Dollhouse has been renewed for a second season. Warner Bros are making a big budget movie of Primeval. And Star Trek is a smash box office hit. It’s like the world’s been turned on its head.
Still, this plus Niall’s admittedly lukewarm defence of the show may finally prompt me to give Dollhouse a try.
EDIT: And as if that isn’t enough craziness, they’ve greenlit a remake of alien-lizard invasion series V which stars Alan Tudyk (Wash) as a human and Morena Baccarin (Inara) as an alien. There’s a spoilery review of the pilot, which I haven’t read, here.
EDIT to the EDIT: Comment from Joss Whedon confirming the Dollhouse renewal.
I don’t normally embed videos, but I was emailed this today by Avaaz.org, and I’m sure this will be doing the rounds.
It’s a quite nice, positive video underlining America’s place in the world (rather than apart from it). The email claims “The ad doesn’t tell people who to vote for” (I assume they had difficulty saying this with a straight face since it’s explicitly anti-Bush) “but its overriding message of tolerance, diplomacy, human rights and equality is unmistakable”. And that part is tough to disagree with. It’s pro- things that, to me at least, sound like common sense. So I guess that makes it a pro-Obama advert. 🙂
Of course I don’t live in the US and can’t vote in the US election for quite sensible reasons relating to electoral fraud, but as the BBC like to remind us the election will affect the rest of the world. That’s clearly the point of this campaign.
The official blurb:
In just over a week, America will head to the polls. So much depends on this election — the fight against climate change, the war in Iraq, global efforts on human rights and many other issues.
But right now, US conservatives are employing the most divisive and deceptive tactics in the US election, portraying those who call for change as “anti-American” and even terrorist sympathizers. Check out this new response ad from the global online organisation Avaaz.org, calling for hope, unity, and change as Americans head to the polls.
If enough people watch the ad and sign its message to the American people and presidential candidates, it will be picked up by the US talk shows — who are looking for what is hot online. You can watch the ad and sign on here.
Hey, you never know…
EDIT: While I’m at it, here’s Joss Whedon praising a number of things including The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Hard Day’s Night, but Obama makes it into the list.
Disturbingly, LiveJournal has apparently morphed into UndeadJournal. My Halloween-loving wife approves of this “tremendously”. She’s already bought some sweets in preparation for the trick-or-treaters this Friday. She’s also bought a Witch’s hat because the team on her enquiries desk at work are dressing up for the occasion. And, yes, she’s now pretending to be a zombie and saying “Grr, Argh”, which segue-ways me nicely into…
Joss Whedon has posted about Dollhouse in his inimitable (i.e. insane and free-associative) way. He talks about the show and its behind-the-scenes trials and tribulations. It seems like a fairly honest post given how much detail he goes into about the difficulties with the network, but he also sounds enthused. Right now I really have no idea what to expect from this show or its premise, or if I’ll even like it, but I’m definitely intrigued to find out.
Today I succeeded in viewing the BBC iPlayer on our Wii, using the internet channel (for which I had to pay a trivial but somehow annoying £3.50). The Wii is an incredibly clunky way to browse the internet, with all sorts of zooming in, zooming out, scrolling around pages and trying to hit tiny buttons with the blunt instrument that is the Wii remote. It’s a bit like doing watch repair while wearing oven gloves. However I did succeed in streaming part of Simon Schama’s series about the U.S. using this method. Of all the ways to get TV on demand this is probably not going to win anyone over, but it does actually work. After a fashion.
I also now have a new mobile phone. I went with the Samsung G600 in the end, because although I don’t think it’s the best phone out there, it’s the best one whose shininess I fell in love with. My verdict: shiny! Seems good so far. Okay, I had to do a stupid menu hack to get it to synch with the PC, and if I want mp3 text-message tones I have to upgrade the firmware with a special cable I don’t own, but these niggles aside it’s a nice phone to use. I now have the Firefly End Theme as my ringtone. Did I mention the shiny?
Joss Whedon is filming a new pilot for Dollhouse, with the original pilot now the second episode. He explains, in amusing fashion, why this is allegedly not the usual well-trodden road to cancellation here.
There’s a promo for the Battlestar Galactica spin-off/prequel/barely related cash-in here. It doesn’t look terrible. It confuses me becase it looks more like A.I. than Battlestar Galactica and seems, on the face of it, hard to reconcile with what little we know of Galactica’s backstory.
Back in March I linked to a video of the Earth setting behind the moon from Japan’s Selene probe. Here is another one of those things that really gets your ‘sense of wonder’ juices flowing: video (okay, technically an animation of many still images) of the Moon passing in front of the Earth. This was taken from about
50 31 million miles by Nasa’s Deep Impact probe, which is all finished with its primary cometary mission and is hanging around the solar system drinking beer and spraying graffiti on asteroids until its next comet turns up.
More details, and an infrared version in which the continents are more visible, at the Nasa site.
After tomorrow Dr. Horrible becomes paid download only, so get your fix now.
Assorted movie trailers:
Watchmen. The trailer is a strange mix of extremely faithful images, overly stylised slow-mo and slightly unreal visual effects. I think I sorta like it. (EDIT: now working.)
Outlander. A spaceman crashes in an ancient norse village while hunting an alien creature. The Vikings do battle. The Vikings are led by John Hurt… …I *know*. I may have finally lost my grip on reality but this looks really entertaining, in a “Vikings vs. Predator by way of Chronicles of Riddick” way.
Terminator Salvation. This looks surprisingly promising for an unnecessary sequel, but really it’s just a mixture of Christian Bale and some images taken wildly out of context. A teaser trailer in other words.
Quantum of Solace. Hmm. Could be good. I loved Casino Royale, and it feels a bit strange saying this about one of the longest-running movie franchises in history, but it remains to be seen if they can catch lightning in a bottle a second time.
Oh and of course not forgetting:
It’s available again!
Having now seen Act One I can confirm that it is not, in fact, rubbish. It’s rather droll, in fact. I don’t often refer to things as droll – it makes me sound like a sardonic butler – but droll it is. Also, funny and with catchy songs. It takes a bit of time getting started, but it’s generally an extremely likeable, extremely silly bit of
TV streaming online media content. And Neil Patrick Harris is just great.
Well, Act I is available. Act II comes out on Thursday, Act III on Saturday, and then after Sunday it disappears and you can only download for a nominal free (or buy the eventual DVD).
This is Joss Whedon’s free, streaming, internet-only supervillan musical, which Joss explains far less coherently but more amusingly in his evil Master Plan.
My only caveat is that I haven’t actually watched it yet. For all I know it’s rubbish.
EDIT: This is on the Facebook and Myspace sites:
We’ve officially crashed
We love you for crashing the site, we really do.
In the meantime, those of you who have iTunes capabilities can go there and get your fix. Our site should be up and running again in a few hours.
Your support is warming our hearts and kicking our asses. So thank you thank you.
Joss Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon, and Zack Whedon
Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen are making a spoof Sherlock Holmes movie (as Watson and Holmes, respectively). This is almost certainly a bad idea, but as usual they failed to run it past me before greenlighting the project.
Meanwhile Guy Ritchie is making a not-spoof Sherlock Holmes movie. Or not intentionally spoof, anyway, since this is the previously reported “sexed up” version emphasising Holmes’s bare-knuckle boxing skills. Insert “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Jackets” joke here. On the other hand Robert Downey Jr. is playing Holmes, which makes me all intrigued. And afraid. And intrigued. And afraid.
Meanwhile David Simon will be following the incomparable The Wire and the upcoming Generation Kill miniseries with Treme, an HBO pilot for a series set in post-Katrina New Orleans; details of which can be found in this excellent and detailed article about Simon in the New Yorker (which contains some spoilers for the fifth season of The Wire).
Joss Whedon has an online webisode supervillain-musical thing called “Dr Horrible’s Sing-along Blog” starring Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day. Trailer, article and review. It looks strangely awesome.
A quite nice X Files 2 poster. Apparently they’re still haggling with the studio over what the film will be called. I don’t mind “The X Files 2” personally. It’s been so long since the first one they don’t really need a subtitle, and anything is better than “Fight the Future”.
The director of the fourth Terminator film, which is having title troubles of its own, seems to imply that they’ll be trying to keep its timeline straight with that of the very decent TV show The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Nice idea, although frankly since that series may or may not run for several years who knows where it might end up and how it may end up contradicting things? Despite the continuing absence of James Cameron (which arguably hamstrung T3), Christian Bale is on board for the film and there’s talk of making a Batman-style fresh start, which bodes well.
Incidentally the Sarah Connor series has some kind of tangential viral marketing site, EniTech labs, that seems to have little to do with the actual show but ties in strongly with the Teminator franchise as a whole. Frankly I couldn’t be bothered to plough through all the dodgily acted videos/webisodes but the last one does feature some cool Killer Robot Action.
Ronald D. Moore reckons they’ve taken the opportunity afforded by the writer’s strike hiatus to retool the second half of Galactica season 4 (spoilers in the link for those who haven’t seen the S3 finale). This either means that we’ll feel the benefit of forward planning that blessed the first half of Season 2 or, more likely on the evidence of recent storylines, that important threads will fizzle into nothing while major events and character arcs will suddenly erupt out of nowhere.
Battlestar Galactica’s Helo is one of the stars of famed misogynist (just kidding) Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse.
Meanwhile Moore and fellow Galactica producer David “Not the one who thinks the Queen is a lizard” Eick have been given the greenlight on their strangely dull-sounding Galactica prequel Caprica. I wish I could summon up any interest in this but I can’t.
Eick is also writing the pilot of a TV show based on Children of Men. Sounds like a terrible idea given how good the film was, but from the brief comments he makes it seems it will be based more on the book and the social aspects of having no future for mankind. So it may not suck.
And finally… J Michael Straczynski In Good Script Shock. Specifically his movie script for World War Z, apparently.
I’m not normally one for fan-made videos setting TV clips to music but this one of Firefly/Serenity to the music of Wicked has Joss Whedonian and Tim Minearian endorsement, so I went to look. It’s extremely well done.
< insert obligatory *sob* for Firefly here >
While I’m here, the 2007 in Review piece in Strange Horizons has a very small contribution by yours truly, in which I inexplicably can’t find anything better on TV last year than Doctor Who. Three times in a row. It’s just wrong. Fortunately everyone else is very erudite and reads books and stuff. Also pikelet is insane but you knew that.
Of course The Wire is far better than any SF-related TV currently airing but that doesn’t count for Strange Horizons. My Season 4 DVD arrived today, and Season 5 has just started in the US. It’s just so very satisfying, layered and intelligent and you should all be watching it but will you lot listen? *Will you*?
In lieu of any other good TV and with anyone who could potentially write some being on strike, we’ve resorted to DVDs. We’ve been hugely enjoying Cracker on DVD, a series we missed in its entirety when it was on TV. Robbie Coltrane is fantastic, and the writing is incredibly sharp, with a real interest in psychology and themes rather than just the surface process of investigation. This definitely puts it a notch above most other ostensibly ‘crime’ related television which seems more formulaic with each passing year. We’ve only the final one-off special and the more recent Cracker reunion TV movie to go.
We’ve also been bingeing on old Doctor Who. The Time Warrior is splendid, and gives me my fix of Sontarans in a way that The Sontaran Experiment just didn’t accomplish. The Claws of Axos is, sadly, complete rubbish despite featuring some iconic images that have stuck with me since childhood. In contrast, Tom Baker’s debut story Robot is great. Yes, even the rubbish FX are great. All of this has made me so nostalgic that I’ve rashly ordered the Beneath the Surface box set, despite it having the really terrible Warriors of the Deep in it.
“A towering powdered wig upon David Fury’s head”. Joss Whedon on the Writer’s Guild strike.
“‘Reality’ television, which employs more writers than you can imagine”. Brian K Vaughan on the Writer’s Guild strike.
“You’re fighting over residu-wha?”. The United Hollywood blog.
And Penny Arcade too.
Some comics goodness that caught my attention:
There’s a well-written piece by Jonathan Ross in The Guardian about his “In Search of Steve Ditko” documentary for BBC4’s Comics Britannia strand.
They’re making Angel: After the Fall, the officially sanctioned continuation of Angel in comics form. Given how perfectly the series ended I can’t say I’m much interested in reading it, but this Tony Harris cover is a lovely image, even if the Spike likeness is a bit off. It looks suspiciously like a John Constantine Hellblazer cover.
I’m not reading the Buffy Season 8 comic either, although I may pick up the trade paperback since Joss is actually ‘executive producing’ and writing for it and the latest arc is by the ever-impressive Brian K Vaughan1. Jo Chen’s covers continue to impress with the latest two issues: Faith vs Buffy and Giles
1 Who pitched it to Joss, apparently, as “Faith the Slayer Slayer”.
Extremely wise words from Joss Whedon about the stoning of one woman, the oppression of many. Well worth a read.
(If it comes up with a database error just refresh a few times).
There’s a nice little interview with Joss Whedon over at geekmonthly.com focusing mainly on the “8th Season” Buffy comic he’s co-writing and ‘executive producing’: Part One, Two, Three, and Four. Spoilers for the comic, naturally.
In the ‘pretty pictures’ department there are also some lovely new CGI images from the remastered version of ‘The Doomsday Machine’, one of Classic Trek‘s best efforts. Although my affection for Star Trek has waned over the years, I somehow still get a kick from seeing images like these.
As previously mentioned I’m heading to London for my brother’s Stag Do this weekend, but sadly far too briefly to even consider meeting fellow denizens of the interwebs. It’s pretty much going to be arrive, booze, recover, leave. Hopefully in that order. As a result you’ll all have to survive the weekend without my dazzling LJ repartee. Much like every other weekend.
A few things that caught my eye recently:
Joss Whedon is no longer writing the Wonder Woman film, a movie he’s been trying to script for months now. I can’t say I’m devastated since Wonder Woman is not the most exciting character in the world, but I feel reasonably certain that Joss’s take on her would have been more interesting than the alternatives.
The Buffy: The Vampire Slayer comic overseen by Joss Whedon as a hypothetical eighth season of the TV Series is due soon. He talks about it (with spoilers) on the extremely hyperactive MTV.com. The comic artwork at darkhorse.com looks rather nice, including this lovely painting of Willow.
Meanwhile Outpost Gallifrey have reported a couple of pieces of Torchwood ‘news’ recently. One is the potentially good news (on the relative scale of “good” in which Torchwood operates) that Sapphire and Steel creator PJ Hammond is writing another episode next year, following up on “Small Worlds” last year. Disappointingly he also mentions that talks with ITV about a new Sapphire and Steel series broke down, so I’m sure we can look forward to more of Jack and Gwen wandering around pretending to be David McCallum and Joanna Lumley. More bizarrely, there are proposals afoot to name Cardiff’s new Shopping Centre after Torchwood, a move that wouldn’t make the organisation noticeably less secret.
On the Doctor Who Audio Drama front the site also reports that: “The 100th Release of the Big Finish Doctor Who range is Earthstorm by award-winning author Stephen Baxter, which features the Sixth Doctor and is due to be released late September. Baxter is one of Britain’s most respected hard science-fiction novelists, his books include The Time Ships, which was an authorised sequel to H.G. Wells’ influential classic The Time Machine.”
In what I’m sure is a very patronising attitude to Doctor Who I find this slightly incongruous, not least because I’m currently reading Baxter’s Coalescent. No, not that Coalescent.
Scrubs has done a musical episode. Which looks fun, though I haven’t seen it yet. I haven’t watched a lot of Scrubs but Janet’s been catching some repeats recently and it’s always amiable and often very funny. The creator’s interviewed about the musical episode here and does namecheck Buffy‘s musical.
In a strange Mutant Enemy juxtaposition, Amy Acker is to be Nathan Fillion’s missing wife in Drive. They’ve currently ordered 12 episodes on top of the now re-cast pilot, making 13 episodes in total. For a Tim Minear series. I think we can all see where this is heading.
Heroes has been renewed for a second season. By the end of the first season we’ll know whether the show can possibly continue spitting out plot at a rate that would make most other shows tremble. I really hope it can: it’d be a shame to see a Lost-style consolidation into jealously hoarding a meagre store of ideas; one of Heroes‘ more compelling elements is its page-turning cliffhangers. It starts on the UK Sci-Fi Channel next month and BBC2 has it at some point after that.
Battlestar Galactica in ‘may upset its fans’ shock. No surprise there, you may imagine, but it does seem to involve a significant turn of events (general spoileryness in the link). Hopefully this will be one that’s integrated into the storyline a little better than most of the series’ recent games of character pinball.
Torchwood was apparently a ratings success after all. Hard to believe, I know. Okay, its BBC3 ratings fell by two-thirds but remained high for the channel, and the BBC2 ones fared a little better. In total it ranged from about 6.6 to 4 million. Still, it’s hard to see what it was about the show that actually warranted the attention of 4 million people. (My review of the finale *cough*shamelessplug*cough*.)
EDIT: Veronica Mars‘ shorter-than-hoped third season will end on five standalone episodes instead of a final arc. Not only that, but the final five episodes will air after an eight week break. No decision has been made about a fourth season yet, but reading between the lines I do wonder if that isn’t the distant whiff of cancellation in the air. I really, really hope not. VM is a strong contender for my favourite show at the moment.
Studio 60 near cancellation. Sorkin’s frustratingly misfiring series is seeing a massive ratings drop-off from Heroes, and looks to be not long for this world. As the article says: “There’s nothing wrong with the acting, directing, or dialogue writing. But the premise is faulty. No one cares whether a bunch of over caffeinated, well off yuppies, some with expensive drug habits, put on a weekly comedy sketch show from Los Angeles.” Disappointing, but true.
Spoilers for Heroes Episodes 1 to 5
It has Whedon. It has Joss. It has Interview. It’s a Joss Whedon interview.
Yes, another one. This time being interviewed by fellow comics scribe Brian Michael Bendis. Less insanity and more content than usual, with a slant towards comics which may fly over some people’s heads, but also plenty of Buffy and Firefly stuff and the revelation that he loved the Battlestar Galactica miniseries.
An interview with Joss Whedon about the usual: Serenity, Wonder Woman, Spike and Buffy comics. He seems to have taken his medication for this one.
Which is more than can be said for this one, as Joss prognosticates hilariously about what TV will be like in the future.
And this one, in which he’s clearly lost it entirely as he mourns the passing of the Universal Serenity message board.
Meanwhile this 2004-ish interview with David Fury talks at some length about the end of Buffy and Angel.1
1I found this one during a deeply unwise low-level fly-by of umtbvs. I’ve learned my lesson, and will henceforth leave the trolls to simmer gently in their own juices, icundell excepted of course. 🙂
An incredibly hyper Joss Whedon post is here. Some good stuff about a Buffy comic and the Serenity DVD, but mainly it made me laugh lots. He so crazy.
Well, first of all, what a blast I’ve had with the release of Serenity! $267 million at the box office — in Des Moines alone! Ten sequels lined up, March declared “National Serenity Awesomeness Month”, Nathan made President for Life of Canada AND Greece (his will be a bloody and righteous rule), and Summer’s feet to be exhibited at the Tate, when she has time to stand around at the Tate. (She should bring a book.)
Joss Whedon’s letter to Angel fans from the DVD box-set, for those like me that don’t own it but want to know what he said anyway.
Meanwhile Serenity (remember that old thing?) continues to creep towards earning back its budget. Which still puts it miles away from recouping all its costs, but still…. And 26% of its box office came from overseas, most of which was personally accounted for by my friends list.
Two films that I had no interest in seeing until recently, but which the trailers have successfully turned me around on:
An “inside look” at King Kong featuring some interview footage of a Peter Jackson who has lost an incredible amount of weight but failed to have his hair trimmed accordingly, resulting in an appearance which I can only describe as a disturbingly insane gnome. More importantly there’s plenty of Giant T-Rex on Giant Ape action. The wisest decision they ever made was setting ths remake back in the 1930s, an era when (my brain insists) they really did have spooky jungle islands filled with dinosaurs.
And The Chronicles of Narnia, a series of books that never agreed with me, but which the trailer cannily paints as a mixture of Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings to fairly spectacular effect. In a brave casting decision it features Liam “Wise Old Mentor” Neeson as a wise old talking lion.
Lastly, but not leastly, and certainly most randomly, an interesting optical illusion involving spinning lights that will almost certainly not make you go blind, but I’m taking no legal responsibility just in case. Fear my spam!
Drooling Firefly fanboy (and grrl) linkage:
A Firefly soundtrack album is available to buy online, but only to download.
There’s a decent and lengthy Joss Whedon interview here, but if you haven’t seen Serenity yet I’d steer clear as there are some big read-between-the-lines spoilers.
There’s a nifty and lengthy conversation with both Joss Wedon (sic) and Neil Gaiman here. Spoiler free banter ensues.
And finally, one Mr Joss Whedon Esq. has posted on the official Serenity message board ahead of the official US release date on Friday, and I’m too lazy to register and read it but luckily someone has quoted it here.
There is a really deeply spiffy interview with Joss Whedon here which is worth your time. Lots of in depth discussion about his contribution to films in general, including Toy Story, Speed, Wonder Woman and of course Serenity, with no significant spoilers that I’ve noticed.
EDIT: …and Batman, and Global Frequency, and Iron Man, and Powers, and….
EDIT 2: …and House, and Veronica Mars… phew! Long interview.
There’s a brief, but interesting, Joss Whedon interview up on darkworlds.com. Part one focuses on Serenity (in a non-spoilery way.)
Part One – Serenity
Part Two – Buffy and Angel
Part Three – er, Shaun of the Dead
Nothing too revelatory, but worth a look.
There’s also a brief-but-interesting walk and talk interview with Tim Minear about his new show The Inside, which manages to make me quite excited about it without revealing anything whatsoever about it. I’m easily led, that way.
EDIT: Continuing the “people who make TV” theme, Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica blog currently has a Q&A on various aspects of the show’s first season. Towards the end he touches on the moral and political aspects including Adama’s behaviour in the first season tribunal episode, which pleases me because he’s clearly aware of the issues at play.