SDCC: THE VISITORS ARE RETURNING AS “V:THE ORIGINAL MINISERIES” MAKES ITS BLU-RAY DEBUT

On May 1st 1983, NBC aired part one of a 4 hour miniseries called V. The story of V begins as giant alien spacecraft come to Earth and hover above all of the world’s major cities. The aliens, known as The Visitors, say they have come in peace and need Earth’s help in mining a chemical that can save their planet. In exchange, they will share their technology and cures for diseases. But soon, it is discovered that the Visitors have a more sinister agenda. They have come to take all of the planet’s water and to take our people for food. A band of resistance fighters from all walks of life band together to fight this new enemy. The V miniseries was one of the highest-rated television programs in the 1983 season, and NBC would order a sequel mini-series that aired in May of 1984, and then a weekly series which ran from 1984-1985.

Warner Archive has remastered V: The Original Miniseries and is set to release it later this summer on Blu-ray. To celebrate, they held a panel at San Diego Comic Con, where they showed off some of the new hi-def footage. Members of the Warner Archive team appeared along with Marc Singer (The Beastmaster), who starred as TV-reporter turned resistance fighter Mike Donovan, and V writer/producer Kenneth Johnson, who is also responsible for the classic television hits The Bionic Woman, The Incredible Hulk, and Alien Nation.

“V” creator Kenneth Johnson and star Marc Singer appeared on a panel with the Warner Archive team at San Diego Comic Con to promote the new “V:The Original Miniseries” Blu-ray.

Johnson said he was inspired by Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 novel It Can’t Happen Here, a satirical story about the rise of European-style fascism in the United States. To make his script more marketable for NBC, Johnson made it a sci-fi parable with seemingly friendly aliens as stand-ins for modern Nazis.

V is a timeless tale,” Johnson said. “It’s Spartacus and the revolt of the slaves. It’s the American Revolution, or the fight against apartheid, or the struggle wherever people are oppressed.”

Singer said V has resonated with audiences because it tells a classic story. “There are a lot of things that conspired to make V relevant again over the generations,” he said. “But I think the basic reason is that it’s an adventure story of daring-do. Everyone loves to see a hero beating the bad guys. But more importantly, it draws together a community and celebrates the entire world we inhabit. There’s a lot of power in the message that we’re all in this together.”

Footage from the new Blu-ray was screened during the panel and some of the clips can be viewed in the link below.

These are some of the new HD clips from Warner Archive’s V:The Original Miniseries that were shown at the San Diego Comic Con panel.

Johnson broke the news during the panel that he is developing a new V trilogy of films. Producer Ted Field (Jumanji) has stepped in to oversee production, and Johnson showed off a short clip of what some of the VFX would look like for the films. The plan is for the first film to retell the story in the 80s and then the sequels would take place 35 years later so that the original V actors like Singer could return to play their roles as the older characters.

Johnson and Singer sat down with us after the panel to discuss the new Blu-ray, the original miniseries, the new V movie that is in development, and why V has remained popular with fans for over 35 years.

Johnson revealed that the miniseries will be presented on Blu-ray in a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio, instead of the 1980s-standard 4:3 television ratio. Johnson recalled his pilot for “The Incredible Hulk” in 1977 being released theatrically in foreign markets, so he said V was filmed with the idea of a potential theatrical release in mind. Edges of the frame were protected so as not to reveal microphones or other production equipment. This allowed the restoration team at Warner Archive to use the wider aspect ratio. It will also feature a new soundtrack. “When they released it on DVD, it had mono sound because Warner wouldn’t let me mix it in stereo,” Johnson said. “I spent twice as much time doing the sound for this Blu-ray to get it right.”

Singer said V fulfilled the desire he had as a kid watching Westerns to be a television hero.

“When I first read the script, the immediate reaction was the writing was terrific and the story was terrific. It was almost as if it was meant to be for me to be in it.”

Singer said he was cast because Johnson had seen him perform a stage production of The Taming of the Shrew, as well as his starring role in the 1982 action-fantasy film The Beastmaster.

Singer said his background in Shakespeare offers a valuable lesson to storytellers. “Every actor and every writer should start off with Shakespeare, period,” Singer said. “The architecture of his writing was almost legalistic. Every word is like a contract, defining who a character is, and they do not not step out of that identity.”

V: The Original Miniseries will be released by Warner Archive Collection on August 27th.

(L to R) V actor Marc Singer and V writer/producer Kenneth Johnson.

“BANANA SPLITS MOVIE” TEAM DISCUSSES MAKING CHILDREN’S SHOW/HORROR MOVIE HYBRID

The cast and crew behind the strange Saturday morning kids show/horror movie hybrid The Banana Splits Movie came to San Diego Comic Con this year as part of a Horror Times Two panel alongside the new Critters film Critters Attack!, and to attend the World Premiere of the film with an audience of con attendees at the Horton Grand Theater in San Diego later that evening. They took some time to sit down with us before the panel and screening to discuss how this crazy idea came into existence.

First up, the writers Jed Ellinoff and Scott Thomas discusses the origin of the film and how their background in children’s television inspired them to take beloved Saturday morning tv icons and turn them into cold-blooded killers as a form of professional creative catharsis against those bosses that may have wronged them in the past.

Actress Sara Canning (The Vampire Diaries) spoke about her character, what she loves about the film, and how she was looking forward to seeing the film with an audience later that night.

Voice artist Eric Bauza, who recreates the classic Banana Splits voices from the 1970s in the new movie, talks about his process, how he does the voices, and his thoughts on the new film.

The Banana Splits Movie will be released by Warner Brothers Home Entertainment on Digital on August 13 and Blu-ray Combo Pack/DVD on August 27,2019.

“THE FLASH” INTERVIEWS: TEAM FLASH SPEEDS INTO SAN DIEGO TO DISCUSS SEASON 6, CRISIS CROSSOVER

The cast and creative team behind the CW’s The Flash came to San Diego Comic Con along with all of the other “Arrowverse” shows to discuss everything that happened during season five as well as preview the upcoming season six, which will include an epic 5-series crossover event based on “Crisis On Infinite Earths,” which will see the characters from The Flash mix it up with characters from Arrow, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and the new Batwoman, which premieres this fall. Before meeting fans for an autograph session and then again for a panel later in the day, the group sat down with the press for roundtable interviews to discuss the show.

First up, The Flash himself, Grant Gustin, spoke about the emotional impact of the season five finale, the newspaper headline tease and how it will play into season six, the breaking news that Brandon Routh will be returning as Superman in the “Crisis” crossover, and the logistical nightmares of filming the crossover events.

Danielle Panabaker talked about the Caitlin/Killer Frost relationship and what we might expect next season, and about her new role as director for episode six.

The “Crisis” Event is going to be huge and Tom Cavanagh talked about how complicated it is to make all of the different show schedules, crew schedules, and actor schedules work in a cohesive way.

Hartley Sawyer spoke about his character Ralph and about how Ralph being a little different adds to the Flash team, and where he ultimately sees Ralph ending up in the future.

Candice Patton (Iris West) talks about the loss of Nora in season five, and also the big “Crisis” crossover event.

Finally, Executive Producer Eric Wallace stopped by to tease season six and the “Crisis” crossover.

The Flash season six premiere airs on the CW Tuesday, October 8th.

“SNOWPIERCER” TEAM SPEEDS INTO SAN DIEGO COMIC CON TO SHOWCASE TRAILER

TBS’s TV adaption of Bong Joon-Ho’s 2014 action-thriller Snowpiercer made a big splash at this year’s San Diego ComicCon. The trailer dropped at a panel for fans and TBS announced that they have already renewed the show for a second season even though the series has yet to air a single episode. After the panel, the cast and members of the production team then sat down to discuss the new series with the press.

The post-apocalyptic film on which the series is based (which itself was based on a popular graphic novel) starred Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, and Octavia Spencer and was an indie hit that focused on a world plagued by climate issues and social injustice, and the cars of a high-speed train acting as the upstairs/downstairs for survivors. As the poor rise up against the rich, Joon-ho stages brutal fight sequences and explores speculative science fiction.

Alison Wright, Stephen Ogg, Lena Hall, Mickey Summer, Jennifer Connolly, Dahveed Diggs, Graeme Manson

Adapted by Graeme Manson (Orphan Black), TBS’s Snowpiercer takes place seven years after the world has become a frozen wasteland. The series again focuses on remnants of humanity who survive in a train that circles the globe. The cast includes Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind), Daveed Diggs (Hamilton), Alison Wright (The Americans), Mickey Sumner (Battle of the Sexes), Susan Park (Ghostbusters), Iddo Goldberg (Peaky Blinders), Katie McGuinness (Dirty Filthy Love), Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Annalise Basso (Bedtime Stories), Sam Otto (Jellyfish), Roberto Urbina (Narcos), Sheila Vand (Argo) and Jaylin Fletcher (Saturday Church).

In the trailer we see Connelly’s character keeping the train in tip top shape, maintaining the luxurious first class passengers’ accommodations and keeping the rigid class system intact. But not everyone’s sipping champagne. Beneath all the posh decor, a mutiny — led by Diggs’ character — brews.

Diggs says Snowpiercer does what any good science fiction is supposed to do–explore current issues, in this case–class differences–and use it to take a look at ourselves in a different way. “You start with that but take it and push it forward through proxies. That’s what art is for. You can show the audience someone who is not even a real person and get them to empathize with them and hopefully learn something about themselves,” he said.

Jennifer Connolly and Dahveed Diggs

Manson talked about the challenge of creating sets that could properly convey the movement and claustrophobia of being on a giant train you seemingly can’t disembark. They built several different cars that could be connected to each other for larger sequences, which made a huge difference when needing to do action scenes.

“Our sets are really quite amazing. We could link five train cars up together and you could walk all the way down,” Manson said. “The train cars are all jostling because there are two big grips shaking the cars… nd they could actually bend the tail too, like some guy’s on a forklift pushing it this way and that way,” he added.

“It’s kind of the most incredible bit of movie magic. When you’re inside of the train, it’s the most real feeling, like, intense thing ever. And then cut, and you walk outside and it’s just, like, four huge dudes on a seesaw,” Diggs added.

Jennifer Connolly, Dahveed Diggs, Mickey Sumner, Graeme Manson

Manson says that the early renewal of season 2 has allowed them time in post-production to tinker with the episodes on the back end of season one, especially the VFX.  He also likes that he and the writers can immediately start talking ideas while everything is still fresh. 

Snowpiercer airs in Spring 2020 on TBS.

SDCC: STAR TREK: DISCOVERY WILL JUMP 1000 YEARS INTO THE FUTURE, INTRODUCE NEW CHARACTERS

Some of Star Trek: Discovery’s creative team and cast teased the upcoming third season as part of a massive “Star Trek Universe” panel this morning at Comic-Con International in San Diego. Series star Sonequa Martin-Green joined newly announced cast member David Ajala and producers Alex Kurtzman, Michelle Paradise, and Heather Kadin.

Kurtzman teased that season 3 “will take place 1,000 years in the future” after the end of season 2. “The farthest that any Star Trek series has gone before.”

At the end of season 2, Discovery heads into a time warp, and when they come out of the worm hole, Michael Burnham and her crew will be separated, and not in the same place. “They have big problems,” said Kurtzman. 

Newly announced Star Trek:Discovery cast member David Ajala

Season 3 was shot in Iceland. “We are not in Taralesium,” said Burnham actress Martin-Green. Kurtzman said that who becomes Captain of Discovery will be revealed in season 3.

Kurtzman also announced that Short Treks, the short trek film series focused on various members of the Discovery crew will return before season three and will feature six segments that somehow will link to season three. Anson Mount will return as Captain Christopher Pike in two of the Short Treks segments as will Spock and Number One.

Star Trek:Discovery will return for season 3 on CBS All-Access in 2020.