The Watchman: Throwing the Book at ‘Rick and Morty,’ ‘Blacklist’ Biggie in a Bind, ‘Peaky’ Principal Cracking Up

Senior content producer Michael Malone's look at the programming scene
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The Science of Rick and Morty: The Unofficial Guide to Earth’s Stupidest Show, by high school science teacher Matt Brady, is published Oct. 1. Brady explores how close Rick’s wacky science experiments come to becoming reality. Like, can you really control a cockroach’s nervous system with your tongue?

Brady uses lots of pop culture in his chemistry and physics classes, which he said gives students “a sense of ownership.”

He’s “hooked” on Rick and Morty. Brady wrote about the Cartoon Network show on website thescienceof.org, and was contacted out of the blue by an editor in the U.K., wondering if he had a book in him.

'The Science of Rick and Morty'

'The Science of Rick and Morty'

He did.

Brady has always idolized those who make science accessible, such as Bill Nye and Neil Degrasse Tyson. “It’s so cool to be able to reach people, and get them interested in science,” he said.

Reaching people on NBC Oct. 4 is season seven of The Blacklist. After being abducted by Katarina Rostova, Raymond Reddington finds himself alone in hostile territory. It’s a giant faceoff between Katarina and Red. “She needs information and will do anything to get it,” executive producer John Eisendrath said. “She needs one thing and Red will never give it up.”

Eisendrath sees season seven as a “family drama.”

What’s been the key to Blacklist sticking around for seven seasons and counting? “The show is built around an undeniably sympathetic villain” in Red, Eisendrath said. “It’s a great construction for any story.”

That and James Spader is pretty fun to watch. “James likes the strange,” said executive producer Jon Bokenkamp. “We embrace writing weird situations, dangerous situations, funny situations.”

Oct. 4 also sees the new season of English drama Peaky Blinders on Netflix. Tommy Shelby is putting the crime stuff behind him and focusing on legit business. Business is tough in 1929, as the stock market crashed across the pond.

Cillian Murphy plays Tommy, now a member of Parliament. “Seasons one through four, Tommy has a gun in his hand,” said Jamie Glazebrook, executive producer. “Season five, he’s not in a good place. He’s cracking apart.”

The show is shot in Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham. Glazebrook described Peaky as “a bit of social history, a bit of family history, a bit of rip-roaring drama.”

'The Blacklist'

'The Blacklist'

What makes it relevant in 2019? “It’s about men, who are always interesting,” Glazebrook said.

“It’s about families, who are always interesting,” added executive producer Caryn Mandabach. “The honesty with which [creator Steven Knight] writes about men will always be relevant.”

The Peaky Blinders festival just went down in Birmingham, with some 15,000 people turning up. “The love expressed at the festival,” said Mandabach, “it was wild, man.”

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