Sunday, August 12, 2012

SF Tube Talk with Lee Whiteside

Official word on the new season of Doctor Who, slated to debut likely on August 25, is that there will be some new guest stars of some note as well as return appearances by some other characters and foes as they lead up to the show's 50th Anniversary in 2013. Starting off the season will be the biggest Dalek episode ever (or it will at least feature as many different types of Daleks as have ever been seen) in Asylum of the Daleks. It is written by Steven Moffat and is directed by Nick Huran.

Next up is a story by Chris Chibnall in which the Doctor recruits Queen Nefertiti (Riann Steele), an early 1900's British explorer (Rupert Graves), and the Ponds (including Mark Williams as Rory's dad Brian) for an adventure investigating Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. According to Steven Moffat at Comic Con "Dinosaurs On A Spaceship - what more do you need?

The Doctor will come face to face with some of the most monstrous creatures evolution has ever produced, on some of the most monstrous sets we've ever built. We took one look at Chris Chibnall's brilliant script and said to ourselves: 'We're going to need a bigger corridor'". The third story is written by Toby Whithouse, is a wild west themed episode titled A Town Called Mercy with a cyborg "Reckoner" that was filmed in Spain. It features Ben Browder as the town Marhsal, Garrick Hagon, and Adrian Scarborough. Fourth is Cubed by Chris Chibnall, which guest stars Steven Berkoff, Jemma Redgrave, and Mark Williams (Rory's father again) as well as an appearance by some UNIT soldiers when mysterious cubes show up in Rory and Amy's home town.

The final episode of the first half of the season, with the departure of Amy and Rory, is written by Steven Moffat and guest stars Alex Kingston (River Song), and Michael McShane as the villainous Dr. Grayle. There are also Weeping Angels and a good part of the episode was filmed in New York City for present day and 1930s New York. After that, the series will break until Christmas, where the holiday episode will feature the debut of Jenna-Louise Coleman as the Doctor's new companion, Clara.

After that, the series will return sometime in the spring with new episodes, one of which will be The Crimson Horror, written by Mark Gatiss and starring mother and daughter Diana Rigg and Rachael Stirling playing a mother and daughter with a dark secret. This will be the first time the two have worked together and according to Racheal "I am looking forward to the madness of Doctor Who enormously. Mark Gatiss has written a gift of a script and an on-screen relationship between Ma and I that is truly delicious. We have never before worked together because the offers have not been tempting, but when such a funny and original script comes through you know the time has come." It will also see the return of Neve McIntosh as Silurian Madame Vastra, Catrin Stewart as her companion Jenny, and Dan Starkey as the Sontaran Strax (now posing as a butler).

Writer J. Michael Straczynski has created his own multimedia production studio, Studio JMS, in partnership with Patricia Tallman. Straczynski will be developing TV series, movies, comics and other projects as part of this. One of the first ones announced is a TV series in development for STARZ, Vlad Dracula, which Straczynski will be developing with Rob Tapert (Xena, Hercules, Spartacus). The series would be a blend of historical fact and the fiction of Dracula, which "would trace the character's evolution from a revered ruler to the world's most feared vampire and his slow downfall as he struggles to hold on to his humanity, wife and kingdom." He's also developing a series called Epidemic with Will Smith and James Lassiter's Overbrook Entertainment, plus web series The Adventures Of Apocalypse Al for as well as Living Dead: The Musical that is still being shopped around. There's also films and comics in the works.

According to Straczynski, "For twenty years, I've had the remarkable good fortune to work successfully as a writer and producer in a wide variety of fields, from television to comics and movies. I've always dreamed of creating a mini-studio where I can put all of that work under one roof, telling stories that I want to tell and which can be spun up between various platforms: comics that can become TV shows, TV shows that can become movies, and movies that can become comics."

Another writer/producer is putting together a new series and using Kickstarter to help get it off the ground. Marc Scott Zicree is developing Space Command, a planned "series of science fiction films that detail two families' interactions over several generations as they take part in Man's exploration and colonization of the solar system and beyond." Zicree is partnering with VFX designer Doug Drexler and producer Neil Johnson and is following on from work he did putting together the World Enough and Time Star Trek fan film that was nominated for Hugo and Nebula awards. The Kickstarter campaign almost tripled the initial goal of $75,000, bringing in over $225,000.

According to Zicree, "As a kid, one of the reasons Star Trek appealed so strongly to me is that it portrayed a group of good-hearted, brave, honorable and loving folks who were embarked on a grand adventure and committed to each other. My dream was to someday be part of such a group. Thanks to you all, I now am." Others officially on board for the project are actors Doug Jones and Christina Moses and composer David Raiklen. They plan to keep supporters updated on a regular basis as the project develops via the web site.

Comic Con International in San Diego saw lots of promotions, panels, and pilot screenings for a lot of the new series coming up with fall and mid-season as well as panels on continuing series. Here's a quick rundown of some of the news that came out of the convention.

Pilot screenings - according to, the two TV pilots that got the best reception were The CW's Arrow and NBC's Revolution. They reported that people expecting Smallville season 11 were nicely surprised by a show that definitely has its own identity and draws on the current Batman films for inspiration more than the television predecessors. The screening of the Revolution pilot was well received and it appears that Supernatural creator Eric Kripke has put together a new series that is definitely worth catching. The pilot that got the most lukewarm response was the one for 666 Park Avenue, which was described as "bland." As part of a panel on Bryan Fuller, he screened some footage from Mockingbird Lane, his in development series updating The Munsters for NBC. Notable cast members include Jerry O'Connell as Herman Munster, Eddie Izzard as Grandpa, and Portia de Rossi as Lily. Expect a darker take on the premise, especially since one of the events in the pilot is Eddie Munster wolfing out on a Boy Scout pack.

Returning shows that got a lot of promotion at Comicon were Grimm (where NBC had an outdoor attraction set up to promote it), Walking Dead (which impressed fans, especially those who weren't too keen on season 2), Big Bang Theory, Vampire Diaries (which did not do much to wow the fans all waiting for True Blood, which followed it), A Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Fringe, and a few others.

Debuting on the networks in August and September are Grimm, which returns at 10 pm/9 pm on Mondays on August 13, moving to Friday nights on September 14 (when Revolution debuts on Sept 17). CBS debuts their modern day take on Sherlock Holmes, Elementary, on Thursday, September 27 and FOX returns Fringe on September 28th Over on The CW, none of the shows return until October, with Supernatural now on Fridays beginning October 3 with Arrow debuting on October 10th.

Vampire Diaries and the new Beauty and the Beast debut on October 11. ABC has yet to announce the start dates for Once Upon a Time or 666 Park Avenue, but expect those to be late September/early October.

Over on cable, Syfy has just started new seasons of Alphas and Warehouse 13 and moved Lost Girl to Friday nights, which will see a new season of Haven starting September 21. HBO is currently running new episodes of True Blood and TNT is running new episodes of Falling Skies on Sunday nights into late August.
Grimm - Season One will be available on Blu-Ray and DVD on August 7th. Grimm - Season One is available as a five-disc set in special, limited edition packaging with exclusive "Grimm" collector cards. It features never-before-seen bonus material that takes fans deep into the world of "Grimm," including an Blu-ray™ exclusive interactive creature guide, "Making Monsters" featurette and much more.

This article was first published in ConNotations NewsZine, August/September 2012 issue. Photo credits are given to their respective copyright holders. This article is not sold or purchased and meant only for entertainment and information basis. 

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