TIME Video Games

The Game of Thrones Video Game Trailer Looks Almost as Bloody as the Show

The game features the voices of Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey

HBO’s Game of Thrones TV series doesn’t return until the spring, but fans will be able to get their fix with a Playstation 4 video game based on the show.

The six-part episodic game from Telltale (which also turned the similarly popular Walking Dead series into a game) will follow the lesser-known House Forrester, a family from Westeros that has declared an allegiance to the Starks but who must find a way to survive during The War of the Five Kings. The family appears briefly in the George R.R. Martin novels, but not in the show.

Familiar characters like Cersei Lannister, Tyrion Lannister and Margaery Tyrell (voiced by the actors who play those roles on the show, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage and Natalie Dormer) will make appearances. The game will begin around the end of season three of the series and end before the events of season five.

Telltale has yet to announce a release date for part one of the game, dubbed “Episode One: Iron From Ice.”

TIME Television

Live From Neverland: Can Peter Pan Help NBC Take Flight?

Peter Pan Live! - Season 2014
Allison Williams as Peter Pan and Christopher Walken as Captain Hook in Peter Pan Live! Nino Munoz—NBC

On set at the broadcast that may usher in a golden age of live TV — as long the actors hit their marks

On the Long Island set of Peter Pan, construction is still underway on Captain Hook’s ship. The production’s dog trainer is practicing in the Darling children’s bedroom with the gray mix-breed playing Nana — as well as with the dog’s stand-in, there for insurance purposes. Christopher Walken, who’s still working out what will be the right wig for his role as Captain Hook, hasn’t even been called to the set yet. And dancers in T-shirts are lifting a petite brunette starlet in braids, black workout gear, and a pair of boys’ brown boots onto their shoulders as she performs a song that’s been vetted to ensure it’s less offensive than it was in 1954, when it was first performed. After the dancers are dismissed, our starlet is going to spend an hour practicing flying on wires.

Welcome to the future of TV.

NBC’s Peter Pan Live!, starring Girls actress Allison Williams as the titular nymph and Christopher Walken as Captain Hook, represents the glimmering of what may become an annual franchise — like the Oscars or Super Bowl, but featuring Broadway-trained dancers instead of Jennifer Lawrence or Eli Manning. It’s old-school and studiously un-hip, and it’s also very, very live.

“I did not for a second hesitate about any of those things that should have scared the pants off of me,” Williams tells TIME in her trailer, on a break from rehearsing the number “True Blood Brothers,” in which she’s carried across the stage by dancers and then executes a still-in-progress complicated handshake with Tiger Lily (who’s now called an “Islander,” not an “Indian”). “I should have been really worried about the live-ness.”

She had ample warning. Last December’s broadcast of The Sound of Music garnered a shocking 18.5 million live viewers the night it aired — dazzling numbers for an entertainment broadcast in the DVR age, thanks in some part to viewers tweeting about the show as it aired.

“No one had done it since the fifties,” says Craig Zadan, co-producer with Neil Meron of The Sound of Music and Peter Pan, as well as the Academy Awards ceremony the past two years and next. (He helped oversee Ellen DeGeneres’s celebrity selfie and her pizza delivery to the Dolby Theatre.) “Live TV is the future. It’s the only way you can beat the DVRing of America. Everything is DVRed and no one watches stuff when it’s on. Awards shows and sports are watched when they’re broadcast.”

Such was the thinking behind The Sound of Music, brought to production by a network head, Robert Greenblatt, whose famous love of theater had previously resulted in the backstage-Broadway cult classic Smash. People watched both out of sheer novelty, and because their Twitter feeds told them Audra McDonald was doing something special as Mother Superior, and because of the high expectations around whether lead actress Carrie Underwood could live up to a very famous character. The country singer was compared negatively to Julie Andrews so much on social media that she tweeted after the show “Mean people need Jesus.”

Underwood had been mocked from the jump: “Will people buy all the casting choices? Last year, obviously, there was a certain reaction to certain things and we all just rallied behind each other and did the best we could,” says Christian Borle, the only lead actor to appear in both The Sound of Music and Peter Pan (he’s playing both Smee and Mr. Darling).

But it’s all good, as far as the production side goes. Zadan, who compared the Oscar show to “blood sport,” says: “The people with mean things to say, say them. At the end of the day, the mean things and the good things only drive viewership. So what do you want? You want the ratings.”

The show is hardly meant to be as seamlessly executed as a filmed drama — the visible wires are part of the charm. Greenblatt, the president of NBC who’s placed a long bet on live TV (including a planned live staging of Aaron Sorkin’s play A Few Good Men), isn’t planning for a Sound of Music-sized success this year, calling himself “pretty Zen” and noting, “I don’t expect lightning to strike twice.” And he’s as sanguine about the challenges, and charms, of live TV. “When I first looked at the early promos, I saw wires, and I wanted to cut them, but it’s a live show! It’s theatrical. You can’t remove them in the live broadcast, so why not get people used to it?”

After all, the theatrical production of Peter Pan has traditionally had as its climax a moment when the audience must clap if they believe in fairies — asking viewers to surrender themselves as fully to showbiz myth as Greenblatt and his players have been. “If you’re looking for anything in live TV, you want the little bobbles along the way!,” says Greenblatt, reminiscing about a live production he saw in which Sandy Duncan vamped her way through a technical difficulty. There will be some haters in the house, sure, but there will also be honest curiosity around how this all gets executed. “If anything’s going to go wrong, it’d go wrong during Peter Pan, not The Sound of Music,” says Zadan.

But Williams is hoping that viewers concentrate on the aspects that work, noting in a conversation in her trailer on set that she refused to read comments on her own Instagram post in which she appeared in costume as Peter. “It’s too meaningful for me to read it,” Williams says. “I’ll read what people say about my recent Allure cover, because, who cares? That’s my face! I don’t care — I’ve heard it all! But there’s something so personal to me about Peter, and it hurts me so much when people look at him through a cynical lens, and look at this whole thing through a cynical lens. I’m like, ‘You’re literally looking at this through the wrong viewfinder!’”

As for the viewfinder through which Pan fans, and aimless detractors, should see the show, Williams has a recommendation: “If you’re going to watch this the same way that you watch a TV show that you hate, but you hate-watch it with all your friends so that you can drink wine and tweet at each other about how it’s bad, you need to just go ahead and take those lenses out of your glasses and put in the lenses that you had when you were six.”

As an actress, Williams is aware that her fans are used to seeing her playing cynical — she noted in an interview that journalists are usually “Marnies,” the aggressive, pushy sort of person she plays on HBO’s Girls. Williams calls the new role a “180-degree turn” from her pay-cable persona, then revises. “Or 179, so we can keep going, but not from whence we came, and keep making changes that are different.” Those changes are set to continue with the American Songbook concert at Lincoln Center she’s pulling together, one that will go on once she’s broken free of Peter’s register, which is lower than her own natural soprano. “I have a longstanding dream to make an album,” she says.

That dream begins with Peter, a role that demands an hour of flight before and after the all-day rehearsal with cameras. By comparison, her costar Walken has it easy. Asked if he had a voice coach, the Oscar-winning actor tells TIME: “They said to me, ‘Do you want a coach?’ I said, ‘Sure, but for this, it’s just too late.’ It is what it is. The songs are — I kind of sing a little bit, then I start to talk.”

“When you have children and dogs and flying and Christopher Walken,” Borle says, laughing, “it’s fantastic.”

And the show’s star, for one, is hoping both for a ratings success and for acceptance for what NBC is trying to create. “It’s a new genre,” says Williams. “It’s television and musical theater, and it’s not either one of those alone, and at times it’s more of one than the other. People watched The Sound of Music wanting it to fail, and I know that people will watch Peter Pan that same way, but I would hope that the strong among them would watch thinking lovely and wonderful thoughts.”

TIME Television

REVIEW: An Amazon Kids’ Show Far Better Than Normal

Justice, Siegel and Boettcher in Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street. Amazon

Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street brings back the magic to older-kids' TV.

The rise of streaming TV has been a gift for fans of ambitious scripted shows like Transparent and Orange Is the New Black. Still, it’s odd that this new video medium has got the most attention for giving us more of what we already have a lot of–comedies, dramas and dramedies for adults.

TV, of course, is a lot more than that–and, in fact, people who use streaming services use them for a lot more. Families, for instance, use the archives of classic TV shows and movies to fill in the gaps of new entertainment. (In my house, we’ve been having a mini film festival of ’70s and ’80s flicks like Breaking Away, which are simultaneously adult and kid-accessible, without being saccharine, in a way that doesn’t exist as much now.) And kids, who’ve grown up accustomed to a grazer’s buffet bar of media, are naturals for streaming: they watch what they want on their schedule, while their parents don’t need to worry what they’ll come across flipping channels. “Flipping channels,” really, is one of those experiences–like searching for a pay phone–that my children only encounter now when watching the aforementioned ’70s and ’80s movies.

Amazon Prime Video has been the streamer that’s most focused on original kids’ shows, including the delightful, science-and-tech focused Annedroids, which premiered this summer and was quietly radical for advancing the idea that girls could get excited about robots. It also earlier this year debuted the preschool-focused Creative Galaxy and Tumble Leaf. Each of those shows was winsome in its own way, but they didn’t fill a dire need; there’s a surfeit of sharp TV for younger kids both on commercial and public TV. It’s when kids get a little older that the quality choices dry up, the Disney Channel sitcoms multiply, and you find yourself searching for reruns of Malcolm in the Middle.

But Amazon’s newest debut finally aims at that niche of original, non-obnoxious TV for tweens that used to be filled by series like Nickelodeon’s Adventures of Pete and Pete, back in my younger days when nickels used to have bumblebees on them.

Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, premiering its first season Nov. 21, is a kind of off-kilter, magic-realist hangout comedy. Amazon says it’s aimed at children 6 to 11–which, in kids’ aspirational math, means the lead characters are around 13–but this adult found himself gobbling the four episodes Amazon sent as if I were raiding my kids’ Halloween candy.

The title character (Sloane Morgan Siegel) and his two best friends, Mel (Ashley Boettcher) and Ranger (Drew Justice) live in a neighborhood that is both totally boring and unpredictably enchanted. The summer days drag slowly, the fall days are a string of school projects–and then they’re interrupted by the discovery of a mysterious pencil that has the power to erase memories or a menacing toad that has apparently placed a curse on an elderly neighbor (Fionnula Flanagan). Well-meaning Gortimer, brainy Mel and overenthusiastic Ranger throw themselves into the mysteries thrust upon them with the spirit of early teenagers, for whom the discovery that the world is profoundly weird is entirely unsurprising.

Normal Street‘s like a pleasant throwback, both in its attitude and its style. The stories, many of which involve eccentric but sympathetic adults, call back to a time when kid and adult culture wasn’t so strictly segregated (as in Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, recently re-released on home video). The humor is sophisticated, but with kid’s-eye detail; describing a favorite luridly colored frozen treat, Gortimer remarks in a voiceover: “It’s said that the peculiar sounds that the machine makes when birthing an Arctic Sludgie are the laws of physics screaming in protest.” There’s also a kind of indie-film gestalt to the show, down to the soundtrack music, which recalls Mark Mothersbaugh’s for Wes Anderson’s Rushmore.

The dream of the ’90s is truly alive on Normal Street, and yes, that does make me wonder a little if this is a series designed to appeal more to nostalgic former kids like me than actual kids of the moment. But I have to believe there’s a cross-generational appeal to the quirky stories from creator (and preschool teacher) David Anaxagoras as well as the instantly appealing characters.

The first episode, available on Amazon before the series premiere, is charming but a little sluggishly paced, but the following episodes only get better. A particular standout centers on Mel, the high-strung daughter of successful parents, who builds an artificially intelligent robot for a school science contest and finds her high-strung competitive attitude transferring to the machine. The story is far-fetched; the theme of early-onset stress is real. But above all it’s inventive and funny, as when the robot shows up for the science fair dressed in a T-shirt that reads Wiñata: “A person or thing,” the machine explains with deadpan cockiness, “that is stuffed so full of win that if hit with a stick it would spill win all over the floor.”

Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street is exploding with treasures like that line. And regardless of your age, I defy you to take a crack at it and not end up getting win all over yourself.

TIME Television

TV Land Pulls The Cosby Show From Its Lineup

Bill Cosby
This Nov. 11, 2014, file photo shows entertainer and Navy veteran Bill Cosby speaking during a Veterans Day ceremony, at the The All Wars Memorial to Colored Soldiers and Sailors in Philadelphia. Matt Rourke—AP

All scheduled re-runs of the beloved NBC show were canned, as Bill Cosby rape allegations gain national attention

The Cosby Show is the latest casualty of Bill Cosby’s career as he faces increasing public scrutiny over new and long-existing allegations of sexual assault.

The nostalgia network TV Land was set to air several marathons of the beloved ’80s family sitcom, but on Wednesday pulled all re-runs of the show from its schedule, according to the Hollywood Reporter. If you try to search for clips of the show on the TV Land website, an error message appears. Centric, another Viacom-owned network, also airs episodes of the show. No word yet on whether the show will air on the network.

Actress Raven Symone, who played one of the Huxtable children on The Cosby Show, on Wednesday addressed allegations that Cosby abused her while she was on the NBC smash. In an Instagram post she wrote, “I was practically a baby on that show and this is truly a disgusting rumor that I want no part of! Everyone on that show treated me with nothing but kindness. Now keep me out of this!”

The network is the latest to distance itself from the embattled star, who has yet to publicly respond to the resurfaced allegations. Netflix has postponed the release of a stand-up special scheduled to air on Nov. 28. NBC announced it would not be developing a planned Cosby sitcom in the immediate future.

Two women have come forward within the past week accusing Cosby of sexual assault, bumping the total number of women who have accused the star up to 15.

Read More: Here’s Everything We Know (And Don’t Know) About the Bill Cosby Rape Allegations

TIME celebrities

NBC Dumps Bill Cosby Sitcom Plan

Bill Cosby during an interview about the upcoming exhibit, Conversations: African and African-American Artworks in Dialogue, at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington. ON NOV. 6, 2014.
Bill Cosby during an interview about the upcoming exhibit, "Conversations: African and African-American Artworks in Dialogue," at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 6, 2014 Evan Vucci—AP

The move follows Netflix “postponing” its plan to stream a Cosby stand-up special next week

NBC has halted development on its Bill Cosby sitcom. In the wake of mounting rape allegations against the legendary comedian, the broadcaster has shelved its plan to return The Cosby Show star to prime time.

The move follows Netflix “postponing” its plan to stream a Cosby stand-up special next week.

NBC first announced an untitled family sitcom starring Cosby last January, with a pilot to be written by former Glee star Mike O’Malley and sitcom veteran Mike Sikowitz. NBC intended to potentially debut a series next fall.

Despite the traditional-media and social-media tempest, Cosby has never been convicted with a crime related to the allegations. The allegations accuse Cosby of crimes during the 1970s and ’80s. Cosby has also declined to answer questions about the accusations.

The sitcom news first put Cosby’s name back in the headlines and some media outlets began to report on past allegations against the star, where women have accused Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing them. When asked about the issue at NBC’s press tour in July, entertainment president Jennifer Salke told reporters, “We’re very committed, and that’s an important show for us.” While NBC’s entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt told reporters after the network’s panel: “All I do is try to put on shows that I think are good, with extraordinary talent. I think he’s extraordinary. And I think the show will be good. All the other things will sort of sort themselves out.”

The allegations significantly spiked in media attention last month after a video of stand-up comic Hannibal Buress calling Cosby a rapist went viral. A few weeks later, a meme-generating social stunt on Cosby’s website backfired when users took the opportunity to mock the comic for the allegations. Then late last week, Cosby canceled a planned appearance on David Letterman’s CBS late-night talk show.

On Sunday, after Cosby refused to answer questions about the allegations during an NPR interview, Cosby’s attorney John P. Schmitt released this statement: “Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced. The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true. Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment. He would like to thank all his fans for the outpouring of support and assure them that, at age 77, he is doing his best work. There will be no further statement from Mr. Cosby or any of his representatives.”

Yet on the heels of the statement, another woman surfaced with a new allegation of sex abuse by Cosby when she was 19 years old. Then on Wednesday, Entertainment Tonight broke the story of former America’s Next Top Model judge Janice Dickinson also accusing Cosby of rape when he was on The Cosby Show.

This week, the media has swiveled to focus intensely on NBC’s project, as well as a Cosby stand-up special, Bill Cosby 77, which Netflix plans to stream on the day after Thanksgiving. Variety took a poll and found 72% surveyed said NBC should cut ties with Cosby over the allegations.

For NBC, the situation represented a tough spot: Cosby was the star of the network’s top-rated sitcom, which aired for eight seasons. His return was touted by the current executive brass. And essentially nothing has changed since most of the allegations have been around for years.

Yet as the media din increased, it became clear NBC had little choice the Cosby brand has turned toxic, at least for now. As Cosby’s disastrous meme-generating stunt proved, any effort to market a show starring the comedian would be met with considerable criticism. Still, this rejection by the network that became synonyms with the actor’s success and brand represents a key moment in the fall of “America’s dad.”

This article originally appeared on Entertainment Weekly

TIME Television

Yes, Bill Cosby Actually Told a Joke About Drugging Women In a Comedy Routine

Bill Cosby
A portrait of Bill Cosby taken in 1969 Alfred Eisenstaedt—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

An old comedy routine takes on chilling tones as allegations against Cosby come into focus

Rape allegations against the comedian Bill Cosby were given new life last month when comedian Hannibal Buress called out Cosby during a standup routine. Buress’ bit went viral online, making it harder to ignore the fact that several women had long publicly asserted that one of America’s most beloved television dads drugged and assaulted them.

In a column published last week in the Washington Post, one accuser, Barbara Bowman, wrote that Cosby, now 77, “brainwashed me into viewing him as a father figure, and then assaulted me multiple times.” The two met on the set of The Cosby Show in 1985, when Bowman was 17 years old. In her essay, Bowman notes that it took “30 years for people to believe” her story about him, and that “only when a male comedian called Cosby a rapist did the accusation take hold.”

In Bowman’s account and the accounts of several other women, Cosby allegedly slipped incapacitating drugs into the women’s drinks. They would pass out and wake up with Cosby assaulting them. As it turns out, years before he was doling out folksy wisdom on The Cosby Show, Cosby used that exact kind of scenario as joke fodder.

In a clip recently unearthed by the Village Voice, Cosby unsettlingly laughs about slipping the aphrodisiac “Spanish Fly” into women’s drinks as if dosing women was a sort-of universal boys-will-be-boys lark. In the clip, Cosby even says he went to Spain with his costar from the television show I Spy — for which Cosby was the first African-American costar in a primetime series — in hopes of picking up some Spanish Fly while there.

It’s True! It’s True! was recorded live at Harrah’s in Lake Tahoe and is one of the few Cosby records that isn’t family-friendly. Aside from the now-chilling Spanish Fly routine, the comedian drops a few curse words, and discusses burlesque shows and gambling.

The album is something of an outlier in a career famously marked by “clean” routines, by the man who would become known as one of America’s most beloved dads, Cliff Huxtable, on The Cosby Show.

It’s True! It’s True! came out in 1969, which was a good year for Cosby, professionally speaking. He won a Grammy for his 1968 comedy album and took home an Emmy for his primetime comedy special The Bill Cosby Special.

That was also the year that another woman, named Joan Tarshis, claims Cosby invited her back to his bungalow to work on some comedy routines. “I thought, ‘That’s cool, getting to work with Bill Cosby on jokes,'” Tarshis told CNN. She alleges the comedian gave her a drugged cocktail and then raped her.

The allegations are all the more disturbing given the disparity between what these women claim to have experienced and what audiences know of Cosby’s gentle, avuncular humor and his status as a beloved television dad. Over the course of his decades-long comedy career, Cosby earned nine Grammy Awards, four Emmy Awards and countless other accolades.

Read next: Here’s Everything We Know (and Don’t Know) About the Bill Cosby Rape Allegations

TIME Television

Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner to Star in Amy Poehler’s New Hulu Comedy

In a new series called Difficult People

—You can shout the news to New York City, pedestrians! Billy Eichner will star in Amy Poehler’s new comedy series for Hulu!

The company announced Tuesday a series called Difficult People, which will star Eichner and comedic writer and performer Julie Klausner, with whom he collaborates on Billy on the Street — a show that largely involves shouting pop culture trivia to people on the street.

In case you’re not familiar with the very funny Klausner yet, here’s her appearance as “the cat whisperer” in this Funny or Die short.

“This hilarious series follows Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner as best friends and struggling comedians in New York City who can’t figure out why they aren’t likable,” Hulu Head of Originals Beatrice Springborn wrote on the company blog. “Klausner wrote the pilot and will also serve as an executive producer for the series alongside Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) and Dave Becky (Louie).”

Hulu is working in collaboration with Universal Cable Productions. Shooting will begin early in 2015.

Now to celebrate, let us watch Poehler and Eichner sing carols to innocent bystanders:

TIME Television

Hulu Orders New Shows from Amy Poehler and Director Jason Reitman

Amy Poehler
Amy Poehler Casey Curry—Invision/AP

Poehler will executive producer Difficult People, starring Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner

Hulu stepped up its original content game on Tuesday when the streaming television site announced it had picked up new shows from Amy Poehler and director Jason Reitman.

Poehler will executive produce Difficult People, a half-hour comedy about the misadventures of two best friends in New York starring Julie Klausner (who will also executive produce) and Billy Eichner. (Zooey Deschanel recently told TIME about attending Northwestern University with Eichner long before he became the host of the Emmy-nominated Billy on the Street.) The show will start production next year.

Hulu has also ordered 10 episodes of CASUAL, another half-hour comedy, this time executive produced by Juno and Up in the Air director Jason Reitman. The show is about a dysfunctional sibling duo who coach each other through their (online and offline) dating lives, which means it will probably touch on some of the themes Reitman addressed in his recent film about technology and relationships, Men, Women & Children. CASUAL will debut on Hulu in 2015.

TIME celebrities

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi Try to Break the Internet With Their Holiday Card

#TGIT Premiere Event Hosted BY Twitter
DeGeneres (L) and actress Portia de Rossi arrive at the #TGIT Premiere Event hosted by Twitter at Palihouse Holloway in West Hollywood, Calif. on Sept. 20, 2014. Amanda Edwards—WireImage/Getty Images

"A shiny new rear," DeGeneres quipped

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi are good at multitasking – they’re getting their holiday cards ready, doing something for a good cause and poking fun at Kim Kardashian all at once.

On Monday’s Ellen, DeGeneres revealed her latest cheeky holiday card: a riff on Paper magazine’s “Break the Internet” campaign that featured a nude Kardashian on the cover.

DeGeneres and de Rossi’s card reads “Happy Holidays And a Shiny New Year,” and shows their heads Photoshopped onto Kardashian’s baby-oiled body.

“A shiny new rear,” DeGeneres quipped as she showed the studio audience her handiwork Monday.

DeGeneres’s holiday cards are part of a partnership with Shutterfly to donate money to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Humane Society.

This article originally appeared on People.com

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