An old master brings “Frasier” back

Life has a special place for the masters of the old arts.
There are the blacksmiths, the locksmiths, the whatever-smiths. There are the keepers of native tongues and the cousins who memorized grandma’s recipes. And there’s James Burrows.
At 82, he retains a special skill – directing situation comedies that are filmed before a studio audience. We’ll see that when the first two episodes of the “Frasier” revival (shown here) debut Thursday (Oct. 12) on Paramount+, then rerun at 9:15 p.m. Oct. 17 on CBS. Read more…

Picard ends a 35-year mission … maybe

By now, Patrick Stewart knows this “Star Trek” thing is more than a brief blip in his life.
It’s been, he said, “35 years since I first put on the captain’s uniform …. The world has changed and I have changed too.”
Or not. As “Star Trek: Picard” (shown here with Stewart and LeVar Burton) begins what it calls its final season (Thursdays on Paramount+, starting Feb. 16), he’s remained a potent performer of British classics. Read more…

From “Trek” to “Grease,” Paramount+ mines its past

If you want to start a big-time streaming service, here’s a tip: It helps to have a movie studio.
That’s what Disney+ and HBO Max do. They have treasure hunts through the Disney and Warner vaults, finding films to re-make, revise or re-imagine. And lately, Paramount+ has done the same.
Once a modest streamer called CBS All Access, it has been renamed and re-vitalized, jumping from four million subscribers (four years ago) to closer to 50 million. At Television Critics Association sessions, it offered ambitious plans, many of them linked to past Paramount hits.
“Star Trek” has been a key. Paramount+ has launched two large series (“Discovery” and “Strange New Worlds” ), an intimate one (“Picard”), an animated one (“Lower Decks”) and “Short Treks.” Now the “Next Generation” cast is re-uniting on Feb. 16, for what will be the final “Picard” season – maybe. “There is still enormous potential for narrative, in what we’ve been doing,” said star Patrick Stewart, 82, (shown here with Levar Burton). “And there are doors left open.
Meanwhile, other shows are also being mined. There’s: Read more…

Back, at last, to sunny (?) California

PASADENA — It was three years ago that we headed home from the Television Critics Association sessions, already looking forward to the next ones.
These trips, twice a year, run for two-plus weeks in California, bringing blue skies, sunshine, optimism and TV stars. Then the world stopped.
Today (Jan. 9), the TCA finally started its first in-person sessions since January of 2020. Onstage this morning was Kiefer Sutherland … just as he’d been so often in the past. He was followed by the young cast of a “Grease” prequel (shown here). Everything was back to normal … except, of course, it wasn’t: Read more…

“Halo” makes its “massive” leap to TV

For streaming networks, the impulse is clear: Go big and go fantasy.
It’s “Star Wars” on Disney+, “Star Trek” on Paramount+, the DC crowd on HBO Max and more, There’s Marvel on Disney+, “Game of Thrones” on HBO Max … and now “Halo” (shown here) on Paramount+.
Yes, the “Halo” videogame is a weekly series, starting Thursday (March 24). “It’s a daunting task,” producer Kiki Wolfkill said in a Television Critics Association virtual press conference.
And one that took forever. “You have such massive scale and scope,” said producer Justin Falvey. “It takes some time to get it right.” Read more…

“Halo,” “Trek” give Paramount its plus

The Paramount+ streaming service is ready to play with the big guys now.
That will be clear March 24, when the long-awaited (VERY long-awaited) “Halo” (shown here) arrives. Or May 5, when a new “Star Trek” series begins, shortly after two others return. Or sometime later, with new versions of “Frasier,” “Flashdance,” “Fatal Attraction” and more, including music-based “Grease” and “Urban Cowboy.”
“We’re taking some big swings,” said Nicole Clemens, the network’s president of original content.
And some little ones. At Television Critics Association sessions, the network said it’s renewing “SEAL Team,” “The Game” and “Mayor of Kingston”; that follows renewals of “Evil” and “The Good Fight.” Read more…

New “Trek” brings old fans … and the others

A quarter-century ago Kate Mulgrew strode into TV history, shielded by semi-ignorance.
Yes, she knew that her character, Kathryn Janeway, would be the first female “Star Trek” captain. There was a fuss about that; the producers even lured Sally Ride (the first woman in space) to the premiere.
But what she didn’t know about was “Star Trek” itself. “I didn’t watch it …. My introduction was when I walked onto that bridge at about 7 o’clock in the morning.”
Hey, a lot of people don’t know “Trek” – including the young actors who star with Mulgrew in “Star Trek: Prodigy” (shown here), the computer-animated series that debuts Thursday (Oct. 28) on Paramount+. The actors had a virtual press conference with the Television Critics Association. Read more…