Monday was a day of set visits for Television Critics Association members. The group visited four studios to take a look at seven different series. Below are some highlights to go along with a small photo gallery.
Up first was a trip to the 20th Century Fox lot. There we visited the set of “The Orville,” the starship for the sci-fi series of the same name created and starring Seth MacFarlane. It was stunning! The set was two stories tall and was a completely immersive experience. I was able to walk around the galley, through the brig, the sickbay, several crew rooms and walked up the spiral staircase (taken from the “American Horror Story” set) to check out the stunning bridge. The forward view screen on the bridge was massive and has 4K resolution. The crew were able to change what was on the screen on the fly and it made the ship feel like it was actually moving. I left completely impressed.
“The Goldbergs,” “StartUp,” “One Day at a Time”
“The Goldbergs” - Next we visited the Sony lot. Our first stop was to the set of “The Goldbergs.” The cast took a break from filming, which is why in the pics below you’ll see Wendi McClendon-Covey in her full Beverly Goldberg outfit. We took a walk around the Goldberg family basement, the living room and new dorm area for Erica (Hayley Orrantia). The highlights of this visit were Jeff Garlin riffing for 30 minutes about everything from working in his underwear to wondering why Ed Sheeran was on “Game of Thrones.”
“The StartUp” - Next we went to a theater to meet with the creator and actors of “The StartUp.” This series is on the free streaming service Crackle, which Sony owns. Not too many people are aware of it because most people have never heard of Crackle but it’s an enjoyable drama that stars Martin Freeman (“Sherlock”), Adam Brody (“The O.C.”), and one of my favorite actors, Edi Gathegi (“X-Men First Class”). Ron Perlman (“Hellboy”) is joining the cast this season. It’s an underrated series that I highly recommend.
“One Day at a Time” - The final Sony lot visit was with the cast and producers of the Netflix series “One Day at a Time.” I never get star struck but it was pretty cool to get to chat with TV icon Norman Lear and Oscar winner Rita Moreno. Lear recently turned 95 and as a birthday surprise, Netflix PR passed out Norman Lear hats and we all took a picture with him and sang Happy Birthday.
From Sony we took a long drive to Burbank to visit Walt Disney Studios. There we visited the set of “Black-ish” and had a chance to talk to all the cast members, who were located in different parts of the set. Every cast member was clearly excited about the season five premiere, which was inspired by the musical Hamilton and celebrates Juneteenth. The highlight of this panel was chatting to Miles Brown (Jack) and Marsai Martin (Diane). They are wonderful young actors who were sweet and engaging. Marsai noticed my Denver Broncos iPhone case and mentioned that she was a big Broncos fan.
“SMILF,” “White Famous”
“SMILF” - The final studio visit was to the Paramount lot. There we saw panels for two upcoming Showtime series, “SMILF” and “White Famous.” “SMILF” stars Frankie Shaw and Rosie O’Donnell and is based on Shaw’s Sundance Film Festival Award winning short. Shaw stars as Bridgette, a single mom in Boston who’s struggling with raising her son. O’Donnell plays her mother. Critics have only been given a few clips of the series but we know that's it’s a humorous, yet real look at some of Shaw’s own experiences as a single mom.
“White Famous” - This series is based on Jamie Foxx’s life as an up and coming comic (Foxx is an executive producer) and stars Jay Pharaoh, a “Saturday Night Live” alum. I watched the pilot for this a couple of days ago and it’s hilarious. I think it will do well. It’s made by the same team that created “Californication” so if you liked that series, you may get a kick out of this one.
Gazette media columnist Terry Terrones is a member of the Television Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. You can follow him on Twitter at @terryterrones.