Lionsgate Inks Deal With Peacock to Stream ‘John Wick’ Prequel Series

Peacock and Lionsgate have inked a multiyear deal for  “The Continental,” a three-part series based on the blockbuster action franchise “John Wick.”

Premiering exclusively on Peacock in 2023, ”The Continental” will explore the origin story and inner workings of the exclusive Continental Hotel, a centerpiece of the “John Wick Universe” which serves as a refuge for assassins.  

The series will premiere exclusively on Peacock in 2023  alongside the “John Wick” movie trilogy.

“The ‘John Wick’ films have become a global phenomenon, are among the most watched titles on Peacock and we are thrilled and honored to partner with Lionsgate to extend this incredible franchise,” Kelly Campbell, president of Peacock and direct-to-consumer, said in a statement. “We understand the value of a global franchise and Val Boreland and team knew that by bringing this special event series to Peacock and putting the full power of NBCUniversal behind it, the premiere of ‘The Continental’ will be the streaming event of the year.” 

“’John Wick’ has become part of the cultural zeitgeist with a massive, passionately engaged fan base around the world,” Lionsgate Television group chair Kevin Beggs said in a statement. “We’re delighted to partner with Peacock to continue expanding the ‘John Wick’ Universe. This agreement reflects the collaboration of our Motion Picture Group, which has grown the franchise from the beginning and was excited by the opportunity to bring it to the next level, Jim Packer and his Worldwide Television Distribution team, which found the perfect home for ‘The Continental,’ and the Lionsgate Television creative group, which created a brilliant and enduring property that is one of the most highly-anticipated streaming events of 2023.” 

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

In “The Continental,” told from the perspective of the hotel manager, a young Winston Scott (Colin Woodell, based on Ian McShane’s character in the films) is dragged through 1975 New York to face a past he thought he’d left behind. In an attempt to seize control of the iconic hotel, which serves as a meeting point for the world’s most dangerous criminals, Winston charts a deadly course through the mysterious underworld of New York City. 

Woodell is joined by Ayomide Adegun, who will portray a young Charon (based on Lance Reddick’s character); Peter Greene, who dons the fedora of Uncle Charlie (based on the tight-lipped body disposal expert); Mel Gibson as Cormac; Ben Robson as Frankie; Hubert Point-Du Jour as Miles; Jessica Allain as Lou; Mishel Prada as KD; and Nhung Kate as Yen.  

Greg Coolidge and Kirk Ward serve as writers and showrunners on “The Continental,” and executive produce alongside Albert Hughes, Thunder Road Pictures’ Basil Iwanyk and Erica Lee, Chad Stahelski, Derek Kolstad, David Leitch, Shawn Simmons, Paul Wernick, Rhett Reese and Marshall Persinger. Albert Hughes directs the first and third nights and Charlotte Brandstrom directs the second night. 

Negotiations were led by Val Boreland, EVP and head of content acquisitions for NBCUniversal, and Jim Packer, president of Worldwide Television and digital distribution for Lionsgate. 

The John Wick films have grossed nearly $600 million worldwide to date. John Wick: Chapter Four is scheduled for theatrical release worldwide in March 2023.  

First Season of ‘Mayor of Kingstown’ Headed to DVD and Blu-ray Sept. 27

Season one of the dramatic series “Mayor of Kingstown” arrives on Blu-ray and DVD Sept. 27 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Starring Jeremy Renner and hailing from “Yellowstone” co-creator and Academy Award nominee Taylor Sheridan and Hugh Dillon, the series follows the McLusky family, power brokers in Kingstown, Mich., where the business of incarceration is the only thriving industry. Tackling themes of systemic racism, corruption and inequality, the series provides a stark look at their attempt to bring order and justice to a town that has neither.

The original drama series produced by MTV Entertainment Studios and 101 Studios first launched in November 2021 with “Yellowstone” serving as a launchpad airing a special simulcast event for the series’ premiere on Paramount Network. The premiere of  “Mayor of Kingstown” was the No. 1 original scripted drama on Paramount+ since the rebrand and cable’s biggest new scripted premiere since “Yellowstone” in June 2018 with 2.6 million total viewers, according to Paramount.

The disc release includes all 10 uncensored episodes from the inaugural season, along with more than two hours of special features, including “Behind the Story” segments for each episode; “Perdition: Making ‘Mayor of Kingstown'”; “Zero Sum Game: The Finale”; “Inside ‘Mayor of Kingstown'”; character spots; and the cast’s favorite scenes.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

In addition to Renner, the first season stars Academy Award winner Dianne Wiest, Emmy Award winner Kyle Chandler, Hugh Dillon, Taylor Handley, Emma Laird, Tobi Bamtefa, Derek Webster, Hamish Allan-Headley, Pha’rez Lass and Aidan Gillen.

Season Four of ‘Cobra Kai’ Due on DVD Sept. 13

Season four of “Cobra Kai” is headed to DVD Sept. 13 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The series also streams on Netflix.

“Cobra Kai” takes place over 30 years after the events of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament with the continuation of the inescapable conflict between Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). Season four finds the Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang dojos joining forces to take down Cobra Kai at the All Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament — and whoever loses must hang up their gi. As Samantha and Miguel try to maintain the dojo alliance and Robby goes all in at Cobra Kai, the fate of the Valley has never been more precarious.

Bonus features include deleted scenes, a blooper reel, and the “Karate Dad” featurette.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

 

Apple TV+ to Bow ‘Gutsy’ Docuseries With Hillary and Chelsea Clinton

“Gutsy,” an eight-part documentary series following Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton as they celebrate the women who inspire them, will premiere on Apple TV+ Sept. 9.

Based on the Clintons’ New York Times best-selling book, The Book of Gutsy Women, the docuseries features the duo as they embark on a journey to speak with pioneering women artists, activists, community leaders and everyday heroes. 

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Appearing in the series are Kim Kardashian, Megan Thee Stallion, Dr. Jane Goodall, Gloria Steinem, Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Kate Hudson and many more.

Paramount+ Renews ‘Evil’ for Fourth Season

Paramount+ has renewed the original series “Evil” for a fourth season.

The first four episodes of season three of “Evil” are currently available to stream. New episodes of the 10-episode third season drop weekly on Sundays, exclusively on Paramount+.

“’Evil’ continues to expand its fanbase of both critics and viewers alike; season three currently has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and it is a consistent top five most-watched original series and acquisition driver for the service,” Nicole Clemens, president of Paramount+ original scripted series, said in a statement. “We couldn’t be more excited to be terrified by what Robert and Michelle create for season four with our outstanding cast bringing it to life.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Evil” is a psychological mystery that examines the origins of evil along the dividing line between science and religion. Season three began moments after the end of season two — when a newly ordained David and Kristen kiss. The two not only have to navigate this fraught new reality, but contend with David’s involvement with “the entity,” an espionage unit within the Catholic church. Meanwhile, Ben finds his brain breaking from their unsolved cases and turns to his sister for help.

The series stars Katja Herbers, Mike Colter, Aasif Mandvi, Michael Emerson, Christine Lahti, Kurt Fuller, Andrea Martin, Brooklyn Shuck, Skylar Gray, Maddy Crocco and Dalya Knapp.

Apple TV+ Orders Thriller Series ‘Criminal Record’

Apple TV+ has ordered the eight-episode thriller series “Criminal Record,” starring Academy Award winner Peter Capaldi and Critics Choice Award nominee Cush Jumbo as detectives in a tug of war over a historic murder conviction.

“Criminal Record” is a character-driven thriller set in the heart of contemporary London. An anonymous phone call draws two brilliant detectives into a confrontation over an old murder case — one a young woman in the early stages of her career, the other a well-connected man determined to protect his legacy. The series touches on issues of race, institutional failure, and the quest to find common ground in a polarized Britain. Capaldi (“Doctor Who,” “The Thick of It”) stars as Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Hegarty, and Jumbo (“The Good Wife,” “The Good Fight,” “The Beast Must Die”) stars as Detective Sergeant June Lenker.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

From BAFTA Award nominee Paul Rutman, the series is currently in production in London and is produced for Apple TV+ by Tod Productions and STV Studios.

Rutman (creator of “Vera” from the Anne Cleeves novels and “Indian Summers”), BAFTA Scotland Award winner Elaine Collins (“Shetland,“ ”Vera“), Capaldi and Jumbo serve as executive producers.

Under the Banner of Heaven

STREAMING REVIEW: 

Hulu;
Drama;
Not rated.
Stars Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Wyatt Russell, Denise Gough, Billy Howle.

Based on the best-selling nonfiction book by Jon Krakauer, this story about actual murders is told through the eyes of a fictional devout detective (Andrew Garfield) whose faith is tested as he investigates the crime’s connection to a well-known Utah family’s spiral into Mormon fundamentalism and distrust in the government.

Beginning with dull, desaturated tones, the series starts like a horror film, as dark clouds and a fallen bird’s wing enter the screen. The camera moves to a happy family scene as Detective Jeb Pyre (Garfield) plays with his daughters under the ominous sky. A call sends him to the aftermath of a bloody attack, which the viewer only glimpses. From the expression on Pyre’s face, viewers imagine the massacre he sees. Outside, Pyre finds a blood-soaked man. That man assists him in uncovering the mystery of the murder, as well as certain uncomfortable truths about his faith illustrated in period flashbacks involving its founding fathers.

Punctuated by historical reenactments, the seven-episode series unwraps the events leading up to and resulting from the 1984 murder of Brenda Lafferty and her infant daughter. We meet the Lafferty brood as Brenda becomes involved with and eventually marries one of six sons in the devoutly Mormon clan — a sort of LDS Kennedys, she explains to her family. But the loving facade of the Laffertys soon falls away under the economic pressure of a recession and the strict dictates of an overbearing father. Religion becomes a justification for flouting the law, abuse, misogyny — and ultimately murder.

Brenda’s husband (played by Billy Howle) is a (possibly unreliable) narrator of the story, pointing out to Pyre, “Our faith breeds dangerous men.” He relates many of the historical tales that show the violent and vacillating doctrines of revered Mormons such as Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, linking their teachings to the actions of his family. But while Mormonism is implicated, the series effectively portrays how men can use any religious teachings — Mormon or other — to rationalize their own selfish desires. Sam Worthington, as Ron Lafferty, and Wyatt Russell, as Dan Lafferty, skillfully portray the transformation of two brothers who lose their moral compass as they twist religious history to make sense of misfortune and fit their aims. Playing two other brothers, Seth Numrich and Rory Culkin — in a particularly creepy turn — also bring this family descent into antisocial behavior to life.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Daisy Edgar-Jones plays Brenda, the moral anchor, a devout Mormon showing the Laffertys’ apostasy in sharp relief. Likable, loving and helpful, she acts with righteous vigor, supported by the church, in the face of the “evil” infecting the clan — showing a bravery that ultimately ends in her death and that of her 15-month-old daughter.

Gil Birmingham’s wry turn as Pyre’s gum-chewing Native American detective sidekick Bill is a welcome relief. As a secular observer, he’s got many of the most clever lines, and Birmingham delivers them with an understated aplomb.

But Denise Gough, as Ron’s wife Dianna, who is also hunted by her husband and his family, delivers the most cutting lines, a condemnation of what would now be called “toxic masculinity.” “Do you step on women’s necks because it make you feel taller? Because your mother told you you were a chosen one? That our country is to blame for your failings?” she says to one of the clan. “Well, it’s a lie. You are not special. You are not chosen. You and your brothers simply failed. You are a small, weak child of a man.”

Indeed, the weakening of faith is the ultimate message of the series, which ends with the capture of the murderers by a shaken Pyre. True crime buffs may find the final episode a bit unsatisfying, as there is no court scene or slamming of the jail doors on the two culprits. What happens to the men who perpetrate the murders is left to further investigation by viewers. Their guilt is unquestioned, but at the conclusion Pyre, it seems, continues to secretly question his faith.

Max Original Series ‘Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin’ to Debut July 28

The HBO Max Original series “Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin” will debut its 10-episode season on July 28 with three episodes. Two new episodes will follow on Aug. 4 and 11, with the final three episodes debuting Aug. 18.
 
Executive produced and written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (“Riverdale,” “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”) and co-executive produced and written by Lindsay Calhoon Bring (“Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”), the dark, coming-of-age, horror-tinged drama is set miles away from Rosewood, but within the existing “Pretty Little Liars” universe — in a new town, with a new generation of “Little Liars.”
 
In the series, 20 years ago, a series of tragic events almost ripped the blue-collar town of Millwood apart. Now, in present day, a disparate group of teen girls — a brand-new set of “Little Liars” — find themselves tormented by an unknown Assailant and made to pay for the secret sin committed by their parents two decades ago, as well as their own. 

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The series stars Bailee Madison, Chandler Kinney, Zaria, Malia Pyles and Maia Reficco as the new generation of “Liars.” The series also stars Mallory Bechtel, Sharon Leal, Elena Goode, Lea Salonga, Eric Johnson and Alex Aiono.

Biopic Series ‘Pam & Tommy’ Available on DVD Aug. 9

The biopic series “Pam & Tommy” arrives Aug. 9 on DVD from Lionsgate.

The series is streaming on Hulu.

Following the scandalous drama that set the internet down a new path, “Pam & Tommy” is based on the incredible true story of the Pamela Anderson (Lily James, Cinderella, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again) and Tommy Lee (Sebastian Stan, Captain America: The Winter Solider) sex tape. Stolen from the couple’s home by a disgruntled contractor (Seth Rogen, This Is the End, Superbad, Pineapple Express), the video went from underground bootleg/VHS curiosity to full-blown cultural obsession when it hit the Web in 1997. A love story, crime caper, and cautionary tale rolled into one, the eight-part original limited series explores the intersection of privacy, technology and celebrity, tracing the origins of our current reality-TV era to a stolen tape seen by millions but meant to have an audience of just two.

The series also stars Nick Offerman (“The Great North,” “Parks and Recreation”) and Taylor Schilling (The Lucky One, “Orange Is the New Black”).

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

 

Shining Girls

STREAMING REVIEW: 

Apple TV+;
Drama;
Not rated.
Stars Elisabeth Moss, Jamie Bell, Wagner Moura, Amy Brenneman.

For fans of serial killer stories, “Shining Girls” will prove an excitingly creepy entrant in the genre.

From the very first scene of this story about a time-traveling murderer, the menace is heightened by the fact that he seems to know what’s going to happen long before his victims and the audience does. This plot device effectively puts the viewer in the mindset of heroine Kirby (Elisabeth Moss), who is sent into a chaos of timelines that keep her and the audience on edge.

While this series was released on a weekly basis, it’s now concluded. That’s a good thing as the best way to watch it is in one long or a few long binge sessions, as keeping the plotlines straight are much easier when there’s not a week between clues.

The performances are first-rate all around. Moss as always is an appealing everywoman with which viewers can identify, and Jamie Bell as the killer Harper Curtis is just unimposing enough to make his true nature shocking. (As the famous killer in Psycho says, he looks like he “wouldn’t even harm a fly.”) Wagner Moura, who plays Dan, a reporter on the case, gives unique life to the rumpled gumshoe. Amy Brenneman turns in an equally effective performance as Kirby’s mother.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

As multiverses seem to be the theme of the moment, “Shining Girls” fits right in. Viewers must contemplate numerous realities along with Kirby, all while trying to find a killer who seems to have the key to navigating the pathways between them — and that makes him a particularly terrifying foe.