SciFi Weekend: The 12th Doctor; The Next Batman; SHIELD And The Avengers; Captain America; Star Wars; Star Trek; Homeland; Dexter; The White Queen; Piracy

Last week white smoke emerged from the BBC and soon afterwards Peter Capaldi was introduced as the 12th Doctor on a show simulcast in the U.K., the United States, Canada, and Australia (video above). BBC America has a run down on the news coverage. The Guardian introduces Capaldi to non-Brits.

Every time there is a regeneration, there is speculation that the next Doctor might not someone other than a white male. Neil Gaiman claims that a black actor has turned down the role. Steven Moffat, Matt Smith, and Jenna Coleman discussed the transition in this interview. An excerpt:

Is writing that final story for Matt Smith’s Doctor the biggest pressure you’ve faced, in doing this show?

MOFFAT:  The biggest pressure will always be introducing a new Doctor.  And I can’t imagine it will ever be tougher than with “The Eleventh Hour” because everything changed.  It’s not an ideal way to run television.  It really isn’t.  That was mad.  All the execs left, the producer left, and all the stars left.  You think, “Christ, how do you get away with that?!”  We’re not in that situation this time, and it’s good that we’re not.  People say, “It must have been great and exciting and marvelous that you had all that new stuff,” but not really.  But, we got away with it.  I just remember thinking, “Are people going to buy that this is the same show, when it clearly is not?”

Do you wish that you could just introduce the new Doctor via the show, when he finally shows up?

MOFFAT:  I’d love to, but that’s physically impossible.  It was Russell’s plan not to tell anyone that Chris [Eccleston] was going to change in the last episode, but it leaked after one week.  I wish it were possible.   The fact is that those actors’ agents have to say that they’re available.  They have to take jobs.  It’s going to leak, so you have to take command of that story.  It’s annoying.  I’d far rather not tell anybody anything, seriously.  If you’re telling a joke, you don’t want anybody telling the punchline before you get to the end.  Sadly, I don’t think it’s possible now.  Everybody wanders around with cameras now.  A few years ago, no one had a camera on them.  Now, every little human being goes around with a camera on their phone.  How am I going to keep secrets with that?!  It’s tough.  It can be irritating, but what can you do?

Moffat started with a new cast with both Matt Smith and Karen Gillan. With Jenna Coleman still being relatively new to the series, the show with Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman will have a different feel than during most of Moffat’s tenure with Matt Smith and the Ponds.

Now that we know who will play the next Doctor, the next major succession is who will play Batman when he appears in the next Superman movie. Rumor has it that Orlando Bloom is the leading contender.

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Joss Whedon discussed synergy between Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the universe of The Avengers:

Speaking at the recent TCAs, Whedon said fans will spot some synergy in the run-up to Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Thor: The Dark World. “There will be as much as we can allow,” he said. “We’re still working that out. It’s a fun opportunity, but it’s not the reason for the show. It’s not an Easter egg farm, we want people to come back.”

The pilot kicks off with Angel alumnus J August Richards as an “unregistered gifted” that the SHIELD agents must track down. Don’t expect a superhero-of-the-week show, though, “There could be a device, a mystery,” Whedon continued.

“There’s so many aspects as to what’s happened since everybody in the world found out there’s a superhero team and aliens invaded New York. We want to be able to change it up every week: spy stuff, hero stuff, heartfelt stuff. We want to make sure the humor is there, but every week, you get something that feels a little bit different.”

Disney has also released a full synopsis for Captain America: The Winter Soldier

After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk.

Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the Winter Soldier.

These Avengers-themed sex toys will definitely never be sold at the many stores around the Disney theme parks, even should the Avengers characters be moved from Universal to WDW in the future.

ABC is in talks to bring another genre show to television–a live action Star Wars show. I really hope this happens, not because I care whether there is a weekly Star Wars show but because maybe this would lead CBS (who appears to own the rights, but it is somewhat murky) to counter by returning Star Trek to television. Star Trek worked far better as a weekly series than intermittent movies which are forced by market demands to be big action movies.

After Disney purchased the rights to Star Wars, there was talk of expanding the Star Wars presence at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. I expressed skepticism over speculation that they would  get rid of Muppet Vision 3D and the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground for this expansion. Earlier in the week I was looking at the refurbishment schedule at Walt Disney World and noticed that Muppet Vision 3D is closed August 6 through September 2 for refurbishment. In addition, the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Playground will be closed September 3 through November 19 for refurbishment. They might not be around forever, but it doesn’t appear likely that they plan to remove them in the near future. As is usually the case at WDW, other areas will also be closed during these times. The most significant is that Spaceship Earth will be closed August 18-24.

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On Orange is the New Black, Kate Mulgrew ran the prison kitchen instead of the Starship Voyager. She was interviewed by Vulture, and told about one Star Trek reference thrown into the show:

At one point Natasha Lyonne has a line, “I thought I was your Spock.”
Yes, they threw that in. I’m sure they’ll do some more of that. I think that was intentional and very clever!

Speaking of Star Trek, Blastr describes how the show was saved by Lucille Ball.

In 1965, Roddenberry got a pilot order from NBC and produced the original Star Trek pilot “The Cage.” It was rejected by the network, reportedly because it was “too cerebral,” and for most shows that’s where the story would have ended. Luckily for Roddenberry, he had Ball on his side. The story goes that she still thought the Star Trek idea had legs, and used her considerable influence in television to push for NBC to give Roddenberry a second chance. The network made the exceedingly rare move of ordering a second pilot from Roddenberry, who overhauled almost the entire cast of characters from “The Cage” and eventually produced “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” That pilot was accepted, the show was given a series order, and the rest is history.

Damian Louis interviewed about his role on Homeland in the video above.

Anna Torv returns to television following Fringe in a show expected to air on HBO next year. Torv will play a lesbian yoga instructor.

Yvonne Strahovski as Hannah McKay (Season 7, episode 6) - Photo: Randy Tepper/Showtime - Photo ID: dexter_706_0087

We don’t know yet how Dexter will end but executive producer Sara Colleton realizes that she can’t make everyone happy.

“This has been the ending that we have talked about for years,” she said. “So to us, it feels right for our show and how we feel about it. I hope fans will think it’s right [too].”

The exec conceded that there is no way to make “everybody happy” with the conclusion of the Michael C Hall series.

“At the end of the day, we know that you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t,” she said. “There will be people who hate it, but we can’t try to anticipate that or put it through the lens of any other show’s finale – because that was another show.

“This is our show. This is Dexter.”

It is hard to believe that things will end well for Dexter Morgan. Multiple routes to doom have arisen this season. So far this has included Dr. Vogel and Deb when she is in a crazy mood. Last week episode showed two additional threats. He has decided he wants to be a mentor to Zach Hamilton, but Zach appears unhinged enough to turn on Dexter. Then there was the return of Hannah McKay.

Having a hard time waiting until Game of Thrones returns? The White Queen on Starz might help.

Piracy drops when there are legal ways to view shows. It comes as no surprise that piracy has spiked in response to the Time Warner cable blackout of CBS.

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who; Sherlock; Star Trek Into Darkness; Veronica Mars; Firefly; Batman; Pepper Potts; Gwen Stacy Meets Mary Jane Watson

Doctor Who returns March 30. Trailer above.

Here is an interview with Matt Smith on the Jonathan Ross Show. For those who are just interested in the Doctor Who Clip, here is a clip from The Bells of St. John, which appears to take place shortly after Clara first enters the TARDIS  (which has a new look):

Here is an interview (audio only) with Jenna-Louise Coleman and producer Marcus Wilson:

Executive Producer Caroline Skinner is leaving Doctor Who. Faith Penhale, head of Drama at BBC Wales, will be producing the 50th Anniversary episode. Steven Moffat has gone through three executive producers but rather than dwelling on rumors of conflict, let’s look back at the days when Julie Gardner spent four years working with Russel T. Davies. Above is The Ballad of Russell and Julie. This is a must-see video for Doctor Who fans who have not seen it yet:

They are starting filming on the third season of Sherlock and Benedict Cumberbatch has confirmed that he is willing to return for a fourth season:

“We’ve already agreed to two more series”. Those were the seven words Benedict Cumberbatch uttered today that set a sizeable section of the internet afire. Speaking at this afternoon’s South Bank Show Awards, the Sherlock and Star Trek: Into Darkness actor revealed, “All I know at the moment is that I’m doing these three and another three”.

Cumberbatch recently won a British Press Guild award as Best Actor. Interview with him above.

Alex Kingston is also interested in returning to Doctor Who as River Song:

I’m so attached to that character. I never expected her to grow and develop in the way she has. You never know whether she’s going to be hard-ass or good. As long as Steven Moffat has storylines that include her, I will always say yes.

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Damon Lindelof on Star Trek Into Darkness and the secrecy surrounding the movie:

“If the first movie was about meeting and introductions, this movie is about becoming a family,” Lindelof said. “The title of the movie is not just about the mission that the Enterprise is going on but what happens when you get to know each other a little better and the hurdles you must jump over in order to truly become family.”

“If anything, we’ve become more terrified,” he said. “We kind of got it right the first time, [we thought], ‘Let’s really not screw it up this time.’ You really have to honor the 40-plus years of canon and legacy that this amazing franchise had before we put pen to paper.”

Lindelof said they settled on the villain for the movie and decided very early on to say little about him — apart from the fact that Cumberbatch’s antagonist is named John Harrison.

“The audience needs to have the same experience that the crew is having,” Lindelof explained. “You’re Kirk, you’re Spock, you’re McCoy, so if they don’t know who the bad guy is going to be in the movie, then you shouldn’t know. It’s not just keeping the secret for secrecy’s sake. It’s not giving the audience information that the characters don’t have.”

Game of Thrones returns March 31. Trailer above.

As I posted earlier in the week, I am helping to finance a Veronica Mars movie. Along with over 50,000 other people I have pledged money for a Kickstarter campaign which made its goal the first day. Don’t let that stop you from pledging–the  more money that is pledged the better the movie might be.

The success of this Kickstarter campaign immediately led to speculation that this might be done to finance other genre movies, and Firefly was one of the first to come to mind. Buzzfeed spoke with Joss Whedon:

Buzzfeed talked to Whedon, a long-time Veronica Mars fan, and he admitted that he was thrilled to see the movie project funded, and funded in the way it’s been. “It feels like a real game-changer”, he admitted.

And then the obvious question. Is this something he’d consider to get more Firefly off the ground?

“I’ve said repeatedly that I would love to make another movie with these guys, and that remains the case. It also remains the case that I’m booked up by Marvel for the next three years, and that I haven’t even been able to get Dr Horrible 2 off the ground because of that”.

He added that “I don’t even entertain the notion of entertaining the notion of doing this, and won’t. Couple years from now, when Nathan’s no longer [working on] Castle and I’m no longer the Tom Hagen of the Marvel Universe and making a giant movie, we might look and see where the market is then. But right now, it’s a complete non-Kickstarter for me”.

Whedon suggests that Kickstarter “doesn’t just open the floodgates”, although we’d imagine that a flood of projects will be testing the water very shortly. He clearly still sounds keen to make more Firefly, though, and we’ll keep you posted as we hear more…

Batman in the Movies.

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Pepper Potts is no damsel in distress in Iron Man 3. From Marvel Studies President Kevin Feige:

In this movie [Iron Man 3] we play with the convention of the damsel in distress. We are bored by the damsel in distress. But, sometimes we need our hero to be desperate enough in fighting for something other than just his own life. So, there is fun to be had with ‘Is Pepper in danger or is Pepper the savior?’ over the course of this movie.

In the comic books she does get a taste for the suit and becomes her own hero named Rescue, who doesn’t necessarily battle other people, but is on missions to help people and to save people. Will we do that down the line with Gwyneth Paltrow? Who knows. But her being in the suit is something we have been playing with since ‘Iron Man 2,’ where we did some designs and it didn’t end up fitting in that movie.

Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy) meets Shailene Woodley (Mary Jane Watson). More Amazing Spider-Man 2 set photos available here.

Gwen Meets Mary Jane Spider-Man

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

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

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

Jorge Garcia

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

Hey, that’s what the press release said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And yet another endorsement for Mitt Romney above.

SciFi Weekend: Newt Gingrich, President of the Moon; Top Sci-Fi Moments on Letterman; Moffat on the Doctor Meeting Someone New; Bob Orci Tweeting Star Trek Pics; Natalie Dormer Joins Game of Thrones; Doc Soto’s Tour of Alcatraz

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JfUHIowew7E

Saturday Night Live opened with science fiction last night, showing Newt Gingrich as president of the moon. Science Fiction isn’t limited to SNL. Blastr presents 18 awesome sci-fi moments from The Late Show with David Letterman.

Some teasers from Steven Moffat about the future of Doctor Who:

Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary is coming. In Cardiff, we’re gearing up for the biggest, the best and the most ambitious season we’ve ever made. There will be shocks, surprises and heartbreak – the Doctor is about to say goodbye to his very best friends, Amy and Rory.

And then he’s about to say hello to someone very different – the Doctor is going to meet someone very new in the very last place he could ever have expected…

Blogator Who has clips of John Barrowman on The One Show. No news about Torchwood except that Barrowman wants to return as Captain Jack when Russel T Davies is ready to bring back Torchwood.

Bob Orci has been tweeting behind the scene pictures during the filming of Star Trek.

I see from the commercial airing during the Super  Bowl as I write this that Disney has Disneyized John Carter of Mars. The Martian princesses in the original Edgar Rice Edgar Rice Burroughs novels were generally near naked.

Natalie Dormer, who showed during The Tudors that she had no problem with appearing nude,  was interviewed about her upcoming role in The Game of Thrones:

With “Game of Thrones,” you’ve signed on to the biggest craze in the States, I think, probably around the world.

Well, again, all I can say is “Thrones” is just like “The Fades,” in so far as the quality is just there in the script, immediately, before you’ve done anything. When you’re just sitting down reading it, the quality just glares at you from the page.

And I kind of kept away from the show when I was taking the meetings. I wasn’t acquainted with the show before I went in to meet the delightful Mr. [David] Benioff and [D.B.] Weiss [exec producers].

And I’m kind of glad I didn’t, actually, because I think I would have been scared off [laughs], because it was so awesome when I watched it.

And I’m really, really proud to be a part of the “Thrones” family now. I just finished second series before Christmas and I’ll be doing third series in the summer. And I think, again, it’s really bravely written. It’s got a phenomenal cast, and, yeah, it’s a great privilege to be a part of the gang, and it’s a big gang…

Tell me about your character, Margaery Tyrell, as much as you can say. It’s kind of weird, because saying anything, almost like with Sarah, saying anything is sort of a spoiler I think.

Yeah. Well, to be perfectly honest, I would have to agree with you there. So maybe I’ll ease off on that. [Laughs.] It’s really interesting, because both shows have this amazing cult following, you know? … It’s kind of intriguing to be opened up to the sci-fi, super horror or fantasy communities and seeing just how dedicated they are. I’ve never come across fans, like cult fans to these cult shows. They’re just so supportive and they’re so dedicated. And, as an actor, you really feel supported and you want to really push yourself, because there’s just so much enthusiasm.

I heard you’re a good fencer and I was wondering if Margaery is ever going to take up a sword.

Oh, well, you know [laughs], I have a few seasons in me. You never know what’s going to happen. [Laughs.] But Loras, the Knight of Flowers, my brother, is meant to be the greatest night throughout the Seven Kingdoms, so maybe she picked up a little bit, who knows? [Laughs.] We’ll have to wait and see, won’t we?

Give us a tease, a non-spoilery tease about Season 2, even if it’s just from your experience and what you saw.

Oh, a tease. [Laughs.] It’s war. It’s war and it’s serious. It’s the same with “The Fades,” the battle is on, life and death. The battle is coming, so it’s serious now. [Laughs.]

And you’re looking forward to more seasons, right?

Absolutely. Absolutely. Margaery really comes into her own in series [seasons] 3 and 4.

Doc Soto provided a tour of Alcatraz. He doesn’t explain how all those prisoners disappeared.

SciFi Weekend: Matt Smith and Karen Gillan win National Television Awards; Fifty Years of Doctor Who in Ten Minutes; Eve Myles On The Future of Torchwood; Captain Jack and Captain Kirk; J.J. Abrams–Star Trek, Person of Interest, and Alcatraz; Big Bang Theory and Doctor Who

It was a good night for Doctor Who at the National Television Awards, despite losing to Downton Abbey as best drama. Matt Smith won the award for best actor and Karen Gillan won for best actress.  Merlin was also a contender for Best Drama.

David Tennant has also won as best actor at the inaugural BBC Audio Drama Awards. He won for his role as Kafka in Kafka: The Musical.

Does reading about awards for the last two Doctors make you nostalgic for their episodes, as well as all the episodes before them? The above video shows almost fifty years of Doctor Who in less than ten minutes.

Matt Smith and Karen Gillan beat nominees from Torchwood, John Barrowman and Eve Myles, in their respective categories in the National Television Awards. Cultbox interviewed Eve Myles about the future of Torchwood and the upcoming 50th anniversary of Doctor Who:

What’s the latest you’ve heard on the future of Torchwood?

“As far as I know at the moment, everything’s still very much on hold. Russell [T Davies] has things happening in his personal life.

“John [Barrowman] is very much on the same page as me, in that if and when they need us, they can just pick the phone up and we will be there before they’ve even put the phone down, because it’s something we love doing.

“Nothing’s going to happen in 2012, I know that much for sure. But who knows what will happen in 2013. Maybe a movie, to kinda draw a line under it.

“That’s the thing about Torchwood, every series we’ve changed our format. We’ve always had a gap in between, so fingers crossed, because we’ve got such an outstanding loyal fan base. They deserve Torchwood to go ahead with something else to draw a line under it, for the fans to have a bit of closure.

With the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who coming up next year, would you be up for returning as Gwen for that?

“Um, I said something at one of these conventions and the press kinda jumped on it: “EVE MYLES THINKS BEING INVOLVED IN THE 50TH ANNINVERSARY OF DOCTOR WHO IS INAPPROPRIATE.”

“Now, this has come across wrong and I want to get this out that I didn’t mean it like that! What I meant was that the direction we were taking with Torchwood was very violent kind of storylines. The characters were going through certain narratives that are pretty hefty and adult. What I meant was that it’s difficult for a character to do those kind of scenes then do Doctor Who, which my niece and my nephews watch. And I would never let them watch Torchwood!

“It’s a difficult crossover. It works with Captain Jack because John does it beautifully. If I was asked it would be an absolute honour to be involved with something as huge as Doctor Who again.

“We were born from Doctor Who and we will be eternally grateful to the mothership. And I always say that and that never gets printed! If I was involved, I’m sure it’d be a wonderful thing but there’s been no phone call or no talk about it so I doubt very much that I will be involved, but I’d be honoured.”

Topless Robot helped me transition from Torchwood to Star Trek by digging up the above video of John Barrowman interviewing William Shatner (Captain Jack and Captain Kirk) from 1994 about Star Trek: Generations.

Zoe Saldana has provided a hint as to what happens with her character in J.J. Abram’s second Star Trek movie in an interview with New York Magazine:

Might we see some more “close encounters” between you and Zachary Quinto in this movie?
If I’m elusive, will that spoil it for you?
You mean you can’t say anything, and that in itself might be indicating something?
I just don’t want to spoil it for you. All I’m going to say is, if you put all the time and energy and wit into setting these two characters together in the first movie and didn’t follow through, it would be a shame.

Got it.
I hope I didn’t say too much!

I don’t think you did.
I feel like J.J. is going to pop up out of the corner and say, “Come with me, Zoe.”

J.J. Abrams also has two new genre television shows this season, Person of Interest and Alcatraz. Individual episodes of each give the impression of being essentially police procedural shows with a twist, and the question in my mind is whether there will be enough back story of interest to make them worth watching. I almost gave up on Fringe during its first season, seeing it as largely a monster of the week version of X-Files, but by the second season there was a tremendous pay off for sticking with the show. Therefore I paln to keep watching these two new Abrams shows.

There are hints that a story is developing beyond the weekly procedurals on Person of Interest. We have already seen a major change in Detective Carter. I am curious to see what develops now that  Reese is having Finch followed.  Meanwhile, Jonathan Nolan warns, “None of these characters are safe. You always have to be willing to [kill off characters]. Nothing is given.” I doubt that they would kill off Reese or Finch, but Carter and Fusco are definitely expendable.

Alcatraz combines a weekly police procedural with hunting down escaped prisoners from Alcatraz along with a continuing story about how they managed to be transported to the present. So far we’ve seen three stories (with two separate episodes being aired the first week). I got hooked with the second episode, which showed Lucy both in the past and present. It was not only the prisoners who disappeared from Alcatraz.

Perhaps because of being produced by Warner Brothers, The Big Bang Theory tends to concentrate heavily on DC comic characters. One rare past reference to Doctor Who which I can recall was from last year’s New Year’s Eve party when Stuart wore a Tom Baker costume at a party at his comic book store. Meanwhile, most of the characters came not as X-Men or Avengers but members of the Justice League of America:

Two years ago, Sheldon did combine watching Doctor Who with his fixation on his place on the couch:

On the other hand, last year Craig Ferguson teased Jim Parsons for being nothing like his character due to not watching Doctor Who.

This week’s episode of Big Bang Theory shows that Sheldon is no longer alone in watching Doctor Who every week:

The Big Bang Theory still remains far beyond Community in references to Doctor Who with their ongoing invention of episodes of Inspector Spacetime.

SciFi Weekend: Star Trek Starts Filming; Karen Gillan Takes Manhattan; Sophia Miles Rumored To Replace Gillan; Game of Thrones and Man Men Returning Soon; Star Trek Sub-Plot On Big Bang Theory’s100th Episode

Filming on the second Star Trek movie by J. J. Abrams began on Thursday with a scheduled release date of May 17, 2013.

Paramount Pictures announced that principal photography has commenced in Los Angeles, CA on the sequel to STAR TREK from director J.J. Abrams. The film will be released on May 17, 2013 in 3D. The 2009 re-launch of the “Star Trek” franchise by Abrams was met with critical acclaim and a worldwide gross of over $385 million at the box office.

Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions present a Bad Robot Production of a J.J. Abrams Film. Returning to their posts on the Enterprise are John Cho, Bruce Greenwood, Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, and Anton Yelchin. They are joined by new cast members Benedict Cumberbatch, Alice Eve and Peter Weller.

Based upon “Star Trek” created by Gene Roddenberry, the film is produced by J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. The script was written by Alex Kurtzman & Robert Orci & Damon Lindelof.

More information is available at TrekMovie.com.

While waiting for the movie, here’s a way to make your house sound like the Enterprise. Or perhaps you’d prefer to work on developing a working Tricorder and win a prize.

We’ll Take Manhattan, a movie about 1960’s model Jean Shrimpton, will broadcast on BBC4 in January. The trailer is above. The Guardian had a feature on both the movie and its star–Karen Gillan.:

We’ll Take Manhattan is a portrait of a photogenic love affair, but lit with flashes of class anxiety and period misogyny. While Shrimpton is portrayed as a beguiling ingénue, a muse who says little but looks great, Bailey (played by Aneurin Barnard) is the domineering, hostile “artist”, who shouts threateningly at women, uses Shrimpton and forgets his wife. I’ll say it – Bailey comes off like a bit of a dick, doesn’t he? Gillan’s eyebrows raise. “Oh!” she says. “Umm. Well. He’s not polite,” she agrees. “He’s cocky, he’s arrogant. But he adores her. He puts her on a pedestal. He likes her imperfections.”

When David Bailey himself shot Gillan and Barnard for a Vogue feature last year he sent her back to the make-up chair twice, saying: “Her eyes should be rounder and sadder.” In the film he tells her he likes her eyes with shadows underneath, after she’s been awake all night crying over him. “Like I said, as a model you are powerless, but the two of them collaborated on the work.”

Does Gillan think Shrimpton comes off as strong, in the relationship? “Models are talked about, not to. That’s still the way it is. But Jean walked out on her dad [when he objected to her affair with a married man] which shows she had bite. I think she was fierce. Quietly fierce.” Gillan grins. She says she identified most with the pre-Bailey Shrimpton, “a girl on the brink of becoming a woman. Playing her has taught me I’m stronger than I thought I was, and to appreciate the opportunities I’ve got – she was one of the ones who pursued a career, one of the ones who changed things for people like me.”

A missing radio script for a proposed Doctor Who radio series from the 1960’s has been found. More information here. Russell T. Davies is working on a new show which is being described as Doctor Who meets Harry Potter.

There are rumors flying on Twitter regarding the next companion for the Doctor after Amy Pond leaves. Sophia Myles from The Girl In The Fireplace is rumored to be returning. It would not be the first time someone has returned to play a different character on Doctor Who. From Blastr:

As all of us Whovians know, the Doctor, played by Matt Smith, lies (that’s rule number one). And so does Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat. So when this one tweet teases hints at a (possible) character’s return to the long-running sci-fi series, we should take it with a pinch of salt, right?

The Daily Star is reporting that actress Sophia Myles (Moonlight, Spooks, Thunderbirds) is now being touted as the Time Lord’s next companion.

Why is that?

As we said, the whole thing started when Steven Moffat tweeted this tiny bit here: “Right EVERYBODY who follows me, go and follow @SophiaMyles – spin that fireplace. NOW.” He also added “I’ll explain later. Or not.”

StevenMoffatTweet.jpg

If that wasn’t enough, the whole thing became even more mysterious when Myles herself tweeted back: “Watch this (fire)place,” and “The plot thickens…”

HBO has announced that Game of Thrones will return on April 1. Mad Men will resume on AMC on March 25.

TrekMovie.com has some spoilers about the 100th episode of The Big Bang Theory which includes a Star Trek sub-plot:

In The Big Bang Theory’s 100th episode “The Recombination Hypothesis” the main focus is how Leonard and Penny may get back together. However Sheldon has his own subplot, focusing on how his order for some Star Trek merchandise has gone wrong. According to a tipster, Sheldon orders a Star Trek Spock life-size cutout, but when it arrives he is not happy. Sheldon was expecting it to be a cutout of the Leonard Nimoy Spock, but he gets Zachary Quinto’s Spock instead. Apparently Sheldon isn’t a fan, exclaiming “Zachary Quinto!? Live long, and suck it!” Sheldon’s disappointment factors into a later scene, when he tries to accept the new Spock.

From the Doctor Who Wrap Party: The Ballad of Russell and Julie

Two videos from the wrap party following the final episode of Doctor Who of the David Tennant/Russel T. Davies era emerged on YouTube yesterday. I previously posted one video with the full cast and crew here. The second video above,“The Ballad of Russell and Julie,” features David Tennant, Catherine Tate and John Barrowman in a musical act to thank Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner for their excellent work on the series.

Catherine Tate will also be reprising her role from the series finale of The Office later this season.

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who and Torchwood:Miracle Day; Steven Moffat on River Song

Night Terrors was an enjoyable,  99 percent stand-alone, episode of Doctor Who written by Mark Gattis. We were first led to believe it was about a boy who feared  monsters in his closet. We ultimately found that the monsters were real and that it wasn’t Narnia in his cupboard. It turned out that the most important fears were not really of the monsters but a child’s fear (even if the child wasn’t human) of being rejected.

I have one complaint about the episode. Although it seemed to deal with problems George had his entire life, everything major happened one night. This included getting the distress call to the Doctor to save him from the monsters to George making people in his apartment complex, along with the visitors from the TARDIS, all disappear. There was no indication that he did this to people he feared before this night. Gattis should have worked in some reason to claim that George’s powers were stronger that night to explain these things.

In an episode dealing with children’s fears, Mark Gattis was asked to write a nursery rhyme to tie into the season’s arc:

Tick tock goes the clock
And what now shall we play?
Tick tock goes the clock
Now summer’s gone away?

Tick tock goes the clock
And what then shall we see?
Tick tock until the day
That thou shalt marry me

Tick tock goes the clock
And all the years they fly
Tick tock and all too soon
You and I must die

Tick tock goes the clock
We laughed at fate and mourned her
Tick tock goes the clock
Even for the Doctor

Tick tock goes the clock
He cradled her and he rocked her
Tick tock goes the clock
Even for the Doctor…

This season’s arc is even more remarkable as River Song’s story goes back to well before this season. Viewing Let’s Kill Hitler suggested that, while Steven Moffat may have had a general idea for River Song’s story, he hadn’t planned it all out ahead of time. If he had, it would have only made sense to have such a good friend of Amy’s be seen in previous episodes. Some idea of how the storyline came about can be seen in Maureen Ryan’s interview of Steven Moffat. Reading the full interview it is obvious that it occurred before Let’s Hill Hitler.

I’m interested in the conception of the River Song story. In ‘Silence in the Library,’ did you already know she was going to be the daughter of a companion?
Oh no, no. I mean, it was one possible theory. Why is it somebody who’s got such connections, who would that be? Is it just a future companion? What if it’s somebody’s got a lifelong commitment to the Doctor or his companion? So when I introduced Amy, I kept my options open [and used the name Pond]. I thought I was doing [the name thing] in plain sight and nobody [caught] it for a long while. But I didn’t know at the time Karen was going to stay long enough for that story to come off. I didn’t know if Alex would keep coming back.

So Plan A held, but there were other ones, including the [Plan B] that maybe River never came back at all and you could just imagine that she knows the 59th Doctor in the far future.

Actually I, and I’m sure many others, were suspicious of a connection between the names Pond and River for quite a while, and there was considerable speculation that River was Amy’s daughter before this was confirmed.

Later in the interview:

With River Song and her meeting the Doctor “backwards,” is that important to the character? Is that something that needs to be explained?
When she says that, she’s being poetic, to some degree. The broad sweep of how she meets the Doctor is out of sequence. It’s not necessarily always exactly out of sequence. It’s been taken to mean, by some people, but that every time they meet, it’s the exact reverse. We already know that’s not true. And we’ve seen it not be true.

But look at it from River’s point of view — it feels as though every time she meets him [it’s backwards], and she knows the day is coming when he won’t know her at all. There’s an adventure she hasn’t had yet where the Doctor doesn’t know her. She knows it’s coming. She is generalizing: “Most of the times I meet him, generally he’s younger and knows me slightly less well.”

Will we ever know why that was the case? Does it matter for her character?
Why should we always meet people in the right order?

I don’t know, it might help time-travel dummies like me.
But who says you would [meet people that way]? It’s actually highly improbable that if you traveled around in time — why would you meet people in the right order? What law, what ticking clock is making that [happen]?

With River Song and her meeting the Doctor “backwards,” is that important to the character? Is that something that needs to be explained?
When she says that, she’s being poetic, to some degree. The broad sweep of how she meets the Doctor is out of sequence. It’s not necessarily always exactly out of sequence. It’s been taken to mean, by some people, but that every time they meet, it’s the exact reverse. We already know that’s not true. And we’ve seen it not be true.

But look at it from River’s point of view — it feels as though every time she meets him [it’s backwards], and she knows the day is coming when he won’t know her at all. There’s an adventure she hasn’t had yet where the Doctor doesn’t know her. She knows it’s coming. She is generalizing: “Most of the times I meet him, generally he’s younger and knows me slightly less well.”

Will we ever know why that was the case? Does it matter for her character?
Why should we always meet people in the right order?

I don’t know, it might help time-travel dummies like me.
But who says you would [meet people that way]? It’s actually highly improbable that if you traveled around in time — why would you meet people in the right order? What law, what ticking clock is making that [happen]?

I’ve been suspecting that Russell T. Davies pitched the general idea of Torchwood: Miracle Day and was given ten episodes before he had any idea as to how he would fill this many episodes. Some episodes felt like they were just filler. Even this week’s episode, The Gathering, seemed to be killing time when they had the authorities search Gwen’s home not once, but twice. It would have been better to limit to one search, and spend more time showing events which were limited to discussion this episode.

I am having difficulty figuring out the motivation here for such aggressive action against Category 1 individuals. I can see the justification (ignoring the moral issues) of burning them if they are using up limited hospital facilities, but it wouldn’t be worth extensive police resources to hunt out people kept at home. It would be different if they knew that Gwen was robbing pharmacies for supplies, but they clearly have no suspicion of that.

The episode did show a move towards despotism. Rather than searching out Category 1 individuals, I would suspect that instead we would be seeing forced sterilizations to offset the population growth from the near-absence of death.

An even bigger complaint about how the series has been playing out has been that the Torchwood team might some discoveries, such as about the stock pile of pain medications and what was happening in the camps, but the really important clues seem to just occur.  The episode ended giving the appearance that Jack and Gwen might find the Blessing not due to their own detective work but from a drop of Jack’s blood showing the way. Plus we learned that it is possible to dig all the way to China.

How the series concludes, and how it answers the many remaining questions, will ultimately determine how the show is evaluated. Here’s is the extended UK/Australian trailer for next week’s concluding episode:


It is not known if Torchwood will return for any future seasons, but there is hope now that Starz and the BBC have entered into a multi-year agreement.

SciFi Weekend: Torchwood’s Immortal Sins; Doctor Who, Let’s Kill Hitler; The Doctor and Other Time Travelers Win Hugo Awards, The Hour (A Great Show To Watch While Waiting For Mad Men To Return)

This week’s episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day, Immortal Sins,  is more Jack-centric, showing how his back story plays into the events of the Miracle, and presumably why there was a signal for Torchwood on the day that the Miracle began. The series has seemed to take a long time to move towards a conclusion at times, but I suspect that the pace will pick up in the final three episodes now that we have a better idea of where it is headed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d–_kOhavH4&feature=player_embedded

The episode even has two references to the Doctor in the scenes above. Those who complained to the BBC about the explicit gay sex won’t like this episode either. My only complaint is that there wasn’t a matching sex scene with a female as occurred earlier this season. Captain Jack gets the best line of the episode: “Forgive me father for I have sinned… so many times… and that’s just today!”

Season six of Doctor Who resumes next week. Above is a preview of the episode from BBC America. Karen Gillan also introduces Let’s Kill Hitler plus two clips from Doctor Who Confidential have also been released:

The Daily Mirror,  which is not the most reliable of sources, claims that Billie Piper, Freema Agyeman and Catherine Tate will all return in the episode. Consider how the Doctor left both Billie Piper (Rose) and Catherine Tate (Donna), this would seem difficult. Perhaps he meets them before his final encounters with them, or perhaps the actresses are there but they aren’t what they seem.

Doctor Who Lets Kill Hitler Amy Pond River Song

A prequel scene to Let’s Kill Hitler was released last week. The scene is posted here.

While nothing has been officially confirmed, based upon interviews with both Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill it appears like Amy and Rory will leave as regular companions at the end of the season, most likely to raise their newly-rescued baby, and a new companion will be introduced. Both have also said they will be returning in the future, and it is assumed they mean as recurring characters similar to how River Song has appeared intermittently.

Doctor Who Big Bang Pandorica Opens

Doctor Who, as well as other time-travel stories, did well in this year’s Hugo Award ceremony at the World Science Fiction Convention in Reno last night. Black Out/All Clear, a pair of novels dealing with time travel to England during World War II by Connie Willis, won best novel.

The season five  Doctor Who two-part story, The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang, won the Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. Two other episodes of Doctor Who, A Christmas Carol and Vincent and the Doctor, were also nominated this year.

The winning episodes were written by Steven Moffat, who previously won the Hugo Award for these episodes of  Doctor Who:   Blink in 2008, The Girl In The Fireplace in 2007 and The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances in 2006. An episode by Russel T. Davies, The Waters of Mars won in 2010 when there were only specials and no regular episodes written by Moffat.

Doctor Who was also responsible for a non-fiction award. Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It, edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O’Shea, won for Best Related Work.

Inception won for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. My interpretation of the movie was previously posted here.

Here’s something to watch if you can’t wait until next year for Mad Men to return. The Hour premiered on BBC America last week–trailer above.  The DVD set of the series will be released in September. After watching the first episode I quickly obtained episodes two through five, in preparation for the sixth and final episode of the season which airs Tuesday in the U.K.

There are several new shows which are trying to capitalize on the nostalgia value of Mad Men (but most ignore the fact that it is quality which made Mad Men a success). Both have a feeling of a previous era but one which is not all that different from today.  The creative type people on a news show in The Hour versus those in advertising on Mad Men, along with the drinking and smoking scenes, give the shows a similar feel. The third episode also reminded me of scenes from Brideshead Revisited.

American network shows trying to capitalize on the Mad Men feel such as Pan Am and one on the Playboy Club are also starting this fall, but I doubt they will show the same quality as either Mad Men or The Hour.

They are also very different shows too. Beyond its late 1950’s backdrop on a television news show, The Hour gets involved with a murder mystery and Cold War espionage. In some ways the show feels like a combination of the two AMC series, Mad Men and Rubicon. Being six hours has allowed it to develop the season-long arc without stretching it out too long. It is also reminiscent of Mad Men, which previously took place at the time of the  Cuban Missile Crisis, by dealing with the Suez crisis and Soviet invasion of Hungary.

The Hour has a superb cast. Best known to American audiences is Dominic West from The Wire. Romola Garai (pictured above) and Ben Whishaw are also excellent in their lead roles. Burn Gorman, who previously played Owen Harper on Torchwood, has a significant role. Now I can’t wait for Mad Men to return, and I know that once the series conclude its U.K. run on Tuesday I will be anxiously awaiting a second season of The Hour.

SciFi Weekend: Two Weeks Until Torchwood: Miracle Day; True Blood and Weeds Return This Week; Game of Thrones

Starz has released the following synopses of the first seven of ten episodes of Torchwood: Miracle Day. Episodes air one day later, on Saturdays, in Canada. There is no official word yet regarding airing in the U.K. but one site has stated that there is a one hour gap on their schedule for July 9th, leading them to suspect that this is when it will start.

1. The New World8th July 10:00pm

When death itself comes to a halt, the whole world faces its greatest danger yet. CIA agent Rex Matheson has only one clue – Torchwood.

2. Rendition15th July, 10:00pm

As the Torchwood team is reunited, Jack realizes he’s the most vulnerable man on Earth. A flight to the United States turns into a desperate battle for survival.

3. Dead of Night22nd July, 10:00pm

Torchwood goes on the run and finds a new enemy, but as they launch a raid on PhiCorp headquarters, Jack must confront the mysterious Oswald Danes.

4. Escape to L.A.29th July 2011

The fight against PhiCorp takes the Torchwood team to California, where a trap is waiting. Meanwhile, Oswald and Jilly find themselves with an enemy of their own.

5. The Categories Of Life5th August, 10:00pm

Torchwood goes undercover and discovers the terrible truth behind the Miracle. The enemy is closing in, and death is about to make a shocking return.

6. The Middle Men12th August, 10:00pm

With Gwen, Rex and Esther trapped on both sides of the Atlantic, it’s a race against time as Jack goes straight to the heart of the conspiracy.

7. Immortal Sins19th August 2011, 10:00pm
Gwen must fight to protect her family and takes a terrifying journey, covering both miles and decades, as the long history of the Miracle is revealed.

Remaining episodes: End Of The Road, The Gathering and The Blood Line.

Starz has posted this behind the scenes preview of the series:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcYA2s-Gqwk&feature=player_embedded

There will be differences in the American and British episodes. One reason might be to remove some of the cultural references which American audiences might not understand, but this sounds like a questionable move considering the number of shows from the U.K. which have aired in the United States–including previous seasons of Torchwood. I also wonder if there might be sex scenes which Starz would air which the BBC would not.

Russel T. Davies has said that the show will not abandon its Welsh roots and will include scenes from Wales. I hope they do not feel like they need to cut back on such scenes for American audiences. Besides previous seasons of Torchwood, I have managed to enjoy shows set in Wales such as Gavin and Stacey, despite not understanding all the cultural references on the shows.


Tardis Newsroom has videos of interviews with producers and cast of Torchwood: Miracle Day.

John de Lancie was also interviewed about his role:

Actor John de Lancie says that his upcoming role in Torchwood: Miracle Day is one of a “gruff” CIA specialist who is involved in the final three episodes of the season.

“I’m a recurring character in the final three episodes of the series,” he told SFX. “My character is CIA, very gruff, [and] unimpressed by the ‘Torchwood clowns’ as he’d call them.”

De Lancie, best known for his role as Q in the Star Trek franchise, added that the new season of Torchwood still has a “British” feel.

“My sense is the show is still quite British,” he said. “It has, mostly, an American crew, but the sensibility of it, led by Russell [T Davies], is very British.”

He also claimed that Miracle Day is “completely different… to Star Trek” and that his role involved “no technobabble”.

“It’s someone’s future, potentially real,” he explained. “I enjoyed that.”

The video of an interview with Bill Pullman on BBC Breakfast is above.

True Blood returns tonight. TV Guide has a list of ten spoilers–none of which I believe will ruin the show for anyone.

Weeds takes a trip into the future. The upcoming season, returning this week, takes place three years after last season, with Nancy getting out of prison.

Casting news for various shows is starting to come out. The most interesting is that Natalie Dormer of Tudors will be appearing on Game of Thrones.  She’ll be playing Margaery Tyrell, the betrothed wife to a new contender for the throne. Filming for the second season begins in July.