Tag Archives: Suits

NBC delivers a glossy remake of classic Rosemary’s Baby

'Rosemary's Baby'

Patrick J. Adams and Zoe Saldana star as Guy and Rosemary Woodhouse in NBC’s two-part remake of ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ premiering tonight.


Nearly 50 years after its 1968 release, Roman Polanski’s big-screen adaptation of Ira Levin’s 1967 bestselling horror novel Rosemary’s Baby still stands as a brilliantly constructed milestone in film horror. The director scored an Academy Award nomination for his taut screenplay, which leavened the suspense with Polanski’s typically mordant wit, and supporting actress Ruth Gordon won an Oscar for her unforgettable performance as Minnie Castevet, the sweet little old neighbor who was harboring a big secret.
In contrast, NBC’s two-part remake, which begins tonight and concludes this coming Thursday, feels more like the work of international corporate deal-makers, not artists, with a cast and production that seems to be designed primarily to appeal to as wide a global audience as possible. In fact, arguably the most audacious thing NBC has done with its Rosemary’s Baby is programming it to start on Mother’s Day.
That’s not to say that it’s a train wreck, though. Although this new version incorporates most of the broad tropes of Levin’s book, it transplants the main action from New York to Paris, where American couple Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse (Zoe Saldana of Avatar and Patrick J. Adams of Suits) are currently living, following her recent miscarriage. Guy’s an aspiring novelist who is teaching at the Sorbonne for a puny salary while struggling with massive writer’s block. Their lifestyle is changed dramatically one day when Rosemary comes to the rescue of chic Parisienne Margaux Castevet (Carole Bouquet, For Your Eyes Only) during a “chance” encounter.
Warm and effusively maternal, Margaux and her handsome husband, Roman (British actor Jason Isaacs from the Harry Potter films), almost immediately adopt the Woodhouses as their latest project, insisting that the couple move into a newly vacant apartment in their impossibly grand building. What Guy and Rosemary don’t know is that their flat is vacant because the previous tenant, a young pregnant woman, leapt to her death from its balcony.
At a party hosted by Roman and Margaux, Rosemary witnesses, or hallucinates, a handsome stranger having sex with some of the other guests. The man begins to turn up elsewhere in Rosemary’s life, chiefly in her dreams, which carry a new erotic charge.
You know what’s coming, at least in broad strokes. Rosemary becomes pregnant following a hallucinatory dream/nightmare in which the mystery man appears to take Guy’s place in her bed. Not long after that, Guy’s fortunes mysteriously begin to improve. As Rosemary feels a mounting sense that something is terribly wrong, she begins to fret that Guy has made some sort of Faustian bargain with occultists who want to use her baby in their obscene rites.
Close, but no cigar, Rosemary.
The four main performances (you won’t recognize most of the rest of the cast) are all quite good. Saldana, often cast in films as an action babe, gives Rosemary a strength and a quiet resolve that’s a marked contrast to Mia Farrow’s most aggressively neurotic performance in Polanski’s original, and Adams’ Guy very clearly loves his wife, which was somewhat in doubt while watching the more feral John Cassavetes on the big screen.
Making the Castevets younger and sexier also makes dramatic sense. After all, if you’re going to be two of Satan’s most powerful earthly minions, you’re going to want to look the part.
Under the direction of Agnieska Holland (Europa, Europa), the TV movie looks very expensive and captures the feel of a very old and jaded city in which Rosemary and Guy are natural-born outsiders. Unfortunately, the pacing is seriously off, mainly because of the very uneven screenplay by Scott Abbott and James Wong. While some scenes still carry a jolt, others seem to drag on forever, undercutting the tension. Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby clocked in at a fairly efficient two hours and 15 minutes. The NBC remake, if you subtract commercial breaks, comes in at about three hours. I watched the two parts back to back, and still my attention began to wander in several spots. I can’t imagine how much worse it will be for most viewers, who have a four-day intermission inserted due to NBC’s scheduling.
Ultimately, the scariest thing about this new Rosemary’s Baby is that it’s just not all that scary.
Carole Bouquet and Jason Isaacs.

Carole Bouquet and Jason Isaacs star in NBC’s remake of ‘Rosemary’s Baby.’

Orphan Black returns with more head-spinning twists

'Orphan Black' returns to BBC America starting tonight.

Tatiana Maslany stars in multiple roles, including Sarah Manning, and Jordan Gavaris plays her madcap gay friend and foster brother, Felix, in ‘Orphan Black,’ which begins Season 2 tonight on BBC America.


Single mom Sarah Manning and her “sister clones” continue their desperate search for answers as the critically acclaimed thriller Orphan Black returns for its second season, tonight on BBC America.
Produced in Canada, the series moves at a breathless pace as it chronicles Sarah’s (Tatiana Maslany) dangerous adventures, which began the night she watched in horror on a nearly deserted subway platform as Beth Childs, a woman who looked just like Sarah, calmly threw herself in front of a speeding train.
Destitute, Sarah decided to steal the dead woman’s identity, not knowing that Beth was a local police detective. Worse, and far more puzzling, Sarah eventually discovered that there were many more women out there with her face, laboratory-engineered clones produced for an unknown purpose by unknown persons.
By the end of Season 1, Sarah had befriended two of these clones: Cosima Niehaus, a graduate student doing medical research in a bid to identify and cure the mystery malady that has hit her and many other clones, and Alison Hendrix, a very uptight suburban soccer mom. Their joint investigations eventually led Sarah to the Dyad Institute, the company that created them, which is partly run by icy “pro-clone” Rachel Duncan, the only one of their number who was raised self-aware of her genetic identity as a clone.
Tonight’s season premiere picks up where last season’s finale ended, with Sarah’s terrifying discovery that her young daughter, Kira (Skyler Wexler), and Sarah’s foster mother, Mrs. S. (Maria Doyle Kennedy), are missing from the home they were sharing. Sarah jumps to the conclusion that they’ve been kidnapped by the ruthless Rachel as part of her strategy to force Sarah to cooperate with the ongoing research at her institute.
Cosima, meanwhile, experiences failing health as she studies more and more medical data concerning the condition that killed the other clones. Elsewhere, Alison is struggling to keep her fragile emotions in check since realizing that she let a close friend die last season, thinking that the woman had some sinister connection to the Dyad Institute.
As if all this didn’t provide enough jeopardy for these primary female characters, Season 2 also introduces a bizarre group of religious extremists under the leadership of a charismatic rancher (Peter Outerbridge), who is utilizing yet another clone in some bizarre ritual. Other newcomers this season include Michelle Forbes as a formidable new power player at the Dyad Institute, Dutch actor Michiel Huisman (Nashville, Game of Thrones) as a man from Sarah’s past and Patrick J. Adams (Suits) as a gutsy, good-natured guy.
But can Sarah, Alison and Cosima trust any of these people? That’s one of the most pressing questions that keeps popping up in every episode. Certainly Sarah had grown to trust Paul Dierden (Dylan Bruce, Arrow), her confidant and sometime lover last season, only to discover that he works for her Dyad nemesis Rachel. Cosima badly wants to trust Dr. Delphine Cormier (Evelyne Brochu), who has taken a very personal interest in Cosima’s case. While Delphine is looking fairly trustworthy at the moment, her boss, Dr. Aldous Leekie (Matt Frewer) definitely seems to be working his own secret agenda, which may or may not be helpful to the clone trio.
Clearly, Orphan Black doesn’t skimp on story, but for fans, the real kick of the show is watching the stunning Maslany so convincingly embody all the very disparate clone characters. It’s a true tour-de-force, since the actress has come up with distinctive looks, accents, physical tics and personal styles for each of these characters. Orphan Black also utilizes state-of-the-art computer techniques allowing Maslany to occupy the screen as several different characters simultaneously, even appearing to physically touch and otherwise interact with one another. Even as part of your brain is nudging you, demanding to know how Maslany is pulling it off, another part is fully accepting the fact that you are seeing multiple females instead of just a single incredibly gifted actress.
If you missed Season 1, it’s probably not a good idea to try to jump into this new season of Orphan Black cold, but Season 1 currently is available via a number of On Demand services, as well as free streaming to Amazon Prime members. But I do wholeheartedly recommend this audaciously original series. It’s like nothing else on television right now.
Dylan Bruce stars as Paul in 'Orphan Black.'

Paul (Dylan Bruce), Sarah’s former lover, may still have her back, but he’s also working for someone who definitely does not have Sarah’s best interests at heart in ‘Orphan Black.’

Meloni mines for laughs in Fox’s Surviving Jack

"Surviving Jack" premieres tonight on Fox.

Dr. Jack Dunlevy (Christopher Meloni, right) shares a rare supportive moment with his teenage son, Frankie (Connor Buckley), in “Surviving Jack,” premiering tonight on Fox.


Surviving Jack, a new sitcom premiering tonight on Fox, gives Christopher Meloni a chance to show off his formidable comedy chops after intense dramatic turns in HBO’s prison saga Oz and NBC’s long-running police drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Based on an autobiographical book by Justin Halpern and set in 1991, Surviving Jack stars Meloni as gruff oncologist Dr. Jack Dunlevy, who has decided to cut back his hours at his clinic so he can take over parenting his two teenage kids while his wife, Joanne (Rachael Harris), pursues her long-delayed dream of law school. Their daughter, Rachel (Claudia Lee), is mildly irritated by this household change, but her younger brother, high-school freshman Frankie (Connor Buckley), frets that his dad, an ex-military man, will now have even more opportunities to make his life difficult.
That’s a rational concern, given that Jack has been known to send his son out to run laps in the middle of the night and plants a large box of condoms in Frankie’s booksack to embarrass him at school. And while Jack dotes on his wife, he seems to harbor more ambivalent feelings toward Frankie.
“I love that woman,” Jack sighs, watching Joanne leave for class. “If an asteroid were to hit this Earth, and she and I were the only two people left alive, I’d be OK.”
“What about me?” Frankie asks.
“Well, obviously, there would be a grieving period,” Jack replies. “I’m not an ass.”
Halpern previously adapted another book into the ill-fated CBS sitcom euphemistically called Bleep My Dad Says, which also featured a crusty father figure who was a doctor, played on that show by William Shatner. Surviving Jack is a far more polished sitcom that makes even better use of its time period than ABC’s similarly themed The Goldbergs (there’s a funny running gag about Michael Crichton’s then-red-hot book Jurassic Park recurring in tonight’s pilot episode).
It helps, too, that Meloni has the good sense to underplay Jack’s bluntness. The character never shouts at his children, he just doesn’t mince any words or waste any tact in dealing with them.
My only concern is that tonight’s premiere seems to be too much of a one-trick pony that depends too much on ways that Jack benignly tortures Frankie. Some of it is laugh-out-loud funny, but I hope Surviving Jack will develop more of an ensemble feel in the weeks to come. Certainly Harris, a sitcom staple who also has a hilarious recurring role on USA Network’s Suits, is far too bright a comedy performer to remain stuck in the role of a largely absent mom. Buckley also is a real find as Frankie, although it’s stretching credibility to buy him as a freshman in high school.
Those minor quibbles aside, the prospects of Jack surviving look pretty good right now.
"Surviving Jack" on Fox.

Rachael Harris stars with Christopher Meloni in “Surviving Jack,” tonight on Fox.

Forecast cloudy for AMC’s low-wattage ‘Sun’

Frank & Joe
Lennie James and Mark Strong (from left)
Low Winter Sun, a new 10-part crime drama premiering Sunday on AMC after the return of its Emmy-winning Breaking Bad, starts out on an intense note, as Detroit homicide detective Frank Agnew (British actor Mark Strong, Zero Dark Thirty) teams up with police colleague Joe Geddes (Lennie James, The Walking Dead) to murder a corrupt cop who – Frank has been told by Joe – killed one of Frank’s loved ones in a drug-fueled rage. The crime is grossly out of character for Frank, an upright cop driven to violence by his grief. After all, the victim was a nasty piece of work, so the two men don’t feel that bad about making his death look like a suicide.
Except, almost immediately, things start to go spectacularly wrong. The morning after the murder, Frank learns that the victim was under the scrutiny of Simon Boyd (David Costabile, Suits), an Internal Affairs investigator. Worse, when investigators retrieve the victim’s car from the watery site of his “suicide,” they find a second, dismembered corpse in the trunk.
What the heck is going on here, Frank starts to wonder. Has Joe played him? Did the dead guy really kill Frank’s loved one, or did Joe, or is she still alive? And is the crime going to suck Frank into an ugly morass via the Internal Affairs investigation?
So many questions, so little reason to care.
Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I saw a drama with a strong cast and a solid pedigree (former Criminal Minds and Cold Case scribe Chris Mundy adapted this new series from a well-received 2006 British miniseries) that left me so thoroughly disengaged. While I like the audacity of starting the series with this shocking act of violence, the murder loses a lot of its impact because we never see Frank – who, we are reassured by most of his colleagues, is a stand-up kind of guy – not behaving badly. Low Winter Sun wants to make us feel emotionally invested in the moral disintegration of a decent human being, but we never make a connection with Frank in the first place, nor do we care about the relationship the murder victim apparently destroyed. It doesn’t help that James, in an otherwise good performance, is so transparently a bad guy from the first moment we see him that Frank seems pretty simpleminded to be taken in by him. (If you’re about to scream, “Hey, spoiler alert!” trust me. You can see that one coming a mile off).
There’s a secondary story line involving a blue-collar aspiring drug kingpin named Damon Callis (James Ransone) and his Lady Macbeth, wife Maya (Sprague Graydon), but their scenes in the first two episodes AMC made available look like outtakes from every other episode of Law & Order you’ve ever seen.
I suppose it’s possible that Mundy will find a way to make us care about Frank, or any of the other characters for that matter, in the episodes to come, but after spending two hours with this chilly, cliché-filled story, I can’t in good conscience suggest you clear another hour in what is probably an already full Sunday night of TV viewing for such a half-baked effort.
Low Winter Sun 1 Sheet - Low Winter Sun _ Season 1 _ Keyart - Courtesy of AMC

Lady Catelyn Stark ‘Suits’ up tonight

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Patrick J. Adams and Michelle Fairley
I’ve been a huge fan of Suits ever since the USA Network legal dramedy made its debut in 2011, but I’m especially thrilled that season three of the series, which begins tonight, includes two popular alumni from HBO’s megahit Game of Thrones.
Michelle Fairley – who played fan favorite Catelyn Stark until her character went to the worst wedding ever in the most recent Thrones season – joins Suits tonight for a story arc as Ava Hessington, a British petroleum executive facing bribery charges relating to an undisclosed oil spill, whose fate rests in the resourceful hands of Harvey Spector (Gabriel Macht), the shark-like star litigator at the newly christened Pearson Darby law firm. The case comes to Harvey via newly installed senior partner Edward Darby (Conleth Hill, who continues to play wily Lord Varys on Game of Thrones), the British entrepreneur who last season helped Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) fend off a hostile takeover by longtime nemesis Daniel Hardman.
Unfortunately, the collateral damage of that merger included the workplace bromance of Harvey and his protégé Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams, who, like Macht, now is a co-producer on the series), which foundered when Jessica blackmailed Mike into undercutting Harvey’s attempt to block the merger. As this season opens, Harvey is gritting his teeth and continuing to work at the firm, but he’s still hurt and angry that Mike stabbed him in the back.
Meanwhile, Mike has another big challenge on his hands with girlfriend/coworker Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle), who is seething after Mike confessed to her in the season two finale that his Harvard law degree is completely bogus. Her hostility is fueled by the realization that he has been lying to her for as long as she has known him, as well as the fact that, in her eyes, his phony Ivy League degree grants him a professional pedigree she has sought long but unsuccessfully herself. And now Rachel has the means to destroy Mike’s career completely.
In other words, series creator Aaron Korsh, who wrote tonight’s teleplay, has aligned several story elements this season that look both promising and provocative. Add to that the supremely funny supporting work by comedy MVPs Sarah Rafferty as Harvey’s fiercely devoted secretary, Donna Paulsen, and Rick Hoffman as fussy firm partner Louis Litt and you have the makings of potentially the best Suits season yet.
For fans of the show who want to enhance their Suits experience even further, USA Network today launches Suits Recruits: Class Action, a multi-platform social game in which players assume the role of first-year associates at Pearson Darby, where they deal with office power struggles and intrigue while helping to solve a new case. You can get started in the game by visiting www.suitsrecruits.com. At the end of each day’s game, the interactive fun continues on Twitter, where fans can “chat” with the show’s characters in real time.
SUITS -- Episode 112 -- Photo by: Christos Kalohoridis/USA Network
Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams, from left