Tagged: Pushing Daisies

Emily S. Whitten: Conventions Ahoy! NADWCon and SDCC

Emily S. Whitten: Conventions Ahoy! NADWCon and SDCC

Guess what, ComicMix readers? Convention season is upon us! Hurrah!

“Aw, shucks,” you say. “I can’t make it to any conventions.”

Fear not, faithful friends! I am here to save the day by attending and reporting back for you. And I am psyched about it. Yes, I’ll probably need to hibernate my con exhaustion away afterwards, but man, I love the energy and excitement of a good con. And good thing, too, because this year, I’m planning to attend The North American Discworld Convention; San Diego Comic Con; Dragon*Con; Baltimore Comic Con; the Small Press Expo; New York Comic Con; and Capclave. Whew!

NADWCon and SDCC are right around the corner, so I’m extra excited about those! Here’s what I’m looking forward to:

The North American Discworld Convention

The NADWCon is taking place in Baltimore, MD from July 5th to 8th, and memberships are still available! I highly recommend this con for any Terry Pratchett enthusiast. Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows I’m a huge Discworld fan. You may or may not also know that I actually co-founded the NADWCon, and served as Vice Chair, Webmaster, Programming Coordinator, and Guest Liaison for the 2009 NADWCon, and as Chair and co-Guest Liaison Coordinator for the 2011 NADWCon. Good times!

This year, though, I’m super excited to be going to NADWCon as just a fan. I’ll get to go to all of the panels I never saw while I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off organizing things! I’ll get to sit down for more than five minutes with my Discworld friends! I’ll possibly make it to breakfast at least once! Woo!

I’ll also, all things permitting, be continuing what is by now the tradition of interviewing some Discworld luminaries at the con. I first interviewed author Terry Pratchett himself at the UK Discworld Con for two whole hours in 2008, and what a treat that was! I interviewed Terry again, along with agent Colin Smythe, artist Bernard Pearson, and audiobook reader Stephen Briggs in 2010 (Scroll down if you’d like to hear those interviews here). The nice thing about interviews with Terry or about Terry, though, is that he’s so prolific and interesting that there’s always new ground to cover; so I’m really looking forward to catching up with the Discworld crowd!

In other exciting things, the Program Guide for the con is now up, and it looks fantastic. On Friday I might chat with Ian Mitchell and Reb Voyce, make my own Octavo or coat of arms, or watch the new Sir Terry documentary about orangutans! On Saturday I’ll actually be speaking at a panel about costuming, but I might also try my hand at scriptwriting, learn how to commit the perfect murder (oh, Pat, what would we do without you?), or revisit my fencing days with a lesson in swordplay. Sunday I am most certainly attending the Gala Banquet, but might also learn the trade tricks of the Guild of Thieves! And on Monday, if I am not exhausted yet, I may watch what I am betting will be the craziest puppet show ever (and will, among other things, feature the Neil Gaiman puppet that took the stage at Neil’s DC signing on June 21). Seriously, this con is going to be so much fun! And less than two weeks after it, I will be going to…

San Diego Comic Con

This will be my first time at SDCC, and I am preemptively preparing to be totally overwhelmed. However, I’m also overjoyed, because so many of my awesome friends will be there, and there will be mega-tons of amazing events happening all the time. Here are some things I’m especially looking forward to:

1) The preview and Q&A panel for I Know That Voice, a documentary all about voice actors that’s coming out this fall. As readers may have noticed, I find voice acting pretty darned fascinating, so I can’t wait to see this film, which features over a hundred of the best voice actors in the business discussing their craft. In fact, I’ve already signed up for the VIP email list on the IKTV website; and you can too, if you want to get VIP-only updates about the film, reserve a spot to pre-order the DVD for purchase before the general public, and be entered in a poster contest where every 100th entry wins a poster signed by voice actor John DiMaggio. Pretty cool!

FYI, the IKTV team is also running a Cartoon Voice Imitation Contest via their Facebook page, encouraging anyone who does impressions of favorite television cartoon voices to post a short video of their impression(s) (1 minute or less) to the page by July 31, 2013, at 11:59 p.m. PST. John DiMaggio and the IKTV team will review each post and on August 5 will pick the top three, who will win an autographed poster signed by some of the star cast members and an I Know That Voice DVD autographed by John DiMaggio. What a great way to be heard by the folks in Hollywood! I’d enter myself, if I did any impressions!

I’ll definitely be checking out the IKTV SDCC panel. Here’s the panel information:

“John DiMaggio (Executive Producer of IKTV, also voices Bender from Futurama, Jake The Dog from Adventure Time, IFC’s Out There and many more!) brings the cast and crew of IKTV together for an exclusive sneak peak at the most anticipated film about voice over (in animation and video games) ever made! Included in the panel will be John DiMaggio, Billy West (Futurama, Ren and Stimpy), Rob Paulsen (TMNT, Pinky and the Brain), Dee Bradley Baker (Clone Wars, Ben 10, American Dad), Fred Tatasciore (Hulk, Ben 10, Mad), Tom Kenny (Spongebob Squarepants, Brickleberry), Andrea Romano (25-time Emmy nominated, 8-time Emmy winner for Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, and more!), Tommy Reid (producer, IKTV), and Lawrence Shapiro (director, IKTV). You won’t want to miss this panel, especially with this bunch! You never know what’s going to come out of their mouths! July 18, 4:45-5:45 p.m. (Room 6BCF)”

I’ll also be interviewing John DiMaggio and Tommy Reid while I’m there, and maybe a few other amazing voice actors (like Rob Paulsen!) so stay tuned for that! And while we’re here, don’t forget Rob Paulsen is coming to The National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on August 1. Get your tickets now!

2) Hannibal, Hannibal, Hannibal. Yes, folks, the cast and crew of the show about Hannibal the cannibal are going to be at SDCC, and I am hungry to hear from them (sorry, I couldn’t resist). The panel, entitled “Hannibal: Feed Your Fear,” will feature Emmy-Award-winning executive producer Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies), director David Slade (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse), Martha De Laurentiis (Red Dragon), and star Hugh Dancy (playing Agent Will Graham). It’s listed for Thursday, July 18th from 6:45pm – 7:45 p.m. in Room 6A.

As with many things, I (affectionately) blame my friend Cleolinda for getting me into Hannibal with her excellent recaps and discussions. But the show has done a great job of keeping me fascinated all on its own. I can’t wait for the panel, and am hoping to get a few minutes with the panelists, as well!

3) Psych! Oh, man, I just love this show. Somehow it’s cleverly managed to walk the line between heartfelt and meaningful and hilarious and totally goofy for seven seasons, and there’s another one to come! The Psych panel is set for July 18 and will be moderated by Cary Elwes, and include James Roday, Dulé Hill, Corbin Bernsen, Maggie Lawson and Timothy Omundson, along with Kirsten Nelson. Also joining the panel are creator and executive producer Steve Franks, and executive producers Chris Henze and Kelly Kulchak. I’m so there! I’ve also already got my ticket to the advance screening of Psych: The Musical (airing this winter), and you can get one too, at the link. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there will be time to check in with the cast of the show as well!

4) So many other cool panels! Who knows what I’ll be able to fit in, but I’ve got my sights set on covering at least some of the events for author Neil Gaiman’s new Sandman work; ongoing TV shows Arrow, Bones, Futurama, Supernatural, Agents of SHIELD, Once Upon A Time, Dexter, The Legend of Korra, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; new shows Almost Human, Sleepy Hollow, and The Tomorrow People; and upcoming movies Ender’s Game, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The World’s End, and (maybe) some Marvel movies. I’m also planning to cover The Black Panel and the Body Image & Women in Entertainment panel if I can (I’m ambitious!). And maybe more, since new events are being announced all the time. This site seems to be keeping up with them pretty well, and of course there’s the Unofficial SDCC Blog, which has tons of information.

5) A Gathering of Nerds! Although it’s not part of SDCC proper, I’m hoping to stop by at least one Nerd HQ event and see what they’re all about. Chuck actor Zachary Levi’s pet project raised $140,000 for Operation Smile last year with its Conversations for a Cause, and featured a slew of cool events and guests while doing it. I haven’t even attended yet and I’m already a fan – I like the mix of philanthropy with fun!

6) Exclusives! Oh so many exclusives! I’m going to try not to go tooooo crazy, but I must admit I’ve already pre-ordered the Marvel Minimates Deadpools Assemble set; of course I want the Deadpool Kills variant cover and the glow-in-the-dark Deadpool bobble-head; and I will elbow people out of the way with all of my elbowin’ strength for the Deadpool Corps set. I also think the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 variant cover by Steve Conley is adorable, not to mention it comes from my friends at Awesome Conventions! And speaking of cute, I so want Batgirl from DC’s Super Best Friends Forever. I also have to admit the Game of Thrones throw pillow and poster set are pretty nifty.

7) And let us never forget the parties! I’m hearing about new ones every day, and who knows where I’ll end up, but at the very least I plan to be visiting with our very own ComicMix crowd at the Michael Davis World After-the-Eisner’s-Party – and what could be better than that?

So stay tuned in the next few weeks, when I’ll be sharing all of my convention adventures. And speaking of conventions, if you’re a D.C. local (or even if you’re not) please consider supporting the Awesome Con DC 2014 Kickstarter, which has just 4 days left to meet its goal (and through which you can get that cute TMNT variant cover I mentioned as a reward!). The Kickstarter needs less than $8,000 more in donations to succeed, and to allow the con organizers to make next year’s Awesome Con DC bigger and better than ever. This year’s con was awesome (heh), and I’d love to see them get funded.

Thanks; and until next time, Servo Lectio!

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis, Hell, and High Water



REVIEW: Moonrise Kingdom

You have to credit director Wes Anderson with having a unique vision, one that is slightly off kilter compared with most of his fellow filmmakers. As a result, his films tend to visually interesting and highly stylized, getting notably quirky performances out of his cast. Moonrise Kingdom, his oddly sweet summer confection, is the latest such offering. He revels in dysfunctional groupings, in this case a family and local community, set in 1965, on the cusp of dramatic changes to society as a whole. This tale features two twelve year olds who run away as a storm looms over New Penzance, an isolated island off the coast of northern New England and has a kid’s book feel to it. In many ways, it reminded me of having fairy tale similarities to the hyper-realized rainbow bright Pushing Daisies.

You laugh at the oddball characters, marvel at the mannered performances from a stellar cast, and find your expectations upended time and again. You root for the kids, Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) and Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward), to find happiness. To them, it’s a love story. He abandons his scout troop and she runs away from home, and you would too given her dazed dad Walt (Bill Murray) and adulterous mother Laura (Frances McDormand).

Sam is an orphan and his foster family doesn’t want him back so it falls to the local sheriff (Bruce Willis) and the scout master (Edward Norton) to mount the hunt. With the storm approaching, things are ratcheted high enough to snag the attention of Scout commander Pierce (Harvey Keitel) and Khaki Scout chaplain Cousin Ben (Jason Schwartzman) along with Social Services (Tilda Swinton); and yeah, that’s the character’s name.

While the storm and the missing children are whipping the adults up into a stylized frenzy, the two kids are innocent, unaware, and wholly devoted to one another. While every adult is flawed and mostly unlikable, the kids are fresh-faced and worthy of rooting for. What’s interesting is watching the effect their unseen devotion to one another is having on the adults as the film progresses. One by one, love transforms (or at least softens) the adults, the authority figures who are thinking of punishment and retribution.

The story is charming and riveting in its simplicity, a testament to Anderson’s skill as a storyteller. The movie is lovingly transferred to Blu-ray so the soft colors, a palette that works so well as an element, are well captured. The audio is also superb.

Amazingly, there are but three three-minute featurettes included on the disc: A Look Inside Moonrise Kingdom, Welcome to the Island of New Penzance, and Set Tour with Bill Murray.

REVIEW: 30 Beats

The great television series Naked City used to close each episode with the famous tag, “There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them.” It’s very compact size and dense population means people are intersecting in new and unusual ways all the time. This has given rise to some wonderful fiction such as Kissing in Manhattan and some less memorable fare such as the recently released film 30 Beats. Using a heat wave as the through-line the heat is also a metaphor for the sexual tension between ten various New Yorkers. Structurally, it owes a great deal to Max Ophuls’s La Ronde but never comes close to its brilliance.

The cast is headed by sexy Paz de la Huerta (Boardwalk Empire) and Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies), and the film was written and directed by Alexis Lloyd. The cast also includes Condola Rashad, Justin Kirk, Thomas Sadoski (The Newsroom), and Jennifer Tilly. Its tag line, “New York City, in the heart of summer: a heat wave transforms the city into a tropical zone. Ten characters are drawn, one after the other, into a ring of love and desire, each one caught beyond his or her control in a chain reaction of seduction, impulses and self-discovery” is certainly catchy but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

Given the rich possibilities, it’s a shame the film runs a lightweight 88 minutes and doesn’t really bring any of the characters to real light or allow them any depth. As a result, there’s a lot of sweat and plenty of exposed skin, but you’ve seen better on any late night Cinemax production.

Out today from Lionsgate Home Entertainment, it’s billed a comedic romance but the comedy is fairly tame and the romance is of the heaving bosom variety. There’s the older woman (Ingeborga Dapkunaite) seducing the virgin (Ben Levin) at a spa only to learn she was hired by dad to be his first sexual experience. While a cliché situation, Lloyd allows their inner thoughts to come through, making this awkwardness somewhat sweet. It also promises this could be a good little film, but then we’re shown she was only inspired this one time. The rest is a series of clichés without redemption as character A meets up with character B and after sex, character B hooks up with character C and frankly, the characterizations are as flat as this description. That the core cast is between 25-35 also steals chances for some interesting comparisons among the generations.

There’s the tarot reader helping the young man overcome erectile dysfunction with the aid of some crystals and the chiropractor who gets it on with one of his patients. Every encounter between characters culminates in sex, without fail, and each exchange robs the actors of a chance to actually invest any emotion and feeling into their characters. There’s far too much sex (believe it or not) and nowhere near enough depth.

It’s always a shame when a film about sex is just the sex and nothing about those who commit the act. A more adult approach would have taken this concept, heat wave and all, and really made the audience melt.

Disney XD Launches Marvel Universe Block on April 1

Disney XD will launch Marvel Universe, a dedicated Marvel programming block, with the new series Ultimate Spider-Man as its centerpiece, on SUNDAY, APRIL 1, it was announced today by Gary Marsh, President and Chief Creative Officer, Disney Channels Worldwide at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, California. Marvel Universe on Disney XD will be the ultimate place for fans to find exclusive Marvel content, including new animated short-form series, live-action interstitials and the series return of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.  The block will be home to Marvel’s biggest superstars, such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America and many more to introduce dynamic stories of action, adventure and heroism to a whole new generation.

Marsh said, “Iconic Marvel heroes and villains and stories with core values of accomplishment, discovery and growth make Marvel Universe a perfect complement to Disney XD and a destination for parents and kids to experience together.” (more…)

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.

Review: ‘Possession’ on DVD

Review: ‘Possession’ on DVD

You have to wonder about the career advice Sarah Michelle Gellar has been receiving from her agent. Once she established that she could not only kick ass and stake vampires on [[[Buffy the Vampire Slayer]]], she also won over fans and critics by feeling the emotional impact of the events going on in her life. One reason the episode regarding her mother’s death is so well remembered has much to do with Gellar’s performance. We also saw that she could do other roles and gained attention in 1999 with Cruel Intentions.

Yet, since the series ended in 2003, she has made schlock horror films based on international offerings ([[[The Grudge]]]), slight comedies ([[[Scooby Doo]]]), and eminently forgettable films ([[[Suburban Girl]]]). In the fist category comes Possession, out this week from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Based on the 2002 Korean film [[[Addicgion]]], the American adaptation was filmed in 2007 and was initially set to release in 2008 before being consigned directly to DVD.

Set in San Francisco (although shot in Vancouver), the story is about a young married couple (Gellar and Michael Landes) trying to establish themselves while also taking in Michael’s criminal brother (Lee Pace). Lee creeps out Sarah so she insists he finally move out and this leads to a horrific car crash that sends both men to the hospital.

When Lee finally awakens, he appears in every way to have been changed…into his brother. He seems to possess Michael’s memories and is kinder, softer, and more emotionally vulnerable than he ever was before. With Michael comatose, Sarah has to decide whether or not to pull the plug on the life support equipment, complicated by the emotional connection she is forging with her brother-in-law.

Throughout, the question comes whether or not a freak accident swapped the men’s souls or Lee is faking it. This is intended to a psychological/supernatural thriller and while moodily shot using dim lighting, it also fails to emotionally connect with the audience. Largely this has to do with all three characters being woefully underwritten by Michael Petroni.  Directors Joel Bergvall and Simon Sandquist don’t help by letting the trio show much range. Lee Pace, we well know from [[[Pushing Daisies]]], can act and yes, he does the best job of the three by portraying two sides of the same man but even he feels flat.

Given that this story sprawls across a year or more, the lack of interaction with friends or family also robs the movie of feeling anything remotely real. Sarah’s brief interactions at work are the only proof that she has a life beyond her home.

The movie is a muddle and mercifully brief (1:25). The DVD comes complete with plenty of alternate and deleted scenes, none of which really would have helped make this a more enjoyable story. Then there’s the promo featurette that tells you absolutely nothing about the project.        

Gellar is an attractive, capable actress who has been repeatedly ill served by her film choices and maybe it’s time for her to find new representation.


‘Global Frequency’ back to TV?

‘Global Frequency’ back to TV?

Global Frequency, the DC/Wildstorm comic, might be back in play as a TV series.

You may remember that in 2005, Mark Burnett (producer of Survivor) and John Rogers (who would go on to write the comic Blue Beetle and create the show Leverage) created a pilot for the WB. The pilot wasn’t picked up; however, it got leaked to the Interwebs and became the most watched pilot that never got picked up.

Now the industry magazine Production Weekly has just posted the following on Twitter: The CW will again try to adapt Warren Ellis’ comic book “Global Frequency,” this time Scott Nimerfro will script the pilot. Scott Nimerfro has written for Star Trek: Voyager, Tales From The Crypt, Perversions Of Science, The Outer Limits, Stargate: Atlantis, and Pushing Daisies, and was an associate producer on the X-Men movie.

Warren Ellis, creator of Global Frequency, sent out an email with the headline “I couldn’t possibly comment”.

We understand. And we couldn’t possibly embed a video with footage from the original Global Frequency pilot that should never have been released out on the Internet. That would be wrong.

Here’s hoping Michelle Forbes is still available.

Review: ‘Pushing Daisies’ Season 2 on DVD

Review: ‘Pushing Daisies’ Season 2 on DVD

When Pushing Daisies debuted in the fall of 2007, I wrote
on my blog the show “is a delight. With its oversaturated color palette and
Jim Dale narration, this is a fairy tale with a set of off-kilter characters
that you immediately warm to. The leads and supporting cast are equally strong
so it’s up to the writers to make the most of them. I can see why ABC pushed
this so hard; it’s the most original series of the season.”

Somewhat retooled during the writers’ strike, ABC brought it
back this past fall and by Christmas it was gone with three episodes unaired.
Those finally got seen in June and now the entire second season is available as
a four disc box set, being released Tuesday from Warner Home Video.

The second season continued to have the feeling of a fairy
tale and maintained the basic tenants of the series from Jim Dale’s delightful
narration to the everything is slightly over-the-top but you buy it visuals.

Still, the cast probably had a few regulars and recurring
players too many and the storylines reflected that.  We have Olive hiding as a nun, taking away
from the core cast and concocting stories to bring the cast to her. Ned’s daddy
issues continued to flare up along with the improbable introduction of half-brothers
that only bloated the stories for a while. No sooner were they dispatched than
we turned to Chuck’s daddy issues complete with Daddy’s resurrection. The best
part of that was how he reacted and took advantage of the situation, causing fresh
problems for Ned and Chuck. Coupled with Chuck’s story was her aunts and the
arrival of Dwight, a recurring antagonist who got caught up with Vivian.

It felt messy and overdone, and for those trying to sample
the show, it was probably dense and off-putting. For those of us who watched it
regularly, we delighted in the bizarre cases, highlights including the
honey-based cosmetics murder, the death of Colonel Likkin and the case of the dead
window dresser.

Clearly, the writing was on the wall, allowing Bryan Fuller
to try and tidy things up in the final three episodes. The penultimate story,
which possibly had the best script of the season, allowed some closure to
Emerson Cod’s search for his daughter, allowing the finale to wrap up Chuck’s
issues with her Aunts, one of whom turned out to be her natural mother.

The core cast was nothing but superb from beginning to end. They
played everything straight in a wacky world and each appeared as fully-fleshed
out people with surprising quirks and hobbies (Emerson’s knitting for example).
The chemistry between Lee Pace and Anna Friel helped the romantic fairy tale
feel and they were more than ably supported by Kristen Chenoweth and Chi
McBride.  The guest cast was a nice blend
of the familiar and the less familiar but everyone played their parts larger
than life, adding to the unreal feel of the series.

The 13 episodes are complemented by four short featurettes:
The Master Pie Maker which was heavy on clips and not enough interview material
with the cast about the show overall; From Over to Table, which focused on
bringing the scripts to life that could have benefitted with a little more on
the props and set design; Secret Sweet Ingredients, a strong piece on the
wonderful music from composer Jim Dooley; and, Add a Little Magic, which was a
brief look at the visual effects. They, like the pie Ned served, were sweet
morsels leaving you wanting more.

Much like the series, this may be gone from television but
will live on as a maxiseries from WildStorm. For now, though, the second season
comes recommended.

Casting Notes

Casting Notes

Mark Hamill reprises his vocal work as The Joker for Eidos and Warner Bros’ video game Batman: Arkham Asylum.  The actor, of course, had a memorable turn as the Clown Prince of Crime on Batman: The Animated Series back in the 1990s. He’ll once more be working opposite Kevin Conroy, who also returns.

HBO’s second season of True Blood will introduce Anna Camp (Equus) as the wife of Fellowship of the Sun president Steve Newlin, played by Michael McMillain. As outlined by Alan Ball, Jason Stackhouse will get caught up with the anti-vampire church for much of the season, which debuts next summer.

Casting notes describe Sarah as “an example of the new ‘hip’ evangelical movement, hates vampires with a passion, deeply believes in her mission, her marriage, her country and her church. very feminine, but down-to-earth, also with a healthy appetite for life’s many pleasures… as she sees it, it’s all part of God’s gift to us. No actual nudity, but implied…”

Merlotte will gain a new waitress to replacer dearly departed Amy. Daphne will be played by Ashley Jones (Bold and the Beautiful). She is described as “sexy and down to earth, a real country girl, not the greatest waitress, but Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) couldn’t care less, once he gets to know her better. Common sense, no-nonsense, funny, definitely not neurotic. Nudity is preferable in this role…6 episode arc beginning with this episode.”

Kristen Chenoweth did take long to find work.  The Pushing Daisies star has landed the lead in David E. Kelley’s new legal drama, Legally Mad, for NNBC.  The series is expected to make the 2009-2010 schedule, when the network announcements are made in May.