Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog

Aug. 30 2016 1:17 AM

Great News for Unspeakably Sad Vampires: TNT Is Making a Let the Right One In TV Show!

In news that will warm the dead hearts of anyone who likes their vampire stories grim, sad, cold, and very, very bloody, TNT has announced a pilot order for a series based on Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel Let the Right One In, according to Deadline. The book, a 1980s period piece about the dark friendship between a bullied social outcast and a vampire who moves in next door, was made into an extraordinarily grim film by director Tomas Alfredson in 2008. In 2010 Matt Reeves wrote and directed an English-language remake, starring Chloë Grace Moretz as the vampire, under the title Let Me In.

Extraordinarily enough, both the original film and the remake were excellent, and by excellent I mean almost unbearable to watch. Both versions are tied for saddest horror film ever made, and their pitch-black endings are enough to darken your worldview permanently. A TV show that produces that kind of feeling on a weekly basis could be the end of all happiness, but TNT is forging ahead.

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The pilot script is by Jeff Davis, the creator of Teen Wolf and Criminal Minds; neither show has a reputation for hollowing out viewer’s souls. Davis, Marty Edelstein, Becky Clements, Simon Oakes, Carl Molinder, and Alex Brunner are all as executive producing: Molinder produced Let the Right One In and Oakes produced Let Me In, so there’s continuity there. But it remains to be seen how well a story like this will work in a serial format, in which only one episode can have the swimming pool scene.

Aug. 29 2016 11:44 PM

Alison Brie Will Play a Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling in Jenji Kohan’s New Netflix Show

Alison Brie has been cast in a starring role in G.L.O.W., the upcoming Netflix series from Orange Is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan, Variety reports. The show, a half-hour comedy, will tell the story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, a 1980s wrestling promotion created by director (and Jayne Mansfield’s husband) Matt Cimber, astrologer (and Sylvester Stallone’s mother) Jackie Stallone, and producer (and non-celebrity relative) David McLane.

Brie will play an out-of-work actress who joins the wrestling promotion in a last-ditch effort to succeed. It’s her first on-screen recurring television role since Community was cancelled, though she voices Diane Nguyen and Vincent Adultman on Bojack Horseman, also on Netflix.

The show doesn’t have a release date yet, but to prepare for the awesomeness that will come from a comedy about G.L.O.W., let’s take a terrifying journey into the minds of its creators. First, here’s Jackie Stallone, rapping about how the wrestlers she manages, known as the Good Girls, will defeat the heels (the Bad Girls, naturally) managed by Aunt Kitty:

Aug. 29 2016 6:14 PM

“When God Spoke to Moses”: Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks Recall When They First Met

Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks were one of the great actor-director pairs. Though critics and audiences and the Oscars take comedy less seriously, their collaboration should be remembered alongside such famous pairings as Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee and Denzel Washington, Julianne Moore and Todd Haynes, and (until more recently) Johnny Depp and Tim Burton.

So when news first broke on Monday of Wilder’s death, the first person I thought of was Mel Brooks. I thought of Young Frankenstein, and Blazing Saddles, and The Producers, but above all, I thought of this scene from PBS’s American Masters documentary on Brooks, when the two remember when they first started to work together.

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Asked whether Wilder saw his meeting with Brooks as “an important meeting,” Wilder breaks out laughing and is unable to stop himself. When the interview asks him “What’s so funny?”, he answers by making a comparison. “When God spoke to Moses the first time,” he explains, it’s like “if you ask him, ‘Was that significant in your life?’ ”

Brooks is equally warm about Wilder, almost five decades later. “Everything Gene did for me was angelic and supreme,” he recalls, and the documentary cuts back and forth between the director and the actor as they remember one of the many times that they did something together that they couldn’t have done apart. When that kind of chemistry comes along, you never forget it.

Aug. 29 2016 4:48 PM

Beyoncé Snuck Up on Chance the Rapper Backstage at the VMAs, and His Reaction Was Priceless

Chance the Rapper has worked with the likes of Kanye West and Lil Wayne, so you’d think the Chicago M.C. would be used to hanging around famous people. But when Beyoncé snuck up on him mid-interview at the VMAs on Sunday night, the rapper proved that it doesn’t matter whether you’re an Olympic gold medalist or a famous recording artist—when you meet Beyoncé, you will flip out.

In the video, you can see that Chance exhibits all 7 classic stages of meeting Beyoncé:

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  1. Shock
  2. Realization
  3. Freaking out
  4. Hugging
  5. Head-wiggling
  6. Yelling “This is my life!”
  7. Forgetting you are in the middle of an interview in favor of walking away to tell everyone what just happened

Kudos to interviewer Meredith Graves for understanding (and for not missing her opportunity to bask in Bey’s glow).

Aug. 29 2016 4:40 PM

Comedians Pay Tribute to Gene Wilder

The news of the death of Gene Wilder hit the comedy world hard on Monday, and tributes to the comedy legend are quickly rolling in. The star of Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, The Producers, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and more was 83, and left behind a filmography that spanned five decades.

Aug. 29 2016 4:27 PM

What Exactly Happened in The Night Of Finale? Your Pressing Questions, Answered.

“Who killed Andrea Cornish?” may have been the central animating question of HBO’s The Night Of, but Sunday night’s finale left us with a lot of unanswered questions, too. Like: Wait, so Naz had to go back to Rikers to get his stuff? And: How much eczema can one TV show contain? Here, we attempt to answer as many of these pressing queries as possible.

Aug. 29 2016 3:49 PM

Gene Wilder, Star of Willy Wonka, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, and More, Has Died at 83

Gene Wilder, the actor and comedian known for starring in several Mel Brooks comedies, has died, his family told the Associated Press. Wilder’s nephew indicated that the actor died after complications from Alzheimer’s disease in Stamford, CT.

Wilder appeared in several classic comedies over the years, including Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, The Producers, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. He was also known for his relationship with Saturday Night Live’s Gilda Radner, who died just a few years after their marriage in 1984.

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Wilder was 83.

Aug. 29 2016 3:32 PM

The Wild New Trailer for HBO’s Westworld Teases Cowboys, Androids, and a Mind-Bending Twist

HBO has followed its creepy debut trailer for Westworld with what they’re dubbing a new “mature” version. At a slightly longer two minutes, the trailer provides a better introduction to the complicated plot and character dynamics that will unfold over the ambitious new drama’s 10 episodes. In particular, an exchange of grim dialogue between Anthony Hopkins and Evan Rachel Wood ends the trailer on an intriguingly ominous note.

Set for an Oct. 2 premiere date, the series is based on Michael Crichton's 1973 film of the same name, but it will differ in notable ways. Perhaps most notably, in a twist that seems fitting coming from a Nolan (in this case, Christopher Nolan’s brother Jonathan), the trailer suggests that the series will be more sympathetic to the androids, who become self-aware and appear poised to rise up against their human overlords. But surely everything will turn out fine in the end. After all, it’s Westworld, where nothing can possibly go wrong.

Aug. 29 2016 2:32 PM

How Much Screentime Does Eczema Get in The Night Of? A Statistical Breakdown.

Has any show ever featured as much eczema as The Night Of? The many failed treatments, unfortunate breakouts, and sandal combinations of John Turturro’s John Stone emerged as an unexpected highlight of the acclaimed HBO crime drama—even dermatologists agree.

It sure feels like the characters are never not talking about Stone's eczema. But just how much screentime does eczema actually get? Does Stone's skin condition loom so large because of its grossness and its centrality to the character, or because of sheer number of minutes the series devotes to it? We decided to crunch the numbers to calculate the percentage of each episode, and the show overall, that features eczema over the course of the series’ 530-minute running time.

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The results: This is a lot of eczema screentime compared to every other TV show that's ever aired. But it's still less than one might think! Especially based on just how many unforgettable close-ups of Tuturro's feet The Night Of's eight episodes delivered.

Aug. 29 2016 1:43 PM

The Night Of Ultimately Had a Lot in Common with Making a Murderer, for Better and for Worse

Upon its premiere, The Night Of drew comparisons to everything from HBO classics like The Wire and Oz, as a prison drama concerned with the insufficiencies of the criminal justice system, to more recent examples like American Crime and The People vs. O.J. Simpson, as a stylish, elongated procedural shrouded in ambiguity. But critics also noticed a far rarer point of comparison for scripted TV: documentaries, and specifically the recent phenomena of The Jinx, Serial, and—perhaps most notably—Making a Murderer. As an atmospheric (and occasionally infuriating) piece of true crime, The Night Of stood out for its methodical pace, and its general commitment to realism.

Indeed, the show’s dreary noir aesthetic was backed up by a narrative that favored uncertainty, that was comfortable in the grey. The series depicted Naz’s transformation in prison as a matter of necessity—his ability to survive otherwise was doubtful—but also as a piece of its suggestive reading of the character as a potential killer, potential innocent, and undeniable cog in the incarceration machine. It introduced red herrings as a way to play with familiar genre conventions, while keeping the focus on its compelling main characters, from defense attorney John Stone (John Turturro) and his reluctant partner Chandra Kapoor (Amara Karan) to retiring detective Dennis Box (Bill Camp) and pragmatic prosecutor Helen Weiss (Jeannie Berlin), their adversaries. And it moved slowly, spending as much time on John’s struggles with eczema and cat allergies as it did on unfurling the facts of the case. Through its idiosyncrasies and its quirks, The Night Of felt real.

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