SciFi Weekend: An Origin Story and An Ending on Fringe; Jorge Garcia As The Giant; Doctor Who; Star Wars; Mitt Romney & The Zombie Apocalypse

Last week’s episode of Fringe was entitled The Bullet Which Saved The World. This week we found out what is meant by the episode title An Origin Story and have a better idea as to what last week’s title meant. Peter is going to extreme lengths to ensure that the Observers are defeated and that Etta receives credit for the revolution after her death last week. I had questioned the previous explanation given of the Observers having evolved from humans as the time scan was not great enough. Use of a device to provide the powers does seem more plausible, although simply sticking it in one’s neck seems too simple–not that Fringe has ever been very plausible. Now that Peter is receiving Observer powers, will he also begin looking like them? Why do they all look and dress like that, and why aren’t their any females? Fox has also announced that the series finale will be a two hour episode on January 18.

Jorge Garcia of Lost (and Alcatraz) will be playing the Giant on Once Upon A Time. Garcia was interviewed about his role:

Jorge Garcia

So, you’re playing a murderous giant?
They called me murderous? Wow. Okay.

Hey, that’s what the press release said.

Well, I did a looping session for the giant, and it was basically all growls.

But we’ll be seeing you, not just hearing you, right?

It’s me.They CGI most of the set, so I had to work in a studio completely done in green screen and act against little pieces of tape and dowels, but it’s me, you definitely see my face. I don’t look entirely like myself, though; I’m in costume.

Since you’re working against a green screen, I guess that’s to make you look giant-sized?

Yeah. The perspective is different, because they want me to look like I’m six times the size of everyone else.

The creators of “Lost” created the Hurley character just for you. It seems like something similar happened here. 

["Once Upon A Time" creators] Eddie [Kitsis] and Adam [Horowitz], they were always the keepers of the Hurley stories [on "Lost."]. They wrote most of the scripts about Hurley, so for a while we’ve been talking about working together again, and how they wanted to bring me in for “Once.” I wasn’t available last year because I was working on another show, but they pitched the giant story this year and they gave me a little bit of background about his origin, which will be something to do in a later story.

Matt Smith says that the upcoming episode of Doctor Who written by Neil Gaiman will be a separate story from  Gaiman’s previous episode, The Doctor’s Wife, but predicts it will be a fan favorite. Smith is also more open to the idea of a Doctor Who/Sherlock cross over than Steven Moffat is. He discussed cross overs with Walking Dead and Breaking Bad in yet another interview

Years ago, after the first trilogy, the plan for Star Wars to make two additional trilogies, one taking place before and one after the original trilogy.  The third was to take place when the original cast was older. After the disappointing prequel trilogy, the word was that the series was done and the third trilogy would never be made. As I’m sure everyone has heard this week, George Lucas has the rights to Disney, which will be making further Star Wars movies. This  might even include two more trilogies. The upcoming movies are to be centered around Luke Skywalker and others from the original cast, and will be original stories as opposed to being based on Star Wars novels.  George Lucas, who will still play a role in the upcoming movies, has already spoken to Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher about returning to their roles.

Cobie Smulders of How I Met Your Mother will return  as S.H.I.E.L.D agent Maria Hill in Captain America 2.

Joss Whedon explains how Mitt Romney’s policies are conducive to bringing on the Zombie apocalypse in the video above. Romney is “not afraid to face a ravening, grasping horde of subhumans, because that’s how he sees poor people already.”

And yet another endorsement for Mitt Romney above.

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SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who; Sherlock; Star Trek; Spider-Man; Fundamentalist Vampires on True Blood; Med in Black Catch Up With The Doctor

The BBC has released the above picture of Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman on the set of Doctor Who.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Jv1Wr34WY54#

Above is a fan-made trailer for the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who which has a lot of memorable scenes.

DreamWorks is interested in Glimmer, a movie with time travel elements.

Andrew Scott won a Bafta for his role as Moriarty on Sherlock. Following is a portion of an interview with him:

You just won the best supporting actor Bafta for playing Moriarty in Shrlxok. Did you find the Baftas fun or terrifying?
Terrifying. I’m shy. I remember at my 21st birthday party, I had to make a speech and was so nervous I sounded like I was giving a eulogy at a funeral. So I did genuinely hope that I didn’t have to get up. But of course there’s a little part of you that wants to win.

We’re you surprised at the colossal success of Sherlock?
I kind of knew- I think we all knew- it was going to be really special. I feel very proud that it’s a Sherlock of our age. I really appreciated being allowed to play Moriarty a little left of centre.

How much freedom did you have?
I experimented daily and there were incredibly supportive of that. That’s what you Rally want as an actor: someone saying, ‘Go for it!’ not ‘What are you doing?’

What makes you angry?
Bland television. I don’t like drama that’s just a version of something we’ve already seen. If you’ve been given money and an opportunity to be in front of an audience, why not say something new and original?

The same site has an interview with Louise Brealey, who plays Molly on Sherlock.
TrekMovie.com interviewed Damon Lindelof on the upcoming Star Trek sequel along with the future of the series:

TrekMovie.com: You talked about the characters, their relationships and conflict. The last film was all about this family coming together, especially with Kirk and Spock starting out hating each other and growing to, if not like each other, respect each other. This new film is four years later in real time, but not sure in movie time. Are we jumping in to a new spot on their character arcs? Or are we picking up where we left off?

Damon Lindelof: That is a very clever way of asking how much time has elapsed between the movies and that is not something we are commenting on at this point. What we can say is that the big difference with the fundamental crew dynamics as they existed in the first movie and as they roll into this one is the promise at the end of the first movie with James T. Kirk in his yellow shirt is now sitting in the captain’s chair. We have not seen Kirk as the captain of the Enterprise yet. We will see him be the captain in this movie and that changes the dynamic.

TrekMovie.com: Two years ago, before you even started scripting, [producer] Bryan Burk told me you guys were going for something larger in scope. Is it right to say this is a bigger movie?

Damon Lindelof: Sometimes I feel that bigger is not necessarily better. You are just saying “Oh my god this movie is just epic in scale and epic in scope and epic, epic, epic.” But at the end of the day I feel that Trek is at its best when it is intimate and human and relatable. And when I say human, that can include aliens too. But all the things that we view as emotional touchstones: love, loss, and courage and all those themes that are the core of Trek. You sometimes when you want to make a movie too big for its own good, it loses some of those essential values. So we didn’t want that to happen. That being said, JJ’s decision to shoot a lot of the movie in IMAX, definitely makes the film seem a lot bigger and definitely the sequences he directed in IMAX I feel have tremendous scale and energy, without sacrificing any of things that I talked about on an emotional level…

TrekMovie.com: When we talked about Prometheus  (see my Movies.com interview with Damon) you mentioned that moving forward you want to challenge yourself with doing original stories and away from more sequels, prequels and comic book adaptations. Does that preclude your working on a third Star Trek movie?

Damon Lindelof: It would be very hard to not be involved in Trek moving forward. We certainly don’t feel that a third movie is a foregone conclusion. Hopefully the second movie turns out well and we are really happy about everything so far. So three movies, again not to do everything that Christopher Nolan does, but if you do it right it’s a good model. But that idea, whether you want to call it a trilogy or not, although I reserve the right to when we are talking four years from now to say “this is the third movie in our trilogy,” but it does feel that three movies is the right responsibility for us to have the baton for before we then pass it off to the people who are take Trek to wherever they want to take it. So if this movie turns out well, would I be writing on the third movie? Who knows? But, we did talk a lot in the writing of this movie and during production about what the next movie might be and started getting excited about some of the ideas, so it would be hard to say no to that. This is a once in a lifetime experience…

Here is a interesting infographic on The Science of Star Trek

Two clips from The Amazing Spider-Man above.

Now there is even talk of a Spider-Man and Avengers crossover.

It hasn’t been a good year for genre shows on network television, with only six of twelve returning according to the count here. Once Upon A Time was the most successful. Several of the shows which are not returning were flawed but did show promise such as Awake, Terra Nova, and Alcatraz.

Genre has done better on cable than on network television. True Blood returns tonight and reportedly this season will be more satirical. The target will be Vampire fundamentalists who take their bible too seriously, but presumably this is also pointed at their human counterparts.

Men in Black catch up with the Doctor

source

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SciFi Weekend: Season Finales and Reboots; Dan Harmon Fired From Community; Moffat Wins Special Bafta; Doctor Who Wins Nebula Award; Karen Gillan At Cannes; Farewell to Kristen Wiig

J.J. Abrams has been highly successful in keeping shows interesting by rebooting them over time so that each season isn’t a rehash of the exact same format as previous seasons, and viewers cannot assume that fundamental changes cannot occur. This worked with Lost and Alias in the past. It worked a little less well on Fringe, with the fourth season failing to maintain the quality of the second and third seasons (with the show still worth watching). If Alcatraz survived, it was clear from the finale that it would also have been a different show. I had concerns as to whether Once Upon A Time could be successful over multiple seasons if left with a situation where Emma must always fail to break the spell. As was rumored before airing, Once Upon A Time had a major reboot, with Emma breaking the spell, followed by Rumpelstiltskin bringing back magic. The highlight of the week was the appearance of Amy Acker on Person of Interest, also shaking up this show.

Amy Acker’s character, who turned out to be the hacker Root, surprised Finch and Reese, and from reviews it appears also fooled most viewers. While this was the second time that the person they were protecting turned out to be far different from what the person seemed, the set up was done so well that we were fooled again. The series began with a simple format of the machine giving Social Security numbers. A simpler show would have continued the format, failing to raise the underlying questions of what it would mean to have such a powerful computer. The episode ended with Finch in danger and a phone call to Reese which just might be the machine, making it likely that the machine will be more significant next season. I hope that Amy Acker’s character also becomes a recurring character next season. Seeing how this show has evolved, it would most likely be as a protagonist to Reese and Finch, but not being sure of Root’s agenda, she could also turn into an ally over time.

Awake is in the midst of a two-part series finale so I will wait until it is completed before saying much about the show, but what is the deal with Britten visiting Britten in the preview? I do hope they end this series with a satisfying explanation as to what has been happening with the two realities.

If seeing Amy Acker on Person of Interest was the network television highlight of the week, the low point was the firing of Dan Harmon as show runner of Community. Producing a season of Community without Dan Harmon as show runner is like doing West Wing without Aaron Sorkin or Gilmore Girls without Amy Sherman-Paladino. Neither show was as good as when their creators ran the show, but in this case the consequences will be far worse. Those who took over West Wing and Gilmore Girls still attempted to do a similar show without breaking from the past. In this case I fear that the goal is to make Community a more traditional sit-com about a group of people going to school together. The show has an excellent cast and might still be an above-average sit-com, but it will not be the same without Harmon’s variations from the normal sit-com formula.

As is usually done in such situations. Harmon was given a title, but it is doubtful he will have any further influence on the show. He explained how he learned about being fired after getting off a plane and turning on his phone, without any previous discussion with Sony.

Apparently great show runners are treated better  Great Britain than here. Steven Moffat is to receive as special Bafta award for “outstanding creative writing contribution to television.” One of Moffat’s current shows, Sherlock, is now running in the United States while Doctor Who recently filmed the final scene with Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill. Gillan is seen in the picture above taken at Cannes, and will soon start filming Not Another Happy Ending, a movie about an eccentric author with writer’s block. She did manage to steal something before leaving the TARDIS for the last time.

An episode of Doctor Who, The Doctor’s Wife, was awarded the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation at the Nebula Awards. That was quite a major accomplishment, beating Midnight in Paris, Hugo, Captain America, Source Code, and The Adjustment Bureau for the award.  Among Others by, Jo Walton won the Award for Best Novel.

Someone is demonstrating for time travel in the real world, but is being patient about it.

Besides the recent finales in genre shows. Saturday Night Live concluded its season last night, with quite a farewell to Kristen Wiig–video above.

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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.

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SciFi Weekend: Secrecy Surrounding Selection of Jenna-Louise Coleman; Daleks; Torchwood; Fringe; Avengers Monorail; Adopt a Direwolf Cub

There was a lot of secrecy surrounding the choice of Jenna-Louise Coleman to become the next companion on Doctor Who. They also love anagrams, such as coming up with Torchwood, which is an anagram of Doctor Who. Jenna had to tell people she was auditioning for a show called Men on Waves, an anagram of Woman Seven (for seventh series):

“I wasn’t allowed to say it was Doctor Who at any point – not talking to my agent, not when I arrived at the audition, and I certainly couldn’t tell anyone at all what I was up to next,” the 25-year-old actress says, admitting that she was surprised at how good a fibber she became.

“When she was auditioning, Karen Gillan had been given a codename – Panic Moon, which is an anagram of Companion – so I worked out that Men on Waves is an anagram of Woman Seven, because this is the seventh series. Weirdly, seven is my lucky number and this is my seventh job.”

Jenna also told RadioTimes that she was named after Jenna Wade from Dallas.

When the Daleks appear next season, it appears there will be models going all the way back to the 1960’s versions. Steven Moffat tweeted the picture above.

Steven Moffat says another Doctor Who spin-off is unlikely at present. That isn’t very surprising as there aren’t any current situations which would make good spin-offs, and Moffat is already busy with two shows. Perhaps if both Amy and Rory survive their final encounter with the Weeping Angels, which doesn’t sound likely, he could write a sit-com similar to Coupling about them. No, not very likely to happen.

Starz CEO Chris Albrecht hasn’t ruled out a return of Torchwood:

MCN: Is there anything more out of the Torchwood camp. I know you’re close with the people there…

CA: You know, Russell [Davies] is so busy. Obviously, we’re in touch with the BBC all the time. They are our partners on DaVinci’s Demons and the Harem project that you just mentioned. We told them, we stand by ready for any news, but I think it would be a while before Russell came back to Torchwood.

Nothing As It Seems returned to an old episode of Fringe in which things play out differently. Olivia is strangely unconcerned about losing her memories of the timeline she is actually living in, but the FBI wasn’t as complacent. In the end, they realized that an Olivia without much of her memory is still a more useful agent than most. Of course her memories of the other timeline could also provide valuable information if they continue to face the same menaces.

I have been disappointed in the current season because it seems to be ignoring the way in which the previous season played out, with the existence of both universes in jeopardy. The season concluded with Peter bringing the two universes together, presumably to work together, but this idea, along with Peter’s existence, was quickly forgotten. Next week returns to the alternative universe to investigate the shape shifters and show more of the hotter Altlivia. Perhaps at some point they will remember the major problem (or did changing the time lines make this less urgent?).

More importantly, Fringe‘s ratings rebounded on Friday. Most likely ratings were down the previous week due to a combination of having been on hiatus and coming back against the NCAA Tournament. Fox is also joining the twitter campaign to keep Fringe alive.

Netflix has decided against saving Terra Nova and the future of Fox’s other genre shows remains in doubt. Alcatraz completed its first, and possibly only, season. We learned some things such as that the Warden appears to be behind things (no surprise) and that the lead infusions are to track the prisoners who came from 1963. Rebecca appeared to die, but there is little doubt that she will come back to life should the series return. If the series does not return, I bet fans will be far more frustrated by the lack of more information about what is going on.

Disney often decorates their monorails for big events, and currently the monorail promotes the upcoming Avengers movie (video above). This is only being done on the Magic Kingdom monorails and not the monorail to Epcot. This might be because the Epcot Monorail takes a loop through the park. While Disney has purchased Marvel, currently Universal has the license to use Marvel characters within their theme parks.

A Star Trek script written by Norman Spinrad was found last fall. CBS, which  owns the script, isn’t allowing a planned fan-produced version of the script to be filmed.

Game of Thrones returns tonight. Here’s a review should you need one.

April Fool’s Day has led to posts claiming Doctor Who is being cancelled, that Jenna Louise Coleman is actually taking over as the first female Doctor, and an offer to adopt a Direwolf cub. The cost is only $2499.99.

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SciFi Weekend: Secrets of Fringe and Alcatraz; The Economics of Building The Death Star; Community, Inspector Spacetime and The Game of Thrones Returning; Nude Shots of Kate Middleton on Californication?

The last two episodes of Fringe have included major advances to the plot in the alternative time line as Olivia began having memories from the Olivia of the original time line, we encountered the Nina from the universe, and Peter entered the mind of an Observer. The big revelation was that problems were caused by Peter having a child with Altlivia instead of Olivia. Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman were interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter last week, and Collider has a more recent interview:

Was the Observer intel something you’ve been wanting to reveal for awhile now?

WYMAN: Well, we always said that you’d find out about the Observers this season, and that we’re going to investigate them a lot more. So, we’re excited about it all because the Observers are a highlight. For us to constantly break what you think you know, and re-set and have viewers go, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming,” that’s why we get up in the morning. It’s to take people on the ride. We’re excited about what’s coming up, too.

This season, there have been some really great singular cases and stand-alone episodes, but “The End of All Things” was mythology heavy and really speaks to the larger arc this season. How will that effect what viewers see in the final stretch this season?

PINKNER: Well, it’s definitely a game-changer, in that our characters learn a lot more, and the audience is going to learn a lot more, about the uber-plot of our season bad guy, David Robert Jones (Jared Harris). For Peter (Joshua Jackson), Olivia (Anna Torv) and Walter (John Noble), it’s going to start to unfold in ways that, hopefully, will be both really satisfying and challenging to our characters. It’s the 14th episode out of 22, and it’s very much a hinge episode that’s going to launch us into the back half portion of the season.

Do you already know what the final episode for this season will be?

PINKNER: No, we have not written the finale, but we do know what it is. We’ve known the shape of our season before we even started this year.

WYMAN: Fortunately, at the end of every season, we close the chapter and start anew. That’s the language of the series now, so it can organically come to a conclusion that we love.

How soon is it going to become evident what David Robert Jones’ (Jared Harris) uber-plan is, specifically, and how Olivia fits into it?

WYMAN: We can’t say anything, but just remember that, on Fringe, nothing is as it seems. There’s always a little more to the story behind the story. He’s definitely a large part, going forward. A lot of things will come full circle.

jared-harris-fringe-image

PINKNER: We’re well aware of how intelligent our audience is. We’re well aware that Fringe is a show that you really need to lean forward into and pay attention to and think about. It’s not designed to be a show that you can watch while you’re folding laundry. So, we’re well aware of the questions that our audience is inevitably going to ask. We’re well aware of how carefully they watch the show and hold us to continuity. We’re certainly aware of the debates that are going to occur. Our audience holds us to an incredibly high standard of continuity and emotional authenticity. We don’t toy with that, but oftentimes we write stories, in order to spark debate. We’re very determined to always give the answer. We don’t want to leave a lot of things open to debate, at the end of the day.

Episodes of Alcatraz have a formula in which a different prisoner from Alcatraz shows up in the present and must be apprehended every week. Some of the prison staff has also been seen in the present, but very little has been revealed as to what is really going on. Whether the show is successful as a genre show as opposed to a crime show with a twist will depend upon how the mythology of the show is developed. With cancellation of the series a strong possibility after this season, I have feared that we might be kept hanging without real answers. In an interview with TV Guide, executive producers Jennifer Johnson and Dan Pyne indicate that we will receive answers by the end of this season:

Is there a particular reason why Alcatraz prison became the focus point of the disappearance?
Johnson:
Yeah. There are theories that our characters have. We’ll talk about what those theories are by the end of the season, but they may not be the real ones. We’ll understand what Hauser thinks about it and what his think-tank thinks about it, but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. We may meet a character by the end of the season who does know that specific answer, who probably has a lot more answers than any of the characters we’ve met so far.

Dissecting Alcatraz‘s Mysteries: How many ’63s are working with Hauser?

Will we learn who the powers that be are and what their motives are this season? Or is that a series arc?
Pyne:
Well, it’s a little of both. I think by the end of [Episode] 13 we’ll have an understanding of who that might be.
Johnson:
That’s the character that we were referring to. He might be part of the powers that be.
Pyne: But definitely by the end of the season there will be more of a sense of the game that’s afoot. We won’t be coy about it and keep holding back. There will be a better sense of what’s going on. We may not understand what the endgame is, but at least the players will become a little bit clearer.
Johnson:
It’s complicated because they don’t all have the same goals, which we’re going to hit upon before the end of the season. There’s almost a secret war happening between the ’63s, too. That all interplays with what their relationships were in the past when they were imprisoned or working on Alcatraz.

Is there a reason why some of the ’63s have gone against mission?
Pyne:
Yes.
Johnson: We won’t say definitively, but we’ll give people the tools to have pretty informed theories about it.

What’s with the fascination with the number three — three keys, three bank robberies and three days of sniper shootings are just some of the few?
Pyne:
There may be more than one number clue.
Johnson:
Forty-seven is an important number, too. But we like three for its stability and the idea that it’s a triangle. We talk about triangles a lot and relationships that have three angles in them.

Dissecting Alcatraz‘s Mysteries: Who is Lucy, really?

Lucy had mentioned in the past that she was going to fix the prisoners with memory-altering experiments. Did she end up being a puzzle piece in the overall mystery of how the ’63s disappeared?
Pyne:
She definitely is a puzzle piece, yes. We may not stick with this forever, but right now, everything that’s happened in the past has happened chronologically in 1960. So, there’s still three years left before the jump. Clearly, allegiances change. Stuff happens in those three years between the time when Lucy comes to prison to start her experiments and 1963 when she obviously disappeared along with everybody else. Certainly, she has some answers to what might have gone on, but she also may not even understand. She didn’t understand at the time what was going on. It may be just now looking back at it that she can start to unravel what she saw.
Johnson:
Yeah, helping the team unravel by knowing the psychology of the inmates. But the Warden (Jonny Coyne) is very Machiavellian. He does not want the left hand to know what the right hand is doing. So, he may utilize different players for their different challenges. But part of his M.O. is not to let any one person know too much of what is going on.

Diego mentioned in the pilot that the Warden had died many years ago. Did he really or is he part of the missing ’63s?
Pyne:
It’s possible.

Will we discover how Lucy came to work with Hauser in the future and see more of their relationship in the past?
Johnson:
Yes. Definitely, 100 percent.
Pyne:
Their love story is one of the great triangles of Alcatraz.
Johnson:
It’s kind of the love triangle between Hauser, Lucy, and the jump itself.

Dissecting Alcatraz‘s Mysteries: Why is Tommy Madsen so important?

Will we find out what Dr. Beauregard (Leon Rippy) was doing behind closed doors at Alcatraz?
Pyne:
You may find out soon, in the next couple episodes. Then once you find out, you may be totally wrong, but you will see some of what he’s up to. He’s a little bit jealous of Lucy’s elevation to the prize poodle on Alcatraz, so he gets up to some hijinks that he maybe shouldn’t.

What can you tell us about the downstairs door that needs to be opened with three keys?
Johnson:
That we’re going to open it before the end of the season. We’ll understand by the end of the season what’s behind that door, at least one layer of it. It was very important to the Warden. There may only be one person that he shares that secret with.

We learned Diego was kidnapped at age 11. Will that come back into play?
Johnson:
That’s his deep, deep back story and a lot of what motivated his fascination with Alcatraz and with comic books. We won’t necessarily go there before the end of the season, but that is part of who he is as a character and why he became part of this team.

Dissecting Alcatraz‘s Mysteries: Hauser and Lucy’s past revealed

Once Rebecca does finally come face-to-face with Tommy, will she be able to let bygones be bygones and realize that he is still her family?
Pyne:
Gosh.
Johnson:
We know the answer to that, but I don’t think we can tell you.

What can you tell us about what is in store for her?
Pyne:
She begins to get a little bit more focused on solving the mystery of what happened to her partner and delving into that day and why he was there. It slowly leads her to some revelations about her partner about the larger mystery of Alcatraz and also about Tommy Madsen.
Johnson:
And what everybody is doing here present day. They discover that there are different factions of ’63s here in present day San Francisco and beyond.

Sarah Jones, who plays Detective Rebecca Madsen, also indicated that there will be pay off for the fans in the last two episodes in an interview with Collider.

Last week the political blogosphere debated whether the Death Star was worth building. Kevin Drum looked at the economics and found that it was a surprisingly cost-effective weapon. A post at Enik Rising argued that it was a bad investment, even if affordable. I bet that such debates prior to the building of the Death Star didn’t take Luke Skywalker into consideration.

Community returns on March 15. There will also be a web series of Inspector Spacetime, a British time travel show which began in 1992 according to Community. Geeks of Doom has more information:

Inspector Spacetime, the Doctor Who-spoofing character whose cheeky sci-fi exploits are vastly enjoyed by Community characters Abed (Danny Pudi) and Troy (Donald Glover), will soon be seen in his very own web series, but don’t expect to see any cameos from certain Greendale Community College students. Travis Richey, the Inspector himself, is producing the six-episode series independently.

You can expect to see the Inspector and his trusty sidekick Constable Reginald battle their arch-nemesis Boyish the Extraordinary and take on the Blorgons of Second New Old Earth 7 with the aid of the Inspector’s “optic pocketknife.”

Richey wrote to io9 to further clarify his intentions for the web series:

“Dan Harmon, Community, NBC and Sony have nothing to do with this web series. I pitched it to them after my first episode of Community, but never heard back from them one way or another. So I’m going to do it myself, with the help of fans. I’m launching a Kickstarter campaign in a matter of hours for an equipment budget, and the complete story can be read there.”

The Game of Thrones returns on April 1 (preview above).

The BBC made a pilot for a series loosely based upon Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently novels in 2010. A three episode series begins on BBC 4 on March 5.

Emilie de Ravin of Lost, who also appears in Once Upon A Time as Belle this season, c0-stars in a pilot for ABC:

Lost alumna Emilie de Ravin is set to co-star in another ABC drama series project,  pilot Americana, a soap about a famous fashion industry clan. It centers on iconic fashion designer Robert Soulter (Anthony LaPaglia), the patriarch of a sprawling family who just welcomed a new member, a young designer whose shocking arrival turns the family and the legendary label inside out. De Ravin, repped by Gersh and manager Darren Goldberg, will play Robert’s chic and outgoing daughter Francesca who is the head of events at Americana but Robert doesn’t consider her a candidate for the heir to his empire, which may have treacherous consequences. Michael Seitzman wrote the script, with Phillip Noyce, who helmed the pilot for ABC’s Revenge last year, directing.

Camilla Luddington, who played Kate Middleton in the Lifetime movie William & Kate, has more recently had a role in Californication. In last week’s episode she was repeatedly seen naked in scenes ranging from swimming in the nude to getting caught by Charlie Runkle while getting out of the shower. In is safe to assume this is the closest we will ever get to seeing any version of Kate Middleton nude on television. Pictures are under the fold if you are seeing this on the main web page (double click on the pictures for larger versions).

(more…)

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SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who Star Trek Cross Over; Lost’s Emilie de Raven as Belle; Olivia’s Memories on Fringe; Space 1999 Remake

Among the unusual items in my library is a fan published book from 1982, The Doctor and the Enterprise, featuring a cross over between the Doctor as played by Tom Baker and  Star Trek: The Original Show. Since then there have been other fan crossovers between Doctor Who and Star Trek, but the first officially sanctioned cross over will be coming out the May, in comic form. This will feature the current Doctor, along with Amy and Rory, on the Enterprise of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

If you are not interested in this cross over, how about Doctor Who and Peanuts? Teefury had a one day limited edition shit yesterday featuring the eleven Doctors as Peanuts characters.

Matt Smith said in a recent interview that he is willing to do nude scenes. We can be certain that will not occur on Doctor Who. Knowing what is in the mind of many readers, I’m not aware if Karen Gillan has ever answered the same question, but Billie Piper has done lots of nude scenes since leaving the show.

Once Upon A Time has a guest appearance from Emilie de Ravin of Lost. She plays Belle of the Beauty and the Beast, with a video preview above . The Hollywood Reporter interviewed deRavin about her role:

“There are obviously a lot of similarities,” de Ravin tells The Hollywood Reporter about the show’s take on the well-known character. “Obviously, she’s quite a bit more, shall we say ballsy, than I suppose in the past versions, but she’s really brave and really forthright with her opinions and all she wants to do.”

In the world of the ABC series, Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) steps into the role of the “beast” when he helps Belle’s father in a raging war with ogres. But, there’s always the payback. In this case, it’s Belle or her father’s life.

“She would do anything basically for her father, but also her friends and family in general, and that’s what she does,” the Australian actress says. “She has this chance where she’s always wanted to be brave and make a change and do something different and not just sit around in the confinement of her castle and her simple life.”

Of course, Rumpelstiltskin may prove a harder challenge than what we’ve seen on Disney movies.

“There’s a point where Belle is a very giving, caring, passionate, nonjudgmental person,” de Ravin, 30, tells THR. “But, there’s also a breaking point, and sometimes enough is enough. And as much beauty as she can see in anyone, you know in Rumpelstiltskin slash the beast, if it can’t be believed by the other person or accepted, then you know, you can’t force somebody to feel something.”

“There’s possibly the opportunity for him to lose power and to gain love, and so does the old question of what will you choose?” she continues. “Love over power or power over love? And that’s a big struggle for him because it’s been so long of him being such a powerful, cruel person, that you know it’s almost, it’s completely hard to fathom that A, somebody would be able to care for him and B, that would be better than power.”

Emilie de Ravin will be returning later this season to continue this storyline.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=SD9XlycwmtM

Fringe is getting more interesting as the season progresses. Olivia’s memories from the original time line are now bleeding over into the show’s current time line.  This week’s episode, Welcome to Westfield began with the above dream sequence. It was one of the better episodes of the season, with Olivia, Walter, and Peter once again acting as a team in an episode in which both universes were mixed together. Olivia also displayed memories of cases which occurred in our time line. The episode concluded with Olivia kissing Peter and making dinner for him as she would normally do in the original time line. I will be very disappointed in Peter if he doesn’t make Olivia’s dream at the beginning of the episode come true.

An updated version of Space 1999 is being planned. Space 1999 was a flawed science fiction show of the 1970’s making me wonder why someone would want to do a remake, until I thought that the same could have been said about Battlestar Galactica before its excellent remake. The new series, Space 2099, re-imagines the original series and takes place a hundred years later.

Doc Soto has a second tour of Alcatraz.

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SciFi Weekend: Newt Gingrich, President of the Moon; Top Sci-Fi Moments on Letterman; Moffat on the Doctor Meeting Someone New; Bob Orci Tweeting Star Trek Pics; Natalie Dormer Joins Game of Thrones; Doc Soto’s Tour of Alcatraz

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JfUHIowew7E

Saturday Night Live opened with science fiction last night, showing Newt Gingrich as president of the moon. Science Fiction isn’t limited to SNL. Blastr presents 18 awesome sci-fi moments from The Late Show with David Letterman.

Some teasers from Steven Moffat about the future of Doctor Who:

Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary is coming. In Cardiff, we’re gearing up for the biggest, the best and the most ambitious season we’ve ever made. There will be shocks, surprises and heartbreak – the Doctor is about to say goodbye to his very best friends, Amy and Rory.

And then he’s about to say hello to someone very different – the Doctor is going to meet someone very new in the very last place he could ever have expected…

Blogator Who has clips of John Barrowman on The One Show. No news about Torchwood except that Barrowman wants to return as Captain Jack when Russel T Davies is ready to bring back Torchwood.

Bob Orci has been tweeting behind the scene pictures during the filming of Star Trek.

I see from the commercial airing during the Super  Bowl as I write this that Disney has Disneyized John Carter of Mars. The Martian princesses in the original Edgar Rice Edgar Rice Burroughs novels were generally near naked.

Natalie Dormer, who showed during The Tudors that she had no problem with appearing nude,  was interviewed about her upcoming role in The Game of Thrones:

With “Game of Thrones,” you’ve signed on to the biggest craze in the States, I think, probably around the world.

Well, again, all I can say is “Thrones” is just like “The Fades,” in so far as the quality is just there in the script, immediately, before you’ve done anything. When you’re just sitting down reading it, the quality just glares at you from the page.

And I kind of kept away from the show when I was taking the meetings. I wasn’t acquainted with the show before I went in to meet the delightful Mr. [David] Benioff and [D.B.] Weiss [exec producers].

And I’m kind of glad I didn’t, actually, because I think I would have been scared off [laughs], because it was so awesome when I watched it.

And I’m really, really proud to be a part of the “Thrones” family now. I just finished second series before Christmas and I’ll be doing third series in the summer. And I think, again, it’s really bravely written. It’s got a phenomenal cast, and, yeah, it’s a great privilege to be a part of the gang, and it’s a big gang…

Tell me about your character, Margaery Tyrell, as much as you can say. It’s kind of weird, because saying anything, almost like with Sarah, saying anything is sort of a spoiler I think.

Yeah. Well, to be perfectly honest, I would have to agree with you there. So maybe I’ll ease off on that. [Laughs.] It’s really interesting, because both shows have this amazing cult following, you know? … It’s kind of intriguing to be opened up to the sci-fi, super horror or fantasy communities and seeing just how dedicated they are. I’ve never come across fans, like cult fans to these cult shows. They’re just so supportive and they’re so dedicated. And, as an actor, you really feel supported and you want to really push yourself, because there’s just so much enthusiasm.

I heard you’re a good fencer and I was wondering if Margaery is ever going to take up a sword.

Oh, well, you know [laughs], I have a few seasons in me. You never know what’s going to happen. [Laughs.] But Loras, the Knight of Flowers, my brother, is meant to be the greatest night throughout the Seven Kingdoms, so maybe she picked up a little bit, who knows? [Laughs.] We’ll have to wait and see, won’t we?

Give us a tease, a non-spoilery tease about Season 2, even if it’s just from your experience and what you saw.

Oh, a tease. [Laughs.] It’s war. It’s war and it’s serious. It’s the same with “The Fades,” the battle is on, life and death. The battle is coming, so it’s serious now. [Laughs.]

And you’re looking forward to more seasons, right?

Absolutely. Absolutely. Margaery really comes into her own in series [seasons] 3 and 4.

Doc Soto provided a tour of Alcatraz. He doesn’t explain how all those prisoners disappeared.

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SciFi Weekend: Matt Smith and Karen Gillan win National Television Awards; Fifty Years of Doctor Who in Ten Minutes; Eve Myles On The Future of Torchwood; Captain Jack and Captain Kirk; J.J. Abrams–Star Trek, Person of Interest, and Alcatraz; Big Bang Theory and Doctor Who

It was a good night for Doctor Who at the National Television Awards, despite losing to Downton Abbey as best drama. Matt Smith won the award for best actor and Karen Gillan won for best actress.  Merlin was also a contender for Best Drama.

David Tennant has also won as best actor at the inaugural BBC Audio Drama Awards. He won for his role as Kafka in Kafka: The Musical.

Does reading about awards for the last two Doctors make you nostalgic for their episodes, as well as all the episodes before them? The above video shows almost fifty years of Doctor Who in less than ten minutes.

Matt Smith and Karen Gillan beat nominees from Torchwood, John Barrowman and Eve Myles, in their respective categories in the National Television Awards. Cultbox interviewed Eve Myles about the future of Torchwood and the upcoming 50th anniversary of Doctor Who:

What’s the latest you’ve heard on the future of Torchwood?

“As far as I know at the moment, everything’s still very much on hold. Russell [T Davies] has things happening in his personal life.

“John [Barrowman] is very much on the same page as me, in that if and when they need us, they can just pick the phone up and we will be there before they’ve even put the phone down, because it’s something we love doing.

“Nothing’s going to happen in 2012, I know that much for sure. But who knows what will happen in 2013. Maybe a movie, to kinda draw a line under it.

“That’s the thing about Torchwood, every series we’ve changed our format. We’ve always had a gap in between, so fingers crossed, because we’ve got such an outstanding loyal fan base. They deserve Torchwood to go ahead with something else to draw a line under it, for the fans to have a bit of closure.

With the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who coming up next year, would you be up for returning as Gwen for that?

“Um, I said something at one of these conventions and the press kinda jumped on it: “EVE MYLES THINKS BEING INVOLVED IN THE 50TH ANNINVERSARY OF DOCTOR WHO IS INAPPROPRIATE.”

“Now, this has come across wrong and I want to get this out that I didn’t mean it like that! What I meant was that the direction we were taking with Torchwood was very violent kind of storylines. The characters were going through certain narratives that are pretty hefty and adult. What I meant was that it’s difficult for a character to do those kind of scenes then do Doctor Who, which my niece and my nephews watch. And I would never let them watch Torchwood!

“It’s a difficult crossover. It works with Captain Jack because John does it beautifully. If I was asked it would be an absolute honour to be involved with something as huge as Doctor Who again.

“We were born from Doctor Who and we will be eternally grateful to the mothership. And I always say that and that never gets printed! If I was involved, I’m sure it’d be a wonderful thing but there’s been no phone call or no talk about it so I doubt very much that I will be involved, but I’d be honoured.”

Topless Robot helped me transition from Torchwood to Star Trek by digging up the above video of John Barrowman interviewing William Shatner (Captain Jack and Captain Kirk) from 1994 about Star Trek: Generations.

Zoe Saldana has provided a hint as to what happens with her character in J.J. Abram’s second Star Trek movie in an interview with New York Magazine:

Might we see some more “close encounters” between you and Zachary Quinto in this movie?
If I’m elusive, will that spoil it for you?
You mean you can’t say anything, and that in itself might be indicating something?
I just don’t want to spoil it for you. All I’m going to say is, if you put all the time and energy and wit into setting these two characters together in the first movie and didn’t follow through, it would be a shame.

Got it.
I hope I didn’t say too much!

I don’t think you did.
I feel like J.J. is going to pop up out of the corner and say, “Come with me, Zoe.”

J.J. Abrams also has two new genre television shows this season, Person of Interest and Alcatraz. Individual episodes of each give the impression of being essentially police procedural shows with a twist, and the question in my mind is whether there will be enough back story of interest to make them worth watching. I almost gave up on Fringe during its first season, seeing it as largely a monster of the week version of X-Files, but by the second season there was a tremendous pay off for sticking with the show. Therefore I paln to keep watching these two new Abrams shows.

There are hints that a story is developing beyond the weekly procedurals on Person of Interest. We have already seen a major change in Detective Carter. I am curious to see what develops now that  Reese is having Finch followed.  Meanwhile, Jonathan Nolan warns, “None of these characters are safe. You always have to be willing to [kill off characters]. Nothing is given.” I doubt that they would kill off Reese or Finch, but Carter and Fusco are definitely expendable.

Alcatraz combines a weekly police procedural with hunting down escaped prisoners from Alcatraz along with a continuing story about how they managed to be transported to the present. So far we’ve seen three stories (with two separate episodes being aired the first week). I got hooked with the second episode, which showed Lucy both in the past and present. It was not only the prisoners who disappeared from Alcatraz.

Perhaps because of being produced by Warner Brothers, The Big Bang Theory tends to concentrate heavily on DC comic characters. One rare past reference to Doctor Who which I can recall was from last year’s New Year’s Eve party when Stuart wore a Tom Baker costume at a party at his comic book store. Meanwhile, most of the characters came not as X-Men or Avengers but members of the Justice League of America:

Two years ago, Sheldon did combine watching Doctor Who with his fixation on his place on the couch:

On the other hand, last year Craig Ferguson teased Jim Parsons for being nothing like his character due to not watching Doctor Who.

This week’s episode of Big Bang Theory shows that Sheldon is no longer alone in watching Doctor Who every week:

The Big Bang Theory still remains far beyond Community in references to Doctor Who with their ongoing invention of episodes of Inspector Spacetime.

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SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who–The Rebel Flesh; The Doctor’s Wife; Torchwood; Alcatraz; Star Tours Reopens

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen as much disagreement about an episode of Doctor Who as in the reviews to The Rebel Flesh. The underlying idea is that artificial doppelgangers are used to do the dangerous work under the control of their human counterparts. A solar storm turned them into self-aware autonomous beings. The Doctor tried to have them all get along, but of course something went wrong and the first part of this two-part story ended with the two groups at war. This was all predictable very early in the story, as was the eventual cliff hanger. As was foreshadowed throughout the episode, the first part ended by revealing a doppelganger of the Doctor. Of course the episode showed that Amy Pond is/is not pregnant and had a scene showing the lady with the eye patch. In contrast to many other recent episodes, Rory did not die.

I really don’t think it is possible to review the episode alone. If the second part turns out to be a great conclusion, many will believe it worked out well to use the first part for setting all of this up, leaving a full episode to work out the consequences. A doppelganger version of the Doctor certainly does open the door for  a more interesting second half. However, if the second half goes nowhere, this week’s episode will be seem pretty  pointless.

American audiences who wait for the BBC America showing will have to wait two weeks to find out how this turns out. BBC America has decided against showing the next episode on Memorial Day weekend when fewer people will be viewing. This certainly defeats the plan to air the same day internationally to reduce piracy.  Many fans will download the conclusion next week to satisfy their curiosity about the ending and avoid spoilers. Maybe this episode wasn’t so compelling that American viewers could not wait, but with Moffat promising a huge cliff-hanger to conclude the spring episodes it is hard to see hard core fans being willing to remain  a week behind.

Neil Gaiman had a live question and answer session about The Doctor’s Wife with full transcript available here.  While it is really not up to Gaiman to resolve this issue, he was asked about his view of the limitation to thirteen regenerations:

Question:  If there are dozens of new control rooms that the doctor hadn’t even seen, does this mean that the plan is to just keep going with the regenerations and ignore the rule of 13 bodies? @Acey90

Gaiman: It’s interesting, that rule. It was obviously bendable to begin with (the Time Lords gave the Master a whole new round of regenerations). So I’ve always thought that it was more a law like a speed limit is a law than like Gravity is a law.

And if there are no longer any police to make you observe the speed limit, you can drive as fast as you like. Although it’s a lot more dangerous.

And that’s my opinion. As to what Mr Moffat thinks, he may either have a plan, or he may figure it’s not his problem, but is one for eight or ten years down the line.

Doctor Who’s top eleven catch phrases for the eleventh Doctor are presented in the video above.

[The Torchwood video previously posted has been taken off of You Tube. The trailer can still be seen at the Starz site.]

Torchwood: Miracle Day premiers on July 8. Trailers started to get released last week, and I’m sure more promotional material will become available.  Episode names have been released (subject to change).  Star Trek fans are also expressing interest in the series as it includes former Star Trek actors John De Lancie and Nana Visitor. There are also reports that Eliza Dushku will be staring in a web series entitled Torchwood: Web of Lies to coincide with Miracle Day.

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

Many additional trailers for upcoming series were made publicly available, and others with private links were distributed to bloggers. I’m sure I’ll be talking about upcoming shows more over the next few months. Above is the trailer for the J.J. Abrams show, Alcatraz. Abrams discussed the show further here.  It looks like Alcatraz is to the conventional prison shows  as Lost was to island shows such as Gilligan’s Island.

Star Tours has reopened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Above are some highlights of the grand reopening.

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