2021-02-24 Print

Tiger Woods Involved in Severe Traffic Accident in Southern California

by Ryan Parker
Tiger Woods
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Tiger Woods was involved in a serious, single-vehicle car accident on Tuesday.

Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, said in a statement: "Tiger Woods was in a single-car accident this morning in California where he suffered multiple leg injuries. He is currently in surgery and we thank you for your privacy and support."

During an afternoon media conference, Sheriff Alejandro Villanueva said Woods was fortunate to be alive.

"There was no evidence of impairment," but the department is investigating if he was "distracted while driving," Villanueva said. Woods did not have his blood drawn post-crash, Villanueva said.

Woods' car traveled "several hundred feet" when it crashed. Villanueva said from the initial investigation, Woods appeared to be going "a greater speed than normal," but noted it was a downhill area with a curve. Villanueva said there were no skid marks on the ground. Weather was not a factor, Villanueva said. The sheriff would only say Woods was in "serious" condition.

Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby noted Woods sustained "serious" injuries. Woods was back-boarded and had splints put on his legs once out of the SUV, Osby said, noting Woods was in "severe pain." Woods was wearing his seatbelt.

The damage to Woods' car was described by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department as "major" and authorities said the star athlete needed to be extracted with tools that included an ax. Woods was alert when he was removed, authorities said. Aerial footage showed the car sustained tremendous devastation. The SUV was removed from the scene around 3 p.m.

The incident occurred around 7:12 a.m., on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, the sheriff's department reported. "The vehicle was traveling northbound on Hawthorne Boulevard, at Blackhorse Road, when it crashed," reads a statement from authorities. Woods was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center by ambulance.

The 45-year-old Woods was in California for a two-day content shoot with Golf Digest/GOLFTV after serving as host for the PGA Tour's Genesis Invitational, Golf Digest reported. David Spade on Monday shared a picture of the two, writing on Twitter, "Golf lesson with this guy today. And you know what? He’s not bad… He picks things up very quickly. Good listener."

Social media has been flooded by fans, stars and professional athletes wishing Woods a speedy recovery.

"Prayers up for the GOAT @TigerWoods who was in an accident this morning. Was just with him yesterday. Don’t take not even a MOMENT for granted! I know you’re good because your Tiger within is a beast!!!" wrote Jada Pinkett Smith.

"Praying for my brother @TigerWoods as we all anxiously await more news. Thinking of him and his entire family," wrote former big leaguer and current commentator Alex Rodriguez.

The crash investigation is ongoing.

A media conference will be held at 3 p.m.

3 p.m. Updated with comments from Sheriff Alejandro Villanueva.

Gerard Depardieu Denies Rape Allegations

by Ryan Parker
THR News

French actor Gérard Depardieu (Green Card) has denied all allegations against him after being charged with rape and sexual assault in an alleged incident from 2018, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

"If there is a case where the presumption of innocence has more meaning than ever, it is this one," Depardieu’s lawyer, Hervé Temime, told French radio station France Inter on Wednesday, saying his client "firmly contested these allegations."

Temime, who has also represented director Roman Polanski, another high-profile figure from the French film world accused of rape and sexual assault, noted that the investigation into the alleged assault had been carried out but that instead of a fair trial, his client was being tried in the media. "Justice should not be served in the public arena," he said.

Depardieu was indicted on Dec. 16, 2020, on allegations of rape and sexual assault made by an unnamed actress in her 20s who claims the 72-year-old Depardieu twice raped and assaulted her at his Paris home in August 2018.

The case against Depardieu was initially dropped in 2019, after a nine-month investigation, for lack of evidence but was reopened last year.

The actress’s lawyer, Elodie Tuaillon-Hibon, told French wire service AFP that she hoped her client's "private sphere will be respected."

Depardieu, who has held Russian as well as French citizenship since 2013, largely for tax reasons, was repatriated to Paris for the indictment.

The 72-year-old actor was charged in December, but the news did not come to light until now. Agence France-Presse was the first to report the charges, citing a judicial source. Authorities could not be reached for additional information.

The actor, according to AFP, has been charged with rape and sexual assault, stemming from alleged incidents that occurred in August 2018 at his Parisian home.

The original case was closed without charges in 2019, but reportedly reopened last year. It is not clear what prompted authorities to reopen the case.

Temime told French newspaper Le Monde that Depardieu "totally disputes the facts with which he is accused."

Updated Feb. 24, 4:14 am with additional lawyer comments.

Scott Roxborough in Cologne contributed to this report.


'Billions' Battle: Showtime's Libel In Fiction Win Upheld by Appeals Court

by Ashley Cullins
Billions - Paul Giamatti -Publicity still - H 2020
Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME

Showtime and the creators of Billions didn't defame the Cayuga Nation by depicting a fictionalized member of the tribe engaged in shady business dealings with the Rhoades family, a New York appellate panel held on Tuesday.

In August 2019, The Cayuga Nation and Clint Halftown sued Showtime, along with Billions co-creators Brian Koppelman and Andrew Ross Sorkin and writer-producer David Levien, alleging the drama portrayed them as participating in an illegal casino land deal and bribing a public official.

In July, Judge Kathryn E. Freed dismissed the suit, finding the Cayuga Nation can't sue for defamation in response to the series because the allegedly offensive material involved the tribe as a governing body, not its individual members.

The tribe appealed, and on Tuesday the appellate court affirmed Freed's decision.

"To the extent asserted by plaintiff Cayuga Nation, their claims were correctly dismissed on the ground that a governmental entity cannot maintain a libel claim," states the opinion. "While plaintiffs argue that Native American tribes are a unique kind of government entity, they do not explain how that uniqueness bears on the libel analysis at issue."

The appellate court also agreed with Freed that Halftown sharing a surname and a similar tribal role with a fictional character in the series isn't enough to establish that a viewer "would have no difficulty linking the two" and affirmed the dismissal of his claim too.

California Judge Allows State's Net Neutrality Law to Go Into Effect

by Eriq Gardner
California Governor Gavin Newsom - Getty -H 2020

Gov. Gavin Newsom


This month, Texas became a cautionary tale when upon a severe winter storm, the state’s power grid was knocked on its heels. Millions of residents there were left without electricity and heat for days while other citizens were hit with shocking five-figure electric bills. This happened in large part because Texas lawmakers have pursued energy deregulation for decades. The hope was that more competition in the energy sector would spur better pricing and more choice for consumers, and while there have been benefits to this approach, the huge winter storm in the state showed what happens at times of structural stress. Without cops on the beat, so to speak, perhaps few should count on the reliability of cheap energy.

The Texas energy crisis apparently caught the eye of U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez. On Tuesday, during a hearing over California’s net neutrality law, the George W. Bush appointee drew a straight line. “Let’s say SB-822 is enjoined,” he told an attorney for the telecom industry. “And [thanks to the recent repeal of federal net neutrality rules], there is no power by the FCC to regulate your clients. Why shouldn’t a court be concerned if there is no regulation over ISPs?”

By the end of the hearing, Judge Mendez had made up his mind. California’s net neutrality law would be allowed to take effect. The judge rejected a push for an injunction from a telecom association whose members included AT&T, Verizon and Charter.

California enacted SB-822 soon after the FCC during the Donald Trump years pulled back from classifying broadband as a "telecommunications service" subject to regulation under Title II of the Communications Act. The state decided to provide the country's strongest protection against ISPs blocking and throttling traffic while going even further than the FCC ever did by attacking a practice known as "zero-rating," whereby a telecom data provider doesn't count the consumption of its owned content against an individual subscriber's data plan. Meaning, if you’re an AT&T subscriber, you can watch as much HBO Max content as you wish without it counting toward your cap.

After SB-822 was enacted, the Trump administration went to court to stop it. So, too, did the telecom industry. But only the latter showed up at today’s hearing. That’s because this month, the Joe Biden-era Department of Justice decided to drop its own challenge to a California law that has been on pause for the past two years.

Judge Mendez’ hearing was a bit unusual. He began the proceeding today — and spent most of the time — on the issue of irreparable harm and the public interest. He made it pretty clear that he was concerned by what California had submitted in support of the need of the rules. The court papers included a declaration from a fire chief in Santa Clara who said his department had experienced ISP throttling during the California wildfires. (Verizon maintains it had nothing to do with net neutrality but rather was a result of the type of data plan maintained by the fire department.)

And the judge seemed less than impressed with how the ISPs patted themselves on the back for not engaging in throttling, blocking and paid prioritization of traffic. As the industry implicitly was asking: Was there really a need for net neutrality rules?

“I have heard that argument and I don’t find it persuasive,” said Mendez. “It’s going to fall on deaf ears. Everyone has been on their best behavior since 2018, waiting for whatever happened in the DC Circuit [weighing the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality]. I don’t place weight on the argument that everything is fine and we don’t need to worry.”

Matthew Brill, an attorney at Latham & Watkins representing the telecoms, argued that California’s law conflicted with both federal communications law as well as the FCC’s 2018 order rescinding Obama-era net neutrality rules. He further argued that a state’s enforcement of an unconstitutional law was presumptively irreparable harm. Brill also pointed to AT&T’s sponsored data plans as something that might have to be tossed aside without an injunction. That could mean breaching promises to customers.

But Judge Mendez ultimately disagreed with the assessment that California’s net neutrality rules were preempted by federal law and found that the telecom companies were unlikely to prevail on the merits of its claims that this amounted to impermissible regulation of interstate broadband. Much of his reasoning had to do with the specific way the FCC had disclaimed its authority to regulate broadband as well as the lack of preemption language in the 1934 and 1996 Telecommunication Acts.

Despite sounding off repeatedly to say that no net neutrality rules could entail harm, he ended the hearing with a cautious word about his approach in the case.

“I think all parties agree that from a legal perspective the [Biden DOJ] decision didn’t effect the issues in this case,” he said. “But what it made clear was the elephant in the room — there are political overtones to this case.”

Mendez soon added, “This decision today is a legal decision and shouldn’t be viewed in the political lens. I’m not expressing anything on the soundness of the policy. That might better be resolved by Congress than by federal courts.”

Why Star Is Disney’s Next Big Salvo in Its Streaming War With Netflix

by Natalie Jarvey and Scott Roxborough
Illustration By Tim Peacock
Illustration By Tim Peacock

When Disney launched streamer Disney+ in November 2019, it leaned on the global recognition of Luke Skywalker, Iron Man, Moana and Buzz Lightyear to great effect. The service attracted 95 million subscribers in a little more than a year. Soon, Disney will find out what happens when characters like Olivia Pope, Betty Suarez and Jack Bauer crash its streaming party.

On Feb. 23, Disney began adding programming that skews more adult to Disney+ in such markets as Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand under the new streaming brand Star. The entertainment giant’s plan to feature Star as a content hub within Disney+ alongside Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar and National Geographic is designed to help fuel sign-ups overseas, but it also stands to create confusion for the family-friendly Disney+ brand.

“Everybody knows Marvel and Star Wars and Pixar, but Star is kind of a nebulous general entertainment thing, so it’s much harder to have an obvious value proposition for people,” says Cowen media and entertainment analyst Doug Creutz. “I don’t know that having Star will incentivize somebody who wouldn’t have bought Disney+ by itself to then go buy Disney+.”

Adding to the challenge, Disney plans to increase the price of Disney+ to 8.99 in Europe and to 7.99 pounds in the U.K. (both equate to about $11) regardless of whether a subscriber intends to watch the new Star programming, which will come from Disney-owned ABC Signature, 20th Television, FX Productions and 20th Century Studios.

By offering Star programming within the Disney+ universe in many markets, Disney is turning the service into a more direct competitor to Netflix, which — with hundreds of new releases each year — promises to have something for everyone. Already, Disney is quickly catching up to Netflix, which required nearly a decade to amass a streaming subscriber base the size of the one Disney+ has today.

Disney also has taken a page from Netflix’s playbook by investing in local content. On Feb. 16, the conglomerate unveiled 10 European original series, spanning the drama, comedy and documentary genres, including a four-part French miniseries about the death of a young student in 1986 and an Italian Mafia series told from a female perspective. Disney+ plans to commission at least 50 European originals by 2024.

“Like a supercharged Netflix, they are following the same global strategy but are rolling it out at a much faster speed,” says Guy Bisson of U.K.-based Ampere Analysis. “Netflix already has all its subscriber growth — and 62 percent of its commissioned originals — coming from outside the U.S.”

Though Netflix continues to grow at a rapid clip, surpassing 200 million subscribers at the end of 2020, analyst firm Digital TV Research estimates that Disney+ will surpass the streaming pioneer in paid members in the next five years. (Disney believes it will have between 230 million and 260 million paid subs by the end of fiscal 2024.)

Disney has shied away from blending family-friendly programming with more adult fare in the U.S., where it operates Disney+ as a separate service from general-interest streamer Hulu. But Jan Koeppen, president of Disney in Europe, Middle East and Africa, says a survey of subscribers showed that they actually wanted a broader content offering within the app. “They all said, ‘We love choice.’ And the adults among them had a term that they often used: ‘We would love to have even more choice’ for what they call ‘me time,’ the time when the kids have gone to bed,” Koeppen explained during a Feb. 17 press conference.

To account for the broad range of viewers who might be accessing a household’s Disney+ account, the company has strengthened its parental controls and will allow people to filter content based on age-specific content ratings.

Bisson of Ampere sees a parallel between Disney’s global approach of combining Disney+ and Star and its U.S. strategy of bundling its various offerings — Disney+, Hulu and ESPN — into a single discounted monthly transaction. Bisson has labeled the strategy “compounding” and expects other studio-backed streamers — WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, ViacomCBS’ Paramount+ and NBCUniversal’s Peacock — to copy it as they roll out worldwide. “It’s essentially reinventing the wheel,” he says, “doing with streaming what pay TV and cable has done — bundling channels and services into a single discounted package.”

Peter Csathy, chair of advisory firm CreaTV Media, expects the launch of Star to mark only “the beginning of Disney’s expansion of its subscription streaming Disney+ service,” saying: “Ultimately, Disney+ will be the hub of much more than video. It will be the home of all things Disney and offer different tiers of service that offer diverse benefits, including early admission to theme parks, ongoing specialized Disney merchandise and more.”

But he sees the Star launch as another important salvo in the streaming wars. "This marks the latest shot across the bow by Disney to Netflix, Amazon and others in the great international streaming wars," Csathy says. "The availability of 'Star' content not only will further accelerate Disney+'s roll-out internationally, it will cannibalize subscribers of other international streaming services since consumers' wallets are limited."

Disney had considered introducing Hulu as its mass-market service worldwide but concluded that the U.S.-based platform “has no brand awareness outside the U.S.,” per CEO Bob Chapek. Star, meanwhile, takes its name from Star India, the media giant Disney acquired in its Fox deal that operates the popular Hotstar streaming brand in India and parts of Asia. (India’s Disney+ Hotstar brand comprises about 30 percent of Disney+’s global subscriber base.)

But launching Star will prove more complicated than the rollout of Disney+. Star won’t be offered in the U.S., for instance, because Hulu already serves a similar role. Meanwhile, in Latin America, the service will be offered as a stand-alone streamer called Star+ and will include live sports. “They’re trying to fit the product to the market as best they can,” says Creutz, “and it’s definitely not one-size-fits-all.”

Georg Szalai contributed to this report.

This story appeared in the Feb. 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Stefon Bristol, Spike Lee Team for 'Gordon Hemingway' at Netflix

by Mia Galuppo
Stefon Bristol and Spike Lee
Phillip Faraone/Getty Images; Toni Anne Barson/WireImage

Stefon Bristol is set to direct the Netflix feature Gordon Hemingway & The Realm of Cthulhu, with Spike Lee attached to produce.

Set in East Africa in 1928, Gordon Hemingway follows the titular character, a roguish Black American gunslinger as he teams up with the elite warrior Princess Zenebe of Ethiopia to rescue their kidnapped regent from an ancient evil.

Hank Woon wrote the original screenplay with additional revisions by both Woon and Fredrica Bailey.

Lee will produce with Lloyd Levin and Beatriz Levin, both of whom worked with Lee on his Netflix feature Da 5 Bloods and originally optioned the screenplay from Woon.

Bristol, repped by UTA and Ellipsis Entertainment Group, worked with Netflix on his first feature, the sci-fi title See You Yesterday, which earned an Independent Spirit award for best first screenplay.

Woon is repped by APA.

FX Adapting New York Times Writer's Book 'This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends' (Exclusive)

by Bryn Sandberg
Courtesy of Bloomsbury; Christian Högstedt

FX has landed the rights to a New York Times writer's best-selling book.

The network is adapting cybersecurity reporter Nicole Perlroth's newly released nonfiction book This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race, which chronicles the history of cyberwarfare and how the U.S. became vulnerable to attack. The project is being described as a far-reaching drama series that grapples with the full scope of what the internet has become — a complex matrix within which all of humanity is inextricably interlinked.

Sources say The West Wing director-producer Tommy Schlamme, who worked with FX on The Americans and Snowfall, brought the book to the network. He'll executive produce the project alongside his producing partner Julie DeJoie as part of his overall deal there. Black Adam screenwriters Rory Haines and Sohrab Noshirvani, who've already penned the first season of the show, will also exec produce. In addition, Perlroth will help shepherd the project to the screen as a producer.

Schlamme, whose credits also include HBO's Plot Against America and WGN America's Manhattan, has developed a reputation for adapting complex source material with an emphasis on accuracy. While directing Manhattan, which centered on the making the atomic bomb, he's said to have encouraged the actors to take physics lessons on set so that they'd have a deeper understanding of what they'd be acting out. Schlamme is expected to lend the same nuance to this project, which is highly technical in nature.

"My goal in writing This Is How They Tell Me The World Ends was always to crack open the closed-door discussions about cyber threats, about our vast digital vulnerability. But it was more than that. I wanted to shake us of our complacency and demonstrate just how interconnected our digital universe has become. Tommy immediately got that," says Perlroth. "It was clear from our first phone call that his enthusiasm for this project was unmatched. I'm thrilled to be partnering and producing alongside Tommy and Julie DeVoie and Rory Haines and Sohrab Noshirvani who have taken such a nuanced and ambitious approach to the screenplay."

Perlroth is repped by CAA. Schlamme is repped by CAA and Weintraub Tobin. Haines and Noshirvani are both repped by CAA, Grandview and Jackoway Austen.

Taylor Kitsch Joins Chris Pratt in Amazon's 'Terminal List'

by Rick Porter
Taylor Kitsch
Steven Ferdman/WireImage

Taylor Kitsch will star opposite Chris Pratt in Amazon's thriller The Terminal List.

The 21 Bridges and Friday Night Lights actor will play a CIA operative in the show, which landed at Amazon last year with a straight-to-series order. Amazon Studios and Civic Center Media are producing in association with MRC Television.

Based on a novel by Jack Carr, The Terminal List centers on Pratt's James Reece, a Navy SEAL whose platoon is ambushed during a covert mission. He returns home with conflicting memories about the incident and faces questions about his culpability in it, but as new evidence comes to light, Reece discovers dark forces working against him and endangering both his life and those of his loved ones.

Kitsch will play Ben Edwards, Reece's best friend and a former SEAL who now works for the CIA. He uses his access to intelligence and operator's skillset to help Reece seek vengeance.

Kitsch's recent credits also include Canal+ drama series Shadowplay (alongside Michael C. Hall and Logan Marshall-Green), Paramount Network's Waco and features Only the Brave and

. He's repped by Untitled Entertainment and Range Media Partners.

Executive producers for The Terminal List are Pratt and Jon Schumacher through Indivisible Productions; Antoine Fuqua (who's also directing) through Fuqua Films, writer Daniel Shattuck and Carr. David DiGilio will serve as showrunner as well as writing and exec producing.

MRC Television is a division of MRC, which is a co-owner of The Hollywood Reporter through a joint venture with Penske Media titled P-MRC.

Deadline first reported the news.

Peter S. Davis, 'Highlander' Producer, Dies at 79

by Mike Barnes
Peter S. Davis

Peter S. Davis

Courtesy Joshua Davis

Peter S. Davis, the colorful producer on the Christopher Lambert-starring 1986 film Highlander that launched a bevy of sequels, television offshoots and video games, has died. He was 79.

Davis died Sunday in his sleep at his home in Calabasas, his son, Joshua Davis, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Davis produced other features including The Death Collector (1976), starring Joe Pesci in his first credited role; Stunts (1977), starring Robert Forster in an early New Line Cinema film; The Osterman Weekend (1983), director Sam Peckinpah's final feature; and Cutting Class (1989), featuring a young Brad Pitt.

Highlander began as an overlooked script about immortals written by UCLA undergrad Gregory Widen. Davis convinced Fox and Thorn/EMI to back the movie in the early '80s and recruited Sean Connery to play Juan Sánchez-Villalobos Ramírez.

Lambert, born on Long Island but raised in Switzerland, was tapped to play the lead before Davis discovered that the actor was not fluent in English. Still, Lambert's turn as Connor MacLeod attracted a cult following, first in Europe and then on VHS home video.

Under the supervision of Davis and his late longtime producing partner, Bill Panzer, the century-hopping tale grew into a franchise that now consists of four features, more than 140 episodes of television, an animated series, a sword business and an iconic Queen soundtrack.

Going after Connery was his idea, he said a few years ago.

"I thought he would be great in the role, but I was discouraged by everyone," he recalled. "Everyone told me there was no chance in the world I'd get Sean Connery. I talked to his agents at the time, and they said, 'Davis, just make an offer … you know he's a very well-paid actor. Make an offer.' I offered $300,000 for one week's work. They told me I was far off the mark. But then, I upped the ante from $500,000 to $700,000. Still nothing. So finally, his agents said, 'Peter, we like nice round numbers.' So we offered a million.

"That got the script to Sean. We immediately heard back that he enjoyed the piece if he got to make certain changes to broaden the role. We finally settled on the million for the week's work. David Tringham, who was first assistant director on the film — from the old school of filmmaking — told us shooting Sean would be near impossible in a week. But they made it work. David, director Russell Mulcahy and production designer Alan Cameron built the [interior] sets back to back to back so Sean could be moved from one scene to the next. Russell shot the shit out of it and managed to get true value out of our million dollars."

As his son wrote, Davis "was a fixture of the independent film world, lunching at Le Dome or Ago in purple sunglasses and piloting a red convertible Maserati around town. In May, he decamped for the bar at the Majestic in Cannes, often trying to gin up foreign sales with posters for films that didn't yet exist.

"For years, he lived on La Costa Beach in Malibu surrounded by dogs and fish tanks filled with moray eels and clown fish. He was an inveterate entrepreneur whose drive led him to start companies that ranged from an exotic car dealership on the Sunset Strip to an install-at-home pole dancing supply shop. He approached each endeavor with the same combination of intense focus, legal insight and unbuttoned paisley shirts."

Davis, who began his career as a Wall Street lawyer and launched his own firm in his 20s before coming to Hollywood in 1977, was at work on a Chad Stahelski-directed Highlander reboot with producer Neal H. Moritz at Lionsgate. His son, a co-founder of Epic magazine, said he will step in as a producer to help complete the project.

"In one of our last conversations, I asked him if he was going to retire after the Highlander reboot gets made at Lionsgate. I was trying to get him to think about slowing down, getting a hobby perhaps," his son said. "But he just looked at me and said, 'Josh, after we make this movie, we're going to make five more.'"

Survivors also include his wife, Katia, sister Vida, daughter Danielle and two grandchildren.

Borys Kit contributed to this report.

'Ginny & Georgia': TV Review

by Inkoo Kang
Courtesy of Netflix

By age 15, Georgia Miller (Brianne Howey) had run away from home, survived on the streets for a year and given birth to her daughter Ginny (Antonia Gentry). By the same age, Ginny had read a lot of books, but never kissed a boy or ever made a friend. No wonder Ginny looks at her gorgeous, confident mother with a mix of admiration, envy, exasperation and not a small amount of suspicion. Ginny’s right at that age, after all, when teens start to sniff out the secrets and shortcomings of their parents — and Georgia’s got more than most.

Set in a storybook New England town, Netflix’s Ginny & Georgia is never coy about its inspiration. “We’re like the Gilmore Girls, but with bigger boobs,” declares Georgia to her sulking teenage daughter, who’s understandably tired of always being the new girl in school as her mom bounces from place to place and from man to man, dragging along Ginny and her much-younger brother, Austin (Diesel La Torraca). After the unexpected death of her wealthy husband, Georgia uproots her Houston-raised children to settle in Wellsbury, Massachusetts, a tony suburb where Ginny can thrive both socially and academically — as long as the biracial teen quietly endures the steady stream of racial microaggressions from her new friends and teachers.

Creator Sarah Lampert inserts frequent flashbacks to Georgia’s grim past as a homeless teenage mother (with Nikki Roumel playing the character’s younger self), but the series is more whimsical dramedy than gritty melodrama. Episodes revolve around school functions, Halloween and, eventually, a mayoral race, in which Georgia’s new boss and love interest, Paul (Scott Porter), fights for a second term against her enemy. Ginny & Georgia doesn’t have a single subtext it doesn’t eventually make text via dialogue or the show’s dueling voiceovers, leading to lines like, “I love my mom, but I don’t want to be her.” But it’s still moving to see the central tension in the show play out: Georgia’s scrappy resourcefulness, however clever or charming in the short-term, ultimately can’t provide her children with the thing she wants most for them — a normal, stable childhood.

Ginny & Georgia is on sturdier footing in the high-school half of the series. Georgia is convinced that she knows everything there is to know about her bookish daughter, and Ginny is determined to prove her wrong. The snappy-bordering-on-manic banter that Gilmore Girls was known for is affectionately parodied via the character of theater-kid Maxine (an impressive Sara Waisglass), Ginny’s insta-bestie and lesbian neighbor. Ginny is soon swept up in a romance with Hunter (Mason Temple), the kind of corny but sincere good guy that Georgia wants her daughter to date. But Ginny also gets tangled in a secret kinda-sorta something with Maxine’s twin brother Marcus (Felix Mallard), the latest iteration of the Jordan Catalano-esque fuckboy with a wounded heart.

The series’ portrayal of the often unconscious but omnipresent nature of race-based microaggressions, especially in predominantly white institutions, is sensitive and bracing. But Ginny’s project of making Wellsbury home means understanding that even these kids, with their $300 jeans and organic school lunches, aren’t alright.

The show takes more tonal and narrative leaps with Georgia — and ends up with less consistent landings. There’s a lot to like about Georgia as a character, starting with Howey’s multi-layered performance. (She’s also given a terrific scene partner in the slyly funny Jennifer Robertson of Schitt’s Creek, who plays Georgia’s only friend, Marcus and Maxine’s flailing mom Ellen.) Georgia’s worries that she’s losing her cool-mom status underscore the fact that the age difference between mother and daughter is a perfect set-up for millennials-versus-Gen-Z jokes, as when Ginny sees Marcus enter her bedroom through a window unannounced and yells, “Who climbs through a window? This isn’t some rapey John Hughes movie.”

But during the course of the ten-part debut season, Ginny & Georgia becomes overstuffed with plot — and, more disappointingly, graduates Georgia from a small-time scammer to something resembling a criminal mastermind. Unfortunately, the show’s ambitions for bigger stakes mean trading in some of the character-based intimacy that is the series’ calling card. Go big or go home, they say — but Ginny & Georgia makes a strong case for staying cozy.

Cast: Brianne Howey, Antonia Gentry, Diesel La Torraca, Jennifer Robertson, Felix Mallard, Sara Waisglass, Scott Porter, Raymond Ablack, Mason Temple

Creator: Sarah Lampert

Premieres Wednesday, Feb. 24, on Netflix