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"The Awakening"

Like the characters in tonight's episode, we can live in the hope that "The Awakening" remains the weakest installment of this series. In fact, we might even wonder why this arguably religious fantasy was included in a series devoted to science fiction at all; more importantly, we can wonder why, if this obviously heartfelt production was to be included, they executed it so poorly, with so many goofy little details that pull the viewer out of the drama.Based, presumably rather loosely, on Howard Fast's short story "The General Zapped an Angel" (the producers were so concerned that the not-exactly-surprising ending would be given away that they credited the story in the opening as "The General Zapped... "), it's squarely in the tradition of attempted mystical uplift in science fiction drama. As I mentioned in my first post, Howard Fast is best known for his historical fiction, the field to which he contributed most often and most importantly; like sf, historical fiction is a field th... read more

Well, it's that time again — ...

Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights

Question: Well, it's that time again — time to rejoice and weep about the Emmy nominations. I was actually pleasantly surprised this year. After last year's debacle (it can't be called anything else), I wasn't expecting much. But this year, probably 75 to 80 percent of my wish list was granted, which, when it comes to Emmy nominations, is pretty good. Nothing's perfect, of course: In particular, I was disappointed that Lost wasn't nominated for best drama (but Boston Legal was? What?) and that Matthew Fox and Elizabeth Mitchell weren't recognized for their riveting performances. As a new convert to Friday Night Lights, I was also disappointed (but hardly surprised) to see that the show received no nominations at all. But there was good news to balance things out: I was particularly thrilled to see nominations for Ugly Betty, and for America Ferrera and Vanessa L. Williams. I also think they got it right in nominating Sally Field, Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn for their great weekly ... read more

ABC's Science Fiction Series Finally Materializes

Anne Heche and Russell Porter by Bob Akester/ABC

ABC's Masters of Science Fiction anthology series, announced what seems like light-years ago, will finally hit the airwaves during the dog days of August. The lineup — slashed from six installments to four — is as follows:August 4: "A Clean Escape," based on Nebula Award-winning author John Kessel's short story about a postapocalyptic psychiatrist (Judy Davis) determined to solve a man's (Sam Waterston) apparent memory lapse.August 11: "The Awakening," based on a short story by Howard Fast, starring Terry O'Quinn, Elisabeth Rohm and William B. Davis, and concerning Baghdad-based soldiers' discovery of a "mysterious casualty."August 18: "Jerry Was a Man," based on the Robert Heinlein story about an affluent couple (Anne Heche and Malcolm McDowell) who acquire an anthropoid.August 25: "The Discarded," based on the short story by seven-time Hugo Award winner, three-time Nebula Award winner, and Science Fiction Grand Master Laureate Harlan Ellison, directed by Jonathan Frakes,... read more

Seen and Heard at the Upfronts

Daly's Primetime PracticeWhile Tim Daly is excited about his new show Private Practice, he can't help but be a little skeptical. Can you blame him? The last three series he's been on — The Fugitive, Eyes, The Nine — all got nixed during their first seasons. "I approach everything with a healthy amount of optimism," he said while hanging out at the Lucky Suite, where he picked up some Cosabella lingerie and True Religion jeans for his wife and daughter. "I just don't want to get my heart broken again. You just never know." Still, Private Practice is one of the most buzzed about shows this season. "We all figured it would do great since the pilot was embedded in a Grey's Anatomy episode," said Daly. "But it's really exciting." His costar Merrin Dungey is a little more enthusiastic about being cast on the Grey's spin-off. "I actually screamed when I saw myself on next week's clips," Dungey said at ABC's Upfront party. "It's like being cast on your favorite show. I feel like I... read more

Preview: A Locke-centric Lost Unlocks Major Mysteries

Terry O'Quinn, Lost

This TV Guide reporter lucked into getting an advance copy of "The Brig," tonight's Locke-centric episode of Lost (10 pm/ET on ABC), and, having watched it, what can I say? It's one of the series' best. And I'm not just talking this season. Written by series masterminds Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, it is, by turns, twisted, spine-chilling and emotionally stirring. Make that gut-wrenching. It grabs hold and doesn't let go, even after the last frame has smashed to black. If you've watched the sneak-peek clip on this website, you already know that Locke — MIA from the canvas since early April, when he discovered his loser pop was in the island's magi read more

Last week's Lost was amazing. ...

Question: Last week's Lost was amazing. Any scoop on what's coming next?


Answer: OK, can we just talk about the genius that was Terry O'Quinn's performance in those hospital scenes? The look on Locke's face when he was being lowered into the wheelchair for the first time was beyond heartbreaking. And regarding that humdinger of an ending, WTF!? I'm dying to see where Darlton (that's Damon and Carlton) go with that. Unfortunately we won't find out tonight, since Locke's reunion with Pops is only "obliquely referred to," according to Michael Emerson. (For more from Emerson, check out today's scoopy Q&A!)

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Lost's Michael Emerson Ponders Ben's End Game

Michael Emerson, Lost

Last week, ABC's Lost (Wednesdays at 10 pm/ET) ended with a whopper, as Ben revealed to Locke that the former paraplegic's papa is on the island and in the Others' custody. What happens next? TVGuide.com invited Michael Emerson, creepy Ben's compelling portrayer, to share a preview. TVGuide.com: So we have now learned that Ben was born on the island, and is as loath to leave it as Locke is.Michael Emerson: Yeah... what's interesting is in neither case do we know why they're so attached to the island. Interesting.... TVGuide.com: Terry [O'Quinn] and I t read more

Last week's Lost delivered ...

Question: Last week's Lost delivered what I thought was the best episode of the season. I literally screamed at that pivotal scene with Locke and his dad — well, actually at the last two scenes between them. Also, wasn't it a master class of acting between Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn? The scenes with Matthew Fox and Evangeline Lilly were quite impressive as well. Whenever people gripe about Lost, I always point out the writing, acting and production values. They are a notch above most of the TV shows out there. Plus, predictability is never a claim you can throw at Lost. Who knows where it's going? I am sure Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse do, and I will happily go along for the ride. Answer: Or, as Dennis B. wrote in to gush, "After the last couple of episodes of Lost, can we put to rest the reports of its demise?" I'd be happy to. After so much bad-mouthing about the show since the third season began, I'm happy to report that all of the mail I got (at least by week's end) in the ... read more

Terry O'Quinn Teases a "Spectacular" Lost Reveal!

Terry O'Quinn, Lost

The origin of Jack's tattoos? Puh-lease. On this Wednesday's Lost (10 pm/ET, on ABC), longtime fans will get the answer to a far more provocative mystery: What paralyzed John Locke and landed him in a wheelchair in the first place? Terry O'Quinn shared with TVGuide.com a sneak peek. Plus, the original cast member's thoughts on airing next season without a break. TVGuide.com: According to the ABC summary for this episode, "Ben tries to persuade a determined Locke to call off his destructive plan by offering him some of the secrets of the island." What can you tease about Locke's plan?Terry O'Quinn: Nothing. [Laughs] I don't know how to do teases. There are no revelations I can give you because I'm not careful enough. I don't know what's safe to say or what's not safe to say. TVGuide.com: Which read more

I love your column and the ...

Question: I love your column and the rational insight you provide. I have been blown away by Gregory Itzin's performance on 24 — we've seen him swing from an indecisive wuss to an I, Claudius-type schemer. His portrayal and mannerisms also remind me of an obsessed Jimmy Stewart, like in Vertigo. Do you think he has a shot at being nominated for an Emmy for best supporting actor? Though I'd love to see Terry O'Quinn win this year, I wouldn't mind seeing credit given where it is due. Answer: You and me both. (And loved the I, Claudius reference. They don't make TV like that anymore, though I was jazzed that HBO just made it official that Season 2 of Rome is under way.) The deterrent to Gregory Itzin landing his well-deserved nomination is the strength of the drama field in general, as well as 24's inability up to now to land any acting nominations in the supporting categories, though many have deserved them. Given the media attention Itzin is now enjoying (again, deservedly), he has ... read more

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