We really are in the golden age of television.
‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story’
Everywhere you look, there’s great TV to be enjoyed. But in case you’re a little overwhelmed by the dozens of new shows that will be coming up in the US over the next few months and shortly hereafter in Israel on YES and HOT, here’s my pick of the crop.
Following up on the astounding The People v. O. J.Simpson, the second season of American Crime Story will focus on the assassination of Gianni Versace.
Developed by Ryan Murphy, The 10-episode Versace examines the shocking July 1997 assassination of Versace (Edgar Ramirez) on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion by sociopath and serial killer Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss), who killed five other people that year. Cunanan committed suicide on a houseboat eight days after killing Versace.
Penelope Cruz will play Gianni’s sister and fellow fashion designer Donatella, while Ricky Martin will play Antonio D’Amico, Gianni’s partner of 15 years.
According to Murphy, recreating the murder of Versace was “one of the most emotional, profound and moving experiences” of his career.
“I never had a situation with anything I shot like this,” Murphy said recently, addressing a New York audience at a screening of the upcoming miniseries first episode. “The day we shot that the crew was crying, the actors were crying. It was very intense.”
Versace premieres in the US on January 17.‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’
Saddle up for six tales about the American frontier from the unique minds of Joel and Ethan Coen, who wrote and directed The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.
Set in the Wild West, much like their Oscar-nominated 2010 remake of True Grit, Buster Scruggs will comprise six episodes, each featuring a different but interlocking tale. Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother Where Art Thou?) stars in the title role. No other cast members have been confirmed by Netflix, but it has been widely reported that James Franco, Zoe Kazan and Ralph Ineson are also set to appear.
“We are streaming motherf@#kers!,” said Joel Coen and Ethan Coen in an official statement.
“The Coens are visionary directors, masterful storytellers, and colorful linguists,” said Cindy Holland, Netflix’s vice president of original content. “We are thrilled for Netflix to become home to the full range of their talents.”
The Coens are the latest of several top filmmakers who have made the crossover to television. David O.
Russell currently has a series set at Amazon with Julianne Moore and Robert De Niro attached to star, and J.J. Abrams has The Nix set at Warner Bros TV with Meryl Streep attached to star and produce.
Buster Scruggs premieres on Netflix in 2018.‘Sharp Objects’
We may not have any Game of Thrones to look forward to in 2018, but HBO has plenty of other wares including an adaption of Gillian Flynn’s (Gone Girl) debut novel Sharp Objects starring Amy Adams. Sharp Objects centers on reporter Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) who, fresh from a brief stay at a psychiatric hospital, must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. Trying to put together a psychological puzzle from her past, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims a bit too closely. The series also stars Patricia Clarkson, Chris Messina, Eliza Scanlen, Elizabeth Perkins and Matt Craven. The eight-episode adaptation is developed by Marti Noxon (UnREAL) and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Big Little Lies).
The book spent more than 70 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, won two of Britain’s Dagger Awards and was shortlisted for an Edgar Award.
Sharp Objects premieres on HBO in June.‘Castle Rock’
From executive producer J.J. Abrams and the twisted mind of Stephen King comes the psychological horror series Castle Rock. Set in the King multiverse, Castle Rock is named after the fictional town in King’s native Maine that is featured prominently in a number of his novels, novellas and short stories.
Castle Rock will tell the story of an attorney named Henry Deaver (played by Moonlight’s Andre Holland) who returns home to Castle Rock to represent an inmate at Shawshank Prison with an “unusual legal problem.” It will weave in references to King stories the same way King self-references in his fiction. In addition to Holland, the show stars Lost’s Terry O’Quinn as a local rich guy named Dale Lacy, as well as two actors known for iconic roles in Stephen King adaptations: Bill Skarsgard, who played Pennywise in this year’s IT, and Sissy Spacek, whose breakthrough role was Carrie.
Castle Rock premieres on Hulu in 2018.‘Maniac’
Netflix has picked up Maniac, a new series from Cary Fukunaga, the Emmy-winning director behind True Detective season one. Emma Stone and Jonah Hill star in this remake of a Norwegian dark-comedy series, which revolves around two people restricted to a mental institution who manage to create fantasy worlds to escape the isolation of their insular existences. The series also stars Sally Field, Gabriel Byrne and Justin Theroux.
According to Variety, 33-year-old Hill has completely transformed for his role on the upcoming Netflix series. Hill was recently spotted on the set looking completely unrecognizable due to dramatic weight loss paired with long hair and tattoos.
Maniac premieres on Netflix in 2018.