Sunday, December 13, 2009

More Spider-Man 4 villain rumors: Vulture?

People have been speculating for months about which villains will appear in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 4 and who will play them, and now comes the latest batch of rumors: Movieline reports that John Malkovich is in talks to play the Vulture, with Anne Hathaway up for a new villain role.

Previous rumors centered on the Lizard (possibly played again by Dylan Baker, who has had cameos as Dr. Curt Connors) and the Black Cat (with Rachel McAdams, Julia Stiles and Romola Garai rumored for the part).

Now, though, Movieline has confirmed with sources close to the film that Raimi's sequel is circling John Malkovich and Anne Hathaway to play Spider-Man's adversaries, and neither evildoer is quite what you might have expected.
If negotiations proceed according to plan, Malkovich will be playing Spider-Man's nemesis the Vulture, who packs a punch despite his advanced age. The Vulture is able to fly through the air and brandish his sharp wings to attack Spider-Man.
As for Hathaway, the site reports that she's the top choice to play Felicia Hardy, but not as the Black Cat:

Instead, Raimi's Felicia will become a brand-new superpowered figure called the Vulturess.
sci-fi wire...

Will Disney's Fallen angels be dreamier than vamps?

What could be dreamier for a young girl than having sparkly vampires and cute werewolf boys fighting over her? How about having two fallen angels fighting over her for centuries?

Disney's betting on the latter, having just optioned Young Adult author Lauren Kate's novel Fallen, the first in a projected four-volume series, that has just that premise, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The novel, which just came out this week from Delacorte Books for Young Readers, centers on a 17-year-old girl named Lucinda, who just like Isabella "Bella" Swan from Twilight has a name that is shortened to something nice and Latinate with an implied deeper meaning, "Luce." Luce goes to the Sword and Cross School, where she meets "Fallen" cuddle muffins Daniel and Cam.

Mark Ciardi, known for sports movies like The Rookie, Miracle, Invincible and The Game Plan, will produce along with longtime partner Gordon Gray.

So what do you think is next, folks? What could be even dreamier than the premise of Fallen? Leprechauns fighting over you? Pixies? Warring factions of Santa's elves?
sci-fi wire...

How will Batman return? The guy who "killed" him explains

Superman? Killed, but brought back. Captain America? Killed, but brought back. Batman? Not really killed, but thought to have been killed in the series Final Crisis last year, written by comic-book icon Grant Morrison. But, yeah ... about to be brought back.

Morrison recently told USA Today about his plans to bring back the original Batman, as Bruce Wayne got a big dose of time displacement courtesy of supervillian Darkseid's infamous Omega Beams at the end of Final Crisis and the original Robin, Dick Grayson, has been filling in as Batman since. Wayne also had his memory wiped, so getting him back from the depths of time is going to be tricky.

The centuries-spanning story will begin in 2010 in a six-issue series titled Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne. According to Morrison, "It's Bruce Wayne's ultimate challenge—Batman vs. history itself!" Batman will be making stops through time in the Late Paleolithic as a caveman, a witch hunter, a pirate, a cowboy and others.
Remember the Simpsons episode in which Milhouse says of comic-book hero Radioactive Man that he and Bart "both have a special limited-edition issue where he and Fallout Boy get killed on every page!" What other superheroes could stand to be axed, and how should they be brought back?
sci-fi wire...

Smallville, Heroes and Fringe? They just might survive

Just after the fall television season started, we begin agonizing over the fates some of our favorite shows. Considering that at one time NBC's Heroes garnered more than 16 million viewers, the CW's Smallville more than 8 million, and Fox's Fringe more than 13 million, this year's numbers were startling and terrible, not to mention being at an all-time low!

What happened? Could all our sci-fi shows end up canceled like Fox's Dollhouse? How can we have so many of our shows be in trouble and on the bubble? What about the DVR ratings? Sure, we've got ABC's V and FlashForward to carry on, but Lost is in its last season. Could this be the end of sci-fi as we know it on network TV?

According to and other media ratings analysts, things might not be as grim as they appear at first glance. In fact, according to that site, Smallville and V are looking likely to get picked up, while Fringe, Heroes and FlashForward are on the bubble, with FlashForward in the most danger right now.

Here's how it all shakes out for your favorite shows up to this point:

Our shows do great in DVR and other time-shift ratings (meaning viewers watch the show after its original air time in some way). According to TVbytheNumber's Bill Gorman, "In the last full week before Thanksgiving, Fringe (43%), Smallville (40%) and The Office (34%) posted the largest % ratings increases in Live+ 7 day DVR viewing from their Live+Same Day adults 18-49 ratings (November 16-22)." Heroes, V and FlashForward also added 30% or more to their numbers.

Heroes: On Dec. 2, E!'s Kristin Dos Santos had all but written off Heroes' future when "a well-placed source" told her, "Everyone is expecting this to be the last season. The cast, the crew, everyone." However, on Monday, Dec. 7, she wrote, "So you're saying there's a chance it might stick around?! That's the latest word coming out of camp Heroes, now that NBC has recast Sendhil Ramamurthy (Heroes' Mohinder) in the net's own pilot Rex Is Not Your Lawyer, giving the role to Jerry O'Connell instead. An NBC rep said Ramamurthy pulled out of Rex because of a scheduling conflict with Heroes, which was in first position." (First position means he couldn't accept another role if Heroes got picked up.)
Considering NBC's poor ratings for Jay Leno, if the network decides (as many have speculated) to cancel the series, they're going to need scripted and reality fare to fill up the five hours a week Leno is now on. And, sad as the ratings are, with fewer than 6 million viewers watching most Mondays, Heroes is their second-best-performing drama, after Law & Order: SVU. It's still a bubble show, but there is hope.

Coming up: Chuck, Day One

V: HitFix's Daniel Fienberg commented, "After two straight weeks of falling ratings after its blockbuster premiere, ABC's V stabilized on Tuesday night, joining the Dancing with the Stars finale to give the network a win in the 18-49 demographic."

MediaWeek's Marc Berman added: "On ABC was V at a consistent 9.20 million viewers (#2) and a third-place 3.1/ 9 among adults 18-49 at 8 p.m. Four episodes into its run and V is going on hiatus until it returns later in the season in a miniseries format. Bad programming move, ABC!"
Both V and FlashForward will be off the air until spring, and both had their episode order cut by one episode. While ratings were going up for V and down for FlashForward, it doesn't mean much. What's going to count for ABC is what the ratings are when they return come spring.
FlashForward: Cliqueclack's Brett Love wrote, "ABC has now announced that FlashForward will be taking a little break, with new episodes returning March 4th. And that really couldn't have come at a worse time. Television is not usually a place where absence makes the heart grow fonder. More likely, viewers forget what you were up to and can't be bothered to return. If that wasn't bad enough, the show took its fall bow with its worst performance yet."
Gorman added, "FlashForward ended its fall run on a down note, scoring just a 2.1 rating for adults 18-49. Short of a miraculous reversal in its ratings trend when it returns in March, it's not coming back next fall."

Already canceled: Eastwick (however, the network ordered additional episodes after the cancellation)

And: Better Off Ted just started its second season, while Lost premieres its sixth and final season Feb. 2.

Likely to be renewed: Medium, Ghost Whisperer

Smallville: It certainly looked like the end when the CW moved Smallville to Fridays AND it dropped about half its viewers. Note to fans... Ratings on Friday nights suck. TVbytheNumber's Gorman commented, "For most broadcast shows, exile to Friday means your network thinks the show is past its time and should peacefully fade away without damaging the ratings of shows on Sunday-Thursday. That's likely the idea that the CW had when it put Smallville on Fridays this season. But defying conventional wisdom (and to many fans, the wishes of CW chief Dawn Ostroff), not only has Smallville refused to go quietly, it was tied for second best adults 18-49 rating on the CW last week. I know that the CW targets women 18-34, but be certain they sell advertising based on whatever attractive demo ratings they get. Those results cannot be ignored."
Likely to be renewed: The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural

Fringe: Regarding last Thursday's episode, TV Guide's Adam Bryant wrote, "Fringe pulled in its highest ratings since the season premiere, according to early Nielsen estimates... The supernatural Fox procedural pulled in 6.9 million viewers and climbed in the adults 18-to-49-demo."

TV Overmind's Jon Lachonis added, "Good news for Fringe fans. If you are worried about how FOX might feel about Fringe's waning ratings, turn your frown upside down. FOX celebrated its seventh straight week as a winner (by FOX math), and had no qualms about parading Fringe as part of its lineup of ratings winners. It's not surprising to see FOX celebrating Fringe's performance though, as last week's episode matched the Fringe season 2 premiere numbers—a feat any show would be hard pressed to pull off ... If Fringe can hold onto those numbers—or even improve on them—the prospects for a third season are better than ever. Considering the fact that the Fringe episode that aired last week, titled 'Snakehead', was one of the best of the season, you'd have to think that hopes are running high."
Already canceled: Dollhouse (with half the season remaining to air)
And: Human Target and Past Life are headed our way for mid-season.
What do you think about the ratings game? Will your favorite show survive?
sci-fi wire...