In the first episode of “The Terror: Infamy,” Japanese-American fisherman Henry Nakayama Shingo Usami is herded into an FBI truck following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Before he’s taken away, he tells his son, “You’re a citizen, boy. You were born here. Show them you’re a patriot. Fight for your country.”
It’s a bittersweet statement that highlights the injustice perpetrated by the very country that Henry is so fiercely loyal to, but it also parallels a moment from star Derek Mio’s own personal family history. Mio is a fourth-generation Japanese American whose great-grandparents were also living on Terminal Island in San Pedro, Calif and were eventually sent to the Manzanar camp. In the series, he plays budding photographer Chester Nakayama, who lives on Terminal Island and is later forced out of his home to live in an internment camp.
“In researching, I came across this preservation project, the Terminal Island [Life History] Project where someone had conducted these interviews,” Mio told IndieWire. “My great-grandma [Orie Mio] who passed years ago, gave one of these interviews. It was really insightful and interesting to bring them back to life and to hear in first person their story about what it was like.”
On Pearl Harbor Day in December of 1941, my husband [Jenmatsu Mio] was picked up immediately by the F.B.I. … Before he was taken away, he gathered our frightened children together, explaining that hough he is now considered “enemy alien,” they are American citizens and had nothing to fear. I did not know of this until a year or so later when my oldest daughter, Amy, wrote of this incident in preparing her affidavit. My husband was one of the first ones to be released from the camp in Missoula, Montana, where he and a group of “enemy aliens” were prisoners.
The story of Japanese American internment, which has been woefully underserved onscreen, has always been a part of Mio’s life. As a Southern California resident, he’s close enough to visit the Manzanar internment camp regularly.
“Our family always goes fishing in Mammoth almost every summer, and on the way is Manzanar, where my grandfather and my great aunt, who’s still alive, were. And so every time we go up we always stop off and see the new additions to the museums, and just to be there to pay respects and pay homage to our family,” said Mio.
“Through this project I reached out to [Great Aunt Fusaye] a few times and interviewed her to gain a little bit more insight into it. When I’ve asked her about it, her way is to kind of laugh it off, to kind of deflect and not want to have to revisit that pain, because I’m sure it was so painful. I just remember her reiterating, ‘We’re Americans. Why was this happening to me?'”
Like the Nakayamas onscreen, Mio’s family and many other Terminal Islanders were fisherman who hailed from the Wakayama prefecture in Japan. After shooting “The Terror: Infamy,” the actor was inspired to return to Japan after a 20-year-plus absence to see that township for himself.
“This project really inspired me to reconnect with my roots. I saw relatives that I hadn’t seen in that time and I met relatives that I’d never met before. I drove three hours outside of Kyoto to Wakayama, which is where our characters are from and where my family’s from,” he said. “My family is also a bunch of fishermen, and I fish, so that whole thing has been handed down. My grandpa had his own boat, and he chartered trips. Ellison Onizuka, the astronaut that died on the Challenger, he went fishing on my grandpa’s boat. So my grandpa was known for being one of the best skippers in Southern California.”
“The Terror: Infamy” made a conscious effort to cast actors of Japanese descent for their Japanese-speaking parts. As such, Mio wasn’t alone on the cast and crew in having a direct blood connection to this dark chapter in North American history.
“There were 138 immediate relatives of our cast and crew who were interned,” said series co-creator and showrunner Alexander Woo. “And after we wrapped, one of the background actors said to me, ‘My parents never talked to me about the experience of the internment, but when I was standing there at Hastings Park holding two suitcases ready to board the bus … ‘ he was in the exact same place his parents were 75 years ago. He’s a man in his 60s now and he never thought he would experience that. It’s one of probably 100 stories we could tell.”
The biggest name on the cast has been telling his story for years. George Takei, legendary “Star Trek” actor and Asian American activist, experienced the harrowing internment firsthand when he was a just a child. The actor’s input as a consultant on the project was considerable. He spoke at length with the writing staff, brought them to the Japanese American National Museum where he’s a trustee and former Chairman of the Board, and shared invaluable insights into the everyday life of the camps.
“I was on set to make any suggestions, any tweaks that might be a necessary, like with the mess hall. It’s an amazing re-creation. When I walked into that space with the rafters and the pillars holding it up and crowded with people and the noise and the conversations … it really took me back to my childhood,” said Takei. “The thing I noticed, however, was there were piles of very sturdy crockery that were brand new. They came straight from Bed, Bath and Beyond. I said, ‘These need to be chipped and cracked.’ Some of the dishes that were soupy or stewy, because the plates were cracked, people just hurried with to the table because they dribble. So that was corrected.”
Since Takei was only five years old when he was first forced out of his home, his parents tried to shield him from the reality of the situation. His father had told him that they were going on vacation to Arkansas, which little George found to be a “magical place.” In truth, Japanese Americans were forced to sleep in stables while they awaited their camp assignments, and once there, they were made to sleep in barracks, locked behind giant gates with barbed wire and under the watchful eye of guards.
“Children are amazingly adaptable,” said Takei. “I remember the barbed wire fence, the sentry towers with the guns pointed at us, the searchlight that followed me when I made the night runs to the latrine. But I thought it was nice that they lit the way for me to pee.”
Since Japanese Americans lived in these camps for several years, the families did their best to make it as homey and even enjoyable as possible with games, holidays, and celebrations. Woo said that the series tried to depict some of this side of the camp as well, along with the inequities.
“We talked to a guy who’s an archivist in the writers’ room and asked, ‘Is there a mistake people make when they do portrayals of the internment on screen?’ He says, ‘Yeah. It’s always too miserable,'” said Woo. “Which is shocking. I wasn’t expecting that answer. What he meant by that was that what you are leaving out by doing that is telling the story of the resilience and resourcefulness of the Japanese Americans. The real heroism is how they were able to make a home and make a life out of this prison in the middle of nowhere. So we show kids playing baseball and playing hide and seek. They’re not saying they’re miserable. The parents have sort of shielded them from what’s really going on.”
Takei shares many of these experiences in his recently published bestselling graphic novel memoir “They Called Us Enemy.” One particular memory of watching movies in the camp is replicated in “Infamy,” complete with a benshi, a voiceover artist who would provide all the voices for certain Japanese films.
“Occasionally they showed movies in the mess hall. A sheet was hung up, and old Hollywood movies were brought in. Sometimes they showed some Japanese samurai films that had been imported, but somehow the voice track was lost,” Takei recalled. “The benshi had the whole movie dialogue memorized and did the voices of all of the characters: the shogun, the samurai, and the princess. One man doing all these voices.The benshi came with an assistant, a young man or a young boy, and they had coconut shells and triangles and steel bars that they’d clang and make various sounds. Magical. I was sometimes more riveted on them than on the picture up above.”
Watching movies under such circumstances had an impact and was partially responsible for Takei pursuing acting as a career.
“I still remember seeing ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ with Charles Laughton playing the poor, beat-upon hunchback,” he said. “I saw ancient Paris and I was able to kind of vicariously flee the barbed wire fence via the movies.”
Alexander Woo jokes that if viewers enjoyed the first season of AMC's anthology series The Terror, "you'll get exactly none of it in the second season."
Which, of course, is not entirely true: The Terror: Infamy, which premiered Monday night, offers up a similar blend of a horrific real-life event — the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II — with elements of horror storytelling.
"I think we do share a lot of the DNA. The idea of The Terror as an overarching franchise is that we're telling an historical story using a genre vocabulary," Woo, the showrunner of Infamy, told The Hollywood Reporter. "Now that is a pretty broad definition. The tone is very different from season one to season two, but we do share some similarities in that both shows are about a group of people who are in a land where they're not welcome and that the horror is as much human-generated as it is supernaturally generated."
Monday's premiere lays the groundwork for both: It takes place in the days leading up to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, that marked U.S. entry into World War II, beginning with a woman's death and ending with the Japanese-born men of a community on Los Angeles' Terminal Island being loaded onto buses by members of the military while their families, including lead character Chester Nakayama Derek Mio, are held back by other soldiers.
Woo, who is Chinese American, said he was hesitant initially to take on the story he and fellow executive producer Max Borenstein are credited as creators of the season and "this is not historically my family's story."
"But as I steeped myself in the subject matter more and took a really deep dive into the internment, I recognize that this was the story of the Japanese Americans but not exclusively for Japanese Americans," he said. "It is a story that holds great relevance for anyone whose life has been shaped or touched by the immigrant experience, which frankly in this country is just about everyone."
Woo spoke to THR about shaping the story, populating the cast with actors of Japanese descent — including George Takei, who was interned as a boy and is a consultant on the show — and incorporating elements of contemporary Japanese horror into the show.
The premiere plays out mostly as a family drama, with the creepy opening and closing and a few other horror elements. How did you want to structure this story and balance the grounded and supernatural elements?
Because my background is in theater and I was a playwright, that's the only way I know how to approach telling a story, is through character. I think that's the great strength of television is that over an extended period of time, a relationship is built between the viewer and the characters. They feel real to you. And for anyone who has lived with a show for years, you feel a loss when characters die or when the show ends, you feel happy for them when good things happen or you're pissed off at them or fearful for their safety. It's a very powerful phenomenon of how these characters really come to life. So for me, always, the number one job is to build characters that feel real to the viewers so that they can engage with them — and specifically in this show, feel like they are living in their skin.
And when you do a period piece, frequently it's easy to feel at a safe remove from the history because you think, "Oh, that happened 75 years ago, that's nothing that could possibly affect us now." And I didn't want that feeling, I didn't want that docudrama feeling, because there have already been many wonderful documentaries made about the internment. But the strength of doing scripted television that is released episodically is that you can feel like you're really going on a journey with these people.
So for me, the first thing you have to do is create these three-dimensional characters that you feel connected to. And then the strategy of the show has been to use the vocabulary of kwaidan, Japanese ghost stories, and then by extension the Japanese horror movies that are descended from it, like The Ring and The Grudge, Dark Water, those kinds of movies, as an analogue for the terror of the historical experience so you really feel, using that horror, you really feel the horror of what these people are going through.
It seems that in addition to Chester and the younger generation that were born in the United States, the older characters also consider themselves Americans.
They consider themselves a part of this country. There is a recognition that I think is very poignant, that they also kind of know that they can never fully, fully assimilate. They legally cannot even become citizens. At this point legally it was impossible for these Japanese Americans to become citizens, the ones who were born overseas. But also culturally there as always going to be a divide.
And so in the case of our characters, they stay in this very insular community on this little island, which is a source of great frustration to Chester, who thinks I'm an American, you're in America, there's this whole country, you could be anywhere you want, why do you stay on this tiny little island? And that's part of the tension between generations that we start with.
Why was it important to you to cast exclusively Japanese-American and Japanese-Canadian actors playing Japanese characters?
It was important to me initially because we have a lot of characters speaking Japanese. And then during the casting process, it became evident that this is such a personal story to the Japanese-American community and so many Japanese Americans, unless their family moved here in the last 20, 30 years, you have immediate relatives who were interned.
And you had people like Derek Mio, who are telling the stories of their families. His grandfather was a fisherman from Terminal Island who was sent to Manzanar. His other grandfather served in the military, which is also a part of Chester's story in the course of our show. So he is telling the story of both of his grandfathers. ... By pure coincidence, this was not by design at all.
But we had so many members of our production, not just cast but crew as well, who were telling the stories of their ancestors, and there's no substitute for that.
What did George Takei bring to the show, both as an actor and as a consultant?
He brought so much. On a consultant level he told many stories of his day-to-day life in the camp. There's a movie-night scene at the beginning of the third episode; it's a scene that he told us about. And because he is an actor and a storyteller himself, he gave us a perspective that is hard to glean from history books.
And it's not just George, it's a number of survivors of the internment that we spoke to who wanted to emphasize that the story of the internment wasn't just one of pure misery, though of course it was miserable. But it's also the story of the great resilience and resourcefulness of the Japanese Americans who were imprisoned. So you see scenes of people playing baseball, you see scenes of people persevering. ... We wanted to honor that as much as possible too, and George was a big part of that.
What was your level of knowledge of internment when you started on the season?
I felt like I knew a good amount. As I discovered, I barely scratched the surface, and in our 10 hours we barely scratched the surface as well. One big thing I knew nothing about was that there was a Japanese-Canadian Internment. And when we shot in Vancouver, that racetrack scene that you see in episode two is the exact racetrack, Hastings Park, where the Japanese Canadians were detained while the Canadian camps were being built.
And Jason Furukawa, our first AD, on the first day we shot there, at the end of the safety meeting, says, "And by the way, if you're curious, my parents were interned in stable seven and eight, right there."
We had a background actor who only told me at the end of the show that his parents, who were Japanese Canadian and were interned, didn't like to speak of it. And this was very common — not to pass on the suffering to their children. But he never got to hear their story very much until he was working as background ... and he realized he was standing in the exact same spot that his parents were 75 years ago. He is in his 60s now. And he thought in that moment he understood what his parents went through.
Can you talk a little about the Japanese legends and ghost stories you researched?
The spirit world in our show is something that to the older generation, the Issei generation, is completely real, it's as real as you or I. The spirits are all around us. And we used the belief in spirits as a way to delineate the gap between that generation and Chester's generation, who believes that that's all old country superstition.
There's a number of words that the Issei generation used to describe what's going on. They used bakemono or obake or yurei, and they all mean slightly different things because they're not sure what it is yet. Bakemono is a general term for a somewhat malevolent spirit. I know obake is more general and could be benevolent or malevolent, we don't know. And then a yurei is a very specific spirit, a vengeful ghost of a human being who was wronged in life or did not receive a proper burial who is constantly hungry for vengeance and there is no way to satiate it. And that's a very specific thing. But no one is sure what it is at the beginning, so they bandy about a bunch of different terms.
How did you go about blending the historical setting and these legends with the call-outs to more modern Japanese horror?
A lot of these are homages to our favorite Japanese horror movies. We planted some Easter eggs, sometimes just in the very, very deep background. And if you miss it, you miss it, but the camera doesn't call attention to it and it's just there and maybe on a rewatch it's like oh my god, it was there, watching me the whole time.
That's the vocabulary of that style of filmmaking that we used as a template to tell our story. Our DPs, John Conroy and Barry Dunleavy, and all of our directors, but starting with the director of our first two episodes, JosefWladyka, really embraced that storytelling style. And not necessarily horror even but Japanese filmmaking. So there's some framing that is a direct homage to Ozu, and there's some stuff from Kobayashi's Kwaidan.
What can you say about the rest of the season?
We are telling the scope of the historical story, which includes in large part the Internment, but also we're not locked into the camp the whole time because there were many Japanese Americans who went to war and served in the military, which is its own.. fraught with its own set of challenges.
And one thing that George really emphasized, and that many survivors of the internment emphasize as a huge part of the story, is the resettlement from the internment, that the internment wasn't over when the camps closed. In fact, if anything it was an even greater challenge to resettle back in America to a country that was still at war with Japan and a country that was still in large part hostile to Japanese Americans with no money, except for the $25 that was given. You were given $25 and a one-way ticket.
Legion FX, 10:00 p.m. - We’ve reached the end of the road with this trippy comic book series from Noah Hawley. With Time Demons wreaking havoc and David trying to keep his darker personalities in check, the final showdown between Xavier, Legion, and Farouk will decide the fate of the world.
The Terror AMC, 9:00 p.m. - Season two of this historical mystery series is set in the early 1940s and follows a young Japanese American named Chester Nakayama, who’s caught between his traditional Japanese family and his All-American life outside of the home at the worst possible time in US history.
American Ninja Warrior NBC, 8:00 p.m. - Contestants face 10 obstacles at the Baltimore City Finals including “Angry Birds.”
Bachelor in Paradise ABC, 8:00 p.m. - Three women are sent packing following a dramatic rose ceremony and Blake has some explaining to do to Kristina.
Beat Shazam Fox, 8:00 p.m. - A sisterly duo face off against newlyweds and two best friends tonight.
Our Boys HBO, 9:00 p.m. - HBO’s Hebrew and Arabic mini-series recount the true story of a young Palestinian named Mohammed Abu Khdeir. Khdeir’s death was thought to be a revenge killing for the kidnap and murder of three Israeli boys just days earlier, an event that kickstarted the 2014 Israel-Gaza war. This show focuses mostly on a casualty of that conflict, a young boy brutally murdered whose death still carries weight so many years later.
Lodge 49 AMC, 10:00 p.m. - Liz find temp work as Dud recovers from his recent shark attack and the lodge comes under new ownership in the season two premiere.
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In 2018, “The Terror” turned a tragic shipwreck into a chilly parable exploring humanity’s darkest corners. Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated Arctic expedition was plagued, in one way or another, by a giant, man-eating polar bear long live Tuunbaq, but it was the fear inspired by the beast — and, more literally, the lethal cold ol’ Tuuny represented — that AMC’s drama was curious in exploring. Showrunners David Kajganich and Soo Hugh crafted a tale so detailed, so nightmarish, and so frickin’ cold that viewers felt the fear sink into their bones just as the subzero temperatures did to those sailors.
Now, less than a year-and-a-half later, “The Terror” returns for Season 2 with a fresh examination of fear set against an entirely different historical backdrop. From new showrunners Max Borenstein and Alexander Woo, “The Terror: Infamy” studies the horror felt by Japanese-Americans who saw their own country turn against them during World War II. The new season’s timely narrative — which can’t help but evoke the Trump administration’s shameful detention camps built along America’s Southern border — works its way under the onlookers’ skin much more than the special effects implement in Season 1, but the effect is largely the same: “The Terror” remains a thoughtful story of human nature, more haunting in its honesty than its ghosts.
But there are ghosts. “The Terror: Infamy” starts with an eerie sequence where a Japanese-American woman Yuki Morita in a soft, white kimono walks down a dock toward the ocean and ends her own life. Masayo’s unnatural movements before doing the deed speak to more than a simple sadness haunting her, and further evidence of supernatural interference quickly starts to stack up. At her funeral, Chester Nakayama Derek Mio tries to take photos for the family, but the developed prints show blurry faces next to clear ones. What’s happening is unclear, though its sinister nature is obvious.
Chester lives with his family on Terminal Island, a few miles south of Los Angeles and just off the coast of California. He and his father, Henry Shingo Usami, are fishermen, but Chester wants more. He’s in love with a Spanish-American student named Luz Ojeda Cristina Rodlo, and he can’t fathom why his immigrant mother, Asako Naoko Mori, and father choose to remain confined to one small swath of the big wide world, especially after traveling so far for the pursuit of freedom.
George Takei and Shingo Usami in “The Terror: Infamy”
Given the season’s title, it’s no spoiler to say the first episode’s events build up to December 7, 1941 — a point in time President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously labeled “a date which will live in infamy.” As Henry and Chester sit at the nearby military base, a giant clock is perched above their heads, so when the sirens start to sound and the Navy men begin running to their posts, there’s no mistaking what’s about to happen: The war has come home, though that phrase takes on a whole new meaning for the Japanese-American population uprooted from their lives and shipped off to internment camps.
These camps serve as the predominant setting through the first six episodes, and yet it’s impressive how much movement Borenstein and Woo create, both through forward narrative momentum and various disparate locations. Much of “Infamy” is grounded within the Nakayama family, but supporting characters are built out and a sprawling cast is well-utilized. As a yurei, or spirit, plagues Chester during his quest to prove himself as an independent man, bouts of seemingly madness create gruesome scenes that can’t be simply explained away — unless you believe in Japanese folklore.
There’s plenty of body horror — as limbs are twisted, torsos flipped, and necks cracked — but the cultural ties run deeper than film. Season 2 dives headfirst into the kaidan genre of Japanese literature, creating new ghost tales exhumed from mythic philosophy. Relying on such cultural touchstones is a respectful gesture to the very real suffering of the interned immigrants, as well as an affecting source of terror, even if the latter doesn’t compare to the distress felt by the former.
Kiki Sukezane in “The Terror: Infamy”
“The Terror: Infamy” works best when it invests in the natural drama of its characters, rather than the supernatural. While the performances can be rote, partially in service of the dense history being recreated, there’s a purity in their convictions and a power in their direct approach. When Chester’s fear for his family and himself starts to push him toward the edge, the good-natured, straight-shooting protagonist Mio has built thus far makes his spiral all the more unsettling. There aren’t a lot of surprises lurking in hidden layers of his turn, but Mio’s lead isn’t meant to be secretive: He’s showing his cards, pretty much all the time, and that works for scenes conjuring a ’40s era family melodrama.
Borenstein and Woo show a great deal of trust in the core story, the grand production design, and the modern parallels to carry most of “Infamy’s” emotional heft. While each beat of the story may play out as you expect, that inevitability largely makes the action itself more haunting. “The Terror” Season 2 can feel overly studious, with the supernatural horrors mixed in to keep you from spending each episode researching what really happened through Google. But through all the edifying, “Infamy” never forgets the human cost, or ignores the horrifying possibilities of what can happen when compassion is set aside out of fear.
“The Terror: Infamy” premieres Monday, August 12 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.
Halloween is still a couple of months away, but the week of Aug. 12 brings a couple of very creepy series — one on cable and one on streaming — back to viewers. Also on tap are the latest HBO series from Danny McBride, a couple of stand-up specials and a cult favorite on cable.
Here is The Hollywood Reporter's rundown of some of the coming week's highlights. It would be next to impossible to watch everything, but let THR point the way to worthy options each week. All times are ET/PT unless noted.
The Big Show
Almost two years after its first season, Netflix's eerie drama Mindhunter opens its second season on Friday. The show jumps ahead a couple of years as well, putting Ford Jonathan Groff, Tench Holt McCallany and Carr Anna Torv in the middle of the Atlanta child murders case, the investigation for which stretched from 1979-81.
The new season also features more conversations with Edmund Kemper Cameron Britton and the team interviewing a host of other killers, including Charles Manson Damon Herriman, who also played Manson in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz — all while the BTK killer the ADT technician seen in several vignettes in season one continues killing people in Kansas. The new season will also further explore the emotional toll profiling murderers takes on the lead characters spoiler: It's heavy.
Also on streaming ...
Tiffany Haddish Presents: They Ready Tuesday, Netflix is a series of six half-hour comedy sets from comics Haddish wants to bring to a wider audience. Marc Cherry's darkly humorous Why Women Kill Thursday, CBS All Access follows three women Ginnifer Goodwin, Lucy Liu and Kirby Howell-Baptiste in different time periods who are dealing with cheating spouses. Amazon presents its first stand-up special, Jim Gaffigan: Quality Time Friday. Docuseries Diagnosis Friday, Netflix, based on the New York Times Magazine feature, aims to help people solve medical mysteries.
On cable ...
Returning: The second season of AMC's horror anthology The Terror is subtitled Infamy and is set in a Japanese American internment camp during World War II. Like the first season, the show will mix real-life horrors with supernatural elements; Infamy also features a cast entirely of Japanese-American and Japanese-Canadian actors, including George Takei, who was sent to an internment camp as a boy. It premieres at 9 p.m. Monday.
Also returning: New seasons of cult favorite Lodge 49 10 p.m. Monday, AMC, Adam Ruins Everything 10 p.m. Tuesday, TruTV, Black Ink Crew 9 p.m. Wednesday, VH1, followed by new spinoff Black Ink Crew: Compton at 10 and Love After Lockup 9 p.m. Friday, WE.
New: Danny McBride returns to HBO with The Righteous Gemstones 10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, HBO, a comedy he created and stars in about a family that's built an evangelical empire. As THR critic Daniel Fienberg put it, fans of McBride's Eastbound and Down and Vice Principals will probably enjoy this new series as well. John Goodman, Adam Devine and Edi Patterson also star.
Also new: Intense Israeli drama Our Boys 9 p.m. Monday, HBO takes a detailed look at all sides of a revenge murder that led to the 2014 Israel-Gaza war. The Hebrew and Arabic language miniseries is "grim," per THR's review, but also features "superb performances."
On broadcast ...
New: The CW gets into the docuseries game with Mysteries Decoded 9 p.m. Tuesday, in which host Jennifer Marshall and a team of investigators use newly discovered evidence and advanced tech to re-examine famous historical mysteries.
Also: After a five-week hiatus, NBC's Songland returns at 9 p.m. Wednesday; ABC's Card Sharks 9 p.m. Wednesday and Family Food Fight 9 p.m. Thursday and CBS' Elementary 10 p.m. Thursday air their finales, the latter closing out its series run after seven seasons.
In case you missed it ...
Martial-arts drama Wu Assassins stars The Raid's Iko Uwais as a young chef in San Francisco's Chinatown who learns he's been chosen by the titular group to keep the mystical Wu powers from falling into the wrong hands. It's streaming on Netflix.
EXCLUSIVE: Don Henley, Mick Jones, Kevin Cronin and Robby Krieger are among the rock legends who will share their personal mixtape playlists of music that shaped their lives and influenced their careers in a new AXS TV series.
MIxtape premieres Thursday, Sept. 12 at 8:30 ET/5:30 PT, spotlighting a different rock icon for each week of the eight-episode series. The show will feature unplugged performances of songs the interviewees love, and some additional guest starring appearances. The show was filmed at the Gibson Guitar Showroom in Hollywood.
In addition to TV, the show will be available as a Spotify podcast that will provide additional commentary and the guest’s complete music playlist. Both AXS TV and Spotlify will promote the series, podcast and playlists.
The first episode features Foreigner founder, songwriter and guitarist Mick Jones, who shares anecdotes about spending time with The Beatles in France just before the band embarked on its landmark tour of America. Jones is joined by Foreigner vocalist Kelly Hansen, who discusses singing “I Can See Clearly Now” with reggae pioneer Johnny Nash.
Other appearances slated include REO Speedwagon frontman Kevin Cronin, who talks about how The Beatles' groundbreaking performance on The Ed Sullivan Show drove him to a career in rock; Rick Springfield, who explains how The Rolling Stones inspired him to collect obscure rock albums; Don McLean, who recalls the genius of Buddy Holly, and delivers a performance of his signature hit “American Pie”; former Eagles guitarist Don Felder, who recounts seeing Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time; The Doors guitarist Robby Krieger, who performs a rendition of “Don't Be Cruel” with actor and musician Dennis Quaid; and multi-talented singer, songwriter, and producer Todd Rundgren.
“AXS TV is proud to bring Mixtape to our passionate audience of classic rock connoisseurs,” said Evan Haiman, VP of music programming and production, AXS TV. “The series is the perfect complement to our music programming lineup – spanning across an eclectic array of eras and genres, and putting the spotlight on some of rock's most influential artists as they reflect on those larger-than-life rock n' roll heroes who inspired and influenced them.”
Mixtape is produced by Joy Factory with Natalie Barandes as executive producer, in collaboration with Haiman. Joy Factory is a creative content studio in Los Angeles.