Firefly Fans, Open Your Wallets for Con Man

Firefly stars Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion launched an Indigogo crowdfunding campaign. They are raising money for a new web series, Con Man.

They are already over their goal. (Firefly fans are nothing if not enthusiastic!) Give them some money anyway. More money equals more episodes.

Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk want to get the Firefly alums together for a web series
Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk want to get some Firefly alums together for a web series

Con Man will be about sci fi conventions and the characters in that world. Tudyk is writing and directing. He will also star as an actor playing the pilot of a spaceship. Fillion will star as a ruggedly handsome actor playing a spaceship captain. Also promised are Sean Maher, Gina Torres, James Gunn, Seth Green, Felicia Day, and Amy Acker.

Fillion and Tudyk do this because Firefly was cancelled too soon, too soon. The love lingers on and expresses itself in the con – events so amazing and beautiful they are worthy of a web series.

Go watch their video asking for money and support these crazy guys. Did I mention Gina Torres, Felicia Day and Amy Acker? And for all the tweets Alyson Hannigan gave those two blockheads, I think she deserves a part, too.

Brain Dump: Elementary, The Fall, State of Affairs

Short thoughts on lots of unrelated media. That’s a brain dump.

Elementary

Lucy Liu looks great but does Dr. Joan Watson dress like this?
Lucy Liu looks great but does Dr. Joan Watson dress like this?

In Elementary, I like Watson (Lucy Liu) being off in her own place with a hunky guy in her bed. I’m not sure I like the flirty little outfits she’s taken to wearing. The clothes aren’t quite serious enough. Maybe the whole clothing makeover and hunky guy in the bed routine have to do with the fact that Watson is so pissed off with Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller). Think she’ll ever forgive him for running off to London for 8 months?

The Fall

The Fall stars Gillian Anderson
The Fall stars Gillian Anderson

Season 2 of The Fall is now showing in the UK. Netflix announced that it will stream season 2 for North American audiences beginning January 16, 2015. Thank you, Netflix for making the trip over the pond so speedy! This cerebral series stars Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan. Here’s the official blurb about the new season.

Following Season 1’s gripping cliff-hanger and despite Gibson and Spector never actually meeting on screen, the chemistry between the two characters was electric and the escalating rivalry became the lynchpin of the first season and left the audience crying out for more. This critically-acclaimed series picks up immediately from where series one left off, with Gibson in pursuit of Spector. A personal link from Spector’s past opens up some clues for Gibson but provokes Spector in a way that threatens to jeopardize the whole investigation. Gibson is forced to take ever greater risks but the closer she comes to capturing him, the more Spector trespasses into her private world, delighting in taunting and provoking her. As the net gradually tightens around him he becomes psychologically ever more dangerous and destructive.

I’m planning to review season 2 after it’s been on Netflix for a few days and people have had time to watch it.

State of Affairs

Katherine Heigl and Alfre Woodard in State of Affairs
Katherine Heigl and Alfre Woodard in State of Affairs

State of Affairs has me all worked up and I haven’t seen the first episode yet. Why am I worked up? Because the ads show Katherine Heigl and Alfre Woodard working together, but when the ad is over the only name that gets mentioned is Katherine Heigl.

What is Alfre Woodard – invisible? Alfre Woodard has 106 acting credits listed on IMDB, compared with Katherine Heigl’s 40. Woodard has a ton more acting awards than Heigl has.

But let’s only mention the pretty blonde lady in the ads, okay? That seems really fair.

Just the other day I saw an interesting article at Business Insider saying the way Firefly was promoted basically ruined the show’s chances for success. It’s Amazing How Badly Fox Screwed Up Joss Whedon’s ‘Firefly.’ I hope State of Affairs isn’t doing the same thing.

Aggravation aside, I will be watching when State of Affairs begins tonight. Fingers crossed that the show is better than the promos for the show.

Alfre Woodard photo by Johnson C. Smith University

Winners and Losers

Four new TV shows caught my eye. After checking them out for two or three episodes, I’ve picked the winners I want to keep watching and the losers that will disappear from my viewing schedule.

The Winners

The two shows I find the best are Intelligence and Killer Women. Sheer dazzle makes Intelligence interesting. Josh Holloway is excellent as the cyber-brained lead character with whiz-bang computer skills embedded in his brain. His supporting team, Meghan Ory and Marg Helgenberger are both doing a terrific job in their roles. Plus the show includes some particular favorite actors of mine such as John Billingsley and Lance Reddick.

Intelligence is sci fi done right: engaging characters, plots that work, fascinating tech.

Killer Women is also a hit with me. Tricia Helfer, who’s worked in a long list of things we’ve all seen, never came to the front of my attention before the way she does with her leading role in this drama. She’s doing a terrific job as a tough Texas Ranger. Remember how awesome Gina Torres looked in Firefly with that gun strapped to her hip? That’s the vibe Tricia Helfer is giving off in Killer Women. One helluva woman.

I know Killer Women has suffered some negative reviews – by men – but the women reviewing this show have spoken positively about it. So as a representative of the female TV viewing audience, I cast my vote for a renewal of this show!

The Losers

They looked good, the previews and trailers looked good, but two of the new shows failed to engage me.

I like Billy Campbell, I enjoy sci fi, and I had high hopes for Helix. It should be good. Good cast, great sets, strong premise, diverse characters. But it bores me. The 3rd episode, which will be the last one I devote my time to, left me yawning and wishing it would hurry up and end. It has devoted followers, if tweets in my Twitter stream are any indication, but I’m not one of them.

The other show that leaves me flat is Bitten. It’s rare that I can’t get into a show with a female lead character. Laura Vandervoort does a perfectly fine job as the lead in this werewolf story, so it isn’t her.  Bitten feels opaque. Too many undefined characters, not enough clarity about the stakes involved. Not one thing in this series has made me care.

Do you have winners and losers from the new TV season? What are they?

Dollhouse: Reality Catches Up with Fiction

I’m a Dollhouse fan, so this tweet from @HostilePoet_17 caught my eye.

The tweet lead me to this story in TIME Magazine : Memories Can Now Be Created — And Erased — in a Lab.  In TIME, the writer talked about the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but I’m with Dara, the story makes me think about the series Dollhouse.

Created by Joss Whedon, Dollhouse was on the air for 2 seasons from 2009-2010. The premise was that the residents of the dollhouse, who were captives, could be remade over and over into new people with new skills as needed for new jobs. Their memories were constantly being erased and rebuilt, depending on what the puppet masters needed them to do. Sit them in a special chair, zap their brains, and suddenly they were skilled surgeons or soldiers or equestrians.

Like Orphan Black allows for virtuoso performances from Tatiana Maslany, Dollhouse allowed the lead characters, particularly Eliza Dushku who played Echo, to be a completely different personality every week. All the actors who played “dolls” had the dream job of demonstrating their chops by inhabiting an ever changing array of personalities and characters.

Eliza Dushku in Dollhouse
Eliza Dushku in Dollhouse

If you are a Whedon fan, you know that Eliza Dushku also worked with Whedon on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Other Whedon regulars who appeared in Dollhouse include Fran Kranz as Topher, the mad scientist who rewired everyone’s brain with aplomb, Amy Acker as (mostly) a doctor who helped take care of the dolls, Alexis Denisof as a Senator, Summer Glau as one of the dolls, and Alan Tudyk as a scary character named Alpha.

Harry Lennix, Tahmoh Penikett, and Olivia Williams were in the cast as characters who ran The House and the dolls. Most of the time these characters would be considered “the bad guys” but that was a bit fuzzy on this show. In addition to Echo, other dolls included Enver Gjokaj as Victor and Dichen Lachman as Sierra.

The conflict and struggle in Dollhouse partly came from the fact that the memory wiping and imprinting process was never quite perfect. For example, Echo always had vague ideas about who she really was and struggled to hold on to that. Victor and Sierra were in love. No matter what personality they had to take on, that basic emotion always seemed to creep back in. The struggle to recall who they really were led the dolls to attempt subterfuge and misdirection in an attempt to save their own memories and to escape from the dollhouse.

Mixed in with that overall story arc of the dolls attempting to get back to who they really were, there were the weekly stories centering around whatever action or job needed to be done by the dolls that week.

You could wipe my brain and make me forget that I’d ever heard of Joss Whedon, but I’d only have to watch one episode of Buffy kicking vampire butt or Echo fighting to retain her true self or or Gina Torres decked out in leather and guns aboard The Serenity to fall in love with him and his fictional females all over again.

If you missed Dollhouse the first time around, I suggest you watch it now. And if you’ve already seen it, binge watching a second time is a perfect way to spend a weekend.

You can watch both seasons of Dollhouse on Netflix, Amazon or Hulu.

Like many Whedon creations, Dollhouse inspired an obsessive fandom to create a Wiki for the show. If you feel like getting into the details, the Wiki is your happy place.

Images ©20th Century Fox Television