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Ron Howard taking over as director of Star Wars Han Solo film

by on Jun.22, 2017, under Movies

Rumors hit last night hot on the heels of the ouster of co-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from the Han Solo anthology film that premiere director Ron Howard would return to the halls of Lucasfilm and take over the production. Today’s news confirms that it is true.

Ron Howard himself tweeted moments ago, “I’m beyond grateful to add my voice to the Star Wars Universe after being a fan since 5/25/77…I hope to honor the great work already done & help deliver on the promise of a Han Solo film.”

Howard has worked with Lucasfilm before – on 1988’s Willow, and has won an Oscar for A Beautiful Mind, and is well known for many other films, such as Apollo 13, The DaVinci Code and sequels, Cocoon and more.


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Han Solo anthology film directors out, months after filming began

by on Jun.20, 2017, under Movies

This is just breaking across the wires…Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who were co-directing the Star Wars anthology film based on Han Solo, have left the production over creative differences with the producers.

“Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are talented filmmakers who have assembled an incredible cast and crew, but it’s become clear that we had different creative visions on this film, and we’ve decided to part ways. A new director will be announced soon,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm in a statement.

“Unfortunately, our vision and process weren’t aligned with our partners on this project. We normally aren’t fans of the phrase ‘creative differences’ but for once this cliché is true. We are really proud of the amazing and world-class work of our cast and crew,” stated Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.

Filming began in January for a May 25, 2018 release. The release date has not been changed.


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Star Trek: Discovery premiere in September; delays due to “world building”

by on Jun.20, 2017, under Television

CBS has set the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery for September 24th, 2017 – about 9 months after originally intended. And according to showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg, the primary reason for the delays was building the world in which they explore.

In an interview with EW “There’s is so much artistry and custom craftsmanship that go into every prop, every costume, every set,” Harberts explained. “These things have to be designed and manufactured. We flew a costume designer to Switzerland to pick up the fabric for the Starfleet uniforms. Several items on our uniforms are 3D printed. Some of our sets can take over six weeks to make. CBS has given us the time and the money to make something the fans will find worthwhile.”

Added Berg: “You can’t cut corners or have 95 percent of what’s on screen be completely original and inspired and then have five percent something you bought at a store. It has to be cohesive — and it is. I’m so proud of what’s on screen, it’s so beautiful and it’s taking world-building to a whole new level.”

But this is not something unique to this show. Other shows have to build sets, make props, etc. and that should have been figured in to the production cycle from the start.

The show will premiere on CBS at 8:30pm-9:30pm ET/PT (a strange slot, but it follows a football doubleheader), followed by the first two episodes being available on the pay-streaming CBS All Access. 6 more episodes will premiere on succeeding Sundays through November 5th, after which it will have a short break and pick up again in January for 7 more episodes. The break will allow more post-production time on the later episodes.


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Stephen Furst, Babylon 5, Animal House and St. Elsewhere, passed away

by on Jun.17, 2017, under Movies, Obituaries, Television

The denizens of Babylon 5 have lost another member.

Actor Stephen Furst, who became known for the role of Flounder in the movie Animal House and then major TV roles of Dr. Elliot Axelrod on St. Elsewhere and Vir Cotto on Babylon 5 (where he also directed a few episodes), passed away yesterday morning at home surrounded by family and friends after battling diabetes for many years. He was 62.

Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski tweeted, “On behalf of everyone who worked on Babylon 5, Stephen Furst will be missed profoundly and everlastingly.”

Furst is the 6th major cast member of Babylon 5 to have “passed beyond the veil.” Richard Biggs, Andreas Katsulas, Jeff Conaway, Michael O’Hare, and most recently Jerry Doyle have all passed away.

Oh Vir, you will be missed.


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Remembering Adam West

by on Jun.12, 2017, under Obituaries, Television

I’ve been thinking about what to say all weekend, and I’m still at a loss for words, so let me start with this.

Adam West IS Batman.

The original Batman TV series was one of those shows that occupied my most early memories of entertainment, along with Star Trek and Lost In Space. It was campy, and bizarre at times. All these strange guest villains with the same incompetent henchmen, and sometimes those villains had different actors portraying them…but I didn’t care about that. Something about the show fascinated me. Probably something about all those high tech, extremely well labeled goodies in the Bat Cave and a car with a built in rocket motor.

Sure, other actors have since played Batman, with varying degrees of success…but I could never buy any of them as the “face” of Batman. I don’t know why, really. Michael Keaton always had a look of incredulity to me. Val Kilmer was too smug. George Clooney was, well…George Clooney – it’s always a version of himself. I didn’t care much for Christian Bale, and as for Ben…I like him in general (yes, I said it), but not as the face of Batman.

No one is the face of Batman other than Adam West. He looked smart, he looked wealthy, but not in a smug, I’m-better-than-you way. He was always thoughtful. And he took it all seriously despite the campyness of the show.

Unfortunately as was not uncommon at the time after playing such an internationally famous role, West had trouble landing starring roles after Batman, having been typecast. He spent several years just making personal appearances, and wherever he went he was instantly recognized as Batman. Things picked up again years later, and he made many guest appearances on shows, and then starting in 1999 he became a recurring character on Family Guy, voicing “Mayor Adam West”, a crazy caricature. He never seemed to lose his humor about it all, and continued making personal appearances on the convention circuit along side his longtime friend Burt Ward.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to catch up with him when he was most recently in this area, but he was to return for Boston Comic Con this August. A few weeks ago his schedule was updated as “postponed”…West passed away this past Friday at the age of 88 after a brief fight with leukemia. I’m sad that I’ve missed the chance to meet yet another major part of my childhood.

RIP, Batman.


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Nathan Fillion, Tony Hale and more join second season of Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events

by on Jun.12, 2017, under Television

Netflix is lining up a new set of guest stars for the upcoming season season of Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events. We don’t know yet who they are playing, but Nathan Fillion (Castle, Firefly), Tony Hale (Veep, Sara Rue (Impastor), Lucy Punch (Bad Teacher), and Roger Bart (Desperate Housewives) have all signed on.

The second series, is expected to be 10 episodes, covering books five through nine – The Austere Academy, The Ersatz Elevator, The Vile Village, The Hostile Hospital, and The Carnivorous Carnival.

The dark comedy series follows the unfortunate lives of the Beaudelaire children, Violet (Malina Weissman), Klaus (Louis Hynes) and baby Sunny (voice of Tara Strong) after their parents are killed, and their constant escapes from the evil plans of their uncle, Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris), who will stop and nothing to gain the children’s inheritance. Patrick Warburton plays the eponymous author Lemony Snicket, who narrates through the depressing tale.


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Killjoys Season 3 trailer!

by on Jun.09, 2017, under Television

Yeah, they blow stuff up…and it’s fun! Killjoys returns June 30th on Syfy!


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Netflix cancels Sense8

by on Jun.02, 2017, under Television

Less than a month after the release of the second season of Sense8, the sci-fi series from Lana and Lilly Wachowski and J. Michael Straczynski, Netflix has announced there will be no third season.

In a statement, Netflix’s Vice President of Original Content Cindy Holland said, “After 23 episodes, 16 cities and 13 countries, the story of the Sense8 cluster is coming to an end. It is everything we and the fans dreamed it would be: bold, emotional, stunning, kick ass, and outright unforgettable. Never has there been a more truly global show with an equally diverse and international cast and crew, which is only mirrored by the connected community of deeply passionate fans all around the world. We thank Lana, Lilly, Joe and Grant for their vision, and the entire cast and crew for their craftsmanship and commitment.”

Sense8 had a lofty budget and long production time, with Season 2 release almost two years after the original premiere. In fact, the options on the actors had lapsed after filming on Season 2 so while editing was being done they started to negotiate for a potential third season, with about half the leads having already climbed on board, but apparently Netflix decided against moving forward.


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Sharknado 5: Global Swarming gets title, tagline, cameo list

by on Jun.02, 2017, under Television

Pack your passport and grab a chainsaw, because Sharknado is going global! Taking the world – and unsuspecting celebrities – by storm, the movie event of the century blows into town this summer, and today, SYFY and The Asylum revealed its chilling title: Sharknado 5: Global Swarming. The latest installment in the hit pop culture franchise premieres on SYFY Sunday, August 6 at 8/7c and will air in more than 100 countries.

Sharknado 5: Global Swarming and the film’s official tagline, “Make America Bait Again!,” are the result of a fan-sourced social initiative launched this April. Calling on fans for inspiration, SYFY invited Facebook users to submit their most creative and outrageous ideas via an interactive bot.

In Sharknado 5: Global Swarming, the mission gets personal for Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering) and his bionic wife, April (Tara Reid) when their young son gets trapped in a traveling ‘nado and transported all over the world. From London to Rio, Tokyo, Rome, Amsterdam and beyond, our globetrotting heroes will seek assistance from a highly-skilled squad of royals, scholars and Olympians, enlisting famous faces from news, entertainment, and sports in their most epic battle yet.

Cameos announced today include:

  • Fabio (Model) as the Pope
  • Tony Hawk (Professional skateboarder) as a masterful weapons operative strategist
  • Clay Aiken (Musician) as Llewelyn, a cutting edge technology genius
  • Olivia Newton-John (Musician) and daughter Chloe Lattanzi as Orion and Electra, two brilliant scientists who help defend Australia from a looming Sharknado
  • Bret Michaels (Musician) as a visiting artist that gets trapped in the storm
  • Margaret Cho (Comedian) as a fussy bride whose honeymoon is interrupted by sharks
  • Charo (Musician, Comedian) as The Queen of England
  • Gilbert Gottfried (Comedian) as storm chaser Ron McDonald
  • Today hosts Al Roker, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb as themselves
  • Olympic diving medalists Greg Louganis as Zico, a high-end art thief, and Tom Daley as himself
  • Olympic freeskiing medalist Gus Kenworthy and NBC News investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen as themselves
  • Porsha Williams (The Real Housewives of Atlanta) as Andromeda, an archeologist and member of the elite “Sharknado Sisterhood”
  • Tiffany “New York” Pollard (Flavor of Love) as Vega, a Brazilian black market artifacts dealer
  • Chris Kattan (Saturday Night Live) as The Prime Minister of England
  • Cat Greenleaf (Talk Stoop) and Dan Fogler (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) as themselves
  • Ross Mullan (Game of Thrones White Walker) as Dr. Wobbegon, a scientist who has made breakthroughs in meteorological studies to track Sharknado storms

and many more…

Also reprising their roles from previous installments are Cassie Scerbo, Masiela Lusha and Cody Linley.

Sharknado 5: Global Swarming, a production of The Asylum, is directed by Anthony C. Ferrante based on an original screenplay by Scotty Mullen.


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Actor Jared Martin, Fantastic Journey and War Of The Worlds series star, 1941-2017

by on May.25, 2017, under Obituaries

We’ve just learned that actor Jared Martin, who genre TV fans would remember from the short-lived Fantastic Journey series as well as the TV series adaptation of War Of The Worlds, along with a small role in the original Westworld, passed away this past Wednesday at the age of 75 at home after suffering from pancreatic cancer.

He was probably more well known as rodeo cowboy Dusty Farlow who seduced Sue Ellen Ewing only to die in a plane crash on Dallas, although he was resurrected due to fan popularity. He was also a roommate to Brian de Palma at Columbia University, who gave Martin two of his first acting jobs, in 1968’s Murder a la Mod and 1969’s The Wedding Party.

As the lead character of Dr. Harrison Blackwood in War Of The Worlds, he was one of the few characters to survive the retooling of the series in the second season, which took the show from a contemporary setting to a more post-apocalyptic world and a “second wave” of aliens take over.


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