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TCA update: CW renews its dramas and John Barrowman enjoys the shirtless fights of 'Arrow' - Metro US

TCA update: CW renews its dramas and John Barrowman enjoys the shirtless fights of ‘Arrow’

Arrow -- "The Climb" -- Image AR309b_0116b -- Pictured (L-R): Matt Nable as Ra's al Ghul and Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen -- Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW -- © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Cate Cameron, the CW

The big news out of the CW’s panels at the Television Critics Association press tour might have come courtesy of CW president Mark Pedowitz during his executive panel: They’re renewing all 8 of the channel’s fall scripted shows for next season. This comes as a relief to fans of the critically beloved but low-rated “Jane the Virgin.” Pedowitz called it a “quality show” and said the plan is to “Let it sit, and give it time.”

Other updates included a panel with Joseph Morgan of “The Originals” and Ian Somerhalder of “The Vampire Diaries,” who both talked about the less evil turns their characters have taken as they’ve become more central characters on their shows. “The last thing I shot was me walking in with a bag full of severed heads, so I don’t think he’s lost too much,” said Morgan of Klaus. Both say their characters are often acting evil in the interest of protecting the ones they love.

The other big topic for both shows was the way Twitter has changed the way people watch their shows, with Morgan saying “There’s no middleman” when it comes to interaction with fans, but that the engagement is generally a good, positive thing.

When it comes to the mythology of their respective shows, they both emphasized the importance of keeping the show about the relationships among the characters. “I got a lot of notes in the beginning when I first joined ‘Vampire Diaries’ about being less vampiric,” said Morgan.

“That’s because I thought you were showing me up,” shot back Somerhalder.

The network’s “iZombie,” a new show coming in March, comes from “Veronica Mars” creators Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright, and also features a blonde narrator. Thomas assured us that the voices of both shows are quite different, including the voiceover narration.

“I think that Veronica is hardened. I always wanted us to, at our best in those voiceovers, strive for this very Raymond Chandler-esque hardboiled world view and I think Liv in “iZombie” is more naturally a softer character. Part of the journey for her is a return to sweetness and light and finding things that are worth going on living for,” said Thomas.

One way the show is hoping to stand out from other zombie shows is that their lead zombie is supposed to be attractive. “We were calling the zombies on the show zilfs,” joked Thomas.

The various heroes of “The Flash” and “Arrow” had their turn onstage, which made for a very crowded panel, but former “Alias” star Victor Garber charmed most of his own panel and the crowd by answering the question, “Are you surprised to be playing a superhero villain at this point in your career?” with “Wouldn’t you be?”, then pointing out that Robbie Amell’s fiancee is almost as pretty as he is.

“Arrow” star Stephen Amell weighed in on his show’s darker turns, saying “I personally love when there is adversity for the protagonist.”

Grant Gustin of “Flash” talked about working with green screens for the show, saying it “scared me early on,” but that he sees it as similar to playing pretend as a kid.

The real highlight might have been when someone asked Katie Cassidy and John Barrowman if they liked working with so many handsome men, to which Barrowmanresponded, “I just like it when there’s fight sequences with shirts off,” going on to add “Stephen [Amell] always finds it strange when he’s in the makeup trailer getting his scarring done and I’m there.”

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