Stars on screen
Dark meets light: Hold on tight, the second-generation baddies are back, and this time we get to dive straight into their domain. “Descendants 2,” the sequel to 2015’s live-action TV film, premieres across Disney-owned networks (ABC, Freeform, Lifetime, Disney XD and Disney Channel) Friday, July 21.
The sequel picks up a few years after the events of “Descendants.” Dove Cameron (“Liv and Maddie”), Cameron Boyce (“Jessie”), Sofia Carson (“Adventures in Babysitting,” 2016) and Booboo Stewart (“X-Men: Days of Future Past,” 2014) return as the offspring of some of Disney’s most notorious fairy-tale villains. Now living notso-villainous lives in the magical kingdom of Auradon, Maleficent’s daughter, Mal (Cameron), becomes overwhelmed by her new life and flees to the island prison where the world’s villains are held.
When Mal’s friends return to the Isle of the Lost to find her, they discover that the social order there has gone all topsy-turvy, and that they must navigate this new hierarchy if they’re to have any hope of getting Mal back.
Naturally, adding new characters also means adding new actors, and like its predecessor, “Descendants 2” has rounded up some of the finest young talent available. “A.N.T. Farm” star China Anne McClain plays Uma, Ursula’s daughter who now rules the island alongside Captain Hook’s son, Harry (Thomas Doherty, “The Lodge”) and Gaston’s kid, Gil (Dylan Playfair, “Some Assembly Required”).
Mitchell Hope (“Yes Mum,” 2012) also returns as Auradon’s King Ben, along with Dianne Doan (“Vikings”), Dan Payne (“Good Witch”) and Melanie Paxson (“Happy Family”).
The villains-turned-heroes are back, and they land on screens Friday, July 21.
Casting shake-down: ABC’s terrorism drama is losing a few of its stars, but whether it’s four or five familiar faces that won’t be seen onscreen next season is open to interpretation.
Production on the third season of “Quantico” has begun, but secondseason ratings didn’t live up to the high bar set by the first, which has led to a bit of a cast shakeup. Four series regulars, including Yasmine Al Massri (“Crossbones”), have left the show’s roster. Al Massri’s role was unique in that she played identical twins Nimah and Raina Amin, so while only four actors are gone from the cast, that’s five characters who will no longer be around.
Also on the way out are Russell Tovey (“Looking”), Aunjanue Ellis (“The Mentalist”) and Pearl Thusi (“Tremors 5: Bloodlines,” 2015). Of course, a removal from the list of series regulars doesn’t preclude any of the standup actors from popping on screen for cameos in the future.
Luckily for fans, “Quantico’s” star Priyanka Chopra (“Baywatch,” 2017) will be back in the role that made the already-famous Bollywood star into a Hollywood hit. In the show’s first season, she played promising FBI recruit Alex Parrish, who was the prime suspect of a massive terrorist attack on New York’s Grand Central Terminal. After being cleared of any wrongdoing, she went deep undercover in the second season to try to expose a treasonous faction within the CIA.
Johanna Braddy (“UnREAL”) and Jake McLaughlin (“Believe”) are also confirmed to be returning alongside Chopra when “Quantico” returns for its third season sometime in the 2017-18 TV season, on ABC.
‘Mind’ over cancellations: “Criminal Minds’” second spinoff may have met with the same unfortunate fate as its first, but that doesn’t mean everything about it is being shut down. “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” was canceled in May after two seasons of poor reviews and not-so-great ratings, but one of its stars has joined the parent show.
Daniel Henney will be a series regular when “Criminal Minds” returns to CBS for a 13th season Wednesday, Sept. 27, continuing his “Beyond Borders” role as Special Agent Matt Simmons.
Henney, who’s starred in Hollywood blockbusters “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (2009) and “Big Hero 6” (2014), joins series stars Joe Mantegna (“The Godfather: Part III,” 1990), Matthew Gray Gubler (“500 Days of Summer,” 2009), Paget Brewster (“Community”), A.J. Cook (“Final Destination 2,” 2013), Aisha Tyler (“Whose Line Is It Anyway?”), Adam Rodriguez (“CSI: Miami”) and Kirsten Vangsness (“Shelf Life”).
For the past 12 seasons, “Criminal Minds” has followed a group of profilers with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, which uses behavior profiling to identify and catch criminals. Its first spinoff, “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” premiered in 2011 and was actually canceled due to low ratings before the entire season had even aired. “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” managed two seasons before meeting the same ignoble fate.
Its spinoffs may not have met with success, but with 12 seasons behind it and a 13th one in production, “Criminal Minds” clearly has a winning formula that audiences love. The new season with Daniel Henney premieres Sept. 27, on CBS.
Thomas Doherty, China Anne McClain and Dylan Playfair as seen in “Descendants 2”