Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Tuesday, August 6. All times are Eastern.
“Sanctum becomes a battleground” in the sixth season finale of The CW’s stalwart The 100, which we recently learned will end after its seventh season next year. Believers and non-believers square off in this Jason Rothenberg-penned finale, and all the while, “the mystery of the anomaly depends.” Look for Kyle Fowle’s finale recap.
Pose (FX, 10 p.m.)
My Life Is Murder (Acorn TV, first two episodes streaming now): Yesterday, the first two episodes of Lucy Lawless’ new mystery series began streaming on Acorn; new episodes will arrive on Mondays at 3:01 a.m. for the next nine weeks. In the series, Lawless plays a retired detective who still freelances on the occasional case and, when she’s not staring at a dead body, bakes a lot of bread. If you need more of a sell than that, we don’t know what to tell you—she solves crimes and bakes bread—but we’ve got two more points to add to the pile, all the same. First, her name is Alexa Crowe. Second, she talked to us about speaking German, missing bread, and TV’s greatest detectives.
The A.V. Club: Alexa seems to coo at her German bread machine in German with unexpected frequency. Do you speak German?
Lucy Lawless: Well, you know, I can get by. Put it that way. I’m so rusty. I’m embarrassed about my German, but I can get by.
AVC: Well, it sounds very impressive on the show.
LL: If you don’t speak the language, just a smattering of something sounds good, but I’m a little above beginner level.
AVC: Why do you think that humans love murder mysteries so much? Shouldn’t we be horrified by them?
LL: It’s a little bit like a roller-coaster ride. When there’s no real danger, being scared, it’s fun. We’re very interested in the aberrant behavior, and the more gruesome it is, that makes us feel safer, because it’s not happening to us. We feel like we’re learning, we’re figuring out puzzles, and in the case of this show. there is justice at the end of it. We all know that’s quite a rare commodity these days. It’s a lovely, satisfying thing to wrap it all up in a nice hour, in a beautiful environment with people that you hopefully will come to love.
AVC: What intrigued you about Alexa Crowe? Besides the great name.
LL: When it was first pitched to me, it was just me and [executive producer] Claire Tonkin saying, “Wouldn’t it be great to do a show like this?” The script wasn’t there, but the idea was great. And there was something about Claire. I just really felt like I could go to war with this woman. Anytime you start a TV series, it’s like a marriage, so I’m very hesitant to jump in these days, because I know how deep and how intense that working relationship has to be. You don’t want to be in it with somebody who doesn’t value the same things as you.
But there was something about Claire that made me say, “Yes, I’m big enough and ugly enough to take on this challenge, and you’re the person I want to be beside me.” … From the very first conversation, I kinda fell in love with Claire and decided she was my new sidekick, that we would be each other’s sidekicks.
AVC: On the subject of sidekicks, the relationship between Alexa and Madison (Ebony Vagulans) is intriguing. What makes that relationship so essential to this show?
LL: Isn’t that great? It’s a generic sidekick [relationship]. It was written that she’s kind of an acolyte, and that would be irritating to Alexa, but Alexa needs her. Those were the rough parameters of that relationship. And I thought “Yes, that would indeed be very irritating to me.’ Also, [we didn’t want] an unequal relationship. It’s onerous, and boring to live through in real life. We auditioned a ton of people, and then Ebony Vagulans came in—she was the last person we saw—and her charisma, life force, intelligence, and talent were just so undeniable. Maybe I saw myself in her a little bit? I just felt like she was the one, and it was unanimous.
AVC: Which is more enticing to you: solving crimes or baking bread?
LL: Oh, solving crimes. I’m gluten-free, I’m afraid. I earned this intolerance. I have eaten copious amounts of bread and loved it my whole life, but it’s gone sour on me, that relationship. So I had to get a divorce from bread. Now I just look at it from afar. Solving crimes would be tremendous. But it makes you sadder and wiser when you get close to the justice system, because you realize [justice] is so very seldom realized. It doesn’t really exist.
AVC: Yeah, the show has a lot of lightness—
LL: It’s vibrant, the colors. It’s really visually rich.
AVC: But even with the lightness and levity, the character never stops thinking about the right thing to do for victims. It seems very layered. Will we learn more about where that drive comes from?
LL: I’ve got to give credit for all of that to Claire in her concept, and then [the writers work with] those concepts, and I play it the way I want to, and then you get that lovely effect. So that’s the collaborative alchemy of the team. That’s magic. Putting these people together, you get that effect. We could have made Alexa Crowe have some fatal flaw that she’s hiding, but we thought, just like, no, that’s dumb. That’s old. We don’t think it’s what the world wants right now. The world needs a little bit of beauty and justice and just plain fun, because it’s so grim out there. She’s not the man in the white hat by any means, coming in to save the day. [But she’s] pursuing a great ideal, and sometimes that hurts. There’s collateral damage. Even sometimes Alexa gets hurt by the result of the investigations.
AVC: What do you think that Xena would make of Alexa?
LL: I think she’d like her just fine. They’re both going after the same thing: being a force for good, or working for the greater good.
AVC: Who’s your favorite TV detective?