Breaking news – a family representative has released a statement that actor Bill Paxton passed away due to complications after surgery. He was 61.
It is with heavy hearts we share the news that Bill Paxton has passed away due to complications from surgery,” the statement said.
“A loving husband and father, Bill began his career in Hollywood working on films in the art department and went on to have an illustrious career spanning four decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker. Bill’s passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable. We ask to please respect the family’s wish for privacy as they mourn the loss of their adored husband and father.”
Bill starred in so many things where he made the role so memorable. The earliest I recall was Weird Science, where he played older brother Chet who would antagonize Wyatt to the point that he was turned into a giant talking turd by Lisa. Just a year later came the role that would make me look forward to anything else he did, as Private Hudson in Aliens, for which he won a Saturn award. While these roles seemed to point him towards playing the “lovable dumb guy”, he broke that by getting much more scientific as astronaut Fred Haise in Apollo 13 (co-winner of a Screen Actors Guild award for Outstanding Performance of a Cast), storm chaser Bill Harding in Twister, and treasure hunter/deep sea explorer Brock Lovett in Titanic. My kids even remember him from the role of “Dinky Winks” in Spy Kids 2.
More recently he had a recurring guest role on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and was currently appearing on the CBS cop show Training Day.
It’s a long weekend here, so here’s a few more tidbits:
In a conversation with Deadline, BBC America president and GM Sarah Barnett tiptoed around the discussion of who might be the new Doctor to replace Peter Capaldi, but did mention that the Doctor Who spinoff Class, which takes place at the Coal Hill School where there first moments of it’s parent program took place, will debut in the U.S. on April 15th.
On renewals/cancellations, it seems several freshman shows will not survive. Spies have been whispering to us since January that Aftermath will not see a second season and Syfy and SPACE have silently killed the show. Star James Tupper also tweeted, “So sad to report #Aftermath will not be getting a second season. #sobummed”. We were hoping for a renewal and though the ratings and the partnership between Syfy and SPACE would help. No formal pronouncement still, but sadly it seems unlikely.
Also on the bubble are the CW’s Frequency and NBC’s Timeless. Frequency did not have an option to pick up more episodes, leaving the first season at 13, and they did essentially conclude the first season storyline. However, the show is on Netflix now, where it might pick up eyes, but we’re thinking it likely will not return. The Timeless season finale airs tonight, and it’s teetering on the edge. It may depend on what NBC decides on other shows and how many slots are available.
Syfy is still looking for a formula to bring cosplay into the limelight, and it will try again with Cosplay Melee, hosted by self-described “super fangirl” Yvette Nicole Brown. Each week, four world class cosplayers compete to create not only intricate full-body costumes – but fully-formed characters that they must bring to life through their own realistic performance. Guiding and critiquing them are a panel of judges including world class cosplayer LeeAnna Vamp, and A-list costume creator, Christian Beckman (The Hunger Games, TRON: Legacy). At the end of every episode, the winner will walk away with $10,000 … and the right to claim cosplay supremacy.
“As a huge fan of the creativity cosplayers bring to their craft, nothing makes me happier than having a front row seat for the amazing creations set to hit the Cosplay Melee runway,” said host Brown. “These talented artists are going to shine!”
A couple of catch-up tidbits tonight…
Star Trek: Discovery, finally in production, added three cast members this week. Terry Serpico (Army Wives, The Purge: Election Year) will play Admiral Anderson, a high-ranking official of Starfleet; Maulik Pancholy (30 Rock, Weeds) will be Dr. Nambue, the Chief Medical Officer of the U.S.S. Shenzhou (another ship to be featured in the show); and Sam Vartholomeos as Ensign Connor, a junior officer from Starfleet Academy on board the U.S.S. Shenzhou.
Amazon has reportedly picked up anthology series Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, which has also tweaked it’s title. The show was first announced last May is executive produced by Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), Michael Dinner (Justified, The Wonder Years), and Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad). The former two are also writing, while the latter will appear in an episode. Based on the many short stories by science fiction author Dick, it joins another Dick adaptation at Amazon, The Man In The High Castle.
Syfy has announced the addition of three cast members for the upcoming pilot The Machine.
Bridger Zadina (Terri, Kill or Be Killed) will play the role of Santiago, an agoraphobic young hacker who — after uncovering the dangerous truth behind those he believed to be his allies — is cast out into the world he desperately fears. Through his harrowing fight for survival, Santiago begins to emerge as one of humanity’s last great hopes in the coming war against rising Artificial Intelligence.
Malachi Kirby (Roots) will portray Aaron, a lonely and out of place young man who created an A.I. as his best friend – benevolent, brilliant, supportive, and in many ways, his equal. Then recruited by the CIA for his creation, Aaron was placed in their cyber warfare division.
Olly Rix (Of Kings and Prophets) will play James, the principal test subject of a secret Ministry of Defense Artificial Intelligence program. A soldier, his badly injured mind and body have been rebuilt using cutting-edge prosthetics and implanted artificial intelligence, elevating him far beyond the limits of normal human capabilities.
Announced last week was Annet Mahendru (The Americans), in the role of Yana, a brilliant but troubled programmer who has created the world’s first super intelligent Artificial Intelligence. With an IQ 500 times greater than Einstein, this S.A.I. is capable of conquering the world’s most complex problems, such as disease, poverty, and environmental devastation.
The Machine, based on the 2013 UK cult film, explores humanity through artificial intelligence when a sentient AI is created, but the military wants to use it for war. Caradog James, who directed the film, is an executive producer with Red & Black Films and John Giwa-Amu, the film’s producer.
Syfy and Universal Cable Productions (UCP) today announced a pick-up of two more installments of the critically acclaimed horror anthology series, Channel Zero. In addition, UCP has signed an overall deal with the series’ executive producer, Nick Antosca (Hannibal, Teen Wolf). Under the agreement, Antosca will develop and produce scripted programming with UCP for the NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment portfolio and for external networks and streaming services.
Each installment of the Channel Zero anthology is based on a “creepypasta” (user-generated horror stories published online). The first installment in the anthology series, the six-part ‘Candle Cove’, landed on several “Best TV of 2016” lists and centered on Kris Straub’s unnerving story of one man’s obsessive recollection of a mysterious children’s television program from the 1980s. ‘No-End House’, the second six-hour installment, is set to premiere on Syfy in October 2017. It follows Brian Russell’s story of Margot (Amy Forsyth, The Path), a young woman who, along with her friends, visits the No-End House – a bizarre house of horrors consisting of a series of increasingly disturbing rooms.
“Channel Zero certainly hit a nerve with ‘Candle Cove’,” said Chris McCumber, President, USA and Syfy. “We look forward to creeping everyone out again this fall with ‘No-End House’ – and can’t wait to see what nightmares Nick has in store for the future.”
“Nick delivered a truly haunting and unpredictable first installment of Channel Zero and was embraced by fans and critics alike,” said Jeff Wachtel, President, Chief Content Officer, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “He is a fresh, passionate talent with a unique vision — precisely what we strive to cultivate here at UCP. We’re fortunate to have him in the family and look forward to developing new projects together.”
“Making Channel Zero’s ‘Candle Cove’ and ‘No-End House’ has been a terrific experience,” said Nick Antosca. “Universal Cable Productions and Syfy gave us a unique space to adapt weird cult horror stories and showcase some of the most talented independent directors out there. I’m so excited to bring more of these stories to the screen.”
Novelist, screenwriter and TV writer Antosca (Hannibal, Teen Wolf) returns as executive producer, showrunner and writer for both newly ordered installments alongside executive producer Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra), with Universal Cable Productions as the studio. Before Channel Zero, Antosca was a writer and producer on “Hannibal.” He has written five books including The Girlfriend Game, Fires and Midnight Picnic, which won a Shirley Jackson Award. He is from New Orleans, Louisiana and currently lives in California. Antosca is represented by WME, Writ Large and attorney Lev Ginsburg.
Antosca joins UCP’s roster of overall deals with A-list and top-notch emerging talent, including Sam Esmail, who is at work on Season 3 of the Golden Globe and Emmy-award winning Mr. Robot; James Frey’s Full Fathom Five, who are currently producing the supernatural horror-drama pilot The Haunted for Syfy; and Doug Liman’s Hypnotic, who recently produced the teleportation drama pilot Impulse with UCP for YouTube Red.
Canadian sci-fi drama Travelers, which stars Eric McCormack and was created by Brad Wright (executive producer on the Stargate TV franchise), has received a second season order from Canadian network Showcase and Netflix. Production will begin in March in Vancouver, with the show set to air on Showcase in the Fall, followed by a worldwide (except Canada) release on Netflix.
Travelers follows the last humans on Earth hundreds of years in the future, who have discovered how to send their consciousness minds into the past into random people, where they work together to avoid the fate that the human race faced in their future.
Schedules have been set to accommodate McCormack, who will also appear in a 10-episode revival of Will & Grace for NBC.
I’m sad to say that we’ve lost another icon of SF…actor Richard Hatch, who played Apollo on the original Battlestar Galactica and later had a recurring role on the reboot, passed away today at the age of 71 after an extended illness, while surrounded by his family and friends.
Hatch started off on All My Children, then a string of guests spots on a variety of shows before landing a regular role in the last couple seasons of The Streets of San Francisco. He followed that up with his best known role on Battlestar Galactica, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination.
After that, he went back to guest roles and lesser known movies, and some short runs on Dynasty and Santa Barbara. All the while, he kept the fandom of Battlestar Galactica alive at conventions, even writing and producing Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming, a short featuring several of his fellow cast members in raising interest in the possible return of the series. Even when Universal decided to go for a complete reboot, he felt that any Galactica was a step in the right direction, and was the only original cast member to appear in the new show, in the recurring role of Tom Zarek.
I had the good fortune to meet Richard at a smaller local convention a couple years ago, and he genuinely enjoyed talking with the fans. We chatted for a while about his thoughts on the reboot and the differing opinions of his cast mate, Dirk Benedict, who was next to him. He was glad the show came back in any form and was nothing but supportive of the effort. A franchise is lucky to have such a proponent that gets the fans and works with them, and Richard was one of the few.
The worst thing about this? We have to wait until Halloween.
I like how it starts out with the Jason Hervey Eggo commercial…really threw me off what it was…
Sharknados do not respect borders…
Syfy and The Asylum announced today that Ian Ziering and Tara Reid will again star in Sharknado 5 (working title – expect a punny subtitle later…), reprising their roles as shark-fighting heroes Fin Shepard and April Wexler. Principal photography commenced today, February 2, in Bulgaria. The latest film in the hit global franchise, Sharknado 5 features the return of original cast member Cassie Scerbo as Nova, a bartender turned badass Sharknado fighter.
Sharknado 5, which sees the deadly weather phenomenon of shark-infested storms bombard cities around the world, will film in more than 5 countries, including the UK and Australia. Anthony C. Ferrante, who directed the first four films, is back to helm this latest installment, based on a script by Scotty Mullen.
The original 2013 Sharknado film, which introduced a cyclone depositing man-eating sharks on the citizens of Los Angeles, became a worldwide phenomenon and spawned a pop culture franchise. In Sharknado2: The Second One, New York City was the target of the disaster, and in Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, a mega-sharknado made its way down the “Feast Coast” from Washington, D.C. to Florida. In the most recent installment, Sharknado: The 4th Awakens, the shark-infested storms went national. The film ended with the Eiffel Tower ripping away from Paris and crashing down on Niagara Falls – a chilling indication that no one in the world is safe!
Now, in Sharknado 5, with much of North America lying in ruins, the rest of the world braces for the inevitable – a global sharknado. Fin Shepard and his family must put a stop to this disaster before Earth is completely obliterated.
Still no sign of a musical version though…
Like with The Magicians, Syfy’s The Expanse was one of the programs I was looking forward the most to returning. The gritty, realistic portrayal of semi-near-future space travel, along with the issues of culture and politics with Earth, Mars, and the Belt all at odds over the scarce resources was a huge draw to me. Stylistically it was a bit like the revival of Battlestar Galactica, but more grounded with known physics and seemingly more attainable future. Similarities with early set stories in Larry Niven’s Known Space, of which I know a little bit, pull me in even more.
At the end of last season, the crew of the Rocinante and Ceres detective Joe Miller (Thomas Jane) tracked the disappearance of Julie Mao to the colony on Eros, where she is found, being consumed by the “protomolecule” infection, as are many others…and it seems that this infection may have been intentional.
Season 2 picks up immediately from there, with the Rocinante crew trying to find out what is going on, but also trying to decide how they can stop the spread of the protomolecule further. And the source of the protomolecule might have an extra-solar origin…
In the meantime, Earth and Mars are on the brink of war. Fear of conspiracies and terrorists and lack of resources, and the resentment of the Belt pushes each to the edge, tightening their belts at the expense of the lower classes – all while being egged on by a mysterious fourth party.
We will get to see more of life on Mars and how they train, and why there are apparently a more militaristic society, providing a new setting for us to see.
Who sent the protomolecule, and who is behind using it on Eros? And why?
The Expanse returns to Syfy Wednesday, February 1st at 10/9c.