October surprises on the small screen

Vanessa Williams and Alan Cumming hit it off in ‘The Good Wife.’

‘The Good Wife’ TV show (photo credit: PR)
‘The Good Wife’ TV show
(photo credit: PR)
CBS has just released some interesting new casting news about The Good Wife, which begins its seventh season on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. starting October 6, and on YES VOD.
Vanessa Williams (Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty) will join the show, playing a businesswoman who helps Peter Florrick (Chris Noth). Sparks fly, not between Williams and Noth but between the glamorous Williams and Alan Cumming, the Scottish actor who plays Florrick’s tense, quirky chief of staff, Eli Gold.
In a statement released by CBS, the show’s executive producers, Robert and Michelle King, said, “There are very few names you can put side by side that make you laugh. Alan Cumming and Vanessa Williams are at the top of that list.”
In this new season, the title character, Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) will set up her own firm, defending only clients in whom she truly believes.
Other new cast members will include Jeffrey Dean Morgan, a familiar face from many television shows, including Extant, Magic City, Weeds and Grey’s Anatomy.
He will play a private investigator whom Alicia hires. Margo Martindale, who just won an Emmy playing the evil but benign-looking Soviet handler Claudia on The Americans, will portray a campaign strategist for Peter.
Another series returning in October, Fargo, will have a completely different cast, plot line and setting in its second season, a la True Detective. It premieres in the US on October 12 and will start running on HOT Plus on Thursdays at 10 p.m. on October 15, as well as free on HOT VOD.
The Coen brothers are still on board as executive producers, although they don’t write or direct the series, which is inspired by their 1995 film.
I was underwhelmed by Season One, which starred Billy Bob Thornton and seemed like a pallid copy of the Coens’ best movies.
But the trailer for Season Two looks great. Set in 1979, it tells the story of a crime that was mentioned briefly in the first season, the Sioux Falls Massacre.
It stars Patrick Wilson (the actor who played the doctor who romanced the Lena Dunham character for a weekend in Girls) as a state police officer, and Kirsten Dunst as an ordinary woman who gets caught up in a war between two crime gangs and also dabbles in the selfactualization movement.
Executive producer Noah Hawley described the season as “an American epic.”
Two new and very different Israeli movies about women will start running on YES VOD in early October.
Shira Geffen’s second fulllength feature, Self Made, is a funny and at times absurd look at an Israeli performance artist, Michal (Sarah Adler), whose whole life unravels when she tries to assemble a bed from an IKEA-like furniture store and finds that a screw is missing.
Gradually, she realizes that her marriage, like the bed she must replace, is falling apart, and she begins wandering aimlessly, eventually being mistaken for Nadine (Samira Saraya), a Palestinian woman who is responsible for packing the screws in the furniture company’s warehouse.
The sections of the film that focus on Michal are darkly funny and well observed, as if Geffen were looking at herself or an old friend, while the sections on Nadine aren’t as compelling. But this intricate film should play well on the small screen. It starts running on October 1.
Apples from the Desert, directed by Matti Harari and Arik Lubetzki, which starts running on October 8, is an appealing if unsurprising story of an ultra-Orthodox young woman (Moran Rosenblatt, who just won an Ophir Award for her performance in Wedding Doll) who is drawn to the secular world and falls in love with a young man from a kibbutz, much to the dismay of her family. The movie is worth seeing for Rosenblatt’s appealing performance in the role, which saves the film from becoming overly predictable.
Rosenblatt is one of those actresses who are utterly natural on screen. She made a strong impression in her first role, a small part in the otherwise forgettable Lipstikka.