11:02 am EDT, August 6, 2019

The CW teases ‘Batwoman’, ‘Nancy Drew’, ‘Katy Keene,’ more at TCA

The CW took the stage at the Television Critics Association Summer Tour on Sunday, August 4 to introduce several new series and say goodbye to Supernatural. .Tears were shed, Taye Diggs sang, and Jared Padalecki may have stolen a piece of the original Impala. Here’s what we learned

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‘All American’

As it makes its way from Netflix to the CW, the second season of All American will answer the cliffhangers and pick up where season one left off. The football season may be over, but showrunner Nkechi Okoro Carroll says there’s still plenty of football in season 2.

“One of the beautiful things about high school football, especially competitive high school football, is, even though technically the season’s over, the season’s never really over. So we’re going to be diving into sort of offseason seven-on-seven scrimmage league. Football is going to be a lot more personal.”

From what we heard, it’ll also be a bit like herding cats for Carroll, whose actors are enjoying playing football so much they’re doing it between takes and trying to do their own stunts. Michael Evans Behling, who plays Jordan, said, “Makeup hates us because we’re always running around, and we’re sweating.”

Carroll added with a laugh and that sort of mama bear feel, “Well, I mean, the biggest thing for me was realizing that I have to fight my actors not to do their own stunts. I have never met a group of guys who are like, ‘No, no, no. I got it.’ I’m, like, ‘No. I need you to be alive for the next scene. Just let our stunt guy do it.’.”

The best moment of the CW All American panel came courtesy of Taye Diggs who, during a long silence as mics were being run to critics so they could ask questions, quipped, “I’d like to sing a song for you now,” before singing the first line of “Seasons of Love” from Rent.

Personally, I think TCA should hold an all-singing panel next year.

Speaking of singing, you’ll definitely be getting more music out of Josie McCoy over on Katy Keene but more on that later.

‘Arrow’

The Arrow panel started with a little directing news. Katie Cassidy was unable to attend because she’s prepping to direct her very first episode. CW’s executive vice president of communications, Paul Hewitt, also said David Ramsey, Melissa Benoist, Caity Lotz, David Harewood, and Danielle Panabaker will be stepping behind the camera soon, so there is lots to look forward to.

Of course, the biggest thing on everyone’s mind was the ending of Arrow as it heads into its final season on the CW.

Asked about the ending, Marc Guggenheim talked about why this was the time to end the show.

“I think every show has a natural end date. And one thing that we always talked about, once we realized the show would actually have legs and go on past one season, was we didn’t want to be that show that stays too long at the party. One of the things that I think we’re all very proud of is the fact that people still talk about the show. I remember the seventh season finale was trending on Twitter the night we aired. That doesn’t happen all that often, and I think we all would much prefer to go out on a high note and go out while people are still talking about the show rather than being, like, ‘That show’s still on the air?'”

Season 8 will pick up roughly six weeks after the events of the season 7 finale on Earth-1. The structure this year will be a little different than previous seasons as the show not only wraps up but gears up to episode 8 which will be the crossover event and set the stage for the finale.

One of the main things happening this season is the return of actors we haven’t seen in a while. One of them will be Colin Donnell because, as Amell says, “It’s definitely possible on an Earth.”

As to what we may see post Arrow with the many characters on the show, no word yet on where they may end up or if they’ll make the jump to other CW shows. There was one question about David Ramsay taking on the mantle of Green Lantern, but no news to report there.

Of course, the big question was about the iconic salmon ladder, which will be making its triumphant return in the season 8 premiere. Specifically, what will happen to it after Arrow ends?

Amell was quick to answer. “Yeah. I’m taking it. I need one for my backyard to stay in shape.”

That works for us.

‘Batwoman’

In many ways, Ruby Rose is a lot like Kate Kane, a.k.a. Batwoman, and brought numerous skills with her; boxing, motorcycle riding, fighting, being a general badass.

One skill she did learn for the role? Holding her breath.

“I was very proud of that,” Rose said. “Found out that I could hold my breath for, like, three minutes.” How did she find out? She had to shoot a scene where she had to hold her breath underwater. That’s one way to learn, right?

Also in keeping with the original Batwoman character, the red wig, which showed up in the Arrow crossover episode, isn’t in the pilot but will show up in the series during episode 3 as Kate starts to build her own identity as Batwoman.

This version of Kate Kane is based on the New 52 comics version Batwoman in which Kate is both a lesbian and Jewish. Rose noted that while she, like Kate, has several tattoos, some of them have been altered or hidden for the series. “Like, I have one that’s in the shape of a cross and I have one that says ‘Let go. Let God.’ We’ve made adjustments to those tattoos.”

When asked if we’d see any of the Gotham series villains making the jump to Batwoman on the CW, producer Sarah Schecter said they’re looking to explore other kinds of canon villains. Producer Caroline Dries mentioned Tommy Elliot and announced Batman villain Magpie will be introduced.

The villain we meet first, however, is Alice played by Rachel Skarsten (Reign, Lost Girl). Alice is definitely Batwoman’s nemesis, but she’s also something more as we’ll learn as the show goes on.

Skarsten says she’s thrilled to play the role.

“It is so much fun to play a character that you can really make a meal out of it, and all of the writers give me such sort of wonderful, brilliant…off-the-wall things to say. And one minute she’s making perfect sense and then she’s quoting Alice in Wonderland and then she’s throwing someone off a building.”

And, of course, you know someone asked about the suit. Because we have to know how Ruby Rose likes it.

“I still remember putting it on for the first time with Colleen [Atwood], who is magnificent at what she does, and it’s just a magical feeling. It’s not like when you dress up for Halloween and, sort of, put something on. This thing… it just fits me like a glove. Every single part of it has been designed for my body. So it feels– it moves with me, and I move with it, and it feels like a second skin for the most part, and, yes, it’s an incredible feeling. You feel the transformation, unlike any costume I’ve ever put on in any role in my life. It’s just very difficult to pee in. That’s all.”

And on that note, let’s talk about…

‘Katy Keene’

Riverdale spinoff Katy Keene stars Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars) as Katy and brings Ashleigh Murray’s Josie McCoy to New York City. Paul Hewitt described it as a modern-day fairytale about four close friends set in the city that never sleeps.

Katy Keene is set in the future of Riverdale in which Josie McCoy has left Riverdale (nice to know she makes it out alive) to move to NYC and stays with her friend Katy to pursue her music career. Katy then introduces her to her two best friends Jorge (Jonny Beauchamp) and Pepper (Julia Chan). The show has a romantic flair about, well, everything. According to one person on the panel, think Sex In The City meets Mary Tylor Moore.

Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who also executive produces Riverdale for the CW and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina for Netflix is enjoying the feel of Katy Keene.

“It’s nice that the show has such a different tone. It’s fun to be talking about things like Broadway and fashion and not the Gargoyle King or the Black Hood or an evil cult.”

Lucy Hale is also excited for Katy’s world.

“We’ve created this really amazing, beautiful, optimistic world, but we are going to see the struggling of trying to make it in New York. And each of these lovely actors, thespians right here, have a big dream, a big goal in the show, and I think that we’re definitely going to explore the struggle of life in general as well.”

Ashleigh Murray’s looking forward to letting Josie live a little.

“I’ve been able to kind of play a little more with the rest of Josie’s personality. You know, in Riverdale she’s kind of secluded on her own volition, to stay out of trouble and, you know, to stay alive. So she just kind of was really good at minding her own business. And New York City is not really a place like, you can mind your business, but why? There’s so much business to be had. So I think with this experience, it was a lot more fun for me to let Josie have fun.”

Writer Michael Grassi also says that music will play a big role in the show. Additionally, aside from Josie, we may get singing from much of the cast as the show goes on.

You’ll also be seeing the Cabot clan in Katy Keene.

“We are so excited about the Cabots,” writer Michael Grassi revealed. “Josie is going to be following her dream, and she’s going to, sort of, get tangled in this web of the Cabot family. And it’s going to get complicated and messy, but we will also really get to know the Cabots throughout the season, and their lives will be just as rich. And they will also have dreams, and they will just be great antagonists to Josie.”

We could talk a lot more about Katy Keene, but it’s time for Nancy Drew!

‘Nancy Drew’

As she brings Nancy Drew to life for the CW, Kennedy McMann is more than ready to play the role.

“I have quite a long history with Nancy Drew. I come from a super literary family. My mom’s an author. I grew up reading the books. I played the computer games all through college. But then when I got the part, I intentionally did not re-read them because I was confident in the history that I had with the character, and I felt like I knew her really well.”

Her mother is very proud.

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Unlike the books, the supernatural elements in the CW’s Nancy Drew will be amped up.

Writer Noga Landau said, “So there are ghosts in our show. And as far as the balance? I’d say it’s about you could say 50/50, but the way to really look at it is that most of the things that are supernatural are rooted in something that’s happening mysteriously in the real world. Everything is rooted in emotion or some mystery amongst the living that has been unresolved.”

Showrunner Melinda Hsu Taylor shared that the case in the pilot “will be unraveling through the course of the season, but every week there’s going to be a feel of, like, ‘Oh, this is the story this week.’ We’ve got this part of the mission to unfold, and another little mini mystery will become revealed to us through the things that we’re doing in that episode… I think it’s kind of like a really satisfying season-long mystery, but every week is going to be very satisfying as well.

One major change from the books to the CW show comes in the form of Nancy’s sexual side, which EP Stephanie Savage addressed.

“We’re making the show for The CW and that audience. I have nieces that are seven and five, and goddaughters that are in high school and college… we’ve read the books together and watched the ’70s series together. And the little ones know that this show isn’t for them and they’re going to have to wait till they’re older. And kids today are very comfortable with understanding that there are multiple iterations, that you can read a book, that you can watch a DVD, that you can see a movie, that there’s going to be different actors playing the characters. And what they love is the world of the story and the core character of Nancy Drew and the traits that she embodies of being smart and brave and curious and wanting to set the world right by figuring out what went wrong.”

Pamela Sue Martin, who played Nancy Drew in the ’70s TV series, makes a guest appearance in the new series and wrote Kennedy McMann a letter that McMann was very touched by.

“Yeah. I still have it. It’s, like, tearstained. I cried when I read it… It was quite personal, but it had a lot to do just with the industry and standing up for oneself and making your own decisions and how to kind of transition into a role like this and the repercussions of that in Hollywood and things like that. It was lovely. It was very thoughtful.”

The last panel of the day was for Supernatural and, well, we decided we’d do a special article so stay tuned!

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