J.J. Abrams has been highly successful in keeping shows interesting by rebooting them over time so that each season isn’t a rehash of the exact same format as previous seasons, and viewers cannot assume that fundamental changes cannot occur. This worked with Lost and Alias in the past. It worked a little less well on Fringe, with the fourth season failing to maintain the quality of the second and third seasons (with the show still worth watching). If Alcatraz survived, it was clear from the finale that it would also have been a different show. I had concerns as to whether Once Upon A Time could be successful over multiple seasons if left with a situation where Emma must always fail to break the spell. As was rumored before airing, Once Upon A Time had a major reboot, with Emma breaking the spell, followed by Rumpelstiltskin bringing back magic. The highlight of the week was the appearance of Amy Acker on Person of Interest, also shaking up this show.
Amy Acker’s character, who turned out to be the hacker Root, surprised Finch and Reese, and from reviews it appears also fooled most viewers. While this was the second time that the person they were protecting turned out to be far different from what the person seemed, the set up was done so well that we were fooled again. The series began with a simple format of the machine giving Social Security numbers. A simpler show would have continued the format, failing to raise the underlying questions of what it would mean to have such a powerful computer. The episode ended with Finch in danger and a phone call to Reese which just might be the machine, making it likely that the machine will be more significant next season. I hope that Amy Acker’s character also becomes a recurring character next season. Seeing how this show has evolved, it would most likely be as a protagonist to Reese and Finch, but not being sure of Root’s agenda, she could also turn into an ally over time.
Awake is in the midst of a two-part series finale so I will wait until it is completed before saying much about the show, but what is the deal with Britten visiting Britten in the preview? I do hope they end this series with a satisfying explanation as to what has been happening with the two realities.
If seeing Amy Acker on Person of Interest was the network television highlight of the week, the low point was the firing of Dan Harmon as show runner of Community. Producing a season of Community without Dan Harmon as show runner is like doing West Wing without Aaron Sorkin or Gilmore Girls without Amy Sherman-Paladino. Neither show was as good as when their creators ran the show, but in this case the consequences will be far worse. Those who took over West Wing and Gilmore Girls still attempted to do a similar show without breaking from the past. In this case I fear that the goal is to make Community a more traditional sit-com about a group of people going to school together. The show has an excellent cast and might still be an above-average sit-com, but it will not be the same without Harmon’s variations from the normal sit-com formula.
As is usually done in such situations. Harmon was given a title, but it is doubtful he will have any further influence on the show. He explained how he learned about being fired after getting off a plane and turning on his phone, without any previous discussion with Sony.
Apparently great show runners are treated better Great Britain than here. Steven Moffat is to receive as special Bafta award for “outstanding creative writing contribution to television.” One of Moffat’s current shows, Sherlock, is now running in the United States while Doctor Who recently filmed the final scene with Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill. Gillan is seen in the picture above taken at Cannes, and will soon start filming Not Another Happy Ending, a movie about an eccentric author with writer’s block. She did manage to steal something before leaving the TARDIS for the last time.
An episode of Doctor Who, The Doctor’s Wife, was awarded the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation at the Nebula Awards. That was quite a major accomplishment, beating Midnight in Paris, Hugo, Captain America, Source Code, and The Adjustment Bureau for the award. Among Others by, Jo Walton won the Award for Best Novel.
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.
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 toRadio 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.”
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.”
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?)
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:
And, on the topic of toys based upon science fiction shows:
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.
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:
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.
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.
Filming on the second Star Trek movie by J. J. Abrams began on Thursday with a scheduled release date of May 17, 2013.
Paramount Pictures announced that principal photography has commenced in Los Angeles, CA on the sequel to STAR TREK from director J.J. Abrams. The film will be released on May 17, 2013 in 3D. The 2009 re-launch of the “Star Trek” franchise by Abrams was met with critical acclaim and a worldwide gross of over $385 million at the box office.
Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions present a Bad Robot Production of a J.J. Abrams Film. Returning to their posts on the Enterprise are John Cho, Bruce Greenwood, Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, and Anton Yelchin. They are joined by new cast members Benedict Cumberbatch, Alice Eve and Peter Weller.
Based upon “Star Trek” created by Gene Roddenberry, the film is produced by J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. The script was written by Alex Kurtzman & Robert Orci & Damon Lindelof.
We’ll Take Manhattan, a movie about 1960′s model Jean Shrimpton, will broadcast on BBC4 in January. The trailer is above. The Guardian had a feature on both the movie and its star–Karen Gillan.:
We’ll Take Manhattan is a portrait of a photogenic love affair, but lit with flashes of class anxiety and period misogyny. While Shrimpton is portrayed as a beguiling ingénue, a muse who says little but looks great, Bailey (played by Aneurin Barnard) is the domineering, hostile “artist”, who shouts threateningly at women, uses Shrimpton and forgets his wife. I’ll say it – Bailey comes off like a bit of a dick, doesn’t he? Gillan’s eyebrows raise. “Oh!” she says. “Umm. Well. He’s not polite,” she agrees. “He’s cocky, he’s arrogant. But he adores her. He puts her on a pedestal. He likes her imperfections.”
When David Bailey himself shot Gillan and Barnard for a Vogue feature last year he sent her back to the make-up chair twice, saying: “Her eyes should be rounder and sadder.” In the film he tells her he likes her eyes with shadows underneath, after she’s been awake all night crying over him. “Like I said, as a model you are powerless, but the two of them collaborated on the work.”
Does Gillan think Shrimpton comes off as strong, in the relationship? “Models are talked about, not to. That’s still the way it is. But Jean walked out on her dad [when he objected to her affair with a married man] which shows she had bite. I think she was fierce. Quietly fierce.” Gillan grins. She says she identified most with the pre-Bailey Shrimpton, “a girl on the brink of becoming a woman. Playing her has taught me I’m stronger than I thought I was, and to appreciate the opportunities I’ve got – she was one of the ones who pursued a career, one of the ones who changed things for people like me.”
There are rumors flying on Twitter regarding the next companion for the Doctor after Amy Pond leaves. Sophia Myles from The Girl In The Fireplace is rumored to be returning. It would not be the first time someone has returned to play a different character on Doctor Who. From Blastr:
As all of us Whovians know, the Doctor, played by Matt Smith, lies (that’s rule number one). And so does Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat. So when this one tweet teases hints at a (possible) character’s return to the long-running sci-fi series, we should take it with a pinch of salt, right?
The Daily Star is reporting that actress Sophia Myles (Moonlight, Spooks, Thunderbirds) is now being touted as the Time Lord’s next companion.
Why is that?
As we said, the whole thing started when Steven Moffat tweeted this tiny bit here: “Right EVERYBODY who follows me, go and follow @SophiaMyles – spin that fireplace. NOW.” He also added “I’ll explain later. Or not.”
If that wasn’t enough, the whole thing became even more mysterious when Myles herself tweeted back: “Watch this (fire)place,” and “The plot thickens…”
HBO has announced that Game of Thrones will return on April 1. Mad Men will resume on AMC on March 25.
TrekMovie.com has some spoilers about the 100th episode of The Big Bang Theory which includes a Star Trek sub-plot:
In The Big Bang Theory’s 100th episode “The Recombination Hypothesis” the main focus is how Leonard and Penny may get back together. However Sheldon has his own subplot, focusing on how his order for some Star Trek merchandise has gone wrong. According to a tipster, Sheldon orders a Star Trek Spock life-size cutout, but when it arrives he is not happy. Sheldon was expecting it to be a cutout of the Leonard Nimoy Spock, but he gets Zachary Quinto’s Spock instead. Apparently Sheldon isn’t a fan, exclaiming “Zachary Quinto!? Live long, and suck it!” Sheldon’s disappointment factors into a later scene, when he tries to accept the new Spock.
Karen Gillan appeared on the Graham Norton show last week. She discussed leaving Doctor Who in the clip above. The full show can be seen here.
Star Trek 2 is going into production this week after conversion to 3-D. J. J. Abrams discussed the movie in an interview posted here. There have been many news reports regarding casting lately, including Peter Weller of Robocop, Noel Clark, who played Mickey Smith, Rose Tyler’s boyfriend on Doctor Who, and Benedict Cumberbatch who stars in the BBC version of Sherlock written by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. MTV interviewed Cumberbatch about this role, but unfortunately he was rather vague:
“There’s a lawyer standing here saying that I can’t say anything,” he joked. “I’m hugely, hugely excited and I’m very, very flattered. I’m very, very excited, but obviously I’m not here to talk about that. I will, in the future, I’m sure. I’m just getting my head around the fact that it’s happened. If you’ll forgive me, I’ll pass on that. But my headline is that I’m over the moon.”
Cumberbatch will take on an unknown villainous role in the sequel, for which director J.J. Abrams reportedly pursued Benicio Del Toro and later Édgar Ramirez. Although Abrams has refused to comment on exactly what villain will be in “Trek 2,” plenty of speculators remain convinced that the British actor will portray the genetically engineered superhuman Khan, originally played and made famous by Ricardo Montalbán in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.”
While that speculation is common, other reports suggest that the Khan story will not be repeated in the second Star Trek movie by Abrams so we will have to wait and see.
Sherlock won’t air in the United States until May but the first two episodes have been broadcast on the BBC. So far I’ve seen the first, which is a lot of fun but in many ways more Steven Moffat than Arthur Conan Doyle. I don’t want to present any significant spoilers, but the picture above gives an example of what viewers have to look forward to in the first episode, A Scandal in Belgravia. For those who did see the episode and want Irene Adler’s ring tone, it is available here:
George Takei will be on Celebrity Apprentice this season. I still won’t watch Donald Trump’s show.
Kristen Bell returns to television tonight on Showtime’s House of Lies. From the promotional pictures, it appears that the movie has a low budget for clothing. Talk of a Veronica Marsmovie also continues.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen as much disagreement about an episode of Doctor Who as in the reviews to The Rebel Flesh. The underlying idea is that artificial doppelgangers are used to do the dangerous work under the control of their human counterparts. A solar storm turned them into self-aware autonomous beings. The Doctor tried to have them all get along, but of course something went wrong and the first part of this two-part story ended with the two groups at war. This was all predictable very early in the story, as was the eventual cliff hanger. As was foreshadowed throughout the episode, the first part ended by revealing a doppelganger of the Doctor. Of course the episode showed that Amy Pond is/is not pregnant and had a scene showing the lady with the eye patch. In contrast to many other recent episodes, Rory did not die.
I really don’t think it is possible to review the episode alone. If the second part turns out to be a great conclusion, many will believe it worked out well to use the first part for setting all of this up, leaving a full episode to work out the consequences. A doppelganger version of the Doctor certainly does open the door for a more interesting second half. However, if the second half goes nowhere, this week’s episode will be seem pretty pointless.
American audiences who wait for the BBC America showing will have to wait two weeks to find out how this turns out. BBC America has decided against showing the next episode on Memorial Day weekend when fewer people will be viewing. This certainly defeats the plan to air the same day internationally to reduce piracy. Many fans will download the conclusion next week to satisfy their curiosity about the ending and avoid spoilers. Maybe this episode wasn’t so compelling that American viewers could not wait, but with Moffat promising a huge cliff-hanger to conclude the spring episodes it is hard to see hard core fans being willing to remain a week behind.
Neil Gaiman had a live question and answer session about The Doctor’s Wife with full transcript available here. While it is really not up to Gaiman to resolve this issue, he was asked about his view of the limitation to thirteen regenerations:
Question: If there are dozens of new control rooms that the doctor hadn’t even seen, does this mean that the plan is to just keep going with the regenerations and ignore the rule of 13 bodies? @Acey90
Gaiman: It’s interesting, that rule. It was obviously bendable to begin with (the Time Lords gave the Master a whole new round of regenerations). So I’ve always thought that it was more a law like a speed limit is a law than like Gravity is a law.
And if there are no longer any police to make you observe the speed limit, you can drive as fast as you like. Although it’s a lot more dangerous.
And that’s my opinion. As to what Mr Moffat thinks, he may either have a plan, or he may figure it’s not his problem, but is one for eight or ten years down the line.
Doctor Who’s top eleven catch phrases for the eleventh Doctor are presented in the video above.
[The Torchwood video previously posted has been taken off of You Tube. The trailer can still be seen at the Starz site.]
Torchwood: Miracle Day premiers on July 8. Trailers started to get released last week, and I’m sure more promotional material will become available. Episode names have been released (subject to change). Star Trek fans are also expressing interest in the series as it includes former Star Trek actors John De Lancie and Nana Visitor. There are also reports that Eliza Dushku will be staring in a web series entitled Torchwood: Web of Lies to coincide with Miracle Day.
Many additional trailers for upcoming series were made publicly available, and others with private links were distributed to bloggers. I’m sure I’ll be talking about upcoming shows more over the next few months. Above is the trailer for the J.J. Abrams show, Alcatraz. Abrams discussed the show further here. It looks like Alcatraz is to the conventional prison shows as Lost was to island shows such as Gilligan’s Island.
Star Tours has reopened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Above are some highlights of the grand reopening.
Fringe returned to the alternative universe in this week’s episode. Other than for the characters being the cooler versions from the other universe, most of the episode seemed like it would have worked as a stand-alone story in either universe. (Major spoiler ahead). In the end we found the reason why this story had to take place over there–Fauxlivia found out that she is pregnant and Peter is the father.
The ramifications of this are obvious, having recently learned that which universe survives might come down to which Olivia is chosen by Peter. The mother of his child might have a significant advantage over the Olivia from our universe who is not even certain whether she wants to continue a relationship with Peter. Who could blame Peter if he goes back to Fauxlivia after Olivia broke things off after finding Peter had slept with Fauxlivia. His argument for sleeping with another woman–she is an exact duplicate of you from another universe–is far stronger than Ross’s argument to Rachel that “we were on a break.”
One reporter, who had already seen the new episode, entitled “Immortality,” phrased his question vaguely so as not to spoil anything. He asked if the ramifications of the reveal will “make it’s way to our universe sooner rather than later?”
Wyman and Pinkner responded, “The information and the reality of what is happening over there will get to our side rather sooner.”
They mentioned that one thing they enjoy about Fringe is the ability to tell traditional, mundane storylines (like a man cheating on his girlfriend) in new ways (like a man cheating on his girlfriend with a version of her from another reality). “The reveal,” they continued, “will not unfold in a way that I think is traditional.”
They also stated that “Peter will also come clean to Olivia about murdering the shapeshifters in an upcoming episode.”
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has turned down the idea of a statue of Robocop to be built in Detroit. Science fiction fans didn’t go along with the idea to ignore the hero of the 1987 movie which took place in Detroit. There is a movement to obtain private contributions to build the statue. There are already several examples of statures honoring fictitious characters in other cities including a statue of Rocky in Philadelphia, Superman in Philadelphia, and Yoda in San Francisco.
The official Star Trek site has a three part interview with Rick Berman. In Part I he discussed how he was chosen by Gene Roddenberry and ultimately took over the Star Trek universe:
One of the things you did NOT have in common was Star Trek…
Berman: I made it very clear to Gene that I had not watched The Original Series. I had seen one of the movies. I’d probably seen a few episodes of The Original Series at some point, in my pre-college or college period. But it was nothing I was serious about watching at the time. A day or two later I got a call from Gene’s confidante and attorney, Leonard Maizlish, who said that Gene wanted to go to the studio and ask for me to be released from my vice-president-ship so that I could come work with him on this new series. I think his reasons were two-fold. First of all, I was young compared to the other people who were involved with the project at the time, because Gene was dealing with Bob Justman and Eddie Milkis and Dorothy Fontana, people who’d worked with him on the original series. I was a good 20 years younger than this group.
More importantly, Gene was very specific about the fact that my not knowing much about Star Trek was something he was very attracted to. He wanted somebody involved in the production of the show who did not grow up with Star Trek and wasn’t enamored by it over the previous two decades like most of the people who were involved with show. We’re talking about before the (TNG pilot) script was written. So that was how I began. I think I was co-executive producer along with Bob Justman, and I was asked by Gene to be involved with the creative elements of the show, where Bob was more involved with the production and budgetary ends of the show.
Let’s dig into some complicated ground. Roddenberry got sick, became less involved and eventually passed away. What were your thoughts, as the torch was handed on, about following his vision versus doing what needed to be done to make the show work versus any urge you might’ve had to put your own imprint on TNG?
Berman: It was never a sense to me of a torch being passed. That all sounds great in retrospect, but things are never quite as clear-cut as that. As the first few years of TNG went on, Bob Justman left the show and Maurice Hurley and I were involved. And then Maurice left and a fellow named Michael Wagner was hired. He lasted a very short time, and then Michael Piller came on. Gene was comfortable with me taking care of the day-to-day supervision of this program that he’d been involved with for about two years at that point, and he stepped back. He’d come to the office every day. He did a lot of correspondence with people. He and I would talk a lot. He’d read some scripts. But his involvement got smaller and smaller as the months went on. Then he got ill and his involvement got quite a bit less. By the time he passed away, I was, I guess you could say, running TNG along with Michael Piller. And I’d been asked by Brandon Tartikoff, at the time, to develop a new show. This was something that I discussed with Gene, who felt very positive about it. But he was quite ill at the time and wasn’t really interested in getting involved with what it was or what it was going to be about. I would like to think that he had faith in both myself and Michael, who I asked to work with me on what became Deep Space Nine.
So, by the time Gene died, there was no sense of “Oh my God, this great responsibility has been put on my shoulders.” I was doing the job I’d been doing for a couple of years and Gene had become, in a sense, a producer emeritus of the organization. I had absolutely no thoughts about putting my own imprint on Star Trek. My interest was to continue to try to do the best work that I could and to hire the best people that I could and to continue on with what Gene set out to do with TNG. It was my hope that the direction we went in with DS9 – and onward with the other shows — was something he would have thought was the right direction to go. I don’t see myself, nor have I ever seen myself, as a visionary who wanted to put his ideas onto the show. I wanted to be as truthful as I could to Gene’s vision, and that was something I was more than comfortable with.
During the second part of the interview Berman discussed the three spin-offs after STTNG, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. This is from the discussion of Deep Space Nine, which I felt was the only spin-off which compared in quality with the original show and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Going into DS9 — with a space station, stories about war, politics and religion, a fractious crew and a commander of color — how ready were you for the backlash from the portion of the fan base that felt the show wasn’t their father’s Star Trek?
Berman: At that point, our biggest concern was to do something different. We had a show that was on the air. We had no idea how long it was going to be on the air, but we knew that it was going to continue to be on the air for at least another few years. We didn’t want to send another crew out on a spaceship at the same time the TNG crew was out on the Enterprise. Michael (Piller) and I spent a long time thinking about this. One of the things that Brandon Tartikoff, who was the head of the studio at the time, suggested was The Rifleman, which was a show that he loved when he was a kid. It’s a father and a son out doing good deeds on the prairie. This was an era when television executives loved to say, “Let’s do The Partridge Family meets Father Knows Best.” Roddenberry evidently had talked about “Wagon Train in space” 20 years before and DS9 was “The Rifleman in space.” I think what Michael and I ended up pulling from that was the idea of a father and a son, and we chose to do the story of a man who had recently lost his wife, who was very bitter, and was sent to a very distant space station that was not a Federation facility. As a result, we could have a lot of non-Starfleet people.
One of the big problems that Michael and the writing staff (on TNG) had was Gene that believed that in the 24th century there wouldn’t be any conflict between the major characters. Mankind had reached a point where the kind of human conflict that exists today had subsided, and the writers all believed very strongly, in fact, that drama is based on conflict, and they were very frustrated by that. And they were frustrated very often by notes they got from Gene about how he didn’t want conflict between anyone in Starfleet, primarily the main cast of the show. So, what Michael and I felt was that if we placed the show on a Bajoran space station we would have characters like Odo and Quark and Kira, who were regular characters, who were not only not human, but they were also not Federation, and thus conflict could exist among the series regulars.
The religious elements you mentioned were not really part of our initial thoughts. That was stuff that evolved. But the idea of a wormhole that led to another part of the galaxy gave us new fodder. As far as hiring a black actor to play Sisko, this was something that meant a great deal to Michael Piller. My feeling was it would be great if we could find the right actor, but that if we couldn’t find the right actor, I felt that it wasn’t necessary to go with a black actor. But we very much wanted to find a black actor who could pull it off because it was time for that. When we met Avery (Brooks), when he came in and read for the role, we felt it was a slam dunk.
Berman also admitted it was a mistake to end Enterprise with characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation. (Personally I was not bothered by this, considering how weak the entire series was compared to STTNG, but if there really were fans of Enterprise I could see their objections).
Not to beat up on Enterprise, but we’ve got to ask about the finale. “These Are the Voyages…” was clearly the most controversial Trek finale. Some fans groused it was only an hour long, but the more strenuous gripe was that it folded four years of Enterprise into a TNG episode. Were you surprised by the hostile reaction?
Berman: Totally. I would have never done it if I had known how people were going to react. We were informed with not a whole lot of time that this was our last season. We knew that this was going to be the last episode of Star Trek for perhaps quite some time – and here we are, almost six years later. So it was the last episode for quite a length of time. It was a very difficult choice, how to end it. The studio wanted it to be a one-hour episode. We wanted it to be special. We wanted it to be something that would be memorable. This idea, which Brannon and I came up with – and I take full responsibility – pissed a lot of people off, and we certainly didn’t mean it to. Our thought was to take this crew and see them through the eyes of a future generation, see them through the eyes of the people who we first got involved in Star Trek with 18 years before, with Picard and Riker and Data, etc., and to see the history of how Archer and his crew went from where we had them to where, eventually, the Federation was formed, in some kind of a magical holographic history lesson.
It seemed like a great idea. A lot of people were furious about it. The actors, most of them, were very unhappy. In retrospect it was a bad idea. When it was conceived it was with our heart completely in the right place. We wanted to pay the greatest homage and honor to the characters of Enterprise that we possibly could, but because Jonathan (Frakes) and Marina (Sirtis) were the two people we brought in, and they were the ones looking back, it was perceived as “You’re ending our series with a TNG episode.” I understand how people felt that way. Too many people felt that way for them to be wrong. Brannon and I felt terrible that we’d let a lot of people down. It backfired, but our hearts were definitely in the right place. It just was not accepted in the way we thought it would be.
In Part III, Berman talked about the Star Trek movies he was involved with, along with the more recent remake by J.J. Abrams:
Speaking of the Abrams film, did you see it and what did you think of it?
Berman: I thought it was a wonderful movie. It was very, very big. You have to remember, I did four movies with incredibly restrictive budgets. The philosophy when I made movies was, “We know we can make X number of dollars off a Star Trek movie, so don’t spend more than Y number of dollars.” The lengths that (Abrams’) film went with its visual effects and production values were so astonishing to me. I thought the story was wonderful and a lot of the acting was terrific. I’ve just gotten to a point where these big action films filled with computer-generated stuff from beginning to end are starting to wear on me a little bit. To me, the movie, like Iron Man or any of these big, incredibly expensive films dealing with tens upon tens of millions of dollars worth of visual effects… it was a very, very exciting movie. In terms of it having the heart of Star Trek, I think it could have perhaps had a little bit more of that. But I liked it very much.
Deviant Art presents the above picture mixing Star Trek and Doctor Who. Kirk, Spock, the Doctor, and Amy Pond fight off Klingons, Romulans, Daleks, and Cybermen. (Click on picture for larger version).
Here’s one of the best YouTube music videos since Obama Girl–Star Trek Girl. With her references to going to Vulcan I’m happy to see that Star Trek Girl clearly lives in the Roddenberry universe and not the J.J. Abrams universe.
Even before Fringe returned on Friday, John Noble suggested the possibility of either his character or Peter ultimately getting killed. The episode, Firefly, was on this topic. The episode featured the butterfly effect, in this case involving a firefly which led to another man’s son getting killed as a result of Walter saving Peter. The Observers had Walter puzzled with him coming to the false conclusion that they were using very convoluted means to save his life. In reality it was a test for Walter, to see if he could make a decision which would put Peter’s life in danger should Peter’s death be necessary to set things right between the two universes.
We also saw that, while the two remain separate, the relationship between Peter and Olivia remains important. Jasika Nicole revealed before the episode aired that the romance is not over.
Fringe producers Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman gave some hints about the show in this interview. Here’s just a few questions from the full interview:
Obviously, we’ve all gotten really attached to the cast of characters “over there,” including Lincoln, Charlie and the autistic version of Astrid. Now that none of our three main characters is there, are we going to see less of that world? Or will we still find ways to look in on them?
We will absolutely still be visiting the alternate world — we love those characters too. One of our goals from the first half of this season was to “earn” the ability to tell stories set exclusively Over There, even after Olivia returned home… And after all, Bolivia’s story (and Walternate’s) is now inextricably tied to the story going on Over Here.
Are we going to start seeing signs that “our” universe is unstable in the same way that “over there” is unstable?
Absolutely. Back in 1985 Nina warned Walter that his crossing over to the other universe to save Peter would damage both universes. We have seen the accelerated damage that has been going on Over There (Vortexes, Mutant Insects, etc) and now we will start to see that the physical constraints of our side may be beginning to fray as well.
During the episodes set “over there,” we got a lot of hints that Walternate might be more responsible for the devastation to his universe than he’s letting on. It seems like right now, “our” Walter is living with almost unimaginable guilt for having wrecked an entire universe. Without giving any huge spoilers, do you think it’s possible to spread the blame for the destruction “over there” without letting Walter off the hook, and thus taking away the guilt that makes him so compelling?
Nope. It’s pretty much all Walter’s fault! Apparently playing God has it’s consequences. Walternate has been doing his best to contain the damage to his world – and has had to make some hard choices, namely when/if to amber innocent civilians in order to “plug the dike”. But it would be unfair to say he is responsible for exacerbating the damage.
I’ve read elsewhere that Olivia’s evil stepdad will be showing up. Is this for just one episode, or is he going to have an ongoing arc?
We will meet him in an episode later this season – he will largely be used to highlight an emotional trajectory for Olivia. But, in the vein of spoilers, the story is set 25 yrs ago.
And finally, I have to ask — how set in stone is the endgame for this series? If it winds up ending early, are we going to get the ending you’d originally planned? Is there a chance the show could end on a cliffhanger?
We know where the show ends. And we know several of the season-long chapters that will occur along the way. Much of our storytelling has been seeded from very early on. The only real question is how many of these chapters we will be able to explore.
J.J. Abrams believes Fringe deserves a fourth season, but should not dumb down to attract more viewers:
“[Fringe is about] a woman who was experimented on when she was a kid, about a man who might not have come from here [and] about a father who is holding incredible secrets, including those that mean war,” he explained. “To not embrace that means that we will fail on other people’s terms.”
He continued: “If we’re going to fail, let’s go down doing the most bad ass, weirdest, interesting, sophisticated version of a series that we could possibly do.”
Anne Hathaway has beaten out other actresses including Keira Knightly, Natalie Portman, and Jessica Biel to play Selina Kyle (Catwoman) in The Dark Knight Rises. The movie begins shooting in May and is expected to be released in July, 2012. Hathaway will also have a guest appearance on Glee.
One of the problems I see with The Cape is that having Vince not reveal that he is alive to his wife seems to be a contrived and unrealistic situation. Summer Glau believes the situation might get even more complicated:
Summer Glau has hinted that her character Orwell could have a romance on The Cape.
Speaking to Zap2It, Glau explained that Orwell and Vince (David Lyons) “need each other”.
“They don’t like to say it,” she said. “I can’t speak for David and his portrayal of Vince, but my portrayal of Orwell is that she finally feels like she’s not alone.
“She’s been doing this for so many years by herself, and to finally meet someone who’s standing up for what she believes in changes her life.”
Glau acknowledged that Orwell could develop romantic feelings for Vince in the future, saying: “From my perspective, it would be impossible for Orwell to be in this situation with him every day and not have dangerous feelings and thoughts. His motive is to get home to his family and be with his wife and son, but for her I think it’s a little bit more complicated.”
Merlin has been off to a great start for the third season on SyFy (and previously broadcast on the BBC). The show is increasingly moving its characters towards the situations in the King Arthur legends. For those who want to more quickly move beyond their younger versions, Starz has Camelot premiering in April. A Trailer for the series is above.
IO9 has some ideas on what to expect from the Battlestar Galactica prequel, Blood and Chrome.
BBC America concluded the two part Doctor Who story The Time of Angels and Flesh and Stone. This post will include major spoilers for the episodes which have now aired in the United States with some limited information on future episodes.
Steven Moffat used major components of two of his top stories from past years along with the crack in time from this season. The story began with River Song using an ingenious method to summon The Doctor to rescue her. The two episodes teased us with both the possibilities that River will wind up marrying The Doctor and/or that she winds up being imprisoned for killing him. At least this is the speculation after we found that she was in prison for killing “the best man she ever knew.” As the time lines of the two are crossing in different orders The Doctor does not know what to expect from her.
The episode also had the return of the Weeping Angels from Blink but they were quite different from the Angels in that story. The crack in time is shown to be able to rewrite time, most likely explaining why Amy did not recall the Daleks in Victory of the Daleks. The Angels suggest that The Doctor should know more about the crack in time, and it appears we might learn more when River Song next meets The Doctor when the Pandorica opens–which Prisoner Zero also mentioned earlier this season. This is presumably related to June 26–the wedding date on the alarm clock in Amy’s room and the date the episode is scheduled to air in the U.K.
It appears that the episode will be a major event with the climax of the crack in time story arc from this season. It is also possible that The Doctor goes back in time to the events of Flesh and Stone. At one point in the episode The Doctor is dressed and acts a little differently, raising suspicion it is a future version of him. Playing with time travel in such a manner would be the type of thing Steven Moffat is likely to come up with. There’s also been rumors that the episode will include the return of the younger version of Amelia Pond.
The episode ends with Amy having The Doctor return to earth where she makes a pass at him. This leads into the following two episodes which have aired on the BBC which both lead to Amy choosing between Rory and The Doctor.
There was a lot of news this week regarding the upcoming television season. V and Chuck were both renewed. FlashForward, as expected, was canceled. The show began strong and has been excellent in its closing episodes but did go through a weak mid-season stage when it turned into an overly complex FBI investigation instead of concentrating on the characters involved. Reportedly the final episode was edited so it won’t end with a cliff hanger but the story is not likely to be satisfactorily wrapped up. Originally the producers suggested that it would take two seasons to complete the story behind why the flash forward occurred.
Heroes was also canceled, also coming as no surprise. The show started out strong first season but in subsequent seasons fell in both quality and ratings. There continues to be talk of a two hour show to conclude the series, which I think is a good idea. The last season ended with Claire revealing the existence of the heroes. Concluding this would provide a different story from past seasons (and hopefully one different from the X Men). I also suspect that many viewers who have abandoned the show after the first season would watch a two or four hour event to definitively conclude the story.
Added to Dollhouse , 24, and Lost this means a large number of genre shows are not returning. However there are many new ones planned. IO9 presents a run down of seven new genre shows including The Cape staring Summer Glau.
During my reviews of Fringe last year I had mixed feelings about the show. I am certainly happy I stuck with it. An excellent season is ending extremely strong with a two part episode in the alternative universe. This will also probably be the last we see of Leonard Nimoy who says he is retiring and will not return to Fringe or the Star Trek movies. Of course we’ve seen many actors say this but get lured back. Nimoy has also said that when J.J. Abrams calls he does answer the phone.
We know that disastrous things may happen as a result of contact between the two universes but I cannot help but be intrigued by the alternative universe. So far we learned earlier in the season that they had digital cell phones years before us. This week we found that the alternative Olivia is hotter than ours, Peter’s parents appear more sane, and that The West Wing remains on television. On the other hand, the Fringe unit seems paramilitary and I fear we will find other unpleasant things about that universe.
Also this week we learned much more about Jacob and his brother on Lost but the island still feels like a big mystery regardless of how many answers we receive.
TrekMovie.com has pictures of this years Star Trek themed ornaments from Hallmark, including the above which is the first based upon the 2009 movie. Other ornaments include a scene of Kirk and Spock fighting from Amok Time.
Walt Disney World and Disneyland will be having their last trips to the planet Endor as the Star Wars rides are reimagined. The new Star Tours will be a 3-D ride with a high-speed pod race on Tatooine. It is expected to re-open at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland in May 2011.
The sad news of the week is that legendary comic and pulp fiction artist Frank Frazetta died at age 82.
The Hollywood Reporter has a story on the possibility of Fox picking up Torchwood. Russell T. Davis would write it and John Barrowman might still star, but I still have my doubts about this working as an American television show. Many shows with science fiction aspect have had difficulty making it in the United States. One of the features which makes Torchwood special is being a more serious show taking place in the Doctor Who universe which would be unfamiliar to many American audiences. Even under the best of conditions, far too many genre shows such as Firefly and Dollhouse have died quickly on Fox.
It also does not always work to try to translate successful British television series to the American networks. Some such as The Office have been successful but there have also been many flops. Two examples of such failures in recent years have been Life on Mars and Coupling. The American version of Coupling also showed that having the writer of the original BBC version does not guarantee success. Coupling, which NBC had hoped to be the replacement for Friends (and which was in many ways more like a combination of Seinfeld and Sex in the City) failed for several reasons in the United States. They used the same scripts as were used on the BBC–written by incoming Doctor Who show runner Steven Moffat.
The article also mentions the possibility of also rebooting Doctor Who for American television. That would be far, far worse than doing this with Torchwood. It isn’t clear if the idea for Torchwood is to pick up the series where it left off but with a more international background or if they would reboot it.
I’ve been impressed with Steven Moffat for doing such a great job on such different television genres. I’ve sometimes joked that I would like to see some of the characters from Coupling become The Doctor’s next companion. We don’t know very much about The Doctor’s actual upcoming companion, Amy Pond (Karen Gillan). TV Overmind has picked up a report that “everyone thinks she is this prim and proper policewoman… it’s going to be revealed early on that she works as a kissogram.” Reading that, she just might be a Steven Moffat character of the Coupling variety!
Personally I think this whole trend towards reboots is going a bit too far. I would primarily reserve it for shows which were so bad that they should be done entirely differently (such as Battlestar Galactica) or for shows which never made it and we have no emotional investment with the original. One such show which is being talked about for a reboot is an old Gene Roddenberry idea, The Questor Tapes. His son Rod has said, “My father always felt that Questor was the one that got away. He believed that the show had the potential to be bigger than Star Trek.”
Now 36 years later “Questor” is back. Gene’s son Rod Roddenberry will develop the project along with Roddenberry Productions COO Trevor Roth and Imagine Television’s President David Nevins and EVP of Development Robin Gurney. The team is currently in negotiations with writer, producer and show runner Tim Minear (Lois & Clark, The X-Files, Angel, Dollhouse) to produce. Of course there still is no guarantee that the new “Questor” will get picked up as a series either, but Imagine Entertainment, which was founded by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, has a good track record on TV. Imagine developed shows like 24, Friday Night Lights, Lie To Me; Arrested Development, and many more (including JJ Abrams Felicity)…
Gene Roddenberry may never have got “Questor” as a series, but he didn’t forget the idea of that android on a quest. “Questor” influenced the creation of the character Data in Star Trek The Next Generation.
Caprica premiered on television this week. My original review from when it came out on DVD was posted here.
Rob Lowe, who left The West Wing before the series was completed to attempt to make it on his own show, has now decided to leave Brothers and Sisters at the end of this season. While his previous attempt with his own show failed it is more understandable that he wants to try again as opposed to remaining where he is as his role on Brothers and Sisters is not as substantial as his role as Sam Seaborn on The West Wing. There is no word as to how he will exit the show. Possibilities include his character having another heart attack or a divorce from Kitty.