Once Upon a Time (Sunday nights, 8pm, ABC)
By Heather S. Vina
Some spoilers are coming out about the show, now that we are getting closer to its air date (October 23!).
TVGuide.com has some new videos posted on their site of the show, including interviews with Lena Parilla (the Evil Queen), Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White) and Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan).
Zap2it is reporting that True Blood’s Kristin Bauer van Straten will be playing Maleficent, who is the Evil Queen from the Sleeping Beauty tales. According to the site, it’s a possibly recurring role. Maleficent is a friend of the Evil Queen (Lana Parilla) but probably more like a frenemy.
Ausiello has two spoiler answers up in his recent chat:
Question: Words cannot express how excited I am that True Blood‘s Kristin Bauer van Straten is playing Maleficent on Once Upon a Time. Any plot deets? -Cynthia
Ausiello: My crystal ball is showing me…a catfight of mythic proportions! “In our world, Maleficent is the Evil Queen’s oldest friend – and someone she wishes would just drop dead,” reveals exec producer Edward Kitsis. “That’s what happens when evil befriends evil.” Adds fellow EP Adam Horowtiz: “To go to toe to toe with our Evil Queen we needed an iconic character – which led us to introduce Maleficent. And as huge fans of Kristin’s we couldn’t imagine anyone better to come in and bring her to life.”
Question: Once Upon a Time scoop, please! -Meg
Ausiello: Later this season, Kitsis and Horowtiz will introduce another iconic diva – The Blind Witch from Hansel and Gretel! Now read the official character description and tell me if this doesn’t scream another True Blood alum: “She lives in a gingerbread house and likes to dine on small children. She’s incredibly scary and frightening. Although blind, she’s also intense, strong, and calculating – no pushover, even for a grown man. Rather than hunting her prey (children), she uses her gingerbread house to lure unsuspecting young wanderers to her, only springing into action once they’ve stepped squarely into her trap.” Um, hello – Michelle Forbes!
And ABC put out a press release on the pilot:
“BRACE YOURSELF FOR A MODERN FABLE WITH THRILLING TWISTS AND HINTS OF DARKNESS, AS THE EPIC BATTLE FOR THE FUTURE OF OUR WORLD AND THE FAIRYTALE WORLD BEGINS, ON THE PREMIERE OF ABC’S ‘ONCE UPON A TIME’.
“Master storytellers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (Lost, Tron: Legacy) invite you to brace yourself for a modern fairytale with thrilling twists and hints of darkness, brimming with wonder and filled with the magic of our most beloved stories, on the premiere of Once Upon a Time, SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
“And they lived happily ever after…or so everyone was led to believe. Emma Swan knows how to take care of herself. She’s a 28-year-old bail bondsperson who’s been on her own ever since she was abandoned as a baby. But when Henry – the son she gave up years ago – finds her, everything changes. Henry is now 10 years old and in desperate need of Emma’s help. He believes that Emma actually comes from an alternate world and is Snow White and Prince Charming’s missing daughter. According to his book of fairytales, they sent her away to protect her from the Evil Queen’s curse, which trapped the characters of fairytale world forever, frozen in time, and brought them into our modern world.”
“In the premiere episode, ‘Pilot’, not believing a word of Henry’s story, Emma brings him back to Storybrooke, but finds herself drawn to this unusual boy and his strange New England town. Concerned for him, she decides to stay for a while, but soon comes to suspect that Storybrooke is more than it seems. It’s a place where magic has been forgotten, but is still powerfully close…where fairytale characters are alive, even though they don’t remember who they once were, and where the Evil Queen, known as Regina, is now Henry’s foster mother. The epic battle for the future of all worlds is beginning, and for good to win, Emma will have to accept her destiny and fight like hell.
“Once Upon a Time stars Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White/Mary Margaret, Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan, Robert Carlyle as Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold, Lana Parrilla as Evil Queen/Regina, Jared Gilmore as Henry Mills, Josh Dallas as Prince Charming/John Doe, and Raphael Sbarge as Jiminy Cricket/Archie Hopper.
“Guest starring in ‘Pilot’ are Jamie Dornan as Sheriff Graham, Lee Arenberg as Grumpy/Leroy, David-Paul Grove as Doc, Peter Bryant as jailer, Tony Amendola as Geppetto/Marco, Meghan Ory as Ruby/Red Riding Hood, Warren Christie as Ryan, Beverley Elliott as Granny, Darren Dolynski as nervous guard, Keith Dallas as cabbie, Tom Pickett as bishop, Darla Fay as old woman, James Bamford as Black Knight and Keegan Connor Tracy as Blue Fairy.
“‘Pilot’ was written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz and directed by Mark Mylod.
“Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz are creators and executive producers of Once Upon a Time. Steven Pearlman is also executive producer. The show is from ABC Studios.
“Once Upon a Time is broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC’s selected HDTV format with a 5.1 channel surround sound. This program carries a TV-PG,L,V parental guideline.”
And finally, SpoilerTV is reporting that the title for episode 1.08 is “Desperate Souls”.
Supernatural (Friday nights, 9pm, CW)
By Paula R. Stiles
Aside from the video promos and the Guy Norman Bee interview, this was a bit of a frustrating week for spoilers. Let’s start with a whole passel of interviews linked on ONTD: a video and text interview with Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles from the Examiner, as well as press reports from the same junket (about which EW teased last week), some photos from the interview, and the first official photo from 7.05. Only one press report has any spoiler of note: The Leviathans will put the law on their trail in a big way. Gee, that sounds like seasons two and three, not something new. That storyline was okay while it lasted, but it got written out because it got played out. Not really seeing how season seven can bring new life to this one.
In the interview itself, Padalecki and Ackles reiterate the “stripped down” version of the show, and how they want to go back to season one (Please, can we just get over this obsession with season one? I liked it, too, but it wasn’t that great). It seems Dean has a boatload of guilt that will result in his being put on trial in in the much anticipated/dreaded 7.04, but Sam feels he’s “served his time”.
We’ve got two promos (one of them apparently Canadian, though not like the awesome Space promos of yore) and a clip from 7.03. None of them explains how Sam goes from having a major head injury to walking and talking and hunting. Hopefully, this episode won’t happen mostly or all inside Sam’s head. The inside of Sam’s head is very boring.
Guy Norman Bee gave a very long interview about directing “Hello, Cruel World”. Among other things, he let slip that the Edgar and “Dr. Sexy” Leviathans will be in 7.03, too (So, I guess that answers the question whether the car killed Edgar. It didn’t). The song “Black Water” was actually in the script. They put in as many water references as they could (pools of water in the warehouse, the Stockville Sharks), as well as light blue costumes, though Bee didn’t know if this motif would continue. They were also going to use a Barracuda, but the one they found was too rusty to use (awwwww), so they used a Dodge Demon, instead.
Bee mentions inserting the Morningstar Enterprises joke. Also, Misha Collins got very sick during the “goo scene” in the teaser and had to leave early. The discussion about Castiel’s coat went on between Bee and Gamble for a while, but remained unresolved until the morning of the shoot. Bee then discussed with Ackles the idea of folding it up like a soldier’s flag, but it was too sodden with water to do more than roll it up, so Dean could put it in the trunk. He also talks about doing cuts of both Ackles and Mark Pellegrino for Sam’s hallucinations, to see where to merge them, and mentions that Padalecki did fewer days because there were so many scenes without either Sam or Dean (like the possession scenes). He jokes that, in the scene where the little girl was watching TV, everyone on the set figured she’d just eaten her entire family and that was why they didn’t appear in the scene.
He mentions one cut scene where, after Dean has got the gun away from Sam and sussed out that Sam is back on track, he hands the gun back. One of the interviewers smartly asks how Sam got to the warehouse on his own (Bee answers that he got there in the van, which they tried to deemphasise in the scene where Dean arrives at the warehouse).
Bee’s next directed episode begins filming on Thursday. The Leviathan jaws were created in some concept drawings, based on prehistoric fish (probably Devonian. Yes, I am a paleontology geek). And there’s a potential moment in a scene in Bobby’s kitchen for the gag reel, involving a metronome app and Padalecki messing with Ackles’ game.
7.09 was written by Ben Edlund, which has a title similar to IMDB’s reported “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, but not exactly the same. Bee adds that the “Wedding” episode is 7.08. Phil Sgriccia actually filmed the scene where Levstiel says to Dean, “We’ll be back…for you.” Despite not being present to film the scene itself, Bee seems to assume that this line was addressed solely to Dean (because he remembered it as Bobby being unconscious, even though Bobby is awake at that point). Since he’s the director, he’d know the intent there.
Also, they didn’t actually burn down the Bobby’s house exterior set, but instead, used a house that had been burned down for real that was somewhat similar to the exterior of Bobby’s house (Apparently, they originally shot a bit where the brothers pass a fire engine leaving as they come in, which explains why the fire was out, even it makes no sense from an EMS point of view).
This is quite a long interview, lasting nearly an hour and a half, but most of the spoilers occur in the first hour.
Moving on, Ausiello assures us that Sera Gamble insists that Sam’s Hellpain will not be going anywhere – that it will, in fact, become a permanent part of his character.
The synopsis for 7.05 (“Shut Up, Dr. Phil”) is now up:
“BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER” ALUMS CHARISMA CARPENTER AND JAMES MARSTERS GUEST STAR – Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) meet Maggie Stark (guest star Charisma Carpenter), a witch who has unleashed her wrath on a small town, resulting in numerous deaths. Sam and Dean track down her husband, Donald (guest star James Marsters), to see if he can help. Donald tells the brothers that Maggie is mad at him for having an affair and is taking it out on the townspeople. Phil Sgriccia directed the episode written by Brad Buckner & Eugenie Ross-Leming (#705).”
I want to get excited about this episode. The premise sounds okay. I like the guest stars (even if Cordelia and Spike were never really my faves on either Buffy or Angel). But the fact that these two writers last wrote “Route 666” for the show does not inspire confidence. Plus, something feels…gimmicky about it. I’m hoping the episode itself will rise above that.
There’s a new interview out about the wedding episode, which sounds worse and worse, the more we hear about it. It seems that one of the brothers may be getting married, but which one and to whom is not clarified.
Finally, ratings are out. They were down 0.1 in the A18-49 to a 0.7, with audience down to 1.8 million. Guy Norman Bee sent out a couple of tweets that put the ratings in a somewhat different perspective. While no one working with a show is going to say it’s struggling, he does make a good point – shows don’t stay on the air because they are popular. They stay on the air as long as they make money. It’s been said for some time that the CW works at a loss, basically airing shows that make money in other ways for its parent companies. And Supernatural, for all its low ratings, makes a lot of money in ways that don’t include advertisement on the CW. Since the show is owned by Warner Bros and the network is shared by Warner Bros and CBS, it’s not as critical to the CW if Warner Bros is the one making money from the show being sold on DVD or overseas. Therefore, any money the show makes should go toward its survival, as opposed to a show like Fringe, which is licensed by FOX from a different production company. I guess we’ll just have to see.
So, speculation: I really wish this show’s writers would get over doing nothing but Sam Done Come Back Wrong with Sam’s character. It’s tedious and repetitive. It goes nowhere good. It’s not horror. It makes Sam look like a pathetic loser. It takes up far too much screentime that should be spent on developing the new Big Bads, or at least the MOTW. It apparently requires that they keep hiring a recurring actor (which, as much as I like Mark Pellegrino in other roles, is an extra cost the show does not require). And, frankly, this version of it blows. I would be unsurprised to see it simply disappear in a few months, as the writers run out of ways to liquify further the already-rotting equine corpse that is Sam’s Hallucinations and/or find out they can’t keep booking Pellegrino.
When are the writers going to get that, unless the audience has seen Sam make amends, he still looks like a self-absorbed jerk and any redemption might as well not have occurred? That the whole point of putting him in such situations was to create growth, which cannot happen if those situations all play out off screen (like the War in Heaven and the Apocalypse, which proved underwhelming because we saw so little of them)? Or that, maybe, the reason why the audience likes to see Dean go through these storylines is because we have seen him work through this stuff and become a more dimensional character than his brother? Or that the reason why fans became so invested in Dean’s friendship with Castiel was that we saw the important turning points where they bonded, fought and differed; Castiel betrayed Dean and later apologised, promising to make amends; and Dean grieved over him. Do they just not want Sam to grow? Ever? [headdesk]
A major problem, here, is that Sam has been extremely passive and a real victim (not to mention, whiny) throughout this storyline. Castiel pulled Sam’s body out. Sambot had to hunt with the Campbells because he was useless on his own. Dean got Death to rescue Sam’s soul from Hell. Dean got Death to give Sam a wall. Castiel broke Sam’s wall. Dean took care of Sam until he and Bobby had to go off and save the world. Sam needed a kindly internal guide (of some poor girl he murdered, no less) to help him reintegrate enough to follow them, where he proved pretty useless against Godstiel. Sam was completely helpless against his Nickifer hallucinations until Dean showed him how to use physical pain to overcome them. Sam couldn’t even get out of Edgar’s way, let alone subdue him with a dropping car. This is not a Hero. This is a Sidekick.
Show not Tell. More Leviathans. Less Sam Emo Adolescent Pain. We won’t even get into the whole “Well, Sam’s Hell was worse than Dean’s” because that just tells me the writers have never experienced any significant trauma in their lives. If they had, they might come up with far less flattering parallels that might give them pause and back away from this storyline, ones like: “Well, you only got raped in a ditch for a few days in a row, but at least you didn’t get sodomised with a broken bottle for a week.” Just as rape is rape, Hell is Hell. You don’t go around comparing the two experiences unless you’re bone-ignorant, with the sensitivity of a turnip. Seriously, Dean didn’t get Sam out of Hell just because Sam was his brother. He did it because he knows how it feels. And besides, I don’t see anybody boo-hooing over Adam (except for Dean, who did at least ask Death on Adam’s behalf), who’s been in there longer than both brothers together, at this point.
More interesting was Ackles saying that Dean feels guilty for not having been able to “save” Castiel and that Dean will have a secret that will not be revealed in 7.04, or possibly even as late as 7.09 (which they are about to film). If the secret plot lasts that long, I hope the secret is 1. a major and uberplotcentric one, 2. not having anything to do with Sam, and 3. not something Dean has known all along. Like his Phoenix blood. Time to make Dean special again, show.