TV

Where Does Peak TV Even Go After Landing Meryl Streep?


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Meryl Streep is coming to television. Specifically, she is joining the cast of Big Little Lies for its second season. We’ve had other movie stars come to television, from Matthew McConaughey in True Detective to, well, Streep’s new co-stars Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman. And Streep has done television before, appearing with Al Pacino in the 2004 HBO miniseries Angels in America. But this feels different. This is possibly the most beloved and decorated actor of our time joining an established show in its second season. If the “television can be as prestigious as movies” tipping point hadn’t already happened, this is the kind of thing that could push it over. It’s a big deal.

It also means that anything is possible now. That might actually be the more important takeaway, big-picture. If Meryl Streep can pop into season two of an HBO show, like, where do we even go from there? Is that the peak of Peak TV? Or are there other options that might take it all even further?

Let’s have some fun with this.

Daniel Day-Lewis stars in a network drama

This one is fun to think about on a few levels. First, I really recommend you picture the show as your basic CBS procedural. Think like Blue Bloods. Better yet, think exactly Blue Bloods, but a spin-off set in a different city, as CBS has been known to do popular shows. Blue Bloods: Seattle starring Academy Award-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis. Think of your reaction when you read that headline. Really get into that headspace a bit. That’s the first thing.

The second thing is that Day-Lewis is notoriously devoted to Method acting and staying in character even when the cameras are off, which works on a movie, but would be so weird on a procedural that churns out 22 episodes every season. His coworkers would hate it so much.

Beyonce stars in a season of Fargo

Beyoncé as a detective. Beyoncé sitting across from possibly supernatural murderers and grilling them about their whereabouts. Beyoncé with a super Fargo name like Dottie Fuzz or Wendy Gust. Beyoncé solving murders while wearing parkas and beanies. Millions of Beyoncé fans flooding the Twitter accounts of actors whose characters betray her on the show, just being mean and ruthless as hell over perceived fictional slights. Beyoncé doing a Minnesota accent. All of it.

Also, it would raise the question if Beyoncé the real singer exists in the Fargo universe and, if so, if it’s weird to people in Minnesota that their local homicide detective looks exactly like a world-famous pop star?

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Jennifer Lawrence books an arc on season two of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Jennifer Lawrence is very funny and often takes roles in movies that require her to be very serious. This has worked out well for her on both fronts, as she is a charming and interesting talk show guest who is starting quite a nice little trophy collection. But I think she could crush it in a fun comedy, too. Maybe a fast-paced one set in 1950s New York that focuses on the burgeoning comedy career of a frustrated Jewish former housewife. Yup, we are putting Jennifer Lawrence on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

I’m thinking she plays Midge’s new rival. A hotshot new comic in from California, all blond hair and Gentile confidence, with the same kind of filthy mouth that got Midge noticed. And now she’s stealing Midge’s thunder. And her stage time. Drama and/or hilarity ensues.

Nicolas Cage gets a reality show about searching for stolen dinosaur bones

Nicolas Cage once had to return stolen dinosaur bones to the Mongolian government. In real life. I swear to God. He wasn’t the one who stole them, though. He just bought them at an auction and later discovered they were obtained through fraudulent means. But still. We should never forget this fact.

And the best way to never forget it? Turn it into a TV show. A reality show, to be specific. Nic Cage traveling the world looking for illicit dinosaur bones with the goal of returning them to their rightful place of origin. Like the show about Rob Lowe and his children looking for Bigfoot, but instead about a justice-crazed Nic Cage globetrotting from auction to auction with stops at archaeological digs, looking for stolen dinosaur bones.

This would be a good show.

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Tom Hanks is announced as the star of a Sopranos spinoff

Oh man, are there ever a lot of words in here that could set off mini-explosions in the media world. The takes. Think of the takes! You’d have the people who are excited about getting more Sopranos, the people who are livid about the show possibly tarnishing its legacy by coming back a decade later with a new star, the people who point out — correctly — that Tom Hanks isn’t even Italian, etc. It would be madness.

I vote we try it. Not even to see if the show would be good, although I would love to see Hanks try out a modern-day Jersey mob accent. No, I just want and to see what happens.

Tom Cruise gets cast in Amazon’s big Lord of the Rings show

Amazon spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the rights to a Lord of the Rings television show. Not the show itself, just the rights. They are way in on this. And what better way to make a big splash than to cast Tom Cruise, one of the world’s last true big honking movie stars, in a key role. I’m thinking, like, Gollum. Tom Cruise as Gollum. Yeah. That’ll work for me.

Bill Murray gets a Master of None-style semi-autobiographical Netflix series

I mean, sure. Why not?

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