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NBCUniversal’s various cable entities came to the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday (Aug. 3) and the room of reporters spent the morning on sci-fi shows that are or aren’t sci-fi and the afternoon with an alleged medium, allegedly altruistic plastic surgeons and… Mariah Carey.
Here are a few highlights or points of discussion:
*** USA’s new drama Falling Water is straight-up science fiction. It’s about dream-sharing and other stuff I can’t adequately explain in 50 words, but it’s speculative fiction, pure and simple. Co-creator Blake Masters and EP Gale Anne Hurd disagree.
“I think it takes place in a fantasy world of the dream world, which we all dream,” Hurd argued. “And it’s grounded in people. It’s not like we are going to a different world or we’re saying that aliens exist or zombies exist. This is actually something that is potentially part of this Jungian. I was analyzed by Jungian myself, and, you know, I understand the power that dreams have and that we can change ourselves, and potentially we can change the world by harnessing the power of our dreams, both in a good way and in a bad way.”
Masters continued, “To answer your question just as directly as I can, science fiction is about things that are speculative, future or technology. This is about humanity. It’s about something that every single person in the world does, and just has one simple metaphysical leap, which is ‘What if all those dreams are just as connected as our waking lives?’, and that’s a drama premise more than it is a science-fiction premise.”
I offered them “philosophy-fiction” instead of “science-fiction” and Masters countered with “I would call it a metaphysical thriller.” [Our full Falling Water panel report.]
*** At least Alex Pastor, creator of Incorporated, was willing to admit his show was science-fiction, which is good because the drama is airing on Syfy. Still, the series, in which large corporations have taken over the world of the future and dystopia and income inequality have ensued, butts up against reality as well.
“We always envisioned this show like as an extreme version of our reality,” Pastor said. “We like the science fiction that holds a mirror to our society and shows the things that are going on right now in a distorted, satirical way. In this case, corporations in our show have the rights to make their own laws and treat their employees however they see fit and even, as it’s kind of hinted in the trailer, to torture them or execute them if they see fit. So I hope that we haven’t got into that point just yet.” [Our full Incorporated panel report.]
*** Speaking of extreme version of our reality, E!’s Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry is apparently wildly successful and many celebrities are convinced that Macauley Culkin-esque star Tyler Henry is the real deal. Certainly Henry takes his own power seriously enough that, like PokemonGo, he prefers not to drive when using it.
“People oftentimes think that this ability is like an on and an off switch,” he explained. “For me, I really actually compare it more to, like, a volume dial. When I go about my day to day life, I’m always kind of picking up some subtle impressions, either from my surroundings or people, but it really takes kind of taking what’s generally in the back of my mind and bringing it to the forefront of my mind before I go to a reading. That really allows me to kind of get into the zone. And that’s why it’s so important that I meditate when I go to these readings and is actually in part why I don’t drive to these readings as well, because, for me, I just have to be kind of a blank slate. I have to be able to figure out what’s coming through beforehand, and if I’m driving, that would obviously present an issue. So don’t want to be distracted.”
*** You may have noticed more swearing on Mr. Robot in its second season, sometimes muted and sometimes not. On USA’s panel for The Women of Mr. Robot, former Suburgatory co-star Carly Chaikin celebrated the expanded verbal flexibility.
“Yes. Yes, it really has,” Chaikin said of whether the ability to curse more has been freeing. “Because that’s real. We say f—, and I’m going to say it right now because we say that. We say all these [words] when we talk when we’re upset and angry, that’s what comes out. And I think also coming off a network show where you can only say ‘bitch’ twice or it’s so controlled, to be able to have that freedom to talk how everybody talks. And also, it sometimes helps with saying a line too, surprisingly.”
She gloated, “I said ‘c—y’ last week, and I think everybody was freaking out because they didn’t bleep. They didn’t drop that out. But then later, I said ‘f—,’ but they were like, ‘How can you say c—y?’ and I totally forgot that and I was like, ‘Good.'”
Good, indeed. [Our full Women of Mr. Robot panel report.]
*** “Botch” – According to the official transcript, the word “botch” or “botched” was said over 60 times during the panel for E!’s Botched by Nature. Of course, one of those times was me declaring, “But the actual word ‘botched’ has lost all meaning” after a frustrating exchange with Dr. Terry Dubrow. His answer is recorded as “(unintelligible)” in the transcript, which means somebody botched that.
*** Finally, Mariah Carey, star of E!’s Mariah’s World entered on the heels of a crew of topless male dancers who became a throne for her and who she called, collectively, “Couch.” Then she dispatched them into the crowd as mic runners for the press and took up residence on a purple chaise lounge brought just for her.
The Hollywood Reporter‘s Marisa Guthrie did a great job of covering what was less a panel and more an odd piece of performance art in which the music legend attempted to transform into Mae West before our very eyes.
But why is Mariah’s World not a reality show if you ask Mariah Carey?
“For real, I was like, ‘Let’s just show the behind the scenes, what it really takes to do a tour, what it really takes for all these people to, kind of, get together and work together and become a family and mainly, you know, watch how the music evolves, watch the process, and watch how the different personalities interact,’ but it’s also I mean, it’s my life, and I figured, if I don’t document this right now, I’m not sure when I’m going to go on tour again. I’m not sure what I’m going to do. So the reason why we call it more a docuseries is because it feels like a documentary. It’s not there’s no way I was, like, ‘Ooh, let’s do some kind of reality thing.’ Like, I don’t even watch reality. I don’t even know what that I don’t even know what reality is, literally, like, in the terms of, like, real or not real.”
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