SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who, The Doctor Falls; iZombie Ends Season 3 With Game Changing Episode; Sense8 To Return For A Two Hour Special

The Doctor Falls allowed both Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat to leave Doctor Who with an excellent season finale, but unfortunately it is a long way until Christmas to see how this concludes. Among the highlights were seeing two versions of the Master, with Michelle Gomez and John Simm doing an excellent job of playing off of one another. This included seeing Missy change sides between the Master and the Doctor based upon what was to her benefit at the time, gags such as Missy knocking herself out, their seemingly incestuous (?) relationship, a timey-wimey solution for the Master’s damaged TARDIS, and ultimately Missy deciding to be good.

This seemed to lead to both Missy and the Master killing each other, leaving the Master to regenerate and Missy’s fate unknown. The Master claimed that he shot Missy with enough force to prevent further regenerations, but the Master has a long history of coming back from apparent death. Plus we don’t know for sure if Missy was the regeneration directly after the John Simm Master. We might wind up seeing other regenerations between the two as it is hard to believe that the Master will never return in some form, even if Missy cannot regenerate.

Bill seemed to be heading towards  a tragic ending at the end of World Enough and Time last week. When the description of the creation of Cybermen was discussed, including the discarding of parts, it became clear that the Doctor could not save her. As I predicted last week, Steven Moffat would not leave her to suffer such a fate and, like Clara Oswald who escaped her death by going off with Ashildr before her last heart beat, Bill went to explore the universe with Heather from Pilot. This was foreshadowed with her tears. (“Where there’s tears, there’s hope.”) While most likely Bill will be leaving the series in this form, this does give Chris Chibnall the option of returning her to human form, either temporarily or permanently, to return as a guest or companion should he desire.

At least Pearl Mackie got to return for this episode as she saw herself in human form and was portrayed this way in many of her scenes. One minor nitpick is that if her brain showed her in human form when she looked at herself directly, why would her brain also not show her human self to her when she looked in a mirror or at her reflection?

Steven Moffat explained why he did not kill companions like Clara and Bill, and why Bill was not left as a Cyberman:

I’ll just say this and I’ll get into terrible trouble with certain people…I don’t think Doctor Who is that kind of show. Doctor Who is a big hearted, optimistic show that believes in kindness and love and that wisdom will triumph in the end. I don’t believe it’s the kind of show that says there are bitter, twisted, nasty endings because it’s not. It’s not gritty; it’s aspirational. It says, ‘It can work. And wisdom and kindness will triumph. And love will always come through in the end.’ I think there aren’t enough people or enough shows saying that and I’m damned if Doctor Who is going to join in with the general chorus of despair.

This leaves matters open:

So, she doesn’t die. She nearly dies. She nearly dies and she becomes something else. And we leave it in such a way that, again, I don’t know future plans, I’ve kept away from them, I put it such that, because Heather does say ‘Look, I can put you back on Earth if you want to go back and make chips,’ she could. So any of those are [possible]. I kind of think in my head she flies around the universe with Heather. That’s what she does.

We saw an origin of the Cybermen, but don’t know if this will be a separate group, or if they will ultimately escape the black hole and spread through the galaxy. The different origins seen so far for Cybermen is explained by this being the inevitable action of humans when put in a desperate situation and they wind up misusing their technology: “Like sewage, smartphones and Donald Trump, some things are just inevitable.”

This was hardly the first time that Doctor Who solved a seemingly impossible problem with an easy solution. It was too easy for the Doctor to reprogram the Cyberman in a matter of seconds to include two hearts in their definition of human. If the Doctor could do this, why not remove humans with only one heart from danger? It was also too easy for them to make things explode, even if they were on a space ship with such material under the floor. It would have made matters much simpler if they could create such explosions on the hospital floor where the Cybermen were being created. We did get to see the ultimate apple upgrade in one of many fun scenes. While it was shown to be impossible to return to the TARDIS for most of the episode, this was also solved too easily at the end.

Nardole had the simplest ending, taking the place of the Doctor to protect a group of humans. However, it is hard to believe that the Cybermen will not continue going upwards floor by floor.

The biggest question is what happens next with the Doctor. Moffat has said in interviews he wanted the Christmas special to be more positive than showing the death of the Doctor. Instead he had the Doctor receive his deadly wounds in the season finale as opposed to the Christmas episode. Peter Capaldi’s Doctor did not want to go (like David Tennant’s) but also did not want to return in a different form. Presumably the Christmas episode will have the a more uplifting story line with the Doctor deciding to go on.

The final scene also confirmed reports that the first Doctor would also appear, and it appears this might be around the time of his own regeneration. The scene also allowed both Peter Capaldi and  David Bradley (playing William Hartnell’s Doctor) to declare at different times in the episode that they were not just a doctor but the Doctor. The first Doctor introduced himself with: “You may be a Doctor. But I am the Doctor. The original, you might say.”

With this concluding on Christmas, this leaves open the question of whether, if the first Doctor is the ghost of the Doctor’s past, will we also see a version of the Doctor’s future in a story along the lines of It’s a Wonderful Life. If so, this conceivably could be a Doctor in a far distant regeneration, allowing Chris Chibnall to have a different actor play the Doctor when he takes over. This could also account for casting rumors. There could be different actors being considered for this role in the Christmas episode and for next season.

Steven Moffat has done a lot to set up the possibility of a female Doctor in previous episodes as I discussed last week. This was teased further when the Master asked, “Will the future be all girl?” The Doctor answered, “We can only hope.” Moffat has no say as to the next Doctor, but perhaps he is trying to nudge Chibnall in that direction. Maybe he will show a future regeneration as a female Doctor in the Christmas special.

iZombie also concluded the season with an excellent two-part episode. It was inevitable that Fillmore Graves (great name) would not act in a totally benign manner, and having all those people line up for a vaccine would lead to tragedy. While Doctor Who will be changing with a different show runner and cast, the season finale of iZombie also set up the show to move in a new direction now that the public is aware of the existence of zombies, and many more people are on the verge of becoming zombies.

Nerdist spoke with Rob Thomas about the changes:

“In some ways, some things will be familiar,” Thomas tells Nerdist. “Liv [Rose McIver] and Clive [Malcolm Goodwin] will still be solving murders in Seattle. But beyond that, the show is going to feel very different. Seattle is going to be a very different place next year. Zombies will be living side-by-side with humans, with each of them knowing that. There will be places where zombies hang out publicly. Human-zombie relations will be a very touchy thing. Seattle is going to become a walled city, much like Berlin. It’s going to be very different.”

In building to this point  zombies going public — this season and pretty much the whole series has essentially been like a prequel to the potential zombie apocalypse. But Thomas promises that we haven’t gotten to that point yet. “Everyone’s trying to prevent the apocalypse,” he says. “What I think it feels like is the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

He laughs, then adds, “Like right on the edge. There are people high up in the U.S. government, probably a lot of world governments, that would be in favor of nuking Seattle and just taking care of the zombie problem. It’s a tense, tense situation. Essentially, the card that Chase Graves has to play is, ‘I’m holding a half million human citizens hostage. If you’re going to nuke all the zombies, we’re going to take a half million innocent humans with us.’ We’re in a standoff.”

However, all these radical changes doesn’t mean we’re letting go of what makes iZombie, well, iZombie.

“Even if you lived in a city like that, life would have to go on,” Thomas says. “There’s this no-mans-land between Seattle and the rest of the United States, but murders still have to solved, the garbage still has to be picked up, food has to be delivered and most importantly, the rest of the U.S. has to deliver brains to Seattle, otherwise the zombies will go hungry and if the zombies go hungry, the apocalypse will start. Just as Chase Graves said in the video in the finale, ‘Send us your brains and everything will be okay.’”

Given the fact that Chase Graves has alerted the rest of the country to Seattle’s ever-growing zombie population, it would seem pretty reasonable to expect things to grow to a national—if not global—scale in the future, but Thomas gets pretty real about why the scope of the series isn’t going to grow all that much.

“Given our budget and the fact that we film in Vancouver, it’s always going to feel very Seattle-ish,” he says with a laugh. “We don’t quite have the Game of Thrones budget where we could do desert shots or anything. We might be able to put up a Chinese flag behind us and a couple Chinese actors and fake a call to China but I think that’s about all we could manage. We’ll have largely a Pacific Northwest bent to it.”

Like people returning from the dead on iZombie, television shows sometimes also return from the dead after they are cancelled. We saw this with Timeless, with NBC reversing their decision to cancel the show. Not long after Netflix cancelled Sense8 they agreed to have a two hour episode to resolve the cliff hanger from the season two finale. It certainly makes sense for Netflix to do this. They currently own two seasons of the show along with a Christmas special which bridged the seasons. Offering a conclusion will make it more likely people will watch Sense8 in the future, whether on Netflix, DVD’s or syndicated elsewhere. It would be much harder to maintain interest in a show which ends on a cliff hanger, and a two hour episode to wrap it up will cost far less than another full season. Will this also include a third orgy scene?

SciFi Weekend: Hannibal; Orphan Black; iZombie Season One Finale; The Flash; The Leftovers; The Man From UNCLE


While last week’s episode of Hannibal jumped ahead and left open the fates of those left for dead in the season two finale, Primavera centered on Will and flashed back to the aftermath of the bloodbath. There was no indication on screen as to the fate of Jack Crawford and Alana Bloom but I was surprised to see Abigail walk into Will’s hospital room early in the episode. I was surprised a second time when it was revealed that Abigail was only in Will’s head, most likely representing the part of Will which still wanted to be with Hannibal.

The other key character of the episode was a police officer named Rinaldo Pazzi who had history with Hannibal. Years ago he investigated the murder of a couple who were arranged like a painting. Will explained how Hannibal operated, including how he doesn’t leave evidence– as he eats it. The climax of the episode was a search through catacombs. When Will warned Pazzi that he shouldn’t be be down there alone, with the warning that Hannibal will kill him (which will probably happen at some point), Pazzi pointed out that he had Will with him.

Will’s response summed up the episode: “You don’t know whose side I’m on.” The problem is that that Will himself doesn’t know, and if he was smart he would followed the advice he gave Pazzi and remain home with his dogs (and Alana if she survived). There was another clue as to Will’s state of mind when he said at the end of the episode, directed towards Hannibal,  “I forgive you.”

This still leaves open how each will respond when they actually meet again.


The penultimate episode of the season of Orphan Black, Insolvent Phantom Of Tomorrow, gave more answers, regardless of whether plausible. Allison’s days as a drug dealer appear to be coming to an end, but the storyline provided for an unexpected pairing of Donnie and Helena. Helena was disguised as Allison, but under the circumstances it was more useful for Donnie to have the psychopathic killer clone along. The big mistake at Pouch’s warehouse was for the drug dealers to first take Helena’s tank with her embryos, and then threaten Donny and who they believed to be Allison’s children. Helena told them, “You should not threaten babies.” She then made them pay for the threat, and then rejoin Donny with the money he had lost, and more. “I got refund, we should go now.”

Delphine again showed how terrifying she can be, threatening Shay’s life believing that she had given the information about the book to the Castor group. It really didn’t come as a surprise when it turned out that Gracie and not Shay had sold them out to please her guy-clone. Seeing Delphine hold that razor blade after Cosima phoned her about Gracie, I half expected Delphine to tell Cosima that it was too late and then proceed to kill, or at least torture Shay.  The previews revealed that Shay remains alive, although I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out that there is still more to her than appears.

The biggest revelation took place in London when Kendall Malone turned out to be Sirobhan’s mother, who had absorbed a male twin in the womb s0 that she has two cell lines. She was the original cell line for Castor, but they couldn’t kill her as planned  because she also was the original cell line for Leda, having both male and female cells. Not only are Castor and Leda brother and sister as we learned earlier this season, this would also mean that Sarah along with the rest of the clones and Siobhan actually are biologically related.

If this didn’t set up enough for the season finale, Ferdinand and Topside are also back.

izombie Season one finale

Like Veronica Mars, the previous hit from Rob Thomas, iZombie was enjoyable more for its season-long arc and the characters than for the case of the week. By the season finale much has changed, including more people knowing that Liv is a Zombie. David Anders, as usual, made a fantastic villain, this time as Blaine. He had a great racket going, turning people into zombies, and then selling them brains. As opposed to the typical zombie show, the zombies on iZombie kept their human memories as long as they had a steady supply of brains to eat. Now that Blaine is no longer a zombie, will he keep his racket going? If not, where do the zombies he created get their brains, and do we  wind up with a zombie apocalypse?

Rob Thomas discussed the finale and second season with E!:

E! News: Blaine and Major have both been cured—are there going to be any complications with becoming human again?
Rob Thomas: Yeah, there will be. Ravi would not have wanted to put that cure on the market yet, and for good reason. There will be side effects. There will be fallout from that. It won’t be as easy as boom, you’re human again, go enjoy the rest of your life. Blaine will have to try to maintain his zombie world while being human so we’re going to have some fun in season two with him trying to pass as a zombie. Imagine him trying to put on white face to convince his clients that he’s still a badass who they should be afraid of.

Liv’s brother is in critical condition by the end of the finale—how is this going to shake up their family dynamic especially since Liv can’t give her blood to save him?
It will have real repercussions next year. We know that the season two opening scene is going to be a really rough scene with her family. They do not understand the decision she made and it’s kind of impossible for her to tell them.

iZombie -- "Dead Rat, Live Rat, Brown Rat, White Rat" -- Image Number: ZMB112B_0203 -- Pictured (L-R): David Anders as Blaine DeBeers, Aleks Paunovic as Julien, and Robert Buckley as Major Lilywhite -- Photo: Liane Hentscher/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

More in an interview at TVLine:

TVLINE | There’s not one, but at least three major cliffhangers in the finale. Was that always the plan, even before the show was renewed?
Yes. In fact, it’s been the plan for a long time. When we offered [Robert Buckley] the role of Major, he called me and said, “Listen, I just want to make sure that I’m not just going to be the boy that Liv pines for, that I’m going to have something to do,” and I pitched him the exact ending of the show. I said, “It’s going to end like Taxi Driver. You going into the zombie headquarters and mowing people down. You will have gone through this horrible journey. You will have this moment where you get to take out all these enemies.” So we were always building to that.

And probably around midseason, we had some ideas on how we wanted to reset for Season 2. We announce our big Season 2 storyline right there in the finale. Vaughan, the head of Max Rager, says, “We’re going to take out all the zombies.” So that will be a big part of Season 2, and it will make Liv and Blaine strange bedfellows. One of the things that was rough in Season 1 was we loved those two actors on screen together, but part of the season arc was Liv searching for Blaine. We couldn’t play them on screen. Next season, you’ll see a lot more of them on screen, at the same time, with a common enemy.

TVLINE | Is it safe to say that Blaine as a human, even without his zombie strength and rage, is still not a nice person and a dangerous threat to Liv and Major?
Yeah. We’re not going to make him cuddly next year. If you talked to me a few years ago, I would have thought, “Well, how in the world, after him spending Season 1 murdering homeless teenagers, could we ever believe him as anything but evil?” Then you watch Game of Thrones. Somehow, Jaime Lannister has become a sympathetic character even though he threw a young boy out a window in Episode 1. So it can be done, and maybe someday, we will attempt that. But for the immediate future, Blaine is bad.

TVLINE | Can he keep his business going as a human?
That’s going to be part of the fun of Season 2. He will need to trick his clientele. Next season, he may be passing as zombie in order to maintain the fear, which I think we’ll have fun with.

TVLINE | So instead of tanning, he’ll be putting on powder.
It’s funny you say that because we already have a scene up on our writers’ board in which we will see him getting powdered up in order to appear as a full-blooded zombie.

TVLINE | Major now knows the whole truth. What does that allow you to do that you couldn’t before with Major and his relationship with Liv?
Now that they both know, and Major knows what he’d be getting into, we’re toying with, could they try a romantic relationship in which no bodily fluids were exchanged? It’s sort of a great existential question of, could you have a romantic partner with whom the sexual limits were very, very strict? How would that go? We may explore that.


The Flash is casting a Felicity-like love interest for Barry Allen for season two. Of course we know from those future newspapers who he winds up with, assuming they are from the same timeline.

There were at least two huge scenes on The Game of Thrones last Sunday, with one of the most disturbing deaths of the series and flight on dragons. With the season finale airing tonight I will wait for that before saying more about the show.

Defiance returned on Friday with two more alien threats. Fans of the show probably enjoyed the two hour season premiere. I remain lukewarm, but see more promise this season than in the second season. Knowing the characters after two seasons did make me more interested in the events than I had been at points in the  past.

The HBO version of The Leftovers completed the material from the novel in its first season. The above trailer has been released for the second season which moves to a new location, with major changes in the cast. The story moves to Jarden, Texas where, unlike the rest of the world where two percent of the people vanished in a rapture-like event, nobody disappeared in Jarden. I wonder if they play Dillon, Texas in football.

The BBC adaption of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell, about half way through in the UK, premiered in the US on BBC America. Reading reviews of the mini-series I found that they all agree that some aspects of the novel did not make it into the television show. The reviewers disagreed as to whether this means that important aspects of the novel were left out, or if this means that what they saw as flaws in the novel were fixed.

The Man From UNCLE will be released in theaters on August 14, 2015. The trailer is above and the synopsis, based upon the 1960’s television show, follows:

Set against the backdrop of the early 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. centers on CIA agent Solo and KGB agent Kuryakin. Forced to put aside longstanding hostilities, the two team up on a joint mission to stop a mysterious international criminal organization, which is bent on destabilizing the fragile balance of power through the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology. The duo’s only lead is the daughter of a vanished German scientist, who is the key to infiltrating the criminal organization, and they must race against time to find him and prevent a worldwide catastrophe.

Streaming video has greatly changed how many of us watch television. Netflix has dominated this market, but there are additional options including Hulu, Amazon, Yahoo! (primarily notable for carrying the sixth season of Community) and now stand alone subscriptions for HBO and Showtime. Netflix has been expanding worldwide, but they will have new competition when they move ahead with plans to expand to China. Alibaba plans to launch a Netflix-like streaming service in China. About ninety percent of its content will be paid for, either by subscription or payment for individual shows. with the remaining ten percent available for free.

SciFi Weekend: Black Widow; Arrow; Continuum; House of Cards; Fantastic Four; Hannibal; Man From UNCLE; The Americans; Two More US Remakes Of British Shows; Karen Gillan; If Ikea Sold A TARDIS

Black Widow

Variety reports that Black Widow will continue to have a major role in upcoming Marvel movies and then Scarlett Johansson will star in her own stand-alone movie:

According to Chris Evans, who plays Captain America, Black Widow’s storyline in “The Winter Soldier” revolves around “her coming to terms with her history, that she’s been a spy, and spies aren’t necessarily trustworthy,” he told Total Film.

That will be further explored in “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” out in 2015. Film starts production in March.

“(Black) Widow’s part in that is very big,” Feige said. “We learn more about her past and learn more about where she came from and how she became in that film. The notion of exploring that even further in her own film would be great, and we have some development work with that. When we meet the Avengers at the top of ‘Age of Ultron,’ it’s a very different landscape than we left them at the end of the first film. Partially, that’s because we love the rhythm that the comicbooks have developed — each of the characters appear in their runs, occasionally they get together for a big event or crossover series, they part again, and then they come back together again.”

It’s unclear whether Marvel hopes to have a Black Widow movie become part of its third phase of films, which so far includes “Ant-Man,” “Doctor Strange” and the third installments of “The Avengers” and “Captain America.”

Phase two includes “Iron Man 3,” “Thor: The Dark World,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

Bringing Sarah into Team Arrow raises questions as to Felicity’s role. That is answered with a Felicity-centered episode. Preview above. More about Arrow here.

After Arrow, I’m far more willing to take a show on CW seriously. They have ordered  pilots from the creators of Sleepy Hollow and Veronica Mars:

The CW has given pilot orders to dramas Identity, from Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, Jane the Virgin, from Jennie Snyder Urman, and iZombie from Rob Thomas, has learned.

In Identity, when a young woman in need of a transplant learns she is related to a powerful family whose son is her only hope for a donor organ, the CIA approaches her to investigate the family’s involvement in domestic terrorism and to infiltrate their rarified world.  Her loyalty, morality and ethics are tested as she’s forced to slowly build a case against the family who saved her life. Sleepy Hollow‘s Kurtzman and Orci will executive-produce with The Good Wife‘s Corinne Brinkerhoff, who will also write. Heather Kadin, Rob Golenberg and Alon Aranya are also attached as executive producers…

Based on DC Comics’ series, iZombie is a supernatural crime procedural about a med student-turned-zombie who takes a job in the coroner’s office to obtain the brains she must eat to maintain her humanity. However, with every brain she consumes, she also inherits the corpse’s memories. In order to silence those disturbing voices in her head, she solves homicide cases along with her medical examiner boss and a police detective. Veronica Mars‘ Thomas and Diane Ruggiero will write and executive-produce with Danielle Stokdyk and Dan Etheridge.

Showcase has released another trailer for the third season of Continuum. It returns on  March 16  or you can wait until April 4 and see cut episodes on SyFy. Guess which version I plan to watch.

If you haven’t seen the first episode of season two of House of Cards yet, you just better get off the Internet if you don’t want to see spoilers. It turns out that the shocking event from the first episode was planned from the start with a similar event in the season finale of the first season of the U.K. version. How realistic is the show? A star such as Robin Wright may or may not know very much about actual political life, but it is easy to have their opinion covered by being a bit titillating:

During a Q&A in the upcoming issue of Capitol File magazine, a reporter asked whether Wright’s White House source thought the fictional events depicted in the Netflix series were close to the mark.

“Did she think reporters sleeping with sources and members of Congress was factual?” the reporter asked.

“Oh, yeah,” the actress replied. “D.C. is more corrupt than Hollywood. It really is. It’s more sleazy than Hollywood… how much infidelity goes on.”

Kate Mara might soon become better known for another genre role. The cast has been announced for the Fantastic Four reboot, with Mara playing Sue Storm. Think how House of Cards might have turned out differently if Zoe Barnes also had Sue Storm’s power to turn invisible.

Orange Is The New Black returns on Netflix on June 6. No relation to Black Widow, Black Canary, or Orphan Black.

Hannibal returns on February 28, with the first season available to binge on Netflix and Amazon. Here is some more information on  the second season.


Open Channel D. The Man From UNCLE movie opens on January 16, 2015. The movie stars Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Jared Harris, Hugh Grant and Luca Calvani. One of the key things I remember from the original show was the use of cigarette cases and pens as communication devices. Is there any point in this with smart phones? But if these are not used, will the movie really feel like UNCLE? It might be fun to go back and look at some of the old episodes to see how they stand up today. My guess is that they would be better than SHIELD.

Actually Agents of SHIELD has improved. They did try experimenting with storytelling a little in the last episode, TRACKS, telling the same story from the perspective of different characters. I also enjoyed seeing a train heist as it reminded me of one of the first Joss Whedon shows I had ever seen, The Train Job episode of Firefly. (Yes, I have never seen Buffy). The episode ended with a cliff hanger but I doubt Skye is really dead considering how they appear in the midst of developing her back story. Besides, people on comic-based shows are rarely ever dead. A clue to this is that the next episode when SHIELD returns from hiatus will be entitled  TAHITI. Bill Paxton will be joining to assist in saving Skye.

Producer Joel Fields answered questions about the second season of The Americans, which returns this week. One of my favorite moments from the first season was when Reagan was shot and the Russians saw it as a coupe attempt by Alexander (“I am in control here”) Haig. Fields was asked if any real life events will be included in the second season:

Season two will begin in early 1982 and, as our show was last season, it will be informed – but not shaped – by real life events. Philip and Elizabeth will deal with threats ranging from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to the covert American assistance taking place in Nicaragua, and everything they do will happen under the specter of constant brinkmanship that was a hallmark of US-Soviet relations at that time.

Last year it was discovered that Robert Galbraith was really a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling. She has a second novel about Cormoran Strike coming out on June 19. With character names such as Cormoran Strike, we should have guessed who the author was.

Joel McHale of Community will be hosting the White House Correspondents Dinner on May 3.

Broadchurch US

The first pictures have been released from filming of Gracepoint, the US remake of Broadchurch. David Tennant reprises his staring role from the ITV version, along with Anna Gunn of Breaking Bad.

An American adaptation of Utopia is being planned by HBO and is to be written by Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn.

Both Broadchurch and Utopia have completed their first season in the U.K. and will be returning for a second season. The first season of each was excellent, but as accustomed as I have become to downloading shows from the U.K. I can’t help but wonder why they don’t just show the original versions here. Yes, there are references which Americans might not understand, and David Tennant’s accent was a bit thick in the ITV version, but I think American audiences can cope. Look how popular Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife are becoming here without need to remake them for American audiences.

The above trailer has been released for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.


Doctor Who and Guardians of the Galaxy star Karen Gillan has been cast in an American sit-com, Selfie:

The actress, who next appears in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Oculus, has been tapped to star in ABC’s Emily Kapnek comedy Selfie, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The modern take on My Fair Lady is inspired by the musical and tells the story of a self-obsessed 20-something woman named Eliza Dooley (Gillan) who is more concerned with “likes” than being liked. After suffering a public and humiliating breakup, she becomes the subject of a viral video and suddenly has more social media “followers” than she ever imagined — but for all the wrong reasons. She then enlists the help of a marketing expert at her company to help repair her tarnished image.

The casting marks the Scotland native’s return to TV following Doctor Who — where she played the Doctor’s companion, Amy Pond, for more than 30 episodes on the show’s fifth through seventh seasons — and Adult Swim’s NTSF: SD: SUV

No word as to whether Karen Gillan will be doing any nude writing or baking as in  Not Another Happy Ending.

I’ve seen a number of posts about people building their own TARDIS. With so much interest, it is only a matter of time until Ikea comes up with a kit. This is what the experience might be like:


Veronica Mars May Return Via Kickstart

There has been talk of a Veronica Mars movie ever since the original show went off the air. Despite its cult following, Warner didn’t believe there was enough interest to warrant production of the movie. Series creator Rob Thomas turned to Kickstarter today to obtain financing for the movie and show the interest of fans. Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell, who played the teen-aged amature detective Veronica Mars, have met with studio executives who have agreed to go ahead if they can raise the money from Kickstarter.

Following is Rob Thomas’ pitch on Kickstarter:

Almost since Veronica Mars went off the air, there’s been talk of making a movie. In that span, I’ve taken different tactics in dealing with the question of whether it might happen. To be clear, I’ve always wanted to make a Veronica Mars movie. I love writing these characters and working with these actors. Kristen Bell has always wanted to make the movie.

There was a moment, a few years ago, when we thought we had a real shot at making it happen. I developed a pitch that revolved around graduation day at Hearst college — Wallace and Mac were graduating at least, Veronica had been sidetracked by freeing Keith from prison. Plus, there was a murder in Neptune that was affecting the beach city’s spring break business in much the same way a great white shark affected the beach community of Amity. I probably stoked fan fervor in my optimistic comments about the prospects. Warner Bros. wasn’t convinced there was enough interest to warrant a major studio-sized movie about Veronica and the project never got off the ground.

After that, I tried to tamp down expectations. I didn’t want to be guilty — at least not twice — of building up hope when the odds seemed so long. Still, without fail, in every interview I do or every place I speak, I get the “will there be a Veronica Mars movie?” question. Even after a couple of years of downplaying the chances, I’d still run across blog postings headlined, “will Rob Thomas shut up about the Veronica Mars movie, already!” I was trying to. I promise. 

I first found out about Kickstarter a couple of years ago from an Austin musician friend of mine — Robert Harrison, lead singer of Cotton Mather, the band that gave us “Lily Dreams On,” our closing song of season 1. He financed a rerelease of the band’s fantastic Kontiki album. Later, I was marveling about Kickstarter with another buddy of mine who said off-handedly, “You should use Kickstarter to raise the money to make the Veronica Mars movie.” I chuckled. That seemed like a silly idea in the moment. We’d need millions. But for the next few weeks, the notion was never far from my mind. I started doing the proverbial back-of-a-cocktail-napkin math. The average pledge on Kickstarter is $71. Hell, if we could get 30,000 people to give the average donation, we could finance the movie, particularly if the cast and I were willing to work cheap. The most common donation amount on Kickstarter is $25. Surely, 80,000 of our three million viewers would find that price-point viable! 

Of course, Warner Bros. still owns Veronica Mars and we would need their blessing and cooperation to pull this off. Kristen and I met with the Warner Bros. brass, and they agreed to allow us to take this shot. They were extremely cool about it, as a matter of fact. Their reaction was, if you can show there’s enough fan interest to warrant a movie, we’re on board. So this is it. This is our shot. I believe it’s the only one we’ve got. It’s nerve-wracking. I suppose we could fail in spectacular fashion, but there’s also the chance that we completely revolutionize how projects like ours can get made. No Kickstarter project ever has set a goal this high. It’s up to you, the fans, now. If the project is successful, our plan is to go into production this summer and the movie will be released in early 2014. 

Life has taken Veronica away from Neptune. In the years since spoiling Keith’s chances to be reelected sheriff, Veronica hasn’t taken a case. But something big is about to bring her back home and back to her calling. My goal is to include as many of your favorite characters as possible. It is, after all, time for Veronica’s 10-year high school reunion. Keep in mind that the more money we raise, the cooler movie we can make. A two million dollar fundraising total probably means cross words are exchanged at the class reunion. Three million? We can afford a full-on brawl. Ten million? Who knows… For some reason the Neptune High class reunion takes place on a nuclear submarine! A Hobbit shows up! There’s a Bollywood end-credit dance number! I’ve always wanted to direct Bill Murray. We’ll figure out something cool. Hey, if that total goes high enough, I’ll bet the good folks at Warner Bros. will agree a sequel is a good idea.

Thanks to everyone who hasn’t lost faith.


Within hours of posting they are already over half-way towards their goal, making it look like this effort will be successful. The Kickstarter page includes the above video from Kristen Bell and a range of what backers can receive. This ranges from a script when filming starts for $10 to a speaking role in the movie for $10,000. The speaking role has already been taken.

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

SciFi Weekend: A Bionic Companion for The Doctor; Mutiny and Cylons; Veronica Mars Movie; and Death of a Robot


Michelle Ryan, who briefly stared in the remake of The Bionic Woman, will play The Doctor’s companion in the next Doctor Who special which will air around Easter.

Ryan will play the mysterious Lady Christina de Souza in the special episode, entitled Planet of the Dead.

“I’m a huge fan of Doctor Who and very excited to be joining David Tennant and the Doctor Who team,” she said.

There has also been speculation that Ryan will be brought back to be a regular on the series as Catherine Tate was after first playing Donna Noble in a Christmas special fifteen months earlier.


This week’s episode  A Disquiet Follows My Soul shows one way they are going to drag out the final episodes of Battlestar Galactica before settling the issues which arose last week. Tom Zarek is starting a mutiny and Gaeta is backing him. Another development was to reveal that Tyrol was not the father of Cally’s baby. Most likely this was done after deciding to make Tyrol one of the final five Cylons as this meant that Cally’s baby appeared to be another half human/half cylon child.


Tom Zarek is placed by Richard Hatch who also played Captain Apollo in the original series. While Hatch plays a sometimes nutty character on the new show, his costar on the original has some strange ideas in real life. Dirk Benedict, who played Starbuck in the original Battlestar Galactica series, is a right winger who writes in Big Hollywood how the remake isn’t as good as the original due to its liberal viewpoint. (Hat tip to Cliqueclack.) Like many conservatives he prefers that everything be black or white and doesn’t approve of the greater complexity of the current series. Here is his take:

A show in which the aliens (Cylons) are justified in their desire to destroy human civilization, one would assume. Indeed, let us not say who the good guys are and who the bad are. That is being “judgmental,” taking sides, and that kind of (simplistic) thinking went out with Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and Kathryn Hepburn and John Wayne and, well, the original “Battlestar Galactica.”

Big Hollywood is a group blog recently established to try to win the culture war for conservatives.


IO9 has found some information from Life On A Baseship, the “bible” of the Cylons written for the show before season three. We will learn even more about the creation of the Cylons in Caprica. Sci Fi Wire has interviewed Ron Moore about the upcoming series:

For you, is Caprica an opportunity to stay in the Battlestar Galactica universe while at the same time pushing a creative restart button?

Moore: Yeah, well, … I don’t know if it’s reset, but it’s certainly a way of capturing the energy of the first season, of “Well, what is the show? Let’s figure out how we tell stories here. Who are these characters? What’s it about? How are we going to tease the audience? Where are we going to take the show?” So there’s this sense of exploration, there’s this sense of uncharted territory. And that’s exciting, and that’s scary. It’s scary to have to get one of these things off the ground and hope that it’s all going to work out and that people will like it, especially when you know that everyone is going to compare it to Battlestar. But that’s kind of the reason why we’re in the business, is to take on those challenges.

Knowing that you had Caprica on the horizon, did you hold back at all on wrapping up the Cylon mythology in Battlestar Galactica in order to give fans an incentive to tune in to the new show? Or does Battlestar Galactica settle it for everyone?

Moore: Galactica is going to pretty much settle it. Caprica will be about how the people on the colonies developed the Cylons. And that has its own story to tell about how that came about. But in terms of the larger mysteries and mythologies and hows and the whys and how everything lays out on Galactica, we set out to answer as many of the questions that we could by the end of the show, and that’s what we did. We didn’t hold anything in reserve and say, “Oh, well, we’ll deal with this over in Caprica.”


iF  Magazine is making it sound like a Veronica Mars movie really might be made. Rob Thomas has some additional free time since his current series, Cupid, is being cut from thirteen episodes to eight.

“That means I have time to write the VERONICA MARS movie,” he says. “But my writing the movie is half the battle. Someone else has to pay for it. Joel Silver does have a certain pile of money. He called on me saying ‘Can we do this now?’ Kristen wants to do it. Joel wants to do it and I want to do it. For me, that’s the next project.”

Although he wouldn’t reveal exactly what the story would be, he did tell iF, “it’s 70 percent broken in my head.”

“I’ve been struggling with this one plot point and I’m hopeful to figure that out,” he adds. “I watched the final episode of the series a few weeks ago and there were a lot of gaps and the plotting for the original came to me. I mean for the movie, I’m feeling like I’m on the right track now. But I don’t want to give that away yet.

In terms of cast, Thomas says he’s talked with Jason Dohring, Enrico Colantoni and Kristen Bell.

“Obviously,” he says with a smile.

And while there were always talks of the character of Veronica Mars ending up at the F.B.I., he says that’s not where the movie will be heading.

“The one thing that I will say is where it will pick up,” says Thomas. “I know we did that F.B.I. ‘what if’ thing, but we would not go to that place. I think it would open just days before the Hearst College Graduation. So Veronica would be sort of at the end of her college career.


Drew Berrymore is hoping for another Charlie’s Angels movie.


Bob May, best known for playing the robot on Lost in Space, died last Sunday of congestive heart failure at age 69.

SciFi Weekend Part III: Doctor Who, Torchwood, 24, and the Television Returns of Lorelai and Lizzy


Part I reviewed the return of Battlestar Galactica and Part II featured information on Lost. I will conclude this expanded version of SciFi Weekend with briefer comments on additional shows, as usual moving beyond science fiction.

There is some information available on the next Doctor Who special, which will air around Easter.Tardis and Torchwood Treasures previously posted this information:

The name of the next special is Planet of the Dead and the episode itself has been written by both Russell T Davies and Gareth Roberts. It is expected to air around Easter and filming for the episode will begin on the nineteenth of January next year. The episode will feature two characters called Malcolm and Christina and U.N.I.T will also be making an appearance. Rumours also suggest that parts of the episode will be filmed abroad in Tunisia.

Additional information was provided by Russell T. Davies, who also says it is time to introduce new monsters after the last two episodes involved Daleks and Cybermen:

“After the events of Journey’s End and The Next Doctor, I think it’s time to get away from the past and have an adventure with lots of new elements. And lots of fun too! The next Special should be a nice antidote to Christmas, with a bit of sunshine if we’re lucky. And with not one but two alien races that you’ve never seen before.”

American viewers of Doctor Who either must wait months after episodes are broadcast on the BBC or illegally download the episodes. The third season of Torchwood will consist of only five episodes to be broadcast this summer on consecutive nights, but they have finally figured out the only way to reduce  illegal downloads. BBC America will broadcast the episodes a few hours after they are broadcast in the U.K.

24 returned but despite the decision to shut down CTU and move the show to Washington, the show rapidly returned to a similar format with Jack teaming up with Tony,  Bill Buchanan, and Chole. The twist is that they are working on their own due to conspiracies in the goverment which have infiltrated the White House and the FBI. There is more question this season as to whether Jack’s use of torture is right or wrong.

Sometimes viewers take the show too seriously, forgetting that it is only a television show. Media Matters notes that some conservatives even have tried to use a fictional show to justify their support for torture. On the other hand, I sometimes receive comments that I should not cover 24 due to its portrayal of torture. While liberals who argue this do have a point, they also must remember this is fiction, and that hopefully most people can still consider the real issues surrounding torture. Not even all conservatives blindly believe everything they see on the show. Conservative blogger Rick Moran has discussed the question of whether this television show increases the use of torture, and of whether torture works:

Jack Bauer may be the first fictional character ever to be accused of inspiring real life war crimes. This charge was not made by some obscure left wing blogger but by U.S. Army Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan, the dean of the United States Military Academy at West Point, along with several senior FBI and CIA agents who have conducted thousands of interrogations in their careers. Their verdict was simple and straightforward; the torture scenes in the show were affecting the way that cadets at West Point as well as troops in the field were approaching the interrogation of prisoners.

Finnegan said that he’d like to see a show “where torture backfired.” All the experts agreed that torture, even when used in the show’s “ticking bomb” context, would never work. They pointed out that the fanatics, knowing that the bomb would go off soon, would simply hold out, secure in the knowledge that their suffering couldn’t last much longer.

They also pointed out that terrorist prisoners actually looked forward to torture as the first step towards martyrdom. An interrogation professional would never use it and would, instead, take the opposite tack of trying to build a relationship with the prisoner, drawing him out gradually by gaining his trust. Besides, the “ticking bomb” scenario itself was totally unrealistic and would never happen in the real world.

It is a dubious proposition that a fictional TV character would cause our soldiers to forget their training and their upbringing just to imitate Jack Bauer. The evidence is purely anecdotal, presented by people with an obvious agenda. But that doesn’t mitigate the fact that they felt compelled to speak out against Bauer’s almost casual approach to violating the law and their concern that people get the wrong idea about the best way to interrogate prisoners.

As the show questions the fantasy of torture being effective, it also might even question the ultimate fantasy of the show–that Jack Bauer is invincible. Kristin reveals that there might only be one additional season of the show, there might be a movie after the eighth season, and that they might even blow up the whole world, and Jack Bauer with it.


24 might not be the only show which concludes with movies. A movie version of Jericho is in the works, and if it is a success perhaps the show will be brought back once again. Jericho was canceled after the first season but returned for a second season after protests from fans. Moonlighting might be returning as a television movie for its 20th anniversary.  Bryan Fuller is also hoping to have a movie of Pushing Daisies to wrap up the show. Meanwhile, fans of Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money, and Eli Stone will have to wait until summer to see the final episodes of these canceled series.

Heroes returns with a new chapter, and after problems with the last chapter Tim Kring is hoping viewers will return. The next chapter. Fugitives, was written so as not to require knowledge of previous stories. Fringe is also returning, and Sci FI Wire has some spoilers on the conclusion of the season.

Previously Mad Men had been renewed but series creat0r Matthew Weiner had been holding out on returning. After months of negotiations a deal was reached in which Weiner will return for two seasons for a seven figure deal.

Lauren Graham of Gilmore Girls will be returning to television. Entertainment Weekly reports:

We’re one step closer to getting another weekly TV date with Gilmore Girls‘ Lauren Graham. (Pause for cheers. And… we’re back.) Though we were under the impression NBC was developing a comedy for the actress, Variety reports that ABC has greenlit production on an untitled half-hour pilot in which Graham will play “a self-help guru who teaches women how to live a stress-free life — but struggles to follow her own advice when her boyfriend dumps her.” The show, which features Will & Grace‘s Alex Herschlag and Arrested Development‘s Mitchell Hurwitz among its exec producers, sounds promising, right? I know we can’t let our Gilmore love lead us blindly into TiVo season passes (see: Amy Sherman-Palladino’s ill-fated The Return of Jezebel James), but this set-up could give us Lauren the way we like her: smart, supportive, sarcastic, self-deprecating, slightly neurotic, seriously funny, and above all, at the center of the story. In movies, she’s been “the wife.” On stage, she’ll be “the girlfriend.” (She’s expected to make her Broadway debut as Miss Adelaide in a spring revival of Guys and Dolls.) But on TV, she’ll always be “the star.” Make her self-help guru a fast-talking pop-culture connoisseur, and it’s my favorite show.

Hilary Duff also returns to television in Barely Legal. It sounds like the concept is something along the lines of Lizzy McGuire goes to law school so she can sue Doogey Houser.

Several characters from Veronica Mars are being reunited in Rob Thomas’  new series Party Down, and Kristen Bell might even make an appearance.

SciFi Weekend: What Summer Glau Does After Dark; Dexter Captured; Caprica Ordered; and Dutch’s Killer to be Revealed

When Terminator: The Sarah Connor Adventures began I was fearful that the stories would primarily involve chase scenes and fights as Sarah tried to keep Jon safe. The show has moved well beyond such stories, and has increasingly been playing around with the ramifications of time travel. This week’s episode answers the question of what Cameron (Summer Glau) does at night since, as a cyborg, she does not sleep.

Cameron spends her nights doing research, and stumbled upon a picture which showed that a terminator wound up in the wrong year when going back in time. Cameron ultimately pieces together what was changed by his actions and what he has planned for the future. It might not be entirely realistic that she could figure out as much as she did and I might be disappointed if this story was central to the series. For one episode I was willing to accept what Cameron accomplished and found it enjoyable.

The episode was a nice change of pace from the usual episodes but one problem with weekly television shows is that they feel obligated to bring in most of the major cast members. The episode would have been stronger if it dealt entirely with Cameron. Besides, so far I’m not impressed with the Riley and Jon story line. If Riley really is a resistance fighter from the future who has reason to keep Jon save, many of her actions to date are questionable.

It is unusual for me to be watching Dexter one week at a time. I watched the first two seasons in a very short time. For the second season, we watched a few episodes during the week and then one Saturday evening my wife and I sat down for a marathon session, winding up staying up all night to watch the entire season. Watching that way you don’t have periods of a week to contemplate what will happen next.

Last week’s episode ended with the Skinner capturing Dexter, with unexpected involvement by Miguel. Now I’ve had the week to try to guess how Dexter gets out of it. He might escape on his own, either by overpowering the Skinner or perhaps by using his knowledge of Frebo’s fate to influence him. Dexter might also be rescued by others. Debra has been after the Skinner and might track him down in time to save Dexter. Another long shot is that Miguel, in another attempt to manipulate Dexter rather than kill him off, could save Dexter. Plus, what happens now that Maria has reason to suspect that Miguel was involved in Ellen Wolf’s murder?

Dexter wasn’t the only one that was captured at the end of a genre show this week. On Fringe Oliva has also been kidnapped. The problem is that, while I still have some curiosity as to where J.J. Abrams is going with the show, I don’t really care all that much about what happens to her. As I believe I’ve said before, they are going to have to start revealing more of interest about what is going on in order to keep the interest of viewers for much longer.

The SciFi Channel has ordered twenty episodes of the Battlestar Galactica prequel, Caprica:

The drama, which kicks off with a two-hour pilot movie, stars Eric Stoltz, Esai Morales, Paula Malcomson and Polly Walker.

Set 50 years before the events in Battlestar Galactica, Caprica follows two rival families–the Graystones and the Adamas–as they grow, compete and thrive in the vibrant world of the 12 Colonies, a society recognizably close to our own.

Enmeshed in the burgeoning technology of artificial intelligence and robotics that will eventually lead to the creation of the Cylons, the two houses go toe to toe in a series that blends action with corporate conspiracy and sexual politics.

Back in September I mentioned plans for a television series based upon the novel Flash Forward by Robert A. Sawyer. John Cho, who plays Sulu in the upcoming Star Trek movie, is in negotiations to co-star.

A couple of weeks ago I reported that Dirty Sexy Money, Eli Stone, and Pushing Daisies were all to be canceled. There’s somewhat good news for fans of the first two. Ausiello reports that there will be satisfying series endings for DSM and Eli Stone:

Unlike Daisies, DSM and Eli had the time and money to produce what an ABC insider describes as “satisfying series endings.” DSM will finally answer the question, “Who whacked Dutch?” (brace yourself for a killer twist), while Eli wraps with what my source describes as a “powerful scene between Eli and his father.”

Last month I reported rumors that John Hamm of Madmen might be appearing in 30 Rock as Liz Lemon’s love interest. It looks like this rumor is true, with Hamm already having filmed a couple of episodes.

Sylar might have killed off Elle on Heroes this week, but there is hope of seeing Kristin Bell back in her better role. There’s still rumors of a Veronica Mars movie down the road, but at the moment Rob Thomas is busy with other projects. He told Ausiello:

“I haven’t gotten far on my VM movie outline,” he tells me. “I thought I had the idea broken, but I’ve hit a wall in the final act that I haven’t quite figured out. And with Cupid and Party Down occupying 80 hours a week, and a new baby boy occupying the remaining hours, I haven’t nailed it down. I’m hopeful that I can find the time to figure it out over the Christmas holidays.

SciFi Friday: Data Makes Robot Hall of Fame, More Heroes, More Galactica, and No More Veronica or Cleaver

Congratulations to Lt. Commander Data, who has been inducted into Carnegie Mellon University’s Robot Hall of Fame:

Portrayed by actor Brent Spiner during the 1987–1994 run of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Data was the chief operations officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise and possessed both super-strength and an encyclopedic memory. “Data played a pivotal role on questions of robot ‘right to life’ matters and human/machine philosophies,” said juror Ray Jarvis, director of the Intelligent Robotics Research Centre at the Australian National University.

“In one episode,” recalled fellow juror Anne Balsamo, “Data is put on trial to determine whether he has the right to refuse to submit to a procedure that would disassemble him. During the trial, it is determined that Data is not ‘property,’ like a computer or a toaster, but rather a sentient life form entitled to rights of self-determination,” said Balsamo, managing director of the Institute for Multimedia Literacy at the University of Southern California.

The ashes of James Doohan (Scotty) have been found in New Mexico after plans to shoot him into space didn’t work out too well:

More than two weeks after being launched and lost, a capsule containing mortal remains from “Star Trek” actor James Doohan, pioneer astronaut Gordon Cooper and 200 others has been located, more or less, in the rugged mountains of southern New Mexico. Tracking experts are converging on the site for a beefed-up recovery effort due to start Wednesday.

The April 28 suborbital flight was the first true space shot for Connecticut-based UP Aerospace, which fired its SpaceLoft XL rocket from New Mexico’s Spaceport America. The idea was to send capsules containing small samples of cremated remains above the 62-mile boundary of outer space and back – thus providing a posthumous taste of space.

The headliners for the flight were Doohan, who played Chief Engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott on the popular “Star Trek” TV show and movie series; and “Gordo” Cooper, who in 1963 became the last astronaut to fly in the Mercury program (and the first American to snooze in space). Cooper passed away in 2004, Doohan in 2005.

The up part went superbly for UP Aerospace, but the down was something of a downer. The rocket sections floated down on parachutes into rugged mountain terrain in the White Sands Missile Range. The bottom section was recovered last week, thanks to radio transmitters mounted on the rocket. But the top section, containing the “memorial spaceflight” payload, is still out in the wilderness.

The good news is that the transmitters on the top section are still beaming out signals. Radio surveys have narrowed down the search area to a radius of about 1,300 feet, said Eric Knight, UP Aerospace’s co-founder and chief executive officer.

Another former Star Trek star, George Takei (Mr. Sulu) has recently discussed his role on Heroes an interview reported here. Masi Oka (Hiro) has provided some hints as to how the current season ends:

“I think it’s great the way the finale ends,” Oka said in an interview at the Saturn Awards in Universal City, Calif., where he was honored for best supporting actor in a television series. “It’s a wrapping up of volume one, which is [called] ‘Genesis.’ And it wraps up the whole bomb storyline. So it’s a nice finale, and there’s a great cliffhanger with everybody, I would say. And you do get to see a little bit of volume two, which is called ‘Generations.’”

Heroes creator Tim Kring gives more hints about next season, including new heroes:

“The idea of multiple generations has started to crop up on the show,” Kring said. “And in the second season we will deal with that more, hence the title, ‘Generations.’ … The idea was that we wanted to make it easy for viewers to be able to come on in the second season. And we thought if we wrapped the show too tightly around itself, so that you had to watch 23 episodes before, It would be harder for a new viewer to find the show. And we always want to be a show that has the barrier of entry low enough so that new viewers can join if they want.”

Kring confirmed that the show will indeed end on a cliffhanger, but one that hopefully won’t be frustrating for the viewers. “No, I think it’ll be intriguing more than frustrating,” he said. “The idea was to end one idea of the show, one story, and then slingshot you into the next season.”

Not only where there be more heroes, there will be thirty hours of them coming up. This includes a six hour show during the summer hiatus in which a new hero will be introduced each week. Viewers choose which remains for the second season.

We might also be getting more Battlestar Galactica than previously reported as executive producer David Eick denies the reports originating from Edward James Olmos a decision has already been made to end the show after next season:

“For those of you who have been paying attention over the years, this is not the first time Eddie has made an announcement about the possibility of the show’s end,” chuckled Eick. “I promise you that when [executiuve producer] Ron [Moore] and I make a decision about Galactica’s future, we’ll let you know.”

One genre show will not remain around to see an ending. Jehrico has been cancelled by CBS without a resolution of the season ending story line about an attack from a neighboring city.

veronicamars.jpgThe cancellation of Gilmore Girls (posts on the finale here and here) left many thinking that this would leave room on the schedule for Veronica Mars. Despite some rumors persisting that it might be revived as a new show, the show is now scheduled to end next week. The Hollywood Reporter writes:

“At a news conference after the presentation, Ostroff confirmed that Veronica Mars has solved her last case in her current incarnation but that no final decision has been made on a proposed new version of the series by creator Rob Thomas in which the title character, played by Kristen Bell, is at the FBI Academy.”

The Ausiello Report is not very hopeful after receiving a response from Rob Thomas to the above quote:

“No one has talked to me about a new, non-Veronica project. All my writers have been offered jobs elsewhere, and I believe they will now all accept these jobs. Very, very, very sad day around the VM offices.

“I assume that anything Dawn would be talking about in the realm of a Rob-Kristen project would involve a new from-scratch pilot as they don’t have me in a deal, and they’ll lose Kristen in a couple of weeks.”

Veronica Mars fans might not get to see Kristen Bell next year, but they will hear her as she has a role as narrator of Gossip Girls. I don’t see much hope for the CW Network after dumping Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars, and then making someone who looks like this an off screen narrator.

My advice for the week is don’t drink and drive. If you do drink and drive, don’t get Tony Soprano involved in an auto accident, and then tell him you wouldn’t pass a sobriety test. It seemed inevitable that this would happen sooner or later. Tony had warned Christopher to stay from alcohol and drugs. I also guess Christopher got what he deserved for shooting Tim Daley the previous week and I bet this means we won’t be seeing any more of Cleaver.