The summer 2016 installment of the Television Critics Association press tour kicked off on Wednesday (July 27) at the Beverly Hilton with Netflix offering a varied day that featured an augmented reality thingie for Stranger Things, a DJing lesson from Grandmaster Flash and a panel with two pugs, three corgis and the rest of the Puppies of Netflix.
Here are a few of the day’s highlight quotes, including Amy Sherman Palladino’s suicide pact with Netflix, an explanation for the renewal of Real Rob and the Stranger Things kids expressing wonder at the ‘80s.
*** Netflix will be releasing all of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life on November 25. This was not what creator Amy Sherman-Palladino wanted. “I told them I was going to hang myself from a shower curtain if they put them all out [at once]. And they said, ‘Well, okay’ Yeah. ‘Can we help you with that? Because we have really nice shower curtains here.’ And so you know, look, it’s it was my hope to put them out separately because I am a thousand and I enjoy seeing it, walking away, having some coffee, a sandwich, seeing what the next one. And also because it’s such a journey and it’s such a build to the last four words and because we live in an age where I knew people were going to go right to the last four words and then put it on the Internet and possibly spoil it for people who are going to take the journey. However, you know, it’s you don’t always get what you want. Trust me. I don’t have the ass I want.” [Our full panel report.]
Sherman-Palladino is, of course, right about those pesky and pointless spoilers. Why the heck would anybody want to skip ahead to the end of the four parts of Gilmore Girls just to cheat on those four little mysterious serious-ending words? Your guess is as good as mine, but somebody on your Twitter feed will do it and you’ll want to slap them. Don’t be that person.
*** Jared Harris on cultivating the proper cough to play King George VI, the — HISTORICAL SPOILER ALERT — doomed father of Claire Foy’s Queen Elizabeth in The Crown: “What I did was I took many, many rides in the London tube and licked as many surfaces as I could. I got as sick as I possibly could. That was actually real. I did actually get sick.” The Crown creator Peter Morgan noted that there have been back channel efforts to contact the royals and, “There is a sense that they are both very, very nervous and very, very excited. I think they don’t like not having control, but I think they also understand that dealing with this subject matter with some degree of respect, you know, even objective scrutiny is a rare thing. These are people who are used to slander, cartoons, satire. These are not people who are used to being taken seriously. And whilst that might be a terrifying prospect, I think it is also the only worthwhile way of looking at our recent history.” The Crown doesn’t premiere until November, but the first two episodes made me cry. [Our full panel report.]
*** Grandmaster Flash on his role in the celebratory baked good that is hip hop as presented in The Get Down: “So the question is if hip hop was a cake, then I cannot tell you how many people took a slice off that cake, being producers, fans, artists, and that alike. But I can tell you about the recipe the flour, the milk, the eggs, the vanilla, and the secret ingredients because I am one of the bakers, along with Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa.” When he wasn’t coming dangerously close to quoting “MacArthur Park,” Grandmaster Flash also admitted that he had no clue who Baz Luhrmann was when the Romeo + Juliet director reached out to tap his expertise for the upcoming 1970s drama. [More from after the Get Down panel.]
*** Amidst the usual talk about why ratings don’t matter for Netflix, I asked CCO Ted Sarandos if the renewal for Real Rob, a Rob Schneider comedy that always astounds people when I tell them it exists, means that it’s literally impossible for a Netflix show not to get a second season. “So as, obviously, the president of the Rob Schneider Fan Club there, Rob has a ton of fans who love this show, and we’re proud to put it on, so it supports itself just fine,” Sarandos said. Regarding when Netflix cancels shows, he continued, “[W]hen we set out to do a show, relative to what it cost, so relative to what else you would have spent the money on, does it get the audience? Does it get the audience satisfaction, measured by completions and the rate in which people complete a season of a show, searching, what people search for, the social media buzz, the work that you guys do to kind of keep a show in the zeitgeist. If it achieves all those things, then we’re happy and thrilled, and we make more as long as there is a creative direction that will take you to a second season.” When it came to Flaked, one of several shows in possible second season limbo, Sarandos didn’t have an answer, but Netflix reps told me afterwards that Flaked had been picked up for a six-episode second season, which had been rumored, but never officially announced. Yay? [To add amusement, the official Flaked Facebook page confirmed the renewal on Thursday. So I broke the news on Twitter. Very weird.]
*** Courtesy of the young stars of the ‘80s-set Stranger Things, several reasons to feel old: “[N]owadays you don’t see kids riding their bikes. You don’t see kids hanging out in their house. Like, in each other’s houses anymore. They’re always like [staring at imaginary cell phone], ‘Hey, look. I caught a Pikachu. I’m gonna text my friend,'” Gaten Matarazzo said of the period setting. He added, “It’s cool to be in the shoes of a kid that was in the ’80s. It’s cool to be in the shoes of what my dad used to do when he was a kid.” That’s still not as bad as the terrific Millie Brown who, in her native British accent, enthused, “I had no idea what a record player actually was. It had, like, a stick. It was so weird. And I was like hold on. I need to know what that is. And I got it for Christmas, so I was like this is amazing. And I got to play a ton of records on it. So I now know what that is. That was great.” Netflix didn’t announce a renewal for Stranger Things at press tour, but based on general excitement around the property, particularly internationally, it’ll come eventually. [Possible second season Stranger Things hints.]
Up next from TCA press tour… PBS…