Now that the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes are over, I know you are all absolutely thrilled about seeing actors pushing their new movies and TV shows, right? OK, well at least there will be new movies and shows in the coming year, as productions start up again after months of negotiations, picketing, and, I’m guessing, epic crossword playing. Here are some of the TV products — both returning and new — that I’m happy to know are or will soon be back on the assembly line.
ABBOTT ELEMENTARY Quinta Brunson’s endearing school comedy on ABC is the only network series I really have missed during the strikes. The writers room for season three was supposed to convene in May to start putting together the fall season but it wasn’t to be. Now, post-WGA strike, the writers have been at work since early October, and the actors are heading back to work after Thanksgiving. Sadly, the season, due sometime before the summer of 2024, will be shorter than originally planned.
THE FRANCHISE A new HBO comedy created by writer Armando Iannucci and director Sam Mendes? Oh yes, and ASAP, please. The makers of “Veep” and “1917,” respectively, are going to have ironic fun at the expense of Marvel and DC movies, as their half-hour show follows the life and times of a crew in production on a superhero origin film. The pilot for the series, which stars Billy Magnussen, Lolly Adefope, Himesh Patel, Richard E. Grant, and Aya Cash, was finished before the strikes, but production was suspended. It will resume soon, and the show is due to run next fall.
THE WHITE LOTUS Looks like we’ll have to wait a while longer — which is simply too long — for season three. Mike White’s compelling satirical drama about Americans on vacation, which we last saw in December 2022, will be filmed in Thailand, and it’s not due to run on HBO until sometime in 2025. Yup, 2025. There will be a new cast of characters, but Natasha Rothwell will be reprising her role from season one, in which she played the spa manager used so carelessly by Jennifer Coolidge’s Tanya. White plans to start filming in February, and he told Entertainment Weekly, “It’s going to be a supersized ‘White Lotus.’ It’s going to be longer, bigger, crazier.”
INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE Because it was filming outside the United States, this gothic AMC drama based on the Anne Rice novel was still in production in Prague during the writers strike. But then the actors strike put a stop to that in July; while the show features mainly an international cast, some of the stars, including Eric Bogosian, are American and were unable to work. Eventually, SAG granted “Interview” a waiver, and everyone went back to work after a few months’ delay. The second season, which will have eight episodes, is now set to premiere in 2024, when I will definitely invite it into my home.
THE LAST OF US Sigh. We would have seen the second season of the Pedro Pascal series, which we last saw in March, sometime in 2024. But, I’m sorry to inform you that, like “The White Lotus” (and “Euphoria”), this HBO series will not be back until sometime in 2025 because of the strikes. Ah well, absence makes the heart grow fonder, although I’m not sure I could be any fonder of “The Last of Us” than I already am. Shows such as this one, that feature a lot of action and special effects added in post-production, tend to take more time than usual to finish.
ZERO DAY A quick glance at the cast of this six-part Netflix conspiracy thriller will explain why I am eager to see it. The list includes Robert De Niro, Lizzy Caplan, Jesse Plemons, Joan Allen, and Connie Britton. What’s it about? I kinda don’t care, and Netflix isn’t offering up many details with a plot description that vagues out in a big way: “In the midst of crisis: how can we discover the truth when it seems that the world is being destroyed by uncontrollable forces? Also, to what extent are conspiracy theories our own inventions or products of our imagination?” Filming had started in New York, then stopped with the WGA strike. Here’s hoping they get back to work soonest.
SEVERANCE It feels like a long time since we saw this excellent Apple TV+ sci-fi series starring Adam Scott — because it has been a long time. The show premiered some 21 months ago. Season two ceased production during the strikes, amid rumors that there were already backstage dramas slowing up the works, and there’s no word on when it will be back in motion. Here’s hoping that’s soon, so we’ll still remember what happened in the cliffhanger finale. A few actors have joined the cast, including Merritt Wever, Gwendoline Christie, and Alia Shawkat.
THE EMMY AWARDS It will be nice to get this thing over with, to put it kindly. The telecast — usually in September — will air on Fox on Monday, Jan. 15, but it will be honoring seasons of shows that ran between June 1, 2022, and May 31, 2023. That means that season one of “The Bear” will be in the competition, which is great — but we’ve already seen season two (it ran last summer). So: weird. The Emmys will also find themselves in the middle of movie awards season, which may mean the broadcast will draw fewer viewers due to back-pat burnout. The shows with the most major nominations going in are “Succession” (14), “The White Lotus” (12), “Beef” (nine), “Ted Lasso” (eight), “Barry” (six), and “The Bear” (six). No host has been announced.