Reflections on Cory Monteith

15 07 2013

There are some deaths that you hear about that hit you in a vulnerable spot sometimes more than others. It does not seem to matter if you knew the person or not. I had a moment like that when John Ritter died. To this day, I am not even sure why. After tweeting for hours about the injustice for Trayvon Martin, thinking about a child who died that did not have to die, news came in that a “Hollywood star” had died in Vancouver. Then it was rumored that it was the star of Glee, Cory Monteith. I watched the Vancouver Police Department’s live conference feed on their web site which confirmed this. It compounded the sadness of the day. Speculation arose that perhaps he died of a drug overdose since he had been battling these demons and went into rehab earlier this year. I pray that it was something else–maybe a brain aneurysm–maybe sudden cardiac death–anything else but drugs. An autopsy will be done today, Monday, July 15, 2013, although I do not know if they will necessarily have the results.

Twitter was abuzz with tweets from people who knew him as a friend, knew him as a colleague, or people who met him at one time or another. His co-star Lea Michelle and he were in love with rumored speculation that they were engaged (although no statement had been released saying such). When he checked himself into rehab, she stated, “I love and support Cory and will stand by him through this. I am grateful and proud he made this decision.” Based on the Twitter response from those who were friends or worked with Cory, his behavior was quite the opposite of a typical person using drugs (self-centered, erratic mood swings, careless about grooming). Indeed every time you saw him in a public forum, he always emanated a light that surrounded his being, an aura that was unmistakable.

CoryLea

Recently I saw him in a Masterchef episode where the contestants cooked for the cast of Glee. He was playful with them. He got to carry the flag for the team that won–the red team.  You can watch the entire episode here.

CoryMasterchef

Cory is carrying the winning flag for the red team

CoryMasterchef2

Cory holds the winners’ flag

CoryMasterchef3

Cory with his trademark cool shades

CoryMasterchef4

Cory enjoying his meal.

CoryMasterchef5

Cory teasing the contestants on Masterchef

Long before Glee, I knew of him from the Stargate series (both Stargate SG-1) and Stargate Atlantis. He was not a big star then, but I noticed that the camera just loved him. There was something about him–something you could not quite put your finger on.

CorySG1

Cory playing a young Colonel Mitchell in the episode “200” on Stargate SG-1

CorySG1A

Cory in another shot on the show Stargate-SG1

CorySGA

Cory playing a Genii soldier on Stargate Atlantis in the episode “Storm” from season 1

The character of Finn evolved into one of the more complex people on the show. When the writers put Finn on a course of becoming a teacher, you knew that perhaps they were grooming him to take over for Matthew Morrison’s character as the new teacher at William McKinley High School. The question will be how do they write these tragic circumstances into the Glee storyline? It has been renewed already for 2 additional seasons and I do not know how far in they are filming season 5 yet. There was going to be a long hiatus with a “creative twist” long before these tragic set of events unfolded. Is it better to just have the relationship end off screen for Finn and Rachel so Lea does not have to pour the real-life grief she is feeling into a scene where Finn suddenly dies on the series? Time will tell.

In the meantime, we are left with that fact that someone so young and so vibrant, a talented young man who has had great success in his career, who was adored by so many around the world, tragically died. The cause of death does not matter. It does not change the fact that he is gone. The world has become less bright without him in it.

CoryPeople

Rest in Peace Cory. The world will miss you.





Series Finale for Touch on Fox

11 05 2013

On Thursday, May 9, 2013, Fox Broadcasting confirmed what we all had been expecting: Touch would not receive a season 3 renewal. Friday, May 10, 2013 would be the series finale.

I think we could see the writing on the wall from the beginning of season 2. It was supposed to be aired in October 2012. Then it got bumped to January of 2013. Then it was pushed to Friday, February 1, 2013. Then it was changed to Friday, February 8, 2013. People in the science fiction community believe the Friday night slot is the place where shows go to get the final nail in the coffin. It was true for Fringe.

There was very sparse advertising for the show’s premiere. The shows the network had more faith in, like The Following, The Mindy Project, Ben and Kate, and New Girl got far more advertising both on-air and with the use of social media.

The first season struggled. Although 12 million viewers tuned in to watch it on Monday, a sweet day in the past for Kiefer Sutherland when he was on “24”, viewership quickly declined and it was moved to Thursday night after Idol, hoping to give it an American Idol bump. Fringe had that same progression. Monday to Thursday to Friday. For years now, people have been critical of the antiquated Nielsen structure to determine number of viewers and to target 18- to 49-year-old men. As a woman, that is really insulting to me. I have as much buying power as my husband, if not more. People have new viewing habits. The days of an actual TV in a home are limited as people go to the internet to watch TV shows now. But the methods advertisers base their rates are still built on the old model. In February, it was reported that Nielsen was going to roll out a new system. It would include people who watch over broadband, XBox, Playstation. Then next phase of the program would include any type of video viewing. It is also adding a new viewing measurement for social media to include people participating in tweeting and those exposed to those tweets (I am thinking this sounds similar to Klout). But it is too late for many of our cult favorites. Fringe would have benefited greatly from the massive fan support on social media.

The story also struggled. The biggest mistake was calling Jake autistic. After the first episode, many of my friends tuned out, turned off by the unrealistic portrayal by Hollywood AGAIN of their beloved children. At first, the show was about finding people who were hurting and help restoring happiness and wholeness to their lives. Shows are often a reflection of the times we live in. I think this is why The Following has had tremendous success–it is a very dark show. Then mid-season, Touch started building into it a mythos that sounded promising but moved a little bit too slow for an audience who needs to be on the edge of their seat an entire show to go out and convert others to watch it. When season 2 was introduced, people who gave up by the end of season 1 did not care to tune back in to see all the wonderful changes that were made. The story pace was quicker. It was building the mythos quicker, resolving things (like finding Amelia) in a timely manner, introducing an element of evil vs. good in the plot. Without a massive campaign saying, “Come try the show out again.”

Shows struggle in their first year to find their footing. I know this is true of Stargate Universe. It came from a franchise that had phenomenal fans and a lengthy history of good ratings, 10 seasons of Stargate SG-1, 5 years of Stargate Atlantis, 2 Stargate DVD movies. With the success of Battlestar Galactica, they wanted to try a storyline they had really wished to pursue on Stargate Atlantis but could not–the heroes were trapped without any way to contact Earth or the original SG-1 team for help. By the end of season 1, Stargate Atlantis knew it needed to connect back to Earth. In Stargate Universe, they used a unique way to do this. There was an active campaign from within the Stargate community to boycott the show and point out all the flaws. Free speech still governs our society and they had the complete freedom to express their opinion. Whether it played as a factor in the ultimate demise of Stargate Universe remains unclear. I do know season 2 of Stargate Universe was better than season 1. Season 2 of Touch was better than season 1.

I was concerned for the finale. In the last episode, Amelia and Jake had been kidnapped after Martin’s car was hit. Would we have a finale where someone’s life hung in the balance, and the viewers would not have resolved whether or not a character would live or die? Would they be endings that would leave us at peace? Would the people in season 2 who were evil or sometimes evil and sometimes good receive justice? Would a new threat be introduced? Would Avram be found or locked away somewhere that we will never know if he is freed?

After watching the show, I have a feeling Tim Kring saw the possibility that this show would not get a season 3, and he decided to write the final episode, giving emotionally invested fans a story to leave in peace. He gave us just that. And the ending was a sweet acknowledgement of the first episode with the same narratives. I did cry at the end. However, it was not like the finale of Farscape where I was so disgusted with the abrupt cancellation and the inability of the writers to give fans a proper ending that I talked about it for years and, in fact, boycotted the network (in my narcissistic narrow world, I thought it would matter) for years, missing out on Stargate SG-1 for quite awhile.

Coming on the heels of hearing of Touch’s demise was the immediate rumors that Fox Broadcasting is now in talks with Kiefer Sutherland about reviving “24” in a “limited fashion.” Some on the internet think it might be a 13-episode series. Some think it might be the movie he was hoping for. For others, they are speculating that a miniseries might work. With the number 13 episodes, I now wonder if they plan for this to be tied in with The Following next year given its phenomenal ratings as that would be about the number of episodes. The first episode could give us background for the new story and then the episodes could still be in a full-day fashion with each episode being: “The following takes place between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.” which would be more realistic in Los Angeles or New York traveling times (or wherever they plan for it to take place). Twelve episodes of 2-hour increments would give us “24”.

And so it goes….another well-written show that goes into our history. I want to thank the cast and crew for producing a type of show I was craving, something I cared deeply about. But in the end, thank you for giving us a happy ending.

TouchbutterflyThankYou





Comicpalooza Houston 2012 — Stargate Panel Part 2

28 05 2012

This is the last 14 minutes of the panel. Enjoy!  Transcript is going to be forthcoming of the entire 45-50 minute panel. 






Comicpalooza Houston 2012: Stargate Panel Part 1

28 05 2012

I am not a professional videographer, and do not own high-tech equipment. However, I hope you enjoy this. I was not able to videotape the entire panel, but I do have a transcript of the entire panel forthcoming. That takes a little more time, so please enjoy what I can share with you!  I also apologize for the laughing.  It is hard to not laugh.  And about the camera movement.  I kept freaking out that the camera battery was about to go out and the only way to recharge it is in a computer with a USB port, which I did not have.   I kept pulling it up to make sure it was recording. It did die abruptly.  Lesson for next time:  Bring the table-top tripod. 








Takedown (a.k.a. Transparency)–A Virtual Stargate Reunion

17 05 2011

Having made its successful world premiere at the Dallas International Film Festival to much critical acclaim, Transparency (known as Takedown in Europe and the United States) is now available for purchase from Amazon.com.

Takedown

Click on picture to go to Amazon.com to order

Without giving too much of the story away, it is a dark tale about human trafficking. Channeling Charles Bronson, Lou Diamond Phillips nails the character “David,” the movie’s antihero. He is joined by the talents of Estella Warren (Planet of the Apes, Law and Order) and Deborah Kara Unger who give the film its warmth and chill respectively. Transparency (a.k.a. Takedown) is filled with outstanding stunt work, beautiful production quality, amazing dark humor, and unexpected plot moments that had the Dallas audience startled in their chairs or had them gasping in disbelief, with a complex, contemplative ending.

Raul Inglis wrote this outstanding script in a mere 2 weeks, the original idea for the film having been pitched to him by Matt R. Kelly. Galvanized by real video footage about human trafficking, Raul made sure to include some of disturbing, resonating comments into the script. Later he signed on to become the director. The research became another source of inspiration that gave the film an element of authenticity. Originally it was planned to have the women just speak with Serbian or Russian accents; however, when women during the audition process spoke in their native Serbian or Russian language, the script suddenly became alive.

Lou had been involved with Matt on a previous Hallmark Channel film called “The Angel and the Bad Man.” Matt came up to Lou on set during that time and told him he was a producer. Lou was thinking, “Yeah, yeah, good for you; so is everyone else in Hollywood.” A year later, Matt pitched his film idea, and after reading 5 pages, Lou was hooked, feeling like it had a mixture of “Death Wish” and “Taxi Driver” with a retro-70′s vibe about it.

Shot in Vancouver, British Columbia in a mere 13 days, the film tapped into the wealth of talent from the region. Not only did the cast list read like a Stargate reunion (including Aaron Pearl, Kendall Cross, Michael Kopsa, Vitaly Kravchenko, Emma Lahana, Jonathan Walker, Anna Galvin, Aleks Panuovic, Dan Payne, and Bruce Crawford), Leo Award winner Michael C. Blundell did a stellar job as cinematographer, bringing his Stargate Universe production crew, who were on hiatus at the time, with him to make this tightly budgeted movie look like a million bucks that would rival any at the box office.

Other gifted performers rounding out the cast, many of whom can be seen in other favorite Vancouver productions, include Jordana Largy, Dariya Parakhnevych, Matt Kelly, Adrijana Blauhorn, Anja Savcic, Alberta Mayne, Emma Sutton, Bill MacDonald, Alexander Mandra, Taras Kostyuk, Andrei Kovski, Vadim Oskolkov, and Michele Cummins.

This is a movie worth the investment, not only to support this wonderful film, but to help support the independent film-making community as a whole.





Farewell Stargate

9 05 2011

Be forewarned, this is a very long blog post.

On Monday at 9:01 p.m. central daylight time, original Stargate programming will end.  Stargate, with Kurt Russell and James Spader, aired on October 28, 1994. On July 27, 1997, Stargate SG-1 premiered on Showtime where it ran for 5 seasons before moving to Sci-Fi Channel where it continued until 2007, having completed 214 shows and earning the title of longest running North American science fiction series on television. With each passing season, fans just could not get enough of the main cast: Richard Dean Anderson as Jack O’Neil (with varying command titles along the way); Amanda Tapping as Samantha Carter; Michael Shanks as Daniel Jackson; Christopher Judge as Teal’c. Don S. Davis (rest his soul) was cast as George Hammond. Corin Nemec was cast as Jonas Quinn after Michael Shanks left the show for a short period of time. Later, when Richard Dean Anderson needed to take some time-out for his family, Ben Browder (as Cameron Mitchell) and Claudia Black (as Vala) were extraordinary choices to add to the team.

Families would sit down and watch the show together. They would attend conventions together. They felt like the cast and crew were like extended family. The cast became role models for children.

With the huge success of Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis was born in July 16, 2004, with SG-1, and SGA filling out a wonderful line-up that eventually added Battlestar Galactica for a power-packed Sci-Fi Friday line-up. It was ambitious to do two Stargate shows concurrently. Cast in season 1 were stars Joe Flanigan, David Hewlett, Rachel Luttrel, Rainbow Sun Francks, Torri Higginson, and Paul McGillion. As the show evolved we said goodbye to some cast members (Rainbow and Torri) and welcome others (Jason Momoa, Amanda Tapping, Jewel Staite and Robert Picardo).

The show had a slightly darker edge to it. Some fans loved it; others did not. In the background, ideas were being presented to make a third incarnation of the series. After 10 years of SG-1, fans did not understand the decision by the now Syfy Channel not to renew Stargate Atlantis after a mere 5 years. When the announcement about the third incarnation of Stargate, Stargate Universe (aka SGU) was greenlit for production, fandom split in a bitter divide. Some felt SGA was not renewed so that SGU could proceed even though the creators and writers and producers assured fandom this was not true.

I remember hearing about the loose premise of SGU on Gateworld. It was somewhere around 3 a.m. my time and I remember posting, “Oh great, Stargate Voyager.” Being an avid Stargate fan since the beginning, loving both the movie, SG-1 and SGA in different ways, my reservations were put at ease.

Through Joe Mallozzi’s blog, I discovered David Blue, who was to play Eli Wallace, was on Twitter. I had resisted Twitter (and Facebook) up until that time, but the idea that I may actually be able to follow along his journey as he went through the production process, and possibly even have a remote chance to ask a question or share my thoughts directly, was very appealing. In those early days, he did not have as many followers as he does now and I did get more responses from him back then. As he recruited more and more of the cast to join Twitter, my addiction to this show was sealed. Even some of the extras, Herb Sommerfeld, Bill Butt, and the actor known as J.C. Williams on Twitter were getting into the fun. Still lingering in my mind was: Oh God, what if I don’t like it.

I watched intently October 2, 2009 along with everyone else. It was a difficult first show to follow with all the cutting in and out, going back and forth between the present time on Destiny versus what transpired before Destiny. I worried about the shaky camera because I had a very difficult time watching Cloverfield. There was so much information being relayed in those first three episodes (Air I, II and III) that I had to go back and watch it several times. I could see right away I was going to enjoy Eli Wallace’s journey. I had never seen such a complex character as Robert Carlyle’s portrayal of Dr. Nicholas Rush in the Stargate franchise before and this excited me.

These first episodes were also not without controversy. Aside from the split in fandom about SGA and SGU, the sex scene in Air I between 2nd Lt. Vanessa James (Julia Benson) and Lt. Matthew Scott (Brian Jacob Smith) lit the internet on fire. Parents were upset that they did not get a prior warning that this was in there so as to be able to make an informed choice for their children about whether or not it would appropriate to watch; prior to this time, they argued that they never had to censor their children from the Stargate franchise. The scene was actually cut from the United Kingdom’s airing. There was a PG-14 stamp at the beginning with appropriate warnings of content, but like everyone else, I did not see this until I went back and watched a second time.

While SGA had turned a bit darker from the SG-1 universe, this was even darker. For some, they stopped watching because of it; for others, it was the shaky camera. But like every television series, first seasons are all about discovering the characters, establishing the story. People were feeling like SGU had gotten off to a slow start.

I loved the idea that this was a show more closely tied to reality. Everything was not delivered in a perfect package. We finally had imperfect heroes. It was a healthy reboot of the franchise.

This show also doubled its main cast. Joining Robert Carlyle, David Blue, Brian Jacob Smith, and Elyse Levesque were Louis Ferreira (as Colonel Everett Young), Alaina Huffman (as Lt. Tamara Johansen, aka TJ), Jamil Walker Smith (Master Sergeant Ronald Greer), Ming-Na (as Camile Wray). Many of the guest-stars did such an outstanding job that they were showcased regularly: Patrick Gilmore (Dr. Dale Volker), Peter Kelamis (as Dr. Adam Brody), Jennifer Spence (as Dr. Lisa Park), Julia Benson (2nd Lt. Vanessa James) and Lou Diamond Phillips as (Colonel David Telford). Later, Mike Dopud (as Varro) was added to the cast. The show had many notable guest stars who gave terrific performances.

It seemed that each episode was a new personal best not only for the actors/actresses, but for the writers and the production crew and the visual effects team. After the first 10 episodes of Season 2 aired and Season 2 had finished production in December of 2010, the Syfy Channel announced that it would not pick up this show for any more seasons. Fans had hoped perhaps we could get closure from a movie, but alas that was not to be. Fans are still holding out hope that a season 3 will take some other form, like in a comic or a book, or that one fan will win enough at Lotto to fund another full season.

I would like to thank everyone who ever touched Stargate to bring us magic over these last 17 years . You brought wonderful action and adventures, held my heartstrings in your hands, brought in enough comedy when things seemed too dark, made me gasp in awe of the special effects and set designs. The Stargate wormhole was the glue that held many people together, both on-set and off. The fans who have been here will still be here to follow your careers as you set off to blaze more trails wherever you go. The friendships we have created are because of you and will continue because of the love we have for these shows. Maybe somewhere down the road, someone will pick up Stargate the original movie and do a remake of it; I can already hear the crack in fandom. The cycle begins again.  For now, I will need to leave what happens to the Destiny’s crew up to my imagination. 

T H A N K   Y O U  F O R  T H E  M A G I C !!!!!!!!!!!!