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Tag Archive: Scott Bakula


Three hundred channels and nothing on television to watch this weekend?  Before John Wesley Shipp played Barry Allen on the original series The Flash, Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno starred in the best superhero television series since The Six Million Dollar Man in The Incredible Hulk.  For five seasons, from 1977 to 1982, The Incredible Hulk broke new ground on television, an early step in the history of superheroes coming to life on the screen.  This weekend Robert Rodriquez’s El Rey Network is hosting a marathon of the entire series run.

Originally airing Friday nights on CBS 40 years ago, The Incredible Hulk would be nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards, winning one for Mariette Hartley’s performance as Dr. David Bruce Banner’s wife.  Years before Scott Bakula’s Sam Beckett would wander the map attempting to help people in need on Quantum Leap, David Banner was doing similar good deeds, hitchhiking across the country, a lone scientist trying to find a way “to control the raging spirit that dwells within him,” caused by exposure to gamma radiation thanks to the mind of writer Stan Lee and pen of Jack Kirby.

Look for plenty of early performances by actors that would later appear in well-known genre roles, like Simon & Simon’s Gerald McRaney, Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Diana Muldaur and Mark Lenard, Deep Space Nine’s Marc Alaimo, Robert O’Reilly, Andrew Robinson, and Rosalind Chao, Lassie and Battlestar Galactica’s Anne Lockhart, Ghostbusters’ Ernie Hudson, Creature from the Black Lagoon’s Julie Adams, Castle’s Susan Sullivan, and WKRP in Cincinnati’s Loni Anderson and Gordon Jump.

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USS Discovery Star Trek 2016 take off

Surprising fans at San Diego Comic-Con this afternoon, CBS revealed the second teaser for the next Star Trek television series.  It’s called Star Trek: Discovery, and like Star Trek Voyager before it, it will focus on another ship of the Starfleet line.  USS Discovery NCC-1031 will be the talk of Star Trek fans everywhere next year.

The ship, shown taking flight in the preview, borrows from concept drawings dating back between the original series and the movies.  It has a very modern look seen in both Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Trek Beyond, and even Enterprise, but also carries that sleek look of Voyager.  And from beneath it even sports the sprawl of a classic Klingon ship.  But this is the new look of Starfleet’s best.  And it looks pretty good.

USS Discovery Comic Con clip

This appears to be a classic design lending some credence to the rumor that the series will take place after Star Trek VI:  The Undiscovered Country.  David Semel will direct the first episode.  Showrunner Bryan Fuller was joined on the panel this afternoon by William Shatner, Scott Bakula, Michael Dorn, Jeri Ryan, and Brent Spiner

Straight from Comic-Con, check out this trailer for Star Trek: Discovery:

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Levi Barrowman Amell Rickards

Bummed that you’re not getting your convention fix this weekend because you’re not in San Diego?  Never fear, you can watch the weekend’s panels happening offsite in San Diego at the sixth annual Nerd HQ event online now.

Nowhere else can you watch every panel with Stephen Amell, John Barrowman, Nathan Fillion, Joss Whedon, Scott Bakula, Jennifer Morrison, Jai Courtney, Jared Padalecki, and Tom Hiddleston this weekend.  Chuck star Zachary Levi began Nerd HQ as a charity event alternative for fans who couldn’t get tickets to SDCC.  Ad hoc auctions occur throughout the panels to raise money for Operation Smile.  Check out the fun borg.com staff had at past Nerd HQ events here.

Streaming runs live through Sunday.  Here is the line-up for today and tomorrow (times are Pacific Time), followed by ALL of the Thursday and Friday panels below and the live streaming link:

ROBOT CHICKEN
July 23, 2016 11:00 AM

A Conversation with Breckin Meyer and the Robot Chicken Writers/Producers

SCOTT BAKULA
July 23, 2016 12:00 PM

A Conversation with Scott Bakula

Orphan Black Nerd HQ 2016

JENNIFER MORRISON
July 23, 2016 1:00 PM

A Conversation with Jennifer Morrison

WORKAHOLICS
July 23, 2016 2:00 PM

A Conversation with the cast of WORKAHOLICS

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borg dot com benchmark logo tape

We kicked off borg.com as a way to catch up on entertainment news, books and movies back on June 10, 2011.  We’ve posted what’s new each day to provide “your daily science fiction, fantasy, and entertainment fix” for two years now and continue to forge ahead as we tick past our 800,000th view by readers today.

We want to say thanks to you for reading.  It’s a lot of fun (and hard work) keeping up on all the great genre entertainment out there, be it on TV, in theaters, in books, or comics.  We also want to thank all the comic book publishers out there that provide us with preview review copies, as well as book publishers and TV and movie studios and collectible companies that allow us to give you first available previews and reviews.  We cover only what we’re interested in and excited about–we figure that if we like it, so might you.

bionic borg meter

Some of the most fun we’ve had is meeting new people as we keep up on the coolest happenings in the genre realm, some at conventions, some are friends we are grateful to chat with each week of the year.  And lucky for us, borg.com has allowed us to meet some of our own favorite celebrities over the past two years, sci-fi stars like Mark Hamill, Joss Whedon, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Anthony Stewart Head, Scott Bakula, Adam Baldwin, Lindsay Wagner, Saul Rubinek, Zachary Levi, Eddie McClintock, Wil Wheaton, and Mark Sheppard.  Sci-fi and fantasy writers like Peter S. Beagle, Connie Willis, James Blaylock, and Sharon Shinn.  And comic book creators like Frank Cho, Jim Lee, Sergio Aragones, Neal Adams, and Howard Chaykin, and scores of other great comics creators like Mike Mayhew, Mike Norton, Michael Golden and Mikel Janin (and several not named Mike).

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Nerd HQ is back for its second year in the San Diego Gaslight District, right across from the Convention Center during Comic-Con.   The star of the now-cancelled series Chuck, Zachary Levi, is back selling Nerd swag, promoting video games, and offering fans a second chance to see some favorite TV and movie celebrities.  Nerd HQ is a nice break for convention goers and a welcome opportunity for local Californians who couldn’t get Comic-Con tickets.

Last year we attended the panel featuring Scott Bakula, star of Quantum Leap, Men of a Certain Age and Enterprise, discussed here at borg.com last July.  At start time the panel still had available seats and they showed us in for free.  The discussion was interactive and cozy in a way you can’t really get with the larger Comic-Con venue.  And you really can interact.  Levi praised E.C Bunce and my Chuck “Buy More” and “Nerd Herd” outfits and even poked fun at her prosthetic alien head later during a panel.  This year the panels will be broadcast live at break.com/nerdhq, so even if you don’t pay the $20 per panel charge, you can still get your panel fix like you were there in person, no matter where you’ll be that weekend.

The details about some of the panels don’t appear to be totally locked in yet, but NerdHQ says this will be the basic schedule:

***Thursday, July 12, 2012***

9:30 a.m. Expendables 2

Features Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren and Randy Couture talking about the follow-up to the 2010 action film The Expendables.

11 a.m. Psych

Actors from the USA Network detective comedy series will be making an appearance to talk about its upcoming seventh season.  No specific actors appear to be confirmed yet.

12 p.m. Chuck

Expect Zach Levi and a few other actors talking about the wind-up of the series.

2:30 p.m. Robot Chicken

Seth Green (Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s character Oz, will be discussing his series airing on Cartoon Network.

***Friday, July 13, 2012***

10 a.m. Stan Lee

The big guy himself. ’nuff said.

12 p.m. Man with the Iron Fists

No stars locked in yet for a discussion of this new Quentin Tarentino flick.

3 p.m. The Rise of the Guardians

Director Guillermo Del Torro is expected to bring some actors discussing the coming computer-animated action-adventure comedy film about Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, the tooth fairy and others battling the boogey man and Jack Frost.

4:30 p.m. Nathan Fillion

The Castle and Firefly star returns to Nerd HQ for his second appearance.

5:30 p.m. Assassin’s Creed 3

No specifics released yet for this new video game.

***Saturday, July 14, 2012***

10 a.m. NTSF: SD SUV

Paul Scheer’s National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle show airs on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.

12 p.m. Tomb Raider

No specifics yet. A trailer? A video game preview?

That’s all that’s been released so far.  Proceeds from the panels go to Project Smile.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Review by C.J. Bunce

My best reaction to movies comes from those films that are not over-hyped, and that have trailers that do not show too much of a film’s content.  Examples are Inception and Avatar, two movies that were so hyped that by the time I saw them I was disappointed.  Not so for Source CodeSource Code is so innovative and interesting that you may keep talking about it, keep thinking about the different elements, the different choices made and possibilities the story reveals.  If they only made sequels to movies like this.

For one, my favorite sci-fi movie subject involves alternate realities, whether they are parallel timelines, time loops, time travel, or alternate histories.  On a basic level you will encounter time loops, a discussion topic from earlier this week, and you may encounter other alternate reality topics in Source Code.  Despite its title, it is not a computer techno-romp like The Net.  That’s a good thing.

Source Code stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a man on a train who appears out of nowhere and believes he is an American soldier whose last memory was fighting a battle in Afghanistan.  He is pulled out and replaced into a confined space, and from the trailer we know this place is a train that has a destiny with some type of horrible explosion.  Like Unstoppable, reviewed earlier here, only a handful of characters and tight locations are necessary to tell this tale.  The grandiosity of the typical blockbuster is not necessary here to deliver fast-paced action and harrowing circumstances for Gyllenhaal and co-star Michelle Monaghan, and uniquely difficult decisions for a project leader played by Vera Farmiga.  The is a small film, but high concept.

Gyllenhall fails to disappoint.  Joining Tom Cruise and Bruce Willis, his films always deliver.  His acting project choices, like this film, will hopefully continue to propel his career forward.  Like his character in Zodiac, the suspense mystery about the search for the real-life Zodiac serial killer, his character in this film struggles with confidence, angst, and a desire to break out of his confinement, his lot.  His performance here is as equally exciting as his acclaimed role as a troubled youth in Donnie Darko.

Source Code contains traditional sci-fi elements, to the point you would swear this was based on a Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke or Ray Bradbury story.  It has the feel of a classic sci-fi story.  Like with Bruce Willis’s Twelve Monkeys, Gyllenhaal’s Colter Stevens is a traveller, not by choice, not in the way we all dream about what you could do if time travel were possible.  Like characters in Connie Willis books (To Say Nothing of the Dog, Lincoln’s Dreams, Doomsday Book, All Clear) Stevens has a mission to complete, but not all is as it appears.  Rounding out the key characters of the story is Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale), a lead actor type who is always equally solid in a supporting role as “the man behind the curtain.”  Look for the voice of Scott Bakula as Stevens’ father, not entirely coincidental considering this Quantum Leap-inspired quest.  And see how this could be considered another borg story, not unlike The Six Million Dollar Man.

Source Code could be compared with the Matrix, but Source Code is much better, much smarter, and more compelling.  As with movies like War of the Worlds, you are forced to ask yourself “what would I do if I suddenly awoke in Stevens’ shoes?”  Directed by Duncan Jones, this film does not follow any typical pattern and the story begins in the middle of the action, like a lot of TV shows, such as Heroes, have been filmed in recent years.  The pace works really well here.  You may be able to stay ahead of the action and decisions a few times throughout the movie, but I’d wager no one could predict the branches the story ultimately follows.  What contributes to the gravity of the characters’ situations is the believability of the circumstances in our current era of varying colored alerts.

While you’re buckling down for Irene to arrive this weekend, you could do a lot worse than renting Source Code on DVD or Blu-Ray.  Source Code’s creative story, action, and good acting earn 4.5 of 5 stars.  This may have fared even better in theaters, because so many details contribute to the story understanding that even on a decent size small screen you may miss some of these bits and pieces.

Zachary Levi (Chuck on the TV series Chuck) took over Jolt’n Joe’s Restaurant in San Diego’s Gaslight District and during Comic-Con weekend he sold tickets to the public to benefit Operation Smile, a charity that helps children born with cleft palates.  Ultimately his “Nerd HQ,” along with selling nerd merchandising for Levi’s new enterprise, was able to collect more than $40,000 for the charity.  Nice work!

Over the weekend, the small venue of about 250 seats hosted members of the casts of Chuck, Psych, and Firefly, including Dule Hill and Adam Baldwin, and chats with Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings, Lost), Scott Bakula, Zachary Quinto (Star Trek 2009, Heroes), and members of his new company, Seth Green (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and Jared Padalecki (Supernatural), as well as video game companies who co-marketed the event.

We attended the conversation with Scott Bakula and with maybe half the room filled, the intimate setting allowed for a lot of interaction. Unlike a lot of other panels with celebrities, Bakula was just plain fun. You could see that Scott was an actor who doesn’t take himself too seriously, yet he is serious about his craft.

Scott discussed his first major hit, Quantum Leap, and described the changes in special effects technology in that series versus today.  Back then he said he would literally have to freeze in place while his co-star Dean Stockwell would run into place–all to create the image of Stockwell’s character seeming to beam into the frame from the future.  Today, Bakula said that the director would film straight through and add the effects in later.  He said for fun, if you watch old Quantum Leap episodes pay attention to the extras in the background and you will notice they also jerk to a stop as part of the then “cutting edge” special effects.  The greatest challenge (and joy) of the show for Scott was working with an entirely new crew each week (since only he and Stockwell had a recurring role)–including literally thousands of actors–that appeared over the course of the series.

Bakula said he was proud of Quantum Leap and is glad a new generation can watch the series through technologies like DVDs and streaming media.  His favorite episode?  When he just played himself, going back and forth in time, including meeting his own father.

Similarly, Bakula said he enjoyed making the Star Trek series Enterprise.  He said he believed that in any other franchise five seasons would be a successful series, but for some reason in the Star Trek franchise you’re not considered a success if you don’t make it seven seasons.  He said part of the reason could be attributed to the tenor of the show in light of the post-9-11 landscape.  Originally sold as a light-hearted exploration show, the producers did not believe the audience at the time wanted to see escapist entertainment.  Instead the series became darker with more conflict.  While it worked and was more appropriate to the mood of the country, Bakula believe it led to the cancellation of the series.  He said ultimately “it hurt us” in terms of the longevity of the show. 

Bakula appeared earlier in the day on a panel with William Shatner and other former Star Trek captains at a Comic-Con panel about Shatner’s new documentary, where each captain is interviewed about his or her experiences.  Bakula said it’s a little hard not to pick up Shatner’s unique, abrupt dialogue timing after speaking with Shatner for an hour and answered the next question in Shatnerspeak.

Both Bakula and the audience had only just received word that Scott’s current series, Men of a Certain Age (co-starring Ray Romano and Andre Braugher) was cancelled by TNT.  It was clear that even this audience of genre fans followed Bakula in his new series and were disappointed in the news.  Bakula briefly explained how new criteria govern whether a show stays or goes, and that the days of following just one set of Nielsen’s ratings is long past.  With the advent of DVRs and similar technologies, where viewers may not watch a current program for 7 or 14 days out, the calculation of a show’s success is more difficult and arbitrary and ultimately each network has its own criteria.  He said for example, had Men of a Certain Age have aired on the AMC channel, it would probably have been renewed for another season.  He said Men of a Certain Age was TNT’s first in-house drama, and that may have played a factor in the show’s cancellation.

When Zack Levi introduced Bakula, he mentioned Bakula’s most recent genre role, that of his father on the TV series Chuck.  Levi noted the oddity of Bakula standing in the back of the room with Levi’s real dad, Daryl.  This all led later on to a duet from the stage show Godspell (which both had previously appeared in) by Bakula and Levi, both hamming it up in stage show style.

Bakula noted that his first love was the stage, and stage acting was preferable to him over TV and movie work, and his favorite work was any role where he gets to sing.

Bakula’s advice for everyone, actors or not, was far-reaching:  It’s important to stay passionate in your craft, even when your TV show gets cancelled.  Find what you love about acting or what you do and concentrate on that–that the only part you can control is the performance.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

Day Two of the San Diego Comic-Con proved to be non-stop fun.  You can’t get the full comic convention experience without at least one day in costume so at borg.com that day was today.  Elizabeth C. Bunce and I took to the floor as Tenctonese visitors from Alien Nation who happen to work at the local Buy More, including Elizabeth as a member of the Nerd Herd from the TV series Chuck (with screen-used prosthetic heads from the series courtesy of Prop Store of London, also at the Con).  Our favorite costumes are the most obscure and we got about 1,000 fans and press stopping us for photos, several saying we had the most creative costumes of the day and interviews by four TV stations including G4.

You certainly get noticed in costume and that also means you sometimes get an extra chance at meeting your favorite celebrities and childhood idols.  Chuck himself, Zack Levi, said he loved our outfits and stopped to say “I really appreciate that you’re representing both Buy More and the Nerd Herd.”  Sweet!  Levi was hosting his own offsite mini con of sorts called the Nerd HQ, where you could skip lines and for a $20 donation to the national Smile charity you could meet Zachary Quinto (Star Trek’s Spock, Heroes),  the stars of TV’s Psych, or as we did, get to spend an hour with Quantum Leap, Men of a Certain Age and Star Trek Enterprise’s own Captain Archer–Scott Bakula in a small conversational setting of about 100 people (Scott also gave us a thumbs up and signed autographs).  Bakula was more down to Earth than you can imagine, talking about the ups and downs of acting and singing an improvised duet with Zack Levi onstage.

My own childhood hero, Mark Hamill, was signing autographs and we had our own alien to Jedi chat with Mark.  Every bit the classy Jedi!

We lucked into a conversation with Saul Rubinek, star of SyFy’s Warehouse 13, and we talked about all his past shows including Nero Wolfe, and how much we loved him as our all-time favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation villain, Kivas Fajo.  A super gentleman.  More on Saul in future posts.

We headed off to lunch and ended up at an Italian eatery with none other than Jim Lee and his lovely wife.  Jim is pretty much the monarch of this year’s Comic-Con and was taking a rare and much deserved break from from all his panels and signings.  He and his wife were having a great time and you can tell the pressure of the new DC Comics 52 re-launch is only providing him with extra excitement and energy to roll out a great new line of comic titles for fans this fall.  Here’s a photo of us at lunch in the Gaslight District.

We also got to meet the ubiquitous actor Mark Sheppard (Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica), his wife and four kids.  I will post separately about our chat with Mark later.  We had great conversations with the guys from Profiles in History, too, who currently star in the SyFy reality show Hollywood Treasures.  Very fun to see these guys are fans like the rest of us!  Profiles in History was selling photos in one of the Back to the Future DeLoreans for Michael J. Fox’s charity.  A great idea and a great cause!  This was a Comic-Con favorite of the day.

And here is Elizabeth with our friend Kevin Dilmore at the Hallmark booth.  Kevin (along with his writing partner Dayton Ward) is THE favorite Star Trek novelist of fans.

And we had a blast roaming with borg.com writer Jason McClain!  We’ll post more photos in the coming days, but please let us know if you see us on any other websites!

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

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