Netflix is canceling Marvel's 'Luke Cage'
Marvel and Netflix confirmed to Deadline on Friday that the show "will not return for a third season." The streaming service dropped its other Marvel series "Iron Fist" last week.
The show, which debuted on the streaming service in 2016, followed the storyline of bulletproof superhero Luke Cage who tries to protect Harlem from villains making the neighborhood's streets unsafe.
The show's creator, Cheo Hodari Coker, tweeted his thanks to the cast and production crew as well as to Marvel and Netflix.
"A lot memories. A lot of individual thank-you calls to make," Coker tweeted. "Just want to say thank you to Marvel, Netflix, the best Writer's room, cast, crew, the Midnight Hour, all those who graced the stage at Harlem's Paradise and the most incredible fan base in the world. Forward always..."
The Netflix series aired its second season last June.
The cancellation surprised many of the show's fans, some who were expecting another season.
"So wait... First they cancel Iron Fist after a massive improvement. Now they've cancelled arguably their best Marvel series?! I swear to God, we'd better hear something about a Heroes for Hire series like, YESTERDAY. "
"Luke Cage was one of the greatest Superhero shows we have ever had. It had a quality, tone and point of view unlike anything we had seen in genre storytelling. Nothing can replace it. Just a tragedy losing this great show."
"I'm not into @Marvel movies or the universe. I was into #LukeCage which played like a modern Syfy allegory. Of all content on Netflix they cut Luke Cage in its prime. I hope they solicit other networks & platforms to continue. @cheo_coker is a great writer; Mike Colter is 'Luke.'"
Though the Marvel-Netflix show "Daredevil" just returned for its third season, some fans are worried about what this means for the rest of "The Defenders" characters -- Jessica Jones and Daredevil -- now that Iron First and Luke Cage are done.
"Welp. That makes half of 'em.#LukeCage #IronFist."
"#Defenders is also dead guys... $10 Says JJ is next."
Musical powerhouses unite on album for families separated at the border
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Josh Groban, Idina Menzel, Audra McDonald and Laura Benanti are just a few of the names who gave their time and talents to a new bilingual children's album that will benefit non-profit organizations who are helping with family reunification.
"It's really been a labor of love," Benanti, who spearheaded the project told Stephen Colbert on "The Late Show" on Thursday.
Benanti said she was moved to put together the album after "seeing the images of children in cages."
All of the net proceeds from the album's sale will go to Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, better known as RAICES, and ASTEP (Artists Striving To End Poverty).
The album was produced by Benanti, Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Lynn Pinto.
Featured songs include "Arrorró Mi Niño" (performed by Laura Benanti & Isabella Preston), "Singing You Home" (performed by Audra McDonald & Jason Robert Brown, who also wrote the song) and "Cielito Lindo" (performed by Lin Manuel-Miranda & Mandy Gonzalez)
On Twitter, Benanti, who frequently appears on "The Late Show" parodying First Late Melania Trump, said she has "never been more proud of a project."
The album, out October 26, is available for pre-order.
Roseanne Barr responds to 'The Conners' debut
So, Roseanne was right.
Nearly five months since ABC's much-publicized axing of its "Roseanne" revival from its lineup, the network on Tuesday premiered "The Conners," a half hour spin-off framed around the fictional family of Roseanne Conner.
In the first episode, Dan (John Goodman), Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) and Roseanne's children are three weeks into dealing with the aftermath of her sudden death from what they believe to be a heart attack.
It doesn't take long, however, for the truth to come out: Roseanne died as a result of opioid abuse.
Roseanne Barr, whose Twitter tirade led to her dismissal from the show both in front of the camera and behind the scenes, said in September that this would be her character's fate. ABC did not comment at the time.
Initially, Roseanne's family is in disbelief, particularly Dan, who says defensively that he had flushed her pills.
A prescription bottle reveals, however, that Roseanne had participated in an exchange of sorts with neighbors in order to get pain pills. And later, her family finds Roseanne's small stashes of medication around the house.
When Dan later confronts the woman (Mary Steenburgen) who exchanged pills with Roseanne, she's anguished. The uninsured neighbors are used to helping each other out, she tells him.
"I never would have given them to her if I knew she had a problem," she says to him. "I know what it's like to have that problem, so I'm sorry."
This conversation helps Dan, who has been unable to sleep in the bed he once shared with his wife since she died, find an ounce of peace.
"She was going to do what she was going to do," he says at one point. "She never listened to a damn person in her life."
It's an eerie line considering the real-life circumstances of the show's one-time star, but also effective.
Barr posted a tweet on Tuesday night reminding followers she's not actually dead. She later released a joint statement with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in response to "The Conners" premiere.
"While we wish the very best for the cast and production crew of 'The Conners,' all of whom are deeply dedicated to their craft and were Roseanne's cherished colleagues, we regret that ABC chose to cancel Roseanne by killing off the Roseanne Conner character," the statement read in part. "That it was done through an opioid overdose lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show."
By episode's end, "The Conners" makes it clear that the matriarch's presence remains important to the family but the reset button has been pressed. In new opening credits, Dan, daughter Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and Jackie take center stage.
With Dan now able to slumber, the show is eager it seems to put the drama that led to "Roseanne's" demise to bed as well.
TV has more work to do for the working class
After you see it once, you never quite forget the look and start to see it everywhere, especially on other people in line at the grocery store.
I remember wondering once why money never seemed to be a significant issue for the characters I spent a more-than-average amount of time watching on TV. I figured my family was just different; that most people, like my peers in my largely middle class school, don't have to worry about money.
The family on "Malcolm in the Middle" was among the first I remember noting was a brief exception to this. In one episode, the mom, Lois, lost her job and the family became financially strained for 22 minutes.
The episode ended with Malcolm, who had been the recipient of canned goods from his classmates after they learned of his family's troubles, going up to some kids at school and defensively yelling, "Look, we're not poor anymore. So I don't want any more of your stupid pity, ok?"
Television has gotten better about how it portrays members of the so-called working class. An explosion of options from streaming and premium services has offered a greater variety of views into American life -- the tradeoff being that mass-appeal hits, like the broad sitcoms of the past, are increasingly rare. The "Leave it to Beaver" comfort zone that sitcoms traditionally occupied has given way to greater multiculturalism and nuance.
In these fragmented times, niche storytelling is all the rage.
A wave of series from the first decade of the 2000s acknowledged the day-to-day challenges of economic insecurity and found stories within them. On "Everybody Hates Chris," for example, one episode addressed the stigma around food stamps.
"Raising Hope," and "The Middle," which just went off the air earlier this year, also baked the family's precarious financial situations into the fabrics of the show, standing out among other major-network TV families, who skew upper-middle class, like "Modern Family."
In recent years, shows such as "One Day at a Time," "Superstore," and even "Bob's Burgers," have also made mention of the nuanced challenges of America's paycheck-to-paycheck workers, without always making it the main focus of an episode. "Atlanta" and "The Chi" have been praised for highlighting the black working class.
In one scene from the animated series, matriarch Linda Belcher, who owns a burger restaurant with her husband, argues on the phone with the bank about which of her checks to let bounce. "Okay, so bounce the check to the power company, bounce the check to the relish guy, but make sure the beef supplier goes through. Without beef, the whole system falls apart," she says.
On Netflix's "One Day at a Time," Justina Machado plays an Army veteran who works as a nurse to support her two kids and mother, Lydia (Rita Moreno). The Alvarez family lives in an Echo Park apartment that has fewer bedrooms than bodies, so Lydia sleeps in the dining room, where a curtain acts as the door to her living quarters and hides her mattress. The show does not allow the characters to conveniently live beyond their means relative to their occupations and locations. (Looking at you, "Friends.")
Instead, it wordlessly reminds viewers of the family's situation. It's fact without judgment: they're a little cramped. So while every episode isn't about their economic situation, it looms over them as they deal with other aspects of life -- Penelope's fight to get help with her depression and anxiety or her daughter Elena's coming out, for example.
Other times, it takes center stage. One plot line had Penelope showing her son how to "have fun on a budget" while going to the movies.
"Sometimes people will scroll through things and then see a show about a family, but if it doesn't match what you look like then they think it's a show they can't relate to," Machado says in a recent interview with CNN. "But, we, people of color -- Latinos, African Americans -- have always had to watch white families on television, and we always found things to relate to because we're human beings and these are universal stories."
Machado's point hits at the heart of why, upon the cancellation of ABC's "Roseanne," there was some groaning at the assertion that working class families are unrepresented on TV. It's just not the truth.
Even if the criticism referred specifically to white families, there's Showtime's "Shameless," "SMILF," "Speechless" to name a few. (Though, the first two premium cable offerings are not recommended for family co-viewing.)
What is true is that "Roseanne" filled a void regionally and politically. Roseanne Conner was one of a very few conservative characters on scripted TV and the Conners live in the type of fictional Midwest town that's felt the burden of economic strife and saw Donald Trump as a way out.
George Goehl recognizes that type of town because he spends a lot of time in them as part of his work with People's Action, a nonprofit group that aims to unite poor working class people on the city, state and national level. He's originally from rural Indiana -- a place 40 miles away from the nearest town of more than 20,000 people, he says -- but eventually moved to Chicago, where he learned more about the urban working class and worked to organize communities of color. ("I think we heard after the election that Trump supporters...felt unseen and forgotten. And I think poor, working-class people of all races feel unseen and forgotten right now," he says.)
Most recently, the group executed a rural organizing outreach drive and conducted conversations with about 10,000 people living in those areas about issues ranging from health care and education to clean water and addiction.
He said that as much as a show like "Roseanne" represented an underrepresented sector of America, it had "blind spots."
"A lot of journalism and a lot of Hollywood work portrays people's world views as liberal, moderate, right [-wing], but I don't think people sit in buckets that are that clean all the time," he says. "I think you could be hanging out with a pot-smoking, born-again Christian who believes in Medicare for all and is a climate denier. I know that guy."
"The Conners," which premiers Oct. 16, is "Roseanne" without Roseanne. (You know why.)
In the family's quest to move on without its one-time star, it loses its conservative voice. Whether that's to the benefit of the series itself is ultimately for the viewers to decide. (Critics seem to think so.)
Those who feel it does not might do well to stick around for "The Kids Are Alright," a new series that premieres after "The Conners."
This '70s-set series too centers on a working class family, but this one is large, Irish-Catholic and slightly less darkly frank than the Conners.
The patriarch Mike Cleary (Michael Cudlitz) works as machinist to support his eight boys and wife.
Creator Tim Doyle drew inspiration for the show from his own life and upbringing. Like his family, the Clearys don't have a lot of resources, and the series will address that.
"I did some time on the 'Roseanne' show 25 years ago and one of the things I liked best was those moments of, 'You know, we have to get the roof fixed. Let's dig down in the sofa cushions and see if we can scrape together enough money for that,'" he says. "The idea that at certain points you break your kid's heart because you can't buy them the sneakers they want, that was very much part of my childhood, or, you know, those moments where you, as a child, feel bad for your parents because you know they want to give you something."
Goehl would like to see strides in how working class families of all races are portrayed. "Dignity" must be restored, he says.
"The amount of ingenuity and creativity it takes to survive being poor and to figure out how, you know, if you're a domestic worker, how you're going to take three buses to get to work on time and get your kid to school and figure out how to get back...that is a lot of work" he says. "I do think a new narratives around around poverty and poor people would help."
He adds: "People's feeling seen and understood in all their beauty and complexity, I think does a lot for people, and they're sense of place in a world."
Eminem takes 'Venom' to a whole new level
On Monday's "Jimmy Kimmel Live," the rapper performed "Venom" in a highly produced music video shot inside and on top of the Empire State Building. Eminem dropped some knowledge about the famous New York City landmark and included a cameo by Kimmel regular, Guillermo Rodriguez.
"Venom," which featured on the Marvel film of the same name, is Eminem's latest hit off his recently released album, "Kamikaze."
The collection of tracks, produced by long-time collaborator Dr. Dre, marks Eminem's tenth studio album.
The rapper gets a little political with a reference to President Trump on the track, "The Ringer."
"Agent Orange just sent the Secret Service / to meet in person to see if I really think of hurting him," he raps on "The Ringer. "Or ask if I'm linked to terrorists / I said, 'Only when it comes to ink and lyricists.'"
Jimmy Kimmel jokes about being tapped to host Oscars
On Monday's episode of "Jimmy Kimmel Live," the comedian joked he likely got the job based on the proximity of his show's studio.
"The producers and the Academy went through a long list of names -- and in the end, they decided that -- since I am already right across the street from where they do the show -- I was the closest person to host," Kimmel said. "I guess I have to get a tux now. Or maybe I'll wear jean shorts?"
Kimmel also announced his wife is expecting their second child.
"There's a lot of exciting stuff going on. Congratulations to me," he said. "I'm hosting the Oscars and I had sex. Two things as a teenage boy I never thought would be possible."
Oscar producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd are betting on Kimmel to infuse the show with new energy -- and boost ratings -- after an 8-year low for last year's ceremony.
ABC has an agreement with the Academy to broadcast the Oscars through 2020. Coming off Kimmel's well-received performance as Emmy host in September, Disney/ABC Television Group chief Ben Sherwood made no secret about wanting him at the helm on Oscar night.
"We thought Jimmy elevated the Emmys. We thought Jimmy has earned it and we're very hopeful that Jimmy will get [the Oscars job]," Sherwood said.
Kimmel's got a tough task ahead of him -- as several previous Oscar hosts can attest to.
Still, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs expressed confidence they've found the right host.
"He knows who he is, he knows the audience and he knows how to captain a ship with many moving parts," Isaacs said in a statement Monday. "We're thrilled he has agreed to host our show."
The 89th Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, February 26, 2017.
Saroo Brierley's inspiring search for family roars to life in "Lion"
Brierley was 5 years old when he was separated from his older brother one night while at a train station in rural India.
Brierley's older brother had left him sleeping on a bench, but when he returned, Brierley -- then known as Sheru -- was gone.
Young Sheru had awoken from his nap and boarded a train in search of his older brother. His day-long journey landed him more than 700 miles east of his home, in a place where he didn't speak the language.
He'd later learn he'd ended up in Calcutta.
For weeks, he lived on the streets, escaping a bevy of dangers. Eventually, he was taken in at an orphanage and adopted by a couple in Australia, after officials failed to locate his family and hometown.
Since Sheru did not know how to spell his name, Brierley ended up going by an incorrectly spelled version -- "Saroo."
Twenty years later, Brierley decided to launch a search for the mother, siblings and home he remembered only in fuzzy childhood memories. To do this, he decided to retrace his steps using Google Earth.
Those who don't know the rest of the story soon will. (Warning: Some movie spoilers follow below.)
Brierley's journey to find his family in India is the subject for The Weinstein Co's "Lion," a movie due out November 25 that is a likely Oscar contender.
But when he started his quest, Brierley said the possibilities -- the interest in his story, his subsequent book and the film starring Dev Patel that now tells his tale -- were the farthest thing from his mind.
"I was just so high on hope and so determined to find what I'd been sort of yearning for for some time and defuse the weight off my shoulders," Brierley told CNN in a recent interview.
Brierley has now seen "Lion" a few times, he said. And even though he lived the experience, he said the film was a "roller coaster of emotions."
"I tried to suppress my tears but I couldn't," he said. "It was just so hard to."
He wasn't the only one. Brierley said his Australian mother Sue, played in the film by Nicole Kidman, was "enchanted" by the movie.
"She was speechless at some times, to the point where she grabbed my leg and almost dug her nails into it," Brierley said, laughing.
Brierley's warm relationship with his adoptive mother is one of many emotional drivers in the movie. And though some parts of the movie were "heightened" for storytelling purposes, Brierley said it was important to him and the filmmakers that the characters be portrayed authentically.
He was especially pleased with one key scene between Patel and Kidman, in which they talk about her motivation for adopting him as a boy.
"The way that was acted out was just so organic and pure," he said.
There's one key opinion Brierley is still waiting to get -- that of his birth mother, Fatima Bi Munshi.
He said they're working on getting the movie translated into her native Hindi, as she does not read. Though he's recounted his experience to her before, he thinks the movie will put the journey into a greater perspective.
"I think it's going to give her a shock as in, 'Whoa, I didn't realize that this is actually what happened,'" he said.
CNN's Sara Sidner visited Brierley's mother back in 2012, shortly after the two had been reunited.
Then, she recounted the disappearance of her son and spoke about the devastating second loss she experienced the same year. Brierley's oldest brother, who had accompanied him that fateful night, was killed a month after Brierley went missing.
"I would go to sleep at night and my mind would wander in madness," she said. "I didn't feel like eating. I kept looking out for him on the streets, asking people about his whereabouts. I found him nowhere. It was a very difficult time."
Brighter days have fallen upon the once fractured family.
Brierley said he's been back to India about 14 times since they were reunited, in part thanks to the trips he's taken as a result of the interest in the story of their reunion.
"It's worked pretty well and I'm so touched and humbled about everything --- that things like this can happen," Brierley said. "I wish there were more stories like this."
He's working to make that happen.
Brierley said he hopes to get into script writing, with a focus on penning films that lift people's spirits. He wants them to walk into the theater "thinking about things that are going to change their minds in a positive way [or] ... who they are as humans."
Brierley's life has undoubtedly changed as a result of what started as an against-the-odds quest. And though the ultimate result came with some sadness, he said at the end of the day, "that's just life."
"I guess this was my destiny," he said.
CNN's Sara Sidner contributed to this report.