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Summer 2015: Quick Takes From CBS Summer Press Day for ZOO, EXTANT and UNDER THE DOME

Nora Arnezeder as Chloe Tousignant, James Wolk as Jackson Oz, Billy Burke as Mitch Morgan, Kristen Connolly as Jamie Campbell and Nonso Anozie as Abraham Kenyatta | Zoo
ZOO

Coming this summer is the new drama series ZOO, based on the best selling book by James Patterson, with the tagline:  “The wild shall inherit the Earth.”  ZOO is premised on the idea of:  what if the animals in the world rose up all at once?  What if the prey turned predator — and humans became the prey?  Think about it:  animals are around us every day and what could we do if they decided to eradicate humankind?  So the drama series ZOO takes viewers into a world where things are changing and no one is quite sure why or what to do about it.  But a team of five individuals decide to make a trek around the globe to find out.  Co-starring James Wolk, Nonso Anozie, Nora Arnezeder, Billy Burke and Kristen Connolly, ZOO examines just what is causing this terrifying phenomenon.  Astoundingly, the show uses real wild animals, which was quite the surprise for star Nonso Anosie, who showed up his first day for filming to find he was suddenly working with two real lions that day.  ZOO does not just want us to imagine how chilling it would be to come face to face with an animal that large, it made sure the actors were close enough to react to them.  ZOO is not all about CGI and green screen creatures, it takes viewers into the real world of wild animals and invites viewers to feel how untamed and oddly unnatural that can be.  For those curious, the show producers have mapped out a five-season story for ZOO.  The tale of the animals rising up, lashing out and taking over is not going to be quickly resolved.  Sometimes those animal instincts are just simmering under the surface and a new hot spot of terror will erupt.  So Season 1 of ZOO will see just how these hot spots are triggered and what the characters learn, and if they can figure it out soon enough.  Filming in New Orleans, the show takes viewers from the Antarctic to Paris to Botswana to Tokyo to Rio and around the globe.  The animal uprising will not be contained to one area, it will be happening simultaneously everywhere.  Author James Patterson said that interestingly, the audience will find out that in a strange way, the animals are the heroes.  So think about it: What if we were the hunted and there was a good reason for it?  It is chilling to think about. Only one thing is certain: you will never look at animals the same way again — or even turn your back on one.  ZOO premieres Tuesday, June 30th at 9:00p.m. on CBS.

EXTANT

Jumping right back into world of artificial intelligence, robots and alien life, CBS’ drama series EXTANT returns for Season 2 this summer.  As seen last season, when astronaut Molly Woods (Halle Berry) returned to Earth in Season 1, she did not come back alone as the child she subsequently delivered was not exactly 100% human.  It was a hybrid of alien and human biology.  Accordingly, the Offspring (as it is called) was powerful, terrifying and unknown.  Paralleling the tale of the Offspring was Molly’s adoptive A.I. child Ethan (Pierce Gagnon), who was struggling to figure out how to bond with his human parents, Molly and John (Goran Visnjic).  In the end, it became a battle between Ethan and the Offspring, with Ethan attempting to lure it into space and blowing it to smithereens before downloading his consciousness into the internet cloud.  Alas, the Offspring escaped and now roams still free.   Season 2 picks up with Ethan now in his new body and the Offspring looking for his next victim.  Joining the series are newcomers Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays an investigator searching for a killer, as well as stars David Morrissey and Hilarie Burton.  Molly has had a rough time with a seeming mental break from the events in Season 1 and is spending some time at the Rest Well Recovery Center aka “Crazy Acres” and it is only once she offers a key piece to the mystery puzzle that her path and Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s character J.D. finally meet and team up.  Season 2 promises to be more action-packed and with a darker mystery to drive it through the season.  It should be noted that in order to give the viewers some closure, Season 2 is set up to be a self-contained mystery story.  There are answers coming and viewers will not be left hanging at the end of the season.  In addition to the mystery story, the show continues its exploration of:  “do you have to be human to have humanity” and “if you love something, can it love you back?”  With robots, A.I. and alien life, the show is tackling the very essence of humanity and love.   As star Halle Berry also expressed, it is about: “Is this one woman the key to the next step in evolution of humankind?”  After birthing the hybrid Offspring and inspiring her A.I. son Ethan to sacrifice himself for her in the Season 1 finale, the show examines what relationships A.I., robots and aliens could have with each other in the future and as we evolve.  EXTANT returns for Season 2 on Wednesday, July 1st at 10:00 p.m. on CBS.

UNDER THE DOME

In the crazy world of CBS’ drama UNDER THE DOME, it would seem that life could not get any more outrageous and dark than it has in its first couple of seasons.  But as UNDER THE DOME returns for Season 3, things go even deeper down the rabbit-hole of Stephen King’s world in the dome.  As the first release preview for Season 3 reveals, the dome residents do get out.  But what does that mean when they do?  This is the season of answers.  Season 3 will finally answer the questions of why the dome came down, why it came down 25 years after the egg was found in Chester’s Mill and what the dome is there for.  Joining the series this season are stars Marg Helgenberger and Eric La Salle.  Both have pivotal and intriguing roles to play.  Marg’s character is Christine  Price, an anthropologist who just happened to arrive that fateful day when the dome came down.  But why?  What does she know.  One of the biggest clues from the Season 3 trailer is the image of a hand emerging from what looks to be a cocoon.  Is the egg finally hatching, or is there something else going on?  In the tradition of Stephen King, look for Season 3 to get darker and creepier as the lives in Chester’s Mill still hang in the balance.  One of those lives is Big Jim, and star Dean Norris reveals that Big Jim goes through a big change this season and he will shoot someone no one expects in the Season 3 premiere.  Given the number of people Big Jim has already killed, some justifiably and others not so much, it is hard to say that anyone is safe.  Another fun teaser for Season 3 is the promise that there will be a scene with Big Jim (Dean Norris) and Christine (Marg Helgenberger) in a giant bird cage.  That’s right:  alien eggs, cocoons and bird cages — UNDER THE DOME is getting weird and more mysterious by the minute.  Executive producer Neal Bear teased an intriguing idea:  “What if Julia and Jim were the only two people left with their sanity intact?”  Imagine:  Barbie, Junior, Sam, Joe and Norrie all losing their minds and Jim and Julia, as the only ones with their humanity left.  Boggles the mind and spine chilling.  So look for the Season 3 premiere on Thursday, June 25th for its 2-hour return on CBS.  Things are about to get a whole lot worse in Chester’s Mill.  And just what is that blasted dome? Alien, rebirth or evolution — and are we ready for it?

THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH JAMES CORDEN

Currently airing weeknights at 12:37 am, The Late Late Show With James Corden has debuted strong and only continues to enthrall viewers with its engaging enthusiasm.  It is currently the most socially engaged on social media late night talk show and was recently nominated for a Critic’s Choice award, a rare honor for a freshmen late night TV show.  With only 30 shows completed since its premiere date, The Late Late Show With James Corden is a baby-faced newcomer to late night television — especially as it compares to the 30 year legacy being celebrated by David Letterman. For host James Corden it is an honor and pleasure to be given such a plum late night timeslot, following David Letterman each night on CBS. One of the features that help The Late Late Show With James Corden standout in a crowded market of successful late night shows was providing a “double the fun” approach.  Rather than just showcase one special big name guest star at a time, The Late Late Show typically offers two special guests simultaneously, or even three.  It also strives to ensure that is offers a friendly, warm and kind approach by bringing out the guests together and giving them the chance to interact.  Plus, that spontaneous approach allows for more unpredictability as the viewing audience is never sure exactly what will happen.  The Late Late Show feels that viewers really do want to see people having a great time and they want to deliver that element of fun to the fans.  Host James Corden shared some of his amazing life philosophies, which include:  “if you don’t give up, you can’t fail,” “you’re only nervous when you want to do your best,” and “you can let nerves either debilitate you, or you can let them push you on.”  His ability to tenaciously embrace life and then share it with everyone around him has made James Corden a hit in the late night talk scene.  His show also recognizes that today’s television audience is not limited to those who watch live and in front of a TV set.  It is about engaging the entire realm of viewers, whether it be on multiple viewing platforms and at alternate times of the day.  Viewers don’t just watch late night anymore, they record it or view it the next day via DVR or online.  So he is conscious of the need to be entertaining for viewers tuning in any time of the day and strives to be as relevant for those viewers as well.  Just showing what a big and appreciate heart James Corden has, he said that he is not only lucky and blessed to talk with so many celebrity talents, but also to work with the incredibly talented writers and crew that bring his show to our screens each night.  Perhaps it is that mutual love and affection that shines through our screens and reminds us that James is just one of us and he is inviting us to play a bit with him each night on his show.

That’s it for our quick takes from today’s CBS Summer 2015 Press Day.  Mark your calendars for all these cools shows coming this summer!

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