SciFi Diner Podcast Ep. 94
Our Interview with the Browncoats: Redemption Crew.
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The song at the end of this week’s episode is the theme song for Millennium. You can find it here.
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Listener Question: What do you think of our current format? What do you like? What would you change? Show 100.
On the menu tonight:
- Interview with the Browncoats: Redemption Cast.
- The Winner of our Trivia Contest
- Defending Firefly’s Cancellation
- The Event is Uneventful
- The Summer Glau Curse
- What Michael Bay Really Thinks of Transformers 2
- Who will play the next Laura Croft?
- Thor: Tales of the Asgard DVD Review
- This Week In Star Trek with Miles
- The SciFi Five in Five: Miles shares his top five moments at The Farpoint Con
The Question: Thanks to Jason for this question: Name the shows/movies featured in our intro in order. Extra credit given if you can identify the speaker of the clip.
Prize: Browncoats: Redemption DVD, Autographed shots of most of the cast, signed movie poster, and a leather Browncoats Redemption bracelet. Thanks to Mike.
Support by going to their website: Browncoatsmovie.com You can order the movie DVD/Bluray and other merchandise and get a discount using Scifidiner as a promo code.
Winner: Brady H.
1. Star Trek: spoken by Spock
2. Star Wars: spoken by Hans Solo
3. BSG: spoken by Admiral William Adama
4. Serenity: spoken by Wash and Mal
5. Matrix: Bald “Spoon Boy”
6. Star Trek, TNG: spoken by Capitan Picard “There are four lights!”
7. V (New): Spoken by Anna
8. Sci-Fi Diner Podcast intro: Spoken by Mrs. Hertzog.
BROWNCOATS: REDEMPTION takes place three months after the events on Miranda and we find Captain Laura Matthews and the crew of Redemption unintentionally thrown into a situation that some view as the potential catalyst for the second unified rise of the Independents against the Alliance, since Unification Day. The Alliance is looking for a scape goat for Miranda while those unhappy with the Alliance are looking for a rallying cry to take action. Through all this, a secret about Laura is exposed that shakes the very core of the crew, threatening to break it up, challenge the trust that she’s earned with the Browncoats, and undo all the efforts she has put into place to keep a sense of peace in her life since the first Unification War.
Former Fox president explains why Firefly had to be canceled
Firefly fans (aka “Browncoats”) have had it better than most fans of a brilliant-yet-canceled series: We got something like closure, thanks to the feature film Serenity (2005). The show is also rerunning on the Science Channel, with all-new commentary from scientist Michio Kaku.
But we Browncoats also have it tougher than most. With multiple references to our favorite spacefaring cowboys in star Nathan Fillion’s current show, Castle, we’re constantly reminded of what we’ve lost.
To that end, Gail Berman, the former president of entertainment at Fox Broadcasting Company, spoke about why she had to pull the plug. She said in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that:
“Canceling ‘Firefly’ was as difficult as anything I’d ever been involved in because Joss and I had been creative partners at one time … I worked with him very closely on this particular show and when it didn’t perform [in the ratings], having to cancel it was very difficult. “If I had to do it over again, I might have reconsidered it but I’m not sure it would have changed anything,” she said. “It was a numbers things. It was a wonderful show and I loved it and I loved working with him on it but that was a big show, a very expensive show and it wasn’t delivering the numbers.”
The fact that Berman’s quotes are still news is a sign that Firefly fandom hasn’t lost steam since the show was canceled in December 2002 … more than eight years ago.
So although it’s tough to be a Firefly fan, with the re-airing of our show, as well as the Help Nathan Fillion Buy Firefly campaign that started three weeks ago, at least our lives are never boring.
HUGE ratings drop the latest disastrous event for The Event
Monday was a bad night for NBC and The Event, as the alien conspiracy series took a major ratings hit, losing nearly a third of its audience.
The series returned from its three-month midseason hiatus with two back-to-back episodes that could only score a 1.4/4 rating, with 5.53 million total viewers in the first hour and 4.93 in the second, or a shocking drop of 26 percent.
When we last saw The Event in late November, the series had settled in with a 1.9 rating and impressive timeshifted ratings that nearly doubled its audience. Time will tell how Monday’s outing rates when it comes to the TiVo crowd.
I chatted with executive producer Evan Katz in an exclusive interview that took place as he was readying the series for Monday’s premiere and he was worried about seeing The Event off the air for such a long time.
“I think the mistake was not starting us in January to begin with. I mean, as a serialized show. It was like, we need to run these episodes straight through,” said Katz. “That’s what they found with 24. You put it on, you take it off—the ratings go down. So it’s not ideal, but what are you going to do? … It’s always a challenge to come back after so many months.” Katz was an executive producer on 24 before he moved on to The Event.
However, things look brighter when the timeshifted audience is figured in, he said. “The show takes in an almost bizarre jump in the DVR numbers. The last episode that they tracked went up 53 percent in the TiVo rating. Half again as many people are watching, which is crazy.” That episode aired Nov. 30.
“I feel the material is really strong. I’m excited about the show. I feel like the episodes are just getting better each time, and I think we’re in a great groove,” said Katz. “It’s just about NBC getting the message out.”
While The Event‘s ratings are certainly starting out better than The Cape‘s last episode, which ended its run with a 1.2/3 rating for 18-49 adults and 4.097 million viewers, it’s worrisome to see the series fall so far. The Event premiered in the fall with nearly 11 million viewers.
What do you think? Is The Event history?
It seems to be semi-official that The Cape has been dry-cleaned and folded for the last time. And we’ve heard people talking about a “Summer Glau Curse,” in which no power in the ‘verse can keep her on the air.
Okay, seriously? First of all, does anybody really believe that The Cape would have been a runaway hit if Kristin Kreuk had played Orwell instead? Or some other cult genre actor? But even leaving aside the specifics of The Cape, it’s totally ridiculous to talk about a “Glau Curse.” It shouldn’t even need to be said, but here goes anyway.
Here are the facts: Summer Glau is a good actor, who has been in a number of television shows that got canceled.
Smart people can disagree about whether Glau is a great actor, or just an okay actor. I doubt most people who’ve followed her work would call her a bad actor. It’s certainly true that she’s tended to get cast as, for lack of a better term, non-neurotypical women — robot women, mentally damaged basket case women, slightly aspy nerd women. But she’s been able to play other types of characters on occasion.
And some of her performances have really stuck with me. Especially the final episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, with the famous “cutting Cameron open” scene. Also, she has to cover a lot of ground in the movie Serenity and some Firefly episodes, from playful and silly, to melting down, to resolute and bad-ass. There’s a reason why a lot of Firefly/Serenity‘s most quotable lines come from River Tam. Anyway, I’ve always liked her acting, and felt as though she came by her “cult icon” status honestly — by giving performances that excited people.
But in any case, the question of whether Summer Glau is merely an adequate actor or a great actor has almost nothing to do with whether she’s the source of an eponymous Curse. Unless you want to argue that there’s some correlation between acting ability and success on television? And every actor on a successful television show is ipso facto a great thespian, whereas every actor on a failed television show is a terrible actor? I didn’t think so.
So what’s Glau’s actual track record on television? Here goes:
1) She was in Firefly, whose fate we’re all quite familiar with. Unless the Glau Curse was incredibly devious, I’m not sure how the Curse could have caused Fox to air the wrong pilot, put the show on Fridays, and generate tons of “damaged show” buzz before its launch. (Here’s a first-hand account by a media person who helped to bury Firefly back in the day.)
2) She was on The 4400, the USA Network show about people with mysterious superpowers. But she was a fairly minor character — and only had a major story arc in the final episodes of the show, when its fate was probably already sealed.
3) She had a recurring role on The Unit, a super-spy show that I know almost nothing about, which continued for a couple seasons after she was gone.
4) Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. This spinoff of the Terminator movies actually got fantastic ratings for its first episode, and then slowly lost its audience, not unlike Fringe and many other shows. Like many other shows, T:SCC was mortally wounded by the writer’s strike, with its first season cut short and aired in a compromised fashion. And you could also argue that this show delved into some smart thematic territory that was maybe a bit too challenging for some viewers.
5) Dollhouse. Okay, really? She was only in a few episodes, all of them after this show was already a dead show walking.
6) Which brings us back to The Cape. A show that we grew to love in spite of (or maybe because of) its total idiocy. Given that movies have learned the hard way that people prefer superheroes to be at least semi-serious, a television show which took the Joel Schumacher approach to superheroes was probably doomed to implode. As, indeed, it did.
There’s no good explanation for why television science fiction has such a tough time. Why has a show like Fringe struggled to find its audience since early in season two, and been banished to the Friday night “death slot”? Why do shows like Bionic Woman or FlashForward, which weren’t good but were no worse than the average CSI or NCIS show, sink like a stone after a few episodes? We’ve spent a lot of time trying to unravel the reasons for this tendency. But it’s doubtless true that science fiction shows which do not star Summer Glau do just as badly as ones which do.
But still the talk about a “Summer Glau Curse.” Why is this? Because she’s become a science fiction icon, and thus ripe for takedown. She’s one of the few actors of the past decade to have a string of really memorable science fiction roles — even if she’d only played Cameron in T:SCC she’d have a huge cult following. And thus she’s ripe for a backlash. Because nerds love to hate anybody that nerds love.
In any case, let’s hope that Glau keeps getting awesome roles, and maybe has a chance to play a wider range of characters. We only get so many science fiction MVPs in any given generation of actors, and she’s clearly one of ours. So rather than talking about a “Curse,” we should be hoping she finally gets a vehicle for her talent that stays afloat for longer than a year or two.
Michael Bay admits Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ‘was crap’
It’s no secret that a lot of us thought Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was a big pile of crap. Well, guess what? Michael Bay thinks so, too.
In an interview with Empire about the third film in the saga, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the director finally admits the truth about its predecessor nearly two years later: “We made some mistakes. The real fault with [Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen] is that it ran into a mystical world. When I look back at it, that was crap.”
Bay puts the blame on the movie’s rushed development, saying, “The writers’ strike was coming hard and fast. It was just terrible to do a movie where you’ve got to have a story in three weeks. I was prepping a movie for months where I only had 14 pages of some idea of what the movie was. It’s a BS way to make a movie, do you know what I’m saying?”
Of course, in Hollywood, meeting a release date is far more important than actually having a coherent script—or even a script, for that matter—and more than $800 million in worldwide box office receipts later, it’s easy for Bay to say he foisted a piece of garbage on audiences, isn’t it?
So forgive us if we take this comment on the 3-D Dark of the Moon with a heaping spoonful of cynicism: “I think our 3-D works really well with the robots, the size, the girth, the weight of it … it’s spectacular.”
You know what, Mike? The first Transformers wasn’t so hot either, so you’re going to have to work really hard to impress us with episode three. In the meantime, thanks for letting everyone who shelled out their hard-earned money for Revenge of the Fallen know that they got ripped off.
Did you think Revenge of the Fallen was junk? And whether you do or not, do you feel cheated now that the director himself says it was?
12 actresses who could raid tombs as the new Lara Croft
With the news that the film rights to Tomb Raider—the flick that made Angelina Jolie a big, honking movie star—have just been picked up and that an origin story-reboot is in the works, we started thinking about who could strap on the pistols.
We’re not sure just how far back into adventuress Lara Croft’s history this new reboot will go. All that the press release from Graham King’s GK Films (The Departed) says is that, after acquiring the rights from videogame company Eidos, they want to “create daring new adventures for the young and dynamic Lara Croft.”
But who could play that young Lara, who’ll grace screens in 2013? Well, we’ve got some ideas.
Credits: Tron: Legacy, House M.D., Cowboys & Aliens
On the strength of Tron, she seems to be the go-to genre girl—we’ll wait to see if Cowboys & Aliens gives her a little more to do than simply look stunning before rendering judgment.
Credits: Black Swan, The Book of Eli, Forgetting Sarah Marshall
The only real question about this comedienne, who showed what she was capable of in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan and ably toted firearms in Eli and Max Payne, is “Can she rock a convincing British accent?”
Credits: Firefly, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, The Cape
She’s got plenty of action-derring-do experience as well as the porcelain-fine features that can convey a life of rarefied privilege, but will the powers that be deem her ready to be the anchor of a massive franchise?
Credits: The Harry Potter films, The Tale of Despereaux
Watson had voiced a desire to back away from acting to focus on, you know, a real life, but if she reverses her decision then it’s entirely possible she could dig into this role with gusto. And she knows a thing or two about special-effects filmmaking.
Credits: Iron Man 2, The Prestige, The Avengers
You know she’s gonna get the call. And you know that she’s at the top of the list. It’s hers to decline, really. Get over it.
Credits: Undercovers, Doctor Who, MI-5
She’s a virtual unknown in the States—and J.J. Abrams’ terminally unseen Undercovers didn’t really help—so it’d be an uphill battle to land this role. But she’s got the raw beauty, the upper-crust bearing and the posh accent to pull it off.
Credits: Kick-Ass, Let Me In, Hugo Cabret
She’s very young—14 years old—so unless this is going to be a super-duper origin story, it might be a bit of a stretch. But she was the most kick-ass part of Kick-Ass—and she’s not gonna be a kid forever. Building a franchise around her wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.
Credits: Atonement, The Lovely Bones, Hanna
Will playing a teenage assassin in the upcoming Hanna be the training this Oscar nominee needs to step into Lara’s rugged boots? Perhaps. And will you look at those eyes?
Credits: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Up in the Air, Twilight
She held her own against George Clooney, is the second-youngest actress to ever get a Tony nomination, and killed it in Scott Pilgrim. ‘Nuff said.
Evan Rachel Wood
Credits: True Blood, The Wrestler, Thirteen
Wood has got the imperious thing down pat, given her role as the Vampire Queen of Louisiana in HBO’s True Blood. And she’s got a black belt in tae kwon do. And used to date Marilyn Manson. Not that it matters, other than it shows she’s got experience with the unknown.
Credits: Chuck, Mass Effect 2
Yeah, there’s no way she could pull this off. Absolutely not. She’s got no experience whatsoever doing accents, shooting guys, kicking men in the face, playing videogame characters, or looking good while doing so.
Credits: The Harry Potter films
The former future Mrs. Harry Potter got kinda hot as the Potter films progressed. It’s unknown if she’s got the required steel to play Lara Croft, but she’d be an interesting choice.
So who’s your pick for the part?
Thor: Tales of Asgard
The TWIST (This Week In Star Trek):
Star Trek’s Dermal Regenerator One Step Closer To Reality. Dr. Crusher Approves
One of our readers brought a new skin repair technique for burn victims to our attention. On a segment from a National Geographic video, the inventor of this new technology calls it a stem-cell gun, although it looks more like a bulky air brush to us. It sprays stem-cells taken from the burn victim back onto the wounded area of skin. Unlike a skin graft that can take months to heal, and is prone to infection, the Skin Gun can be used to heal burn-damaged skin in a matter of days. While we watched this video we couldn’t help but think that this leap in medical technology seemed just like a real-life step toward technology we’ve been seeing on Star Trek for decades. Seeing the perfect looking new skin that healed in only 4 days, on one of the first trial patients, is so astounding it gave us goose bumps!
In a brief Oscar night red carpet interview Star Trek sequel producer (and possible director) JJ Abrams said he is expecting to read the a script soon and he talked about how he imagines the sequel will expand on the characters. Watch the video below.
Abrams waiting for Trek script – expects sequel to expand on characters
MTV News caught up with Star Trek sequel producer (and possible director) JJ Abrams at Vanity Fair’s post-Oscar bash on Sunday. Regarding his new film Super-8 (due in theaters June 8th), Abrams said he expect a trailer “pretty soon” but in characteristic fashion wouldn’t give any details. And regarding that Star Trek sequel script currently being wrapped up by Damon Lindelof and Roberto Orci, Abrams said he “I can’t wait to check it out very shortly”. He also provided this tiny insight into what he thinks the film will expand on saying:
Abrams: The first one [Star Trek 2009] was about the characters meeting and the sequel’s going to have to be more about what they do now that they’re a family. It’ll be fun.
March continues to look like the big moment for the Star Trek sequel. Earlier in the year Abrams stated that he expected to be announcing his intentions on directing the sequel this month, and a few weeks ago the writers indicated they expected to hand in the draft this month as well
SciFi Five in Five
Miles: My Sci Fi Five at 5 Favorite moments at Shoreleave
5. Walking in the door and seeing the vendors & people in costume.,
4. Karaoke. Even Bad Karaoke can be fun.
3. Seeing Chris & Karen, 2 of our listeners at the con.
2. Our time w/ Mike & the cast of Browncoats Redemtion
1. Meeting Bonita Friedecy, Tahmoh Penikett and Laurie Holden