SciFi Weekend: Dexter Season Finale; Fringe Mid-Season Finale; Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol

The big even tonight is the season finale of Dexter. Last week’s episode answered the question I posed as to Liddy’s fate and it comes as little surprise that Lumen is again threatened by Jordan Chase. Quinn’s fate might be settled by the drop of Liddy’s blood which wound up on his shoe. A couple of videos from tonight’s episode are above. The scene with Jordan showing his intentions towards Lumen is as expected, but Dexter does receive a surprise in the second clip.

It was inevitable that, following what was probably the best episode of Fringe ever aired, that the mid-season finale following it would be a disappointment. The big disappointment turned out to be with Olivia, leaving me half wishing we could have kept the much hotter Fauxlivia instead. The main story was about a man who reanimated a dead woman he loved and then looked into her eyes to find that she was not really the woman he had loved. Olivia couldn’t understand why Peter similarly could not realize that Fauxlivia was not her.

An alternative version from the other universe, who had studied Olivia and was intentionally trying to pass herself off as Olivia, is hardly the same as a reanimated dead woman. Yes, there were tons of clues she was not really Olivia. Still, to defend Peter for a moment, Olivia had come on to him in her request he return to our universe. It is possible to see how he would explain changes in Olivia as changes in behavior in a woman he was not romantically involved with as opposed to a coworker.

Walter had it right last week: “He fell right into her vagenda.” However, Astrid was also right in pointing out that Peter’s actions were motivated by his love for the real Olivia.

Fringe will return on Friday nights, making fans of genre shows nervous. The Friday night spot on Fox has been where many genre shows have died on Fox, including Dollhouse, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and Firefly.

Above is a video inside look at Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol from the BBC. Check recent installments of SciFi Weekend for more on this year’s Christmas special.

SciFi Weekend: Tardis Remake; Avatar Sequel; Will Sheldon Meet Nimoy?; Summer Glau As Crime Fighting Blogger; Lost; Caprica

This regeneration of The Doctor is accompanied by more changes than are usually seen with a regeneration on Doctor Who. Besides a new Doctor there will be a new companion, a new show runner, and a new interior for the Tardis. The regeneration scene showed the interior being damaged leading to the changes Steven Moffatt desires for the set. The Mirror reports that the Tardis is being upgraded to withstand viewing in high definition.  “It will be the most hitech, intricate Tardis ever.” TV Overmind has more:

“It must be three times the size of Tennant’s, on multiple levels with staircases in between. Less grubby than its predecessor, with a transparent plastic floor on the main level, its walls are resplendent with polished copper and its central column features a blown glass decoration that could be straight from Tales of the Unexpected.

There are old car seats and downstairs – downstairs! – a swing. With a nod to Paul McGann’s Tardis, the central column features an old TV screen on an extendable trellis. It also has a 1980s-style computer keyboard, and a His-Master’s-Voice style trumpet speaker.”

When Avatar came and became a box office hit I figured a sequel was inevitable. After all, kicking the evil humans out doesn’t mean that they won’t return with a greater force to exploit Pandora’s resources. I doubt anyone will be surprised to read that producer Jon Landau and director James Cameron are considering a sequel among other projects. Naturally any sequel will also be in 3D. Landau said,  “I don’t think we will ever make another 2D film. Why would we make a movie in black and white if we have color. I think ultimately all movies are going to be in 3-D.” I also fear I might be upgrading televisions sooner than I had anticipated when I went to high definition.

For those who have not seen the movie enough times there is talk of a re-releasing Avatar with additional scenes this summer.

Bill Prady was not successful at getting Leonard Nimoy to make a guest appearance during the second season of The Big Bang Theory but he is going to try again:

Sheldon’s dream of meeting Leonard Nimoy may soon become a reality on The Big Bang Theory. Executive producer Bill Prady says the hit sitcom will likely approach the Star Trek legend early next season about making a cameo.

“We’ll probably make a general inquiry,” says Prady. “And if there’s enough interest, we’ll develop a story. The fans have said that’s the dream get, and we agree.”

Nimoy declined an invitation to appear on Big Bang back in season 2, although the 78-year-old has since returned to television with a recurring gig on Fringe. “There’s always an issue with actors playing themselves,” Prady theorizes, “which most actors would rather not do.”

Speaking of Fringe, TV Overmind has some information regarding the show’s first episode back on April 1 which shows Peter’s back story.

Summer Glau will play a crime fighting blogger next season:

Glau, who has probably starred in more cult sci-fi series than any other actress, with stints on Fox’s “Firefly,” “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” and “Dollhouse,” has joined NBC’s superhero-themed drama pilot “The Cape” in a leading role.

In the pilot, directed by Simon West, a former cop (David Lyons) is set up as a criminal and becomes a masked hero, the Cape, to clear his name.

Glau will play Orwell, a cute and intrepid investigative blogger who fearlessly goes after corrupt cops and costumed bad guys.

This week’s episode of Lost was centered on Benjamin Linus. In the alternate reality off the island Ben returned home from the island at a younger age instead of spending his life there (which is a good thing considering that the island wound up under water). Ben was still working on evil plots but didn’t have the killer instinct he developed on the island. It was concern for Alex which led to him backing down, with no explanation as to who Alex’s father is. Next week’s episode will center around Sawyer.

A lot happened on Caprica but none of it had the impact of the final moment when Daniel walked up to the Cylon and said one word: “Zoe.” Only two more episodes are left until a break with the remaining eleven episodes of the season to air in October.

SciFi Weekend: Hot Vampire Sex; SciFi on 30 Rock and Other Shows; Dr. Who Interview; Summer Glau on Dollhouse

The second season of True Blood is approaching its finale. Help is needed to defeat Maryann and they turn to the Vampire Queen of Louisiana. Reportedly this means more hot vampire sex–in this case between Queen Sophie and Sookie’s cousin, Hadley Hale (Lindsey Haun). Ausiello has additional spoilers about the season finale.


True Blood has been a success due to excellent writing, interesting characters, a compelling plot, and a lot of nude scenes with Anna Paquin. She discussed this in an interview with Nylon:

Anna Paquin, on her Nude Scenes:
“I don’t think a naked body is particularly shocking or interesting… It’s not the culture I was raised in.  I was not brought up in the United States.  I don’t share the [attitude] that you can have graphic violence, but – God forbid – you see someone’s nipples.”

On Going Blonde for Sookie:
“I don’t look like a Barbie doll, and probably never will.  People are incredibly literal in how they view you.  You have dark hair and pale skin?  You must be brooding.  The second you dye your hair blonde and get a spray tan, people treat you as if you’re a bit stupider and happier.  Suddenly, it’s like you’re hot and sexy.”

On TV Acting:
“It never occurred to me that one form of acting was better than another.  I think if you approach your career like that you’re limiting yourself to a very boring path.  For me, it’s about the material.”

Epilogue:  Stephen Moyer, on Vampire Sex:
“The thing about vampirism is that it taps into a female point of view – you have an old-fashioned gentleman with manners who is a fucking killer… it’s an interesting duality, because in our present society it would be an odd thing for a woman to say, ‘I want my man to be physical with me.’ How, as a modern man, can you fucking work that?  It’s one thing to be polite and gentle… But when do you know it’s OK to crawl out of the mud and rape her [as Bill does in one scene]?… It’s difficult stuff for a bloke, but a vampire gets away with it…. I think that’s the attraction of the show – it’s looking back at a romantic time when men were men, but they were still charming.”


Liz Lemon doesn’t do any nude scenes on 30 Rock, but she has frequently brought science fiction into the show. Io9 has put together a clip with the scifi scenes from the show. The post also includes scifi clips from other television shows including Veronica Mars, The Big Bang Theory, The Office and How I Met Your Mother.

IO9 Has also put out their list of The Top 100 Science Fiction/Fantasy Shows of All Time. The original Star Trek tops the list. Doctor Who is runner up.

BoingBoing interviewed David Tennant and Russel T. Davies following the filming of their last episode of Doctor Who together–video above.

Stills are being released from the second season of Dollhouse, with an example above. As expected, now that Summer Glau is available, she will have a recurring role in the show, along with a couple of actors from Battlestar Galactica. From the press release:

Summer Glau (“Firefly,” “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”) reunites with Joss Whedon when the actress joins the cast of DOLLHOUSE this fall in a recurring role as BENNETT, a Dollhouse employee who shares a past with ECHO (Eliza Dushku). The second season of DOLLHOUSE premieres Friday, Sept. 25 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

Additional guest stars appearing throughout the upcoming second season include Alexis Denisof (“Angel”), Jamie Bamber (“Battlestar Galactica”), Michael Hogan (“Battlestar Galactica”) and Keith Carradine (“Dexter”). DANIEL PERRIN (Denisof) is a U.S. senator leading a witch hunt to track down the underground organization. Mysterious, charismatic businessman MARTIN KLAR (Bamber) is Echo’s new husband. BRADLEY KARRENS (Hogan) comes to the Dollhouse hoping to stop a psychotic family member’s killing spree, while MATTHEW HARDING (Carradine), a nemesis of Dollhouse leader ADELLE DEWITT (Olivia Williams), stirs up trouble. Additionally, DR. CLAIRE SAUNDERS/WHISKEY (Amy Acker) and MADELINE/NOVEMBER (Miracle Laurie) return this season in multiple-episode arcs.

SciFi Weekend: The Doctor’s Next Companion; Star Trek Sex Symbol; Summer Glau and Dollhouse

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The identity of the next companion when Doctor Who resumes under Matt Smith has been announced. Karen Gillan, who previously appeared in the fourth season episode The Fires of Pompeii as one of the Soothsayers, has been given the role. It isn’t unusual for actors to make guest appearances on the show and wind up with other roles in the future. This could be a more difficult transition as this will be the first time since the show returned that both The Doctor and his main companion have changed at the same time. When Christopher Eccleston left, Billy Piper remained as his The Doctor’s companion, and when Piper left the show still had David Tennant returning.

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American audiences will soon be able to see this year’s Doctor Who specials (assuming they have not already downloaded them). BBC America has outbid the SciFi channel for the rights to the show, including this year’s specials.  They will begin airing them on June 27 with the Christmas special, The Next Doctor. The Easter special, Planet of the Dead, will air in July. The specials planned to air on the BBC later this year will air on BBC America in late 2009 and early in 2010. BBC America is also showing a couple of other genre shows this summer, Being Human and Survivors.

We are also going to have more of David Tennant than first expected when he decided to leave Doctor Who. He will have a major role in two episodes of the third season of The Sarah Jane Adventures. Tennant will also be supplying the voice of The Doctor in Dreamland, a seven part animated series. Each episode will run for six minutes, and others supplying voices include Georgia Moffett playing a character named Cassie Rice. A Doctor Who movie is also being considered but it is not known if Tennant will be in it.

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A new trailer is out for the upcoming Torchwood miniseries, Children of Earth (above).

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Star Trek is now the top grossing movie of 2009 and has entered the list of top 100 films of all time.  There are interviews with the cast virtually everywhere. Here is Zoe Saldana on playing a Star Trek sex symbol as Uhura, and possibly becoming involved with Captain Kirk in the future:

You’re in Star Trek. So you’re a geek, right?
I am actually! I’m very proud to say I am a geek. But I’m kind of a cool geek. I grew up in a very sci-fi home so I’ve seen a lot of sci-fi movies, from Dune to Alien, 2001, ET, Batteries Not Included… All these films I go crazy for. But never Star Trek.

Was that why you weren’t sure whether to accept the role of Uhura?
Even though I’ve wanted to work with JJ Abrams, I was worried that it could have backfired on my career. But when JJ told me the kind of Star Trek he wanted to make, I wanted to be a Star Trek fan now. He writes amazing roles for women.

He wasn’t afraid to put you in a very short skirt either…
Oh, no, no, no… He was not afraid at all! That was a combination of JJ and the costume designer wanting to keep the trendy ’60s style of the original show.

How does it feel to be a sex symbol for Trekkies?
Oh God, I don’t know! Now I’m a sex symbol for geeks? What have I done…

Any freaky moments with Trek fans?
Not yet, no… I’m very happy to say not yet. But I did have a driver that I had to spend the day with. And he opened his trunk of his black sedan and it was filled with Star Trek memorabilia.

That does sound a bit weird…
I don’t go that crazy when I think about those sort of things happening at the time. But I’m thinking ‘Okay, is this normal for a man to drive around in a sedan with Star Trek memorabilia in his trunk?’ No. Freaky!

Who do you prefer, Kirk or Spock?
Oh God… It depends! I suppose it would have to be Spock for now.

So pointy ears are a bonus?
Hmm, I don’t know… Maybe in the sequel, I wouldn’t mind giving it a go with Kirk. He’s has those dreamy blue eyes. He brings a very interesting, rebellious manliness to the part.

Is that the kind of guy you go for?
I tend to be very picky, so I look for the perfect man! So it Spock and Kirk can mix, they’d become my perfect man. That’s the kind of guy I’d go for. I don’t only go for muscles, I don’t only go for brains. You just need to have a little bit of a bad boy and a geek and then you’ve got the perfect guy.

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Bruce Greenwood, who played Captain Christopher Pike, discussed his thoughts on future Star Trek movies:

I have to ask an obvious question. What do you know about plans for any sequels to the latest “Star Trek” movie?

They’re bouncing around story ideas right now. I think, from what I gather, the intention is start shooting next summer.

What would you like to see happen in any of the sequels?

I think these guys are clever enough to do at least two more and have the final one do a really hard dovetail into the beginning of [the storylines] for the original [“Star Trek”] series. My expectations are very high for them. The only thing I’d like to see, from a personal standpoint, is the mentor relationship between Kirk and Pike to continue.

I like the idea of the movies dovetailing into the beginning of the original Star Trek series but there is a problem. Abrams changed the time line in ways which prevent this from being entirely possible. I generally loved the movie and don’t want to sound like the hard core Trekkies who object to the film but I do think that the major changes made by Abrams were both unnecessary and counterproductive in the long run.

For those who aren’t up on the specifics of the original series, the show was written to begin with the Enterprise already having a history. The Enterprise was first seen at some point during a five year mission. At the start of the series Captain Kirk has already been captain for an unspecified period of time. The Enterprise had two previous captains, Robert April and Christopher Pike. The original series was canceled before the conclusion of the original five year mission, and the movies take place at a later point in time.

Abrams could have limited conflicting with Star Trek canon by placing his movies before the episodes of the original series. As the actors aged he could have also done stories later in the five year mission. It is now impossible to have the Abrams movies dovetail completely into the original series as the changes in the time line now make many of the stories impossible. We cannot have any of the episodes involving Vulcan such as Amok Time. Nor could we have the episode featuring Spock’s mother, Journey to  Babal. The two part episode, The Menagerie, would also not be possible as it dealt with flashbacks to the time when Christopher Pike was captain (actually using footage from the original pilot, The Cage, which NBC rejected as too cerebral). Balance of Terror would no longer be the same as a major aspect of the show involved Star Fleet not knowing that Romulans appeared similar to Vulcans.

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Summer Glau, shown above in a picture from Vanity Fair, is now available following the cancellation of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. As Glau previously appeared in Joss Whedon’s series Firefly there has been speculation that she will wind up with a role on Whedon’s current series, Dollhouse. Ausiello writes:

The noise you’re about to hear is the sound of the Whedonverse exploding. Joss confirms to me exclusively that, well, he’s one step ahead of you. “If anybody thinks [bringing Summer onto Dollhouse] hasn’t occurred to me already then they have not met me,” he says. “I mentioned it to her before [SCC] was canceled. I was like, ‘You know, we should get you in the ‘house.’ But first we have to come up with something that works.” And casting her as a doll would not work, insists Whedon. “Summer would be perfect to play an active, but she’s done that [type of role] a lot,” he says. “I’d rather see her play someone who talks too much. The most fun I have is when I get somebody who’s good and comfortable at doing something, and then I make them do something else. Summer said to me, ‘I would like to play a normal girl before I die of extreme old age.

SciFi Weekend: Lost, Dollhouse, Fringe, and Heroes Finales

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There have been at least four more finales of genre shows since my last finale installment of SciFi Weekend. The season finale of Lost (The Incident) aired on Wednesday and is probably the best season finale yet for the show. There were essentially two story lines. The story on the island in the present, along with the flashbacks, centered around Jacob and what appeared to be Locke’s journey to kill Jacob. We found that Jacob has been intervening in the lives of those who wound up on the island for years. We also found that at some time in the distant past Jacob was clashing with someone who was looking for a loophole which would allow him to kill Jacob. The loophole turned out to be impersonating Locke, who we ultimately found really was dead, and then trick Ben into doing the actual killing. There are still many questions, such as whether Jacob is really dead and the implications if this is the case. As it was the smoke monster which previously convinced Ben to do whatever Locke ordered, I also wonder if the smoke monster is another manifestation of or something under the control of Jacob’s adversary.

Back in 1997 the bomb did ultimately go off, presumably explaining why in the present Richard told Sun that he saw everyone die. What is the result of the explosion? Does the explosion prevent the development of the hatch or is this what caused the problem in the first place? With one season to go we can safely assume that everyone did not die in the explosion. Perhaps the explosion worked as Jack intended and their flight never crashed. It is conceivable that the season will began with the appearance that they never crashed, and that something will bring the characters back together and back to the island. Maybe the explosion just managed to send everyone back to the present. If the explosion can change history, any chance that it might also save the planet Vulcan from destruction by J.J. Abrams?

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Dollhouse ended the season with Omega, a great episode which worked both as a season finale and, if necessary and as expected, a series finale. It provided more on Caroline/Echo’s back story and completed some of the story lines from the season. It was a much better finale than on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles which ended with a cliffhanger and left many of the threads from the season wide upon. Unfortunately Dollhouse also ended the season with terrible ratings, leaving most predicting it would not return.

Fortunately Dollhouse is not going to be placed in the attic. There was one additional episode filmed but not aired, which will be included on the DVD set to be released on July 28 and which will air in Great Britain. The episode takes the series in a new direction and Joss Whedon used it to demonstrate that he can continue the show’s quality on a smaller budget. Personally I have thought this show was a better fit for HBO or Showtime where he would have had a freer hand and could have better displayed Eliza Dushku’s assets. A show which involves sex is at a tremendous disadvantage creatively on network television when up against shows such as The Tudors. Even Weeds turned to topless scenes this year to increase interest in the show.

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Fringe is also returning and both Fox shows will make a little more money for the network by eliminating their policy of limited commercial breaks. I initially was uncertain about Fringe as it has developed its mythology rather slowly. The finale confirmed that the show will be moving forward next season. I imagine it does make sense, even if sometimes frustrating to viewers, to gradually lay out the mythology to avoid the problems of shows such as X-Files which ultimately ran out of places to go.

More Than One ended with Olivia meeting William Bell (played by Leonard Nimoy) and realizing she is in a parallel universe after looking out the window. At least since the original Planet of the Apes, well known scenes from New York have been used for dramatic effect. Olivia sees the Twin Towers, ending the season as Life on Mars began. One of the clues that Sam had gone back to the 1970’s was seeing the Twin Towers before they were destroyed.

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The Heroes finale, An Invisible Thread, ended an arc which was better than the one from the first half of the season but was still far from the quality of the first season. It felt  like they had decided to end the arc and just threw in a conclusion as opposed to giving the feel of a continued story. The episode ended with Nathan dying but Matt using his mind powers to make Sylar, who was morphed into Nathan’s shape, believe he was Nathan. This does give Zachary Quinto time off if needed for more movies but there are reports he will be returning to the fourth season. Fans could have predicted that something would go wrong with Matt’s mind trick, but to be sure that fans figured it out they showed this in an unnecessary scene tacked onto the episode.

Tomorrow night we have the two hour finale of 24. This possible means Jack will save Kim,  finish off the conspiracy within the government, and find a cure for the biological weapon so he can live on to torture next season.

SciFi Weekend: Surprises on Dollhouse and Lost (Penelope Widmore is Sally Harper!)

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There were several surprises this week. Some of the surprises were actually anticipated but this isn’t necessarily bad as it could indicate that the writers did a good job of setting up the surprises as opposed to bringing in things out of left field. Spoilers released earlier in the season also made some more predictable.

Briar Rose, this week’s episode of Dollhouse, began with one surprise as Ballard dumped Mellie. At first I was surprised he would to this but the moment we saw Mellie back with her handler the reason became clear. I had no doubt that Ballard was following and that this would be how he found the location of the Dollhouse.

While Ballard was hunting for the Dollhouse, the obligatory Echo story showed yet another use for the Dollhouse’s technology as this was used to help an abused child. It was not clear how this organization, which generally sells their services to millionaires, wound up helping this child (or how they could find the Dollhouse when the FBI could not).

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The real surprise of the episode was that Kepler turned out to be Alpha, but I actually expected that even before they made in inside of the Dollhouse. This guess was helped both by knowing that the season would end with a confrontation with Alpha and as Joss Whedon had already hinted that we would first see Alpha in a different identity.

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The show started out with problems, probably because of the interference from Fox, but is ending the season strong from a creative if not ratings standpoint.  Briar Rose set up a the finale, which will hopefully be a season as opposed to a series finale, with Alpha taking Echo. It turns out that both Ballard and Alpha are obsessed with Echo/Caroline. Of course after her nude picture in Allure (above) , I imagine there might be lots of guys who are obsessed with Eliza Dushku.

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Lost had its 100th episode, centering around Daniel Faraday. The Variable probably foreshadows the final episodes of the season as they move on from living with the Dharma people. The show could turn out to be a real game changer if it does turn out that people are variables which can change events, contrary to what we were previously told. The ultimate surprise could turn out to be that everything changes.

The surprise in this episode which came as no surprise was seeing Daniel Faraday get shot by his mother, Eloise Hawking, after going back in time before he was born. (It would have been far more interesting if instead he shot his mother before he was born, but presumably time could not be altered in that manner). We had already known that a major character would die before the end of the season and, being gone for a while, Faraday certainly seemed expendable. Seeing him enter the hostile’s camp after outright telling Jack and Kate that any one of them could be killed made his death so obvious that I told my wife that he was about to get killed with total certainty.

There are suggestions that there could be variables which change time, but it does not appear that changing Daniel’s fate is included. Eloise Hawking seems to know more about time travel and the island than anyone else. If she had sent Daniel back to the island, knowing that her younger self would kill him, she must be very certain that time could not be changed. Perhaps she had everyone else go back in the hopes someone else would be killed or events could have been chaged in a different way, but if she really thought she could change events the most sensible course would have been to keep Daniel from returning (unless there are other reasons this was not possible). It is conceivable that, like Ben, Daniel will survive the shooting but I will be very surprised if this is the case. What remains to be seen is whether Jack or anyone else does can change the sequence of events which have taken place on the island, leading to the crash of Oceanic Flight 815.

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While somewhat contrived, they made use of a story featuring Daniel and Eloise to show that Desmond is all right in the future as Eloise met with Penelope Widmore at the hospital. We also found, in a relatively minor surprise, that Charles Widmore was Daniel’s father.

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The biggest surprise of the week for me came when I obtained copies of the US version of Coupling. The show was based upon a BBC show which I previously discussed here.  The US version was intended to replace Friends but was actually a combination of Friends, Seinfeld, and Sex and the City. The BBC version, besides being one of the greatest comedies ever made, is notable for being written by Steven Moffat, who will be taking over as show runner for Doctor Who when it returns on a regular basis in 2010.

The show was a flop in the United States but now that I’ve seen the BBC version I wanted to give the US version another chance. Seeing what the series turned into in the BBC version, I was curious to see the entire US run, especially as only four out of eleven episodes were aired here.

One problem the show had in the United States was the protests about the amount of sex discussed in the show. It was also probably hurt by the shorter length of the US version due to commercials. Typical episodes of Coupling were like many episodes of Seinfeld in which different stories often came together at the end. Taking an excellent script by Moffat and cutting out several minutes would be likely to ruin it.

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I’ve wondered if the problem could have been the quality of the actors. Here is where I had the surprise. Playing the beggining of an episode I found that in the US version Sally Harper was played by Sonya Walger. Walger also plays Penelope Widmore on Lost, was in the HBO series Tell Me You Love Me, and played Michelle Dixon on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

The presence of Sonya Walger alone does not redeem the US version of Coupling, but after seeing her in Lost on Wednesday I was surprised to see her face when I started to watch Coupling. Although it has an ensemble cast, Sally was far less significant to the stories as compared to characters such as Steve and Susan. The actor playing Steve also looked familiar, and I later tracked him down to be Jay Harrington, who currently is doing an excellent job as star of Better Off Ted (shown here with Portia de Rossi of Allie McBeal and Arrested Development). Presumably he has improved his comedy skills since staring on Coupling.

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SciFi Weekend: Uncertain if Sarah Connor Terminated; Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who News

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The season finale of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (previously reviewed here) was disappointing as it could turn to be the series finale but it raised more questions than it answered. There are rumors that Fox has already decided to cancel/terminate the show, while other speculate that they might continue it if the upcoming Terminator movie does well and increases interest in the series. Brian Austin Green (Derek Reese) says the episode was not intended to be a series finale and speculates that the show might continue into a third season:

CBR: To begin, the second season finale of “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” aired the other night and had a mind-blowing ending that made the episode feel more like a series finale. Was that intentional?

Brian Austin Green: No. The third season is going to be incredible, if it happens. There were no intentions of this being a series finale. It was absolutely a season finale. There’s a plan where this can go and it’s so good. You know, I went on some of the Terminator sites just to see what fans were saying Friday night and there is a lot of confusion over it.

You have this episode where John Connor travels to a future where John Connor never existed. I don’t know if people completely get it because we work on a string theory, which we’ve dealt with during the season. We dealt with that with Jessie, in the future that she came from there was Charles Fisher, who tortured everyone. In the future I came from, he never existed. I don’t remember him. We were still together within these parallel futures but they were still different and they still had their own paths. This is the same concept. For John Connor to travel to a future where he never existed, where Kyle Reese never left, where Derek and Kyle are still fighting side by side, where Allison (the human Cameron was based on) is still very much present, what becomes of John? What better situation for somebody to grow up in and become the future leader than that? Than to be fighting in what he’s been trying to prevent? Not just being the top dog, being listened to for everything, but having to actually listen and follow.

You know, people have been complaining about John Connor since the beginning of the series. Complaining about Thomas Dekker, that he’s too wimpy. They say, “How’s he going to be the leader of the Resistance?” But the idea of this show is that we’re giving people what you don’t get an opportunity to see in the films. Because films are only two hours long, you don’t get the creation, you only get the birth of something. On our show, you get to start with this kid who is fifteen years-old turning sixteen and becoming somebody. If he was just that from the beginning where does the show go? Where do we go if it’s just the “Bad-ass John Connor Show?” Then what do you do?

If we just run around and shoot, then there’s no growth. It’s one of the things that [Executive Producer] Josh Friedman works really hard at, creating a series that can grow, that has room to move and breath, and the show has that. You know, you get to the end of the season and so many of the episodes in the middle, that people didn’t like, start making sense. He’s a storyteller and he tells in a very biblical form. He’s very good at laying out a season and making the entire season the story, not just episode to episode. There was a lot of payoff but then again, for season three, a lot of now new unanswered questions.

Since you mentioned the confusion about the ending, do you think Weaver is really trying to help John, and did Sarah make it to the future at the very end of the episode?

No, she stayed back. She stayed in the present time. She stepped out of the time-bubble and John and Weaver went forward by themselves.

It’s not completely clear yet but what we’re sort of getting, as far as Weaver goes, is that Weaver could end up being somebody who was sent back by John Connor in the future and John Henry was created as an alternate to Skynet. Something [to use] within this present where Skynet is sending Terminators back to kill him. Something that on a tech level could really help him evolve and learn in a different way than Skynet did. It could be [something John set into place], we’ll find out if we come back and hopefully we’ll find out.

What’s the word on season three? Have you heard anything yet?

No. Nobody’s heard anything. I’ve heard a lot of speculation, you know, people saying that it won’t be back but we thought that after our first season. We thought that again after the thirteenth episode of this season going into the back nine. We’ve kind of been the show that’s fought its way through and I don’t think we’re done. I don’t necessarily think that FOX is done with it. They really enjoy the show. It’s just that a show like this has a very specific audience. It’s a really intelligent show and for the people that don’t watch it every week, there’s no possible way they could follow it. Josh doesn’t want to dumb the show down for the people that don’t follow it, just so they can tune in whenever they want and sort of pick up wherever we are in the story. So it’s a tough line, you know, it’s a very unique series that way. I mean, it’s incredibly serialized and incredibly intelligent.

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The SciFi Channel has posted video of the panel discussion on  Battlestar Galactica held at the United Nations prior to the series finale.  The pilot to the prequel series  Caprica is being released on DVD on April 21. Sci-Fi Storm has a review.

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It’s been rumored that Catherine Tate will return as Donna Noble before the conclusion of the David Tennant episodes of Doctor Who. Tate has been spotted on the set during filming. Such reports might be misleading as the final episode reportedly will include dream sequences with people who have been involved with The Doctor. There is more of a chance that Donna might actually play a part in one of the two remaining episodes in order to allow her to restore her memories of her time with The Doctor. There also might be yet another spin off of Doctor Who, this time based upon UNIT technology expert Malcolm Tayor who appeared in this year’s Easter special.

SciFi Weekend Part I: Born to Run (Sarah Connor Chronicles Finale)

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This week marked the season finale, and possibly series finale, of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I had expected the episode, Born to Run, to provide a potential ending for the series. Instead, while it did answer some questions, it raised far more and ended with quite a cliff hanger. (Major spoilers here).

There had already been some hints, but it was now confirmed that Weaver is fighting against Skynet as opposed to tying to build it as it first appeared. When Sarah Connor was being interrogated in jail (by Joshua Malina of the The West Wing) we also found that Miles Dyson’s son was missing, which leaves another plot line for next season should the show be renewed.

The bulk of the significant occurrences happened in the last ten minutes or so. Prior to that we had one gigantic tease for those wondering if John Connor was going to ultimately have intimate relations with Cameron (Summer Glau). Cameron removed her shirt and bra, had John lie down on top of her, and had him reach into her body under her breast plate.

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This could be a moment Summer Glau fans on Big Bang Theory will never forget and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there isn’t a reference to this scene on the show. (Of couse Sheldon wouldn’t get it and would talk about radiation and cyborg construction.) To the disappointment of most male fans, nothing of consequence did come of this, and later Cameron was in the full Terminator role to bust Sarah Connor out of jail. In the final minutes of the episode they went to Weaver’s office where she stated her goal of stopping Skynet. To make this more convincing she wound up saving the others from an attack.

While John and Sarah were in Weaver’s office, Cameron was going after John Henry in the basement. Instead of trying to destroy him as expected, Cameron gave John Henry her chip and he traveled through time. Weaver and John followed and wound up in an alternative future post-Judgment Day. As we found out previously from Kyle Reese, there is more than one potential future.

In this future John was not around to lead the resistance, presumably because of  jumping into the future before Judgement Day occured. John met both Kyle and Derek Reese but they had never heard of John Connor. Also present was a girl who I assume was Allison, the girl Cameron was modeled upon. Presumably somewhere around there is John Henry’s body with Cameron’s chip along with  Weaver, who has used her shape shifting abilities to go into hiding.

This would be a horrible way for the series to end. A thread throughout the series and the Terminator movies was to save John Connor to lead the resistance. Now we have a future where Skynet has its wish and there is no John Connor. If there is a third season this alternative future does open what can become an interesting storyline, presumably with John and Cameron ultimately returning to the present. It will also be interesting to see if anything happens between John and the human version of Cameron in the future.

SciFi Weekend: Cancelled and Returning Shows; Seinfeld Reunion; Paparazzi and Emma Watson

It is that time of year when we start receiving news on which shows will or will not be returning. It is now official that Life on Mars has been canceled and production will stop after the seventeenth episode, leaving four left. As I didn’t expect the show to return in light of its poor ratings I actually saw the early announcement as good news. Knowing that the show will not be renewed allows them to properly wrap up the series.

The American version Life on Mars will actually run one more episode than the British version. A show of this nature actually works better as a limited run series with a definite beginning and end. Such series are rare on American television, probably guaranteeing failure for this show. If the show had continued for five years it would have either dealt with general police shows or the hints about the time travel aspect would have become increasingly contradictory and incomprehensible, reminiscent of the latter mythology episodes of The X-Files. Hopefully they can now write an ending which does justice to this idea.

Heroes will return for another season but will be reduced to eighteen to twenty episodes. They are also considering a definite end date and conclusion for the series like Lost and Battlestar Galactica.  Upcoming episodes will include Angela Petrelli’s  back story.

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It is questionable if Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles will return. The season finale was written to answer a number of questions and serve as a series  finale if it isn’t renewed. This week’s episode returned to the main characters along with wrapping up the Riley stories after recent episodes  seemed to be drifting. It also looks like they are returning to the storyline from the beginning of the series in which Cameron might be damaged. Summer Glau discussed the upcoming episodes:

For her part, Summer Glau, who plays the cyborg Cameron, added that the show will provide some kind of closure for her character as well.

“At the beginning of the second season the thing in Cameron’s life was that she was damaged,” Glau said, referring to the chip in Cameron’s head. “She had been damaged, and then that threw her off her game. And I think if my character was experiencing anything, it might have been insecurity about whether or not she was capable of doing her best at protecting John [Thomas Dekker] anymore. And I think she was really struggling with the insecurity of having a new girl in John’s life, Riley [Leven Rambin]. … And I think that that’s all going to come to a head toward the end of the back nine [episodes], and then in the finale something, there’s just a huge, huge change/resolution/change.”

Summer Glau will also be appearing as herself on Big Bang Theory tomorrow.

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We already knew that Doctor Who is returning next year with a new show runner and a new Doctor played by Matt Smith. The Tardis is also to be redesigned when Stephen Moffat takes over the show. This will allow Moffat to establish his view of Doctor Who. Reportedly the design will be more high tech and desgned to look better in high defnition.

Lost moved in a new direction yet again with last week’s episode. Sawyer has become head of security for Dharma after the time jumping left him in the past, and he is living with Juliet. The episode ends with the return of Kate and others to the island, which is bound to create new complications.  Now that the story has moved back to Dharma we will learn more about Ben’s early days on a four episode arc involving young Ben.

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Curb Your Enthusiasm will be returning to HBO and will include a multi-episode arc with the cast of Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, and Michael Richards, playing themselves.  The show stars Larry David, creator of Seinfeld, who plays himself, with frequent references to his past work on Seinfeld.

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Yesterday I noted the remarkable amount of interest on line in nude pictures of Emma Watson (Hermione Granger). The Week reports that interest in salacious pictures has become a serious problem for Watson since turning eighteen:

Emma Watson sometimes wishes she were still 17, says Louise Gannon in the London Daily Mail. The British actress has been playing Hermione in the wildly successful Harry Potter films since the age of 9. Despite all the fame and riches, she managed to stay grounded, studying hard and keeping her private life private. But when she turned 18 last April, the paparazzi in Britain were legally allowed to photograph her at will, and they pounced. “It was pretty tough turning 18,” she said. “I realized that overnight I’d become fair game.” Suddenly her every move was being chronicled by
photographers hoping to catch her in a compromising position. “I had a party in town and the pavements were just knee-deep with photographers trying to get a picture of me looking drunk, which wasn’t going to happen. I don’t actually like being drunk, particularly in public.” She has been taken aback by the level of intrusion, starting the very day she came of age. “The sickest part was when one photographer lay down on the floor to get a shot up my skirt. I woke up the next day and felt completely violated by it all. That’s not something I want in my life. I just kept thinking that if it had happened a day earlier, people would have sued their asses off.”

I don’t know what the law is in the U.K. but I would think there should be some limitations on a photographer’s ability to lie on the ground to invade her privacy in that manner.  Why bother with going to all that effort to harass Emma Watson? There are other young actresses like Lindsay Lohan who are willing to show off everything. (And yes, I’m aware that there are up-skirt pictures of Emma Watson available on line but I purposely excluded them in choosing the picture for this post. It is one thing to post pictures of people like Lohan who are seeking such publicity, but a different matter to post such pictures of others.)

SciFi Weekend: Dolls, Olivia’s Ability, The Boss’s Daughter, Summer Glau’s Big Bang, And A Red-Headed Lesbian

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After quite a bit of hype, Josh Wheden’s new show, Dollhouse, premiered on Friday. It takes quite a bit of suspension of disbelief to accept the premise of the show. As with many science fiction shows, you first must accept that a private organization can do something which is beyond our science. In this case we have an organization which can wipe people’s minds clear and replace their memories with the memories of others. In this way they create a new personality to satisfy the requirements of whatever rich person is employing them for the episode.

In the first episode a girl (Caroline, played by Eliza Dushku) agrees to work for this organization in exchange for getting out of unspecified legal problems. She is told that after five years she will be free. Will her memories be returned? How can she even know this deal will be kept? What of the new identity created over the five years in between jobs? After having her memories wiped, she first becomes a biker chick to give someone the perfect date, and then becomes an expert in hostage negotiation.

Even accepting that the science of the show is plausible, there are other problems with the premise. It would probably be easier (and safer legally) to hire a biker chick and a real expert in hostage negotiations for the clients as opposed to running this operation. Even if the company finds benefits in operating in this manner, why would someone whose daughter was kidnapped hire a person who only has created memories of being a hostage negotiator as opposed to someone with actual experience? We have a steady supply of rich people who are aware of this service, but the FBI agent investigating it is having difficulty even proving it exists.

One of the many strengths of the show is that it looks like it has an excellent chance for success despite all of these holes in the premise. If they can keep the viewers entertained they will be willing to accept the premise of the show and continue watching. There are avenues left open for future episodes. In the first episode, the actual memories of one of the girls used to create the hostage negotiator became important to the story and presumably other memories will have an impact in future episodes. Over time Echo, as the brain wiped Caroline is now called, is likely to develop more of her own personality and this could also  surface during missions. Perhaps some of Caroline’s original memories will even return. Echo has a handler played by Harry Lennix) who seems quite protective of her, which I can see creating conflict with others involved in this organization.

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While there are still many mysteries to be revealed in the final episode, we learned a lot about the history of the final five in this week’s episode of Battlestar Galactica. The information was given both by Anders who, in a situation which appeared overly contrived, has his memories of life on Earth return as a consequence of the bullet in his brain. At the same time Cavill, who now appears responsible for much which has happened, reminisces about the past with a captive Ellen after she is resurrected.

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We also learn a little more on Lost along with seeing the death of one character. The intended big shock of the episode was that Daniel Faraday’s mother is Eloise Hawking. While Ben appeared surprise, fans have been predicting this turn of events. We also learn from Christian that when Locke was told, “you have to move the island” this literally meant Locke and not Ben. The most amusing line of the episode was when everyone looked towards Miles, as the only other Asian present, to translate for Jin. Miles was unable to translate, pointing out that, “Um, he’s Korean. I’m from Encino.”

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Fringe provided some more hints about where the series is going. It appears that traveling through different dimensions, and the problems this creates, is of major significance. We also find that Olivia was injected with an experimental drug as a child and has some psychic abilities. It was clever to see the light box first used as a test and then again as the means to stop the explosion. I’ve been ambivalent about this series from the start. Now that they got me a bit more interested the show is going on hiatus yet again.

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Life on Mars dealt more with the potential complications of Sam sleeping with the boss’s daughter than the reasons for him being back in the 1970’s. One idea was thrown out, without any evidence that it applied to Sam, by a guy who running the X-Files at the FBI before Agent Mulder. Reference awas made to aliens who abduct people and return them to Earth in different time periods. It turned out that aliens were not involved in the apparent abduction of Rocket Girl in this episode, and I suspect they were not involved in Sam’s case either.

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Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles returned from hiatus this week, and Summer Glau fans will soon have an additional chance to see her. Entertainment Weekly reports that Glau will be appearing on one of the top comedy shows now on television, Big Bang Theory:

The Sarah Connor Chronicles siren will play herself in the March 9 episode, the set-up of which already has me ROFWLing: A train trip to San  Francisco takes a major detour when Leonard, Sheldon, Wolowitz, and Raj discover that their favorite sci-fi actress in all the land is on board. But the fanboy frenzy quickly gives way to a heated mass debate (tee-hee) when they realize one of them will have to approach her — but who?

Sarah Gilbert will also be returning in her role as Leslie Winkle when Big Bang Theory returns with new issues on March 2.

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With Bruce Wayne apparently dead there is conflict as to who will replace Batman. The Independent reports that upcoming episodes of Detective Comics will feature Kathy Kane. The character was originally developed in the 1950’s as a potential love interest to counter rumors that Bruce Wayne was gay. The character changed over time, and is now described as “a lesbian socialite by night and a crime-fighter by later in the night.”

Although Kane has enjoyed only fleeting appearances in Batman comics since being “outed”, writer Greg Rucka – who is in charge of this summer’s run of Detective Comics – said Bruce Wayne’s apparent death had provided the perfect opportunity to make her the subject of his prestigious series.

“We have been waiting to unlock her. It’s long overdue,” he said in an interview with the Comic Book Resources website. “Yes, she’s a lesbian. She’s also a redhead. It is an element of her character. It is not her character. If people are going to have problems with it, that’s their issue. That’s certainly not mine.”

Besides Kathy Kane, we learn that with Bruce Wayne apparently dead, “future editions will revolve around a selection of potential heirs, including Batwoman, Catwoman and Bruce Wayne’s purported son, Damien, fighting to succeed him.” I would not be at all surprised to see it all end with the return of Bruce Wayne.