TV Spoilers & Speculation Corner: 2/02/11

This week, we have spoilers from V and Supernatural:

(Tuesday nights, 9pm, ABC)

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia

You’ve probably figured it out by now, but the fourth episode of V was preempted by President Obama’s speech. A trailer of the episode can be found here.

The series seems to be doing well in DVR playbacks, numbers which may well help it when talks of a third season begin.

The biggest news this week was Jane Badler’s promotional activity in Spain to herald the beginning of the second season of the show over there. There are tons of photos of her floating over the Net, as well as numerous interviews. Some highlights include a TV appearance, which included a bizarre musical number with dancers dressed in classic red uniforms, flamenco dancers, men in drag, and Badler walking on stage to sing “La Vie en Rose” (a reference to her performance on the show Mission Impossible in the 80s). This will probably be seen as proof that all Spanish speakers are wacky.

Badler’s interviews are too numerous to translate or mention: in one, she says a return of her character in season three will be based on fan reaction (which means it’s a done deal, then). Sometimes, she spends the whole day in front of a green screen (very different from her days in the 80s on set), and she wants to “stay evil”. She also has a hilarious line where she says: “They told me when they showed V in Spain, there were only two channels; that’s why all of you watched it. Had I known, I’d have visited sooner!”

All in all, it seems like Badler is having a blast. She deserves all the attention.

Oh, and what’s up with the character of Erica? She seems to be the only one getting male love interests, as her new partner may be vying for her attention. I demand that Lisa develop a love triangle.

Supernatural (Friday nights, 9pm, CW)
By Paula R. Stiles

There was a plethora of spoilers this week, despite (or perhaps because) the preemption of the show, along with Smallville, in favour of repeats of the new year’s episodes of The Vampire Diaries and Nikita.

Programming note: a repeat of “Appointment in Samarra” will air tonight at 9pm and the second half of the season (6.12 onward) will resume with new episodes on Friday at 9pm. Apparently, the episodes will simply be pushed forward into March. No word yet on whether this will shorten the March hiatus.

So, why did the CW do that? Seems the CW feared The Vampire Diaries and Nikita would plowed under by the fading juggernaut that is American Idol on Thursdays. Or maybe they were afraid of Fringe on Fridays. Or maybe there were preemptions on Thursday in major markets. Or maybe they’d all been smoking crack over at the network. But the big news was the preemption itself, which was made at the last minute (with only a day’s notice), was poorly advertised by the CW, and proved to be unnecessary. (not to mention, the ratings on Friday with the repeats were half of what they would have been with the new episodes, and worse than repeats of Smallville/Supernatural would have gotten) Since, then, many, many, many people in the media have been wondering just what the CW was thinking, as the audience backlash has been pretty vociferous. Ay, chihuahua.

So, naturally, as February follows January, talk has once again turned to whether or not there will be a seventh season. Chances seem good, but until the CW confirms it, nobody’s making any bets, though they’ve claimed that the recent preemptions are not an indicator that the show has been backdoor-canceled. Which is probably true, but surely, they can see why fans are not reassured? I mean, Smallville is gone for certain after this season and preempting it with another show fairly screams that the network doesn’t give a damn about either show (What’s especially sad is that both beat out Nikita regularly in the demos and Smallville even kicks Nikita butt in audience numbers).

Moving on to spoilers for actual episodes, we got several screener reviews of 6.12, a clip of Castiel checking Sam out and determining he has a soul again, and not one but two interviews last week from current showrunner Sera Gamble. Yes, that’s right, folks – the CW not only preempted two shows at the last minute, at the end of a long hiatus, but also chose to do so after advertising them up the wazoo, until the last minute. Classy.

Anyhoo, Gamble’s interviews managed to irritate more than enlighten, especially since she gave up rather few spoilers and too much love for that godawful Sambot plot. She conveniently spread the blame (It’s like manure, you know) by saying Robert Singer came up with the idea, both she and Eric Kripke loved (in case you were wondering whether or not Kripke is still involved in the show…he is), and off they all went. Fueling speculation that the writers cut said plot short due to fan response, she said they had even thought about running it for an entire season, but ultimately decided not do it because it would have been “too hard on the central relationship”. Fueling other speculation that the writers did not give Jared Padalecki sufficient direction in the Sambot plot to make it work, she says, “We kind of threw a new character at Jared this season…We knew [Jared] would find something really cool.”

I have to be honest – I have grown heartily sick and tired of this obsession with “the central relationship” between Sam and Dean. It’s a horror show that does different riffs on different horror themes, tropes and stories. As “Weekend at Bobby’s” showed, it’s not absolutely necessary to focus on either Sam or Dean. The SPNverse is varied and detailed enough to keep the audience’s interest (or as Robert Frost might have put it, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep” in Supernatural). Instead, we have this incestuous, soap-operatic obsession with turning the damned show into a bromance version of Moonlighting.

In addition, Gamble teased about Sam’s soullessness having a metaphorical equivalent in Dean’s turning off his emotions to hunt (How this equates to Sam’s soul being “part of his moral compass”, and that makes Sambot a “sociopath”, I don’t know), Dean’s “caretaking” Sam (AKA, Sam’s still the SPNverse’s Special Snowflake), Dean’s drinking, Dean’s mental instability, Dean’s possible connection to the alphas (which Gamble actually pushed Mo Ryan in her interview to ask about), and how Dean is a “free spirit [who has] unleashed such tremendous power just on the entire universe with free will”…but nothing concrete. Real, honest-to-God exploration of all of this could happen, or maybe Dean is just such an awesome hero that, like James Bond, he can drink, smoke, and bang anything and anybody and he’ll be fine. Nope, no story to explore here. Oy.

She also talks in not-very-revealing fashion about the “meta” of 6.15 (“The French Mistake”), stuff about how Castiel will be in a lot of the latter half of the season, Balthazar will be back and screwing with things for fun, and how not every episode can be great. She bemoans that the ones you work on the hardest are usually not very good (I disagree with this. The more practiced the writer, the better you get at ‘fixing’ a story with problems. Some of my own best – some of them award-winning – have been frankenstories).

Oh, and Adam will be mentioned at some point and Bobby didn’t notice Sambot’s sambotness because they weren’t in touch a lot. Because I guess Bobby’s not as smart as he looked in 6.04? [scratches head]

Other spoilers – the brothers may be going to Alaska and Russia and the last two episodes of the season haven’t been written yet (Death may appear in one of them, but not before).

It’s possible I missed something. I have to be honest and say that both interviews were frustrating to read and very scattered in the information that they provided (though I thought Mo Ryan made a heroic effort to keep things focused). It wasn’t that Gamble didn’t talk about Dean or talked more about Sam. It was that the only time she really seemed focused and providing information pertinent to questions was when she was discussing the Sambot plot. This applied, not just to discussion about Dean, but about every other character in the show. It even applied to things involving Sam that didn’t involve his soul – I mean, is that all Sam’s going to be about this season? His soullessness and now his drywall? Because that could get really boring.

And what’s the deal with Dean being a “free spirit”, or that weird lacuna about whether or not he’s connected to the alphas? For God’s sake, show, stop starting Dean plots and turning every one of them into red herrings. That doesn’t make him an ordinary guy fighting monsters. It just makes you lousy writers.

Then there are the previews. Some info (warning, it tells you who does what in 6.12) is implying that this episode is anything but Deancentric, though I couldn’t trace it completely back to its source. Some others imply that it’s somehow Dean’s fault that Adam is still down in the Cage, which was the awfullest, most horrible place evah when Sam was there, but now that only Adam is there, hey, no biggie. What, we can’t have Sam show an ounce of selflessness for once and make it his mission to get Adam out of that awful, horrible place (Please tell me he will, show)? What happened to redeeming Sam?

Oh, but apparently, Bobby will finally get a clue and not trust Sam, anymore, which will make Sam feel badly, Castiel likes Sam better than Dean now (Golly, will he ever mention how he couldn’t be bothered to help get Sam out of the Cage, then?), and Dean will be all happy to have Sam back (which is a pretty psychotic level of denial at this point, but whatever), and there will be hugs and mantears and stuff (about which I care not even a mangy rat’s posterior). Can I scream now?

And can somebody, please, for the love of God, finally acknowledge how dangerous and selfless it was for Dean to have himself killed so that he could make a deal with Death to rescue his brothers from Hell? Crazy and disruptive? Sure. But still dangerous and other-centered, still heroic, not “unsavory”.

I’m told we’ll get Aerosmith. That’s nice, but I’d prefer a story that makes sense.

At this point, I’m keeping my expectations low, especially about Dr. Visiak (Kim Johnston Ulrich) the “medieval” expert, because this show hasn’t done well with the history books in the past few years, and such characters, if they’re any good, usually get killed off, anyway (Would be fun if she turned out to be the Big Bad, though). I’d love to love this episode. I also understand that when you get screeners, you’re essentially required to act as though what you watched is The Big Sleep-meets-Gone with the Wind, but that doesn’t mean it will automatically turn out to be a classic.

Okay, so speaking of, let’s move on to casting info. Samantha Ferris tweeted that she’s coming back as Ellen (Yaaay!). No word on when or whether alive or dead, but when has that stopped the show bringing people back? Also, the angel Rachel has been cast (and it’s not the gal from 6.17). It’s Sonya Salomaa, who appeared as a regular in Canadian dark fantasy series, The Collector, and Rachel will be appearing in 6.19, possibly recurring (In other words, she doesn’t die in 6.19). I wasn’t a huge fan of Salomaa’s ex-junky/ex-hooker/full-time cliche character on that show, but she’s not a bad actress. Not loving the “kick-ass chick” vibe I’m getting off the spoilers, though, as the show has a very spotty track record on that score. When it’s good, you get Meg and Ellen and Pam every so often. When it’s bad, you get Jo, Ruby and Bela for please-stop-now-ever.

Episode 6.18’s title is now “My Heart Will Go On”. Ugh. Movin’ on, there’s a nice new official photo from 6.15, and Guy Bee and Jim Beaver have been facebooking/tweeting photos from the set of 6.17, including Padalecki and Ackles in ten-gallon hats and Misha Collins in Castiel’s trademark trenchcoat with blood on his shirt (Jim Beaver is also in some, in what looks like modern-day clothing). Incidentally, just to nip a misconception in the bud, as I’m already seeing people make all sorts of assumptions based on movie westerns, Sam and Dean are not likely to be cowboys in the Old West in 1861. More likely, they’ll be involved in some way with the whole “Bleeding Kansas” fratricidal mess (Think Ride with the Devil). And considering how many ringers and mercenaries both sides brought in, any stranger (especially one with no money or family connections) would be in considerable peril of being lynched, regardless of his skin colour, in that time and place.

Ausiello teased that two characters would be taking the Big Dive in the near future (one of them probably being Rufus), confirmed that Ben would be getting Dean to come back in 6.14 by pretending there’s an emergency in the Braeden household, and claimed that the brothers would “go up against a villain of Lilith proportions“. Lord, I hope not. She was awfully underwhelming.

And Kristin gave us another non-spoiler spoiler about 6.12 that you could have gleaned from reading the screener reviews (Perhaps she did).

Finally, Jensen Ackles is playing Kyle Madigan in video game The Third Birthday, in which Lovecraftian aliens land on Manhattan and…um…eat it. Naturally, a kickass hero(ine) rises up to fight back.

We’ll be back next week with more spoilers. Stay tuned and check out our reviews of V and Supernatural.

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IFPTV Spoilers & Speculation Corner: 2/02/11