SciFi Weekend: Imagining Windy; Shooting Ben; Caroline’s Past; and Battlestar Galactica Alternative Endings


Last week Friday night dominated science fiction television with the conclusion of Battlestar Galactica. I’ll have more on that later, but this week Wednesday was the top  night. Life on Mars aired its second from the last episode, Everyone Knows It’s Windy. I wish I knew if this episode was made with knowledge that the show was ending, and was intended to lead towards the end, or if this was just another episode with clues which didn’t really go anywhere. Eariler we had the Aires Project. This episode featured the Aries Toy Company. I doubt this is a coincidence, but what about having a character named Frank Morgan playing a key role? Frank Morgan was also the name of the actor who played the Wizard of Oz. Is Sam over the rainbow?

It now looks like Windy is a figment of Sam’s imagination. That wasn’t much of a surprise. The bigger question is whether everything is a figment of Sam’s imagination, or the product of some type of mind control experiment. (If she was in Sam’s imagination, why didn’t he do more than play checkers with her?) Morgan gave Sam the impression of knowing what is going on but Annie let him know that Morgan had read Sam’s file. When we thought we knew how Morgan knew about Sam and the future he confused the issue by knowing about the fourth Raiders of the Lost Arc movie which Sam didn’t seem to think was in his file. Could this mean Morgan really does know what is happening with Sam? Of course if everything is happening in Sam’s head this wouldn’t really matter. The scene with Sam on the ledge was also similar to a scene in the British version.

The other development is that Sam and Annie are now closer. Unfortunately Sam only has one more episode with her.


Lost is getting back to a regular pattern of having the key characters back in the 1970’s living with the Dharma Initiative before Ben killed them all off. The episodes contain flashbacks which I suspect will concentrate on the period off the island. Others such as Sun are on along journey to join the rest in the past. We learned how Sayeed wound up on the plane and the big shock of the episode was seeing him shoot young Ben. Assuming Daniel Faraday is right, it is not possible to change major events and Ben will live. However, we have seen that Desmond’s future behavior was changed as a consequence of Faraday’s acts. Perhaps this act will have an impact on Ben’s actions, or perhaps it happened all along and was a motivating factor for him.


Back on Fridays, Dollhouse has had two solid episodes in a row which were much better than the first five. The mythology of the show was significantly advanced last week. The number of actives has increased, including the revelation that Mellie was one and seeing a new recruit. I was surprised that they had Mellie return to the Dollhouse considering that Ballard was still searching for the Dollhouse despite being taken off the case.

This week’s episode, Echoes, was the first to reveal more information about Caroline’s past. The puzzling thing is that we saw her get into trouble but hardly enough to be consistent with the desperate situation she was in when “recruited.” I suspect we will see more of this story in the future, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the Dollhouse made Caroline’s situation even worse to force her to join. The dolls regain their memories in next week’s episode and perhaps we will learn more of their back stories.


With Battlestar Galactica over Ron Moore has talked about the show but hasn’t revealed very much. He said a little about one of the mysteries I was wondering about last week regarding Starbuck:

We made a conscious decision to say, “We’re going to leave this opaque.” You can certainly say that she’s an angel or a demon or some other form of life. We know from the show that she died a mortal death, she was brought back to life in some way, and then she fulfilled a certain destiny and guided them all to Earth. What does that mean? And who is she really? It was a conscious creative decision to say, “This is as much as we’re going to tell you, and she’s connected to some greater truth.” The more we try to answer what that greater truth is, the less interesting it becomes, and we just decided to leave it more of a mystery. I am sure that there will be a cadre of people who are angry that they never got a more definitive answer, but we just decided not to do that.

He said a little more about Starbuck in an interview with TV Guide: What exactly is Kara at the end of the series? An angel?
Moore: I think Kara remains an ambiguous figure. Kara lived a mortal life, died and was resurrected to get them to their final destiny. Clearly she was a key player in the events that led to [the fleet’s] finding a home. And, I don’t know if there’s any more to it beyond that. I think you could call her an angel, you could call her a demon, the second coming or the first coming, I guess, chronologically speaking. You can say that she had a certain messiah-like quality, in the classic resurrection story. There’s a lot of different ways you can look at it, but the more we talked about it, the more we realized there was more in the ambiguity and mystery of it than there was in trying to give it more definition in the end. So she is completely different than the hallucination/visions of Baltar and Six?
Moore: Yes, Kara was physically among us. Everybody saw her. She was tactile, she flew a viper, she was around. She was with us. And yet, there was a body that died on the original Earth, and Baltar did the DNA analysis and it was her body, so she was literally brought back from the dead by something — by some higher power or other power, and she came back to serve a function.

Moore also talked about the extended scenes on the upcoming DVD and there has been talk online about alternative endings which had been considered before deciding on the final ending. One alternative had Ellen join up with Cavil after learning that Tigh had inpregnated a Six. Here is another alternative endng:

Battlestar Galactica executive producer Ron Moore has been discussing last week’s series finale with fans on the BSG forum, where he dropped an interesting tidbit about an ending that might have been.

In this version of the story, the Galactica herself ends up on Earth instead of being flown into the sun, and she also manages to show up in our present-day timeline:

“There was a point in the development process where we discussed the idea of the Galactica not being destroyed, but having somehow landed on the surface more or less intact, but unable to ever get into orbit again (the particulars here were never worked out, so don’t ask how she made it down without being torn apart). We talked about them basically abandoning the ship and moving out into the world.

“Cut to the present-day in Central America where there are these enormous mysterious mounds that archeologists have not been able to understand (it may have been South America, I can’t recall the exact location, but these mounds really do exist). Someone is doing a new kind of survey of the mounds with some kind of ground-penetrating radar or something and lo and behold, we see the outlines of the Galactica still buried under the surface.”

Moore said they ultimately didn’t go with the ending because they wouldn’t have been able to reconcile it with the “reality” of the series.

“It was an intriguing idea and we bandied it about for a while, but ultimately rejected it as a little too cute and also felt that it would violate our contemporary reality, in essence ‘branching off’ the BSG story in 2009 into an parallel reality where a battlestar was discovered in Central America. I wanted the end of the show to directly relate to us, not to a world where that event had occurred.”

While this would have avoided the questionable decisions to give up technology and destroy the fleet, I agree with their reasons for not using this ending.

SciFi Weekend: Cancelled and Returning Shows; Seinfeld Reunion; Paparazzi and Emma Watson

It is that time of year when we start receiving news on which shows will or will not be returning. It is now official that Life on Mars has been canceled and production will stop after the seventeenth episode, leaving four left. As I didn’t expect the show to return in light of its poor ratings I actually saw the early announcement as good news. Knowing that the show will not be renewed allows them to properly wrap up the series.

The American version Life on Mars will actually run one more episode than the British version. A show of this nature actually works better as a limited run series with a definite beginning and end. Such series are rare on American television, probably guaranteeing failure for this show. If the show had continued for five years it would have either dealt with general police shows or the hints about the time travel aspect would have become increasingly contradictory and incomprehensible, reminiscent of the latter mythology episodes of The X-Files. Hopefully they can now write an ending which does justice to this idea.

Heroes will return for another season but will be reduced to eighteen to twenty episodes. They are also considering a definite end date and conclusion for the series like Lost and Battlestar Galactica.  Upcoming episodes will include Angela Petrelli’s  back story.


It is questionable if Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles will return. The season finale was written to answer a number of questions and serve as a series  finale if it isn’t renewed. This week’s episode returned to the main characters along with wrapping up the Riley stories after recent episodes  seemed to be drifting. It also looks like they are returning to the storyline from the beginning of the series in which Cameron might be damaged. Summer Glau discussed the upcoming episodes:

For her part, Summer Glau, who plays the cyborg Cameron, added that the show will provide some kind of closure for her character as well.

“At the beginning of the second season the thing in Cameron’s life was that she was damaged,” Glau said, referring to the chip in Cameron’s head. “She had been damaged, and then that threw her off her game. And I think if my character was experiencing anything, it might have been insecurity about whether or not she was capable of doing her best at protecting John [Thomas Dekker] anymore. And I think she was really struggling with the insecurity of having a new girl in John’s life, Riley [Leven Rambin]. … And I think that that’s all going to come to a head toward the end of the back nine [episodes], and then in the finale something, there’s just a huge, huge change/resolution/change.”

Summer Glau will also be appearing as herself on Big Bang Theory tomorrow.


We already knew that Doctor Who is returning next year with a new show runner and a new Doctor played by Matt Smith. The Tardis is also to be redesigned when Stephen Moffat takes over the show. This will allow Moffat to establish his view of Doctor Who. Reportedly the design will be more high tech and desgned to look better in high defnition.

Lost moved in a new direction yet again with last week’s episode. Sawyer has become head of security for Dharma after the time jumping left him in the past, and he is living with Juliet. The episode ends with the return of Kate and others to the island, which is bound to create new complications.  Now that the story has moved back to Dharma we will learn more about Ben’s early days on a four episode arc involving young Ben.


Curb Your Enthusiasm will be returning to HBO and will include a multi-episode arc with the cast of Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, and Michael Richards, playing themselves.  The show stars Larry David, creator of Seinfeld, who plays himself, with frequent references to his past work on Seinfeld.


Yesterday I noted the remarkable amount of interest on line in nude pictures of Emma Watson (Hermione Granger). The Week reports that interest in salacious pictures has become a serious problem for Watson since turning eighteen:

Emma Watson sometimes wishes she were still 17, says Louise Gannon in the London Daily Mail. The British actress has been playing Hermione in the wildly successful Harry Potter films since the age of 9. Despite all the fame and riches, she managed to stay grounded, studying hard and keeping her private life private. But when she turned 18 last April, the paparazzi in Britain were legally allowed to photograph her at will, and they pounced. “It was pretty tough turning 18,” she said. “I realized that overnight I’d become fair game.” Suddenly her every move was being chronicled by
photographers hoping to catch her in a compromising position. “I had a party in town and the pavements were just knee-deep with photographers trying to get a picture of me looking drunk, which wasn’t going to happen. I don’t actually like being drunk, particularly in public.” She has been taken aback by the level of intrusion, starting the very day she came of age. “The sickest part was when one photographer lay down on the floor to get a shot up my skirt. I woke up the next day and felt completely violated by it all. That’s not something I want in my life. I just kept thinking that if it had happened a day earlier, people would have sued their asses off.”

I don’t know what the law is in the U.K. but I would think there should be some limitations on a photographer’s ability to lie on the ground to invade her privacy in that manner.  Why bother with going to all that effort to harass Emma Watson? There are other young actresses like Lindsay Lohan who are willing to show off everything. (And yes, I’m aware that there are up-skirt pictures of Emma Watson available on line but I purposely excluded them in choosing the picture for this post. It is one thing to post pictures of people like Lohan who are seeking such publicity, but a different matter to post such pictures of others.)

SciFi Weekend: Locke Returns From The Dead; Echo Conspires; STTNG Cast Reunites; And Gilmore Girl Becomes a Doctor


This week’s episode of Lost, The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham, filled in more pieces of the story off the island as we saw Locke’s story. We saw his story  from when he left the island, was killed by Ben, and then returned to life after getting back to the island. We already knew the island had awesome powers, but to bring Locke back to life when he was clearly dead takes this to a new level. Previously I assumed that we were seeing some sort of ghosts of dead people. Perhaps Christian Sheppard is also really alive on the island.  Along the way we saw Charles Widmore try to convince Locke that he was the good and honest one. I don’t think we can trust either Ben or Whidmore.


Dollhouse continues to show potential. In Stage Fright the most important part of the episode might be Echo’s acts in just a couple of scenes. Echo and Sierra come to an agreement to help each other, which appears to transcend their mind wipes between missions. While the dolls seem child like between receiving memories for a mission, Echo even managed to signal Sierra to keep their relationship hidden from their handlers. Meanwhile there’s been a lot of speculation in the blogoshere as to the identity of Alpha with Josh Wheden dropping hints that we might first meet Alpha under another identity.

Life on Mars is most interesting when it goes beyond a regular police story to deal with Sam’s life in two times. In this week’s episode Sam stops a killer due to recognizing him from a case before he went back to the 1970’s. While I liked the connection to Sam’s previous life,  I would have preferred that they pursued some of the story lines in previous episodes. This included hints of a secret organization and someone else who seems to have come back in time.

The cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation will be reunited on an episode of Family Guy which will air next month. The episode includes the voices of Patrick Stewart, Levar Burton, Gates McFadden, Michael Dorn, Wil Wheaton, Denise Crosby, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner and Jonathan Frakes. There are also reports that the characters of Star Trek: The Next Generation will be involved in the start of the upcoming Star Trek movie, but the validity of this rumor is doubtful.


When we last saw Rory Gilmore she was going off to cover Barack Obama before the Iowa primary. Since then Alexis Bledel has gotten involved with some traveling pants, and now she has become a doctor. Alexis Bledel will be appearing in the series finale of ER as new intern Dr. Julia Wise. Lorelei must be very proud of her.

SciFi Weekend: Return to the Island; Party Down with Kristin Bell; Another BSG Remake; Doll Hunting; Dharma and Baby; Sci-Fi Porn

We all knew they would be going back to the island this season, but it was a surprise to see them back at the start of the last episode, 316. In retrospect it does make sense. When we look back at Lost after the series concludes it will be a show about the people on the island, even if there was a brief time away (and they may or may not wind up there in the end). There’s no doubt that the show will continue to have flashbacks to the time the Oceanic Six was off the island due to all the loose ends left. Mysteries include why all of the adults in the Oceanic Six came to the airport as they did, what happened to Ben, and how they got from the plane to the island.

Heroes is somewhat more on track compared to the first half of the season but they still suffer from having to come up with story lines for all those characters they don’t want to get rid of.  I really wonder about Sylar’s new sidekick. If Sylar killed off Kristen Bell (Elle) when he tired of her, what chance does this guy have?

While Kristen Bell has been killed off on Heroes, she still has work. She will be appearing in the season finale of Rob Thomas’ new series, Party Down.


Life on Mars has possibly begun a story line which could lead to answers as to why Sam is back in the 1970’s. Sam ran into a city councilman who claimed to have come back from 2009 and has found a way home before he was killed. It also looks like Sam’s relationship with Maria is over, presumably leaving him free to get involved with Annie. Sam also has to look into the guy above. He just looks like the guy in a television show who is behind whatever might be going on.

Ron Moore’s remake of Battlestar Galactica is winding down and we have already received the answers to many of the show’s mysteries. Moore’s show is a considerable improvement over the very weak original, but apparently there are still some fans of the original around. Universal is talking with Glen A. Larson, creator of the original, about making a movie version of the original show. Personally I see little point in this. Moore has already re-imagined the show in a way far better than the original. We don’t really need a remake of the weaker version.  Perhaps those who aren’t satisfied with the new version just need to sit down and watch it with a good Battlestar Drink.


I continue to be hopeful about Dollhouse despite the implausibility of its premise. If the episodes were merely standalone stories in which Echo takes on a new identity I would quickly lose interest, but it is clear that there is a continuing story in progress, and that Echo’s memory wipes between episodes are not complete. This week’s episode, Target, could have been see as a simple retelling of The Most Dangerous game but it also provides more on the back story to the series. Last week I assumed we were seeing Echo’s first jobs after going to the Dollhouse, but it is now clear she had earlier adventures and a previous handler.


Dharma will be returning, and I’m not referring to that group of ill fated scientists on Lost. Jenna Elfman (above in  Allure) is returning to network television in a show which sounds a lot like a television version of Knocked Up:

Jenna Elfman who starred in the sitcom “Dharma & Greg” has been cast in the lead role of the CBS comedy pilot “Accidentally on Purpose.”

She will play Billie, a San Francisco movie critic who finds herself “accidentally” pregnant after a fling with a younger man, and builds an unconventional family around her “mistake.”

The nude picture of Jenna Elfman above leads into the final item for this week. AMC, yes I said AMC, has presented the following item on sci-fi porn:

SciFi Weekend: Dolls, Olivia’s Ability, The Boss’s Daughter, Summer Glau’s Big Bang, And A Red-Headed Lesbian


After quite a bit of hype, Josh Wheden’s new show, Dollhouse, premiered on Friday. It takes quite a bit of suspension of disbelief to accept the premise of the show. As with many science fiction shows, you first must accept that a private organization can do something which is beyond our science. In this case we have an organization which can wipe people’s minds clear and replace their memories with the memories of others. In this way they create a new personality to satisfy the requirements of whatever rich person is employing them for the episode.

In the first episode a girl (Caroline, played by Eliza Dushku) agrees to work for this organization in exchange for getting out of unspecified legal problems. She is told that after five years she will be free. Will her memories be returned? How can she even know this deal will be kept? What of the new identity created over the five years in between jobs? After having her memories wiped, she first becomes a biker chick to give someone the perfect date, and then becomes an expert in hostage negotiation.

Even accepting that the science of the show is plausible, there are other problems with the premise. It would probably be easier (and safer legally) to hire a biker chick and a real expert in hostage negotiations for the clients as opposed to running this operation. Even if the company finds benefits in operating in this manner, why would someone whose daughter was kidnapped hire a person who only has created memories of being a hostage negotiator as opposed to someone with actual experience? We have a steady supply of rich people who are aware of this service, but the FBI agent investigating it is having difficulty even proving it exists.

One of the many strengths of the show is that it looks like it has an excellent chance for success despite all of these holes in the premise. If they can keep the viewers entertained they will be willing to accept the premise of the show and continue watching. There are avenues left open for future episodes. In the first episode, the actual memories of one of the girls used to create the hostage negotiator became important to the story and presumably other memories will have an impact in future episodes. Over time Echo, as the brain wiped Caroline is now called, is likely to develop more of her own personality and this could also  surface during missions. Perhaps some of Caroline’s original memories will even return. Echo has a handler played by Harry Lennix) who seems quite protective of her, which I can see creating conflict with others involved in this organization.


While there are still many mysteries to be revealed in the final episode, we learned a lot about the history of the final five in this week’s episode of Battlestar Galactica. The information was given both by Anders who, in a situation which appeared overly contrived, has his memories of life on Earth return as a consequence of the bullet in his brain. At the same time Cavill, who now appears responsible for much which has happened, reminisces about the past with a captive Ellen after she is resurrected.


We also learn a little more on Lost along with seeing the death of one character. The intended big shock of the episode was that Daniel Faraday’s mother is Eloise Hawking. While Ben appeared surprise, fans have been predicting this turn of events. We also learn from Christian that when Locke was told, “you have to move the island” this literally meant Locke and not Ben. The most amusing line of the episode was when everyone looked towards Miles, as the only other Asian present, to translate for Jin. Miles was unable to translate, pointing out that, “Um, he’s Korean. I’m from Encino.”


Fringe provided some more hints about where the series is going. It appears that traveling through different dimensions, and the problems this creates, is of major significance. We also find that Olivia was injected with an experimental drug as a child and has some psychic abilities. It was clever to see the light box first used as a test and then again as the means to stop the explosion. I’ve been ambivalent about this series from the start. Now that they got me a bit more interested the show is going on hiatus yet again.


Life on Mars dealt more with the potential complications of Sam sleeping with the boss’s daughter than the reasons for him being back in the 1970’s. One idea was thrown out, without any evidence that it applied to Sam, by a guy who running the X-Files at the FBI before Agent Mulder. Reference awas made to aliens who abduct people and return them to Earth in different time periods. It turned out that aliens were not involved in the apparent abduction of Rocket Girl in this episode, and I suspect they were not involved in Sam’s case either.


Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles returned from hiatus this week, and Summer Glau fans will soon have an additional chance to see her. Entertainment Weekly reports that Glau will be appearing on one of the top comedy shows now on television, Big Bang Theory:

The Sarah Connor Chronicles siren will play herself in the March 9 episode, the set-up of which already has me ROFWLing: A train trip to San  Francisco takes a major detour when Leonard, Sheldon, Wolowitz, and Raj discover that their favorite sci-fi actress in all the land is on board. But the fanboy frenzy quickly gives way to a heated mass debate (tee-hee) when they realize one of them will have to approach her — but who?

Sarah Gilbert will also be returning in her role as Leslie Winkle when Big Bang Theory returns with new issues on March 2.


With Bruce Wayne apparently dead there is conflict as to who will replace Batman. The Independent reports that upcoming episodes of Detective Comics will feature Kathy Kane. The character was originally developed in the 1950’s as a potential love interest to counter rumors that Bruce Wayne was gay. The character changed over time, and is now described as “a lesbian socialite by night and a crime-fighter by later in the night.”

Although Kane has enjoyed only fleeting appearances in Batman comics since being “outed”, writer Greg Rucka – who is in charge of this summer’s run of Detective Comics – said Bruce Wayne’s apparent death had provided the perfect opportunity to make her the subject of his prestigious series.

“We have been waiting to unlock her. It’s long overdue,” he said in an interview with the Comic Book Resources website. “Yes, she’s a lesbian. She’s also a redhead. It is an element of her character. It is not her character. If people are going to have problems with it, that’s their issue. That’s certainly not mine.”

Besides Kathy Kane, we learn that with Bruce Wayne apparently dead, “future editions will revolve around a selection of potential heirs, including Batwoman, Catwoman and Bruce Wayne’s purported son, Damien, fighting to succeed him.” I would not be at all surprised to see it all end with the return of Bruce Wayne.

SciFi Weekend: A Coup Ended; The Aries Project; A Pregnant Young French Girl; And Summer Glau Left Reeling

The rebellion arc on Battlestar Galactica concluded in Blood On The Scales and primarily seems to have been a diversion to stretch out the final episodes. It did provide closure for the story lines of two characters, Gaeta and Tom Zarek.  Seeing how blood thirsty Zarek was also answered any remaining doubts about whether Zarek should be considered a villain. There are a couple loose ends which may or may not be dealt with in the future. Zarek had the entire Quorum killed, leaving little of a civilian government. This could be resolved with either an end to this body or more likely having another group elected. The more serious question is how the men who carried out Gaeta and Zarek’s orders will be treated. While Gaeta and Zarek were executed, there are still the revolutionaries who killed members of the Quorum, attempted to execute Adama, and otherwise participated in the attempted coup.

While this coup storyline was a distraction from the real mysteries of the final season, the previews did reveal something major. Ellen will be returning from the dead. Her character in flashback seemed to know more than the others about their rebirth, and having Ellen return once again might reveal even more.

Maureen Ryan interviewed Michael Angeli, writer of the episode. Here is a portion of the interview:

Why did Gaeta insist on a “trial” of Adama? Was it because he wanted to hang on to the idea that this coup was a legitimate transfer of power? Was it because he needed to hear Adama to say that Adama was wrong? What was that about?

For whatever else he was (or might’ve been) Gaeta was an idealist and despite his near occasions of peevishness, he was a romantic. He believed in the idea of government, laws, leadership, service, etc. and if you look at his behavior away back on New Caprica, there was a certain nobleness to his intentions. He wanted to do things right, he was an advocate of justice, fairness.

So, it’s not surprising that even with a coup snowballing, he’d want some form of a trial.  But more importantly, Gaeta was conflicted.  He loved Adama and just couldn’t get around to killing him. Gaeta was the romantic; Zarek was the realist. For Gaeta, the “trial,” was a stall. And having Adama admit that he was wrong was really about Gaeta convincing his own intellect that Adama should die – because he, himself admits he’s wrong.

Why did Zarek let Gaeta have that “trial”? Was it the cost of Gaeta’s participation, which Zarek still needed?

Zarek knew Gaeta had the greater support of the mutineers. They were behind Gaeta, not so much Tom Zarek.  What Zarek underestimated was Gaeta’s lack of resolve.  Remember, it was Gaeta who freed Zarek and actually seduced Zarek with the offer of power in the previous episode. When Gaeta impulsively demanded a trial, Zarek knew he had to humor him for the moment.

Zarek had experience in these sorts of things.  He understood that time was of the essence. Coups succeed or fall apart in the first few hours (something Laura also understood, by the way, re: her rallying cry on the base ship), and going toe-to-toe with Gaeta at this early stage could queer the whole deal.

I’m a little unclear on what the Quorum knew and when they knew it. Had they heard Laura’s broadcast from Baltar’s headquarters? Did they know that Gaeta and Zarek had seized control — or were attempting to seize control — of the fleet? Did they know that Adama and Tigh and others were in the custody of the rebels? Did they assemble to hear out Zarek because they thought the coup was non-violent?

Yes, The Quorum was able to hear enough of Laura’s partial transmission as she was escaping and they also heard some of Gaeta’s orders.  Originally, there was a brief scene on Colonial One where Zarek and the Quorom are monitoring the transmissions but there was so much to cover in the episode that it just had to go.

Zarek brought the Quorum with him to Galactica where they would be “safe” and he could keep an eye on them, keep them close. He gives them one last chance to support his presidency by making this “from-the-heart” plea to them; he thinks he can flatter them with praise and, as we know, it doesn’t quite work,does it?

Even if the Quorum had gone along with Zarek, would he have killed them anyway?

Don’t know.  We could ask him, but he’s dead.

Why did the Quorum resist Zarek’s coup, given that their relations with Laura Roslin and William Adama had not been very smooth?

The Zarek/Quorum scene had to be edited for time. What got cut was Zarek informing the Quorom that President Roslin has defected, he’s assumed the presidency and appointed Gaeta to replace Admiral Adama, who is to be tried for treason.  The quorum vocally objects to Zarek making all of these decisions without including them.  But even with this material excised, I think the scene works well.  It’s a little more of a shock when they rebuff Zarek, gives them some cojones before they’re wiped out.

With Battlestar Galactica ending in the near future, there is an attempt to increase interest in its prequel show, Caprica. The pilot will be released on DVD on April 21, over a year before the show will begin on television.

Last week I complained that Life on Mars ran an episode out of order, running a more routine police story as opposed to one dealing with the mystery of why Sam is in the 1970’s. I felt that fans of Lost, which airs prior to Life on Mars, would be more interested in this type of story. Perhaps they have now made the show too much like Lost as they are varying even further from the original BBC series. Suddenly we have the Aries Project, which sounds a little too much like the Dharma Initiative. Having people in the 1970’s who seem to know why Sam has come back to the 70’s (assuming this really is taking place in the 1970’s) could lead the show in a totally different direction.

There’s also the question of whose voice is on the phone. All clues seemed to point to Skelton, but they might also be misleading us and perhaps future developments will suggest something different.

Meanwhile on Lost, the major development was to find that Jin is alive. Presumably the healing powers of the island saved him, perhaps as there is more for him to do. He has also been jumping around through time, even if unconscious. Jin awoke to meet a young and pregnant Rousseau. Perhaps we will see what really happened to drive Rousseau crazy and why she killed the others with her. Meanwhile, in the present, all of the Oceanic Six are again together. Perhaps the news that Jin is alive will get Sun to drop her plans to kill Ben and join them in attempting to return to the island.


Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles will be returning on Friday nights. SciFi Wire reports on a conference call with Josh Friedman, creator and show runner of the show:

It looks like we’ve seen Kyle Reese in the teasers for the rest of the season. How will he reappear?

Friedman: Let’s all just wait and see what that one looks like. This is a whole larger thing. I wish no one could see anything. I wish everyone would just show up. I wish that 10 million people showed up every week and watched the show regardless of what was advertised during the week. That’s just not reality. The reality also is our show is a bit ratings-challenged, or has been, and people want to do things to cut through the noise. I appreciate that, but what that usually translates to for marketing people is spoilers. It’s hard to just tease things and not show anything. That’s a long way of saying it’s good that people know that Kyle Reese is in the episode, but I wish people were surprised that Kyle Reese is in the episode.

Will the season finale be closed-ended just in case you don’t get a pickup, or are you operating on the assumption there will be a third season?

Friedman: Well, I’m always optimistic. I wrote the finale the way that I was planning on writing the finale for a long time. I think there were things that we’ve been building to all season, and you owe the audience that’s been watching the show kind of a logical conclusion to the things that you’ve been building towards. Everyone says, “Well, fans get really upset if a show gets canceled and things are left hanging.” But fans get upset if a show gets canceled. I think fans also get upset when you write a crappy finale. So I think that you have to try to write the best finale you can, providing closure to the stories that you’re telling, but if I tried to kind of sum up every single thing in 43 minutes, it would be a disaster. I think you’d end up with like a clip show. Hopefully it’s going to be something that feels satisfying for people who’ve watched all year and also certainly lets you know where we would be going in a third season.

Summer Glau (Cameron) also held a conference call where she said the script for the show’s season finale “has left her reeling.”

“I just got a hold of our season-finale script, and I am shocked,” she said. “I am not going to give it away, but I’m excited and I’m a little bit sad, but more excited and just really proud of what [series creator] Josh [Friedman] has done.”

SciFi Weekend: Return of Tribbles, the Shadow, and Red Dwarf; and Sleeping With The Boss’s Daughter

J.J. Abrams was interviewed by The Los Angeles Times. Some excerpts:

GB: You know that no matter what you do, you’ll get an earful from hardcore fans.

JJA: The key is to appreciate that there are purists and fans of “Star Trek” who are going to be very vocal if they see things that aren’t what what they want. But I can’t make this movie for readers of Nacelles Monthly who are only concerned with what the ship’s engines look like. They’re going to find something they hate no matter what I do. And yet, the movie at its core is not only inspired by what has come before, it’s deeply true to what’s come before. The bottom line is we have different actors playing these parts and from that point on it’s literally not what they’ve seen before. It will be evident when people see this movie that it is true to what Roddenberry created and what those amazing actors did in the 1960s. At the same time, I think, it’s going to blow people’s minds because its  a completely different experience than what they expect.

GB: Last time I saw you, you mentioned there would be a tribble in the movie. That’s fun.

JAA: Yes! There is a tribble in there. But you have to look for it. And there’s that other surprise I told you about but please don’t write about that one.

GB: How much did you go back to the various “Trek” shows, films, novels, etc., to research the mythology? I imagine at some point sifting through all of it would become a counterproductive exercise.

JJA: I looked at a lot of the episodes of all the series that came after the original “Star Trek” but because we are focusing on the original series I didn’t really need to know every episode of “Deep Space Nine” or “Voyager” or even “Enterprise.” But, yeah, I watched episodes, I read up a lot, I watched the movies, I talked to people, whether it was our “Trek” consultant or one of the two writers [Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci] about what it would mean to do what we wanted to do. We have one producer, Bob [Orci], who is a complete Trekker and another in Bryan Burk who had never seen an episode of the show ever. And it was a great balance. We could make sure it passed the test of the ultimate fan and the ultimate neophyte and make sure that it was equally entertaining to both parties.

GB: It’s awkward to talk about sequels for a film that has not even been released but there is such a Hollywood emphasis on tent pole properties that it’s impossible to ignore. So, given that, where do you see yourself going if the movie this May is the success you hope for?

JJA: I’d rather not be presumptuous that this will go on — I mean we’re still finishing up this movie. I have to say I sort of feel like I’m in the middle of lunch and someone asks, “What do you want for dinner?” I have no idea. But I gotta say that the idea of seeing this cast and these characters live on and go on further adventures — it’d be a shame not to do. Obviously the story would need to be great. But the beauty of what Roddenberry created is there is such an abundance of opportunities with these characters and [deciding] which elements of the original series we want to revisit. There’s this great opportunity there for further stories and I would definitely be involved in that. Whether I’m directing or producing, whether Bob or Alex are writing, obviously all that remains to be seen. Paramount is hungry to get going on that, but we’re still finishing up the first one.

GB: “Star Wars” vs. “Star Trek” is sort of a classic Beatles vs. Stones debate for sci-fi fans of a certain age. You have said you wanted to infuse your “Trek” revival with some lessons learned from the George Lucas universe. Can you talk about that?

JJA: Well, I’m just a fan of “Star Wars.” As a kid, “Star Wars” was much more my thing than “Star Trek” was. If you look at the last three “Star Wars” films and what technology allowed them to do, they covered so much terrain in terms of design, locations, characters, aliens, ships — so much of the spectacle has been done and it seems like every aspect has been covered, whether it’s geography or design of culture or weather system or character or ship type. Everything has been tapped in those movies. The challenge of doing “Star Trek” — despite the fact that it existed before “Star Wars” — is that we are clearly in the shadow of what George Lucas has done.

GB: How do you overcome that?

JJA: The key to me is to not ever try to outdo them because it’s a no-win situation. Those movies are so extraordinarily rendered that it felt to me that the key to “Star Trek” was to go from the inside-out: Be as true to the characters as possible, be as real and as emotional and as exciting as possible and not be distracted by the specter of all that the “Star Wars” film accomplished. For instance, we needed to establish that there are aliens in this universe and yet I didn’t want it to feel like every scene had four new multi-colored characters in it. That is something “Star Wars” did so well with its amazing creature design. The question is how do you subtly introduce the idea that there are different species here. And to also do it differently than the [“Trek”] TV shows, which basically had someone wearing a mask sitting in a chair [in the background]. It was the balance of doing what the story needed us to do but also not feeling like we were trying to rip off or out-do what Lucas did.

GB: It is a challenge. There’s an early scene in your film where you have a crowded bar, music is playing and your callow young hero walks in, rubs shoulders with aliens, and then ends up in a brawl. You have to know that a chunk of your audience will be thinking about the “Star Wars” cantina scene…

JJA: That cantina scene is obviously one of the classic scenes in “Star Wars” and it was such a wonderful introduction to how amazing, how diverse and how full of possibility this “Star Wars” universe was going to be. In the subsequent films, especially the last three, so many scenes have that feeling, that they are just expanding and expanding the worlds. That was definitely something where I felt the burden of “My God, they’ve done it all.” And the challenge is how do you do it where it feels real and meaningful and not like you’re borrowing from someone else. That’s just one of our challenges.

Another remake of The Shadow is in the works which promises to be different from the 1994 attempt  staring Alec Baldwin.  MTV interviewed producer Michael Uslan:

“I think the one thing going in is we all see The Shadow as more of a force of nature than a specific person in a secret identity,” Uslan told MTV in an exclusive interview. “The Shadow may actually be many people.”

“We’ve gone back to the pulp roots, the comic book roots of The Shadow, with a dash of the radio roots,” added Uslan. “But we’ve deeply ensconced ourselves in the world of pulps and comics.”

Sounds cool to us, but that begged the question of when we’ll see this “Shadow” revamp hit the multiplex.

“Sam [Raimi] and Josh Donen are my partners and we have it set up Sony, and a wonderful writer named Siavash Farahani who has worked for me before is writing the screenplay,” Uslan said. “It’s coming along great, we’re very excited about it. You know, it takes time to nurture these things. You probably know all the stories. The first ‘Batman’ film took me 10 years to get made.”

The BBC reports that Red Dwarf will be returning for a two-part special airing Easter weekend entitled Red Dwarf: Back to Earth. I hope that their return to Earth turns out better than on Battlestar Galactica.

While Red Dwarf and Galactica are interested in returning to Earth, one couple might be leaving. There are plans to send the ashes of Gene  and Majel Roddenberry into deep space.

Life on Mars returned after a two month hiatus. The fall season ended with a cliff hanger in which Sam received a phone call to go down into the basement of the house he was in. Would this provide some clues as to why he is back in the 1970’s? Who knows. They returned by airing an episode out of order, saying nothing about this cliff hanger.

The episode was one of the lightest yet, but did add another potential complication to Sam’s life. Sam, without realizing it at the time, slept with his boss’s daughter. We also got a mini-Sopranos reunion with Johnny Sack joining series regular Michael Imperioli.

The idea might have been to return with a stand a lone episode so that new viewers would not have to know about the mythology of the show. Considering that Life on Mars was placed after Lost this made little sense. Lost fans would be far more intrigued by the question of how a cop from the present wound up in the 1970’s than in a standard police story.

As for Lost, in the present Desmond (now living happily with Penny and a child) starts a hunt for Daniel Faraday’s mother. This led to a connection to Charles Widmore, and Desmond is off to Los Angeles where he will presumably run into the others who left the island. Meanwhile back on the island, we had many pasts as the characters jumped around in time. We saw Richard Alpert appearing exactly the same regardless of year and a young Charles Whidmore who was living on the island as one of the Others. Knowing that Whidmore had been on the island when young gives some hints as to his interest in the island, but raises many questions. My suspicion is that Ben was responsible for Whidmore leaving he island and not being able to return.

SciFi Weekend: US Version of Life on Mars Successful; The Final Cylon; Doctor Who Archival Material; Batman Dies; And Fifty Reasons To Have Sex

Developing an American version of a British television show does not always work, such as with Coupling. The American version of Life on Mars has been far more successful. The co-creator of the BBC version told The Hollywood Reporter he approves of the American version, even if it goes in a different direction than the original:

The co-creator of the BBC’s “Life on Mars” gives high marks to the new version across the pond as being in the same gritty spirit as the British version.

“I think it’s marvelous,” said co-creator Ashley Pharoah, who was in Manhattan on Monday to pick up the show’s second International Emmy for best drama. “We’re really very proud of it.”

Pharoah said he understands that the U.S. version was likely to take a different direction than the British version. After all, “Life on Mars” went a planned 16 episodes where the ABC version could have a first season of 22 episodes and maybe more if it’s picked up.

“They’re changing the mythology, which I think is all right,” Pharoah said. “It has to be different. Otherwise everyone just goes on YouTube and sees how it ends.”

And about that ending, a decidedly downbeat conclusion required, in part, because actor John Simm, didn’t want to do more that 16 episodes. Pharoah said he has been talking to the writers of the ABC show but doesn’t know how it’ll end.

“Even we worried about that,” said Pharoah. “Some people back home didn’t like the ending, but that was the end we had in mind from the beginning.”

Writer-producer Cameron Roach also doesn’t mind the changes.

“I think it’s good that it ends in a different way,” Roach said. “It keeps the American audiences guessing.”

There is considerable speculation as to who will be revealed as the final Cylon when Battlestar Galactica returns. SyFy Portal gives a rundown of the speculation with the top five candidates. The top five candidates are rumored to be, in alphabetical order, Lee Adama, Felix Gaeta, Laura Roslin, Elen Tigh, and Cally Tyrol.

Fans of the original Doctor Who series will be interested in the archival material the BBC has posted on line here. For more modern information, The Daily Telegraph has an interview with David Tennant. The BBC has also released a synopsis of the upcoming Christmas special:

It’s Christmas Eve in 1851 and Cybermen stalk the snow of Victorian London, in this special Christmas edition of Russell T Davies’s Bafta Award-winning time-travelling drama. When the Doctor arrives and starts to investigate a spate of mysterious deaths, he’s surprised to meet another Doctor, and soon the two must combine forces to defeat the ruthless Miss Hartigan. But are two Doctors enough to stop the rise of the CyberKing?

A twelve foot float honoring Star Trek was included in the 72nd Annual Sun Bowl Parade in El Paso, Texas this Thanksgiving Day. We can expect to see a lot more of Star Trek leading up to the upcoming movie, include a series of four comics leading into the movie.

Stan Lee, creator of comics including Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk and The X-Men, was one of  nine recipients of the 2008 National Medal of the Arts at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

Last year Captain America died. Now it appears that Bruce Wayne has died and someone else might be taking over as Batman.


Among the various shows on in the past week, there was the season finale of True Blood, Dexter learned that Miguel has not been honest with him, leading me to be even more suspicious that Dexter will wind up killing him as I discussed last week, and How I Met Your Mother presented a new technique to get a woman into bed–The Naked Man. Ted and Barney tried out various poses in the video above. At least if Ted was going to try this he only did so after he was certain he had no interest in ever seeing the woman again as in most cases this would be the most likely result.

While I doubt it would be very successful, except in cases where sex was already a sure thing, the idea was off the wall enough to make for an entertaining episode. Another highlight was Lily compiling a list of 50 Reasons to have SEX. TV Squad got a copy of the original list as written on a napkin at MacLaren’s Irish Pub. Click on the image below for a larger version.

SciFi Weekend: Woman in the Red Dress; Jack is Back; Jimmy Smits in Danger from Dexter?

In this week’s episode of Life on Mars, The Man Who Sold The World, Sam learns more about his father. While he is apparently in a coma in the present, the manner in which he learns about his past suggests that his life in the past is also real as opposed to merely something going on in his head.

Sam had said in previous episodes that his father left home after his fourth birthday party, but in this episode we find that he had repressed additional memories, including Vic attacking a woman in red. Both Annie and his mother wore red, and they suggested that Sam’s father might have killed Annie before Sam went back in time to stop in. However things get more confusing as Annie was only at the park because of a request from Sam, and presumably she would not have been there if Sam had not gone back in time. Sam also gave away his view that he was Vic’s son and I wonder if this will come up in the future.

Life on Mars will be on hiatus until January,and they ended the episode with a cliff hanger to keep us wondering until it returns. What is in the basement? When Life on Mars does return, it is fortunate to be placed after Lost.  Some other ABC shows weren’t so fortunate as it looks like Pushing Daises, Eli Stone, and Dirty Sexy Money will be limited to the currently planned episodes with no additional ones ordered. I figure that genre shows are always in danger of not succeeding, but I did expect Dirty Sexy Money to do better.  If the all out fight between Karen and Lisa couldn’t save this show, nothing will. Scrubs is moving to ABC with new episodes beginning in January.

Time travel also continues to play a major role in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. There is a new twist. Jesse remembers how Derick was tortured by Charles Fisher (Richard Schiff) but Derick does not recall this. It turns out he had a good reason for not remembering as it did not happen to him in his timeline, even if it did in Jesse’s timeline. This tells us that the future can be changed, but does that mean Judgment Day can be prevented?

Jack is back Sunday night as 24 has a TV movie to bridge the long gap from the last season it was aired before the strike. Redemption takes place in real time over two hours instead of twenty-four just as a new president is preparing to take office. 24 might have helped prepare the country for a black president with President Palmer. Now they have a woman president too late to help Hillary Clinton. Joel Surnow, whose conservative influence on the show was discussed here, is no longer with 24. The nature of the show still fits in better with a simplistic conservative world view, but it will be interesting to see if this changes with Surnow gone.

I love seeing the Miami backgrounds in Dexter such as the one above after having spent spring break in South Beach last year. I’ve also been wondering where the relationship between Dexter and Miguel (Jimmy Smits) is heading. Once Miguel learned about Dexter’s activities I assumed that one way or another he would wind up getting killed at the end of the season. It could be a case of getting killed in the line of duty while going after the Skinner, but I’ve also suspected that Dexter will wind up killing him. My suspicion of this outcome increased at the end of last week’s episode when Miguel went to Ellen’s house with the implication that he might kill her. If Miguel does kill for reasons not accepted by Dexter’s code it is quite plausible that Dexter would feel obligated to take care of Miguel.


The season finale of True Blood is also on Sunday night (preview above). There’s a lot to tie up, and I wonder if they will tie up the loose ends or if much of the story is to be continue into the second season. For those who have not been watching, HBO is planning some marathons of the show, including on New Year’s Eve. The second season is already in production, so hopefully there will not be the long wait between seasons which sometimes occurs on HBO.

SciFi Weekend: Star Trek & Lost Trailers; Beyoncé as Wonder Woman; Whoopie on Mars; and the Future History of the Obama Administration

Ain’t It Cool News has a couple of reports on a new trailer for the upcoming Star Trek movie to be released next Friday. From one of the descriptions:

We start out with a muscle car tearing ass down a dirt road. Eventually it careens off a cliff, but not before the driver jets himself out – he’s a young boy, couldn’t be older than 11. Suddenly what I can only describe as a space-cop asks him, “what is your name sir?” The young boy replies, “James Tiberius Kirk.”

Then Chris Pine takes over as we see him being angsty, driving down the road on a motorcycle. We hear some voice over from someone else that confirms his angst saying things like, “You’ve never really been happy have you?” and etc. Then we see him drive up what looks like a smelting factory – probably more of that ship construction we got in the earlier trailer.

Then we really kick into trailer mode as we get quick images of Spock as a kid. Spock all grown up. Leonard Nimoy. A vulcan council. Space cadets. And the crew alone with some quick, flashy space fighting.

There is a financial cost to new and better technology. After first buying all the previous Star Trek movies on videocassettes and then on DVD’s it might be hard to resist getting them in Blue-ray. Reportedly they might come out on Blue-ray in 2009. At least the Blue-ray HD-DVD war is long over so there is no doubt as to which format to buy.

A new Lost trailer was also broadcast during the election night coverage on ABC. IO9 has the video.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Beyoncé is interested in playing Wonder Woman:

Beyoncé is ready for an Amazon-sized challenge — the pop superstar wants to be the first actress to wear Wonder Woman’s famed red, white and blue bathing suit on the silver screen.

“I want to do a superhero movie and what would be better than Wonder Woman? It would be great. And it would be a very bold choice. A black Wonder Woman would be a powerful thing. It’s time for that, right?”

Beyoncé says that she has met with representatives of DC Comics and Warner Bros. to express her interest in a major role in one of the many comic-book adaptations now in the pipeline following the massive success of “The Dark Knight,” “Iron Man” and the “Spider-Man” and “X-Men” franchises. Beyoncé’s acting to career to date has included a comedic role in “Austin Powers in Goldmember” and two notable music world roles, the first as a quasi-Diana Ross character in “Dreamgirls” and as the defiant and heroin-addicted Etta James in the upcoming “Cadillac Records.”

I’ve previously noted that the ABC version of Life on Mars might not be using the same explanation as on the BBC series as to why Sam Tyler is in the 1970’s. The initial episode seemed to have people from the present talking around him, suggesting that possibly he is in a coma dreaming of life in the 1970’s. We’ve seen robots with no clear explanation.  From time to time the 1970’s and the present have blurred, such as with newspapers fluctuating between pictures of Richard Nixon and George Bush. This week’s episode, Things to Do in New York When You Think You’re Dead, suggests that Sam could be dead or in purgatory. While this has been entertaining so far I fear that they might be putting in different possible explanations without a clear idea as to where the show is going.

In the episode, Sam meets both his future mentor and Whoopie Goldberg. It is a shame that Whoopie wasn’t playing Guinan from Star Trek: The Next Generation. She showed in Yesterday’s Enterprise an ability to sense problems involving time and might be able to figure out what is going on with Sam.

This week included an election of great historical significance. Some with an interest in both politics and techniques of science fiction have already been looking at the “future history” of the Obama administration. Nerve takes a “look back” at the Obama administration:

Obama’s election marked the moment in American history when a human being could be judged not for the color of his or her skin, but for the content of his or her character. Not coincidentally, it also marked the moment when the United States turned definitively from a fortress of self-interest to a peaceful emissary of freedom and human rights. These are the principles that the pax Americana has been built on, and an inheritance that we hope to keep as a legacy for our children.

Future Blogger looks back on How the Nanobama Administration Accelerated Technology, but I believe he will reverse George Bush’s ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research soon after taking office as opposed to 2010 as in this post. The post looks back on the tremendous changes to come as a result, including nanotechnology, concluding:

Now, in 2013, as the Nanobama Administration embarks on its second term, it is clear that the benefits of nanotech have already greatly changed the lives of every human, and for the better. Still, the ethical and existential implications continue to boggle the mind.

In particular, the primary neo-luddite argument against the pursuit of nanotechnological development is the fear that intelligent machines will one day spell the doom of mankind. There could come a point, critics continue to warn, where tech ceases to be an extension of humanity, or worse, turns against it’s maker, a possibility made more dangerous by the likelihood that, by the time it happened, humans will have become complacent and helpless.

Still, it looks as thought the Nanobama forces will continue to embrace acceleration, sticking to the critical path laid out by Bucky Fuller. The argument is that the knowledge base of any intelligent species must expand proportionately to the growth of its population, to survive past a critical survival threshold (a potential confrontation with rogue AI?). It’s evolve or die, though that same evolution is likely to bring about the forces that could bring us to the brink.

While many are optimistic about a better world with Obama replacing the Republicans, Focus on the Family released a Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America prior to the election with scare stories of “Terrorist strikes on four U.S. cities. Russia rolling into Eastern Europe. Israel hit by a nuclear bomb. Gay marriage in every state. The end of the Boy Scouts.”

Pushing Daisies is rumored to be at risk of cancellation. I think the idea would have worked far better as a movie than a weekly television series. I tried it both last season and then again at the start of this season. While somewhat entertaining I just couldn’t get into it enough to watch week after week. Rumor also has it that if the show is canceled Bryan Fuller will return to work on Heroes.

It was bound to be considered after the success of the first movie, and there are far more product placements to sell. Kim Cattrall has said in an interview that a sequel to the Sex And The City movie is planned. While possible, it doesn’t look like the other stars are on board yet. If they are to continue playing these roles it is a shame that they couldn’t have done an additional television season for HBO. The movie lacked much of what I found entertaining in the television show, but then I wasn’t the intended audience for the movie.