Over the last few days the producers and stars of all the big genre TV shows were in San Diego at Comic Con. In our weekly wrap-up of news we have the latest from new show like FlashFoward, and old favorites like Lost, Doctor Who, Heroes, Fringe and more. Plus we have the latest images and previews. So let’s get started.
TV NEWS OF THE WEEK
SDCC ’09: First 15 Minutes of ABC’s FlashForward Screened
Those in attendance at ABC’s panel for "FlashForward" were treated to the first 15 minutes of the series. You can read extensive accounts of the footage shown at io9 and /Film. Here are some highlights of the panel [full impressions can be read at io9, Collider and /Film]:
- The show will be loosely based on Robert J. Sawyer’s novel. One change is in regards to the time elapsed during the black out. The book says 21 years, but that would be incredibly difficult to film so they’ve shortened it to six months.
- Sawyer approves, however, and according to David S. Goyer is the show’s "unofficial science advisor" and will write an episode for the season.
- While "Lost" served as an inspiration for the show, "FlashForward" will be more welcoming when it comes to giving answers, Goyer says.
- They knew how the show would end before they started writing.
- The six month point in the series happens on April 29th. The season one finale is scheduled to air on April 29th (at least one part, the second part will likely air the day after).
- Brannon Braga on what intrigued him about the series: “Every man, woman and child from earth has a vision of the future. That’s 6.8 billion stories that can be told.”
- Every episode will be a flash forward and the first three episodes of the season will take place in different countries.
- Dominic Monaghan’s ("Lost") character is called Simon.
"FlashForward" premieres Thursday, September 24th on ABC at 8:00pm.
SDCC ’09: David Tennant: His Final Episodes Will Be Emotional
David Tennant has finished filming his final scenes as the Doctor, and the star told reporters that his last episodes are "very emotional":
The final stories are very emotional… The story takes you to places that the Doctor can’t go on a regular basis. It affords an opportunity to confront this immutable character with new challenges and places you can only take him when that man is going to die, that version of that man is going to die. And that’s, for an actor’s point of view, hugely challenging and liberating and exciting… It’s thrilling that we get to make people cry a bit.
Also participating in the Q&A session with reporters was series creator Russell T. Davies, who said that he doesn’t expect incoming show runner Steven Moffat to use his existing supporting cast (Martha Mickey, Wilf, etc.): "He’s going to build his own. It’s probably time to say goodbye to those characters. Of course, for all I know, he could phoning them all up in Cardiff right now." Here are some bites to round out this week’s "Doctor Who/Torchwood" news:
- SDCC ’09: Davies confirmed that Lucy Saxon will be back in the final David Tennant episodes. [io9]
- SDCC ’09: Davies accepted an award for being the "Most Successful Science Show of All Time from a representative of The Guiness Book of World Records. [io9]
- The events of "Torchwood: Children of Earth" will not be referenced in the upcoming "Doctor Who" specials, says Davies: "Not as such, no," while gushing "My God, these [specials] are brilliant. I’m really happy with them." [EW]
- Speaking of "Torchwood", Davies remains "confident the series [will continue] in some shape or form," he says. "I will just sit down and invent new stories and characters — that’s what I’ve spent my entire life doing."…
- …and he pushed back against backlash over a death in "Torchwood": "It’s not particularly a backlash. What’s actually happening is, well, nothing really to be honest. It’s a few people posting online and getting fans upset." [EW]
- The premiere episode of the five-episode miniseries drew a record 1.4 million viewers on BBC America. [Multichannel]
Filming on the new season
SDCC ’09: Heroes Panel
"Heroes" creator Tim Kring began the panel presentation by thanking fans for the success of the series:
"I want to take a minute to say four years ago we came here with a pilot," he said. "We didn’t have much to show; the series was just a twinkle. But we showed it to this crowd, and it was because of the fans here that the show became what it became. We have never forgotten that and want to thank you for standing in lines and being so loyal all this time."
Kring then went into a brief introduction of what the fifth volume, called "Redemption, will be about, saying it’ll explore the following questions: "What does an ordinary life look like when you have powers? How do you try to fit in when you have powers?"
"Now every single one of them can go back to their normal lives, but how do you go back to being ordinary?" Kring posed. "Do you hide, do you try to assimilate? To typify that idea, we are introducing a new wrinkle. The whole time you were watching, there was this other group that learned how to hide in plain sight. We created this carnival. They have been hiding for all this time and coming in and out of view. The carnival will now show itself."
One of those new characters is Samuel, "the reluctant ringleader of this carnival," played by Robert Knepper. Others include the tattooed Lydia (Dawn Olivieri), the super speedster Edgar (Ray Park) and Claire’s new college friend (Madeline Zima). The presentation also included a screening of footage from the season’s first three episodes (by the way, episode five will be called "Hysterical Blindness"). You can read complete impressions of the panel at io9 and SCI FI Wire. Here are some highlights from the Q&A session [possible spoilers]:
- Masi Oka revealed that his character Hiro will spend most of the season dealing with a possibly terminal illness. His "Redemption" comes in the form of traveling back in time to fix all the mistakes he’s made in his life.
- With Sylar in the head of Nathan (Adrian Pasdar), Pasdar says his character will have "a little bit of a Jekyll and Hyde thing" going…
- …And Zachary Quinto (Sylar) won’t just be messing around with Nathan, but also Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg): "messing with his mind a little bit, giving him a taste of his own medicine."
- Kring said that lost viewership wasn’t the reason for the show’s change of course, explaining that the way this season will flow is something they’ve planned for a while:
"We have been planning this arc for quite a while, where everybody would go back to their normal lives. As a show it allows us to strip away things that are harder to relate to. When Claire is a freshman and Parkman is a detective, and then Nathan is a politician, it makes it easier. … We just want to dig a little deeper into our characters and what’s motivating them, and that’s always been a juggling act. We may see some characters sit out episodes so we can focus on the others, so we aren’t bouncing around so much."
Set image: Actor Rick Worthy (Matt Parkman’s new partner) [SpoilerTV]
SDCC ’09: Farscape Celebrates 10 Years; Webisodes In The Works
In addition to the comic book series announced at NYCC this year, Farscape, celebrating its 10th year anniversary, will continue on through a series of webisodes. While other options were considered, Brian Henson said that going the webisode route was the best way to go:
"…we’re just more interested in continuing the established story than in deviating into a spin-off. These short, non-linear webisodes will be the launching pad for for the next major chapter of Farscape. It’s about family; the continuing story of of Aeryn, Crichton, and their son."
Creator Rockne S. O’Bannon revealed that the webisodes would take place before the comics. Meanwhile, the end of a panel was reserved for a special surprise. A representative from The Guiness Book Of World Records presented the series creators with an award for "Most Visual Effects In A Television Series."
SDCC ’09: Eureka Renewed For 22-Episode Fourth Season
"Eureka" has been renewed for a fourth season consisting of 22 episodes. The announcement came from Syfy senior VP Mark Stern who was asked by star Colin Ferguson — who is in Bulgaria filming the Syfy original movie "Lake Placid 3" — if there’d be a fourth season:
"We weren’t going to announce it this way," said Stern, "but we are gonna be doing 22 episodes for season four.
Here are some other highlights from the panel:
- Not sure if he was joking when he said this but Stern added that Syfy "would love at least one if not two" of the season four episodes "to be a musical".
- Newcomer Tess, played by Jamie Ray Newton, will create a love triangle between herself, Allison and Carter.
- Matt Frewer (Jim Taggart) will be returning to the show next season.
SDCC ’09: Stargate Universe Panel
Creators Robert Cooper and Brad Wright told the crowd at Comic-Con that the show will appeal both to fans and newbies:
"We worked really really hard to keep the franchise going and make sure people who love Stargate have something to watch," Cooper said.
They also wanted to make it clear that they weren’t moving away from what worked with past Stargate shows: "At it’s core it really is still Stargate. People like you and I, in extraordinary circumstances," said Cooper. Here are some highlights from the panel [courtesy io9 and SCI FI Wire]:
- Not a good idea to skip episodes: Cooper: "It’s going to happen very fast. If you do miss an episode you may be left behind. I think you will be surprised by some of the major shake ups…"
- When asked a question about whether we’d see non-Jaffa, non-English-speaking aliens, Cooper responded: "We made a blood pact to not have rubber-faced, English-speaking aliens." They’ll definitely meet other species in the universe.
- Will we get more information about the Furlings? Wright: "No"; Cooper: "Maybe."
The footage that was screened for the fans has been made available online. Watch it below. "SGU: Stargate Universe" premieres Friday, October 2 at 9:00pm on Syfy.
Season one posters [One more at ComingSoon.net]
SDCC ’09: Fringe Second Season Mapped Out + New Viral Site
"Fringe" writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman and showrunner Jeff Pinkner revealed that working together with J.J. Abrams, the writing team has already mapped out the entire arc of season two. And for those wondering how many — stop reading now if you don’t want to be spoiled — realties exist in the show, the answer was revealed to be two. Jeff Pinkner: there is only "our reality and alternate reality". Also revealed during the Q&A was that at some point during the season a few of the characters may meet their alternate reality counterparts, and Leonard Nimoy will be on the show as much as he can. In other "Fringe" news:
- Ari Graynor (Rachel) will be back in the season premiere, but her involvement beyond that is TBD. [EW]
- FringeTelevision has a rundown of everything we know so far about the second season…
- …and the site has a listing of the special features for the Season 1 DVD (UK). [Fringe Television]
- A new website, CompleteThePattern.com, has gone live. At the moment it looks to be related to the upcoming DVD/Blu-ray release of season one. [via Fringe Television]
Set images [More at On Location Vacations]
SDCC ’09: Lost Season Six
Given what was presented at Comic-Con this year, it looks like the sixth and final season of "Lost" will be set in an alternate reality. During the panel three viral commercials were shown [via ComingSoon.net]:
The first was an ad for Oceanic Air that noted that the company was founded in 1979 (which, based on the ’70s timeline from season five, should hit this year).
The next, far more revealing ad, was for "Mr. Cluck’s Chicken", owned and operated by Hurley who "dreamed of a recipe for perfect chicken while on a trip to Australia". It would seem that, based on the events of the finale, we’re now in an alternate reality.
The last video was a clip from an episode of "America’s Most Wanted" focused on Kate Austen who, though she tried to kill her stepfather, killed a plumber named Ryan Milner by mistake.
- “The time travel season is over,” said Cuse, “Flashforward season is over. You’re going to see something different.” [ComingSoon.net]
- Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies) and Juliette (Elizabeth Mitchell) will be back next season.
- We’ll finally learn the secrets and backstory of Richard Alpert through a flashback that was described as being "very involved".
- New Viral website: As they entered the panel, fans were handed flyers directing them to LostUniversity.org. The back of the flyer has a note about Professor Nussdorf needing a TA and includes the phone number 818-824-6300. When you call the number you get an audio recording telling you the professor is on sabbatical until September 22nd. [ComingSoon.net]
You can watch the promotional video for Lost University that was shown during the panel at LostUniversity.org.
Lindelof revealed that the final scene has been written: “We have talked about the fact that the final scene of the show is written, and for the first time we have actually committed that to paper,” he said [SCI FI Wire]
The panel ended with Dominic Monaghan (Charlie) appearing on stage, but he didn’t say anything. Is he back? Still unclear.
And rounding out the week’s "Lost" coverage is news that a former castaway is returning. During the panel for The CW’s "Vampire Diaries", star Ian Somerhalder (Boone) announced that he’s returning: "We were actually talking about it today and… Boone will be coming back to Lost."
SDCC ’09: Syfy Sets January 22, 2010 Premiere for Caprica
The upcoming TV movie/DVD "Battlestar Galactica" and the Syfy prequel series "Caprica" shared a panel at Comic-Con, which featured producers David Eick and Ronald D. Moore, accompanied by writer Jane Espenson and some cast members including Edward James Olmos (who directed ‘The Plan’) and Esai Morales ("Caprica"). Here are some highlights from the Comic-Con panel and interviews (read complete impressions at /Film, SCI FI Wire and io9).
- Look closely because there will be easter eggs in "Caprica" for the fans. However, the goal remains for the show to create it’s own world.
- Moore refers to the setting as "Rome before the fall."
- With the Emmy nominations in, Moore expressed his angry at the cast getting snubbed: “It was a fraking crime that the entire cast of ‘Battlestar’ was never recognized for the performance they gave week in and week out,” Moore shouted to rapturous applause. “We would not be here talking about the about ‘Caprica’ if not for the ensemble of actors on ‘Battlestar.’” [THR Feed]
- Edward James Olmos expects more from the world of ‘BSG’: “I’m in this for the rest of my life”.
SDCC ’09: Summer Glau and Alexis Denisof To Join Dollhouse?
At the panel for "Dollhouse" creator Joss Whedon said that he’s working to get Summer Glau and Alexis Denisof added to the cast for the show’s second season. Summer had been mentioned as a possible cast addition in the past and Whedon states that although she’s still officially a "maybe", more than likely she’s a lock to join. The panel presentation also included a screening of the un-aired episode "Epitaph 1". You can read impressions of the episode at io9 and /Film.
SDCC ’09: The Prisoner Is A Response, Not A Remake, To The Original
Bill Gallagher, writer of the upcoming AMC miniseries "The Prisoner", said that when writing the project he looked at it more as a response to the original than a remake or sequel:
"I can see why you’d say that, I talk about it being cyclical, but I have to think about it on different layers and different levels, to imagine it. It’s not sequential in that, this happens then that happens, not at all, and my approach was not to recreate it, and not to reinvent it, but to respond to the original. If they said that, what do we say?"
Syfy Sets Fall Premiere Dates
The premiere dates for Syfy’s upcoming fall slate of new and returning original series have been announced.
- "Destination Truth" — Wednesday, September 9th at 9:00pm
- "SGU: Stargate Universe" — Friday, October 2nd at 9:00pm (two-hour premiere)
- "Scare Tactics" — Tuesday, October 6th at 9:00pm
- "Sanctuary" — Friday, October 9th at 10:00pm
- "Ghost Hunters" — will continue airing throughout the fall on Wednesdays at 9:00pm
- "Warehouse 13" — will continue airing through September 22nd on Tuesdays at 9:00pm
Smallville Season Nine Theme: "Clark’s darkest hour"
Smallville executive producer Brian Peterson chatted with EW’s Michael Ausiello about what to expect from the show next season, including the reveal of the theme, "Clark’s darkest hour", and how he’s not approaching the season as the show’s last:
- There will be a season-long love triangle with Clark, Lois and Red-Blue Blur.
- We’ll learn why Clark isn’t flying in a cene with him and Jor-El in the premiere.
- Brian Austin Green (Metallo) is still only signed for two episodes, but they’re hopeful that he’ll do more.
- Alessandor Juliani ("Battlestar Galactica") will reprise his role as Dr. Emil Hamilton for several episodes.
- Peterson recently had dinner with Michael Rosenbaum. Could Lex Luther be making a return?
- The third episode of the season will be called "Rapid". [KryptonSite]
Retro season three poster [TV Squad]
Promotional images for episode 12, "It’s Not Easy Being Green" [more at SpoilerTV]
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
First look at two new characters: Aurra Sing and Sugi [EW]
The Storm [one more at SCI FI Wire]
The official YouTube page for Comic-Con has uploaded several videos from the event, here is clip from Robot Chicken panel
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Season two trailer [io9]
- SDCC ’09: Producers screened the pilot episode of The CW’s new vampire drama "Vampire Diaries" and at least one site was none-too-impressed with what they saw: "VD makes Twilight look like Shakespeare. This show is a giant sparkle crap." [io9]
SDCC ’09: Speaking of "V", the show is getting an earlier than expected premiere. ABC has announced that it will premiere in November 2009. An exact date and time is still TBA. [VisitorSite]
SDCC ’09: Although "Futurama" creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen made it clear they want the original voice cast back, the two confirmed that they are all still in negotiations to return. [io9]
SDCC ’09: Joss Whedon announced comics based on "Firefly" (starring Shepherd Book) and "Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog". Dark Horse Comics will publish. [io9]
SDCC ’09: Paul McGillion will guest star in the season finale of "Sanctuary". He’ll be playing a re-imagined version of "Wexford", a character he played in the original online pilot. [SCI FI Wire]
SDCC ’09: "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane is optimistic that the upcoming ‘Empire Strikes Back’ parody can be released by the end of 2009, while showrunner David Goodman revealed the title of the next parody: "Episode VI: We Have A Bad Feeling About This". [io9]
SDCC ’09: "The Middleman" cast was on hand at Comic-Con to read the complete script of the un-filmed season finale. Read impressions of the cast read-through at io9.
- SDCC ’09: The entire "Eastwick" pilot was screened during Comic-Con. Check out some impressions at io9 and SCI FI Wire. ABC also announced the premiere date for the show. It’ll air Wednesday, September 23rd at 10:00pm. [THR]
- SDCC ’09: "True Blood" panel impressions. [/Film and EW]
SDCC ’09: Smallville [io9]
- Dynamite Entertainment has picked up the rights to produce comic books based on the Stargate franchise. They’re producing series based on "Stargate SG-1" ("Season 11"–to be written by Doug Murray), "Stargate Atlantis" ("Season 6"–to be written by Brandon Jerwa) and "SGU: Stargate Universe" ("Season 1"–to be written by Chuck Dixon). [CBR]
- The third episode of "Caprica" is called "The Reins of a Waterfall". Check out casting sides for the episode at SpoilerTV.
- ABC’s sci-fi drama "Defying Gravity" premieres August 2nd at 10:00pm and actress Christina Cox went to great lengths to detach the show from the failed Fox pilot "Virtuality": "I want to put this out there: I read both of these scripts, and I don’t understand why people are making the parallels between these two shows," Cox said. [SCI FI Wire]
- For the past several months, Charlize Theron has been in talks with Lionsgate about bringing Ayn Rand’s 1957 sci-fi novel Atlas Shrugged to television as a mini-series. The series would be produced by Epix, a proposed pay-cable network venture between Lionsgate and MGM. Rand, who passed in 1982, had favored television over film. [Risky Biz Blog]
Check out a review of composer Bear McCreary’s score of "Caprica". [SCI FI Wire]
Joe Flanigan will play Jeffrey Weaver, a wealthy man "whose charm captures Myka’s interest, but he finds himself under Pete and Myka’s scrutiny when a sculpture on which he bid, vanishes in an impossible heist," according to the Syfy episode description of "Elements", airing Tuesday, August 4th. [GateWorld]
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CHART (7/13/2009 to 7/19/2009)