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Doux News: October 26, 2014

This week: The Martian comes to the screen -- And speaking of Mars... -- Bewitched returns -- Breaking Bad action figures -- Supernatural spinoff again -- Renewals, cancellations, and other news -- This week in casts -- This week in cats dogs -- Avengers trailer

During my cross country move back in March, I fell madly in love with a book called The Martian by first time author Andy Weir. It was the best book I've read all year (here's my book review) and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

I was so pleased to hear that a movie was in the works. Unfortunately, Matt Damon will be playing the lead and I'm not a fan of his, but I'm thrilled that Ridley Scott is at the helm, Drew Goddard (Buffy/Angel) wrote the script, and the supporting cast now includes Jessica Chastain, Michael Pena, Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, Donald Glover, Sebastian Stan, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Mackenzie Davis. Filming commences in November. This could be a good one, folks.

And speaking of Mars...

Two years after the unfortunate debacle that was John Carter of Mars, the rights to the Mars series have reverted back to the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs. This means that someone else has another shot at making a movie, or possibly a television series. Hey, eleven books, lots of fodder for a TV series to draw upon.

As I mentioned on the site long ago, I got into science fiction in a big way when I was eleven and stumbled over the Mars books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Not long after that, I also discovered Robert A. Heinlein and read everything I could find by both of them. Burroughs created entire new worlds, races and cultures... and Tarzan. Heinlein set the bar for scientifically accurate and creative science fiction, and in the sixties, shocked his audience with his political and sexual radicalism.

Both Burroughs and Heinlein transformed the genre. So why has there been so much difficulty in translating their works to the screen?

The biggest problem with Burroughs is probably that he started writing in 1912, and by the time a movie was made, his ideas been ripped off so many times that it seemed derivative. That may also be the reason why Heinlein-based movies didn't work. And maybe the adaptations were done poorly. (There is a lot of debate about the reasons, other than badness, for why John Carter of Mars flopped: it was too long, the director didn't know what he was doing and had to reshoot everything, it got the worst promotion of any movie ever, and so on.) And sometimes the works of great writers just don't translate well to the screen.

So I'm not sure what I'm hoping for here. Maybe the images I saw in my eleven-year-old head while I was reading the Mars series are the best I'm ever going to get. And maybe that's as it should be.

Bewitched returns as a sequel instead of a reboot

NBC is bringing back the classic sitcom Bewitched (just a pilot, so far) but the lead won't be Samantha, originally played by the late great Elizabeth Montgomery. Instead, it will be Samantha's granddaughter, Daphne. Which immediately starts the speculation on who should play Daphne. Opinions? Comments? Is Kristen Bell the answer to every smart casting decision? Should networks just leave classics the heck alone? After all, there was a spinoff called Tabitha way back when, and that didn't work out.

Are Breaking Bad action figures better for kids than Barbies?

In the news, a Florida mom has successfully pressured Toys 'R Us into removing Breaking Bad action figures from their shelves. I sort of get it. I wouldn't want my kids to see Walter White as a role model. But aren't there action figures for a lot of evil characters, like, say, Darth Vader? Aaron Paul, who played Jesse Pinkman, has a point that selling toy guns (and Barbies) doesn't give Toys 'R Us the moral high ground, but Bryan Cranston said it better: he's burning his Florida mom action figure in protest.

Supernatural will hopefully spinoff more smartly this time

Do you remember that Supernatural backdoor spinoff pilot last season that fell with a great big thud? They're not gonna do that again. They're going to think ahead and introduce spinoff characters and ideas gradually. Frankly, this spinoff flailing about is starting to remind me of when the Highlander spinoff fell with a great big thud because they just kept ignoring the most popular continuing character on the show. Why do they do that?

What do Methos and Castiel have in common, other than cool coats?

And speaking of cool coats, I wasn't aware that Castiel's look was sorta stolen from Constantine. There's a "who wears it best" poll on the EW site, if you want to vote. Hopefully, for Castiel.

Renewals, cancellations, and other news

-- Continuum watch: still no news on season four renewal or cancellation. Come on, people!

-- The Flash has gotten a full season order. So has Jane the Virgin. I don't watch Jane the Virgin. Is it good?

-- The Bridge has been canceled after two seasons. It did well critically, but didn't get a large enough audience to suit its corporate masters.

-- There was a Wire reunion at Paleyfest. That's one I wish I'd attended.

-- My beloved Patrick Stewart was filmed reciting a poem in his native Yorkshire dialect.

-- Tatiana Maslany will be hitting off Broadway this spring in a new two-person drama entitled The Way We Get By. She will be co-starring with Thomas Sadoski instead of another version of herself.

This week in casts

-- Amanda Righetti, formerly a cast member of The Mentalist, has been cast in a Carlton Cuse pilot, Colony. Boy, do I hope this one is good. There's never enough good science fiction on TV for me.

-- Michelle Tractenberg has been cast as Abigail Adams on Sleepy Hollow. Yes, she's not a teenager any more, but I'm having a hard time picturing Dawn Summers as one of the founding mothers. Are you?

-- Lyndsy Fonseca of Nikita fame has joined the cast of Agent Carter.

-- Christian Slater will be starring in a new pilot entitled Mr. Robot, which sounds like Scorpion by way of Edward Snowden.

-- Michael Trucco, a veteran of Battlestar Galactica, will be guesting on Scandal as a character who has been mentioned before but not yet seen. See me trying not to spoil you?

-- Morena Baccarin (Firefly, V, lots of other stuff) will be joining Gotham as recurring character Dr. Leslie Thompkins. Almost makes me want to watch it. (Yeah, Gotham isn't grabbing me.)

This week in cats dogs

Last weekend, John Oliver on Last Week Tonight addressed the lack of live filming of Supreme Court debate and decision, and gave us the perfect re-enactment tool: dogs with fake paws. Last Week Tonight suggests that any Supreme Court audio can be livened up by using this video, which they are providing to the world free of charge so that anyone can create their very own.

And finally

Every movie buff on earth has probably seen this already, but here is trailer for The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which was supposed to debut during next week's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Apparently, it got leaked by HYDRA. But -- late breaking -- they're going to give us another trailer this week during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with more footage. That's something.

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. Which immediately starts the speculation on who should play Daphne. Opinions? Comments? Is Kristen Bell the answer to every smart casting decision?

    Yes! And your brilliant casting solution is the only thing that could ever convince me to watch a Bewitched sequel.

  2. I loved the John Carter movie. It was fun and faithful to the books. Sort of.
    Oh well, bring on the tv-series then.
    Oh the Methos spinoff-I'm still pissed that didn't happen. They could at least have used him more in the final season. Well, at least they gave us a nice Joe Dawson/Methos bromance episode. But I wanted more.

  3. Yeah, I don't like the idea of Matt Damon as Mark Watney either. In fact, I'm not really sure I like the idea of getting this book on screen at all. It's a terrific book, but if you think of it, most of the hoops that Watney has to jump through are not heavy on action. He does some chemical experiments, then looks on the gauges and runs out of the Hab, realizing it can blow at any moment. It's not something that would look pleasant on screen. With the exception of Lewis's spectacular stunt at the end, most of it is like that.

    And yeah, Matt Damon is definitely not good.

  4. I had pretty much the same reaction to the Breaking Bad action figures thing. Aaron Paul and other critics certainly have a fair point about the hypocrisy aspect, and I'm not saying Toys R Us did the right thing by taking the toys off the shelves. But the idea of BB action figures really disturbs me, because of the "role model" aspect you mention. At least with Darth Vader and other nemesis figures, it is reasonably clear they are evil. Here, it feels like action figures just play to that segment of the audience which celebrated Walt as an awesome dude, not the monstrous villain of the piece. And that response to the show always troubled me. The toys, of course, makes total sense from a monetary perspective, but it still doesn't sit quite right with me.

    The Bridge news was not surprising at all, but it still bummed me out a little. It was an odd little show, with lots of fascinating characters and an interesting perspective. It didn't always work for me, and I wouldn't call it a favorite, but I'll still miss Sonia, Marco, Hank, Adriana, Frye, Fausto Galvan, and Obregon.

  5. Clearly what the world needs to fix all problems is a spinoff show with both Methos and Castiel.

  6. Clearly what the world needs to fix all problems is a spinoff show with both Methos and Castiel.

    Anonymous, if there were such a show, it would be my favorite and I'd review it. :)

  7. I'd read before that Castiel's look was an homage to Constantine - which is the main thing making me consider watching Constantine (yes, I am that shallow). But it's given me a new Supernatural spin-off idea. Castiel's coat (very minor Supernatural spoilers alert)...
    was filled with bullet holes in its first five minutes and has since been... Supernatural fans, fill in the blanks. And I'm pretty sure it got left in a laundromat a while back. Conclusion: The coat is magic. We need a spin-off exploring the magical powers of the trenchcoat, featuring Castiel, Constantine, Mulder and Scully (the original Trench Coat Duo) and whoever this dude from Highlander is all together. It'll be awesome.

  8. I watched the first Jane The Virgin this week. It's based on a telenovela, so it's soapy and silly, but the lead character is tremendously appealing, which sold it to me. It was a contrast from Transparent, which I also saw the first episode of this week. It might be critically acclaimed and Quality Television, but since I disliked all the characters I couldn't bring myself to keep going with it. Characters matter!

  9. Yes, I too am eternally sad they never made a Methos spinoff. It was so obvious, right in their faces!

    I've watched all of Jane the Virgin so far, and I think it's a really fun, cute show. Besides a yay for diversity, like Gavrielle said, the lead character is very appealing. It also reminds me of Pushing Daisies, since it has a narrator (who makes comments about the characters' decisions) and has surreal bits and quirks to it too.

    I recommend giving it a try. It may not be to everyone's taste (what show is?) but it's a show that came out of the gate very confident in what it wanted to be.


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