SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who; The Prisoner; The Fringe Observers; and Katee Sackhoff on 24

There were two special events in genre television this week, with one turning out to be excellent and the other horrible. I’ll start with the Doctor Who special, The Waters of Mars. As it does not air in the United States until December 19 I’ll try to avoid any significant spoilers and return to this episode in the future.

The previous Doctor Who specials were mediocre episodes which merely served to fill in time between the end of the last full season and the concluding episodes. This episode was excellent and, while it is not obvious from the beginning, this episode does serve to move us towards the conclusion of the David Tennant/Russell T. Davies  era.

The story starts out with the feel of another stand alone story somewhere in space. The Doctor winds up on a Mars space station where the staff is threatened by a parasite. The difference between this and just any stand alone story is that The Doctor realized that he knew the fate of the people he was encountering. This raised questions as to tinkering with time. There is much to consider about the choices made both by The Doctor and a key person on the episode but I will leave that until after the show airs in the United States to avoid any serious spoilers.

Most fans already know that the two-part finale will bring back characters from The Doctor’s past. This begins in this episode with a brief flash back involving Daleks and with the return of a species The Doctor had previously encountered at the end.

The conclusion of The Waters of Mars leads into the two-part finale for David Tennant, The End of Time. The above clip from the episode was first shown on the BBC on the Children in Need special and is also being distributed by BBC America. The BBC will be showing the first part of The End of Time on December 25 and BBC America will be showing it the following day. The second part will be shown on the BBC on January 1 with the US date not yet announced.

After the conclusion of the remake of The Prisoner aired I indicated I planned a fuller review. At present I don’t see any point in writing much more than I said here. The critics universally gave it poor reviews. The blogs were full of not only terrible reviews but many sites were attacking AMC for wasting their time by airing such a terrible show. Well over half the viewers abandoned the show after the first night. I don’t think anybody really cares to read a more through discussion of the miniseries.

As I previously mentioned, the remake ignored those aspects which made the original so great. The original series was not just about a man taken to a Village but about ideas. Taking some of the images and a few scenes from the original and writing a story with a totally different message (to the limited degree this had a coherent message) was pointless. Part of the problem is the timing. The original series worked best during the Cold War when it could deal with issues such as totalitarianism and raising the question of whether the West was also infringing upon the rights of the individual. While stories can always be written about totalitarian governments, it is far less relevant when not fitting as well into current events. Dealing with a corporation does not carry the same weight.

Fringe has successfully been mixing stand alone stories similar to the stand alone episodes of The X-Files while also gradually developing its own mythology. We have seen the observers in past episodes but did not know hardly anything about them until this week. I09 listed some of the things we learned about them–check out their post for the full list

They can catch bullets. The ability to catch bullets probably comes in handy when you hop around time observing significant (and often violent) moments in history. But August’s Superman stunt is just another sign that the Observers aren’t human (or if they are, they are extremely altered), and that they can be powerful, even if those powers are rarely used.

They know the future (to some extent). August says that he can see Christine’s future, and he knows both what she is about to say before she says it and when the report of the crash will come on TV. And the Observers watching Olivia and her niece comment that it’s a shame things are going to be so hard for her. On a side note — are we supposed to automatically assume they’re talking about Olivia, or could they be talking about her niece?

They can still be surprised. At least, they’re surprised when August interferes with the natural order of things. Are Observers the only ones with free will, or do they observe to see how individuals react to these big, important situations.

Their writing is culled from various civilizations. So it turns out that the Observer language isn’t a language at all, but simply words written in various languages from throughout human history (and perhaps other people’s histories as well). It’s got to be a handy way of communicating exclusively with people who have an encyclopedic knowledge of all languages ever written.

They appear at important moments in history. We actually know this from the promo campaign, but the episode makes it official. Also, the increasing frequency of Observer appearances suggest that the most important event in human history is about to occur.

They eat fancy peppers. We already knew the Observers were fans of the hot stuff, but hot peppers are a handy way to track them. Will the apocalypse be marked by record sales of hot peppers?

Katee Sachkoff of Battlestar Galactica has an upcoming appearance on The Big Bang Theory and will be a regular on 24 next season. She was interviewed about her role by SciFi Wire:

Katee plays Chloe’s boss. Chloe has never let authority stop her from getting the job done, but she’s never dealt with anyone like Dana before. “Dana is permanently happy,” Sackhoff said. “I think that also pisses Chloe off, because Dana’s like, ‘Oh, no, it’s totally fine that you don’t get it. Let me help you. It’s great. I’ll do that. It’s fine. You don’t need to figure it out, because I’m good enough to do both our jobs.’ So that really pisses Chloe off.”

Dana kicks ass. But intellectually. Starbuck fans might be disappointed they don’t get to see Sackhoff beat up terrorists. The show’s writers have a different idea for utilizing Sackhoff’s talents. “I wanted to just blow s–t up, and they were like, ‘I don’t know if we can do that,’” she said. “I came in and sat down with the producers and writers, and we had a discussion as far as what they wanted from me and what I wanted to do, and hopefully we’ll all [meet] in the middle, so we’ll see.”

You’ll see Sackhoff in a whole new light. Dana may be locked inside the CTU offices all day, but the premise is that she’s had an earthbound life. That allows Sackhoff to finally get some sun. “The first thing I thought was, I’m going to constantly have a tan, which is fantastic for me, because I spent the last five years on a show that you were in space, so you weren’t supposed to have a tan,” she said. “So this is, like, the orange [stage light] bounces off your skin, and everyone just has a nice little glow. You’ve either just been to Mexico, or you’re pregnant, so it’s perfect. It’s really nice, and just new. Orange looks good on me, so it’s exciting. I went from a show where color was bad to you’re now in an orange set, which is awesome.”

Something happens at CTU. Gee, thanks for the big tip. Sackhoff’s allowed to reveal that something’s going on at CTU. “I was like, ‘Seriously? I don’t know if anyone thinks that’s actually a big secret,’” Sackhoff joked about her gag order. “Could you imagine? So this is a 24 episode, and the whole season is just about nothing. No controversy, nobody dies, nobody gets beat up, Jack Bauer doesn’t do anything. He might not even show up, and for 24 hours that would just be what it is. Could you imagine?” That might actually be funny for like the first six hours. “It would, and then people would go, like, ‘Are you serious?’ Just office lives. I’m handing my files to Chloe. They show us at lunch.”

Continuity is easy. A lot may happen in a day on 24, and by episode 20 it can be hard to remember what you were playing in episode 2. At least her wardrobe doesn’t have to change. “It almost makes it easier, because it all takes place in the same day,” she said. “It’s one of those things where the continuity as far as your wardrobe doesn’t change, so it’s like, ‘Something’s [off]… my watch isn’t here.” Because you’re so used to wearing it that it becomes kind of like the gunbelt from Battlestar. It would seem very odd to not have it on. You have to remind yourself what room you were in last, not what happened last episode, because it all is taking you to the exact same place at the end of the day, kind of. So I found that easier.”

She’s still got a potty mouth. The word “frak” might not exist in the world of 24, and the Fox network has stricter language guidelines for broadcast than did Syfy, but behind the scenes, Sackhoff still talks dirty. She endeared herself to the 24 crew right away by sharing a dirty story about Battlestar. While Edward James Olmos was shooting The Plan, he reveled in the chance to include nudity on the DVD release. “There’s a scene in the Head where everyone’s just naked, and Eddie on the day is going, ‘Zoom in on the c–k. Zoom in on the c–k,’” Sackhoff recalled. “The camera guy’s like, ‘I can’t zoom in the c–k. He keeps covering up the c–k.’ They’re like, ‘Zoom in the c–k. Get him to do something else with his hands. Make him shave.’ So then he’s shaving, and he’s like, ‘Now, zoom in on the c–k.’ That’s on the daily. That is so Eddie. It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. ‘Zoom in on the c–k’ in Eddie’s voice. I think I told that story my first day here, and the crew was like, ‘We like you.’”

BTW, what really happened to Starbuck? Here’s Sackhoff’s theory about her ambiguous conclusion on Battlestar Galactica. “So when she at the end was saying goodbye to [Anders], I think that she was saying goodbye to their bodily forms,” she said. “I think she knew, especially if he says, ‘I’ll see you on the other side,’ I think she’s with him. I think they’re both dead, but I think she’s with him. That was a decision that we made, because I selfishly wanted her at peace, and the only way to do that was to have her with someone at the end, or to be with the person she wanted to be with. I don’t know. That’s kind of where I think she is. She’s with Michael Trucco playing pyramid in the sky somewhere.”

Gregory Itzin will also be returning to 24 to reprise his role as the Nixonian former president Charles Logan.

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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.

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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.

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SciFi Weekend: The Plan, Vintage Doctor Who Credits, Virtuality, and Summer Shows

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SciFi Wire has information on The Plan–an upcoming Battlestar Galactica movie told from the point of view of the Cylons which will air this September:

Edward James Olmos, who directed the upcoming DVD movie Battlestar Galactica: The Plan, told an audience of fans that the film will deliver exactly what they expect it to: The Plan shows the Cylons’ perspective on their attempted genocide of humanity.

“I gotta tell you, not to give anything away, it is exactly what you think it is,” Olmos said in a panel discussion Thursday night in Hollywood as part of the Los Angeles Times series The Envelope. “You see the complete opposite of the first 281 days of what we went through, … seen through the eyes of the Cylons, and it is breathtaking. It’s fantastic. It’s not fun, but I will say that you will sit there [gasping].”

Perhaps The Plan will also drive sales of BSG complete-season DVDs. “Basically, you will go back to see the series again,” Olmos said. “I couldn’t have imagined this kind of a situation happening at the end of a show, where you would actually start at the beginning. That’s a masterful piece of understanding, Ron [Moore]. Genius. Because after you see The Plan, you’ll want to go back and view the whole series again.”

The DVD release of The Plan will feature more than 30 minutes of additional Cylon perspective than will air in the version that will air on SCI FI. “The Plan is 2 hours and 6 minutes long the way you’re going to have it on the DVD. When you see it aired, it’s going to be 88 minutes.

I wish they would release the DVD the same day as the television version, if not earlier. Otherwise it becomes necessary to either hold off on watching when it first airs or watch a repeat of much of the show to see the extra material. My bet is that there will be a delay so they can maximize ratings and then make money off the DVD sales. Obviously there’s no reason why they could not air the entire show on television other than the desire to pick up the extra DVD sales.

New Scientist has an interview with Kevin Fong, lecturer in space medicine at University College London, on the science of Battlestar Galactica.

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When Steven Moffat takes over Doctor Who next season he is going to restore a tradition for the original series which was dropped in the remakes. Traditionally the opening of Doctor Who included a picture of the current Doctor with the time vertex swirling behind. This was dropped when the series returned, but next season Matt Smith will be seen in the opening.

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Ron Moore’s pilot episode of Virtuality was originally planned to air around the Fourth of July holiday but Fox has moved it up to June 26. The show is about a space ship on a ten year mission in which the crew uses virtual reality to keep sane, but a virus gets into the system. It sounds like a cross between the old holodeck episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Life on Mars. The show is currently being aired as a made for television series with the hope that Fox will pick it up as a series. That way fans can get more involved in the show before Fox pulls the plug.

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ABC is spending the summer showing the final episodes of shows which didn’t make it during the regular season (as NBC is also doing with Kings.) Variety reports that there will be new episodes of one series which is returning. Six unaired episodes of Better off Ted will be aired on Tuesdays starting on June 23. Thirteen episodes will air next season as the series is paired with Scrubs. Scrubs is returning with Zach Braf to appear in six of the episodes to tie up the old story lines and transition the show to a new format.

I have bad feelings about a long running show which tries to change its format in such a manner. Even spin offs are variable in their success. NBC did well with Frasier as a spin off of Cheers but this was largely successful as it was a totally new show where viewers did not see it as missing the other characters from Cheers. The two characters from Better off Ted in the picture above both show different examples of NBC failing in their attempts to replace Friends. Andrea Anders was previously in Joey, the failed spin off. Jay Harrington was in the US version of Coupling, which was seen as a replacement for Friends but failed to pull off the excellence of the BBC show it was based upon. (Coupling incidentally, was written by Steven Moffat, who is taking over as show runner of Doctor Who, tying into an above item).

Besides the mostly failed shows to air on the networks this summer, there are several cable shows to look forward to. This includes True Blood which returns next week, with a promo above.

AMC will be airing Mad Men starting in mid-August with a promo above. They are saying little about what will occur next season but reportedly it will take place some time after Betty’s child is born. They have confirmed that that  Don Draper is the father despite Betty’s brief affair (in retaliation for Don’s many affairs). While the Cuban Missile Crisis provided a backdrop for the second season there is  speculation that the new season will occur at the time of John F. Kennedy’s assasination. Series creator creator Matthew Weiner has  stated in interviews that this has already been done on many shows and expressed reluctance to deal with the topic again.

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SciFi Weekend: Battlestar Galactica at UN Before Finale; Dolls and Victor’s Man Reaction; Doctor Who and Torchwood News

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We are down to only two  hours of Battlestar Galactica (not counting at least one planned television movie) with the second part of the finale to air Friday. Ron Moore has discussed the finale:

THR: Legacy question: Is there anything about sci-fi shows that you think “Galactica” has changed?

Moore: One of the goals going into it (was) we wanted to make a sci-fi show that was relevant and spoke to our times and dealt with real issues that approached the drama in a naturalistic way and made it “real.” If we’re able to define a legacy of asking other shows to do the same in the genre and keep sci fi going in a way that tackles meaningful ideas and challenge audience expectations, I think that would be a great thing.

If Moore’s goal was to tackle meaningful ideas, it looks like some people at the U.N. believe he has succeeded. A panel discussion on the show is planned at the United Nations:

On March 17, there will be a “Battlestar” retrospective at the U.N. in New York and a panel discussion of how the show examined issues such as “human rights, children and armed conflict, terrorism, human rights and reconciliation and dialogue among civilizations and faith,” according to Sci Fi.

The “Battlestar” contingent on the panel will consist of executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick, as well as stars Mary McDonnell (who plays president Laura Roslin on the show) and Edward James Olmos (Admiral William Adama).

UN representatives on the panel are Radhika Coomaraswamy, special representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict; Craig Mokhiber, deputy director of the New York office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; and Robert Orr, assistant secretary-general for policy planning, executive office of the Secretary-General.

The panel will be moderated by “Battlestar” fan Whoopi Goldberg.

The invitation-only panel will take place at 7 p.m. March 17 in the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council Chamber, three days before the Sci Fi show’s series finale.

The Sci-Fi Channel will be recording the session and a transcript will be released.

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Friday will be a big day for science fiction. Besides the Battlestar Galactica series finale, Dollhouse will be having an episode which promises to advance the mythology of the show. This week’s episode provided more suggestions that the “dolls” are not wiped clean as much as was initially suggested. The main story involved Echo infiltrating a cult which was almost forced to commit mass suicide. She was working for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms but I”m not sure how we have one government agent trying to prove whether the Dollhouse even exists while another wound up hiring their services.

In terms of advancing the mythology, the most significant event was when it was discovered that Victor was having erections when showering with Sierra. For the benefit of non-viewers who might wonder why this is remarkable, the “dolls” are supposed to be in a child-like state between being programmed for missions. They supposedly lack sexuality and all take coed showers together. Victor apparently is not as childlike as they believed, and we have received suggestions that the same might be true of Echo.

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There have been rumors for the several days that when Matt Smith takes over as The Doctor, his companion on Doctor Who will be played by Hannah Murray. Murray was previously on the BBC show Skins.

There’s still a few episodes to go with David Tennant. Current  plans are for only two episodes in 2009 beginning with the Easter special, Planet of the Dead with Michelle Ryan. Lindsay Duncan will play The Doctor’s companion in the Christmas special which will have the return of the Ood. The planned third special for this year has been pushed back into 2010 but might air as early as New Year’s Day. It will be the final appearance for David Tenant and will take place on Mars. Peter O’Brien  reportedly will be playing the villain.

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While there are only three more televised episodes planned with The Doctor, the format leaves open many more stories as there could be hundreds of years between each special. I’m sure there will be many more Doctor Who novels and a comic book series is planned. Maybe they will fill in the gaps in the River Song storyline after Song (played by Alex Kingston) revealed that The Doctor will become involved with her in his future (and her past).

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Wired has spoken with director Euros Lynn about the upcoming Torchwood miniseries:

“When we catch up to our characters, they’ve mourned the loss of Owen (played by Burn Gorman) and Tosh (Naoko Mori) and are trying to move on,” Lyn explained. Owen and Tosh sacrificed themselves to save their friends in the second season’s finale.

“For the first time, we’ll see Torchwood facing a threat from home while they’re also investigating an alien invasion. When they try to discover why all the children in the world have suddenly stopped at the same time, Torchwood also has to deal with human beings who are trying to hide a past mistake.”

Here is a trailer for the series:

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SciFi Weekend: Remembrances for Majel Barrett Roddenberry; Forbidden Planet; Battlestar Galacitica and Heroes Webisodes; Surviving The Rise of the Machines; and a Doctor Who Christmas Preview

The top story of the week, as I reported on Thursday, was the death of Majel Barrett Roddenberry, widow of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and a character is several versions of Star Trek. Trek Movie.com has assembled a collection of condolence messages from many people who have been involved with Star Trek.

Latino Review has some spoilers on J. Michael Straczynski’s plans for a remake of Forbidden Planet. He is actually planning a trilogy, with the first movie to be a prequel to the original:

The prologue to the script contains the following: Two ships traveled to Altair 4, a planet orbiting a star 16.7 light years from Earth. The first ship, the Bellerophon, came to explore that world. The humans on board encountered the relics of the Krell civilization for the first time and exhumed their dangerous past. The Bellerophon was never heard from again. Twenty years later, a second ship, a C-57D Starcruiser, came to investigate the dissapearance of the Bellerophon and her crew.

The original 1956 Forbidden Planet told the tale of the second ship. What Straczynski’s draft is about is the never-before revealed tale of the first ship, the Bellerophon…

  • Movie One tells the story of the original ship that came to Altair 4.

  • Movie Two tells the story of the search for the Krell by the captain of the Bellerophon and his crew…as Diana continues to grow into something profoundly other-wordly. The search takes them beyond the limits of known space into other dimensions, passing from what’s known into what’s not.

  • Movie Three tells the story of the second ship to arrive at Altair 4 to investigate what happened to the Bellerophon. They discover Morbius and his “daughter,” who is desperate to get off the planet and out into the rest of the universe, where her power would nearly be god-like…a fate we are spared when Morbius sacrifices his life to keep her there and eliminate the Krell homeworld once and for all.

Because movies two and three would have some overlapping cast members, but not all of them, they could be easily shot concurrently or back to back.

Straczynski personally states in the last paragraph that what is cool about this new movie is that events shown completely change the meaning of the original Forbidden Planet without changing a frame of film. Altaira’s attempt to seduce or inveigle the crew comes across as manipulative, using them to get off the planet. Straczynski also states that this has value to geeks of which he is one.

With most television shows being on hiatus until January, and some not having been aired since last spring, some shows are keeping the attention of their fans by posting webisodes. TV Guide has an interview with Jane Espenson on the ten part Battlestar Galactica webisodes which lead into the conclusion of the final season. The webisodes concentrate on  Lt. Gaeta and it is revealed that he is bisexual. The webisodes can viewed on line here.

Epenson has also discussed the made for television movie, The Plan, which tells of the early events of Battlestar Galactica from the viewpoint of the Cylons, with Sci Fi Wire:

Jane Espenson, who wrote the upcoming movie Battlestar Galactica: The Plan, said that the telefilm will retell the initial story of the SCI FI Channel series, but from the perspective of the Cylons, and that it will take advantage of revelations that will come in the upcoming new episodes of the show’s fourth and final season.

“The events of The Plan are the events that you’ve seen … in the show, from the miniseries to almost the end of season two,” Espenson said in an exclusive interview. “So it’s that chunk of time, but sort of seen with the Cylon perspective. So you’re going to see a lot of stuff that was going on that you weren’t aware of at the time: on Caprica, in the fleet. … This was the time when the Cylons, as depicted in the original show, … were very mysterious, enemies that would come out of the darkness and retreat. And this is … what were they really doing all that time: what was the internal stuff. … A lot of loose ends are tied up, a lot of questions are asked that you don’t even know you have.”

The movie–the second stand-alone telefilm based on the Peabody Award-winning show–deals with all the mythology’s secrets. “If you had a copy now, you might feel that you could go ahead and watch it, because it’s about stuff that already happened,” Espenson said. “But don’t do it. Of course, you don’t have a copy now, because there isn’t even a cut yet. … But it’s very much designed to be watched after the run of the series, because it definitely relies on stuff you don’t learn until much later.”

Newsweek uses Battlestar Galactica as an example of how art has addressed the political issues during the Bush administration:

An orchestrated terrorist attack. An inexorable march to war. An enemy capable of disappearing among its targets, armed with an indifference to its own mortality. It sounds like a PBS special on Al Qaeda. In fact, it’s a synopsis of the Sci Fi Channel series “Battlestar Galactica,” which—for anyone who manages to get past the goofy name—captures better than any other TV drama of the past eight years the fear, uncertainty and moral ambiguity of the post-9/11 world. Yes, even better than “24,” with its neocon fantasies of terrorists who get chatty if Jack Bauer pokes the right pressure point. Of the two shows, “Battlestar” has been more honest about the psychological toll of the war on terror. It confronts the thorny issues that crop up in a society’s battle to preserve its way of life: the efficacy of torture, the curtailing of personal rights, the meaning of patriotism in a nation under siege. It also doesn’t flinch from one question that “24″ wouldn’t dare raise: is our way of life even worth saving?

“Battlestar Galactica” always finds ways to challenge the audience’s beliefs—it is no more an ode to pacifism than “24″ is to “bring ‘em on” warmongering. In the pilot, humanity is nearly eradicated by the Cylons, a race of robots that revolt against their human creators. The only survivors are stationed on a spacecraft called Battlestar Galactica; they’re spared because the ship’s commander, William Adama (Edward James Olmos), had refused to relax any wartime restrictions. Adama is a hard-liner, willing to sacrifice personal freedoms in order to provide safety from an abstract threat. And he was right: the moment the human race let its guard down, the Cylons attacked. As the show unfolds, though, the survivors must constantly reflect on the price of keeping their enemies at bay, and whether it’s worth paying. The show’s futuristic setting—hushed and grimy, not the metallic cool of stereotypical sci-fi—helps ground the writers’ ruminations in a nail-biting drama series. “Battlestar Galactica” achieves the ultimate in sci-fi: it presents a world that looks nothing like our own, and yet evokes it with chilling accuracy.

Of course it would be an oversimplification to describe Battlestar Galactica as an argument that sacrificing personal freedoms is necessarily the correct response to current terrorist threats. Al Qaeda is certainly not the Cylons, and the show was written as a retelling of a story written well before we faced the current threats. One segment of the series was widely interpreted as being told from the viewpoint of the Iraqis in which the Cylons represented the United States as an occupying power.

Should the robots here on earth rebel, at least we are at less of a risk than many other industrialized countries, but you might want to consider moving to Africa. Both fans of Battlestar Galactica and the Terminator series might find this data to be of value.

Heroes ended a weak chapter last week and hopefully the show will recover when they have a less convoluted storyline beginning in January. We learned a little more at the conclusion of the last episode with Nathan appearing to be on the side of those hunting the other heroes, and we find that Michael Dorn (Worf) is the latest Star Trek star to appear on the show, playing the president. They are also presenting a series of webisodes until the show resumes, with the first episode embedded above.

Another trailer is available for this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special (video above).

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SciFi Weekend: Lost Promo, Kristin Bell Returns to Heroes, A Non-Wedding, Lesbian Sex, and Don Draper’s Guide to Picking up Women

The promo is out for the upcoming season of Lost (video above), along with lots of other reports going around. Nothing specific here, but there are reports that the upcoming season of Lost “is definitely going to be the strangest thing that’s ever been on network television. Ever.” Reportedly Locke fans will be stunned.

Bryan Fuller, former Star Trek Voyager producer and creator of Pushing Daises, wants to produce the next Star Trek television series. Just don’t make the mistakes that Voyager made. There is hope as he said, “I told my agent and told the people of J.J. Abrams team I want to create another STAR TREK series and have an idea that I’m kicking around. I would love to return to the spirit of the old series with the colors and attitude. I loved VOYAGER and DEEP SPACE NINE, but they seem to have lost the ‘60s fun and I would love to take it back to its origin.”

The BBC has issued a press release for this year’s Children in Need show on November 14. A clip will be shown with two minutes from an upcoming Christmas Special entitled The Next Doctor. My guess is that they are announcing this to create discussion about a potential change in The Doctor, but by the end David Tennant will remain in the role, at least through the planned specials through next year.

I’ve been wondering if Kristin Bell’s character would be returning to Heroes after being fired from the Company. While there are probably too many characters and subplots going on, one thing I do like about the show is that they don’t feel the need to give every character a part every week as occurs on most television shows. Watch with Kristin reports Kristin Bell is returning in tomorrow’s episode:

Kristen Bell is back next week as Elle! It seems Elle’s powers now control her, not the other way around. She’s overcome by the electrical forces within her, and when she can’t find HRG to help her, she goes with the next best thing: Claire. Yep, next week Claire and Elle try to team up against Pinehearst—but first they have to overcome the fact that they, you know, hate each other.

Ausiello quotes Edward James Olmos as saying the conclusion of Battlestar Galactica “is like a great book. You love reading it and you want to find out what happens in the story, but you also are so sad it is ending. That’s how I feel about Battlestar. It has been a great experience for me. I don’t want it to end, but I think the ending is so strong that I am happy to have fans see it. People are going to get their minds blown.”

How I Met Your Mother was written to suggest that Sarah Chalke would be the mother in last season’s final episode in case the show was not renewed, but last week’s episode shows Ted is moving on as his wedding to Stella fell apart due to the invitation of their ex’s. Last week’s episode won’t be the last we will see of Chalke, but Ausiello does say that her last episode will air November 3.

House was out to pick up their ratings with last night’s episode, Lucky Thirteen. As House described it, Penthouse Forum met medical mysteries as we learned about Thirteen’s sex life. FOX hopes that higher ratings for House will also spill over to Fringe. I think that J.J. Abrams is going to have to advance the underlying mystery on Fringe further (or resort to lesbian sex as on House) to maintain an audience for Fringe.

We might learn more about the underlying mystery on another show. The promos for next week’s episode of Life on Mars show that it will involve Sam’s mother and give more information as to why Sam is back in the 1970′s.

Billy Piper , formerly of Doctor Who and currently staring in the second season of Secret Diary of a Call Girl on the BBC, underwent an emergency c-section last Tuesday, giving birth to Winston James Fox. On Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update last night Seth Myers announced he was working alone as Amy Poehler was busy having a baby, giving a new meaning to Live From New York and making Poehler a real Baby Mama to Archie Arnett. Poehler will be off on maternity leave but there are rumors of a guest next weekend, just prior to the election–Barack Obama.

Last night’s episode of Saturday Night Live was guest hosted by John Hamm, Don Draper of Mad Men, who did some of the rare non-political skits on SNL this year which were actually amusing. The first video shows a skit entitled Two A-Holes Go An Ad Agency In The 1960s, and includes guest appearances by Elizabeth Moss and John Slattery. The second clip shows Don Draper’s Guide to Picking Up Women:

Mad Men has been picked up for a third season on AMC. In other renewal news,Dexter, currently in its third season on Showtime, has been renewed for two additional seasons.

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SciFi Friday Cylon & Cyborg Edition: Battlestar Galactica; Sarah Connor Chronicles; and Sarah Palin, Stepford Veep?

If things remain as busy this election year I should come up with a new title considering how it has been necessary to postpone the vast majority of editions of SciFi Friday until late in the weekend ever since the primary campaign heated up. I can’t get away with ignoring the rest of the news to put out Sci Friday as I often did for much of the day on Fridays before the election campaigns. It also doesn’t help this week that I just returned from vacation, and also remain busier with remodeling portions of my home. I simply cannot be marking SF articles and blog posts to discuss when I’m being dragged around town by my wife to look at tile samples. The new jacuzzi is scheduled for installation on Tuesday and I’m not sure how that will affect my blogging schedule. (Since the master bath still will not have the new floor in and there will not be any tile around the tub yet we might hold off getting much use out of it for a while longer.)

The second Battlestar Galactica movie begins filming on Monday with Edward James Olmos directing. The movie deals with several of the Cylon characters including Tricia Helfer as Number Six, Grace Park as Boomer, Rick Worthy as Simon, Matthew Bennett as Doral and Callum Keith Rennie as Leoben. A pilot for the prequel series Caprica has also been filmed with word to come in the next few weeks as to whether it will be picked up.

The final season of Battlestar Galactica will reportedly resume in January, and will not be postponed until April as some rumors suggest. Door Q has some limited information on the conclusion of the final season  including this potential spoiler in quoting Edward James Olmos:

We’ve found Earth,” he said of the climax of the mid-season finale. “But Earth is nuked. There’s nothing there. What happens in the next 10 episodes takes science fiction in a new direction we’ve never seen before.”

Olmos ended his speech with this reassuring tidbit, given that he has described Galactica’s finale as “brutal” and “not an uplifting story”: “The human race will survive!”

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles returns this week and from reports, such as here, it sounds like there will be major developments from last year, including John becoming more like the soldier he is fated to become and getting a new love interest played by Leven Rambin. Speaking of cyborgs, IO9 speculates that Sarah Palin might be a cyborg, or at least a Stepford candidate, and offers some signs to watch for:

No-One Ever Sees Palin Go Through A Metal Detector At Airport Security. Sure, you can get away with that in Alaska – It’s a different world up there, after all, and the only security they need there are polar bears guarding the check-in desks. But on a whistle-stop tour of the other States, she’s got to be seen going through security at least once, right…? Unless… there are reasons otherwise.

John McCain’s Speeches Start Including Phrases Like “We Need To Invest More Into Medical Technology, Such As Synthetic Skin” Sure, Palin may look good on camera – But how many people have seen her up close and personal? Being on the stump is going to wear out even the best fake skin substitute we have, considering all the handshakes and baby-kissin’ there is to do, after all.

Every Woman In The Republican Party Starts To Look Like Nannette Newman. Or, in the case of Palin herself, the former spokesperson for Overstock.com. But if all female members of the Republican party suddenly start indulging in librarian chic, then it may be time really start to worry. And if they all appear on news reports saying that nothing’s wrong, but if all the women in the audience could come into the kitchen because they have something interesting to show them? Run away.

The VP Debate Ends When Palin’s Head Explodes In A Shower Of Sparks. Look, I’m not saying that Joe Biden can’t talk up a storm or anything, but he’s never made anyone’s head explode in the past. If it happens whenever he and Palin go up against each other, I think it’s more of a sign that something is up with her than a victory for him.

So there it is. The Republicans’ plan to get re-elected will have less to do with issues and more to do with what voters take from candidates, as McCain’s campaign manager has said, but what they take away from the candidates may end up being more along the lines of a robotic replacement wife than previously suspected. It’s a devious plan, but it might just work.

The McCain campaign had another technical problem at the convention beyond choosing an alleged cyborg to run for vice president. Someone assigned to find a background of Walter Reed Hospital wound up using a background of a Walter Reed Middle School, with the principle protesting its use without permission. A school board member also protested with this statement:

Though I am flattered that Senator McCain chose to use a school from my district as backdrop to his remarks at the Republican National Convention, I wished he had checked with me first. As a strong believer in public education, I don’t think the Senator is the most appropriate person to showcase one of the premier schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. He is unwilling to bring fairness and equity to No Child Left Behind and ensure that schools like Reed get the resources they need from the Federal Government. From what I’ve heard, that’s not a priority for the McCain/Palin ticket

There is a reason for including this incident in the weekly review of science fiction and television which I will get to now. Coincidentally, Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) had a shot of the same middle school (video above) in the scene where he announced his presidential campaign on The West Wing.

Jimmy Smits has changed jobs from president on The West Wing to an assistant district attorney on Dexter. A copy of the first episode of the upcoming third season has leaked out on line (as also occurred with the first episode last season). One of Dexter’s killings goes wrong which leads to his involvement with Jimmy Smits. In addition, the days in which Dexter and Rita’s relationship was based upon neither of them being able to get very close to anyone else are long over, and Debra gets a new hair style.

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SciFi Friday: Data Makes Robot Hall of Fame, More Heroes, More Galactica, and No More Veronica or Cleaver

Congratulations to Lt. Commander Data, who has been inducted into Carnegie Mellon University’s Robot Hall of Fame:

Portrayed by actor Brent Spiner during the 1987–1994 run of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Data was the chief operations officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise and possessed both super-strength and an encyclopedic memory. “Data played a pivotal role on questions of robot ‘right to life’ matters and human/machine philosophies,” said juror Ray Jarvis, director of the Intelligent Robotics Research Centre at the Australian National University.

“In one episode,” recalled fellow juror Anne Balsamo, “Data is put on trial to determine whether he has the right to refuse to submit to a procedure that would disassemble him. During the trial, it is determined that Data is not ‘property,’ like a computer or a toaster, but rather a sentient life form entitled to rights of self-determination,” said Balsamo, managing director of the Institute for Multimedia Literacy at the University of Southern California.

The ashes of James Doohan (Scotty) have been found in New Mexico after plans to shoot him into space didn’t work out too well:

More than two weeks after being launched and lost, a capsule containing mortal remains from “Star Trek” actor James Doohan, pioneer astronaut Gordon Cooper and 200 others has been located, more or less, in the rugged mountains of southern New Mexico. Tracking experts are converging on the site for a beefed-up recovery effort due to start Wednesday.

The April 28 suborbital flight was the first true space shot for Connecticut-based UP Aerospace, which fired its SpaceLoft XL rocket from New Mexico’s Spaceport America. The idea was to send capsules containing small samples of cremated remains above the 62-mile boundary of outer space and back – thus providing a posthumous taste of space.

The headliners for the flight were Doohan, who played Chief Engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott on the popular “Star Trek” TV show and movie series; and “Gordo” Cooper, who in 1963 became the last astronaut to fly in the Mercury program (and the first American to snooze in space). Cooper passed away in 2004, Doohan in 2005.

The up part went superbly for UP Aerospace, but the down was something of a downer. The rocket sections floated down on parachutes into rugged mountain terrain in the White Sands Missile Range. The bottom section was recovered last week, thanks to radio transmitters mounted on the rocket. But the top section, containing the “memorial spaceflight” payload, is still out in the wilderness.

The good news is that the transmitters on the top section are still beaming out signals. Radio surveys have narrowed down the search area to a radius of about 1,300 feet, said Eric Knight, UP Aerospace’s co-founder and chief executive officer.

Another former Star Trek star, George Takei (Mr. Sulu) has recently discussed his role on Heroes an interview reported here. Masi Oka (Hiro) has provided some hints as to how the current season ends:

“I think it’s great the way the finale ends,” Oka said in an interview at the Saturn Awards in Universal City, Calif., where he was honored for best supporting actor in a television series. “It’s a wrapping up of volume one, which is [called] ‘Genesis.’ And it wraps up the whole bomb storyline. So it’s a nice finale, and there’s a great cliffhanger with everybody, I would say. And you do get to see a little bit of volume two, which is called ‘Generations.’”

Heroes creator Tim Kring gives more hints about next season, including new heroes:

“The idea of multiple generations has started to crop up on the show,” Kring said. “And in the second season we will deal with that more, hence the title, ‘Generations.’ … The idea was that we wanted to make it easy for viewers to be able to come on in the second season. And we thought if we wrapped the show too tightly around itself, so that you had to watch 23 episodes before, It would be harder for a new viewer to find the show. And we always want to be a show that has the barrier of entry low enough so that new viewers can join if they want.”

Kring confirmed that the show will indeed end on a cliffhanger, but one that hopefully won’t be frustrating for the viewers. “No, I think it’ll be intriguing more than frustrating,” he said. “The idea was to end one idea of the show, one story, and then slingshot you into the next season.”

Not only where there be more heroes, there will be thirty hours of them coming up. This includes a six hour show during the summer hiatus in which a new hero will be introduced each week. Viewers choose which remains for the second season.

We might also be getting more Battlestar Galactica than previously reported as executive producer David Eick denies the reports originating from Edward James Olmos a decision has already been made to end the show after next season:

“For those of you who have been paying attention over the years, this is not the first time Eddie has made an announcement about the possibility of the show’s end,” chuckled Eick. “I promise you that when [executiuve producer] Ron [Moore] and I make a decision about Galactica’s future, we’ll let you know.”

One genre show will not remain around to see an ending. Jehrico has been cancelled by CBS without a resolution of the season ending story line about an attack from a neighboring city.

veronicamars.jpgThe cancellation of Gilmore Girls (posts on the finale here and here) left many thinking that this would leave room on the schedule for Veronica Mars. Despite some rumors persisting that it might be revived as a new show, the show is now scheduled to end next week. The Hollywood Reporter writes:

“At a news conference after the presentation, Ostroff confirmed that Veronica Mars has solved her last case in her current incarnation but that no final decision has been made on a proposed new version of the series by creator Rob Thomas in which the title character, played by Kristen Bell, is at the FBI Academy.”

The Ausiello Report is not very hopeful after receiving a response from Rob Thomas to the above quote:

“No one has talked to me about a new, non-Veronica project. All my writers have been offered jobs elsewhere, and I believe they will now all accept these jobs. Very, very, very sad day around the VM offices.

“I assume that anything Dawn would be talking about in the realm of a Rob-Kristen project would involve a new from-scratch pilot as they don’t have me in a deal, and they’ll lose Kristen in a couple of weeks.”

Veronica Mars fans might not get to see Kristen Bell next year, but they will hear her as she has a role as narrator of Gossip Girls. I don’t see much hope for the CW Network after dumping Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars, and then making someone who looks like this an off screen narrator.

My advice for the week is don’t drink and drive. If you do drink and drive, don’t get Tony Soprano involved in an auto accident, and then tell him you wouldn’t pass a sobriety test. It seemed inevitable that this would happen sooner or later. Tony had warned Christopher to stay from alcohol and drugs. I also guess Christopher got what he deserved for shooting Tim Daley the previous week and I bet this means we won’t be seeing any more of Cleaver.

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SciFi Friday: Cartoon Doctor Who, Strange Battlestar Galactica News, and Disney Takes Barsoom

Since it was revived on the BBC, Doctor Who has pretty much stayed around the Earth. One reason for this is that they don’t have the special effects money to make convincing extraterrestrial settings. They won’t have this limitation in a cartoon version of Doctor Who which is under development:

Called Infinite Quest, it is one continuous story to be shown in 13 instalments alongside the next series during BBC3′s Totally Doctor Who.

David Tennant and Freema Agyeman will voice their characters, and the lovely Anthony Head will pop up in a brand new role (ie not Mr Finch the Krillatane from series two, Who fans).

Writer Russell T Davies tells us: “The Doctor and his assistant Martha follow a trail of clues across wild and wonderful alien worlds, to find the location of the legendary lost spaceship, the Infinite.” Bring it on!

In addition to Christopher Eccleston, another former actor who appeared on Doctor Who will be on Heroes. Eric Roberts, who played The Master in the 1996 Doctor Who movie, will play an associate of Claire’s father (aka “Horn-Rimmed Glasses”).

Battlestar Galactica fans might want to try to figure out the meaning of this one. Slice of SciFi has found the eye of Jupiter and took a picture:

Actually this was taken of a roof of a mall in San Francisco. If Cylons show up there, don’t say we didn’t warn you. That’s the second strangest BSG story for this week. Coming in at number one is this report from Media Bistro that a 1987 memoir from Dirk Benedict, the original Starbuck, is a best seller in the United Kingdom:

According to Abebooks.com, former Battlestar Galactica star Dirk Benedict is a bestselling author in the United Kingdom. Thanks to his appearances on the latest edition of TV’s Celebrity Big Brother, used copies of Benedict’s 1987 memoir, Confessions of a Kamikaze Cowboy, have apparently become quite the sought after commodity, jumping to #3 on Abebooks’ UK charts. In addition to telling behind-the-scenes tales from his Hollywood days, Benedict also used the memoir to discuss his belief that he staved off prostate cancer through exercise and a macrobiotic diet. Which he apparently still takes seriously; according to the show’s website, Benedict exploded with rage a few hours ago when the producers gave him udon noodles instead of soba.

TrekWeb has portions of an interview with Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell.

Time has published Ten Questions for William Shatner. Here’s the ones dealing with Star Trek:

Lost producer J.J. Abrams is working on a Star Trek movie for 2008 about a young Kirk and Spock, and there are rumors you will make an appearance.

I did have a talk with J.J., and he outlined what he wanted to do. Getting a character who is supposed to be dead to talk to his younger self is a storytelling problem. But if you want to guarantee the audience will come in droves, one of the things you might do is include some members of the old cast.

You are so indelibly linked to Captain Kirk, how do you pass on the torch to a younger actor?

Well, you light a match … No, I really have nothing to offer. I can’t say to some young actor, “Play it this way,” because he’s going to play it his way. But I will say, he’s got to be young and good-looking and rich. And charming.

Some people say Star Trek is past its prime, and it’s time to move on. Would you agree?

There was something about Star Trek that sustained it all those years. But with so many entities of Star Trek out there all at once, the audience began to leave it. Now there’s a huge experiment going on: Will the audience pick up their love affair? We don’t know. And as talented as J.J. is, this is the real test for him. He’s got to give a known quantity the Abrams twist and yet maintain the Star Trek game.

If you want to see the original young Kirk in high definition, combo DVD/HD-DVD’s will be released at the end of 2007 with the enhanced verions of Star Trek. Blu-ray versions will be released later.

Variety reports that Disney has purchased the rights to Edgar Rice Burrough’s John Carter of Mars series. This could make for a series of films which would fit in well with Disney. I wonder if Epcot’s Mission to Mars will be revised to work this in. Personally I’m still having trouble understanding how we flew all the way to Mars and then, after exiting, were right back in Epcot.

SciFi Friday is a weekly feature of Liberal Values

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