More awesome news about the Avengers-related TV show! ABC has ordered the pilot for S.H.I.E.L.D., which will be co-written by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, and Maurissa Tancharoen. (Which of course will make it pretty amazing!) Schedule permitting, Joss will also direct the pilot.
Since bringing his brother and sister-in-law already makes this a family project, what actors from Whedonverse family would you like to see cast in the show? And before you can say “all of them” or “everyone from Firefly,” let’s try to narrow things down by only casting actors who aren’t already a regular on another show (like Nathan Fillion) or have a busy movie career (aka most of the main actors in The Avengers – I can see some of them guest-starring, but not playing major cast).
Okay, I’d heard this was a good episode, and it was one of the better ones I’ve seen so far, but as it ended I felt rather ambivalent. What, really, has changed?
This episode, thanks to one of Sam’s prescient dreams, takes the brothers back to Kansas, where a mother and her two young children have just moved into the boys’ childhood home. Early creepy indications include scratching noises and the sighting of a figure wreathed in flames.
Dean and Sam make some inquiries around town and finally meet with a no-nonsense female psychic who knew their father. Missouri’s presence in the episode shows again how hard it is to connect to a show when there are only two main characters. She made a good addition to the team for the episode, and made me wish for a consistent third character to liven up the relationship dynamics.
Okay, after watching this episode and the Heroes pilot, I am going to have a lifelong fear of garbage disposals. The monkey with the cymbals was pretty clichéd, though.
I figured out early on that flame-figure was Mary Winchester, thanks to coming across spoilers while verifying facts for polls. So that part of the episode didn’t have the impact on me that it could have. And seeing Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s name in the credits let me know that good ol’ dad would be showing up at some point – unfortunately it was in a closing scene with Missouri, so no family reunion just yet. Plus his excuse for not seeing his sons seems incredibly lame. There’d better be a good reason for why seeking this “truth” is keeping him apart from his sons when it didn’t for the first 20 years after the fire. Especially after Dean’s phone call to him, which was some of the best acting I’ve seen on this show so far, by Jensen Ackles or anyone else.
And so Dean and Sam faced their fears, went back home, and saved the day – but what do they have to show for it? Yeah, it was cool that they saw their mom, but a) they already knew she was dead, and b) they already were pretty sure she loved them. It’s interesting that we as viewers now know that John Winchester isn’t locked in some hell dimension, but his sons don’t know. So as far as I can see, nothing changes. Maybe I’m just too used to Joss Whedon shows, but after a pivotal episode like that, isn’t something (even if it’s a tiny shift in a relationship or a new fear a character will have to overcome) supposed to be different?
Well, there is the fact that now Dean knows about Sam’s dreams. Would have been nice to touch on that near the end. But I guess I’ll have to see if this episode has much of an impact on later ones.
The world of geekdom (and probably much of the rest of the world) can breathe a huge sign of relief – Joss Whedon has signed on to write and direct The Avengers sequel! There was hardly any doubt they would offer the job to him, the doubt was whether Joss wanted to tackle another big Hollywood film or focus his time on other projects.
The article linked below says the release date for Avengers 2 will likely be 2015, since Captain America: The Winter Soldier (first I’ve seen of Captain America 2‘s official title) and Guardians of the Galaxy (which is said to tie in to the big bad revealed at the end of The Avengers) will both release in 2014.
But one of the coolest parts of the article? This sentence:
He also said Whedon is developing a Marvel-themed, live-action television series for ABC.
An Avengers TV show? Yes, please. Even though it probably won’t feature characters from the movie, I still think they can find some way to make this work.
Awesome ways they could go with this:
1. Joss Whedon. Superheroes. That’s all you need really. Look what he did with Buffy. He could make even something like Ant-Man work.
2. Hawkeye and Widow. Yes, I know the actors who portray them are big-time movie stars and unlikely to cut back on that for a TV show, but this would be all kinds of amazing.
3. Shield. Agent Coulson always seemed to be on the scene when something was going down, and while Cobie Smulders is a little tied up as far as a future-set story, anything could work as long as you have Samuel L. Jackson.
4. Lady Sif and the Warriors Three. Not sure what they have planned for these 4 in Thor 2, but they really needed more screen time in Thor. Also, since they’ve already replaced Once Upon a Time’s Josh Dallas with needs-a-great-new-TV-show Zachary Levi, this is plausible in terms of actor availability.
5. The Hulk. Mark Ruffalo didn’t get his own movie, but the incredible job he did on The Avengers deserves future exploration.
Also, I think it’s great that ABC is the one looking at this, considering the awesome job they’ve done with shows like Castle, Once Upon a Time, and Suburgatory.
Firefly at Comic-Con?!? Is the Serenity is a time-machine? Nope, fans just really love the show, even after it’s been gone a decade. This panel features Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Alan Tudyk, Sean Maher, and Michael Fairman (Niska), as well as never-before-seen footage.
A voice of reason amid all the cries of “Why even watch season 4?” “This is the darkest timeline,” and “Community won’t be Community without Dan Harmon,” this article looks at all the very plausible explanations for why he was fired.
While the show started out as an accessible, though quirky, sitcom, over the past few years it has evolved into a very niche show. I still love it, but occasionally there are episodes that try so hard to parody something that they forget to be funny (“Pillows & Blankets” was the latest offense – I think I laughed once during the entire episode).
The article linked below focuses on what good might come out of the change in showrunners. I for one am hoping the changes will be reminiscent of Mark Ruffalo playing the Hulk instead of Edward Norton in The Avengers. I know comparing actors to showrunners is a bit like comparing apples to apple trees, but both Norton and Harmon have a reputation for being difficult to work with. Bringing in Ruffalo was far from the only thing that made The Avengers a success, but I believe it helped. (Side note, since I’m already talking about The Avengers, wouldn’t it be awesome if Joss Whedon had become Community’s new showrunner? I know it’s completely different from his own shows – though not from ones he’s worked on – and unlikely to have worked out, but can you imagine the fan craziness that would have ensued?)
Found this right after I finished this post, and thought it was amazing! (And very fitting to add.)
But what I don’t understand with this move to make Community more mainstream, is why NBC still plans to air Community on Fridays, a timeslot usually reserved for niche shows. It seems like they’d do one or the other (fire Dan Harmon or move the show to Fridays), not both. How is the show expected to pick up new viewers that way? Far better to air the final season of 30 Rock there instead. I would have put Community on at 8 on Wednesdays, followed by Animal Practice (giving the new show the benefit of a veteran lead-in). Then Thursdays could have started with sophomore Up All Night at 8, followed by the similarly-themed Guys With Kids. I do hope some executive at NBC is smart enough to figure that out before fall, and if not, that a new show bombs quickly and NBC rearranges things.
This article is a great look at the TV-like structure in The Avengers, particularly in its ensemble cast. It compares Joss Whedon and J.J. Abrams work in TV to their blockbuster films (Abrams’ Star Trek), and how by focusing on a group of “regular cast” makes the movies fun instead of overloaded. It also goes into how it differs from “lone person against the world” films that Hollywood seems to love (which fits most of Marvel’s prequel movies to The Avengers). Definitely worth reading!
At the end of last night’s Castle episode, the following clip (instead of a normal promo for the next episode) played.
It was so much fun to see Stark and Castle comparing themselves to each other. Glad that Fillion’s helping promote The Avengers, especially since he and Joss Whedon have done so much together: Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog, and now Much Ado About Nothing.
HIMYM barely won over The Finder as an out-of-place comment broke the tie. Person of Interest came out ahead initially, but a huge outpouring of fan support gave Castle the victory amid over 100 comments left! Now two NYC-based shows with strong Joss Whedon ties battle it out for a spot in the final four!
How I Met Your Mother is about a man in the year 2030 who begins telling his kids about how he met his wife via flashbacks from the future. The story starts in the year 2005, when then twenty-seven year old architect Ted Mosby was spurred on to want to get married after lawyer Marshall Eriksen and kindergarten teacher Lily Aldrin, his best friends, got engaged. Ted’s new quest in life was much to the dismay of his womanizing friend, Barney Stinson. But soon after Marshall and Lily’s engagement, Ted believed that his life mate was going to be news reporter and aspiring news anchor Robin Scherbatsky, who, despite having had a romantic relationship with her after this time, ended up being who the kids know as their “Aunt” Robin.
Castle – After a serial killer imitates the plots of his novels, successful mystery novelist Richard “Rick” Castle (Nathan Fillion gets permission from the Mayor of New York City to tag along with an NYPD homicide investigation team for research purposes. He partners with Detective Kate Beckett, and uses a fictionalized version of her as the main character of his new series.
Will you go with Willow or Malcolm Reynolds? Dr. Horrible or Captain Hammer? Wesley Wyndham-Pryce or Firefly Easter eggs? Vote below, and be sure to vote in the other matchups!
No, this isn’t TV news, but I’ve been hearing so much about pilots casting leads that for a second I was like, wait, Joss Whedon’s doing a TV show? Sadly, no. But there is a TV connection. Michael Stahl-David was recently seen on Person of Interest, as the son of Harold Finch’s partner in building the machine.
Wow, TV Line has outdone themselves with this comprehensive list of ordered pilots for next season. Even though these pilots mean that other shows will be canceled, it’s fun to imagine and predict what next season will look like on the various networks.
The article starts with definitions of the various terms surrounding pilot season. The ones that most intrigue me are planted pilots and second position. Second position was responsible for the cast change on New Girl – when actors of bubble shows film pilots, but if their current show is renewed, the new show has to recast the role.
Planted pilots introduce a new show within the world of a current show. The article sites The Finder episode on Bones last season, but many shows do this, though the new show doesn’t always get picked up (for example, when Jess left Gilmore Girls, the episode where he meets his California family was supposed to become a spinoff show). Today’s most-watched scripted drama, NCIS, had a planted pilot on JAG, and in turn hosted a planted pilot for NCIS: Los Angeles.
I plan to write another article going into more detail about the networks’ various pilots, but one thing did sadden me about this list: no Joss Whedon projects.
Some cool info on Dichen’s Being Human character, Suren. It’s kind of fun how she was far removed from the vampire part of Joss Whedon’s works (since she was in Dollhouse), and is now playing a vampire in a completely different show.
I’ve wanted to post about this for a long time, but I wanted the story (and songs!) to be fresh in my mind before doing so. My friend Anna had never seen it, so showing her was the perfect opportunity to relive the wonderful musical that is Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.
Behind the scenes TV Breakroom stuff, ignore this paragraph if you wish: When I create posts for this blog, one of the first things I do after typing in the post title is select categories for the post (so I don’t forget to later). Cross-genre titles like Dr. Horrible always bring a bit of a quandary. Should I stick this under speculative, with the whole superheroes and villains and freeze rays aspect, or should it go under comedy, as it’s clearly hilarious? Or should I create a new category for musicals? I nearly did that, until I considered that the only other show that was likely to go in that category was Glee. Then I got the brilliant idea to create a new category for web series – shows like The Guild which start out online-only until they get popular enough to get on DVD, but don’t ever make to TV. With more and more people watching their shows online, web series are only going to grow and get better. I may not put all made-for-the-internet shows in this category, as I believe many of them will be able to hold their own in more descriptive genre categories, but it will be more for those shows with episodes that are shorter than than typical TV episodes (like The Guild) or shows that are standalone episodes (like Dr. Horrible).
Spoilers below the video for those who haven’t seen it! And if you haven’t seen it, why not? It’s free online in a number of places, and it’s your chance to experience a bit of Emmy-winning internet history. If you’d like a taste of what the show is like, without spoilers, watch the clip from the Emmys below:
The show starts out with a sympathetic villain (the titular Dr. Horrible, played by Neil Patrick Harris) practicing his evil laugh and connecting with his fans via a video blog. He has two goals in life – to be accepted into the Evil League of Evil, and to romance the girl of his dreams, fellow “laundry person” Penny (played by Felicia Day). But hindering him at every turn is his arch-nemesis, Captain Hammer (played by Nathan Fillion).
Dr. Horrible thinks that his two goals complement each other – if he can succeed at being evil, he’ll win her over. He sings about ruling the world with her, and later that, “She may cry, but her tears will dry, when I hand her the keys to a shiny new Australia.” (Bonus points for working the word “shiny” into the episode.) But the song “On the Rise” clearly shows how opposite their worldviews are.
Yet you still think of it as a comedy, where the underdog will, despite himself, win the day and get the girl in the end. But it isn’t. And that’s why the ending is so shocking, yet so right. Only one of Dr. Horrible’s goals can work out. He can choose to redeem himself, and win Penny, or he can be evil enough to join the League, and lose her. He fails to see that Captain Hammer really isn’t his nemesis, but it’s himself. Penny would have realized Hammer’s shortcomings soon enough.
But Dr. Horrible takes the direct path to what he wants – he has to kill someone to get into the League, and he can’t date Penny because she’s dating Captain Hammer. Killing Hammer solves all his problems. Yet in a cruel twist, the person who dies isn’t the man that he hates. It’s the woman that he loves.
And as he stands in shock next to Penny’s broken body, he sings, “Here lies everything, the world I wanted at my feet.” The next lines show that he’s talking about finally making it into the League, but the double meaning in the lyrics is clear. And in that moment, when choice is ripped away, he realizes that he would have chosen her.
Now villainy is all he has left. He changes his white lab coat for one that’s blood-red, and hides his eyes from the world. Yet in his final video blog, he’s dressed as Billy. And completely numb.
Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog cemented my Joss Whedon fandom. Before watching it, I was a Firefly fan, afterwards, I was willing to try out whatever his creative genius came up with. The show also led me to discover Felicia Day’s The Guild, and Neil Patrick Harris’ How I Met Your Mother. Also of note, Dr. Horrible’s sidekick, Moist, is played by Simon Helburg, Howard on The Big Bang Theory.
As soon as Angelus begins narrating this episode, you know it’s going to be dark and deadly. After two episodes of biding his time, sending Buffy undead classmates and roses, Angel begins to strike at her, both directly and indirectly.
At first, he’s merely watching from the shadows. Buffy doesn’t sense that he’s there, though she was able to do it quite easily before, when he had a soul. None of the four leaving the Bronze even notice as he kills someone right in the alley. (Speaking of which, where was Oz in this episode? Perhaps his band had a gig out of town, but would he really be absent from school for several days?) Angelus sneaks into bedrooms, leaving drawings and dead fish. And then he goes after Buffy’s mom.
As Spike warns him, he’s playing a dangerous game, taunting a Slayer. But Angelus doesn’t seem to care. Perhaps he’s trying to create a new masterpiece, to top what he did to Drusilla. I don’t think he’s intending to turn Buffy into a vampire (though that would be a volatile mix, being a Slayer and a vampire, especially if he drives her insane first), just to hurt her. He tends to be pretty picky about who he turns, and having her around, even as a vampire, would be a constant reminder of the humanity he was once reduced to. After all, he didn’t turn his family into vampires, but simply destroyed them and any connection he had to humanity. Becoming a vampire, to him, is an honor, a reward, and he wants to punish Buffy. Now I could see him turning someone close to her to punish her, but not Buffy herself.
Of course, the tragedy of this episode is the cruel end to Giles and Jenny’s love story. First Giles’ past gets between them, then Jenny’s, and just as they get past that AND just as Jenny discovers a way to restore Angel’s soul, Angelus strikes. Joss Whedon is so mean. (Spoilers ahead for the season eight comics!) And it’s horribly sad but almost right in a way that both Jenny and Giles die in the same way. At the hand of the same person. (Though controlled by Angelus in one instance and Twilight in the other.) Side note: I think that’s one reason why people liked Spike even when he was still evil. He never killed anyone we cared about.
It’s Drusilla’s vision that tips Angelus off that Jenny’s trying to restore Angel’s soul. That’s one thing that bugs me about Drusilla – she doesn’t fight fair with all her psychic visions and hypnosis. But she’s hilarious in this episode, carrying the owner-less (thanks to her) puppy around. I love how she names it Sunshine, which for a human would be like naming it Radioactive Poisoning or Arsenic.
Speaking of lighter moments, I love how excited Willow gets about covering the class for a few minutes:
Jenny: Um, I might be a little late tomorrow. Do you think you could cover my class till I show?
Willow: Really? Me? Teach the class? Sure!
Willow: Oh, wait. W-what if they don’t recognize my authority? What if they try to convince me that you always let them leave class early? What if there’s a fire drill? What if there’s a fire?
Jenny: Willow, you’re gonna be fine. And I’ll try not to be too late, okay?
Willow: Okay. Good. Earlier is good. Will I have the power to assign detention? Or make ’em run laps?
The episode ends on a somber note as Willow prepares to take over the class until a new teacher arrives. And a lone floppy disk falls to the floor, awaiting a future episode . . .