The History and Origins of the Webisode

Pond LifeNew forms of media are always going to be hard to deal with. Back in the 90’s, and all the time before, a TV viewer got what came on the screen, at a specific time, and nothing more. Did they have to cut a scene for time? You’ll never know, cause you’ll never see it. That started to change when DVDs with bonus features emerged, but it took a while for studios to figure out that adding extra material to the discs could be a real selling point. Deleted scenes, blooper reels, commentary tracks, behind-the-scenes featurettes, even concept art–all these things and more are what helped DVDs become the new default home media experience over VHS. Well, that and ridiculously improved picture quality.

But just as it took time to work out what benefits a DVD offered, so, too, is the usefulness of the Internet being worked out. It’s been known for a long time that the internet offered a very unique point of leverage with a show’s fanbase. Look around Memory Alpha and you’ll see that AOL web chats with the producers (Often Ronald D. Moore, specifically) were common among Star Trek fan circles in the late 90’s. It gave fans some insight into the production of the show, how certain plot points were decided upon (“Whatever happened to Thomas Riker?” being a popular one), and allowed the writers to have some back and forth with the fans, to get a feel for where the show was succeeding and where it was failing to resonate with them. Of course, you always have to be careful when taking advice from the fandom; we often don’t know what we really want, and there have been no small number of shows that have died from catering too much to a picky fanbase. Read more

4 Films Unnecessarily Adapted for TV – Friday Four

Logan's Run Ape CameoSo, there’s been talk recently of a Minority Report TV series, and it looks like it’s moving ahead at full steam. While I’m highly skeptical that the show can succeed (it’s almost like someone forgot to tell the producers this is supposed to be a horrible dystopia), it would hardly be the first film needlessly adapted to fit television. This is a little different from something like Agents of SHIELD, which is still in continuity with an ongoing film series; instead, it’s trying to take a plot that worked for one film and turn it into a long running TV series. In the past, this has occasionally been successful, with Stargate SG-1 as by far the best example. In that case, the show took the loose premise of the film–that there exists a network of stargates, established by ancient aliens, that can be used to travel interstellar distances instantaneously–and ran with it, going places the film would never have dreamed of exploring. It’s such an open premise that the possibilities for stories in this universe are almost endless. And then there are these, films which barely had enough plot for 90-120 minutes that someone tried to stretch out far beyond what it could support.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Retrospective

Hail HYDRAWith Defiance having finished its second season, it’s time for me to shift gears and get ready for my next series to review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I know, I keep starting out with things that are on their second season, but there’s not a lot of new stuff coming in the near future (Syfy’s Ascension excluded) so I’ll run with what I’ve been into. To the topic at hand, then: SHIELD (as I will refer to it for the sake of my keyboard) was a highly anticipated show last year, and when it premiered it didn’t exactly meet everyone’s expectations. Even the highly anticipated tie-in with Thor 2 was a bit of a disappointment for those who (unrealistically) expected a cameo or something. It was frustrating because, much like season 1 Defiance, there was a lot of potential going unused as the show dealt with small and seemingly irrelevant details. Things changed big time, however, after the winter break.

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4 Doctor Who Spinoffs You Didn’t Know Existed – Friday Four

K-9When people like something, they want more of it. It’s a fairly simple concept, and one that lies at the heart of the franchise phenomenon. Doctor Who is, of course, no exception to this. Its varying levels of success over the years have led to the creation of a large number of spinoffs throughout its 50+ year history. Modern ones like The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood are fairly well known and popular in their own right. Some are strangely specific, like the K-9 spinoff that ran on Disney X D in Australia. Hardcore fans are likely familiar with older attempts, such as the Peter Cushing film Dr. Who and the Daleks, which is about a human male named Dr. Who, who creates a time machine and proceeds to go on adventures strangely similar to those from the series. And then there are these, spinoffs that have all but fallen off into the abyss of time.

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What Could Have Been: Stargate Atlantis Season 6? TV Movie?

AtlantisThe demise of Stargate Atlantis has long been a point of contention in the Stargate fandom. While the story of how it ended has changed over the years, the commonly believed version is that Atlantis was canceled to make room for Stargate Universe, which aimed to take the franchise in new (not necessarily fan-approved) directions. The truth is a bit more complex, but even at the end of its run, Atlantis was popular, with solid ratings, an active fanbase, and growing good will for accepting and addressing some of the more common criticisms of the show. Whether its cancellation was deserved or not, we have to face the fact that with the reboot in the works, there’s no going back to Atlantis. With that in mind, the show’s writers have been uncommonly open about their plans, particularly Joe Mallozzi, who posted in great detail what he felt he could share about Stargate Atlantis season 6. There’s a lot to dig through, however, so I’m going to try to condense it all in one place.

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Defiance Season 2 Retrospective

Command postThe second season of Syfy’s Defiance has ended, with a pretty good two episode finale. While I tend to focus on small moments in my reviews of each episode, I’d like to stop and look back now at the season as a whole. I feel this is the best way to gauge the quality of it, as things that didn’t really seem to contribute much before may have more to offer in hindsight. So, let’s take a look at some of the running storylines of the season and the new things that were added to try to see what worked and what didn’t.

Needless to say, this is 100% spoilers. Proceed only if you’ve finished the season!

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Defiance S2E13 Finale Review: I Almost Prayed

Bye NYThe second half finale hits big, but what it really has in spades is a bunch of snappy lines from everyone across the board. Oh, and we open with a level of destruction that is amazing for TV and par for the course for an online video game. See how having those two related kinda robs it of its punch? Read more

Defiance S2E12 Review: All Things Must Pass

Tarr-tiedA slow build to the finale begins, some unfortunate truths come to light, and the Tarrs steal the show, as always. But you already expected that, right? How about kidnappings? They’re what’s trendy this week, so read on for more.

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The Shared Universe and Film Tie-ins

The BusAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was heralded upon its arrival as something revolutionary. A television series, set in the same universe as films, affected by the fallout of each one as they were released while allowing viewers to keep an eye on this world in the interim. It’s something not too different from how Defiance‘s MMORPG connection was described. And, much like with Defiance, it’s something that actually has been seen before, although few people tend to think of it in the same way. This time, however, it’s a much better known property: Star Trek. You see, when The Next Generation started in the 1980s, the feature films with the TOS crew were still being produced. Let’s take a look at some of the significant differences between the approaches of these two series and how the concept of a shared universe has evolved.

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Defiance S2E11 Review: Doll Parts

Falling without stylePicking up almost immediately from where the previous episode left off, the Kaziri plot revs up big time for next week’s finale, and some things finally start to make sense as some previously nonsensical plot developments lead to interesting character growth in unexpected directions.

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