Tag Archives: Alcatraz

Geri Jewell Lands in ‘Alcatraz’

Remember Geri Jewell?  She was the first performer with cerebral palsy to land a role on a primetime series, way back on “The Facts of Life.”  Now the actress and stand-up comic, who also did a memorable turn as Jewell on “Deadwood,” is getting back into series action again — on J.J. Abrams’ newly-launched “Alcatraz.”  She’s playing the sister of the warden played by Jason Butler Harner, a 1960s character.

“When they made me up I looked in the mirror and I saw my mother,” she cracks.  But seriously, “I think that my character allows Jason’s character to have empathy.  Because he works with brutal killers day in and day out, he’s become hardened in some ways.  And I’m like the door to his heart.  It’s a wonderful relationship.  She’s very sarcastic, very intelligent, and that’s all I can reveal at this point.  It’s such a cool show.  It’s so way out there.”

Jewell has reaped deep emotional rewards from the memoir she released last year,  I’m Walking as Straight as I Can: Transcending Disability In Hollywood and Beyond .  “The book has been phenomenal in the sense that it has created so much — how should I say it?  I came out as a gay woman, which was kind of scary for me,” she recalls.  “I’ve had tons of emails from people with disabilities who are gay, who are thanking me for being their voice.  I’m so thankful for being able to be exactly who I am.  I think that’s what the book allowed me to do.”

She’s also getting more involved in anti-bullying activities. Jewell herself was bullied in her youth, “but I look at the kids today and the bullying because of the internet and it’s just so much worse…Truthfully, being ridiculed and made fun of in my time, it had a lot to do with giving me the drive to become a comedian.  I channeled it into a different energy and made it into a positive force.  That’s what I intend to communicate to kids today – the importance of how to do that.  It’s a key to survival and keeping the faith.  If you can spend a certain amount of time each day taking something that’s negative, that’s hurting you, and channeling the energy into something positive, you’d be surprised by the effectiveness of it.”

TV Trend Toward Fantasy, Horror Shows No Sign of Abating

Jason Butler Harner, Jonny Coyne, Jorge Garcia, Sarah Jones, Sam Neill, Santiago Cabrera, Parminder Nagra and Robert Forster Fox photo by Kharen Hill

TV viewer appetite for fantasy and horror has to be at an all-time high, considering the massive successes of ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” Fox’s “American Horror Story” and HBO’s “Game of Thrones” in 2011 — even NBC’s “Grimm” has been a brighter spot on the beleaguered network’s fall schedule.  Add those shows to such ongoing hits as AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” HBO’s “True Blood,” the CW’s “Vampire Diaries” and it’s obvious, other-worldliness is in.  With the midseason upon us, there is more supernatural stuff on the way.

Come January 16, there’s the highly-anticipated premiere of J.J. Abrams’ time-travel prison strangeness drama, “Alcatraz” on Fox, complete with “Lost’s” Jorge Garcia as a comic book enthusiast/expert on San Francisco’s notorious island lockup.  The same night, Syfy unveils “Lost Girl,” which we’re pretty sure must be the first ongoing series about a succubus (female demon who takes human form in order to drain the souls of men by having sex with them).

Fox’s upcoming “Touch,” stars Keifer Sutherland as the widowed father of a mute 11-year-old son who communicates only through numbers and can see things no one else can.  NBC’s “Awake” stars Jason Isaacs as a man shifting between two alternate realities — one in which his son was killed in an automobile accident, while his wife survived it, the other in which his wife was killed and his son survived.  ABC’s “The River” starring Bruce Greenwood boasts Oren Peli as exec producer; he’s the creative mind behind the “Paranormal Activity” films.  “The River” also relies on video camera realism, only this time, it’s out in the Amazon jungle, where a famous wildlife expert has gone missing and his family is on a search for him.  Things get very scary out there.

Whether this proliferation of paranormality is all due to TV’s practice of rushing to copy itself when something succeeds, or has to do with the harsh shape of the real world these days — or both — there’s no sign of the trend abating in 2012.

For instance, among the current crop of shows in development that are already getting buzz: a reboot of “Frankenstein.”