Torchwood: Miracle Day Episode 2, Rendition, continued where the first episode ended. Major spoilers for UK readers who won’t receive the episode on the BBC until Thursday. (I wonder how many really wait as opposed to downloading. Despite talk of different scenes in each version, the first episode was the same on both Starz and the BBC. The only difference is that the BBC had a longer trailer for upcoming episodes.)
While the first episode had bigger movie-type action scenes, possibly using up more than its share of the show’s budget, this episode had more of the feeling of a television show such as 24 (although not limited to twenty-four hours). The episode established that the same group which was after Torchwood, and presumably behind the “miracle,” has infiltrated the CIA. They handled the attempted poisoning of Jack by Dichen Lachman from Dollhouse very well, requiring some ingenuity to come up with an antidote. This helped make up for some of the other junk science introduced in the episode. I’ll let them get away with this because, face it, the show would not be possible if they stuck to established science.
The episode also introduced Jilly Kitzenger, played by Lauren Ambrose of Six Feet Under. So far it looks like Oswald Danes is doing fine on his own without her help. I did not find it realistic that one appearance on television would have been so effective in changing public opinion of him.
Best scene of the episode was seeing Gwen Cooper explain that, “I’m Welch.” (Included in the extended trailer above). Rex Matheson also did well, after warned about the conspiracy by Esther Drummond, using some bullshit to distract the rogue CIA agents in order to set Jack and Gwen free. The episode made it clear how the four will turn into the new Torchwood (at least for this season) while being on the run.
The first episode raised the question of how they investigate intangible such as nobody dying, which is like investigating nothing. I would assume that the conspiracy involving the CIA would provide something to begin investigating. In order to investigate “nothing,” they might check out a character who previously appeared in a show about “nothing.” The conspiracy at the CIA is led by Wayne Night, who played Newman on Seinfeld
Following is the synopsis released for Episode 3:
Torchwood goes on the run – and finds a new enemy. But as they launch a raid on PhiCorp headquarters, Jack must confront the mysterious Oswald Danes.
Episode three includes guest stars Wayne Knight (Jurassic Park, Seinfeld), Dillon Casey (The Vampire Diaries) and Richard Gilliland (Desperate Housewives).
Will Ricky Gervais be the next Doctor, or just steal a Tardis. Check out this report.
A new trailer for Season Six of Dexter. The next season is going to skip ahead so that Dexter can be past the death of Rita and Lumen moving away, allowing him to get back to being Dexter.
Friday Night Lights concluded its series, but now there is talk (and tweets) of filming a movie. Sometimes that works (Firefly/Serenity) and other times such movies have failed to materialize (Arrested Development and Veronica Mars). The idea is to continue from where the series left off. This would work well with Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, and it would be easy to work in some other characters, but unless the movie shows the Taylors moving back to Dillon, it would be hard for it to be a direct continuation of the series.
Last season Thursday night featured two genre comedies up against each other. Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs of Community got kinky for Esquire in the video above. What will Kaley Cuoco and Melissa Raunch of Big Bang Theory do to match this? For more on the sex life of Alison Brie (of both Community and Mad Men) check out this essay she wrote.
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.
The second episode of The Event gave some answers, but obviously in a show of this nature there is a lot we still do not know. The prisoners are beings which are much like us but age very slowly and differ in their DNA from us by one percent. It is left open as to whether they are aliens or if they have a closer connection to us. The president, after seeing them make the plane flying at him disappear, was far more concerned about the abilities of these beings than he was that someone was trying to kill him, and decided to keep them prisoners. Sure, having possible aliens in our midst with such powers should concern any president, but he should also be a bit more concerned about a conspiracy which is apparently in his own government to kill him.
Sean Walker remains the show’s key character, leaving me wondering if there is more in his background of importance beyond being engaged to the daughter of man they wanted to pilot the plane. Whoever is behind this sure is determined not to leave any loose ends. When Sean escaped from the ship (which presumably he was supposed to never leave alive) he was framed for murder to make it more difficult for him to talk about what happened.
The second episode continued to jump around in time but not as badly as the first episode. It ended with another cliff hanger, but I think it is a safe prediction that all those people from the plane are not really dead. Reviewers report that the third episode has an even bigger shock.
Another new genre show premiered last week, No Ordinary Family. Unfortunately the episode was far too ordinary to develop a cult following as a genre show. It certainly didn’t have the mystery of Heroes (which unfortunately also lost much of what made it interesting after the first season).
The hardest thing to figure out about this show is how that guy above managed to get a wife who looks like Julie Benz. It is a shame she didn’t have super speed when she was captured by Trinity on Dexter.
The best hour of comedy on network television remain 8:00 to 8:30 with the combined offerings from CBS and NBC. On Big Bang Theory, Sheldon worked on ways to transfer his intelligence to a robot because he calculated that he might not live long enough to make it to the Singularity. Of course Penny suggested Sheldon already had turned himself into a robot. The episode also included a guest appearance by Steve Wozniac.
Big Bang Theory will continue to have major guest appearances, including Eliza Dushku who will play an FBI agent who interviews Wolowitz’s friends so he can get security clearance. According to various tweets from Bill Prady, Will Wheaton will be back before the end of the season. Wolowitz hasn’t seen the last of Bernadette, who also will be returning. Kaley Cuoco will only be missing two episodes following her recent injury while horse back riding. Watch With Kristin reports that Cuoco was actually dating Johnny Galecki for a while in real life as well as on the show.
Meanwhile over on Community, Alison Brie, who is always a knock out, really proved it this week:
I suspected that it would be hard for the competition to stand up against these two shows. My Generation was already canceled by ABC after only two episodes, making it the second casualty of the season. The show was not this year’s Friday Night Lights as a rare favorable reviewer had suggested, but it is also far from deserving such a quick cancellation.
It is bad enough that the Tea Party takes its name from the American Revolution when, in reality, in any analogy to the revolution they would be the Tories who opposed it. Now Glenn Beck is try to steal Star Wars according to this report form Politicususa:
In Glenn Beck’s Tea Party retelling of Star Wars, Barack Obama, the Democratic Party, and progressives are the Empire. He and the Tea Party are the resistance that is fighting to restore the Republic. I guess this makes Beck, Luke Skywalker, and Sarah Palin is Princess Leia. Darth Vader, because he is black would be Barack Obama. The problem with this is that it doesn’t match up with the obvious theme and message of the any of the prequels.
As usual, Beck has taken a quote completely out of context. What Queen Amidala was referring to with the liberty dying quote was the Proclamation of the New Order when Palpatine proclaimed himself Emperor and outlined his vision for transforming the Republic into the Empire. The movie’s proclamation bears a not so coincidental resemblance to the post-9/11 authorization to use force and George W. Bush’s vision of empire through preemptive war. George Lucas may be a lot of things, but he is not subtle.
Star Wars took ideas from many sources, with Lucas being influenced by the power grab by Richard Nixon and the Vietnam war when the original trilogy was written. The prequel movies continued to show that influence, and fit in very well with the corruption of democracy under George Bush and Darth Chaney. Glenn Beck and the Tea Party are those who are trying to destroy our republic and lead us towards the totalitarian empire. They are in no way defenders of liberty.
This was a pretty slow week. Several genre shows are on hiatus until after the Olympics. Caprica took one week off. Not terribly much happened on Lost until the final minute when Claire returned. The cast is out looking for new jobs with Daniel Dae Kim getting the lead role in a Hawaii 5-0 remake.
24 has been disappointing this season with rumors that this might be the last season on television, to be followed by a movie. This gives them two choices–remain in real time and have a two hour story or compress the events of twenty-four hours into a two hour movie. The word is that they are considering the compressed day idea.
Earlier today I had a post which showed a connection between Gilmore Girls and Big Bang Theory. There was more news this week regarding Big Bang Theory with Kaley Cuoco appearing in Maxim (above). In addition, nude scenes of Lucy Lawless in Spartacus have hit the internet and Anna Torv of Fringe appears topless in Esquire: