Tagged: Community

Travis Richey’s (Not) Inspector Spacetime web series proceeding nicely

Inspector Spacetime is a self-paradoxical anomaly, which makes perfect sense.  It’s only existed for a few months, but has also apparently been on television for nearly fifty years.  Actor Travis Richey has played him for all of that time, for a grand total of less than two minutes of footage, and yet 11 actors have played the role, including Stephen Fry and Christopher Lee.  As Travis explains it, “The best part is, NOTHING is canon, and EVERYTHING  is canon”.

After the character made its debut as a brief Doctor Who parody on NBC’s Community, the Internet got right to work fleshing out his history and adventures.  A Tumblr feed was quickly created to serve as the main repository of the work, and photos from past episodes were quickly “discovered” and shared.

Travis Richey had a very good time at Gallifrey One, the country’s biggest Doctor Who convention.  At a panel dedicated to Inspector Spacetime, he announced plans to produce an independent web series dedicated to the Infinity Knight and his continuing adventures.

“Tony Lee (writer for IDW’s Doctor Who comic) reached out to me to do a video for Chicago Tardis (the Midwest DW convention) back in November” Travis explains. “I did that, and the greeting went over so well that Tony put me in touch with Shaun (Lyon) who does Gallifrey One.”

The panel was filled with fans and the panel “reminiscing” about their favorite moments of the show, including past Inspectors, and of course, the death of Jeffrey.  “There were jokes people were making that I hadn’t heard, like ‘Horse-Bot 3000’, and I was ‘ Huh? What’s that?’  But I do improv all the time, so I just accepted it, gave it a ‘Yes, and…’ and went with.”  He shouldn’t have been surprised; as is traditional the people starring in the sci-fi show don’t know NEARLY as much about the show as the fans.

What was amazing is that everything they discussed in the panel was all created from whole cloth on sites like the Tumblr blog, in a world wide improv session. Fans across the world agreed which jokes were funnier, went with the stronger material, and the mythos became cohesive amazingly quickly.  “One example of that was the word DARSIT, for the the Inspector’s vehicle,” Travis recalls. “I have to admit, I never really liked it; I thought it was too simple of a joke, from TARDIS.  But someone on the ProBoards came up with BOOTH, and everybody liked it, and not only did the change get made in the “canon”, but they have, I hear, retconned things so that “Darsit” is now an Infinity Knight curse word. And they’ve already started folding Boyish the Extraordinary, our bad guy, into the canon, so by the time we see him, it’ll be his return.”

The ability for fans to so easily collaborate on such a mad undertaking, couldn’t have existed only a few years back.  “It’s really extraordinary. I admit that I saw the potential, but my vision was so far from what actually happened, and how much it means to the fans.  And I think part of it is for fans to be able to actually have a hand in creating something new.  A lot of people don’t have the opportunity to create something new, so to be able to write something on the Internet, or submit a photo to the tumblr blog…it’s an easy way for the fans to be engaged, and I think that’s something that has been lacking. So in that respect, this is something totally new.

Travis saw the potential in the character while he was still filming that first episode.  “I wrote the script [for the web series] with my writing partner after I shot the first episode, but before it even aired.  We knew it was gonna be pretty big” Travis recalls.  “I’m a pretty forward thinker; I’m never happy just waiting for things to happen.  So my thought was, Hey, I’ll write this, and if there’s a second episode, I’ll tell them you should do this for the DVD or for web content.  Especially after the first weekend, when it just EXPLODED, so I knew that it was going to be something the audience wanted.”

“So I wrote this, and I brought it with me when I did my second episode, and the  word on set was ‘We can’t just look at it’. So I went back to my agent and said to submit this, because this is really huge, and we understand the character and the meme, and the world that the fans created’.  And he sent it in, but never got any response, one way or the other.  I certainly didn’t get a ‘no, don’t do this cause we’re doing it’, nor did I get a ‘yes’, or even a ‘Hey, this is good, but no thanks’.”

“But like I said, I’m not a person to wait for things to happen. I did wait, actually – I wasn’t going to anything while they were still working with the character.  As long as they had things to do with Inspector Spacetime, I was just, ‘Let that happen’.  But after the Christmas episode, I knew they were shooting the rest of the season, and they weren’t using me. And then the status of the show coming back at all was in question, and I thought, ‘At the very least, this’ll get some buzz, for Community, at least.  Plus, it was a case of me being prepared to take advantage of opportunities presented to me.”

Considering the reaction that 15 seconds of footage got, it’d seem somewhat surprising they didn’t want to do something more with the character, but Travis has a theory. “I think it’s more just how Hollywood works.  It’s very difficult to get a piece of writing into someone’s hand.  And I’m not sure why that it is, because Star Trek did it.  Some of the best names we know in Sci-Fi today, from Jane Espenson, to Ron Moore to Rene Echevarria , they all got their start because they sent in spec scripts to Star Trek: The Next Generation.  I don’t understand it.”

Like air rushing in to fill a vacuum, fans stepped up and created a full 50 years of history for this character, and hasn’t stopped.  “It was less than two or three weeks to form the basis of it, but over the last few months, it’s just continually been adding and adding and adding. It’s astounding the amount of creativity that exploded over the Internet, base on all of this three-line joke. And it was wonderful to see.  And that’s exactly the kind of person I am – I was a fan, at one point. I wrote Star Trek scripts in my bedroom, I wrote Doctor Who stuff.”

With all that creativity already in place, one has to wonder how much material did Travis plan to cull from the communal pool, and how much would be brand new? “When we started to write the first episode, it was before the fans even knew it existed.  Eric [Loya, Travis’ writing partner on his other video work, including Robot, Ninja and Gay Guy] and I spent hours going through the mythos and creating a rudimentary character bible.  We had to understand how it spoofed Doctor Who.  Cause the Community people didn’t really do anything.  They showed that Blorgons were Daleks, and they showed the red phonebooth. So we had to invent everything else. And then the fans came along and started doing their thing, I was actually involved in some of the fandom  – I was on the ProBoards, talking to people about what was what. “Infinity Knight” was mine and Eric’s invention [compared to the “Space master” term the fans have been using], the name of the home planet is fan-created, like that. What we have in the web-series is, I believe, 100% original.  We invented a new Associate; we’re not going to use Constable Reggie, and we have a new arch-nemesis we invented, Boyish The Extraordinary. We’re making a quick reference to the Circuit-Chaps [the fan-created Cybermen-spoof].  We took out the Blorgon reference in respect to the Community team.”

Science-Fiction shows are well aware of the fannish community, and know when to turn a blind eye to fan-made fiction, and even merchandise.  Travis thinks Community is aware of that as well.  “There are people posting mash-ups that use clips from the show; people are posting actual clips of the show,” Travis notes.  “The merchandise that people produce – not only for Community, but for Inspector Spacetime.  And nobody has told the t-shirt companies that they can’t produce the shirts.  And I want to be clear, we’re not selling [the series]. We’re going to make it, and it’s going to exist for free.  We’re not going to make DVDs, we’re not going to do ads on it on YouTube, nothing like that.”

Sony and NBC did decide that an outside entity producing an Inspector Spacetime series was a bit offsides, and sent Travis a request to shut down.  Luckily Travis had a backup plan just in case someone in the legal field got uppity. “Except for the name ‘Inspector Spacetime’, everything we have in the script is invented by us.  So there’s no reason this can’t get made.  And you can’t copyright a title…and they haven’t trademarked the name; I did a trademark search. Cause I want to be careful.  So hopefully they’ll let this happen. And more hopefully it’ll create some buzz for Community. Cause even though it’s coming back for the rest of the third season, there’s no guarantee it’ll be renewed for a fourth.”  The series will be titled “The Untitled Webseries About A Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel In Time”.  So we’ve got an unofficial adaptation of a parody show that only exists in the mind of its fandom…that sound you hear is reality folding in on itself.

The Kickstarter campaign, which made its $20,000 goal and them some, will cover the cost of the production.  “Frankly, I don’t have the capability to make it look and sound as good as it deserves to,”  says Travis.  “If you look at the stuff I’ve produced so far, it looks…okay, but you can tell that it was made with no budget. But here the writing and the acting is so strong, it really deserves to be be complemented by good equipment; a decent camera, lights and stuff.”  Travis schedule is pretty accelerated. He’d already posted a better-quality animatic of the first episode through the folks at io9, the same episode he did a live read-through of at Gallifrey One.  Principal photography is complete, and Travis is looking for a sound designer now.

NBC has also seen the potential in the character.  It was announced at San Diego that an episode of the new season Community would center around an Inspector Spacetime convention.  And the show (both Community and IS) has one other big fan – Karen Gillan, AKA Amy Pond on Doctor Who.  She’s already gone on record as saying that she’d LOVE to appear on an episode.   The irony is that in the continuity of the show, it’s her on-screen husband that would be a more logical fit.  According to the history, the character Rory Williams (played by Arthur Darvill) is the only one to appear on BOTH shows, moving from Inspector Spacetime to Doctor Who.

It seems that The Inspector’s possibilities are, rightfully, infinite.  It’s not WHERE he’ll pop up next…but WHEN.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnMgJ9FNS1c[/youtube]

Mike Gold: Doctor Who Fans Can Barely Hold It

If you get off on anticipation and you also happen to be a Doctor Who fan, these are amazing times. We-all have so much to get excited about. To wit:

1)   The beginning of the next half-season, which will start in England any day now. The BBC likes to wait until the last minute to make their announcements; the show debuts in the United States, Canada and much of the rest of the world shortly thereafter. As of this writing, the season premiere is not on this Saturday’s schedule, so the August 25th rumor is likely untrue… unless the Pirates of the Caribbean movie presently in the Doctor Who slot is bunkum.

2)   The exiting of the two current companions at the end of the half-season, which may or may not involve killing one or both off.

3)   The Doctor Who Christmas Special, which is likely to be aired on or about December 25th and will feature the introduction of the Doctor’s new companion. The show will also feature the “return” of Richard E. Grant – he voiced the Doctor in the animated “Scream of the Shalka” and joined Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, and Joanna Lumley in Steven Moffat’s debut Who, the satirical “Curse of Fatal Death.

4)   The 50th anniversary of the show’s debut, which happened mere moments after the BBC announced the death of President John F. Kennedy. Talk about your dramatic lead-ins.

As hyped-up as we may be about the first three items on the above list, I’m far more amused by all the folderol around the 50th Anniversary. Writer/producer/showrunner Steven Moffat has been having enormous fun jerking the fans and media around, teasing the hell out of the event and roughly expanding our enthusiasm to apocalyptic proportions. Previous Doctors Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy and David Tennent have all publically committed to return “if asked,” and Christopher Eccleston has actually stopped saying he wouldn’t return under any circumstances, although his work on the next Thor movie might interfere with scheduling. Similarly, John Barrowman’s work on Arrow might mitigate his availability. Colin Baker noted he might have grown, ahem, a bit too big for the part. To me, that sounds like something Moffat can have fun with.

If Moffat is to be believed, there likely will be several or many 50th Anniversary events next year. My question is “will there actually be a regular 50th Anniversary season?” There will be a dramatic made-for-teevee-movie about the creation of the original television show, being produced by Moffat and written by his Sherlock partner Mark Gatiss. There’s quite a feminist hook in this tale, as the show’s original producer, the person who actually got the show on television, was Verity Lambert, one of the very, very few women in such a position at the BBC back in 1963.

Of course, we’ll see all sorts of Doctor Who comics from IDW – we already see all sorts of Doctor Who comics from IDW, including reprints of Dave Gibbons’ beautiful work on the feature – and there will be tons and tons of merchandising and convention thrills. I suspect Community and The Inspector will have something to say about it all as well.

So the rumors will continue to grow in mass, time and space, and the resultant brouhaha will keep the rabble at fever-pitch. Perhaps there will be TARDIS-themed Depends being marketed to those who can’t hold it in.

That’s right, guys. It’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil waiting on shadowy rooftops.

 

How To Manage A Media Attack On Your Comic Book Store

How To Manage A Media Attack On Your Comic Book Store

Wednesday Bleeding Cool ran a piece linking to a local news promo promising a titillating exposé on modern comics that will offer tips on “HOW TO K.O. THESE COMICS BEFORE THEY CORRUPT YOUR KIDS!”

These media scare stories are nothing new. They’ve been plaguing comics since the very beginning, whether it was massive public comic book burnings in the 1940s, Frederic Wertham’s attacks in the 1950s, or the retailer stings of the 1980s that led to the CBLDF being formed.

While we’ve seen this type of story arise time and again, it should never be taken lightly. Below we offer some tips on how to deal with hostile cameras if they come to your store.

  • Know Your Rights. You control the media’s access to your store, not them. While media people can shoot common spaces not maintained by your store, such as public parking lots and walkways, they cannot enter your store and shoot without permission, and they cannot block access to your store.
  • (more…)

The Point Radio: ALCATRAZ = LOST 2?

The new Fox Series, ALCATRAZ, might seem a little familiar to LOSTies – there’s JJ Abrams, an island and even Hurley but there’s a lot more hidden in the mystery than you might think. Jorge Garcia and Sarah Jones join us to talk about what you can be sure will be different this time. Plus DC breaks the line and goes to $3.99 on Bat-Books.

The Point Radio is on the air right now – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or mobile device– and please check us out on Facebook right here & toss us a “like” or follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: Katee Sackhoff & Eliza Dushku on “Batman: Year One”


This week, one of the most revered story arcs in DC history becomes a direct-to-DVD feature. BATMAN YEAR ONE hits the shelves and we talk to Katee Sackhoff, Eliza Dushku and long time WB Director Andrea Romano about translating the comic to film. Then there was New York Comic Con – what a weekend – and do we have news for you!

The Point Radio is on the air right now – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or mobile device– and please check us out on Facebook right here & toss us a “like” or follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: SANCTUARY Secrets & DC’s Million Sellers


We’ve got more secrets to share from SyFy‘s SANCTUARY, as Amanda Tapping gives us hints on this season’s shocking finale (still a few weeks away). Plus DC sells five million comics in just a few weeks, and NY Comic Con is ON and we are on the floor.

The Point Radio is on the air right now – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or mobile device– and please check us out on Facebook right here & toss us a “like” or follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: Finding Evangeline Lily


Evangeline Lily has found her way to the big screen again, starring this weekend with Hugh Jackman in this weekend’s REAL STEEL. We talk about the film, her passion for writing and life after LOST plus Horror Genius Wes Craven reports on how SCREAM 4 begins that francise all over again – plus NBC drops the axe on two shows.

The Point Radio is on the air right now – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or mobile device– and please check us out on Facebook right here & toss us a “like” or follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

Ultimate Spider-Man 2 Revealed to be Black-Hispanic

The Ultimate Universe’s next Spider-Man will be a half-black, half-Hispanic teen named Miles Morales. As revealed in today’s USA Today, the new Ultimate Spider-Man #1 will be the most radical next step in differentiating the imprint from the core Marvel Universe.

Brian Michael Bendis, one of the Ultimate Universe’s chief architects, will write the new series, debuting in September, with art from Sara Pichelli. But first, Morales will be introduced in this week’s Ultimate Fallout #4. The miniseries’ title refers to the repercussions felt in the superhero community over recent events including the death of Peter Parker.

“The theme is the same: With great power comes great responsibility,” Bendis told the newspaper. “He’s going to learn that. Then he has to figure out what that means.”

The notion of making Parker’s successor a man of color was partly inspired by the NBC series Community. Star Donald Glover had been campaigning via Twitter for consideration as the lead in the Sony reboot of the live-action film series, a role that was given to Andrew Garfield. Last fall, the season premiere featured Glover in Spider-Man pajamas. “He looked fantastic!” Bendis said. “I saw him in the costume and thought, ‘I would like to read that book.’ So I was glad I was writing that book.”

The Italian artist used Glover as the inspiration for Morales’ look much as the Ultimate Nick Fury was largely inspired by Samuel L. Jackson who went on to play Fury in the Marvel Universe film series beginning with Iron Man  in 2008.

“It’s certainly long overdue,” Bendis said. “Even though there’s some amazing African-American and minority characters bouncing around in all the superhero universes, it’s still crazy lopsided.” It should be noted that the Spider-Man who operated with organic webshooters in the 2099 speculative future line of comics was a Hispanic named Miguel O’Hara. Morales will also be the product of a mixed heritage, much as Alonso himself is from a mix of cultures (his father is Mexican, his mother is British).

“What you have is a Spider-Man for the 21st century who’s reflective of our culture and diversity. We think that readers will fall in love with Miles Morales the same way they fell in love with Peter Parker,” Axel Alonso, Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief, told the paper. Parker’s supporting cast, including Gwen Stacy and Aunt May will figure in the early storylines.

Spider-Man was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1962 and by 1999 it was decided the series (and the larger Marvel Universe) was a little too insular for the casual reader. Then-president Bill Jemas decided a parallel line of books could take those core concepts and retell the stories using modern storytelling and characterizations. The Ultimate Universe was introduced in 2000 and was an immediate success, powered by Bendis and Mark Bagley’s Spider-Man. By 2010, though, the UU and MU were strikingly similar so things were dramatically shaken up in a series of cataclysmic events that shook the UU’s status quo, beginning with the wholesale slaughter of half the X-Men, including Wolverine. Those events continued to play out, leading to Spider-Man’s heroic sacrifice, taking a bullet from the Punisher, intended for Captain America.

Why THE HANGOVER 2??

The saying “Lightning Doesn’t Strike Twice” is usually true. So in the case of THE HANGOVER 2, how can the director and stars do it all again??  Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and more talk about the “unfinished business” from the first film, and where they could go from here (HANGOVER 3?). Plus, THOR, CAPTAIN AMERICA, GREEN LANTERN? Careful, do not underestimate X-MEN FIRST CLASS!

Do you think X-MEN FIRST CLASS can be a hit?  Drop us a comment below!

We are taking a break on Monday Memorial Day (May 30th) – see you back here on Friday June 3rd!