Oz: HBO prison series reunion set for ATX Festival

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Break out your fanciest toilet wine recipes and watch your back for incoming shivs because an Oz reunion is planned for the 2021 ATX Television Festival.

This year’s Oz reunion was supposed to happen last year, but the Covid-19 pandemic threw that idea into solitary until now. The event will look back on the HBO prison drama with creator/executive producer Tom Fontana, director/actor Terry Kinney and cast members Lee Tergesen, Dean Winters, Harold Perrineau, and Kirk Acevedo. More guests are expected to be added to the list at a later date.

Oz ran on HBO for 56 episodes across six seasons from 1997 to 2003. “Oz” was a nickname for the Oswald State Correctional Facility, formerly Oswald State Penitentiary, a level 4 maximum security state prison where scores of criminal inhabitants were kept. The series chronicled their daily activities, as well as the lives of those sworn to keep the prisoners in line. The series starred Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters, The Crow) as Warden Leo Glynn, with J.K. Simmons, Lee Tergesen, Dean Winters, Terry Kinney, Rita Moreno, Harold Perrineau, Eamonn Walker, Craig Mums Grant, Luna Lauren Velez, and several others rounding out the cast. The show was a major hit with HBO subscribers, and I suspect that it will be the highlight of this year’s ATX Festival.

Other panels set for the 2021 ATX Festival include one for Amazon Prime Video’s Small Axe, and Showtime’s variety sketch show Ziwe. Other panels include a Faking It reunion, a look at Fox’s new animated comedy Housebroken, the independent short-form comedy Speech & Debate, as well as several themed panels.

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You can see how this year’s event is shaping up so far below:



—The Fox animated comedy from co-creators and “Veep” collaborators Clea DuVall, Gabrielle Allan, and Jennifer Crittenden follows a group of neighborhood pets and stray animals as they work through their issues inside and outside their therapy group. The cast includes Sharon Horgan (who also executive produces), Nat Faxon, and Sam Richardson, all of whom will be on hand for a Q&A following the screening.

Speech and Debate

—The independent short-form comedy series written by Kamen Edwards and directed by Cassandra Jean Amell will debut the third episode at ATX, followed by a conversation with stars Stephen Amell (“Arrow”), Aisha Tyler (“Archer”), and John Barrowman (“Doctor Who”) to discuss the episode and what it’s like creating independent TV during a pandemic.



—Previously set for 2020, the 1997 HBO drama will host a retrospective during this year’s ATX Festival, including a conversation with series creator and executive producer Tom Fontana, director, and actor Terry Kinney, as well as cast members Lee Tergesen, Dean Winters, Harold Perrineau, and Kirk Acevedo. Additional participants will be announced at a later date.

Faking It

—The three-season MTV comedy will reunite at ATX TV Festival this year, five years after the series finale, to celebrate the show’s impactful LGBTQIA+ representation, including a groundbreaking storyline featuring television’s first intersex main character. Joining the reunion panel will be creator and showrunner Carter Covington, as well as cast members Rita Volk, Katie Stevens, Michael Willett, Yvette Monreal, and Sophia Ali. Additional panelists will be announced soon.

Royal Pains

—Taking place ahead of the official festival, “Housecall: A ‘Royal Pains’ Reunion” will debut Sunday, June 6 and be made available on-demand through June 13 to benefit the national hunger-relief organization Feeding America. Fans of the former USA “Blue Skies” drama will enjoy a full table read of the series finale, “Uninterrupted,” with creator and executive producer Andrew Lenchewski, writer and director Michael Rauch, as well as cast members Mark Feuerstein, Paulo Costanzo, Reshma Shetty, Brooke D’Orsay, Ben Shenkman, Campbell Scott, Jill Flint, Meredith Hagner, Sarah Mezzanotte, Zachary Hernandez, Anthony Pierini, John Hans Tester, Laura Lanza, Ivan Quintanilla, and special guest moderator Henry Winkler.


  • “Beyond the Scares: Emotional Catharsis & Healing in Horror”
  • “Growing Up Is Hard: A New Generation of YA Protagonists”
  • “Mad as Hell: TV’s Dangerous Women”
  • “The Queer Gaze”
  • “Pandemic Proof: Adult Animation”
  • “Showrunner State of the Union”
  • “Buying & Selling with 20/20 Hindsight”

Special Events

Ziwe in Conversation

—The titular writer, comedian, actor, singer, activist, and host of Showtime’s upcoming variety show will sit down for a one-of-a-kind look at her rise from social media breakout to star of her own premium cable series. Per the provided synopsis, Ziwe will also break down “her ability to harness the chaotic but essential art of making white people uncomfortable,” which is something everyone should want to see.

Steve McQueen on Small Axe

—The writer-director behind Amazon’s film anthology series “Small Axe” will take part in an in-depth examination of his groundbreaking work with fellow writer-director Channing Godfrey Peoples (“Miss Juneteenth”).

Michael J. Fox – Honoree

—The five-time Emmy winner will be given the festival’s Award in Television eXcellence, bestowed on artists whose career reflects the very best that television has to offer. Fox will take part in an intimate, retrospective conversation spanning his iconic performances on “Family Ties” and “Spin City,” guest turns on “The Good Wife” and “Rescue Me,” his recent memoir, “No Time Like the Future,” and more. Previous honorees include Henry Winkler, James L. Brooks, Norman Lear, Marcy Carsey, and Phylicia Rashad.

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