The Awards Daily TV crew will be celebrating two new premieres tonight in another Awards Daily TV Live Tweet event. Join us for Zoo, an “animals gone wild” (which seems totally redundant) series from CBS based on the 2012 bestseller by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge, and Scream, MTV’s foray into the world of TV horror based on Wes Craven’s film series. Zoo has already proven controversial before airing as PETA has weighed in against its use of live animals.

Our last Live Tweet was Lifetime’s A Deadly Adoption and much fun was had by all. If you’re not following us on Twitter, then you can find us at Awards Daily TV, Joey Moser, Clarence Moye, and Megan McLachlan.

We will see all of you online tonight!

Larry Kramer is known as a screaming, angry figure. The most prominent AIDS activist of all time, he gave a face to the anger, confusion, and rage to the gay men who were initially afraid whenever the epidemic broke out in the early 1980’s. His contributions to the gay community are countless, and he can be credited with saving so many lives with his activism. HBO’s Larry Kramer In Love & Anger recounts his leadership, but reminds us that he faced familiar conflicts with his family and similar issues most LGBT people encounter.

It was obvious that Love & Anger would later focus on Kramer’s AIDS work, but those unfamiliar with the man himself learned a lot from the HBO doc. Clocking in at an all-too-brief 82 minutes, it opens with Kramer in the hospital after a liver transplant in 2013. He’s lived with AIDS since 1988, and the complications from the surgery landed him in the hospital for a longer stay. Love & Anger cuts back and forth through Kramer’s recovery as it paints a portrait of the man we all know.

Before he found success in screenwriting (he garnered an Oscar nomination for Women in Love in 1969), Kramer suffered a rocky relationship with his father. Kramer recounts how his father continually referred to him as a “sissy” and complained that he was an effeminate young man. As Kramer tells these stories (intercut with scenes from his play The Destiny of Me), we see flashes of pictures from his youth. In all of the portraits and school snapshots, Kramer never smiles. He was a handsome guy—a cross between Michael Stuhlbarg and Mad Men’s Rich Sommer—but it always felt like he was never allowed to smile. Kramer’s relationship with his father maybe made him very serious too soon. One cannot complain, though. Perhaps the hardness with his father prepared him to be more confrontational with the disease he would ultimately afflict him?

One could read on and on about Kramer’s angered activism and his unapologetic attitude. This is compelling stuff, and it could have been the subject of a larger miniseries if HBO wanted to invest in it. The Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage is something to celebrate, but this documentary should remind the gay community of the fights that could be encountered down the road. There’s stock footage of protests that could probably not happen today. Watching cops drag protesters back and hearing screaming chants about the FDA not regulating HIV medication is still visceral and loud. A legion of fighting was created by one man: Larry Kramer.

There are testimonials from men who were involved in the initial Gay Man’s Health Crisis, and underneath a lot of their names is a small (almost fleeting) mention that they died in the initial epidemic. The archival footage still feels alive, and the confessionals remain raw and unhealed. This is a documentary about one man, but, more importantly, it’s about how he affected so many people in so many ways. One of the men mentions that it only takes one voice to start a revolution. It’s a somewhat clichéd sentiment, but in the case of Larry Kramer, it’s all too real. Watching this bearded man remind us how hard it was to just live is heartbreaking and important. Kramer clawed his way through that epidemic, and he is still fighting for his life.

No other man deserves a megaphone more than him.

As originally reported in The Hollywood Reporter and several other news outlets, NBC has cut its ties with current controversial Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump due to his “recent derogatory statements” dealing with immigrants. This move prevents the airing of the Trump-owned Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants as well as prevents his participating in the Emmy-nominated Celebrity Apprentice series so closely aligned with the Trump brand.

NBC will continue with the Celebrity Apprentice brand as it is licensed through reality-show impresario Mark Burnett (Survivor) and not specifically through Donald Trump. There are no announced plans for Trump’s replacement on the series, and Trump claims, through statements of his own, that he had already informed the network of his intention to step down from the reality series due to his presidential campaign.

NBC is following in the footsteps of Spanish-language channel Univision who earlier announced it would no longer televise the Trump-owned beauty pagents. Trump has threatened legal action against both networks based on a potential breach of contract.

The moves are a direct reaction to Trump’s widely publicized controversial statements where he said, “The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And, some, I assume, are good people.”

Even though it has a limited set of television categories, the 2015 BET Awards took two opportunities to hand FOX’s Empire acting trophies. Both Empire stars Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson took home the Best Actor and Best Actress awards. The overall ceremony was hosted by Black-ish‘s Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross who affectionately parodied Empire during their hosting stint.

The BET Awards spanned television, film, music, and sports. Here is a complete list of the winners:

Best Actor
Terrence Howard
Anthony Anderson
Idris Elba
Jussie Smollett
Kevin Hart

Best Actress
Taraji P. Henson

Gabrielle Union
Kerry Washington
Tracee Ellis Ross
Viola Davis

Best New Artist
Sam Smith
Dej Loaf
Fetty Wap
Rae Sremmurd
Tinashe

Best Male Hip-Hop Artist
Kendrick Lamar
J. Cole
Drake
Common
Big Sean
Wale

Best Female Hip-Hop Artist
Nicki Minaj
Azealia Banks
Tink
Iggy Azalea
Trina
Dej Loaf

Centric Award
The Weeknd – “Earned It”
Avery Sunshine – “Call My Name”
Jazmine Sullivan – “Dumb (feat. Meek Mill)”
Mark Ronson – “Uptown Funk (feat. Bruno Mars)”
Sam Smith – “Stay with Me (feat. Mary J. Blige)”

Humanitarian Award
Tom Joyner

Ultimate Icon: Music Dance Visual Award
Janet Jackson

Fandemonium Award
Chris Brown

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist
Beyoncé 
Janelle Monáe
Jhené Aiko
Ciara
Rihanna
K. Michelle

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist
Chris Brown 
The Weeknd
John Legend
Trey Songz
Usher
August Alsina

Best Group
Rae Sremmurd

A$AP Mob
Migos
Rich Gang
Young Money
Jodeci

Best Collaboration
Common & John Legend – “Glory”

Chris Brown – “Loyal (feat. Lil Wayne & Tyga)”
Big Sean – “I Don’t F**k with You (feat. E-40)”
August Alsina – “No Love (Remix) [feat. Nicki Minaj]”
Chris Brown – “New Flame (feat. Usher & Rick Ross)”
Mark Ronson – “Uptown Funk (feat. Bruno Mars)”

YoungStars Award
Mo’Ne Davis

Jacob Latimore
Jaden Smith
Quevenzhané Wallis
Zendaya

Best Movie
Selma

Annie
Beyond the Lights
Think Like a Man Too
Top Five

Best Gospel Artist
Lecrae

Deitrick Haddon
Erica Campbell
Fred Hammond
Mali Music
Michelle Williams

Video of the Year
Beyoncé – “7/11″
Chris Brown – “New Flame (feat. Usher & Rick Ross)”
Chris Brown – “Loyal (feat. Lil Wayne & Tyga)”
Big Sean – “I Don’t F**k with You (feat. E-40)”
Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”
Common & John Legend – “Glory”

Video Director of the Year
Beyoncé, Ed Burke & Todd Tourso 

Benny Boom
Chris Robinson
Fatima Robinson
Hype Williams

Sportswoman of the Year
Serena Williams

Brittney Griner
Candace Parker
Skylar Diggins
Venus Williams

Sportsman of the Year
Stephen Curry 

Chris Paul
Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Lebron James
Marshawn Lynch

Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award
Nicki Minaj – “Only feat. Drake, Lil Wayne & Chris Brown)”

Beyoncé – “7/11″
Dej Loaf – “Try Me”
Kendrick Lamar – “i”
Rae Sremmurd – “Throw Sum Mo (feat. Nicki Minaj & Young Thug)”
The Weeknd – “Earned It”

Best International Act: Africa
Stonebwoy (Ghana)

Best International Act: UK
Stormzy

On this week’s Water Cooler podcast, Joey, Megan, and Clarence chat about a variety of television topics in a segment questionably titled “TV Potpourri.” Included in this discussion is a spoilerly overview of the Game of Thrones season finale (more specifically, THAT death), a brief conversation about the fate of NBC’s Hannibal and the sorry state of affairs at the network itself, a quick review of Comedy Central’s Another Period, and a discussion – not a review – of the first eight minutes of MTV’s upcoming Scream TV series.

Then, Joey takes on Megan in the first TV Water Cooler Podcast Emmy Quiz! Play along at home!

5:37 – Game of Thrones
15:39 – Hannibal
21:14 – Another Period
25:01 – Scream, the first 8 minutes (Not a review)
36:17 – TV Water Cooler Podcast Emmy Quiz!

Robin Write’s review of Humans originally appeared on the site two weeks ago when the series premiered on Channel 4 in the UK. Humans premieres tonight for US audiences on AMC. 

AMC’s new drama Humans was born into our media-driven subconscious as a commercial for Persona Synthetics. That’s right, an advert for synthetically created and fully operational human-act-a-likes, made from scratch and programmed to aid humans in their day-to-day lives. But they are not humans. They can’t love your children like you can. Can they? When I first saw the advert for Personal Synthetics even I had to adjust my thoughts and impressions on this whole concept. It turns out it is a terrifically effective marketing campaign for Humans, the television show about this very technological breakthrough.

There’s a strong paradox about weighing up fiction and reality. There’s a certain fear about fiction based on a potential reality. You simply have to be human to feel that, paranoia, concern, intrigue. About synthetic beings. Artificial intelligence. Robots. One spontaneous reaction from a YouTuber for me captured the emotive, spontaneous response and debate that perhaps the creators were seeking out with this marketing ploy. Robots taking over the world, well, that is a nurtured fear depicted on the big screen too. Remember WestworldI, Robot? And more recently the excellent Ex Machina?

So the TV show itself, then. An eerie, sci-fi-esque discourse thrown hard and fast into the drama of everyday human lives. The title sequence flickers from scientific image here to technological image there – audio snippets follow suit. And the music accompanying the show’s narrative crawls under your skin pretty much from the outset.

Humans3

The Hawkins family, mum, dad, three kids, form the central plot. Dad (Tom Goodman-Hill, Mr. Selfridge) takes youngest daughter shopping, they are to purchase a new synthetic aid. They call her Anita and acquaint her with the family. It is clear early on all is not stable with this family. The synthetic may turn out to be a whizz around the kitchen but is not here necessarily to hinder or improve the communication or bond between family members. When family feuds, although minor, continue, the mother (Katherine Parkinson, The I.T. Crowd) sees Anita across the room. You have to wonder, as no doubt she may, what she understands. What emotional connection can Anita have with the members of this family? Is she a threat? The fact she looks immaculately human may be the hardest part to swallow. We can distance our feelings far, far easier from robots that look like robots, can’t we?

Elsewhere an elderly man (William Hurt, Damages) is visited by a case worker offering him a brand new, more advanced version of synthetic (Synth). He is not interested from the outset. Perhaps a denial of getting older and needing more help (there is mention of his blood pressure), or perhaps more so a strong attachment to his current Synth. When they go shopping for groceries, and the Synth malfunctions slightly he is knocked to the ground and powered down. The man does not want a new model in spite of strong recommendations to have him scrapped by a police detective. The same detective returns home and is clearly perturbed by his disabled wife’s connection with their male Synth.

A further story-strand has one of several synthetic workers questioned and then shot with a dart when he attempts to run and escape. The chunk of dialogue “He looks normal.” then “He is far from normal.” would have made a decent slogan for the nature of the show. In a flashback sequence (probably five weeks prior) Anita, seemingly on the run and working with others to stay safe, is soon captured with another Synth by two guys in a van. There is conflict already here, and it is clear these artificial creations have been on the market, and in society, for some time now.

This is not, right now, all out horror. Or not as we know it. This is a subtle nerve-stirrer. We might not fear for the lives of the humans (at first), but any form of non-robotic activity does indeed ring out some alarm bells. The prolonged laughing at the dinner table by Anita may be particularly chilling. And as humans, it is scary to have a Synth being able to strike up a greater bond with your daughter than you currently have. The final sequences of the first episode go a long way to suggest further danger, but also I found myself wondering how Anita befriending the children of the family may be beneficial. Now that’s an uneasy paradox.

I had a transitional switch of opinion in my head during the whole marketing of Humans. Gripped and spooked by the notion these synthetics could one day really be accessed in our everyday lives, and advertised like i-phones or double cheeseburgers for 99 pence. Then to be grounded that this is purely fiction, a television show with actors I recognized, kind of diluted some of the original allure. But not much, and not because I do not love great TV shows.

As TV drama goes, this tuned out to be a solid and compelling introductory hour to a fascinating concept. The artificial nature of “robots” given memories or emotions is nothing new, but that does not make it uninteresting in the slightest. The set-up is swift, and the characters have some weight. This is only emphasized through some fine performances here from the veteran William Hurt providing some heart-tugging sympathy, and the usually comedic Katherine Parkinson playing it convincingly straight-laced. As for Anita, Gemma Chan is so far inch perfect, channeling the mannerisms of a cyborg existence while showing real glimmers of the human form emerging through the surface. The direction of Humans looks to be heading, then, in that direction.

Humans debuts in the US tonight on AMC at 9pm EST. 

Humans2

Hannibal has never been a show about death so much as it is about the affect death has on the people who have been touched by it. In the first season episode “Buffet Froid,” Hannibal spoke to Will about “the unreality of taking a life” (of course, this was before Will knew Hannibal was himself a serial killer), and the surrealist aesthetic of the show’s visuals and storytelling has underlined and dramatized this throughout, and no single character has been left unscarred.

That final element is the driving force behind “Apertivo” (which in a show more concerned with conventional storytelling might have been the first episode of the season rather than the fourth), in which we see how the protagonists have recovered from the massacre at the end of “Mizomuno.” The episode plays out almost like a series of interconnected short films, with each character trying to deal with their trauma (both physical and emotional) but unable to fully escape from the shadow of Hannibal.

The connecting thread through these short films is Raul Esparza’s Chilton, who slithers into each person’s life like a smarmy, douchebag Nick Fury, trying to recruit them into a coalition of Hannibal survivors. Whether or not Chilton simply wants additional material for this forthcoming book (it is mentioned that he has already trademarked the phrase “Hannibal the Cannibal”) or has a specific endgame in mind is unclear as of yet, but whatever Chilton has in mind his intentions are definitely less brutal than those of Mason Verger. Verger’s disfigurement and paralysis has forced him to channel his sadism from random acts into long-term plotting. Verger is now played by Joe Anderson (The River, Across the Universe), and while at first he seems to simply be doing a dead-on Gary Oldman imitation, he quickly makes the character his own and becomes a highlight of the episode.

Verger finds a surprising ally in his quest for revenge in Alana Bloom, who until now has always been something of a calming force in the show’s madness. Now, in the midst of recovering from spine and brain damage, she finds herself drawn into the intentions of Mason (not to mention the affections of Margot). This isn’t helped by Will’s lack of interest in her recovery; when she meets him when visiting Hannibal’s house, he flat-out rejects her. For a character who until now has been primarily a source of emotional support and a love interest, this change in dynamic is both surprising and welcome. It’s great to have you back, Alana.

Will, as we’ve seen in previous episodes, is trying to piece himself back together. Unfortunately, he finds there is a Hannibal-sized hole in his life that nothing else can fill. When Jack asks him why he warned Hannibal, Will replies simply “because he was my friend… and I wanted to run away with him.” Hugh Dancy’s understated work in this episode, as well as “Primavera,” has made for some of the most quietly powerful moments in the show’s run. Even for a character who has always been isolated, seeing him alone and pining for a relationship that can only end in pain is nothing short of tragic.

Jack Crawford has also found himself alone, having recovered from a near-death experience just before having to cope with the loss of his wife. Bella’s funeral sequence is beautifully heartbreaking, juxtaposing the scene of the funeral with Jack’s memory of their wedding. Even for a character who has only appeared a handful of episodes, Bella Crawford’s loss has the impact of that of a lead. Jack then finds himself without a family and without a job, and his only remaining purpose is to try and help Will Graham, whose fractured state he still feels partially responsible.

Director Marc Jobst keeps the pacing tight and steady, allowing the actors to take center stage while still creating some dazzling visuals as he depicts their physical and emotional recovery. Brian Reitzell’s use of music is also a standout in this episode, from the use of “The Death of Åse” by Edvard Grieg during one of Will’s dream sequences to a bombastic original piece composed for the reconstruction of Mason’s face. I’ve long said that Hannibal is one of the few TV shows where the writing, acting, directing, and music have equal importance, and “Apertivo” is an episode where everything is truly firing on all cylinders.

For those complaining that this season has been too slow and focused on character as opposed to plot, this episode bodes very well for the rest of the season.

Teaser and trailer week continues as Showtime reveals a glimpse of what’s to come in Season Two of The Affair. Hint: it’s not good for Noah Solloway.

The Affair returns this Fall.

The reboot of NBC’s Heroes series will debut on September 24, 2015.

AMC has unveiled yet another teaser for August’s Fear the Walking Dead, a spin-off of its smash hit staple series. Fear will run six episodes, likely leading up until the premiere of the sixth season of The Walking Dead.

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