SciFi Weekend: A Timelord Wedding; Torchwood: Miracle Day; Dollhouse Stars on Torchwood & Community; Caprica; Mad Men to Return; January Jones as Emma Frost

David Tennant and Georgia Moffet are engaged with plans to get married next New Year’s Day. This sounds like a Timelord Wedding. Not only did Tennant play the tenth doctor, but Moffet has two ties to Doctor Who. She played The Doctor’s Daughter in a 2008 episode and Moffet is also the real life daughter of Peter Davison, who played the fifth Doctor from 1981 to 1984. (For those missing the old episodes, the BBC has announced the opening of a Classic Doctor Who channel on YouTube.)

David Tennant is also going to be working with another character from his days at Doctor Who. Tennant and Catherine Tate will be appearing together in a production of  Shakespeare’s Much A Do About Nothing.

The upcoming season of Torchwood has a tentative starting date of July 1 and a new title: Miracle Day.

As Davies explained, “The premise is a miracle that happens to the world. That one day, on Earth, no one dies. Not a single person on Earth dies. The next day, no one dies. The next day, no one dies. And on and on and on. Now, the sick stay sick, the old keep getting older, the dying keep dying, but no one quite dies.”

And at first, this seems a wonderful thing, “But globally, it’s an instant overnight population boom. The Earth relies on people dying.”

Davies understandably didn’t want to offer too many details on how and why “Torchwood” hero Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman, who couldn’t appear at the press tour session because he was acting in a play in England) comes back to our planet after running away at the end of the “Torchwood: Children of Earth” miniseries. But he did say that the notion of a world where no one can die would prove very intriguing to a man who suffers from immortality.

There is more information on the show and cast here. Dichen Lachman, who played Sierra on Dollhouse, who will play an FBI agent. Another cast member from Dollhouse will have a role on Community:

Enver Gjokaj, who played Victor during Dollhouse‘s brief life, will guest star on Community in episode 17, “Custody Law and Foreign Entanglements,” as Lukka, a love interest for Gillian Jacobs‘ Britta.

The character of Lukka is an “attractive, accent-y, oily Eastern European” fella who uses his finer points to seduce our girl Britta, but Lukka obviously is not exactly as delightful as he appears to be on first meeting.

The episode will most likely air sometime in March.

Miss the final episodes of Caprica last week? SyFy is streaming them online for free. As I’ve mentioned before, the concluding episodes were excellent, while the series as a whole was of mixed quality. Den of Geek! interviewed Eric Stoltz about some of the problems with the series.

Do you think that the show fell on the wrong side of a double-edged sword, following Battlestar?

I don’t think it was what the majority of Battlestar fans wanted, for the most part. It probably would’ve served us all better to have not even been connected to it.

It’s rare to find characters so instantly complex as we got in Caprica. How do you balance the many levels of Daniel Graystone? How do you set about giving the audience a way into a character like that?

That’s a very thick question, one which really requires a three page answer, which I won’t bore you with. The levels of the character were largely in the scripts, and usually left to the directors’ control: a little bit more malice here, a little more loving there.

That being said, there were certain relationships, like Greystone and his wife, that seemed to take on a life of their own, even beyond Paula Malcomson and myself. And that was wonderful to be a part of.

It was always a fascinating show to watch, and clearly the narrative had many, many threads to it. In hindsight, though, do you think the show was slightly off balance? Or wouldn’t you change a thing about it?

It’s rare for a show to find itself in the first season. There are exceptions, of course, but a lot of shows take two or three years to find the right ingredients. I’m sure we were off balance at times, and I’m sure I would change a few things if I had that power, but I’ve moved on.

It comes as little surprise, but it has been officially announced that Mad Men will return for a fifth season. No date for the season has been announced yet. January Jones will also be appearing in X Men: First Class, which will be a prequel story which, like Mad Men, takes place in the 1960’s. Jones will play the scantily mutant telepath Emma Frost. It would take an actress with the looks of January Jones to pull off the role.

”The costumes are insane,” Jones said.

“It’s a lot of very body-conscious stuff. If you look at the comic book, she’s barely dressed. She’s got quite the bod, which is very intimidating.”

I do think January Jones can handle the costumes.

SciFi Weekend: Dexter Spoilers; Matt Smith; Fringe; Sheldon With His Pants Down

The season finale for Dexter resulted in major changes for the show. One question I wondered about after the finale was whether they would pick up next season with Rita’s murder and deal with the immediate ramifications or jump ahead. Ausiello has some spoilers as to what will happen next season:

Season 5 will pick up right where season 4 left off.
“We have spent the last month sitting around, talking and really debating how best to deal with the aftermath of [Rita’s death]. We uniformly decided that we don’t want to jump ahead. We need to see Dexter go through the process that we’d all have to go through if such a horrible thing had happened to us. We need to see him doing everything from the big emotional things like grieving the loss, to the mundane things like arranging a funeral, getting the kids dressed, and all the other things that are usually done for men because their wives or mothers do them. They have no idea how to handle all of these things. As we saw, Rita was really the caretaker of their baby. It would be cheating the audience of their catharsis to not see Dexter go through that mourning period and see how it affects him or to not see him dealing with the blowback of what he essentially caused. So we will not jump to Harrison as a 5 year old yet.”

Season 5 may not feature a Trinity-esque villain.
“John Lithgow is a tough act to follow. If there was ever a year that we could take a step back from the Big Bad formula and go deeper into Dexter and his psychology, this would be that year. That said, Dexter has a dark passenger that won’t go away no matter how much he yearns to be normal. That rears up and needs to be dealt with. He may even dive deeper after this traumatic loss of Rita. We are working on a way that feels original and fresh and unique to what he has just gone through. It cannot be the way it has been before. In [Season 1], he was terrified of any kind of intimacy because intimacy equaled being discovered. Then he slowly realized he had a need to be known and he set up a family and tried the best he could to balance it all. And now, he sees what being known brings him and he had it ripped out from underneath him suddenly and that will have some affect on him.”

Dexter will remain single… for now.
“Anything is possible, but I don’t think Dexter will be in the mood for dating or love anytime soon. That’s not even on our radar right now. He very much loved Rita and they were in a good place right before she was killed so that wound will take quite some time to heal.”

Julie Benz has been doing well despite Rita’s fate. She is appearing on several episodes of Desperate Housewives as a stripper this season and has signed to play a fast woman in a pilot for next season. She will star in No Ordinary Family, a drama that about a family that suddenly develops special abilities. Her character will have super speed.

The Guardian interviewed Matt Smith about his staring role in Doctor Who:

He talks about how tough the work is, and the hours they have to put in. “By the end, we’ll be filming from 11pm till nine in the morning… then they need to shoot in the mornings because of the light. D’you know what? It is exhausting. We’ve been shooting for seven and a half months now, and the line-learning is quite immense for the Doctor because he’s in pretty much every scene, and he says the majority of stuff because his brain is the coolest and the biggest.” After filming, he does a couple of hours a night of revision, learning his lines. Is it worse than school? “No, because you’re the Doctor, so the payoff’s greater. It’s not like triple maths with Mr Humzinger. There’s not that much coffee breath.”

When he got the job, he had to keep it secret. He’d sit watching Doctor Who with his flatmate, desperate to tell him he was the new Time Lord and having to keep schtum. “It was a complete nightmare.” Eventually he told his father. “He was rather flabbergasted. When I told him, he laughed. He was excited, elated and very proud.”

It’s such a strange time in his life. A year ago, he was pretty much unknown – fans of the television series Party Animals, in which he played a parliamentary researcher, or those who had seen him at the Royal Court in That Face, playing the carer son of Lindsay Duncan’s alcoholic mother, might have been able to put a name to the face, but he hardly had a mass following. At Christmas, he made his first (and so far only) appearance as the Doctor, when David Tennant regenerated into him. Today, he can just about get away with walking around unbothered. In a few weeks, he will be a star, one of the most recognisable actors in the country. “There aren’t many jobs that change the fabric of your life in the same way – where you go from being a working actor who is pretty anonymous, to being thrust into what is one of the most popular shows, if not the most popular, in Britain.”

Is he nervous? Look, he says, it’s his job, he’s taking it all in his stride. Then he stops. Of course he’s nervous. “It’s unlike any job I’ll ever do because a) there’s so much that comes with it, b) there’s so much that is expected. I’d be lying if I said the first day I walked on the beach, where we filmed, and I saw the Tardis, and there were all these paparazzi there, and you’re going, what the hell is going on…?” In his rush to get the words out, he often forgets to finish sentences.

Has he sought the advice of former Doctors? He tells me he recently had lunch with Peter Davison, who told him simply to enjoy the ride. He also had a word with David Tennant. “I spoke briefly to David. He was just very lovely and gave me encouragement, but I think you have to cleave it out yourself. It’s your own journey.”

Surely it makes it that bit tougher when he’s following the most popular Doctor ever. “Yeah, yeah. I guess you’ve got to approach it with your own take or spin. No, spin is the wrong word. Identity. How can you not be aware of the rich heritage and legacy? Over Christmas it was everywhere. It was the big thing, David leaving the show. But it only intimidates you as much as you allow it to.”

Even before knowing if Fringe would be renewed, J.J. Abrams was promising that this season’s finale would top last season’s finale:

“I think the whole alternate-universe idea is at the core of what’s going to be happening,” Abrams said earlier this week. “Without giving anything away, I think that the ending of this second season is richer and better and deeper than what we did last year.”

Fringe returns on April 1 with seven consecutive episodes. He had this to say about the first of these episodes:

“It’s one of my favorite episodes that we’ve done,” he said. “It is particularly retro and weird. It’s a really cool episode.”

The news finally came yesterday that Fringe has been renewed for a third season.

I don’t know exactly what is going on in this picture from an upcoming episode of Big Bang Theory but it appears that Sheldon might have won an award and that he somehow lost his pants. I suspect alcohol might be involved. Even stranger, it appears that Penny took Sheldon out shopping for suit he is almost wearing:

The TV Addict has additional pictures.

Update: A glass ceiling has been broken at the Academy Awards. This was the first Oscar win for a Star Trek movie. Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow have won the Academy Award for best make up.

SciFi Weekend: The Eleventh Doctor; Rumored Battlestar Galactica Ending; Star Trek Parallel Universes; and Torchwood

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zog-6SrGxE0]

The BBC has revealed the identity of the eleventh Doctor–Matt Smith. Smith, at age 26, will be the youngest actor to star in Doctor Who, being three years younger than Peter Davison when he started playing The Doctor. The above video shows an interview with Smith on his reactions to getting the role.

Smith sort of already has a connection to Doctor Who. His TV debut was in the 2006 adaptation of Philip Pullman’s The Ruby in the Smoke. The episode  starred former  Billie Piper as Sally Lockhart.

six-on-time-square

There is a spoiler floating around on line regarding the ending of Battlestar Galactica, assuming the rumors are  true.  The rumor is that the series ends with a scene with music but no dialog as Six walks through Times Square in a red dress. Of course this still leaves open plenty of possibilities as to how we get to this point. There has been speculation that the mid-season cliff hanger took place on an alternative Earth and perhaps they reach the real Earth at the end. Another possibility is that the fleet settles on the planet we see in the distant past, with this taking place centuries later. Regardless of how this takes place, is Six plotting to leave this Earth open to yet another Cylon invasion?

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High resolution pictures have been released of the upcoming Star Trek movie. A set is available at TrekMovie.com (or click on the picture above for a larger version).

In another post, TrekMovie.com discussed how the movie manages to avoid conflicts with Star Trek canon while also being free to go in different directions:

Earlier this month in an interview TrekMovie.com, Star Trek co-writer Roberto Orci confirmed that Star Trek starts in the same canon universe that we are familiar with, but that much of the new film takes place in an alternative universe/timeline, which was created when the villain Nero goes back in time from the TNG era and destroys the USS Kelvin (a ship with both of James T. Kirk’s parents on board)…

Although Orci noted that this is not necessarily something that needs to be understood to enjoy the film, it could have implications with regard to future films or the ‘extended universe’ of Star Trek. For example it would be perfectly within canon for there to be books, comics and games set in either universe, including the ‘original’ universe after Nero and Spock left for the ‘alternative’ universe. It also shows that the film makers do not see the new film as ‘overwriting’ Star Trek canon and history as we know it.

The post proceeds to consider the science behind the use of parallel universes and time travel.

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The People has an interview with John Barrowman. Here’s a portion with information on the upcoming Torchwood miniseries, along with cuts made for the U.S. audience.

He denied speculation he wants to quit Torchwood – in fact he’d like each series to be TWICE as long.

He said: “I love playing Captain Jack and if I could play him until I’m 90, I would. But I’d rather do a series of 10 or 13 episodes because it’s a lot of work for just five.

“The next series is about Torchwood fighting the government rather than just aliens and is a lot darker.

“Jack has to make a decision no parent – that’s a big hint – should have to make.”

But the show is also going to be toned down for America.

John said: “We’re not swearing or doing anything close to the bone because it’s been a huge success in the US and the networks won’t accept it with all that stuff in it.”

Does that mean John’s going to keep his clothes on for once?

Actually, no.

He said: “I’ll still be getting naked and it will still be saucy – but it’s done with taste.

We’ll doing everything so it doesn’t have to be heavily edited for the US.”

SciFi Weekend: Seven Doctors; Star Trek Backs Hope & Change; The Week’s Shows; and Candidates Meet SciFi

All the surviving actors who have played The Doctor are reportedly going to appear together in a Doctor Who will return for a special mini-episode for the Children In Need charity night. Last year Peter Davison appeared with David Tennant in Time Crash (video here). Comic Book Resources has some rumors about Doctor Who, including Tom Baker returning to a role on the show and a possible name for the next Doctor:

My last couple of Doctor Who leaks were fairly solid — Neil Gaiman to write 2010 “Doctor Who” and Tom Baker returning to the series proper in an unnamed role. Both have been bubbling under ever since. The next one is not so tied down. It’s still rather up in the air. But it’s quite a possibility.

The sixth series of “Doctor Who” (2011) will star Paterson Joseph as The Doctor.

Previously playing Roderick in the “Doctor Who” episodes “Bad Wolf”/”Parting Of Ways,” Joseph is known for fine upstanding and terribly-well-spoken-dontcha-know roles as Johnson in “Peep Show,” the Marquis De Carabas in “Neverwhere,” Space Marshall Clarke in “Hyperdrive,” Lyndon in “Green Wing”…

…and more importantly Benjamin in “Jekyll.” Written and produced by upcoming “Doctor” Who showrunner, Steven Moffat.

If true, it’s a great call on Moffat’s part. A damn fine call. Paterson has a very British Authority approach to many of his characters, comparable with Jon Pertwee. It’s not a traditional choice, but then neither was Christopher Eccleston. And, like I say, it’s bloody brilliant.

The upcoming Star Trek movie made the cover of Entertainment Weekly. Considering how far Star Trek has fallen in recent years, the reboot by J. J. Abrams is probably our best shot of reviving the series. Still, I have reservations about how he will go about it. These reservations were increased by this passage:

Plus, at heart, Abrams is still more of a Star Wars guy. ”All my smart friends liked Star Trek,” he says. ”I preferred a more visceral experience.” Which is exactly why he accepted Paramount’s offer in 2005 to develop a new Trek flick; creatively, he was engaged by the possibility of a Star Trek movie ”that grabbed me the way Star Wars did.” That meant a bigger budget and better special effects than any previous Trek film, plus freedom to reinvent the mythos as needed. ”We have worldwide aspirations and we need to broaden [Trek‘s] appeal,” says Weston. ”Doing the half-assed version of this thing wasn’t going to work.”

Star Wars type action would do better at the box office, but that is not what Star Trek is about. If Star Trek is turned into this type of mindless entertainment it is not worth reviving. Still, having a major movie might lead to a revival as a television series. Star Trek has always been at its best as a television series, and a revived series has a far better chance of being true to Gene  Roddenberry’s vision than an individual movie. There is also some hope for the movie as the paragraph after the one quoted above goes on to say:

Abrams says he was also drawn to the project because he believed in — and wanted to evangelize — Trek‘s unabashed idealism. ”I think a movie that shows people of various races working together and surviving hundreds of years from now is not a bad message to put out right now,” says Abrams, whose infectiously upbeat energy and disdain for cynicism are among his most marked attributes.

There are some spoilers regarding the plot of the movie:

Star Trek‘s time-travel plot is set in motion when a Federation starship, the USS Kelvin, is attacked by a vicious Romulan (Eric Bana) desperately seeking one of the film’s heroes. From there, the film then brings Kirk and Spock center stage and tracks the origins of their friendship and how they became officers aboard the Enterprise. In fact, the movie shows how the whole original series crew came together: McCoy (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoë Saldana), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Sulu (John Cho), and Chekov (Anton Yelchin). The adventure stretches from Earth to Vulcan, and yes, it does find a way to have Nimoy appearing in scenes with at least one of the actors on our cover — and maybe both. The storytelling is newbie-friendly, but it slyly assimilates a wide range of Trek arcana, from doomed Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood) to Sulu’s swordsmanship to classic lines like, ”I have been, and always shall be, your friend.” More ambitiously, the movie subversively plays with Trek lore — and those who know it. The opening sequence, for example, is an emotionally wrenching passage that culminates with a mythic climax sure to leave zealots howling ”Heresy!” But revisionism anxiety is the point. ”The movie,” Lindelof says, ”is about the act of changing what you know.”

The message of Star Trek is also tied into this year’s presidential election:

Is the world ready again for Trek‘s optimistic vision of the future? Some involved with the film suspect the presidential election may have a dramatic effect on how Star Trek will be perceived. ”This is a franchise that offers hope for unity — and so does Barack Obama,” says Quinto, who has stumped for the Democratic presidential nominee. ”When this movie comes out, and Obama is president, hopefully there will be some parallels.” Perhaps, but the elder Spock knows that moments of unity can be fleeting. ”My only regret is that the movie can’t come out sooner,” Nimoy says. ”I think the world could use it. Don’t you?”

Life on Mars hasn’t been doing too well in the ratings but has been receiving excellent reviews. The second episode, like the first, was based pretty closely on the BBC episode, with the show reportedly going to begin diverging more. The potential science fiction aspects of the show are maintained by having Sam consider the various possibilities as to how he is now living in the past. His theories include the eventual explanation in the BBC version, which I won’t mention to avoid spoiling the series. For those who are aware of the explanation on the original, there have been reports that the American version might wind up with a different explanation. This week’s episode also also included brief connections between past and present, from messages in the clouds to a small robotic character.

We had a major advance on the plot, and a major revelation, on Heroes. It appeared that  Linderman (Malcolm McDowell) hired Daphne (Brea Grant) to steal the formula, except it turned out that Maury Parkman (Alan
Blumenfeld) was responsible for both this appearance of Linderman and Nathan Petrelli’s visions of Linderman. This was orchestrated by Arthur Petrelli (Robert Forster) who is on the opposite side of the battle from Mama Patrelli.

The second half of the season will be entitled Fugitives and will add a new member to the cast–Zeljko Ivanek, who won an Emmy for Damages. He will appear as a character named the Hunter who presumably wind up hunting the other heroes, making them fugitives.

On Fringe, Olivia Dunham has visions of John Scott (Mark Valley). While his appearances turned out to solely be in her mind (perhaps similar to Six in Baltar’s mind on Battlestar Galactica.) While only being in her mind, his messages had too much bearing on current concerns to be written off as mere hallucinations. Walter provides a possible explanation that a previous experiment connecting her to Scott’s mind may have imprinted her with his consciousness, experiences, and thoughts.

Is a few brief news items, nine more episodes of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles have been ordered to complete the season this year. Mad Men has been renewed for a third season. The concluding ten episodes of Battle Star Galactica will begin airing on January 16.

And finally, there are science fiction connections to the candidates this year. Gawker reports that Sarah Palin  appears in Tales From the Crypt (cover above.) We also learned of a science fiction/comic connection for Barack Obama. At the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, Obama joked, “Contrary to the rumors you have heard, I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father, Jor-El, to save the planet Earth.”

Obama Is Wrong

Obama is wrong, wrong, wrong!! He picked the Stones over the Beatles. That’s like saying Roger Moore was a better 007 than Sean Connery, or that Peter Davison was a better Doctor Who than Tom Baker or David Tennant.

Does Obama realized that The Beatles had endorsed him?

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

SciFi Friday: Moffat Wins Three In A Row; The Doctor Dates His Daughter

The Hugo Awards are out and Steven Moffat now won three years in a row for episodes of Doctor Who. This year he won for Blink, which I previously reviewed here. He previously won awards for The Girl in the Fireplace, The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances. While I have long been impressed for Moffat’s work as a science fiction writer, I become even more impressed with him after seeing how well he did in a different genre. Coupling, which I wrote about here, is one of the best sit-coms I have ever seen, combining aspects of Friends, Seinfeld, and Sex And The City. I am hoping that once Moffat takes over as show runner for Doctor Who in 2010 he gives The Doctor three famale companions–Susan, Sally, and Jane from Coupling.

Here are some of this year’s Hugo Award winners:

Best Novel: The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon.

Best Novella: “All Seated on the Ground” by Connie Willis

Best Novelette: “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Guide” by Ted Chiang

Best Short Story: “Tideline” by Elizabeth Bear

Best Related Book: Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction by Jeff Prucher

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: Stardust

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: Doctor Who: “Blink”

David Tennant is currently busy playing Hamlet to mixed reviews. Catherine Tate, who played Donna last season is currently appearing in the play Under The Blue Sky. Tennant was recently seen attending an appearance of the play accompanied by Georgia Moffett, daughter of Peter Davison (born Peter Moffett) who previously played The Doctor.  Georgia also played The Doctor’s Daughter in the episode of that name last season, making her the The Doctor’s daughter both in real life and on television.

Besides the work of stars such as David Tennant, and writers including, but certainly not limted to Steven Moffat, much of the credit for the new Doctor Who series and its spin offs must go to executive producer Julie Gardner. IO9 has an interview with Gardner, which includes a spoiler about the Sarah Jane Adventures.

SciFi Friday (Sunday Edition): The Three Big Mysteries on Television

Lost went backwards again as opposed to a flash forward, providing more on Locke’s life. I suspect we will not see a flash forward on Locke as the fate of those who do not leave the island will remain a mystery for a while longer. We find that Richard Alpert has been watching Locke since he was a born, and seems to have never aged. Matthew Abaddon met Locke when he was in physical therapy and, posing as an orderly, gave Locke the idea of going on a walkabout in Australia. This still leaves the question of how they got Locke, and the other passengers of interest, to go at precisely the time that Desmond would inadvertently cause the plane to crash.

The time differences were demonstrated again as the doctor on the freighter, who has already washed up on the beach, had not yet been killed. There are also strange things going on beyond the time issue. Ben found Jacob’s cabin, only to find both Christian Shephard and Claire there. Does this mean that Claire is dead like Christian Shephard (father to both Jack and Claire) or less likely that Christian Shephard is not dead?

Fortunately we are not going to miss episodes of Lost due to the writer’s strike. Originally there were to be sixteen episodes during each of the three final seasons. This season will wind up being two episodes shorter, but the next two seasons will be extended to seventeen episodes each. There are also some comments on the future of the show from co-creator Damon Lindelof:

“The finale this year will not be as tricky as last year,” he said. “Hopefully, this year it’s a little bit more of a straightforward action-adventure narrative. But the ending of the episode will hopefully engage and intrigue people looking forward to the next season of the show.”

Lindelof declined to say whether the flash forwards will continue, but did leave open the possibility of the show’s main story line on the island catching up with the flash forwards that have taken place on the mainland this season.

“It’s very exciting that the audience is going to be wondering when is the present going to be (next season),” he said. “We’ve moved backward in time, now we’ve moved forward in time. The present of the show has always been on the island — that may not necessarily be the case in the future.”

When it comes time to air the series finale in 2010, Lindelof said he and Cuse plan to “go into hiding for many, many months” at an “undisclosed location.”

“David Chase set a great example when he went off to Paris after ‘The Sopranos’ ending, which is great because all these people are going to be asking, ‘What does it mean? What is it?’ ” he said. “The fact that there’s no one really around to answer that question, it forces people to come up with what they think it means. We can guarantee our show will not end with a cut to black, it will be more clear than that. But whenever anything you love ends … there’s a certain disappointment.”

While some ambiguity about the future of the characters is to be expected, Lost better not go out with everything left a total mystery. Fading to black won’t work as well with a show of this type as with The Sopranos.

For those who watch on the SciFi Channel, Doctor Who has just revealed the back story on the Ood. There is yet another reference to a missing planet, which many speculate is a consequence of Rose jumping between dimensions. Once again The Doctor is portrayed as a heroic character who will be remembered, making the stories this season different from most in the past.

The SciFi Channel remains three episodes behind the BBC. I’ll avoid real spoilers, but this paragraph will give away a little of what comes next. First there is a two parter in which Martha Jones, now working with UNIT, brings The Doctor back to earth to fight an enemy from the original series, the Sontarans. The previews for the episode which aired yesterday reveal a real shocker: The Doctor’s Daughter. The daughter (picture above) is played by Georgia Moffett, daughter of previous Doctor Who star Peter Davison. Davison, the fifth Doctor also appeared in a brief video with the current Doctor, David Tennant in a video I previously posted here. Moffett has also been cast to play Jenna Stannis in the planned reboot of Blake’s 7.

Battlestar Galactica featured a guest appearance by Nana Visitor of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. There’s also a predictable killing of a red shirt and further movement towards humans and one faction of Cylons working together. Visitor is far from the only character in one science fiction show to appear on another. This week we also learned that Bruce Boxleitner of Babylon 5 will be appearing on Heroes next season.

The New York Post reveals the changes to take place on the next season of Weeds. Little Boxes will be played one final time in the first episode but now that Agrestic was burnt down the show will be moving to a seedy seaside town by the Mexican border (actually shot in Manhattan Beach, California). Nancy (Mary Louise Parker) has progressed from a suburban house wife who started selling marijuana to get by following the death of her husband to a big time drug dealer.

There are three major ongoing mysteries on television: the meaning of Lost, the fate of the humans and Cylons on Battlestar Galactica (including the final unrevealed Cylon), and the identity of Ted Mosby’s future wife on How I Met Your Mother. One blogger believes he found a clue in the pictures above. The letter in Stella’s (Sarah Chalke) apartment (right) appears to be the same letter in the background behind the kids (left).

This is far from conclusive. Possibly the props department just happened to use the same prop in both scenes. If Ted is really telling his children the same stories he is telling us, the kids would already know that this is their mother once he began talking about Stella by name. As with Lost and Battlestar Galactica we will have to wait and see how the mystery turns out.

SciFi Friday: Two Doctors; Sarah Connor; The New Bond Girl; Letterman’s Beard; and Amy Fisher’s Sex Video

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Last week I reviewed the Doctor Who Christmas special, Voyage of the Damned. The Doctor had a brief adventure between the end of last season, when Martha left the Tardis, and his collision with The Titanic. The above video shows current tenth Doctor (David Tennant) meeting the fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) in the 2007 Children in Need special, “Time Crash”.


Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles premiers Sunday, January 13. Variety has a review:

“Why is this happening again?” a 15-year-old John Connor (Thomas Dekker) mutters near the outset of this Fox series, proving that while he might by the future leader of a rebellion against murderous machines, he doesn’t understand much at this age about Hollywood math. Credibly expanding the “Terminator” franchise into TV, this series faces a considerable challenge — beginning with the usual contortions of time-travel logic — to maintain its initial pace without devolving into silliness, but under director David Nutter and show-runner Josh Friedman, the first two hours roll a slick brand extension off this profitable assembly line.

Occupying a window between “T2” — which featured the assault on a barely pubescent John — and the 20-something version in “T3,” the pilot finds Sarah Connor (“300’s” Lena Headey) vigilantly guarding her teenage son, never knowing when the next portal-popping threat from the future will send them scurrying into retreat.

In fact, John has only just become acquainted with a pretty new classmate, Cameron (Summer Glau), when another Terminator turns up as a substitute teacher, attempting to administer the toughest pop quiz ever. (After toying with excising the scene last summer because of the Virginia Tech shootings, cooler heads prevailed, and it’s back mostly intact.)

So the Connors are on the run again, with an FBI agent (Richard T. Jones) in hot pursuit — introducing an extra “The Fugitive” riff — along with the mechanical monster. The first of several intriguing plot twists, however, temporarily puts mother and son out of danger — though for how long remains anybody’s guess.

Friedman and Nutter (whose enviable directing record as a pilot launcher continues) recognize that simply scaling down the cat-and-mouse chase sequences for TV won’t be enough to sustain a series, so they rely on the movie franchise’s time-travel motif to provide new wrinkles that become apparent in episode two — namely, that emissaries from the future, good and bad, can pop up in this current reality, creating various narrative possibilities, among them another shot at altering humanity’s grim destiny.

Even with that, the questionable logic that has allowed the “Terminator” franchise to flourish (such as a guy from the future fathering a child in the past) could easily unravel on an episodic basis. Fortunately, the reworked pilot (shot in New Mexico before production shifted to Los Angeles) exhibits a tighter pace, impressive and abundant action with convincing effects and, frankly, plenty of eye candy between Glau and Headey — who solidly slips into the Rambette role, complete with the portentous voiceover — sure to be enjoyed by teenage boys of all ages.

Nine episodes have been filmed, and after the premiere the show will air on Mondays until March. If you don’t want to wait until next week, the first episode is available on line at Yahoo! Video for a twenty four hour period which began at 9:00 PM tonight. The premiere will also feature an exclusive introduction by Lena Headey (Sarah Connor).

British actress Sarah Arterton has been cast as the next Bond girl. She will star in the next Bond movie which takes up where 2006’s Casino Royale left off and will play a character named Fields.

The late night talk shows have returned, with Mike Huckabee receiving national exposure on The Tonight Show. There has been controversy over both Huckabee crossing a picket line and over Leno writing his own material:

The striking writers union told member Jay Leno on Thursday that he violated its rules by penning and delivering punch lines in his first “Tonight Show” monologue in two months on NBC the night before.

NBC quickly fired back, alleging Leno was right and the Writers Guild of America was wrong.

“The WGA agreement permits Jay Leno to write his own monologue for `The Tonight Show,'” NBC said in a statement Thursday. “The WGA is not permitted to implement rules that conflict with the terms of the collective bargaining agreement between the studios and the WGA.”

The agreement between the guild and producers expired Oct. 31 but its terms remain in effect, said Andrea Hartman, executive vice president and deputy general counsel for NBC Universal. She cited federal labor law.

According to the contract, “material written by the person who delivers it on the air” is exempted from the agreement. The exception applies to shows outside prime-time, which includes NBC’s “Tonight Show.”

David Letterman returned, and reached a deal to have his writers back too. Michael Bloomberg appeared to present a key to the city–to the beard Letterman grew while off the air.

Letterman loved joking about Joey Buttafuoco after the Amy Fisher story broke, and it looks like he should get tons of new material. Amy’s husband secretly made a sex video of the two and sold it. Fisher subsequently decided to join him in marketing and profiting from the video. AP quotes Amy as saying, “I always wanted to be No. 1 at something, but I didn’t think it would be something like this.” Letterman could have quite a time with that line.