SciFi Weekend: Orphan Black; Walter White Possibly Still Alive; Eva Green In Controversial Sin City Poster; Lost & The Leftovers; Save Community; Under the Dome; Doctor Who; Karen Gillan; Ann B. Davis Dies

Orphan-Black Rachel Leakey

Most of this week’s episode of Orphan Black, Knowledge Of Causes, And Secret Motion Of Things, seemed like a lighter episode with less actual changes to move the story compared to other recent episode, until the end. Several characters did learn significant things they did not know before.

The episode introduced Marian, played by Michelle Forbes, as someone  high up in Dyad, but without the ambiguity as to whether he is good or evil seen in Leekie’s character. There was also a reunion between Sarah and Allison, with Tatiana Maslany once again having the opportunity to play one clone playing another. This situation was set up by Allison calling in Sarah for help after she made the mistake of trusting Vic with the truth about what happened to Aynsley before discovering he was spying on her for Angie. Sarah wound up filling in for Allison, both giving a speech for family day to the booze hounds and the pill poppers, and then engaging in role playing in which she pretended (not all that well) to be Allison playing Donnie who was speaking with Allison.

The same evening included additional comedy with Sarah and Felix carrying around Vic’s body Weekend at Bernie’s style after Felix spiked his tea with benzodiazepines. Donnie ultimately saw Sarah and Allison together and it became clear that despite being Alison’s monitor he had no idea that they were clones or what Leekie was really up to. Yes, I could believe Donnie is stupid enough to think he was helping a long term social metrics study. Needless to say, he became quite angry when he learned how he was being duped.

Donnie wasn’t the only one to learn the truth. Cosima found out that the stem cells were from Kira and was not happy about this either. She threw Delphine out of the lab saying, “This is my lab, my body. I’m the science.” Kira was the only one to learn something this episode without getting angry. Finding out that stem cells taken from her tooth were somehow significant, she calmly got a piece of string and pulled out another loose tooth.

Rachel found out that the first father to raise her was still alive and that Leekie had set the fire which killed her mother. Marian sided with Rachel, but Rachel did give Leekie a chance to survive on the run, with warnings not to get in his car or to go home. At first it looked like he was safer with Donnie finding him (although I’m not sure how he did it) before Dyad. Donnie happened to be holding a gun and accidentally blew Leekie’s brains out. Apparently keeping Leekie, Rachel, and now Marian around would have left too many at the top.

Entertainment Weekly interviewed John Fawcett about the decision to kill off Leekie:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s start with some words for the dearly departed Aldous Leekie.
JOHN FAWCETT: We knew Dr. Leekie was going to die in season 2. And we knew that was something that we wanted to work towards and was going to be a big part of the Rachel/Dr. Leekie story and be a big part of why we’ve been telling a lot of this backstory. Ultimately, I think we didn’t really know how we were going to do it. We knew we were going to do it, we just didn’t know how we were going to do it. And [co-creator] Graeme [Manson] early on had this idea that Donnie should kill Dr. Leekie. It’s funny because my initial reaction was “that’s ridiculous.” Then we sort of kind of went at it a bunch of different ways: Who would kill him? How would he die? And ultimately we came back to Donnie. We wanted to do it in a surprising sort of strangely comic fashion, and that was the result.

EW: And to have Donnie be an accidental triggerman is kind of perfect.
FAWCETT: Yeah, we wanted it to be surprising. And you know that Leekie’s life is in danger at the end of the episode. Rachel in a way kind of lets him escape, but there is a very real threat to his life, and Donnie just happens to step in the wrong place at the wrong time. The gun goes off.

EW: Obviously when you kill off a main character, that’s a big deal and you have to walk through the pros and cons of doing that. So why Leekie and why now?
FAWCETT: Well, I think that obviously Dr. Leekie and Matt Frewer are a big part of our show and it is a very big decision to decide to eliminate a character. We don’t want to just make those decisions lightly, and it really has to have a bearing on not just story structure of the season, but really the big picture also. It has to work towards our end goals. So we designed the first part of the season all the way to episode 7 knowing this was going to come to a head and that Leekie was going to die. We used that as building blocks for that character, and by the time the end came for him, he wanted to build a character that we actually had grown to like and maybe couldn’t entirely trust, but were having some sympathies for. And he wasn’t just a kind of a bad guy. He was kind of in a weird way helping. It’s interesting then to kind of kill off someone that actually the audience and the fans are sort of starting to like and care about. I think it was an important element to building that character and using his death to actually mean something at the end of episode 7, and going forward in the next bunch of episodes. Because Dr. Leekie’s death…the fact that he’s gone or missing or presumed dead or whatever — that informs a bunch of story in the coming episodes.

Fawcett made it sound pretty definite that Leekie is dead after we saw “brains on the window.” However this week there was a hint of another character possibly surviving an apparent death. Bryan Cranston suggested that Walter White might still be alive. He pointed out, “You never saw a bag zip up or anything.” Theoretically they could have him return on Better Call Saul, which sounds like primarily a prequel series but which might jump around in time. They better have a really good storyline to justify saying Walter White is still alive as otherwise his death in the series finale of Breaking Bad would be the best way to end his story.

Eva Green Sin City

The Motion Pictures Association of America is unhappy about this poster for the Sin City sequel, feeling it reveals too much of Eva Green.

The New York Times Magazine looked at Damon Lindelof, discussing both Lost and his new show,The Leftovers. His upcoming show is based upon the Tom Perotta novel:

The conceit of “The Leftovers” is also a kind of trick: 2 percent of the earth’s population disappears one day with no explanation. There appears to be no common denominator to the people who go missing. Condoleezza Rice is gone. The pope is gone. So is Gary Busey. It may be the Christian Rapture — when believers ascend to heaven — or it may not. The story begins on the third anniversary of what has become known as the Sudden Departure, and focuses on characters living in a world that is trying to figure out how to move on.

It’s a compelling but tricky premise for a TV show, because the show’s central mystery may (or may not) be teased out indefinitely. Perrotta’s novel wrapped up its story after 355 pages, but a successful HBO series has to sustain several seasons of intrigue. And because it is Lindelof’s first TV project since he was a creator of “Lost,” the ABC show that famously drew out several mysteries for many seasons — only to end with resolutions that many people found, to put it mildly, unsatisfying — this may be a good time to remember how comfortable Lindelof is with the whole idea of mystery. The short answer: very, despite everything.

Save Community

The most disappointing cancellation from last season was for Community. Now Deadline gives hope that Hulu might keep the series alive.

There is a glimmer of hope that there could be a sixth season of cult comedy series Community. I have learned that Hulu is in talks with Community producer Sony Pictures TV for more original installments of the show, which was cancelled by NBC earlier this month. Sources stress that conversations are preliminary and it is unclear whether they would lead to a deal, but I hear there is will on both sides. That includes Community creator Dan Harmon, who confessed on his blog that he had warmed up to the possibility of continuing the show elsewhere, changing his stance from “eh” when Sony TV called him with the news of the series’ cancellation by NBC to “sure, let’s talk” two days later. Said Harmon, “I’m not going to be the guy that re-cancels cancelled Community.”

My review of last week’s episode of Mad Men, the last until next year, was posted here.

under-the-dome-image

Collider discussed the second season of Under the Dome with Neal Baer:

Question:  What can you say about what viewers can expect from Season 2?

NEAL BAER:  We are really excited about Season 2.  It is the season of transformation.  Last season was the season of secrets being revealed.  Our characters were trapped under this impenetrable Dome, where no one could get in and no one could get out.  And because they were trapped in this hot house, their secrets started to come out.  This is the season where we will find out what they are truly made of.  One of our characters met a very untimely death, and so will another beloved character.  That doesn’t mean you won’t necessarily see them again, because anything is possible under the Dome.  But, we are very excited to continue our journey with these characters, and we have so many surprises in store, this season.

Are you going to deal with the practical aspects, this season, of how they are getting food, what happens when they run out of toilet paper, and things like that?

BAER:  That’s a huge part of it, and it really puts Julia and Big Jim at huge odds, in Episodes 3 and 4.

What new capabilities does the Dome have?

BAER:  It’s certainly magnetic.  We just love the butterfly metaphor. This is a season that’s almost about impending ecological disaster.  That magnetism has caused many things to happen.  So, you will be seeing, in the early episodes, our characters, and particularly Big Jim, confronting the almost Biblical problems of pestilence and bloody rain.  Our characters haven’t been the stewards that maybe they should be, protecting the land and protecting each other.  They have a lot to learn this year, and I guess the Dome is teaching them.  That’s what Julia keeps talking about.  We have to understand the message that the Dome is trying to give us, and what it is trying to teach us.

How many years do you think this can continue, given the structure of the book? 

BAER:  Well, I’m glad you brought up the book because Stephen King wrote the first episode, so he’s certifying that he is very much involved in this show.  The book is there for those who want to read it, if they haven’t, at this point.  But, we are way past the book.  The book is really only about the first week under the Dome, and we are already two weeks in.  This season, we will be going for two more weeks.  We really go day-by-day under the Dome.  If we lasted 15 years, that would really only be a year under the Dome.  So, I think it’s certainly possible to keep going because we have so many stories to tell. 

We have new characters, as well, who shake things up.  We’ve got Eddie Cahill coming on as San Verdreaux, who is Big Jim’s brother-in-law.  He has been a recluse for the 10 years since his sister died, and was an alcoholic.  We have Karla Crome coming on as Rebecca Pine, who is a school teacher.  We are really getting into the science versus faith elements this season.  Rebecca represents scientific explanations for what’s going on, versus Rachelle’s character, Julia, who is really much more about faith.  And Big Jim is in the middle, trying to figure it out.  We have Grace Victoria Cox, who is the young woman that Julia pulls out of the water.  She is a pivotal character whose connection will be revealed.  And we have Sherry Stringfield, my dear friend who I worked with on ER.  We have a reunion this season because Eric LaSalle will be directing Sherry in Episode 10.  We are excited about that.  So, Stephen writing the episode is really sending us off into a place that he feels really proud of and really loves.  It’s his ideas of how to go beyond the book.  It’s really special for us to have Stephen launch us this season.

Maybe Stephen King can get the show back on track.

Town Called Mercy

BBC and BBC America are running teasers announcing that Doctor Who will be returning in August with a new Doctor played by Peter Capaldi. Steven Moffat revealed that the BBC had considered canceling the show after David Tennant left but Russell T. Davies pushed to keep it going, giving us Matt Smith along with Karen Gillan. Not only does Karen Gillan have an upcoming sit-com, Selfie, she will also be staring in a Western, In a Valley of Violence. According to BBC America, “She joins Ethan Hawke, John Travolta and Taissa Farmiga in the story of a drifter (Hawke) turning up in a small town in the 1890s, ready to find and punish the people who murdered his best friend. Karen and Taissa play sisters that run the local hotel.” She has previous western experience in the Doctor Who episode, A Town Called Mercy.

Ann B. Davis, best known for playing Alice on The Brady Bunch, died on Sunday.

Please Share

SciFi Weekend: Hannibal; Orphan Black; Person of Interest; The Blacklist; Arrow; Agents of SHIELD; The Americans; Revenge; Alison Brie; Emelia Clarke; Porn Stars in Game of Thrones; Billie Piper; Nebula and BAFTA Award Winners

Hannibal Mason Face

The penultimate episode of Hannibal for the season, Tome-wan, wrapped up the current Mason Verger storyline and set the stage for next week’s confrontation between Jack and Hannibal, already shown in the season premiere. The scene in which a drugged Mason Verger was feeding his own face to Will’s dogs was among the more gruesome of the series. The episode also included fantasies of Hannibal being fed to Mason’s pigs.

Last week we learned that Will was working with Jack and was not really a murderer under Hannibal’s spell. This week they walked this back a bit, leaving Jack not entirely clear as to whose side Will was really on. I suspect that Will is still interested in helping take Hannibal down, but is not above keeping things from Jack, and was willing to work with Hannibal to see Mason Verger receive the punishment he felt he deserved after what he did to Margot. I also wonder if questions over Will’s loyalties leads to Jack setting himself up as bait and is the reason the two wind up fighting, as opposed to an organized FBI arrest.

The episode also included the brief return of Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier. Gillian Anderson managed to come in for six hour for filming between plains concluding Crisis and leaving to begin filming on The Fall. As a consequence, it was necessary to only briefly have her tell about her back story in which Hannibal persuaded her to kill a patient (partially in self-defense) as opposed to actually showing this, and it appears she has a much smaller role in the final take down of Hannibal than I previously predicted. While I wish we could see more of her on Hannibal, it was good news that she was finally going to film the second season of The Fall.

Fortunately Hannibal has been renewed for a third season and it won’t be necessary to shop the show around to other networks which might consider it, such as the Food Network.

Bryan Fuller discussed the conclusion of the Mason Verger storyline for this season, and the motivations of the characters involved:

Let’s talk about Mason’s drug trip. How was that conceived?
Fuller: 
It was directed by Michael Rymer, and it was fascinating to sit down and figure out how we were going to film this enhanced state of mind. Michael Pitt’s performance is so infectiously fun. I find it immensely enjoyable and very f—ed up in a thoroughly giddy way. I think the thing that Michael Rymer brought to the scene was a similar infectious sense of fun. He wanted it to be a carnival of sorts. He wanted to light sparklers in the room to create the things your retinas do when you’re under that much chemical oppression. He was the right guy to bring the drug trip to life and has the humor to make sure it is as fun onscreen as it can be.

Mason certainly seemed to be enjoying himself even though he was cutting off his own face!
Fuller:
 [Laughs] Michael Pitt was having the time of his life with this performance. And there’s something between Hannibal and Will in that moment that is very playful, which is perhaps a strange word to use in that context. But there’s a gamesmanship afoot because Hannibal essentially says, “I got him to cut off his face. Your turn.”

However, Will needs Hannibal to commit this murder so they can arrest him, but Hannibal only breaks Mason’s neck. Is Hannibal on to Will or is he keeping Mason alive because of Margot’s financial dilemma?
Fuller:
  Hannibal’s response is all of those things. It’s a gesture toward Margot to give her some control in her life. And also, he doesn’t kill him completely because, as he has said and will say again to Margot, the best therapy for her is to kill her brother.

And I assume Mason doesn’t tell Jack the truth because he too has some of his own twisted plans for Hannibal.
Fuller:
 Mason does not want Jack Crawford to deliver justice to Hannibal. He wants to deliver justice his own way. This is all now a very particular game for Mason, which I am hoping to explore much more of in Season 3. Episode 12 completes the Verger arc for Season 2 and sets up the Verger arc for Season 3.

Orphan Black Sarah Helena

Ipsa Scientia Potestas provided more information on the development of the clones and, as usual for an episode of Orphan Black, raised more questions than it answered. Rachel joined characters on shows including Agents of SHIELD, Revenge, and The Blacklist with presumed dead fathers who are or might be alive. We found that Rachel has a monitor just like the other clones, but she is in a special position giving her more power. Paul, after not being seen much this season, has become more important after Rachel chose him to replace Daniel as her monitor, among other things. While Orphan Black doesn’t compete with Game of Thrones in terms of rape scenes, the scene in which she forced Paul into having sex with her will remain one of the more memorable scenes of the series. Paul does now have three notches in his clone belt. I’m hoping they manage to find a way to get him involved with Alison next (who was totally absent from this week’s episode). Paul’s motivations remain unclear as he is being blackmailed into cooperating. This week he went along with the plan to frame Felix for murder in order to gain control over Sarah but in future episodes it would not be surprising to see him help Sarah against Rachel if the opportunity were to present itself.

You can never be certain as to which side a character is on. Helena has been transformed from crazy murder to crazy murderer who does care about her twin sister Sarah. Leekie looks far more like an ally for the Clone Club, even being at odds with Rachel over some matters, compared to last season. I suspect that he intentionally sent Delphine the email on the stem cell tests to help Cosima, contrary to Rachel’s view of Cosima as expendable. It has become clear that, as suspected, Cal is hiding something after we saw his stash of weapons, cash, and fake ID. However, for the moment I trust Kira’s intuition and if she trusts him I will assume for now that he can turn out to be helpful to Sarah.

On the other hand, the Proletheans are clearly evil. If there was any doubt, this was eliminated when they sewed Gracie’s mouth closed for telling a lie. Now it looks like Gracie will become the surrogate mother following Helena’s escape.

The Hollywood Reporter interviewed Bruce Dylan (Paul) about his character’s motivations and the sex scene with Rachel:

The episode’s big “wow” moment was Rachel and Paul’s sex scene.

When I read it on the page, I had never seen anything like this on television before. It’s amazing how quickly Tatiana [Maslany] jumps into all these different characters and how immersed she is in each character she’s playing. Our director for this last episode, Helen Shaver, she’s very good in the realm of sexuality. She knows how to bring the sexy out of her actors. A lot of the moving parts in that scene were added by her. It’s almost like Rachel’s inspecting Paul like he’s a derby horse — looking at his teeth, making sure that he’s clean and worthy of her. It seems like she has a lot of suppressed sexual energy and very kinky as well. I was anticipating that they’d have whips and chains in the room. (Laughs.) I called her Fifty Shadesof Rachel. I thought she would have some sort of sex room with a swing or something. That scene was absolutely brilliant. It’s very sexy on a completely different level than other sex scenes that I’ve seen on television. It’s weird and sexy at the same time.

How is Paul adjusting to his new role as Rachel’s monitor? Will he be taking advantage of his current position?

He’s in a situation right now where it’s definitely to his advantage. The fact that Daniel is out of the picture, Paul’s not a disposable asset anymore. Now he can become a usable force. That helps him out and helps him progress his own cause. It seems like he’s being blackmailed into doing this, but there is something much bigger that this guy is involved with. That’s about all I can say about that. He would want nothing more than to burn the Dyad corporation to the ground, I think.

There’s an interesting power struggle between Dr. Leekie and Rachel and Paul’s stuck in the middle of it. Out of the two, who does he have more allegiance to?

Neither. This is another great thing for him. He can answer to two masters. That allows him to play both of them at the same time, but it’s a slippery slope. He has to walk that tightrope between the two of them. It’s almost like he’s waiting to see who comes out on top. He’s maintaining that guise where he’s tied to both of them, but in reality, his allegiance is going to lie with the one who wins in the end. He’s not going to pick a losing team, that’s for sure.

Speaking more specifically about the Felix matter. Does Paul have any ounce of guilt over putting him in jail?

When I read [the scene], I thought “Oh my god, this is going to be really hard to play with Jordan [Gavaris]” because I love Jordan so much and I love the character of Felix. The way I was playing it, I was trying to show the least amount of emotion because Paul’s a pretty stoic character. [Paul] was not pleased at all with having to do what he had to do. That was a necessity to do that. When he takes the gun out of the bag and Felix is like “What are you doing Paul?” it was more like an air of disappointment. If Paul didn’t do it, [Rachel] would have gotten rid of him herself.

It was dropped in that Paul has slept with three clones: Beth, Sarah and now Rachel. Is that notable?

When he slept with Beth, he was blackmailed into being her monitor and her boyfriend, or he could have faced military trial or the death sentence or life in prison or who knows what. When he slept with Sarah, she initiated the intimacy and now he sleeps with Rachel, she again initiates the intimacy. So he’s definitely not a prude but he’s definitely not the aggressor in the situation. (Laughs.) I don’t know how much you can say “Paul gets around” because it seems these clones are the aggressor in these situations. It’s so empowering because we have a brilliant female lead and all these brilliant female characters, it’s almost like a role reversal.

You’ve hinted several times that Paul has an agenda. How soon before what he’s been plotting is revealed?

You’ll find out this season tidbits, just snippets of it. That will [lead] to the next season. He’s very mysterious, isn’t he?

Another interview with Bruce Dylan at TV Line gave more evidence of Tatiana Maslany’s acting talents:

TVLINE | What was it like to film that scene? You’ve worked with Tatiana [Maslany] before, but it was as Sarah. Now you’re working with her as Rachel, and she’s this completely different animal.
You’re absolutely right. We all know how brilliant Tatiana is and how great she is. But when she is in these characters, she is firmly immersed in that character. You don’t feel as an actor, acting opposite of her, that she’s Tatiana playing a different character. She is Rachel. She is Sarah. It’s very easy to act opposite her because she is 100 percent into her character at that time. It’s a wonderful thing for an actor to do, because she’s so easy to react off and she’s so spontaneous.

That scene, how it was written on the page was actually different than how we performed it. Our director, Helen Shaver, she’s wonderful and she’s very good at bringing the sexy out of her actors with wonderful notes and directions. There were a lot of moving parts to that scene that she added in for both Tatiana and me. It made the scene a lot creepier than how it was on the page. And it made it a lot steamier at the same time. I’ve never seen a scene like that on television before.

TVLINE | Is it bizarre having love scenes with the same actress, but as two different characters?
She’s so good – that’s the first time anybody’s asked me that question, which is amazing – that has never once entered my mind. She is so into that character, it’s so easy to differentiate between the two. I don’t feel like it’s Tatiana playing a character. I actually feel like “Oh, this is really a person. [Laughs] This is really Rachel.” It wasn’t hard at all.

While Tatiana Maslany deserves most of the credit for making each clone seem like a distinct character, she does get some help. Yahoo interviewed the makeup and hair stylists for Orphan Black who explained how they make each clone seem different. Rachel takes the longest, and they use the most expensive cosmetics on her. As I had expected, it is intentional that Helena’s dark roots show despite her bleached hair.

Deus Ex Machina

There were several season finales last week. Person of Interest has totally changed the character of the show. Instead of achieving a true victory, Root had to settle for creating seven blind spots in Samaritan for herself, Shaw, Reese, Finch, and the three tech nerds. They had to separate, but Samaritan could not identify them. Presumably some of them will find a way to reunite to work together in some way next season. It is more questionable if they will continue to have episodes based upon a number of the week received from the Machine. Carter was already killed off last season when the show became less of a police procedural, and there also appears to be less of a role for Fusco. He was at the center of the stories related to HR, but he is not even aware of the existence of the Machine which drove so many of the cases he was involved with.

I wasn’t completely surprised, but was somewhat disappointed, that Vigilance turned out to have been created by Decima to create a false crisis to convince the government to go ahead with Samaritan. Greer might be deceitful, and his actions dangerous, but his motivations are not totally evil. Rather than seeking power for himself, he seems to truly think that it would be a good thing to place a super computer in charge of humanity. At the end, rather than giving Samaritan his orders, he told Samaritan it was about what it commanded. Clearly nothing good could come out of this.

Over the course of the first few seasons of Person of Interest, the real world caught up with the show as we learned about NSA surveillance. Now the show has leaped ahead of where we currently are, enabling it to provide a warning about where we might wind up.

In an interview with IO9, Jonathan Nolan talked about plans for next season and explained why New York is actually a good place to avoid surveillance:

In the first two and a half seasons of the show, New York and the city’s politics were a big part of the narrative. We had HR and the deputy mayor, and Elias and the gangs. Are we ever going to circle back to that? Are we going to get back to the politics of New York in this new surveillance dystopia you’ve created? Is Elias going to be back?

JN: Absolutely. We’ve always — hopefully in a good way — vacillated back and forth between the more metropolitan storyline and the Machine, or kind of global, storyline. Because the great thing about New York is that it’s both. It’s the kind of center of the world, in so many ways. But it’s also its own rich kind of arena. And Finch and Reese and Shaw, and now Root, and Fusco, are going to continue to be inveigled into local politics, and certainly local crime, every bit as much as they have up to this point. The people they’re trying to save every week. That storyline continues. That Machine still spits out numbers. And it’s going to be spitting out even more of them. So we’re doubling down on both fronts. We’ve always taken with, and fascinated by, the idea that within New York City, you have a bounded infinity of stories. So we never want to step away from that. We just want to keep raising the stakes on both levels.

And in this new A.I.-enabled world, whoever rules the big cities like New York has more power, because the big cities are where the infrastructure and the intelligencia are. So it becomes even more of a microcosm of the global power struggle.

JN: Yeah, absolutely. And ironically, New York, which is the most heavily surveiled place in the world, becomes one of the few places in the world to hide from surveillance. There was this awful but fascinating story from three years ago, when we were shooting the pilot in New York. There was a serial killer operating out on Long Island — in fact, I think this was the same one who was dumping his bodies not far from where we were shooting a stunt sequence. And this is awful, but he was making phone calls to some of the victims’ relatives using their cellphones, but doing it from Times Square. Because he or she, or whoever this villain was, understood that Times Square is one of the few places in the whole wide world where you can make a phone call on a cell phone that’s being trace. And when the authorities try to match up that phone call to surveillance footage to see who made the call — and try to match a person to a phone call, essentially — it’s impossible. Times Square is filled with hundreds of thousands of people on any given afternoon, all of whom have a cellphone. So it’s that hiding in plain sight. New York ironically becomes the only place in the world where you can hide from the surveillance state, even while being the very epicenter of it. So for us, the perfect arena for this fight that’s going to take place.

I was less excited by the first season finale of The Blacklist as it essentially reset the show back to where we were, with a new villain. There was little drama in Lizzie saying she would no longer work with Reddington as I had no doubt that she would not hold to that. Besides, why was she so surprised to learn that Red is a monster when he was telling her that he is one all along? The show is entertaining and worth watching due to the terrific job done by James Spader, which more than makes up for the weak job done by Megan Boone. The scenes with Alan Alda are an additional plus, even if it is not clear who exactly he is and why he was able to order that Reddington be allowed to escape in the finale.

ARROW

Arrow had the spectacular comic book ending that was expected, managing to bring back many of the characters seen over the course of the series. They did add some questionable drama to an already difficult situation by having ARGUS threaten to blow up the city to contain Slade’s army. As there were only fifty of them, and Oliver did ultimately get the cure, it would have seemed more reasonable to guard the exits to prevent any from leaving, and then moving in with enough force to overpower them should the cure fail.

Previously when we learned that Oliver had a cure back on the island, there was speculation that Oliver’s decision to kill as opposed to try to cure Slade might have been the real motivation for his vendetta against Oliver. In the flashbacks it was clear that by the time this occurred Slade’s views were already set, and this really was all about Shado.

The cure did work on Roy in the present, leaving him in a situation to work with the Arrow next season. When he had super powers, even before going insane, I had questioned how it could have worked to have the sidekick be more powerful than the lead. This will no longer be a problem. Sarah left with the League of Assassins. She might return, but she also left her leather jacket with Laurel. Is this the first step in her becoming the Black Canary as in the comics? Their father was restored to the rank of Detective, but it is not clear if he will survive into next season.

The flashbacks on the island seemed to have concluded their story, but the episode ended by showing how this will be handled next season. Oliver woke up in Hong Kong to be greeted by Amanda Waller. This could provide for some interesting stories in flashbacks. Eventually we know that Oliver has to wind up alone on the island to be rescued as on the pilot. Perhaps he really became stranded there again, or perhaps this was set up to allow for him to be rescued without any ties to ARGUS.

Felicity has become a huge favorite among fans since she was added to the show during the first season. The two of them tricked Slade, taking advantage of the cameras he hid in the Queen mansion earlier in the season to have him see Oliver say that Felicity is the one he really loves. Both Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards have told E! Online that they don’t think this was entirely an act. Of course there is little doubt that they will drag this out for a long time before ever having the two get together.

Agents-of-SHIELD-Season-1-Finale-Coulson-Writing-on-Wall

I was glad that there was no redemption scene for Ward, as many feared would occur in the season finale of Agents of SHIELD. While he couldn’t bring  himself to outright kill Fitz and Simmons last week, like he couldn’t kill the dog he was stranded with, he did leave them in a situation which Fitz may or may not survive from. My bet is that Fritz will survive considering how Coulson and Skye came back after being in even worse shape. Their rescue once they got off the bottom of the ocean was too simple, but I doubt that many viewers cared at that point once distracted by the appearance of Nick Fury. There was no explanation as to where Fury got that medical team.

I wonder where the show will go next season with SHIELD disbanded. Nick Fury did  make Coulson the new head with instructions to restore the organization, but it is not clear how much that really means with Fury no longer having any authority (and presumed dead). At least the group has a new base, already supplied with a new Koenig, played again by Patton Oswalt. Is he a twin or a Life Model Decoy?

Much of the back story about TAHATI has now been explained, but there are still mysteries with Marvel fans tying the alien blood into other areas of the Marvel universe including the Kree and Inhumans. We will have to wait until next season to learn the meaning of what Coulson was drawing. Syke’s back story should also be explored more, especially now that it appears her father is alive.

The Americas s02e12

On The Americans, it is not entirely clear why Larrick is after Jared but he is close to finding him. Most likely he knows that the last tie to Emmet and Leanne will either allow him to find those helping him or be useful bait for those he is really after. Regardless of Larrick’s plans, there is no doubt to Elizabeth and Phillp that Jared is in danger because of his parents, potentially placing their own children in the same type of danger.

It is rare to have a show where the storyline involving secondary characters can be every bit as interesting as when the leads are on screen. This is the case with Stan and Nina. Instead of turning to Stan to save her, we learned that Nina was still working with the Russians to trick Stan into turning over the Echo program. If Nina was smarter, and not currently as loyal to Russia, she might have immediately told Stan that he had to get her elsewhere to hide as opposed to allowing Arkady to put on his show. Contrary to how he initially appeared, Oleg has turned out to be the one most concerned with saving Nina. If Stan doesn’t turn over Echo, it is questionable if the Russians would give her an opportunity to get away with the money which Oleg gave her.

Other characters were very perceptive this week. Henry was right to be concerned about how The Wrath of Kahn would turn out after the first Star Trek movie, but he will learn there was nothing to worry about. Two other characters showed that they aren’t completely fooled. Paige questioned what type of emergency Elizabeth could have as a travel agent requiring her to run out at night. It is hard to believe that she won’t eventually figure out what is going on. Will she accept what her parents are doing as Jared has regarding his parents? Martha figured out that Clark wears a toupee, even if she is foolish enough to turn all those documents over to him. Perhaps she will ultimately take the blame for the documents which Stan gave to Oleg, helping Stan to remain above suspicion.

Revenge

Revenge did a reboot as major as that on Person of Interest. It was about time, as they had dragged out the storyline about Emily seeking revenge on the Graysons for framing her father for far too long. Reducing the number of characters should also help as things have become far too convoluted. It will take a good story to explain how Emily’s father has been alive all these years, and it will be interesting to see her reaction to finding that he is alive. He better have a good explanation for not contacting her before now. E! Online has an answer to the bigger question as to where the show is going next season:

That #Revenge finale was INSANITY! Is the show really going to be Victoria as the revenge-seeker now?
From what we know, yes. Emily will be living in Grayson Manor and Victoria will be the one narrating the show and out for revenge, wanting to take down Emily/Amanda and make her pay for everything she lost. Pretty big game-changer! And by the way, we hear another main character will be written out next season. Perhaps the biggest cast departure yet.

Of course Emily will still have reason to see revenge after the murder of Aiden, and it is hard to imagine a bigger departure than Conrad (assuming he is really dead). More on Revenge at The Hollywood Reporter.

Alison-Brie

There is a huge amount of other news this week regarding renewals, cancellations, and new shows in addition to all the finales. I’ll hold off on news related to next season for another week when there isn’t so much other material to write about and end with just a few briefs.

Unless they manage to revive Community for a sixth season on another network, it appears we will not see more of Alison Brie on television now that it appears that Pete Campbell moved on to California without her on Mad Men. Alison Brie will be staring with others better known for their television roles in an upcoming movie Sleeping With Other People:

Former “SNL” star Jason Sudeikis, “Community’s” Alison Brie and “Parks and Recreation’s” Adam Scott are assembling for the upcoming comedy from Sidney Kimmel Entertainment.

Amanda Peet, Jason Mantzoukas and Natasha Lyonne will also star in the film from producers Adam McKay and Will Ferrell.

“Sleeping” centers on two chronic cheaters — played by Sudeikis and Brie — who attempt a non-sexual relationship in order to conquer their lustful ways. The press release says it’s “in the vein of ‘When Harry Met Sally’…but with assholes.

Update: Pete Campbell made a trip to New York this week and Alison Brie did appear.

Emilia Clarke of Game of Thrones and Nicholas Hoult of X-Men: Days of Future Past  will play Bonnie and Clyde in Go Down Together.

A former porn star writing at The Daily Beast gave some reasons why Game of Thrones might like to use porn stars:

1. A porn star is always willing to take off her clothes and there will never be a nudity clause in her contract.

2. They’ve put in their 10,000 hours and know how to fake passionate sex with the best of ‘em.

3. It’s sad but true: porn stars work cheap! Since nude is their norm, they won’t ask to be paid extra to be naked.

4. In a way that mainstream actresses sometimes fail to capture, porn stars always look very comfortable sitting around nude for the duration of a scene.

5. With all of that skin-on-skin action, things, well, pop up. Porn stars aren’t squeamish about their fellow actors getting aroused. They tend to be very understanding.

billie-piper-penny-dreadful-460x624

In somewhat related news from another premium cable network, former Doctor Who star Billie Piper promises “loads of sex” in Penny Dreadful.

The winners of the 2013 Nebula Award winners have been announced. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie won as best novel. Gravity won the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation. While Gravity beat The Day of the Doctor for this award, the episode of Doctor Who did win a BAFTA Television Award for Radio Times Audience Award (Voted For By Members Of The Public). Broadchurch won a BAFTA as Best Drama. Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson won awards for their roles in The IT Crowd.

Terra Nova was one of many science fiction shows which did not survive long on Fox (including Almost Human this season). Those interested in dinosaurs in the real world as opposed to the fictional world of Terra Nova might be interested in this report on the biggest dinosaur ever.

Please Share

SciFi Weekend: Valentine’s Day and Girls SciFi Geeks Love (About Time; Karen Gillan; Scarlett Johansson; Arrow; Almost Human)

SciFi Weekend is a weekly feature at Liberal Values, and is now being cross posted at The Moderate Voice. To introduce the feature to new readers, every week  this post generally deals with Science Fiction along with other topics. Sometimes, like last week, it is about a single topic (Sherlock Season 3). More often a variety of topics are discussed, typically starting with science fiction and genre television, but often including other topics in pop culture. Some weeks there is a theme. The theme this week is Valentine’s Day and Girls SciFi Geeks Love. Beware that there are frequently spoilers, especially for television shows which have aired in the United States. I do frequently leave out some details or only refer to them obliquely to limit this, and try to warn about spoilers when discussing movies or shows which have not aired yet in the U.S.

About TIme

This year we had not one but two major movies combining science fiction and romantic comedy. As I had already watched and blogged about Her, this left About Time to watch with my wife after we returned from dinner last night. About Time uses time travel much more like Groundhog Day than Doctor Who, except unlike Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, the protagonist of About Time can control which portions of his life he relives. The review does include spoilers.

On his twenty-first birthday Tim (Domhnall Gleeson)was told by his father (Bill Nighy) that the men in his family all have the ability to travel in time. There are limitations. You can only go back and revisit portions of your own life. As his father put it, you can’t kill Hitler or shag Helen of Troy. Tim asked about the butterfly effect and his father told him he hadn’t run into it. To add some drama later in the movie, it turns out he wasn’t entirely correct here.

There are other limitations, including one standing in the way of Tim’s number one interest, getting a girlfriend. You can’t make someone love you. He failed in his first attempt with a girl spending the summer with his sister. He did later manage to meet Mary (Rachel McAdams) but the meeting was erased from time when he went back in time to help out a crabby playwright who he was briefly living with. There was no butterfly effect which destroyed civilization as we know it, but it is possible to change one’s past. It should surprise nobody that he did manage to meet Mary again, but had to go back in time to dispense with the boyfriend she met because of not meeting Tim.

From there time travel continued to come in handy. No more awkward first times in bed when for Tim it became the second and then third time after going back in time. It wasn’t even necessary to keep his first awkward attempts at removing Mary’s bra or meeting her parents. Minor mistakes later in their life, such as choosing the wrong best man, were also easily fixed.

Some problems were not so easily fixed. Tim found a serious problem in going too far back in time to help reverse a poor decision made by his sister, Kit Kat. Fortunately for Tim, his mistake was easily reversed, but he had to find another way to help his sister. Tim learned that time travel cannot fix all problems. Sometimes something terrible in life must occur to get people to change. If he was truly trying to help Kit Kat, he might have also bought her a comb.

The relationship between Tim and his father became as important to the movie as the relationship between Tim and Mary, even leading the two to once again break the rules, but this time with no dire consequences. Over time, Tim preferred a simpler form of time travel, moving forward in time day to day and fully appreciating every day. “The truth is, now I don’t travel back at all, not even for the day. I just try to live everyday as if I’ve deliberately come back to this one day. To enjoy it. As if it was the full final day. Of my extraordinary, ordinary life.” About Time is far from a hard science fiction look at time travel, but it was an enjoyable movie.

Karen Gillan’s romantic comedy, Not Another Happy Ending, is being released in the U.K. on DVD this week but there are no current plans for a U.S. release. Trailer above.  Iain De Caestecker of Agents of SHIELD (Fitz) is also in the movie. The actress who formerly played Amy Pond does not do any time traveling during the movie, but she does write and bake in the nude (more of that scene here). Update: Not Another Happy Ending will be shown at the Cleveland International Film Festival on March 19.

Scarlett Johansson is becoming the go to girl for sexy female leads when she is not in The Avengers movies. When they needed an actress to make it seem realistic for a voice alone to seduce the male lead, it was Scarlett Johansson’s voice used in Her. She is also the female lead in Under The Skin, playing an alien female who seduces men for sexual experimentation. Trailer above. It reminds me a bit of an early episode of Torchwood, back before the show got to be too big and they messed it up.

Doctor Who Both Hearts

If you missed buying a card for Valentine’s Day you might have to use Tim’s trick from About Time to go back and fix that. Or you can go back in your TARDIS, perhaps to use one of these cards.  For the last four years I have posted Doctor Who Valentine’s Day cards, with the latest set posted here.  Cards from 2013 can be seen here. Older ones also available from  2012 and 2011.

Heir to the Demon

I had not initially watched Arrow during its first season believing it would just be more CW fluff with attractive people in glitzy backdrops. At times it is, but as I later found out, it is far more. With a rich playboy crime fighter, and now the League of Assassins, in many ways it is one of the best live action adaptations of Batman ever made. Plus there are flashbacks to an island which might remind viewers of Lost. Still, it is on CW, so there is plenty of romance and love triangles in this superhero soap opera.

Before going on a brief hiatus for the Olympics, Arrow looked back at the triangle Oliver had with Sara and Laurel Lance, but things became even more complicated. In Heir to the Demon, Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter managed to incapacitate airport security agents without any of the publicity and follow through which such an event would generate in our world. Her mission was to return Sara to the League of Assassins or to kill her, but it became clear that her mission would be more complicated when the two kissed upon first seeing each other. A discussion with the show’s producer over this turn of events can be read here:

With the introduction of Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law) — Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter — hunting down Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) to bring her back to the League of Assassins, the stakes would have been high enough. But the show added another, more emotional level to Nyssa’s journey: She was Sara’s ex and wanted to win her heart again.

Of course, Nyssa ended up releasing Sara from her duty to the League when it became clear Sara would rather die than leave her family again. But watching Nyssa deal with the pain of that revelation was what made her one of the series’ best villains so far — a fact with which executive producer Andrew Kreisberg wholeheartedly agrees.

“It’s been pointed out that sometimes our villains get short shrift and we don’t always do right by the villains,” Kreisberg tells Zap2it and a handful of other reporters. “We just don’t have enough time for them because our show is just so dense. We’ve gotten away with casting really cool people in the parts and asking our audience to just fill in the rest.”

Kreisberg and fellow showrunner Marc Guggenheim are glad that they were able to give Nyssa enough of a backstory to make her a sympathetic villain. “I actually feel bad for her. She really does seem like this broken-hearted person who got the shaft,” Kreisberg says. “She has the advantage of having an emotional and personal tie to one of our characters. She goes on a complete journey from start to end as opposed to someone who just wants to rob a bank.”

Guggenheim is quick to point out, however, that “Arrow” can’t have every villain be like that. “If every episode had a Nyssa, and didn’t have let’s say a Clock King, when the Nyssas of the world showed up it wouldn’t have any import,” Guggenheim says. “It would lack the weight that this kind of episode has. Because some episodes, yes, it’s just a guy bombing the city, but there’s other stuff in that episode that makes it worthwhile and worth watching. If everything becomes special, then nothing becomes special.”

Law was excited to portray Nyssa, but she wasn’t expecting her to have such a rich history with Sara. “I was surprised that I was going to be a lesbian,” Law says with a laugh. “When we did the chemistry read, I wasn’t quite understanding why I was [with Lotz].”

According to Kreisberg and Guggenheim, the decision to make Nyssa a lesbian came from the idea of what it could do for Sara. “We thought of this at the beginning of the season,” Kreisberg says. “If you watch [episode] 205 there’s a reference to ‘the beloved,’ and ‘You think that’s going to keep you safe.’ We talked about, ‘Well, does Ra’s al Ghul have a son?’ And then we were like, ‘Well, can it be Talia?’”

Since Talia al Ghul was portrayed recently in “The Dark Knight Rises,” the writers decided to go with the lesser-known story of Nyssa al Ghul.

“It just felt like something new and different,” Kreisberg says. “At the same time, we didn’t do it to be salacious, because it’s a pretty chaste relationship from what you see onscreen. It just touched on a couple interesting things, like the idea that Sara found one person who treated her with love and kindness. And then for Lance to be this hardened, tough cop and probably not the most progressive guy, even he was just like, ‘I’m glad you had someone who loved you and took care of you during those nightmare years.’”

Nyssa wasn’t the only one getting action with Sara in the episode though, as it ended with her and Oliver (Stephen Amell) hooking up in the Arrow lair.

“We were anxious to have in the same episode where we reveal that Sara had had this lesbian relationship, she was also sleeping with Oliver again,” Guggenheim says. “We wanted to be sensitive and realistic. We specifically avoid using the term ‘bisexual’ because we didn’t want to label her at all. Let her be her own person, and if the audience wants to label, fine. We didn’t want to do something just to shock

Before this was all resolved, Nyssa kidnapped Sara and Laurel’s mother, played by Alex Kingston. I had half expected the Doctor to save River Song. It now appears that Amy Pond is the Black Canary’s grandmother. There is yet another triangle, as Sara joined Team Arrow and Felicity can wonder once again about what was going on over on that island between Oliver and all those women.

almost-human-season-1-episode-10-dorian-kennex

During most of the first season, Almost Human‘s best moments were its humor and the buddy cop relationship between the two male leads (one being an android). Unfortunately the last two episodes before its Olympic hiatus lacked the humor of previous episodes, but both episodes (Unbound and Perception) did more to flesh out the world the show takes place in. Perception returned to the events of the pilot and the relationship between Kennex and his probably-evil ex-girlfriend. Now that we now she is still tracking Kennex, there is the increased likelihood this will be used to find her and shed more light on what happened.

The episode also expanded upon the back story of Stahl, who turns out to be a genetically enhanced Chrome. Minka Kelley seemed almost too perfect on Friday Night Lights. She seems more plausible on Almost Human as being more than human, a character whose intelligence and beauty are the product of genetic enhancement.

Amelia Clarke of Game of Thrones was voted the Most Desirable Woman by Ask Men magazine. Alison Brie of Community and Mad Men came in second, with many other women in genre roles also on the  list.

continuum02

Two recent Canadian science fiction shows feature strong female leads. Syfy has announced that  Continuum, staring Rachel Nichols will return in the United States on April 4. Unfortunately this is after it returns on Showcase in Canada on March 16, making it harder to cover on line as I will definitely get a hold of each episode as soon as possible rather than waiting for it to air on Syfy.

Tatiana Maslany does an amazing job playing multiple roles on Orphan Black. Maria Doyle Kennedy told Entertainment Weekly that season two is like season one on crack:

That was just one of the tidbits Kennedy dropped when she stopped by Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXM, channel 105) to chat about the show as well as her music career. Another tidbit? Looks like we can expect more Mrs. S in season 2. “You’re going to see more of her,” says Kennedy. “I had a great time in season 1 and there were some great scenes, but there was also a lot of hovering. They just really liked me so wrote me more this time, so that’s great.”

But on which side will Mrs. S. land in the war between Sarah and Rachel (both played by Tatiana Maslany)? Kennedy says her character’s ultimate objective is protecting Sarah’s daughter, Kira, whose whereabouts are currently unknown. “In the war between Rachel and Sarah and the whole idea about the clones trying to find out about themselves, she keeps going through that and beyond it and goes, ‘Where does Kira land in all this? What’s happening with her? How safe is she? Are they close to her? Can they get her?’”

Okay, but we still don’t quite know where Mrs. S stands and her connection to the clone conspiracy. Is she good, bad, or somewhere in between? “She is an incredibly pragmatic woman with a strong moral compass,” says Kennedy. “That’s how I feel about her. She has definitely done bad things in the past. She came through an era of protest and squatting, so she’s not afraid to be anarchic or against the law, but she always has a strong proper reason for doing what she does.”

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover 2014

Nina Agdal, Lily Aldridge, and Chrissy Teigen appear on the cover of this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Three girls would normally mean six bikini pieces, but apparently that would have put them above budget, forcing the models to pose topless. The theme is The Past, The Present and The Future. Is this another time travel magazine?

Please Share

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who Searching For Clara Oswald; The Bells of St. John; Revolution: Mad Men Returns; Rory Gilmore Engaged to Pete Campbell

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:

Here she is on the Titanic.

She has also been sighted in the United States during World War II, going out with Steve Rogers (before he became Captain America).

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:

Doctor WhoEntertainementWeekly1

DoctorWhoEntertainmentWeeklyCover2

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.

Please Share

SciFi Weekend: Star Trek Into Darkness; Firefly; Doctor Who; Watching British Genre Shows; Community Returns

ew-1246-cumberbatch-pine-429874284720

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.

ew-1246-pine-quinto-429874284720

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.

Cyberman Clara

Neil Gaiman’s episode of Doctor Who for the second half of this season is to be entitled The Last Cyberman. Although Matt Smith has a role in an American movie, Steven Moffat denies that a regeneration is imminent.

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.

Don’t bother doing this in hopes of catching Being Human any earlier–it has been cancelled after the fifth season.

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_creators_split_a_l

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.

gillian_jacobs_alison_brie_bikini_ew3_lg-547x1024

Gillian Jacobs and Alison Brie were asked about their relationship on the show and their love of porn:

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.

tumblr_m89it4MOkb1r426i4o1_500

Please Share

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who Stamps; Star Trek Into Darkness; Fringe; 2013 in SciFi; Alison Brie as Captain America

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.

Baker Stamp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Smith Stamp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

John Harison Star Trek Into Darkness

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.

Allison Brie as Captain America

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.

Please Share

SciFi Weekend: Person of Interest; Fringe; Dexter; Once Upon A Time; Merlin; Captain America; Black Widow; Torchwood; Star Trek Into The Darkness Clip; and More

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.

Iron Man 3 has resumed filming. Reportedly Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) will not be appearing in this movie, but will be in the sequel to Captain America.There is also a rather intriguing list of candidates for the lead female role:

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.

Please Share

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Rogue version’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

>

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

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

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

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

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

All Things Considered looked at the influence of Mad Men.

ABC compared Betty with Don’s fiance, Megan.

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

Today wonders whether Don Draper can finally be happy.

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

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

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

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

Karen Gillan playing with herself.

Please Share

SciFi Weekend: Torchwood: Miracle Day Episode 2; Ricky Gervais In A TARDIS, Dexter Trailer, Friday Night Lights Movie Proposed, Kinky Sex From The Girls of Community

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.

Please Share

SciFi Weekend: The Event; An Ordinary Show; Sheldon as Robot and Annie is a Knock Out; Glenn Beck Tries To Steal Star Wars For The Tea Party

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.

Please Share