Periscope praises “Empire,” Trump calls “Roseanne”

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Empire_Midseason_Return

Half of ‘Empire’s’ mid-season premiere filmed as one-act play

(Spoiler alert: Please don’t read ahead unless you’ve seen “Empire’s” midseason premiere.)

Sheesh, it sure has been a minute since Empire has been on. The series, which is filmed at Cinespace Studios, returned with its mid-season premiere last night.

In the episode titled “Birds in a Cage,” Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) treks to crazy Claudia’s (Demi Moore) cabin in the woods in order to save Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard).

While the insane Moore is unsuccessful in gaslighting Lucious into believing he’s her beloved Dwight, she does stir up more drama (big surprise there right?) between Cookie and Lucious. The two of them get real in front of their captor, as they relive the dark years Cookie spent in prison and what that did to their marriage. And this all took place at a long table set in a cabin in the woods.

According to The Wrap, the slow-burning episode was an impressive feat for the Fox leads and their A-list guest star as the majority of the episode was shot in single takes.

Among the impressed fans is Michael Nehs, COO and Post Supervisor at Periscope, where 90% of Empire’s music recordings and dialogue has been completed since season one.

“I watch a lot of network TV and what Empire was able to do is bring back a format that used to be done all the time,” he explains. “It’s a testament to the Empire team’s forward-thinking and courage to do something like this and really take TV to the next level. We never know what we’re going to get coming down the pipeline, but we know it’s going to be ground-breaking. They crushed it.”

Even more impressive is that this all came out of a dare the talented Henson made.

“Just to be clear, we have acts between commercials and we’re a six-act show,” said Craig Brewer, Co-Executive Producer, who wrote and directed the return of Empire’s fourth season. He went on to tell The Wrap, “There is a moment where they are talking to each other in this conflict that you mentioned for half of act four, all of act five and half of act six. So imagine sitting down and trying to film essentially 15 to 20 minutes of people arguing and having this conflict.”

“And so I sat down with the three of them at the very table where the moment was about to take place and I said, ‘How do you guys want to tackle this? You want to do it bit by bit? Do you want me to break it down and then we shoot one part of it and then we move on to the other one?’ And Taraji turns around and says, ‘Well how are we gonna do that? No, no, no. Let’s just shoot the whole thing as one play and you just shoot it over and over again. That’s how we’re gonna do it.’”

“And I said, ‘Guys, that’s a lot of dialogue for you all to commit to memorizing right now.’ And I will never forget this moment, Taraji turned over her script and said ‘Bring it’ and looked over at Terrence and he was like, ‘Alright’ [and] flipped over his script. And then Demi Moore did the same thing. And I was like, ‘Action?’”

Empire is filmed on location at Cinespace Studios.

 
Trump calls Barr after huge premiere

Roseanne_returns
Roseanne returns with big numbers

I have to admit I never watched Roseanne when it first aired from 1988 – 1997. And I wasn’t really interested in its return after 21 years. But what do I know? Turns out 18.2 million people were very interested in the Conners, who reside in fictional Landford, Illinois, somewhere between Chicago and Rockford.

To put that number in perspective, 16.5 million viewers watched the Game of Thrones finale live or streamed it the same day and 11.4 million viewers watched the season eight premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Of course, Roseanne airs on ABC, a broadcast network, while Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead air on HBO and AMC, respectively. Still, Roseanne posted higher numbers than NBC’s recent reboot of Will & Grace, which debuted to 10.2 million viewers last fall.

One of those 18.2 million viewers was the President himself. Donald Trump clearly enjoyed the return as he called Barr to congratulate her Wednesday night. In the premiere, Barr’s character declared that she is a Trump supporter which causes strife in her family. The character mirrors Barr’s real life beliefs as she is a vocal Trump supporter.

As good as the numbers were, it still didn’t best last Sunday’s 60 Minutes interview with Stormy Daniels with 22 million viewers.

ALSO READ: Getting Reel Inside VER Chicago

 
‘Westworld’ Season 2 trailer

Apparently the robopocalypse is here! And we should be grateful!

HBO released the trailer for Season 2 of Westworld on Thursday, giving fans (of which I’m a huge one) their first look into the sophomore installment since that badass Super Bowl Sunday ad aired back in January — and if you thought you recognized Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box” in the background, you’d be right. Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi reimagined the song for the trailer. Take a look below:

 

 

Westworld Season 2 premieres on April 22 at 9 p.m. on HBO.

 
‘Handmaids Tail’ Season 2 trailer

Don’t call her Offred. Her name is June. And she is free.

Hulu released its trailer for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 on Wednesday and it looks like Elisabeth Moss is taking back her identity. Watch out! And watch the trailer below:

 

 

Season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale will premiere with two new episodes on April 25, with subsequent episodes released every Wednesday, on Hulu.

Between Netflix’s premiere of Lost in Space, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, HBO’s Westworld and of course the release of The Avengers, April is shaping up to be one helluva month!

 
Contact Colin Costello at colin@reelchicago.com or follow him on Twitter @colincostello10.

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