Sunday, December 28, 2008

Marx Madness Is Here!

Hello world,

My new entertainment blog over at NEWS 25 is now live. You'll find all sorts of news including science fiction and fantasy news. I will still post here from time to time, but most of my posting will now be there.

Here is the link, please check out the blog: http://marxmadness.news25.us

Until next time... Marx out.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Casting Call: 'Stargate Universe'

The official call sheets for the upcoming Stargate Universe series is being passed around on the web.

Casting calls are those breakdowns given to casting agencies to entice actors to come in for auditions. They also give us a nice sneak peak to what the main characters will be like.

Stargate Universe will premiere on the Sci Fi Channel in summer 2009. Shooting begins February 4, 2009. Sadly it will be replacing Stargate Atlantis, which will be transitioning to TV movies.

Colonel Everett Young: 40’s handsome, capable, former SG team leader. Like the Jack O’Neill of ten years ago, but Young’s edges have tended to sharpen over time. He requested permission to serve the remainder of his commission on Earth upon marrying his wife, Hailey, two years ago, but for now he’s temporary commander of a secret off world base. The loss of two members of his team several years ago has taught him never to take anything for granted, and be prepared for anything. He stays on top of his team so they stay alive. STAR NAMES ONLY. SERIES REGULAR

Tamara Jon: 20-25, all ethnicities (Asian Preferably). SGC Field medic, Captain grade. Off world experience. Beautiful, tough, smart, capable. Paramedic level training. Able to triage serious injury. Modest background. Dreamed of being a doctor but couldn’t afford medical school and the Air Force was her best option. She ends up being the most medically inclined person on the ship but is overwhelmed by the lack of knowledge and experience treating seriously wounded and ill patients. She also lacks the medicine and supplies and has to make do. SERIES REGULAR

Chloe Carpenter: 20ish. Stunning and sexy. Daughter of a U.S. Senator. Silver spoon upbringing and a little spoiled but not stupid either. Politically and socially savvy. Dreams of following in her father’s footsteps but for now she’s a bit of a party girl in her first year at an Ivy League school. Her father’s tragic death and the dire circumstances of being trapped on a spaceship seriously tests her character. SERIES REGULAR

Eli Hitchcock: 20-25. Total slacker. Utter genius. Mathematics, computers, anything he puts his mind to. Acerbic sense of humor. A social outcast. Comes from a broken home. Lacks confidence because his true intelligence has never really been recognized like Matt Damon’s character from Good Will Hunting with a little Jack Black thrown in. SERIES REGULAR

Lt. Jared Nash: 20-25. Junior SGC team member. Officer material but green and rough around the edges. Every teenage girl’s fantasy. Like a college quarterback thrown into his first pro game, he is thrust into the role of leader well before he’s ready for the responsibility and must learn to take command, earn respect through action, and manage the diverse personalities on the ship to keep everyone alive. Like Jason Bourne, he is skilled and well-trained however he is mentally unprepared for the urgency of the situation. SERIES REGULAR

Ron “Psycho” Stasiak: 20, all ethnicities. Marine. Big, strong, silent. You want him on your side. You don’t want him mad at you. Lacks control over his temper in non combat situations. His past is a mystery but it’s clear something dark formed the hard shell around him. Yet, there must also be some moral center because otherwise he’d kill everyone around him. Think Eric Bana’s character “Hoot” in Blackhawk Down. SERIES REGULAR.

Friday, October 3, 2008

AMC Journeys to 'Red Mars'


Cable network AMC is going scifi on us, with a new series based on Kim Stanley Robinson's 1992 novel, Red Mars.

Writer/executive producer Jonathan Hensleigh (Armageddon) wants to bring the first book of Robinson's Mars Trilogy to TV. The book chronicles the first colonial voyage to Mars with the crew of the "First Hundred" colonist.

"This fits in with our bigger vision of wanting series that feel like cinematic one-hour movies," Christina Wayne, senior VP original series and miniseries at AMC, told The Hollywood Reporter. "We're always looking for big genres but to do them in slightly different ways so they feel fresh and new,"

Hensleigh will executive produce with Michael Jaffe and Howard Braunstein of Jaffe Braunstein Entertainment and Vince Gerardis, Ralph Vicinanza and Eli Kirschner of Created By.

AMC is also developing a miniseries remake of the 1960s sci-fi series The Prisoner, starring Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellen.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

An Actors Strike Inches Closer To Reality

Remember the Writer's Strike that caused many of your favorite TV shows to air short seasons, be delayed, interrupted or postponed last year? Well, another strike may be about to happen in Hollywood. This time it's the actor's turn.

The Screen Actors Guild negotiating committee has called for its board to support a strike authorization vote. They are saying it "is necessary to overcome the employers' intransigence."

Contract talks have been going nowhere since the last contract expired on June 30th. Currently actors are working under the terms of the old deal.

A strike authorization vote needs the approval of 75 percent of the guild's approximately 120,000 members.

Most of us learned what the WGA were striking over, but what is SAG threatening to strike over?

Similar to the WGA strike, the big issue is how royalties from sales through new media methods are being handled. But it isn't just royalties from online distribution services like iTunes, but also DVD sales. None of these are currently written into actors' contracts.

I don't think I need to tell you how a strike would affect the film industry. The 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike lasted four months and cost the Los Angeles economy somewhere between $380 million to as high as $2.1 billion (depending upon which report you read).

Lets hope that things get worked out before another strike happens.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Holy 'Graysons' CW!


I don't think anyone would be surprised if this turns out to be the last season of Smallville. Nothing confirmed mind you, but I've been hearing for over a year now that many of the people that work on the show are growing more and more tired of it.

So, that leaves one to wonder if The CW will try to spin the series off (like the once rumored Supergirl series or the fan demanded Justice League series) or perhaps find something else with a similar tone to keep that audience. Well, it looks like they may now have a plan and it has been revealed.

Variety reports that The CW has committed to a pilot for a series called The Graysons. Yes, you Batman fans can probably already guess what I'm talking about, but for those of you puzzled I'll explain further.

Dick "DJ" Grayson was the first young man to become Batman's sidekick known as Robin. In the comic books Grayson was a young acrobat, a member of his family's act called The Flying Graysons. Sadly, he became an orphan when a mafia boss kill his parents. Bruce Wayne takes him in as his ward and costumed sidekick. Eventually Grayson goes solo as Nightwing and leads the Teen Titans. He forever leaves behind the role of Robin, which is filled in over the years by other teenagers.

This proposed series, similar to Smallville, would follow Grayson before his eventual destiny of becoming Robin.

Smallville executive producers Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson, as well as Supernatural executive producer McG are developing the project.

After the success of Smallville, with 8.4 million viewers for the pilot, Warner Brothers has tried to duplicate that achievement. But, they have yet to accomplish that goal. The short lived Birds of Prey was cancelled after 13 episodes and 2006's Aquaman never made it past the unaired pilot.

If this concept was "The Waynes" I think they would have gold, but I'm a little skeptical that a pre-Robin series would work. But maybe they will surprise me.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Kenneth Branagh May Direct 'Thor'


Marvel Studios has an aggressive schedule of film releases planned for their Marvel Universe characters. Besides the various Spider-Man and X-Men related films they have a number of films in the works (that they have greater creative control over) that are all linked together in the same continuity, a first for the big screen superhero genre. Although it sounds like DC & Warner Bros may have now been inspired to do the same thing.

Marvel already released Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk this year. They plan on releasing The First Avenger: Captain America in May 6, 2011 and team-up a number of Marvel characters together with The Avengers in July 2011. In the middle of all that we will get Iron Man 2 (April 2010), possibly an Ant-Man film and yes, everyone's favorite Norse god turned superhero...Thor.

And now it looks like Thor may have a director.

According to Variety, Emmy Award-winning, Academy Award-nominated director and actor Kenneth Branagh is in talks to helm the big screen adaptation of Thor.

Don't know who Branagh is? Well, his directorial debut was Henry V. The last film he directed was Sleuth starring Jude Law and Michael Caine, which grossed $703,000 worldwide. Some other films he has worked on include The Magic Flute, As You Like It, Hamlet (1996), Frankenstein (1994), Dead Again and Much Ado About Nothing.

Not exactly the first guy that jumps to your mind for a superhero film, but remember Marvel did say they wanted it to be less superhero and more fantasy. I am a little worried though that he hasn't directed an action film for 19 years. But Marvel usually makes good director choices, so I'm hopeful that it will be a good match.

The script is written by Mark Protosevich (The Cell). It is about a disabled medical student named Donald Blake, who can change into the hammer-wielding Norse god Thor. The arrogant thunder god Thor is forced to learn humility by his father Odin by sharing the body of Blake.

Thor is scheduled for a June 4, 2010 release.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

'Sanctuary' Talk From Amanda Tapping

Amanda Tapping recently talked about Sanctuary at a digital press event in Colorado courtesy of the Sci Fi Channel. Don't forget, this web series turned TV series will air on the Sci Fi Channel this Friday, October 3rd.

Thanks to
Cinema Blend for providing these embed video clips of the event.



Sci Fi Channel Gets Real With 'RelicQuest,' 'Estate of Panic' & 'Cha$e'


Love it or hate it, the SCI FI Channel is adding more Reality TV to its programming.

Today it was announced that three new reality shows were given the green light.

First up is a search around the world for famous historical relics and artifacts. The working title is RelicQuest and it sounds a little like Destination Truth.

Here's SCI FI's description:

RelicQuest is an action and adventure series that travels the globe in search of some of history's greatest relics and artifacts. British filmmaker Bruce Burgess guides the viewer in a first-hand exploration down mysterious roads to uncover objects fabled to hold hidden powers and mystical significance for both ancient and modern cultures."

Documentary filmmaker Bruce Burgess will host and six episodes have been given the green light. Burgess will investigate stories about Moses and the rumored healing powers of the Holy Grail of the Cathars.

From the production company that gave you Fear Factor comes Estate of Panic. The show has actor Steve Valentine (Crossing Jordan) as the host. It has also been given a six-episode order.

In each episode, huge amounts of cash are hidden in an immense estate and seven strangers are tasked to find the money. The contestants will be challenged to overcome their terrors throughout the mansion. After each challenge, two are eliminated and their winnings get added to the prize pot. The last contestant left standing faces the final challenge in the Vault Room.

From our friends in Japan comes a new Americanized Japanese game show called Cha$e. It's sort of like a video game in the real world. Contestants, called runners, are given equipment (a backpack, an iPhone, a compass, a flashlight, and other necessary items) as they get power-ups and try to stay away from the hunters all in the attempt to stay "alive" long enough to win the 50 thousand dollar grand prize. The show is hosted by Trey Farley and also has a six episode order.

Uh oh, that makes three orders of six episodes each. I've been watching Supernatural, I know the end times are coming. This is a sign of what many have suspected for a long time... that Reality TV will bring the Apocalypse! ;-)


Cha$e
premieres Tuesday, November 11 at 10pm EST. Estate of Panic will premiere Wednesday, November 12 at 10PM ET/PT. You can expect RelicQuest to premiere in early 2009.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Look Inside 'Pushing Daisies'

ABC was kind enough to offer us a video that gives us a behind-the-scenes look at Pushing Daisies, with interviews from the cast. Season 2 of Pushing Daisies premieres on ABC October 1st. Enjoy!


video

Related Stories:

And The Winner Is... Pushing Daisies!

Mark Millar's 'War Heroes' Gets Picked Up By Sony

Even if you don't read comic books you may already know Mark Millar's work. His comic book Wanted was adapted by Universal into a popular film this past summer. It grossed $293 million worldwide so it should be no surprise that there is already a sequel in the works.

But now Sony hopes to bring to life another of Millar's comic book creations. According to Variety, Sony's Columbia Pictures has picked up the Image comic book series War Heroes.

The books, created by Mark Millar and Tony Harris, are about "an experimental military program that gives ordinary soldiers superpowers. When a small group of recruits break off to use these powers for a criminal enterprise, a hero rises from their ranks to prevent catastrophic results."

Apparently a number of studios were "at war" over the rights. Millar and Harris are executive producing with Zach Schiff-Abrams (Domino)

Millar's Icon comic series Kick-Ass is another of his books that has already been picked up. It just began filming with director Matthew Vaughn and stars Aaron Johnson, Nicolas Cage and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

And The Winner Is... Pushing Daisies!

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS) rarely give out their little statuettes for science fiction/fantasy programs, but yesterday they did give a prime-time Emmy Award to ABC's Pushing Daisies.

On September 21st the fantasy TV series won the award for outstanding directing for a comedy series. The award was given to director Barry Sonnenfeld for the pilot, "Pie-Lette."


Pushing Daisies was sadly the only science fiction/fantasy program to win a prime-time Emmy. But a number of other shows won at the 2007-2008 Creative Arts Prime-Time Emmys that took place a week earlier. Including, Pushing Daisies winning two technical awards: outstanding picture editing for a comedy and outstanding music composition for a series.

Other SF winners include:

Battlestar Galactica: Winner for outstanding special visual effects for a series ("He That Believeth in Me") and for outstanding special class--short-format live-action entertainment programs (Razor).
Tin Man: Winner for outstanding makeup for a miniseries or a movie (non-prosthetic).
Lost: Winner for outstanding sound mixing for a comedy or drama series (one- hour).
Chuck: Winner for outstanding stunt coordination.
Smallville: Winner for outstanding sound editing for a series.

Congratulations to all the winners!

I hope that next year the prime-time Emmys will consider more science fiction/fantasy programs. I mean, they are more than just a pretty face (aka - special effect, makeup, stunts, editing, etc), they also have a brain (aka - excellent writing, acting and directing).

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The 'Supernatural' Boys Go Back To School

WARNING: Spoiler Time!

The Ausiello Files over on EW had a small spoiler on an upcoming Supernatural episode called 'Afterschool Special.'
"Coming up in the middle of the season, there's an episode titled 'Afterschool Special' in which the boys investigate a haunting at one of the high schools they attended as kids," exec producer Eric Kripke tells [Ausiello]. "As they investigate, we'll see flashbacks to what high school was like for Sam and Dean." Sounds fun, right? It won't be. Adds Kripke: "It wasn't pretty."
Meanwhile Ausiello gave out a few more tidbits on some scifi shows...

Fringe is adding to their cast with "an as-yet-unchosen actor to play the recurring role of Ian Spencer, a twenty-to-thirtysomething hipster whose forensics expertise comes in handy on tough cases."

Smallville's episode 10 of season 8 will have the return of Lana and well-known comic-book writer Geoff Johns will be writing episode 11 .

The struggling Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles will have Stephanie Jacobsen (Kendra Shaw of BSG: Razor) joining the cast as a love interest for Derek (Brian Austin Green).

OK, this is old news but I somehow missed it... Jim is going to die on Ghost Whisperer! Wow, first her best friend and now her husband. That girl is cursed.

Friday, September 19, 2008

SCI FI Channel Will Open 'Warehouse 13' To Viewing Audience


SCI FI Channel has been working slowly on a number of pilots. One such pilot, Warehouse 13, was given the green light last year.

Apparently The Powers That Be liked what they saw from the two-hour pilot, because SCI FI has ordered 11 more episodes of the dramedy that has been described as part X-Files, part Raiders of the Lost Ark and part Moonlighting.

Warehouse 13 stars Eddie McClintock (Bones), Joanne Kelly (Vanished) and Saul Rubinek.

Two Secret Service agents find themselves suddenly "promoted" after saving the life of the U.S. president. They are transferred to Warehouse 13: a massive top-secret storage facility that houses every strange artifact, mysterious relic, fantastical object and supernatural souvenir ever collected by the U.S. government.

The caretaker, Artie (Rubinek), charges rule-bender Pete (McClintock) and by-the-book Myka (Kelly) to search the country for several missing objects while monitoring for reports of supernatural and paranormal activity that could indicate the presence of other objects they must retrieve.

Production will begin in February in Toronto for a July 2009 premiere.

Super Ratings For 'Supernatural'


I'm a big fan of The CW's Supernatural and I loved the season four premiere. Apparently I wasn't the only one. The ratings for that September 18th episode were the best ratings that the show has had since 2006, with an impressive (especially for The CW) 4 million viewers.

The season four premiere is called Lazarus Rising. It picks up three months after Dean's death and descent into hell. But hey, in this genre nobody stays dead. Dean returns, but the big questions are how and what else may have hitched a ride out?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

ABC Plans To 'Flash Forward'


It appears that ABC may be close to ordering a new science fiction pilot that was originally being developed for HBO. ABC envisions it as a companion to Lost.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, ABC may order a pilot for Flash Forward, a proposed series by filmmaker David S. Goyer (Blade) and television producer Brannon Braga (Star Trek).

The pilot is based on Canadian author Robert J. Sawyer's novel, which
was first published in 1999. The book chronicles the chaos that occurs after everyone in the world blacks out for 2 minutes, 17 seconds, and has a mysterious vision 21 years in the future that changes lives forever.

The creative team first met on the CBS series Threshold. This time around, Goyer will direct the pilot and executive-produce with Braga, Jessika Borsiczky Goyer, Vince Gerardis and Ralph M. Vicinanza.

Pilot Season 2008 Winners Announced!

The two winners of Top Cow Production's 2008 Pilot Season have been officially announced!

Congratulations to the creative teams of Twilight Guardian (writer Troy Hickman and artist Reza) and Genius (writers Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman and artist Afua Richardson).

Fans voted for their favorite 2008 Pilot Season one-shots. This is the second year for the annual event. Last year's winners were Cyblade and Velocity. Both of which will debut with new series later this year. 2008’s winners will debut with their new series sometime in 2009.

The winners beat out Urban Myths (by Jay Faerber and Jorge Molina), The Core (by Jonathan Hickman and Kenneth Rocafort), Alibi (by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Jeremy Haun) and Lady Pendragon (by Matt Hawkins and Eru).

I actually reviewed the two winning titles back when they first hit stores. Click here to read my review of Twilight Guardian and here for Genius.

Welcome to the new blog!

Hello world!

Welcome to the relaunch of the Scifi 411 blog. This is the first step in what will hopefully be a face lift for the larger Scifi 411 website.

You can find my personal blog, Ramblings of Marx (much of which has been archived on this site), over here: http://ramblingsofmarx.blogspot.com/

The new Scifi 411 blog will have news & reviews from the Scifi 411 writing staff.

Enjoy!

Marx Pyle

Monday, May 19, 2008

Gotham Underground #8

I have a new review up at Comics Bulletin.

Gotham Underground #8 (3 out of 5)

It's Batman versus Vigilante while Gotham City is falling apart from gang war. Johnny Stitches pulls the rug under Penguin by chopping people up, threatening to chop up family and getting a reluctant ally to leave Penguin's side. Things aren't looking good for Penguin or Gotham, but Batman is finally back and I'm left wondering...where the crap did Spoiler go??? [more]


Until next time... Marx out.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Survivor: The Sci-fi/Fantasy TV Series Edition

Update (April 20, 2008): Fox has renewed Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles!

It is that time of the year again when we find out which of our favorite shows are getting a new season and which are getting the axe.

It gets a little tough to do this since networks and cable channels handle their shows differently, but here is where we stand so far.

I've included my "weather" prediction of those shows whose fates are yet unknown.

Returning
Ashes To Ashes (BBC), Chuck, Doctor Who, Ghost Whisperer, Eureka, Heroes, Lost, Medium, Pushing Daisies, Smallville, Stargate Atlantis, Supernatural, Torchwood

Canceled
The 4400, Battlestar Galactica (currently airing the last season), Bionic Woman, The Dead Zone, Flash Gordon, Jericho, Journeyman

Status Not Officially Known (With my percentage chance of returning.)
Moonlight (75%), New Amsterdam (85%), Reaper (60%), Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (90%)

Possible New Shows (...but don't be surprised if that changes.)
99 Stories (in development; AMC), Caprica (SciFi Channel), Captain Cook's Extraordinary Atlas (pilot order; ABC), Children of Men, Cupid (pilot order; ABC), Dollhouse (Fox), Eleventh Hour (pilot order; CBS), Fear Itself (NBC), Fringe (pilot order; Fox), Gods Behaving Badly (in development), Inseparable (in development; Fox), Johnny Dynamite (pilot ordered), Knight Rider (NBC), Life on Mars (in development; ABC), The Listener (CTV), The Meant To Be’s (pilot order; CBS), The Oaks (pilot order; Fox), Merlin (NBC), Middleman (ABC Family), Miracle Man (pilot order; ABC), My Own Worst Enemy (NBC), Mythological X (pilot order; CBS), Patient 2344 (pilot order; HBO), Preacher (no news since the WGA strike; HBO), Revolution (pilot order; SciFi Channel), Ripper (rumored; BBC), Rockville 2020 (in development; ABC), Sanctuary (13 episodes; SciFi Channel), Section 8 (6 episodes; ABC), Stargate: Universe (in development; SciFi Channel), Star Wars, Them (pilot finished; Fox), True Blood (HBO), Virtuality (two-hour backdoor pilot; Fox), Wizard's First Rule (syndication)

So, what do you think? Which of the possible new shows sounds best? Check out the details on these at: http://scifi411.com/upcomingtv.html, which is currently being updated.

Which canceled show will you miss the most…or the least?


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