SCAD TVfest welcomed new shows like Hulu’s Death and Other Details, NatGeo’s latest iteration of Genius, and NBC’s Extended Family and also honored returning shows like Apple TV+’s The Morning Show.
The SCAD TVfest continued its celebration of television with screenings of hot new shows like Hulu’s Death and Other Details and recognized returning favorites like Apple TV+’s The Morning Show.
Hulu’s Death And Other Details is a Vibe
If you’ve watched Hulu’s new murder mystery show Death and Other Details, you know that it has a whole tone unto its own, part old-fashioned Agatha Christie, part Triangle of Sadness. I asked the creators and cast about this “vibe” on the SCAD TVfest red carpet.
“The vibe was something we talked about from the very beginning,” said co-creator Mike Weiss. “We wanted to tell a classical, well-told murder mystery, but we wanted to update it for a 2024 audience.”
It almost feels like Pushing Daisies, something co-creator Heidi Cole McAdams agreed with.
“That show exists in a plane like ours, but one click more hyper-real, and we definitely wanted to sweep you away.”
Costume designer Mandi Line said it wasn’t hard to dress the cast, but that each actor’s distinctiveness offered challenges.
“I had to make sure I brought the classic, resort, modern all in one and made sure they were able to run, hide, jump, and commit crimes at the same time.”
“It’s a modern story that’s set now,” said actress Lauren Patten who plays Anna, “but because they go on this refurbished vintage ocean liner, it has the feel of a period piece. The incredible set decoration and sets we were on feel the way our costumes are influenced.”
Even Imogene’s hair has a purposeful vibe.
“Imogene’s the sharpest person in the room,” said Violett Beane about her character. “So her hair is the sharpest in the room.”
SCAD TVfest Recognizes The Morning Show‘s Nicole Beharie & Showrunner Charlotte Stoudt
The Morning Show Season 3 showrunner Charlotte Stoudt received the Variety Showrunner Award on Friday night, and on the red carpet, she revealed how the network hack storyline came to be in Season 3 (she also said she was working on the first script for Season 4, which she brought with her in her bag).
“You’re always looking for an event that can involve everyone in the story, a building-wide event that pulls everyone together,” said Stoudt. “I’m really fascinated by surveillance and ransom-ware, coming from my Homeland spy days. I’m always the person who puts the tape on the computer camera. I read this amazing article about the Sony hack, and I talked to someone who was a fixer for it. After I talked to him, I was like, this is a good story. It’s really complicated.”
Nicole Beharie also chatted about her character Chris’s intense interview scene with Holland Taylor’s Cybil in Season 3.
“She’s very present,” said Beharie. “I think people don’t give enough credit to your co-star sometimes when you have a flashy moment. She really brought so many moments to life with that particular woman and brought so much empathy to that woman. People want to hate her, but you can’t because of her vulnerability, fragility, and confusion in spots. And Chris knew that.”
NatGeo’s Genius: MLK/X Enters the Limited Series Conversation
Even though SCAD TVfest celebrates the joy of television, sometimes it’s hard not to think about future Emmy nominations, especially since the Academy frequently likes to nominate NatGeo’s Genius (Cynthia Erivo, Antonio Banderas, and Geoffrey Rush have all been nominated in lead acting categories).
This most recent iteration, Genius: MLK/X, stars Kelvin Harrison Jr. as MLK and Aaron Pierre as Malcolm X on their journeys to becoming Civil Rights icons.
“These are two tremendous individuals, two tremendous men, who are often depicted as diametrically opposed,” said Pierre, “but in reality, they’re two men on parallel paths with the same objective; they just have different perspectives on which route is most conducive to that angle. It shows Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X Shabazz as two sides of the same coin. They’re respective paths inspired one another to embark on the greatest version of their respective journeys. It’s a privilege to be a part of it.”
To get into character, Harrison Jr. rejected looking at what other actors did when portraying such an icon.
“My instinct at first was to look at everything, but then I thought none of those great actors would look at anything,” he said. “Let me be smart and not do that. I had to find my own way into it. What I didn’t want to do is play an impersonation of a portrayal. It was a very difficult and hard journey, but I’m grateful I did it that way.”
Rounding out the main cast includes Weruchie Opia as Coretta Scott King and Jayme Lawson Betty Shabazz. Opia, who grew up in the UK, didn’t know a lot about Scott King, but learned two surprising things in her research.
“She was so instrumental in securing the black vote for JFK to become president when he did,” she said. “After JFK and Martin Luther King began a relationship, when it became time for the elections, Coretta was involved in getting almost 70% of the black vote. So that, and the fact she was an opera singer. I had no idea!”
Lawson played a young icon in her portrayal of Michelle Obama on Showtime’s The First Lady but said that playing a young Betty Shabazz was completely different.
“With Dr. Betty Shabazz, I had to track her from the age of 22 up to the age of 38, so really building that woman was building a woman and finding the essence of her and the truth about her and bringing that to the forefront for audiences to get reintroduced to her.”
NBC’s Extended Family Is Here to Have Fun
Warning: When the Extended Family cast comes into a room, it gets A LOT louder. The new comedy has a classic sitcom premise (a divorced couple decides to raise their kids in the same apartment) complete with a set featuring sitcom steps to maneuver around, something I asked the cast and creator about.
“The levels do help,” said Jon Cryer. “The kitchen has two portals for some reason. It keeps it interesting and gives us fun things to do with blocking. Older apartments have quirks you have to work around. Sometimes the only place you can hook up your laundry is in the kitchen where there are pipes that shoot a lot of water. I’m just saying!”
“Steps, props, a railing,” said Donald Faison, “If you don’t rehearse it, it can throw a monkey wrench in your programming.”
“Here’s the thing: It makes it challenging,” echoed Abigail Spencer. “I feel like I understand Kramer now. You kinda don’t ever really know what’s gonna happen!”
But since Mike O’Malley, former host of Nickelodeon’s Guts is the series creator, is it just a mini Aggro Crag?
“People always ask me about Guts,” said O’Malley. “Jon had no idea what Guts was or that it existed.”
“I was innocent of that,” said Cryer.
“Anyone of a certain age knows me from that and chooses to heckle me. ‘Let’s go to Mo!'”
SCAD TVfest runs February 7-10.