SciFi Diner Podcast Ep. 52 – An Interview with Sam Witwer: Starkiller from the Force Unleashed, Doomsday from Smallville, and Crashdown from Battlestar Galactica
February 24th, 2010 by Scott
The SciFi Diner Podcast
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On the menu tonight:
On this science fiction podcast, we interview Sam Witwer, Starkiller from the Force Unleashed, Crashdown from BSG, and Doomsday from Smallville. Also on the menu tonight we have two listener e-mails to share, trivia with a very special prize, what TV shows are coming back, might come back, and have been axed, a New Flash Gordon Movie in the works, DVD news on 2012, Where the Wild Things Are, and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and find out whether Kirk and Spock would have survived warp speed. I also give my top 5 SciFi’s Sexiest women in our SciFi Five in Five.
Trivia: IS BACK
Prize: A signed print of Sam Witwer as Starkiller from the Force Unleashed.
Question: Who was in charge of bringing down the deflector shield of the second Death Star?
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The Main Course:
The Big Bang Theory (CBS) Renewed for a fourth season. – Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore will love this.
Eureka (Syfy) Renewed for a fourth season.
Stargate Universe (Syfy) Renewed for a second season.
Sanctuary (Syfy) Renewed for a third season. Give me some more Heyerdahl!
Supernatural (The CW) Renewed for a sixth season.
True Blood (HBO) Renewed for a third season premiering in June.
The Vampire Diaries (The CW) Renewed for a second season.
Warehouse 13 (Syfy) Renewed for a second season. Oh yeah we’re waiting baby…
Dollhouse (Fox) Canceled
Eastwick (ABC) Canceled
Lost (ABC) Series finale airs May 23.
UP IN THE AIR
Chuck (NBC) For once, Chuck is in the Likely-to-Return category. The coolest superhero nerd show ever is actually the top-rated Monday night drama for NBC, and considering the shambles that NBC’s schedule has become since The Jay Leno Show was removed, the network needs good reliable performers like Chuck.
Latest ratings: 6.61 million viewers
Chances of renewal: 80 percent
FlashForward (ABC) Remember all those ratings everyone was all worried about when the series begin last fall? Well, forget about them. They don’t matter one bit considering the long, long break for new episodes to return. The good news is that the series has 13 episodes to prove itself. The bad news is that there’s been some trouble behind the scenes with rotating show runners. FlashForward is starting from scratch in more ways than one.
TVbytheNumbers.com’s Bill Gorman reported: “If FlashForward keeps falling when it returns, it has no future. We’ll now have to wait until mid-March to see its next ratings.”
Latest ratings: 7.29 million viewers
Chances of renewal: 50-50
Fringe (Fox) Despite low ratings, Fringe has managed more or less to hold its own in the most difficult timeslot on television, Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. This has been especially noticeable since Past Life has taken over the timeslot to the tune of 2 million fewer viewers while Fringe takes a break. All things considered—the rabid fan base, the terrible timeslot, the excellent showing in DVR ratings—and it adds up to a solid performance.
Latest ratings: 7.76 million viewers
Chances of renewal: 70 percent
Heroes (NBC) Believe it or not, despite terrible ratings, Heroes has a chance at fifth season. The ratings have stabilized, and the series gains another million-plus viewers when DVR ratings are counted in. NBC is trying to rebuild its schedule thanks to The Jay Leno Show debacle, and Heroes at least brings in a loyal audience, it does well overseas and it’s a high-profile, original series. That said, a very strong case could be made for the show’s cancellation as well.
James Hibberd’s Live Feed commented: “This season, Heroes continued its decline and is now at a level—around a 2.0 adults 18-49 rating—that would warrant cancellation under most circumstances. The deciding factor here is NBC’s internal balance sheet for the production. Don’t be surprised if NBC announces a 12-hour ‘final chapter’ for next fall.”
Latest ratings: 4.41 million viewers
Chances of renewal: 40 percent
Human Target (Fox) This new midseason replacement is finally leveling off to some decent ratings. While it’s certainly getting a bump from American Idol, the last couple of episodes have been very entertaining, and the series seems to be finding its feet. And considering the series will most likely do well in reruns, given its episodic nature, we’re liking its chances for a second season so far.
Latest pre-Olympic ratings: 8.92 million viewers
Latest ratings opposite the Olympics: 7.14 million viewers
Chances of renewal: 45 percent
Smallville (The CW) When The CW moved Smallville from Thursdays to Fridays, it looked like it could be the end of this reliable performer. Certainly Smallville didn’t quite seem to fit with the younger-skewing shows the network was banking on, such as The Vampire Diaries. Then something strange and wonderful happened: Apparently the fans weren’t ready to let Smallville die. The producers are still doing fine creative work, and the series has finally given The CW some ratings on Friday nights. While SmallvilleVampire Diaries or Supernatural, it’s looking very good for a 10th season, with Super Clark and his friends. And BTW, don’t be surprised if it does get another season and we see one or two additional Smallville movies along the lines of Absolute Justice. didn’t get an early pickup like
Latest ratings: 2.48 million viewers
Chances of renewal: 90 percent
V (ABC) Those beautiful alien invaders are in the same boat as the FlashFowarders. The series returns on March 30, and it’s airing after Lost in the 10 p.m. timeslot, which is a good thing. With Lost in its final season, V‘s likely to grab a few viewers, which should help its bottom line. But V is pretty much starting over, and it will only have eight episodes to get you caught up in the revolution.
Latest ratings: 9.20 million viewers
Chances of renewal: 60 percent
No Current Movies Cause Movies Suck right now.
Director Breck Eisner promises that his upcoming new Flash Gordon movie won’t be a remake of the campy 1980 version or even the Buster Crabbe serials from the 1930s—and he promises it will be in 3-D.
“It’s a movie that is in no way a remake or a re-imagining or a reboot of the ’80s version or the serial version,” Eisner told SCI FI Wire. “No Queen [music]. It is not camp in any way. We’re going back to the original Alex Raymond [comic strip] scripts and imagining if he were living today, what would those strips be like?”
Eisner is moving forward on his new movie version of the classic sci-fi story. “Flash Gordon is a movie I’ve been pursuing for years, and I finally was able to orchestrate it going to Sony from Hearst,” Eisner said while promoting his new sci-fi horror movie, The Crazies.
Gordon will also enter the third dimension this time out: “It will definitely be in 3-D, unless they come out with 4-D before then,” Eisner says with a laugh. The director adds that he is even testing a new binaural German 3-D sound system that could be employed for the film. “It’s supposed to push 3-D to the next level,” he says.
Cost is the primary obstacle the space hero will have to overcome. “It’s a very expensive movie,” admits Eisner. “Do they have and do they want to spend the kind of money it’s going to take to pull this thing off?”
For now, Eisner is simply intent on developing the best filmic version of Flash Gordon possible. “It’s one that I will be passionate enough about forever and will hope to be able to make,” says Eisner. “It’s action, it’s adventure, it’s intense, it’s dynamic. It’s a strong central character who goes on a dynamic journey. It should be a really amazing movie if we can get it made.”
Will you blast off with Eisner’s Flash?
2012 ~ John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Danny Glover, and Woody Harrelson (DVD – 2010) $15.99
Now this is how you destroy the world. Roland Emmerich’s 2012 pounces on a Nostradamus-style loophole in the Mayan calendar and rams the apocalypse through it, gleefully conjuring up an enormous amount of Saturday-matinee fun in the process. A scientist (Chiwetel Ejiofor) detects shifting continental plates and sun flares and realizes that this foretells the imminent destruction of the planet. Just as the molten lava is about to hit the fan, a novelist (John Cusack) takes his kids on a trip to Yellowstone; later he’ll hook up with his ex (Amanda Peet) and her new boyfriend (Tom McCarthy) in a global journey toward safety. If there is any safety. The suitably hair-raising plot lines are punctuated–frequently, people, frequently–by visions of mayhem around the globe: the Vatican falls over, the White House is clobbered (Emmerich’s Independence Day was not enough on that score), and the California coastline dives into the Pacific Ocean. Unlike other action directors we could name, Emmerich actually understands how to let you see and drink in these vast special-effects vistas–and they are incredible. He also honors the old Irwin Allen disaster-movie tradition by actually shelling out for good actors. Cusack and Ejiofor are convincing even in the cheesiest material; toss in Danny Glover (the U.S. president), Woody Harrelson (a nut-bar conspiracy-theorizing radio host), Thandie Newton, and Oliver Platt, and you’ve got a very watchable batch of people.
Where the Wild Things Are ~ Forest Whitaker, et al. (DVD – 2010) $17.99
Through his handcrafted ode to the trials of childhood, Spike Jonze puts his own unique imprint on Maurice Sendak’s enduring classic. In the prologue, 9-year-old Max (Max Records) stomps around the house, feeling neglected. When his mom (Catherine Keener) sends him to bed without supper, Max runs away (something he doesn’t do in the book). He finds a boat and sails to a distant land where fuzzy monsters are raising a rumpus in the forest. Since his wolf suit allows him to fit right in, he joins the fray, catching the eye of Carol (James Gandolfini, excellent), who notes, approvingly, “I like the way you destroy stuff. There’s a spark to your work that can’t be taught.” With that, they pronounce the diminutive creature king, hoping he can bring cohesion to their fractured family. After Max comes across Carol’s scale-model town, he decides they should build a real one, but the project stalls as Alexander (Paul Dano) and Douglas (Chris Cooper) mope, Judith (Catherine O’Hara) browbeats Ira (Forest Whitaker), and Carol pines for K.W. (Lauren Ambrose), who prefers the company of owls Bob and Terry. Max realizes he has to make a choice: stay with the wild things or return home, where he has to keep his aggressive impulses in check. For readers of Sendak’s slim tome, his decision won’t come as a surprise, but Jonze ends the story on a lovely grace note. Until that time, the squabbling is a bit much–these monsters never stop talking–but Jonze, cowriter Dave Eggers, the Jim Henson Company, and singer/songwriter Karen O. have gone all-out to re-create the inner world of a child with as much empathy as was mustered for the inner adult world of Jonze’s Being John Malkovich. –Kathleen C. Fennessy
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians ~ John Call, Pia Zadora, and Leonard Hicks (DVD – 2010) $9.98
Martian children have become unhappy watching Earth television programs showing Christmas cheer among humans. The wise old Martian Chochem tells the adults that Mars needs Santa Claus to bring fun and joy to their children. A group of Martians arrives at the North Pole and kidnaps Santa, but the angry Martian Voldar wants to get rid of him instead. With the help of two Earth children and the clumsy Martian Dropo, Santa defeats Voldar and brings happiness to Mars!
So you remember how Zefram Cochrane became the first human to travel at warp speed after transforming a Titan missile into Earth’s first warp-capable ship in 2063, attracting the attention of the Vulcans and ushering in a new era of peace and harmony that led to the development of the United Federation of Planets and humanity’s trek through the stars?
Well, the reality is that he would have fried instantly, and any other Starfleet travelers such as Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise would have perished had they really attempted to travel at faster-than-light speeds.
That’s the conclusion of a new research reported in New Scientist:
Kirk, Spock and the rest of the crew would die within a second of the USS Enterprise approaching the speed of light.
The problem lies with Einstein’s special theory of relativity. It transforms the thin wisp of hydrogen gas that permeates interstellar space into an intense radiation beam that would kill humans within seconds and destroy the spacecraft’s electronic instruments.
Frak me! But there’s more:
According to William Edelstein of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, that sparse interstellar gas should worry the crew of a spaceship traveling close to the speed of light even more than the Borg decloaking off the starboard bow.
Special relativity describes how space and time are distorted for observers traveling at different speeds. For the crew of a spacecraft ramping up to light speed, interstellar space would appear highly compressed, thereby increasing the number of hydrogen atoms hitting the craft.
At faster-than-light speed, the effect would be like standing directly in the beam of the Large Hadron Collider. The fatal dose of radiation for a human is 6 sieverts, but Edelstein’s calculations show that the crew would receive a radiation dose of more than 10,000 sieverts within a second.
Edelstein presented his results on Saturday at the American Physical Society meeting in Washington, D.C.
Our guess is he traveled there at less than warp one.
We had a phenomenal time interviewing Sam Witwer at the Farpoint Con in Maryland. Not only has he been in Battlestar Galactica, Smallville, and Star Wars, but he is a fan himself and a video game fanatic.
Scifi 5 in 5
The Sexiest Women in SciFi TV – according to Scott and what he is watching
- Tricia Helfer – BSG
- Alessandra Torresani – Zoe Graystone – Caprica
- Laura Vandervoort as Lisa – from V
- Summer Glau – Dollhouse, Terminator: Salvation, Firefly, 4400
- Morena Baccarin as Anna — the manipulative High Commander of the Visitors and mother of Lisa.
- Allison Mack – Smallville Chloe Sullivan
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