SciFi Weekend: The Americans; The Flash; Arrow; Agents of SHIELD; Doctor Who (The Doctor Dates Cinderella); 12 Monkeys; Big Bang Theory; Two And A Half Men Finale; Mad Men In The 70’s; Orphan Black; Kristen Bell; If Ayn Rand Wrote Harry Potter; Birdman Parody; Politics And The Oscars

The Americans Nina Gulag

One of the things which makes The Americans one of the top television shows now on is the manner in which several story lines involving different characters are carried out so well. Whether or not the different story lines become intertwined, one storyline often has lessons for another. On Dimebag, while Elizabeth and Phillip fought over whether Paige should become a spy, neither seemed to have thought that if Paige had been trained they could have used her to get information from Kimberly, the young daughter of the CIA’s Afghan group, instead of Phillip seducing her. Neither realized initially the degree to which they were in danger of losing Paige to her church–hardly acceptable if she were to be a good Communist. There is some similarity to how Pastor Tim is “recruiting” Paige to how Phillip is using Kimberly and the Russians want them to recruit Paige. Meanwhile in Russian, Nina might be saved due to Oleg’s family relationship to the future Russian oligarchs, and she went to work on her cell mate as Elizabeth would work on getting information. On top of this, the episode included a defector who might be double crossing them, an EST meeting, and a visit with an AA sponsor.

Keri Russell discussed the relationships with her character’s daughter and mother this season, and described the scene earlier this season in which Annelise’s body was packed into a suitcase:

IGN: I have to ask about that second episode and the scene of having to get rid of the body in that hotel room. First of all, there’s the “Oh my god!” of it all. And then also is it interesting for you to play a character who already had to compartmentalize everything, but this is a woman that her husband was sleeping with as a part of the job, and now she has the reality of that in front of her?

Russell: All I have to say is so many naked girls! Naked, beautiful actress, naked beautiful contortionist, yeah. Then on a second unit day of reshoots, a second naked beautiful girl. I was like, “There’s a lot of pretty, naked girls on this show!” Yeah, so bizarre! Really gruesome. I haven’t seen it. Does it play?

IGN: Oh yeah, it plays.

Flash Firestorm

Last week The Flash was both a back door pilot for Firestorm and further advanced the idea of time travel for Barry Allen. We saw once again how far Harrison Wells is willing to go, and his motives remain unclear. We should be learning more when the show returns in March.

Also on CW, we saw a reversal on Arrow, as the flashback took place in Starling City while the present day action took place back on the island. It was strange to see Oliver from the period when he was missing back around his home. Seeing Oliver snooping around Queen Consolidated gave the feeling of a time travel story in which a character is in their past but cannot risk being seen.  Meanwhile, on the island, there was a deliberate reference to Star Trek II, The Wrath of Kahn with Slade’s comment, “I’m going to leave you as you left me.”

Agents of SHIELD returns March 3. Marvel has released this synopsis of the episode:

After discovering an alien city with ties to his resurrection, Coulson and his team destroyed it before the forces of Hydra could claim its secrets, eliminating the villainous Whitehall (Reed Diamond) in the process. But new threats to the world have arisen, including Skye’s father, Cal (Kyle McLachlan), who now seeks retribution against Coulson for stealing his revenge against Whitehall; a disturbing alliance between former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Ward (Brett Dalton) and Agent 33; the enigmatic Raina (Ruth Negga), who struggles with her transformation into something inhuman by the alien Obelisk and seeks vengeance; and Skye (Chloe Bennet), who developed mysterious new powers from the Obelisk but whose lack of experience with her new abilities may threaten the safety of those she loves.

Meanwhile, Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) and Mack (Henry Simmons) begin the next phase of a plan which seems to have grave repercussions for Coulson and his team, who are unaware that there’s another mysterious force moving against them. And as Hunter (Nick Blood) is forced to make the biggest choice of his life, Coulson will find his mission threatened by this shocking endgame.

In the midseason premiere, “Aftershocks,” Coulson’s team must deal with the consequences of their war with Hydra as shocking revelations threaten to tear them apart, and Hydra makes a dangerous move that may involve a traitor in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s midst.

Adrianne Palicki has been promoted to a series regular on Agents of SHIELD, which probably means that Will will not be getting back together with Doctor Sam on About a Boy anytime soon.

Lily James Matt Smith

The Doctor is dating Cinderella–Matt Smith has confirmed that he is dating Lily James. I don’t know if it has occurred yet in the US broadcasts of Downton Abbey so I won’t give any specifics, but I did like her character’s triumph in a late season episode. Of course anything is better than revisiting certain past events yet once again.

In other Doctor Who and related news, The BBC has announced that Michelle Gomez will return as Missy in a two part episode to open the next season of Doctor Who. Add Eve Myles to the list of those interested in another season of Torchwood.

Speaking of Lily James in Cinderella, Ellen DeGeneres has presented a mash-up of Cinderella and Fifty Shades of Grey. Video above.

I thought there was a chance that 12 Monkeys might be able to make it into the upper tier of genre shows with The Night Room last week but The Red Forest couldn’t keep up the same quality this week. Not that it was a bad episode, but it was too easy to fix the timeline when it simply came down to Cassie getting captured in our present, and saving her would fix things. There are still a number of questions raised last week which could provide interesting episodes. Plus they now know how important Cassie’s role is and will make sure that they do not change history involving her, ensuring that she can deliver the message for Cole before she dies.

Amazon has renewed Mozart in the Jungle (which I recommend watching, now about half way through the first season) and is going ahead with the adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle. I have intentionally held off on watching the pilot, preferring to wait until Amazon shows are released in full as opposed to watching the pilot months earlier, but reviews have been excellent for the pilot.

Last week’s episode of The Big Bang Theory seemed to throw far too much into a single episode, including the reopening of Stuart’s comic book store, a cameo by Nathan Fillion, and (the most amusing part of the show), Sheldon telling Penny how Amy was doing experiments on her. Then we learned what the episode was really about–a tribute to Carol Ann Susi, the voice of Mrs. Wolowitz, who died in November. There is a toast to her in the video above, and there is an unseen tribute to her in every episode:

After we had that impromptu memorial the morning she passed away, Johnny and I were hugging—like everybody was—and right then we found our prop person and asked to get a little picture of Carol Ann and we put it on the refrigerator [in Leonard and Sheldon’s kitchen] so she’s there in every episode now. It’s so small you wouldn’t even see it, but on the fridge is this tiny little wallet-size picture of Carol Ann that’s been there since the day she passed away.

It also appears that The Big Bang Theory is so subversive that China doesn’t want its citizens to be able to watch the show.

We are going into the final week of one of the best network sit-coms in recent years, Parks and Recreation. Last week we had the finale of Two And A Half Men, a multi-cam sit-com which over the last twelve years has shown everything wrong with the format. If anyone cares, Chuck Lorre explained his intentions for the finale. There were no apologies to the nation, but at least our great national nightmare is over.

Mad Men 70's

Mad Men enters the 1970’s for its final half-season, and from the music playing in the trailer it might even be doing a time jump to the mid 70’s. After that, I’m looking forward to the inevitable spin-off. Better Call Sally. Just kidding but considering how good Better Call Saul has been so far as a spin-off of Breaking Bad, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if AMC went that route again.

AMC purchased 49 percent of BBC America, and this has implications for the promotion of the third season of Orphan Black. The show probably has many less viewers than a show of this quality might otherwise have due to not being seen on BBC America. In the hopes of increasing exposure, the third season premiere will be shown on all of AMC’s channels, including AMC, Sundance TV, IFC and We TV. The one problem with this strategy is that Orphan Black is not a good show to come into late. Perhaps they should have been rerunning the first two seasons on some other channels prior to the start of the third season.

Forget any thoughts of John Oliver taking over for Jon Stewart. HBO, perhaps thinking along those lines and wanting to lock him in, has signed Oliver for two more seasons of This Week Tonight, with 35 episodes a year. Meanwhile Jon Stewart, after having to put out new shows daily, near year round, might envy Oliver’s deal.

Kristen Bell has no tolerance for anti-vaxxers, and won’t let them around her children. “It’s a very simple logic: I believe in trusting doctors, not know-it-alls.”

Morena Baccarin (of Gotham, Firefly, V, and Homeland) has been cast as the female lead in another superhero adaptation, this time the movie version of Deadpool. I don’t know if this will impact her work on Gotham, but we know that sooner or later Jim Gordon has to get back with Barbara, or else Batgirl will never be born.

BoingBoing has pointed out an example of Harry Potter fan fiction by Mallory Ortberg, written as if it was written by Ayn Rand. Thus there are passages such as, “It’s also why I never water my plants in Herbology. They must learn to survive with or without me. Self-sufficiency is not just a human virtue. It is the highest virtue.”  Plus don’t miss the link to Mallory Ortberg’s reviews of children’s movies as if they were written by Ayn Rand. For example:

“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”

An industrious young woman neglects to charge for her housekeeping services and is rightly exploited for her naïveté. She dies without ever having sought her own happiness as the highest moral aim. I did not finish watching this movie, finding it impossible to sympathize with the main character. —No stars.


The biggest and the strongest are the fittest to rule. This is the way things have always been. —Four stars.

“101 Dalmatians”A wealthy woman attempts to do her impoverished school friend Anita a favor by purchasing some of her many dogs and putting them to sensible use. Her generosity is repulsed at every turn, and Anita foolishly and irresponsibly begins acquiring even more animals, none of which are used to make a practical winter coat. Altruism is pointless. So are dogs. A cat is a far more sensible pet. A cat is objectively valuable. —No stars.

Big Bird meets Birdman in the video spoof above. Birdman is considered a heavy favorite to win an Oscar for best movie.

When actors go on stage to accept Oscars tonight, many of them are contributing to the Democrats, and some to the Republicans. The Hill reports:

Democrats are the biggest winners when it comes to raking in political donations from Academy Award nominees.

Some of the Oscars’ most famous contenders — including this year’s hopefuls Reese Witherspoon, Edward Norton, Mark Ruffalo, Bradley Cooper, and Meryl Streep — are delivering big bucks for the left.

Norton plays an egotistical movie star in “Birdman,” — which snagged him a Best Supporting Actor nomination at Sunday’s awards — but the real-life film star is one of Hollywood’s biggest Democratic donor…

Witherspoon, who earned her second Best Actress nomination this year for “Wild,” has also donated generously to Democrats, according to Federal Election Commission records. The 2005 Oscar winner gave $1,500 to Warren’s camp in 2012. She’s also given in excess of $6,000 to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and $1,500 to then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.).

While Clint Eastwood, the director behind Best Picture nominee “American Sniper,” is known for his support of Republican candidates — famously delivering his “empty chair speech” at the 2012 Republican National Convention — the film’s star, Bradley Cooper, gave $750 to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid. Cooper is vying for Best Actor for his portrayal of real-life Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in the record-breaking movie.

The article later discusses how Democrats often use celebrities in fund raising campaigns while “Republicans have capitalized on conservative celebrity activists by encouraging them to run for office.”

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who; Benedict Cumberbatch on Sherlock and Sex; Agents of SHIELD; Agent Carter; Gotham; Arrow; The Flash; 12 Monkeys; Billy Bob Thornton and Other Sitcom News; Crash of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo

Doctor Who Black Water

Black Water is so far likely to be the most memorable episode of this season of Doctor Who, but any such judgment will be influenced by the second part of the story, Death in Heaven. It is difficult to review the first episode of a two-part story as when an interesting idea in genre is raised we never know how well the story will play out. Of course this could also be said of both individual stories and entire series (such as Lost and The X-Files.)

The episode demonstrated how much the Doctor cared for Clara: “Do you think I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?” Fortunately the betrayal was in a dream sequence. Before realizing it was a dream I expected that the Doctor would either pull out a spare key or show that he can still get into his TARDIS even without a key. Clara pointed out a common issue on the the series in which the Doctor is inconsistent as to whether he can change time. Such inconsistencies are unavoidable on a long running time travel series and actually seem less objectionable when openly acknowledged by a character.

Danny Pink appears to have died, but it isn’t clear if it is final. After all, the idea of the episode is that death is not what we think it is, although it is not clear if we were told the truth or if it was entirely lies coming from Missy. We were told,  “This isn’t really an afterlife. It’s just more life than you were ever expecting.” With rumors that Jenna Coleman might be leaving the series, it is possible that he really is dead, but also possible that he can be rescued from the Nethersphere for further adventures. The previews of Death in Heaven suggest that Clara might have never existed, but previews are often misleading.

The biggest danger to Danny might not be that he appears to be dead, but that he might delete his emotions and voluntarily become what was hidden away in the black water, which hides all not-organic material. Even though it was well known that the finale involved the Cybermen, and it might not have made sense keeping all of them stored in water, the scene revealing what they were as the water drained away still had considerable impact.

If we can believe what we heard, the dead are still conscious and feel what their body feels–making “don’t cremate me” a crucial plea and avoiding being studied for science also an important goal. One reason we cannot be certain of anything we were told was the reveal as to the identity of Missy: “Try to keep up. I’m Missy. Short for Mistress. Well, couldn’t very well keep calling myself the Master, could I?”

Although there was widespread speculation that Missy was the Master, we were kept guessing until the end, including with a claim earlier in the episode that she was just a droid. Now that we know that Missy is the Master, the question remains as to whether she really was the one who gave Clara the Doctor’s phone number in The Bells of St. John, and if so what the purpose was. We can be certain that her use of the Cybermen is not a good thing,

Having the Master regenerate as a woman has been received with excitement by a lot of fans who have been hoping for a female doctor. While this establishes that it is possible for a Time Lord to regenerate in the opposite sex, having this be possible and actually doing it are quite different things. I suspect that for now this might have been done to placate fans calling for a female doctor with no current plans to actually do so.

The Doctor Who Extra for Black Water is above.

Benedict Cumberbatch discussed Sherlock and sex in an interview with the UK edition of Elle.

ELLE UK: What do you think Sherlock would be like in bed? How would you play a love scene as Sherlock?

BC: Oooh… You know I’d get the, I’d probably test the latex, if it involved prophylactics, beforehand.

BC: I’d do a little experiment to do with durability, length, girth, and um, strength. And um, I would probably take a lot of vitamin supplements to make sure that I could perform, and had had my sleep, and probably not had many cigarettes. Or drink, for that matter. Not that he does drink.

ELLE UK: You see. Proficient, but lacking enthusiasm.

BC: Yeah, no wait for it. I would probably watch a lot of porn…

Cumberbatch is currently in negotiations to star in Doctor Strange but perhaps he should also be signed for a guest appearance on Masters of Sex.

Agents of SHIELD Ward

SHIELD could really use better security. We figured that Ward wasn’t going to spend the entire season in Coulson’s basement, but I would think that they would have taken even more precautions to transport him. Brett Dalton discussed his character with Entertainment Weekly.

ABC has released the official synopsis for Agent Carter.

It is too early to judge Gotham as they are busy building their pre-Batman universe. Screen Rant looks at Arkham Asylum. Of course any discussion of Arkham leads to the Joker, and the post also mentions the fan theory that Oswald Cobblepot actually turns out to be the Joker, not the Penguin.

It has been announced that Morena Baccarin (Homeland, Firefly, V) will be playing Dr. Leslie Thompkins:

She will play Dr. Leslie Thompkins, a gifted and dedicated physician who was a friend of Bruce Wayne’s parents, Thomas and Martha. She is determined to use her skills to aid Gotham’s most in need, which currently means working at the newly opened Arkham Asylum’s Home for the Criminally Insane. In addition to her medical skills, her coolness under pressure will serve her well as she finds herself drawn close to James Gordon and into more and more dangerous waters.

Blastr looked at Christopher Nolan’s original ideas for the Dark Knight trilogy, which were changed with the death of Heath Ledger (the Joker).

At this point CW is doing the better job of bringing the DC universe to television, and Gotham has a long way to go to compete with Arrow as the best television adaptation of Batman. Last week Felicity visited The Flash and the next episode of Arrow features her in The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak. The synopsis for the episode reads:

When a cyber attack brings Starling City to its knees, Oliver and Felicity are pushed to their limits to contain the destruction. Life gets even more complicated for Felicity when her mother, Donna (guest star Charlotte Ross), stops by for a surprise visit. Meanwhile, Ted Grant (guest star JR Ramirez) questions Laurel’s motives, and Thea buys an apartment with Malcolm’s “estate””money, which infuriates Oliver.

 Stephen Amell discussed Arrow, The Flash, and DC movies;

We’ve heard so much in recent weeks about Marvel and DC announcing so many comic book movies over the next few years. Are you ready for a Green Arrow movie? I am completely indifferent. First of all, wanting a movie undersells the idea that making 23 episodes a year isn’t a huge achievement. It is and I would put that degree of difficulty up against any feature film that has ever been made… except “Lord of the Rings” and that gigantic Peter Jackson-led undertaking… and maybe “Titanic.” But, other than those two movies, I’d put making 23 hours of interesting content in a TV season up against anything on the film side. It is difficult to me to want or envision an “Arrow” movie when we are shooting the 10th episode of our third season with 13 more episodes to go and in all likelihood 3 more seasons on the other side of that. I’m interested in keeping that content fresh. Once we get to the end of that road, maybe then I’ll shift my focus. There was some talk and controversy about the fact that Grant Gustin is doing the “Flash” TV show but was not named the Flash for the “Flash” movie. If Green Arrow was going to be on screen, do you feel like it should be you? Yeah. Of course. And I feel like it should be Grant doing the movie. But the important thing to remember is just because Grant Gustin plays the part of Barry Allen doesn’t mean Ezra Miller can’t also play Barry Allen. There can be different interpretations of the character. Anyone who is a fan of the comics knows the Flash character is one of the forces that leads to parallel universes. And who knows, they might find a fantastic actor to play Oliver Queen on the feature side who has a different take on the character. I’m certainly a departure from the typical Oliver Queen from the comic books. I just think that everybody needs to be patient with the whole thing. The fact that DC and Warner have announced all these comic book features is nothing but good for business.

Syfy has released the above extended footage for their upcoming series (based on the movie) 12 Monkeys.

Last season CBS killed Cristin Milioti in the series finale of How I Met Your Mother.  Now NBC has killed her on A to Z, or for now turned her into a zombie. She is currently walking dead, not unlike Brady Hoke as Michigan’s football coach. The series will complete its initial thirteen episodes but end at that point. Unless the thirteenth episode is rewritten we will never learn about what happens in that final hour of her eight-month, three-week, five-day, and one-hour relationship. I would expect that viewership will fall even further now that we know the show will not be on much longer. I have already deleted it from my DVR’s schedule.

NBC also canceled Bad Judge along with A to Z. NBC still has Marry Me for now but, having watched the pilot only, it hardly seems worth watching. Seeing these shows leads to the inevitable question–why did NBC cancel Community to make room for these? (Fortunately it has been saved by Yahoo!)

It has not been a good year for romantic comedies, with ABC having already canceled Manhattan Love Story.  At the moment, the only new network sitcoms I’m watching are Blackish and Selfie. Weak romantic comedies seem even lamer than most years after watching You’re The Worst which premiered last summer.

Big Bang Theory Billy Bob Thornton

Billy Bob Thornton was largely responsible for the success of Fargo. Late in the series he impersonated a dentist, and last week he went on to portray a doctor on The Big Bang Theory. The Hollywood Reporter interviewed showrunner Steve Molaro about his memorable appearance (which hopefully will be repeated). Billy Bob Thornton is a big fan of the show, and he is the one who pitched the idea of playing a doctor who tries to steal Penny away from Leonard. Molaro also states that “a major move forward in the Sheldon-Amy relationship occurs” in next week’s episode.

It was a real tragedy when Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo experimental space plane crashed on Friday.  While a huge setback, hopefully this is not the end of the idea of commercial spaceflight:

For now, the future of the New Mexico spaceport intended as the hub and central customer for Virgin Galactic’s operations seems uncertain.

And for Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic, Messier says, “it’s obviously a massive setback.

“I’m hesitant to try to make predictions this soon after the accident,” he says.  “They’ve been working on SpaceShipTwo for ten years now. If the engine blew, they may have to go back to the drawing board.”

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who Season Highlights, Mentions on US Television, Naughty Deleted Scenes, Christmas Special Filming; Dexter; Homeland; Downton Abbey; Merlin

The above video shows the highlights of the last season of Doctor Who in 89 seconds.Here’s a more musical version:

There was increased promotion of Doctor Who in the United States over the past season, which probably accounts three references to the show on American television shows so far this season. The best remains this parody from Community:

Free Agents, an already cancelled U.S. sitcom based upon a British show, had a brief mention. The video clip is no longer available on line but the entire episode is available on Hulu. Criminal Minds had a recent mention which can be viewed here, along with this older clip:

There have also been some other older mentions of Doctor Who on American shows. For example:

The apparently nude picture of River Song was seen in some trailers for the season but never aired. Steven Moffat, who showed he is into naughty material on television from his work on Coupling, felt it was too naughty for Doctor Who. More from

When Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat was asked on Twitter about the bit where we see a naked River Song (Alex Kingston) winking at an unknown someone in the trailer, he answered: “Deleted, yes. Too naughty, don’t know what I was thinking.”

The scene was apparently cut from the season six premiere episode ”The Impossible Astronaut.”

There’s a few more details coming from The Eleventh Doctor Volume 3:

The readthrough script for [”The Impossible Astronaut”] had minimal changes before issue as shooting script. The main alteration was the ultimately deleted scene at Stormcage where the governor remonstrated with River Song over her previous 15 escapes under his predecessor, “Oh, it was never fifteen—unless you’re counting holidays and hair appointments…” said River as she opened a cupboard on the cell wall and pulled out an impossibly long clothes rail of dresses commenting, “Don’t mind my wardrobe. Teensy bit bigger on the inside!”But the ”naughty” River Song scene is not the only one that ended up either on the cutting floor, or not being filmed at all. Apparently:

There were more changes later made to [”Day of the Moon”]; the opening sequence with Rory and Canton was set in Chicago’s waterfront docklands and the final scene with the little girl was set in New York. The Doctor and his friends had been gathering information over two rather than three months between installments. Still to be added were the Doctor’s comparisons of the Silents to the Roman Empire, the Doctor describing the sensation of the Silents being around, and much of a sub-plot about the Doctor’s beard.Then there’s also a scene  which shows a group of mean-looking Nazis searching for the Doctor (Matt Smith), also cut from ”The Impossible Astronaut.”!

In the video above, Karen Gillan discusses her involvement in the Doctor Who Adventure Game, The Gunpowder Plot.

The Christmas Special is now filming, with some information released by the BBC:

Production has started on the 2011 Doctor Who Christmas Special in which the Doctor (Matt Smith) finds himself in war-torn England embarking on a magical and mysterious adventure with a young widow and her two children.

A stellar guest cast including Claire Skinner (Outnumbered), Bill Bailey (Black Books), Arabella Weir (The Fast Show) and Alexander Armstrong (Armstrong & Miller), join Matt Smith in the emotional festive special, packed full of Christmas thrills and chills.

Steven Moffat, Lead Writer and Executive Producer, commented: “The Doctor at Christmas – nothing is more fun to write. Maybe because it’s so his kind of day – everything’s bright and shiny, everybody’s having a laugh, and nobody minds if you wear a really stupid hat. Of all the Doctors, Matt Smith’s is the one that was born for this time of year – so it’s the best news possible that he’s heading back down the chimney.”

The special, set during World War II, sees Madge Arwell and her two children, Lily and Cyril, evacuated to a draughty old house in Dorset, where the caretaker is a mysterious young man in bow tie, and a big blue parcel is waiting for them under the tree. They are about to enter a magical new world and learn that a Time Lord never forgets his debts…

Claire Skinner said: “I am thrilled to be in Doctor Who playing Madge who is a bit of super-mum. It’s a magical part.”

There are three recommended shows airing tonight. Last Sunday the first episode of Dexter looked promising, with Dexter asking some tough questions about religion. Homeland was also off to a promising start last week. Besides staring Claire Danes, the cast includes Morena Baccarin who planned Anna on the remake of V.Unlike Alex Kingston’s naughty scene on Doctor Who, Baccarin’s nude scenes can be aired on Showtime.  Baccarin plays the wife of Nicholas Brody, who had been held captive by al Qaeda for eight years. Claire Danes plays CIA agent Carrie Mathison who has reason to believe that Brody has been turned and is working with al Qaeda on a terrorist attack on American soil. Mathison also has some psychiatric issues, making it unclear as to whether to trust her suspicions of Brody.

Besides these two shows on Showtime, Downton Abbey airs in the U.K. on Sundays and has been off to a great season with a World War I backdrop. I won’t say much about this show for the benefit of those waiting for it to air in the United States. Merlin has started out this season on Saturdays in the U.K. with a strong two-part episode. Again I won’t say much, but Morgana is now more powerful, and Arthur has a more important role in ruling Camelot.

SciFi Weekend: Supermoon; Doctor Who Mini-Episodes Time & Space; Anna Torv as William Bell; Girls of Dillon Texas In New Roles; V Season (Series?) Finale; Being Human Renewed

Just went outside to see supermoon. I am a little disappointed that nobody put a giant S and a cape on it.  This week we start with a mini installment of Doctor Who prepared for Comic Relief charity fund-raising, which explains the problem with Amy Pond’s short skirts,plus a lot of timey wimey stuff:

In other Doctor Who news, a fan is suing the BBC claiming he first came up with the character of Davros for a competition at age 13.

Anna Torv spent this week’s episode of Fringe with William Bell possessing her body. TV Line interviewed Torv about playing this third role on the show:

Make no mistake, Anna Torv herself was agog when she first learned of the twist – one that forced into her repertoire a third Fringe characterization. “This is not one I had been asking for!” the actress admits with a laugh. “I was in shock for the first day, and then I think I hyperventilated, and then I called John Noble to say, ‘Can you please help me?’”

Torv’s reasons for turning to Walter’s portrayer were twofold. “When you are about to do something you’re kind of freaked out about, you want to be able to look up and know there’s a safe place to go to – and it’s there in John’s eyes,” she explains. And because Noble was in most of Leonard Nimoy’s scenes as “Belly,” Torv says, “I wanted to know what that relationship was like.”

Because she is Australian and already affecting an American accent for her portrayal of Olivia/”Bolivia,” Torv studied tapes of Nimoy’s Fringe work as well as consulted with the show’s dialect coach. Ultimately, though, she had to just jump in with both feet. “I’m no good at doing voices, mimicking people, so once I realized, ‘S—t, I can’t do this,’ you just take a deep breath and go for it.”

Bell’s most unexpected and equally unorthodox “return” promises to have a significant impact on the “machine” storyline that has Peter fretting over his fate as well as that of this universe. As Torv notes, the late genius “has a lot of information that we don’t have, so he’s an awesome resource for the team. And for Walter to have someone to work with is another [advantage].” Or could it be a liability…?

And as one might imagine, Olivia’s “possession” puts a pin in her nascent romance with Peter. “Well, yeah,” Torv confirms with a laugh. “I don’t think Peter is going to want to go to bed with William Bell!”

In other words, it’s business as usual for that oft-interrupted relationship. “Every time they sort of get it together,” Torv says, “something gets in the way.”

The episode was also significant for first showing this universe’s version of Lincoln Lee. There are also plans to add a new female FBI agent. Next week returns to the alternate universe, and the hotter version of Olivia.

The first picture of Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman has been released. Another Friday Night Lights star, Minka Kelly, is seen below, with costars Annie Ilonzeh and Rachael Taylor, in the remake or Charlie’s Angels.

The final two episodes of V were among the best the show has aired. Of course there continued to be many holes in the plot, and they dragged some things out of nowhere to make it work. This included Anna having a new egg to quickly replace Lisa, suddenly finding out about project Aries, and Amy having the ability to bliss the entire earth. (Besides, wasn’t the Aries project from Life on Mars?)

If V returns for a third season there will be major differences after the season finale. Presumably the Aries project will replace the Fifth Column, which was never very believable as a force to fight the alien invaders, and at least three characters are dead. While it is not uncommon for characters to return for the dead, and the quick shots of characters post-death left open the possibility they might be saved by alien technology, I’ve seen a few interviews which make it clear they really are dead. V producer Scott Rosenbaum is also hoping for a chance to continue the storyline further:

That choice, to end V with a cliffhanger despite being very much on the bubble for a renewal, was made back in October. In the middle of production, ABC told Rosenbaum that the show’s order was being reduced to 10 episodes, leaving the writer-producer with little time to figure out how to finish up Season 2.

“We had been given an initial episode order of 13, so I had planned a 22-episode season,” Rosenbaum tells EW, referring to the usual “back 9″ pickup that most shows receive if they’re delivering strong ratings. “When they reduced the order, I had to make a decision. I didn’t feel like it was possible to wrap the show in that amount of time, so I said, ‘You know, I’m going to hope there’s another season, because I’ve pushed the story too far [and] it won’t make sense [to conclude it this soon]. I don’t feel like the audience will feel like we’ve earned those moments.’ So I’m going to keep my fingers crossed and leave it organically where I think the show should end after 10 episodes. I went with hope, and tried to make it feel like a satisfying conclusion.”

The result, Mother’s Day, features several character deaths and a guest appearance by Marc Singer, who starred in the 1980s original V mini-series.

Though some fans have been impatient for all-out war to break out between the Resistance and the Visitors, Rosenbaum says he’s always wanted at least one full season to properly set up the conflict — something the show never received (the first season was only 12 episodes). If he does get a third round, Rosenbaum promises to deliver fireworks. “What’s so interesting,” Rosenbaum says, “is I feel like the best of the show is ahead of itself.”

If  the show doesn’t return, this version of V will always be remembered for one line:  “Now that’s how you kill your mother.”

Syfy has renewed Being Human (US version) for a second season and the BBC has renewed Being Human for a fourth season. I haven’t watched either version yet. Anyone have any comments as to whether they are worth watching, and if so which is better?

SciFi Weekend: Fringe, Leonard Nimoy, V, The Cape, Matt Smith on Upcoming Season of Doctor Who, Nebula Award Nominees

Fringe returned to the period shortly after Peter was brought over from the alternate universe–a period all involved now seem to have forgotten except for Walternate. Peter was so desperate to return home that he tied a weight to his leg and returned to the lake where he first came to our universe, believing he came from a world under that frozen water. Walter’s wife Elizabeth showed strength in saving Peter. Unfortunately she couldn’t handle the continued lies to Peter (which he apparently began to believe) and later began drinking.

The episode contained the first meeting between Peter and Olivia along with Olivia crossing over as a child. This left the clue for Walternate to figure out what happened to Peter. Olivia went to tell Walter about the abuse she suffered from her stepfather. She began by speaking to a Walter sitting behind a desk but this was actually Walternate, with Walter turning out to be behind her upon her return to our universe. While over there, Olivia left a picture she had drawn of herself and Peter.

The previews foreshadowed something which has already been reported–Leonard Nimoy returning to Fringe to reprise his role as William Bell. Nimoy again confirmed this story in a tweet on February 25: “Coming to Fringe. William’s bell rings soon. LLAP.” (Nimoy typically ends his tweets with LLAP: Live Long and Prosper.) While William Bell was shown to have died, this wouldn’t be the first time Nimoy has played a character who has been brought back to life. Will William Bell be revived on the Genesis Planet?

There’s already been talk that V is going to end the season with a cliffhanger. Executive producer Scott Rosenbaum has stated in an interview that this could include some deaths of regular characters:

The executive producer of V has revealed that several main characters will be killed off in the second season finale.

Scott Rosenbaum told TV Guide that two or “possibly even three” series regulars will not return to the ABC series if it is renewed for a third run.

He explained that the departure of certain actors was related to “what would be most devastating for the characters [he wanted] to continue”.

“People are going to be shocked,” added series star Laura Vandervoort. “When we read the script there was initially shock, then sadness. [It’s like] seeing your son go off to college or [your] grandma passing.”

Rosenbaum confirmed that Elisabeth Mitchell (Erica Evans) and Morena Baccarin (Anna) will return to the series, leaving Vandervoort (Lisa), Scott Wolf (Chad), Logan Huffman (Tyler), Morris Chestnut (Ryan), Joel Gretsch (Father Jack) and Jane Badler (Diana) as potential candidates for the axe.

The Cape has even less of a chance than V of returning. The show did conclude a good two-part episode last week which was probably its best story to date. Summer Glau spent the episode unconscious but being promoted to imagine a drug-induced wedding scene. It is not clear if we can interpret her visions of Vince as confirming that Orwell loves him m or whether she just put a familiar face into her dream. In the same episode Vince has contact with Dana, but only as The Cape. I just cannot buy the contrived drama from Vince keeping his survival secret from his wife along with everyone else. The wedding also advanced the widely held assumption that Peter Fleming is Orwell’s father, and a mysterious door might reveal more about Orwell and her mother if they get this in before the shortened season ends.

Doctor Who Amy Pond Vincent and the Doctor

Den of Geek summarizes what Matt Smith has to say about the upcoming season of Doctor Who:

We’re around two months away from the return of Doctor Who to Saturday nights, and Matt Smith has been chatting to Radio 1 about just what we can expect.

Talking specifically about the character of River Song, Smith told the station, “What’s amazing about Steven [Moffat] is, he’s been plotting this since [River’s] very first episode. It’s all connected. He’s had this sort of three-year plan and it’s all unfolding.”

Even more intriguingly, he’s offered a tease about the two-parter that’s going to kick the new series off, where we find out more about The Silence.

“I think The Silence is going to be the scariest Who monster in a long time, definitely since the Angels. I think Steven’s written a killer monster there,” said Smith.

Smith also confirmed that we’ve got a sizeable cliffhanger to look forward to at the end of the seventh episode, then the show will take its mid-series break. “I think the Doctor and Amy are really faced with some quite cataclysmic choices,” he said.

Tonight during the Academy Awards, Inception has the best chance for a genre movie to win an Oscar. Inception is one of the movies up against an episode of Doctor Who, Vincent and the Doctor, for a Nebula Award. Here’s the full list of nominees for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America will present the awards on May 11.

The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

  • Despicable Me, Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud (directors), Ken Daurio & Cinco Paul (screenplay), Sergio Pablos (story) (Illumination Entertainment)
  • Doctor Who: ‘‘Vincent and the Doctor’’, Richard Curtis (writer), Jonny Campbell (director)
  • How to Train Your Dragon, Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders (directors), William Davies, Dean DeBlois, & Chris Sanders (screenplay) (DreamWorks Animation)
  • Inception, Christopher Nolan (director), Christopher Nolan (screenplay) (Warner)
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Edgar Wright (director), Michael Bacall & Edgar Wright (screenplay) (Universal)
  • Toy Story 3, Lee Unkrich (director), Michael Arndt (screenplay), John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, & Lee Unkrich (story) (Pixar/Disney)

Both of the excellent Thursday night genre comedies have now had recent guest appearances by LeVar Burton.  He appeared on Big Bang Theory this week following a recent appearance on Community. His appearance on Big Bang Theory was briefer than on Community, but provided the perfect ending for last week’s episode.

SciFi Weekend: The Romantic Triangle of Fringe; Cobie Smulders of SHIELD; Nolan and Sorkin Win Awards; V To End on Cliffhanger; And Daleks

On Fringe, Olivia expressed the belief that she had difficulty competing with Fauxlivia due to being less fun after having been experimented upon as a child. While Fauxlivia definitely is the hotter of Anna Torv’s characters, Olivia needs to understand that the real problem is that she has been pushing Peter away. I had even been rooting at times for Peter to get back with Fauxlivia, until we learned in this week’s episode that possibly only one universe will survive and it will be the one with the version of Oliva which Peter chooses. Actually I suspect the show will end up with both universes surviving, but it now does sound far too risky to root for Fauxlivia, regardless of how much hotter she is than Olivia.

A major component of the episode involved an excuse to bring in someone who could read minds so that they could read Peter’s thoughts. This led to the scene in the picture above where Olivia read that Peter still had feelings for Fauxlivia. The mind reader might have been more helpful if he also pointed out that Peter clearly also has feelings for Olivia.

Strange that Fringe, which is probably the top American science fiction show now on the air, has essentially turned into a gigantic love triangle.

In an interview with Jimmy Fallon,  Samuel L. Jackson revealed that there would be a female side kick for Nick Fury in the upcoming Joss Whedon Avengers movie. The latest rumor is that Cobie Smulders of How I Met Your Mother is the front runner for the role of SHIELD Agent Maria Hill.

Olivia Wilde is rumored to be in consideration to play Lois Lane in the Superman reboot.

Christopher Nolan and Aaron Sorkin won major awards last night at the Writers Guild Awards. Christopher Nolan won for best original screenplay with Inception and Aaron Sorkin won for best adapted screenplay with The Social Network.

Sorkin is currently working on a pilot for HBO which goes behind the scenes of a cable news show. Sorkin has shown interest in this type of show in Sports Night and Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. Going to a cable news show would allow him to include the type of politically-oriented stories he wrote for The West Wing which didn’t work as well when mixed into Studio 60.

Although it is far from certain that V will return next season, the season will reportedly end on a cliffhanger. This could turn out to be like the original series, which ended on a cliffhanger. By that time the series had gotten so bad that nobody really cared. The Cape also appears in trouble of not coming back, being reduced to only ten episodes. The return of The Event is being postponed until after The Cape concludes its brief run.

Community had another great genre-oriented episode involving a game of Dungeons and Dragons. The episode even included a shot with a picture of a Dalek on the table.

Ironically, this occurred the same week on which Jim Parsons, whose show The Big Bang Theory is on opposite Community, admitted in an interview with Craig Ferguson that he doesn’t watch Doctor Who (video above).

Last week I had a video of kids and Daleks. It appears that Steven Moffat is looking into this trend.

Here’s a must buy item. The Doctor Who Site reports that this Tardis mug is available for pre-order. For unexplained reasons it is available in the United States and Australia but not the U.K.

SciFi Weekend: Returning Shows; Diana on V; Torchwood; 24 Script Rejected

SyFy will be starting Season 3 of Merlin which already was broadcast on the BBC. The series started out seeming far different from the traditional King Arthur legends, but the second half of season two showed development of key characters (Arthur, Gwen, Morgana, and Mordrid) which led them in the direction of the previous stories.  A fourth season has also been announced.

SyFy is also  broadcasting the final five episodes of Caprica on Tuesday night. These episodes, which have already been broadcast in Canada and which are available on DVD, were surprisingly good. I’d suggest recording them and watching without commercials, making the total viewing time more suitable for one or two sittings. The episodes were good enough to keep interest for watching in one sitting. If only the series had  been this good earlier.

Here’s the return date of some selected shows which are returning this week:

Mon., Jan. 3
How I Met Your Mother (CBS), 8 p.m.
Rules of Engagement (CBS), 8:30 p.m.

Tue., Jan. 4
(SyFy), 6 p.m.
Parenthood (NBC), 10 p.m.
V (ABC), 9 p.m.

Wed., Jan. 5
Friday Night Lights (DirecTV 101), 9 p.m.
Modern Family (ABC), 9 p.m.

Thur., Jan. 6
The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 8 p.m.

Fri., Jan. 7
(Syfy), 10 p.m.

Jane Badler returns to V, but on this version Diana is not necessarily a villain. She was interviewed by Entertainment Weekly:

What was your initial reaction when the producers approached you about reprising the role?
Can I just tell you, when I heard that V was coming back, I could feel this huge swell just from my Facebook page that there was a lot of interest in it and my old character. I thought, that’s it, I’m coming back to the show! So I called my old agent, who told me I was ridiculous, that they weren’t going to be interested. And so that was that. Then I called the producer and met with him. Since then, the show got a new producer, so I did the same thing and met with him. But when this role came up, they weren’t thinking of me. Can you believe it? They called the character Diana as an homage to the original one, but it wasn’t the Diana. Crazy! Later, I got an email from my agent saying some person from Los Angeles wanted me to audition for the role of Diana and I went, what? That’s a hoax! How would anyone want me to audition? So I had to audition. And from what I hear, there were a lot of very well-known actresses who wanted the role, like big names, which is very flattering. But my audition was the best. So that’s how I got the role! It wasn’t, like, handed to me. Isn’t that kooky? So here I am with what I thought was going to be four episodes, and it turned into the whole season, which has been absolutely amazing. I’ve loved every minute of it. It’s been crazy to be back involved in it again.

How is your character re-introduced as Anna’s mom?
I think it’s a really powerful thing. It’s a whole Greek tragedy, mother-daughter. I was the queen before her. She imprisoned me. She put me in a dungeon, and everyone thinks that I am dead. And so she has become the new queen. Very early on, she comes to visit to me, so that’s when it is revealed that I am alive. It’s a whole power play – my different ways of ruling versus her ways of ruling. They make me out to be the more benevolent of the two. And perhaps I am, but I’m also the queen. That carries arrogance with it. It’s not just all nice. It also is revealed why I can’t leave the dungeon, which is all kind of exciting, too. There are lots of special effects.

Where is the dungeon?
I’m in the bowels of the ship. But in the hole where I live, they have recreated it like our planet. It’s like this extra -terrestrial terrain. It’s really cool.

Do you undermine Anna?
Yes. It does take a while but once people come to visit me by mistake, once people enter my lair…I can’t say what happens, but it’s huge last episode and hopefully viewers will flock to see the show because it will be amazing.

Torchwood won’t be returning until summer but a new synopsis of Torchwood: The New World has been released:

The new ten-part series of the Doctor Who spinoff will also see the return of regular Torchwood characters Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles).
Gwen will be shown living peacefully in Wales with husband Rhys (Kai Owen) and new baby Anwen when she encounters a “new, epic danger” that will “push [her] to the limit”.
Having left Earth at the conclusion of previous miniseries Children of Earth, Harkness will be drawn back to the Torchwood institute by “his unstated love for Gwen”.

24 might not be returning soon as the first movie script was rejected:

Fans of Jack Bauer who were hoping to get a big screen fix of their favorite anti-hero may be in for a long wait: EW has learned exclusively that 20th Century Fox has nixed a script from Billy Ray (State of Play) that would have continued the storyline of the rogue CTU agent from the long-running drama 24.

“As far as I know, it is in suspended animation,”  Howard Gordon, the longtime executive producer of 24 who is also expected to produce the big screen version, told EW exclusively. ”There is talk about re-approaching it. I understand (director/producer) Tony Scott is meeting with Kiefer to talk about ideas. People are still talking about it.”

Maybe they should have gone with the death scene for Jack Bauer which had been written for the finale.

SciFi Weekend: Bad Signs for Caprica and V; Doctor Who Christmas Special Fast-Tracked; Sherlock Premiers; Penny (Big Bang) Meets Dexter’s Frank Lundy; Torchwood Casting Rumors

Razor, a made for television movie prequel to Battlestar Galactica, included a Bill Odama who is older than the child in Caprica but younger than the one in the main series. SyFy had planned on developing an on-line series entitled Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome about Odama during the first Cylon War. They have now decided to order it to be made as an actual spin-off television show to air in 2011 or 2012.

While a decision on renewing Caprica isn’t due until early November, I take this as a bad sign, suspecting they are ordering this show as a replacement. This is all pure speculation, but I would think that the obvious time to  run a show on the first Cylon War would be after Caprica concludes, unless SyFy really thinks that two simultaneous Battlestar Galactica spin-offs would be successful.

I think they made a serious mistake with Caprica setting up so many cliff-hangers and then returning months later. The show returned with far too many plot lines, making it very difficult for any new viewers to get interested in the show. It isn’t even all that easy for returning viewers to remember all the details that went on before in each plot line. Fortunately some were wrapped up last week as Daniel Graystone regained control of his company and the number of characters to keep track of were reduced by some recent deaths.

Things don’t look any better for V than for Caprica to survive. The show was postponed until winter, and now has bee cut from thirteen to ten episodes. The show is still in production and can adjust the storyline based upon the reduced episodes. Hopefully they are writing a good conclusion for the series.

The BBC has decided to “fast track” the Doctor Who Christmas episode so that it will be seen in other markets within days after broadcasting on the BBC. The hope is that this will reduce the number of people who download the show, as commonly happens when there is a delay. I think that the only way to really prevent international fans from downloading episodes is to broadcast shows with large international followings such as Doctor Who the same day. The difference in time zones makes it especially easy for BBC shows to be available on line by prime time in the United States. As long as time permits me to watch, I intend to watch the episode on December 25.


Speaking of downloaded BBC shows, Sherlock began to air tonight in the United States. I will not review a show this soon after airing to avoid spoilers, but for those interested there is a review available here.The final season of Friday Night Lights also premiers this week on Dish Network, with NBC to air it next year.

Ausiello reports that Penny’s dad on Big Bang Theory will be played by Keith Carradine–Frank Lundy from Dexter. Ausiello also has some speculation on who will have roles in Torchwood. One possibility is that Enver Gjokaj from Dollhouse will get the role of FBI agent Rex Matheson.

SciFi Weekend: Finales For Lost, 24, Fringe, V, and FlashForward

It is a big week for television finales, especially with Lost concluding tonight and 24 concluding tomorrow night. The possibility of future movies might prevent a definitive ending to Jack’s story on 24 but we have been promised that everything will end tonight on Lost (with the exception of a few goodies being held back to help sell the DVD’s).

While Lost had a strong episode last week, it seems pointless to talk about it in depth when the conclusion is just a couple hours away. I suspect that the biggest mystery to be answered will be about the meaning of the two alternative time lines shown all season and how they play into the overall story of the main characters. We have learned a lot about the history of the island and the battle between Jacob and the Man in Black. Many points remain murky, and I bet most of them will be left that way.

The best season finale for a genre show so far has been with Fringe, which has improved tremendously from the first season. (Major spoilers ahead). Until the final moments it seemed that, at least for now, this story about the alternate world was concluded and it was not clear where they were heading for the third season.

The final moments answered that as we found that the alternative Olivia with the hotter hair style had replaced the Olivia of our universe. Seeing characters being replaced by others has been a common science fiction plot device, including Sydney Bristol’s room mate Fancie on Alias and even on Fringe with Olivia’s partner Charlie. It changes the show even more to have the main character being replaced by their evil twin–as if the Kirk of the mirror universe managed to pass as Kirk and remain. Now either Walter and Peter must figure this out on our side and return to free Olivia, and/or the Olivia from our universe must escape from solitary confinement and find a way to return–without William Bell’s help.

V ended the season with almost everyone taking a side. The conclusion with Anna experiencing human emotion and turning the sky red might force the rest of the planet to do the same. At very least it might get the Visitors to install better security on their ship.

The show has lost much of the appeal of the original series (at least early on) which used a Nazi allegory to have the Visitors gradually take over. Instead the producers of the remake decided to go with analogies to terrorism instead, but there was little meaningful to do with this. Rather than renewing V, I would have preferred that ABC had renewed FlashForward.

FlashForward has one episode to go and it is interesting to see many, but not all, of the characters falling into the positions they saw themselves in at the start of the season. Unfortunately while we should see what happens on that day the show will not have the time to address the questions it raised about those who caused the flash forward to occur.

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who, Canceled Series, The Fringe Alternative Universe, New Star Wars Rides, & RIP Frank Frazetta

BBC America concluded the two part Doctor Who story The Time of Angels and Flesh and Stone. This post will include major spoilers for the episodes which have now aired in the United States with some limited information on future episodes.

Steven Moffat used major components of two of his top stories from past years along with the crack in time from this season. The story began with River Song using an ingenious method to summon The Doctor to rescue her. The two episodes teased us with both the possibilities that River will wind up marrying The Doctor and/or that she winds up being imprisoned for killing him. At least this is the speculation after we found that she was in prison for killing “the best man she ever knew.” As the time lines of the two are crossing in different orders The Doctor does not know what to expect from her.

The episode also had the return of the Weeping Angels from Blink but they were quite different from the Angels in that story. The crack in time is shown to be able to rewrite time, most likely explaining why Amy did not recall the Daleks in Victory of the Daleks. The Angels suggest that The Doctor should know more about the crack in time, and it appears we might learn more when River Song next meets The Doctor when the Pandorica opens–which Prisoner Zero also mentioned earlier this season. This is presumably related to June 26–the wedding date on the alarm clock in Amy’s room and the date the episode is scheduled to air in the U.K.

It appears that the episode will be a major event with the climax of the crack in time story arc from this season. It is also possible that The Doctor goes back in time to the events of Flesh and Stone. At one point in the episode The Doctor is dressed and acts a little differently, raising suspicion it is a future version of him. Playing with time travel in such a manner would be the type of thing Steven Moffat is likely to come up with. There’s also been rumors that the episode will include the return of the younger version of Amelia Pond.

The episode ends with Amy having The Doctor return to earth where she makes a pass at him. This leads into the following two episodes which have aired on the BBC which both lead to Amy choosing between Rory and The Doctor.

There was a lot of news this week regarding the upcoming television season. V and Chuck were both renewed. FlashForward, as expected, was canceled. The show began strong and has been excellent in its closing episodes but did go through a weak mid-season stage when it turned into an overly complex FBI investigation instead of concentrating on the characters involved. Reportedly the final episode was edited so it won’t end with a cliff hanger but the story is not likely to be satisfactorily wrapped up. Originally the producers suggested that it would take two seasons to complete the story behind why the flash forward occurred.

Heroes was also canceled, also coming as no surprise. The show started out strong  first season but in subsequent seasons fell in both quality and ratings. There continues to be talk of a two hour show to conclude the series, which I think is a good idea. The last season ended with Claire revealing the existence of the heroes. Concluding this would provide a different story from past seasons (and hopefully one different from the X Men). I also suspect that many viewers who have abandoned the show after the first season would watch a two or four hour event to definitively conclude the story.

Added to Dollhouse , 24, and Lost this means a large number of genre shows are not returning.  However there are many new ones planned. IO9 presents a run down of seven new genre shows including The Cape staring Summer Glau.

During my reviews of Fringe last year I had mixed feelings about the show. I am certainly happy I stuck with it. An excellent season is ending extremely strong with a two part episode in the alternative universe. This will also probably be the last we see of Leonard Nimoy who says he is retiring and will not return to Fringe or the Star Trek movies. Of course we’ve seen many actors say this but get lured back. Nimoy has also said that when J.J. Abrams calls he does answer the phone.

We know that disastrous things may happen as a result of contact between the two universes but I cannot help but be intrigued by the alternative universe. So far we learned earlier in the season that they had digital cell phones years before us. This week we found that the alternative Olivia is hotter than ours, Peter’s parents appear more sane, and that The West Wing remains on television. On the other hand, the Fringe unit seems paramilitary and I fear we will find other unpleasant things about that universe.

Also this week we learned much more about Jacob and his brother on Lost but the island still feels like a big mystery regardless of how many answers we receive. has pictures of this years Star Trek themed ornaments from Hallmark, including the above which is the first based upon the 2009 movie. Other ornaments include a scene of Kirk and Spock fighting from Amok Time.

Walt Disney World and Disneyland will be having their last trips to the planet Endor as the Star Wars rides are reimagined. The new Star Tours will be a 3-D ride with a  high-speed pod race on Tatooine. It is expected to re-open at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland in May 2011.

The sad news of the week is that legendary comic and pulp fiction artist Frank Frazetta died at age 82.