SciFi Weekend: Star Trek Discovery Season 2; Rebooting Gotham; Steven Moffat on Dracula And Other Doctor Who Related News; Mark Hamill On The Big Bang Theory; The Spy

Production on Star Trek: Discovery season 2 started in Toronto on April 16. TrekMovie.com has an excellent rundown of what is known about the season so far. This includes some new cast members, which indicates that we will see two additional star ships (including The Enterprise as was shown at the end of season one, and Section 31):

Anson Mount – Captain Christopher Pike of the USS Enterprise, he’ll be in at least the first two episodes of the season.

Alan Van Sprang – Leland is the head of Section 31, introduced in a bonus scene that was originally attached to the end of the season one finale. Based on what Van Sprang said at WonderCon, he’s expected to recur throughout the season.

Tig Notaro – Chief Engineer Denise Reno of the USS Hiawatha, guest staring in an unknown number of episodes.

They also have come comments on the theme of the second season:

Theme of season two: Science vs Faith

The showrunners have said a few times now, on After Trek, and then at WonderCon, that theme of season two is “science versus faith.” Aaron Harberts explains:

What is the role of serendipity versus science? Is there a story about faith to be told? Leaps of faith. We are dealing with space. We are dealing with things that can’t be explained and you have a character like Michael Burnham who believes there is an explanation for everything. And it doesn’t just mean religion. It means patterns in our lives. It means connections you can’t explain.

Harberts also talked about how the tone of the show will change in season two:

[Season one] was an interesting season because it was set against the backdrop of war. One of things we are looking forward to in season two is a tone that we can now be in a more exploratory phase and a more diplomatic phase – maybe a bit more of a Trekian chapter

Last week I, and multiple other sites, repeated a story based upon apparently incorrect information from a Discovery staffer claiming that the differences between the Enterprise in the season one finale and the original show were due to legal reasons. CBS has subsequently issued a statement stating that the changes were done for creative and not legal reasons:

CBS TV Studios does, in fact, have the right to use the U.S.S. Enterprise ship design from the past TV series, and are not legally required to make changes. The changes in the ship design were creative ones, made to utilize 2018’s VFX technology.

The art that was used in the 2019 calendar is ‘concept art,’ which was completed long before the VFX process is completed.

Last week I also noted that Star Trek: Discovery was nominated for a Peabody Award. While they did not win, other shows which I have previously discussed in SciFi Weekend were among the winners– The Handmaid’s Tale, Better Call Saul, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The full list of winners is available here.

Gotham will be drastically changed after the fourth season finale according to a report at ComicBook.com:

The Season 4 finale, which follows the ever-popular Batman: No Man’s Land story from the comics, will alter the entire reality of the series. Everything we know about Gotham will change, and an entirely different Batman prequel series will rise up in its place.

According to executive producer Danny Cannon, “A Dark Knight: No Man’s Land” will change the fabric of Gotham‘s DNA, and serve as a reboot of the show’s story.

During an exclusive interview with ComicBook.com, Cannon mentioned that the finale would bring a “cataclysmic event” to Gotham. Knowing that “No Man’s Land was the title of the Season 4 finale, this wasn’t much of a surprise, but we asked him to elaborate.

“Like I said, the catastrophic event, the cataclysmic event that happens in the last three episodes not only will change Gotham,” Cannon continued, “it not only combines so many characters that you don’t think will cooperate with each other, but it changes the face of Gotham forever, so that season five, it’s almost a reboot and a different show.”

“Our characters have reached a maturity now, our characters are so well defined and that’s why I think as writers, that’s right about the point when you want to change people’s perception of them,” Cannon clarified. “The [term] ‘reboot’ means, just when you thought you knew people, something else will happen, and just when you thought your Season 5 would be like Season 4, Season 5 is completely different. New characters and old characters that have changed. It’s a complete [departure], and the city has changed too, new characters on a new landscape.”

Steven Moffat has revealed minimal information about plans for a reinvention of Dracula:

While speaking to Graham Norton on his BBC Radio 2 show, Moffat had a few words to say about his new adaptation. He confirmed that he and Gatiss will tackle the project “in a Sherlock-y way” though there will be one important difference between them: Dracula won’t be brought into the modern day.

“But not in exactly the same way. We’re not modernizing it or anything, but we are doing a version of Dracula.”

In other news related to the Doctor Who/Sherlock universes, Entertainment Weekly reports that David Tennant was considering the staring role on Hannibal:

“I met [Hannibal executive producer] Bryan Fuller a couple of times, and we talked about it,” says Tennant. “But I think they quite wisely chose Mads Mikkelsen, I think he was a perfect choice for it, and I think he did things with that character that I wouldn’t have managed, so I think the right man got the job.”

Considering how well he played the villain on Jessica Jones, I’m sure that Tennant could have also done an excellent job as Hannibal.

Sort of tying in Sherlock with Star Trek news, Benedict Cumberbatch revealed that he spilled secrets about filming Star Trek Into Darkness with Stephen Hawking.

Season eleven of The Big Bang Theory will conclude with the wedding of Amy and Sheldon. Guests include Laurie Metcalf as Sheldon’s mother and Courtney Henggeler reprising her role as his twin sister Missy. Jerry O’Connell has been cast as George, Jr. Besides bringing older versions of the cast of Young Sheldon, Wil Wheaton will be present. The most exciting addition to the guest list is Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker). There is no word as to what his role will be on the episode.

Noah Emmerich of The Americans will continue to be a spy even after his current show is off the air. He will be staring in a limited run series on Netflix entitled, The Spy:

Written and directed by Gideon Raff, creator of the Israeli drama Prisoners of Waron which Showtime’s Homeland was based, The Spy tells the story of legendary Israeli spy Eli Cohen (Baron Cohen). Eli Cohen lived in Damascus undercover in the beginning of the ’60s, spying for Israel. He managed to embed himself into Syrian high society and rise through the ranks of their politics until he was uncovered by the Syrian regime, sentenced to death and publicly hanged.

Emmerich will play Dan Peleg, a charming, rumpled and brilliant Mossad trainer. He is wise, wary and stubborn, and has a tendency to blur the boundaries between the personal and professional. He has conflicted feelings about Eli (Baron Cohen), and is tormented by a mistake he made in the past.

I’m still hoping for a Stan and Oleg spin-off of The Americans.

SciFi Weekend: Stephen Hawking, Scientist & Genre Star; The 100; Martin Freeman on Sherlock; Alexis Bledel on A Handmaid’s Tale; Double Renewal For Eric McCormack–Will & Grace & Travelers; The Americans; Nathan Fillian To Reprise Firefly Role; Saturn Award Nominees

Stephen Hawking died last week leading to recognition not only from the scientific community, tributes from many in actors due to his many appearances on genre television. He was the only historical figure to play himself on Star Trek. In the video above from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Hawking played cards with  Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Data in the holodeck. Syfy Wire has several tributes to Hawking from the cast of multiple versions of Star Trek. More at TrekMovie.com.

Sheldon Cooper met Stephen Hawking on The Big Bang Theory in the clip above. TV Line has tributes from the cast of The Big Bang Theory. IO9 has additional television cameos.

The 100 ended last season with major changes, and a quick glance of the future. An extended trailer for the the fifth season has been released, showing a new enemy to contend with. The 100 returns on April 24.

It has been a huge question as to whether Sherlock would return considering how the careers of both stars have taken off. It does not sound encouraging that Martin Freeman will want to return after he said that it wasn’t fun anymore in a recent interview:

In a new interview in The Telegraph, the Black Panther actor was asked if there were any talks about a fifth season of the BBC fan favorite.

“Not massively,” the Dr. Watson actor said. “Um… I think after series four [it] felt like a pause. I think we felt we’d done it for a bit now. And part of it, speaking for myself is [due to] the reception of it.”

Martin, the article explained, was referring to 2017’s fourth season which seemed to struggle to continue building on fans’ expectations of previous outings.

“To be absolutely honest, it [was] kind of impossible,” he explained. “Sherlock became the animal that it became immediately. Whereas even with [the U.K. version of] The Office, it was a slow burn. But Sherlock was frankly notably high quality from the outset. And when you start [that high] it’s pretty hard to maintain that.

“Being in that show, it is a mini-Beatles thing,” he concluded. “People’s expectations, some of it’s not fun anymore. It’s not a thing to be enjoyed, it’s a thing of: ‘You better f—ing do this, otherwise, you’re a c—.’ That’s not fun anymore.”

The Handmaid’s Tale returns to Hulu on April 25. Entertainment Weekly interviewed Alexis Bledel:

This season, we get to learn a lot about Emily’s life from Before. Was her backstory something you’d thought about before this episode?
Yes, I loved filming Emily’s flashbacks. [Executive producer] Bruce Miller and I had talked about what her pre-Gilead life might have been like even before I started working on the first season. I think much of her worldview is informed by her previous life as a professor of cellular biology. Life in the Colonies is a last stop. Emily does not have a great deal of hope for a future there; she knows her days are numbered.

Marisa Tomei costars with you in the second episode. What was that like?
It was amazing to work with her; she’s someone whose work I admire. We had these incredibly dark, dramatic moments to play out that she brought so much depth to.

I keep thinking/wondering what’s worse: life as a Handmaid or living in the Colonies?
Being forced to exist in either Gilead or the Colonies threatens to destroy a person’s soul in different ways. Handmaids are forced to follow an extremely limiting set of rules to comply with the mandates of the Gileadean regime, including the horrific monthly ceremony. Anyone in Gilead would be terrified to be sent to the Colonies. Everything from the soil the unwomen turn over to the water they use to wash is toxic in the Colonies, so a person’s health begins to rapidly deteriorate as soon as they get there. They know they will die there, all the while forced to do hard labor without decent food to eat or clean living conditions.

We are going to be seeing more of Eric McCormack on television next year. NBC has renewed the Will & Grace revival for a second season, and is extending it to eighteen episodes. Fewer people might be aware that Eric McCormack also stars in an excellent Canadian science fiction series called Travelers. The first two seasons were broadcast on Showcase and later shown on Netflix–although once I discovered this show I wound up downloading episodes rather than waiting for it to be available on Netflix.

Travelers has been renewed for a third season, and McCormack will be directing the first episode. However, instead of airing first on Showcase, the show will be shown exclusively on Netflix. I wonder if this was a case of Netflix saving the show if Showcase was not going to continue it, or (I suspect more likely) Netflix has business reasons and the power to take it over.

Travelers is technically a time travel show but the series takes place entirely in the present, with people from the future taking over the consciousness of people at the moments they were to have died. The characters must deal with not only their mission to save the earth , but also must deal with the personal lives of the bodies they take over. I won’t give specifics for those who have not seen it, but the second season ended with major changes for everyone, making fans eager to see a third season.

The Americans returns for its sixth and final season on March 28. FX has released the above official trailer.

Earlier in the week I had this post regarding a social credit system in China which sounds like something out of Black Mirror. It is also reminiscent of Majority Rule, an episode of The Orville.

Storing the contents of one’s brain provided for a fascinating story on Altered Carbon. A company is claiming that they can store the contents of your brain, but there is a huge catch.

Nathan Fillian is going play himself on an upcoming episode of American Housewife, and will be suiting up as Captain Malcolm Reynolds of Firefly.

(more…)

SciFi Weekend: Babylon 5 and Blake’s 7 Reboots; Doctor Who; Captain America; Agent Carter; Agents of SHIELD; Defiance; Big Bang Theory; Google Maps Adds The Moon and Mars

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J. Michael Straczynski has announced plans to reboot Babylon 5 as a movie. One reason for doing it his way is that Warner owns the television rights but Straczsynki retained the feature film rights:

Speaking at San Diego Comic Con last week, Straczsynki announced that he would soon be sitting down to write a Babylon 5 feature film, which is envisioned as a reboot of the iconic sci-fi series. JMS said that he plans to get the script locked down by the end of 2015 and the film would then enter production the following year in 2016.

Next to nothing is known about the plot for this Babylon 5 feature film, beyond the fact that it is a reboot of the concept seen in the series. That said, J. Michael Straczynski has stated that he would like to use cast members from the series, such as Bruce Boxleitner and Mira Furlan, in new roles in the feature film. “I’d love to see Bruce as the President of the Earth Alliance”, he said.

The hope is that Warner Bros, who produced the Babylon 5 television series, would step up and green-light a “big budget” feature film once the script has been completed. But owing to the nature of the deal that Straczysnki inked with the studio to produce Babylon 5 in the early 1990s, he, rather than Warner Bros, owns the feature film rights to the show. Should Warner Bros. choose not to greenlight a B5 movie, Straczynski would still proceed with the feature, which would then be funded and produced through his Studio JMS banner on a budget of $80 – $100 million.

Although Syfy passed on the show, there is still some hope for a remake of Blake’s 7.

The BBC has renewed Doctor Who for an eighth season since the show returned, again staring Peter Capaldi, with the shows to be presented in a continuous run. Steven Moffat said recently that there are no plans for either the return of the Master or for a tenth anniversary show (which would seem strange after doing a 50th).  Moffat has also expressed a willingness to do a Doctor Who/Sherlock cross over, but others involved are not interested. Would it look something like the video above, except with Peter Capaldi instead of Matt Smith?

Above is, perhaps, how Captain America: The Winter Soldier should have ended. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo discussed their upcoming projects, Agent Carter and the third Captain America movie:

Before turning their attention to the next feature, the Russos are directing several episodes of the spin-off TV series Agent Carter, debuting on ABC in January 2015. The miniseries follows the solo adventures of Peggy Carter, the love of Captain America’s life and founder of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the 1940s. From there, the brothers will tackle the third film, which picks up “a couple years” after Winter Soldier left off. Although the heart of the movie will be Steve Rogers’ complicated relationship with his childhood friend Bucky Barnes, the themes of politics and power will still be in play. “The character was invented for an explicitly political purpose. So it’s hard to get away from that nature,” Anthony tells Yahoo. It’s also important to the directors that Captain America doesn’t become another disillusioned antihero. As Joe sees it, “his morality is part of his superpower.”

While they’re not leaking any major details from the 2016 film, the Russo brothers promise that they’re “bringing some new elements to the table that will give us a twist on Winter Soldier.” Does this mean that Steve Rogers will pass the Captain America shield to Bucky Barnes (aka the Winter Soldier) or Sam Wilson (aka the Falcon), both of whom have donned the stars-and-stripes in the comics? With actor Chris Evans shifting his focus to directing, and Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie already in place as the Winter Soldier and the Falcon respectively, the next film could allow a new hero to step in.

Elsewhere in the Marvel universe, FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Twin Peaks) will be meeting SHIELD. Kyle MacLachlan  has been cast to play Skye’s father on Agents of SHIELD. Chloe Bennet said at Comic-Con that next season will also involve more hair. Skye will have bangs and Brett Dalton will do the evil-Spock thing of the mirror universe and have a beard as the evil Grant Ward.

Defiance Cast

Defiance has done a good job of creating a world with numerous well-developed characters and alien races, but often while watching I wonder if there is any point to it all. It lacks the big story ideas of a Babylon 5 or Battlestar Galactica. The showrunner, Kevin Murphy, did work on BSG and I am glad that he got away from the idea of doing the show as a “science-fiction crime of the week.”

AX: How did DEFIANCE started and how did it change when you came onto the project during its development?

KEVIN MURPHY: The original version was a little more of a closed-ended procedural, it was kind of more of a science-fiction crime of the week, and we were in the process of changing that when CULT got picked up and [original DEFIANCE co-creator/show runner] Rockne O’Bannon left. I then had a choice that I wasn’t sure that the show was going to work in the incarnation that it currently was in, and I didn’t want to have responsibility for something that didn’t work. So I gave Syfy a choice. I said, “I’ll transition you into your next show runner, and I’ll make sure that casting continues and produce the pilot, but I’m not going to stay on for the series unless I believe in the show.” And they were like, “Well, what would you want to do to it?” And it was basically, “Well, it involves getting rid of pretty much all the scripts, and let me give you my pitch.”

So I did the pitch, worked it out with the writing staff, and at this point, it was Rockne’s last day, and he was helping us to kind of reconceive it, and Scott Stewart, the director, was very involved in the process, and so was Michael Taylor, who had worked on BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and was a member of staff under me. And we pitched the whole thing to [then-Syfy Channel president] Mark Stern while he was driving in his car on vacation with his family in Palm Springs. And he had his wife and kid in the vehicle with him, and the pitch lasted about ninety minutes, because we pitched the entire story from beginning to end, every single beat, and by the time he pulled into the hotel in Palm Springs, we had finished our pitch and he was like, “Okay, I love it. Go write it.”

AX: Did you make major changes to the characters?

MURPHY: The PAPER MOON thing I added, the idea that Nolan [the town’s new law officer, played by Grant Bowler] came in from the outside and that he was a con man and a drifter and a huckster and a criminal. That was all stuff that I added. The idea that Amanda has only been mayor for six weeks and she’s the former mayor’s assistant and no one takes her seriously, that was an addition; the idea that Irisa [Nolan’s adopted Irathient daughter, played by Stephanie Leonidas] uses knives and Irisa being sort of the feral badass was an invention of mine. And Michael. When I say “me,” I’m including Michael Taylor, who was definitely my partner in crime. We would not have gotten that script in the shape it needed to be in without Michael at my side.

The Werewolf Transformation

In follow-up of an item from last week, the cast of The Big Bang Theory did settle on a new contract. The top three stars, Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco, will each  earn $1 million per episode for the planned upcoming three seasons, and there is talk of potentially adding an eleventh season.

Google Maps has added maps of the moon and Mars. I imagine that going off the earth was inevitable once they added the TARDIS to their maps.

SciFi Weekend: Hannibal; Arrow; Continuum; Doctor Who; 12 Monkeys; The Wil Wheaton Project; The Americans; The Big Bang Theory Does Star Wars; How I Met Your Mother Ends In The Darkest Timeline

hannibal6

With Futamono, we are about half way through the second season of Hannibal, and some people are beginning to suspect that bad things are happening to people around the title character. We know that he will be exposed by the end of the season, but at the moment he is a sort of Superman who is able to outsmart almost everyone and evade detection. He can even manage to get Abel Gideon out of the psychiatric institution in order to have him over for what is probably his last meal. (“You intend me to be my own last supper?”)Fortunately for Gideon, he is insane himself and can be witty while being served his own leg. Bryan Fuller explained why Gideon suffered this type of fate:

 I think part of the reason he meets the horrible fate that he does was the symmetry. Here he is, a guy who claimed to be the Chesapeake Ripper and was the grand pretender to the throne. For him to both become the Chesapeake Ripper and the Chesapeake Ripper’s victim felt like there was a certain poetry that Hannibal would appreciate. We see in episode five, Abel Gideon really goes out of his way to save Hannibal Lecter from Will Graham, but more importantly, save Will Graham from Will Graham by preventing Will from taking a life out of malice. We see that there is a humanity to him and an understanding and even a sympathy for Will Graham and his plight. So as Beverly Katz has carved the path for all of those who believe Will Graham in any capacity, he had to go down the same chute.

It appeared that Jack might obtain some evidence about Hannibal when he finally paid attention to Will’s theories: “If the Ripper is killing, you can bet Hannibal Lecter is having a dinner party. You and I probably sipped wine while swallowing the people who who we were trying to give justice, Jack.” Jack took some food from one of Hannibal’s dinner parties to be tested. Hannibal outsmarted Jack that night as the beef really was wagyu beef (which really is delicious).

While there was not conclusive evidence against Hannibal, there was evidence showing that both the Chesapeake Ripper and the alleged copycat who continued after Will’s incarceration were the same killer, proving it could not be Will. I did not expect to see Will go free until much later in the season. (Can I still wear my Free Will Graham t-shirt?) There was also a piece of rare tree bark which led to the discovery of Miriam Lass, the young FBI agent who figured out Hannibal’s secret in a first season flash back. Surprisingly she is still alive, but is missing an arm.  From the interspersed scenes with Hannibal, I suspect that the discovery of Miriam was a planned move on his part and there is not enough of her mind left after all these years to incriminate him. Coincidentally, Anna Chlumsky returns to Hannibal the same weekend she also returns to television on a new season of Veep.

Hannibal - Season 2

Seeing Hannibal seduce and drug Alana was as chilling as the scenes with Gideon. While her fate (so far) is not as terrible, we have far more invested in her character. For the purposes of this episode, sleeping with Alana provided an alibi for Hannibal capturing Gideon. Television sedatives work wonderfully, with the victim being guaranteed to neither wake up or realize anything was unusual during the night. Next we presumably will see the consequences of a newly freed Will finding that while Jack might now be open to his theories, Alana is almost literally sleeping with the devil.

Dr. Chilton seems to be the smartest one after Will in Hannibal’s circles. He both figured out the rhyme (“They’ll call him Hannibal the Cannibal; he does fit the profile”) and revealed that he only eats salads when dining with Dr. Lecter. He also theorized that Hannibal “is attracted to medical and psychological fields because they offer power over man. Cannibalism…cannibalism is one act of dominance.”

Seeing Hannibal wink at Chilton was enough to suggest he may be doomed, but there would also be some justice in keeping him alive to see Hannibal’s downfall. There has to be someone left to begin treatment of Hannibal once he takes Will’s place in the hospital for the criminally insane. Besides, unlike Miriam Lass and Beverly Katz, Chilton is not likely to allow himself to be alone with Hannibal Lecter.

Arrow Deathstroke

Arrow had yet another strong episode with Deathstroke. It was a key episode for Thea, who is now angry at Oliver after Slade revealed that Oliver was keeping secret the fact that Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) was really her father. I had expected the secret was going to be about Oliver on the island and now being the Arrow. We never saw how Slade also knew about Malcolm Merlyn, but it does not contradict anything we have seen for him to have discovered this on his own.

Poor Oliver, now being blamed by Thea for keeping the same secret which he was now become estranged from his mother over. Speaking of secrets, if she knew the full story, Thea would also have good reason to be angry at Oliver for not warning anyone about how dangerous Slade was. If Oliver had said something when he showed up in their home, Thea might not have gotten into the car with him.  Having released Thea, it no longer appears that Slade has any interest in keeping his actions a secret. It seems like after this week, most of the secrets are out in the open.

Arrow Queen Industries

Not only has Oliver lost Thea, he has also lost control over his company as we learned that Isabel Rochev (Summer Glau),  who he had only planned to make CEO pro tempore, was also working with Slade.This is all part of Slade’s plan to take away everything from Oliver.

The episode ended with yet another cliff hanger. While he didn’t tell the secret I had expected him to tell to Thea, Slade did visit Laurel at the end to tell her that Oliver Queen is the Arrow.  Most likely this will change things, especially as her father’s freedom now depends upon him revealing the Arrow’s identity, but there is no guarantee she will believe Slade. After all, as I pointed out last week, she couldn’t even tell that her own sister was the Black Canary when sitting right next to her. Although common in the comics for a mask to be sufficient to hide one’s identity, the mask did very little to hide her face. If Laurel had encountered Sara at the beach wearing large sunglasses, which would cover as much of her face as the mask, would she be unable to recognize her? Just how much alcohol and drugs did that girl consume?

Continuum minute-by-minute

Continuum season three finally aired in the United States on Syfy with resolution of last season’s cliff hanger, answering some questions and raising new ones. Alec has gone back in time a week in hopes of saving Emily, creating a new timeline. I feel like I’m in yet another time jump, being three weeks ahead of where the show is in the United States by downloading the episodes after airing on Showcase. I will limit spoilers to the episode which aired in the United States and will avoid mentioning events of subsequent episodes which have aired.

Minute By Minute began with action scenes with Kiera (Rachel Nichols) and Garza working together to escape, but things got far more complicated with the timeline collapsing and the Freelancers sending Kiera (who has now joined up with them) to the new timeline created by Alec going back into the past. The episode deals with some of the central questions of the series regarding time travel but hardly settles anything.  If traveling in time creates a new timeline, does this mean that Kiera cannot ever return to the time she left? Perhaps the fact that the Freelancers could send her to the same timeline Alec had created suggests some ability to move between timelines and presents a mechanism by which Kiera could ultimately return to both the same time and timeline she came from.

The episode does suggest that the problems and paradoxes from time travel occur if one encounters another version of the same person. They eliminated one possibility of problems here by having the Kiera of the new timeline get killed, leaving only the problem of two Alecs. The suggestion is that one will lead to the future we saw while the other must be eliminated–not that it appears to be a desirable future. Kiera wants to return to her family, and fails to understand many of the problems of her own time. The Freelancers don’t have any interest in choosing which future is best, only wanting time to run its course as it should, but is there really one correct future timeline from the perspective of people in our time? (Might future Freelancers intervene to correct the timeline in the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movies?)

Possibly actions by people from the future might give some insight into how time travel works if we can assume that they really understood it. Now we know why Kagame made sure he died on the day he was born, understanding the consequences should he ever meet himself. I think the real key is that future Alec Sadler, having his memories of what happened in the past, must have had some master plan in sending both Liber8 and Kiera back in time. Presumably he had some goals based upon changing the conditions he created. However, will this really change the future he lives in, or just create a second and hopefully better timeline?

There are already some key changes in the new timeline with Escher dead, although now any death might not be permanent if there is the possibility of the show moving to yet another timeline. We no longer know Emily’s fate. Can Alec succeed in saving her, or must she be allowed to die to save the future, like Edith Keeler in the classic Star Trek episode, City on the Edge of Forever?  The final scene from last season with Carlos deciding to join Julian will probably never occur.  Hopefully changing timelines doesn’t turn into an easy cosmic reset switch.

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Steven Moffat has sort of given an answer to another time paradox–how the Doctor’s tomb can be on Trenzalore when he escaped his fate and wound up not dying there in The Time of the Doctor:

Moffat replies: “I’ve often wondered about that. Fortunately, late one night, the Doctor turned up in person and explained it to me:

“THE DOCTOR: Changing time is tricky. It’s a bit like a detective story: so as long there isn’t an actual body, you’ve got a certain amount of wiggle room – for instance, if the body has, rather conveniently, been burned on a boat in Utah.

“Here’s the thing: I can change the future so long as the future has not already been established as part of my own past. I can’t rescue Amy and Rory because I already know that I didn’t.

“But what do I know about Trenzalore? There’s a big monument that looks very like my TARDIS. There’s a temporal fissure leading to my timeline. Maybe it’s my grave. Maybe, one day, it’s my burial ground. Maybe it is something else entirely, and we got it all wrong. Don’t know. Don’t plan to find out for as long as possible. The main thing is, Clara still jumped into my time stream, and ended up helping me through all of my life. All that is established, unchanged – but there’s wiggle room!”

There will be additional time travel coming on Syfy. The network has picked up an adaptation of 12 Monkeys:

The cable network on Friday announced that its adaptation of the Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis feature film has been picked up to series with a 13-episode order for a January 2015 premiere.

Nikita’s Aaron Stanford and Suits’ Amanda Schull star in the drama based on Universal Pictures’ Terry Gilliam film. In Plain Sight’s Natalie Chaidez serves as showrunner on the drama about a time traveler from the post-apocalyptic future who appears in the present day on a mission to locate and eradicate the source of a deadly plague that will eventually decimate the human race.

Chris Hardwick's A Celebration Of "The Nerdist Way"

In addition, Syfy has picked up The Wil Wheaton Project:

Syfy has picked up 12 episodes of The Wil Wheaton Project (working title), which the actor-blogger has dubbed “sort of like Talk Soup for geeks.” The half-hour show, hosted by Wheaton, will allow the geek hero to dissect the week’s biggest stories in sci-pop culture with the witty commentary that has made him a social media star.

In his own words, Wheaton describes the show as a “weekly roundup of the things I love on television and on the Internet, with commentary and jokes, and the occasional visit from interesting people who make those things happen.” In a blog post, Wheaton gives a charming behind-the-scenes account of the year-long process that led to the series being greenlit; his enthusiasm for genre entertainment and insider status serve his audience well. ”We discovered that nobody was doing a show like this that was just focused on the genre shows that nerds like us love, and we decided that we’d make that show,” he writes.

The Wil Wheaton Project premieres May 27 at 10 p.m. ET on Syfy.

The Americans Behind the Red Door

The Americans remain on the trail of the murders of the other spy couple in Behind The Red Door.  We learned why this is personal for Claudia, who might have let some information slip out while dating. There’s historical references to Reagan’s actions in Nicaragua. There’s also both discussion of the heroin overdose of John Belushi and a young agent using poisoned heroin to kill the Congressional aide to eliminate the risk of stolen material leading back to her.

The strongest scene of the episode might have been the aftermath of last week’s visit from Elizabeth to Martha. Elizabeth couldn’t get past  Martha’s talk of how wild Clark was in bed and wound up regretting forcing Philip to remain in the Clark role. Initially it seemed that what Martha found wild was the usual for Elizabeth, but then Phillip went further when Elizabeth seemed disappointed.

Meanwhile Oleg is making matters far more complicated for Stan and Nina, trying to turn Stan into a double agent. This week we saw primitive 1980’s technology, a dot matrix printer, used to print out reports. Next week we will see if Nina can fool 1980’s lie detector technology.

Big Bang Star Wars

The Big Bang Theory will be airing a Star Wars themed episode which also includes the return of Bob Newhart as Professor Proton:

CBS’ The Big Bang Theory is teaming with Lucasfilm for an epic Star Wars episode timed to Star Wars Day, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

In “The Proton Transmogrification” — the episode set to air May 1 and timed to the annual May 4 Star Wars Day — the gang gets together to celebrate the annual geek holiday, while Sheldon (Jim Parsons) is guided by visions of his childhood idol and mentor, Professor Proton (Emmy winner Bob Newhart), who appears to the socially challenged genius as his own Jedi master.

For those not in the know, Star Wars Day is recognized every year on May 4, with the traditional celebratory greeting being “May the fourth be with you” — a play on Star Wars’ famed “May the Force be with you” line. Fans across the globe celebrate the film franchise with screenings and special events.

For the episode, the CBS comedy teamed with a group of special effects technicians from Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic to re-create Dagobah — the remote world of swamps and forest that served as a refuge for Yoda during his exile — and provide props for the episode, including a light saber. Lucasfilm experts consulted on the episode and visited the Big Bang Theory set to oversee the production, with the final touches completed at its San Francisco headquarters.

Last Forever Part One

How I Met Your Mother was a remarkable sitcom. It was the best ensemble show of young people in New York despite multiple attempts at this theme following the end of Friends. It did a far better job of telling a story by jumping around in time like Lost than any of the more explicit genre attempts to follow Lost. Unfortunately, instead of being, wait for it, legendary, the finale was a huge disappointment to most fans. If this was Community, the series would have ended in the Darkest Timeline.Fortunately the shock of Tracy’s death was made bearable by advance warnings in fan theories which turned out to be true.

We knew that Carter Bays and Craig Thomas would have some twist planned considering how the series began, but hoped they had something tricker planned than having the Mother die leaving Ted free to wind up with Aunt Robin. Upon reading that they had filmed the ending with the children during the second season so that they wouldn’t appear too old when the series ended, I feared that this is how they would end the show, but still held out hope that they understood the changes in their own show and would come up for a better ending.

During the second season, when the scene was filmed, this certainly made sense. For years the show centered around Ted and Robin and during that time I did suspect that the twist at the end of the pilot was a diversion and that the two really did wind up together, even if someone else was the mother of Ted’s children. The final scene, with Ted going over to Robin’s apartment carrying the Blue French Horn, with Robin’s dogs in the window, was a recreation of a scene from the pilot when Ted returned to Robin’s apartment after failing to kiss her goodnight the first time. (He also missed the signs and failed to kiss her whens he returned–but just  rewatch it on Netflix if you don’t remember the details).

himym blue french horn

However, over the course of nine years the characters changed. If they had stayed the same, it would have been fine if they used this ending. It is also fine that the people changed, but that required a different ending for the show. By the end, Ted and Robin were no longer Ross and Rachel.

Sure there were plenty of clues in the final episodes as Robin had moments when she said Ted was the one she should have wound up with while Ted finally looked ready to move on. However the final season was more about the couples of Ted/Tracy and Barney/Robin. The Mother was no longer just a MacGuffin to propel the story of Ted and Robin. Thomas and Bays did too good a job of making the fans fall in love with Tracy (whose name we didn’t learn until the final episode), and see that she was really the perfect girl for Ted. They also made us accept and welcome the implausible marriage of Barney and Robin.

If the show ended a year or more earlier, as expected, and an unknown woman, or perhaps Victoria, had married Ted but died after having their children, we could have accepted that as a plausible ending and might have been happy that Ted wound up with Robin. Killing off Tracy was a totally different matter. Thomas and Bays should have realized that the evolution in their characters required a different ending than had been planned back in the second season.

how-i-met-your-mother-dying

Besides being the wrong ending for where the characters had evolved to, the timing for the show now felt wrong. We spent the entire final season seeing the weekend when Robin and Barney got married, and then their marriage fell apart in a quick sequence in the final moments of the finale (which was a huge clue as to where they were going). They left us wanting to see so much more of Tracy and Ted but all too quickly she became sick, and that was that. She pretty much died off screen just as she spent most of her life. If they were going to have her die, she at least deserved a longer exit. It was as if Love Story was all about Ryan O’Neil and past girl friends and then Ali MacGraw appeared in the final five minutes and stole the movie.

Being television, an ending is not necessarily the absolute end. I had thought earlier in the week that if this was the ending they originally filmed, the smarter thing would have been to film a new ending which was consistent with where the show was this season, and then add the original ending as an extra on the season DVD. Instead the went with the wrong ending but reportedly they cut a happier ending to add as a DVD extra. There is also a spin off of the series planned, but I suspect the ending to HIMYM will always haunt Thomas and Bays as fans will now fear that the new series might turn out to be How I Killed Your Dad.

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who Convention News; Jenna-mania; Sherlock; Emma Stone on Spider-Man; Star Trek Secrecy; Fringe; Awake; Mad Men; Leonard Nimoy on Big Bang Theory

The first ever official Doctor Who convention took place this weekend, and Steven Moffat discussed the event in the video above. More videos can be found here, here, and here.

The biggest news out of the convention is that the fifth episode next season, which has the final encounter with the Weeping Angels (and final appearance of Amy and Rory) will take place and be filmed in New York City. While in New York, the cast might feel at  home in this TARDIS-themed bar which Karen Gillan mentioned in an interview.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HEPZRZ5P6po

Low-quality versions of trailer for the new season, taken while shown at the convention, have also been posted on many sites, as above. Hopefully we will have an official release early next week. Steven Moffat’s promotion of the season: “Amy and Rory leaving, tragedy, heartbreak and a Western, what more do you want out of Television. Come on Downton take that on!”

The biggest Doctor Who news of the week came on Wednesday before the convention with the naming of Jenna-Louise Coleman as the next assistant, beginning with the Christmas 2012 episode. The initial announcement, along with news on the upcoming season, were first posted here. In a follow-up post later in the day I had interviews with Jenna and Steven Moffat. A post on Thursday concentrated on her roles in Captain American and Titanic, along with advice from Matt Smith. On Friday we had the first official BBC picture of Jenna in front of the TARDIS, information on another series she is appearing in, Dancing on the Edge, and a report of links to an alleged sex tape with Jenna-Louise Coleman which actually lead to a malicious site. There’s also a brief video of what Matt Smith might say to people searching for sex tapes of Jenna.

Steven Moffat spoke to Radio Times about Doctor Who and Sherlock. He dismissed internet rumors that Benedict Cumberbatch will be playing the Master and reports that he has not started writing season three of Sherlock yet:

Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat has dismissed reports that Benedict Cumberbatch is to play the villainous Master on the sci-fi series.

Speaking to RadioTimes.com at the Royal Television Society awards, Moffat said: “People really do sit in rooms and make that stuff up. Look at the filming schedules for Doctor Who and Sherlock – those two shows tend to shoot at the same time. We’d have a problem and there’s only so much I can arrange.”

But he then added, as a quick afterthought: “But who knows what could happen in the future…”

Moffat also told RadioTimes.com about plans for the forthcoming series of Doctor Who. Asked whether there would be a large story arc running through the episodes, or if we could expect self-contained adventures, he said: “As ever, there’s a bit of both. But this time we’re moving closer to stand-alone stories. At this point, we’re not planning any two-parters. So, every week is going to be like a different mad movie.”

He added: “We went quite ‘arc’ last time and we’re going stand-alone this time around. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t those things creeping in. You’ve got to find a way to make the last episode special, and by God that worked ratings-wise last year. We don’t want to abandon that idea.”

Asked for any teasers he could offer, the ever-evasive Moffat replied: “Watch out for the title of episode two. I think that’s a belter. It’s one of my favourite titles ever.”

As for his other hit BBC1 series, the detective drama Sherlock, Moffat had this to say about series three: “Mark [Gatiss] and I have planned it out. We haven’t started writing it yet because I’ve got God knows how many episodes of Doctor Who to get sorted first. But the way it works with Sherlock is that we starve you and then we give you a short burst and then we starve you again. It’s worked so far, we’re not going to change it.”

On the scheduling of future episodes, Moffat said: “I don’t actually know. Given that this is a show that I haven’t started writing yet, it’s a bit early to suggest scheduling. Once we hand them over, they’ll be on television quite quickly.”

Moffat remains unhappy about the planned CBS version of a modern-day Sherlock Holmes:

CBS announced earlier this year they would be filming a pilot called Elementary.

The US programme will feature Sherlock in New York and Watson will be played by 43-year-old Lucy Liu.

Steven Moffat says he hopes it will be good or it may degrade the Sherlock brand.

“It isn’t a version of our show,” he said. “They’ve just decided to go off and do one of their own, having been turned down by us to do an adaptation of our version.

“So how do you think I feel about it? Annoyed is in there.”

‘Rogue version’

The US Sherlock will be played by British actor Jonny Lee Miller.

If the pilot is successful, it will be turned into a TV series which will air on US television in the autumn.

“The bigger problem for us with Elementary is, what if it’s terrible? What if it’s awful? Then it degrades the brand,” he said.

“I remember there was a legitimate American version made of Coupling, actually adapted from our version.

“It was terrible and it was a disaster and it did sort of diminish the original.

“So if there’s this completely unrelated rogue version of Sherlock going around and it’s bad, it can be bad for us.”

So far CBS hasn’t revealed which Arthur Conan Doyle stories will be made.

Talking at the Royal Television Society Awards, Moffat dismissed the idea that legal action had been taken over copyright.

“We don’t own Sherlock Holmes,” he said. “We don’t even own the idea of updating it. It’s been done before.

“I hope they know their Sherlock Holmes very, very well indeed because we know what’s in our show and wasn’t in the original.

“So if we did discover our material had made it into somebody else’s show we would have a problem with that. If there is no such incidence of that, then there’s nothing we can object to.”

When asked about a possible fourth series, Moffat revealed that Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch was keen to continue playing the lead role.

A new internet meme–Otters who like like Benedict Cumberbatch. Cumberbatch also spoke about his fan base to Now.

Emma Stone talked about her initial reluctance to appear in Spider-Man:

“I heard about Spider-Man and I didn’t think it was something I would want to be a part of. I just thought that probably isn’t right for me. Then I [auditioned with Andrew Garfield] and realized that this was a really interesting, fantastic relationship between two people and that I was being really closed-minded,” she said.

The actress, who wore her naturally blonde hair for the part, went on to discuss how her character finally changed her mind about the film: “[I] started learning more about Gwen Stacy and her history and just fell in love with the character and with the fans, too. I started reading forums and getting involved more in the comic book universe and it just became something I really wanted to be a part of, just because of all those elements.”

Emma Stone discussed Spider-Man further in this interview. Here is a brief excerpt:

You went from playing a literary character in The Help who was in a much beloved book with its own kind of following, to a comic book character who’s iconic and has this rabid following. Was there a big difference for you between those characters and how they’re treated by their fans?Well of course the characters themselves are incredible different and there seems to be a different fan base between Spider-Man fans and fans of The Help. There are conventions for Spider-Man fans and there aren’t for The Help fans, although I would love to see a convention of The Help fans. It could be like the big Lebowski Fest. But they’re two tonally different worlds to me even though they both had such a rabid following. There’s a difference just in terms of bringing the material to life. There are different incarnations of Gwen Stacy and of Peter Parker throughout comic book history, all these different storylines to pull from depending on what kind of script you’re going to patch together. With The Help, it was such a distinct story that kind of needed to be matched line for line in a way. It felt different just in terms of becoming part of it and the way the material was adapted. But I’m so excited to be part of a movie with a built-in fan base in that way. You go to Comic-Con and there’s so much passion in one room. Everybody’s so passionate about these characters and how they’ve affected their own loves. It’s a really cool thing as an actor to know that you’re part of something that’s so much bigger than you. You’re not creating it from the ground up, you’re trying to fill the shoes of someone that’s been around a lot longer than you. It’s really exciting. I love that aspect of it.>

Why do you think the producers and writers went with Gwen instead of Mary Jane?Well, Gwen’s story happened before Mary Jane’s, and I think that coming back to their roots, it was interesting to explore the woman who came before Mary Jane. I think she’s such a definitive part of Peter Parker’s relationship with Mary Jane ultimately, who is literally the polar opposite in personality of Gwen Stacy. I think just building that into Peter’s life and seeing that story from the very beginning was really interesting. And of course Gwen’s story is so beautiful and important to that story of Spider-Man that I think they wanted to come from that angle at this time.

There might be less to report about the upcoming Star Trek movie as J.J. Abrams has built a wall around the set for secrecy.

I remain shocked that JJ Abrams destroy Vulcan in his Star Trek movies. That would be like eliminating Gallifrey and most of the Time Lords on Doctor Who.Oh, never mind.

>

This week’s episode of Fringe, A Short Story About Love, cleared up Peter’s confusion about the meaning of a changed time-line. When Peter began searching for a way to get home, and rejected the Olivia in this time line even when she gained memories of “his” Olivia, I questioned this. Peter was treating the changed time line as if it was another form of alternative universe, but a changed time line would imply that it is the same universe in which things have changed. Olivia would be the same Olivia, but with different experiences due to the changes in the time line. Although I was thinking these things while watching, I also considered the possibility maybe Peter could be right as we really don’t have established rules for dealing with different time lines. Last night we found out that the interpretation I first had was actually correct, and Peter had been wrong. Peter also realized that reuniting with the Olivia in this time line was fine–not like sleeping with the hotter Olivia from the alternative universe (especially as we found out in the previous episode that having a baby with Altlivia led to bad consequences).

Awake didn’t address the show’s mythology this week, but once again showed a character whose life was different in each world even before the accident. Again this rules out the possibility of the universe splitting into two different paths at the time of the accident (unless we really get complex and have time move in both directions, which would be way too confusing).

Mad Men returns tonight. Here are some stories about the show:

Matthew Weiner spoke about Betty Draper’s reduced role and things which fans might hate in an interview with Huffington Post.

Stephanie Newman looked at what Mad Men might look like if it took place today. (Wouldn’t that defeat the whole idea of the show?)

All Things Considered looked at the influence of Mad Men.

ABC compared Betty with Don’s fiance, Megan.

January Jones discussed her absence from the premier with The Hollywood Reporter.

Today wonders whether Don Draper can finally be happy.

USA Today has a Mad Men quiz and reviewed where the characters left off last season.

Leonard Nimoy appears on The Big Bang Theory. Hopefully he does more than lend his voice to the toy version of himself (which might be the case considering how he only appeared in cartoon form in his last appearance on Fringe.) Following is an ad for the episode:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YbDraRwVTU&feature=player_embedded

And, on the topic of toys based upon science fiction shows:

Karen Gillan playing with herself.

SciFi Weekend: Fringe; Sherlock; Doctor Who News; Spock and The Big Bang Theory

Fringe started out the season slowly as it introduced another time line in which Peter had died as a child. The story built up gradually, leading to Peter coming into this timeline. Finally, in what was supposed to be the fall finale but was delayed until January due to baseball, Peter went over to the other universe seeking Walternate’s help in returning home. This week’s episode followed up on this storyline, where Walternate appears to be a good guy but alternate Broyles and the Nina Sharp of our universe appear to be behind the shape shifters as well as the experiments on Olivia. Apparently running away from Walter’s experiments in this time line wasn’t enough. Olivia was perhaps always fated to be the subject of experiments (as well as being fated to die in that time line according to the Observer with a gunshot wound).

Fringe very gradually developed a complex story line about two alternative universes which are closely connected because of Walter going to the alternate universe and bringing Peter over here. Suddenly, after a lot of trouble keeping track of the details of this back story, everything has changed with the story moving to an alternate time line. Now we  must also consider how each universe would be different in an alternative time line where Peter had died. It seems like overkill to not only have alternate universes but to throw in alternate time lines. An interview with Lance Reddick suggests they never planned to make things this complicated:

When you look back at ‘Fringe’ now versus where it was three and a half seasons ago, it’s become one of the most complicated shows out there in between the alternate universes and what’s happening with Peter right now. When you were starting out on the show, did you ever see any of this coming? Did [the producers] give you some sort of roadmap?

No. As a matter of fact, I think the show took a bit of a turn in the second season. I honestly don’t think they were necessarily going to build alternate universes from the beginning. If they were, they just didn’t tell me — which is also possible. My character changed quite a bit from the first season to the second season — honestly I feel like he became a lot less mysterious. So in the middle of the second season, you kind of knew that he was a good guy.

So in the second season we had the alternate [Colonel] Broyles, and then he died [in the] third season. And now he’s back.

Jeff Pinker and J.H. Wyman responded to fan criticism of the move to an alternative time line

TVLINE | There is one recurring knock against this season…. What would you like to say to the fans who feel they have “lost time” with the characters they know and love? That outside of Peter, in this timeline we’re kind of watching a bunch of posers?
WYMAN | Jeff and I are huge fans of television, and the biggest thing that stuns us is that our fans are actually thinking that we would pull the old, “Nothing you knew is true!” We would never do that. There is a very specific reason why we’re doing this story right now, and why we took this turn that we did. Traditionally, what goes on with our show is that fans may have an opinion about something, like, “Oh, why did you do that?!” — but then they realize, “Oh yeah, OK, I get it.” Hopefully they’ll feel the same way now, now that things are starting to come to fruition and things are starting to happen a bit more.

TVLINE | But isn’t Peter the only character going through any development that will stick?
WYMAN | If way back when, you got some scoop that Peter was going to have an affair and be involved in a love triangle, and you didn’t know about Olivia and Fauxlivia, you would never have imagined that there’d be two versions of Olivia. That’s why Fringe is great, because you can take a very traditional thing and do something extraordinary with it. It’s the same with this. Peter’s journey and finding out how he feels, what he’s doing, is really important to us. When we first went over to the other side, don’t forget, a lot of people said, “Oh, I don’t want to know about those characters. They’re not our characters.” And fortunately, people came around to like them and actually feel invested and compelled by them.
PINKNER | And at the same time, I think that the [complaint’s] premise is slightly faulty, the idea that our characters are not going to change. Peter has been in their lives now for three episodes that have aired, and he’s going to be in their life certainly for some amount of time longer, and one of the things that we’re most interested in is how he is affecting them, how he is changing them. Walter’s been refusing to acknowledge him, both out of emotional reasons and also because of Walter’s own mental instability, but that’s not to say that’s not going to change. And Olivia is also dealing with this person who in another timeline is love with her, while she’s somebody who has sort of empty heart when we met her this season.

Hopefully we will get any planned payoff from this idea before the show is cancelled. Renewal sounds questionable, but talks are underway. At least they are talking about making a fourth season finale which would work as a series finale in case the show is not renewed as opposed to running a cliff hanger.

Sherlock has two major threats this year–Moriarty and CBS. The second season has concluded on the BBC but will not air in the United States until May. Like the first season, the first and third episodes were the most memorable. The third episode ended with a cliff hanger which was far better than the first season cliff hanger. Those who have not seen it might want to skip the next paragraph to avoid  major spoilers:

MAJOR SPOILERS:

The first episode of Sherlock this season had some aspects which felt very much like Doctor Who. (“When I say run, run.”) Sherlock ended the season much like Doctor Who, with the lead character having to fake his own death in The Reichenbach Fall. Unlike the first season cliff hanger, where we just assumed Sherlock would find a way out, fans will be speculating for the next year as to how Sherlock pulled this one off. There is little doubt that Molly Hooper assisted him. She would have the ability to cover up a fake body substituted for Sherlock’s. Alternatively, Sherlock might have had a clever way to survive the fall with Molly helping him sneak away and appear dead. There is little doubt that the bicycle hitting Watson was part of a plan to distract him. Even if Sherlock were to jump (or fake jumping) to his death to prevent the deaths of his friends, what reason would he have to tell Watson that he is a fake. Could the fact that Sherlock even talked to Watson on the phone, as opposed to texting, be meaningful? I am even more puzzled by Moriarty. While he wanted to see Sherlock disgraced, would it be worth committing suicide to ensure that Sherlock was not able to force him to call off his assassins? If Moriarty really was dead, perhaps it was really Moriarty’s body which was thrown off the building, but I also wonder if they would eliminate such an important character. Perhaps there is a connection to the previous episode, The Hounds of Baskerville, with Watson again being drugged to imagine something.

END SPOILERS

Regardless of how the cliff hanger plays out, it has been announced that a third season of Sherlock was ordered at the same time as the second. There might even be more of a modern day Sherlock Holmes on television. After first looking into making an American version of Sherlock, CBS has commissioned their own modern Sherlock Holmes adaptation. The Independent reports:

In a move which has caused concern at Hartswood Films, the BBC show’s producers, CBS has commissioned Elementary, described as a new Sherlock Holmes adaptation set in modern-day New York.

Sue Vertue, Sherlock Executive Producer at Hartswood Films, said: “We understand that CBS are doing their own version of an updated Sherlock Holmes. It’s interesting, as they approached us a while back about remaking our show. At the time, they made great assurances about their integrity, so we have to assume that their modernised Sherlock Holmes doesn’t resemble ours in any way, as that would be extremely worrying.” She added: “We are very proud of our show and like any proud parent, will protect the interest and wellbeing of our offspring.”

Conan Doyle’s creation has been subject to numerous screen incarnations, including Guy Ritchie’s all-action Hollywood version. Holmes’ sleuthing skills and character quirks also inspired House, Hugh Laurie’s medical detective.

But it is Elementary’s relocation of the character to a modern setting which may closely impinge on the BBC series, which has made laptops and text messaging an important element of its plots.

Margaret Tofalides, a copyright specialist at law firm Manches, said: “The concept of a new Sherlock Holmes is unprotectable. But if the unusual elements of the BBC series – the modern settings, characters, clothes, plots and distinctive visual style – were closely reproduced in the CBS version, that could form the basis of a potential copyright claim.”

While it is understandable that the producers of Sherlock would be concerned, my guess is that they have nothing to worry about. It is very doubtful that a weekly American network television series could compete with Sherlock in terms of quality. If the CBS show is a success, it very well might generate more buzz, encouraging people to watch the far superior BBC version which they stole the idea from.

The cast of Doctor Who continues to be interviewed frequently, including a spot on the cover of Radio Times for Karen Gillan. The Daily Record has had frequent interviews on their Scottish actress, including an interview today.

LEAVING Doctor Who, the show that made her a household name, holds no fear for Karen Gillan.

The feisty 24-year old from Inverness, who played Matt Smith’s companion Amy Pond is relishing what life has to offer.

“My greatest fear is saying, ‘what if?’ she admitted. Being in Doctor Who has been so amazing. I don’t think I will ever have a job quite so fun ever again. I feel sad because I am going to leave, but with any story, it has to come to an end.

“It was a mutual decision with me and Steven Moffat. We had this lovely dinner and decided when the best time for me to go was. So I’m excited and slightly scared.”

Karen will leave the show this year after “a few really good episodes”.

Only “a few” good episodes? Sad. The story then goes on to discuss her staring role in We’ll Take Manhattan which airs Thursday.

Matt Smith was interviewed by Australia’s ABC Television (video above).

TV Line has the story on how The Big Bang Theory got permission to use Zachary Quinto’s image in their 100th episode, quoting Bill Prady at the Producers Guild Awards:

In order to use that prop, which is a cardboard cutout of Spock [as seen] in the new movie series, you needed three approvals. You needed Paramount [Pictures], and you had to get Zach to approve it and you had to get J.J. Abrams to approve it…. The problem is we wanted to say, “Suck it. Zachary Quinto.” Normally when you send something out [for approval] you send the pages, and we’re going, “Are they going to like this?” So we called Zachary’s agent, we called Paramount, and we call J.J.’s office. I [told them], “We need to, at some point, let Sheldon begin accepting there is a new Spock in the world, and we’re going to have him start by not liking it at all. So if you’re game, and you let us use it, we will begin the process of him coming to grips with Zachary Quinto as Spock.” And we got a message back immediately from Zach and J.J. saying they loved the idea.

I think we can expect to see Zachary Quinto show up on the show some day.

SciFi Weekend: The Romantic Triangle of Fringe; Cobie Smulders of SHIELD; Nolan and Sorkin Win Awards; V To End on Cliffhanger; And Daleks

On Fringe, Olivia expressed the belief that she had difficulty competing with Fauxlivia due to being less fun after having been experimented upon as a child. While Fauxlivia definitely is the hotter of Anna Torv’s characters, Olivia needs to understand that the real problem is that she has been pushing Peter away. I had even been rooting at times for Peter to get back with Fauxlivia, until we learned in this week’s episode that possibly only one universe will survive and it will be the one with the version of Oliva which Peter chooses. Actually I suspect the show will end up with both universes surviving, but it now does sound far too risky to root for Fauxlivia, regardless of how much hotter she is than Olivia.

A major component of the episode involved an excuse to bring in someone who could read minds so that they could read Peter’s thoughts. This led to the scene in the picture above where Olivia read that Peter still had feelings for Fauxlivia. The mind reader might have been more helpful if he also pointed out that Peter clearly also has feelings for Olivia.

Strange that Fringe, which is probably the top American science fiction show now on the air, has essentially turned into a gigantic love triangle.

In an interview with Jimmy Fallon,  Samuel L. Jackson revealed that there would be a female side kick for Nick Fury in the upcoming Joss Whedon Avengers movie. The latest rumor is that Cobie Smulders of How I Met Your Mother is the front runner for the role of SHIELD Agent Maria Hill.

Olivia Wilde is rumored to be in consideration to play Lois Lane in the Superman reboot.

Christopher Nolan and Aaron Sorkin won major awards last night at the Writers Guild Awards. Christopher Nolan won for best original screenplay with Inception and Aaron Sorkin won for best adapted screenplay with The Social Network.

Sorkin is currently working on a pilot for HBO which goes behind the scenes of a cable news show. Sorkin has shown interest in this type of show in Sports Night and Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. Going to a cable news show would allow him to include the type of politically-oriented stories he wrote for The West Wing which didn’t work as well when mixed into Studio 60.

Although it is far from certain that V will return next season, the season will reportedly end on a cliffhanger. This could turn out to be like the original series, which ended on a cliffhanger. By that time the series had gotten so bad that nobody really cared. The Cape also appears in trouble of not coming back, being reduced to only ten episodes. The return of The Event is being postponed until after The Cape concludes its brief run.

Community had another great genre-oriented episode involving a game of Dungeons and Dragons. The episode even included a shot with a picture of a Dalek on the table.

Ironically, this occurred the same week on which Jim Parsons, whose show The Big Bang Theory is on opposite Community, admitted in an interview with Craig Ferguson that he doesn’t watch Doctor Who (video above).

Last week I had a video of kids and Daleks. It appears that Steven Moffat is looking into this trend.

Here’s a must buy item. The Doctor Who Site reports that this Tardis mug is available for pre-order. For unexplained reasons it is available in the United States and Australia but not the U.K.

SciFi Weekend: Torchwood: The New Earth; Doctor Who; Two New Versions of Superman; Wil Wheaton & Lesbian Sex on Big Bang Theory; Lost

IGN has interviewed Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner about the upcoming Torchwood Series, The New World. The discussion also included questions about future cross over episodes of Torchwood and Doctor Who now that they no  longer have the same show runner.  Here is a portion of the interview:

IGN: We’ve heard this new CIA character, Rex, is somewhat the entry point of The New World. Will we get to Jack and Gwen pretty quickly?

Davies: Too soon to say, but I’m very aware of that. I will enjoy playing with that and I can see already that a slight myth is going to build up of sorts, saying that Rex is our only entry point. When we first see Gwen, you will see what it essentially was in the series [before]. There are no super powers, there’s no credits, no money, no special privileges. You’ll see an ordinary woman whose life is about to take an extraordinary turn. So there will be an awful lot of new viewers where if you’ve never seen Gwen Cooper in your life, you will see a woman with a husband, a baby, thrown into a threat and you’ll latch onto her immediately. Even the way that Captain Jack is introduced is written so that you’ll latch onto that as well.

IGN: What is the dynamic with Rex and the other new character, Ester? What kind of sensibilities do they bring to Torchwood?

Davies: I don’t want to give away too much. Rex certainly brings dynamism and energy and hostility towards Torchwood. He wants to know who the hell they are and why the hell they’re so important and they can get out of his way… at first. There’s a great, fun, sparky, sexy sort of antagonism to the whole thing. Ester is much calmer, but through the course of the story, she suffers some great, powerful, emotional stories as it goes on. In some ways, she’s a bit of an innocent abroad and soon learns not to be. And that plays off Gwen’s experience with these things. The fact that Gwen still is the most ordinary woman in the world, and Jack’s huge perspective of things, having lived for thousands of years… Just telling Rex that he can’t die is a hilarious scene. There’s a lot of fresh material there that we’ll mine, but again the new story will always move us forward.

IGN: Are you looking at this as Series 4 or Season 4 of Torchwood? Or is it a new project with characters we know?

Russell T. Davies: It’s funny, you can’t deny it’s Series 4. There’s a whole fan base and a whole legacy and a whole mythology that I would hate to contradict. Fortunately I have sort of done this before with Doctor Who, when I re-launched that in 2005. It was absolutely imperative to keep everyone who loved Doctor Who on board and to bring in a new audience – it was an even bigger task than this, to be honest. And frankly, I think that went very successfully. I’m an old hand at this. I do know how to do it.

I think these subtitles help, because we don’t actually refer to it as series 4. And we didn’t actually refer to Children of Earth as Series 3. We referred to it as Children of Earth. Now this is The New World, so that takes the curse off of it sounding old. Obviously, you know your stuff – you know your television and I imagine your readership knows their stuff, so we can freely talk about the past. If this was an interview with, say, a more general and generic site, I would avoid talking about the past. So you [move] in-between those points. Because there’s nothing worse than reading an interview and thinking, “Well, I won’t watch that, because it’s on Series 4.”

Gardner: Also, if you look at the history of Torchwood in the UK, it’s moved three channels in three years. It started on the digital channel BBC3 and moved to BBC2 and finally Children of Earth moved to BBC1 which is like the UK’s network channel. Each time, particularly with Children of Earth, Russell reinvented it for a new audience. We didn’t go into Children of Earth thinking that everyone had seen what had gone on before, but very much with that title, it would reward the audience that was there before. There would be references and nuances that they would pick up on that a new audience wouldn’t, but it was done very very much to welcome in people.

Davies: Frankly, it’s gotten bigger and better with every series, and if we ever get to a Series 10, mankind would have to live on the moon to make room for it. So it’s a good plan. [Laughs]

IGN: Now that Doctor Who has done its latest big reinvention with Matt Smith, do you think the two series have completely split off at this point, or do you think another crossover is possible?

Davies: Steven [Moffat] knows the plot of The New World. As a courtesy, I sent him a synopsis and said, “Is that going to clash with anything you’re doing?” We both have enough awareness of each other’s worlds to avoid that. And I still executive produce The Sarah Jane Adventures in Britain. I’m still working on that, and that works in synch with Doctor Who. So we are still very much aware of each plans, without spoiling each other’s news. We’re very careful to make sure that we behave within the Doctor Who world, while still being completely free to tell our own stories.

IGN: I think the curiosity fans have is how Jack would react to this Doctor, since he had a specific relationship with the previous one.

Davies: Well, Steven said he’d love to see Jack in Doctor Who. So if Steven says that, Steven will make it happen, I would think. That’s not inside information, but I bet one day it will happen. I’d love to see it. It would be marvelous.

New York Magazine had a recent interview with Steven Moffat on topics including sex in the Tardis following the selection of a bad girl like Amy Pond to be the current companion. Moffat also reports he will be revealing more about River Song’s identity. He is currently working on an episode in which The Doctor finds out who she is. I previously posted excerpts from the interview here.

Deadline has some casting news, including that Arlene Tur of Crash will join the cast as as a surgeon named Vera Juarez (picture above).

The title for this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special has been announced: A Christmas Carol.

There are a couple of new interpretations of Superman. J. Michael Straczynski is giving up regular writing for the Superman and Wonder Woman comic books to concentrate on graphic novels following the success of his recent Superman graphic novel. I09 has a review of Straczynski’s version of Superman:

Every time the Superman franchise jumps to a new media, we inevitably get some iteration of his origin story (i.e. baby Kryptonian crash-lands on the Kent farm, is raised to be a homespun demigod). Given that it’s a modern update of the Superman story, Superman: Earth One doesn’t stray wildly from this formula. When artwork of the hoodie-clad Clark Kent hit the internet, there was chatter that the picture (top) portended a gritty or emo Superman. Luckily, the Earth One Clark Kent is a good guy, and the book makes a strong case that the Kents are the reason he doesn’t grow up to be like that creepy god-child from The Twilight Zone.

How does the origin story in Superman: Earth One diverge from traditional portrayals of the hero? First off, Clark’s powers manifest the minute he crawls out of his escape pod. The Kents also hide Clark to protect themselves. They discover his downed spaceship while camping and hightail it once black helicopters begin investigating the vessel. This book is the diametric opposite of Straczynski’s 2003 Marvel series Supreme Power, which starred an alien infant pressganged into superheroics by the US government. The Kents encourage their son to be an übermensch, but he’s raised without any knowledge of Kryptonian heritage — he knows he’s an alien, but being human is all he’s got.

Straczynski’s emphasis on Clark’s alienness is the book’s strongest point, and artist Shane Davis rightly gives the book a photorealistic look to drive home that this is more science fiction than superhero romp. There are no pastels, other heroes, undulating bosoms, or juiced deltoids. Clark is a lithe guy in a gray and brown world, and he only dons the S as an emergency. There’s a certain amount of disbelief that must be suspended here (a.k.a. Clark’s a humanoid), but this is a Superman story — he’s not going to look like a space walrus or lion

Zack Snyder also plans for some changes in his upcoming Superman movie. Digital Spy reports:

Zack Snyder has promised that his Superman movie will be “different” from previous Man of Steel incarnations, yet stay true to tradition.

In an interview with Empire, the Watchmen director said that David Goyer’s script doesn’t alter the DC Comics “canon”.

“It’s a different story,” Snyder said. “I won’t say there’s a break from the canon or anything like that, but there is definitely an approach that makes you go, ‘Okay, that’s a way to get at it.'”

He continued: “David is very respectful of the canon and stuff like that. It has its roots in the canon and again, like I say, it has a point of view about who he is. I’m being cryptic, I know, but it’s the best I can do.”

Asked if his movie will track the Man of Steel’s early years, Snyder replied: “I think it’s early to say. I don’t know.”

The director also described rumors of the comic book hero facing General Zod as “just wrong”, adding that “the internet has no idea what’s going on”.

Wil Wheaton returned to The Big Bang Theory this week (clip above). Big Bang Theory also almost matched the recent oil fight between Britta and Annie on Community. While the guys were trying to get into a showing of Indiana Jones, the girls were having a slumber party as Kaley Cuoco, Melissa Raunch, and Mayim Bialik  had a pillow fight, and Mayim Bialik decided to experiment with lesbian sex.

In its worst decision since running the awful remake of The Prisoner, AMC has decided not to renew Rubicon. I was looking forward to a second season to see the aftermath of the unraveling of the conspiracy. There were many loose ends, such as whether Spangler would commit suicide after receiving the clover, or whether he would survive to fight both those who were exposing him and his former associates.

Apparently Spangler is still alive and tweeting about API being shut down from the screen grab above. Several other characters from the show also are on Twitter.

Gregg Sutter has an interview with Carlton Cruse of Lost. Here’s a portion:

Gregg: For you personally, what was LOST about?

Carlton: On the surface, LOST was a show about a group of people who survive a plane crash and find themselves lost on a mysterious island. But much more importantly, it was a show about how these people were metaphorically lost in their lives and searching for redemption. Viewers talked a lot about the mythology but for us making the show, it was always first and foremost about the characters.

Gregg: Early on, did you feel like you were doing something special, something that had never been done before?

Carlton: Absolutely. Internally we all thought we were onto something cool. We were shattering a lot of the commonly held beliefs about what you could or couldn’t do on TV and that was an exciting feeling. Of course at that point, no one else believed the show would work as a series, so we talked a lot about how if the show did bomb after the 12 episode initial order, it would hopefully become a cool classic like Twin Peaks, which ran for 30 episodes — or The Prisoner, which ran for 17. We hoped, worse case scenario, that LOST would be the kind of show that gets passed around from geek to geek with people saying, “Hey, have you ever seen this show LOST?”

So with the idea that failure was okay, Damon and I asked ourselves one fundamental question to start: If someone handed us the DVD of the 12 episodes of LOST what would we want it to look like? We decided we’d make a show that the two of us thought would be cool.

Gregg: And you ended up breaking a lot of the traditional rules of narrative in TV.

Carlton: Yes. We did. We showed that it was possible on network TV to tell a highly complex, serialized narrative with intentional ambiguity — leaving the audiences room to debate and discuss the meaning and intentions of the narrative – and still find a large audience. This made it a game-changer, in my opinion.

TV Alert: Wil Wheaton Returns to Big Bang Theory

Evil Wil Wheaton Big Bang Theory

Evil Wil Wheaton returns to Big Bang Theory to further torment Sheldon. In addition,  Kaley Cuoco and Mayim Bialik and have a pillow fight.

USA Today has more on the episode.

SciFi Weekend: The Event, Fringe, Big Bang vs. Community, and Preparing for First Contact

The Event had its premier episode this week and was widely compared to Lost. The unfavorable nature of some of the comparisons is a little unfair as Lost had two hours to set up the situation in its pilot episode.  Lost also started out more modestly, appearing to be a show about survivors of a plane crash. We gradually learned how far more complicated the show’s mythology would be.

On The Event we quickly find that things are very complicated–and the conspiracy is far more elaborate than that on AMC’s more cerebral conspiracy show, Rubicon. It appears that a group is being held in a number of prisons for knowing a secret which most of the show’s characters seem to know about but the viewer does not. A new president threatens to reveal the information to the public and set the prisoners free, leading to a possible assassination attempt. The narrative is confused by constantly jumping around in time making Lost’s use of two time periods in many episodes seem easy to follow by comparison.

The other big event of the episode involved Sean Walker going on a cruise with his girl friend, who disappeared without any sign that the two were ever passengers. (It shows that when traveling with one’s girl friend it is unsafe to go scuba diving with an even hotter girl.)  This is interspersed with scenes of Sean trying to get into the cabin of a plane being piloted by the girl friend’s father, who we are led to believe is being forced to fly the plane into a presidential compound in Florida because of having his two daughter’s kidnapped. It also appears his wife was killed, but the scene left open the possibility she survived. We also don’t know for certain that Sean’s girl friend was really taken against her will. She might even be in on the conspiracy for all we know.

All the jumping around in time was to build up to the conclusion where the plane disappeared from the sky, setting up a big mystery which will hopefully be answered this week.  Theories being discussed include alien technology and jumping to another dimension. If we are really dealing with another dimension, this even leaves open the possibility that Sean somehow was moved to an almost identical cruise ship in another dimension where he was never a passenger traveling with his girl friend.

If this is a matter of two alternative earths it would risk being too much like Fringe, which returned on Thursday. Last season ended with a great cliff-hanger as Olivia was imprisoned on the alternative earth while their Olivia had infiltrated the Fringe squad. Word had leaked over the summer that Olivia would escape during the first episode, but they had a great twist in having the alternative Olivia’s memories be implanted into Olivia.

Besides the return of Fringe, Thursday demonstrated why DVR’s are necessary. CBS decided to take on NBC’s comedy line up by putting Big Bang Theory and William Shatner’s new show, $#*! My Dad Says (based upon this Twitter feed) on Thursday. Besides this battle of two of the best comedies on television at 8:00, ABC’s drama My Generation also looks like it is worth watching.

While both shows are worth watching regularly, this week Big Bang Theory started the season with a better episode than Community. Big Bang Theory had two strong plot lines. Sheldon, played by Emmy Award winner Jim Parsons, had his first date with Amy, played by Mayim Bialic, with Penny along to drive and try to stimulate conversation. Sheldon even managed to work in an attack on community college degrees. I wonder if this was a shot meant for the new competition. Meanwhile Wolowitz brought home a robotic arm being developed for NASA and wound up using it in a way Christine O’Donnell would not approve of.

I thought the season premiere of Community was below the quality of many of last season’s episodes because of trying to do too much in one episode. Betty White was fantastic, but her use was limited by trying to resolve last season’s cliff hanger far too quickly. The responses by Jeff and Britta to the situation could easily have been spread out over a few episodes rather than trying to reset the show in the first episode.

If Jeff wasn’t going to wind up with Britta or Professor Slater, there’s that matter of the kiss with Annie at the end of the episode–along with the obvious chemistry between them earlier in the season. Jeff acts as if Annie is a child and the episode suggests their relationship isn’t going anywhere. Annie is played by Alison Brie (who also plays Trudy Campbell on Mad Men) and as can be seen in the picture of her above is clearly no child. I bet that we see more of Jeff and Annie this season.

Chang, now a student instead of Spanish teacher, looked like Golum with his thoughts of revenge against the study group. It was an amusing scene but again it felt like too much was being thrown into one episode. It would probably work better if there were only occasional episodes devoted to Chang but the manner in which network sit-coms are done means that a regular character will be used pretty much every week.

Later this season Hilary Duff will guest star in an episode which shows a Mean Girls type clique going up against the Greendale students.

Having moved on to sit-coms, I can’t help but note what we learned on How I Met Your Mother. After going out with Ted, Cindy (Rachel Bilson) has given up on men and wound up kissing the girl who we were led to believe just might turn out to be Ted’s future wife (played by Kaylee Defer).  With Cindy no longer mad at him, the chances might be better for Ted to meet her room mate, but we learn that he is fated to meet her while best man at a wedding. (Could it be Barney’s?)

If The Event does turn out to involve contact with extraterrestrials, as some theorize, readers should be relieved to know that the United Nations is prepared should such an event actually occur:

The United Nations was set today to appoint an obscure Malaysian astrophysicist to act as Earth’s first contact for any aliens that may come visiting.

She is scheduled to tell delegates that the recent discovery of hundreds of planets around other stars has made the detection of extraterrestrial life more likely than ever before – and that means the UN must be ready to coordinate humanity’s response to any “first contact”.

Mazlan Othman, the head of the UN’s little-known Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa), is to describe her potential new role next week at a scientific conference at the Royal Society’s Kavli conference centre in Buckinghamshire.

But what if the aliens demand to be taken to our leader? (Or maybe they did come and request this following the 2000 election and left in confusion).