Tuesday, March 31, 2015

ARROW/FLASH Spinoff Casts Hawkgirl and Rip Hunter

The only question remains, which one's The Brave and which one's The Bold?

Deadline reported yesterday that the upcoming, still-untitled CW superteam series spinning off from Arrow and The Flash has cast Ciara Renée as Kendra Saunders, better known as DC Comics superhero Hawkgirl.  

The article describes Kendra as "a young woman who is just beginning to learn that she has been repeatedly reincarnated over the centuries.  When provoked, her ancient warrior persona manifests itself, along with wings that grow out of her back, earning her the moniker Hawkgirl."

Created in 1940 by Gardner Fox, Dennis Neville and Sheldon Moldoff, Hawkgirl first appeared in Flash Comics #1 as Shiera Sanders, a reincarnation of an Egyptian princess named Chay-Ara who fell in love with Prince Khufu, later reincarnated as archaeologist Carter Hall, the Golden Age superhero Hawkman.  Shiera later became his crimefighting partner Hawkgirl in All-Star Comics (vol.1) #5.

In 1999's JSA Secret Files #1, James Robinson, David Goyer and Geoff Johns reimagined the character as Kendra Saunders, the granddaughter of the Golden Age Hawkgirl's cousin, Speed Saunders.  Kendra committed suicide, which allowed Shiera Hall's soul to enter her body while still believing herself to be Kendra.  She debuted as Hawkgirl using the original Hawkgirl's equipment, which led to her meeting and joining the Justice Society of America.

In the current New 52 continuity, Hawkgirl is Kendra Munoz-Saunders, a professional treasure hunter on the alternate world known as Earth 2 that was hired by the World Army before an event in an Egyptian tomb grafted wings onto Kendra's back.

Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter has word that English actor Arthur Darvill has been cast as DC Comics' time master Rip Hunter, also known as The Traveler in the upcoming series.  Darvill, of course, is best known as companion Rory Williams on the BBC series Doctor Who, and as Revered Paul Coates on Broadchurch.

Rip is described as "a roguish time traveler who hides the strains of being responsible for history itself behind a facade of charm and wit."

Created in 1959 by Jack Miller and Ruben Moreira, Rip Hunter first appeared in Showcase #20 as an ordinary man who uses his invention, the Time Sphere, to travel through time in various adventures with his friend Jeff Smith, girlfriend Bonnie Baxter, and Bonnie's kid brother Corky.

In 2004, Rip was reinvented by Geoff Johns as a time traveler that assists the Justice Society in a battle with time-travelling supervillain Per Degaton.  The name "Rip Hunter" was revealed to be a mysterious alias, designed to hide the details of his history so that his enemies couldn't travel back in time and kill him as a helpless child.

Years later, Rip was revealed to be the future son of time-traveling superhero Booster Gold, and assisted his father in various exploits.  To protect himself and his own history, Rip forces Booster to turn down membership in the recently reformed Justice League and to continue to act like a self-absorbed gloryhound in order to make sure that his father's legacy is one of failure and is ultimately forgotten by history  This is done to ensure rogue time travelers cannot kill Booster in the past, erasing Rip in the process and the various works he and Booster will engage in to protect the timestream.

In the current New 52 continuity, Rip attempted to prevent his father from warning himself that the romance between Wonder Woman and Superman will erase the past of his future from existence.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

NEXT STOP EVERYWHERE 020: "Doctor Who: The Movie" is Up!

"These shoes!  They fit perfectly!  Yesssss..."

You've waited quite a while for this, but my good friend and co-host Jesse Jackson and I are FINALLY back with another episode of Next Stop Everywhere: The Doctor Who Podcast!  And this time, we reverse the polarity back to the 1996 Paul McGann classic, "Doctor Who: The Movie"!

Exploring this Fox TV movie pilot that bridged the gap between the classic 1963-89 series and the modern 2005-present series, Jesse and I discuss things like Jesse appreciating the TV Movie far more the second time around, Fox's decision not to turn the pilot into a full series, Doctor Who as a BBC embarrassment, Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, the mini-episode "The Night of the Doctor," the gothic steampunk console room, the return of Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor, the TV Movie as canon, remembering the excitement of the TV Movie, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, my personal experience of almost dying before the TV Movie aired, Eric Roberts as The Fourth Master, Daleks with helium voices, post-regenerative amnesia, Giacomo Puccini's "Un Bel Di Vedremo" from the opera Madame Butterfly, the positively blasphemous act of the Doctor kissing his companion, Jesse's Reversing of Reverse the Polarity segment, and more!

And for those who still aren't aware of this yet, we're available on iTunes RIGHT HERE as well as Stitcher RIGHT HERE, so please subscribe and tell your friends about us. If you're looking for direct MP3 downloads, you can find them RIGHT HERE as well. Oh, and don't forget we have an officially official Next Stop Everywhere Facebook page and Twitter account, so be sure to Like and/or Follow us, okay?

Be sure to come on back for our review of the Christopher Eccleston classic, "Rose," and look for more of Next Stop Everywhere on iTunes, Libsyn, Stitcher and the Southgate Media Group website!

THE FANDOM ZONE Episode 001: "Out of Time" Is Up!

"You're smart, Cisco, but you're not that smart.  Do you know how hard it has been to keep all of this from you, especially from you?  Because the truth is, I've grown quite fond of you. And in many ways, you have shown me what it's like to have a son.  Forgive me, but to me, you've been dead for centuries."
-- Dr. Harrison Wells to Cisco Ramon, The Flash: "Out of Time"

You've waited quite a while for this, but the wonderful Karen Lindsay and I are finally back with our first full-fledged episode of The Fandom Zone Podcast!

This week's reviews of comics on television include:

The Walking Dead 5x14 -- "Spend"
The Flash 1x15 -- "Out of Time"
iZombie 1x01 -- "Pilot"
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2x13 -- "One of Us"
Powers 1x04 -- "Devil in a Garbage Bag"
Arrow 3x16 -- "The Offer"

We talk about things like any character dying at any minute, what happens when you shoot a grenade, revolving doors, abandoned wheelchairs, all kinds of wacky fun with the Reverse-Flash, animated Michael Allred opening credits, Buffy the Vampire Slayer updated for the 21st Century, the movie Warm Bodies, the return of Twin Peaks' Dale Cooper and Adriana from The Sopranos, letting Admiral Adama being Admiral Adama, lame Marvel supervillains, completely missing the mark on comic book adaptations, Michelle Forbes as Retro Girl, Karen drooling over Stephen Amell, the Lazarus Pit, Oliver and Laurel being total cowards where Quentin is concerned, Ra's al Ghul's weird masterplan, Starling City's police headquarters being attacked yet again, some comics on TV spoilers, and more!

You can check out the episode HERE and for those of you who use iTunes, we're already available HERE, so please subscribe and rate us! If direct download MP3s are more your thing, you can find those HERE as well. In addition, we have our Fandom Zone show page on Facebook, which you can check out HERE. And we're also on Twitter using the account @FandomZoneCast.

Come back next week for more on The Walking Dead, The Flash, iZombie, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Powers and Arrow, right here on The Fandom Zone Podcast!

SPECTRE Teaser Trailer Debuts

The teaser trailer for the 24th official James Bond film Spectre was released yesterday, giving Bond fans their first major look at the upcoming film.

The one minute, forty second teaser trailer opens with an exterior shot of MI6 headquarters, still damaged from an explosion in the previous film, Skyfall.  M's assistant, Eve Moneypenny (Naomie Harris), goes to visit Bond (Daniel Craig) in his apartment flat with something rather intriguing.

"Forensics finally released this," Moneypenny begins, handing over a small wooden case. Bond asks what's in the case, which Moneypenny replies, "Personal effects they recovered from Skyfall."

Still in the process of moving in, Bond sits down on his couch and opens the case, removing an old Order of Temporary Guardianship along with a scorched photo of young Bond with his deceased parents.  "You've got a secret," says Moneypenny in a voiceover.  "Something you can't tell anyone...because you don't trust anyone."

From there, we're off to the Austian Alps, where Bond tracks down Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), last seen in the film Quantum of Solace and now a fugitive from MI6.  "I always knew death would wear a familar face," says White in a voiceover, "but not yours."  

We then see Bond attending a funeral service, apparently for the husband of Monica Bellucci's character, Lucia Sciarra, who was an assassin that Bond killed.

"I was at a meeting recently and your name came up," remarks Bond in a voiceover.  "I'm flattered London is still talking about me," replies White.

"It wasn't MI6."  Bond sets a ring down on the chessboard next to White, bearing the familiar octopus symbol of the sinister organization SPECTRE.  

White picks up the ring, looks at it, then tells Bond, "You're a kite dancing in a hurricane, Mr. Bond."

Finally, we see Bond attending a very important gathering, presumably members of SPECTRE, with Christoph Waltz's character Franz Oberhauser seated down below. "Welcome, James," begins Oberhauser in a voiceover.  "It's been a long time...and finally, here we are..."

Spectre arrives in US theaters on November 6, 2015.  In the meantime, you can watch the teaser trailer below about twenty times thank to Sony Pictures' official YouTube account...

Friday, March 27, 2015


It's official, you need to be afraid of zombies.

The Hollywood Reporter has word that AMC's upcoming spinoff series to the hit zombie apocalypse survival series The Walking Dead has been officially confirmed as Fear the Walking Dead.

Comic book co-creator and series executive producer Robert Kirkman announced the news today on his Twitter account with the following post...

According to the article, Fear the Walking Dead is "a prequel that takes place in Los Angeles at the onset of the zombie outbreak.  AMC confirmed that the companion series is set in Los Angeles but revealed nothing more beyond that it will focus on new characters and storylines."

The cast includes Cliff Curtis (Gang Related) as Sean Cabrera, a teacher who shares a son with his ex-wife.  House of Cards' Kim Dickens is Nancy Tomkins, a guidance counselor who works at the school with Sean and is seeing him romantically.  Frank Dillane (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) is Nancy's son Nick Tomkins, who has battled a drug problem.  In addition, Alycia Debnam Carey (Into the Woods) will play Nancy's ambitious daughter, Ashley Tomkins, who dreams of leaving Los Angeles for Berkeley when the zombie apocalypse hits.

On March 9th, AMC announced the series pickup and second season renewal for the then-untitled series.  Kirkman, who co-wrote the pilot with Dave Erickson (Sons of Anarchy), will executive produce Fear the Walking Dead with Erickson, The Walking Dead's Gale Anne Hurd, Greg Nicotero and Dave Alpert.  Erickson will serve as showrunner, and Adam Davidson will direct the pilot episode.

A trailer for Fear the Walking Dead is expected during this Sunday's Season 5 finale of The Walking Dead, with the new series premiering on AMC sometime in late summer.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

DOCTOR WHO: 10 Years of the Modern Era

"Do you wanna come with me?  'Cause if you do, then I should warn you.  You're gonna see all sorts of things -- ghosts from the past, aliens from the future, the day the Earth died in a ball of flame.  It won't be quiet, it won't be safe, and it won't be calm...but I'll tell you what it will be -- the trip of a lifetime!"
-- The Ninth Doctor, Doctor Who 2005 Trailer

Things were pretty dire for Doctor Who fans back in early 2003.  It had been seven long years since the 1996 TV Movie introducing Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor and fans had pretty much accepted that the Eighth Doctor audio adventures from Big Finish Productions were the "official" continuation of their beloved series.  The celebration of the show's 40th anniversary consisted mainly of the disappointing Big Finish audio drama Zagreus, and Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka, a Flash-animated webseries featuring Richard E. Grant (who later appeared on the TV series as The Great Intelligence) as a new Ninth Doctor, Sophie Okonedo (who later appeared as Liz Ten) as his new companion Alison Cheney, and Sir Derek Jacobi (who later appeared as the Fifth Master) as an android replica of The Master reprogrammed by the Doctor.

And then on September 26, 2003, Doctor Who fandom regenerated itself once again with the announcement that Doctor Who would finally return as a full-fledged BBC television series in 2005.  We later learned that Christopher Eccleston would be the Ninth Doctor (effectively negating Scream of the Shalka from Doctor Who canon), and pop star Billie Piper would be his new companion Rose Tyler.  Best of all, we learned that the new series would be a continuation of the original series, not a silly reboot that no one who truly loved the show wanted to see.

After some teaser trailers that made fans even more excited, the first episode of the modern era, "Rose," debuted on March 26, 2005.  The Russell T. Davies story was essentially a reworking of Jon Pertwee's first story, "Spearhead from Space," featuring the return of the Autons after 34 years.  "Rose" was a pretty simplistic story, designed to introduce the mysterious new Doctor, the ordinary London girl Rose, Rose's clueless boyfriend Mickey Smith, and her exasperating mother Jackie Tyler.  The production values and special effects surpassed anything fans of the original series could ever dream of, putting to shame the old wobbly sets and costumes made out of tin foil or bubble wrap.  No, "Rose" wasn't a perfect episode, but it was certainly enjoyable enough, especially for long-suffering fans that were just glad to have new Doctor Who after all that time.

However, just as the new series began its run of ten years and counting, fans were stunned by the news that Christopher Eccleston was leaving the show at the end of Series One.  The reasons behind the decision remain a mystery to this day, with rumors speculating of possible friction between Eccleston and the producers, or Eccleston's abrupt desire to not be typecast in such a high-profile role.  Whatever the real reason, fans were extremely disappointed but continued to watch as the mysterious Time War was introduced, the Daleks returned, and David Tennant became the Tenth Doctor at the end of the tearful "The Parting of the Ways."

Tennant, a longtime fan of the classic series, quickly proved to be a welcome replacement to Eccleston in Doctor Who's very first Christmas special, "The Christmas Invasion."  As fans adjusted to the new new Doctor in Series Two, they were treated to the return of beloved companion Sarah Jane Smith, as well as the return of the Cybermen and a long-awaited battle between the Cybermen and the Daleks.

Series Three introduced Freema Agyeman as new companion Martha Jones, Catherine Tate as Donna Noble (Martha's eventual successor in the TARDIS), and John Simm as the Sixth Master (regenerating from Jacobi).  Series Four brought Donna into the forefront, reintroduced the Sontarans, introduced us to Tennant's future real-life wife (and daughter of Peter Davison) Georgia Moffet as Jenny, the Doctor's future wife River Song, and teamed several past and present companions in an epic battle against the Daleks and their returning creator, Davros.

David Tennant's final year as the Tenth Doctor in 2009 consisted of five specials scattered throughout the year instead of an actual season.  Each special paired the Doctor with a one-off companion, ranging from the Victorian era character Jackson Lake to Donna's grandfather Wilfred "Wilf" Mott in Tennant's final story, "The End of Time."  New Year's Day in 2010 was heartbreaking for Tennant's fans, but exciting as Matt Smith, the Eleventh Doctor, arrived with a thunderous "Geronimo!"

2010 was an important year for Doctor Who, as Davies stepped down to make way for new showrunner Steven Moffat, whose episodes for Davies were generally regarded to be some of the new series' best.  Series Five hit the ground running with Smith's first episode "The Eleventh Hour," which introduced us to Karen Gillan as new Scottish companion Amy Pond and her eventual husband Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill).  In addition to the return of Moffat's creation the Weeping Angels, fans were treated to the return of the Silurians and the mind-boggling alliance of many of the Doctor's enemies.

Series Six featured a season-long mystery of the Doctor's "death," the revelation of River Song's true identity, the introduction of the creepy Silence and Madame Kovarian, the TARDIS given human form in a wonderful episode by Neil Gaiman, and the first appearance of the Paternoster Gang of Madame Vastra, her wife Jenny Flint and the Sontaran Strax. Series Seven, meanwhile, suffered from a number of hiatuses spread across 2012 and 2013, but saw the departure of Amy and Rory, the arrival of Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald, the introduction of the Brigadier's daughter, Kate Stewart, and the return of both the Great Intelligence and the Ice Warriors after far too long.

Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary in 2013 was far superior to its fortieth, with the shocking return of Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor in the mini-episode "The Night of the Doctor" that finally gave the Eighth Doctor a regeneration sequence.  On November 23, 2013, the anniversary special "The Day of the Doctor" paired the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors with a mysterious secret incarnation called the War Doctor (Sir John Hurt) that played such an important role in the Time War.  The War Doctor's creation seemed to be a result of Christopher Eccleston's decision not to reprise the Ninth Doctor for the special, a decision that only added to some fans' resentment held for the actor since 2005.  The special also featured the long-awaited return of the Zygons and most importantly, Tom Baker, in his first appearance on Doctor Who since his final Fourth Doctor story "Logopolis" in 1981.

Matt Smith's final story, "The Time of the Doctor," followed a month later as a Christmas special, wrapping up a number of dangling plotlines since Series Five and giving the Doctor a brand-new life cycle of twelve regenerations so fans didn't have to fear the previous limit of thirteen lives.  After saying a tearful goodbye to a hallucination of Amy Pond, the Eleventh Doctor abruptly regenerated into the Twelfth, now played by Peter Capaldi.

The show returned for Series Eight in the fall 2014, following another long hiatus and with only twelve episodes instead of the traditional thirteen.  Capaldi's first series as the new Scottish-accented Doctor proved somewhat rocky, with his somewhat brusque demeanor coming off a bit too harsh for some fans.  Others, however, rejoiced in having an older Doctor that wasn't always likable once again, proving that you just can't please everyone. Series Eight featured Clara as a teacher at Coal Hill School (taking the show back to its 1963 roots), the introduction of Clara's boyfriend Danny Pink, the return of Moffat's Clockwork Droids from Series Two, and a surprising alliance of the Cybermen with the first female Master, played by Michelle Gomez.

So where now?  Doctor Who is expected to come back for Series Nine later this fall, with Missy/The Mistress/The Seventh Master starting the season off in the opening two-partner. Beyond that, we don't really know, which is always a good thing.  Here's hoping the next ten years are just as wonderful and wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey...

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE Casts Lana Condor as Jubilee

Time for a Jubilation?

X-Men: Apocalypse director Bryan Singer has revealed on his official Instagram account that actress Lana Condor has been cast as Jubilation Lee, better known to X-Men fans as the superhero Jubilee.  Here's the official post...

A photo posted by Bryan Singer (@bryanjaysinger) on

Created in 1989 by Chris Claremont and Marc Silvestri, Jubilee first appeared in Uncanny X-Men (vol.1) #244 as Jubilation Lee, a Chinese-American girl from Beverly Hills, California. As a promising young gymnast, Jubilee's life was shattered when her parents were murdered by hitmen and she lived by hiding in the Hollywood Mall and stealing food to survive. Jubilee first discovered her mutant powers to generate blinding and explosive fireworks while running away from mall security, until they eventually hired the M-Squad, a group of professional mutant hunters.  After being rescued by the X-Men, Jubilee followed them back through a portal to their temporary base in the Australian outback and soon joined the group.

She later became a founding member of the team known as Generation X  but later lost her mutant powers as a result of the event M-Day.  She then gained the powers of a vampire from her transformation by the bite of Xarus, son of Dracula.  Her powers include superhuman strength and speed, and the ability to turn into vapor.  It is possible that she can heal much faster than a human.

Condor will be the fourth actress to portray the character in live-action, after Heather McComb in the 1996 TV movie Generation X, and cameo appearances by Katrina Florece in Singer's first X-Men film and Kea Wong in X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand.  The character has appeared in various animated projects, including the 1992 X-Men animated series (voiced by Alyson Court), and X-Men: Evolution (voiced by Chiara Zanni).

X-Men: Apocalypse is scheduled to arrive in theaters on May 27, 2016.

Legendary Adapting Dystopian Comic LAZARUS for TV Series

Family above all.

The Hollywood Reporter revealed yesterday that Legendary Television and producer Matt Tolmach have acquired the rights to adapt Greg Rucka and Michael Lark's dystopian comic book Lazarus into a television series.

First released in October 2013 by Image Comics, Lazarus focuses on a futuristic society where 16 wealthy Families have divided the planet into territories that are under their direct control as a new form of feudalism.  Those who provide services for the Families are referred to as Serfs, having been "elevated to Service," while everyone else is Waste, uncared for by those in power, whose only hope for a better future is to be "elevated."  

Each Family has a Lazarus, a genetically engineered, unkillable being, who protects the Family.  Forever Carlyle is a Lazarus, and serves as the central protagonist in the series, using force and deception to keep her Family and their interests safe.  However, as the series progresses, Forever begins to question her role as she becomes aware of schemes and personal agendas around her.

According to the article, Rucka will write the series pilot episode, and will executive produce the series with Lark and Tolmach.  David Manpearl of Matt Tolmach Productions will work alongside Tolmach, known for producing The Amazing Spider-Man franchise at Sony, on the project.

Legendary Television currently has two series in preproduction -- Colony, a co-production with Universal Cable Productions, which USA picked up to series, and the two-season order for the Netflix original series, Love.  They are also developing Carnival Row, a project from Guillermo del Toro and Rene Echevarria for Amazon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

THE X-FILES Officially Reopened for Six-Episode Series on Fox

The truth is officially out there once again.

The Hollywood Reporter has word that Fox has announced the television classic The X-Files will return for a six-episode revival.  David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson will reprise their original roles as Fox Mulder and Dr. Dana Scully, with production beginning this summer for a later premiere date.

The series, which ran for nine seasons from 1993 to 2002, had two feature films (The X-Files: Fight the Future and The X-Files: I Want to Believe) and a shortly-lived spinoff series, The Lone Gunmen.  Currently, there is an official continuation in The X-Files: Season 10 comic book series from IDW Publishing.

"I think of it as a 13-year commercial break," said X-Files creator and executive producer Chris Carter, who will also returning.  "The good news is the world has only gotten that much stranger, a perfect time to tell these six stories."

"We had the privilege of working with Chris on all nine seasons of The X-Files – one of the most rewarding creative experiences of our careers – and we couldn't be more excited to explore that incredible world with him again," Fox Television Group chairmen and CEOs Gary Newman and Dana Walden said in a statement.  "The X-Files was not only a seminal show for both the studio and the network, it was a worldwide phenomenon that shaped pop culture – yet remained a true gem for the legions of fans who embraced it from the beginning.  Few shows on television have drawn such dedicated fans as The X-Files, and we're ecstatic to give them the next thrilling chapter of Mulder and Scully they've been waiting for."

Duchovny and Anderson expressed being open for a third X-Files film in 2013, but formal talks didn't begin until this past January.  Duchovny later commented on the possibility, telling USA Today he expected X-Files would return and that he was "more than happy and excited to bring it back and do it again with Gillian and Chris. ... It will be in some kind of limited form.  We're all old, we don't have the energy for a full season," he remarked with a laugh.

Monday, March 23, 2015

GAME OF THRONES Creators Confirm TV Show to Spoil Unpublished Novels

It's not much of a secret that George R.R. Martin, creator and writer of the epic fantasy novel series "A Song of Ice and Fire," has been a bit of a procrastinator when it comes to finishing his seven-book saga.  The fifth book, A Dance with Dragons, was released in 2011 and the sixth, The Winds of Winter, was recently confirmed by Martin's publisher as not seeing print until 2016 at the earliest.

So, it's not much of a surprise that Variety provided confirmation that the HBO television adaptation, Game of Thrones, will start spoiling Martin's last two unpublished books starting with Season 6.

Show creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss spoke at the Oxford Union over the weekend and addressed the issue of Game of Thrones reaching the finish line first.  "Luckily," remarked Benioff, "we’ve been talking about this with George for a long time, ever since we saw this could happen, and we know where things are heading.  And so we’ll eventually, basically, meet up at pretty much the same place where George is going.  There might be a few deviations along the route, but we’re heading towards the same destination.  I kind of wish that there were some things we didn’t have to spoil, but we’re kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place.  The show must go on...and that’s what we’re going to do."

The article does mention that Martin has cancelled appearances at several conventions, which often contributed to his procrastination, so that he can finish The Winds of Winter, possibly as early as this summer.  However, as his fans know all too well by now, it won't happen 'til it happens.

And even if Martin does manage to get The Winds of Winter out before Season 6 begins airing on HBO, the odds of seeing the final book, A Dream of Spring, before the final Game of Thrones episode airs are about the same as being struck by lightning.  Twice.  

As for what this might do to sales of the final book whenever it does get released, Benioff was pretty optimistic, saying "I think the thing that’s kind of fun for George is the idea that he can still have surprises for people even once they’ve watched the show through to the conclusion.  There are certain things that are going to happen in the books that are different in the show, and I think people who love the show and want more—want to know more about the characters, want to know more about the different characters who might not have made the cut for the show—will be able to turn to the books."

Friday, March 20, 2015

Charles & Karen Explore Comics on TV with THE FANDOM ZONE PODCAST

Did you miss us?

I'm very proud to announce that my friend and co-host Karen Lindsay and I have just launched our brand-new podcast, The Fandom Zone Podcast, as part of the Southgate Media Group.  Our first introductory recording, "Episode 0 -- Zero Hour," was posted late last night and you can listen to it HERE. And for those of you who use iTunes, we're already available HERE.

In addition, we've set up a Fandom Zone show page on Facebook, which you can check out HERE. And we're also on Twitter using the account @FandomZoneCast.  Be sure to share these with all of your friends, archenemies, sidekicks, love interests, zombie attackers, alien invaders, otherdimensional beings, whomever, and help build our new podcast into something special.

Karen and I became acquainted with one another through our mutual friend Jesse Jackson, my co-host on Next Stop Everywhere: The Doctor Who Podcast. After Karen was kind enough to fill in for Jesse on an episode of NSE, I realized how much fun I had talking with her and wanted to partner with her on something else.  As huge fans of the DC Comics/VERTIGO series Hellblazer, we created Dangerous Habits: The Constantine Podcast and recorded thirteen episodes until the NBC series Constantine ended.  We had so much fun recording together, so we decided to expand the scope to cover ALL comic book shows on television, as well as any comic-related stuff we find interesting.  And lo, The Fandom Zone Podcast was born...

This first podcast covers our plans for the show and teasing our first episode, which covers this week's episodes of The Walking Dead, The Flash, iZombie, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Powers and Arrow.  We'll share our thoughts every week as well as any news on comic books, comic book movies and pretty much any geeky thing that's cool.

Oh, and our deepest thanks to Rob Southgate at Southgate Media Group for letting this happen and for all his help in getting us up and running.  Be sure to check out Southgate's website at the link above for my other podcast Next Stop Everywhere and more great podcasts, okay?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

NEXT STOP EVERYWHERE 019: "Remembrance of the Daleks" is Up!

"The Daleks shall become lords of time!  We shall become all --"
"Powerful!  Crush the lesser races!  Conquer the galaxy!  Unimaginable power!  Unlimited rice pudding!  Et cetera, et cetera...!"

We're not quite on track, but my good friend and co-host Jesse Jackson and I are FINALLY back with another episode of Next Stop Everywhere: The Doctor Who Podcast!  And this time, we reverse the polarity back to the 1988 Sylvester McCoy classic, "Remembrance of the Daleks"!

Exploring this story from Season 25 of the original series of Doctor Who, Jesse and I discuss things like the unofficially official 25th anniversary story, the debut of the Seventh Doctor as the chess-playing manipulator, Doctor Who's downward slide to cancellation, Jesse's distaste for the Sylvester McCoy era, my defense of the Sylvester McCoy era, the awesomeness of Ace, finally putting the "Daleks can't go up stairs" joke to rest once and for all, the prototype UNIT, the Kennedy assassination, the return to Coal Hill School and nods to "An Unearthly Child," the missing TARDIS interior, foreshadowing the Twelfth Doctor episode "The Caretaker," the Doctor Who villain Omega, restoring the mystery of the Doctor's background, the meta of watching Doctor Who premiere on Doctor Who, the badass Special Weapons Dalek, the return of Davros, Skaro being destroyed and returning somehow, Jesse's Reversing of Reverse the Polarity segment, remembering the late Leonard Nimoy, and more!

And for those who still aren't aware of this yet, we're available on iTunes RIGHT HERE as well as Stitcher RIGHT HERE, so please subscribe and tell your friends about us. If you're looking for direct MP3 downloads, you can find them RIGHT HERE as well. Oh, and don't forget we have an officially official Next Stop Everywhere Facebook page and Twitter account, so be sure to Like and/or Follow us, okay?

Be sure to come on back for our review of the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie starring Paul McGann, and look for more of Next Stop Everywhere on iTunes, Libsyn, Stitcher and the Southgate Media Group website!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

DAMN Good Television -- THE FLASH: "Out of Time"

In the immortal words of Barry Allen (and Dr. Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap)..."Oh, boy."

Admit it, you watched last night's episode of The Flash and for a good while there, you thought it was another solid but not overly important outing for the CW series.  And then the last ten minutes happened.

In "Out of Time," written by Todd and Aaron Helbing and directed by Thor Freudenthal, we're finally introduced to Mark Mardon (guest star Liam McIntyre), the Weather Wizard and brother of Clyde Mardon, previously killed off in the series' pilot episode.  As you might expect, Mark isn't overly happy that his bro is pushing up the daisies and joining the bleedin' choir invisible, so he returns to Central City to get all revengey on Clyde's killer, CCPD Detective Joe West.

Our hero Barry Allen, meanwhile, is busy taking his girlfriend Linda Park to a bowling alley, where he just happens to run into the love of his life, Iris West, and her boyfriend Eddie Thawne.  Neither Linda nor Eddie are thrilled by Iris' suggestion that the two couples bowl together, especially when Iris starts wiping food schmutz from the corner of Barry's mouth and carrying on as if they are a couple.  Yeah, slightly awkward.

With the prerequisite CW Romance Angst addressed for the week, we then return to the Wiz, who has a much better handle on his powers than Clyde ever did.  He attempts to kill Joe with a lightning strike while he and Barry are driving around, but Barry is fast enough to rush Joe to safety just before the car goes all asplodey.  Joe gets benched by Captain Singh until Mardon is caught, but no worries, the S.T.A.R. Labs team is on it.

Cisco Ramon whips up a Wizard Wand device that looks rather suspiciously like an oversized Sonic Screwdriver from Doctor Who to short-circuit the Weather Wizard's control, which comes in handy when Mardon attacks CCPD headquarters (because hey, just about every supervillain in this series seems to as well).  The supercops who failed to notice Mardon riding up with them in the elevator easily get taken out by a gust of wind, leaving Mardon to attack Joe with another lightning strike.  Captain Singh jumps in front of the bolt to protect Joe, landing him in the hospital and introducing his gay fiancé to Joe and Barry in the process.

Meanwhile, Cisco is becoming increasingly suspicious about Dr. Harrison Wells' shady behavior, so he asks Caitlin Snow to keep Wells distracted at the local CC Jitters coffee shop while he runs some tests to find out what really happened to the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator.  And there's no possible way that could go wrong, right?

Joe and his partner Eddie go looking for Mardon and since the Flash is nowhere to be found, the search ends with Joe handcuffed to a pier and having a seriously broken leg. Instead of simply killing Joe right there, the Weather Wizard calls Iris to let her know he has her dad, although we're not really sure why unless Mardon wants to capture and torture her as well.

Caitlin proves to be absolutely horrible at subterfuge, so Wells finally says screw it and leaves his wheelchair behind at the coffee shop while he races back to S.T.A.R. Labs.  At this point, the episode steps its game up by showing that Wells' pretense is officially over at last.  Wells catches Cisco replaying the recording of the Reverse Flash from "The Man in the Yellow Suit" and confesses that yes, he's actually Eobard Thawne from the future and Eddie is his 21st century ancestor.  

It seems Eobard's been stuck in the past since killing Barry's mother Nora fifteen years ago and that Barry's super-speed is the key to getting him back to his own time.  And as Cisco looks on with sheer terror (rather convincingly acted by Carlos Valdes), Eobard vibrates his hand into Cisco's chest and kills him.  Well...for now, anyway.

Great ending, right?  Guess again, because just when you think you can't handle any more, Mardon creates a tsunami to level Central City, just as Barry and Iris finally have their first kiss.  This forces Barry to quick-change to the Flash right in front of Iris, officially revealing his identity and his powers to her.  And as Iris stands there going "Wait...what?", the Flash races off to counter the tsunami with one of his own, moving faster and faster.  So fast, in fact, that he ends up breaking the time barrier and travels back to see himself running earlier in the episode.

So.  Much.  Flash goodness.  The wait over the next six days is going to be ridiculously slow and agonizing.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

THE FLASH Teases Wally West for Season 2, Eddie Thawne Spoilers

Wally West fans, get ready to rejoice or be disappointed all over again.

The Hollywood Reporter shared some interesting news from yesterday's panel for The CW series The Flash, held at PaleyFest and moderated by Archer's Aisha Tyler.

According to the article, executive producer Greg Berlanti stated that they hope to introduce other speedsters from the DC Universe into the series, including Wally West (the first Kid Flash and the third hero to become The Flash) or possibly Bart Allen (Barry Allen's grandson from the future who becomes Impulse, then the second Kid Flash).

"That's our hope," said Berlanti.  "We've already been picked up for a second year.  If we were going to do something like that, we'd do it next year."

A sizzle reel opened the panel, featuring Mark Hamill reprising his role as the original Trickster, Gorilla Grodd, and Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) as the Reverse-Flash.

Some spoilers for Rick Cosnett's character Eddie Thawne were revealed as well, with footage of Eddie becoming more villainous.  The article mentions that in the shown footage, "(Eddie) punches Barry out of jealousy, because Barry has expressed his feelings for Iris (Candice Patton) once again.  He also fires a gun at two police officers, suggesting he's gone over the edge."

And for those who have been wondering, the mystery of Joe West's wife and Iris' mother will finally be addressed soon.  The unseen and unnamed character will be brought up in a future scene, with more exploration of the character in Season 2.

Also, the issue of S.T.A.R. Labs functioning as a supervillain prison without due process will be addressed, with executive producer Andrew Kreisberg remarking that an upcoming scene explains "how they are tended to."  Added Berlanti, "We deal with the implications of them being judge and jury by the end of the year."

The Flash returns to The CW this Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST.

*** UPDATED 3/17/15 ***

And here's the sizzle reel from PaleyFest, thanks to Warner Bros. TV's official YouTube account...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

First STAR WARS Spinoff Film Revealed as ROGUE ONE

You are about to take your first step into a much larger world.

StarWars.com has revealed that the first of several upcoming Star Wars spinoff films from Disney and Lucasfilm will be titled Rogue One.  The film, which will start shooting in London this summer, will star Felicity Jones as an unnamed character, and will be written and directed by Chris Weitz and Gareth Edwards, respectively.

Although no plot details were provided, the title Rogue One hints at a possible movie featuring Rogue Squadron, with Jones potentially as the daughter of original trilogy character Wedge Antilles, played by Denis Lawson.

Also, Rian Johnson was officially confirmed as the writer and director of Star Wars Episode VIII for 2017, the fortieth anniversary of Star Wars.

Oh, look.  Here's the official press release...



“Always in motion is the future,” Yoda said. The future of the Star Wars cinematic galaxy, however, is taking shape.

This morning at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, across the street from Lucasfilm, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger hosted a shareholder meeting where he announced news regarding the first Star Wars stand-alone movie as well as Star Wars: Episode VIII.

Rogue One is the title for the first film in a unique series of big-screen adventures that explores the characters and events beyond the core Star Wars saga. Rogue One will be directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla) and written by Oscar nominee Chris Weitz (Cinderella, About a Boy, Antz). The first actress cast is Felicity Jones, who garnered an Academy Award nomination and critical acclaim for her performance in The Theory of Everything. The idea for the story of Rogue One came from John Knoll, an Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor and chief creative officer at Industrial Light & Magic. He will executive produce along with Simon Emanuel (The Dark Knight Rises, Fast & Furious 6) and Jason McGatlin (Tintin, War of the Worlds). Kathleen Kennedy and Tony To (Band of Brothers, The Pacific) are on board to produce and John Swartz (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) will co-produce. The film starts shooting this summer in London and is due for release on December 16, 2016.

In addition, Iger confirmed that Rian Johnson will write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII. The film, which continues the saga after the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is set for release on May 26, 2017 — forty years and a day after the release of Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977. Johnson is widely considered one of cinema’s most gifted young filmmakers, having directed the modern sci-fi classic, Looper, as well as Brick and The Brothers Bloom. He was also behind the camera for three episodes of the critically-acclaimed TV series Breaking Bad, including “Ozymandias,” which series creator Vince Gilligan named as the best installment of the show. Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman, producer of Looper, Don Jon, Brick, and The Brothers Bloom, are on board to produce.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

DAMN Good Television -- POWERS: "Pilot"

Back in the dark days of 2011, fans of the Powers comic book series by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming were cautiously optimistic about a television series adaptation for FX starring Jason Patric, Lucy Punch and Charles S. Dutton.  However, the filmed pilot apparently didn't impress the suits at FX, with reshoots and recasting being discussed by the network.

Well, those plans must have quickly spiraled downward because not three years later, Sony announced that Powers would be the first original series on the PlayStation Network, streaming through consoles and episodes purchased on PlayStation.com.  The second attempt features Sharlto Copley as Christian Walker, Susan Heyward as Deena Pilgrim, Michelle Forbes as Retro Girl, Eddie Izzard as "Big Bad" Wolfe, Noah Taylor as Johnny Royale, Olesya Rulin as Calista and Logan Browning as Zora.

Sounds pretty decent, doesn't it?  And the premise of a cop procedural set in the world of superheroes has done well for the Fox series Gotham, which has already been renewed for a second season.  So, considering all of this, I really have to wonder why this series seems pretty much doomed to failure.

This first episode, written by Charlie Huston and directed by David Slade, tanks as an adaptation of the source material from the start, showing Walker, the former superhero known as Diamond until he was depowered, operating in bright, sunny Los Angeles instead of a dark, atmospheric city like Chicago or New York.  And with the seriously disappointing production values that make superhero fan films on YouTube look like HBO's Game of Thrones by comparison, this series looks and feels just like a typical USA network show that just happens to have some superpowered characters in it.

With a much thinner, less imposing body frame than his comics counterpart, Copley's Walker hides behind a pair of sunglasses and a beard while moping a number of times about his lost powers. We want to slowly discover what makes him tick, but instead get clumsy chunks of exposition thrown at us in the form of things like an Extra segment hosted by Mario Lopez.

As for Susan Heyward's Deena Pilgrim, she gets partnered with Walker about a third into the episode and fans of the comic series are in for another letdown.  Anyone looking for their favorite sassy and snarky spitfire is going to find a much more subdued, dialed back version that barely resembles the character.  Oh, there are moments when Walker and Pilgrim banter in a traditional manner, but they're far too few and fleeting.

Another significant divergence from the comic series is the initial mystery of the death of Olympia, an aging superhero, which is taken from the third story arc "Little Deaths."  It's not nearly as intriguing of a mystery as the initial "Who Killed Retro Girl?" arc, although the upside is we actually get to see Michelle Forbes as Retro Girl for a while until she presumably gets bumped off.

The second story arc, "Roleplay," is also teased somewhat with the various superhero wannabes and "powers kids" that hang out and party across L.A. just waiting to become famous.  One of the self-absorbed "powers kids" is Zora, who unfortunately becomes another misfire in this adaptation as her character is reduced from being a century-old badass superhero goddess to a vapid young adult wearing a Geordi LaForge visor and a horrible costume seemingly made out of shiny duct tape.

Sure, this is only the first episode of ten for the first season, but PlayStation's decision to make it free only works if viewers actually want to pay $1.99 for each following episode unless they already have a PlayStation Plus membership.  Something tells me that bootleg versions will be big for non-gamers, but honestly?  I recommend just reading the comics instead.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Chris Hemsworth Reprises Thor for SNL AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Sketch

What happens when the Avengers celebrate their inevitable victory over Ultron on live TV?

That was the joke premise of the Avengers: Age of Ultron movie sketch on last night's Saturday Night Live, hosted by Thor and Avengers star Chris Hemsworth.  Reprising his role of the Marvel Comics superhero Thor for the three-minute, forty-second sketch, Hemsworth was joined by SNL regulars Taran Killam (Iron Man), Beck Bennett (Captain America), Pete Davidson (Bruce Banner) and Jay Pharoah (Nick Fury).  (In an interesting aside, Killam is married to actress Cobie Smulders, who played Maria Hill in The Avengers.)

This was the second major Avengers sketch for SNL, after Jeremy Renner reprised Hawkeye back in 2012.

Opening with Cecily Strong as an Action News 7 anchorwoman named Janet reporting on the breaking news of Ultron's defeat, the sketch jumps to onsite reporter named Danny Powell (Bobby Moynihan) covering the Avengers' celebration of their victory.

Hemsworth's Thor begins high-fiving the crowd behind him, whooping with joy, until Danny asks him to speak on camera.  Thor begins singing "We Are the Champions" by Queen until Danny asks him how he's feeling.  "Man, I am on pure adrenaline right now," replies Thor, "I'm at, like, an eleven!  I'm cranked up!  Woooooo!"  Thor then spotantaneously kisses Powell hard on the forehead but quickly apologizes for it being weird.

Killam's Iron Man steps in and grabs the microphone, joking about someone having a car with its lights on and a building on top of it.  Davidson's Bruce Banner comes into view next, wondering what happened while he was The Hulk.  Thor tells Bruce "You crushed it, man," which makes Bruce suddenly recall "I think I ate a guy."  "You did!" laughs Thor.  "You ate a bunch of guys, you nut!"

Thor begins doing the Running Man dance until Pharoah's Nick Fury is brought on camera. Fury tells Danny that Ultron does not still pose a threat, until Thor and Iron Man sneak up behind Fury and dump a cooler of Gatorade on him.  Thor tells everyone that it was "Stark's idea."

Bennett's Captain America arrives to speak to the Action News 7 viewers, telling them to stay in their homes per the New York mayor's order because many buildings are unsafe and fires are not yet contained.  Thor, however, can't help but mock Captain America's serious tone from behind.

When asked by Janet about the extent of the damage and when people might return to their homes, Danny responds that he doesn't know but says that Thor told him that the victory party will be held at a Dave & Busters on 9th Street and there might be some late-night karaoke.

Thor then gives a shoutout to his brother Loki, acknowledging the two have had their differences in the past when Loki tried to take over the world, but he still loves him anyway. He then does another shoutout to his ex-girlfriend Jane Foster, telling her "How do you like me now?! Ooooo!"  Lastly, Thor tells everyone to check out his podcast on Soundcloud.  "It's sick!  Sick, sick, sick...Oh, and I'm sorry we destroyed the city.  I love my life!  Wooooo!"

If you'd like to check out the full sketch, you can view it below thanks to BroBible after the short ad...

Saturday, March 7, 2015

GOTHAM Casts Chris Chalk as Lucius Fox

The savior of Wayne Enterprises has arrived.

Deadline has word that the Fox series Gotham has cast Chris Chalk in the role of DC Comics character Lucius Fox.  Lucius will appear in the penultimate episode of the show's first season with an option to return for Season 2.

According to the article, Lucius is described as "Wayne Enterprises’ resident tech genius.  In a corporation shadowed by nefarious dealings, Fox emerges as a moral beacon for young Bruce Wayne.  His desire to help Bruce uphold Thomas Wayne’s legacy eventually will earn him a spot as one of the boy’s most important confidants."

Chalk is probably best known as Gary Cooper on the HBO series The Newsroom and as Tom Walker on the Showtime series Homeland.  He also appeared in the film 12 Years a Slave and on the television series Sons of Anarchy, Justified, Person of Interest, Nurse Jackie, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order.

Created in 1979 by Len Wein and John Calnan, Lucius Fox first appeared in Batman (vol.1) #307 as Bruce Wayne's second-in-command at Wayne Enterprises and Chief Executive Officer of the Gotham City conglomerate.  Originally brought in to help return Wayne Enterprises to its former glory, Lucius chose to stay and became the overseer of Bruce's private and business finances.

In the current New 52 continuity, Lucius has a son named Luke who became the superhero known as Batwing, using a high-tech suit designed by Lucius. Luke is a member of the crimefighting organization Batman Incorporated, which has resources and research prototypes supplied by Lucius.

Chalk will be the second actor to portray Lucius Fox in live action, after Morgan Freeman in the Christopher Nolan trilogy of films Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.  The character has also appeared in various animated projects, including Batman: The Animated Series (voiced by Brock Peters), The New Batman Adventures (voiced by Mel Winkler), The Batman (voiced by Louis Gossett, Jr.) and Batman: Gotham Knight (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson).

Gotham returns for the final four episodes of the first season on April 13, 2015.