SciFi Weekend: Fringe; Awake; Leonard Nimoy Returning?; The Doctor and the Beatles; R2-Dalek2 & Cyber-3PO

With only two more episodes of Fringe this season, Worlds Apart made huge advances in this year’s arc. Fortunately the show has been renewed for a thirteen episode season next year, most likely so that there will be more than one-hundred episodes for syndication. Knowing that there are thirteen episodes to go will allow the writers to provide a meaningful ending for the show as opposed to a rushed conclusion added to the end of this season. Here is a promo for the final season:

In Worlds Apart we learned more about David Robert Jones’ plans to create a new world with the collapse of the two earths upon each other. The episode also brought back Nick Lane, who was in the Cortexiphan trials with Olivia. Knowledge of the back stories on Fringe was necessary to appreciate this episode. We’ve seen intermittent flash backs to the days when Walter and William Bell were doing experiments, which were apparently motivated to create soldiers to defend our earth in an anticipated war between the two earths. Shape shifters were developed on the other side with the same motivation. While I am not entirely satisfied with how it happened, this season showed that the use of the machine (also intended by Walternate to destroy our earth)  led to a situation in which the alternate earth is healing and there is no longer conflict between the two sides. Jones, however, has now taken advantage of the weapons developed in this preparation for war for his own ends. Presumably Jones remains a threat which will be dealt with in the two-part season finale.

When the initial attempts to stop Jones failed, a decision was made to turn off the machine and sever the connection between the two earths. This raises questions as to whether turning off the machine will leave each side the same except without this means of crossing over, or if there will be other changes. Walter and Walternate questioned if this might make Peter disappear again. I doubt the would make major changes this late in the season, but another possibility might be that everything would return to how it was before the machine was turned on last season, with both earths on the brink of war.

The episode did wrap up a subplot from this season. Lincoln Lee was clearly infatuated with Olivia, and when she reunited with Peter, Lincoln got the opportunity to meet Altlivia. He decided to go to the alternate universe to be with Altlivia, a decision Peter clearly understood. I wonder if we will see the two of them again in the alternate universe. While the Fringe team lost their easy means of getting there, other means of crossing over were present in past episodes, so this might not be the last time we wee the alternate Fringe team. It is also possible to have scenes on the other side without anyone crossing over. I do hope that we do see more of the alternate earth.

Awake is at its weakest as a police procedural show. The two police cases this week on Game Day were not terribly compelling. The importance of the cases was that they showed Britten how there can be slight differences between the two realities leading to different results. In football, a field goal attempt may or may not be successful, leading to different winners (and different crimes). The ramifications of this became important in his personal life. He learned that Rex’s girlfriend Emma got pregnant before the accident killing his wife, and subsequently had a miscarriage. Back in the other world, Britten realized that although Rex was dead, Emma could still be pregnant with his child, and it was possible that there was no miscarriage. Finding that Emma was still pregnant with Rex’s child will certainly change things for the Brittens, most likely ending their plans to move to Oregon.

I hesitate to speculate too much on questions as to whether one or the other reality is actually real as I’m not convinced the writers have a real game plan for the show. Different arguments can be made based upon different episodes. This episode suggests that both realities are equally valid as once again information from one is carried over into the other. On the other hand, there have been episodes in which things occurring before the accident were different in each reality, suggesting that only one could be the real one which Britten had lived in. A Life on Mars type explanation in which noting is real might be the easiest way to settle such contradictions.

If Britten does not move to Oregon, the plans to call off the hit on him by the people responsible for the accident appears to be back on, providing further drama. However, why was this never an issue in the world where Rex remains alive and Britten never planned to move to Oregon? Perhaps the reality in which  his life lived is the “real” world in which he was set up for the accident, but he also jumps to another pre-existing reality where some things were different, and perhaps the accident really was an accident.

There are rumors that Leonard Nimoy might be making a return to live acting. Since his retirement he has had voice-only appearances on Fringe and The Big Bang Theory. A computer-generated view of him was seen within the Amber on last week’s episode of Fringe. Now there are rumors that he will be appearing on Fringe, possibly this season. A recent CNN interview gives the impression that he might also return to a Star Trek movie.

This picture is not a fake. It appears to show the Doctor (Matt Smith) with the Beatles. Is Matt Smith actually a time traveler? Steven Moffat’s reaction to the picture on Twitter: “Bloody hell!!! Clearly we’re going to make that episode!! Wonder what it will be like.”

How’s this video for mixing up the robots from Doctor Who and Star Wars?

Leonard Nimoy on The Big Bang Theory

Here is a longer clip from Leonard Nimoy’s appearance (so far voice only) on The Big Bang Theory. Pictures and a briefer video were posted on Sunday.

More on the episode at The Hollywood Reporter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Rogue version’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All Things Considered looked at the influence of Mad Men.

ABC compared Betty with Don’s fiance, Megan.

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

Today wonders whether Don Draper can finally be happy.

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

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

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

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

Karen Gillan playing with herself.

SciFi Weekend: Awake; Old vs. New Monsters on Doctor Who; Sherlock vs. The Doctor; The Avengers; Scarlett Johansson’s Shower Scene; Follow STTNG Season 8 on Twitter; Community; Nimoy on Big Bang Theory

In a year when genre television shows are struggling to survive, it was a good sign that a new well-written genre show, Awake, has been receiving excellent reviews.  The Christian Science Monitor calls it one of the best dramas on television. Awake is about detective Michael Britten who wakes up after an auto accident in which his son or wife were killed. He alternates between realities in which one has survived and the other is alive. In each reality he remains a detective but is forced to see a psychiatrist. In one reality the psychiatrist is a woman (played by Cherry Jones of 24) who possibly represents the wife he lost while in the other the psychiatrist is a younger man, possibly representing the lost son. His partner is also replaced by a young man in one of the realities.

The show is more a police procedural than a science fiction show which attempts to explain what is happening. In style it reminds me a lot of Life on Mars in which the explanation for the police officer going into the past was a minor matter compared to the individual stories. Explanations were added in the end, with the British and American versions providing entirely different explanations, showing how little the explanation mattered during the shows’ run. The pilot also set up a mystery about the accident which precipitated events of the show. The pilot began with the accident, and Britten has no recollection of events leading up to this point.

From the first episode I don’t believe that finding an explanation will be significant in this show. Should an explanation ever be given, I bet that each reality will be equally valid. The pilot certainly gave no reason to believe one as opposed to the other. I bet either both realities are a dream-like state or there will be two alternative realities which Michael Britten is shifting between. Britten’s lack of recollection of events leading up to the accident do raise the possibility that none of the events are real (within the show), as was also the case in Life on Mars. Britten made it clear he wants no “cure” for the situation as he wants to preserve the situation in which he still has both his wife and son–a decision which certainly makes sense for him.

An interview with executive producer Howard Gordon and creator Kyle Killen was posted in Blastr, discussing comparisons between Awake and Inception and addressing Britten’s desire to live in both worlds:

“The show is really about a man who has decided and desperately wants to live in both of these worlds. Who refuses to acknowledge which is real and which isn’t,” said Killen. “And as you try to live two lives in parallel and you see them start to go in dramatically different directions, I think the idea is that hopefully the audience, like the character, becomes invested in not wanting to let either of those go.”

“Because as long as he has got both of them, he has got access to his wife and his son, then he hasn’t really lost anything. And the upshot for a detective living across two worlds is that he discovers that the cases in one seem to sort of be reflected or replicated in the other. And that provides him with insight and clues that allow him to do his job differently than he did before, and differently than any other detective that we have gotten to see on television.”

It is too soon, after only seeing the pilot, but with Fringe (while still worth watching) not reaching the quality of last season, Awake does have a shot at becoming both the best genre show and drama shown on American network television. Competing with the top shows available on  cable will be far harder.

Radio Times on the monsters and villains of Doctor Who:

Fans of perennial Doctor Who villains such as the Daleks and the Cybermen may disagree but Steven Moffat says new baddies are the best.

The Doctor Who and Sherlock writer says viewers develop a connection with villains when they first meet them and that continually bringing them back can hamper a show’s growth.

“One of the temptations, particularly if it’s a success is to keep repeating your hits, which means you hear it again and again and again,” said Moffat.

“I always say new monsters are better in Doctor Who because you fall in love with monsters when they’re new,” he told Le Village.

It’s an admission that may surprise some viewers, given that Moffat resurrected the Daleks within three episodes of having taken over the show for its 2010 series, but it suggests the Doctor will be facing some new foes in series seven.

Meanwhile, the show’s producer Marcus Wilson told Doctor Who Magazine that two monsters from “classic” Who would be back in the new series.

The final link above provides further information on next season.

Besides discussing old versus new monsters, Steven Moffat tweeted the above video showing Sherlock vs. The Doctor. Actually the leads on both of Steven Moffat’s shows are pretty similar. Just how did Moffat manage to become show runner for not one but two of the top fictional characters of all time?

It only makes sense that the tenth Doctor be on the ten dollar bill. (Similar changes should be made for the $1 and $5 dollar bills.)

Marvel has uploaded the official trailer to The Avengers, which opens in the United States on May 4 and in the U.K. on April 29. (Official UK trailer here). The movie is packed with super heroes and beautiful women. More pictures of Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother) as Maria Hill can be seen here. Besides appearing in The Avengers, Scarlett Johansson has recreated the classic Janet Leigh shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. Entertainment Weekly reports that it took seven days to film the nude scene. It probably actually took a half day to film and then someone wanted to have her do it over and over again.

Saturn Award  Nominations were released in the past week.

Follow an imaginary eighth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Twitter.

The trailer above combines Community with The Dark Knight Rises. The producers of Community are optimistic that the show  will be renewed for a new season. I sure hope so. The cast will also appear in three animated short features on NBC.Com and Hulu.

The Big Bang Theory got a huge genre coup this week in getting Leonard Nimoy to come out of retirement to appear in Sheldon’s dream.

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who, Fringe, Merlin, Camelot, Harry Potter

There is now considerable attention being paid to the international start of the upcoming season of Doctor Who next Saturday. Here are two clips from the episode:

The Daily Mail has a profile on the next villain, to be featured in the two-part episode to start the season, The Silence:

For The Silence are the most sinister — and the scariest — of more than 200 intergalactic monsters who have done battle with the Time Lord over the centuries.

They will have us all cowering in terror behind the sofa when the sixth series in the current run of Doctor Who returns to TV next week, promises Matt Smith, the Doctor’s 11th incarnation…

Matt says: ‘They are pretty repulsive, but it’s their history that will really chill people. They could turn up anywhere and everywhere, and they’ve been undermining and controlling us for thousands of years but we don’t realise it.

‘And yet, here they are — for the very first time — made flesh in front of our eyes.’

The Silence have been mentioned but never seen in several episodes since Matt took over as the Doctor last year, and will play a central part in the show’s future.

Matt, who has wanted to add a hat to the Doctor’s costume, gets to wear a stetson in the new series as he is mysteriously invited to America’s Utah Desert along with his companion Amy Pond (played by Karen Gillan).

In real life, the Utah desert has been a hotspot for UFO sightings — in Doctor Who, it’s where the presence of The Silence first manifests itself.

Their look has been carefully created for maximum scare-factor, with dark suits, white shirts and black ties made by Doctor Who costume designer Barbara Kidd.

The suits, in particular, are a nod to the Men In Black movies, which starred Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as smartly attired U.S. Government agents fighting alien invaders.

The Silence’s hands and heads — created by Neill Gorton, principal designer at Millennium Effects, the company which make all the Doctor Who monsters — are the only features that betray the fact they are aliens.

Made from Latex foam, the hands are bony-white and crumpled, while the triangular faces have no mouths, but human eyes sunk deep into the skull with traces of ears and a nose.

‘Humans will have been subconsciously aware of The Silence for many centuries and that awareness will have manifested itself in paintings such as The Scream,’ says Steven Moffatt, Doctor Who’s lead writer, who invented The Silence.

The Daily Mail also had pictures of the previous Doctor, David Tennant, along with his wife (The Doctor’s Daughter Georgia Tennant) pushing their actual daughter Olivia Moffat in a baby buggy. Other pictures show that Tennant had more difficulty handling the baby buggy than flying the TARDIS.

There were multiple interviews with the current stars over the past week. Here are the MTV interviews with Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and Arthur Darvill.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xXC2bIAbUZ8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ytkPgAaQ-CI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=E69B5LmDK9k

Craig Ferguson’s interview with Karen Gillan was recorded last week but has been held back to air on this Friday’s episode prior to the start of the new season. Ferguson’s Friday episodes, along with other episodes when he is away, are commonly recorded ahead of time.

The return of Leonard Nimoy to Fringe was a disappointment. The episode primarily took place within Olivia’s head, with the help of some LSD. The scenes involving William Bell (Nimoy) were all animated. Presumably Nimoy’s return from retirement is limited to voice work, in the upcoming Transformers movie as well as on Fringe. This probably really was the end of William Bell. The only exception I can see is that the writers might find it irresistible to bring him back if Nimoy ever expresses interest in an actual appearance. Have we ever been told what happened to the William Bell from the alternate universe? Simply going back to explain how and why William Bell lived in the alternate universe would be of interest.

The episode ended with Olivia’s personality somewhat different as she identified one of the people seen in her head by saying without displaying any concern,  “He’s the guy who’s going to kill me.”  Reportedly the final episodes of the season are going to speed up the mythology along with possibly killing off a character (who we can safely predict will not be Olivia):

The executive producers of Fringe have revealed that a key character will be killed off in a forthcoming episode.

In a recent conference call, showrunner Jeff Pinkner claimed that “somebody who [fans of the show] love deeply will die”.

Fringe always does things the way you don’t expect,” added co-producer Joel Wyman. “It’s going to be effective, and it will be self-explanatory. That’s sort of all we can say without spoiling anything.”

Pinkner also suggested that the events of the third season finale will be “wholly unexpected“.

“It will recontextualise the story of season three in a really cool way, and be fun and entertaining and mind-blowing,” he claimed.

However, Pinkner ruled out the possibility of introducing a third universe to the sci-fi drama, which currently focuses on events in two parallel worlds.

“We are not introducing a third world,” he insisted. “We still have plenty of story to tell just in those two worlds. Maybe at some point in the future there will be a third world, but not yet.”

The third season of Merlin recently concluded its US run. Digital Spy has interviews with the two female leads which give limited hints as to the fourth season. Katie McGrath had this to say:

Is there a part of you that misses playing the ‘good’ Morgana?
“No, I love a bad girl! Absolutely. I couldn’t wait for her to become like this, because at the same time that she became the bad girl, she became powerful. All her uncertainty goes. In the first series, she was the opinionated, spoiled princess, and then in the second series, she was very unsure of herself. In the third series, she was still playing both sides. So by the time we get to the fourth series, she’s got to where ultimately she’s going to go. But in typical Merlin fashion, it’s not what you expect. It’s never what you expect, and in series four, it isn’t either. But I like the fact that she is strong and she’s accepted who she is. She’s assured, and even if you don’t agree with her point of view, she’s committed to it. She believes that she is doing the right thing and that she is saving people like her. She wants to bring back the old traditions, so she will no longer have to hide. I really respect that in somebody, that she is committed to what she believes. To be that strong and powerful is great, especially when you’re a girl. Without being a weak woman and soft, she’s still feminine. She’s a great woman to play!”

Series four will take place one year after the events of series three. What’s changed in that time?
“I think I’m bound to silence! I’m not sure what I can say. Well, Morgana has entirely changed in the year away. She’s been out of Camelot, and she’s probably been hunted and had to hide who she is. So to go from being such a privileged woman to being a hunted fugitive is going to change her. It’s going to make her harder, stronger and more committed. A year has also passed with everyone knowing that she is magical, so that’s also going to have changed how everybody else views her and how she views herself. I’m quite lucky. I’m probably completely biased, but I always say that I have the best character in the show. From season to season, I think she’s changed the most, and this season is no different. I know that everybody will be shocked by what she does in the first two episodes, and how she looks. It’s a complete new image for her. Very cool!”

Morgause appeared to die at the end of series three, so will Emilia Fox be back?
“Yes! Nothing’s ever the way it seems!”

And is there any chance of Mordred returning?
“I’d like Mordred to be back. He’s such an integral part of the story. I don’t know if he’s going to be back, because we’ve only got the first three scripts. But I’d like to think that at some point over the next few years, he’ll turn up, because you can’t tell the story without him. But again, what’s nice about Merlin is that it’s never going to be what you expect, so you can’t think that you know the legends. Even if you do, the show will trip you up and you’ll get a surprise! But I hope he’ll be back. Although [Mordred actor] Asa [Butterfield]’s off working with Martin Scorsese! I love it, we’re so proud of him! That boy, we’ve seen him grow!”

She had a lot more to say about her character, as well as the other version of Morgana in the Starz version of Camelot:

What are your thoughts on that other Arthurian adaptation, the Starz series Camelot?
“When they first told me they were doing it, I wanted to know who they’d cast! I wanted to know who was playing Morgana, and then they cast a Bond girl! How am I ever going to compete with that? Eve Green is my favorite Bond girl and she was so amazing and totally beautiful. I was like, ‘Oh great! Up against a Bond girl, I should just give it all up!’ But I have a friend who auditioned for it and read all the scripts, and she told me that the two shows are so different. [Eva and I] are playing two completely different characters, with a few similarities. Their portrayal of everything is nowhere near what we do. Their Arthur is different, their Guinevere is different, and so on. You can’t really put them in the same box, which is quite nice. I would put Camelot closer to [HBO fantasy drama] Game of Thrones, because it’s for a similar audience. We’re quite lucky in that there isn’t really anything like Merlin around.”

Game of Thrones is premiering on HBO tonight with the reviews sounding very positive. Digital Spy also interviewed Angel Coulby who plays Gwen. She revealed that Lancelot will be returning but does not know for how long.

While I loved most of the Harry Potter movies, I was disappointed with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and did not have very high expectations from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part I. I recall disliking much of the first half of the book, feeling as Ron Weasley did, that we they wandering aimlessly. Therefore I waited until the Blu-Ray came out on Friday as opposed to seeing it at the movie theater, and it was at least as bad as I feared. If I didn’t already own the rest of the  Blu-Ray collection I might have refrained from purchasing this one, but it is hard to leave such a hole when almost at the end of a series.

The movies often improved upon the Harry Potter books by tightening them up in order to make them movie length. In some cases it was necessary to cut too much out for the movie, but in this case it would have helped to cut much of the material from the first half of the final book. If the studio wasn’t rearing the loss of income from the end of the franchise, I bet they would have just released a single book with much of the first half removed. Those who have also followed both the books and the movie could easily skip Part I and wait for Part II. If anyone is only following the movies, they might want to see  the first half hour or so of  the movie, but from there it would be helpful to use the fast forward button liberally.

Leonard Nimoy Returns

Leonard Nimoy returns to Fringe tonight. Does that mean the end of Anna Torv playing Nimoy’s William Bell?

Update: It sure was disappointing that Nimoy only appeared in an animated segment. Apparently his return from retirement is limited to voice roles. As for the question above, it does appear to be the end of William Bell.

SciFi Weekend: Supermoon; Doctor Who Mini-Episodes Time & Space; Anna Torv as William Bell; Girls of Dillon Texas In New Roles; V Season (Series?) Finale; Being Human Renewed

Just went outside to see supermoon. I am a little disappointed that nobody put a giant S and a cape on it.  This week we start with a mini installment of Doctor Who prepared for Comic Relief charity fund-raising, which explains the problem with Amy Pond’s short skirts,plus a lot of timey wimey stuff:

In other Doctor Who news, a fan is suing the BBC claiming he first came up with the character of Davros for a competition at age 13.

Anna Torv spent this week’s episode of Fringe with William Bell possessing her body. TV Line interviewed Torv about playing this third role on the show:

Make no mistake, Anna Torv herself was agog when she first learned of the twist – one that forced into her repertoire a third Fringe characterization. “This is not one I had been asking for!” the actress admits with a laugh. “I was in shock for the first day, and then I think I hyperventilated, and then I called John Noble to say, ‘Can you please help me?’”

Torv’s reasons for turning to Walter’s portrayer were twofold. “When you are about to do something you’re kind of freaked out about, you want to be able to look up and know there’s a safe place to go to – and it’s there in John’s eyes,” she explains. And because Noble was in most of Leonard Nimoy’s scenes as “Belly,” Torv says, “I wanted to know what that relationship was like.”

Because she is Australian and already affecting an American accent for her portrayal of Olivia/”Bolivia,” Torv studied tapes of Nimoy’s Fringe work as well as consulted with the show’s dialect coach. Ultimately, though, she had to just jump in with both feet. “I’m no good at doing voices, mimicking people, so once I realized, ‘S—t, I can’t do this,’ you just take a deep breath and go for it.”

Bell’s most unexpected and equally unorthodox “return” promises to have a significant impact on the “machine” storyline that has Peter fretting over his fate as well as that of this universe. As Torv notes, the late genius “has a lot of information that we don’t have, so he’s an awesome resource for the team. And for Walter to have someone to work with is another [advantage].” Or could it be a liability…?

And as one might imagine, Olivia’s “possession” puts a pin in her nascent romance with Peter. “Well, yeah,” Torv confirms with a laugh. “I don’t think Peter is going to want to go to bed with William Bell!”

In other words, it’s business as usual for that oft-interrupted relationship. “Every time they sort of get it together,” Torv says, “something gets in the way.”

The episode was also significant for first showing this universe’s version of Lincoln Lee. There are also plans to add a new female FBI agent. Next week returns to the alternate universe, and the hotter version of Olivia.

The first picture of Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman has been released. Another Friday Night Lights star, Minka Kelly, is seen below, with costars Annie Ilonzeh and Rachael Taylor, in the remake or Charlie’s Angels.

The final two episodes of V were among the best the show has aired. Of course there continued to be many holes in the plot, and they dragged some things out of nowhere to make it work. This included Anna having a new egg to quickly replace Lisa, suddenly finding out about project Aries, and Amy having the ability to bliss the entire earth. (Besides, wasn’t the Aries project from Life on Mars?)

If V returns for a third season there will be major differences after the season finale. Presumably the Aries project will replace the Fifth Column, which was never very believable as a force to fight the alien invaders, and at least three characters are dead. While it is not uncommon for characters to return for the dead, and the quick shots of characters post-death left open the possibility they might be saved by alien technology, I’ve seen a few interviews which make it clear they really are dead. V producer Scott Rosenbaum is also hoping for a chance to continue the storyline further:

That choice, to end V with a cliffhanger despite being very much on the bubble for a renewal, was made back in October. In the middle of production, ABC told Rosenbaum that the show’s order was being reduced to 10 episodes, leaving the writer-producer with little time to figure out how to finish up Season 2.

“We had been given an initial episode order of 13, so I had planned a 22-episode season,” Rosenbaum tells EW, referring to the usual “back 9″ pickup that most shows receive if they’re delivering strong ratings. “When they reduced the order, I had to make a decision. I didn’t feel like it was possible to wrap the show in that amount of time, so I said, ‘You know, I’m going to hope there’s another season, because I’ve pushed the story too far [and] it won’t make sense [to conclude it this soon]. I don’t feel like the audience will feel like we’ve earned those moments.’ So I’m going to keep my fingers crossed and leave it organically where I think the show should end after 10 episodes. I went with hope, and tried to make it feel like a satisfying conclusion.”

The result, Mother’s Day, features several character deaths and a guest appearance by Marc Singer, who starred in the 1980s original V mini-series.

Though some fans have been impatient for all-out war to break out between the Resistance and the Visitors, Rosenbaum says he’s always wanted at least one full season to properly set up the conflict — something the show never received (the first season was only 12 episodes). If he does get a third round, Rosenbaum promises to deliver fireworks. “What’s so interesting,” Rosenbaum says, “is I feel like the best of the show is ahead of itself.”

If  the show doesn’t return, this version of V will always be remembered for one line:  “Now that’s how you kill your mother.”

Syfy has renewed Being Human (US version) for a second season and the BBC has renewed Being Human for a fourth season. I haven’t watched either version yet. Anyone have any comments as to whether they are worth watching, and if so which is better?

SciFi Weekend: Fringe & Other TV Shows; Scientology; Lisbeth Salander As Libertarian & Leftist Heroine; The Ultimate “Leftist” Novel

This week’s episode of Fringe appeared to be a stand-alone story until late in the episode. I was surprised to find that it tied into the ongoing mythology of the show by having the results of Alan Ruck’s experiments, which never should have worked, become successful in making people lighter than air due to the laws of physics breaking down as a result of the rift between the universes.

The story also featured Walter obsessing about bringing William Bell back to live, along with getting high with Jorge Garcia of Lost, at Massive Dynamic. There was a lot of Peter and Olivia. Somehow seeing our Olivia smiling this much just didn’t look right. It looked more natural in Fauxlivia. The episode ended with another surprise as Anna Torv now has a  third charter to play–William Bell possessing the poor Olivia’s body. One can just imagine what that would do should Peter get Olivia into bed again. There’s no doubt that this will lead to the return of William Bell’s physical body with Leonard Nimoy confirming on Twitter that he has already come out of retirement.

BBC America has announced that the upcoming season of Doctor Who will premier April 23 at 9:00 p.m. There’s no official date from the BBC, but there are rumors that they are also airing the first episode on April 23 and the second of the two-parter on April 24. If true, hopefully BBC America will also air both parts the first week and not fall a week behind.

Among last week’s television shows, V appears to be ending the season with more enjoyable shows, despite the numerous plot holes which persist. The Event returned, but it remains questionable as to how long they can drag out this storyline. The Cape’s final unaired episode has been  posted on line. Terra Nova, a Steven Spielberg produced show about people escaping to the prehistoric past, has been moved back from May until next fall.

Michael Crowley has an article at Slate noting L. Ron Hubbard’s 100th birthday, noting “how truly strange Scientology is.” If we were going to have a science fiction writer devise a religion which has as many followers as Scientology, why couldn’t it be one more along the lines of the freer religions devised in novels by Robert A. Heinlein?

Benjamin Kerstein at Pajamas Media questions how a leftist such as Stieg Larsson managed “to create a libertarian parable for the ages” with Lisbeth Salander in his Millennium Trilogy:

Lisbeth Salander explodes like a grenade tossed into an ammunition dump. Ferociously individualist, incorruptible, disdainful, and suspicious of all forms of social organization, and dedicated to her own personal moral code, Salander often seems to have stepped into Larsson’s world from out of an Ayn Rand novel. She despises all institutions, whether they are business corporations, government agencies, or the Stockholm police. Rejecting all forms of ideology, she is dedicated only to her own individual sense of justice. Relentlessly cerebral, she trusts only what she can ascertain with her own mind and her own formidable talents. She considers Blomquist a naïve fool because of his belief that social conditions cause people to commit the horrible crimes he investigates. At one point, as Blomquist ponders the motivations of a brutal serial killer, Salander erupts, “He’s just a pig who hates women!” Salander believes there are no excuses, everyone is responsible for their own actions, including herself, and must answer for them accordingly.

In short, Salander is as close to an avenging angel libertarianism is ever likely to get, and her presence in the novels throws the books’ politics into a bizarre contradiction. Far from the left-wing bromide in favor of democratic socialism it appears to be, the Millennium trilogy, as Ian MacDougall has pointed out in the leftist journal n+1, often appears on second glance like a calculated and relentless evisceration of the Swedish welfare state. Indeed, not only is Salander a walking rebuke to the myths of Scandinavian socialism, but she  is usually portrayed by Larsson as being absolutely correct in her attitude toward it. “In this Sweden,” MacDougall writes:

The country’s well-polished façade belies a broken apparatus of government whose rusty flywheels are little more than the playthings of crooks. The doctors are crooked. The bureaucrats are crooked. The newspapermen are crooked. The industrialists and businessmen, laid bare by merciless transparency laws, are nevertheless crooked. The police and the prosecutors are crooked.

In Larsson’s world, it is only the individual — usually Salander — with their own personal sense of right and wrong and the courage to act on it, who can save the day.

It is, perhaps, telling that millions of readers around the world, whatever their political orientation, have become fans of the Millennium series and especially of Lisbeth Salander. Indeed, it appears that Steig Larsson, though he himself might have been horrified at the prospect, gave birth to one of the great literary ironies of our time: for reasons that will likely forever remain unknown, a Scandinavian leftist managed to create a libertarian parable for the ages.

I find this far less ironic than Kerstein, who sees far too much of the right wing stereotype of the left as opposed to the actual views of those on the left. The left actually contains people of a variety of view points, and many do not support the big-government stereotype which the right commonly uses. Many on us on the left are far closer to individualist anarchists at heart, opposing the right wing as the actual supporters of big government and authoritarianism.

While I don’t know terribly much about Stieg Larsson, from what I have read about him, Larsson’s “leftism” appeared to have concentrated on opposing the authoritarian threat from the far right. As sometimes happens, Larsson also appears to have bee to quick to see his enemy’s enemies as his friends, which has led to far too many people on the left to become overly sympathetic to aspects to the left which are better off avoided.

To see Lisbeth Salander as supporting libertarianism is overly simplistic (analogous to how libertarianism itself is an overly simplistic view of the world). Salander appeals to both libertarians and to those on the left who I referred to above as are far closer to individualist anarchists at heart. Such people on the left are attracted to such anarchism and disrespect for authority but also see the limitations to such a philosophy in the real world which libertarians do not.

Larrson both made Salander an appealing character on one level while also showing as the trilogy progressed how her attitudes were shaped by her troubled youth. Salander’s world view is appealing to part of us, but most people have grown up to understand the limitations in such a world view. Libertarians, along with Lisbeth Salander, have ideas and attitudes we can respect, but ultimately both libertarians and Salander are flawed people who have not grown up to understand the real world.

At Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen was asked to name the ultimate left wing novel. His answer is quite different from mine, showing the differences in views and emphasis on the left which I noted above. Cowen’s answer:

What jumps to mind is Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, but if you read the request carefully it does not qualify.  Here is a list of thirty famous left-wing novels, heavy on the mid- to late nineteenth century.  There is Bronte, Dickens, Hugo, Sinclair, Zola, Gorky, Jack London, and Edward Bellamy.  None of these books is as analytically or philosophically comprehensive as the novels of Ayn Rand.

I would say that the story per se is usually left-wing, in both good and bad ways.  It elevates the seen over the unseen, can easily portray a struggle for justice, focuses on the anecdote, and encourages us to judge social institutions by the intentions of the people who work in them, rather than looking at their deeper and longer-term outcomes.  Precisely because the story is itself so left-wing, there won’t be a definitive example of the left-wing novel.  Story-telling encourages context-dependent thinking, although not necessarily in an accurate manner.  One notable feature of Atlas Shrugged is how frequently the story-telling stops for a long speech or an extended dialogue, in order to explain some first principles to the reader.

Grapes of Wrath was an excellent work, and is one which I might expect from the branch of the left more concerned with economics. With my concerns more centered around opposing right wing encroachments on civil liberties, my answer would be quite different. Three books immediately came to mind, with only one book making the list in the link above–It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis.

The other two which I immediately thought of were both by George Orwell: 1984 and Animal Farm. I’d pick 1984 as the answer to the question of picking the one ultimate book. Besides the messages of the book it remains even better known than Atlas Shrugged, and also stopped the story-telling for extended periods to make political points.

1984, while always an excellent choice for its opposition to totalitarianism, is even more significant today in light of the Orwellian distortions commonly used by the right wing. “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” One might almost think that Orwell was aware of the current American right wing in writing this.

To the  right wing freedom often means the “freedom” to impose their views upon others. Their support for the perpetual warfare state has clear parallels to Orwell’s work. Most disturbing of all is the manner in which the right wing supports Sarah Palin/Tea Party style ignorance as it opposes science, reason, and factual sources of information which do not follow the distortions they spread.

SciFi Weekend: Fringe, Leonard Nimoy, V, The Cape, Matt Smith on Upcoming Season of Doctor Who, Nebula Award Nominees

Fringe returned to the period shortly after Peter was brought over from the alternate universe–a period all involved now seem to have forgotten except for Walternate. Peter was so desperate to return home that he tied a weight to his leg and returned to the lake where he first came to our universe, believing he came from a world under that frozen water. Walter’s wife Elizabeth showed strength in saving Peter. Unfortunately she couldn’t handle the continued lies to Peter (which he apparently began to believe) and later began drinking.

The episode contained the first meeting between Peter and Olivia along with Olivia crossing over as a child. This left the clue for Walternate to figure out what happened to Peter. Olivia went to tell Walter about the abuse she suffered from her stepfather. She began by speaking to a Walter sitting behind a desk but this was actually Walternate, with Walter turning out to be behind her upon her return to our universe. While over there, Olivia left a picture she had drawn of herself and Peter.

The previews foreshadowed something which has already been reported–Leonard Nimoy returning to Fringe to reprise his role as William Bell. Nimoy again confirmed this story in a tweet on February 25: “Coming to Fringe. William’s bell rings soon. LLAP.” (Nimoy typically ends his tweets with LLAP: Live Long and Prosper.) While William Bell was shown to have died, this wouldn’t be the first time Nimoy has played a character who has been brought back to life. Will William Bell be revived on the Genesis Planet?

There’s already been talk that V is going to end the season with a cliffhanger. Executive producer Scott Rosenbaum has stated in an interview that this could include some deaths of regular characters:

The executive producer of V has revealed that several main characters will be killed off in the second season finale.

Scott Rosenbaum told TV Guide that two or “possibly even three” series regulars will not return to the ABC series if it is renewed for a third run.

He explained that the departure of certain actors was related to “what would be most devastating for the characters [he wanted] to continue”.

“People are going to be shocked,” added series star Laura Vandervoort. “When we read the script there was initially shock, then sadness. [It’s like] seeing your son go off to college or [your] grandma passing.”

Rosenbaum confirmed that Elisabeth Mitchell (Erica Evans) and Morena Baccarin (Anna) will return to the series, leaving Vandervoort (Lisa), Scott Wolf (Chad), Logan Huffman (Tyler), Morris Chestnut (Ryan), Joel Gretsch (Father Jack) and Jane Badler (Diana) as potential candidates for the axe.

The Cape has even less of a chance than V of returning. The show did conclude a good two-part episode last week which was probably its best story to date. Summer Glau spent the episode unconscious but being promoted to imagine a drug-induced wedding scene. It is not clear if we can interpret her visions of Vince as confirming that Orwell loves him m or whether she just put a familiar face into her dream. In the same episode Vince has contact with Dana, but only as The Cape. I just cannot buy the contrived drama from Vince keeping his survival secret from his wife along with everyone else. The wedding also advanced the widely held assumption that Peter Fleming is Orwell’s father, and a mysterious door might reveal more about Orwell and her mother if they get this in before the shortened season ends.

Doctor Who Amy Pond Vincent and the Doctor

Den of Geek summarizes what Matt Smith has to say about the upcoming season of Doctor Who:

We’re around two months away from the return of Doctor Who to Saturday nights, and Matt Smith has been chatting to Radio 1 about just what we can expect.

Talking specifically about the character of River Song, Smith told the station, “What’s amazing about Steven [Moffat] is, he’s been plotting this since [River’s] very first episode. It’s all connected. He’s had this sort of three-year plan and it’s all unfolding.”

Even more intriguingly, he’s offered a tease about the two-parter that’s going to kick the new series off, where we find out more about The Silence.

“I think The Silence is going to be the scariest Who monster in a long time, definitely since the Angels. I think Steven’s written a killer monster there,” said Smith.

Smith also confirmed that we’ve got a sizeable cliffhanger to look forward to at the end of the seventh episode, then the show will take its mid-series break. “I think the Doctor and Amy are really faced with some quite cataclysmic choices,” he said.

Tonight during the Academy Awards, Inception has the best chance for a genre movie to win an Oscar. Inception is one of the movies up against an episode of Doctor Who, Vincent and the Doctor, for a Nebula Award. Here’s the full list of nominees for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America will present the awards on May 11.

The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

  • Despicable Me, Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud (directors), Ken Daurio & Cinco Paul (screenplay), Sergio Pablos (story) (Illumination Entertainment)
  • Doctor Who: ‘‘Vincent and the Doctor’’, Richard Curtis (writer), Jonny Campbell (director)
  • How to Train Your Dragon, Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders (directors), William Davies, Dean DeBlois, & Chris Sanders (screenplay) (DreamWorks Animation)
  • Inception, Christopher Nolan (director), Christopher Nolan (screenplay) (Warner)
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Edgar Wright (director), Michael Bacall & Edgar Wright (screenplay) (Universal)
  • Toy Story 3, Lee Unkrich (director), Michael Arndt (screenplay), John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, & Lee Unkrich (story) (Pixar/Disney)

Both of the excellent Thursday night genre comedies have now had recent guest appearances by LeVar Burton.  He appeared on Big Bang Theory this week following a recent appearance on Community. His appearance on Big Bang Theory was briefer than on Community, but provided the perfect ending for last week’s episode.

SciFi Weekend: Fringe and the Alternate Universe; Charlie’s Angels and Other Casting News; More Matrix Sequels Theatened; The Science of Battlestar Galactica; And Kids With Daleks

I was ambivalent about Fringe during the first season when there were primarily stand-alone stories, but have grown to love the show as it got more into its mythology and a continuing story line. Friday’s episode brought about one major change as we saw in Reciprocity that Peter’s connection to the Doomsday Machine has also changed Peter. Finding that Peter was the one killing the shape shifters was a surprise. It was also amusing to see the effects of Walter injecting the chimpanzee DNA and I was happy to see some movement on Peter’s relationship with Olivia.Dumping a boyfriend because he had sex with your identical counterpart from an alternative universe is the lamest reason since Rachel dumping Ross for messing around when they were on a break.

While an excellent episode, I do miss the alternative universe. We’ve been promised that the show will return there, and there was some more news on this last week. John Noble has hinted about his roles:

In a recent conference call, the actor told reporters that the brain-damaged scientist will begin to “put his life back together”.

“He finally comes to face up to his limitations, but also his strength,” said Noble. “[That is] more than enough to deal with the problems. It’s a wonderful journey for Walter this season and he gets to go through all the stages.”

Noble also promised that viewers will begin to see a more human side to Walter’s doppelganger, the sinister Walternate.

“You will learn more of what made Walternate what he is, and you will see some humanisation of the man behind that steel exterior,” he explained. “He has to make some difficult decisions. We’ve done some terrific things that don’t soften him, but help to understand that he is man, not a machine.”

He added: “I hope that there is a resolution between Walter and Walternate, because I don’t see either of them as bad men.”

I am especially looking forward to the February 25 episode which goes back to Peter’s abduction:

“Peter,” the season two episode that brilliantly chronicled how Walter Bishop accidentally abducted the alternate universe’s Peter, was such a fan favorite that producers are headed back to 1985 in an upcoming episode of “Fringe.”

Slated to air February 25, the installment will serve as a companion piece to “Peter,” according to star Jasika Nicole. “It’s going to pick up right where ‘Peter’ left off and it’s better than the first one,” she told PopWrap.

But unlike the season two edition, “this flashback is going to take place in the alternate universe as well as this universe. That’s why it’s so good, you’ll see the repercussions stealing Peter has for Walter and Walternate,” she adds.

A huge part of the fallout will involve Elizabeth Bishop. “As we’ve seen, Walternate is still with his wife and there’s a reason for that. You see all these consequences that happened as a result of that [abduction] and what that means for his relationship with Elizabeth. It’s a really heartbreaking story.”

The biggest Fringe news is that Leonard Nimoy has tweeted that he might be returning as William Bell. The actual tweet states, “Plans developing for a William Bell return to Fringe. Stay Tuned. LLAP.” As long as Nimoy is willing to return, it is hard to believe that the producers of Fringe will not take advantage of this.

I wasn’t paying any attention to the prospect of an other remake of Charlie’s Angels until Minka Kelly of Friday Night Lights was cast in the movie last week.(Kelly also has a recurring role in Parenthood this season and played Autumn in 500 Days of Summer).

ABC’s Charlie’s Angels has its trio female leads: Former Friday Night Lights star Minka Kelly’s will play a former Marine and weapons expert and Transformers star Rachael Taylor will play a con artist.

The duo have been near-deals for the roles this week and are now official on the Sony Pictures TV project. Kelly and Taylor join the previously cast General Hospital star Annie Ilonzeh.

Friday Night Lights is down to only two more episodes. I won’t give any details as many are waiting until it airs on NBC this spring, but I think this was the best of the shorter, and lower-budget, seasons done jointly with Direct TV.

In other casting news, Henry Cavill of The Tudors will play Superman.

Colin Firth says he’d like to play a bad guy on Doctor Who or Torchwood, especially Doctor Who.

Keanu Reeves has created a stir in the blogosphere by stating two more sequels to The Matrix are in the works. Perhaps we could start a fund to pay them not to do this.  I’m not sure where they would go after the two terrible sequels to a great movie. Would it be feasible to just pretend the two sequels don’t exist and remake a good pair to replace them?

Luke Pasqualino will play William Odama on the upcoming Battlestar Galactica prequel, Blood and Chrome. IO9 has a larger version of the above map of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol.

Not only is this map a thing of great beauty, but it’s totally official — Grazier was science advisor for Battlestar Galactica from the very beginning, and helped to define a lot of the show’s concepts. And Espenson, as the original showrunner for the prequel series Caprica, had to do a lot of thinking about exactly how the Twelve Colonies were laid out. This info comes straight from the creators — and from the showrunner’s bible for BSG and Caprica. And Grazier, who works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, verifies that the info in this map is “scientifically plausible.” It was created by Hollywood graphic designer Geoffrey Mandel, who made countless adjustments as the technical data underwent scrutiny…

We asked Espenson and Grazier some questions about the map, and they ended up telling us a lot more about the science and backstory of Battlestar Galactica:

I didn’t realize there were four different stars in the Cyrannus star system. I had always wondered if there were just 12 habitable planets clustered around a single sun. Where did the idea of four different stars come from? Was this in the show bible someplace? I’m especially curious about Leonis, the “heart of the colonies,” which I don’t think we ever heard about. Also, Scorpion, the “playground of the colonies.” Is that the colonial version of Risa?

Jane: Even back before Caprica the show existed, I believe Kevin and I had talked a bit about the configuration of the colonies. All the work on that is his. I instinctively loved the idea of a star cluster. The idea of 12 habitable planets all orbiting one star just seemed unworkable. And crowded. This group of stars makes so much sense. Kevin was at work on the configuration of stars and planets long before we shot a single frame.

More on the “science” of Battlestar Galactica in the full post.

One of the Fantastic Four has died. This link reveals which one.

David Frye has died age 77. He was best known for his impersonations of Richard Nixon.

Personally I think that Daleks are far too dangerous for human children to use as toys. Exterminate!