The big science fiction news of the week is that J.J. Abrams will be directing the next Star Wars movie. I think it is a good idea for J.J. Abrams to direct the Star Wars movie. His tendency to destroy entire planets (Romulus, Vulcan) fits in better with Star Wars and Death Star than Star Trek.
There are reports that they might wait until 2017 to reboot Batman. There is also speculation that the cast of Justice League of America, scheduled for a 2015 release, will be cut down to five, leaving out Batman until he is rebooted in his own movie. Other rumors say that plans continue to reintroduce Batman in Justice League but possibly leave out Aquaman. Incidentally, if anyone is interested in getting the Michael Keaton Batman movies on Blu-Ray, I found they were much less expensive when purchased as part of a Michael Keaton Collection (recently discounted even further on Amazon) than as stand-alone Batman movies.
Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome was turned into a web series after SyFy decided against picking it up as a weekly series. They will be televising this as a movie on February 10.
Dallas returns tomorrow night, starting with the final episodes filmed before the death of Larry Hagman. Considering all the publicity the show obtained in its original run with the mystery of Who Shot JR?, it only makes sense that JR Ewing will leave the series by being murdered as opposed to dying of natural causes. They should be able to keep this mystery, and other references to JR Ewing, part of the show for quite a long time.
I was initially concerned that Person of Interest would be about independent stories every week, but over time an increasingly convoluted back story has developed. If you are having as much trouble as I am keeping track of everything, the chart here will either help or confuse matters further.
Filming is starting this week for the upcoming season of Doctor Who and it is well known that Amy Pond will be leaving some time in the next season. In previous stories on her planned departure, it was often unclear as to whether this was Karen Gillan or Steven Moffat’s idea. In an interview with IGN TV, Karen described it as her idea:
IGN TV: How did you come to the decision that this coming season of Doctor Who would be your last?
Karen Gillan: Actually, I called Steven Moffat and arranged the dinner and then basically told him roughly when I wanted to go. He told me where the story was at and where it was going and then we kind of together came up with it. So it was really pleasant, actually. We had a lovely dinner and just kind of discussed what we both want and what’s going to happen and then came to the decision. That was ages ago, so I’ve known for ages!
IGN: Why did you think it was getting to be the right time?
Gillan: I wanted to go on a high. Also, Steven Moffat comes up with endless, amazing ideas anyway, but I wanted to make sure that I went on a high when the character was at her prime. There’s just something quite nice and appealing about that to me. I don’t know… It just felt right! I like to go on instinct.
IGN: You can’t say how many more episodes you’ll be in…
Gillan: I’m not allowed to say! But I know they’re going to be damn good. It’s so exciting.
IGN: So Steven’s told you how she’s going to leave?
Gillan: I think it’s the best ever. I can’t say anything, but oh god, I’m dying to say something!
IGN: Are there certain things you’d like to see happen, as far as closure for her?
Gillan: I want to see her go with everything that she wants, because initially, when we met her, she was just seeking what she wants, you know what I mean? And she was kind of in this lost, transitional period, where she didn’t have a stable life. So I just want to see her get what she wants.
IGN: We’ve seen some Doctor Who companions in the past leave and then make guest appearances. Would you be up for that if the door was open?
Gillan: I really, really want to have a final exit and then be able to look back on that as a final exit. I don’t know… I just don’t want to take away from that exit by making cameos in the future. I’d quite like it to be final and for people just to remember it fondly.
IGN: Are you hoping for a happy ending for her and Rory?
Gillan: I don’t even know what I’m hoping for. I just know that whatever I hope for, I read it and it’s always better!
More information is out regarding the planned comic crossover between Star Trek and Doctor Who. The series will be called Assimilation, featuring the Borg and the Cybermen.
Catherine Tate (Donna Noble) returned to The Office last week.
Earlier in the week I posted a second annual set of Doctor Who Valentine’s Day cards. This resulted in a jump in traffic from Google searches which generally is only seen with pictures of nude or scantily clad actresses. (A old picture of Kaley Cuoco of The Big Bang Theory from Maxim has been popular lately.)
Last year Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch alternated in the the lead role in a West End production of Frankenstein. Now they are going to play the same role as Sherlock Holmes. Cumberbatch has stared for two seasons (with a third planned) in Steven Moffat’s updated version of Sherlock for the BBC. Miller has been signed to star in Elementary, a present-day version of the Sherlock Holmes stories for CBS. The similarity in ideas could lead to legal action:
Elementary has already been threatened with legal action by the producers of the BBC’s Sherlock, amid concerns that its modern-day scenario appears to borrow elements from the hugely-successful series starring Cumberbatch.
Sherlock producer Sue Vertue hinted that CBS are now sniffing around her team for casting clues. She told The Independent: “Johnny is a very fine actor, who I saw recently in the theatre when he and Benedict played alternating roles in Frankenstein. Let’s hope their pilot script has stayed further away from our Sherlock than their casting choice.”
As I’ve said before, my guess is that they have nothing to worry about. It is very doubtful that a weekly American network television series could compete with Sherlock in terms of quality. If the CBS show is a success, it very well might generate more buzz, encouraging people to watch the far superior BBC version which they stole the idea from.
The use of Rock, Papers, Scissors, Lizard, Spock to settle disagreements returned to The Big Ban Theory this week. Video above, which includes additional Star Trek references. The original scene from 2009, along with the rules and a t-shirt, can be seen here.
Ever since Homeland began, I wondered where the series would go if the plot lines from the first season were resolved and the show went on to a second season. Some aspects were left open in the first season finale, and casting news provides a further clue. Navid Negahban, who played the terrorist leader Abu Nazir, will be a series regular. The role of Carrie’s snoop Virgil, played by David Marciano, has also been upgraded to a regular role. Claire Danes won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Drama for her role as Carrie Matheson.
Two videos from the wrap party following the final episode of Doctor Who of the David Tennant/Russel T. Davies era emerged on YouTube yesterday. I previously posted one video with the full cast and crew here. The second video above,“The Ballad of Russell and Julie,” features David Tennant, Catherine Tate and John Barrowman in a musical act to thank Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner for their excellent work on the series.
Catherine Tate will also be reprising her role from the series finale of The Office later this season.
SyFy divided up the first season of Caprica into two parts, ending the first half with major cliff hangers. The show was originally to air this fall but was then moved back to January. This week they announced plans to move it back up to start on October 5. No decision has been made on whether to film a second season, with the actors’ contracts extended until November. Moving up the start of the second half of the series provides an opportunity to see how the show does before the decision is made. Hopefully ratings will be up.
Ron Moore might also be getting a new show on network television. As part of Moore’s development deal with Sony, there is consideration for developing a show described as “a police procedural that heavily involves the use of magic” for NBC. Airlock Alpha has more information.
Doctor Who won as Best Family Drama at the the TV Choice Awards 2010 in London, taking place a day after the show won a Hugo award. The current series’ lead character Matt Smith has won as Best Actor in GQ’s Men of the Year Awards. Above is Smith with his girl friend, model Daisy Lowe. There have been rumors this week that Smith is proposing to Lowe.
While signing boxes for her action figure, Karen Gillan discussed the growth of her character:
Karen Gillan has described filming Doctor Who as an “emotionally draining” experience.
The Scottish actress, who shot to fame as the Doctor’s assistant Amy Pond, said she was looking forward to changing her character in the next series of the BBC sci-fi show.
She said: “I think that she’s a completely different person at the end of the series to when we meet her, when she’s really quite odd and a bit messed up in the first episode.”
The 22-year-old added: “I think she’s much more kind of in tune with what she understands about herself mostly and the Doctor by the end of the series. And she’s been through a lot in the series.
“It’s been pretty emotionally draining. Just all the stuff when she was crying and she doesn’t know why she’s crying – that was quite a challenge. But I think there’s a lot more to come in the next series. I really want to just keep on developing her character and I want her to evolve and change lots.”
We know that the Tardis has far more room inside than it appears to have from the outside. This would make the Tardis great for storage. In the picture above a 1 TB drive has been crammed into the model Tardis, showing it really can store a tremendous amount of material. That’s more than enough space for DivX downloads of all the episodes of Doctor Who and its spin offs which remain available.
SyFy has compiled a list of ten of the best science fiction television episodes that ever aired. The list is limited to one episode from any given show. Blink from Doctor Who made the list. Some of the other notable episodes include City on the Edge of Forever, often considered the best episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. Yesterday’s Enterprise was a good choice from Star Trek: The Next Generation. X-Files was represented by Home,Battlestar Galactica by 33, and Lost by The Constant.
Heroes didn’t have any episodes make the list, and won’t get an opportunity to resolve the series-ending cliff hanger. NBC has decided against going ahead with a television movie to wrap it up.
It might be a long time before we find out about the succession plans for when Steve Carrell leaves The Office after this season. The second half of the season will deal with Michael Scott leaving but his replacement in the season finale might not become the show’s new star:
By season’s end, one character will have Scott’s job — but that person is not necessarily Carell’s replacement as the show’s star. Sources say writers are tempted to have the character who becomes the Scranton branch’s new boss fail in some spectacular manner, leaving the seat open again for another successor during Season 8.
One radical notion being explored is the possibility of subtly shifting the show’s point of view so that a current character is the star instead of the boss.
As for replacing Scott with a new manager, sources say the network and producers are on the same page.
“You’re looking for someone who can start stories,” a source said. “Someone whose judgment isn’t necessarily one where when an issue comes up and a boss with a correct judgment would quickly settle it and then you have no episode. You’re also looking for somebody who considers the rest of the office his family.”
The Hollywood Reporter has a story on the possibility of Fox picking up Torchwood. Russell T. Davis would write it and John Barrowman might still star, but I still have my doubts about this working as an American television show. Many shows with science fiction aspect have had difficulty making it in the United States. One of the features which makes Torchwood special is being a more serious show taking place in the Doctor Who universe which would be unfamiliar to many American audiences. Even under the best of conditions, far too many genre shows such as Firefly and Dollhouse have died quickly on Fox.
It also does not always work to try to translate successful British television series to the American networks. Some such as The Office have been successful but there have also been many flops. Two examples of such failures in recent years have been Life on Mars and Coupling. The American version of Coupling also showed that having the writer of the original BBC version does not guarantee success. Coupling, which NBC had hoped to be the replacement for Friends (and which was in many ways more like a combination of Seinfeld and Sex in the City) failed for several reasons in the United States. They used the same scripts as were used on the BBC–written by incoming Doctor Who show runner Steven Moffat.
The article also mentions the possibility of also rebooting Doctor Who for American television. That would be far, far worse than doing this with Torchwood. It isn’t clear if the idea for Torchwood is to pick up the series where it left off but with a more international background or if they would reboot it.
I’ve been impressed with Steven Moffat for doing such a great job on such different television genres. I’ve sometimes joked that I would like to see some of the characters from Coupling become The Doctor’s next companion. We don’t know very much about The Doctor’s actual upcoming companion, Amy Pond (Karen Gillan). TV Overmind has picked up a report that “everyone thinks she is this prim and proper policewoman… it’s going to be revealed early on that she works as a kissogram.” Reading that, she just might be a Steven Moffat character of the Coupling variety!
Personally I think this whole trend towards reboots is going a bit too far. I would primarily reserve it for shows which were so bad that they should be done entirely differently (such as Battlestar Galactica) or for shows which never made it and we have no emotional investment with the original. One such show which is being talked about for a reboot is an old Gene Roddenberry idea, The Questor Tapes. His son Rod has said, “My father always felt that Questor was the one that got away. He believed that the show had the potential to be bigger than Star Trek.”
Now 36 years later “Questor” is back. Gene’s son Rod Roddenberry will develop the project along with Roddenberry Productions COO Trevor Roth and Imagine Television’s President David Nevins and EVP of Development Robin Gurney. The team is currently in negotiations with writer, producer and show runner Tim Minear (Lois & Clark, The X-Files, Angel, Dollhouse) to produce. Of course there still is no guarantee that the new “Questor” will get picked up as a series either, but Imagine Entertainment, which was founded by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, has a good track record on TV. Imagine developed shows like 24, Friday Night Lights, Lie To Me; Arrested Development, and many more (including JJ Abrams Felicity)…
Gene Roddenberry may never have got “Questor” as a series, but he didn’t forget the idea of that android on a quest. “Questor” influenced the creation of the character Data in Star Trek The Next Generation.
Caprica premiered on television this week. My original review from when it came out on DVD was posted here.
Rob Lowe, who left The West Wing before the series was completed to attempt to make it on his own show, has now decided to leave Brothers and Sisters at the end of this season. While his previous attempt with his own show failed it is more understandable that he wants to try again as opposed to remaining where he is as his role on Brothers and Sisters is not as substantial as his role as Sam Seaborn on The West Wing. There is no word as to how he will exit the show. Possibilities include his character having another heart attack or a divorce from Kitty.
J.J. Abrams has talked more about the sequel to his Star Trek movie in an interview with Cinematical:
Since you were able to wipe the slate clean with your prequel, do you plan to come up with something completely original, or is there a possibility you will reference some of the existing creatures or races in the next installment?
Abrams: The fun of this movie series is that we will have the opportunity, given its alternate timeline, to cross paths with any of the experiences, places and characters that existed in the original series. We have to be really careful, obviously, doing that. I don’t want to do something that is so inside that only die-hard fans will appreciate.
Will the first film’s alternate timeline affect what you can leave in and what can’t be a part of subsequent films?
Abrams: The trick in doing any movie, but especially something like this that involves some weird alternate reality-time travel thing is that you don’t want to not explain it, but you don’t want to explain everything. I think you have as much fun with the missing pieces as you do with the pieces you get. So, for me, not knowing every detail, allows me to get inside of the story and start to fill in the blanks. When everything is spoon-fed, typically I feel like you’re being pandered to, or it’s too expositional. It’s always a balance.
You managed to contemporize what was an aging franchise, with your work on Star Trek, and you talked about including more current events in the sequel. Do you think that Star Trek is evergreen, or is it something that needs to be continuously updated for each generation?
Abrams: It’s hard to give a blanket answer to that question. I do think that, whether it’s Star Trek or anything, whatever is being investigated, created or produced now, in movies or TV, needs to consider the context in which it is being distributed. It’s not a vacuum. There are certain universal themes of love, conflict, loyalty or family that are everlasting and that need to be presented in a way that makes it feel relevant, even if it’s a period piece. You need to consider what context that film, that story and those characters are being seen in. But, having said that, with Star Trek, it’s not like we’re looking to make the second movie some kind of heavy political allegory. I think that it’s important that there is a metaphor to what we know and that there is relevance, and I think allegory is the thing that made shows like The Twilight Zone and Star Trek resonate and still be vital today.
But, because the first movie was so much about introducing these people, and it was very much a premise movie about how to bring these people together, it made it difficult to also have the film go as deep as it could, about certain conflict, certain relationships and the heart of who some of these characters are. I think it was successful in what it needed to do, to introduce these people, but I feel like, now that we’ve done that, it is the job of the next film to go a little bit deeper. It shouldn’t be any less fun or take itself too seriously, but consider who these people are now and grow with them, and just examine them a little more closer, now that we’ve gotten through the pleasantries and introductions.
“As much as Sheldon loves Star Trek, Wil Wheaton is the only person associated with the franchise whom Sheldon has sworn eternal enmity toward,” the actor said when asked about by TV Guide Magazine about his role.
So, why does Sheldon have such animosity for Wheaton? The character apparently did not enjoy an autograph experience with Wil many years ago.
“The Wil I play in the Big Bang universe is not such a nice person,” Wheaton said. “But in real life, I go out of my way to be kind and patient. My motto is: ‘Don’t be a d—!’”
The BBC has released the new logo for the upcoming season of Doctor Who, including the use of DW in the shape of a Tardis.
Julie Benz, in an interview with CinemaBlend, has revealed that a real shock is planned for the season finale of Dexter:
Your character has really developed into a pivotal part of the show. What can we expect from Rita this season?
Wow, this season. Obviously at the beginning of the season we see Rita has it all. I mean, she has everything she’s ever wanted. She has the perfect husband, the great kids, the new baby, the dream house in the suburbs but you know, just like anything, nothing great lasts forever. We have an amazingly shocking ending this season. I mean, it’s so shocking that – it’s just shocking is all I can say. It shocked the whole cast.
So you’ve already filmed the last episode?
We are in the middle of filming it right now.
Any chance Dexter will let her in on his secret?
Oh! I don’t know about that. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but you know, you definitely see worlds collide; everybody’s world collides in this season.
So far I haven’t been very excited about the new television season. At present the only new shows I’m watching are Flash Forward, Modern Family, and Glee. There are some new shows to come including remakes of V and The Prisoner. Parenthood, based upon the Ron Howard movie, has been delayed due to Maura Tierney developing medical problems. She is to be replaced by Lauren Graham, who will play the part of a single mother. She is well prepared for this role after staring in Gilmore Girls. Any chance they can get Alexis Bledel to quest star on an episode and reunite the pair?
Ausiello reports that “Olivia Wilde and Peter Jacobson’s trailers have not been emptied out” and predicts that they will reappear on House.
The story follows a young small-town girl (Aguilera) as she ventures into the city in the hopes of becoming a star. Soon she discovers an L.A. burlesque bar, where the men are fast and the women faster. She quickly uses her amazing voice and burlesque dancing to become the joint’s new star.
Bell plays the club’s big-shot dancer who doesn’t take a liking to the new girl’s sudden success. Also starring are Cher, as the nightclub’s experienced owner, and Stanley Tucci as the man who helps Aguilera find her moves.
Heroes is still struggling to recover, this week resorting to a lesbian kiss between Hayden Panettiere and Madeline Zima. While this has created some buzz for the show, it is doubtful that it will do anything to help the show get back on track. Zima is better known recently for her role along with David Duchovny in Californication.
The big television event of the season so far has been the wedding of Pam and Jim on The Office. While hour long episodes of The Office have often not worked very well, feeling like two stories merged together, this episode worked very well. The episode included take offs of a couple of popular You Tube videos. I’ve previously posted the video of the JK Wedding Entrance Dance which inspired the entrance at the wedding ceremony. The episode also showed Dwight wearing a Three Wolf Moon t-shirt:
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.
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.