Sci-Fi Storm

Archive for November, 2014

Z Nation preview: “Sisters of Mercy”

by on Nov.19, 2014, under Television

On the next Z Nation, Macy and Abby reunite with the other survivors and travel to an all-female commune. Although it may first appear to be a hidden paradise, someone won’t make it out alive. Watch “Sisters of Mercy” Friday night at 10/9c!
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A talk with the executives at Syfy

by on Nov.18, 2014, under Television

Recently as part of last month’s Syfy Press Tour, I had the chance to talk with some of the executives with Syfy, notably Dave Howe, President, and Bill McGoldrick, Executive Vice President for Original Programming, who had just joined the channel about a year earlier. They talked about where the channel is heading, trying to get back on track with genre programming.

First, I have to say, these guys take a lot of heat. Of course, someone has to be the lightning rod, and they are at the focal point. But they have to make a lot of hard business decisions and canceling a show is never good for those that watch it, but many complaints are from people who really don’t have any idea of how television works or how the programs they watch really get paid for. No network is going to keep a show that isn’t making money for them, just because what viewers it has are loyal. Loyalty doesn’t pay the bills. If it is borderline they may take a chance – but they need to get advertisers to pay. So many times I see, “They canceled X just so they could show wrestling and reality shows…I’m never watching Syfy again!” First off, such a statement is stupid. It means they are willing to not watch a great program just because they perceive that they were personally slighted. Aside from that, Syfy’s never canceled a show just to show wrestling or anything else. A show gets canceled because the advertisers won’t pay enough for it to be produced. In rare cases as show might be “profitable”, but if the margin is slim and can be improved by something else, it gets replaced.

It isn’t about pure ratings numbers either. Why would a scripted show that gets 2 million viewers per episode get canceled, to be replaced by a unscripted show that gets less than a million? Because that unscripted show is a LOT cheaper to produce, and therefore doesn’t need as many eyes watching it to have better profitability. Every network has done this, and it is a slippery slope (not helped that many were pushed down that slope by writers strikes a few times), but eventually there is a bounceback to original scripted programming as audiences tire of the heavy derivative reality stuff. Networks have learned more moderation is necessary in the mix of programming.
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HBO picks up Westworld to series

by on Nov.17, 2014, under Television

HBO has given a series commitment to Westworld, a remake of the 1973 classic movie from Michael Chricton about a world at the dawn of artificial intelligence and it’s use in a theme park when things go horribly wrong.

The new Westworld comes from J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot and Warner Bros TV, along with Jonathan Nolan (Person Of Interest), Lisa Joy (Burn Notice), and producer Jerry Weintraub. Joy wrote the pilot.

The series boasts a star-studded cast, including Sir Anthony Hopkins in his first TV role, along with Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Miranda Otto and Jeffrey Wright.

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Battlestar Galactica creator Glen A. Larson, 1937-2014

by on Nov.15, 2014, under Obituaries, Television

The creator of a big part of my childhood passed away.

Glen A. Larson, best known as the creator of many science fiction shows as well as a variety of other popular shows in the 70s and 80s, passed away at the age of 77.

Larson was responsible for not only Battlestar Galactica, perhaps what he was best known for despite it only lasting one season, but he created such long running shows as Quincy, M.E., Magnum P.I., The Six Million Dollar Man, The Fall Guy, B.J. and the Bear, and Knight Rider.

Somewhat controversial, he was often accused of borrowing ideas from popular movies at the time for his TV shows, although that appears to be how Hollywood operates these days.

Many of his programs have been remade years later (Knight Rider and Battlestar Galactica), or have been floating around in development (The Six Billion Dollar Man, The Fall Guy).

Larson had hopes of doing his own remake of Battlestar Galactica, but Universal instead opted for the version that was produced for Syfy. He still had plans in the works for it, however.

He will be missed.

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Haven preview: “Mortality”

by on Nov.13, 2014, under Television

On Friday’s Haven, Dr. Cross could expose Haven’s secrets to the outside world, but does she have her own agenda? Tune in for “Mortality”, tomorrow night at 7/6c on Syfy!
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Syfy’s Thanksgiving weekend: Helix “Black Goo” marathon, Z Nation, Haven and more

by on Nov.12, 2014, under Television

Syfy has set their schedule for the Thanksgiving weekend, chock full of black gooey goodness…

Syfy will kick off the movie fun on Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 27 beginning at 9:30AM (ET/PT) with 2001: A Space Odyssey, followed by Star Trek Nemesis, Space Cowboys, Stargate and Poseidon.

To get fans ready for the return of Helix, Syfy will telecast the entire first season of the hit drama on Friday, November 28 from 6AM-6PM. The Black Goo Friday marathon features cast interviews as well as a never-before-seen sneak peek of Season 2, which premieres Friday, January 16 at 10PM.

Haven (7PM), SmackDown (8PM) and Z Nation (10PM) will comprise the Friday primetime schedule.

The Saturday, November 29 movie marathon will begin at 10AM, highlighted by classic science fiction flicks ranging from Fifth Element and Terminator 2 to Blade: Trinity.

The holiday programming extravaganza will conclude on Sunday, November 30, beginning at 10:30AM, with movies such as 30 Days of Night and The Happening.

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Z Nation preview: “Going Nuclear”

by on Nov.12, 2014, under Television

In Friday’s Z Nation, the survivors must clash with an army of glowing, radioactive zombies to prevent a nuclear disaster. Tune in for “Going Nuclear” Friday night at 10/9c on Syfy!
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Ascension – Syfy’s launch back into space-based drama

by on Nov.09, 2014, under Television

AscensionWith Syfy’s renewed focus on the genre from which it was born, the upcoming event series Ascension leads the way on full thrust.

The concept is interesting – part science fiction, part period drama, part murder mystery. At the height of tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, in order to unsure that the Human race will survive, in 1963 the U.S. launches the U.S.S. Ascension, a secret mission to launch humanity to the stars. Carrying 600 men, women and children, the Ascension is 50 years in to their multi-generational mission and approaching the point of no return, when the first ever murder takes place on board. With no way to get advice back from Earth and no one trained in murder investigations, a web of intrigue and secrets might get unraveled and reveal the true secrets about the Ascension.

One of the intriguing parts of the show is going to be at the society level. If you took 600 people from 1963 – before women’s liberation, the Civil Rights movement, technological advancements, modern terrorism, and all the other things shaping our society, and placed them in a town with no outside influence but with the technology and a library of written knowledge and entertainment available at the time. Place a fixed restriction on resources, which would necessitate a strict limitation on population – forced birth control (something that was even more controversial back then), birth rights, etc.

What would happen over time?
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Mark Wahlberg to star, Peter Berg to direct The Six Billion Dollar Man

by on Nov.06, 2014, under Movies

The Lone Survivor team of Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg will team up again for the big screen (and inflated) remake of the 70s TV series The Six Million Dollar Man.

Now called The Six Billion Dollar Man, it will star Wahlberg as astronaut Steve Austin, who becomes critically injured when a test flight of an experimental aircraft crashes. When he awakes, he discovers that both legs, one arm, and one eye have been replaced by “bionics”, artificial replacements with superhuman capabilities that allow him to run faster, have super strength, and see minute details. In exchange for receiving these replacements, he becomes an agent for the Office of Scientific Intelligence.

A movie adaptation has been batted around for years, including at one point comedic versions with Jim Carrey and Chris Rock rumored.

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