Tag Archives: Fringe

Fringe’s Alternate Universe Comic Covers


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Fringe has really come on in leaps and bounds, after a slightly shaky start during the first half of season one, quietly establishing itself as one of TV’s more intelligent sci-fi dramas.

The main story arc involves an impending war between our world and a parallel, alternate reality which is broadly similar to ours but has many subtle differences. It has also been badly damaged by a number of experiments that breached the barrier between the two realities.

Season two concluded this week on UK TV (a couple of weeks after the US airing). The two-part finale mostly took place in the alternate reality and if you were paying attention, there were lots of great little differences and changes from our world to spot.

For comics fans the best touch was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-them set of framed comic books on the wall of an apartment where one of the main characters, Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson), is taken after he crosses over from our reality to theirs.

They reimagine five of the most iconic and best-known DC Comics covers of the past 40 years, adding in some subtle, alternate-reality twists. It was hard to see them on the wall during the brief scene so here they are, alongside the more familiar covers which inspired them. Our original, real-world versions are on the left, the Fringe variants are on the left.

This one is my favourite, I think. The 1987 Giffen/DeMatteis relaunch of the Justice League, with Jonah Hex replacing Green Lantern Guy Gardner in the line-up:

This one is also very good. The famous “Death Of Supergirl” cover from issue seven of Crisis On Infinite Earths (1985) gets a very different outcome:

The famous Green Lantern/Green Arrow issue 76 (April 1970) – the first issue of the acclaimed, ground-breaking Denny O’Neill/Neil Adams run on the title – gets a colour shift:

Frank Miller‘s revolutionary 1986 miniseries The Dark Knight Returns becomes The Man Of Steel Returns:

And finally, another Batman/Superman swap, as 1992’s Death Of Superman becomes the Death of Batman (which happened for real last year in our reality – sort of):

You can see bigger, high-res scans of the alternate covers here, at the DC Universe blog.

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TV Newsround: Good News For Chuck And Visitors – Bad News For Heroes and Flashers


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As the flurry of renewals and cancellations stepped up a gear yesterday, there was good news for fans of V, the decent remake of the 1980s classic about alien invaders, and sci-fi spy comedy-drama Chuck.

V, starring Elizabeth Mitchell – previously best-known for playing Juliet in Lost – and Firefly‘s Morena Baccarin, has been renewed for a second season by US network ABC.

Meanwhile NBC has committed to a fourth season of the acclaimed, but ratings-starved, Chuck.

Bad news, however, for fans of FlashForward, which has reportedly been canceled and will not be back after season one ends – guess we should have seen that one coming…

However, we were always promised that season one would be self-contained and that any future seasons would deal with new flash forwards, so at least we should get a resolution of sorts to the story.

I’m very sad, but not surprised, also to report the demise of Heroes, a show whose five-seasons will, in the future, surely serve as a case study of how NOT to run a TV show.

During its first season, it was the hottest new property on network TV but it was systematically destroyed through a lack of any apparent show-running ability, poor creative decisions, dire plotting and convoluted story arcs that often went nowhere or made no sense. In the end, it seems, they couldn’t save the cheerleader.

It’s been a busy time over the past days and weeks for those who get to decide the future of your favourite TV shows, so here’s a quick rundown of what’s happening with the rest of your favourites on the five big networks: ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS and The CW.

Renewed: Castle, Cougar Town, Modern Family, The Middle, The Big Bang Theory, The Good Wife, How I Met Your Mother, Two And A Half Men, Family Guy, American Dad, The Cleveland Show, Bones, Fringe, Glee, Human Target, Lie To Me, The Simpsons, 30 Rock, Community, Friday Night Lights, Law & Order: SVU, The Office, Parenthood, Parks & Recreation, 90210, Gossip Girl, Smallville, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, NCIS: Los Angeles.

Canceled: Better Off Ted, Hank, Romantically Challenged, Scrubs, Ugly Betty, 24, Dollhouse, Past Life, ‘Til Death, Law & Order, Mercy, Trauma.

The following are those shows that have yet to have their futures decided. Those in green are generally considered dead certs or good bets for renewal, those in red long shots and those in black are thought to be 50/50:

The Bachelor, Brothers & Sisters, The Deep End, Desperate Housewives, The Forgotten, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Accidentally on Purpose, Cold Case, Criminal Minds, CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, Gary Unmarried, Ghost Whisperer, Medium, The Mentalist, NCIS, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Numb3rs, Rules of Engagement, Brothers, House, Life Unexpected, Melrose Place, One Tree Hill.

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TV Newsround: The Show Will Go On… The Fate Of 58 Shows!


It’s that time of year when the US TV networks decide (or rather, share with the world) which shows live and which shows die.

The upfronts take place next week in New York, when the fate of your favourite show will be officially revealed.

However news about the future (or lack thereof) of many of the bigger shows has already leaked, plus a few already had previous multi-season agreements in place.

So here is a round-up of which shows will definitely be back (some of these, in particular the shows that air during the summer, were already known and mentioned in previous Choob posts), plus the ones that are still sweating it out.

ABC

The sixth and final season of Lost will begin early in 2010.

Brothers And Sisters will be back in September for its fourth season.

New comedy-drama Castle, starring former Firefly star Nathan Fillion as a mystery writer who teams up with an NYPD cop to help him research his new novel, has been renewed for a second season. The first season ended in the US last week.

Grey’s Anatomy gets a sixth season, while its spin-off Private Practice is renewed for a third.

Desperate Housewives has been given a sixth season.

Season four of Ugly Betty begins on September 24.

ABC Family comedy-drama Greek has an order for a 20-episode third season.

CBS

CBS has yet to make a decision on a fifth season of sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine, starring former Seinfeld star Julia Louis-Dreyfus (right), but ABC has agreed a back-up deal which will see the network pick up the show if CBS decides to pass on it. It’s the second time in two years that ABC has tried to take over the show.

This is less certain than most of the other shows listed here but rumours are circulating that, somewhat surprisingly, David Mamet‘s special forces military drama The Unit is being given a fifth season.

Again, not a dead cert, but police drama Cold Case is said to have a good chance of a seventh season.

It was revealed back in March that sitcoms Two And A Half Men and The Big Bang Theory have been guaranteed three and two more seasons respectively.

Fox

Day eight of 24 will begin early next year. Is said to be set in New York and feature the return of CTU.

Sci-fi detective drama Fringe has been renewed for a full second season.

Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse, starring Eliza Dushku, will be back for a second season of 12 episodes.

The Simpsons has been renewed for two more seasons. The 44-episode order will take the show through to the end of its 22nd season (and 493 episodes), making it the longest-running series in primetime US TV history.

The first season of Family Guy spin-off Cleveland is yet to air (it was pushed back from Spring to the Autumn), but it has already been given a 13-episode second-season order.

FX

Dennis Leary firefighter drama Rescue Me has been renewed for an 18-episode sixth season.

Biker gang drama Sons Of Anarchy, starring Hellboy’s Ron Perlman, has been given a second-season order.

HBO

A fourth season of bigamy drama Big Love (below) has been ordered.

Vampire drama True Blood will be back for a second season.

Entourage gets a sixth season.

NBC

Despite diminishing ratings, Heroes will be back for season four.

The American version of The Office gets a sixth season.

Tina Fey’s (right) comedy 30 Rock saw ratings grow slightly this year and, though still on the low side, it has been rewarded with a fourth season.

Season eleven of Law and Order: SVU has been ordered.

Friday Night Lights has been given two more 13-episode seasons (its fourth and fifth).

Parks and Recreation, the new sitcom from the makers of the US version of The Office, which stars Saturday Night Live‘s Amy Poehler, gets a second season.

Supernatural drama Medium has been given a sixth season.

New LA-set cop drama Southland began its seven-episode first season last month and has already been renewed for a 13-episode second.

Showtime

Historical drama The Tudors will return for a 10-part fourth (and final) season, which will complete the saga of King Henry VIII.

Season 5 of Weeds, starring Mary-Louise Parker, right, begins on Monday, June 8.

Dexter, starring Six Feet Under’s Michael C Hall as a serial killer who works for the Miami police department. Season three recently ended its run and the network has been renewed for at least two further seasons, of 12 episodes each.

Black comedy-drama The United States Of Tara, has been given a second, 12-episode season. The show, created by Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody, stars Toni Collette as a wife and mother-of-two who suffers from dissociative identity disorder.

Californication, starring David Duchovny as a charming but troubled writer, has been renewed for a third season.

TNT

A second season (15 episodes) of crime drama Leverage has been given the go-ahead.

Superboy drama Smallville will be back in the Autumn for its ninth season.

Supernatural returns for season five.

One Tree Hill gets a seventh season.

Newcomer 90210 gets a second season (plus a pilot order for an updated version of original Beverley Hills 90210 spin-off, Melrose Place – more details here).

A third season of Gossip Girl has been ordered.

Comedy Central

The Sarah Silverman Program will be returning for a third season. With Sarah Silverman, right, obviously.

AMC

The superb Mad Men has been renewed for at least two more seasons.

SyFy

Sci-fi/fantasy drama Sanctuary, starring Stargate SG1 ’s Amanda Tapping, will be back for a second season.

USA

Miami-set tongue-in-cheek drama Burn Notice, below, about a spy inexplicably cast adrift by his bosses and left to fend for himself, has earned a 16-episode third-season order. It begins on June 4.

Comedy-drama Psych, about a fake psychic who helps the police, has been given a fourth season.

Monk, the comedy-drama about an obsessive-compulsive private detective, gets an eighth and final season.

Lifetime

With the third season of Army Wives not due to begin until June, the Lifetime channel has ordered a fourth season.

Starz

Ensemble drama Crash, based on the 2005 Best Picture Oscar-winning film of the same name, has been renewed for a 13-episode second season

TBS

A nine-episode third season of My Boys, a comedy about a female sports writer in Chicago and the men in her life, has been ordered.

Syndication

Syndicated sword-and-sorcery fantasy drama Legend Of The Seeker, currently airing its first season, has been renewed for a second run. The show is based on the Sword Of Truth series of books by Terry Goodkind.

Prospects for the following shows could still go either way but they haven’t been officially cancelled yet:

Fox

A third season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, starring Summer Glau, right, looks highly unlikely but if you believe in miracles, now’s the time to start praying for one.

ABC

Talks are reportedly underway for a ninth season of medical comedy Scrubs, though possibly without regular appearances from several of the original cast.

NBC

Negotiations for a possible fifth season of My Name Is Earl continue.

A fan campaign to win a third season for Chuck continues, amid rumours that a decision will be delayed until after the upfronts.

No word either yet on season 20 of the original Law and Order.

(This post seemed like a good, simple, quick idea when I started it – several hours ago! Hope someone finds it useful.)

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TV Newsround: Dollhouse Reopens, Prison Break Locked Down, Fringe Benefits


VIEWERS in the UK will get their first glimpse of Buffy The Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon‘s new show Dollhouse on Tuesday (May 19) when the Sci Fi Channel starts to air the show.

It stars Eliza Dushku as Echo, one of many “actives”, or “dolls”, people who have had their own personality and memories erased so that they can be reprogrammed with new identities and skills to serve rich clients who hire them out from the mysterious, illegal Dollhouse.

It’s a very dark show at heart – although the dolls sometimes help people by being programmed as bodyguards or hostage negotiators, they are just as likely to be hired out to perform robberies or, most controversially, for sexual liaisons.

The 12-episode first season (a 13th episode was produced and will be included on the DVD release but no US broadcast is currently planned) ended last week in the US after a run on the Fox networkplagued by poor ratings, which raised fears that the show was sure to suffer the same fate as Whedon’s last Fox show, Firefly, which was axed after a single season.

However, against all odds, multiple TV news sources are reporting that the show has been given a 13-episode second season. So far all reports are unofficial, though Fox are expected to confirm the renewal on Monday at their upfronts presentation.

Apparently, though the low ratings are a worry (some say that Dollhouse will be the lowest-rated new show ever to get a second season), other factors, such as projected DVD sales and relatively high DVR numbers (people who record the show and watch it later) and online viewing figures, have helped tip the balance in favour of renewal.

Also said to be a big factor is the fact that the 13th episode was shot on a shoestring budget and is said to have helped convince the network that the show’s quality can be maintained on a lower budget, making it somewhat more cost-effective despite the low viewing figures.

Personally, I’m somewhat ambivalent about Dollhouse. It’s a decent show which, after a very shaky, slow start, kicked into high gear around episode six. However, the season-one finale was a major disappointment, for my money, after the build up. And a badly written and acted one at that.

Hopefully, it will get better in season two – but I’d much rather have seen its low-rated Fox stablemate Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles get a third season. A decision on that show is yet to be made but, sadly, a third season seems highly unlikely.

TALKING of Fox, the network’s one-time darling Prison Break has finally run out of steam. Except it hasn’t

The final two episodes of season four, the show’s last (which UK viewers will also see this coming Tuesday, May 19, on Sky One), aired on Friday. Except they didn’t.

You see, a further special two-hour episode – Prison Break: The Final Break – has already been produced.

Without giving too much away, Fridays final episode ended with a somewhat shocking “Four Years Later” epilogue. The Final Break, we are told, will reveal the events that happened during that four-year gap, while also closing a few of the other plot holes left gaping at the end of Friday’s finale.

Viewers in the US will have to wait for the DVD release in July to see this special post-finale finale – but the news is better for UK viewers, as Sky1 will be airing it a week on Wednesday (May 27).

IT has been confirmed that Fringe, the new sci-fi detective drama from J.J. Abrams which completed it’s first season on Fox last week in the US and is currently airing on Sky1 in the UK, will be back later in the year for a second season.

The show, somewhat reminiscent of The X-Files, is about a Boston-based FBI agent (Anna Torv) investigating “The Pattern”, a series of possibly connected crimes involving unorthodox “fringe science“. She’s aided by a mentally-unbalanced scientist Walter Bishop (John Noble), who may or may not have been involved in scientific research in the past that evolved into The Pattern, and his estranged son (Joshua Jackson).

It’s another show that started off a little slowly – initially held together mainly by a fantastic performance from Noble – but has gone from strength to strength as the series progressed and the underlying conspiracy began to emerge.

Unlike The X-Files, which had alien invasion at the heart of its mythology, it appears that a threat from an alternate reality may be at the centre of the Fringestory.

Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy guest stars in the season finale in a pivotal role.

 

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TV Newsround


Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes has denied the rumours that have been flying for a few weeks that stars Katherine Heigl and T.R. Knight are leaving the show.

She said: “Things happen, and … I think rumors become fact very easily. And you know I don’t like to tell you what’s going to happen on the show — but that is a rumor.”

However, Nicollette Sheridan, who plays man-eater Edie Britt on Desperate Housewives, is leaving the show, according to Variety, though it is not known when she will depart.

Season five of Denis Leary firefighter drama Rescue Me will begin on Tuesday April 7th on FX in the US.

U2 have signed up for a week-long stint on The David Letterman Show, starting on March 2.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Firefly star Summer Glau will guest star, playing herself, in the episode of The Big Bang Theory that airs in the US on March 9. Nerdy uber-geeks Leonard and Sheldon (played by Jonny Galecki and Jim Parsons) will encounter Glau, one of their favourite actresses due to her sci-fi credentials, on a train trip but are too intimidated to approach her.

Revolutionary Road director Sam Mendes is said to be developing a big-screen version of British TV drama Lost In Austen.

The four-part mini-series, which aired on ITV1 last year, tells the story of a modern-day Jane Austen fan who finds herself transported back in time to the 18thcentury and into the plot of Pride and Prejudice, where she finds herself in the role of Elizabeth Bennet. Mendes will serve as executive producer but it’s unknown whether he would also direct the film.

The BBC have lined up a star-studded cast for a two-part mini-series based on classic 1951 John Wyndham sci-fi novel The Day Of The Triffids.

Dougray Scott, Joely Richardson, Brian Cox, Eddie Izzard, Jason Priestley and Vanessa Redgrave have all signed on for the drama. The script was written by ER and Law and Order writer Patrick Harbinson. It tells the story of a post-apocalyptic world terrorised by triffids, carnivorous plants that can move around that were created by scientists to provide an alternative fuel supply. It will be the second BBC TV adaptation of the novel – the first aired in 1981 and starred John Duttine.

Mark Valley, who plays FBI agent Olivia Dunham’s dead ex-boyfriend in Fringe, has been signed up to take the lead role in the pilot for Human Target. The drama is based on a DC comic about a master of disguise who is hires himself out to take the place of people whose lives are in danger.

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The Show WILL Go On…


So far, we’ve looked at the TV shows that have already been cancelled this season and the ones with their future hanging in the balance.

So to round off our mid-season round-up, here’s some better news for the new year, as we take a look at the TV shows that have a brighter future (at least for now).

Mad Men (AMC): Possibly the finest TV show currently in production, this character-led drama about advertising executives in early-60s new York simply oozes quality. Series creator and main writer Matthew Weiner has said that the show will run for five seasons (network permitting) and cover 10 years in the lives of the characters.

Season two ended its run earlier this year, with ratings that grew from season one (almost doubled, in fact). AMC have ordered a third season – however Weiner reportedly has been playing hardball, looking for a pay rise to reflect the critical and ratings success of the show, and whether he will still be in charge when it returns is somewhat unclear.

Dexter (Showtime): Superior drama, with a vein of dark humour running through it, starring Six Feet Under’s Michael C Hall as a serial killer who works a blood-spatter analyst for the Miami police department. Season three recently ended its run and the network has committed to at least two further seasons, of 12 episodes each.

Caprica (SciFi): This prequel to the highly acclaimed Battlestar Galactica re-imagining was in development hell for a long time and looked doomed but the SciFi network in the US has finally given the green light to the show after a pilot episode was made. It’s unlikely to hit our screens until 2010, however.

Billed as more of a family drama than a space opera, Caprica is set 51 years before the Cylon attack that kicked off the Battlestar Galactica story and tells the story of two families (one of them led by the father of future BSG commander William Adama and grandfather 0f Apollo) and their role in the creation of the Cylons.

Survivors (BBC): The remake/re-imagining of the classic 1970s British show – created by Terry Nation (the man who created Blake’s 7- The Cathode Ray Choob’s all-time favourite TV show – and Doctor Who‘s deadliest foes, the Daleks) – about the survivors of a plague that wipes out 99.9% of the human race has been renewed for a second 6-part season.

Burn Notice (USA): This Miami-set tongue-in-cheek drama, about a spy inexplicably cast adrift by his bosses and left to fend for himself, has earned a 16-episode third-season order from the USA network.

Fringe (Fox): The new show from Lost/Alias’s JJ Abrams, about an FBI agent who teams up with a brilliant but mentally unstable and amoral scientist and his estranged son to investigate crimes involving cutting-edge fringe science (concepts that blur the boundary between science fact and science fiction,such as telepathy, levitation, reanimation, genetic mutation), which seem to be part of a wider global conspiracy.

Solid, if unremarkable, viewing figures ensured that the show was picked up for a full 22-episode season order early on in its run.

Sanctuary (SciFi): Endearingly old-fashioned storytelling and cost-cutting use of green-screen technologyto digitally create the locations are the trademarks of this show, which began life as a series of webisodes broadcast over the internet before being picked up by the American SciFi TV network.

Stargate SG1’s Amanda Tapping stars as the enigmatic, long-lived English doctor Helen Magnus, who is in charge of the titular sanctuary that seeks out monsters, freaks and other “abnormals” (some human, some not) to either aid or imprison them depending on how hostile or dangerous they are.

It’s not a flashy or very sophisticated (in terms of writing) show – in many ways it harks back to simpler times when story-telling on TV did not have to be so cynical – but it’s hard to dislike and Tapping’s character makes for a enthralling lead.

SciFi were happy enough with it to order a second 13-episode season.

Life On Mars (ABC): US remake of the acclaimed BBC original about a present day police officer who has an accident and wakes up in the 1970s. After a dismal pilot version (filmed in Los Angeles and set in Chicago), a radical overhaul saw most of the cast replaced (with Harvey Keitel replacing Colm Meaney as Gene Hunt and The Sopranos’ Michael Imperioli brought in) and the action (and filming) switched to New York.

The new pilot was a huge improvement. The ongoing series has closely closely followed the plots and story arc of the UK version but with hints that the underlying mythology (and the explanation for Sam Tyler’s time-shift) may be very different to what was ultimately revealed in the BBC show.

The initial 13-episode order has been increased by four and when the show returns from the festive break, it will move from Thursday nights to Wednesdays, paired up with the reinvigorated Lost, which network chiefs at ABC hopes will help boost Life On Mars’ mediocre ratings. If the strategy works, a second season could be on the cards.

True Blood (HBO): Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball reunited with HBO for this series, based on a series of books, about a telepathic waitress (Anna Paquin) who falls in love with a vampire (the show is set in Louisiana in contemporary America, where vampires have come out of closet and co-exist, somewhat uneasily, with humans).

Ratings were very poor to begin with but grew steadily during the 12-episode first season, and the show is now one of HBO’s biggest ratings-grabbers. A second season has been ordered.

Kath & Kim (NBC): Another US remake, this time of the superior Aussie original. It hasn’t been the total disaster you might expect if you are a fan of the Australian show. However, the harder edges of the original have been softened somewhat for the American audience and casting the relatively slim, beautiful Selma Blair as Kim does seem to miss the point of the character somewhat. In any case, ratings, though slightly mediocre, were good enough for NBC to up the order fr the season from the initial  13 episodes to a full 22. Whether the show will return for a second season remains to be seen.

Worst Week (CBS): Yet more US remake-ry, this time of the BBC comedy The Worst Week Of My Life, about an accident-prone groom-to-be. Middling ratings but CBS ordered an extra three episodes (for a total of 16) and this remains a possibility for a second season.

Sons of Anarchy (F/X): Drama about a gang of outlaw bikers, starring Hellboy‘s Ron Perlman. First season has completed its
13-episode run and a second has been ordered.

Samantha Who? (ABC): Somewhat mediocre sitcom starring former Married With Children babe Christina Applegate as a woman who gets hit by a car, loses her memory and discovers that she wasn’t a very nice person before the accident. ABC has ordered an additional seven episodes for season 2, bringing the total to 20.

Californication (Showtime): David Duchovny vehicle about a charming but troubled writer, has been renewed for a third season.

Entourage (HBO): A sixth season has been ordered.

The Mentalist (CBS): Exceptionally high viewing figures for this crime drama – about a former phony psychic who now uses his brilliant powers of observation to help the cops solve crimes – won it an early full-season pick-up and a second season looks certain.

Psych (USA): A fourth season has been ordered of this comedy drama, which is also about a fake psychic who helps the police.

Gary Unmarried (CBS): The new Jay Mohr comedy received an order for an additional seven episodes (plus two further scripts) taking it to at least 20 episodes in total.

My Boys (TBS): Comedy about a female sports writer in Chicago, and the men in her life. Nine-episode third season has been ordered.

Medium (NBC): Season five of the supernatural crime drama, starring Patricia Arquette, gets an extra six episodes, for a total of 19.

Monk (USA): The “dramedy” about an obsessive-compulsive private detective is to get an eighth and final season.

Privileged (CW): Drama about a wannabe journalist who ends up as a tutor for spoilt rich kids. The CW network ordered an extra 5 episodes, bringing season one up to 18 in all.

90210 (CW): The updated follow-up to 90s teen drama Beverly Hills, 90210 has been a big ratings hit for the CW network, who ordered a full 22-episode season after only three episodes had aired.

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