SciFi Diner Podcast

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Scifi Diner Podcast Ep. 34 – An Interview with Christopher Heyerdahl; News on TV Premieres and More!


The SciFi Diner Podcast

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Tonight’s Diners: Scott & Miles.

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Welcome to the Diner.

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Tonight’s Agenda:

In this Science Fiction podcast, we  have an interview tonight with Christopher Heyerdahl from Sanctuary and Stargate Atlantis, a Firefly where-are-the-now, Flash Forward rocks the Premieres, Is Dollhouse Dead, V Trouble, FOX damages Fringe, can any Hero save Heroes, 1 reason to see Riverworld, Surrogates struggles, treasure trouble for the Hobbit?, Horror Film Clichés, The Fly is being reborn yet again, Dark Knight meet Ghost Rider 2, and one film we’re excited about The Road.

Our Interview:

In this science fiction podcast, Miles and Scott interview Christopher Heyerdahl, well known for his roles in Smallville, Stargate SG1, Stargate Atlantis, Supernatural, and most recently Sanctuary.  He starts off the interview chatting about his role as Zor-El in Smallville and then moves into chatting about his role as Alistair on Supernatural.  Is Alistair really?  Heyerdahl weighs in on the matter.  He goes on to chat about his roles in the Stargate franchise, especially focusing on his role as Todd the Wraith, which he views as having brought humanity to the wraith.  After a brief interruption from Adrienne Wilkenson, he chats about his favorite Todd moments including shaking Amanda Tapping’s hand, the revelation in “Common Ground”, and the mutiny on the Deadalus.  He shares what it was like to wear the mask and outfit of Todd and what it was like to wear that around the Atlantis set.  After a brief interruption by a Japanese schoolgirl, which he enjoyed I might add, he went on to chat about revoicing Todd, what some have called Looping, and others have referred to as ADR (Additional Dialogue Recording).

We pressed him about Sanctuary and what we could expect from Season 2.  With the Kabal still in action and Ashley now rogue, he said, season 2 will bring more action, more special effects, and take place all over the world.  Many of the characters will surprises us, especially Will.  His character of John Druitt will continue to stir up trouble.  He said to expect a new gun for hire character he calls Hanna Solo.

He finishes the interview by stalking about how he got into science fiction and his love of all things Star Trek and Star wars.  He comments on how Vancouver has become the hot bed for all things scifi.  He discusses his role in the up and coming Twilight: New Moon movie.  He discusses the types of science fiction movies he loves, such as the X-men and Transformers, and the science fiction books that first drew him into scifi.

Show News:

  • Thanks all who continue to be an active part of our community.
  • Tons of dialogue about the season premieres – we are going to release a separate episode to chat about your feedback on those shows, and to let you know our thoughts on those shows as well.
  • Many ways to support this cast…if haven’t done so we encourage to cast your vote on iTunes.  It helps other people find us and enjoy what you have been enjoying.


For our trivia question for this coming week:

Trivia Question: Dollhouse trivia. When Dollhouse creator Joss Whedon first tried to contact Eliza Dushku about doing the show, what was she doing?

The Prize: A copy of the movie Batman Beyond


If you know the answer, call us at 1.888.508.4343, e-mail us at, or contact Scott and Miles on Twitter with your answers!

The Trivia Question from last Week:

The Prize: Smallville Season 2

Question: Name two popular scifi movies Robert Picardo was in?

Answer: The Howling & Total Recall (Voice of the Johnnycab Driver) (many others as well)

Winner: Ben Martin


SciFi News:

Ten Minutes of Scifi TV:

7 years after Firefly: Where are they now?

When Fox premiered Firefly on Friday, Sept. 20, 2002, all things seemed possible. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel were still on the air and Joss Whedon was a god to us. He could do anything, and a bright, shiny new television show about a motley crew of smugglers who traveled aboard a Firefly-class spaceship called Serenity in the year 2517 seemed like it had infinite possibilities.

Joss Whedon

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, writing comic books and screenplays. Then he had lunch with actress Eliza Dushku and came up with the concept for her new show, Dollhouse, on the spot. He made friends with Fox again, which seemed like a mistake in so many ways. Paired with Terminator on Friday nights, Dollhouse never gained momentum, and it didn’t seem to have a chance. Then a miracle happened and the sci-fi spy show was picked up while Terminator was canceled. The second season of Dollhouse debuted last Friday with approximately 2.7 million viewers, a couple million less than Firefly managed on Fridays when it was canceled. Color that ironic.

Nathan Fillion

Since he starred as Capt. Mal Reynolds, — he may have found a home on ABC’s Castle as roguish novelist Richard Castle, who works with the police to solve crimes while annoying his pretty police detective partner.

Gina Torres

The role of the tough and beautiful Zoë Washburne, Mal’s loyal first officer. After Firefly, Torres appeared in regular roles on Angel, 24, Justice League, Alias and Standoff. Coming up, you’ll be able to catch her guest-starring on ABC’s FlashForward.

Alan Tudyk

Wash Washburne, the ship’s pilot and Zoe’s husband, in Serenity.   Has been in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, 3:10 to Yuma and the Halo 3: ODST video game. Last season, Whedon cast him as the twisted Alpha in Dollhouse, a role that begs for a return at some point. This season Tudyk will guest-star in the pilot episode of ABC’s V, which premieres in November.

Morena Baccarin

Morena Baccarin played Inara Serra, the comely companion and only respectable person on the ship. She’s taken on a wide variety of roles in Still Life, Justice League, The O.C. and Heartland. Still, she continues to be pulled back toward sci-fi. Her most notable role for sci-fi audiences is as Adria on Stargate SG-1. However, she’ll soon be appearing in a leading role this season on V as Anna, the leader of the visitors.

Adam Baldwin

You’ve got to love a rough-and-tumble guy named Jayne, especially if he’s played by Adam Baldwin. The busy actor has guest-starred in Angel, Stargate SG-1, But NBC’s Chuck seems to have made the best use of his talents as the gruff NSA operative Maj. John Casey. Chuck returns for its third season after the Olympics in March of 2010.

Jewel Staite

Jewel Staite played the gifted ship’s mechanic, Kaylee Frye, However, it wasn’t until Stargate: Atlantis that she began appearing in a ongoing role again, playing Dr. Jennifer Keller. Rumors are that Dr. Keller will return, despite the fact that the series finished its run. Reports are that Staite is starring in the first Stargate Atlantis movie, Stargate: Extinction, which would air first on Syfy and then be released on DVD.

Sean Maher

Sean Maher co-starred as Dr. Simon Tam, the sensitive yet determined brother who’d do anything to protect his sister, River.. He is currently working on a romantic comedy called Timing, starring opposite Eureka’s Colin Ferguson as his love interest.

Summer Glau

Summer Glau’s role as River Tam, the schizophrenic young genius who’s on the run from the Alliance with her brother Simon, was one of her first. Since then she’s gone on to have recurring roles in The Unit and The 4400 and most notably to star in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles as the Terminator Cameron. Ironically for Glau, it’s been confirmed that she’ll join Fox’s Dollhouse (the show that was renewed in place of Terminator) this season in the recurring role Bennett, an eccentric programmer for a rival Dollhouse.

Ron Glass

Character actor Ron Glass brought some real depth to Firefly in the role of Shepherd Derrial Book. Like Wash, Book deserved a better death than the one he got in the movie Serenity. His comedy about misplaced bodies and family secrets, Death at a Funeral, is due out in the spring of 2010.

‘Flash Forward’ is the New Kid on the Block

As was expected, ABC’s new sci-fi drama Flash Forward has run away with the ratings in its premiere episode.

The show dominated the rankings pecking order on Thursday night, easily crushing its competition by dragging in 12.4 million viewers.  Flash Forward’s strong debut helped ABC to dominate all other networks for Thursday’s ratings.  With continued performance like that an early second season announcement would not be a surprise.

Dollhouse death watch: Ratings worse than ever: The Friday-night premiere of Dollhouse bombed.

Joss Whedon’s sci-fi Dollhouse premiered Friday, and the news isn’t good: Overnight ratings were the worst in the show’s history. Translated: If you like it, you’d better watch it while you can.

The half-hour numbers for Dollhouse among adults 18-49 and 18-34, according to TV by the Numbers (rating/share, audience):

9-9:30 p.m.: 1.0, 1.0, 2.698 million
9:30-10 p.m.: 1.0, 1.0 2.427 million

So how bad was it? Here’s a roundup of analysis:

“barely registered with live viewers” –TV Wrap

“The show’s lowest-ever audience last night” –Digital Spy

Dollhouse went right back to where it left off: as the lowest-rated show on a major broadcast network” –The Live Feed

“The second season launch of Dollhouse actually [lost] viewers from Brothers, plummeting to its lowest ratings to date” –HitFix

It’s kind of too bad. We like Whedon and we like what he’s doing with the show: deepening the mythology, introducing some complex character interactions and muddling the motives of his heroes in ways that you don’t usually see in prime-time drama. Maybe that’s the problem?

Dollhouse airs Fridays at 9 p.m., at least for the time being.

‘V’: ABC to Split the Series, Production Halt Continues

Since ABC first announced they were rebooting the 1980’s sci-fi alien invasion series V it seems all we’ve heard about the production has been negative.

In the latest announcement, ABC have told EW that they are now only going to air the first four episodes before they’ll take it off their schedule, and that the final episodes of season one won’t return until after the Olympics in March.

Further, production was halted for two weeks due to issues we can only speculate about.  An ABC spokesperson has now confirmed the halt will continue for at least another month.

Sadly, V is looking like a series with too many problems.  If I had to wager, I’d put my money on the idea that season one will be the end of it.

V will premiere on Tuesday, November 3 at 8pm, but knowing you’ll only get four episodes and in light of ABC’s recent treatment of Defying Gravity, will you bother to invest your time?

Choice of Scheduling Damages Ratings for ‘Fringe’

The impact of Fox’s decision to move Fringe to Thursday’s is now well and truly evident.

Fringe used to air on Tuesday’s where it was the no.1 ranked program on the night, consistently raking in more than 10 million viewers.  Clearly attempting to take away from their competition rather than add to Fringe, Fox decided to air Fringe’s second season on Thursday’s.

Everyone except Fox thought the move was a mistake, but now that the stats are in there can be no further debate. Fringe’s season premiere saw ratings fall by 9%, and its most recent episode fell even more sharply, drawing only 5.9 million viewers – roughly half of what it used to get.

Fringe has gone from easily achieving a no.1 rank on its night to fighting for no.4.  Now that’s a monumental scheduling mistake.

Heroes Continues To Stumble Along In Ratings Obscurity …

second week didn’t make much of a difference to the number of people deciding to turn on NBC Monday night, nor did the premiere of a highly talked about new series.

“Heroes” earned a 3.6 rating/5 share, according to Fast National ratings from The Nielsen Co., staying even with its young season average so far. The show is down from the first hour of its season premiere by nearly 8 percent, but is actually up slightly from the second hour of its premiere by nearly 6 percent.

However, it was still the 8 p.m. timeslot’s worst performer outside of what The CW aired, being beat by ratings powerhouse “Dancing With the Stars” on ABC, “House” on Fox and a comedy block on CBS. It also served as a poor lead-in to the new NBC series “Trauma,” which could only manage a 4.4/7 in its series debut, according to Zap2it.

The chances of getting a fifth season continue to dwindle each week for “Heroes,” which remains 23 percent lower than its third season average, which until the past couple weeks, was the show’s worst season in terms of ratings. Among genre shows last week, “Heroes” finished behind everything except what was shown on “The CW” as well as “Dollhouse” on Fox.

Check out the first trailer for the Riverworld miniseries

Tahmoh Penikett dies! And that’s just the beginning of Syfy’s Riverworld, in which everyone who has ever lived on Earth is resurrected simultaneously in an unusual afterlife.

The miniseries, based on the books by Philip José Farmer, won’t air until next year, but you can check it out today, thanks to the trailer below, released by producers RHI Entertainment.

Ten Minutes in SciFi Movies:

‘Surrogates’ and ‘Pandorum’ Struggle at the Box Office

Touchstone Pictures’ Surrogates came in second and Overture Films’ Pandorum limped in sixth at the box office over the weekend as the two sci-fi films bombed behind the family cartoon Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

Whilst Touchstone had hoped Surrogates would be the top earner, Surrogates only managed to claw back $15M of its $80M budget as Cloudy stole $24.6M of its thunder from its second week of release. Pandorum faired worse for Overture, pulling in only $4.8M, less than half of what was reasonably expected from the R-rated film.

Although typically a quieter time of the year at the box office, pundits speculate that a

Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films endangered by financing

Are we ever going to get to see Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films? First there were rights issues, then there was bad blood between Jackson and Lord of the Rings producer New Line Cinema, and most recently there were lawsuit issues. All of those problems were resolved, though, and Jackson was moving forward with the two films as executive producer after settling on Guillermo del Toro as the director.

Now Deadline Hollywood is reporting that money problems over at MGM Studios have put the films at risk again. MGM is co-financing the movies with New Line, but the problem is, MGM is running out of funds.

“MGM said it needed $20M in short-term cash flow to cover overhead, and an additional $150 million to get through the end of year and continue funding its projects, and to start Peter Jackson’s Hobbit.”

We’re not experts at studio financing, but it seems like investing in The Hobbit is a no-brainer, so hopefully MGM can find some more money soon. If not, we suggest adding a PayPal button to the MGM Web site to take donations.

Biggest cliche in modern horror films? Loss of cellphone signal

Can you hear us now? Check out this awesome video compilation, from a very creative YouTube user, after the jump.…

WTF? David Cronenberg remaking The Fly AGAIN?

The Fly, David Cronenberg’s classic 1986 sci-fi horror film, was itself a re-imagining of the original 1958 movie, and was subsequently adapted by Cronenberg himself as an opera. So imagine our surprise to hear that the Canadian director—who previously said he wouldn’t be involved in any remake—is now developing another reboot, a new cinematic version of The Fly.

It seems to be part of a new trend of filmmakers rebooting their own creations: Ridley Scott is developing a reboot/prequel of his own Alien, for example.

The 1986 title, itself a remake of Kurt Neumann’s 1958 sci-fi classic, starred Jeff Goldblum and became a huge hit for Fox, earning $40 million and turning into a phenomenon. It centered on Seth Brundle ([Jeff] Goldblum), an eccentric scientist who, after an experiment with teleportation goes awry, is transformed into a fly. Geena Davis starred as Goldblum’s love interest and partner, Veronica.

Dark Knight‘s Goyer is taking over Ghost Rider

If there is one thing that could get us interested in another Ghost Rider movie, this is it: There’s news that David Goyer, the writer behind The Dark Knight (not to mention ABC’s Flash Forward and about a zillion Blade movies) will be writing a new take on the Marvel franchise.

That should come as a relief to fans who thought that the first Ghost Rider, flaming skull notwithstanding, was something less than terrific and for those who thought Dark Knight was about the best freaking superhero movie every committed to film (and that includes us).

Here’s how Variety‘s blog reported it:

David Goyer is in early talks to create the story and supervise writers for a film expected to once again star Nicolas Cage, who played the highly flammable [sic] cyclist in the 2007 original.

Through a spokesperson, Goyer said he hadn’t signed on yet. But plans are already under way to base the sequel on a Ghost Rider script written years ago by Goyer, whose superhero work includes hit screen transfers of DC’s Batman Begins and Marvel’s Blade franchise. The original Ghost Rider was scripted by director Mark Steven Johnson.

You can finally see the best sci-fi film of the year starting Nov. 25

We really want to see The Road, but Dimension Films isn’t making it easy. They’ve delayed and rescheduled it for more than a year, which we all know is usually a sign that a film’s in trouble. Director John Hillcoat tried to convince us it was just a case of the movie studio being overeager, though:

“They were always way over-optimistic about their dates,” Hillcoat said. “I always said to everyone the first one can’t be done. Sometimes people are over-optimistic. I was being a realist. We missed that date, and we knew it had to be released in the fall, so it slid into this year.”

That sounds like hedging to us, but whatever. The important point is, The Road has an actual release date now: Nov. 25. That’s a pretty good date, too, because it puts the film squarely in the holiday season, and it’s traditionally the best time to get a film in front of Oscar voters. Troubled or brilliant, we’re dying to see this for a bunch of reasons:

♦It’s based on Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer-winning best-seller.
♦It’s got a great cast, headlined by Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee.
♦It’s a serious sci-fi movie in an era of superheroes and cannibalistic cheerleaders.
♦Hillcoat makes it sound pretty amazing.

The movie follows the journey of an unnamed father (Mortensen) and his young son (Smit-McPhee) as they attempt to survive a post-apocalyptic world.

On the bright side, The Road‘s move to November could be a sign of the studio’s faith in its chances for an Oscar. “I try not to think about it,” Hillcoat told reporters at the Toronto International Film Festival. “I got the book when it was unpublished and before the Coens did No Country. So when No Country came out and [The Road] won the Pulitzer, there was a lot of weight on my shoulder.”

To capture all of The Road‘s doom and gloom, Hillcoat turned to modern-day tragedies for inspiration. “The main thing we referenced is stuff that’s already happened, as opposed to a fantasy world,” says Hillcoat. “I found that a lot of post-apocalyptic stuff was all about the big event. There’s something about the book that had this incredible authenticity to it that made it even more than ‘this is what it could be like.’ A lot of that is from Cormac’s research. It’s simple things, like pushing the shopping cart full of their own possessions. That’s people living on the street, so it was really taking that lead and with the production designer, instead of just looking at other post-apocalyptic films, we ended up going to documentaries and photos of actual apocalypses or ones that didn’t go global. Within that small area, it’s the equivalent, so we looked at Hiroshima, Katrina and 9/11.”

Bringing an acclaimed novel to the big screen is always tricky, so Hillcoat was smart in remaining as faithful to the novel as possible. “That to me was the main goal,” Hillcoat said. “In the end it also saves the film, too, because overall, everyone involved knew we had to be faithful to the book. It struck such a deep chord, and he’s such an amazing writer, that it allowed us to be able to make this film.”

Ten Minute in SciFi DVD/Video:

Two DVD Volumes for ‘Stargate Universe’ Season One

Looks like the DVD release for the first season of Stargate Universe will occur in two separate volumes.

Stargate Universe has been tons of fun so far in the first half,” DVD Special Features Producer Ivon Bartok told Gateworld. “And this year what we’re doing is a little bit different. As far as I know, we’re going to be doing volume one and two DVDs.”

It seems the plan is to release the first ten episodes as Volume One, together with a sizeable amount of special features, and then release the back ten episodes as Volume Two, presumably after the episodes air on SyFy in 2010.

No further details are available at this time.

Stargate Universe premieres October 2, 2009 on Syfy.

Star Wars The Clone Wars: The Complete Season One (TV Series)

Product Description
The “Clone Wars” goes back to the original Star Wars film when Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Luke Skywalker that he was once a Jedi knight the same as your father and that they fought together in the Clone Wars. Since that moment fans have been obsessed with what the clone wars were. This new TV series takes place immediately after the events of Star Wars-Episode II: Attack of the Clones. The series follows Obi-Wan Kenobi and his apprentice Anakin Skywalker and introduces us to some new characters such as Ahsoka Tano a girl Jedi knight as well as characters we already know. Features:

  • 22 episodes, including seven director’s cut episodes
  • 22 behind-the-scenes featurettes including director and crew interviews
  • Exclusive 64-page production journal with original sketches and artist notes
  • Sneak peek of season 2

Battlestar Galactica: The Plan DVD

The Cylons began as humanity’s robot servants. They rebelled and evolved and now they look like us. Their plan is simple: destroy the race that enslaved them. But when their devastating attack leaves human survivors, the Cylons have to improvise. Battlestar Galactica: The Plan tells the story of two powerful Cylon leaders, working separately, and their determination to finish the task.

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1 Comment

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