The 2012 Saturn Award nominees are out. I wonder if this has ever happened before–two movies up for best movie in the Fantasy category were also nominees for an Academy Award. My choice as top genre movie of the year, Midnight in Paris, is one of them. Hugo is also nominated. While I’m not going to bother second guessing categorization, I don’t really see Hugo as qualifying as a fantasy movie, but as it is in contention I wouldn’t be surprised if it beats Midnight in Paris. I also wonder how well the last Harry Potter movie will do, but personally I was very disappointed in it. Going beyond the Fantasy category, another Oscar nominee is also in contention for a Saturn award–War Horse.
My choice for best hard science fiction movie of the year, Source Code, didn’t make it into the nominations for Best Science Fiction Film. I had predicted the ending early, but did enjoy watching it play out. The Adjustment Bureau was also enjoyable, but The Twilight Zone handled the same idea much better in the past. I find it interesting that X-Men and Captain America were nominated under Science Fiction while Thor was considered Fantasy. Again, I’m not going to dwell over categorization and am more interested in seeing the top genre movies recognized, regardless of category. I should also point out that my choices for top movies are limited by the fact that I’ve seen most but not all of the nominated movies.
Here are the nominations in various categories for best film:
Best Science Fiction Film:
The Adjustment Bureau
Captain America: The First Avenger
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
X-Men: First Class
Best Fantasy Film:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Midnight in Paris
Best Horror/Thriller Film:
The Devil’s Double
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Best Action/Adventure Film:
The Lincoln Lawyer
Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Moving on to television, I’d choose Doctor Who as best over all if that was a choice, but it is limited a nomination as a youth-oriented show. I’d pick Fringe as Best Network Television Series, and is there any doubt that Game of Thrones will win for Best Presentation on Television (10 Episodes or Less)? I will abstain from making a pick as Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series as there are a couple of shows listed which I’ve heard very good things about but have not seen yet.
Best Network Television Series:
A Gifted Man
Once Upon a Time
Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series:
American Horror Story
Best Presentation on Television (10 Episodes or Less):
Game of Thrones
Torchwood: Miracle Day
The Walking Dead
Best Youth-Oriented Series on Television:
The Nine Lives of Chloe King
The Vampire Diaries
There are multiple other categories in play including best actor and actress, but I won’t bother with those tonight in protest over the absence of Karen Gillan among the nominees. The full list can be found here.
It is now the start of 2012 (except for those in the GOP who remain in 1812), making it a good time to look back on the past year. 2011 ended with a few significant season finales for genre shows. The most recent to air was the Doctor Who Christmas Special: The Doctor, The Widow, and the Wardrobe. I did not think it was up to the level of last year’s Christmas special, A Christmas Carol. There were many excellent moments, primarily at the start and the end, but it didn’t work well as a complete story. Matt Smith was wonderful as the mad caretaker, showing off features of the home which the children would love, such as the taps for hot, cold, and lemonade. Once the story moved from the house to the forest it went downhill but there were still good moments. (“Please tell me we can tell the difference between wool and sidearms.”)
Fortunately the story picked up as a trip through the time vortex allowed them to lead the alleged widow’s husband home. From there we returned to the continuity of the past season where the Doctor allowed everyone to think he is dead. He was convinced to return to visit Amy and Rory for Christmas. He arrived two years later to find that River had told Amy that the Doctor was alive. (Amy: “River told us.” The Doctor: “Of course she did.” Amy:”She’s a good girl!” ) Seeing Amy again made the episode worthwhile. This presumably foreshadows next season, with the Doctor working more in the background with most believing he is dead, along with a temporary return of Amy and Rory.
Showtime had excellent conclusions for both Dexter and Homeland. The first season of Dexter closely matched the first Dexter novel with one key difference–Debra learned about Dexter’s secret. The past season showed changes in Debra which prepared her for this knowledge, making the final moment predictable with Debra seeing Dexter kill Travis. The show is now scheduled to conclude after two more seasons, which will certainly concentrate on the changing relationship between Dexter and Debra.
Homeland was the best new show of the past season but it seemed to be a season-long story and I had wondered how they would keep matters open for a second season. The season began with questions over the sanity of CIA agent Carrie Mathison and questions over whether rescued al Quida prisoner Sgt. Nicholas Brody had been turned into a terrorist. Over the course of the season it became clear that Carrie is both mentally ill and right about at least some of her suspicions. For a brief time it appeared that another prisoner, not Brody, had been turned. By the end of the season it became clear that both former prisoners had been brainwashed. The other was to shoot at a group of top government officials, leading to them being rushed past security to a safe room. This included Brody, who was wearing a suicide vest to enable him to kill the entire group.
Carrie made a final attempt to stop the killings, which only she suspected, by having Brody’s daughter call him. At the end of the episode she was unaware that her effort was successful. The episode ended with Carrie undergoing electroshock treatment which would cause short term memory loss. At the last moment she remembered that, while they were in bed together earlier in the season, Bordy had shouted the name Issa during a flashback. Brody told Carrie that this was the name of his guard, but just before receiving the electroshock Carrie realized that this was the name of the son of Abu Nazir, who was killed in an American drone attack. This was the key to understanding why Brody had turned. Next season we will presumably see when Carrie remembers this, or finds other reason to again investigate Brody while others do not suspect him.
Two shows which have not yet aired the United States also concluded in the U.K. Merlin had another excellent season. While I will avoid spoilers here, the story is getting even closer to the conventional King Arthur legends. The Downton Abbey Christmas Special tied up some of the story lines from the second season while keeping aspects open for new stories next season.
In other holiday news, David Tennant and Georgia Moffat maried on News Years Eve. Sherlock returned in the U.K. on New Years Day.
A trailer has been released for this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special--The Doctor, The Widow And The Wardrobe. The title gives away the story which this year’s special is inspired by.
The trailer was presented during the skit above at Children In Need.
Wired has a story on Richard Molesworth’s search for lost episodes of Doctor Who.
There have been rumors of making another Doctor Who movie for quite a while, and there was a report from Variety which has obtained considerable attention this week:
“Harry Potter” director David Yates is teaming up with the BBC to turn its iconic sci-fi TV series “Doctor Who” into a bigscreen franchise.
Yates, who directed the last four Potter films, told Daily Variety that he is about to start work on developing a “Doctor Who” movie with Jane Tranter, head of L.A.-based BBC Worldwide Prods.
“We’re looking at writers now. We’re going to spend two to three years to get it right,” he said. “It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into the bigger arena.”
Unlike some of the earlier rumors, this story involves a new take on the character:
Yates made clear that his movie adaptation would not follow on from the current TV series, but would take a completely fresh approach to the material.
“Russell T. Davies and then Steven Moffat have done their own transformations, which were fantastic, but we have to put that aside and start from scratch,” he said.
Yates and Tranter are looking for writers on both sides of the Atlantic.
“We want a British sensibility, but having said that, Steve Kloves wrote the Potter films and captured that British sensibility perfectly, so we are looking at American writers too,” he explained.
The validity of this is unclear, including a denial from the BBC. The prospect of such a movie has some Doctor Who fans worried. Despite these concerns, I imagine that viewers could keep straight the fact that there are two different Doctor Who stories, keeping the television show and movie series separate. I don’t see much of a point in a single stand-alone Doctor Who movie which is not connected to the television series. It would be a different matter if this results in both a successful television and movie series, but it will be harder to succeed as a movie. As was clear with Star Trek, a movie might have bigger production values, and bigger stories, but with a continuing television series it is often all the small stories presented over time which are more important. Without writers connect to the show, it may or may not manage to capture what makes Doctor Who great. StevenMoffat expressed his skepticism with this sarcastic tweet: “Announcing my personal moonshot, starting from scratch. No money, no plan, no help from NASA. But I know where the moon is – I’ve seen it.”
“Very soon now, Doctor Who is going to enter production for the longest sustained period we’ve ever attempted, and the biggest and best and maddest time ever to be a fan of this wonderful old show is rumbling towards us. And yes, you got me. We needed a little more time to prepare for everything we’ve got planned. That, above all, is why we needed this tiny gap. Just be a tiny bit patient, and trust me, we’ll make it up to you.”
There are some other movies of interest which look like they are going to be made. This includes Arrested Development, but the bigger news is that prior to the movie there will be additional episodes of the show which will be available over Netflix in 2013. Exclusive streaming of new episodes of Arrested Development could bring back some of the subscribers who abandoned Netflix after their price hike for combined streaming and DVD rentals. It also looks like they really are going ahead with the movie version of 24.
Downton Abbey won’t be released at the movie theaters, but the Christmas special will be feature-length. The first photo from the special has been released (above). The special will bring the show into 1920, with a third season having been announced with eight additional episodes taking place over the next eighteen months. Personally I wish ITV and the BBC could get together for a combined special. If the Doctor is already going back to World War II for the Christmas special, why not go back another generation and have the TARDIS wind up at Downton? I think Lady Mary would make an excellent companion if Amy Pond isn’t around. Downton Abbey already has ties to fantasy and to Doctor Who. Maggie Smith, who plays the Dowager Countess, has also played Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter movies. Hugh Bonneville has appeared in two episodes of Doctor Who, The Curse of the Black Spot and A Good Man Goes to War, as the pirate Captain Avery.
NBC is making changes to its line up in January. 30 Rock returns but Community goes on hiatus with return date not set. Why not just dump some junk such as Whitney and keep Community on the schedule? If there is no Community, that means noInspector Spacetime.
Showtime has announced that Dexter has been renewed for two additional seasons:
“The series is bigger than it’s ever been in its sixth season, both in terms of audience and its impact on the cultural landscape,” said Showtime topper David Nevins. “Together with Michael, the creative team on the show has a very clear sense of where they intend to take the show over the next two seasons and, as a huge fan, I’m excited to watch the story of Dexter Morgan play out.”
I wonder if this means they are working towards a conclusion of the series over the next two seasons.
Trek Nation will premier on the Science Channel on November 30 (trailer above).
The documentary “Trek Nation” explores “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision and its impact on viewers’ lives through the eyes of his son Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, Jr. When the legendary Gene Roddenberry passed away almost 20 years ago, his son was only 17 years old. Now director Scott Colthorp takes us along as he follows Rod on a very personal quest: through startling and revelatory conversations with actors, fans, NASA personnel, politicians and celebrities, Rod seeks to finally understand the man he barely knew: his father.
Catwoman turned out at an Occupy Wall Street Rally. The presence of wealthy actress Anne Hathaway wound up freaking out many right wing bloggers who have no understanding (and I doubt have the mental capacity to understand) what Occupy Wall Street is actually all about. (Hint: it is not about opposition to having wealth or making money. Many in the top one-percent realize the dangers of an economic system rigged to help only them which is acting to destroy the middle class in this country).
The above video shows the highlights of the last season of Doctor Who in 89 seconds.Here’s a more musical version:
There was increased promotion of Doctor Who in the United States over the past season, which probably accounts three references to the show on American television shows so far this season. The best remains this parody from Community:
Free Agents, an already cancelled U.S. sitcom based upon a British show, had a brief mention. The video clip is no longer available on line but the entire episode is available on Hulu. Criminal Minds had a recent mention which can be viewed here, along with this older clip:
There have also been some other older mentions of Doctor Who on American shows. For example:
The apparently nude picture of River Song was seen in some trailers for the season but never aired. Steven Moffat, who showed he is into naughty material on television from his work on Coupling, felt it was too naughty for Doctor Who. More from Blastr.com:
When Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat was asked on Twitter about the bit where we see a naked River Song (Alex Kingston) winking at an unknown someone in the trailer, he answered: “Deleted, yes. Too naughty, don’t know what I was thinking.”
The scene was apparently cut from the season six premiere episode ”The Impossible Astronaut.”
There’s a few more details coming from The Eleventh Doctor Volume 3:
The readthrough script for [''The Impossible Astronaut''] had minimal changes before issue as shooting script. The main alteration was the ultimately deleted scene at Stormcage where the governor remonstrated with River Song over her previous 15 escapes under his predecessor, “Oh, it was never fifteen—unless you’re counting holidays and hair appointments…” said River as she opened a cupboard on the cell wall and pulled out an impossibly long clothes rail of dresses commenting, “Don’t mind my wardrobe. Teensy bit bigger on the inside!”But the ”naughty” River Song scene is not the only one that ended up either on the cutting floor, or not being filmed at all. Apparently:
There were more changes later made to [''Day of the Moon'']; the opening sequence with Rory and Canton was set in Chicago’s waterfront docklands and the final scene with the little girl was set in New York. The Doctor and his friends had been gathering information over two rather than three months between installments. Still to be added were the Doctor’s comparisons of the Silents to the Roman Empire, the Doctor describing the sensation of the Silents being around, and much of a sub-plot about the Doctor’s beard.Then there’s also a scene which shows a group of mean-looking Nazis searching for the Doctor (Matt Smith), also cut from ”The Impossible Astronaut.”
In the video above, Karen Gillan discusses her involvement in the Doctor Who Adventure Game, The Gunpowder Plot.
The Christmas Special is now filming, with some information released by the BBC:
Production has started on the 2011 Doctor Who Christmas Special in which the Doctor (Matt Smith) finds himself in war-torn England embarking on a magical and mysterious adventure with a young widow and her two children.
A stellar guest cast including Claire Skinner (Outnumbered), Bill Bailey (Black Books), Arabella Weir (The Fast Show) and Alexander Armstrong (Armstrong & Miller), join Matt Smith in the emotional festive special, packed full of Christmas thrills and chills.
Steven Moffat, Lead Writer and Executive Producer, commented: “The Doctor at Christmas – nothing is more fun to write. Maybe because it’s so his kind of day – everything’s bright and shiny, everybody’s having a laugh, and nobody minds if you wear a really stupid hat. Of all the Doctors, Matt Smith’s is the one that was born for this time of year – so it’s the best news possible that he’s heading back down the chimney.”
The special, set during World War II, sees Madge Arwell and her two children, Lily and Cyril, evacuated to a draughty old house in Dorset, where the caretaker is a mysterious young man in bow tie, and a big blue parcel is waiting for them under the tree. They are about to enter a magical new world and learn that a Time Lord never forgets his debts…
Claire Skinner said: “I am thrilled to be in Doctor Who playing Madge who is a bit of super-mum. It’s a magical part.”
There are three recommended shows airing tonight.Last Sunday the first episode of Dexter looked promising, with Dexter asking some tough questions about religion. Homeland was also off to a promising start last week. Besides staring Claire Danes, the cast includes Morena Baccarin who planned Anna on the remake of V.Unlike Alex Kingston’s naughty scene on Doctor Who, Baccarin’s nude scenes can be aired on Showtime. Baccarin plays the wife of Nicholas Brody, who had been held captive by al Qaeda for eight years. Claire Danes plays CIA agent Carrie Mathison who has reason to believe that Brody has been turned and is working with al Qaeda on a terrorist attack on American soil. Mathison also has some psychiatric issues, making it unclear as to whether to trust her suspicions of Brody.
Besides these two shows on Showtime, Downton Abbey airs in the U.K. on Sundays and has been off to a great season with a World War I backdrop. I won’t say much about this show for the benefit of those waiting for it to air in the United States. Merlin has started out this season on Saturdays in the U.K. with a strong two-part episode. Again I won’t say much, but Morgana is now more powerful, and Arthur has a more important role in ruling Camelot.
It was a great weekend for television, with an excellent episode of Doctor Who, the season finale of Torchwood: Miracle Day, and a Michigan vs. Notre Dame football game which not only once again wound up being settled by four points scored in the last thirty seconds, but also had three touchdowns in the last seventy-two seconds. In the final second Notre Dame also lost the ball and I believe that if the Michigan player pushing it into the end zone had actual possession it would have been counted as a fourth touchdown in the last seventy-two seconds.
The Girl Who Waited was the economy episode of Doctor Who, having less of the Doctor and minimal use of other cast. While not as great as another Doctor-lite episode, Blink, it was an excellent episode with an interesting timey-whimey idea. A planet with a plague, which killed beings with two hearts, including Time Lords, in one day, set up a Two Stream facility. Those infected with the plague lived in one time stream where they could live out their entire life in one day, while family could watch them from the other time stream over twenty-four hours. After their arrival to the planet, Amy ran back to the Tardis to get her phone. The Doctor, who so far thought they were just at a recreational facility, had the first of two great lines during the episode: “I bring you to a paradise planet two billion light years from Earth and you want to update… Twitter?”
When Amy caught up, she pushed the wrong button and wound up in the wrong time stream. She had to beware of being killed with kindness as medications from this planet would be fatal to her. There were certainly a number of holes in this setup, and a bit of timey-whimey technobabble to try to explain it, but that didn’t prevent enjoyment of the show. After all, as the Doctor explained, “Come on Rory, it’s hardly rocket science, it’s just quantam physics.”
This setup provided for an interesting look at the character dynamics, and gave Karen Gillan the opportunity to play an older version of herself.
It was not surprising to see Amy Pond become bitter about her raggedy man after being left behind for thirty-six years. It was logical for her to prevent the Doctor and Rory from saving the younger version of herself, making her disappear, but in the end there were stronger arguments to the contrary. There was never any doubt that Rory would choose the younger version of Amy over the older, but Rory did realize the cost as he told the Doctor, “You’re trying to turn me into you.” We also saw again that the Doctor lies. I bet that will be important when we see how the Doctor avoids his impending death.
The episode appeared to be totally stand-alone (with it continuing to be strange that Amy and Rory so easily gave up on the idea of rescuing Melody as an infant). I wonder if a show which dealt so strongly with the relationship between Amy, Rory, and the Doctor might wind up having ramifications to be seen later this season.
The Blood Line, the finale of Torchwood: Miracle Day, was a pretty good episode, but still it didn’t have enough payback for a ten-episode story. Considering that there is no real explanation, they did a fair job of explaining how the Miracle came about, using Jack’s immortal blood. I wasn’t clear on why this would make Jack (and cancer cells) mortal, or why they brought Oswald Danes along. The episode did leave a couple of plot threads open, including the tree families moving on to their next plan, with Jilly Kitzinger helping with public relations. A transfusion of Jack’s blood allowed Rex to recuperate as quickly as Jack. I hope that this is a temporary effect of the transfusion, possibly aided by occurring at the same time as the Blessing was reset. Otherwise it wouldn’t be realistic to have Torchwood continue with some many people close to Jack getting killed.
It was a good idea to take a high concept and attempt to make a single-season arc. Children of Earth worked as a third-season story over five days, but ten episodes was too long this year. The writers tried to get around this problem by having a number of subplots. This did not work as the show was set up around solving a single problem, and the subplots often felt like needless distractions.
Sooner or later I also hope to see Torchwood reestablished as a real organization with additional characters. Torchwood might work better modeled somewhat after how Dexter or Fringe have been handled. I would like to see a fifth season in which Torchwood is reestablished. Episodes could deal with building a new team and solving some individual mysteries, while also having a “big-bad” to contend with all season. That way it is not necessary to come up with a monster of the week every week, but individual stories could be mixed with the season-long arc.
We know that Doctor Who will have another thirteen-episode season, but it won’t start until next fall. The future of Torchwood is unknown, despite a tag at the end of the final episode in Australia saying Jack will be back in four months. There is, however, hope of seeing another Tom Baker episode of Doctor Who. Shada, the 1980 Tom Baker episode of Doctor Who written by Douglas Adams, has finally been completed, with a couple of twists:
Given that it has been three decades since the cameras last rolled on the story, the actors involved would never have been able to convincingly play the same age, so Shada has been completed via animation, using only their voices.
The other twist is that this hasn’t been paid for by the BBC, nor even their commercial arm 2|entertain (responsible for the Doctor Who DVD releases). The animation has been privately funded by record producer and fan Ian Levine, and as things stand, the wider public might never get to see it.
Which isn’t Levine’s intention, of course; now that Shada has been finished, he’s hopeful an agreement can be reached with 2|entertain and the story released into the public domain.
Wait a minute. The Doctor and Romana are Time Lords and would hot have aged. The real problem is that they have regenerated into different forms.
Next season, Dexter will skip ahead so that he is beyond the death of Rita and beyond Lumen moving away. Entertainment Weekly has some more information on next season:
Dexter (Michael C. Hall) begins the season with worries that the apple won’t fall far from the tree when it comes to his son, Harrison. Will the little guy be a killer, too? “That’s a fundamental fear that Dexter has, that’s where he’s at,” Hall told the crowd. “He knows he doesn’t want his son to show those traits and he doesn’t want to encourage them. That’s a constant fear and consideration.” That’s where religion comes in! “His son is only going to get older and more in need of guidance, and Dexter feels ill-equipped to provide that. As a result he is motivated to find ways to do that, including giving him spiritual grounding .. something that Dexter hasn’t cared about.” Executive Producer Sara Colleton would like to add to that. “Dexter knows what he doesn’t want to pass on to Harrison, so he starts this journey that snowballs into a huge evolved plot for the season. It’s initiated by his desire to define faith … which is by it very nature, undefinable. It’s done in true Dexter style so it’s a lot of fun.”
Mos Def showed up but unfortunately, didn’t tease much about his new character Brother Sam. Dang. However, he’s dang glad to be here! ”I’ve been a fan of the show since day one. I bought the DVDs. If I wasn’t here, I’d be out there asking the same questions. `What happened to Rita?’”
Colin Hanks, however, teased a little more about his new character, Travis. A little. ”I really can’t give away too much. We want to keep it a fun surprise. But the one thing I can say is you’re gonna see some stuff this season that you have not seen in previous seasons. It’s exciting and I may or may not be a part of that.
C.S. Lee said his character Masuka has some shenanigans in store. “Interns are coming up this year. Women and men. He probably gets into some trouble with some interns.” What about a real romance? “We all know him as a flaming crotch but there are other signs to him,” Lee said. “You’ll see more this year this season.”
What’s next for you, Hall, when Dexter is over? (Don’t worry, fans: No one said anything about ending the show yet). “I didn’t know Dexter was in my future back when I was a funeral director,” he said. “Hopefully it will be something I can not quite imagine.”
They also posted a longer trailer for season six than the one that I previously posted:
This week’s installment of SciFi Weekend was originally planned to be a compilation of news and clips from Comic Con, but there is too much material for a single post. In addition, there would continue to be new material after this was posted. Therefore I’m going to have a series of separate posts, and add links to the other posts on SDCC here. These will include panels on various shows, interviews, and preview clips for shows presented at Comic Con. This starts with a clip already posted on Friday:
This week’s Fringe was not one of the greatest episodes in the show’s history but it did move the story forwards slightly. We saw signs that the problems faced by the alternate universe are beginning on this side and the relationship between Peter and Olivia move forwards. The episode also served to demonstrate that the conflict between the two universes is not one of good versus evil but each side taking the steps felt necessary to protect itself.
The story probably did work best with Mr. and Mrs. Merchant letting go, realizing they were seeing alternate versions of their spouses and not their actual dead spouses, so that the rift would close. It might have been more interesting, however, if they could have had one cross over to the other side. While neither would really be united with their dead spouse, having the version from the alternate universe would have been the next best thing. Could they have continued their former relationships in this manner, somewhat analogous to Peter unknowingly having a relationship with Fauxlivia instead of Olivia?
Apparently Peter was always intended to become involved with our Olivia, with next week’s episode showing them together as children.
Spoiler TV has more from a conference call with Fringe executive producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman:
When it comes to Olivia and Peter:
Things “will get worse and better,” said Pinkner. “Since Olivia returned and their relationship sort of shattered, they’ve been trying to pick up the pieces. They’ve been getting closer and they will continue to, but the problems that they’re dealing with are going to continue to complicate … We’re throwing a whole bunch of things at them.” That includes last week’s revelation that Faulivia (aka Bolivia or the alternate Olivia) is pregnant with Peter’s child.
“We’re always trying to get deeper, more complex emotions because we find that’s a really rich area for us to investigate in,” said Wyman. “There are so many facets to a real relationship, and these are incredible circumstances that they’re going through. But we try and make it as deep as we can. So you’ll see a whole bunch of shifting still to come in the entire rest of the season.”
As far as Peter’s shape-shifter killing ways:
Peter’s been killing shape-shifters and keeping it a secret from Olivia and the Fringe team. But “there’s a reason,” said Wyman.
And “Peter will come clean soon enough,” added Pinkner.
Peter has been more concerned about what the shape-shifters are up to “than anybody else on our show. There’s a drawing of him standing inside that machine. So he’s got questions, and by nature he’s a character who for years has only relied on himself,” he said.
“This season was always going to be a season about self-actualization for a lot of the characters. So this is the beginning of those steps,” said Wyman.
There’s still two of almost everything:
“We get to do two shows about one show. So that turned into a great thing,” said Wyman. And that allowed them to explore things like the murder of alternate Broyles “and having our Broyle actually stand next to his own dead body.”
“I think we knew how much there was to discover with Walternate and Bolivia and how much those two characters would provide a counterpoint and shed light on their alter egos that we’ve known for going on three seasons now.” said Pinkner. “I think one of the things that’s been really fun for us [was] the dynamic between Lincoln and Charlie and Bolivia and the energy of the stories on the other side. It feels like a different version of our show that just has a different inherent rhythm and different inherent chemistries in those characters, and that’s been really joyful for us.”
And speaking of the joy of the Other Side:
“What we discovered was that the energy of Lincoln and Charlie and Bolivia made up for the lack of Walter,” said Pinkner. “Obviously Walternate’s John Noble was in the episodes, but energetically and rhythmically it made up for missing Walter, so rather than recognizing or discovering that, it became a creative challenge. The discovery for us that was really wonderful was that it was a joy to go to the other side, and it was really a joy to explore another version of our show with cases that affected everything happening on our side with characters that we, as writers, had come to love.”
While Pinkner admits that fans started out “inclined to hate Bolivia, slowly over time they’ve started to … whether or not people want Peter to be with Olivia or Bolivia is a separate issue. But at least as far as we can tell, people are finding the relationship between the characters on the other side and the stories we’re telling on the other side charming and also really intriguing. It’s just deepening everything that’s happening over here. So rather than a challenge, we actually found it to be a really great creative outlet.”
Extinct sheep, myth-a-lones and the dangerously out of control Over There:
“The other side gives us an opportunity to do some pretty wild things, as you can imagine, because things are dangerously out of control there,” said Wyman. “So we’re fascinated enough with the notion that things we take for granted, like sheep for example, don’t exist over there because they were killed out by this beetle.”
Pinkner and Wyman continue to embrace what they call myth-a-lones, “where you’re watching the freak of the week type of concept, but it’s connected to our mythology. You’re going to see a lot of things … taking things and tropes that we know in our world and sort of turning them on their head,” said Wyman.
When it comes to Sam Weiss:
The mysterious bowling dude who has helped both Nina Sharp and Olivia, could be a good guy or a bad one. According to Wyman, “You know, don’t trust that Weiss.”
“If anybody unfurled the anagram that was on the chalkboard in Walter’s lab on the other side, it said, ‘Don’t trust Sam Weiss,’” said Pinkner.
“Sam is a character that I feel safe in saying that he still has many, many, many, many layers to reveal, and his motivations will become clearer and you’ll get a better understanding. I’m saying that we’re not going to keep pushing it down the line and not answering it, because that frustrates everyone. You’re going to find out about him. Hopefully it will be something that you don’t see coming,” said Wyman.
If you’ve been paying attention, things will fit together:
“If you go back into season one and you see the bus … There was a pattern episode that the bus had amber on it. I don’t know if you remember that, but the truth is the people here didn’t really know what amber was. They really didn’t understand what it was, but we knew,” said Wyman.
“So it’s like you can really set things up and they can pay off in really great ways. I think there’s a lot of that stuff coming up that will demonstrate the forethought, and the keen viewer will be able to say, ‘Oh, my gosh. Oh, I remember that.’ Now that’s taken on a whole different meaning. The only way that we can do that is if we know where we’re going.”
“The truth is we’ve been setting up season four in brush strokes very early on in season two, and we’ve been setting up what we imagine, with luck and grace and hoping we stay on the air this far, we’ve been sort of setting up season five since season one. It’s just a matter of whether we have the good fortune of getting to tell these stories,” said Pinkner.
“We need more time, and we’re trying to tell thematic stories,” said Wyman. “The multiple levels that we like takes time. I’m sure that we fall short of our goals all the time, but there’s enough fear every week, and like okay, what story are we going to tell this week … We have kind of a blue print.”
Joshua Jackson (Peter Bishop) has also discussed the show recently, including his thoughts on the First People.
While the major quest on How I Met Your Mother is Ted’s prolonged personal journey before meeting his eventual wife, there is also Barney’s quest to find his father. Imagine the shock when it turns out to be the Trinity killer. Well, not really, but Barney’s father, Jerome Whitaker, will be played by John Lithgow in two episodes. This is Lithgow’s first television role since playing Trinity on Dexter. HIMYM co-creator Carter Bays joked that there are some similarities between Jerome and Trinity:
“[Jerome] is [also] a family man who lives in the suburbs [but] he’s not going to be naked in the bathtub strangling someone,” he quipped.
Toy Story 3 wasn’t the end of the toys. Pixar is going to release at least two shorts with the Toy Story characters, with the storyline of only one of them having been released:
The short that will be shown in front of ‘Cars 2′ will focus on the characters of Barbie and Ken after their exploits in ‘Toy Story 3′. After being left behind for their Hawaii vacation, Buzz Lightyear and Woody attempt to recreate a Hawaii paradise to please the disappointed Barbie and Ken.
Adrianne Palicki, Tyra Collette on Friday Night Lights has been signed to play Wonder Woman in a remake which NBC finally picked up after all the networks had rejected it. I’m sure Tim Riggins and Landry Clarke agree in considering her a Wonder Woman. There are also rumors that Oliva Wilde will play Laura Croft in a movie remake.
I’ve had a number of posts with pictures of actresses in the old Princess Leia Slave Girl costume. The video above, Nerding Out – Tonight I’m Frakking You, features Alessandra Torresani of Caprica in the outfit along with multiple other science fiction references.
Previous pictures here (Kelly Brook) and here (Kristen Bell & Olivia Munn), with a picture of the original is here. Interviews with the stars of Tonight I’m Frakking You in the video below:
The season finale of Dexter was largely predictable, but predicable in a good way. Actions and decisions made were as anticipated as they were set up in previous episodes. We knew it would end with Jordan Chase getting killed. We also knew that Lumen would leave and, while it was always a consideration, I think most fans predicted she would not get killed. Killing Lumen after Rita’s death last year would have been too depressing. There have also been hints in post-season interviews that Lumen might return.
It was also predicable that Deb would wind up at the camp, although she sure did figure out the location quickly. It would have been more plausible if Dexter had left around a paper trail regarding Jordan Chase’s ownership of the camp. The only real question here was whether Deb would arrive to save them from Jordan or, as it turned out, to find Jordan’s dead body. Once the scene was set up with Dexter and Lumen behind the plastic I had no doubt about the ending. It was obvious that this would be the way that Deb could set them free without seeing their faces. The writers had been preparing Deb all season to make the decision for her to sympathize with the unknown (to her) vigilantes. While I wasn’t very fond of the Carlos Fuentes arc earlier in the season, it did lead to Deb believing that there were people who deserved to die and change her view of killing.
Dexter’s decision to save Quinn was also not surprising. He might have let Quinn take the blame for Liddy’s death but even if Dexter saw some benefit in this he would be taking a risk that he would be a suspect once it came out that Quinn had hired Liddy to spy on Dexter. The most important factor might have been Dexter saving Quinn for the sake of his sister. At the moment Quinn is grateful to Dexter, but there is no guarantee he won’t go back to suspecting Dexter sometime in the future, especially should he break up with Deb.
There are still a number of loose ends in the conclusion. Why is Deb given credit for breaking the case when, as far as everyone knows, Jordan Chase is still alive. (I assume she didn’t tell anyone that she saw his dead body when she made the call or there would have been lots of questions when his body wasn’t there). Nobody appears to be questioning why one bullet was shot from her gun. Quinn isn’t necessarily off the hook for Liddy’s death considering all the other evidence implicating him. These include all the phone calls and the faked signature for the surveillance equipment. The hunt for Kyle Butler was also never resolved, and could still create problems for Dexter in the future.
The season ended leaving the writers a free hand as to where to go next season. They could deal with some of these loose ends from the past or move on. The problems between Dexter and Rita’s children were also resolved, with Astor and Cody planning to spend the summer with him. This leaves the writers free to set the next season with the kids living with Dexter or still living with their grandparents.
While Deb did not find out Dexter’s secret this year, they are likely setting this up for a future season. Deb did find out at the end of the first novel, which was very similar to the first season in most respects. This would be a plausible way to shake up the series and maintain continued interest. This is also suggested in an interview with executive producer Sarah Colleton:
A huge moment for Deb: She chooses not to pull back the curtain to discover the identity of Victim 13 and her partner, allowing Lumen and Dexter to go free. Why did you decide to go that way with the story?
Deb has had a really interesting growth over the past five years. If you remember her from year 1, her energy was all over the place and she was coltish and insecure—this delightful unfocused character who slowly over the years has learned to focus all of that energy and she has become a formidable detective. But part of becoming a detective and pursuing the dark side is an awareness that anyone who takes a walk on the wild side never comes back all the way. What may have started out as a rigid sense of what’s right and wrong—what’s good and evil—starts to turn into a bit of gray. And when Deb finally brings down Carlos Fuentes earlier in the season, she’s surprised that she feels nothing—and is intrigued by that sensation. And one of the most subtle conversations between Dexter and his sister takes place over a beer in Dexter’s apartment when she’s going on about how she didn’t feel anything, and Dexter gives her this look and goes, “Dad once told me there are people who deserve to die.” And she looks at him and goes, ‘Do you think there are people that deserve to die?” It’s this moment where Dexter has floated out this little trial balloon. So you see Deb starting to make that turn. And based on her experience with Rudy and in episode 10 when she sees all of those [Barrel Girl] tapes—it’s traumatizing yet strengthening for her—she comes up with the vigilante theory. When she finally gets to the camp and realizes that she has stumbled upon “13” and her helpmate, it’s not until the very end of her speech where she makes that change. And Jennifer Carpenter did a brilliant piece of acting because the character doesn’t know until that very moment that she’s going to do something. It’s a huge, defining moment for Deb. That’s a new Deb who says, “The place is going to be crawling with police in an hour,” and sails up the stairs and goes to Quinn and says, “I don’t care what happened—I love you.” It’s wonderful—and it also opens the door because eventually, some season is going to have to deal with Deb finding out about Dexter.
This would result in a tremendous change in the relationship between Deb and Dexter. In real life there has also been a big change as it was announced last week that Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C. Hall are getting divorced. Apparently it doesn’t work to marry your TV sister. Perhaps Michael C. Hall should warn his former co-star from Six Feet Under as Peter Krause is now dating his TV sister from Parenthood, Lauren Graham.
Moving Fringe to Fridays, where Fox genre shows often go to die, has raised a number comparisons to Firefly–especially as the first episode back in January is named Firefly. The above video takes the opening to Firefly and replaces it with the characters from Fringe.
Even Fox has responded to the concerned raised by moving the show to Fridays in the above promo.
As far back as 1989 we had the fan fiction The Doctor and the Enterprise placing The Doctor in the Star Trek universe. In more recent years video mash ups have become more popular. Above we have a combination of the Doctor Who and Star Wars universes. This gives us eleven Doctors, Amy Pond, Rory, and River Song, including Amy Pond fighting Darth Vader with a lightsaber.
There have been numerous interviews and promotional videos released in preparation for Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol on December 25. This includes an interview with Karen Gillan in ShortList which geeks might find encouraging. Den of Geek has a spoiler-free review based on an early screening of the Christmas special. Life of Wylie has highlights from a Q&A session with Steven Moffat and the stars.
If you prefer an alternative to Doctor Who for your holiday entertainment, The Wall Street Journal has a review of A Klingon Christmas Carol.
Across the country this week, productions of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” are warming hearts. In this city, one version poses this question: What if Charles Dickens were a Trekkie?
The answer runs an hour and 20 minutes and includes three fight scenes, 17 actors with latex ridges glued to their foreheads and a performance delivered entirely in Klingon—a language made up for a Star Trek movie.
“It’s like an opera,” says Christopher O. Kidder, the director and co-writer. “You know what’s happening because you already know the story.”
For those not fluent in Klingon, English translations are projected above the stage.
The arc of “A Klingon Christmas Carol” follows the familiar Dickens script: An old miser is visited on a hallowed night by three ghosts who shepherd him through a voyage of self-discovery. The narrative has been rejiggered to match the Klingon world view.
For starters, since there is neither a messiah nor a celebration of his birth on the Klingon planet of Kronos, the action is pegged to the Klingon Feast of the Long Night. Carols and trees are replaced with drinking, fighting and mating rituals. And because Klingons are more concerned with bravery than kindness, the main character’s quest is for courage.
Carrie-Anne Moss, who stared in the fantastic movie The Matrix, and the dreadful movies The Matrix II and The Matrix III, has been signed to star in a Lifetime pilot as a celebrity psychologist.
Thursdays from 8:00 to 8:30 is the best hour of genre comedy television. Big Bang Theory has had lots of major guest stars. Now Community is getting LeVar Burton, who will play himself.