SciFi Weekend: Dexter Finale; Fringe and Firefly; Doctor Who and Star Wars; A Klingon Christmas Carol

The season finale of Dexter was largely predictable, but predicable in a good way. Actions and decisions made were as anticipated as they were set up in previous episodes. We knew it would end with Jordan Chase getting killed. We also knew that Lumen would leave and, while it was always a consideration, I think most fans predicted she would not get killed. Killing Lumen after Rita’s death last year would have been too depressing. There have also been hints in post-season interviews that Lumen might return.

It was also predicable that Deb would wind up at the camp, although she sure did figure out the location quickly. It would have been more plausible if Dexter had left around a paper trail regarding Jordan Chase’s ownership of the camp. The only real question here was whether Deb would arrive to save them from Jordan or, as it turned out, to find Jordan’s dead body. Once the scene was set up with Dexter and Lumen behind the plastic I had no doubt about the ending. It was obvious that this would be the way that Deb could set them free without seeing their faces. The writers had been preparing Deb all season to make the decision for her to sympathize with the unknown (to her) vigilantes. While I wasn’t very fond of the Carlos Fuentes arc earlier in the season, it did lead to Deb believing that there were people who deserved to die and change her view of killing.

Dexter’s decision to save Quinn was also not surprising. He might have let Quinn take the blame for Liddy’s death but even if Dexter saw some benefit in this he would be taking a risk that he would be a suspect once it came out that Quinn had hired Liddy to spy on Dexter. The most important factor might have been Dexter saving Quinn for the sake of his sister. At the moment Quinn is grateful to Dexter, but there is no guarantee he won’t go back to suspecting Dexter sometime in the future, especially should he break up with Deb.

There are still a number of loose ends in the conclusion. Why is Deb given credit for breaking the case when, as far as everyone knows, Jordan Chase is still alive. (I assume she didn’t tell anyone that she saw his dead body when she made the call or there would have been lots of questions when his body wasn’t there). Nobody appears to be questioning why one bullet was shot from her gun. Quinn isn’t necessarily off the hook for Liddy’s death considering all the other evidence implicating him. These include all the phone calls and the faked signature for the surveillance equipment. The hunt for Kyle Butler was also never resolved, and could still create problems for Dexter in the future.

The season ended leaving the writers a free hand as to where to go next season. They could deal with some of these loose ends from the past or move on. The problems between Dexter and Rita’s children were also resolved, with Astor and Cody planning to spend the summer with him. This leaves the writers free to set the next season with the kids living with Dexter or still living with their grandparents.

While Deb did not find out Dexter’s secret this year, they are likely setting this up for a future season. Deb did find out at the end of the first novel, which was very similar to the first season in most respects. This would be a plausible way to shake up the series and maintain continued interest. This is also suggested in an interview with executive producer Sarah Colleton:

A huge moment for Deb: She chooses not to pull back the curtain to discover the identity of Victim 13 and her partner, allowing Lumen and Dexter to go free. Why did you decide to go that way with the story?
Deb has had a really interesting growth over the past five years. If you remember her from year 1, her energy was all over the place and she was coltish and insecure—this delightful unfocused character who slowly over the years has learned to focus all of that energy and she has become a formidable detective. But part of becoming a detective and pursuing the dark side is an awareness that anyone who takes a walk on the wild side never comes back all the way. What may have started out as a rigid sense of what’s right and wrong—what’s good and evil—starts to turn into a bit of gray. And when Deb finally brings down Carlos Fuentes earlier in the season, she’s surprised that she feels nothing—and is intrigued by that sensation. And one of the most subtle conversations between Dexter and his sister takes place over a beer in Dexter’s apartment when she’s going on about how she didn’t feel anything, and Dexter gives her this look and goes, “Dad once told me there are people who deserve to die.” And she looks at him and goes, ‘Do you think there are people that deserve to die?” It’s this moment where Dexter has floated out this little trial balloon. So you see Deb starting to make that turn. And based on her experience with Rudy and in episode 10 when she sees all of those [Barrel Girl] tapes—it’s traumatizing yet strengthening for her—she comes up with the vigilante theory. When she finally gets to the camp and realizes that she has stumbled upon “13” and her helpmate, it’s not until the very end of her speech where she makes that change. And Jennifer Carpenter did a brilliant piece of acting because the character doesn’t know until that very moment that she’s going to do something. It’s a huge, defining moment for Deb. That’s a new Deb who says, “The place is going to be crawling with police in an hour,” and sails up the stairs and goes to Quinn and says, “I don’t care what happened—I love you.” It’s wonderful—and it also opens the door because eventually, some season is going to have to deal with Deb finding out about Dexter.

This would result in a tremendous change in the relationship between Deb and Dexter. In real life there has also been a big change as it was announced last week that Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C. Hall are getting divorced. Apparently it doesn’t work to marry your TV sister. Perhaps Michael C. Hall should warn his former co-star from Six Feet Under as Peter Krause is now dating his TV sister from Parenthood, Lauren Graham.

Moving Fringe to Fridays, where Fox genre shows often go to die, has raised a number comparisons to Firefly–especially as the first episode back in January is named Firefly. The above video takes the opening to Firefly and replaces it with the characters from Fringe.

Even Fox has responded to the concerned raised by moving the show to Fridays in the above promo.

As far back as 1989 we had the fan fiction The Doctor and the Enterprise placing The Doctor in the Star Trek universe.  In more recent years video mash ups have become more popular. Above we have a combination of the Doctor Who and Star Wars universes. This gives us eleven Doctors, Amy Pond, Rory, and River Song, including Amy Pond fighting Darth Vader with a lightsaber.

There have been numerous interviews and promotional videos released in preparation for Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol on December 25. This includes an interview with Karen Gillan in ShortList which geeks might find encouraging.  Den of Geek has a spoiler-free review based on an early screening of the Christmas special. Life of Wylie has highlights from a Q&A session with Steven Moffat and the stars.

If you prefer an alternative to Doctor Who for your holiday entertainment, The Wall Street Journal has a review of A Klingon Christmas Carol.

Across the country this week, productions of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” are warming hearts. In this city, one version poses this question: What if Charles Dickens were a Trekkie?

The answer runs an hour and 20 minutes and includes three fight scenes, 17 actors with latex ridges glued to their foreheads and a performance delivered entirely in Klingon—a language made up for a Star Trek movie.

“It’s like an opera,” says Christopher O. Kidder, the director and co-writer. “You know what’s happening because you already know the story.”

For those not fluent in Klingon, English translations are projected above the stage.

The arc of “A Klingon Christmas Carol” follows the familiar Dickens script: An old miser is visited on a hallowed night by three ghosts who shepherd him through a voyage of self-discovery. The narrative has been rejiggered to match the Klingon world view.

For starters, since there is neither a messiah nor a celebration of his birth on the Klingon planet of Kronos, the action is pegged to the Klingon Feast of the Long Night. Carols and trees are replaced with drinking, fighting and mating rituals. And because Klingons are more concerned with bravery than kindness, the main character’s quest is for courage.

Carrie-Anne Moss, who stared in the fantastic movie The Matrix, and the dreadful movies The Matrix II and The Matrix III, has been signed to star in a Lifetime pilot as a celebrity psychologist.

Thursdays from 8:00 to 8:30 is the best hour of genre comedy television. Big Bang Theory has had lots of major guest stars. Now Community is getting LeVar Burton, who will play himself.

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Amy-Sherman Palladino Leaves Door Open on Gilmore Girls Movie

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One of the most heavily visited old posts on the blog is about the possibility of Amy Sherman-Palladino returning to do a movie of The Gilmore Girls and possibly reveal the four final words she intended for the series. Sherman-Palladino had stated long before the end of the show that she already had the final four words in mind but wound up leaving for the final season, leaving the show to go a different route.

For those who have been wondering what the final word were, they were: “Rory, you were adopted.” No, just kidding. Ausiello continues to try to get the final words out of her:

My ongoing mission to get Amy Sherman-Palladino to cough up those elusive final four Gilmore Girl words is finally starting to bear some juicy fruit. Not that particular plum, no, but at least for the first time, she’s revealing details about what the series finale would’ve involved, had she stuck with the show. Hey, it’s a freaking start.

“I wanted different things for Rory,” confesses AS-P. “I wanted her to follow a different sort of path… [go] off on her own adventure, which I guess she sort of did. I haven’t [actually] seen the last season, but I heard about it from other people.”

Although Sherman-Palladino declines to detail her intended journey for Rory, suffice it to say it would not have involved her joining Obama on the campaign trail. And while she’s also mum on what she had in store for the rest of the Gilmore gang, she does hint that she “had planned different paths” for them, too. “I don’t want to totally say [what my ideas were], because if there is a movie in the making, I’m going to be basically delving back into where I left off, and then I’m kind of [screwed].”

Yep, you read that correctly. AS-P, who’s currently hard at work on a new dramedy for HBO, is not giving up on the possibility of a Gilmore movie. “Anything can happen,” she insists. “I’m in touch with [Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel]. If there’s a story to tell, then absolutely I think we’re all going to want to tell it. That’s the bottom line.

“If I thought it was definitely not going to happen, I would say, ‘No, it’s definitely not going to happen,’” she adds. “I would do that for you, my friend. But I don’t want to say that. Because I think that the beauty of Gilmore, and the beauty of family relationship shows is, you never really run out of story. You’re going to battle your family until you’re all in the ground. Those things never resolve, doesn’t matter how much therapy you get. Ten years later, there’s still going to be [material] there to mine and to delve into.”

Unfortunately there is not much real news here. All he reveals is that Amy Sherman-Palladino had plans for Rory which, not unexpectedly, were different form what was aired by a different writer. The possibility of a movie remains open but this is hardly an announcement. At least they are not closing the door on this and perhaps it is encouraging that Amy S-P does not want to ruin the chances of a movie delving back to where she left off.

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Amy Sherman-Palladino To Do Show For HBO

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According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amy-Sherman Palladino creator of Gilmore Girls, will be doing a show for HBO. Like her previous show, it will deal with mother-daughter relations:

Sherman-Palladino will write and executive produce the untitled drama, which chronicles the complicated relationship between three adult sisters, all writers sharing the same upper east side apartment building, and their mother, a domineering literary lioness who reserves most of her affections for their ne’er-do-well brother.

“It’s a story of love, hate, family — and finding the perfect opening line,” Sherman-Palladino said.

I’m glad she is concentrating on opening lines. She reportedly had the final four words to Gilmore Girls in mind for years, and then never had the opportunity to use her closing lines as she left the series in its final season.

While her last series, The Return of Jezebel James, was a flop, I’m hoping that cable allows her to match and possibly surpass her work on Gilmore Girls. The show featured rapid fire dialogue similar to that of Aaron Sorkin with frequent pop culture references. While Palladino’s work was not as overtly political as that of Sorkin, she did throw in political comment from time to time. I previously posted some examples here.

I noted a few days ago that Gilmore Girls star Lauren Graham will be returning to network television this winter in Parenthood, in which she will once again play a single mother. Alexis Bledel appeared in the final episode of E.R. last season and has had several movie roles.

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SciFi Weekend: Abrams On The Next Star Trek Movie; Wil Wheton on Big Bang Theory; Shocking Finale for Dexter; Lauren Graham; Olivia Wilde; Kristen Bell; and the PB & J Wedding

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J.J. Abrams has talked more about the sequel to his Star Trek movie in an interview with Cinematical:

Since you were able to wipe the slate clean with your prequel, do you plan to come up with something completely original, or is there a possibility you will reference some of the existing creatures or races in the next installment?

Abrams: The fun of this movie series is that we will have the opportunity, given its alternate timeline, to cross paths with any of the experiences, places and characters that existed in the original series. We have to be really careful, obviously, doing that. I don’t want to do something that is so inside that only die-hard fans will appreciate.

Will the first film’s alternate timeline affect what you can leave in and what can’t be a part of subsequent films?

Abrams: The trick in doing any movie, but especially something like this that involves some weird alternate reality-time travel thing is that you don’t want to not explain it, but you don’t want to explain everything. I think you have as much fun with the missing pieces as you do with the pieces you get. So, for me, not knowing every detail, allows me to get inside of the story and start to fill in the blanks. When everything is spoon-fed, typically I feel like you’re being pandered to, or it’s too expositional. It’s always a balance.

You managed to contemporize what was an aging franchise, with your work on Star Trek, and you talked about including more current events in the sequel. Do you think that Star Trek is evergreen, or is it something that needs to be continuously updated for each generation?

Abrams: It’s hard to give a blanket answer to that question. I do think that, whether it’s Star Trek or anything, whatever is being investigated, created or produced now, in movies or TV, needs to consider the context in which it is being distributed. It’s not a vacuum. There are certain universal themes of love, conflict, loyalty or family that are everlasting and that need to be presented in a way that makes it feel relevant, even if it’s a period piece. You need to consider what context that film, that story and those characters are being seen in. But, having said that, with Star Trek, it’s not like we’re looking to make the second movie some kind of heavy political allegory. I think that it’s important that there is a metaphor to what we know and that there is relevance, and I think allegory is the thing that made shows like The Twilight Zone and Star Trek resonate and still be vital today.

But, because the first movie was so much about introducing these people, and it was very much a premise movie about how to bring these people together, it made it difficult to also have the film go as deep as it could, about certain conflict, certain relationships and the heart of who some of these characters are. I think it was successful in what it needed to do, to introduce these people, but I feel like, now that we’ve done that, it is the job of the next film to go a little bit deeper. It shouldn’t be any less fun or take itself too seriously, but consider who these people are now and grow with them, and just examine them a little more closer, now that we’ve gotten through the pleasantries and introductions.

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Wil Wheton will be guest staring on the October 19 episode of The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon holds the role of Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation against Wheton. TV Fanatic reports:

“As much as Sheldon loves Star Trek, Wil Wheaton is the only person associated with the franchise whom Sheldon has sworn eternal enmity toward,” the actor said when asked about by TV Guide Magazine about his role.

So, why does Sheldon have such animosity for Wheaton? The character apparently did not enjoy an autograph experience with Wil many years ago.

“The Wil I play in the Big Bang universe is not such a nice person,” Wheaton said. “But in real life, I go out of my way to be kind and patient. My motto is: ‘Don’t be a d—!’”

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The BBC has released the new logo for the upcoming season of Doctor Who, including the use of DW in the shape of a Tardis.

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Julie Benz, in an interview with CinemaBlend, has revealed that a real shock is planned for the season finale of Dexter:

Your character has really developed into a pivotal part of the show. What can we expect from Rita this season?
Wow, this season. Obviously at the beginning of the season we see Rita has it all. I mean, she has everything she’s ever wanted. She has the perfect husband, the great kids, the new baby, the dream house in the suburbs but you know, just like anything, nothing great lasts forever. We have an amazingly shocking ending this season. I mean, it’s so shocking that – it’s just shocking is all I can say. It shocked the whole cast.

So you’ve already filmed the last episode?
We are in the middle of filming it right now.

Any chance Dexter will let her in on his secret?
Oh! I don’t know about that. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but you know, you definitely see worlds collide; everybody’s world collides in this season.

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So far I haven’t been very excited about the new television season. At present the only new shows I’m watching are Flash Forward, Modern Family, and Glee.  There are some new shows to come including remakes of V and The PrisonerParenthood, based upon the Ron Howard movie, has been delayed due to Maura Tierney developing medical problems. She is to be replaced by Lauren Graham, who will play the part of a single mother. She is well prepared for this role after staring in Gilmore Girls. Any chance they can get Alexis Bledel to quest star on an episode and reunite the pair?

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Ausiello reports that “Olivia Wilde and Peter Jacobson’s trailers have not been emptied out” and predicts that they will reappear on House.

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Kristen Bell has been busy since leaving Veronica Mars and Heroes. Couples Retreat has just been released and she has now been signed to star along with Christina Aguilera in Burlesque:

The story follows a young small-town girl (Aguilera) as she ventures into the city in the hopes of becoming a star. Soon she discovers an L.A. burlesque bar, where the men are fast and the women faster. She quickly uses her amazing voice and burlesque dancing to become the joint’s new star.

Bell plays the club’s big-shot dancer who doesn’t take a liking to the new girl’s sudden success. Also starring are Cher, as the nightclub’s experienced owner, and Stanley Tucci as the man who helps Aguilera find her moves.

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Heroes is still struggling to recover, this week resorting to a lesbian kiss between Hayden Panettiere and Madeline Zima. While this has created some buzz for the show, it is doubtful that it will do anything to help the show get back on track. Zima is better known recently for her role along with David Duchovny in Californication.

CALIFORNICATION

The big television event of the season so far has been the wedding of Pam and Jim on The Office. While hour long episodes of The Office have often not worked very well, feeling like two stories merged together, this episode worked very well. The episode included take offs of a couple of popular You Tube videos. I’ve previously posted the video of the JK Wedding Entrance Dance which inspired the entrance at the wedding ceremony. The episode also showed Dwight wearing a Three Wolf Moon t-shirt:

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SciFi Weekend Part III: Doctor Who, Torchwood, 24, and the Television Returns of Lorelai and Lizzy

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Part I reviewed the return of Battlestar Galactica and Part II featured information on Lost. I will conclude this expanded version of SciFi Weekend with briefer comments on additional shows, as usual moving beyond science fiction.

There is some information available on the next Doctor Who special, which will air around Easter.Tardis and Torchwood Treasures previously posted this information:

The name of the next special is Planet of the Dead and the episode itself has been written by both Russell T Davies and Gareth Roberts. It is expected to air around Easter and filming for the episode will begin on the nineteenth of January next year. The episode will feature two characters called Malcolm and Christina and U.N.I.T will also be making an appearance. Rumours also suggest that parts of the episode will be filmed abroad in Tunisia.

Additional information was provided by Russell T. Davies, who also says it is time to introduce new monsters after the last two episodes involved Daleks and Cybermen:

“After the events of Journey’s End and The Next Doctor, I think it’s time to get away from the past and have an adventure with lots of new elements. And lots of fun too! The next Special should be a nice antidote to Christmas, with a bit of sunshine if we’re lucky. And with not one but two alien races that you’ve never seen before.”

American viewers of Doctor Who either must wait months after episodes are broadcast on the BBC or illegally download the episodes. The third season of Torchwood will consist of only five episodes to be broadcast this summer on consecutive nights, but they have finally figured out the only way to reduce  illegal downloads. BBC America will broadcast the episodes a few hours after they are broadcast in the U.K.

24 returned but despite the decision to shut down CTU and move the show to Washington, the show rapidly returned to a similar format with Jack teaming up with Tony,  Bill Buchanan, and Chole. The twist is that they are working on their own due to conspiracies in the goverment which have infiltrated the White House and the FBI. There is more question this season as to whether Jack’s use of torture is right or wrong.

Sometimes viewers take the show too seriously, forgetting that it is only a television show. Media Matters notes that some conservatives even have tried to use a fictional show to justify their support for torture. On the other hand, I sometimes receive comments that I should not cover 24 due to its portrayal of torture. While liberals who argue this do have a point, they also must remember this is fiction, and that hopefully most people can still consider the real issues surrounding torture. Not even all conservatives blindly believe everything they see on the show. Conservative blogger Rick Moran has discussed the question of whether this television show increases the use of torture, and of whether torture works:

Jack Bauer may be the first fictional character ever to be accused of inspiring real life war crimes. This charge was not made by some obscure left wing blogger but by U.S. Army Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan, the dean of the United States Military Academy at West Point, along with several senior FBI and CIA agents who have conducted thousands of interrogations in their careers. Their verdict was simple and straightforward; the torture scenes in the show were affecting the way that cadets at West Point as well as troops in the field were approaching the interrogation of prisoners.

Finnegan said that he’d like to see a show “where torture backfired.” All the experts agreed that torture, even when used in the show’s “ticking bomb” context, would never work. They pointed out that the fanatics, knowing that the bomb would go off soon, would simply hold out, secure in the knowledge that their suffering couldn’t last much longer.

They also pointed out that terrorist prisoners actually looked forward to torture as the first step towards martyrdom. An interrogation professional would never use it and would, instead, take the opposite tack of trying to build a relationship with the prisoner, drawing him out gradually by gaining his trust. Besides, the “ticking bomb” scenario itself was totally unrealistic and would never happen in the real world.

It is a dubious proposition that a fictional TV character would cause our soldiers to forget their training and their upbringing just to imitate Jack Bauer. The evidence is purely anecdotal, presented by people with an obvious agenda. But that doesn’t mitigate the fact that they felt compelled to speak out against Bauer’s almost casual approach to violating the law and their concern that people get the wrong idea about the best way to interrogate prisoners.

As the show questions the fantasy of torture being effective, it also might even question the ultimate fantasy of the show–that Jack Bauer is invincible. Kristin reveals that there might only be one additional season of the show, there might be a movie after the eighth season, and that they might even blow up the whole world, and Jack Bauer with it.

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24 might not be the only show which concludes with movies. A movie version of Jericho is in the works, and if it is a success perhaps the show will be brought back once again. Jericho was canceled after the first season but returned for a second season after protests from fans. Moonlighting might be returning as a television movie for its 20th anniversary.  Bryan Fuller is also hoping to have a movie of Pushing Daisies to wrap up the show. Meanwhile, fans of Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money, and Eli Stone will have to wait until summer to see the final episodes of these canceled series.

Heroes returns with a new chapter, and after problems with the last chapter Tim Kring is hoping viewers will return. The next chapter. Fugitives, was written so as not to require knowledge of previous stories. Fringe is also returning, and Sci FI Wire has some spoilers on the conclusion of the season.

Previously Mad Men had been renewed but series creat0r Matthew Weiner had been holding out on returning. After months of negotiations a deal was reached in which Weiner will return for two seasons for a seven figure deal.

Lauren Graham of Gilmore Girls will be returning to television. Entertainment Weekly reports:

We’re one step closer to getting another weekly TV date with Gilmore Girls‘ Lauren Graham. (Pause for cheers. And… we’re back.) Though we were under the impression NBC was developing a comedy for the actress, Variety reports that ABC has greenlit production on an untitled half-hour pilot in which Graham will play “a self-help guru who teaches women how to live a stress-free life — but struggles to follow her own advice when her boyfriend dumps her.” The show, which features Will & Grace‘s Alex Herschlag and Arrested Development‘s Mitchell Hurwitz among its exec producers, sounds promising, right? I know we can’t let our Gilmore love lead us blindly into TiVo season passes (see: Amy Sherman-Palladino’s ill-fated The Return of Jezebel James), but this set-up could give us Lauren the way we like her: smart, supportive, sarcastic, self-deprecating, slightly neurotic, seriously funny, and above all, at the center of the story. In movies, she’s been “the wife.” On stage, she’ll be “the girlfriend.” (She’s expected to make her Broadway debut as Miss Adelaide in a spring revival of Guys and Dolls.) But on TV, she’ll always be “the star.” Make her self-help guru a fast-talking pop-culture connoisseur, and it’s my favorite show.

Hilary Duff also returns to television in Barely Legal. It sounds like the concept is something along the lines of Lizzy McGuire goes to law school so she can sue Doogey Houser.

Several characters from Veronica Mars are being reunited in Rob Thomas’  new series Party Down, and Kristen Bell might even make an appearance.

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SciFi Weekend: David Tennant Leaving Doctor Who; Liz Lemon to Date Don Draper; Weak Economy Helps Weak Shows; Lorelei Gilmore Becomes a Doll; and The Planet Vulcan Discovered

After months of speculation, David Tennant has announced he will leave the role of The Doctor after the upcoming series of four Doctor Who specials are completed. BBC News reports:

Tennant stepped into the Tardis in 2005, and will leave the role after four special episodes are broadcast next year.

He made the announcement after winning the outstanding drama performance prize at the National Television Awards.

“When Doctor Who returns in 2010 it won’t be with me,” he said.

“Now don’t make me cry,” he added. “I love this part, and I love this show so much that if I don’t take a deep breath and move on now I never will, and you’ll be wheeling me out of the Tardis in my bath chair.”

‘I’ll miss it’

Three years was “about the right time” to play the role, he told the BBC in an exclusive interview.

“I think it’s better to go when there’s a chance that people might miss you, rather than to hang around and outstay your welcome,” he said.

His stint in the show had been “the most extraordinary time, it’s been bewildering, life changing, very exciting”, he said.

“And just so much fun, such a great show to work on.

“That’s one of the reasons I think it’s right to take a deep breath and bow out when it’s still fun, when it’s a novelty.

“I don’t ever want it to feel like a job, so I want to move on when it still feels exciting and fresh and that means I’ll miss it.”

Liz Lemon to date Don Draper? Tina Fey and Jon Hamm will have something in common besides both appearing on Saturday Night Live recently. Jon Hamm of Mad Men might appear in a multi-episode arc of 30 Rock as Liz Lemon’s new love interest.Video of two of Hamm’s skits on SNL were posted here.

With all the subplots on Heroes, a lot has happened, including the return of Kristen Bell as Elle. Perhaps the most interesting development was seeing Sylar’s role get even more complex as his father got him to turn on his mother, but he still decided to save  his brother Peter’s life. His character is certainly different from previous years when he was motivated by little more than killing others with super powers in order to obtain their powers. Ultimately we saw him as a pure family man in a possible future shown earlier in the season.

There might be an unexpected benefit from the bad economy. I’ve often felt that, compared to several years ago, television shows are canceled too quickly if they are not doing well in the ratings, not giving them a chance to build an audience. The Hollywood Reporter believes that the bad economy might be responsible for some shows such as Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles being renewed:

Industry observers say the recent cluster of low-rated shows granted full-season orders might have something to do with network executives watching the plunging Dow rather than their shows’ falling Nielsens.

No execs would talk on the record, but the economic crisis, combined with the cost of marketing a new series, the lack of new programming inventory because of the WGA strike and the anticipated difficulty of locking down new advertiser commitments, has networks inclined to play it safe.

“Most years there would be more cancellations than there have been to date,” said John Rash, senior vp/director of media negotiations at Campbell Mithun. “But the dual dynamics of schedule stability keeping ad dollars in place is combining with delayed programming development from last season’s writers strike.”

NBC’s “Knight Rider,” ABC’s “Private Practice” and Fox’s “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” recently received orders for an additional nine episodes apiece. Such a move typically indicates a network’s confidence in a show’s performance and signals the inclination to keep a series on the air for the duration of the season.

Life on Mars at least has received well deserved improvements in the ratings. Last week Sam came to the assistance of his mother, learning far more about her than he probably wants to know, and also got the opportunity to meet Jim Croce and Joe Namath (Joe the Quarterback?). In upcoming episodes he gets involved in his father as well as someone who was/will become his mentor.

Bradley Whitford of The West Wing and Studio 60 on The Sunset Strip is producing and staring in a sitcom for NBC named Off Duty about a once-legendary police detective (Whitford) on his way down who complicates the life of his new partner, both on duty and off.

Lauren Graham of Gilmore Girls will be appearong on Broadway as the female lead in a new revival of Guys and Dolls.

J. Michael Straczynski, creator of Babylon 5, is working on a script for a remake of the 1956 classic Forbidden Planet.

And finally, the planet Vulcan might have been discovered.

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Amy Sherman-Palladino And The Real Ending To Gilmore Girls

Amy Sherman-Palladino isn’t revealing her planned ending, and four final words, for The Gilmore Girls yet. If this is true, it will be worth waiting to find out what those words are. Michael Ausiello reports in Wednesday’s column that she is looking at making a two-hour movie to properly tie up the series. From the column:

OK, here’s the deal: Yes, I tracked her down, but, no, she did not cough up those elusive four words. But wait — there’s more. And it’s good. No, amazing. No, un-frakkin’-believable. Amazing, even. Wait, did I say that already? Well, it’s true. Because just as I was about to brand her a big ol’ promise-breaker right there in front of all those industry types, Amy explained why she couldn’t divulge her long-ago-planned Gilmore ending. (Gilmore fanatics: This is the time in Sprockets when you either lean on a heavy object or just sit down.) In the next year or two, she hopes to make — wait for it — a two-hour Gilmore Girls TV-movie that ties up all those loose threads! I nearly fell over when she said it — especially given what she told me back in December. (BTW, lest you think Amy was pulling my leg, her partner in life and in showbiz, Dan Palladino, confirmed that a GG reunion pic is something they’re interested in pursuing.) And I wasn’t the only one floored by this development. “She said what?” gasped Scott Patterson after I relayed the information to him over the phone. “I didn’t think she would be interested in doing something like that. But if she says she is, I would seriously consider it.” Alexis Bledel was equally stunned. “A Gilmore Girls reunion?” she said with a laugh. “That’s certainly not something I had thought of doing. That’s really funny, I have no idea how I would feel in a few years. I don’t know, I’m sure the script Amy would write would be great, but I guess I’d have to read it and see how I felt at the time.” Last but not least, Lauren Graham e-mailed me late last night to say, “Could be a fun idea if everyone wanted to do it. I would do it just to get the four final words out of Amy. They torture me.”

Update: One possibility for the final four words is posted here.

Update II: The status of a possible movie and Amy Sherman Palladino’s vague comments on taking Rory on a different path (November 2009).

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Farewell to Stars Hollow

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Tonight, sadly, will be our last visit to Stars Hollow, which ranks with Cicely, Alaska and Stuckeyville, Ohio among the top quirky fictional towns to live in. After seven years, Gilmore Girls will have its final episode tonight. There is some irony in having the show end as the Republicans debate. While I’ve had previous posts on the show, and Amy Sherman-Palladino’s amazing dialog, on blogs before Liberal Values, my first post on the show here was in August. The Washington Post had run a story on the declining support for Republicans in the Northeast. I used Stars Hollow as an example of a Northeast town where George Bush is disliked, quoting from Lorelei Gilmore:

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Lorelei has been blunt about her feelings about George Bush. “I hate President Bush! He’s stupid, and his face is too small for his head. I just want to toss him out.” She also shares our fears over the erosion of civil liberties. She saw an analogy to contemporary American when putting a leash on her dog (Friday Night Is All Right For Fighting):

Oh, he’s perfectly fine with having his personal freedoms slowly stripped away, as long as he’s completely unaware that it’s happening. Just like a true American.

Lorelai’s parents identify more with the Bush Administration (Fight Face):

Richard: I should tell Scooter Libby about this. I keep forgetting I know a man on the inside. I’ll give him a call.
Emily: Before an indictment comes down.

Lorelai rejects her rich parents, and identifies George Bush with them. When she came into some money (Happy Birthday, Baby) her views were apparent. “Seventy-five thousand dollars. I feel so rich. And suddenly in complete agreement with everything Bush has to say.”

Lorelei has also influenced the way in which her daughter Rory sees Republicans (One’s Got Class and the Other One Dyes):

Lorelai: So, I think I’m in touch with the other side.
Rory: The other side of. . .
Lorelai: The other side.
Rory: With Republicans?

The final season, without Amy Sherman-Palladino, was disappointing at times, but it was far better than not being able to vist Stars Hollow at all. The post discussed above also included previous posts on Gilmore Girls from earlier blogs. Under the fold I’ll repost one of these–an article from Esquire on why Gilmore Girls is the best show on television for men.

Update: The Finale

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SciFi Friday: Plans for the Future


Normally at this time of year we hear about the fate of shows being renewed or cancelled for the current season, but this year we are getting more significant news on the fates of two shows that are returning. End dates for both Lost and Battlestar Galactica have been announced. Lost will return for three sixteen episode seasons, while Battlestar Galactica will end after next season.

I am very happy to see these dates set in advance. Shows with ongoing mysteries have historically run into problems when the end date was not clear. X-Files dragged out the alien mythology plot beyond the point where it made much sense. Babylon 5 wrapped up the war a year before the end, and then didn’t have a good idea as to what to do with the final season. By knowing exactly how many episodes they have left, the writers of Lost and BSG can pace out how their continuing stories play out. BSG had the problem that they were searching for Earth, but everyone knew they could not find it while the series was running. Now that the season ends next year, they can actually reach Earth if that is what the writers desire, but viewers cannot be certain as to what will happen.

The decision to only air sixteen episodes of Lost per year has met with some controversy. I have conflicting interests on this one. As a Disney stockholder, I support the idea of the network receiving income from the show for an additional year. As a fan I have mixed emotions. If having less episodes can result in greater quality, then I am for it. While there are many other factors which result in the greater quality of shows on HBO and the BBC over the major American networks, not being stuck in the twenty-two or so episodes per year format may one of their advantages. While some Lost fans are complaining on line of having to stick it out for three years to get a normal two years worth of shows, Soprano fans sure won’t feel very sorry for them.

This week’s episode of Lost answered some questions and left many others open. Big questions are why Ben wound up the leader of the island’s “original inhabitants,” their connection to the outside world, and whether having the opening scene occur near Portland is coincidence. Is there more going on between DHARMA and the phoney location of where Juliette was first recruited to work? Speaking of Juliette, it looks like I was wrong in mistrusting her, but was right in predicting things would not turn out well for Locke by hanging around The Others. I doubt that Locke is really dead as the conflict between his and Jack’s philosophies seems to be too central to the show. Locke must return to face Jack. I wouldn’t be surprised if they really do kill Charlie off. His major role now seems to be his role in Desmond’s predictions of his death. This cannot continue forever. Either they have to find something else for Charlie to do, or actually kill him.

Kattee Sackhoff has other work lined up besides Battlestar Galactica. She will costar with Michelle Ryan in the reimagined remake of The Bionic Woman. Sackhoff says she will have a different type of role than Starbuck:

“My biggest fear was that Sarah Corvus was going to turn out like Starbuck. But she didn’t. She turned out a little like Number Six [laughs]. She’s the femme fatale. She’s dangerous. She’s sexy. She knows it, and she uses it. She walks with a purpose, and Starbuck really doesn’t. It’s … two different sides of the coin, but both misunderstood.”

While unofficial, the word is that Jericho will be back. They gave a strong indication of how the cliff hander will be resolved as the military is preparing to break up the war with New Bern, thanks to Heather, who is very much still alive. This leaves questions as to the fate of Hawkins, and the status of those behind this military force.

The surprise of the episode was the death of Johnston Green. I don’t think anyone saw this coming, considering how important Green was to the town, and the show. Perhaps the thought was that a strong central character such as Green was necessary to get the show established, but now we know enough about the other characters for them to continue to drive the story.

Another puzzle was the revised American flag. Maybe it was done more for the effect on viewers (as well as Heather) than for any logical reason. Any force trying to establish itself as the legitimate government of the United States would want to stick with the conventional flag. The new flag, complete with vertical stripes and only about half the stars, points out to viewers that this isn’t the United States government we know, but that isn’t something they would want surviving Americans to realize. Perhaps there is another force which is still using the conventional flag which will make an appearance at a later date.

Doctor Who will not be on the BBC this weekend, with the scheduled episode postponed until next week. It will hardly seem like Saturday night if I’m not hunting down a torrent with sufficient seeds to get the week’s episode by morning.
Superman Returns led the Saturn Awards, with both Battlestar Galactica and Heroes being able to win as best television series due to the nature of the categories. Some of the major winners include:

Best Science Fiction Film: Children of Men

Best Fantasy Film: Superman Returns

Best Horror Film: The Descent

Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film: Casino Royale

Best Animated Film: Cars

Best International Film: Pan’s Labyrinth

Best Actor: Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)

Best Actress: Natalie Portman (V for Vendetta)

Best Network Television Series: Heroes

Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series: Battlestar Galactica

Gilmore Girls: Unto the Breach
The major televison event beyond SF was Rory Gilmore’s graduation from Yale, and the end of her relationship with Logan. Beyond that, Rory’s plans remain unclear. TV Guide has one of the best reports on the ending of Gilmore Girls with an interview with Lauren Graham.

With most shows ending for the season, there are a few to look forward to. Big Love returns on June 11, perhaps with increased interest in Mormonism in light of Mitt Romney’s candidacy. HBO On Demand will also have three prequel episodes starting on May 28 showing events prior to season one.

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Gilmore Girls To End This Month

The CW Network and Warner Brothers have announced today that Gilmore Girls will end with tihs season’s final episode, scheduled to air May 15. Rory Gilmore graduates from Yale next week, with her future remaining in doubt. Reportedly the final episode will show Rory finally meeting her long-time idol, Christiiane Aranpour. AP quotes Lauren Graham from an interview earlier in the year as to her thoughts on how the show should end (which might be relevant to how this week’s episode ended with Logan asking Loelei for permission to marry Rory):

As production on the show got under way last fall, its future then uncertain, Graham speculated about the final chapter.

“I care very much how the story ends,” Graham said told the AP. “… It would be my worst nightmare if we end the show with a wedding. To me, the premise of the show was, `What if your parent was your best friend?’”

“That’s the thing you leave people with, the strength of this family and this relationship,” she said.

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