SciFi Weekend: Barack Obama, Superhero; Sarah Connor Rumors; Flash Forward; The Prisoner; and Jack is Back

Obama Spider-Man

Barack Obama  will appear on the cover of a special issue of Spider-Man to be released on January 14. Peter Bart of Variety calls Barack Obama America’s last Action Hero.

There’s no new “Spider-Man” or “Iron Man” on the immediate horizon, but the superhero genre is alive and well. As evidence, consider next week’s inauguration.

Historians cannot remember a moment when a president has arrived amid such lofty expectations. Barack Obama will not simply be sworn in; if he’s not careful he will be enshrined.

Back in 1932, there were vague hopes that Franklin Roosevelt might help solve the Great Depression, but FDR was an unprepossessing patrician who spoke funny and sat in a wheelchair. Voters were more puzzled than expectant.

But today, in the eyes of the world, Barack Obama is nothing short of the Last Action Hero. (He even makes an appearance in a bonus issue of the “Spider-Man” comicbook coming out on Jan. 14.)

obama-spider-man

Later Bart describes what Obama can learn from the superheroes:

If Barack Obama is going to bring this off, perhaps he should take note of a few of the traits of the superhero fraternity.

“Iron Man’s” gift is that he has a strong moral compass. And he knows how to handle the military-industrial complex (it’s part of his family).

“Spider-Man’s” relevant gift is that he can swing from situation to situation with amazing dexterity, never quite leaving a mark. That’s good politics.

“Batman” is smart at choosing his battles. And, as he reminded us this last outing, he’s damn good at generating box office. Obama take note: Ticket sales are like votes.

We can skip “Superman.” His outfit is a bit embarrassing and his ambiguities toward women keep getting in the way.

Will the superhero franchise come through for Barack Obama? Anyone who starts off with a trillion-dollar economic package needs all the showbiz tricks he can mobilize.

There are lots of rumors going around regarding upcoming events on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Reportedly Jon meets his father, Kyle Reese in an upcoming episode. I assume that either this will be on a diffrent time line from the movie series, or maybe this will be an eariler trip back in time (from Kyle’s perspective) prior to the events of the first Terminator movie. Reportedly Riley did not die as it appeared at the mid-season cliff hanger, but such an outcome of a cliff hanger would hardly be a surprise.

Shows such as Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles have problems building an audience as many potential viewers are reluctant to come in on a story in progress. At the start of the season a decision was made to make each episode more of a stand-alone story. I doubt this would matter in a series such as this which has developed such a detailed mythology that new viewers would still have trouble keeping track of what is going on. Now they have decided to return to a more serialized format, which probably will work better in a series of this type.

Sci FI Wire interviewed Brannon Braga on his planned show Flash Forward based upon the novel by Robert Sawyer. the show is planned to follow Lost and will even have one actress in common with roles on both shows–Sonya Walger.

Brannon Braga, the onetime Star Trek executive producer, says that his ABC sci-fi pilot Flash Forward—in which the Earth’s inhabitants have a simultaneous glimpse of their futures, then must live with the consequences—is designed to reset itself each season, starting with a new flash and ending when the premonitions come true.

“Yeah, the structure’s not dissimilar from 24 [on which Braga is a co-executive producer], and we want to reset the show at the end of each year, where we’ll do another flash forward at the end of the first season, and then potentially another flash forward at the end of the second season, each one kind of resetting the core characters’ visions of the future and introducing new characters,” Braga said in an exclusive interview on Tuesday, Dec. 6, at the Hollywood premiere party for 24‘s seventh season, which kicks off this weekend.

Braga—who developed Flash Forward with producer/writer/director David Goyer and Goyer’s wife and producing partner, Jessika Borsiczky Goyer—adds: “One of the cool things about the show is you have 5 billion potential storylines. And we plan to tell the stories of people all over the world. Obviously they’ll be focused on mainly people here in L.A., but we’re going to go all over the place.”

The pilot follows a group of characters around the world who have to deal with the consequences of a 2-minute, 17-second glimpse into the future. The series is loosely based on Robert J. Sawyer’s novel Flashforward.

“The core concept is very much the same as Robert Sawyer’s novel,” Braga says. “That was the impetus for it and the idea of the entire world blacking out at the same time for a discrete amount of time, and everybody on Earth having mysterious visions of the future. Same idea. Obviously, to do a TV show, you have to sustain potentially—and God willing—100 episodes or more; you’ve got to change the concept a little bit. His novel had people having visions of the future 20 years from now. We change that to five months from now and kind of narrowed down the scope a little bit and made it a little bit more of an intimate epic. But essentially the concept is the same.”

The show features an ensemble cast, led by Joseph Fiennes, Sonya Walger, John Cho, Christine Woods, Jack Davenport and Courtney B. Vance, and is envisioned as a companion to Lost. Goyer directs the one-hour pilot, which goes into production in February in Los Angeles.

“We just finished casting the pilot right before the holiday, and we just went into … official prep on it two days ago, so David is busy getting ready to direct, and we’re going to shoot it next month, right after President’s Day,” Braga says.

Ultimately, the show will deal with the theme of free will vs. fate, Braga says. “Absolutely,” he says, adding: “Thematically that’s what the show is about, for sure. Yeah, and seeing how these people’s visions come true or not come true or come true because they tried to not make it come true. Some people want it to come true. Some people don’t want it to come true. It’s a fascinating concept. We’re very excited about it.”

Sci FI Wire has information on the reimagined minseries, The Prisoner, which AMC will air next November:

American Movie Classics has shot a six-hour miniseries re-imagining of The Prisoner for modern-day audiences. One of the biggest changes in this re-imagining is that Six is now American, played by Jim Caviezel.

“I don’t think it makes any difference,” director Nick Hurran said in a press conference Jan. 8 in Universal City, Calif. “It’s a mixed-nationality cast. It’s a very global Village. I think we accept that now. We’re so used to a society being of every culture, every race, that it would have been quite parochial to go and do a British thing.”

This Village is set in the middle of a desert, as opposed to the seaside Village of the original. “Epic is absolutely the right word,” Hurran said. “The vistas that this prison gives, setting it in the Namibian desert or the nonspecific desert that we don’t know where it is, the character Six runs away to get free, to escape, and just keeps running and keeps running, and there is more sand than I have ever seen in my life. It gets to places you never knew you had.”

The desert turned out to be a production nuisance when the filmmakers had to re-create location shoots in Namibia. The majority of production was based in Cape Town, South Africa. “My overriding memory of this production is sand, no matter where we were,” Hurran said. “It returned, even in South Africa, when we had to try and re-create some locations to make them look like they were still in the Village. We needed to import sand and carefully, painstakingly lay it across the streets of Cape Town. Unfortunately, Cape Town’s very windy, and the wind certainly blew and blew all of the carefully laid sand about 100 meters into front yards and people’s letterboxes. So sand remained with us forever.”

Die-hard fans of the original Prisoner will notice some familiar tidbits. “There are a number of, of course, homages that the keen eye will see in what’s said and what’s worn, in pieces of architecture,” Hurran said. “Of course, there are a number of salutes that we made to the fantastic piece that was created. I think it would be a shame to take it to the next generation and not acknowledge what an extraordinary piece of work that was. [It’s] enigmatic, I think slightly less surreal, but it is as bizarre, in a good way.”

The big event today is the first of two two-hour episodes of 24 airing today and tomorrow to start the season. Sci FI Wire gives eight reasons why 24 is really science fiction.

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