Celebrate National Wine Day with our favorite TV wine lovers

E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Someone has decided that today is National Wine Day. Until you can get home and bust out your favorite boxed vino to mark the occasion, let’s count down our favorite wine guzzlers on TV.

5. Hoda and Kathie Lee

Think mornings aren’t the right time for wine? The “Today” show ladies would beg to differ. The on-air personalities always have a glass of something in front of them, though they may not drink as much as you think.

4. Pretty much everyone who isn’t a child on “Big Little Lies”

Beautiful, rich people and their beautiful, rich problems — I’ll drink to that.

Nicole Kidman Laughing GIF by Big Little Lies - Find & Share on GIPHY

3. Olivia Pope on “Scandal”

Put on your favorite snuggly cardigan, pour a big glass of wine and pop some popcorn. Using a glass is optional.

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2. Cersei on “Game of Thrones”

“Games of Thrones” returns to HBO July 16. Until then, you can watch the trailer that dropped this week — or practice your Cersei wine drinking skills.

1. Titus Andromedon on “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Season 3 of “Kimmy” hit Netflix earlier this month, but season 1’s song by Titus is still one of the highlights of the series. The song technically isn’t about wine, but actor Tituss Burgess does now have his own line of wines.

Galactica’s crew reunites on the closing night of ATX Television fest

Adama, father and son. Starbuck. Baltar. Six.

All in the house.

Cast members of “Battlestar Galactica” — Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, James Callis, Tricia Helfer, Katee Sackhoff, Grace Park, Michael Trucco and Michael Hogan — will join creator/executive producer Ronald D. Moore (“Outlander”) for the closing night (June 10) of the ATX Television Festival.

ATX returns for a sixth year June 8 to 11.

The cast will also be featured in an “EW Reunites: Battlestar Galactica” special on the streaming People/Entertainment Weekly Network.

This year’s reunion is part of a multi-year partnership between EW and ATX, which kicked off last year with the “Ugly Betty” reunion presented by EW on closing night.

So, yeah, someone ask Moore about that whole “All Along the Watchtower” thing.


What makes Mike Judge laugh and other things we learned at the ‘Silicon Valley’ premiere party

HBO is airing the season premier of “Silicon Valley” on Sunday (April 23).

Wednesday evening, series co-creator Mike Judge joined actors Martin Starr (the terminally acid Gilfoyle) and Zach Woods (the doe-eyed Jared Dunn) for a brief red carpet at the Alamo Drafthouse South. This was followed by a screening of the first two episodes and a 30-minute Q and A session.

Zach Woods, Mike Judge and Martin Starr at the “Silicon Valley” Alamo Drafthouse event April 18. (Photo Credit: Scott Moore/for American-Statesman)

A-LIST PHOTOS: ‘Silicon Valley’ red carpet at the Alamo Drafthouse

Here is what we learned:

“Yeah, you’re going to jail, son.”

It is weird to see Judge laugh and Starr smile

Judge is notoriously press shy and always looks very business as usual at press events, somewhere between a kind of Zen offensive coordinator and maybe a guy giving you bad legal news. He also talks very softly.

So it was genuinely awesome to see him laugh long and hard at his actors cracking wise during the Q and A afterwards. It was similarly cool to see Starr — best known for his career-making performance as Bill in “Freaks and Geeks” (17 years ago!) and for Gilfoyle’s brutal, dead-eyed sarcasm — bust out a wide smile (not pictured) when talking to reporters. Woods, on the other hand, seems very much like Jared, with maybe more penis jokes.

Women are rumored for later in the year, but not on these episodes

HBO and the Alamo Drafthouse screened two episodes. The first one sets the table: Everyone is still in the house owned by Erlich Bachman (T.J. Miller), the company has pivoted a bit into a video chat app largely invented by Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani), which is driving Richard (Thomas Middleditch) nuts. He hates being the CEO of a video chat company, especially one essentially co-owned by Big Head’s father.

So he quits. Plot ensues.

The second episode (mild spoilers) develops the video chat plot kind of ingeniously and features some of the most (intentionally) obnoxious hair Kumail Nanjiani has ever worn, anywhere.

This was about 60 minutes of filmed entertainment, much of it sharp and funny and canny. There was a woman on-screen for less than five of those minutes, a conversation between Richard and Monica Hall (Amanda Crew). Unless I am misremembering something, and I don’t think I am, that was IT.

Now, according to this piece, the show is finally adding women coders, so perhaps it will improve.

Woods is the most like his character, though all of them are apparently sweet people

“When it’s a lot of young comedy guys, it can kind of be a sort of feral environment,” Woods said during the Q and A. “But everyone’s really kind to each other, it’s not competitive. People pitch each other jokes. It’s nice to be with other people that are equally delicate flowers.”

That said, when Woods was discussing the first time he met Miller, he (Woods) was sitting “on a yoga mat reading a journal of reassuring quotes with a bunch of scented candles lit” while Indigo Girls was on in the background.

Which seems awfully Jared.

A time in the Dinesh/Gilfoyle relationship that stands out for Starr

“The jacket episode,” Starr says. “I had a lot of fun berating him in front of strangers at that Starbucks. I don’t know why, but I really enjoyed it. It went a little off the rails sometimes.”

There isn’t a lot of improvisation on set that makes it into the final product. However….

The line “Sizzler buffet for the sexually deranged” (nope, not giving you the context) was all Woods.

The show is famous enough that hip-hop acts will debut tracks as end credits music

Look for Nas and DJ Shadow’s “Systematic” to close out the first episode.

What makes Mike Judge lose it

The “creepy extra” in the back of the room at the very end of episode two. You’ll know it when you see it (on April 30). “The way it works is you get a bunch of extras and they line ’em up, and I picked that guy,” Judge said. “And I said, ‘Put him in a sweater,’ and when he came out in that sweater and sat him down, I couldn’t stop laughing. Luckily there was no dialogue in the scene. It was good to see (the audience) laughing at it because me and Tim Suhrstedt, the DP, could not stop laughing.”

“Silicon Valley” airs Sundays on HBO.



Your favorite ‘Office Space’ character was based on one of Mike Judge’s coworkers

The New York Times Magazine this week sports a profile of Mike Judge, one of the most visionary humorists of our age. No, really — look at his CV if you haven’t in a while: “Beavis and Butt-Head,” “Office Space,” “King of the Hill,” “Idiocracy” and now the fourth season of “Silicon Valley,” which premieres on HBO April 23. Some highlights from the profile of the occasional Austinite:

Mike Judge at the Austin Film Festival on October 23, 2011. (Cliff Cheney FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Like many great writers, Judge is a champion (inadvertent) eavesdropper. “Frog Baseball,” the short that demo’d “Beavis and Butt-Head,” was something he overheard at work.

“First, he thought: That stuff happens. Then he thought: Who would do this? Beavis and Butt-Head offered an answer to that question.”

Milton in “Office Space” — he of the red stapler — was partially based on an engineer Judge worked with in San Diego post-college. And Judge’s next-door neighbor at one time was a mechanic.

“He would serve as inspiration for Lawrence, the construction-worker neighbor in ‘Office Space’; Judge’s neighbor in the other direction helped inspire Butt-Head.”

The article’s author has very specific ideas about satire:

“‘Beavis and Butt-Head,’ which thrived in part by savagely roasting both MTV (the channel that aired it) and the generation its programming had spawned …”

“If you set aside his long-running TV show ‘King of the Hill,’ which is much too loving to be considered satire …”

I am not sure about this. There is genuine affection for the leads in “Beavis and Butt-Head,” and the biggest critique of MTV itself was the fact that “B&B” was the only place one could see certain videos. (Also I suspect the author is young enough never to have actually seen MTV when it was, you know, showing videos all the time.)

Maybe MTV was playing Jawbox’s “Savory,” Pavement’s “Cut Your Hair” and Shutter to Think’s “Hit Liquor” on the regular, but the only place I ever saw clips for those three excellent songs was when those two were mocking them.

As for “King of the Hill,” it was an incredibly sweet and thoughtful show, but satire need not be brutal all the time. Living in Texas made me appreciate that program’s singular combination of mockery and respect all the more. Also, naming a character “LuAnne Platter” was brilliant.

Yes, “Silicon Valley” has the enthusiastic cooperation of real tech companies. During a scene set at fake industry convention:

“Staged for a scene in the show’s coming season, the event had 28 booths, among them Pied Piper’s and, across from it, one for a fictitious mobile game. The other 26, however, were completely real, with many staffed by actual employees. Square was there, along with Roku and Oculus and Nest, which brought a fire truck that had been painted baby blue by the guys from ‘Pimp My Ride.’”

Some of the folks there were real employees, some were extras.

And as anyone actually in tech can tell you, the show is both spot-on and can be not a whole lot of fun.

“Thomas Middleditch, who plays Richard … gets two responses from people in tech: They either love the show for its accuracy or find it so accurate that it’s too stressful to watch.”

Judge was amused by T.J. Miller’s body.

“(As Miller) walked by (at an audition), Judge saw his silhouette pass and started laughing. ‘If someone’s silhouette can make you laugh … they’re probably pretty funny.'”

Judge and cast members will be at Alamo South Lamar to screen two episodes of “Silicon Valley” and participate in a Q&A April 18. The event is sold out.

Central Texas-shot “The Son,” starring Pierce Brosnan, debuts this weekend

“The Son” starts airing on AMC on April 8. Contributed by James Minchin III/AMC

Remember when James Bond was all over Austin? Pierce Brosnan was in Central Texas last year filming “The Son,” the TV adaption of the novel by Austin author Philipp Meyer. Saturday, we’ll finally be able to watch the AMC show, which premiered last month at South by Southwest.

American-Statesman freelance writer Charles Ealy talked with Brosnan when he was in town for the festival about filming the series and about his character, Eli McCullough.

“There’s something archetypal and so American about the man,” Brosnan says. “He’s a mythic hero, and that appeals to me enormously. I was brought up on the banks of the River Boyne in Ireland, on a staple of cowboys and Indians, and when I left to go to London with my mother, our Sundays were always filled with Westerns after we had lunch. So I love looking back at Westerns.”

Read the rest of the interview, plus a look at the many actors in the series who have ties to Texas.

PHOTOS: “The Son” red carpet at South by Southwest

This week: ‘American War,’ an X-Men relaunch, the music of Waylon Jennings and much more

“American War” by Omar El Akkad (Knopf). Terrifying, post-apocalyptic  debut novel from this Egyptian-American author, perhaps a bit slipstreamish (think “Station Eleven,” maybe, “) on the sci-fi spectrum. It’s 2075 and America is a mess — constantly hot, full of refugee camps, the sky filled with drones and fully engulfed in civil war, Akkad examines the Chesnut family over two decades of life during wartime. Expect increasing buzz for this one. (Tuesday)


“Love & Rockets Magazine #2” by Los Bros Hernandez (Fantagraphics). Second issue in the three-times a year, magazine-sized (well, more like Golden Age comic sized, somewhere between a comic and a magazine…look, it looks really cool) version of the greatest American comic book series of all time. Essential reading since 1982 for everyone with eyeballs. Mature readers.  (Wednesday)

“X-Men Gold #1” by Marc Guggenheim and Ardian Syaf (Marvel). Given what a Marvel VP’s impressively unfortunate comments about comics, marketing and diversity, it’s not too surprising that the X-books are going back to first principles. This book highlights a lineup that is essentially the classic Claremont 70s/80s crew — Kitty Pryde is the leader with Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, (Old Man) Logan, and Rachel Grey-Summers in the Marvel Girl/Phoenix role, doing super-hero stuff (like fighting the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants). Rated 12-plus. (Wednesday)


“Outlaw: Celebrating the Music of Waylon Jennings” (Columbia Legacy) “Outlaw” is a CD tied to a special that airs 9 p.m. Friday on CMT, the broadcast (and CD version) of a set recorded July 6, 2015, at ACL Live. Look for Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Chris Stapleton, Shooter Jennings, Jessi Colter, Bobby Bare, Lee Ann Womack, Buddy Miller, Sturgill Simpson, Kacey Musgraves, Ryan Bingham, Alison Krauss and a ton more. (Friday)

Father John Misty, “Pure Comedy” (Sub Pop). We are in an era where a Sub Pop act can have a Target exclusive CD edition with five collectible cards. (Friday)

 Future Islands, “The Far Field” (4AD). Not sure that anyone who saw them on “Letterman” ever really forgot it — Dave certainly seemed gobsmacked. Produced by Dallas-based genius John Congleton, they seem to be one of the most personally well-liked bands around. (Friday)

 Joey Bada$$, “ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$” (Pro Era/Cinematic Music Group). Guests include ScHoolboy Q, Styles P, J. Cole and Chronixx. (Friday)

The New Pornographers, “Whiteout Conditions” (Collected Works/Concord). The first album in three years from this often-stunning pop act. This is the first album on Concord and the first not to feature songwriter/singer Dan Bejar, which seems like a mistake for both parties. (Friday)

Wire, “Silver/Lead” (pinkflag). Wire has been kicking around in one form or another for more than 40 years. Singer/guitarist Colin Newman is 62. Wire bassist/singer Graham Lewis is 65. Wire drummer Robert “Gotobed” Grey is 65. Not only do they rock harder than bands one-third their ages, they rock more interestingly as well. Inspiring, always. (Friday)

Pierce Brosnan as Eli McCullough  in “The Son” (James Minchin/AMC)

“The Son” (AMC). The long-awaited, somewhat hyped, Central Texas-shot adaptation of Austinite Philipp Meyer’s totally excellent generational novel about a Texas family. Stars not-a-Texan Pierce Brosnan. (Saturday)

FX’s “Snowfall” will open ATX Television festival

FX’s new series “Snowfall,” about the rise of crack as an American epidemic, will be the ATX Television festival’s opening night screening, followed by a panel discussion with producers and stars of the show, it was announced Thursday.


The festival announced all sorts of additional panels and programming for year six of the festival, which will take place June 8 to 11 in Austin. This just in: There is a lot of TV out there.

In addition, FX’s Emmy nominated series “The Americans” will hold a panel with co-showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields.  FX will also screen an all-new episode from the third installment of their critically acclaimed, Emmy-winning series “Fargo,” followed by a conversation with creator/executive producer and Austin resident Noah Hawley.

ATX will hold their first-ever Network Presidents panel, featuring NBC Entertainment pres Jennifer Salke,  Hulu head of content Craig Erwich, HBO programming president Casey Bloys and FX president of original programming Nick Grad,. They are slated to discuss topics such as the mounting pressures of defining their brands while maintaining and growing their audiences,  changing distribution models and creating more diverse content.

AMC will début a new episode of the hit series “Fear the Walking Dead,” followed by a Q&A with executive producers and cast. The network will also screen the season one finale of their upcoming series “The Son,” based on the acclaimed novel by Philipp Meyer, with attending cast and creatives to be announced at a later date.

HBO’s critically-acclaimed series “The Leftovers” will hold a panel with executive producers Damon Lindelof, Tom Perrotta, and Mimi Leder following the series finale which airs June 4,

In addition, former Austinite Mark Duplass will join ATX for a Q&A and sneak peek screening of his new HBO comedy “Room 104,” which he created and executive produces with his brother Jay Duplass.

“Girls” will also celebrate its final season with a panel featuring HBO vice president of HBO programming Kathleen McCaffrey casting director Jennifer Euston; and cast members Alex Karpovsky and Ebon Moss-Bachrach.

USA will screen their comedy “Playing House” for the first time at ATX, with creators, executive producers, writers and stars Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham.

FOX will screen an episode of their hit comedy “The Mick,” followed by a Q&A with cast and producers .

Also look for a chat about Freeform’s hit “Pretty Little Liars” and upcoming series “Famous In Love.” Freeform will also première their new series “The Bold Type,” followed by a Q&A with executive producer Sarah Watson and co-executive producer Holly Whidden.

MTV will host a panel on the History of MTV Reality Series. Look for MTV executive vice president and Head of Unscripted and Reality Programming, Nina Diaz, “Real World”/”Road Rules” executive producer Jon Murray, “Jersey Shore” executive producer Sally Ann Salsano, “Teen Mom” executive producer Morgan J. Freeman and “The Hills” executive producer Adam DiVello ().
AT&T’s AUDIENCE Network will première their new original fall comedy series “Loudermilk,” followed by a Q&A with creator/executive producer Peter Farrelly, writer Bobby Mort, and cast members Ron Livingston and Will Sasso.

TruTV will join ATX for the first time, to première its upcoming scripted comedy series “I’m Sorry,” followed by a Q&A with creator, executive producer and star Andrea Savage, who will be joined by co-star Tom Everett Scott, executive producer Jessica Elbaum, and showrunner Joey Slamon.

ABC’s “October Road” will reunite to celebrate the show’s 10-year anniversary, with creators Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec and Scott Rosenberg, along with cast Odette Annable, Geoff Stults, Rebecca Field, Lindy Booth, Jay Paulson and Evan Jones.

Check out  www.atxfestival.com for details on attending.