Benedict Cumberbatch Knows HOW TO STOP TIME

Benedict Cumberbatch doesn’t slow down. He keeps adding projects to his already demanding schedule that includes movies and television. So what does he do next? Add another one which includes both acting and executive producing, of course. He will star in the film adaptation of Matt Haig’s How To Stop Time.

Described as “a wildly imagined love story that spans centuries and continents,” the story is about Tom Hazard (Cumberbatch) who appears to be a 41-year-old man, however due to a rare condition, is really over 400-years-old. To avoid detection, he constantly has to change identities and settles as a history teacher in London.

StudioCanal will be fully financing the film and distribute in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand. Adam Ackland produce with Jamie Byng, CEO of Canongate Books, joining Cumberbatch executive producing under his production company, SunnyMarch. No word yet on who will pen the script; however, Haig does have screenwriting experience from StudioCanal’s 2014 hit, Paddington.

Canongate Books will publish Haig’s book in July. The best-selling author is known for his children’s’ books Shadow Forest and The Girl Who Saved Christmas, which was published in late 2016 and was the sequel to his hit A Boy Called Christmas. StudioCanal and Blueprint Pictures has already acquired the screen rights to that series and a feature adaptation is in development. How To Stop Time is his first adult book in a while.

In a statement, Haig stated, “The prospect of Benedict Cumberbatch playing Tom Hazard is a hugely exciting one and I could not be happier about working with Adam and Jamie, and to be reunited with StudioCanal.”

StudioCanal’s UK CEO Danny Perkins added, “We are delighted to be continuing our successful relationship with Matt Haig as well as build upon our long-running and dynamic partnership with SunnyMarch, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Adam Ackland. This compelling novel will make for a powerful film that falls in line with SudioCanal’s ongoing commitment to British talent, storytelling, and production. We look forward to bringing it to audiences around the world.

Cumberbatch next play Dr. Stephen Strange in the upcoming Marvel films Thor: Ragnarok and is currently filming both Avengers: Infinity War and The Current War where he is portraying Thomas Edison. Past projects include Sherlock and Star Trek Into Darkness.


SciFi4Chicks Dives Into HIDDEN FIGURES and STEM

[All images courtesy Hidden Figures Facebook page]

The Oscar-nominated movie Hidden Figures highlighted previously unknown contributions of African-American women to America’s space program and spurred discussion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) careers for women today. SciFi4Chicks digs into both on our March podcast.

The women of the West Computing Wing – human “computers” of NASA’s early days.

Our discussion ranges from the  multiple challenges faced and overcome by the pioneering African-American women of NASA to the work done today to inspire young women to pursue STEM careers. Mindy and Ann also reflect on their own histories with STEM subjects.

Listen in and tell us your stories and experiences in the worlds of STEM!

AND check out Teresa Wickersham’s SciFi4Me review of Hidden Figures.


ONCE UPON A TIME Rumpelstiltskin Was A … Hero?

Episode 613 “Ill-Boding Patterns”
Written by Andrew Chambliss & Dana Horgan
Directed by Ron Underwood

In this episode, there were villains, heroes showing villainous tendencies, and the most heroic character was … a villain.

You know things are really screwy when the most heroic character of the episode is Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle)! But they made it work and work well. And the inclusion of previously and traditionally heroic characters as villains is certainly not uncommon on Once Upon A Time. In this case, there were more than one. Now granted, they’ve given Rumple a heroic arc before, but it was sadly short lived and didn’t take the time to explore that aspect of the character. So it’s good to see them touching on it every now and then.

Beowulf (Torstein Bjørklund), who was initially a good guy before becoming vindictive toward Rumple, is a good example. He even faked the existence of Grendel to bait him into a trap. Of course this was after Rumple committed genocide wiping out so many of the ogres. But not all, as it was implied, since it was also billed as the First Ogre War. But it was enough to get Beowulf irked to the point of wanting to kill the Dark One in revenge for stealing his thunder.

Now THAT’S a knife! (ABC/Eike Schroter)

Then there’s Baelfire (Brandon Spink), Rumple’s own son, who at first tried to prevent his father from doing evil, then himself ordered him (using the dagger of course) to kill Beowulf. Then he started wanting Rumple to go out and get revenge on more people. So Rumple gave him a memory potion where he would forget about using the dagger altogether.

Granted, it was early in Rumple’s time as the Dark One. But it still seems weird to have him as the hero more than as the villain. His whole giving in to darkness was supposedly to help people, which later turned him into pure evil. It seems every Dark One became so originally by trying to be altruistic. It’s good to see that even the most over-the-top villains are given believable origins.

Still, even in Storybrooke, he was trying to do the right things. He tried to give the memory potion to Gideon (Giles Matthey) so he would stop trying to be the Savior and seek revenge on the Black Fairy (Keegan Connor Tracy). Failing that (and being forced to reveal that it was the Blue Fairy that forged the sword), he saved the Blue Fairy from Gideon; although it was after he forced her to reforge the sword. I just hope they can keep a bit of the hero arc going so we can explore that side of the character that we were robbed of previously.

She’s ba-a-ack! (ABC/Eike Schroter)

It’s also good to see the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) back, and that Regina (also Lana Parrilla) accepts that this Robin (Sean Maguire) is a different one than she loved before. Now that frees the two Reginas to go head-to-head.

And Emma (Jennifer Morrison) finding the ring and getting engaged to Killian (Colin O’Donoghue) who killed her grandfather? I actually look forward to when she finds out.

I’m loving the Rumpelstiltskin hero arc. And I’m looking forward to the twin Reginas clashing again. I just hope that all the clashes aren’t going to overwhelm each other and weaken each other’s story lines.


Once Upon a Time airs Sunday nights at 8/7c on ABC.

Netflix Acquires Aaron Burns’ Horror MADRE

Netflix acquired the global streaming rights Aaron Burns’ psychological thriller, Madre. This creepy horror flick is the second project for Burns as a feature director.

The story follows Diana Prieto, a four-month pregnant mother of a severely autistic boy, who is overwhelm due to her husband’s constant work travel which leaves her alone. She hires a gifted Filipino care giver to help her. While her son’s behavior begins to quickly improve under Luz’s supervision, Diana starts to fear that he’s only being taught to speak Filipino and that Luz is using the language barrier and voodoo to turn her son into something sinister.

Chilean actress Daniela Ramírez (La Poseída, Los Archivos del Cardenal) stars as Diana, Aida Jabolin as Luz, and Matías Bassi as Diana’s son. Burns directs from his own original screenplay.

Madre is produced by Nicolás Lopez and Miguel Aseniso Llamas. It is also the first feature film for Purgatorio, a new genre production label within Sobras International Pictures which will focus on horror content for mainstream audiences “using the best of the extensive and rich Latin American folklore.”

The deal was struck prior to Madre‘s debut at SXSW this year. Burns’ Blacktino also premiered at SXSW in 2011. He has appeared in Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno and Keanu Reeves’ Knock, Knock and worked on visual effects for Grindhouse and Machete.

In an interview with Larry Heath from The Iris, Burns discussed his approach to writing a horror film:

In order to enter into the genre and be honest about it I had to come at it from a position of what scares me. In order to make something creepy for other people I had to see what scares me so that I could do it honestly and do it to its fullest.

When asked about his career plans now that he has added directing to his resume, Burns replied:

I have no plans to stop working crew. I dig working crew, I love it. I love working with my people and shooting movies, being camera operator, and just like always being up on the latest trends in tech, and all kinds of stuff like that…At the same time, I really do like directing. Anytime that a project comes about, and in this case it was Miguel and Lopez always making fun of me for being like oh, you’re a fake director, you keep on saying I’m such a great writer, blah blah blah, oh, where’s your script, when are you going to do your next movie, and they ribbed me for like a year and a half. I’m just like man, you guys are jerks, man.

Netflix will stream Madre exclusively by the end of 2017.

Check out the trailer below, if you do not have a phobia of bugs and/or ears…

ROGUES GALLERY #52: Snobs, Songs, a Sellout, and a Slog


[recaps by Jason P Hunt]

This week: Supergirl is Juliet and Mon-El is Romeo Light as the Kryptonian faces off against Lois Lane and Hercules. Then she gets whammied and has to sing for her supper, dragging the Flash into the musical mental minefield. Hijinks ensue. And J.R.R. Tolkien helps the Fellowship of the Time Ship retrieve the blood of Christ to destroy the Spear of Destiny, only it doesn’t go so well. And over on Arrow… just, ugh…

PLUS: a discussion about the new Justice League trailer.

The panel: Ann Laabs, Dave Margosian, Tim Harvey, Jeff Hackworth, Thomas Townley, Jason Hunt


Returns April 24


Episode 216 “Star-Crossed”
Written by Katie Rose Rogers & Jess Kardos
Directed by John Medlen

Teri Hatcher and Kevin Sorbo!

This week, we get the reveal so Kara (Melissa Benoist) gets caught up with the rest of us: Mon-El (Chris Woods) is actually the crown prince of Daxam. And now that he’s been revealed as a liar, “This changes everything!” for Kara, and …

Why is the B-story with Winn (Jeremy Jordan) getting framed for stealing a Van Gogh the more interesting part of the episode?

And just like in the “Invasion” cross-over, this one has one scene at the end to launch us into The Flash musical episode with the singing and stuff…

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Episode 317 “Duet”
Teleplay by Aaron Helbing & Todd Helbing
Story by Greg Berlanti & Andrew Kreisberg
Directed by Dermott Daniel Downs

It’s the full-episode part of the episode-and-some-change crossover (so called) where Supergirl gets taken to Earth-1, where Mon-El and J’onn enlist the help of Team Flash to figure out what’s going on inside her head — which is a mental recreation of 1940s Hollywood musicals, because of course Barry (Grant Gustin) and Kara both love musicals.

Music Meister has got them trapped inside the mental maze, where they have to play along with the script to get out. Along the way, we have several moments of exemplary musical skill (even though every song but one was a cover…). And while it’s not “Once More With Feeling” in terms of impact, it does have a way of cleansing the palate of all the angst and grimacing from previous episodes of both shows.

And in the true spirit of the After School Specials, both Barry and Kara find their own relationship answers when attempting to advise others about the same problems. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

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Episode 215 “Fellowship of the Spear”
Written by Keto Shimizu & Matthew Maala

Directed by Ben Bray

Firestorm finally is using his transmutation powers! And the show acknowledges the birth, life, and death of Christ, which is kind of a big deal for a Hollywood thing, you know?

The Time Team figures out that Christ’s blood is the only thing that will destroy the Spear of Destiny, the remaining pieces of which they retrieve from the Legion of Doom’s base camp at the Vanishing Point. And Nate (Nick Zano) knows of a theory that Sir Gawain of the Arthurian Knights actually recovered a vial of Christ’s blood instead of the Holy Grail. It’s a theory developed by J.R.R. Tolkien (), who’s serving as a 2nd Lieutenant in the North of France during World War I.

So when Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) shows up to confront Mick (Dominic Purcell), everyone figures it’s just more hallucinations. Only it’s not, and Snart convinces Mick to hand over the Spear of Destiny.

Too bad there’s not a Magic Helmet to go with it…

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Episode 517 “Kapiushon”
Written by Brian Ford Sullivan & Emilio Ortega Aldrich
Directed by Kevin Tancharoen

Can this show just get cancelled already?

We spend a lot of time in Flashback Russia, maybe because the whole Prometheus thing isn’t really much of a thing? Because it’s not. It’s boring. Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra) manages to capture Oliver (Stephen Amell), and we spend way too much time with Chase trying to get Oliver to admit something everyone but Oliver already knows. Even Anatoly (David Nykl), easily the only redeeming element of this show at the moment, understands that Oliver is kidding himself thinking that he can keep the “monster” isolated under a green hoodie.

And Drago Konstantin Kovar (Dolph Lundgren) still hasn’t said, “I will break you.”

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The GRIMM Brings the Devil With Him

Episode 6:12 “Zerstörer Shrugged”
Story by David Greenwalt & Jim Kouf
Directed by Aaron Lipstadt 

[recap by Maia Ades]

This is the only episode in which the writer’s credit has been listed as “story by” rather than “written by”. I’m not sure if there is any significance to the change. I thought it was interesting, so I’m sharing my observation with you.

Are you making plans for the series finale? I’m hosting a watch party at my home. We’ll be live tweeting and YouTubing. I’d really like to see your posts, photos or video of your party or other way to mark the occasion. This has been a long ride my friends. We’ve seen these characters go through a lot. We’ve seen them take new lovers, change lovers, have babies, lose loved ones and learn so much along the way. Will you follow these actors on their new adventures or is it the characters they portrayed that are of interest to you? Either way, I’d like to hear from you and find out what brought you to Grimm and why you’ve become a fan.

I think the title comes from the nonchalant manner in which our antagonist, the Zerstörer killed most everyone in his path. He didn’t kill all the drunks under the bridge, and I don’t know why he bothered to kill the one. The guy wasn’t a threat. He could have just turned and kept on walking. Or he could have killed all of them with one wave of his staff, but he didn’t do any of those things. Instead, he killed just one of them. Was it to learn another snippet of our language? Was it to prove to us how deadly he was? Was it to make sure he was easy to find by following the trail of dead bodies he left behind? I don’t know. With only one episode left, I’m protective of time left to finish up the story. We don’t need any extraneous stuff to detract from our actual story.

(Photo by: Allyson Riggs/NBC)

Wow! The end of this episode was painful. Painful because these are characters we’ve lived with for so long. To see them die so easily was hard to watch. We lost Wu (Reggie Lee) and Hank (Russell Hornsby) in rapid succession. My biggest question, who will survive the next, the final episode?

(Photo by: Allyson Riggs/NBC)

Diana (Hannah R. Lloyd) got to flex her acting muscles this week. We’ve not seen her do a lot that was, what actors would call, demanding. Her emotional response to the impending approach of the Zerstörer was impressive. Kudos to you Hannah.

The biggie this episode was red skull made it from “the other place” to our place. He was clearly a fish out of water. He didn’t fit in. He mimicked mimicked every person he heard, learning bits of language. The disturbing thing about red skull was his complete lack of regard for life, any life. It was truly disturbing. I thought on this for some time trying to decide if for some reason I felt his disregard for life was more      _ _ _ _  than the way that others have killed over the years. I can’t say if he was worse. I can say that somehow it was more unsettling. Which means, I owe Andrew Morgado respect for pulling this off. If I’m crediting the wrong actor, I apologize. There is only one credit for Zerstörer. I expected two credits. One for the person in the extensive makeup and one for the woged buff God like character. Since there is only one credit listed, I used it.

While this episode is devastating to the main characters and audience when they lose two of our central characters, it’s not as catastrophic as I expected. For so long I thought the final show down was going to be a world wide war with Black Claw. Then it was to be the arrival of the Devil and destruction of civilization. So far, he’s killed a few people and brought a rain of dead bats. While neither of those is nice for those involved, including the bats, it’s not the massive destruction I expected.

While I’m on the topic of Black Claw, wrapping up a multi season storyline with one line felt insufficient. Trubel, (Jacqueline Toboni) brushes aside the entire war with an off handed comment that Black Claw has been defeated. Not that I wanted to see the war. I argued many weeks that bringing a full war to Grimm was not a good idea. It would have been the wrong tone and lack the storytelling that Grimm established. On the other hand, this was the other extreme and it didn’t feel satisfying at all.

(Photo by: Allyson Riggs/NBC)

The books have been the resource to solve cases since the first season. I think they may be the ray of hope to defeat the Zerstörer. The books offered information on who or what their enemy is. Perhaps a bit further in their reading they’ll find information on how to even defeat this Devil. It seems appropriate that the final solution would be in the books. I suppose that the show’s creators, David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf have been, in a not so subtle way, promoting books and reading. I don’t think a single case has been solved without reading up and finding information and solutions. Perhaps they’ve found a more successful way to promote reading than the many public service messages that try to accomplish the same thing.

Next week, the whole story will be wrapped up one way or another. Any guesses how the writers will tie up the storylines left? Or at least how they’re going to finish this? Will all our main characters be killed off? Will the whole world of Portland and Grimm as we know it be wiped out? Will Diana be forced into marriage with the Devil? We’ll all find out next week.


Grimm airs Friday nights at 8/7c on NBC.


OKJA To Have Limited Theatrical Release From Netflix

Earlier this month, we had the news that Korean director Bong Joon-Ho’s next project, Okja, would have a June release on Netflix. Now the streaming service has announced that it will have a limited theatrical release.

Details are slim. What is known is that it will be released in South Korea with Next Entertainment World distributing the film. It will also be released in the US; however, there is no word yet on who will partner with Netflix or how expansive the release will be.

When Netflix invested $50 million into this international production, there was a positive reaction in many film circles. However, some did express the desire to see the film from Joon-Ho on the big screen. He has rightly earned a reputation for creating off-the-wall, imaginative, and challenging genre films. He tends to blend family-related themes with sociopolitical metaphors to create unique and quirky films. His previous projects include The Host and Snowpiercer, which has been ordered to a pilot at TNT.

The film stars Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhall, Lily Collins, Steven Yeun, and Paul Dano. It follows a girl who befriends a strange creature and fights to save it from a powerful, multinational company. Brad Pitt’s Plan B produces.

As excited as some are for the theatrical release of Okja, some do question what Netflix has to gain from this move. By having their projects only released on the streaming network, it has the potential to draw in more subscribers. Why would a subscriber want to pay again to see it in the theater? Perhaps Netflix is testing out the idea of using the box office to draw in more subscribers while picking up extra cash on the side while gaining some extra credibility in the theatrical release market for future projects.

Whatever their secret is, the important part is that the audience will be able to enjoy Okja on multiple platforms.

H2O #152: In Which We Discuss ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK & Free Comic Book Day


We need your help!

This half-hour, we offer up an invitation for you to be a part of our live coverage of Free Comic Book Day coming up on Saturday, May 6th. We’ll be attempting to connect people from comic book shops all over the world to talk about what’s happening in your neck of the woods.

Also: there’s rumor floating about that Robert Rodriguez is in line to direct the reboot of Escape From New York. Do we need this? No, but the studio machine in Hollywood needs the next big franchise, so they’re doing it anyway. Because CHiPs was a thing… Is Rodriguez the right man for the job? Who would be the best new Snake Plissken? And how do you do the political commentary in today’s climate?

Programming note: H2O is now on a bi-weekly schedule, so every other Saturday is when you’ll get a new episode.





Renewal Madness: Did Your Favorites Survive?

It’s that time of year for some of our favorite past-times: March Madness, spring training, NFL draft, and show renewal time. So far, this is what we know.

The CW has picked up freshman show Riverdale for a second season. The moody, murder-mystery take featuring Archie Comics characters’ renewal comes after only six episodes into the first season. To make this sweeter, the announcement comes one week after it was revealed that Netflix would air the CW show’s entire season starting a week after the finale.

Described as a mix between Twin Peaks and Gossip Girl, Riverdale has received mixed reviews from critics, ranging from “confusing” to “addictive.” The series follows the adventures of Archie, Veronica, Betty, and Jughead, offering plenty of mystery and drama both in and out of school. Added to the show are bits of humor expected from the original comics. While the show is not considered canon, there are enough moments peppered into the show to tickle the fan’s taste buds.

The show was created by Archie Comics’ chief creative officer, Robert Aguirre-Sacasa. It stars K.J. Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse, Madelaine Petsch, Luke Perry, Marisol Nichols, and Madchen Amick.

Expanding into a thirteen episode third season is the space-based Syfy channel series The Expanse. The show has received an overwhelming positive response from both viewers and critics with its complex characters, political intrigue, attention to scientific authenticity, and amazing visual effects.

The series is set 200 years in the future and follows Captain James Holden and the crew of the spaceship Rocinate as they navigate the conflicts among the populations of Earth, Mars, and the asteroid belt. The solar system is constantly in turmoil and no one has all the information about the true forces that might threaten them all.

The first season of the show debuted in 2015 with ten episodes. The authors of The Expanse series, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (collaborating under the pen name James S.A. Corey), are very involved with the show’s production, which helps keep the complexity of the show in line with the books.

The Expanse stars Steven Strait, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Dominique Tipper, Cas Anvar, Wes Chatham and Frankie Adams. Naren Shankar executive produces with Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby who also serve as showrunners.

Even though the seventh season of Once Upon A Time has not officially been announced, four of the cast members are in negotiations to continue living in Storybrooke. OUAT bosses Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis have previously stated they do not see season six as the end, but possibly hitting a reset button, which gives them an opportunity to expand the shows stories.

Original series stars of the ABC fantasy-drama Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan), Lana Parrilla (Regina Mills), and Robert Carlyle (Mr. Gold), along with season two addition, Colin O’Donoghue (Captain Hook), are in negotiations. There is no word on Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White), Josh Dallas (Prince Charming), Jared Gilmore (Henry Mills), and Emilie de Ravin (Belle); however, it doesn’t mean they will not return.

The OUAT bosses have recruted Andrew J. West (The Walking Dead) and Alison Fernandez (Jane the Virgin) to play pivotal roles for the season six finale. According to TV Line, if the show is renewed, they would return as series regulars.

Listed below are other SciFi4Me favorites returning next year:


Season 5, Episode 5 “Dreams Die First”
Written by Erica Lipez & Kerry Ehrin
Directed by Nestor Carbonell

[Images courtesy A&E/Cate Cameron/Sergei Bachlakov]


“Dreams Die First” dives deep into two narratives. Even as he experiences flashes of his life as “Mother” in White Pine Bay, Norman (Freddie Highmore) refuses offers of help and chooses the comforts of home. And we finally meet Marion Crane (Rihanna), watching her pursue a reckless course that lands her right back at Bates Motel. Safe in Seattle, Dylan and Emma (Max Theirot and Olivia Cooke) face a crisis in their marriage. Former Sheriff Romero is nowhere to be seen, possibly because Nestor Carbonell is directing this episode.



Emma and Dylan

Emma, searching for stamps in a junk drawer, finds instead a lone earring saved in an envelope. Could it be Norma’s? Spurred by this discovery, Emma presses Dylan to discuss Norma and consider visiting her. Norma may be a “nut,” but deserves to know about her grandchild. Dylan shoots down the idea abruptly.

He later confesses the truth to Emma. His doubts about Norman and the trail of suspicious deaths that follow him. “Norman is sick. Things happen around him … bad things.” From Norman’s father, Sam Bates, to the trail of bodies in White Pine Bay. From Norman’s teacher Blair Watson, that’s a list that may include the owner of that lone earring — Emma’s mother.

Emma can barely control her anger. She tells Dylan to literally take a hike for a while so she doesn’t start screaming. Searching “Wikifinders” on Dylan’s Puget Sound Hops and Granary laptop that night, Emma learns her own secret — about Norma’s “suicide”. Will she tell Dylan?

Norman Bates, small business owner and master of he surveys – for now.


Norman wakes and reaches for Mother — her space on the bed is empty.  He is red-eyed, has scratches on his back, and races to the bathroom to vomit. Somebody had a late night? But was it Norman or Mother? Norman searches the house and motel; Mother is nowhere to be found. But Sheriff Greene (Brooke Smith) would like to speak to him at the station. Since Mother’s car is also MIA, he presumably walks to town.

Detective Arbogast Sheriff Greene politely, deliberately questions Norman about Alex Romero while he nervously drinks from a glass of water. Throughout this episode, we see Norman as a very poor liar and not nearly as clever as he thinks he is. In his version of Life With Romero, the former sheriff was “a lonely, very unhappy man” who “latched onto my mother so completely and didn’t want anyone else in her life.” Projecting much, Norman?

Back home, Norman again searches for Mother and finds only a book of matches from The White Horse Bar. He calls and asks if anyone has seen Norma. She isn’t there – but her car’s in the parking lot and about to get towed.

Madeline (Isabelle McNally) calls right after to apologize for the whole “cake and chill” fiasco of a first date but agrees to take Norman into town. Norman spills the beans about seeing Sam with a woman at the Motel. Madeline shows the first sign of spine this season, furiously demanding Norman “get the hell out of my truck.” Good thing they’re at the bar.

The bartender (Brendan Taylor) appears very concerned for Norman — is he OK? Norman most assuredly is not. Muttering “It’s all good … it’s all going to be good, Norman,” he drives through the rain in a daze, almost running over Dr. Edwards (Damon Gupton), his former therapist at the Pineview Institute.

Norman has a particularly difficult time keeping his mind on the road.

Norman has coffee with Dr. Edwards, who knows Norman isn’t on his medications since no-one has called for a refill in a year and a half. Norman begins acknowledging some truths about himself. He knows he sees his mother when she’s not really there and “sometimes, I become her … but that doesn’t happen anymore.” So thanks for the coffee but goodbye Dr. Edwards! On to the White Horse Bar.

Not a good idea. Norman’s breakdown continues. Everyone seems to know him, asks how he’s been, compliments him on his “new look.” Norman stumbles into the bathroom. A “handsome man” (Michael Doonan) follows him. From the intimacy Handsome Man displays towards Norman, they know each other very well. Norman doesn’t appear to know him, but “remembers” flashes of Norma with this man in a car.

Norman collapses against the wall. Handsome Man switches from hookup mode to genuine concern, asking how he can help. Norman mentions his mother; the man offers to call her. Norman says “You can’t … she’s dead.” He hears Norma asking, “We’re supposed to be together, aren’t we Norman?” and sees himself resting his head on her lap.

Back home, Norman trudges through the rain to the house, and we see Marion Crane, barely able to see the sign through the torrential rain, turn off the road to the Bates Motel.

Marion may not have great judgment in men or overnight accommodations, but her coat looks fabulous.


Marion Crane’s storyline tracks closely with her path in Psycho; Bates Motel makes Marion’s part of this iconic story both true to the source material AND new in the telling.

Psycho Notes

“Dreams Die First” is chock full of subtle, well-placed callbacks to specific moments in Psycho.

~ Last week, Norman remarked that he sounded “mad” to be offering Madeline his dead mother’s clothes. This week Norman describes Romero during their prison visit. “He just stared … like a madman.” Much like Norman in the last shot of Psycho.

~ Marion’s first scene echoes the first scene in Psychoanother furtive encounter between Sam and Marion. In Psycho, they couldn’t marry because of alimony Sam had to pay. On Bates, he’s too far in debt to commit (as far as he’s told Marion). So far, movie Sam Loomis is Prince Charming compared to his TV counterpart.

~ Marion works at a Seattle real estate company called R.A. Bloch Realty. I see what you did there, Bates Motel!

Marion sees the answers to all her problems in a briefcase full of money – who wouldn’t?

~ The briefcase full of cash has been inflation adjusted from the original $40,000.00 to $400,000.00. Marion is told to deposit it on Bates, not just put in the safe deposit box.

~ Marion asks to be considered for the position recently vacated by Janet. Wonder if Janet’s last name was Leigh?

~ Her boss is still named George Lowery (Raphael Sbarge) although the slimy rich guy is now named Jeff Dunn (Al Sapienza) instead of Tom Cassidy. He’s still a leering jerk. We don’t get to hear him brag that buying a house for his newlywed daughter with all that cash isn’t “buying happiness. That’s just… buying off unhappiness.

~ Fleeing Phoenix with Mr. Cassidy’s cash, Marion has the bad luck to see & be seen by her boss Mr. Lowery, crossing street at a red light.  On Bates, Norman sees Dr. Edwards crossing the street in White Pine Bay.

~ The menacing cop (Mort Mills) wearing mirrored glass in Psycho is now just as menacing but takes his glasses off (and is played by executive producer Carlton Cuse).

~ In Psycho, Mirrorshades Cop sees Marion’s car pulled over on the side of the road. On Bates,  instead of being questioned for sleeping in her car overnight, Marion is pulled over because her rear license plate is obscured by a raincoat she threw in the trunk (over the incriminating Suitcase Of Stolen Cash).


Other Wonderings

~ There is a lot of care taken to show the water glasses during Norman’s talk with Sheriff Greene, and a point made of showing Norman drinking from his glass. Maybe Sheriff Greene’s collecting DNA and/or fingerprints?

~ Norman has two chances to accept offers of help — from Dr. Edwards and “Handsome Man” at the White Horse Bar. Both can see his distress and offer to help. Both offers are refused.

~ Serious question. Was Norman suffering a blackout when carrying out the murder-suicide attempt last season? He describes Norma’s suicide as is he wasn’t involved at all. He has to remember something.


Bates Motel airs Monday at 8/9c on A&E.


SLEEPY HOLLOW Develops an Eating Disorder

Season 4, Episode 10 “Insatiable”
Written by Keely MacDonald
Directed by Steven A. Adelson

This is a little better than the episodes we’ve had lately. At least there are a few answers and some progress on the main plot. In other words, we know a little more about what Dreyfuss (Jeremy Davies) is up to. The monster is not exactly original but has some interesting twists to its abilities. And most importantly, Crane (Tom Mison) does not pretend that he was present when the Donner party was trapped and starving. Thankfully, we are given no flashbacks to that event.

We start off seeing a woman from Malcolm’s company, Helen (Kathleen Hogan), visiting him in his cabin in the woods. She is ambitious and Dreyfuss describes her as hungry, and famished, for power. Jobe (Kamar de los Reyes) ushers her through a door and the screaming begins.

Crane throws a party in his apartment. It is Jake’s (Jerry MacKinnon) idea, as a means for Crane to meet his neighbors. Crane and Jenny (Lyndie Greenwood) talk about how well he is settling in. He tries to get her to take a room down the hall.

Jake brings Missy (Michele Plaia) to the party. She’s the bartender he met when Alex (Rachel Melvin) was on her ill-fated Tinder date. Alex is consumed with jealousy, at least if jealousy looks like you’ve been sucking on lemons, and I think maybe it does.

In the meantime, Diana (Janina Gavankar) visits an old mentor, Assistant Secretary Nancy Stryker (Catherine Dyer) and tries to convince her to investigate Dreyfuss. She doesn’t have enough evidence and the woman can see that it’s a personal vendetta. She’s wearing a lovely string of pearls.

I don’t know what we’re doing out here when we should be chasing Dreyfuss. (Tina Rowden/FOX)

Jobe enters the Eisenhower building. He goes through the metal detector and there’s a funny moment when the security guard sees his demonic form on the screen with spikes everywhere. A moment later he has a perfectly normal silhouette. He’s carrying a girly little basket with a handle. He stops at a statue of justice, the scales even. When he gets to the basement he opens the basket. The little basket contains a puzzle box. The box contains a demon. He lets the demon loose and tells it to eat. The demon heads into the duct system. A moment later a lobbyist starts eating everything in sight and then dies of starvation.

This puts Diana and Crane at odds. She still wants to go after Dreyfuss. Ichabod wants to stop the immediate threat. Knowing that Dreyfuss wants Molly has increased the urgency in hunting him down, at least for Diana. She concedes the point to Crane but then hijacks the histerns for her own ends.

Jenny goes off to find a book that might help and gets a treasure hunting offer. Alex and Jake spy on an assistant of Malcolm’s.

And what is a Rubik’s cube? (Tina Rowden/FOX)

Diana and Crane go back to the Eisenhower building, where a little girl in a tour group comments that the lady justice statue has scales that are not equal. They were before, when Jobe went past them. Crane and Diana hear horrific screams, and follow the security guards to where Diana’s mentor is eating someone’s guts out like she was a zombie. She’s covered in blood and a guard shoots her when she stands up. I wouldn’t have recognized her except for the pearl necklace. Crane sees glowing red eyes behind the duct work.

Through video surveillance they see the puzzle box, which Crane has seen before. A fellow soldier had it. His whole company later died of starvation. The box was then passed down in the family, and the Donner party had it during their ill fated trip.

Their first attempt to capture the demon fails and the box is smashed. They figure out that the gold on the box is its kryptonite and create another box with 3D printing. They capture the demon with cars (full of trace amounts of gold) in a junk yard, which is actually pretty cool, and destroy the hunger demon with injections.

I think I am getting the hang of this “modern” art. (Tina Rowden/FOX)

Dreyfuss and Jobe hunt down and find the headless horseman. Unfortunately, he is still alive. We find out that their purpose is to call forth the four horseman of the apocalypse. The social media kid, Logan MacDonald (Robbie Kay), will be the horseman of pestilence. The former employee is famine. Headless is the horseman of death. Since Henry is gone, it seems likely that they are planning for Crane to be the horseman of war.

Dreyfuss steals the scales of justice and throws them in with the horseman of famine. In the Bible, famine is pictured on a black horse with scales in hand, counting out grain.

Crane mentions several times that the team is working well together now. This is our hint that the team may split apart. There are cracks showing. It undermines trust between Diana and Crane when she takes away part of their team to investigate Dreyfuss. Jenny is tempted to return to her true love, treasure hunting. She is reluctant to make a commitment to stay in D.C. It would make sense if Jenny left. She’s the only one left of last season’s characters except for Crane. She was always restless and her main connection to Crane was through her sister.

The monster was very good this time, although he had no real contact with his victims. A starving body, great mouth and glowing red eyes, the monster is seen mostly in the dark or just as glowing red eyes. He’s both mysterious and appropriate.

Best of all, we have returned to the overall season arc and are given some reason for some of Malcolm’s actions, which makes some of the weaker episodes at least seem necessary. We know he pictures a very rosy future for himself after this apocalypse.

I’m enjoying the changes in Alex and Jake’s relationship so far. I hope that it doesn’t result in heartbreak for Alex.


Sleepy Hollow airs on Friday nights on Fox at 9pm/8c.


DOCTOR WHO Series 10 Premiere in Cinemas

{All images used courtesy BBC America.}

It’s time to meet the new companion. The 10th season of Doctor Who will be premiering on BBC America on April 15. In celebration of the Time Lord gracing our screens once more, Fathom Events will be screening the episode in cinemas on April 17 and 19.

This will will be Peter Capaldi’s last series as the Doctor, as well as the last with Steven Moffat as showrunner. As fans know, Chris Chibnall will be taking over for the show for the 11th series. Chibnall is no stranger to Who: he wrote several episodes of the series between series 3 and 7 and was the head writer of Torchwood for series 1 and 2. Chibnall is still searching for Capaldi’s successor.

As for the series 10 premiere, we’ll also see the return of Matt Lucas as Nardole, as well as the first appearance of the new companion, Bill (Pearl Mackie). We know very little of the new companion, although there are some hints in the trailer. (I personally see more than a casual similarity to Classic Who companion Ace.)

But have no fear: if you attend the Fathom Event screening, there are some special features. One is the feature Becoming the Companion, which follows Mackie from the London stage through the TARDIS, and includes exclusive interviews with Mackie, Capaldi, and Moffat.

Are we ready to go to Class?

Additionally, the cinema screening will also include the first episode of the new spinoff Class, set to premiere on BBC America on April 15 as well. This first episode includes a guest appearance as Capaldi as the Doctor. Class, for those who aren’t familiar, focuses on five students at the somewhat infamous Coal Hill Academy. The show premiered on BBC in December of 2016, and the tone is somewhat between the kid-friendly Sarah Jane Adventures and the more adult Torchwood.

If you buy the tickets through Atom Tickets, you will receive three free Doctor Who digital comic books from Titan Comics and ComiXology, delivered to purchasing e-mail address on event date. For more information, including a list of theaters, visit the Fathom Events website.


You can see more of Angie’s work (and her social media connections) over at her website.

RiffTrax Live’s Next Show — SAMURAI COP — in April

{Header image used courtesy Fathom Events.}

No, it’s not a cop who’s also a samurai, but actually a cop NAMED Samurai (Mathew Karedas) — well, nicknamed it, anyway. He and his truly epic hair have come to the City of Angels to fight the Katana, a gang interested in leading the drug trade.

Bad fight scenes, camera mugging, and more are just a hint of why the crew of RiffTrax decided to make this their first live event for 2017.

“It’s hard to say exactly what makes Samurai Cop a favorite to us and our audience,” said Michael J. Nelson in the press release. “Maybe the fact that the title character is not a samurai — not even a little. It could also be the terrible black wig he wears for half the scenes in the movie and tries to pass off as real hair. Whatever the reason it must be seen to be believed.”

Samurai Cop is the 24th time RiffTrax has partnered with Fathom Events to share the live event in cinema screens across the nation. It will be broadcast live on April 13, with a rebroadcast on April 18. The crew currently has two more shows planned for 2017: a Summer Shorts Beach Party on June 15, and a’super secret mystery title’ scheduled for August 17 that will be determined once their current Kickstarter ends (scheduled to end in three days as of the time of this article).

For tickets and a list of participating theatres, visit the Fathom Events website.


You can see more of Angie’s work (and her social media connections) over at her website.


20th Century Fox is throwing its hat into the young adult series game. Casting for the adaptation of Alexandra Bracken’s series, The Darkest Minds, is complete and filming is slated to begin this month.

The series is described as a combination of superhero conventions with coming-of-age tones. When Ruby awoke on her 10th birthday, she woke to find she had changed, possibly for the worse. Whatever the change was scared her parents enough to lock her in the garage and call the authorities, who sent her to Thurmond, a brutal “rehabilitation camp” run by the government. She may have survived a mysterious disease that killed most of the children in America, but something worse has happened to those who lived: frightening abilities they are unable to control.

Now Ruby is 16 and considered one of the dangerous ones. She escapes the camp to find the only safe haven for kids like her. In her journey, she joins a group of other kids who have also escaped. Once they arrive to their destination, they find it is not what they expected. Ruby finds that she may have to make decisions that could mean giving up a life she wants.

Currently there are four books: The Darkest Minds (2012), Never Fade (2013), In The Afterlight (2014), and Through the Dark (2015). According to reviews, part of the uniqueness of the story is the willingness to face some of the darker elements characters have to face, most specifically the anxiety that develops within the community when the children begin to experience the supernatural abilities. Family members turn on each other, fearing what could happen to them if they keep the kids around rather than the well-being of their offspring.

The cast includes:

  • Amandla Stenberg as Ruby. Best known for her memorable role as Rue in the first Hunger Games movie, she also appeared in the drama As You Are, which received the special jury prize at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
  • Harris Dickinson plays Liam, the leader of the group of other escaped children. His last project was Beach Rats, but also has directed and written several shorts.
  • Mandy Moore recently earned a Golden Globe nomination for her work on This Is Us. She will play an altruistic doctor at Ruby’s camp, crusading against the government’s persecution but may also have ulterior motives.
  • Patrick Gibson, whose breakout role was in the Netflix series The OA as a troubled teen. He also had roles in the miniseries Passing Bells and The Tudors.
  • Skylan Brooks, who portrayed Ra-Ra in the Netflix Original Series The Get Down and starred with Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams in Southpaw.
  • Miya Cech in her first feature role, having recently been in both American Housewife and American Horror Story: Roanoke.

The Darkest Minds is filming in Atlanta Georgia. Helming the project is Jennifer Yuh Nelson. This will be her live-action directing debut after hits Kung Fu Panda 2 and Kung Fu Panda 3, and the HBO animated adaptation series of Todd McFarlane’s Spawn. The script is written by Wayward Pines’ Chad Hodge and will be produced by Shawn Levy and his 21 Laps Entertainment.


Todd McFarlane Teases A Darker SPAWN

Twenty years ago, Todd McFarlane’s comic series Spawn was adapted in 1997 as a film that was not very well received. Written by Alan B. McElroy and directed by Mark A.Z. Dippe, the movie starred Michael Jai White, John Leguizamo, and Martin Sheen, who agreed to be in the picture because he wanted to be in a superhero movie.

Since then, McFarlane has been very open about wanting to reboot the franchise, given that Spawn 2 went into development hell shortly after being announced in 1998. Now, with Stan Lee’s support, McFarlane shed some light on where his project now sits during a panel at Emerald City Comic Con.

GeekNation’s Clare Kramer, moderating the panel, asked about the possibility of seeing a Spawn movie. His response is that he hopes to have a big announcement for a new film by the time San Diego Comic Con opens in July. He continued on with his vision for the movie, especially now that there’s a new trend of R-rated superhero films.

Listen, I’m going to paint it for you. The movie is going to be a dark R. If here’s PG-13 and here’s Deadpool and here’s Logan, we’re going to be here. It’s going to be dark. It’s going to be nasty. I’ve already talked to Stan, and he’s going for it.

And speaking of Mr. Cameo, McFarland also has a vision for how Lee can appear in the film:

Stan Lee is in this building, and it’s a rundown building, and you kick open the door, you catch him by surprise, and he’s dressed in a wife-beater shirt. He hasn’t shaved for four days. He’s got a beer in one hand, and he’s got a big stogie in the other hand. That’s just the set-up. He always looks nice in his movies – I just want to do that crusty old curmudgeon. Basically, what his wife sees in the morning when he wakes up. The real Stan Lee. I want you to come into that movie and really act. I want you to just be nasty. It’d be awesome.

Of course, Lee is all for appearing in movies, as long as it’s a minor bit. He states, “I don’t get roles that are too big in movies, because everyone is afraid I’ll get mistaken for Clark Gable.”

Spawn was created in 1992 by McFarlane after his split from Marvel Comics. It’s the story of Albert “Al” Simmons, a Black Ops soldier whose soul is sent to Hell after he’s killed in the line of duty. There, he makes a deal with a malevolent being called Malebolgia. For a price, he is promised the opportunity to see his wife and child one more time. He returns to Earth as a hideously disfigured being, finding that five years have passed and his wife has moved on with another man. He mistakenly thinks this is the price he had to pay, but soon finds that per his contract with Malebolgia, he has become a Hellspawn, a weapon for Hell.

Columbia Pictures was the first production company to approach McFarlane about a live action movie, but he said no, feeling they wouldn’t give him enough control over the project. He finally sold the rights to New Line Cinema’s Michael DeLuca, who promised him a dark gritty film that was true to the comic. However, the final project ended up with too much cheap humor and genre clichés.

Since then, McFarlane has not given up hope for a new film. In the early 2000’s, he did have some legal issues over Spawn trademarks and characters. But that didn’t stop him. In 2011, McFarlane gave a little update about the story, saying that “in this new version, there are no super-villains, archenemies or any of that. It’s just a spook movie, something scary going bump in the night.”

Now it appears he has a game plan and he wants to stay in charge. Last year in an interview with, McFarlane stressed he wanted to direct his vision, but he knows that Hollywood will not simply hand over $100 million to a first-time director. He simply wants $10 million “make a little horror movie and see if we can scare some people.”

And maybe he will.

Based on the comments at Emerald City Comic Con, it looks like he may have a big (small budgeted) announcement this year at San Diego. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.