Thursday, November 20, 2014

GLOBAL FREQUENCY Gets Pilot Commitment from Fox

Are you on the Global Frequency?

That's the question Fox may be asking you next fall after giving a pilot production commitment to a new television adaptation of Warren Ellis' DC Comics/WildStorm series Global Frequency.

According to Deadline, the show "will chronicle the workings of The Global Frequency, a privately funded crime-fighting operation that uses worldwide crowd-sourcing to solve crimes the police cannot."  Jerry Bruckheimer is executive producing the drama series along with Jonathan Littman, KristieAnne Reed, Rockne S. O'Bannon and yes, Ellis himself.  O'Bannon, creator of Farscape and Defiance and writer for NBC's Constantine, will script the pilot.

Global Frequency will be the fourth Warner Bros./DC Comics property being developed for next season, after Supergirl, which has a series commitment at CBS, Titans, which is being developed for TNT, and Lucifer, which has a put pilot commitment at Fox.

Created in 2002 by Ellis and twelve different artists, Global Frequency was a twelve-issue science fiction limited series that explored the Global Frequency, an independent and covert intelligence organization headed up by the mysterious Miranda Zero, whose purpose is to keep the world safe from secret government projects unknown to the general public.

This will be the second television pilot based on the property.  In 2005, Survivor executive producer Mark Barnett developed a Global Frequency television series with Michelle Forbes as Miranda Zero, Josh Hopkins as Sean Flynn, Jenni Baird as Dr. Katrina Finch and Aimee Garcia as Aleph.  The characters of Sean Flynn, an ex-policeman who accidentally stumbled on a Global Frequency mission and Katrina Finch, a brilliant scientist with expertise in multiple fields, were created specifically for the series.

Unlike Ellis' comic book series, which had an ever-changing cast of field agents, Flynn and Finch were to be regulars along with Zero and Aleph, with other Frequency members coming in as and when necessary in supporting roles.  This would allow for the character continuity expected of a television series and yet allow other characters to be killed off as in the comic book.

Another script was in development for The CW in 2009, but the project failed to go to pilot.

GOTHAM's Bruno Heller Discusses Killing Characters & Villain Plans

Nine episodes into its first season, the Fox series Gotham has both delighted and frustrated fans with the show's exploration of a Batman prequel. Some things, such as the rise of The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) have worked well, while others (Erin Richards' Barbara Kean, for example) have been disappointing failures.

Entertainment Weekly spoke with Bruno Heller, Gotham's showrunner, about where the show is heading next, including plans for various Batman villains and the possibility of killing off iconic Batman characters.  Here's a rundown of highlights from the interview...

EW: Gotham feels like it started strong and is getting progressively better—which I guess is another way of saying the show seems to be creatively evolving. Is that accurate? And if so, how has the show evolved from your perspective?

BRUNO HELLER: “Evolving” is one word for it. “Getting it right” is another. Learning. Seeing what works and what doesn’t, and what we have fun doing. So yeah, it’s evolving. There really is no template for this show. There is no other show that’s in this same ballpark. It’s like a circus. There’s lots of different performances and acts. One minute it’s an acrobat flying above your head, the next it’s clowns, and there might be a juggler coming down the road. For me, as long as the audience feels like you’re really working hard to entertain them, and trying new stuff, and trying stuff that might not even work as well as you’d hoped it would, as long as you’re doing it with sincerity and energy and joy, then the show will work. And that’s really the evolution—characters finding the nut of their performance, DPs, directors and writers finding what works best.

EW: What are your favorite aspects of the show, and what are you still playing with?

HELLER: I would say my favorite aspects of the show are all those that are not within my purview—what [director] Danny Cannon and the DPs have done visually with the show that allows for big theatrical performances and small detail. So we get that graphic novel sense of possibility, but also the emotional tug of a real story. I love the fact that characters as big as Fish Mooney and The Penguin can exist in same world as more down-to-earth people like Jim Gordon; that we can be tragic and comedic in the same scene. That’s what I love most of all—Gotham, the world the story is in. Having said that: Fish Mooney is the one character I invented and we were so lucky to get somebody as genius as Jada Pinkett Smith. There are very few actresses that can pull that performance off.

EW: The big critic note when the show launched was that there were too many major villains too soon. And now there’s Harvey Dent, and we’ve heard Mr. Freeze and Scarecrow are still to come. Is it fair to say that you disagree with that assessment — that the show should have fewer pieces on the chess board at the same time?

HELLER: I never disagree with criticism. No point. We front-loaded [the show with iconic characters], which we had to do, both for story purposes and marketing purposes. We had to let people know it’s not just a hum-drum police procedural, it’s about these larger-than-life characters. If you do that you can’t just say, ‘Here’s one larger-than-life character, now wait for next season.’ Once we introduced those initial characters—Penguin, Riddler, Ivy, Selina—then we slowed down with those aspects and we’re bringing in those iconic DC characters in a much more measured way, which was always the intention. You have to have that amount of spice in the show to make it pop and different. Once the wheels are turning, it’s much easier to bring those characters in in subtle, organic ways. That’s the plan, anyway.

EW: Can you give us a sense of your plan for Scarecrow? I think some were surprised to hear he would still be a kid because it’s felt like the kids’ storylines have been the toughest to make dramatic and integrate with the rest of the show.

HELLER: Well, quite. And I don’t want to give too much of that story away. But this is very much about the origin stories. We’re going to do a prenatal origin story for Robin down the line. This is not a kid being a loony Scarecrow; this is a couple episodes about how that character has evolved—everyone’s character is formed in their childhood to some degree or another. His father is involved, as is part of the [character's] mythology

EW: My antenna went up at “prenatal Robin.” Do you mean literally prenatal?

HELLER: There are no MRIs involved. There’s an episode coming up where we learn how Robin’s parents got together.

EW: We only saw Ivy once, in the premiere, are there plans to bring her back around?

HELLER: She’ll be back. Absolutely.

EW: Ra’s al Ghul is coming to
Arrow on The CW, any chance of the character coming to your show too? Or does Ra’s al Ghul being on Arrow preclude him from joining Gotham?

HELLER: It doesn’t preclude him from joining Gotham, but now you’re deep into [DC Comics chief] Geoff Johns’ territory, so you’d have to ask him. Where was Ra’s al Ghul in this particular juncture in Batman’s life? He was probably a teenager as well, with Mrs. al Ghul making him sandwiches and sending him off to Ghul school.

EW: Harley Quinn is the sidekick of the Joker—does her coming into the show mean he will appear this season in some form?

HELLER: We haven’t got Harley Quinn in it. Riddler’s girlfriend is coming up. And Harley Quinn is definitely planned for later on, but so far no.

EW: So Harley Quinn won’t be this season then? There were reports…

HELLER: One of the things about the size and scope of this production is that—it’s not that there’s lots of chefs in the kitchen, but there’s a lot of people with opinions and views and inside knowledge. That aspect of the show, which characters to use and when, is a source of constant discussion. And that may well have been an issue that came up and was dropped. For me it’s about what you said earlier—you can’t just keep pumping these characters into the show in a comic book sort of way because you get the Super Friends effect. Which isn’t a bad effect, but then you have spaceships and need to go underwater and get wacky villains and the rest of it. You have to work as a character piece first. First it has to be real.

EW: Before Gotham premiered there was some discussion about how the show cannot kill any members of its cast of iconic characters, since the story is a prequel. And you had a great reply to that by saying, “It’s sad thing if you can only generate suspense by killing people.” I’m wondering now that you’ve dug more into the season and are juggling all these characters, with some being more interesting than others, whether there’s a part of you that’s like, “You know, what if we did?” Or is it just iron clad that you can’t deviate that far from canon?

HELLER: I wouldn’t say it’s iron clad. You’d need a damn good reason to do it and a damn good end game to justify it. We’re certainly just learning the ropes at this stage. Not to be modest about it, but we’re still learning how to do a show this big. I’m always deeply reluctant to kill off characters simply for the shock value of killing them off. I’m not averse to cheap tricks. But apart from anything else, this season literally every actor has come through and [performed really strong]. I would hate to lose any of them. Killing off Sean Bean in the first season of Game of Thrones made everyone go, “Oh, what a good idea that is!” But I don’t think it’s a good idea if you’ve got Sean Bean. The bad one was on Deadwood, when they had David Carradine doing that marvelous Wild Bill Hickok, and then he was gone.
EW: I would say the killing of a so-called unkillable character would add a greater layer of suspense when any of those characters are in jeopardy after that—because the message has been sent to the audience that, “You think you know how this story is going to go, but you’re wrong, because we’re not following the train tracks that you already know so well.“

HELLER: That is a very good point, and an actor somewhere is cursing you. You’re absolutely right. One of the things about doing the extra six episodes, and hopefully being successful enough to get a season two, is that once we’re up and running, that kind of narrative playfulness—playing with the audience’s expectations—is going to be much more a part of the show. For instance: Who will turn out to be The Joker? Those kind of games you can only get into once you have the audience’s trust and the train is rolling down the tracks. We want to establish the real deal—that this is the canonical Gotham—and then start messing with people’s minds.

EW: I like the sound of that! This season is about the rise of The Penguin. Which villain has the best odds of being the focus of season two?

HELLER: I can’t tell you at this stage because there’s some wonderful possibilities and we have to talk to Fox and Warner Bros. about who that should be. But back to the circus analogy: It won’t be one guy or gal. Thematically it will be around one of those great iconic characters, but it won’t be solely concerned with one of them.

EW: What can we expect, story wise, for the rest of the season?

HELLER: What I would say [mild spoilers] is that at a certain point, Gordon says, ‘Screw it. I’m tired of playing it safe and being cautious. I’m going to go full throttle to bring down the corrupt police administration.’ And things start to move fast and furious and urgent. The stakes keep rising. And just when Jim thinks he’s achieved a certain level of success against the powers that be, they pull a vicious table-turn on him that will play out in the last episodes of the season in a very big, scary theatrical way.

Gotham airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. on Fox.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

THE FLASH's Greg Berlanti Discusses Grodd & Time Travel

During last night's episode "The Flash is Born," fans of the CW series The Flash finally breathed a sigh of relief when Barry Allen formally adopted the identity of "The Flash" instead of the rather embarrassing name "The Streak."  So the big question is, what's coming up next in the Scarlet Speedster's future?

TVLine spoke with executive producer Greg Berlanti about that very thing, discussing a number of topics including the introduction of Grodd, new super-speed abilities, time travel and more.  Here's the exchange...

TVLINE: Am I wrong in reading the situation as it just being a matter of time before Barry has to tell Iris either that he loves her or that he’s The Flash in order to salvage their relationship?

Berlanti: One hundred percent. I think that’s a fair assessment. One of those two things will be revealed soon enough.

TVLINE: You had a pretty juicy tease there at the end of the last episode about Grodd. Is that something that’s going to be more teased rather than introduced?

Berlanti: I wouldn’t say teased. I would say we’re going to deal with it this year. The comparison I make is a little bit to Slade the first year on Arrow in the sense of we started with the mask in the pilot and then we saw which way we were going. He was, ultimately, in the back half of that first season even more than we would ever do with Grodd this first year because…We’re going to have to get the technology right and all the stuff right to make it look and feel real. But a lot of times, we do this stuff not as a tease as much as a challenge to ourselves of, “Can we do it?” Grodd’s definitely one of those, so we hope we pull it off.

TVLINE: We saw so many different abilities with the last episode — running on water, running up a building, changing his voice. Are there other special abilities still to come?

Berlanti: Oh, he has tons. Definitely. We’re holding back on some big ones still. He famously can phase through things. We haven’t seen him do that yet.

TVLINE: And time travel?

Berlanti: That is the one that we deal with directly in the winter. We, obviously, hint at it from the pilot episode. That is a big — “theme” is the wrong word for it — but that is a big part of the DNA of who The Flash was, so we do deal with that.

TVLINE: And with his suit being destroyed by the bomb (in "Plastique"), is now the time when you’re going to evolve his costume?

Berlanti: We’ll keep evolving it and tweaking it as we go. I think people are waiting to see when it’s going to be a white emblem versus a red.

TVLINE: Are there any big crossovers with Arrow planned for the second half of the season?

Berlanti: We just started talking about that. It’s so much fun to do. They’re so hard to do. But I think they’ll be so rewarding for everybody, ultimately, that that’s our hope, for sure.

The Flash airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. EST on The CW.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

DANGEROUS HABITS Episode 004: "A Feast of Friends" is Up!

"Bollocks.  We are who we are...eventually."

My friend and co-host Karen Lindsay and I are back once again with the next episode of Dangerous Habits: The Constantine Podcast!

We give our thoughts on "A Feast of Friends," the  fourth episode from Constantine Season One, including things like Hellblazer #1 and 2 by Jamie Delano and John Ridgway, John's old mate Gary "Gaz" Lester, Buzzkill Manny the interrupting angel, the issues with smuggling a demon through airport customs, more with the Newcastle incident, Karen Lindsay Theatre, going to Africa without going to Africa, Mnemoth the hunger games demon, tripping balls, finally getting John Constantine the manipulative bastard, the Twitter Ma-sheen, Constantine's TV ratings, and more!

You can check out the episode HERE and for those of you who use iTunes, we're already available HERE, so please subscribe and rate us!  If direct download MP3s are more your thing, you can find those HERE as well.  In addition, we have our Dangerous Habits show page on Facebook, which you can check out HERE. And we're also on Twitter using the account @DangerousHabit5 because some bloody arse already claimed @DangerousHabits.

Be sure to share these with all of your friends, enemies, demons, angels, sorcerers, ghosts, whomever, and help build our new podcast into something special. Oh, and send us your thoughts about the show or the podcast via Twitter and Facebook. As soon as we get some more, we'll be reading them on the podcast.

Have fun watching the next episode, "Danse Vaudou," on NBC this Friday night, then keep checking iTunes, Libsyn and the Southgate Media Group website for our next Constantine review!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Michelle Gomez Reveals Mistress' Return in DOCTOR WHO Series Nine

What, you didn't really think The Mistress was actually disintegrated by the CyberBrigadier's arm weapon, did you?

The new Doctor Who Magazine #480 features an interview with Michelle Gomez, the new Seventh Master (or the First Mistress, depending on your point of view) about taking on the role of the Doctor's best enemy.

During the interview, Gomez was asked if "Missy" will be returning for Series Nine next year and she replied, "'Yes' is my answer.  I’ll be back.  Can I say that?  Am I allowed?  If not… well, I guess we’ll have to see how she’s received..."  The recurring threat of The Mistress for Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor follows in the tradition of Roger Delgado's First Master plaguing Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor and Anthony Ainley's Third Master coming back repeatedly to face the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors.

Also, the interview reveals that a decoy version of the revelation in "Dark Water" was shot in case any members of the public overheard.  In this version, Missy said she was actually classic Doctor Who villain The Rani.  The dialogue from the scene was "You know who I am.  I’m Missy.  Or, if you’d prefer, Random Access Neural Integrator.  Rani for short."

The actress recently addressed complaints about the Series Eight finale "Death in Heaven" focusing on death and whether the subject matter was suitable for children.  Speaking to BBC Radio 5, Gomez said "There was around five million viewers, I believe, and I think there was around about 100 complaints.  Now that’s not very many.  My philosophy is that it’s a bit like The Simpsons – there’s something for everybody.  If you’ve got kids, you want to sit down and watch something with your children, but you also want to get something out of it as well.

"Now if you’re a child you’re not necessarily going to get the concept of death.  But if you’re a little older it gives you something to think about.  And if you are watching it as an adult can I just point something out – it’s Doctor Who.  So you get what you tune in for.  We are blessed with Peter Capaldi now because he does bring maturity and gravitas to it.  So there really is something for everybody.  And I do think if you’re a kid you’re not necessarily going to grasp all those larger, scarier concepts we were dealing with.  [They're] just going to enjoy the blowing up of Cybermen and stuff.  The adults will get the slightly darker stuff."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NEXT STOP EVERYWHERE Episode 012: "Death in Heaven" is Up!

"Thank you!  Thank you so much!  I really didn't know.  I wasn't sure.  Did I say sometimes, thank you!  I am not a good man...and I'm not a bad man.  I am not a hero, I'm definitely not a president and no, I'm not an officer.  You know what I am?  I am an idiot!  With a box and a screwdriver, passing through, helping out, learning.  I don't need an army -- I never have! Because I've got them -- always them!"

My good friend and co-host Jesse Jackson and I are back with another episode of Next Stop Everywhere: The Doctor Who Podcast!

This time out, we give our thoughts on "Death in Heaven," the second installment of the two-part season finale for Doctor Who Series Eight, including things like Clara Oswald as The Doctor, the Doctor's four wives, the return of Kate Stewart and Osgood, Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, why you should never want the Doctor to think you would make a good companion, Michelle Gomez as Missy/The Mistress/The Master, what Missy's plan actually was, the series Elementary, the question if Clara is preggers, our Reverse the Polarity segment, running down our post-Series Eight plans starting next week, and more!

And for those who still aren't aware of this yet, we're available on iTunes RIGHT HERE as well as Stitcher RIGHT HERE, so please subscribe and tell your friends about us. If you're looking for direct MP3 downloads, you can find them RIGHT HERE as well. Oh, and don't forget we have an officially official Next Stop Everywhere Facebook page and Twitter account, so be sure to Like and/or Follow us, okay?

Be sure to come on back next week for our big Series Eight wrapup discussion, and look for more of Next Stop Everywhere on  iTunes, Libsyn, Stitcher and the Southgate Media Group website!

Monday, November 10, 2014

DANGEROUS HABITS Episode 003: "The Devil's Vinyl" is Up!

"Gimme some juice, Johnny!"

My friend and co-host Karen Lindsay and I are back once again with the next episode of Dangerous Habits: The Constantine Podcast!

We give our thoughts on "The Devil's Vinyl," the third episode from Constantine Season One, including things like the Blade trilogy, why the devil is apparently into vinyl instead of CDs, not one but two Doctor Who references in the episode, John's love of classic punk music, the Mucous Membrane classic "Venus of the Hardsell", the real-life Robert Johnson legend and "The 27 Club," the introduction of Michael James Shaw as Papa Midnite, Mighty Mouse's catchphrase, our first review on iTunes, and more!

You can check out the episode HERE and for those of you who use iTunes, we're already available HERE, so please subscribe and rate us!  If direct download MP3s are more your thing, you can find those HERE as well.  In addition, we have our Dangerous Habits show page on Facebook, which you can check out HERE. And we're also on Twitter using the account @DangerousHabit5 because some bloody arse already claimed @DangerousHabits.

Be sure to share these with all of your friends, enemies, demons, angels, sorcerers, ghosts, whomever, and help build our new podcast into something special. Oh, and send us your thoughts about the show or the podcast via Twitter and Facebook. As soon as we get some more, we'll be reading them on the podcast.

Have fun watching "A Feast of Friends" on NBC this Friday night, then keep checking iTunes, Libsyn and the Southgate Media Group website for our next Constantine review!