SciFi Weekend: Fringe Through The Looking Glass; A Partial Explanation on Revolution; Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chome; Neil Gaiman Making Cybermen Scary; Scarlett Johansson’s Shower Scene in Hitchcock

Fringe took a look  Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There. Walter looked at another tape and, in an uncharacteristic move, went off on his own. For a moment I thought he might be crossing over to the alternate universe but instead he wound up in a pocket universe. There are now new elements added to this season’s scavenger hunt–a bald-headed kid adopted by the Observers in a previous season who is now missing, and a radio left in his place. It will be interesting to see what type of message comes over this radio.

This was also an episode which concentrated on development for Olivia and Peter, as they continued to morn the death of Etta. The climax of the episode showed them fighting the Observers, with an Observer telling Peter that he knows what he has done but has made a grave mistake. Whether it turns to be good or bad, it may be analogous to hooking Peter up to the machine with its unexpected results. For now Peter is a better fighter, and more vicious in killing the Observer. His vision then took on a blue tint–yet another effect of the Observer implant in his neck (unless he took Viagra). There are also changes in Walter, who is becoming more like Walternate, or the Walter he was becoming before portions of his brain were removed by William Bell. I would assume this is a consequence of replacing these portions of his brain in Letters of Transit.

Revolution primarily continued its adventure of the week format, this time with a watered-down version of Lord of the Flies.  We did learn more about what caused the blackout, leaving more questions. The Mathesons, along with Grace (who was kidnapped earlier this season) were working on a device to generate electricity and instead it did the opposite–stopping electricity completely. Someone from the Department of Defense pressured Rachel into accepting a government contract for this technology, and he turned out to also be the person who kidnapped Grace. It might have made sense for the DOD to be interested in this as a weapon directed against a specific country, but it is harder to see the rational for using this if it also caused the blackout in the United States. It will be interesting to see if we ever get a plausible explanation.

The web series, Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome is now available on line. Episode one is embedded above. An “explosive unrated edition” will be coming out on Blu-ray & DVD February 19, 2013.

It has been confirmed that Neil Gaiman’s episode of Doctor Who will involve the Cyberman, with Gaiman making them scary again:

Speaking to Reviewer.fr he said: “Steven asked me to write a new episode and I said no because I was too busy. And then he wrote and asked if I wanted to make the Cybermen scary again. And I thought back to when I was six or seven years old: ‘The Moonbase’, ‘Tomb of the Cybermen’ … when I saw them when they were first broadcast. The Cybermen were far more frightening than Daleks, because they do not make noise. Daleks move in all directions, shouting ‘Exterminate’, etc..  With Cybermen it’s different. You turned around and bam! There were Cybermen. It’s scary.

“I told [Moffat] that I would revive the Cybermen for the 50th anniversary year and everything that has happened since, and see what I could do. I do not know if it will work, we’ll see.”

He added: “This will be a stand-alone episode, it will be the penultimate episode of Series 7. It has a beginning, a middle and an end.”

Gaiman also stated that the title of the episode, currently believed to be The Last Cyberman, could still change: “‘The Doctor’s Wife’ was’ Bigger on the Inside’, up to two weeks before release. It could be anything,” he said.

Scarlett Johansson is on the cover of V magazine, recreating the Janet Leigh shower scene from Psycho. She found facing Anthony Hopkins to be far scarier than filming a nude scene:

The flick, about the making of Psycho, finds Johansson having to recreate a certain iconic shower scene.

“We only had the luxury to shoot the scene for a day, and everybody was feeling very nervous because it involved water and nobody wants the actor to get wet,” the 27-year-old told V. “They were concerned with modesty and all these things—but I don’t care about any of that stuff and Janet Leigh never did either.”

But Johannsson did admit that it was “terrifying” having costar Anthony Hopkins, who portrays the famed director, point a long kitchen knife in her face.

“Maybe I watched Silence of the Lambs too many times when I was a kid. Maybe I was having some flashbacks. So I didn’t need too much preparation for the scene,” the actress said.

A trailer for Hitchcock has also been released:

SciFi Weekend: Person of Interest; Fringe; Dexter; Once Upon A Time; Merlin; Captain America; Black Widow; Torchwood; Star Trek Into The Darkness Clip; and More

Returning genre shows such as Person of Interest, Fringe, and Dexter were far stronger than the new series. On Person of Interest I was almost disappointed to see Finch escape from Root, but it looks like Amy Acker’s character will be returning after this extensive development of her back story. I do hope that future episodes involve the machine and Amy Acker’s plotting along with the person of interest of the week. The dog will remain on the show according to this interview with show runners and cast from prior to Friday’s episode. There were also these comments on Root:

TVLINE | Have we just seen Root (played by Amy Acker) at her most ruthless, poisoning that lady in the restaurant? Or is the worst yet to come? GREG PLAGEMAN | She just scratched the surface there. NOLAN | Root is stone-cold but it’s considered. We don’t think of her as a psychopath but someone who is in her own way sympathetic. And the case she is trying to make is, in many ways – though not the killing people part! – something Finch can relate to. You have all these people who want to manipulate [the Machine], and Root wants to set it free. What that means, and how her plan ultimately plays out, is something that we’re going to see through the course of the season. EMERSON | Once Mr. Finch sees a few of the things she’s capable of, he needs to bring her down.

This week on Fringe we got a look at how the Observers will probably be defeated. Although the solution was wiped from Walter’s mind last week, we found that Walter left information on a series of recordings–recorded on old Betamax tapes as opposed to digitally, or even VHS. Astrid will be important in figuring out Walter’s clues according to this interview with Jasika Nicole. While getting this information in Walter’s old lab, the episode also centered around torture and the question of whether the resistance can retain its humanity while fighting the Observers. I am hopeful that remaining episodes will deal with such issues as opposed to being simple quests for tapes with clues. It does look like it is safe to predict that Etta’s former partner Simon will not be returning. Interview with Anna Torv here.

On Dexter, Deb has finally found out about her brother’s habit. Dexter tried to convince Deb that the killing she witnessed was a one-time event. It was only a matter of time until she figured out everything, so I am happy they got it over with in the first episode of the season. Jennifer Carpenteron what Deb learned:

Deb has uncovered everything! What’s her first reaction in the second episode?
Jennifer Carpenter:
I think audiences, especially our Comic-Con audience, wanted to me to say, “Oh, she’d rage or explode or fire a round from her gun,” but all [her] senses are firing and [her] brain is kicking up. I have this written history with this character for seven years, and there’s landmines everywhere. It’s rich. It’s dangerous for everyone involved. There’s no such thing as a filler scene this year. Everybody is involved in a weird way.

The Ice Truck Killer hand was on the table. What’s going on inside her head as she makes these connections that Dexter was present when she was on the Ice Truck Killer’s table?
Carpenter:
It’s too hard to process it all at once. All of those things were in the room at the time, but that realization that those things are connected has its own turn. There was a moment when I was scanning the table while filming and thinking, “That sucks.” At some point, your body just can’t play Tetris anymore and find room for everything. There’s some paralysis that takes over, like, “I’ll get to that in a minute.”

How does Deb finding out that Dexter is a serial killer change her as a person?
Carpenter:
Instantly, the fantasy of being in love with this man falls away, or at least is snuffed out. It’s a slap in the face that wakes her up in a weird way. Suddenly, she can see all the manipulation and redirection that he’s handed her. It’s changed everything. It’s made her job so hard. In a weird way, I think I was afraid it was going to paint us into a corner when she one day found out, but it’s endless space to work in.

How does it affect her job since he’s putting her in a difficult position?
Carpenter:
What I appreciated from the writers is that its unfolding how I imagined it would in real life. It’s not some swift hammer that falls with her saying, “This is how it’s going to be.” It’s, “I need to collect information about how many [people he’s killed] and who taught [him].” All of that stuff will play into how she chooses to proceed.

More on what this means for Dexter from show runner Scott Buck:

Do you think Dexter is partially happy that his secret is finally out?
Buck:
Happy is not necessarily the right word, but he’s relieved. It’s a huge burden off his shoulder. He’s lived with this secret his entire life. In one sense, it’s a little scary not to have this secret anymore. He’s always sought comfort in his own private little world, and now to be exposed this way, it’s kind of frightening for someone who’s not used to being frightened. [But] yes, it’s a huge stress relief to finally be able to tell someone who you are.

Isn’t he now in ever-present danger that she might turn him in?
Buck:
It’s a real risk. It’s one thing [for Deb] to learn that [he] used to do this’ it’s another thing to learn that [he’s] still doing this and doesn’t intend on stopping.

Dexter is a great liar, but Deb’s not good with that. How will that start to weigh on her conscience?
Buck:
It gets very aggravating for her because she never knew. To learn that your brother has been lying to you your whole life, suddenly you’re wondering what’s true and what’s a lie. Not just all the things he said in the past, but everything that comes out of his mouth now makes her wonder. It becomes very difficult for Deb to deal with.

Once Upon A Time added yet a third location to its storyline as Mary Margaret and Emma wound up in fairytale land after most inhabitants were brought to the modern world. It looks like we will also learn that the modern day story is generally confined to Storybrooke with the townspeople being unable to leave. From the description of tonight’s episode:

While Regina continues to find a way to regain her magical powers, David continues his quest to uncover the whereabouts of Mary Margaret and Emma; and the seven dwarves discover what happens when any of the townspeople try to step past the city limits of Storybrooke. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, as her wedding day to King Leopold approaches, Regina is confronted by a man of magic who promises to help her become independent and break free from her mother Cora’s clutches.

I finally caught the first two episodes of Fake Sherlock (i.e. Elementary) last night. The show didn’t show anything near the brilliance of Moffat’s version. The show was more a standard U.S. police procedural with an eccentric detective. Elementary’s Sherlock Holmes reminded me more of a toned-down House than Sherlock Holmes, and they even have Lisa Edelstein guest-staring in the seventh episode. Benedict Cumberbatch has a little (far too little) to say about both his show and Elementary in this interview.

Merlin Season 5 began in the U.K. yesterday. I don’t want to spoil episodes for U.S. viewers who are not downloading the show, but above is an extended trailer. A review of the first episode can be found here.

For American fans of British shows who do wait, Upstairs Downstairs Season 2 (of the remake) is finally airing in the U.S. Alex Kingston plays an archeologist in this period piece. She fits in quite well, but her presence did make me look around for a police box. The show has not been renewed for a third season.

Iron Man 3 has resumed filming. Reportedly Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) will not be appearing in this movie, but will be in the sequel to Captain America.There is also a rather intriguing list of candidates for the lead female role:

Five actresses are reportedly vying for the lead female role in the Captain America sequel, which is widely assumed to be that of S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sharon Carter, who would be some form of relative of Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter (which relative, in particular tends to vary). The five candidates are Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke, Downton Abbey‘s Jessica Brown Findlay, I Am Number Four‘s Teresa Palmer, Fright Night‘s Imogen Poots, and Community‘s Alison Brie.

John Barrowman has his opinion of the perfect story for the next season of Torchwood (which may or may not ever be filmed)–his own novel:

Torchwood and Doctor Who star John Barrowman has teamed up with his sister Carole to pen his first Torchwood novel, Exodus Code, and he’s so pleased with it, he’d like it to become the fifth series.

“I’d love to see this book become the series or to become something in the future that could be done on screen with Torchwood,” John Barrowman tells us, “and that is why it was important for [Exec Producers] Russell [T Davies] and Julie [Gardener] and the BBC to have their input, because if the show did continue then this must make sense.”

The plot follows the events of Miracle Day, the fourth series of Torchwood, and Captain Jack [Barrowman] and Gwen [Eve Myles] are racing to save humanity. Women are being driven insane by heightened and scrambled senses, leaving governments and scientists baffled.

This global scale is the direction Barrowman would like to see Torchwood take if it were to return. “I think every time Torchwood comes back it has to be something different,” he says. “We’ve always been challenged; we’ve been moved from network to network each series so we always have to build from scratch so I think if Torchwood comes back it needs to be on a bigger, global scale.”

The future of the show is still uncertain, however. “We haven’t been told no or yes, we’re in limbo.” But Barrowman is ready if it ever does: “Listen, I’ve always said if they ask me to put the coat on I will do happily because I love Jack,” he says. “I have it here ready!”

J.J. Abrams had a brief clip from Star Trek Into The Darkness on Conan. Yes, this does appear dark.

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who News; Dinosaurs on a Spaceship; Jenna-Louise Coleman; Star Trek; SHIELD; Scarlett Johansson at Democratic Convention

This week’s episode of Doctor Who, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, was a lighter episode which delivered exactly what was promised: dinosaurs on a spaceship. It was not a major episode, but the idea of having dinosaurs on a spaceship sure does appeal to the inner Leonard Hofstadter of every genre fan. There was another bonus: the Doctor got a gang. He actually did the same for A Good Man Goes To War, but at least the Doctor seemed to think he was having fun doing something new.

The show was not intended to be a major episode in the (not entirely consistent) continuity of Doctor Who, but it did raise some questions in my mind. What does it mean for a time traveler to have died–or in this case appeared to have died? When Commissioner Gordon wants to summon Batman, there are no timey-whimey matters to be concerned about. Both Commissioner Gordon and Batman are on the same time line and the dates of the attempt to contact Batman and Batman’s calendar totally coincide. When the people of 2367 AD sent a request for help to the Doctor, why did it happen to reach the Doctor at some point following his adventures in Asylum of Daleks as opposed to another time in his life–especially as the Doctor was now thought to be dead? On the other hand, while they apparently knew the Doctor lived, a computer in this episode was unable to find information on the value of the Doctor because of the belief that he was dead.

There’s also the question of the Doctor’s changing attitude towards the villains he encounters. The Doctor witched the signals of the Silurian ship and Solomon’s ship, causing the missiles to target and certainly kill Solomon. There have been clear differences between different regenerations of the Doctor in his attitude towards killing, considering previous episodes in which the Doctor tried to save Davros and the Master.

I also have my doubts about the possibility of a beach on a spaceship, but who are we to question advanced technology?

Perhaps it is nitpicking such as this which is directed towards Steven Moffat on his Twitter account (as opposed to generally supportive blogs) which led Moffat to close his Twitter page.

Some of the blog criticism this week went beyond nitpicking of this nature. S.E. Smith objected to how women are handled by Moffat over at Think Progress. I think she is confusing the subservient roles inherent to supportive characters with Moffat’s view of women. I don’t see Amy Pond playing second fiddle to the Doctor as making her weak. We don’t see most of her family because of the nature of her back story. Instead her life beyond the Doctor primarily consists of her relationship with Rory. If you want to see how Moffat is capable of writing strong women, check out Coupling, one of the best sit-coms ever written. (Definitely watch the U.K. version as opposed to the attempt of a US network to handle Moffat’s creation.) The character Steve Taylor was largely based upon Moffat himself. Steve’s girlfriend, Susan Walker, was neither weak nor subservient to Steve. Anyone now want to accuse Moffat of writing weak male characters?

We all know about the big event to take place this year–so big that the ancient Mayan calendar chose this for the end date. Moffat provided SFX with some hits as to what it will mean for the Doctor to change companions this season:

“We are going to do the story properly of the Doctor having lost a friend and making a new one. We’re not taking that lightly. It’s not in one door out the other. It’s the story of how all that affects him, why he engages with somebody else and what’s going on with that – that’s all important.

“What does Jenna bring to it? It’s surprising just how much the show changes with a new co-star. The Doctor is quite different with her, and the way you watch them is quite different. You watched the Eleventh Doctor and Amy arrive together. It’s like they grew up in the same sandpit, playing. They felt not quite like equals – the Doctor never feels like an equal to his companion – but you knew them equally well and they were equally important to each other. They formed around each other. And one of the interesting things about writing the Doctor is that he’s so responsive to the people around him. It’s almost like left on his own his personality would slowly disintegrate. He becomes what people want him to be, a little bit. So he’s Amy’s Raggedy Doctor.

“With a different companion he becomes a slightly different man. He dresses differently. The mere fact that he’s so much taller than her suddenly reveals that Matt Smith is very tall, not, as people assume, about average height, because he was about the same height as Karen. He’s the senior man, not in the sense that he’s more important but he’s the one you know already, and he’s training up a new one, as it were. In these five episodes the Doctor is practically the adopted son of Amy and Rory. He’s gone from being the wonderful man from space – Space Gandalf, as he wants to be – to being that troublesome kid that they try and keep under control. They even talked about getting babysitters for him in one unfortunately cut scene. They love him, but they know he’s a big kid, they know they have to look out for him, check he eats and all that. Whereas with the new companion he’s back to being the mysterious spacefarer…”

We have also learned this week that Coleman is 5’2″ and stands on a phone book when filming close up scenes next to Matt Smith. Recent interviews have also suggested that Jenna-Louise Coleman will play the same Oswin Oswald seen in Asylum of the Daleks, and we will learn in the future how she wound up in that situation. If so, I suspect that the Doctor might come up with a way to get her out of that, as opposed to having already shown us the death of the character. Something close to that was already done with River Song.

The title for J.J. Abram’s Star Trek sequel might have leaked out, based upon domain names registered by Paramount. The suspected title is Star Trek Into Darkness. Meanwhile I09 looked back to the original series this week, presenting a list of 10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Star Trek: The Original Series.

Fox has ordered a science fiction pilot about LAPD officers with android partners. I am far more interested in a show of this description after finding it is coming from J.J. Abrams and J.H. Wyman.

ABC, which now has Joss Whedon ruling the Marvel universe, has ordered a pilot for a show based upon SHIELD. This does make the most sense as an answer for the desire of ABC to have a television show based in the universe of The Avengers. One cast member from the Avengers universe even spoke to the Democratic Convention.  Scarlett Johansson urged young people to get out to vote:

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who News Including the 50th Anniversary; Dexter; Joss Whedon and the Marvel Universe; Carl Sagan’s Message For Mars; Revolution Trailer; Amy Pond Action Figure

Matt Smith has  told The Sun he will remain on Doctor Who at least through the 2014 season:

Show boss Steven Moffat has convinced him to stay by creating a “brilliant” series.

Matt already working on shows for the 2013 series, said: “His first episode sounds great.

“It hasn’t been written yet but the idea is as brilliant and as mental as you’d expect from Steven. So there’s a lot to look forward to.

“When Steven was going to pitch the next season to me not long ago, he said, ‘Are you ready to cry?’ ”

Matt, back as the Time Lord later this autumn, added that he couldn’t wait to get stuck into the Doctor’s 50th anniversary celebrations next year. He said: “We want to do 50 years — and everyone that’s been associated with the show — justice. We want to go, ‘Look, world, here is Doctor Who. It’s 50 years old, a science-fiction show, still going and going from strength to strength’.

We’ve now learned about one thing planned for the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who. Mark Gatiss is writing a ninety minute television movie to be aired in 2013 on the creation of Doctor Who: “This is the story of how an unlikely set of brilliant people created a true Television original. And how an actor – William Hartnell – stereotyped in hard-man roles became a hero to millions of children. I’ve wanted to tell this story this for more years than I can remember! To make it happen for Doctor Who‘s 50th birthday is quite simply a dream come true.”

The show will be produced by Steven Moffat, who added “The story of Doctor Who is the story of television – so it’s fitting in the anniversary year that we make our most important journey back in time to see how the TARDIS was launched.”

David Tennant has expressed interest in returning for the 50th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who, saying say his costume is on standby: “I have it in a very secure location… I have one of everything that I wore. I hope moths haven’t got it!” He also mentioned the Doctor Who sequence which was cut from the opening ceremony of the Olympics. Christopher Eccleston has indicated he is not willing to do so. Some fans are seeing these comments about Eccleston as a hopeful sign that he might reconsider:

I was at the National Theatre yesterday where Chris Eccleston was doing a Q and A session (he’s currently playing Creon in Antigone at the National).

There is no mention of Who in the blurb for the session nor in the play programme so I was wondering if anyone would be brave enough to ask him about it. Of course they did! Prior to the subject of Doctor Who he had spoken quite candidly about the role of writers and directors and how production should be a collaboration between directors and actors. He clearly stated that he thinks the writer has the most important job to do.

There was palpable tension when the first Who question came up but he had absolutely nothing negative to say. He didn’t directly criticise any aspect of the production.

I was surprised how easily he took the questions and he very graciously thanked people who complimented him on his performance in Doctor Who. He also spoke with real warmth and enthusiasm about the character of the Doctor and what a real joy of a character it is to play. In response to a question about whether he felt he’d taken the character as far as he could he (very tellingly) said he felt that one series isn’t enough to get under the skin of the character and that if he’d had two or three series he’d have developed the role considerably. He said that if you looked at the other Doctors (with the exception of Tom Baker) you can see them working out how to play the character through their first series because it’s such a complex and challenging role. He said several times that there was more for him to do with the character….

50th anniversary multi-doctor episode anyone?

I know, I know-not going to happen but I was heartened by how warmly he talked about the character.

A new poster for Dexter has been released. What happens now that Deb knows? The new season takes up right after the last season left off. We know that Dexter won’t give up killing, regardless of what happens initially.

It was no surprise to find that Joss Whedon (seen above with Scarlett Johansson) officially named to direct The Avengers 2, but Disney has also made Whedon the God of the Marvel Universe. Whedon has a contract going to June 2015 which gives him influence over all of their Marvel movies as well as the planned television show. The release says Whedon will “contribute creatively to the next phase of Marvel’s cinematic universe.” It does make sense that Whedon will at very least have a hand in the individual movies of characters in The Avengers to ensure that their stories take the characters where they need to be for their next joint adventure. With the contract going until June 2015 there is speculation that this means the next Avengers movie will be released around May 2015. Here are the release dates announced so far:

  • Iron Man 3 – May 3, 2013
  • Thor: The Dark World – November 8, 2013
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier – April 4, 2014
  • Guardians of the Galaxy – August 1, 2014

IO9 has posted the text of Carl Sagan’s message for the first men to reach Mars (video above).

Hi, I’m Carl Sagan. This is a place where I often work in Ithaca, New York near Cornell University. Maybe you can hear, in the background, a 200-foot waterfall right nearby, which is probably — I would guess — a rarity on Mars, even in times of high technology.

Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century, particularly with respect to Mars. The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists to find out more about Mars, which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science; and that sequence has played major role in our present ability to get to Mars. It certainly was an important factor in the life of Robert Goddard, the American rocketry pioneer who, I think more than anyone else, paved the way for our actual ability to go to Mars. And it certainly played a role in my scientific development.

I don’t know why you’re on Mars. Maybe you’re there because we’ve recognized we have to carefully move small asteroids around to avert the possibility of one impacting the Earth with catastrophic consequences, and, while we’re up in near-Earth space, it’s only a hop, skip and a jump to Mars. Or, maybe we’re on Mars because we recognize that if there are human communities on many worlds, the chances of us being rendered extinct by some catastrophe on one world is much less. Or maybe we’re on Mars because of the magnificent science that can be done there – the gates of the wonder world are opening in our time. Maybe we’re on Mars because we have to be, because there’s a deep nomadic impulse built into us by the evolutionary process, we come after all, from hunter gatherers, and for 99.9% of our tenure on Earth we’ve been wanderers. And, the next place to wander to, is Mars. But whatever the reason you’re on Mars is, I’m glad you’re there. And I wish I was with you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHa3nK5_3Us&feature=player_embedded

NBC has aired an extended preview for Revolution, J.J. Abram’s new show in which we must live without electricity. Video above.

I know some fans are hoping for a blow up doll version of Amy Pond, but for now they will have to settle on this twelve inch action figure. Topless Robot has more information which you can read as I wait to see how many hits this post gets due to including both “topless” and Karen Gillan’s character.

SciFi Weekend: Sherlock Returns In the US; Doctor Who News; Merlin to be Darker; The Avengers; Awake; Fringe; Gratuitous Sex on Game of Thrones; Jericho; Lost; Friday Night Lights;

With Doctor Who now filming and the second season of Sherlock premiering in the United States tonight, there has been a lot of news about both shows. For those who have not seen it, Steven Moffat’s version of Sherlock is fantastic, regardless of whether you are a fan of the original Sherlock Holmes stories. It is definitely worth watching for the next three weeks on Masterpiece Mystery on PBS.  I think that the second season was even better than the first. While all three episodes were excellent, like the first season the first and third episodes are the most significant.

Steven Moffat was interviewed in the United States by Fresh Air prior to the start of the second season of Sherlock on PBS. The interview was primarily directed towards American audiences who are not familiar with Sherlock and Doctor Who. Several of the questions involved casting, and one item of interest was that Matt Smith had interviews for the role of Watson before being chosen to play the Doctor. Moffat also had this to say about casting Matt Smith:

Everything else about a show, other than casting — however great or admirable or excellent it is — can only sort of really be admired. People don’t really have a relationship with great writing or great production or great art direction or great direction. They just sort of admire it. What people fall in love with, oddly enough, is other people. The difference between a beautifully made failure and a beautifully made hit is who you’ve got playing the leads. It really, seriously is. Is a nation going to fall in love with those people and want to see them week after week? And making that decision is tough. But it’s easier if you’ve got a great casting director. … In the case of Matt Smith as The Doctor, I’d be very, very adamant that we have an older Doctor — that he’d be in his 40s. I wasn’t going to have any young Doctors on my watch. And on the very, very first day — the very, very first day — he was the third one through the door. His audition was so perfect, any fool would have cast him. It was dead easy. And I remember asking, ‘What age is he?’ And he was 26 and instantly the perfect Doctor because he does do that thing of combining the old man and a young man. He looks like a young man assembled by old men from memory.”

On the importance of Watson:

“If you look at any good version of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson is every bit as important as Sherlock Holmes, and some would argue more so, because he’s our conduit to Sherlock Holmes. He’s the person to whom, in a way, the story happens. We are more emotionally resonant with Dr. Watson than with Sherlock Holmes because Sherlock Holmes is a hard man to empathize with.”

In contrast, the show is largely from Sherlock’s perspective:

“We always wanted it to be stylish. We didn’t want it to be like other television. We wanted it to have a film sense. Everybody says that about their TV show. Everyone says that. But then my wife got a hold of [director] Paul McGuigan, and he’s the one who brought the tremendous beauty to it. One of the things he said was, ‘You want to think Sherlock Holmes is behind the camera, too.’ You want to see the world as Sherlock Holmes sees it. And that informs his work on an awful lot of the show, to give you the Sherlock’s eye view of the world all the time.”

Moffat had this to say about his childhood:

“I’m a geek. I’m a writer. I spent all of my time in my childhood obsessing about Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who. I was alone, I was an outsider — what do you expect? I was that bullied kid at the back of the class weeping for loneliness. I don’t think, generally speaking, people become writers because they were the really good, really cool, attractive kid in class. I’ll be honest. This is our revenge for people who were much better looking and more popular than us. I was a bit like that, I suppose.”

Even though Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are becoming big stars, Moffat is confident that they will return for future series of Sherlock. The three episode a year formula gives them plenty of time for other projects and, just to be safe, Moffat has their families locked up in his basement. Cumberbatch, now filming on Star Trek, does not share Moffat’s objection to Elementary:

“As we already know with the Downey Jr movie franchise that there’s room enough for two [Sherlock Holmes projects], so why not three?” the actor said at a Q&A session in New York to promote Sherlock series two airing on PBS.

Cumberbatch added that he considers Trainspotting star Miller – with whom he starred in the play Frankenstein at the National Theatre – a “friend”.

“[Elementary will] be different and I don’t think it’ll take away the love for ours, and there’s no reason to be churlish or bitter about them or what they’re trying to do,” he said.

It appears that River (aka Melody Pond) will pose as a gangster named Melody Malone. More pictures (and spoilers) from the upcoming season can be seen here.Doctor Who TV also gathered items of interest from an interview with Steven Moffat in Doctor Who Magazine:

  • Rory and Amy are no longer regular travelers with the Doctor: “If he thinks he needs them, he just pops in on them,” but, “Each time they’ll get a little older.”
  • Moffat on killing off companions: “Even if I don’t think I’ll do it…maybe I will do it!”
  • Moffat ponders, “If we did a UNIT story, would Martha be there?”
  • The Special Weapons Dalek will definitely appear in the opener
  • Moffat reiterates that the New Paradigm Daleks are an “officer class”
  • Can the question “Doctor Who?” be answered? “Wait and see”
  • We will find out exactly what Trenzalore is all about
  • “The Fall of the Eleventh” will also be resolved (perhaps not in Series 7 though)
  • Moffat is very keen that the order of the episodes can be swapped around this time
  • There will still be a story arc, but it will be “the opposite” of Series 6
  • Even though he said no more two-parters, they are still possible if the story requires them
  • Jenna-Louise’s companion will be different to the others and is “going to be a shock”
  • Filming will continue throughout the rest of 2012 and further into 2013 and beyond

Bond director Sam Mendes compared the James Bond franchise to Doctor Who in this interview:

The first time I saw the movie, I was like, “You’ve got to be joking! You can’t do that to the poor man!” But it was too…they were playing almost embarrassment, almost apologized for having a new Bond and I thought that was wrong, and I thought what they got right was Casino Royale. There was a kind of “We don’t need Q, we don’t need Moneypenny. We’ve got this character. We’re going right back to basics. He’s real, he’s in a real situation. Let’s start all over again.”  I thought that was very refreshing.

That’s why I mentioned the word in the press conference, “regeneration” rather than “evolving,” because I feel it is like, you know, we have Doctor Who…there’s a geek answer…we have Doctor Who and I was brought up on the idea of Doctor Who, who at the end of his final episode, he dissolves and a new actor pops up and he regenerates and it’s a whole other character: sometimes it’s an old man, sometimes it’s a young man, but he just changes.  I’ve always loved that idea.

Julian Murphy says that Season 5 of Merlin will be darker. Time will have passed showing the established court of Arthur, and there will be an older Mordred.

Combine Marvel characters and Joss Whedon and we had a formula where The Avengers really did live up to all the hype. An interview with Joss Whedon is above. The movie sets up conditions for further movies centered around Iron Man, Captain America and Thor.  Mark Ruffalo did a much better job of playing Bruce Banner than Edward Norton did , and now there are reports that further Hulk movies might be made, possibly along with a movie centered around Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow. As has been the case with the previous Marvel movies, it is important to stay in the theater during the credits for an extra scene. In this case there are two extra scenes. One during the credits is probably significant in terms of a future threat for Thor and/or The Avengers. The second, at the very end of the credits, is not important but was still fun to watch.

As many watch movies long after the initial release date I tend to avoid saying much about the plot of movies in posts here. Those wanting to avoid even a minor spoiler might want to skip the end of this paragraph. In movies of this type it is necessary to accept a lot which is unrealistic, but I was bothered a little with the inconsistency in the portrayal of the Hulk. The first time Banner became the Hulk he was more destructive and showed less understanding of his situation as compared to his final appearance in the second Hulk movie. Then, when he became the Hulk for a second time, he acted with complete understanding of working as part of the Avengers team.

As usual with Awake, the personal events involving Britten in this week’s episode, Slack Water, were more interesting than the criminal cases. Once again the possible clues as to whether the two different worlds for Britten are both real are also contradictory. In some episodes there is real information obtained in one world which is helpful to solve a crime in the other. Other episodes were more like this week, were the house which is the scene of the crime in one reality was the name of a video game played by a murder victim in another, leading to Britten finding out information which helped solve the crime. Having the house be real in one reality but a video game in the other suggests that only one, or perhaps neither, reality experienced by Britten is real and his mind (or some other source) is supplying this information.

The more important story line came out of the revelation last week that Rex’s girl friend Emma was pregnant, with Emma having a miscarriage in the world where Rex survived the auto crash and continuing to carry Rex’s child in the world where Rex was killed. It was rather obvious that Emma did not agree with the decision of her parents to have a closed adoption, even if only Hannah recognized this during most of the episode. A theme of the show has been for Michael Britten to replace his loses in both realities. Where Hannah died, he keeps the older partner and has a female psychiatrist. In the reality where Rex was killed, Michael has a young male psychiatrist and is given a new, younger male partner.  (I did find it strange that the older former partner was not seen at Michael’s going away party in the other reality where Michael was given new partner.) Now things have worked out in the reality where Rex died that Michael not only has the prospect of adopting Rex’s child, but events have also worked out that they have a new teen-aged child in the home.

One implication of this is that Britten is no longer planning to move to Oregon and the person responsible for the earlier attempt on his life is now likely to act again. The back story was further developed as we learned that this involves a heroin shipment, and we learned that the police Captain  had been a narcotics cop in the past, providing some explanation as to how she might have become involved.

The previews for next week’s episode suggest that we might learn more about Britten’s situation. For at least part of the episode he ceases to go into the Rex universe. Could this mean that over there he is dead (unlikely), unconsciousness, or perhaps because he has to solve the mystery of his attempted murder in the other universe in order to protect himself in the other before returning. A voice over in the preview has Britten saying,  “There was no accident. They were trying to kill me.” Unfortunately Britten is off screen, so we cannot tell if he is wearing the typical white shirt of the Hannah universe or blue shirt of the Rex universe and we cannot be certain if the murder attempt, so far only mentioned in the Rex universe, is now becoming a factor in the Hannah universe.

While there has been suspicion that Leonard Nimoy was going to return to play William Bell on Fringe, they still managed to keep Nimoy’s actual appearance on this week’s episode of Fringe a secret. As an example of the misdirection used, in an interview shortly before the last episode aired, Jeff  Pinkner had this to say about the possibility of Nimoy returning: “We basically erected a sign outside of Leonard’s house which said, “Please come back to Fringe,” and we are hoping that by season five he says yes.” In the interview Pinkner also said we will again see the world of 2036 but avoided answering a question as to whether we will see the alternative universe again.

I09 looked at the gratuitous sex and violence on Game of Thrones.

There has been talk this week that Netflix might revive Jericho. It makes sense for Netflix to revive shows which have a strong following (such as with Arrested Development) even if off the air for several years considering they are shows which significant numbers of Netflix subscribers are currently watching. As more companies start to compete with Netflix for streaming older shows, providing new episodes will give subscribers reason to stick with Netflix.

Speaking of streaming providers, there was a major update to the Android versions of HBO Go and Max Go this week so that they finally work with Ice Cream Sandwich.

If Netflix might bring back Jericho, there has been speculation as to other old shows which might return. Damon Lindelof leaves open the idea of more Lost, but is not interested in personally being involved:

Lindelof has no interest in revisiting “Lost” anytime soon.

“It’s been two years (since the series wrapped) and we told the story we wanted to tell,” Lindelof said. But he admits ABC might look for ways to bring back “Lost” in some form. “I do feel like the world has not seen the end of ‘Lost,’ but I’m not going to have any involvement,” he said.

Lindelof isn’t bitter about the idea, however.

“It would be hypocritical for me to say I’m going to do ‘Star Trek’ but I don’t want anyone to touch ‘Lost,’ ” he said.

It is also looking like the plans to bring back Friday Night Lights as a movie are really going forward.

SciFi Weekend: Awake; Old vs. New Monsters on Doctor Who; Sherlock vs. The Doctor; The Avengers; Scarlett Johansson’s Shower Scene; Follow STTNG Season 8 on Twitter; Community; Nimoy on Big Bang Theory

In a year when genre television shows are struggling to survive, it was a good sign that a new well-written genre show, Awake, has been receiving excellent reviews.  The Christian Science Monitor calls it one of the best dramas on television. Awake is about detective Michael Britten who wakes up after an auto accident in which his son or wife were killed. He alternates between realities in which one has survived and the other is alive. In each reality he remains a detective but is forced to see a psychiatrist. In one reality the psychiatrist is a woman (played by Cherry Jones of 24) who possibly represents the wife he lost while in the other the psychiatrist is a younger man, possibly representing the lost son. His partner is also replaced by a young man in one of the realities.

The show is more a police procedural than a science fiction show which attempts to explain what is happening. In style it reminds me a lot of Life on Mars in which the explanation for the police officer going into the past was a minor matter compared to the individual stories. Explanations were added in the end, with the British and American versions providing entirely different explanations, showing how little the explanation mattered during the shows’ run. The pilot also set up a mystery about the accident which precipitated events of the show. The pilot began with the accident, and Britten has no recollection of events leading up to this point.

From the first episode I don’t believe that finding an explanation will be significant in this show. Should an explanation ever be given, I bet that each reality will be equally valid. The pilot certainly gave no reason to believe one as opposed to the other. I bet either both realities are a dream-like state or there will be two alternative realities which Michael Britten is shifting between. Britten’s lack of recollection of events leading up to the accident do raise the possibility that none of the events are real (within the show), as was also the case in Life on Mars. Britten made it clear he wants no “cure” for the situation as he wants to preserve the situation in which he still has both his wife and son–a decision which certainly makes sense for him.

An interview with executive producer Howard Gordon and creator Kyle Killen was posted in Blastr, discussing comparisons between Awake and Inception and addressing Britten’s desire to live in both worlds:

“The show is really about a man who has decided and desperately wants to live in both of these worlds. Who refuses to acknowledge which is real and which isn’t,” said Killen. “And as you try to live two lives in parallel and you see them start to go in dramatically different directions, I think the idea is that hopefully the audience, like the character, becomes invested in not wanting to let either of those go.”

“Because as long as he has got both of them, he has got access to his wife and his son, then he hasn’t really lost anything. And the upshot for a detective living across two worlds is that he discovers that the cases in one seem to sort of be reflected or replicated in the other. And that provides him with insight and clues that allow him to do his job differently than he did before, and differently than any other detective that we have gotten to see on television.”

It is too soon, after only seeing the pilot, but with Fringe (while still worth watching) not reaching the quality of last season, Awake does have a shot at becoming both the best genre show and drama shown on American network television. Competing with the top shows available on  cable will be far harder.

Radio Times on the monsters and villains of Doctor Who:

Fans of perennial Doctor Who villains such as the Daleks and the Cybermen may disagree but Steven Moffat says new baddies are the best.

The Doctor Who and Sherlock writer says viewers develop a connection with villains when they first meet them and that continually bringing them back can hamper a show’s growth.

“One of the temptations, particularly if it’s a success is to keep repeating your hits, which means you hear it again and again and again,” said Moffat.

“I always say new monsters are better in Doctor Who because you fall in love with monsters when they’re new,” he told Le Village.

It’s an admission that may surprise some viewers, given that Moffat resurrected the Daleks within three episodes of having taken over the show for its 2010 series, but it suggests the Doctor will be facing some new foes in series seven.

Meanwhile, the show’s producer Marcus Wilson told Doctor Who Magazine that two monsters from “classic” Who would be back in the new series.

The final link above provides further information on next season.

Besides discussing old versus new monsters, Steven Moffat tweeted the above video showing Sherlock vs. The Doctor. Actually the leads on both of Steven Moffat’s shows are pretty similar. Just how did Moffat manage to become show runner for not one but two of the top fictional characters of all time?

It only makes sense that the tenth Doctor be on the ten dollar bill. (Similar changes should be made for the $1 and $5 dollar bills.)

Marvel has uploaded the official trailer to The Avengers, which opens in the United States on May 4 and in the U.K. on April 29. (Official UK trailer here). The movie is packed with super heroes and beautiful women. More pictures of Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother) as Maria Hill can be seen here. Besides appearing in The Avengers, Scarlett Johansson has recreated the classic Janet Leigh shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. Entertainment Weekly reports that it took seven days to film the nude scene. It probably actually took a half day to film and then someone wanted to have her do it over and over again.

Saturn Award  Nominations were released in the past week.

Follow an imaginary eighth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Twitter.

The trailer above combines Community with The Dark Knight Rises. The producers of Community are optimistic that the show  will be renewed for a new season. I sure hope so. The cast will also appear in three animated short features on NBC.Com and Hulu.

The Big Bang Theory got a huge genre coup this week in getting Leonard Nimoy to come out of retirement to appear in Sheldon’s dream.

Right Wing News Should Boost Traffic With Nude Obama and Palin Pics

naked-obama-unicorn

It is always amusing to see what types of search words bring in people from search engines. Obviously there are always lots of mundane searches such as Obama’s position on Medicare Advantage plans, but it is the non-political searches which are most amusing to read. Via Memeorandum I see that Right Wing News should do very well in the search engines after some of their recent posts.

The internet is often described as the world’s greatest repository of porn, and even tamer material dealing with women, sex, or nudity brings in plenty of attention. Paris Hilton is always popular and there is a huge surge in searches for pictures of Tim Tebow’s girlfriend whenever he is playing in big games. (Come to think of it, huge and big often play a part in that search). Britney Spears’ appearance on Will and Grace led to searches for poodle balling which still continue. There was a brief burst in searches for this nude picture of Jenna Elfman last week.Years after their appearance on Survivor, Heidi and Jenna remain popular searches.

The searches terms become even more amusing when they are not for items actually on the blog. Google and the other search engines often provide hits based upon words in close proximity. Due to having Buck Naked Politics in the blog roll and/or sometimes even using the word naked in a post, there are frequent hits for a wide variety of people naked. There are a tremendous number of hits for Emma Watson Naked. The actual post mentions Emma Watson but has a picture of Scarlett Johansson.

While for some reason I seem to get more hits for Emma Watson Naked than anyone else (with a bit of interest after she discussed posing nude) anybody can be part of such a search. During the primary campaign there was a tremendous number of searches leading here for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton naked. There were no nude pictures of either, but plenty of posts on both. In Hillary Clinton’s case this did include the famous cleavage controversy. This picture of Natalie Portman next to Hillary Clinton also received some attention.

While those looking for nude pictures of politicians generally do not find what they are looking for in a Google search, they now have an opportunity thanks to Right Wing News. They are now providing drawings of a naked Obama on a unicorn along with Sarah Palin, as well as a nude drawing of Michelle. There’s also more at Boing Boing.

Knowing the interest of internet users in naked people, I’m sure that Right Wing News and all others discussing these pictures will see an increase in traffic. Now I’ll sit back and see how popular this post becomes.

McCain’s Use of the Race Card

Joe Trippi (via Marc Ambinder) has an astute comment on how John McCain managed to get race into the campaign while appearing to take the high road to those who aren’t paying close attention to what McCain has been pulling:

It appears to me that the McCain campaign may be executing a classic “Race? Not me!” campaign.

The past 24 hours reflect exactly how to pull it off with nary a fingerprint that matters.

First you help inject race into the campaign and raise its focus as an issue (as the McCain campaign did yesterday with a little door opening from Obama himself).

Second – this unleashes energy and anger in the African American community (energy that often the African American candidate, Obama, can not control).  Leaders like James Clyburn take to the airwaves – and cable channels have two African Americans debate who is or isn’t raising race.   In any case black faces dominate the cable airwaves and some of those faces are angry.

Third – McCain then appears to speak in front of an all black audience.  White swing voters think “see, he isn’t racist”.  And if the crowd applauds so much the better, if it boos him for tactics real or imagined white swing voters see a white guy “who is at least trying” and angry blacks who are not being duly appreciative – either way it isn’t good for Obama.
Coincidence?

Ever since McCain’s NAACP speech that seemed to me to be directed at white swing voters and not at African Americans I have believed that the McCain campaign is adept at understanding how to raise race as an issue and use it to its advantage.  Is a pattern emerging?

It was actually a smart move politically from McCain to respond to Obama as he did on race. While race has been used against Obama from many sources, from the Clinton campaign to conservative email attacks, the McCain campaign had not been able to openly use race until now. They needed an opening to bring race into the campaign while still maintaining the ability to deny doing so. Melissa McEwan describes this as the political equivalent of blowing a dog whistle writing, “As a literal dog whistle emits a pitch that only dogs can hear, a political dog whistle sends a message that only a particular constituency will hear (or intuitively understand).”

Such is the case with John McCain’s campaign advert conflating Barack Obama’s candidacy and person with Paris Hilton and Britney Spears (which can be viewed here). On its face, it’s an obvious editorial on Obama’s intelligence and competency, as his image is juxtaposed with two women alleged to be airheads while the voiceover intones: “Is he ready to lead?” And naturally there is an element of commentary on whether he is undeserving and entitled, with which Hilton and Spears are routinely charged. Famous for no reason, just a pretty face, the ad implies.

But loitering below the ostensibly substantive critique is something more nefarious. It’s no coincidence that it wasn’t the vacuous tabloid fixture Spencer Pratt or the “American Idol” punchline Sanjaya Malakar who appear in the advert – and it’s not because they’re not famous enough. For it was also not Scarlett Johansson chosen for the advert, who famously supports him, has campaigned with him, and whose twin brother works for him, despite her being arguably as recognizable as Hilton and Spears – and it’s not because she’s not young, blonde, or beautiful enough.

It because neither Pratt, nor Malakar, nor Johansson have personas that are the perfect combination of no brains, no talent, and all slut.

Obama, dog whistles the ad, hitting old racists in the sweet spot, could fuck these white girls – it’s practically a Democratic tradition … JFK, Clinton, heck even Carter lusted in his heart – and we don’t want that, now, do we?

It recalls the despicable “bimbo ad” used against black senate candidate Harold Ford in Tennessee, in which a white actress was hired to claim she’d met Ford at a Playboy party and asked the candidate to “call me,” playing on deeply-ingrained and ancient biases about interracial sex. But the difference between the “bimbo ad” (which was also a Republican production) and the McCain advert is that the former was explicit in its miscegenation message, whereas the latter is more, well, dog-whistly. And its deliberate obliqueness has set in motion a series of events that’s all too familiar to feminists, LGBTQI activists, civil rights activists, and various other social justice advocates.

The dog whistle piques them with something the average person won’t see as bigoted, but that the constituency for which they advocate (and/or of which they’re a part) will expect them to call out, because they instantly spy it and recognize it for what it is; they’ve heard the tune of that particular string being plucked their whole lives. Then whoever calls it out is marginalized as a hysteric, over-reactionary, looking to get offended, etc.

And that’s exactly how the game has played out here. McCain piques Obama and his constituency, Obama responds, McCain and the rightwing accuse Obama of playing the race card, his opponents unleash their new favorite battle cry: “You can’t criticize Obama without being called a racist.” Clockwork.

Josh Marshall more briefly sums up the strategy:

Let’s see how this works. McCain runs his Britney/Paris ad on the alleged but improbable basis that they’re the #2 and #3 celebs in the world, according to Rick Davis. McCain camp seizes on Obama statement that Obama has made multiple times before, accuses him of playing “race card”. Now McCain repeats Race Card, Race Card, Race Card a hundred times.

McCain has made the strategic decision that he can only win the election on the basis of Obama as friend of terrorists, unpatriotic suspicious outsider and radical, black guy who’s really more a flashy showbiz star (call it playing the Diddy card) than someone with the heft to be president. He’s probably right. That’s his only chance. And it may work.

While much of the media has gone along with uncritically reporting McCain’s charges, The New York Times was not fooled:

We know that operatives in modern-day presidential campaigns are supposed to say things that everyone knows are ridiculous — and to do it with a straight face.

Still, there was something surreal, and offensive, about today’s soundbite from the campaign of Senator John McCain.

The presumptive Republican nominee has embarked on a bare-knuckled barrage of negative advertising aimed at belittling Mr. Obama. The most recent ad compares the presumptive Democratic nominee for president to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton — suggesting to voters that he’s nothing more than a bubble-headed, publicity-seeking celebrity.

The ad gave us an uneasy feeling that the McCain campaign was starting up the same sort of racially tinged attack on Mr. Obama that Republican operatives ran against Harold Ford, a black candidate for Senate in Tennessee in 2006. That assault, too, began with videos juxtaposing Mr. Ford with young, white women.

Mr. Obama called Mr. McCain on the ploy, saying, quite rightly, that the Republicans are trying to scare voters by pointing out that he “doesn’t look like all those other Presidents on those dollar bills.’’

But Rick Davis, Mr. McCain’s campaign manager, had a snappy answer. “Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck,” he said. “It’s divisive, negative, shameful and wrong.’’

The retort was, we must say, not only contemptible, but shrewd. It puts the sin for the racial attack not on those who made it, but on the victim of the attack.

It also — and we wish this were coincidence, but we doubt it — conjurs up another loaded racial image.

The phrase dealing the race card “from the bottom of the deck” entered the national lexicon during the O.J. Simpson saga. Robert Shapiro, one of Mr. Simpson’s lawyers, famously declared of himself, Johnny Cochran and the rest of the Simpson defense team, “Not only did we play the race card, we dealt it from the bottom of the deck.”

It’s ugly stuff. How about we leave Britney, Paris, and O.J. out of this — and have a presidential campaign?

“Yes We Can” Wins Emmy

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjXyqcx-mYY]

The Yes We Can video (above) which I described back in February has won an Emmy. The video includes clips of Barack Obama’s New Hampshire primary night speech combined with various celebrities singing.  CNN reports:

Produced by Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am, the video won in the first time “New Approaches in Daytime Entertainment” category that “recognizes innovative production techniques and the use of media enhancement to support content.”

The video became an internet sensation when it first appeared shortly before Super Tuesday. Among the many celebrities who lent their voices to t project, which was filmed in black and white, are John Legend, Scarlett Johansson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

SciFi Friday (Sunday Edition): Torchwood Ends and Doctor Who Returns; A Cylon Civil War; An Aging Starlet?; and a Special Passover Feature

For viewers of the U.S. feeds of the shows, this week marked the end of Torchwood and the start of a new season of Doctor Who. Exit Wounds, the finale of Torchwood presented a surprise as it turned out that Jack’s brother Gray, and not John, was the real villain. John was really the prisoner, not Gray, and was being forced to do all those nasty things to Jack and the others at Torchwood. Besides concluding the Gray storyline, we also say a conclusion to the hinted at romance between Toshiko Sato and Owen Harper. Sadly it also meant the end of both of their lives. This does leave things open for changes in the show, such as bringing back Martha Jones, but hopefully they will not destroy what has made the show great, as some rumors suggest.

The SciFi Channel returned with the Christmas episode of Doctor Who, The Voyage of the Damned, which I previously commented on here. Next week they start the actual season. The season begins with the return of Donna, as well as someone else. In the second episode The Doctor takes Donna to Pompeii, on volcano day, allowing for a look at the question of changing history. The third episode features a trip to the plane of the Ood.

Battlestar Galactica has shown the Cylons degenerate into a civil war. While the pre-season rumors that Starbuck would be thrown in the brig were true, this didn’t last long as she has now been given a ship of her own to once again find Earth. Apparently it isn’t as easy as suggested at the start of the season. Cally found out that her husband is one of the four newly identified Cylons with tragic results. Incidentally, did anyone else notice the homage to Star Trek? The room where Cally overheard the conversation naming the Cylons had a designation of NCC1701-D, the call letters of the Enterprise on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

While Battlestar Galactica is ending, there has been news of yet two more projects for Ron Moore. He will have a trilogy of movies, and Fox has approved a two hour pilot for Virtuosity.

The sci-fi project, from Universal Media Studios and producers Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun, is set aboard the Phaeton, Earth’s first starship, on a 10-year journey to explore a distant solar system. To help the 12 crew members endure the long trip and keep their minds occupied, NASA equipped the ship with advanced virtual reality modules, allowing them to assume adventurous identities and go to any place they want.

I hope this doesn’t turn into a series of holodeck adventures. Perhaps it won’t matter. Odds are that a science fiction show starting on Fox won’t be around very long. At least Fox has renewed Terminator: The Sarah Connor Adventures.

Lost returns with five new episodes on April 24. SciFi Wire has some mild spoilers regarding the final episodes. They primarily talk about what information will be revealed without actually revealing anything.

Believe it or not, Scarlett Johansson (above) is considered too old, at least for one role. Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) has replaced Johansson in Napoleon and Betsy.

SciFi Friday concentrates on television, and has also included both movies and books.  If Andrew Haydon has his way, science fiction will extend to theater.

Finally, for the Passover edition of SciFi Friday I will  include a link to an unusual reference. When reading about various animals in  fantasy literature have you ever wondered if their meat is kosher? If so, Ecstatic Days has the ultimate reference.