SciFi Weekend: Matt Smith on Ferguson: Bowler Hats, Swedish Lesbians And An Unaired Musical Introduction; Doctor Who News; Once Upon A Time; Tera Nova; Are Today’s Movies Too Conservative?

Matt Smith returned to Craig Ferguson’s show last week, wearing a hat but not a Fez or Stetson.Matt also made a contribution to Swedish lesbians. Craig Ferguson prepared this musical introduction to an earlier interview with Matt Smith but it could not air as CBS failed to get clearance in time from the BBC:

Planet Gallifrey has quotes some information from Steven Moffat on next season of Doctor Who:

On the Doctor’s fame: “We’re going to explore that properly next series. The Doctor’s project is to sort of erase himself from history because there’s only so many times you can stand and boast at Stonehenge”
On the heavier story arc: “I don’t think Doctor Who will ever be as arc-driven again”

Due to the increased interest from the title ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’, Moffat has told the writers to really “slut it up” and “write it like a movie poster. Let’s do big, huge, mad ideas”

On Amy, Rory and River: “I do have an end game for all of them”

On River: “You realise you’ve learned nothing. She may or may not be married to the Doctor, depending on whether that was actually a marriage ceremony, or whether it counts if he’s inside a giant robot replica of himself”

On his future as showrunner: “Even though I’m more tired than I’ve ever been, I don’t feel any impulse to leave”

Moffat also says the cancellation of Doctor Who Confidential was a bad decision.

The boxed set of series six will contain six mini-episodes. They are described here.

Once Upon A Time premieres tonight but the pilot episode has been leaked on line (probably intentionally by ABC to create more buzz for the show). The above video shows the first nine minutes and I found the entire pilot to be enjoyable. The show, by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz of Lost, does have some features in common with Lost, as well as many differences. Like Lost, the show alternates between two different scenes. While Lost had flashbacks, flashforwards, and sideways flashes in the final season, Once Upon A Time alternates between our world and a fairytale world. The Evil Queen casts a spell on the inhabitants of the fairytale world, taking away their happy endings and forcing them to live in our world in a town name Storybrooke without memories of their identities. The only person who can save them is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, who is lured to Storybrooke. More on the idea behind the show:

Their unique tale explores what happens when the modern world and the world of fairy tales collide. In Once Upon a Time, a 28-year-old bail bonds collector named Emma Swan finds herself returning young runaway Henry, a 10-year-old boy she gave up for adoption, to the town of Storybrooke. Henry believes that Emma and everyone in the town comes from an alternate world, a fairytale land that, thanks to a curse by the Evil Queen, is now trapped forever in time. The characters have been brought into our world with no knowledge of who they really are. The series, which premieres Sunday, Oct. 23, at 8 p.m., stars Jennifer Morrison as Emma, Jared Gilmore as Henry, Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White, Lana Parrilla as the Evil Queen and Robert Carlyle as Rumpelstiltskin.

“What really [Lost's showrunners] Damon [Lindelof] and Carlton [Cuse] taught us was it’s character first, mythology second. And we took that really to heart, and it’s that lesson that led us to this, how to tell this story,” said Kitsis. “Because we’ve had this idea for eight years, and it wasn’t until we were on Lost that we really figured out how to tell it, because we didn’t want to do a pilot where every episode was about the first five minutes of the pilot. … For us, it had to be about the characters and emotion. If Lost was about redemption, Once Upon A Time is about hope.”

“The stories are amazingly difficult,” said Horowitz. “We try to set an incredibly high bar for ourselves, and we always want to try to top ourselves and to push the limits of what’s possible on a network television schedule and budget, and for us it’s really about ‘How do we keep telling the stories that excite us and that we really love, and how do we keep finding new things about these characters to explore and reveal to the audience?'”

Once Upon a Time will feature both the modern world of Storybrooke and the lavish fairytale land in every episode.

“Every week is going to kind of be exactly like the pilot,” said Kitsis. “We are going to go back and forth between the two worlds, and we’re going to focus on a character and … highlight what that character had going on in fairytale land, and in Storybrooke you’re going to see the void that the cursed replaced it with.”

Maureen Ryan has more on the show, including ways it is and is not like Lost:

The Ways in Which ‘Once Upon a Time’ Is Like ‘Lost’

1. There are parallel and connected realities, as noted above. Horowitz: “The typical episode will be a version of a story in Storybrooke, Maine involving the characters you have met in the pilot and focusing probably on one of them, and taking us into the fairytale land where we see a version of [that character's] story, and there is hopefully some thematic connection with what is going on” in both places.

2. What the show is really about is not very high-concept. Kitsis: “That was what was so funny about ‘Lost’ — everyone was like ‘[It's] high concept!’ Not really. A plane crashed and now they’re stuck.” Similarly, ‘Once’ can be stripped down to very basic themes of loss, acceptance, community and connection. Horowitz: “Ultimately, it’s about these people in this town — what are their conflicts going to be, how are they going to find love or not find love, how are they going to find happiness or not find happiness.” Kitsis: ‘Lost’ “was not ‘Let’s come in and start pitching craziness!’ It was character. Hurley was a guy who was frightened of change in any form, so every episode, we were like, ‘Well, what is he frightened of in this one?’… It’s character first, mythology second.”

3. There’s a mythology, but each episode will work on its own. Horowitz: “There will be an ongoing story, but …each episode is a self-contained. …But if you’re watching the show, you’ll also be enjoying Emma’s ongoing struggle against Regina over [Regina's son] Henry and there will be those [continuing] elements.”4. Storybrooke isn’t an island, but it might feel like one at times. Kitsis: Fairy tales “were moral tales to teach children, and in a lot of ways, ‘Lost’ was about redemption. For us, ‘Once’ is about hope and that’s what we’re interested in [exploring] … It’s about an enclosed group of people trying to get over things.”

5. It’s ultimately optimistic about the possibility of change and redemption. Kitsis: “What I love the most about fairy tales … is, it’s why you buy a lottery ticket. It’s that your life can change. One day you’re Cinderella and you’re sweeping up for your evil stepmom and then the next day you get everything, and that’s what I love about these stories. When Charlie gets the chocolate factory… what I love about writing is it’s wish fulfillment. We try to write in a real way, but like at the end of the day, I want the chocolate factory and I want the golden ticket and we wanted to write a show about hope, especially in a time where I feel like it’s needed.”

6. It won’t be perfect. Embracing mistakes as learning experiences was one of their chief lessons on ‘Lost.’ Horowitz: “Anything that someone else may look at and say ‘Oh, that didn’t work’ or ‘It was a problem’ or whatever, to us simply was part of the journey. It was part of how we got to the endpoint that was the show. So there is nothing from the show I would say ‘Oh, I didn’t want [that],’ because it all organically [allowed] us to get the whole thing to be what it was.”

7. One of the show’s wizards is named Lindelof. Kitsis and Horowitz said that Lindelof was a huge help when they were working on ‘Once Upon a Time.’ Kitsis: “His name is not on this pilot, but he is in the DNA of it in the sense that like he has really helped us realize our vision of our show.”

The Ways in Which ‘Once Upon a Time’ Is Not Like ‘Lost’

1. Horowitz: “We’re not bringing Nikki and Paulo onto the show.” Kitsis: “Yeah, not yet.” Horowitz: “Season 3, episode 5.”

2. There are no polar bears, hatches, Others or downed airplanes. Kitsis: “For us, you can’t repeat ‘Lost’ because ‘Lost’ was its own unique thing, so why would anyone try?” Having said that, eagle-eyed fans will be able to spot little shoutouts to ‘Lost’ in some of the details of the Storybrooke world.

3. Their storytelling surrogate is a 10-year-old Storybrooke boy named Henry (Jared Gilmore) who’s really nothing like Hurley (or Walt). Kitsis: “Henry is us at 10, who’s into things that no one else is. … All the things that later in life, people celebrate about you are the exact same things that made you eat lunch alone when you were young, and that’s what we write about because that is where we came from.”

Another new series, Grimm, also deals with fairytales but sounds much less interesting to me. The premise is that the protagonist is a Grimm, whose family has the ability to see and track down fairytale monsters. It sounds like just another police procedural drama with a twist, and we already got one of those this season with Person of Interest.

Terra Nova shows potential, but to remain interesting will have to do more with the conflict with the Sixers and revelations as to the real motives for setting up the colony in the prehistoric past. It appears that this is the direction the show will be moving in based upon this interview from Entertainment Weekly with Brannon Braga and Rene Echevarria:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Congratulations on the ratings uptick. I hear the show is going to get more serialized from here on?
RENÉ ECHEVARRIA: It does. We’re going to roll out the whole Sixer mythology this season. You’re going to see who sent them here and why, and it all comes to a head in the season finale.
BRANNON BRAGA: Whether it’s the strange markings on the rocks, or even the new thing we introduced Monday night with the container, all these things will culminate and be explored by the end of the 13. And it’s been fun doing that. As the episodes go on, the momentum will build with the ongoing storylines.

It was almost like you had these serialized elements in the pilot, then Fox said “make it more stand-alone.”
BB: Are you sleeping with a network executive? Do you have spies?

That’s sort of what happened on Fringe.
RE: It’s true in the first couple episodes, you do want to cast a wide net. And we are picking up those threads now. The story with Josh picks up a lot of heat about what he’s willing to do to get his girl here, and he gets way in over his head. It was an unexpected discovery as the season went along that this was a way to play scenes with the Sixers, but not with the adults. And it gives Josh and odd romantic triangle with Skye — how does she compete with an idealized person?
BB:
The question was asked in [Monday's] episode — which we thought was a good template for what the show really is going to be like moving forward, with a mixture of stand-alone elements and ongoing storyline — there was a question asked: “What is Terra Nova really all about?” That’s a question we’ll begin to answer. Things are not what they appear to be. Clearly Taylor has secrets. Jim is keeping things about his Sixer visit from Taylor. And there’s something big going on that Jim finds himself in the middle of.

Will we see more of 2149?
RE: We don’t see a lot of 2149. We come to see the conspiracy with the Sixers is being orchestrated in 2149, and as we get toward the season finale we will go to 2149 and see that more explicitly. But most of our storytelling takes place in Terra Nova.
BB:
When we do go there, it’s very cool.

While right wingers whine about liberal Hollywood, Emma Stone is concerned that it has become too conservative:

The ‘Help’ actress believes many movies that were made in the 1970s would not be commissioned these days as studio bosses are too afraid of “offending” anyone.

She said: “It concerns me that movies seem to be getting more and more conservative and watered down.

“I see movies made in the 70s such as ‘Network’ that I really don’t think would get made today. A movie that calls the audience to task for sitting glued to their screens, believing everything they’re told by the media? That would be considered too challenging today. Nobody wants to risk offending the viewers.

“Movies need broad appeal to succeed and bosses don’ want to alienate anyone.”

Emma, 22, believes many actors censor themselves to an extent where it has a severe impact on their performances.

She added: “I even hate it when people censor themselves. You can always tell when an actor has grown a ‘rhino skin’ to protect themselves. It comes across on screen and they aren’t believable.

“They’re dead in the eyes because they’ve been told a million times that they’re the greatest actor that ever lived. If you don’t realise what’s happening and get your feet back on the ground, it can be the worst thing that ever happens to you.”

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