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The CW put on a diverse day of panels at the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday, including new shows (Valor and Dynasty), returning shows (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Legends of Tomorrow) and one show from the corporate past now available on CW Seed (Everwood).
Some highlights and lowlights:
Everwood tears flow on. Give The CW much credit for assembling a near-complete — sans Chris Pratt, for some reason — reunion of the beloved drama Everwood. The classic multigenerational weepie is available to stream on The CW Seed, and this is perhaps the first time that a network has opted to use the press tour to promote an old show on a streaming platform. The emotional panel, which featured tears from at least five former stars and producers, produced as much content and social media attention as any panel this press tour and should serve as a model for any network wondering if TCA can be used to stir interest in secondary platforms and library programming. [Our full Everwood panel coverage.]
Ex-Girlfriend Experience. As one of the lower-rated (but more critically adored) shows on broadcast TV, it’s a minor miracle that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has made it to a third season at all, but showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna and star-producer Rachel Bloom have more charted out. But not much more. “Well, we do the seasons, ‘Live like you were dying.’ We just never worry about whether we have another season. We just do them the way we planned, and Rachel and I, part of our process of getting to know each other, because we met and we started working together right away, was we worked out four chapters,” McKenna said. “It’s a story told in four chapters whether that’s four seasons. And we knew the last sentence of every chapter, and we pitched it at great length to people who were really astonished that we were talking about it so much. I think one of the things that everybody on the show likes is that we do know where the story is going.” Added Bloom, “That’s why we’ve always said four-season show, because we are telling a finite story of a point in a young woman’s life.” [Our full Crazy Ex-Girlfriend panel coverage.]
Long, beautiful hair. I had a conversation with a military-affiliated TV viewer who expressed excitement with a number of the details The CW’s Valor gets right, but they snorted at star Matt Barr’s scruffy hair and beard. Barr had an explanation. “It’s called relaxed grooming standards, and it kind of serves two purposes. One, the guys in special ops sort of wear that as a badge of honor. Same with tattoos and things like that, so when you’re on the base, it’s sort of bragging your rank to a certain degree,” Barr said. “But, also, it helps you assimilate, especially when you’re in Muslim countries and overseas, not just undercover, but to culturally assimilate because you’re a part of that community for as long as the mission takes place.” I’ll have to check into that “relaxed grooming standards” thing.
Savage Garden. The second season of The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow was frequently the most purely fun and entertaining entry in the network’s DC quartet, a big rebound after a rough first run of episodes. Producer Marc Guggenheim explained what the writers learned in terms of how to find the right villains to match with the show’s heroes. “Honestly, we learned so much between seasons one and two, and not to sort of belabor it, I think one of the main things we learned, to speak directly to your question about the antagonists, is we have a team of heroes. It is a lot of fun for us to put them up against a team of antagonists,” Guggenheim explained. “In season one, we had one antagonist. It was Vandal Savage. And because of the nature of the way Legends launched, launching out of that TV crossover, and already meeting Vandal, there was no sense of mystery as to what was going on, which is something that, quite frankly, all the superhero shows really rely upon in the early going. And we also had a guy who was immortal. So you always knew it was like Gilligan’s Island. You knew they were never getting off the island. If their mission is to stop this immortal guy, you know they’re not going to do that for 16 episodes.” To that end, the third season is bringing back Damien Dahrk, but he will be “a different Damien Darhk than the one you saw last year.” The series will also take a crack at fan favorite Gorilla Grodd, who has been well-used on The Flash in recent seasons.
Ever would anybody make Everwood today? Could a show like Everwood even get made today and who would Greg Berlanti even pitch it to? “I do think the success of something like This Is Us hopefully will encourage reasonable people to do more storytelling. But I would go, if I had a show like this, I’d go back to CW. I mean, I think it allowed for storytelling, for adult storytelling, and they’re just as open as they ever were about the themes and the subject matter. At the time, you know, that I was going to take the show out to pitch, I was persuaded by my studio to pitch it because procedural shows were doing really well that year, and family dramas weren’t. And so I kind of sold it on the side on my own to Jordan Levin at the time, who ran the WB and said, ‘We’ll make that if you write it.’ And then the studio that I wrote it for actually decided they weren’t going to make any TV pilots that year. And that’s how I ended up meeting [WBTV Chief] Peter Roth, and he changed my life.”
Dynasty. Now more than ever. Having been a bit stymied by a question about how his Hulu drama The Runaways is related to our current political zeitgeist, Dynasty executive producer Josh Schwartz came prepared for a question about how Dynasty and the Trump Dynasty are tied. “We are definitely living in an age of dynasties, right?” Schwartz said. “You cannot look at the news across a spectrum of parts of society, whether it’s political, whether we are talking about Trumps or Clintons or Kardashians or Murdochs, what have you. Our news is filled with the stories of family dynasties, and that is something that was really exciting to us about why to do the show today.” [Our full Dynasty panel coverage.]
No. There are no current plans for an Everwood movie or series revival.
Yes. Everybody would love to do a revival or just to work together again if the opportunity presented itself. “In a New York minute,” Treat Williams said.
NBC highlights and lowlights tomorrow!
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