Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Misc News & Links to Check Out

Trek Fans get big Christmas Present in 2008
The big news is that Paramount has officially announced the production of Star Trek XI, with a release date of Dec 25, 2008. As expected, J.J. Abrams will direct. No official word on casting yet, but there's plenty of rumurs going around. Check out the Trek Movie Report web site for lots of details and follow up news.

Chiller TV Debuts March 1st
NBC/Universals latest channel, Chiller TV, debuts on March 1st. It is supposed to be available on Direct TV and some cable systems. Full details will be at the Chiller TV web site when it goes live. You can read NBC's press release about the channel's debut on the NBC/U Media Village web site. If you want an early peek at their March schedule, check it out on the NBC Cable Info web site. As expected, lots of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Friday the 13th The Series, Tales From the Crypt, Night Gallery, Monsters, Freddys Nightmares, Twin Peaks, American Gothic, and even Good Vs. Evil.

Kevin Smith meets Baltar and Six
At the New York Comic Con last weekend, director Kevin Smith moderated a panel with James Callis and Tricia Helfer from Battlestar Galactica. For a recap of the panel, check out this report at Comic Book Resources. Comic Book Resources covered a lot of stuff at the convention and they have a handy index for all of their coverage. They also have been doing a weekly chat and Q&A with several of the writers from Heroes. The latest one can be read here.

For other coverage on the Comic Con, check out Newsarama who has a Day 1 Index, and a Day 2 Index, but not one for all of their coverage. Wizard Universe also had a lot of coverage, and you can start with their complete index page.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Straczynski News from NY Comic Con

This weekend is the second annual New York Comic Con, which drew lots more people than they expected last year, and even with doubling the size of their exhibit space this year, still have had to limit ticket sales. The big even is the appearance by Stephen King to promote the Dark Tower comic from Marvel. One of the other creators making an appearance is J. Michael Straczynski.

In reports from jmsnews.com, at his spotlight he screened some video blogs from the initial production of Babylon 5: The Lost Tales and also talked about his script adaptation of Max Allan Collin's World War Z novel for a movie likely to star Brad Pitt. Full details at the links below:

World War Z specifics by Jan

Spotlight panel Report by Jan

Wizard Universe Report


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Heroes, Crispy Claires, New B5 Logo, Dreamwatch Regeneration

Heroes continues to do well on NBC and it just had its debut in the UK on the UK version of the SciFi Channel, breaking all ratings records for the channel and being the top rated multichannel show for the night (but still not as good as Torchwood or Lost has been doing on BBC3 and Sky One). The show will turn up on BBC2 later in the year. From the latest Electronic press kit from NBC comes this image of a trio of Crispy Claires. Which is the real Claire and which are her stunt doubles? In next week's episode we'll meet The Recruiter, played by Eric Roberts, and learn a lot more about H.R.G.

From the Babylon 5: The Lost Tales page on the Babylon 5 Scripts website comes the new Babylon 5 logo to be used for the upcoming DVD release. J. Michael Straczynski will be at the New York ComicCon this weekend and will talk about the new Babylon 5 DVD as well as the comics he's been working on for Marvel. Volume 10 of the scripts book is released on February 28th after a several month hiatus due to the B5 filming and other activities that have taken up Joe's time of late.

Dreamwatch Magazine Regenerates once again - After a long run in print that started with the Doctor Who Bulletin fanzine over 20 years ago, Dreamwatch Magazine has ended publication and has been regenerated as an online magazine at DW SciFi featuring news as well as archive articles from the past years of the magazine. It seems a general purpose magazine doesn't sell as well as show specific magazines. Titan Magazines has a good number of those on the shelves, pretty much a monopoly on the field with magazines on Star Trek, Stargate, 24, Prison Break, Buffy/Angel, Lost, and Grey's Anatomy even. It has evolved a lot from the old days where it was just Doctor Who news and commentary and I feel it lost some of it's charm when it was acquired by Titan. With the fast pace of the online genre news, a print magazine can't really keep up anymore, so they are giving it a go with an online only version.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Gallifrey 2007

The 18th Amendment of Gallifrey One happened last weekend. The first two photos are the guests (actors & writers) on stage during the opening ceremonies. LtoR it is Shaun Lyon (con organizer), Colin Baker, Caroline John, Geoffrey Beevers, Maggie Stables, Terry "Davros" Molloy, Scott Alan Woodward, Dr. Arnold T. Blumberg, Keith Topping, Lars Pearson, Krista Dickson, Caroline Symcox, Paul Cornell, Ben Aaronovitch, Tom MacRea, Simon Guerrier, Steven Moffatt, Gary Russell, Jason Haigh-Ellery, and David J. Howe. Hiding behind Krista Dickson might be Peter Anghelides.

The group photo at the bottom is from the Sunday morning brunch. It was nice to chat with the guests, and hearing Colin complain about having to pay $35 for an Eric Roberts picture...

This year's Gallfrey was a good one, the highest attendance ever with a lot of new attendees that discovered (or rediscovered) Doctor Who with the new series having aired for the first time in the US on SciFi last year. As usual, there were panels I'd like to have seen but didn't due to other panels or other things I wanted to do. Some of my highlights:

  • Steven Moffat and Tom MacRea - They did a panel together talking about their experiences on the second series. Steven's The Girl in the Fireplace didn't have a detailed premise from producer Russell T. Davies, just Madame De Pompadour. Or as Steven put it when he saw the plan for the second season - Cybermen, Werewolves, The Satan Pit, and he ended up with Frocks! He knew he had to put a spaceship in there otherwise the 12 year old boys wouldn't be too excited about the episode. As for Tom, his Cyberman two-parter had a few more requirements, with setting up the parallel Earth and a new origin for the cybermen (for which toys were already being designed before he wrote his script). Moffat has the "Doctor light" episode for the third series. Moffat's live commentary for his episode was a lot of fun as well. I got a chance to chat with him for a bit about his Nebula script nomination. I'm hoping the SFWA writers will vote for him and he might just make the awards ceremony to accept it.

  • Colin Baker - Colin was fun as always (between four Gallifreys, a DW Fan Club appearance in Mesa, and the 30th anniversary Chicago con, I've seen him six times now) and completely blew away the competition in the Just a Minute game show emceed by Paul Cornell.

  • Paul Cornell - Paul has been going to Gallifrey for ten years now and it was somewhat strange to see some fan girls squeeing over Paul. Between writing Dr. Who episodes, Robin Hood episodes, the Wisdom comic for Marvel (with some other Marvel titles in the works), pitching a new TV series of his own creation, and his original novels, Paul's definitely got a lot of things happening, which is good to see. Things were dampened for Paul a bit when the cricket match planned for Monday got rained out yet again. As I mentioned in my Dalek Gel post, Paul blogged about the con over the weekend about his experiences.

  • Mysterious Theatre 337 - A fun look at the Patrick Troughton episode The Krotons, done MST3K style by Steve Hill and company.

  • The Ten Doctors play by the Offstage Theatre Company - A fun romp through the history of Doctor Who on the screen and behind the scenes, adapting the basic plot of The Five Doctors. A bit long and slow at times, but still a good time, even with the fire alarm in the middle of the second act.

  • The Gallfrey committee & Staff - As always, they put in a lot of work at the con and leading up to it to make it happen. Its always nice to go to a con I'm not involved in running.

  • Meeting up with some other online people - I got a chance to chat with Jason Davis, former TV Wasteland columnist for Cinescape and Craig Byrne, who runs Kryptonsite.com and Herosite.net. Craig has been able to do some neat things recently, like visit the Smallville set and also interview Christopher Eccleston about Heroes (but he couldn't ask about Doctor Who). I also got to say hi to some of the SFTV subscribers and people like Benjamin Elliott (This Week in Doctor Who)

  • I only ended up doing one panel, The Current State of SFTV with Craig Byrne and Rhonda Krafchin. We had a good turnout considering the main room panel was one on the New Series with the TV writers and the Charity auction was going on in the adjacent room (I didn't hear how much they raised, but Tadao Tomomatsu was doing a great job as the auctioneer for close to four hours. A crew of Torchwood garbed fans helped out with displaying the auction items).

It was good to see a lot of new fans, including a Phoenix fan who recently found our local group, T.A.R.D.I.S., and was attending Gallifrey for her first time.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Lone Dalek Shuts Down LAX! (or my weekend at Gallifrey)

Last weekend was the 18th Admendment of Gallifrey One Convention at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott hotel right next to LAX.

I think I will start at the end of the weekend, though, since it was probably both the most scared I got and also when I felt the most stupid!

As always, Gallifrey One had lots of Doctor Who merchandise in the dealers room, including lots of things with Daleks. Ceramic Dalek Egg Holders (with a chocolate egg), Dalek Clocks, remote control Daleks, a Genesis Ark playset (with four Daleks and the ark) and a Dalek Bath and Shower Gel set. The Dalek Bath and Shower Gel I saw when it was originally released in the UK, but regular stores like Amazon.co.uk, wouldn't ship them to the U.S. Others on EBay were going for ridiculous prices. I figured one of the dealers at Gallifrey would have them and I was right. I also picked up one of the Dalek clocks as well as a remote control Dalek. Having flown out, I didn't really have the space to carry back the remote control dalek and made arrangements for a friend that drove out to take it back to Arizona for me. The clock and the bath gel Dalek I figured I'd take on my carry-on, wrapping up the bath gel Dalek in a Gallfrey t-shirt to protect its protuberances from getting damaged or snapped off and place it and the clock in my LA Con IV tote bag. In hindsight, I should have sent those back to Arizona with the remote control one...

I had an earlier flight, departing about 6:50 pm, so I had to leave the convention before it was completely over, so I scrambled to get my stuff together after the State of SFTV panel that I was one and made it to the airport in plenty of time and headed for the security check in. It wasn't until I had everything already going down the conveyor belt at the security check point and they stopped the belt to look at my tote bag that I realized that inside that Dalek was more than 3 oz of liquid and it was most definitely not in a clear plastic quart bag! Going through my mind was getting thoroughly searched and even having the security people overreact and shut down the airport because of this potentially dangerous gel they just discovered inside a strange plastic casing! I immediately told them what it was and the TSA officer said I would have to dispose of the gel and escorted me back out to the front where I got to open up the Dalek, break its seal (the top part is the cap) and empty the contents into a trash bin with several TSA officers looking on.

I then got to go back through the security checkpoint, making sure I went back through the same one, since they had already seen the formerly gel-packed object. It sill left me a bit paranoid the rest of the evening, especially when I was getting some food, sitting in the front of a sports bar, and an off-duty TSA agent set down across from me looking pretty much straight at me while I was eating. He was actually looking at the TV screen directly behind my head, but it still wasn't very comfortable.

I'll try to get some stuff up about the convention itself in the next couple of days. In the meantime, Paul Cornell blogged about the con during the weekend catching some of the highlights of the con.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Gallfirey One This Weekend

The 18th edition of the Gallifrey One convention happens this weekend in Los Angeles. I'll be there as usual (I haven't missed one yet). Lots of Doctor Who guests including writers (Paul Cornell, Steven Moffat, Tom McRea) and a director (James Strong) from the new series. There will also be plenty of guests from the original Doctor Who (Colin Baker, Caroline John, John Levene, Terry Molloy, and Geoffrey Beavers) as well as Eric Roberts, who played The Master in the FOX TV movie (and also has a guest role coming up on Heroes). Lots of information and the schedule is up on the Gallifrey One web site. I'll have some SFTV.org badge ribbons to hand out and I also have some Harry Dresden business cards. I'm doing a couple of panels on Sunday and will be catching a lot of panels through the weekend.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Psych on SciFi Instead of Movie Marathon

I totally missed that SciFi today had scheduled a marathon of Psych episodes instead of what had originally been scheduled for Valentine's Day, a "Eat Your Heart Out" marathon of zombie movies...

At least Psych is a show with some genre elements, even if the guy is faking it, unlike the Law and Order: SVU Marathon they did a while back.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

SFTV News Roundup

Schedules Updated

The SFTV Schedules have been updated and can be viewed by the direct links. The Upcoming listing isn't quite done yet and hasn't been emailed out but will be soon.

Galactica Renewal

The SciFi Channel has renewed Battlestar Galactica for a fourth season. Instead of 20 episodes, they committed to a minimum of 13 episodes. Production is supposed to start this summer with the series likely returning next January. No news on the DVD movie they had been talking about. The full press release can be found on SciFi's press website.

Blood Ties Pictures

Lifetime has put up a basic web site to promote Blood Ties and has also made available some pictures from the initial batch of episodes.

First up is Christina Cox as Vickie Nelson, the P.I. with a degenerative eye disease.

Next is Kyle Schmid as Henry Fitzroy, a 450-year old vampire who embodies the physique of a twenty-something playboy. He also writes graphic novels (a change from the book version who writes romance novels).

Dylan Neal stars as Detective Mike Celucci, the ex-boyfriend of private investigator Vicki Nelson.

Gina Holden ("Reunion") stars as Coreen Fennel, who convinces Vicki to let her work as her assistant after her boyfriend is murdered by a demon. The first few episodes are described as follows by Lifetime:

Blood Price (Parts 1 & 2): Fearless ex-cop turned private investigator Vicki finds her entire life changes after she witnesses a bizarre murder and is suddenly thrown into a supernatural world in which she discovers her suspect is a demon and she is working alongside a 450-year-old vampire, Henry. Below is an image from the episode where Vickie is attending to Henry after he's been beaten up pretty bad.

Bad Ju-Ju: Vicki is hired by a woman desperately seeking her missing brother. With Henry's help, Vicki soon discovers that her client is more than what she appears to be. There's also Zombies, one of which has Vicki in a nasty grip on the left.

Gifted: When a young girl is left alone following her mother's death, Vicki is hired to track down her estranged father. During her investigation, Vicki and Henry discover that the young girl has special powers and an imaginary friend who might be more foe than friend.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Blood Ties Comes to Lifetime

Lifetime has announced that they will start airing the series Blood Ties, based on the "Blood" novels by Tanya Huff on Sunday, March 11th at 10 pm ET/PT. It will be interesting to see how it does in the ratings. For fans of paranormal drama who don't care for Galactica, that makes for a good back to back scheduling block.

Not too much info has come out about how this series will adapt the Tanya Huff books that I've come across so far. Some details on the series can be found at The Futon Critic and on the IMDB .

Here's how they describe the series:Blood Ties follows the misadventures of Vicki Nelson, a feisty, attractive, 29-year old ex-cop turned private investigator with a degenerative eye disorder, who seems destined to sit on the sidelines until fate intervenes, turning her life upside down. After witnessing a terrifying murder, she finds herself on a collision course with a stranger who is also investigating the murder. He is Henry Fitzroy, a 450-year old vampire who just happens to be the bastard son of King Henry VIII. After solving the murder, Vicki finds her forays into supernatural crime are anything but over. Week after week, Vicki's relationship with Henry draws her into baffling cases involving a terrifying pantheon of occult adversaries. Forget fraud investigations and cheating spouses - she's squaring off against ghosts, goblins and ghouls. Vicki and Henry's unlikely alliance soon progresses beyond a purely professional arrangement, complicating her relationship with her long-suffering ex-partner in policing and love, Detective Mike Celluci… and pretty well everything else in her life.

It stars Christina Cox as Private Investigator Vickie Nelson, Kyle Schmid as vampire Henry Fitzroy, and Dylan Neal as Mike Celluci. This looks to be Cox's first starring role in a TV series for a while. She has done a lot of guest shots on shows going all the way back to Forever Knight and co-starred in FX: The Series. Schmid has done a few guest shots as well, but nothing major. Neal has the most notable credits with stints on Dawson's Creek, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and the lead role of David Martell in Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers.

Huff only wrote six books in the series, and there are some dramatic changes in Victory Nelson's life through those six books. Huff has done a sequel series, Smoke and Shadows, featuring one of the supporting characters, Tony, that has three books so far. Those are fun in that Tony works on a Canadian TV series about a vampire detective. Maybe they will eventually work that into the Blood Ties tv series down the road.


Sunday, February 4, 2007

A Non Super Day

I didn't watch the Super Bowl, but I did catch up on a few things this weekend.

Penn Jillette

Cross-posted from the SFTV Weblog on SFTV.org....

MTR Paley Festival Ticket Fiasco

I'd sent out the information to the SFTV News list about the 2007 William S. Paley Festival at the Museum of Television and Radio in Los Angeles. This year, they are having a good number of panels SF/F fans might want to see (George Lucas, Heroes, Jericho, etc.). I was looking to get Heroes tickets and was planning on making a weekend trip of it from Phoenix.

This was the first time they have done the tickets via ticketmaster and there's a lot of people out there making their living off of reselling tickets. The tickets went on sale to members of the MTR first, but they also made it easy for anyone (i.e. scalpers) to get a MTR membership (or multiple memberships) via ticketmaster and get first crack at the tickets. I opted to renew my membership via the MTR website and not give TIcketmaster a processing fee. I was given a code that supposedly would allow members to get tickets when they went on sale last Friday. When the site went live and you could buy tickets, it wanted a membership number. I tried mine and it didn't work. I tried the password and it didn't work. Finally, after about thirty minutes it finally accepted the password but by that time, the majority of the sessions were sold out and some tickets were already up on Ebay!

I guess I won't be making the trip to the MTR this year. I'm definitetly not going to pay $250 or more for a pair of tickets (one seller has four tickets at $1399!). I hope they will at least make the Heroes session available via DVD like they did the one for Lost.

I hope my luck is better trying to get a hotel room when hotel reservations go online for the 2007 Comic Con International in San Diego.