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Joss Whedon’s “Dollhouse” Series Airdate Still Unconfirmed by FOX

Posted in action/adventure, news, sci-fi, suspense/thriller, television with tags , , , , on October 26, 2008 by worldofmatmos

For any new series that hits the networks, any number of issues can cause delays; from production issues to timeslot approvals to shifts in the scheduled line-up for a season, all that viewers really care about is, “When will it be on?” And for the legions of Joss Whedon fans awaiting his highly anticipated new series Dollhouse starring Whedon fave Eliza Dushku, the burning question happens to be “How much longer do we have to wait?”

As with previous Fox outings like Firefly, in which the underrated and short-lived series got screwed by the network, it seems that Fox is giving a home to Dollhouse, but without a move-in date. Despite rumors abound that it could reach airwaves in January to headline the Spring schedule, nothing has been confirmed by the suits at Fox. The show looks to be interesting as usual for Whedon fare, and will likely garner a fan-base early on with webisodes and an already-building online community. Could Fox have another Buffy on their hands, or will Dollhouse go the way of Firefly? As of this month Whedon has defended Fox from any controversy fans may have with the current network execs, fearful that it will end up like the latter. Hopefully, January will be definite and we’ll get a cool new series to watch. Get a glimpse of the Dollhouse below:

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On the “Fringe” of Prime-Time Television

Posted in action/adventure, reviews, sci-fi, suspense/thriller, television with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2008 by worldofmatmos

FRINGE (FOX, Tuesdays 9/8C, TV-14)

Headlining Fox’s 2008 Fall schedule is Fringe, a sci-fi/thriller from masterminds J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci, that is an intense thrill-ride full of suspense, intrigue, and action that is reminiscent of the original season of The X-Files.

The pilot introduces FBI Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), who is recruited into a top-secret sector of the Department of Homeland Security that investigates rather unusual cases. When her partner (and lover) becomes a casualty of the case they are working, she seeks the help of Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble), a brilliant scientist whose past achievements have landed him in an asylum for 17 years. With a little blackmail, she enlists the help of Dr. Bishop’s estranged son Peter (Joshua Jackson) to get access to him. Peter is also a genius like his father, but has instead chose to lead quite a different life.

Now employed with the FBI, Walter and Peter help Agent Dunham and her team, which includes Security Director Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick), Olivia’s good friend Agent Charlie Francis (Kirk Acevedo) and Agent Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole) unravel these mysterious happenings. Also introduced is the huge mega-conglomerate called Massive Dynamics that remains shrouded in mystery, and is run by CEO Nina Sharpe (Blair Brown), who prompts some intrigue into these investigations with bits of information regarding “The Pattern”.

The series itself is currently up to Episode 6, and much like Abram’s last epic television outing Lost, each episode is a compelling stand-alone piece that also slowly unravels the secrets of a larger, more insidious tale. What exactly is Massive Dynamics, and what is its ultimate goal? What is “The Pattern”? What is in store for us next week?

The show is impressive on several levels. First, the writing is top-notch, and coming from Abrams, Orci, and Kurtzman, this is to be expected. The high production values (especially the visual effects) rival anything else being currently produced, and although each episode has an almost formulaic cat-and-mouse hunt in the team solving their bizarre cases, each episode is loaded with enough plot twists to keep us engaged to find out the overall story and character arcs.

The characers are also well-developed and are some of the more interesting in recent years. John Noble is particularly excellent as Walter, who is easily my favorite. He is full of quirks, and his lapses between moments of genius and madness are fantastic. He also offers the comic relief in this otherwise tense series. Joshua Jackson is also great as Peter, who never comes off as too cocky or brash for his own good; he is likeable in this role and seems as though his character would be someone you’d want to hang out with. Anna Torv is also good in her role as Olivia; she is a tough yet fragile woman whose emotions help to point her in the right direction when trying to solve a case. Lance Reddick is definitely the hard-ass boss as Broyles, with his no-nonsense, follow-the-orders, need-to-know-basis attitude, but manages to come across as the most trustworthy of characters. Kirk Acevedo is limited in his role as Charlie, he is relegated to the background, but is still a worthy screen presence, and Agent Farnsworth spends most of her time in Walter’s renovated lab in the basement at Harvard.

The series covers a range of interesting and cool ideas such as nanotechology, telekinesis, cryogenics, viral warfare, re-animation, time travel…you get the point. The science is believable fiction and its entertaining suspension-of-disbelief has not disappointed yet. Abrams and crew have another hit on their hands, one that I hope will continue strong over several future seasons.

#1 Most Anticipated Film of 2009 – James Cameron’s AVATAR

Posted in action/adventure, film, news, sci-fi with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2008 by worldofmatmos

An early poster design for the film.

The return of James Cameron to the big-screen with his new sci-fi epic Avatar has fanboys writhing with anticipation. As news slowly seeps out onto the Internet, more of this amazing film is revealed to those not privy enough to be on set. With its release date still more than a year away (December 18, 2009), time cannot pass quickly enough.

For those unfamiliar with Avatar, it had languished in development ever since Cameron first wrote his scriptment back in 1995. The helmer always known for pushing the limits of filmmaking technologies, was unsatisfied with the current technologies at that time to properly produce his epic futuristic tale of interplanetary warfare and colonization.

After the success of Titanic in 1997, Cameron used his unbounded success to explore more interesting endeavors such as his obsession with deep-sea wrecks and the world’s real abysses. Over the better part of nearly a decade, Cameron along with Director of Photography Vince Pace, developed their steroscopic 3D Fusion Camera system in between the production of documentaries like Ghosts of the Abyss and Aliens of the Deep.

The film’s production commenced after it was announced back in 2005, and it wasn’t long before the highly-secretive tentatively-titled Project 880 began leaking rumors throughout online film communities. It was at first believed that Project 880 was Cameron’s long-speculated live-action adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s manga Battle Angel (now circulating under the pseudonym of Dolphin Project) and will most likely be Cameron’s next endeavor after Avatar to be due in 2011.

Although early drafts of the 80-page scriptment were once available online, they were promptly removed by Lightstorm Entertainment, leaving only remnants for the rest of us get but a glimpse of what’s to come. The story is pure Cameron sci-fi, and centers around an ex-marine named Jake Sully who is thrust into an interplanetary war where humans have left earth to terraform and exploit the distant world of Pandora and its indigenous species for a rare material called unobotanium. With humans being unable to survive on Pandora, they assume the form of an “avatar”, which allows them to inhabit an artificial body as its handler. Jake eventually forms a bond with the indigenous Pandorans – the Na’vi – and helps them to rise up against the human oppressors. Some detractors have called the story boring and preachy with its themes of acculturation and environmentalism (as if that’s something bad); knowing Cameron’s work, we will all be in for the ride of our lives with what he calls “crazy, balls-out sci-fi”.

Cameron and his team have not only revolutionized the digital production pipeline for this and future generations of filmmakers with their pioneering technology and techniques, but these techno-wizards are crafting films that continue to push the limits of the imagination. Working with long-time collaborator Rob Legato, Cameron has a virtual production studio that allows him to utilize “synthespians” in environments generated in real-time and in stereoscopic 3D.

Avatar also reunites Cameron with his Aliens star Sigourney Weaver as a xenobotanist; Australian actor Sam Worthington plays Jake, and Zoe Saldana as a Na’vi princess. The cast also includes Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore, and Laz Alonso. Although everyone involved with the film has had to be extremely tight-lipped about the production, what they have disclosed is that it was an extraordinary experience. The film wrapped principal photography earlier this year and has moved into its insanely daunting post-production schedule at full speed.

In recent interviews with Tom Rothman, the Chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, he has been quoted as saying that the footage he has seen thus far is “the coolest shit [he’s] ever seen.” Next year has quite a slateful of huge movies, but everyone knows to steer clear of December and what could be the film to usher in a new era in cinema. Until more is known, we will just have to wait…