SciFi Weekend: Caprica Returning Next Month; Awards for Doctor Who; New Use For The Tardis; Best Television Episodes Ever Aired; No More Heroes; Replacing Michael Scott

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.”

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.

TrekMovie.com 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.

Television Decisions Announced Including V Renewed and FlashForward Canceled

ABC announced some of their programing decisions for next season. V has been renewed but (as anticipated) FlashForward was canceled. If I had to choose between the two science fiction shows I would have chosen FlashForward. Unfortunately the plot probably got too complicated for mass audiences. The show also had problems mid-season and by the time excellent episodes aired later in the season too much of the audience was lost. At least they are going to edit the final episode so that the series doesn’t end on a cliff hanger.

Among comedies Scrubs was canceled a year after it should have ended. While I agree with that decision, I wish they had renewed Better Off Ted, which had become one of the better sit-coms currently on television.

NBC renewed Chuck with no decision on Heroes. I have seen speculation that Heroes might make it back for a short season to wrap things up. This might be as brief as a two or four hour movie.

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who and Short Skirts; Capria and Another BSG Spinoff; Lost; Star Trek Meets Zombies

Doctor Who begins on BBC America on April 17. A trailer for the upcoming season is above.

Above is a BBC interview with the new Doctor, Matt Smith.

Blogator Who has a BBC Breakfast interview with new show runner Steven Moffatt. Karen Gillan, who will play the Doctor’s new companion, told The Observer (via IO9) that her character Amy likes to wear short skirts:

Amy’s a sassy lady, funny and passionate, and her relationship with the doctor has a really interesting dynamic… She has a love for him, a really deep love for him. But not romantic. It’s been an education in itself to work with Matt, who’s so endlessly inventive, bringing something new to it every day rather than falling into the easy default scared-face. That’s one of the challenges; you’re faced with life-threatening situations every episode, but you can’t just widen your eyes all the time. Yes, this doctor is preeeetty good. As, I’ve said, is Amy, and she gets to wear all these small skirts, which I will admit was very cold, but also very cool. They originally wanted to put me in trousers, but I did say I’d like to wear a skirt because – you’ll understand when you watch it. Actually I think I love Amy. I’m in love with her. I want to be her.

I imagine the short skirts have something to do with her work as a kissogram.

Caprica had another excellent episode this week involving searches for the cyberspace survivors of the dead daughters from each of the key families of the series. The show worked well with the contrast between the more cerebral cat and mouse game played by Graystone with the more adventurous journey by Adama in New Cap City.  With this Battlestar Galactica prequel being a success we might see more. From The Hollywood Reporter:

Syfy also is looking to continue its popular “Battlestar” franchise.

When asked about the chances of its modestly performing spinoff “Caprica” getting a renewal, Stern was bullish. He pointed to the show recently hitting a series high in the adult demographic using Live+7 ratings, drawing 1.6 million viewers and 913,000 adults 18-49.

“We have a lot of hope for that show,” Stern said. “The (DVR data) has been very promising and growing week after week. The ratings don’t reflect the potential audience.”

The network also is looking to order another “Battlestar”-related project. Details were slim, but Stern said the title would mark a return to the franchise’s space-opera roots.

“We’re looking for other ways to spin off ‘Battlestar’ beyond ‘Caprica,’” he said. “That world is so rich. We’re sitting down with (executive producer) Ron Moore and his team. It would not necessarily be a traditional series.”

There is speculation that such a show would concentrate on the first Cylon War. While the stories are all fantasy, Script PhD has an interview with Professor Malcolm MacIver of Northwestern who has consulted on Tron and Caprica discussing the science behind the show.

In other genre shows this week, Lost looked at Sawyer’s past in the alternate reality. When the bomb went off the initial thought was that if this worked everyone would be in the position they would be in if the plane never crashed. Instead it turns out that Jacob and perhaps others from the island were influencing them for years. With the island not around, there lives have been different in the other reality for many years.  It is not clear if this is sufficient to explain it or if there is something else about this reality we do not yet know, but Sawyer’s life is considerably different. Rather than turning to a life of crime he would be being a police officer. The connections between different characters continues as Miles was his partner and he even hooked up with Charlotte.

Flash Forward returned with a two hour episode which gave some explanations but had very low ratings, making renewal appear unlikely.

Warner Brothers is claiming that everything is fine after they no longer have the Harry Potter franchise:

And at today’s Showest presentation, WB head honcho Alan Horn confirmed the news.  I forget exactly what he said on stage, but it’s essentially what I heard: DC Superheroes are coming and they’d replace Harry Potter.

The thing you need to realize is under Alan Horn, Warner Bros. instituted a tent pole release strategy which calls for a few event films to be made every year.  For the last decade, Harry Potter has been used to fill the release calendar and now that the franchise is ending after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the studio needs  need blood to take it’s place and a new way of earning the huge money that only tent pole releases can generate.

Enter DC Superheroes.

While nothing is officially on the calendar yet, I’ve heard in 2012 we’re getting not only a new Batman movie…but The Flash!  I’ve heard the studio is currently talking to directors and they’ll announce who it is when they’ve found the right choice.

Again, The Flash isn’t confirmed, but I’m telling you, it’s the next new superhero movie at Warner Bros. and we’re going to hear about it soon.

As a comic book movie junkie, I am beyond excited WB is finally getting into the game with their unbelievable library of characters.

This will provide for a number of movie ideas, but I wonder how many will have the wide spread appeal of the Harry Potter movies.

And, finally, Geeks of Doom reports that Star Trek meets Zombies:

Quirk Books is adding a new zombie tale to their collection with Night of the Living Trekkies, a novel by Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall which sees Trekkies at a convention meet the undead!

The publisher, which is known for its literary monster mash-ups like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, hails the book as the “strange lovechild of Galaxy Quest and Dawn of the Dead.”

When hordes of the undead come to feast upon the attendees at a Star Trek convention, a group of Trekkies fight for their lives using everything they’ve learned from old Star Trek episodes.

More detail is also provided:

This sci-fi/zombie/comedy/adventure follows a group of rag-tag Trekkies getting together for the fifth annual GulfCon (billed as the “largest Starfleet Convention in the western Gulf Coast region”).

Our heroes are dressed in homemade uniforms and armed with prop phasers-but soon find themselves defending their hotel and convention center against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Suddenly, all of their useless knowledge about particle physics and old Star Trek episodes has genuine real-world applications! And while hotel employees and regular civilians are dying left and right, our Trekkies summon strength and courage by emulating their favorite starship-voyaging characters.

Packed with hundreds of gags referencing Star Trek, Star Wars, comic books, and fan conventions, Night of the Living Trekkies reads like the strange lovechild of Galaxy Quest and Dawn of the Dead. Journey to the final frontier of zombie science-fiction satire!

SciFi Weekend: Lost Premiere; Heroes Finale; Neil Gaiman Writing For Doctor Who; Julie Benz Remains on Wisteria Lane

LA X, the season premiere of Lost, gave two answers for what happened after the bomb went off. The show first showed a scene aboard Oceanic Flight 815 in which the plane did not crash on the island. The real surprise here was that more changed than just the fate of the characters we have been following. The entire island was under water.

Rather than alternating between present and flashbacks, the show alternated with views of one reality in which the plane did not crash and another in which the explosion threw everyone from the past to 2007 after the hatch was blown up. It is not clear why an explosion would do this as opposed to either changing the time line or killing everyone, but this is Lost.

In what might be another key scene, Juliet had some last words: “It worked.” I take this to mean that the other time line is equally real as the one on the island but wonder how Juliet would know this. If it was Desmond I would have an easier time seeing how a character would be seeing two different realities.  As we’ve often seen the dead interacting with the living, perhaps being near death is what allowed Juliet to see both realities.

The episode reveals more about the smoke monster, showing it is also the Man in Black. Questions remain as to his actual role and relationship to Jacob. I’ve seen reports that his actual nemesis is someone other than Jacob (who did not really seem to object to getting killed). The scene at the temple also revealed what happened to some of the passengers from Oceanic 815 who have not been seen in quite a while.

In the other reality we are reminded that, despite their eagerness to return home, many of the passengers were better off on the island. Jack’s life is still a mess, and now there’s the added complication that his father’s body is missing. I suspect that means he is still alive. Kate is on the run from the law (and reportedly Sawyer is a cop). Rose presumably still has cancer. Locke cannot walk, but perhaps he will take up Jack’s offer and be cured. One major difference is with Hugo who describes himself as the world’s luckiest man in this reality. TV Overmind has posted the above picture which also shows that Hugo had played a different set of numbers when he won the lottery. This returns to the question of the significance of the numbers. Perhaps Hurley’s luck all depended upon which numbers were played.

With the island under water people will be in different places in this reality. We already saw that Desmond is somehow still connected to the other passengers. With no hatch for him to be busy pushing the button in he wound up as another passenger on Oceanic 815. There’s no indication as to whether he is involved with Penny in this reality. Ben would be entirely different if he hadn’t lived on the island. Elizabeth Mitchell has a new show to keep her busy, but there are reports she will return as Juliet later in the season. It is not clear how she would interact with characters that in this reality she would not know (unless the two realities are merging together by then).

Tomorrow night is the season finale of Heroes. There has been talk that NBC plans to end the series but reportedly the episode was not written to be a series finale in the hopes that the series would be renewed.  I sure hope that they don’t end with a cliff hanger if the show is not returning. Masi Oka  told Fancast that possibly the episode could have been edited to be a series finale:

“They could probably edit it [to provide closure],” Masi Oka told me. “But whatever the case, I really hope that we get an opportunity to at least give the show a proper ending in one way or another. We want to pay respect to the fans who have been with us since Day 1.”

Neil Gaiman has verifed rumors that he is writing an episode of Doctor Who but it won’t be appearing until the second season under Steven Moffatt.  SFX reports:

In a special message sent to the SFX Weekender in his acceptance speech for winning Best Comic at the SFX Awards, Neil Gaiman has confirmed that he is writing an episode for the second Matt Smith season of Doctor Who.

Although not present personally, Neil Gaiman sent the following message:

“Over the years SFX, and its readers and their votes in the polls, have always been very kind to me. I thought I’d return the favour with what used to be called, in journalistic circles when I was a boy, a scoop.

As anyone who’s read my blog knows, I’m a big fan of a certain long-running British SF TV series. One that started watching — from behind the sofa — when I was three. And while I know it’s cruel to make you wait for things, in about 14 months from now, which is to say, NOT in the upcoming season but early in the one after that, it’s quite possible that I might have written an episode. And if I had, it would originally have been called “The House of Nothing”. But it definitely isn’t called that any more.

Countdown. You’ve got about 14 months.”

Julie Benz was originally signed to appear on three episodes of Desperate Housewives after she concluded her role on Dexter. TV Squad reports that her character was so well-received that she will be remaining longer. Their post gives some spoilers as to upcoming story lines.

SciFi Weekend: Game Changes For Dollhouse, Dexter, Californication, and Doctor Who

There have been several episodes of genre shows which have been real game changers–in some cases providing season finales and in other cases setting up for finales for a show or a character. Beware, this edition of SciFi Weekend is packed with major spoilers if you still plan to watch any of these.

Dollhouse has been a far stronger show since it has been working towards a  conclusion–but I sure wish the show had been given more time. Stop-Loss, the first of Friday’s tw0 episodes, provide more background on Victor’s past. At first it seemed to answer the question of whether people are free after their five year contract ends but it turned out that Victor was not really free of Rossum. Although free of the Dollhouse, he wound up turned into a member of an almost B0rg-like army with joined minds

We also we saw more of Echo’s growing strength as she has learned to maintain her memories after having them wiped. The episode ended with Adelle sending her to The Attic–setting up the second episode. We moved from a Borg-like army in the first episode to minds joined in a computer from around the world reminiscent of The Matrix. At first I questioned the value of this episode with so few left, but the pay-off ultimately turned out to be far greater than expected. In the end we learned that Echo was sent to the Attic not because Adelle feared her but because Adelle knew that Echo was the one person who could make it back out of the Attic, where she believed Rossum’s biggest secrets were hidden.

Rossum turned out to be even more evil than we ever suspected. Not only have they been seeking to expand their wealth and power, they have been doing so despite finding that the apocalypse seen in Epitaph One was probably inevitable once they began using mind-wiping technology. At the end of the episode, rather than seeing Adelle as giving in to Rossum’s evil, we now have a united group determined to fight Rossum. Knowing what will occur from Epitaph One it appears they are doomed to failure, unless we were misled by the episode. Joss Whedon has hinted that the memories revived in the episode might not be accurate. It is far from clear where those memories do fit into the time line of the regular episodes, with some events presumably already having occurred.

Until the final few minutes of the season finale, Dexter appeared to be ending the season with Dexter prepared to give up killing, realizing this was the only way to preserve his married life. It was too late, with an ending I have been expecting for several weeks. Several episodes suggested that married life would not work for Dexter, and we had  hints of such a shocking ending from stars of the show.

Rita’s death raises may questions for the next season as there are risks that the death could raise suspicions about Dexter, especially if his connection to Trinity should be revealed. Batista had walked by Dexter and Arthur when Arthur came to track down Dexter at the police station. By itself this would not be much of a problem as Dexter could develop a story which suggests that Arthur had been stalking Dexter and Rita to prepare for the kill with Dexter having no idea that he was the Trinity killer. However, if Batista should recall the meeting and the other connections between the two come out, this would be far harder to explain.

The biggest risk to Dexter comes from Arthur’s family. One scenario is that they see news coverage of Dexter as the husband of the latest killer and mention that they (along with Arthur) knew Dexter under another name. There are easy solutions to this also, ranging from them never seeing a picture of Dexter to having Dexter convince them that he was helping them both get rid of Arthur and recovering his money. Under these circumstances they might agree to keep quiet.

The other question of the season was how much Debra would figure out, especially considering that in the books she did find out that Dexter was a killer. The season ended with her finding out the truth about Dexter’s parents, and perhaps she’ll learn even more about her half-brother.

I assume we had the scene where the FBI took over the case so that there would be a reason why Debra (and now Dexter) would not be devoting their time to searching for Arthur. Dexter can’t very well tell anyone that there is no reason to search for Arthur because he killed him. Dexter will have to act as if he believes that the killer of his wife is still at large (assuming he doesn’t alter the circumstances of Rita’s death to remove the connection to the Trinity killer).

It has been revealed in interviews posted after the episode aired that Dexter will be a single father. We don’t know if that means to just his own son or also to Cody and Astor. The show could give clear answers to the questions above, or brush them aside by jumping ahead in time. We don’t know for sure how Dexter will react to finding Rita’s body, but there is no doubt that this will make him even more motivated to kill serial killers (if not others).

Showtime had a second series last Sunday with a season ending cliff hanger which will increase interest in the upcoming season. Agent Mulder has been spending the last few years as a sex-addict on Californication. Most of this season was weak, but what really matters is the long term arc with his family, and Mia. Madeline Zima, who was unseen most of the season as she had role on Heroes, returned for the finale. Just as it appeared that Hank was finally going to have a chance to live happily ever after with Karen, everything fell apart.

To a certain degree I feel sorry for Hank. Karen knows that when the two were apart he would sleep around almost indiscriminately. She knows that he spent the time before she returned with all three main female characters of the season. At the time Hank slept with Mia after meeting her in a book store, Hank really did not know that Mia was both jail bait and the daughter of Karen’s previous fiance. Knowing what she already knows about Hank, it really isn’t fair to get so mad at him for what happened with Mia.  Of course Hank might not be in this situation at all if he had not slugged Mia’s boyfriend, precipitating his call to the police.

Hank is at his lowest point as the episode ended, but it is actually easy to see him recovering. I doubt he will remain in jail for either the fight or having once slept with Mia, and he now has a chance to be recognized as the true author of the book which Mia stole. It will be harder to patch things up with Karen, but it wasn’t realistic to think the two would remain together without further problems.

I initially did not want to say very much about The Waters of Mars when it first aired until its airing in the United States on BBC America. The key aspect of the show which I previously avoided discussing was how The Doctor, contrary to how he has acted in the past, decided to change history. This has been handled inconsistently in the past, but the show has established that there are some things which cannot be changed, even if the rational for this is questionable.

The Doctor knew when he arrived on the Mars base that everyone would die and this fell in the class of events which should not be changed. He realized that with the rest of the Time Lords dead, he no longer had anyone to answer to. He decided to save the lives of a few people and he proclaimed himself the “Time Lord Victorious.” An Ood appeared, he heard the sound of the Cloister Bell, and he realized that he had gone too far. It was now approaching time to for The Doctor to die (and to regenerate). This sets up the final two-part episode with David Tennant as the tenth doctor, The End of Time. In this preview, we also see that John Sims returns as The Master:

FlashForward ended the fall run with several twists.  In order to make it easier for new people to pick up the series, they are releasing the episodes aired so far on DVD on February 23, 2010. This will give people time to watch the full series in time for its resumption in March.

Avatar was the latest genre release to create controversy with several blogs discussing its alleged racism and  I09‘s plea to for white people to stop making movies like Avatar. Lawyers, Guns, and Money also argues that the movie is racist.

SciFi Weekend: Excellent Episodes for Dollhouse, FlashForward, Glee and Friday Night Lights

Friday’s two episodes of Dollhouse were well worth the wait. (Spoilers included here). The show  became far more political, dealing with a plot by Rossum to both control a Senator and exonerate themselves from the charges against them by those who have a little knowledge of the doll houses. It worked out particularly well to air these two episodes the same night as they presented a coherent two hour story.

The big twist of the show was that Senator Daniel Perrin was a doll to further Rossum’s goals as opposed to really trying to expose them. There were suggestions that his wife was a doll but she seemed far too much in control for me to buy that. I suspected that the twist would be that she was a human planted by Rossum instead of a doll, but in retrospect her scenes with the Senator did point to him being a doll.

Perrin ultimately faced the same type of choice as Sierra and chose to allow Rossum to reprogram him. Apparently the knowledge that his past success was a fake and his role in the death of his wife were too much for him to take.

The portions with Summer Glau turned out to be far less impressive than many other portions of the episodes. Apparently Caroline was responsible for an injury to her arm in her days as an ec0-terrorist before her mind was wiped. This bit of Caroline’s back story didn’t seem very meaningful unless they are going to do more with this. Meanwhile Echo appears to be realizing that if Caroline returns her identity is gone.

Other positive aspects of the episodes included Ballard’s interaction with the real Madeline, who doesn’t seem that grateful to Ballard for her release (if she truly has been released). The best acting job was by Enver Gjokaj (Victor) who was imprinted with Topher’s memories and did an amazing imitation of him.

Unfortunately the ratings were not very impressive, and I wonder if they would have been even worse if not for the guest appearance by Summer Glau. Perhaps the show would be doing better if it was not hidden on a Friday night, and if we had similar quality from the start.

Creative interference from Fox has been blamed for the lower quality of the earlier shows.  It has been widely believed that the dispute was based upon Fox wanting more stand alone shows of Echo’s weekly adventures but in an interview in the Chicago Tribune Joss Whedon described the disputes as being more over sex:

“The problems that the show encountered weren’t standalone versus mythology [episodes],” Whedon said. “Basically, the show didn’t really get off the ground because the network pretty much wanted to back away from the concept five minutes after they bought it. And then ultimately, the show itself is also kind of odd and difficult to market. I actually think they did a good job, but it’s just not a slam-dunk concept.”

Midway through its first season, “Dollhouse” hit upon a espionage-thriller format that seemed to be a better fit than the standalone, engagement-oriented episodes that aired early in the show’s run. But Whedon said he always wanted look more closely at the desires and fantasy lives of the Dollhouse’s clients. Even into the show’s second season, however, that idea made Fox “twitchy,” according to Whedon.

Part of the show was going to be about “what we get from each other in our most intimate relationships, be they sexual” or whatever else, Whedon said. But “the interest in the client kind of moved away.”

“When you’re dealing with fantasies, particularly sexual ones, you’re going off the reservation,” Whedon said. “You’re not going to be doing things that are perfectly correct. It’s supposed to be about the sides of us that we don’t want people to see…. The idea of sexuality was a big part of the show when it started and when that fell out, when the show turned into a thriller every week, it took something out of it that was kind of basic to what we were trying to do.”

“We got the espionage that the network wants, but it’s the questions about identity that we want,” he noted. “There are other things about the show that never came back, and I didn’t really realize it until the second season — [there were] things that we were ultimately sort of dancing around…. We always found ourselves sort of moving away from what had been part of the original spark of the show and that ultimately just makes it really hard to write these stories.”

I told him I had trouble wrapping my head around the idea that Fox wanted less sex.

“This is the thing that caught me off guard,” he replied. “First of all, network television has taken great treads backwards in terms of dealing with sexuality or the body or anything. I mean, now on cable everybody is prancing about naked and whatnot. On the networks, it’s gotten different since I was last making TV.

“Fox sort of has that reputation for ‘sexy’ or ‘edgy’ or blah blah blah, but they don’t actually want that and it frustrates me,” he continued. “It’s the classic American double standard: torture — great. Sex — oh, that’s so bad!”

Whedon was careful to point out that he could understand the wariness of both the network and the viewers. After all, the dolls, including Echo (Eliza Dushku), aren’t exactly in a position to give what we think of as informed consent to specific engagements (which can range from bank heists to marriage to the kind of heartbreaking exploitation seen in the recent, wonderfully written episode “Belonging”).

“People responded to [‘Dollhouse’ by saying], ‘This is trafficking. This is sex for money.’ It wasn’t just sex,” Whedon said. Part of the problem was “the other implications of what was originally supposed to be somewhat more of a fantasy. The real-world version of [this kind of activity] was I think what made the network really twitchy and I can’t really fault them for that. I just thought when I went in and pitched it …you know, it frightened me too [but I thought] we all got that that was what we were doing.”

The article suggests dissatisfaction on Whedon’s part with the broadcast networks. I’ve suggested in the past that Dollhouse would have been a better fit for HBO or Showtime where the sexual content wouldn’t have been a problem and many of the scenes could have been more explicit.

The article includes further information on the final episodes. Alpha returns next week. Amy Acker will be returning to the January 8 and January 15 episodes. The finale, Epitaph Two: Return, airs on January 22 and returns to the apocalyptic future seen in Epitaph One.

flashforward_091203

Dollhouse had poor ratings after returning form its hiatus, and I hope that going on hiatus does not harm shows such as FlashForward and V.  The final episode of FlashForward until March at least partially answered some questions but far bigger ones were raised. We were teased about the possibility that the future was not definite by Zoey’s vision of Demetri at their wedding. Now that we know that the future is not set (and even a suggestion of multiple possible futures was raised) we found that Zoey’s vision was not of their wedding but of Demetri’s memorial service.

Lloyd has confessed to his actions which might have led to the flash forwards over Simon’s objections. This confession led to Lloyd’s kidnapping. Seeing Simon’s surprise over the photographs of his design, especially as they predated his work, leads me to believe Simon that they were not really the cause.

I’m not sure what to make of Nhadra Udaya or her statement that Demitri was murdered by Mark. Do actions such as Mark getting thrown out of the FBI and Lloyd’s kidnapping totally change the future as seen in the flash forwards or are these steps which lead to the conditions shown?

heroes_091201

The other major event on genre shows this week was Nathan’s death on Heroes. I had a separate post last week on the news that John Borrowman has confirmed he will be returning to Torchwood for a full thirteen episode season. Beyond genre shows, Glee and Friday Night Lights each had one of their better episodes of the season. This week’s episode of Glee sets up the fall finale, with the show also going on a hiatus.

I don’t want to say much about Friday Night Lights as many might not be viewing it until NBC airs the season this winter. As there has already been articles on this, I will mention that the events of the episode (which I will not reveal) give a reason for Lila (Minka Kelly) to return. She did not have much contact with Tim Riggins yet but I suspect she will create further complications for Riggins, who is currently involved with both a mother and daughter. The mother is played by Alecia Witt. Somehow I have difficulty thinking that Alecia Witt is now playing the other character rather than daughter, and have visions of Zoey, her character on Cybill, mocking the Texas town and the beauty pageant scene the daughter is into.

Scrubs returned with two episodes lat week as they attempt to transition to a new cast. Zach Braff will only be appearing in six episodes and I wonder if they wouldn’t have been better off allowing the show to come to a dignified end last season. At least it wasn’t as bad as the final season of Seventh Heaven after they tried to return the show for an additional year with a reduced cast.

Tonight’s Television

What a relief. The remake of The Prisoner is over. Now I can catch up on Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars, Monday’s episode of Heroes, and then later watch Glee.

Update: The Waters of Mars was fantastic. Sadly it leads us towards The End of Time and the end of David Tennant’s run as The Doctor, but I also anticipate great things from Matt Smith with Steven Moffatt becoming show runner after The Doctor’s next regeneration.

Update II: In the past twenty-four hours I have watched Doctor Who and The Prisoner. I also bought a copy of the Star Trek movie. Ignoring the fact that there was no Blu-ray back then, I feel like I’m back in the 1960’s. I never would have guessed around 40 years ago that I’d be watching the same shows now which were showing back then. While more recent, in the past day I’ve also watched V.

SciFi Weekend: We Are At Peace, Always; Changing Fate; Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars; Wolowitz in Bath Tub With Katee Sackhoff; Lost Final Season

V premiered with terrific ratings and mixed reviews. Being a remake of an old series gives it an advantage in already having people interested in the show. This is also a disadvantage as many viewers already know the surprises which were developed in the original. The show would be more effective if the fact that the aliens are evil was gradually revealed but this could not be done when this is known from the original. Even without revealing this it should have raised suspicions when the alien leader repeatedly told humans that we are at peace–always. In repeating this she almost seemed to be attempting a Jedi mind trick to influence the listeners (as in “these are not the Droids you are looking for”).

By the end of the first episode we knew the Visitors were plotting the destruction of the human race, that they are really lizards who hid their appearance with genetically engineered human skin, and the broad outlines of the series. The original series used allusions to a Nazi take over and World War II. The new series has been updated to be based more on the war on terror.

The Visitors in the new series continue to be lizards disguised as humans. The two series differ as the Visitors had non-human sounding voices in the original but now look and sound completely human (unless one cuts through their skin to reveal the reptilian skin). This allowed advance sleeper cells to be set up on Earth prior to the public arrival.

One of the most monumental periods in the history of the planet is shown through the eyes of a small handful of people which the show is centered around.  FBI agent Erica Evans, played by Elizabeth Mitchell of Lost, spent a large portion of the show tracking down a terrorist sleeper cell. Initially I was questioning why they devoted so much time to what appeared to be her usual FBI duties as opposed to the arrival of the aliens but ultimately the connection between the sleeper cell and the aliens became clear.

The aliens set up a group of Peace Ambassadors and utilized their ability to not only appear human but appear as extremely attractive humans to enhance recruitment. It did feel contrived to find that not only was Erica’s son recruited but that the attractive blond recruiter was especially interested in recruiting him. His significance to the show is that he is the son of the main character–not something which the aliens would mean anything to characters within the show.

The Bush administration had Fox to willingly provide favorable news. The Visitors were concerned about favorable news coverage and convinced a television journalist to avoid asking any questions which might place them in a bad light in return for the fame of being granted exclusive interviews. The episode also revealed that the Visitors who had been hiding on earth had infiltrated the government and were responsible for current turmoil, such as starting unnecessary wars.  I’m surprised that they hadn’t also concentrated on infiltrating the news media to guarantee the presence of reporters who would always provide positive coverage.

The question is what they will do with the series now that the premise has been laid out. The initial mini-series was excellent but the subsequent television series couldn’t maintain the quality. There are already signs of possible trouble in sustaining this series such as reports of already changing the show runner. The show will need to establish itself quickly as ABC is airing only four episodes and then showing the remaining nine later in the season.

The pilot of the new series along with episodes of the original series are available for viewing on line here.

Flash Forward The Gift

Previous episodes of FlashForward have teased viewers with the possibility of seeing events take place which differ from those in the flash forwards of the major characters. In the original novel it was shown that the future could be changed but we did not know for sure if the same rules applied on the television show.

This week’s episode, The Gift, finally made it clear that the future can be changed. A character jumped to his death in order to prevent a tragedy he discovered he will cause in his flash forward. (It is amazing that for so many characters the moment of their flash forward is at a major point in their life).

The discovery that the future can be changed  has a profound effect on some of the characters who had been acting as if they were inevitably heading towards the situation in their flash forward. Rather than being shown an inevitable future, it is increasingly likely that knowledge of the future will change the behavior of some characters to attempt to give themselves a different future. Now Dimitri can work to prevent his murder, and perhaps it really is Dimitri in Zoey’s flash forward of a wedding on the beach. Last week it appeared that Mark and Olivia were acting to make their visions of the breakdown of their marriage come true. Now they have motivation to really work to save their marriage, knowing it is possible.

The most frustrating aspect of the episode to me was seeing Mark and Olivia at home with Charlie. All I could think of while seeing them all together is to wonder why Mark doesn’t simply ask her what she knows to make her say that “D. Gibbons is a bad man.”

Aaron’s daughter had a prominent role in this episode as we learned more about how she was apparently killed. Rather than finding her at the time of the flash forward, Aaron returned home to find his daughter alive at the end of the episode. This appears to be a second situation where things are playing out different than in the flash forward.

A trailer has been released for the next Doctor Who special, The Waters of Mars (video above). This will first air on the BBC on November 15 and December 19 on BBC America. Blogator Who has posted a synopsis of the episode:

Starring David Tennant as The Doctor and guest starring acclaimed British actress Lindsay Duncan – best known for her roles across stage and screen (Margaret, Lost in Austen) – The Waters Of Mars is set to be one of the most terrifying episodes of the series to date.

Lindsay Duncan stars as Adelaide – the Doctor’s cleverest and most strong-minded companion yet.

She and The Doctor face terror on the Red Planet as they battle against a mysterious alien living within the terrarium of life on Mars’ surface which infects its victims using a water compound it creates.

Neighbours, Flying Doctors and Casualty star Peter O’Brien also guest stars as Ed, Adelaide’s second-in-command at the base

According to The Hollywood Reporter, David Tennant might be seen more by US audiences after he concludes his role as The Doctor. Tennant has been cast in the title role of a pilot for NBC entitled Rex Is Not Your Lawyer.

Written by Andrew Leeds and David Lampson, “Rex” centers on Rex Alexander (Tennant), a top Chicago litigator who begins suffering panic attacks and takes up coaching clients to represent themselves in court.

David Semel, who directed the pilots for “Heroes” and “Life,” has come on board to helm the comedic legal drama from Universal Media Studios and BermanBraun.

Kateee Sackhoff Big Bang

A picture has been released of Katee Sackhoff’s upcoming appearance on the November 23 episode of The Big Bang Theory.

“The story is about how Wolowitz has this wonderful woman in his life” after a double-date with Leonard and Penny and one of her co-workers from the Cheesecake Factory, Lorre says. “But he can’t recognize what’s right in front of him because he’s mesmerized by fantasies about women from sci-fi. The scene is his mental image of Katee, but she’s telling him the truth, that he’s missing out on real life.”

For her part, Sackhoff enjoyed the rub-a-dub-dub so much that she says she hopes it leads to a recurring role as “Wolowitz’s Number Six” (a Battlestar reference), returning from time to time in his imagination to offer advice – for instance, disabusing him of the notion that he’s a ladies’ man.

Lorre says he could get on board with that idea. “That would be terrific – she could definitely be Number Six in Wolowitz’s head – his muse, the magnificent woman who tells him the truth. We should all have a conscience that looks like Katee Sackhoff.”

Sackhoff’s guest appearance follows previous guest spots by Summer Glau and more recently Wil Wheaton. Wheaton revealed on his blog that he his voice was used in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movie.

Katee Sackhoff will have a role in the upcoming season of 24.  Gregory Itzin will also be returning next season in his role of former President Charles Logan.

425.holloway.lilly.mitchell.fox.012709

E! Online interviewed Damon Lindelof about the final season of Lost:

For those fans of Lost who are invested in the romance on the show, will there be anything for them this year, or is this primarily a mythology season?
That’s an excellent question. Our focus remains where it’s always been: on the characters. And there are significant and emotional bonds, from both the friendship and the romantic angle, that we would be remiss in not exploring; we probably won’t be exploring them in the way that you think. That’s my official answer.

All right, last night you tweeted about this event, and you said that you would address the numbers question.
Oh, well that was just to get people here. [Laughs.]

Are we going to get an answer on the numbers this season?
When someone asks what the numbers mean or are you going to answer the mystery of the numbers, it’s a very interesting phrasing of a question, because I would pose it back to them: Well, what does an answer to “what do the numbers mean” look like? The answer that I’m giving now, my political answer, is that we’ve made a lot of the numbers in this show, so the idea that in the final season of the show we are telling everybody that we’re in answer mode and you’re never going to see the numbers again, or you won’t understand a lot more about the numbers than you do now, would be a cop-out. You would legitimately tar and feather us. But the one question that I can’t answer is what someone’s own level of personal satisfaction is going to be when all is said and done. We’ve gotten a sense from some people that there’s no such thing as a definitive answer to a question, you know? You say that this is the definitive answer and sometimes fans do like, “No, it’s not, I still think that there’s more there.” So all we can do is basically tell the story that we want to tell and answer the questions that are relevant to that story and hope that the audience leaves with some degree of satisfaction. But Lost wouldn’t be Lost if there wasn’t an ongoing debate as to whether or not questions were answered satisfyingly or not.

Word has been spreading this week that Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell) does appear during the final season but does die. Entertainment Weekly has quotes from the producers:

CUSE: “As the story is now nearing its conclusion, some characters just aren’t going to make it all the way to the end. Even beloved characters aren’t going to make it all the way to the end. And sometimes we have to do things that are really painful, like killing Juliet, because that’s what makes the story feel like the stakes are genuine, and people feel invested that characters who are beloved can actually perish on our show. It was an enormously powerful story that concluded the entire season of the show. So she was sacrificed in service of the story, and I think was hugely responsible for the season being viewed as successful because that was how it ended.… But she will always loom as one of our favorite characters, and even more importantly, favorite people that we’ve ever worked with on this show.”

LINDELOF: “What always gives us pause—especially in this instance—is we just love working with Elizabeth. And she always brings it, she always gives more than we expected, and transcends the material. She has always been so gracious and sweet and lovely…. That conversation [in which he and Cuse delivered the bad news] went the same way that the entire relationship did, which is Elizabeth was completely understanding, sweet, and wonderful. And she was bummed, as were we.”

MITCHELL: “I really only thought [the job] was going to be a year. I didn’t in any way think that that character would be liked because I didn’t think of her as a likable person.  I was just in love with her, so that was what was fun.  She didn’t have to be beautiful. She didn’t have to be sexy. She was someone who we really haven’t seen. It was new, it was virgin ground.… [But after season 3], I was told many, many times that they weren’t sure what to do and that they wanted to keep her a mystery.  Which I thought was great, to keep her a mystery.  I’m glad they didn’t go the other way, and make her completely nothing. In many ways a lot of it was just inevitable. [Season 4] wasn’t as exciting as season 3 was, but I was still pretty grateful to be there, to be honest with you.  They’d done a lot for me, so I still felt pretty good about it and I still loved her. Even if I was just walking around in the background, I was still having my Juliet thoughts…. [In a phone call right before the end of season 5, Lindelof and Cuse] said they didn’t have any story left to tell, and they didn’t think there was anything left for her to do… They were very open and honest and kind about it. And they seemed to be sad about it.”

CUSE: “There are so many characters in the weave of the fabric of Lost that at various times certain people get to shine and other people are forced into the background. Juliet’s character had that kind of an arc on the show: She burned brightly, but then we moved on in the storytelling and other things became more important. And it’s always painful. It’s like having a garage full of the most beautiful cars in the world but you only can drive one to work every day. And it was frustrating for us, too, because we were pursuing other stories which rose to prominence and hers ended up taking a little bit of a backseat. But Damon and I came to a place where we came up with a fantastic ‘ending’ [for Juliet]. And ending is in quotations, of course, because just because a character’s died doesn’t mean that their story’s over on Lost.”

LINDELOF: “Juliet basically birthed season 6 by the actions that she takes in the final seconds of season 5. She is completely responsible for the endgame of the show. So the character is going to be seen in a slightly different light this year. We gave her that action for a reason, and that’s because she’s so important to the fabric of the story.”

haydespreadelle

Those who might want more of Hayden Panettiere beyond seeing her fight a deadly sorority and share a lesbian kiss with Madeline Zima on Heroes might check out her spread in Elle.

The identity of the character to be killed off this season of Heroes has been revealed by TV Guide. They report it will be Adrian Pasdar, who plays Nathan. This doesn’t come as a surprise considering that he was already killed at the end of the last season and the manner in which he returned does  not appear permanent.

SciFi Weekend: Flashforward; V; Returning Shows and Shows in Trouble; Sookie’s Future; The Plan

117489_9383

FlashForward didn’t continued to advance the mythology of the series with Dominic Monaghan becoming a series regular. While there are many gaps to fill in, we find that he knows Lloyd Simcoe and the nature of their relationship is hinted at when Lloyd says to Simon (Monaghan): “Our experiment killed 20 million people, Simon.”

Lloyd’s involvement with Olivia and her family took a major move forward as his autistic son, unable to separate future memories from the flash forward with past memories, remembers that Olivia’s home is his home too, and shows up there. It now is pretty clear that Charlie’s flash forward took place in the house where she saw both Simcoe and his son. She also saw something that makes her believe that “D. Gibbons is a bad man.” If she picked this up from Lloyd Simcoe during her flash forward it is not even certain if this is an accurate fact.

The meeting in their house, along with Oliva’s knowlege that Mark is drinking in his flash forward, exacerbated the conflict between the two and might be moving them towards the situation in their visions of the future.

In other developments, Janis survives so we don’t yet have a definite case of a vision not coming true. The blue hands of Mark’s board make an appearance. There was even another sighting of the kangaroo.

V-2009

The remake of V starts this week and reviews are coming out. Variety writes:

At least initially, the real breakout here is Baccarin, who might be TV’s coolest alien since the invention of the Vulcan nerve pinch. The idea, moreover, that extraterrestrials would come wrapped in an attractive package and shrewdly manipulate the media feels especially eerie given the state of our media today (though there is one unfortunately clunky line of dialogue about “universal health care”).

For the most part, though, writer Scott Peters and company — updating Kenneth Johnson’s original — have assembled an appealing and diverse cast that highlights the “We’re all in this together” aspect of dealing with such a fantastic threat. And the idea of being unsure who to trust deftly taps into the same vein of malevolent foes and “sleeper cells” hiding in plain sight that “Battlestar Galactica” mined.

The best science fiction always has something to say about the present, and the show does that without skimping on the soapy or dramatic elements. Whether the serialized storytelling can be sustained is potentially another matter (witness the growing pains experienced by ABC’s “FlashForward”), but at least in terms of the acrobatics that go into a polished launch, “V” sticks the landing.

The Hollywood Reporter writes:

This latest update, with a teleplay by Scott Peters, preserves the original framework but shifts the atmosphere to accommodate contemporary concerns. Based on the pilot, the militaristic notes will be more subdued. Instead, there will be more of a post-Sept. 11 emphasis on questions of trust and terror.

“V” is short for Visitors, which is what the aliens call themselves. They announce their presence while simultaneously hovering in huge unassailable spaceships above 29 of Earth’s major cities, including New York, where the series is set.

Alien leader Anna (Morena Baccarin), the very picture of sweetness and innocence, promises to share advanced technology and live in peace. Many Earthlings are eager to believe her, including young adults who sign up for the Peace Ambassador program (analogous to Hitler Youth).

But there are skeptics. These include FBI agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell), whose son joins the Ambassador program, and Father Jack (Joel Gretsch). Complicating things is the wave of Visitors who came to Earth years earlier and are working incognito. At the same time, though, other secret Visitors have become disillusioned and join the resistance.

Somewhere in between is news anchor Chad Decker (Scott Wolf). In exchange for exclusive interviews with Anna, he makes an uncomfortable bargain to ask only softball questions.

It could be complicated, but Peters’ tightly written teleplay makes it easy to follow. In addition, the pilot raises provocative issues without getting didactic. That, combined with mythology less dense than, say, ABC’s “Lost,” should make this an attractive viewing option.

Kenneth Johnson, creator of the original series, sees the remake as a way to profit from his own movie version of the show.

hirocharliekiss

A couple of shows are coming back in December. Scrubs returns December 1 with hopes of  phasing into a new cast, which is generally risky for an established show. Better off Ted returns on December 8. In a move guaranteed to promote file sharing sites, The Waters of Mars, the next Doctor Who special, will air on the BBC on November 15. It will not air on BBC America until December 19. The two part final episode with David Tennant will probably air on the BBC on Christmas Day and sometime around New Year’s Day. Those wanting to see more of David Tennant can also see him on The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith.

A couple more genre shows appear to be in trouble. I’ve already expressed skepticism whether Dollhouse will be picked up beyond thirteen episodes. Now NBC is telling the producers of Heroes to think about wrapping up the series. It might actually be better for the show to have an end point to work towards. Heroes would have been remembered far more fondly if the first season was produced as the complete series. The current season has been mixed. I am looking forwards to tomorrow night’s episode to see if Hiro can save Charlie, but it is not a good sign when they have to rely upon revisiting past events to keep the show interesting.

Fringe is also on the bubble according to TV Guide.

sookie-and-bill-true-blood

Alan Ball was interviewed about upcoming plans for True Blood:

Bon Temps is going to be very crowded for True Blood’s third season, what with all the new vampires walking around. Executive producer Alan Ball, and several of True Blood’s writers and producers, sat down with fans of the show Wednesday at the Paley Center for Media to discuss the new residents of Bon Temps, Bill and Sookie’s future and a naked Alexander Skårsgard.

So where does the action pick up at the beginning of Season 3? “I believe [Eric] appears without most of his clothes in the very first episode,” jokes Ball. (But seriously, he says, fans of Eric’s amnesia story line from the books will have to wait until Season 4.)

“Sookie [Anna Paquin] is going to go off in search of Bill [Stephen Moyer], and she will find him,” Ball tells TVGuide.com. But Sookie is in search of much more than just Bill. “There will be more conjecture about what she is and she will be more driven to discover what she is,” said Ball. “She will get closer to the answer.”

Will her brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten) help her? Not likely, as Ball explains that he doesn’t share his sister’s magical gifts. “It’s a DNA thing, it’s a genetic thing and skips some people and gets in some others,” he says. “Jason has vestiges of it, in that he’s such a fantastic athlete and he’s a perfect shot, but he’s still human, whereas Sookie is definitely a half-human, half-something else that we’re waiting to reveal.”

Good news for Bill fans: He won’t be going away for an extended period of time, as he does in Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels. Ball reports that the TV series won’t be telling the same story. “Stephen Moyer will not be marginalized. Bill and Sookie may go through some rough patches that last maybe a little longer than Team Bill fans might like, but Bill and Sookie have a connection that will never die.”

So what about Bill’s big secret, that he only went to Bon Temps and became close to Sookie on the orders of Queen Sophie-Anne? Will that ever be revealed? Ball says yes. “I can’t say when it will be discovered, but it definitely will be,” he says. “We are definitely aware of that as we’re breaking the stories, and have been from the beginning of the show.”

Ball says that marital bliss is not in the cards for Sookie and Bill. “There is somebody who wants a wedding, but it’s not who you think it is,” teases Ball. “I don’t think you’ll see that wedding actually happen.”

What you will see is another human-vampire romance, when Tara meets the still-to-be-cast Franklin Mott. Their relationship will be unlike any other on the show. “I don’t even think they’re in the same ballpark,” producer Raelle Tucker tells us. “He’s more dangerous than any of those other [vampires]. She’s definitely playing with something that’s a lot more deadly.”

And Mott won’t be alone. “You’ll find a range of vampires,” supervising producer Alexander Woo says. “The vampire world really opens up. You’ll see that there’s as much of a variety and diversity among vampires as there is among human beings. There’s going to be extremely cruel and extremely kind. I think you’ll see there isn’t one archetype; there is a panorama.”

We don’t know how long Sookie’s adventures will continue on HBO but they might come to an end in the novels. while promoting a current book of short stories, Charlaine Harris has said that her Sookie Stackhouse series might come to and end after three additional novels. This would make for a total of a dozen books.

Dexter Rita

I’ve already reported that Julie Benz, who play’s Dexter’s television wife, has warned about a shocking end for the season. Jennifer Carpenter, Michael C. Hall’s wife in real life (and sister on the show) has more:

Dexter fans should stop crying over the shocking October 18 death of Frank Lundy (Keith Carradine) and brace themselves for something far worse. “Everything changes at the end of this season,” Jennifer Carpenter (Deb) said at the 2009 Scream Awards. “Dexter will never be the same.”

The actress told me the Showtime series was so protective of its top-secret December 13 season finale that she had to sneak on set to witness the gruesome climax of John Lithgow’s bloody reign of terror as the Trinity Killer. “I was so curious that I showed up at 1:30 in the morning to see what they were shooting, so I know!” says Jennifer (who probably could have wrangled the secret out of her real-life husband and Dexter star, Michael C. Hall). “Let’s just say maybe all of our trailers won’t be there next year.”

The obvious speculation is over whether Rita, who does get in Dexter’s way this season, will be John Lithgow’s final victim this season.

500x_bsg-ambush_fleet

Edward James Olmos was interviewed by Io9 and about The Plan and discussed other questions which might be addressed in future Battlestar Galactica movies:

Simple questions, like what happened to the [final] five during this period of time? Where were they coming from 2,000 years ago? How could they be around for 2,000 years, and yet the understanding of Caprica is that the robotic trend on Caprica was started 57 years ago? How did that work? That question comes into play, and I would love to see how they answered it. That, to me, would be explosively unbelievable. I would love to have that question answered. I would also love to know what is going to happen to the people on the Earth. What is going to happen to Adama and all the different people? What happened to the Raptor that got them to the point of finding their dream space? That, to me, is just two simple ones I can think of off the top of my head…. To me, there’s still a lot of beautiful story that’s waiting to be unleashed in this world.

Olmos expressed displeasure about the degree to which The Plan was downloaded once it leaked out on line during the week before its release on DVD:

People don’t understand that if they want to see this universe again, they have to participate by voting, by casting their dollars. If they don’t cast their dollars, they won’t see any more of these.

That is understandable, but I also think that sales would be much better, regardless of whether copies were downloaded, if the product was better.  Many of those hard core fans who couldn’t wait to see the show would still purchase copies if this was a better product. Instead, many of us who viewed the episode early, both from downloads and early purchases, have been advising that there is really no need to get a copy now as opposed to waiting until it airs on television. I reviewed The Plan here. Unless they can do a better job, I would prefer to remember Battlestar Galactica for what has been done as opposed to having more second rate DVD and television movies.