SciFi Weekend: An Origin Story and An Ending on Fringe; Jorge Garcia As The Giant; Doctor Who; Star Wars; Mitt Romney & The Zombie Apocalypse

Last week’s episode of Fringe was entitled The Bullet Which Saved The World. This week we found out what is meant by the episode title An Origin Story and have a better idea as to what last week’s title meant. Peter is going to extreme lengths to ensure that the Observers are defeated and that Etta receives credit for the revolution after her death last week. I had questioned the previous explanation given of the Observers having evolved from humans as the time scan was not great enough. Use of a device to provide the powers does seem more plausible, although simply sticking it in one’s neck seems too simple–not that Fringe has ever been very plausible. Now that Peter is receiving Observer powers, will he also begin looking like them? Why do they all look and dress like that, and why aren’t their any females? Fox has also announced that the series finale will be a two hour episode on January 18.

Jorge Garcia of Lost (and Alcatraz) will be playing the Giant on Once Upon A Time. Garcia was interviewed about his role:

Jorge Garcia

So, you’re playing a murderous giant?
They called me murderous? Wow. Okay.

Hey, that’s what the press release said.

Well, I did a looping session for the giant, and it was basically all growls.

But we’ll be seeing you, not just hearing you, right?

It’s me.They CGI most of the set, so I had to work in a studio completely done in green screen and act against little pieces of tape and dowels, but it’s me, you definitely see my face. I don’t look entirely like myself, though; I’m in costume.

Since you’re working against a green screen, I guess that’s to make you look giant-sized?

Yeah. The perspective is different, because they want me to look like I’m six times the size of everyone else.

The creators of “Lost” created the Hurley character just for you. It seems like something similar happened here. 

[“Once Upon A Time” creators] Eddie [Kitsis] and Adam [Horowitz], they were always the keepers of the Hurley stories [on “Lost.”]. They wrote most of the scripts about Hurley, so for a while we’ve been talking about working together again, and how they wanted to bring me in for “Once.” I wasn’t available last year because I was working on another show, but they pitched the giant story this year and they gave me a little bit of background about his origin, which will be something to do in a later story.

Matt Smith says that the upcoming episode of Doctor Who written by Neil Gaiman will be a separate story from  Gaiman’s previous episode, The Doctor’s Wife, but predicts it will be a fan favorite. Smith is also more open to the idea of a Doctor Who/Sherlock cross over than Steven Moffat is. He discussed cross overs with Walking Dead and Breaking Bad in yet another interview

Years ago, after the first trilogy, the plan for Star Wars to make two additional trilogies, one taking place before and one after the original trilogy.  The third was to take place when the original cast was older. After the disappointing prequel trilogy, the word was that the series was done and the third trilogy would never be made. As I’m sure everyone has heard this week, George Lucas has the rights to Disney, which will be making further Star Wars movies. This  might even include two more trilogies. The upcoming movies are to be centered around Luke Skywalker and others from the original cast, and will be original stories as opposed to being based on Star Wars novels.  George Lucas, who will still play a role in the upcoming movies, has already spoken to Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher about returning to their roles.

Cobie Smulders of How I Met Your Mother will return  as S.H.I.E.L.D agent Maria Hill in Captain America 2.

Joss Whedon explains how Mitt Romney’s policies are conducive to bringing on the Zombie apocalypse in the video above. Romney is “not afraid to face a ravening, grasping horde of subhumans, because that’s how he sees poor people already.”

And yet another endorsement for Mitt Romney above.

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 Angels Take Manhattan (plus Amy and Rory) Plus Other New and Returning Shows

We knew that the ending was coming even before the point early in The Angels Take Manhattan when the Doctor said he hated endings, Despite the few moments of hope after everyone returned safely to the present, we knew that this episode would mark the end of Amy and Rory on Doctor Who. Rory died three more times and Amy died twice, but the two ended the episode to live out their lives together in the past.

Having the episode take place around landmarks which are familiar to me made the episode even more meaningful. On future visits I will be much more cautious when running out for coffee, and have always thought there was something odd about seeing a Starbucks on virtually every block in much of Manhattan. (Perhaps the Doctor will investigate that in the future.) I will certainly be more suspicious of any statues on future visits to New York, and will be certain not to blink around that fountain in Central Park which I have passed several times in the past.

In other ways this was an alien world to me, stranger than any of the alternate worlds seen on Fringe. I can’t imagine The New York Times having a headline saying the Detroit Lions Win Superbowl. New York also seemed quite warm for that time of year.

Once the decision was made to have the statues in New York become Weeping Angels, it was obviously far too tempting for Moffat to resist making the Statue of Liberty an Angel. Until the time paradox which wiped out the Angels occurred, I couldn’t imagine that there would be no historical record of the statue moving across Manhattan on at least two nights in the city which never sleeps. When all the Angels were removed from New York, why was the Statue of Liberty still standing? Perhaps the Angels were inhabiting pre-existing statues, and the statues returned to their previous inanimate forms. Of course if Angels take over other statues, there might not be the need for those babies in the basement.

The bigger question is why Amy and Rory cannot ever return. Clearly this is more a matter of whether the actors and producers should decide to have them back for an episode as there are numerous weaknesses to the reasons presented in the episode. This notion of fixed points in time has been rather ambiguous and hardly something the Doctor couldn’t work around. Perhaps the TARDIS could not return to that precise spot in 1938 but what about having Amy and Rory meet him elsewhere and at a different time? We know that River could go back and give Amy the manuscript and a message, presumably with the contraption on her wrist. Besides, why not use those instead of the TARDIS to save them?

If it is simply a case that time has been written, and cannot be rewritten here, there are still loopholes which are far larger than ones the Doctor has used in the past. The tombstone changed once to add Amy. Even if it could not be changed again, there were many years between 1938 and their eventual deaths. Why couldn’t some of those years again be with the Doctor, as long if the wound up returning to die as in the rewritten version of history? Why not have Melody Malone’s book include a series of mysterious absences by Amy and Rory after the events already written?

While Amy and Rory are gone, River Song will be traveling with the Doctor, at least for a short time longer. We found that she was released from prison because it turned out that the man she was accused of killing never existed, as evidence of the Doctor was wiped out. I had expected that she would ultimately get released for the opposite reason as people realized that the Doctor was still alive. The elimination of knowledge of the Doctor is one recurring storyline from this season. The Angels Take Manhattan also continued this season’s use of light bulbs, as the bulbs blinked on and off in the corridors of the Winter Quay.

Relive The Last Days of the Ponds in the video above.

In this video, Steven Moffat and the crew of Doctor Who discuss the making of The Angels Take Manhattan.

We know Doctor Who will be returning on Christmas, with a new companion played by Jenna-Louise Coleman. How does her character tie in with her role on Asylum of the Daleks? Is she the same person? How important will her character be in the ongoing theme of the removal of knowledge of the Doctor? There’s no doubt there will be Christmas lights. Will light bulbs become even more important as the season goes on?

Doctor Who was about separation, but also about Amy’s decision to remain together with Rory. Fringe returned with the reunion of another family. There was not only the reunion of Etta with Olivia, but we also found that Olivia and Peter had split after Etta was taken. The episode has yet another case in which Walter’s memories fail him. This time his memories of how to fight the Observers received from September were destroyed.

I am a bit confused as to how the Observers could be said to have evolved from humans yet come from 2609. That would hardly be enough time for such evolution, but Fringe has often invented ways to get around conventional science. Apparently after destroying the planet once before, they are working towards doing so again, even if just for humans and presumably not themselves.

Person of Interest showed that the machine did have a contingency to work on after Finch was captured, but it was limited to having someone else take over saving people of interest and not saving Finch. I won’t mind if Finch remains a captive if this keeps Amy Acker on the show longer. I am also curious as to what her character means by setting the machine free.

Revolution is setting up for a family reunion. As I (and probably most viewers) predicted, Elizabeth Mitchell’s character remains alive. This raises questions as to why things weren’t handled differently in the first episode’s attempt to capture her husband. I will give Revolution a little longer but so far this looks like it might join the long list of other recent genre shows to die in its first season.

There are several shows returning tonight. There is a new world situation to deal with on Homeland. Dexter returns with Deb knowing about her brother’s dark secret. The curse is broken but magic has returned on Once Upon A Time with a more intense season promised. Revenge returns with an expanded world and more family. There is also one new genre series as 666 Park Avenue premieres tonight.

Earlier this week Michael O’Hare, who played Commander Jeffrey Sinclair in the first season of Babylon 5, died following a heart attack at age 60.

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who; Star Trek; Bush’s Decapitated Head (Game of Thrones); Sane Republicans Only Found In Science Fiction; Mad Men Finale

Steven Moffat give some hints (or perhaps misleads) about Jenna-Louise Coleman’s role as the new companion on Doctor Who during a recent radio interview:

The new companion will, again, be a human from contemporary earth. This is necessary for audience identification and a ‘jumping on’ point for new viewers

How the companion gets where she is and what that means for the character is what will make her utterly different and fascinating

The new companion will not have any links to any previous characters

Her ‘journey’ will be shocking and intriguing. The Doctor has never met anyone quite like her before

Her very presence in the TARDIS will change the Doctor and there’s something different about her that will have a knock-on effect for the Doctor/companion dynamic

Or how about Jon Luc Picard as a companion? Above is from the comic miniseries  Star Trek: The Next Generation and Doctor Who: Assimilation².

The two greatest science-fiction properties of all time cross over for the first time in history, in STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION/DOCTOR WHO: ASSIMILATION²! Captain Jean-Luc Picard faces one of the most difficult decisions of his life, but the fate of the galaxy may depend on it! Can the Doctor convince him to make the correct choice?

Another example of cover art from the miniseries can be seen here.

There was controversy this week when it was revealed on the DVD extras that one of the heads used on Game of Thrones during the first season was that of George Bush. It sounds like it was just a matter of using  materials which were handy and nobody would have noticed if this was not mentioned during the commentary. From the DVD commentary:

“The last head on the left is George Bush. George Bush’s head appears in a couple of beheading scenes. It’s not a choice, it’s not a political statement. We just had to use whatever head we had around.”

The full scene is above.

This was an interesting bit of trivia about the show which apparently nobody noticed when it aired,  but once revealed HBO really had no choice but to have this edited out. In a nation split near 50:50 it is understandable that a media company would not want to alienate a large percentage of the country in such a manner. The season finale was taken down and DVD sales stopped to allow for digital removal of Bush’s head–which would create a problem for those desiring to watch the first season. I just checked HBO GO and found that the episode is back up. The scene with Bush’s head is unchanged except that there is now hair digitally inserted over much of the face making it unrecognizable.

One of the biggest puzzles about the first season of Once Upon A Time is why they didn’t use Meghan Ory more often. The producers apparently agreed and are making her a regular for the second season, along with adding new characters.

The two top writers of rapid-paced dialogue are back on the air this summer–Aaron Sorkin with The Newsroom and Amy Sherman-Paladino with Bunheads. Sorkin discussed his work in an interview here–but I would give higher grades to Sorkin’s previous shows than he gives himself. Another interview with Sorkin  touches on science fiction as well as politics:

In one episode of Newsroom, we hear Will say, “I’m a registered Republican—I only seem liberal because I believe that hurricanes are caused by high ­barometric pressure and not by gay marriage.” So—

Your question is “Are hurricanes caused by high barometric pressure or low barometric pressure?” The answer is both. Hurricanes are caused when a high-pressure system surrounds a low-pressure system. That wasn’t your question, though. Your question is, why is Will a Republican?

No. My question is, if he really is a ­Republican with moderate-to-liberal beliefs, when did you become interested in science fiction?

You’ve answered the question I thought you were asking, which is, why is he a Republican? There are several reasons, but the biggest is: I haven’t seen this guy on TV.

Or anywhere, lately.

For the last year or so, but really since Obama got elected, I’ve found the most interesting op-ed political writing to be from Republicans who are looking at the extreme right and saying, “Those guys aren’t with us. I don’t know what happened here, but they’ve kind of co-opted our brand name. But these aren’t Republican values.” Guys like David Frum, Mark McKinnon, Andrew Sullivan. Even George Will. I hadn’t seen that guy on television. There’s CNN, which tries very, very hard either to not be anything or to be both things. And then, of course, there’s Fox and there’s MSNBC, on either side.

Amy Sherman-Paladino’s new show Bunheads premiered last week, with many similarities to Gilmore Girls. Inevitably interviews about the new show led to questions about Gilmore Girls, including the mysterious four words which she had intended to conclude the series with:

You always said you knew the four words that were going to end the last Gilmore Girls episode, and you obviously never got to have them said. Any chance you’d share them now?
To me, because I didn’t have control of that last year and [whispers] I still haven’t seen the last year … Here’s the deal. All the people who ran the last year, David Rosenthal, I hired him, he’s good people, he’s a good writer, I really like him. I don’t think he thought Dan and I were going to leave. We didn’t think we were going to leave. Everyone was caught unaware. It was literally a situation of bad negotiating. Our interests were in staying and keeping the show going. Once the CW bought it, we called Warner Bros. and said the CW is going to need this show to launch new product for the next couple of years. You don’t want the show to go down this year. We instigated that. When the negotiations got so crazy we thought, Maybe we’re high? Maybe they don’t want it for the next couple of years. But by not having control of that, it shifts the focus of what my last words would have been. I was also holding on to it for a long time because I was thinking if we did do a movie, I would be able to use it there. I don’t think that’s ever going to happen so, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll eventually say the four words. I feel like now I’ll let people down because it’s been so built up. “Really? That’s what we waited all these twelve years for? Well, thanks so much.”

Maybe the four final words were, “Rory, you were adopted.”  Doubtful, but amusing speculation.

Alexis Bledel’s appearance on Mad Men this season also came up:

I’m sure you know a very grown-up Alexis Bledel was on Mad Men a few weeks ago.
We have a place in Brooklyn and she lives right around the corner from us. I have to say she is taking a very thoughtful, interesting approach to her career post-Gilmore. She’s being very particular. I think it’s very smart. She’s not rushing. I applaud it. She did have her shirt open, however, and her boobs hanging out. I was behind. I’m behind on everything that’s not Game of Thrones. And then I read some headline that said, “Most Boring Mad Men Ever Except for Rory Gilmore Getting Naked!” I thought, Holy shit, is she naked? She wasn’t. She had a fur and some underwear. When you’re young and your boobs look like that? Why not?

Speaking of Mad Men, I noticed that critics were generally dissatisfied with the season finale last week. I disagree. Certainly there was more drama in the previous episode in which Lane committed suicide, but the finale did an excellent job of tying up some loose ends and presumably setting the stage for next season. They might have saved the suicide for the finale, but handling it this way allowed viewers to see the aftermath of the act.

The finale included Pete Campbell getting punched, not once but twice, making this twice as good as the previous episode in which this occurred. Pete seemed to becoming too successful at SCDP, but we learned of his dissatisfaction with his life during his visit to the hospital. Perhaps he was demonstrating even more self-understanding when he told the conductor, “I’m president of the Howdy Doody Circus Army.” There was an Eternal Sunshine Of Spotless Mind conclusion to the Rory Gilmore storyline. We saw that SCDP has become a successful firm, suggesting an end to the new company struggling to survive story lines which can become tedious. Most importantly, we may have seen the beginning of the end of Don and Megan. The episode contained clues, such as Don telling Peggy, “That’s what happens when you help someone. They succeed and move on.”  Don warned Megan against taking  help from him, telling her she would be better off being “someone’s discovery than someone’s wife.” Don might now believe that Megan will move on as Peggy did. Now that Don has helped Megan get the role in the ad, she has become too much like Betty when they met, and might ultimately suffer the same fate.  The episode ended with what might be the old Don Draper going into the bar to order a highball. We don’t know how he answered the question, “are you alone” but things will never be the same between Don and Megan.

The Avengers ended with the heroes going out to a shawarma restaurant after saving New York. When watching this scene (at the end of the credits) did you wonder where Loki was? The answer is above.

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who; Sherlock; Star Trek; Spider-Man; Fundamentalist Vampires on True Blood; Med in Black Catch Up With The Doctor

The BBC has released the above picture of Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman on the set of Doctor Who.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Jv1Wr34WY54#

Above is a fan-made trailer for the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who which has a lot of memorable scenes.

DreamWorks is interested in Glimmer, a movie with time travel elements.

Andrew Scott won a Bafta for his role as Moriarty on Sherlock. Following is a portion of an interview with him:

You just won the best supporting actor Bafta for playing Moriarty in Shrlxok. Did you find the Baftas fun or terrifying?
Terrifying. I’m shy. I remember at my 21st birthday party, I had to make a speech and was so nervous I sounded like I was giving a eulogy at a funeral. So I did genuinely hope that I didn’t have to get up. But of course there’s a little part of you that wants to win.

We’re you surprised at the colossal success of Sherlock?
I kind of knew- I think we all knew- it was going to be really special. I feel very proud that it’s a Sherlock of our age. I really appreciated being allowed to play Moriarty a little left of centre.

How much freedom did you have?
I experimented daily and there were incredibly supportive of that. That’s what you Rally want as an actor: someone saying, ‘Go for it!’ not ‘What are you doing?’

What makes you angry?
Bland television. I don’t like drama that’s just a version of something we’ve already seen. If you’ve been given money and an opportunity to be in front of an audience, why not say something new and original?

The same site has an interview with Louise Brealey, who plays Molly on Sherlock.
TrekMovie.com interviewed Damon Lindelof on the upcoming Star Trek sequel along with the future of the series:

TrekMovie.com: You talked about the characters, their relationships and conflict. The last film was all about this family coming together, especially with Kirk and Spock starting out hating each other and growing to, if not like each other, respect each other. This new film is four years later in real time, but not sure in movie time. Are we jumping in to a new spot on their character arcs? Or are we picking up where we left off?

Damon Lindelof: That is a very clever way of asking how much time has elapsed between the movies and that is not something we are commenting on at this point. What we can say is that the big difference with the fundamental crew dynamics as they existed in the first movie and as they roll into this one is the promise at the end of the first movie with James T. Kirk in his yellow shirt is now sitting in the captain’s chair. We have not seen Kirk as the captain of the Enterprise yet. We will see him be the captain in this movie and that changes the dynamic.

TrekMovie.com: Two years ago, before you even started scripting, [producer] Bryan Burk told me you guys were going for something larger in scope. Is it right to say this is a bigger movie?

Damon Lindelof: Sometimes I feel that bigger is not necessarily better. You are just saying “Oh my god this movie is just epic in scale and epic in scope and epic, epic, epic.” But at the end of the day I feel that Trek is at its best when it is intimate and human and relatable. And when I say human, that can include aliens too. But all the things that we view as emotional touchstones: love, loss, and courage and all those themes that are the core of Trek. You sometimes when you want to make a movie too big for its own good, it loses some of those essential values. So we didn’t want that to happen. That being said, JJ’s decision to shoot a lot of the movie in IMAX, definitely makes the film seem a lot bigger and definitely the sequences he directed in IMAX I feel have tremendous scale and energy, without sacrificing any of things that I talked about on an emotional level…

TrekMovie.com: When we talked about Prometheus  (see my Movies.com interview with Damon) you mentioned that moving forward you want to challenge yourself with doing original stories and away from more sequels, prequels and comic book adaptations. Does that preclude your working on a third Star Trek movie?

Damon Lindelof: It would be very hard to not be involved in Trek moving forward. We certainly don’t feel that a third movie is a foregone conclusion. Hopefully the second movie turns out well and we are really happy about everything so far. So three movies, again not to do everything that Christopher Nolan does, but if you do it right it’s a good model. But that idea, whether you want to call it a trilogy or not, although I reserve the right to when we are talking four years from now to say “this is the third movie in our trilogy,” but it does feel that three movies is the right responsibility for us to have the baton for before we then pass it off to the people who are take Trek to wherever they want to take it. So if this movie turns out well, would I be writing on the third movie? Who knows? But, we did talk a lot in the writing of this movie and during production about what the next movie might be and started getting excited about some of the ideas, so it would be hard to say no to that. This is a once in a lifetime experience…

Here is a interesting infographic on The Science of Star Trek

Two clips from The Amazing Spider-Man above.

Now there is even talk of a Spider-Man and Avengers crossover.

It hasn’t been a good year for genre shows on network television, with only six of twelve returning according to the count here. Once Upon A Time was the most successful. Several of the shows which are not returning were flawed but did show promise such as Awake, Terra Nova, and Alcatraz.

Genre has done better on cable than on network television. True Blood returns tonight and reportedly this season will be more satirical. The target will be Vampire fundamentalists who take their bible too seriously, but presumably this is also pointed at their human counterparts.

Men in Black catch up with the Doctor

source

SciFi Weekend: Season Finales and Reboots; Dan Harmon Fired From Community; Moffat Wins Special Bafta; Doctor Who Wins Nebula Award; Karen Gillan At Cannes; Farewell to Kristen Wiig

J.J. Abrams has been highly successful in keeping shows interesting by rebooting them over time so that each season isn’t a rehash of the exact same format as previous seasons, and viewers cannot assume that fundamental changes cannot occur. This worked with Lost and Alias in the past. It worked a little less well on Fringe, with the fourth season failing to maintain the quality of the second and third seasons (with the show still worth watching). If Alcatraz survived, it was clear from the finale that it would also have been a different show. I had concerns as to whether Once Upon A Time could be successful over multiple seasons if left with a situation where Emma must always fail to break the spell. As was rumored before airing, Once Upon A Time had a major reboot, with Emma breaking the spell, followed by Rumpelstiltskin bringing back magic. The highlight of the week was the appearance of Amy Acker on Person of Interest, also shaking up this show.

Amy Acker’s character, who turned out to be the hacker Root, surprised Finch and Reese, and from reviews it appears also fooled most viewers. While this was the second time that the person they were protecting turned out to be far different from what the person seemed, the set up was done so well that we were fooled again. The series began with a simple format of the machine giving Social Security numbers. A simpler show would have continued the format, failing to raise the underlying questions of what it would mean to have such a powerful computer. The episode ended with Finch in danger and a phone call to Reese which just might be the machine, making it likely that the machine will be more significant next season. I hope that Amy Acker’s character also becomes a recurring character next season. Seeing how this show has evolved, it would most likely be as a protagonist to Reese and Finch, but not being sure of Root’s agenda, she could also turn into an ally over time.

Awake is in the midst of a two-part series finale so I will wait until it is completed before saying much about the show, but what is the deal with Britten visiting Britten in the preview? I do hope they end this series with a satisfying explanation as to what has been happening with the two realities.

If seeing Amy Acker on Person of Interest was the network television highlight of the week, the low point was the firing of Dan Harmon as show runner of Community. Producing a season of Community without Dan Harmon as show runner is like doing West Wing without Aaron Sorkin or Gilmore Girls without Amy Sherman-Paladino. Neither show was as good as when their creators ran the show, but in this case the consequences will be far worse. Those who took over West Wing and Gilmore Girls still attempted to do a similar show without breaking from the past. In this case I fear that the goal is to make Community a more traditional sit-com about a group of people going to school together. The show has an excellent cast and might still be an above-average sit-com, but it will not be the same without Harmon’s variations from the normal sit-com formula.

As is usually done in such situations. Harmon was given a title, but it is doubtful he will have any further influence on the show. He explained how he learned about being fired after getting off a plane and turning on his phone, without any previous discussion with Sony.

Apparently great show runners are treated better  Great Britain than here. Steven Moffat is to receive as special Bafta award for “outstanding creative writing contribution to television.” One of Moffat’s current shows, Sherlock, is now running in the United States while Doctor Who recently filmed the final scene with Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill. Gillan is seen in the picture above taken at Cannes, and will soon start filming Not Another Happy Ending, a movie about an eccentric author with writer’s block. She did manage to steal something before leaving the TARDIS for the last time.

An episode of Doctor Who, The Doctor’s Wife, was awarded the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation at the Nebula Awards. That was quite a major accomplishment, beating Midnight in Paris, Hugo, Captain America, Source Code, and The Adjustment Bureau for the award.  Among Others by, Jo Walton won the Award for Best Novel.

Someone is demonstrating for time travel in the real world, but is being patient about it.

Besides the recent finales in genre shows. Saturday Night Live concluded its season last night, with quite a farewell to Kristen Wiig–video above.

SciFi Weekend: Fringe; Awake; Lost-Style Reset on Once Upon A Time?; Mad Men, The Beatles, and Rory Gilmore; Damage to Manhattan from The Avengers; Why Companions on Doctor Who Are Usually Young Women

The season finale of Fringe, Brave New Worlds, could easily have been the series finale if the show was not renewed. While there will always be questions remaining on Fringe, the major story lines of the season were resolved. Knowing both of September’s warning and that Olivia was the source of power needed by William Bell, it came as no surprise that Olivia was shot. We also know that death is not necessarily permanent on Fringe, and her recovery due to high levels of cortexiphan around her brain was also predictable.

The season finale set up the situation for next season which we saw in Letters of Transit. We learned that Olivia was pregnant, William Bell was still around (explaining why he was in the Amber), and received the warning at the end of the episode that “They’re coming.”

Things will probably be more complex. Olivia seemed to hesitate before telling Peter that she was pregnant. At the time I was wondering if Olivia would say something suggesting she no longer had her old memories of Peter (or feelings for him). There is clearly something which Olivia held off on saying.

Was the timing of this warning just after William Bell’s failure to start a new universe for dramatic effect to set up the next season, or was there a connection between Bell’s actions and the plans of the Observers? Multiple explanations are possible. Perhaps the Observers had planned to live in Bell’s new universe and decided to conquer our world after this failed. Perhaps Bell knew of the plans and this was his attempt to save humanity the fate of living under oppressive rule by the Observers. Perhaps the Observers justified taking over the earth as a means of protecting them from mad scientists such as William Bell.

TV Guide has an interview with J.H. Wyman and Jeff Pinkner on how the season finale leads into season 5:

“They are coming!” Can we assume that the “they” is the Observers, and you’re lining up with what we saw in 2036?
J.H. Wyman: Yes.

Are you going to stay in the current timeline, or will we see some flashing forward and backward next season?
Wyman:
Well, let’s say that basically 2036 is extremely important to Season 5. It’s crucial, but having said that, everything that you have seen in Fringe from Season 1 all the way to 4 is really, really, really, really important to what’s going on in Season 5, and 2036 is part of that. It’s a 13-episode sprint; there’s no filler episodes. It answers some very bold questions. It culminates with a very satisfying type of crescendo that really is so important for the fans, that’s the biggest thing. That’s the only thing that’s really important is to make sure that they feel absolutely satiated.

Because Olivia did technically die in the finale, does this mean that was the moment September had envisioned? And, will she always heal rapidly and now never die?
Wyman:
At the end of every season, we close a chapter, and you’ve heard us say that before, but this chapter being closed is a gentle closing for a reason.  We wanted to allow the characters to be in the emotions that they fought for and deserved and allow them to experience a little bit of peace and understand where they are.
Jeff Pinkner: Part of the answer to your question is yes, Olivia healed because of all the cortexiphan. At the end of Season 4, as Walter said on the screen, because of the wildly activated cortexiphan in her body, this experiment to heal her brain tissue would work.  Because that’s not constantly the case, because that’s just a fleeting condition, absolutely, she could be killed.
Wyman: They don’t know if anything is over.  So they’ve been given that warning. I think that it’s best to have the audience not know either and be with them in that trepidation of going forward, going, “Well, maybe.” That’s more like real life, isn’t it?

Especially because the “X Man” who was supposed to kill her — as we saw in last season’s trippy animation episode — wasn’t very obvious.
Wyman:
Basically, when Walter was going through the Nanites. From that episode when she was in William’s head, she said, “I know that’s the man who’s going to kill me.” She had a feeling that when she was in William Bell’s head, that there was a man and it manifested itself as a character in William Bell’s head in the comic that they’re experiencing and it had that emblem on it.

Then, ultimately, in this episode, you saw in the in the Nanites they had the emblem on it. When Walter recognized that that was William Bell’s creation by that mark, because that was the mark that William used to mark things with. So really, in a sense, it was William Bell who killed Olivia. You could argue, saying when she came out of William Bell’s head, she said, “That’s the man who’s going to kill me,” it was actually William Bell.

Now that Olivia is pregnant, will she worry about putting herself in the line of fire, or will Peter be worrying about her?
Wyman:
You’ll probably understand that a lot more when you see Season 5, without spoiling stuff. That’s not something that’s going to be examined in the way you just laid it out. But keep in mind that in Fringe, when we say, “There’s going to be a love triangle,” it’s a weird show, so you can have a love triangle with two people, like two Olivias in the love triangle. So we can do some pretty freaky things, but it’s not going to be big issue.

Can we look forward to seeing the two universes bridged back together again? I actually like the other side now!
Wyman:
We really appreciate you saying that because I think, no secret, that it was a really tough endeavor for us to actually introduce that. We fell in love with them and we were hoping that the fans would and we’re so glad to hear when people say that they missed them.
Pinker: We had a conversation with Fox earlier in the season while we were closing the door, one of our Fox executive partners said, “I was so sad.  I had tears in my eyes when we closed the door, and we said, “Yeah, these were characters that you never wanted us to introduce in the first place because you were afraid that nobody would care about them.”  She said, “I was so wrong.”
Wyman: Everything is a possibility on Fringe.

Will Walter feel a sense of responsibility for William Bell trying to destroy the two universes? Is that something he will be dealing with next season?
Wyman:
We’ve always said that science is science and knowledge is knowledge; it’s how you use it that’s the evil. So while I don’t think he feels responsible, there’s many lessons Walter is learning and has learned since the first time we met him. If anything, it’s going to actually make him very positive that he did the right thing all those years by cutting a portion out of his brain.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemies, and hubris out of control like that is surely the end. Every civilization that’s ever fallen basically is because of some sort of hubris. It’s the overreaching of man, which is a huge, huge, huge thing in science fiction. How much knowledge is too much knowledge? He just feels, at this point, that they’ve made it through and averted this incredible disaster.

Before Olivia revealed to Peter that she was pregnant, she seemed to hesitate. Is there something she saw or something she learned when she died that will play into next season?
Wyman:
You’re very perceptive. Let’s just say you will understand the hesitation.

There’s an indication that the Fringe Division will grow next season. What can you tell us about that?
Pinker:
You will see changes, but you will see things that are familiar, as well.  I know that’s a terrible answer, but the truth is, I just can’t say in specificity what exactly is going to happen.

Now that you know this will be your final season, what are you guys doing differently in your approach?
Wyman:
We’re so thankful. Four years of everybody working incredibly hard, people have put their heart and soul in this show, and by some amazing miracle, we get a chance to get more canvas to paint on, and it’s like the biggest thrill and honor, and we’re just going into it knowing that we’re very fortunate.

The main concern is in no way shape or form are our fans going to be let down. That makes us feel really good that they’re going to be able to see a conclusion that is emotional, that is epic, that is going to make sense, that they can emote with and go through our characters and watch them on their final journey and put this show away in a manner that is worthy to all the hours they’ve invested in our characters. The only thing it does is make the pencil be a little bit more sharp, that’s all.

Leonard Nimoy says he returned to Fringe largely due to enjoying the idea of playing a villain, and might return next season.

Two additional genre shows deal in different ways with alternate realities–Awake and Once Upon A Time. Last week’s episode of Awake, Say Hello To My Little Friend, had Britten unconscious in the Rex world. He spent most of the episode in the world where his wife remained alive, unable to return to the other world until he figured out that the little friend he was having visions of was actually another police office who was involved in the conspiracy to kill him. Realizing there was a conspiracy sets up the two-part series finale.

There were a number of points of significance in this episode. It now looks more certain that the conspiracy was part of both worlds, but there is still no explanation as to why we have only seen talk of finishing the job in the Hannah universe should he not move to Oregon. Visions were once again a key part of an episode and the visions of Detective Hawkins were not completely limited to information which was already in Britten’s head. In one scene, the vision of Hawkins told Britten that the real world version of himself was outside, giving Britten information he otherwise would not have had. Another aspect of the series which has never been explained is timing in the two worlds. After living through a Monday in one world and going to bed does Britten then live through Monday in the other? In this case, Britten spent a long time in the Hannah world and then returned to the Rex world right after he passed out, by now on a previous day.

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Once Upon A Time moves between our world and a fairy-tale world, where the stories are sometimes different from those we have heard. Since the start of the show I’ve feared that the premise could not survive several years, as should Emma ever be successful the story would be over.  Over time the format could get tedious if we always knew that Emma could not reverse the curse. However, the show comes from the creators of Lost, raising speculation that there could be real game changers to rejuvenate the show each season. This is suggested in the video interview with Raphael Sbarge above. The show’s co-creators Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz also suggested a Lost-style reset in this interview:

TVLINE | What other drama is going on in Storybrooke outside of the Henry thing?
KITSIS | All of the stories in Storybrooke are going to be stemming from Henry falling.
HOROWITZ | They all kind of converge around that pivot point. And the intensity does grow.

TVLINE | How is August doing? Is he flipping through termite control ads?
HOROWITZ | We do check in on August and his condition, and that does play a part in the finale. Everybody’s agendas – Regina’s, Gold’s, August’s – all sort of intertwine around this crisis point.

TVLINE | What is Mr. Gold’s particular take on the Henry situation?
KITSIS | We got his take in the last episode, where Regina says she came up with a sleeping curse, and he says, “All magic has a price.” So… magic has a price! It’s just a question of who pays it.

TVLINE | We’ve kind of come full circle on the Snow White story – she’s bitten the apple, and in the pilot Prince Charming rescued her. Or will the fairytale land be subject to a finale twist of its own?
KITSIS | The finale will kind of tie up some loose ends to their story, and at the same time present a new avenue for Season 2. But…. Well….
HOROWITZ | “We don’t want to tell you,” is what it is. [Laughs]

TVLINE | I guess my bigger question here is: Should we prepare for some Lost-style “reset”? Will this be an instance of the playing field changing Sunday at 8:59 pm?
HOROWITZ | How the audience perceives it, we can’t anticipate, but for us it does change the playing field. We like to think what we’re doing is evolving the show so that it remains true to what it’s been this year, but it takes a step forward into something new.
KITSIS | I feel like the best way to experience the finale is to say, “What the hell are they going to do?”
HOROWITZ | And one of our other goals with the finale – you’ll tell us whether we succeed or not – is that at the end of it you say, “What the hell are they going to do next?”

TVLINE | Will the finale introduce any new players to the canvas?
KITSIS | It will introduce some new… story ideas. But as far as new characters, if you’re talking, like, Michelle Rodriguez showing up at the end of a Lost finale, no. That’s not to say there won’t be new characters next year; but this finale is about the characters we’ve introduced.
HOROWITZ | And there may be some old characters seen in a new way.

TVLINE | What gamut of emotions will viewers be going through during, say, the final 60 seconds?
KITSIS |All of them.
HOROWITZ | Our hope is that in those final moments, there is a combination of satisfaction and also intense surprise.
KITSIS | The emotion you’ll be feeling is, “Holy, holy, holy s—t.”

The Beatles have been mentioned on Mad Men in the past, but this week they managed to have a Beatles song played during the show. While Matthew Weiner has denied the exact figure, there has been speculation that it cost around $250,000 to get the rights to play Tomorrow Never Knows during the episode. Different articles on the subject quoted prices between $50,000 and $100,000 as typical for getting song rights for a television show. If Mad Men is going to provide a strong presentation of the 1960’s, it makes sense to pay what it takes to include the Beatles, considering  how important they were to music of the era.

The big question after last week’s episode, beyond how they got the rights to a Beatles song, was why Rory Gilmore would hook up with Pete Campbell. Pete showed how creepy he could be when he returned to her house with her husband, but at least this was not as bad as when he tried with that high school student in a recent episode. You would think he would be satisfied with Alison Brie.

The Avengers showed considerable destruction in Manhattan (with much of it occurring just down the block from a hotel on 5th Avenue where I had stayed a few years ago). The Hollywood Reporter obtained the opinion Kinetic Analysis Corp., one of the leading disaster-cost prediction and assessment firms in the nation, as to the cost of the damage:

In an exclusive report for THR, KAC, led by Chuck Watson and Sara Jupin, employed computer models used for predicting the destruction of nuclear weapons and concluded that the physical damage of the invasion would be $60 billion-$70 billion, with economic and cleanup costs hitting $90 billion. Add on the loss of thousands of lives, and KAC puts the overall price tag at $160 billion.

For context, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks cost $83 billion, Hurricane Katrina cost $90 billion, and the tsunami in Japan last year washed away $122 billion.

Although many buildings in the fight’s East Midtown arena suffered extensive structural damage, most were limited to the more superficial destruction of windows, facade and some interiors. Those buildings that had their tops crushed, though, would be especially costly and time-consuming to fix, as would be Grand Central Station, through which a warship crashed.

“The extensive damage to Grand Central Terminal could prove highly disruptive, depending on the subsurface damage to the subway system,” KAC notes. “Although such damage is unlikely, as the 9/11 events showed, collapsing buildings can cause significant damage to subsurface infrastructure such as gas, communications and electrical systems. Detailed site surveys will be required to assess the state of the subterranean infrastructure.”

KAC also predicts that liability would be a major issue. Who, exactly, will have to pay for the damage? S.H.I.E.L.D., they note, is likely protected as a government agency, though probes eventually will look into its role in predicting, preventing and responding to the invasion — just as they looked into the Ghostbusters.

“Most insurance policies have special provisions for acts of war, civil unrest or terrorism,” KAC adds. “Given the involvement of individuals considered deities in some cultures (Thor, Loki), there is even the potential to classify the event as an ‘act of God,’ though that designation would be subject to strenuous theological and legal debate.”

Watson said he was surprised by a lower-than-expected total. “Compared to the aliens in Independence Day, for example, these guys were amateurs,” he told THR. “Of course, the Chitauri/Loki alliance were more interested in conquest and ruling, whereas the ID aliens were just looking for lunch or something.”

Despite the damage, The Avengers has helped in the sale of one type of food–Schwarma. If you saw the movie and do not understand this, you failed to stay for both scenes during the credits.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=EgB6IVsuc0A#!

Craig Ferguson is returning to Scotland for a week of shows. From the promo it looks like he might have used a TARDIS to get there.

Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill have left the TARDIS. Here is a video of them leaving the set of Doctor Who for the last time. Jenna-Louise Coleman will be taking over. Steven Moffat has commented on the next companion, and what type of person becomes a companion:

Moffat has said that while the new character will “shock”, there will be familiar elements. He said: “I’ll answer you in the show about how it’s going to be different. But because it is going to be different. It’s going to be a shock, I think. In terms of the companions all being ‘the same’ – that’s not as phony or artistically crap a thing to say as it sounds.

“What is the base group of people who would run away with the Doctor? They’re all going to be a bit mad. A bit dislocated. Not happy with where they are. Are they yearning for outer space? They’re going to be people who feel like they can take on the Doctor, who’s quite an intimidating sort of person. So, they’re going to be feisty – they’re going to be all those things. He sort of defines the people who are going to travel with him. The distinction comes very much from the various actors and actresses. So, you know, they’re the ones who create the differences between them. But you are always going to have the same sort of person, just because it’s the same man choosing them, and it”s the same person being chosen.”

Moffat also addressed the trend for the companions usually being young women. He said: “I think the function of a companion is pretty simple. I don’t think that’s very difficult. It’s just a question of who credibly is going to agree to go in the TARDIS? Who’s going to do it? Is it going to be a mother of 15 children? No. Is it going to be someone in their 60s? No. Is there going to be a particular age range? I mean… who’s going to have a crush on the Doctor? You know, come on! It’s more than a format. It’s evolved from good, dramatic reasons.”

This has not been a good time for renewal of genre shows on network television. Fringe is coming back for one final abbreviated season but shows including Alcatraz and Awake are not returning. Community also returns for a short season. While there is not official word as to whether this will be its final season, moving the show to Friday probably places it at greater risk.

SciFi Weekend: Awake, Game of Thrones, Favorite Walterisms From Fringe, Once Upon A TIme, Sherlock, Community Returns, Shows On The Bubble

This week’s episode of Awake, Guilty, did little to progress the mythology of the show, but did address how Michael’s son and wife were coping with the loss of the other in each reality. There was no further mention of the ending from last week regarding the car crash. Things were very similar in both worlds–so much so that Michael  could use sleeping pills to go to sleep and find out where a falsely convicted man had a hiding place in the dessert after his counterpart was killed in one realilty. Having things be so similar, including both having hide outs in the same location, was a different situation from last week when the same person was a fertility specialist in one reality and a homeless man in the other. The previews suggest that next week’s episode will again have a character who is different in each reality.

The idea of taking sleeping pills to change from one reality to the other came from actor Jason Isscs:

Awake actor Jason Issacs says over the next several episodes, the series will begin to examine some of the implications of Michael’s ability to fall asleep and change from one reality to the next.

That examination will begin with tonight’s episode when something happens to his teenage son in one universe and Michael takes extreme methods to try and go to the other to find clues that may help him get his son back.

Issacs says he came on the idea that Michael could take sleeping pills in order to fall asleep in one universe and wake up in the other.

“That was my idea – “Please let me take a fistful of pills” – and Howard Gordon went, “Great idea.” And there it was on the page next day,” Issacs says. There are not that many stories in the world, so it’s always about execution, and taste, and tone. And you very smartly put your finger on one of the hats that’s in the ring – how many interesting and different ways can we think of to make him pass out and go to sleep? There’s a bunch of people in that writers building that you’d like to be on a desert island with, because they continue to get more and more creative as the series goes on. They spread their wings until they’re just flying.”

Issacs says that idea will extend into next week’s episode and the question of Michael losing consciousness in one reality will shift him to the other.

“Any drop in consciousness. There’s an episode coming up where we play with every permutation of what you can do with this guy. You know that old showbiz maxim, “Nobody buys a ticket to watch the village of the happy people”? We send this guy to hell and back, and one way we play with him is to make him unconscious as often as possible, and we do it in every way you can dream of. Knocked out, getting medicated, being drugged against his will,” Issacs says.

HBO has released the synopses for the first five episodes of Game of Thrones:

Season 2, Episode 1: “The North Remembers” (April 1)
“As Robb Stark and his northern army continue the war against the Lannisters, Tyrion arrives in King’s Landing to counsel Joffrey and temper the young king’s excesses. On the island of Dragonstone, Stannis Baratheon plots an invasion to claim his late brother’s throne, allying himself with the fiery Melisandre, a strange priestess of a stranger god. Across the sea, Daenerys, her three young dragons and khalasar trek through the Red Waste in search of allies, or water. In the North, Bran presides over a threadbare Winterfell, while beyond the Wall, Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch must shelter with a devious wildling.”

Season 2, Episode 2: “The Night Lands” (April 8)
“In the wake of a bloody purge in the capital, Tyrion chastens Cersei for alienating the king’s subjects. On the road north, Arya shares a secret with Gendry, a Night’s Watch recruit. With supplies dwindling, one of Dany’s scouts returns with news of their position. After nine years as a Stark ward, Theon Greyjoy reunites with his father Balon, who wants to restore the ancient Kingdom of the Iron Islands. Davos enlists Salladhor Saan, a pirate, to join forces with Stannis and Melisandre for a naval invasion of King’s Landing.”

Season 2, Episode 3: “What Is Dead May Never Die” (April 15)
“At the Red Keep, Tyrion plots three alliances through the promise of marriage.  Catelyn arrives in the Stormlands to forge an alliance of her own. But King Renly, his new wife Margaery and her brother Loras Tyrell have other plans. At Winterfell, Luwin tries to decipher Bran’s dreams.”

Season 2, Episode 4: “Garden of Bones” (April 22)
“Joffrey punishes Sansa for Robb’s victories, while Tyrion and Bronn scramble to temper the king’s cruelty. Catelyn entreats Stannis and Renly to forego their ambitions and unite against the Lannisters. Dany and her exhausted khalasar arrive at the gates of Qarth, a prosperous city with strong walls and rulers who greet her outside them. Tyrion coerces a queen’s man into being his eyes and ears.  Arya and Gendry are taken to Harrenhal, where their lives rest in the hands of “The Mountain,” Gregor Clegane. Davos must revert to his old ways and smuggle Melisandre into a secret cove.”

Season 2, Episode 5: “The Ghost of Harrenhal” (April 29)
“The end of the Baratheon rivalry drives Catelyn to flee and Littlefinger to act. At King’s Landing, Tyrion’s source alerts him to Joffrey’s flawed defense plan and a mysterious secret weapon. Theon sails to the Stony Shore to prove he’s worthy to be called Ironborn. In Harrenhal, Arya receives a promise from Jaqen H’ghar, one of three prisoners she saved from the Gold Cloaks. The Night’s Watch arrive at the Fist of the First Men, an ancient fortress where they hope to stem the advance of the wildling army.”

The Fringe Team’s favorite Walterisms, collected at WonderCon in the video above.

Once Upon A Time had a new twist to the Little Red Riding Hood story. The TV Addict interviewed Meghan Ory about the twist in her role:

So how long have you know about the juicy nugget that you’re the big, bad wolf?
MEGHAN:  I’ve know for a little while.  A few episodes in, the boys called me up and said, “Guess what?  You’re the wolf!”

When you auditioned to the show, they didn’t say, “Hey, by the way . . . “?
MEGHAN:  They did not tell me.  They did not.  I think it might have changed a few things about my audition perhaps.  But it was very exciting when I found out.

What did you think when they first told you?  Did you think, “Oh no!” or “Oh, cool!”?
MEGHAN:  I was intrigued. I thought it was a really cool twist and something that most people probably wouldn’t see coming and it was kind of something different for the show too.  So I was pretty excited about it.

Did it start informing your performance once you found out?  As far as changing the way you were portraying Ruby?
MEGHAN:  A little bit.  But not too much.  I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to do with her.  And also since we hadn’t seen the wolf in Storybrooke, it was more a Red thing, and we hadn’t seen Red that much.

Have they clued you in on whether Ruby can transform in Storybrooke, or is that part of the curse?  That isn’t something she has to worry about?
MEGHAN:  Well, I think that’s going to be a very interesting story to find out about.

Jennifer Morrison talks about what is coming up on the show here.

 

In a post at The Guardian which is primarily about Mark Gattis joining Being Human, there are some comments about the cliff hanger to Sherlock (major spoiler for those who have not seen the season two finale:

Earlier this year Steven Moffat suggested that feverish fan theories as to how Holmes had faked his own death had missed one vital clue. So does Gatiss think the truth could now be out there? “There’s some very clever theories, some of them elaborate, and I enjoy them all. But if I were to tell you if someone had worked it out then it wouldn’t be a secret.” Which, of course, isn’t an answer. So I try again. Has somebody somewhere now worked it out? “It may be, sort of, in some of the theories. There’s a lot of very clever people out there … ”

Gatiss points to certain theories beyond his wildest imagination, and admits to being happily shocked by the frenzy that surrounded Holmes’ jump. “I’ve never known something become such a public talking point.” And one that shows little sign of abating. “It’ll be worth the wait,” he promises.

On the planned US Sherlock Holmes update, starring Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, he pauses for a moment. “All I can say … is no comment.”

According to the BBC’s in-house magazine, Sherlock won’t begin filming until early 2013, meaning that we won’t see a resolution to the cliff hanger until at least spring. We might not have that answer, but if anyone is wondering about Benedict Cumberbatch’s favorite songs, they can check here.

I  am sure happy that Community has returned. It is the only sit-com to deal with topics including seven alternative realities, a parody of My Dinner With Andre, and paintball fights–plus in contrast to HBO, no horses were killed during the production of this show. Community remains on the bubble, but the ratings of the show compared to other NBC comedies leaves reason to be optimistic. While it might have benefited by all the hype surrounding its return, as well as not being up against The Big Bang Theory this week, Community has done better than 30 Rock and the first episode back beat most NBC shows:

This season, except all 18 episodes of The Office, all six episodes of Smash (following The Voice), three episodes of Shitney (1.01, 1.02 and 1.03, all after The Office), three episodes of Up All Night (1.01 (after the America’s Got Talent finale), 1.02 (time-period première) and 1.04) and the season premiere of Law & Order : Special Victim Unit, not a single scripted NBC show has done better than last Thursday’s Community episode.

The demographics of the viewers were also quite favorable. Favorable reviews, such as this one from The New York Times, is certainly helpful.

Community has also been picked up for syndication by the Comedy Channel. Another few years worth of episodes should make syndication even more lucrative. Huffington Post has a handy chart of all the relationships on the show.

Buddy TV has an interview with Joel McHale:

With Jeff’s ties to both Annie and Britta, will there be any kind of development in either (or both) of those relationships this season?
There’s no romantic development really; there will be little things here and there. But as Dan has always done, he mixes up the couples all the time. It’s like being in a really close group of friends in high school – they keep pairing up in different ways. But because the group has to fend for its life against all these outside pressures–like the air conditioning repair school, Chang’s ascent to power with an army of 13-year-old boys he gets from a Bar Mitzvah, and the group gets expelled–those things have to be resolved first.

How long is the group expelled for?
They’re expelled forever. They all go work at a Jamba Juice together.

This has often been called the darkest season of ‘Community’ – any hints or teasers as to how things get darker in the coming episodes?
A few characters die, in a hilarious way – that’s dark. Troy and Abed get into a pretty big fight. There’s a full-scale blanket fort war. It’s not like it’s become macabre or scary, but it definitely gets darker than usual. But I think that’s where Dan and the other writers operate best. One of the most praised episodes of last season was the Dungeon and Dragons episode (“Advanced Dungeon and Dragons”), which dealt with a guy who was going to commit suicide. So I think the writers are happy to dance around the lasers right now.

Among other genre shows, Once Upon A Time is believed to have an excellent chance for renewal and Person of Interest was officially renewed in the past week. Over at Fox, Terra Nova has officially been cancelled while Alcatraz and Fringe remain in danger.

The movie version of 24 has been delayed, but now there are reports that it will be turned into a trilogy.

Saturn Award Nominations Released

The 2012 Saturn Award nominees are out. I wonder if this has ever happened before–two movies up for best movie in the Fantasy category were also nominees for an Academy Award. My choice as top genre movie of the year, Midnight in Paris, is one of them. Hugo is also nominated. While I’m not going to bother second guessing categorization, I don’t really see Hugo as qualifying as a fantasy movie, but as it is in contention I wouldn’t be surprised if it beats Midnight in Paris. I also wonder how well the last Harry Potter movie will do, but personally I was very disappointed in it. Going beyond the Fantasy category, another Oscar nominee is also in contention for a Saturn award–War Horse.

My choice for best hard science fiction movie of the year, Source Code, didn’t make it into the nominations for Best Science Fiction Film. I had predicted the ending early, but did enjoy watching it play out. The Adjustment Bureau was also enjoyable, but The Twilight Zone handled the same idea much better in the past. I find it interesting that X-Men and Captain America were nominated under Science Fiction while Thor was considered Fantasy. Again, I’m not going to dwell over categorization and am more interested in seeing the top genre movies recognized, regardless of category. I should also point out that my choices for top movies are limited by the fact that I’ve seen most but not all of the nominated movies.

Here are the nominations in various categories for best film:

Best Science Fiction Film:
The Adjustment Bureau
Captain America: The First Avenger
Limitless
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Super 8
X-Men: First Class

Best Fantasy Film:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Hugo
Immortals
Midnight in Paris
The Muppets
Thor

Best Horror/Thriller Film:
Contagion
The Devil’s Double
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Grey
Take Shelter
The Thing

Best Action/Adventure Film:
Fast Five
The Lincoln Lawyer
Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol
Red Tails
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
War Horse

Moving on to television, I’d choose Doctor Who as best over all if that was a choice, but it is limited a nomination as a youth-oriented show. I’d pick Fringe as Best Network Television Series, and is there any doubt that Game of Thrones will win for Best Presentation on Television (10 Episodes or Less)? I will abstain from making a pick as  Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series as there are a couple of shows listed which I’ve heard very good things about but have not seen yet.

Best Network Television Series:
Fringe
A Gifted Man
Grimm
Once Upon a Time
Supernatural
Terra Nova

Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series:
American Horror Story
Breaking Bad
The Closer
Dexter
Leverage
True Blood

Best Presentation on Television (10 Episodes or Less):
Camelot Starz
Falling Skies
Game of Thrones
The Killing
Torchwood: Miracle Day
Trek Nation
The Walking Dead

Best Youth-Oriented Series on Television:
Being Human
Doctor Who
The Nine Lives of Chloe King
Secret Circle
Teen Wolf
The Vampire Diaries

There are multiple other categories in play including best actor and actress, but I won’t bother with those tonight in protest over the absence of Karen Gillan among the nominees. The full list can be found here.

SciFi Weekend: Secrets of Fringe and Alcatraz; The Economics of Building The Death Star; Community, Inspector Spacetime and The Game of Thrones Returning; Nude Shots of Kate Middleton on Californication?

The last two episodes of Fringe have included major advances to the plot in the alternative time line as Olivia began having memories from the Olivia of the original time line, we encountered the Nina from the universe, and Peter entered the mind of an Observer. The big revelation was that problems were caused by Peter having a child with Altlivia instead of Olivia. Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman were interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter last week, and Collider has a more recent interview:

Was the Observer intel something you’ve been wanting to reveal for awhile now?

WYMAN: Well, we always said that you’d find out about the Observers this season, and that we’re going to investigate them a lot more. So, we’re excited about it all because the Observers are a highlight. For us to constantly break what you think you know, and re-set and have viewers go, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming,” that’s why we get up in the morning. It’s to take people on the ride. We’re excited about what’s coming up, too.

This season, there have been some really great singular cases and stand-alone episodes, but “The End of All Things” was mythology heavy and really speaks to the larger arc this season. How will that effect what viewers see in the final stretch this season?

PINKNER: Well, it’s definitely a game-changer, in that our characters learn a lot more, and the audience is going to learn a lot more, about the uber-plot of our season bad guy, David Robert Jones (Jared Harris). For Peter (Joshua Jackson), Olivia (Anna Torv) and Walter (John Noble), it’s going to start to unfold in ways that, hopefully, will be both really satisfying and challenging to our characters. It’s the 14th episode out of 22, and it’s very much a hinge episode that’s going to launch us into the back half portion of the season.

Do you already know what the final episode for this season will be?

PINKNER: No, we have not written the finale, but we do know what it is. We’ve known the shape of our season before we even started this year.

WYMAN: Fortunately, at the end of every season, we close the chapter and start anew. That’s the language of the series now, so it can organically come to a conclusion that we love.

How soon is it going to become evident what David Robert Jones’ (Jared Harris) uber-plan is, specifically, and how Olivia fits into it?

WYMAN: We can’t say anything, but just remember that, on Fringe, nothing is as it seems. There’s always a little more to the story behind the story. He’s definitely a large part, going forward. A lot of things will come full circle.

jared-harris-fringe-image

PINKNER: We’re well aware of how intelligent our audience is. We’re well aware that Fringe is a show that you really need to lean forward into and pay attention to and think about. It’s not designed to be a show that you can watch while you’re folding laundry. So, we’re well aware of the questions that our audience is inevitably going to ask. We’re well aware of how carefully they watch the show and hold us to continuity. We’re certainly aware of the debates that are going to occur. Our audience holds us to an incredibly high standard of continuity and emotional authenticity. We don’t toy with that, but oftentimes we write stories, in order to spark debate. We’re very determined to always give the answer. We don’t want to leave a lot of things open to debate, at the end of the day.

Episodes of Alcatraz have a formula in which a different prisoner from Alcatraz shows up in the present and must be apprehended every week. Some of the prison staff has also been seen in the present, but very little has been revealed as to what is really going on. Whether the show is successful as a genre show as opposed to a crime show with a twist will depend upon how the mythology of the show is developed. With cancellation of the series a strong possibility after this season, I have feared that we might be kept hanging without real answers. In an interview with TV Guide, executive producers Jennifer Johnson and Dan Pyne indicate that we will receive answers by the end of this season:

Is there a particular reason why Alcatraz prison became the focus point of the disappearance?
Johnson:
Yeah. There are theories that our characters have. We’ll talk about what those theories are by the end of the season, but they may not be the real ones. We’ll understand what Hauser thinks about it and what his think-tank thinks about it, but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. We may meet a character by the end of the season who does know that specific answer, who probably has a lot more answers than any of the characters we’ve met so far.

Dissecting Alcatraz‘s Mysteries: How many ’63s are working with Hauser?

Will we learn who the powers that be are and what their motives are this season? Or is that a series arc?
Pyne:
Well, it’s a little of both. I think by the end of [Episode] 13 we’ll have an understanding of who that might be.
Johnson:
That’s the character that we were referring to. He might be part of the powers that be.
Pyne: But definitely by the end of the season there will be more of a sense of the game that’s afoot. We won’t be coy about it and keep holding back. There will be a better sense of what’s going on. We may not understand what the endgame is, but at least the players will become a little bit clearer.
Johnson:
It’s complicated because they don’t all have the same goals, which we’re going to hit upon before the end of the season. There’s almost a secret war happening between the ’63s, too. That all interplays with what their relationships were in the past when they were imprisoned or working on Alcatraz.

Is there a reason why some of the ’63s have gone against mission?
Pyne:
Yes.
Johnson: We won’t say definitively, but we’ll give people the tools to have pretty informed theories about it.

What’s with the fascination with the number three — three keys, three bank robberies and three days of sniper shootings are just some of the few?
Pyne:
There may be more than one number clue.
Johnson:
Forty-seven is an important number, too. But we like three for its stability and the idea that it’s a triangle. We talk about triangles a lot and relationships that have three angles in them.

Dissecting Alcatraz‘s Mysteries: Who is Lucy, really?

Lucy had mentioned in the past that she was going to fix the prisoners with memory-altering experiments. Did she end up being a puzzle piece in the overall mystery of how the ’63s disappeared?
Pyne:
She definitely is a puzzle piece, yes. We may not stick with this forever, but right now, everything that’s happened in the past has happened chronologically in 1960. So, there’s still three years left before the jump. Clearly, allegiances change. Stuff happens in those three years between the time when Lucy comes to prison to start her experiments and 1963 when she obviously disappeared along with everybody else. Certainly, she has some answers to what might have gone on, but she also may not even understand. She didn’t understand at the time what was going on. It may be just now looking back at it that she can start to unravel what she saw.
Johnson:
Yeah, helping the team unravel by knowing the psychology of the inmates. But the Warden (Jonny Coyne) is very Machiavellian. He does not want the left hand to know what the right hand is doing. So, he may utilize different players for their different challenges. But part of his M.O. is not to let any one person know too much of what is going on.

Diego mentioned in the pilot that the Warden had died many years ago. Did he really or is he part of the missing ’63s?
Pyne:
It’s possible.

Will we discover how Lucy came to work with Hauser in the future and see more of their relationship in the past?
Johnson:
Yes. Definitely, 100 percent.
Pyne:
Their love story is one of the great triangles of Alcatraz.
Johnson:
It’s kind of the love triangle between Hauser, Lucy, and the jump itself.

Dissecting Alcatraz‘s Mysteries: Why is Tommy Madsen so important?

Will we find out what Dr. Beauregard (Leon Rippy) was doing behind closed doors at Alcatraz?
Pyne:
You may find out soon, in the next couple episodes. Then once you find out, you may be totally wrong, but you will see some of what he’s up to. He’s a little bit jealous of Lucy’s elevation to the prize poodle on Alcatraz, so he gets up to some hijinks that he maybe shouldn’t.

What can you tell us about the downstairs door that needs to be opened with three keys?
Johnson:
That we’re going to open it before the end of the season. We’ll understand by the end of the season what’s behind that door, at least one layer of it. It was very important to the Warden. There may only be one person that he shares that secret with.

We learned Diego was kidnapped at age 11. Will that come back into play?
Johnson:
That’s his deep, deep back story and a lot of what motivated his fascination with Alcatraz and with comic books. We won’t necessarily go there before the end of the season, but that is part of who he is as a character and why he became part of this team.

Dissecting Alcatraz‘s Mysteries: Hauser and Lucy’s past revealed

Once Rebecca does finally come face-to-face with Tommy, will she be able to let bygones be bygones and realize that he is still her family?
Pyne:
Gosh.
Johnson:
We know the answer to that, but I don’t think we can tell you.

What can you tell us about what is in store for her?
Pyne:
She begins to get a little bit more focused on solving the mystery of what happened to her partner and delving into that day and why he was there. It slowly leads her to some revelations about her partner about the larger mystery of Alcatraz and also about Tommy Madsen.
Johnson:
And what everybody is doing here present day. They discover that there are different factions of ’63s here in present day San Francisco and beyond.

Sarah Jones, who plays Detective Rebecca Madsen, also indicated that there will be pay off for the fans in the last two episodes in an interview with Collider.

Last week the political blogosphere debated whether the Death Star was worth building. Kevin Drum looked at the economics and found that it was a surprisingly cost-effective weapon. A post at Enik Rising argued that it was a bad investment, even if affordable. I bet that such debates prior to the building of the Death Star didn’t take Luke Skywalker into consideration.

Community returns on March 15. There will also be a web series of Inspector Spacetime, a British time travel show which began in 1992 according to Community. Geeks of Doom has more information:

Inspector Spacetime, the Doctor Who-spoofing character whose cheeky sci-fi exploits are vastly enjoyed by Community characters Abed (Danny Pudi) and Troy (Donald Glover), will soon be seen in his very own web series, but don’t expect to see any cameos from certain Greendale Community College students. Travis Richey, the Inspector himself, is producing the six-episode series independently.

You can expect to see the Inspector and his trusty sidekick Constable Reginald battle their arch-nemesis Boyish the Extraordinary and take on the Blorgons of Second New Old Earth 7 with the aid of the Inspector’s “optic pocketknife.”

Richey wrote to io9 to further clarify his intentions for the web series:

“Dan Harmon, Community, NBC and Sony have nothing to do with this web series. I pitched it to them after my first episode of Community, but never heard back from them one way or another. So I’m going to do it myself, with the help of fans. I’m launching a Kickstarter campaign in a matter of hours for an equipment budget, and the complete story can be read there.”

The Game of Thrones returns on April 1 (preview above).

The BBC made a pilot for a series loosely based upon Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently novels in 2010. A three episode series begins on BBC 4 on March 5.

Emilie de Ravin of Lost, who also appears in Once Upon A Time as Belle this season, c0-stars in a pilot for ABC:

Lost alumna Emilie de Ravin is set to co-star in another ABC drama series project,  pilot Americana, a soap about a famous fashion industry clan. It centers on iconic fashion designer Robert Soulter (Anthony LaPaglia), the patriarch of a sprawling family who just welcomed a new member, a young designer whose shocking arrival turns the family and the legendary label inside out. De Ravin, repped by Gersh and manager Darren Goldberg, will play Robert’s chic and outgoing daughter Francesca who is the head of events at Americana but Robert doesn’t consider her a candidate for the heir to his empire, which may have treacherous consequences. Michael Seitzman wrote the script, with Phillip Noyce, who helmed the pilot for ABC’s Revenge last year, directing.

Camilla Luddington, who played Kate Middleton in the Lifetime movie William & Kate, has more recently had a role in Californication. In last week’s episode she was repeatedly seen naked in scenes ranging from swimming in the nude to getting caught by Charlie Runkle while getting out of the shower. In is safe to assume this is the closest we will ever get to seeing any version of Kate Middleton nude on television. Pictures are under the fold if you are seeing this on the main web page (double click on the pictures for larger versions).

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