'Warehouse 13' Returns July 6th – Clip

WAREHOUSE 13 returns to SyFy Tuesday July 6th at 9 PM (ET/PT) with ‘Time Will Tell’.
James MacPherson (Roger Rees) steals something important from the warehouse’s bronze sector, a car accident puts Mrs. Frederic (C. C. H. Pounder) in the hospital, and Secret Service agents Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock)and Myka Bering(Joanne Kelly) head to London on the trail of MacPherson.

The first season finale left us with the impression that MacPherson’s sabotage and explosions may have killed Warehouse-keeper Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek). He may also have “unleashed something into the world that Pete and Myka don’t even know how to deal with, much less stop.”
WAREHOUSE 13 was one of SyFy’s pleasant surprises, and according to their press release, the show became the cable channel’s all-time leader in total viewers (4.1 million), Adults 25-54 (2.1 million) and Household ratings (2.9), based on Live+7 DVR data.
Season Two will feature special crossover episodes that will have WAREHOUSE 13′s Allison Scagliotti (hacker turner Warehouse assistant Claudia Donovan) visit the town of Eureka and Neil Grayston (young cool-geek scientist Douglas Fargo) of EUREKA will drop in to Warehouse 13.
These programs will air on WAREHOUSE 13 Tuesday, August 3, and on EUREKA Friday, August 6.

SyFy's 'Alphas' Casting Begins

davidstrathairn_SWCAccording to Deadline.com
David Strathairn (THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES, pictured) is in talks for the lead role in SyFy’s ‘plain-clothes superheroes’ TV movie/pilot ALPHAS.

The 90-minute pilot film, set to be directed by Jack Bender (LOST), was written by Zak Penn (X-MEN: THE LAST STAND) and Michael Karnow.
The long-in-development project was originally called Section 8.
The premise is that otherwise ordinary people that have extraordinary mental and physical ablities are recuited into a team, to be lead by Strathairn’s character. This “absent-minded professor” is actually a sharp, rule-bending manipulator, able to convince the Alphas to help him pursue his objectives.
Also said to be cast for the pilot is Ryan Cartwright (BONES, MADMEN)
as a young man who can read electronic transmissions with his mind. This makes him a kind of human wiretap, without intrumentation. However, his gift is not without drawbacks, as he sufers from with Asperger’s Syndrome— an autisim spectrum disorder that makes it difficult to communicate and interact directly with other people.
Sounds like an interesting mixture of X-MEN, HEROES, and similar shows.
Anyone remember THE CHAMPIONS? That 1960’s ITC series with super-powered spies is (or was) also in development as a movie, with Tom Cruise and Guillermo Del Toro involved.

'Stargate Universe' Producer Leaving

stargate-sg1Gateworld.net features an interview with long time STARGATE writer/producer Robert C. Cooper on his announced plan to leave SyFy’s STARGATE: UNIVERSE.
Cooper, who has also directed episodes and the direct-to-DVD feature THE ARK OF TRUTH, will exit the long-running franchise after an appearance at San Diego’s Comic-Con next month.
Robert Cooper told them: “I’m not leaving completely, actually just stepping back to more of a consulting role for the end of this season (Season Two).
However, my credit will remain Executive Producer. We’ve already developed most of Season Two and I feel very confident leaving the show in good hands.”
As to why he’s leaving:

“To be honest this has been a very difficult decision.
I love UNIVERSE as a show and working with this cast and crew has been the best experience of my career thus far. However, it’s been a long time working on one franchise and a number of factors have contributed to my feeling that it’s time to move on.”
“I keep telling people this is not good-bye. In fact, I can’t rule out returning to Stargate in the future.”

Robert C. Cooper began as a writer and story editor of the MGM Television series STARGATE SG-1, starting with in the first Showtime season. (After five years, it was picked up by the then Sci-Fi Channel.)
With co-producer Brad Wright, he created STARGATE: ATLANTIS and STARGATE: UNIVERSE.

'The Phantom': An Empty Suit

The Good News: THE PHANTOM (2009) TV mini-series is a big step up from RHI Entertainment’s poverty-stricken FLASH GORDON TV movie/series.
The Bad News: It’s still a serious misfire, showing many signs of that inexplicable (to comics fans) 1960’s – 70’s era disdain for the source material. Why, one wonders do producers choose to option comic book/strip characters if the basic concepts seem to embarrass them? Ryan Carnes as Crhis Moore/Kit Walker
Either they make changes intended to make the characters more “realistic” or they go down the path of camp humor, to show that they are above the material.
Seldom do they appear to recognize the simple iconic power that has make these four-color heroes successful for decades. Intentionally or not, this film adaptation goes down both roads.
In the 4-hour mini-series/backdoor pilot THE PHANTOM, the filmmakers have chosen not to go with the still active 21st Phantom, but start afresh with his son. Fair enough, 70 plus years is a long time for anyone to hold the title.
However, they are not content to have this be the seamless, four century tradition of the comic strip, but instead construct an elaborate and personally tragic origin for this version of The Ghost Who Walks.
The last of the Phantom’s line is a semi-amnesiac 24-year-old who’s been given the name Chris Moore (Ryan Carnes) by his unknown-to-him adoptive parents. (Ray Moore was the definitive Phantom artist, and his mother’s name is Lee, presumably for creator Lee Falk.)
Phantom 21 is said to have died of cancer when he was two, mother Diana Palmer is killed off when he was five, when the car carrying the two was forced into the river by the Singh Brotherhood. The fact that in the strip Kit Walker the 22nd is supposed to have a twin sister and an adopted older brother is ignored — but never mind.
Gaping plot-holes have left the supposedly large and efficient organization dedicated to serving the Phantom unable to track down the missing heir to the legacy for 19 years.
Arrested for skylarking and trespassing charges, the young man is for some inexplicable reason DNA tested, something currently only permitted in NYC for those charged with violent crimes. This test is then further transmitted to police agencies world-wide, again wildly improbable for a supposedly more realistic take on the material.
Let it pass; the movie shows NYPD cars and paramedics responding to incidents in New Jersey, even though the jurisdiction of NY policemen investigating in NJ is later brought up within the same movie.
Again, let it pass — it allows the ‘Bpaa Thap’ (the Jungle Patrol of the comics) to find him (having somehow missed newspaper photos of the ‘wild child’ found after the accident), and get his parents conveniently killed off.
Things like this go on throughout the whole picture, as if father and son writing team Daniel Knauf (CARNIVÁLE) and Charles H. Knauf tried to put as many lapses of logic and inconsistencies into the script as possible, and then have references that point them out. I strongly doubt this is the case, and if the film had moved at a better pace they all might not have seemed so glaring and obvious.
And that above-mentioned inconsistent tone kicks in between the semi-realistic scenes and any time Singh Brotherhood leader Rhatib Singh (Cas Anvar) is on screen, apparently trying to out-camp Treat Williams’s performance in the 1996 PHANTOM. If his arch manner and sudden bursts of violence are supposed to remind us of Heath Ledger’s Joker, it doesn’t work.
Neither, sadly does the new Phantom’s costume, or the actor picked to play him. The suit is supposed to be a high-tech bullet-proof suit that gives the wearer enhanced strength and speed — which only seems effective against test dummies, as Chis seems nearly over-matched by every antagonist thrown at him.
Surley, if the organization had such a wonder suit (reportedly delveloped years before) they could have trained someone how to use it, instead of expecting the last of the Walkers to get up to speed in a few months.
Of course, without the right man you have only an empty suit. Or perhaps the premise for a different, somewhat interesing show.

Carnes tries to fill an Empty Suit

Ryan Carnes is actually a pretty skilled and likeable actor, and he does a good job with what he’s given.
But in the final analysis, he looks like a short, wiry kid swallowed up in a bulky and unappealing costume — and not the imposing figure the legendary Phantom should be.
When you have an actor that’s not tall in a role like this, there are ways to make him appear taller and more impressive (as with Michael Keaton’s Batman). Director Paolo Barzman (DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE, 2008) doesn’t seem to attempt this at all, shooting Carnes in such a way that almost everyone, including his female co-stars, looks bigger and more capable than he does.
Tom Tyler and Billy Zane fit the Iconic Image
Tom Tyler and Billy Zane fit The Phantom's iconic image

Isabella Rossellini is wasted in a thankless, and colorless scientific villain role. I originally thought she might be head of the Brotherhood, as their leader in the comic strip is female.
The script offers no real surprises, as just about every plot development is telegraphed or predicable.
Despite all this, the film is actually fairly entertaining, particularly if you’re not already familiar with or attached to the character. It looks pretty good, with generally nice photography from DP Pierre Jodoin.
THE PHANTOM ends with a promise of further adventures. With some re-casting, a better costume (not necessarily 100 % comics-accurate, just not so awkward-looking) and some refinements— such as not making the hero so dependent on a thousands of miles away support team—a series might have possibilities.
However, at the moment I’m not too anxious to see The Ghost Who Walks return to SyFy.

'Stargate Universe' Year 2 Cast – Trailer

STARGATE UNIVERSE just ended it’s first year on SyFy this past Friday. ‘Incursion Part 2’ left a number of threads dangling, which this trailer for Season Two will tease.
In the second season premiere, ‘Intervention’ we’ll meet Simeon, a “dangerous Lucian Alliance soldier”, to be played by Robert Knepper (THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL [2008]). Julie McNiven (SUPERNATURAL) will play Ginn, also of the Lucian Alliance, which has boarded and seemingly taken over the Ancient’s starship, Destiny.
Simeon’s character will be a recurring nemesis, and eventually have a showdown with Dr. Rush (Robert Carlyle). He can be seen in the trailer at screen left, holding a rifle on the scientist.
STARGATE UNIVERSE returns this October on SyFy.

'Stargate Universe: Incursion' – Clip


STARGATE UNIVERSE’s two-part Season Finale begins this Friday, June 4th.
I’ll give the production info & comments first, to avoid putting the episode description SPOILERS on the front page.

Incursion: Part One
Guest Stars: Rhona Mitra, Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda Tapping.
Written by Joseph Mallozzi
Directed by Andy Mikita
In the trailer (above, left), Colonel Young (Louis Ferreira) is attempting to force the treasonous, possibly brain-washed Col. Telford ( Lou Diamond Phillips), who is in Dr. Rush’s (Robert Carlyle) body to confess the details of the Lucian Alliance’s plot.
In case you were wondering, characters can switch bodies with host across the universe via transfer stones that also come from The Ancients.
Meanwhile, the captured Dr. Rush, in Telford’s body, is being compelled to give the Alliance the Stargate dialing codes (with the mysterious and vital “ninth chevron”) in order to travel to the advanced ship.
Confused? If you haven’t been watching the show, you might well be, as it’s not all that friendly to the casual viewer—or even fans.
Just in the last few episodes has the audience been given clearer reasons to care about the often difficult to like characters trapped on the ship.
The Spoiler? The Lucian Alliance does indeed board the Ancients’ starship Destiny, and takes several crewmembers hostage in an attempt to sieze control of the advanced universe-tranversing vessel, and the secrets that it holds..
Airs this Friday on SyFy.

'Alphas'- SyFy Pilot Finds Lost Director

alphasHere’s a press release from SyFy:

“Syfy has inked award winning director/executive producer Jack Bender as director/executive producer for the action-adventure 90-minute pilot, ALPHAS (working title) from writers Zak Penn (X-Men: The Last Stand, Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk) and Michael Karnow, it was announced today by Mark Stern, Executive Vice President of Original Programming, Syfy and Co-Head of Content for Universal Cable Productions, which is the studio for the project.

Bender just wrapped six seasons as an executive producer and director on the critically acclaimed series LOST, and directed Sunday’s much anticipated series finale. Alphas is executive produced by Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun for BermanBraun Television and is slated to commence production in Toronto this summer.

ALPHAS follows a team of ordinary citizens who possess extraordinary and unusual mental skills. Using physical feats and uniquely advanced mental abilities, this unlikely team takes the law into their own hands and uncovers what the CIA, FBI and Pentagon have not been able or willing to solve. These gifted individuals must balance their quirky personalities and disparate backgrounds with their not always visible powers as they work to solve crimes, stop the ticking time bomb and catch the enemy.”

So more plainclothes superheroes?  Sounds almost like a new HEROES, hopefully minus the angst, confusion and eventual viewer frustration. Probably minus the budget as well—though to be fair, SyFy has managed to mount some pretty impressive shows.

Art: Our interpretation .

The Phantom – NewTrailer

RHI Entertainment has posted a new trailer for their TV movie of THE PHANTOM – which looks an expanded version of last year’s advanced trailer.
Ryan Carnes (DOCTOR WHO: Evolution of the Daleks/Daleks in Manhattan) plays Chris Moore, a young man that does not know he is really Kit Walker, next in line and unprepared to become the mysterious vigilante known as as The Phantom, scourge of pirates an evil-doers for centuries.
The two-part ‘mini’ is expected to air this June on SyFy. It’s from RHI Entertainment, which has produced a number of projects for the cable station, including the one-season FLASH GORDON update — also a King Features’ comic strip character.
The TV film features, among others,  Isabella Rossellini (ALIAS) and Cas Anvar (PUNISHER: WAR ZONE).
It was written by Daniel Knauf (CARNIVÁLE) and Charles H. Knauf, and directed by Paolo Barzman (DR.JEKYLL & MR. HYDE, 2008).
THE PHANTOM has the potential to spin off into a series on SyFy. It aired in Candada on Dec. 20th, 2009, without generating much noticable comment here in the U.S.
**UPDATE** May 3. 2010–  According to The Hollywood Reporter SyFy will air both parts of the four hour PHANTOM June 20th, 2010.

Roger Corman still going strong with Dinoshark

Tied in with the premiere on SyFy of DINOSHARK last weekend, IESB has an exclusive interview with legendary producer Roger Corman (PIRANHA, DEATH RACE 2000). Corman’s career ranges from classics to cult to shlock. Decades ago, he provided endless fodder for drive-in theatres; with the home video era having decimated the drive-ins, one would wonder whether he could adapt to the new millennium. It turns out he’s right at home supplying modestly budgeted monster movies for SyFy on a regular basis:

IESB: How did Dinoshark come to be? Was it your idea, or did SyFy approach you about it?
Roger: It started a few years ago. I made a pictured called Dinocroc and I sold it to the SyFy Channel, and it got the highest rating of the year. So, needless to say, they wanted to have another one. I was having lunch with their executives in New York and they said, “We’d like to have another Dinocroc,” and I said, “Certainly, we’ll do Dinocroc 2.” And then, they said, “No. We find that if we put the number 2 on a picture, it gets a lower rating. What works for us is to have a similar title.” So, I said, “Did I say Dinocroc 2? Of course, I meant Supergator.” And they said, “Right, we’ll make Supergator.” Now, Supergator got another very high ratings, so this time they came up with the title Dinoshark, which is an obvious continuation of the Dinocroc title. The first two were my concepts, and this one was my concept for the story, but it was their title.

Tin Man: Part One (2007) – TV Review

TIN MAN poster

The Sci-Fi Channel’s three-part “re-imagining” of L. Frank Baum’s THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ gets off to a sleepy, tedious start as we meet DG (Zooey Deschanel), a troubled youth stuck in a dead-end waitress job while living on her parents’ farm in rural Kansas. She keeps having dreams of a faraway land, and of a woman with lavender eyes (Anna Galvin). Meanwhile, in a realm known as The Outer Zone, or O.Z., the sorceress Azkadellia (Kathleen Robertson) rules with an iron fist, using both magic and plain old military might. However, she learns of a girl from outside the O.Z. that might be a threat to her rule, and sends her Longcoats to eliminate her. Using a magical “travel storm” that generates a tornado, the Longcoats, led by the ruthless and cruel Zero (Callum Keith Rennie), attack DG and her parents. They escape by jumping into the tornado, which deposits DG in the O.Z. Continue reading “Tin Man: Part One (2007) – TV Review”