SciFi Friday: Plans for the Future


Normally at this time of year we hear about the fate of shows being renewed or cancelled for the current season, but this year we are getting more significant news on the fates of two shows that are returning. End dates for both Lost and Battlestar Galactica have been announced. Lost will return for three sixteen episode seasons, while Battlestar Galactica will end after next season.

I am very happy to see these dates set in advance. Shows with ongoing mysteries have historically run into problems when the end date was not clear. X-Files dragged out the alien mythology plot beyond the point where it made much sense. Babylon 5 wrapped up the war a year before the end, and then didn’t have a good idea as to what to do with the final season. By knowing exactly how many episodes they have left, the writers of Lost and BSG can pace out how their continuing stories play out. BSG had the problem that they were searching for Earth, but everyone knew they could not find it while the series was running. Now that the season ends next year, they can actually reach Earth if that is what the writers desire, but viewers cannot be certain as to what will happen.

The decision to only air sixteen episodes of Lost per year has met with some controversy. I have conflicting interests on this one. As a Disney stockholder, I support the idea of the network receiving income from the show for an additional year. As a fan I have mixed emotions. If having less episodes can result in greater quality, then I am for it. While there are many other factors which result in the greater quality of shows on HBO and the BBC over the major American networks, not being stuck in the twenty-two or so episodes per year format may one of their advantages. While some Lost fans are complaining on line of having to stick it out for three years to get a normal two years worth of shows, Soprano fans sure won’t feel very sorry for them.

This week’s episode of Lost answered some questions and left many others open. Big questions are why Ben wound up the leader of the island’s “original inhabitants,” their connection to the outside world, and whether having the opening scene occur near Portland is coincidence. Is there more going on between DHARMA and the phoney location of where Juliette was first recruited to work? Speaking of Juliette, it looks like I was wrong in mistrusting her, but was right in predicting things would not turn out well for Locke by hanging around The Others. I doubt that Locke is really dead as the conflict between his and Jack’s philosophies seems to be too central to the show. Locke must return to face Jack. I wouldn’t be surprised if they really do kill Charlie off. His major role now seems to be his role in Desmond’s predictions of his death. This cannot continue forever. Either they have to find something else for Charlie to do, or actually kill him.

Kattee Sackhoff has other work lined up besides Battlestar Galactica. She will costar with Michelle Ryan in the reimagined remake of The Bionic Woman. Sackhoff says she will have a different type of role than Starbuck:

“My biggest fear was that Sarah Corvus was going to turn out like Starbuck. But she didn’t. She turned out a little like Number Six [laughs]. She’s the femme fatale. She’s dangerous. She’s sexy. She knows it, and she uses it. She walks with a purpose, and Starbuck really doesn’t. It’s … two different sides of the coin, but both misunderstood.”

While unofficial, the word is that Jericho will be back. They gave a strong indication of how the cliff hander will be resolved as the military is preparing to break up the war with New Bern, thanks to Heather, who is very much still alive. This leaves questions as to the fate of Hawkins, and the status of those behind this military force.

The surprise of the episode was the death of Johnston Green. I don’t think anyone saw this coming, considering how important Green was to the town, and the show. Perhaps the thought was that a strong central character such as Green was necessary to get the show established, but now we know enough about the other characters for them to continue to drive the story.

Another puzzle was the revised American flag. Maybe it was done more for the effect on viewers (as well as Heather) than for any logical reason. Any force trying to establish itself as the legitimate government of the United States would want to stick with the conventional flag. The new flag, complete with vertical stripes and only about half the stars, points out to viewers that this isn’t the United States government we know, but that isn’t something they would want surviving Americans to realize. Perhaps there is another force which is still using the conventional flag which will make an appearance at a later date.

Doctor Who will not be on the BBC this weekend, with the scheduled episode postponed until next week. It will hardly seem like Saturday night if I’m not hunting down a torrent with sufficient seeds to get the week’s episode by morning.
Superman Returns led the Saturn Awards, with both Battlestar Galactica and Heroes being able to win as best television series due to the nature of the categories. Some of the major winners include:

Best Science Fiction Film: Children of Men

Best Fantasy Film: Superman Returns

Best Horror Film: The Descent

Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film: Casino Royale

Best Animated Film: Cars

Best International Film: Pan’s Labyrinth

Best Actor: Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)

Best Actress: Natalie Portman (V for Vendetta)

Best Network Television Series: Heroes

Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series: Battlestar Galactica

Gilmore Girls: Unto the Breach
The major televison event beyond SF was Rory Gilmore’s graduation from Yale, and the end of her relationship with Logan. Beyond that, Rory’s plans remain unclear. TV Guide has one of the best reports on the ending of Gilmore Girls with an interview with Lauren Graham.

With most shows ending for the season, there are a few to look forward to. Big Love returns on June 11, perhaps with increased interest in Mormonism in light of Mitt Romney’s candidacy. HBO On Demand will also have three prequel episodes starting on May 28 showing events prior to season one.

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