The Hollywood Universe -- 1/6/07
1) Battlestar Galactica fans can breathe easy with news that the Sci-Fi Channel is planning a U.S. DVD release of most recent season three of the show on March 25th, 2008. The DVD is said to include over 15 minutes of bonus material, including an extended version of the episode “Unfinished Business” with never before seen footage. Though an official date for the start of season four of BSG has not yet been announced, promos are saying it will likely be sometime in March as well. A BSG movie, Battlestar Galactica: Razor, is currently available on DVD.
2) Due to the on-going writers’ strike in the U.S., the networks there have been cagey about announcing when fresh episodes of various SFF shows might air. Stargate: Atlantis and Flash Gordon on the cable Sci-Fi Channel will air new episodes in January, as will Moonlight, the vampire detective show. Shows that have a few unaired episodes left, however -- Chuck, Reaper, Smallville and Supernatural – have not yet been given air dates. Rumors are circulating that the CW network will save its remaining Smallville and Supernatural episodes, which form a two hour block, for February sweeps. Bionic Woman, Heroes, Journeyman and Pushing Daisies are out of new episodes and so are likely to have ended their seasons. Bionic Woman and Journeyman were facing cancellation thanks to poor ratings, but due to the development delays of the strike, both series might get renewed for another season come fall.
The networks are countering the draught with a group of mid-season and spring launches, including the Sarah Connor Chronicles in January and New Amsterdam (see item below,) and returning seasons of Jericho, Kyle XY, Lost, Battlestar Galactica, as well as British imports – the second season of Dr. Who spin-off Torchwood, and another season of Dr. Who. Canada, which is uneffected by the strike, is launching its SF show Regenesis for a fourth season and it may be available on some U.S. stations.
3) New Line Studio has pushed back the release of their upcoming fantasy movie Inkheart from March 19th, 2008 to an unknown future date. The movie is an adaptation of the popular YA novel by Cornelia Funke, about a young girl whose father can bring characters from books to life when he reads the stories out loud. A villain from a children’s fable kidnaps her father and she and a group of friends, including fictional characters, must attempt to save him. Directed by Iain Softley, the film stars Brendan Fraser, Paul Bettany, Helen Mirren, Jim Broadbent, Andy Serkis and Eliza Hope Benn.
4) In conjunction with the newest Disney/Pixar animated film WALL•E due in June 2008, THQ will be releasing a tie-in video game. The game will be available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PSP, Wii, Nintendo DS, Windows PC and Mac, and other wireless devices. WALL•E is about a future Earth in which the humans have evacuated, leaving their piles of trash to be cleaned up by groups of robots. But the robots failed and only lone Wall-E is left behind, trying to do all the work by himself. When a probe arrives, bearing another robot, Wall-E, who has evolved and developed feelings, falls in love with it. The game version will let players take Wall-E through ten levels of action, including multiplayer challenges, involving the world of the story and new scenarios as well.
5) The Fox network in the U.S. has announced that it’s moving the debut of its supernatural drama New Amsterdam to Monday nights from its originally scheduled Friday nights, and that the show will begin airing episodes in March. New Amsterdam will essentially replace the Sarah Connor Chronicles, which debuts this month, Jan. 14th and will end its first run March 3rd. New Amsterdam will offer special previews in the first week of March, then move to its regular time slot.
In the series, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays John Amsterdam, a former Dutch soldier stationed in the colony of New Amsterdam in 1642. When he saves the life of a Native American girl during the massacre of her tribe, he is granted immortality. He will only become mortal again when he finds his true love, he is told. The series takes place in the present day, where the nearly four-hundred-year old Amsterdam is now a New York homicide detective who must hide his secret while searching for the one who can break the spell.
6) Hollywood writers may be leaving SFF fans high and dry this season, but sympathies have generally been on the writers’ side of the disagreement. Fans of SF television are now sponsoring an auction to benefit the striking writers. The Fans4Writers website is auctioning autographed scripts for SCI FI Channel's original series Battlestar Galactica, autographed photos from Serenity, and an autographed photo of Smallville and Buffy the Vampire Slayer star James Marsters. Proceeds from the auction will finance advertising in support of the striking Writers Guild of America and the WGA Solidarity Fund.