SciFi Weekend: Hannibal; Arrow; Revolution; SHIELD; The Americans; Almost Human; Does Ted’s Wife Die On How I Met Your Mother?; Continuum; Cosmos; Captain America; 24; Karen Gillan; Mad Men

Hannibal - Season 2

Sakizuki, the second episode this season of Hannibal, did an excellent job of blending a serial killer of the week story with the overall mythology of the show. Hannibal did track down the killer the FBI was hunting, but finished the killer’s job before the FBI got there. Only Hannibal could look so fashionable in a plastic suit, or convince the killer to become a part of his own work. Will Graham is doing an expert job of playing a cat and mouse game with Hannibal. He purposely looked beaten when saying, “I am the unreliable narrator of my own story” and asking for Hannibal’s help, but looks far stronger when alone, contemplating his next step.

The biggest tension of the show involved Hannibal and his psychiatrist, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier played by Gillian Anderson. There were moments when it was not clear if she would come out alive, with this tension increased by the knowledge that Anderson is involved in two other shows this season. Instead the episode made it plausible for Dr. Du Maurier to disappear for a while (or have a reduced) role without winding up visiting Hannibal for dinner. I suspect she will return towards the end of the season and be involved in Hannibal’s downfall, as foreshadowed by the start of last week’s episode, especially with her telling Will she believes him at the end of this week’s episode.

Bryan Fuller discussed the episode with A.V. Club. An excerpt:

AVC: Bedelia leaves town at the end. Obviously, you had limited time with the character because Gillian Anderson has another show…

BF: Another couple of shows!

AVC: What did you want to do with bringing her back, and how much of her backstory with Hannibal do you, as writers, know?

BF: There was a much bigger, broader, longer story to be had with Bedelia that I’m hoping we get to play out in some form in the future, but because of Gillian’s schedule, we were only able to get her for a couple of episodes at the beginning of the season, and we’re desperately trying to figure out how to get her to navigate her schedule and get her back to wrap up her story. Though we want the audience to think when they see the trailer for episode two that she’s going to get killed at the end. The idea would be to get her back. There’s so much cool stuff with her backstory and her relationship with Hannibal and how closely it parallels Will’s relationship with Hannibal, which would be explored in an episode toward the end of the season if we can figure out schedules.

AVC: She also tells Will that she believes his story. How important was it to you to give Will an unquestioning ally at this point?

BF: I think he needed it, because there was so much despair, and everybody was just assuming he was guilty of all of these crimes. I think he needed someone to say simply, “I believe you.” When I was writing that scene I teared up, because something so simple as someone saying, “I understand you, and I believe you,” when you’re in a dark, lonely place is such a beacon of hope. I love Gillian Anderson as a human being and as an actress. And I love Hugh Dancy as a human being and as an actor, so I was excited to get them in a scene together, especially one that was so still and eerie and wrought. I’ve always been inspired by this line from Damaged that Juliette Binoche says, which is, “Damaged people are dangerous, because they know they can survive,” and I paraphrased that in the last scene with Dr. Du Maurier and Will Graham, where there is a camaraderie in the damaged. You may feel you are alone in your damage, because it is such an interior experience to be damaged in that way, and then to have somebody come along who you know can know you in that way, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s a glimmer of hope. So I was really excited about that moment, writing it, and even more excited when I saw the actors perform it, because I do think that there is a bond between Will and Bedelia that I hope we get to explore.

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Arrow picked up in The Promise where it left off last week with Slade in the Queen Mansion, but Team Arrow came to the rescue. The bulk of the episode, reversing the usual pattern, took place back on the island. Once again the show has greatly surpassed  most other attempts at bringing superheroes to the screen. The manner in which the back story is fleshed out on the island makes comic book scenarios in the present seem plausible, taking far less suspension of disbelief than is generally necessary to accept the conventions of superhero series. The scenes on the island also showed the first time Oliver ever put on his hood and Slade ever put on the Deathstroke mask in their attack on Ivo’s freighter. I wonder if we will see more of Dr. Ivo.

Revoloution Dreamcatcher

Dreamcatcher was a fun episode of Revolution, with the nanobots putting Aaron in the Matrix. Aaron was back in a world with electricity, seeing people he knows but who initially do not know him. Some took active roles in the story while Giancarlo Esposito was seen as a sleazy insurance salesman on billboards and television commercials. Although fun, the episode could have been much better if not for so many plot holes and being so predictable.

The premise was that the nanobots were trying to trick Aaron into solving a formula which would allow them to survive. As viewers we know they must survive as the destruction of the nanobots would mean they would not be around to eat all the electricity, ending the show (which might not be a bad thing). Just as we must suspend disbelief in the premise of nanobots which eat electricity which powers devices while ignoring the electricity in our nervous systems, we must grant the premise that the nanobots can mess around in Aaron’s brain but could not just force him to solve the equation or extract the information they needed.

Aaron’s mind fought back, first in the form of Charlie. Seeing her shot in the head was one of the highlights of the episode. After being chased by Horn, who represented Aaron’s greatest fears, he managed to wind up with Rachel, Miles, and Monroe. Aaron gave the nanobots the information they needed to manipulate him by telling Rachel he would never harm her. At first Rachel, Miles, and Monroe did not recognize Aaron, creating some drama, but then suddenly they knew everything. It was too easy. They came up with the idea that if Aaron fell in this “dream” he would wake up, unconcerned about horror stories in which death in one’s dreams results in death in the real world.

From here it was so predictable. Aaron appeared to wake up. Rachel was placed in danger, and Aaron gave in and solved the equation. Then (coming as no surprise) it was revealed that he was still in the Matrix. I would have expected Aaron to have seen enough science fiction to see that one coming.

SHIELD TAHATI

T.A.H.I.T.I. was revealed on this week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to be not the Island where Agent Coulson was rehabilitated after being brought back from the death but a room with possibly alien science which was used to save him. The show is certainly more fun to watch than in the early episodes, but remains a disappointment. Ignoring the superhero and science fiction elements, the show just remains impossible to believe. Among other problems, there are no consequences as would be expected in an agency of this nature. In a previous episode, Simmons knocked out a superior with no repercussions. It appears that this was totally consistent with the world in which Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. operates.

The show opened with faux drama in having Bill Paxton as Agent Garrett coming to board Coulson’s plane for disobeying orders in keeping custody of Ian Quinn. False drama and no consequences once again as Paxton and Coulson worked things out. The handling of Quinn made me wonder if S.H.I.E.L.D. is really supposed to be the good guys or a parody of our worst fears of the Bush administration. It is understandable that Coulson would place a high priority on saving Skye’s life, but absurd to expect that he would attack a base, and kill those working there, when the base had to either be part of S.H.I.E.L.D. or another facility they were working with. Then more false drama when Coulson suddenly decided they should not inject Skye with the drug, followed by the drug magically healing her wounds.

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Fortunately The Americans presented a spy story which seems much more grounded in reality as it continued to deal with the repercussions of another undercover family being killed last week. Philip went to check if they guy in the drop knew anything but things didn’t go well between Philip and Fred at first. Philip’s efforts to gain Fred’s trust was far more compelling to watch than the relationship between Phil Coulson and Agent Garrett on SHIELD.  I loved seeing Elizabeth’s fear as the construction truck pulled up outside of their home, along with her side trip to help out another agent. What will Paige walk in on next?  Once again, there are so many story lines being expertly intertwined.

I was a little puzzled by Nina telling Stan about the walk-in at the Soviet Embassy. Certainly her handlers would realize that the embassy was being watched and the FBI would figure out who it was. Did the Russians have no real interest in Bruce Dameran? Did they just make a mistake allowing Nina to mention this, was it a mistake on Nina’s part, or on some level did Nina still want to help Stan?

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One problem that Almost Human faced is that episodes were aired out of order. While there was no major continuing story line which required viewing the episodes in order, the most enjoyable aspect of the series was the relationship between John and Dorian. Seeing them out of order led to a couple of recent episodes which lacked this dynamic which had been filmed earlier. Fortunately the final two episodes of the season were done later when this relationship was better established.

It is unfortunate that, despite hints of developing an ongoing storyline, little came of this and the final two episodes were again essentially stand alone cases of the week. The season finale did concentrate on the dynamic between John and Dorian, with Dorian’s performance review. I had feared that they might run a cheap cliff hanger of having Dorian fail and be scheduled to be removed as John’s partner, only to have this reversed next season. Fortunately they did not succumb to a feeling they had to do a cliff hanger as far too many shows do. With or without a cliff hanger, this show was entertaining enough to return to next season. I just hope they do more to expand on some plot lines they hinted at this season, such as what really happened in the ambush at the start of the season and what is beyond the wall.

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How I Met Your Mother is winding down and this week’s episode, Vesuvius, did a lot to promote a fan theory which has been going around that the Mother had died before Ted began his stories, possibly with Ted actually winding up with Aunt Robin. The first episode of the series had viewers expecting it was a typical love story about Ted meeting Robin and eventually marrying her until the ending, That’s how I met your Aunt Robin.

There have been scenes suggesting that the Mother might not remain alive, but all have alternative explanations and are far from definitive. The most compelling was in The Time Travelers in which Ted was outside his future wife’s apartment and said,  “Exactly 45 days from now, you and I are going to meet. I want those extra 45 days with you. I want each one of them.” If the two were really to meet in 45 days and live a long life together, there would be little reason for Ted to be so concerned about getting those 45 extra days together.

In a fifth season episode, How I Met Everyone Else, Ted, Marshall, and Lily are seen at a reunion in 2020 and it was awkward when Ted asked, “Where is my wife?”

There are pictures of Neil Patrick Harris on the set of the final episode in regular clothes. Barney has said that the one time he doesn’t wear a suit is to funerals. Could he have been filming a scene of the Mother’s funeral?

All of these items, along with suspicious answers by the cast about the finale, could be explained in other ways. Vesuvius keeps theories that the Mother will die alive. Throughout the episode there is a sense of sadness in the way Ted looks at his wife in scenes of the two from 2024. The most suspicious scene of all was when there was mention of the present when Robin’s mother made it to the wedding. The big question, with tears filling both of their eyes was, “What kind of mother would miss her daughter’s wedding?” Were these tears of happiness for Robin as they thought back on her wedding day, or tears of sadness as the two realized that Ted’s wife was dying and would never see her daughter’s wedding? Was she dying in 2024, or worse was Future Ted revising the Inn with the ghost of his wife?

It wouldn’t be at all surprising if Barney and Robin either wind up not getting married or if their marriage doesn’t last. In the final twist of the series, it could turn out that Ted and Aunt Robin are married. Then it would not matter as much that Robin could not have her own children as she might wind up eventually becoming the mother to Ted’s children. The series could easily be seen as an explanation to the children why Robin was the one he was meant to be with if their mother could no longer be with them.

This plan would have made a lot of sense when the series was first developed and fans rooted for Ted and Robin to get together. Now fans are strongly hoping it is not the case. Too much has changed. As absurd as the pairing of Barney and Robin was at first, fans now want them to succeed together. More importantly, fans have fallen in love with Cristin Milioti’s still unnamed character this season and having her die would be far too sad a way to end the series.

Another possible explanation for the scene in Vesuvius is that Carter Bays and Craig Thomas want to make us believe the Mother does have a serious illness in 2024, but in the end she survives. Perhaps they even changed their original plans after seeing  how this season has played out.

Moving on to another series involving time travel, Rachel Nichols and the cast of Continuum discuss season 3 in the video above.

An updating of Cosmos was already a big event. We know so much more than when Carl Sagan first aired the show. As an example of how important this show is in an age of such tremendous misunderstanding and denial of science, the show is going to be introduced by Barack Obama.

Extended clip above of Captain America and Black Widow from Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Trailer for 24: Live Another Day

Clip of Karen Gillan in Oculus

As usual, previews of Mad Men tell us very little.

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SciFi Weekend: Hannibal; The Americans; Arrow; Revolution; Orphan Black; Heroes; Farscape; Firefly; Better Call Saul; Doctor Who; Sherlock; The Crazy Ones; Mixology

Hannibal season 2

With the Olympics over many weekly series have  returned and two of the best shows from last season which aired in the spring or winter have started their second seasons. Hannibal and The Americans both began their second seasons. Hannibal began with an extended fight scene between Hannibal and Jack Crawford which foreshadows what we know must eventually occur before moving backwards twelve weeks in the narrative. The brutality of the fight indicates it is not a simple temporary falling out between friends, such as Watson being angry at Sherlock for pretending to be dead.  Jack must have found out the truth about Hannibal. As the series is part of a seven year plan (should it last that long) to retell the Hannibal novels (with some variations), we know that eventually everyone will know that Hannibal, and not Will, is the serial killer. (More on Bryan Fuller’s seven year plan for Hannibal here.)

After the fight scene we go back to just after the first season ended, with Will in jail for the murders committed by Hannibal. So far only Will, and some of Hannibal’s victims who did not live to tell what they know, really suspected the truth about Hannibal. Now that Will is healthy and no longer suffering from encephalitis, he can begin what will probably be a season-long cat and mouse game with Hannibal to reveal the truth. Hannibal has essentially taken over Will’s role in advising the FBI in serial murder cases, but we know he will not be able to resist Will’s request for Hannibal’s therapeutic help. Hannibal might even realize what Will is up to, but based upon his relationship with Will in the first season, this will be irresistible for Hannibal. We know where everything is leading and have already seen how the season ends. The suspense will be in seeing how we reach that point.

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The Americans returns to 1982 with two Soviet spies living undercover as an American couple. Elizabeth has returned home two months after she was shot in the first season finale, claiming to have been caring for a sick aunt. We immediately see that 1) not everything works out perfectly for spies and 2) even the spy we have been led to root for (even if from an enemy nation) can be a cold blooded killer when there is an innocent witness around. While the first season centered around the relationship between Philip and Elizabeth, the second season will deal more with the entire family.

Elizabeth and Philip have tried to keep their children safe from their activities and we saw how important this is as another undercover couple were killed, along with their daughter. We know Paige is suspicious, but so far instead of learning the truth about her parents she caught them having sex. It is not certain which revelation will ultimately be more shocking.

The Americans did an excellent job of working all of this into the season premiere, along with returning to other subplots. We saw the fake marriage between Martha and Phillip (or Clarke as she knows him) in order to spy on the Americans. Their FBI agent neighbor Stan continues to use Nina, unaware that she is now really using him. The nature of Stan’s relationship with Nina came up as they watched a pirated copy of The French Lieutenant’s Woman before Stan went to see the same movie with his wife and a friend. We also learned that Claudia has remained in the United States and she will have an influence on the season.

Arrow Time of Death

Arrow, yet another excellent genre show in its second season, returned after the Olympic hiatus with Time of Death. With Sara now making out with Oliver in the Arrow-Cave, it was time for Felicity to more firmly establish her importance. (“You’ll always be my girl, Felicity.”) The episode introduced another worthy opponent, The Clock King. It also brought the present day and island stories together further in the final scene where Moira brought Oliver in to introduce her son to the man she was meeting with–Slade. The first photo has also been released of Barry Allen in costume as The Flash in the planned spin off.

Yet another sophomore show, Revolution, is well below the quality of the other shows discussed above. They do try to keep coming up with new things to keep the show fresh, but in the end they just wind up without anything really compelling happening. The supposedly upcoming battle to the death between Monroe and his son sounds guaranteed to disappoint. Having Aaron wake up in an alternative reality in 2014 with the power on after trying tying to upload a virus into his nano-bot children (or are they now Gods?) made for a good final scene, but will anything significant really come from this? At least it sounds it might make for a good episode. In this alternate reality, Giancarlo Esposito will be back in his old life as a sleazy insurance salesman. If they were really creative, the episode would take place in a different alternative universe where instead he runs the Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant chain.

Hannibal, The Americans, and Arrow were all excellent new series which began last year, but the best of all the series to premiere last year was Orphan Black. BBC America has released the above sneak peaks, with the show returning on April 19. More news on season two here.

Aaron Paul has again expressed interest in appearing in the Breaking Bad spin off, Better Call Saul. Bryan Cranston and Jonathan Banks have also expressed interest. Dean Norris is not interested, failing to understand that one episode of anything by Vince Gilligan is far more significant than an entire season of Under the Dome. (The series finale of Breaking Bad was reviewed here.)

Disney has always excelled at their synergy in using each of their holdings to make money for others. ABC will be running a documentary (extended commercial?) March 18 on Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe.

Heroes is coming back for a thirteen episode miniseries, possibly with some of the original cast “popping back in.”

“The enormous impact ‘Heroes’ had on the television landscape when it first launched in 2006 was eye-opening,” said NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke. “Shows with that kind of resonance don’t come around often and we thought it was time for another installment. We’re thrilled that visionary creator Tim Kring was as excited about jumping back into this show as we were and we look forward to all the new textures and layers Tim plans to add to his original concept. Until we get closer to air in 2015, the show will be appropriately shrouded in secrecy, but we won’t rule out the possibility of some of the show’s original cast members popping back in.”

I don’t care either way about Heroes but am happy to see that an American network is getting away from the usual season format. Heroes itself would have been much better as a miniseries rather than continuing it beyond the point where Tim Kring seemed to know what to do with the show. Note that almost all of the shows I mentioned above were aired for short seasons, generally on cable, which I think helps make a better quality show. Fox is also doing something similar with 24.

While I don’t  care whether Heroes returns, I am looking forward to the return of Farscape. A movie is planned:

Set to follow the awesome comics written by our favorite Keith R.A. DeCandido, the film would follow John and Aeryn’s son, D’Argo (or Little D, as we will always refer to him). Because their baby was exhibiting a set of interesting powers that made him a magnet for galactic villains, we find that John and Aeryn hide their son on Earth to grow up. Now the kid is 19 and ready to go into space with his parents.

There has also been recent talk about a limited series reboot of Firefly.

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Last week I questioned making US versions of British shows as opposed to airing the same shows here. Steven Moffat has had experience with cases where that did not work. His excellent sit-com Coupling flopped when an American version was aired, but I would highly recommend watching the original on Netflix. It is sort of a combination of Seinfeld, Friends, and Sex in the City with just a little bit of The Big Bang Theory thrown in. Moffat wisely says it would be insane to make an American version of his current shows, Sherlock and Doctor Who:

Not just popular on a worldwide level, it’s so distinctively local in outlook that a remake of any sort would destroy what makes it work in the first place.

Doctor Who’s everywhere,” he said. “You can bump in to the Doctor anywhere,” adding that the series has, “probably penetrated enough that it’s no longer regarded as an import, it’s just that show.”

Sherlock and Doctor Who are both doing rather well but they couldn’t be more definitively British. They’re obtusely British. They’re about as British as it gets. You shouldn’t be afraid of being British because that’s what you’re selling.”

And of course, if a remake were to be proposed and the Doctor were no longer British in demeanor (albeit British via Gallifrey), would he even be the Doctor?

“If anyone were to ask me, I’d say it’s an absolutely insane idea. You couldn’t have more than one Doctor Who in the world. It would just be dreadful.”

CBS did approach Moffat about making a US version of Sherlock and when turned down developed Elementary.

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This has not been a good season for new sit-coms, especially for NBC but last week’s episode of The Crazy Ones (on CBS) was its best episode of the season. The cast put on both a Bar Mitzvah and a musical. While far from a great series, Robin Williams has kept the show amusing through a lot of otherwise weak scripts. I actually don’t mind that the new NBC sit-coms were flops. It just increases the chances that Community will be renewed.

Mixology premiered last week, showing some promise even if the premise is far-fetched. Personally I’ve always found the prospect of successfully meeting anyone in that type of bar to be less realistic than most of the shows discussed in this post. Besides, if I can spend the entire final season of How I Met Your Mother showing a weekend at the inn where Robin and Barney’s wedding is taking  place, I can try a series taking place all in one night in this bar. It will be interesting to watch to see if the idea works or turns into a flop.

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SciFi Weekend: Hannibal Finale; Matt Smith Says Good By; Marvel Movies; Veronica Mars; True Blood Sex Scenes; James Gandolfini; Disney Princesses and the Doctor

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Those who haven’t watched Hannibal may want to skip down below as there are some major spoilers here. The first season of Hannibal ended with a scene which was sort of a reverse image from Silence of the Lambs with Will in the prison for the criminally insane. Looking back, this ending seemed almost inevitable, but I am glad we didn’t actually see Abigail’s death. As for Will, it appears that having been framed for her murder is a problem which will not be resolved quickly. Bryan Fuller gave some hints as to where next season will go:

Jack conveniently comes in after Will accuses Hannibal of all the murders. Would Jack have been swayed if he had heard Will’s thoughts?
Fuller: In Season 2, Jack will be investigating those accusations. I think after Will woke up from getting shot by Jack and before he was put into the institution, he shared his theories about Hannibal. Now it’s up to those characters and Hannibal Lecter to either support or deny those accusations in a properly investigated way.

Do you intend to keep Will locked up for a while?
Fuller:
He will be incarcerated, and we will be dealing with all of the threads of that. We need to see all of the things happen that would happen in that scenario. Will Graham needs to go on trial for the murders that he may or may not have committed. Jack has to be brought before a review board for his participation in what happened to Will, and Hannibal, as Will’s psychiatrist, is going to continue to try to help Will see the truth that Hannibal wants him to see. The ball is up in the air in so many ways for Jack and Hannibal and Will. The fun of Season 2 will be spiking those balls…

From the beginning, you made it clear you were telling your own story, but do you fear that this choice will alienate some of the diehard Red Dragon fans?
Fuller:
If you look at the scant two pages that talk about Will Graham’s back story, they tell us that Will was so psychologically compromised from investigating the Minnesota Shrike that he had to become institutionalized. So, I feel like I’ve got a car jack and I’ve wedged it in between those lines. I’ve just opened them up for room to tell more between the lines than what you may have anticipated. But we’re also sticking to the canon. We will deliver what we’ve come to expect in Red Dragon of Will Graham, but he’ll just have a longer, harder journey to get there. I gave myself room to wiggle, so we’re going to see some wiggling in the next two seasons.

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Bryan Fuller revealed his seven year plan for Hannibal, getting into the novels by season four. Beware, this contains spoilers for the books as well as future seasons.

AX: How many seasons do you have plotted?

FULLER: I can see pretty clearly seven seasons. I think that there are always shifts and alterations and course corrections that you have to take, because you’ll be cruising along and then you’ll hit an idea and go, “Oh, wow, that’s a great idea, we have to do that now.” That being said, I can see the structure for a seven-season arc for the show, but then I also am very open to course corrections along the way to adapt to changes.

AX: If you don’t get to run for seven seasons, are you going to make available to the public in some form what the unaired seasons would have been?

FULLER: Well, when you get into Season Four, you get into the literature. And so Season Four would be RED DRAGON, Season Five would be the SILENCE OF THE LAMBS era, Season Six would be the HANNIBAL era, and then Season Seven would be a resolve to the ending of that book. HANNIBAL ends on a cliffhanger. Hannibal Lecter has bonded with Clarice Starling and brainwashed her and they are now quasi-lovers and off as fugitives, and so that’s a cliffhanger. It might be interesting to resolve that in some way and to bring Will Graham back into the picture. So once we get two more seasons, say, of the television show, those are the aren’t-novelized stories, and then we would get into expansions of the novels after that and kind of using the novels as a backbone for season arcs that would then be kind of enhanced.

AX: Assuming you cover the eras of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and HANNIBAL, when Will Graham isn’t a character in the books, what do you do with Hugh Dancy for those two seasons?

FULLER: Well, it would be about incorporating him in a way that he hasn’t been incorporated in the books, because Will Graham was only mentioned in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, he was not seen, and so I would be curious to see what happens to Will Graham after RED DRAGON. By the time of RED DRAGON, he’s married to Molly and has her son from a previous marriage, but doesn’t have any children of his own. And then that relationship is more complicated by Francis Dolarhyde and there were suggestions that there was a not-so-happy ending for Will Graham after RED DRAGON because he has his face carved up and you wonder what’s going to happen to Will now, and I’m curious to see what happens to Will after that.

More from Fuller here.

Matt Smith says thank you in the video above. Interested in tea at the Ritz with him? Check it out here.

Jenna-Louise Coleman will be appearing in Death Comes To Pemberley:

Last month, BBC One set Matthew Rhys to play Mr. Darcy in Death Comes To Pemberley, the three-part serial based on P.D. James’ suspense novel which revisits Jane Austen’s most iconic characters. A vast lineup of British TV talent has now been added to the cast, including Doctor Who star Jenna-Louise Coleman as Lydia Wickham, the sister of Austen’s Pride And Prejudice heroine Elizabeth Bennett. As previously announced, Anna Maxwell Martin is playing Bennett and Matthew Goode is George Wickham, Lydia’s husband. The story picks up six years into Elizabeth and Darcy’s marriage as they prepare for their annual ball. When Lydia arrives, she brings a shocking halt to the proceedings and a murder investigation unfolds.

It looks like there may be no truth to the rumors reported last week of finds of more lost episodes of Doctor Who. They are being described as destroyed rather than lost, which doesn’t sound very encouraging.

Joss Whedon says Loki won’t be appearing in The Avengers 2. More importantly, Robert Downey, Jr. will be back for The Avengers 2 and 3. Like we really thought there was any chance they would do it without Tony Stark, or anyone else could replace him. At present chances don’t look good for another Iron Man movie. More Marvel movie news here.

Shailene Woodley’s role as Mary Jane Watson has been cut from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and MJ won’t appear until the third film. Maybe this means that the rumors that Gwen doesn’t get killed off in the second movie are true.

Veronica Mars

Filming on the Veronica Mars movie has begun. I’m looking forward to getting my digital copy when the movie opens due to contributing to the Kickstart campaign.

Secrets of True Blood sex scenes here.

Dan Harmon didn’t like season 4 of Community any more than we did.

Sopranos Diner

The scene went to black for James Gandolfini in the past week. It looks like he was way too busy to die. Here’s a list of his unfinished work. Apparently the Grim Reaper isn’t a fan. Some of Tony Soprano’s best quotes can be found here.

Last week we looked at the combination of Disney and Marvel characters. This week we’ll look back at prints by Karen Hallion combining Doctor Who and Disney princesses and other stories. (More here). Incidentally, Disney recently had a coronation for their eleventh princess. Eleven Disney princesses. Eleven Doctors. Sounds suspicious to me. Glenn Beck has devised elaborate conspiracy theories based upon less.

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SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who; Agents of SHIELD; New & Returning Shows; Community; Person of Interest; The Newsroom

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Neil Gaiman’s second episode of Doctor Who, Nightmare in Silver, was weaker than his first episode, The Doctor’s Wife. Like so many  episodes this half-season, it wasn’t bad but came up short of what it might have been. The good thing about the episode is that Gaiman updated the backstory for the Cybermen which might be used in future episodes. He had less to say about the Doctor’s history than in The Doctor’s Wife except to reveal that it is foolish to try to beat the Doctor at Chess as The Timelords invented chess.

Gaiman accelerated the trend of making the Cybermen more like the Borg. (There has also been speculation that the Borg were originally based upon the Cybermen but I have never seen confirmation of this). Instead of assimilation, they upgrade. They upgrade humans, and now other species, with cybermites, and upgrade themselves to counter attacks. One problem with the episode was that upgrades were only used for dramatic effect in limited circumstances. The Cybermen upgraded to be faster, but in most scenes they continued to move slowly.

These Cybermen were shown to be far more dangerous. They are so dangerous that the standard reaction to finding one a a planet is to destroy the entire planet. Even an entire galaxy was destroyed to prevent the Cybermen from advancing. The problem with making an enemy this powerful is that ending each episode by imploding the planet would be tedious, and having the Doctor repeatedly defeat them in under an hour would be unrealistic–sort of how the Borg gradually changed from an unbeatable force when introduced on Star Trek The Next Generation to a race easily defeated by a lone starship on Voyager.

Warwick Davies stole the show as Porridge, later revealed to be Emperor Ludins Nimrod Kendrick Cord Longstaff the 41st. It was unrealistic for the Emperor to just happen to be hiding on this planet, but now that the Doctor has met him it would be a shame for the two not to meet up again.

The episode has the obligatory (this season) homage to past Doctors with images of them displayed. There’s more to come next week, including a scene with Bessie driving by. There were not any obvious clues to the Clara mystery but Clara did learn that the Doctor considers her to be the impossible girl. We should be getting the answers next week, with this prequel released leading into The Name of the Doctor:

A Radio Times interview with Neil Gaiman is posted here. Gaiman’s interview with the official Doctor Who site is here.  Blastr has the story of how Steven Moffat got Neil Gaiman to update the Cybermen and make them scary.

The Behind the Scenes video is above.

The Doctor found a BAFTA in the TARDIS (video above). There is also more at the awards ceremony to honor Doctor Who:

Doctor Who is to be honoured with a special tribute to be shown at Sunday’s BAFTA television award ceremony.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts will be marking the programme’s 50th Anniversary year by showing a video montage celebrating the long history of the show.

Current companion Jenna-Louise Coleman will also attend the ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall in London and will present one of the night’s awards.

Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA, said:

There are only a handful of programmes that have the quality and longevity of Doctor Who and the ability to put the nation on their sofas – or indeed behind them – year after year. BAFTA raises a toast to Doctor Who on its 50th birthday this year.

Steven Moffat, Doctor Who’s Lead Writer and Executive Producer, said the production team would be sending Daleks to patrol the red carpet:

This is a massive and exciting year for Doctor Who, so I’m thrilled that BAFTA are including a special tribute to the show. So thrilled, in fact, we’re sending the Doctor’s best friend, Jenna Coleman, to present an award. We’re also sending the Doctor’s worst enemy, the Daleks, to exterminate lots of innocent people. Sorry, it’s just what they do. Let us know if it’s a Health and Safety issue.

Doctor Who won the main BAFTA award for Best Drama Series in 2006 and has won many BAFTA Craft Awards since the series returned in 2005.

Watch out for spoilers this week. An error was made and some Blu-Ray sets with The Name of the Doctor has been shipped early and some copies of the episode are starting to appear on line. Some people are intentionally spoiling the show on Twitter so be careful in reading messages in response to mentioning Doctor Who.

Speaking of spoilers,  John Hurt may have revealed his role in the 50th Anniversary episode:

Mr Hurt, who lives near Cromer, earlier told the EDP he had just finished shooting a Dr Who 3D special in which he plays “part of the Doctor” in a “kind of trinity” which includes David Tennant.

Not surprisingly, ABC has picked up Agents of SHIELD, along with additional genre shows for next season. More on the cast of Agents of SHIELD here. Defiance and Revolution have both been renewed. In the overkill department, Once Upon A Time is both returning and getting a spin-off. Blastr has a run down of eleven new genre shows.24 might return as a 12 or 13 episode mini-series. Does this mean that the story will take place in real time over a shorter period of time or that the show will move faster than real time?

Community - Season 4

Community was also picked up for a fifth season and there are some rumors that Dan Harmon might return. (I’m not holding my breath, but hope it is true.) Chevy Chase is gone, and he was not missed in the episodes where he did not appear at all or only had minor roles. The finale showed once again that show runners David Guarascio and Moses Port may be sincere in their desire to continue the creative ideas of Dan Harmon but just do not understand how to carry this out.

Compare the season finale, Advanced Introduction to Finality, with Basic Human Anatomy, the episode written by Jim Rash which most critics consider the best of the season. The finale brought back The Darkest Timeline with a story which was ridiculous on so many levels. It centered around the impossible situation of people crossing over from The Darkest Timeline with the use of paint ball in a story which didn’t make much sense even if you accept this. Then it ended by revealing it all to be Jeff’s daydream. A daydream (if the story was good) would be fine as part of a story. It might have even worked earlier in the season, but the finale should not be almost entirely a day dream (especially when the dream storyline wasn’t all that good).

Dan Harmon would have been more subtle with the use of an alternative time line, as with Jim Rash with the body swaps in Basic Human Anatomy. If there were true body swaps, or if it was all a dream, I doubt the story would have worked. Instead Rash had characters behave as if they had swapped bodies to reveal more about the characters. Troy acted as Abed because he couldn’t cope with a relationship he is too immature to handle. Abed reciprocated by acting as if he was Troy to end the relationship. Of course we know why the Dean pretended to change bodies with Jeff. The flashing lights weren’t magic but just someone flipping the switches. While not plausible, it was all possible.

Next season is expected to pick up with the remaining members of the study group in their final semester. Jeff and Pierce have graduated. Presumably Pierce is gone forever, but they now have a more difficult job of getting Jeff into the episodes when he should no longer be at the study group’s table. Perhaps they will come up with another reason why Jeff needs another class, but that would make last season appear even lamer in retrospect.

Person of Interest finale

Person of Interest concluded the season with a strong two-part episode which more firmly establishes the show as science fiction. In earlier episodes the machine was simply a gimmick to set up a more conventional crime show of the week, but now the machine is an integral part of the show. Plus Amy Acker was back and Sarah Shahi is an excellent addition to the show. In some ways the show reminds me of Fringe, which gradually set up its mythology in earlier stand-alone episodes.

Aaron Sorkin’s show, The Newsroom, returns on July 14, with changes made to hopefully fix some of the problems from the first season. A promo video is below:

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SciFi Weekend: Awake, Game of Thrones, Favorite Walterisms From Fringe, Once Upon A TIme, Sherlock, Community Returns, Shows On The Bubble

This week’s episode of Awake, Guilty, did little to progress the mythology of the show, but did address how Michael’s son and wife were coping with the loss of the other in each reality. There was no further mention of the ending from last week regarding the car crash. Things were very similar in both worlds–so much so that Michael  could use sleeping pills to go to sleep and find out where a falsely convicted man had a hiding place in the dessert after his counterpart was killed in one realilty. Having things be so similar, including both having hide outs in the same location, was a different situation from last week when the same person was a fertility specialist in one reality and a homeless man in the other. The previews suggest that next week’s episode will again have a character who is different in each reality.

The idea of taking sleeping pills to change from one reality to the other came from actor Jason Isscs:

Awake actor Jason Issacs says over the next several episodes, the series will begin to examine some of the implications of Michael’s ability to fall asleep and change from one reality to the next.

That examination will begin with tonight’s episode when something happens to his teenage son in one universe and Michael takes extreme methods to try and go to the other to find clues that may help him get his son back.

Issacs says he came on the idea that Michael could take sleeping pills in order to fall asleep in one universe and wake up in the other.

“That was my idea – “Please let me take a fistful of pills” – and Howard Gordon went, “Great idea.” And there it was on the page next day,” Issacs says. There are not that many stories in the world, so it’s always about execution, and taste, and tone. And you very smartly put your finger on one of the hats that’s in the ring – how many interesting and different ways can we think of to make him pass out and go to sleep? There’s a bunch of people in that writers building that you’d like to be on a desert island with, because they continue to get more and more creative as the series goes on. They spread their wings until they’re just flying.”

Issacs says that idea will extend into next week’s episode and the question of Michael losing consciousness in one reality will shift him to the other.

“Any drop in consciousness. There’s an episode coming up where we play with every permutation of what you can do with this guy. You know that old showbiz maxim, “Nobody buys a ticket to watch the village of the happy people”? We send this guy to hell and back, and one way we play with him is to make him unconscious as often as possible, and we do it in every way you can dream of. Knocked out, getting medicated, being drugged against his will,” Issacs says.

HBO has released the synopses for the first five episodes of Game of Thrones:

Season 2, Episode 1: “The North Remembers” (April 1)
“As Robb Stark and his northern army continue the war against the Lannisters, Tyrion arrives in King’s Landing to counsel Joffrey and temper the young king’s excesses. On the island of Dragonstone, Stannis Baratheon plots an invasion to claim his late brother’s throne, allying himself with the fiery Melisandre, a strange priestess of a stranger god. Across the sea, Daenerys, her three young dragons and khalasar trek through the Red Waste in search of allies, or water. In the North, Bran presides over a threadbare Winterfell, while beyond the Wall, Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch must shelter with a devious wildling.”

Season 2, Episode 2: “The Night Lands” (April 8)
“In the wake of a bloody purge in the capital, Tyrion chastens Cersei for alienating the king’s subjects. On the road north, Arya shares a secret with Gendry, a Night’s Watch recruit. With supplies dwindling, one of Dany’s scouts returns with news of their position. After nine years as a Stark ward, Theon Greyjoy reunites with his father Balon, who wants to restore the ancient Kingdom of the Iron Islands. Davos enlists Salladhor Saan, a pirate, to join forces with Stannis and Melisandre for a naval invasion of King’s Landing.”

Season 2, Episode 3: “What Is Dead May Never Die” (April 15)
“At the Red Keep, Tyrion plots three alliances through the promise of marriage.  Catelyn arrives in the Stormlands to forge an alliance of her own. But King Renly, his new wife Margaery and her brother Loras Tyrell have other plans. At Winterfell, Luwin tries to decipher Bran’s dreams.”

Season 2, Episode 4: “Garden of Bones” (April 22)
“Joffrey punishes Sansa for Robb’s victories, while Tyrion and Bronn scramble to temper the king’s cruelty. Catelyn entreats Stannis and Renly to forego their ambitions and unite against the Lannisters. Dany and her exhausted khalasar arrive at the gates of Qarth, a prosperous city with strong walls and rulers who greet her outside them. Tyrion coerces a queen’s man into being his eyes and ears.  Arya and Gendry are taken to Harrenhal, where their lives rest in the hands of “The Mountain,” Gregor Clegane. Davos must revert to his old ways and smuggle Melisandre into a secret cove.”

Season 2, Episode 5: “The Ghost of Harrenhal” (April 29)
“The end of the Baratheon rivalry drives Catelyn to flee and Littlefinger to act. At King’s Landing, Tyrion’s source alerts him to Joffrey’s flawed defense plan and a mysterious secret weapon. Theon sails to the Stony Shore to prove he’s worthy to be called Ironborn. In Harrenhal, Arya receives a promise from Jaqen H’ghar, one of three prisoners she saved from the Gold Cloaks. The Night’s Watch arrive at the Fist of the First Men, an ancient fortress where they hope to stem the advance of the wildling army.”

The Fringe Team’s favorite Walterisms, collected at WonderCon in the video above.

Once Upon A Time had a new twist to the Little Red Riding Hood story. The TV Addict interviewed Meghan Ory about the twist in her role:

So how long have you know about the juicy nugget that you’re the big, bad wolf?
MEGHAN:  I’ve know for a little while.  A few episodes in, the boys called me up and said, “Guess what?  You’re the wolf!”

When you auditioned to the show, they didn’t say, “Hey, by the way . . . “?
MEGHAN:  They did not tell me.  They did not.  I think it might have changed a few things about my audition perhaps.  But it was very exciting when I found out.

What did you think when they first told you?  Did you think, “Oh no!” or “Oh, cool!”?
MEGHAN:  I was intrigued. I thought it was a really cool twist and something that most people probably wouldn’t see coming and it was kind of something different for the show too.  So I was pretty excited about it.

Did it start informing your performance once you found out?  As far as changing the way you were portraying Ruby?
MEGHAN:  A little bit.  But not too much.  I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to do with her.  And also since we hadn’t seen the wolf in Storybrooke, it was more a Red thing, and we hadn’t seen Red that much.

Have they clued you in on whether Ruby can transform in Storybrooke, or is that part of the curse?  That isn’t something she has to worry about?
MEGHAN:  Well, I think that’s going to be a very interesting story to find out about.

Jennifer Morrison talks about what is coming up on the show here.

 

In a post at The Guardian which is primarily about Mark Gattis joining Being Human, there are some comments about the cliff hanger to Sherlock (major spoiler for those who have not seen the season two finale:

Earlier this year Steven Moffat suggested that feverish fan theories as to how Holmes had faked his own death had missed one vital clue. So does Gatiss think the truth could now be out there? “There’s some very clever theories, some of them elaborate, and I enjoy them all. But if I were to tell you if someone had worked it out then it wouldn’t be a secret.” Which, of course, isn’t an answer. So I try again. Has somebody somewhere now worked it out? “It may be, sort of, in some of the theories. There’s a lot of very clever people out there … ”

Gatiss points to certain theories beyond his wildest imagination, and admits to being happily shocked by the frenzy that surrounded Holmes’ jump. “I’ve never known something become such a public talking point.” And one that shows little sign of abating. “It’ll be worth the wait,” he promises.

On the planned US Sherlock Holmes update, starring Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, he pauses for a moment. “All I can say … is no comment.”

According to the BBC’s in-house magazine, Sherlock won’t begin filming until early 2013, meaning that we won’t see a resolution to the cliff hanger until at least spring. We might not have that answer, but if anyone is wondering about Benedict Cumberbatch’s favorite songs, they can check here.

I  am sure happy that Community has returned. It is the only sit-com to deal with topics including seven alternative realities, a parody of My Dinner With Andre, and paintball fights–plus in contrast to HBO, no horses were killed during the production of this show. Community remains on the bubble, but the ratings of the show compared to other NBC comedies leaves reason to be optimistic. While it might have benefited by all the hype surrounding its return, as well as not being up against The Big Bang Theory this week, Community has done better than 30 Rock and the first episode back beat most NBC shows:

This season, except all 18 episodes of The Office, all six episodes of Smash (following The Voice), three episodes of Shitney (1.01, 1.02 and 1.03, all after The Office), three episodes of Up All Night (1.01 (after the America’s Got Talent finale), 1.02 (time-period première) and 1.04) and the season premiere of Law & Order : Special Victim Unit, not a single scripted NBC show has done better than last Thursday’s Community episode.

The demographics of the viewers were also quite favorable. Favorable reviews, such as this one from The New York Times, is certainly helpful.

Community has also been picked up for syndication by the Comedy Channel. Another few years worth of episodes should make syndication even more lucrative. Huffington Post has a handy chart of all the relationships on the show.

Buddy TV has an interview with Joel McHale:

With Jeff’s ties to both Annie and Britta, will there be any kind of development in either (or both) of those relationships this season?
There’s no romantic development really; there will be little things here and there. But as Dan has always done, he mixes up the couples all the time. It’s like being in a really close group of friends in high school – they keep pairing up in different ways. But because the group has to fend for its life against all these outside pressures–like the air conditioning repair school, Chang’s ascent to power with an army of 13-year-old boys he gets from a Bar Mitzvah, and the group gets expelled–those things have to be resolved first.

How long is the group expelled for?
They’re expelled forever. They all go work at a Jamba Juice together.

This has often been called the darkest season of ‘Community’ – any hints or teasers as to how things get darker in the coming episodes?
A few characters die, in a hilarious way – that’s dark. Troy and Abed get into a pretty big fight. There’s a full-scale blanket fort war. It’s not like it’s become macabre or scary, but it definitely gets darker than usual. But I think that’s where Dan and the other writers operate best. One of the most praised episodes of last season was the Dungeon and Dragons episode (“Advanced Dungeon and Dragons”), which dealt with a guy who was going to commit suicide. So I think the writers are happy to dance around the lasers right now.

Among other genre shows, Once Upon A Time is believed to have an excellent chance for renewal and Person of Interest was officially renewed in the past week. Over at Fox, Terra Nova has officially been cancelled while Alcatraz and Fringe remain in danger.

The movie version of 24 has been delayed, but now there are reports that it will be turned into a trilogy.

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SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who, Christmas Special To A Heartbreaking Development, Season Finales For Dexter and Homeland

There is only one week to go. Here is an interview with producer Marcus Wilson on this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special.

Bill Bailey on appearing in this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special

This week Steven Moffat also revealed more about the special. The cosmic screwdriver is an awesome tool, but it doesn’t work on wood. So what if the Doctor runs into a monster made of wood, which was also influenced by Moffat’s childhood fears:

“It was an old, old nightmare. When I was a little boy, I used to have an obsession that if I fell asleep facing the wall, as opposed to facing the door of my room, something dreadful would happen to me. I had all sorts of safeguards in case I ever fell asleep facing the wrong way. But one time, I woke up… and I was facing the wall. I was horrified! I spun round, and I was so transported by fear that, for a moment, I saw a seated, wooden king in front of my bedroom door, saying, ‘Well, you got that wrong, didn’t you?’ And I freaked.

“Obviously, it was just my imagination; there wasn’t actually a wooden king. At least, I hope there wasn’t. But that is the Wooden King in this episode, seated and looking like wood, but with a mobile face… Have you seen it blink? It’s terrifying. It’s that wonderful, counter-intuitive thing of wood behaving like flesh, and being fluid. It feels so wrong, and therefore so Doctor Who.”

The big news beyond this Christmas is that, as has been clear from previous news, the Ponds will be leaving:

“The final days of the Ponds are coming,” Moffat said.

“I’m not telling you when or how, but that story is going to come to a heartbreaking end.”

He said the Doctor, played by Matt Smith, was going to meet “a new friend”. It is believed that role has not yet been cast.

On the departure of Gillan and Darvill, Matt Smith said: “We had the most incredible journey. We took over the show and we’ve really had to hold hands and help each other through it.

“So it’s very disappointing, but one has to remember that this show is about change and regeneration, and that’s what galvanizes it and pushes it forwards.”

Moffat does not plan any two-part episodes next season, hoping to make every episode a standalone blockbuster:

“The big thing is, nothing in the next run is starting out as a two-parter,” he confirms in the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine. “At this stage, everything is a single episode, and the only reason anything will become a two-parter is if we think it needs to be; not so much that the story is too long for 45 minutes, because nothing is too long for 45 minutes, but if it feels as though there are two distinct stages to the story…

He goes on to explain some of the reasoning behind the decision: “I was looking at the facts and stats and it’s not true that the two-parters save us money. We’ve assumed it for years. They don’t save us money at all. Not a penny. So what’s the point in them? The viewing figures always go down. The AI [Audience Appreciation Index] goes down, even if the second episode is the better one. The press coverage goes down. The trailers are a bit boring. I want to be able to say, every week, we’ve got a big standalone blockbuster, and then a trailer that makes it look like nothing compared to what’s going to happen next week! That’s the form for next year.”

Moffat also says that the movie discussed by David Yates which presents a Doctor Who separate form the television show will not occur.

David (Yates) was talking a little out of turn, there; a very, very brilliant director but no the film as described by him, of course we’re not going to do that—a film that contradicts the television series, it would be a heathen thing to do … I would be ‘beheaded’ to do such a thing!

It would be wonderful to do a Doctor Who film, but when and if we did—and hopefully we will be doing it—it will be very much an offshoot of the television series and we’ll be part of it, and it will star the television Doctor, of course—anything else would be heresy!

Neil Gaiman on his favorite moments from the past season of Doctor Who.

The other big special of the holiday season is the two hour Downton Abbey Christmas Special. Warning, there are MAJOR SPOILERS for those who have not seen the second season, which so far has aired in the U.K. but not the U.S. The preview gives the impression that the special deals with two major plot lines of the second season which were left unresolved at the end of the season.

Dexter and Homeland (my favorite new show of the season) conclude their seasons tonight. Going into the final two seasons, I wonder if Dexter will have any major developments tonight beyond killing the big-bad of the season. I’m curious as to how Homeland will conclude and still leave things open for a second season. Claire Danes does say in the interview above that there will be a second season. Presumably if Carrie saves the Vice President and perhaps exposes a mole in the CIA her career will not look as finished as it did last week (assuming she stays on her meds).

Colin Hanks was interviewed about his role as Travis Marshall on Dexter. Here are some portions of the interview:

What was your reaction to the story line when they explained it to you?
Well, when they told it to me, it was incredibly vague. They just said, “You’ll be one of the two bad guys; you’ll work together as a team.” And then they said — well, I can’t really say because we haven’t aired yet — but they told me a version of what is going to happen at the end, which was sort of like the caveat. Which ended up not happening, by the way.

The end changed from when you got the role?
Yeah, as with all things TV, it’s always fluid, it’s always morphing, it’s always changing, it’s always growing. And I think there was a lot of that throughout the course of the season. They didn’t tell me about the twist in — I think it was the “Get Gellar” episode — until right before they sent that episode out.

Oh, so you didn’t know from the start that Professor Geller was really dead?
I didn’t know. I didn’t know about the big reveal.

Then I guess you didn’t tweak how you were acting against him —
No. No, no, no. They didn’t tell me, so I just played him as if he were a real person. Which is great.

Do you think you might’ve played it differently had you known?
I’m sure I would have in some way, so it was a luxury to just not worry about that. There’s always this sort of thing like, Oh, I wish I know what’s gonna happen so I can do my actor stuff and prepare and properly tell the story. But on the first day of shooting that we did, I remembered Eddie [James Olmos] having a conversation with [director] John Dahl. And Eddie knew about the reveal; John did not. And John said, “Look, it’s the great thing about life, you never know what’s gonna happen, so that makes for more realistic storytelling.”

Maybe the religious angle is getting people especially fired up. He’s a religious zealot.
Yeah, but it comes from a place of not being right in the head to begin with. It’s not like the religion is there, and then he went crazy because of the religion; he was crazy before that and he was going through his personal issues before that, so as things sort of were progressing, and once we got to the stage where we were really sort of learning things about Travis, I became much more sympathetic to him. Then at the end he just goes all out evil and crazy.

Dexter’s son Harrison gets involved in the finale when Travis kidnaps him. Was it hard to play insane killer scenes with a toddler?
It was incredibly hard. Without giving too much away, it’s incredibly dramatic and there’s yelling and it’s a culmination of the entire season. I mean, it’s the climax of the season. And I’ve got a sword, I’m holding a kid, he doesn’t know what’s going on. I’m supposed to put him in this thing and he doesn’t wanna go. And you know, I have a kid now [in real life], so my heart is just breaking for him because he’s crying. Again, John Dahl directed, he directed the final episode, and I said to him, “Of course it’s the climax of the season and we’ve gotta deal with this screaming 3-year-old kid for two days.” Not easy, but we did it.

In other media news, congratulations to the cast and crew of The Big Bang Theory on their 100th episode.

This day also brought the sad news of the death of  Czech playwright, dissident, and later political leader Vaclav Havelwho helped bring about the downfall of the Soviet Union. The week also saw the loss of Christopher Hitchens.

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SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who, The War on Christmas, Saving Greendale (And Inspector Spacetime), Sherlock and The Hour Returning For Second Season But Future Of Terra Nova In Doubt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Npe-7u1EFPw

Two clips from The Doctor, The Widow, and The Wardrobe (this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special) have been released (above).

For those who might have missed my posting of this earlier in the week, The BBC has released the above prequel video.

Recently I mentioned the search for lost episodes of Doctor Who and now two lost episodes of Doctor Who from 1965 and 1967 have been recovered. Video clips above.

Next time you hear conservatives talk about the War on Christmas, ask if it is possible if it was the trees which started the war.

Or perhaps we should not ignore the harm done to Christian children by Jews, atheists, and gays in the War on Christmas. See the public service announcement above.

Community is going on hiatus until spring but did end for the fall with more Inspector Spacetime.

With Inspector Spacetime gone, we will have to settle for Excellent!, a comedy spin off of Doctor Who staring the Cybermen. Title sequence above. Not satisfied? Then we must Save Greendale. Beyond Inspector Spacetime, more reasons to save Community are  listed here.

Spin, a short film by Jamin Winans which has won over 40 film festival awards worldwide, shows the complexities of trying to control time in the video above.

 

There are some hints as to what happens in the season finale of Terra Nova next week:

Someone’s going to die. That much has been leaked about the upcoming two-hour finale on Fox’s Terra Nova, and star Allison Miller promises that fans are not going to be at all happy if the Steven Spielberg dino drama doesn’t get a second season.

“There’s going to be so much left unanswered,” Miller told EW. Miller plays Skye, a traitor within the Terra Nova camp.

The finale, which airs on Monday, Dec. 19, at 8 p.m., opens with the colonists anticipating the arrival of the 11th Pilgrimage. Producers have already spilled that not just one, but two people will die, including a “person who is without family,” there will be an explosion, and there is an unexpected trip back to 2149.

“It felt like we went back to the pilot as far as the scope and scale of everything,” said Miller. “It’s just so huge, it sort of has this post-apocalyptic feel to it that’s dark and interesting.” As far as who might be killed off in the finale, “I was so disappointed. I mean, it’s heartbreaking. It’s so, so sad.”

However, she does say we’ll get some answers. We’ll learn why Lucas wants the portal to go into the future, as well as the past, and how Lucas and Taylor ended up on different sides of things. “You’ll know exactly what has been driving them apart all these years,” said Miller. And we’ll find out about an organization with “something else in mind for Terra Nova.”

Since we’ve already heard about new evildoers named the Phoenix Group, we’re guessing that might be the organization she’s talking about.

According to executive producer Brannon Braga: “We have supercharged the premise of our show in a very chilling way. … Everything changes.”

“It would not be fair to anyone to not give us a second season,” said Miller.

I would like to see the show have more time to develop, but getting a second season has nothing to do about fairness. The first season could have been developed more, but the key factor  in delaying a decision is probably the high cost of the show.

Sherlock returns on BBC1 on January 1. Spoiler TV has interviews with Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, and Benedict Cumberbatch on the second season. The first episode is A Scandal In Belgravia:

The contemporary re-imagining of the Arthur Conan Doyle classic, co-created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, caused a sensation in the summer of 2010, delivering an audience of more than nine million viewers who tuned in to watch Sherlock and John Watson navigate a maze of cryptic clues and lethal killers in three thrilling, action-packed adventures.

In episode one of this new series, compromising photographs and a case of blackmail threaten the very heart of the British establishment but, for Sherlock and John, the game is on in more ways than one as they find themselves battling international terrorism, rogue CIA agents and a secret conspiracy involving the British government. But this case will cast a darker shadow over their lives than they could ever imagine, as the great detective begins a long duel of wits with an antagonist as cold and ruthless and brilliant as himself: to Sherlock Holmes, Irene Adler will always be THE woman.

The BBC has announced that The Hour will return for a second season:

Critically-acclaimed drama, The Hour will return to BBC AMERICA next year with a mini-series sequel, once again co-produced by the network.

Written and created by the award winning Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady, Shame, Sex Traffic) and produced by Kudos Film and TV, the new six-parter (6×60) sees the return of the highly competitive, sharp-witted and passionate news trio Bel (Romola Garai), Hector (Dominic West) and Freddie (Ben Whishaw) alongside beloved Lix (Anna Chancellor), scheming McCain (Julian Rhind-Tutt) and newly assertive Marnie Madden (Oona Chaplin), in this highly acclaimed 1950s newsroom drama.

The next installment rejoins The Hour team a year later in 1957 where we are introduced to new characters played by Peter Capaldi (The Thick of It, The Nativity) Hannah Tointon (The Inbetweeners) and Tom Burke (State of Play).

Perry Simon, General Manager, Channels, BBC Worldwide America says: “The Hour successfully launched BBC AMERICA’s new Dramaville franchise in August by setting the standard for great British drama. Abi Morgan and the Kudos production team delivered an extraordinary television experience and when the opportunity arose for us to co-produce a sequel we jumped at it. I can’t wait to see the next chapter in the lives of these brilliant characters.”

Jane Featherstone, Creative Director and Executive Producer, Kudos Film and Television, says: “In series two of The Hour we are going to find out what happens next in the lives of our news team, as they engage with a new year full of old flames, new loves, thrilling stories and plenty of scandal. Taking us even deeper into our characters’ lives and engaging the viewers with its energy, wit and story, we’re chuffed to bits to be able to keep the world alive.”

The sequel will see the team still striving to broadcast the stories they believe in, as they grapple with the looming spectre of the Cold War and changing social mores. It will chart political intrigue and corruption against the highly charged backdrop of a country in the grip of unsettling and rapid change. With the space race and nuclear power, Britain seems on the threshold of a new era of modernization, economic optimism, scientific progress and cultural change in the face of new immigration from the Commonwealth. But under the buoyant veneer, our characters become deeply embroiled in cover-ups, sexual intrigues and the resurgence of Mosley’s fascism…

Bel Rowley is still single and determined not to get involved with another married man. Clarence is in prison and she must now report to Randall Brown (Peter Capaldi) the eccentric new Head of News. While juggling the sparky relationships around her, she finds out that Hector is being lured to ITV. She fights for her program and finds herself taking on her adversary, Bill Kendall (Tom Burke), a producer whose magnetic charm she can’t help but find irresistible.

Hector Madden has risen to the status of a national celebrity, all while maintaining his lifestyle as a happily married man and face of The Hour. He is unsettled by Marnie’s desire to establish her own career and finds himself drawn to the late night clubs of Soho where he befriends Kiki (Hannah Tointon), a club hostess. No longer happy at The Hour under Randall’s new regime, he is tempted by offers from ITV, but when a night at the club goes badly wrong, scandal threatens and Hector must try to stop a news story that could destroy his marriage and his career.

Freddie Lyons, who was fired after ‘The Lord Elms’ live interview, makes an unexpected return to The Hour. Having been away for several months travelling around the world, he returns as co-host of The Hour, to both Bel and Hector’s surprise. He has however not lost his passion to investigate and as he becomes embroiled with exposing a cover-up, it becomes clear that the ghosts of the past will not let Freddie go.

Lix is still heading up the foreign desk, fighting for airtime for international stories, but a new side to her is revealed when Randall arrives at The Hour. Meanwhile, McCain (Julian Rhind-Tutt) is now Head of Press for Macmillan, protecting the recently elected Prime Minister and the closed circle of his cabinet.

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SciFi Weekend: Trailer For The Doctor Who Christmas Special; Lost Episodes; Doctor Who And Other Movies; Downton Abbey; Arrested Development; 24; Community; Trek Nation; Catwoman at OWS

A trailer has been released for this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special--The Doctor, The Widow And The Wardrobe. The title gives away the story which this year’s special is inspired by.

The trailer was presented during the skit above at Children In Need.

Wired has a story on Richard Molesworth’s search for lost episodes of Doctor Who.

There have been rumors of making another Doctor Who movie for quite a while, and there was a report from Variety which has obtained considerable attention this week:

“Harry Potter” director David Yates is teaming up with the BBC to turn its iconic sci-fi TV series “Doctor Who” into a bigscreen franchise.

Yates, who directed the last four Potter films, told Daily Variety that he is about to start work on developing a “Doctor Who” movie with Jane Tranter, head of L.A.-based BBC Worldwide Prods.

“We’re looking at writers now. We’re going to spend two to three years to get it right,” he said. “It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into the bigger arena.”

Unlike some of the earlier rumors, this story involves a new take on the character:

Yates made clear that his movie adaptation would not follow on from the current TV series, but would take a completely fresh approach to the material.

“Russell T. Davies and then Steven Moffat have done their own transformations, which were fantastic, but we have to put that aside and start from scratch,” he said.

Yates and Tranter are looking for writers on both sides of the Atlantic.

“We want a British sensibility, but having said that, Steve Kloves wrote the Potter films and captured that British sensibility perfectly, so we are looking at American writers too,” he explained.

The validity of this is unclear, including a denial from the BBC. The prospect of such a movie has some Doctor Who fans worried. Despite these concerns, I imagine that viewers could keep straight the fact that there are two different Doctor Who stories, keeping the television show and movie series separate. I don’t see much of a point in a single stand-alone Doctor Who movie which is not connected to the television series.  It would be a different matter if this results in both a successful television and movie series, but it will be harder to succeed as a movie. As was clear with Star Trek, a movie might have bigger production values, and bigger stories, but with a continuing television series it is often all the small stories presented over time which are more important. Without writers connect to the show, it may or may not manage to capture what makes Doctor Who great. StevenMoffat expressed his skepticism with this sarcastic tweet: “Announcing my personal moonshot, starting from scratch. No money, no plan, no help from NASA. But I know where the moon is – I’ve seen it.”

Moffatt has also commented on the move of Doctor Who to the fall:

“Very soon now, Doctor Who is going to enter production for the longest sustained period we’ve ever attempted, and the biggest and best and maddest time ever to be a fan of this wonderful old show is rumbling towards us. And yes, you got me. We needed a little more time to prepare for everything we’ve got planned. That, above all, is why we needed this tiny gap. Just be a tiny bit patient, and trust me, we’ll make it up to you.”

There are some other movies of interest which look like they are going to be made. This includes Arrested Development, but the bigger news is that prior to the movie there will be additional episodes of the show which will be available over Netflix in 2013. Exclusive streaming of new episodes of Arrested Development could bring back some of the subscribers who abandoned Netflix after their price hike for combined streaming and DVD rentals. It also looks like they really are going ahead with the movie version of 24.

Downton Abbey won’t be released at the movie theaters, but the Christmas special will be feature-length. The first photo from the special has been released (above). The special will bring the show into 1920, with a third season having been announced with eight additional episodes taking place over the next eighteen months. Personally I wish ITV and the BBC could get together for a combined special. If the Doctor is already going back to World War II for the Christmas special, why not go back another generation and have the TARDIS wind up at Downton? I think  Lady Mary would make an excellent companion if Amy Pond isn’t around. Downton Abbey already has ties to fantasy and to Doctor Who. Maggie Smith, who plays the Dowager Countess, has also played Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter movies. Hugh Bonneville has appeared in two episodes of Doctor Who, The Curse of the Black Spot and A Good Man Goes to War, as the pirate Captain Avery.

NBC is making changes to its line up in January. 30 Rock returns but Community goes on hiatus with return date not set. Why not just dump some junk such as Whitney and keep Community on the schedule? If there is no Community, that means no Inspector Spacetime.

Showtime has announced that Dexter has been renewed for two additional seasons:

“The series is bigger than it’s ever been in its sixth season, both in terms of audience and its impact on the cultural landscape,” said Showtime topper David Nevins. “Together with Michael, the creative team on the show has a very clear sense of where they intend to take the show over the next two seasons and, as a huge fan, I’m excited to watch the story of Dexter Morgan play out.”

I wonder if this means they are working towards a conclusion of the series over the next two seasons.

Trek Nation will premier on the Science Channel on November 30 (trailer above).

The documentary “Trek Nation” explores “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision and its impact on viewers’ lives through the eyes of his son Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, Jr. When the legendary Gene Roddenberry passed away almost 20 years ago, his son was only 17 years old. Now director Scott Colthorp takes us along as he follows Rod on a very personal quest: through startling and revelatory conversations with actors, fans, NASA personnel, politicians and celebrities, Rod seeks to finally understand the man he barely knew: his father.

Catwoman turned out at an Occupy Wall Street Rally. The presence of wealthy actress Anne Hathaway wound up freaking out many right wing bloggers who have no understanding (and I doubt have the mental capacity to understand) what Occupy Wall Street is actually all about. (Hint: it is not about opposition to having wealth or making money. Many in the top one-percent realize the dangers of an economic system rigged to help only them which is acting to destroy the middle class in this country).

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SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who, Inspector Spacetime, Karen Gillan, Elisabeth Sladen’s Daughter, The Future of Torchwood, Fringe, Downton Abbey

Last week two videos from the wrap party following the last episode of Doctor Who of the David Tennant/Russel T. Davies era surfaced on line. The first, which I posted last week, showed the cast and crew of Doctor Who set to I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3s4Czla6tXc

A second video, “The Ballad of Russell and Julie,” features David Tennant, Catherine Tate and John Barrowman in a musical act to thank Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner for their excellent work on the series:

I have subsequently found this video, also set to 500 Miles, which contains clips from the show:

Earlier in the season, Community did a parody of Doctor Who entitled Inspector Spacetime, which was claimed to be a British science fiction show which started in 1962, one year before the real Doctor Who started.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRPeqaZiQ-M&feature=player_embedded

In light of all of the interest seen in Inspector Spacetime on line, it comes as no surprise that Community returned to Inspector Spacetime on this week’s episode:

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

If anyone is still trying to figure out the timeline for the relationship between River Song and the Doctor, BBC America has put out a helpful (but confusing) chart.

Bernard Cribbins has received an OBE (Order of the British Empire) medal for his contributions to drama. His roles include Wilfred Mott on Doctor Who in recent years. He also had a role in in the 1966 Doctor Who movie, Daleks Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.

Sadie Miller, daughter of Elisabeth Sladen, was interviewed on BBC Breakfast about her mother and Sladen’s autobiography, which has been published posthumously:

Karen Gillan told The Mirror that when she completes her run on Doctor Who, she would like to have Amy Pond die:

DOCTOR Who star Karen Gillan wants her character Amy Pond to die.

The actress, 23, said: “Death would be an option. I don’t want Amy to pop up again every so often, because for me it would take away from the big, emotional goodbye.”

Karen reckons the next series could be Amy’s last – and she hinted that she could become the first doctor’s sidekick to die on screen.

“Once she’s gone, she’s gone,” said Karen. “I want people to remember the Amy Pond era as a good one.”

John Barrowman says the future of Torchwood remains in limbo:

Will there be a fifth season of Torchwood? Barrowman is briefly stumped. “If there’s a pause button, we’ve pushed the pause button now because we don’t know what’s happening”, he says. “I would love to do a new series and I will play Captain Jack as long as they want me to play Captain Jack, but it’s in limbo at the moment and beyond my control.” He’d love to see his creation on the big screen. “I think that Torchwood, more so than Doctor Who, lends itself to being a big film because it’s more adult”, he says. “Now if it was Doctor Who with David (Tennant) playing the Doctor – I’m going to get in trouble for saying this – I’d happily do a film with him.”

Fringe has returned after a hiatus for baseball. Peter Bishop is back, but to a timeline where he died as a child, nobody knows who he is, and several things have changed due to Peter not surviving. From interviews, such as the one below, it appears that they will be continuing in this timeline for a long time to come. Anna Torv also confirms that, as would be expected, Altlivia’s child does not exist in a timeline where Peter didn’t exist to get her pregnant:

Peter Bishop won’t have the reunion he was hoping for. His lady love, Olivia, doesn’t remember him, so his reappearance has no effect on her life. Anna Torv, who plays Agent Dunham, revealed, “He’s never existed and doesn’t exist in this universe. He’s the one entering this world … whereas Walter and Olivia and Astrid have made do. This is how we’ve always known [life] to be.” Can you say odd man out?

With the timeline change, certain events have been put on the back burner or erased completely. For example: Whatever happened to baby Henry? The child of Alt-Olivia and Peter just wasn’t meant to be. Torv says, “There’s no possible way that Henry could happen in this timeline, because Altlivia never met Peter.” We knew that would happen, but part of us still wondered if he had a shot.

As for Walter, he won’t embrace Peter with open arms. It might take a whole season (or more) for the duo to return to normal. Walter’s portrayer, John Noble, claims the pair’s relationship “might” get back on track “if Walter acknowledges this is his son from a different dimension,” which sounds like a tough pill to swallow. Considering the amount of time Walter’s spent mourning his death, we don’t expect him and Peter to become a big, happy family overnight.

The second season of Downton Abbey concludes tomorrow and a third season has been announced. The second season, largely taking place during World War I, has been excellent–far too good to wait for it to air in the United States. PBS has this preview for those who are waiting for the US airing:

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CBO Finds Obama Plan Will Stimulate Economy and Reduce The Deficit

Economists have already analyzed Barack Obama’s job plan and concluded that it will help reduce the risk of another recession and increase jobs. The Congressional Budget Office has now analyzed the report and found that it will help reduce the budget deficit:

The Congressional Budget Office on Friday confirmed that President Obama’s jobs bill would be fully paid for over ten years and also gave its seal of approval to Senate Democrats’ version that includes a surtax on millionaires.

The CBO said that the original Obama stimulus bill would involve $447 billion in tax cuts and new spending—the same estimate given by the administration. It said the bill would raise $450 billion over ten years. The result is a $3 billion decrease in deficits over ten years.

The Senate Democrats’ bill, which replaces Obama’s taxes on the upper middle class with a 5.6 percent surtax on those with annual incomes above $1 million, raises $453 billion over ten years and reduces deficits by $6 billion. The tax kicks in in 2013.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office highlighted that the CBO affirmed 60 percent of the stimulus comes in the form of tax cuts rather than spending and that most of the tax relief is for workers.

CBO also said that the bill “could have a noticeable impact on economic growth and employment in the next few years.” CBO under its own rules is prevented from factoring in increased unemployment, and the possible increased tax revenue that could result into its cost estimate.

Of course Republicans will continue to oppose the plan for two reasons. First of all, they would prefer that the economy continues to do poorly in the hope that this will cause voters to take out their frustrations on the Democrats as occurred in 2006, which is also why they have used their power in Congress to extend the downturn and reduce job creation. Secondly, Obama’s plan, while good for the country, results in higher taxes for the wealthy. Promoting lower taxes on the wealthy is the primary goal of Republicans, even if we have tax rates below those present when Ronald Reagan was president.

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