TIME Television

WATCH: The Trailer for HBO’s The Leftovers Is Here

Check out the slightly NSFW trailer for the HBO series that stars Justin Theroux and is based on the 2011 book by Tom Perrotta, about how survivors cope after a Rapture-like event

HBO has been teasing its upcoming drama The Leftovers for a while now, but Sunday night the first full-length trailer for the postapocalyptic show premiered in all its creepy, ominous glory.

Starring Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Liv Tyler, The Leftovers is based on the 2011 book by Tom Perrotta, who worked with Lost‘s Damon Lindelof to create the HBO version. The series takes place a few years after the sudden and mysterious disappearance of 2% of the world’s population in a Rapture-like event and follows how those left behind—the titular “leftovers”—deal with the loss (hint: join lots of cults, apparently).

Though it’s vague, the trailer offers just enough creeping dread to promise one hell of a gripping series and get us excited for its June 29 premiere.

 

TIME China

China Slaps Bans on a Bunch of Totally Harmless U.S. TV Shows

The Big Bang Theory
Since launching on the Chinese video-hosting website Sohu TV in 2009, The Big Bang Theory has racked up 1.3 billion views — equivalent to one view for every person in the country CBS/Getty Images

Shows like NCIS, The Big Bang Theory, The Good Wife and The Practice have disappeared from sites like Sohu TV, iQiyi and Youku, indicating they are just too wild and crazy for impressionable Chinese youth to handle

You could call it the Big Ban Theory. Chinese fans of American TV series are up in arms after discovering that some of their favorite shows have been yanked from the country’s most popular streaming websites without explanation. On Saturday, The Big Bang Theory, The Good Wife, NCIS and The Practice all disappeared from sites like Sohu TV, iQiyi and Youku.

At this stage it’s unclear why the government has targeted The Big Bang Theory, a seemingly innocuous show about the personal relationships and travails of a group of science geeks, while far more contentious programs like Breaking Bad and House of Cards continue to be broadcast online.

One reason could be its popularity. Since launching on the video-hosting website Sohu TV in 2009, The Big Bang Theory has racked up 1.3 billion views — equivalent to one view for every person in the country.

There is little doubt that the edict pulling the shows seems intended as a shot across the boughs of China’s freewheeling online video sector by government regulators. Until now, video providers like Sohu TV and iQiyi have been free to negotiate content deals with overseas rights holders and broadcast the shows they like without having to get official approval.

As a result, young viewers have been deserting the sanitized soap operas and turgid dramas about the communist revolution that are a staple of mainstream, government-controlled TV and are flocking to the more uninhibited realms of online TV. But the government has long indicated that it would clamp down on this unusually open media sector. Last month, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said that all American and British TV shows being broadcast in China would need to receive government approval — which would require them to come before the censors. The move to ban certain shows is, it would seem, the first move in rolling out this approval process.

The development comes as the Chinese government is strengthening its control over the Internet. Officials have repeatedly spoken of the importance of “seizing the commanding heights” of the web. The administration of Xi Jinping has already sanitized popular social-media platforms like microblogging site Weibo and strengthened control over online media organizations.

The Global Times, a normally staunchly nationalistic publication, published Monday a piece written by leading film critic Tan Fei, who argued that “the machetes the monitoring departments waved to the U.S. dramas are not only aimed at protecting teenagers’ physical and mental health but, on a deeper level, are aimed at protecting our weak domestic film industry.”

The decision to pull The Big Bang Theory, a hugely popular comedy, has rankled the show’s army of fans in China, where the story of nerdy graduates struggling to find their way in the world has struck a chord with millions of young people. With the job market in China becoming fiercely competitive and living costs soaring across major cities, graduates are now finding that their dreams of a career and high income don’t necessarily translate into reality.

Fans have taken to online forums to voice their approval for the show and to offer creative arguments for its return.

Wrote one user sardonically: “The Big Bang Theory described four young scientists who can’t find wives because they’re devoted to science, they can’t buy a house so they shared a small apartment and live on junk food, and the Indian immigrant with speech problems has to sit on the floor to eat. All these miserable phenomena highlight the racism, the unfairness and decadence of Western society. It’s an extremely strong educational tool for those in China who wish to emigrate.”

The pleas may be working, however. According to fresh reports in Chinese media, the state broadcaster CCTV has bought the rights and will broadcast The Big Bang Theory in the near future — but in how sanitized a form it remains to be seen.

TIME Television

RECAP: Game of Thrones Watch: Soul on Ice

HBO

King's Landing is in flux, the plot heats up in the icy North, and last week's controversial scene looms over a story of conflicted loyalties.

Spoilers for last night’s Game of Thrones follow:

The Seven forgive me, but it’s hard to discuss this week’s Game of Thrones, “Oathkeeper,” without returning to last week’s–namely, That Scene, which loomed over many of the doings in King’s Landing–whether it was meant to or not.

I was on vacation last Monday and so thankfully sat out the Great Was It Rape Debate of 2014. (Maureen Ryan’s analysis pretty much nailed it in the Huffington Post.) But to sum it up, whatever the director and producers intended (which their conflicting comments only further confused), whatever was in the source book, whatever it says about sexual violence generally in Game of Thrones: of course it was rape, what we saw on screen between Jaime and Cersei–a woman being overpowered by a man, protesting and resisting even as he thrusts into her at the end.

From the evidence of “Oathkeeper,” which doesn’t overtly address the incident, my guess is now that the makers meant the scene not to be rape–intended, maybe, an encounter of angry sex between two damaged lovers*–but utterly botched getting any of that complexity on screen. It’s just a guess. You’re welcome to disagree. But at the point that an audience is having this argument, someone has screwed something up. Ambiguity can be a powerful thing; “Keep your foes confused,” as Littlefinger tells us in this episode. But the audience is not the enemy, and the confusion in the sept muddied not only That Scene but what comes after.

*If that’s so, it would make the intended scene something closer to the equivalent of the scene from the source book. And although some think pieces last week described that book scene as “consensual,” I don’t think it’s quite that simple. It’s eventually consensual, but it’s the sort of she-fights-it-then-gets-into-it scene–Cersei protests and “pound[s] his chest with feeble fists” before consenting–that has its own problems in portraying a “no” that turns into “yes.” Regardless, the book is the book and the show is the show; if your scene requires outside reading to interpret, you’re doing it wrong.

So in “Oathkeeper,” we see a strained encounter between Cersei and Jaime. She’s devastated and enraged (and drinking heavily), but is it simply her agony over Joffrey’s death and rage at Tyrion, or is it…? There’s clearly a chasm between her and Jaime, but is it the chasm we saw when he first returned to King’s Landing (“You’re too late”), is it bitterness at his refusal to kill Tyrion, or is it…? Is she insistent on increasing Tommen’s security because she fears a second regicide, or because she wants to display some vestige of the agency that her father is brazenly stripping from her, or is it…? Is Jaime insistent on “filling his page” in the Lord Commander’s book simply because he still feels guilt for his own regicide, or is it…?

We’re weighing, in other words, the scene we actually saw with our guesses at what scene we were meant to see–and that’s the difference between complexity and confusion. (Which is doubly a shame because Lena Headey is transfixing in her bereavement and fury here.)

And it’s too bad, because “Oathkeeper,” directed by Michelle MacLaren, though largely a piece-mover episode, is itself a model of clarity in many ways. Look, for instance, at how it leads us through the solution to Joffrey’s poisoning, like Littlefinger teaching Machiavelli 101 to Sansa.

It’s not merely didactic or expository. It uses the revelation to illuminate character: Sansa (the underappreciated Sophie Turner) overcoming her well-bred naivete to see the world as a conspirator does, Littlefinger laying out his philosophy, that most men risk too little and die anyway. (In other, less eloquent words: YOLO.) Then the episode leads us geographically to Littlefinger’s co-conspirator, Olenna Tyrell, who before skipping town shares with Margaery her own views on power–and reveals she was a hellion in the sack–while also slyly revealing not only that she helped kill Joffrey, but suggesting how: she delicately fingers the stones on her granddaughter’s own necklace.

MacLaren follows up that heart-to-heart with a scene that’s a masterly example of being nuanced but clear. Taking Olenna’s advice that she must act before Cersei does, Margaery visits Li’l King Tommen in his room at night. Tommen, as sweet and dutiful as Joffrey was vicious, is still very much a child, but it seems very possible she could be walking in to seduce him, because of Olenna’s explicit story and because, well, what won’t Game of Thrones do?

It is a seduction, but not entirely of that kind. She befriends him, giggles, makes nice with Ser Pounce. It’s girlfriendly, but in a way modulated to Tommen’s age and maturity level, to gaining his comfort and trust–while also, just ever so, intimating that they will some day be much more friendly. It’s not a sexual seduction, but it’s not entirely not sexual either. As she says good night, she leans in momentarily, makes as if to kiss him on the lips, and instead kisses him gently on his forehead. She’s putting herself forward as a friend, as a big sister and as someone he can trust in a scary time–yet she’s holding out the promise, barely perceptible to him now, of being his woman.

That’s how you do subtle-but-clear.

And how do we take Jaime now? In the aftermath of last Sunday, I saw some commenters suggesting that the show would whiplash back to Jaime as “the good guy” again. But whatever happened last week, Game of Thrones is not in the business of simply good or bad guys, period. And despite his bonding with Brienne last season, I’m not sure the show intends us to ever see Jaime as a good guy, nor intends any straight redemption arc with him.

Follow his timeline back. Last week, he at worst raped his sister, at best had hate-sex with her by the corpse of their son. Before that, he saved Brienne from rape and murder. Before that, he tried to kill a boy by pushing him out a window. Before that, he killed an insane king to save a million people in King’s Landing. Before that, he served an invading army that used rape as a weapon of war. Before that… The point being, it is entirely possible he will always be able to do good and reprehensible things; he may want an honored name, but not too much goodness in a world that tells him it’s a liability. (“You learned to fight like a good little boy,” Bronn tells him, after knocking him on his ass.)

What Jaime can do, anyway, is follow promises if he cannot trust himself to follow principles. He can resolve his agony over Joffrey’s death by drawing the bright line that he can’t kill his brother (whatever he’s done to his sister). And in the scene that gives the episode its title, he can outsource his honor, giving his sword to someone who can use it better and telling Brienne that she at least should keep her own oath as best she can.

In many ways, “Oathkeeper” was about forms of loyalty: loyalty to family (and contradicting claims of loyalty by different family members); loyalty to oaths; loyalty to principles; loyalty won through seduction and insinuation. Loyalty may often travel in the same lane as goodness, but it’s not the same thing. It’s a way of securing good-adjacent behavior, or at least to fend off anarchy. Get rid of loyalty to oaths, for instance, and you have the hellish rapists among the oath-breaking mutineers against the Night’s Watch at Craster’s Keep. You have the Red Wedding, which broke a sacred vow of protection to guests who have taken your bread and salt. Like laws or mottoes–“The Lannisters always pay their debts”–loyalty is a way of securing predictable behavior in a world that tends to chaos. Jaime’s kingslaying is both the best thing he’s done and the greatest stain on his name–secretly preventing a mass murder, through the greatest violation of loyalty that his society knows.

So he sends off the more trustworthy Brienne off to be an oathkeeper on his behalf. For someone like Jaime, maybe loyalty is what you fall back on when you can’t trust yourself to be good.

Now for the hail of arrows:

* Like last season, and like the GoT Close-Up posts I’ve done earlier this season, I’m going to try to focus these posts on individual scenes, storylines, or themes, not list every damn thing that happened. Feel free to talk about anything I didn’t cover in the comments. That said…

* Meereen: current-events synchronicity alert; just after Cliven Bundy suggested slavery might have been better than welfare, we see a slave rebellion that gives voice to the slaves themselves. The opening dialogue of Missandei and Grey Worm sharing their memories of being “taken” (or lack thereof) was a great example of the small revelatory conversations that Game of Thrones uses to link plot action. (It’s interesting how Grey Worm, though he wants to “kill the masters,” also retains pride in being Unsullied, even as it obliterated his previous identity: “Before Unsullied, nothing.”) Where the storyline has largely focused on the liberator–Danaerys, “Mhysa”–here we had Grey Worm declaring, “No one can give you your freedom.”

* The Wall and Beyond: I’m as baffled as you are, and maybe more excited. This is where Game of Thrones is playing its longest and most mystical game (Bran’s visions, the White Walkers), reminding us that this is ultimately about an existential battle for life on the planet. Things have sometimes dragged with The Night’s Watch, as it awaits a Wildling invasion that seems to be moving as slow as molasses–well, molasses at The Wall. But that Bran’s and Jon’s stories seem to be converging is exciting–Bran a hostage at the keep, Jon marching toward him–especially since (not to get into details) if I recall correctly this storyline departs almost entirely from the books.

* The Craster’s scene involves, yes, more rape, but here at least it’s unambiguous and anything but glamorized. The issue, I think, is not how often a series depicts rape, any more than how often it depicts murder, but how seriously (or cavalierly) the show treats its effects and consequences. Craster’s daughters have gone from abuser to abuser. (Not only is rape a weapon of war in the Seven Kingdoms, but the Night’s Watch, we’ve been reminded, has been an exile for many of Westeros’ rapists.) And the effects of the women’s abuse by their father have chillingly outlived the old man; they insist on handing over the male baby, per Craster’s arrangement, as if a religious obligation–“a gift to the gods.”

* A nitpick, but I have never been satisfied with any representation of the Walkers, who I imagine as more spectral: not version 1.0 of the first season, not the white-maned rebooted version. And now it would seem we have more than one type of Walker, including–what, a Walker priest?–who looks a bit like an albino Darth Maul. Should we assume that the baby’s being frozen, body and apparently soul, is how little Walkers are made? (In other words: they are literally conceived of abuse and cruelty?)

* Big thanks to my colleague Eric Dodds, who did the first three episodes of Game of Thrones Watch this year. We may yet switch off again this season, but you’re stuck with me for now.

* And finally: no book spoilers in the comments. (Book readers, I know you’re dying to talk about the changes, but please do it without discussing any book events not yet depicted onscreen.) But you knew that, right?

TIME

Despite Dank Reviews, The Other Woman Rules Box Office

The No. 1 position goes to revenge comedy The Other Woman, starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton, which raked in $24.7 million on opening weekend and beat Captain America even though it has a low positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes

There’s a new reigning box office champion in town. Revenge comedy The Other Woman knocked down Captain America: The Winter Soldier after the Marvel action flick’s three weeks at the top, as the appeal of co-stars Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton managed to rake in $24.7 million in its opening weekend. The Other Woman’s audience was reportedly 75 percent women, faring more than adequately despite receiving a paltry 25 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Captain America’s $16 million this week was good enough for second place, while Heaven is for Real placed third at $13 million. Rio 2‘s $13 million and Brick Mansion‘s $9 million round out the top five.

TIME Theater

A Gloria Estefan Musical Is Heading to Broadway, Along With an Accompanying Reality Show

Keep Memory Alive's 18th Annual "Power Of Love Gala" Honors Gloria And Emilio Estefan Jr.
Honoree Gloria Estefan attends the 18th annual Keep Memory Alive 'Power of Love Gala' benefit for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health honoring Gloria Estefan and Emilio Estefan Jr. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 26, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Gabe Ginsberg / FilmMagic / Getty Images

The rhythm's gonna get you next year, when a bilingual musical, On Your Feet, heads to Broadway. The show will cover the life and long career of singer Gloria Estefan, including her early years in Miami and her recovery from a near fatal accident in 1990

A group of women will be turning the beat around on a new reality show in which they’ll vie for the chance to play Gloria Estefan on Broadway.

The bilingual musical On Your Feet will debut next year, the New York Daily News reports. In the meantime, a reality show will aim to find the best actresses to play the legendary singer. Producers hope to find three women to play her at various stages of her life.

It’s going to be daunting, but I have no doubt whatsoever that we are going to be able to do it and so much fun to be a part of the processes,” Estefan told the Daily News.

On Your Feet will cover Estefan’s early years in Miami, her recovery from a near fatal accident in 1990 and her long career as a performer. Get on your feet if you’re as excited about this as we are.

TIME movies

The Other Woman Demotes Captain America At the Box Office

THE OTHER WOMAN
Leslie Mann, left, Cameron Diaz and Kate Upton star in The Other Woman Barry Wetcher—20th Century Fox

The revenge comedy, which stars Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton, opened this weekend with an estimated $24.1 million, unseating Captain America which topped the weekend box office for the past three weeks

Cameron Diaz’s comedy The Other Woman opened this weekend with an estimated $24.7 million, toppling Marvel Studios’ Captain America: The Winter Soldier off the top spot at the box office.

The Other Woman stars Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton as a wife and two mistresses who take revenge on a three-timing spouse, played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau of HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Despite a strong showing and a decent B+ CinemaScore ranking among audiences, critics were not big fans of The Other Woman: It received a mere 25% positive ranking on Rotten Tomatoes.

Captain America came in at a much weaker second this weekend, grossing $16 million after taking in $645 million globally so far, according to data from Box Office Mojo.

TIME celebrities

Rumors Swirl of George Clooney’s Engagement to Amal Alamuddin

The two-time "Sexiest Man Alive" winner is reportedly off the market.

Hundreds of thousands of people are about to have their romantic fantasies dashed: actor George Clooney is reportedly engaged to human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin.

Alamuddin was spotted Thursday with an enormous ring on her left ring finger, which sparked rumors of the engagement, People reports.

Clooney and Alamuddin have yet to confirm the news, but if it’s true, the union would be Clooney’s second. Clooney married actress Talia Balsam in 1989; the pair were divorced in 1993.

TIME movies

Spielberg to Direct Roald Dahl’s The BFG

'Inside Llewyn Davis' Premiere - The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival Day 5
Steven Spielberg at the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 19, 2013 in Cannes, France. Tony Barson—FilmMagic/Getty Images

The director will reteam with E.T. screenwriter Melissa Mathison for a 2016 release of the classic children's book, in which a big friendly giant befriends a young orphaned girl. The big-screen adaptation will hit theaters in 2016

Steven Spielberg is set to direct the big-screen adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG.

The live-action movie about a big friendly giant — or BFG — who becomes friends with a young girl will shoot next year and open in theaters in 2016, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

DreamWorks acquired the rights to the 1982 children’s book in 2011, though several directors had been attached to the project before Spielberg committed. Melissa Mathison, who wrote Spielberg’s E.T., has written a screenplay.

The book was previously adapted as an animated television movie in the U.K. in 1989. Several of Dahl’s works have also been made into movies, including James and the Giant Peach in 1996; Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory in 1971 (a similarly titled remake starring Johnny Depp premiered in 2005); and The Fantastic Mr. Fox in 2009.

[THR]

TIME Television

Columbus Short Is Leaving Scandal

ABC's "Scandal" - Season Three
Columbus Short, left, in the third season of ABC's Scandal. Kelsey McNeal—ABC/Getty Images

"Thank you GLADIATORS, who have supported me throughout my entire career," Short said in a statement announcing his departure from the hit ABC show. Outside the show, the actor has faced problems with the law

Columbus Short said Friday that he won’t be returning to ABC’s Scandal next year after starring in the show’s first three seasons.

Short’s character, Harrison Wright, ended last season held at gunpoint, with his fate left unknown.

Outside the show, the actor has faced problems with the law. He was arrested last month in Los Angeles on felony charges for alleging hitting another man, and in February he was charged with misdemeanor spousal battery, to which he pled not guilty.

His full statement Friday, via Deadline:

At this time I must confirm my exit from a show I’ve called home for 3 years, with what is the most talented ensemble on television today. I would like to first thank Shonda Rhimes for the opportunity to work with such an amazing cast. Thank you GLADIATORS, who have supported me throughout my entire career and of course to ABC and Shondaland for allowing me to play such a pivotal role in the Scandal series. I have enjoyed every single minute of it. Everything must come to an end and unfortunately the time has come for Harrison Wright to exit the canvas. I wish nothing but the best for Shonda, Kerry and the rest of the cast, who have become like a second family to me in such a short amount of time. For this, I will forever be grateful.

[Deadline]

TIME Television

Dancing With the Stars’ Danica McKellar Breaks a Rib in Rehearsal

ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" - Season 18 - Week Six
DANCING WITH THE STARS - "Episode 1806" - It's an all out celebration on "Dancing with the Stars" as the celebrities got the party started MONDAY, APRIL 21 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. T Adam Taylor/ABC via Getty Images

The former star of The Wonder Years and a strong performer on Dancing With the Stars said on Twitter that she broke a rib during a rehearsal.

Danica McKellar, who played Fred Savage’s neighbor and love interest Winnie Cooper in the Emmy-winning comedy The Wonder Years, is the latest victim on Dancing with the Stars.

Far from being voted off, McKellar was one point shy of being the show’s first perfect-scoring performer of the season earlier this month in a dance with partner Valentin Chmerkovskiy. But her future on the show may be more difficult: on Friday, she said she broke a rib during a practice.

[People]

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