SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who; S.H.I.E.L.D.; Inspector Spacetime; Community; House of Cards and the White House Correspondents’ Dinner; The Americans

Time Wars

Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS was being hyped as the first blockbuster episode of the spring season of DoctorWho but failed to deliver. It’s not that I didn’t like it, but my exceptions were just too high for what turned out to be a bottle episode. One problem was that there were just too many plot contrivances. To start with the TARDIS was placed in basic mode so that it could be captured. Then how do we explain how the Doctor winds up outside and Clara is lost in the corridors? I might forgive these as necessary to set up the story, but similar problems plagued the entire episode.

The Doctor said not to touch anyone or else time will reassert itself. I have no idea what that means, and feel they are going too far in making up rules for time as they go along. I can forgive contradictions as to whether the Doctor can change events or meet up with his former selves on rare occasions in order to provide for a good story. I didn’t buy Moffat’s explanation as to why the Doctor couldn’t travel back in time to somewhere other than New York and meet up with Amy and Rory, but I’ll let that pass as we know the real point was a farewell episode for the two. Throwing out a new concept of time asserting itself based upon who is touched seemed like pointless and arbitrary timey whimey stuff.  I might have accepted a cosmic reset button to resolve the episode  if the explanation and story were executed better but entire existence of the  Big Friendly Button was rather weak. There were so many other questions, such as why did future burnt Clara attack everyone, and how did getting burnt make little Clara strong enough to take on larger men?

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The highlight of the episode was Clara running through the TARDIS. The scene of the TARDIS swimming pool would have been more exciting if we didn’t already know it was coming. This created expectations of more than a quick glimpse. I did like the TARDIS library but The History Of The Time War with The Doctor’s real name sitting out makes it implausible that none of the previous companions other that River Song knew this. This did serve to foreshadow the mystery of the season finale, The Name of the Doctor: “You call yourself ‘Doctor? Why do you do that? You have a name. I’ve seen it.”

I also wonder who would have the knowledge to write this book.  Besides reading this secret, Clara also heard the story of her two other deaths. The memory should be gone after the cosmic reset, but we also saw that from the Van Baalen brothers that not all memories were extinguished. I won’t even get into the nonsense of convincing one of the brothers that he is an android.

As has been common in episodes leading up to the 50th Anniversary, there were references to previous episodes. This included past sounds echoing through the TARDIS. Clara also found the Doctor’s cot from A Good Man Goes To War and the model TARDIS Amy and Mel were playing with in Let’s Kill Hitler. There were other things we have seen before, including a crack in time and (almost) an exploding TARDIS.

Quote of the Episode: “Don’t get into a spaceship with a madman: didn’t anyone teach you that?”

Above is the Behind The Scenes video

Next week, Strax, Vastra and Jenny return in The Crimson Horror. Dianna Rigg, whose roles range from The Avengers ( 1960’s BBC series) to Game of Thrones, guest stars. Here is an interview with her. A spoiler-free review is posted here.

The BBC has released the official synopsis for Neil Gaiman’s upcoming episode, Nightmare in Silver:

Hedgewick’s World of Wonders was once the greatest theme park in the galaxy, but it’s now the dilapidated home to a shabby showman, a chess-playing dwarf and a dysfunctional army platoon. When the Doctor, Clara, Artie and Angie arrive, the last thing they expect is the re-emergence of one of the Doctor’s oldest foes. The Cybermen are back!

Gaiman also did a far better job of revealing TARDIS secrets back in The Doctor’s Wife.

Clark Gregg has revealed how Agent Coulson will be brought back in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

“In the pilot, it’s revealed Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the ultimate super spy, faked Agent Coulson’s death on purpose to motivate The Avengers. Some S.H.I.E.L.D. members were in on it (including, possibly, Maria Hill played by Cobie Smulders) but The Avengers were not. Their security clearance wasn’t high enough. Coulson was forced to hold his breath as part of the ruse and that’s a point of contention among his colleagues After the fact, Fury moved him to a remote location until things died down, and then he was reinserted into duty at the time of the show.”

I was hoping that we’d see Black Widow get in the shower and find Agent Coulson there, Bobby Ewing style.

Mayim Bialik of The Big Bang Theory will be joining the cast of the Untitled Web Series About A Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time. This is the web version of Inspector Spacetime with name removed to avoid copyright infringement against Community. Incidentally, Community had its best post-Dan Harmon episode this week with a Freaky Friday storyline. The episode was written by Jim Rash, who plays the Dean and shows he picked up a few things about how the show should be done during the time he has spent appearing on it. Rash is interviewed about writing the episode here.

The White House Correspondents’ Dinner showed the above parody of House of Cards, coincidentally the same week in which I completed watching the series on Netflix. The release of all thirteen episodes of the first season provided the advantage of allowing for binge watching. The disadvantage was the inability for blogs to discuss this on a weekly basis coinciding with most people watching as is the case with most television shows. Events became far more compelling in the final several episodes and I did wind up binging on the show this Friday night. Events in the slower-moving earlier episodes do become much more important. On the other hand, the shows leaves open much to talk about and it would have been interesting to read the views of others as the events unfolded.

MAJOR SPOILERS ABOUT HOUSE OF CARDS FOLLOW.

DO NOT READ THE NEXT SECTION UNTIL YOU COMPLETE THE FIRST 13 EPISODES

House of Cards might be seen as a completed story if seen as Frank Underwood going from being bypassed for the Secretary of State appointment to being chosen to become the next Vice President, which Frank wants to use as a stepping stone to the presidency. With filming beginning on a second set of thirteen, many things are still hanging which could jeopardize Frank’s appointment and perhaps lead to even worse consequences. The most serious would be revelations as to how he manipulated Peter, especially if the murder is revealed. Claire’s  legal problems could also create enough of a problem to prevent the appointment, even if the complaint was fabricated. I suspect that ultimately the season will seem more like the first half of a novel.

Initially the series seemed like a more cerebral, political version of Revenge. Later Underwood’s real plan becomes clear. When Underwood first set up Russo’s fall, I assumed it was in retaliation for Peter acting independent of Underwood, threatening to expose past manipulations. Presumably Underwood had planned this from the start, with Peter’s disloyalty  just providing the reason to put the final stages into motion at the time. When Underwood started to wipe his fingerprints off of Peter’s steering wheel I predicted what he would do next, but did it really make sense to murder Peter where security cameras might have shown him come in? Having Peter permanently silenced would be of benefit, but Peter no longer had the same ability to cause harm to Underwood.

My biggest nitpick about the show was the manner in which alliances changed so easily. Frank’s wife betrayed him and then quickly became loyal to their joint goals after returning home (a second way in which Peter’s death was of benefit to Underwood as long as everyone continues to consider it a suicide). More implausible was the degree of loyalty to Underwood showed by the President’s chief of staff in later episodes. I could easily see her performing a few favors for Underwood, even floating his name as Vice President, in return for his favor. It went too far with her actually scheming with Underwood and allowing the release of the secret schedule.

Other changes in loyalties were easier to accept. Backstabbing by underlings such as Remy didn’t come as much of a surprise. Zoe is far more interesting as a reporter digging into what happened as opposed to the slut who got her stories by sleeping with sources. Best of all was seeing Zoe convince Christina to help find out what really drove Peter to suicide. There is no doubt that this House of Cards will start to collapse around Frank Underwood when the series returns now that his earlier actions are becoming uncovered.

END OF SPOILERS

The Americans started in a more conventional, weekly format on FX at about the same time as  House of Cards was placed on Netflix. The finale airs this Wednesday, with a preview of the episode here.  It is my favorite new series of this season, centering around two Russian spies who pose as as a married couple during the Reagan era. Their neighbor across the street happens to be an FBI agent. I won’t say more, recommending that those who have not seen the series pick it up from the beginning.

Finally, here are Conan O’Brien and Barack Obama at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner:

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SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who and Daleks; Community and Inspector Spacetime; Sherlock as Cartoon; Person of Interest; The Americans; Utopia; Downton Abbey; Batwoman’s Gay Marriage; Captain America

Daleks London

Steven Moffat discussed the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who in a recent interview. Doctor Who returns March 30 with the final eight episodes of the season. Next fall we will have the 50th Anniversary episode (which will also be in 3D and released at movie theaters). In addition there will be the usual Christmas episode and An Adventure in Space and Time about the making of Doctor Who. This would still leave us with less Doctor Who than last fall, but Moffat does say there will be even more than these shows.

Ray Cusick who designed the look of the Daleks in 1963, died at last week at age 84.

The video above has an interview with Jenna-Louise Coleman on The Last Leg.

Last week’s episode of Community  featured a trip to an Inspector Spacetime convention and ended with how an American version of this Doctor Who parody would appear, after the producers received advice from Pierce. Here’s another take on how an American version of Doctor Who might have turned out.

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Angela Taratuta has re-imagined Sherlock as a cartoon series with pictures such as the one above.

Revolution returns on March 25. NBC is launching a prequel web series tomorrow which starts eleven years after the blackout:

In this webseries, premiering Feb. 25 on NBC.com, we flashback to 11 years after the blackout and the night Miles (Billy Burke) first tried to assassinate Gen. Monroe (David Lyons). The story will follow Capt. Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) on a mission to hunt down and kill and those who had a hand in the attempt to assassinate Monroe. While on his journey, however, Neville will apparently stumble “upon an even greater conspiracy that could change the course of the Republic forever,” according to a description.

Person of Interest Relevance

Person of Interest had an excellent episode, Relevance, in which we saw the machine used as intended. There was another team receiving numbers from the machine to fight actual terrorist threats, but they believed the information came from more conventional sources. They went after people found by the machine to be relevant, as opposed to the cases investigated by Finch and Reese not involving terrorism, and therefore considered irrelevant. One member of the team started to get too close to what is actually going on so both were set up to be killed. The female member of the team, Shaw, survived, with a little help from Reese after Shaw and her partner came up as the new numbers for Finch and Reese.

Shaw is quite a fighter on her own, and stated she has an “Axis II personality disorder,” meaning  she “doesn’t really feel anything” when she kills people. Her best moment was when she showed she was still a loyal soldier in fighting terrorism and also remained determined to avenge the killing of her partner. “A good soldier does both.” She initially refused to take Finch’s card, but later agreed after they saved her from poisoning, leaving her old superiors believing she was dead.

Shaw will make a welcome addition to the reoccurring cast of Person of Interest (assuming this as she was too good a character to only use once). Making the episode even better, Amy Acker  returned to reprise her role as Root (actually starting in the final moments of last week’s episode). Now, besides the team of Finch and Reese, we have the group involved in using the machine to fight terrorism as part of the show, with these people portrayed as both being engaged in an important task and as being somewhat evil. Having them infiltrated by Root will make matters even more interesting.

The Americans

FX has renewed The Americans for a second season. The series is about Soviet spies embedded in the United States during the Reagan years. Last week was their best episode to date, taking place at the time of the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan. The Russians were worried about whether the attempt would be pinned on the KGB. Some of the Russians also were concerned that generals led by Alexander Haig were carrying out a coup following Haig’s “I am in control” statement.

Utopia completed its first season last week, and hopefully will receive a second season. While not reducing my recommendations to watch the entire series or my hope for a second season, the first season finale was not up to the level of previous episodes. It was probably harder to write this episode because it had less mystery many of the secrets of the first season already revealed but also having to keep some things unresolved for second season. Major spoiler in the rest of this paragraph: I did have one problem with the explanations in the finale. If the manuscript didn’t really matter and the search was all to get Jessica out in the open, what were they doing with the interrogation of Grant and what did that chemical diagram mean? Perhaps the explanation to Jessica wasn’t entirely honest and there was information on recreating Janus to be found in case Jessica wasn’t captured.

The BBC has canceled The Hour after its second season. Hypable explains why you should watch the show despite being cancelled.

As expected following the Christmas episode of Downton Abbey, Lily James will become a regular member of the cast next season. With two members of the cast dying last season, her addition serves much the same purpose of Lesley Anne-Down joining Upstairs Downstairs as Miss Georgina. Vulture gave several reasons why ITV and PBS won’t both broadcast the show at the same time. I was especially interested in this point:

Editing episodes for PBS more quickly would also be more costly.
The version of Downton that airs in the U.K. is slightly different than the one that airs in the U.S. ITV is a commercial network that ran season three over eight installments, while commercial-free PBS ran the same season in just six. That requires some “stitching together and filling out” for the American version, Hoppe says. And because the editing is done entirely by the creative team in the U.K., “what it would mean in order for us to go simultaneously with them is that we’d have to have two editing rooms going at the same time during postproduction, one for our version and one for theirs,” Hoppe says. “It’s not one of the main factors in the decision, but it’s not an insignificant financial implication.”

I downloaded the series when it first aired on ITV and then, based upon following media stories, the series seemed to go by much faster when aired on PBS. This explains that it really did go by faster, with fewer episodes in the US. I wonder if some things were taken out of the US version. For example, there hasn’t been much discussion in the United States about the arc involving the Dalek invasion of Downton.

The Saturn Award nominations have been released–full list here.

Batwoman-Proposal

Batwoman is entering into a same-sex marriage but Alyssa Rosenberg says this  portrayal of a gay marriage is not enough to make up for DC hiring homophobe Orson Scott Card:

Something I wish I’d said more clearly the first itme I wrote about DC’s decision to hire Card to write Superman is that calls to fire him don’t appeal to me that strongly because it separates out his hiring from DC’s other hiring practices, which among other things, have produced a staff with very few women and no lead African-American writers on any comics titles. A decision by comics stores not to stock the title, demonstrating that Card’s values turn them off from a product that otherwise might have been profitable for them, makes more sense. And what would be most interesting to me is an explanation from DC about what process lead to Card’s selection. What made his pitches’ stronger than other writers? How did they weigh the likely publicity challenges from his employment against what appears to be a larger institutional imperative to modernize the brand by telling stories about committed gay couples? If DC Comics wants its image to be gay-friendly, then it should have been expected to be evaluated for consistency. More same-sex engagements doesn’t eliminate the appearance of a glaring contradiction in DC’s image.

If all DC wants is our money, rather than our social approval, that’s fine. But it needs to recognize that fishing for money on the grounds that it’s producing progressive and game-changing content is going to be a more difficult task if there’s a disconnect between what the content is, and who the money spent on it ends up going to.

The next Captain America movie, The Winter Soldier, will differ from the first, and from The Avengers, in being more of a political thriller according to Kevin Feige of Marvel Studios:

The challenge is not the number of projects but rather making sure that each is a fresh take on the genre. Being able to populate the films with rich, three-dimensional characters and employing a wealth of storylines that have been developed over the decades in print makes it much easier to pull off, Feige says.

And when it all comes together, the results are boffo: “The Avengers” was one of 2012’s most popular pics, according to Rottentomatoes.com, and with more than $620 million in ticket sales it was the year’s box office champ by a large margin.

As long as Marvel stays on its game, Feige believes its pics will continue to do well in a genre that is far from a passing trend.

“If it is a fad, it’s one that lasts 30 to 40 years, as the Western did, because each one is so different,” he says. “There’s an opportunity to graft almost sub-genres onto them. Our first Captain America film was a World War II picture, and the next is a political thriller. They all have their own textures and patinas, and that’s what is exciting about it.”

 

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SciFi Weekend: Star Wars; Batman; Battlestar Galactica; Who Killed JR?; Mad Men and Other Returning Shows; S.H.I.E.L.D.; Doctor Who Meets Inspector Spacetime

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The big science fiction news of the week is that J.J. Abrams will be directing the next Star Wars movie. I think it is a good idea for J.J. Abrams to direct the Star Wars movie. His tendency to destroy entire planets (Romulus, Vulcan) fits in better with Star Wars and Death Star than Star Trek.

There are reports that they might wait until 2017 to reboot Batman. There is also speculation that the cast of Justice League of America, scheduled for a 2015 release, will be cut down to five, leaving out Batman until he is rebooted in his own movie. Other rumors say that plans continue to reintroduce Batman in Justice League but possibly leave out Aquaman. Incidentally, if anyone is interested in getting the Michael Keaton Batman movies on Blu-Ray, I found they were much less expensive when purchased as part of a Michael Keaton Collection (recently discounted even further on Amazon) than as stand-alone Batman movies.

Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome was turned into a web series after SyFy decided against picking it up as a weekly series. They will be televising this as a movie on February 10.

Dallas returns tomorrow night, starting with the final episodes filmed before the death of Larry Hagman. Considering all the publicity the show obtained in its original run with the mystery of Who Shot JR?, it only makes sense that JR Ewing will leave the series by being murdered as opposed to dying of natural causes. They should be able to keep this mystery, and other references to JR Ewing, part of the show for quite a long time.

Colin Morgan won the award for Best Drama Performance at the National Television Awards for his portrayal of Merlin.

Doctor Who returns on March 30 with Game of Thrones returning the following night.

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Mad Men returns on April 7 with a two hour season premier. More pictures like above here. The upcoming season will include more of Betty Draper but January Jones will not be returning as Emma Frost to X-Men Days of Futures Past . Elisabeth Moss was surprised her character left Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce last season and cannot say what Peggy will be doing in the upcoming season.

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While January Jones won’t be returning to X-Men, Anna Paquin (Rogue), Ellen Page (Kitty Pride) will be returning in these roles.

I was initially concerned that Person of Interest would be about independent stories every week, but over time an increasingly convoluted back story has developed. If you are having as much trouble as I am keeping track of everything, the chart here will either help or confuse matters further.

Filming is starting on S.H.I.E.L.D. Cobie Smulders will be reprising her role as Maria Hill despite continuing on How I Met Your Mother for another season.

Downton Abbey is casting for a new suitor for a character in Season 4. If you saw Season 3, or heard how it end, you will know who. If you do not know, don’t follow this link.

Office Documentary Crew

After nine years the documentary crew is being introduced into the cast of The Office. Will they have a plausible explanation as to why they have been covering this office for nine years?

Emma Stone Nearly Naked.

Doctor Who meets Inspector Spacetime:

Doctor Who Meets Inspector Spacetime

 

 

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SciFi Weekend: Major Events on Fringe (Spoilers); Doctor Who at Children in Need and on Big Bang Theory; Iron Man 3

There were major events this week on Fringe  (MAJOR SPOILERS). It was revealed that one important aspect of Etta’s position in the resistance is her ability to not only block the Observers from reading her thoughts but the ability to teach others. This answered questions as to whether Etta had a unique ability inherited from her mother (although this could be why she was the first to succeed at this). One of the people she taught was Broyles, who we learned is working with the resistance. It is a good thing that Etta has passed her skills on to at least one other person as she did not survive the episode. At least she managed to wipe out several Observers with anti-matter.

Georgina Haig, who played Etta, was interviewed by Entertainment Weekly:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We’re not sure where to start. But I guess walk us through how much you knew before you got the script and then your reaction after you read it.
HAIG: It’s funny — going into it, I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen. When I got the call that I’d be doing the fifth season, I was excited, but I didn’t know the trajectory of the character or even how many episodes I was doing. It’s so secretive even for us! [Laughs] Then I got a call from Joel [Wyman] and he took me through the four episodes and what was going to happen and I was blown away. I was really moved and also I was — I thought it was really brave to take such an emotional leap for all the characters at that point in the story. I just thought it was a really brave thing to do with the story.

Especially because I think there’s a sector of fans who really grew to love Etta in such a short time. What was that reception like for you?
I think I’m lucky because I entered as part of the family straight away. And because Fringe is like a family — literally and metaphorically — the fans sort of embrace you if the world of Fringe has embraced you, if you know what I mean. There was definitely an immediate response as soon as it was worked out that I was the daughter, they were invested. And I don’t think they needed all that much time to invest in me because the relationships were so intense from the get-go.

Last week you had a great scene with Olivia in a car. I think that definitely threw me off the scent of this twist in the story because it seemed like they were really into progressing the mother-daughter relationship. What’s your take on that?
I know! We felt like that the whole time; they were setting it up to knock it down. As an actor I felt the same thing. I was so invested and loving being there knowing I was going to die. Being there in Vancouver and being part of this show was so reflective of what my character had to go through — you left all these great people behind. But I’m just amazed. So much has to happen on Fringe in terms of the plot and the saving the world stuff and the other characters, they’re able to make so much of these moments. That moment in the car happened so quickly and carried so much weight in amongst all the action. But that’s what the show does really well — balancing out the action with these incredible poignant moments.

You had quite a few of those moments in this episode, too, with the bullet necklace. With that exchange, do you think, as a whole, Olivia and Etta had reached a point of resolution in terms of their relationship? I’m curious to get your perspective on where their relationship ended

I think it’s really sad because, of course, a million things weren’t resolved. They got to that point where it had moved from uncomfortable to slightly more comfortable in this dynamic of being reunited. But I think she could see the strain between her parents and there was still so much she couldn’t say and was still learning so much about herself. And her own world — her perspective of right and wrong [versus] Olivia’s. In episode two we explored that quite a lot. There was so much left unsaid. But in four, I think what is resolved is the love and strength between them. But if it was my choice I wouldn’t have died and played out the family drama. [Laughs] There was a lot to explore, but there’s [also] a lot for the writers to explore with me dying and the characters dealing with that. What happens next will, I’m sure, be very interesting — not that I have any idea what that is.

Which was my last question. What do you know?
I know a little bit, but even the little bit I know is kind of vague. They don’t give too much away because they probably know we will be asked. [Laughs] But it’s going to be awesome.

Well, there are a lot of returns on Fringe. Any chance of you being a part of it in some way? Any hopes of a return?
It’s so funny because I was all emotional, and everybody was just like, ‘Ugh, whatever, Georgina, you’ll just be back. It’s Fringe. Everybody dies about four times.” And I was like, “Yeah, but I’ve been obliterated into millions of pieces!” [Laughs] It wasn’t just a death, it was a mega-death. It was a death with a full stop. So I don’t know. Anything is possible.

Anything is possible, especially on Fringe. We have already seen two parallel worlds and alternative time lines. Presumably the series will end with the defeat of the Observers. Will this be limited to the world of fifteen years from now, or will victory mean changing the timeline so that Earth was never conquered by the Observers? Somehow a plot by the Observers to go back in time to conquer their ancestors and change the world to make inhabitable to their human ancestors does seem a lot like the classic science fiction plot of going back in time and killing your grandfather. If the timeline is changed, perhaps we will return to that day in the park without any Observers arriving to take Etta, and perhaps see a future where Olivia, Peter, and Etta are a happy family.

The question of whether Etta returns was also asked in an interview from Huffington Post:

Is Etta really, truly dead, though — no time travel, no sneaky switcheroos?
Oh, man, I know. I was having a great time in Vancouver, you know? I would stay! I had my last day and I was really upset, obviously … just like, “Oh God. That was final. I could learn to ski if I stayed!” Everyone’s like, “Oh, Georgina, it’s ‘Fringe,’ you never know what could happen.” They were so nonplussed. They’re just like, “Whatever, it’s Fringe.” Whereas I was like, “No. I’ve been obliterated into a million pieces. I haven’t just died, I was like self-combobulated or whatever it was. It’s done.” And then they’re like, “But it’s ‘Fringe.’” So who knows? I feel like these guys can get around any corner but I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to happen.

Unfortunately Huffington Post ran this interview right after the show ended with the headline: ‘Fringe’ Season 5: Georgina Haig On Etta’s Shocking Death And Where The Team Goes From Here. Do they understand that many of us record Friday night shows and watch later in the weekend? There was a spoiler warning beneath this headline, but by this time it was too late. Spoilers of this nature should never be included in headlines with many people recording shows to watch at a later time. Normally I go through my RSS reader and save stories about genre shows I have not seen yet. Anyone using a RSS reader, or looking at headlines directly on the site, would have been tipped off about Etta’s death.

After finishing his work on Fringe, show runner Joel Wyman will be working on a new show with J. J Abrams, a futuristic cop series which deals humanity versus technology.

Doctor Who was mentioned once again on Big Bang Theory (video above). Previous references to Doctor Who on Big Bang Theory have been collected here.

Another Spoiler: Later in the episode Leonard and Penny had sex in the TARDIS at Stewart’s Halloween Party. While Doctor Who is technically a children’s show and presumably will not show sex on the TARDIS, Topless Robot found this porn parody trailer, Doctor Screw:

I think I prefer the clean but more amusing Inspector Spacetime parody from Community.

The BBC will once again include Doctor Who in their annual Children in Need special:

Doctor Who, featuring Matt Smith, will also bring viewers an extra special ‘prequel’ to its Christmas special, with a bespoke storyline made for Children in Need, and an exclusive preview trailer of the Christmas special including the first glimpse of the Doctor with his new companion. There will also be an exclusive preview of the Call The Midwife Christmas special.

The full Iron Man 3 trailer came out this week, showing why superheroes need to have a secret identity. Discussion of the scenes can be found here and here.

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SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who (Three Videos); Revolution; Fringe; Merlin

I managed to make it through one installment of SciFi Weekend last week without Doctor Who, but I still miss the show. Therefore I am featuring three videos about  Doctor Who this week. The first shows what happened to Amy and Rory after the events of  The Angels Take Manhattan from the perspective of Rory’s father. The video shows an unshot scene about  Brian receiving a letter and visitor one week after Amy and Rory went to Manhattan on their last trip in the TARDIS.

The start of Community and Inspector Spacetime  have been postponed this season, but in its place Sesame Street does Doctor Who. The use of a Dalek as a threat came before Mitt Romney’s attack on Big Bird.

Is Doctor Who a Religion?

Matt Smith commented on how the dynamic will change with the new companion:

“I was thinking about it the other day and Rory used to take care of Amy quite a lot, so the Doctor became a weird old grandfather.

“He was ostracised in some way. So it is nice having a different dynamic.

“That is what is exciting about the show, you kind of get a first episode again. I think all these stories come to the end of their cycle.

“The Ponds had a wonderful time.”

Eric Kripke, show runner of Revolution, discussed when we will find out what caused the blackout:

Kripke said that the show’s writers are still discussing how early to reveal why the lights went out, but there’s a distinct possibility we’ll know before the first season ends. The creator’s philosophy on revealing answers and wrapping up storylines before moving onto a bigger one is not unlike his approach to his other show, Supernatural. “For me the longer you drag out an answer, the more pressure there is that that answer is the greatest answer ever given in the history of man,” he said. “I would prefer we answer questions quickly and then ask more questions. Answer a question and then open a door to a whole other bigger room.” As for what will be in that bigger room, Kripke promised that the truth about the cause of the blackout “leads directly to a bigger and scarier mystery.”

Fringe took off on its scavenger hunt based upon Walter’s tapes (which increasingly are reminding me of the DHARMA Initiative tapes from Lost). Within this framework The Recordist presented an intriguing story which reminded me of  Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. People living away from civilization were working to preserve information on human civilization for the day after the Observers are forced out, concerned that otherwise the victors would have rewritten history. I did wish that it turned out to be their information as opposed to rocks from the mine (not mime) which were important to the plan to stop the Observers. This also provided more information on life under Observer rule, showing that either the Observers are uninterested in or unable to control all of humanity. My suspicion is that they are unconcerned about humans living away from the cities as long as they don’t pose a threat. Their numbers must be limited if they sent Loyalists to go after the fugitives from the Fringe Division as opposed to going themselves.

Person of Interest was not on this week. It was preempted by a show featuring a smart old man trying to teach some basic facts about the economy, health care, foreign affairs, and separation of church and state to a young guy who was not all that well informed.

Merlin has completed a two-part season opening story, Arthur’s Bane. I will avoid any significant spoilers, primarily limiting comments to aspects of the story which were apparent early in the first episode, or which have already been revealed on line. The story takes place three years after the end of the last season. It was the start of a Golden Age for Camelot but now there are problems with men disappearing in the north. (Did they go beyond the wall?) Arthur, Merlin, and Knights of the Round Table go to investigate while at home Gwen is excising true power as Queen in Arthur’s absence. Morgana and Mordred, along with a new being and a dragon, are all involved in the story. The ending, and how Mordred was dealt with, came as quite a surprise.

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SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who News; Merlin; Inspector Spacetime; Saturn Awards; Mitt Romney and Porn

The trailer for the upcoming season of Doctor Who is out (video above). Dinosaurs on a space ship! Then there’s the question:

Who killed all the Daleks?”
“Who do you think?!”

An analysis of the trailer looking at multiple screen grabs (including the above one of the Doctor in Times Square) can be seen here. This certainly suggests that ate least part of episode 5 takes place in modern day New York.

Christopher Eccleston, the 9th Doctor has been cast to play the villain Malekith The Accursed in Thor: The Dark World.

Tom Baker has posted this tribute to Mary Tamm on his website:

The dreadful news of Mary Tamm’s death amazed me. I had no idea she was ill. We got on terribly well and I admired her wit and style and warmth. We used to meet at different Who conventions and sometimes had time for a little chat. I remember meeting her at Heathrow in the 1st class section: her section, of course. She was flicking through a magazine and sipping a beer: the epitome of cool style.

When we first worked together her tales of her background (she’s from Estonia) kept me very amused. I think they spoke Estonian at home. She used to do an impression of her aunt, I think, who had been an opera singer. She had a marvellous trick of rapid asides which often had nothing to do with the main story but which convulsed us. I tried to copy this trick behind her back but it eluded me as most tricks have eluded me all my life. And that she is dead seems incredible.

Fate is capricious and quite indifferent to our fears. Lovely girls: Elisabeth Sladen, Caroline John and now Mary Tamm: all dead. And here am I closing in on eighty and all I’ve had was whooping cough! It’s not fair, is it? Actually, I also have a creaky knee. And probably a creaky brain.

I never met Mary’s daughter and hardly ever met Marcus, her husband. But I send them from the bottom of my old heart sincere condolences. To have known her consoles me a little: poor darling Mary, poor us.

A fan did quite a good job of colorizing this scene of the first Doctor, showing the final scene between the Doctor and Susan from The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

The Oxford Dictionaries have added Whovian (source)

 Whovian Pronunciation: /ˈhuːvɪən/
Definition of Whovian

noun

informal

a fan of the British science-fiction television series Doctor Who: as a fan from way back, Barrowman is well aware of just how passionate Whovians are about everything ‘Who’

Digital Spy has news on the upcoming season of Merlin:

Colin Morgan (Merlin), Katie McGrath (Morgana) and Angel Coulby (Gwen) spoke to Digital Spy about the new episodes, Gwen’s reign as Queen and the return of the dragons.

Morgan told Digital Spy that his young wizard character is in a “ruthless mode” in the next series.

“Merlin is becoming more ruthless, because he is becoming more solid in his beliefs,” said the 26-year-old. “He’s seeing things in a whole new way.”

Mordred – now played by Alexander Vlahos – will also return to the series, with McGrath suggesting that he and Morgana have an “unbreakable” bond.

“You can’t tell the story of Morgana without Mordred,” she explained. “They are interlinked, they are entwined, and from the very first episode [of series five], you see that.

Morgan added that the reappearance of Mordred is “the biggest threat there’s ever been” to Camelot and the reign of Arthur (Bradley James).

“Anyone who knows the Arthurian legend knows what Mordred is destined to do… so that is the biggest threat, that is the biggest force,” he hinted.

The next season jumps ahead three years with the characters now older.

Upon posting the above poster, Dan Harmon blogged “Holy crap this is really really really cool.” Harmon, who already received a script deal from Fox after being fired from Community, has now received a second deal from CBS.

Season two of The Hour doesn’t air until November but it is also receiving some publicity in the United States. Trailer for the series above.

Parenthood is getting a sixth actor from Friday Night Lights.  So far Minka Kelly, Michael B. Jordan, Derek Phillips, Angela Rawna and Jeff Rosick have appeared, and now Matt Lauria, who played  Luke Cafferty, has been cast.

The Saturn Awards came out last week. The full list is here with some of the awards listed below:

FILM AWARDS

Best Science Fiction Film:
Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Best Fantasy Film:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Best Horror/Thriller Film:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Best Action/Adventure Film:
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Best Actor:
Michael Shannon
Take Shelter

Best Actress:
Kirsten Dunst
Melancholia

Best Supporting Actor:
Andy Serkis
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 

Best Supporting Actress:
Emily Blunt
The Adjustment Bureau

Best Performance by a Younger Actor:
Joel Courtney
Super 8

Best Director:
J.J. Abrams
Super 8

Best Writing:
Jeff Nichols
Take Shelter

TELEVISION AWARDS

Best Network Television Series:
Fringe

Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series:
Breaking Bad

Best Television Presentation:
The Walking Dead

Best Youth-Oriented Television Series:
Teen Wolf

Best Actor on Television:
Bryan Cranston
Breaking Bad

Best Actress on Television:
Anna Torv
Fringe

Best Supporting Actor on Television:
Aaron Paul
Breaking Bad

Best Supporting Actress on Television:
Michelle Forbes
The Killing

Best Guest Star on Television:
Tom Skerritt
Leverage

Finally in entertainment news, Mitt Romney received the endorsement of porn star Jenna Jameson, who reportedly is worth $50 million, despite his history of supporting restrictions on pornography. Jameson explained her endorsement by saying, “When You’re Rich, You Want A Republican In Office.” If she was smarter she would understand that it is possible to make more money with a thriving economy when Democrats are in office.  While Mitt Romney has promised to keep porn off of computers, fortunately Mitt Romney’s promises don’t mean very much. Video report follows:

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SciFi Weekend: News From San Diago Comic Con

The best news so far out of Comic Con is that there is hope that NBC won’t force the new show runners to destroy Community after firing Dan Harmon. Here’s good news from David Guarascio and Moses Port:

“Listen, a couple of months ago, we were a lot like most of you, just huge fans of the show who thought it was one of the most special things on television,” Guarascio said. “The only thing we care about is keeping it this weird, wonderful gem … That’s not gonna change.”

“Like no other show, the fans influence what [gets on the show],” he continued. “So, thank you, it’s been a beacon.”

Added Port: “It’s not us coming in and taking it on by ourselves. It’s the best cast on television.” “We could be really, really crappy and this would still be a great show,” Guarascio said.

To that end, here’s what the pair has already planned for Community’s fourth season: a visit to Pierce’s mansion (“We’ll get to see the twisted world where he lives,” Guarascio said), a trip to the Inspector Space Time convention, and, yes, more inventive animation is on the way.

As for graduation? It will definitely happen, and it will definitely be emotional. “We’ll explore some new relationships, some real significant relationships. One might involve the dean and Jeff,” Guarascio said. “And the show will keep going, even if they’re not all at the school at the same time. They’ve become this real family that will exist no matter what happens.”

Inspector Space Time convention? It still sucks that Harmon got fired, but I am certainly interested in seeing the upcoming season. #sixseasonsandamovie

More on Community from IO9:

Then, all our suspicions about the show were confirmed when executive producer Russ Krasnoff said, “When Dan Harmson first talked to us about a show, he pitched time travelers and aliens from space, and then this one . . . but we didn’t know he would put it all in Community.” So even the execs have figured out that Community is basically a science fiction show.

McHale also dropped a hint about his father. “Eddie Murphy will be playing Jeff’s father,” he joked. “Pluto Nash himself.” Was he joking? You never know.

A gag reel is posted here.

There’s a lot of couples news regarding The Big Bang Theory:

Howard and Bernadette
Astronaut Howard “Fruit Loops” Wolowitz will spend the first few episodes in space, exec producer Bill Prady says, noting that his living arrangements with new bride Bernadette will come up relatively quickly upon his return to Earth. “All of those things that we thought might happen at the end of Season 5 are happening in Season 6,” he says. Exec producer Steve Molaro noted that the issue — whether the couple will continue to live at home with the nagging Mrs. Wolowitz or find a place of their own — won’t be resolved quickly. “He’s torn between two really powerful, strong women who both adore him,” Prady says, noting that he doesn’t want to disappoint his mother or let his new bride down. Says Helberg: “He’s going to piss someone off a lot, whether it’s his wife or his mother. He’s got growing up to do. … Either way there’s going to be someone yelling at him from another room.”

As for his outer space experience, it won’t all be smooth sailing for the Mama’s Boy. “Howard learns that even though he makes it all the way to space, all the issues of life that plague him won’t stay on Earth and have a way of following him all the way up to the space station,” Molaro warns. Meanwhile, Helberg notes that Howard will encounter some rough space travels as he’ll bear the brunt of the jokes on his mission — both from his fellow astronauts as well as from home. In terms of what will happen once he does return home? Expect a boosted ego from the former leader of the wolf pack. “I don’t think he’s going to burry [that he was in space] and it sounds like he’s going to be bullied in space,” Helberg says. “He’s definitely going to hype [having gone to space] … he’s going to wear the NASA shirt to take the trash out.”

So could kids be something that comes next for the new Mr. and Mrs. Wolowitz? Melissa Rauch said the union could make for some noisy offspring. “With the vocal tone of Bernadette and the Wolowitz family, that baby’s cry would break glass,” she said with a laugh.

Leonard and Penny
“They have a complicated road,” Prady warns of what’s to come for the fan-favorite couple following Leonard’s spur-of-the-moment proposal. “If Sheldon and Amy’s relationship is baffling and Howard and Bernadette’s is traditional, Leonard and Penny’s is rocky,” he says. “They adore each other as people and friends and it keeps drawing them together and when they get together, they keep being unsure how to proceed there.” Adds Cuoco: “I hope down the line, at the end of the show, that they’re together but right now it’s probably not right.”

For his part, Galecki says timing continues to be a problem for Leonard, with Penny facing an entirely different issue. “I don’t know that emotional maturity is Penny’s strong suit right now; she seems to run away right now to any kind of proposal — like when Leonard professed his love for her and she shut it down,” he notes.

Sheldon and Amy
“A lot of the Sheldon-Amy relationship has to revolve around Sheldon, so in terms of [their relationship] expanding, that has to foster from Sheldon; whether that means he’ll learn new things about himself, learn new limits to his boundaries or new boundaries, it’s unclear. But I love the sparring that Amy and Sheldon have and the non-romantic elements of their relationship,” Bialik. “There’s never been any mention of Amy’s attractiveness — or lack of attractiveness — to him; he likes her as she is, it’s irrelevant to him and he’s truly in love with her mind.”

Raj, the Odd Man Out
Executive producer Chuck Lorre teased that there would be a new romance for Raj during Friday’s Comic-Con panel in Hall H, but that was news to his portrayer, Kunal Nayyar. “That was the first time I heard it at the panel,” he told THR. “He did say, ‘Excited to see it,’ so I don’t know if it is the person or thing he’s going to fall in love with or the actual relationship.” Raj always used Howard as his crutch and he’s going to have to lean on something, so whether he actually goes out there and risks his heart on some love, we’ll see. As for who he’d like to see as his potential love interest, it’s a short list: former Big Bang Theory guest stars Danica McKellar and Summer Glau or any “geek icon” since “Mayim Bialik is taken,” he joked.

More from the Big Bang panel here.

No confirmation from the BBC yet, but Matt Smith said at ComicCon today that Doctor Who will resume airing in August. A Doctor Who cast interviews can be seen above, the second interview conducted by John Barrowman.

Karen Gillan will be staring in a horror film named Oculus:

The plot begins 10 years after a horrifying family incident left two young children orphans. Although authorities charged the brother with murder, his sister, Kaylie, believed that the true culprit was a haunted antique mirror. Now rehabilitated and in his 20s, the brother is ready to move on but Kaylie is determined to prove that the mirror was responsible for destroying their family.

Last week we learned that Diana Rigg will be appearing in Doctor Who. She is also to have a role in Game of Thrones. She play Olenna Redwyne, the Queen of Thorns, the grandmother of Margaery Tyrell. More on the Game of Thrones panel here.

News on Dexter which returns September 30:

“New” Big Bad: Another Trinity killer is on the loose! Not exactly. In Season 7, Dexter is stalking a killer who “ritually murders on New Year’s Eve.” Whatever happened to resolutions like joining the gym?

A Little Help From a Friend: Strahovski is guesting as Hannah McKay, “a woman of mystery with a dark past,” explained the beautiful Aussie actress explained. “She meets Dexter and helps him with an investigation in an old murder mystery” – presumably the NYE killer. “She’s not working with the police,” Strahovski clarified to Zap2it at a Showtime party following the panel. “This is why the role was so enticing to me. The last five years I’ve played a CIA agent on ‘Chuck — it’s the complete opposite.”

No Seconds Wasted: Season 7 picks up immediately from last year’s shocking finale: Deb discovering her brother murdering Travis (Colin Hanks). Dexter tries to justify it as an act of self-defense, but considering Travis is “wrapped in plastic on an altar,” he has some splaining to do to his incredulous sister.

Incest Is Best:[Why!!!!!!] Sorry, it doesn’t look like “Dexter” producers have any plans to course-correct the show’s new controversial storyline: Deb realizing she has romantic feelings for Dexter. “There was certainly a fascination that I thought Deb had with Dexter, so it didn’t feel like it was so bizarre to play that last season,” Carpenter reasoned, before adding, “I think him stabbing somebody trumps those thoughts.” [I hope so].

Daddy Dearest: Dexter’s son, Harrison, is still “in the picture” this season, Hall confirmed. (And “very cute,” Carpenter piped in.) Being a serial killer parent to a growing boy “becomes a dicier proposition every day,” said Hall. “As someone who is also Harrison’s guardian, Deb now has a sense of what she’s dealing with her brother that changes things as well. He has someone encouraging him to face what he is trying to pull off as a parent.

“Dexter’s powers of denial are pretty strong, but he would be hard pressed to really argue that being a serial killer is an ideal hobby for a parent,” Hall concluded drily.

Neil Gaiman announced he is doing a Sandman prequel in the video above:

Twenty-five years after The Sandman, Neil Gaiman’s critically acclaimed series of graphic novels, first appeared, the award-winning author is returning to the books that helped make his name.

The very first Sandman comic, published in 1988, tells the story of how Morpheus, or Dream, is captured and imprisoned by an occultist. Gaiman stopped writing the popular and award-winning books more than 10 years ago, but announced yesterday at San Diego Comic-Con that, in 2013, a new mini-series will tell the story of Morpheus before he was captured. JH Williams, who has worked on Batwoman and Promethea, will illustrate the new stories, which will be published by DC Comics’ imprint Vertigo.

“When I finished writing The Sandman, there was one tale still untold – the story of what had happened to Morpheus to allow him to be so easily captured in The Sandman No 1, and why he was returned from far away, exhausted beyond imagining, and dressed for war. It was a story that we discussed telling for Sandman’s 20th anniversary … but the time got away from us. And now, with Sandman’s 25th anniversary year coming up, I’m delighted, and nervous, that that story is finally going to be told,” said Gaiman.

The producers of Elementary defended the decision to make Watson a woman. (No way the show will be as good as Sherlock.)

Joss Wheden is uncertain as to whether he will return for the sequel to The Avengers. More from the Firefly panel here. More on Marvel super hero movies here. Iron-Man news here. A movie is also to be made of –info here.

Footage shown from Man of Steel shows a more alienated Superman.

Bad things are still happening in Storybrook even after the curse was broken. Once Upon a Time season 2 preview above. Information from the panel here.

Person of Interest has big plans for Amy Acker.

More to come on Sunday–update here.

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SciFi Weekend: Fringe; Doctor Who; Sherlock; Natalie Dormer on Game of Thrones; Annie in the Community Dreamatorium

It has become a tradition for the nineteenth episode of Fringe to break from the usual narrative, but this one could be a real game changer. Letters of Transit takes place in a future in which the Observers have taken over, the Fringe division officially exists to police the natives, and some Fringe agents are secretly involved in a rebellion. The episode raises questions as to whether this is the direction Fringe is moving in or if this is just one of many possible futures.Have the Observers been actually working to set this up, or maybe was this a previously unintended response to their meddling. The ending raises a number of  more specific questions. Where was Olivia? Presumably she had died previously per the previous warnings. Why was William Bell, who we have been led to believe was also dead in the changed timeline, also in the Amber and exactly why did Walter respond to him as he did? We previously learned of the negative consequences of Peter and Altlivia having a child. What about the daughter? Presumably Etta is resistant to mind reading by the Observers due to inherited abilities from her mother. It was a fantastic  episode to watch, and could be enjoyed by those who are not following the series regularly, but it remains to be seen as to how it fits into the series.

Many more pictures from Doctor Who in New York are on line, along with spoilers as to what occurs. There have been rumors that Rory is sent back in time by the Weeping Angels and is not found until he is an old man, and we see him die. Does Amy go back to be with him? There have been reports of the Doctor yelling at someone not to do something while filming. The cast has returned to Cardiff where the location of the filming might be related to these rumors:

John Barrowman wants a Doctor Who musical and to return to the series.

Doctor Who and Sherlock have inspired a lot of fan art. A couple examples are above and far more are posted here.

TV Guide interviewed Natalie Dormer about her role as Margaery on Game of Thrones:

You’re best known in the U.S. as Ann Boleyn on The Tudors. You’ve become quite the go-to girl for period drama on cable!
Natalie Dormer: [Laughs] My range does exchange beyond that. But I hear it’s a commonality to jump between HBO and Showtime and vice versa, so I take it as a compliment really.

How would you describe your character Margaery?
Dormer: She’s very genuine, she’s old beyond her age. Through her family, she’s always been educated and trained to be a political operator and play the cards for her family the best that she can for their ambition. There are comparisons you could make with my experience playing Ann Boleyn in that regard. The big difference between playing Margaery and the machinations and politics of court in playing Ann Boleyn is that Margaery a lot more of a genuine, sincere, straight-playing woman. As compared to Cersei, there’s quite a Machiavellian element to her. Margaery has a pure heart. She’s trying to do the best she can for her brother, for her house and for the good of the people, what she thinks is best for the realm.

The same is true for Loras, the Knight of Flowers, that sort of optimistic, liberal feel from the South. Michelle Fairley as Catelyn says “They’re the Knights of Summer, and winter is coming.” She feels sorry for them because they do come from a more positive, liberal attitude, environment and culture as they do in King’s Landing. I think it’ll be very interesting when the cultures collide.

In the last episode, you have a scene where you have to try to seduce your husband Renly…
Dormer: That was the first scene I shot. I was having a good laugh with the creators of the show, David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss], that it was a nice initiation to Game of Thrones. It was a bit cruel that they had to schedule it that way, but they denied all knowledge of the scheduling. I hadn’t met Gethin Anthony before, and obviously his being a veteran from the last season, he was very generous, very welcoming. The family spirit on the show is quite amazing considering the sheer number of cast [members]… You’re a new character, and there are lots of new characters for the second season. There’s this ethos on the show that starts with David and Dan and it works its way down. I was made to feel very welcome immediately, which was much appreciated on quite a delicate scene to begin with.

What can you tell us about a scene you have with Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) in the upcoming Sunday’s episode?
Dormer: I knew Aidan before joining Thrones and I think he’s an absolutely incredible actor. His creation of Littlefinger is exciting and impressive. It’s a testament to Aidan’s skill as an actor that he has managed to create this fascinating character that viewers just adore to watch how he operates. I was very excited to begin Margaery’s relationship with Littlefinger because even though she is a woman and even though she is so very young, because of the way she was brought up and the world she comes from, she’s an old spirit. Littlefinger would make a mistake in underestimating such a young, innocent woman in the game of thrones. So it was very interesting to raise my bar as an actress to play opposite an actor such as Aidan the way Margaery knows she’s going to have to raise her skills and her bar in being able to interact with Littlefinger. Maybe there’s a little bit of life imitating art there.

Were you familiar with the books and Margaery before auditioning for the part?
Dormer: I wasn’t familiar with the books… I think every actor on the show makes the decision whether to [read them] or not. Even though the first season was incredibly accurate to the book, there’s the suggestion that in the future, because of the enormity of the scope of the books and the characters we already have in place on the show, that it might not be easy to be 100 percent so faithful to the books in the future. Not necessarily in the character story lines but in what we’re able to see. I had the advantage of not really knowing who Margaery was previous to going in, so I did my interpretation on how the creators saw her…

Did the costumers want you to be cold as possible? That neckline plunged to your navel!
Dormer: Oh man, yes, absolutely. It was freezing. It’s a shame. I think it was on the back of your Hurricane Irene or something, but the tail end of it came across The Atlantic and it hit the north coast of Ireland so hard. It was scheduled to happen earlier in the month when it was slightly sunnier, but because of problems with the weather, we had pushed shooting that scene. So it was really probably about fall by the time we shot it. In an ideal world, we should have been where Emilia [Clarke, who plays Daenerys] was in Croatia. That tournament scene was just unfortunate. From my experience of shooting Tudors on the island of Ireland, you cannot predict the weather. I had a lot of costume girls running over to me with hot water bottles and blankets. They were very dutiful and took great care of me.

What would best represent you on your own personal sigil?
Dormer: It’s funny you should say that because I could answer that straightaway. It’s a twist of fate. When I was a little girl, my grandfather who I was very close to used to grow yellow roses. He had yellow roses growing all the way up his drive. I remember watching him [raise] them when I was a little girl. I always used to joke when I was playing Ann Boleyn — the Tudor roses are white and red because they’re the amalgamation of the two houses during the civil war in England — I used to say, “The roses are in my life because of The Tudors, but I love yellow roses.” And it was just a twist of fate that the Tyrell’s sigil is the yellow rose. I took it as a sign at the time that I was destined to play Margaery because I’ve always had a thing for yellow roses. Now I actually have one as a sigil. It was a twist of fate.

If you sat on the Iron Throne, what would be your first edict?
Dormer: Worldwide emancipation for women, equality for the sexes in all areas.

On Community, Annie entered the Dreamatorium with Abed and became Temporary Constable Geneva to Inspector Spacetime. Video clip above.

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SciFi Weekend: Secrets of Fringe and Alcatraz; The Economics of Building The Death Star; Community, Inspector Spacetime and The Game of Thrones Returning; Nude Shots of Kate Middleton on Californication?

The last two episodes of Fringe have included major advances to the plot in the alternative time line as Olivia began having memories from the Olivia of the original time line, we encountered the Nina from the universe, and Peter entered the mind of an Observer. The big revelation was that problems were caused by Peter having a child with Altlivia instead of Olivia. Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman were interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter last week, and Collider has a more recent interview:

Was the Observer intel something you’ve been wanting to reveal for awhile now?

WYMAN: Well, we always said that you’d find out about the Observers this season, and that we’re going to investigate them a lot more. So, we’re excited about it all because the Observers are a highlight. For us to constantly break what you think you know, and re-set and have viewers go, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming,” that’s why we get up in the morning. It’s to take people on the ride. We’re excited about what’s coming up, too.

This season, there have been some really great singular cases and stand-alone episodes, but “The End of All Things” was mythology heavy and really speaks to the larger arc this season. How will that effect what viewers see in the final stretch this season?

PINKNER: Well, it’s definitely a game-changer, in that our characters learn a lot more, and the audience is going to learn a lot more, about the uber-plot of our season bad guy, David Robert Jones (Jared Harris). For Peter (Joshua Jackson), Olivia (Anna Torv) and Walter (John Noble), it’s going to start to unfold in ways that, hopefully, will be both really satisfying and challenging to our characters. It’s the 14th episode out of 22, and it’s very much a hinge episode that’s going to launch us into the back half portion of the season.

Do you already know what the final episode for this season will be?

PINKNER: No, we have not written the finale, but we do know what it is. We’ve known the shape of our season before we even started this year.

WYMAN: Fortunately, at the end of every season, we close the chapter and start anew. That’s the language of the series now, so it can organically come to a conclusion that we love.

How soon is it going to become evident what David Robert Jones’ (Jared Harris) uber-plan is, specifically, and how Olivia fits into it?

WYMAN: We can’t say anything, but just remember that, on Fringe, nothing is as it seems. There’s always a little more to the story behind the story. He’s definitely a large part, going forward. A lot of things will come full circle.

jared-harris-fringe-image

PINKNER: We’re well aware of how intelligent our audience is. We’re well aware that Fringe is a show that you really need to lean forward into and pay attention to and think about. It’s not designed to be a show that you can watch while you’re folding laundry. So, we’re well aware of the questions that our audience is inevitably going to ask. We’re well aware of how carefully they watch the show and hold us to continuity. We’re certainly aware of the debates that are going to occur. Our audience holds us to an incredibly high standard of continuity and emotional authenticity. We don’t toy with that, but oftentimes we write stories, in order to spark debate. We’re very determined to always give the answer. We don’t want to leave a lot of things open to debate, at the end of the day.

Episodes of Alcatraz have a formula in which a different prisoner from Alcatraz shows up in the present and must be apprehended every week. Some of the prison staff has also been seen in the present, but very little has been revealed as to what is really going on. Whether the show is successful as a genre show as opposed to a crime show with a twist will depend upon how the mythology of the show is developed. With cancellation of the series a strong possibility after this season, I have feared that we might be kept hanging without real answers. In an interview with TV Guide, executive producers Jennifer Johnson and Dan Pyne indicate that we will receive answers by the end of this season:

Is there a particular reason why Alcatraz prison became the focus point of the disappearance?
Johnson:
Yeah. There are theories that our characters have. We’ll talk about what those theories are by the end of the season, but they may not be the real ones. We’ll understand what Hauser thinks about it and what his think-tank thinks about it, but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. We may meet a character by the end of the season who does know that specific answer, who probably has a lot more answers than any of the characters we’ve met so far.

Dissecting Alcatraz‘s Mysteries: How many ’63s are working with Hauser?

Will we learn who the powers that be are and what their motives are this season? Or is that a series arc?
Pyne:
Well, it’s a little of both. I think by the end of [Episode] 13 we’ll have an understanding of who that might be.
Johnson:
That’s the character that we were referring to. He might be part of the powers that be.
Pyne: But definitely by the end of the season there will be more of a sense of the game that’s afoot. We won’t be coy about it and keep holding back. There will be a better sense of what’s going on. We may not understand what the endgame is, but at least the players will become a little bit clearer.
Johnson:
It’s complicated because they don’t all have the same goals, which we’re going to hit upon before the end of the season. There’s almost a secret war happening between the ’63s, too. That all interplays with what their relationships were in the past when they were imprisoned or working on Alcatraz.

Is there a reason why some of the ’63s have gone against mission?
Pyne:
Yes.
Johnson: We won’t say definitively, but we’ll give people the tools to have pretty informed theories about it.

What’s with the fascination with the number three — three keys, three bank robberies and three days of sniper shootings are just some of the few?
Pyne:
There may be more than one number clue.
Johnson:
Forty-seven is an important number, too. But we like three for its stability and the idea that it’s a triangle. We talk about triangles a lot and relationships that have three angles in them.

Dissecting Alcatraz‘s Mysteries: Who is Lucy, really?

Lucy had mentioned in the past that she was going to fix the prisoners with memory-altering experiments. Did she end up being a puzzle piece in the overall mystery of how the ’63s disappeared?
Pyne:
She definitely is a puzzle piece, yes. We may not stick with this forever, but right now, everything that’s happened in the past has happened chronologically in 1960. So, there’s still three years left before the jump. Clearly, allegiances change. Stuff happens in those three years between the time when Lucy comes to prison to start her experiments and 1963 when she obviously disappeared along with everybody else. Certainly, she has some answers to what might have gone on, but she also may not even understand. She didn’t understand at the time what was going on. It may be just now looking back at it that she can start to unravel what she saw.
Johnson:
Yeah, helping the team unravel by knowing the psychology of the inmates. But the Warden (Jonny Coyne) is very Machiavellian. He does not want the left hand to know what the right hand is doing. So, he may utilize different players for their different challenges. But part of his M.O. is not to let any one person know too much of what is going on.

Diego mentioned in the pilot that the Warden had died many years ago. Did he really or is he part of the missing ’63s?
Pyne:
It’s possible.

Will we discover how Lucy came to work with Hauser in the future and see more of their relationship in the past?
Johnson:
Yes. Definitely, 100 percent.
Pyne:
Their love story is one of the great triangles of Alcatraz.
Johnson:
It’s kind of the love triangle between Hauser, Lucy, and the jump itself.

Dissecting Alcatraz‘s Mysteries: Why is Tommy Madsen so important?

Will we find out what Dr. Beauregard (Leon Rippy) was doing behind closed doors at Alcatraz?
Pyne:
You may find out soon, in the next couple episodes. Then once you find out, you may be totally wrong, but you will see some of what he’s up to. He’s a little bit jealous of Lucy’s elevation to the prize poodle on Alcatraz, so he gets up to some hijinks that he maybe shouldn’t.

What can you tell us about the downstairs door that needs to be opened with three keys?
Johnson:
That we’re going to open it before the end of the season. We’ll understand by the end of the season what’s behind that door, at least one layer of it. It was very important to the Warden. There may only be one person that he shares that secret with.

We learned Diego was kidnapped at age 11. Will that come back into play?
Johnson:
That’s his deep, deep back story and a lot of what motivated his fascination with Alcatraz and with comic books. We won’t necessarily go there before the end of the season, but that is part of who he is as a character and why he became part of this team.

Dissecting Alcatraz‘s Mysteries: Hauser and Lucy’s past revealed

Once Rebecca does finally come face-to-face with Tommy, will she be able to let bygones be bygones and realize that he is still her family?
Pyne:
Gosh.
Johnson:
We know the answer to that, but I don’t think we can tell you.

What can you tell us about what is in store for her?
Pyne:
She begins to get a little bit more focused on solving the mystery of what happened to her partner and delving into that day and why he was there. It slowly leads her to some revelations about her partner about the larger mystery of Alcatraz and also about Tommy Madsen.
Johnson:
And what everybody is doing here present day. They discover that there are different factions of ’63s here in present day San Francisco and beyond.

Sarah Jones, who plays Detective Rebecca Madsen, also indicated that there will be pay off for the fans in the last two episodes in an interview with Collider.

Last week the political blogosphere debated whether the Death Star was worth building. Kevin Drum looked at the economics and found that it was a surprisingly cost-effective weapon. A post at Enik Rising argued that it was a bad investment, even if affordable. I bet that such debates prior to the building of the Death Star didn’t take Luke Skywalker into consideration.

Community returns on March 15. There will also be a web series of Inspector Spacetime, a British time travel show which began in 1992 according to Community. Geeks of Doom has more information:

Inspector Spacetime, the Doctor Who-spoofing character whose cheeky sci-fi exploits are vastly enjoyed by Community characters Abed (Danny Pudi) and Troy (Donald Glover), will soon be seen in his very own web series, but don’t expect to see any cameos from certain Greendale Community College students. Travis Richey, the Inspector himself, is producing the six-episode series independently.

You can expect to see the Inspector and his trusty sidekick Constable Reginald battle their arch-nemesis Boyish the Extraordinary and take on the Blorgons of Second New Old Earth 7 with the aid of the Inspector’s “optic pocketknife.”

Richey wrote to io9 to further clarify his intentions for the web series:

“Dan Harmon, Community, NBC and Sony have nothing to do with this web series. I pitched it to them after my first episode of Community, but never heard back from them one way or another. So I’m going to do it myself, with the help of fans. I’m launching a Kickstarter campaign in a matter of hours for an equipment budget, and the complete story can be read there.”

The Game of Thrones returns on April 1 (preview above).

The BBC made a pilot for a series loosely based upon Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently novels in 2010. A three episode series begins on BBC 4 on March 5.

Emilie de Ravin of Lost, who also appears in Once Upon A Time as Belle this season, c0-stars in a pilot for ABC:

Lost alumna Emilie de Ravin is set to co-star in another ABC drama series project,  pilot Americana, a soap about a famous fashion industry clan. It centers on iconic fashion designer Robert Soulter (Anthony LaPaglia), the patriarch of a sprawling family who just welcomed a new member, a young designer whose shocking arrival turns the family and the legendary label inside out. De Ravin, repped by Gersh and manager Darren Goldberg, will play Robert’s chic and outgoing daughter Francesca who is the head of events at Americana but Robert doesn’t consider her a candidate for the heir to his empire, which may have treacherous consequences. Michael Seitzman wrote the script, with Phillip Noyce, who helmed the pilot for ABC’s Revenge last year, directing.

Camilla Luddington, who played Kate Middleton in the Lifetime movie William & Kate, has more recently had a role in Californication. In last week’s episode she was repeatedly seen naked in scenes ranging from swimming in the nude to getting caught by Charlie Runkle while getting out of the shower. In is safe to assume this is the closest we will ever get to seeing any version of Kate Middleton nude on television. Pictures are under the fold if you are seeing this on the main web page (double click on the pictures for larger versions).

(more…)

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SciFi Weekend: Matt Smith and Karen Gillan win National Television Awards; Fifty Years of Doctor Who in Ten Minutes; Eve Myles On The Future of Torchwood; Captain Jack and Captain Kirk; J.J. Abrams–Star Trek, Person of Interest, and Alcatraz; Big Bang Theory and Doctor Who

It was a good night for Doctor Who at the National Television Awards, despite losing to Downton Abbey as best drama. Matt Smith won the award for best actor and Karen Gillan won for best actress.  Merlin was also a contender for Best Drama.

David Tennant has also won as best actor at the inaugural BBC Audio Drama Awards. He won for his role as Kafka in Kafka: The Musical.

Does reading about awards for the last two Doctors make you nostalgic for their episodes, as well as all the episodes before them? The above video shows almost fifty years of Doctor Who in less than ten minutes.

Matt Smith and Karen Gillan beat nominees from Torchwood, John Barrowman and Eve Myles, in their respective categories in the National Television Awards. Cultbox interviewed Eve Myles about the future of Torchwood and the upcoming 50th anniversary of Doctor Who:

What’s the latest you’ve heard on the future of Torchwood?

“As far as I know at the moment, everything’s still very much on hold. Russell [T Davies] has things happening in his personal life.

“John [Barrowman] is very much on the same page as me, in that if and when they need us, they can just pick the phone up and we will be there before they’ve even put the phone down, because it’s something we love doing.

“Nothing’s going to happen in 2012, I know that much for sure. But who knows what will happen in 2013. Maybe a movie, to kinda draw a line under it.

“That’s the thing about Torchwood, every series we’ve changed our format. We’ve always had a gap in between, so fingers crossed, because we’ve got such an outstanding loyal fan base. They deserve Torchwood to go ahead with something else to draw a line under it, for the fans to have a bit of closure.

With the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who coming up next year, would you be up for returning as Gwen for that?

“Um, I said something at one of these conventions and the press kinda jumped on it: “EVE MYLES THINKS BEING INVOLVED IN THE 50TH ANNINVERSARY OF DOCTOR WHO IS INAPPROPRIATE.”

“Now, this has come across wrong and I want to get this out that I didn’t mean it like that! What I meant was that the direction we were taking with Torchwood was very violent kind of storylines. The characters were going through certain narratives that are pretty hefty and adult. What I meant was that it’s difficult for a character to do those kind of scenes then do Doctor Who, which my niece and my nephews watch. And I would never let them watch Torchwood!

“It’s a difficult crossover. It works with Captain Jack because John does it beautifully. If I was asked it would be an absolute honour to be involved with something as huge as Doctor Who again.

“We were born from Doctor Who and we will be eternally grateful to the mothership. And I always say that and that never gets printed! If I was involved, I’m sure it’d be a wonderful thing but there’s been no phone call or no talk about it so I doubt very much that I will be involved, but I’d be honoured.”

Topless Robot helped me transition from Torchwood to Star Trek by digging up the above video of John Barrowman interviewing William Shatner (Captain Jack and Captain Kirk) from 1994 about Star Trek: Generations.

Zoe Saldana has provided a hint as to what happens with her character in J.J. Abram’s second Star Trek movie in an interview with New York Magazine:

Might we see some more “close encounters” between you and Zachary Quinto in this movie?
If I’m elusive, will that spoil it for you?
You mean you can’t say anything, and that in itself might be indicating something?
I just don’t want to spoil it for you. All I’m going to say is, if you put all the time and energy and wit into setting these two characters together in the first movie and didn’t follow through, it would be a shame.

Got it.
I hope I didn’t say too much!

I don’t think you did.
I feel like J.J. is going to pop up out of the corner and say, “Come with me, Zoe.”

J.J. Abrams also has two new genre television shows this season, Person of Interest and Alcatraz. Individual episodes of each give the impression of being essentially police procedural shows with a twist, and the question in my mind is whether there will be enough back story of interest to make them worth watching. I almost gave up on Fringe during its first season, seeing it as largely a monster of the week version of X-Files, but by the second season there was a tremendous pay off for sticking with the show. Therefore I paln to keep watching these two new Abrams shows.

There are hints that a story is developing beyond the weekly procedurals on Person of Interest. We have already seen a major change in Detective Carter. I am curious to see what develops now that  Reese is having Finch followed.  Meanwhile, Jonathan Nolan warns, “None of these characters are safe. You always have to be willing to [kill off characters]. Nothing is given.” I doubt that they would kill off Reese or Finch, but Carter and Fusco are definitely expendable.

Alcatraz combines a weekly police procedural with hunting down escaped prisoners from Alcatraz along with a continuing story about how they managed to be transported to the present. So far we’ve seen three stories (with two separate episodes being aired the first week). I got hooked with the second episode, which showed Lucy both in the past and present. It was not only the prisoners who disappeared from Alcatraz.

Perhaps because of being produced by Warner Brothers, The Big Bang Theory tends to concentrate heavily on DC comic characters. One rare past reference to Doctor Who which I can recall was from last year’s New Year’s Eve party when Stuart wore a Tom Baker costume at a party at his comic book store. Meanwhile, most of the characters came not as X-Men or Avengers but members of the Justice League of America:

Two years ago, Sheldon did combine watching Doctor Who with his fixation on his place on the couch:

On the other hand, last year Craig Ferguson teased Jim Parsons for being nothing like his character due to not watching Doctor Who.

This week’s episode of Big Bang Theory shows that Sheldon is no longer alone in watching Doctor Who every week:

The Big Bang Theory still remains far beyond Community in references to Doctor Who with their ongoing invention of episodes of Inspector Spacetime.

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