Tagged: Eli Stone

Review: ‘V the Complete First Season’

Review: ‘V the Complete First Season’

Kenneth Johnson set out to produce a television miniseries with allegorical elements to the way humanity surrendered to the forceful appeal of the Third Reich – except for an underground resistance that proved to save the world for freedom. His initial[[[V]]] miniseries on NBC was filled with memorable characters, some spooky reveals and was quite effective. The sequel mini wasn’t bad but then Johnson was gone but NBC wanted a weekly series and that was a train wreck. Since then, Johnson and the networks have danced around reviving the story of humanity’s struggle to control its destiny in the face of overwhelming alien forces. When it was clear the creator wasn’t going to see things his way, he turned his premise into a turgid and frankly, not very good novel while Warner Bros. moved ahead without him and that may have been for the best.

Seeking other nifty genre properties to capitalize on the success of[[[Lost]]], ABC commissioned some fanciful stuff the audiences weren’t ready for ([[[Pushing Daisies]]],[[[ Eli Stone]]]) and then tried closer copies ([[[The Nine]]]) and finally turned to fiction (FlashForward). All along, it toyed with V; developing it slowly until finally committing to a half-season’s worth of episodes to see what might work. Last fall, we got the first four episodes, got hooked, and then had to wait until the spring for the rest. By then, we got restless and decided what we got may not have been worth waiting for. Still, when it was time to commit for the current season, ABC chose V, which seemed to hold more promise, than [[[FlashForward]]] which never should have been an open-ended series to begin with.

The second season was to begin this month, hence the current release of the first season from Warner Home Video. Instead, the alphabet network delayed the show until January 4. So, we have all holiday season to renew our acquaintances with the current Visitors and get ready for what is being promised as higher stakes and a faster pace.

The show is a delight to look at, with that high sheen and gloss you expect from prime time. The alien ships are vast, spacious, and gleaming with chrome and polish. The lizard-like humanoids are disguised as uniformly attractive humans, making them appealing to a world that cautiously seems to welcome them.

They’re here for a reason and we don’t know it. But whatever they want, they want it badly given the size and scope of the forces brought from their homeworld to Earth. And, unlike the original incarnation, they’ve been infiltrating humanity for years. This is perhaps the best alteration to the original followed by shifting the fascist themes to more contemporary concerns, although it doesn’t strike me as mirroring the Obama administration as Slate has suggested. Largely because humanity doesn’t have an Obama-like figure to rally around. Instead, the scrappy resistance is led by the wonderful Elizabeth Mitchell as an FBI agent and mother, whose teen son can’t seem to think straight (and who can blame him with the seductive Laura Vandervoort revving up his hormones?).

Since we don’t fully understand their level of technology or their need for Earth, the story feels murky and the pacing doesn’t service the growing ensemble all that well, which may also be attributable to the behind-the-scenes politics which saw showrunners come and go. The core cast grows a bit when Anna’s mother arrives this season in the form of Jane Badler, a holdover from the original and a nice way to acknowledge the first series. And where Mitchell is passionate and tenacity, Morena Baccarin’s Anna is cool, calculating and quite deadly.

The box set contains the entire 12 episode first season along with commentary on episode eleven from executive producers Steve Pearlman and Scott Rosenbaum. There are also 17 minutes’ worth of deleted scenes, none of which are sorely missed but all welcome as they fill in some gaps. You get another 17 minutes with The Actor’s Journey from Human to V as the cast discuss the original series and compare it with the version they’re working on. Better, and again at 17 minutes, is Breaking Story: The World of V, where Rosenbaum and some of the production crew discuss how they craft the episodes, a nice glimpse into the writers’ room. An Alien in Human Skin: The Makeup FX of V, a mere 12 minutes, looks at the current state of television makeup effects while The Visual Effects of V is an engaging 16 minute piece on the associated visuals.

If you like the premise or the cast or missed the show and want to see for yourself, this is a handsome, solid package.

‘Green Lantern’ Completes Third Draft Script

‘Green Lantern’ Completes Third Draft Script

Yesterday, we speculated that Green Lantern was the DC hero next going before the cameras and MTV’s Splash Page then ran an interview with co-screenwriter Marc Guggenheim that confirms this projection.

“This morning, we sat down to talk Green Lantern,” Guggenheim told MTV, “and we ended up riffing for an hour and a half on another, much more obscure character. Sometimes, you just have to roll with it when inspiration strikes, you know? I’m sure the studio wouldn’t be happy about it, but we’re not going to blow the deadline. We’ll get it in.”

The screenplay was written by Guggenheim, Michael Green (Superman/Batman) and Greg Berlanti (Eli Stone) and after three drafts, they think it’s about ready for Berlanti to direct. Locations have been scouted and production designs have been crafted by Aaron Sims, who is also working on X-Men Origins: Magneto for director David S. Goyer.

“[The changes are] nothing that’s affecting the storyline, really,” he said. “It’s pretty well set. But sometimes we’ll move a scene to a different location for budget purposes, perhaps in an already established location instead of a new one. It’s a question of, which locations can we live without? It’s a constant process to streamline what you’re going through, even after the film is shot, when you’re cutting things in the edit. That’s what the rewrite process is like, how you sand down the roughness of the a movie to its smoothest.”

Guggenheim also noted that a cameo for reporter Clark Kent appears in the script leading to speculation if Warner would go with Tom Welling (Smallville) or Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) for the wink to the greater DC Universe.

“There were rumors that Tom Welling would have a cameo in Batman Begins as a young Clark Kent, to meet up with a young Bruce Wayne,” Guggenheim said. “But you have to be careful when you do things like that, because it sounds great in concept, but when you sit down to watch it, it poses the danger of pulling you out of the film.”

He refused to talk about the current rumor of Ryan Gosling being eyed to play test pilot Hal Jordan.

‘The Last Templar’ Scheduled for Late January

‘The Last Templar’ Scheduled for Late January

The Last Templar, a four hour miniseries starring Mira Sorvino, Victor Garber and Scott Foley has been scheduled to air on consecutive nights, January 25 and 26, at 9 p.m. Directed by Paolo Barzman (Grand Star), the miniseries was written by Suzette Couture (The Terrorist Next Door) based on Raymond Khoury‘s novel.

Sorvino will be Tess Chaykin, a Manhattan archaeologist who is drawn into a fast-paced, romantic adventure concerning the lost secrets of the medieval Knights Templar. Garber (Eli Stone) is Monsignor De Angelis, who steps in to help with the investigation to retrieve the lost artifact.

The Last Templar opens with the fall of the Latin Kingdom’s reign in the Holy Land in Acre in 1291. As the burning city falls to the Sultan’s forces, a lone galley escapes out to sea, carrying a young knight from the historic order of the Knights Templar, Martin of Carmaux, his mentor Aimard of Villiers, and a mysterious chest entrusted to them by the Order’s dying Grand Master. But the ship never reaches its destination.

Later, in present-day New York, Chaykin witnesses four masked horsemen, dressed as Templar Knights, who storm into the Metropolitan Museum, scattering Manhattan society gathered for the gala opening night of an exhibition of Vatican treasures. She watches in silent terror as the leader of the horsemen hones in on one piece in particular–a strange-geared device that he grabs as he disappears into Central Park.

As the horsemen’s dead bodies start turning up–and the importance of the stolen device becomes more apparent–Tess and FBI Agent Sean Reilly are drawn into the dark, hidden history of the crusading knights and of the last surviving Templars’ fateful journey from Acre. The pair is soon propelled into a dangerous adventure that takes them through the cemeteries and sewers of Manhattan, across continents to desolate Turkish highlands, to a violent storm on the Mediterranean that shipwrecks them onto a remote Greek island–and into the very heart of an incredible Vatican secret.

 

 

ABC Reshuffles Schedule at Expense of Quality

ABC Reshuffles Schedule at Expense of Quality

When the writer’s strike crippled audiences getting to know and love many freshman series last season, NBC and ABC decided that five would be held back for reintroduction this fall.  The shows — Chuck, Life, Pushing Daisies, Private Practice and Dirty Sexy Money.  On Friday, the verdict came down that the plan didn’t work as anticipated.

ABC has chosen not to renew Pushing and Dirty Sexy Money beyond their first thirteen episodes for the season. Private Practice will be slotted behind Grey’s Anatomy to try and salvage the creatively disjointed series. Life and Chuck seem to be faring better and the network is supporting them.

Also being canceled is Eli Stone which was a midseason replacement last spring.

"It’s all true," Daisies creator Bryan Fuller told Entertainment Weekly. "I’m so very proud of this show and grateful for everyone’s hard work in bringing it to life.

Replacing the shows will be the eighth and possibly final season of Scrubs, which moves to ABC after seven years on NBC. It debuts on January 6 at 9 p.m. with two weeks of a full hour of new episodes followed by the series settling in on January 20 at 9:30.
 

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‘Eli Stone”s Marc Guggenheim on the Season so Far

‘Eli Stone”s Marc Guggenheim on the Season so Far

"I think in many ways we’re following the Battlestar Galactica model of blowing the show up every other week and constantly raising the stakes," Marc Guggenheim told Sci FI Wire.

The co-creator and executive producer of ABC’s Eli Stone, Guggenheim added, "The name of the game here is just how can we expand the show in every conceivable way. How can we make the musical numbers bigger? How can we make the visual-effects sequences more cinematic? How can we expand and deepen the relationships among all of our characters? The show is going to bigger and bigger and bigger places."

The Tuesday night series features the title character, played by Johnny Lee Miller, as suffering from an aneurysm that also enables him to receive visions from Heaven, enabling him to come to the aid of others.  Of course, few believe him and hence drama ensues. After trying to get rid of the life-threatening spot in his brain, Eli accepted his role in life rather than see the responsibility shift to his brother. He’s also continued to practice law at Wethersby, Posner & Klein where several of his coworkers, notably Victor Garber and Loretta Divine, tend to burst into hallucinating song and dance.

The show has tried to gain notice with stunt casting such as Sigourney Weaver in the season opener followed by Katie Holmes a week later. Coming up will be singer Seal in the seventh episode. "We’ve got some cool visual effects happening in episode 207…where we literally put Eli in the middle of a movie," Guggenheim said. "We do it in a way that you’ve never seen on the show before, where we’re trying to push the envelope in terms of the way Eli has his visions."

Guggenheim, who works on the show with his pal Greg Berlanti, form two-thirds of the team behind the Green Lantern screenplay and continues to write Wolverine stories for Marvel.  Still, his weekly series is his baby and intends to get as many people to try it out as possible.  The character is out to make Earth a nicer place to live.

"I think it’s all a part of being true to the concept of the show, because the concept of the show is about changing the world," Guggenheim said. "In the first season, we did a flash-forward to the future, where Eli’s talking to thousands of people in Times Square in New York, and we’re always keeping that in the back of our minds as we plot out these stories. Like knowing that’s ultimately where we’d like to go."
 

Television Notes

Television Notes

CAMELOT

Modern day interpretations of classic tales seems to be in vogue.  First, NBC retells the King David story through Michael Green’s Kings and now Showtime and the BBC announced plans to produce Camelot telling, well, you know what.

The new show comes from Michael Hirst and Morgan O’Sullivan, the duo behind the cable network’s successful series The Tudors.

Hirst will be writing the scripts and serve as executive producer, much as he has done on the series featuring King Henry VIII.  That show completed its second season in the spring and saw its rating rise 6% and the third season just wrapped production for an April debut.

Variety noted that Showtime has aggressively filled their production slate with several other originals beginning with the Diablo Cody-written show, United States of Tara which will star Toni Collette, debuting in January. Other shows range from the half-hour sitcom Nurse Jackie, starring Edie Falco, to the dark series, The End of Steve, likely to star Matthew Perry. Its L Word enters its final season in January and then star Leisha Haily is expected to be spun off into a new series.

ABC SHUFFLES

As we mentioned yesterday, ABC is placing Lost in Private Practice’s spot and there was no news as to where the Grey’s Anatomy spin-off was headed.  Now we know thanks to The Hollywood Reporter. It moves to Thursday, right behind Grey’s while Life on Mars moves to Wednesday’s at 10 p.m. to get a boost from Lost.

The network also indicated Scrubs may debut in midseason Wednesdays at 8 p.m., displacing Pushing Daisies which has yet to find an audience this season and may not go beyond its 13 episode order. If so, expect to find creator Bryan Fuller once more toiling among Heroes.

No surprise, the new timeslot for Practice now means the two related shows will crossover in time for February sweeps.

Other shows in ratings trouble include Eli Stone although Dirty Sexy Money may get a new time slot to improve its fortunes.
 

ABC Picks Up More ‘Eli Stone’

ABC Picks Up More ‘Eli Stone’

It’s a good year for Marc Guggenheim. He’s got a brand new comic series at Marvel with Young X-Men and he’s one of three co-writers for the upcoming Green Lantern film at Warner Bros. Now comes word from The Hollywood Reporter that television series Eli Stone, which Guggenheim executive produces, is getting four extra scripts.

Stone, on its second season, received the order on the evening before its premiere on Tuesday night. The trade indicates that such a move shows confidence in the season’s new creative direction. We Alias fans know better: Victor Garber likely held the studio at gunpoint and forced the pick up. Gotta love Jack Bristow.

"It’s an incredible vote of confidence," Guggenheim tells EW.com. "I had told [ABC] that in order to keep production rolling [beyong Eli‘s initial 13-episode order], I would need to know by Wednesday [if they wanted more]. I figured at the very least that would give them a day’s worth of ratings to analyze. And they were like, ‘Nope, we’ll just order them now.’"

The show centers on lawyer Eli Stone who becomes a modern-day prophet after receiving precognitive visions. Jonny Lee Miller, Natasha Henstridge, Loretta Devine, and Victor Garber star. Former Dawson’s Creek and Batman Begins star Katie Holmes will guest star on next Tuesday’s episode.

‘The Return’ Arrives at ABC

‘The Return’ Arrives at ABC

Greg Berlanti is rapidly getting busier in Hollywood.  In addition to his work with Marc Guggenheim and Michael Green on the screenplay to the Green Lantern feature film, he’s been working on the second season of ABC’s Eli Stone and Dirty Sexy Money and third season of Brothers & Sisters, all of which debut later this month. Variety reports that he must have a spare few minutes because he’s partnered with Rene Echevarria on The Return.  The science fiction series for ABC has a simple premise: aliens arrive on Earth.

Echevarria is now stranger to the genre having worked on Star Trek: Deep Space 9, The 4400 and Dark Angel.

ComicMix Radio: Pushing The Limits At DC

ComicMix Radio: Pushing The Limits At DC

September roars in with a new TV season on the way, one of the year’s last big conventions just around the corner and our usual load of new comics and DVDS, plus:

  • Gale Simone says she is pushing DC’s limits with The Secret Six
  • Scott McCloud shines with Google Chrome
  • Marc Guggenheim celebrates Eli Stone on DVD this week

A new month, a new season but a familiar request – just  Press the Button!
 

 

And remember, you can always subscribe to ComicMix Radio podcasts via iTunes - ComicMix or RSS!

 

ComicMix Radio: Controversy in The Comic Shops

ComicMix Radio: Controversy in The Comic Shops

Everyone at the racks this week is probably in agreement that Iron Man rocks and Speed Racer, well… doesn’t. But the opinions are much more divided on the topic of DC’s decision to apparently return Barry Allen to the land of the living. There are more clues to what they have planned in this week’s batch of new comics, which we cover, plus:

— Boom Studios plans a benefit project

— Eric Stoltz lands on Caprica

Eli Stone is coming back

And then there’s Jim Bowie. No, really! Press the Button and we’ll show you…

 

 

 And remember, you can always subscribe to ComicMix Radio podcasts via iTunes - ComicMix or RSS!