Connect with us

Good TV

‘The Exorcist’ is rewriting all the rules of horror, and that’s why we love it

Charmaine Blake



Image: fox

We hold these horror truths to be self-evident: Unless you’re the “final girl” at the end of the slasher flick, women and people of color are usually the victims in scary movies and TV shows, not the heroes. (Just ask Michael Che, who made a too-real quip about it on this week’s Saturday Night Live.)

The Exorcist — Fox’s small-screen follow-up to the iconic William Peter Blatty novel and 1973 film adaptation of the same name — bucked that trend right out of the gate, choosing to center its story around two priests, one of whom is Latino (Alfonso Herrera’s Father Tomas Ortega) and one of whom is gay (Ben Daniels’ excommunicated Father Marcus Keane) — two perspectives that aren’t often serviced in mainstream horror projects.

The show isn’t about race or orientation, so these character traits are just that — one small facet of our heroes’ complex personalities; informing their identities without standing in for them. (Aren’t you looking forward to the day when that kind of realism is so unremarkable that we don’t have to remark on it anymore?)

“To be part of a show that doesn’t portray Latinos as a stereotype is something that I really celebrate,” Herrera told us during a recent press conference for the show. “I thank [executive producers Jeremy Slater and Sean Crouch] to allow me as an actor and allow me as a Latino to give something more real and grounded about my culture, about who I am as a Mexican, and Tomas [is] as a Mexican.”

Season 1 of the show featured (no spoilers) a demonic possession that plagued the WASPy Rance family, but the narrative was still decidedly female-driven, giving meaty roles to Geena Davis, Hannah Kasulka and Brianne Howey. Season 2, on the other hand, features a foster family with a group of kids from different backgrounds, enabling the show to add a variety of life experiences and baggage to the mix, lending the horror series an authenticity even when it’s dealing with the supernatural.

Before the first season premiered, Davis — who founded the eponymous Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media to push for equality and tackle stereotypes surrounding women in entertainment — noted that the executive producers were determined to craft an inclusive narrative, which encouraged her to sign on for her first series regular TV role in a decade.

Image: Fox

“When I was first approached, they were very earnest about letting me know, ‘We know what you do. We want you to be proud of this show. We want you to not have any problems with how we are doing everything,'” she told reporters last year. “So there’s a lot of great things happening with us. Half of our writers’ room is women, which is very exciting and unfortunately unusual, and there are more female important characters than male in the story also.”

Season 2 has doubled down on that mission statement, meaning that Ben Daniels is the only white male series regular, starring alongside Hererra, Kurt Egyiawan, Li Jun Li, Brianna Hildebrand and John Cho. That’s still pretty unprecedented, even in today’s eclectic TV landscape.

Season 1 had two female directors in its 10-episode season, while Season 2 has tapped three female helmers across its eight episodes.

“We were hoping for fifty percent everywhere,” admitted showrunner Sean Crouch. “We got four female writers and five male writers [in Season 2] so we came close, and we got every major religion in there; for a religious show we wanted to make sure that we got every voice that we could get… It was part of what we wanted to do to make sure that we aren’t handicapping ourselves, to make sure that we have enough voices everywhere, in front of the camera and behind the camera, so we get every possible story.”

L-R: John Cho, guest star Alex Barima, guest star Hunter Dillon, Brianna Hildebrand and guest star Cyrus Arnold.

Image: fox

“I think it’s one of the strengths of television over film, honestly, as someone who comes from the film side of things and had 10 years of experience. It’s really, really hard to get diversity into films because everyone is afraid – they’re gambling 100 million dollars on something, and it just becomes like, ‘how do we make this lead role for Channing Tatum and no one else?'” said series creator Jeremy Slater.

“That was one of the most gratifying and liberating things about coming to TV, it’s kind of the exact opposite where, especially here at Fox, there is a mandate to ‘let’s get different voices in front of and behind the camera, let’s tell different stories about different people.’ It’s part of the reason I think TV is experiencing a golden age right now, where the film industry is not. It really is a testament to Fox of how much they were supportive of that vision from the very beginning.”

The show’s inclusivity (and willingness to upend horror conventions) was apparently also part of the appeal for Cho, who previously had a recurring role on Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, albeit with a villainous — and far less developed — character.

“That was one of the reasons I was compelled to join – I just couldn’t think of an Asian face in American horror, and I thought it was just interesting to do that,” he admitted. “I thought it seemed fresh, and the show was already diverse. When you have a diverse world on camera, my personal reaction is that it feels more real, and therefore I’m more inclined to care about that world and the characters in it a little more, because it feels like the world I walk around in. So I’m into it.”

And while one show can’t make up for the lack of diversity across an entire industry, The Exorcist‘s commitment to presenting the world as it really is (give or take a few demons) represents a welcome change for a genre that’s been slow to evolve.

As the old saying goes, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” and much like its holy heroes, it seems like the cast and creative team behind The Exorcist want to be part of the solution, not the problem.

The Exorcist airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on Fox.

Read more:

Good TV

Jodie Whittaker will be returning for Season 12 of ‘Doctor Who’



Jodie Whittaker is still The Doctor.

Image: Mike Marsland/WireImage

“God is a woman and so is The Doctor for one more season, at least.

Jodie Whittaker, who’s currently playing The Doctor in Season 11 of Doctor Who, just confirmed that she will be returning to her role of extraterrestrial Time Lord in the legendary BBC sci-fi series for Season 12.

Whittaker told The Hollywood Reporter that she’s definitely not ready to hand over the Doctor Who-baton to another actor just yet.

“It’s such an incredible role,” Whittaker told THR. “It’s been an extraordinary journey so far and I’m not quite ready to hand it over yet.”

Just one previous Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, only lasted for one season (Season 1 in 2005.) The other actors have had between two and six years as The Doctor.

While Whittaker’s performance as the first female Doctor in Doctor Who’s 55-year history has been widely praised by critics, there was a good deal of backlash when Whittaker was revealed as the 13th Doctor last year.

Whittaker seemed pretty chill about it, though. She explained in an interview with the BBC that the character of The Doctorrepresents everything that’s exciting about change.

I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender,Whittaker said. “The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.”

Please bring your bad-ass attitude to Season 12, Jodie.”

Read more:

Continue Reading

Good TV

Jason Momoa goes full action hero in ‘SNL’ promo



“Jason Momoa is hosting the next episode of Saturday Night Live and things are already looking pretty promising based on this promo.

Momoa, who plays Aquaman in the DC movie universe and previously played Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones, doesn’t look like he’ll be shying away from his beefcake-y vibe on SNL.

He definitely looks like he’ll be bringing some good energy to the show on Dec. 8.”

Read more:

Continue Reading

Good TV

The Best New TV Shows of 2018



Ah, the promise of a fresh start. The year of 2018 saw a number of unforgettable endings, but there were even more enticing beginnings. That’s good news for all those viewers starving for content — haha, what a good joke. No one needs more TV in 2018 (not with more than 500 scripted series out there), but everyone can benefit from bettertelevision.

Whether that stems from an exciting, previously unheard voice, a new form of storytelling meant to shake up the system, or just a damn solid series eager to capture your imagination, great TV is always welcome. The following 15 scripted shows exhibited all these characteristics and more, making the previous 12 months a banner year for serialized storytelling.

So make a list, set your priorities, and start sampling these exemplary new series. Some may prove too engrossing to ignore, replacing old favorites that have slipped up or forcing you to skip a few movies to make up the time. New beginnings are to be savored. Who knows how much longer the gilded age can continue?

15. “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”

14. “The Little Drummer Girl”

13. “Kidding”

12. “Corporate”

11. “Howards End”

10. “A.P. Bio”

Click Here to See the Complete List & a short write up about each show:

Continue Reading