Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Prepping for Wondercon

Well, the next big convention is this weekend. For the first time in a very long time, I am actually a member of the press!

I will be doing at least one interview for Whedonopolis, the site for all things Whedon. This year's connection includes Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles, with the dream matchup between Summer Glau and Shirley Manson. While seeing them have it out may or may not be part of the final episodes, seeing them speak about the show is just as cool. Take that, Big Bang Theory!
Felicia Day of The Guild, Dr. Horrible and even more will also be around Saturday for autograph signings, although I hope she'll take some time to talk to the site, and other sites, about how season 2 of The Guild turned out. Also, Sonny Rhodes, the guy who sings the theme from Firefly, will be around too. And....let's not forget another "Once More With Feeling" sing-a-long to end the weekend. I just wonder if Dr. Horrible will eventually take over this tradition. I hear someone is trying to produce a live version.

Saturday should be a busy day with the Watchmen and Star Trek panels. As the Kaiser Chiefs once foresaw a riot, I expect such an event, too. It could be twice the riot if a really important member of the Star Trek cast drops by....and maybe I mean one of the originals!

What disappoints me is Joss not dropping by to keep beating the drum for Dollhouse, joined by a crew of Gene Krupas and Dave Grohls from Eliza Dushku and Harry Lennix to Amy Acker and Reed Diamond...or maybe some guy that most wonder what he will have to do with the show. Think "floating in the breeze" or being nude in a recent British movie about death.
I was also hoping Nathan Fillion would be there for his Murder She Wrote/Moonlighting hybrid Castle, which will start soon. After all, if Harper's Island is part of the convention, why not Castle?

One of my personal goals is to somehow see a screening of Watchmen this weekend. However, just asking for a ticket won't be that easy. Just like they did for the screening of 300 in Imax, they'll have a big bag of tickets, 30,000 people will put their hands in a big sack, and hope for the best. The tickets with the special stamp, of course, means they don't have to wait a week to see the movie. The rest of us will, and maybe even longer to see it in Imax.
On the other hand, I will have a chance to see the first half of what could be best Animated Film for 2010, Disney/Pixar's Up. The big news is that this is Pixar's first 3-D movie, and if it's as cool as Imax 3-D, Dreamworks will have to wait another year for that Oscar. That is, unless Monsters vs. Aliens is just as cool in its 3-D glory, too. We'll find out.

Well, no matter what assignment I'll get, I will give it my all. I certainly do just that on my blogs, and website.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Someone has spotted Alpha

Some say he floats in the breeze, or looks good naked.
Some say he's looking for a city that can cheer him.
Some say he looks good in shirts that aren't usually one color.

in any case, Alpha will be played by......
the guy who has a website devoted to him!
Click the above link if you must know, but it looks like you'll see his front and back sometime in May.
Ratings permitting, that is.
Yeah, I still remember what happened to Firefly.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I'm going to the PaleyFest, but when?

As some of you may know, this year's Paley Festival will feature two Whedon projects, Dr. Horrible and Dollhouse. They'll be on consecutive nights, April 14th and 15th. Some other show will also be part of the event, from Desperate Housewives and The Mentalist to The Hills (why?) to 90210 (see The Hills). There's also True Blood, Big Love and Fringe on the lineup.

You'd think my chances of going depend on the Dr. H/Dollhouse doubleheader, since both are sure to sell out before the mere mortals get a chance at tickets on March 1st. In an ideal world, where Fargo would have been Best Picture at the 1997 Oscars, I would get tickets to Dollhouse because the whole cast, and The Man, would be there. However, there is one event that will make it certain I will be in L-A during the festival...
they're showing the last three episodes of Pushing Daisies at least four months before ABC will bother to show them on TV.
Not only that, it will be a matinee, and the price will be about the same as seeing Watchmen in Imax!

That is enough! If I luck out on Dollhouse, I'll go there too, but my trip will be around my final, fateful trip to the Pie Hole. It's only a question of whether I'll arrive on Dollhouse night, or Pushing Daisies Day. Anyway, Bryan Fuller, who created the show and is also Heroes' Last Hope, will be there to introduce the episodes. I would hope he'd be around at the end, maybe organize a crowd to head to ABC's office complex and start throwing pies at the programmers' offices. Or...he'll give us pie. That would work. Maybe he'll also talk about the Dead Like Me DVD movie that someone should have told him about so it would be done right.

I would be very surprised if anyone from the cast would be there for the matinee event. It would be a kick, and you never can tell. Afterwards, maybe I'll go see Coraline in 3-D, if I don't get a chance to do that next week during Wondercon.

Getting back to the festival, I noticed that while Joss, his brothers, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day will be there, Neil Patrick Harris may not. I'm guessing it's due to his sitcom, How I Met Your Mother, but maybe he can call and give ominous warnings from the Evil League of Evil boardroom. I hope his presence will be felt somehow. This will be a treat for those who weren't at the Doc's appearances at Comic-Con last summer. Believe me, the electricity felt when it was shown on a big screen with the cast there....once in a lifetime!

Some are also wondering if Dollhouse will stay on TV when April 15th rolls around. At least one smart aleck at Aint It Cool News has brought it up. I am certain both shows will survive long enough on Fox and the Festival.

In any case, pies will definitely get me to L-A in April.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Cinematic Titantic Live in San Francisco

I could try to import my MySpace blog on the show Saturday night at the Marines Memorial Theater.

Instead, just visit this link, and it will get you there.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Tale of Two Talk Shows

Before we start, here's what the opening credits for Dollhouse look like...

The last time Eliza Dushku was on a talk show was last August, firing a bow and arrow while plugging a new movie and TV show on Jimmy Kimmel Live. It was said some people found Eliza very attractive while firing a few arrows at a target.

Six months later, Eliza was busy again, promoting her new show, Dollhouse, on the talk show circuit. It was hoped she'd appear on David Letterman, but that was postponed. So, she spent Lincoln's birthday visiting Regis and Kelly in the morning, and Conan O'Brien at night.

It's not unusual for an actor to appear on several shows throughout the week, plugging a new movie. Eliza, however, did two shows, and also Howard Stern. I thought it would be interesting to compare her two TV appearances. What they did have in common is that she looked great, talked about how she used to be a tomboy, gave the classic "lunch with Joss" story and explained what Dollhouse was all about.

Before she appeared on Regis and Kelly, Regis Philbin said that Eliza's role was working in "an illegal Secret Service group." She later explained the true premise of the show. She wore a modest but attractive red dress to the show. She revealed she finished third among all celebrity entrants in the Malibu Triathlon. Eliza admitted she was surprised to find out how well she did while digging into some post-race waffles. She also said that training for Dollhouse may have helped her performance in the race. That was followed by a clip from the pilot, where Echo enters a room that she should not be in.

Her appearance on Conan O'Brien was more free-wheeling. Here, she wore a sexy blue spangly dress that excited Conan and the crowd. She even referred to the dress as "she". Then she went on about how busy she was with Dollhouse and how she's been able to relax by learning chess with her godfather. She apparently plays at a nightclub he owns at Hollywood and Vine. She also bought some Verbal Advntage tapes, which she uses to ease her road rage. However, it's taught her some new phrases to yell out at bad drivers, such as "Cretin, remove yourself from my trajectory." Seems like she's turned into an Ivy League NASCAR driver.

She also urged the crowd to watch Dollhouse, and keep watching it. "Joss is really like a novelist," she says. "He needs chapters to go, and we have 13 shows, and it gets better and better. The party gets so good, you guys." She also estimates she's played 38 personalities through the 13 shows they've made.

It's not quite the same as shooting arrows, but Eliza is doing her best to get people to visit the Dollhouse every Friday. Now, it's up to the episodes themselves.
Still, you have to wonder how Joss would do at a talk show. He'd have fun with Craig Ferguson, and would really be great on Real Time with Bill Maher. So would Eliza...or Sarah Michelle Gellar. She ought to drop by Jimmy Fallon's new show to help him settle in. Just saying.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Wondercon is coming

The schedule for Wondercon in San Francisco is now online. Just click here to see the whole schedule.

As expected, there will be panels on Star Trek and Watchmen which should be the two biggest panels. Both will be on Saturday the 28th, and promise BIG guests. If I am lucky, I would like to go to the Watchmen panel.

As expected, the grand finale will be "Once More With Feeling" on Sunday. However, no panel for Dollhouse or Dr. Horrible. They will be saved for the Paley Fest. There will be panels for shows with Whedon connections, especially Chuck and Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles. However, at least for now, not too many actors will be available for the convention. That may make sense because they're busy finishing the current seasons. We'll still hear from the showrunners, though. There's also the comic panels for IDW and Dark Horse, and they'll have some mention of Buffy and Angel-connected titles.

However, there is Felicia Day, Slayer, gamer, violist, and just might be the Lucille Ball of internet comedy. She'll be at the CA Browncoats booth on the 28th to meet with the fans. This also comes just after season 2 of The Guild is done. I'm sure she'll get lots of questions about that, Dr. Horrible and more. She's also bound to check out some of the video game panels, too.

I was kind of hoping there would be a panel for Castle, Nathan Fillion's new show. I just hope it is better than the promos and the three-minute trailer I saw a while ago. They just better make Stana Katic's character less resentful of his assistance. Making a show that's a combination of Moonlighting and Bones doesn't mean it's a good idea. Besides, maybe the audience will like Nathan and hate Stana because they know more about him than her. We shall see.

I have to admit it...I miss my first Wondercon in 2005 when Joss Whedon brought more info on Serenity, as well as some of the cast. It was the year I got two autographs from him, and saw him up close when he visited a screening of "Objects in Space." Those were the days.

However, to those awaiting Star Trek, Watchmen or even Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, this will be their big it should be. Then again, the great thing about last year was seeing Anne Hathaway plug Get Smart the day before the Oscars, which she also attended. That's serious plugging.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Joss and the Seven Pilots Rule

During Rutherford D. Actualperson's hard-hitting interview with Joss Whedon (yes, it was Joss "interviewing" himself), Joss talked about how tough it is to develop a show into the vision you want. This applies to Dollhouse, which has a premise that's tough to relate to: a girl who is programmed to be anyone except herself. He got an order for 13 episodes, but notes the pilot episode isn't enough to get people to make a program "must-see".

When I was given seven episodes, I referred to them as the "seven pilots" cause you always have to lay out the premise one way or another in those early eps.

This means Dollhouse will start as seven stand-alone episodes, before we get to story arcs. Joss isn't a "procedural" guy. He prefers making a big picture. While that's a great philisophy, networks don't think so. They prefer procedurals because each story has a beginning, middle and end that ends in one hour. It's the modern version of a bedtime story complete with an ending that's happy enough. It explains why next season will have lots of knockoffs of Without A Trace, The Mentalist or ER.

If Joss says a TV show should start with seven pilots, would that apply to his previous three shows? Let's take a look.


This show had a 13-episode order. The premise is a high school girl fighting vampires, demons and assorted hellspawn with the help of fellow students and unlikely allies. It's basically "high school is Hell". The first seven episodes showed that premise well. "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and "The Harvest" showed Buffy coming to town and battling a few vampires while trying to make friends. Then we had the story of witchcraft and cheerleading (The Witch), a boy being attracted to a teacher who's really a big praying mantis in disguise (Teacher's Pet), problems of dating while fighting demons (Never Kill a Boy On A First Date), joining the wrong crowd of people (The Pack), and first love being very dangerous (Angel). There was still a story arc, with an old vampire trying to escape from his underground lair to cause general mayhem. He succeeded, but only for a couple of minutes.


Starting just after Buffy's fourth season, it looked at the next step: a young adult striking out into the world. It only looked like a vampire with a soul looking for redemption in Los Angeles. It also looked at Cordelia, who left Sunnydale to become an actress. Just like Buffy, it's also about good and evil, with evil being Satan's lawyers, Wolfram and Hart. This show didn't really have an overall arc because it was supposed to be an anthology. We start with "City of...", with Angel getting his mission from Doyle and meeting Cordelia. "Lonely Hearts" looked at murder and the singles scene, while "In the Dark" was a continuation of a Buffy story with Spike and the Gem of Amara. "Fall to Pieces" was about stalking, while "Room with a View" was about Cordelia moving into a haunted apartment. "Sense and Sensitivity" was about being PC in police work, and "Bachelor Party" was about Doyle and his ex-wife. Again, there was no overall arc. It's just about Angel trying to battle evil and hopefully be redeemed. Longer arcs involving Lindsey, a resurrected Darla and Pylea would come later. Angel was seen as the companion piece to Buffy for two years until it went on its own when she went to UPN.


This space western features another example of a man striking out on his own, with a loyal crew behind him. They have a simple mission: do a job, get paid, keep flying. Throw in some intrigue, double-dealing and occasional Chinese phrases, and you have a good show that suffered a fate that was one of Fox's most embarrassing decisions...and not just the fact that they showed the pilot last instead of first.

When I first saw "The Train Job", I was very interested in Malcolm Reynolds. He looked like an outlaw, being willing to do what he could keep flying. Stealing an Alliance cargo from a train is the type of job he'd do. However, when he realized the cargo included drugs that would have saved lives, his better angels got the best of him. The rest of the first seven episodes touch on the Serenity's mission, to keep flying no matter what.

Just like Buffy, however, there were two story arcs. First, there's the Alliance wanting a certain girl named River Tam for some unsettling reason. We later find out it's because they wanted to turn her into a weapon. She had some interesting skills, and the Alliance would do anything to get her. Her brother, Simon, is just as determined to protect her. The other arc involves Shepherd Book, who may look like a man of God, but apparently has an interesting past. An I-D card, for example, got him first aid very quickly in "Safe". He later shows some knowledge of criminal activity when they ship heads towards a trap in "Our Mrs. Reynolds". The hope was that Firefly would have have a long life, like Buffy and Angel. Sadly, that wouldn't be the case.

So what could happen to Dollhouse? Will it last five years or so, like Buffy or Angel, or would it be one of those Brilliant but Cancelled shows, like Firefly. Joss says the first seven pilots touch on the premise, but they will also determine whether the show will last. The days of giving a show time to develop and attract an audience, even a year or so, are long gone. Fox has said it will give Dollhouse 13 episodes to prove that there should be more. Let's hope the episodes will be very convincing.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Is the Dollhouse the ultimate male fantasy?

Well, not exactly just male....

Joss Whedon arrived at NY Comic-Con to show the public the first ten minutes of Dollhouse (although I've seen it all already, and have even hidden a detailed summary somewhere in the web). Of course, the fans are very intrigued about the show and what it's all about.

But according to a recent article in io9, I'm beginning to figure out that Dollhouse is really Fantasy Island gone horribly wrong...or maybe a brothel that promises more than just sex. At least some people may think so.
Yes, I am saying the Actives are, in a way, prostitutes. They're bought by the rich and powerful to do a job that may or not involves sex. It's safe to say Echo's main engagement in the premiere is not sexy. Her look could be. Anyway, Joss says as much that it wouldn't be too surprising if the Actives are used by people who want to sexually experiment. Take a look...

On this show, people's personalities are being completyely overwritten. When someone hires an (A)ctive, what they're basically doing is hiring somebody for an experience that absolutely nobody in the world will ever know about including the person that you went through it with...If you don't think that at least a third of the people who hire Actives are not bi-curious, you're naive.

If that's the case, racy photos of Echo in the Dollhouse web site wouldn't be a surprise. I wonder if it's part of the Active Corporation's, er, catalog?
However, as he said on NPR, this is really about a girl who gives up her identity to be anyone, except her true self. We should care because, eventually, she is going to remember her past "engagements", and try to determine who she really is. Naturally, the Active Corporation will be deeply against that because it may be the end of them. We'll see about that.

Dollverse, a new website on the show, has clips from the show, and some info on Joss's and Talmoh Penikett's appearances at NY Comic-Con. Sadly, Eliza Dushku wasn't there because she's preparing for two talk show appearances in New York. It was supposed to be three, but she was bumped off David Letterman's show by the cover girl for this week's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.
You know, Eliza could have been the cover girl...easily!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

See and hear the future of Dollhouse

I had thought the background music from the Echo Chamber part of the Fox Dollhouse website would have made a good theme song. Instead, we have a new song from Jonatha Brooke called "What You Don't Know." The first lyric descrbes Echo and the show. Click this link to see for yourself. Watch out, though...the video has lots of clips from future shows.

Oh, and we know she's identified as Jonatha Brooks. Fox has a problem with typos.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Joss talks Dollhouse, movies and THOSE pictures

So, anyone think Joss Whedon knows about those pictures Eliza Dushku made to get people to watch Dollhouse on Friday nights?

You bet! In fact, in a conference call covered by Twitter fans and io9, it's all part of the overall vision of the show. In the "engagements" that Echo and the other Actives will be in, sex is part of the mission. That is true from the start, as most people will see soon. As Eliza says...

Dushku was adamant that whatever TV show she made next should address sexuality, "not just by virtue of being all hot, but by talking about sexuality: why it drives us and how it works." One of the show's goals is to "get the audience to ask what of their desire is acceptable, and what is creepy. In order to ask that we had to go to kind of a creepy place," says Whedon. "We may have crossed the line."

Considering cable has been doing that a lot lately, why not Fox, which was its original mission more than 20 years ago. The rest of the interview from io9 can be found by clicking this link. It also has info on what else will be on the show, and Joss' upcoming movie, Cabin in the Woods. Also, we learn a Buffy movie is a pipe dream, but more Dark Horse comics starring our Slayer is a total lock. That will keep the comic book economy healthier than most banks.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Is Hugh Hefner behind Dollhouse's promo pix?

It sure seems that way. Just look at the new section from Fox's Dollhouse website, called the Echo Chamber.

Not only does it have haunting music that had better be the theme song, it has the sexiest photos of Eliza Dushku you'll see anywhere. They are making the rounds on the Internets, but here's some of the examples. This is with the help of Defamer, by the way...

The Chamber has even racier examples that are even too hot for Page 3 or wherever they put the cheesecake photos on the London Sun. Fox figures that sex appeal will really get people to watch Dollhouse either on Friday night or anytime on the weekend if they DVR the show. I hope Fox also has confidence in the stories the show will present every week. That, rather than skin, is what really counts.

Still, the name of the game is getting people to their TVs on Fridays rather than go out and see embarrassing rom-com at their local theater. This means you, New in Town...and The Proposal in four months. That explains this promo that shows Eliza and Summer Glau in the Grindhouse sequel Quentin Tarantino must be considering if he ever saw this ad.

It's interesting, but I also remember Fox's ads for Firefly, and how they didn't really show what the program was all about.

Well, Eliza will soon play the role of talk show guest next week, as she appears on Letterman, Conan, and Regis and Kelly. While her wardrobe won't be as racy, it should be interesting how she approaches each show. Remember, she was on Jimmy Kimmel Live last summer, doing a little target practice with a bow and arrow. I'm guessing we won't see that again, or maybe we could on Conan. It'll happen on his next-to-last week, after all.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Two "Sweet" Deals

Never mind those Bud Light commercials, or even the Doritos ads dreamed up by amateurs that were better than anything made by ad agencies.The ad that got the most attention was the announcement that Denny's is giving away Grand Slam breakfasts for free. Just in case, local news channels and USA Today reminded people about this offer.

Well, I went over to the Denny's at 3rd and J, and it wasn't that bad. First, they ask your name, and how many in your party. There was between 50 and 75 people outside. No pushing, no arguing. Everyone was waiting calmly for their turn. Granted, I didn't get there until just after 11 AM, after the breakfast rush. Since I work all night long, 11 AM is the regular man's 7 AM. I probably waited 30 minutes to get inside, which wasn't too bad because I had my iPod. There was also a news crew, who got a free Grand Slam breakfast as a prop for their live shoot.

The meal cost me a couple of dollars, but mainly because I had to pay for coffee. I did get discount coupons, which will eventually save me more than two dollars. I think basic Grand Slams, rather than the more exotic versions, cost three-50. So, for the cost of 90 seconds of Super Bowl time, or about nine million, Denny's got a lot of goodwill, and will make the money back soon enough. This is happening because Denny's nemesis is no longer IHOP, but also McDonalds, Starbucks, and Dunkin Donuts. People look for bargains, and they will go towards anything that is most attractive. Denny's is hoping a free meal will be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Meanwhile, I finally got confirmation of what the Wondercon website has been hinting for more than a month....

Whedonopolis can now officially say that it will present another official screening of the classic Buffy musical, "Once More With Feeling." Just like the screening at Comic-Con, it will be the last major event at this year's Wondercon in San Francisco March 1st. Is it amazing it's been more than seven years since this episode was shown on UPN? This was a unique episode that's right up there with Singing In The Rain or even 42nd Street...if you don't count the number of people who burst into flames after dancing a little too long.

Looking back, you'd think the Emmy organizers should have given Joss some nominations for original score for a drama or even Best Original Song. Considering what songs have won that award lately, it kind of makes sense. No matter, because many of us have the memories and the songs on our iPods, or even the soundtrack CD.

It would also be great if there was a Dr. Horrible Sing-a-long, too, although I haven't heard any plans for that. Adding that to the OMWF screening would make the perfect double-header. We should learn more as Wondercon, which is now Comic-Con Jr., gets closer. Of course, I have a little wish list for Wondercon:

a panel on Dollhouse
a wake for Pushing Daisies
a secret screening of Watchmen
or maybe news about Star Trek.

I'd include Cinematic Titanic, but they're coming to SF two weeks before, and I'm already set for that.