Review: ‘Marry Me’ (2022), starring Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson and Maluma

February 11, 2022

by Carla Hay

Owen Wilson, Jennifer Lopez and Chloe Coleman in “Marry Me” (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures)

“Marry Me” (2022)

Directed by Kat Coiro

Some language in Spanish with no subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place primarily in New York City and briefly in Peoria, Illinois, the romantic comedy film “Marry Me” features a racially diverse cast of characters (white, Latino, African American and Asian) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: Superstar music diva Kat Valdez impulsively marries a mathematics teacher—who is a socially awkward stranger she picked out from her concert audience and wed on the night they met—and they both try to make the marriage work.

Culture Audience: “Marry Me” will appeal mainly to people who are fans of star Jennifer Lopez and anyone who likes formulaic and unimaginative romantic comedies.

Jennifer Lopez. Michelle Buteau, Khalil Middleton (back row, third from left), Maluma, John Bradley and Owen Wilson in “Marry Me” (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures)

“Marry Me” is just an extended music video for Jennifer Lopez to sing songs that she wants to sell in a hackneyed story with no surprises. She and a bland Owen Wilson have no believable chemistry together, even though they star in the movie as an unlikely couple who are supposed to fall in love with each other. The entire movie looks as fake as the myriad of wigs and hair extensions that a superstar diva would wear.

Directed by Kat Coiro, “Marry Me” starts out with a somewhat intriguing concept that asks these questions: What if two famous singers were supposed to get married on a concert stage with a televised audience of millions, but the bride-to-be-finds out minutes before the wedding that her groom-to-be cheated on her? And what if she impulsively decided to marry a “regular guy” stranger in the audience instead? And what if this diva and this “regular guy” actually tried to make their marriage work?

That’s the entire story in “Marry Me,” but the movie does absolutely nothing original with this idea, which might have worked well with a genuinely hilarious screenplay and the right people cast in the roles. Unfortunately, “Marry Me” (written by Harper Dill, John Rogers and Tami Sagher) takes the lazy and unimaginative route, by cramming in cliché after cliché seen in many other romantic comedies until the movie comes to a very underwhelming and formulaic end. The screenplay is based on author Bobby Crosby’s 2020 graphic novel “Marry Me.” The movie “Marry Me” tries too hard to be sweet and likable, but it all comes across as cloying and pandering, especially when this movie is actually designed to peddle Lopez’s music and anything else that got product-placement deals for this movie.

In “Marry Me,” Kat Valdez (played by Lopez) is the heartbroken diva who rebounds quicker than you can say “rom-com garbage.” On the night of her lavish wedding, which takes place at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, she finds out just a few minutes before the ceremony that her heartthrob singer fiancé Bastian (played Maluma) cheated on her with her assistant Tyra (played by Katrina Cunningham). A tabloid website has posted a video of Bastian and Tyra having a sexual tryst, and the video has instantly gone viral. Kat and Bastian have a duet called “Marry Me” that they were going to sing to each other during the wedding, which is expected to have a global audience of about 20 million people. As soon as Kat finds out about Bastian’s infidelity, she breaks up with him backstage.

Instead of canceling the wedding, Kat sees mathematics teacher Charlie Gilbert (played by Wilson) in the audience, while he’s holding a sign that says “Marry Me.” Charlie is a mild-mannered divorcé who’s in the audience with his 12-year-old daughter Lou (played by Chloe Coleman) and Charlie’s school counselor co-worker Parker Debbs (played by Sarah Silverman), who was the one who convinced Charlie to go to this event since she had two extra tickets. Lou and Parker are big fans of Kat’s, but Charlie doesn’t really know who Kat is. He’s only holding the “Marry Me” sign because “Marry Me” is the name of this wedding event, and Parker (who’s a lovelorn lesbian) made the sign.

The next thing you know, Charlie is called up on stage, and he and Kat get “married.” This on-stage wedding isn’t legal, because Charlie never signed any marriage documents before he exchanged vows with Kat. The wedding officiator didn’t even say Charlie’s name during the ceremony. He just said “some guy” instead of Charlie’s name.

However, Kat decides with her annoying manager Colin Calloway (played by John Bradley) that she might as well get some publicity out of this fiasco, so she comes up with the idea to make the marriage legal. And if the marriage doesn’t work out in a few months, so be it. With this cavalier attitude toward marriage, it should come as no surprise that Charlie is Kat’s fourth husband. Her three previous marriages ended in divorce. (It might have been a nod to Lopez’s real-life failed marriages, because when Lopez made this movie, she had already been divorced three times.)

Since Charlie doesn’t know anything about Kat when they first meet, she gives him a brief summary of two of her previous failed marriages. Kat mentions that she was married to her first husband for 48 hours. (Sounds a lot like Britney Spears.) Kat also says that her second husband was a music producer who sold a private sex video they did together. (It’s probably a reference to when Lopez in real life sued her first ex-husband, Ojani Noa, for $10 million in 2009, when he tried to sell private sex videos that they made during their honeymoon.)

Kat then says that she and Bastian were together for about a year-and-a-half, and they got together after the breakup from her second ex-husband. There’s no mention of the third ex-husband and where he fits into the timeline of Kat’s train-wreck love life. Kat self-servingly makes it sound like bad things happen to her in her romantic relationships, yet she takes no responsibility for anything that she might have done wrong too that caused the relationships to fail.

At first, Charlie is reluctant to have his marriage to Kat be legal. “I have a daughter. I don’t want to drag her into a circus,” he tells Colin. This shady manager then blatantly lies and says that Lou won’t be affected by the publicity of Charlie being married to Kat. Colin says that the spin on this hasty marriage is that it’s a “break from tradition.” Charlie’s co-worker Parker then convinces Charlie to make the marriage legal, so that Charlie can get Kat to donate some money to the school where Charlie and Parker work.

It’s all so crass and cringeworthy. And this marriage doesn’t make Charlie look like he’s thinking of what’s best for his daughter Lou, who already has a tense relationship with Charlie because she thinks he’s boring, out-of-touch and a more than a little embarrassing. Charlie and his ex-wife (who has remarried and is never seen in the movie) share custody of Lou, who stays with Charlie three days a week. Lou is also a student at the middle school where Charlie teaches. Charlie is Lou’s math teacher and the leader of the school’s math club, where Lou is a reluctant member.

After this spontaneous wedding, Charlie gets thrust into the public spotlight, as he and Kat try to make their marriage work. Cue the expected scenes of Charlie not fitting in well with Kat’s superstar lifestyle. He is shocked and irritated when he’s hounded by paparazzi. Kat is someone who has 250 million followers on Instagram, but Charlie is someone who hates social media. Charlie doesn’t even have a smartphone. He still uses an outdated flip phone.

Charlie also has problems adjusting to the fact that Kat constantly has a camera operator with her to film her life for her social media channels. His name is Kofi (played by Khalil Middleton), who doesn’t say much, but Charlie thinks it’s intrusive and unnecessary for Kat to document her life in this way. Did Charlie forget that he married a superstar?

And there’s more of Charlie’s ignorance on display: Charlie finds it surprising and distasteful that Kat has signed several endorsement deals. “Her whole life is sponsored,” Charlie gripes. How do you think she makes much of her fortune, Charlie?

It’s not through selling recorded music (in real life, music superstars make most of their money through other means, such as touring and sponsorship deals), although “Marry Me” has blatant shilling of Lopez’s forgettable tunes in scenes that are really music video clips. There’s also some very over-the-top product placement in the movie. These products and song titles won’t be mentioned in this review because “Marry Me” does more than enough over-selling of what it’s trying to sell.

One of the corniest things about “Marry Me” is when Kat spouts some of her platitudes to try to explain why she’s so flaky in love and marriage, even though she has no credibility in giving advice on how to have a healthy and loving marriage that doesn’t end in divorce. In one scene, she tells Charlie: “I believe in marriage. It’s like math. If you get a problem wrong, you keep trying until you get it right.”

And immediately after Kat singles out Charlie in the audience with the intent to get him to marry her, she gives this semi-rambling speech: “If you want something different, you do something different. So this time, for the first time, you make a different choice. You jump off a cliff so high, you don’t even see the fall, and you just say yes.”

Even worse: “Marry Me” has a misguided way of trying to make Kat’s bad romantic judgment look like she’s a modern feminist. In reality, she’s an emotionally immature person who has some very outdated views on being single: She’s so afraid of being without a man, she pressures a total stranger to marry her. Confident and independent women don’t use marriage as a way to prove their self-worth, but as a way to share a committed relationship with another person.

Kat admits in one part of the movie that her impulsive wedding to Charlie was so she could save face after being humiliated by Bastian. In other words, the marriage to Charlie was more of a reaction than an independent-minded action. And you can bet there’s a part of the movie where Kat tries to make Bastian jealous and makes it obvious that she has lingering feelings for him. These mind games make Charlie insecure, of course, and you know where this is going in the “boy loses girl” part of the rom-com formula.

During their first press conference as spouses, Kat uses feminist-speak to try to justify using Charlie to boost her ego: “The rules, as they exist, pretty much suck for women. I mean, why do we have to wait until men propose? Why is everything on his terms? I think it’s time to shake things up!”

Kat continues, “How about this? We pick the guy, we keep our name, and let him earn the right to stay.” It sounds like a rousing feminist speech, except that Kat forgot that when she was on stage and saw Charlie, she actually did things the “old-fashioned” way with the man proposing. She saw Charlie’s “Marry Me” sign, and declared to him in front of the crowd, “Yes, I’ll marry you!” The filmmakers of this mindless movie expect viewers to forget that part too.

At the press conference, Charlie sounds even less convincing than Kat when trying to say that their marriage is a good idea. He awkwardly mentions that marriage has a history of being transactional, because in the old days, women were basically treated as property to be bought and sold into marriage. (He doesn’t mention that arranged marriages are still prevalent in many cultures.)

Charlie reminds the assembled reporters that a woman’s marital worth used to be based on her dowry in the old days, and how it’s so great that women have made progress since then. And yet, Charlie forgets to mention that this progress includes being a wealthy divorcée who can choose to marry a man who wants her money for his own personal agenda, such as making a large donation to his workplace. Hey, Charlie, what did you just say about a dowry being outdated?

And just who did Kat marry as her fourth husband? Charlie is a loner whose closest companion is his bulldog Tank. Not much is said about Charlie’s love life before he met Kat, except that Charlie and his ex-wife split up when Lou was too young to even remember when they were together. Predictably, Lou thinks her stepfather Steve (who is never seen in the movie) is a lot cooler than Charlie is, so Charlie feels inadequate and jealous. Guess who’s going to be the cool stepmother who will bring Charlie and Lou closer together?

You can almost do a countdown to when Kat shows up as a “surprise guest” in Charlie’s classroom, where she teaches the students how to correlate learning how to solve complicated math problems with learning how to dance like Kat Valdez. Later in the movie, Charlie’s math club students go to a big math competition in Peoria, Illinois, so you know exactly what that means in this cornball movie. Kat is completely unbelievable as someone who would be an attentive stepmother to Lou, unless it involves a photo op or self-serving video that Kat can put on her social media.

Lopez, who is one of the producers of “Marry Me,” is basically playing a version of herself as Kat Valdez in “Marry Me,” so the role really isn’t much of an acting stretch for her. Wilson just goes through the motions as dreadfully drab Charlie, who married a superstar, and then spends too much time whining about how famous Kat is. One of the most grating things about Charlie is that he acts personally offended when Kat does things to maintain her fame and fortune and fulfill her celebrity obligations, as if she’s suddenly supposed to change her lifestyle in the way that he sees fit.

Coleman is playing another in her long list of kid characters who are precocious, bratty or both. Silverman does her usual sarcastic schtick with a character who mouths off to people. Maluma doesn’t have much to do in this movie except sing and play a smooth-talking sex symbol. Michelle Buteau has an empty and superficial role as Kat’s image-conscious and sycophantic personal assistant Melissa, who doesn’t think too highly of nerdy Charlie. Utkarsh Ambudkar hams it up in a brief appearance as Coach Manny, the mean-spirited leader of the math competition’s arrogant reigning championship team.

“Marry Me” is a continuous pile-on of silly schmaltz and stereotypes, including the over-used “race to the airport” rom-com scene, because someone has to make a grand gesture that shows a commitment to love “before it’s too late.” And the movie’s 112-minute run time is too long, considering a lot of it is music video filler and rehashing of the same story arcs that have already been in hundreds of other romantic comedies. The movie’s pace drags in too many places, and the last third of “Marry Me” gets more and more ridiculous. “Marry Me” is not only a movie divorced from reality, but it’s also a movie divorced from any real wit and creativity.

Universal Pictures released “Marry Me” in U.S. cinemas and on Peacock on February 11, 2022.

Review: ‘Work It,’ starring Sabrina Carpenter, Liza Koshy, Keiynan Lonsdale and Jordan Fisher

August 7, 2020

by Carla Hay

Neil Robles, Bianca Asilo, Tyler Hutchings, Liza Koshy, Jordan Fisher, Sabrina Carpenter, Nathaniel Scarlette and Indiana Mehta in “Work It” (Photo by Brendan Adam-Zwelling/Netflix)

“Work It” 

Directed by Laura Terruso

Culture Representation: Taking place in an unnamed U.S. city, the dramedy film “Work It” has a racially diverse cast (white, African American and Asian) representing the middle-class.

Culture Clash:  A high-school senior, who’s an overachiever but a clumsy dancer, wants to win a group dance contest in order to impress a college admissions officer, so she recruits a group of misfits to train as dancers and dethrone the reigning champs.

Culture Audience: “Work It” will appeal primarily to people who like formulaic movies about students involved in dance contests.

Pictured in front row: Kalliane Bremault, Keiynan Lonsdale and Briana Andrade-Jones in “Work It” (Photo by Brendan Adam-Zwelling/Netflix)

Imagine a movie that takes almost every stereotypical plot in a teen movie and piles it on top of more clichés until it becomes a mindless mush of forgettable unoriginality. The result is the “Work It,” a dramedy that’s so derivative that even the movie’s title is recycled and bland. Directed by Laura Terruso and written by Alison Peck, “Work It” follows every formula of a teen dance movie to the point where people can predict what can happen even without seeing a second of this film. What saves “Work It” from being completely awful is much of the eye-catching choreography and the comedic talents of some of the cast members.

Here some of the high-school movie tropes in “Work it” that check a lot cliché boxes: Is there a nerdy protagonist who wants to transform into becoming more popular? Check. In “Work It,” she’s overachiever Quinn Ackerman (played by Sabrina Carpenter), a senior at the fictional Woodbright High School, which is located in an unnamed U.S. city. Quinn is consumed with her goal to get into Duke University, her late father’s alma mater.

Is there a big upcoming contest that will be a test of her popularity? Check. It’s the annual Work It dance competition, and Woodbright’s elite dance team the Thunderbirds are the reigning champs. Is there a sassy best friend who provides most of the comic relief? Check. She’s Jasmine “Jas” Hale (played by Liza Koshy), who is one of the best dancers on the Thunderbirds team.

Is there a villain? Check. The very arrogant captain of the Thunderbirds is Isaiah “Julliard” Pembroke (played Keiynan Lonsdale), who insists that people call him Julliard, because he’s convinced that he has what it takes to be admitted to this prestigious performing-arts college. Is there a love interest for the protagonist? Check. And is there a group of misfits who will band together with the protagonist to help her achieve her popularity goal? Check.

At the beginning of “Work it,” the conflict between Quinn and Julliard starts when Quinn, who has been a volunteer lightboard operator for the Thunderbirds, accidentally spills coffee on the lightboard during a Thunderbirds rehearsal. The accident results in a big electrical malfunction that singes the hair of one of the Thunderbirds named Brit Turner (played by Kalliane Bremault), who is one of Julliard’s fawning sidekicks.

Julliard storms into the studio control area with Brit and his other main sycophant Trinity (played by Briana Andrade-Jones), and rudely scolds Quinn about the mishap: “It is my responsibility to lead the team to a fourth consecutive victory!” Quinn makes a profuse apology and promises that the accident won’t happen again. But Julliard is not having it.

“Brit’s hair was singed,” he huffs imperiously. “She probably has to get bangs now, and she doesn’t have the face for it.” Julliard then haughtily fires Quinn by telling her, “You are banished from this room!”

Quinn’s feelings are hurt by the dismissal, but she has something bigger to worry about: her upcoming in-person interview with an admission officer at Duke University. Quinn, who narrates this film, explains in a voiceover that she’s fixated on attending Duke because her father was a Duke alum, and Quinn has happy memories of going to Duke football games and alumni events. Quinn says of Duke: “It feels like home—if you had a less than 6% acceptance rate.”

Quinn’s supportive mother Maria Ackerman (played by Naomi Snieckus) is equally enthusiastic about Quinn attending Duke. Maria and Quinn share a tendency to be worried, neurotic and over-prepared. They are both nervous wrecks by the time that Maria drives Quinn to Duke for Quinn’s interview.

At the interview, Quinn lists her qualifications for why she’s an ideal candidate for Duke: She’s a national Merit Scholar with a 4.0 GPA. She’s the student government treasurer at her high school. For extracurricular activities, she’s president of the school’s AV Club; she volunteers at a nursing home three days a week; and she plays the cello.

The Duke admissions officer Veronica Ramirez (played by Michelle Buteau) makes it clear to Quinn that she’s bored and unimpressed because other applicants have the same qualifications. Ms. Ramirez tells Quinn that they’re looking for risk-takers who are passionate about something, so Quinn blurts out that she really likes the Thunderbirds, who are the reigning champs of the Work It competition.

Ms. Ramirez comments that she loves the Work It competition, and she assumes that Quinn is part of the Thunderbirds dance team. Quinn doesn’t correct her and tell her the truth: That she’s not a dancer and she’s not even part of the Thunderbirds anymore as their lightboard operator.

But then, Quinn soon regrets this deliberate misleading, because Ms. Ramirez then excitedly tells Quinn that she’ll be at the Work It competition this year and that she looks forward to seeing Quinn there. The Work It contest happens before Quinn will find out if she got accepted into Duke, so she leaves the interview silently panicking over how she’s going to be able to get out of this big lie with the one person who can make or break her admission into Duke.

After thinking about writing an apology email confessing her lie, Quinn changes her mind and comes up with a desperate plan: She’ll learn how to dance in the few weeks left before the qualifying stage of the contest, audition for the Thunderbirds, and then get into the Work It competition as part of the Thunderbirds dance team. Quinn begs a reluctant Jas to be her dance teacher, by reminding Jas that Quinn has helped her with her academics, and it’s time to return the favor.

The big problem, of course, is that Quinn is an uncoordinated klutz. Quinn also wants to dancer/choreographer Jake Taylor (played by Jordan Fisher), who’s a few years older than she is, to coach her. Jake was expected to make it big as a dancer after a won a major dance contest, but his dance career was cut short after he got an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, and he disappeared from the professional dance scene.

Of course, Quinn tracks him down, and finds out that he’s been making a living teaching elementary-school-aged kids how to dance. Jake still has a lot of talent, but the injury has shaken his confidence in becoming a professional dancer again. Quinn shows up unannounced at one of his classes and tells him that she wants him to teach her how to dance and she won’t take no for an anwer. He’s annoyed and amused by Quinn’s persistence and basically tells her to go away. But since he’s Quinn’s obvious love interest, this won’t be the last we see of Jake in this story.

Quinn’s audition for the Thunderbirds goes as badly as you think it does. Julliard gets a big laugh over Quinn’s humiliation, especially when she begs him to join the team. He sarcastically suggests that maybe Quinn should start her own dance team. And you just know she does.

Quinn’s first recruit is Jas, who’s reluctant at first to quit the Thunderbirds. But Julliard treats everyone on the Thunderbirds team like crap, so it isn’t long before Jas is all-in for Quinn’s team. Quinn can’t think of an official name, so she calls the team TBD—as in, to be determined.

And this is where the misfits come in: One by one, Quinn convinces other unlikely students at the school to join her team. Raven (played by Bianca Asilo) is a pessimistic Goth girl who likes to dance to heavy-metal songs for videos that she puts on social media. Chris Royo (played by Neil Robles) is a social outcast on his soccer team, but he has good rhythm. Quinn appeals to Chris’ ego by telling him that he’ll be more appreciated on her dance team than on the soccer team.

DJ Tapes (played by Nathaniel Scarlette) is a dancer who seems to be straight out of the ‘80s, with a boombox and hip-hop breakdancing style. Robby G. (Tyler Hutchins) is a tall, thin dorky type whose claim to fame is he was once seen doing a back flip. Quinn tracks him down at a karate dojo. Priya Singh (played by Indiana Mehta) is a sarcastic roller skater, who has a knack for twirling, so she’s enlisted for the dance team too.

“Work It” has the expected montages of Quinn and the rest of her motley crew being terrible dancers (except for Jas), with the expected clumsy falls and uncoordinated moves, with Quinn being the driving force for them not to give up. There’s also a running joke in the film that Jas has a crush on a hunky guy named Charlie (played by Drew Ray Tanner), who works as a salesman in a mattress store. And so, there are multiple scenes of Jas engaging in all sorts of hijinks (including asking Charlie to “spoon” with her on a bed mattress), in order to get his attention.

Koshy is one of the few bright spots in this dreadfully predictable film. Even though she and the other cast members have a lot of cringeworthy dialogue, Koshy’s comedic timing and facial expressions show that she has real knack for bringing a humorous flair that can elevate some horrible screenwriting. She’s a bit of a scene stealer. Lonsdale also looks like he’s having funny playing a flamboyant villain, even if the role at times veers too much into some stereotypical tropes that male dancers have catty, effeminate qualities.

Carpenter is just fine in her role as Quinn, the story’s heroine, although she’s played the “good girl” many times before on screen, so it’s not much of an acting stretch for her. As for Fisher, he is charming enough in his role, but his Jake character is written as kind of a blank slate, with no sense of who his family or friends are.

The chemistry and dancing between Carpenter and Fisher are fairly tame (this movie is no “Dirty Dancing”), as is most of the film’s humor. However, there is one scene where a male dancer’s erection is played for cheap laughs. The target audience for this movie is obviously kids in the age range of 12 to 17, so the erection scene is this movie’s way of being “edgy” for this type of audience.

Most of this movie’s attempts at humor fall flat and have very cheesy lines. For example, when Quinn and her dance team decide to go to the nursing home where she volunteers, so that they can practice in front of a live audience, the only person who’s in the audience is a nursing home resident, who ends up dying during the performance. Priya says as the man’s corpse is being taken away in an ambulance: “I’m pretty sure the key to a live audience is keeping them alive.”

The movie’s dancing and choreography are very “So You Think You Can Dance.” There are some eye-catching moments, but nothing that will make “Work It” a classic dance film. The movie’s soundtrack is also a predictable collection of pop tunes, including Dua Lipa’s “Break My Heart,” Normani’s “Motivation,” Ciara’s “Thinkin Bout You,” Meghan Trainor’s “Treat Myself” and Zara Larsson’s “WOW.”

All the energy put into the dance numbers still can’t erase the fact that “Work It” is hopelessly lazy when it comes to the generic way that the story is told. The only steps that this vapid movie seems concerned with are those that move from story cliché to story cliché.

Netflix premiered “Work It” on August 7, 2020.

Review: ‘Almost Love,’ starring Scott Evans, Augustus Prew, Michelle Buteau, Colin Donnell, Zoe Chao, Kate Walsh and Patricia Clarkson

April 10, 2020

by Carla Hay

“Almost Love” Pictured in back row, from left to right: Colin Donnell, Chaz Lamar Shepherd, Kate Walsh and Scott Evans. Pictured in front row, from left to right: Michelle Buteau, Zoe Chao, Augustus Prew and Brian Marc. (Photo courtesy of Vertical Entertainment)

“Almost Love”

Directed by Mike Doyle

Culture Representation: Taking place primarily in New York City, the romantic comedy/drama “Almost Love” has a racially diverse cast of characters (white, African American, Asian and Latino) representing the middle-class.

Culture Clash: A close-knit group of friends go through various ups and downs in their love lives and sometimes have conflicts with each other over upward mobility and what it means to “settle.”

Culture Audience: “Almost Love” will appeal primarily to people who like low-key, fairly realistic independent films about love and relationships.

Augustus Prew and Scott Evans in “Almost Love” (Photo courtesy of Vertical Entertainment)

It’s not unusual to do a romantic dramedy that’s set in New York City, but what makes the mostly charming but sometimes slow-paced “Almost Love” different from most romantic movies is that the couple at the center of this ensemble movie just happens to be gay. Adam (played by Scott Evans) and Marklin (played by Augustus Prew) are a couple in their 30s who’ve been living together and have been in a relationship for five years. They love each other but the relationship has hit a rut, and certain things happen in the movie that test whether or not they will stay together.

Meanwhile, the other people in their close circle of friends are also navigating relationship issues. Sassy and single Cammy (played by Michelle Buteau, who has some of the best lines in the film) likes to project an image of being strong and independent, but she’s a lot needier and co-dependent than she would like to admit. In the beginning of the film, Cammy has been dating Henry (played by Colin Donnell) for about three weeks when he makes a surprising confession to her: He’s homeless and is desperate for a place to stay. Although Cammy tells her friends that Henry’s homelessness is a dealbreaker for her, she ends up letting him stay at her place and caters to his every need.

Haley (played by Zoe Chao) is also single, but she’s got a different co-dependent problem. A 17-year-old student named Scott James (played by Christopher Gray), whom she’s been tutoring to help him get into a prestigious university, has a massive crush on her. And to Chloe’s surprise, she’s become emotionally attached and maybe attracted to him too. She doesn’t quite know if her feelings are maternal or romantic, but it’s caused some uncomfortable moments, as Scott James makes it clear that he wants their tutor-pupil relationship to turn into a romance.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth (played by Kate Walsh), who’s about 15 years older than the rest of the group, is like a wise and cynical older sister to Adam, the person she is closest to in the group. Elizabeth has been married to Damon (played by Chaz Lamar Shepherd, who doesn’t have any speaking lines in the movie) for about 15 years. Elizabeth confides in Adam that because she and her husband disagree on the issue of having kids (she doesn’t like or want kids, but he does), this conflict over having children has put a strain on their marriage. Elizabeth privately worries that Damon will leave her for a younger woman of childbearing age.

The heart of the story though is the relationship between Adam and Marklin, who are currently in couples counseling. Adam and Marklin have lost a lot of passion in their romance, they’re not as intimate as they used to be, and Adam is very leery about the idea of getting married. During the course of the movie, viewers find out why their relationship has hit a rough patch. When Adam (an artist who does paintings) and Marklin first met, Adam had the life that Marklin wanted. Although the movie doesn’t go into details, it’s hinted that in the beginning of their relationship, Adam had a rising career as an artist, while Marklin was financially struggling in a low-paying job at a CBD dispensary.

But now, Marklin is the one who makes the majority of their household income, because he’s become relatively famous on social media for being a fashion influencer. (He has a blog called The Detailist, where he’s paid to promote luxury items.) Different scenes in the movie also show how Marklin’s work has taken over his life, such as how he allows constant phone interruptions during all hours of the day and night. Meanwhile, Adam has become the one with the low-paying job and stifled creativity: He’s become a ghost painter for an egotistical successful artist named Ravella Brewer (played by Patricia Clarkson in a hilarious cameo), who takes credit for Adam’s work, which can sell for about $100,000 per painting.

Adam is the type of person who tends to suppress his emotions, but it’s clear that the reversal of his financial fortune is starting to get to him. Even though Adam has sold a house that he inherited in upstate New York, he sometimes has trouble paying his share of the bills. And there’s also some tension over the fact that Marklin often gets recognized in public and puts a lot of his life on Instagram. Meanwhile, Adam toils away in anonymity for not much money.

Elizabeth and some other people in Adam’s life keep telling him that he can do “much better” than what he’s settling for, but Adam tells them that he’s okay with the way things are. (He’s really not.) Whatever happened to stall Adam’s career has obviously taken a toll on his confidence.

One of the best scenes in the movie happens in the last third of the film, when Adam meets up with his father Tommy (played by John Doman) at a restaurant. What happens in the scene explains a lot about why Adam tends to be closed-off to his emotions and is reluctant to get married. (Marklin’s family is not seen or mentioned in the movie.)

Marklin, who tends to be more optimistic than Adam, isn’t exactly a perfect boyfriend either. He’s got a big secret that he’s been keeping from Adam. And he knows if Adam finds out, it could be the end of their relationship. Marklin also takes it upon himself to put a bid on buying their first apartment together, without telling Adam until after the fact. When Marklin tells Adam about it, it causes further turmoil in their relationship, because Marklin didn’t discuss this big decision with Adam. They both know that Marklin would really be paying for the apartment since Adam can’t afford it.

“Almost Love” (written and directed by Mike Doyle) has many comedic elements that primarily have to do with Buteau’s potty-mouthed Cammy character. Although she can be bossy toward insecure Haley, Cammy also has a vulnerable side to her. Elizabeth is also something of a firecracker, especially in a scene at a gallery opening for Ravella Brewer’s latest art, where Elizabeth has a confrontation with Ravella.

There are also some slapstick moments in the film because Adam can be clutzy, but “Almost Love” at times has a low-key, realistic energy in how it presents relationship issues. Couples who are going through problems aren’t always getting into screaming matches at each other. Sometimes the unspoken resentments are the ones that can be the deadliest in a relationship.

The original title of “Almost Love” was “Sell By” (which is the title of the movie in some countries outside of the U.S.), and it refers to whether or not relationships have a “sell by”/expiration date. All of the main characters in the film face decisions to either hold on to someone who’s a love interest or dump the person because the relationship has run its course. Some of the decisions are easier than others.

For the most part, writer/director Doyle keeps the film’s dialogue on point, but it can sometimes veer into hokey territory. For example, in a candid scene where Cammy gives some advice to Marklin, she says a memorable line: “It’s always easy to love someone who’s unavailable. Trust me. You can’t curate your past.” But then seconds later in the same scene, Cammy says something very corny about her personality: “I’m so messy, I need a broom.”

And there are some parts of the movie that are very predictable. However, in a sea of movies that badly handle portrayals of adult romances and friendships, “Almost Love” navigates itself quite well. All of the actors in the movie give good performances, but Buteau is definitely a standout scene-stealer. “Almost Love” is a story that can be relatable to a lot of people, while striking a balance between being emotionally moving and comedically entertaining.  Just don’t expect anything groundbreaking or fast-paced in this movie.

Vertical Entertainment released “Almost Love” in the U.S. on VOD on April 3, 2020. The movie was released on VOD in the U.K. under the title “Sell By” on March 1, 2020.

2019 Tribeca TV Festival: recap and reviews

September 16, 2019

by Carla Hay

The third annual Tribeca TV Festival (which took place September 12 to September 15 in New York City) once again offered a diverse mix of programming representing various TV genres. This year, the entire festival took place at the Regal Battery Park Cinemas in New York City. In most cases, a new episode of a show premiered at the festival, and there was a post-screening Q&A with stars from the show and at least one executive producer. The event also featured a 25th anniversary reunion of “Friends” executive producers who curated two episodes from the classic sitcom. There were also “Tribeca Talks” celebrity conversations with Emmy-winning actor James Spader (who was interviewed by Whoopi Goldberg) and comedian Hisan Minhaj.

At the festival, I saw the first-episode premieres of two new series: The comedy “First Wives Club” (which launches on the  BET+  streaming service on September 19) and the crime-drama “Evil,” which debuts on CBS on September 26, 2019.

“First Wives Club” Review

Michelle Buteau, Jill Scott and Ryan Michelle Bathe in “First Wives Club” (Photo courtesy of BET)

The “First Wives Club” show is the TV version of the 1996 comedy film that starred Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler as three wives getting revenge on their ex-husbands, who dumped them for other women. The movie was rated PG, and the TV series (whose showrunner is “Girls Trip” co-writer Tracy Oliver) is definitely for mature audiences, since the show has nudity and explicit language that can be seen in R-rated movies. People will inevitably compare the TV show to the movie (which are both set in New York City), so here’s a helpful summary of the similarities and the differences:

Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton in “The First Wives Club” movie (Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures)

In the movie, the three women (who have known each other since their college days) are reunited in the beginning of the story because of the suicide of their college pal Cynthia Swann Griffin (played by Stockard Channing), who’s been depressed that her ex-husband married a much-younger woman. Keaton played Annie MacDuggan Paradis, an intellectual, super-organized type who likes to pretend that things are going better in her life than they really are. Midler played Brenda Morelli Cushman, the loud-mouthed humorous friend who’s still very bitter over her divorce. Hawn played Elise Eliot Atchison, an Oscar-winning actress who drinks heavily and has become so insecure about her looks that she’s addicted to plastic surgery.

From the beginning of the movie, Brenda is already divorced from her sleazy ex-husband Morton Cushman (played by Dan Hedaya), an electronics-retail businessman who’s gotten engaged to his gold-digger mistress Shelly Stewart (played Sarah Jessica Parker). Brenda and Morton have a teenage son, who’s often embarrassed by Brenda’s blunt attitude. Annie has a better relationship with her own child: She and Aaron have a young, adult lesbian daughter named Chris (played by Jennifer Dundas), who helps Annie get revenge on Aaron.

The movie shows the breakup of Annie’s and Elise’s marriages. Annie’s ad-executive husband Aaron (played by Stephen Collins) leaves her for Annie’s therapist Leslie Rosen (played by Marcia Gay Harden). Elise’s movie-producer husband Bill (played by Victor Garber) has been cheating on her with ditzy actress Phoebe LaVelle (played by Elizabeth Berkley), who’s young enough to be his daughter. Annie and Brenda gave up their careers to become housewives and stay-at-home mothers, so their divorces have a different type of identity crisis than Elise’s divorce, since Elise has no children and still maintained her career throughout her marriage.

Ryan Michelle Bathe of “First Wives Club” (Photo courtesy of BET)

In the TV show, Ryan Michelle Bathe is Ari Montgomery, the counterpart to Keaton’s Annie MacDuggan Paradis. Ari is an attorney who has given up her law practice to become the campaign manager for her senator husband David (played by Mark Tallman). In the first episode of the series, Ari and David are having problems in their marriage (he’s become bored and uninterested in her), but Ari is still projecting an image to the world that her life is perfect. Although Ari and David’s kids are mentioned, they are not seen in this episode. However, in the Q&A after the screening, it was revealed that Ari and David have a lesbian daughter (whom Buteau called “gender-bending”) who first appears in the show’s third episode. The daughter’s name is Versace, and she’s played by Tara Pacheco. At the Q&A, Oliver declined to elaborate on what Versace’s storyline is in the show.

Michelle Buteau of “First Wives Club” (Photo courtesy of BET

Michelle Buteau plays Bree Washington, an orthopedic surgeon who is the counterpart to Midler’s Brenda Morelli Cushman. In the first episode, viewers see that Bree is separated from her businessman husband Gary (played by RonReaco Lee) because she found out that he cheated on her. (The other woman, who is described as a one-night stand, is not seen in this episode.) Buteau, who’s also a stand-up comedian in real life, seems to have some of the best lines in the show. In one scene that has the three friends on a high-rise window-washing platform (in a nod to a similar scene in the movie), Bree yells, “Bitch, you got us out here like brown-tittied Spider-Men!”

Jill Scott of “First Wives Club” (Photo courtesy of BET)

Jill Scott plays Hazel Rachelle, a fading R&B star who is the counterpart to Hawn’s Elise Eliot Atchison. Hazel isn’t as obsessed with her looks as Elise is, but Hazel is worried about her career and getting older in an industry that prefers young artists. Just like Elise, Hazel works closely with her husband, so when their marriage ends messily, her career is also in jeopardy. Hazel’s cheating husband is Derek Ellsworth (played by Malik Yoba), the head of her record company, and he’s been having a not-so-secret affair with a sultry young diva named Stella Bentley (played by Tasie Lawrence), whom he’s been grooming to replace Hazel as his next big hitmaker. The episode’s first big emotional meltdown scene comes when Hazel finds out about his infidelity, and storms into a recording studio to confront Derek. And yes, things get thrown, and things get broken.

Jill Scott in”First Wives Club” (Photo by Karolina Wojtasik/BET)

The main difference in the comedy styles of the movie and the TV show is that the comedy in the TV show is less broad and more rooted in reality, which is why there’s so much adult humor in the show. And in a switch from how most adult-oriented TV shows portray sex scenes, in “First Wives Club,” the men, not the women, are the ones who are shown naked (backsides, not full frontal), at least in the first episode. That might be because “First Wives Club” show has a female gaze, since the majority of the show’s writers and directors are women.

In one hilarious bedroom scene, Ari and David have unsatisfying sex, but David thinks he’s an amazing lover. In the episode’s other sex scene, Bree takes home a hunky bartender named Jesus (played by Angel Garet) after he flirts with her at the nightclub where he works. Showing the sexual needs of the three main characters in the TV series is a big contrast from the movie, where the three main characters do not have any sex scenes, and only one of them (Elise) seems interested in dating again after her marriage ends.

Ryan Michelle Bathe, Michelle Buteau, RonReaco Lee, Mark Tallman and Tracy Oliver at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on September 12, 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

At the Q&A, Bathe said she can’t watch her sex scene in the first episode: “I still haven’t seen it. I closed my eyes!” Tallman replied, “You’re really good in it. I’m just embarrassing.” Buteau said she was happy to represent for “thick” women: “My husband could not be more proud. As a size 18 broad, no one [on a TV show] is like, ‘Oh, go make out and open your legs.’ You’re usually [cast as] the best friend. Body positivity, all the motherfuckin’ way! Let’s go!”

Oliver also talked about how the show breaks convention by casting two “thick” women in leading roles: “I remember on day one of shooting the pilot [episode], Jill [Scott] came up to me and said, “Thank you for having two thick girls in your cast. I’ve never actually had that happen’ … Let’s expand the definition of what beauty is, and not just make this all about skinny women, and really diversify what everyone looks like.”

Ryan Michelle Bathe and Jill Scott in “First Wives Club” (Photo by Karolina Wojtasik/BET)

A previous attempt to make a TV version of “The First Wives Club” for the TV Land network fizzled in 2016. Vanessa Lachey, Megan Hilty and Alyson Hannigan had been cast as the stars of the show, which was going to be set in San Francisco. After the blockbuster success of 2017’s “Girls Trip,” Oliver was asked to do the TV version of “The First Wives Club,” which was going to be on the Paramount Network before the show moved to the BET+ streaming service.

Oliver said at the Q&A that in an industry where people have to beg for work and have to deal with constant rejections, being given this opportunity as a first-time showrunner “almost never happens.” She added that she was just as surprised when she faced no objections to her requirement that people of color would be the stars of the show: “That was the one opportunity I’ve had where I said what my parameters were up front, and they agreed to it.”

Michelle Buteau and Ryan Michelle Bathe in “First Wives Club” (Photo by Karolina Wojtasik/BET)

Another big change from the movie to the TV show is that there is no fourth friend who commits suicide in the beginning of the story. During the post-screening Q&A, Oliver explained: “With movies, you have the luxury of time. With a half-hour pilot [episode], if we’re laughing after a death within 10 minutes, it’s a little weird.” Instead, what brings the three friends back together is Hazel’s scandal-plagued and very messy divorce.

As for scenes from the movie that made it into the TV show, there are two memorable scenes that were mentioned in the Q&A. In the movie, Donald Trump’s first ex-wife Ivana has a cameo playing herself, and she gives this divorce advice: “Don’t get mad. Get everything.” (That became the tag line for the movie.) In the TV show, the famous ex-wife who delivers that line is Shaunie O’Neal, ex-wife of basketball star Shaquille O’Neal. The movie also has a memorable scene with the three women, dressed all in white, singing Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me.” Oliver said that the TV show also has a “You Don’t Own Me” scene, but she didn’t want to spill any more details:  “I can’t say anything about that, but what I will say is that we do our own White Party and a version of that [song] in the show.”

Michelle Buteau, Jill Scott and Ryan Michelle Bathe of “First Wives Club” (Photo courtesy of BET)

One of the best things about the show is that the chemistry between the three main characters seems very natural, not forced. And if the camaraderie looks genuine on screen, that’s because the three women have become friends in real life. Oliver says it was a stroke of luck, because before the show began filming, “They never actually did a chemistry read together, which is a disastrous way to ever do a show about friends … I don’t know how it happened, but they loved each other immediately.”

Buteau said of the trio: “We’re all fire signs. We’re all only children. We all have so much in common. We’ve all had to fight for our place in whatever Hollywood was giving us. For this all-inclusive experience, it was like showing up to work with smiles every day. Also, working with boss-ass bitches who are moms and get stuff done, I follow you!”

BET+ will premiere “First Wives Club” on September 19, 2019.

“Evil” Review

Mike Colter and Katja Herbers in “Evil” (Photo by Elizabeth Fisher/CBS)

Husband-and-wife TV showrunners Robert King and Michelle King, who created the Emmy-winning hit “The Good Wife” (as well as the spinoff “The Good Fight”), have another potential hit with the crime drama “Evil.” Just like most of the Kings’ recent TV series, “Evil” features a complex woman in the lead role, and the series explores themes that have to do with ethics, ambition, and gray areas of morality.

In “Evil,” Katja Herbers plays Kristen Bouchard, a skeptical female psychologist who teams up with priest-in-training David Acosta (played by Mike Colter) and carpenter Ben Shakir (Aasif Mandvi) to investigate the unexplained mysteries uncovered by the Catholic Church. Kristen and David naturally clash in the way they investigate—she doesn’t believe in the supernatural, and he does (which might remind people of the male/female investigator relationship in “The X-Files”)—and it wouldn’t be a King show without sexual tension. It’s revealed in the first episode that Kristen, who’s married with four young daughters, is sexually attracted to David, who has a colorful background as a world traveler and former war photographer. Kristen’s husband is frequently away from home, which explains why she’s feeling lonely. Because David is studying to become a priest (in other words, he’s preparing to lead a celibate life), it obviously adds a layer of tension to the “will they or won’t they hook up” subplot that the show is clearly setting up as an ongoing issue between Kristen and David.

Mike Colter, Katja Herbers and Aasif Mandvi (Photo by Michele Crowe/CBS)

The first episode of “Evil” is a little overstuffed with villains, and rushes through several things in order to pack in numerous plot developments, but the good news for crime-thriller fans is that this show definitely has plenty of scares and suspense. Without giving away any spoilers, the three villains introduced in the first episode are:

  • A demon named George (played by Marti Matulis), who looks like something out of the “Insidious” movie series, and who taunts Kristen in what she believes are her nightmares.
  • A suspected serial killer named Orson LeRoux , who is in jail while on trial and is repeatedly interviewed by Kristen and David. (Shades of “The Silence of the Lambs.”)
  • A mysterious creep named Leland Townsend (played by Michael Emerson, the former “Lost” and “Person of Interest” actor who’s made a career out of playing mysterious creeps), who gleefully commits all sorts of mayhem.

Somehow, these villains are all tied in to an enigmatic group of evildoers called The 60.

Katja Herbers and Michael Emerson in “Evil” (Photo by John Paul Filo/CBS)

Kristen’s therapist, Dr. Boggs (played by Kurt Fuller), is also introduced in the first episode. Fans of these types of shows can speculate that this character probably isn’t what he first appears to be. In other words, can Dr. Boggs really be trusted? We’ll have to wait and see. At the post-screening Q&A, “Evil” executive producer Robert King hinted at Boggs’ dark side, by saying that Boggs has “problems.”

There’s no shortage of real-life supernatural investigations to inspire stories for this show, so if “Evil” is a hit, it could go for years without running out of ideas. Expect to see many scenes of “possessed” people in this show, but Robert King also said don’t expect the show to be “all exorcisms, all the time.” “Evil” will also push some emotional buttons when it comes to debates over religion and spirituality.

Overall, “Evil” is one of the better-quality new shows being offered on broadcast TV this year. Some of the scenes are so terrifying, that “Evil” looks like it could also be on a cable network such as AMC (home of “The Walking Dead”) or FX (home of “American Horror Story”).

Katja Herbers and Mike Colter in “Evil” (Photo by Elizabeth Fisher/CBS)

At the post-screening Q&A, Michelle King said that, just like the female and male lead characters in “Evil,” she and husband Robert have very different beliefs when it comes to evil: “We don’t see the roots of evil in the same way. Robert typically thinks it comes through something religious, something demonic. I’m much more likely to jump to the psychological or the scientific.”

Robert King added, “When you look around and see some of the evil going on in politics or whatever, you kind of think there’s something going beyond …. what science can explain. When you see what’s going on with racism in this country, there’s something that holds people [to racism], and I don’t think it’s all in genes.”

“Evil” executive producers Robert King and Michelle King at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

Robert King said that “Evil” will include a lot of timely social topics. For example, in the show’s sixth episode, Leland grooms a male incel loner to possibly become a mass murderer. “If you’re not writing about that today,” said Robert King,”I don’t know if you’re awake, because you’re watching what’s going on with lone gunmen [who commit mass murders], how people are creating communities around anger, frustration, bitterness, racism.”

Herbers shared how she develops the character of Kristen Bouchard: “I work on intuition, and I go with what’s on the page. The scripts are absolutely incredible.” She also added that she works off of the flow of her fellow actors, but she’s not a Method actor: “I’m not one of those people who needs to go into solitary confinement … I did have to study psychology for about a year. I have very little knowledge of the Catholic Church.”

“Evil” co-stars Mike Colter and Katja Herbers at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

Colter commented on his David Acosta character: “I think he is a work in progress. He’s trying to achieve something that few people can, and be happy in that world.”  Colter added that what attracted him to the role was that David was described as “the most interesting man in the world.”

When asked if Leland Townsend is “evil,” Emerson replied: “I’m not sure what you mean by ‘evil.’ I think he’s playful. He’s a kind of a gamesman, maybe. He likes stirring things up. It delights him to watch things spin out of control. The wreckage appeals to him.”

“Evil” co-stars Aasif Mandvi and Christine Lahti at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

Mandvi said that he’s had “many” supernatural experiences, so he’s almost the opposite of his Ben Shakir character: “Ben is a guy who really believes only in the things you can touch, taste, feel, smell, hear. He lives in a world of pragmatism and empirical truth. David needs that in his life as well.”

Christine Lahti, who is not in the first episode of “Evil,” was nevertheless at the Q&A. She plays Kristen’s divorced mother Sheryl, whom Lahti described as a “free spirit” and former rock groupie. “I’m the surrogate babysitter,” Lahti said, “My character is a little more comic relief than anything.” She added that Sheryl is “hungry for a relationship,” because she “got rid of [her] husband, who was very controlling, about 15 years ago.” Lahti teased that Sheryl does find love on the show, “but I’m not going to tell you who it’s with.” Robert King dropped a hint though: “She ends up dating somebody on this stage.”

“Evil” co-stars Michael Emerson and Kurt Fuller at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

Fuller said his Dr. Boggs character is “the person in this show that Kristen is actually honest with. She trusts [Dr. Boggs] and tells [him] everything that’s going on with her. If it wasn’t for her sessions with [], she would spin out of control.”

Robert King said that members of The 60 will definitely be in the show. “Some may be in the White House, some may be in ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement],” he teased.

Here’s a photo recap of the festival:

Day 1

Tribeca Talks: James Spader and Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg and James Spader at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 12, 2019. (Photo by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

Epix’s “Godfather of Harlem”                           HBO’s “Room 104”

(Series premiere: Sept. 29, 2019)                     (Season 3 premiere: Sept. 13, 2019)

“Godfather of Harlem” co-stars Forest Whitaker and Ilfenesh Hadera at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 12, 2019. (Photo by Jim Spellman/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

“Room 104” star/executive producer Mark Duplass at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival  in New York City on September 12, 2019. (Photo by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

BET+’s “First Wives Club”

(Series premiere: September 19, 2019)

Mark Tallman, Ryan Michelle Bathe, executive producer Tracy Oliver, Michelle Buteau and RonReaco Lee at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival at Regal Battery Park Cinemas in New York City on September 12, 2019. (Photo by Jim Spellman/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

Day 2

“Friends” 25th Anniversary Reunion

“Friends” executive producers Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 13, 2019. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

Amazon Prime Video’s “Goliath”

(Season 3 premiere: October 4, 2019)

“Goliath” co-stars Lawrence Trilling, Amy Brenneman, Billy Bob Thornton, Shamier Anderson, Nina Arianda and Tania Raymonde at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 13, 2019. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

AMC’s “Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America”

(Series premiere: October 13, 2019)

“Hip Hop: Songs That Shook America” executive producer Amir “Questlove” Thompson, panel moderator Lola Ogunnaike and  executive producer Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 13, 2019. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

Day 3

The CW’s “Katy Keene”

(Series premiere: Sometime in  2020)

“Katy Keene” co-stars Ashleigh Murray, Katherine LaNasa, Julia Chan, Lucy Hale, Jonny Beauchamp and Camille Hyde at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

Freeform’s “Party of Five”

(Series premiere: January 8, 2020)

“Party of Five” co-stars Niko Guardado, Emily Tosta, Elle Paris Legaspi and Brandon Larracuente at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival  in New York City at Regal Battery Park Cinemas on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

CBS’s “Evil”                                                                                       ABC’s “Bless This Mess”

(Series premiere: Sept. 26, 2019)                     (Season 2 premiere: Sept. 24, 2019)

“Bless This Mess” co-stars Dax Shepard, Pam Grier and Lake Bell at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City September 14, 2019. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

“Evil” co-star Mike Colter at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival

Day 4

Starz’s “Leavenworth”

(Series premiere: October 20, 2019)

“Leavenworth” panel: New York Times national correspondent David Philipps, executive producer David Check, Mike McGuiness, executive producer Steven Soderbergh, Sarah Girgis, executive producer Paul Pawlowski and attorney John Maher attend the “Leavenworth” screening at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival at Regal Battery Park Cinemas on September 15, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

Hulu’s “Looking for Alaska”

(Series premiere: October 18, 2019)

“Looking for Alaska” co-stars Jay Lee, Kristine Froseth, Charlie Plummer and Denny Love at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 15, 2019. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

Tribeca Talks: Hisan Minhaj

Hasan Minhaj at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 15, 2019. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

Apple TV +’s “Dickinson”

(Series premiere: November 1, 2019)

“Dickinson” panel: Adrian Enscoe, Ella Hunt, Hailee Steinfeld, Alena Smith, Anna Baryshnikov, Toby Huss and Jane Krakowski at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

Amazon Prime Video’s “Transparent”

(Series finale: September 27, 2019)

“Transparent” panel: Jill Soloway, Jay Duplass, Alexandra Billings, Shakina Nayfack, Judith Light, Faith Soloway, a guest and Jude Dry at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 15, 2019. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

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