Monday, November 30, 2009

Serenity Salute: I'm Not Obama..or Rappaport

More Morena Baccarin

That is one of the things Morena Baccarin made clear when she met with fans at the Serenity Salute at the Marriott LAX last weekend. I could have done this sooner, but I wanted to see all of the four V shows before commenting on that as well.
For the record, she's right...the Visitors are truly terrorists from outer space who will give us the modern equivalent of blankets loaded with smallpox, or poisoned lollipops, to take over out world. It also helps that she's completely trustworthy and will use less-than-honest ways even to her own people. That "Bliss" speech at the end of season four is pure verbal Xanax. As Morena pointed out at the event, Anna is a political figure who has a mission to protect her people, and make sure they survive. She'll be friends with the Foolish Humans until it's no longer necessary. Having a Ph. D in Predictable Human Behavior sure helps. Then it's Hamster on a Stick with Soylent Green (made from people) for everyone. As long as no one objects, even if a lot of them are Visitors, no problem. Of course, that possibility has to happen, or we have no show.

The show is also playing into fears we have about foreigners, and now the H1N1 virus. In the last episode, the Visitors planned to spread a plague disguised as flu virus. With the Visitors' injections we'll be healthy right up to the point it kills us. Clever. The writers must listen to Coast to Coast AM. I'm just guessing Anna has a boss, who prefers blowing up humans good rather than sweet talking. What will happen then? In the end, and there better be one, an FBI agent will lose a lot, especially her son, to save her world.

But back to Morena....she gave some good advice for budding actors by trusting your gut and sticking to what feels right. It has worked for her. As for her look as Anna, she says she wanted this character to look clean and perfect, but admits Inara would never have short hair.
She also talked about how she often sees her old pals from Firefly, including Jewel Staite, and how she really liked that kimono robe from "Shindig."
Then, a little speculation...why did Inara leave the Companions' Training House? She hints that Inara may have wanted to be part of a family, and that is what Serenity provided.
Back to V, they asked about how Anna would blink, and whether that was calculated. She said it was, because Anna is an alien who's hiding her lizard side for the mission. She also said it's interesting that she is now a lead character in a TV show. She tries not to think about it, but admits it's been fun. She also had great things to say about Elizabeth Mitchell (who was actually in Santa Clause 2, believe it or not). Morena also revealed that her sets are CGI. She's actually in one green screen. She also admits some of her younger relatives may be stunned by her performance, but she assures them that it's just TV.

She also talked her appearance on The View, and how she was worried. In the end, she compared it to visiting someone's living room. She also complimented Whoopi Goldberg.

Among other things, she says she's concerned about how HD is showing the actors in a more realistic light, or as she put it she'd rather be "fuzzy and beautiful". She also revealed she was in the first version of the pilot for It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. She played a woman who, well, wasn't quite was she seemed. Think trans-gender. She also admitted to a little resume-padding, claiming she can do a French accent, but can't. There was also a question about Inara as a "power courtesan", such as a geisha. She says that such a role is possible in some cultures but not ours.

So, 2010 will be a great year for sci-fi fans. Lost will be back and so will V, with Morena Baccarin as the most trustworthy alien terrorist ever. Again, she's doing this to save her people. We Earthlings aren't her people. Just that simple.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Serenity Salute: Alan Tudyk and the $375 Bean Dip

It's been a week since I went to Los Angeles to use up a free Southwest ticket and see some old friends I haven't seen since the late great Flanvention. I only wish I spent more for autographs so I could talk to them. Oh well....

Alan Tudyk

I also wanted to wait until I saw all the episodes of the first chapter of V, but after episode three, I thought it was time to praise Alan Tudyk, nice-guy pilot with a dark side.
After he was impressed by the types of cameras the crowd used to take pictures of him, he explained that Natahn Fillion would not make a surprise visit after he had to cancel at the last second due to his TV show, Castle. So, he brought a special guest...

Alan Interrogates the Bean Dip

Nathan's seven-layer bean dip, which would be auctioned off to the highest bidder. It would be for a good cause, "Kids Need To Read". There was some concern Nathan would find out about this, like maybe through Twitter. Whether he did or not was never revealed. Alan also had some swag that was in his apartment, and gave it away to people who could answer his brain-twisting trivia questions. They were so challenging, even he had a tough time coming up with some. Some of the swag included hats from Knocked Up, and really cool stuff from Firefly and Dollhouse. I wanted to ask him about whether Alpha will be back on Dollhouse, or what it was like to be part of the Monty Python-verse by being in Spamalot. Never got close.

He did say that he did like being on stage better than in film or TV. he also talked about how he learned Wash's fate in Serenity. He understood why it had to happen that way, but still hoped for a sequel. he also talked about his time filming A Knight's Tale, and how he enjoyed beer in Prague.
Then someone asked him what it was like being Alpha. He said it was like having 40 people inside you, and trying to keep the thoughts of most of them at bay. If you saw "Omega", that describes it quite well.
Alan also admitted he was skeptical about attending cons after Nathan and Morena did so. He was at the Flan (has it really been four years?), and he saw how big the love is for this show. he also said he wasn't able to keep any of the toy dinosaurs from the show, but someone who had worked on the show did send him one.
Then Nathan called....asking about his bean dip. What bean dip?

The $375 Bean Dip

Oh, that bean dip.
He was complimented about how buff he looked in "Omega", while he recounted a very funny story about how he played a pedophile on CSI. The crowd got a big laugh when he recalled how the child actor who was in the scene reacted after the scene was done. Let's just say the kid was OK.

And how did the bean dip do on the auction block, when several other items were added?
$375! Not bad.
Actually, I bet in Beverly Hills, a restaurant is selling a bean dip worth 375 bucks, made from very expensive pinto beans and guacamole from Paraguay. Here, this was bean dip made with love, and for a good cause.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Serenity Salute: The New Jack Cassidy

Mark Sheppard

That's what Mark Sheppard, the guy who's in every TV show these days, called himself at the Serenity Salute.
In fact, he had a tough time trying to think of which shows he never worked in. Well, there's Cold Case, but I came up with that after the weekend was over.
Still, you have to admit he's "better than", being in shows from Firefly to Medium, Leverage to White Collar and Supernatural, and even The Middleman. He really liked being in that show, especially being in the table read for the episode ABC Family never made. That happened last Summer during Comic-Con.

He also talked about how difficult kissing an old man can be. He did that in Supernatural where he played a demon, and that he'll be reprising that role soon. Still, kissing a guy...that took six hours. He also revealed he "broke" the Colt that the Winchester boys use to kill demons. It was apparently tough to fix, too.

He was also part of Battlestar Galactica, and revealed he got the job because he was able to fix a computer problem that Ron Moore had. This was also great because Mark was a big BSG fan.
He also talked about being in a first-season episode of X-Files where he played a firestarter. He even revealed that he was stunned to learn he had to actually be on fire at one point. Talk about hazard pay. Still, it was the first time a show gained viewers in reruns, and a sign that the show was on its way.

Of course, he also talk about being on Firefly, as the guy who's "better than", Badger. He hinted that maybe Badger liked River, and if the show had lasted longer we could have seen more.

Serenity Salute: Fun With Tim and Jane

Thanks to my inexperience with handling LAX, I wound up missing Adam Baldwin. I am sure he was very entertaining. However, I did come just in time for two of the best known writers who didn't write a musical about a mad scientist and a gal who slays.

Fun with Tim and Jane

Tim Minear and Jane Espenson are well-known for the scripts they make, especially for Joss Whedon. They both recently write for Dollhouse, and revealed their writing secrets to the crowd at the Marriott LAX.

For example, Jane said that she likes to write a script in order, building to the scenes that matter. Tim prefers to start with the main scenes. Both agree that writing the first scene is always the hardest. Also, she said that when she write dialogue, she sometimes makes grammatical errors, but keep them in the script. She thinks it's better to have a character speak more naturally, rather than profound speeches.
Also, when you want to write for a show, they said you should really look at how a script is put together before you put forth a spec script. They also suggest that budding writers don't write scripts that are really fan fiction.

Then the fans had their questions. One fan asked if it was easier to write "Briar Rose" and "Omega" when they knew Alan Tudyk would be the main villain. Tim said yes and that "we all have Alan Tudyk living in the castle of our minds." Jayne would have preferred Nathan Fillion, since he is Castle.

Jane was also asked what it's like to create a show, then not write for it. The show, of course, is Warehouse 13, and she only wrote the pilot. She still got the credit for creating the Syfy hit, which means a little cash her way. Tim, though, wishes he were Dick Wolf, Mr. Law and Order.

Getting back to scripts, Jane says that while she prefers character to speak even with bad grammar, she is sometimes reminded she write characters that aren't supposed to speak less-than-perfect English, like Roslin from BSG.
They also agree that cable TV is the real place to see TV shows are are good and different from the very stale network fare. They even wish Joss would give it a try. After Fox was a bit too eager to say Dollhouse wouldn't get a third season, maybe he could.

As for the future, Jane Espenson is involved in the new BSG prequel called Caprica, while Tim Minear hopes to revive the Alien Nation series. Since "V' is starting to catch on, why not a "rebuttal" to the idea of aliens coming here pretending to be friendly when they aren't?

However, if you prefer to see the whole thing, QmX has taped it for you. It's at

Serenity Salute: Jewel Staite

Glowing Jewel Staite

Now that I finally have enough time to talk about how the Serenity Salute last weekend was like, I will start with this shiny gal named Jewel Staite. While she's known as Kaylee, she's been spending a lot of time at Stargate: Atlantis, and will soon be in a movie called Mothman.
First off, she actually admitted she didn't like that classic dress from "Shindig" because it was tough to get around it. We fans sure liked it, though.
She also had an update about a new house she and her husband just bought. It's the one that she claimed in Twitter that it was luring her inside. Well, it worked. Now she and her husband are making new furniture inside the place because it's too tough to movie the old stuff inside. She mentioned it had an odd staircase.
She also revealed something juicy about Morena Baccarin: she has quite the foul mouth although she looks so elegant on the show. Actually, Morena already proved that the night before. We'll get to that later. She also revealed they're planning to watch the winter finale of "V" together. Despite the way they kid each other, it's clear she and Morena are very close.

Jewel also admitted that she is not quite like Kaylee, and the character became a little more like Jewel as the show went on.
She also talked about trying to act to a "green screen". In the scene in Serenity when the crew is passing through a sea of Reaver ships, and they all had to react, she said Adam Baldwin actually breathed heavily, like a grizzly. Since Jayne is spooked by Reavers on the show, that would make sense...even if it sounds strange.

As for TV shows, and people, Jewel likes Christina Hendricks and her show, Mad Men. Jewel's also a big fan of So You Think You Can Dance, even going to tapings, Castle (for Nathan, of course), Lost, Chuck...but didn't mention Dollhouse. But she's a fan of TV!

Jewel has been on Twitter for a while, and she gets some interesting responses. Some have including comments about what she eats. She likes food, guys!
She as also asked if she could "swap bodies", she'd swap with Zoe because she's a tough character. She also had a funny story about meeting Matthew Fox from Lost, and how the big moment wasn't as big as she had hoped. Oh, and there are pictures.
On the other hand, David Hewlett from SGA was thrilled when he learned Jewel was on the show because he's a Firefly fan.

Also, she says being Kaylee has led to be being defined as a "type", but she likes to do all types of roles. Remember, she was that mean girlfriend that kept Jaye away from the guy she liked in Wonderfalls.
She also talked about having "Vegas shows", and so many shoes in general they could be found under her bed.

Finally, she hopes she'll be able to work with Joss again, as do we.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Singing the Praises of Firefly

Singing Serenity's Praises

One thing you can say about Joss Whedon shows is that they inspire a lot of music.
This is especially true of Firefly and Serenity. The Big Damn Heroes have been immortalized in song by several musicians, from the Bedlam Bards to Marian Call.
The latest group to add to the Browncoats Hit Parade is a band out of St. Louis called he Browncoats. Three of its members, and a crew member, visited the Serenity Salute recently in Los Angeles. They allowed people to sample its first CD, Space Age Loser. It also includes a DVD of its first video, a cover of "Hero of Canton" that has been popular on YouTube and MySpace. The video won an award at the Serenity Salute.

Co-Pilot Gary Miller and Air Marshall Buckley Roberts had been in an industrial rock band for years before they decided to perform songs based on Firefly. Their version of "Hero of Canton" was the first song. "We just gave the mp3 away, and just spread it to as many people as we knew," Miller said. "Later, we decided, hey, let's just do a whole album out of this and create an entire band."
They were joined by lead singer and Captain Paul Moerke, and bass player Dominic Anthony. Moerke was also a pilot, and played a big part in the music video. It premiered last September during DragonCon in Atlanta. Amy Jordan also appeared in the video, but is also a lighting engineer, and helps promote the CD.

Both Miller and Roberts admitted they were late bloomers as Firefly fans, but they were hooked when they first saw the show. "When I saw Firefly," Miller says, "I was like 'oh, my God, how could I have not seen this? How could I not know this existed?' I come to realize when we started selling this record that the majority of the people that at least know Firefly that are buying the record are also late bloomers. Bought the DVDs later on"

The band is also influenced by people close to them. "Trans-Siberian Railroad," for example, was written for Gary's wife, while "Amelia" was written for Paul's daughter.

They have done some gigs in the St. Louis area, and plan more in the next few months. Their shows are different from typical rock concerts. Their opening acts are actually comedy groups like "Clown-vis", which is Elvis as a clown, and an improv group led by Bill Cott, who appeared on Saturday Night Live.

They've also been able to give their CDs to Adam Baldwin, and Rafael and Yan Feldman. They've also using social media websites including Facebook and Twitter.
"We just want to keep the train rolling and the keep the variety up," Miller says. "We want to give people a package that doesn't just give them a rock album, gives them a lot to soak in."

They also want to do another CD next year. Before that, they plan an EP that includes bluegass versions of their songs and new songs. They also hope to make more videos, including a planned spoof of Star Wars. t will also produce a song for the "Browncoats: Redemption" fan film.

More information about the band is available at, including links to MySpace, Twitter and iTunes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dollhouse In December, Then Going Out Of Business

I feel so bored not having to write about cool television, especially Dollhouse, which will re-open on December.....
What? The Hollywood Reporter says the show is cancelled?
Why now? The show is supposed to come back in three weeks with Summer Glau, the return of Senator Wesley, er, Perrin, and the guy who used to be Satan on Reaper.
You mean the fact reruns of Bones and House on November 6th got a 1.2 rating shows that people would rather see that than a sci-fi show about life-sized dolls struggling with their own identity, especially a girl named Echo?
If that is what Fox thinks....then it explains why Breaking Bad and Mad Men are on AMC, not ABC.

This is cruel. That's what I am saying. It's like Fox programmers are killing off shows the way Joss kills off beloved characters. Because they are.
This is worse than ABC letting Pushing Daisies wilt and die because of neglect last year. I had dreamed of tossing a 200 foot pie at the ABC offices for this. Thankfully, the Emmys beat me to it, thanks to four Emmys for the show.

Fox goes through all the trouble of telling people it will be back on the fourth, and emphasizes the return of fan favorite Summer Glau (especially for fans of Firefly, Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles and maybe Big Bang Theory). We see two cool viral web sites from Rossum and a neo-Luddite group who claims we should mistrust technology. Fans are promoting the heck out of the show, basically doing Fox's job to keep the buzz going.
Now, after two weeks of House and Bones reruns, Fox decides that people prefer leftovers on Fridays, not freshly made drama?
Look, that may work for weekend on NBC or the CW anytime, but not on Fox, guys.

Well, as I'm typing this, I am happy to learn the show will be back in three weeks, but at the end of January, that will be the end.
Also, Joss is making episode eleven. Can you partially wrap up a show in two weeks?
Well, he had said he's ready for this possibility. Hopefully we'll go back to Los Angeles 2019, and see how Mag, Zone and MiniEcho are doing in their search for SafeHaven(tm).
One person is proposing maybe a movie to close out the show, as Serenity partially did.
You know, the ironic thing is that AMC is airing a six-hour version of the classic 1960's show The Prisoner. It won't be like the old version. It will have the same themes about freedom, individuality and security. I'd like to think it's the same idea "improved" after 42 years by the unknown group who made the old version. Little cable networks are willing to pay to make TV shows that are not spinoffs of existing shows, dance contests, or reality shows. The networks would rather make something they know will be popular, even if it starts out moldy and stale...and then they wonder why people turn to Netflix or HBO for their TV needs.
Fox had that chance to air a show about identity and freedom, with a dig to massive companies who are trying to define what we are and what we're supposed to like. Taking a risk can pay off sometimes. Try it when you brought back Family Guy and it became bigger than ever!!!!

Well, I have two t-shirts protesting what Fox is doing to Dollhouse. They may have something to do with Firefly, and I'll try that at the costume contest at next week's con in LAX. I may not win over another guy who's dressed as a Reaver, but if I make my point loud and clear, then that's good.

Just one more thing....
is that book of essays about Dollhouse still going to be published by Smart Pop Books? I have a great idea for an essay, and I should still write it.

ETA: Joss responds to our response, in his usual way..

Hmm. Apparently my news is not news.

I don't have a lot to say. I'm extremely proud of the people I've worked with: my star, my staff, my cast, my crew. I feel the show is getting better pretty much every week, and I think you'll agree in the coming months. I'm grateful that we got to put it on, and then come back and put it on again.

I'm off to pursue internet ventures/binge drinking. Possibly that relaxation thing I've read so much about. By the time the last episode airs, you'll know what my next project is. But for now there's a lot of work still to be done, and disappointment to bear.

Thank you all for your support, your patience, your excellent adverts. See you again. -j.