Category Archives: Television

Syfy’s Brave New World: “Defiance”

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If you haven’t heard about it, odds are you’ve been living under a rock or you just haven’t been paying attention (or you don’t watch TV). Syfy’s obnoxiously promoted new show, Defiance, is finally just around the corner. The post-apocalyptic series premieres this Monday, April 15, at 9/8c, and Syfy is really banking on this being a success. They’ve been advertising out the wazoo on their sister networks, including USA, and slipping promotions into some of their already popular shows, like Face/Off. If Defiance doesn’t take off, it’s not for lack of network support.

Face/Off contestants were challenged to create hybrids of the alien species in Defiance – since co-mingling means breeding, I guess.

Face/Off contestants were challenged to create hybrids of the alien species in Defiance – since co-mingling means breeding, I guess.

The series is set in the future after an alien race came to Earth to escape their own planet’s destruction. A war erupts, as it’s want to do, since humans are not known for their ability to share. Well, during the war, a cataclysmic event terraforms the planet, turning it into something barely recognizable. Fast forward a bit, and we have the city of Defiance – once St. Louis – a city of diversity, populated by humans as well as different alien species, where the inhabitants struggle to protect their home from invaders as well as just get along with each other.

Can't we all just get along? What a diverse group of people.

Can’t we all just get along? What a diverse group of beings.

What makes Defiance so unique, however, is the show’s integration with the gaming culture. Other shows have had games based on their premise, but Defiance creators, Rockne S. O’Bannon (Farscape), Michael Taylor (Battlestar Gallactica), and Kevin Murphy (Caprica), hope to incorporate events from the game into the actual show, to make the show into “the first interconnected video game and television series”! Defiance: The Game, developed by Trion Worlds, launched a couple weeks ago to give players a sneak peak into the world of Defiance. The game is set in post-war San Francisco, but players get to interact with characters from the show, and events from the game and what players do “will actually cross over into and continue further in the television episode” says Nathan Richardsson, Trion’s vice-president of development and executive producer of Defiance: The Game.

The game is set in post-war San Francisco (hence the Golden Gate Bridge).

The game is set in post-war San Francisco (hence the Golden Gate Bridge).

The game is an open-world shooter, in which you can play solo or with up to four players. BUT there are also dynamic events called “Arkfalls,” where pieces of alien ships fall to Earth, and players have to work together in teams to battle a large enemy to reach the resources and technology left in the ship. All of these events, and how players respond to them, will eventually effect the television series. The first season is already relatively set, such is the nature of television production, but Richardsson has said, “when we are done with all the crossover events with each episode of Season 1, what happens between Season 1 and Season 2 is driven by events in the game and that affects what happens in the next season of the show.” So viewers/players will actually help to create the future of Defiance, which is pretty cool…assuming everything works out. Syfy seems optimistic though, with all the promoting and already planning season 2.

Good sci-fi storytelling isn't complete without exploding space ships.

Good sci-fi storytelling isn’t complete without exploding space ships.

I’m not really into gaming, so while I’m impressed by the concept and think it’s really neat to give viewers such an impact in a television series, I probably won’t be on Defiance: The Game, but I am curious to watch the show and see where it goes. It seems all the promoting has gotten to me, and I will be watching the premier on Monday, hopefully with a lot of other people as well.  You don’t have to be a gamer to enjoy good sci-fi storytelling.

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Watch Me: The Magical ‘Once’ Spinoff Everyone’s Excited About

Sorry, this is a fan-made picture from Tumblr, not a real advertisement. Sorry to get your hopes up like that.

Is it just me, or has television caught the spinoff sickness? This year and plans for future seasons seem riddled with prequels and spinoffs. There was Private Practice spawned from Grey’s Anatomy (yes, I think spawned is an appropriate word there). The Vampire Diaries writers are working on an Originals spinoff that will air its backdoor pilot April 25. Chicago Fire is also in discussions for a spin-off. And let’s not even go into all the CSI and Law and Order versions that are out there. Then there are all the prequels that have sprouted this season, some successful (Bates Motel), some not so much (The Carrie Diaries, Hannibal – granted, it’s a bit early to tell for The Silence of the Lambs prequel, but the numbers aren’t looking great, and last I heard the adolescent Sex and the City was on the bubble for renewal, so maybe unsuccessful is a strong word…maybe). HBO is even considering the possibility of a prequel for Game of Thrones. (Don’t get too excited; they’re just planning ahead for if/when they catch up with the books).

Hannibal Lecter is sad people don't watch his show.

Hannibal Lecter is sad people don’t watch his show. Serial Killer cannibals have feelings too!

But what I’m excited for is the spinoff for Once Upon a Time, currently in production, called Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, which is set in – where else – Wonderland, and follows Alice on her adventures. Admittedly, I wasn’t pleased when the original Once incorporated Wonderland into their canon, not because it wasn’t done well, but because it’s not a fairy tale, and there are so many genuine fairy tales out there that I just wish they had stayed away from literature, as much as I do truly love literature. (The same goes for Mulan and Peter Pan – as much as I love Colin O’Donoghue as Hook – and, even though the storyline was meant for me, Frankenstein.) Of course, none of this has ever stopped me from watching and loving the show. But having a spin off in Wonderland; that’s all fine and dandy for me. I’ll set all my clocks, so I won’t be late (for this very important date)…Well, I will when there’s an actual release date. Right now the series is in the rabbit hole, awaiting an official greenlight.

Even the Mad Hatter is confused why he's on a fairy tale show. Here he's thinking, "But I'm a literary character!"

Even the Mad Hatter is confused why he’s on a fairy tale show. Here he’s thinking, “But I’m a literary character!”

The development for the magical spinoff has been very hush hush, as Eddie Kitsis and Adam Horowitz have been keeping their plans tight to their chests. But we do know a bit of casting and some of the premise. Kitsis and Horowitz have suggested that they want the show to be a type of ‘mini’ series (American Horror Story style), with 13 episodes that can stand alone, set in both pre- and post- curse Wonderland, I’m assuming similar to how Once  formats things, with flashbacks, though that’s purely speculation. The lead role of Alice will be played by Sophie Lowe, who falls in love with the mysterious Cyrus (Peter Gadiot). Other casting includes Michael Socha (BBC’s Being Human) as the Knave of Hearts, Emma Rigby as the Red Queen, and Paul Reubens (Pee-Wee Herman…) as the voice of the White Rabbit. No good news yet if Sebastian Stan (Once‘s Hatter) will be able to return for this series, but conflicting schedules are proving very problematic, making it unlikely.

Sophie Lowe, our future Alice, and Michael Socha, the Knave of Hearts. I can't wait to see their transformation for the show!

Sophie Lowe, our future Alice, and Michael Socha, the Knave of Hearts. I can’t wait to see their transformation for the show!

Production for the project began April 7, directed by Ralph Hemecker, which is phenomenal news. Hemecker directed both of the Wonderland episodes of Once, as well as “The Miller’s Daughter”, which is very high on most lists of best Once episodes. I think, with all the popularity of Once, and the craze of fans speculating about casting and plot ideas for the show, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is a shoo in for getting picked up. ABC would have to be crazy not to follow this rabbit into the magical land where huge audiences live.

Hemacker directing Rose McGowan in "The Miller's Daughter". He's already accomplished so much for Once Upon a Time.

Hemacker directing Rose McGowan in “The Miller’s Daughter”. He’s already accomplished so much for Once Upon a Time.

 

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BBC America to Bring Us More Original Content

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BBC America, once a network whose sole purpose was to air British content in the U.S. of A, has started growing into its own recently, producing scripted original content. It all started with the period police drama Copper, which is coming back for its second season in June. Then the network co-produced The Hour with BBC proper.

BBC America's first adventure in producing!

BBC America’s first adventure in producing!

Now BBC America has three new series to add to its belt, including a contemporary adaptation of The Three Musketeers simply titled The Musketeers (starring Peter Capaldi – Torchwood, The Hour), a zombie series In the Flesh, and a 7-part mini series based on Susanna Clarke’s 2004 bestseller Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Clarke’s Hugo-Award-winning novel, set in Napoleonic-ish Britain, follows two wizards who are bringing magic back to the England.

I haven't read the book as of yet, but everything on the internet says it's OMGAMAZEBALLS!

I haven’t read the book as of yet, but everything on the internet says it’s OMGAMAZEBALLS!

Sci-Fi and fantasy have proven a solid match for the network, so the Jonathan Strange project seems very promising. The series will be written by Peter Harness and directed by Toby Haynes (whose filmography includes Doctor Who and Sherlock!), and BBC America will be co-producing with BBC and Cuba Pictures. The adaptation will join BBC America’s Supernatural Saturday lineup, which is already home to Doctor Who and Orphan Black, another BBC America sci-fi original starring Tatiana Maslany as several characters who discover that they are clones and someone is trying to kill them. Orphan Black premiered a couple weeks ago, and so far I’m loving it. So keep them coming, BBC America. There isn’t enough quality television these days.

Orphan Black, bringing the drama to cloning.

Orphan Black, bringing the drama to cloning.

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Checking In to the “Bates Motel”

checking in to the bates motel

I’ve never been a huge fan of prequels. Watching stories I already pretty much know or investing in characters I know will end up in horrible conditions – which let’s face it, most prequels deal with tragic characters – just doesn’t do anything for me. That being said, I have really been looking forward to A&E’s new series Bates Motel, which airs Monday nights.

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The Death of BBC’s Being Human

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It seems even immortals don’t live forever. BBC has officially announced the cancellation of the hit television series Being Human. The popular series about ghost, vampire, and werewolf roommates trying to remain human despite their supernatural afflictions became a bonafide hit for BBC Three, gaining a cult following since its pilot in 2008, and winning several awards, including The Writer’s Guild Award for ‘Best TV Drama Series’ in 2009, 2010 and 2012, and ‘Best Drama Series’ at the 2011 TV Choice Awards. Syfy even adapted the series for American viewers.

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American Horror Story: Asylum Review

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Well, the second season of FX’s hit American Horror Story is officially over. After the first season of American Horror Story, I had such high hopes for Asylum. Unfortunately, I set my expectations too high, because this season just fell flat.

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Fringe Finale: Fatherhood and Family

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I’ve watched Fringe since the beginning and I even survived the gawd-awful Season 3 Peter-sacrifice that caused him to be written out of reality only to be asserted back in, and have no one remember him. Though taking that out of the equation, I was pleased as punch with the following two seasons and I really enjoyed the series finale of Fringe. Also, it can be confusing if you haven’t seen any or all of the episodes. Just warning you.

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A Bunch Of Cool Animation News, From WB’s Think Tank, 365 New Heroes, & Geek Industry Trends

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We happened across a number of cool stories today about various animated projects, and thought we’d just update on all of them at once. Cause that’s how we roll.

Warner Bros. Starts Think Tank Devoted To New Animated Features

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