SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who Convention News; Jenna-mania; Sherlock; Emma Stone on Spider-Man; Star Trek Secrecy; Fringe; Awake; Mad Men; Leonard Nimoy on Big Bang Theory

The first ever official Doctor Who convention took place this weekend, and Steven Moffat discussed the event in the video above. More videos can be found here, here, and here.

The biggest news out of the convention is that the fifth episode next season, which has the final encounter with the Weeping Angels (and final appearance of Amy and Rory) will take place and be filmed in New York City. While in New York, the cast might feel at  home in this TARDIS-themed bar which Karen Gillan mentioned in an interview.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HEPZRZ5P6po

Low-quality versions of trailer for the new season, taken while shown at the convention, have also been posted on many sites, as above. Hopefully we will have an official release early next week. Steven Moffat’s promotion of the season: “Amy and Rory leaving, tragedy, heartbreak and a Western, what more do you want out of Television. Come on Downton take that on!”

The biggest Doctor Who news of the week came on Wednesday before the convention with the naming of Jenna-Louise Coleman as the next assistant, beginning with the Christmas 2012 episode. The initial announcement, along with news on the upcoming season, were first posted here. In a follow-up post later in the day I had interviews with Jenna and Steven Moffat. A post on Thursday concentrated on her roles in Captain American and Titanic, along with advice from Matt Smith. On Friday we had the first official BBC picture of Jenna in front of the TARDIS, information on another series she is appearing in, Dancing on the Edge, and a report of links to an alleged sex tape with Jenna-Louise Coleman which actually lead to a malicious site. There’s also a brief video of what Matt Smith might say to people searching for sex tapes of Jenna.

Steven Moffat spoke to Radio Times about Doctor Who and Sherlock. He dismissed internet rumors that Benedict Cumberbatch will be playing the Master and reports that he has not started writing season three of Sherlock yet:

Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat has dismissed reports that Benedict Cumberbatch is to play the villainous Master on the sci-fi series.

Speaking to RadioTimes.com at the Royal Television Society awards, Moffat said: “People really do sit in rooms and make that stuff up. Look at the filming schedules for Doctor Who and Sherlock – those two shows tend to shoot at the same time. We’d have a problem and there’s only so much I can arrange.”

But he then added, as a quick afterthought: “But who knows what could happen in the future…”

Moffat also told RadioTimes.com about plans for the forthcoming series of Doctor Who. Asked whether there would be a large story arc running through the episodes, or if we could expect self-contained adventures, he said: “As ever, there’s a bit of both. But this time we’re moving closer to stand-alone stories. At this point, we’re not planning any two-parters. So, every week is going to be like a different mad movie.”

He added: “We went quite ‘arc’ last time and we’re going stand-alone this time around. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t those things creeping in. You’ve got to find a way to make the last episode special, and by God that worked ratings-wise last year. We don’t want to abandon that idea.”

Asked for any teasers he could offer, the ever-evasive Moffat replied: “Watch out for the title of episode two. I think that’s a belter. It’s one of my favourite titles ever.”

As for his other hit BBC1 series, the detective drama Sherlock, Moffat had this to say about series three: “Mark [Gatiss] and I have planned it out. We haven’t started writing it yet because I’ve got God knows how many episodes of Doctor Who to get sorted first. But the way it works with Sherlock is that we starve you and then we give you a short burst and then we starve you again. It’s worked so far, we’re not going to change it.”

On the scheduling of future episodes, Moffat said: “I don’t actually know. Given that this is a show that I haven’t started writing yet, it’s a bit early to suggest scheduling. Once we hand them over, they’ll be on television quite quickly.”

Moffat remains unhappy about the planned CBS version of a modern-day Sherlock Holmes:

CBS announced earlier this year they would be filming a pilot called Elementary.

The US programme will feature Sherlock in New York and Watson will be played by 43-year-old Lucy Liu.

Steven Moffat says he hopes it will be good or it may degrade the Sherlock brand.

“It isn’t a version of our show,” he said. “They’ve just decided to go off and do one of their own, having been turned down by us to do an adaptation of our version.

“So how do you think I feel about it? Annoyed is in there.”

‘Rogue version’

The US Sherlock will be played by British actor Jonny Lee Miller.

If the pilot is successful, it will be turned into a TV series which will air on US television in the autumn.

“The bigger problem for us with Elementary is, what if it’s terrible? What if it’s awful? Then it degrades the brand,” he said.

“I remember there was a legitimate American version made of Coupling, actually adapted from our version.

“It was terrible and it was a disaster and it did sort of diminish the original.

“So if there’s this completely unrelated rogue version of Sherlock going around and it’s bad, it can be bad for us.”

So far CBS hasn’t revealed which Arthur Conan Doyle stories will be made.

Talking at the Royal Television Society Awards, Moffat dismissed the idea that legal action had been taken over copyright.

“We don’t own Sherlock Holmes,” he said. “We don’t even own the idea of updating it. It’s been done before.

“I hope they know their Sherlock Holmes very, very well indeed because we know what’s in our show and wasn’t in the original.

“So if we did discover our material had made it into somebody else’s show we would have a problem with that. If there is no such incidence of that, then there’s nothing we can object to.”

When asked about a possible fourth series, Moffat revealed that Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch was keen to continue playing the lead role.

A new internet meme–Otters who like like Benedict Cumberbatch. Cumberbatch also spoke about his fan base to Now.

Emma Stone talked about her initial reluctance to appear in Spider-Man:

“I heard about Spider-Man and I didn’t think it was something I would want to be a part of. I just thought that probably isn’t right for me. Then I [auditioned with Andrew Garfield] and realized that this was a really interesting, fantastic relationship between two people and that I was being really closed-minded,” she said.

The actress, who wore her naturally blonde hair for the part, went on to discuss how her character finally changed her mind about the film: “[I] started learning more about Gwen Stacy and her history and just fell in love with the character and with the fans, too. I started reading forums and getting involved more in the comic book universe and it just became something I really wanted to be a part of, just because of all those elements.”

Emma Stone discussed Spider-Man further in this interview. Here is a brief excerpt:

You went from playing a literary character in The Help who was in a much beloved book with its own kind of following, to a comic book character who’s iconic and has this rabid following. Was there a big difference for you between those characters and how they’re treated by their fans?Well of course the characters themselves are incredible different and there seems to be a different fan base between Spider-Man fans and fans of The Help. There are conventions for Spider-Man fans and there aren’t for The Help fans, although I would love to see a convention of The Help fans. It could be like the big Lebowski Fest. But they’re two tonally different worlds to me even though they both had such a rabid following. There’s a difference just in terms of bringing the material to life. There are different incarnations of Gwen Stacy and of Peter Parker throughout comic book history, all these different storylines to pull from depending on what kind of script you’re going to patch together. With The Help, it was such a distinct story that kind of needed to be matched line for line in a way. It felt different just in terms of becoming part of it and the way the material was adapted. But I’m so excited to be part of a movie with a built-in fan base in that way. You go to Comic-Con and there’s so much passion in one room. Everybody’s so passionate about these characters and how they’ve affected their own loves. It’s a really cool thing as an actor to know that you’re part of something that’s so much bigger than you. You’re not creating it from the ground up, you’re trying to fill the shoes of someone that’s been around a lot longer than you. It’s really exciting. I love that aspect of it.>

Why do you think the producers and writers went with Gwen instead of Mary Jane?Well, Gwen’s story happened before Mary Jane’s, and I think that coming back to their roots, it was interesting to explore the woman who came before Mary Jane. I think she’s such a definitive part of Peter Parker’s relationship with Mary Jane ultimately, who is literally the polar opposite in personality of Gwen Stacy. I think just building that into Peter’s life and seeing that story from the very beginning was really interesting. And of course Gwen’s story is so beautiful and important to that story of Spider-Man that I think they wanted to come from that angle at this time.

There might be less to report about the upcoming Star Trek movie as J.J. Abrams has built a wall around the set for secrecy.

I remain shocked that JJ Abrams destroy Vulcan in his Star Trek movies. That would be like eliminating Gallifrey and most of the Time Lords on Doctor Who.Oh, never mind.

>

This week’s episode of Fringe, A Short Story About Love, cleared up Peter’s confusion about the meaning of a changed time-line. When Peter began searching for a way to get home, and rejected the Olivia in this time line even when she gained memories of “his” Olivia, I questioned this. Peter was treating the changed time line as if it was another form of alternative universe, but a changed time line would imply that it is the same universe in which things have changed. Olivia would be the same Olivia, but with different experiences due to the changes in the time line. Although I was thinking these things while watching, I also considered the possibility maybe Peter could be right as we really don’t have established rules for dealing with different time lines. Last night we found out that the interpretation I first had was actually correct, and Peter had been wrong. Peter also realized that reuniting with the Olivia in this time line was fine–not like sleeping with the hotter Olivia from the alternative universe (especially as we found out in the previous episode that having a baby with Altlivia led to bad consequences).

Awake didn’t address the show’s mythology this week, but once again showed a character whose life was different in each world even before the accident. Again this rules out the possibility of the universe splitting into two different paths at the time of the accident (unless we really get complex and have time move in both directions, which would be way too confusing).

Mad Men returns tonight. Here are some stories about the show:

Matthew Weiner spoke about Betty Draper’s reduced role and things which fans might hate in an interview with Huffington Post.

Stephanie Newman looked at what Mad Men might look like if it took place today. (Wouldn’t that defeat the whole idea of the show?)

All Things Considered looked at the influence of Mad Men.

ABC compared Betty with Don’s fiance, Megan.

January Jones discussed her absence from the premier with The Hollywood Reporter.

Today wonders whether Don Draper can finally be happy.

USA Today has a Mad Men quiz and reviewed where the characters left off last season.

Leonard Nimoy appears on The Big Bang Theory. Hopefully he does more than lend his voice to the toy version of himself (which might be the case considering how he only appeared in cartoon form in his last appearance on Fringe.) Following is an ad for the episode:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YbDraRwVTU&feature=player_embedded

And, on the topic of toys based upon science fiction shows:

Karen Gillan playing with herself.

SciFi Weekend: Disney Buys Marvel; Fantastic Four Reboot; Jack Bauer on Health Care Reform

Iron Man Mickey

Will the next blockbuster movie be Iron Man versus Cinderella? Will Spider-Man dump Mary Jane to date Hanna Montana? Is the next High School Musical to be preformed at Dr. Xavier’s school for mutants?

The big news of the week is that Disney has acquired Marvel. I know some Marvel fans are upset  but there is no reason to worry that the Marvel characters will become Disneized. Disney is far more than Mickey Mouse and the Disney princesses. Disney owns ABC, meaning that Lost is part of Disney. Disney owns Pixar which has produced films such as Wall-E. Disney also owns Mirimax, which has put out movies such as Pulp Fiction.

Disney’s strengths are in marketing and cross promotion of its properties, between television, movies, books, merchandise, and the theme parks. Disney can help Marvel continue to take advantage of its characters in ways beyond comic books. Current licensing arrangements will leave some of movies in the hands of other studios for some time, but ultimately there will be no need to compromise with other studios to develop movie versions of Marvel characters.

Disney might be able to market some aspects of Marvel to girls, the market where it is weak, but the more important aspect of the deal is to increase interest in Disney’s characters among boys. Disney does well with young children and girls, but Marvel characters would be far more attractive to older boys than Cinderella and Snow White.

The Disney theme parks have added some thrill rides, but Disney’s strength has been with the more elaborately themed rides which lack the thrills which teenage boys might prefer. I can imagine adding some superhero themed rides at some of the existing parks. There has been speculation for years over a possible fifth park at Walt Disney World. I wonder if the Marvel characters might even provide the theme for a new park.

Currently many Marvel characters reside at competing Universal and reportedly that arrangement will continue as long as Universal desires to continue its current contract. I wouldn’t be surprised if Disney either finds a way to bring over their own group of Marvel superheroes, or if Disney simply continues to profit from Universal paying for the rights to the characters.

Fantastic_Four_Promo

The other Marvel news of the week involves 20th Century Fox rather than Disney. They are planning to reboot the Fantastic Four movies with a script by Michael Green, who has worked on Lost and Green Lantern. There is no word as to whether they will use the cast of the previous movies or whether they will start with a new origins movie. There is also talk of rebooting the Spider-Man movie series.

Conservatives often cite Jack Bauer and 24 as if they were real sources to justify terrorism. It is a shame that instead they don’t quote Jack Bauer’s views on health care as seen in the above video. It even turns out that Keifer Sutherland has a real connection to health care.

SciFi Weekend: Barack Obama, Superhero; Sarah Connor Rumors; Flash Forward; The Prisoner; and Jack is Back

Obama Spider-Man

Barack Obama  will appear on the cover of a special issue of Spider-Man to be released on January 14. Peter Bart of Variety calls Barack Obama America’s last Action Hero.

There’s no new “Spider-Man” or “Iron Man” on the immediate horizon, but the superhero genre is alive and well. As evidence, consider next week’s inauguration.

Historians cannot remember a moment when a president has arrived amid such lofty expectations. Barack Obama will not simply be sworn in; if he’s not careful he will be enshrined.

Back in 1932, there were vague hopes that Franklin Roosevelt might help solve the Great Depression, but FDR was an unprepossessing patrician who spoke funny and sat in a wheelchair. Voters were more puzzled than expectant.

But today, in the eyes of the world, Barack Obama is nothing short of the Last Action Hero. (He even makes an appearance in a bonus issue of the “Spider-Man” comicbook coming out on Jan. 14.)

obama-spider-man

Later Bart describes what Obama can learn from the superheroes:

If Barack Obama is going to bring this off, perhaps he should take note of a few of the traits of the superhero fraternity.

“Iron Man’s” gift is that he has a strong moral compass. And he knows how to handle the military-industrial complex (it’s part of his family).

“Spider-Man’s” relevant gift is that he can swing from situation to situation with amazing dexterity, never quite leaving a mark. That’s good politics.

“Batman” is smart at choosing his battles. And, as he reminded us this last outing, he’s damn good at generating box office. Obama take note: Ticket sales are like votes.

We can skip “Superman.” His outfit is a bit embarrassing and his ambiguities toward women keep getting in the way.

Will the superhero franchise come through for Barack Obama? Anyone who starts off with a trillion-dollar economic package needs all the showbiz tricks he can mobilize.

There are lots of rumors going around regarding upcoming events on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Reportedly Jon meets his father, Kyle Reese in an upcoming episode. I assume that either this will be on a diffrent time line from the movie series, or maybe this will be an eariler trip back in time (from Kyle’s perspective) prior to the events of the first Terminator movie. Reportedly Riley did not die as it appeared at the mid-season cliff hanger, but such an outcome of a cliff hanger would hardly be a surprise.

Shows such as Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles have problems building an audience as many potential viewers are reluctant to come in on a story in progress. At the start of the season a decision was made to make each episode more of a stand-alone story. I doubt this would matter in a series such as this which has developed such a detailed mythology that new viewers would still have trouble keeping track of what is going on. Now they have decided to return to a more serialized format, which probably will work better in a series of this type.

Sci FI Wire interviewed Brannon Braga on his planned show Flash Forward based upon the novel by Robert Sawyer. the show is planned to follow Lost and will even have one actress in common with roles on both shows–Sonya Walger.

Brannon Braga, the onetime Star Trek executive producer, says that his ABC sci-fi pilot Flash Forward—in which the Earth’s inhabitants have a simultaneous glimpse of their futures, then must live with the consequences—is designed to reset itself each season, starting with a new flash and ending when the premonitions come true.

“Yeah, the structure’s not dissimilar from 24 [on which Braga is a co-executive producer], and we want to reset the show at the end of each year, where we’ll do another flash forward at the end of the first season, and then potentially another flash forward at the end of the second season, each one kind of resetting the core characters’ visions of the future and introducing new characters,” Braga said in an exclusive interview on Tuesday, Dec. 6, at the Hollywood premiere party for 24‘s seventh season, which kicks off this weekend.

Braga—who developed Flash Forward with producer/writer/director David Goyer and Goyer’s wife and producing partner, Jessika Borsiczky Goyer—adds: “One of the cool things about the show is you have 5 billion potential storylines. And we plan to tell the stories of people all over the world. Obviously they’ll be focused on mainly people here in L.A., but we’re going to go all over the place.”

The pilot follows a group of characters around the world who have to deal with the consequences of a 2-minute, 17-second glimpse into the future. The series is loosely based on Robert J. Sawyer’s novel Flashforward.

“The core concept is very much the same as Robert Sawyer’s novel,” Braga says. “That was the impetus for it and the idea of the entire world blacking out at the same time for a discrete amount of time, and everybody on Earth having mysterious visions of the future. Same idea. Obviously, to do a TV show, you have to sustain potentially—and God willing—100 episodes or more; you’ve got to change the concept a little bit. His novel had people having visions of the future 20 years from now. We change that to five months from now and kind of narrowed down the scope a little bit and made it a little bit more of an intimate epic. But essentially the concept is the same.”

The show features an ensemble cast, led by Joseph Fiennes, Sonya Walger, John Cho, Christine Woods, Jack Davenport and Courtney B. Vance, and is envisioned as a companion to Lost. Goyer directs the one-hour pilot, which goes into production in February in Los Angeles.

“We just finished casting the pilot right before the holiday, and we just went into … official prep on it two days ago, so David is busy getting ready to direct, and we’re going to shoot it next month, right after President’s Day,” Braga says.

Ultimately, the show will deal with the theme of free will vs. fate, Braga says. “Absolutely,” he says, adding: “Thematically that’s what the show is about, for sure. Yeah, and seeing how these people’s visions come true or not come true or come true because they tried to not make it come true. Some people want it to come true. Some people don’t want it to come true. It’s a fascinating concept. We’re very excited about it.”

Sci FI Wire has information on the reimagined minseries, The Prisoner, which AMC will air next November:

American Movie Classics has shot a six-hour miniseries re-imagining of The Prisoner for modern-day audiences. One of the biggest changes in this re-imagining is that Six is now American, played by Jim Caviezel.

“I don’t think it makes any difference,” director Nick Hurran said in a press conference Jan. 8 in Universal City, Calif. “It’s a mixed-nationality cast. It’s a very global Village. I think we accept that now. We’re so used to a society being of every culture, every race, that it would have been quite parochial to go and do a British thing.”

This Village is set in the middle of a desert, as opposed to the seaside Village of the original. “Epic is absolutely the right word,” Hurran said. “The vistas that this prison gives, setting it in the Namibian desert or the nonspecific desert that we don’t know where it is, the character Six runs away to get free, to escape, and just keeps running and keeps running, and there is more sand than I have ever seen in my life. It gets to places you never knew you had.”

The desert turned out to be a production nuisance when the filmmakers had to re-create location shoots in Namibia. The majority of production was based in Cape Town, South Africa. “My overriding memory of this production is sand, no matter where we were,” Hurran said. “It returned, even in South Africa, when we had to try and re-create some locations to make them look like they were still in the Village. We needed to import sand and carefully, painstakingly lay it across the streets of Cape Town. Unfortunately, Cape Town’s very windy, and the wind certainly blew and blew all of the carefully laid sand about 100 meters into front yards and people’s letterboxes. So sand remained with us forever.”

Die-hard fans of the original Prisoner will notice some familiar tidbits. “There are a number of, of course, homages that the keen eye will see in what’s said and what’s worn, in pieces of architecture,” Hurran said. “Of course, there are a number of salutes that we made to the fantastic piece that was created. I think it would be a shame to take it to the next generation and not acknowledge what an extraordinary piece of work that was. [It’s] enigmatic, I think slightly less surreal, but it is as bizarre, in a good way.”

The big event today is the first of two two-hour episodes of 24 airing today and tomorrow to start the season. Sci FI Wire gives eight reasons why 24 is really science fiction.

It Looks Like I Have A Life (Barely)

Several blogs, including Apple of Doubt, ChickenGirl, The Athiest Blogger, and The Radula have posted this test. The claim is that if you have seen over 85 of these 219 movies you have no life. They invite others to post the list on their blogs and mark which they have seen.

As with most stupid internet tests, I’ll go along but also find this to be flawed.  I barely make it as having a life, but that wouldn’t change if I had seen a handful more. Plus I’ve seen plenty of movies which aren’t on the list.

Some of the oldest movies were seen when I was out on dates, with real live girls. Isn’t that having a life? Most were seen with my wife, although some might argue that the fact that we’ve watched so many movies together means that both of us have no life. At least we have no life together.

Many on the list, such as those staring Hillary Duff or Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, were seen because of having a daughter. That is definitely having a life. Of course several of the more sci-fi type movies were also watched alone when my wife and daughter weren’t around. This, along with blogging, could be used to argue that one has no life.

For the hell of it, here’s the list of movies if others are interested in calculating their score and finding out if they have a life (or come close to not having one like me).  When they get to Flubber they stipulate the original. I actually saw both. (The original was actually named The Absent Minded Professor). In other cases where it isn’t stipulated I actually saw the original and sometimes have not seen the more recent remake, which might not be what  who ever made this list had in mind, but I still marked the movie as seen.

Here’s the list:

(x) Rocky Horror Picture Show
(x) Grease
(  ) Pirates of the Caribbean
(  ) Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest
( ) Boondock Saints
(x) Fight Club
( ) Starsky and Hutch
(x) Neverending Story
(x) Blazing Saddles
( ) Universal Soldier
( ) Lemony Snicket: A Series Of Unfortunate Events
(x) Along Came Polly
( ) Joe Dirt
(x)KING KONG
( ) A Cinderella Story
(x) The Terminal
(x) The Lizzie McGuire Movie
(x) Passport to Paris
(x) Dumb & Dumber
( ) Dumber & Dumberer
( ) Final Destination
( ) Final Destination 2
( ) Final Destination 3
( ) Halloween
( ) The Ring
( ) The Ring 2
( ) Surviving -MAS
(x) Flubber (Orignial)
( ) Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
(x)Practical Magic
(x) Chicago
( ) Ghost Ship
( ) From Hell
( ) Hellboy
( ) Secret Window
(x)I Am Sam
( ) The Whole Nine Yards
( ) The Whole Ten Yards
( ) The Day After Tomorrow
( ) Child’s Play
( ) Seed of Chucky
( ) Bride of Chucky
( ) Ten Things I Hate About You
( ) Just Married
( ) Gothika
( ) Nightmare on Elm Street
(x) Sixteen Candles
( ) Remember the Titans
( ) Coach Carter
( ) The Grudge
( ) The Grudge 2
(x) The Mask
( ) Son Of The Mask
( ) Bad Boys
( ) Bad Boys 2
( ) Joy Ride
( ) Lucky Number Sleven
(x) Ocean’s Eleven
( ) Ocean’s Twelve
(x) Bourne Identity
(x) Bourne Supremacy
( ) Lone Star
( ) Bedazzled
( ) Predator I
( ) Predator II
( ) The Fog
( ) Ice Age
( ) Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
(x) Curious George
(x) Independence Day
( ) Cujo
( ) A Bron Tale
( ) Darkness Falls
( ) Christine
(x) ET
( ) Children of the Corn
(x) My Bosses Daughter
(x) Maid in Manhattan
(x) War of the Worlds
( ) Rush Hour
( ) Rush Hour 2
( ) Best Bet
(x) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
( ) She’s All That
(x) Calendar Girls
(x) Sideways
(x)Mars Attacks
( ) Event Horizon
( ) Ever After
(x) Wizard of Oz
(x) Forrest Gump
( ) Big Trouble in Little China
(x) The Terminator
(x)The Terminator 2
(x) The Terminator 3
(x)x-Men
(x) x2
(x) x-3
(x) Spider-Man
(x) Spider-Man 2
( ) Sky High
( ) Jeepers Creepers
( ) Jeepers Creepers 2
(x)Catch Me If You Can
(x) The Little Mermaid
(x)Freaky Friday
( ) Reign of Fire
( ) The Skulls
( ) Cruel Intentions
( ) Cruel Intentions 2
( ) The Hot Chick
(x) Shrek
(x) Shrek 2
( ) Swimfan
(x)Miracle on 34th street
( ) Old School
(x) The Notebook
( ) K-Pax
( ) Kippendorf’s Tribe
( ) A Walk to Remember
( ) Ice Castles
( ) Boogeyman
(x) The 40-year-old-virgin
(x) Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring
(x) Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
(x) Lord of the Rings Return Of the King
(x)Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
(x)Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
(x)Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
( ) Baseketball
( ) Hostel
( ) Waiting for Guffman
( ) House of 1000 Corpses
( ) Devils Rejects
(x) Elf
( ) Highlander
( ) Mothman Prophecies
( ) American History
( ) Three
( ) The Jacket
( ) Kung Fu Hustle
( ) Shaolin Soccer
( ) Night Watch
(x)Monsters Inc.
(x) Titanic
(x) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
( ) Shaun Of the Dead
(x)Willard
( ) High Tension
( ) Club Dread
(x)Hulk
( ) Dawn Of the Dead
(x) Hook
(x)Chronicle Of Narnia The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
( ) 28 days later
( ) Orgazmo
( ) Phantasm
( ) Waterworld
( ) Kill Bill vol 1
( ) Kill Bill vol 2
( ) Mortal Kombat
( ) Wolf Creek
( ) Kingdom of Heaven
( ) the Hills Have Eyes
( ) I Spit on Your Grave aka the Day of the Woman
( ) The Last House on the Left
( ) Re-Animator
( ) Army of Darkness
(x) Star Wars Ep. I The Phantom Menace
(x) Star Wars Ep. II Attack of the Clones
(x) Star Wars Ep. III Revenge of the Sith
(x) Star Wars Ep. IV A New Hope
(x) Star Wars Ep. V The Empire Strikes Back
(x) Star Wars Ep. VI Return of the Jedi
( ) Ewoks Caravan Of Courage
(x)Ewoks The Battle For Endor
(x)The Matrix
(x)The Matri Reloaded
(x)The Matri Revolutions
( ) Animatri
( ) Evil Dead
( ) Evil Dead 2
( ) Team America: World Police
( ) Red Dragon
(x)Silence of the Lambs
( ) Hannibal
( ) Battle Royale
( ) Battle Royale 2
(x)Brazil
(x)Contact
( ) Cube
(x)Dr. Strangelove
( ) Enlightenment Guaranteed
( ) Four Rooms
(x)Memento
( ) Pi
( ) Requiem for a Dream
(x) Pulp Fiction
( ) Reservoir Dogs
()  Run Lola Run
( ) Russian Ark
(x)Serenity
(x)Sin City
( ) Snatch
( ) Spider
( ) The Sixth Sense
( ) The Village
( ) Waking Life
( ) Zatoichi
( ) Ikiru
(x)The Seven Samurai
( ) Brick
( ) Akira

SciFi Weekend: Star Trek & Lost Trailers; Beyoncé as Wonder Woman; Whoopie on Mars; and the Future History of the Obama Administration

Ain’t It Cool News has a couple of reports on a new trailer for the upcoming Star Trek movie to be released next Friday. From one of the descriptions:

We start out with a muscle car tearing ass down a dirt road. Eventually it careens off a cliff, but not before the driver jets himself out – he’s a young boy, couldn’t be older than 11. Suddenly what I can only describe as a space-cop asks him, “what is your name sir?” The young boy replies, “James Tiberius Kirk.”

Then Chris Pine takes over as we see him being angsty, driving down the road on a motorcycle. We hear some voice over from someone else that confirms his angst saying things like, “You’ve never really been happy have you?” and etc. Then we see him drive up what looks like a smelting factory – probably more of that ship construction we got in the earlier trailer.

Then we really kick into trailer mode as we get quick images of Spock as a kid. Spock all grown up. Leonard Nimoy. A vulcan council. Space cadets. And the crew alone with some quick, flashy space fighting.

There is a financial cost to new and better technology. After first buying all the previous Star Trek movies on videocassettes and then on DVD’s it might be hard to resist getting them in Blue-ray. Reportedly they might come out on Blue-ray in 2009. At least the Blue-ray HD-DVD war is long over so there is no doubt as to which format to buy.

A new Lost trailer was also broadcast during the election night coverage on ABC. IO9 has the video.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Beyoncé is interested in playing Wonder Woman:

Beyoncé is ready for an Amazon-sized challenge — the pop superstar wants to be the first actress to wear Wonder Woman’s famed red, white and blue bathing suit on the silver screen.

“I want to do a superhero movie and what would be better than Wonder Woman? It would be great. And it would be a very bold choice. A black Wonder Woman would be a powerful thing. It’s time for that, right?”

Beyoncé says that she has met with representatives of DC Comics and Warner Bros. to express her interest in a major role in one of the many comic-book adaptations now in the pipeline following the massive success of “The Dark Knight,” “Iron Man” and the “Spider-Man” and “X-Men” franchises. Beyoncé’s acting to career to date has included a comedic role in “Austin Powers in Goldmember” and two notable music world roles, the first as a quasi-Diana Ross character in “Dreamgirls” and as the defiant and heroin-addicted Etta James in the upcoming “Cadillac Records.”

I’ve previously noted that the ABC version of Life on Mars might not be using the same explanation as on the BBC series as to why Sam Tyler is in the 1970’s. The initial episode seemed to have people from the present talking around him, suggesting that possibly he is in a coma dreaming of life in the 1970’s. We’ve seen robots with no clear explanation.  From time to time the 1970’s and the present have blurred, such as with newspapers fluctuating between pictures of Richard Nixon and George Bush. This week’s episode, Things to Do in New York When You Think You’re Dead, suggests that Sam could be dead or in purgatory. While this has been entertaining so far I fear that they might be putting in different possible explanations without a clear idea as to where the show is going.

In the episode, Sam meets both his future mentor and Whoopie Goldberg. It is a shame that Whoopie wasn’t playing Guinan from Star Trek: The Next Generation. She showed in Yesterday’s Enterprise an ability to sense problems involving time and might be able to figure out what is going on with Sam.

This week included an election of great historical significance. Some with an interest in both politics and techniques of science fiction have already been looking at the “future history” of the Obama administration. Nerve takes a “look back” at the Obama administration:

Obama’s election marked the moment in American history when a human being could be judged not for the color of his or her skin, but for the content of his or her character. Not coincidentally, it also marked the moment when the United States turned definitively from a fortress of self-interest to a peaceful emissary of freedom and human rights. These are the principles that the pax Americana has been built on, and an inheritance that we hope to keep as a legacy for our children.

Future Blogger looks back on How the Nanobama Administration Accelerated Technology, but I believe he will reverse George Bush’s ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research soon after taking office as opposed to 2010 as in this post. The post looks back on the tremendous changes to come as a result, including nanotechnology, concluding:

Now, in 2013, as the Nanobama Administration embarks on its second term, it is clear that the benefits of nanotech have already greatly changed the lives of every human, and for the better. Still, the ethical and existential implications continue to boggle the mind.

In particular, the primary neo-luddite argument against the pursuit of nanotechnological development is the fear that intelligent machines will one day spell the doom of mankind. There could come a point, critics continue to warn, where tech ceases to be an extension of humanity, or worse, turns against it’s maker, a possibility made more dangerous by the likelihood that, by the time it happened, humans will have become complacent and helpless.

Still, it looks as thought the Nanobama forces will continue to embrace acceleration, sticking to the critical path laid out by Bucky Fuller. The argument is that the knowledge base of any intelligent species must expand proportionately to the growth of its population, to survive past a critical survival threshold (a potential confrontation with rogue AI?). It’s evolve or die, though that same evolution is likely to bring about the forces that could bring us to the brink.

While many are optimistic about a better world with Obama replacing the Republicans, Focus on the Family released a Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America prior to the election with scare stories of “Terrorist strikes on four U.S. cities. Russia rolling into Eastern Europe. Israel hit by a nuclear bomb. Gay marriage in every state. The end of the Boy Scouts.”

Pushing Daisies is rumored to be at risk of cancellation. I think the idea would have worked far better as a movie than a weekly television series. I tried it both last season and then again at the start of this season. While somewhat entertaining I just couldn’t get into it enough to watch week after week. Rumor also has it that if the show is canceled Bryan Fuller will return to work on Heroes.

It was bound to be considered after the success of the first movie, and there are far more product placements to sell. Kim Cattrall has said in an interview that a sequel to the Sex And The City movie is planned. While possible, it doesn’t look like the other stars are on board yet. If they are to continue playing these roles it is a shame that they couldn’t have done an additional television season for HBO. The movie lacked much of what I found entertaining in the television show, but then I wasn’t the intended audience for the movie.

SciFi Friday: Summer Reading; Doctor Who Specials; Babylon 5; Spidey Gets Lucky; and The Galaxy’s Hottest Star Wars Fan

Looking for something to read at the beach this summer? You might try the Lost Book Club. Often episodes of Lost have included reference to a book which was relevant to the theme of the episode. The Lost Book Club website includes books which have been featured in various episodes and an explanation of their relevance. Books include On the Road by Jack Kerouac, Valis by Philip K. Dick, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein, The Fountainhed by Ayn Rand, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, and Island by Aldous Huxley. Besides these well known books there were a number I’ve never heard of and I might order a few of them.

If you haven’t seen Lost from the beginning, The SciFi Channel will be replaying it in four hour  blocks each Monday starting on September 15.

With Doctor Who on a long hiatus we still have four specials to look forward to. It has been announced that this will include the Christmas 2008 and 2009 specials, and an episode around Easter. The date of the fourth has not been announced, with some speculating it will be for Halloween 2009. There are also rumors that one episode will take place in Egypt. The Christmas 2008 episode will feature the return of the Cybermen.

I was disappointed in the last made for DVD episode of Babylon 5, and  J. Michael Straczynsk agrees that such low budget formats fail to do justice to the series. He has announced that he will not put out any further low-budget Lost Tales and writes, “The only thing I would be interested in doing regarding Babylon 5 from this point on is a full-featured, big-budget feature film.”

Via IO9 I found this report that Peter Parker (Spider-Man) might finally get lucky with Mary Jane Watson. Reportedly it took a year to get the ok to proceed with this story.

And, finally, it looks from the above picture that Megan Fox’s interest in science fiction isn’t limited to her roles in the Transformer movies. Apparently she is also a Star Wars fan.

SciFi Friday: Robots Invade City Streets, Heroes Finale, and Mary Jane Watson


As we await Sunday’s finale, I already reported the news that Battlestar Galactica will have twenty-two episodes next season. We will have to wait until the fourth quarter for the two-hour episode and then January for the regular episodes. The third season had a number of elements we wouldn’t have predicted during season two in light of the occupation of New Caprica. Next year might also have a change in course of the show, possibly influenced by the identity of who ever is revealed to be a Cylon, and the fate of Kara Thrace. I would be quite surprised, and most fans would be very disappointed, if Starbuck doesn’t reappear in the finale.

While we might be terrified to see Cylons on our city’s streets, the United States Postal Service thought that placing R2-D2 in on the streets would be helpful to promote a new stamp. The New York Daily News Reports:

Coming to a Manhattan streetcorner near you – and a select few in the other four boroughs – a “Star Wars”-themed letter box in the form of lovable R2-D2.

Overnight, two dozen boxes were to get a robotic makeover as part of a gimmick to promote a new stamp out March 28.

In a news release, the Postal Service likened itself to the feisty little droid, boldly declaring that R2 “embodies the trust and dependability for which the Postal Service is so renowned.”

The R2-D2 boxes will pop up in 200 cities nationwide. In New York, most will be in high-traffic areas in Manhattan, like 43rd St. and Broadway, 58th St. and Fifth Ave., and 33rd St. and Seventh Ave.

The official announcement is scheduled for March 28. Until then we have this video for Star Wars fans.

More information has been released about the Heroes season finale:

Tim Kring, creator of NBC’s Heroes, revealed to SCI FI Wire that the first-season finale will comprise the last three episodes of the year, will bring all of the main characters together in New York—and will ultimately result in the death of one or more heroes. “The whole thing converges in New York, … and they’re all there, and all of them play a role,” Kring said in an interview at Wizard World in Los Angeles on March 17. “Even though some may feel like they’re less significant to the final event, when you analyze it, each one had to play that role in order for the final event to be solved, and so there really was a kind of destiny quality to them coming together and having each one fulfilling [one thing] and one specific role.”

Kring and company are completing the final draft of the season finale script—episode number 23, called “How to Stop an Exploding Man”—which goes into production in a week and is slated to air on May 23. Meanwhile, production has begun on the previous episode, “Landslide,” Kring said.

As for the deaths? All Kring will say is that people die, including main characters. “The thing is, people knew fairly early on [that they might not make it through the season],” Kring said of the cast members. “Everybody, every actor that we’ve spoken to. I mean, … we’ve spoken about this idea, that on this show the story is king and everybody is in service of that story. It’s not a star vehicle. No, the show does not live or die by any one character. And so every actor should realize that at some point their ticket might come up. It’s both sad and exciting at the same time.”

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Kristin Dunst does not believe there will be a Spider-Man 4 in the near future:

At this year’s ShoWest in Las Vegas, Kirsten Dunst showed up to accept the ShoWest Female Star of the Year, and at the press conference that preceded the awards ceremony, the question on many minds was whether she would be willing to make another movie in the “Spider-Man” franchise.

“Well, I think Sam has dedicated so much of his life, like more than ten years, to the Spider-Man franchise with so much passion and love, the man is burnt out at this time,” she told reporters. “I think he needs a long vacation to put his creativity towards something else and then maybe we’ll revisit it. I told Sam that we should do a ‘Spider-Man 4’ that’s completely low budget–‘Evil Dead’ style–where Mary Jane has eight children with very little special effects and then we’ll get a whole new audience, we’d make a lot of money because it wouldn’t cost as much and everyone would go see it.”

When asked about the rumors that Sony is moving forward with a fourth movie with or without Raimi, Dunst was surprised that someone would even suggest it. “Do they want to give Sam Rami a heart attack? That’s evil. Sorry, that’s not happening any time soon. I would just say no for Sam’s sake so that he can have a break. We would all do it together because Sam, Tobey and I are a team now, but there’s no way it’s going to happen very soon. I just can’t imagine that. We don’t have the story to tell right now.”

After seeing Locke killing or destroying repeatedly in recent episodes, the latest episode of Lost had him destroy the sub which could have led to the freedom for at least one major character. The story line had him helping out Ben without realizing it, but ultimately JJ Abrams also needed to work out a plot twist to keep Jack from leaving.

Was anyone really surprised to see that it was Locke’s father behind that door? It should lead to some family reunion. At least this time Locke might have the upper hand in the relationship.

If you think all politicians sound the same, check out this web site. A Finnish member of parliament is running for reelection, and offers translation of his web site in Klingon. An English translation is also available, but what fun is that? That would be like reading Hamlet in English rather than the original Klingon. There were some problems in translating the site. For example, the Klingon language has no word for “tolerance.” At least they could still communicate with conservatives who have no need of such words.

Sci Fi Friday: Ron Moore on Religion vs. Humanism in Star Trek and BSG

Interviews with Ron Moore are almost becoming a regular part of SciFi Friday. This week I have some excerpts from an interview conducted by Harlan Ellison:

Ellison: The parallels to current events are obvious; in particular, I think that the analogies to the Iraqi War are very clear. Did the parallels come from you or from some Sci-Fi [Channel] exec?

Moore: Fundamentally, they came from me. I felt, in that first week of thinking about it, that, okay, this is going to deal with 9-11 and a lot of the things we were going through as a society at that moment. It was just part of the premise. It was always going to be in the show, and once we were on that path, it just felt like we were going to keep doing this and we’re going to deal with things that are happening in our contemporary reality, but we were going to view them through a different prism.

The show was never going to be a direct allegory; Laura Roslin was not going to be George W. Bush, and the Cylons were not going to be al-Qaeda. But they were going to share elements. And part of the opportunity of doing a show like this was the opportunity to sort of move the pieces around the game board a little bit and say: “Well, we’ve all experienced this set of events. What if I move this piece over here, and put you over there? How would you feel about it then?”
There was a Sci-Fi [Channel] exec that had a key impact on the show, surprisingly enough. His name is Michael Jackson (no relation to the singer.) He worked for the network, and while I was working on the script for the miniseries, he read a line from Number Six, the blonde Cylon played by Tricia Helfer. She had a conversation with Baltar, and at one point she says, “God is love.” It was just something that I found on the page as I was writing it. And I wrote, and I was struck by it because it’s an odd thing for a robot to say. I liked it, but didn’t really know what it meant, and it wasn’t a focal point of the script.

But when Michael read the script, one of his notes was: “That’s fascinating. You already have elements of al-Qaeda and religious fanaticism hovering around the edges of what you’re doing. Why don’t you embrace that and go for that element because they don’t typically do that in Sci-Fi.” And my first reaction was: “Oh my God! Nobody ever gives you that kind of note, especially not an executive.”

So I just ran with it, and it became one of foundational elements of the show: the religious conflict between the two civilizations; the monotheism of the Cylons and the polytheism of the Colonials; what is God, what is human, and what does it mean to be alive. All of these metaphysical ideas and religious concepts sort of groove from that one line in the teleplay.

Ellison: My next question is about religion. The Cylons are the monotheists; they believe in God and are good Christian folk. And the crew, who are our heroes, are polytheists like the ancient Egyptians or Greeks. It was always interesting, but until recently there was never a third element; now the venue has changed and there’s a supernatural quality. A spiritual force is at work. Can you codify that?

Moore: I sort of felt that as the religious aspects of the show were becoming more common and started to dominate plot lines and certain character attributes, you sort of had to make a choice at some level about whether that was all bullshit or not. Does it mean something? Is all this worship just about talk and about made up religions that don’t mean anything? Or is there the possibility of something greater? These are the existential questions. Is this all that I am? Is there something more? Why am I here?

If all the characters on the show are asking themselves those questions, I felt that on some level I wanted to give a hint that maybe they’re not all fools. That maybe there’s some greater truth that they’re all struggling toward, that none of them can see perfectly. So I started to feather in ideas that could not be explained by rational means. While never really coming out and saying that God is behind the curtain, I wanted to have elements of it.

One of the things that I had noticed working on Star Trek, and in science fiction in general, was that mainstream science fiction tended to shy away from this as a subject. Gene Roddenberry felt very strongly that in the future of Star Trek, religions were all gone; that in 300 to 400 years mankind had evolved beyond it; that religions were all superstitions and were things of the past. It was a very secular humanist idea, which I don’t have a problem with philosophically, but I didn’t believe as a storyteller that in just a few centuries we would discard this fundamental thing that had informed our societies for so long.

So, I just felt that in this world in Galactica, which had nomenclature like Apollo and Athena and all these names of the Greek gods, it beggared the imagination to say that they didn’t really believe in it. And if they did believe it in, I wanted to give it some validity and show that there is something out there.

Variety reports that Battlestar Galactica executive producer David Eick is wroking on Them, an SF alien-invasion series for Fox Apparently if Fox News has been unsuccessful in leadilng the Republican invasion of Earth, their entertainment division will turn to a fictional invasion.The Spider-Man 3 trailer is available here. If you prefer DC to Marvel, the sequel to Superman Returns is expected for 2009.

By now most Lost fans are aware that they have to wait until next year for the season to pick up again and find out how the cliff hanger is resolved. Will Jack really ignore the Hippocratic Oath and allow Ben to die? Will his gamble work and allow all three of those captured by the others to escape? Fans of Jericho are about to be faced with a similar cliff hanger. The first half of Jericho‘s season will end November 29 with a cliffhanger, to be continued February 14. One good thing about this plan, for someone such as myself who hasn’t watched yet, is that this gives me time to watch the season to date on line and then follow when it returns. Having ways to catch missed shows is an excellent idea. The networks are learning that they must make some changes in how they present shows if they are to reduce their declining viewership.

How Nerdy Are You?

Tracking back the blogs which link to you often leads to all sorts of interesting stuff. After checking out this site, I found a test which revealed my nerd score. Personally I think that anyone who posts the score on their blog should get bonus points. Here’s my result:

I am nerdier than 41% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

I do appreciate the links I’m getting from other blogs. A couple of days ago, when this blog was just started, I had a Technorati score of over one million. That placed me with the blogs where people only blog about their cat, and their cat is their only reader. After a few links I moved up to the zone with those blogs by girls who blog about their bad dates. If the links keep coming in, I’ll be back up with the real blogs.

That nerd score doesn’t look too bad, but if you want to make anything out of it, think twice. After all, I’m Spider-Man. That story, and another oldie blog post with a stupid on line test, is below the fold.
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