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SciFi Diner Podcast Ep. 97 – Our Interview with Tahmoh Penikett, Actor in Battlestar Galactica, Dollhouse, and Mortal Kombat Legacy

SciFi Diner Podcast Ep. 97
Our Interview with Tahmoh Penikett
Actor in Battlestar Galactica, Dollhouse, and Mortal Kombat Legacy



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Tonight’s Diners: Scott & Miles

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The song at the end of the episode is below:

Listener Question:

Favorite moments over the past 100 episodes of the diner?

On the menu tonight:

* Interview with Tahmoh Penikett from Mortal Kombat: Legacy, Dollhouse, and Battlestar Galactica
* We announce our Tahmoh Penikett Give away
* Mortal Kombat Legacy launches; and the fans are watching
* SyFy confirms its summer schedule
* Why Terra Nova Fans are going Super Nova
* Q is everywhere; including Torchwood
* Crow casting News
* Dr. Who is Back!
* News on Planet of the Apes: the Rise of the Apes
* 11 SciFi Stars who started on Soap Operas – Miles knows this cause he’s watched them all
* TWIST: Brian Singer’s Failed Star trek pitch & Aron Eisenberg
* Scotts top five podio books in the SciFi Five in five.


Question: Name two actors from BSG the Guest Starred on Big Bang Theory.

Prize: Signed Tahmoh Penikett photo

Answer: Starbuck – Katee Sackhoff & Sam Anders – Michael Trucco

The code word – So Say We All

The Winner: Matt Anderson –


Podcast Promos:

Fringecasting with Wayne and Dan Podcast

Midnight Movie Club Podcast

SciFi Pulse Podcast

Our Interview:


“I come from a storytelling culture, I love stories.”

A member of the White River First Nation, Tahmoh is named after a great uncle who was a hunter and trapper near the Yukon/Alaska border.

“My mother is First Nation, I was named by my grandmother. The nation Upper Tanana which is an Athasbaskan language group situated in north west Yukon in Alaska. I’m named after my great-uncle. I was born and raised outside of Yukon, right beside Alaska, lived there until I was 19. Lived in BC the last 8 or 9 years…. My father is British.”

He is the son of former Yukon premier Tony Penikett (1985-1992), a member of the New Democrat Party of Canada and a member of the Yukon Legislative Assembly for 18 years. Tony Penikett, Tahmoh’s father, was born in Britain and immigrated to Canada with his family at the age of 12. Tahmoh’s mother, Lulla Sierra Johns, is part of the Dene Nation and was born in a tent in Snag, a tiny community near the Alaska border where the coldest temperature on earth (-63 degrees C) was recorded.

“My grandmother was a great matriarch up there.”

Like most native young people of her era, his mom was taken away from her family and forced by the provincial government to live in and attend a “residential” school from which she tried to escape.

“She’s probably one of my biggest role models,” says Penikett. “I look up to her, the hardships that she’s faced in her life, and she’s never once made an excuse, everything that she endured,” he pauses. “She’s one of the hardest-working people I know.”

Penikett’s father was also an actor during his university years, appearing in 40 productions over three years. His grandfather, too, had been a Shakespearean actor at school.

“My father always loved film, he took me to films and I started to appreciate good drama at a very young age, and learned to critique it, too. And I think as a kid I thought, ‘Wow, I can do this. I wanna do this, I wanna tell a story.'”

That, and the fact that the chilly north is a breeding ground for indoor activities.

“The Yukon has very artistic communities — we’ve got cabin fever up there,” he says. “Eight months of darkness — people socialize, congregate to bars, what have you, there’s a lot of music and theatre and art.”

Tahmoh, his father, and his twin sisters Sarah and Stephanie live in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Tahmoh first got involved with acting in high school:

“There was a new music, art and drama program that I was asked to take part in. Ironically I signed up with the intention of focusing on art because I loved to draw but ended up acting on stage for the rest of the year. After that I studied theatre for years at a couple of different schools and a year long acting program tailored for on camera acting.”

He is a graduate of the Music Art Drama program at Yukon College and briefly attended Douglas College in Vancouver. He then pursued his studies at the Victoria Motion Picture School in a one-year program before joining up with the highly-thought-of Lyric School of Acting.

“I love gritty dramas. My idols growing up were DeNiro, Pacino, Ford, and Voight to name a few. I’d really like to play a bad guy soon. I think sinking my teeth into a truly evil character would be so much fun.”



His first film appearance was in a scene with Kate Jackson in the CBS movie Cold Heart of a Killer. He went on to appear in a dozen independent short films and many television series, including Smallville, The L Word, Just Cause, Stargate SG-1, and Dark Angel.

In the seventh and final season of the Canadian police series Cold Squad, Tahmoh had a regular role as Constable Ray Chase. In 2005, he starred as Dr. Noah Hamilton in the Lifetime TV movie, Hush.

He starred as Lieutenant Karl “Helo” Agathon on the Sci-Fi (now SyFy) Channel television program Battlestar Galactica. After filming the second season of Galactica, Tahmoh had the opportunity to work with eminent director Monte Hellman in the horror film, Trapped Ashes. Another horror project, Bryan Singer’s Trick ‘r Treat, as well as guest appearances on Smallville and Whistler kept Tahmoh busy during the third season hiatus. While filming the fourth and final season of Battlestar, Tahmoh was cast as FBI agent “Paul Ballard” in Joss Whedon’s Fox series, Dollhouse. He starred in the SyFy miniseries Riverworld. In 2010, he worked with long-time friends Aleks Paunovic and Brent Cote on the short film The Hostage.


TV News:

Mortal Kombat: Legacy – “Mortal Kombat: Legacy web series already has 6+ million views.” from Jason

SyFy Confirms its Summer Schedule

Now Syfy has finally firmed up its summer schedule.

On Monday, July 11, three of the shows will bow all at once: Eureka (10 episodes, completing season 4), Warehouse 13 (season 3, consisting of 13 episodes), and the new series Alphas (13 episodes).

The following Friday, July 15, will see the season 2 premiere of Haven (13 episodes).

Meanwhile, the network announced that its version of Being Human, which just wrapped up last week, is the network’s highest-rated new winter scripted series since Battlestar Galactica in 2005. The season one finale delivered 1.6 million total viewers, with 1.0 million adults aged 25-54; and 944,000 among adults 18-49. Being Human was recently renewed by Syfy for a second season.

Why we won’t be seeing Terra Nova soon (it wasn’t just the FX)

Fox executives have been saying that Steven Spielberg’s new sci-fi series for Fox, Terra Nova, needs more time to complete its special effects before being shown. But a new report suggests there are other, more serious reasons for the show’s continuing delay.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the issues with the show—which follows a group of colonists back in time to restart human civilization during the age of the dinosaurs—go much deeper than making the visuals look as good as possible. In fact, the main problem is apparently not just that the effects need more time, but that not enough footage was even shot for the show’s two-hour premiere episode.

The complications reportedly stem from the way the program was developed and the constant turnover of personnel involved. More than a dozen executive producers have been in and out of the project, along with a number of writers. And all this was going on while Fox was dithering over whether the premiere should be one or two hours long, with the network finally deciding at the last minute to make it two hours.

Once filming got underway in Australia, another problem hit the production: rain. Director Alex Graves said at WonderCon last month, “It never stopped. There were days where we would have to not go to location.” The combination of weather problems, script length issues and what a Fox spokesperson called “the difficulty of timing action sequences” led to the production coming back from the shoot with less footage than needed for a two-hour program.

Some sources blamed Graves, while others, including Fox, put the fault on current executive producer Brannon Braga and showrunner Rene Echevarria. A Fox spokesperson said, “Brannon misjudged it at the script stage, and Alex and his script supervisor misjudged it as it was being shot.” But an executive at another studio sniped, “Maybe the problem is that there are so many cooks in the kitchen—all the producers on the project, along with the network and the studio.”

So where do things stand? The show had been originally slated to premiere last summer, was delayed to this May, and now has been delayed again to this fall. It’s got a skyrocketing budget, with the pilot alone costing somewhere between $10 million and $20 million (which would make it the most expensive pilot in history). There are elaborate visual effects to complete, and a premiere episode that doesn’t have enough story to fill a two-hour time slot.

And once the pilot is finally slapped together from what they’ve got to work with, they have to do it again … every week.

Does this whole thing sound ominous? Is there any chance that Terra Nova will premiere and actually be worth looking at?

Stunning Torchwood news: Star Trek’s Q cast in Miracle Day

What we know about the upcoming Torchwood: Miracle Day we can fit into a few sentences: Part of it takes place in the United States. Everyone on Earth stops dying. It’s going to be awesome. And now we know there’s a new member of the cast.

Joining Bill Pullman, Mekhi Phifer and the surviving members of Torchwood is … the fabulous John de Lancie.

Torchwood writer Jane Espenson tweeted:

I just this minute got permission to tell about the Torchwood guest star I was tweeting about. Two great Sci Fi fandoms collide…

He’s de licious. He’s de lightful. He’s de lovely…

Our friend Q from Star Trek: TNG, John De Lancie, is part of the #Torchwood family!

Great news, for fans of de Lancie, who snarked his way into our lives as Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation (not to mention spinoffs Deep Space Nine and Voyager). He’s made appearances in such shows as Stargate SG-1 and Charmed, among others. But he’s a moving target and never seems to stay in one place—including Next Generation—for very long.

Currently, there’s no word on what role he’s playing.

But as Espenson tweeted, “He’s not playing Q!!! Let’s be clear!”

Movie News

Bradley Cooper to Play The Crow?
Source: Heat Vision
April 12, 2011

Heat Vision is reporting that Bradley Cooper (upcoming The Hangover Part II) is in early negotiations to star in Relativity Media’s The Crow.

Based on the comic created by James O’Barr, the reboot will focus on the character of Eric Draven (played in the 1994 film by Brandon Lee).

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo will direct from a script he wrote with Nick Cave. The trade says that Cooper met the director in Spain recently, “where the two hit it off and shared a vision for the character and the film.”

Filming is targeted to start later this year.

Read more: Bradley Cooper to Play The Crow? –

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Release Date: August 5, 2011
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Rupert Wyatt
Screenwriter: Amanda Silver, Rick Jaffa
Starring: James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, David Oyelowo, Andy Serkis
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Official Website:
Review: Not Available
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available
Movie Poster: Not Available
Production Stills: View here

Plot Summary: A single act of both compassion and arrogance leads to a war unlike any other — and to the “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” The Oscar-winning visual effects team that brought to life the worlds of “Avatar” and “Lord of the Rings” is breaking new ground, creating a CGI ape that delivers a dramatic performance of unprecedented emotion and intelligence, and epic battles on which rest the upended destinies of man and primate.

Read more: Rise of the Planet of the Apes – Trailers, Videos, and Reviews Movie Database

11 sci-fi stars who got their start in soap operas

Soap opera ratings have dropping for the last fifteen years, and ABC, to cut its financial losses, has decided to pull the plug on two of its three long-running soaps. And that has us worried.

So why should we care? After all, we’re less interested in someone being set up for the murder of an illegitimate half-sister and more interested in … anything else.

But soap operas have long been a “proving ground” for actors, with their rigorous shooting schedules and scripts that change daily. Soap operas can be cheesy as hell; after all, how many times can you reuse the “amnesia” plot? (Answer: too many.) But it’s great work if actors can get it. Soon, they may not be able to get it at all.

And for these actors, whom we know and love from our favorite sci-fi shows and movies, the hard work they put in on soap opera sets made them the stars they are today.

As you peruse the photos and clips we’ve dug up, a warning: potential mind melt ahead.

Sarah Michelle Gellar

In All My Children, Gellar played Kendall Hart, a serious bitca. She tried to seduce her birth mother’s husband, and when the seduction failed, she accused him of rape. And when she wasn’t wrecking havoc on the life of the woman who gave her up for adoption, she was amusing herself by locking her young half-sister in a crypt. Lucky for us, she ultimately turned in her sneer for a vampire stake.

Mark Hamill


The Force was not with young Kent Murray on General Hospital. After his father dies, he and his sister are forced to live with their aunt. That’s all we could dig up about Kent … however we did manage to dig up a photo of Hamill from around that time.

Nathan Fillion

Defender of the memory of Firefly, Fillion knows that captain of the Serenity is an awesome job. And it’s probably a better job than his college student on One Life to Live who is seduced and dumped by his mother’s archnemesis (over 25 years his senior) and later is thrown over by his girlfriend for his brother.

James Earl Jones


Jones played Dr. Jerry Turner on As the World Turns. With his sonorous voice, we implicitly trust his authority. And the way he wields a lightsaber as Darth Vader, we’re pretty sure he’s awesome at amputations. We have an early photo of Jones, who was the first African-American to have a continuous role in a soap opera.

Kate Mulgrew

Before she was Captain Kathryn Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager, heck, before she was Mrs. Columbo, Kate Mulgrew was reporter Mary Ryan on Ryan’s Hope.

In an interesting sci-fi twist, she appeared years later as the late Mary Ryan. In spirit form.

Christopher Reeve


Reeve, best known as Superman, the Kryptonian who’s allergic to kryptonite, spent 1974-1976 on Love of Life, where he played Ben Harper, who managed to keep not one but two wives in a small town. Ultimately, he was blackmailed, and a falling out with both of his wives led to a horrific prison term.

Michelle Forbes

Forbes has frequently played strong female characters: Ensign Ro Laren on Star Trek: The Next Generation was tough. Admiral Kane in Battlestar Galactica was even tougher. But neither of them were former prostitutes who slept with their identical twin sister’s boyfriend and who deliberately planted false memories into an amnesiac. Worse than that, character Sonni Wells y Carrera on Guiding Light also tried to bury her enemy alive. Twice.

Leonard Nimoy


It should be noted that Nimoy was one of the founding members of the long-running General Hospital (in fact, soon-to-be-ABC’s only soap opera). But the man who is Spock had a small role … as a drug dealer.

Richard Dean Anderson

The future Jack O’Neill played Dr. Jeff Webber on General Hospital, and his ability to wrap his tongue around phrases like “broad-spectrum antibiotics” probably helped later when on the set of Stargate: SG-1 … except that Jack was never one for scientific jargon. That was Samantha Carter’s job.

Viggo Mortensen


In Search for Tomorrow, Mortensen played Bragg, an information broker, who runs afoul of a South American dictator and spends much of his time on the soap in a hospital bed, recovering from gunshot wounds. We would kill to find a clip of the 27-year-old Mortensen. We’ll have to be content with a picture of him as Aragorn.

Amber Tamblyn

Tamblyn was almost twelve when she took on the role of Emily Bowen on General Hospital, so the equally young character couldn’t have gotten into too much trouble, right? Not in soap opera land. Addicted to drugs early on, she gets clean, only to be drugged and set up for the murder of a one-night stand. Joan, who did God’s bidding on Joan of Arcadia, had it easy.

A shout-out to those stars whose clips and images haven’t yet made their way to the internet:

Billy Dee Williams (Another World, 1964), Jonathan Frakes (The Doctors, 1977-1978), Mary McDonnell (As the World Turns, 1980), Michael Dorn (Days of Our Lives, 1986-1987), and Gina Torres (One Life to Live, 1995-1996).


REVEALED: What was in Bryan Singer’s failed Trek TV series pitch

Just a few days ago, we told you that CBS/Paramount had rejected Star Trek TV pitches from William Shatner and Jonathan Frakes—as well as from Bryan Singer—before J.J. Abrams successfully brought the franchise back with 2009’s Star Trek. Now there are some cool details on Singer’s failed Star Trek TV pilot proposal.

This info comes from someone going by the name of Solomon Short, who wrote to Herc over at Ain’t it Cool News after the story broke. HOWEVER—be aware that the guy admitted he didn’t read the script (though he held the precious thing in his hands) and he instead heard the details from his friend.

But what he reported about the script is quite (yes, we’ll say it) fascinating:

Many years ago I sat in a friend’s office and held the script for the proposed Trek series pilot, but did not have time to read it. If memory serves me correctly, this is what I recall getting out of my friend about the series. Begin brief…

The Singer universe was written before the Abrams reboot and follows the original Trek timeline.

We are somewhere just beyond the 30th century.

The Klingons are less warrior-like and more political.

The Romulans and Vulcans completed reunification and are busy with that (obviously this doesn’t take into account Romulus’s destruction).

And the Federation has expanded through a huge portion of the galaxy — so far in fact, transmissions from the frontier to Starfleet HQ takes years at subspace frequencies.

Ships sent to these distant areas of the galaxy are near autonomous, expanding the Federation while exploring new worlds and civilizations unknown to the Trek universe.

In a way, this parallels Voyager exploring the far Delta quadrant and DS9’s wormhole access to the Gamma quadrant, except our hero ship is not trying to go home, yet the crew is literally on thier own to deal with whatever gets thrown in the way, while still making headway on thier mission of exploration and expansion.

I cannot comment on the principal characters or the story itself, as I did not read the script, nor do I recall where in the galaxy this takes place (i.e. what quadrant).

As I said, a few years have passed and I may be off on a couple details. Hope this is of interest,

Solomon Short

So—taking this all with a grain of salt, what do you think? Would you have liked to see Bryan Singer’s take on the Star Trek universe?


Life After Trek Podcast Episode 8 Featuring Aron Eisenberg

We’re pleased to announce the eighth episode of our “Life After Trek” podcast, featuring Aron Eisenberg. As you all know, Aron played Nog, the youngest of the Ferengi family, on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Even though he wasn’t a “regular” (Aron corrected us about that during the podcast), Nog was such a presence that he enhanced the entire feel for the series. Being HUGE DS9 fans, we were totally stoked to spend time talking to Aron about his current projects and his life after Trek.

During the podcast he talked about his time on DS9, his videography business, his career/life strategies, and he even filled us in on his inspiration for his role in “It’s Only A Paper Moon” (the episode we, personally, find ourselves returning to over and over again).

It was a true pleasure to talk with Aron! Man…he’s got it so together that he even inspired us to do a little more planning with our own future (and we mean, beyond which Trek episodes to watch tonight). This is a fantastic talk that we’re sure you’re going to enjoy. Now…hit that download button! What are you waiting for?!?!

Be sure to check out his videography business, Reel Life Pictures, here. Their work is gorgeous!

SciFi Five in Five

Top 5 Podio Book Podcasts
1. Enemy Lines by John Mireau
2. The Heavenfiled by I.G. Hulme
3. Leviathon Chronicles by Christof Laputo
4. Children of the Gods
5. Star Wars: In The Shadows

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