The new ‘Mulan’ takes the road to home

TV Pipeline


Q: I see that Disney+ has the new version of “Mulan” for streaming, but that it costs extra to watch there. Will it also be on Disney Channel? — Mary Sloan, via e-mail

A: We’re sure it will be eventually, but that’s going to take some time … several years, at least. Though Walt Disney Pictures had hoped to have the live-action revision of the animated tale in theaters during the summer, even moving the date a few times, that ultimately wasn’t possible due to the number of showplaces that were closed — not only in America, but around the world — due to the coronavirus pandemic.

An interesting thought is what Disney might have done with the film had Disney+, which launched last fall, not existed. However, that seems to have been answered by the fact that the company also has partnered with Apple, Google and Roku to make “Mulan” available to the public via streaming. By the way, it won’t cost extra to watch the new “Mulan” on Disney+ as of Dec. 4, when it’s made available to all subscribers to that service.

Vanessa Marcil

Q: I used to love watching Vanessa Marcil on “General Hospital.” What has she been doing lately? — Connie Adams, Buffalo, N.Y.

A: Her last continuing television role was on “Las Vegas,” which has been popping up irregularly on USA Network, E! Entertainment Television and Bravo. Though she made appearances in recent years on shows including “Hawaii Five-0” and “Hell‘s Kitchen,” Marcil largely has been doing cable movies for Hallmark Channel and Lifetime.

Given how frequently films repeat there, chances are quite good that you’ll see the actress if you watch those channels for any length of time. Among the relevant titles are “My Stepfather’s Secret,” “Bad Tutor,” “The Wrong Mother,” “The Convenient Groom” and “Stranded in Paradise.” Additionally, Marcil is on view as Nicolas Cage’s girlfriend in “The Rock,” which has been on AMC’s schedule lately.

Q: Someone told me that Margaret Hoover of “Firing Line” is related to President Herbert Hoover. Is that true? — Will Lane, via e-mail

A: It is. The political-campaign alum is the great-granddaughter of the 31st President of the United States, and she has been known to invoke his name and achievements when relevant. Besides hosting the current incarnation of the PBS interview series originated by William F. Buckley Jr., Hoover is a contributor for CNN … where she often appears with her husband, fellow contributor and politics veteran John Avlon.

Q: I often see actresses Madeline Zima and Vanessa Zima on television. Are they sisters? — Megan Ford, Montrose, Colo.

A: They are … and there’s also a third acting sibling, Yvonne. Each has a signature role; Madeline grew up playing Grace Sheffield on “The Nanny,” and she also has had significant runs on “Californication” and “Heroes”; Vanessa may be known particularly for her role in the movie “The Babysitters’ Club”; and Yvonne was seen for several years as Daisy Carter on “The Young and the Restless.”

Yvonne and Vanessa worked together in the 2016 Lifetime movie “Killing Mommy,” which actually is Vanessa’s last listed credit to date. However, the other Zima sisters have stayed active. Madeline has been featured in “You,” “Good Girls” and the reboot of “Perry Mason,” and Yvonne was seen recently in “American Horror Story: 1984” and “Killer Prom.” Madeline also had a role in last year’s theatrical film “Bombshell.”

Q: I love the episode of “The Twilight Zone” called “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.” Was that the first thing William Shatner did on TV? — Cliff Stephens, Rutherford, N.J.

A: No, but it still came relatively early in his television career. In fact, Shatner had done two episodes of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and another “Twilight Zone” story before his famous 1963 role as an airplane passenger who believed he saw a gremlin out on the wing, trying to destroy the plane.

One of Shatner’s first jobs in TV was on the children’s show “Howdy Doody,” and like many other actors, he spent much of the 1950s appearing on such anthology series as “Goodyear Playhouse,” “Omnibus,” “Studio One,” “Playhouse 90” and “The United States Steel Hour.” Among other programs on which he did guest stints were “77 Sunset Strip,” “Route 66,” “The Defenders,” “The Fugitive,” “The Big Valley” and “Gunsmoke” … and then, in 1966, he boldly went where no man had gone before. And if you’re reading this column, we probably don’t have to tell you which show that refers to.

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Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

jbobbin has 2411 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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