V (Tuesday nights, 10pm, ABC)
By Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Warner Bros. has issued hotel room key cards with images from its new and returning TV shows appearing at Comic-Con. The five promotional, limited-edition, collectible key cards include V, Supernatural, Smallville, and Batman: Under the Red Hood.
Logan Huffman, who plays Tyler, spoke to the New Zealand Herald about his interest in UFOs, sci-fi and generational concerns. He said, “sci-fi has a beautiful way of showing our deepest fears in a really easy way for us to cope with.” The 20-year-old actor also said our world faces many difficult issues: “My generation is pissed off because we’ve been handed a shit world. I think that’s what my character is mad at, too.” I actually fail to see what Tyler is mad at, so I suppose ‘ecological concerns’ are as good an answer as any.
Charles Mesure (Hobbs on the show) is appearing in the 13-part series This is Not My Life. The science-fiction show from New Zealand tells the story of a man who wakes up living a perfect life, with no recollection of it. He said his character on V is “another one in my long line of hard bastards, a tough customer” and that This is Not My Life resembles V in its near-future setting.
The Ausiello Files confirms that Laura Vandervoort, who plays Tyler’s alien love interest, is reprising her role as Supergirl in Smallville‘s final season.
The Vampire Diaries (Thursday nights, 8pm, CW)
By Carla Lee
No The Vampire Diaries spoilers column this week.
Supernatural (Friday nights, 9pm, CW)
By Paula R. Stiles
First: HAPPY 28TH BIRTHDAY, JARED PADALECKI! (I’d do dancing fruit, but Word Press is no fun. Imagine them, anyway).
A surprising number of pre-Comic-Con spoilers popped up this week, including casting calls for the first three episodes, a humongous eight-page spread in a special Comic-Con edition of TV Guide (with a Sera Gamble interview and spoilers), a new spoiler from Michael Ausiello, and another interview with Eric Kripke. Also, it has been reported that Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, and Jim Beaver will be representing the actor side of the table, along with writers Sera Gamble, Eric Kripke and Ben Edlund. Mark Sheppard also tweeted that he was “looking forward to SD comic con…,” so probably expect him to be there, too. Padalecki and Ackles weren’t able to go last year, so this should be a treat. TV Overmind and CW Source are soliciting questions from fans to ask at the panel.
Actress Sharon Taylor posted a pic of herself with Jensen Ackles on set, stating she would appear in a future episode this fall. Note that Ackles is clean-shaven in the pic, so likely, the beard he was sporting at the Barcelona con won’t be appearing in season six (which is a shame, because he grows a very nice beard).
The press release on the season five DVD (now expected out September 7) is up, as is a promo, and there is a distinct lack of extras (a single episode commentary for “The End” and only one cut scene from “The Real Ghostbusters”, plus some Bobby-oriented/narrated documentaries, the complete Ghostfacers webisode, and the gag reel. Well, I’m looking forward to the last two, at least).
The casting calls first went up on LiveJournal group ontd_spnparty. You can also find them on Television without Pity. The former is a closed group, but it might be worth your while to join, as it has a lot of spoilers not found elsewhere and often puts them up first. The show is looking for a preteen boy named “Joey” for 6.01. Fans have already started speculating that this is a recasting of Lisa’s son, Ben. Considering we haven’t seen Ben since “The Kids Are Alright” except briefly from the back at the end of “Swan Song”, that’s a good bet. There is also speculation that the time jump will be two or three years, as the casting call asks for actors 12-13 years old and Ben was eight in season three (so, he’d be turning 11 early in season six). On the other hand, the show could just be trying to cast a slightly-older actor and there won’t be that large of a time jump.
The much-discussed Christian Campbell, cousin to the brothers, is described as “capable…good at his job and…condescending”. Personally, I think this show has had a surfeit of “condescending” characters who treated the brothers like crap, but it’s just a casting call and Corin Nemec (whom I liked on Stargate SG1) is usually able to put a nice-guy spin on unpopular characters. So, I’ll wait and see. Two other recurring characters, Gwen and Mark, are also listed. A girl, Maggie, is listed as a possible love interest for Joey and there are references to a camp fire, a one-shot character who is “attacked” while “on stakeout” and another character who goes into convulsions on a back deck. It’s unclear what episode this is, as it’s listed as 6.02 but given 6.01’s title (“Exile on Main Street”). Incidentally, the title for 6.02/3 is “Two and a Half Men” and at least one scene involves Sam and Dean having to deal with both a baby and a monstrous granny. Okay, why did that just make me snicker?
The eight-page TV Guide spread (pp. 28-35) consists of four articles: “World of Winchesters” (a flow chart of Sam, Dean and all of their allies and enemies, past and present), “Must-See Episodes”, “Burning Questions”, and “Behind the Scenes”. The last article has some of the funniest stuff and best photos. Ackles is quoted as saying, “We’re going 14, 15 hours a day. Jared and I are in every scene of each episode. We shoot nights, out in the cold and the rain. I wanted to kill myself when Matthew Fox talked about hanging with his family on the beach when he worked on Lost!”
The TV Guide spread was…odd. There were some nice photos I hadn’t seen before, but the author, Ileane Rudolph, got a lot of things wrong (Lucifer’s listed as only an angel, Gabriel as an archangel. Huh?) and made some really odd selections in the first two articles. For example, only one episode each from the first two seasons was included in the “Must-See Episodes”. Wow. How this show got a third season if only two episodes from its first two seasons are “must-see” is a mystery. Then there’s the inclusion of Lisa as “Dean’s confidant” (“girlfriend”, people. She’s his girlfriend not his priest) but no sign of the brothers’ grandparents, one of whom is slated to come back this next season. And YED? The demon who started it out? Completely missing. I’m serious.
The spoilery article is “Burning Questions”, which largely consists of Sera Gamble answering fan questions and a sidebar written by Gamble, herself: “The Apocalypse was wild and went just about as big and epic as we could go. We also wrapped up a massive amount of mythology. Season 6 is all about going in a new direction with the story line, while delivering the kind of classic Supernatural episodes everyone loves. And most important – still keep the relationship of the brothers front and center. So we’ll be telling a season-long story that’s twisty and down-to-earth and keeps people guessing. You can expect continuity with previous seasons, but also a lot of fresh mythology.
“When we start the season, Dean’s out of the business. He left hunting when his brother died and has done his best to make a new life for himself. But Sam’s mysteriously out of Hell. He’d love to leave Dean to live a peaceful life – God knows the guy earned it – but he’s uncovered something very disturbing and has to pull his brother back into the hunt. And Dean finds that the landscape is very different than the one he left. Monsters are going haywire. Heaven and Hell are in turmoil. Lucifer might be locked up, but there’s plenty of crap hitting the fan.”
Also instructive is the answer to what’s happening with Bobby and his contract with Crowley: “Crowley’s not in too much of a hurry to tear up the contract. Hey, he’s a demon. When he said he’d reverse the deal, Bobby should have asked for more specific language. On the other hand, Crowley picked the wrong hunter to mess with. It’s turned out to be a fun story.”
In response to a question about what happens now that Lucifer’s down a hole: “There are definite consequences. You’ll find out pretty early in Season 6 that Heaven, Hell and Earth have all been shaken up by the apocalypse. And yes, there are a few good reasons for at least one of the Horsemen to pay our guys a return visit this season.”
A question about Gabriel yields the usual death-is-not-the-end-on-Supernatural and “…we love Richard Speight Jr.’s work. So let’s call this a warm and optimistic ‘could be.'” A question about Kali yields a somewhat-less-vague answer: “She’s not in the first run of episodes, but she’s definitely on our goddess short list.” The question about whether the show will ever get a Western-themed episode sounds like ‘probably not’.
Okay, so prepare to be confused, because Kripke also gave an interview this week and some of the stuff he says sounds different, both from Gamble’s interview and from what we know of returning characters. First, Michael Ausiello of EW gave a vaguish spoiler for the upcoming season: “Season 6 will revolve around Dean’s new life as loving husband to Lisa and doting father to Ben. I kid! I made a funny! Here’s the real answer to your question: Despite the domestic situation Dean found himself in at the end of last season, exec producer Eric Kripke assures me that Supernatural will continue to be about the Winchester brothers “on the road together.” That said, Kripke confirms that “Dean’s situation creates all sorts of angst and conflict. The question [we’ll be] exploring is, How can you be a hunter when there are actually people that you care about? I think we will mine it for all of the emotional angst and conflict that we can. But [Lisa] is not – nor is anyone – going to be riding in the backseat of the Impala with Sam or Dean.””
Then Ausiello’s interview with Eric Kripke came out on July 15. In it, Kripke talks about why he stepped down (essentially, he got tired and his original storyline was done. Plus, he thought changing the lineup would help keep things fresh). However, how real this changing of the guard really is remains questionable: “I see my job as being a safety net and just making sure that the show falls in the broadest possible parameters…. Sera and Bob [Singer] are pitching episode ideas to me. I’m in the room so far for every episode break. I pitch a couple of episode ideas, pitch a couple issues of how to fix some problems and some breaks. I’m giving some script notes. I’m still in it; I think, frankly, Sera and Bob wish I backed the hell up.”
He reports that he will probably write an episode for season six and is scheduled to direct one in February. He also talks about whether the show should have continued past season five (an expectation of the show only having five seasons, it must be said, he himself put into the minds of the fans): “The question is not should it have ended, the question is, ‘Is the new story line compelling and interesting and is it an arena of this universe that we haven’t explored yet and is it putting Sam and Dean into new situations that we haven’t seen before?’ I think it does all of the above.”
Then he talks about the upcoming season six plot. First, he insists that the angels-and-demons storyline will be tapped out, then admits that, well, yeah, there will still be angels and demons (since Castiel and Crowley will both be in the season on a recurring basis), then gets off on a tangent about monsters and exploring their origins. He talks about why Grandpa Campbell is coming back: “Their grandfather is the head of that family. Remember, it’s not the Winchesters who are famous hunters, it’s the Campbells. And we are saying that the Campbells are part of a timeline of hunters that have been there since the country’s origins. As Sera put it, they were hacking heads off vampires on the Mayflower. For Sam and Dean to really tap into a family history, which they never knew they had and again never really investigated before, is pretty interesting to us.”
Okay, speculation. First of all, I have to ask: Kripke, what the hell?! The grandfather‘s the “head of the family”? Whatever happened to Mary being the deal-maker? Why couldn’t Deanna be the head of the family? Not like she was the one got rode hard and put away wet by a demon. How sexist can you be?
And we’re talking about the Mayflower as the country’s supernatural origins? Way to forget all about the backstory to “Croatoan”. Let alone all the Native Americans, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch and whatnot who were there first. Why even talk about the Mayflower when they were all English Pilgrims? Why not be…oh, I dunno…original and have the brothers descended from the Scottish privateers of early Nova Scotia, or give them some Métis ancestry and/or link them to the tragic Fiddler brothers of the early 20th century who were Wendigo hunters that fell afoul of the law? You know. Do some research. Don’t rely so much for your history on Schoolhouse Rock. Five minutes on Google would show why there were no Scots listed on the Mayflower and that the history of that time between Scotland and England was as ugly as the history between the Winchesters and demons. I mean, hello? Glencoe?
I also see a wee disconnect going on between the old guard and the new guard. Yes, I’m talking about Kripke’s ongoing assertions that the angel storyline is done. Yet, Gamble is telling us that the new storyline involves Earth, Heaven and Hell being shaken up. Plus, we’ve got both an angel and a demon coming back as recurring characters (and possibly an archangel, if Gabriel shows up). Sure sounds to me like the angel storyline’s not done. Yeah, Lucifer’s back in his cage, but he was hardly the sum total of the angel storyline.
It would also be really nice if the writers made some kind of effort to acknowledge that a fairly hefty section of the fandom is worried that Dean will become domesticated; that Sam’s demon-blood storyline will somehow continue even with Lucifer back in his cage; that we will get a soap opera instead of a horror show. These are all legitimate concerns that threaten to erode a rather divided fanbase. How about addressing them, already?
I’m also just a tad worried about Kripke letting go of the reins, as it sounds as though he’s…well…not. I really don’t know who on the show is responsible for the weaknesses of the latter part of season five, in particular, but I do think last season showed the limits of Kripke’s style of storytelling. I’d like to see how this new chapter turns out with new leadership, which is what Kripke is saying should happen, but it doesn’t sound as though he’s stepping back enough (or at all) to let that occur. I feel this especially strongly after Kripke tacitly admitted in the DVD sneak previews that the writers pulled the trigger on the vessel storyline way too early and then had no other big revelations for the brothers before the season finale. Hint: from the fan’s POV, shoving all of the weird things happening with Dean in seasons four/five into a one-size-fits-all, “He’s the Great Vessel” explanation was like sticking a granny dress on a Vegas stripper and expecting her to make any money. Why not let Sam keep the Great Vessel storyline, instead of trying to split it up, and do something cool with the whole Dean’s-a-True-Servant-of-Heaven idea, instead? It would have given both brothers a lot more story.
I’ve often wondered about the origins of shapeshifters and what the connection or affinity they had with Dean was that two out of three of them obsessed over him so much. But then, I really wondered about what was going on with the pagan gods until 5.19, too. If the treatment of the origins of vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, and the like sinks to the level of “Hammer of the Gods”, I think I’d prefer to keep them a mystery, thanks.
Next week: Comic-Con. Spoilerstravaganza!
Don’t forget that we’re looking for articles, reviews and interviews for our The Vampire Diaries/Supernatural month in September. Go here for more information.