Sci-Fi Storm

Television

Shannara Chronicles canceled by Spike; being shopped to others

by on Jan.17, 2018, under Television

Cable network Spike, which re-brands itself as the Paramount Network tomorrow night, announced that it has dropped scripted series The Shannara Chronicles, which aired its second season on the channel after shifting from its sibling channel MTV.

Sonar Entertainment is reportedly shopping the show to other networks.

It previously announced that it canceled its first original drama, The Mist.

Parent company Viacom announced last February that it is re-organizing its portfolio of cable networks to focus on six “core” networks – BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., and Paramount. Paramount will become the flagship “general entertainment” brand. It remains to be seen what happens to some of its smaller channels, such as TV Land and CMT, but two planned series for TV Land, Heathers and American Woman, will be taken over by Paramount.


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Fox and National Geographic order second series of Cosmos

by on Jan.15, 2018, under Science, Television

It’s about time…several years after 2014’s Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey starring chief science nerd Neil deGrasse Tyson and produced by Seth MacFarlane, itself a sequel of 1980’s seminal science series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage by Carl Sagan, will get its own sequel.

Cosmos: Possible Worlds – the title of which is perhaps a nod to the theme of this series – has been ordered from Fox and National Geographic, with a planned Spring 2019 release. The same creative team will be back as well; MacFarlane will be joined by executive producers Brannon Braga and Jason Clark, as well as executive producer, writer and director Ann Druyan who won an Emmy for writing the 2014 series. Tyson will return as host. The 2014 series was watched by 135 million people worldwide and was the most watched series on National Geographic’s international channels.

Also, this time the series will receive a companion book, much like Sagan’s original series did.

Fox and National Geographic will remain partners for the series despite the impending sale of National Geographic Channel to Disney as part of the giant acquisition.


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Donnelly Rhodes, Battlestar Galactica‘s Doc Coddle, 1937-2018

by on Jan.09, 2018, under Television

Another lost to the stars…Canadian actor Donnelly Rhodes, best known in these parts as Dr. Cottle in the updated Battlestar Galactica but also for his role of Dutch Leitner on the late 70s ABC comedy Soap, passed away yesterday at the age of 80 due to cancer while in hospice care according to talent agency Northern Exposure.

Rhodes most recently made an appearance in the 2016 “Invasion!” Arrowverse crossover as Agent Smith, and he also starred as Det. Leo Shannon in the Canadian series DaVinci’s Inquest. He had many small roles as well, such as the grandfather in TRON: Legacy and a couple of appearances in The Outer Limits anthology series. In all he had appeared in more than 160 series and movies over a 60 year career.


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New trailer for SYFY’s Krypton

by on Jan.09, 2018, under Television

Just released today at the Television Critics Association…

What if Superman never existed? Set two generations before the destruction of Superman’s home planet, KRYPTON follows Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe), the legendary Man of Steel’s grandfather, as a young man who is faced with a life and death conflict – save his home planet or let it be destroyed in order to restore the fate of his future grandson. With Krypton’s leadership in disarray and the House of El ostracized, Seg finds himself in a difficult position. He must redeem his family’s honor and protect the ones he loves while being challenged by familiar DC characters Brainiac (Blake Ritson) and Earthly time-traveler Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos).

Krypton is from Warner Horizon Scripted Television and is executive produced by David S. Goyer (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Dark Knight Trilogy) through his Phantom Four banner, alongside Cameron Welsh, who serves as showrunner. In addition to Cuffe, Sipos and Ritson, the show also stars Georgina Campbell (Broadchurch), Elliot Cowan (Da Vinci’s Demons), Ann Ogbomo (World War Z), Rasmus Hardiker (Your Highness), Wallis Day (Will), Aaron Pierre (Tennison) and Ian McElhinney (Game of Thrones). Based on the DC characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.


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SYFY orders up George R.R. Martin’s Nightflyers

by on Jan.04, 2018, under Television

SYFY today announced a series pickup for Nightflyers, based on author George R.R. Martin’s novella and the 1987 film of the same name. Jeff Buhler (Jacob’s Ladder) wrote the adaptation for television and will executive produce alongside Daniel Cerone (“The Blacklist”) who will also serve as showrunner. Martin will also executive produce, along with Gene Klein (Suits), David Bartis (Suits) and Doug Liman (Live. Die. Repeat) of Hypnotic; Alison Rosenzweig (Jacob’s Ladder, Windtalkers) and Michael Gaeta (Jacob’s Ladder) of Gaeta Rosenzweig Films; Lloyd Ivan Miller and Alice P. Neuhauser of Lloyd Ivan Miller Productions. Robert Jaffe (Nightflyers, – 1987) will produce. Andrew McCarthy (Orange is the New Black) will be a producer-director on the project. Mike Cahill (I Origin) will direct the pilot.

The series will be produced by Universal Cable Productions. Netflix will co-produce and have first-run rights to the series outside of the U.S.

Gretchen Mol (Boardwalk Empire) is set to star as Dr. Agatha Matheson, alongside Eoin Macken (The Night Shift) as Karl D’Branin, David Ajala (Fast & Furious 6) as Roy Eris, Sam Strike (EastEnders) as Thale, Maya Eshet (Teen Wolf) as Lommie, Angus Sampson (Fargo) as Rowan, Jodie Turner-Smith (The Last Ship) as Melantha Jhirl and Brían F. O’Byrne (Million Dollar Baby) as Auggie.

Nightflyers follows eight maverick scientists and a powerful telepath who embark on an expedition to the edge of our solar system aboard The Nightflyer – a ship with a small tightknit crew and a reclusive captain — in the hope of making contact with alien life. But when terrifying and violent events begin to take place they start to question each other — and surviving the journey proves harder than anyone thought.

The series, produced in Ireland, is moving forward with the support of the Government of Ireland, through the Minister for Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht and the Irish Film Board.


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Peter Capaldi bids farewell to Doctor Who

by on Dec.26, 2017, under Television

Yesterday we bid adieu to another Doctor, on the annual Christmas special episode, “Twice Upon A Time”, Peter Capaldi’s final appearance is the title role of Doctor Who, 4 years to the day of his official debut. In the episode the 12th Doctor crosses paths the “THE” Doctor, the original (played by David Bradley, who played the original actor, William Hartnell, in the dramatization of the original production of Doctor Who, “An Adventure in Space and Time”), when both contemplate fighting against regenerating and allowing themselves to die. They both soul search over their decisions while at the same time struggle over the life of a World War I soldier (played by writer/actor Mark Gatiss) who was taken away from certain death on the battlefield by an unknown force that could stop time. Incidentally, another cameo that you have have missed – the German soldier in the crater with him was played by Toby Whitehouse, who has also written a number of episodes and is also the creator of Being Human.

Now, it wouldn’t be an episode of Doctor Who if some liberties in continuity, established canon, etc. aren’t taken. If you are a sticker for those things, you probably have given up on Doctor Who in the 60s aren’t aren’t reading this anyways. But the important points were the emotional ones, between the characters and with themselves. And when it is revealed who the soldier is, it hits you right in the feels for fans of the classic run of the series.

Especially compelling is the advice that the 12th Doctor gives to himself – well, his future self. While I don’t have the same feeling of loss as with after Ten and Eleven left, I will still miss the old fool – but I am excited to see what new directions we are going in…


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TidBits: Star Wars, Jumanji weekend takes; Star Trek writer; passing of Heather Menzies-Urich;

by on Dec.26, 2017, under General News, Movies, Television

It’s time to come out of our holiday-induced coma and get caught up on the news, so here is some rapidfire TidBits…

Sadly, we have learned that actress Heather Menzies-Urich, wife of late actor Robert Urich and best known as Louisa in The Sound Of Music, passed away on December 24th at the age of 68. Obscure SF TV fans may also known her for playing Jessica in the TV series version of Logan’s Run.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi added another $99 million over the holiday weekend, although analysts expected more from the weekend. Fans seem to be greatly debating the merits of the movie…from our point of view it was a good movie but with a slew of technical problems. Expect a spoiler-laden review later this week.

In the meantime, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle appeared to get a big turnout from holiday audiences looking for something lighthearted, getting $72m since the Wednesday open and including $2m from the Amazon Prime Members preview earlier in the month. It’s definitely a good movie for audiences looking for a laugh. The Greatest Showman, which appears to be fighting critical reviews as well as the competition, only made $19m for the same six days, but we think is a great musical film with several Oscar-worthy songs.

Lastly, Quentin Taranino’s R-rated Star Trek has named a writer – The Revenant‘s Mark L. Smith.


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Dirk Gently canceled by BBC America

by on Dec.20, 2017, under Television

Alas, BBC America has decided to cancel Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. It was a wonderfully bizarre and quirky show adapted from a Douglas Adams novel, starring Samuel Barnett as the eponymous character who solves supernatural mysteries by simply giving in to fate, helped by Todd (Elijah Wood), a bellhop who helps his sister who suffers from a disease that causes her to have vivid hallucinations. They are chased not only by government agents, who want Dirk back for a secret project, but by the strange Bart Curlish (Fiona Dourif), who believes the universe is directing her to kill people and doesn’t allow her to die.

Admittedly, the show could be hard to follow at times, but it seemed to showcase actors playing more unusual characters – especially in the female characters who were often very odd in a variety of ways, such as The Beast (Emily Tennant) and Mona Wilder (Alexia Fast), along with the aforementioned Curlish.

I will be sad that the show will not be continuing, but it got two good seasons and didn’t leave us hanging.


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Check out the Stargate: Origins teaser trailer

by on Dec.20, 2017, under Television

Stargate: Origins premieres on February 15th, 2018 at Stargate Command


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The universe shakes as Disney acquires parts of Fox

by on Dec.16, 2017, under Movies, Television

You may have heard about this tiny little deal in the entertainment world…Disney has agreed to purchase assets from 21st Century Fox, including Fox Studios, in a deal worth over $54 billion! Disney gets all of the film and television assets except the broadcast network (they already own ABC), sports and news divisions, which will be retained by Fox. Although this doesn’t include the broadcast network, it seems to leave the network without a TV production studio as a sibling, which the other major networks have.

Disney will also get the rights to all the upcoming Avatar movies, which isn’t surprising since the Mouse House has already incorporated the franchise into its Animal Kingdom theme park.

But one of the biggest ramifications everyone has been talking about is what it means for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Fox has owned the rights to the X-Men for some time, which as a result has left the X-Men out of the MCU, even for cameos. In fact, we ended up with two different versions of Quicksilver. In fact, both Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch where at the center of a battle between the two studios – Fox claimed they were part of the X-Men universe, while Disney wanted to use them in the Avengers. The studios came to an agreement to allow both to use the characters, so long as neither mentioned the other in either way. Fox never used Scarlet Witch, but Quicksilver first appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past, and then in his MCU version in Avengers: Age of Ultron alongside Scarlet Witch.

Now with the acquisition, that line gets blurred and the X-Men could easily be included in the MCU going forward, if so desired. In fact, Hugh Jackman, who said he was retiring from playing Wolverine after Logan, left the door open if he could appear in an Avengers movie. So maybe Wolverine isn’t quite done yet.

Another Marvel rights property related to the acquisition is the Fantastic Four, but the rights issues are a little murkier. Fox did not own them outright but rather were in a partnership with the original optioner, Constantin Films. The rights and productions have an interesting history on its own, but rather than regurgitate it here Screen Rant has an excellent write-up. So the status of that property is perhaps less clear, although Disney mentioned them in their press release:

Combining with Disney are 21st Century Fox’s critically acclaimed film production businesses, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000, which together offer diverse and compelling storytelling businesses and are the homes of Avatar, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool, as well as The Grand Budapest Hotel, Hidden Figures, Gone Girl, The Shape of Water and The Martian—and its storied television creative units, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21, which have brought The Americans, This Is Us, Modern Family, The Simpsons and so many more hit TV series to viewers across the globe. Disney will also acquire FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox Networks Group International, Star India and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Sky plc, Tata Sky and Endemol Shine Group.

So Disney at least believes they are back in the fold.

Oh, and what of Deadpool, the R-rated superhero? Disney isn’t known for going after the R-rated audience, but Deadpool broke all the rules and was a massive success. Well, Disney CEO Bob Iger mentioned that specifically while addressing shareholders: “[Deadpool] clearly has been and will be Marvel branded. But we think there might be an opportunity for a Marvel-R brand for something like Deadpool. As long as we let the audiences know what’s coming, we think we can manage that fine.”

So there you have it. It might be a while before we see the rewards on screen, but I think I can hear the gears of MCU master Kevin Feige’s brain turning now…


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