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The Watchman: Epix Goes ‘Deep’ With Drama, VH1 Sashays Away to ‘Drag Race’ Finale

Deep State has begun on Epix. The drama centers on Max (Mark Strong), an ex-spy whose past comes back to haunt him when he’s summoned from his new life in the Pyrenees by the head of a covert operation, who convinces Max to return to the field to avenge the death of his son.

Michael Wright, Epix president, said Deep State is “elevated” and “entertaining,” with the smart, high-quality vibe of a premium cable series.

Deep state is defined as “a body of people, typically influential members of government agencies or the military, believed to be involved in the secret manipulation or control of government policy.” It’s a phrase that’s picked up in popularity since President Donald Trump moved into the White House.

Trump factors into Deep State, at least per the Boston Herald. “If Donald Trump produced 24, it would look like Deep State,” it said. “Epix’s new conspiracy thriller might be the first drama with the president squarely in mind — and as it turns out, a significant character, albeit off-screen.”

The show “speaks to the notion of people who work behind the scenes who may not have the same agenda as our elected officials,” Wright said.

Just as Deep State takes off, RuPaul’s Drag Race is heading toward its fizzy finale. The reunion special happens June 21, and the season ten closer is June 28. Host RuPaul Charles promised a season where the “shenanigans are off the mother-tucking charts,” and has pretty much delivered.

"RuPaul’s Drag Race"

"RuPaul’s Drag Race"

The show shifted from Logo to VH1 last season. Drag Race is on pace for its highest ratings yet, said Pamela Post, senior VP of original programming, MTV, VH1 and Logo. “I’m constantly surprised by the audience and how it responds year in and year out,” she said. “It’s been a bit of a phenomenon.”

RuPaul’s Drag Race used to emulate pop culture, Post said, but now pop culture emulates Drag Race, evident in the show’s catchphrases — say, sashay away, or shade — popping up in conversation and on t-shirts. “It all becomes part of current-day language,” Post said.

RuPaul’s Drag Race was nominated for eight Emmyslast year, including outstanding realitycompetition series. RuPaul won for hosting.

Which contestant stands out in season 10? Post said they all do, including Eureka, who left season nine due to injury; Aquaria, who started watching the show as a kid; Kameron, “a force to be reckoned with”; and Asia, who “all around delivers the goods.”

How many more seasons for Drag Race? “Hard to say,” said Post. “Ru is going strong. We haven’t seen the show slow down, we’ve only seen it grow.”