Programming

The Watchman: ‘Greenleaf’ Goes Deep, ‘DuckTales’ Demands Greatness, ‘Halt’ Catches Fire

OWN series creator Craig Wright promises an explosive season for the Memphis megachurch 8/13/2017 8:30 PM Eastern
Scrooge McDuck and nephews are back, with an all-star voice cast, in Disney’s revival of 1990s favorite "DuckTales."
TakeAway

The Watchman, Aug. 14, 2017: Contributing editor Michael Malone’s weekly look at the programming scene

The second half of Greenleaf’s season two starts up on OWN Aug. 15, and creator Craig Wright promises explosives for the Memphis megachurch. The first half set up serious conflicts — between Grace and Mac, and Charity and Kevin — and the second half will reveal “the fallout of those explosions,” said Wright.

Oprah Winfrey is an executive producer, and plays blues joint owner Mavis McCready. Wright says Winfrey pushes him to make scenes “rougher and deeper.

“She wants juicy, meaty stuff to play,” he added.

Before the TV work hit, Wright ran a church in St. Paul, Minn. He said Winfrey was keen to explore the goings-on of a megachurch. “I’ve learned to trust Oprah,” he said. “When she says it’s gonna be OK, it’s gonna be OK.”

And DuckTales is gonna be OK on Disney XD. Like the original, the reboot features Scrooge McDuck, grandnephews Huey, Dewey and Louie, and Donald Duck, too. Co-producer Francisco Angones says the ideal Duck-Tales team member balances respect for the show’s heritage and a desire to take it in new directions. “They’re so insanely excited to work on DuckTales,” he said, “and so horribly horrified to mess it up.”

A whiteboard at show headquarters reads, “DuckTales Must Be Great.” Angones mentioned that part of the theme song —about solving a mystery and rewriting history — popped up in his wedding vows.

The voice cast includes Danny Pudi and Bobby Moynihan. The producers promise a lively family comedy. “We make sure we create a feeling in you when you watch that you had when you were a kid,” executive producer Matt Youngberg said.

And the final season of AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, starting up Aug. 19, may bring viewers back to kidhood too. It depicts the “dawn of search” in the early ’90s, according to creators Christopher Cantwell and Christopher Rogers. “Season four is about the characters arriving at the future they worked very hard to create,” said Rogers. “They’re asking, is this what we hoped for?”

Charlie Collier, AMC and SundanceTV president/general manager, talked about the “rewarding evolution” of Halt from computer drama spec script to critical darling. “It’s something that we’re really proud of,” he said.

The season is full of recognizable early ’90s music, including Hole, Pavement and The Breeders. “They’re songs we both loved as children of the ’80s who reached musical maturity in the ’90s,” Rogers said.

“The Chris’s,” as Collier calls them, don’t know what they’ll do after Halt. For premiere night, they’ll be at the fourth birthday party for Cantwell’s son. With a Justice League theme, the boys will dress up as superheroes, with Cantwell as a villain. A Jedi robe and ski goggles will be part of his costume. “It’s still a work in progress,” Cantwell admitted.

Rogers sees possibilities. “That’s our new show!” he quipped.

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