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AlphaBits: ‘Caprica’ Adds Starpower To First Season

PLUS: ‘District 9’ tops box office in our supersized edition


One would think being related to the critically acclaimed “Battlestar Galactica” on SciFi Channel would be enough for the upcoming Jane Espenson series “Caprica,” but it seems a familiar face or two could “spike” up the ratings.

That spike will come in the form of Spike. James Marsters to be exact, who played the popular bloodsucker in the Joss Whedon series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Marsters will take on the role of Barnabus Greeley, a terrorist leader that might have some hints of Tom Zarek in him, according to Michael Ausiello of Entertainment Weekly.

Marsters run will be for at least three episodes, and will reunite him with Espenson, who also worked on “Buffy” in the past.

Also coming to “Caprica” is comedian Patton Oswalt who will play Baxter Sarno, a talk show host who includes Daniel Graystone and his wife Amanda, played by Eric Stoltz and Paula Malcomson, as his guests, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Before “Caprica,” Oswalt had a recurring role in “United States of Tara” on Showtime.

“Caprica” premieres Jan. 22. — [Entertainment Weekly and The Hollywood Reporter]

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‘District 9’ rules the box office: Sometimes studios don’t need to make a lot of money to spend a lot of money.

“District 9,” featuring an unknown director and an unknown cast, was the big winner at last weekend’s box office, drawing in $37 million. While that can’t be compared to the recent openings of films such as “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” or “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” it already has guaranteed that “District 9” will finish in the black.

That’s because the film, from director Neill Blomkamp, only cost $30 million to produce.

It bumped “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” to second place with a strong $22.5 million, bringing its total to just under $99 million after two weeks. “The Time Traveler’s Wife” earned a third place finish with $19.2 million. — [CNN]

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‘Avatar’ stands tall with fists: James Cameron’s first film since “Titanic” won’t be too reminiscent of the biggest box office grosser of all time, but instead of a movie put together by Kevin Costner instead.

“Avatar” will be more reminiscent of “Dances With Wolves,” especially since the upcoming Cameron features a “battered military man” who finds purity in an endangered tribal culture, the director told The Los Angeles Times.

“Yes, exactly, it is very much like that,” Cameron said. “You see the same theme in ‘At Play in the Fields of the Lord’ and also ‘The Emerald Forest,’ which maybe thematically isn’t that connected, but it did have the clash of civilizations or of cultures. That was another reference point for me. There was some beautiful stuff in that film.

“I just gathered all this stuff in and then you look at it through the lens of science-fiction and it comes out looking very different, but is still recognizable in a universal story way.”

“Avatar” premieres Dec. 18. — [io9]

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Earth to Daniel Jackson: It’s hard for Michael Shanks to keep a low profile in anything Stargate, so it’s no surprise that he’ll do more than just make a cameo in the series premiere of “Stargate: Universe.”

The actor, who played Daniel Jackson in “Stargate SG-1,” will make a second guest appearance on the upcoming series starring Robert Carlyle later in the first season.

It’s not clear what exactly Jackson will do in his second appearance, but Shanks was quite forthcoming on his first showing.

“It’s a cameo,” Shanks said. “It’s a popping in and popping out kind of thing. They’ve got a lot of cast that they definitely need to facilitate.”

“Stargate: Universe” premieres Oct. 2 on Syfy. — [GateWorld]

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Transformers 2 comes to DVD: Forget Christmas. Fans of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” will be able to own the movie that currently leads the world box office with $820 million will be on DVD and Blu-ray beginning Oct. 20 — in time for Halloween.

Not only will a single-disc DVD be available, but Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks also is offering a two-disc special edition for both regular DVD and Blu-ray. It also will come with what the studios, working in association with Hasbro, have called the biggest marketing push ever.

The set includes three hours of special features as well as a multi-chapter documentary with interviews with the cast and crew. The special edition also includes a featurette following director Michael bay through an entire day.

So now you can transform your DVD collection just in time for Trick-or-Treat. Or you can give them away as gifts to all the kids knocking on your door (but some might consider that a trick rather than a treat). — [Airlock Alpha]

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Here comes Green Arrow: There seems to be a lot of movie with the word “green” in the title in the works, and it looks like “Green Arrow” will still be among them.

David S. Goyer, who is a part of the upcoming ABC series “Flash Forward,” continues to be fully involved in the project, the writer told MTV News.

“We working on” a script, Goyer said. “We’re about to bring in another writer. Obviously, Warner Bros. is now heavily into mining all of the various DC [Comics] properties.”

The film continues to be rumored to be about the Super Max prison, and could include cameos from popular villains such as Lex Luthor and The Joker.

When casting or even filming will take place, no one knows. So don’t expect this film until 2011 at the earliest. — [Sci-Fi Pulse]

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Is there an Eko in here?: Dead characters on “Lost” have a way of coming back for more, and Mr. Eko might be appearing in a future episode of the departing ABC series.

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje said he heard from executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse that “fans of Eko should have hope.”

“I loved playing that character,” Akinnuoye-Agbaje said. “I loved working with that team, and the reception that I got from people was phenomenal. It makes you feel good that you could be off a show for more than a year and still have people thinking about your character. It was a great part.”

While it’s not clear if Mr. Eko will indeed be back, Akinnuouye-Agbaje said he’s ready to don the walking stick once again.

“I have not shot anything yet or signed any contract,” he said. “But I’m hoping.” — [Entertainment Weekly]

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Writer pegged for upcoming Spider-Man movies: James Vanderbilt’s work wasn’t exactly what Sam Raimi had in mind for “Spider-Man 4,” but apparently he’s good enough to craft not just a fifth film in the series, but a sixth as well.

Vanderbilt has been tapped by Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios to pen the films following “Spider-Man 4,” and to make them almost a two-parter, according to Variety. The studios are doing this despite Raimi dumping Vanderbilt in the fourth film to have David Lindsay-Abaire and later Gary Ross to rewrite those scripts.

In fact, Vanderbilt’s work could be enough to reboot the Spider-Man franchise if the key players such as Raimi, Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst decide not to return after the fourth film, so having Vanderbilt around might just be a new insurance policy for the studios.

The next Spider-Man is expected to be released in May 2011. — [SciFi Wire]

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‘Stargate Worlds’ dead or alive?: In 2008, “Stargate Worlds” was the talk of San Diego Comic-Con. Now, it seems it will take a miracle from the Goa’uld to make it happen.

That is, if the Goa’uld were really capable of doing miracles.

Tim Jenson, the president of Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment, which is trying to produce the MMORPG, said that there are some “attractive potential opportunities” to continue funding the game, but nothing has been confirmed.

“We are evaluating multiple Stargate [intellectual property] products to see if we can get some products flowing sooner than ‘Stargate Worlds,’ but nothing has been approved or decided at this point,” Jenson said in a statement to fans. “While we are seeking funding, we have signed various confidentiality restrictions and it is not possible for us to discuss much with the community until these potential opportunities run their course.

“We certainly hope there is light on the horizon,” Jenson said. “Sorry that I can’t say much more at this point.” — [ZAM News]

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Portal Awards winners announced Aug. 25: Since my e-mail box can’t go a day without a dozen people asking when the winners of the Portal Awards will be announced, just a quick reminder that — as we have announced from the beginning — we will share with the world the winners of the 10th Portal Awards on Aug. 25.

We’re still deciding whether there’s time enough to do a video featuring the winners, especially since the announcement is just a few days away, but we’ll see what we can do.

Some people might not be able to wait that long, so I can give you one winner right now. And you’ll get to read it because you decided to read this far into our supersized version of AlphaBits (since it’s a few days late) or because someone linked you here from Twitter, or a blog somewhere.

We can tell you that this year’s Gene Roddenberry Lifetime Achievement Award has been given to “Avatar” director James Cameron. The late author H.G. Wells was a runner up.

But catch the rest of the winners Aug. 25, and please stop e-mailing me about it! — [Airlock Alpha]

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‘Leverage’ finds out that resistance is futile: The TNT series “Leverage” is not exactly a science-fiction show, but it has so many science-fiction references in it, it’s hard to ignore it.

And the show is very popular on the cable channel, so much that two more episodes has been added to the second season run.

Also, there will be a familiar pair of bre … err, a familiar face on the Sept. 2 episode called “The Lost Heir Job.” Jeri Ryan, who played Seven of Nine in the UPN series “Star Trek: Voyager,” will fill a guest slot as Tara, another grifter who comes in to help the team.

Ryan joins a long line of Trek actors who have appeared on the show, including Jonathan Frakes (who has also directed episodes of “Leverage”), Brent Spiner, and this coming week, the great Wil Wheaton.

Catch “Leverage” Wednesdays on TNT. — [TV Guide.com]

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