAM PALLY, 34, stars as Dan, a nerdy (contemporary) computer scientist who works at a small college. He discovers how to time travel and goes back to the 1775 where he meets and falls for Paul Revere’s daughter, Deborah (Leighton Meester). However, Dan is concerned that his romance may change history for the worse and he enlists the help of a history professor (Yassir Lester) to guide him and sometimes travel back in time with him. The plot sounds heavy, but basically it’s a comedy---Dan, for example, gets Deborah to fall for him by using modern song lyrics, jokes, and apt movie lines that she doesn’t know aren’t original.
Pally, who previously co-starred on “Happy Endings” and “The Mindy Project,” is a talented comic writer as well as a performer and he wouldn’t appear in a really bad show—so check this one out.
Just as I was writing this item, it was announced that Pally and RACHEL BLOOM, 29 (“My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”) will co-star in the film “Most Likely to Murder” and production will start this month. It’s a dark mystery comedy about what happens when Billy (Pally), the most popular kid in high school, comes back to his hometown 10 years later to find he’s no longer cool and the girl (Bloom) he still has feelings for is now dating the former high school outcast. When the outcast’s mother dies under mysterious circumstances, Billy becomes obsessed with proving that she was actually murdered.
Finally, a friend recently told me about an interesting comment by Rachel Keller, 25, who co-stars in the hit FX series, “Legion,” which debuted last month to good ratings and reviews. Keller plays the female lead, Sydney “Sid” Barrett. She recently spoke to her hometown paper, “The Minneapolis Star Tribune” and said: “One year for Hanukkah, my dad got us season [theater] tickets.” The clues point to her father, an acting teacher originally from Cleveland, being Jewish—and her mother not. I will update when I get more info.
Have to Share with You
DAVID SUSSKIND (1920-1987) was a pioneering and top TV producer, as well as the host of “The David Susskind Show,” a long-running syndicated talk show. In 1970, he hosted a program entitled, “How to Be a Jewish Son.” I saw it years ago, and it was hilarious. Something made me think about it, and I found that all but 20 of its 90 minutes are posted on Youtube—simply enter “Mel Brooks” and “David Susskind” and you will find “Part I” and “Part III” (they follow each other). There were six guests. Four were/are quite famous: MEL BROOKS, now 90; GEORGE SEGAL, now 83; DAVID STEINBERG, now 74, and DAN GREENBURG, now 80 (he wrote the 1964 bestseller, “How to Be a Jewish Mother.”) The show is not that dated and everybody’s at the top of their form. Nice to note: all these guys' mothers were alive in 1970 and they all liked their mothers. (Also available on DVD). Trust me, it’s a treat.