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Tag: J.J. Abrams (1-10 of 22)

Cameron Crowe and J.J. Abrams are finally ready to roll with 'Roadies' pilot

Cameron Crowe and J.J. Abrams have long wanted to do a TV series focused on the crew behind a large rock tour, and now they’re getting their chance: Showtime is set to produce an hour-long pilot for their potential half-hour comedy Roadies. The network describes the show as “an inside look at the reckless, romantic, funny and often poignant lives of a committed group of characters who live for music and the de facto family they’ve formed along the way.”

Crowe, who won an Oscar for writing Almost Famous, will pen and direct the pilot, which he’ll exec produce with Abrams, Bryan Burk (Lost, Fringe), and My So-Called Life creator Winnie Holzman, who’ll also serve as showrunner.

Roadies is Cameron Crowe at his most musically passionate, colorful character best,” Abrams says in the announcement. “We had been talking about the series for so long, but when he actually handed me the script, it was funnier and sweeter and wilder than I had ever imagined. Showtime is the perfect home for these characters—and there is no one I’ve been hoping to work with more than the truly brilliant Winnie Holzman.”

Your first 'Almost Human' crazy theory: Karl Urban is actually a robot

Karl Urban is a not a human being. Not in the technical sense of the term. Oh, sure, he might look human. He might walk and talk like a human. He might even like to think he’s human. But Karl Urban would be wrong! For Karl Urban is actually an extraordinary machine that has been programmed to think he is Karl Urban. Karl Urban does not know this, though sooner or later, he will, and when he does, Karl Urban will be very sad. Poor Karl Urban!

No, we speak not of the real-world Karl Urban, star of Star Trek and Dredd, but the character that this fine actor plays on the new sci-fi buddy cop drama Almost Human, which premiered Sunday night on Fox. Urban is John Kennex, a police officer in the near-future where human cops work side by side with robot cops. The pilot episode gives John a new partner, a humanoid android with buggy emotional components named Dorian, played by Michael Ealy. I am convinced that one of the big twists of this new series from J.J. Abrams and Fringe mastermind J.H. Wyman — both of whom are fond of big twists — is that John Kennex will mysteriously get younger as the saga progresses, while Dorian mysteriously, rapidly ages and corrodes. Okay, that was a joke. A literary joke! No, my very serious theory is that John Kennex ain’t a human being at all. He’s a robot, too! Or something very close to it. The pilot establishes that he has a bionic leg to replace the one that got blown off during a firefight with bad guys known as The Syndicate. But I assert that the rest of him is made of fabricated from sci-fi hoo-ha, too. Why do I believe in such a thing? Clues, man! Clues! Come, theorize with me.

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Alyson Hannigan pitches a 'How I Met Your Mother' spin-off and talks J.J. Abrams, 'Buffy,' and 'Star Wars'. (How's that for a headline?)

Alyson Hannigan who plays Lily on the hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother doesn’t want the fun to end, even though CBS announced the series would sign off after 9 seasons this spring. “I’m trying to convince [Jason] Segel to do the spin-off,” says Hannigan. “He said he’ll do it if it’s called, Out By Lunch and we can get out by lunch everyday and we only work a couple days a week. I’m like, ‘I’m in.’ We can do it—we work really quickly together.” READ FULL STORY

Fox's Fall Schedule Announcement: A snap judgment

How do you fight a flagging American Idol franchise and ratings that dipped 20% last season? Hopefully, by luring your viewers back with some big names. That’s the latest strategy for Fox, which came out of the upfronts on Tuesday with a lineup that included Andy Samberg, Greg Kinnear, Seth MacFarlane, J.J. Abrams, and Kiefer Sutherland, the latter of whom will return for the miniseries 24: Live Another Day. (Midseason picks include the Chris Meloni comedy Surviving Jack, the Terry O’Quinn drama Gang Related, and M. Night Shyamalan’s miniseries Wayward Pines, which will star Matt Dillon, but trailers for those shows are not yet available yet for review.) Still, fame doesn’t always equal quality. For every promising buddy-cop comedy, there’s a not-so-promising sitcom from a certain Oscar host who prides himself on being “edgy.” Sorry, Seth MacFarlane, but the only boobs I saw today were the two guys in your new show.


BROOKLYN NINE-NINE
Imagine The Office, except set in a police precinct. Now imagine Andy Samberg as its resident dimwit, a detective who wiles away the hours playing fire extinguisher roller-chair derby and doing very bad, meep-morp-I-am-a-robot impressions of his humorless boss (Andre Braugher). If you’re not laughing yet — and I was, right from the moment that Samberg rocks out to a terrible preset keyboard demo at the beginning of the trailer  – consider that Brooklyn Nine-Nine was created by Dan Goor and Michael Shur, who mastered the art of the workplace comedy with Parks and Recreation. Judging by the teaser, which also features a cameo from Fred Armisen as a wide-eyed creeper, Brooklyn Nine-Nine could actually be funny. Still not convinced? If you don’t at least smile at Samberg’s very special cop “uniform” (shirt and tie on top, multi-colored Speedo on the bottom), then you either have no heart or no pants.

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'Fringe' season 5 DVD: J.J. Abrams and company discuss bringing closure to the sci-fi saga -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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A series finale is like a laboratory-conceived psychotic porcupine monster: It has a very long tail, and it will make you cry. Nearly five months after Fringe said goodbye by sending Walter Bishop (John Noble) into the far future to save Peter (Joshua Jackson), Olivia (Anna Torv) and the rest of humanity (thanks!) by changing history, the cult classic squirrels back into our field of vision one more time to drop its last DVD and take a bow. READ FULL STORY

PaleyFest 2013: 10 'Revolution' revelations

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A lot of good details came to light (sorry) at Revolution‘s PaleyFest panel on Saturday night, with plenty of good tidbits about the future (and past) of the series.

In attendance from the production side was creator Eric Kripke and producers J.J. Abrams and Jon Favreau, all of whom offered up clues as to how the second half of the NBC show’s first season will play out. Even the actors let a few details slip — sometimes when they weren’t supposed to. Read on for the highlights.

1. We’ll find out early on why the power went out 

The season’s second half, Kripke says, will have a much quicker pace that the first. “We don’t get precious with the answers,” he said, hinting that the question would be answered within the first few episodes after the show’s March 25 return. While writing the episodes, Kripke says, it became clear that there was no way for Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) to not tell the gang why the lights went out. So, they decided they shouldn’t string the audience along. “We find that out in episode 13 (airing April 8),” he says. “We deliver it, and [then] we ask a bunch more questions. And I think the mystery still continues, but it just keeps evolving and shifting.”

2. Kripke wants to bring a Game of Thrones element to the show

One thing that especially excites Kripke is the prospect of visiting all the new little nation-states on Revolution‘s North American map. “Wouldn’t it be fun to have that Game of Thrones kind of feel?” Kripke says he asked himself while writing the episodes. And so the show’s geographical landscape will come more into play as viewers get glimpses of some of the “different kingdoms, different worlds” that are currently living side-by-side on the map.

3. Characters will visit the Plains Nation

Details are still limited, but Kripke confirmed that characters will be visiting the Great Plains states, which make up the new Plains Nation.

4. The Georgia Federation is “well-fed”

We already knew the Atlanta-based entity will figure prominently this season, but the panel revealed some intriguing tidbits about the region’s characteristics. Climate, it turns out, plays a bigger role in the Georgia Federation, and the people are likely to have more food thanks to their crop-growing abilities. “They’re more well-fed,” Kripke offered, while also hinting that the region might have trading partners as well. READ FULL STORY

The End of 'Fringe': 'September's Notebook' documents the show's mythology, reveals secrets -- EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

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The end of Fringe comes with a parting gift for fans. Fringe: September’s Notebook – The Bishop Paradox, an officially licensed product published by Insight Editions, chronicles the history (or rather multiple histories) and maps the diverse and dynamic world (and parallel worlds) of the sci-fi saga starring Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, and John Noble. The well-designed 192-page art-heavy hardback tome – filled with photos, newspaper clippings, FBI case files and Massive Dynamic memorandums — is told through the perspective of Fringe’s signature Observer, September, that time traveling, hot sauce chugging 20th century fanboy, played by Michael Cerveris.

The notebook (glimpsed in the Jan. 11 episode “The Boy Must Live”) is presented as “in-world storytelling,” meaning that it has actual significance to the Fringe narrative. It even promises to provide “new insight into the series.” This Fringe fan hopes September can summarize The Pattern in a succinct, cohesive way, as well as supply intel on my favorite unresolved bit of Fringe lore: Whatever happened to Phillip Broyles’ original Fringe Division team that preceded Olivia, Peter, Walter and Astrid? (See: Season 1, Episode 2, Act One, Broyles’ first line.) #NEVERFORGETNAGGINGLOOSEENDS!

The book will retail for $27.50 and goes on sale in March. More info can be found here. But before you click away, check out our exclusive excerpt in the pages that follow. (For a closer look at each page, your cursor functions as a magnifying glass. Scroll and scrutinize!)

Twitter: @EWDocJensen

Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): How J.J. Abrams pitched 'Revolution'

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It started with two men sword fighting in front of a Starbucks.

Writer-producer Eric Kripke dreamed up that surreal image last summer. His previous series Supernatural was inspired by a similarly random mental snapshot — “a girl on the ceiling on fire.” Now he had this new idea, the coffee shop sword fight. Kripke didn’t know who the fighting men were or why they were using medieval weapons. He only knew he wanted to somehow take modern-day America and roll it back pre-industrial times, to write a quest story like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, only in a land peppered by freeways and fast food restaurants.

“I wanted to take everything I love about Lord of the Rings – swords and swashbuckling and quests and damsels in distress — put all that deep nerd fantasy stuff on the American highway,” Kripke says.

Here, in a piece originally published in November, is the story of what happened next.

For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for EW.com’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage.

Kripke he took the idea to primetime’s reigning master of big concepts, producer J.J. Abrams (Lost, Person of Interest), who saw the potential, particularly the inherent appeal of a back-to-basics rustic setting. “It’s wish fulfillment,” Abrams says. “We’re constantly being bombarded. It’s a silencing of the din that we live in right now.”

Moreover, Abrams says stripping away technology can help a show creatively, just like with the stranded island castaways on ABC’s Lost. “One of the things that’s difficult and frustrating about all the technology we have is it eliminates a lot of potential for drama,” Abrams says. “[Characters] can communicate instantly, they can research things, they can jump on a plane and be anywhere. Writers contort themselves to eliminate cell phones from scenes. And one of the beautiful byproducts of Kripke’s idea is that there’s no longer that immediate access.”

But Abrams didn’t like Kripke’s apocalyptic device for wiping out modern conveniences. Kripke originally wanted to have the country depopulated by a super virus. But that was deemed too familiar, too much like Stephen King’s The Stand. Instead, Abrams suggested an idea his company had been kicking around: Surviving the fallout of a nationwide blackout.

A few weeks later, the duo had a meeting at NBC’s Burbank offices.

Now if you’ve ever wondered how producers sell a TV show, pay attention to this next part.

NEXT: Inside Revolution’s pitch meeting, finding Miles, changing the title

NEXT PAGE>>

'Revolution': J.J. Abrams, Jon Favreau on why a future without power is 'wish-fulfillment,' not apocalypse now

Ask J.J. Abrams to describe his new television series Revolution and the super-producer behind Alias, Lost and Person of Interest will tell you that the epic drama is a prime time Lord of The Rings. “A quest story,” he says, “set in a world as medieval as it is modern.” He’ll tell you that the sci-fi tinged fantasy — created by Eric Kripke (Supernatural) and exec produced by Iron Man’s Jon Favreau (who directed the pilot) — is “Star Wars-ian” in nature, with reluctant heroes poured from the Luke Skywalker and Han Solo molds, struggling and scrapping toward the new hope of a better tomorrow. In fact, he’ll tell you that this high-concept drama – set 15 years after a mysterious planetary event caused all forms of electrical energy clicked off, perhaps permanently – has many things in common with many other memorable stories past and present, including Game of Thrones, yet aspires to be unique — “a hyper-real fantasy world you’ve never seen before.”

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Elizabeth Mitchell talks about a 'Revolution'

Lost fans, Juliet Burke is back. Or at least a J.J. Abrams-Elizabeth Mitchell collaboration is on the air again.

Mitchell has reunited with the Lost mastermind for Revolution, an NBC event series that Abrams is executive producing. The show, which comes from Supernatural creator Eric Kripke, takes place 15 years after all sources of electrical power have ceased working — no light bulbs, no batteries, no cars, none of that. Mitchell plays Rachel Matheson, the mother of the family at the heart of Revolution. In the 15-years-post-blackout time when most of the show takes place, (SPOILER ALERT!) Rachel is dead — or at least her family thinks she is — but the actress will appear in several episodes during scenes that flash back to the first days of the blackout.

Mitchell took on the role this summer, replacing Rescue Me actress Andrea Roth who was in the original pilot. Ahead of Monday’s on-air premiere of Revolution (it was released online last week, so watch it here), EW talked with Mitchell about starting a new show via reshoots, working with costars like Tim Guinee and how the show has gotten her thinking about her chances in a post-apocalyptic world.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When you sign up for another J.J. Abrams-produced, high-concept show, is there a point when you think, “What have I gotten myself into?”
ELIZABETH MITCHELL: Oh, sure. I do that all the time on every project though. I had watched the pilot with Andrea in it, and I thought that it was extraordinary, so when Eric called me, I was really excited. I was like, “Everybody’s okay? Everything’s good? It’s just a different direction? Yes? Okay, awesome.” READ FULL STORY

J.J. Abrams, Jon Favreau talk NBC's 'Revolution' -- VIDEO

“When society goes away, it brings out the best and worst in people,” says Revolution director Jon Favreau in the below video. The NBC series is one of the most ambitious and buzzed-about shows of the fall, and below Favreau, executive producer J.J. Abrams and writer-executive producer Eric Kripke talk about project. This NBC video has interview clips and series footage. Check back later for our coverage of the Revolution Comic-Con panel this afternoon; the series debuts Monday, Sept. 17. Check out the video in an EW.com first look: READ FULL STORY

J.J. Abrams' apocalyptic 'Revolution' gets NBC series order -- PHOTO

The Revolution will be televised.

Except for the characters on NBC’s new series Revolution, because they will have no electricity to watch TV after an apocalyptic disaster leaves America unplugged from all devices and machines. That’s right, there’s no cars, no cell phones, no Internet, no…actually, that sounds like it could be pretty relaxing.

But we’re sure being stripped of technology will have some serious consequences for the show’s characters, who will be played by costars like Billy Burke (Twilight), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad) and Andrea Roth (Ringer). Sci-fi wunderkin J.J. Abrams (Lost) and Eric Kripke (Supernatural) will produce the project. First photo:

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'Alcatraz': Jorge Garcia and producers dish on the show's mythology and characters

Ten million people were in the mood for some captivating drama last night, as Fox unleashed the premiere of Alcatraz. Want some more insight into the J.J. Abrams-produced series, which follows a detective (Sarah Jones), an Alcatraz expert (Jorge Garcia), and a cryptic government official (Sam Neill) as they investigate why the inmates of the famous prison are suddenly reappearing unaged in current-day San Francisco? Read on to see what Garcia and exec producers/showrunners Jennifer Johnson and Daniel Pyne told EW about Alcatraz.

On the mysterious prisoners
DANIEL PYNE: They’re committing the crimes that put them in Alcatraz, which was the prison where people who couldn’t be in other prisons went. They’re resuming their criminal activities, so anything from kidnapping, bank robbery, murder, serial killers, sharp shooters, car robbery. I mean, serious, federal, just badass crimes. READ FULL STORY

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