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The Box: Television & Games News – 2/21/08



The Box: Television & Games News – 2/21/08

1) NBC in the U.S. has renewed freshman SF spy show Chuck and superhero extravaganza Heroes for the 2008-’09 television season. Heroes will not be airing any new episodes until the fall, in order to produce a coherent story arc for its third season.

2) NBC is also putting out a horror anthology series for the new t.v. season, Fear Itself, featuring hour-long telefilms by leading horror writers and directors, and has bought a Canadian production, also airing on CTV in Canada, called The Listener, about a telepathic paramedic played by Craig Olejnik.

3) Now that the U.S. writers’ strike is over, Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku can get to work on their highly anticipated new t.v. series Dollhouse, to be aired on the Fox network in the U.S. Dushku, best known for her roles as Faith on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and spin-off Angel, and as Tru on the time travel series Tru Calling, has a t.v. development deal and sought her old boss Whedon’s advice, whereupon he came up with a new SF series idea for her which he will also write and co-produce. Dollhouse focuses on a group of men and women who are imprinted with different personalities and skills to carry out assignments. When they are done, they return to the Dollhouse, a secret dormitory/lab, where their memories are wiped clean until their next job. Dushku plays Echo, one of the agents, whose memories begin to come back to her. Fox has contracted for seven episodes of the series.

4) ABC Family, a cable channel in the U.S., will be airing Middleman, from writer-producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach of Lost fame. Middleman stars Natalie Morales as a struggling artist who is recruited by a secret agency to fight supervillains. Matt Keeslay plays the Middleman, her superhero guide and mentor.

5) The ABC network in the U.S. will also be doing a secret government agency series – Section 8. A group of everyday people with “advanced neurological abnormalities” are recruited as agents. ABC has ordered six episodes of the series to start.

6) HBO, the U.S. cable channel, optioned the dramatic rights to Charlain Harris’ bestselling Southern Vampire fantasy book series some time ago. Now the series, True Blood, is up and running, starring Anna Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse, a mind-reading barmaid in Louisiana who develops a romance with a troubled vampire, played by Stephen Moyer. 

7) While CBS has announced the renewal of a number of its shows for the next television season, it has yet to do so for Moonlight, its vampire-detective series, leading to concerns that the show may be cancelled. The show debuted to tepid ratings, but unlike a number of other SFF shows, it has held onto its audience, despite being on the slower Friday night slot.

8) NBC Universal is streaming episodes of its vintage television shows at various online sites. At http://www.nbc.com viewers can see for free episodes of Miami Vice, The A-Team and the original Battlestar Galactica, and the list will soon include The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Buck Rogers. On SciFi.com, viewers can see Tek War and Night Gallery. ChillerTV.com has episodes of Swamp Thing and short-lived series Tremors. SleuthChannel.com offers mystery fans episodes of such shows as Kojak and Simon & Simon. All these shows are also available on Hulu.com, NBC’s online video venture. 


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