More and more TV series are luring A-list movie talent

There’s more good TV now than ever before.

Granted, there’s more TV, period, than ever before — a record 495 original scripted series aired in 2018, according to a survey by FX Networks — but the quality is almost absurdly high.

That’s thanks in large part to the phenomenon of the limited series and the movie talent that has been willing to take a chance on short bursts of creative freedom. The latest, “I Am the Night” (9 p.m. Monday, TNT), a six-episode period piece about real-life Sparks teen Fauna Hodel and her search for her birth parents, reunites “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins with that movie’s co-star, Chris Pine.

It’s a relationship similar to the one behind HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” which saw Reese Witherspoon reteam with her “Wild” director, Jean-Marc Vallee. Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley signed on for what was intended to be a limited series. After its surprising renewal, this year’s second season will bring Meryl Streep into the fold.

Vallee also helmed HBO’s “Sharp Objects,” which lured Amy Adams, who just scored her sixth Oscar nomination, this one for her work as Lynne Cheney in “Vice,” to the small screen.

HBO doesn’t hold a monopoly on these, even though its anthology “True Detective” has attracted Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Rachel McAdams, Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn and Mahershala Ali, an Oscar winner for “Moonlight” and a nominee again this year for “Green Book.”

Billy Bob Thornton, Kirsten Dunst and Ewan McGregor have toplined FX’s “Fargo.” Emma Stone and Jonah Hill starred in Netflix’s 10-episode “Maniac.” Julia Roberts turned her one season of Amazon’s “Homecoming” into a Golden Globe nomination.

And that’s all before Apple bursts into the streaming content business later this year with series and limited events starring Chris Evans, Jason Momoa, Octavia Spencer and a single series, set at a TV morning show, starring Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell.

As for “I Am the Night,” Pine segues effortlessly to television as Jay Singletary, a broken reporter who’s barely making a living by taking scandalous photos of starlets in Malibu beach houses and sneaking into a morgue to photograph a dismembered corpse.

Singletary had been a star. At 18, he was a full-time reporter for the L.A. Times. Then he crossed the wrong power broker with a story that would cost him his career and nearly ruin a newspaper. Branded “fake news” before that was a thing, he’s been reduced to a social life filled with junkies looking for a fix.

Granted, one of those junkies knows about Martin Luther and his “Disputation on the Power of Indulgences,” so that’s a plus.

Convinced he was right all those years ago and desperate to prove it, Singletary reopens his investigation into the prominent doctor who caused his downfall. Along the way, he crosses paths with Hodel (India Eisley), the Nevada teen fresh off the bus who’s looking for answers about her past.

No spoilers, but if you aren’t familiar with the story of the Hodels, it’s cuh-razy. Let’s just say, of the many pitfalls you could encounter inside a casino, adopting a white lady’s mixed-race granddaughter inside a bathroom in 1950 should rank near the top.

Of all the Hollywood comic book Chrises — including Evans, Pratt and Hemsworth — Pine seems the best-suited to dabbling in television.

Rumpled and downplaying his pretty-boy looks — “What happened to your face?” he’s asked after one of several violent altercations. His response? “Everything.” — Pine isn’t exactly a chameleon. You’re rarely not aware you’re watching the once and possibly future Captain Kirk let his freak flag fly, but he seems to be having the time of his life.

Unless he’s a far better actor than he’s ever been credited as, this bodes well for his future endeavors.

After all, it’s not like TV is going to be running out of marquee series anytime soon.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

Entertainment Videos
Masso Osteria first anniversary in Las Vegas
Scott Conant was in town Tuesday to host a one-year anniversary party for his Red Rock Resort restaurant Masso Osteria.
Baked Alaska a specialty at Favorite Bistro in Las Vegas
Award-winning pastry chef Claude Escamilla makes Baked Alaska with strawberry sorbet and vanilla gelato and flames it at Favorite Bistro at The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Chili cooks face fierce and friendly competition at Nevada cook-off
Forty chili cooks competed in the Nevada State Chili Cookoff in Pahrump on Sunday, March 17, 2019, with the winners advancing to the World Championship Chili Cook-off in Des Moines, Iowa. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Arcade ‘speakeasy’ leads to secret door and Banksy art in Las Vegas
Arcade ‘speakeasy’ leads to secret door, Banksy art in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hazel in Las Vegas serves modern takes on traditional cocktails
Hazel serves modern takes on traditional cocktails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas celebrates St. Patrick's Day
Tonight the city lit the Welcome sign green, McMullan's Irish Pub and the Guinness store also prepare for this weekend's St. Patrick's Day festivities. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Reuben sandwich at Served in Henderson, near Las Vegas
Matthew Meyer, chef/owner of Served, makes a Reuben sandwich with house-brined corned beef, house-made sauerkraut and gooey melted cheese at his restaurant in Henderson, outside Las Vegas. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Las Vegas day club season returns with big-name DJs
Rick Ross, March 23, at Daylight Beach Club at Mandalay Bay The Chainsmokers, March 30, at Encore Beach Club Marshmello, April 6, Kaos Dayclub at the Palms Chuckie, May 11, Marquee Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Calvin Harris, May 11, Wet Republic at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Pizza expert Chris Bianco makes meatballs in Las Vegas
Chris Bianco, who was the keynote speaker at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, demonstrates meatball making for expo attendees. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas pulmonologist talks about new movie dealing with cystic fibrosis
Dr. Craig Nakamura, Director of Cystic Fibrosis Center of Southern Nevada, talks about the upcoming romantic drama “Five Feet Apart” where both of the lead characters suffer from cystic fibrosis. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
World Pizza Champion crowned in Las Vegas
At the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, Italian pizzaiolo Federico De Silvestri took the top prize and more than $12,000. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Italian wins Pizza Maker of the Year at Pizza Expo
Federico De Silvestri of Verona, Italy, wins the finals in the non-traditional pizza category during the International Pizza Challenge at the International Pizza Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center Thursday, March 7, 2019. De Silvestri went on to beat winners from each of the four other categories — traditional, pan, pizza Napoletana and Roman — to win Pizza Maker of the Year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Good Pie Coming To Arts District
Local pizzaiolo Vincent Rotolo says Good Pie is coming to the Arts District. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Local comedian says "It's ok to laugh, ...the comedy club is dark."
K-Von, a half-Persian comedian, talks about his style of comedy which keeps audiences entertained.
Pizza Dough Throwing Competition
Contestants participate in the World Pizza Games at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, Wednesday night. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
World Pizza Games showcased in Las Vegas
The World Pizza Games, part of the International Pizza Expo, drew competitors from all over the world to Las Vegas to compete in events such as dough stretching and box folding. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Pizza competitors dazzle at international expo
The International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center included the first rounds of the World Pizza Games. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas showcases products and trends
At the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, vegan and gluten-free menu choices and compostable packaging were highlighted, as well as Detroit-style and Roman-style pizza. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Chef Dan Krohmer talks about a new restaurant
Chef Dan Krohmer talks about the construction of his new restaurant at Fremont Street’s Fergusons Downtown complex in downtown Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Neon Museum lights up the Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign
The Neon Museum in Las Vegas flipped the switch on its latest acquisition Monday night, the Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
A Taste of Eataly Las Vegas
Executive Chef Nicole Brisson gives a tour around Eataly Las Vegas, located in the Park MGM. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Order a pretty purple cocktail at North Italia in Las Vegas
Order a pretty purple cocktail at North Italia in Las Vegas (Janna Karel/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Towering triple decker sandwich at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas
Jonah Resnick, executive chef of Sadelle’s, the newest restaurant at Bellagio in Las Vegas, serves a daunting concoction of roast beef layered with house-made cole slaw, turkey and more cole slaw, on rye bread. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Paris Las Vegas Debuts New Eiffel Tower Light Show
The Paris in Las Vegas unveiled its latest Eiffel Tower light show, Wednesday evening. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video: Las Vegas Omelet House Marks 40th anniversary
Omelet House at Charleston Boulevard and Rancho Drive in Las Vegas, which opened in 1979, is a locals’ favorite, known for fluffy six-egg omelets. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Golden Knights' Ryan Reaves readying new beer
Ryan Reaves, a forward with the Golden Knights, has plans for a second beer, a lager, through his 7Five Brewing Co. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Bellagio Adds Lady Gaga To The Fountain Playlist
Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” has been added to the rotation of classic tunes played for the dancing waters at Lake Bellagio. The song debuted at 6 p.m. Monday. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Comedian uses laughter to bring understanding about AIDS
Comedian Brandon Cox Sanford talks about how he uses his comedy sketches to bring light to his AIDS diagnosis. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
20th anniversary of the House of Blues in Las Vegas
Sasha Rincon-Camacho, regional marketing director, talks about the 20th anniversary of the House of Blues in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Meow Wolf opening an 'otherworldly' art experience in Las Vegas
Meow Wolf opening "otherworldly" art experience in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Home Front Page Footer Listing