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Nov 05

SciFi Diner Podcast Ep. 82 – Our Interview with John Mierau, Author of the Podiobook Enemy Lines

The SciFi Diner Podcast

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Tonight’s Diners: Scott & Miles

Welcome to the Diner.

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Listener Question:

What is on your SciFi Christmas list?

On the menu tonight:

  • Interview with John Mierau from the podiobook Enemy Lines
  • Smallville/Stargate Trivia winner announced.
  • NEW Caprica Trivia
  • Caprica is Boxed.
  • Why Caprica Failed.
  • The Cape has Villains
  • So much for Nimoy’s retirement (and we’re glad)
  • No Ordinary Family gets Extended and a Ratings Bump
  • Walking Dead – The Biggest AMC Premiere Ever
  • RED makes the Grade
  • Riese Online Series
  • V Gets Trimmed
  • Cameron Commits to Avatar 2 & 3
  • Batman 3 Gets Titled
  • Hobbit Gets Cast
  • Superman/Batman Apocalypse review
  • Parallel Universe is Possible?
  • Leviathan Chronicles News
  • Miles brings the Twist:
  • John Mierau brings us the SciFi Five in Five

Trivia:

This Past Week’s Trivia:

Question: What commonality does Michael Shenks’ characters on SG1 & Smallville have?

Answer: Egyptian Archeology

The Prize: Graham Hancock’s book Entangled: The Eater of Souls

The Winner: Rado

New Trivia:

Quesition: In Caprica, Daniel Greystone the term Cylon is a acryonomyn for what?

Prize: $100 gift card from ThinkGeek.com

You will have until November 16th to answer this question. Send your answer with your mailing address to scifidinerpodcast@gmail.com, call us at 18885084343, or DM us on Twitter at @scifidiner.

Interview:


John Mierau, author of the podiobook Enemy Lines. Aliens, spies, treason, corporate warfare, a secret society, the future of the human race. “If Tom Clancy and the X-files walked into a bar, Enemy Lines would be the result.”

Podcast Promos:

Enemy Lines Podcast

Gatecast Podcast

The Main Course:

TV News

SyFy “Boxes” Caprica

(UNWS) – Syfy has canceled the once promising Battlestar Galactica prequel series “Caprica” according to EW.com’s Michael Ausiello. The series which was built as a family drama set in the Galactica-universe never grabbed the ratings of its predecessor.

“The remaining first run episodes of Caprica – airing Tuesdays at 10/9c – will be removed from the schedule as of next Tuesday, November 2,” said the network in a statement. “These final five episodes of the season will be re-scheduled to air at a to be announced time in the first quarter of 2011, and will conclude the run of the series.”

“We appreciate all the support that fans have shown for ‘Caprica’ and are very proud of the producers, cast, writers and the rest of the amazing team that has been committed to this fine series,“ said Mark Stern, Executive Vice President of Original Programming, Syfy and Co-Head of Content for Universal Cable Productions. “Unfortunately, despite its obvious quality, ‘Caprica’ has not been able to build the audience necessary to justify a second season.”

Previously the network had stated they would make a decision whether or not they were going to pick up the series for a second season by November 15th.

SYFY’s response: We appreciate all the support that fans have shown for #Caprica#Caprica has not been able to build the audience necessary to justify a second season. The remaining first run episodes of #Caprica will be removed from the schedule as of next Tuesday, November 2. The final 5 eps will be re-scheduled to air at a to be announced time in the first quarter of 2011, & will conclude the run of the series. and are very proud of the producers, cast, writers and … …the rest of the amazing team that has been committed to this fine series. Unfortunately, despite its obvious quality,

MY ?? Why not just run the series out to Christmas? And release the DVDs before black friday?

The ‘Caprica’ cancellation: what went wrong? – HitFix (blog)

So what went wrong?

Among the possibilities:

The roll-out schedule was odd. The “Caprica” pilot was released as a standalone DVD in April of 2009, only a few weeks after “BSG” ended, but the series proper didn’t launch on Syfy until January of 2010. Ten episodes aired in winter and early spring, and then the show wasn’t scheduled to come back until January 2011. Someone at Syfy realized that perhaps the waits were getting too extreme, even by cable standards, and in September the return was moved up to early October, which gave “Caprica” the benefit of a good timeslot (after “Stargate Universe”) but the detriment of little advance promotion.

Those long and/or irregular gaps in the schedule certainly didn’t help the show gain traction, but I don’t think it was a major factor.

“BSG” fans were bitter about that show’s finale. Reaction to the “Lost” finale was mild compared to some of the vitriol aimed at Ronald D. Moore and the other “BSG” producers (many of whom moved on to work on “Caprica”) after a finale that was heavy on spirituality and light on concrete explanations to various pieces of the show’s mythology. As with the “Lost” finale, not all fans hated it – maybe not even most of them – but the “BSG” audience was so small to begin with(*) that even if, say, a third of the viewers bitterly swore off the franchise, “Caprica” was already starting in a hole that may have been too deep to climb out of.

(*) And given that, I’m going to be making some audience generalizations in the next couple of theories. I’m not suggesting all viewers feel this way, but when you start with such a small base, it doesn’t take a lot to push things in the direction of cancellation.

Sci-fi fans don’t necessarily want to watch soap opera. Moore’s initial pitch for the show was, “It’s a sci-fi version of ‘Dallas,'” and while the finished product moved quite a bit off of that, there were still plenty of elements – marital discord, corporate intrigue, teen angst/rebellion – that may not have played well to viewers who don’t like so much overlap between their genres. (The mix also included a whole lot of theology, which is essential to the origin of the “BSG” universe but, based on reaction to the “BSG” finale, not everyone’s favorite subject.)

Of course, “BSG” did plenty of genre cross-pollination – it was as much a political drama as a hardcore sci-fi show – but it always had the spaceships and killer robots (the same genre staples Syfy execs said they wanted to move away from) to make the purists feel comfortable. “Caprica” had a killer robot, but it was one with the mind and soul of a teenage girl. For some, that’s icky.

Soap opera fans don’t necessarily want to watch sci-fi. And here was perhaps the bigger miscalculation. Syfy envisioned “Caprica” as a show with a broader audience base than “BSG.” They saw the spaceships and other hardware as a turn-off to viewers who might have enjoyed the political allegory or character drama. But a planet-bound incarnation of “Battlestar Galactica” isn’t enough of a break for that sort of hypothetical viewer. If you’re not going to watch sci-fi, you’re not going to watch sci-fi; it’s not a matter of degree or number of shots of the vacuum of space. Some viewers just won’t watch shows with certain subjects.

(That’s a problem that’s always plagued “Friday Night Lights.” Many soap fans won’t watch because of the football; many football fans won’t watch because of the soap operatics.)

It wasn’t very good. This, really, is what it comes down to. “Caprica” didn’t get off to a great start in the ratings earlier this year, owing to the previous reasons, but if it had held that number or increased a bit over time, Syfy would have given it a longer leash. But many viewers who came into “Caprica” without prejudices about genre or the “BSG” ending still didn’t like what they saw. It was a series with some interesting individual pieces that never cohered into a whole.

The most compelling and/or sympathetic character was Zoe Graystone (Alessandra Torresani), and she was the aforementioned teenage girl’s soul stuck inside a killer robot. The writers kept losing the thread on ostensible leads Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) and Joseph Adama (Esai Morales), and had even less idea what to do with Graystone’s wife Amanda (Paula Malcomson) or bumbling schemer Sister Clarice (Polly Walker).

The show returned from hiatus trying to reshape its various problematic characters – Clarice was much less inept, Joseph stopped whining and embraced his family’s gangster roots, etc. – but there was still a lack of clear storytelling direction, and I kept having to convince myself to watch the episodes that were sitting on my DVR.

That won’t be necessary now. In broad strokes, we know how the story of “Caprica” ends – the killer robots multiply and wipe out most of humanity, while Adama’s delinquent son Willie will grow up to be the leader of the few thousand survivors – but that’s decades in the future for these characters. Their specific stories won’t get to finish. Syfy is going to retreat to safer territory for another prequel: “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome,” about Bill Adama’s early military career, and featuring all the spaceships and other elements that Syfy was so afraid of a couple of years ago.

I liked the idea of “Caprica” very much. I enjoy space battles as much as the next fanboy, but there should be room on television for science fiction that doesn’t have to lean on the hardware, and can lean on the futuristic trappings to tell great stories about ideas and characters. “Caprica” just wasn’t that show.

Fraize’s Opinion: Am I sad Caprica was canceled? No. I never thought that so-called “real” characters making consistently bad decisions was compelling drama.

THE CAPE: Haunting Character Portraits of the Hero and Villians

NBC’s midseason arrival of the superhero drama, The Cape, should be getting a premiere date soon, for now we have our first look at the show’s hero and two of the baddies in these hauntingly intriguing new portraits. Check them out below.

The first portrait is of the The Cape himself, played by David Lyons. He will not assume the mask until the second episode.

Below is Vinnie Jones (Wanted Dead, X-Men: The Last Stand) as reptilian criminal, Dominic Raoul aka Scales.

Lastly is James Frain (Transit, True Blood) who plays The Cape’s nemesis, a billionaire who moonlights as a killer, Peter Fleming aka Chess.

Here’s the latest synopsis of the show:

“The Cape” is a one-hour drama series starring David Lyons (“ER”) as Vince Faraday, an honest cop on a corrupt police force, who finds himself framed for a series of murders and presumed dead. He is forced into hiding, leaving behind his wife, Dana (Jennifer Ferrin, “Life on Mars”) and son, Trip (Ryan Wynott, “Flash Forward”). Fueled by a desire to reunite with his family and to battle the criminal forces that have overtaken Palm City, Faraday becomes “The Cape” his son’s favorite comic book superhero — and takes the law into his own hands. Rounding out the cast are James Frain (“The Tudors”) as billionaire Peter Fleming – The Cape’s nemesis – who moonlights as the twisted killer: Chess; Keith David (“Death at a Funeral”) as Max Malini, the ringleader of a circus gang of bank robbers who mentors Vince Faraday and trains him to be The Cape; Summer Glau (“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”) as Orwell, an investigative blogger who wages war on crime and corruption in Palm City; and Dorian Missick (“Six Degrees”) as Marty Voyt, a former police detective and friend to Faraday.

Where is the portrait for the lovely Summer Glau as Orwell? I can’t wait to see more from The Cape!

 

Nimoy To Return To Fringe

According to TrekMovie.com, Leonard Nimoy isn’t quite retired yet.

At last weekend’s Official Star Trek Convention in Rosemont (Chicago-area), Illinois, actor Christopher Lloyd (Star Trek III: The Search For Spock‘s Kruge) revealed that Nimoy will be returning to Fringe.

Lloyd had answered a question about how it was to work with Nimoy, expressing his admiration for the actor. He then said that he would soon be filming an episode of Fringe (actual filming on the episode in which he will be appearing began this week in Vancouver) and that Nimoy would also be appearing in the same episode, reprising his role as William Bell.

The episode of Fringe in which both are expected to appear will be the tenth episode of the season and it is expected to air early next year.

RIESE: Award-Winning Steampunk Webseries Debuts Online Today With SyFy Star-Studded Cast

In another well-calculated step in expanding the SyFy original content, the network will relaunch the Streamy-award winning webseries, Riese: Kingdom Falling on SyFy.com beginning today. The series features SyFy stars from Stargate Atlantis, Sanctuary, and Battlestar Galactica and a narration by Sanctuary’s Amanda Tapping. There are ten installments to the series, running at about seven or eight minutes each, which will be released every Tuesday and Thursday beginning today.

SYFY.COM WILL PREMIERE RIESE: KINGDOM FALLING, CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED, AWARD-WINNING STEAMPUNK DIGITAL SERIES, BEGINNING TUESDAY, OCTOBER 26

NARRATED BY SANCTUARY’S AMANDA TAPPING

Stars Christine Chatelain (Sanctuary), Ryan Robbins (Caprica), Sharon Taylor (Stargate Universe), Ben Cotton (Harper’s Island), Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica) and Allison Mack (Smallville)

NEW YORK – October 13, 2010 – Marking a major expansion of its original content, Syfy.com will premiere the award-winning, steampunk digital series Riese: Kingdom Falling beginning October 26, on syfy.com/riese every Tuesday and Thursday, it was announced today by Craig Engler, Senior Vice President/General Manager, Syfy Digital.

The critically acclaimed Riese: Kingdom Falling is distributed by Fireworks International, the television and digital distribution arm of ContentFilm plc. Each episode runs approximately seven to eight minutes.

Narrated by Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary), the 10-part series stars a cavalcade of talent from the world of popular speculative drama including Christine Chatelain (The Bone Collector); Sharon Taylor (Stargate Universe); Ben Cotton (Harper’s Island), Allison Mack (Smallville); Ryan Robbins (Caprica); Patrick Gilmore (Stargate Universe); Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica) and Emilie Ullerup (Sanctuary).

The series will also be available via Sony’s PS3, Microsoft’s Xbox and Amazon.

Said Engler: “We saw Riese and thought they had done just an amazing job, and then we were able to give them some resources and bring Amanda on board to really help them take the series to the next level. I think new and existing fans will love the relaunch of the series on Syfy.com and enjoy all the new additions.”

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy that features anachronistic technology and design elements, often from Victorian-era Britain.

Riese:Kingdom Falling won the Streamy Award for Best Cinematography in a Web Series with a further three nominations for Best Sound Design, Best Foreign Series and Art Direction.  The series was shot in Vancouver, BC, created by Ryan Copple and Kaleena Kiff, and produced by Galen Fletcher and Nicholas Humphries.

NO ORDINARY FAMILY: ABC Orders More Scripts, Performs Time Warp

ABC has ordered four more scripts of its new series, No Ordinary Family about a family who gains superhero powers after an accident that occurred while on vacation. The network has also shifted the show’s time slot to Tuesdays at 9/8 C instead of its normal 8/7C between November 30th through December 14th to make room for holiday specials to air.

No Ordinary Family will take its regular time slot back on January 4, 2011 where it will lead into the return of the alien-invasion reboot V.

‘No Ordinary Family’ Starts To Stabilize

The audience freefall for “No Ordinary Family” is over … for now.

The ABC series picked up a 4.6 rating/7 share in Fast National overnight ratings from The Nielsen Co. this past Tuesday, slightly better than its previous week, and helping it earn an average of a 4.6/7 over the past three weeks. This week’s numbers for “No Ordinary Family” reversed a trend of audience erosion that has been ongoing since the beginning of the season.

Even with the uptick, “Family” is still off 27 percent from its series premiere Sept. 28, and nearly 10 percent lower than its average this season. It’s 5.1/8 average also is down more than 5 percent in the timeslot from the year before, which could spell trouble for the series down the road. ABC’s other new Tuesday show, “Detroit 1-8-7,” reversed its ratings fall last week, and is now averaging a 5.7/10, some 36 percent better than what ABC did in its Tuesday 10 p.m. timeslot last year.

“Smallville” continues to show signs of life, despite The CW already announcing it’s the show’s final season. It matched its season high — once again — with a 1.7/3, matching audiences it pulled on Oct. 15 and its season premiere Sept. 24. “Smallville” is averaging a 1.6/3. which right now is 7 percent better than it did in the timeslot all last year.

Comparing “Smallville’s” first six episodes this year with that of last year, “Smallville’s” 1.6/3 average matches what it was doing last year, which helped The CW decide to renew it yet another season. That won’t happen this time around, with the end already in sight, but “Smallville” needs to find a way to give a boost to “Supernatural,” which after a season of being apart, returned as that series’ lead-out.

However, “Supernatural” has not been as strong on Friday night. It earned a 1.4/3 Friday, bringing its average to a 1.5/3. It lost 18 percent of its “Smallville” lead-in, and is 12 percent off its average from Thursdays last year.

“Supernatural” also is not remaining as strong against the rest of The CW’s schedule, this week being beat by “Vampire Diaries,” “America’s Next Top Model,” “Smallville” and “Nikita.”

Top Genre Shows, Week of Oct. 24 — [Audience Loyalty Index rating]

1. (1) No Ordinary Family (ABC) 4.6/7 [81.0]
2. (2) The Event (NBC) 3.7/5 [69.4]
3. (3) Chuck (NBC) 3.3/5 [92.9]
4. (4) Vampire Diaries (CW) 2.2/4 [95.5]
5. (5) Smallville (CW) 1.7/3 [93.1]
6. (6) Supernatural (CW) 1.4/3 [88.2]

Fast Nationals usually provide a snapshot of what Americans are watching by pulling numbers from the top urban markets that include both live viewing and same-day timeshifted viewing. A rating point generally represents more than 1.1 million households while the share indicates the percentage of televisions turned on that was tuned to the specific program. These numbers typically shift when final ratings are issued.

Walking Dead: From Bear McCreary: Okay, so apparently we had 8.3 million viewers if you count the 11:30 and 1am airings! Neato!

On Halloween night, 5.3 million viewers tuned into the series premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead, setting a ratings record for the network. This also makes The Walking Dead this year’s most-watched cable series. Of the 5.3 million, 3.6 million accounted for the sought after 18-49 adult demographic.

AMC’s president, Charlie Collier, commented on the strong ratings:

“It’s a good day to be dead. We are so proud of this series, its depth of storytelling and the remarkable talent attached. As the network dedicated to bringing viewers the best stories on television, we are so pleased to have the opportunity with The Walking Dead to raise the bar within this popular genre and continue our commitment to being the home of premium television on basic cable.”

Did you enjoy AMC’s The Walking Dead premiere? The series is off to a delicious start!

Watch The Walking Dead, adapted from Robert Kirkman’s comic series, on AMC, Sundays at 10/9C. There are five more hour-long episodes this first season.

Red had 2.06 million viewers – don’t know if that includeds DVR numbers

“Doctor Who” Christmas Special Will Be Fast Tracked World-Wide

The upcoming Christmas episode for “Doctor Who” will be shown in the UK on Christmas day and is expected to be “fast tracked” for other markets around the world.

Australia will air the episode a few days later on Boxing Day.

And while a deal hasn’t been finalized for airing in the United States and Canada, it’s also expected to be shown quickly here as well.

In a related story, actor Mark Sheppard, best known for his work on “Firefly” and “Battlestar Galactica” will have a guest role on the upcoming sixth series.

ABC reduces their order for V

ABC have cut their 13-episode order of V by three episodes, making season 2 a 10-episode run. The sci-fi remake of the ’80s classic was lucky to have survived last season, having plunged from a premiere high of 14.3 million viewers to around 5 million in its Tuesday night slot…

V has already been pushed back from an anticipated November return to 4 January 2011, where it’ll have superhero drama No Ordinary Family as a lead-in. The show’s writers will adapt the latter-half of the season to ensure the storyline is told without those additional hours.

This isn’t a promising sign for a show that’s already struggling for survival, but there’s still hope if ratings improve once new episodes begin to air in the new year. There should be renewed interest for fans of the original, because Jane Badler (who played antagonist Diana in the ’80s series) is due to return as the mother of Morena Baccarin‘s character Anna. However, while that’s a fun piece of stunt-casting, V will have to prove it has a compelling narrative and characters if it’s going to draw everyone back through word-of-mouth… before it’s too late.

Movie News:

James Cameron makes it official: Avatar 2 and 3 are on!

The sequels to the highest-grossing film of all time are on the runway: Writer-director James Cameron has come to terms with Fox and is ready to head back to Pandora.

In a statement written with all the humility that comes with being the King of the World, Cameron said:

“It is a rare and remarkable opportunity when a filmmaker gets to build a fantasy world, and watch it grow, with the resources and partnership of a global media company. Avatar was conceived as an epic work of fantasy — a world that audiences could visit, across all media platforms, and this moment marks the launch of the next phase of that world. With two new films on the drawing boards, my company and I are embarking on an epic journey with our partners at Twentieth Century Fox. Our goal is to meet and exceed the global audience’s expectations for the richness of Avatar’s visual world and the power of the storytelling.”

Cameron is set to start writing the sequels early next year, with an eye toward releasing them in December 2014 and December 2015. After he’s done writing, he’ll decide whether to shoot the Avatars back to back. As for the content of the sequels:

“In the second and third films, which will be self contained stories that also fulfill a greater story arc, we will not back off the throttle of Avatar’s visual and emotional horsepower, and will continue to explore its themes and characters, which touched the hearts of audiences in all cultures around the world. I’m looking forward to returning to Pandora, a world where our imaginations can run wild.”

Batman 3 gets a title, nixes 3-D and rules out the expected villain

Director Christopher Nolan has revealed the title of his highly anticipated sequel to The Dark Knight—and knocked the odds-on favorite Bat-villain out of the running.

The Dark Knight Rises, as Batman 3 will now be called, won’t see the Caped Crusader facing off against Edward Nygma, better known as the Riddler. Nor will he don the Bat-thermals to take down Mr. Freeze. Ever-elusive, all Nolan would say was “We’ll use many of the same characters as we have all along, and we’ll be introducing some new ones.”

If the title The Dark Knight was, as Nolan has said, about Harvey Dent as much as it was Bruce Wayne, maybe the new title is a hint toward the resurrection of Two-Face …

Nolan won’t be shooting The Dark Knight Rises in 3-D—he’s convinced Warner Brothers that his current plan of using high-definition and IMAX cameras is the prudent course for the 2012 release.

At least one A-list director isn’t drinking the 3-D punch.

Peter Jackson Casts Hobbit

Martin Freeman, seen here as Watson in Sherlock, has been cast as Bilbo Baggins

The Hobbit is moving out of New Zealand to Australia. Or to London. Or maybe it isn’t after all. We don’t know, and we’re not sure that Peter Jackson knows either. But one thing Jackson does know—and now WE know—is who’ll be starring in the long-delayed movie.

According to Deadline, the following roles have officially been filled:

Martin Freeman is set to play Bilbo Baggins, the adventurous Hobbit whose adventures and discovery of the One Ring leads the story up to The Lord of the Rings.

Richard Armitage (MI-5 and Captain America: The First Avenger) will play Thorin Oakenshield, leader of the Company of Dwarves which sets off to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from a thieving dragon.

Aidan Turner (Being Human) and Rob Kazinsky (EastEnders) will play Kili and Fili, members of the Company of Dwarves.

Graham McTavish (Secretariat) will play Dwalin, John Callen (Power Rangers Jungle Fury) will play Oin; Stephen Hunter (All Saints) will play Bombur, and Mark Hadlow (King Kong) plays Dori, while Peter Hambleton (The Strip) will play Gloin.

James Nesbitt, David Tennant, Stephen Fry, Saoirse Ronan and Bill Nighy may also be cast, though nothing is definite as yet.

Of Freeman as Bilbo, Jackson said that “Despite the various rumors and speculation surrounding this role, there has only ever been one Bilbo Baggins for us. … There are a few times in your career when you come across an actor who you know was born to play a role, but that was the case as soon as I met Martin. He is intelligent, funny, surprising and brave—exactly like Bilbo, and I feel incredibly proud to be able to announce that he is our Hobbit.”

the right choices?

Update***

Nesbitt has indeed nabbed the role of the Dwarf Bofur who is: “a disarmingly forthright, funny and occasionally brave Dwarf.”

Director Peter Jackson said of Nesbitt that “James’s charm, warmth and wit are legendary as is his range as an actor in both comedic and dramatic roles. We feel very lucky to be able to welcome him as one of our cast.”

Everyone who’s seen Nesbitt in both Steven Moffat’s Jekyll and Cold Feet know that the actor can pull off really scary, crazy, tender and funny. So we have no doubt that he can certainly pull off the role of Bofur.

Also cast is a newcomer by the name of Adam Brown will play another Dwarf called Ori of whom Jackson said, “Adam is a wonderfully expressive actor and has a unique screen presence. I look forward to seeing him bring Ori to life”.

Nesbitt and Brown join their recently announced co-stars Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage (soon to appear in Captain America: The First Avenger), Aidan Turner (Being Human), Rob Kazinsky (EastEnders), Graham McTavish (Secretariat), John Callen (TV’s Power Rangers Jungle Fury), Stephen Hunter (All Saints), Mark Hadlow (King Kong) and Peter Hambleton (The Strip).

But as for that less good news …

Sir Ian McKellen, who plays the beloved Gandalf, told Broadway World that he has not yet signed a contract to appear in the The Hobbit films. “I am not under contract, no. I’m not going to say any more than that because it might complicate things! So, I would say—at the moment—no, I am not under contract.”

What’s this? Wasn’t it a done deal? We’re hoping it’ll only turn out to be a formality and that McKellen will officially sign on the dotted line soon—as in yesterday, thank you very much.

So what do you think of all the casting news and contract woes? Do you like the idea of having James Nesbitt on board? And do you think there’s any danger that Sir Ian McKellen may not return for The Hobbit?

The Seventh Doctor has been cast as Gandalf’s wizard pal in The Hobbit

Nothing’s been signed yet, but Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy has been offered the role of Gandalf’s fellow wizard Radagast the Brown in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. If David Tennant gets in, we’ll have a regular Whoverse invasion of Middle Earth.

McCoy confirmed his involvement to fans at the Armageddon Expo in Auckland, New Zealand. Radagast is only mentioned in The Hobbit (Gandalf refers to him as “his cousin”), so it’s unclear how big McCoy’s role will be in the film. Still, we hope that his incarnation of Radagast has at least a twinge of the Seventh Doctor’s sartorial swagger.

DVD News:

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

Batman discovers a mysterious teen-aged girl with super-human powers and a connection to Superman. When the girl comes to the attention of Darkside, the evil overlord of Apocalypse, events take a decidedly dangerous turn.

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Andre Braugher Andre Braugher
Darkseid (voice)
Kevin Conroy Kevin Conroy
Batman (voice)
Tim Daly Tim Daly
Susan Eisenberg Susan Eisenberg
Wonder Woman (voice)
Summer Glau Summer Glau
Kara / Supergirl (voice)
Julianne Grossman Julianne Grossman
Big Barda (voice)
Edward Asner Edward Asner

My review.  I did enjoy Superman/Batman Apocalypse,  however, I enjoyed Batman: Under the Red Hood better.  Don’t get me wrong,  I liked what I saw here. It was a interesting more naturalistic treatment of what would happen if Supergirl landed in Gotham City and having Batman being suspicious of her and Superman being there to defend probably his last living blood relative. The animation was excellent. The voice talents were great. I was excited to here the original voices for Batman and Superman that we’ve come to know and love from the previous series. Also, there’s always a soft spot for me for Summer Glau. And Andre Braugher was great, voicing the character of Dark Side.
If you enjoy these stand alone movies put by DC Entertainment, than by all means, definitely rent it. You’ll enjoy it. However, for me, Batman: Under the Red Hood, set the bar really high in story telling. This is how I’ll rate this DVD using a Star Wars reference. Darth Vader being the highest, Jar Jar Binks being the lowest,  I give Superman/Batman Apocalypse a Darth Maul which is equivalent to  4 out of 5 stars.
A bonus on this DVD is a sneak peak at the next straight to DVD move; based on the All Star Superman comic.  A story where Superman is dieing.
Another is a trailer for the sequel to the Lost Boys vampire thriller from the late 80s. Corey Feldman stars in this one.

Other News:

(@TrekJen) CERN scientists eye parallel universe breakthrough – Yahoo! News

GENEVA (Reuters) – Physicists probing the origins of the cosmos hope that next year they will turn up the first proofs of the existence of concepts long dear to science-fiction writers such as hidden worlds and extra dimensions.

And as their Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN near Geneva moves into high gear, they are talking increasingly of the “New Physics” on the horizon that could totally change current views of the universe and how it works.

“Parallel universes, unknown forms of matter, extra dimensions… These are not the stuff of cheap science fiction but very concrete physics theories that scientists are trying to confirm with the LHC and other experiments.”

This was how the “ideas” men and women in the international research center’s Theory Group, which mulls over what could be out there beyond the reach of any telescope, put it in CERN’s staff-targeted Bulletin this month.

As particles are collided in the vast underground LHC complex at increasingly high energies, what the Bulletin article referred to informally as the “universe’s extra bits” — if they do exist as predicted — should be brought into computerized, if ephemeral, view, the theorists say.

Optimism among the hundreds of scientists working at CERN — in the foothills of the Jura mountains along the border of France and Switzerland — has grown as the initially troubled $10 billion experiment hit its targets this year.

PROTON COLLISIONS

By mid-October, Director-General Rolf Heuer told staff last weekend, protons were being collided along the 27-km (16.8 mile) subterranean ring at the rate of 5 million a second — two weeks earlier than the target date for that total.

By next year, collisions will be occurring — if all continues to go well — at a rate producing what physicists call one “inverse femtobarn,” best described as a colossal amount, of information for analysts to ponder.

The head-on collisions, at all but the speed of light, recreate what happened a tiny fraction of a second after the primeval “Big Bang” 13.7 billion years ago which brought the known universe and everything in it into being.

Despite centuries of increasingly sophisticated observation from planet Earth, only 4 per cent of that universe is known — because the rest is made up of what have been called, because they are invisible, dark matter and dark energy

 

Billions of particles flying off from each LHC collision are tracked at four CERN detectors — and then in collaborating laboratories around the globe — to establish when and how they come together and what shapes they take.

The CERN theoreticians say this could give clear signs of dimensions beyond length, breadth, depth and time because at such high energy particles could be tracked disappearing — presumably into them — and then back into the classical four.

Parallel universes could also be hidden within these dimensions, the thinking goes, but only in a so-called gravitational variety in which light cannot be propagated — a fact which would make it nearly impossible to explore them.

Leviathan Chronicles (@LeviathanChrons)

Heading into the studio to listen and edit “The Dramatist”, one of the first Special Edition Episodes dropping in just a few weeks. This script is really different from some of the other Leviathan scripts. I think you’re all going to love it!

TWIST (This Week In Star Trek)

Thanks to Chris from Subspace Communique- North Texans Send Star Trek’s Captain Kirk Into Stratosphere

Official Press Release

On October 17, 2010 the Brothers Gromm released a small weather balloon from the outskirts of Stephenville, Texas. It carried a lightweight 1 lb 15 ounce foam capsule designed to take photographs from approximately 20 miles above the surface of the earth. The capsule carried a camera, a GPS locator, souvenirs to celebrate the importance of libraries in our communities, and souvenirs to celebrate the actors attending the Star Trek Fan Days convention at the Plano Center in Plano, Texas the weekend of October 23-24.

The capsule rose approximately 20 miles through the stratosphere over Granbury and was recovered approximately 3 hours later in a field in Crowley. The project was a spectacular success, and produced hundreds of striking photos.

The space-borne souvenirs included:

2 Action Figures: One of William Shatner and one of Christopher Lloyd
1 miniature model of the Enterprise
3 library cards – Fort Worth Southwest Regional Public Library; Fort Worth Shamblee Public Library; and the Mansfield Public Library

Haynes Enterprise Manual Co-author Ben Robinson Interview from the startrek.com

 

 

By StarTrek.com Staff

October 26, 2010

The long-awaited U.S.S. Enterprise Owners’ Workshop Manual is just about here. We’ve been teasing it for a while, first with news about its upcoming publication and then with a conversation with Derek Smith, editor at the Book Division of Haynes Publishing. And now StarTrek.com presents an interview with the book’s co-author Ben Robinson, a Brit who may already be familiar to Star Trek fans thanks to his involvement with the Star Trek Fact Files.

Why isn’t the Enterprise from the J.J. Abrams movie included?

That’s because at the moment the real pleasure of that ship is that we don’t know anything about it. I want to go into those movies full of excitement because I’m going to find things out. There will come a time for a manual that covers that Enterprise, but for now it’s best for it to stay a mystery.

SciFi Five in Five by John Mierau

Here we go: I Picked 5 classic and recent anti-hero heroes from all
mediums of SF. Five bad guys that are really bad, REALLY bad, but come
down on the right side when it really counts… when the audience is
tuned in.

1. Jayne
the mercenary who swears all he wants is Money, and almost follows
through on that several times, nearly resulting in the capture and
demise of his fellow crewmates on the Firefly, from the Joss Whedon
show of the same name. A man of few words and big guns, and thin
morals.

2. Avon in the BBC series Blake’s 7, created by Terry Nation, creator
of DR. Who’s Daleks

a brilliant, self-serving information thief who will betray anyone to
survive and prosper, until he meets Blake, a budding resistance leader
against an oppressive future Federation.

3. Spider Jerusalem
Warren Ellis’s Hunter S Thompsoneeque gonzo journalist of a future
metropolis. His moral is simple. He delivers the truth, as a
journalist, defender or an avenger. He’s as likely to hammer a guilty
man’s head in with the truth as champion the downtrodden – so long as
they’re not idiots. The words he uses are more dangerous than a
sniper’s weapon…which was what he wanted to be when he grew up…

4. V
in V for Vendetta, first a comic strip by Alan Moore and later an
action flick starring Hugo Weaving, the Matrix’s Agent Smith as a
post-apocalyptic anarchist challenging the chokehold of a fascist
British Government.

He takes down a government by turning the masses into rebels.

5. Snake Pliskin

This ex-special forces commando and war hero turned criminal on the
run was played by Kurt Russel in John Carpenter’s Escape from New
York, and its sequel Escape from LA.

He turns out all the lights. In the WORLD.

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