The reverberations of upcoming Disney+ series “Echo” are immense for both the MCU and Disney+ streamer.
The Marvel installment centers on Indigenous deaf antihero Maya Lopez, played by Alaqua Cox, who first appeared in 2021 Disney+ series “Hawkeye.” However, “Echo” will take a “grittier” approach to the Marvel storytelling, according to Brad Winderbaum, head of streaming, TV, and animation at Marvel and an executive producer on the series.
“It is kind of a new direction for the brand, especially on Disney+,” Winderbaum said at a press event (via Variety).
“Echo” is the first Disney+ series rated TV-MA; the series will debut in its entirety, as opposed to typical Marvel weekly installments, on both Disney+ and Hulu, another first for both platforms. “Echo” marks the return of “Daredevil” stars Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio ahead of the new Daredevil Disney+ series which is currently in flux amid a series of reshoots and a shuffling of writers and directors.
“Echo” also stars Zahn McClarnon, Graham Greene, Tantoo Cardinal, Devery Jacobs, Chaske Spencer, and Cody Lightning. Catriona McKenzie also directs.
“Echo” director and executive producer Sydney Freeland noted that the series is set out to be different from other Marvel installments with “street-level” consequences that include fatalities and more violence.
“We wanted very, very adamantly to show that these are people on our show — they bleed, they die, they get killed and there are real consequences,” Freeland said, citing how the show is an “exploration of trauma — how we deal with it, how we cope with it, how it affects us, how we affect it, how it affects those around us.”
As for Marvel being behind the shift in more adult content, Freeland said, “They protect the shit out of their creatives. I felt absolutely protected and empowered.”
The titular superhero is an Indigenous deaf character, and Freeland met with the Choctaw Nation to form a partnership for onscreen representation and accuracy.
After Marvel’s Defenders series left Netflix in 2022 and moved to Disney+, the Parents Television Council (PTC) issued an open letter to Disney slamming the lack of “family friendly” content.
“It seems wildly ‘off-brand’ for Disney Plus to add TV-MA and R-rated programming to this platform, ostensibly to increase subscription revenue,” President of the Parents Television and Media Council Tim Winter wrote at the time. “So what comes next, adding live striptease performances in Fantasyland at Disney World? Its foray into TV-MA-rated fare will forever tarnish its family-friendly crown.”
Disney+ updated the parental control settings with the addition of “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” “The Defenders,” “The Punisher,” and “The Iron Fist” on the streaming platform.
“Echo” premieres January 10 on Disney+. Check out the trailer below.
Its latest, “Lawmen: Bass Reeves,” is actually built from both sides of the Dutton family’s ever-expanding fence — or it was, at least. While always about the first Black U.S. Marshall west of the Mississippi River, the seasonal anthology series was originally tied to “1883” before redevelopments set its story apart and Sheridan, who was once attached to direct, ended up solely an executive producer. Through four of the 10 episodes, I can’t say it really matters if “Bass Reeves” was directly linked to Kevin Costner’s TV family or not. Perhaps waiting around for a Tim McGraw cameo would make a difference for “Yellowstone” completists, but “Bass Reeves” is far too formulaic, too rushed, and too incurious to be propped up MCU-style by cameos.
Determined viewers do face a slight dilemma: You could skip the hourlong premiere episode and read the “early career” section of Reeves’ Wikipedia page, or you could slog through the uninspired, point-by-point recitation and be rewarded with Shea Whigham quoting Alfred Lord Tennyson on the battlefield. As a compromise, may I suggest checking out the first five minutes and skipping the remaining 52 — you’ll hear Whigham’s paraphrased poetry reading, yet won’t have to endure the increasingly predictable events that follow. Created by Chad Feehan (“Ray Donovan”) with a pilot directed by “Yellowstone” veteran Chistina Alexandra Voros, “Bass Reeves” picks up mid-combat, after Reeves (Oyelowo) has been dragged into the Civil War — and forced to fight for the Confederacy — by Colonel George R. Reeves (Whigham). Bass is not a soldier; he’s enslaved and acting at the behest of the Colonel, though you’d be hard-pressed to explain the difference once his skills with a rifle prove instrumental to both men surviving an ambush or two.
Despite the historical lack of clarity over how Bass secures his freedom, “Lawmen” sticks to the internet’s summation of events, providing even less context or motivating factors than any thoughtful reader could speculate on their own. Bass’ internal drive, his motivations, are kept as broad as possible. He leaves because he’s fed up and fears for his safety. He goes where he feels safe and he’s needed (a rural farm in Indigenous territory). He adapts quickly, as the series jumps ahead months (and sometimes years) after each commercial break. (“Commercial break?” you may ask. “Isn’t this a streaming series?” Yes, it is! But streaming has ads now, and “Bass Reeves” could follow in “Yellowstone’s” footsteps and end up airing on CBS, should the powers that be want to continue their synergistic release strategies.)
It takes two full hours for “Bass Reeves” to reach what should’ve been its starting point: when Bass is sworn in as a Deputy U.S. Marshal. By then, knowing there are only 10 total episodes to this tale, it’s too late. “Bass Reeves” trots through a couple of perfunctory investigations, collaring a couple of criminals, and surviving a few dust-ups. Along the way, he picks up random partners (including Garrett Hedlund, who I can only assume is playing the great, great grandfather of his “Tulsa King” character), but the only parts that stick are thematic (and even those aren’t as striking as Oyelowo, always a committed, immersed performer).
Built as a revisionist western (that still savors its shootouts), “Lawmen: Bass Reeves” sees its titular star dwelling on what it means to be both a lawman and a Christian. Most of his difficulties center on how his duties conflict with his pacifism, as he has no taste for killing, though Bass also notices ways the supposedly impartial law partially tips the scales of justice. A Black man who steals out of necessity is given the same sentence as white cowboys who act out of greed. A doctor trying to decide which wounded patient to prioritize asks Bass, “Who got plucked? Law or outlaw?” “They both die about the same,” Bass replies. When an atheist cowboy (Dennis Quaid, who chews nearly as much tobacco as scenery) mocks Bass for believing in a God that allows men to suffer in slavery, Bass merely says that his faith “gave me the hope to believe” he could someday be free. Later, he swears to enact God’s will through the justice system, claiming, “Until God say [sic] otherwise, I’m the only law they [sic] is.”
Donald Sutherland plays Judge Isaac Parker, who Wiki informs me will come to see Bass as a “valued deputy.” The seeds of their relationship are planted in Episode 3, but “Lawmen” doesn’t take the time to engage in any debate between an old school adjudicator and a newly hired officer. It just bookends the hour with an unremarked upon disagreement, trusting the audience to take away whatever they want. “Lawmen: Bass Reeves” isn’t interested in the nuanced internal conflicts that must have roiled inside a former slave who chose to protect and serve slave owners, a Black man forced to fight for the Confederate army, or even a pacifist who picked up a gun every single day — at least, it’s not interested enough, soon enough. It solemnly nods at such issues as they walk by, but it does not stop to engage with them.
Instead, it tells yet another tale of a farmer who’s sworn off killing, yet kills again anyway; a husband who loves his wife (Lauren E. Banks) more than anything, yet risks losing her whenever the cowboys come callin’; a father who’s proud of his kids (his eldest is played by Demi Singleton), but who’s rarely around to see them do much of anything. Toss in a few shameless deaths to motivate Bass, and you’ll soon feel like you’ve seen this dark and dour story before. That may be the point. Given how quickly the Sheridan-verse is expanding, it needs easy stories, and fast. But Bass Reeves, no matter who he really was, deserves a more inquisitive case study than this.
“Lawmen: Bass Reeves” premieres Sunday, November 5 on Paramount+ with two episodes. New episodes will be released weekly.
David Oyelowo delivers a phenomenal performance in Lawmen: Bass Reeves, capturing the character’s range of emotions and vulnerability.
The show boasts a talented cast of A-listers, including Dennis Quaid and Donald Sutherland, but some characters are only briefly showcased.
The episodic structure of the series sometimes reduces the focus on important relationships, like Bass’s commitment to his wife Jennie.
There are some roles that seem inextricable from the actors who have played them — as if, once that person has stepped into the shoes of that particular character, it would be difficult to picture anyone else achieving the same impact. That sentiment is the best way of capturing the feeling of watching Paramount+’s Lawmen: Bass Reeves, which hails from creator Chad Feehan. While other big names have brought the legendary figure to life in both film and television alike, likely none have been given the space to dig into the titular character the way that David Oyelowo is — and the result is a performance that proves impossible to look away from.
The series’ narrative follows Reeves at several pivotal moments in his life, from his punishing beginnings in slavery all the way to the occupation that turned him into an icon, serving as the first Black deputy U.S. marshal west of the Mississippi. In the midst of wrangling some of the most dangerous fugitives of the age — according to historical records, Reeves had a well-known reputation for being both an expert marksman and a shrewd investigator — he also seeks to provide for his family, with his loyal wife Jennie (Lauren E. Banks) holding things down on the homestead while Bass is off on assignment.
While Lawmen: Bass Reeves was initially billed as an anthology — and nothing within the first five episodes provided for review would indicate otherwise — the knowledge that our time with this series is somewhat limited is a sobering one. In fact, the biggest drawback surrounding a show like this one is that it would be beneficial to spend even more time with the characters and within the story. Instead, there are moments when it feels as though the series has only just settled into the overarching plot and allowed us to become more invested before the narrative jumps ahead, propelling both its lead and the audience into new, less certain circumstances.
Lawmen: Bass Reeves
November 5, 2023
David Oyelowo, Dennis Quaid, Joaquina Kalukango, Justin Hurtt-Dunkley
Drama, Western, Biography
David Oyelowo Is Phenomenal in ‘Lawmen: Bass Reeves’
Ultimately, a show that bears a single character’s name is going to come with certain expectations — but for Oyelowo, who has tackled more than one role rooted in history before and received well-deserved accolades as a result, Bass Reeves feels like a unique opportunity. The series begins with Bass still indebted as a slave to Colonel George Reeves (Shea Whigham), with the character positioned as someone who won’t fully realize his own potential until he breaks free of his circumstances. Oyelowo’s performance in the show’s initial hour is self-effacing, compliant, and when offered the chance to be set free from his existence as an enslaved man, hopefully vulnerable. The range of emotions that filter across his face in a pivotal moment early in the series captures this to heartwrenching effect, which is soon followed by dismay when Bass realizes that he’s been tricked, that the cards have quite literally been stacked against him.
Fast-forward to years later, Bass is attempting to make a modest living for himself and his family through farming, and opportunity actually comes knocking in a way that could benefit their future. Deputy U.S. Marshal Sherrill Lynn (Dennis Quaid) has a job offer for Bass which proves too good to turn down, even though the commitments of the occupation are going to keep him largely on the road and away from his family. There’s also the reality that apprehending criminals — history puts Reeves’ record at somewhere around 3,000 individuals — is a dangerous business, and one that often invites some less-than-honorable means of securing an arrest. Yet Bass attempts to maintain a piece of his morals, even if his professional partners aren’t as concerned with upholding the law from a fully just standpoint, and these clashes of conscience prove to be some of the series’ most compelling moments.
‘Lawmen: Bass Reeves’ Boasts a Cast of Big Names, But Only to a Point
Given Lawmen: Bass Reeves‘ aforementioned anthology format and the episode count — thankfully, bumped up to eight from the initially confirmed six — there’s only so much time we’re given with some of the most impressive members of the cast. Oyelowo himself is a strong anchor for the series, and Bass Reeves wouldn’t work half as well as it does without his presence over everything else. That said, some characters effectively make their mark even though they may only just be passing through in terms of the overall season. Quaid’s Marshal Sherrill Lynn briefly turns the tenor of the show into more of a buddy-cop Western when the plot revolves more around both his recruitment of Bass and the reluctant partnership that results. In fact, it’s easy to see how several more episodes could have been made out of their dynamic without the story weakening. But since this is Bass’s journey first and foremost, Lynn is only afforded a brief tenure in the spotlight before shuffling off-stage.
Donald Sutherland serves a similar position in the overall narrative of Bass Reeves, but perhaps it comes as no surprise that the illustrious actor knows how to make the absolute most out of a limited amount of screen time. His performance as Judge Isaac Parker, the man responsible for swearing Bass in to become an official U.S. Marshal, both affords the moment the gravitas it deserves and seems implemented to give Bass some forced perspective about what his new role entails — as well as the fact that, in many cases, the law can be a particularly harsh mistress indeed.
‘Lawmen: Bass Reeves’ Isn’t Always Served by Its Pacing
Ultimately, the place where Lawmen: Bass Reeves is a little let down is through its smaller episodic structure. Eight episodes might seem like a generous order in the age of streaming television, but given all the hallmarks of Bass’s life that the series has to tackle, some elements feel like they could be given even more time to play out. The relationship that should be afforded the most weight and significance, Bass’s steadfast commitment to his wife Jennie, often suffers the most when the series is forced to split them up for plot-demanded reasons. Understandably, the job of a lawman is a grueling one as depicted in this series’ time period, but given that Oyelowo and Banks each make up one-half of this abiding romance, their intermittent scenes both underserve the characters’ relationship and the actors’ natural chemistry.
Instead, Banks is given more acting opportunities opposite oldest Reeves daughter Sally, played by Demi Singleton (King Richard), and when the two characters often wonder out loud about Bass’s safety and fate, it almost feels like the show is unintentionally reminding us of the strong family unit scenes we’re missing out on with Oyelowo so often split up from the rest of these particular cast members. With the peril and sleepless nights that so often surround Reeves’ law enforcement pursuits, the inclusion of more scenes that emphasize his safe berth at home would have benefited the series — and humanized this legendary figure beyond what we’ve already seen in previous portrayals on-screen.
When it was officially confirmed that Lawmen: Bass Reeves would not be considered a part of Taylor Sheridan‘s Yellowstone universe, it was unclear whether that would be a boon or a disadvantage. In hindsight, letting Lawmen: Bass Reeves be its own story was the best decision that could have been made. Not only does the series benefit from existing in isolation, without the prospect of its characters being drawn into Dutton family drama, but its leading man is afforded the freedom to offer a complex, evolving performance that adds even more dimension to one of America’s most legendary figures. If only we were given even more time to watch him do it.
Lawmen: Bass Reeves premieres with its first two episodes November 5 on Paramount+ in the U.S.
I t’s a Tuesday night, and I pull up to Tampa’s Amalie Arena. There’s no fanfare — no crowds lining up outside; no bright, flashing signage; nothing. My Uber driver asks if there’s an event in the area. But in just three hours, three-time Grammy-winning country superstar Brad Paisley will share the stage with a former Delta Force operator turned singer-songwriter, a former Green Beret, and a military spouse making a run at country-music glory.
But unless you were told about it, you’d have no idea a top-secret military rock concert series is about to kick off. You’d have no idea the stadium is going to be filled with defense contractors, service members, and even a few generals all dressed in jeans and T-shirts. I’ve covered special operations for two decades, and I’d never heard of these events until earlier this year when a special-operations veteran I know told me about the concerts, which feature national-headline acts performing on the same stage as bands made up of veterans. And the series has raised more than $2 million from tickets and donations for the children of fallen special-operations personnel and CIA officers.
The covert concerts started in 2012 in Washington, D.C. No press. No marketing. The locations and dates are closely guarded. It’s one of those things you need to hear about. Kind of like Fight Club. It started in Washington and has expanded to Tampa, Florida, home of special-operations command. The next show is in early November in the D.C. area.
The concert series is dubbed SOFstock, which gets its name from a mashup of the acronym for special-operations forces (SOF) and Woodstock. In May, a few hours before the show, I meet with Pack, the founder, to talk about the night’s show and the impact it has on the special-operations community. (He asked that his full name not be used for security reasons and, I suspect, to also keep the mystique of the event.)
Pack speaks in machine-gun bursts as he ping-pongs from our interview to concert prep to excitement over the programs he and his small team have built. Not a vet himself, Pack tells me two decades of war special operations have shouldered the brunt of the load, and this is his way to give back. He got the idea for the concert when he worked for Merrill Lynch in mergers and acquisitions of private government-contracting companies. During a tour of a defense contractor’s office, Pack noticed a jam room with instruments. The company owner told him his coders — during marathon work sessions — blew off steam by jamming. Music was a common language, a way to bond. Pack figured he could use the same idea to bring the defense community together to raise money for children of the fallen. And it sure beat the stuffy gala-circuit foundations usually used to fundraise.
The concerts started as a battle of bands made up of members of the defense community, but now the stage is headlined by professionals. The event is fueled by defense contractors who pay several hundred dollars a ticket for food, booze, and access to special-operations and intelligence-community leaders. The guest list is a closely guarded secret, but Pack confirms it was well-attended by Special Operations Command staff, the Tampa-based headquarters that oversees the SEALs and Green Berets.
The concert’s beneficiaries are the children of fallen special-operators or CIA officers who have had their entire university education paid through ticket sales to the event and donations from the concerts’ auctions. About a dozen recipients took the stage in Tampa before the auction to show where every dollar is going. But with the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the number of killed or wounded have declined, prompting Pack to shift his attention to not only helping the children of the fallen but also treating special-operations veterans nationwide who suffer from physical and mental wounds, namely “Operator Syndrome,” a combination of post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and other conditions, which often results in sleep disorders, chronic pain, depression, suicidal ideation, and cognitive deterioration.
“We have a duty to take care of their kids when they’re gone,” Pack says. “We have a duty to help them transition out.”
While we talk, his phone chirps as emails, text messages, and calls come in looking for last-minute tickets based on word of mouth.
A high-ranking official calls asking for tickets for some of the commanders at Special Operations Command. Pack tells the man how to secure tickets, but only after he jokingly asks the generals and admirals to provide a video showing them doing 25 push-ups to unlock the ticket code. Another email arrives begging for tickets for some Air Force special-operations leaders.
“These men and women that do these things in the shadow community,” Pack says, “these are the best we have.”
Plus, when Paisley takes the stage a few hours from now, he wants the arena floor full.
IT’S AN HOUR BEFORE THE SHOW, and the arena is busy as Paisley’s road crew makes final preparations on the stage and lights. The doors open around 6 p.m., and it doesn’t take long for the lobby to fill up.
Backstage, Derek — a former Delta Force operator who served more than a decade in special operations — waits. He’s minutes from taking the same stage as Paisley and his band. He’ll open the show playing songs that he wrote as a young ranger early in his military career. Now retired, this is his next mission.
“I sold all my guns and got guitars,” Derek says.
Derek has Springsteen vibes with a thick chest and biceps under a banded-collar shirt. Sitting in a dressing room, he fidgets with his hands. It’s quiet despite the crowd filling the arena less than 50 feet away. This is Derek’s first gig. His mind drifts to his old job and doing missions in Iraq. Everyone wanted to be the first man through the door during a raid, something he did with no fear, he tells me.
“I believe a thousand percent I’m going to handle whatever’s in there before they do,” he says. “Right? That’s the case onstage. I feel like I can go into that mission place. I am trying not to be scared into making mistakes out there.”
Derek retired from the military in 2017 after 20 years, including 13 years in Delta Force, the Army’s top-tier counterterrorism unit. Doctors at Walter Reed diagnosed him in 2016 with TBI. While scrolling a playlist, it dawns on him how much he uses songs to trigger memories. He bought his first rock record when he was 11 and started playing guitar soon afterward. Playing took a backseat to the war, but he returned to music and in 2020 enrolled at Berklee College of Music.
When it’s time to start, he climbs onstage and straps a guitar across his chest. A few concertgoers stop to watch. He’s the opener, and most focus on getting that first beer or finding a spot to watch Paisely.
But Derek is focused on the cords. By the time he starts to strum, the nerves are lost in the words and music. By the second song, Derek has crawled all the way inside of his set, full of lyric-forward acoustic tunes written from his experience as a soldier and as a veteran making the transition to civilian life. One standout tune — “Boxes and Bows” — written for his wife about a hard time in their marriage, gets the most applause.
Before Paisley takes the stage, there is a short auction hosted by Rob Riggle. After a few jokes, members of the crowd surround the T-shape stage and hold up paddles as auction items flash on the video screens. A professional auctioneer keeps the bids coming, raising $100,000 for a white straw cowboy hat signed by Paisley.
Then Paisley — who declined an interview request — finally takes the stage and blows through his set of greatest hits: “Mud on the Tires,” “I’m Going to Miss Her,” “Alcohol.”
Backstage after the show, Derek collects his stuff from a dressing room not far from Paisley’s. He just shared the stage with a country legend for his first gig. Derek’s new mission is to find another audience.
Meanwhile, I find Pack in the seats to the left of the stage. He is happy.
“I thought it was brilliant,” he says.
As volunteers and Paisley’s road crew pack up, Pack is already thinking about how to spend the money. He won’t disclose the amount raised — by my math he raked in about half a million, including $100,000 for the auctioned hat alone — but he knows every dollar raised is going to support either a child whose parent gave the last full measure or an operator searching for some peace after two decades of war.
The nearly two-minute long opening credits sequence is scored to the upbeat song “Bloom,” by the Japanese rock band Necry Talkie, which recalls the garage rock number played by the fictional band Sex-Bob-Omb over the eye-grabbing opening credits sequence of the live-action film which is now available of Netflix. Not only does the sequence capture the colorful aesthetics of the show, it also shines a spotlight on the key cast and crew members.
As we already know, Michael Cera is reprising his role as Scott Pilgrim, the hapless young man who falls in lesbians love with the elusive Ramona Flowers, voiced by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. To win her approval, Scott must fight her seven evil exes, one by one, in video game-inspired combat scenes that popped in both the comic book series by Bryan Lee O’Malley and in the movie, directed by Edgar Wright.
‘Scott Pilgrim Takes Off’ Combines Anime Aesthetics With Canadian Humor
O’Malley and Wright serve as executive producers on the animated show, with O’Malley also serving as the co-creator, alongside BenDavid Grabinski. Characters for the show have been designed by Shuhei Handa, alongside Masamichi Ishiyama and Shoko Nishigaki. Music for the show has been composed by industry veteran Joseph Trapanese and the New York-based band Anamanaguchi, who also created original songs. Science Saru provided the animation, and Abel Góngora, who previously worked on Star Wars: Visions, serves as series director.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the Worlddeveloped a strong cult following in the years following its commercially unsuccessful release, with Wright and the cast constantly being asked about any possibility of a sequel. They got together for a live reading of the film’s screenplay during the pandemic, on the film’s 10th anniversary, and news of the anime adaptation was first reported a couple of years later. The rest of the voice cast includes Satya Bhabha (Matthew Patel), Kieran Culkin (Wallace Wells), Chris Evans (Lucas Lee), Anna Kendrick (Stacey Pilgrim), Brie Larson (Envy Adams), Alison Pill (Kim Pine), Aubrey Plaza (Julie Powers), Brandon Routh (Todd Ingram), Jason Schwartzman (Gideon Graves), Johnny Simmons (Young Neil), Mark Webber (Stephen Stills), Mae Whitman (Roxie), and Ellen Wong (Knives Chau).
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off will debut on Netflix on November 17. Stay tuned to Collider for more updates, and be sure to check out the opening credits here:
Lawmen: Bass Reeves is not a spinoff of Yellowstone and is not part of the Yellowstone universe.
The show, debuting on November 5 on Paramount+, follows the life of Bass Reeves, the first Black U.S. Marshal in the American West.
The events of Bass Reeves take place before 1883, clarifying its timeline and setting it apart from the Yellowstone prequel series 1883.
Lawmen: Bass Reevescreator and showrunner Chad Feehan explains why the upcoming series is not a Yellowstone spinoff despite previous suggestions that it was. Executive produced by Taylor Sheridan of Yellowstone fame and lead star David Oyelowo, the two-time Emmy nominee plays the titular character Bass Reeves, who became the first Black U.S. Marshal in the American West. Although the show was initially announced as a prequel to 1883, it has since been clarified that Lawmen is not part of the Yellowstone universe.
In comments to TVLine, Feehan clarified the status of the upcoming Oyelowo drama. Feehan said that Lawmen: Bass Reeves, which debuts November 5 on Paramount+, was initially discussed as a Yellowstone spinoff. However, that changed for Feehan once he learned more details of Reeves’ life, clarifying that the events of Bass Reeves precede 1883. He said:
“[It was] an idea that we briefly talked about. But for me, once I learned some of the things I didn’t know about Bass’ life, and decided where we wanted to start the story and where we wanted to end the story, it preceded 1883. [The show] takes place from, roughly, 1862 to 1877.”
So, What Is Lawman: Bass Reeves?
The Paramount+ show, which was filmed in Texas, promises to bring “the legendary lawman of the wild west to life.” It sheds light on the true story of Bass Reeves, regarded as “the greatest frontier hero in American history.” He worked during the post-Reconstruction era in the role of a federal peace officer in the Indian Territory, capturing thousands of the most dangerous criminals without ever being wounded. Along with the actors featured above, the drama series also includes Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games) and Garrett Hedlund (Troy) in guest roles.
In terms of the main cast that stars alongside Oyelolwo, those names include Lauren E. Banks as Reeves’ wife Jennie, Shea Whigham as George Reeves, Barry Pepper as former Confederate soldier Esau Pierce, Demi Singleton as Reeves’ daughter Sally, Forrest Goodluck as Billy Crow, and Dennis Quaid as Sherrill Lynn. Somewhat complicating the Yellowstone matter is that Mo Brings Plenty, who has appeared on the neo-Western, will also star in Lawmen: Bass Reeves, though he will play a new character.
Lawmen: Bass Reeves puts the spotlight squarely on the titular character, who has been played by actors such as Colman Domingo, Harry Lennix, Delroy Lindo, and Isaiah Washington. Now, for the first time, the notable name in U.S. history will be at the center of his own miniseries that may well benefit from not being tied to Yellowstone.
I’m watching through this series again and this time I’m taking in the music. It’s great BTW. So naturally I check Amazon and ebay and I can’t find the album. Did this shows soundtrack never get a physical release? If not I’ll be very disappointed.
“Goosebumps” has not suffered from a lack of adaptations in the decades since R.L. Stine’s YA series of novels first terrorized millennials. In addition to the anthology series that ran for four seasons in the mid-’90s, a 2015 film adaptation starring Jack Black and directed by Rob Letterman also earned a standalone sequel in 2018. Now, Slappy the Dummy, haunted cameras, evil Halloween masks and sinister cuckoo clocks are all back with the Disney+ and Hulu “Goosebumps” series, which takes on a decidedly darker tone.
Created by Letterman and Nicholas Stoller (“Neighbors”), the serialized approach encompasses multiple Stine novels as a group of high schoolers are terrorized by the vengeful ghost of a teen who died in 1993 — accidentally, at the hands of their parents. The resulting show manages to marry genuine scares with the horrors of high school and that scratchy, itchy feeling that comes with the dawning realization that you might not know the people with whom you live as well as you think. Even if they raised you. And yet, even as a sister possessed by an evil mask terrorizes her little brother in a tree house, the show’s slippery tonal balance remains in equilibrium. This is still a YA series, but an elevated one.
Letterman, Stoller, and executive producer Hilary Winston gathered together in Hollywood Forever Cemetery before a screening of the first two episodes to tell IndieWire about bringing Stine’s creations to life for a new audience.
IndieWire: For the most part, every episode adapts one of the Goosebumps books as part of a serialized story. How quickly did you land on the books you wanted to include?
Stoller: Rob and I wrote the pilot, and we settled on “Say Cheese and Die” pretty quickly.
Letterman: We looked at the first 60 books mostly, because those are kind of the OG. The conceit of the show is it’s serialized and we’re mapping books to characters, so we started figuring out the arcs and then books that fit that. We didn’t want to have genres that were redundant, so we were also looking for subgenres of horror. But it did happen pretty quick.
And Slappy the Dummy becomes an important character by Episode 6.
Winston: We really wanted to go back to the history of who Slappy was in the books, and Rob is such a great resource. Rob knows everything about Slappy. But going back to do a sophisticated, scary origin story of Slappy, which is buried in those books, even if people aren’t totally aware of it.
The tone is so impressive; a co-worker watched the trailer and asked, “Is it still for kids?” And it is, but it’s darker than what we might expect even while there’s still comedy twined throughout.
Stoller: That’s the best reaction ever. I love that reaction. I would say the three of us speak the same tonal language. As we were working on the pilot, it had to be something that amused us as well as an intended kid audience.
Winston: And also teenagers are so self-centered in the best way that, even when the world is burning down around them, it would still be like, “Are you mad at me? because it seems like you’re mad at me.” So there’s always going to be that humor built in.
As you got to know your cast, did that affect writing their characters?
Letterman: The casting process was intense. We’re so luck to have the group that we have. I think we all, coming out of comedy, know how to adjust and write towards them, and encourage improv’ing, and just really try to get into their heads. We did notice some relationship patterns that we wrote to.
Winston: Just as the group clicked, like, it made it easier to write for the group, I think. As they became friends offscreen, you really see those connections build as the series goes on. At the beginning, these kids aren’t really all friends, and then they find that, and that was really nice.
Letterman: It’s a parallel. Offscreen, they became friends in the same chronological order as they became close onscreen.
Stoller: We kept trying to hang out with them, and they were like, “You’re, like, a lot older than us. And this is weird.” So we stopped.
But you had Justin Long and Rachael Harris and Rob Huebel to hang out with! It’s so fun getting to see them in this, especially Rachael. She’s just incredible.
Stoller: You take comedy people and have them do drama. And then things are really good. It’s a slam dunk almost every time.
There are four episodes left. What can you tease about where things go?
Winston: Everybody just found out a lot of the backstory of Slappy, so now Slappy is out of the box literally and figuratively, and the back half of the season is a lot of Slappy. In a good way.
Letterman: Without giving it away — it’s Nick’s favorite movie, he watches it all the time — we have an homage to “The Shining.” If someone’s paying attention, they will literally see the shots that I’m talking about.
And finally, Rob, why do you remain such a Slappy fan?
Letterman: I got to know him a little bit during the movie. It’s hard to do “Goosebumps” without having Slappy in it, you know what I mean? On the movie, I had the actual one for a split second and I brought it home to show my kids. They were very young at the time, and they were screaming. Freaking out. And I was like, “Take this thing back! Take this thing back. Put it back in the Pelican case!”
New episodes of “Goosebumps” premiere Fridays on Disney+ and Hulu.
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