Sunday, November 28, 2010

Call Me Mrs. Miracle: Jewel Was Shiny, The Movie Was Not

OK, I am not really a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas, but I might be a big Scrooge-ish when it comes to good holiday entertainment.
This past weekend, Jewel Staite became the first Whedon alumnus to be in a holiday movie since 2006 in Call Me Mrs. Miracle, a new Hallmark Channel movie abot a magical lady to saves Christmas by basically being at the right place at the right time. Doris Roberts was charming as Emily Merkle, the gal (who is a blessing from Heaven, let's be clear about this) who made everything better. I just wish she at least broke a sweat fixing everyone's problems. It just seemed to be a bit too easy for her. If that's how the book told the story, then my opinion doesn't count.

I will say Jewel Staite was the best thing about this. She plays Holly, the overworked but underappreciated assistant to Lindy Lo, a crabby fashion designer who thinks she's Anna Wintour. Jewel did a great job as someone who is determined to give her nephew a wonderful Christmas while did dad is deployed overseas. She actually reminded me Jennifer Aniston. Anywho, Holly meets Jake, who manages Finlay's, a New York department store. Mrs. M, of course, thinks they could be good for each other...which they are. Problem is, Jake's dad, who owns the store doesn't like to celebrate Christmas. He prefers to hide in the Virgin Islands until the holidays are over, so he can forget a very bad thing that did happen during the holidays.
So, Jake has a problem of selling out the toy department at the store despite the fact it doesn't sell the toy that every kid wants. His job, and maybe the store's future, are on the line. His hopes for a Merry Christmas look remote...but Mrs. M will make it all better.

What I didn't like was Lauren Holly as Lindy Lo. First off, she acts like Meryl Streep in The Devil Wore Prada. Uh, why? It just distracts from the whole story. It also doesn't help that she doesn't respect her customers, or any potential new ones. It was also too easy for Mrs. M to change Lindy's mind, but if that's what happened in the book....

This was a typical Hallmark Channel movie where a family faces the possibility of an unhappy Christmas until a last-second miracle makes it all better. A cable channel full of cliches is not my cup of tea. Really good classic Christmas movies are made of holiday cheer, but they have a message that stands out if the story was set in July. In It's Wonderful Life, Jimmy Stewart realizes how important he was to his home town. In A Christmas Carol, an old man learns that he can afford to be kind and get something better than riches.
Call Me Mrs. Miracle may be a candy cane of a Christmas movie, but I prefer movies that can be gingerbread men, too.

Take Holiday Wishes, the Lifetime holiday movie that starred Amber Benson. She was a girl looking for her long-lost sister, while two girls (one rich, one poor) switched bodies to experience each other's lives thanks to a mysterious guy who Amber's character apparently knew. We later find out this guy was an angel. It was a bit more complex and interesting that what Mrs. Miracle could do. I just thought if you took out one of the angles (switched bodies, search for sister, guy was an angel), it would have been better.

So Call Me Mrs. Miracle shows Jewel can handle a nice romantic role, away from Browncoats and Stargates and such. Let's hope she gets a better story in the future. As for Christmas movies in general, I just prefer those where the hero works hard for a White Christmas after he dreams of it. In fact, I think that is what happens in the movie, White Christmas.

Then again, I also like Bad Santa.

Call Me Mrs. Miracle will be shown several times in December on Hallmark Channel

Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's Over, Sharktopus! Felicia Day Delivers in SyFy Movie, But...

When SyFy announced it was making movies based on fairy tales, but with a much darker tone, some had to wonder if it was making MST3K fodder...considering it used to have that show.
The first one, Beauty and the Beast, which included a witch who wanted to take over a kingdom by turning the prince into a beast, and a sexy heroine wearing a dress that was bit too short for that time.
Fodder for the angry bots!

Then we hear Felicia Day is going to do her version of "Little Red Riding Hood", only she battles Big Bad Werewolves.
This try, at least, is much better.
Day is a capable heroine as Virgina "Red" Sullivan, who's part of a family of werewolf hunters. They even had to wipe out a nearby town when it was turned by werewolves.
So, when she bring in a guy named Nathan (Kavan Smith) to meet the family, they're not too sure they can handle welcoming someone new. He's equally skeptical about her claim that they hunt werewolves.
An ill-advised walk in the woods by Nathan that night changes all that. He meets a creepy guy named Gabriel (Stephen McHattie), who turns out to be a new breed of werewolf. He can change whenever he likes, and he's telepathic.
He also bites Nathan. Red and her brothers Jake and Marcus don't notice, but they have to tell him everything.
They mention the rules of werewolf hunting: silver kills them, but someone who has been bitten can escape the curse if he kills the one who bit him, and before the turned one kills anyone else.
Red should know. Her grandfather had that experience.
So what's a werewolf hunter to do when she does find out Nathan has been bitten? Can he be saved?
Meanwhile, Gabriel is playing The Most Dangerous Game, capturing tourists who may get killed or turned by werewolves.

There are very long scenes of Jake and Marcus looking for werewolves. Red kills a couple of werewolves, but doesn't have much to do, until tragedy strikes in a big way.

It's best to approach this movie as if this is a variation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This time, though, it's about a warrior who would like a life that's more normal, and how her destiny won't allow it.
Also, the movie gives out too much information in the first 20 minutes. It would have been better for Nathan to settle in, but also wonder why Red's brothers hunt at night. Then after the second commercial break, he'd get bitten by Gabriel.
Also, the CGI is, well, kind of strange. The "change" from human to wolf is weird, along with how they move from a distance. But this is cable TV.
The story was more interesting than most SyFy movies, and Day does a good job here.
Someone suggested it could become a series. The way it ended, I'm not sure, unless it starts with Red getting new powers and some assistance. You'll see what I mean.

All Felicia hopes is that this will beat Sharktopus in the ratings. Maybe it will, but it's already way ahead of Mega Python vs. Gateroid, the first SyFy movie that sounds more like the main event at Wrestlemania...and that doesn't even include the prospective battle between '80s teen idols in that movie. Does this mean we'll have someting similar in 2020? Yikes!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Some Outtakes From Jewel Staite Visiting Sacramento

My latest article in Whedonopolis recounts Jewel Staite's visit to the Sacramento Horror-Sci-Fi Show near Sacramento State this past weekend. As usual, she was a million laughs and more, and she should be the Greta of the Week on Chuck soon after Summer Glau has her turn.

Her recommendation of the Browncoats: Redemption DVD convinced me to get it, too. As soon as I get it, I will have my review. Until then, here's the link to get it and a t-shirt. Proceeds go to good folks, guaranteed.

Anyway, aside from the subjects that were part of my article, she also talked about how Nathan Fillion gathered as many props as he could from Firefly and Serenity (maybe he'll bring a crane to the Castle set when the show goes off the air in 2016), and basic things about how she gets into character and why she's glad there's writers. She also revealed that when she was in Space Cases, they made sure she got three hours of school each day, even with a timer. She also recommended a local restaurant called Ella, near the Convention Center.

Enough of that, though. Plenty of people went to the con to see her, and show their love for her. Take these girls who showed the two sides of Kaylee...

Ready for a Shindig

Another gal dressed as Kaylee

I got one of her action figures from Stargate Atlantis signed by her. She may have wished there was a Kaylee figure, but if she went to one of the booths, she would have seen this...

Homemade Firefly Figures

Mal really looks too chunky, and reminds me of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for some reason. The Kaylee figure looks fine, especially with the parasol.

Overall, the event reminded me of SuperCon in San Jose from a couple of years ago, which had Joel Hodgson and Jorge Garcia, which are big deals. Crowd wasn't big, but it was a great opportunity to get a picture of me with Jewel. Billy Dee Williams also drew a big crowd of Star Wars. He didn't have a panel of his own, but he should have.

So, the next big thing will be the Creation Con at LAX in six weeks, where I REALLY want to see Eliza Dushku up close. Aside from Dollhouse, she may talk about her boyfriend Rick Fox and his chances of winning Dancing With the Stars. It's more than just Sci-Fi.
I also hope to talk to the people who produced Browncoats: Redemption, especially since I will get to see the movie beforehand. If Jewel bought a copy, it must be good.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Whedon Alumni Among the Busiest

Recently a familiar face just joined Mad Men.
A guy named Danny was just hired by Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, even though all he had was one concept for several products..and he's a cousin of Roger's wife, Jane.
If he looked familiar, he's actually Danny Strong, who was Johnathan on Buffy and also a very good TV screenwriter. He was the guy who wrote Recount, about the 2000 presidential election.

Then I was thinking a lot of the old cast members of the Whedonverse are still quite busy. Look at the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sarah Michelle Gellar is currently enjoying motherhood, as shown in this picture....

Fans, though, hope she will be back soon.
Many cast members are enjoying TV success. Alyson Hannigan is on How I Met Your Mother, David Boreanaz with Bones, Nicholas Brendon makes occasional appearances on Criminal Minds, and James Marsters is poised to be back on Smallville and Caprica (if that gets more episodes. He'll also play a big role in the premiere of Hawaii Five-0, and maybe more after that. Charisma Carpenter has recently been spotted in The Expendables, and has a couple of movies in the works. Amber Benson is a successful author, and co-directed the office/alien invasion movie Drones. Michelle Trachtenberg was a regular on Mercy, but has also been wreaking havoc on Gossip Girl, and will do even more havoc soon.

The crew of Firefly has also done pretty well in the biz. Nathan Fillion, of course, is set to solve crimes and flirt at a cop (even if she has a gun) on Castle for another year. Adam Baldwin is also back as Casey on Chuck, and Morena Baccarin will be back as a very scary alien queen on V. Alan Tudyk has been in movies, including 3:10 to Yuma, but made a heck of an impression as Alpha on Dollhouse (which is one good reason why you should get the season 2 DVD next month). Jewel Staite and Sean Maher recently guest starred on Warehouse 13. She was also on Stargate Atlantis, and I have an action figure of her from that show. Maher just landed a gig on ABC Family's gymnastics show Make It or Break It.
Ron Glass, who played Book, was recently in the U-S version of Death at a Funeral. That's ironic, since Tudyk was in the original as the guy who took one wild drug accidentally. We'll hear more from him when we read The Shepherd's Tale from Dark Horse this fall.
Gina Torres, who played Zoe, is part of the cast of ABC Family's Huge, where she's a counselor at a weight-reduction camp.
Summer Glau has been seen as a Terminator and a wounded computer genius on Dollhouse. Now, she'll be a two-fisted muckraking blogger on The Cape.

As for Angel, Christian Kane is still a big part of the caper drama Leverage. Amy Acker was a regular on Dollhouse and Happy Town. She'll be seen in Cabin in the Woods once MGM fixes its financial problems. Vincent Kartheizer, of course, is enjoying success as Pete Campbell in Mad Men. J. August Richards has been on the TNT show Raising the Bar, and was recently seen on Grey's Anatomy.

The cast of Dollhouse also has a lot of talent, and may are hoping to see more of them soon. Eliza Dushku has been a major part of the Buffyverse as Faith, and Echo in Dollhouse. She's now developing a movie on Robert Mapplethorpe. Olivia Williams was recently seen in The Ghost Writer. Who wouldn't want to see her as a female Giles in a possible Slayer spinoff?
Harry Lennix has an interesting resume. Not only was he Boyd on the show, he was also in State of Play, and even Little Britain USA is the US President. He'll soon be in Mr. Sophistication and McBett, which is Macbeth in the Caribbean.
Enver Gjokaj, if I had my way, would be the new Rollin Hand in Mission Impossible 4. He's been seen recently in Fox's Lie to Me.
Miracle Laurie, who played Maddie/Mellie/November, is part of a ukelele band, but will soon be in a sci-fi drama set in San Francisco about 160 years from now.
Fran Kranz was supposed to be in an NBC romantic comedy, but will also be part of Cabin in the Woods.
Tahmoh Penikett, already a big fan favorite in Battlestar Galactica and Dollhouse, will soon be seen in The Hostage.

The Whedonverse is filled with very talented people and actors that we're certain to see again and again.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Comic-Con: Other Visits and Sights, part 2

People take dozens of pictures during Comic-Con, but trying to organize them is the toughest task of all. These pictures are sort of the best of the rest, with some comments.

Battle for Souls

First off, when I heard the Westboro Baptist Church was going to picket Comic-Con because they thank worshipping super-heroes just isn't Christian. They probably also hate fans of Superman or Doctor Who, since aliens probably don't know anything about the Bible.
However, these Christians are not with the WBC, which I was told by e-mail. They just want attendees to pick up a Bible once in a while rather than a graphic novel. At this corner, though, they had to compete with girls promoting Jackass 3-D.

Take this, English-Only Jerks

Klingon Commuter

Remember the episode in South Park when the missionary teaching African orphans said English was God's language? The WBC protesters may think that way seeing these Klingon trolley signs. After all, what kind of blasphemous language is this?
It's a good language, and I'm sure Klingons had some choice words for the WBC guys as well.

Yeah, the master hired me back

I may never attend another Rifftrax panel at Comic-Con because it gets rooms that are way too small. That's only because Ballroom 20 can't be used. Still, Rifftrax is a big deal in entertainment, and it should get a bigger room. I'm not saying that because I lost out on seeing the panel. These guys, of all people probably didn't get in until most of the panel was done.

Geoff Disses Ed McMahon

I was surprised that Craig Ferguson's evil robot sidekick, Geoff, was at Comic-Con. I thought I'd ask him how he compared himself with Ed McMahon. It said "Ed McWho?"
Figures, since Ed never worked on CBS. Looking back ,this was a natural.

Comic-Con: All the World's a Billboard

I remember a couple of years ago when the most usual way to promote a show at Comic-Con is to get an airplane that flies a banner than just says "I (heart) Dexter".

This year, there are other ways. This one is big, but not too new if you've been to Hollywood

Wait, is this really Los Angeles?

Pretty big for a movie about an alien invasion, huh? Not to be outdone, the guys promoting Scott Pilgrim vs. the Expendables, I mean World, used the Hilton Bayfront to plug its movie.

King of Comic-Con 2010

Doesn't get bigger than that. As long as I catch the matinees, I'll see both him and Sly and the Knights of Kick-Ass next month.
Other movies, TV shows and networks have found better ways to plug themselves. The latest classic example is the Cafe Diem from Eureka at the Hard Rock Hotel...

The Cafe Deim, open five days a year

It now has competition with Ciro's Pizzeria, which is "borrowed" by the Cartoon Network.

Soon, the Adult Swim Bar

Take this, Cafe Deim

It won't be long before the Adult Swim bar is next.

Fox also got into the act by turning a downtown fish restaurant into "Bob's Burgers" which is a new animated show in the spirit of Family Guy. They gave out hundreds of burgers and even had burger eating contests. Not a bad deal.

Not animation

Machete gave out tacos, and passes to a special panel that included some bloody action. If not for the fact I had the Serenity screening, I would have checked it out. It's produced new trailers, but I still liked the first one.

Roach Coach

Machete Tacos

As I mentioned, Let Me In had a party at Basic at 10th and J. They had pictures from the movie...

Scenes from Let Me In

and it was a full crowd. Pizza, 80s music and beer will do that.

Crowd at Basic

and look at this. Matt Reeves with a guy who should have smiled...shouldn't I?

Can this man live up to a Swedish horror flick?

Finally, the simplest kind of "ambush" marketing.

Hey, Rifftrax

This guy is trying to get the Rifftrax fans with Cinematic Titanic, which features the MST3K crew from the beginning, and the middle, too.

At Comic-Con, all the world's a billboard...some more effective than others.

Comic-Con: Riding the Black Beauty

A couple of days after Comic-Con, there seems to be doubt that Seth Rogen can be a credible costumed hero as The Green Hornet.
As far as publicizing the movie, though, you have to admit they gave it a good hard try. First, get some gals that rival the Iron-ettes...

The Hornettes

Then you get something called Britt Reid's Garage at 10th and J, near Petco Park...

Britt Reid's Garage

Then add some cool muscle cars that kind of look like the Black Beauty....

More Black Beauty

Imagine that car on the road...a little smaller...and a hybrid...made by Road Rage Motors. That will save the car industry.

Several fans were lucky enough to take a ride around the block in this car. I was lucky to get a ride during preview night. First, we just walked there...

Where to, sir?

We left the driving to her...

Leave the driving to her

and looked inside to see all the electronic hardware. Remember, this pre-dates such supercars as Knight Rider.

More of inisde Black Beauty

Thing is, you'd get something like this in an Acura or Lexus...without the remote-controlled machine guns.

I do want to add this picture from inside the garage..

OK, so we need something stronger

I'm guessing this was the stunt car, or the Black Beauty without bullet-proof anything.

It'll be a few months before The Green Hornet arrives in 3-D. Maybe it will surprise us. Let's hope so.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Comic-Con: Other Visits And Sights, part one

While most of my reports about Comic-Con are now exclusive to Whedonopolis, there are some stories I can tell here. They include the events that are considered off-site, but have some connection to Joss.

The first one was the San Diego debut of Hammer Improv, also known as the Knights of Good Improv (as far as I am concerned). The group includes Guild members Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh and Jeff Lewis. You can see some of their stuff at this US Stream channel. Instead of doing their thing at a small Los Angeles theater, they performed at a nearly 300-seat theater at the Lyceum, near Horton Plaza.
The jokes centered on Comic-Con, of course, then went further than that. Since they said flash photography was not allowed, this is the only good picture I got...

Hammer Improv's finest hour

The sketch takes place in a bus. That's the only part I remember, along with some surprising jokes from Felicia, and robots attacking each other because one of them hated Inception. I think.

I also had to give up a ticket to Patton Oswalt at the House of Blues because I actually got inside a Hollywood party. I was at the shindig for Let Me In, the remake of Let the Right One In. I may never get another chance like this, so I went there instead.
It was good pizza with interesting toppings, wonderful '80s music, and beer.
Oh, and I got this picture...

Cast of Let Me In plus fan

Richard Jenkins with Kodi Smit-McPhee (who was last seen as The Son in The Road). I did not see Chloe Moretz because it was getting late. Still, I got to talk to Matt Reeves briefly about the movie. I sure hope it can live up to the original.
Here are some other sights from Comic-Con. First, I did get to see Patton Oswalt after all...

Patten Oswalt

I finally got in a Dark Horse signing because they decided to let anyone in. As usual, I lost in the ticketed signing drawings.

There was also a screening of Serenity at the Gaslamp 14. It was nearly a full house of Browncoats...

Crowd at Can't Stop the Serenity

There was also a sighting by a fan known as "The One True Bix", who helped organize Can't Stop the Serenity charity screenings for Equality Now.

The One False Jane

This event raised more than 3000 dollars, which is pretty good.
I'll have more general pictures about Comic-Con soon, includnig my ride in the Black Beauty

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

At Least My Comic-Con Evenings Are Set

Lately, some enterprising people have discovered that Comic-Con fans may not want to see the latest blockbuster hit that's in town for a sneak preview, or attend a panel of terrible animation. They search for exotic things, or stuff that's cooler than what some call "Cannes for Nerds"

I think this all started when Rifftrax had a live show at the Balboa, tossing venom on Plan 9 From Outer Space. Since then, more people have decided to become the alternative to Comic-Con at night. In my case, the places where I'm going occur after some panel does take place. I still hope to see The Expendables, only if the screening does happen on a Saturday, or the movie ends around 10 PM. Otherwise. I'll be occupied.

Still, my post 7 PM plans are pretty much set for most of the week. I snagged tix for Hammer Improv, also known as the Knights of Good Improv since Felicia, Sandeep and Jeff are in the group. I wouldn't be surprised if the rest of the guys dropped by, or even Wil Wheaton. He has to warm up for his w00tstock show.

I'd go to that, but I'm instead going to the Gaslamp 14 on Thursday for the Serenity screening. It's been five years since I was told this movie would screen at Comic-Con...the day after it happened. It was the reason I got a cell phone. This time, I'll go to the 5th anniversary. Who knows if this event will bigger than before? The alumni sure are.

Then there's the Patten Oswalt late show at the House of Blues. I'll bring my Serenity Float Out issue, in the hopes he'll sign it. If that's not possible, that's no problem. At least I will get to see him up close for the first time since the Ratatouille panel at Wondercon.

Saturday's up in the air, aside from Kevin Smith at hall H after the Marvel fans are in shock. In any case, it looks like it may be much better than last year's Laptop Suicide event. I'll use my briefcase to carry everything at all times. It's just good half my stuff will be at a safe place through Monday.

So, here's to what could be the end of the San Diego era, unless Comic-Con decision to add two hotels to the lineup will be enough to keep it away from Anaheim three years from now. We'll actually find out before it begins.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How To Prepare for The Guild Season 4...

Before we get to that, here's why it's been a long time since I updated this blog.

I'll be writing more exclusive content for Whedonopolis. Since Comic-Con is coming in two weeks, I will have a ton of stuff to attend, and my reports will mostly go there. Some other Joss-connected stories will still wind up here, such as comic books, podcasts and such.
My other site, The Notorious IG, is still going strong, especially with stories about how we're watching the World Cup. Other Comic-Con stuff that isn't Joss-related will also be here, too.

So, as some of us wonder if next week's World Cup final will feature a regular finalist, or a newcomer (hola, Spain), others realize it's just one week before the fourth season of The Guild begins. Just like last year, XBox will get first dibs, but it will be worth the wait. The cast will also be there, mostly to explain what happens right at the start. Just think back to the last ten seconds of season three.
YEAH! THAT! Wil Wheaton will be back, and it's certain he'll be a bad influence on Codex...which means she'll have more confidence, and that'll shock her friends. Hopefully, what happens next will stun Fawkes, too. It's only fair.
Of course, that's only my guess. What really happens should be more interesting.

Until then, if you haven't already, get the Dark Horse three-issue series of The Guild, It shows Codex before she joins the world on online gaming because reality is too tough to handle. Her boyfriend, Trevor, is a former cellist who wants to make it big in indie music, and let's just say he uses her a lot. Her sadness leads her to the famous Game where the Knights of Good will be formed. It shows all the characters as they are in real life, and their avatars. Of course, they don't meet each other. That happens in the season one DVD. The comics are basically the origin story.

Felicia Day has built a very good story about Codex, and the drawings reflect it. In reality, the images are stark and cold. In the guild-verse, the images are lush and exciting. Who wouldn't want to hang around in this world?
Also, notice Codex's therapy sessions. They reflect her feelings of frustration (part one), hope (part 2) and despair (part 3). There's also a very interesting back story that comes in a key moment in her relationship with Trevor. Speaking of which, you'll notice how he'll play any part to get ahead in his music.

So far I have all three seasons of the show on DVD, two Guild shirts, the comics, and my voice actually being used in a Knights of the Guild podcast. So, am I a hardcore fan?

Well, I have this, too....from 2008...

Beast and the Beauty

and an autographed photo from last year. That's enough....until the next DVD.

Aside from that, I also looked over the Serenity comic, "Float Out", written by Patten Oswalt. It's a really good story about three friends of Wash exchanging their favorite stories about him as they christen a new ship. This takes place, by the way, after what happened in the Serenity movie. The best part is the end, when we get one more guest who has the ultimate tribute to Wash.
I'm taking it to Comic-Con because Oswalt will be at the House of Blues during Comic-Con weekend. If I'm lucky, I hope to get it signed.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Coming This Fall..A Lot Of Whedonverse Alumni

Now that the TV season is over, and we say goodbye to three TV stales, it's time to look at the future.
Last year at this time, fans of the Whedonverse were happy a lot of the old gang were still on TV from Eliza Dushku on Dollhouse to Julie Benz in Dexter, from Alyson Hannigan in How I Met Your Mother, to Nathan Fillon on Castle. There was also the return of Morena Baccarin as the now very angry Visitor leader in V.

As for next season, many Whedonverse favorites will still be with us, and even a few coming back on movies or TV. Many of them will be coming from Firefly. Fillion and Baccarin will be back in their shows. Summer Glau is poised to return as a crusading blogger helping a vigilante known as The Cape, Sean Maher and Jewel Staite will make an appearance on Warehouse 13, Alan Tudyk will be part of Transformers 3 (but Megan Fox won't be), Adam Baldwin will be a reluctant mentor to a spy-in-training on Chuck. Even Ron Glass, aka Book, will return when we finally learn "The Shepherd's Tale" in a new book from Dark Horse.
We shouldn't forget Gina Torres, who will be a counselor in Huge, about teens at a camp for heavy teens, especially one who refuses to believe being big is bad. That will be on ABC Family later this month.

Alyson Hannigan, of course, is still with How I Met Your Mother (which hopefully will return to getting us closer to that), and David Boreanaz will be back in Bones. James Marsters, who's becoming more well-known for Caprica than he was in Buffy and Angel, may be well-known in a new version of Hawaii Five-0 as the nemesis of McGarrett. Benz, meanwhile, will soon become part of No Ordinary Family, as the mom who suddenly becomes faster than her mini-van...although the rest of the family have new skills, too.

Of course, things may change between now and the fall. Fran Kranz was supposed to be part of a new NBC sitcom but was recast after the pilot. Rest assured, though, these and other actors in the Whedonverse will make their way to our TV and movie screens soon enough.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Serenity Movie Weekend: Did She Kill Him With Her Brain?

When it comes to murder mysteries on Lifetime, there are two categories: the heroine is accused of murder, and spends the rest of the movie to clear her name; and the heroine is accused of murder, but you're not quite sure if she's innocent.

Summer Glau has played a genius girl who has been damaged by government (Serenity/Firefly) or by an accident (Dollhouse), and also a butt-kicking android protecting the future (Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles). It has been rare for her to play a typical girl. Last night, though, she got her chance in a new Lifetime Movie Network film called Deadly Honeymoon. She played Lindsay, a new bride on her honeymoon with her husband, Trevor (Chris Carmack). It looks like the couple is well-matched, but looks can be deceiving. Typical murder plot for Lifetime.
The couple meets a fellow passenger, Kim, and three Hungarians that Trevor hopes will help out in a new business he and his wife want to start. However, Trevor would rather party than be with Lindsay, and even one of the Hungarians tries to make out with her.
Then, Trevor goes missing while Lindsay is found in a daze in a hallway under the ship. Is Trevor dead? Did Lindsay do it?

Now, if Lindsay were innocent, without a doubt, the movie will center on her efforts to clear her name. Not so here. The attention also centers on a vacationing FBI agent (Zoe McLellan) who gathers the details about the couple, and the Hungarians. Meanwhile Lindsay is trying to deal with all that has happened. A scene where she talks to her parents through a laptop is heartbreaking. Summer really sells this as a girl who goes from being in a daze to total devastation.
The FBI agent starts to wonder if Lindsay is as innocent as she looks. Lindsay admits there are a few things she didn't mention, but mostly because she's scared what Trevor's family would think.
There is a later scene where Lindsay talks to the captain about what happened. I won't describe it, but it is also devastating for a different reason.
As for how everything is resolved, at least one TV critic was hoping for a more surprising ending, but I thought it made sense.
I'm hoping this movie will open up more chances for Summer to be a typical girl in romantic or dramatic situations, rather than a Terminator or wounded computer genius.
Then again, we're also crossing our fingers that NBC will add The Cape to its 2010 fall lineup. If so, she'll become a crime-fighting blogger...and that's pretty good, too.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Serenity Movie Weekend: The Mothman of Justice?

When I went to Anaheim Wizard World last week, Jewel Staite talked about her new SyFy Movie, Mothman. She said it's one of those guilty pleasure type of movies, that she hopes will get a bigger audience than Mega-Piranha.

We're not sure if that will happen, but the movie turned out to be a weird hybrid between I Know What You Did Last Summer and Charles Bronson's character in Death Wish.

How? Well, let's start with the "I Know What You Did..." part: a bunch of teens, including Katie (played by Jewel), tease the younger brother of one of the group about the Mothman. As a result, they wind up drowning the brother, and Katie is forced in the coverup. Ten years later, she's a feature reporter for a weekly newspaper in Washington D.C. She's assigned to Point Pleasant, West Virginia to visit the annual Mothman Festival. We'll give you one guess where Katie is from.

Of course, the events of ten years ago take a toll on the old gang. It's not long before the dreaded Mothman emerges from mirrors, mobile home surfaces and even TV screens to kill off Katie's friends. The creature itself reminded me one a monster from Scooby-Doo, or a creepy grey ghost with moldy wings. It's a mothman, right?
Also, the movie sets up the whole plot in 20 minutes, as if it's late for an appointment. A little more development would have been nice. These guys may be guilty but they're people, not targets.

Jewel does a good job as the reporter forced to face her past. She does have her moment when she goes all Ellen Ripley on the Mothman, but does she escape its vengeance?

I do have to say that someone else steals this movie, only because he has an extensive history with the Mothman. Jerry Leggio is great at blind Frank Waverly, who knows a lot about the Mothman and how he goes after those who have escaped justice. That's why I suggest the Mohtman may be like Charles Bronson. Too bad they had to make Frank a little too crazy towards the end, even if he did have the backstory to explain it.

Another weird moment is when Derek (Connor Fox) bursts into the local beauty shop, tells everyone to leave, and starts breaking mirrors so the Mothman won't get them.

It's also interesting the movie adds some details of the original Mothman legend in the 1960's, but I wonder why they decided to make it a vigilante, and also the spirit of an Indian chief tortured by settlers in the 19th Century.

Looking at this movie, I wonder how Red with Felicia Day will play out. Will she go from werewolf hunter to werewolf? I hope not. Her character could be a Syfy series all by itself, even if you add a repentant werewolf.
Yeah, that sounds familiar, but what movie on SyFy doesn't?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Juliet Landau Asks How Others Take Flight

After making a documentary about how Gary Oldman made a music video by a Jewish Hip-Hop group, Juliet Landau has a new project.

She's talking to fellow actors and musicians about what inspires them. She also asks some advice about how she can market her documentary, Take Flight. Her interviews are currently at her documentary's website, and in YouTube, Her line of questions are similar: she asks about how they got into acting or music, what project made them feel like a kid playing, what would they film if they had a cellphone camera that Oldman used, and how would they market her film.

The list is interesting: Michael Rosenbaum (formerly Lex Luthor from Smallville, Sam Anderson from Lost and Angel, Harry Groener (the Mayor from Buffy), Kat Von D, Amy Acker from Angel, Dollhouse and now Happy Town, director Andrea Romano who has played a major part on Warner Brothers animation, and musician David J from Bauhaus.
Their responses are even better. Rosenbaum said he got into acting because he was influenced by Saturday Night Live in the 1980's. Acker and David J has two very interesting ways to promote Take Flight. Think 30-second ad and ringtones. Groener says if someone game him a cellphone camera, he'd be filming a German oom-pah band. Anderson reveals that working on Angel was fun because it's only place where he could hear "flaming vampires on the set, please". Romano also explains why seeing an achor build a character can be a great thing to see.

It's fascinating how Landau gets very interesting comments from these artists. Hopefully, we'll get more very soon.

Wondercon: News From Dark Horse

Dark Horse had been the home for comic books from most of the Whedonverse, except for Angel.
Fans were hoping to get big news from the comic book company about what to expect from Buffy, Dr. Horrible or maybe the Guild.
Spokesman Jeremy Atkins and writer Randy Stradley said they didn't have any big news. However, they did say they were very excited about the future. The latest on Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 8 is linked to the shocking news that Angel is Twilight. They did say issue 34 this month will actually surprise a lot of fans who wished Buffy and Angel would be together. Let's just say if such a thing happened, now would not be the right time. It's Xander-and-Willow-kissing-at-the-wrong-time all over again (this was from season three, by the way).

Meanwhile, they did talk about the new Serenity/Firefly projects. One of them is the new Wash story, "Float Out", written by Patten Oswalt. That's coming in June. Atkins revealed that Oswalt was actually unsure if he could do the job after he was "out-geeked" by MTV reporter Rick Marshall. The other big story is the long-awaited "Shepherd's Tale", which reveals the back story of Shepherd Book. It will be released as a hardcover in November. Atkins said that Ron Glass, who played Book, called him and said he story was inspired. He even said it would interesting enough to bring back he role on TV, if that happened.
Atkins says Serenity has been a very popular title in Dark Horse. "While the television world may be done with Firefly", he says, "we're nowhere near it."

Several fans asked questions about the Guild, which just started its three-issue run, and whether Dollhouse could get a second life as a comic book. "Joss got his heartbroken again with another great series that people got behind," he says. "If it does happen, it would be a little while in the future." However, Atkins says Dark Horse would be happy to work with Joss if a Dollhouse comic book was possible.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Dollhouse: A Different Kind Of Toy Story

As some of you know, Smart Pop Books had a contest recently asking fans to write an essay on the late great Fox show, Dollhouse. The top 15 winners would have their entries published and put in a book that will be released this fall.
About a hundred people submitted entries, including me. The results were finally revealed....and I didn't make it.
Maybe my entry was terrible, or too profound or too weird, or the competition was really that tight. I'm guessing it was one close contest.
All I know is that they got Jane Espenson as a judge. If there's anyone who knows good writing, it is her.

Therefore, here is my entry. Judge for yourself.

Question: what do Dollhouse and Toy Story have in common?

To the hard core Joss Whedon fan, the answer is obvious. Just two years before he turned a little teen horror comedy called Buffy the Vampire Slayer into a classic TV cult hit, he was involved in the screenplay of Toy Story, which revolutionized animated films. It also led to getting an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

Last fall, Toy Story and its sequel were both re-released as a 3-D movie double feature as a prelude to the next movie, also in 3-D, next summer. It turned out to be a big hit, and the planned two-week engagement wound up being extended. A recent article in Entertainment Weekly* revealed that Whedon wanted to use Barbie to help rescue Woody and Buzz Lightyear in the first movie's final act, where they were in danger of benig abandoned by Andy's family. It makes sense for a man who believes in girl power, or in this case doll power. Whedon said in the article he wanted Barbie as "Sarah Connor in a pink convertible." It would have been worth it to hear her say "come with me if you want to live" more than a decade before Summer Glau does on a TV version of the Terminator franchise. Producer Matt Guggenheim said in the article Mattel objected to using Barbie because they thought girls project their own ideas of what Barbie should be. Giving Barbie her own voice, Mattel allegedly thought, wouldn't become a girl's ideal. After Toy Story became successful, Mattel allowed Barbie to be part of Toy Story 2. That led to several Barbie CGI movies which are mostly fairy tales. Maybe it didn't think little girls would be ready for Barbie the Vampire Slayer, although they thought Barbie and Ken could fill Mulder and Scully's shoes in a special X-Files edition of the two dolls.

Mattel's alleged objection, however, stuck with me because it could be the same attitude Rossum has towards its Actives in all its Dollhouses. An Active is there to fulfill a client's fantasy or need. If you give an Active its own voice, it may not become a person's ideal. It would become, well, too human to do the job it's supposed to do. At least too human for Rossum's comfort.

So, could Dollhouse be the dark side of Toy Story, where clients could be like fair and loving like Andy, or evil like Sid, or somewhere in between?
That's not too far out, really, although there are other ways to connect the movie with the TV show.

Let's start with the idea that both Toy Story and Dollhouse involve people treating people like toys. A child defines what a toy should be, just as a client decides what an Active should be. Through the short history of Dollhouse, consider some of the "roles" that Actives have played: a geisha, midwife, backup singer, nerdy fan, birthday party guest, a Topher clone, blind girl, safecracker, wife, mother, solider, lover, doctor...and a few others Barbie never had the chance to do. However, the Actives are treated like what toys are supposed to be: living yet blank objects until someone wants to play with them. They are not supposed to form attachments with each other, like Echo does with Sierra and Victor. They are not supposed to share affection, or have "man reactions" on their own. A Doll is just there to fulfill a fantasy. It's not supposed to have one of its own. That's only allowed in Pixar movies.

Usually, the Dollhouses cater to clients who have a lot of money, and are just like Andy, a person who treats his toys fairly. When the first Toy Story movie starts, he's using his toys to play out a bank robbery, with Woody as the hero who saves the day. Compare that to a client asking to have an Active to play more mature roles, like a romantic date, a mercenary rescuing a kidnapped child or a safecracker. After the client is finished "playing" with his Active, it gets "put back on the shelf" after its imprint is wiped clean. In the Toy Story world, the toys know full well what they are, and just enjoy life being part of a child's world. The Actives just wander around, paint or practice yoga. As far as the Dollhouse is concerned, Actives are toys with no thoughts in their heads. Having thoughts would make them more complicated than a Mr. Potato Head, whether he's a toy or the Pixar version with Don Rickles' voice.

There are clients who are like Sid, the evil kid who likes to break toys, or make them even worse. Remember the Erector set spider with the bald baby doll head? The best example of a "Sid" is Nolan Kinnard, a major player inside Rossum. One day, he meets a girl named Priya at a party, and decides he must possess her, literally. Using a mental health clinic that he owns, he drives Priya insane through the use of drugs. Then he sends her to the Dollhouse, where she is turned into Sierra, an Active who is his own personal plaything. Calling her his girlfriend would be too charitable. In "Needs", Sierra becomes aware of her past as Priya, and confronts Nolan about it. Not only does he admit it, he says she is going to return to him anytime he wants. He's right, because Sierra's sudden self-awareness was really part of a plan by Dr. Claire Saunders to have the Actives resolve unresolved issues, and become obedient again. This didn't quite work with all of them. It's also ironic, since the one who came up with the plan is later revealed to be an Active, too. More on that later.
Then when Nolan demands that he keep Sierra permanently, he uses his position in Rossum, and pressure from fellow company bigwig Matthew Harding, to get what he wants. However, what he winds up getting is Sierra as Priya, her former self. She tells Nolan she never loved him, but loves someone else whose name she can't explain. When Nolan start abusing what was supposed to be his personal toy, she winds up stabbing him to death. Sid should be glad his mutant toys never struck back like that, or that Woody just warned him to take care of his toys.

Another example is Hearn, who was Sierra's handler. Adelle DeWitt figures out that he has been raping Sierra, but he also admits it readily. He says when you see women who are willing to do anything for you, you're bound to take advantage. She gives him a way out by sending him to kill Mellie, who's been helping FBI agent Paul Ballard expose the Dollhouse. When Hearn does attack her, she gets a call from Dewitt, telling her there are three flowers in a vase. The phrase turns Mellie from victim to Hearn's assassin, but it also shows she is a sleeper Active. She takes care of Hearn just as Sierra took care of Nolan. It's quite a lesson to both Nolan and Hearn not to abuse toys, whether they own one or not.

There's also a list of clients who are somewhere between Andy and Sid. That is, they may seem to have the best of intentions at first, but their needs may become too dark or uncomfortable. Richard Connell, the client in "The Target", wanted a companion on a whitewater rafting trip. What he really wanted was a companion for a hunting trip, with Echo as his prey. She's barely able to escape, but the Dollhouse is stunned about how they were fooled by this man, and whether rouge Active Alpha is responsible.

Joel Mynor, internet whiz, is the only client on the show who is able to justify why he needs an Active. In "Man on the Street", he explains that he wanted to capture a moment that never was: surprising his wife with a new house that he bought through his internet creation, "Bouncy the Rat". That moment never happened because she died in a car crash just before she got to the house. Paul still thinks Joel's fantasy is bad because he's using a person who is fulfilling his fantasy because she lost her free will. However, Joel turns it around on Paul, asking him whether his fantasy is saving Echo from her life as an Active, and what he hopes to get out of it. In a way, Paul hopes to find redemption through a toy, in this case Echo.

Later, Paul discovers that he's no better than Mynor or any other Dollhouse client. This happens when he learns that Mellie is a sleeper Active. It's a fact that surprises her because his relationship with Mellie had become intimate. He wonders if her affections towards him are real or programmed. It gets to the point that he doesn't care, and still has sex with her. Afterwards, when she asks when they're going to find Dollhouse clients, Paul finds his own mirror.

He would be surprised if he learned that Adelle DeWitt, who manages the Los Angeles Dollhouse, had been posing as "Miss Lonelyhearts" so she could enjoy her own toy...Victor, or Roger as she calls him. Some may wonder how this is different than what Nolan or Hearn did to Sierra. While these two men abused Sierra to get what they want, all Adelle had to do was have Victor imprinted. She didn't force him to have sex with her. He was just programmed to do that. He is her toy, and he is there to be her ideal. Victor/Roger is a life-sized version of Ken, only better...or at least that's what she tells herself. It's still abuse because she's taking advantage of a man who has no free will. Rather than take her chances at parties or even singles bars, she finds a quick yet empty solution with an Active. It's not as violent as what Nolan and Hearn did, but it's still abuse. She even tries to enjoy one last night of passion with Victor/Roger before his term as an Active ends. He is reluctant because, as Sierra told Nolan, he says there's someone else he loves, but can't explain who she is.
Why did she did she think she could get away with it? Maybe she thinks she's entitled to borrowing a "toy" because she thinks the Dollhouse is her own toy store, if she doesn't get caught. That's what being head of a Dollhouse means, until Matthew Harding tells her she is seen as a toy to those who are really in charge, including himself and Clive Ambrose. That may have been the moment she started having doubts about what the Dollhouse is really doing, well before Ballard did.

The connections between Toy Story and Dollhouse don't stop there. While all the toys in Toy Story are aware of who they are, the exception is Buzz Lightyear, who is convinced he's a real Space Ranger who can fly. This puts him in a rivalry with Woody, who had enjoyed his status as Andy's favorite toy. He finds out the truth by seeing a commercial about himself, and finds out the hard way he can't go to infinity, but can go straight down. Through friendship from Woody and the other toys, he gets over this problem.
In the Dollhouse, there is no rivalry among the Actives. They just know one thing: "I try to do my best". For a while the number one Active was Whiskey, who would later become Dr. Claire Saunders. Whiskey would be the most popular Active, until Alpha decides to make Echo the top Active. He does that by scarring Whisky and killing some Actives. He did this because it was love at first sight for him, He did this to earn her love, but would not get it. Love was not important to her. She didn't get "girl reactions" when she was with Alpha. It was more like fear when she saw what he did. Still, her fear was gone when she was wiped, and prepared for her next role that a person bought her to fulfill.

Dr. Saunders could be considered the Dollhouse version of Buzz. As he always thought he was a real crime-fighting hero, Claire thought she's always been the physician of the Dollhouse because she was programmed that way. When Dr. Saunders discovers her Active past, she isn't interesting in learning who she was. She just knows who she is now.
That would have been the end, until "Vows", when Dr. Saunders is busy taunting Topher. She is still dealing with the fact that her past and present is all a lie, and that Topher made her. She later seduces him, claiming that Topher made her to hate him so that he would eventuallty win her love. He disagrees, because he wanted her to hate him to remind him that it's partially his fault Alpha went mad, which led to Saunders, as Whisky being scarred. He's not the client here. Dr. Saunders' process of discovering her true self is much more complicated that what Buzz had to accept.
It would have been interesting to see how Claire would decide that, even if she was an Active, she can be a real person by just saying that she was. However, that would never happen, as her body would be taken over by Clyde Randolph, one of the co-founders of Rossum, in "The Hollow Men."

However, one Doll did manage to say he was real by saying so. It was none other than Paul Ballard. Throughout the series, he considered Dolls as people who may as well be murdered, even though they didn't know it. He considered those who used them, even for the best of intentions, to be cruel. He had to be turned into a Doll to be saved after Alpha severely damaged his brain in "A Love Supreme". At least he has Mellie, who is also a Doll again when her retirement ended in "The Left Hand." When they infiltrate Rossum headquarters in Tucson in "The Hollow Men", she asks him why is she there with him. She keeps reminding him that they're not real, and their love for each other is a program. In fact, it was just a few days before when he looked at Mellie again, and wondered if she was really all right now that she will never be free from being an Active. Now, he accepts the fact that he is a Doll, but also declares he is still as real as anyone. That includes their love for each other. He may have gotten the inspiration from how Sierra and Victor fell for each other, even as Dolls. It's just as important as Buzz sees that he may be a toy, but can be something special because of what he can do to save his friends.

There could also be a link between Woody in Toy Story 2 and Senator Daniel Perrin, Rossum's man in the U.S. Senate, and how an Active can be considered a commodity rather than a fantasy. In the movie, toy store owner Al McWhiggin finds Woody because he wants to sell him to a museum in Japan. To sweeten the deal, he gets someone to "spruce up" Woody so that he looks like he's in mint condition. That's not too far off from that Rossum did to one Daniel Perrin. He had the pedigree to be someone important in Washington, but not the desire. That changed when Rossum used its Dollhouse in Washington D.C. to "improve" his brain. It had hoped he would give them some clout in Washington, and pass regulations that would favor Rossum. It would lead to him marrying his handler, and starting a campaign to "expose" Rossum's unethical medical experiments, which would eventually exonerate them. The plan almost works, but Rossum winds up changing Perrin again, with more ambition towards a new goal: the White House. Somehow, Rossum is determined to turn the nation, and eventually the world, into its own Dollhouse. They would create toys that are no longer playthings anyone can control. but wind up controlling us.

It's interesting that Joss Whedon would be involved in two projects that would look at humanity and identity. One would be Toy Story, which looks at toys when they're not at play, and how they can be as human as we are. The other would be Dollhouse, which looks at life-sized toys made of flesh and blood, and how they can be used and abused just like any toy. The movie would make millions of dollars for Disney, while the TV show would face a premature end.

The final results are also very different. In a Pixar world, the toys sing and dance, and are happy that they're together. In a Dollhouse world, the world is not so cheery. In about ten years, it becomes a mess filled with Dumbshows and Tech Heads, Butchers attacking Actuals, while the most powerful change bodies as often as they change suits, or exist in multiple bodies. It's the fulfillment of the professor's prediction from "Man on the Street", when he says Mankind will cease to matter if technology robs it of its true self. The only hope for a happy ending arrives when those who invented the tech that ruined the world use it again to fix their mistake, and sacrifice themselves as penance.

While a scene that was never part of Toy Story inspired this comparison with Dollhouse, there's another scene that was almost part of the Dollhouse pilot that's also important. It's where Topher told Boyd in the unaired pilot, "Echo" that everyone who lives in the Dollhouse, even the staff, are toys, and those who play with the Actives little children. That statement becomes very ironic, since it's eventually revealed Boyd was the toymaker all along.
Maybe the lesson here is that we should not treat others like mindless toys. It's a lesson that hopefully corporations, and people of major influence, should learn....or they will find out the average person isn't the same as that old Barbie they used to have.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Talkin' Serenity and Wondercon

Wondercon is just a few weeks away, and it looks like Whedonistas will have a lot to talk about, but that's later

First, I wanted to say how HAPPY I am we'll finally get to hear "The Shepherd's Tale" (aka Book, the Mysterious Early Years). Instead of it being told in three comic book issues, we'll get it as one hardcover in November. It will be the perfect Christmas gift, along with the Firefly key chain I should be getting soon. The info about this story was first told at the 2007 Browncoat Cruise,and we've been waiting ever since. I think the only juicy clue we got from Ron Glass is that Shepherd Book is not his real name. The rest will come, thanks to Joss and Zack Whedon.

However, we will get another Serenity comic book thaks to Patton Oswalt. He's writing a story called "Float-Out", which is really a tribute to that dinosaur fan of a pilot, Wash. This is set just after Serenity. Oswalt, a new member of the Whedonverse thanks to his fine roles in Dollhouse, has written a few other stories for comics. This should really get him a lot of attention, aside from being a Pixar icon thanks to Ratatouille. The issue is coming in June

OK, now to Wondercon, or one of two reasons why I am heading to SF in April...James Marsters is still planning to be there, but not on a panel. He's there on behalf of Lightspeed Fine Art for autographs and photos. He should also be there to talk about his current role in Caprica, since there will be a panel. Say, if we asked effectively.......

Meanwhile, there will be panels for three TV shows with Whedon alumni. Fans of Morena Baccarin will be happy to know a fresh episode of V will be part of the first day. No word yet on whether she'll be there, too, but we can hope. On Saturday, we get a preview of Happy Town which is about a perfect small town that has horrible they're supposed to. Amy Acker will be there, and it's certain she'll be asked about Dollhouse. She'll also be on Human Target, too.

Day three will be the traditional Chuck panel, with Adam Baldwin, Zachary Levi and the gang.

Dark Horse and IDW will also have their panels, too. With news about Serenity and the big plot twist about Twilight Not The Movie on Buffy Season 8 (really, it would have been better if it were Giles, not who it really is, since he was doing dark things in his younger days), Dark Horse will be the more popular panel. Maybe Patton will be there. If Joss was there, THAT would be big.

Naturally, the closing event is again "Once More With Feeling". While it's becoming a tradition, why not have a double feature with Dr. Horrible done in the Rocky Horror style? That's bound to happen when Comic-Con rolls around.

One thing is for sure: Wondercon will not leave San Francisco. It's still the right size for the Comic-Con's annual dress rehearsal.

Monday, March 8, 2010

SyFy presents "Red": On the other hand....

@GrrAargh, from Twitter, posted me about my take on the SyFy fairy tale called "Red' with Felicia Day as Red Riding Hood, who'll face a bigger problem than getting through the woods and a Big Bad Wolf.
To repeat, in this version, Red presents her fiance to her family of werewolf hunters. He gets bitten by a werewolf, and now he's one, too. Thus, she has to decide whether to protect her fiance, or kill him.
From the entry in Wikipedia GrrArgh pointed out, the familiar story can be interpreted as a girl's maturity to womanhood, a morality tale about talking to strangers, or even more intimate that that, as in The Company of Wolves.

I still think my idea might work, even if it's apparently been used before in other media. In the end, it will be a version of Red Riding Hood with forbidden love and werewolf hunting thrown in the mix. After seeing this Wiki about the story, it may not be too far out as viewers may think. Still, it's still about love or duty, a decision a certain Slayer had to make in Sunnydale 12 years ago. We'll see how SyFy presents this age-old dilemma next year.

Felicia Day is Red Riding Hood, but about the story...

As I was looking over the disappointment Oscar viewers were experiencing from last night, and finding out that Comcast wished they hired better crew members to "upgrade" their cable service, I found out about Felicia Day being part of SyFy's series of movies that re-invent classic fairy tales. A couple of weeks ago, we had Beauty and the Beasts, which had a sexy mini-skirted Estella Warren protecting a beast accused of murder actually being orchestrated by an evil prince and his own beast. Naturally, there's a love story.
Anyway, SciFiWire revealed Felicia Day will be in one of those SyFy Fairy Tales. She'll be Red Riding Hood in Red, only it includes werewolves and forbidden love...for the Twilight crowd. The story is Red Riding Hood introduces her fiance to her family of werewolf hunters. He winds up getting bitten by a werewolf, and she has to decide between love and duty.

For one thing, it sounds like Beauty and the Beasts. Not every SyFy fairy tale has to include a love story. Instead, try this idea...

Red Riding Hood is starting her training as a werewolf hunter. She meets a handsome guy who has a dark edge to him. Of course, she attracted to the guy. Just after he arrives, there's a series of murders, and people turning into werewolves. Of course, Handsome Guy is responsible, but he acts like Red's ally. He even helps her kill some werewolves, just to cover his own tracks. However, he makes the mistake of biting Red's grandma. Thus, the famous "Oh, Grandma, what sharp teeth you have" scene takes on a whole new meaning. It's still between love and duty, but at least she gets to be more heroic when she finally defeats the true wolf in sheep's clothing. This really doesn't need a love story, especially a forbidden one.

There's also a question on whether this will affect the future of The Guild. We're still hoping for a fourth season, as Codex has to deal with the Big Bad Wolf she wound up with at the end of season three. Apparently, though, this will be filmed in Canada soon. This may mean a longer wait than usual for more Guild episodes, but as long as there will be more.

Still, it's a great opportunity for Felicia, and we wish her all the best. I still think my plot is better than SyFy's plot.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

"Take Flight" Shows New Career Paths For Gary Oldman and Juliet Landau

Gary Oldman and Juliet Landau have a few things in common.
Both are well-known actors. Both have played vampires. Both have also lent their voices for animated features.
Now, there's another title they have in common: director.

He directed a music video for Chutzpah, a Jewish hip-hop group, but made it unique by using only cell-phone cameras (Nokia N93 cellphone, by the way). He then asked Juliet to direct a "behind the scenes" feature on how it was done.
It later developed into a 25-minute documentary called "Take Flight" where we see how the video is done, but also get some insight through Oldman's eyes. How this is illustrated is just as fascinating, thanks to Juliet.

The film has been streaming at since February 25th. It's more than just a short featurette on how the artist and director discuss the video. It's a unique look at hoe someone comes up with a vision, and brings it to fruition.

The film is in three parts, for each of the three days of the shoot. Part one is meeting the band, and how they discuss the concept of their video, "Red Rover". Like other rap groups, Chutzpah have a feud with someone, in this case Matisyahu. We see Oldman set up the small cameras to get the right angles and the best view, even rolling on a wheelchair or taping a cell camera on a tripod. He talks abut the color of the big speakers, while we see one of the dancers trying to perform in front of a cellphone (which isn't as easy as it looks). When we see him hard at work, we hear the music in his head.

Part two is the second day of shooting. We see the group dancing in speedos, and the girls trying a little rapping of their own. The best part is seeing Oldman really enjoying himself filming the group, while we hear Rossini's "The Thieving Magpie".

The third part is the final day of shooting at the beach. Here, Oldman gets more concept shots, and a lot of footage of seagulls in flight, especially at sundown. While only a few seconds of the seagulls are used for the video, the rest of the footage shows how Oldman is again enjoying what he's doing. It's also great footage of seagulls in flight just before sundown.

This is a wonderful documentary, and a great success for both Oldman and Landau. It also shows that you don't need a lot of cash to produce good online content. As long as you have good equipment, and a good idea, you can go far. That's been proven many times already, but not too many people would like about using cellphones as cameras before.

After the credits we see the final product, and it's pretty good. Chutzpah has been around for four years, and the website is at George Segal is also part of the group...really. That's not too far out, considering that more than 40 years ago he played the banjo with the Smothers Brothers.

Landau, meanwhile, has a special YouTube channel ( where she talks to several people about the acting process, and about "Take Flight". The first two videos are with Armin Shimerman, who suggests an interesting way to market the documentary, and Michael Rosenbaum. More will be coming through March.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Guild's New DVD...A Big Step Towards Season 4

It's probably the first successful internet sitcom, about a group of people who play video games a bit too much to deal with reality.
Now, it's led to fame, a fair amount of fortune, a lot of awards, a music video that would rival anything MTV airs, and soon a three-part comic book mini-series.

Season three of The Guild has just been released on DVD. Unlike previous seasons, where the show and story lines were more like a typical sitcom, the third season is structured like a movie called "The Fall and Rise of the Knights of Good." They deal with a rival group of games called the Axis of Anarchy, the dark side of the KoG. The A of A successfully harasses one member, and convinces another to join them. Vork, the leader, quits to go on a quest, leaving the post to Codex, the reluctant heroine. Zaboo and Riley the Stupid Tall Hot Girl take their relationship to scary levels. In fact, Riley (Michele Boyd) is more frightening than Zaboo's mom (and people who saw season one might agree). Clara's marriage is in big trouble because of her video game obsession, and she lets her husband join in. It all culminates in a showdown between the A of A and KoG, and a shocking ending that some people dared not to predict.

It's kind of Lord of the Rings for gamers, but it's another winning season for creator and writer Felicia Day, and her fellow Guildies (Robin Thorsen, Jeff Lewis, Vincent Caso, Amy Okuda and Sandeep Parikh). The show also pulled off a big coup by getting Wil Wheaton as Fawkes, the leader of the A of A.

The DVD has all 12 episodes, including commentary from the cast and crew. The cast, by the way are very funny, too. Their comments about how Riley carries Zaboo over the threshhold in episode 2, or Vork's triple take after Codex chews him out, are especially funny. They even ask why cartoon Vork doesn't cut his hand when he tosses his sword in the opening credits.

There's also the famous "Do You Want to Date My Avatar" video (nearly eight million hits on YouTube since August), some behind the scenes video, gag reels, and the special Halloween video. Also, there's several videos from people who hope to join the KoG, even if it's only part of the story line. Remember the guy with white hair and beard who just stood there and smiled? He talks now, and sounds like a grizzled old prospector.
We also get up close to the Axis of Anarchy, and get some good insight from Wheaton and the other actors who make up the group. There's also good tips on making Vork's sword, and web video in general.

After I saw the DVD, I went back to the DVD from the first season. Back then, The Guild was a smart sitcom that was made on half a shoestring, but proved the internet can be just as entertaining as regular TV. It's also hard to believe the first season was just two years ago. Look at the latest episodes, and you'll see the show has come a long way.
Fans are now waiting for a three-issue mini-series which starts next month, and hoping for a fourth season. Considering how this past season ended, it should be a foregone conclusion. That's why fans should buy more copies of this season, and get their friends to do that same. Also, send a DVD to MTV, and politely tell them to put "Do You Wanna Date My Avatar" on heavy rotation...because it's better than Ke$ha.
MUCH better.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Juliet Landau Faces Fans on Facebook

For the second time in two weeks Juliet Landau took questions from fans on the internet. She took questions this part February 18th at a Facebook site, mainly about her new documentary, Take Flight, which looks at how actor Gary Oldman made a music video of a Jewish hip-hop group, and only used cell phones to film it.

From Mapi Vera: Hi, Juliet, nice to meet you here! Who had the idea of turning this "making of" into a film?
When I saw the footage I had gotten, I got excited by the rare POV I had and i asked Gary if it could develop into short documentary

My question: After doing this, and if you wanted to direct again, would you do another documentary, or try to direct a feature or TV episode?
I co-directed the Hero music video for the band Godhead and I am co-directing the TAKE FLIGHT viral campaign. I'm looking forward to directing a narrative.

Jayme Vellante: What was your favorite part of working on the film?
I loved coming up with the structure. Since Gary operated one of the cell-cam's we get this rare POV that is like being in his head, seeing through his eyes. I intercut the cell footage with the standard def and high def footage. First we get glimpses, then longer more expansive pieces and by the very end, we are completely released into Gary's view. I also loved choosing the music for Gary's internal creative world.

Lucy Moore of The Grove School: Would you consider working with Gary Oldman or Chutzpah again in the future?
Yes, Absolutely. Gary is sooooo talented!

Charles Norton: What scenes did Gary Oldman direct with you on Take Flight?
Gary directs the music video within the film. The film chronicles his process during that shoot.

Jona Sims: Was it fun working with Gary? Do you have any other projects that you are going to do together?
I loved working with Gary. He is one of the best artists of our time. I'd absolutely love to work with him again

Anthony Ryan: How/where do you find music for a film? How do you get past copywrite?
I cleared all of the music rights. It took a lot of time... Because I self financed the film, I have huge thanks to The Vaughan Williams estate, SourceQ and Universal for working with me and making it possible

More from Charles Norton: So, relying on Gary's cell footage, you were pretty much on your own then? That is you shot all the film other than the music video?
I had 3 cameras and access to all of the cell footage. Yes, I directed everything in the film. Gary gave me free reign. I was really nervous when I went to show him the movie, because he hadn't seen any of it throughout the editing. He loved it and was very excited that it shows a different side of him.
Also: The music credits are at the end of the film.

More from Jayme Vellante: When are we ever going to see you in front of a camera again? Are you still working on the movie you were raising funds for? Do you have any other directorial plans?
Is there going to be a public screening for Take Flight or is it only going to be available online?
Yes, I am still raising funds for It's Raining Cats and Cats. it is an ambitious project. Lots of other projects brewing!
At this point it will be available to purchase for streaming online. I am excited to get it out there. Feb 25th is only 1 week away! Yay!

Mary Emmons: What was the best advice you received when taking on this project?
My producing partner suggested that I make an outline prior to the shoot, of what I wanted to be sure to capture on set. He also told me to watch the footage as many times through until it "spoke to me." I watched all 50 hours 3X through, and indeed I discovered the structure I wanted to use. I passed this advice on to a friend the other day who was going begin editing her first project, as I found it invaluable.

She also said that some of the music in the documentary had bird names in their titles. She said it was "unintentional but pretty magical considering TAKE FLIGHT and all."

Then, a good question from Bryan Curry: Do you think that the ability to reach such a large audience via social media like you are doing right now will allow more projects like Take Flight to reach a larger audience and other non-studio projects to achieve greater success? Or are there still a lot of hurdles in the industry that technology and social media has yet to overcome?
I hope so! There are still some hurdles in terms of it being financially feasible for filmmakers on the internet. But hopefully people will support this and other cutting edge, cool, exciting Indie projects. I love the ability to connect directly with people on forums like this. It is amazing!

More from Anthony Ryan: Can you tell us more about the interviews for the film that you have been talking about on Twitter? When will those be available?
The TAKE FLIGHT viral campaign is a sister project I put together. Since TF is about Gary's creative process, I talked with other artists I admire about their creative process and also asked them how they would market a film about Gary, Jewish Hip Hop and cell phones?! There are so many great answers!! These will be available on Youtube. We will be releasing 1 every other day starting the 25th. I have enjoyed working on them tremendously! :)

Another question from me: When you were directing, did you apply any lessons you may have learned from seeing Joss Whedon at work? That is, how does he affect your work in this documentary?
I have been fortunate to work with great directors like Tim Burton and Joss Whedon. I have learned from them immensely!!

Another from Charles Norton: Are there any plans for a DVD version?
Not as of yet, but there may be...

Lindsey Day of Vista del Lago HS: What inspired you to direct Take Flight?
Gary asked me to direct a behind the scenes making-of and it bloomed from there. I have always been inspired by the depth, range and power of his work.

More from Mary Emmons: Which do you prefer, being in front of the camera or behind it?

Deverill Weekes: Hey JL, Can you talk about the crew you worked with on TF and how was that as a first time Director.
As a debut director, I was lucky to work with unbelievably skilled and talented people: Not only was I filming one of the most talented movie stars of our time, I worked with two-time Emmy winning sound editor Pembrooke Andrews, who produced TF, was one of the cinematographers and did the sound editing, Jeremy Alter, who produced David Lynch's INLAND EMPIRE, Ingela Ogard who edited with me tirelessly, Jon Vasquez who produced and was the much needed technical advisor, the extremely busy Larry Benjamin who was our amazing re-recording mixer, William Haefeli, who is a cartoonist for The New Yorker and did my credits/titles and FotoKem, who did an amazing job of color-correcting!!!!!!!

Anthony Ryan: Are you planning on submitting Take Flight to any of the film festivals, like Sundance or Toronto Film Festival?
We'll see! I am screening it at the Vineyard Film Festival in Cyprus, where I am serving on the jury. (My film is not in competition, but showing there.) I'd love to show it somewhere like Comic-Con cause I think it would be way cool! Last year was my first CC and it was so much fun!

A third question from me: After your first time as a director, what skills do you hope to improve as you take on future projects?
I have so much to learn. That's one of the things I love about what I do. One can always absorb and learn and grow.

She concluded the chat by saying: Thank you everyone for your great questions! I had a wonderful time hanging out with you! Thank you Jenny Christodal for putting this together! You are fantastic! Meant to thank you on Twitter last night after the Kat Von D shoot, but failed to do so. So, thank you for all your hard work yesterday as well. it is much appreciated!
If you guys like the TF virals... tell Jenny because I may carry on with them when stuff calms down in a month and a half or so... ??

Take Flight will be streaming on February 25th at

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Juliet Landau Takes Flight On Twitter

Just two weeks before her documentary, "Take Flight", will be released on the internet, Juliet Laudau (aka Drusilla on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel) took questions from fans on Twitter. Most of the fans asked about how Landau got involved in the project, and why she took on the role of a director. The film looks at how actor Gary Oldman filmed and directed a music video by a Jewish hip-hop group called Chutzpah. He also did it by using only Nokia cellphones.

Her website includes a trailer which shows how Oldman was able to take some interesting camera angles, and how Landau approached this project. She said it started as a "making-of video" but wound up as a documentary. There are also interviews with cinematographer Deverill Weekes, and Pembrook Andrews, who had several roles including producer, cinematographer and sound editor.

It was interesting how Juliet's fans tried to ask questions while limited to 140 characters or less, while her answers had to stay within the same limit. It was still a lively exchange of information about the documentary, how directing is different from acting, and even whether she'd play Drusilla again on TV.

Here's a list of many of the questions:

From @starwriterlv: what was one the best things about doing Take Flight?
@starwriterlv It was a labor of love all the way around. Research, shooting, editing, picking the music. Loved getting to work with Gary.

From @octopusgrabbus: How many people worked with you on Take Flight? #takeflight
Producing TAKE FLIGHT took a while because I was working around everyone's schedules @octopusgrabbus. Excited that the 25th is near!
@octopusgrabbus: Gary directed the music video on cell phones to do something inventive under budgetary constraints.
@octopusgrabbus: 3 cameras. 1 was HD. 2 were standard def and had access to all the cell footage. It cuts seamlessly.

From @AmandaSpaceman: howdy. have you got a favorite oldman role?
He's wonderful in everything @AmandaSpaceman. So different in all. I'll list a few: Sid and Nancy, State of Grace, Dracula, True Romance..

From @benjaminkeay: What prompted you to step behind the camera into the producing of this? Has production/direction always been an interest?
I really like having a vision and bringing that vision to fruition @benjaminkeay. I think I got bitten by the bug w/ TAKE FLIGHT.

From @ravenu: Whose idea was it to shoot it with the camera phones?
Got really excited in editing bay @ravenu. Cell footage offers a rare POV that you wouldn't have w/ a traditional camera. (Gary Operates.)
Gary brought me in to direct a making of. But when I saw the footage, I asked if it could be a short doc. He gave me his blessing

from @superactorbrian: HI!!! :) What have you learned/applied for your processes as a director after having seen another director in action?
Hi @superactorbrian!!!! I learned to really explore and investigate, in the same way as I do as an actress.

From @girlalex87: how long did the music video and documentary take to complete?
@girlalex87: It feels like a lifetime!!!! :)

From @CharliePrime: what other projects r u working on?
Shot adorable kids movie, Monster Mutt playing blonde, Russian baddy @CharliePrime. Right now lots of TF promo...

Another from @octopusgrabbus: It seems like shooting with a cell phone would be different than with a traditional camera with a view finder
Yes @octopusgrabbus. The shots are beutiful, especially the sunset beach footage. Looks like 35mm.
The cell cam is so different than reg camera. W/Gary operating, it's like audience is in his head, seeing through his eyes @octopusgrabbus.

I asked her if she would consider making her own movies or documentaries using only Flip or Kodak Vi6 cameras (actually, Zi6 cameras).
Possibly @impalergeneral. I liked working with the Red camera on the Hero music video I co-directed.

From @19Sebastian67: Gary Oldman is an amazing actor and director. What was it like working with him? I'm looking forward to seeing your doc.
Thanks @19Sebastian67! Gary is wonderful to work with!! Such an amazing talent! I was inspired.

From @virtualbri: What other docs, if any, influenced how you approached Take Flight?
Did a lot of research @virtualbri. Loved making-ofs + docs that captured people in throes of their creative process, striving to achieve...

From @leeogrady79: when was the last time u saw james (Marsters) i love u 2 on #buffy
Thanks @leeogrady79! Saw James not too long ago

She also talked about when the documentary may be on DVD or iTunes, aside from streaming on the Take Flight website: At this point it will be available for streaming on the TF website @ravenu. But possibly later. Also have so many cool viral interviews

From @SarahBlanchee: what was the most challenging aspect for you as a debut director working in doc format?
I had 50 hours of footage, which I watched 3X through. Challenge to condense it into 25 min film which includes Gary's video @SarahBlanchee

From @_laurayup15_ : if you were asked to reprise the role of Drusilla, would you?
You bet @_laurayup15_ !

From @kabienvenue: this may be a question for your editor, out of curiosity, even though it killed the cat...What are you editing Take Flight on?
Final Cut Pro @kabienvenue. Color corrected at FotoKem, who did it cause they loved the project.

Then this happened: Typing so fast, I didn't notice @impalergeneral.. :)

I said: @julietlandau Oh, that's OK. I was just happy you answered one of my questions. I'm covering this for #Whedonopolis

Back to the questions:

From @daryldarko: i'll tell you 1 thing Juliet. after seeing what you did with your cell phones, i want to go out and make a short with MINE 2!
You should do it @daryldarko!!!!

From @KriiseHoi: Do u have any new projects? Would LOVE 2 see u on screen again! :)
Kid's movie Monster Mutt @KriiseHoi. Check out The Green Lantern: First Flight if u like animation. I play Labella.

From @EKAdams:How much of the 'Take Flight' documentary was planned versus completely improvised?
Hi @EKAdams!!!! Great to hear from u! Preparation is key. Whether acting, directing or writing it always pays off. Will bring that to all.

From @allisonbh: Why did you decide to do a documentary on Gary Oldman?
@allisonbh: I have always loved Gary's work. It was an opportunity too good to pass up.

Another from @superactorbrien: and how was it having two directors working on similar projects with two POVs? I bet it was awesome to compare notes! :)
Gary gave me free reign, so I was nervous to show him my cut @superactorbrian... I thought he'd have pges of notes, but...

More from @EKAdams: Had you listened to any of Chutzpah's tracks before doing the project?
@EKAdams: yes, I listened to a lot of Chutzpah before beginning.

More from @virtualbri: Did your vision of the doc change while filming or in the editing room, or stay pretty consistent throughout the process?
This was combnied from three entries: My vision stayed consistent, but it grew. I was so excited about the conceit of "looking through Gary's eyes"...that the structure changed. I decided to keep the cell footage 4X3 and everything else 16X19, so that audience...would be clear when we are in Gary's POV. It all cuts seamlessly...

From @marialba: While very hi-tech, the cameras used posed different challenges than usual. Could you discuss some of them
@marialba: Having all the different footage timeline, made the output a bit tricky. But it all worked beautifully after much hair puling

From GATORFAN70: Who would you consider a "dream of yours" to work with? I LOVE your work!
@GATORFAN70: It was a dream to work w/ G.O. I did a reading w/ Sean Penn. Would love to do a film w/ him.. also Meryl Streep... many others.

More from @kabienvenue: Hi! have you always wanted to try to direct, or was this just something sper of the moment?
@kabienvenue: I was interested in directing, but this experience made that interest even stronger.

From @hellmouthcast: I have two boys who are big fans of the cartoon Ben 10. How did you get involved with the show and the video game?
@hellmouthcast: Andrea Romano brought me in to do Justice League 1st and then onto Ben 10. So much fun!

From @buffyboards: hi Juliet, did u find the expierience as fun as acting?
@buffyboards: I did enjoy it as much as acting. Some elements are different and some are very similar.

From @wolfcub76: best of luck with TF, looking forward to seeing it. will you be doing anymore of these POV docs?
Thanks @wolfcub76!!! I'm not sure. Having great time now w/ TAKE FLIGHT virals. People are giving such great answers in the interviews.

From @draya22: do you ever relax?! You are the busiest person I know of!
@draya22: I relaxed in Hawaii. It was wonderful!!

More from @kabienvenue: Have any advice for a want to be director/writer, but willing to act as well?
@kabienvenue: learn your craft, then get on as many sets as you can. Follow what you love to do.

More from @EKAdams: How much of the 'Take Flight' documentary was planned versus completely improvised?
@EKAdams: I had an outline of what I wanted to get, but then also wanted to be free to go with the flow.

From @tholmes86: what gave u the idea to do Take Flight?
@tholmes86: The DP of Gary's music video recommended me.

From @thesadeianwoman: youre great! many of ur tweets seem to be about editing or the gym, etc. how are you so balanced & focused?!
Who says I'm balanced and focused @thesadeianwoman!

To @Raeven7: Hi! Can you explain how Christian Kane and Amy Acker are involved in Take Flight? I'm confused!
@Raeven7: I'm doing a viral campaign to time out w/ the release. I'm interviewing a bunch of cool folks. Amy and Christian are part of it.

She took questions for about one hour and 40 minutes before closing:

Thanks everyone! It was great hanging out! I hope there weren't too many typos.. I was answering fast, trying to keep up!

"Take Flight" will start streaming on on February 25th.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I Wish We Had More Time

The first anniversary of the first episode of Dollhouse is just a few days away. It was only last week the last episode aired, with the world apparently about to recover after most of humanity was reduced to toys.

Fans and actors alike were convinced the show would have lasted for years if Fox gave it more time to find an audience. Of course, it would have also helped it the network gave it as much attention as 24, House, The Simpsons or American Idol. Remember the "Friday Night Fights" ad?
Given that, there's a lot of questions that have been left unanswered because the show lasted only 26 episodes.

What convinced Caroline to take on Rossum?

From what we can gather from her first meeting with Adelle DeWitt, and that video form college, Caroline must have been inspired from a professor to make her mark on the world as a protester. It did cost her friendships, and maybe love as well, but what made her determined to be a pesky problem for Rossum?

Why was Paul Ballard so obsessed with the Dollhouse?

We now from the first episode, "Echo" that he was assigned to investigate the Dollhouse even if his bosses are convinced it doesn't exist. There was mention of Paul having a confrontation with a senator over the Dollhouse, and how sometimes he doesn't close cases.
My guess was that Paul had a witness that would have sent a very powerful person to prison. Then, the witness denied what he said before, or that he met Paul. Why? Because his memories were removed by the Dollhouse, what else?

What was Adelle's "worst indiscretion"?

Adelle DeWitt enjoys a lot of perks being the head of the Los Angeles Dollhouse. It even includes "borrowing" an Active to fulfill her needs. Of course, that's when she poses as "Miss Lonelyhearts" to have the company of a handsome man...namely Victor, who is called Roger. She eventually breaks it off when it interferes with her job. When she tells Matthew Harding, one of the major bigwigs, she can't let Nolan Kinnard own Sierra (considering he's the one that turned her into an Active after driving her insane with drugs), he tells her he knows about "Miss Lonelyhearts", but that was not her worst sin. It makes you wonder what could be worse than using an Active as, to quote a song from the Dresden Dolls, her "coin-operated boy".
She did work as a scientist in a division that made replacement body parts out of stem cells. Could she have tried to recreate a whole human being that way?

Who was sending those messages to Paul through Echo and November?

Remember the shocking moment in "Man on the Street" when Echo told Paul Ballard the Dollhouse was real? She went on to say he has to find out Rossum's real purpose of providing Actives, and it's not just granting fantasies. Then, in "Spy In The House of Love", Mellie gives Paul another message, revealing the Dollhouse has spied on him, and that she's an Active.
Once Paul joins the Dollhouse as Echo's handler, the question of who is giving Paul these messages through the Actives is dropped. It would have been fun to figure out who it was. It may have been Dominic, who was a mole for the government, or Dr. Saunders, or maybe someone we never met

Whatever happened to Senator Daniel Perrin?

This is also an interesting question since you can still find him at Twitter. One of his more recent tweets talks about how Rossum's headquarters was blown up at the end of "The Hollow Men." It would be interesting to see if he ever reached the White House as Rossum's man, but that his administration didn't turn out as well as it hoped. He would have been the perfect bridge between what happened in the Dollhouse now, and ten years from now.

What happened to Claire Saunders/Whisky?

The last time we saw her was at Rossum, and that Clyde Randolph had taken over her body. Then, she was knocked out just before Echo turned co-founder Boyd Langton into the bomb that would blow up corporate headquarters. However, she was seen at the L.A. Dollhouse a few years later, regaining her identity as Saunders. So, how did she get out, and turned back to normal?

How did the tech wind up destroying the world?

It was thought that the prototype for Topher's Make Anyone An Active Ray was at Rossum's headquarters in Tucson. However, it's not hard to consider there had been extra prototypes safely hidden at other Dollhouses. If Harding and Clive Ambrose made extra versions of themselves by 2010, it makes sense.

Of course, there are lots of other mysteries that may remain unsolved within the 'verse of the Dollhouse, such as whether FBI agent Graham Tanaka, a guy who thinks Paul's insane for thinking the Dollhouse exists, may have been a mole for Rossum. What are the back stories for Dominic, Mag, Zone, and Tony and Priya's break-up?
Well, that's what fan fiction is for, but it shows the complete Dollhouse saga would have lasted a lot longer than 26 episodes.