Television

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power streaming on Prime Video (Starring Robert Aramayo as Elrond and Morfydd Clark as Galadriel)

The Rings of Power

  • By KENNE HOFFMAN
  • Photo Courtesy of PRIME VIDEO

It’s time for another journey to middle earth with Amazon Prime’s Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. In addition to the new episodic format, there are new characters, a new age, and a new legend set thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books. The franchise has become a cultural phenomenon capturing the imagination of generations of fans through literature, animated television, and feature film. Episodes one and two will drop on September 1 and 2, launching at the same time around the world so all fans can experience them simultaneously. A rollout of a single episode per week follows.

The Rings of Power tells the story of the second age of Middle-Earth, an era where great powers (and rings) were forged, kingdoms rose to glory, and fell to ruin. Unlikely heroes were tested, and Tolkien’s greatest villain threatened to cover all the world in darkness. These are not the characters we have come to know in previous versions, though writers and showrunners J.D Payne and Patrick McKay have included some familiar characters including Galadriel (Morfydd Clark of His Dark Materials), Elrond (Robert Aramayo of Game of Thrones), and High King Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker of Jessica Jones). Additionally, many important names we’ve heard mentioned come to life in the series — names like Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards), the forger of The Rings of Power.

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American Gigolo on Showtime (Starring Jon Bernthal)

American Gigolo

  • By Debbie Emery
  • Photo Courtesy of Showtime

In 1980, American Gigolo took movie theaters by storm and catapulted Richard Gere into international stardom. Featuring Gere as Julian Kaye — a high-priced male escort in LA who becomes romantically involved with a prominent politician’s wife (played by Lauren Hutton) and then finds himself embroiled in a murder case — the Paul Schrader-directed crime thriller established its star as Hollywood’s hottest leading man.  

Forty-two years later, American Gigolo has now been remade as a Showtime series starring Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead, The Punisher, Baby Driver) as Kaye. It also stars Gretchen Mol, Rosie O’Donnell, Lizzie Brocheré, Gabriel LaBelle and Leland Orser. Rather than replaying the original plot, the series features Kaye 15 years after being arrested for murder as he struggles to find his footing in the modern sex industry. He is also attempting to reconnect with the love of his life, Michelle Stratton (played by Mol), and find out who framed him. Detective Sunday (O’Donnell) believes that a large criminal conspiracy is to blame and vows to discover the truth behind the murder that put Kaye in jail.

The series was developed for Showtime by David Hollander and has Jerry Bruckheimer as an executive producer, having been lead producer on the original film. 

American Gigolo” premieres on September 9 on Showtime.

Monarch premieres September 11 on Fox (Starring Trace Adkins and Susan Sarandon)

MONARCH

  • By RICH ANDREW
  • Photo Courtesy of FOX

Creator Melissa London Hilfers (Jagged Edge) has crowned the next queen of country music, and it’s Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon (Blue Beetle). In Fox’s latest musical drama, Sarandon plays Dottie Cantrell Roman, a country darling turned music mogul after a decades long career at the top of her game. And talent clearly runs in the Roman blood as Dottie’s two daughters Nicolette and Gigi test each other’s star power in a public battle to become the heir apparent. While Nicolette may have the glamour, Gigi’s the one who has the voice, but what matters most to Dottie is whether either one of them has the gusto it takes to protect the family’s darkest secrets. Behind every wealthy family lies a twisted web of vengeful enemies looking to end their legacy, and when one of them comes knocking, Dottie’s husband Albie seemingly solves the problem with a shotgun and a shovel. But the juiciest drama comes from Sarandon’s signature gravitas, making Dottie into a formidable monarch we just have to watch. With an outstanding cast that also includes Trace Adkins (Maneater), Beth Ditto (Dickinson), Anna Friel (The Box), Martha Higareda (Altered Carbon), Emma Milani (Solve), Joshua Sasse (No Tomorrow), and features country music royalty Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Tanya Tucker, and Shania Twain, Monarch promises to be this fall’s smash hit.

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Star Wars’ Andor premieres September 21 on Disney+ (Starring Diego Luna as Cassian Andor)

ANDOR

  • By KENNE HOFFMAN
  • Photo Courtesy of DISNEY+

Rogue (One) hero Cassian Andor returns in the spy thriller Andor, the latest addition to the Star WarsGalaxy on Disney+. Andor is the story of thief-turned-rebel-spy Cassian Andor (once again played by Diego Luna) in the formative years prior to the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. No need to revisit Rogue One, as Andor opens five years before Rogue One and begins Cassian’s journey as far from the hero he is at end of the film as he could possibly be. Andor is on an odyssey and political awakening — the film takes place in an era filled with danger, deception, and intrigue. Cassian embarks on a path that is destined to turn him into a rebel hero. It’s an emotional awakening for him. 

The series follows Cassian’s journey into the Rebellion. Creator and show runner Tony Gilroy (Jason Bourne franchise) along with writer Stephen Schiff (Wallstreet, The Americans) strived to make Andor accessible to all viewers, not just to Star Wars fans. Their hope is that those folks might watch the series with friends and family who might enjoy it despite not being interested in the rest of the franchise. The series will not be using the digital stagecraft background technology of Mandalorian and Obi-Wan, as they wanted a location style like in Rogue One. Andor episode one drops on September 21.

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