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Artist Phil Jimenez portrays the many incarnations of Wonder Woman since her creation in 1941

Artist Phil Jimenez portrays the many incarnations of Wonder Woman since her creation in 1941

The Wonder Woman film has been languishing without a star for too long (Joss Whedon penned a script years ago but it was reportedly “thrown out” despite industry acclaim). Still in early development with a planned 2011 release date, one actress after another has been rumored to be attached to the film without any official confirmation. With the rest of the Justice League making (big and small) screen appearances in recent years, now would be the perfect time for the third corner of the DC Holy Trinity (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) to make her appearance. So, why hasn’t she? According to a Justice League movie site and IMDb both the Justice League and Wonder Woman films are slated for a 2011 release, set to battle against Marvel‘s The Avengers for moviegoers’ attention. While The Avengers has been pushed back to 2012, it’s still very much a happening thing. So where is DC? Where is our JLA and our WW?

One rumored problem was the lead actress. Megan Fox broke fans’ hearts when, hot off her Transformers success, she dissed the Amazonian princess as a “lame superhero”. Then Jessica Biel (Blade: Trinity) carefully avoided stepping on toes by saying that if the script and the character development was right she’d be “into that kind of thing” but then declined anyway. Australian fashion model turned actress Megan Gale was also “confirmed” by several websites as attached to the role, but in the year and a half since that announcement nothing else has been whispered. So, what’s the problem?

Diana Prince has gone through a lot of changes over the decades. Having been almost continuously in print since her creation in 1941, she’s run the gambit of personas. She’s really toughened up over the last two decades, though, shedding the campy image that dominated the 70s and 80s, due largely to the JLA cartoons. She kicks butt with the best of them now, so whoever gets the role of the Amazon Princess needs to be able to lay down some serious justice.

In reviewing the female action heroes (and actresses who played them in recent years), one unbelievable waif of a girl after another is presented. Wonder Woman needs to be just that — a Woman. A real-life, honest-to-goodness adult woman who has curves and charm, not just some stick-like Hollywood hottie. While actresses such as Mila Jovovich and Jennifer Garner are very believable action heroes, neither would be a good match for Wonder Woman. Talented movie chameleon Charlize Theron might be able to pull it off because she seems to magically become whoever she wants to be, but would she be interested in a role that could lead to sequels?

There is one actress who comes to mind who has both the curves and kicks. In the syndicated action fantasy series Legend of the Seeker, star Bridget Regan has proven that she has the acting and karate chops, as well as the beauty, to pull off the role of Amazon Princess Diana.

The right woman for the job? Bridget Regan's fans seem to think she's perfect for the role.

The right woman for the job? Bridget Regan's fans seem to think she's perfect for the role.

Each week, in her role as Mother Confessor Kahlan Amnell, we watch Bridget as she kicks, punches and stabs the bad guys, sometimes even from horseback. She’s believable doing it because she really is doing it. She reported in a recent interview that the New Zealand stuntmen encourage her to hit or kick them as hard as she can, and she certainly seems to enjoy herself doing it. She’s gorgeous, talented, looks great in a corset, and can pull off a roundhouse and look mean doing it. On top of her fighting skills and great looks, she’s got charm. One minute she’s casting a glare that could freeze you in your tracks and the next she’s flashing a smile that melts your heart. Fans are so certain that she’s a perfect fit for the role of Wonder Woman, they’ve started a petition at Petition Spot to try to help get her an invitation to audition for the role. The latest rumors are that producers are getting serious about it, and Wonder Woman is supposed to get fast-tracked. Perhaps casting Bridget Regan in the role will be a boon for the production considering how popular Legend of the Seeker is at the moment. I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather see in the role right now so I’m totally rooting for her. Go sign the petition and spread the word.

Good luck, Bridget!

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I admit I still watch cartoons. I can blame it on being a mother who was concerned with what her children were watching when they were little but we all know that’s not the truth. I believe that a well-told story is as ageless as it is timeless. That’s why movies and books from before we were born still have an impact on us today. Times change, customs change, but people don’t change. There’s always a struggle to do what is right and good, no matter what era you grew up in. Avatar: The Last Airbender is a classic good versus evil tale of a young man who is the last of his kind and possibly the last hope for mankind. Drawing heavily from several Asian cultures and blending them with Western culture, Avatar has created a unique world and mythology of its own.

The people of this world are divided into four nations, with one of each of the elements as the central focus of their culture. Each generation someone (called an Avatar) is born empowered with one of the four elements — Earth, Water, Fire and Air — and through their influence, balance and peace is kept between nations. But the balance has been broken and the Fire Nation threatens to conquer all. As Avatar of Air, Aang and his companions Katara and Sokka must fight to restore the balance and stop the Fire Nation before it’s too late.

Some people might object to the watered down philosophies presented in Avatar: The Last Airbender but while the elements of Taoism, Buddhism and other Eastern philosophies are present in the show, they are uniquely blended and presented as part of the culture of this fantasy world and not as indoctrination for your children. What your children might learn from Avatar is that there are consequences to your actions, including how we treat our environment and resources and each other (Avatar won a 2009 Peabody Award for its “unusually complex characters and healthy respect for the consequences of warfare”).

Avatar: The Last Airbender was created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko and aired on Nickelodeon for three seasons, from 2005 through 2008. Avatar’s animation style blended traditional anime with Western animation to create a unique animated experience. Each week over one million viewers of all ages watched Avatar. It won several awards during its run and garnered praise from viewers and critics alike. Alas, all good stories come to an end, and when Avatar: The Last Airbender’s end came in July 2008, over 5.6 million viewers tuned in for the two-hour series finale.

The appeal of this series wasn’t lost on M. Night Shyamalan. He took on the mantle of directing the film adaptation, titled The Last Airbender. Tentatively a trilogy, The Last Airbender is currently filming with a slated release in 2010, and is penned, along with Shyamalan, by the series creators DiMartino and Konietzko. Other encouraging names attached to production are Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy as producers (the team that brought us such films as Indiana Jones, The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Sixth Sense, Arachnophobia, Back to the Future, The Goonies, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and roughly six dozen more) and special effects by Industrial Light & Magic. The teaser trailer for the film was just posted and I was so excited after watching it that I’m ready to dash over to Amazon.com to buy the DVD box set (my son and I missed the last half of the third season and series finale as we spent the summer camping). I am really looking forward to this coming out. It looks amazing and, with the team that’s working on it, I can’t imagine it being anything less then great.

Check out these other related links:
The Last Airbender on IMDb
The Last Airbender YouTube Channel
Avatar: The Last Airbender Nickelodeon Website
Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Complete Book 1 Collection DVD
Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Complete Book 2 Collection DVD
Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Complete Book 3 Collection DVD

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At first glance the new web series Lumina looks like an action thriller with a brooding atmosphere, but a closer look reveals a dark fantasy world that could be our own. I don’t know what influences series creator Jennifer Thym drew from, but, while rewatching the trailer (which I’ve done many times now), I am reminded of modern fairy tales (or urban mythology) by authors such as Neil Gaiman and Charles De Lint, who write about worlds that secretly coexist and interact with our own. The images on the Lumina website are beautiful and I look forward to seeing more of the world Jennifer Thym has created. I’m especially in love with the image of Lumina leaning against a wall while, in her reflection, Ryder caresses her. I think that image captures and poignantly illustrates the place inside all of us where our deepest loneliness is calling out to be loved.

Lumina premieres this summer on YouTube.

RockGinger and Sommertime Productions are proud to announce that the Lumina Web Series Official Trailer is now available to view online at www.luminaseries.com in the new High Definition YouTube format.

Lumina is a daring thriller web series starring JuJu Chan (Jiu Jo Remix MV for Terence Yin and 24 Herbs, TVB People’s Choice Award for Miss Chinatown USA 2009) as Lumina Wong, a young lonely Hong Kong woman who has a chance encounter with the mysterious Ryder Lee, played by Michael Chan, star of the viral YouTube sensation, Wall Street Fighter IV. Lumina’s diverse international cast includes Vince Matthew Chung, recent winner of The Amazing Race Asia 3, as Lumina’s best friend, Teddy Waits.

Directed and written by first time Asian American director Jennifer Thym (RockGinger) and produced by Sommer Nguyen (Sommertime Productions), Lumina was filmed on location in Hong Kong with the cutting edge RED One camera. The series will feature music from the independent Asian music collective, The Enigmatic Army.

Lumina will open your minds cinematically, and the story will open your hearts to the impossible,” says producer Sommer Nguyen. “Web series is a new and exciting medium,” adds director Jennifer Thym. “With Lumina, we wanted to create a beautiful and intricately woven story, something that you could watch in bite sized internet friendly segments but would still tantalize you for hours to come.” 

Lumina Wong (JuJu Chan) is beautiful but works far too much; although she lives in a city of millions, she still feels lonely and isolated. Late one night, Lumina has a chance encounter with Ryder Lee (Michael Chan), a handsome young man from another world that she can see in mirrors and darkened window reflections. She revels in the fantasy relationship until mirrorspy Eben Sanchez (Jacob Ziacan) comes into her life, warning her of the treacheries of the people of the Dark Realm. Soon Lumina must choose between the safety of the world she knows and the deadly allure of the unknown.

Lumina the Web Series will premiere summer 2009. For more information, please contact us or visit our website, www.luminaseries.com.

Lumina Links:
Lumina — The Official Web Series Site
Lumina on Alive Not Dead
Lumina on Facebook
The Official RockGinger Blog

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Comedy Central's Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire premieres tonight

Comedy Central's Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire premieres tonight

From the time of the long ago past arrives Krod Mandoon and The Flaming Sword of Fire, Comedy Central’s epic new half-hour, live-action series that chronicles the adventures of Krod Mandoon (Sean Maguire) and his hopelessly futile band of warriors as they take on the evil Chancellor Dongalor (Matt Lucas). Marking the all-comedy network’s first foray into fantasy-comedy, the groundbreaking series premieres on Thursday, April 9 at 10:00 p.m. marked by a special one-hour episode with limited commercial interruptions.

Fantasy fans take their genre very seriously, even when it’s a comedy. With the renewed interest in fantasy productions, Comedy Central is making its own venture into the fray. Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword Of Fire has elements of classic fantasy epics like Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series and TSR’s Forgotten Realms, with a bit of American Pie thrown in to lampoon it up.

Fantasy fared well in syndication in the 90s with shows like Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, and Highlander: The Series, but comedic fantasy only garnered a small, loyal following. Shows like Wizards and Warriors and The Charmings were delightful to watch but not able to support a large enough audience to stay on the air for long. Even Pushing Daisies, one of the most amazing fantasy television productions ever to grace the small screen, had trouble holding an audience, not so much due to lack of fans but network decisions to take it off the air for weeks at a time. (The demise of Pushing Daises feels more like premeditated murder than death by natural causes, but I’ll keep my network rants to myself for the time being.)

Enter Krod Mandoon, the last hope for freedom from the tyranny of the evil Chancellor Dongalor. With a slick wardrobe and props, the show looks good, but will it be good? We can expect it to borrow from every book, movie, and TV series ever produced, but will they play it well? From watching previews and clips on the website, I’m concerned that the over-abundance of lowbrow humor and sight gags will alienate the true fantasy crowd, but I want to like it. I want it to be a good show, though I’m not getting my hopes too high. I’m planning on giving it a few episodes to decide if it’s worth my time or not. I truly believe all shows need 4 to 7 episodes to hit their stride. I hope they find a balance between their parody and their plot because sight gags only go so far, especially with a well-read and educated genre fanbase.

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Every fall new shows come on the air and we are left wondering, “Is anything worth watching?” Most seasons, I’d have to say “No”, but this year has had some surprises. It used to be that shows would air new episodes during the fall and spring and then play repeats during the holidays and summer. Anyone who had missed a show might find themselves thumbing through channels late in season one or season two and fall in love, allowing those viewers to plan around watching the show and getting caught up on the repeats and excitedly ready for the new episodes.

The trend nowadays though is to air a show for 3 or 4 episodes, put it on hiatus for a month and play another 2 episodes, and then cancel the show before it’s even found an audience. This sure doesn’t help the networks draw viewers or help the viewers decide what to make time for, especially when most of what they do discover runs the risk of sudden death. Hopefully this will help steer you to a few new (or newer) shows that deserve a following. From the really good to the just good fun, here are a few shows I’d recommend you check out if you haven’t already.

Fringe

I’ve already commented on and will continue to rave about Fringe. I think it is the best new show on television. It’s the only show that consistently keeps me guessing with the plots without being so convoluted that I feel the writers are making it up as they go along. The characters are richly layered and enjoyable. The actors are well understated in their performances, which lends credibility to the characters, even John Noble as Walter, who could easily try to take it over the top and maybe get away with it but it would not be such a treat to watch.

Anna Torv doesn’t have the typical Hollywood blonde appearance. As Agent Olivia Dunham, she is beautiful, but not stunningly so, and they’ve played down her beauty by the way they dress her. While her business attire is very classy and looks great on her, they seem to be sending the message that Olivia has no idea just how beautiful she is, and she dresses work-sensible with little attention to aesthetics. She’s the kind of intelligent and attractive woman you can see in any number of professional jobs so she doesn’t come off as the typical glamorous beauty studio execs put in a show to sell it to the young male audience. She’s believable as an intuitive and driven woman who won’t be satisfied until she has her answers — all of them.

I never watched Dawson’s Creek so I have no previous conception of Joshua Jackson to be broken. As Peter Bishop, he’s the right balance of seething sarcasm and charming wit. He seems to try to come off as untouchable, unmoving and apathetic, but then an expression suddenly crosses his face and you see the walls come down, revealing an unguarded pathos that leaves you wondering where the game ends and man begins. Phillip Broyles as Agent Lance Reddick tends to glower in every scene. He ranges from being intimidating to conspiratorial without a whole lot more in between. We haven’t seen much of an opening or range in him yet but, as Olivia stated to him recently, “We don’t know each other well enough for you to say something like that to me.” I plan on sticking around to find out just how well they do get to know each other.

Fringe airs on Fox on Tuesday nights at 9/8 central. The entire series is currently available online at fox.com, so if you have missed it you can catch up now.

Pushing Daisies

This is Season 2, technically, but Season 1 was cut off by the writers strike, so let’s call it Season 1.5. If this was last fall, I’d be saying this is the best new show of the season but, alas, with a handful of episodes already on the air before this season’s premiere I can’t rightfully give it that title. I can, however, still call it amazing, wonderful, funny, entertaining, surprising, charming, unique, well written, well acted and absolutely endearing. Pushing Daisies is a brilliant show. It was the only new series I watched last season and the only season premiere I was anticipating this fall. In a TV wasteland filled with rehashed reality-based cops and over-sexed doctors, this is a refreshing treat.

The ensemble cast is a delight to see each week and the storytelling is a gem! One of my biggest peeves in series television is how predictable the plots are. It’s truly a pleasure to be able to enjoy a show and be genuinely surprised with the story twists. When I first began watching it, I was hooked right away. Pushing Daisies is a fairy tale-like fantasy with romance, murder and mystery. It tells the story of the Pie Maker, Ned (played adorably by Lee Pace), who has a gift for bringing dead things back to life with a touch. That may sound amazing at first thought, but imagine trying to eat a cheeseburger or some fried chicken when anything dead that touches you comes back to life. One touch brings the dead back to life, a second touch makes it dead forever, but after having a few meals wander off his plate, I’m sure vegetarianism suddenly sounded like a wonderful idea.

Ned runs a pie shop called “The Pie Hole” where he creates the most luscious, fruity desserts you will ever have the pleasure to savor. Olive Snook (the incredible Kristin Chenoweth) is his employee, who goes unnoticed by Ned as she pines over him. Enter detective Emerson Cod (Chi McBride), who sees Ned’s “gift” as a cash cow. What better way to solve a murder then to ask the victim, “Who killed you?” Everything is going fine for Ned and Emerson until a case brings Ned face-to-casket with the love of his life, Charlotte “Chuck” Charles (Anna Friel), his long lost, childhood friend. Unable to help himself because he’s so happy to have her back in his life, he refuses to touch her again, and suddenly the living dead girl is added to the mix.

While there is an ongoing storyline, each episode stands well alone. With the help of a narrator, we are escorted along the stories from week to week, so it’s safe to tune in now without feeling too lost. I’m not sure why ABC keeps playing two episodes and then taking it off for two weeks before playing the next two, but I fear they are sabotaging the best show on their network. It hasn’t been renewed for a third season yet, so hopefully they will actually play the episodes every week so people can start watching it again.

You can tune in to ABC on Wednesdays at 8/7 central or catch the full episodes on abc.com.

Sanctuary

I’ve been following Sanctuary since I first saw an interview with Stargate SG-1‘s Amanda Tapping on YouTube. She mentioned a new series she was producing directly to the Internet so I looked it up and discovered the rattling gates on the website, sanctuaryforall.com. The eerie music and wind-blown creaking gates were as intriguing as the idea of a fully virtual set. I checked back every few days and, finally, one day there was a tiny little link that said, “join the team”. The following week I received an email inviting me to beta test the site, and thus began my submersion in the world of Sanctuary. Part of the draw for me was my disillusionment with the way networks treat their sci-fi and fantasy viewers. Our shows are always the first to get yanked. The idea of cutting out the middle man and going directly to us, the loyal viewers, was exactly the revolution I was looking for.

When the SCI FI Channel opted to make it into a television series, I immediately had reservations. How would their touch affect our beloved show? Did this mean the revolution was over and we as a subculture had lost again? My trust in the series creators — Damien Kindler, Amanda Tapping and Martin Wood — kept me loyal, but when the series premiered in October I had mixed feelings. There was a fair mixture of scenes from the original web series and new footage in the expanded plot, and over the first 4 episodes I struggled with it, because every time I seemed to buy into the re-envisioning, they’d throw in an old scene and suddenly my mind was snapped back and I had the sense that everything was wrong. “That’s not the way it happened,” I thought to myself. Still, I really loved the concept and the people involved in the project, so I held on to my hope and kept viewing. I’m really glad I did.

Now that the original web series footage and stories have come and gone, I find it much easier to get caught up in the plot. While I was able to see some of the plot turns coming, I have to admit that they are getting better with each episode. I now really want to know what happens next. I now feel like the changes are an improvement. I’ve finally been able to separate the web series and the TV series and can truly enjoy the show. Anyone who never saw the wepisodes won’t have the same problems I had getting attached to the series.

Inspired by the works of classic science fiction and fantasy, and graphic novels such as The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, Damien Kindler’s Sanctuary tells the story of Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping), a Victorian-era scientist who has devoted her life to tracking down rare, exotic and often mythological creatures and abnormals (people and creatures who have, through genetic mutations, become something other than “human” as we know it). She is assisted by her daughter Ashley (the incredibly talented Emilie Ullerup, who stole our hearts as Kaitlin in jPod last year), her tech guy Henry (the adorable Ryan Robbins) and her new protégé Will (Robin Dunne). Will is new to the environment, to the world that he never imagined was real. As he becomes submerged in this new world, so do we. The series is shot in Vancouver, so a lot of familiar faces keep dropping in, including other Stargate alum like the amazing Christopher Heyerdahl, who juggles roles here as he does on Stargate Atlantis.

If you are a fan of classic authors like Jules Verne, H. Rider Haggard, H.G. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs, you may not just like this series, but love it.

True to its original simultaneous international release, it is being shown worldwide, so check your local stations if you are outside of the U.S. and request it if no one is showing it yet. For those of you in the U.S., you can catch it on the SCI FI Channel on Friday nights at 10/9 central or on scifi.com.

Legend of the Seeker

Harken back to the glory days of syndicated science fiction and fantasy television. With shows like Highlander, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, The Adventures of Sinbad, Time Trax and many others, the 90s was a virtual smorgasbord for adventure-hungry geeks everywhere. With the success of films like The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, fantasy is making a comeback, and it’s very refreshing to see. Legend of the Seeker, brought to us from the same team who brought us Hercules and Xena, is based on the Sword of Truth series of books by Terry Goodkind. There have been some pretty harsh reactions from fans of the books, as can be expected with any show based on a novel, but, overall, it’s higher quality and less campy than the previous endeavors of the New Zealand team. While plot deviations will always be a zone of contention with fans, so far my only quibble is how cheery everyone is. They are on a grand adventure together and there are some heavy moments, but the overall cheer level is higher than I would expect from people who are in constant mortal danger. Still, I’m enjoying it for what it is: a light-hearted fantasy saga that doesn’t take itself too seriously and aims to entertain, not make history. Hopefully it will have the legs to walk on for at least a few years.

Legend of the Seeker tells the story of Richard Cypher (Craig Horner), a simple Westland farm boy. A respected and well liked member of the community, a hunter and tracker, he discovers he isn’t who he thought he was when the magical Confessor Kahlan Amnell (Bridget Regan) arrives from the Midlands in search of the powerful wizard Zeddicus Zu’l Zorander (Bruce Spence). Zed was entrusted with hiding and protecting The Seeker, a child of prophecy who would save their land and people from the ruthless Darken Rahl (Craig Parker). After discovering the truth of his birth, he sets out with Zed and Kahlan to discover his heritage and save his people.

You can use the Legend of the Seeker website, legendoftheseeker.com, to look up your local listings and find out when it airs in your neck of the woods.

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Sandeep Parikh of The Guild, The Legend of Neil, and Effinfunny.com recently announced that he was seeking Registered Voters from Azeroth, the world in World of Warcraft, in order to conduct a 2008 Presidential Election Poll. After several days of grueling research, the results are in!

Election Duel! Obama Vs. McCain – Who Get’s Pwned?

Comedian Rich Kuras infiltrates the World of Warcraft to poll players on the 2008 Presidential Election. We broke down the results per race and Class. What we found may…and please excuse the pun…WOW you.

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Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles was the highest rated new show last season and this season looks to be even bigger and better. As the terminator, Cameron, Summer Glau truly won the audience over, even those who didn’t want a Sarah Conner without Linda Hamilton. In much the way Arnold Schwarzenegger won over fans in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Summer’s Cameron is both the action and the humor of the show. Watching her move is like watching music come to life: it flows and captivates you, pulling you in and along with it. Unlike Season 1, which was cut short to eight episodes by the writers’ strike, it will be a full 22 episodes this season. Additional cast members (Shirley Manson of Garbage) have been added and a main cast member will die!

During the San Diego Comic-Con panel, the producer dropped the bomb that someone would die, something that the cast did not know yet. Suddenly everyone was pleading, “Please not me! I promise to remember my lines!”

Here’s my theory: I think either Sarah Conner or Agent Ellison will die. Why, you ask?

Theory one: During the discussion of Season 2, Richard Jones was talking about the writers asking him questions about the book of Revelations because he was always reading his Bible on the set when he wasn’t in a scene. The whole “apocalypse” theme of Revelations is going to play a big role in this season as a man of faith (Agent Ellison) begins to question his beliefs as he witnesses the rise of the machines — are they a fulfillment of prophesy or was the Bible wrong? How do the terminators fit into Revelations? Richard, while speaking about it, mentioned that he is a very faithful, strong Christian and how thrilled he was that the writers were asking him so many questions. He also mentioned how he prayed for his castmates and crew and how much he loved his job. That could make people uncomfortable, and after milking him for apocalyptical knowledge and faith-based point of view of the end of the world, they might want him gone to make things easier on the set for those who do not share the same beliefs and may feel he’s too vocal for their comfort.

Theory two: An innocent fan stumbled upon a sore spot with the crew — he asked if we would get to see more sexy Lena Headey in tank top scenes, since Sarah Conner was famous for her tanks. Lena, with a glance at the director, hesitantly commented that “actors don’t belong in makeup chairs” and the director leaned into the mic and said, “you’ve stumbled into a family squabble” and changed the subject. Lena is famous for her tattoos. She has them all over her arms and back. She had them when she was hired for the position and apparently doesn’t like spending three or more hours in a chair getting makeup applied to her tats to cover them up. While they hired her with tattoos in place already, there seems to have been a dispute at some point over the tattoos and neither party was willing to comment on the details of it. The question now is, has the tension on the set about her tattoos become a big enough issue to kill her off? With Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and the events in Terminator: TSCC, we know that at some point Sarah died of cancer in the original timeline that has been altered by the events of TSCC. Will they take advantage of this “canon” event to get rid of her because they can’t resolve their “family squabble”, will she submit to the chair willingly to avoid the permanent death of her character, or will they begin writing her tattoos into the story as they have with castmate Brian Austin Green?

This is all speculation, but when the word “death” came up at Comic-Con, these were the two biggest targets that I saw on the panel, if only because they seemed to be ripples in an otherwise fairly calm pool. Also, Lena wasn’t “feeling the love” from fans’ underwhelming response to her. I felt that when she came out and the applause was not as loud as for the others, but no one received louder applause then Summer Glau. Linda Hamilton’s name was banned from the discussion, a suggestion that the biggest negative feedback from the fans is “not liking” Terminator without Linda Hamilton (but to be fair, the name “River Tam” was banned as well, even though a fan broke that rule by addressing Summer as River).

I know there has been some expression of dislike towards Lena Headey’s Sarah Conner, even within my circles. I didn’t expect to like her, not because I don’t like Lena but because of Linda Hamilton being the face of Sarah Conner for more then two decades, but, on the contrary, I have enjoyed Lena’s roles and unexpectedly warmed up to her interpretation of Sarah quicker then I expected to. Honestly, I didn’t plan on giving Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles more then four episodes to grab me. There have been too many cheesy sci-fi shows tossed together to get the geek fan base to switch networks, and hopefully latch on to other non-sci-fi shows while there, before quickly axing the show, but Fox surprised us with a strong showing and surprisingly well-produced show. Not only did they win me over, it’s the one show my entire family sits together to watch every week, and the newly released Season 1 DVD box set is now a part of our vast DVD library.

If you missed out on Season 1 of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, you can watch the recaps or full episodes on the official Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles website or pick up the DVD. Tune in on Monday, September 8th to catch the Season 2 premiere on the Fox network.

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In the wee hours of the morning Wednesday night, the news hit GateWorld: Stargate Atlantis will end this season. The collective outcry of fans began to pour out all over the Internet. “Nooooooo! Not again!” Time and time again, it seems that the best shows on television are dying young and in their prime. Fans already have a love-hate relationship with Sci Fi Channel and its parent company NBC because non-sci-fi content such as wrestling and poorly made “creature features” keep filling up time slots once occupied by very high-quality, well-written and well-acted science fiction shows. Somewhere along the way, the network seems to have forgotten that their name is “Sci Fi”. Just tossing a scaly mutated creature into a cheesy low budget horror flick does not make a sci-fi show. Big special effects do not replace good writing and acting. So here the fans are, once again feeling betrayed and suspiciously eyeing every other show they tune in to, wondering how long before the axe falls for them as well.

Fortunately, Stargate has already proved its staying power with the fans. With the success of direct-to-DVD films Stargate: The Ark of Truth and Stargate: Continuum, a Stargate Atlantis film has already been discussed and now green-lighted. Brad Wright and Joseph Mallozzi were quick to comfort the fans with statements, and more information just keeps coming. A third Stargate series has been in the works for a few years now and, by making the move from television to DVD, the departure of Atlantis clears the way for Stargate Universe to be made. By 2009, we should be seeing Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis films direct-to-DVD, the Stargate Worlds MMORPG online, and Stargate Universe in production for Sci Fi Channel.

There’s no question that people love Stargate and that the fans are fiercely loyal. The question is how many fans are going to watch Universe after having SG-1 and Atlantis taken away in moves that seemed to be about money, not fans or ratings? A quick look at fan comments shows a huge negative response, with many claiming to wash their hands of the “Franchise” altogether. For many fans, it’s hard to reconcile the mixed feelings of hope and betrayal. It’s surprising, though, how negative and vehement the responses have been so far, with very few “silver lining” comments.

While producers seem to be trying to mend fences between fans and network, the decision to change the format of Atlantis is being called “mutual”. If events play out the way they did when Stargate SG-1 was “not renewed”, then Sci Fi Channel can look to lose even more viewers as fans boycott the network altogether by downloading their favorite shows directly from iTunes or Amazon Unbox to financially support the shows, rather then tuning in to the network which takes a bigger cut of the profits. The last boycott saw a huge number of fans writing letters to Sci Fi Channel’s sponsors explaining that their product was also being boycotted because of their association with the network.

Once again, this just goes to show that the fans, especially science fiction fans, are ready for a new format, a new delivery system. When Sanctuary launched on the Internet last summer, it may not have gone the way the creators had hoped — there were too many bugs in the system at that point; even they acknowledge they were naive about what they planned to do and how they planned to do it — but they definitely had the right idea, and many kudos are deserved for their valiant efforts to achieve their goal: Deliver content directly to the customer.

Joss Whedon proved it can be done with the HUGE success of Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog this summer. The viral success of shows like Felicia Day’s The Guild, Kim Evey’s Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show, and Sandeep Parikh’s The Legend of Neil just go to prove the point. These have all been fan-driven shows. There are no marketing campaigns, no big network or sponsor backing. They are promoted by positive word of mouth from the viewers. The creators care about what they are doing and the fans do, too, even financially supporting the production of The Guild. Felicia Day financed the first four episodes of The Guild herself, but soon after putting up a PayPal donation button on the website, she had the funding needed to finish season one. Now, the Season One DVD sales are helping to fund the upcoming second season.

Can Stargate Universe overcome the negative association with a network that constantly alienates its core audience? Is there a better way to deliver what they want to produce with minimal involvement and control from the likes of Sci Fi Channel? What can Stargate producers learn from Joss Whedon and Felicia Day that will help keep the fans happy and involved and Stargate alive? Maybe it’s not the perfect solution yet, as there aren’t any huge $4,000,000 special effects scenes in Dr. Horrible or The Guild, but the concept is still valid and will be a virtual gold mine for funds and fans once someone figures out how to use existing or newly emerging technology to produce a show that’s well-written, well-acted and well-delivered to the fans.

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Superman is turning 70. I’ve been in love with Kal El since I was about 5. I had stickers from my chewing gum/trading card packs on my wall near my head. He was the first person I saw in the morning and the last person I saw at night. He was my hero. I’ve watched every TV show, cartoon and movie. I read the comics for so many years. They kind of lost me in the early 90s when they changed so much of his character.

I’m a comic book dinosaur, prefering the classic heroes to the post-modern flawed ones. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed X-Men and Alpha Flight in their early days, but they lost something, too. Today’s comics seem to me that they are neither good art nor good storytelling.

Every now and then something is a throwback to the good old art of storytelling, but mainly it’s just story after story of people with all of our flaws, all of our mistakes, all of our greed and selfishness, but with cool powers, that we always wish we had, so they can screw things up even worse. Even classic heroes like The Warlord and Turok are irreverently “revived” and rewritten. The problem with that is their “grit” was what made them so amazing in the first place and, lacking that, there is no appeal, nothing to set them apart from the other post-mod antiheroes.

Comics used to help us escape this world or make our own better. Kazar, The Warlord and Turok took us to the center of our own world where dinosaurs still reign. Atari Force took us where we never dreamed existed in the heart of the universe. Superman brought the heart of the universe to us, to make our world better. What do today’s comics give us? Where do they take us? To the confused, chaotic violence, greed and sexual promiscuity that we see every day on our streets, on our TVs, in our movies.

Where have all the heroes gone? Who will save us from ourselves?

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