SciFi Weekend: Time After Time; Arrow; X-Men Casting News; Dark; Sense8; Santa Clarita Diet; Shows From Matthew Weiner and Amy Sherman-Palladino on Amazon; Doctor Who; Star Trek Discovery Air Date; Saturday Night Live

Time After Time is the next network time travel show to premiere. TV Guide answers some questions about it:

Is this really about Sexy Jack the Ripper and Sexy H.G. Wells? Boy, is it! You see, back in the day, before H.G. Wells wrote any of his now legendary novels, he apparently built a real time machine. He was showing off this game-changing piece of machinery to his good friend John — who, as it turns out, is actually the notorious anonymous serial killer Jack the Ripper. And once John discovers the authorities were hot on his tail, he uses the time machine to hightail it to modern-day New York City. Realizing he’s the only one who can stop John from killing again, H.G. follows his old friend to the future, where the world’s sexiest cat-and-mouse game begins!

Is it weird to feel attracted to Jack the Ripper? Yes and no. It’s totally weird to be sexually attracted to a serial killer, but the charismatic power of Josh Bowman is also impossibly hard to deny. Plus, this version of Jack the Ripper isn’t completely evil. There is a part of John that does want to change and leave his psychopathic, murderous tendencies behind. It’s a small part, but it’s big enough that you should feel slightly less confused by your newfound crush on the legendary murderer…

Don’t we have enough time-travel shows on TV right now? While time-travel is definitely one of the TV trends of the season, Time After Time isn’t exactly a time-travel show. In its second episode, the drama establishes its rules for time travel – ones which make it very dangerous to actually travel through time too often. That’s why H.G. Wells doesn’t simply go back in time to stop John from ever taking the time machine in the first place. It’s also why the show only time-travels four times in the first season.

Instead, Time After Time is far more interested in exploring how H.G. Wells’ adventures in modern-day Manhattan eventually inspire him to write The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, The Island of Dr. Moreau and War of the Worlds, which is a fun way to fully take advantage of having H.G. Wells as the show’s dashing protagonist.

The identity of Prometheus has been revealed on Arrow. TV Line spoke with the show’s producer and actor who played him, noting how this differs from the comics:

In the comics, Chase’s alter ego is Vigilante, but the producers chose to flip the script “because everybody would be thinking, ‘Of course he’s going to be Vigilante,’” executive producer Wendy Mericle explains. “We thought it would be a really fun twist to… take the comic-book mythology and turn it on its head and see what kind of story we can mine from a surprise like that. It was also something different for this season. We wanted to change up how we introduced the Big Bad and when we did it.”

…Although viewers are now aware of Prometheus’ true face — he exposed his mug to the audience when he took off his mask following a fight with Vigilante — Team Arrow will remain in the dark for the time being. As a result, the show gets to have “fun” as the characters continue to “interact with Adrian Chase in City Hall and elsewhere without knowing his real identity,” Mericle describes. “We’re going to play around with that for a little while before we let Oliver and the team find out.”

And find out they will, possibly sooner rather than later. “We’re not going to leave it to the end of the season,” Segarra promises. “We’re going to get to watch the pot get stirred a little bit. It’s hard because I already know how [Oliver] reacts, and I love the way it goes. You’re going to see Chase just kind of trying to burn the world around him.”

While we no know the identity of Prometheus, we will probably not learn the identity of the person under the vigilante mask this season.

Regardless of whether they are able to use the X-Men name, we will be seeing a lot of the X-Men in some form on television. ABC will be getting an Inhumans show. FX already has premiered Legion (which is highly recommended). Fox has some casting news on their upcoming untitled show. This includes Natalie Alyn Lind of Gotham:

Written by Matt Nix and directed by Bryan Singer, the pilot focuses on two ordinary parents who discover their children possess mutant powers. Forced to go on the run from a hostile government, the family joins up with an underground network of mutants and must fight to survive. Lind will play Lauren, one of the children at the center of the story. Smart, pretty, popular, organized and already ahead on her college applications, Lauren is the model of a perfect kid.

Amy Acker, who has a lot of genre experience in shows including Angel, Dollhouse, and Person of Interest, will play the other female lead:

Acker will star as Kate Stewart, a woman who is struggling with her separation from her husband, Reed (True Blood‘s Stephen Moyer), and her increasingly challenging teenage children. When her family situation takes a dark turn, she finds that she’s stronger than she thinks.

As noted above, Stephen Moyer has been cast as the male lead:

Moyer will play Reed, an ambitious attorney trying to balance the demands of his job at the DA’s office with his responsibilities to his family.

Patrick Stewart recently announced his retirement with regards to playing Professor X, but now states he might reprise the role in a Deadpool sequel. As I posted on Friday, he has also announced plans to become an American citizen to help fight Donald Trump. Make it so!

Netflix has released a teaser for Dark, an upcoming show being made in Germany, which appears somewhat like a darker version of Stranger Things. The description reads, “A missing child sets four families on a frantic hunt for answers. Their search for a culprit unearths a small town’s sins and secrets.”

Netflix is reassembling the cast for a potential third season of Sense8. The second season will be released May 5.

While reviews have been mixed, I’ve been  hearing a lot of great buzz from viewers of Santa Clarita Diet. We binged a large portion of the season last night and, while certainly not a hard-core zombie show, it was very enjoyable.

Mathew Weiner’s next show, The Romanoffs, to be on Amazon Prime, sounds nothing like Mad Men:

“Romanoffs” will consist of eight hourlong episodes, each of which will tell a standalone story with no recurring plot elements or actors. The only common thread is that each episode will tell the stories of people in contemporary times who believe they are descendants of the imperial family that ruled Russia from 1613 until the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917…

Weiner came up with the notion for “Romanoffs” about a year ago, after a long break following the end of his work on “Mad Men” in late 2014. He had the chance to watch other TV shows “in a non-competitive atmosphere,” and he realized that there was room for a show of this nature. “The rise of (Netflix’s) ‘Black Mirror’ made it easier for me to explain it, even though this show is not in that genre,” he said.

Amy Sherman-Palladino also has a pilot for Amazon:

After venturing into streaming TV with Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life on Netflix last fall, the show’s creator Amy Sherman-Palladino is trying her hand with Amazon this spring. The site announced today that Palladino’s pilot, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, will be among the batch of programs up in pilot season starting on March 17. The one-hour pilot stars Rachel Brosnahan (House of Cards, Manhattan) as the titular Miriam “Midge” Maisel, a 1950s housewife who starts a career in stand-up comedy. Monk’s Tony Shalhoub will play her father; Michael Zegen (Boardwalk Empire) will play her husband. Alex Borstein (the original Sookie!) is also in the cast.

Speculation this week about the replacement for Peter Capaldi on Doctor Who includes Kris Marshall and Anthony Head. Doctor Who returns on April 15 with DoctorWho TV recapping everything which is known about the series so far.

After having been delayed twice, CBS is now saying that the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery will be in late summer or early fall.

The election of Donald Trump has been fantastic for the ratings of the late night comedy shows. Having Donald Trump as a regular target has improved the material on shows including The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Saturday Night Live. The cold open on SNL last night had Kate McKinnon portraying Jeff Sessions as Forest Gump. Of course Donald Trump will likely be upset about him being portrayed by a woman, as when Melissa McCartney played Sean Spicer.

Last night’s episode of SNL has also received a lot of buzz for the above skit:

“Saturday Night Live” just ran a nearly two-minute liberal’s dream sequence disguised as a movie trailer.

The trailer — which promises a Republican “patriot who will put country over party” — features a notable omission: a title character. The point is that no Republican has really stood up to President Trump. You get it.

Patrick Stewart To Obtain American Citizenship To Fight Trump

It is Captain Jon Luc Picard, or Professor X, depending upon which franchise you prefer, to the rescue. Patrick Stewart says he is applying for U.S. citizenship so that he can oppose Donald trump. NBC News reports

British actor Sir Patrick Stewart says he’s applying to become an American citizen so that he can oppose President Trump and his policies. Stewart opened up about his decision to apply for citizenship in the wake of the 2016 election on ABC’s The View Thursday.

“Maybe it’s the only good thing as a result of this election, I am now applying for citizenship,” Stewart said. “Because I want to be an American too because all of my friends in Washington said ‘There’s one thing you can do, fight, fight oppose, oppose! But I can’t do it because I’m not a citizen.”

Now that I have reported the real new, here is the alternative news: Picard is intervening in response to rumors of communications between Trump’s advisers and the Romulan Star Empire.

Donald Trump responded by declaring, “Resistance is Futile.”

In related alternative news, the Vulcan High Council has decided against initiating First Contact with earth after observing Donald Trump and his most illogical behavior.

SciFi Weekend: Hannibal; Mr Robot; Jessica Jones; Patrick Stewart; DC Television Universe; Star Wars Expansion at Disney; The Last Ship; Person of Interest; Homeland

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…And The Beast From The Sea continued the portrayal of Red Dragon on Hannibal, and provided the first glimpse of Hannibal Lecter wearing the mask he is famous for in the movies. Hannibal remained in contact with the Tooth Fairy, and even joked about using personal ads or notes on toilet paper to facilitate this in a reference to the novel where this was a more substantial plot point. Hannibal suggested that Dolarhyde  kill Will’s family, leaving viewers uncertain if he would succeed in killing Molly or Walter. Instead a guy just happening to drive by became the victim. Dolarhyde presumably also poisoned the dogs, but fortunately they also survived.
In some ways Hannibal seemed even more evil in this episode, placing Will’s family in risk in this manner. (“They’re not my family, Will”). To Hannibal, perhaps Will is his family, but Molly and Walter are just in the way. Elsewhere in the episode,it was not surprising to see Dolarhyde’s relationship with Reba fall apart, despite how Hannibal characterized the relationship.

Jack and Alana showed again that they do not really understand Hannibal, thinking he would assist them in tracking a call to Dolarhyde. Hannibal played with them, and then tipped off Dolarhyde  with the warning that they were listening. Hannibal had previously given Alana the ominous warning, “I always keep my promises.” Now it was Alana’s turn: “You’re not the only one who keeps their promises, Hannibal.” In response to this latest betrayal. She had all the amenities removed which kept Hannibal so comfortable, “The toilet, too.” As these were removed from the cell, the mask was placed on Hannibal for the safety of those in there.

Mr Robot Darlene

On Mr. Robot, Elliot had a brief meeting with the time-obsessed White Rose, but it was the meetings and surprise interactions between older characters on the show which were of greater interest. There is a major spoiler ahead for those who have not seen this episode yet.

The first big surprise was that Angela and Darlene not only knew each other, but at yoga class both talked about Elliot, showing concern for him. Later there was the meeting between Tyrell Wellick and Mr. Robot, with the two apparently working together, even if not entirely comfortably. This seems to confirm that Mr. Robot is real, but raises major questions, especially for those who think that Mr. Robot and Elliot are the same person.

The biggest scene was when Darlene told Elliot that she loves him, Elliot kissed her, and Darlene recoiled in horror asking, “Did you forget who I am?” Soon it was revealed that Darlene is Elliot’s sister. It was as if Luke had kissed Lea, but is Mr. Robot now Darth Vader?

This led to memories flooding into Elliot’s head. Going meta, Elliot looked at the camera and asked us viewers, “Were you in on this the whole time?” and then“Were you?” Maybe to some degree we are in on it, but we are also quite confused at the moment, also looking for answers.

There was the suggestion that Mr. Robot is Elliot’s father, previously said to be dead. This has been interpreted differently by fans who think that Mr. Robot and Elliot are different manifestations of the same person, and those who think he is a separate and real individual. Mr. Robot showed up at Elliot’s apartment to supposedly explain, so maybe we will learn the answer next week. I wonder if the show will move onto a quite different path as it heads toward its second season.

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Indiewire reports that Jessica Jones will be a psychological thriller, reporting statements from executive producer Jeph Loeb and showrunner Melissa Rosenberg at the TCA Press Tour. They also discussed a major role for David Tennant:

“When we first sat down and started talking about ‘Daredevil,’ what we said was, for all intents and purposes, it was a crime drama first and a superhero show second,” Loeb told the room. “One of the things we’ve talked a lot about is that ‘Jessica’ is in many ways a psychological thriller first and then a superhero show second.”

…Loeb then went on to say that Tennant’s role in the show would be a key part of what differentiates “Jessica Jones” from other superhero series: “What you get out of ‘Jessica’ is a sort of hold-your-breath tension as to what’s going to happen. When you see the dynamic between Krysten Ritter and David Tennant… that question of ‘What’s going to happen next?’ and ‘What could happen next?’ and how that’s driven by character is something that is so important to not just the scripts but also the way the show is shot, and the way that everyone reacts, and the way those two react with each other.”

Elsewhere in the Marvel universe, Professor X (Patrick Stuart) will have a substantial role in the third Wolverine movie.

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Moving on to DC, next season we will see the return of Sarah Lance on ArrowAusiello discussed how Lance responds to the return of Sarah:

Frankly, it could be the last thing Sara’s family needs! “Thanks to Laurel helping him see the light at the end of last season, Lance is back on the wagon for now, trying to keep on the straight and narrow,” Paul Blackthorne previews. “But that will of course be tested when Sara comes back from the dead. Because I think when your daughter’s coming back from the dead, she may not necessarily come back as quite the same person. Yeah, that’s going to be an issue for the family to deal with!’

Her return will also be in an episode with a cross over from Constantine, who assists with her return to life, which in turn leads into the origins of Legends of Tomorrow.

Despite previous reports to the contrary, CBS is now saying there will not be crossovers between Supergirl and Arrow or The Flash. Reportedly they are in the same universe, so this might be open to reconsideration if the right story is presented.

Disney has always provided synergy between their films, theme parks, and merchandise. Therefore it was no surprise to find that, with Star Wars expected to be a huge blockbuster film this December, there will be a fourteen acre expansion based upon Star Wars at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

TNT has renewed The Last ship for a third season.

Sarah Shahi is returning to Person of Interest following her maternity leave. She will return early in the season and be present for eight or nine episodes of the upcoming thirteen episode season.

The firth season of Homeland sounds like it might be expanding its story lines, dealing with Edward Snowden, Putin, and ISIS.

Donald Trump told a boy on a helicopter ride in Iowa that he is Batman. That is about as ridiculous as Hillary Clinton claiming to be a liberal.

Patrick Stewart Shows How To Handle The Ice Bucket Challenge

Yesterday I posted the videos of Matt Smith and Benedict Cumberbatch in the Ice Bucket Challenge. Here’s one for Star Trek fans in which Patrick Stewart shows the right way to do this.

My wife and I had sort of the same idea yesterday. We both mixed up a couple of glasses of gin and tonic and sent in a contribution.

Contributions to the ALS Association can be sent through their web site.

Conservatives Finally Understand Liberal Messages Thanks to Star Trek

One of the problems with political discourse in recent years is that the right wing prefers to attack straw men they create as opposed to responding to actual liberal views. Generally when a right wing pundit attacks liberals, the views they are attacking have little resemblance to the views I hold. Here is one exception where National Review accurately lists some liberal beliefs (emphasis mine):

Congratulations to Captain Picard!   [Mike Potemra]

Palace sources say Patrick Stewart is about to be knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. It turns out he is an avid supporter of Britain’s Labour party; his support must be especially welcome in this, one of Labour’s darker hours. Coincidentally, I have over the past couple of months been watching DVDs of Star Trek: The Next Generation, a show I missed completely in its run of 1987 to 1994; and I confess myself amazed that so many conservatives are fond of it. Its messages are unabashedly liberal ones of the early post-Cold War era – peace, tolerance, due process, progress (as opposed to skepticism about human perfectibility). I asked an NR colleague about it, and he speculated that the show’s appeal for conservatives lay largely in the toughness of the main character: Jean-Luc Picard was a moral hardass where the Captain Kirk of the earlier show was more of an easygoing, cheerful swashbuckler. I think there’s something to that: Patrick Stewart did indeed create, in that character, a believable and compelling portrait of ethical uprightness.

Potemra realizes that peace, tolerance, due process, and progress are liberal messages. Presumably this means that the opposites of these represent conservative messages. This also demonstrates that, contrary to conservative attempts to portray liberals as weak on national security, a leader can both be a liberal and be tough.

SciFi Weekend: True Blood Season Finale; Super Geek to Guest on Big Bang; Patrick Stewart Closes Door on Jon Luc Picard; Megan Fox on SNL; and Dollhouse Sneak Peak

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The season finale of True Blood has aired, resolving the major storyline but leaving many open for next year. (I’ll leave out the specifics for those who might not have viewed the episode yet.) The finale ended by setting up season three, the search for Bill.  Before the finale aired, TV Squad interviewed Alan Ball. Here are some of the questions:

I asked my TV Squad readers what they wanted me to ask you, and one of their main questions involves the books. Some feel the show doesn’t follow the books closely enough. Your thoughts on that?

I think a book and a television show are two different mediums. If I were to follow the books, it would be all about Sookie, because Sookie narrates the story, and the other characters would rarely even show up. Jason would come into the bar and hug her in an attempt to make people think he loves his sister so he can pick somebody up. Tara wouldn’t even have existed until this season, and she’d be white. Lafayette would be dead.

So all I can say to those people is, it’s based on the books, but it’s not a literal adaptation of the books. I’m doing what I think is the best way to turn that story into a television show. Also, if I just stuck to the books, there would be no surprises. You could go pick up the books anywhere and know exactly what was coming. So personally, I don’t see any benefit of making a carbon copy of the books for TV.

Will Eric be a bigger part of the show in season three? Will he and Sookie get together?

I can’t tell you if they’re going to get together, because that’s going to ruin the anticipation. But, if you’ve been following season two, he’s definitely been doing things to make her more vulnerable and more susceptible to him. And he does want her, he’s just not sure why. I think it’s deeper than just, “I want her because Bill Compton has her.” Although that’s part of it, because Eric is a total alpha-dog.

Yeah, that opening scene in “Frenzy” [of Eric and Sookie in bed together] was cool, but it kind of made me feel bad for Bill. I’m as big a fan of Eric as the next girl, but between him and Bill, it would be a tough choice!

They’re both vampires, and they’re both deadly, so there’s that. It’s the classic good boy/bad boy. The good boy, he’s great, but the bad boy … you can’t stop thinking about him.

I’m always prepared to be shocked and awed every episode, and I am. Can you tell us anything about season three?

Well, the book is out there, so I’m not giving anything away when I say that we’ll meet the Vampire King of Mississippi, Russell Edgington. And we’ll encounter werewolves for the first time in the flesh; we’ve heard about them, but we’ll meet them. I’m very excited about the character of Debbie Pelt. She’s bad news.

Since I haven’t read the books, who is that?

Debbie Pelt is the ex-girlfriend of a guy who’s helping Sookie try to find Bill, and she is just hard ass, white trash bitch on wheels. She’s so much fun. But there are other great characters, too. Everybody is struggling with identity in season three – What am I? Who am I? What is my life? Is it what I want it to be? How do I make it what I want it to be? What are my real values? And some people are like, “Am I human? I always thought I was, but maybe I was wrong.” In one particular case, its like, “Yes, honey, you were wrong.”

Is that Sookie? Is she part faerie? Can you tell me that?

I can tell you that Sookie is not 100 percent human. She is now aware of that.

After the white-light thing with Maryann.

Yes. She doesn’t know what she is, but she knows that it’s not totally human.

Do you believe in the supernatural?

I certainly believe that what we perceive as humans is just the tip of the iceberg. I don’t necessarily believe in vampires or werewolves or that kind of thing, but I believe there is definitely a realm we don’t necessarily have access to. I don’t know what it is, and I hesitate to articulate it further than that, because I have no idea what it is, but I know it’s there.

TV Guide interviewed Michele Forbes who gave some clues abut the finale before it aired:

So, we learned from Vampire Queen Sophie-Anne that Maryann is actually a maenad. What the heck is that?
A maenad is also known as the raving one or the wild one. They’re mythic creatures in Greek mythology who followed Dionysius and Bacchus and revel in chaos and destruction. They drink wine, have sex and have no boundaries. That excess is their quest for purity. As they sing their praises to their god, they hope that he comes.

And how can she be destroyed?
Once she believes the god is finally coming, that will be her vulnerability. Or shall I say her Achilles’ Heel.

The whole town of Bon Temps is gunning for Maryann. Should we be worried for her?
Sure. The whole town does want her gone. She has the whole town in her clutches except for a few stray ones like Sam and Sookie. Her final goal is to grab everyone so that she can achieve her goal. But she should have cause for caution.

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Wil Wheton announced on Twitter that he will be guest staring in an episode of The Big Bang Theory: “An announcement of extraordinary magnitude: I will be on an episode of #thebigbangtheory this season. That’s all I’m allowed to say. GLEE!”  Wheton played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation (but don’t hold that against him–he didn’t write the role) and is author of Just A Geek, making him a natural for the show.

Ain’t It Cool News reports that Iron Man 2 might be filmed in 3D.

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USA Today took a look at Flash Forward, the upcoming show based upon Robert Sawyer’s novel:

The premise centers on a two-minute, 17-second blackout that strikes the world’s population, followed by crashes, deaths and other disasters that result from the global unconsciousness. During the blackout, almost everyone has a vision — a flash-forward — six months ahead, to April 29, 2010. 10 p.m. PT, to be exact. Some are welcome, and some, including the wife’s vision of the lover, are not.

The task is to find out what happened and if the flash-forward prophecies will, or must, come to pass.

“We are the only species that thinks about the future,” says executive producer David Goyer, whose writing credits include Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. “It’s the blessing and curse of being human.”

Joseph Fiennes, who plays FBI agent Mark Benford, centers a team assigned to solve the blackout that includes partner Demetri Noh (John Cho); colleague Janis Hawk (Christine Woods); and their boss, Stanford Wedeck (Courtney B. Vance). They and the other characters, including Benford’s surgeon wife, Olivia (Sonya Walger), share their visions, but viewers see only bits and pieces at first, leaving twists and turns to be explored.

And “some people lie about their flash-forwards, so it’s a little misdirection happening,” Vance says. “It leaves the writers enormous latitude to tell stories.”

Of fall’s new shows, FlashForward most closely fits the definition of the serialized epic, a sweeping tale mixing action, suspense, mystery, romance and melodrama. “It’s a buffet,” executive producer Marc Guggenheim (Eli Stone) says. “To reach the widest audience possible, you need to have that spice. You have to have that wide variety.”

The best current example of the big, bold serialized mystery: ABC hit Lost. Fox’s 24 incorporates many of those elements, though each season is self-contained. Fox’s paranormal Fringe tries to temper its serialized elements, mixing long-term story with shorter, weekly ones. And ABC launches a remake of alien-invasion serial V in November.

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Patrick Stewart says he might play Professor Xavier again but not Jon Luc Picard:

In a talk show interview setting, Stewart fielded questions about his career and memories of his tenure as captain of the Enterprise. He was barely aware of “Trek” when he got the role and was “guaranteed” by friends and others that the show wouldn’t work.

He discussed how horribly uncomfortable the show’s uniforms were originally, leading his doctor to contact the production office demanding that they be changed.

When asked about fellow convention guests Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner, Stewart talked about how much he respected Nimoy. As for Shatner, he paused and said, “He’s a piece of work, isn’t he?”

He was also particularly pleased to be able to recall the plots of some favorite episodes mentioned from the titles.

When the discussion turned to “X-Men,” Stewart, who had a cameo as a younger Professor Charles Xavier in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” said that from what he had heard, audiences have probably not seen the last of the professor. He mentioned he recently co-starred in a production of “Waiting for Godot” with Ian McKellen and the two agreed that they would like continue exploring the relationship between Xavier and McKellen’s “X-Men” character Magneto.

As for that other franchise, Stewart thought that this summer’s reboot of “Star Trek” was “terrific,” but didn’t see a future for Jean-Luc Picard in the franchise, leaving open only the possibility that he would agree to do a cameo in a sequel. Stewart mentioned a proposed final “Next Generation” film, but after the disappointing box office for “Star Trek: Nemesis,” it never materialized.

“I feel that I have left behind a legacy as Picard,” he said. “In my head and heart, I’ve moved on.”

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Megan Fox of Transformers will be guest host of the season opener of Saturday Night Live on September 26.

A sneak peak has been released of the second season of Dollhouse:

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

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

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

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

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

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

SciFi Friday: Journey’s End On Doctor Who For Russel T. Davies, Billy Piper, and Catherine Tate

Russell T. Davies brought together all of The Doctor’s companions from the past four years as he concluded his final regular season as show runner in Journey’s End. This post contains many spoilers and I advise those watching on the Sci-Fi Channel to hold off on reading until they have aired the episode.

The episode was written as a vehicle to bring together the various companions, and tie up at least one loose end. It concentrated far more on creating a series of big scenes as opposed to a really coherent story. There was a tremendous number of faults, from the Daleks not noticing their captives escaping to the earth being literally dragged through space. There were scenes of Daleks attacking the earth but it turned out that they were irrelevant once their final plans were revealed. There was no need to be attacking in this manner when, if their plan succeeded, all non-Dalek life would have been exterminated when the reality bomb was activated.

The cliff hanger from The Stolen Earth was along the lines expected but the specifics were different from what many predicted. The Doctor did not regenerate into a new form as he used the severed hand to the regeneration once he was healed. While the possibility of two Doctors being created was considered, it was a surprise to see both of them being in the form of David Tennant, with one being half-human. This did serve as a conclusion for the love story which gradually developed between Rose and The Doctor as Rose would now be able to have a half-human version of The Doctor who could both return her love and grow old with her. American audiences are now seeing Billie Piper (and quite a bit of her) on the Showtime series Secret Diary of a Call Girl.

Donna’s fate was not as happy. She had several minutes of glory as a Time Lord but she had to have her memory of her time with The Doctor erased.

Elisabeth Sladen has stated she believes this will also be the last time she will be appearing on Doctor Who, but she will be continuing on with The Sarah Jane Adventures.  The episode ended with Martha and Mickey leaving with Jack. Jack did offer Martha what he billed as a better job than returning to U.N.I.T. Perhaps Martha, and possibly Mickey, will join Torchwood following the death of two regulars at the end of last season, assuming Freema Agyeman’s new role does not interfere with this.

Next season David Tennant will be appearing in Hamlet with Patrick Stewart and instead of a regular season there will be four Doctor Who specials, beginning with the usual Christmas episode. Teasers airing at the end of Journey’s End reveal that it will feature the Cybermen. Being free from a weekly series, Russel T. Davies can move on to other projects, as he told The Daily Mirror:

“I have got about 27 ideas boiling in my head and that is the main reason why I’ve left,” he says. “I love Doctor Who and I never want to go off it or get bored. Right now I want to go and work on series five, but I know that means it is the right time to leave.

“I get a lot of people who want me to come and make a family drama for them. But having done Doctor Who I have done the best – anything else would pale in comparison.

“I have almost got to go and do adult stuff, something a bit cheeky or sexy.

“I will just see which thing comes to the front of my mind first and start with that.”

SciFi Friday (Sunday Edition): Doctor Who, Torchwood, and Surviving the Year 1000

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Every season there are one or two episodes of Doctor Who which really stands out, often winning the Hugo and Nebula awards. Most of these episodes have been written by Stephen Moffat, including The Girl in the Fireplace and Blink. Those of us watching (or downloading) the shows from the BBC have seen this year’s presentation from Stephen Moffat, a two-part story consisting of Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead. This portion of SciFi Friday will contain many spoilers for those who are watching on the SciFi Channel which is a few episodes behind.

The two-parter essentially had three different aspects to it. The Doctor is called to a planet-sized Library. The story dealing with Vashta Nerada was the weakest portion. The Vashta Nerada are microscopic creatures which live in the shadows, and which are responsible for the fear of the dark which has arisen in many civilizations. They can devour an organism in seconds, making it necessary for all the people who had been in The Library to be saved. This served as a menace to drive the story but ultimately once the other two aspects of the story reached their conclusion this was resolved too easily to be satisfactory, with The Doctor convincing the Vashta Nerada to allow one day to get the humans away.

While I was dissatisfied with the conclusion of the story related to the Vashta Nerada, the nature of the menace was far superior to that of the previous episode. In The Unicorn and the Wasp The Doctor met Agatha Christie. Much of the episode had the feel of an Agatha Christie mystery, but having the menace turn out to be an alien who appeared like a giant wasp felt incongruous with the feel of the show. A more subtle menace such as the Vashta Nerada, which were either invisible or seen as shadows, would have better suited the feel of that episode.

One technique used in this story was to give the viewers answers which turned out to be different from what might be anticipated, but were consistent with the story. The Vashta Nerada were creatures of the forest, and in this story the forest turned out to be the paper of The Library. Even more important to the overall plot was the meaning of “saved.” Throughout the story we were told of people being “saved” with no evidence of life being found. Ultimately we find that the people literally were saved by the computer to its hard drive, with portions of the story taking place within an artificial reality created by the computer. Having this extra layer turned what would have been a mediocre story into an excellent one.

The third aspect of the story was to have The Doctor meet someone who had already met him. One important aspect of some of Moffat’s stories is that time actually plays an important role. In most stories The Doctor might travel through time to reach the destination, but once he arrives time travel is generally not important to any individual story.

In this story The Doctor meets archaeologist River Song (Alex Kingston, previously of ER) who summoned him for help. She had met The Doctor at a later point in his life and knew a lot about The Doctor and Donna. To The Doctor this was their first meeting. River convinced The Doctor to trust her by revealing that The Doctor had told her his real name.

Since Doctor Who resumed a few seasons back the formula has been for there to be a story which gradually builds through the season with parts revealed gradually in individual episodes. There may also be trends developing more slowly over seasons. The Doctor’s name has been mentioned in episodes including The Girl in the Fireplace, The Shakespeare Code, and The Fires of Pompeii. With Moffat taking over as show runner when Russell T. Davies steps down, perhaps the themes used by Moffat will become even more prominent in future seasons.

It will be interesting to see if we are actually shown the relationship between The Doctor and River as mentioned in this episode, with The Doctor knowing her ultimate fate (and how he saves her by transferring her intelligence to the computer after she appears to have died) from the moment he firsts meets her.

Having The Doctor meet River in such a manner points out a flaw I’ve considered ever since the series revived. Since the original series there was a war in which the rest of the Timelords were killed. I’ve thought that it does not make sense to have a situation where The Doctor will never run into the Timelords when he (and other Timelords who left Gallifrey) are moving throughout time. Just as The Doctor will first meet River (by his time line) at the time of her death (in River’s time  line), even though other Timelords have died (in The Doctors time line) he could still run into them at an earlier point in their lives before the time war.

I have one additional complaint about what was generally an excellent story. Racing to prevent the completion of a computer’s self destruct sequence has been done way too many times. There is never any real suspense as there is always a second to two to spare before the self destruct sequence is completed.

With another excellent story, despite some minor flaws, It appears the show will be in excellent hand when Stephen Moffat takes over as show runner. Besides his own work, there are rumors that he has convinced Neil Gaiman to write an episode in 2010.

Next season we will have far less of Doctor Who while David Tennant is busy in Hamlet (along with Patrick Stewart). Instead of a regular season in 2009 there will be occasional special episode. Now it also appears that we will also have very little of Torchwood. The BBC only plans five episodes, which will air in a single week. They will appear on BBC One, which probably means the show will also be watered down even more.

After the deaths of two major characters there has been speculation that Martha Jones would return to Torchwood. Freema Agyeman will also be busy on another show. She has a role in another old BBC show from the 1970’s which is being revived, The Survivors. The show is about the survivors of a plague which wipes out most of the population.

Captain Jack lived through much of earth’s history. The Doctor travels to any period and usually manages to fit in (although he wasn’t very popular in old England). Surviving in the past would be much more difficult for a modern American who happened to be transported back to Europe of 1000. This happened to be the topic of discussion at Marginal Revolution a few days ago. Being able to write, or even program, a blog would be a totally worthless skill. Most of what we know would also be pretty worthless back then, and discussing what we know could get us killed.

If we managed to survive after coming to an area which isn’t too friendly to strangers without knowing the language or having appropriate clothing, we would have a tough time with the manual careers available at the time. Working in the church might be the best bet, but would also increase our risk of saying something which could result in execution. Then we’d have to worry about surviving the diseases of the time. Having a Tardis is definitely the only way to ever consider visiting the year 1000.

Sci Fi Friday (Memorial Day Edition): Moffat To Run The Doctor; Terminator Changes the Future; Xavier Returns; And Great Moments for Nerds

It’s been a fairly slow week due to new episodes of many shows being postponed to avoid airing over Memorial Day weekend. I thought that at least the BBC would be showing Doctor Who but when I tried to download it I found that the scheduled episode, Silence in the Library, has also been postponed a week due to the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest. This is a two-parter by Stephen Moffat, who has been responsible for some of the best episodes since the show returned.

The mild disappointment in having to wait a week for the Moffat two-parter was greatly alleviated by the news that Stephen Moffat will be taking over for Russell T. Davies as show runner for the series when Davies steps down for the 2010 season. Among the episodes written by Moffett are the Hugo-award winners The Girl in the Fireplace, The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances, and Nebula award winner (as well as nominee for this year’s Hugo award) Blink.

A plot summary has been released for Terminator:Salvation, the first movie in the next Terminator trilogy due for release May 22 2009:

The trilogy will be set after Judgment Day in the year 2018 and Christian Bale (who has signed for all three will take on the role of John Connor and will lead the human race to salvation. However, the future isn’t quite the one his mother trained him to save.

According to a Warner Brothers press release, the future is altered somewhat by the appearance of Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a stranger whose final memory is of being on death row. Connor must keep an eye on the newcomer to establish if he has been sent from the future of the past.

At the same time, SkyNet prepares for a final assault that will end the war which forces Connor and Marcus to set off on a mission into the very heart of Skynet … and while there they will learn the terrible truth of SkyNet’s plan.

Those who left the last X-Men movie without watching the credits will have missed a late scene which provides hope that Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) remains alive. In a recent interview Stewart suggests that he will be returning to play Professor Xavier in X-Men 4.

Despite delaying the season finale of Lost until next week, ABC did have one weekly show which did involve jumping in time. The final moments of Desperate Housewives jumped ahead five years. This allows the show to get away from all the details of the last few years and have some changes in the characters. The biggest surprise was that Susan is living with a man other than Mike. Series creator Marc Cherry plans to leave after seven years and is even considering having the final season take place prior to the first aired season, before Mary Alice’s suicide.

How I Met Your Mother sort of jumps around in time between the present and the future. At the time this season’s finale was written it was not known if the show would be renewed and therefore the season finale ends with a scene which could have worked as the end of the series. Ted proposed to Stella (Sarah Chalke). Now that the show has been renewed the writers are free to either have Stella become Ted’s future wife or go in a different direction. With Scrubs coming to an end after a brief reprieve on ABC next year, Chalke will be free to become a more regular member of the cast. This could also mean that Stella’s receptionist, played by Britney Spears, might even return for a third appearance on the show. The finale also had Ted and Barney become bros again and there was the surprise revelation that Barney is interested in Robin.

Big Bang Theory has been the ultimate genre show of the past season. It is the only show where there are regular references to Romulans and many superheroes, and there was even an entire episode based around the time machine from War of the Worlds. The finale had Sheldon actually get a date with Penny, involving what might be the only prime time sitcom discussion ever of Schrödinger’s cat. While I doubt this romance will succeed, if it does it will be an even bigger victory for nerds since Jeremy (Joshua Malena) dated Natalie (Sabrina Lloyd) on Sports Night.