TV news and opinion from across the web,
curated by Norman Weiss.

And we're back. More changes ahead.

    • Latest update - posted about 2 hours ago Pete Davidson is poised to leave SNL after eight seasons
      Source: Variety

      Davidson, who joined Saturday Night Live in 2014 at age 20 as one of its youngest-ever cast members, is saying goodbye after tomorrow's Season 47 finale, reports Variety. NBC declined to make SNL producers available for comment about Davidson. The news of Davidson's impending exit comes as he has taken substantial time off from SNL this season to work on other projects. Earlier this week, Davidson showed up at the upfronts to promote his Peacock semi-autobiographical comedy Bupkis, which SNL boss Lorne Michaels is producing. He has also become a magnet for tabloids while dating Kim Kardashian and other high-profile celebrities. Davidson joined SNL at the recommendation of Bill Hader, who worked with him on the Amy Schumer movie Trainwreck. "It was really crazy. I was on set for like maybe 12 minutes and I met Bill Hader and then, about like a day later, Bill Hader called me and he goes, 'I recommended you to Lorne Michaels,'" said Davidson. 

      # TOPICS: Pete Davidson, Saturday Night Live, Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Kyle Mooney

    • Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant and Kyle Mooney are also reportedly exiting SNL after the season finale
      Source: Deadline

      Pete Davidson isn't the only longtime Saturday Night Live cast member expected to say goodbye with the Season 47 finale. "We hear that there may be a big group goodbye, featuring all four the departees, at the end of tomorrow night’s episode, which is hosted by Natasha Lyonne," reports Deadline's Nelie Andreeva and Peter White. "It’s not a huge surprise given that this season – season 47 – featured its largest ever cast with 21 stars and eight cast members that were entering their eighth season and beyond." Lorne Michaels recently admitted that he was expecting this year to be a “year of change” for Saturday Night Live heading into its 48th season. McKinnon joined SNL 10 years ago in April 2012, near the end of Season 37, briefly being a cast member along with the departing Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg. Bryant, who is completing her 10th season, joined in fall 20212 at the start of Season 38. Mooney joined SNL with Season 39 in 2013 and is completing his ninth season.

      # TOPICS: Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney

    • Frank Langella accused of creating a "toxic" atmosphere on The Fall of the House of Usher set
      Source: Deadline

      Langella, who was ousted from the Netflix drama last month over sexual misconduct allegations, left his former cast members in "shock" with his May 4 Deadline essay complaining he was “collateral damage” and a victim of cancel culture, calling his “not fair,” “not just” and “not American.” In response, Deadline interviewed people involved with or close to production on The Fall of the House of Usher. "One word consistently used by virtually everyone when describing Langella’s behavior was 'toxic' as they recalled inappropriate comments and behavior as well as 'crass' jokes he allegedly made," reports Deadline's Nellie Andreeva, adding: "While Netflix’s investigation was triggered by the touching complaint Langella talked about, the internal probe examined more than a dozen incidents and accusations over the course of several weeks." As one anonymous production member put it: “There was a general sense of toxicity that followed him around. A lot of the cast and crew were very uncomfortable around Frank from the beginning.” Andreeva reports Langella has been exploring legal action, but neither him nor Netflix responded to the new allegations.

      # TOPICS: Frank Langella

    • Lupita Nyong’o exits Apple TV+'s Lady in the Lake
      Source: Variety

      Natalie Portman will still star in the Laura Lipman novel adaptation, which is currently in production. The hunt is now on for a new actress to take over Nyong'o's role. 

      # TOPICS: Lupita Nyong’o

    • SNL alum Finesse Mitchell is set to star in Fox sitcom pilot I Gotta Ask My Wife
      Source: Deadline

      Mitchell is teaming with former SNL writer and former The Bernie Mac Show executive producer Warren Hutcherson on a multicamera comedy pilot inspired by Mitchell's standup. I Gotta Ask My Wife is described as "an edgy multi-cam that follows the friendship between three men, all living in the same apartment building, at different stages in their romantic lives: one in his 20s, single and looking for love, one thirty-something who can’t get divorced fast enough, and one happily married, father of two (Mitchell, 40s), who just wants to “chill” (code for: stay out of trouble) at home with his wife."

      # TOPICS: Finesse Mitchell

    • Disney+ and Hulu are bringing Glee back to streaming
      Source: TVLine

      Ryan Murphy's hit Fox dramedy is joining the two Disney-owned streaming services on June 1, six months after its Netflix exit.

      # TOPICS: Glee

    • Will Smith tells David Letterman about "my pain" in a Netflix interview taped before The Slap
      Source: People

      Smith is one of six guests on Letterman's fourth season of My Next Guess Needs No Introduction, premiering today. "Life is so exciting to me right now because I can reach people differently than I've ever been able to reach people, largely because of my pain," Smith said during his interview with Letterman, taped before his infamous Oscars slap of Chris Rock. "I'm really ready to dive into my heart in a way that I think will be, hopefully, fulfilling for me and helpful for the human family."

      # TOPICS: Will Smith

    • Alanna Ubach boards Seth MacFarlane's Ted
      Source: Deadline

      The Euphoria and The Flight Attendant actress will star on the Peacock comedy based on MacFarlane's popular film franchise as a character described as "kind, selfless and almost pathologically sweet when it comes to caring for her family, and sees the world through naive, rose-colored glasses."

      # TOPICS: Alanna Ubach

    • ABC's National Parks drama adds Yasha Jackson
      Source: Deadline

      The Flight Attendant actress will star opposite Michaela McManus in the "soapy" procedural set in the world of national park law enforcement agents.

      # TOPICS: Yasha Jackson

    • Thomas Sadoski joins wife Amanda Seyfried on Apple TV+'s The Crowded Room
      Source: Deadline

      Sadoski is one of seven new additions to the seasonal anthology series.

      # TOPICS: Thomas Sadoski

    • Sharon Osbourne thanks rapper who helped her daughter Aimee escape Thursday from a deadly Hollywood recording studio fire
      Source: Page Six

      “your husband alerting her literally saved her life,” the former The Talk co-host captioned a screenshot on her Instagram Story Friday of a comment from Rajad’s wife and fellow rapper, Pretty Face Ray’Ray, about the fire, which killed one person and injured two.

      # TOPICS: Sharon Osbourne

    • High School Musical: The Musical: The Series renewed for Season 4 -- Season 3 gets a premiere date and trailer
      Source: YouTube

      Disney+ has given an early renewal to HSM:TM:TS, which will return for its third season on July 27 with episodes released weekly.

      # TOPICS: High School Musical: The Musical: The Series

    • ABC teases Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia's Bachelorette season
      Source: YouTube

      Windey and Recchia are "two best friends" on an "unbelievable journey" when the first two-lead Bachelorette season kicks off on July 11.

      # TOPICS: The Bachelorette

    • Check out NBC's Dancing with Myself trailer
      Source: YouTube

      NBC's newest dance competition, with host Camille Kostek and Shakira, Nick Jonas and Liza Koshy as judges, premieres after America's Got Talent on May 31.

      # TOPICS: Dancing with Myself

    • Everything I Know About Love unveils its BBC trailer
      Source: YouTube

      The BBC romantic comedy drama adaptation of Dolly Alderton’s book of the same name about four female friends is being touted as the next Girls.

      # TOPICS: BBC

    • Earlier news - posted about 16 hours ago Unapologetic bad taste has become all the rage on TV, from Is It Cake to Pam & Tommy
      Source: TIME

      "The sight of dopey, meme-based game show Is It Cake? claiming the No. 1 slot on Netflix" and a trashy TV "resurgence fueled by self-consciously trashy shows like Selling Sunset and FBoy Island" are helping fuel our new "era of exuberant, even apocalyptic, bad taste," says Judy Berman. As Berman notes, the trend of big, flashy performances in movies such as House of Gucci "has reached TV, from (Nicole) Kidman’s goofy accent in Nine Perfect Strangers to Sean Penn’s grotesque makeup in Gaslit to Renée Zellweger’s fat suit in The Thing About Pam. Everything about Pam & Tommy is a paean to bad taste. No single human encapsulates our bad-taste moment like Pete Davidson, who plays up his dirtbag swag, proudly reps Staten Island, and now sits at the dead center of pop culture by virtue of dating Kim Kardashian." Berman adds that "what’s remarkable about all this is not that it’s happening so much as the absence of any notable mainstream backlash," noting that "the same fashion establishment that chafed over populist youth trends like grunge in the ’90s and style blogs in the aughts is not just drawing inspiration from Euphoria but sending its stars down the runway."

      # TOPICS: Is It Cake?

    • TV's upfront week emphasized streaming over broadcast networks: ABC was barely mentioned at Disney's upfronts
      Source: The Hollywood Reporter

      There were just 35 broadcast pilot pickups for ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and The CW -- compared to an average of 77.4 over the past decade -- representing a new 10-year low. "Gone are the days when broadcast was the priority at the New York dog-and-pony show, when networks would trot out the stars and fresh faces of the newly ordered 30-something comedies and dramas before unspooling trailers that they hoped would deliver a hit half as successful as the five-time Emmy winner," says The Hollywood Reporter's Lesley Goldberg. "Now, in the first in-person presentations since COVID-19 upended the industry, the stage was largely devoid of the class of 2022-23, and the vast majority of the new show trailers went unseen — if they were mentioned at all. What’s more, ABC, Fox and NBC still have series orders for next season in the works and casting to do for others that have already been greenlit. The lack of star power onstage has as much to do with the current state of the pandemic as with its impact on the overall television landscape over the past few years." ALSO: Here are some of the best, worst and weirdest moments from upfront week.

      # TOPICS: Upfronts

    • The Flight Attendant would've been better off kicking Kaley Cuoco's Cassie Bowden to the curb for Season 2
      Source: The Daily Beast

      The HBO Max dark dramedy has become too repetitive in Season 2, says Jihane Bousfiha. "Ever since HBO Max’s stylish comedy-thriller The Flight Attendant got renewed for a second season in late 2020, I haven’t been able to shake off the thought that it would’ve been cool to see the show go down the daring yet intriguing route of having each season center on a different character, whether it be someone new or a character we’re already familiar with, and the tumultuous events they find themselves at the center of," says Bousfiha. "Although I think expanding on what was originally meant to be a limited series is entirely unnecessary (remember Big Little Lies?), it was bound to happen due to the show’s success, and a good way to change it up is to do something out of left field—in other words, The Flight Attendant should’ve kicked Cassie Bowden (Kaley Cuoco)—an (understandably) self-destructive woman who doesn’t follow orders and acts purely on impulse, even when fully sober—to the curb. Sorry babe."

      # TOPICS: The Flight Attendant

    • Dave Chappelle's alleged attacker has been charged with attempted murder in connection with a stabbing last year
      Source: Los Angeles Times

      Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón announced that the publicity generated by Isaiah Lee allegedly tackling Chappelle earlier this month at the Hollywood Bowl led the victim in the stabbing to identify Lee, his then-roommate, to LAPD detectives. Lee pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder charge and is due back in court next month.

      # TOPICS: Isaiah Lee

    • Starz commits to three seasons for an Ava DuVernay-produced romantic drama series starring Joshua Jackson and Lauren Ridloff
      Source: Deadline

      Jackson and Ridloff will also serve as executive producers on the untitled series that has been given a three-year script-to-series commitment. "The as-yet-untitled prospective series follows two polar opposites who become intertwined in a love affair that turns their worlds – and those of everyone around them – upside down," according to Deadline. "The half-hour drama will chronicle what it takes to fall and stay in a radical, rebellious love. One person is ambitious, while the other is restless. One is ready to commit, while the other debates the merits of relationships. One is Black and one is white. One is deaf and one is not. Though wildly different, the two are emotionally and physically drawn to each other despite personal expectations and public assumptions. Their attraction passionately disrupts notions of race, gender, class, physical ability, and normative culture, elevating to true love that surpasses difference."

      # TOPICS: Ava DuVernay

    • Maahra Hill's OWN drama Delilah canceled after one season, but she's already landed on NBC drama pilot The Irrational
      Source: Deadline

      After playing the title role of Delilah Connolly on OWN's Delilah last year, Hill will star opposite Jesse L. Martin n in NBC’s drama pilot The Irrational, playing "an astute and intelligent FBI agent with a passion for her work who often finds herself teaming up with Alec (Martin) in one way or another."

      # TOPICS: Maahra Hill

    • She-Hulk: Attorney at Law's trailer had 78 million views in 24 hours, placing second among Marvel trailer debuts
      Source: The Hollywood Reporter

      The 78 miillion is the second-largest trailer debut for a Marvel Studios series, behind only 2021’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which included a Super Bowl spot.

      # TOPICS: She-Hulk

    • Stephanie McMahon is taking a leave of absence from WWE "to focus on my family"
      Source: Variety

      “As of tomorrow, I am taking a leave of absence from the majority of my responsibilities at WWE,” McMahon tweeted Thursday afternoon. “WWE is a lifelong legacy for me and I look forward to returning to the company that I love after taking this time to focus on my family.”

      # TOPICS: Stephanie McMahon

    • Samantha Bee tackles U.S. Supreme Court's leaked abortion ruling after three weeks off
      Source: The Daily Beast

      Bee's hiatus coincided with the reported leaked Justice Samuel Alito opinion ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. Bee called the draft opinion a trailer for “how f*cking horrible life is to become for a lot of people” once states are free to ban abortion altogether and tore apart the “infuriating” arguments that Alito makes.

      # TOPICS: Samantha Bee

    • Is Tom Brady running the risk of overexposure with his Fox, ESPN+ and Netflix roast deals?
      Source: NBC Sports

      Brady is constantly making headlines these days, from his Netflix roast deal to his massive Fox Sports contract to his ESPN+ docuseries to his Hertz ads. He's also starring in a road trip movie with his name in the title: 80 for Brady. Yet Brady is still the most famous player on the most famous sports league. "Throw in his cool-uncle social-media habits, and it’s obvious that Brady is currently everywhere," says ProfootballTalk's Mike Florio.


      # TOPICS: Tom Brady

    • Survivor: Thailand runner-up Clay Jordan dies at 66
      Source: People

      Jordan, who lost to Brian Heidik in a 4-3 vote on Survivor's fifth season in fall 2002, died Thursday after a short illness. Jordan gave an interview to the Survivor Bluffs podcast last December.

      # TOPICS: Survivor, Clay Jordan

    • Matthew Macfadyen, Succession's secret weapon, is finally getting his due as an actor -- even though he's had starring roles for decades
      Source: Vanity Fair

      Twenty years ago this month, BBC spy drama Spooks (known as MI-5 in the United States) premiered, with MacFadyen as its lead -- joined by his now-wife Keeley Hawes and David Oyelowo -- less than a year after 9/11. Macfadyen starred in Spooks  for the first two seasons as spy chief Tom Quinn. He went on to play Mr. Darcy in 2005's Pride & Prejudice opposite Keira Knightley. But it is the British actor's American role as Tom Wambsgans that has made him a standout as an actor. "So many of the show’s most indelible moments are etched on Tom’s face, his expressions flickering between cockiness, servility, desire, and horror," says Vanity Fair's Joy Press of Macfadyen. "By the end of season three, it’s clear that all those episodes biding his time have paid off. He’s become Logan’s—and Succession’s—secret weapon. In real life, Macfadyen has none of that Wambsgansian volatility or douchiness." Oyelowo recalls him and Macfadyen having a heart-to-heart years ago. “The reality is that you are a full-bore, indisputable leading man, and you keep hiding in the corner," said Oyelowo, who adds: “You have to persuade him he’s a leading man or that he’s good-looking or that he’s as talented as he is. And I’m just glad that opportunities have continued to come along to sort of drag him into inhabiting roles that are worthy of that talent.” Meanwhile, Macfadyen says he's tired of the debate over co-star Jeremy Strong's method acting. “I find it slightly aggravating because — it makes (the show) about one thing, and it’s an ensemble piece,” he says. “You think of (fellow cast members) J. Smith-Cameron and Alan Ruck, who are fucking extraordinary actors. (Strong) is not the main event.”

      # TOPICS: Matthew Macfadyen

    • Netflix is introducing a kids version of the "Play Something" button
      Source: The Verge

      The new “mystery box” feature that’s intended to help kids discover new shows among the vast number of children's programming on Netflix.

      # TOPICS: Netflix

    • NBA has a "quiet return" to China's state-run TV after three years
      Source: ESPN

      "On the eve of the current NBA playoffs, the league's games returned to state-run TV in China after a nearly three-year ban," reports ESPN's Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru. "It was a quiet return, with nary a word from New York or Beijing trumpeting the apparent end of a bitter conflict. NBA owners had remained largely silent throughout the ban, even as the league worked behind the scenes to repair a ruptured relationship that had cost hundreds of millions of dollars and laid bare the complexities of doing business with an authoritarian regime. The owners had reason to stay quiet: In addition to the money their teams derive from the NBA's $5 billion business in China, many have significant personal stakes there through their other businesses."

      # TOPICS: NBA

    • Renée Zellweger says she broke out in rashes because of The Thing About Pam's prosthetics
      Source: Variety

      “The rash didn’t go away. It was itchy,” tells Variety, laughing and adding: “Are there every too many prosthetics? I don’t think so. What a cool process. I didn’t know anything about that stuff… It was magnificent to sit there and watch it all come together.” ALSO: Zellweger says undergoing a physical transformation for a role "feels like a safe space to hide."

      # TOPICS: Renée Zellweger

    • Trying gets a Season 3 Apple TV+ premiere date
      Source: E! Online

      The adoption journey British comedy starring Rafe Spall and Esther Smith returns July 22.

      # TOPICS: Trying

    • James Corden admits he washes his hair every two months, in part to save water amid L.A.'s drought
      Source: E! Online

      "I know when I'm in the shower, I time it to the minute," he said to his Late Late Show staff. "How long are people spending in the shower?"

      # TOPICS: James Corden

    • Michaela McManus to star in ABC's national parks drama pilot
      Source: Deadline

      The SEAL Team and The Village alum's character is described as "a beautiful but completely unaffected young Park Service agent, a 'wild at heart rule breaker' with a big heart and self-deprecating sense of humor who loves the wilderness."

      # TOPICS: Michaela McManus

    • Netflix drops a new teaser for Money Heist: Korea - Joint Economic Area
      Source: YouTube

      The remake of the Spanish version of Money Heist debuts on June 24.

      # TOPICS: Money Heist (Korea)

    • In SNL promo, Natasha Lyonne is subjected to backhanded compliments on her voice
      Source: YouTube

      Kenan Thompson and Kate McKinnon "sufficiently insulted" the Russian Doll star, who hosts the Season 47 finale with musical guest Japanese Breakfast. ALSO: On The Tonight Show, Kenan Thompson debunks Samuel L. Jackson's alleged SNL ban.

      # TOPICS: Natasha Lyonne

    • Netflix's The G Word with Adam Conover has an Obama problem
      Source: The Washington Post

      Comedian Adam Conover’s new Netflix series examining and critiquing how the U.S. government handles certain matters -- from food production to weather disasters to military defense weapons -- is produced by Barack and Michelle Obama's Higher Ground Productions. "Barack Obama makes his presence known, appearing in the first episode and the last, which features a conversation between him and Conover about the feasibility of real change," says Sonia Rao. "The Obamas lend The G Word a degree of legitimacy in Netflix’s vast sea of offerings, but they might also give viewers pause: Why should we trust a show produced by a former president to offer an objective critique of the government?" The G Word, says Rao, ends with "an extra dose of hope, but these concluding remarks relay a somewhat disingenuous take on what is required for the government to truly serve its people — perhaps the most obvious indicator of its producers’ bias. A show of this nature would do well to take the microphone away from career politicians and continue to uplift those heard less often. At one point in the final episode, for instance, Conover speaks to a Philadelphia resident who says she aspires to run for office one day."


      • The G Word approves upon Adam Conover's Adam Ruins Everything: "The loss of Adam Ruins Everything, which was unceremoniously cancelled by truTV three years ago, meant the loss of Adam Conover’s incisive, entertaining takedowns (engagement rings are a scam) and explorations of misinformation about common parts of our lives (circumcision, hymens, and non-genital things)," says Andy Dehnart. "Thankfully, Netflix’s new series The G Word with Adam Conover is an excellent evolution of the format, examining an important part of our lives and sharing information with humor and curiosity. The show improves over its predecessor in several ways, and not just because it has more-impressive special effects and field trips that take Adam across the country, and even into a hurricane."
      • How Adam Conover got involved with The G Word: "The genesis of it is that the Obama company Higher Ground had optioned the Michael Lewis book, The Fifth Risk, which is a wonderfully reported book about the Trump transition," he says. "It also has all these fascinating details about how the government works. They were looking to make a show about it, but they needed somebody with a pitch and an angle. I had read the book and loved it. So when I got a call about it, I jumped at the chance. I went in, and I told them, “Hey, here’s how I would handle it using my signature blends of comedy and research and information and investigation.” They loved that idea. And we went with it." Conover adds that the pandemic "changed everything about the show" since "we were in our writers room for one week and then the COVID shutdown happened."

      # TOPICS: The G Word with Adam Conover

    • Emmy Rossum is having a lot of fun starring in Peacock's dreamy Angelyne
      Source: The A.V. Club

      The five-episode limited series on the L.A. billboard icon Angelyne, based on Gary Baum’s 2017 The Hollywood Reporter exposé of her, "makes that enigmatic face on billboards about as fully realized as you could hope," says Alison Foreman, who adds:

      "Created by Nancy Oliver (Six Feet Under), with executive producer Allison Miller (Brave New World) doubling as showrunner, Angelyne doesn’t debunk every myth about the local legend; no series ever could. But this technicolor portrait of Hollywood’s sweet-yet-spicy hometown hero offers something almost better. It’s a searingly fun chance to decide for yourself what’s real and what’s fiction on the spiritually charged Planet Angelyne. Though the show’s plot is anchored in how the world sees her–dramatizing Baum’s revelatory article and other seemingly true Angelyne accounts from third parties (which, let’s be honest, not all of which the actual Angelyne will love seeing discussed so publicly)–its execution is infused with the titular star’s otherworldly sensibilities and a palpable love for her life’s work. (It’s worth noting here that Angelyne received $1 million and an executive producer credit for this project.)"


      • Angelyne revels in its disconnects: "But unlike Pam & Tommy, Tammy Faye, or Inventing Anna, it doesn’t apologize for her moments of pettiness, vanity, or selfishness," says Roxana Hadadi. "She’s a feminist fighting against dismissive men who call her a bimbo for her bust size, and a bad boss who runs her employees into the ground, and a victim of generational trauma who escaped into the world of make-believe that is Hollywood, and a figure who calls herself a 'sex goddess' and sells a certain cartoonish image of herself without actually seeming all that interested in the physical act. Angelyne gives its titular subject totality, and Rossum easily ricochets between Angelyne’s coquettish sexy-baby voice and a hard, direct glare with all seduction wiped off."
      • Angelyne is like a Charlie Kaufman-lite feature film stretched out over five hours: "Angelyne is a quintessentially Hollywood story of performance, reinvention and self-expression, an amusingly meta perspective on the entertainment industry as a dream factory in which 'stars,' as much as movies or TV shows, can be the finished product at the end of the assembly line," says Daniel Fienberg. "The cleverness of Angelyne comes and goes and its intellectual points range from perceptive to half-baked in what ultimately feels like a Charlie Kaufman-lite feature film stretched — thankfully only to five hours — by the demands of streaming television. The 'Choose Your Own Reality' conceit of Angelyne — in which she (played under increasing layers of latex by Emmy Rossum) tries desperately to retain control over her narrative and also over an imaginary documentary about her life through interjections, corrections and whimsical fabulism — is a good one."
      • Angelyne lets Emmy Rossum reinvent herself as an actress after Shameless: "Where Rossum’s prior roles saw her as the sensible brunette, her Angelyne is a wide-eyed, bottle-blonde, hot pink Christmas decoration; she titters like Betty Boop, dispensing one florid pearl of wisdom after another ('I strive for a painless existence') in that breathy Marilyn Monroe voice," says Clint Worthington. "Much like Lily James in Pam & Tommy last year, Rossum dons a 30-pound breastplate and all the foot-high blonde wigs she can muster to capture the real Angelyne’s cartoonish proportions. She commands the room, demanding all eyes on herself and only letting the barest crack of a real self through; it’s a remarkable study in manufactured perception. By God, the layers of artifice work like gangbusters: after all, Angelyne, like Rossum, are both women looking to redraw themselves to show the world what they can do, to demand the attention they feel they deserve."
      • This is a niche story, one that doesn’t seem to have the basic tenets of a classic Hollywood biopic or rags-to-riches tale: "How much can you plumb the seeming depths of shallowness?" asks Kayleigh Donaldson. "But therein lies the most interesting parts of Angelyne, which sees those well-worn tools of real-life storytelling as ill-equipped for someone like its star." Donaldson adds: "Rossum is committed in her performance as Angelyne. Complete with a heavy head of blonde hair and a massive breastplate that dwarfs her petite frame, Rossum is clearly having a ball being so unrecognizable. She nails the Valley girl drawl and piercing stare of a woman who always is trying to charm you or figure out your deal. Angelyne is no bimbo, despite what many (MANY) people say to her face throughout the show. Rossum slyly moves between these various modes, from Marilyn copycat cover girl to evasive deal-maker."
      • Angelyne succeeds when it echoes the same carefully constructed campiness of its subject rather than try to create gravitas from the ground up: "In moments when Rossum embraces Angelyne’s baby-voiced coo, or Linklater adopts an impossibly affected drawl; when the cinematography echoes the flat, arid L.A. light sliding against the neon; when Angelyne’s daydreaming becomes a full-on alien abduction fantasy to lure us into the larger-than-life corners of her mind. When it’s not overly concerned with selling Angelyne as The Original #Influencer, the show is freer to simply show us what it’s like to be Angelyne, in all her perfectly tacky glory," says Caroline Framke. "As people (mostly men) keep trying to dig up the truth of who Angelyne is, and Angelyne keeps refusing to let them, the show flips its own narrative inside-out to emphasize just how conflicted her story continues to be."
      • Angelyne's attempt at the truth, while changing the name of some characters, is a little schizoid: "It’s hard to know how to take the series at first, what’s meant to be funny ha-ha and what’s meant to be funny strange," says Robert Lloyd. "This is not just as concerns the star, a character half-defined by self-knowledge and half self-delusion, but of most of the other main characters, including Freeman’s printer, Hamish Linklater as her fan club president and right hand, Charlie Rowe as her house photographer and Lukas Gage as a young man trying to make a documentary about her, though not the 'documentary' we seem to be seeing. Some are caricatures, some not."
      • Angelyne is a colorful, bombastic look at an L.A. icon: "With so much still unknown about Angelyne and anyone outside LA understandably hard-pressed to know who she is, star Emmy Rossum and creator Nancy Oliver have their work cut out for them," says Kristen Lopez. “Angelyne is a hot pink, rapid-fire series focused on the nature of identity and the way our memory informs who we are. With a fun, unique structure, and producer-star Rossum slathering herself in prosthetics and body-hugging costumes, Angelyne becomes a highly entertaining and heartfelt look at a Los Angeles icon."
      • Angelyne barely scratches the surface of the real-life proto-influencer: The show's "often prosaic writing is at odds with the otherwise heightened tone of the series, which grows more self-aware with each of its five episodes, until it’s winking with both eyes," says Danette Chavez. "Like its namesake, the show wants you to know it knows you’re watching; elements like the bad old age makeup highlight the artifice on display. And when Rossum as Angelyne talks directly to the camera, she isn’t addressing the documentary makers so much as the audience at home. But then there’s fourth wall-breaking on top of fourth wall-breaking, with Angelyne showing up in other characters’ talking heads to refute their claims."
      • Angelyne’s story turns into a woozy blur of perspectives of her own alien persona: "From a production standpoint, Emmy Rossum, both star and executive producer of the series, commits this continual splintering of Angelyne’s story almost to a fault," says Katherine Smith. "While Angelyne’s own narrative to herself becomes unreliable, the fractal framing and shifts into magical realism can make the series feel overstuffed, too imbalanced of a canvas for an already volatile source character. At same time, Angelyne, as a character for writing and within the plot, begs for maximalism."
      • Angelyne is the right way to tell the “only in Hollywood” origin story of Los Angeles’ unofficial mascot: "Actress Emmy Rossum is clearly having a blast portraying the various chapters of the enigmatic woman’s life story, but she tempers the performance from devolving into the cartoonish," says Tara Bennett. "She’s surrounded by a very solid cast, especially Hamish Linklater, Martin Freeman, and Molly Ephraim, who help keep the tone light but grounded. And the unexpected flights of fancy woven into the story distinguishes Angelyne as a biographical series that dares to be different."
      • Emmy Rossum says her goal with Angelyne was to make a "love letter" that celebrates her as a trailblazer: "I hope that she knows that this is a love letter to the fun and fantasy and the hot pink, Corvette-driving enigma that she is. I hope more people fall in love with her and appreciate her for what a trailblazer she is as the precursor to social media," says Rossum, adding: “She understood the power of her image and the fierce control and preservation that that living, breathing performance art needs to survive. She was creating a fantasy and has perpetuated that for decades."
      • Angelyne isn't happy with Peacock's limited series based on her life -- or is she?: "I had a glimpse of it and I refused to watch it," the L.A. billboard icon tells Inside Edition of the Peacock limited series in which Emmy Rossum plays her. "It doesn't do me justice. Would you be flattered if someone played you and misrepresented you?" But as EW's Lester Fabian Brathwaite points out, Angelyne was using the Inside Edition interview to promote herself. "This is a professional, kids. As such, it's perhaps best to take her umbrage with the show with a grain of salt," says Brathwaite. "After all, Rossum has spoken quite positively of meeting Angelyne before donning extensive makeup and prosthetics to portray her." Rossum told The Hollywood Reporter that Angelyne was involved with the series early on and they actually had a sit-down together. "The one thing she told me was that she’s a mirror, so whatever I saw in her that’s the story I should tell and therefore it would be my story and not her story. And I thought that was so empowering,” said Rossum.

      # TOPICS: Angelyne