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

Torchwood: Miracle Day Episode 2, Rendition, continued where the first episode ended. Major spoilers for UK readers who won’t receive the episode on the BBC until Thursday. (I wonder how many really wait as opposed to downloading. Despite talk of different scenes in each version, the first episode was the same on both Starz and the BBC. The only difference is that the BBC had a longer trailer for upcoming episodes.)

While the first episode had bigger movie-type action scenes, possibly using up more than its share of the show’s budget, this episode had more  of the feeling of a television show such as 24 (although not limited to twenty-four hours). The episode established that the same group which was after Torchwood, and presumably behind the “miracle,” has infiltrated the CIA. They handled the attempted poisoning of Jack by Dichen Lachman from Dollhouse very well, requiring some ingenuity to come up with an antidote. This helped make up for some of the other junk science introduced in the episode.  I’ll let them get away with this because, face it, the show would not be possible if they stuck to established science.

The episode also introduced Jilly Kitzenger, played by Lauren Ambrose of Six Feet Under.  So far it looks like Oswald Danes is doing fine on his own without her help. I did not find it realistic that one appearance on television would have been so effective in changing public opinion of him.

Best scene of the episode was seeing Gwen Cooper explain that, “I’m Welch.”  (Included in the extended trailer above). Rex Matheson also did well, after warned about the conspiracy by Esther Drummond, using some bullshit to distract the rogue CIA agents in order to set Jack and Gwen free. The episode made it clear how the four will turn into the new Torchwood (at least for this season) while being on the run.

The first episode raised the question of how they investigate intangible such as nobody dying, which is like investigating nothing. I would assume that the conspiracy involving the CIA would provide something to begin investigating. In  order to investigate “nothing,” they might check out a character who previously appeared in a show about “nothing.” The conspiracy at the CIA is led by Wayne Night, who played Newman on Seinfeld

Following is the synopsis released for Episode 3:

Torchwood goes on the run – and finds a new enemy. But as they launch a raid on PhiCorp headquarters, Jack must confront the mysterious Oswald Danes.

Episode three includes guest stars Wayne Knight (Jurassic Park, Seinfeld), Dillon Casey (The Vampire Diaries) and Richard Gilliland (Desperate Housewives).

Will Ricky Gervais be the next Doctor, or just steal a Tardis. Check out this report.

A new trailer for Season Six of Dexter. The next season is going to skip ahead so that Dexter can be past the death of Rita and Lumen moving away, allowing him to get back to being Dexter.

Friday Night Lights concluded its series, but now there is talk (and tweets) of filming a movie. Sometimes that works (Firefly/Serenity) and other times such movies have failed to materialize (Arrested Development and Veronica Mars).  The idea is to continue from where the series left off. This would work well with Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, and it would be easy to work in some other characters, but unless the movie shows the Taylors moving back to Dillon, it would be hard for it to be a direct continuation of the series.

Last  season  Thursday night featured two genre comedies up against each other. Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs of Community got kinky for Esquire in the video above.  What will Kaley Cuoco and Melissa Raunch of Big Bang Theory do to match this? For more on the sex life of Alison Brie (of both Community and Mad Men) check out this essay she wrote.

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SciFi Weekend: The Doctor’s Wife; Canceled and Renewed Shows

Fans have been anxious to see a continuation of the storyline  started in the first two episodes of Doctor Who this season. Many were disappointed by The Curse of The Black Spot which repeated the ambiguity over Amy being pregnant and showed the woman with the eye patch, but did not really advance the storyline. There was far greater anticipation for this week’s episode, The Doctor’s Wife, written by Neil Gaiman. Instead of advancing this season’s arc, the story went back to the origins of the entire series.

The Doctor’s Wife is his constant companion and perhaps true love- the TARDIS.  The actual story was merely a device to have the TARDIS appear in the form of a woman. Karen Gillan had one of the best lines of the episode, asking the Doctor, “Did you wish really hard?” At the conclusion of the episode it was clear that the Doctor wanted her back.

Idris, also known as Sexy, revealed more about the origins of the Doctor, who “borrowed” a TARDIS which he found unlocked. From Idris’ account, it was she who picked the Doctor because she wanted to see the universe. While it might be the case that the TARDIS doesn’t always go where the Doctor wants, Idris pointed out that she always takes the Doctor where he needs to go. Most importantly, Idris finally got the opportunity to say “hello” to the Doctor.

As the story was primarily a mechanism to have the Doctor and Idris interact, it was necessary to work in an excuse to have Amy and Rory elsewhere. They spend most of the episode running through the corridors of the TARDIS, including yet another sequence in which Rory appeared to die and return.  It was also amusing to see Idris be unaware of which companion was which, ultimately identifying the pretty one, which she believed to be Rory.  It is a shame that the budget only allowed them to run through corridors as opposed to actual rooms during the bulk of the episode. Gaiman had wanted to have a view of the swimming pool but they didn’t have the budget for this. At least the old TARDIS set from the David Tennant era still exists, allowing them to say that the TARDIS has archives of all these old control rooms.

While this was primarily a stand-alone episode, there was on line which appears to pertain to the current story line. Idris told the Doctor, “The only water in the forest is the river.” Would this mean River Song, and does the forest refer to the forest in The Forest of The Dead?  That was part of the two part story in which the Doctor first met River, and the last time River saw the Doctor due to their crossed time lines.

Neil Gaiman will be taking questions about the story on Monday.

Also this week we received news on which shows were renewed or canceled. Cancellations include The Event, V, and No Ordinary Family. All of these were expected.  Cancellations of non-genre shows include Brother’s and Sisters, which ended the season with an episode which worked well as a series finale. Two of the female stars of Friday Night Lights, Minka Kelly and Adrianne Palicki appeared in pilots (Charlie’s Angels and Wonder Woman). The first was picked up but the second was not.  Parenthood, which Minka Kelly had a recurring role in, was also renewed.

There is speculation that Netflix might pick up The Event out of a desire to have their own shows with a following. In principle this does make sense as there are so many ways to watch movies. If not for their original shows, I probably would have dropped HBO, Showtime, and Starz by now. While it makes sense in principle, I’m not sure that The Event is the best choice for Netflix to go with. If it returns on Netflix I will probably watch it, but if I didn’t already have a Netflix account I doubt having The Event would be enough to sell me.

In addition to the announcements this week, The Cape, Dollhouse, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Files and FlashForward also failed to survive. While genre shows have generally done poorly on television the last couple of years, there have been multiple blockbuster genre movies, such as Thor this week. I wonder why genre titles are doing so much better at the movies than on television. Some of these genre shows suffered from mediocre writing, but an excellent show such as Fringe is also failing to do all that well in the ratings.  Perhaps it is partially the higher budgets for movies. Maybe there is a larger audience for intermittent blockbuster events as opposed to following a show weekly. Regardless of the reason, I still find the support for genre movies as reason to hope that a well-done genre television show can still be successful on network television.

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SciFi Weekend: A Timelord Wedding; Torchwood: Miracle Day; Dollhouse Stars on Torchwood & Community; Caprica; Mad Men to Return; January Jones as Emma Frost

David Tennant and Georgia Moffet are engaged with plans to get married next New Year’s Day. This sounds like a Timelord Wedding. Not only did Tennant play the tenth doctor, but Moffet has two ties to Doctor Who. She played The Doctor’s Daughter in a 2008 episode and Moffet is also the real life daughter of Peter Davison, who played the fifth Doctor from 1981 to 1984. (For those missing the old episodes, the BBC has announced the opening of a Classic Doctor Who channel on YouTube.)

David Tennant is also going to be working with another character from his days at Doctor Who. Tennant and Catherine Tate will be appearing together in a production of  Shakespeare’s Much A Do About Nothing.

The upcoming season of Torchwood has a tentative starting date of July 1 and a new title: Miracle Day.

As Davies explained, “The premise is a miracle that happens to the world. That one day, on Earth, no one dies. Not a single person on Earth dies. The next day, no one dies. The next day, no one dies. And on and on and on. Now, the sick stay sick, the old keep getting older, the dying keep dying, but no one quite dies.”

And at first, this seems a wonderful thing, “But globally, it’s an instant overnight population boom. The Earth relies on people dying.”

Davies understandably didn’t want to offer too many details on how and why “Torchwood” hero Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman, who couldn’t appear at the press tour session because he was acting in a play in England) comes back to our planet after running away at the end of the “Torchwood: Children of Earth” miniseries. But he did say that the notion of a world where no one can die would prove very intriguing to a man who suffers from immortality.

There is more information on the show and cast here. Dichen Lachman, who played Sierra on Dollhouse, who will play an FBI agent. Another cast member from Dollhouse will have a role on Community:

Enver Gjokaj, who played Victor during Dollhouse‘s brief life, will guest star on Community in episode 17, “Custody Law and Foreign Entanglements,” as Lukka, a love interest for Gillian Jacobs‘ Britta.

The character of Lukka is an “attractive, accent-y, oily Eastern European” fella who uses his finer points to seduce our girl Britta, but Lukka obviously is not exactly as delightful as he appears to be on first meeting.

The episode will most likely air sometime in March.

Miss the final episodes of Caprica last week? SyFy is streaming them online for free. As I’ve mentioned before, the concluding episodes were excellent, while the series as a whole was of mixed quality. Den of Geek! interviewed Eric Stoltz about some of the problems with the series.

Do you think that the show fell on the wrong side of a double-edged sword, following Battlestar?

I don’t think it was what the majority of Battlestar fans wanted, for the most part. It probably would’ve served us all better to have not even been connected to it.

It’s rare to find characters so instantly complex as we got in Caprica. How do you balance the many levels of Daniel Graystone? How do you set about giving the audience a way into a character like that?

That’s a very thick question, one which really requires a three page answer, which I won’t bore you with. The levels of the character were largely in the scripts, and usually left to the directors’ control: a little bit more malice here, a little more loving there.

That being said, there were certain relationships, like Greystone and his wife, that seemed to take on a life of their own, even beyond Paula Malcomson and myself. And that was wonderful to be a part of.

It was always a fascinating show to watch, and clearly the narrative had many, many threads to it. In hindsight, though, do you think the show was slightly off balance? Or wouldn’t you change a thing about it?

It’s rare for a show to find itself in the first season. There are exceptions, of course, but a lot of shows take two or three years to find the right ingredients. I’m sure we were off balance at times, and I’m sure I would change a few things if I had that power, but I’ve moved on.

It comes as little surprise, but it has been officially announced that Mad Men will return for a fifth season. No date for the season has been announced yet. January Jones will also be appearing in X Men: First Class, which will be a prequel story which, like Mad Men, takes place in the 1960’s. Jones will play the scantily mutant telepath Emma Frost. It would take an actress with the looks of January Jones to pull off the role.

”The costumes are insane,” Jones said.

“It’s a lot of very body-conscious stuff. If you look at the comic book, she’s barely dressed. She’s got quite the bod, which is very intimidating.”

I do think January Jones can handle the costumes.

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SciFi Weekend: Dexter Season Finale; Fringe Mid-Season Finale; Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol

The big even tonight is the season finale of Dexter. Last week’s episode answered the question I posed as to Liddy’s fate and it comes as little surprise that Lumen is again threatened by Jordan Chase. Quinn’s fate might be settled by the drop of Liddy’s blood which wound up on his shoe. A couple of videos from tonight’s episode are above. The scene with Jordan showing his intentions towards Lumen is as expected, but Dexter does receive a surprise in the second clip.

It was inevitable that, following what was probably the best episode of Fringe ever aired, that the mid-season finale following it would be a disappointment. The big disappointment turned out to be with Olivia, leaving me half wishing we could have kept the much hotter Fauxlivia instead. The main story was about a man who reanimated a dead woman he loved and then looked into her eyes to find that she was not really the woman he had loved. Olivia couldn’t understand why Peter similarly could not realize that Fauxlivia was not her.

An alternative version from the other universe, who had studied Olivia and was intentionally trying to pass herself off as Olivia, is hardly the same as a reanimated dead woman. Yes, there were tons of clues she was not really Olivia. Still, to defend Peter for a moment, Olivia had come on to him in her request he return to our universe. It is possible to see how he would explain changes in Olivia as changes in behavior in a woman he was not romantically involved with as opposed to a coworker.

Walter had it right last week: “He fell right into her vagenda.” However, Astrid was also right in pointing out that Peter’s actions were motivated by his love for the real Olivia.

Fringe will return on Friday nights, making fans of genre shows nervous. The Friday night spot on Fox has been where many genre shows have died on Fox, including Dollhouse, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and Firefly.

Above is a video inside look at Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol from the BBC. Check recent installments of SciFi Weekend for more on this year’s Christmas special.

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SciFi Weekend: Bad Signs for Caprica and V; Doctor Who Christmas Special Fast-Tracked; Sherlock Premiers; Penny (Big Bang) Meets Dexter’s Frank Lundy; Torchwood Casting Rumors

Razor, a made for television movie prequel to Battlestar Galactica, included a Bill Odama who is older than the child in Caprica but younger than the one in the main series. SyFy had planned on developing an on-line series entitled Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome about Odama during the first Cylon War. They have now decided to order it to be made as an actual spin-off television show to air in 2011 or 2012.

While a decision on renewing Caprica isn’t due until early November, I take this as a bad sign, suspecting they are ordering this show as a replacement. This is all pure speculation, but I would think that the obvious time to  run a show on the first Cylon War would be after Caprica concludes, unless SyFy really thinks that two simultaneous Battlestar Galactica spin-offs would be successful.

I think they made a serious mistake with Caprica setting up so many cliff-hangers and then returning months later. The show returned with far too many plot lines, making it very difficult for any new viewers to get interested in the show. It isn’t even all that easy for returning viewers to remember all the details that went on before in each plot line. Fortunately some were wrapped up last week as Daniel Graystone regained control of his company and the number of characters to keep track of were reduced by some recent deaths.

Things don’t look any better for V than for Caprica to survive. The show was postponed until winter, and now has bee cut from thirteen to ten episodes. The show is still in production and can adjust the storyline based upon the reduced episodes. Hopefully they are writing a good conclusion for the series.

The BBC has decided to “fast track” the Doctor Who Christmas episode so that it will be seen in other markets within days after broadcasting on the BBC. The hope is that this will reduce the number of people who download the show, as commonly happens when there is a delay. I think that the only way to really prevent international fans from downloading episodes is to broadcast shows with large international followings such as Doctor Who the same day. The difference in time zones makes it especially easy for BBC shows to be available on line by prime time in the United States. As long as time permits me to watch, I intend to watch the episode on December 25.

Sherlock

Speaking of downloaded BBC shows, Sherlock began to air tonight in the United States. I will not review a show this soon after airing to avoid spoilers, but for those interested there is a review available here.The final season of Friday Night Lights also premiers this week on Dish Network, with NBC to air it next year.

Ausiello reports that Penny’s dad on Big Bang Theory will be played by Keith Carradine–Frank Lundy from Dexter. Ausiello also has some speculation on who will have roles in Torchwood. One possibility is that Enver Gjokaj from Dollhouse will get the role of FBI agent Rex Matheson.

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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.”

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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.

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SciFi Weekend: The Big Bang–Doctor Who Reboots The Entire Universe

Amy in the Pandorica, Doctor Who: The Big Bang

It feels like we have learned all the secrets of the universe in the last year or so. We know all about the Cylon final five. We saw how the scenario from the Epitaph One episode of Dollhouse played out in Epitaph Two. We know why the passengers of Oceanic 815 were brought to the island and what the sideways stories meant. We know a little more about FlashForward is about, but might never get a full explanation unless someone else picks up the show. Now we know who was in the Pandorica, and how The Doctor got out. This contains major spoilers in case anyone who plans to has not done so yet.

Like The Pandorica Opens, The Big Bang began with a spectacular introductory segment. The Pandorica was opened in modern times (in an alternative time line where the stars had gone out) but we were surprised to find Amy Pond, and not the Doctor inside. Amy was released by a younger version of herself from the time line without stars (although Amy believed in them as she believed in the Doctor in the original time line). Then things really got complicated.

The Doctor had long ago been released from The Pandorica by Rory and placed a dying Amy inside to help her recover. The manner in which the Doctor escaped is rather controversial, even without consideration of whether or not fez hats are cool. The Doctor simply went back in time to ask Rory to let him out. Since Rory had let him out, he was free in the future to go back in time to ask Rory to let him out. Fortunately for the Doctor the universe has been greatly condensed, allowing the Vortex Manipulator to work much better than in the full universe.

Sure, this is cheating. Time travel stories often cheat. The question is whether the viewer comes out feeling cheated or intrigued by such solutions. When Steven Moffat used a similar device in Blink there were no complaints. A big difference here is that we didn’t know until late in Blink that the timey wimey stuf was a device being used by The Doctor to get out of a predicament. It is a different matter when the season-ending two parter uses a cliff hanger with the Doctor being locked in an inescapable prison and then uses such a trick to get out so easily.

Moffat handled selling this to the audience in a different way than in Blink. A series of quick and amusing moves through time, along with the fez hat, made the sequence so much fun that it is easy to allow Moffat to get away with this. The problem remains that repeated use of such plot devices means that the Doctor is never really in danger as a future version can always come to save him. Making matters worse, that sonic screwdriver is turning into a magic wand which can do almost everything. It might become necessary to retire the sonic screwdriver, similar to how it became necessary to remove K-9 from the original series after he became too powerful.

Escaping from The Pandorica was a trivial manner compared to the real dilemma. The universe was coming to and end. Fortunately, due to proximity to the crack throughout her life, Amy’s subconscious was filled with all the information about the universe, allowing the universe to be recreated after the Tardis created a second big bang. Sure it is hard to believe, but is this really any worse than having the Tardis tow the earth through like in a Russel T. Davies season finale?

Along the way we saw the Doctor’s life be rewound. This included returning to the events of Flesh and Stone, showing that the scene with the Doctor dressed differently was intentional as opposed to a continuity error. Actually Moffat has largely saved himself from being accused of any continuity errors with previous shows by rebooting the entire universe in this manner. If Amy could bring back Rory and her parents in the new universe, other changes could also be present. I am assuming here that the Rory who Amy married is a recreation of the human Rory and not the plastic one.

Amy and Rory Pond Wedding

Amy ultimately was able to bring back the Doctor as the Tardis turned out to be something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue at her wedding. Despite all the implausible aspects of the episode I have accepted, I cannot resist one nitpick on the wedding scene. If, in this recreated universe, Amy had no memory of the Doctor, she wouldn’t have spent her life speaking of what others thought was her imaginary friend. Therefore when she first mentioned wanting him at the wedding, others would not have responded by questioning Amy bringing him up again as presumably she had no reason to do so yet in this time line.

Many questions remain. River Song remains as big a mystery as she was going into the season, with warnings that the relationship between her and the Doctor might change for the worse in their next meeting. Could this be because she kills the Doctor (or gives the appearance of doing so), leading to her imprisonment? We don’t know who was behind the events of the season finale, including the explosion of the Tardis, the destruction of all the stars, and the warning that “silence will fall.” I suspect that the story of who was behind all of this, along with River Song’s story, is being continued into next season.

Amy Pond Rory Wedding Doctor Who The Big Bang

One change from the episode which definitely will carry into the Christmas special and next season is that for the first time ever the Doctor will have a married couple as his companions. The BBC has posted this wedding album, with some examples on this page. The Christmas special is rumored to include their honeymoon, monsters, and a new take on A Christmas Carol, and guest stars including Michael Gambon (Dumbledore) and Katherine Jenkins. Steven Moffat had these comments on the special:

Oh, we’re going for broke with this one. It’s all your favorite Christmas movies at once, in an hour, with monsters. And the Doctor. And a honeymoon. And … oh, you’ll see. I’ve honestly never been so excited about writing anything. I was laughing madly as I typed along to Christmas songs in April. My neighbors loved it so much they all moved away and set up a website demanding my execution. But I’m fairly sure they did it ironically!”

Between the other news which got squeezed out from Doctor Who dominating SciFi Weekend and all the reports out of San Diego Comic-Con, I will post more science fiction news without waiting for next weekend’s installment. This includes updates on the upcoming season of Torchwood.

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SciFi Weekend: Flashforward; V; Returning Shows and Shows in Trouble; Sookie’s Future; The Plan

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FlashForward didn’t continued to advance the mythology of the series with Dominic Monaghan becoming a series regular. While there are many gaps to fill in, we find that he knows Lloyd Simcoe and the nature of their relationship is hinted at when Lloyd says to Simon (Monaghan): “Our experiment killed 20 million people, Simon.”

Lloyd’s involvement with Olivia and her family took a major move forward as his autistic son, unable to separate future memories from the flash forward with past memories, remembers that Olivia’s home is his home too, and shows up there. It now is pretty clear that Charlie’s flash forward took place in the house where she saw both Simcoe and his son. She also saw something that makes her believe that “D. Gibbons is a bad man.” If she picked this up from Lloyd Simcoe during her flash forward it is not even certain if this is an accurate fact.

The meeting in their house, along with Oliva’s knowlege that Mark is drinking in his flash forward, exacerbated the conflict between the two and might be moving them towards the situation in their visions of the future.

In other developments, Janis survives so we don’t yet have a definite case of a vision not coming true. The blue hands of Mark’s board make an appearance. There was even another sighting of the kangaroo.

V-2009

The remake of V starts this week and reviews are coming out. Variety writes:

At least initially, the real breakout here is Baccarin, who might be TV’s coolest alien since the invention of the Vulcan nerve pinch. The idea, moreover, that extraterrestrials would come wrapped in an attractive package and shrewdly manipulate the media feels especially eerie given the state of our media today (though there is one unfortunately clunky line of dialogue about “universal health care”).

For the most part, though, writer Scott Peters and company — updating Kenneth Johnson’s original — have assembled an appealing and diverse cast that highlights the “We’re all in this together” aspect of dealing with such a fantastic threat. And the idea of being unsure who to trust deftly taps into the same vein of malevolent foes and “sleeper cells” hiding in plain sight that “Battlestar Galactica” mined.

The best science fiction always has something to say about the present, and the show does that without skimping on the soapy or dramatic elements. Whether the serialized storytelling can be sustained is potentially another matter (witness the growing pains experienced by ABC’s “FlashForward”), but at least in terms of the acrobatics that go into a polished launch, “V” sticks the landing.

The Hollywood Reporter writes:

This latest update, with a teleplay by Scott Peters, preserves the original framework but shifts the atmosphere to accommodate contemporary concerns. Based on the pilot, the militaristic notes will be more subdued. Instead, there will be more of a post-Sept. 11 emphasis on questions of trust and terror.

“V” is short for Visitors, which is what the aliens call themselves. They announce their presence while simultaneously hovering in huge unassailable spaceships above 29 of Earth’s major cities, including New York, where the series is set.

Alien leader Anna (Morena Baccarin), the very picture of sweetness and innocence, promises to share advanced technology and live in peace. Many Earthlings are eager to believe her, including young adults who sign up for the Peace Ambassador program (analogous to Hitler Youth).

But there are skeptics. These include FBI agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell), whose son joins the Ambassador program, and Father Jack (Joel Gretsch). Complicating things is the wave of Visitors who came to Earth years earlier and are working incognito. At the same time, though, other secret Visitors have become disillusioned and join the resistance.

Somewhere in between is news anchor Chad Decker (Scott Wolf). In exchange for exclusive interviews with Anna, he makes an uncomfortable bargain to ask only softball questions.

It could be complicated, but Peters’ tightly written teleplay makes it easy to follow. In addition, the pilot raises provocative issues without getting didactic. That, combined with mythology less dense than, say, ABC’s “Lost,” should make this an attractive viewing option.

Kenneth Johnson, creator of the original series, sees the remake as a way to profit from his own movie version of the show.

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A couple of shows are coming back in December. Scrubs returns December 1 with hopes of  phasing into a new cast, which is generally risky for an established show. Better off Ted returns on December 8. In a move guaranteed to promote file sharing sites, The Waters of Mars, the next Doctor Who special, will air on the BBC on November 15. It will not air on BBC America until December 19. The two part final episode with David Tennant will probably air on the BBC on Christmas Day and sometime around New Year’s Day. Those wanting to see more of David Tennant can also see him on The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith.

A couple more genre shows appear to be in trouble. I’ve already expressed skepticism whether Dollhouse will be picked up beyond thirteen episodes. Now NBC is telling the producers of Heroes to think about wrapping up the series. It might actually be better for the show to have an end point to work towards. Heroes would have been remembered far more fondly if the first season was produced as the complete series. The current season has been mixed. I am looking forwards to tomorrow night’s episode to see if Hiro can save Charlie, but it is not a good sign when they have to rely upon revisiting past events to keep the show interesting.

Fringe is also on the bubble according to TV Guide.

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Alan Ball was interviewed about upcoming plans for True Blood:

Bon Temps is going to be very crowded for True Blood’s third season, what with all the new vampires walking around. Executive producer Alan Ball, and several of True Blood’s writers and producers, sat down with fans of the show Wednesday at the Paley Center for Media to discuss the new residents of Bon Temps, Bill and Sookie’s future and a naked Alexander Skårsgard.

So where does the action pick up at the beginning of Season 3? “I believe [Eric] appears without most of his clothes in the very first episode,” jokes Ball. (But seriously, he says, fans of Eric’s amnesia story line from the books will have to wait until Season 4.)

“Sookie [Anna Paquin] is going to go off in search of Bill [Stephen Moyer], and she will find him,” Ball tells TVGuide.com. But Sookie is in search of much more than just Bill. “There will be more conjecture about what she is and she will be more driven to discover what she is,” said Ball. “She will get closer to the answer.”

Will her brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten) help her? Not likely, as Ball explains that he doesn’t share his sister’s magical gifts. “It’s a DNA thing, it’s a genetic thing and skips some people and gets in some others,” he says. “Jason has vestiges of it, in that he’s such a fantastic athlete and he’s a perfect shot, but he’s still human, whereas Sookie is definitely a half-human, half-something else that we’re waiting to reveal.”

Good news for Bill fans: He won’t be going away for an extended period of time, as he does in Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels. Ball reports that the TV series won’t be telling the same story. “Stephen Moyer will not be marginalized. Bill and Sookie may go through some rough patches that last maybe a little longer than Team Bill fans might like, but Bill and Sookie have a connection that will never die.”

So what about Bill’s big secret, that he only went to Bon Temps and became close to Sookie on the orders of Queen Sophie-Anne? Will that ever be revealed? Ball says yes. “I can’t say when it will be discovered, but it definitely will be,” he says. “We are definitely aware of that as we’re breaking the stories, and have been from the beginning of the show.”

Ball says that marital bliss is not in the cards for Sookie and Bill. “There is somebody who wants a wedding, but it’s not who you think it is,” teases Ball. “I don’t think you’ll see that wedding actually happen.”

What you will see is another human-vampire romance, when Tara meets the still-to-be-cast Franklin Mott. Their relationship will be unlike any other on the show. “I don’t even think they’re in the same ballpark,” producer Raelle Tucker tells us. “He’s more dangerous than any of those other [vampires]. She’s definitely playing with something that’s a lot more deadly.”

And Mott won’t be alone. “You’ll find a range of vampires,” supervising producer Alexander Woo says. “The vampire world really opens up. You’ll see that there’s as much of a variety and diversity among vampires as there is among human beings. There’s going to be extremely cruel and extremely kind. I think you’ll see there isn’t one archetype; there is a panorama.”

We don’t know how long Sookie’s adventures will continue on HBO but they might come to an end in the novels. while promoting a current book of short stories, Charlaine Harris has said that her Sookie Stackhouse series might come to and end after three additional novels. This would make for a total of a dozen books.

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I’ve already reported that Julie Benz, who play’s Dexter’s television wife, has warned about a shocking end for the season. Jennifer Carpenter, Michael C. Hall’s wife in real life (and sister on the show) has more:

Dexter fans should stop crying over the shocking October 18 death of Frank Lundy (Keith Carradine) and brace themselves for something far worse. “Everything changes at the end of this season,” Jennifer Carpenter (Deb) said at the 2009 Scream Awards. “Dexter will never be the same.”

The actress told me the Showtime series was so protective of its top-secret December 13 season finale that she had to sneak on set to witness the gruesome climax of John Lithgow’s bloody reign of terror as the Trinity Killer. “I was so curious that I showed up at 1:30 in the morning to see what they were shooting, so I know!” says Jennifer (who probably could have wrangled the secret out of her real-life husband and Dexter star, Michael C. Hall). “Let’s just say maybe all of our trailers won’t be there next year.”

The obvious speculation is over whether Rita, who does get in Dexter’s way this season, will be John Lithgow’s final victim this season.

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Edward James Olmos was interviewed by Io9 and about The Plan and discussed other questions which might be addressed in future Battlestar Galactica movies:

Simple questions, like what happened to the [final] five during this period of time? Where were they coming from 2,000 years ago? How could they be around for 2,000 years, and yet the understanding of Caprica is that the robotic trend on Caprica was started 57 years ago? How did that work? That question comes into play, and I would love to see how they answered it. That, to me, would be explosively unbelievable. I would love to have that question answered. I would also love to know what is going to happen to the people on the Earth. What is going to happen to Adama and all the different people? What happened to the Raptor that got them to the point of finding their dream space? That, to me, is just two simple ones I can think of off the top of my head…. To me, there’s still a lot of beautiful story that’s waiting to be unleashed in this world.

Olmos expressed displeasure about the degree to which The Plan was downloaded once it leaked out on line during the week before its release on DVD:

People don’t understand that if they want to see this universe again, they have to participate by voting, by casting their dollars. If they don’t cast their dollars, they won’t see any more of these.

That is understandable, but I also think that sales would be much better, regardless of whether copies were downloaded, if the product was better.  Many of those hard core fans who couldn’t wait to see the show would still purchase copies if this was a better product. Instead, many of us who viewed the episode early, both from downloads and early purchases, have been advising that there is really no need to get a copy now as opposed to waiting until it airs on television. I reviewed The Plan here. Unless they can do a better job, I would prefer to remember Battlestar Galactica for what has been done as opposed to having more second rate DVD and television movies.

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SciFi Weekend: Dollhouse and FlashForward Picked Up For Season; Deaths on Heroes and True Blood; Trician Helfer, Grace Park, and Ashley Green

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One frustrating thing about getting involved in a show on network television is that genre shows often do not do well in the ratings leading to early cancellation.  There was news this week about two shows which will at very least remain around for the season. Dollhouse, which almost was canceled after its first season, will have at least thirteen episodes aired this season. Any decision as to whether to renew the show or purchase more than thirteen episodes this year will not be made until after the first thirteen air.

Reached by phone, Joss Whedon (who has a terrible-sounding cold — feel better!) said he’s writing the 13th hour to give fans a degree of closure.

“We’ll definitely have closure, but will leave some doors open,” said Whedon, who’s currently shooting the eighth episode. “When we got our first numbers, which were bad, the first thing [Fox president of entertainment] Kevin Reilly said was, ‘You’ll have all 13,’ which was great. They’re not going to pull the rug out from under us.”

Beckman said DVR results have played a role in the show’s fate, though wasn’t surprised by today’s results.

“It’s one of the reasons that we brought it back; we knew it was DVR friendly,” Beckman said. “We expected to see this, and hopefully we’ll see [the overnight ratings] increase from week to week … with some shows, you have to look at the bigger picture.”

Beckman also humorously characterized deciding the show’s fate as a bit of no-win situation when it comes to dealing with Whedon’s passionate fans.

“If you cancel it, you’re an asshole; if you renew it and then don’t put it back on, you’re an asshole,” he said. “I’m still paying for ‘Terminator.’ ‘Dollhouse’ has a small rabid fan base that in the world of social media seems bigger than it is. We gave them another season knowing full well we were going to burn in hell if we pulled it.”

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Things are looking even better for FlashForward with ABC deciding pick up the series for the full season.

TV Guide interviewed Sonya Walger, who has roles on both Lost and FlashForward. She doesn’t have clue as to when or if she will be in the final episode of Lost. She had this comment on her role on Flashforward:

TVGuide.com: We haven’t seen all of Olivia’s flash-forward. What can you tease about what we haven’t seen?
Walger:
In the flash-forward, the bit that you have seen is that Lloyd [Jack Davenport] gets up from the bed and gets a text message from someone. The person he gets a text message from is very, very unexpected.

TVGuide.com: Can Mark and Olivia’s marriage survive this flash-forward?
Walger:
Who knows? I think it’s completely fascinating that just the ghost of this might be what undoes their marriage, or it might be what strengthens them and keeps them together. It might be the tension of it alone [that] drives Mark to drink. It’s such an interesting idea that just the threat of something might be what leads you towards it. It may well be that they get to a breaking point and then say, ‘No, this isn’t happening to us. We’re going to make this work.’

TVGuide.com: Do you have any personal belief in fate?
Walger:
I don’t really. The word fate doesn’t really mean much to me in some ways. I think we make our own. Minute by minute you decide who you are and who you’re likely to be. You make the choices hour by hour, just in the present. I don’t believe there’s some roadmap laid out that we’re headed towards.

TVGuide.com: Give us a nice tease for what’s coming up for Olivia.
Walger:
She’s going to be forced quite soon to deal with whether or not you can change the future. She keeps being reminded — evidence keeps being presented all around her — that you can’t change it. Every time she thinks she’s seen the last of Lloyd and that she’s managed to avoid it, he keeps coming back.

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Watch With Kristin reports that there will be a major death on Heroes. It will involve a male who was part of the original cast, and may or may not be one of the four in the picture above.

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True Blood has been picked up for a third season:

While the rollercoaster relationship of Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) and Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) remains front and center, Ball revealed that several supporting characters will be sharing even more of the spotlight. “Definitely Eric has broken out and is a big important character now. Jessica and Hoyt are still trying to deal with everything that happened to them, and Arlene and Terry are going to have a little bit more of a life and more of a presence on the show.”

There’s also room for guest stars, like Evan Rachel Wood’s vampire queen of Louisiana. “She’ll be back,” promised Ball. “Maybe Zeljko Ivanek, who played the Magister in Season 1 – he might be back. And we do have a lot of fun new characters.”

Sam Trammell, who plays the hapless but heroic bar owner/changeling Sam Merlotte, added that Season 3 is “going to explore my relatives and the sort of sketchy, shapeshifter-y people in my family, and that’s going to be more torture for Sam. I’m sure they’re not going to be good people.” But will Sam’s still-burning torch for Sookie also be a source of torment? “Well, I hope he still has a shot with Sookie, but who knows? Probably not.”

Alan Ball has also told TV Guide that at least one character will die next season, which is hardly surprising considering the nature of the show.

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Tricia Helfer and Grace park are on the cover of Maxim prior to the upcoming release of the Battlestar Galactica movie, The Plan. With the movie being released on DVD prior to its showing on television it will be possible to have more explicit scenes as was done in the DVD release of Caprica. Rumor has it that the main nude scenes involve extras in a shower scene. Tricia Helfer will also be appearing in an upcoming episode of Two And A Half Men.

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There seems to be a lot of actresses from genre television shows in movies in magazines this month in addition to the above. For example, Ashley Green of Twilight has a photo shoot in Men’s Fitness.

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