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A Salute to Paley Fest 2017

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Over the course of two weeks (from March 17 to March 26), the annual Paley Fest – which celebrated its 34th year – honored 12 different TV programs, ranging from late night shows, to primetime dramas, to hit cable series and animation programs.

The TV shows that were saluted at this year’s Paley Fest, coordinated by The Paley Center for Media, included the following:

The Walking Dead
Heroes & Aliens (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow)
This Is Us
Grey’s Anatomy
NCIS: Los Angeles
The Late Late Show with James Corden
Orphan Black
Bob’s Burgers
Pretty Little Liars
Westworld
Scandal (100th Episode)
American Horror Story: Roanoke

I wasn’t in attendance at all 12 of this year’s panels, but I did get the chance to be in the audience for at least four of them: Heroes & Aliens, This Is Us, Orphan Black and Pretty Little Liars. I was all set to go to NCIS: Los Angeles, but at the last minute I couldn’t attend due to circumstances beyond my control.

Here are some highlights from each of the four panels that I did attend:

Heroes & Aliens:

• Kevin Smith was the moderator of the panel. He did not take a seat [not once] during the entire panel, but instead walked around the panelists, asking questions (being is uncensored self);
• Candice Patton (Iris West of The Flash) spoke about how she, “loves that (Iris) provides this human quality to a superhero show [this was her answer to being one of the only people on the show without any super powers];
• David Harewood (J’onn J’onzz aka Martian Manhunter aka Hank Henshaw of Supergirl) shared that he, “thoroughly enjoys coming to work every day [in order to] play this fantastic character;”
• Executive Producer Andrew Kreisburg joked, “we became a victim of our own success,” when talking about creating one ‘big bad’ villain after another on The Flash;
• Executive Producer Phil Klemmer shared that, “the crazy premise (of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow) is on the scale of absurdity, but that is actually the heart of the show;”
• Arrow star Stephen Amell, when asked about the show making it to 100 episodes, he thought, “wow, we actually did it;”
• Legends of Tomorrow star Brandon Routh joked that wearing the Atom suit for the first hour of filming “is fine, but [after that] it’s painful otherwise;” and,
• Supergirl lead Melissa Benoist shared that, “what we stand for [in the show] is an important message to spread.”

NOTE: It should also be noted that the EP’s behind the four shows confirmed they want to do a real 4-way crossover with the shows in the future.

This Is Us:

• Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore (Jack and Rebecca) admitted that for the most their characters’ arguing in the season finale was “done in one take;”
• The regular cast was eventually joined by Gerald McRaney (Dr. K) and Jon Huertas (Miguel) on stage much to the delight of the packed audience;
• Executive Producer Glenn Ficarra shared they have an “endless canvas” on which to write season two, but that won’t get underway until early June;
• Sterling K. Brown (Randall) shared [when asked about how Miguel and Rebecca got together] that, “once you guys see how [it happened] you’ll like him (Miguel) better;”
• When asked who on the cast knows how Jack died, they all raised their hands except for Gerald McRaney [Jon hadn’t taken the stage at that point];
• Ron Cephas Jones (William, Randall’s biological dad) shared that the image Randall had of William and Jack talking and laughing on the couch in the season finale was, “the only opportunity (for him and Milo) to do something together;”
• Chrissy Metz (Kate) was actually a commercial casting agent before getting work as an actress, and ironically, she was the agent to young actress Hannah Zeile, who plays her character at the age of 15; and,
• Susan Kelechi Watson (Beth) joked that her character is “calm at multi-tasking, (but) that is so not me (in real life).”

Orphan Black:

• The audience got to see the season premiere of the final season more than two months before it will air on BBC America (and it was intense, but no spoilers, sorry!);
• The cast shared that they wrapped on the final episode (ever) just a couple of days before the panel took place;
• The island where the show is currently set is very much like ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau’ according to John Fawcett and Graeme Manson (the executive producers);
• The cast all agreed that “it’s like working with a different actor (when acting opposite Tatiana) even though (all the clones) are played by (her);”
• Tatiana and Kathryn Alexandre (who has played Tat’s clone double since the very beginning of the show) could not say enough good things about working alongside each other; in fact, Kathryn shared, “working with Tat has been a gift” and Tat shared, “Kathryn gave a great performance (in an upcoming episode) that’ll never be seen, but it made such an impact on my performance;”
• Evelyne Brochu (Delphine) shared that she, “didn’t know Delphine was alive,” but when she learned, she “had to do a lot of lying” in order to not reveal the truth;
• Josh Vokey (Scott) shared that he, “was supposed to work only one day five years ago, but his character is still in the show;” and,
• Each of the cast members shared which is their favorite clone:

John: It was Allison, but now it’s Rachel
Graeme: It was Cosima but now it’s Sarah
Kevin: He has a soft spot for Katja
Kristian: Helena
Jordan: Crystal
Tatiana: It was hard to say goodbye to Allison
Kathryn: M.K.
Maria: I love them all, but Sarah
Evelyne: Cosima, of course
Ari: Helena to my dying day
Josh: Cosima

Pretty Little Liars:

• When asked what she wanted the final episode (ever) to be, Executive Producer I. Marlene King shared she, “wanted it to be a love letter to the fans;”
• Executive Producer Joseph Dougherty shared, when asked if every question fans have will be answered, they “(would answer all those) we could remember;”
• Janel Parrish (Mona Vanderwaal) shared, “it was fun being the first ‘A’;”
• During the casting process for the pilot, Marlene actually had a different actress in mind to play Emily Fields (played by Shay Mitchell) until the final audition with the studio heads, when “Shay just nailed it” and Marlene immediately changed her mind;
• The cast and EP’s revealed that Troian Bellisario (Spencer Hastings) will direct episode 4 of the final 10 episodes, which is essentially episode 15 of the final season;
• Andrea Parker (Jessica DiLaurentis/Mary Drake) shared that “it has been amazing to play the b*tch on the show,” and “it’s been an incredible role to play;”
• Sasha Pieterse (Allison DiLaurentis) shared that she was all of 12 years old when she filmed the pilot episode of the series;
• The cast members each got to do script reads during the panel, playing different roles than their own much to the delight of the audience; and,
• The panelists were each asked what their favorite moment was from the show with their answers being as follows:

Joe: The black and white episode entitled “Shadow Play” (Season 4, Episode 19, from February 11, 2014);
Andrea: “Every episode because I never knew if it was going to be my last;”
Tyler Blackburn (Caleb Rivers): The 100th episode entitled “Miss Me x 100” (Season 5, Episode 5, from July 8, 2014);
Sasha and Ashley: The last scene of the series and very last time of the set;
Janel: Final table reading of series finale;
Ian: Christmas episode from Season 5 where he realized he “was going to miss this when we’re (all) done;”
Marlene: Filming the pilot and filming the last episode;”
Shay: A scene where Emily and Hanna are searching through photos because they, “had to film it (about) 500 times (to get it right).”

A new episode of Supergirl will air on Monday, April 24 at 8/7c; new episodes of The Flash and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow will air tonight at 8 and 9 PM respectively and a new Arrow will air on Wednesday, March 29 at 8/7c all on The CW.

This Is Us will be back with new episodes of its sophomore season during the 2017-2018 TV season on NBC.

Orphan Black will air the season premiere of its final season on BBC America on Sunday, June 10 at 10/9c.

Pretty Little Liars will return for its last 10 episodes (ever) on Freeform on Tuesday April 18 at 8/7c.

Picture Sources: Diane Gordon, The Paley Center for Media and SpoilerTV

Using her favorite online handle, Rueben is an East Coast-bred gal who is now a permanent Californian and a lifelong tv-oholic. She watches at least 25 TV shows a week, goes to the movies as often as possible, listens to music every waking moment, reads every day and “plays” on the internet every chance she can. Some of her current favorite TV shows are Outlander, Arrow, Grimm, The Blacklist, Teen Wolf, Killjoys, Dark Matter, The Shannara Chronicles, Good Witch, When Calls the Heart, The 100, Switched at Birth, Jane the Virgin, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Flash and The Fosters (among others). Follow her at @ruebenrambling or contact her at rueben@nicegirlstv.com.