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.

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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.

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.

SciFi Weekend: Hot Vampire Sex; SciFi on 30 Rock and Other Shows; Dr. Who Interview; Summer Glau on Dollhouse

The second season of True Blood is approaching its finale. Help is needed to defeat Maryann and they turn to the Vampire Queen of Louisiana. Reportedly this means more hot vampire sex–in this case between Queen Sophie and Sookie’s cousin, Hadley Hale (Lindsey Haun). Ausiello has additional spoilers about the season finale.


True Blood has been a success due to excellent writing, interesting characters, a compelling plot, and a lot of nude scenes with Anna Paquin. She discussed this in an interview with Nylon:

Anna Paquin, on her Nude Scenes:
“I don’t think a naked body is particularly shocking or interesting… It’s not the culture I was raised in.  I was not brought up in the United States.  I don’t share the [attitude] that you can have graphic violence, but – God forbid – you see someone’s nipples.”

On Going Blonde for Sookie:
“I don’t look like a Barbie doll, and probably never will.  People are incredibly literal in how they view you.  You have dark hair and pale skin?  You must be brooding.  The second you dye your hair blonde and get a spray tan, people treat you as if you’re a bit stupider and happier.  Suddenly, it’s like you’re hot and sexy.”

On TV Acting:
“It never occurred to me that one form of acting was better than another.  I think if you approach your career like that you’re limiting yourself to a very boring path.  For me, it’s about the material.”

Epilogue:  Stephen Moyer, on Vampire Sex:
“The thing about vampirism is that it taps into a female point of view – you have an old-fashioned gentleman with manners who is a fucking killer… it’s an interesting duality, because in our present society it would be an odd thing for a woman to say, ‘I want my man to be physical with me.’ How, as a modern man, can you fucking work that?  It’s one thing to be polite and gentle… But when do you know it’s OK to crawl out of the mud and rape her [as Bill does in one scene]?… It’s difficult stuff for a bloke, but a vampire gets away with it…. I think that’s the attraction of the show – it’s looking back at a romantic time when men were men, but they were still charming.”


Liz Lemon doesn’t do any nude scenes on 30 Rock, but she has frequently brought science fiction into the show. Io9 has put together a clip with the scifi scenes from the show. The post also includes scifi clips from other television shows including Veronica Mars, The Big Bang Theory, The Office and How I Met Your Mother.

IO9 Has also put out their list of The Top 100 Science Fiction/Fantasy Shows of All Time. The original Star Trek tops the list. Doctor Who is runner up.

BoingBoing interviewed David Tennant and Russel T. Davies following the filming of their last episode of Doctor Who together–video above.

Stills are being released from the second season of Dollhouse, with an example above. As expected, now that Summer Glau is available, she will have a recurring role in the show, along with a couple of actors from Battlestar Galactica. From the press release:

Summer Glau (“Firefly,” “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”) reunites with Joss Whedon when the actress joins the cast of DOLLHOUSE this fall in a recurring role as BENNETT, a Dollhouse employee who shares a past with ECHO (Eliza Dushku). The second season of DOLLHOUSE premieres Friday, Sept. 25 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

Additional guest stars appearing throughout the upcoming second season include Alexis Denisof (“Angel”), Jamie Bamber (“Battlestar Galactica”), Michael Hogan (“Battlestar Galactica”) and Keith Carradine (“Dexter”). DANIEL PERRIN (Denisof) is a U.S. senator leading a witch hunt to track down the underground organization. Mysterious, charismatic businessman MARTIN KLAR (Bamber) is Echo’s new husband. BRADLEY KARRENS (Hogan) comes to the Dollhouse hoping to stop a psychotic family member’s killing spree, while MATTHEW HARDING (Carradine), a nemesis of Dollhouse leader ADELLE DEWITT (Olivia Williams), stirs up trouble. Additionally, DR. CLAIRE SAUNDERS/WHISKEY (Amy Acker) and MADELINE/NOVEMBER (Miracle Laurie) return this season in multiple-episode arcs.