The SciFi Diner Podcast
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On the menu tonight:
Tonight on menu, we serve up an interview with David J. Williams, author of the Autumn Rain Trilogy. In our trivia, answers have begun to roll in to win a signed Lost giveaway. Do you have the Geek knowledge to win it? We start off our news by talking about the Fringe, Smallville, and V Finales and share what we’re hoping from in the SGU and Flash Forward Finales. What will we be watching this summer? We’ll tell you that too! Two future shows we’re looking forward to: Alphas and Speilberg’s Terra Nova. Hitler kills Megan Fox. The Associated Press is Star Wars confused. And for you gamers out there: Mass Effect is being made into a movie. The Road DVD is out and talks about the apocalypse. Miles brings you This Week in Star Trek and Scott gives you his top five SciFi crashes in the SciFi Five in Five.
Descended from Australian convicts, David J. Williams nonetheless managed to be born in Hertfordshire, England, and subsequently moved to Washington D.C. just in time for Nixon’s impeachment. Graduating from Yale with a degree in history some time later, he narrowly escaped the life of a graduate student and ended up doing time in Corporate America, which drove him so crazy he started moonlighting on video games and (as he got even crazier) novels. The Autumn Rain trilogy sold to Bantam Spectra in the summer of 2007; the release of THE MACHINERY OF LIGHT in May of 2010 completes the series.
This Week’s Trivia:
Question: Who is Wyatt Miller and what does he have to do with Heroes?
You will have two weeks to answer this question. Send your answer with your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org, call us at 18885084343, or DM us on Twitter at @scifidiner.
The Main Course:
Flash Forward 2 hour series and season Finale – This week.
SGU Finale – Next week
Warehouse 13 Season 2: July 9th
Other TV News:
Jack Bender directed the series finale of Lost
We don’t know what you’re doing now that Lost is gone—other than mourning, just like us—but one Lostie has moved on to a new home.
Jack Bender—who directed the season finale of Lost and has worked on The Sopranos, Alias, Carnivale and more—will act as director and executive producer of Alphas, a 90-minute pilot for Syfy about ordinary citizens with extraordinary powers who take the law into their own hands.
Check out the official press release below:
SYFY PILOT ALPHAS TO BE DIRECTED BY LOST DIRECTOR/EXECUTIVE PRODUCER JACK BENDER
First Project For Acclaimed Director After Wrapping LOST Series Finale
New York, New York – May 24, 2010 – Syfy has inked award winning director/executive producer Jack Bender as director/executive producer for the action-adventure 90-minute pilot, Alphas (working title) from writers Zak Penn (X-Men: The Last Stand, Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk) and Michael Karnow, it was announced today by Mark Stern, Executive Vice President of Original Programming, Syfy and Co-Head of Content for Universal Cable Productions, which is the studio for the project. Bender just wrapped six seasons as an executive producer and director on the critically acclaimed series LOST, and directed Sunday’s much anticipated series finale. Alphas is executive produced by Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun for BermanBraun Television and is slated to commence production in Toronto this summer.
Alphas follows a team of ordinary citizens who possess extraordinary and unusual mental skills. Using physical feats and uniquely advanced mental abilities, this unlikely team takes the law into their own hands and uncovers what the CIA, FBI and Pentagon have not been able or willing to solve. These gifted individuals must balance their quirky personalities and disparate backgrounds with their not always visible powers as they work to solve crimes, stop the ticking time bomb and catch the enemy.
“We are very excited that Jack has chosen to be part of ‘Alphas,'” said Stern. “His vision and expertise are perfectly suited to this project, and will truly elevate it.”
Bender is a film director, actor, television producer and screenwriter who was most recently a producer and lead director on the hit Emmy Award-winning series LOST. He has also directed popular shows such as The Sopranos, Carnivale, Alias and Boston Public. He is also an accomplished painter, sculptor and mixed media artist. Bender is represented by the United Talent Agency and Bob Myman at Myman, Abell, Fineman, Greenspan and Light.
May 21, 2010
Fox just announced what could be one of the biggest sci-fi series in
TV history, but they were maddeningly coy about any actual details.
They told us it’s from Steven Spielberg and it’s got dinosaurs and
time travel, but that’s about it.
1. The production price? A cool $4 million an episode: “This thing is
going to be huge. It’s going to take an enormous production
commitment,” Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly told the press.
2. TV critic Todd VanDerWerff apparently managed to get his hands on a
script. On May 18, he tweeted: “Read Terra Nova last night. Didn’t
feel like first episode of a TV show. Felt like first act of a movie.
That said, features word Allosaurs.”
3. Because of the huge per-episode price and maybe even the script,
the traditional method of filming a pilot and then shutting down the
production may well be skipped and the first 13 episodes filmed
together, as it would be simply too expensive to shut down and then
4. From the press release: “The series centers on the Shannon family
as they join the tenth pilgrimage of settlers to TERRA NOVA, the first
colony of humans in this second chance for civilization.” The
principals include father Jim, wife Elisabeth, young son Josh, teen
daughter Maddy and a fellow named Commander Frank Taylor. Hmm, isn’t
that pretty much the character dynamic of Lost in Space, minus an
effete scientist and a friendly robot? Well, maybe there will be a
5. Also: “…the Shannons have brought with them a familial secret
that may threaten their citizenship in this utopia.” Doesn’t anyone
screen time travelers anymore?
6. Why on Earth are people comparing this show to Avatar?
Oh yeah, that’s why.
7. Other big wheels with a hand in the production include Brannon
Braga (executive producer of 24 and longtime Star Trek scribe) as the
show runner, David Fury (writer from Lost and Buffy the Vampire
Slayer) and Peter Chernin.
8. Chernin was Rupert Murdoch’s right-hand man at Fox but left last
year after two decades with News Corp. The New York Times reported
earlier this month that Chernin was “assembling his own enterprise, a
company of considerable ambition that will meld original content, like
feature films and television series, with cutting-edge technologies
that use the Web and other digital ways of delivering entertainment.”
A week later, Chernin Entertainment was announced as one of the forces
behind Terra Nova. Can we look forward to webisodes, character blogs,
easter eggs hidden all over the Internet and perhaps even an ARG?
We’ll let you know.
9. No major casting decisions have been made yet—Kyle Chandler and
Kevin Bacon both turned down the lead. Whether this is due to script
troubles or just an unwillingness to commit to a long TV project
(Bacon has three more features to complete) remains to be seen.
10. Terra Nova is scheduled to come out midseason, but beyond that Fox
is being cagey. “We don’t want to tie it into a date. … We want to
do this show right,” said Reilly.
11. Shooting will begin later this summer in Hawaii.
12. Terra Nova is based on an idea by Kelly Marcel, and the script was
co-written by Craig Silverstein. Silverstein is a writer and producer
with a sizable TV resume—he’s worked on Bones and The Dead Zone. But
Marcel? A few BBC pilots and scripts, including a musical stage
version of Debbie Does Dallas. Her biggest hit to date was the rewrite
for the underground sensation Bronson, a biopic of the infamous
British prisoner Michael Gordon Peterson.
Paramount is not — we repeat, not — picking up Megan Fox‘s option to star in “Transformers 3”
Bay plans on giving Shia a new love interest. And according to Nikki Finke’s blog, he’s reportedly casting the female co-star even as we type. And please don’t suggest Shia LaBeouf‘s girlfriend Carey Mulligan. She’s adorable and all but definitely not an action babe.
So did Megan deserve to get dumped? And is Bay now really acting like Hitler? And has he even heard what Shia has been saying about him? If so, he may not have an original cast member left!
Apparently, Megan also blames Bay for damaging her skin too! Is there no end to this monster’s cruelty? When asked about her pale skin, she pointed her finger at Big Bad Bay.
“I had been tanning a lot so that Michael would be happy with my skin tone. Every spare moment of sun that was outside, I had to be in it,” she whined to Allure. “It’s not going to happen again because of the damage and the possible skin cancer.”
Is that what pushed Bay over the edge? Hitler is one thing but accusing him of causing skin cancer?
Could be. As Finke points out, back in October Bay personally warned Megan about the demands of ‘Transformers 3’ in his announcement of the start of production.
“P.S. Megan Fox, welcome back. I promise no alien robots will harm you in any way during the production of this motion picture. Please consult your Physician when working under my direction because some side effects can occur, such as mild dizziness, intense nausea, suicidal tendencies, depression, minor chest hair growth, random internal hemorrhaging and inability to sleep. As some directors may be hazardous to your health, please consult your Doctor to determine if this is right for you.“
So it sounds like he must have changed his mind recently. Or more likely, he stumbled on a malleable babelicious buxom newcomer to fill her hot pants, one who doesn’t mind modeling skimpy outfits for him.
UPDATE: Megan Fox now says it was HER decision not to return to the “Transformers” franchise. Her rep tells People that “Megan Fox will not be starring in Transformers 3. It was her decision not to return. She wishes the franchise the best.”
Megan Fox will probably be more vocal about all this casting confusion when she does press for “Jonah Hex,” her June 18 action film also starring Josh Brolin, John Malkovich and Will Arnett.
Everyone was at the Empire Strikes Back party for St. Jude Children’s Hospital in LA, from Ewan McGregor to Peter Mayhew. AP’s video recap of the event is all kinds of greatness, even if they got their space pirates switched.
Ah well it happens to the best of us. Still the best part of the AP video was the Billy Dee Williams and Harrison Ford hug. What were they saying, I wonder?
Bill Dee: “Why, you slimy, double-crossing, no-good swindler!” Hugs all around then Billy Dee turns to Peter Mayhew and yells, “How you doin’ Chewbacca? Still hanging around with this loser?”
The successful video game series Mass Effect is getting film treatment, Heat Vision reports. Legendary Pictures, who picked up rights to the Electronic Arts-BioWare game, is once again teaming with Warner Bros to produce and distribute the film. I Am Legend and Thor screenwriter Mark Protosevich will take on script duties.
Mass Effect was released in 2008 and it is “an epic sci-fi action game set in the year 2183, focusing on a human soldier and his starship, the SSV Normandy. The galaxy-spanning story involves a long-extinct race of aliens, dormant beacons and more alien species than you can shake a lightsaber at.”
Producers Avi and Ari Arad are also developing a feature adaptation of the popular PS3 game Uncharted. Heat Vision says this “project is still in the early stages of development” but that Avatar has been a huge breakthrough for sci-fi films based on alien characters. Producer Thomas Tull said Mass Effect is “ripe for translation’ and it has “depth, compelling characters and an engaging back story” while Arad said the game is “a parable whose conflicts mirror the ones we currently face in our own world. This story emphasizes the need for all cultures to learn to work together.”
In the same story it says Protosevich is still “writing the English-language translation of Oldboy for Mandate.” Although it was reported late last year that Steven Spielberg and Will Smith stepped away from the project, it sounds like it is still happening.
What do you think about a Mass Effect film? Are you upset the Oldboy remake is still alive?
Nobody ever said a movie based on Cormac McCarthy’s grim Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Road would likely be a crowd-pleaser. Sure enough, Viggo Mortensen’s bleak performance as a man trudging with his son through a cannibal-infested hellscape anchored a picture that produced so-so box office results when the film adaptation of The Road opened last fall.
Still, The Road succeeded on its own artistic terms. The new Blu-ray–DVD release, landing Tuesday, includes a “making of” bonus feature that underscores the 119-minute film’s somber themes. Excerpted below in the exclusive clip, Mortensen muses, “What is life, when you take everything away? Is it just about finding food, or is there something else?”
The TWIST :
U.S.S. Enterprise Manual, a user’s guide complete with “cutaway drawings, technical illustrations and photographs along with comprehensive background information and specifications on the technology used on board the USS Enterprise” (Haynes Publishing, September).
The Sci Fi 5 at 5.
Best SciFi Crashes:
1. When Anikan Skywalker crash lands the Invisible Hand (a modified Providence-class carrier/destroyer) (Revenge of the Sith)
2. USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) in the feature film Star Trek Generations when the ships stardrive section is lost during a warp core breach and the saucer section crash lands on the surface of Veridian III in her last appearance.
3. Pitch Black – In the 26th century, the transport ship Hunter-Gratzner, its crew and passengers in cryo-stasis chambers, passes through a comet’s tail while on autopilot; debris from the comet ruptures the hull and kills some of its crew, including the captain. The remaining crew is awakened and docking pilot Carolyn Fry (Radha Mitchell) crash lands on the nearby planet, Hades, despite nearly dumping the passenger compartment; although many survive, the ship is a total loss.
4. From Ben M. – The Star Dreadnought Executor, Darth Vader‘s flagship in The Empire Strikes Back. During the Battle of Endor, a crippled A-wing piloted by Arvel Crynyd (Hilton McRae) crashes into the ship’s bridge, causing the Executor to crash into the unfinished second Death Star and explodes.
5. From Rob O. – ID4 – Russell possesses the last remaining missile, but his firing mechanism jams. He pilots his aircraft into the alien weapon in a suicide attack, and the ensuing explosion causes a chain reaction which annihilates the ship.
The Leviathan Chronicles tracks Macallan Orsel, a young genetic scientist in present-day New York City who discovers that immortality is not a fool’s fantasy, but rather a reality for several factions of powerful immortals living among us. Across centuries and continents, they have battled for supremacy–and Macallan must suddenly grapple with a mysterious and lethal virus, a covert government organization aware of the immortals–and her own family’s connection to both. In order to save herself and the immortals, Macallan must learn to use a key hidden within her own DNA. But a deadly secret has been kept deep in the bottom of the ocean for over a thousand years that could threaten not just the immortals, but all of mankind.