SciFi Friday: Spock Meet Spock, Doctor Who, and Changes for 24

After weeks of rumors, J.J. Abrams has announced that Zachary Quinto, of Heroes will play Spock in the upcoming Star Trek movie. Leonard Nimoy will also make an appearance as an older Spock–I wonder if we’ll find out how those negotiations with the Romulans went. Recently there have been reports that William Shatner has said that Nimoy would appear but he would not. There has been speculation that Kirk’s death in Star Trek Generations prevented the movie from showing an older Kirk. in Abrams now says that Shatner will likely appear.

What if Trekies ruled the world? Worth 1000 has a series of pictures to show what it would be like.

Last week Doctor Who returned to New New York for the biggest traffic jam ever. The key moment at the end was when the Face of Boe informed The Doctor that he is not alone. By the way, anyone find any resemblance between Boe and another character? This week Doctor Who takes place in old New York as the Daleks invade Manhattan. It has also been announced that the third season DVD might be available as early as November. Torchwood, a spin off of Doctor Who, will be available on DVD in January, but will also air later this year on BBC America.

Howard Gordon, Executive Producer of 24, was interviewed by If Magazine. Previously I questioned the idea of having part of the show take place in Africa, wondering how Jack could travel between the United States and Africa without it taking up much of the 24 hours of the show. It turns out that they were going to break with the format and skip ahead twelve hours:

“We were going to do a time jump twelve hours ahead and have Jack Bauer in Africa for a couple of hours in real-time and then jump it forward long enough to get back to America,” says Gordon. “So we were going to defy the real-time thing.”

I would think that this would be a bad idea, unless the Africa story was really good. It turned out the story wasn’t that good and it was cut. i wouldn’t mind a change from the format of the entire show taking place in 24 hours, but it sounds like cheating to continue the format except for one gap. I’d like to see them try something different from the real time stories, such as have the show take place over 24 days or weeks instead of one day, which is very limiting to plot development. Another possibility would be to have each episode cover events in a single but different one day period.

The next season will be shot in Los Angeles but will be portrayed as occurring elsewhere, most likely Washington D.C. It will take place three years after the events of last season, leading to a contradiction with the real time idea:

“The show picks up roughly three plus years later,” says Gordon (even though technically, isn’t Bauer about 65 at this point?) “Time has a very metaphorical quality on 24. Even though it’s real time, the distance technically would be fifteen years older than when Kiefer started. We obviously don’t play it that way, it’s funny, even [Director/Executive Producer] Jon Cassar and I have a running argument that it’s actually 2015 on the show and that accounts for some of the science fiction conceits. But it really takes place in a nebulous, near future present. We have one of the most rigorously literal time things on a TV series, yet we are the most loose-jointed about it [in between seasons].”

Mary Lynn Rajskub will return as Chloe O’Brian. There will also be a female President, played by Cherry Jones. CTU is gone, but the old set may become the Washington FBI office.

There’s much more to say about Harry Potter, but I hear that there are a handful of people around the world who have not finished reading it yet. I’ll give them a little longer before writing a post full of spoilers on the conclusion of the series.

Shut Up John, Part 2

Each party has one candidate which I cannot stand, even when I agree with them on some issues, due to their hypocrisy and willingness to say anything if they believe it will help them politically. Among the Republicans, it is Rudy Giuliani who is unacceptable despite his social liberalism. As for the Democratic version, I repeat my wish from the previous post that John Edwards would just shut after reading this news report on him speaking at the National Urban League Conference:

“If you’re looking for what’s wrong in Washington, why the system is broken, why the system doesn’t work, one perfect example is what’s been happening just over the course of the last four days,” said Edwards, who spoke before Clinton and Obama.

“We’ve had two good people Democratic candidates for president who spent their time attacking each other instead of attacking the problems that this country is facing,” Edwards said to a mixture of groans and applause.

I’m not sure who appointed John Edwards The Decider of what other candidates are allowed to say. I imagine that might be a skill he picked up while helping to write the Patriot Act. If Edwards is trying to portray himself as a Democratic Ronald Reagan with his version of Reagan’s 11th Commandment, he is hardly in a position to do so. It was Edwards who tried to win points at the New Hampshire debate by attacking the other Democrats for their positions on Iraq until Obama reminded him of where the two stood before the war when it counted. This comment from Edwards is simply just another thinly disguised attack on his political rivals, even if he would like to pretend otherwise. I bet what bothers him is not that they are fighting, but that their fight is soaking up so much of the coverage this week, leaving him out.

Related Post: “They” Are Out To Shut Up John Edwards

Update: John Edwards, Attack Dog

“They” Are Out To Shut Up John Edwards


Conservatives aren’t the only ones who are becoming more acceptive of conspiracy theorists. John Edwards thinks “they” are out to shut him up, and after seeing this video, I’d like John Edwards to shut up too. If this was simply something said while campaigning I might over look it as a bit of hyperbole and not a definitive statement of his beliefs. What is disturbing is that Ben Smith reports that a staffer from his campaign posted this at MyDD. Does the campaign really think this is a message that will help them, and has the liberal blogosphere become such an echo chamber that many will see this as good?

Ben Smith provides a transcript:

This stuff’s not an accident. Nobody in this room should think this is an accident. You know, I’m out there speaking up for universal healthcare, ending this war in Iraq, speaking up for the poor. They want to shut me up. That’s what this is about. “Let’s distract from people who don’t have health care coverage. Let’s distract from people who can’t feed their children…. Let’s talk about this silly frivolous nothing stuff so that America won’t pay attention.”

They will never silence me. Never.

If we don’t stand up to these people, if we don’t fight em, if we don’t beat them, they’re going to continue to control this country. Thye’re going to control the media. They’re going to control what’s being said. They do not want to hear us talking about health care for everybody.

I wonder if Edwards thinks “they” are out to get specifically him, as opposed to all those other people who are also calling for ending the war and universal health care. For a while I thought that Edwards had become more polished (even if no more qualified) than he was in 2004. Now I’m not so sure. Contrasting this with the type of video Bill Richardson’s supporters prefer to distribute demonstrates why Richardson has pulled ahead of Edwards in New Hampshire.

Update: Shut Up John, Part 2

Update II: Dan Conley compares Edwards’ statement to Clinton’s promise that “if you stick with me, I’ll stick with you until the last dog dies.” In both cases, the candidate was speaking when they were under attack. Conley finds one major difference:

There’s one problem with the Edwards version of “last dog dies” — Clinton’s focus was on voters. They may be attacking me, but they’re doing this to you and I’m going to keep fighting for you. That’s clearly the line of thinking Edwards is trying to pursue, but he doesn’t deliver the message correctly. Edwards’ focus is on himself — they want to shut me up and the issues I care about. A more effective construction could have been to say “they’re trying to shut us up.” Then he could have a Clintonesque pledge to keep talking about the people’s issues — health care, ending the war, fighting poverty, etc. — no matter how hard they try to silence us.

Another problem is that Clinton was being hounded far more than Edwards, giving more credibility to his statement. In Edwards’ case much of the criticism i is well deserved, and even the haircut issue came about due to a errors made by Edwards and his campaign. When Edwards speaks of such unidentified enemies there is more of a sense that he is trying to find excuses for his own failings. It doesn’t sound credible that there is a conspiracy to shut up Edwards and not other Democratic candidates who are discussing the same issues. In Edwards’ case, he is the target because of being the lightweight of the race, not simply because of his message.

Ultimately the real difference between Clinton and Edwards is a matter of substance. Clinton overcame the attacks due to both his political abilities and his detailed understanding of government policy. As Bob Shrum wrote, Edwards is a “Clinton who hadn’t read the books.” He might try to imitate some of Bill Clinton’s lines, but John Edwards is no Bill Clinton.

Chris Dodd Unveils Health Plan

Chris Dodd has announced his health care plan, but it hardly sounds like anything new. Like John Kerry in 2004 he makes use of a plan like the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan to provide employees with more options. Insurance will be portable. I don’t see anything on community ratings (although plans posted on web sites may not include everything being considered). Dodd would allow employers and individuals to keep their current plans if they choose.

This is too vague to really analyze, but the plan states “if a person or business is unable to pay for insurance, the government will subsidize their premium share on a sliding scale based on income.” Besides mentioning such subsidies there is little information with regards to what this will cost individuals or businesses.

Dodd would keep Medicare (but no mention of lowering the eligibility age) as well as Medicaid, and would allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices. All people under 100% of the poverty level would qualify for Medicaid, which at first read might sound good but this really means that they will continue to be in second class plans.

Dodd’s plan does differ from other plans in the speed in which it would be initiated: “Within two years of enactment the Dodd plan will phase in universal coverage by age group based on current levels of insurance and health need. Within two years of enactment, all children, young adults to age 29, and adults age 55-64 will have health insurance. In the following two years, all remaining adults age 30-54 will be enrolled.”

The plan also contains all the now-standard ideas on stressing preventative care and saving money with better use of information technology.

First Read complained that there was no information on cost and in response were told, “his plan will cost between $40-$50 billion a year in those first two years, and then $70 billion a year in the two years after that.”

Still no word from Hillary Clinton as to her plan.