The ultimate Hollywood ending is, of course, a new beginning. Lifetime canceled "Drop Dead Diva" after four emotional and funny seasons. (All about the money, honey.) Fans stormed the Internet, and "Diva" made like the title character and sprang back to life for a fifth season, split into two parts.Jane's (Brooke Elliott) new angel Paul (Justin Deeley) tries to get her to start dating again. Meanwhile, Owen (Lex Medlin) and Stacy (April Bowlby) deal with the complications of sperm donation. But there's still good news: Nancy Grace is back as herself.
Showrunner (and awesome party host) Josh Berman was overjoyed when we talked to him at Soho House Hollywood, where Lifetime feted the return of "Drop Dead Diva" in June. "We bring the new Jane and the old Jane together," he said. And fans know what happened then: hysterical drama and dramatic hysterics.
The series comes back Sunday night with a bite, literally. The episode finds Grayson (Jackson Hurst) representing a young man who thinks he's a vampire and wants to sue an airline for failing to respect his vampire-specific needs, like darkness. That's trademark quirky "Diva" storytelling. And here are a few other facts about the rest of the fifth season.
1. The new angel, Paul (Justin Deeley), is heaven on earth.
Yes, Deeley is fun to look at. Washboard abs and Disney-prince sparkling eyes probably helped him land the gig as the new angel, whom he describes as "a 6-year-old child" who is "on vacation on Earth before he has to get down and protect Jane." The Kentucky native is also a hoot. "My favorite day, just 'cause it was so awkward, was being naked," he says. "It was incredibly awkward. They would say 'Cut,' and these hair and makeup people would come shoot me down with a water bottle like I'm some sort of animal." Meow.
2. The season finale is one for the water coolers.
We can't say much, but Berman is very passionate about this episode. He wrote his heart out on it, and we have a hunch it might be a divisive audience favorite, the kind of episode where it ends and you have to talk about it (aka fight over it) immediately.
3. "Secret Lives" (Season 5's fifth episode) is Berman's all-time favorites.
In "Secret Lives," Jane had to learn about pro baseball in order to represent a closeted player (Derek Smith) accused of murdering his wife. If you missed this one, you might want to find it online. "Episode 5 is one of my favorites," says Berman. "You're gonna cry." Berman "loves" Derek Smith, who had a hefty role in the episode.
4. Three words: Dudes in undies!
Medlin doesn't hesitate when asked about his favorite thing about work: "Walking on set and seeing Justin in his underwear and having to do about seven takes every single time. And you know what's scary? It wasn't uncomfortable at all."
5. "Surrogates" (Season 5's third episode) is a cast favorite.
"Just wait till Episode 3," Deeley teased way back when. "It's pretty special. The naked thing occurs. My character is not socialized to understand that this is weird." Medline likes Episode 3 because he has a "nice speech" at the end of it. "On the day we shot, I felt like it went really well, " Medlin said.
6. Both incarnations of "90210" are now represented by "Diva" dudes.
You might recognize Deeley from the new "90210," where he had his shirt off every now and then. And Medlin's very first gig was on the original "Beverly Hills, 90210" as Frat Big Shot in a 1993 episode called "Radio Daze," where the gang started college. Hello, milestones.
7. Medlin can get naked, too, ya know.
"I had one naked scene this year, and the Lifetime execs called in the middle and said, 'We're losing ratings just shooting it, so you need to put your clothes back on now,'" Medlin jokes. "The irony is, back when I was superskinny, I was never asked to do nudity. But the minute I got heavy, that's all they want is for me to be naked. 'Supernatural' as Cupid? Butt naked. I guess it's funny, but I can't imagine it boosting ratings. Fortunately, 'Diva' so far tells me to keep the suits on, lots of clothes on." The key words being "so far." Hey Berman, we think Medlin is hinting that he's ready for his birthday suit.
8. There's going to big guest stars.
Familiar faces who will pop up in the next episodes include Jaleel White, Sharon Lawrence, Illeanna Douglas, Peri Gilpin, E!'s Jason Kennedy, Rebecca Mader, Doug Savant, Richard Kind, and Tony nominee Faith Prince.
"Drop Dead Diva" returns Sunday, Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. on Lifetime.