Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ohio Comic Con 2012: Day Three Photos

This year's Ohio Comic Con is officially in the history books.  An understandably less crowded day than Saturday, but still busy with activity for the most part.  Sundays seem better for comic hunting with less guys around who need to learn the wonders of underarm deodorant elbowing you for position in the rows of comic boxes.  Anyway, here's one last set of photos.  Hope to see you there next year!

Dr. Horrible and victim of The Silence from Doctor Who
Norman Reedus from The Walking Dead and Blade II
Sir Patrick Stewart. Make it so, Columbus.
Avengers movie version of Black Widow
Soundwave from Transformers campaigns for the Decepticon Party

As a reminder from yesterday, I have more Ohio Comic Con photos posted on my Facebook account which you can view HERE.  Dig the extra Comic Con goodness until next year!

Ohio Comic Con 2012: Day Two Photos

Well, Day Two of Ohio Comic Con 2012 was all kinds of insanely busy with celebrities such as Sir Patrick Stewart, Val Kilmer, Norman Reedus, Eliza Dushku, Dean Cain, John de Lancie and others signing autographs.  Had a great time catching up with old friends from Medina Senior High School and the amateur press association TitanTalk and of course, I have a few more photos to share.  Hope you like 'em!

Darth Maui.  YES.
The Fifth Doctor from Doctor Who
 Captain America oppa First Avenger style!
 The Predator with Deadpool. Do I have to explain how awesome this is?
Dean Cain, who is just as super in person as he was on Lois & Clark

Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb!

If you'd like to check out more pictures from Day Two, you can find them posted HERE on my Facebook account.  See you back at the Columbus Convention Center for Day Three on Sunday!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ohio Comic Con 2012: Day One Photos

Day One of Mid-Ohio-Con Mid-Ohio Comic Con Ohio Comic Con 2012 was essentially a preview night before the big stuff happens on Saturday and Sunday.  However, it gave me the opportunity to buy my comics professional pass for the weekend (No comp pass this year, sadly) and take a few advance photos.  Keep checking back this weekend for more, okay?

Dr. Emmett Brown's DeLorean time machine from Back to the Future. This is heavy.

The Doctor Who Store booth. It's like they traveled all this way just for me.

Ironside Dalek from the Doctor Who episode "Victory of the Daleks." No, I don't want any tea.
The Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters. Needs a little engine work.
Loki and Thor just hangin' out in Midgard
See you back at the Columbus Convention Center tomorrow!

Friday, September 28, 2012

DAMN Good Television -- ELEMENTARY: "Pilot"

It's a pretty interesting time to be a Sherlock Holmes fan.

For what seemed forever, followers of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional detective have contented themselves reading (and rereading) various Holmes tales and watching (and rewatching) old movies and British television shows starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, Jeremy Brett, Peter Cushing and others.  That changed in 2009 with Holmes' return to mainstream movies with Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law.  A year later, Holmes returned to television in the popular BBC series Sherlock, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman setting Holmes in the present day.

As a result of Holmes' resurgence into pop culture, American television network CBS decided that having their own Sherlock Holmes TV show set in the modern day might be a good idea, so they picked up Elementary for the fall 2012 season.  Some accusations of ripping off Sherlock were made, pretty understandably, but it's not like CBS didn't have some history in this regard.  Back in 1987, they gave us a failed TV pilot called The Return of Sherlock Holmes, which brought a cryogenically-frozen Holmes (Michael Pennington) into 1987 Boston and paired him with a female descendant of Dr. John Watson named Jane.  Seven years later, CBS aired a TV movie titled Sherlock Holmes Returns, which brought another Holmes (Anthony Higgins) out of suspended animation into 1994 San Francisco and paired him with a female partner named Amy Winslow.

So in order to distinguish Elementary from Sherlock, it's no surprise that series creator and showrunner Rob Doherty went with another female Dr. Watson, this one called Joan and even cast Asian actress Lucy Liu in the role.  Holmes, thankfully, is still British and played by English actor Jonny Lee Miller, but this version is tattooed, fresh out of rehab, and now resides in Brooklyn, New York.  As Holmes' new "sober companion," Watson is brought into the consulting detective's world just tagging along, but her medical background provides the necessary character interplay that fans expect.

Right from the start, Miller attempts to make his own mark on the role but ends up combining different traits from other actors in the process.  He brings the manic, eccentric energy of Downey's performance, adds a good dose of Cumberbatch's arrogance and wraps it all up in the damaged brilliance of Hugh Laurie's Holmesesque Dr. Gregory House.  Liu is much more subdued as Watson, trading in the character's traditional military veteran background for her own troubled past involving the death of one of her patients.  It feels like Elementary's Holmes/Watson dynamic has the potential for the kind of romance that makes fan fiction forums on the internet explode, only without the more socially awkward bromance depicted on Sherlock.

The other character of note is Aidan Quinn as Captain Tobias Gregson, based on the more obscure Inspector Gregson from Doyle's Holmes tales that typically gets ignored in favor of Inspector Lestrade.  Gregson serves the story role of giving Holmes access to crime scenes, but the character's past when Holmes consulted with Scotland Yard sets him up for male bonding scenes traditionally served by Watson.

This first story by Doherty involving a murdered woman found in a panic room was essentially a standard police procedural that CBS loves so much, only with the difference of Sherlock Holmes solving it.  It wasn't terrible, mind you, just not especially complex and certainly not up to the typical Doyle story.  However, because this is the pilot designed to sell the series to the suits at CBS, the focus is on introducing the characters, so I can give Doherty a pass here somewhat.  And at least he's adding little Sherlockian touches, such as giving Holmes an interest in beekeeping.

All in all, Elementary (so far) isn't on the quality level of Sherlock, but the BBC series only has three double-length episodes per season and Series Three will probably be its last.  Elementary's expected 22-episode season (or more, depending on the ratings) should help fill Sherlock's void, so let's hope the mysteries become more substantive and challenging to keep viewers' interest.  The game, once again, is afoot...so let's see how this new one plays out.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fox Hires Mark Millar as Marvel Adaptations Consultant

You can almost imagine 20th Century Fox studio execs sitting in their meeting room..."What the--?!  Marvel signed Joss Whedon to direct Avengers 2, develop a S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series AND oversee Phase 2 of their cinematic universe?  Dammit, who do we have...?!"

Well, now they have Scottish comics writer and movie property developer Mark Millar.  In a new press release, Fox has announced that Millar will serve as a consultant on upcoming movie adaptations of Marvel Comics properties that the studio still has in terms of movie rights.  Here's the release...

Marking an expanded commitment to some of its most important franchises, Twentieth Century Fox has brought on comics superstar Mark Millar to serve as a creative consultant on the studio’s upcoming projects based on Marvel Comics properties.

Millar wrote several celebrated Marvel books such as The Ultimates, Civil War and Wolverine: Old Man Logan, before moving on to found Millarworld (millarworld.tv), where he continues to develop existing film franchise titles Wanted and Kick-Ass, as well as newer comic properties The Secret Service,
Superior, and Nemesis — the latter also in development at Fox. Millar will work with Fox on developing new avenues for its "X-Men" and "Fantastic Four" tentpoles.

Commented TCF production president Emma Watts: “We are excited to be working with Mark. In addition to his groundbreaking Marvel work, he is simply one of the most original voices in comics today and will be an invaluable resource to us and to our filmmakers as we look for fresh opportunities to innovate within our shared Marvel universe."

Upcoming for the studio is THE WOLVERINE, starring Hugh Jackman, directed by James Mangold; X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, helmed by Matthew Vaughn; and a reboot of “FANTASTIC FOUR, to be directed by Josh Trank (Chronicle).

“As someone who has spent his entire life obsessed with both comic-books and movies, this is essentially my dream gig as it's a unique combination of both,” stated Millar. “I spent ten years working at Marvel and am really happy with the work I did on the comic side of things so the idea of working with these characters now in a brand new medium is enormously exciting for me. I really like the Fox team, love this bold new direction they have for their franchises and am proud to be working alongside some of modern cinema's biggest talents. James Mangold is incredible, Matthew Vaughn's one of my closest pals and Josh Trank gave us, in my opinion, one of the greatest superhero movies of the last decade with Chronicle. The invitation to join this crew was maybe the coolest phone-call I've ever had.”

About Mark Millar
Mark Millar is the writer of Civil War, Marvel's biggest-selling series of the fifteen years, Ultimate X-Men, Wolverine: Old Man Logan, Spider-Man, Ultimate Fantastic Four and The Ultimates (described by Time magazine in 2010 as the best comic series of the decade). His Millarworld line of comics boasts a roster of creator-owned books such as Wanted, turned into a blockbuster movie starring Angelina Jolie; Kick-Ass, which starred Nicolas Cage; and Nemesis, which Fox is presently developing as a theatrical feature. Kick-Ass 2 is currently filming in London and Toronto, starring Jim Carrey and Chris Mintz-Plasse and Universal is also developing his War Heroes series with Mike DeLuca producing. The Secret Service, co-created with Watchmen legend Dave Gibbons and X-Men First Class
rector Matthew Vaughn, is also currently indevelopment. In his native UK, he's the editor of CLiNT magazine, an advisor on film to the Scottish government and managing director of his film and television company Millarworld Productions."

About 20th Century Fox Film
One of the world’s largest producers and distributors of motion pictures, 20th Century Fox Film produces, acquires and distributes motion pictures throughout the world. These motion pictures are produced or acquired by the following units: Twentieth Century Fox, Fox 2000 Pictures, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox International Productions and Twentieth Century Fox Animation.

You'll note that this doesn't include Daredevil, because Fox ended up allowing the rights to revert back to Marvel after being unable to get a second movie into production by the October 10th deadline.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cleveland Hopkins Airport Opens Superman Exhibit

The next time you fly into Cleveland, be sure to stop and say thanks to the Man of Steel for saving the world from Lex Luthor, General Zod and Doomsday all those times.

The Plain Dealer reports that Cleveland Hopkins International Airport will open a permanent exhibit dedicated to the legendary DC Comics character Superman and his creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, beginning on October 11, 2012.  Touting Cleveland as the historical birthplace of "Greater Cleveland's greatest hero," the exhibit promotes Siegel and Shuster creating Superman in the city's Glenville neighborhood during the Great Depression.

The exhibit was developed by The Siegel & Shuster Society, which raised $50,000 in donations and was approved by Cleveland's city council in January.  Designed by Studio Graphique, the exhibit will be installed in an area across from the baggage carousels where most air travelers pass through. 

After issues raised with the proposed Superman license plate, the Siegel & Shuster Society altered the greeting of the prototype shown above from “Welcome to Cleveland — Birthplace of …Superman” to “Welcome to Cleveland — Where the Legend Began.”  It seems DC Comics and Warner Bros. are exceedingly particular that Superman’s “birthplace” is Krypton, not Cleveland.  In addition, there will be a large statue of Superman as a photo opportunity for tourists.

Laura Siegel Larson, daughter of Siegel, will come in from California to speak at the 6 p.m. dedication ceremony, which is free and open to the public.  Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, other relatives of Siegel and Shuster and Airport Director Ricky Smith are among expected speakers.  There will also be a performance from the rhythm section of the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, playing John Williams’ definitive theme from the 1978 Superman movie.

Michael Olszewski, president of the Society, said the airport display will educate travelers about Superman.  He and fellow Society member Brad Ricca, who teaches a course in comics at Case Western Reserve University, wrote the historical text blocks that accompany the display.  Olszewski remarked, "We want the phrase 'Meet me at Superman' to become a common saying at the airport."

Thursday, September 20, 2012

George R.R. Martin Wants to Write DOCTOR STRANGE, but Only If...

Man, Martin's epic fantasy saga "A Song of Ice and Fire" is never going to be completed, is it?

Speaking to MTV Geek at Worldcon 2012, novelist and screenwriter George R.R. Martin expressed his interest in writing comic books, specifically naming Marvel's Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange, as the character he'd love to get his creative hands on.

Well, on one condition.  It turns out Martin would only agree to write Doctor Strange if there was an "iron-clad contract" that kept whatever he did to the character in place forever without another writer changing or erasing it at some point in the future.

Yeah, I don't see that happening either.  Here's what Martin had to say in the interview:

"If I were to write a Marvel comic, I don't know what my story angle would be.  The character I'd have the most fun writing would be Doctor Strange, who was always one of my -- the master of the mystic arts, he was always one of my favorites.  However, before I would ever do that, I would have to have my lawyers meet with Marvel's lawyers and work out an absolutely iron-clad contract that would say that whatever I did in the story would continue to be canon forever and would never be retconned, rebooted or reimagined out of the universe when some later writer decided to mess around with it.  Because I hate that, I always hated reboots and retcons and the fact that a new writer comes in and undoes what the previous writer did and brings dead characters back to life, kills new characters that maybe weren't intended to die.  It's the one thing I don't like about comics, so that drives me crazy.  But I did love Doctor Strange and if I was to write a Marvel character, him and his dimensions would be that.
"I'd separate him off, I wouldn't drag in the rest of the Marvel Universe or make him part of a team.  He doesn't really fit any of that stuff, he's a guy who hardly should be even known to the rest of the heroes, living on the edge of the Marvel Universe protecting the world and our dimension and plane from dangers and forces out there that the other characters like Spider-Man and The Avengers don't even dream exist, you know.  He's our wall against Cthulhu and the Great Old Ones and you know, the dread Dormammu, stuff like that. That's when Doctor Strange was at his best, when (Stan) Lee and (Steve) Ditko were doing him in just that manner."

If you'd like to see the interview segment, you can check it out below...

Get More: MTV Shows

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Which New Members Should Assemble for THE AVENGERS 2?

I know, I know, the Blu-Ray for the first Avengers movie isn't officially released until next week and here we are talking about who should be in the second.

However, Indiewire's The Playlist has already started the ball rolling yesterday with some comments from Marvel co-chairman Louis D'Esposito about the team roster for The Avengers 2, which will also be directed by Joss Whedon.  "...we discussed it at the time and I think in The Avengers 2 we'll see some new characters," said D'Esposito.  "We're currently working on Phase 2 and we have Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, so we returned to those franchises to enlarge them, but I think in The Avengers 2 we'll see one or two new characters."

Makes sense if you think about it.  One or two new Avengers could bring new story elements into the movie, add different dynamics between the characters, and of course, create a little more potential for merchandising.  So with this in mind, which Marvel characters could end up on the sequel's roster?

Ant-Man and/or The Wasp -- As the only founding members of the comic book Avengers that weren't in the first film, Ant-Man and The Wasp seem like natural choices...even more so, considering that director Edgar Wright is helming an Ant-Man movie that may or may not arrive in theaters before The Avengers 2.  Ant-Man brings another super-scientist character to the table, allowing Dr. Hank Pym to geek out with Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, while The Wasp adds another female character to the team besides Black Widow.  Besides, you could easily see Whedon approaching Janet Van Dyne as if she were Cordelia Chase from his TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.

Captain Marvel -- Primarily known as Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers was abruptly handed the mantle of Captain Marvel a few months ago, along with a radically-different costume, and given a new ongoing comic book series.  Carol also adds more female perspective just like The Wasp, but her power set essentially makes her the Avengers' version of DC Comics' Wonder Woman.

Doctor Strange -- Marvel's Sorcerer Supreme is rumored to be appearing in the upcoming Thor sequel Thor: The Dark World, which introduces him into Marvel's cinematic universe and sets him up as a potential Avenger.  Also, Marvel has been trying to get a Doctor Strange movie going for quite some time, so The Avengers 2 could gauge moviegoer interest in the character to possibly spin him off in a solo film.

The Falcon -- Already slated to appear in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, played by Anthony Mackie, The Falcon is also set up for The Avengers 2 in the same way as Doctor Strange.  The difference is, as mainstream comics' first African-American superhero, he brings much-needed diversity to the team.  (No, Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury is not an Avenger, he's the director of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

The Vision -- I think a lot of fans would love to see android Avenger The Vision.  Ever since S.H.I.E.L.D agent Phil Coulson was given the Joss Whedon Kills Beloved Character treatment in the first Avengers movie, fans have speculated that S.H.I.E.L.D. or Tony Stark could have somehow saved his brain patterns prior to his death so that his persona could be uploaded into the Vision's body.  It's interesting to note that the Vision's original physical body, the original android Human Torch, is briefly shown in the background of the World's Fair sequence in Captain America: The First Avenger.  Things that make you go Hmmmm...

War Machine -- A perfectly obvious but unlikely addition is War Machine.  The character has been around since the first Iron Man movie and you would think Tony Stark would be inclined to say "Hey Rhodey, you wanna join my--errrr, this incredibly awesome group of superheroes?"  And yes, War Machine brings the needed team diversity, but essentially he's just another Iron Man.  As much as War Machine actor Don Cheadle would bring to the film, having two Iron Men around seems a bit redundant.

The Winter Soldier -- The character redundancy issue also applies to The Winter Soldier.  Actor Sebastian Stan is returning to the role for (Surprise!) Captain America: The Winter Soldier, so Captain America's sidekick/crimefighting partner could potentially follow Cap right into The Avengers 2.  However, as shown in the comics, the Winter Soldier is essentially Captain America with a bionic left arm and a mysterious Cold War past.  As great as it might be to see the Winter Soldier interacting with Black Widow, there's not going to be room to develop a Russian espionage storyline with a big cosmic threat like Thanos as the film's villain.

The Avengers 2 is scheduled to arrive in theaters on May 1, 2015.  Let's see which Marvel heroes make the cut...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Two Years of DAMN Good Coffee...and HOT!

As positively insane as this might be, DAMN Good Coffee...and HOT turns two years old today.

Way back in those caveman days of 2010, I began this blog to keep myself writing and to share things that I hoped all of you would find at least somewhat interesting.  This past year featured my first (and hopefully, not my last) steps into the world of writing comic books, the rapid growth of digital comics, a ton of comic book movie and TV projects, sci-fi stuff, espionage stuff, epic fantasy stuff, cosplay stuff, and as always, lots of nonsense from me about Doctor Who.

And now, after over 360 posts, over 130,000 pageviews averaging just under 10,000 views per month, and occasional spam comments from people outside America who think my posts are so impressive that I should click on their webpage, I'm about to head into Year Three.  (Mid) Ohio Comic Con is right around the corner again, there are new James Bond, Hobbit and Superman movies to ramble on about, and yes, I might have a few thoughts concerning the buildup for next year's 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.

So once again, my deepest thanks to everyone who's supported The Little Blog That Could over the past year and shared links on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or elsewhere.  Tell you what -- I'll keep searching the interwebz for all sorts of things on comics, television, movies and whatnot, and you guys keep checking in once in a while.  Sound like a plan?

We now return to to our regularly scheduled DAMN Good Coffee...and HOT, already in progress...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Original Green Goblin Makeup Test for Raimi's SPIDER-MAN

Oh, what could have been.

A second test video has surfaced on YouTube for the original Green Goblin makeup designed for the 2002 film adaptation of Marvel Comics' Spider-Man.  Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc., the special effects company behind the makeup, created a hybrid animatronic/makeup of silicone skin animated by servos and has Tom Woodruff, Jr. underneath the Goblin makeup.

The footage around the 1:40 mark is especially impressive, as Woodruff displays a look of sadness that quickly turns to a smile and then goes all kinds of uber-creepy.  But no, this fantastic piece of artistry was dumped, presumably when actor Willem Dafoe was cast in the role of Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin.  Dafoe rejected the initially bulky designs created beforehand and the final design focused on a more streamlined and athletic feel.  The mask was created to be an extreme cartoon version of Dafoe's face, focusing on his long cheekbones. 

Unfortunately, as we all know, said final design ended up being something less than uber-creepy and more like a cheesy villain from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers:

Hopefully, if the sequel to this year's Amazing Spider-Man brings the Green Goblin back to the big screen, director Marc Webb will go back and incorporate some of the ADI makeup design into his Goblin.

Here's the second makeup test video, followed by the previous one that was posted back in 2011...

Friday, September 14, 2012

DC Comics Announces ARROW Digital Comic Series

Green Arrow fans looking forward to the new CW TV series Arrow will have something to help fill the time between episodes.

Comic Book Resources has revealed that DC Comics is debuting a new Arrow tie-in digital comic series on October 10th, the same day the Arrow TV pilot premieres on the CW.  The digital comics will be written by showrunners Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg, with art for the first issue by definitive Green Arrow artist Mike Grell, followed on later issues by Sergio Sandoval and Jorge Jimenez.  In a release format similar to DC's Smallville Season 11 digital series, each online chapter will be $0.99 and later collected in traditional print versions for $3.99 an issue starting on November 28th.

The Arrow digital comic will expand upon the TV episodes, filling in the backstory limited by the weekly TV format, and also preview upcoming episodes.  "We have a real and exciting opportunity to tie in, fill in and -- and this is our favorite -- tease upcoming moments in the series," said Guggenheim.  "If you read the digital comics, you'll be getting stories that not only tie in with the television narrative, but also preview it."

Guggenheim gave kudos to his editor to his selection of artists on the series.  "All the credit goes to Alex Antone for pulling together a remarkably talented roster of artists," he said.  "They're all bringing their own thing to the comic and their styles are all unique, yet visceral enough to sell the kinetic, action-oriented series we're trying to produce on television.  And we'd be remiss if we didn't make a special shout-out to Mike Grell.  First, it's a privilege to be working with an industry legend.  But more importantly, Mike's grounded take on Green Arrow in the seminal Longbow Hunters series was a touchstone for us as we were developing the television series."

Other DC Comics characters will be appearing in the digital series, just as they will on the TV show.  "China White (from Green Arrow: Year One) makes an appearance in Chapter 3," said Guggenheim, adding that the character Detective Hilton from his own Green Arrow run will also appear on the show.  "We'd love to add more guest stars in future chapters, but our approach to using other comic characters in the digital comic is the same as it is with the show itself -- We start with the story first and then cast about to see if there's a DC character that would be appropriate.  We never want the guest star horse to drag the storytelling cart.  Story is paramount."

As for what the first digital issue will involve, Guggenheim remarked, "The first chapter is especially exciting and not just because Mike Grell drew it.  We took a moment directly from the second episode, then flashforward throughout the story to key moments from future episodes.  So the first chapter is a great way to get a little preview of what we have up our sleeves on the show.  For my part as a writer, I don't think doing a comic tie-in is worthwhile unless it relates to the story being told in the movie or television series.  That's just my philosophy.  I think if you don't make the tie-in a literal one, then you're just wasting a great and exciting opportunity."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The (Not) INSPECTOR SPACETIME Web Series Debuts

Inspector Spacetime has returned!  Well...kind of...



Once upon a time, about one year ago this month, the NBC sitcom Community gave the world's longest-running science-fiction series, Doctor Who, some serious love with a show-within-a-show parody called "Inspector Spacetime."  The Inspector and his faithful constable Reggie Wigglesworth were a big hit with Whovians and the characters returned (in one form or another) four more times over the course of Community's third season.

The first Inspector -- the original, you might say -- was played by actor Travis Richey, who has organized a web series production of new Inspector Spacetime adventures.  One problem, though...NBC Universal owns the rights to Inspector Spacetime, so after demanding that Richey cease production (Boo! Hiss! Eradicate!), another vaguely-familiar yet entirely different for legal reasons web series was developed, called Untitled Web Series About a Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time.

Richey uploaded the first episode of Untitled Web Series to the series' official website and YouTube yesterday, titled "Boyish the Extraordinary, Part 1" and written by Richey and Eric Loya.  Arriving in the year 3,000 million on the planet Second New Old Earth Seven, we're (re)introduced to "The Inspector" (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more) and his companion constable whatever Piper Tate, played by Carrie Keranen.  "Piper Tate," as Whovians should guess, is a cute nod to previous Doctor Who actresses Billie Piper and Catherine Tate, who played Ninth and Tenth Doctor companions Rose Tyler and Donna Noble.

We soon encounter a new sworn enemy of the Inspector, the Circuit Chaps, who are fond of chanting "Integrate! Integrate!" and seem just a little teeny bit like classic Doctor Who baddies The Cybermen.  Oh, and the Inspector has a nifty Optic Pocketknife as well.  Don't diss the Optic.

You can view the first episode below, and don't forget to tune in next week, same Space Channel, same...Space Time!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

James Bond Will Return...and Daniel Craig Lives Twice

Well, at least Her Majesty should approve...

James Bond news site MI6 reported today that current Bond Daniel Craig will return in the role for two more films, bringing his total to five.  Craig will start in the 24th and 25th official Bond films, with Sony Pictures possibly returning to the standard two-year production cycle for the 24th film.  This would mean the next film would arrive in theaters sometime late in 2014.

The article goes on to mention that EON Productions may find the schedule too aggressive and that Craig would prefer to have a break before filming the next Bond movie.  There's also The Girl Who Played with Fire, the sequel to last year's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, to consider, so perhaps Craig will return as Mikael Blomkvist before filming Bond 24.

Craig's five films will make him the third longest-serving actor in the role of James Bond, after Roger Moore's seven films and Sean Connery's six official films.  This puts him ahead of Pierce Brosnan's four films, Timothy Dalton's two and George Lazenby's On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

DAMN Good Television -- DOCTOR WHO: "Asylum of the Daleks"

The Series Seven premiere featured a number of mysteries and surprises, so River Song Spoilers are in full effect.  Consider yourselves warned.

It's been far too long of a wait since the last full Doctor Who episode, "The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe," aired last Christmas.  Whovians all over the world have been forced to survive on BBC America Best Of specials, talk show interviews, convention appearances, blog posts (Cheers, everyone!), Doctor Who Magazine, Big Finish audio adventure CDs, podcasts, YouTube videos, Twitter, Tumblr, and other assorted whatnot for the past eight months, so was all of that worth it just for another Dalek story?

Oh, yeah.  Totally worth it.

We open "Asylum of the Daleks" on the planet Skaro, homeworld of the Daleks, that was previously thought to be destroyed by the Seventh Doctor in "Remembrance of the Daleks," only to turn up again at the beginning of the 1996 TV Movie, and then was supposedly devastated during the Time War as revealed in "Daleks in Manhattan."  So okay, the Eleventh Doctor turns up on Devastated Skaro inside a giant monument of a Dalek (No monument for you, Davros) and is captured by a new Dalek Puppet humanoid agent capable of extending Dalek eyestalks from their foreheads.  And because the Doctor needs companions, Amy and Rory Pond are abruptly interrupted from their angsty, uncomfortable divorce paper signing and captured by Dalek Puppets as well.

The opening credits are tweaked a bit with mixed results.  Now with a slight greenish tint to the temporal vortex, the whooshing block letters listing the lead actors' names have been replaced by a more mysterious font that materializes into view on screen.  The annoying DOCTOR [DW] WHO series title graphic has finally been replaced with just DOCTOR WHO, but for some silly reason, the letters now feature a look designed to fit the episode theme, this time with Dalek bumps.  The [DW], meanwhile, now appears right afterward by itself and still spins into the TARDIS resuming her journey through the vortex as the episode title materializes into view.  So you win some, you lose some.

Anyway, it turns out that the Parliament of the Daleks have gathered together on a spaceship for DalekCon or SkaroCon or whatever and want the Doctor, Amy and Rory to go down to a planet called the Asylum.  A ship called the Alaska has crashed there, rupturing the planet's force field that prevents the Really Insane Daleks from escaping.  The Parliament now want to turn off the force field so they can destroy the Asylum, but because they're apparently total wusses, they want the Doctor and his companions to do it for them.  Everybody got that?

Well, it seems there's a survivor from the Alaska crash, a smart, sassy young brunette named Oswin Oswald, played by actress Jenna-Louise Coleman.  But wait a second, wasn't Coleman supposed to debut as the Doctor's new companion in the 2012 Christmas episode?  And wasn't her character supposed to be named Clara Oswin instead?  Surprise, here she is in the season's first episode...or is she...?  So here's Oswin, who has somehow managed to fend off the Daleks for an entire year and has a fondness for "Habanera" from Georges Bizet's opera Carmen as well as baking souffl├ęs without actually having any milk.  What the--?!

The Doctor and Amy are separated from Rory during transport down to the Asylum, so that they can be attacked by Dalek zombies while Oswin flirts with almost-single Rory over an intercom.  Amy loses her Dalek Puppet Virus protection device in the process, which causes her to gradually lose her memory.  After she and the Doctor reach Rory, the Ponds argue over who loves the other more, with Rory playing his "I waited for you for 2,000 years" trump card and Amy confessing that she is unable to have more children after "A Good Man Goes to War" and knows that Rory wants kids, so she gave him up.  Awwwww...

The Doctor, meanwhile, ventures through the "Intensive Care" section that contains Daleks that fought him in classic Doctor Who stories and hate him the most.  It's here that writer Steven Moffat attempts to restore some of the lost sense of menace to the Daleks, making them feel creepier and more threatening at a single moment.  Just as things look grimmer than grim, Oswin saves the Doctor by deleting the Daleks' memories of him (More memory stuff, hmmm...)  And then, Moffat throws out a Major Plot Twist by revealing that Oswin, it turns out, was actually converted into a Dalek shortly after the Alaska crashed.  Oswin deactivates the force field, with her final words to the Doctor (and us, with a knowing smile) being "I am Oswin Oswald.  I fought the Daleks and I am human.  Remember me.  Run, you clever boy, and remember."

So the Doctor, Amy and Rory escape the Asylum just in time for the Parliament to blow it to bits, but back on the spaceship, the Daleks are all "Doc-tor who?  Doc-tor WHO?"  Yes, Oswin not only erased the memories of the Intensive Care Daleks but all Daleks everywhere.  The Doctor drops Amy and Rory back off at their townhouse in London, at least until the next episode, and then goes off in the TARDIS alone, reveling in the Daleks' question -- The same question that must never be answered -- "Doctor who?"

Once again, Steven Moffat is playing the long game with Whovians.  Did we see the ultimate end of Clara Oswin Oswald before we actually meet her, just as we did with River Song?  And why is remembering so important?  I mean, I'm sure there were some villains that had something to do with memory, if only I could remember them...