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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Fargo adaptation coming soon

Posted: 28 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

The upcoming TV series will look different but sound the same as the film.

Fargo is coming back as a TV series, but viewers shouldn't confuse the FX series with the Oscar-winning 1996 film from Ethan and Joel Coen.

The upcoming programme will be a limited drama series, inspired by the film, that will feature a true crime story with new characters established in the trademark humour, dialect, murder and "Minnesota nice" of the original film. The 10-part series will debut April 15, the network announced recently during the winter TV press tour in California.

The character of Marge Gunderson, the pregnant law enforcement officer played by Frances McDormand in an Oscar-winning performance, will not be a part of the new series.

Key to the new Fargo will be the feel of the Minnesota region, where people "have an inability to communicate," said Noah Hawley, executive producer and writer of all the episodes. "It's a stoic culture where people don't talk about feelings. It's broken the way people communicate."

The project stars Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo, a drifter who meets and forever changes the life of small town insurance salesman Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman).

Duluth Police Deputy Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks) is a single father who must choose between his own personal safety and his duty as a policeman in investigating the case. Allison Tolman also stars as Molly Stevenson, an ambitious deputy.

The Coen brothers are listed as executive producers, along with former NBC entertainment head Warren Littlefield. But the filmmakers are not directly involved with the production, which was filmed in Calgary, Canada.

"TV is not their medium," Hawley said. When Ethan Coen read Hawley's pilot script, he responded, "Yeah, good," and gave the project his blessing, Hawley said.

"When Ethan said, 'Yeah, good,' that means he's over the moon," said Thornton, who appeared in the brothers' 2001 The Man Who Wasn't There.

In other news, Zach Galifianakis and Michael Cera will star in upcoming pilots for FX. Galifianakis, the star of several hit movie comedies including The Hangover franchise," is creating and will star in a pilot that he will co-write with Louis C.K. The network also announced Louie will return for a fourth season in May.

Cera (Juno) and John Hawkes (Winter's Bone) will star in How And Why, a pilot from screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich). The show revolves around a man who can explain how a nuclear reactor works but is clueless about life. Kaufman will write and direct the pilot and serve as executive producer. — Los Angeles Times/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

True Detective creator extends HBO deal

Posted: 28 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

WRITER and producer Nic Pizzolatto has extended his partnership with HBO by signing a new two-year deal, a network representative told TheWrap.

The agreement arrives on the heels of True Detective's successful run on the premium cable channel. On top of being critically acclaimed, the crime drama's Jan 12 debut was HBO's highest rated series premiere since 2010.

The new agreement suggests HBO's Season Two renewal for the series is forthcoming, plus it will get the first look at any new projects from Pizzolatto.

In April 2012, HBO picked up True Detective with an eight-episode order. Pizzolatto wrote all the episodes, with Cary Joji Fukunaga directing each as well as serving as an executive producer. Pizzolatto is also the showrunner.

Season One stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as homicide detectives hunting for a serial killer across 17 years.

It also stars Michelle Monaghan, Michael Potts, and Tory Kittles.

Before signing on with HBO two years ago, Pizzolatto was a staff writer for AMC's The Killing. The author of two books, he taught fiction and literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Chicago, and DePauw University. – Reuters

When the groaning gets tough

Posted: 28 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

Life's not always hunky-dory in TV Land, nuh-uh. In fact, some people have it so bad, we think they deserve an award.

IF there were awards for TV characters with the worst luck ever, who would you pick? Here's our creme de la creme. When this lot are given lemons, they make the worst lemonade ever, which allows all of us couch potatoes to revel in its bittersweet beauty. Here's to the hard-luck cases on TV!

In third place, we have ... (wait for it) country singers! Seriously.

Country music is full of stories of broken hearts and missed opportunities and we think that's why the folks on Nashville seem to be belting out gems every week. Seriously, we love the music from the series. But boy, is the show ever replete with sad stories.

We can't really decide if Deacon Claybourne (Chip Esten) or Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) has the saddest tale, really. Deacon has been pining for his one true love Rayne James (Connie Britton ) for more than 20 years. They were dating and then he went into rehab for alcohol addiction and she stood by him for a while.

But when he didn't seem to want to get his act together, she left him and got married. He eventually got better but a little too late. Still, he stood by her and pined for her through his beautiful songs ... songs which they wrote and performed together. Oh boy.

And then he finds out that they actually have a daughter together? What? Seriously? He goes back to the bottle and meets with an accident. They don't talk anymore and he may not be able to play guitar ever again.

Oh. And Juliette? She's sexy and sassy but underneath it all lies a broken girl who grew up without a father and with a drug addict for a mother. She has no real friends mainly because she's afraid to allow people into her life – God knows she's been disappointed enough.

She's a talented singer but she also has the talent of falling for the wrong guys; one tried to swindle her of her money and destroy her already strained relationship with her mother. And when she finds the right guy … well, she messes things up because she's just too scared to commit. Will she ever find love? Will Deacon?

And in second spot, a guy who really lost track of time.

TV characters who have been dealt a bad hand? Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) of Sleepy Hollow makes the list for sure, and is up there with the sorriest of the lot. Although some may argue that waking up in the future – 250 years in the future to be precise – is not altogether a "bad" thing, we argue that if your soul has been somehow meshed with that of one of the four horseman whose sole purpose it is to bring about the Apocalypse, then, well ... your life is no bed of roses.

Sleepy Hollow is a modern-day retelling of the 1820 short story The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. It has some cool supernatural, horror, comedy and police drama elements, which make it a really watchable television programme.

Imagine fighting one minute in the Continental Army for George Washington in 1781 and then somehow waking up today. Oh, did we forget to mention that just before dying in 1781, Ichbabod decapitates a Hessian soldier (Irving's Headless Horseman no less) and by some freakish love spell their fates are intertwined as a result of their blood mixing shortly before both men expire.

If that is not bad enough, when he wakes up in the future, Ichabod has so much to catch up on (Starbucks, plastic, polygraph tests, etc). He also has to earn the friendship and trust of policewoman Leftenant (ahem) Abbie Mills (played by Nicole Beharie, who initially arrests him but then becomes his new partner in saving the world from impending doom) and come to terms with the fact that his wife Katrina is a witch (Katia Winter) who is stuck in purgatory and can only communicate with him at the most inopportune moments, like when he is near death.

A regular day for Ichabod? Killing sprees, warring occult groups, sin eaters and evil manifesting in various forms and shapes. And through it all, does he even get a change of clothes? Nope, we're halfway through Season One, and he's still stuck in his 18th-century get-up.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Crane's wardrobe is referred to as a "big stinking security blanket" (LOL) and Mison is quoted as saying: "He's a long way from home – 250 years away – so anything that he can hold on to from his time, I think he certainly will." Poor Ichabod.

Ladies and gents, the one you've all been waiting for. The worst-life-on-TV-drama crown goes to ... (drum roll, violins, thrown in a pipe organ for good measure) one of those upstairs folk on Downton Abbey ...

Lady Edith Crawley (Laura Carmichael)! The quintessential middle child, Lady Edith's life is really unfortunate. Apart from being the least attractive of the three sisters (hey, we're being honest), she is also the least interesting. She has an incredible blandness about her, you have to admit! No wonder she is often dubbed "the forgotten one".

She doesn't have the strength or beauty of Lady Mary (even though her voice modulates quite nicely and doesn't drone on like her older sister) nor does she have the passion of Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay). And her tragedy never seems to end.

Initially, she loves her cousin Patrick (who may or may not be lost at sea) but Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) decides to pursue him and Edith is once again forgotten.

She then finds love in the rather elderly Sir Anthony Strallan (Robert Bathurst) but Mary's interference once again costs her dearly. Sigh. In Season Two she begins a relationship with a married farmer but when his wife finds out, that romance kind of ends too.

In the third season Sir Anthony comes back and proposes to her but he then ditches her at the altar. And then she falls for newspaper editor Michael Gregson (Charles Edwards) who is married but whose wife is in a mental asylum. He can't divorce her legally as his wife is insane, but Edith decides to continue the relationship anyway.

There seems to be a glimmer of hope when Michael discovers a way out of his predicament but just as things begin to look up, he vanishes. Seriously?

Oh, and she finds out she is pregnant. Oh Lord. Give the girl the award for most tragic character, please. We don't think she can take any more.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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