Friday, February 29, 2008

B5 S1 Ep 1-4: Midnight On The Firing Line, Soul Hunter, Born To The Purple & Infection

"That! That! Dude looks like a" peacock!

I know, it's hard to take this guy seriously, but never judge a book by its cover as they say.

Rule of thumb: Give anything at least 1 year. Certainly TV executives don't do it, but fortunately they did it for Babylon 5, which lasted 5 Seasons and 7 films [including the non-cannon film The Legend Of The Rangers and the 2007 release The Lost Tales] and by all accounts gets better and better aging like a fine wine or so I've been led to believe.

Folks. I'm checking out Babylon 5 Season 1: Signs & Portents for the first time. My initial reactions to episode 1 [Midnight On The Firing Line]; not necessarily good. Dodgy special effects and a so-so musical score [if you want to call it that] by Christopher Franke combined with crazee hairdoos have all been a bit of a turn off. Of course this was fairly ambitious in 1994 and like anything else, keep in mind, I have been evaluating the first show out of the gate for the series. I look forward to improvements with each passing episode. I do plan on staying with it. Still, that early computer animation closely resembles that of early Star Wars gaming a la Shadows Of The Empire or worse- rough to say the least. I will say that the dude with the black Japanese fan for hair started to grow on me by episode 3. I promise to do my best in learning the character names so that I may refrain from calling him the "dude with crazy hair."

The DVD transfer is a fairly dirty print, but the DVD gives the presentation its best shot sans any remastering. Looking past the technical imperfections and some minor complaints my own eyes are telling me there's potential in here.

The thing that struck me and most impressed me was the scope of its vision and the concept of a "port of call." "Two million Five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal." It's 2258 and the space station that is Babylon 5 is the last hope for peace.

The solid performances from the assembled cast have me paying attention. Getting to know the players and the races will take some getting used to, but then again hearing "Goa'uld" in Stargate was weird the first time and took some getting used to. Leader Michael O'Hare comes across the most wooden to me. It's plain to see why he would later be replaced for Season 2 by Bruce Boxleitner, a much more adept actor with much greater range. Security Chief Michael Garibaldi and Lt. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova were the most natural for me. I was drawn into the show through them as they attempt to maintain order on this galactic version of the United Nations [the politics on board Babylon 5 are almost as nasty with aliens of all kinds attempting to live in harmony - sounds familiar]. Finally, the costume design and make-up is really phenomenal. The special effects may be abysmal, but the prosthetics and costumes are truly striking.

The Season 1 cast includes:
  • Michael O'Hare [Commander Jeffrey Sinclair]
  • Claudia Christian [Lt Commander Susan Ivanova]
  • Jeffrey Doyle [Security Chief Michael Garibaldi]
  • Peter Jurasik [Londo Mollari]
  • Mira Furlan [Delenn]
  • Richard Biggs [Dr. Stephen Franklin]
  • Andrea Thompson [Talia Winters]
  • Stephen Furst [Vir]
  • Bill Mumy [Lennier]
  • Caitlin Brown [Na'Toth]
  • Andreas Katsulas [G' Kar]

Despite my unenthusiastic introduction, because I wouldn't necessarily say I have reservations, I can easily see the promise of the show and I do realize this was a first go at something seemingly untested outside of Star Trek. Not to be too harsh as I suspect my perceptions may change as I move forward in the series.

Midnight On The Firing Line: C+

Soul Hunter: C

Born To The Purple: C+

Infection: C

Aliens may look funny but they can act!

Update: I have since watched the first four episodes and the production values are certainly not what I'm accustomed to, but the acting continues to drive my interest keeping me in the game despite comments over my shoulder from the peanut gallery to the cry of "those graphics are terrible!" or "sounds like science fiction porn." Nice, real nice. Okay so the music is a little retro in style perhaps, but that's severe. However, all in all, it has reinforced my love for Stargate that much more. But, with lines like "you moon-faced assassin of joy" I remain steadfast in giving it a chance.

It will get better right?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Insiders [SG-1's Clone Wars]

You gotta lotta Baal's comparing this one to Star Wars: The Clone Wars!

You may have heard Star Wars is going computer animated in 2008. They will launch the franchise with a feature film in August followed by an ongoing 30 episodes for the Cartoon Network. So, some pretty exciting news for jedi fans.

For the sci fi fans who like a little more meat on their science fiction bones we fortunately have Star Trek and Stargate. In it's heady Seasons 9 & 10, Stargate SG-1's scriptwriters and effects teams really tackled some fairly complex ideas technically and pulled it off with finesse. The Baal clone conundrum for Insiders was extremely clever.

In Season 9, the creators went to the wall for fanboys with the fruition of multiple Carters. Okay, technically these were not Carter clones. Actually, they were alternate-reality-timeline Carters. In other words, Ripple Effect, saw SG-1 cope with an influx of SG-1 teams through the Stargate from a variety of alternate timelines. They were up to roughly 10 Carters. Of course fangirls had nothing to complain about with multiple Cameron Mitchells, multiple Teal'cs and multiple Daniel Jacksons to ponder running around Cheyenne Mountain.

Yup, them there were some pretty nasty cloning [& alternate reality] problems.

And there was a boatload of conflict in both Ripple Effect and Insiders, SG-1's answer to Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Rescue Dawn

I had posted earlier regarding Werner Herzog's documentary Little Dieter Needs To Fly surrounding the extraordinary survival tale of Dieter Dengler during his WWII childhood and later Vietnam. The film details the life of an exemplary man.

Rescue Dawn is also directed by Herzog. As he mentions in a featurette on the DVD this was the "unfinished business" between he and Dengler that they wanted to see grace film. It is the visualized dramatization of that aforementioned documentary.

It remains faithful to the documentary and the spirit of the man that is Dieter in almost every way. Christian Bale gives yet another standout performance as Dengler. His castmates also deliver. Steve Zahn is flawless as Duane Martin, Bale's best friend and a fellow POW. Not to be overlooked is Jeremy Davies [Lost, Saving Private Ryan] as Gene. Davies is immersed and emaciated in this moving role [Herzog admits in the extras he wished he had portrayed Gene a little better in light of new information that came to him after the film was made]. It is quite easily one of the finest, real war films told in recent memory. Herzog relies on the reality of the Thailand jungle. There is no CGI trickery here.

For fans of Lost, there is yet another connection to our favorite TV drama with the appearance of Francois Chau [of the Dharma initiative] who attempts to coax Dengler into turning on his adopted homeland by signing papers against his country.

Loyalty. True honor. Those are qualities all too rare to find these days. Clearly Dieter Dengler udnerstoof those qualities in spades.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Midway [a.k.a. The Wraith Spanking]

The testosterone-heavy Stargate Atlantis, Midway was an outstanding stand alone and was easily the best of the last four episodes. Midway serves up the perfect blend of character drama, action and humor all in equal doses. Not to mention, it's always a pleasure to see the Wraith take a good old-fashioned ass-whooping.

The episode was laid out beautifully in 3 segments: Atlantis in the Pegasus Galaxy, the Midway Station and the S.G.C. on Earth [hey Gary Jones!] beginning with that warm, fuzzy feeling of Carter reuniting with Teal'c in Atlantis. He arrives with another great 'doo too.

The story centers on Carter's request to have Teal'c meet with Ronon Dex prior to Ronon's meeting with the I.O.A. so that Ronon might fair well in the interview with Mr. Coolidge back at the S.G.C.. It's brilliant to see the always stoic Teal'c come face to face with the strong, silent Ronon. It makes for some great on camera moments without much dialogue. Ronon is clearly disinterested in receiving any help from Teal'c and the hand-to-hand combat sequence is pure machisimo between the two! Fight proves two things. Ronon is a bad ass and Teal'c has become a wisened, Master Bra'tac-type bad ass! It's a draw and it's just pure darn stubborn, good ol' fashion warrior fun. Crazy kids.

When the time comes to travel to the S.G.C., Teal'c and Ronon meet up with Dr. Lee and the geek squad and must share quarters [and watch some dreadful Earth television in the form of The Three Stooges- damn! their exporting that stuff to space now!] for the required 24 hour quarantine period at the Midway station. Again, some great physical humor between Christopher Judge and Jason Momoa. Unexpectedly, the Midway point is overrun and commandeered by the Wraith.

In the second half, the two actors enjoy playing the proverbial "flys in the ointment" messing up the Wraith plans badly. They stop kicking each other's ass and start kicking Wraith ass! Did I mention Ronon and Teal'c are bad asses? Both head through the wormhole in hot Wraith pursuit who have knocked out all personnel at the S.G.C. with a stun device. Meanwhile, Shepherd and company arrive at the Midway to put a stop to the remaining pasty-faced ilk and kick more ass after Shepherd's boys receive their own ass plastering! Gotta love Shep! The guy is the best! Things heat up at the S.G.C. as many asses are spanked hard thanks to Ronon and Teal'c bringing things well in hand.

Some perfect dialogue for Dex and Teal'c throughout and appropriately limited. [I may be paraphrasing this example] Ronon: "You say that alot." Teal'c: "Say what?" Ronon: [immitating Teal'c] "Indeeed." Teal'c: "I hadn't noticed." As a whole, amazing performances all around with some great lines penned for all parties involved. It was a rollicking good time.

Oh, and Kavanaugh inadvertently blows the Midway station to kingdom come. This battle for Midway doesn't quite wind up like the one from 1942.

In the end, there's a respectful mentor/student-like nod by Dex to Teal'c following the interview. I think they like each other. Seeing Ronon flick Shepherd's nose in the final moments was classic.

A terrific installment with loads of great action and back and forth banter between a great cast. It was an unexpectedly strong outing. I was sick as a dog watching this one and it kind of picked up my spirits. Who needs a spoonful of sugar? We've got Atlantis.

Midway: A-

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Forsaken [or how I learned to stop worrying and love SG-1]

Friends. I have a confession.

I became a Stargate SG-1 fan in Season 6. "Bloody hell!" I know, I know. You're in shock. "Sacriledge!" you say, but at least I became a fan. I saw the original film in theatres and liked it okay, but I liked what the creators of this series were doing much more. The film never sold me enough to check out the series way back at the beginning. Not to mention I didn't have Showtime.

I thought it would be fun to look back at the moment I was turned on to SG-1. Bless y'all out there if you've been a fan since the get go. I'm impressed. There aren't many shows I've watched since the moment they arrived on the scene. For example, I bought Lost Season 1 on DVD Box Set and became an official addict. As you learned just recently, the same applies to Jericho.

It was a typical night of the day's current events. As a habit I constantly check the news to see how far things have gone down the shitter. It's generally depressing to see the state of the world but somehow I always concern myself with it. During commercial I stumbled upon Sci Fi Channel and what would be Stargate SG-1 Forsaken. I'd have to say, in fact, Forsaken may have turned me into an even bigger science fiction fan than I already was. I know it's strange. Certainly there are no space battles and the only ship that's in the episode is the one crashed and disabled on the planet's surface [but I've always loved spaceshipwrecks]. It would seem unlikely, Forsaken, would be enough to draw me in, but it did. In fact, after watching the series straight through from start to finish I would consider Forsaken a solid entry in the Stargate SG-1 pantheon, but certainly not in my Top 10. I think it made me appreciate serialized science fiction more than I had up to that point.

Anyway, there were three key things for me that nailed it!

The story by none other than Damian Kindler and direction by Andy Mikita [he of the Heroes two parter]. It offered a nice twist on the good guys versus bad guys plot. SG-1 gates to a planet where three human-looking aliens are fending off two creepy looking aliens from their ship. Of course, nothing is as it seems. The two creepy-looking dudes are actually the good guys trying to get their ship back from the three escaped prisoners. Simple, but interesting enough to watch the drama unfold.

Amanda Tapping [Samantha Carter] [I was in love].

Richard Dean Anderson [Jack O'Neill] [yup! I was in love again].

Oh and of course the action of this wee, little firefight got me intrigued enough to check out everything I had missed so far.

The show was a great example of classic science fiction. It sure as heck grabbed me. I even became a fan sans Daniel Jackson. Season 6 afterall was the season Michael Shanks had departed, so it was never him who did it for me [although I became a fan of his work in the final three seasons especially; Jackson had evolved and I liked the slightly edgy, jaded character he became]. So without a single soul mentioning the program to me I somehow stumbled upon it on Sci-Fi Channel and the rest is history.

So, what was your first SG-1 moment?

Forsaken: B

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Jericho Season 1

"Nuts! You can go to Hell!" Yup! I completely get it now! I just finished the dynamite season finale of Jericho and not a moment too soon. Season 2 begins Tuesday [10:00 pm]! FIND IT! WATCH IT! LIVE IT! Join the Jericho train and together we can rule the galaxy! Okay, maybe a bit too dramatic, but all I can say is "Holy mackerel Andy!" Season 1 of Jericho is just pure, damn explosive perfection!

Jericho's been one helluva ride since the arrival of those God-forsaken mushroom clouds. The action, the intrigue, the paranoia, the mistrust, the deceptions. This is an exciting television experience to be sure.

I can't say enough good things about Jericho to get you to check it out. It's an intense, involving story in the same vein as Lost from concept to casting. The pacing is relentless and filled with the emotion of powerful performances. You won't be disappointed. We are gripped by the journey these characters are on in the new world that is Jericho, Kansas. The problems, the mysteries and the sheer need to survive plague interpersonal relations here in much the same way we find people scrambling on Lost. Still, they are different. The ties are much closer as there is a bond between the folks of Jericho. These people knew one another before the blasts or do they? The pressures of a new order are shaping decisions and behavior and its fascinating to see who rises and falls amidst the ensuing chaos. Smalltown communities are rarely on display in television and its fascinating to see this kind of intimacy played out.

A scene from Winter's End and the dramatic struggles within Jericho.

The cast is a deliciously assembled ensemble:

  • Skeet Ulrich [Jake Green]
  • Lennie James [Robert Hawkins]
  • Kenneth Mitchell [Eric Green]
  • Gerald McRaney [Johnston Green]
  • Ashley Scott [Emily Sullivan]
  • Brad Beyer [Stanley Richmond]
  • Alicia Coppola [Mimi Clark]
  • Sprague Grayden [Heather Lisinski]
  • Michael Gaston [Gray Anderson]
  • Shoshannah Stern [Bonnie Richmond]
  • Erik Knudsen [Dale Turner]

Here's a run down of Jericho Season 1 and how the episodes shakedown. I essentially rate on my own visceral reaction combined with the pacing of action and drama that propels the story forward and whether or not I felt it successfully delivered. All in all, there really isn't a bad apple in the bunch here.

Pilot: The First Seventeen Hours [A] The title about says it all as we are introduced to the cast of characters of Jericho, Kansas. Following the bombs the town does what it can to come to grips with a reality they know little about.

Fallout [A] The town runs for cover from the potentially fatal fallout following the nuclear attack.

Four Horsemen [A] The town begins to understand the scope of the event and seek to search for more answers through search parties.

Walls Of Jericho [A] A stranger comes to town dying from radiation poisoning.

Federal Response [C+] Mayhem from power spikes has the town reeling and a recorded message from Homeland Security keeps the town on edge in terms of the realities of their fate.

9:02 [B] EMP [electromagnetic pulse] weapons are launched and plunge the town into darkness literally as if being in the dark about their circumstances wasn't enough.

Long Live The Mayor [B] Gray Anderson, a rival to the town mayor, returns from an earlier search for survivors and is horrified by what he has seen.

Rogue River [A] With the mayor out of commission from illness, his two sons, Jake and Eric Green, must travel to a dangerous area to obtain the medicine needed to save their father Johnston Green's life. This is the first appearance of Ravenwood led by actor D.B. Sweeney

Crossroads [A] Jericho's residents secure the borders in an effort to prevent the arrival of Ravenwood.

Red Flag [B+] Aid relief arrives falling from the skies but from who?

Vox Populi [B] A murder. An election. Gray Anderson becomes the new mayor. They must determine who is behind the death as the town of Jericho continues to hold it together.

The Day Before [B-] The past of Jake and Robert Hawkins is revealed in this episode dedicated to the hours before the nuclear attack.

Black Jack [B] Jake, Johnston, Dale and Heather head to a trading post outside of town for resources.

Heart Of Winter [B] Jake, Stanley and Mimi are pursued by a vehicle and unknown occupants. Forced off the road, their truck crashes and Jake is pinned underneath the overturned truck in the dead of winter. Stanley stays by his side to comfort him as Mimi journeys for help into the unknown.

Semper Fidelis [B] The US Marines arrive to help the townspeople or are they marines? The tank is convincing, but Jake and Johnston are on to something. Hawkins meanwhile deals with his family and the arrival of an old comrade in Sarah.

Winter's End [B] This one is a right tearjerker. Have the Kleenix ready. April struggles to stay alive and Kenchy does his best to save her.

One Man's Terrorist [B-] Roger, Emily's fiance, goes bananas when the town's mayor decides the town's refugees must leave due to lack of resources. Roger holds Gray Anderson hostage and Jake mediates to prevent the situation from escalating.

A.K.A [A] Jake holds Robert Hawkins at gunpoint to determine if he is a terrorist or not. Much of Hawkins' backstory is revealed here and it is a mesmerizing episode.

Casus Belli [B+] Eric never returns from rival town New Bern. Jake and Hawkins head out to find him and Heather. The two uncover a plot of weapons manufacturing that may result in Jericho as the target.

One If By Land [A] Johnston learns his sons are being held captive in New Bern. Hawkins schemes a plan to rescue Eric and Jake. One of the most intense action sequences of the season.

Coalition Of The Willing [A-] Johnston, Jake, Eric, Hawkins all head to the outskirts of town and form a temporary partnership with Emily's father to take out New Bern's men and mortars that are shelling Jericho. A war is brewing between the two towns.

Why We Fight [A] Everyone in Jericho walks the streets of Jericho armed. It's like the Wild West. New Bern is coming and the town of Jericho must make a stand to protect itself. This is as good as season finale's get.

Ordinary America quickly collapsing into the Wild West?

I think what makes Jericho so damn gripping is the way in which it portrays the country's devolution following the attacks from episode 1. It literally is a regression backward for the town of Jericho and others around them and how the regular folks deal with it all. There are loads of competing factions and it manages to inject topical global issues straight into the story to keep it compelling. It's a bit like the wild, wild west when all is said and done. Any and all attempts to maintain civilization seem thwarted at every turn by the evil of men in desperate times. It's a sincere and powerfully written story with an amazing cast!

Fans of this show, including me, certainly have their fingers crossed to see it renewed for Season 3. I suspect we'll know more in oh... 7 weeks. Support Season 2 and if you don't... well you're nuts!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Dr. Elizabeth Weir

The recent reshuffling news on Stargate Atlantis alerts fans to the latest casualty. After two solid announcements concerning the casting of 'regulars' Robert Picardo and Jewel Staite it was reported that the lovely Torri Higginson who played Dr. Elizabeth Weir will not return for Season 5 of the show. The news comes amidst a swirl of strained relations after Higginson was not properly picked up as a 'regular' for Season 4. Higginson had signed a 6 year deal when she was cast in 2004 and made her first appearance on Stargate SG-1.

Here is Jessica Steen playing Dr. Elizabeth Weir in the character's first appearance on SG-1 for Lost City Part 1 at the end of Season 7.

Jessica Steen (Earth 2) was lovely, but fortunately the creators had the good sense to recast the role and give the part to Higginson who infused the complex part with a touch more finesse. Higginson was perfect for the part. Would the real Dr. Elizabeth Weir please step forward?

This was Higginson's first appearance at the start of Season 8 in New Order Part 1. I was a bit tentative initially about her part, but the actress expertly handled command. Stargate Atlantis showed a great deal of promise with Higginson at the helm.

Higginson had these comments (taken from Gateworld): "The very last day of filming Season 3 as I finished filming the last scene on the last day, I was called up to the office and was told that my character was going to become recurring if I chose to be, so, I thought that was not a very dignified way to deal with it, and I was a bit surprised. So my reaction was -- I was a little bit surprised. I was a little bit upset by how it was dealt with" (extracted from DTRN's Sci Fi Guys Internet radio program). To quote Weir in the first clip above, "well there's gonna be a lot of changes and not everyone's gonna be happy about them." Steen discovered this after just two episodes. Unfortunately, Higginson, too, sees the character part come to a close.

Coupled with the loss of Amanda Tapping from the show as a regular, Tapping will make appearances, the latest blow results in losing Higginson completely. There was indeed a sexy, commanding coolness about her and I will miss her presence on Stargate Atlantis. Her role was noticeably absent in Season 4, and from the sounds of it, the relationship between her and the creators ends on a sour note. It doesn't appear she'll be back.

Still, does Jonas Quinn ring a bell? Michael Shanks came back from the wilderness following his own grievances. It's certainly unlikely for Higginson, but never say never in science fiction.

Update: Higginson made an appearance on Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie's Dark Matter (2015-present). Given Mallozzi and Mullie's connection to Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe it would seem time does indeed heal all wounds.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Dr. Jennifer Keller

All that delicious news concerning Stargate Atlantis continues to filter in. Jewel Staite was hired to play Dr. Jennifer Keller at the end of Season 3 and became a 'recurring' character in Season 4. It has just been announced she has now been promoted to 'regular' cast member for Season 5. This is another piece of exciting news to contemplate alongside Robert Picardo's upgrade. She joins Robert Picardo, Joe Flanigan, Rachel Luttrell, David Hewlett and Jason Momoa to round out a six member ensemble for the next phase in the evolution of Stargate Atlantis.

Thinking about Jewel Staite always reminds me of the character she absolutely owned on the unfortunately ephemeral series Firefly, Kaylee Frye, the ship Serenity's mechanic. Most people have come to discover the verse of Firefly or become one of the fabulous mass that supports it dubbed "Browncoats." Staite was terrific in that amazing ensemble and on that absolutely terrific show. It was one of those shows that never had a chance to get off the ground like Stargate did. It's too bad, because Jericho was salvaged by its rabid fanbase to tell another tale. I just can't understand why Firefly never got picked up by Sci Fi Channel. To this day it perplexes me and saddens me. I know, I know the fans did lift it up and resurrect enough interest that Joss Whedon got behind the camera for a big screen adaptation and wrap up of it in a film called Serenity and that was outstanding! I still wish the series got picked up.

I guess that's it really, science fiction television has turned out to be a much more exciting avenue for me than science fiction film. Let's face it, sci fi in theatres just never gets a chance to develop. The last Star Wars trilogy was loaded with wooden characters and stilted dialogue. Sci fi on television experiments, pushes the boundaries, expectations and character development week after week and that is precisely why science fiction on TV beats out film any day of the week. That's why Stargate [the movie] was good, but both series are stellar.

Anyway, I soooo wish Firefly was still around. Give me 10 seasons of that show anyday. That was the one that got away for me. It ranked in my Top 5.

This is the delightful Jewel Staite [pre-Stargate Atlantis] as Kaylee opposite the always brilliant, eternally underrated Nathan Fillion [Slither] on that special little show called Firefly.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Richard Woolsey

If you don't know who Richard Woolsey is you've probably never watched Stargate SG-1 or Stargate Atlantis. Richard Woolsey works for a furtive operation dubbed the NID. He is officially the International Oversight Committee Representative. He was introduced in Season 7 of SG-1 and now has a recurring role on Atlantis. This fascinating character study is also notably played by actor Robert Picardo.
If you don't know Robert Picardo you probably never watched Star Trek Voyager where he established a very convincing doctor, albeit virtual & holographic, for seven seasons. The medical training clearly built upon from his time as a doctor on China Beach.

As previously announced Amanda Tapping is moving over to the new Sci Fi Channel series Sanctuary and will no longer be a regular on Stargate Atlantis. A replacement was needed for her. It was just announced that Picardo's Woolsey character would be heading up the command of the Atlantis expedition for the upcoming Season 5 of the show.

I'm not sure what the buzz on the street is regarding his position at the top of this gating beast, but I have to tip my cap to the creators of Stargate Atlantis for making such a strong and decisive statement for the show. Picardo is the consummate actor. He's a joy to watch play any role. Until now he's been one of my favorite 'recurring' characters in the Stargate universe and with this announcement he will happily become one of my favorite 'regular' cast members next to Joe Flanigan, David Hewlett and Jason Momoa. He'll also add a very different spice to the chemistry of a show that has already proven itself willing to change and take chances. He will have a unique impact on its diverse cast and the program's ever-changing chemistry and dynamic. It'll be a thrill to see where this goes.

Here is a scene from Robert Picardo's first appearance [Heroes] on Stargate SG-1 illustrating Picardo's immense talent opposite Don Davis. Two powerhouse performances.

By the way, I purchased a box of Stargate Season 7 trading cards and by some sheer miracle was the recipient of a personally autographed very limited card [see above]. You don't get much luckier than that in the world of card collecting. I was pretty excited and my other half [aka The One To Be Pitied as she likes to be called] had to watch me jump around in jubilation. You would have thought the Patriots won the superbowl [ouch that hurt!].

For more information on Robert Picardo and his career from China Beach to The Wonder Years click here for his official website.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Sanctuary: The Series

It wasn't too long ago I reviewed the web-based version of Sanctuary [click here for a video sample]. I had predicted it was just a matter of time before someone snatched it up for television. It turns out it was greenlit sooner than I expected. Sci-Fi Channel has ordered a 13 episode run.

Not unlike the webisodes the show is expected to rely heavily on the virtual-based sets found in these original shorts albeit with a much heftier budget thankfully.

It was the first high definition web series for science fiction.

Again, Amanda Tapping [Stargate SG-1] will be returning to play the part of Dr. Helen Magnus. SG-1 writing-producing-directing alumni Damian Kindler [creator of Sanctuary] and Martin Wood will also return along with much of the same cast from the web.

The sci fi drama will see Magnus' quest to protect Earth's unfortunate creature-like oddities continue. A new two-hour premiere is forthcoming with filming to begin in March.

UPDATE: This will impact Amanda Tapping's character of Samantha Carter for Stargate Atlantis as she will return in a supporting/ guest only role for Season 5.