Merlin Finale: Le Morte d’Arthur?

The BBC has released the above trailer for the final episode of Merlin, to air on December 25. As the fifth season hasn’t aired in the United States yet, this is sort of a spoiler, but since the Arthur legend is well know this shouldn’t totally ruin things for those who have not seen Season 5 yet.

The fifth season has not been the greatest mid season but last week’s episode leading into the two-part series finale was excellent. Radio Times says that this week’s episode, the first part of the two-part story concluding the series, The Diamond of the Day, is the best episode of the series so far:

Merlin_finale_part_1_preview____It_s_the_best_of_the_series_so_far_

To those who may have doubted Merlin in recent weeks, I say only this: watch the next episode. It’s a beauty, the best of the series so far.

Structurally and emotionally, it’s the most satisfying, and tees up the finale in ripping fashion. Writer and co-creator Jake Michie knows better than most what makes Merlin magic, and here he’s concocted a potent brew.

Yes, series five has gone walkabout from time to time, but in that respect it’s no different to any of the preceding four. And you could accuse almost any long-running drama of mid-season sag. Even the mighty Homeland!

So what happens in The Day of the Diamond Part 1? Well, without giving anything away, Morgana acts on the information that her new ally Mordred has supplied – that Merlin is actually sorcerer supreme Emrys.

It’s impossible to watch Merlin without occasionally thinking of Harry Potter. And that’s no criticism. But just as Lord Voldemort would dispatch his pet snake Nagini to do his dirty work, so Morgana employs a big, magic-sapping slug to take Merlin out of the equation.

In the bigger picture, M&M (Morgana and Mordred) are closing in on Camelot, so Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table must hatch a cunning plan to protect the kingdom.

It sounds straightforward on paper, but there are some juicy little side issues. Even loyal, mouthy Sir Gwaine (Eoin Macken) is given a little more to do than swish a sword.

There’s not quite enough for Gwen or Gaius to sink their teeth into ­– same old, same old – and the supposedly ruthless Morgana does (or rather doesn’t do) something a bit stupid. But these are minor complaints in the context of an episode that has such heart, and guts.

A surprising reappearance, one quiet moment of almost poetic sorcery, an invigorating, Henry V-style pep talk and some stirring incidental music complete the package. Enjoy!

 

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who Christmas Special; Merlin To End; Sherlock Delayed; Revolution; Star Trek; Downton Abbey; Into The Darkness

The BBC has released the poster for The Snowmen, this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special. The official synopsis:

Christmas Eve 1892 and the falling snow is the stuff of fairy-tales. When the fairy-tale becomes a nightmare and a chilling menace threatens Earth, an unorthodox young governess, Clara, calls on the Doctor for help. But the Doctor is in mourning, reclusive and determined not to engage in the problems of the universe. As old friends return, will the Doctor really abandon humankind or will he fight to save the world – and Christmas – from the icy clutches of this mysterious menace.

Radio Times has The Snowmen on their cover. Blogtor Who reports that the article quotes Jenna-Louise Coleman as saying, “I’m not Oswin: I’m a different person who looks and sounds like Oswin.” Could it be that there is no connection, or is Moffat dragging out an explanation? If at some point we find out that Clara gets duplicated, don’t get too attached to the copy. Same goes if we meet a descendent of Clara’s who looks a lot like her.

Entertainment Weekly interviewed Jenna-Louise Coleman about her role as Clara, the Doctor’s new companion. She had no further information to reveal about how she appears after having been blown up as a Dalek in Asylum of the Daleks:

So, you played an ultimately deceased Dalek on that show and now you are about to debut (again!) on the special Christmas show as the Doctor’s assistant. All of which obviously raises about a thousand questions. Is this a subject that is going to be addressed in the Christmas episode?
Uh… mmm… no. We’re going to have what has been referred to as a “soft mystery.” For me, filming, I’ve been totally oblivious to Oswin and the “Asylum of the Daleks.” I really have had to erase it from my memory. Yeah, Christmas is it’s own episode.

Oswin was a Dalek. Can you tell us whether your companion is human? Not all of the Doctor’s companions have been.
That’s why it’s so difficult [to talk about it]. Because of the way it started with Oswin, it’s really difficult to say much: where she’s from, what period she’s from, what planet she’s from, even.

It’s not often an actor can’t even reveal what planet their character is from.
Exactly, yeah. I know. Doctor Who’s the worst for it, isn’t it?

The BBC has announced that Merlin will end after the fifth season, which is currently being aired in the U.K. I will try to avoid giving away too much for those waiting for the season to air in the United States but there will be some spoilers here. I had thought that the entire series was to be about younger versions of Merlin and Arthur, taking place before the major occurrences of the legends. Now it appears the series might include the entire Arthur story.  The final season is in some ways more like the King Arthur legends except that this still seems earlier in the legends than might be expected at the conclusion of the story. Mordred plays a part in the final series and based upon released synopses of upcoming episodes we do appear to be heading towards their final confrontation.

The video above contains an interview with Colin Morgan. There is also talk of a spin off series taking place in this time period.

Production on Sherlock has been delayed so we will have to wait until late 2013 to see how the cliff hanger is resolved, with the third season not airing in the United States until late 2013 or 2014.

Revolution wrapped up the first half of the season. The mid-season finale was disappointing, but this came as no surprise based upon how the series has been written to date. The entire first half of the season consisted of an arc in which Rachel’s son was captured and it came as no surprise that the arc ended by freeing him. The contrived suspense of whether Miles would rejoin the militia, which began in a flashback the previous week, ended as expected. What could have been a surprise at the end of the episode, a helicopter in the air, had been given away by scenes of the helicopters in the preview. Even if Rachel had really built a working amplifier, could this really support helicopters going an distance? I suppose they also quickly invented some sort of receivers for the helicopters so that they would have power but there wouldn’t be electricity for everyone else around.

Entertainment Weekly interviewed series creator Eric Kripke about the finale. Here are some of the questions and answers:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Was there ever a version in your head where Miles goes, “Yeah, I’m re-joining Monroe”?
Eric Kripke: What we love about Miles is half of him is light and half is shadow. If this story was set a couple years ago he would be the bad guy. You never want to lose sight of that. Just because Miles was able to face-off with Monroe in this particular encounter and maintain the heroic side of his personality doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again. So even though he was able to resist the temptation, that temptation is still there. Even moreso when he starts to fulfill his destiny and becomes a leader for the rebels [in the second half of the season]; he starts to fall into his old bloodthirsty patterns again. … There’s also a lot of important pieces in last night’s episode that move the story forward. We’re setting up how pissed Monroe is going to be in the second half of the season; how personal Neville is going to take Miles’ assault on his wife. And [we hinted that] Rachel and Miles have a very secret history.

I gotta ask, since I’m seeing this comment on the boards: How could Rachel forget to grab the pendant on the way out of the room?
Kripke: We shot a scene where Rachel goes, “We have to go back and get the pendant,” and Miles says, “We can’t go back, they’re shooting machine guns at us!” We ended up cutting it for time because we thought, maybe wrongly, that when there’s a room full of five people shooting machine guns in your direction that you can’t run toward those machine guns.

You mentioned the learning curve, what more have you figured out since the last time we spoke?
Kripke: The biggest lesson we learned is we need to move this story forward a little faster. We’re still going to have the same format where each episode is centered around a single event so it has certain self-enclosed elements to the storytelling. But sometimes in the emotional arcs and serialized arcs we treaded water maybe a little too much without revealing either new character moves or emotional revelations. We went a couple episodes too many where we didn’t move the ball forward significantly. We’re trying to correct that so that every time somebody tunes in they get a satisfying story and also a big “what the hell” moment

Staging a revolution is a pretty big venture. Can you give us an idea of what specific characters will be focused on?
Kripke: Charlie and Miles are really going to be focused on the war against Monroe. Miles leading the rebels gives them a fighting chance and Charlie is right beside him. Rachel and Aaron will focus the ongoing mythology in terms of revealing why the lights go out. I can reveal now that we do reveal it, now that we’ve written that scene. And reveal how to turn them back on.

You’re not that deep into production on the second half of the season, so can we assume that revelation comes fairly early?
Yeah in the second half it happens sooner than anyone is thinking it will happen.

Revolution has been mediocre but has managed to keep me hooked by wondering about its back story. Knowing that their will be a revelation early has me hooked into starting the second half of the season, and once I start watching I’m likely to continue through the first season. Will they come up with enough to advance this story into a second year?

An official synopsis has been released for Star Trek Into Darkness, scheduled for release on May 17, 2013:

In Summer 2013, pioneering director J.J. Abrams will deliver an explosive action thriller that takes “Star Trek Into Darkness.”

When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis.

With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.

As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.

My immediate thought on this: Gary Mitchell (Where No Man Has Gone Before). The above video is obviously  from the original show and not the upcoming movie.

Last week’s installment of SciFi Weekend had some cases of shows having to carry on with the loss of characters. Now there are reports that Dan Stevens will only return for the first episode of the fourth season of Downton Abbey. His character, Matthew, takes on a prominent role at Downton in the third season (which has not yet aired in the United States) and I wonder if it will require a major change in direction for the fourth season if it is necessary to write him out. Perhaps more money will encourage him to stay, or at least make occasional appearances so that they can just say he is working in London for parts of the season.

Julian Fellowes is going to be writing and producing a series on The Gilded Age for NBC:

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – November 27, 2012 – NBC and Universal Television have entered into a deal with Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning writer-producer Julian Fellowes (“Downton Abbey,” “Gosford Park”) to create and produce his next dramatic television series, it was jointly announced today by Jennifer Salke, President, NBC Entertainment, and Bela Bajaria, Executive Vice President, Universal Television.

Fellowes, creator of “Downton Abbey,” will write and produce “The Gilded Age,” an epic tale of the princes of the American Renaissance, and the vast fortunes they made — and spent — in late nineteenth-century New York. “This was a vivid time,” says Fellowes, “with dizzying, brilliant ascents and calamitous falls, of record-breaking ostentation and savage rivalry; a time when money was king.”

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who (Three Videos); Revolution; Fringe; Merlin

I managed to make it through one installment of SciFi Weekend last week without Doctor Who, but I still miss the show. Therefore I am featuring three videos about  Doctor Who this week. The first shows what happened to Amy and Rory after the events of  The Angels Take Manhattan from the perspective of Rory’s father. The video shows an unshot scene about  Brian receiving a letter and visitor one week after Amy and Rory went to Manhattan on their last trip in the TARDIS.

The start of Community and Inspector Spacetime  have been postponed this season, but in its place Sesame Street does Doctor Who. The use of a Dalek as a threat came before Mitt Romney’s attack on Big Bird.

Is Doctor Who a Religion?

Matt Smith commented on how the dynamic will change with the new companion:

“I was thinking about it the other day and Rory used to take care of Amy quite a lot, so the Doctor became a weird old grandfather.

“He was ostracised in some way. So it is nice having a different dynamic.

“That is what is exciting about the show, you kind of get a first episode again. I think all these stories come to the end of their cycle.

“The Ponds had a wonderful time.”

Eric Kripke, show runner of Revolution, discussed when we will find out what caused the blackout:

Kripke said that the show’s writers are still discussing how early to reveal why the lights went out, but there’s a distinct possibility we’ll know before the first season ends. The creator’s philosophy on revealing answers and wrapping up storylines before moving onto a bigger one is not unlike his approach to his other show, Supernatural. “For me the longer you drag out an answer, the more pressure there is that that answer is the greatest answer ever given in the history of man,” he said. “I would prefer we answer questions quickly and then ask more questions. Answer a question and then open a door to a whole other bigger room.” As for what will be in that bigger room, Kripke promised that the truth about the cause of the blackout “leads directly to a bigger and scarier mystery.”

Fringe took off on its scavenger hunt based upon Walter’s tapes (which increasingly are reminding me of the DHARMA Initiative tapes from Lost). Within this framework The Recordist presented an intriguing story which reminded me of  Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. People living away from civilization were working to preserve information on human civilization for the day after the Observers are forced out, concerned that otherwise the victors would have rewritten history. I did wish that it turned out to be their information as opposed to rocks from the mine (not mime) which were important to the plan to stop the Observers. This also provided more information on life under Observer rule, showing that either the Observers are uninterested in or unable to control all of humanity. My suspicion is that they are unconcerned about humans living away from the cities as long as they don’t pose a threat. Their numbers must be limited if they sent Loyalists to go after the fugitives from the Fringe Division as opposed to going themselves.

Person of Interest was not on this week. It was preempted by a show featuring a smart old man trying to teach some basic facts about the economy, health care, foreign affairs, and separation of church and state to a young guy who was not all that well informed.

Merlin has completed a two-part season opening story, Arthur’s Bane. I will avoid any significant spoilers, primarily limiting comments to aspects of the story which were apparent early in the first episode, or which have already been revealed on line. The story takes place three years after the end of the last season. It was the start of a Golden Age for Camelot but now there are problems with men disappearing in the north. (Did they go beyond the wall?) Arthur, Merlin, and Knights of the Round Table go to investigate while at home Gwen is excising true power as Queen in Arthur’s absence. Morgana and Mordred, along with a new being and a dragon, are all involved in the story. The ending, and how Mordred was dealt with, came as quite a surprise.

SciFi Weekend: Person of Interest; Fringe; Dexter; Once Upon A Time; Merlin; Captain America; Black Widow; Torchwood; Star Trek Into The Darkness Clip; and More

Returning genre shows such as Person of Interest, Fringe, and Dexter were far stronger than the new series. On Person of Interest I was almost disappointed to see Finch escape from Root, but it looks like Amy Acker’s character will be returning after this extensive development of her back story. I do hope that future episodes involve the machine and Amy Acker’s plotting along with the person of interest of the week. The dog will remain on the show according to this interview with show runners and cast from prior to Friday’s episode. There were also these comments on Root:

TVLINE | Have we just seen Root (played by Amy Acker) at her most ruthless, poisoning that lady in the restaurant? Or is the worst yet to come? GREG PLAGEMAN | She just scratched the surface there. NOLAN | Root is stone-cold but it’s considered. We don’t think of her as a psychopath but someone who is in her own way sympathetic. And the case she is trying to make is, in many ways – though not the killing people part! – something Finch can relate to. You have all these people who want to manipulate [the Machine], and Root wants to set it free. What that means, and how her plan ultimately plays out, is something that we’re going to see through the course of the season. EMERSON | Once Mr. Finch sees a few of the things she’s capable of, he needs to bring her down.

This week on Fringe we got a look at how the Observers will probably be defeated. Although the solution was wiped from Walter’s mind last week, we found that Walter left information on a series of recordings–recorded on old Betamax tapes as opposed to digitally, or even VHS. Astrid will be important in figuring out Walter’s clues according to this interview with Jasika Nicole. While getting this information in Walter’s old lab, the episode also centered around torture and the question of whether the resistance can retain its humanity while fighting the Observers. I am hopeful that remaining episodes will deal with such issues as opposed to being simple quests for tapes with clues. It does look like it is safe to predict that Etta’s former partner Simon will not be returning. Interview with Anna Torv here.

On Dexter, Deb has finally found out about her brother’s habit. Dexter tried to convince Deb that the killing she witnessed was a one-time event. It was only a matter of time until she figured out everything, so I am happy they got it over with in the first episode of the season. Jennifer Carpenteron what Deb learned:

Deb has uncovered everything! What’s her first reaction in the second episode?
Jennifer Carpenter:
I think audiences, especially our Comic-Con audience, wanted to me to say, “Oh, she’d rage or explode or fire a round from her gun,” but all [her] senses are firing and [her] brain is kicking up. I have this written history with this character for seven years, and there’s landmines everywhere. It’s rich. It’s dangerous for everyone involved. There’s no such thing as a filler scene this year. Everybody is involved in a weird way.

The Ice Truck Killer hand was on the table. What’s going on inside her head as she makes these connections that Dexter was present when she was on the Ice Truck Killer’s table?
Carpenter:
It’s too hard to process it all at once. All of those things were in the room at the time, but that realization that those things are connected has its own turn. There was a moment when I was scanning the table while filming and thinking, “That sucks.” At some point, your body just can’t play Tetris anymore and find room for everything. There’s some paralysis that takes over, like, “I’ll get to that in a minute.”

How does Deb finding out that Dexter is a serial killer change her as a person?
Carpenter:
Instantly, the fantasy of being in love with this man falls away, or at least is snuffed out. It’s a slap in the face that wakes her up in a weird way. Suddenly, she can see all the manipulation and redirection that he’s handed her. It’s changed everything. It’s made her job so hard. In a weird way, I think I was afraid it was going to paint us into a corner when she one day found out, but it’s endless space to work in.

How does it affect her job since he’s putting her in a difficult position?
Carpenter:
What I appreciated from the writers is that its unfolding how I imagined it would in real life. It’s not some swift hammer that falls with her saying, “This is how it’s going to be.” It’s, “I need to collect information about how many [people he’s killed] and who taught [him].” All of that stuff will play into how she chooses to proceed.

More on what this means for Dexter from show runner Scott Buck:

Do you think Dexter is partially happy that his secret is finally out?
Buck:
Happy is not necessarily the right word, but he’s relieved. It’s a huge burden off his shoulder. He’s lived with this secret his entire life. In one sense, it’s a little scary not to have this secret anymore. He’s always sought comfort in his own private little world, and now to be exposed this way, it’s kind of frightening for someone who’s not used to being frightened. [But] yes, it’s a huge stress relief to finally be able to tell someone who you are.

Isn’t he now in ever-present danger that she might turn him in?
Buck:
It’s a real risk. It’s one thing [for Deb] to learn that [he] used to do this’ it’s another thing to learn that [he’s] still doing this and doesn’t intend on stopping.

Dexter is a great liar, but Deb’s not good with that. How will that start to weigh on her conscience?
Buck:
It gets very aggravating for her because she never knew. To learn that your brother has been lying to you your whole life, suddenly you’re wondering what’s true and what’s a lie. Not just all the things he said in the past, but everything that comes out of his mouth now makes her wonder. It becomes very difficult for Deb to deal with.

Once Upon A Time added yet a third location to its storyline as Mary Margaret and Emma wound up in fairytale land after most inhabitants were brought to the modern world. It looks like we will also learn that the modern day story is generally confined to Storybrooke with the townspeople being unable to leave. From the description of tonight’s episode:

While Regina continues to find a way to regain her magical powers, David continues his quest to uncover the whereabouts of Mary Margaret and Emma; and the seven dwarves discover what happens when any of the townspeople try to step past the city limits of Storybrooke. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, as her wedding day to King Leopold approaches, Regina is confronted by a man of magic who promises to help her become independent and break free from her mother Cora’s clutches.

I finally caught the first two episodes of Fake Sherlock (i.e. Elementary) last night. The show didn’t show anything near the brilliance of Moffat’s version. The show was more a standard U.S. police procedural with an eccentric detective. Elementary’s Sherlock Holmes reminded me more of a toned-down House than Sherlock Holmes, and they even have Lisa Edelstein guest-staring in the seventh episode. Benedict Cumberbatch has a little (far too little) to say about both his show and Elementary in this interview.

Merlin Season 5 began in the U.K. yesterday. I don’t want to spoil episodes for U.S. viewers who are not downloading the show, but above is an extended trailer. A review of the first episode can be found here.

For American fans of British shows who do wait, Upstairs Downstairs Season 2 (of the remake) is finally airing in the U.S. Alex Kingston plays an archeologist in this period piece. She fits in quite well, but her presence did make me look around for a police box. The show has not been renewed for a third season.

Iron Man 3 has resumed filming. Reportedly Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) will not be appearing in this movie, but will be in the sequel to Captain America.There is also a rather intriguing list of candidates for the lead female role:

Five actresses are reportedly vying for the lead female role in the Captain America sequel, which is widely assumed to be that of S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sharon Carter, who would be some form of relative of Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter (which relative, in particular tends to vary). The five candidates are Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke, Downton Abbey‘s Jessica Brown Findlay, I Am Number Four‘s Teresa Palmer, Fright Night‘s Imogen Poots, and Community‘s Alison Brie.

John Barrowman has his opinion of the perfect story for the next season of Torchwood (which may or may not ever be filmed)–his own novel:

Torchwood and Doctor Who star John Barrowman has teamed up with his sister Carole to pen his first Torchwood novel, Exodus Code, and he’s so pleased with it, he’d like it to become the fifth series.

“I’d love to see this book become the series or to become something in the future that could be done on screen with Torchwood,” John Barrowman tells us, “and that is why it was important for [Exec Producers] Russell [T Davies] and Julie [Gardener] and the BBC to have their input, because if the show did continue then this must make sense.”

The plot follows the events of Miracle Day, the fourth series of Torchwood, and Captain Jack [Barrowman] and Gwen [Eve Myles] are racing to save humanity. Women are being driven insane by heightened and scrambled senses, leaving governments and scientists baffled.

This global scale is the direction Barrowman would like to see Torchwood take if it were to return. “I think every time Torchwood comes back it has to be something different,” he says. “We’ve always been challenged; we’ve been moved from network to network each series so we always have to build from scratch so I think if Torchwood comes back it needs to be on a bigger, global scale.”

The future of the show is still uncertain, however. “We haven’t been told no or yes, we’re in limbo.” But Barrowman is ready if it ever does: “Listen, I’ve always said if they ask me to put the coat on I will do happily because I love Jack,” he says. “I have it here ready!”

J.J. Abrams had a brief clip from Star Trek Into The Darkness on Conan. Yes, this does appear dark.

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who, The Power of Three; Merlin: Revolution

The Power of Three refers to both the power of the alien cubes and to the power of the three stars of Doctor Who. This week’s episode was primarily a last look at the Doctor’s relationship with Amy and Rory before their final episode next week. The slow invasion allowed the three to spend a lot of time together,  and we learned it has now been ten years since Amy first went off with the Doctor. Now Amy and Rory are starting to live normal lives, making commitments for the future which they would not have made in the past in case they were off somewhere with the Doctor.

The episode also provided a reunion with UNIT. It came as no surprise that the new head of UNIT,  Kate Stewart, played by Jemma Redgrave, turned out to be the daughter of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. Kate, apparently unaware that to most of the universe the Doctor has died, recognized him by his manner of dress and verified the presence of two hearts. Scientists are also now in control of UNIT.

Rory’s dad Brian asked the Doctor about the fate of his previous companions. The Doctor answered,  “Some left me. Some got left behind. And some… not many but… some died.” While this could be preparing the viewers for next week’s episode, this did not stop Brian from encouraging Rory and Amy to go off once again with the Doctor.

The invasion story provided an amusing backdrop as we saw the cubes become assimilated into day to day life over the course of the year. They were used for mundane tasks such as holding up menus in restaurants and had a thousand different Twitter accounts. Did the disparaging comment on Twitter reflect the views of either Matt Smith or Steven Moffat? The episode, like all the earlier episodes of the season, also included light bulbs–this time Christmas lights.

Unfortunately the ending was rushed and made little sense. The Doctor solved everything too easily with a wave of the Sonic Screwdriver. I can accept that the cubes were able to emit electric shocks to stop the hearts of those around them. After all, this is alien technology, and who are we to question what an apparently empty alien cube might be capable of? It is harder to accept that reversing the shock would restart the hearts of those around them as here we are dealing with human physiology. Once a heart has stopped and the person has died, a second shock would not reverse this. Even if this was possible, the the people should all be brain dead and not capable of just getting up again as if nothing had happened. (Or is this now a Zombie invasion to be dealt with in a future episode?)

Next week, The Angels Take Manhattan. The Space video promo is above. The BBC press release confirms what we already knew:

Doctor Who: The Angels Take Manhattan

The Doctor’s heart-breaking farewell to Amy and Rory – a race against time through the streets of Manhattan, as New York’s statues come to life around them…

With Rory’s life in danger, the Doctor and Amy must locate him before it’s too late! Luckily, an old friend helps them and guides the way.

Guest stars: Mike McShane, Alex Kingston and Rob David

Written by Steven Moffat

Executive produced by Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner

Directed by Nick Hurran

Produced by Marcus Wilson

And above are two promos from the BBC.

A new promo for Merlin is above.

Despite the failure of multiple genre shows over the last couple of years, NBC is heavily hyping Revolution. If it succeeds I fear it will be because enough people like the gimmick of people fighting without modern weapons in a background which almost looks like our world. A sword fight in a Chicago hotel might be cool, but can this idea remain fresh for long? The special effects of a modern world destroyed without power were well done, but far too many genre shows try to succeed with special effects as opposed to a good story.

The science fiction aspects do remind me of FlashForward and Jericho. As on FlashForward, we have a change in the rules of physics with some unknown people responsible. Instead of jumping forward in time, on Revolution all devices dependent upon electricity suddenly stop working (but some people still have access to working electricity, appearing to have downloaded it to a fancy USB drive). Like on FlashForward, planes dropped from the sky and Elizabeth Mitchell has a role. I do question whether she is really dead, limited to appearing in flashbacks. When asked about this by Entertainment Weekly she responded, “I am not allowed to say one word. I’m not even allowed to tease.”

The show is also reminiscent of Jericho in showing people living after a tremendous disruption to normal life. It is more like the final episodes of Jericho, showing the battle for control of the country. The pilot might have felt more plausible if it was more like the early episodes of Jericho, showing how people survived and established a civilization. Perhaps we will see more of this in flashbacks on future episodes.

Like Lost there is a big mystery (along with Elizabeth Mitchell) , but according to J.J. Abrams the show will not feature long, drawn out mysteries as on Lost. The show’s writers do know why the power went out, and hopefully it doesn’t involve a man in black or turning the power back on with a donkey wheel. As it appears that this was intentional, there are two possible motives which I sure hope do not turn out to be the explanation. I hope it is not a case of environmental radicals turning out the power to reduce carbon emissions. Anyone capable of stopping all electricity in the world would probably be able to come up with a more sensible solution to global warming such as a clean energy source or a way to cool the planet. I also hope this is not a reaction to the situation seen at the start of the pilot, showing signs of too much technology invading our lives. If someone with advanced technology wanted to act upon this, it would make more sense to knock out television and cell phones, as opposed to all electricity which would cause massive deaths.

 

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who; Sherlock (Rat, Wedding, Bow); Merlin; Blake’s 7; Person of Interest; New Show From JMS; Neil Armstrong; Batman Played By Cookie Monster

Doctor Who returns with Asylum of the Daleks on September 1, trailer above. While waiting there will be a daily web series starting on Monday showing what the Ponds have been up to between seasons.

The Guardian discussed the new season with Steven Moffat:

Moffat, the BBC1 show’s executive producer and head writer, said the new series which returns on Saturday 3 September with Asylum of the Daleks, would be a season of “blockbuster” episodes.

Asked about his budget for the Saturday teatime show, Moffat said: “I”m never going to say I’ve got enough. That’s like asking would you like to be more happy, of course I’m going to say yes I want more money.

“They don’t starve us, Doctor Who is incredibly well looked after by the BBC. I truly believe it could be a show that outlives everybody in this room, it doesn’t just make money now it could make money forever,” Moffat told the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival on Saturday morning.

He said the new series would be a “blockbuster every single week, let’s not have a cheap episode, let’s make them all huge”.

“Last year we did an arc [storyline] next year we will do something else, every year we have to go in a particular direction. It shouldn’t feel like good old cosy Doctor Who.”

On the long-mooted possibility of a film version of Doctor Who, Moffat said: “There’s often been talk about a movie, I’m sure we should do one. What I keep saying is it can’t ever be allowed to interfere with the television show, that’s the mothership, that’s the thing that will go on forever.

Moffat also kept open the possibility of a female Doctor:

“It is a part of Time Lord lore, it can happen. I don’t know, who knows? The more often it’s talked about, the more likely it’s going to happen.”

Moffat answers more questions here.


Steven Moffat is again teasing the upcoming season of Sherlock. Woman/Hound/Fall were the keywords for Season 2, and their meaning is now obvious. The keywords for the upcoming season are revealed in the above video–an interview with Steven Moffat,  Mark Gatiss, and Moriarty actor Andrew Scott. The keywords for the third series are:  Rat/Wedding/Bow. The season is filming in January but will not air until fall 2013. There is speculation as to the meaning of these three words at Den of Geek and Screen Rant.  They speculate that Bow refers to His Last Bow, after which Sherlock Holmes retired. Considering that Sherlock was only shown as dead for two minutes after the Fall, there is no reason that Moffat might not make Sherlock’s retirement very brief. Reportedly Moriarty is really dead, but I’m not convinced he will remain dead.

More information on Merlin Season 5 here. In a show centered around magic, it is not all that surprising that Uther will return for one episode:

“Uther returns in a very unexpected way.  He returns at a point in Arthur’s life where he’s absolutely missing his father — at a moment when Arthur is having a wobble as king and needs some advice – and at a moment of weakness is some how able to contact Uther.”

There are now negotiation in progress to both add a sixth season and to have a movie trilogy filling in gaps from earlier in the story.

There is speculation that SyFy’s planned rebooting of Blake’s 7 will be darker than the original. The rights were initially purchased with plans to do a continuation of the original. Now that so much time has passed it does make more sense to start over with a reboot, but I sure would have like to see how they would have continued the original after the main characters were killed in the original series finale.

Trailer for Person of Interest above.

ABC is working on a show produced J. Michael Straczynski, creator of Babylon 5 about a pandemic. “The untitled project is described as a high-octane pandemic thriller that combines closed-ended procedural and serialized elements.”

Neil Armstrong died yesterday. Above is a BBC interview with Armstrong from 1970 months after he landed on the moon.

What if Batman was played by Cookie Monster? See the video above.

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who News; Merlin; Fringe; Homeland; Alias; David Simon on Romney’s Taxes; George RR Martin on GOP Voter Suppression; Romney and Ryan as Herman and Eddie Munster

Doctor Who is rumored to be returning on September 1, with many of the cast and crew interviews are concentrating on an event to take place later in the season. In the video above, Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill and producers Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner discussed the Ponds leaving the show and the introduction of Jenna-Louise Coleman’s character. While we still know little about Clara, Coleman’s character, there are unconfirmed reports that the character is going to be a computer expert.

Steven Moffat says he completely rewrote the final scenes with Amy and Rory:

Moffat told Digital Spy that he “completely” rewrote the pair’s last scenes in upcoming episode, ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’.

“I completely changed the ending as I was writing it, thinking ‘No, I’ve got it wrong… I’m on the wrong emphasis’ – but it’s a good one and it’s properly emotional,” he promised.

Of the final script, Who star Matt Smith said: “I was very moved, very moved indeed, because not only is it two characters that I love, it’s two actors that I love working with. To see them go – and I think go so beautifully… it’s moving.”

Karen Gillan – who plays Amy – added: “I instantly phoned Matt [when I read the episode] and I was crying and laughing hysterically… because it’s so good!”

“It was like getting the last chapter of the best book you’ve ever read and being really surprised by the ending… and really satisfied,” explained Rory actor Arthur Darvill. “It was pretty emotional.

“It’s Doctor Who – I’m so proud of being part of such a big show. The show is bigger than all of us and it will outlive all of us… I’m really proud to have been a part of it.”

More from Steven Moffat in this radio interview.

Karen Gillan has been offered, and turned down, a role on Gray’s Anatomy.

John Barrowman has joined the cast of Green Arrow.

Colin Morgan on Merlin:

“It’s definitely the most ambitious series yet,” says actor Colin Morgan, who plays the titular Merlin in BBC One’s medieval fantasy. “They’ve pushed our characters into manhood, and this is the Merlin I’ve been waiting for.”

At the end of series 4, the wizard dealt a fatal magical blow to Arthur’s villainous uncle, Agravaine de Bois, who was in league with Morgana. Things have altered dramatically since then, and when the show returns later this year, Camelot will have jumped forward three years. Arthur has settled into his new role as King of Camelot with Queen Guinevere at his side, and Merlin is continuing along his new path…

“We left Merlin at the end of the last season tipping over into a darker side, and I think that’s a reference for me for the rest of this season,” Morgan continues. “I think he is so confident in himself now, and in who he is and what he is destined to do. He has a resilience and power that drives him for this season. He gives as good as he gets.”

This, apparently, is going to lead us to some of the “most important scenes there has ever been in terms of Merlin’s magic.” Could this mean that the secret is finally coming out? Morgan teased: “Arthur is forced to confront magic a lot in this series, and that could change everything, for Merlin and for everyone.”

What do you think that means? Is the time right for Merlin to reveal his magical mojo?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KP3G2FqIOnE

Fringe returns September 28. Two different trailers which tease the season in different ways are above.

Homeland returns September 30–trailer above.

From time to time there has been talk of rebooting Alias. I never saw any point in this. The story ran its course. A new spy series would be better off going in its own direction rather than trying to recreate what was already done. I also had doubts that a reboot could compete with the original because of how great the cast was on the original. While I doubt this would ever happen, Jennifer Garner provides hope that if there ever is a reboot of Alias it might be with the original cast:

 If Alias was ever rebooted, would you want to be a part of it?

I think J.J. Abrams has got his hands full. I don’t see him turning around and rebooting Alias anytime soon. If  he was involved, I’m sure the rest of us would sign right up. We had a blast making that show and we’re all still superclose, so I’m sure you would find an eager group of participants right there.

David Simon, creator of The Wire, blasts Mitt Romney on his taxes:

Mitt Romney paid taxes at a rate of at least 13 percent. And he’s proud to say so.

Can we stand back and pause a short minute to take in the spectacle of a man who wants to be President of The United States, who wants us to seriously regard him as a paragon of the American civic ideal, declaiming proudly and in public that he has paid his taxes at a third of the rate normally associated with gentlemen of his economic benefit.

Stunning.

Am I supposed to congratulate this man?  Thank him for his good citizenship?  Compliment him for being clever enough to arm himself with enough tax lawyers so that he could legally minimize his obligations?

Thirteen percent.  The last time I paid taxes at that rate, I believe I might still have been in college.  If not, it was my first couple years as a newspaper reporter.  Since then, the paychecks have been just fine, thanks, and I don’t see any reason not to pay at the rate appropriate to my earnings, given that I’m writing the check to the same government that provided the economic environment that allowed for such incomes.

I can’t get over the absurdity of this moment, honestly:  Hey, I never paid less than thirteen percent.  I swear.  And no, you can’t examine my tax returns in any more detail.  But I promise you all, my fellow American citizens, I never once slipped to single digits.  I’m just not that kind of guy.

God.

This republic is just about over, isn’t it?

George R.R. Smith knows about power plays as he portrays them on Game of Thrones. He commented on Republican voter suppression:

“Show Us Your Papers”

I am way too busy these days for long political rants.

But I would be remiss if I do not at least make passing mention of how depressed, disgusted, and, yes, angry I’ve become as I watch the ongoing attempts at voter suppression in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa, and other states where Republicans and their Teabagger allies control key seats of power.

It is one thing to attempt to win elections. But trying to do so by denying the most basic and important right of any American citizen to hundreds and thousands of people, on entirely spurious grounds… that goes beyond reprehensible. That is despicable.

It would really be nice if there were still some Republicans of conscience out there who would stand up and loudly denounce these efforts, a few men of honor and integrity for whom “win the election” does not “win the election at any cost.” There were once many Republicans I admired, even I disagreed with them: men like Everett Dirksen, Clifford Case, Henry Cabot Lodge, William Scranton… yes, even Barry Goldwater, conservative as he is. I do not believe for a moment that Goldwater would have approved of this, any more than Robert A. Heinlein would have. They were conservatives, but they were not bigots, nor racists, nor corrupt. The Vote Suppressors have far more in common with Lester Maddox, George Wallace, John Stennis, and their ilk than they do with their distinguished GOP forebears.

The people behind these efforts at disenfranchising large groups of voters (the young, the old, the black, the brown) are not Republicans, since clearly they have scant regard for our republic or its values. They are oligarchs and racists clad in the skins of dead elephants.

And don’t tell me they are libertarians either. No true libertarians would ever support a culture where citizens must “show their papers” to vote or travel. That’s a hallmark of a police state, not a free country.

Finally this picture, with apologies to the Munster family:

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who News; Merlin; Inspector Spacetime; Saturn Awards; Mitt Romney and Porn

The trailer for the upcoming season of Doctor Who is out (video above). Dinosaurs on a space ship! Then there’s the question:

Who killed all the Daleks?”
“Who do you think?!”

An analysis of the trailer looking at multiple screen grabs (including the above one of the Doctor in Times Square) can be seen here. This certainly suggests that ate least part of episode 5 takes place in modern day New York.

Christopher Eccleston, the 9th Doctor has been cast to play the villain Malekith The Accursed in Thor: The Dark World.

Tom Baker has posted this tribute to Mary Tamm on his website:

The dreadful news of Mary Tamm’s death amazed me. I had no idea she was ill. We got on terribly well and I admired her wit and style and warmth. We used to meet at different Who conventions and sometimes had time for a little chat. I remember meeting her at Heathrow in the 1st class section: her section, of course. She was flicking through a magazine and sipping a beer: the epitome of cool style.

When we first worked together her tales of her background (she’s from Estonia) kept me very amused. I think they spoke Estonian at home. She used to do an impression of her aunt, I think, who had been an opera singer. She had a marvellous trick of rapid asides which often had nothing to do with the main story but which convulsed us. I tried to copy this trick behind her back but it eluded me as most tricks have eluded me all my life. And that she is dead seems incredible.

Fate is capricious and quite indifferent to our fears. Lovely girls: Elisabeth Sladen, Caroline John and now Mary Tamm: all dead. And here am I closing in on eighty and all I’ve had was whooping cough! It’s not fair, is it? Actually, I also have a creaky knee. And probably a creaky brain.

I never met Mary’s daughter and hardly ever met Marcus, her husband. But I send them from the bottom of my old heart sincere condolences. To have known her consoles me a little: poor darling Mary, poor us.

A fan did quite a good job of colorizing this scene of the first Doctor, showing the final scene between the Doctor and Susan from The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

The Oxford Dictionaries have added Whovian (source)

 Whovian Pronunciation: /ˈhuːvɪən/
Definition of Whovian

noun

informal

a fan of the British science-fiction television series Doctor Who: as a fan from way back, Barrowman is well aware of just how passionate Whovians are about everything ‘Who’

Digital Spy has news on the upcoming season of Merlin:

Colin Morgan (Merlin), Katie McGrath (Morgana) and Angel Coulby (Gwen) spoke to Digital Spy about the new episodes, Gwen’s reign as Queen and the return of the dragons.

Morgan told Digital Spy that his young wizard character is in a “ruthless mode” in the next series.

“Merlin is becoming more ruthless, because he is becoming more solid in his beliefs,” said the 26-year-old. “He’s seeing things in a whole new way.”

Mordred – now played by Alexander Vlahos – will also return to the series, with McGrath suggesting that he and Morgana have an “unbreakable” bond.

“You can’t tell the story of Morgana without Mordred,” she explained. “They are interlinked, they are entwined, and from the very first episode [of series five], you see that.

Morgan added that the reappearance of Mordred is “the biggest threat there’s ever been” to Camelot and the reign of Arthur (Bradley James).

“Anyone who knows the Arthurian legend knows what Mordred is destined to do… so that is the biggest threat, that is the biggest force,” he hinted.

The next season jumps ahead three years with the characters now older.

Upon posting the above poster, Dan Harmon blogged “Holy crap this is really really really cool.” Harmon, who already received a script deal from Fox after being fired from Community, has now received a second deal from CBS.

Season two of The Hour doesn’t air until November but it is also receiving some publicity in the United States. Trailer for the series above.

Parenthood is getting a sixth actor from Friday Night Lights.  So far Minka Kelly, Michael B. Jordan, Derek Phillips, Angela Rawna and Jeff Rosick have appeared, and now Matt Lauria, who played  Luke Cafferty, has been cast.

The Saturn Awards came out last week. The full list is here with some of the awards listed below:

FILM AWARDS

Best Science Fiction Film:
Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Best Fantasy Film:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Best Horror/Thriller Film:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Best Action/Adventure Film:
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Best Actor:
Michael Shannon
Take Shelter

Best Actress:
Kirsten Dunst
Melancholia

Best Supporting Actor:
Andy Serkis
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 

Best Supporting Actress:
Emily Blunt
The Adjustment Bureau

Best Performance by a Younger Actor:
Joel Courtney
Super 8

Best Director:
J.J. Abrams
Super 8

Best Writing:
Jeff Nichols
Take Shelter

TELEVISION AWARDS

Best Network Television Series:
Fringe

Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series:
Breaking Bad

Best Television Presentation:
The Walking Dead

Best Youth-Oriented Television Series:
Teen Wolf

Best Actor on Television:
Bryan Cranston
Breaking Bad

Best Actress on Television:
Anna Torv
Fringe

Best Supporting Actor on Television:
Aaron Paul
Breaking Bad

Best Supporting Actress on Television:
Michelle Forbes
The Killing

Best Guest Star on Television:
Tom Skerritt
Leverage

Finally in entertainment news, Mitt Romney received the endorsement of porn star Jenna Jameson, who reportedly is worth $50 million, despite his history of supporting restrictions on pornography. Jameson explained her endorsement by saying, “When You’re Rich, You Want A Republican In Office.” If she was smarter she would understand that it is possible to make more money with a thriving economy when Democrats are in office.  While Mitt Romney has promised to keep porn off of computers, fortunately Mitt Romney’s promises don’t mean very much. Video report follows:

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who; Sex in Game of Thrones; Homeland; Dexter; Elementary v. Sherlock; The Avengers; Merlin; Blake’s 7 Reboot; Amy Sherman-Palladino Interview

Doctor Who has become the first British television show to make the cover of Entertainment Weekly.

How do you know when a TV show has become a cult phenomenon? When its (often comparatively small) ratings are eclipsed by the wild ardor of its fans. Take the case of the British science fiction show Doctor Who, whose current lead, Matt Smith, is this week’s cover star. The now 49-year-old Who is hugely popular in its homeland but has always enjoyed a more select appeal here — not that you know that from the devotion of U.S.-based “Whovians.” In 1983, 7,000 people attended a Doctor Who convention in Chicago and over the past couple of years the time-traveling “Doctor” has received a bordering-on-the-absurd number of onscreen shout-outs from Community, Criminal Minds, Craig Ferguson’s The Late Late Show, Supernatural, and Grey’s Anatomy, whose creator, Shonda Rhimes, describes herself as a “psychotic” follower of Matt Smith’s time travel adventures in this week’s cover story. “It’s not an obscure show anymore,” says executive producer Steven Moffat. “It’s not even a ‘British import.’ It’s just Doctor Who.”

Has the time finally come for the so-called “Time Lord” to break big in America? Could be. The Doctor Who team has assiduously courted fans here with a succession of publicity appearances, including a panel at this year’s Comic-Con where Whovians paid homage to Smith’s red-haired costar Karen Gillan by donning ginger wigs. (No. 2 way you know  a TV show has become a cult favorite? When fans start dressing as characters.) In June 2011, the show’s U.S. broadcaster BBC America enjoyed its best ever ratings with the premiere episode of the sixth season since Doctor Who was revived in 2005, following a 16 year hiatus. The new season, which debuts later this summer, may well be the most eagerly anticipated ever as the Doctor prepares to say goodbye to his two trusty and beloved-by-fans “companions,” Gillan’s Amy Pond and Arthur Darvill’s Rory Williams. In the cover story we track the ups and downs of the show’s remarkable half-century history and preview the new episodes with help from Smith, Gillan, Darvill, and  exec producer, Steven Moffat.

Mary Tamm, the first actress to play Romana as companion to Tom Baker on Doctor Who died during the past week at age 62. Regret ably she was not able to regenerate like the character she played. A video tribute to Mary Tamm follows:

BBC America will be broadcasting four documentaries about Doctor Who in August:

The Science of Doctor Who: explores the real life science behind the biggest concepts and most iconic ideas in Doctor Who. The Science of Doctor Who premieres Saturday, August 4, 11:00 pm ET.

The Women of Doctor Who: Behind every great Time Lord there’s a great woman. Whether they’re busting Daleks or the Doctor’s ego, the women of Doctor Who prove that you don’t need testosterone to save the universe. Premieres Saturday, August 11, 9:00pm ET.

The Timey-Wimey Stuff of Doctor Who: When the Doctor’s around, tomorrow is yesterday, yesterday is tomorrow and 18th century France is in your fireplace. Confused yet? You’ve already seen it in the future. The Timey-Wimey Stuff of Doctor Who premieres Saturday, August 18, 11:00pm ET.

The Destinations of Doctor Who: Leave the beach towel at home and take a trip to the end of the Earth – literally. From the Starship UK to one very haunted hotel, you won’t find the destinations of Doctor Who in any guidebook. This final instalment premieres Saturday, August 25, 9:00pm ET.

George R. R. Martin commented on the reaction to the sex in Game of Thrones during an interview with the Daily Star:

Martin, who has a blue collar background in an industrial suburb of New Jersey said he has been surprised with the reaction against explicit sex scenes coming from some American readers.

“I can describe an axe entering a human skull in great explicit detail and no one will blink twice at it. I provide a similar description, just as detailed, of a penis entering a vagina, and I get letters about it and people swearing off,” he said.

“To my mind this is kind of frustrating, it’s madness. Ultimately, in the history of [the] world, penises entering vaginas have given a lot of people a lot of pleasure; axes entering skulls, well, not so much.”

Above is a trailer for the second season of Homeland, which returns on September 30. Showtime has released this press release:

In the wake of Israeli air strikes against Iran, the Middle East threatens to erupt in fresh violence. In Beirut, flags bearing the Star of David, and the Red, White, and Blue, burn in the streets. A woman swims through the chaos towards the American embassy, trying to make contact. The abused wife of a Hezbollah commander, she carries information about an attack – retaliation against Israel’s ally, the United States. But this would-be informant insists she will only speak to her one-time CIA handler: Carrie Mathison.

The problem: Carrie Mathison is no longer with the Agency. The disgraced ex-officer is on the slow path to recovery, after her manic flight in Season One nearly crashed the political career of American hero Nicholas Brody. Months after her expulsion from the CIA, the adventure and turmoil that once defined Carrie’s life is now a dull memory, replaced by regular ECT treatment and her father and sister’s protective cocoon. It’s this fragile new existence that Carrie’s former colleagues Saul Berenson and David Estes threaten to shatter, when they come to her door asking for help.

Meanwhile Nicholas Brody, several months into his inaugural term as a freshman Congressman, finds himself buffeted daily by competing agendas. Everyone has a plan for him – whether it’s Vice President William Walden, fellow Marine Mike Faber, or terrorist mastermind Abu Nazir. While Brody strives to change the face of American foreign policy without bloodshed, he learns that doing so may not be good enough for Nazir. And with every lie he tells, the walls around him close in a little tighter, threatening to bring Brody down, along with his family and everything they’ve achieved since his return.

As the situation at home and abroad escalates, Carrie and Brody’s worlds will collide yet again, deepening a relationship built on lies, suspicion and longing. Will Carrie finally be vindicated for the truth she was so close to uncovering? Can Brody keep his head above water, as opposing powers play him like a pawn? Whoever gains the upper hand in this dangerous pairing, neither Carrie nor Brody will come out of it unscathed.

They also released this press release about the seventh season of Dexter:

Season 7 returns in explosive fashion, as Dexter (Michael C. Hall) is finally forced to confront his greatest fear, as Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) witnesses his insatiable, ritualistic slaying of a killer. Now Deb knows the secret of his Dark Passenger, his undeniable thirst for blood, and the Code that their father Harry (‘James Remar’) instilled in him as a young boy.

But as Deb tries to reconcile the unfathomable idea that her beloved, mild-mannered brother is Miami’s most notorious serial killer, Dexter is still pulled by his natural impulses to seek out the guilty and exact his brand of vigilante justice, which leads him on the trail of a brutal Ukrainian mobster (Ray Stevenson).

Along the way, Dexter meets Hannah McKay (Yvonne Strahovski), a strong, independent woman with a past that she’s struggled to put behind her. As a turn of events leads Miami Metro Homicide to ask for her help in solving some old cases, Dexter works with her and begins to wonder if there’s more to this woman than she’s professed.

The producers of Elementary and Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch discussed comparisons with the other show and the choice of a female Watson on Elementary. Elementary‘s executive producers Robert Doherty and Carl Beverly answered these questions at Comic Con:

Can you talk about how it came about that Watson is a woman in this show?
Robert: “[In preparation for the show], I read a handful of psychological assessments of [Sherlock] that real doctors have written up over the years. Somebody classified him as bipolar, somebody else said he had a mild form of Asperger’s, and one of them happened to mention that he was classified as a gynophobe – he had just not a terribly healthy relationship with women, he was a little suspicious of them.

“And it just sort of made me laugh when I read it because I was like, ‘Well, what would make him crazier than Watson is a woman? He’s actually living with someone who’s monitoring him who’s also a woman’. All of that said, our Holmes is not a gynophobe, he’s not a misogynist – it’s just sort of what got that ball rolling.

“I also was sort of up for the challenge. I knew it would be inevitable that people would be fascinated by the ‘will-they-won’t-they’ that would come up and I like that the question is there and it exists, but I also don’t feel any rush to… In fact, let me be blunt – I don’t want them to end up in bed together. That’s just not what the show is for.

“I don’t think that would be true to the spirit of the original relationship between the two characters, and that’s important to me. I’d like to show that a man and a woman can be friends and go to work and live together and not end up romantically entangled.”

Carl: “Robert often calls it a bromance, but one of the bros just happens to be a woman.

“I think it’s a really apt description because there’s this idea that a man and woman can’t be together – on a show, especially – without needing to be together sexually or in love or whatever. And this is really just about the evolution of a friendship and how that happens. Watching that should be as much the story of this show as the mystery you see week in, week out about who killed who.

“You know, we love that and those stories will be great, but the mystery of this relationship and how the friendship comes into being, that should be something that draws people in too.”

Obviously there will be comparisons to the BBC’s Sherlock
Carl: “We think it’s fantastic.”

Robert: “It’s an incredible show. I have nothing but the highest regard for that show and Steven as a writer. I think sometimes we catch flak because we are a contemporised Sherlock. Sherlock has been contemporised dating back to the ’40s. There were movies with Basil Rathbone set in the Victorian era and then suddenly there were movies with Basil Rathbone in World War II where they’re fighting Nazis, so the idea’s been around a long time.

Sherlock has done it extremely well – I think it’s a brilliant show. I’ve only seen the first series but I hear the second series is just as excellent. But as far as taking from the show, I just don’t think that’s true. Because he exists mostly in the public domain, many hands have handled Sherlock over the years.

“He’s been everywhere – he’s been to the future, he’s been to the past, I’ve seen him in comics, I’ve seen him in books, I’ve seen many, many, many different takes and interpretations of the character and the franchise. They’re all great. I don’t think any of them hurt any of the others. Sherlock the character has big shoulders and I think he can carry all of us.”

Answers from additional questions suggested a couple of ways in which Elementary might differ from Sherlock. They do not plan to update original Sherlock Holmes stories as has been done on Sherlock. Mycroft will probably wind up on the show eventually, but not initially. Sherlock’s father will probably appear first.

Benedict Cumberbatch expressed these views on Elementary:

“If I were the [producer], I’d be frightened of the dynamic of male friendship that you’d lose,” he confesses to TVLine, “because that is obviously the bedrock of the books as well. [Now] there might be sexual tension between Joan [Holmes] and Sherlock, which is [a different dynamic than you’d have] between the two men. So, that’s a new thing to explore.”

And not necessarily a bad thing to explore. Cumberbatch – who is friends with Miller and even appeared opposite him in the UK stage production of Frankenstein – believes the world is big enough for multiple interpretations of Sherlock. (And, having seen the jolly good pilot, I’m inclined to agree.) “I wish them luck, I really do,” the actor insists. “I think it will be great. It will be a different spin on it, because obviously, theirs is modern-day as well, so it needs to be different from ours, and I think the more differences, the better, to be honest.

“I don’t see why they shouldn’t co-exist with us,” he adds, “I don’t think they’ll steal our audience. I think people who are Holmes fans who think they do a good job of it will have a treat in watching ours and the films. So I wish them good luck!”

I’m not exactly sure what a television show set in the Avenger’s universe but without the superheroes would be like, but such a show is being considered:

After scoring huge at the box office with its Avengers movie, Marvel is looking to explore the mythology on the small screen too. I’ve learned that Marvel’s TV division is in conversation with ABC and ABC Studios about doing a drama series in the Avengers world. I hear that the connection to the Avengers franchise would be light as the project is expected to be set in the universe and feature some of its themes and feel, but may not include any characters from Joss Whedon’s blockbuster. I hear the project is in a nascent stage, described as “a kernel of an idea,” with a number of scenarios being explored, including a high-concept cop show. Marvel has already given the Avengers the animated treatment with Disney XD’s The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the upcoming Avengers Assemble.

Establishing a primetime foothold has been a priority for Disney-owned Marvel. The company has developed several projects for ABC Studios over the last couple of years, one of which, a Hulk series, is still in the works. Search is under way for a new writer to pen the project.

Perhaps they could start with repairing all the damage to New York. Actually I stayed on Park Avenue in New York last weekend for the first time since the damage depicted in the movie and everything seems to have been restored. I did pass a couple of shawarma restaurants, but no sign of any superheroes.

The above trailer has been released for the fifth season of Merlin. The show was originally envisioned as running for five seasons but now there is talk of extending to a sixth season, along with a movie.

William Shatner’s new documentary Get A Life! premiers this weekend on Epix. Trekmovie.com has a review.


A reboot of Blake’s 7 is in the works, directed by Martin Campbell (Casino Royal). A reboot makes the most sense considering how much time has gone by and how the original ended, but I’d love to see them try to continue the series from the point of the finale of the original series.  The opening to the original series is above.

Amy Sherman-Palladino was interviewed by Deadline Hollywood about her new show, Bunheads, and inevitably Gilmore Girls came up. No word on her planned final four words for the series and she is quite pessimistic about the chances of a Gilmore Girls movie:

DEADLINE: Well, Gilmore Girls worked — until you left. Right now, Gilmore Girls is back in the news because journalists are comparing your departure to the situation at NBC’s Community, predicting that series won’t survive the ouster of creator Dan Harmon as showrunner. Can a series successfully outlive its creator?
SHERMAN-PALLADINO: I think certain shows can. Great shows like Cheers went on and on after the original guys left, but you have to be able to train people in the style. I think procedurals can go on because you are doing cases. When a show is about a singular voice or a singular relationship, I think it’s a lot harder. When you’ve got the guy who basically was Community, and you get rid of him in year four, I don’t understand that position. You either keep the guy for a fourth season, or maybe you just don’t pick it up. I don’t know Dan Harmon; some people say terrible things about him. I don’t know, maybe he is Lucifer. But if we based everything in Hollywood on who was a nice guy, holy moly, we would have no movies. No actors would work. This is not an industry that is ruled by kindness and generosity. But maybe Community will be a fucking phenomenon this year, who knows? I didn’t watch Community, I don’t have a dog in this race, but all the things I read about it just felt weird.

DEADLINE: Was the end of Gilmore Girls inevitable after you left?
SHERMAN-PALLADINO: Gilmore was tough and the cast was tired. It was a hard show, and I think that once I left there were pressures to do it cheaper, to really streamline it, to do things that they could not get me to do. But there are practicalities. If you are new, and they are telling you to do something and you would like to remain in your job, you need to do that. I think Gilmore Girls could have gone on another couple-three years. I was sad the way it went down and I don’t think it had to go down that way. But I don’t control the business, although I would like to. It was a great and wonderful experience, and I was lucky to have it.

DEADLINE: Sounds like that’s TV.
SHERMAN-PALLADINO: It is TV. If I had any other transferrable skills, any other way to make a car payment, I would do it. It’s the one thing I can do. You talk to people and they say, the business is changing and it sucks and it’s awful. Well OK, but what’s my option? This is it. It may suck, it may be awful, but you’ve got to just keep going.

DEADLINE: Any chance of a Gilmore Girls movie?
SHERMAN-PALLADINO: I thought so for a long time, I was into it, Lauren [star Lauren Graham] was into it, but the studio just does not seem to want to discuss it, so I’m thinking it probably won’t happen. She and I were totally there, we were game, I had stories, I had a way that I thought would have worked for fans and non-fans alike, but Warner Bros right now is not interested in doing that kind of movie.

SciFi Weekend: What the Awake Finale Means; Doctor Who News; Warnings of Daleks and the Tax Implications of a Zombie Apocalypse; House and Holmes Fake Deaths

Following the series finale of Awake I found many sites were interpreting the final scene as meaning that it was all a dream, and the accident did not occur. I posted my disagreement with this interpretation. Subsequently interviews with Kyle Killen  (such as here) verified my interpretation and answered additional question. The finale went into a different form of dream after Britten was in jail in one of his realities. In this dream, Britten actually met with his self from the other reality, was followed by both of his psychiatrists, and had an unusual meeting with his wife. It might be argued the Britten in jail was the real Britten, having dreams of solving the crime and being the hero in the other reality, and developing a new dream to cope with the reality of being in jail.

Regardless of whether this was the real Britten or a dream within a dream, the episode ended with Britten speaking with Dr. Evans. She attempted to convince Britten that the world with Hannah was just a dream, but Michael then questioned what the “rules” were. Britten never had been interested in finding which reality was true–his desire was to have both his wife and son back alive. His mind coped with the death of one by creating a second reality in which the other survived. His mind now realized that he could create an even better fantasy in which both his son and wife were alive. The immediate feeling upon watching this episode was that this was a happy ending with Britten getting what he wanted. It is also an ending in which Britten is even more out of touch with reality.

Killen described it this way:

Some fans saw the final scene — Britten (Jason Isaacs) seeing both Rex and Hannah in the house — and mistook it as a copout ending revealing the detective had dreamt the entire 13 episodes. “The idea that we’re saying nothing happened, this is St. Elsewhere, was something we actively fought against. You can still hate the finale, you just can’t say that that’s what it did. It’s just wrong and can actually be disproven watching the last four minutes,” Killen says. The show was always conceived as the way that one particular man dealt with grief that he was completely unprepared to handle. “That’s how the season ended — while he’s able to see his wife and child together, if you take a step back, what it really represents is a further fracturing of his psyche,” he says. “You understand that you don’t see your partner in a penguin suit in any version of reality — that grew directly out of the red world in which Hannah is alive [seemingly] revealing itself to be a dream. He just can’t accept that, and then [in the conversation with Dr. Evans] backs into the idea of, Wait, what if I fell asleep in my cell and then everything that happened after that was a dream? What if for the first time I had dream-like dreams in between being awake and being asleep? Once he does that, it’s almost as if his brain seizes that moment and creates precisely the thing that psychologically he’s dying for — and that is a moment with everyone together.”

One big question all season has been whether one reality was true and the other a dream, if there was some sort of quantum universe explanation in which both were equally valid, or whether there would be a conclusion like on Life on Mars in which nothing was real. Watching week by week I found that the evidence was contradictory as to which reality was real and suspected they were equally valid or both unreal. In interviews leading up to the finale Killan had said that one was real and the other was a fantasy which Britten developed due to the horror of losing either his wife or son. The reason that there was such contradictory evidence now appears to be that Killan and the writers did not have a conclusion in mind which settled this:

The show’s producers all had their own pet theories, but nothing was written in stone. “Most people felt like the red world was more likely to be real, just from a logical basis that the death of a child is something that’s out-of-order with nature and much more difficult to deal with than the death of a spouse. It felt like the death of a child is one that you might create a world to undo. So it felt a little bit like the balance was tipped in the red world’s favor, but we constantly adjusted that. One of the things we talked about was if ultimately the green world with his son was real and the red world was his imagination, was it that he couldn’t let his wife go until he’d psychologically worked out something that was unresolved with Hannah? There were arguments for why he simply could not let go of one or the other. We didn’t feel it was necessary to decide which one was his imagination now. We didn’t have a big sitdown and say, ‘This is what Rosebud means.’ We just didn’t approach it that way.”

Watching the finale I had also wondered whether this was written after Killan knew the show was cancelled and was intended to be the ending, or if this was written previously with plans to move on from this point in a second season. Killan revealed that he planned to pick up the second season from this point if the show was renewed:

The finale was written and filmed before the show’s cancellation. “I don’t know how the show could have gone on if the fundamental thing that made it work was taken away,” Killen says. He believes you can make the argument that the world in which wife Hannah survived — the red world — was the real one with just as much vigor. “Look at the state that Britten is in [there]. He’s lost. The woman who destroyed his family has gotten away with it. He’s in prison and he seems to have no hope of getting out of there. He’s essentially indicted himself with his own behavior. So if ever there were a place where you could reach a low that would cause you to create through a psychic break a world in which you do solve all the problems, and you do get the bad guy, and everything does turn out okay… I would think that would be an argument for the red world actually being real and requiring the green world as a dream to make going on seem possible. We, at least internally, made sure we could argue it both ways because going forward, we didn’t intend to have that mystery sewn up in this episode.”

Killan went on to describe how the second season would have picked up the story:

“The discussion was always that that’s where he finds himself when he woke back up in red world. It would be as if all of the dream-like elements had in fact been a dream, and he’d closed his eyes just before the guard knocked on the door and told him he had a visitor [Harper], and we’d treat it as that was the moment he went to sleep. He would know that he’d caught Harper in the other world and that he seemed unable to do anything in red. Ultimately, he would have relied on Vega to help him extricate himself from that situation.”

At that point the narratives would have proceeded in both realities (or technically one reality and one dream state) we saw in the first season, with the addition of the third state seen at the end of the finale:

“You still would have had red and you still would have had green,” Killen says.”We left ourselves open to the possibility that [producers/writers plotting out season 2] would have had a really interesting pitch for what to do with that third space, and whether there was an ongoing narrative we wanted to tell there or whether we wanted to use it as simply a surreal dream space that we could access when we wanted to and how we wanted to that let us bring other weirder elements into the show that we’d always wanted to try.” He suspects it would have been the latter. “Twin Peaks being a show that was very close to my heart and a seminal thing in my childhood, the third space was sort of our Black Lodge. It was a place where almost anything could have happened. What happened initially was he found himself in his house with his wife and his child, but there were a lot of other places we would have taken that dream space. I don’t know that it would have always been that linear or happy. I think it would have been a place where he had a lot less control than he thought.”

If the show continued, Britten would have also had a relationship with Rex’s tennis coach, Tara, as was hinted at in the first season:

“It always felt too soon and difficult to explain. If it’s about a man overcoming the loss of his wife, he’s only overcoming the loss for 12 hours a day. So most of us deal with that by not needing to get into another relationship. What ultimately was needed to really jump-start the alternate relationship was some sort of fracturing in the Hannah-Britten story. That’s exactly what you see us building to at the end of the season,” Killen says. “Once he’s imprisoned and he’s considered essentially a mad man and there’s not really a clear way out, we would have used that and Dr. Evans to really try to convince him that that was his imagination and there was a psychological reason that he was holding himself there. That would have opened the door enough for us to begin something with Tara. And then by the time the red world resolved itself and he was extricated from prison, without really meaning to, he would have gotten himself in two different relationships. By the time things were repaired with Hannah, he would have already begun a relationship with Tara because he had been leading himself to believe that Hannah wasn’t real and it was something that he needed to get over. By the time that flipped on him, he would have been a man divided. That was something we were really eager to explore in the second season.”

Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt Smith presented Steven Moffat with a well-deserved special BAFTA Award. Video of the presentation, including clips from Moffat’s work, is above.

Matt Smith carried the Olympic Torch this week. Pictures and an interview with Smith were posted here, and above is another news clip.

If you every wondered how all eleven Doctors would look if they were dinosaurs, an entire set of pictures can be seen at I09.

Christopher Eccleston continues to insist he will not appear in a 50th reunion episode. He has previously explained this by saying, “I never bathe in the same river twice.” This never sounded like a satisfactory reason, and he has subsequently elaborated without much detail saying, “I know what went on and the people who were involved know what went on. That’s good enough for me. My conscience is completely clear.” Obviously there were problems which have not been made public.

Karen Gillan on her final script for Doctor Who:

I literally couldn’t read it without crying … It was the most highly-charged read-through I’ve ever experienced. But I couldn’t have asked for a better exit. I don’t think it’ll be what people expect.’

Gillan leaving means that Jenna-Louise Coleman has started filming. Her initial filming was behind closed doors so we do not yet know how her character will look.

Merlin is filming season 5.

Sign seen in Colorado above. If Daleks were there, it would certainly be good to warn people. Last year the same area had a sign warning “Zombies Ahead.” That would be another important warning. Besides the obvious hazards, there are serious tax implications to a Zombie Apocalypse, as is discussed in this paper, and summarized here.

House concluded last week with House and Wilson being compared to Holmes and Watson. The series ended in a manner similar to  how Moffat’s version of Sherlock ended its second season, with both House and Sherlock faking their own deaths. In addition, Moffat’s other show also ended with the Doctor faking his death. Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss discussed the finale of Sherlock with The Guardian but gave no clues as to how Sherlock survived. Moffat simply says, “He did it cleverly. Very cleverly. And we know, we’re not telling – next!!” I suspect that there will be aspects which were not clear  on screen so I have not worked on a full explanation as to how Sherlock survived, but here are my comments after The Reichenbach Fall  originally aired on the BBC.

It seems strangely appropriate that the big war scene which this season of The Game of Thrones has been leading up to will be airing this Memorial Day weekend.