The big news in genre TV this week is that Trek vet Bryan Fuller has again left Heroes as it is just starting to shoot its fourth season. We also have an update on Fringe as that show starts up, plus the latest for Doctor Who, Flash Forward and Day One, with previews and more.
Bryan Fuller Leaves Heroes…Again + S4 Premiere Date Set and more
Well that was quick. After returning late last season to finish out the "Fugitives" arc after "Pushing Daisies" was canceled by ABC, Bryan Fuller is again leaving "Heroes". The departure was first reported by AICN on Monday:
"Development was really starting to heat up, And it appears like I may be writing multiple pilots for NBC so that wasn’t leaving a ton of room for ‘Heroes,’ unfortunately," the star writer-producer tells AICN exclusively. "We crafted some really great arcs for the season that I’m excited to see come to fruition. I love that cast dearly and am sad to go, but the plate — she was over-flowing."
Fuller relayed the same information to Michael Ausiello of Entertainment Weekly (who also reports the show is looking for a young actor to play an 11-year-old Nathan.) : "I’m crafting two pilots right now and it’s a lot of work," admits Fuller, who has an overall deal with NBC. "It was just too hard to [juggle] Heroes and my development; something had to give." Despite the news, the cast and crew remain upbeat, including star Greg Grunberg (Matt Parkman) who tweeted the following message shortly after also confirming Fuller’s exit ("…[he’s]leaving it in great hands"):
"…the scripts for Season 4 & the stories we’re about to tell will ROCK YOUR WORLD. BEST. SEASON. EVER. Get ready!!"
Be sure to follow Greg through his Twitter account and check out an interview with him at LotsOfInterviews where he discusses season three and some spoilers for season four. Speaking of season four, NBC announced the premiere dates of their fall 2009 programming with "Heroes" set to kick off with a two-hour episode on Monday, September 21st from 8:00-10:00 pm ET. Meanwhile SCI FI Wire caught up with Adrian Pasdar (Nathan Petrelli) and Christine Rose (Angela Petrelli) at the Saturn Awards last week and the two talked about the upcoming season, including Pasdar’s thoughts on his character (he’ll be portraying his character Nathan as being played by Sylar):
"That’s the irony," Pasdar said. "I don’t feel like I’m playing Sylar. I feel like I’m playing a guy who’s playing Nathan. You see what I’m saying? I’m not trying to act like Sylar. Sylar’s trying to act like Nathan. A little tic … here, a little compulsive, obsessive behavior somewhere else."
"I just read episode 403 yesterday," Rose said. "What happens then, my mind has been so baffled, but it’s a lot of fun. Yet another huge change comes for me in episode 403."
The two also reacted to the news of Bryan Fuller’s second departure. Here’s what Pasdar said:
"Actually, there haven’t been that many changes," Pasdar said. "People come and go. The core of the writing group has been there from day one. The show will end up being remembered for what it is, not for what people thought it might become or wished it had. The show is the show. You have to work with the mechanics that you’re given, and we have some tremendously talented writers that work very hard every day to sculpt and craft the show. So it’s my job to say what they interpret as the character. The arrivals and departures, I love Bryan Fuller. He’s a good friend."
Be sure to head on over to SCI FI Wire to read the complete article.
Set images [more at JustJared]
The Next Doctor Airs Tonight + Doctor Who Reunion Rumors Debunked + more
Early last week the British tabloid The Daily Mirror reported that the new Doctor, Matt Smith would be joined by the other 10 timelord’s (with the three deceased represented by archived footage) in a special 15-minute "Children in Need" episode. Well the BBC has chimed in and are denying the story. BBC did say, however, that "there is discussion of a Children in Need Doctor Who special. It is too early to say what." Meanwhile, former Bond star Timothy Dalton ("The Living Daylights" and "License to Kill") has been confirmed to be part of the upcoming Christmas special that will include David Tennant’s final scenes as the Doctor. Dalton will play "a terrifying judge who puts the Doctor on trial in an intergalactic court case." It’s his first major role since 2007’s "Hot Fuzz". And rounding out this week’s "Doctor Who" news, the "The Next Doctor" special, which already aired in the U.K., airs tonight at 9:00pm ET on BBC America. The Chicago Tribune interviewed star David Tennant about the special and the upcoming ones including #2 "Planet of the Dead" which airs on BBC America on July 26th:
“’Planet of the Dead’ is a bit of a larky one, a bit of a romp, and really that’s the last time we’re going to see the Tenth Doctor allowed to have quite so much fun,” Tennant said. “I think inevitably, because we all know the Tenth Doctor’s days are numbered, the storm clouds hang over the last stories. ‘Planet of the Dead’ is, in some ways, the Doctor’s last hurrah. He’s clearly in a death-defying situation, but he’s enjoying himself and having a blast.”
You can read the entire interview at this link, but here are some highlights:
- British tabloids have said that all 11 doctors, including Tennant and the next Doctor Who, Matt Smith, would be featured in a short "Doctor Who" film that would benefit charity. Tennant said he knew nothing whatsoever about that project.
- He finished filming "Doctor Who" about three or four weeks ago. "It was very emotional, very exciting. We managed to go out with some of the best scripts I had in four years."
- Tennant and Davies will visit San Diego Comic-Con for the first time July 26. He has "no idea" what to expect he is "fascinated to see what I’m coming to."
- Before ending his run as the Doctor, he filmed a two-parter for "The Sarah Jane Adventures" that will air in the U.K. in the fall.
- He’s also completed work on "Glorious 39," a Stephen Poliakoff film, and also just finished work on a film version of "Hamlet" for the BBC.
Trailer for Doctor Who: The Next Doctor
Virtuality Two-hour Premiere Disappoints – Available Online
There’s been talk, however muted, that if "Virtuality" did well enough in its two-hour movie event last night Fox may reconsider a series pickup. Well the numbers are in and you can pretty much squash that possibility. The two-hour movie flopped in the ratings, drawing a miniscule 1.80 million viewers and a 0.5/2 rating/share among adults 18-49 according to preliminary fast affiliate ratings. It finished second-to-last in its time slot and drew just a tenth of a point ahead of The CW’s A18-49 rating for its 8:00-10:00pm lineup (all repeats) and tied ABC’s "The Goode Family" as the lowest-rated original program in the demo last night. In fact, those numbers may be the lowest ever for a Fox program. For comparison purposes, NBC’s premiere of the U.K. import "Merlin" garnered more than 5 million viewers on a Saturday, no less (details in the chart below). If you missed it last night, or want to check it out again, you can do so now at Fox’s website. And if you’re interested in discussing the show with the TrekMovie community, check out our "Virtuality" feature from Friday.
Fox has made Virtuality available online at Fox.com.
J.J. Abrams Talks Fringe Season Two + New Episode Details and Cast Addition
"Fringe" co-creator J.J. Abrams talked to iF Magazine about the show’s upcoming second season [via Hey U Guys!]:
"First of all, I would say that the first year was about learning there is an enemy and I would say that Season 2 is about knowing the enemy," says Abrams. "As the show progresses, and in the second season, it’s building to a specific confrontation and a really interesting shift in the fundamental paradigm on the show in a very cool way. Without going into any details about it, it has a fun, fresh way in next year that I think you never know how it’s going to work, but cross your fingers people are going to like it. Next season is thrilling for me, not in that they audience is coming back to experience what we’re doing, but the excitement is not just these characters, but now playing with [those characters]."
Abrams also touched on the somewhat controversial season two ending in an interview with SCI FI Wire. Abrams was asked if we were shown an alternate world where the Twin Towers are still standing in 2009, or if the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 didn’t happen, or perhaps happened in a different location:
"You have to watch to see how that plays out," Abrams said. "That was a big decision for the show, because it was obviously a potential sensitive kind of choice. But I feel like, given what our story is, given the world of Fringe, I think it will be very satisfying."
Meanwhile shooting got underway on the second season this past Wednesday, June 24th and in celebration of the start date and shooting changes — the show moved from filming in New York to filming in Canada — J.J. Abrams penned a letter to the cast and crew:
Rounding out this week’s Fringe news, Fringe Television reports that the show’s second episode of the season is called "Night Of Desirable Objects" and was written by showrunner Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman. Fringe Television also a list of the directors for the series first six episodes which you can check out here. And finally, in casting news, Meghan Markle has joined the cast in a recurring role. She will play "an attractive, brash and quick-witted junior FBI agent", a role we reported on in a past edition of SFS.
Day One Is Different from the Rest, Says Creator Jesse Alexander
Former "Heroes" and "Lost" alum Jesse Alexander talked with WordBalloon about his upcoming NBC series "Day One". Alexander told the site that despite comparisons to Jericho and other recent sci-fi fare, "Day One" is different from anything else, although he admits he was influenced by the various shows [via io9]:
If people are looking to compare this show to other things, they’re going to be building a very long list. The influences that are in Day One really come from so many different places [and] all the entertainment that had shaped me over the years, that I’m obsessed with. I’m such a fanboy nerd at the end of the day… There’s a lot of Star Wars and Star Trek and all sorts of other elements. There’s some Doctor Who elements, some Battlestar elements… You can see where I’m sort of trending with those references, they’re different from any Jericho references.
Speaking to the style of the show — whether it’ll be episodic or serialized — Alexander says fans can expect there to be a balance:
That balance between episodic and serialized television is something that a lot of people are trying to figure out these days, and I’ve worked on crazy serials like Alias, and then on Lost, we kind of iterated on that a little bit by bringing in the flashbacks to try and give the folks something they could hang their hats on on a weekly basis potentially, and then on Heroes, we messed around with the format. And again, I’m really trying to figure out a way I can tell compelling stories every week. My taste in story is… I like a lot of story, I like a lot of stuff happening, you know? I like to keep it entertaining and compelling, and that’s what I’m going to try and do with Day One… Sci-Fi really is the genre that I love, and I’m obsessed with trying to figure out a way to bring that genre to a mainstream TV audience. We’re on NBC, we’re on a broadcast network where the rubric for success is pretty high. We need to have a lot of people watching the show for it to stay on the air, and I’ve really been trying to figure out a way to do that. Hopefully, I’ve come up with something that will be fun to watch.
"Day One" premieres on NBC in March 2010. You can download the mp3 of the above interview at WordBalloon.
Continued Syfy Marketing
As July 7th fast approaches, SCI FI is moving full steam ahead on the transition to become Syfy. Broadcasting & Cable has an article about the two-pronged re-branding strategy that combines big marketing — including giveaways of free wireless access at various locations in New York City (WyFy From Syfy) — and buying out negative domain names:
Manhattan will be the hub of Syfy rebranding events. In addition to year-long free WyFy at Union Square and Times Square, the network will construct an interactive Imagination Park at the north plaza of Rockefeller Center that will feature program-centric set pieces from July 7-12. The network also has signed on as a presenting sponsor of the Museum of Modern Art’s Tim Burton retrospective in November.
Sci Fi executives, however, know there are still detractors in the network’s legendarily passionate demo. So they took pre-emptive measures, snapping up several negative domain names including SyfySucks.com. Some still got through the cracks, such as NoSyfy.com. That site inveighs against the network’s “wrestling and ghost hunting” programs and conveniently supplies Howe’s office phone and e-mail address.
The rebrand is timed with the premiere of the network’s new dramady "Warehouse 13" — which debuts its two-hour pilot on July 7th at 9:00pm (new images and a trailer are included below) — and SCI FI/Syfy says it’s a show that captures perfectly the network’s image: “It’s a broad-appeal, mainstream entertainment genre,” Howe says. “That’s what we’re embracing with this rebrand.” Also planned is a three-minute on-air "brand film" that will tap into the network’s tagline "Imagine Greater" and a larger presence at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.
Promotional images from episode 3, "Resonance" [more at SpoilerTV]
FlashForward Showrunners Discuss Differences With Book + more
"FlashForward" showrunners David S. Goyer and Marc Guggenheim worked through some of the show’s elements with Zap2It during their press screening last week. Some of what’s discussed we’ve already learned, but there are a few new bits of information. First up, here’s what’s different from the book:
1) The so-called flashforwards are only for six months hence, not 20 years. 2) The main characters are not quantum physicists, so the TV-viewing audience will find them more relatable. 3) The overarching reason behind the flashfowards are different from the novel. As Guggenheim sagely observes, "We’re not schmucks."
Also, Goyer talked about how much of the show is known, including how it’ll end with its finale and he says that they could end in in three years, or extend to six to seven seasons:
Having begun the development process before the writers’ strike, plenty of work has been done on the story, so a finale, complete with answers to everything, is known. What’s unknown is just how long ABC will want to run this thing.
Goyer: "We did a bible and planned out the whole first season. We know what the second season is about. [We can end it in three seasons]. We can extend it to six to seven seasons. There are potentially 6.8 billion stories to tell."
In related news, there’s still no confirmation that Dominic Monaghan is in the show, with Goyer telling E! Online the following: "So much of the speculation is so f–king wrong, it’s awesome!". And finally, the character Seth MacFarlane ("Family Guy") plays in the pilot is listed as recurring. Head on over to Zap2It to read the rest. "FlashForward" premieres on ABC Thursday, September 24th at 8:00pm.
Promotional images for part two, which airs this Sunday [more at Daemon’s TV]
Torchwood: Children of Earth (more at i09)
Promotional images from episode 3, "Scratch My Back" [more at True-Blood.net]
- The Comic-Con panel for the canceled ABC Family series "The Middleman" will feature a cast reading of the un-filmed final episode. [Mark Sheppard and Javier Grillo-Marxuach via io9]
- General Zod is heading to "Smallville". British actor Callum Blue will be taking on the role for the show’s upcoming ninth season. [THR]
- Check out an interview with Eddie McClintock, who plays Pete Lattimer on the upcoming SCI FI dramedy "Warehouse 13". [IESB]
- John DiMaggio voices two characters on the Cartoon Network animated series "Batman: The Brave and the Bold" (Aquaman and Gorilla Grodd) and DiMaggio talked about his roles in an interview with Newsarama.
- Evan Rachel Wood’s character on HBO’s "True Blood" doesn’t appear on the show until episodes 11 and 12 on August 30th and September 6th, respectively, but she "may appear in future episodes next season." [E! Online]
- There is no truth to the rumors about a Disney World ride based on ABC’s "Lost" are not true… [E! Online and SCI FI Wire]
- …There are, however, fresh rumors that Dominic Monaghan will be appearing on "Lost" next season as the actor reportedly had breakfast with "Lost" showrunner Damon Lindelof last week… [E! Online]
- …More "Lost" news; Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who played Eko on the show before asking producers to be released, says he’s interested in returning: “To be able to give that rich character some completion would be nice,” he said. [TV Guide Magazine]
- Marla Sokloff, who plays scientist Imogene O’Neill on the upcoming NBC miniseries "Meteor", discussed her role in a new interview with SCI FI Wire.
- Adrienne Palicki, who played Sam Winchester’s girlfriend Jessica on the pilot of "Supernatural", will be reprising her role next season on the show’s fifth season. She’ll appear in one episode near the beginning of the season (but not the premiere)… [EW]
- …Meanwhile, Mark Pellegrino (Jacob on "Lost") has joined the cast of the show to play the Prince of Darkness, Lucifer. While it’s unclear what that means for his role on "Lost", what is known is that his "Supernatural" role is listed as recurring and not full-time regular. [EW]
- Here’s one of the first reviews of the "Eureka" Season 3.5 premiere, which returns on Friday, July 10th at 9:00pm ET. [SF Universe]
- Malcolm Barrett and Jonathan Slavin, who play two supporting characters on the ABC comedy "Better off Ted", discuss their roles in a new interview with SCI FI Wire.
- Steven Spielberg has landed former "ER" star Noah Wyle to star as the lead in Spielberg’s untitled alien-invasion pilot for TNT. [Originally reported by EW; Confirmed by THR]
- Previously on TrekMovie: Winners of the "35th Annual Saturn Awards" were announced last Wednesday
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