TV: “Steel Magnolias” Gets a Makeover at Truvy’s Beauty Parlor

Normally, we here at Trove dedicate our Thursday blog post to what’s new in the world of TV – upcoming premieres, season finales, awards show, and the like.

But, to be perfectly honest, this week in TV leaves something to be desired. (“Hairy Bikers”? “Invitation Only: Martina McBride”?) so we thought we’d focus on something new and different in the world of television:

The remake of “Steel Magnolias” – as a Lifetime movie with an all-African-American cast.

That’s right – the iconic 1989 film about a tight-knit group of friends who live in rural Louisiana and spend an inordinate amount of time at Truvy’s Beauty Parlor is undergoing a makeover of its own.

The made-for-TV-movie is set to be directed by Kenny Leon, who recently worked on “Fences” and “The Mountaintop” on Broadway, which starred Viola Davis and Angela Bassett, respectively.

So who can fill the high heels of the famous roles played by Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, Darryl Hannah, and Olympia Dukakis?

Some of our guesses are below.

M’Lynn Eatenton:

Angela Bassett

Truvy Jones:

Queen Latifah

Ouiser Boudreaux:

Whoopi Goldberg

Shelby Eatenton Latcherie:

Nia Long

What do you think?

For more, follow Trove’s Lifetime Movie and Television channels.

Images by Getty.

TV: Angela Chase Meets “24” in “Homeland”

If psychological thrillers about double agents, top-secret CIA missions, and conspiracy theories pique your interest, you might want to tune into “Homeland,” one of the season’s most highly anticipated new TV series, premiering this week on Showtime.

“Homeland” stars Claire Danes as a covert intelligence officer who believes that recently returned war hero, Sgt. Nicholas Brody, is an Al Qaeda operative who has been brought back to the U.S. in order to carry out a terrorist plot. Danes must work undercover, against powerful bureaucratic forces intent on framing the hero’s return as a triumphant public relations story, before it’s too late.

Advance reviews of the series have been laudatory. Entertainment Weekly’s Ken Tucker says “Homeland” is a “swift thriller” that’s “the fall season’s most intriguing, tense puzzler.” The Washington Post’s Hank Steuver agrees, calling the series “exhilarating” and praising Danes’ “stellar performance” as “this season’s strongest female character.”

Angela Chase meets “24”? How can you not be intrigued?

“Homeland” premieres Sunday night at 10 p.m. EST on Showtime. If you’d rather not wait for the weekend, the entire first episode is streaming on Showtime’s official site.

For more on what’s coming to a TV screen near you, check out Trove’s Showtime and Television channels.

TV: From Bon Temps to Amish Country

First, it was a family living in a funeral parlor. Then, a troop of supernatural creatures running amok in Louisiana. And now? An ex-con, adept in the martial arts, posing as a murdered sheriff in Amish country. What do these things have in common?

All three are television series created by the acclaimed screenwriter Alan Ball.

The writer and producer of HBO’s “Six Feet Under” and “True Blood” is raising eyebrows with his latest project: a move to Cinemax to executive produce a new series called “Banshee.”

A tight lid is being kept on the show’s details. The LA Times obtained an exclusive report that reveals only the following: “Banshee” will premiere on Cinemax as part of the network’s push towards original programming. It will be set in a small town in Pennsylvania Amish Country. It will be darkly comic in tone and feature an “ex-con posing as a murdered sheriff, imposing his own brand of justice while also cooking up plans that serve his own interests.”

Oh, and there won’t be any faeries, vampires, or otherworldly inhabitants. The residents of “Banshee” are one hundred percent human — which doesn’t make them any less flawed, or moral, than their non-human counterparts, if “Six Feet Under” is any indication.

Will you tune in to see what the macabre screenwriter has to offer? Is the third time the charm?

Be sure to follow Trove’s HBO, True Blood, and Television channels to keep up with the latest in Ball’s unpredictable celluloid journey.

Image by Getty

TV: The New ‘Must See TV’ Is Sunday Night on HBO

Let’s face facts: It’s August. Network executives are most likely sunning themselves on yachts under cloudless Caribbean skies, sipping gin-and-tonics, their only concern what Hamptons property to buy next.

What aren’t they doing? Thinking about what’s on TV right now. And that’s why – to be frank – the current lineup is a parched wasteland, the only tumbleweed a lonely “Jersey Shore” in Italy, dragging Snooki’s wilted poof through the dust.

Luckily, there’s one exception to the rule:

Sunday nights on HBO.

The cable network’s Sunday night lineup has become a staple of popular culture in and of itself, as individual shows cycle through their seasons at different times. And the dead zone of August is no exception.

So what does this haven of original programming look like? Glad you asked.

» “Boardwalk Empire,” currently airing repeats of its debut season in anticipation of next season’s premiere, chronicles the origins of crime in Atlantic City during the Prohibition Era. Called “the most purely — and impurely — enjoyable storytelling HBO has delivered in ages, like a movie that you never want to end” and “the best new show on television” by critics, it’s hard to think of a reason not to tune in.

» “True Blood” – the fourth season about the residents of fictional Bon Temps, Louisiana, adds even more sizzle to its already scalding Cajun mix by introducing a slew of supernatural creatures (were-panthers, necromantic witches) to keep the vampires company. “True Blood” has been called “graphically sexy and scary, and often wildly funny,” and “an irresistible mixture of pungent political satire, observant pop sociology and lurid drive-in thrills.” Also, the vampires are sexy.

» “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” now in its eighth season, follows “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David as he blunders his way through conventional social situations, offending friends and enemies alike. Critics call the current season “as twisted, and twistedly funny, as ever” and “a strange world indeed, where the rules and the rituals are both fragile and yet brash. It’s like Jane Austen doing vaudeville.” Pretty-pretty-pretty good.

» “Entourage” – the eighth and final season chronicling the trials and tribulations of A-list movie star Vincent Chase and his childhood friends from Queens as they attempt to navigate the unfamiliar landscape of LA is “unmatched as a portrait of the entertainment industry.” “’Entourage’ is clarifying a moral message — drugs will kill you, terrible behavior is terrible, and real friends are forever. It feels like a reassuring final season.”

Gangsters, vampires, neurotics, and movie stars – what else could you possibly ask for on a Sunday night? The curtain rises at 8 p.m. eastern.

To follow the line-up, check out Trove’s HBO, Boardwalk Empire, True Blood, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Entourage channels.

All photos from HBO.

TV: It’s Time to ‘Make It Work’ with ‘Project Runway’

If you can’t remember the difference between charmeuse and chenille, or haven’t practiced your ruching technique lately, it’s time to dust off your pattern books and Make It Work: Project Runway returns tonight.

The ninth season of the fashion design reality show cranks up the competition by introducing twenty designers to the panel of irascible judges, who must whittle the contestant pool down to sixteen before the first challenge. (The first task is billed as “one of the toughest first challenges in the series’ history,” but considering most first challenges require the contestants to make a garment that “best reflects them as a designer,” that’s not saying much.)

This season’s designers, who are profiled on the official Project Runway blog, promise to rival previous contestants in terms of quirkiness and melodrama: Bryce Black “worships at the altar of Gaga.” Fallene Wells is “named after Bambi’s girlfriend.” And Joshua McKinley is “one of the few people who have removed their shirt during a casting session.”

Austin Scarlett, guard your corn husks.

Catch the “Road to the Runway” casting special for the ninth season of Project Runway tonight on Lifetime at 8 p.m., followed by the season premiere at 9.

Carry on.

Also premiering this week:

» The High Low Project: Host Sabrina Soto “works to replace high-budget items in a room with low-budget items that look expensive.” Monday at 10 p.m. on HGTV.

» Take the Money and Run: A “high-stakes reality series” that challenges contestants “to answer the question: can you commit the perfect crime and get away with it?” Tuesday at 9 p.m. on ABC.

To see who Heidi bids “Auf Wiedersehen” to this season, follow Trove’s Project Runway channel. And for more, check out Trove’s Television channel.

TV: “I Do Over” Ties the Knot Again

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, life was simple. Ricky loved Lucy, everyone dreamt of Jeannie, and Lassie always came home. But times have changed – now, there’s a TV show that appeals to every niche imaginable. And the wedding-industrial complex has them all covered.

From “My Big Redneck Wedding” to “Engaged and Underage,” cable TV’s matrimonial market is a force to be reckoned with. Too fat to squeeze into your wedding dress? You’ve got “Bulging Brides.” Want a professionally choreographed dance routine? Try “Rock the Reception.” Did your venue catch on fire or your groom flat line at the altar? Tune into “I Do Over.”

Wait, what?

Yes, that’s right. The newest addition to the wedding party is a program that promises to provide couples that have endured less-than-ideal nuptials a second chance at their dream wedding.

Each hour-long episode features “celebrity event designer” Diann Valentine as she “transforms bridal memories… into fantasy celebrations that will reset [the newlyweds’] matrimony.” Story lines include “a wedding destroyed by a tsunami fueled storm, a five-alarm reception hall fire, a groom rendered unconscious during the ceremony, and every bride’s worst nightmare - a seamstress gone missing with ALL of the dresses!”

Forget the comatose groom – where are the dresses?!

“I Do Over” premieres on WE tv on Sunday at 10 p.m.

Also premiering this week:

» The eighth and final season of “Entourage,” HBO’s “preposterously enjoyable” show that follows a movie star and his merry band of brothers as they navigate through LA’s rocky landscape of sex, drugs, and actors’ union contracts. Sunday at 10:30 p.m. on HBO.

And stay up to date with all the ceremonies and celluloid by following Trove’s Television, Weddings, and “Entourage" channels.

Image via Reuters.

TV: ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Divides and Conquers

Like anchovies, Singspiel opera, and Celine Dion, opinions about Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” tend to split cleanly into two categories: pro and con. And the new season, which premieres this Sunday at 10 p.m. Eastern on HBO, promises to deliver much more of what people have come to love — and hate — about the divisive show.

Season eight opens with an episode called “The Divorce,” and although fans may infer which characters are involved, AOL’s Kim Potts warns, “don’t assume you know whose divorce that refers to.” From that point on, the season wends its way through what audiences have come to expect from Larry David: outrageous comedy, awkward neuroses, and a steady stream of high-profile guest stars.

Critic Roger Friedman sums up his sneak peek at the new season as follows: “Larry David has imperiled Jewish-Arab relations, satirized the entire mosque-near-Ground Zero saga, and rehabilitates the reputation of retired Boston Red Sox player Bill Buckner… Basically, ‘Curb’ returns on Sunday night kicking ass.”

If you’re not familiar with the show that “goes beyond offensive into outrageous,” there’s no need to start from the beginning of the series. “Even if you never watched a minute of the previous seven seasons, you can tune in and get some laughs,” says David Hinckley, “Guilty and otherwise.”

Also premiering this week on TV:

» “Killer Shots”: A new National Geographic program that documents wildlife photographer Andy Casagrande as he swims with sharks, prowls with lions, and leaps out of helicopters to film polar bears, all in the pursuit of snapping the “killer shot.” Premieres Wednesday at 9 p.m. Eastern.

» “Dance Moms”: Lifetime presents a new reality show that follows “children’s early steps on the road to stardom, and their doting mothers who are there for every rehearsal, performance and bow.” Premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. Eastern.

Check out Trove’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and Television channels for more.

Photo via Getty Images

TV: ‘Extreme Chef’ Turns Up the Heat

Tonight, with the premiere of The Food Network’s “Extreme Chef,” the genre of reality television will reach a new level. Whether it’s high or low is for you to decide.

The show’s premise is a mish-mash of its predecessors: think “Top Chef” meets “Fear Factor,” topped off with a good dose of total insanity. The official press release says it all:

“Hosted by TV veteran and seasoned world traveler Marsh Mokhtari, each episode pushes three chefs to their physical and mental limits as they must adjust to extreme conditions and unpredictable curveballs such as swimming across a lake for ingredients and using a car engine as a makeshift stove. Whether extracting ingredients from a block of ice or using a pocket knife as a lone cooking utensil, each of the eight episodes in season one follows three culinary pros as they navigate this over-the-top contest vying for $10,000 and the coveted title of Extreme Chef.”

Over-the-top? Definitely. Coveted title? That might be a stretch.

Expectations for the new series are low. New York Magazine’s Grubstreet calls “Extreme Chef” “the cooking competition show none of us has been waiting for” and Eater says, “You were warned that Food Network’s new show ‘Extreme Chefs’ was like totally extreme, and it’s even more extreme than that. No, this is ‘Saturday Night Live’ parody of ‘Top Chef’ extreme.”

Needless to say, “Extreme Chef” is sure to make a splash when it debuts tonight at 10. But whether that’s from a graceful dive or belly flop remains to be seen.

Also premiering this week:

» “Wicked Attraction”: The second season of Investigation Discovery’s program that “investigates some of the most terrifying crimes in recent history and delves inside the criminal mind to explore the roots of these deadly murders and the psychological motivations behind deadly duos.” The first episode tells the story of Suzan and Michael Bear, two “drug-dealing hippies” who travel the West Coast “preaching their brand of religion — while killing anyone in their path.” Catch it tonight at 7 p.m.

For more, check out Trove’s Television, Reality TV, and Cooking channels. Photo by Reuters

TV: ‘True Blood’ Bears Its Fangs Again

In the last few years, vampires have been popping up out of their coffins everywhere — on tween t-shirts declaring allegiance to “Team Jacob,” on Teen Choice Award surfboards, on the covers of young adult “paranormal romance” novels — but none are as wickedly dark and cunning as the vampiric residents of Bon Temps, featured in HBO’s “True Blood.”

This Sunday, after sunset, the bloodthirsty, motley crew of vampires, shape-shifters, witches, faeries, and were-panthers slink into a fourth season of the acclaimed series that is loosely based on Charlaine Harris’ “The Southern Vampire Mysteries" novels.

“True Blood,” which follows protagonist Sookie Stackhouse as she navigates her way through a rocky relationship with southern gentleman-slash-Civil War veteran-slash-vampire Bill Compton and an exceptionally stressful waitressing job, has been embraced by critics and viewers alike. TV Guide’s Matt Roush called the series “graphically sexy and scary, and often wildly funny,” while Glenn Garvin of the Miami Herald categorized it as an “irresistible mixture of pungent political satire, observant pop sociology and lurid drive-in thrills.”

The new season promises to serve up everything audiences have come to expect: “More fetishes, more lust, more evil, more startling ways for bodies to change and transmogrify … and more love gone wrong, which is something Bon Temps never runs out of,” according to Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield.

Fangbangers” can tune in to HBO at 9 p.m. Eastern on Sunday to watch the premiere.

Also premiering this week:

» “Suits”: A new USA series that follows “a high-powered, smug attorney who hires a con man with a photographic memory to serve as his protege at his law firm.” Tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern on USA.

» “Weeds”: The dark comedy series about a widow who begins selling marijuana to support her family and becomes entangled in a slew of illegal activities returns for a seventh season. Monday at 10 p.m. Eastern on Showtime.

For more, follow Trove’s True Blood, Vampires, and Television channels.

TV: ‘Falling Skies’ Invades This Weekend

What happens when you combine aliens, teenagers with machine guns, and Steven Spielberg? This Sunday at 9 p.m. (8 p.m. Central), viewers of “Falling Skies” are about to find out.

The eight-part TNT drama takes place in New England, six months after an alien invasion leaves most of the planet decimated. A small group of survivors is forced to band together for survival — civilian militias battle deadly robots and six-legged creatures, forage for food, and try to navigate what’s left of the lives they once knew.

Variety’s Brian Lowry describes the series’ premise as “mixing a strain of Tea Party nostalgia with a whole library of alien-invasion fiction.” In terms of predecessors, he explains, it lacks the subtlety of “Battlestar Galactica,” hewing “closer to ‘Independence Day,’ with a touch of ‘Red Dawn.’”

There are quite a few promising signs that “Falling Skies” will appeal to a broad audience — the executive producer is Steven Spielberg, who the New York Times’ Kristina Onstad calls “the strongest extraterrestrial brand in the world,” and the show’s format follows the “slow-reveal, mystery-upon-mystery template” perfected in “Lost” that keeps viewers guessing.

But will there be enough surprises from a post-apocalyptic, alien-invasion storyline to sustain the series? You’ll have to tune in to find out.

Also premiering soon:

» The hour-long, weeknight news and political commentary program “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” relaunches on Monday, June 20, on Current TV.

» “The Hot Zone,” “a fictional medical procedural set in 2006 at the only military hospital providing advanced surgical care in all of Southern Afghanistan,” debuts Tuesday, June 21, on ABC.

For more, check out Trove’s Falling Skies, Sci-Fi TV Shows, and Television channels. Image from ABC.