CBS Television Studios presents the exclusive world premiere screenings of its new series CHARMED and MAGNUM P.I. at San Diego Comic-Con. As previously announced, cast and producers of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY will beam into HALL H for a look back on season one and tease what’s ahead for season two.
The Studio will also present CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND in its first-ever Comic-Con appearance featuring a tell-all panel discussion with series co-creators to celebrate the final season. Also, CBS All Access will host a special marathon screening event of fan-favorite original episodes from the iconic cult classic THE TWILIGHT ZONE. Additionally, don’t miss a special sneak peek and panel discussion featuring Kevin Williamson alongside cast members of CBS All Access’ new psychological thriller, TELL ME A STORY, from Kapital Entertainment.
DETAILS ON PANELS AND EVENTS (in chronological order):
THURSDAY, JULY 19
“CHARMED” EXCLUSIVE SCREENING AND PANEL, 11:15 AM–12:15 PM, BALLROOM 20 – The iconic CHARMED is back just in time to celebrate its 20th anniversary. This reboot of the original series centers on three sisters in a college town who, after the tragic loss of their mother, discover they are powerful witches. Between vanquishing supernatural demons, tearing down the patriarchy and maintaining familial bonds, a witch’s work is never done. Please join series stars Melonie Diaz, Sarah Jeffery, Madeleine Mantock and Rupert Evans, along with producers Jennie Snyder Urman, Jessica O’Toole and Amy Rardin, for an exclusive sneak peek of the first episode of The CW series followed by a panel discussion.
“TELL ME A STORY,” 12:15–12:45 PM, BALLROOM 20 – Step into the world of TELL ME A STORY, the latest project from the brilliant mind of Kevin Williamson. In this reimagining of the world’s most beloved fairy tales, see “The Three Little Pigs,” “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Hansel and Gretel” come to life as dark and twisted psychological thrillers interweaving with each other against the backdrop of modern day New York City. Join executive producer Kevin Williamson, as well as series stars Paul Wesley and James Wolk, for an exclusive sneak peek of theCBS All Access series followed by a panel discussion. Moderated by the editor-in-chief of Entertainment Weekly, Henry Goldblatt.
“MAGNUM P.I.” EXCLUSIVE SCREENING AND PANEL, 4:15–5:30 PM, ROOM 6A – MAGNUM P.I. is a modern take on the classic series starring Jay Hernandez as Thomas Magnum, a decorated former Navy SEAL who, upon returning home from Afghanistan, repurposes his military skills to become a private investigator. A charming rogue, an American hero and a die-hard Detroit Tigers fan, Magnum has Juliet Higgins and her Dobermans to keep him in line, as well as his trusted buddies and fellow POW survivors TC and Rick when he needs backup on a job. With keys to a vintage Ferrari in one hand, aviator sunglasses in the other, and an Old Düsseldorf longneck chilling in the fridge, Thomas Magnum is back on the case! Please join series stars Jay Hernandez and Perdita Weeks and executive producers Peter Lenkov and Eric Guggenheim for an exclusive sneak peak of the premiere episode of the new CBS series followed by a panel discussion.
“CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND”: THE FINAL CURTAIN CALL, 5:45–6:30 PM, ROOM 6A – As the critically acclaimed CW series enters its final season, come celebrate and take a trip down memory lane with co-creators Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna as they look back on some of the series’ most memorable moments and talk about what’s ahead for Rebecca Bunch. The panel will be moderated by series guest star Michael McMillian and will include a special performance and never-before-seen footage.
FRIDAY, JULY 20
“STAR TREK: DISCOVERY” PANEL, 1:30–2:30 PM, HALL H – Over 50 years ago, the world was first introduced to what would quickly become a cultural phenomenon. “Star Trek” inspired developments in science and technology, broke social barriers, and transported viewers around the globe to new adventures and uncharted frontiers. Last fall, STAR TREK: DISCOVERY continued that tradition and followed the voyages of Starfleet aboard the U.S.S. Discovery. Join the cast and producers of this CBS All Access series to look back on season one and find out where the crew is headed as it transports into its second season.
Cast members scheduled to appear include Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, Mary Wiseman, Anthony Rapp, Wilson Cruz, Mary Chieffo and Anson Mount alongside executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Heather Kadin. The panel will be moderated by series guest star Tig Notaro, who will appear as Chief Engineer Reno.
“THE TWILIGHT ZONE” MARATHON SCREENING, 7:15–9:15 PM, ROOM 6A – THE TWILIGHT ZONE new original series will be coming soon to CBS All Access in a modern reimagining of the iconic series that took viewers to another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. It was a journey into a wondrous land of imagination for five years on CBS, from 1959-1964. The godfather of sci-fi series, the show explored humanity’s hopes, despairs, pride and prejudice in metaphoric ways conventional dramas could not. Please join us for a special marathon screening and a look back at some of the fan-favorite episodes from the original series. Concessions and an exclusive giveaway item will be provided.
SATURDAY, JULY 20
“CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND LIVE” STARRING RACHEL BLOOM, 7:30 PM, BALBOA THEATRE – The cast of the CW’s award-winning musical dramedy CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND is taking their show on the road in this live tour. Join Rachel Bloom, the rest of the cast and the CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND songwriters as they bring the show’s songs to life in this very special live concert event. This is a ticketed event and is currently sold out. For more info, please visit: https://sandiegotheatres.org/rachel-bloom/
DETAILS ON ACTIVATIONS AND GIVEAWAYS:
CBS COMEDY CARS – From Thursday, July 19 through Sunday, July 22, CBS will offer complimentary rides throughout the Gaslamp District in branded electric cars. Featured shows will include the new fall comedies THE NEIGHBORHOOD and HAPPY TOGETHER. Trailers of the series will be screened for the passengers in those cars as well. Brand ambassadors will distribute giveaways making their debut at Comic-Con, including a variety of collectable emoji squeezies for THE NEIGHBORHOOD and HAPPY TOGETHER.
“MAGNUM P.I.” TAKEOVER – On Thursday, July 19, CBS will cruise the streets of Comic-Con in a branded Ferrari 488 to promote the return of MAGNUM P.I. Brand ambassadors will distribute red sunglasses and Hawaiian leis.
Midnight Mass: The Blood of Life
The isolated island community of Crockett receives a mysterious new head priest, full of secrets and a brand new testament under a very unusual Messenger of God.
Meet poor Riley Flynn (Zach Gilford), freshly released from prison and wracked with guilt over what got him there, a stupid drinking accident that caused the death of his ex-girlfriend. The last thing he wants to do is go back to Crockett and the judgment of the mostly religious community there, his disappointed family, and the nightmares of his ex’s death that plague him. But where else would have him? Resignedly on the ferry, he goes.
Riley’s dad Ed (Henry Thomas) isn’t the kind of man who talks very much at all, much less about his feelings, or his very real disappointment in his elder son. Riley’s teen brother Warren (Igby Rigney) has no idea what to say to him either, and just generally keeps mum. Riley’s mom Annie (Kristin Lehman) is accepting and loving, hesitant in how to help her eldest son but never wavering in her faith in the help of our lord Jesus. Mom seems to think a good heaping dose of the Church would set Riley right but is surprised to learn that the old priest of the Parish, Pruitt, has taken an extended leave of absence from the island, and his newcomer replacement Father Paul (Hamish Linklater) is young, charismatic, and bursting at the seams to tell the whole island about the gifts he brought them, most especially what he claims as a new testament under a messenger of God.
We’ll get back to that whole ball of issues in a moment, the other interesting characters of Crockett Island. Bev Keane (Samantha Sloyan) is the nightmarish overly polite and gently, almost lovingly condescending neighbor Christian woman you’ve ever loathed, the kind of person who explains away every last thing her Church may do wrong or contradictory because, after all, God works in mysterious ways. Pfft. Of course, Bev immediately ingratiates herself as the second to the new Father Paul in their services and is the first to start covering up his transgressions as they become more rampant.
Newcomers to Crockett Sheriff Hassan (Rahul Kohli) and his son Ali (Rahul Abburi) present a burgeoning problem to the plans of Father Paul and his shadowy companion, for they are both practicing Muslims. The practical side of investigating these so-called ‘miracles’ and strange happenings falls on Hassan’s shoulders, as he already struggles with barely-concealed racism and suspicion from his fellow islanders, and of course his son is being wooed away from him by the promise of actual, tangible miracles, but from a different whole faith and God. Father Paul definitely does not practice a traditional Christian faith and relies far too much on making use of the eucharist, the ceremony of the blood and flesh of Jesus Christ turning into bread and wine and, well, consumed.
Wade (Michael Trucco) and his wife Dolly (Crystal Balint) are lifers of the island and both in general interested in one thing, the advancement of their own family, specifically their daughter Leeza (Annarah Cymone), who happens to be in a wheelchair. And that happens to be the canny Father Paul’s first real miracle-with-a-cost that he demonstrates to the astonishment of the parishioners, after a heartfelt and rousing sermon, Father Paul commands Leeza to rise, to stand, and to walk. And lo, she does. What parents wouldn’t wholly dedicate themselves to a cause after seeing this happen to their beloved precious daughter? The fringe benefits of healing, and power, the ones that come at a mighty, currently unnamed, cost, are simply a nice bonus.
Joe Collie (Robert Longstreet) is the town drunk, and while his reasons for drowning his sorrows in the sauce might be understandable, absolution wears a very different face when it comes from Father Paul. While Leeza might be willing to forgive Joe, and even as Joe begins attending the newly-formed Al-Anon meetings on the island of course hosted by Father Paul, redemption might’ve been better sought from medical professionals, and not this newfound method of religious worship.
Dr. Sarah Gunning (Annabeth Gish) is the islands’ kind of all-around medic, and this is how she and Riley’s old friend Erin (Kate Siegel), also newly returned to the island, a few months pregnant but traveling quietly alone, met when Erin comes to the Doc for obstetrics. Sarah’s older mother Mildred Gunning (Alexandra Essoe) has many medical and mental issues, and Sarah struggles in their shared home, to take care of her addled mom and balance her own life. Then Father Paul takes it upon himself to visit one of his oldest parishioners, bringing the sacred host and wine with him to give directly to Mildred, who starts looking and acting so much better under his loving care.
The show is very much a slow slow burn, with a lot of the actual action taking place in the last two episodes. Much of the beginning and middle episodes feature two people just sitting alone, having quiet and seriously in-depth conversations about heavy subjects – grief and repentance, what happens when we die, the disasters that come as a result of addictions, how our actions’ consequences reverberate to those we love around us, faith and the foibles of man, and of course, the giving of oneself over to a higher power, for strength, and guidance, and love.
Except, for the higher power that Father Paul brought back with him, to share with his beloved flock of Crockett Island, while it may be extremely powerful and full of what could be considered miraculous magic, everything comes at some kind of a cost. And when the Messenger of God is finally revealed to the shocked denizens of Crockett at Easter Mass, with Father Paul rapturing on about rebirth as the bloody massacre begins in earnest, it’s faith, not in any kind of God or religion, but faith in each other, that may save a few hardy souls.
Question the wisdom of your religious leaders along with the rest of us in a fine slow-burn addition to the Flanaverse, Midnight Mass is on Netflix now!
Saw X: It ain’t brain surgery!
Legendary executioner Jigsaw returns to exact revenge on a cadre of scam artists who promised him a bogus cure for his cancer!
First off, be aware, that this is what I call an interleaved sequel, a movie set between previous films in the franchise. In this case, Saw X occurs after the events of the very first Saw film, and before Saw II. Everybody got where we are? Good! Into the madness, we dive!
So, as we all know, John Kramer’s been diagnosed with cancer, very aggressive brain cancer, and likely doesn’t have much time left. And he’s tried everything under the sun, doing a ton of meticulous research, we’d expect nothing less from our master of the art of murder, and not one thing has worked. Yet one man from the support group for cancer sufferers, Henry (Michael Beach), offers an off-the-books supposed miracle cure, and John jumps at the chance.
Why does this nonsense always sound too good to be true? Because it is. Deleted scenes from the first Deadpool movie already told us why traveling to Mexico for any kind of medical cure is a sublimely stupid move, but Kramer is desperate. And while he might be sick and dying, John Kramer has never been what anyone could call stupid. So the villa out in the Mexican countryside, the affable cab driver Diego (Joshua Okamoto) professes surprise at Kramer being highjacked for his good, the nervous muttering from assistant Valentina (Paulette Hernandez), the side-eyeing from little housekeep Gabriela (Renata Vaca) and her tequila, and most especially the smooth and smarming reassurances of head “doctor” Cecilia Pederson (Synnove Macody Lund), all leave a kind of sour taste in John’s mouth.
The whole cluex4 scene is done in the style that the Saw films are known for, where we the audience are treated to cut-together explanatory scenes in a flip-flash fashion of usually about two minutes, for poor John when he realizes he’s been hoodwinked and just how badly, seems a little contrived. But then it’s entirely possible that we the audience truly expected our genius mastermind of the infamous Jigsaw murders to have realized what was happening sooner, and got enraged along with Kramer. And cheered as he prepared to take his bloody and ultra-violent revenge!
First up in our grand guignol of executions is the return of Jigsaw’s first protégé, Amanda (Shawnee Smith). And despite her avowed reverence for Jigsaw and his proven “therapy”, Amanda does waver a bit when the scammers are put through the paces of their specially-made Saw traps, and they shriek and blubber and bleed out. The appearance of the ringer of the bunch, Parker (Steven Brand), doesn’t even slow our beloved engineer of the damned down, because we knew Jigsaw would have his other apprentice waiting just off stage, the deliciously vicious Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor). Even the monkeywrench of involving little-boy soccer fan Carlos (Jorge Briseno) in the traps, is just another cog in the machine that is the brilliantly plotting mind of John Kramer.
A fine addition to the Saw legends, showcasing a return to the beloved style and panache of the original Tobin Bell-starring Jigsaw films, Saw X is splashing gore and gallons of blood in theaters now!
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off
“Scott Pilgrim Takes Off,” Netflix’s latest series, is a rollicking journey through the world of video game culture, blending nostalgic references with a fresh narrative twist. Centered around Scott Pilgrim, portrayed with magnetic charisma by Michael Cera, the show skillfully integrates gaming elements into its storytelling, creating a delightful homage to the video game subculture.
The series cleverly employs pixelated graphics, power-up animations, and game-like sound effects to bring the virtual world to life. These visual cues, reminiscent of classic video games, enhance the storytelling and resonate with audiences familiar with the gaming landscape. The attention to detail in recreating iconic gaming moments is commendable, creating a visual and auditory treat for enthusiasts.
The exploration of video game culture goes beyond mere aesthetics; it becomes an integral part of the characters’ identities and interactions. The script intelligently weaves gaming terminology and tropes into the dialogue, effectively blending the real and virtual worlds. The series navigates the challenges and triumphs of the characters through the lens of gaming, making it a unique and engaging experience for both gamers and general audiences.
The ensemble cast, including standout performances from Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong, and Chris Evans embraces the gaming theme with infectious enthusiasm. The chemistry between the characters is palpable, adding emotional depth to the series.
“Scott Pilgrim Takes Off” successfully taps into the zeitgeist of video game culture, offering a nostalgic yet contemporary take on the gaming phenomenon. It’s a must-watch for those who cherish the pixelated roots of the gaming world while providing an accessible and entertaining narrative for a broader audience. The series takes off not only in its title but also in its ability to soar within the ever-expanding realm of Netflix originals.