By Romeo San Vicente
Josie Totah joins ‘Saved By The Bell’ reboot
Now this is news we like: Josie Totah, who gets our vote for funniest, most effervescent young actor, transgender or otherwise (though she is trans), and whom we’ve admired since first seeing her slay her way through a few scenes in the indie comedy “Other People,” is going to star in a reboot of the early ’90s tween sitcom “Saved By The Bell.” Original cast members Mario Lopez, Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Elizabeth Berkley will headline the new series, as the adults shepherding a new class of kids through wacky high school hijinks. Meanwhile, Totah will play a sharp-tongued cheerleader who rules the school. That’s all we know about the kid end of things this time around, but honestly, right now, that’s enough for us. It’ll show up soon on the new NBCUniversal streaming service, Peacock, which launches in April.
Ben Whishaw takes ‘Surge’ to Sundance and beyond
We have a thing for Ben Whishaw. We’ll follow his career anywhere, whether it’s to wondrous, life-affirming films like the “Paddington” movies (seriously, adults, you’ll cry) or to brazenly wicked queer series like “A Very English Scandal,” where respectability politics go to die. And it’s choices like these that make us excited to see “Surge.” The feature debut of UK television director Aneil Karia, it stars Whishaw as an empty man beaten down by work and an emotionless life. A momentary act of rebellion jump starts a much wilder side to his character, and he then careens through London looking for sensation wherever he can find it. The thriller will take its bow at the Sundance Film Festival before hitting theaters or streaming (who can say anymore where movies will find their audience, really) after that.
Tan France and Alexa Chung are ‘Next in Fashion’
Maybe you still watch “Project Runway,” maybe you don’t. But even if you’ve abandoned the long-running design competition, it’s quite likely you’re watching Netflix’s highly emotional “Queer Eye.” It’s also quite likely you have opinions about Tan France’s fashion choices for the people he helps on that show. And that kind of makes him the perfect co-host, alongside model Alexa Chung, for his next series for Netflix, “Next in Fashion.” Like “Runway,” “Next” will be a high-stakes competition, but stocked with people who are already hard at work in the fashion industry and want to take their careers to the next level. Some are stylists and some have worked for major brands, and all will compete for a $250,000 grand prize and their own line for Net-a-Porter. It drops on Netflix any minute now, so binge away.
TLC gets sickening with ‘Dragnificent!’
You knew any reality series featuring former “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestants would come equipped with its own exclamation point, and that’s the case with “Dragnificent!” The new TLC make-your-life-different-with-new-clothes-and-stuff series will star “RPDR” alums BeBe Zahara Benet, Alexis Michelle, Jujubee and Thorgy Thor, who’ll band together to perform miraculous makeovers on non-drag-queens who just want to feel a little more fierce. Alexis is the makeup and hair queen, Bebe is an experienced event planner, Jujubee will handle fashion, and Thorgy is a classically trained musician who’ll most likely function as the culture expert on this galaxy-brain version of the “Queer Eye” success formula. In early episodes they’ll help a woman preparing for her high school reunion and another one getting ready for a wedding after a 130-pound weight loss. It debuts in April on TLC and we’re already tucking in a regular helping, provided there’s not too much crying on the makeover menu.
Romeo San Vicente makeover talent is buying the donuts.