Archive for November, 2018
A couple of movie news items while I’m in the tech week of helping produce a school musical…
Zoey Deutch (Set It Up) will join the cast of Zombieland 2, which will feature all the original stars – Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin. The followup, to be released about 10 years after the original in October 2019, will follow the survivors through both the White House and the Heartland while dealing with evolved zombies and other survivors. Just remember – double tap.
Sony, in the meantime, is hoping that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will help launch a female-centric animated hero franchise and is developing Spider-Women, to focus on three female Spider-powered heroes, one of which might be Spider-Gwen who will be featured in the highly-anticipated movie releasing next month. Bek Smith (Zoo) is tagged to write the script. Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse‘s Amy Pascal will produce.
Syfy is getting into late-night original animation programming with Alien News Desk, a series that will cover up-to-the-minute news and commentary about the universe’s most baffling species – the inscrutable Humans of Planet Earth.
The 12-episode series will feature the voices of Will Forte and Saturday Night Live‘s Heidi Gardner, and is executive produced by the Saturday Night Live team of Lorne Michaels, Erik Kenward and Dennis McNicholas, Joel Kuwahara and Scott Greenberg from Bento Box Entertainment, and Andrew Singer from Broadway Video. Scott Gairdner (Moonbeam City) and Broadway Video’s Katy Jenson will co-executive produce. McNicholas will act as showrunner.
“The expansion into original animation and late night marks the next step in the evolution of SYFY, and builds on the successes we’ve had bringing new, younger viewers to the network,” said Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “Tackling news, politics and entertainment from the perspective of alien newscasters completely puzzled by our human ways, Alien News Desk is a fun, irreverent way to put a uniquely ‘SYFY’ spin on the late night current affairs genre.”
This reminds me of then-Sci-Fi Channel’s first ever original scripted program, FTL Newsfeed, a 30-60 second “micro short” series of news segments broadcast from 150 years in the future, and ran for four years and over a thousand episodes from 1992-1996, with the launch of the channel. To my knowledge, however, it has never been rebroadcast or released in any medium since then.
The Magicians return on January 23rd, and we…can’t…wait…
Legendary comic creator Stan Lee, who created Marvel Comics with Jack Kirby in 1961 and launched Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Black Panther and many many more, passed away early today, according to TMZ. He was 95.
In failing health in recent years he still did his best to meet with the fans, even coming to Boston Comic Con in 2017 not long after the passing of his wife, Joan. Questions surfaced more recently, however, about his managers and allegations of elder abuse, which more recently seemed to be resolved.
It is with great sadness that we mourn the godfather of the current cinematic era. Tears will be shed when we see his final cameo. Excelsior!
Another live-action series for Star Wars? Yes! Bob Iger, Disney Chairman and CEO, announced today that Lucasfilm is developing a second live-action series (the first being The Mandalorian), which will air through Disney+, the upcoming streaming service.
The subject? Rogue One‘s resident rebel spy, Cassian Andor, who will be played once again by Diego Luna. The series will deal with the early era of the Rebellion and the events prior to Rogue One. “Going back to the Star Wars universe is very special for me,” said Luna. “I have so many memories of the great work we did together and the relationships I made throughout the journey. We have a fantastic adventure ahead of us, and this new exciting format will give us the chance to explore this character more deeply.”
According to StarWars.com, the rousing spy thriller will explore tales filled with espionage and daring missions to restore hope to a galaxy in the grip of a ruthless Empire. A release date for the series has not yet been announced. Stay tuned to StarWars.com for the latest updates.
Gary Morgenstein’s A Mound Over Hell is possibly unique among science fiction novels that include a sport. In most cases, such as the movie Rollerball (itself based on a short story), the sport in question is often invented for the story, or otherwise altered to fit a futuristic setting – say, zero-G football. But in this story, baseball as we know it – or at least, knew it – is central to the plot, while also blending science fiction, history and political threads in to a cohesive whole. It’s not a book about baseball. It’s not a book about politics. But it IS a book about all of it. And it blends it all well, which isn’t an easy feat.
It is nearing the end of the 21st century, and America is devastated after having essentially lost World War 3 against the Muslim Caliphate, which now controls most of Europe. A new society has formed, based on the concept of the Family and led by Grandma, has arisen while any show of patriotism to the old country is now illegal. There is no welfare system – people who fail in society now live in Disappointment Villages, seeking to work their way back out.
Baseball, the “national pastime”, is one of the last vestiges of patriotism, and it is having its last season, played in the bombed-out remains of Amazon Stadium (formerly Yankee Stadium), with holographic baserunners and fielders, and a handful of indifferent “fans” in the seats. Puppy Nedick, the last baseball historian, is covering the final season and mulling his future. But then one night he finds a strange visitor in his apartment – a man purporting to be Mickey Mantle. Yes, THE Mickey Mantle. And a few days later, Ty Cobb shows up. And even Mooshie Lopez, the greatest player ever. But how could they all be here, for the last season of baseball, since all of them were dead?
I’ve known Gary for almost 10 years – we first met when he was the director of public relations at Syfy – so when we got to talk recently, we’d reminisce about press tours, scotch, and the Red Sox vs. Yankees – he grew up in the shadow of Yankee Stadium, while I’m a denizen of Fenway Park…but we did manage to talk about the book, and after talking about it I want to read it again!
Doc: So when we met, you were working as Syfy director of communications. But you were a writer, first and foremost before that, and had some novels.
Gary: This is my fifth novel. It’s my first science fiction novel. I wrote a science fiction musical off Broadway a few years ago called The Anthem, so yes, I always had a shadow life. I’d do the corporate world, and then I would come home and I’d write. Write on weekends or in the morning, or when other people went out for lunch and enjoy themselves, I close my office door and wrote.
It’s official – there will be no Doctor Who Christmas episode this year. A tradition since the show returned in 2005, it will not happen this year, and the reason is simply they seem to have run out of ideas.
After all, we’ve had alien invasions, a Spaceship Titanic, cybermen, evil snowmen, and more – and even said goodbye to the last two Doctors all on Christmas Day.
“I sort of think we might have mined, and possibly over mined, every single thing we could about Christmas in Doctor Who and the last time we more or less ignored it,” according to new showrunner Chris Chibnall.
But don’t fret too long – there will still be an extra episode, it will just happen on New Years Day instead, with a storyline that will help ring in the 2019. So maybe a new tradition is born?
Remember that story about the Desilu Studios name being revived when someone acquired the name rights and was going to reboot V?
Well, we now doubt it is going to happen.
Apparently Charles B. Hensley, who announced he had acquired the Desilu Studios name earlier this year, apparently has a shady past including a conviction for selling a bird flu vaccine that was never approved by the FDA. And now CBS has accused him in a lawsuit for using the Desilu name to dupe investors into his shell companies, and not actually using the name for legitimate purposes, as well as creating a false valuation letter claiming the company was worth $11.2 billion. His Desilu Studios and Desilu Corporation did not obtain the catalog of original Desilu productions, which are wholly owned by CBS through it’s acquisition of Paramount.
This might be interesting to see how it pans out.