SciFi Weekend: Dolls, Olivia’s Ability, The Boss’s Daughter, Summer Glau’s Big Bang, And A Red-Headed Lesbian

dollhouse

After quite a bit of hype, Josh Wheden’s new show, Dollhouse, premiered on Friday. It takes quite a bit of suspension of disbelief to accept the premise of the show. As with many science fiction shows, you first must accept that a private organization can do something which is beyond our science. In this case we have an organization which can wipe people’s minds clear and replace their memories with the memories of others. In this way they create a new personality to satisfy the requirements of whatever rich person is employing them for the episode.

In the first episode a girl (Caroline, played by Eliza Dushku) agrees to work for this organization in exchange for getting out of unspecified legal problems. She is told that after five years she will be free. Will her memories be returned? How can she even know this deal will be kept? What of the new identity created over the five years in between jobs? After having her memories wiped, she first becomes a biker chick to give someone the perfect date, and then becomes an expert in hostage negotiation.

Even accepting that the science of the show is plausible, there are other problems with the premise. It would probably be easier (and safer legally) to hire a biker chick and a real expert in hostage negotiations for the clients as opposed to running this operation. Even if the company finds benefits in operating in this manner, why would someone whose daughter was kidnapped hire a person who only has created memories of being a hostage negotiator as opposed to someone with actual experience? We have a steady supply of rich people who are aware of this service, but the FBI agent investigating it is having difficulty even proving it exists.

One of the many strengths of the show is that it looks like it has an excellent chance for success despite all of these holes in the premise. If they can keep the viewers entertained they will be willing to accept the premise of the show and continue watching. There are avenues left open for future episodes. In the first episode, the actual memories of one of the girls used to create the hostage negotiator became important to the story and presumably other memories will have an impact in future episodes. Over time Echo, as the brain wiped Caroline is now called, is likely to develop more of her own personality and this could also  surface during missions. Perhaps some of Caroline’s original memories will even return. Echo has a handler played by Harry Lennix) who seems quite protective of her, which I can see creating conflict with others involved in this organization.

ellen

While there are still many mysteries to be revealed in the final episode, we learned a lot about the history of the final five in this week’s episode of Battlestar Galactica. The information was given both by Anders who, in a situation which appeared overly contrived, has his memories of life on Earth return as a consequence of the bullet in his brain. At the same time Cavill, who now appears responsible for much which has happened, reminisces about the past with a captive Ellen after she is resurrected.

charlotte

We also learn a little more on Lost along with seeing the death of one character. The intended big shock of the episode was that Daniel Faraday’s mother is Eloise Hawking. While Ben appeared surprise, fans have been predicting this turn of events. We also learn from Christian that when Locke was told, “you have to move the island” this literally meant Locke and not Ben. The most amusing line of the episode was when everyone looked towards Miles, as the only other Asian present, to translate for Jin. Miles was unable to translate, pointing out that, “Um, he’s Korean. I’m from Encino.”

fringe

Fringe provided some more hints about where the series is going. It appears that traveling through different dimensions, and the problems this creates, is of major significance. We also find that Olivia was injected with an experimental drug as a child and has some psychic abilities. It was clever to see the light box first used as a test and then again as the means to stop the explosion. I’ve been ambivalent about this series from the start. Now that they got me a bit more interested the show is going on hiatus yet again.

life-on-mars

Life on Mars dealt more with the potential complications of Sam sleeping with the boss’s daughter than the reasons for him being back in the 1970’s. One idea was thrown out, without any evidence that it applied to Sam, by a guy who running the X-Files at the FBI before Agent Mulder. Reference awas made to aliens who abduct people and return them to Earth in different time periods. It turned out that aliens were not involved in the apparent abduction of Rocket Girl in this episode, and I suspect they were not involved in Sam’s case either.

big-bang-glau

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles returned from hiatus this week, and Summer Glau fans will soon have an additional chance to see her. Entertainment Weekly reports that Glau will be appearing on one of the top comedy shows now on television, Big Bang Theory:

The Sarah Connor Chronicles siren will play herself in the March 9 episode, the set-up of which already has me ROFWLing: A train trip to San  Francisco takes a major detour when Leonard, Sheldon, Wolowitz, and Raj discover that their favorite sci-fi actress in all the land is on board. But the fanboy frenzy quickly gives way to a heated mass debate (tee-hee) when they realize one of them will have to approach her — but who?

Sarah Gilbert will also be returning in her role as Leslie Winkle when Big Bang Theory returns with new issues on March 2.

batwomantemp_130651s

With Bruce Wayne apparently dead there is conflict as to who will replace Batman. The Independent reports that upcoming episodes of Detective Comics will feature Kathy Kane. The character was originally developed in the 1950’s as a potential love interest to counter rumors that Bruce Wayne was gay. The character changed over time, and is now described as “a lesbian socialite by night and a crime-fighter by later in the night.”

Although Kane has enjoyed only fleeting appearances in Batman comics since being “outed”, writer Greg Rucka – who is in charge of this summer’s run of Detective Comics – said Bruce Wayne’s apparent death had provided the perfect opportunity to make her the subject of his prestigious series.

“We have been waiting to unlock her. It’s long overdue,” he said in an interview with the Comic Book Resources website. “Yes, she’s a lesbian. She’s also a redhead. It is an element of her character. It is not her character. If people are going to have problems with it, that’s their issue. That’s certainly not mine.”

Besides Kathy Kane, we learn that with Bruce Wayne apparently dead, “future editions will revolve around a selection of potential heirs, including Batwoman, Catwoman and Bruce Wayne’s purported son, Damien, fighting to succeed him.” I would not be at all surprised to see it all end with the return of Bruce Wayne.

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2 Comments

  1. 1
    Dramatic Imagination says:

    Hi. I read the Friday portion of your blog. I like how you cover this aspect of the entertainment business. I’m wondering if you I can ask you a favor. I’m an actor in NYC, and much of the new programming that you see on TV and cable is due to the New York State tax credit for film/television production. It has  been in place for years, and the effect on the city and industry has been very positive.

    According to a 2007 study by Ernst and Young, the state and city combined have issued $690 million in tax credits and have collected $2.7 billion in NEW taxes from movie and television productions. It helped create over 7,000 new production jobs directly in 2007 and over 12,000 new jobs in the city  indirectly. It’s these types of incentives that have helped make NYC safe and such a great place to live and work.

    It has moved a lot of TV and film production from Cal to NYC because Cal has such high taxes, and even now Cal is considering this this type of tax credit. Here’s a link, http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/05/tax-credit-for-film-and-tv-may-make-the-cut-in-california/

    I think it’s well known that when these types of taxes are reduced, both the economy and tax revenue increase, yet NYState overspent in the good years and now their broke, and they want to kill the program because they need money fast and they dont’ seem to care about all the jobs that will be lost if taxes go up.

    I cannot tell you how difficult it is for beginning actors in NYC, especially with the cost of living and taxes so high already.

    The actors’ unions, SAG and AFTRA, is sending out a petition to the governor asking him to keep this program in place.

    Here’s the email AFTRA sent me, and there’s a link to a petition that they are asking everyone to sign:

    Act Now to Save New York State’s
    TV and Film Tax Credits!
    New York State Governor David A. Patterson is threatening to cut funding for the New York State Tax Credit Program. According to a 2007 study, the state and city combined have issued $690 million in tax credits and have collected $2.7 billion in taxes from movie and television productions. In 2007, this program helped create over 7,000 jobs directly and over 12,000 jobs indirectly. With an unemployment rate of over 7%, now is not the time to cut programs that create jobs and foster new businesses in our state. This program is proven to be highly successful and at a time when this industry needs all the help it can get.
    Click here to sign the petition asking the Governor to fund the New York State’s Television and Film Tax Credits and save our jobs!

    You have received this message from the AFTRA E-mail Notification Service. Notices are sent to the address you provided to the AFTRA Membership Department. This message is not a solicitation nor is it what is commonly known as “SPAM”.

    If you could post this comment or even write something up in your blog, that would be a wonderful help to all of us who are are struggling to make a living at acting and art. Thank you!

  2. 2
    Dramatic Imagination says:

    Great! Thanks Mr Chusid.

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