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TrekMovie.com Sci-Fi TV: New Shows Announced + Chuck, Doctor Who, Smallville, Walking Dead, Locke & Key + more

Cross-posted at TrekMovie.com

In Sci-Fi TV this week we have news on a number of new genre TV projects, including a new shows from Ron Moore and Neil Gaiman. Plus there is big casting news with James Marsters joining a new Syfy show and another big Chuck guest star. We also have a big Doctor Who update, and lots of previews, including Smallville and The Event.

Summary of Column Contents

  • Ron Moore making Harry Potter-like sci-fi show for NBC
  • Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman to be adapted as a TV show
  • Syfy developing four-hour Peter Pan prequel “Neverland”
  • Fox makes series commitment to Kurtzman/Orci’s Locke & Key adaptation
  • James Marsters joins the cast of Syfy’s “Three Inches”
  • Chuck gets another high profile guest star: Timothy Dalton
  • Greg Grunberg still hoping for Heroes TV movie
  • Doctor Who season six will be split into two parts + Who Games + Roof TARDIS
  • The Walking Dead interview +  season two to shoot in early 2011?
  • L5 — A hard science fiction miniseries
  • Nominees announced for the 25th Annual Gemini Awards
  • Big Bang Theory producer planning return of Wil Wheaton

All that plus the latest television ratings, casting bites and more.

GENRE TV NEWS

Ron Moore making Harry Potter-like sci-fi show for NBC

Battlestar Galactica and Caprica creator (and former Star Trek TNG/DS9 writer/producer) Ron Moore is creating a new sci-fi pilot for NBC described as “an adult Harry Potter set in a world ruled not by science but my magic.” Deadline reports that this is “one of the biggest commitments so far this pitch season,” confirmed by the fact that the series got pilot and series penalties totaling close to $2 million. What that means is regardless of whether the show gets made, NBC has already committed $2 million.

Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman to be adapted as a TV show

Warner Brothers TV is close to acquiring the television rights to the Neil Gaiman-written comic book series “The Sandman” and are in talks with several writer-producers about adapting the 1990’s comic. Eric Kripke (“Supernatural”) is said to be at the top of the list [via Heat Vision]:

“Sandman” told the tale of Morpheus, the Lord of the Dreaming, a deity who personifies dreams. The book began in the horror realm but quickly made its mark in fantasy and mythology as Gaiman introduced the Endless, a group of powerful brothers and sisters named Destiny, Death, Destruction, Despair, Desire and Delirium (as well as Dream).

Gaiman is not currently involved in the project, but that could change as it moves further into development.

Syfy developing four-hour Peter Pan prequel “Neverland”

Syfy has announced that they are teaming with writer/director Nick Willing for “Neverland”, Willing’s original prequel to author J.M. Barrie’s classic “Peter Pan”. The four-hour movie will begin production next week in Genoa, Italy and Dublin, Ireland. The cast includes Rhys Ifans (Pirate Radio, Notting Hill) as James Hook, Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies) as Captain Elizabeth Bonny, Oscar nominee Bob Hoskins as Smee (who previously played the character in Steven Spielberg’s feature Hook), Raoul Trujillo (Tin Man) and Charlie Rowe (Pirate Radio) as Peter Pan. Neverland is slated to premiere in 2011 [Syfy]:

Raised on the streets of turn-of-the century London, orphaned Peter (Rowe) and his pals survive by their fearless wits as cunning young pickpockets. Now, they’ve been rounded up by their mentor Jimmy Hook (Ifans) to snatch a priceless—some believe, magical—treasure which transports them to another world. Neverland is a realm of white jungles and legendary mysteries of eternal youth, where unknown friends and enemies snatched from time welcome the new travelers with both excitement and trepidation. These groups include a band of 18th century pirates led by the power-mad Elizabeth Bonny (Friel), and the Native American Kaw tribe led by a Holy Man (Trujillo), which has protected the secret of the tree spirits from Bonny and her gang for ages—and that has meant war. But as the fight to save this strange and beautiful world becomes vital, Hook, Peter, and the ragamuffin lost boys consider that growing old somewhere in time could be less important than growing up—right here in their new home called Neverland.

Fox makes series commitment to Kurtzman/Orci’s Locke & Key adaptation

As previously reported on TrekMovie, Fox has made a series commitment to the recently announced TV series adaptation of Joe Hill’s comic book “Locke & Key”. As previously reported, “Star Trek” producers/writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are on board the project to executive produce along with several others including Josh Friedman (“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”) who has been tapped as the lead writer/showrunner.

James Marsters joins the cast of Syfy’s “Three Inches”

James Marsters is among seven new additions to the Syfy pilot “Three Inches” which stars Noah Reid. Here are the character breakdowns for the new additions [Syfy]:

James Marsters will star as Troy Hamilton, a former government agent who takes Walter in to his own team of “super” heroes who fight evil wherever they find it. He is a father figure to Walter.

Andrea Martin will play Belinda Spackman, Walter’s mother, a brutally honest, comically cynical force of nature that loves her son more than words can say and will do anything to protect him.

Stephanie Jacobsen plays Watts, a beautiful “super” hero who has the ability to shape the emotions of anyone she meets at close range.

Antony Del Rio will portray The Human Smell, an adventurous, often irritating teenager who is able to emit a pungent gas through his pores that disables anyone nearby.

Naoko Mori plays Annika, a woman who can duplicate and broadcast any sound she hears.

Kyle Schmid will play Brandon, the “super” hero team leader with all the cockiness and strength of a true action hero, minus the superpowers. He is the opposite of Walter and sees most of the team as freaks.

Brandon Jay McLaren plays Macklin Sportello, Walter’s best friend, a big talker with not a lot to back it up. His relationship is tested when Walter begins to change, but he’s the friend that will always be there for him.

Chuck gets another high profile guest star: Timothy Dalton

The “Chuck” season four guest list continues to amaze. The NBC series has landed former Bond actor Timothy Dalton for an upcoming multi-episode arc:

Dalton will be playing a mysterious stranger who has a history with Chuck’s (series star Zachary Levi) mom, played by Linda Hamilton (“Terminator,” “Terminator II: Judgment Day”). This marks Dalton’s first series appearance on American television since he guest-starred on “Charlie’s Angels” in 1979.

In other casting news, WWE wrestler Batista, Eric Roberts and Joel David Moore will guest-star as Casey’s (Adam Baldwin) 90s-era soldier-of-fortune buddies in the fifth episode “Chuck vs. The Couch Lock [EW]:

The trio…have gone rogue and are back to seek revenge on their ex-comrade.

And in episode title news, episode 4×06 will be called “Chuck vs. the Aisle of Terror”. “Chuck” premieres its fourth season on Monday, September 20 at 8:00 p.m. on NBC.

Promotional stills from episode 4×01 – “Chuck vs. the Anniversary [more at Zap2It, 5975 (via SpoilerTV) and SpoilerTV]

Greg Grunberg still hoping for Heroes TV movie

Greg Grunberg still thinks — and remains hopeful — that “Heroes” will get some sort of conclusion, TV movie or otherwise:

“…I think there has to be [a movie]. But I also predicted they wouldn’t just out and out cancel it, so what do I know [laughs]. It makes business sense to do something—there’s a huge fanbase that wants some sort of conclusion and I think the actors want to do it. It’s not about making a fortune to come back—we all appreciate the fans so much, I think if the call went out, we’d all be on board.”

Doctor Who season six will be split into two parts + Who Games + Roof TARDIS

BBC has announced that the sixth season of “Doctor Who” will be split into two parts, with the first part airing in the spring of 2011 followed by the second part in the fall of 2011. Showrunner/writer Steven Moffat also says there will be a “game-changing” cliffhanger separating the two parts:

“Looking at the next series I thought what this show needs is a big event in the middle.

“I kept referring to a mid-season finale. So we are going to make it two series—seven episodes at Easter building to an earth-shattering climax, a cliffhanger we could never normally do because it would be too long before it came back. An enormous game-changing cliffhanger that will change everything.

“The wrong expression would be to say we are splitting it in two. We are making it two separate series.”

In other “Doctor Who” news, Asylum Entertainment has announced the video games “Doctor Who: Return to Earth” and “Doctor Who: Evacuation Earth” for the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS, respectively. Here are the synopses for the two games:

Return To Earth [Wii]

The Doctor and Amy help the SS Lucy Gray to return home to Earth, unravelling a Cyber Plot and preventing the Daleks from retrieving a lost Time Axis along the way. The Doctor and Amy arrive on a human colony ship returning to Earth after it was rendered uninhabitable by solar flares. Without provocation they are attacked by the ship’s maintenance robots and become separated in the struggle.

The Doctor is eventually led to the ship’s Head Quarters, where he discovers a Cyber Leader has connected himself to the ships AI and is blackmailing it into doing his bidding, or else he’ll kill the crew. Meanwhile the Cybermen that were hiding in the ship ambush Amy and chase her out into space.

Guide the Doctor and Amy as they face their biggest adventure yet!

Evacuation Earth [DS]

The Doctor and Amy arrive at the Lake District to watch the humans leave the planet. Suddenly the TARDIS gets lifted from them and bolted onto the evacuation ship. They have to make their way onto the ship before it leaves As the ship launches it has technical problems and they realise the Silurians have built a ship underneath. The Doctor finds a solution to make the ship work.

Suddenly the Dalek ship smashes into the human one and splits the Silurian half off. It’s the Dalek ship that chased the Time Axis into the sun – they weren’t destroyed, they actually made a random jump several hundred years into the past.

The Daleks are pleased that they can exact revenge on the Doctor but first they make him fix their ship. The Doctor goes along with their plan but tricks them into bolting the TARDIS onto their ship, which he promptly jumps into and uses to fling them into the nearest black hole.

In other news, the recent Doctor Who concer “Dr. Who at the Proms 2010″ will be broadcast on BBC Three on Monday, September 6 at 8:30 p.m. A 90-minute version of the program will air Friday, September 10 at 7:00 p.m. on BBC Three. Ending on a fun note, here’s the latest Hack at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology): the TARDIS [via io9].

Karen Gillan talking about “The Adventure Games” [YouTube / Blogtor Who]

The Walking Dead interview +  season two to shoot in early 2011?

Earlier this week there were reports that “The Walking Dead” had already been given a 13-episode second season renewal and was scheduled to begin shooting in February 2011. However, AMC contacted IGN and Fangoria to “dispel the rumor” The initial report originated at Fangoria. The six-episode first season kicks off on Halloween night at 10:00 p.m. on AMC. Here is an interview with Robert Kirkman [Wired]

L5 — A hard science fiction miniseries

Director Stanley Von Modevey is developing what is described as a hard science fiction miniseries called “L5″. So what makes it ‘hard’ science fiction? The official site explains:

The director, Stanley Von Medvey. Before pursuing concept artwork and film making as a career, Stanley began as an astrophysics student at the University of Chicago. He designed small payloads for the space shuttle and NASA’s sounding rocket program. Since switching careers, he has maintained close ties with the aerospace community, is an active member of the National Space Society, engaged in such projects as working with think tanks and lobby groups to promote Space Based Solar Power through viral marketing. In short, Stanley is an obsessed science geek.

The plan is to fund the $10,000 project online (by September 30, 2010), with hopes to debut the pilot episode spring 2011.Here’s the synopsis for the project:

Imagine returning from an exhausting adventure only to find that your home is abandoned, empty. Not just your home, but your neighborhood, your city, in fact, everyone, everywhere, seems to be missing. This is what happens to the crew of the first manned mission to Barnard’s Star – they return after awakening from suspended animation to find that their ship-board AI has sent them on a relativistic tour of the stellar neighborhood while they slumbered, dilating time so severely that nearly 200 years have passed on Earth. After coming to, they discover their vessel is adrift at LaGrange point 5, within visual range of a vast O’neill cylinder-colony. The night side of the Earth shows no lights, and no one answers their calls across all frequencies. They have no choice but to dock with the colony and explore its cavernous interior in the hopes of finding help. When they find the colony to be airless and devoid of life, the remains of human civilization baking in the Sun for decades, their predicament becomes even more dire. Following in the traditions of great legendary hard science fiction, their exploration of this relic of their own civilization will take them on a trans-humanistic and spiritual sojourn.

Check out the official website and the production blog for more and to keep up to date on the project. Here’s a video and some concept art [more here].

PREVIEW Videos & Images

Being Human

On-set interview with director Philip John [BBC via SpoilerTV]

Eureka

Promo for the midseason finale, episode 4×09 – “I’ll Be Seeing You” [Syfy]

The Event

Two new promos for the series premiere [NBC]

Fringe

Promotional stills from the season three premiere – “Olivia” [more at SpoilerTV]

Cast promotional images [more at SpoilerTV]

Promotional poster [FOX]

Several easter eggs have already been discovered in the poster–see them highlighted here

Season three promo [YouTube]

Human Target

Promotional stills from the season two premiere – “Ilsa Pucci” [more at SpoilerTV, (2)]

Cast promotional images [more at SpoilerTV]

LOST

Matthew Fox: How LOST really ended [Newsweek]

Smallville

Promotional stills from episode 10×01 – “Lazarus” [Fancast and more at SpoilerTV and EW]

Supernatural

Promotional stills from the season premiere: 6×01 – “Exile on Main St.” [more at DaemonsTV]

Set images (for episode 6×06 – “Live Free or Twihard”) [more at SpoilerTV]

True Blood

Promo for the season three finale – “Evil is Going On” [YouTube]

Watch another promo here

V

Set images from the second season premiere “Red Rain” [more at The V Files, (2)]

The Vampire Diaries

Promotional poster / ads [the live feed]

Promotional cast images [more at Vampire Diaries Web]

First look at Michael Trevino as Tyler Lockwood [Vampire Diaries Show]

Promotional still from episode 2×03 – “Bad Moon Rising” [Daemon’s TV]

TV BITES

  • NBC Universal worked out an extension with the cast of “Caprica” that will give Syfy until November to make a decision on renewing the ‘BSG’ prequel. As previously reported, the contracts were set to expire in August. [Fancast]
  • Check out an interview with “Fringe” star John Noble (Walter) over at Give Me My Remote.
  • Episode 6×06 of “Supernatural” will be called “Live Free or Twihard” and episode 6×07 will be called “Family Matters”. [SpoilerTV & SpoilerTV]
  • Episode 4×15 of “Eureka” will be called “Omega Girls”. [SpoilerTV]
  • Episode 1×06 of “No Ordinary Family” will be called “No Ordinary Visitors”. [SpoilerTV]
  • …And lastly, episode 2×04 of “The Vampire Diaries” will be called “Memory Lane”.
  • Lois will be “possessed by the spirit of [the Egyptian goddess] Isis” in episode 10×05 (“Isis”) of “Smallville”. [EW]
  • Here’s Denis O’Hare (Russell Edgington) teasing the season three finale of “True Blood”: “Sookie is very mean to me…Eric is very mean to me…and I cry tears of joy.” [E! Online]
  • Nominees for the 25th Annual Gemini Awards have been announced and “Stargate Universe” received a nomination for Best Dramatic Series. The series also received nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role for Robert Carlyle (“Human”) and Louis Ferreira (“Justice”). “Sanctuary” was also nominated for Best Cross-Platform Project: Fiction. [GeminiAwards.ca]
  • The sixth season of “LOST” topped the sales charts for DVD and Blu-ray. “LOST: The Complete Collection” also debuted at #2 on the Blu-ray charts. [THR]

CASTING BITES

  • Previously on TrekMovie.com: Big Bang Theory Producer Planning Return Of Wil Wheaton
  • Allison Miller (“Kings”) has joined the cast of the upcoming prehistoric time-travel series “Terra Nova”. She’ll play Skye, “a veteran Terra Nova resident who takes [Jason] O’Mara’s character’s son under her wing.” [Variety]
  • Writer Nick Wauters has revealed that Clifton Collins Jr. has joined the cast of “The Event” as a regular, effective episode two “To Keep Us Safe”. [Nick Wauters | Twitter]
  • Michael Shanks will appear in episode two of the new season of “Smallville” (titled “Shield”) and will make a second apperance in episode 11 (title unknown). [Michael Shanks-Online | Twitter]
  • Jackson Rathbone (“The Twilight Saga”) has joined the cast of ABC’s “No Ordinary Family” in the potentially recurring role of Trent Stafford, “a high school classmate of Kay Panabaker telepathic Daphne.”… [EW]
  • …In guest-starring news, James Earl will play a football player named Kenny and Ashton Mojo will play Declan, a friend of JJ’s in episode four “No Ordinary Vigilante”. [KSiteTV]
  • Tia Carrere will reprise her role as Secret Service agent Katie Logan in an upcoming season two episode of “Warehouse 13″. [TV Guide]

SCI-FI RATINGS (Based on final national numbers unless otherwise noted) [@TravisYanan]

True Blood

Episode 3×11 – “Fresh Blood” drew a series high 5.44 million viewers (+1%) and a 3.2 A18-49 rating (+7%). The season average is now up to 4.93 million viewers and a 2.8 A18-49 rating.

Futurama

After hitting series lows the previous week, Episode 6×11 – “Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences” increased to 1.98 million viewers (+12%) and a 1.1 A18-49 rating (+38%). That was the show’s highest performance in viewers since episode seven (“The Late Philip J. Fry” — 2.05M) and largest A18-49 rating since episode five (“The Duh-Vinci Code” — 1.1). The season six average is 2.15M viewers and a 1.1 A18-49 rating.

Warehouse 13

Episode 2×08 – “Merge with Caution” was flat from the week prior, drawing 2.36 million viewers (+1%) and a 0.7 A18-49 rating (n/c). The season average is now 2.54 million viewers and a 0.8 A18-49 rating.

Eureka

Episode 4×08 – “The Ex-files” bounced up to 2.44 million viewers (+6%) and a 0.8 A18-49 rating (+14%). The season four average is now 2.39 million viewers and a 0.7 A18-49 rating.

Haven

Episode 1×08 – “Ain’t No Sunshine” drew 1.97 million viewers (+4%) and a 0.6 A18-49 (+20%) rating this week, causing only a slight change in its season average: 2.02 million viewers and a 0.6 A18-49 rating.

Stan Lee’s Superhumans

Episode four hit another series-high, drawing 1.55 million viewers (+14%) and a 0.6 A18-49 rating (n/c). The season average is now 1.38 million viewers and a 0.6 A18-49 rating.

CHART (8/16/2010 to 8/22/2010)

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