Our resident Studio Plant (who hates it when I call him that), has landed a plum interview for us at Eclipse. He sits down with the great Ridley Scott. I had a chance to watch him direct a scene for the Television show Numbers last year and it was pretty surreal watching him work. He’s the Executive Producer of the The Andromeda Strain. You can read Scott’s fabulous interview after the break.
When The Invaders premiered as a mid-season replacement on January 10, 1967, science fiction on television was a pretty grim genre. The heyday of Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits was past and – other than Star Trek – the best the genre had to offer was campy series that played fast and loose with the science because it was “science fiction and you could do what you wanted” [generic quote from producers of every bad television science fiction series ever made]. Like Star Trek’s Gene Roddenberry, the creator of The Invaders wanted to avoid that kind of silliness – as did the show’s producer, the legendary Quinn Martin [The Fugitive]. It was their straightforward, no-nonsense, dramatic approach that convinced Roy Thinnes to take on the role of David Vincent, the architect who saw an alien ship land way too early one morning. Mr. Vincent was kind enough to chat with me about the series and its effect on his life.
“It’s always emotional to say goodbye to people.”
Most of the time, Eve Myles, Torchwood‘s no-nonsense Gwen Cooper, bounds around like an over-excited puppy. On stage at the Rift Convention, she overcomes her apprehension at facing her first convention appearance by regaling fans with tales from the set of Torchwood that quickly have the audience in the palm of her hand. But, as she tells Carole Gordon in a quiet moment later in the day, filming Torchwood was not all fun and games. Losing two of the characters from the show at the end of the second series, people who had over the course of filming become and remain her good friends, was a deeply emotional experience – and one that will continue to affect both her and Gwen.
Robert Wise’s The Andromeda Strain was the first adaptation of a Michael Crichton bestseller to film. That was in 1971, and the 2001-like elegance of its design, and the computer-like efficiency of the members of the Wildfire team, gave us an entertainment was scary on so many levels that it was almost an improvement on the novel. The same can’t be said for the A&E mini-series which airs tonight and tomorrow at 9/8C.
When a satellite crashes to Earth, a couple of kids find and haul it into town, where a well-meaning firefighter cracks it open. A very short time later, the town is found to be dead – bodies lying everywhere – except for one person, who’s to blitzed to be much help. So, the Wildfire Team is called into action – and set up with the satellite and its contents in a lab five miles blow the surface.
The team includes Dr. Jeremy Stone [Benjamin Bratt], Dr. Charlene Barton [Viola Davis], Dr. Tsi Chou [Daniel Dae Kim], Dr. Angela Noyce [Christa Miller] and Major Bill Keane MD [Ricky Schroeder]. Other major players include General George Mancheck [Andre Braugher], reporter Jack Nash [Eric McCormack], U.S. President Scott [Ted Whittall]. The plot remains the same – the Wildfire Team is to figure out what caused all those deaths before the thing mutates too far and breaks out. They are hampered by communications problems [deliberately imposed by Mancheck]; not having a lot of time, and by racial problems between two team members, among other things.
The movie was 130 minutes long. The mini-series goes for 180-plus. The difference? Lotsa cool new tech toys to play with – lotsa pretty flashing lights and a much younger and prettier cast. Also, a much less imaginative script, plodding direction and less than excellent acting. To put it plainly, the A&E Andromeda Strain mini-series looks good – and that’s all it does well. None of the cast distinguishes themselves and some [Bratt and Braugher in particular] are painful to watch.
Here’s a better idea: tonight rent the movie, and tomorrow night rent The Terminal Man. Both are based on Crichton’s novels, and both are vastly superior to this particular waste of time.
Final Grade: D
It’s May Bank Holiday, time for pootling off to Brighton, huddling under umbrellas while picnicking in the park and, of course, watching our Eurovision entry get trashed with the obligatory “nul points” from those countries which don’t like us. Which seems to be pretty much everybody right now.
I can’t pinpoint the year when the Eurovision Song Contest, the annual cheesefest involving the best and worst of songs from the nations that make up a very generous interpretation of the geographical extent of “Europe”, changed from being about the music to being a chance to thank your friends and bash your enemies. Greece always gives its 12 points to Cyprus and vice versa. Germany always votes for Turkey. Maybe it’s always been about alliances, demographics and political manoeuvering. Or maybe we just like indulging in sour grapes because we haven’t won since Katrina and the Waves shone her light on the event in 1997.
Ok, I know, a few weeks ago I gave up on this show and these fun little recaps . But I’m a masochist. I have to watch the showdown of the no-talent Davids, I’ve come around on David Cook. But he comes across as a pompous ass, and I strongly dislike David A. It’s like a fight between Aliens and Predators, no matter who wins – we lose. But at least it’s not a 2 hr extravaganza! So I’ll give this about 20 minutes to hook me, otherwise I’m just going to watch the Blu-ray version of Unbreakable that’s sitting in my PS3. Who is up first – I’m guessing it’s David. Ha. Man, can this show get any worse or cheesier? This opening is making me want to turn this crap off right now. Thank god for Tivo! I wonder if the thought of watching this is what sent my man Kennedy (my favorite Senator) over the edge today? Another thing about Kennedy – he’s NOT FREAKING DEAD YET! Stop reporting like he is!
This season has been so pre-planned and packaged that it’s clear the judges will faun all over David A and stick the knife in David C.’s back, twist it and then watch as his blood opens up the LA hell mouth. David Cook is doing the easiest Karaoke song possible – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, hell, I get applause when I do this song at Karaoke bars, and I can’t sing worth a damn. And Cook is HORRIBLE. He’s out of key and his voice sounds as bad as mine (I lost it during Sunday’s Indy screening). I’m fast forwarding to the comments. He’s terrible. So the Judges pre-canned comments should be right on.
After all these weeks I’ve finally stumbled onto the secret of Idol success. You can suck as much as you want to, forget the lyrics to songs, as long as you close your 90 second tune out with a screechy, long, high scream. That wakes the judges up. Randy loved this crap, who cares what Paula says, Simon loved it. David A is doing another one of my favorite songs – Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me. Again he just bugs me. Technically it’s alright, but it’s just “rote,” and he has no passion. Randy loved it and boo hoo, David’s crying. I’m so sick of Simon and his “Round 1 goes to…” crap. How about letting the Audience decide you putz. But he is right. David A was clearly better – even though I forwarded 30 seconds in.
It’s time for Round 2 First it’s Cook’s ditty, didn’t catch the name. Rick Springfield songs were on my Shuffle today (like 5 times!) and the song Cook is singing sounds exactly like a Springfield tune. I think it’s called “Don’t Have Faith.” Would it kill Idol to put the title and artist of the songs these people are butchering on the screen?? It’s interesting seeing a Rocker in an Idol final. They’ve come close in the last few years, but they never made it to the final 2. Didn’t understand Randy’s comments. Simon hated it. I guarantee he’ll love whatever David A does. David A is doing a song called “In This Moment.” It’s boring and I’m going to skip to the fawning. “Ooh David, you’re Hot Man on fire,” “What talent, I just want to snuggle with you,” “Round 2 goes to David.” This is the first time I’ve actually seen David sing with some emotion and, um, well, it’s like, um…Good. Much better than Cook’s track. Judges do fawn, Simon does do his “round 2 bit.” God I hate his aw-shucks, I’m good, let’s cry. It’s irritating. God, I just intensely HATE this kid. A commercial for Narnia is on, and I really want to see that again.
I’m tired of this crappy Rocky theme. It’s time for the last song. David Cook is singing something called The World I know by Collective Soul. Weird choice, not sure if this is original or not. It’s too mellow and not the type of song you want to end a singing competition with. He’s not Prince in Purple Rain and David A isn’t Morris, “Damn he won this competition with a Ballad!” Cook looks like he’s resigned to the idea that he’s going to lose. I hate Paula and her damn standing ovations. Simon agrees with me and thought it was completely wrong choice and he made a retarded suggestion that Cook should have done Billy Jean again. If Cook did that the judges would have skewered him and put his head on a spick. While Simon’s comments are almost always right on point, the motivation behind them totally invalidates anything he says this season.
Amazing, Archie IS repeating a performance and doing Imagine again and he’s awful AGAIN. It’s a boring train wreck. These two are the best American Idol has to offer us? Who cares what the judges say, you know they love them. The Archie thing wouldn’t be so bad if the judges let the audience decide for themselves. But they beat us over the head with the over the moon praise and it started way the hell back during the top 24. He’s an artificial creation who didn’t get to the finals honestly. The judges ignored all of his previous flubs, when they tore into other people for forgetting lyrics, when he had off nights it was always “it’s an off night baby, but you’re still HOT and will go far.” This putz had already won Star Search and other singing competitions. So spare me the fake crying and the Howdy Doody, Eddie Haskell attitude. He cried during ALL THREE Judges rounds. COME ON! I can understand one – maybe, but crying after all THREE performances! With all that said he was miles better than David Cook who phoned it in – which I can’t blame him, he knew the fix was in, so why bother trying?
The first time I ever saw it Taylor Hicks was auditioning and I loved that season, last year was pretty horrible. I have to admit I think this year some interesting talent but the Judges ruined the idea that this was a fair show. I promise you this, I’m done with Idol. I’m going to do Hell’s Kitchen. I like watching Gordon Ramsey go psycho. One of these days, he or one of the students is going to pick up one of those butcher Knives…..
After two weeks of no Idol for me, I’m ready to attempt to give you another rambling report. What the heck? I stop watching for two weeks and my dark horse Brooke White gets booted and Paula let’s it known that, yes, America there is no Santa Claus. Idol is basically fixed. And like lemmings, America is voting almost exactly the way Simon wants them to. I’ve lost almost all interest in Idol. So this could be the last Idol report of this crappy season you’ll get from me. I know many of you are going, thank god! Next season, I think I’d rather give you updates on Hell’s Kitchen. That Gordon Ramsey makes me laugh. Anyway, back to Idol.
David Cook has been on fire lately, but his version of Duran Duran’s Hungry Like a Wolf is horrid. Once again he gets the rock star lighting, but he’s awful tonight. There’s no emotion or connection to the song. For the first time in weeks, I’m going to fast forward to the end of this train wreck. Of course the judges will love it because it’s part of their pre-packaged scripts. Randy came with it and agrees with me thought it was just Ok. Of course Paula loved it. God this year the judges have the same speech week after week. Simon said it was good and David will be around until next week. More of Simon directing the results.
Syesha is going to do Proud Mary. She’s the one I’d like to see win this. I don’t think she’s particularly good, but it be nice to see the judges not get what they want. She’s got the right attitude for the song. But her arrangement is terrible. She’s more focused on trying to be sexy and like Tina than actually singing the song. It’s awful. Skipping ahead. Randy liked it a lot. Who cares what Paula says. I’m not sure if I trust Simon’s opinion anymore. But he called it a bad impersonation of Tina Turner and he’s right. I just question his motives for his comments now.
Jason Castro is doing I Shot The Sheriff. Which is an obvious choice for him. His vocal is, as usual, bland and boring as hell. But he does have the it factor. Randy called it a Karoke Bob Marley. And didn’t like it at all. Paula actually didn’t like it. Simon called it utterly atrocious. Said it was like a first round massacre. Randy and Simon were actually angry about the performance.
God I just hate this David A kid, and he’s doing Stand By Me. Once again he’s technically ok, but he just lacks the “It” factor and his performances are devoid of emotion. He’s like a robot. Of course the judges will love it. Don’t even care what they say about him at this point. Does Archie’s dad have some blackmail material on these judges.
David Cook is going to do Baba O’Reilly (?) by The Who for his second number. Never heard of this. It’s good, I think David’s future is going the Lifehouse path of doing power ballads and staying away from “rocking out.” He’s terrible at it. But, hey, wait a second, I know this song. I always thought it was called Teenage Wasteland. Randy liked this one. Paula is humbled to “Watch his Soul.”
Syesha is going to do one of my favorite songs A Change is Going To Come. Her opening is awesome. She’s nailing this. Has the passion and emotion that this song requires. But Idol sucks because they take these classics and then boil them down to 90 seconds which doesn’t give you enough time. But Syesha killed this. What the hell is Randy smoking, he hated it. Simon loved it. And she’s balling like a baby.
Jason is going to try Mr. Tambourine Man for his 2nd selection. He’s awful. Randy looks angry. Simon told him to pack his suitcase. I’m tired of Simon trying to dictate how the audience votes. But even with his obvious shilling, Simon is correct. Jason was awful tonight and was totally exposed. I wish the audience would shock everyone and vote Archie off instead. Archie is now butchering Elvis. Again, technically ok, but totally lacks any kind of passion or any understanding what the song means. Don’t care what the judges say.
Is Idol even worth watching anymore? We all know that the top 10 will all get their paydays and album contracts. So once you get to the top 5 it doesn’t matter who wins anymore. I’m done and don’t think there will be anymore Idol reports from me. The Summer film season is heating up and these final contestants are just boring as heck. Especially since we all know it’s a forgone conclusion that Archie is going to win this thing.
Escape Velocity opens with Chief Tyrol given a poignant eulogy at Cally’s funeral and ends with Gaius Baltar in a [for him] most unusual position. In between, this is one of Galactica’s most intense episodes – even though there are no great Cylon battles or even much action at all.
For better or worse, Eric Kripke, the creator, Executive Producer and writer of CW’s popular series Supernatural has made the fans an important part of his show, and not just as ratings numbers. He has often stated that he has a roadmap for the series, a core story that he wants to tell, which he has never wavered from. “It’s the saga of the Winchester clan — who the brothers really are, who their parents really are, why Demons are so closely intertwined with them, and what their destiny really is. It’s an epic, emotional, family story at its heart.” Outside of that core story there are elements that come and go and his writing team is flexible enough to make those adjustments. He states that a decision to keep or discard a storyline combines elements of writers’ opinion, the realities of actors’ schedules, and even opinions of the fans on occasion. Fan response is valued such that when they overwhelmingly reject something across multiple online forums, it is given proper attention. “There’s always room to make the show better, and that means trying new things, keeping the things that work, losing the things that don’t.”
This humble admission truly elevates Eric Kripke to a unique position among showrunners. If the excellent writing, acting and directing were not enough to entice the viewer, then feeling like an integral part of the creative process certainly is. That and the fact that Eric appears to be a fan’s best friend — someone to sit down with, share a cup of coffee, and have an open exchange of ideas for story elements that are past, present and future.
Lauren Conrad, star of MTV’s highest-rated series “The Hills,” and an emerging talent in the world of fashion design, has partnered with College Tonight, Inc., an online community and networking platform for the college market, founded to promote social activity in the real world, away from the computer. Lauren Conrad’s popularity and influence are evidenced by the demand for her endorsements by companies like College Tonight and her work as spokesperson for mark., the youth-oriented cosmetics line from Avon. Conrad is excited to be a part of College Tonight’s directive to its student and young alumni members — “Get On, Get Up, Get Out” – and feels that it is a natural fit for her, both on screen and off.
On “The Hills,” Conrad knows that viewers follow her and her friends through their highly social lives. Off-camera, however Conrad is a student at The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles and recently launched the The Lauren Conrad Collection for which she is head designer.
Regardless of her character’s fate on Battlestar Galactica, sexy Cylon, Tricia Helfer [above left] will join USA Network’s acclaimed spy dramedy, Burn Notice, in its upcoming second season.
Previously heard only in vaguely threatening phone calls, Helfer will bring the mysterious Carla out of the shadows. The extremely intelligent and incredibly sexy Carla is Michael’s [Jeffrey Donovan] only contact with the shadowy group that got him burned.
According to a USA press release, Carla has “plans for him and various “assignments” for him to take care of, and she’s not taking no for an answer. Michael’s trapped in a deadly game with Carla where the only way he can keep his family safe, and find out more about her, is to play along and look for the opening he needs to take her on.”
Burn Notice returns to USA this summer.