‘Roseanne,’ ‘Black Panther’ Aretha Franklin and the entertainment briefs of 2018
Entertainment in 2018 was a celebration of the old (reboots like “Charmed” and “Magnum P.I.” and celebrating 100 years of the L.A. Philharmonic), the new (blockbusters featuring people of color like “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians”), the real (documentaries like “RBG” and “Three Identical Strangers”), calling out awards inequality (Grammys, Oscars) and allegations of sexual misconduct in Hollywood (Harvey Weinstein, James Toback).
Twists and turns for the Connor family
Ratings juggernaut “Roseanne” died after star Roseanne Barr tweeted a racist comment about former Obama staffer Valerie Jarrett and was fired. The show was canceled too, then “The Conners” was born, with the Roseanne character dead of an opioid overdose. Though the spinoff has found an audience, the ratings aren’t quite as good as they were for the original.
Respect for ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Crazy Rich Asians’
The wild success of “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians” showed Hollywood that people of color can carry superhero movies, rom-coms and mainstream audiences straight to the bank. Come awards season, both movies got added respect, with “Panther” bagging three Golden Globe nominations and “Asians” notching two — including best picture nods for both.
TV hopes we’re all feeling nostalgic
Are streaming services demanding so much new content that we’ve run out of new ideas? After “Will & Grace” hit in late 2017, everything old was new again in 2018 as TV rebooted more series including “Roseanne,” “Magnum P.I.,” “Murphy Brown,” “Charmed” and a revived “Last Man Standing.” Which shows will get a second season is still up in the air.
After the Oscars, the world asks: What’s an ‘inclusion rider’?
In her Oscar acceptance speech in March, best actress Frances McDormand left the audience wondering about two words: “inclusion rider.” Lots of people googled the term, but the ignorance didn’t last long, as underrepresented groups in the arts and entertainment rallied vocally for seats at the table, and jobs above and below the line. (And if you’ve forgotten, “The Shape of Water” won Oscars for best picture and best director.)
Is 2018 the Year of the Documentary?
Documentaries like “RBG,” “Three Identical Strangers” and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” drew interest and ticket sales throughout the year. It’s not every day that a Supreme Court Justice becomes a pop-culture icon.
L.A. County declines to prosecute James Toback
Writer-director James Toback was accused of sexual misconduct — which he denied — by hundreds of women over his decades in Hollywood. But in April, the L.A. County district attorney’s office said Toback would not face criminal charges in five investigations into his conduct because the allegations are beyond the statute of limitations. The alleged victims in the five investigations conducted by the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills police departments say they were abused in the period from 1978 to 2008.
A royal wedding for the 21st century
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shook up the royal wedding world in a very modern way: The bride is biracial, American-born, divorced, and, until their romance became public, was perhaps best known for her role on “Suits.” The couple inspired more headlines when, five months after the May wedding ceremony at Windsor Castle’s St. George’s Chapel, the now-Duchess of Sussex announced they were expecting a baby.
‘A Star is Born’ dazzles critics and movie-goers
We didn’t know we needed another “A Star Is Born” until reviews for Bradley Cooper’s directing debut started glowing Oscar gold. We also didn’t know Cooper could sing. But the film, co-starring Lady Gaga, became a box-office mega-hit, launched a hit song — “Shallow” — and picked up five Golden Globe nominations and front-runner status for the Academy Awards.
Recording Academy embroiled in a firestorm of controversy
The Grammys looked hopelessly behind the times this year. A study found that since 2013, just 9.3% of almost 900 nominations had gone to female musicians, producers, songwriters and engineers, and the male-dominated awards telecast in January fueled the #GrammySoMale controversy. Then Recording Academy President Neil Portnow drew fire for saying women had to “step up” if they wanted greater visibility. Later, he said his comment was taken out of context, but soon announced he’d step down in 2019.
Centennial celebration for the L.A. Phil
The L.A. Philharmonic marked its 100th year in September with a free Hollywood Bowl concert that included singer Kali Uchis, jazz musician Herbie Hancock, the Youth Orchestra of L.A., California girl Katy Perry, composer John Williams and — of course — fireworks. The big show was preceded by free festival-style music, dance, art and food at a half-dozen hubs on a eight-mile bike and pedestrian route running from the Music Center downtown to the Bowl, co-hosted by L.A.’s CicLAvia 2018.
Aretha Franklin’s life is celebrated with music and memories
After Aretha Franklin died in August at age 76, and her funeral was exactly what you might expect for the first lady of soul. Three days of public viewing preceded a nine-hour ceremony full of music and memories, including the controversy over singer Ariana Grande’s short dress and the bishop who apologized for touching her inappropriately and making a racist joke.
Kanye has a lot to say to the president
While he was hugging it out with President Trump in the Oval Office in October, Kanye West couldn’t stop ranting, even when it came to thoughts on the slavery-abolishing 13th Amendment. Wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, the Grammy-winning rapper praised the president, saying, “I love this guy.” West encouraged Trump to abolish the 13th Amendment, calling it “a trap door” for beleaguered African Americans that sends them back to prison.
Harvey Weinstein continues to fight charges
More than 80 women have accused disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexually inappropriate conduct since stories in the New York Times and the New Yorker exposed decades of allegations against the producer. From London to Los Angeles, more than two dozen criminal investigations were conducted into allegations stretching back three decades, and prosecutors are still reviewing several investigations from Los Angeles and Beverly Hills police. In the meantime, Weinstein’s legal team is trying to get criminal charges dismissed in New York. And, in December, several media outlets reported that Weinstein emailed individuals about the New York case, complaining, “I’ve had one hell of a year ... the worst nightmare of my life” and provoking a wave of outrage.
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