This Week: Renewals, Cancellations, and Uncertainties -- More Wonderland News -- FX: Now with 50% More X -- Scientists Refuse to Suspend Disbelief, World Gasps -- World War Z -- Coming Soon to Your Computer -- Coming Soon to Your TV -- Speaking of Peeps…. -- Doctor Who Fiftieth Anniversary -- What’s Re-reading For?
Renewals, Cancellations, and Uncertainties
The Americans, Arrow, The Following, Hawaii Five-0, Person of Interest, How I Met Your Mother, Elementary, Justified, Person of Interest, Supernatural, and The Vampire Diaries have all been renewed for another season of delightfulness. Of the shows I watch, Community is the most uncertain—most of the sites I’ve visited (including TV by the Numbers) have is as possible, either way. What’s crazy is that I’m in the same situation: I could go either way on whether or not to bother with another season of that once-beloved zany comedy.
More Wonderland News
As J.D. reported last week, that Once Upon a Time spin-off about the Mad Hatter is now about Alice instead. This week, the role of Alice has been cast: actress Sophie Lowe from Australia. (I’m hoping Belle pops in to Alice’s Wonderland for a quick Aussie visit.) Michael Socha (Being Human, across-the-pond version) will play the Knave of Hearts.
FX: Now with 50% More X
American cable channel FX is transforming its sister station Fox Soccer into a brother station: FXX. FXX will focus on the 18-34 demographic with such shows as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, and Legit. How does the channel differ from the 18-49 demographic? Dude, it has more X.
In other FX news, Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse are collaborating on a new vampire drama. Production on the pilot starts this summer. FX is also planning to start production on a TV show based on the movie Fargo in December, so now is a good time to gas up the woodchipper.
Scientists Refuse to Suspend Disbelief, World Gasps
A new article in Wired magazine revealed something previously unknown to mortal man: scientists can ruin anything, no matter how fictional. Confronted with the gigantic ice wall guarded by the Night’s Watch in the TV show Game of Thrones (and the books, of course), engineer Mary Albert explained that “even at very cold temperatures, large ice masses deform under their own weight. And over long time scales, ice flows, so it would not hold its original shape for thousands of years.” So now we know--Games of Thrones is nothing more than fiction. Arrrrgggghhhh!
Speaking of Arrgghh...
There’s a trailer out for the re-jiggered Brad Pitt movie World War Z, based on the 2006 novel by Max Brooks. The trailer reveals that zombies are super-fast, swarmy corpses who could totally take over the Earth like ants, if ants were really big and had thumbs. The trailer also reveals that this movie has nothing to do with the book it is allegedly based on, which is a pity. The book was a lovely, moving, funny, sad, all-that-and-the-kitchen-sink exercise in creating exciting first-person narratives. I don’t think I’ll bother to see the movie. Will you?
Coming Soon to Your Computer
The Wachowski siblings (The Matrix, Cloud Atlas) have teamed up with J. Michael Straczynski, creator of Babylon 5 for a 10-episode Netflix series set to air in late 2014. Called Sense8, the series was described in a press release “a gripping global tale of minds linked and souls hunted.” The Wachowskis explained that “several years ago we had a late night conversation about the ways technology simultaneously unites and divides us, and out of that paradox Sense8 was born.”
Coming Soon to Your TV
The Hollywood Reporter, er, reported that we have a new television channel to look forward to. The all-lowercase pivot will premiere in early August, and feature a TV show from Joseph Gordon-Levitt that has something to do with YouTube, as well as WILL, an all-caps serialized drama about William Shakespeare (Billy to his peeps). The channel will also air re-runs of Friday Night Lights, Farscape, and the Canadian drama Little Mosque on the Prairie, which for some reason never aired in the US.
Speaking of Peeps…
Happy Easter, if that’s your thing! Also, happy Game of Thrones Season Three premiere. To wet your whistle, here’s a recap of Season Two.
Doctor Who Fiftieth Anniversary
News about the now-filming Doctor Who anniversary special continues to leak out. Most recently, David Tennant and Billie Piper were confirmed as playing some sort of role in the special. And—perhaps more interestingly, perhaps not—John Hurt will apparently have a featured role.
What’s Re-reading For?
After reading, enjoying, and recommending Jo Walton’s Among Others a few weeks ago, I did some interneting and found a series of columns Walton has posted on the Tor website. One of her posts is entitled “What’s Reading For?” In that column, she “reading is usually the most fun I can have at any moment.” (How true!) But she also addresses a group of readers who see reading as a moral or intellectual obligation, and who had, on a previous post, begun “talking about prescribing childhood reading and talking about books as if they were vitamins that you should take because they’re good for you. There were comments about the immorality of re-reading because it causes you to miss new books, and comments about learning morality from reading. It all became surprisingly Victorian.”
I’m guilty of feeling guilty about re-reading, especially those dozen or so books that I’ve read so many times I can’t get anything new out of them. (Dark Tower, I’m lookin’ at you.) But I’m also a fan of re-reading, especially with a nice gap between reads. I’m still surprised that my recent fourth reading of Jane Eyre was so eye-opening. It’s a whole nother book once you’re over 30.
And I’m equally guilty of feeling guilty about re-watching. Right now, 11 episodes of Arrow are stacked up on my DVR—but I’m watching the commentaries for Lost Seasons Five and Six. The original Prisoner TV show has been in my Netflix queue for eons, but I’d rather re-watch Angel or Buffy. I don’t think re-watching is immoral—that’s absurd. But I do worry that too much re-watching or re-reading starts to limit my horizons rather than broadening them. Sure, I can always discover something new about an old story…but isn’t it sometimes better to discover something new about something new?
Anyway, I thought I’d throw the question to the smartest group of people I know: all of you. Where do you stand on re-reading or re-watching? What are some books, TV shows, or films you’re always happy to re-experience? What do you get out of a second or third (or thirtieth) watch or read? And what “classics” (again, books or visual media) do you feel like you should experience, but haven’t bothered to read or watch?