SciFi Weekend: Top Twenty New Shows Of 2016; Mary Tyler Moore and John Hurt Die; Genre Novels In The Age Of Trump; Riverdale Premieres

With over four hundred scripted shows (expected to surpass 500 in 2017) it is probably impossible for any one person to fairly rank the best of any season. Even many professional television critics, who don’t have another day job interfering, have said  how difficult it is to watch all the shows to do their end of year rankings. To make it more manageable, and to get around problems of listing the same top shows every year, I have limited this to the best new shows every season. Last year’s list is here and the top new shows of 2014 were listed here.

It got even harder this year with so many new streaming shows, some not dropping until December. In order to include more shows, I waited until the end of January to post the list. As usual, there are shows which I have heard very good things about which I have not watched at all. I put in a couple of shows towards the end of the list which I only watched parts of the season, and might rank them higher if I were to watch more. Also, as usual, it is very difficult to compare shows from different genre’s, or shows watched months apart. If you disagree with some of the rankings, it is very likely I also might agree and rank them differently if I were to do this on a different day. The real point of lists such as this is to point out shows which were worth watching.

Top 20 New Shows Of 2016

20. DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (CW Network)

If based upon the premiere of the show in early 2016, this show would not have made the list, however it was much better when it returned for a second season in the fall. If you gave up on it last year, as I almost did, it is worth another look.

19. Class (BBC)

A Doctor Who spinoff aimed at an older audience than TheMary Jane Adventures. Torchwood (in its early years) remains the only spinoff I consider must see, but fans should find this enjoyable. It aired in the UK last fall, and will be shown in the U.S. this spring after Doctor Who. While I understand the decision in the U.S., I personally found it to be of more value as a fall show to fill the gap when, besides the Christmas episode, there was no true Doctor Who.

18. Fleabag (Amazon Prime)

I wasn’t as in love with this show as the critics, but if you have Amazon Prime, it is well worth checking it out and deciding for  yourself. The entire season is only about three hours, making it essentially a long movie. There is a definite payoff to some of the events of the season in the finale.

17. Atlanta (FX)

Another show which many would probably rank higher. I started watching when it premiered, but then it got forgotten in September because of a combination of being busy with personal matters and the premiers of all the fall shows. It very could rank higher after I see more.

16. Dirk Gentry’s Holistic Detective Agency (BBC America)

A fun and very quirky genre show which, by the end, definitely qualifies as science fiction.

15. Billions (Showtime)

An entertaining cable series. It’s most important benefit was to give Damian Lewis somewhere else to go to make sure they didn’t get desperate and try to bring him back to life on Homeland.

14. Speechless (ABC)

A few years ago it looked like network sitcoms were on the verge of death, beyond The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family. ABC has managed to continue to make worthwhile sitcoms with the Modern Family formula, including Black-ish, Fresh Off The Boat, and now Speechless.

13. Goliath (Amazon Prime)

Billy Bob Thorton makes what could have been a run of the mill lawyer show well worth watching

12. The Crown (Netflix)

A young queen ascends to the thrown in a high budget presentation. She receives advice from the prime minister and is married to a foreigner played by Matt Smith, who adds a bit of whimsy to the show.

11. Victoria (ITV and PBS)

A young queen ascends to the thrown in a not-so-high budget presentation. She receives advice from the prime minister and is married to a foreigner. This also has strong connections to the Doctor Who world including Victoria being played by Jenna Coleman, with supporting cast including Eve Myles from Torchwood. It doesn’t have the budget of The Crown, but in deciding upon the ranking I deferred to my wife’s opinion. This aired in the UK last fall and recently started airing in the United States on PBS.

10. Luke Cage (Netflix)

The latest introduction of a Marvel character on Netflix. It could not meet the extremely high bar set last year by Jessica Jones, but was better than the second season of Daredevil.

9. The Magicians (Syfy)

Much more than an adult Harry Potter, but that would make a starting point to explain what this series is about. Yes, it did technically have an advanced showing of the pilot in 2015, but I’ll still consider this to essentially be a 2016 series. I watched the uncut episodes later in the year, and the editing for television on the premier episode of the second season last week was noticeable.

8. The Good Place (NBC)

A sitcom which has a continuing story, a genre element, discusses philosophy, plus has Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. Extra points for having one of the best plot twists on television in recent years.

7. This Is Us (NBC)

I thought that quality drama was dead on NBC with the ending of Parenthood, but this fills the gap. It had a fairly good twist of its own in the pilot but, unlike in The Good Place, I saw this one coming. The bigger surprise was that Mandy Moore could do such a good job acting. Sure it is full of old television cliches and spends most episodes tugging at the heart strings, but it does a good job of it.

6. 11.22.63 (Hulu)

Received mixed views but I thoroughly enjoyed this adaptation of the Stephen King time travel novel. (No comparison between this and the messed up adaptation of  Under the Dome). More on the show here.

5. Travelers (Showcase and Netflix)

Another low budget Canadian science fiction series filmed in Vancouver. This one is well-written and highly recommended, plus now easily available in the US on Netflix. The premise is that travelers from the future send their consciousness back to our present to prevent an apocalyptic future, taking over the bodies of people at the time of their recorded death. (I was  hoping that something like this would happen on January 20.) Besides having to attend to their mission, the travelers have to cope with the lives they took over–and sometimes their information was a bit off.

4. The Night Of (HBO)

A great self-contained story which shows both problems in the criminal justice system and xenophobia.

3. The Night Manager (BBC and AMC)

An excellent adaptation of the John le Carré novel. It was such a success that BBC and AMC are planning a second adaptation.

2. Stranger Things (Netflix)

The surprise hit from last summer. The series, with explanations of the finale, was discussed here.

1. West World (HBO)

The most discussed new show of the season, with mainstream critics also falling for this science fiction series. I looked at the show at various times, with a discussion of the season finale here.

There are also shows which might make the list which I did not see. I didn’t see any point in rehashing the O.J. Simpson story, but note that The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story  (FX) has received considerable critical acclaim. Many other shows, including genre dramas such as The OA (Netflix) and comedies such as One Mississippi (Amazon Prime) are also recommended by many people.

In past years I have found shows which I did not see when new, but saw them in subsequent years and thought they deserved to be in my rankings. This year I caught up on season one and two of Dark Matter (Syfy) and loved the show. I then tried Killjoys (Syfy) and didn’t get into it. I only watched the first episode, which might not be enough to judge it. I also thought that perhaps I was expecting Dark Matter and it might be better to watch some other shows before trying it again so I could judge it on its own merit.

It is notable that, once again, cable (both basic and premium), British imports, and especially streaming, dominate the list, with very little from the major American networks.

2016 ended with the loss of one beloved actress, Carrie Fisher, and began with the loss of another, Mary Tyler Moore. Later in the week, John Hurt died. While he is more famous for other roles, among science fiction fans he might be best remembered as the War Doctor for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary.

The past two weekends also were dominated by protests against Donald Trump. Earlier this week I looked at one good thing to come from Trump’s election–people are talking about books. This includes the classic 1984, as well as two other novels in which populist authoritarians became president. Even Doctor Who has been cited in discussion of the alternative facts coming from the Trump administration.

This week included the return of several genre shows, as well as the premiere of The CW’s reimagination of Archie comics, Riverdale. After watching Riverdale, I have three questions:

1) Who killed Jason Blossom?
2) What real teen talks about Truman Capote and about Mad Men by season?
3) And the old classic question, Betty or Veronica?

SciFi Weekend: The Americans; The Flash; Arrow; Agents of SHIELD; Doctor Who (The Doctor Dates Cinderella); 12 Monkeys; Big Bang Theory; Two And A Half Men Finale; Mad Men In The 70’s; Orphan Black; Kristen Bell; If Ayn Rand Wrote Harry Potter; Birdman Parody; Politics And The Oscars

The Americans Nina Gulag

One of the things which makes The Americans one of the top television shows now on is the manner in which several story lines involving different characters are carried out so well. Whether or not the different story lines become intertwined, one storyline often has lessons for another. On Dimebag, while Elizabeth and Phillip fought over whether Paige should become a spy, neither seemed to have thought that if Paige had been trained they could have used her to get information from Kimberly, the young daughter of the CIA’s Afghan group, instead of Phillip seducing her. Neither realized initially the degree to which they were in danger of losing Paige to her church–hardly acceptable if she were to be a good Communist. There is some similarity to how Pastor Tim is “recruiting” Paige to how Phillip is using Kimberly and the Russians want them to recruit Paige. Meanwhile in Russian, Nina might be saved due to Oleg’s family relationship to the future Russian oligarchs, and she went to work on her cell mate as Elizabeth would work on getting information. On top of this, the episode included a defector who might be double crossing them, an EST meeting, and a visit with an AA sponsor.

Keri Russell discussed the relationships with her character’s daughter and mother this season, and described the scene earlier this season in which Annelise’s body was packed into a suitcase:

IGN: I have to ask about that second episode and the scene of having to get rid of the body in that hotel room. First of all, there’s the “Oh my god!” of it all. And then also is it interesting for you to play a character who already had to compartmentalize everything, but this is a woman that her husband was sleeping with as a part of the job, and now she has the reality of that in front of her?

Russell: All I have to say is so many naked girls! Naked, beautiful actress, naked beautiful contortionist, yeah. Then on a second unit day of reshoots, a second naked beautiful girl. I was like, “There’s a lot of pretty, naked girls on this show!” Yeah, so bizarre! Really gruesome. I haven’t seen it. Does it play?

IGN: Oh yeah, it plays.

Flash Firestorm

Last week The Flash was both a back door pilot for Firestorm and further advanced the idea of time travel for Barry Allen. We saw once again how far Harrison Wells is willing to go, and his motives remain unclear. We should be learning more when the show returns in March.

Also on CW, we saw a reversal on Arrow, as the flashback took place in Starling City while the present day action took place back on the island. It was strange to see Oliver from the period when he was missing back around his home. Seeing Oliver snooping around Queen Consolidated gave the feeling of a time travel story in which a character is in their past but cannot risk being seen.  Meanwhile, on the island, there was a deliberate reference to Star Trek II, The Wrath of Kahn with Slade’s comment, “I’m going to leave you as you left me.”

Agents of SHIELD returns March 3. Marvel has released this synopsis of the episode:

After discovering an alien city with ties to his resurrection, Coulson and his team destroyed it before the forces of Hydra could claim its secrets, eliminating the villainous Whitehall (Reed Diamond) in the process. But new threats to the world have arisen, including Skye’s father, Cal (Kyle McLachlan), who now seeks retribution against Coulson for stealing his revenge against Whitehall; a disturbing alliance between former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Ward (Brett Dalton) and Agent 33; the enigmatic Raina (Ruth Negga), who struggles with her transformation into something inhuman by the alien Obelisk and seeks vengeance; and Skye (Chloe Bennet), who developed mysterious new powers from the Obelisk but whose lack of experience with her new abilities may threaten the safety of those she loves.

Meanwhile, Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) and Mack (Henry Simmons) begin the next phase of a plan which seems to have grave repercussions for Coulson and his team, who are unaware that there’s another mysterious force moving against them. And as Hunter (Nick Blood) is forced to make the biggest choice of his life, Coulson will find his mission threatened by this shocking endgame.

In the midseason premiere, “Aftershocks,” Coulson’s team must deal with the consequences of their war with Hydra as shocking revelations threaten to tear them apart, and Hydra makes a dangerous move that may involve a traitor in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s midst.

Adrianne Palicki has been promoted to a series regular on Agents of SHIELD, which probably means that Will will not be getting back together with Doctor Sam on About a Boy anytime soon.

Lily James Matt Smith

The Doctor is dating Cinderella–Matt Smith has confirmed that he is dating Lily James. I don’t know if it has occurred yet in the US broadcasts of Downton Abbey so I won’t give any specifics, but I did like her character’s triumph in a late season episode. Of course anything is better than revisiting certain past events yet once again.

In other Doctor Who and related news, The BBC has announced that Michelle Gomez will return as Missy in a two part episode to open the next season of Doctor Who. Add Eve Myles to the list of those interested in another season of Torchwood.

Speaking of Lily James in Cinderella, Ellen DeGeneres has presented a mash-up of Cinderella and Fifty Shades of Grey. Video above.

I thought there was a chance that 12 Monkeys might be able to make it into the upper tier of genre shows with The Night Room last week but The Red Forest couldn’t keep up the same quality this week. Not that it was a bad episode, but it was too easy to fix the timeline when it simply came down to Cassie getting captured in our present, and saving her would fix things. There are still a number of questions raised last week which could provide interesting episodes. Plus they now know how important Cassie’s role is and will make sure that they do not change history involving her, ensuring that she can deliver the message for Cole before she dies.

Amazon has renewed Mozart in the Jungle (which I recommend watching, now about half way through the first season) and is going ahead with the adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle. I have intentionally held off on watching the pilot, preferring to wait until Amazon shows are released in full as opposed to watching the pilot months earlier, but reviews have been excellent for the pilot.

Last week’s episode of The Big Bang Theory seemed to throw far too much into a single episode, including the reopening of Stuart’s comic book store, a cameo by Nathan Fillion, and (the most amusing part of the show), Sheldon telling Penny how Amy was doing experiments on her. Then we learned what the episode was really about–a tribute to Carol Ann Susi, the voice of Mrs. Wolowitz, who died in November. There is a toast to her in the video above, and there is an unseen tribute to her in every episode:

After we had that impromptu memorial the morning she passed away, Johnny and I were hugging—like everybody was—and right then we found our prop person and asked to get a little picture of Carol Ann and we put it on the refrigerator [in Leonard and Sheldon’s kitchen] so she’s there in every episode now. It’s so small you wouldn’t even see it, but on the fridge is this tiny little wallet-size picture of Carol Ann that’s been there since the day she passed away.

It also appears that The Big Bang Theory is so subversive that China doesn’t want its citizens to be able to watch the show.

We are going into the final week of one of the best network sit-coms in recent years, Parks and Recreation. Last week we had the finale of Two And A Half Men, a multi-cam sit-com which over the last twelve years has shown everything wrong with the format. If anyone cares, Chuck Lorre explained his intentions for the finale. There were no apologies to the nation, but at least our great national nightmare is over.

Mad Men 70's

Mad Men enters the 1970’s for its final half-season, and from the music playing in the trailer it might even be doing a time jump to the mid 70’s. After that, I’m looking forward to the inevitable spin-off. Better Call Sally. Just kidding but considering how good Better Call Saul has been so far as a spin-off of Breaking Bad, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if AMC went that route again.

AMC purchased 49 percent of BBC America, and this has implications for the promotion of the third season of Orphan Black. The show probably has many less viewers than a show of this quality might otherwise have due to not being seen on BBC America. In the hopes of increasing exposure, the third season premiere will be shown on all of AMC’s channels, including AMC, Sundance TV, IFC and We TV. The one problem with this strategy is that Orphan Black is not a good show to come into late. Perhaps they should have been rerunning the first two seasons on some other channels prior to the start of the third season.

Forget any thoughts of John Oliver taking over for Jon Stewart. HBO, perhaps thinking along those lines and wanting to lock him in, has signed Oliver for two more seasons of This Week Tonight, with 35 episodes a year. Meanwhile Jon Stewart, after having to put out new shows daily, near year round, might envy Oliver’s deal.

Kristen Bell has no tolerance for anti-vaxxers, and won’t let them around her children. “It’s a very simple logic: I believe in trusting doctors, not know-it-alls.”

Morena Baccarin (of Gotham, Firefly, V, and Homeland) has been cast as the female lead in another superhero adaptation, this time the movie version of Deadpool. I don’t know if this will impact her work on Gotham, but we know that sooner or later Jim Gordon has to get back with Barbara, or else Batgirl will never be born.

BoingBoing has pointed out an example of Harry Potter fan fiction by Mallory Ortberg, written as if it was written by Ayn Rand. Thus there are passages such as, “It’s also why I never water my plants in Herbology. They must learn to survive with or without me. Self-sufficiency is not just a human virtue. It is the highest virtue.”  Plus don’t miss the link to Mallory Ortberg’s reviews of children’s movies as if they were written by Ayn Rand. For example:

“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”

An industrious young woman neglects to charge for her housekeeping services and is rightly exploited for her naïveté. She dies without ever having sought her own happiness as the highest moral aim. I did not finish watching this movie, finding it impossible to sympathize with the main character. —No stars.


The biggest and the strongest are the fittest to rule. This is the way things have always been. —Four stars.

“101 Dalmatians”A wealthy woman attempts to do her impoverished school friend Anita a favor by purchasing some of her many dogs and putting them to sensible use. Her generosity is repulsed at every turn, and Anita foolishly and irresponsibly begins acquiring even more animals, none of which are used to make a practical winter coat. Altruism is pointless. So are dogs. A cat is a far more sensible pet. A cat is objectively valuable. —No stars.

Big Bird meets Birdman in the video spoof above. Birdman is considered a heavy favorite to win an Oscar for best movie.

When actors go on stage to accept Oscars tonight, many of them are contributing to the Democrats, and some to the Republicans. The Hill reports:

Democrats are the biggest winners when it comes to raking in political donations from Academy Award nominees.

Some of the Oscars’ most famous contenders — including this year’s hopefuls Reese Witherspoon, Edward Norton, Mark Ruffalo, Bradley Cooper, and Meryl Streep — are delivering big bucks for the left.

Norton plays an egotistical movie star in “Birdman,” — which snagged him a Best Supporting Actor nomination at Sunday’s awards — but the real-life film star is one of Hollywood’s biggest Democratic donor…

Witherspoon, who earned her second Best Actress nomination this year for “Wild,” has also donated generously to Democrats, according to Federal Election Commission records. The 2005 Oscar winner gave $1,500 to Warren’s camp in 2012. She’s also given in excess of $6,000 to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and $1,500 to then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.).

While Clint Eastwood, the director behind Best Picture nominee “American Sniper,” is known for his support of Republican candidates — famously delivering his “empty chair speech” at the 2012 Republican National Convention — the film’s star, Bradley Cooper, gave $750 to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid. Cooper is vying for Best Actor for his portrayal of real-life Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in the record-breaking movie.

The article later discusses how Democrats often use celebrities in fund raising campaigns while “Republicans have capitalized on conservative celebrity activists by encouraging them to run for office.”

BBC America Renews Orphan Black

orphan black renewed

BBC America has announced that Orphan Black has been renewed for a third season. Filming begins in September with another ten episode season starting next spring.

Now hopefully Showcase will have a similar announcement in the near future regarding renewal of Continuum.

BBC America has also announced that Broadchurch will be returning for a second season. In addition to David Tennant of Doctor Who reprising his role, Eve Myles of Torchwood will be joining the cast.

SciFi Weekend: Person of Interest; Fringe; Dexter; Once Upon A Time; Merlin; Captain America; Black Widow; Torchwood; Star Trek Into The Darkness Clip; and More

Returning genre shows such as Person of Interest, Fringe, and Dexter were far stronger than the new series. On Person of Interest I was almost disappointed to see Finch escape from Root, but it looks like Amy Acker’s character will be returning after this extensive development of her back story. I do hope that future episodes involve the machine and Amy Acker’s plotting along with the person of interest of the week. The dog will remain on the show according to this interview with show runners and cast from prior to Friday’s episode. There were also these comments on Root:

TVLINE | Have we just seen Root (played by Amy Acker) at her most ruthless, poisoning that lady in the restaurant? Or is the worst yet to come? GREG PLAGEMAN | She just scratched the surface there. NOLAN | Root is stone-cold but it’s considered. We don’t think of her as a psychopath but someone who is in her own way sympathetic. And the case she is trying to make is, in many ways – though not the killing people part! – something Finch can relate to. You have all these people who want to manipulate [the Machine], and Root wants to set it free. What that means, and how her plan ultimately plays out, is something that we’re going to see through the course of the season. EMERSON | Once Mr. Finch sees a few of the things she’s capable of, he needs to bring her down.

This week on Fringe we got a look at how the Observers will probably be defeated. Although the solution was wiped from Walter’s mind last week, we found that Walter left information on a series of recordings–recorded on old Betamax tapes as opposed to digitally, or even VHS. Astrid will be important in figuring out Walter’s clues according to this interview with Jasika Nicole. While getting this information in Walter’s old lab, the episode also centered around torture and the question of whether the resistance can retain its humanity while fighting the Observers. I am hopeful that remaining episodes will deal with such issues as opposed to being simple quests for tapes with clues. It does look like it is safe to predict that Etta’s former partner Simon will not be returning. Interview with Anna Torv here.

On Dexter, Deb has finally found out about her brother’s habit. Dexter tried to convince Deb that the killing she witnessed was a one-time event. It was only a matter of time until she figured out everything, so I am happy they got it over with in the first episode of the season. Jennifer Carpenteron what Deb learned:

Deb has uncovered everything! What’s her first reaction in the second episode?
Jennifer Carpenter:
I think audiences, especially our Comic-Con audience, wanted to me to say, “Oh, she’d rage or explode or fire a round from her gun,” but all [her] senses are firing and [her] brain is kicking up. I have this written history with this character for seven years, and there’s landmines everywhere. It’s rich. It’s dangerous for everyone involved. There’s no such thing as a filler scene this year. Everybody is involved in a weird way.

The Ice Truck Killer hand was on the table. What’s going on inside her head as she makes these connections that Dexter was present when she was on the Ice Truck Killer’s table?
It’s too hard to process it all at once. All of those things were in the room at the time, but that realization that those things are connected has its own turn. There was a moment when I was scanning the table while filming and thinking, “That sucks.” At some point, your body just can’t play Tetris anymore and find room for everything. There’s some paralysis that takes over, like, “I’ll get to that in a minute.”

How does Deb finding out that Dexter is a serial killer change her as a person?
Instantly, the fantasy of being in love with this man falls away, or at least is snuffed out. It’s a slap in the face that wakes her up in a weird way. Suddenly, she can see all the manipulation and redirection that he’s handed her. It’s changed everything. It’s made her job so hard. In a weird way, I think I was afraid it was going to paint us into a corner when she one day found out, but it’s endless space to work in.

How does it affect her job since he’s putting her in a difficult position?
What I appreciated from the writers is that its unfolding how I imagined it would in real life. It’s not some swift hammer that falls with her saying, “This is how it’s going to be.” It’s, “I need to collect information about how many [people he’s killed] and who taught [him].” All of that stuff will play into how she chooses to proceed.

More on what this means for Dexter from show runner Scott Buck:

Do you think Dexter is partially happy that his secret is finally out?
Happy is not necessarily the right word, but he’s relieved. It’s a huge burden off his shoulder. He’s lived with this secret his entire life. In one sense, it’s a little scary not to have this secret anymore. He’s always sought comfort in his own private little world, and now to be exposed this way, it’s kind of frightening for someone who’s not used to being frightened. [But] yes, it’s a huge stress relief to finally be able to tell someone who you are.

Isn’t he now in ever-present danger that she might turn him in?
It’s a real risk. It’s one thing [for Deb] to learn that [he] used to do this’ it’s another thing to learn that [he’s] still doing this and doesn’t intend on stopping.

Dexter is a great liar, but Deb’s not good with that. How will that start to weigh on her conscience?
It gets very aggravating for her because she never knew. To learn that your brother has been lying to you your whole life, suddenly you’re wondering what’s true and what’s a lie. Not just all the things he said in the past, but everything that comes out of his mouth now makes her wonder. It becomes very difficult for Deb to deal with.

Once Upon A Time added yet a third location to its storyline as Mary Margaret and Emma wound up in fairytale land after most inhabitants were brought to the modern world. It looks like we will also learn that the modern day story is generally confined to Storybrooke with the townspeople being unable to leave. From the description of tonight’s episode:

While Regina continues to find a way to regain her magical powers, David continues his quest to uncover the whereabouts of Mary Margaret and Emma; and the seven dwarves discover what happens when any of the townspeople try to step past the city limits of Storybrooke. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, as her wedding day to King Leopold approaches, Regina is confronted by a man of magic who promises to help her become independent and break free from her mother Cora’s clutches.

I finally caught the first two episodes of Fake Sherlock (i.e. Elementary) last night. The show didn’t show anything near the brilliance of Moffat’s version. The show was more a standard U.S. police procedural with an eccentric detective. Elementary’s Sherlock Holmes reminded me more of a toned-down House than Sherlock Holmes, and they even have Lisa Edelstein guest-staring in the seventh episode. Benedict Cumberbatch has a little (far too little) to say about both his show and Elementary in this interview.

Merlin Season 5 began in the U.K. yesterday. I don’t want to spoil episodes for U.S. viewers who are not downloading the show, but above is an extended trailer. A review of the first episode can be found here.

For American fans of British shows who do wait, Upstairs Downstairs Season 2 (of the remake) is finally airing in the U.S. Alex Kingston plays an archeologist in this period piece. She fits in quite well, but her presence did make me look around for a police box. The show has not been renewed for a third season.

Iron Man 3 has resumed filming. Reportedly Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) will not be appearing in this movie, but will be in the sequel to Captain America.There is also a rather intriguing list of candidates for the lead female role:

Five actresses are reportedly vying for the lead female role in the Captain America sequel, which is widely assumed to be that of S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sharon Carter, who would be some form of relative of Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter (which relative, in particular tends to vary). The five candidates are Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke, Downton Abbey‘s Jessica Brown Findlay, I Am Number Four‘s Teresa Palmer, Fright Night‘s Imogen Poots, and Community‘s Alison Brie.

John Barrowman has his opinion of the perfect story for the next season of Torchwood (which may or may not ever be filmed)–his own novel:

Torchwood and Doctor Who star John Barrowman has teamed up with his sister Carole to pen his first Torchwood novel, Exodus Code, and he’s so pleased with it, he’d like it to become the fifth series.

“I’d love to see this book become the series or to become something in the future that could be done on screen with Torchwood,” John Barrowman tells us, “and that is why it was important for [Exec Producers] Russell [T Davies] and Julie [Gardener] and the BBC to have their input, because if the show did continue then this must make sense.”

The plot follows the events of Miracle Day, the fourth series of Torchwood, and Captain Jack [Barrowman] and Gwen [Eve Myles] are racing to save humanity. Women are being driven insane by heightened and scrambled senses, leaving governments and scientists baffled.

This global scale is the direction Barrowman would like to see Torchwood take if it were to return. “I think every time Torchwood comes back it has to be something different,” he says. “We’ve always been challenged; we’ve been moved from network to network each series so we always have to build from scratch so I think if Torchwood comes back it needs to be on a bigger, global scale.”

The future of the show is still uncertain, however. “We haven’t been told no or yes, we’re in limbo.” But Barrowman is ready if it ever does: “Listen, I’ve always said if they ask me to put the coat on I will do happily because I love Jack,” he says. “I have it here ready!”

J.J. Abrams had a brief clip from Star Trek Into The Darkness on Conan. Yes, this does appear dark.

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who; Interview with Karen Gillan; Torchwood: Once Upon A Time; Fringe

The above video was recently posted featuring the cast and crew of Doctor Who from a video played at the wrap party at the end of the David Tennant era.

Above is the audio of an interview with Karen Gillan from Graham Norton’s Radio 2 show. Here’s some highlights:

Karen Gillan has said she will welcome the next Doctor Who companion “with open arms” when her time is up on the show.

Speaking on Graham Norton’s Radio 2 show yesterday, she said: “I know the time is going to come when Rory and Amy have to leave. It’s inevitable and that will make me really, really sad. But that’s the nature of the show and what’s so good about it. What keeps it exciting is the fact that it’s reinvented all the time with new people. I think that’s a really great part of the show, so I will welcome the new companion with open arms.

“I don’t know what type of companion [the Doctor] would have next.”

Gillan also said her future was still “up in the air,” adding “I know that I’m going to be coming back, but I’m not sure when.”

Mark Sheppard hints that Canton Delaware might return to Doctor Who:

Speaking in an interview with Stuff, Sheppard reflected on his involvement on Series 6 and teased “To emerge that Canton is in fact one of the friends that the Doctor deemed should be present at his death eludes to perhaps some further involvement…”

An interview with the cast of Torchwood: Miracle Day from London Comic Con/Memorabilia MCM Expo in the video above.

Kristen Bauer, who plays Pam on True Blood, will be playing Malificent on Once Upon A Time. A couple questions from a recent interview:

What can you tell us about Maleficent’s relationship with Lana Parrilla’s Evil Queen?
The most interesting thing about their relationship is that the writers decided to make them frenemies. It’s just a minefield of evil goodness. It was me, Lana Parrilla and a green screen and we just had so much fun. Two chicks who are loving playing bitches, who liked each other and went, let’s just play chess. The great thing about playing with another person who is a good player is that you don’t always have to play the obvious and hopefully, what we did is put in different colors that show a history. These two chicks have known each other a long time and they’ve been coveting each other, helping each other and probably backstabbing each other quite often. We tried to get all that in there and we’ll see on Sunday if we succeeded.

How would you compare Maleficent to your other current role, that of Pam on TRUE BLOOD?
I’m not exactly sure yet. But so far there are a couple of difference in how I played it. Pam is very sarcastic and what you see is what you get. Pam to me is one of the only people who always tells the truth at this point, doesn’t suffer fools and doesn’t worry about being liked at all. When we get into the fairytale world with Maleficent it feels like we could have a bit more game playing and a bit more things are not as they appear.

More on the back story and sneak peaks about Once Upon A Time can be found here.

Fringe was preempted by some baseball game on Friday. They commented on this in the video above.

And, finally, here is a Happy Halloween card for our readers:

SciFi Weekend: Two Weeks Until Torchwood: Miracle Day; True Blood and Weeds Return This Week; Game of Thrones

Starz has released the following synopses of the first seven of ten episodes of Torchwood: Miracle Day. Episodes air one day later, on Saturdays, in Canada. There is no official word yet regarding airing in the U.K. but one site has stated that there is a one hour gap on their schedule for July 9th, leading them to suspect that this is when it will start.

1. The New World8th July 10:00pm

When death itself comes to a halt, the whole world faces its greatest danger yet. CIA agent Rex Matheson has only one clue – Torchwood.

2. Rendition15th July, 10:00pm

As the Torchwood team is reunited, Jack realizes he’s the most vulnerable man on Earth. A flight to the United States turns into a desperate battle for survival.

3. Dead of Night22nd July, 10:00pm

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.

4. Escape to L.A.29th July 2011

The fight against PhiCorp takes the Torchwood team to California, where a trap is waiting. Meanwhile, Oswald and Jilly find themselves with an enemy of their own.

5. The Categories Of Life5th August, 10:00pm

Torchwood goes undercover and discovers the terrible truth behind the Miracle. The enemy is closing in, and death is about to make a shocking return.

6. The Middle Men12th August, 10:00pm

With Gwen, Rex and Esther trapped on both sides of the Atlantic, it’s a race against time as Jack goes straight to the heart of the conspiracy.

7. Immortal Sins19th August 2011, 10:00pm
Gwen must fight to protect her family and takes a terrifying journey, covering both miles and decades, as the long history of the Miracle is revealed.

Remaining episodes: End Of The Road, The Gathering and The Blood Line.

Starz has posted this behind the scenes preview of the series:

There will be differences in the American and British episodes. One reason might be to remove some of the cultural references which American audiences might not understand, but this sounds like a questionable move considering the number of shows from the U.K. which have aired in the United States–including previous seasons of Torchwood. I also wonder if there might be sex scenes which Starz would air which the BBC would not.

Russel T. Davies has said that the show will not abandon its Welsh roots and will include scenes from Wales. I hope they do not feel like they need to cut back on such scenes for American audiences. Besides previous seasons of Torchwood, I have managed to enjoy shows set in Wales such as Gavin and Stacey, despite not understanding all the cultural references on the shows.

Tardis Newsroom has videos of interviews with producers and cast of Torchwood: Miracle Day.

John de Lancie was also interviewed about his role:

Actor John de Lancie says that his upcoming role in Torchwood: Miracle Day is one of a “gruff” CIA specialist who is involved in the final three episodes of the season.

“I’m a recurring character in the final three episodes of the series,” he told SFX. “My character is CIA, very gruff, [and] unimpressed by the ‘Torchwood clowns’ as he’d call them.”

De Lancie, best known for his role as Q in the Star Trek franchise, added that the new season of Torchwood still has a “British” feel.

“My sense is the show is still quite British,” he said. “It has, mostly, an American crew, but the sensibility of it, led by Russell [T Davies], is very British.”

He also claimed that Miracle Day is “completely different… to Star Trek” and that his role involved “no technobabble”.

“It’s someone’s future, potentially real,” he explained. “I enjoyed that.”

The video of an interview with Bill Pullman on BBC Breakfast is above.

True Blood returns tonight. TV Guide has a list of ten spoilers–none of which I believe will ruin the show for anyone.

Weeds takes a trip into the future. The upcoming season, returning this week, takes place three years after last season, with Nancy getting out of prison.

Casting news for various shows is starting to come out. The most interesting is that Natalie Dormer of Tudors will be appearing on Game of Thrones.  She’ll be playing Margaery Tyrell, the betrothed wife to a new contender for the throne. Filming for the second season begins in July.


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

Jack Gwen Torchwood

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


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

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

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



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


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


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

True Blood Anna Paquin Bloody Nude Rolling Stone Cover

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

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

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

Sarah Pallin No Lisbeth Salandar

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

SciFi Weekend: Torchwood, Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Likely To Receive R Rating, Olivia Wilde in Cowboys and Aliens, Fringe, V, Lost Epilogue, Big Bang Theory

We have much more information on the upcoming season of Torchwood which airs next summer:

“Torchwood” picks up a while after the events of “Children of Earth,” but still deals with Capt. Jack Harkness’ (John Barrowman) state of mind after those devastating events that left him dispirted. Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) will also be back. A new character, CIA agent Rex Matheson — who’s yet to be cast — will serve to introduce new audiences to the world of “Torchwood.”

“Rex has no idea what Torchwood is and has to investigate,” explains Davies. “Torchwood has been destroyed. It’s ike a legend now, it’s almost ceased to exist a long time ago and is spoken only of in whispers. We also have a watch analyst at the CIA called Esther. The two of them become embroiled in the Torchwood legend and investigate what Torchwood is or was and they find themselves on the run and meeting Captain Jack and Gwen, having to decide whether they’re friends, whether they’re enemies. It’s a decision that takes a long time to be decided. That’s part of the 10 episodes is the two teams coming together, a lot of sparks, a lot of excitement.”

Among other things we learn:

  • Rhys Williams (Kai Owen) will be back with their baby.
  • Sorry Capt. John Hart fans, but James Marsters is not going to be in this 10-episode season, but he’s still in good with Davies for possible future participation.
  • The new series continuous and very arced.
  • Scheduling of the new “Torchwood” will be “very close” on both sides of the pond.
  • Since the show is on a premium cable network, “Torchwood” can have nudity in sex scenes, but Davies is only sold on that if the story demands it. “There’s nothing worse than a great big global international thriller that stops for a sex scene. Get on with it please.”

I was also happy to read that the American movie version of The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo will probably receive an R-rating like the original version. It think this would be necessary to be true to the book. Now if they can only get the mess over Stieg Larsson’s fourth book settled.

Adam Beach created a lot of buzz  from mentioning Olivia Wilde’s upcoming nude scene in Cowboys and Aliens during an interview in the Toronto Sun:

“We just finished shooting Olivia Wilde naked in front of a bonfire in front of 500 Apache warriors,” Beach says. “That was beautiful. You won’t get to see what I saw, but you’ll get a glimpse.”

Asked about the nude scene, Wilde laughs. “Did Adam Beach talk to you? Adam Beach is the best. Last night, we did a scene where I’m naked in front of a group of couple hundred Apache. Pretty amazing, pretty interesting.”

Not that she’s only wild west cheesecake in the film, due out next July. “I do kick-ass in this. I love doing action movies … This movie is so much fun for me.”

The above picture is of Oliva Wilde from Elle.

The alternative universe will be a bigger part of Fringe next season, with much of the action taking place over there. Jasika Nicole says that Astrid will have a larger role. Her job did seem more significant over there, and back here she becomes closer to Walter since he lost both Peter and the Olivia from our world.

Anna Torv claims that the alternate Olivia is much like the Olivia from our universe. Actually the alternate Olivia was much hotter, but beyond that I’ve been wondering if there is some meaning to this. Is she hinting that the alternative Olivia is really one of the good guys, and in the end will help set everything straight? Or maybe I’m putting too much meaning into a comment made in an interview. It’s like how I assumed that Juliet saying “it worked” in the final season premiere of Lost was important and it turned out she was probably only talking about getting the candy bar out of the vending machine in the sideways universe.

Jane Badler, the original Diana from V, returns to the series in a recurring role as Anna’s mother. There’s also major spoilers regarding the meaning of the red sky and other upcoming events:

How does the season begin?

Season 2 begins with the panic that results from the red sky, the vistors cut off their communications with the humans completely and most visitors on earth return to the mother ship. Anna refuses to answer to anyone and earth panics and takes pre-emptive measures to prepare for war. The panic intensifies when red rain begins to fall.

What is the real purpose of the red sky?

The red sky is later revealed to be a “gift for humanity” spreading life on earth making deserts green. The true purpose behind the red sky is to improve human fertility and prepare them for mass breeding with the visitors.

What is Marcus’s agenda?

At the end of the first season it appeared Marcus had his own agenda with reviving Joshua and contacting Hobbs however in season 2 it appears all this was done with Anna’s knowledge as Anna is aware of Joshua’s revival however, Joshua is back missing memories and human emotions and is no longer a member of the fifth column, nor does he remember working with them. Marcus takes orders from Anna and then blackmails Hobbs into carrying them out.

What happens to Ryan in season 2?

In season 2 Ryan’s main goal is to be with his daughter. Anna seperates him from his daughter and simply sends him back to earth planning to use the hybrid child to force Ryan into spying on the fifth column .

Does Anna experience any more human emotion?

Throughout the second season Anna struggles to control and hide her human emotions.

Why is Anna so interested in Tyler?

Tyler’s humanity comes into question as Erica connects complications with her pregnancy with Tyler to materials in the red sky.

The New Man In Charge, the twelve minute epilogue to Lost which is appearing on the DVD and Blu-Ray sets, leaked out last week. I have linked to clips and, in the update, a site which Disney didn’t manage to force to take down the full clip. The post also contains a summary of the key points. The clip explains several points including where the food drops came from, what the Hurleybird was, why there were polar bears on the island, why there were problems with pregnancies on the island, more about the relationship between Dharma and “the hostiles,” and Walt’s fate.

The stars of The Big Bang Theory are trying to renegotiate their contracts to increase their salaries from 60,000 per episode to $250,000. Compared to Friends these seems quite cheap. Reportedly Jim Parsons was trying to get even more than his co-stars. That’s just like Sheldon to think he is worth more than his co-workers.

It doesn’t look like these negotiations are interfering with filming. Bill Prady tweeted a few days ago that production has officially started on season four.

SciFi Weekend: The Lodger, Torchwood Filming News; A New Series From Alan Ball; and Another Recreation of Princess Leia as Slave Girl

Matt Smith Nude Scene

This week BBC America broadcast The Lodger, the last episode of Doctor Who before the two-part season finale. Spoilers are included for this episode only as I impatiently wait for BBC America to get caught up so I can write about the season finale and fez hats.

This was unfortunately an Amy Pond-lite episode, but still an entertaining one. The Doctor was stranded on earth and had to figure out what was messing with time to save Amy from being lost in the Tardis forever. Fitting in was not easy for the Doctor, but he did turn out to be a fantastic soccer player (with the episode airing just before World Cup coverage on the BBC).

The episode was largely a stand alone episode but it did include references to other evens of the season. The house where the Doctor rented a room had a card for the Vincent van Gogh exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay on the refrigerator. Many reviewers have noted that a crack on the wall was shown at the end. While it was shown most prominently at the end of the episode, I also noted that it was shown briefly earlier. The most significant event was that Amy, while searching for a pen, found the engagement ring from Rory. Clearly this story line did not conclude with Rory being pulled into the crack and disappearing from time.

Matt Smith had one of the rare nude scenes in Doctor Who history, appearing dressed in only a towel, creating some controversy Ironically Smith has previously appeared on television undressed in such a manner, and it happened to be in a scene with a former companion of an earlier Doctor. Smith played one of Billy Piper’s clients in Secret Diary of a Call Girl, also dressed only in a towel.

Van Gough Card in Doctor Who: The Lodger

The Doctor In The Tardis has some limited news, and a bit of speculation, on the filming of the next season of Torchwood:

It has been confirmed by Gavin Barker Associates that John Barrowman will only be filming Torchwood in the US from January to June. That’s roughly about 16 weeks worth of filming, before coming back to the UK.

Assuming Eve Myles was correct in her statement earlier this week about a 7 and a half month shoot, it could mean that the other 3 and a half months shooting will be taking place in the UK, especially as John Barrowman has previously stated he will be appearing in all episodes of the new series.

Alan Ball already is responsible for two of the greatest television shows of all time, Six Feet Under and True Blood. Both deal with death, and if HBO wants another series on this topic Ball is obviously the person to turn to. Deadline Hollywood reports that HBO has ordered another pilot from Alan Ball:

HBO has greenlighted a pilot for All Signs of Death, a dark comedic drama based on Charlie Huston’s 2009 crime noir novel The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death. Ball is executive producing and directing the pilot, which was written by Huston. The project, which is now casting for an August production start date in Los Angeles, centers on an inveterate twenty-something slacker who stumbles into a career as a crime scene cleaner, only to find himself entangled with a murder mystery, a femme fatale and the loose ends of his own past. “It’s not so much about the crime, it’s about the personal story of the central character and his journey back to being fully connected with his life after some very traumatic things,” Ball said.

As a director, Ball will experiment with smaller, portable cameras for a cinema verite style. “The show is about contemporary Los Angeles, but not the glamorous LA, it’s about the dirty underbelly of LA,” Ball said. “We’re going to try to go against the grain, away from the overlit, stylized noir for a more frantic, contemporary, naturalistic style.” Ball is executive producing All Signs of Death through his company, Your Face Goes Here Entertainment, under his overall deal at HBO. Huston is co-executive producing, with Your Face executives Christina Jokanovich and Peter Macdissi also producing.

Kelly Brook dresses in the Princess Leia slave girl outfit

Many actresses have dressed in versions of the Princess Leia slave outfit from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, including Kristin Bell and Olivia Munn. Pictures of these two can be seen here, and a picture of the original is here. Kelly Brook has created several Princess Leia poses for Total Film, including the Leia slave girl pictured above.

Torchwood To Return With Bigger Budget And International Scope

After the success of the Children of Earth miniseries during the third season of Torchwood the producers wanted to do something similar with a larger budget. Initially there was talk of co-producing Torchwood with Fox but the negotiations broke down. The BBC announced today that a deal was reached to produce a ten episode series with Starz. From the press release:

BBC Cymru Wales, BBC Worldwide and US premium entertainment network Starz Entertainment have today announced a three-way co-production partnership that will develop a new series of the hit BBC sci-fi drama Torchwood. BBC Worldwide will also distribute the series to broadcasters globally.

The 10-episode instalment will be written by a team led by Torchwood creator Russell T Davies and produced by BBC Worldwide productions.

Davies and BBC Worldwide Productions’ SVP Scripted, Julie Gardner, return as executive producers with BBC Worldwide Productions EVP Jane Tranter. The series has been commissioned by Controller BBC One, Jay Hunt, Controller BBC Drama, Ben Stephenson and Starz President and CEO, Chris Albrecht.

While previous series were based on location in Cardiff, Wales, this new instalment will see storylines widen to include locations in the US and around the world.

John Barrowman and Eve Myles will return in their roles as Captain Jack and Gwen respectively, along with new faces.

Announcing the commission, Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, said: “We have a long history of working with many US networks, but it is incredibly exciting to be working with Starz for the first time, as well as to be reunited with the best of British in Russell, Jane and Julie.

“Torchwood will burst back onto the screen with a shocking and moving story with global stakes and locations that will make it feel bigger and bolder than ever.”

The Hollywood Reporter interviewed Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht and Russell T. Davies. Albrecht confirmed that Torchwood would now have a larger budget and while discussing the show:

THR: What attracted you to “Torchwood”?

Albrecht: It was too good an opportunity to pass up. Each season of the show, the show has evolved and “The Children of Earth” was terrific as evident in it was just named a Television Critics Press Awards nominee. I’m interested in doing sci-fi and what I like a lot about “Torchwood” is it’s a very classic sci-fi entry. It’s all about the story, it’s not about big effects. I thought “Children of Earth” evolved the franchise to a place where it could continue to evolve on pay TV with an American partner that could bring more production resources.

THR: And by that you mean “Torchwood” will have a larger budget?

Albrecht: Yes, it certainly will.

THR: What changes are in store for fans?

Albrecht: Well at the end of “Children of Earth,” Torchwood was destroyed, so when we pick up in our world the need for Torchwood arises again. A lot of this story takes place in the U.S. as well with several characters that are in the U.S. intelligence forces and end up teaming up with Gwen and Captain Jack to deal with the situation at hand.

THR: So it will take place in the UK and the US?

Albrecht: As well as other locations.

Davies gave more information on the new series:

THR: What’s the new “Torchwood” like?

Davies: It’s very much the next step. It’s not a new version, it’s not a reboot. We’re simply moving countries. The show was previously a format show — monster of the week. The breakthrough was “Children of Earth” and that it became one long story. It’s not going to be ‘Lost’ and take 20 years to find out what’s going on. It’s going to have a most remarkable conclusion after 10 episodes.

THR: This was set up at Fox, what happened there?

Davies: We had a brilliant relationship with them. Thanks to them we were allowed to develop it and take it to Starz — some networks don’t allow you to do that, you know. They were very gracious. They have their new Steven Spielberg series (“Terra Nova”). Starz was waiting for us with open arms.

THR: Being on Starz would also allow you to have more grown-up content.

Davies: We’re simply going to tell a good story. I wrote the pilot 7 months ago irregardless of network. BBC1 is a prime-time channel, but a brave channel. I don’t worry about content.

THR: In “Torchwood” people know aliens exist. I take it that will be true in the United States as well?

Davies: Yes, in the “Torchwood” universe, you’re in a place where aliens long ago went public. It’s like with terrorists. We all know terrorists exist, but if you found yourself  in a room with one, you’d be in for a profound shock. You’re never in a position where you take it for granted. I absolutely guarantee that you can leap in as a new viewer and be able to find everything.

The New York Times reports that the series will air in the summer of 2011.