Now that all the streaming services have established themselves with original shows, they have joined the networks in presenting their stars to the Television Critics Association. For September’s streaming premieres, we actually had a chance to hear from the stars of most shows. While networks launch their new fall lineups this month, Amazon brings us the return of Transparent, as well as continued voting on their pilot season. Netflix brings us the return of Narcos and debut of the long awaited Marvel’s Luke Cage. Crackle launches their latest original show after the success of The Art of More.
Transparent – Sept 23 on Amazon
Transparent has been a landmark series for Amazon, its first acclaimed and award-winning hit, as well as the trans community. The show began when Mort (Jeffrey Tambor) became Maura, coming out to her family. Season three will see Maura as a 12-year-old girl in 1958. Since she only came out in 2014, imagine all the turmoil a child of the ‘50s would go through with her identity. Tambor spoke about his journey with Maura over the three seasons of Transparent.
“I have more confidence this year because I was in Germany and I was in London making films, and people are coming up and talking about Transparent,” Tambor said. “You go, ‘Oh, this is going in. This is going in. This is not Dunkin’ Donuts talk. This is going in. Because that’s a must. So a little more confidence, a little more buoyant. Now we see that everybody is finding I think what happened is one marble got loosened, and everybody just started to tell took authorship of their life. I think that’s what people are seeing.”
Luke Cage – Sept 30 on Netflix
Comic book fans have been waiting for Luke Cage to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and we got to meet him in Jessica Jones, as Jessica’s neighbor with equal strength and invulnerability. On his own show, Cage will take on gangsters in Harlem with new relationships in the community. Mike Colter plays Cage and discussed the importance of diversity in superheroes and on television.
“It’s important in the landscape of television, and also I think globally, as far as symbols and people,” Colter said. “When they look at at black culture, it’s important that we have positive images. I try not to think about it, because it’s an overwhelming task to think that you have to carry this thing on your shoulders, because we’re just trying to tell a story. We’re just trying to tell a story about a superhero who’s going through the same kind of changes that other superheroes, who are not black, go through. But because we are in small numbers, and there’s not as many of us, we’re kind of looked at differently, in a different perception. But we’re just trying to tell a unique story and I think we’ve done so. Anything you can glean from that, then that’s not something that we’re trying to overtly do. We have no agenda but I’m proud that people do think he’s a good superhero. And I hope that the black community can feel good about him as well.”
Narcos – Sept 2 on Netflix
Narcos explained in depth how the drug trade worked through the story of notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar and the DEA agents who brought him down. Since history tells us what happened to Escobar, season two is going to take us there. Wagner Moura plays Escobar, for the last time as season two leads up to his death.
“In the beginning, when Pablo escapes from La Catedral, he really thinks that the government is going to negotiate with him again and he’s going to go back to the prison,” Moura said. “Then Gaviria, the president, just said, ‘No, we want him dead.’ After that, all the enemies like the Cali cartel, people from the Medellin cartel that were angry with Pablo after he killed the two guys in prison, the DEA, the CIA, the paramilitary, there are new players in the game in the second season. The second season is basically about everybody against this guy.”
Jean-Claude Van Johnson – Pilot on Amazon Now
Amazon debuted three new pilots on August 19. Fans can vote on the ones they want to see continue as a series, and I want to make sure everyone votes for Jean-Claude Van Johnson. It is Jean-Claude Van Damme as you’ve never seen him, and it is his finest work.
Van Damme plays himself as a retired actor and secret agent. Oh, didn’t you know that all of Van Damme’s movies were cover for Agent Van Johnson to go on missions? Van Damme brings Van Johnson out of retirement to make more movies and save the day undercover.
The pilot strikes the perfect blend of spoofing Hollywood and action movies, as Van Damme agrees to star in a gritty reboot of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. The jokes about Van Damme’s career are impeccable, and all my frustrations with Timecop’s time travel rules pay off. How’s 22 years for a punchline? Most importantly, Van Damme is just a magnificent ham with all the self-deprecating humor.
StartUp – Sept 6 on Crackle
Crackle’s new drama is set in the world of tech startups. Adam Brody plays an investor who buys into an online currency to help launder some money for his father. This brings him in between the crosshairs of a ruthless gangster (Edi Gathegi) and a suspicious investigator (Martin Freeman).
“It’s the most intense thing I’ve ever done,” Brody said. “It was so f***ing exhausting to film because every scene is — the lowest stakes are a huge, huge, huge existential crisis. That would be the most casual scene. Then the opposite end is you’re going to die, a lot. A lot of life and death stakes and always a ticking clock, so I had to keep up my energy. Then the way we shot it was really energetic as well. It was a bit of a sprint.”