SciFi Weekend: Cliff Hangers, Old and New

Locutus of Borg Jon Luc Picarddde

iO9 has compiled a list of the top science fiction cliff hangers on television. I don’t think there will be much controversy over choosing Best of Both Worlds Part 1 (Star Trek: The Next Generation) as the best of all time. Discussion of how the  Borg could be defeated, how Jon Luc Picard would be saved after being turned into a Borg, and whether Ryker would really fire on Picard dominated the CompuServe forums over the summer in those days before the internet replaced it. The hype from this episode also was responsible for turning what had been a so-so remake into a major science fiction series.

A recent episode of Doctor Who, The Pandorica Opens made the list. While some object to the manner in which the Doctor got out of the Pandorica, what bigger cliff hanger can you have than the end of the universe?

There were other memorable cliff hangers listed. This included Zha’dum (Babylon 5) when Sheridan obeyed Kosh’s voice telling him to jump, Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 2 (Battlestar Galactica) which jumped the series ahead a year when unprepared humans living on New Caprica were conquered by Cylons, and The Incident (Lost) in which Julia detonated the bomb in hopes of changing history.

There are some cliff hangers from last season I’m looking forward to seeing the conclusion of. The mid-season cliff hanger episode of Caprica contained several cliff-hangers. Last season’s cliff hanger from Fringe made the list. And, while not science fiction, I’m sure curious to find out how Jeff responds to both Britta and Professor Slater declaring his love for him followed by the ending with Jeff kissing Annie on Community. Personally I’d like to see him date Annie while Britta goes crazy with jealousy. Besides, I’d much rather see Alison Brie with Jeff on Community than as Pete Campbell’s wife Trudy on Mad Men.

Dexter also ended with a significant cliff hanger last season. Blogcritics reviews the first few episodes of the upcoming season, including this bit of news:

According to executive producer, Sara Colleton, this will be the year to “take a break from having a one season-long adversary. So as Dexter’s grief goes through different stages, different characters will play their part and yet eventually, these characters interlock to form a a worthy adversary for Dexter.”

In the final scene of the third episode, there is a stunning moment: a twist so totally unexpected, you’ll curse the fact you’ll have to wait a week to see what happens next.

Disney Fantasmic Mickey Mouse

We’ve seen many characters reimagined, including Superman, Batman, and Iron-Man. Next we will get Epic Mickey, coming in a game  for the Nintendo Wii:

Disney has hinted that Epic Mickey is kind of a reboot for the beloved character – one that takes him from cute and cuddly cartoon icon to brave and embattled warrior. The questions now are manifold: Will Disney turn off potential gamers who prefer the Mickey of old? Will the game be dark and intriguing enough to appeal to “core” gaming audiences? And, perhaps most importantly, given flagging interest in the mouse, does Disney have a choice?

That’s nothing all that radical–just go to Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. On a related note, there are rumors that Jon Hamm will star in the next reboot of Superman.

Cliff hangers sometimes lead to the death of characters. In case that happens Eternal Image sells urns fit for a true Star Trek fan. It comes in two models– one says “To Boldly Go” and the other that says “The Voyage Continues.”

SciFi Weekend: Caprica Returning Next Month; Awards for Doctor Who; New Use For The Tardis; Best Television Episodes Ever Aired; No More Heroes; Replacing Michael Scott

SyFy divided up the first season of Caprica into two parts, ending the first half with major cliff hangers. The show was originally to air this fall but was then moved back to January. This week they announced plans to move it back up to start on October 5. No decision has been made on whether to film a second season, with the actors’ contracts extended until November. Moving up the start of the second half of the series provides an opportunity to see how the show does before the decision is made.  Hopefully ratings will be up.

Ron Moore might also be getting a new show on network television. As part of Moore’s development deal with Sony, there is consideration for developing a show described as “a police procedural that heavily involves the use of magic” for NBC. Airlock Alpha has more information.

Doctor Who won as Best Family Drama at the the TV Choice Awards 2010 in London, taking place a day after the show won a Hugo award.  The current series’ lead character Matt Smith has won as Best Actor in GQ’s Men of the Year Awards. Above is Smith with his girl friend, model Daisy Lowe. There have been rumors this week that Smith is proposing to Lowe.

While signing boxes for her action figure, Karen Gillan discussed the growth of her character:

Karen Gillan has described filming Doctor Who as an “emotionally draining” experience.

The Scottish actress, who shot to fame as the Doctor’s assistant Amy Pond, said she was looking forward to changing her character in the next series of the BBC sci-fi show.

She said: “I think that she’s a completely different person at the end of the series to when we meet her, when she’s really quite odd and a bit messed up in the first episode.”

The 22-year-old added: “I think she’s much more kind of in tune with what she understands about herself mostly and the Doctor by the end of the series. And she’s been through a lot in the series.

“It’s been pretty emotionally draining. Just all the stuff when she was crying and she doesn’t know why she’s crying – that was quite a challenge. But I think there’s a lot more to come in the next series. I really want to just keep on developing her character and I want her to evolve and change lots.”

We know that the Tardis has far more room inside than it appears to have from the outside. This would make the Tardis great for storage. In the picture above a 1 TB drive has been crammed into the model Tardis, showing it really can store a tremendous amount of material. That’s more than enough space for DivX downloads of all the episodes of Doctor Who and its spin offs which remain available.

SyFy has compiled a list of ten of the best science fiction television episodes that ever aired. The list is limited to one episode from any given show.  Blink from Doctor Who made the list. Some of the other notable episodes include City on the Edge of Forever, often considered the best episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. Yesterday’s Enterprise was a good choice from Star Trek: The Next Generation. X-Files was represented by Home, Battlestar Galactica by 33, and Lost by The Constant.

Heroes didn’t have any episodes make the list, and won’t get an opportunity to resolve the series-ending cliff hanger. NBC has decided against going ahead with a television movie to wrap it up.

It might be a long time before we find out about the succession plans for when Steve Carrell leaves The Office after this season. The second half of the season will deal with Michael Scott leaving but his replacement in the season finale might not become the show’s new star:

By season’s end, one character will have Scott’s job — but that person is not necessarily Carell’s replacement as the show’s star. Sources say writers are tempted to have the character who becomes the Scranton branch’s new boss fail in some spectacular manner, leaving the seat open again for another successor during Season 8.

One radical notion being explored is the possibility of subtly shifting the show’s point of view so that a current character is the star instead of the boss.

As for replacing Scott with a new manager, sources say the network and producers are on the same page.

“You’re looking for someone who can start stories,” a source said. “Someone whose judgment isn’t necessarily one where when an issue comes up and a boss with a correct judgment would quickly settle it and then you have no episode. You’re also looking for somebody who considers the rest of the office his family.”

SciFi Weekend: Another Hugo For Doctor Who; Jane Espenson on Torchwood; Guests Appearances on Big Bang Theory

Waters of Mars Hugo Winner

The Hugo Awards were announced this weekend. There was a tie for best novel between The City & The City by China Miéville and The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. Moon won for Best Dramatic Presentation–Long Form. Moon won in a strong field which included Star Trek, Avatar, District 9, and Up.  As has been occurring quite frequently in recent years, an episode of Doctor Who won the award for Best Dramatic Presentation–Short Form.

Doctor Who has previously won three Hugo awards, all by current show runner Steven Moffat before he took his current position. In 2006  Moffat won for The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances. In 2007 he won with The Girl in the Fireplace and in 2008 for Blink. His two parter Silence in the Library Forest of the Dead received a Hugo nomination in 2008.

Last year Moffat didn’t write any episodes and instead of a regular season there were a handful of special episodes written by Russel T. Davies. Davies won with The Waters of Mars, which beat two of his other special episodes, The Next Doctor and Planet of the Dead. Epitaph 1 (Dollhouse) and No More Good Days (FlashForward) were also nominated in this category.

David Tennant Single Father

David Tennant, who played the Doctor in The Waters of Mars, will be appearing in a four-part drama entitled Single Father along with Suranne Jones. The show will air in October on BBC1.

Jane Espenson on Torchwood

Jane Espenson, who has worked on shows including Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, and Dollhouse, will be writing three episodes of next season’s ten episode arc. She was interviewed about her work:

How did you end up getting the writing gig? And exactly how involved are you going to be?

I’m thrilled to say I was invited. My agent told me about it very casually; I was already busy at the time, and he thought I’d want to decline, but I jumped in fast to say I absolutely wanted to participate. I will be writing three episodes of the 10-episode arc.

What’s got you most excited about it?

Working with Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner and the others. Writing for a show I already adore, for characters and actors I already respect. Writing for a show with roots in another country—this is a new experience for me, and I’m loving it.

And is there something you’re just DYING to do or try on the show? Or something you can only do because it’s Torchwood?

I love blending tones—mixing the broadly comedic moment in with the darkly dramatic one can heighten both. Torchwood is a show that welcomes that kind of moment. I’m also really eager to play with all the culture-clash material that comes naturally out of the show’s pedigree. And I’m especially eager to write material that pushes the boundaries of what can ordinarily be done on television.

So how do you approach a show like Torchwood vs. your work on, say, Buffy or Caprica?

Because of the length of our season and the lead time before production begins, we’re actually approaching Torchwood in a very unusual way—all the episodes will be written before any of them begin shooting. This is allowing us to “break” all the episodes at once, with the entire writing staff working together in a very concentrated one-month work session. This is making for a very intense and collaborative process, all guided by Russell’s very precise vision. The final product is going to be tightly plotted and lovingly crafted.

Can you give us any juicy details? Or maybe just some slightly moist
ones? Or anything at all?

We’ve already changed the name of at least one character that was announced in the press. And there’s nothing to stop us from changing more—so if you hear anything, even if it was true at some point, it probably isn’t anymore. So the more you learn about Torchwood, the less you know.

There remains no word as to whether there will be a second episode of Caprica (beyond the second half of the first season which airs in starting in January). Contracts with the cast have been extended and there is speculation that they are waiting to see how DVD sales are since ratings were lower than anticipated.

There will be two Star Trek actors appearing on The Big Bang Theory next season. In addition to a return visit from Katee Sackhoff. George Takei will be playing himself:

In an interview, Prady explained that Wolowitz is thinking about getting back together with his ex-girlfriend Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), and it sounds as though Sackhoff and Takei will represent opposing points of view.

“George Takei plays himself, and he’s the other person guiding Wolowitz in his thoughts as he tries to figure out what to do about Bernadette,” Prady said.

Prady won’t disclose the venue for this conversation, but he ruled out a return to Wolowitz’s bathtub, where Sackhoff famously appeared last season. But Sackhoff and Takei do share some dialogue, Prady noted.

“I think they do discuss being typecast in science-fiction shows,” Prady said.

I can forgive Wil Wheaton for Wesley Crusher. After all, he was just a teenage actor reading his lines. If we weren’t told that he’s the evil Wil Wheaton from the Mirror Universe, it would be harder to forgive Wheaton for what he has done to Sheldon and, even worse, breaking up Leonard and Penny. Michael Ausiello has this news on a repeat appearance from the Evil Wil Wheaton.

It looks like Sheldon is climbing back in the ring with his longtime rival, Evil Wil Wheaton.

Big Bang Theory executive producer Bill Prady confirms to me exclusively that he wants to revive the ugly feud this season—possibly in time for November sweeps.

“We started talking about the idea of minor celebrities cutting in line,” Prady says, “and we thought it might be funny to have our [Big Bang] guys waiting in line for a one-time-only midnight screening of something like Raiders of the Lost Ark with restored footage, and Wil Wheaton and his three friends cut the line. When it comes time for our guys to get in, the line stops; Wil took the last four seats and Sheldon is just furious. Because it doesn’t make sense to him. Wil’s celebrity is not applicable here. This is not Star Trek. It’s just wrong.”

SciFi Weekend: Torchwood New World Synopsis; True Blood Gets Really Bloody (and Paquin & Moyer Wed); New Season Promos; And Sarah Palin Is No Lisbeth Salander

Jack Gwen Torchwood

Starz has released additional information is out on Torchwood: New World. Here is a synopsis and character descriptions:

Synopsis

When C.I.A. agent Rex Matheson investigates a global conspiracy, he finds himself unearthing a threat which challenges the entire human race.

The answers seem to lie within an old, secret British institute, known only as Torchwood. But Torchwood was destroyed, years ago, and the keys to the institute are held by its only two survivors – former Police Officer Gwen Cooper, who has long since disappeared along with her husband and child, and the mysterious Captain Jack Harkness, a man whose history seems to stretch back centuries.

With Rex under attack from all sides, in both the US and the UK, he soon discovers there are forces at work within every level of society, determined to stop Torchwood’s return. As a chain of events across the world links together the most disparate and unlikely individuals – including a surgeon, a killer, senators and CEOs – a new Torchwood team takes shape. But this time, the threat is much closer to home, as they realize that their greatest enemy is mankind itself…

CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS

CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS (John Barrowman)

  • Jack looks like a hero. But he’s so much more than that…
  • He’s American, handsome, with a killer smile and a classic coat. But you don’t expect heroes to be this much fun. He’s witty, fast, subversive and there’s a reason for that glint in his eye – he’ll sleep with women, he’ll sleep with men; if aliens invade, he’ll sleep with them too. Got a problem with that? Tough!
  • His dashing style hides a secret. There are mysteries about Jack – a man going under his name seems to have a history stretching back to World War 2, or even earlier, to the Nineteenth century, the Eighteenth…Truth is, Jack Harkness is immortal. A fixed point in time and space. The only one of his kind. For thousands of years, he has never been able to die. When killed, he comes back to life – seconds later. Though his tragedy is, he feels every death. It hurts – and so does the passage of time. He can never love anyone for too long, because he will always lose them. As a result, he’s lived many lives. He’s been a conman, a thief, an adventurer – though more a rogue than a villain, because his perspective on human life makes him appreciate this world all the more.
  • Jack once ran the Torchwood Institute, a British organization dedicated to fighting the strange and bizarre. He was king of his own little world for a while, the happiest he’d ever been. But Torchwood fell. His friends were killed. The Institute closed down, and Jack disappeared, to start yet another of his many new lives. And yet…
  • The only thing that could call Jack Harkness back is his unstated love for Gwen Cooper. And when a new, epic danger affects the whole planet, Jack finds himself back at the center of events, fighting not just for his own life, but for everyone on Earth. But this time, are the stakes too high?

GWEN COOPER (Eve Myles)

  • All Gwen wants is a quiet life. Honest.
  • She’sWelsh, lives in seclusion, far away from the city, on a cliff top in the wilds of South Wales with her devoted husband, and baby Anwen – it’s a rural idyll.
  • And it’s a lie. Gwen is in hiding, because she once lived the most extraordinary life. She was the heart and soul of an organization called Torchwood, a freelance band of fighters who fought the strange and unexplained. She was a defender of the human race.
  • But no more. Torchwood was destroyed. Her colleagues died, or fled. And Gwen hid herself away, for the rest of her life, to protect her loved ones. But knowing, just knowing, that one day trouble would come calling again.
  • She lives the ultimate double life: the funny, salty, earthy woman who loves home and family, combined with the tough, ruthless warrior, who loves the thrill of the fight. She’s both selfish and selfless. And never doubt it – when Gwen’s in a crisis, she is magnificent. Gun in both hands, baby strapped to her chest, she’ll run and fight and never give up.
  • It’s passion, in the end: Gwen’s all about passion. She loves her man, she loves her child, she loves this mad old world, and maybe she loves Captain Jack Harkness just a little too much. But when the events of this story push Gwen to the limit, she’ll need to call on resources she never knew she had, to take action and make the most terrible decisions, on behalf of all mankind.

REX MATHESON (Actor TBD)

  • He’s 28, the golden boy. Has been, all his life. Harvard education, fast-tracker in the C.I.A., destined for success. Though he’s never taken it easy – Rex hustles, seduces and campaigns to get where he is today. He can talk his way into anything, then charm his way out, fast.
    He’s made a lot of enemies, but his friends and lovers would defend him to death.
  • His choice of career is significant. Someone like Rex could make a fortune in Wall Street, or Hollywood. But choosing the C.I.A. says a lot about him: that for all his swagger, he does believe in justice. And will fight for it.
  • Slowly but surely, we see him make friends. He’s thrown together a bunch of people known as Torchwood, the only people who might have the answer to a global mystery. To Rex, at first, they’re a bunch of freaks. Welsh women and World War 2 Captains, what’s that about?! But as they race from one crisis to another, dodging assassins, blackmail, corruption and conspiracy, from Washington to Wales and the slums of Shanghai, Rex forges friendships in the heat of fire. He learns to trust his new colleagues. And they realize that this dangerous, dazzling, reckless man is the best friend they could ever have, in a world going to hell.
  • They frighten us, men like Rex. We wish we were him; we never will be.

True Blood Anna Paquin Bloody Nude Rolling Stone Cover

True Blood began last week with bloody vampire sex, possibly inspiring the upcoming Rolling Stone cover above,  and had what might be the best ending so far for an individual episode. All that stuff about vampire politics which so far wasn’t very interesting when thrown into previous episodes suddenly has some real meaning. While things got really messed up after Bill’s proposal to Sookie at the end of last season, in real life stars Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer got married Saturday night.

IO9 has a guide to the upcoming television season with several trailers. Above is a trailer for No Ordinary Family with cast including Julie Benz.

Besides the many promos at the above link, there’s also a new trailer available for the upcoming season of Dexter (above).

Sarah Pallin No Lisbeth Salandar

Adam Bessie argues at Truthout that Lisbeth Salander (Girl With The Dragon Tatoo) is the real maverick, and Sarah Palin is no Lisbeth Salander. We might also be seeing far more of the actress who played her on screen. Noomie Rapace who played Lisbeth in the movie version from Denmark, is breaking into Hollywood.

SciFi Weekend: The Hottest Doctor Who Companions; Sherlock; Merlin; Zephram Cochrane and The Budget; Caprica; Dexter; And Amy Pond Goes Over The Rainbow

Topless Robot has chosen The Top Ten Hottest Doctor Who Companions.:

10. Rose Tyler
9. Susan Foreman
8. Leela
7. Peri
6. Martha Jones
5. Zoe Herriot
4. Sarah Jane Smith
3. Romana I
2. Amy Pond
1. Romana II

I can’t agree with the entire list. When I think of hot Doctor Who companions Peri Brown (Nicola Bryant) is the first I’d think of.  She was definitely the most scantily clad companion in most episodes. The above video is from the first episode featuring Peri’s breasts, Planet of Fire. They should be ranked higher, even if not first.

Romana Doctor Who

I can accept Lala Ward’s Romana leading with Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) second but I might have led with the younger Romana (age 139) played by Amy Tamm.  The above picture manages to include both actresses who played Romana. (It’s complicated.)  I would also rank Rose Tyler (Bilie Piper) higher. Amy Pond might be a kiss-o-gram girl, but Billie Piper has even played an actual hooker. Everyone likes Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), but I never really thought of her as hot. The same goes for some of the others on the list. At least they didn’t rank Tegan.

Sherlock, a modern day reimagination by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, is receiving excellent reviews, such as here. It looks like another BBC show which I’ll have to check out. There have been three 90 minute episodes of the show and more have been ordered.

SyFy has announced they will be broadcasting season three of Merlin in early 2011, shortly after the episodes air on the BBC.

Sherlock

Matthew Yglesias used the fact that Zephram Cochrane is projected to master faster than light travel by the 2060s to explain long term budget projections. I’m glad he explains economics in terms I understand.

The first half season of Caprica will be released on DVD in October.

Producer Scott Rosenbaum agrees the first season of V was inconsistent. The original series started out much better, but went downhill over time. Hopefully in the case of the remake we will see an upwards trajectory.

Julie Benz

Julie Benz gave revealed how Rita will be returning to the first episode of the upcoming season of Dexter along with talking about her upcoming role on No Ordinary Family.

Amy Pond might have only come in second place in the rankings above, but she did get to go Over The Rainbow:

Great video but there is one important scene missing. Here’s one more video with Karen Gillan before concluding: Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue:

SciFi Weekend: Amy’s Kiss, Torchwood, Hope For FlashForward To Return, Dollhouse, Caprica, and The Promethius Awards

The season is over on Doctor Who but that doesn’t mean we won’t see more of what happened to the Doctor and Amy over the past year. The season five boxed set, which will be released on November 8 in the UK and November 9 in North America, will contain a feature showing some scenes which took place between episodes. This includes why Amy was floating in Space above Starship UK and what happened after Amy kissed the Doctor (video above).

The Los Angeles Times has a story on Neil Gaiman writing a story for Doctor Who next season along with blogging.

Torchwood in the USA

Torchwood will be very dark when it returns, like last year’s Children of Earth miniseries. The upcoming ten-episode  miniseries, being  jointly produced by the BBC and Starz, will have Jack and Gwen return along with adding some additional American characters.

Starz might do more to continue genre shows than co-producing Torchwood. They have expressed some interest in reviving FlashForward. The show showed tremendous potential but sagged creatively in the middle of the season, losing much of their audience. The series ended on ABC with an episode which was clearly intended as a season-ending cliff hanger and which did not work as a series finale.

Dollhouse Comic Epitaph

At least Dollhouse managed to wrap up their brief run with Epitaph Two which showed what happened after the events of Epitaph One. A comic is also being planned to fill in the gaps which never made it to television. It will be distributed with the DVD and Blu-Ray sets of Season Two which will be released in October.

The second half of Caprica has been postponed until January. There’s no official word on whether there will be a true second season, but many involved with the show do sound optimistic in recent interviews.

The Libertarians Futurist Society has announced their annual Promethius Awards. The Unincorporated Man by Dani and Eytan Kollin won as best novel.

SciFi Weekend: Jack’s Day Ends; Sheldon Cooper’s Love Life; Caprica Cliff Hangers; Lost; Fringe Spoilers

The top story of the week is that this will be Jack Bauer’s extremely long day, but a movie is still possible. 24 has been canceled and hopes of NBC picking up the show fell through. That’s a shame. I could see Jack Bauer and Jack Donaghy working well together.

The Hollywood Reporter has some information on what is next for Jack in an interview with executive producer and show runner Howard Gordon:

THR: What’s next for “24”?

Gordon: There are other possible iterations of Jack Bauer and his world — whether a movie or some other sort of scenario. We’re developing the movie, Billy Ray (”State of Play,” “Shattered Glass”) is writing it. It depends on how well it comes out and Fox’s appetite. Most importantly it’s about ending the show right and doing it with the same level of intensity and commitment that we started with.

THR: When’s the soonest that fans could realistically expect a feature film?

Gordon: Obviously the script’s still being written. It could be as early as next year depending on how things come together.

THR: Since the setting shifts to Europe for the movie, will CTU still play a role?

Gordon: Yes and no. Jack is really the center of it, catching up with him emotionally and locationally where he is. The opportunity is not to use the real-time aspect and also to do it on a scale the TV show never allowed…

THR: Can you tease to the rest of the season?

Gordon: We’ve taken a risk in the last eight episodes. It was challenging to the writers to the actors. We’re taking a risk, the show has to do that. Without spoiling what’s to come, it’s pretty dark and complex and a place that was uncomfortable for us to write and for some of the actors to act. We really swung for the fences. Because the show is as old as it is, this season hasn’t really been given its due. But our audience is hanging in there with us and I think it’s been a very successful season.

Brannon Braga, who has worked on 24, along with FlashForward this season and Star Trek in the past, has signed a new contract with 20th Century Fox TV with chairman Gary Newman citing his experience in genre television:

Newman said 20th was especially interested in Braga’s background in the sci-fi genre. Scribe’s credits include all four of the modern “Star Trek” series — “The Next Generation,” “Deep Space Nine,” “Voyager” and “Enterprise.” He also exec produced “Threshold” for CBS.

And this season, Braga created “Flash Forward” with David Goyer, but wasn’t able to join that show full time due to his “24” commitment. He still serves as an exec producer on “Flash Forward,” which returns to ABC for the second half of its freshman season this Thursday.

“He’s known for his ability to write genre programming, and as a studio, we love that programming,” Newman said. “It takes advantage of all the new opportunities the digital world gives you to connect with your rabid fanbase.”

Does Sheldon Cooper now  have a hotter sex life than you? First there were the report that Judy Greer guest stars as a famous physicist. Bill Prady says “Sheldon invites her to stay over at the apartment” but won’t say why. Then came the reports that Mayim Bialik will be playing a female version of Sheldon in the season finale which airs on May 24. From various reports it sounds like the two meet through eHarmony.com and Bialik might be returning next season.

There has been some grumbling from fans about Sheldon getting a girl friend considering how totally oblivious he has been to sex. I actually would prefer to see Sheldon be just a bit less off the wall, as amusing as his character is. There’s plenty of humor in the basic premise of four geeks and sometimes the show has relied too much on making fun of how bizarre Sheldon is for easy laughs as opposed to the humor surrounding the entire four. Besides, there is a tremendous amount of material in seeing how Sheldon will try to handle romance. If nothing else, if Sheldon does get the big bang, Bill Prady will have to come up with a new word for Sheldon to rival Bazinga.

Incidentally, if Sheldon does wind up having sex one person who might be jealous is Simon Pegg, who is hoping for a sex scene for Scotty in the next Star Trek movie. (I just thought that Sheldon would feel more comfortable if any discussion about his character ultimately led to Star Trek.)

In other genre shows, we have lots of cliff hangers with Caprica going on hiatus. There’s no doubt that Zoe survives, even if it is from the resurrection of her program in another body. I suspect Amanda survives  her suicide attempt but it is possible she’ll die and return in a virtual form. I doubt that Joseph Adama will give up trying to find Tamara, even if he is dead in New Cap City. There’s no doubt left that Barnabas is not a good person.

Lost got back to the flashback format as we learned how Richard got to the island and why he is immortal. We are gradually seeing an explanation for the island as keeping in evil. An upcoming episode will again break from the main format of this season and deal with the battle between Jacob and the Man in Black.

Spoilers are also leaking out about where the remainder of this season of Fringe is heading. Reportedly Peter will find out that he was stolen from the alternate universe, creating friction between Peter and Walter and Olivia, who kept this from him. Abducting Peter sounds less shocking after hearing that the Peter from both universes would have died if Walter hadn’t taken him.

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who and Short Skirts; Capria and Another BSG Spinoff; Lost; Star Trek Meets Zombies

Doctor Who begins on BBC America on April 17. A trailer for the upcoming season is above.

Above is a BBC interview with the new Doctor, Matt Smith.

Blogator Who has a BBC Breakfast interview with new show runner Steven Moffatt. Karen Gillan, who will play the Doctor’s new companion, told The Observer (via IO9) that her character Amy likes to wear short skirts:

Amy’s a sassy lady, funny and passionate, and her relationship with the doctor has a really interesting dynamic… She has a love for him, a really deep love for him. But not romantic. It’s been an education in itself to work with Matt, who’s so endlessly inventive, bringing something new to it every day rather than falling into the easy default scared-face. That’s one of the challenges; you’re faced with life-threatening situations every episode, but you can’t just widen your eyes all the time. Yes, this doctor is preeeetty good. As, I’ve said, is Amy, and she gets to wear all these small skirts, which I will admit was very cold, but also very cool. They originally wanted to put me in trousers, but I did say I’d like to wear a skirt because – you’ll understand when you watch it. Actually I think I love Amy. I’m in love with her. I want to be her.

I imagine the short skirts have something to do with her work as a kissogram.

Caprica had another excellent episode this week involving searches for the cyberspace survivors of the dead daughters from each of the key families of the series. The show worked well with the contrast between the more cerebral cat and mouse game played by Graystone with the more adventurous journey by Adama in New Cap City.  With this Battlestar Galactica prequel being a success we might see more. From The Hollywood Reporter:

Syfy also is looking to continue its popular “Battlestar” franchise.

When asked about the chances of its modestly performing spinoff “Caprica” getting a renewal, Stern was bullish. He pointed to the show recently hitting a series high in the adult demographic using Live+7 ratings, drawing 1.6 million viewers and 913,000 adults 18-49.

“We have a lot of hope for that show,” Stern said. “The (DVR data) has been very promising and growing week after week. The ratings don’t reflect the potential audience.”

The network also is looking to order another “Battlestar”-related project. Details were slim, but Stern said the title would mark a return to the franchise’s space-opera roots.

“We’re looking for other ways to spin off ‘Battlestar’ beyond ‘Caprica,’” he said. “That world is so rich. We’re sitting down with (executive producer) Ron Moore and his team. It would not necessarily be a traditional series.”

There is speculation that such a show would concentrate on the first Cylon War. While the stories are all fantasy, Script PhD has an interview with Professor Malcolm MacIver of Northwestern who has consulted on Tron and Caprica discussing the science behind the show.

In other genre shows this week, Lost looked at Sawyer’s past in the alternate reality. When the bomb went off the initial thought was that if this worked everyone would be in the position they would be in if the plane never crashed. Instead it turns out that Jacob and perhaps others from the island were influencing them for years. With the island not around, there lives have been different in the other reality for many years.  It is not clear if this is sufficient to explain it or if there is something else about this reality we do not yet know, but Sawyer’s life is considerably different. Rather than turning to a life of crime he would be being a police officer. The connections between different characters continues as Miles was his partner and he even hooked up with Charlotte.

Flash Forward returned with a two hour episode which gave some explanations but had very low ratings, making renewal appear unlikely.

Warner Brothers is claiming that everything is fine after they no longer have the Harry Potter franchise:

And at today’s Showest presentation, WB head honcho Alan Horn confirmed the news.  I forget exactly what he said on stage, but it’s essentially what I heard: DC Superheroes are coming and they’d replace Harry Potter.

The thing you need to realize is under Alan Horn, Warner Bros. instituted a tent pole release strategy which calls for a few event films to be made every year.  For the last decade, Harry Potter has been used to fill the release calendar and now that the franchise is ending after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the studio needs  need blood to take it’s place and a new way of earning the huge money that only tent pole releases can generate.

Enter DC Superheroes.

While nothing is officially on the calendar yet, I’ve heard in 2012 we’re getting not only a new Batman movie…but The Flash!  I’ve heard the studio is currently talking to directors and they’ll announce who it is when they’ve found the right choice.

Again, The Flash isn’t confirmed, but I’m telling you, it’s the next new superhero movie at Warner Bros. and we’re going to hear about it soon.

As a comic book movie junkie, I am beyond excited WB is finally getting into the game with their unbelievable library of characters.

This will provide for a number of movie ideas, but I wonder how many will have the wide spread appeal of the Harry Potter movies.

And, finally, Geeks of Doom reports that Star Trek meets Zombies:

Quirk Books is adding a new zombie tale to their collection with Night of the Living Trekkies, a novel by Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall which sees Trekkies at a convention meet the undead!

The publisher, which is known for its literary monster mash-ups like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, hails the book as the “strange lovechild of Galaxy Quest and Dawn of the Dead.”

When hordes of the undead come to feast upon the attendees at a Star Trek convention, a group of Trekkies fight for their lives using everything they’ve learned from old Star Trek episodes.

More detail is also provided:

This sci-fi/zombie/comedy/adventure follows a group of rag-tag Trekkies getting together for the fifth annual GulfCon (billed as the “largest Starfleet Convention in the western Gulf Coast region”).

Our heroes are dressed in homemade uniforms and armed with prop phasers-but soon find themselves defending their hotel and convention center against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Suddenly, all of their useless knowledge about particle physics and old Star Trek episodes has genuine real-world applications! And while hotel employees and regular civilians are dying left and right, our Trekkies summon strength and courage by emulating their favorite starship-voyaging characters.

Packed with hundreds of gags referencing Star Trek, Star Wars, comic books, and fan conventions, Night of the Living Trekkies reads like the strange lovechild of Galaxy Quest and Dawn of the Dead. Journey to the final frontier of zombie science-fiction satire!

SciFi Weekend: Tardis Remake; Avatar Sequel; Will Sheldon Meet Nimoy?; Summer Glau As Crime Fighting Blogger; Lost; Caprica

This regeneration of The Doctor is accompanied by more changes than are usually seen with a regeneration on Doctor Who. Besides a new Doctor there will be a new companion, a new show runner, and a new interior for the Tardis. The regeneration scene showed the interior being damaged leading to the changes Steven Moffatt desires for the set. The Mirror reports that the Tardis is being upgraded to withstand viewing in high definition.  “It will be the most hitech, intricate Tardis ever.” TV Overmind has more:

“It must be three times the size of Tennant’s, on multiple levels with staircases in between. Less grubby than its predecessor, with a transparent plastic floor on the main level, its walls are resplendent with polished copper and its central column features a blown glass decoration that could be straight from Tales of the Unexpected.

There are old car seats and downstairs – downstairs! – a swing. With a nod to Paul McGann’s Tardis, the central column features an old TV screen on an extendable trellis. It also has a 1980s-style computer keyboard, and a His-Master’s-Voice style trumpet speaker.”

When Avatar came and became a box office hit I figured a sequel was inevitable. After all, kicking the evil humans out doesn’t mean that they won’t return with a greater force to exploit Pandora’s resources. I doubt anyone will be surprised to read that producer Jon Landau and director James Cameron are considering a sequel among other projects. Naturally any sequel will also be in 3D. Landau said,  “I don’t think we will ever make another 2D film. Why would we make a movie in black and white if we have color. I think ultimately all movies are going to be in 3-D.” I also fear I might be upgrading televisions sooner than I had anticipated when I went to high definition.

For those who have not seen the movie enough times there is talk of a re-releasing Avatar with additional scenes this summer.

Bill Prady was not successful at getting Leonard Nimoy to make a guest appearance during the second season of The Big Bang Theory but he is going to try again:

Sheldon’s dream of meeting Leonard Nimoy may soon become a reality on The Big Bang Theory. Executive producer Bill Prady says the hit sitcom will likely approach the Star Trek legend early next season about making a cameo.

“We’ll probably make a general inquiry,” says Prady. “And if there’s enough interest, we’ll develop a story. The fans have said that’s the dream get, and we agree.”

Nimoy declined an invitation to appear on Big Bang back in season 2, although the 78-year-old has since returned to television with a recurring gig on Fringe. “There’s always an issue with actors playing themselves,” Prady theorizes, “which most actors would rather not do.”

Speaking of Fringe, TV Overmind has some information regarding the show’s first episode back on April 1 which shows Peter’s back story.

Summer Glau will play a crime fighting blogger next season:

Glau, who has probably starred in more cult sci-fi series than any other actress, with stints on Fox’s “Firefly,” “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” and “Dollhouse,” has joined NBC’s superhero-themed drama pilot “The Cape” in a leading role.

In the pilot, directed by Simon West, a former cop (David Lyons) is set up as a criminal and becomes a masked hero, the Cape, to clear his name.

Glau will play Orwell, a cute and intrepid investigative blogger who fearlessly goes after corrupt cops and costumed bad guys.

This week’s episode of Lost was centered on Benjamin Linus. In the alternate reality off the island Ben returned home from the island at a younger age instead of spending his life there (which is a good thing considering that the island wound up under water). Ben was still working on evil plots but didn’t have the killer instinct he developed on the island. It was concern for Alex which led to him backing down, with no explanation as to who Alex’s father is. Next week’s episode will center around Sawyer.

A lot happened on Caprica but none of it had the impact of the final moment when Daniel walked up to the Cylon and said one word: “Zoe.” Only two more episodes are left until a break with the remaining eleven episodes of the season to air in October.

SciFi Weekend: Lost (The Secret of the Island); Caprica (New Cap City); Big Bang Theory (Leonard & Sheldon’s Coffee Table) and How Star Trek Should Have Ended

Lost continues to suggest that the characters are on the island for a reason and that this had been planned well before the crash. Hurley and Jack are sent by Jacob to a lighthouse which has mirrors which could view people off the island. The big question raised but not answered is who Jacob was expecting to come to the island. The other character of significance on the island this week was Claire, who was quite scary–even before we learned that her “friend” is the man in black. She has been terrorizing the latest band of others, believing they have Aaron. This provided a reminder of events off the island in this timeline which we are no longer seeing.

In the other timeline Jack now has  a teenage son and we see a relationship analogous to the relationship between Jack and his own father. There was another suggestion that this is not simply a timeline which shows what would have happened if Jack and the others had never crashed on the island. Previously we saw that Jack had his appendix removed on the island. In this other reality Jack notices his appendectomy scar and is told by his mother that he had the operation as a child. He seems to recall this, but has doubts. There is no way that changing the timeline to prevent the crash would have also made Jack have an appendectomy at a younger age. Instead it appears that details in the other reality are somehow being filled in to explain changes which happened on the island, such as Jack’s appendectomy.

There are still lots of questions but Watch with Kristin reveals that we will learn what the island is midway through the season:

What Is the Island? That very huge question will be answered in less time than you think–somewhere around halfway through the season, according to  sources. Awesome, right? And you know who’s going to help deliver the message? The fantastic, ever-youthful guyliner model Mr. Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) and his longtime friend Jacob (Mark Pellegrino). It’s gonna be good.

So…What Is the Island? It’s described as a four-letter word. There’s your first clue! Shall we play Hangman? There are no A’s or E’s in the word…Wanna buy another vowel? OK, but you only get one.

Another thing I can tell you: The Island has to exist, according to my sources, and more important, someone has to protect it. It’s important to the world outside.

Kristin has more information on Lost here.

Caprica is growing on me further after this week’s episode. We know how it will end with the Cylons rebelling, and we got a strong indication of why when Daniel Graystone was describing how the Cylons would be created as essentially a slave race. This was the first episode to really do very much with Tamara who rapidly developed from a lost girl in the virtual reality to a very powerful character playing a game in New Cap City. This raises questions of whether there is a connection between her and the ultimate development of the Cylons. It is easier to see Cylons developing into a slave race capable of destroying their masters if Tamara as opposed to Zoe winds up providing much of their intellect.

Big Bang Theory returns Monday with Sheldon in jail and Stan Lee as guest star. The following week Sheldon (pictured above looking a little different) becomes obsessed with a ring found a a garage sale. They began work on the episode featuring the return of Wil Wheaton last week. In the episode to air on April 12 “Sheldon will have an opportunity to settle the score with Wil when the our genius gang competes against the gang from the comic book store during a bowling face off. Turns out that Sheldon bowled as a child and was on a championship team in the East Texas Youth Camp in the 7- to 13-year-old division.” So this explains why Big Bang Theory executive producer Bill Prady was asking questions about bowling on Twitter last week.

Meanwhile Wil Wheaton is both blogging and tweeting about the episode. This has included pictures such as the one above which shows the detail in the sets, such as with Sheldon and Leonard’s coffee table.  The magazine seen is Mental Floss. There was a lot of fun stuff at their site and I wound up sending in a subscription order. Naturally when the order page had a spot for saying where I heard about the magazine I answered, “Sheldon and Leonard’s coffee table.” From the site it is clear they will understand.

A different type of magazine has also discussed Big Bang Theory. UCLA Today has an article on the science adviser for the show.

I’ve previously reported that the upcoming season of Doctor Who will begin airing on April 3 on the BBC. In the past there has been a delay of several months before the show would air in the United States, with large percentages of fans finding ways to get copies of the episodes rather than waiting.  BBC America has now announced they will begin the series two weeks later on April 17. This is an improvement but I feel that in this day and age they are still making a mistake. Many fans of the show will not wait even two weeks to see new episodes and anything which can be digitalized can easily be transferred over the ocean.

HowItShouldHaveEnded.com has posted the above video of how they think the Star Trek movie should have ended.