A prequel has been released for The Bells of Saint John, next week’s episode of Doctor Who (video above). I bet pretty much everyone guessed how it would end pretty early in the clip, remembering how the Doctor also first met Amelia Pond as a young child. The Doctor is searching for Clara but I’ve already found her in a couple places:
As can be seen in the above trailer, the Doctor does find Clara. We still do not know who she is, and are unlikely to guess according to Doctor Who Producer Marcus Wilson:
What’s lovely this year is that we’ve also got a thread running through these eight very different, very exciting stories – the mystery of Clara. She’s the impossible girl. The Doctor has met her twice before and both times she died. This time he’s determined to keep her alive and to discover who or what she really is. It’s a riddle that won’t easily be cracked. I defy anybody to guess it. Steven Moffat has found a way to lead everybody down the garden path and then knock them over with surprise at the end.
Above Jenna-Louise Coleman interviews Matt Smith
There’s also talk of revealing the Doctor’s greatest secret, and of a love triangle involving Clara and River Song.
Jenna-Louise Coleman appeared on Craig Ferguson’s show last week (video above).
Doctor Who first made the cover of Entertainment Weekly in July 2012 in a cover story about cult television. Now he is on the cover twice more with two different versions of the cover for this week’s edition on the 50th anniversary. (I was happy to find that my home and office waiting room copies each had the different cover). Here are the two covers:
But what happens after the anniversary? There’s another round of rumors that Matt Smith will leave the show after the Christmas Special, along with Jenna-Louise Coleman saying there may be a delay until the next season due to Steven Moffat being busy writing the 50th anniversary episode and Sherlock.
Revolution returns on Monday–view the first eight minutes above. Between the action scenes Aaron questions what Elizabeth knows. Now that Elizabeth has been reunited with her family it would not make any sense for her not to explain what is happening. We will see everything revealed in the thirteenth episode, to air April 8. Executive Producer Eric Kripke says this will open the door to new mysteries:
On revealing why the power went out
Kripke: In episode 13 Rachel reveals pretty much every single thing there is to know about why the blackout happened and every time I watch that scene– and she’s brilliant in it — but that scene’s a hard swallow every time because you’re like wow we’re just saying it. And it goes against many of your baked-in sure-weather instincts are not to have the scene that reveals every single thing in three minutes. And so we reveal really why the blackout happened but the card I think we have up our sleeve is I think the explanation really opens the door to much greater story possibility.
On Rachel’s role going forward
So Rachel’s quest is specific and she’s incredibly proactive. She’s making a straight line towards what it is that she needs to do. And the fun part that, you know, Eric had talked about before is that she also unloads everything; the entire secret, the entire history in one crazy conversation in Episode 13.
So I think that people will enjoy the fact that she has a lot to say and that her admonition or her quest is very powerful and proactive which I love in a character. It’s always nice to see women, people, anyone – your protagonist going after what she wants full force. So I think that’s going to be fun.
On what comes after that secret is revealed
Kripke: I don’t think we box ourselves in a corner. I think we open a door to a whole new world. And then we ask more questions. Because for me the story was never about what caused the blackout. I think it’s for me it’s like the show isn’t just based on one particular mystery, it’s based on these characters and this world and this kind of transformed landscape that they have these adventures in.
One of the more disappointing plot lines so far on Revolution was seeing how Aaron left his wife, feeling she would be safer without him. Kripke answered a question on this at PaleyFest2013:
Zac Orth wasn’t in the house, but his character Aaron was a hot topic nonetheless. When an audience member told the panel that he wasn’t a fan of how Aaron abandoned his wife so quickly, Kripke promised that that plotline would be addressed. ”He sees her again, and they’re able to work out their issues, and they do have a face-to-face,” he says. “She’s in the present day and you catch up with what she’s been doing for the past decade or so.”
Mad Men is also returning with a two-hour season premiere on April 7. Promo above.
Last season Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell) and Alexis Bledel (better known as Rory Gilmore) had an affair. Now the two are engaged in real life. With Bledel’s character undergoing the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind treatment it is doubtful that their affair will resume on the show. Plus Alexis Bledel is in a new pilot based upon the excellent UK sitcom, Gavin and Stacey, in which she will be dating Jason Ritter of The Event. Ritter was dating Lauren Graham (who previously played Rory Gilmore’s mother) last season on Parenthood. Meanwhile Pete Campbell’s wife on Mad Men, played by Alison Brie, is back on Community with an unknown future.
There are more rumors that Benedict Cumberbatch’s character in Star Trek Into Darkness is really Khan based upon the Entertainment Weekly cover story on the movie. At one point (since changed) the listing for sales of back issues described the cover featuring Kirk and Cumberbatch’s character as Kirk and Khan. (A second cover has Kirk and Spock). This hardly proves anything as whoever set up the orders page might have simply been influenced by the rumors as opposed to having any inside information.
There initially was a lot of speculation that the villain of the second movie under Abrams (as with the second movie of the original movie series) would center around Khan. When initial previews came out, further similarities to Gary Mitchell were noticed. It is certainly possible that the movie might be influenced by one or both stories from the original series, or perhaps neither. If the Khan stories are used as an influence for this movie, the story would most likely be more along the lines of Space Seed, when Khan was first found during the original series, than Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. There probably would be some major changes from the original story to reconcile the original Khan story and what we have seen in the clips so far.
Regardless of whether the character is based upon Khan and the aftermath of the Eugenics War, we can be certain that J.J. Abrams will be more careful in not tying himself to a history of the near future. When the original series was released in the mid 1960′s, it did not seem likely that people would still be watching Star Trek in the 1990′s and beyond when the Eugenics Wars were written to occur. (I have not read the books, but I have heard that they do attempt to reconcile this inconsistency between the Star Trek history and what we have observed by having the Eugenics War be more clandestine than the open all-out war I previously imagined). Abrams has already taken large steps to free himself from Star Trek canon by having a time line independent of the previous shows and movies. I question whether he would want to tie himself to a back story of a war in the 1990′s making me suspect that even if the character is modeled on Khan the back story will be different.
It was only in response to questions on the subject, but Joss Whedon has kept speculation alive about a return for Firefly:
Cancelled by Fox in 2002 before its first season had even run its course, the sci-fi western Firefly frequently lands on lists of TV shows that fans would love to see resurrected. But more than a decade on, there’s obviously no hope Firefly will return. Is there?
“I’ll never really accept it,” Whedon said of the end of Firefly, when I spoke to him during his stop in Toronto a while back. “And I always, in the back of my head, think, ‘What if I could get the old gang back together?’ ”
OK, you’ve got my attention now. Get the Firefly gang back together? Do go on.
“Well, you know, it’s something I would love to do,” Whedon said. He even admits to being a sucker for this sort of punishment: “When I made Serenity (2005′s feature film continuation of Firefly’s storyline), I said here’s one thing I’ll never do again — a movie based on something that some people know about and some people don’t, with tons of characters who all know each other and who you have to introduce.
“And then my second movie was The Avengers.”
Of course, there are all kinds of obstacles preventing any television or film resurrection of Firefly. Not the least of which is — spoiler alert! — fan-favourite character Wash (Alan Tudyk) was unceremoniously killed in Serenity. (One diehard fan recently analyzed Wash’s death in an attempt to prove the Reaver harpoon that impaled him could never have penetrated Serenity’s hull. Unfortunately, the movie math held up)…
Firefly’s flame has not been fully, irrevocably extinguished — “Part of me is like, ‘God, it would be great when I finish Avengers 2 to do that,’ ” Whedon said — but given the mountains of exhausting work Whedon already has on his plate, the odds don’t look good for Capt. Mal and company.
The BBC is talking about offering episodes of some shows on line on their iPlayer before the shows are aired. This is yet another reason to get the Hola Unblocker add on for Firefox or Chrome which, among other things, allows people outside of the UK to access iPlayer. It also allows people to view Netflix in countries where it is not available. Yes, there are other ways to do this, but this appears to be the simplest.
I don’t know which shows will be available ahead of the broadcast date, but the latest BBC genre show worth getting (whether by downloading or iPlayer) is Utopia. I don’t want to give anything away (and I’ve only seen some of the episodes) but it involves a graphic novel which appears to contain secret information and a government conspiracy to get more information about it, among other evil activities.
Community returned this week, once again up against The Big Bang Theory, showing why VCR’s and DVR’s are essential. The two questions coming into the season were whether the show would be turned into a more conventional sitcom and whether it would suffer quality-wise without Dan Harmon. The answer to the first question appears to be no, with the first episode even including a safe place in Abed’s head which showed the difference between Community and conventional sitcoms.
The show is still filtered by different show runners and it will be necessary to see more to determine how the show stands up to Dan Harmon’s work. One difference from the start of the season is that there is now a relationship between Britta and Troy. The lack of such relationships between main characters did differentiate Community from most other sitcoms, but this does not mean that continuing this absence is essential. What matters is how the relationship is handled, and whether it does open new avenues for stories this season without looking like every other sitcom relationship. I was glad to see that Chang was just seen briefly at the end. His character works best in small doses.
New show runners Moses Port and David Guarascio were interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter. They are hopeful that Community might get a fifth season since NBC is losing 30 Rock and The Office. They did find the delay in airing to be a disadvantage since all the episode are now filmed and they could not take fan reaction into account, which might have been helpful with the changes this season.
TWoP: It’s been fun to watch how Britta and Annie’s friendship has evolved over the course of the show. Has that been equally enjoyable for you both to play?
Gillian: I like that it flipped at a certain point and Annie started mentoring Britta.
Allison: Yeah, it’s always been a sisterly relationship. It was a bit competitive at first with Jeff, but we got that out of the way very quickly and then it was always Annie looking up to Britta. And now it’s flipped around and it’s like, “Maybe I can give her some advice.”
Gillian: Yeah, it took Annie a little too long to realize that Britta didn’t know what the hell was going on. I really enjoyed the “Blade” episode last season where she was calling me a lying junkie and locking me in her bedroom. And it’s interesting to see that dynamic play out this season with Britta joining the Troy/Abed/Annie household sometimes.
TWoP: Community is a big target for ‘shippers, who have paired up pretty much every study group partner at this point. Have you ever seen any Annie/Britta shipping?
Alison: Oh yeah.
Gillian: Yeah, definitely. Alison and I did a photo shoot for GQ that probably prompted a lot of that shipping. I think we’ve seen every possible fan combination. Donald [Glover] sent me some fan porn of Troy and Britta that someone had sent to him.
Alison: I saw some with Troy and Abed.
TWoP: So you do read Community fan fic?
Alison: Just the porn. [Laughs]
Gillian: I read enough to know what it was and then I was like, “Oh my!”
Alison: I just saw pictures! Mine was like pornographic cartoons.
Gillian: Oh, mine was a written-out thing. I just scanned it.
TWoP: Maybe someone can go through and change all the names, publish it and it can become the next 50 Shades of Grey.
Gillian: Yup — Seven Shades of Weird.
The top stories of the week in genre and cult television were the Christmas episodes of Merlin, Doctor Who, and Downton Abbey, which I previously looked at here.
The Royal Mail will be releasing a set of stamps in March to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. All eleven Doctors are present. The Tom Baker Matt Smith stamps are above. The full set, along with a Dalek stamp from1999, can be seen here.
Korean interviews with the cast and crew of Star Trek Into Darkness had a few interesting comments, such as this from Benedict Cumberbatch on his character, John Harrison:
He is an extraordinary terrorist of sorts. He uses himself as a warrior with weapons and close hand combat to just reap devastation and havoc wherever he goes and a trail of destruction follows him. What is interesting from an acting point of view — beyond doing the stunts and choreographed fight sequences….was also the psychological warfare that he acts out. He has an incredible ability to control people’s minds to his bidding and make them – well confuse the radar of their loyalties and prerogatives, so that was great fun. So it was a great mixture of intense acting scenes and action scenes.
J.J. Abrams decided against directing the next Star Wars movie:
There were the very early conversations and I quickly said that because of my loyalty to Star Trek, and also just being a fan, I wouldn’t even want to be involved in the next version of those things. I declined any involvement very early on. I’d rather be in the audience not knowing what was coming, rather than being involved in the minutiae of making them.
Genre television shows are frequently downloaded or streamed due to different broadcast days and times in the United States and the U.K. There will be no need to download the series finale of Fringe. It will be simulcast by Fox and Sky1.
Wonder what will happen in 2013?I09 reviewed events from 2013 in science fiction books, television shows, and movies.
I’m not sure what the story is behind this picture of Alison Brie as Captain America. Most likely it is Photoshopped, but I wonder if Community is doing their take on The Avengers.
Returning genre shows such as Person of Interest, Fringe, and Dexter were far stronger than the new series. On Person of Interest I was almost disappointed to see Finch escape from Root, but it looks like Amy Acker’s character will be returning after this extensive development of her back story. I do hope that future episodes involve the machine and Amy Acker’s plotting along with the person of interest of the week. The dog will remain on the show according to this interview with show runners and cast from prior to Friday’s episode. There were also these comments on Root:
TVLINE | Have we just seen Root (played by Amy Acker) at her most ruthless, poisoning that lady in the restaurant? Or is the worst yet to come? GREG PLAGEMAN | She just scratched the surface there. NOLAN | Root is stone-cold but it’s considered. We don’t think of her as a psychopath but someone who is in her own way sympathetic. And the case she is trying to make is, in many ways – though not the killing people part! – something Finch can relate to. You have all these people who want to manipulate [the Machine], and Root wants to set it free. What that means, and how her plan ultimately plays out, is something that we’re going to see through the course of the season. EMERSON | Once Mr. Finch sees a few of the things she’s capable of, he needs to bring her down.
This week on Fringe we got a look at how the Observers will probably be defeated. Although the solution was wiped from Walter’s mind last week, we found that Walter left information on a series of recordings–recorded on old Betamax tapes as opposed to digitally, or even VHS. Astrid will be important in figuring out Walter’s clues according to this interview with Jasika Nicole. While getting this information in Walter’s old lab, the episode also centered around torture and the question of whether the resistance can retain its humanity while fighting the Observers. I am hopeful that remaining episodes will deal with such issues as opposed to being simple quests for tapes with clues. It does look like it is safe to predict that Etta’s former partner Simon will not be returning. Interview with Anna Torv here.
On Dexter, Deb has finally found out about her brother’s habit. Dexter tried to convince Deb that the killing she witnessed was a one-time event. It was only a matter of time until she figured out everything, so I am happy they got it over with in the first episode of the season. Jennifer Carpenteron what Deb learned:
Deb has uncovered everything! What’s her first reaction in the second episode?
Jennifer Carpenter: I think audiences, especially our Comic-Con audience, wanted to me to say, “Oh, she’d rage or explode or fire a round from her gun,” but all [her] senses are firing and [her] brain is kicking up. I have this written history with this character for seven years, and there’s landmines everywhere. It’s rich. It’s dangerous for everyone involved. There’s no such thing as a filler scene this year. Everybody is involved in a weird way.
The Ice Truck Killer hand was on the table. What’s going on inside her head as she makes these connections that Dexter was present when she was on the Ice Truck Killer’s table?
Carpenter: It’s too hard to process it all at once. All of those things were in the room at the time, but that realization that those things are connected has its own turn. There was a moment when I was scanning the table while filming and thinking, “That sucks.” At some point, your body just can’t play Tetris anymore and find room for everything. There’s some paralysis that takes over, like, “I’ll get to that in a minute.”
How does Deb finding out that Dexter is a serial killer change her as a person?
Carpenter: Instantly, the fantasy of being in love with this man falls away, or at least is snuffed out. It’s a slap in the face that wakes her up in a weird way. Suddenly, she can see all the manipulation and redirection that he’s handed her. It’s changed everything. It’s made her job so hard. In a weird way, I think I was afraid it was going to paint us into a corner when she one day found out, but it’s endless space to work in.
How does it affect her job since he’s putting her in a difficult position?
Carpenter: What I appreciated from the writers is that its unfolding how I imagined it would in real life. It’s not some swift hammer that falls with her saying, “This is how it’s going to be.” It’s, “I need to collect information about how many [people he's killed] and who taught [him].” All of that stuff will play into how she chooses to proceed.
More on what this means for Dexter from show runner Scott Buck:
Do you think Dexter is partially happy that his secret is finally out?
Buck: Happy is not necessarily the right word, but he’s relieved. It’s a huge burden off his shoulder. He’s lived with this secret his entire life. In one sense, it’s a little scary not to have this secret anymore. He’s always sought comfort in his own private little world, and now to be exposed this way, it’s kind of frightening for someone who’s not used to being frightened. [But] yes, it’s a huge stress relief to finally be able to tell someone who you are.
Isn’t he now in ever-present danger that she might turn him in?
Buck: It’s a real risk. It’s one thing [for Deb] to learn that [he] used to do this’ it’s another thing to learn that [he's] still doing this and doesn’t intend on stopping.
Dexter is a great liar, but Deb’s not good with that. How will that start to weigh on her conscience?
Buck: It gets very aggravating for her because she never knew. To learn that your brother has been lying to you your whole life, suddenly you’re wondering what’s true and what’s a lie. Not just all the things he said in the past, but everything that comes out of his mouth now makes her wonder. It becomes very difficult for Deb to deal with.
Once Upon A Time added yet a third location to its storyline as Mary Margaret and Emma wound up in fairytale land after most inhabitants were brought to the modern world. It looks like we will also learn that the modern day story is generally confined to Storybrooke with the townspeople being unable to leave. From the description of tonight’s episode:
While Regina continues to find a way to regain her magical powers, David continues his quest to uncover the whereabouts of Mary Margaret and Emma; and the seven dwarves discover what happens when any of the townspeople try to step past the city limits of Storybrooke. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, as her wedding day to King Leopold approaches, Regina is confronted by a man of magic who promises to help her become independent and break free from her mother Cora’s clutches.
I finally caught the first two episodes of Fake Sherlock (i.e. Elementary) last night. The show didn’t show anything near the brilliance of Moffat’s version. The show was more a standard U.S. police procedural with an eccentric detective. Elementary’s Sherlock Holmes reminded me more of a toned-down House than Sherlock Holmes, and they even have Lisa Edelstein guest-staring in the seventh episode. Benedict Cumberbatch has a little (far too little) to say about both his show and Elementary in this interview.
Merlin Season 5 began in the U.K. yesterday. I don’t want to spoil episodes for U.S. viewers who are not downloading the show, but above is an extended trailer. A review of the first episode can be found here.
For American fans of British shows who do wait, Upstairs Downstairs Season 2 (of the remake) is finally airing in the U.S. Alex Kingston plays an archeologist in this period piece. She fits in quite well, but her presence did make me look around for a police box. The show has not been renewed for a third season.
Five actresses are reportedly vying for the lead female role in the Captain America sequel, which is widely assumed to be that of S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sharon Carter, who would be some form of relative of Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter (which relative, in particular tends to vary). The five candidates are Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke, Downton Abbey‘s Jessica Brown Findlay, I Am Number Four‘s Teresa Palmer, Fright Night‘s Imogen Poots, and Community‘s Alison Brie.
John Barrowman has his opinion of the perfect story for the next season of Torchwood (which may or may not ever be filmed)–his own novel:
Torchwood and Doctor Who star John Barrowman has teamed up with his sister Carole to pen his first Torchwood novel, Exodus Code, and he’s so pleased with it, he’d like it to become the fifth series.
“I’d love to see this book become the series or to become something in the future that could be done on screen with Torchwood,” John Barrowman tells us, “and that is why it was important for [Exec Producers] Russell [T Davies] and Julie [Gardener] and the BBC to have their input, because if the show did continue then this must make sense.”
The plot follows the events of Miracle Day, the fourth series of Torchwood, and Captain Jack [Barrowman] and Gwen [Eve Myles] are racing to save humanity. Women are being driven insane by heightened and scrambled senses, leaving governments and scientists baffled.
This global scale is the direction Barrowman would like to see Torchwood take if it were to return. “I think every time Torchwood comes back it has to be something different,” he says. “We’ve always been challenged; we’ve been moved from network to network each series so we always have to build from scratch so I think if Torchwood comes back it needs to be on a bigger, global scale.”
The future of the show is still uncertain, however. “We haven’t been told no or yes, we’re in limbo.” But Barrowman is ready if it ever does: “Listen, I’ve always said if they ask me to put the coat on I will do happily because I love Jack,” he says. “I have it here ready!”
J.J. Abrams had a brief clip from Star Trek Into The Darkness on Conan. Yes, this does appear dark.
The first ever official Doctor Who convention took place this weekend, and Steven Moffat discussed the event in the video above. More videos can be found here, here, and here.
The biggest news out of the convention is that the fifth episode next season, which has the final encounter with the Weeping Angels (and final appearance of Amy and Rory) will take place and be filmed in New York City. While in New York, the cast might feel at home in this TARDIS-themed bar which Karen Gillan mentioned in an interview.
Low-quality versions of trailer for the new season, taken while shown at the convention, have also been posted on many sites, as above. Hopefully we will have an official release early next week. Steven Moffat’s promotion of the season: “Amy and Rory leaving, tragedy, heartbreak and a Western, what more do you want out of Television. Come on Downton take that on!”
The biggest Doctor Who news of the week came on Wednesday before the convention with the naming of Jenna-Louise Coleman as the next assistant, beginning with the Christmas 2012 episode. The initial announcement, along with news on the upcoming season, were first posted here. In a follow-up post later in the day I had interviews with Jenna and Steven Moffat. A post on Thursday concentrated on her roles in Captain American and Titanic, along with advice from Matt Smith. On Friday we had the first official BBC picture of Jenna in front of the TARDIS, information on another series she is appearing in, Dancing on the Edge, and a report of links to an alleged sex tape with Jenna-Louise Coleman which actually lead to a malicious site. There’s also a brief video of what Matt Smith might say to people searching for sex tapes of Jenna.
Steven Moffat spoke toRadio Times about Doctor Who and Sherlock. He dismissed internet rumors that Benedict Cumberbatch will be playing the Master and reports that he has not started writing season three of Sherlock yet:
Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat has dismissed reports that Benedict Cumberbatch is to play the villainous Master on the sci-fi series.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com at the Royal Television Society awards, Moffat said: “People really do sit in rooms and make that stuff up. Look at the filming schedules for Doctor Who and Sherlock – those two shows tend to shoot at the same time. We’d have a problem and there’s only so much I can arrange.”
But he then added, as a quick afterthought: “But who knows what could happen in the future…”
Moffat also told RadioTimes.com about plans for the forthcoming series of Doctor Who. Asked whether there would be a large story arc running through the episodes, or if we could expect self-contained adventures, he said: “As ever, there’s a bit of both. But this time we’re moving closer to stand-alone stories. At this point, we’re not planning any two-parters. So, every week is going to be like a different mad movie.”
He added: “We went quite ‘arc’ last time and we’re going stand-alone this time around. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t those things creeping in. You’ve got to find a way to make the last episode special, and by God that worked ratings-wise last year. We don’t want to abandon that idea.”
Asked for any teasers he could offer, the ever-evasive Moffat replied: “Watch out for the title of episode two. I think that’s a belter. It’s one of my favourite titles ever.”
As for his other hit BBC1 series, the detective drama Sherlock, Moffat had this to say about series three: “Mark [Gatiss] and I have planned it out. We haven’t started writing it yet because I’ve got God knows how many episodes of Doctor Who to get sorted first. But the way it works with Sherlock is that we starve you and then we give you a short burst and then we starve you again. It’s worked so far, we’re not going to change it.”
On the scheduling of future episodes, Moffat said: “I don’t actually know. Given that this is a show that I haven’t started writing yet, it’s a bit early to suggest scheduling. Once we hand them over, they’ll be on television quite quickly.”
Emma Stone talked about her initial reluctance to appear in Spider-Man:
“I heard about Spider-Man and I didn’t think it was something I would want to be a part of. I just thought that probably isn’t right for me. Then I [auditioned with Andrew Garfield] and realized that this was a really interesting, fantastic relationship between two people and that I was being really closed-minded,” she said.
The actress, who wore her naturally blonde hair for the part, went on to discuss how her character finally changed her mind about the film: “[I] started learning more about Gwen Stacy and her history and just fell in love with the character and with the fans, too. I started reading forums and getting involved more in the comic book universe and it just became something I really wanted to be a part of, just because of all those elements.”
You went from playing a literary character in The Help who was in a much beloved book with its own kind of following, to a comic book character who’s iconic and has this rabid following. Was there a big difference for you between those characters and how they’re treated by their fans?Well of course the characters themselves are incredible different and there seems to be a different fan base between Spider-Man fans and fans of The Help. There are conventions for Spider-Man fans and there aren’t for The Help fans, although I would love to see a convention of The Help fans. It could be like the big Lebowski Fest. But they’re two tonally different worlds to me even though they both had such a rabid following. There’s a difference just in terms of bringing the material to life. There are different incarnations of Gwen Stacy and of Peter Parker throughout comic book history, all these different storylines to pull from depending on what kind of script you’re going to patch together. With The Help, it was such a distinct story that kind of needed to be matched line for line in a way. It felt different just in terms of becoming part of it and the way the material was adapted. But I’m so excited to be part of a movie with a built-in fan base in that way. You go to Comic-Con and there’s so much passion in one room. Everybody’s so passionate about these characters and how they’ve affected their own loves. It’s a really cool thing as an actor to know that you’re part of something that’s so much bigger than you. You’re not creating it from the ground up, you’re trying to fill the shoes of someone that’s been around a lot longer than you. It’s really exciting. I love that aspect of it.>
Why do you think the producers and writers went with Gwen instead of Mary Jane?Well, Gwen’s story happened before Mary Jane’s, and I think that coming back to their roots, it was interesting to explore the woman who came before Mary Jane. I think she’s such a definitive part of Peter Parker’s relationship with Mary Jane ultimately, who is literally the polar opposite in personality of Gwen Stacy. I think just building that into Peter’s life and seeing that story from the very beginning was really interesting. And of course Gwen’s story is so beautiful and important to that story of Spider-Man that I think they wanted to come from that angle at this time.
There might be less to report about the upcoming Star Trek movie as J.J. Abrams has built a wall around the set for secrecy.
I remain shocked that JJ Abrams destroy Vulcan in his Star Trek movies. That would be like eliminating Gallifrey and most of the Time Lords on Doctor Who.Oh, never mind.
This week’s episode of Fringe, A Short Story About Love, cleared up Peter’s confusion about the meaning of a changed time-line. When Peter began searching for a way to get home, and rejected the Olivia in this time line even when she gained memories of “his” Olivia, I questioned this. Peter was treating the changed time line as if it was another form of alternative universe, but a changed time line would imply that it is the same universe in which things have changed. Olivia would be the same Olivia, but with different experiences due to the changes in the time line. Although I was thinking these things while watching, I also considered the possibility maybe Peter could be right as we really don’t have established rules for dealing with different time lines. Last night we found out that the interpretation I first had was actually correct, and Peter had been wrong. Peter also realized that reuniting with the Olivia in this time line was fine–not like sleeping with the hotter Olivia from the alternative universe (especially as we found out in the previous episode that having a baby with Altlivia led to bad consequences).
Awake didn’t address the show’s mythology this week, but once again showed a character whose life was different in each world even before the accident. Again this rules out the possibility of the universe splitting into two different paths at the time of the accident (unless we really get complex and have time move in both directions, which would be way too confusing).
Mad Men returns tonight. Here are some stories about the show:
Matthew Weiner spoke about Betty Draper’s reduced role and things which fans might hate in an interview with Huffington Post.
Stephanie Newman looked at what Mad Men might look like if it took place today. (Wouldn’t that defeat the whole idea of the show?)
Leonard Nimoy appears on The Big Bang Theory. Hopefully he does more than lend his voice to the toy version of himself (which might be the case considering how he only appeared in cartoon form in his last appearance on Fringe.) Following is an ad for the episode:
Torchwood: Miracle Day Episode 2, Rendition, continued where the first episode ended. Major spoilers for UK readers who won’t receive the episode on the BBC until Thursday. (I wonder how many really wait as opposed to downloading. Despite talk of different scenes in each version, the first episode was the same on both Starz and the BBC. The only difference is that the BBC had a longer trailer for upcoming episodes.)
While the first episode had bigger movie-type action scenes, possibly using up more than its share of the show’s budget, this episode had more of the feeling of a television show such as 24 (although not limited to twenty-four hours). The episode established that the same group which was after Torchwood, and presumably behind the “miracle,” has infiltrated the CIA. They handled the attempted poisoning of Jack by Dichen Lachman from Dollhouse very well, requiring some ingenuity to come up with an antidote. This helped make up for some of the other junk science introduced in the episode. I’ll let them get away with this because, face it, the show would not be possible if they stuck to established science.
The episode also introduced Jilly Kitzenger, played by Lauren Ambrose of Six Feet Under. So far it looks like Oswald Danes is doing fine on his own without her help. I did not find it realistic that one appearance on television would have been so effective in changing public opinion of him.
Best scene of the episode was seeing Gwen Cooper explain that, “I’m Welch.” (Included in the extended trailer above). Rex Matheson also did well, after warned about the conspiracy by Esther Drummond, using some bullshit to distract the rogue CIA agents in order to set Jack and Gwen free. The episode made it clear how the four will turn into the new Torchwood (at least for this season) while being on the run.
The first episode raised the question of how they investigate intangible such as nobody dying, which is like investigating nothing. I would assume that the conspiracy involving the CIA would provide something to begin investigating. In order to investigate “nothing,” they might check out a character who previously appeared in a show about “nothing.” The conspiracy at the CIA is led by Wayne Night, who played Newman on Seinfeld
Following is the synopsis released for Episode 3:
Torchwood goes on the run – and finds a new enemy. But as they launch a raid on PhiCorp headquarters, Jack must confront the mysterious Oswald Danes.
Episode three includes guest stars Wayne Knight (Jurassic Park, Seinfeld), Dillon Casey (The Vampire Diaries) and Richard Gilliland (Desperate Housewives).
Will Ricky Gervais be the next Doctor, or just steal a Tardis. Check out this report.
A new trailer for Season Six of Dexter. The next season is going to skip ahead so that Dexter can be past the death of Rita and Lumen moving away, allowing him to get back to being Dexter.
Friday Night Lights concluded its series, but now there is talk (and tweets) of filming a movie. Sometimes that works (Firefly/Serenity) and other times such movies have failed to materialize (Arrested Development and Veronica Mars). The idea is to continue from where the series left off. This would work well with Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, and it would be easy to work in some other characters, but unless the movie shows the Taylors moving back to Dillon, it would be hard for it to be a direct continuation of the series.
Last season Thursday night featured two genre comedies up against each other. Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs of Community got kinky for Esquire in the video above. What will Kaley Cuoco and Melissa Raunch of Big Bang Theory do to match this? For more on the sex life of Alison Brie (of both Community and Mad Men) check out this essay she wrote.
The second episode of The Event gave some answers, but obviously in a show of this nature there is a lot we still do not know. The prisoners are beings which are much like us but age very slowly and differ in their DNA from us by one percent. It is left open as to whether they are aliens or if they have a closer connection to us. The president, after seeing them make the plane flying at him disappear, was far more concerned about the abilities of these beings than he was that someone was trying to kill him, and decided to keep them prisoners. Sure, having possible aliens in our midst with such powers should concern any president, but he should also be a bit more concerned about a conspiracy which is apparently in his own government to kill him.
Sean Walker remains the show’s key character, leaving me wondering if there is more in his background of importance beyond being engaged to the daughter of man they wanted to pilot the plane. Whoever is behind this sure is determined not to leave any loose ends. When Sean escaped from the ship (which presumably he was supposed to never leave alive) he was framed for murder to make it more difficult for him to talk about what happened.
The second episode continued to jump around in time but not as badly as the first episode. It ended with another cliff hanger, but I think it is a safe prediction that all those people from the plane are not really dead. Reviewers report that the third episode has an even bigger shock.
Another new genre show premiered last week, No Ordinary Family. Unfortunately the episode was far too ordinary to develop a cult following as a genre show. It certainly didn’t have the mystery of Heroes (which unfortunately also lost much of what made it interesting after the first season).
The hardest thing to figure out about this show is how that guy above managed to get a wife who looks like Julie Benz. It is a shame she didn’t have super speed when she was captured by Trinity on Dexter.
The best hour of comedy on network television remain 8:00 to 8:30 with the combined offerings from CBS and NBC. On Big Bang Theory, Sheldon worked on ways to transfer his intelligence to a robot because he calculated that he might not live long enough to make it to the Singularity. Of course Penny suggested Sheldon already had turned himself into a robot. The episode also included a guest appearance by Steve Wozniac.
Big Bang Theory will continue to have major guest appearances, including Eliza Dushku who will play an FBI agent who interviews Wolowitz’s friends so he can get security clearance. According to various tweets from Bill Prady, Will Wheaton will be back before the end of the season. Wolowitz hasn’t seen the last of Bernadette, who also will be returning. Kaley Cuoco will only be missing two episodes following her recent injury while horse back riding. Watch With Kristin reports that Cuoco was actually dating Johnny Galecki for a while in real life as well as on the show.
Meanwhile over on Community, Alison Brie, who is always a knock out, really proved it this week:
I suspected that it would be hard for the competition to stand up against these two shows. My Generation was already canceled by ABC after only two episodes, making it the second casualty of the season. The show was not this year’s Friday Night Lights as a rare favorable reviewer had suggested, but it is also far from deserving such a quick cancellation.
It is bad enough that the Tea Party takes its name from the American Revolution when, in reality, in any analogy to the revolution they would be the Tories who opposed it. Now Glenn Beck is try to steal Star Wars according to this report form Politicususa:
In Glenn Beck’s Tea Party retelling of Star Wars, Barack Obama, the Democratic Party, and progressives are the Empire. He and the Tea Party are the resistance that is fighting to restore the Republic. I guess this makes Beck, Luke Skywalker, and Sarah Palin is Princess Leia. Darth Vader, because he is black would be Barack Obama. The problem with this is that it doesn’t match up with the obvious theme and message of the any of the prequels.
As usual, Beck has taken a quote completely out of context. What Queen Amidala was referring to with the liberty dying quote was the Proclamation of the New Order when Palpatine proclaimed himself Emperor and outlined his vision for transforming the Republic into the Empire. The movie’s proclamation bears a not so coincidental resemblance to the post-9/11 authorization to use force and George W. Bush’s vision of empire through preemptive war. George Lucas may be a lot of things, but he is not subtle.
Star Wars took ideas from many sources, with Lucas being influenced by the power grab by Richard Nixon and the Vietnam war when the original trilogy was written. The prequel movies continued to show that influence, and fit in very well with the corruption of democracy under George Bush and Darth Chaney. Glenn Beck and the Tea Party are those who are trying to destroy our republic and lead us towards the totalitarian empire. They are in no way defenders of liberty.
The Event had its premier episode this week and was widely compared to Lost. The unfavorable nature of some of the comparisons is a little unfair as Lost had two hours to set up the situation in its pilot episode. Lost also started out more modestly, appearing to be a show about survivors of a plane crash. We gradually learned how far more complicated the show’s mythology would be.
On The Event we quickly find that things are very complicated–and the conspiracy is far more elaborate than that on AMC’s more cerebral conspiracy show, Rubicon. It appears that a group is being held in a number of prisons for knowing a secret which most of the show’s characters seem to know about but the viewer does not. A new president threatens to reveal the information to the public and set the prisoners free, leading to a possible assassination attempt. The narrative is confused by constantly jumping around in time making Lost’s use of two time periods in many episodes seem easy to follow by comparison.
The other big event of the episode involved Sean Walker going on a cruise with his girl friend, who disappeared without any sign that the two were ever passengers. (It shows that when traveling with one’s girl friend it is unsafe to go scuba diving with an even hotter girl.) This is interspersed with scenes of Sean trying to get into the cabin of a plane being piloted by the girl friend’s father, who we are led to believe is being forced to fly the plane into a presidential compound in Florida because of having his two daughter’s kidnapped. It also appears his wife was killed, but the scene left open the possibility she survived. We also don’t know for certain that Sean’s girl friend was really taken against her will. She might even be in on the conspiracy for all we know.
All the jumping around in time was to build up to the conclusion where the plane disappeared from the sky, setting up a big mystery which will hopefully be answered this week. Theories being discussed include alien technology and jumping to another dimension. If we are really dealing with another dimension, this even leaves open the possibility that Sean somehow was moved to an almost identical cruise ship in another dimension where he was never a passenger traveling with his girl friend.
If this is a matter of two alternative earths it would risk being too much like Fringe, which returned on Thursday. Last season ended with a great cliff-hanger as Olivia was imprisoned on the alternative earth while their Olivia had infiltrated the Fringe squad. Word had leaked over the summer that Olivia would escape during the first episode, but they had a great twist in having the alternative Olivia’s memories be implanted into Olivia.
Besides the return of Fringe, Thursday demonstrated why DVR’s are necessary. CBS decided to take on NBC’s comedy line up by putting Big Bang Theory and William Shatner’s new show, $#*! My Dad Says (based upon this Twitter feed) on Thursday. Besides this battle of two of the best comedies on television at 8:00, ABC’s drama My Generation also looks like it is worth watching.
While both shows are worth watching regularly, this week Big Bang Theory started the season with a better episode than Community. Big Bang Theory had two strong plot lines. Sheldon, played by Emmy Award winner Jim Parsons, had his first date with Amy, played by Mayim Bialic, with Penny along to drive and try to stimulate conversation. Sheldon even managed to work in an attack on community college degrees. I wonder if this was a shot meant for the new competition. Meanwhile Wolowitz brought home a robotic arm being developed for NASA and wound up using it in a way Christine O’Donnell would not approve of.
I thought the season premiere of Community was below the quality of many of last season’s episodes because of trying to do too much in one episode. Betty White was fantastic, but her use was limited by trying to resolve last season’s cliff hanger far too quickly. The responses by Jeff and Britta to the situation could easily have been spread out over a few episodes rather than trying to reset the show in the first episode.
If Jeff wasn’t going to wind up with Britta or Professor Slater, there’s that matter of the kiss with Annie at the end of the episode–along with the obvious chemistry between them earlier in the season. Jeff acts as if Annie is a child and the episode suggests their relationship isn’t going anywhere. Annie is played by Alison Brie (who also plays Trudy Campbell on Mad Men) and as can be seen in the picture of her above is clearly no child. I bet that we see more of Jeff and Annie this season.
Chang, now a student instead of Spanish teacher, looked like Golum with his thoughts of revenge against the study group. It was an amusing scene but again it felt like too much was being thrown into one episode. It would probably work better if there were only occasional episodes devoted to Chang but the manner in which network sit-coms are done means that a regular character will be used pretty much every week.
Having moved on to sit-coms, I can’t help but note what we learned on How I Met Your Mother. After going out with Ted, Cindy (Rachel Bilson) has given up on men and wound up kissing the girl who we were led to believe just might turn out to be Ted’s future wife (played by Kaylee Defer). With Cindy no longer mad at him, the chances might be better for Ted to meet her room mate, but we learn that he is fated to meet her while best man at a wedding. (Could it be Barney’s?)
If The Event does turn out to involve contact with extraterrestrials, as some theorize, readers should be relieved to know that the United Nations is prepared should such an event actually occur:
The United Nations was set today to appoint an obscure Malaysian astrophysicist to act as Earth’s first contact for any aliens that may come visiting.
She is scheduled to tell delegates that the recent discovery of hundreds of planets around other stars has made the detection of extraterrestrial life more likely than ever before – and that means the UN must be ready to coordinate humanity’s response to any “first contact”.
Mazlan Othman, the head of the UN’s little-known Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa), is to describe her potential new role next week at a scientific conference at the Royal Society’s Kavli conference centre in Buckinghamshire.
But what if the aliens demand to be taken to our leader? (Or maybe they did come and request this following the 2000 election and left in confusion).
iO9 has compiled a list of the top science fiction cliff hangers on television. I don’t think there will be much controversy over choosing Best of Both Worlds Part 1(Star Trek: The Next Generation) as the best of all time. Discussion of how the Borg could be defeated, how Jon Luc Picard would be saved after being turned into a Borg, and whether Ryker would really fire on Picard dominated the CompuServe forums over the summer in those days before the internet replaced it. The hype from this episode also was responsible for turning what had been a so-so remake into a major science fiction series.
A recent episode of Doctor Who, The Pandorica Opens made the list. While some object to the manner in which the Doctor got out of the Pandorica, what bigger cliff hanger can you have than the end of the universe?
There were other memorable cliff hangers listed. This included Zha’dum (Babylon 5) when Sheridan obeyed Kosh’s voice telling him to jump, Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 2(Battlestar Galactica) which jumped the series ahead a year when unprepared humans living on New Caprica were conquered by Cylons, and The Incident (Lost) in which Julia detonated the bomb in hopes of changing history.
There are some cliff hangers from last season I’m looking forward to seeing the conclusion of. The mid-season cliff hanger episode of Caprica contained several cliff-hangers. Last season’s cliff hanger from Fringe made the list. And, while not science fiction, I’m sure curious to find out how Jeff responds to both Britta and Professor Slater declaring his love for him followed by the ending with Jeff kissing Annie on Community. Personally I’d like to see him date Annie while Britta goes crazy with jealousy. Besides, I’d much rather see Alison Brie with Jeff on Community than as Pete Campbell’s wife Trudy on Mad Men.
Dexter also ended with a significant cliff hanger last season. Blogcritics reviews the first few episodes of the upcoming season, including this bit of news:
According to executive producer, Sara Colleton, this will be the year to “take a break from having a one season-long adversary. So as Dexter’s grief goes through different stages, different characters will play their part and yet eventually, these characters interlock to form a a worthy adversary for Dexter.”
In the final scene of the third episode, there is a stunning moment: a twist so totally unexpected, you’ll curse the fact you’ll have to wait a week to see what happens next.
We’ve seen many characters reimagined, including Superman, Batman, and Iron-Man. Next we will get Epic Mickey, coming in a game for the Nintendo Wii:
Disney has hinted that Epic Mickey is kind of a reboot for the beloved character – one that takes him from cute and cuddly cartoon icon to brave and embattled warrior. The questions now are manifold: Will Disney turn off potential gamers who prefer the Mickey of old? Will the game be dark and intriguing enough to appeal to “core” gaming audiences? And, perhaps most importantly, given flagging interest in the mouse, does Disney have a choice?
That’s nothing all that radical–just go to Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. On a related note, there are rumors that Jon Hamm will star in the next reboot of Superman.
Cliff hangers sometimes lead to the death of characters. In case that happens Eternal Image sells urns fit for a true Star Trek fan. It comes in two models– one says “To Boldly Go” and the other that says “The Voyage Continues.”