When one of the first people you get to see in the morning is Jim Carrey, you’re likely to have a good day. This is probably why Showtime kicked off their TCA day with the comedy, “Kidding.”
Carrey is one of those people who can captivate a room, which is exactly what he did with a bunch of critics. He riffed, went on tangents and charmed everyone. He’s also the only person I can think of who could say, “F no I don’t want to be here” and have an entire room burst out in laughter. But more on “Kidding” in a moment.
Aside from the Jim Carrey comedy, Showtime had presentations for "The L Word: Generation Q" and an executive panel that featured a bevy of announcements. Here are the highlights from this morning.
Showrunner/writer/producer Dave Holstein and actors Catherine Keener, Judy Greer and Jim Carrey were on the panel for “Kidding.” It was one of the most interesting panels I’ve ever been a part of.
Carrey, as you might expect, was all over the place but also, somewhat ironically, laser focused. Whatever the topic was, and he was asked a myriad of questions, he was able to give a quick, thoughtful answer. His responses were sometimes philosophical, often humorous and at times totally random.
Carrey was asked if he’s still angry about not getting an Oscar nomination for “The Truman Show” (he never was angry), his thoughts on fans having an influence on artists work (“Sometimes people just want something to want it.”) and what Ariana Grande was like (“She has a thing that she does that's like magic.”). And then he’d also throw out random jokes with lots of cursing that had the entire room laughing. Sadly, I can’t share any of those here.
As you might expect, Carrey was the focus for critics and deservedly so but I also had a sense that this group of people are really close even though one person carried the panel. I’ve attended so many of these panels where everyone says “I loved the script” or “these people are my family” and at some point it becomes trite. No one during “The Kidding” panel said any such thing but the way they interacted with each other demonstrated it was clear how tight they were.
Illustrating this was an exchange between Keener and Greer. Carrey, sitting between them, was leaning forward and when Keener mouthed to Greer, “I love you” and Greer responded “I love you back.” It was a brief moment that I’m sure not many people noticed (I’m sitting in the second row) but something about it made me smile.
The second season of “Kidding” debuts Nov. 3.
“The L Word: Generation Q”
This new series continues to follow the intermingled lives of Bette Porter (Jennifer Beals), Alice Pieszecki (Leisha Hailey) and Shane McCutcheon (Katherine Moennig), along with new characters Dani Nùñez (Arienne Mandi), Micah Lee (Leo Sheng), Finley (Jacqueline Toboni), Sophie Suarez (Rosanny Zayas) and Gigi (Sepideh Moafi) as they experience love, heartbreak, sex, setbacks and success in L.A. The series is currently in production on eight episodes in Los Angeles. It premieres Dec. 8.
Showrunners and producers are looking to examine what’s changed in the LGBTQ community now compared to 10 years ago when the show first premiered. However, it will also look at what hasn’t changed. With half the cast consisting of original cast members and the other half made up of new, younger cast members representing the next generation, this series should have plenty of relevant storylines to choose from.
Showtime Executive Panel
Showtime started with a little levity, making a joke about a new streaming service called Showtime Maxi +, a clear dig at HBO Max. This was followed by some opening statements and stats by network execs.
Showtime has 27 million subscribers, with two million of those coming in the last 12 months. They have three of the top seven drama series on cable, and the network is looking to expand that expand original content by 30%. This includes both scripted and unscripted series.
A few other announcements from execs:
- “City on Hill” was renewed for a second season.
- A new reality series called “Couples Therapy” launches Sept. 6
- A one hour comedy starring Lena Headey called “Rita” starts filming this fall.
“Rust,” starring Jeff Daniels, starts filming in the first half of next year.
- Gal Gadot will be starring in a series based on the life of Hedy Lamarr.
- Natasha McElhone will play both Halsey and Cortana in “Halo,” which will premiere in 2021.
- The final season of “Homeland” debuts Feb. 9.
- David Diggs will play Frederick Douglass in the Ethan Hawke limited series “The Good Lord Bird.”
As you can see, Showtime has a lot going on.
Gazette TV critic Terry Terrones is a member of the Television Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. You can follow him on Twitter at @terryterrones.