SciFi Weekend: Star Trek Into Darkness; Doctor Who; Hannibal; Arrested Development; Game of Thrones; Sherlock and Fake Sherlock; Roaring ’20s Cocktails

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As I discussed last week, Star Trek Into Darkness was a enjoyable action movie which hopefully serves to keep Star Trek alive in some form, but does not live up to the quality of the show. The producers ignored plot development to deliver a series of action scenes, while using the gimmick of an alternative timeline to avoid the need for consistency. Major spoilers do follow. Startrek.com interviewed Star Trek Into Darkness co-writers and co-producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. One question dealt with the alternative timeline:

Zoe Saldana has been quoted in interviews as saying that the Uhura (Saldana)-Spock (Zachary Quinto) romance will not work in the long run because that’s not what ultimately happened inThe Original Series. Given the alternate timeline, can’t this relationship go anywhere? Can’t you do… anything, really, with any and all of the characters?

Roberto Orci talk about Star Trek Into Darkness

ORCI: If she says that, I think she’s wrong. We can do whatever we want. However, the rule that we have for ourselves is that it has to harmonize with canon. This is going to get way too geeky, and I apologize ahead of time… Quantum mechanics, which is how we based our time travel, is not just simple time travel. Leonard Nimoy didn’t just go back and change history (as Spock Prime in the 2009 film), and then everything is like Back to the Future. It’s using the rules of quantum mechanics, which means it’s an alternate universe where there is no going back. There is no fixing the timeline. There’s just another reality that is the latest and greatest of time travel that exist. So, on the one hand we’re free. On the other hand, these same rules of quantum mechanics tell us that the universes that exist, they exist because they are the most probable universe.

Star Trek actually dealt with alternative timelines in different ways. Frequently when something changed history, as in The City On The Edge of Forever, members of the Enterprise crew would go back in time and would fix the timeline. The mirror universe which featured in several episodes did continue on its own with major differences. In Parallels, Worf saw several parallel realities which varied in how different each was for his original reality. This came closest to the timelines of quantum mechanics which Orci discussed but the specific situation of one person changing history was more commonly treated as having a single timeline which can be changed and later repaired.

Now that we have the situation of Spock and Uhura having a romance, there is no reason it cannot continue despite this not occurring in the original timeline. The bigger question is why this romance ever could start at all. Saying the timeline has changed has been an easy way to keep what they want in Star Trek and change other things. We have a Spock who handles emotions differently, but it is not clear why that is the case. One of the advantages of a weekly television show over movies is that they could have episodes detailing how this Spock handles emotions as compared to the original Spock. The emotions and  humanity of Spock, Data, and the Voyager Holodeck Doctor were common themes of three of the series which would not work in the action movies.

My biggest fear in this new timeline is that nothing seems to have consequences and there are no limits. Vulcan was destroyed and now they are developing New Vulcan, as if an entire planet can be easily repopulated. If they have questions, future-Spock has the answers. There no real need for Starships as it is possible for Khan to transport himself from Earth to Kronos. If there are battles to be fought, the Entreprise is bigger than the one in the Roddenberry universe. If that isn’t enough, even bigger Starships can be built. Distance is not an issue in space as it takes no time to travel back from Kronsos to Earth, and Kirk has no difficulty communicating with Scotty from light years away. Kirk dies and is quickly brought back to life with blood from Khan, and there is a tremendous supply remaining with Khan and the others who are frozen. Theoretically there is  no limit to a cure synthesized from Khan’s blood. The television shows certainly took liberties with what is scientifically possible, and would show abilities in some episodes which were forgotten when they might have been used again, but not as flagrantly as this movie.

If they were not content with a series of action scenes they might have placed some limits to keep this and future stories more plausible. Perhaps the curative powers of the blood are not present immediately upon awakening from suspended animation, which would also explain why Khan needed to be captured as opposed to awakening another. We could also imagine the Federation, which has always had lots of restrictions (primarily to promote drama and limit easy solutions), banning the awakening of Khan and the others. Unfortunately such explanations would results in breaks in the action which would not be consistent with the all-action type of movie being produced, but which made the television shows far better.

Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci discussed the various Easter eggs placed in Star Trek Into Darkness in this interview.

Bob: The biggest addition was Benedict Cumberbatch. He was so compelling on the set that the other actors brought extra energy and extra attention to their roles. He was a force of nature. In terms of his character, we wanted to make sure that the audience did not need any previous knowledge to understand him. So the big debate was: should he or shouldn’t he be Khan?

Alex: We agreed he can be Khan as long as the audience doesn’t have to know that back story. Our challenge was to define a story that doesn’t rely on previous knowledge, or love of Khan or “Star Trek 2.” We thought if we can do that, then we can think of using that great character Khan.

Bob: Once we had that standalone story, we wondered: are there details from Khan’s history that fit? We returned to our Easter eggs at the back of the fridge: there were those seventy-two torpedoes that happened to house his crew. If we can use the details of Khan’s back story given our structure to make the movie more specific and more relevant, then that works.

Alex: We couldn’t use Khan just as a gimmick, as an excuse to get fans into the theaters. Once we developed the story, suddenly the details of Khan’s life became an even better way to tell it. Only when we decided that Khan really does fit here – and the fans know that Khan is to the series what The Joker is to “Batman” – that’s when we decided we earned it.

Bob: And that’s when we went for it. Khan is the ultimate Easter egg.

I saw them more as dropping a few lines to tie the movie into Star Trek’s past without really trying to do what made Star Trek great. Khan is hardly to the series what The Joker is to Batman. Khan appeared in exactly one episode of the original series and one movie. Plus each of these did a far better job of presenting Khan as a person with motives.

Cumberbatch Shower

While Star Trek fans might be concerned about the types of issues I raised, the media has paid more attention to controversy over the scene with Alice Eve in her underwear which I posted last week. In interviews, Alice Eve didn’t seem terribly concerned. After all, as Seth MacFarlane would put it, we saw her boobs in movies such as Crossing Over (pictures not safe for work). Putting aside the arguments of sexism, tamer scenes such as in Star Trek Into Darkness have been common throughout the history of Star Trek from Kirk’s conquests in the original show, Seven of Nine’s “Borg enhancements” on Voyager, and those scenes of T’Pol in the Decon Chamber on Enterprise. Hoshi Sato also had difficulty keeping her clothes intact on Enterprise. Scenes of sexual exploitation aren’t all one-sided. Kirk was seen with his shirt off and  J.J. Abrams showed a cut  scene had been filmed with Benedict Cumberbatch in the shower while on Conan.

Steven Moffat shows far more attention to plotting than in the new version of Star Trek. He will show little things in many episodes of Doctor Who which don’t become important to a later date. Unfortunately he also leaves some questions unanswered. Some of these questions actually do have answers but wind up on the cutting room floor. One of many questions from The Name of the Doctor is how Clarence came about the information which saved his life and directed his friends towards Trenazlore. This is explained in the deleted scene above.

Hannibal Family Dinner

I had previously called The Americans the best new show of the season, but must revise that view after watching the first several episodes of Hannibal. Here are seven reasons you should be watching.  Bryan Fuller was interviewed about the show he created based upon novels by Thomas Harris:

I want to ask about the level of gore and violence on Hannibal. Let’s start at the beginning when you first starting thinking about the show. How did you figure out its tone?

Bryan Fuller: What was always interesting about Thomas Harris’ books is they were a wonderful hybridization of a crime thriller and a horror movie. So I felt like we had to be true to that. Because Silence of the Lambs and Manhunter and Red Dragon have a certain pedigree of crime horror/thriller, in order to be true to that genre, we had to have a certain amount of graphic content to honor the source material, and also honor the expectations of the audience who are approaching the material realizing this is a horror icon. If we didn’t have certain ingredients for that dish, then it really wouldn’t be that dish.

What did you think were the keys there?

BF: Well, what was always fascinating with the villains of Thomas Harris’ books is they have this purple, operatic quality to them. They were also strikingly visual and cinematic. I think it was always our goal to honor the source material, because as a fan of the Thomas Harris books — I read Red Dragon in high school — I wanted to make sure that the loyalist in me and the loyalists out there were being delivered what they were being promised in calling the show Hannibal.

Fuller was later asked about network restrictions:

In terms of how you decided how to show the dead bodies in the pilot, was NBC fine with it? Did it get edited at all?

BF: The only restrictions were mostly nudity. Then other things would be a matter of frames and trimming: a concise method of delivering the imagery that didn’t rely on overt gore. There were times that were like, “OK, you can see the intestines, and you can see the abdominal wound, but you can’t see the intestines coming out of the abdominal wound.” Which, to me, felt perfectly reasonable! There were never any huge battles about gore. The conversations that we had were very much about, “These few frames here tip it, so can you remove those shots?” Or “Can you limit that shot?” They let us go a good distance at having striking visual imagery that wasn’t exploitive porn violence but actually had a great psychological impact to them.

Other than for the absence of nudity, Hannibal does feel much more like a cable show than a network television show. It does follow the pattern used successfully by many other shows in both having a continuing storyline and having each episode deal with a monster/crime of the week. Fuller begins with characters from Thomas Harris’s book  Red Dragon, making significant changes in some of the characters for the television series.  Besides Hannibal, the other major figure is Will Graham, who has the ability to see crimes from the killer’s point of view. So far they have used this to provide information to propel episodes without giving away too much to make investigation unnecessary.

Fuller has planned stories taking place over seven thirteen-episode seasons, taking Hannibal from a psychiatrist who is helping solve murders (while commuting some of his own) to the incarcerated mad genius of Silence of the Lambs. It is questionable if the show can last for seven years on network television, and Fuller’s track record is not very good in terms of getting his series renewed.  The show is receiving excellent reviews from the critics but not spectacular ratings. If NBC decides not to renew the show, both cable channels and Amazon have expressed interest in continuing it. Amazon has already purchased exclusive rights to reshow first season episodes. They might find it beneficial to add new episodes to those of the first season, as Netflix is doing with Arrested Development.

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Netflix just released fifteen new episodes of Arrested Development. It has been seven years since the third season ended (with many of us watching a little more recently on DVD, and others even more recently on Netflix). Den of Geek brings us up to date on the story lines. Popwatch recommended five episodes to rewatch to prepare for the new episodes.  Watch With Kristen tells us a little bit about what we will be seeing. More interviews here and here.

Game of Thrones producer Frank Doelger is also looking at a seven year series:

Speaking backstage at the Baftas – where Game of Thrones was also nominated in the International category – Doelger said: “[The number of series] is being discussed as we speak. The third season was the first half of book three, season four will be the second part of book three. George RR Martin has written books four and five; six and seven are pending.

“I would hope that, if we all survive, and if the audience stays with us we’ll probably get through to seven seasons.”

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The second episode of season three of Sherlock. The Sign of Three, has completed filming:

Filming has completed today on the second block of Sherlock filming – largely comprising Sherlock S3E2: The Sign of Three – after four weeks of work which began on Monday April 22 2013. The second episode of the third series is written by Stephen Thompson and directed by Colm McCarthy.

Filming of The Sign of Three has taken place in cities in England and Wales familiar to the Sherlock production team, including an extensive period of work in Bristol at the beginning of the schedule. London also once again paid host to the series towards the end of the shoot, while filming itself wrapped on stage in Cardiff just before 20:00BST this evening.

Additional material for S3E1: The Empty Hearse was also shot during the latter stages of this second block of filming, under the direction of Jeremy Lovering.

Production on Sherlock Series Three will now take a scheduled break, to allow cast and crew to fulfil other long planned obligations.

Cast and crew are due to fully reconvene in late July 2013 for filming on the third episode of the series, written by Steven Moffat.

I included the full text of the post primarily to give the feeling of how much time and effort goes into each episode of Sherlock, as compared to an American network television series. I stopped watching CBS’s Fake Sherlock series early in the season, feeling that Elementary, as they call it, was simply an average network crime of the week series which applied the names of Holmes and Watson. After reading that Natalie Dormer would be playing Irene Adler and the final episodes would include Moriarty I decided to watch the last few episodes of the season. The back story, for those who have not been watching, is that Sherlock Holmes fell in love with Irene Adler, who was apparently captured and killed by Moriarty. Sherlock got hooked on drugs. He received treatment, moved to New York where he was quickly trusted by the NYPD, and a female version of Watson became his caregiver. Over the course of the season it appears that Watson moved on to become a detective as opposed to caregiver, and Moriarty was behind some of the criminals they apprehended.

The final episodes of the season dealt with Moriarty having Sherlock work on a case, with information to be provided in return. This led to Sherlock finding Irene Adler alive, and their story was told in flashbacks. There were more twists involving Moriarty but I will not spoil those in case others decide to watch these now that most network shows have concluded. The twist would not be acceptable if this was a more definitive retelling of the Sherlock Holmes stories in modern times, as with the BBC version, but for a series which is only loosely based upon Sherlock Holmes this provided an interesting new story. Needless to say, the quality was what we would expect from most network television shows (not up to that of Hannibal) and far below that of Sherlock.

Daleks Trespassing

This sign should keep trespassers out.

Great Gatsby

And finally, in honor of the release of a new movie adaptation of The Great Gatsby, E! has recipes for ten top roaring ’20s cocktails.

SciFi Weekend: Fringe; Person of Interest; Benedict Cumberbatch and Lara Pulver; Don and Megan in Hawaii; Downton Abbey; The Hour; Klingon Wedding

There was not a new episode of Fringe this week, but we do have the video above and some information on upcoming episodes:

Friday, October 26 at 9pm: “The Bullet that Saved the World”

When the Fringe team tracks a lead into a hostile and heavily guarded location, Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick) resurfaces – but can he be trusted?

Friday, November 2 at 9pm: “An Origin Story”

In the aftermath of devastating events, the Fringe team reels and someone makes a pivotal and shocking move.

Friday, November 9 at 9pm: “Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There”

A Fringe team member takes on a new role, and Walter (John Noble) follows leads to a key piece in their battle against the Observers.

Friday, November 16 at 9pm: “Five-Twenty-Ten”

As the fight for the future intensifies, a member of the Fringe team orchestrates a Fringe event of his own.

Amy Acker didn’t return on this week’s episode of Person of Interest but above is a video of her talking about the season. On the show, Finch is still feeling the effects of being kidnapped by Root, while Carter ran into Snow. At the conclusion of the episode we found that Snow is being controlled by Reese’s old partner Kara Stanton, who has strapped a bomb vest onto Snow. I’m now sure if Kara is simply going after those who had tried to have her killed (along with Reese), if she is also involved in going after the machine as Root is, or if she has some other agenda. Unfortunately, as the mythology segments are often interspersed into episodes about the person of interest of the week, it is getting hard to keep track of all the conspiracies going on.

Above is the teaser for a longer preview to be released on Tuesday for Iron Man 3. Here’s the description of the movie:

Marvel Studios’ Iron Man 3 pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?

It appears that Benedict Cumberbatch liked what he saw in Lara Pulver’s nude scenes when she played Irene Adler in A Scandal In Bohemia (an episode of Sherlock last season). The two are now rumored to be dating:

Love mystery of Holmes and his naked co-star: TV seduction ‘turns to real romance’ for star couple

As a whip-wielding dominatrix, she played the only woman capable of seducing the emotionally detached Sherlock Holmes.

Now life is imitating fiction for actress Lara Pulver, who has struck up an ‘affectionate’ relationship with Benedict Cumberbatch, who played the troubled detective in BBC1’s latest adaptation.

The pair, both 36, radiated an on-screen chemistry in the sexually charged episode A Scandal In Bohemia, in which Pulver appeared naked as Irene Adler.

And last Thursday they were openly flirtatious when they attended the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards together.

Cumberbatch brought his former co-star along as his ‘plus one’ as he collected the Best Actor award.

Last season Mad Men ended with Don at a bar, being asked if he was alone. At least it doesn’t appear that things are over yet between Don and Megan. Jon Hamm and Jessica Pare have been sited filming a scene together in Hawaii which is thought to be for the sixth season premiere.

Downton Abbey fans are still shocked by the events of last week (no spoilers for American viewers who are waiting until the show season begins in January). It now looks like the show will be extended for a fourth season, and then followed with a movie.

HIT drama Downton Abbey could be heading to cinema screens after cast members revealed plans to turn it into a Hollywood movie.

The worldwide phenomenon was originally ­­ supposed to finish after the third ­series, currently showing on ITV1.

But cast members now believe a fourth series will be commissioned, before the Crawley family’s story ­concludes with a feature film.

A show source said: “Hollywood bosses are especially keen to make a film adaption due to the show’s success in America.

“A fourth series is now 99% certain but the worry is ­leading cast members will soon leave and follow film ­careers to capitalise on their new-found fame.

“One option is to conclude the drama with a feature film after series four, which would be a huge box office hit.

“It would end the show on a high and then free up the cast to pursue Hollywood careers.”

The Hour returns for a  second season in November. Above is Romola Garai.

“What happened with The Hour,” she tells me, “was basically that I picked up the script and the first line I read was, ‘Bel is sitting at her desk.’ And I was like, well, this is fucking amazing. This part is mine. Because how often are you ever introduced to a young female character and she’s sitting behind an actual desk? The main thing I’m interested in is that I don’t want the women I play to be defined by their romantic involvement with the male lead. I want them to have a job. So the fact that Bel having a job is the first thing we know about her was a huge deal for me.”

Garai says she recognises a lot of Bel’s character in herself. “We are similar in being ambitious, young women who love our jobs and are truly passionate about them. And who are interested in the world around them, and in politics. But we are different in that Bel is a real diplomat with people, which I’m not at all. I say what I think, and then get into trouble.” She tries to look sheepish about this, but it’s not particularly convincing. “Actually, I think it’s OK to fight for what you care about. The best piece of advice I was given about work was by someone who told me that it’s OK to have conflict. I think sometimes women need to be reminded of that.”

Maybe its the first wedding with a Borg cube for a wedding cake, but I don’t believe this is the first Klingon wedding to occur in the U.K.

SciFi Weekend: Fringe; Awake; Lost-Style Reset on Once Upon A Time?; Mad Men, The Beatles, and Rory Gilmore; Damage to Manhattan from The Avengers; Why Companions on Doctor Who Are Usually Young Women

The season finale of Fringe, Brave New Worlds, could easily have been the series finale if the show was not renewed. While there will always be questions remaining on Fringe, the major story lines of the season were resolved. Knowing both of September’s warning and that Olivia was the source of power needed by William Bell, it came as no surprise that Olivia was shot. We also know that death is not necessarily permanent on Fringe, and her recovery due to high levels of cortexiphan around her brain was also predictable.

The season finale set up the situation for next season which we saw in Letters of Transit. We learned that Olivia was pregnant, William Bell was still around (explaining why he was in the Amber), and received the warning at the end of the episode that “They’re coming.”

Things will probably be more complex. Olivia seemed to hesitate before telling Peter that she was pregnant. At the time I was wondering if Olivia would say something suggesting she no longer had her old memories of Peter (or feelings for him). There is clearly something which Olivia held off on saying.

Was the timing of this warning just after William Bell’s failure to start a new universe for dramatic effect to set up the next season, or was there a connection between Bell’s actions and the plans of the Observers? Multiple explanations are possible. Perhaps the Observers had planned to live in Bell’s new universe and decided to conquer our world after this failed. Perhaps Bell knew of the plans and this was his attempt to save humanity the fate of living under oppressive rule by the Observers. Perhaps the Observers justified taking over the earth as a means of protecting them from mad scientists such as William Bell.

TV Guide has an interview with J.H. Wyman and Jeff Pinkner on how the season finale leads into season 5:

“They are coming!” Can we assume that the “they” is the Observers, and you’re lining up with what we saw in 2036?
J.H. Wyman: Yes.

Are you going to stay in the current timeline, or will we see some flashing forward and backward next season?
Wyman:
Well, let’s say that basically 2036 is extremely important to Season 5. It’s crucial, but having said that, everything that you have seen in Fringe from Season 1 all the way to 4 is really, really, really, really important to what’s going on in Season 5, and 2036 is part of that. It’s a 13-episode sprint; there’s no filler episodes. It answers some very bold questions. It culminates with a very satisfying type of crescendo that really is so important for the fans, that’s the biggest thing. That’s the only thing that’s really important is to make sure that they feel absolutely satiated.

Because Olivia did technically die in the finale, does this mean that was the moment September had envisioned? And, will she always heal rapidly and now never die?
Wyman:
At the end of every season, we close a chapter, and you’ve heard us say that before, but this chapter being closed is a gentle closing for a reason.  We wanted to allow the characters to be in the emotions that they fought for and deserved and allow them to experience a little bit of peace and understand where they are.
Jeff Pinkner: Part of the answer to your question is yes, Olivia healed because of all the cortexiphan. At the end of Season 4, as Walter said on the screen, because of the wildly activated cortexiphan in her body, this experiment to heal her brain tissue would work.  Because that’s not constantly the case, because that’s just a fleeting condition, absolutely, she could be killed.
Wyman: They don’t know if anything is over.  So they’ve been given that warning. I think that it’s best to have the audience not know either and be with them in that trepidation of going forward, going, “Well, maybe.” That’s more like real life, isn’t it?

Especially because the “X Man” who was supposed to kill her — as we saw in last season’s trippy animation episode — wasn’t very obvious.
Wyman:
Basically, when Walter was going through the Nanites. From that episode when she was in William’s head, she said, “I know that’s the man who’s going to kill me.” She had a feeling that when she was in William Bell’s head, that there was a man and it manifested itself as a character in William Bell’s head in the comic that they’re experiencing and it had that emblem on it.

Then, ultimately, in this episode, you saw in the in the Nanites they had the emblem on it. When Walter recognized that that was William Bell’s creation by that mark, because that was the mark that William used to mark things with. So really, in a sense, it was William Bell who killed Olivia. You could argue, saying when she came out of William Bell’s head, she said, “That’s the man who’s going to kill me,” it was actually William Bell.

Now that Olivia is pregnant, will she worry about putting herself in the line of fire, or will Peter be worrying about her?
Wyman:
You’ll probably understand that a lot more when you see Season 5, without spoiling stuff. That’s not something that’s going to be examined in the way you just laid it out. But keep in mind that in Fringe, when we say, “There’s going to be a love triangle,” it’s a weird show, so you can have a love triangle with two people, like two Olivias in the love triangle. So we can do some pretty freaky things, but it’s not going to be big issue.

Can we look forward to seeing the two universes bridged back together again? I actually like the other side now!
Wyman:
We really appreciate you saying that because I think, no secret, that it was a really tough endeavor for us to actually introduce that. We fell in love with them and we were hoping that the fans would and we’re so glad to hear when people say that they missed them.
Pinker: We had a conversation with Fox earlier in the season while we were closing the door, one of our Fox executive partners said, “I was so sad.  I had tears in my eyes when we closed the door, and we said, “Yeah, these were characters that you never wanted us to introduce in the first place because you were afraid that nobody would care about them.”  She said, “I was so wrong.”
Wyman: Everything is a possibility on Fringe.

Will Walter feel a sense of responsibility for William Bell trying to destroy the two universes? Is that something he will be dealing with next season?
Wyman:
We’ve always said that science is science and knowledge is knowledge; it’s how you use it that’s the evil. So while I don’t think he feels responsible, there’s many lessons Walter is learning and has learned since the first time we met him. If anything, it’s going to actually make him very positive that he did the right thing all those years by cutting a portion out of his brain.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemies, and hubris out of control like that is surely the end. Every civilization that’s ever fallen basically is because of some sort of hubris. It’s the overreaching of man, which is a huge, huge, huge thing in science fiction. How much knowledge is too much knowledge? He just feels, at this point, that they’ve made it through and averted this incredible disaster.

Before Olivia revealed to Peter that she was pregnant, she seemed to hesitate. Is there something she saw or something she learned when she died that will play into next season?
Wyman:
You’re very perceptive. Let’s just say you will understand the hesitation.

There’s an indication that the Fringe Division will grow next season. What can you tell us about that?
Pinker:
You will see changes, but you will see things that are familiar, as well.  I know that’s a terrible answer, but the truth is, I just can’t say in specificity what exactly is going to happen.

Now that you know this will be your final season, what are you guys doing differently in your approach?
Wyman:
We’re so thankful. Four years of everybody working incredibly hard, people have put their heart and soul in this show, and by some amazing miracle, we get a chance to get more canvas to paint on, and it’s like the biggest thrill and honor, and we’re just going into it knowing that we’re very fortunate.

The main concern is in no way shape or form are our fans going to be let down. That makes us feel really good that they’re going to be able to see a conclusion that is emotional, that is epic, that is going to make sense, that they can emote with and go through our characters and watch them on their final journey and put this show away in a manner that is worthy to all the hours they’ve invested in our characters. The only thing it does is make the pencil be a little bit more sharp, that’s all.

Leonard Nimoy says he returned to Fringe largely due to enjoying the idea of playing a villain, and might return next season.

Two additional genre shows deal in different ways with alternate realities–Awake and Once Upon A Time. Last week’s episode of Awake, Say Hello To My Little Friend, had Britten unconscious in the Rex world. He spent most of the episode in the world where his wife remained alive, unable to return to the other world until he figured out that the little friend he was having visions of was actually another police office who was involved in the conspiracy to kill him. Realizing there was a conspiracy sets up the two-part series finale.

There were a number of points of significance in this episode. It now looks more certain that the conspiracy was part of both worlds, but there is still no explanation as to why we have only seen talk of finishing the job in the Hannah universe should he not move to Oregon. Visions were once again a key part of an episode and the visions of Detective Hawkins were not completely limited to information which was already in Britten’s head. In one scene, the vision of Hawkins told Britten that the real world version of himself was outside, giving Britten information he otherwise would not have had. Another aspect of the series which has never been explained is timing in the two worlds. After living through a Monday in one world and going to bed does Britten then live through Monday in the other? In this case, Britten spent a long time in the Hannah world and then returned to the Rex world right after he passed out, by now on a previous day.

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Once Upon A Time moves between our world and a fairy-tale world, where the stories are sometimes different from those we have heard. Since the start of the show I’ve feared that the premise could not survive several years, as should Emma ever be successful the story would be over.  Over time the format could get tedious if we always knew that Emma could not reverse the curse. However, the show comes from the creators of Lost, raising speculation that there could be real game changers to rejuvenate the show each season. This is suggested in the video interview with Raphael Sbarge above. The show’s co-creators Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz also suggested a Lost-style reset in this interview:

TVLINE | What other drama is going on in Storybrooke outside of the Henry thing?
KITSIS | All of the stories in Storybrooke are going to be stemming from Henry falling.
HOROWITZ | They all kind of converge around that pivot point. And the intensity does grow.

TVLINE | How is August doing? Is he flipping through termite control ads?
HOROWITZ | We do check in on August and his condition, and that does play a part in the finale. Everybody’s agendas – Regina’s, Gold’s, August’s – all sort of intertwine around this crisis point.

TVLINE | What is Mr. Gold’s particular take on the Henry situation?
KITSIS | We got his take in the last episode, where Regina says she came up with a sleeping curse, and he says, “All magic has a price.” So… magic has a price! It’s just a question of who pays it.

TVLINE | We’ve kind of come full circle on the Snow White story – she’s bitten the apple, and in the pilot Prince Charming rescued her. Or will the fairytale land be subject to a finale twist of its own?
KITSIS | The finale will kind of tie up some loose ends to their story, and at the same time present a new avenue for Season 2. But…. Well….
HOROWITZ | “We don’t want to tell you,” is what it is. [Laughs]

TVLINE | I guess my bigger question here is: Should we prepare for some Lost-style “reset”? Will this be an instance of the playing field changing Sunday at 8:59 pm?
HOROWITZ | How the audience perceives it, we can’t anticipate, but for us it does change the playing field. We like to think what we’re doing is evolving the show so that it remains true to what it’s been this year, but it takes a step forward into something new.
KITSIS | I feel like the best way to experience the finale is to say, “What the hell are they going to do?”
HOROWITZ | And one of our other goals with the finale – you’ll tell us whether we succeed or not – is that at the end of it you say, “What the hell are they going to do next?”

TVLINE | Will the finale introduce any new players to the canvas?
KITSIS | It will introduce some new… story ideas. But as far as new characters, if you’re talking, like, Michelle Rodriguez showing up at the end of a Lost finale, no. That’s not to say there won’t be new characters next year; but this finale is about the characters we’ve introduced.
HOROWITZ | And there may be some old characters seen in a new way.

TVLINE | What gamut of emotions will viewers be going through during, say, the final 60 seconds?
KITSIS |All of them.
HOROWITZ | Our hope is that in those final moments, there is a combination of satisfaction and also intense surprise.
KITSIS | The emotion you’ll be feeling is, “Holy, holy, holy s—t.”

The Beatles have been mentioned on Mad Men in the past, but this week they managed to have a Beatles song played during the show. While Matthew Weiner has denied the exact figure, there has been speculation that it cost around $250,000 to get the rights to play Tomorrow Never Knows during the episode. Different articles on the subject quoted prices between $50,000 and $100,000 as typical for getting song rights for a television show. If Mad Men is going to provide a strong presentation of the 1960’s, it makes sense to pay what it takes to include the Beatles, considering  how important they were to music of the era.

The big question after last week’s episode, beyond how they got the rights to a Beatles song, was why Rory Gilmore would hook up with Pete Campbell. Pete showed how creepy he could be when he returned to her house with her husband, but at least this was not as bad as when he tried with that high school student in a recent episode. You would think he would be satisfied with Alison Brie.

The Avengers showed considerable destruction in Manhattan (with much of it occurring just down the block from a hotel on 5th Avenue where I had stayed a few years ago). The Hollywood Reporter obtained the opinion Kinetic Analysis Corp., one of the leading disaster-cost prediction and assessment firms in the nation, as to the cost of the damage:

In an exclusive report for THR, KAC, led by Chuck Watson and Sara Jupin, employed computer models used for predicting the destruction of nuclear weapons and concluded that the physical damage of the invasion would be $60 billion-$70 billion, with economic and cleanup costs hitting $90 billion. Add on the loss of thousands of lives, and KAC puts the overall price tag at $160 billion.

For context, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks cost $83 billion, Hurricane Katrina cost $90 billion, and the tsunami in Japan last year washed away $122 billion.

Although many buildings in the fight’s East Midtown arena suffered extensive structural damage, most were limited to the more superficial destruction of windows, facade and some interiors. Those buildings that had their tops crushed, though, would be especially costly and time-consuming to fix, as would be Grand Central Station, through which a warship crashed.

“The extensive damage to Grand Central Terminal could prove highly disruptive, depending on the subsurface damage to the subway system,” KAC notes. “Although such damage is unlikely, as the 9/11 events showed, collapsing buildings can cause significant damage to subsurface infrastructure such as gas, communications and electrical systems. Detailed site surveys will be required to assess the state of the subterranean infrastructure.”

KAC also predicts that liability would be a major issue. Who, exactly, will have to pay for the damage? S.H.I.E.L.D., they note, is likely protected as a government agency, though probes eventually will look into its role in predicting, preventing and responding to the invasion — just as they looked into the Ghostbusters.

“Most insurance policies have special provisions for acts of war, civil unrest or terrorism,” KAC adds. “Given the involvement of individuals considered deities in some cultures (Thor, Loki), there is even the potential to classify the event as an ‘act of God,’ though that designation would be subject to strenuous theological and legal debate.”

Watson said he was surprised by a lower-than-expected total. “Compared to the aliens in Independence Day, for example, these guys were amateurs,” he told THR. “Of course, the Chitauri/Loki alliance were more interested in conquest and ruling, whereas the ID aliens were just looking for lunch or something.”

Despite the damage, The Avengers has helped in the sale of one type of food–Schwarma. If you saw the movie and do not understand this, you failed to stay for both scenes during the credits.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=EgB6IVsuc0A#!

Craig Ferguson is returning to Scotland for a week of shows. From the promo it looks like he might have used a TARDIS to get there.

Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill have left the TARDIS. Here is a video of them leaving the set of Doctor Who for the last time. Jenna-Louise Coleman will be taking over. Steven Moffat has commented on the next companion, and what type of person becomes a companion:

Moffat has said that while the new character will “shock”, there will be familiar elements. He said: “I’ll answer you in the show about how it’s going to be different. But because it is going to be different. It’s going to be a shock, I think. In terms of the companions all being ‘the same’ – that’s not as phony or artistically crap a thing to say as it sounds.

“What is the base group of people who would run away with the Doctor? They’re all going to be a bit mad. A bit dislocated. Not happy with where they are. Are they yearning for outer space? They’re going to be people who feel like they can take on the Doctor, who’s quite an intimidating sort of person. So, they’re going to be feisty – they’re going to be all those things. He sort of defines the people who are going to travel with him. The distinction comes very much from the various actors and actresses. So, you know, they’re the ones who create the differences between them. But you are always going to have the same sort of person, just because it’s the same man choosing them, and it”s the same person being chosen.”

Moffat also addressed the trend for the companions usually being young women. He said: “I think the function of a companion is pretty simple. I don’t think that’s very difficult. It’s just a question of who credibly is going to agree to go in the TARDIS? Who’s going to do it? Is it going to be a mother of 15 children? No. Is it going to be someone in their 60s? No. Is there going to be a particular age range? I mean… who’s going to have a crush on the Doctor? You know, come on! It’s more than a format. It’s evolved from good, dramatic reasons.”

This has not been a good time for renewal of genre shows on network television. Fringe is coming back for one final abbreviated season but shows including Alcatraz and Awake are not returning. Community also returns for a short season. While there is not official word as to whether this will be its final season, moving the show to Friday probably places it at greater risk.

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who Convention News; Jenna-mania; Sherlock; Emma Stone on Spider-Man; Star Trek Secrecy; Fringe; Awake; Mad Men; Leonard Nimoy on Big Bang Theory

The first ever official Doctor Who convention took place this weekend, and Steven Moffat discussed the event in the video above. More videos can be found here, here, and here.

The biggest news out of the convention is that the fifth episode next season, which has the final encounter with the Weeping Angels (and final appearance of Amy and Rory) will take place and be filmed in New York City. While in New York, the cast might feel at  home in this TARDIS-themed bar which Karen Gillan mentioned in an interview.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HEPZRZ5P6po

Low-quality versions of trailer for the new season, taken while shown at the convention, have also been posted on many sites, as above. Hopefully we will have an official release early next week. Steven Moffat’s promotion of the season: “Amy and Rory leaving, tragedy, heartbreak and a Western, what more do you want out of Television. Come on Downton take that on!”

The biggest Doctor Who news of the week came on Wednesday before the convention with the naming of Jenna-Louise Coleman as the next assistant, beginning with the Christmas 2012 episode. The initial announcement, along with news on the upcoming season, were first posted here. In a follow-up post later in the day I had interviews with Jenna and Steven Moffat. A post on Thursday concentrated on her roles in Captain American and Titanic, along with advice from Matt Smith. On Friday we had the first official BBC picture of Jenna in front of the TARDIS, information on another series she is appearing in, Dancing on the Edge, and a report of links to an alleged sex tape with Jenna-Louise Coleman which actually lead to a malicious site. There’s also a brief video of what Matt Smith might say to people searching for sex tapes of Jenna.

Steven Moffat spoke to Radio Times about Doctor Who and Sherlock. He dismissed internet rumors that Benedict Cumberbatch will be playing the Master and reports that he has not started writing season three of Sherlock yet:

Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat has dismissed reports that Benedict Cumberbatch is to play the villainous Master on the sci-fi series.

Speaking to RadioTimes.com at the Royal Television Society awards, Moffat said: “People really do sit in rooms and make that stuff up. Look at the filming schedules for Doctor Who and Sherlock – those two shows tend to shoot at the same time. We’d have a problem and there’s only so much I can arrange.”

But he then added, as a quick afterthought: “But who knows what could happen in the future…”

Moffat also told RadioTimes.com about plans for the forthcoming series of Doctor Who. Asked whether there would be a large story arc running through the episodes, or if we could expect self-contained adventures, he said: “As ever, there’s a bit of both. But this time we’re moving closer to stand-alone stories. At this point, we’re not planning any two-parters. So, every week is going to be like a different mad movie.”

He added: “We went quite ‘arc’ last time and we’re going stand-alone this time around. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t those things creeping in. You’ve got to find a way to make the last episode special, and by God that worked ratings-wise last year. We don’t want to abandon that idea.”

Asked for any teasers he could offer, the ever-evasive Moffat replied: “Watch out for the title of episode two. I think that’s a belter. It’s one of my favourite titles ever.”

As for his other hit BBC1 series, the detective drama Sherlock, Moffat had this to say about series three: “Mark [Gatiss] and I have planned it out. We haven’t started writing it yet because I’ve got God knows how many episodes of Doctor Who to get sorted first. But the way it works with Sherlock is that we starve you and then we give you a short burst and then we starve you again. It’s worked so far, we’re not going to change it.”

On the scheduling of future episodes, Moffat said: “I don’t actually know. Given that this is a show that I haven’t started writing yet, it’s a bit early to suggest scheduling. Once we hand them over, they’ll be on television quite quickly.”

Moffat remains unhappy about the planned CBS version of a modern-day Sherlock Holmes:

CBS announced earlier this year they would be filming a pilot called Elementary.

The US programme will feature Sherlock in New York and Watson will be played by 43-year-old Lucy Liu.

Steven Moffat says he hopes it will be good or it may degrade the Sherlock brand.

“It isn’t a version of our show,” he said. “They’ve just decided to go off and do one of their own, having been turned down by us to do an adaptation of our version.

“So how do you think I feel about it? Annoyed is in there.”

‘Rogue version’

The US Sherlock will be played by British actor Jonny Lee Miller.

If the pilot is successful, it will be turned into a TV series which will air on US television in the autumn.

“The bigger problem for us with Elementary is, what if it’s terrible? What if it’s awful? Then it degrades the brand,” he said.

“I remember there was a legitimate American version made of Coupling, actually adapted from our version.

“It was terrible and it was a disaster and it did sort of diminish the original.

“So if there’s this completely unrelated rogue version of Sherlock going around and it’s bad, it can be bad for us.”

So far CBS hasn’t revealed which Arthur Conan Doyle stories will be made.

Talking at the Royal Television Society Awards, Moffat dismissed the idea that legal action had been taken over copyright.

“We don’t own Sherlock Holmes,” he said. “We don’t even own the idea of updating it. It’s been done before.

“I hope they know their Sherlock Holmes very, very well indeed because we know what’s in our show and wasn’t in the original.

“So if we did discover our material had made it into somebody else’s show we would have a problem with that. If there is no such incidence of that, then there’s nothing we can object to.”

When asked about a possible fourth series, Moffat revealed that Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch was keen to continue playing the lead role.

A new internet meme–Otters who like like Benedict Cumberbatch. Cumberbatch also spoke about his fan base to Now.

Emma Stone talked about her initial reluctance to appear in Spider-Man:

“I heard about Spider-Man and I didn’t think it was something I would want to be a part of. I just thought that probably isn’t right for me. Then I [auditioned with Andrew Garfield] and realized that this was a really interesting, fantastic relationship between two people and that I was being really closed-minded,” she said.

The actress, who wore her naturally blonde hair for the part, went on to discuss how her character finally changed her mind about the film: “[I] started learning more about Gwen Stacy and her history and just fell in love with the character and with the fans, too. I started reading forums and getting involved more in the comic book universe and it just became something I really wanted to be a part of, just because of all those elements.”

Emma Stone discussed Spider-Man further in this interview. Here is a brief excerpt:

You went from playing a literary character in The Help who was in a much beloved book with its own kind of following, to a comic book character who’s iconic and has this rabid following. Was there a big difference for you between those characters and how they’re treated by their fans?Well of course the characters themselves are incredible different and there seems to be a different fan base between Spider-Man fans and fans of The Help. There are conventions for Spider-Man fans and there aren’t for The Help fans, although I would love to see a convention of The Help fans. It could be like the big Lebowski Fest. But they’re two tonally different worlds to me even though they both had such a rabid following. There’s a difference just in terms of bringing the material to life. There are different incarnations of Gwen Stacy and of Peter Parker throughout comic book history, all these different storylines to pull from depending on what kind of script you’re going to patch together. With The Help, it was such a distinct story that kind of needed to be matched line for line in a way. It felt different just in terms of becoming part of it and the way the material was adapted. But I’m so excited to be part of a movie with a built-in fan base in that way. You go to Comic-Con and there’s so much passion in one room. Everybody’s so passionate about these characters and how they’ve affected their own loves. It’s a really cool thing as an actor to know that you’re part of something that’s so much bigger than you. You’re not creating it from the ground up, you’re trying to fill the shoes of someone that’s been around a lot longer than you. It’s really exciting. I love that aspect of it.>

Why do you think the producers and writers went with Gwen instead of Mary Jane?Well, Gwen’s story happened before Mary Jane’s, and I think that coming back to their roots, it was interesting to explore the woman who came before Mary Jane. I think she’s such a definitive part of Peter Parker’s relationship with Mary Jane ultimately, who is literally the polar opposite in personality of Gwen Stacy. I think just building that into Peter’s life and seeing that story from the very beginning was really interesting. And of course Gwen’s story is so beautiful and important to that story of Spider-Man that I think they wanted to come from that angle at this time.

There might be less to report about the upcoming Star Trek movie as J.J. Abrams has built a wall around the set for secrecy.

I remain shocked that JJ Abrams destroy Vulcan in his Star Trek movies. That would be like eliminating Gallifrey and most of the Time Lords on Doctor Who.Oh, never mind.

>

This week’s episode of Fringe, A Short Story About Love, cleared up Peter’s confusion about the meaning of a changed time-line. When Peter began searching for a way to get home, and rejected the Olivia in this time line even when she gained memories of “his” Olivia, I questioned this. Peter was treating the changed time line as if it was another form of alternative universe, but a changed time line would imply that it is the same universe in which things have changed. Olivia would be the same Olivia, but with different experiences due to the changes in the time line. Although I was thinking these things while watching, I also considered the possibility maybe Peter could be right as we really don’t have established rules for dealing with different time lines. Last night we found out that the interpretation I first had was actually correct, and Peter had been wrong. Peter also realized that reuniting with the Olivia in this time line was fine–not like sleeping with the hotter Olivia from the alternative universe (especially as we found out in the previous episode that having a baby with Altlivia led to bad consequences).

Awake didn’t address the show’s mythology this week, but once again showed a character whose life was different in each world even before the accident. Again this rules out the possibility of the universe splitting into two different paths at the time of the accident (unless we really get complex and have time move in both directions, which would be way too confusing).

Mad Men returns tonight. Here are some stories about the show:

Matthew Weiner spoke about Betty Draper’s reduced role and things which fans might hate in an interview with Huffington Post.

Stephanie Newman looked at what Mad Men might look like if it took place today. (Wouldn’t that defeat the whole idea of the show?)

All Things Considered looked at the influence of Mad Men.

ABC compared Betty with Don’s fiance, Megan.

January Jones discussed her absence from the premier with The Hollywood Reporter.

Today wonders whether Don Draper can finally be happy.

USA Today has a Mad Men quiz and reviewed where the characters left off last season.

Leonard Nimoy appears on The Big Bang Theory. Hopefully he does more than lend his voice to the toy version of himself (which might be the case considering how he only appeared in cartoon form in his last appearance on Fringe.) Following is an ad for the episode:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YbDraRwVTU&feature=player_embedded

And, on the topic of toys based upon science fiction shows:

Karen Gillan playing with herself.

Quote of the Day

“The hot new drink around the country is the bin Laden. It’s a Colt 45 and a shot that goes right to your head.” –Jay Leno

Update:

Comments on Facebook and Twitter suggested this alternative:  Two shots and a splash of water.

Of course it is a very big splash of water.

Thanksgiving With President Bartlet

New Study Shows Coffee and Tea Reduce Heart Disease

In the Woody Allen futuristic comedy Sleeper it was discovered that everything which we think is bad for us is actually good for us. We will probably never find out that hot fudge is actually good for us, but there has been growing evidence that at least we can continue to drink coffee without guilt. Several studies have already demonstrated benefits from coffee but new studies continue to get attention from the media.

A new Dutch study showed that drinking coffee and tea can reduce the risk of heart disease:

Those who drank more than six cups of tea a day cut their risk of heart disease by a third, the study of 40,000 people found.

Consuming between two to four coffees a day was also linked to a reduced risk.

While the protective effect ceased with more than four cups of coffee a day, even those who drank this much were no more likely to die of any cause, including stroke and cancer, than those who abstained.

Coffee and tea contain a variety of components and most likely some are beneficial and some might not be. It is encouraging to see that the overall effect is beneficial, although this would not apply to everyone. This study has no impact on those who have problems with arrhythmias which are exacerbated by caffeine.

Upscale Starbucks

Here’s how a Starbucks should be:

Heavy velvet curtains, indie movie nights, single-origin coffees, wine and beer, mouth-watering organic pastries and gourmet cheese and meat plates — this is Starbucks?

Well, sort of. It’s Roy Street Coffee & Tea by Starbucks Corp, the result of Chief Executive Howard Schultz directing his store designers to break the mold and build a neighborhood coffee house from scratch.

Unfortunately this is only being done in two test stores in Washington inspired from Italian cafes:

CEO Schultz took the inspiration for Starbucks from Italy’s cafes, which offer espresso-based drinks and alcoholic beverages ranging from beer to wine to grappa. Starbucks has never embraced alcohol sales in the U.S. or abroad — but it has tested sales of such “adult beverages”.

There’s no word that they will be doing this at your neighborhood Starbucks.

Posted in Food and Drink. Tags: , . 1 Comment »

Coffee Shops Restricting Use of Free WiFi

When travelling I always find it helpful when there’s a nearby coffee shop or other establishment which provides free WiFi. This is often how I check the moderation que to let comments through and catch up on the news. Others tend to spend even longer periods of time taking advantage of WiFi but The Wall Street Journal reports that this is becoming more difficult:

Amid the economic downturn, there are fewer places in New York to plug in computers. As idle workers fill coffee-shop tables — nursing a single cup, if that, and surfing the Web for hours — and as shop owners struggle to stay in business, a decade-old love affair between coffee shops and laptop-wielding customers is fading. In some places, customers just get cold looks, but in a growing number of small coffee shops, firm restrictions on laptop use have been imposed and electric outlets have been locked. The laptop backlash may predate the recession, but the recession clearly has accelerated it.

“You don’t want to discourage it, it’s a wonderful tradition,” says Naidre’s owner Janice Pullicino, 53 years old. A former partner in a computer-graphics business, Ms. Pullicino insists she loves technology and hates to limit its use. But when she realized that people with laptops were taking up seats and driving away the more lucrative lunch crowd, she put up the sign. Last fall, she covered up some of the outlets, describing that as a “cost-cutting measure” to save electricity.

So far, this appears to be largely a New York phenomenon, though San Francisco’s Coffee Bar does now put out signs when the shop is crowded asking laptop users to share tables and make space for other customers.

Some coffee shops say they still welcome laptop users, if only because they make the stores look busy. For some, the growing number of laptop-carrying customers with time on their hands is reason to expand. “I had to add more outlets and higher speed” in early June, says Sebastian Simsch, 40, the co-owner of Seattle Coffee Works. Starbucks Corp. coffee houses, which in some cases charge for Wi-Fi, and bookstore chain Borders Group Inc., which always charges for Wi-Fi, don’t have any plans to change their treatment of laptop customers. Neither does bookstore giant Barnes & Noble Inc., where the Wi-Fi is complimentary.

But in New York, the trend is accelerating among independents. At Cocoa Bar locations in Brooklyn and on the Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a five-month-old rule forbids laptops after 8 on Friday and Saturday nights. At Espresso 77 in Jackson Heights, Queens, owners covered three of five electric outlets six months ago after its loosely enforced laptop-use restrictions failed to encourage turnover. At two of three Café Grumpy locations — one in Brooklyn and the other in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood — laptops are never welcome.

At least this shouldn’t interfere much with my typically brief use of WiFi when traveling, but it will make things more difficult for those who use coffee shops as a free office. I was also happy to receive the email from Barnes & Noble a few days ago saying they were changing their policy to provide free access to WiFi. This accompanies their recent attempts to sell ebooks to compete with Amazon’s Kindle. It only makes sense that if they want customers to download books to view with their new software that they allow free access to the internet in their stores.

New York and the Internet

An op-ed in The New York Times compares going on line to moving to New York. For many young people who cannot afford to go to New York the internet does offer many similar advantages for “young aspirants to the creative class.”

…another destination beckons, a place that courses with all the raw ambition and creative energy that the hard times seem to have drained from New York. I am referring, of course, to the Internet, which over the past decade has slowly become the de facto heart of American culture: the public space in which our most influential conversations transpire, in which our new celebrities are discovered and touted, in which fans are won and careers made.

Wherever young creatives physically reside today, in their endeavors they are increasingly moving online: posting their photos, writing, videos and music, building a “presence” in the hope of winning an audience. Monetary rewards on the Internet are still scarce, it is true, but the cost of living is cheap and, more important, the opportunities for attention are plentiful. Every month more YouTube sensations emerge, more bloggers ink big book deals, more bands blow up through music Web sites and MySpace, and every day more young people seek their “big break” in the virtual megalopolis rather than in (or as well as in) the physical one.

The experience of moving online actually bears quite a few similarities to becoming a New Yorker. Disorienting and seemingly endless, the Internet conversation moves at lightning speed and according to unstated social rules that can bewilder outsiders. Also, like New Yorkers, residents of the Internet do not suffer fools, or mince words in belittling them, as anyone who has contributed a redundant post to Metafilter, or an earnest comment to Gawker, can attest.

In their scope, both the Internet and New York are profoundly humbling: young people accustomed to feeling special about their gifts are inevitably jarred, upon arrival, to discover just how many others are trying to do precisely the same, with equal or greater success. (For a vivid demonstration of this online, try to invent a play on words, and then Google it. You’ll be convinced that there is, in fact, “nothing new in the cloud” — a joke that a British I.B.M. employee beat me to last November.)

Moreover, the presence of an audience causes online residents to style themselves as outsized personae, as characters on a public stage. On the Internet, as in creative New York, everyone can possess a tiny measure of celebrity, and everyone pays attention to what everyone else is doing, all the time.

Boathouse July 2008

Despite all the similarities, going on line is just not the same as being in New York. For example, you cannot walk thorugh Central Park, stroll through the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and have a drink at the Boathouse while “living” on the internet.