Sci-Fi TV Thursday: Fringe, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Terra Nova, The Walking Dead + more | TrekMovie.com
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Sci-Fi TV Thursday: Fringe, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Terra Nova, The Walking Dead + more September 22, 2011

by Rosario T. Calabria , Filed under: Sci-Fi , trackback

In this week’s edition of Sci-Fi TV, we get ready for the fourth season of Fringe, discover new details about Terra Nova, get confirmation on a Doctor Who delay and a new The Walking Dead live after-show. Plus more including an update on the passed-over Fox pilot Locke & Key. All that plus much more, including the latest new images and video previews.

GENRE TV NEWS

Fringe producers talk season four + New digital comic

"Fringe" begins its fourth season tomorrow night and ahead of the premiere, producers J.H. Wyman and Jeff Pinkner sat down with reporters to discuss what’s ahead for the new season. Note: Spoilers ahead. The most important aspect of the season is, of course, the disappearance of Joshua Jackson’s character Peter Bishop:

“Just because he doesn’t exist doesn’t mean that those three years we’ve invested all didn’t happen. It did happen. And it will all unfold itself for you to understand what context I’m speaking,” says Wyman. Pinkner adds: “The show constantly tries to recontectualize your perception of this story…. The idea that Peter is gone — and, ultimately, he’s not permanently gone — is an opportunity to recontectualize the story and what we’ve seen again. It’s something we love to play with.”

Wyman also teased that the new season will feature further parallels and differences in the two worlds through the characters which will enable the writers to tell the story of "how are these universes going to work together to heal their joint damage now that they have a means to do so … This offered us a good opportunity to … watch how the two Olivias are looking at problems very differently. It goes back to our major theme: Our experiences are who we are." Check out another interview with Pinkner and Wyman at Give Me My Remote. Meanwhile, in an interesting twist, Fox has released a new press release for the season premiere written by Peter Bishop:

Dear Esteemed Members of the Press:

In the words of Mark Twain, one of my favorite novelists, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” Where I am exactly, I can’t precisely say… and by that, I don’t mean I WON’T say, it’s just that I can’t seem to see or hear anything.

However, the writers and producers swear to me that I will be making my way back to Boston soon enough, and thus far they have done nothing to make me distrust them. So it is with great pleasure that the first two episodes of FRINGE, Season Four, entitled, “Neither Here Nor There,” airing Friday, Sept. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), and “One Night in October,” airing Friday, Sept. 30 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), are now available for review…..They both contain the usual mystery, suspense, science and general nuttiness…although selfishly I wish they both contained a bit more of, well… me. I hope you enjoy them. Humbly, Peter Bishop. #Fringe #Fox

In the words of Mark Twain, one of my favorite novelists, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

Where I am exactly, I can’t precisely say… and by that, I don’t mean I WON’T say, it’s just that I can’t seem to see or hear anything.

However, the writers and producers swear to me that I will be making my way back to Boston soon enough, and thus far they have done nothing to make me distrust them.

So it is with great pleasure that the first two episodes of FRINGE, Season Four, entitled, “Neither Here Nor There,” airing Friday, Sept. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), and “One Night in October,” airing Friday, Sept. 30 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), are now available for review on the FOX Screening Room site at http://www.foxflash.com/screeningroom.

They both contain the usual mystery, suspense, science and general nuttiness…although selfishly I wish they both contained a bit more of, well… me.

I hope you enjoy them.

Humbly,

Peter Bishop

Rounding out this week’s "Fringe" update, DC Entertanment has announced a new comic book series called "Beyond The Fringe". The first installment — which can be purchased for 99 cents via digital download at read.dccomics.com — was written by Joshua Jackson and drawn by Jorge Jimenez.

According to EW, new episodes will be posted every two weeks:

New issues will post every two weeks and will alternate between “A storylines” and “B storylines.” The former will explore uncharted regions of the show’s mythology; the latter will feature “what if?” tales that imagine variations of events and adventures.

Jackson’s three-part “A” arc is entitled “Peter and The Machine” and takes place between the events depicted in the season three finale and the forthcoming season premiere.

EW has a two-page excerpt from the comic which is included below. Head on over to EW for more details and don’t forget to tune in to Fox tomorrow night (Friday, September 23) at 9PM to watch the season four premiere – "Neither Here Nor There".

Promotional stills for episode 4×02 – "One Night in October" [more at Fringe Spoilers]

Promotional stills for episode 4×03 – "Alone in the World" [more at BuddyTV]

Season four promo [YouTube]

Game of Thrones producers talk season two + Peter Dinklage wins Emmy

The currently filming second season of "Game of Thrones" is based on the second novel in George R.R. Martin’s series, "A Clash of Kings". Executive producers / showrunners Dvaid Benioff and D.B. Weiss discussed the upcoming second season in an interview with MTV:

"This season is kind of the drive to war for all of these different warring factions that have been building up," D.B. Weiss said. "They start to move against each other and come to blows with each other."

Co-showrunner David Benioff added that everybody will be in danger:

"It’s one of the things we loved about the books, and it’s true of the series as well: any of the characters, no matter how important, can die in any episode. And it’s not a very special episode of ‘Game of Thrones,’ it’s just that that’s how life is in this world."

Benioff also noted while they want to stay close to Martin’s source material, they’re not afraid to deviate if necessary:

"We can do what we want, there’s no contract saying we have to be faithful to the books," said Benioff. "We happen to love the books, the characters in our show are quite faithful to the characters [in the books], and George R.R. Martin is a wonderful plotter so we don’t want to screw anything up if we don’t have to. That said, we’re going to have to deviate from time to time."

In related news, Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister, won an Emmy Sunday for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama series. "Game of Thrones" will premiere its second season on April 15, 2012.

Season two set images [more via io9]

Doctor Who season 7 pushed back to autumn 2012 + Description released for 2011 Christmas special

Sorry "Doctor Who" fans, but Doctor Who Magazine has confirmed what has been suspected for some time: BBC will delay the seventh season until autumn 2012. Shooting on the seventh season isn’t scheduled to begin until February 2012, so Doctor Who TV predicts this possible schedule:

2012
Easter Special
Autumn – Series 7 Part 1
Christmas Special

2013
Spring – Series 7 Part 2
Autumn – Series 8
Christmas Special

Thankfully there is some good news to report this week. BBC has released an official description for the upcoming Christmas special:

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

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

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

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

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

This marks Matt Smith’s second outing as the Doctor at Christmas time and will follow hot on the heels of the successful 2011 series, currently airing on BBC One until October.

The Christmas Special was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama and Danny Cohen, Controller BBC One. Steven Moffat is Lead Writer and Executive Producer with Piers Wenger and Caroline Skinner, also executive producing.

Filming on the Christmas special will continue until mid-October 2011.

Set images from the upcoming Christmas special [more at Doctor Who TV and Wales Online]

Promotional stills for episode 6×12 – "Closing Time" [Blogtor Who]

Promo for "Closing Time" [YouTube]

Terra Nova star Jason O’Mara says a regular character will die by season’s end

"Terra Nova" star Jason O’Mara revealed in a conference call with reporters that the series’ first season will feature several deaths, including one major character:

I can reveal that one of the characters that you will have come to know, and hopefully love, will die by the end of the first season. There will be a death of a regular character by this season’s end.

O’Mara also noted that dinosaurs will be featured in every episode "regardless of how human the stories become, we’ll always a healthy dose of dinos." O’Mara plays the character Jim Shannon, whom he says takes on a sort of sheriff role:

He’s also been sort of, whether he likes it or not, he’s sort of been made the sheriff in this frontier town. So he has to kind of go along with what [the leader, Nathaniel] Taylor does and says and sometimes he has reservations; sometimes he’s in accordance to it, but the questions that are brought up sort of affect the very fabric of Terra Nova’s society that is being created as we go along.

Despite the obvious sci-fi-theme of the show, O’Mara says while they’re embracing the genre, they hope that the show will appeal to an even wider audience:

We’re trying to create something that’s a little bit bigger than that. It’s not just for a niche audience; this isn’t Battlestar Galactica; it’s not Star Trek. This is not for, necessarily for sci-fi fans out there even though I think sci-fi fans will get a lot out of it…This isn’t just about time travel and dinosaurs; it’s about a lot more than that.

O’Mara also teased what to expect for season two:

The 11th Pilgrimage is coming and it’s coming at the end of Season 1, but we don’t know what the 11th Pilgrimage is going to be made up of. By then it could be pilgrims, but it could be something else far more terrifying.

You can read more from the conference call with O’Mara at io9. In other news, Fox recently released a music video featuring the song "Another Sun" by singer Michelle Branch. Watch it below.  "Terra Nova" premieres Monday, September 26 at 8PM on Fox with a two-part series premiere.

Promotional stills for episode 1×03 – "Instinct" [more at SpoilerTV]

New promo featuring more dinosaur footage [YouTube]

Watch another promo here

Report: MTV considering reviving passed-over Locke & Key pilot

Fox may have passed on the TV adaptation of Joe Hill’s comic book "Locke & Key" (produced by Josh Friedman, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci), but there’s a report that MTV is showing interest. Deadline says MTV programming chief David Janollari was given a DVD of the pilot and while there hasn’t been any conversation between the two sides, it has given some hope to the series. Before this latest development, Syfy was said to be interested, but ultimately passed due to concerns over cost. Comic writer Joe Hill, meanwhile, is also keeping the door open:

"Trying to figure out if I can say anything about the Deadline piece. People like the pilot. All doors have not been locked. You never know."

If you haven’t already seen it, here’s the official trailer.

AMC announces The Walking Dead after-show Talking Dead

AMC has officially announced "Talking Dead", a live after-show that will air following "The Walking Dead". The series’ first episode will take place following an encore presentation of "The Walking Dead" on premiere night October 16:

AMC announced today “Talking Dead,” the network’s first live after-show that serves as a platform for discussion for AMC’s series, “The Walking Dead.” The half-hour episodes are produced by Michael Davies’ Embassy Row and are hosted by Chris Hardwick (Nerdist; G4). “Talking Dead” premieres immediately following the encore presentation of “The Walking Dead” on Sunday, October 16. Then beginning on Friday, November 4th the series follows “The Walking Dead’s” encore presentation at 11 pm EST.

Just as one would expect, the live shows will feature discussions with fans, actors and producers from the series recapping the most recent episodes of "The Walking Dead" and taking questions and comments from viewers.

Meanwhile, in casting news, Michael Zegen has just been signed on for a recurring role. Zegen will play Randall, a new character not featured in the comic books. According to EW Randall is described as "a skinny Southern kid who finds himself in a rather unique set of post-apocalypse circumstances. Beyond that, producers are staying mum on the role."

“The Walking Dead” season two premiere is titled “Miles Behind Us” and will premiere on AMC Sunday, October 16.

Season two promotional stills [more at SpoilerTV]

Season two promo [YouTube]

Watch another promo here


PREVIEW Videos & Images

Alphas

Promo for episode 1×11 – "Original Sin" [YouTube]

American Horror Story

Season one trailer [YouTube]

Chuck

Promotional stills from the season five premiere – "Chuck Versus the Zoom" [more at SpoilerTV]

First look at Mark Hamill’s character "Jean Claude" [TVGuide]

Eureka

Promo for Christmas special / promo [YouTube]

Person of Interest

Promotional stills for episode 1×02 – "Ghosts" [more at SpoilerTV]

The Sarah Jane Adventures

Season five promo [YouTube via Life, Doctor Who & Combom]

The Secret Circle

Promotional stills for episode 1×03 – "Loner" [more at SpoilerTV]

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Promo for episode 4×03 – "Prisoners" [YouTube]

Supernatural

Sneak peek at season seven [YouTube]

Warehouse 13

Promotional stills for the two-part season three finale  – "Emily Lake" & "Stand" [more at SpoilerTV]

Promo for the two-part finale [YouTube]

TV BITES & CASTING BITES

Episode descriptions / synopses


Follow Russ on his blog: Your Entertainment Now and on Twitter: Twitter.com/YourEntNow.

Comments

1. Harry Ballz - September 22, 2011

Doctor Who rocks!

2. The TOS Purist aka The Purolator - September 22, 2011

Wow, an update! Thanks!

3. Nemesis4909 - September 22, 2011

Really excited for Terra Nova, what can I say, I just love dinosaurs.

I stopped watching Doctor Who long ago, this latest season just does nothing for me, don’t know what it is but it’s just gotten rubbish to me.

Also, another fall schedule with no new Star Trek series, this saddens me.

4. Jim Nightshade - September 22, 2011

soo did they recast sarah jane adventures? i liked it what little i saw on cifi years ago–also didnt appreciate that comment bout tera nova not being star trek–no duh—so does that mean some think all scifi is trek?

5. Vultan - September 22, 2011

Rosario, is there any word if and when SyFy will air Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome? Been a while since I’ve heard anything about it….

6. Maffc - September 23, 2011

#4
Sarah Jane was not re-cast, This is Elizabeth Sladden’s final work. May she rest in peace.
I believe the series is much shorter than planned as they halted production when she became too ill to continue.

7. Canon Schmanon - September 23, 2011

Hey Rosario!

Thanks for almost singlehandedly keeping the site alive!

8. Alf, in pog form - September 23, 2011

The Walking Dead – now there’s a show I thought would be cliche and stupid, but turned out it was pretty darn good (and gory!) Very much looking forward to season 2.

9. CmdrR - September 23, 2011

Jeez, when did killing off main characters become an actual selling point for series?

Doctor Who Christmas specials are a huge event in Britain. Be nice if American audiences could muster up loyalty for something that doesn’t involve duck-lipped women behaving badly.

Anyway, thanks Rosario.

10. James T. West - September 23, 2011

What’s going on with Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome pilot?

11. Blake Powers - September 23, 2011

Game of Thrones was easily the best show on Television! I can’t wait for the next season! The books have been great to me!

12. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - September 23, 2011

What’s going on with the new Star Trek Series. Lol.
Ok. None of the newer shows are really getting my attention. Fringe and Dr. Who and Supernatural are the only ones I watch.
Lock and Key sounds like it would be good.
What is up with Battlestar Galactica Blood and Chrome.

13. rm10019 - September 23, 2011

Thanks for another great article Rosario! Love the modern Doctor Who!

14. MoPo - September 23, 2011

“…this isn’t Battlestar Galactica; it’s not Star Trek.”

Good job p-ssing off 3/4 of your prospective audience.

15. mr. trek77 - September 23, 2011

hey 10.

IMDB say 2012, but not much. And BSG-Wiki only announces it as ´´next´´.

16. AJ - September 23, 2011

What Blake Powers said…GOT is amazing TV.

17. A. - September 23, 2011

Can’t wait for American Horror story to premiere it looks like it rocks…I hope its not going to be the situation why I expect more than what the show gives…it would suck.

18. Red Dead Ryan - September 23, 2011

When one of the “stars” from “Terra Nova” announces before the series premier that his character is going to be killed off at the end of the season, it doesn’t say much for the show’s prospects!

19. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - September 23, 2011

I am currently watching Season 6 of Supernatural and I am loving it.I seen Seasons 1 through 5 on TNT and now I bought season 6 on Bluray and that is one fantastic show. I am now halfway through and it is one hell of a ride. I will be ready for season 7 on Sunday on my Tivo.

20. RGClay - September 23, 2011

@ Commodore Mike
Supernatural is one of THE best shows out there!
Doing the same as you and catching up on 6 and Tivo-ing 7!!

21. wowseruk - September 23, 2011

World War 2 again?

Oh please no!

We might as well go back to ‘quarry era who’ :)

22. CmdrR - September 23, 2011

21 – I think by “quarry era who” you mean the Tom Baker years, which I loved. Of course, Tennant’s Who found a quarry or two, and Smith seems to keep landing in quaint Scottish (Welsh?) villages. One of the charms of the show is that it is British. If I see Dune Buggies in Southern California = alien world one more time I’ll scream.

Anyway… it’s only TV!!!

23. Phil - September 23, 2011

Probably not new news here…but BG:B&C seems to be dying on the vine…

http://io9.com/5834264/battlestar-galactica-blood-and-chrome-may-get-demoted-back-to-being-a-webseries

24. Kweeg - September 23, 2011

About Blood and Chrome, seems Syfy dosn’t even know.
http://www.cinemablend.com/television/Battlestar-Galactica-Prequel-Blood-Chrome-May-Shipped-Online-Format-34546.html

25. Phil - September 23, 2011

Slightly off topic, but a short write up of ST stories that never saw the light of day. No idea if any of this is legit, but it’s an interesting read.

http://io9.com/5842915/10-star-trek-episodes-were-glad-they-never-filmed

26. Rosario T. Calabria - September 23, 2011

Re: Battleship Galactic.

As noted in the comments above, the last we’ve heard about the project is that Syfy was still weighing its options. They didn’t seem too impressed with what they’ve seen, so it may stay as a web series — as was originally planned — versus premiering as a TV movie/ back door pilot.

Time will tell, but even when it was announced it wasnt expected that we’d see it until 2012 at the earliest. Although filming did begin in February of this past year (the project was officially announced in October 2010).

27. Of Bajor - September 23, 2011

Jalandra Forum

28. Vultan - September 23, 2011

#26

Well, thanks for the update on BSG: B&C, Rosario (and everyone else). It’s too bad the production is so shaky.

Didn’t Glen Larson announce a while back he was planning a BSG movie, more like the original series? Any new news on that?

29. Battle-scarred Sciatica - September 23, 2011

Terra Nova looks terra-bull.

It looks cheesy as hell. Full of pop-poster posers.

I am sure some people will love it.

Matt Smith is turning out to be a great Doctor. Way be better than Tennent IMHO.

BSG should be left alone I think. BSG was brilliant and that cow has been milked enough I say.

Where is the Star Trek nudes….I mean news?

30. Christine - September 23, 2011

Fringe was awesome as always! Now of course we have about TEN MILLION MORE QUESTIONS that we want answers to NOW but I loved seeing it again. It’d been far too long! Fridays are cool again! :D

I really hope that we find out about Peter though. The suspense is killing me!

31. Jim Nightshade - September 24, 2011

Yah fringe was great-luved the two olivias fighting with each other—i have no idea how peter will be back but miss him already cuz of his chemistry with olivia—

32. CmdrR - September 24, 2011

25 – Some awesomely bad ideas. Love it. Almost as bad as TNG’s awesomely bad first season, especially the “Just Say No” opus.

33. VulcanFilmCritic - September 24, 2011

More of same from “Fringe.” We keep going around in circles with these story lines. People are dying of some unusual cause, usually in some gruesome and disfiguring way. Something has been removed from their bodies (organs, minerals, toxins, etc.). Walter investigates and says demented and cute things. Olivia looks depressed, concerned, worried. It all has something to do with Peter. William Bell may or may not appear.
I like the atmosphere of the show, but my patience is wearing thin, and I have better things to do on Friday night.

Still “Fringe” is light years ahead of the cliche-ridden “Person of Interest.” Even the critics said that it looked like a retread of “Bourne Identity” and all of those shows and movies where a world-weary ex-CIA type agent or rogue CIA agent or criminal with mad fighting skills walks among us.
Even the camera angles and POV were cliches (camera in the position of someone getting slugged then fade to black. How original!) Jim Caviezel was such a disappointment. I kept thinking of Christian Bale with a lobotomy. Boring.
This opens up Thursday nights as well.

Hopefully “Terra Nova” will give me a reason to use my TV for something other than a playback device for old movies and “Star Trek.”

34. The Void - September 24, 2011

Bring back SGU.

35. CmdrR - September 24, 2011

Wow. Just read the big spoiler about Who ep. 13. They’re having Meredith Vieira, and some other guest stars.

36. Bobowing - September 24, 2011

wheres the trek news? wheres anthony?

37. DS9 IN PRIME TIME - September 24, 2011

Thanks Rosario!!

I think im going to watch Tara Nova it looks good and i was a big fan of jurasic park.

38. Rod of Rassilon - September 25, 2011

Last 4 episodes in a row have been sub par who.

If this is the future tHen blah.

Steven moffet is capable of FAR better.

Liz sladen (who I have met and is/was lovely) IS SJS, she played the role since 1974. You DO NOT recast someone so associated with a character.

Gosh it’s still so hard to think of her gone, the above is very hard to write because I kept typing the wrong tenses!

Rip Liz you were amazing.

39. Khan of Rassilon - September 25, 2011

For UK people, the new series of Merlin will air straight after the final of Doctor Who next Saturday =D

40. Dr. Image - September 25, 2011

I’ve come to the sad conclusion that Moffet’s Who is inferior to Davies’ Who.

These episodes can’t hold a candle to Tennant’s. I just can’t care about these characters! There’s no emotional resonance anymore.
AND then there are the annoying BBC America specials featuring a bunch of nobody actors gushing on about how great these eps are.
Now, to add insult to injury, BBC America is showing them TIME COMPRESSED- in other words, speeded up to fit all the commercials in!
I’ve not given up on the show- yet, but it’s getting damn close.

41. Brelz - September 25, 2011

Why would the Terra Nova folks go back in time 85 million years to BEFORE the Exctinction event (asteriod) 65 million years ago. And why not AFTER the dinosaurs I realize they have a 20 million year head start on building an asteroid deflector, but still…

42. sean - September 25, 2011

#40

Really? I thought both ‘The Girl Who Waited’ and ‘The God Complex’ proved Moff could handle emotion just as well if not more effectively than RTD. Seems like most of your complaints are about BBC America and the way they choose to market the show more than the show itself.

Honestly, as bad as Miracle Day was, I’m quite glad RTD had nothing to do with the last few series of Who. He seems to have lost his touch for character-driven drama.

43. sean - September 25, 2011

#40

Really? I thought both ‘The Girl Who Waited’ and ‘The God Complex’ proved Moff could handle emotion just as well if not more effectively than RTD. Seems like most of your complaints are about BBC America and the way they choose to market the show more than the show itself.

Honestly, as bad as Miracle Day was, I’m quite glad RTD had nothing to do with the last few series of Who. He seems to have lost his touch for character-driven drama.

44. spockatatic - September 25, 2011

MOFFAT.

45. THX-1138 - September 27, 2011

Watched Terra Nova last night.

Interesting concept (as TV shows go, I guess).

But the writing was horrible. I won’t watch another ep. They can stay 85 million years in the past of an alternate time-stream for all I care.

Too bad about Blood and Chrome. I would have watched that.

You know what would be good? A Star Trek series. Set on the Enterprise. That’s what.

46. dmduncan - September 27, 2011

Terra Nova was okay. But if it didn’t have dinosaurs and Stephen Lang?

The Avatar influence was glaringly obvious, i.e., compound isolated from outside dangers with tough guy in charge, played by same tough guy in both, but more likeable in Terra Nova.

But then there was the typical TV nonsense for which I dislike TV: Kid gets hauled out of vehicle by dinosaur, dinosaur chews on leg, but kid only suffers lacerations when the leg should have been lunch meat; makes it difficult to believe.

It also had a Lost vibe with the mystery of the Sixers and the promise of making several mysteries last for as long as possible.

I like the idea of people trying to establish a colony in a world filled with dinosaurs — and dinosaurs are always cool — but I don’t know how fascinating other people will find it.

47. Sebastian S. - September 27, 2011

Just saw Terra Nova… “Welcome to Avatar Park.” ;-)

It feels like someone took a bunch of elements from every scifi blockbuster over the last 20 years (a little Blade Runner, a little Avatar, and a whole LOT of Jurassic Park), stuck them in a blender and made an odd tasting shake of it all…

The first 20 minutes were the most interesting. I’d be much more curious to see a show set in the hyper-polluted, totalitarian, population-controlled police state of 2149. THAT’S your series, right there. It be kind of a BSG-thing, only set on a planet. A world of diminished hope and few resources. Where every day is a struggle (even to breathe!). It’d be very timely, indeed; and a harsh warning to our present…

But once they got to “Jurassic Park”? It became familiar JP territory; right down to the kids trapped in the car with dinosaurs menacing them outside! They wasted the last half hour of the show on that total JP rip-off set piece. I half expected to see Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill standing nearby with lit flares in their hands! I give “Avatar Park” one season at most (scifi and network TV are rarely compatible).

And in 20 million or so years that giant asteroid will impact in the Yucatan Peninsula and end the show anyway… ;-P

48. dmduncan - September 28, 2011

Yeah, Terra Nova was derivative of a whole lot of stuff, but it was still kind of enjoyable if you didn’t set your expectations too high.

I was really interested to see how the dinosaurs looked on TV. It was cool but I think I’m suffering from CGI overfill.

When you look at the original Jurassic Park and compare the CGI dinosaurs or creatures of any movie today, and compare them to the giant T-Rex animatronic head that they built for JP, you can see the obvious difference between what looks present on the set and what looks added in post production.

What’s surprising, however is that there doesn’t seem to have been a whole lot of progress made since the original JP in making things look more present-on-the-set.

In its OWN way, CGI is as unconvincing as the old stop motion animation from the Ray Harryhausen days.

I’m starting to think we need some brave new experimenters to combine stop motion animation WITH CGI to polish it off. Maybe we need some new approach to kick alien/monster/dinosaur SPFX in gear because all the CGI stuff is starting to look the same to me.

49. Sebastian S. - September 29, 2011

Totally agree with you on CGI overfill.
It all has kind of a false sheen to it. While it looks ‘correct’ (even the details), there’s a lack of tactile feeling to it. As you say, it just doesn’t ‘feel’ like it’s in real space. Even Harryhausen’s creations (which I adored as a kid) had a physicality to them; you could almost touch the scales on those dinosaurs. Not so much with Terra Nova’s CGI creations.

And yes, an occasional, actual-sized, Stan-Winston created T-rex or Brachiosaur head goes a LONG way towards selling the other CGI creations of JP. It kind of unifies the two looks. I don’t feel any physical menace in Terra Nova.

And yes, CGI has kind of a ‘sameness’ to me as well. It’s become too much of a crutch for lazy film-TV producers these days….

50. THX-1138 - September 29, 2011

On the CGI thingy:

I really believe that there may be a move back to “in camera” FX for creatures ala Winston. There was a guy that I for the life of me can’t remember the name of that was doing some preliminary tests on an animatronic Hulk for the first feature that was not used in favor of the CGI abomination they voted for. Very fluid movement and it was right there, in the frame with the actors and had real weight and dimension.

I also prefer actual model work for ships over CGI too.

51. dmduncan - September 29, 2011

I’m a huge fan of John Carpenter’s The Thing (and the Howard Hawks version too). Don’t know how many times I’ve seen it. A lot. And the creature effects are awesome! It looks so much more frightening (and disgusting) actually being something that’s THERE.

And wouldn’t it be SO cool to remaster the SPFX for TOS yet AGAIN, but instead of using CGI, reshoot them using old school techniques and real models to the level of Star Wars quality? Those types of effects would be so much more consistent with the look and feel of the show from that time period, but done much better than they could afford back then. The CGI remastering may be cool from the standpoint of us getting something new to look at, but it doesn’t quite fit the look of the show. And of course try to duplicate the look of that period’s film stocks, so it has the same visual texture as the rest of the show.

52. THX-1138 - September 30, 2011

I dug out my DVD of DS9′ “Trials and Tribbleations” episode last night. Man, the TOS Enterprise looks soooo great! Greg Jein’s model work filmed with all the love you could muster on a TV show budget. It proved to me that filmed correctly with the right model, the Enterprise as originally designed would have been great on the big screen. How fantastic would it be to see all of TOS’s space FX filmed in this manner for the remaster project. No matter how detailed a CGI model is or how careful the “lighting” is, it just doesn’t seem to occupy real space visually. Perhaps it’s just a trick my brain is playing on me when I see a CGI figure and know it, but it lacks a tactile realism. As if I know that what I am looking is not made from any actual material.

53. dmduncan - October 1, 2011

52. THX-1138 – September 30, 2011

I don’t have that but I have to check it out and give it a good look comparing it to the SPFX of TOS remastered. But I say it’s time to remaster TOS again, this time putting down enough $ to do old school SPFX much better than they could during the 60′s. Planets half in darkness, the Enterprise, self lit, dark, emerging from the night side into light…that sort of thing.

54. Sebastian S. - October 1, 2011

#53.

While that sounds interesting in theory, I think in practice it gets a little too close to Star Wars style revisionism. While a reel of test shots would be nice (ala the animated Ships of the Line project), I think if the FX were too good? It’d make the cardboard sets and gel light stage flats look all the more unconvincing…

I think ST-TOS remastered was one of the few ‘revised version’ projects that actually got the balance just right. The new FX didn’t pop me out of the show, the new color/contrast balance looks gorgeous, and overall it makes the whole thing more palatable to a modern audience without rewriting the show or adding embarrassing new ‘dialogue’ to the soundtrack (ala Darth Vader’s NOOOOs).

But yeah, I hope physical FX make a comeback. I also get that ‘lack of tactile sense’ whenever I watch CGI that is too slick and perfect…

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