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Doux News: March 11, 2012

This week: Happy birthday, Buffy! -- Justified, Community, Terra Nova -- But what about Torchwood? -- Great casting news -- Poll stuff -- Readers of the Week -- New at Doux

Happy birthday, Buffy!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer began as a mid-season replacement on a tiny network fifteen years ago this week. And it changed my life. I don't think it would ever have occurred to me to write episode reviews if I hadn't been so obsessed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I watched every episode repeatedly and I had to write about it. I'd done some chatting with online friends about Babylon 5, my favorite show up until that point, but it never approached the passion I felt about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Would this site even be here if it weren't for Buffy?

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I went to nearly every Buffy/Angel event in the area, saw nearly every member of the cast at one time or another. I even went to see James Marsters sing on stage in Santa Monica, not once but twice. My reviews were carried by my friends at @NZone and by TV Tome, which became TV.com. (I didn't start billiedoux.com until 2004.)

411 Mania posted a terrific, extensive review with James Marsters about his experiences on the show. Highly recommended.

Renewals and Cancellations

First, the good news. Justified was officially renewed and is getting a fourth season of thirteen episodes. Exceptional writing, strong cast, I am not surprised. And I'm definitely going to keep reviewing it.

Apparently, we might not be losing Community, after all. The Powers That Be seem to think they're getting a fourth season, and I am assuming they know more than we do. Or maybe I'm just hoping.

And the not so good -- Fox has canceled Terra Nova. I could feel that coming. It's looking for another network home, but I don't feel good about its chances. To quote Josie Kafka, "It's terrible to imagine it on a network with less money. SyFy, for instance. I think the dinos would be just left-over toys from the Natural History Museum gift store."

Last week, I asked where Alcatraz went wrong. Where did Terra Nova go wrong? Obviously by focusing on the family Shannon and the teenage angst of the week instead of the best character in the series: Taylor, played by Avatar's Stephen Lang. When asked about the cancellation, Lang said, "Failing to renew Terra Nova is shortsighted, as myopic as it would have been to scrap the Hubble. Terra Nova is the Hubble Telescope of television." Yes, he compared Terra Nova to the Hubble Telescope. Delightful. (The full Stephen Lang statement is here.)

This is probably a good spot for my Tweet of the Week. Tim Carvell writes:

Sad to see "Terra Nova" cancelled, but it's great news for the casting department on my pilot, "Untitled Hour-Long Dinosaur Legal Drama".

But what about Torchwood?

John Barrowman just got another job: as a cast member in Shonda Grimes' new ABC pilot, Gilded Lilys. Personally, I'm a big fan and I find the idea of John Barrowman in an 1890s costume drama delicious. It seems likely that the show will get picked up.

What does that mean for Torchwood? We all know there is no Torchwood without Captain Jack. Torchwood got two seasons in the UK and two miniseries, Children of Earth and Miracle Day. It has never officially been canceled, but when I saw the news about Barrowman, I pretty much accepted that it was over.

Children of Earth was one of the best science fiction miniseries I have ever seen. I was so excited about Miracle Day. I went to the trouble of subscribing to Starz just to see it and review it, and (much like season eight of the Buffy comics) I was so determined to like it, at least at first, that my reviews were probably slanted too far into the positive. It's only now that it has been over for awhile that I can see what a failure Miracle Day was.

So this week, I rewrote the show blurb for Torchwood and moved it over to the "completed" side of my show list. I would really like to see John Barrowman on Doctor Who at least one more time so that I can say goodbye to Captain Jack.

(By the way, I learned via Twitter that John Barrowman just turned 45. Happy birthday, Your Hotness.)

Great casting news

-- American Horror Story returns in October on FX, and Jessica Lange and Zachary Quinto will be returning.

-- Ben Browder (Farscape, Stargate SG-1) is going to be on Doctor Who. Woo hoo!

-- Julie Benz (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dexter) and Jaime Murray (Dexter, Warehouse 13, Ringer) are going to star in a SyFy series entitled Defiance, created by Farscape's Rockne S. O'Bannon. The cast also includes Grant Bowler and Tony Curran. Production begins in April. Can't wait for this one, folks. Our own Paul Kelly writes, "A TV show featuring Darla, Cooter, Van Gogh and HG Wells. How can it fail?"

-- We just got more great casting news for the North American rip-off of Primeval: Eureka's Zane (Niall Matter) and Vampire Diaries' Jenna (Sara Canning) will be starring. Amanda Tapping will be directing some episodes, which makes me think Sanctuary might not be returning. I hear there are some CGI dinosaurs looking for work.

Poll results, and this week's poll

Last week's poll question was: "What do you think about Alcatraz?" The results:

Thumbs up, 36%
Thumbs down, 41%
No opinion, 21%.

Not too good, but there were more thumbs up votes than I thought there would be. Maybe there's hope for Alcatraz. Hey, it still hasn't been officially canceled.

Our new poll is up. This week's poll question: "If there was a fight between the Salvatore brothers (The Vampire Diaries) and the Winchester brothers (Supernatural), who would win?" I realized after I posted it that we do tend to get more Supernatural fans here, so the Salvatores will have a tough slog. But I'll leave it up, anyway. It's on the top right side of the blog. Please vote!

Bit and piece

-- Here is this week's mandatory Game of Thrones plug: a Simpsons' spoof of the Game of Thrones trailer. (Josie made me post this.)

Readers of the week

We get an average of 400-500 comments a month here on BD, and while some are anonymous and others are from readers we've never heard from before (and a chunk are by us writers), the lion's share of comments are posted by names that I see over and over again. It means a great deal to me that people just keep coming back. It makes this site a real community. Thank you all.

New at Doux

You may have noticed that we have a section for the classic sixties sci-fi show, The Prisoner, but no reviews as yet. That will soon change. June is going to be Prisoner month! This June, we will be posting reviews of the entire series, with a new review going up every other day. If you're a Prisoner fan, or if you've always meant to get around to watching it, I hope you will join us and post comments. We plan to review the series in DVD order rather than air date order.

And just FYI, the standard DVD set contains only one or two episodes per disc, making it a pain to rent. The blu-ray version is set up more sensibly, but I just thought I'd mention it in case you were thinking about renting the series.

That's it for this week. Opinions, raves, rants, questions? Post a comment!


  1. Billie, believe it or not, I've been following your reviews since TV Tome! God, we're getting old :(

  2. Ben Browder on Doctor Who? Best news ever.
    Sad but expected about Terra Nova. I hope Lang gets more work in the genre cause he rocks.
    I'm afraid Torchwood is a goner. At least we have the memories. Best of luck to Barrowman on the new show.
    Love this column. Also Prisoner reviews? Oh yes!

  3. I've been following since TvTome also! You started this site in 2004? Wow. Time marches on.....

  4. Another great column, Billie.

    But, mate -- you're killing me here. How could I ever respond to this week's poll? I have massive cougar crushes on both Damon and Dean. I could never choose one over the other nor root for one over the other.

    By the way, I blame you. Your site got me into both shows. Three months ago, I would have had no idea who you were talking about.

    As always, thanks for making another week bearable. One more to go...

  5. Another TVTomer here.

    My god, it's been so many years already?. Way to depress my weekend :(

  6. It's a great cue for me to finally watch The Prisoner.

    I haven't watched Torchwood (at least yet), but I cry a little when an actor I like gets picked up for a Shonda Rhimes's show. I won't watch it. It's like a friend is moving to a city I know I'll never visit.

    Defiance has become a must watch. And if I had known Jaime Murray was going to join Warehouse 13, I'd have stuck to it a little longer.

    And The Simpsons may not be as funny as it was, but there's at least one laugh-out-loud moment every week. This was genius.

    ChrisB, you've watched 6.5 seasons of SN and 2.5 of VD in less than 3 months?!?!?

    What am I saying? When I was out of work for a couple of months in 2007, I watched all Buffy and Angel. Happy Birthday, Buffy. Now the series is as old as Buffy was when she became the Slayer.

  7. I bought the billiedoux.com domain name in March 2004, but for over a year, all it had was links to my reviews in other places. I finally put all of my reviews up on billiedoux.com in June 2005, after it was announced that TVTome was sold and all the old reviews would be going away. At that point, the only shows on the site were Buffy, Angel, Alias, Lost and The Dead Zone. I started the blog at the same time (here's my very first post, if you're interested, here but only posted articles on the blog -- not the reviews. (In retrospect, a massive mistake, since no one could post comments on the reviews. When Josie and I revamped the site in June 2010, I reposted all of the old reviews on the blog so that readers could post comments on them.)

    While I'm posting site history, Jess Lynde was the first writer other than myself to review an entire series, and that was back in 2008 (Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles).

    Wow. Four years ago.

  8. a) If we DO get a 4th season of Community, I'll be in (on?) cloud nine...

    b) I've read that they've cast Stephen Lang as Mary's father in In Plain Sight. Hum, this is going to be very interesting.

    c) No more Sanctuary ? That would be a bummer. But we remember how last season ended. Gee whiz, they do LOVE to blow up warehouses and sanctuaries on Syfy....

    d) Defiance. Hum, that should ALSO be interesting.

    e) The Simpsons trailer : LMAO and brilliant.

    f) Looking forward for the Prisoner's review. The Brits know how to make awesome TV....

    g) Besides this great blog, I also spend some time on tv.com. Good stuff

  9. I actually found you through TV Tome, too. Probably the Buffy and Angel reviews! (Happy Birthday, Buffy!) I remember watching the Angel reruns on TNT back then, and I think that's how I found your reviews. I liked them so much I migrated to your discussion boards. I wrote so much on your Lost board (and at great length), that you asked me to be a site contributor, and I humbly accepted. I can't believe it was four years ago! Wow. As ever, thanks so much for the invite. It has been a great, great creative outlet for me, and I love the community here. Good, thoughtful, and polite discussion.

    Should we vote in the poll if we only watch one of the series? It doesn't seem like a fair basis for comparison if I only know Sam and Dean!

  10. woups


    I've just read what you say about tv.com....Never been on the older site. Bummer

  11. I don't see any reason why you can't vote for Supernatural, Jess. :)

    Everything Jess wrote on my Lost list was so good that I kept thinking, geez, she's a better writer than I am. I'm so glad you joined up, Jess. Adding writers to the site is something I never expected to do, but I never expected it to get so big, either. I can't imagine the site without our little group.

  12. I'm really glad that my contributions went well enough that it gave you the confidence to bring in other writers, too. It's been wonderful to see the site covering such a wide range of shows, with so many different authorial "voices." The diversity and scope has been great for bringing in a lot of readers, and especially for getting them to try new things. I love the comments we get that say, "I came here for reviews of Show A, and enjoyed the coverage so much that I ended up trying out Shows X, Y, and Z, and I love them!" Just like Chris B, above. It's very gratifying to know that a lot of our favorites are getting sampled, even all these years later.

  13. Celticmarc, TVTome was a lot friendlier and less polished than TV.com. It had zillions of shows like TV.com, but each show had a specific manager or managers, and only two reviewers -- all unpaid fans. The owner of TVTome got bought out, but it was format that was bought, not the content. People who had spent thousands of hours working on TVTome were very upset that all their work was dumped, as I was.

    Looking back on it, though, I'm glad it happened because it pushed me to finally do something about a site of my own.

  14. Jess, that's true: I came here looking for LOST reviews, and I ended up watching most of the shows covered here.

  15. I never knew you reviewed for tvtome, I remember that site. When me any my brother started burning through the seasons of Buffy and Angel in 2003, that was our go to site for information and input on those shows, and that site covered that to a tee. I comment a little on tv.com, but you are right when you say tvtome was friendlier. Excuse my language, but the writers on tv.com can be real d-bags.

  16. Like so many others,I found your wonderful site for one show but have since watched so many others because your site featured them and I trust you and your other reveiwers'opinions so much. I came here for Lost, but I have since watched all of Buffy, Angel, Doll House, Veronica Mars, and Farscape. I had already seen Firefly before coming here. I am also in the process of watching Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, and Breaking Bad. Thanks for all the great reviews!

  17. I found this site as I was looking for reviews of ALIAS and seeing as I wasn't the only one who appreciated Sark, I kept on reading pretty much every review for ALIAS, Buffy and Angel.

    I was just wondering what is going to happen with the retro episodes of Chuck from the first and second seasons?

    I think Buffy would have trounced both the Winchesters and Salvatores.

  18. Hi Morgan,

    We're giving up on Chuck. Too many great current shows to worry about! Maybe someday I'll go back and fill in the gaps.

  19. I remember the TVTome days! Much better than TV.com, I also came from the Buffy and Angel reviews

  20. Add me to the list of people feeling old now you've reminded us how long we've been reading your brilliant reviews Billie :o) I think I started with Alias on TVTome... well, lots and lots of years ago. 2001 maybe? And all Lost eps will forever be thought of in terms of polar bear ratings of course!

    Also another recent VD convert - I'm just starting the second season DVD and it's fabulous (I just have too many other things to watch to get through it very quickly!)

    I also gave Terra Nova the benefit of the doubt despite wishing the entire Shannon family horrible dino-related deaths most of the way through. It did eventually click for the last couple of episodes, which is obviously the point where it got cancelled. Kind of a shame as there was an obvious and easy fix in switching the focus away from the cheesy family stuff, and they didn't really take it. I thought it seemed a bit strange that the unknown British writer who co-created it took the money and ran rather than stay on to work with Spielberg and co, and she didn't seem keen to talk about it in interviews. Could have been lots of other reasons involved of course but I get the impression their original vision was a bit more... gritty.

  21. Billie,

    Wow....Nothing like an experience like that to make you sour and develop some cynicism.

    But ! Look at what you have now. You should be proud. And let me remind ya that your site is amongst my top five !

    Kudos to you and the gang.

  22. 15 years since Buffy started, it's almost hard to believe. And when you think of the influence that show has had with the likes of Supernatural, True Blood, Vampire Diaries to name a few.

    Loving that Ben Browder will be on Doctor Who. Just hope they announce the new companion soon.

    Alcatraz has started over here but the trailers aren't doing much to pull me in.

    The Simpsons spoofing Game Of Thrones is excellent. I love the latter show so much. I can't wait for Season 2 to begin.

  23. Came for Alias, stayed for LOST, and now I am pretty much hooked. I even read the reviews for shows I don't watch because I enjoy the writing so much. That is what usually gets me to start watching a show...but honestly, I can't take on any more "past season" shows until I finish Supernatural. Six seasons is a lot of catching up.

  24. I also found the Billie Doux website through the TV Tome reviews. I was a huuuuuuuuuge Alias-fan at the time, so that was my way in. I have posted occasionally, but not enough to be on your radar, I'm afraid. But I thought this little retrospective discussion was a great time to thank you, Billie, and your guest writers as well, for the terrific writing and insights. I still have vague hopes and dreams to maybe one day be a screenwriter myself, which makes your website all the more interesting to me.

  25. Thank you for posting the James Marsters interview! He's so intelligent and modest. And hot. That's always a plus.

  26. I stumbled upon your Alias reviews and it was only natural that I would stick around and let you help me process Lost. As a non-TV watcher for the most part, I discovered some great shows as a result of your writing. I would have NEVER have given Buffy a chance if it weren't for your effusive praise. As sappy as it sounds (cue the violins) my life is richer because of Billie Doux. You are the wind beneath my wings, etc.

  27. What a lovely comment, Scott. Thank you so much.


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