SciFi Weekend: Matt Smith Leaving Doctor Who–The Fall of the 11th on Trenzalore; Karen Gillan Gets Marvel Movie Role; Hannibal Renewed; Dan Harmon Returning To Community; Revolution Finale; Is Megan Draper Sharon Tate?; RIP (And Return Soon) Selena Kyle

Times Matt Smith

The big genre news of the week was also front page news on many newspapers. After months of rumors that this would be his last season, Matt Smith has announced that he will not be returning to Doctor Who after the upcoming 50th Anniversary episode and Christmas episode:

“Doctor Who has been the most brilliant experience for me as an actor and a bloke, and that largely is down to the cast, crew and fans of the show.

“I’m incredibly grateful to all the cast and crew who work tirelessly every day to realise all the elements of the show and deliver Doctor Who to the audience. Many of them have become good friends and I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the last four years.

“Having Steven Moffat as show runner write such varied, funny, mind bending and brilliant scripts has been one of the greatest and most rewarding challenges of my career. It’s been a privilege and a treat to work with Steven – he’s a good friend and will continue to shape a brilliant world for the Doctor.

The fans of Doctor Who around the world are unlike any other; they dress up, shout louder, know more about the history of the show (and speculate more about the future of the show) in a way that I’ve never seen before.

“Your dedication is truly remarkable. Thank you so very much for supporting my incarnation of the Time Lord, number 11, who I might add is not done yet – I’m back for the 50th anniversary and the Christmas special.

“It’s been an honour to play this part, to follow the legacy of brilliant actors, and helm the Tardis for a spell with ‘the ginger, the nose and the impossible one’. But when ya gotta go, ya gotta go and Trenzalore calls. Thank you guys. Matt.”

This makes me wonder if we will really see how the fall of the Doctor plays out on Trenzalore and to what degree his final two episodes are a continuation of the story started in The Name of the Doctor. As Moffat has said that John Hurt will return in the eighth season, this episode might have long lasting ramifications.

Steven Moffat had this to say about Smith: “Great actors always know when it’s time for the curtain call, so this Christmas prepare for your hearts to break as we say goodbye to number 11. Thank you Matt – bow ties were never cooler.” Smith won several awards for his role:

Smith has been nominated for nine different awards over his time on “Doctor Who,” winning three of them — two SFX awards in 2011 and 2012, and a National Television Award in 2012. Smith was the first actor in “Doctor Who” to be nominated for a BAFTA, which he earned in 2011.

There has been immediate speculation as to the next actor to play the Doctor. Bookmakers are already setting odds. Per Steven Moffat: “A life is going to change, and Doctor Who will be born all over again. After 50 years, that’s still so exciting.”

The 11 Doctors

1. William Hartnell (1963-1966)

2. Patrick Troughton (1966-1969)

3. Jon Pertwee (1970-1974)

4. Tom Baker (1974-1981)

5. Peter Davison (1982-1984)

6. Colin Baker (1984-1986)

7. Sylvester McCoy (1987-1996)

8. Paul McGann (1996)

9. Christopher Eccleston (2005)

10. David Tennant (2005-2010)

11. Matt Smith (2010 – 2013)

While the most likely choice will be from one of many British actors, who may or may not be on lists of possibilities on various blogs, three less likely choices are the most interesting to consider:

Benedict Cumberbatch
Cumberbatch appeared like a potential lead on Doctor Who from his first appearance on Sherlock, also written by Steven Moffat. There is no doubt that he would be an excellent choice, but this is highly unlikely. I recall old interviews in which Cumberbatch said he was not interested in taking on a time-consuming commitment of this nature. The chances are far less now that he is a much bigger star.

David Tennant
Tennant is returning to the 50th anniversary episode and perhaps had so much fun in his old role that, while also unlikely, perhaps he would reconsider returning to the show. There are possible ways to make this happen, from a reverse generation following the fall of the Doctor on Trenzalore to something stemming from his reappearance in the 50th anniversary. One problem with continuing from his reappearance is that, as Billie Piper will also be present, this is apparently the Doctor from earlier in his time line. With the eleventh and Clara messing around in the Doctor’s time line anything might happen, including a revitalization of the tenth or perhaps even the next possibility:

Jenna-Louise Coleman
It has been common to speculate on having a female Doctor whenever there is a regeneration. Doing so now might create problems with the dynamics of the show as Coleman will be returning and they might not want to do a show with two female leads. One way around this would be to have Clara, perhaps as a consequence of having been intertwined in the Doctor’s time line, become the form taken when the Doctor next regenerates, perhaps merging with a Clara who is dying for the same reason the Doctor is at time of regeneration. The new Doctor could then add a male companion. Ironically I think that more female fans would be upset by this than male fans. One strength of Doctor Who as a science fiction show is that its viewers aren’t limited to nerdy males and the smaller number of female science fiction fans. Chicks Dig Time Lords (according to a Hugo-award winning book).  There is a large contingent of female viewers who watch and display a crush on the Doctor in many places on line. They might not like seeing a change to a female Doctor.

Karen-Gillan-karen-gillan-13197795-450-650

Smith will have more time to spend on his film career, perhaps joining another recent costar who is having some success. Karen Gillan has been cast as the lead female villain in Guardians of the Galaxy.

Karen Gillan, who starred as Doctor Who’s companion for several seasons on the hit BBC show, is joining the cast of Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy.

The movie is barreling towards a late-June shoot in the U.K. with James Gunn behind the camera.

The movie is in casting mode, with Glenn Close joining the roll call earlier this week. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista lead the cast of Marvel’s space adventure movie, which has Lee Pace and Michael Rooker as villains.

Details for Gillan’s role were not revealed, although it is known she will play the film’s lead female villain.

The Scottish actress played companion Amy Pond in Doctor Who‘s fifth through the recently ended seventh series. The character was hugely popular and appeared in Doctor Who books, apps and video games. Gillan has several indies in the can, including Oculus, a horror flick with Katee Sackhoff.

Hannibal-hannibal-tv-series-34286631-500-375

NBC has renewed Hannibal. The press release follows:

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — May 30, 2013 — NBC has given a 13-episode second-season renewal to its critically applauded drama “Hannibal.” The new season will air no earlier than midseason.

“Hannibal” is based on the characters from the novel “Red Dragon” by Thomas Harris and was developed for television by Bryan Fuller, who also serves as writer and executive producer.

The announcement was made by NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke.

“We’re so proud of Bryan’s vision for a show that is richly textured, psychologically complex, and very compelling,” Salke said. “There are many great stories still to be told.”

Critics have strongly embraced the series. Alan Sepinwall of Hitfix.com said “Hannibal” “is the last of this season’s serial killer shows. It’s also, by a very wide margin, the best.” Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly called “Hannibal” “finely acted, visually scrumptious and deliciously subversive” while Matt Roush of TV Guide said the show is “feverishly twisted, fascinatingly macabre and visually remarkable.”

The series stars Hugh Dancy as expert criminal profiler Will Dancy, who has a unique ability to peer into the mind of serial killers. Mads Mikkelsen stars as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a psychiatrist who is helping with the cases and, unbeknownst to Will, is also a serial killer himself.

Laurence Fishburne stars as Jack Crawford, the head of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit. Caroline Dhavernas and Hettienne Park also co-star.

Through its eight original telecasts to date, “Hannibal” is averaging a 2.0 rating, 6 share in adults 18-49 and 4.7 million viewers overall in “most current” results from Nielsen Media Research. ”Hannibal” is the youngest drama on ABC, CBS and NBC, with a median age for its audience of 45.7. It’s also an upscale drama, indexing at a 111 among adults 18-49 living in homes with $100K+ incomes (with 100 indicating an average concentration of those homes).

Additionally, “Hannibal” is heavily time-shifted, with its 18-49 rating growing by 75% going from next-day “live plus same day” ratings to “live plus seven day” results.

In addition to Fuller, Martha De Laurentiis, Jesse Alexander, Chris Brancato, Sara Colleton, Katie O’Connell, Elisa Roth, Sidonie Dumas and Christophe Riandee also serve as executive producers.

The series is produced by Gaumont International Television, Dino De Laurentiis Company and Living Dead Guy Productions, and co-commissioned internationally by Sony Pictures Television Networks.

I have my doubts that the show will survive on network television for Bryan Fuller’s full seven year plan, but hopefully it will either last long enough to tell enough of the story and receive a proper ending or move onto cable in the future. I will avoid any significant spoilers in the hopes that others are starting to watch the show from the beginning, but to comment briefly on this week’s episode, it is clearer than ever that Hannibal is playing games with Will. This should come as no surprise as Hannibal must realize that Will is capable of figuring out Hannibal’s secret and exposing him. If not for the needs of an ongoing story, it is questionable why Hannibal hasn’t just killed him already or ensured that Will was removed from the FBI (which I believe he is still planning to attempt this season). As a relatively minor spoiler, we also found that when Hannibal was sniffing Will in a previous episode, it wasn’t  to try to decide what type of sauce to serve him with.

Community

In yet a second move to enhance quality television, NBC has also brought back both Dan Harmon and writer Chris McKenna to Community after the failed experiment of turning it over to others last season. Harmon has given some credit for his return to series star Joel McCale. I wonder how Harmon will handle last season’s finale with Jeff graduating. While last year’s show runners might have had a plan, having him out of the study room with the others does seem like a mistake. Perhaps something will come up forcing Jeff to take one more class, possibly even a decision that he no longer wants to be a sleazy lawyer and he returns to school to later move on to a new field. There are other ways he could still interact with the others, from social visits to being hired to teach a pre-law class at Greendale. These could work, but his interactions are the best with the rest of the cast when he is “studying” with them in the library.

Revolution - Season 1

Revolution will be airing its season finale tomorrow and remarkably it has been renewed. The one good thing I can say about Revolution is that it does have an ongoing storyline which does receive a conclusion. The first half of the season dealt with the rescue of the son. The second half dealt with going to the tower, and they have now reached it. However reaching a conclusion and reaching a satisfactory conclusion are two different things. It is really not worth the space to itemize all the unrealistic things about the storyline. Among the questionable discoveries, there are people living in the tower who have dedicated their lives to prevent anyone from getting to the twelfth level, where the electricity can be restored (with a contrived risk of burning up the planet). They have never been outside, which makes little sense since they could easily retreat inside as needed, and it is questionable that their food supply would have lasted this long even if this is where Dick Cheney supposedly hid out. They also feel more secure guarding the twelfth level than making it impossible to reach it or destroying the controls. While all electricity on earth is stopped (not counting that needed for operation of nervous systems in living things), somehow satellites remain functioning in orbit well beyond their normal life spans.

It appears from the previews that power will be restored, but we don’t know if this is temporary or whether it will extend into next season. At least it is likely that the storyline will move onto a new quest for next year avoiding a complete repeat of what we have already seen. It does seem safe to predict that we will be dealing with the same characters but new destination. Hopefully the quality is improved.

Renewing Hannibal, having Dan Harmon return, and renewing Revolution might partially be due to a shortage of hits to fill the prime time spots at NBC, complicated by The Office and 30 Rock concluding. Regardless, the first two at least are great moves for providing quality prime time shows.

mad-men-megan-draper-sharon-tate-red-star-white-t-shirt-esquire-amc

It is risky to try to predict where Mathew Weiner is going with Mad Men. There is a compelling theory making its rounds on line that Megan Draper’s storyline is a parallel to that of another aspiring actress, Sharon Tate. We have already seen signs of violence this season including an attempted robbery in Don Draper’s apartment and the Peggy accidentally stabbing Abe.  A review of the evidence for this theory can be found here and here.

Bruce Wayne Selina Kyle

RIP Selina Kyle (Catwoman). Fortunately death is not necessarily a permanent condition in the comics, and cats do have nine lives. I prefer to think of her eating in an outdoor bistro with Bruce Wayne as in the end of Dark Knight Rises.

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SciFi Weekend: Another Hugo For Doctor Who; Jane Espenson on Torchwood; Guests Appearances on Big Bang Theory

Waters of Mars Hugo Winner

The Hugo Awards were announced this weekend. There was a tie for best novel between The City & The City by China Miéville and The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. Moon won for Best Dramatic Presentation–Long Form. Moon won in a strong field which included Star Trek, Avatar, District 9, and Up.  As has been occurring quite frequently in recent years, an episode of Doctor Who won the award for Best Dramatic Presentation–Short Form.

Doctor Who has previously won three Hugo awards, all by current show runner Steven Moffat before he took his current position. In 2006  Moffat won for The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances. In 2007 he won with The Girl in the Fireplace and in 2008 for Blink. His two parter Silence in the Library Forest of the Dead received a Hugo nomination in 2008.

Last year Moffat didn’t write any episodes and instead of a regular season there were a handful of special episodes written by Russel T. Davies. Davies won with The Waters of Mars, which beat two of his other special episodes, The Next Doctor and Planet of the Dead. Epitaph 1 (Dollhouse) and No More Good Days (FlashForward) were also nominated in this category.

David Tennant Single Father

David Tennant, who played the Doctor in The Waters of Mars, will be appearing in a four-part drama entitled Single Father along with Suranne Jones. The show will air in October on BBC1.

Jane Espenson on Torchwood

Jane Espenson, who has worked on shows including Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, and Dollhouse, will be writing three episodes of next season’s ten episode arc. She was interviewed about her work:

How did you end up getting the writing gig? And exactly how involved are you going to be?

I’m thrilled to say I was invited. My agent told me about it very casually; I was already busy at the time, and he thought I’d want to decline, but I jumped in fast to say I absolutely wanted to participate. I will be writing three episodes of the 10-episode arc.

What’s got you most excited about it?

Working with Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner and the others. Writing for a show I already adore, for characters and actors I already respect. Writing for a show with roots in another country—this is a new experience for me, and I’m loving it.

And is there something you’re just DYING to do or try on the show? Or something you can only do because it’s Torchwood?

I love blending tones—mixing the broadly comedic moment in with the darkly dramatic one can heighten both. Torchwood is a show that welcomes that kind of moment. I’m also really eager to play with all the culture-clash material that comes naturally out of the show’s pedigree. And I’m especially eager to write material that pushes the boundaries of what can ordinarily be done on television.

So how do you approach a show like Torchwood vs. your work on, say, Buffy or Caprica?

Because of the length of our season and the lead time before production begins, we’re actually approaching Torchwood in a very unusual way—all the episodes will be written before any of them begin shooting. This is allowing us to “break” all the episodes at once, with the entire writing staff working together in a very concentrated one-month work session. This is making for a very intense and collaborative process, all guided by Russell’s very precise vision. The final product is going to be tightly plotted and lovingly crafted.

Can you give us any juicy details? Or maybe just some slightly moist
ones? Or anything at all?

We’ve already changed the name of at least one character that was announced in the press. And there’s nothing to stop us from changing more—so if you hear anything, even if it was true at some point, it probably isn’t anymore. So the more you learn about Torchwood, the less you know.

There remains no word as to whether there will be a second episode of Caprica (beyond the second half of the first season which airs in starting in January). Contracts with the cast have been extended and there is speculation that they are waiting to see how DVD sales are since ratings were lower than anticipated.

There will be two Star Trek actors appearing on The Big Bang Theory next season. In addition to a return visit from Katee Sackhoff. George Takei will be playing himself:

In an interview, Prady explained that Wolowitz is thinking about getting back together with his ex-girlfriend Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), and it sounds as though Sackhoff and Takei will represent opposing points of view.

“George Takei plays himself, and he’s the other person guiding Wolowitz in his thoughts as he tries to figure out what to do about Bernadette,” Prady said.

Prady won’t disclose the venue for this conversation, but he ruled out a return to Wolowitz’s bathtub, where Sackhoff famously appeared last season. But Sackhoff and Takei do share some dialogue, Prady noted.

“I think they do discuss being typecast in science-fiction shows,” Prady said.

I can forgive Wil Wheaton for Wesley Crusher. After all, he was just a teenage actor reading his lines. If we weren’t told that he’s the evil Wil Wheaton from the Mirror Universe, it would be harder to forgive Wheaton for what he has done to Sheldon and, even worse, breaking up Leonard and Penny. Michael Ausiello has this news on a repeat appearance from the Evil Wil Wheaton.

It looks like Sheldon is climbing back in the ring with his longtime rival, Evil Wil Wheaton.

Big Bang Theory executive producer Bill Prady confirms to me exclusively that he wants to revive the ugly feud this season—possibly in time for November sweeps.

“We started talking about the idea of minor celebrities cutting in line,” Prady says, “and we thought it might be funny to have our [Big Bang] guys waiting in line for a one-time-only midnight screening of something like Raiders of the Lost Ark with restored footage, and Wil Wheaton and his three friends cut the line. When it comes time for our guys to get in, the line stops; Wil took the last four seats and Sheldon is just furious. Because it doesn’t make sense to him. Wil’s celebrity is not applicable here. This is not Star Trek. It’s just wrong.”

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SciFi Weekend: Dollhouse; Doctor Who and the Enterprise; Caprica; Lost; and 24

Hollow Man wrapped up the present day story on Dollhouse. As I anticipated, it was somewhat disappointing. It is very common for genre shows with complicated mythologies to be unable to provide a satisfactory conclusion for all the twists on a weekly show. Note their are major spoilers here.

The revelation last week that Boyd was Clyde’s evil partner in the development of Rossum provided a good shocker to end the episode, but it is very difficult to make sense of this. Even if you buy the story that Caroline/Echo is necessary to develop an immunity to having minds wiped, Boyd went about this in a strange way. Rather than have Echo in his own lab, or have Adelle actively working under his direction, he allowed someone as important as Echo repeatedly risk her life as an active. Perhaps this is why Boyd initially acted as his handler, but there this also complicated matters even more by having him out in the field as well.

The episode provided a fake happy ending. Rossum’s main frame was blown up and it looked like the good guys had won. If viewers were to stop watching after this episode there would be different conclusions for those who only watched it on television as opposed to those who have also viewed Epitaph One, which was only released on DVD. Those only viewing on television would so far see the happy ending. In two weeks they would see the apocalyptic future which has been hinted at in the series finale, Epitaph Two.

It is not difficult to understand that the destruction of Rossum in Hollow Man was not a solution. We already know that their mainframe is actually human minds connected around the world and destroying only one site probably would not destroy all of Rossum’s information on mind wiping technology. It is also possible that once the technology was possible others would develop it.

If anyone is hoping that the Dollhouse story will continue elsewhere, such as in comics, Joss Wheden says that this is the end.

In the 1980’s an unauthorized cross over book was published, The Doctor and the Enterprise. TrekMovie.com reviewed some books and interviews with Russell T. Davies and found an actual televised cross over was actually under consideration. A cross over with Star Trek:  Enterprise was seriously being considered in 2004 until Enterprise was canceled. There was also consideration of having The Doctor on board the Enterprise for the 2009 Easter special, “puncturing all that Starfleet pomposity with this sheer Doctor-ness”

There have been many Doctor Who references on Star Trek which have been accumulated here. There have also been references to Star Trek on Doctor Who, with some listed here.

Caprica debuts on January 22.  Executive producer Jane Espenson discussed the show with Airlock Alpha:

“Caprica” itself takes place more than 50 years before the events depicted in “Caprica,” and Friday’s premiere will essentially be the same episode that was released on DVD last year and online late last year, but there will be some differences with added scenes and some other adjustments here and there as “Caprica” goes into series mode.

“Obviously, in the pilot, they were reeling from this immediate attack,” Espenson said of a terrorist attack that affects the main character families of the Graystones and the Adamas. “But our show is going to pick up about a month after. And people will be back in your normal mode, where they can joke and laugh and try to cheer each other up.”

One thing that may never be explained explicitly but what Espenson and her crew had to think about, is how the Twelve Colonies can be on separate planets. Espenson said she worked with “Battlestar” science consultant Kevin Grazier to develop it, and basically the colonies will be a part of a cluster of stars.

“It’s all worked out,” Espenson said. “They are an easy shuttle flight distance from each other, without all crowding into the same orbit.”

Two of the colonies will actually orbit Ragnar, which was featured in the “Battlestar Galactica” pilot, she said. At least one other colony won’t actually be on a planet, but on on a “band” of material situated in a life zone between two uninhabitable planets.

Before the final season of Battlestar Galactica, a picture of the cast based upon the Last Supper was released (posted here). A Last Supper picture has also been released in US Weekly for the final season of Lost, with Locke in the center.

Jack is back, and Katee Sackhoff is also joining the cast. I know some of my liberal friends look down on 24 for its portrayal of torture. Personally I enjoy 24 as escapist fantasy and look down on pro-torture conservatives who are unable to tell the difference between television and reality

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SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who; The Prisoner; The Fringe Observers; and Katee Sackhoff on 24

There were two special events in genre television this week, with one turning out to be excellent and the other horrible. I’ll start with the Doctor Who special, The Waters of Mars. As it does not air in the United States until December 19 I’ll try to avoid any significant spoilers and return to this episode in the future.

The previous Doctor Who specials were mediocre episodes which merely served to fill in time between the end of the last full season and the concluding episodes. This episode was excellent and, while it is not obvious from the beginning, this episode does serve to move us towards the conclusion of the David Tennant/Russell T. Davies  era.

The story starts out with the feel of another stand alone story somewhere in space. The Doctor winds up on a Mars space station where the staff is threatened by a parasite. The difference between this and just any stand alone story is that The Doctor realized that he knew the fate of the people he was encountering. This raised questions as to tinkering with time. There is much to consider about the choices made both by The Doctor and a key person on the episode but I will leave that until after the show airs in the United States to avoid any serious spoilers.

Most fans already know that the two-part finale will bring back characters from The Doctor’s past. This begins in this episode with a brief flash back involving Daleks and with the return of a species The Doctor had previously encountered at the end.

The conclusion of The Waters of Mars leads into the two-part finale for David Tennant, The End of Time. The above clip from the episode was first shown on the BBC on the Children in Need special and is also being distributed by BBC America. The BBC will be showing the first part of The End of Time on December 25 and BBC America will be showing it the following day. The second part will be shown on the BBC on January 1 with the US date not yet announced.

After the conclusion of the remake of The Prisoner aired I indicated I planned a fuller review. At present I don’t see any point in writing much more than I said here. The critics universally gave it poor reviews. The blogs were full of not only terrible reviews but many sites were attacking AMC for wasting their time by airing such a terrible show. Well over half the viewers abandoned the show after the first night. I don’t think anybody really cares to read a more through discussion of the miniseries.

As I previously mentioned, the remake ignored those aspects which made the original so great. The original series was not just about a man taken to a Village but about ideas. Taking some of the images and a few scenes from the original and writing a story with a totally different message (to the limited degree this had a coherent message) was pointless. Part of the problem is the timing. The original series worked best during the Cold War when it could deal with issues such as totalitarianism and raising the question of whether the West was also infringing upon the rights of the individual. While stories can always be written about totalitarian governments, it is far less relevant when not fitting as well into current events. Dealing with a corporation does not carry the same weight.

Fringe has successfully been mixing stand alone stories similar to the stand alone episodes of The X-Files while also gradually developing its own mythology. We have seen the observers in past episodes but did not know hardly anything about them until this week. I09 listed some of the things we learned about them–check out their post for the full list

They can catch bullets. The ability to catch bullets probably comes in handy when you hop around time observing significant (and often violent) moments in history. But August’s Superman stunt is just another sign that the Observers aren’t human (or if they are, they are extremely altered), and that they can be powerful, even if those powers are rarely used.

They know the future (to some extent). August says that he can see Christine’s future, and he knows both what she is about to say before she says it and when the report of the crash will come on TV. And the Observers watching Olivia and her niece comment that it’s a shame things are going to be so hard for her. On a side note — are we supposed to automatically assume they’re talking about Olivia, or could they be talking about her niece?

They can still be surprised. At least, they’re surprised when August interferes with the natural order of things. Are Observers the only ones with free will, or do they observe to see how individuals react to these big, important situations.

Their writing is culled from various civilizations. So it turns out that the Observer language isn’t a language at all, but simply words written in various languages from throughout human history (and perhaps other people’s histories as well). It’s got to be a handy way of communicating exclusively with people who have an encyclopedic knowledge of all languages ever written.

They appear at important moments in history. We actually know this from the promo campaign, but the episode makes it official. Also, the increasing frequency of Observer appearances suggest that the most important event in human history is about to occur.

They eat fancy peppers. We already knew the Observers were fans of the hot stuff, but hot peppers are a handy way to track them. Will the apocalypse be marked by record sales of hot peppers?

Katee Sachkoff of Battlestar Galactica has an upcoming appearance on The Big Bang Theory and will be a regular on 24 next season. She was interviewed about her role by SciFi Wire:

Katee plays Chloe’s boss. Chloe has never let authority stop her from getting the job done, but she’s never dealt with anyone like Dana before. “Dana is permanently happy,” Sackhoff said. “I think that also pisses Chloe off, because Dana’s like, ‘Oh, no, it’s totally fine that you don’t get it. Let me help you. It’s great. I’ll do that. It’s fine. You don’t need to figure it out, because I’m good enough to do both our jobs.’ So that really pisses Chloe off.”

Dana kicks ass. But intellectually. Starbuck fans might be disappointed they don’t get to see Sackhoff beat up terrorists. The show’s writers have a different idea for utilizing Sackhoff’s talents. “I wanted to just blow s–t up, and they were like, ‘I don’t know if we can do that,'” she said. “I came in and sat down with the producers and writers, and we had a discussion as far as what they wanted from me and what I wanted to do, and hopefully we’ll all [meet] in the middle, so we’ll see.”

You’ll see Sackhoff in a whole new light. Dana may be locked inside the CTU offices all day, but the premise is that she’s had an earthbound life. That allows Sackhoff to finally get some sun. “The first thing I thought was, I’m going to constantly have a tan, which is fantastic for me, because I spent the last five years on a show that you were in space, so you weren’t supposed to have a tan,” she said. “So this is, like, the orange [stage light] bounces off your skin, and everyone just has a nice little glow. You’ve either just been to Mexico, or you’re pregnant, so it’s perfect. It’s really nice, and just new. Orange looks good on me, so it’s exciting. I went from a show where color was bad to you’re now in an orange set, which is awesome.”

Something happens at CTU. Gee, thanks for the big tip. Sackhoff’s allowed to reveal that something’s going on at CTU. “I was like, ‘Seriously? I don’t know if anyone thinks that’s actually a big secret,'” Sackhoff joked about her gag order. “Could you imagine? So this is a 24 episode, and the whole season is just about nothing. No controversy, nobody dies, nobody gets beat up, Jack Bauer doesn’t do anything. He might not even show up, and for 24 hours that would just be what it is. Could you imagine?” That might actually be funny for like the first six hours. “It would, and then people would go, like, ‘Are you serious?’ Just office lives. I’m handing my files to Chloe. They show us at lunch.”

Continuity is easy. A lot may happen in a day on 24, and by episode 20 it can be hard to remember what you were playing in episode 2. At least her wardrobe doesn’t have to change. “It almost makes it easier, because it all takes place in the same day,” she said. “It’s one of those things where the continuity as far as your wardrobe doesn’t change, so it’s like, ‘Something’s [off]… my watch isn’t here.” Because you’re so used to wearing it that it becomes kind of like the gunbelt from Battlestar. It would seem very odd to not have it on. You have to remind yourself what room you were in last, not what happened last episode, because it all is taking you to the exact same place at the end of the day, kind of. So I found that easier.”

She’s still got a potty mouth. The word “frak” might not exist in the world of 24, and the Fox network has stricter language guidelines for broadcast than did Syfy, but behind the scenes, Sackhoff still talks dirty. She endeared herself to the 24 crew right away by sharing a dirty story about Battlestar. While Edward James Olmos was shooting The Plan, he reveled in the chance to include nudity on the DVD release. “There’s a scene in the Head where everyone’s just naked, and Eddie on the day is going, ‘Zoom in on the c–k. Zoom in on the c–k,'” Sackhoff recalled. “The camera guy’s like, ‘I can’t zoom in the c–k. He keeps covering up the c–k.’ They’re like, ‘Zoom in the c–k. Get him to do something else with his hands. Make him shave.’ So then he’s shaving, and he’s like, ‘Now, zoom in on the c–k.’ That’s on the daily. That is so Eddie. It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. ‘Zoom in on the c–k’ in Eddie’s voice. I think I told that story my first day here, and the crew was like, ‘We like you.'”

BTW, what really happened to Starbuck? Here’s Sackhoff’s theory about her ambiguous conclusion on Battlestar Galactica. “So when she at the end was saying goodbye to [Anders], I think that she was saying goodbye to their bodily forms,” she said. “I think she knew, especially if he says, ‘I’ll see you on the other side,’ I think she’s with him. I think they’re both dead, but I think she’s with him. That was a decision that we made, because I selfishly wanted her at peace, and the only way to do that was to have her with someone at the end, or to be with the person she wanted to be with. I don’t know. That’s kind of where I think she is. She’s with Michael Trucco playing pyramid in the sky somewhere.”

Gregory Itzin will also be returning to 24 to reprise his role as the Nixonian former president Charles Logan.

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SciFi Weekend: We Are At Peace, Always; Changing Fate; Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars; Wolowitz in Bath Tub With Katee Sackhoff; Lost Final Season

V premiered with terrific ratings and mixed reviews. Being a remake of an old series gives it an advantage in already having people interested in the show. This is also a disadvantage as many viewers already know the surprises which were developed in the original. The show would be more effective if the fact that the aliens are evil was gradually revealed but this could not be done when this is known from the original. Even without revealing this it should have raised suspicions when the alien leader repeatedly told humans that we are at peace–always. In repeating this she almost seemed to be attempting a Jedi mind trick to influence the listeners (as in “these are not the Droids you are looking for”).

By the end of the first episode we knew the Visitors were plotting the destruction of the human race, that they are really lizards who hid their appearance with genetically engineered human skin, and the broad outlines of the series. The original series used allusions to a Nazi take over and World War II. The new series has been updated to be based more on the war on terror.

The Visitors in the new series continue to be lizards disguised as humans. The two series differ as the Visitors had non-human sounding voices in the original but now look and sound completely human (unless one cuts through their skin to reveal the reptilian skin). This allowed advance sleeper cells to be set up on Earth prior to the public arrival.

One of the most monumental periods in the history of the planet is shown through the eyes of a small handful of people which the show is centered around.  FBI agent Erica Evans, played by Elizabeth Mitchell of Lost, spent a large portion of the show tracking down a terrorist sleeper cell. Initially I was questioning why they devoted so much time to what appeared to be her usual FBI duties as opposed to the arrival of the aliens but ultimately the connection between the sleeper cell and the aliens became clear.

The aliens set up a group of Peace Ambassadors and utilized their ability to not only appear human but appear as extremely attractive humans to enhance recruitment. It did feel contrived to find that not only was Erica’s son recruited but that the attractive blond recruiter was especially interested in recruiting him. His significance to the show is that he is the son of the main character–not something which the aliens would mean anything to characters within the show.

The Bush administration had Fox to willingly provide favorable news. The Visitors were concerned about favorable news coverage and convinced a television journalist to avoid asking any questions which might place them in a bad light in return for the fame of being granted exclusive interviews. The episode also revealed that the Visitors who had been hiding on earth had infiltrated the government and were responsible for current turmoil, such as starting unnecessary wars.  I’m surprised that they hadn’t also concentrated on infiltrating the news media to guarantee the presence of reporters who would always provide positive coverage.

The question is what they will do with the series now that the premise has been laid out. The initial mini-series was excellent but the subsequent television series couldn’t maintain the quality. There are already signs of possible trouble in sustaining this series such as reports of already changing the show runner. The show will need to establish itself quickly as ABC is airing only four episodes and then showing the remaining nine later in the season.

The pilot of the new series along with episodes of the original series are available for viewing on line here.

Flash Forward The Gift

Previous episodes of FlashForward have teased viewers with the possibility of seeing events take place which differ from those in the flash forwards of the major characters. In the original novel it was shown that the future could be changed but we did not know for sure if the same rules applied on the television show.

This week’s episode, The Gift, finally made it clear that the future can be changed. A character jumped to his death in order to prevent a tragedy he discovered he will cause in his flash forward. (It is amazing that for so many characters the moment of their flash forward is at a major point in their life).

The discovery that the future can be changed  has a profound effect on some of the characters who had been acting as if they were inevitably heading towards the situation in their flash forward. Rather than being shown an inevitable future, it is increasingly likely that knowledge of the future will change the behavior of some characters to attempt to give themselves a different future. Now Dimitri can work to prevent his murder, and perhaps it really is Dimitri in Zoey’s flash forward of a wedding on the beach. Last week it appeared that Mark and Olivia were acting to make their visions of the breakdown of their marriage come true. Now they have motivation to really work to save their marriage, knowing it is possible.

The most frustrating aspect of the episode to me was seeing Mark and Olivia at home with Charlie. All I could think of while seeing them all together is to wonder why Mark doesn’t simply ask her what she knows to make her say that “D. Gibbons is a bad man.”

Aaron’s daughter had a prominent role in this episode as we learned more about how she was apparently killed. Rather than finding her at the time of the flash forward, Aaron returned home to find his daughter alive at the end of the episode. This appears to be a second situation where things are playing out different than in the flash forward.

A trailer has been released for the next Doctor Who special, The Waters of Mars (video above). This will first air on the BBC on November 15 and December 19 on BBC America. Blogator Who has posted a synopsis of the episode:

Starring David Tennant as The Doctor and guest starring acclaimed British actress Lindsay Duncan – best known for her roles across stage and screen (Margaret, Lost in Austen) – The Waters Of Mars is set to be one of the most terrifying episodes of the series to date.

Lindsay Duncan stars as Adelaide – the Doctor’s cleverest and most strong-minded companion yet.

She and The Doctor face terror on the Red Planet as they battle against a mysterious alien living within the terrarium of life on Mars’ surface which infects its victims using a water compound it creates.

Neighbours, Flying Doctors and Casualty star Peter O’Brien also guest stars as Ed, Adelaide’s second-in-command at the base

According to The Hollywood Reporter, David Tennant might be seen more by US audiences after he concludes his role as The Doctor. Tennant has been cast in the title role of a pilot for NBC entitled Rex Is Not Your Lawyer.

Written by Andrew Leeds and David Lampson, “Rex” centers on Rex Alexander (Tennant), a top Chicago litigator who begins suffering panic attacks and takes up coaching clients to represent themselves in court.

David Semel, who directed the pilots for “Heroes” and “Life,” has come on board to helm the comedic legal drama from Universal Media Studios and BermanBraun.

Kateee Sackhoff Big Bang

A picture has been released of Katee Sackhoff’s upcoming appearance on the November 23 episode of The Big Bang Theory.

“The story is about how Wolowitz has this wonderful woman in his life” after a double-date with Leonard and Penny and one of her co-workers from the Cheesecake Factory, Lorre says. “But he can’t recognize what’s right in front of him because he’s mesmerized by fantasies about women from sci-fi. The scene is his mental image of Katee, but she’s telling him the truth, that he’s missing out on real life.”

For her part, Sackhoff enjoyed the rub-a-dub-dub so much that she says she hopes it leads to a recurring role as “Wolowitz’s Number Six” (a Battlestar reference), returning from time to time in his imagination to offer advice – for instance, disabusing him of the notion that he’s a ladies’ man.

Lorre says he could get on board with that idea. “That would be terrific – she could definitely be Number Six in Wolowitz’s head – his muse, the magnificent woman who tells him the truth. We should all have a conscience that looks like Katee Sackhoff.”

Sackhoff’s guest appearance follows previous guest spots by Summer Glau and more recently Wil Wheaton. Wheaton revealed on his blog that he his voice was used in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movie.

Katee Sackhoff will have a role in the upcoming season of 24.  Gregory Itzin will also be returning next season in his role of former President Charles Logan.

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E! Online interviewed Damon Lindelof about the final season of Lost:

For those fans of Lost who are invested in the romance on the show, will there be anything for them this year, or is this primarily a mythology season?
That’s an excellent question. Our focus remains where it’s always been: on the characters. And there are significant and emotional bonds, from both the friendship and the romantic angle, that we would be remiss in not exploring; we probably won’t be exploring them in the way that you think. That’s my official answer.

All right, last night you tweeted about this event, and you said that you would address the numbers question.
Oh, well that was just to get people here. [Laughs.]

Are we going to get an answer on the numbers this season?
When someone asks what the numbers mean or are you going to answer the mystery of the numbers, it’s a very interesting phrasing of a question, because I would pose it back to them: Well, what does an answer to “what do the numbers mean” look like? The answer that I’m giving now, my political answer, is that we’ve made a lot of the numbers in this show, so the idea that in the final season of the show we are telling everybody that we’re in answer mode and you’re never going to see the numbers again, or you won’t understand a lot more about the numbers than you do now, would be a cop-out. You would legitimately tar and feather us. But the one question that I can’t answer is what someone’s own level of personal satisfaction is going to be when all is said and done. We’ve gotten a sense from some people that there’s no such thing as a definitive answer to a question, you know? You say that this is the definitive answer and sometimes fans do like, “No, it’s not, I still think that there’s more there.” So all we can do is basically tell the story that we want to tell and answer the questions that are relevant to that story and hope that the audience leaves with some degree of satisfaction. But Lost wouldn’t be Lost if there wasn’t an ongoing debate as to whether or not questions were answered satisfyingly or not.

Word has been spreading this week that Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell) does appear during the final season but does die. Entertainment Weekly has quotes from the producers:

CUSE: “As the story is now nearing its conclusion, some characters just aren’t going to make it all the way to the end. Even beloved characters aren’t going to make it all the way to the end. And sometimes we have to do things that are really painful, like killing Juliet, because that’s what makes the story feel like the stakes are genuine, and people feel invested that characters who are beloved can actually perish on our show. It was an enormously powerful story that concluded the entire season of the show. So she was sacrificed in service of the story, and I think was hugely responsible for the season being viewed as successful because that was how it ended.… But she will always loom as one of our favorite characters, and even more importantly, favorite people that we’ve ever worked with on this show.”

LINDELOF: “What always gives us pause—especially in this instance—is we just love working with Elizabeth. And she always brings it, she always gives more than we expected, and transcends the material. She has always been so gracious and sweet and lovely…. That conversation [in which he and Cuse delivered the bad news] went the same way that the entire relationship did, which is Elizabeth was completely understanding, sweet, and wonderful. And she was bummed, as were we.”

MITCHELL: “I really only thought [the job] was going to be a year. I didn’t in any way think that that character would be liked because I didn’t think of her as a likable person.  I was just in love with her, so that was what was fun.  She didn’t have to be beautiful. She didn’t have to be sexy. She was someone who we really haven’t seen. It was new, it was virgin ground.… [But after season 3], I was told many, many times that they weren’t sure what to do and that they wanted to keep her a mystery.  Which I thought was great, to keep her a mystery.  I’m glad they didn’t go the other way, and make her completely nothing. In many ways a lot of it was just inevitable. [Season 4] wasn’t as exciting as season 3 was, but I was still pretty grateful to be there, to be honest with you.  They’d done a lot for me, so I still felt pretty good about it and I still loved her. Even if I was just walking around in the background, I was still having my Juliet thoughts…. [In a phone call right before the end of season 5, Lindelof and Cuse] said they didn’t have any story left to tell, and they didn’t think there was anything left for her to do… They were very open and honest and kind about it. And they seemed to be sad about it.”

CUSE: “There are so many characters in the weave of the fabric of Lost that at various times certain people get to shine and other people are forced into the background. Juliet’s character had that kind of an arc on the show: She burned brightly, but then we moved on in the storytelling and other things became more important. And it’s always painful. It’s like having a garage full of the most beautiful cars in the world but you only can drive one to work every day. And it was frustrating for us, too, because we were pursuing other stories which rose to prominence and hers ended up taking a little bit of a backseat. But Damon and I came to a place where we came up with a fantastic ‘ending’ [for Juliet]. And ending is in quotations, of course, because just because a character’s died doesn’t mean that their story’s over on Lost.”

LINDELOF: “Juliet basically birthed season 6 by the actions that she takes in the final seconds of season 5. She is completely responsible for the endgame of the show. So the character is going to be seen in a slightly different light this year. We gave her that action for a reason, and that’s because she’s so important to the fabric of the story.”

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Those who might want more of Hayden Panettiere beyond seeing her fight a deadly sorority and share a lesbian kiss with Madeline Zima on Heroes might check out her spread in Elle.

The identity of the character to be killed off this season of Heroes has been revealed by TV Guide. They report it will be Adrian Pasdar, who plays Nathan. This doesn’t come as a surprise considering that he was already killed at the end of the last season and the manner in which he returned does  not appear permanent.

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SciFi Weekend: Dollhouse Faces Moral Issues; FlashForward Provides Possibly Contradictory Views of the Future; Wil Wheaton is a Dick (On Big Bang Theory); and See The Aliens Arrive on V

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Belonging, this week’s episode of Dollhouse, was one of the best of the series.  (Major spoilers included). The episode both provided information on the back stories of characters and gave hints as to how this will ultimately lead to the world shown in Epitaph One. The episode primarily centers around how Sierra wound up at the Dollhouse, but also has briefer hints about the history of other characters. We  saw last season that Sierra, originally Priya, had her mind wiped after turning down the advances of Nolan Kinnard.  Kinnard repeatedly hired her and had her programmed to love him.

Belonging provided far more detail. We found that  Kinnard had drugged Priya to make it appear she was schizophrenic, and then called in the Dollhouse to wipe her memory to treat her. Apparently Adelle and Topher did not realize they had previously encountered Priya when she had rejected Kinnard in a scenario where Victor and Echo had been involved, and thought they were helping her.

Echo, becoming increasingly self-aware, tipped of Topher that something was wrong. With Adelle and Topher finding the real reason Sierre/Priya was in the Dollhouse we see the moral issues raised by the technology, along with moral development of the views of the major characters. Adelle protested but gave in when the powers behind the doll houses warned her that if she did not obey she would not like their early retirement plan.

Adelle noted that while most people were hired by the Dollhouse because they had compromised their morals, Topher  was hired because he had no morals at all. He showed that he was developing morals in this episode (along with also working on the remote wipes of Epitaph One.) Instead of delivering a programmed Sierra to Kinnard, Topher restored Priya’s original memories, cured of the mental illness now that the drugs were out of her system. Priya/Sierra wound up killing Kinnard, with Boyd and Topher arriving to clean up that mess.

The logical conclusion would be for Priya to now leave the Dollhouse as she was brought there under false pretenses and no longer appeared mentally ill. I’m sure Whedon didn’t want to lose the character (having just lost Whiskey for most of the season), so they contrived reasons for her to want to remain. This included both not wanting to live with the memory of killing Kinnard and feeling (even if not remembering) her love for Victor.While last season everyone was worried when Victor had an erection, this year they don’t seem to be concerned about the relationship which the two should not be able to feel with their minds, but apparently not libido, wiped.

The episode was unusual in not centering around Echo, but there was also an advance in her storyline as we found she was taking steps to remember what was happening to her. As Adelle and Topher had to make ethical choices with regards to Sierre, Boyd discovered what Echo was doing and chose to help her.

After having one of the best episodes of the series, Dollhouse goes on hiatus for the November sweeps. To make up for it, there will be two episodes per week in December, including the episodes with Summer Glau. I09 has the schedule:

Friday, Dec. 4 – Episode 205 & 206 (Summer Glau episodes 8PM-10PM et/pt)
Friday, Dec. 11 – Episodes 207 & 208 (8PM-10PM et/pt)
Friday, Dec. 18 – Episodes 209 & 210 (8PM-10PM et/pt)

This leaves three episodes to run later in December or January. I’m not very optimistic that Fox will order more after the initial thirteen episode run. Joss Whedon’s response to the change in schedule:

“Howzabout that schedule? Well, I’m not as depressed as everyone else. We weren’t about to rock sweeps anyway, and though there’s a chilly November, December is CRAZY. It’s like an Advent calendar of episodes! We get November to try to spread the word (which I’ll be leaning on Fox to do, though it’s hard to imagine them doing as good a job as the WhyIWatch guy) and then December is pure gluttony. Plus the episodes line up extremely well in these pairs, and we’ll have an absurdly appropriate lead-in,” Whedon wrote over at Whedonesque. “Back to breaking Tim’s [Minear] episode. Keep the faith, peeps. I’ll bring you news (and hopefully a little humor, I mean would it kill me to punch these up a little?) when I can. -j joss.”

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FlashForward moved to Washington, D.C. for last week’s episode where the president looks far more like John Kerry than Barack Obama. Once again we have possibly contradictory visions which raise questions as to whether the visions of the future are inevitable, or whether it is the accounts we are seeing which are sometimes unreliable. In a previous episode, Zoey said that she saw Demetri at their wedding. This contradicts Demitri’s belief that he will be dead both due to not having a flash forward and because of  a phone call from a woman saying she saw a report of his murder. This could be explained as Zoey saw her finance from a distance at the wedding and it could have been someone else–if we accept that she would be marrying someone else so shortly after Demitri’s murder.

This week we saw the president’s vision of some type of crisis (which I suspect plays into the actual cause of the flash forwards). Senator Joyce Clemente claimed she had a vision of being president, which would not fit in with the vision of the actual president. Clemente is ultimately chosen to be vice president, replacing the VP who died during the flash forward. This makes her claims of being president in less than six months more plausible if not for the contradiction with the president still being alive. Perhaps she was not being honest about her vision, or perhaps she mistook a quick view of being VP for being president. This also raises the question of whether there could be alternative futures.

There is yet another mystery raised when Agent Janis Hawk, who is pregnant in her flash forward, is shot at the end of the episode. This could mean that she is fated to survive, or it could also suggest that the future can be changed. We also learn that she is gay, making her events which lead to her becoming pregnant potentially  even more interesting.

There was a lot of political intrigue in the episode. I found it most amusing to learn that the CIA thought China was behind the flash forwards because of their distrust of China and the fact that the United States suffered far more damage than China. Of course the flash forwards occurred during the afternoon in the United States and during the middle of the night in China.  As we saw a suggestion of a more limited flash forward having occurred in the past, my suspicion is that if China had really used this as a weapon they wouldn’t have made it world wide, despite the less severe damage to their country.

I did find it unrealistic that the mosaic project, which puts together a picture of the world in six months, had to be justified based upon whether it could explain why the flash forwards occurred. I would think that the government would be interested in details of the world in six months for a variety of other reasons.

From the previews it appears that the storyline for Dominic Monaghan (of Lost) will really be starting in the next episode. It appears he had a major role in the flash forwards.

Wil Wheaton Big Bang

Wil Wheaton’s motto on his blog is “Don’t be a dick.” The actor who played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation had a guest role on The Big Bang Theory. While playing “himself,” the version of  Wil Wheaton on the show did not follow this motto. He played a “Johnny Fairplay” trick on Sheldon. Maybe this was the evil Mirror version of Wil Wheaton.

The appearance by Wheaton resulted in a fifteen percent increase in the ratings for The Big Bang Theory compared to the previous week.  The next major guest planned is Katee Sackhoff, who will play herself in a cameo on the November 23 episode. Sackhoff , who played Starbuck on Battlestar Gallactica, will also have an appearance on Two And A Half Men and will be regular on the upcoming season of 24.

[Video removed from You Tube]

Just as ABC did with FlashForward, they have posted the first eight minutes of V on line (video above). Also like FlashForward, the key event leads to plane crashes. I love the big screen television screens on the bottom of their space ships. Is it LED, plasma, or a technology unknown on earth?

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SciFi Weekend: Epitaph One; The Next Seasons of Dollhouse, Torchwood and 24; Battlestar Galactica Top Show With Honors for The Big Bang Theory

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While I’ve been intrigued by Dollhouse, especially as we saw more of what Joss Wheden had in mind, there was always one thing which bothered me about the premise. The show shows advanced technology but it is used for fairly trivial purposes. They have the ability to imprint the memories and personality of a person into the body of another but use it primarily to create experts who could have been hired without this technology and create prostitutes who believe they love the person hiring them. We got a hint of the greater potential of the technology in an episode where someone comes  back from death by having their memories which were stored shortly before her death be restored but she only returned to life temporarily. The ramifications of the technology was finally considered much further in Epitaph One.

Epitaph One was created when a clip episode was suggested in order to have an inexpensive thirteenth episode. Rather than doing a conventional clip episode Whedon wrote an episode which takes place ten years from now. While it has not yet been aired, the episode was included on the DVD set for the first season. (Spoilers included here).

The episode begins in a post-apocalyptic world ten years in the future. The Dollhouse technology has become widespread and it has even become possible to wipe people’s memories and imprint them remotely. The Chinese used the phones to create an army in the United States and the country was reduced to warfare between those who answered the phone and those who did not. Mind wiping was also being transmitted and a group decided to flee underground where they could not be reached.

While trying to get as far underground as they can, the group found the Dollhouse. They found memories which were stored and used them to find what had occurred over the preceding years. Even before remote implanting was being used as a weapon there were signs of the dangers of the technology with some people permanently taking over the bodies of others in an attempt to obtain immortality.  There were suggestions of a possible defense against being imprinted and Caroline/Echo had left her memories to be used to guide people to a possible Safe Haven.

There is talk that the episode will still be aired. The episode would then provide viewers with knowledge of a general outline of what will transpire. Unlike the Terminator series, viewers will know of the terrible future but the actual characters will not. Whedon did leave himself with some wiggle room if he wants to vary from some of the memories reviewed. At Comic-Con he did note that these memories, as with all memories, might not be completely accurate.

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While Epitaph One gives a look at where the story might be going long term, Joss Whedon provided some information on what will occur next season in an interview with TV Guide. This includes information on Echo, played by Eliza Dushku (seen above in a recent picture from FHM). Here is a portion:

What’s your answer to those who are queasy with the idea that the Actives are basically prostitutes since they have no power over who they sleep with?
I never thought of that! No, I did. I think it’s a little more complicated than that. But there is that element of they have sex with people sometimes. We always deal with what it does to them psychologically. What good can come of it and what terrible can come of it and how are the people who are manipulating them feeling about what they’re doing. You get into the area of sex at all in America and it’s a touchy subject. Our response is to come at it head on and so we’ll see a lot of the consequences of what’s been going on with the Dolls over the next 13 episodes.

Who feels the consequences? The Actives aren’t self-aware.
Well, Echo has been reaching toward a kind of awareness and we’re going to be sending her further along that journey. She’ll start to form her own ideas about what’s going on.

Will she hide that from her handlers?
She sure will!

So what will happen as Echo starts to get her identity back?
That’s just going to make her life harder. We’ll also get to see more of Victor and Sierra and where they came from. And we’ll discover what got everybody there. We know Boyd is a moral guy; he was a cop so his presence here is a little incongruous. We want to tease that for a while and then actually explain it.

What is the former Fed Paul Ballard up to signing on to the Dollhouse? He was a good guy last season.
He’s going to definitely be more intimately connected to the house but that doesn’t mean that he’s completely lost his way. Yet.

Are you implying that he’ll be so deep underground that he’ll start to identify with what he’s enmeshed in?
Umm-hmm.

Is Paul working with any entity or agency this season?
At the beginning he’s solo, but he’ll form an alliance inside the Dollhouse—with whom I’m not saying.

Will Echo get enough self awareness that she could be Ballard’s in-house ally.
She m-i-ight. [Laughs.]

Why did Paul demand November’s freedom rather than Echo’s, since Echo, aka Carolyn, is his obsessive reason for bringing the Dollhouse down?
That is an essential question that comes up as well. Was November the girl he wanted to free because he had had a relationship with her and he felt worse for her? Or was he just getting rid of her because her being there would make him feel guilty for his obsession with Echo? It’s either the noblest thing he’s ever done or it’s the other thing. That question will come up early on.

The Television Critics Association has chosen Battlestar Galactica as Program of the Year. True Blood won as Outstanding New Show and Mad Men was chosen for Outstanding Achievement in Drama. The Big Bang Theory won as Outstanding Achievement in Comedy. The cast of The Big Bang Theory was also featured on the cover of TV Guide during Comic-Con. A video made at the time of the photo shoot appears above.

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Russell T Davies has hinted that he might be creating a new set of characters when Torchwood returns. Captain Jack left earth at the end of the third season mini-series and John Borrowman might not be available next season. He is being considered for a role on the next season of Desperate Housewives.

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TV Guide has some information on the next season of 24:

24 star Kiefer Sutherland says the new season, premiering in January 2010, is “the most realistic storyline I think we’ve done since season one. It centers around peace conferences taking place at the UN between the president of Iran and the President of the United States, which I believe is possible within the next few years. Obviously there will be a lot of people who will want to fight that. This is about fighting off that threat to peace.”

More information from Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe O’ Brian)–and note who will be playing her boss:

“Chloe is not up to speed in the new CTU, which is very different for her. Katee Sackhoff plays my new boss (Dana Walsh), and she kind of pats me on the shoulder and says, ‘Don’t worry—you’ll catch up,’ which is the worst moment for Chloe ever. Everything’s changed at CTU and my bosses are looking at me like I’m not doing it right. But then something happens in the story where I think I know some information which pits me at odds with my bosses.” Mary Lynn adds that the new New York City-based CTU looks “kind of like
a spaceship. It’s sleek with a lot of glass, and underground with a tunnel you drive through to get into it. I feel kind of like Batgirl. And our computers are under glass and there’s a huge screen with all the information on it that everyone can access.”

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SciFi Weekend: Daleks; Starbuck Joins CTU; Virtuality; and Whedon on Dollhouse

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When Doctor Who returns next season we will have both a new Doctor and a new companion for the first time since the series was revived. Steven Moffat, the new show runner, reportedly plans to handle thist by having the first episode with Matt Smith playing The Doctor feature the Daleks to at least give viewers a familiar enemy for The Doctor. An anonymous source has been quoted as saying, “Fans may take a while to get used to Matt as the Doctor so it makes sense to have him fight his most famous enemies.” Perhaps, but only if they can come up with a good story. The Daleks have become so overused that this could be a challenge.

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I’ve read of plenty of weddings based upon Doctor Who and other science fiction shows but this is the first time I’ve heard of a Doctor Who themed funeral. From Slice of SciFi:

Wales’ Sebastian Neale loved “Doctor Who.”  How much you ask?

Enough to have a “Doctor Who” themed funeral.  The 26-year old fan recently passed away.  But instead of the standard funeral, Neale had a “Doctor Who” themed one, including having his casket look like the exterior of the Doctor’s TARDIS.

Attendees to the funeral were greeted by the a line from the fourth Doctor story, “Pyramids of Mars,” saying, “I’m a Time Lord, I walk in eternity.”  And the usual comforting words from scripture were replaced with William Hartnell’s first Doctor speech from “Dalek Invasion of Earth” and later re-used in the prelude of “The Five Doctors,” saying, “Someday I shall come back, yes I shall come back.  Until then there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.”  (The original clip is include below)

It is a shame Sebastian can’t regenerate.

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Katee Sackhoff, who played Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica, will be on 24 next season:

When the Fox thriller returns, Sackhoff will play data analyst Dana Walsh, who works at the brand new Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU) in New York City. According to the EW story, her character will be involved with Cole Ortiz, the field operations leader played by Freddie Prinze Jr.

Other cast members of the show’s eighth season, which kicks off Jan. 17, include Mykelti Williamson, John Boyd, Chris Diamantopoulos and Jennifer Westfeldt. Returning cast members include Cherry Jones (as President Allison Taylor), Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe) and Annie Wersching (Renee Walker). “Slumdog Millionaire” star Anil Kapoor will make his American television debut as a Middle Eastern leader in the U.S. on a peace mission.

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Io9 interviewed Michael Taylor about Virtuality, a made for television movie which Ronald Moore hopes will be picked up as a television series:

So you mentioned that you got involved with Virtuality to do something to for the genre similar to what BSG did. What will Virtuality change, what does it have to offer to the world that BSG did?

For Virtuality, I think our focus is more technological. It’s more about the technology we are already dealing with and how that will change our lives. I would say that, that reality is the internet. The technology which enables us to communicate with other people. We conduct a lot of our lives though websites dating sites, facebook, email, phone links that allow us to get in contact with people on the other side of the world. But there’s no physical contact. In other words we’re already living our lives in a kind of virtual reality. This is what the show Virtuality looks to explore. How that kind of technology will change us… In that sense, it’s a very different kind of show than Battlestar, a very new show. But with a cultural reference that is just as profound… It’s looking ahead.

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EW has interviewed Joss Wheden about the next season of Dollhouse.

“I’m really proud of the second half of season 1, and we’re just expanding on that in a huge way: Finding out the different things that Eliza [Dushku] can be, at the same time as extending our mythology,” Whedon says. “Really, just every meeting is like, ‘What’s the most fun we can have with this actor?’ about the whole cast. All I can say — ’cause I’m gonna be Mr. Un-Spoiler — is that we’re having a crazy amount of fun, and usually, that tends to translate onto the screen.”

Speaking slightly spoilery, Whedon tells us that season 2 won’t pick up right with “We’ve got to find Alpha!” but a little bit later. Alan Tudyk has a role on ABC’s midseason series V, but Whedon hopes he’ll be able to use the character sparingly: “Alpha will always be a part of the equation.” Whedon’s also hoping to work out a similar loan with the producers of ABC’s Happy Town, who nabbed Amy Acker, aka Dr. Saunders/Whiskey…

Whedon says that Echo’s last word in the finale, “Caroline,” was the beginning of her season 2 quest. “Echo wants to find not just Caroline, but what’s going on behind everything. She doesn’t have all of the skills. [Laughs] But she does have this weird super power of becoming a different person all the time, so she might start using that more specifically to find out who Caroline was and what happened to her and why this place exists.” So she still has all those past imprints in her? “Well, they’re supposed to have wiped them out of there. But we’ll see how well that went…”

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SciFi Friday: Gay SF, Finales, And Hot Post Finale Pics

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Last weekend must have been Gay Science Fiction Television weekend, at least for those who are watching Torchwood on BBC America. They’ve hinted plenty of times that Captain Jack will sleep with anyone of any species or sex. In the second from last episode of the season the rift took Captain Jack back in time where he wound up dancing with and ultimately kissing Captain Jack Harkness. No, he didn’t kiss himself. He got involved with the real Jack Harkness, whose identity he took after the real Jack Harkness was killed during World War II. Got that straight? The first season finale will air Saturday night on BBC America and a week from Monday on HDNet. (I’m having a mini Torchwood marathon, watching Combat on HDNet on Monday, Captain Jack Harness which I recorded from BBC America on Tuesday, and will watch the finale this weekend.)

The second season of Torchwood starts in Great Britain in January and they’ve finally figured out how to reduce the number of Americans who got hooked on the show from downloading it before it airs here. BBC America will start showing the second season on January 26. No word yet on when HDNet will carry the HD version. The second season will include a character from Jack’s past (or more precisely, future). James Marsters will play a criminal time-agent. Freema Agyeman will also appear as Martha Jones but, due to her role on Doctor Who, which is technically a children’s show, she will not be appearing in any scenes involving sex or swearing. Damn it, what a waste.

The other gay relationship of the weekend took place on Battlestar Galactica: Razor (major spoilers in this section). Besides being about Admiral Cain (below right) as billed, much of the story centered around Kendra Shaw (above right). Another key character was Gina (left in pictures above and below), played by Tricia Helfer, who was having an affair with Admiral Cain. Shaw figures out that Gina is a Cylon after seeing Six as part of a Cylon attack on Pegasus. Cain has her tortured, giving added significance when Six ultimately kills her during season two.

We’ve heard many times that “this has happened before and it will happen again” and we hear it again late in the episode. Flashbacks show the original Cylons, including one who says the classic line, “By your command.” It turns out that they were also working on Human-Cylon hybrids, and the original one is still around to warn that Starbuck (below) would lead humanity to their doom. Unfortunately, if this warning is true, this is told to Shaw just before she is blown up.

Torchwood isn’t the only finale to air this week, but unlike the intentionally shorter British series, the American television series which are ending are doing so prematurely due to the strike. This week’s episode of The Bionic Woman was the last filmed before the strike, and many speculate that it will be the last of the series due to declining ratings. There have also been rumors, later denied, that even if the show returns it will be without Katee Sackhoff.

Desperate Housewives has a cliff hanger as a tornado is responsible for the death of at least one cast member (obviously not one of the main four). Another episode has been shot but there is no word when it will air and they might leave the show with the cliffhanger until the full series can be resumed.

Heroes finally got the story moving a few weeks ago, returning to the quality of the first season, but now it is already coming to an end on Monday. There are a number of loose ends, and hopefully Monday’s episode was written to be a satisfactory season finale which wraps most of them up. I assume they would not have started out the season so slowly if they realized how short it would turn out to be.

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If we won’t have any further episodes of Heroes this year, at least we are bound to see many magazines featuring some of its stars. GQ has named Hayden Panetierre (above) the Obsession of the Year.

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Kristen Bell has been chosen as Complex’s Woman of Next Year.

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And, finally, in case anyone missed the big news of the week, Billie Piper will be returning to Doctor Who.

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SciFi Friday: Fall Premiers, Doctor Who and Torchwood


The Bionic Woman was the most hyped genre show premiering this week, and it even beat the second season premier of Heroes in the ratings. Just as Battlestar Galactica was transformed from a camp show of the past to a more modern, edgy show, The Bionic Woman is a total remake of The Six Million Dollar Woman. The first episode was mixed, and hopefully will improve after it doesn’t have to spend time setting up the story. Typical of modern television shows of this genre, the remake centers around a government agency with a questionable agenda. David Eick, also Executive Producer of Battlestar Galactica, brought in a new character played by BSG’s Starbuck, Katee Sackhoff. Sackhoff (above) plays an earlier bionic woman who has gone bad, and who steals the scenes from the current version of the heroine, Jaime Sommers.

The most highly hyped new genre show, Pushing Daisies, doesn’t premier until next Wednesday, and is reviewed by Variety:

Series creator Bryan Fuller previously explored the great beyond in “Dead Like Me,” but this is a far more impressive construct, built around Ned (Lee Pace), who discovers at an early age that he possesses the power to bring the dead back to life with a single touch.

The tradeoff: If he touches that person again, they die forever — and leaving the resurrected alive causes someone else in the vicinity to drop dead, achieving a weird kind of cosmic balance.

Ned has found a way to eke out a living from this talent on two fronts: His dazzling pies, where his touch invests the fruit with tremendous flavor; and moonlighting with a detective (Chi McBride) who inadvertently witnessed his gift first-hand, reviving murder victims long enough to find out who killed them and split the reward. Still, it’s a detached, emotionally frigid existence, as his coworker Olive (the ever-adorable Kristin Chenoweth) points out.

Enter Chuck (Anna Friel), the girl Ned loved as a child before she moved away. When Chuck turns up murdered, Ned brings her back for the sizable payout but can’t bring himself to kill her, creating this conundrum: Although strongly drawn to each other, they can never, ever touch..

While it’s hard to imagine “Pushing Daisies” becoming a major hit, the best hope is that a cultish audience will become enormously attached to it (which is almost inevitable) and the series finds a way to sustain its initial charms. Those are both tall orders, but as the premiere makes clear, hope really does spring eternal; this is one pilot that truly deserves to postpone death’s embrace.


Heroes returned with a solid first episode. After ending last season together in New York to save the world, most of the heroes are split up four months later. A lot happens in the episode. Mohinder is researching a virus which is deadly to those with powers, and infiltrates The Company. We find at the end that Peter Petrelli lost his memory after blowing up. Clare Bennett and her father are trying to blend in while hiding in California despite a contending with mean girl cheerleaders and a stalker who can fly whose interested in Claire, and a boss on a power trip who gets on the wrong side of Noah. Hiro finds out that his hero is not what he believed. They even managed to introduce some new characters, while eliminating others.

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Kristen Bell will be joining Heroes for an arc later this season, and is rumored to play Clare’s sister. Her television and film career is apparently taking up too much of her time, causing her to change her mind on appearing as the lead in Legally Blonde on Broadway.

Doctor Who has another strong episode tonight for those following on the SciFi Channel as they finally reveal what The Master has been up to behind the scenes all season in The Sound of Drums. I previously reviewed the episode here, along with a video clip.

The BBC also presents some information on one of next season’s episodes, Rome Sweet Rome:

The Doctor and his new companion Donna are set to travel back in time to the Roman Empire for the fourth series of Doctor Who.

In one of the most ambitious episodes to date, The Doctor, played by David Tennant and Donna (Catherine Tate) arrive in Pompeii in AD 79, on the eve of the historic eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

The Time Lord and his companion are posed with an immediate dilemma; should they warn the residents of Pompeii of the forthcoming catastrophe or leave them to fend for themselves?

“Arriving in Pompeii marks the start of another exciting adventure for the Doctor and Donna,” said Doctor Who’s Executive Producer and Head Writer, Russell T Davies. “Donna is stunned to find herself in the midst of history’s most famous volcanic eruption. Viewers can expect many more ambitious storylines and a whole host of guest stars in 2008.”

TV Squad reports that some episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures are available on YouTube. There’s no word yet on when this Doctor Who spin off will be broadcast in the United States.


The premier of Torchwood might have given Pushing Daisies the idea of bringing people back from the dead to solve murders. The second episode of Torchwood shows why the show has a reputation of being the “adult” spin off of Doctor Who. An alien arrives on earth which requires orgasmic energy to survive. It takes over the body of a young girl who obtains this energy from engaging in wild sex which causes her partner to explode at climax. When trapped, she even attempts some girl on girl action with Gwen. Yes, it is worth waiting a week to catch this show in High Definition.

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