TV SCOOP! ‘Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome’ Preliminary Concept Art Released!

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This isn't one of the pics released, we just found it on the Internets, thought it was cool and created a title for it.

***UPDATE: DOUG DREXLER HAS CONFIRMED WITH THE THE ‘TASTIC TODAY THAT HE IS ATTACHED TO THE BLOOD & CHROME PROJECT AS WELL***

“Happy New Year Shawn! Yes! [VFX Supervisor]Gary [Hutzel] drags my bleeding corpse with him everywhere he goes!”

Check out Doug’s blog at the Drexfiles, right here on WordPress.  LOTS of fun stuff there.

Well, Battlestar Galactica fans, it looks like the highly anticipated prequel, Blood & Chrome is quickly becoming a reality.  Last month, we reported to you in our Caprica post-mortem that the pilot for the series had been green-lit and what the premise was.  Blastr.com has obtained exclusive concept art from the show’s producers (scroll down to the bottom for the slideshow) and the word is that principle shooting is to begin in late January, 2011.

Galactica SITREP did a brief interview with writer and executive producer, Michael Taylor who provides a bit of insight into these images and into the pilot:

“Those pics were just the first of the many concept art sketches we’ve been creating. They don’t necessarily reflect any particular incidents in the script; as “concept” drawings they’re helping us flesh out the new world of Blood & Chrome. And it is a new world, one that owes much to the BSG series of the past but at the same time uses CGI to open up that world in ways that we hope fans will find fresh and exciting.

As for the show’s status, SyFy has officially green-lit a two-hour pilot, and we have begun pre-production, with filming expected to begin at the end of January, or very shortly thereafter. This is the fun part for me: seeing the script take tangible shape (or “virtually tangible” shape, since practically all of the pilot will be shot on green screen) as our director (Jonas Pate), DP (Lukas Ettlin), VFX supervisor (Gary Hutzel) and a host of artists — and of course the cast that we’ll soon be gathering — bring it to life.”

We have just a few observations about this latest news:

First, it seems to us that all of this is coming together amazingly quick which means either one of two things:  SyFy is incredibly eager to wash the taste of Caprica out of its mouth and breathe life back into the most successful franchise in its history or this is a lot of wishful thinking on the producers’ part as to how fast this is all coming together.

We’d like to hope it’s the former, but this whole process seems to be going at FTL speed for us.  Goodness, the project just got green-lit it in November and the casting hasn’t even been made public on IMDb.  Then again, this is Hollywood and if, as Taylor notes, virtually all of the two-hour pilot will be shot on green-screen then you don’t have to do a whole lot as far as set dressing is concerned and we suppose it could be done that quickly.  It’s the post-production and visual effects that will take a lot longer than usual.

Which brings us to another concern, not necessarily a criticism, but a concern nonetheless:  Virtually all of the two-hour pilot is going to be shot on green screen?  Really? Are we talking Phantom Menace here?  One of the more appealing aspects of BSG was the ability to effectively mix practical sets with digital elements to the point where it was generally seamless (at least in the interior scenes) and it always makes us cringe a little when we hear about such a dramatic shift in production (especially THIS shift because we are very much opposed to the over-reliance on CG) to a franchise known for high-quality visual effects.  That being said, Gary Hutzel is in charge of visual effects again and he is a master at combining practical filming and CG effectively (see: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and, of course, Battlestar Galactica).  So, at this point we will remain less skeptical than we normally would be.

We also need to correct the Blastr.com piece we alluded to earlier.  Despite what the piece says, Blood & Chrome will not be a “two-hour pilot movie,” it will simply be a two-hour pilot episode.  The distinction needs to be made because calling it a “movie” implies by its nature that it is a “backdoor  pilot.”  A “backdoor pilot” is a made for television movie that is produced with the intention of the movie acting as a pilot episode for a potential series but is written as a standalone, self-contained story if the series isn’t picked up.  This is an important distinction because if the indications were that a project was to be a “movie,”that would mean that the network would be waiting to see how the “movie” does in the ratings before ordering episodes for the series.  That means that if it doesn’t do well in the ratings, you’ll never see a regular series episode.  If it does do well, however, it will be several months before you’ll see new episodes.

If, on the other hand, a show is planned as a conventional pilot, that means that the network heads will watch the pilot, decide if it’s good enough to order additional episodes, and then proceed from that point.  They will then air the two-hour pilot episode and shortly thereafter, air the new series episodes.  If the network heads don’t like the pilot, don’t worry about the series being canceled because you’ll never even see the pilot.  There has been absolutely no indication whatsoever that the two-hour pilot for Blood & Chrome is anything but a two-hour pilot episode and in this case that’s absolutely a good thing.  SyFy isn’t going to wait around to see how the pilot does in the ratings when they already have the established BSG audience built-in, just as they did with Caprica, so if it airs (which we are sure it will) expect that the series will follow.

Yes, we are certainly aware that Blastr.com is a SyFy Channel project, but they got this wrong and it happened for one of two reasons:

1. It was completely intentional in order to hype the pilot. This is a well-known practice in genre.  The Star Trek franchise was notorious for calling two-hour episodes “movies” or “movie-events” in the mid-to-late 90’s and in more recent years, 24 did the same thing with their two-hour episode Redemption, and in fact, they are still clinging to this notion that Redemption is a “film.”  Nah… it was just the season seven primer that aired two months prior to the season premiere to make up for the fact that the series had gone 18 months without an original episode because of the writer’s strike and they wanted to spark interest in it again.  So, again, this practice isn’t unheard of, but it’s misleading for the average audience who thinks that “movie” implies that they will be watching an original feature film on basic cable.

2.  It was just a mistake, typical of an over-exuberant blogger. We freely admit that we’ve made similar mistakes based on our excitement for a particular project.  Simply look at our rating of The Event for evidence of that.  Blastr.com is a professional site but it’s still a blog.

Finally, we are very excited about the choices in writers for Blood & Chrome if what’s reported on IMDb is accurate.  Ignore the references to Ron Moore because he has nothing to do with the new series (and we doubt Glen Larson does either), he’s simply listed as the developer as a courtesy and because he is responsible for developing the franchise and tacking his name onto the project gives it credibility.

On the other side of the coin, though, it is being Executive Produced by David Eick (and that is confirmed, it’s not just a courtesy title) and Michael Taylor as well as being written by Taylor, David Weddle, and Bradley Thompson.  This trifecta of writers was not only part of the major core of writers for BSG but they are also responsible for some of the absolute best episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as well, which has been hailed by critics as the best series of that franchise, and it revolved around an intergalactic war so these gentlemen certainly have credentials in that department.

The ‘Tastic will keep you up to date as we find out more about Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome.

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Fall 2010 TV Preview – Fridays

Part Five of the Seven Six Part Series (This has been edited because  I realized that there’s nothing on Saturdays but College Football, COPS and America’s Most Wanted.  Do you really need a review of those?)

8:00 p.m.

The CW:     Smallville (September 24, 2010)

Vic: The final season of Smallville begins this fall and we have Clark Kent finally on the cusp of eventually becoming what he is destined to become: Superman… the ‘Man of Steel.’ This season is what we Smallville fans all have been waiting nine years for. We have all hung in there through some exceptional stories, heart-wrenching losses, great heroes and villians and now it would appear that the baddest of the bad is coming to Smallville: Darkside is looking to take over our planet it seems that Clark will have no choice now but to jump into those tights that Mrs. Kent has been saving for him all these years… or does Lois have them now? That is why you must tune in and continue hanging in with what has been one of the most enduring Sci-Fi, Fantasy Dramas in recent TV memory. Smallville still has the chops. The performances are still great all the way around. Tom Welling still proves that season after season he can command every scene he is in and even in lighter moments he shows us an endearing and clumsy side. Erica Durance as Lois is quick, sharp and she has range. She proves that she has mettle as Lois up against Welling’s Clark. I can’t say enough about Allison Mack as Chloe. I just can’t wait to see how this all turns out this season. I for one hope to see the big guy finally fly and soar this season and hope you all watch as well.

Watch full length episodes of Smallville, here.

FOX:     Human Target (October 1, 2010)

In this drama based on a graphic novel of the same name, Mark Valley plays Christopher Chance, a for-hire bodyguard and private investigator who integrates himself into his clients’ lives so that he becomes a target instead of them. Assuming a new identity for each job, Chance relies on the help of his associates Winston (Chi McBride) and Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley), but he can’t outrun his past — or the secrets driving his odd choice of work. -FOX

Shawn: Alright, so this is a little out of the norm because I normally don’t put show descriptions in with previews of returning shows.  I’ve made the exception with Human Target because I think it’s a show that too many people are unaware of because it was a mid-season replacement last year and unfortunately, FOX will most likely kill it by putting it on Friday night where they put all shows to die.  I cover this sad state of affairs in my column regarding the changing network attitudes towards Friday night prime-time and how FOX is, as usual up to the same old bag of tricks (read it here).  So, it’s basically like this: I am on a crusade for the critically acclaimed Human Target because it was one of the best new shows on television last year and needs everyone’s support.

The description is a little misleading.  Chance doesn’t just have a mysterious past, he’s a former freelance assassin who was a really bad dude, completely amoral who had a seminal moment in his life that made him reevaluate his own personal morality and vow to use his skills to protect people from now on.  It’s a fast-paced action show based on the DC Comics Graphic Novel and  they couldn’t have picked anyone better for this role of Christopher Chance than Mark Valley as the dashing yet compassionate former assassin (…and I’m just thrilled to see that Mark Valley finally has regular gig!).  The supporting cast is fantastic with Chi McBride (Boston Public, The Nine) as Winston, the gruff, former San Francisco police detective who works with Chance to keep him ahead of the game and regularly uses his connections from the old job to help Chance on his missions.  Then you have the other, more mysterious and far more deadly Guerrero, played by Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen, A Nightmare on Elm Street) who is a hi-tech wizard and a former associate of Chance’s in his prior profession but unlike Chance, really hasn’t had a change of heart, he’s just helping out an old buddy, but he does have a very strict personal moral code that abides by religiously.

Great action, unique stories, wonderfully written and compelling characters are the hallmarks of this show.  I highly recommend that you set time aside on Friday for Human Target (or at least Divver it).

Watch full episodes of Human Target, here.

ABC:     Body of Proof (Later this Fall – TBD)

Dr. Megan Hunt (Dana Delany) was in a class of her own, a brilliant neurosurgeon at the top of her game. Her world is turned upside down when a devastating car accident puts an end to her time in the operating room. Megan resumes her career as a medical examiner determined to solve the puzzle of who or what killed the victims. Megan’s instincts are sharp, but she’s developed a reputation for graying the lines of where her job ends and where the police department’s begins. It turns out her career isn’t the only thing that will need to be rebuilt; Megan’s family has taken a backseat to her ambition, and now she’ll discover there’s a lot of work to do when it comes to dissecting her relationships with the living. – ABC

Shawn: If it hasn’t become abundantly clear by now, I really dislike procedurals in general.  It doesn’t matter if it’s police, law, medical, detective… whatever, I really have no use for them.  And it’s not that this show looks particularly awful, because it doesn’t.  It’s just the same thing I’ve seen time and again which is also one of the big reasons I have no use for sit-coms.  There’s just no originality in any of these programs and with the incredible batch of new shows that have come out this season, it’s not like there is a lack of originality in Hollywood, it’s just not being utilized enough.

What bugs me the most is that the procedurals don’t have to be unoriginal.  Hollywood producers  and execs choose to go that route because it’s safe and easy to pitch to advertisers and the general viewing audience.  For example, NCIS is by definition a procedural, but it’s still a good show because of how original it always has been.  Body of Proof doesn’t have anything resembling an original premise.  Not even the title is original, which like most procedurals and sitcoms reverts to the use of cringe-worthy “clever”  double-meanings for phrases and words to convey a commonly known phrase to attract the audience’s attention, e.g., House, The Whole Truth, Outlaw, Grey’s Anatomy, Rules of Engagement, Raising Hope, Running Wilde, The Biggest Loser, Bones and Blue Bloods.  That’s just from this Fall.  I didn’t even mention the stupidest one of all, HawthoRNe (well… now I have).  This show literally is a hybrid of Quincy, Crossing Jordan, CSI, House and Everwood.  Like I said, Body of Proof doesn’t look awful, and it does have a good cast, but it just looks ordinary.

FOX:     The Good Guys (September 24, 2010)

From Matt Nix (“Burn Notice”), comes THE GOOD GUYS, a new action comedy about what happens when an old-school cop and a modern-day detective expose the big picture of small crime.

Once upon the 1970s, DAN STARK (Bradley Whitford) and his partner, Frank Savage, were big-shot Dallas detectives. So big, in fact, that they were lauded as American heroes after saving the Governor’s son. Thirty years later, Dan Stark is a washed-up detective who spends most of his time drunk or re-hashing his glory days. A stranger to modern police work who would much rather trust his old-school police instincts, Dan has the reputation as being a bit of a wild card. Able to skate by on the heroic deeds of his yesteryear, he is still a semi-active presence on the force, and with the help of his liquor of choice, occasionally comes through to solve a petty crime.

Dan’s new partner, JACK BAILEY (Colin Hanks), is an ambitious, by-the-book and overall good detective, but is sometimes a bit too snarky for his own good. His habit of undermining himself has earned him a dead-end position in the department, and he is stuck solving annoying petty theft cases that nobody else wants. Worse, he’s been given the thankless task of babysitting Dan, the drunk pariah who can never keep partners for long. Jack may not see it, but he has little chance of getting out of his situation; his knack for making enemies at the station has assured he is not going anywhere.

His only ally is ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY LIZ TRAYNOR (Jenny Wade), a quick witted former girlfriend whom Jack hasn’t quite gotten over and the one person he turns to for help with his current professional predicament. Until Jack finds his way out of this situation, he is stuck awaiting the day when he can turn everything around, get back to solving actual cases and return to being a real detective.

On one fairly typical day, as Jack and Dan are pursuing a Code 58, the Dallas police code for routine investigations, which puts them hot on the case of a stolen humidifier, they inadvertently become engaged in a shootout over a stolen golf bag belonging to a notorious drug smuggler. This starts Jack and Dan on a wild chase to retrieve the bag, recover the contents inside and go after the drug smuggler – all while dodging his hired assassin!

The excitement of the case reminds Dan of the way he and Frank busted punks back in the good old days, and he convinces Jack to go along for the ride. Needless to say, many departmental rules are again broken in the reckless pursuit, showing their boss, LIEUTENANT ANA RUIZ (Diana Maria Riva), that Jack and Dan will be spending many more days in the Property Crimes Division, assigned to investigate seemingly minor crimes in order to keep them out of major trouble.

Shawn: Yep, I broke the rule again about not posting show description in regards to returning shows (well… not technically as this is just a continuation of the first season that went on hiatus at the end of August.).  But again, like with Human Target, I have to do this to counteract FOX’s continued insanity regarding good shows left to die on Friday night.   For the point of brevity (and because copy and pasting is a helluva lot easier) here’s the skinny on how FOX is abusing this show as I mentioned in the same column that I discussed Human Target.

It’s not even remotely fair what they’re doing to The Good Guys even by FOX’s idiotic standards, premiering it on a Monday in the middle of May when all of the other shows are wrapping up, letting it run for nine episodes over the summer and then dumping it into Friday night because it didn’t catch fire fast enough for them.

Simple, but to the point… it’s the same standard operating procedure that they’ve used with Human Target and countless other shows.

Now that the rant is complete, I really like The Good Guys.  It is very funny and full of action and Hanks and Whitmore play off each other brilliantly.

Watch full episodes of The Good Guys, here.

10:00 p.m.

CBS:     Blue Bloods (September 24, 2010 – NEW SERIES!)

­BLUE BLOODS is a drama about a multi-generational family of cops dedicated to New York City law enforcement. Frank Reagan is the New York City Police Commissioner and heads both the police force and the Reagan brood. He runs his department as diplomatically as he runs his family, even when dealing with the politics that plagued his unapologetically bold father, Henry, during his stint as Chief. A source of pride and concern for Frank is his eldest son Danny, a seasoned detective, family man, and Iraqi War vet who on occasion uses dubious tactics to solve cases. The sole Reagan woman in the family, Erin, is a N.Y. Assistant D.A. and newly single parent, who also serves as the legal compass for her siblings and father. Jamie is the youngest Reagan, fresh out of Harvard Law and the family’s “golden boy;” however, unable to deny the family tradition, Jamie decided to give up a lucrative future in law and is now a newly minted cop. Jamie’s life takes an abrupt turn when he’s asked to become part of a clandestine police investigation even his father knows nothing about, and one that could impact the family’s legacy.­ – CBS

Shawn: Blue Bloods is one of the most anticipated dramas this Fall for good reason.  Simply look at this cast.  Your leads are Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, and Bridget Moynihan… all television and film superstars (Len Cariou is no slouch either).  Superstars like that don’t just arbitrarily sign on to do a show if they don’t already know it’s brilliant.  The concept is definitely unique.  An original cop show that focuses on a multigenerational family of cops and all of the dynamics that go along with that.  I’m very excited about Blue Bloods.

Watch full episodes of Blue Bloods, here.

NBC:     Outlaw (September 17, 2010 – NEW SERIES!)

Few jobs are guaranteed for a lifetime, and a Supreme Court appointment is a position that no one ever quits – unless he is Cyrus Garza (Smits). A playboy and a gambler, Justice Garza always adhered to a strict interpretation of the law until he realized the system he believed in was flawed. Now, he’s quit the bench and returned to private practice.

Using his inside knowledge of the justice system, Garza and his team will travel across the country taking on today’s biggest and most controversial legal cases.

Garza’s team includes his best friend since childhood, Al Druzinsky (David Ramsey), a brilliant defense attorney with liberal beliefs; Mereta Stockman (Ellen Woglom), a hopeless romantic who is Garza’s loyal law clerk; Lucinda Pearl (Carly Pope), a wildly unorthodox private investigator who uses her sex appeal and wit to gather information for Garza; and Eddie Franks (Jesse Bradford), a tightly wound, rabidly ambitious Yale-educated attorney, recently hired as Garza’s law clerk. – NBC

Shawn: I’ve already done a complete review for Outlaw, here.  It is by far the worst drama on television.

Watch full episodes of Outlawhere.

The A-Team (Film, 2010)

A team

The A-Team follows the exciting and daring exploits of a colorful team of former Special Forces soldiers who were set up for a crime they did not commit. Going “rogue,” they utilize their unique talents to try and clear their names and find the true culprit. (20th Century Fox)

7 out of 10

I need to start off this review by pointing out the film’s biggest flaw.  No, it’s not the fact that it’s another example Hollywood being lazy and rebooting another classic franchise, it’s not the fact that Mr. T is nowhere to be seen, it’s not even the fact that whole movie is just another in a long line of predictable action flicks.  No, the biggest flaw in this movie is one person:  Jessica Biel.

The young lady can’t act, plain and simple and she’s poorly cast in every single film she’s in.  Seriously, is the audience truly supposed to believe that she’s not only an officer in the U.S. Army but a Special Forces-type who they actually put in charge of things?  Now this wouldn’t even be an issue if she were routinely in exceptional films that could withstand her brand of crap or even if she were in truly awful films where should could just blend right into the scenery but she never is.  She’s always in these borderline-good films and she’s always a freakin’ anchor that pushes a decent film into the realm of crap-tastic.  Honestly, the only kind of films that she should be doing are the ones that involve hand-held cameras, minimal dialog and the obligatory pool boy.  The problem she has, though, is that there a thousand other chicks in that particular film industry who look exactly like she does.

That being said,  fortunately you experience 20 minutes of phenomenal frenetic action before we even see her dopey self so the damage she normally causes is mitigated.  Other than Biel, the only two major flaws in this film are Liam Neeson’s inability to pull-off an American accent and of course, the ridiculous “flying tank” scene which is oddly reminiscent of the beyond-retarded F-35 jet scene in Live Free or Die Hard and in both cases I recommend fast-forwarding through them or leaving the room and pretending they never happened.

But, honestly, The A-Team is exactly what you’d expect it to be and surprisingly it doesn’t suck because of that.  It’s obviously a reboot and it’s been modernized for 2010, but the casting was excellent (despite Neeson’s accent issues)  and the characters were written very true to their TV counterparts from the 1980’s, and in fact (and people are going to hate me for saying this) maybe even a little deeper and a little better.

The action sequences in this film are fantastic (albeit a little on the unbelievable side at times) the villains are entertaining and there’s enough classic A-Team nostalgia thrown in to make even those most skeptical fan appreciate this new take (yes, they do go all MacGyver more than once, just like they did regularly on the show).  I think the main reason all of this works is because Stephen J. Cannell is the top-billed producer and it’s obvious he was there to make sure that his baby was taken care of.

The dialog is clever and decently written and the film moves at a very good pace and I could think of a lot less fun ways to spend 117 minutes.  Is it going to win any Oscars?  No, but it is certainly one of the best action films I have seen this year.  I hate to say this, but the way this film was done, with the deference and reverence shown to the source material is very reminiscent of last year’s mega-hit Star Trek and yes,  I would know.  And rest assured, like Star Trek, it was made very clear at the end of this film that this won’t be the last time we’ll be seeing these beloved characters on the big screen.