by Josie Kafka
Coming Soon to a Screen Near You, or Not
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland has been canceled, as has the Scott Baio-led Nickelodeon comedy See Dad Run. (Scott Baio still exists? I always imagined him trapped in a 1980s-style video game, tapping on the screen of an old tube TV and begging to be let out of his two-dimensional cage.) Even the internet is getting into the cancellation act: pioneer fan site Television without Pity will go offline on April 4th. But do not despair: 24: Live Another Day will return on May 5th.
American Horror Story’s fourth season is subtitled “Freak Show,” and will feature a 1950s freak show (duh) presided over by Jessica Lange’s German expatriate. Angela Basset, Frances Conroy, and Gabourey Sidibe will also return to the horror show; they will be joined by Michael Chiklis (Shield).
In its early seasons, Glee did a lot for making younger people aware of the bullying and antigay rage that can make high school so perilous. Although that show sometimes seemed to be more of a public service announcement than a true drama, I admire the effort that went into portraying how rough some kids have it, and how to deal with the misery of high school with aplomb and corrective behavior. Hopefully, the Glee masterminds, who are also behind the AHS franchise, will bring some of those skills to the most recent installment of this show.
But I doubt it. The last episode of American Horror Story: Asylum that I watched featured Chloe Sevigny climbing up a public flight of stairs, covered in boils and pustules, with both of her legs amputated by an evil doctor. A crowd gathered, staring at the “freak show” presented by her injured and abject body. Did they help? No. They screamed.
Not every show has to descend to the level of an after-school special, filled with messages of love and understanding. But, traditionally, freak shows made a dehumanizing spectacle out of non-normative bodies. That tradition is one that AHS has already mined for shock, and to continue to promote the retrograde notion that a “freakish” body is a “horror story” waiting to happen seems to be stupidly provocative at best, and cruel at worse.
Captain America (aka Chris Evans) would like to quit defending the free world. The actor revealed this week that, after his six-film contract is fulfilled, he would like to direct. My first thought? Six films! How big is the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Bigger, now, I guess, since Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD will soon add a dash of Amy Acker to the mix. This most beloved of actresses will play Phil Coulson’s former flame, a cellist. Patton Oswald (who will not, to my knowledge, be playing a former flame of Phil—say that three times fast) will also guest star on the show I’m still tempted to call MASh.
Those expansions aside, perhaps Chris Evans’ contract allows for the possibility of Marvel finally masterminding those tricky who-owns-what questions so that Captain America can join the X-Men on one of their exciting jaunts:
This Week in Casts
• Desmond Harrington (Dexter) will be a series regular in ABC’s upcoming summer series Astronaut Wives Club, which I think deserves an apostrophe and maybe even a hyphen, but of course funding for summer shows is always a bit tight.
• Kim Dickens (Deadwood, Lost, a bunch of other stuff) will star in the CBS series Red Zone about retired CIA operatives who must abandon their new careers as high school coaches and guidance counselors to stop terrorism.
• Andre Royo (Fringe, Deadwood) will join the Ron Pearlman Amazon series Hand of God. Royo will play a voice in Pearlman's head.
A New Kingkiller Chronicle
Patrick Rothfuss, author of the excellent first two books (The Name of the Wind, The Wise Man's Fear) in the projected Kingkiller Chronicles trilogy, will release a novella set in the same world on November 4th. Here's blurb:
The Slow Regard of Silent Things is set at The University, where the brightest minds work to unravel the mysteries of enlightened sciences, such as artificing and alchemy. Auri, a former student (and a secondary but influential character from Rothfuss’s earlier novels) now lives alone beneath the sprawling campus in a maze of ancient and abandoned passageways. There in The Underthing, she feels her powers and learns to see the truths that science—and her former classmates—have overlooked.
I've been on tenterhooks waiting for the third volume, so I'm delighted that I get at least a smallish something to tide me over. Devoted Rothfuss fans might also enjoy hunting down a Bast story in the new George R.R. Martin-edited anthology Rogues, which comes out in June.
This Week in Cat People