Aside from lending his voice to a few episodes of Robot Chicken, Chris Evans hasn’t appeared on a TV series since popping up in the pilot episode of the quickly-cancelled 2003 drama Skin. But in the wake of wrapping up his stellar run as Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and co-starring in the murder mystery Knives Out last year, Evans is finally heading back to the small screen – this time in another murder mystery.
Evans is headlining and executive producing an adaptation of the bestselling book Defending Jacob for AppleTV+, and he’s managed to pull together a great cast to join him, including Michelle Dockery Downton Abbey, Jaeden Martell It, J.K. Simmons Whiplash, Cherry Jones Succession, Pablo Schreiber The Wire, Betty Gabriel Get Out, and more. Watch the first trailer for the new series below.
This looks compelling as hell – maybe even compelling enough for me to finally start exploring my one-year free trial of AppleTV+. Mark Bomback Unstoppable, The Wolverine, War for the Planet of the Apes created the series, which is based on William Landay’s 2012 novel. Morten Tyldum The Imitation Game, Passengers is directing.
I don’t want to minimize the very real life-and-death impact of the coronavirus, but there is a small part of me that wonders if the coronavirus could be an unexpected boon to AppleTV+. Many people still didn’t know this service existed even months after its launch, but with everyone hopefully staying inside and having some extra time on their hands, perhaps people will stumble across this platform in their quest to find new things to watch.
AppleTV+ has attracted some of the biggest names in Hollywood, but the biggest thing the platform has to a hit is The Morning Show, which got off to a slow start before eventually finding an audience as the season went on. Perhaps the guy who played Captain America can inspire some MCU fans to give this a shot? That’s a bit of an uphill battle, though, since Marvel Studios has proven that people seem to care more about Marvel than the individual actors who star in their movies. Just ask Robert Downey Jr., who’s still probably out there nursing his box office wounds from Doolittle. But Defending Jacob definitely has that “prestige TV” aesthetic, so maybe it’ll be the big crossover hit the streaming service has been waiting for.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. And Betty Broderick may be one of the most famous real-life woman scorned. Dirty John, Bravo’s true-crime series based on the podcast of the same name about the twisted tale of con artist John Meehan, is back with a new criminal and a new network. Under USA, Dirty John has been rebranded a true-crime anthology series, with convicted murderer Betty Broderick as the central figure in the second season, as played by an absolutely unhinged Amanda Peet. Watch the Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story trailer below.
Dirty John The Betty Broderick Story Trailer
There are plenty of true-crime series out there, but only one focuses specifically on the messy marital dramas that belong in a Lifetime movie. That’s right, Dirty John is back. After tackling the master manipulator John Meehan Eric Bana and his long con of wife Debra Newell Connie Britton in season 1, Dirty John has found another terrible relationship to turn its lens to: that of Dan and Betty Broderick, who Oprah Winfrey once referred to as “one of America’s messiest divorces.” And that was even before the murder came into the picture.
Amanda Peet and USA favorite Christian Slater star as Betty and Dan, respectively — a happily married couple, until a midlife crisis leads Dan to leave his wife for a younger model. The trailer plays pretty sympathetically to Betty’s perspective, seeding in some doubts about her “insanity,” as she accuses her husband of having her put away into a mental institution. The real-life Betty Broderick received 32 years in prison for killing her husband and his second wife, Linda, on November 5, 1989. During the trial, Broderick argued that she was a battered wife who suffered years of physical and psychological abuse, which the trailer does touch on.
But then Peet delivers lines like, “I would’ve been treated better if I had been a dog and served my master. I’m amazed it only took one bullet to kill Dan Broderick,” with a soft smile on her face, and it’s pretty clear where the blame lies. We get shots of Betty vandalizing her husband’s new home, driving her car into his door, and Amanda Peet giving absolutely chilling grins.
Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story premieres later this summer on USA.
Apple has resurrected Steven Spielberg’s anthology series Amazing Stories as part of its Apple TV+ streaming service, the first of their shows to be a revival of a pre-existing show. The original series ran from 1985 through 1987 on NBC. Apple’s first season consists of five hour-long stories.
The first episode of the new series stars Dylan O’Brien as a modern man who travels back in time through the basement of a house he’s restoring. Episode two tells the afterlife tale of a runner Hailey Kilgore who gets hit by a car, but stays around to help her friend E’myri Crutchfield. The newest episode stars Robert Forster as a grandfather who gains super powers from an old toy ring.
Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz serve as showrunners on the new Amazing Stories. Their previous credits include creating and running Once Upon a Time and writing and producing for Lost. Kitsis and Horowitz spoke with /Film by phone this week about Amazing Stories and a little bit about their Beauty and the Beast prequel series for Disney+. New episodes of Amazing Stories premiere Fridays on Apple TV+.
Was there ever a question of using the original Amazing Stories theme song?
Horowitz: No. John Williams’ theme was so iconic. From day one, it was a must have for us and everybody involved knew that there really was no way we could do this without it.
How did you come up with new animation for it?
Kitsis: We hired a title company and basically we, really almost right away, I think we spent a year going over development with them. You just look at different images and animation and just kind of gradually came about over the last year.
Horowitz: It was a collaborative effort. They did incredible work. They worked with us and with Amblin and Steven had input in it all. It was a long process to try to get it to the place where it is now and got more specific as we started to shoot the episodes and get images to put into it.
Kitsis: The company’s name is Elastic. They’re phenomenal. They’ve done so many titles that you’ve seen.
Horowitz: If you look in the title sequence as you watch the episodes, you see images from the various episodes are incorporated in the title sequence.
What was the decision to go full hour versus the ½ hour of most of the original Amazing Stories?
Horowitz: I think it was less about a conscious decision about the episodes should be an hour or a half hour than as we discussed the kind of stories we wanted to tell, a length sort of revealed itself to us which is this 45 to 50 minute length which felt about right for the size of the stories we were telling. It really was about letting the stories dictate the length rather than try to dictate an arbitrary timeframe for it.
Can the stories be any edgier on streaming than they were on...