TIME Television

A Roots Remake Is on the Way

Actor LeVar Burton signs and discusses his new book "The Rhino Who Swallowed A Storm" at Barnes & Noble Booksellers on December 20, 2014 in Burbank, California.
Paul Archuleta—FilmMagic/Getty Images Actor LeVar Burton signs and discusses his new book "The Rhino Who Swallowed A Storm" at Barnes & Noble Booksellers on December 20, 2014 in Burbank, California.

It will hit screens in 2016

Roots, one of the most successful miniseries of all time, is coming back to television.

The show initially aired over eight nights in 1977, and it will hit screens again in a 2016 reboot by History, A&E and Lifetime, the networks announced Thursday.

Roots is the story of multiple generations of one family from their beginnings in Gambia, through their passage to the United States, enslavement, the Revolutionary and Civil wars, and eventually, Emancipation. It is based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel by the same name and centers on the life of Kunta Kinte.

“The opportunity to present one of America’s most powerful stories to a generation that hasn’t seen it is tremendously exciting. Contemporary society needs this story and I’m proud to be a part of it,” said executive producer Will Packer.

Original cast member LeVar Burton will be a co-executive producer on the remake, and he echoed Packer’s sentiment: “I believe now is the right time to tell this story so that we can all be reminded of its impact on our culture and identity.”

TIME movies

Reminder: Don’t Bother Sitting Through All the Avengers Credits

Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Marvel/Disney Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans star in Avengers: Age of Ultron

"This is not a fake-out"

A friendly reminder to all the fans who will stream in to see Avengers: Age of Ultron for its opening weekend: don’t sit through the credits waiting for a surprise scene at the end.

Marvel audiences have gotten used to the surprise extra scenes after the credits since 2008’s Iron Man. They’ll still get a little something this time, but not the true post-credits scene: Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told Entertainment Weekly that there will be a “tag,” an epilogue-like scene that occurs right after the credits start.

Writer and director Joss Whedon told EW that really, they’re not kidding about the lack of a post-credits scene. “That’s not a fake-out,” he said. “We want people to know so they don’t sit there for 10 minutes and then go: ‘Son of a b—h! I’ll kill them!’”

Avengers: Age of Ultron opens May 1.

TIME movies

Furious 7 Beats Harry Potter at the Box Office

Universal Brian O'Conner and Dominic Toretto in The Fast and the Furious

The movie also surpassed Frozen

Harry Potter may have beaten Voldemort, but he didn’t stand a chance against Dominic Toretto. Box Office Mojo reports that Furious 7 has surpassed the worldwide gross of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. The seventh Fast & Furious film now stands at about $1.349 billion worldwide, while Hallows: Part 2 ended its run at $1.342 billion. The boy wizard is the latest to fall to Furious 7, following a certain ice queen.

These totals are, of course, unadjusted for inflation. When that’s taken into account, Deathly Hallows: Part 2 would still sit above Furious 7 for the time being—but the global ticket sales for the action film represents the incredible forward momentum Furious 7 has carried in the month since its release. Furious 7 became the biggest film at China’s box office, and will likely rank among the highest earners in the U.S. for 2015 when the year comes to a close.

Furious 7’s dominance at the box office will fade this weekend, however, when Avengers: Age of Ultron makes its bid for the crown. Furious 7 currently sits below the original The Avengers on the unadjusted worldwide chart. So it should prove interesting to watch where Avengers: Age of Ultron eventually ends up, and whether Marvel’s superhero team knows the rules of a street fight as they go up against Dom and the team.

This article originally appeared on EW.com.

TIME movies

Watch the New 50 Shades Darker Teaser Trailer

It's very mysterious

There’s a new teaser trailer for the 50 Shades of Grey sequel and the trailer is just that—a tease.

There isn’t any information in the 30-second clip that hungry fans can latch onto in anticipation of 50 Shades Darker, other than Christian Grey mysteriously putting on a mask. The slight superhero vibe of the clip might have something to do with the chairman of Universal saying that 50 Shades Darker would be “more of a thriller” than the first film.

Audiences have a long time to wait to figure out why Christian is putting on the mask—the movie is set to come out in February 2017.

TIME movies

This Map Shows How All the Future Marvel Movies Are Connected

A guide to the 19 Marvel movies and TV shows coming out in the next four years

Whether you love or hate Avengers: Age of Ultron, there are plenty more Marvel superheroes to come. Disney and Marvel are releasing 19 movies and TV shows between now and 2019, and they are all interconnected. All these titles are building up to Avengers: Infinity Wars, Parts I and II, out in 2018 and 2019. These films will focus on the villain Thanos, who will try to gather six powerful gems called Infinity Stones to create an Infinity Gauntlet with the power to destroy the universe.

The Avengers (and probably some other heroes, like Captain Marvel and Doctor Strange) will have to stop him. See how the heroes and villains connect to one another, and plan out your viewing schedule with TIME’s guide.



Read next: Watch Scarlett Johansson Satirize Marvel’s Lack of Female Superheroes

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Television

Watch Kristen Wiig Play Daenerys Targaryen on The Tonight Show

Khaleesi could not keep a straight face


Jimmy Fallon got a surprise guest Wednesday night when the Mother of Dragons stopped by The Tonight Show.

Game of Thrones dragon queen Daenerys Targaryen, played by Khaleesi Kristen Wiig, came on the show and deigned to be interviewed by Fallon, while her beloved dragon perched politely on her shoulder. Needless to say, neither Fallon nor Wiig could keep themselves from cracking up.

During the course of their chat, it was revealed that the Khaleesi’s real name is Karen and she lives in a dome in the forest with her shoulder dragon, Carl. Then, in a rapid-fire round of questions, Khaleesi claimed her favorite food was meat and delved into her hobbies, including mandolin playing and a yen to do stand-up comedy.

The only thing that became clear during the interview was that there’s a very good chance that Wiig has never actually seen the HBO show. That didn’t stop her from performing an ad lib song (no, not “That’s When You Break”) in a bit that was reminiscent of her Saturday Night Live act, Garth and Kat.


TIME movies

Watch The Avengers Cast Identify Each Other by Their Biceps

Avengers: Age of Biceps

On screen, they’re Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Off-screen, they’re one of the closest casts in a franchise film. But can the actors behind The Avengers do the impossible task of identifying their co-stars’ muscles? In a welcome reprieve from the onslaught of sometimes tedious Age of Ultroninterviews, the cast sat down with MTV’s Josh Horowitz to play a game of “How well do The Avengers know their biceps?”

After being shown photos, the cast was asked if they could figure out the identity of their co-star. Some of the pics were easy—apparently everyone knows Mark Ruffalo’s defining features—but some, like Scarlett Johansson and Chris Hemsworth, were harder. The one photo that stumped everyone? The man behind Tony Stark: Robert Downey Jr.

“That’s me, right?” asked Chris Evans, after being shown the photo. “That looks like Evans,” added Johansson, going for the obvious. It was finally Cobie Smulders who got the answer correct… and afterwards, Evans couldn’t contain his surprise.

This article originally appeared on EW.com.

TIME celebrities

Britney Spears Inks Video Game Deal With Makers of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood

Clive Davis And The Recording Academy's 2012 Pre-GRAMMY Gala And Salute To Industry Icons Honoring Richard Branson - Roaming Inside
Larry Busacca— Getty Images Kim Kardashian (L) and and Britney Spears attend Clive Davis and the Recording Academy's 2012 Pre-GRAMMY Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 11, 2012 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Spears is the latest celebrity to try to replicate the success of Kim's game

Britney Spears wants in on the money-making machine of Kim Kardashian’s hit mobile video game.

Spears has inked an eight-year mobile gaming partnership with Glu Mobile, the makers of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, said Glu Mobile CEO Niccolo de Masi during an earnings call on Thursday.

The singer joins fellow artist Katy Perry, who announced a similar deal with Glu Mobile in February, in trying to replicate the $74.3 million revenue generated by Kardashian’s app since its release last June.

The game will be launched in the first half of 2016.

TIME Theater

Alison Bechdel on Fun Home, Her New Book and That Famous Test

"Fun Home " demonstration at College of Charleston
Alice Keeney—The Washington Post/Getty Images Alison Bechdel at a rehearsal for the musical Fun Home on April 21, 2014 in Charleston, SC.

In conversation with the artist whose life story has become a Broadway sensation

Alison Bechdel has been making comics for decades. But the artist has achieved her highest level of public attention to date for a very different kind of project.

The recently-opened musical Fun Home, which received a field-leading 12 Tony nominations this week, is based upon Bechdel’s 2006 graphic memoir. The show, like the book, depicts Bechdel’s upbringing in a Pennsylvania funeral home, under the parenting of a repressed mother and a closeted gay father, and shows Bechdel’s childhood, coming-of-age in college and struggles to reckon with it all as an adult.

It’s a moving portrait of a dysfunctional family, one that maintains the mordant tone of Bechdel’s book while expanding boundlessly outward into physical space. Bechdel, who is at work on a new memoir, spoke to TIME from her home in Vermont on the day the Tony nominations were handed out.

TIME: Did the personal nature of this project make it difficult for you to allow another artist to adapt it?

Alison Bechdel: I approach this whole thing with a mixture of naivete and trust—trust that turned out to be well-founded. I had no real reason to think it would. I feel really lucky.

Did you know, or care, much about theater before this experience?

I came from a theatrical family, but I never took a passionate interest in it. That was part of why I signed on for this. I didn’t really know what I was getting into. It was clear this was a completely different medium. If it was film, I might have have been more territorial.

Do you feel as though you’re watching your own life experience onstage, or experiencing it at a sort of aesthetic remove?

I expected to feel a remove, and I expected to feel a remove from the story. My first exposure was listening to the score on a CD. I was devastated. I’ve watched it evolve over the years and there have been moments when I felt it wasn’t clicking and many when it was. On the whole, I feel like it’s incredibly faithful to my story. Even objectively, it’s an amazing adaptation. It captures the essence of my book. What [playwright] Lisa [Kron] and [composer] Jeanine [Tesori] did was they took my book all apart, found the things that made it work and put it all back together somehow.

Did you worry in moments it wasn’t clicking that you’d made a mistake?

The first time I saw it in a workshop at the Public Theater—or a reading—I’m such a theatrical idiot, I can’t keep these straight—the first time with actors reading and singing was really good. Because I’d seen it stronger, I had faith that it would get back there, because the first experience was so positive.

Your published work has dealt with various stages of your life, but I think fans of yours might be interested in learning more about your life today. Do you have interest in writing along those lines in the future?

It kind of does interest me! I’m working on a memoir right now ostensibly about physical fitness and the body. It will be about my life in the recent past. I think it’s going to touch on some strange stuff happening in my career. I shouldn’t really talk about that; I’m talking and not writing.

There are three actresses playing you on Broadway at present. Do you see a throughline when looking back at your past selves, or as though it’s a series of skins you’ve shed?

I see the connection very clearly. That’s what’s so interesting to me about seeing the play is seeing all of the selves on stage at once. I feel like I still am that 10-year-old and that 20-year-old.

How do you feel about the “Bechdel test,” and the fact that people who may have no familiarity with your work are so closely acquainted with a tossed-off line from one of your older comics?

The Bechdel test is kind of strange. It’s funny—the students I run into don’t know my comics but recognize me because of that test. It’s an odd thing: I can’t get too excited about it for some reason. My agent tried to get me to do a book about it, but I’m just not interested enough in the test or in movies to do anything with it. I don’t feel like it’s really mine. I probably watch as many movies as anybody.

Does being in the public eye to the degree that you are allow you to live more honestly, or place restraints on your life and work?

On a very practical level, all this stuff is so time-consuming—doing so much publicity and going to New York, so I don’t get time to work. Spending time being a famous person, I’m not generating much biographical material. It’s not a story anyone’s interested in. I really need to retreat a bit and get into a more contemplative mindset.

You’re not necessarily interested in theater, you said, but is there any connection between your family’s interest in theater and your interest in self-revelation and unburdening personal history?

I do think that my autobiographical comics are related to the acting and performing my parents were interested in. I feel like they were… I don’t think I would be writing about my family if I hadn’t been raised in a world where they prized art over life. I’m revealing lots of internal stuff about my family, and I might not do that if I felt more loyalty towards my family. I wasn’t raised like that.

But was the decision to give your work over to the theater inspired by a family interest in the medium?

I don’t think so. They were performing their lives apart from any acting my mother, in particular, did. That’s what inspired it—more than any love of theater.

TIME Television

NBC Wants to Be Netflix. Netflix Wants to Be NBC.

Aquarius - Season 1
Vivian Zink/NBC Duchovny, right, in NBC's Aquarius

As the broadcaster embraces binge-watching, the streaming giant is pitching a big tent.

Serial killer, meet serial viewers.

Wednesday, NBC announced that it will make the entire 13-episode season of Aquarius, starring David Duchovny as a police detective on the trail of Charles Manson, available for streaming on May 28 immediately after its premiere on what we apparently now call “linear television.”

It’s the kind of news that’s both not so big and yet huge. On the one hand, Aquarius is a summer series, premiering just after the end of May sweeps, so the network is taking a relatively small chance in exchange for more attention than the show might otherwise have gotten.

On the other hand, that the network feels the need to test this at all shows that, not unlike an L.A. flatfoot in the Summer of Love, the world is changing whether it likes it or not. Binge-ers wanna binge, and if networks don’t give them that option, someday someone else will.

The announcement was especially striking after some recent news about Netflix. (When isn’t Netflix making news these days?) After its first-quarter earnings report, CEO Reed Hastings made the point of stressing the company’s big aim: not to replace companies like HBO, but eventually to replace the network system of TV generally. In Netflix’s view of the future, cable bundles will be replaced by baskets of Internet services (like itself) and streaming will supersede turning on a channel and watching what’s on.

The media covering Netflix (me included) have tended to cover it as a competitor to cable. It’s natural: like HBO, say, it’s a subscription service, not dependent on advertising, investing in original programming on top of its library of acquisitions so that people will feel they need to have it.

But there’s one thing that doesn’t match up in that analogy. Cable channels tend to have what you call “brands”–types of content or aesthetic philosophies that distinguish them from other channels. They may be literal: History channel is history, Comedy Central does comedy. They may be more amorphous: Bravo does aspirational lifestyle programming, FX does middle-aged male angst, HBO and AMC do the TV equivalent of movies or literature. (Not every show a channel makes will fit a brand, and brands can drift: USA, e.g., is moving from cheery “blue skies” programming to darker drama.)

Look at Netflix’s programming and its recent announcements, though, and try to tell me what Netflix’s brand is. It made House of Cards, a drama about a villain roughly, if superficially, in the HBO mold. But it also made Bloodline, a Damages-style potboiler, and Orange Is the New Black, a Showtime-esque drama/comedy from the creator of Weeds. It revived Arrested Development–but it’s also going to revive Full House. It dropped millions on Marco Polo, a lavish international historical production, and picked up Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a castoff comedy from NBC. It made Daredevil, a superhero drama one notch darker and smaller-bore than the superhero dramas on broadcast TV. It’s adapting Green Eggs and Hamas a series. (I guess you can devote an entire episode to “eating them on a train”?)

Look at those titles, and the other series in the pipeline, and tell me if you can discern a common thread, an ethos, an aesthetic. I can’t–except for this. The shows that Netflix creates and makes available to stream tend to carry DNA–subject or cast members or creators–from other, past TV series that its voluminous viewer data tells it that people are streaming. (Netflix, given the cost and difficulty of licensing movies, is mainly a TV-watching service now, though it’s also getting into the movie-making business.)

In other words, Netflix doesn’t have a brand, except: things that people have proven they like to stream on Netflix.

In TV, in this niche-targeted, specialized era, who has a brand of “Lotsa different kinds of stuff that different kinds of people like”? Not any cable channels–broadcast networks. NBC, ABC, CBS. That whole vast-tent approach was supposed to be fading in the cable-TV era.

Except that the way Netflix views the streaming business is as the most capacious virtual tent ever. In its view, there is a future for a TV-maker that is simultaneously broad and niche: selling a service to all kind of people and demographics, but appealing to them with very specific programs. It sees itself as a broadcaster of narrowcasting.

In a strange way, this vision would use a radically different way of structuring and watching TV to recreate one of the oldest paradigms in TV: something for everyone! Netflix sees itself as the next NBC or CBS, but for an era where everyone in the family looks at their own screen instead of gathering around a single hearth.

In different ways, in other words, NBC and Netflix seem agreed that eventually they will be in the same business. But Netflix is getting to NBC’s territory a lot faster than NBC is getting to Netflix’s.

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