7-Hebrew actor series, spooky stuff, Ford shrinks Segal, much more


Photo Courtesy of the Peacock Network.

NATE BLOOM, Special to the Jewish Light

“Poker Face” premieres on the streaming Peacock channel on Jan. 26th. It is a “case-of-the-week” mystery comedy-drama. NATASHA LYONNE, 43, produces the series and she stars in it (I gather she plays the only actor who will appear in all 10 episodes).

An astonishing number of Jewish thespians will star in an episode: along with Lyonne: JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT, 41, ADRIEN BRODY, 49, ELLEN BARKIN, 68, SIMON HELBERG, 41, JUDITH LIGHT, 73, and TIM BLAKE NELSON, 58. (I have this image, in my mind, of Lyonne telling the casting people: “Hire more Jews, we need to keep my people fully employed!”)

“Wolf Pack” is a supernatural teen drama series that will begin streaming on Paramount+ on January 26. The star of the series is SARAH MICHELLE GELLER, 45. She is still best known as the star of the hit TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” which ran from 1997-2003.

There is little advance info on the show’s plot other than it is a supernatural teen drama. Geller “passably” played a teen in “Buffy.” But she couldn’t pass now. My guess is that her “Wolf” character is an adult “overseeing” a passel of actors who can pass for a teenager.

“Shrinking” is a comedy series that begins streaming on Apple+ on Jan. 27. It was co-created by BRETT GOLDSTEIN, 42, JASON SEGAL, 42, and Bill Lawrence.  These three guys also write the scripts.

Goldstein, a British Jew, was hired to write for “Ted Lasso,” which has become the biggest hit on Apple+. Not long after he began writing “Lasso,” he was cast to play aged soccer star Roy Kent. This role made him well-known, and he’s won two successive Emmys for best supporting actor.

Segal not only co-created “Shrinking,” he co-stars in the series. His top-credited co-star is HARRISON FORD, 80.  Ford plays Dr. Rhodes, a therapist. The series trailer implies that Segal plays a Rhodes patient.

The (scant) advance publicity says that Rhodes is “in great grief” as the series begins and that this grief leads Rhodes to breach ethical barriers. His biggest breach is telling his patients what he really thinks. This candor results in major changes in Rhodes’ life and in the lives of his patients.

Ford can also be seen in the Paramount+ series “1923.” I suspect that Ford just loves that “Shrinking” and “1923” are limited series (10 episodes a season). He can keep his hand in acting while not being exhausted by the grind of a traditional 22-episode TV series. Plus, it must be nice to go to a comedy series after being in a grim Western like “1923.”

Ford is the secular son of a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father. Check out “The Frisco Kid” (1979), a comedic Western film. Ford played a guy who befriends an immigrant rabbi (GENE WILDER). Wilder said he had no idea Ford’s mother was Jewish when they met on the set. A few days later, he started to tutor Ford on a Jewish custom. Ford told him “I know, I know” and explained how he knew (available on TCM, on-demand, this month).

“Night Court,” a “re-boot” of the hit series of the same name that ran from 1984-92, premiered on Jan.17. MELISSA RAUCH, 42 (“Big Bang Theory”), co-stars as Judge Abby Stone, the daughter of Harry Stone (played by the late Harry Anderson), the judge in the original series.

The second season of the hit NBC series “American Auto” premiered on Jan. 24. Like “Night Court” “Auto” is easy to catch-up on-line or on-demand. Both series are free to view on the Peacock App.

“Auto” was created by JUSTIN SPITZER, 45, and co-stars JON BARINHOLTZ, 43. Jon is the brother of actor IKE BARINHOLTZ, 45. As noted in a previous column, Ike will be in a contestant in the “Celebrity Jeopardy” show finals (airs Feb. 2, 7 p.m. ABC).

ROSS NOVIE, 51, the director of the third episode (airs Jan. 31, 7 p.m.) recently contacted me because his mother is a big fan of this column.

Novie was kind enough to give me the plot of the Jan.31 episode. It sounds funny. Here goes: Payne Motors’ CEO Katherine Hastings (Ana Gasteyer) tries to fight back against her reputation in the media as “the most hated CEO in the country.” To this end, she goes on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” The “Late Night” scenes, Novie told me, were shot on location at 30 Rockefeller Plaza (where “SNL” is shot).