Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tunes And Such

Haven't updated the probably less-than-interested world with my latest musical adventures, but here goes nothing...

SQUEEZE just released a new double-CD set of their BBC recordings. Somebody went back and did some major league repair work, because I have some of the original BBC transcription records and this stuff sounds light-years better. All their hits, some acoustic shows, full band, early, late... it's the entire panoply of Squeeze done live in studio and done extremely well.

DAVE EDMUNDS has apparently put a new band together, which is great news. His emergence from... wherever you emerge from when you haven't toured in awhile... is heralded by a new single CD compilation from the U.K., "The Many Sides Of Dave Edmunds, Greatest Hits and More!" Covering all the bases with that lengthy title, I guess. Nothing new here for fans of Mr. Edmunds, but it's an especially well chosen set with songs from the whole range of his career. The liner notes say Dave was never pigeon-holed, and woe be for me to try, but if hard-charging, rockabilly tinged guitar hero power pop pushes your buttons (and/or The Everly Brothers), Edmunds is your guy.

One of Edmunds' and Nick Lowe's band buddies, GERAINT WATKINS, has just released his own new solo CD, "In A Bad Mood." Taking a page from Mr. Lowe's recent, subdued recordings, this is a stately piece of crooning, a little blues and a little piano and a couple of rockers.

Finally, in an effort to review at least ONE release from THIS century, I note with great pleasure that Liam Finn, Neil Finn's hugely talented son, has both a studio album and several live sets available (studio through Yeproc, live mail-order only via I caught Liam opening for Dad's band Crowded House last year, and he's mighty good. Wholly unlike the Crowdies (we're talking some pretty ferocious, clanging, one-man-band racket here) but great nonetheless. I almost prefer the immediacy of the live stuff, but "your mileage may vary."

More once my ears recover...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bit And Pieces... BSG, Sightings, Etc.

Wow, an entire week since my last post. Where does the time go? I've been in serious hunker-down mode, so I'm afraid your party-gossip will have to come from elsewhere. Meanwhile...

After all the wrap parties and set-selling, I am somewhat sad to report that the adventure that is the current incarnation of Battlestar Galactica comes to a real close next week with the wrap of "The Plan", the BSG "movie" project directed by Edward James Olmos and ably written and produced by Jane Espensen. I understand things have been going well in the rainy Northwest and look forward to the end product with the same nail-biting anticipation as the rest of the BSG-lovin' world.

Meanwhile, I pinch-hit for Jane during the final mix of her last-half-season-four episode, so I got to visit with the crack post and sound guys one more time. As always, it's a blast to see the episodes on the big screen and hear them in Dolby 8.9 or whatever the heck they're using these days. At the same time, I am eagerly anticipating getting a sneak peek at the cuts of the final episodes. I have, of course, kept up on the script(s), but actually seeing how it comes together is always the big thrill.

Next Monday, of course, another big episode of NBC's HEROES. The heroics and intrigue continues in the uber-Villians arc. 9:00PM! Monday! NBC!

In other, perhaps stranger news, HEY! Apparently I'm really powerful! The British magazine Tripwire, in their 2008 annual, lists their picks for the "25 Comics Power List", and somehow I landed at #11. One notch above Frank Miller. One spot under director Christopher Nolan. From #1 down, their 2008 Comics Power List:

Kevin Feige & David Maisel
Jon Favreau
Guillermo Del Toro
George Lucas
Matt Groening/David X Cohen
Mike Mignola
JJ Abrams
Tim Kring
Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale
Christopher Nolan
Mark Verheiden
Frank Miller
Joss Whedon
Steve Geppi
Joe Quesada
Eric Stephenson
Alan Moore
Dan Didio
Chris Ware
Joann Sfar
Genndy Tartakovsky
Alison Bechdel
Gilbert Shelton
and, at #25, Tom Spurgeon

Well, at least I beat out "Clamp." I'm not really sure what to say about this (especially since I haven't seen the magazine, so I have no idea how these listings were justified), but... well, maybe I'll just leave it at "interesting?"

Finally, in the celebrity sightings category (not a category, actually, I think this is the first time I've actually done this!), I was driving down the street in Santa Monica Friday morning and who should ride up on my bumper but Mr. Sam Raimi. I felt kind of sorry for the guy, since he did not make Tripwire's list this year. Maybe next time, pal. Guess those Spider-Man movies are so fegeddaboutit...

Friday, September 19, 2008


The big premiere of the new Heroes "Villains" arc is this Monday, Sept. 22, and it going to be a wild night of Heroes excitement. First, a prelim countdown event show with all sorts of fun extras and teasers, then not one, not one and a half, not one and three quarters, but two entire episodes of "Villains." Some amazing revelations and surprises are in store, along with a mind-bender or two (that Petrelli family, sheesh!).

I arrived on staff in time to watch the final episode of the "Villians" story arc come together, and I gotta say, this "pod" has enormous set-ups and equally enormous pay-offs. It's a good one, folks, so mark that time down -- Monday night, Sept. 22, starting at 8:00, on NBC! It'll be a mega-Hero-thon-o-rama!

BSG Writing/Directing Season 4.5

Galactica Sitrep has the complete list up... and it is correctomundo.

I've been reading some stuff on-line wondering why Sci-Fi doesn't air the last 11 episodes right now (like RIGHT NOW!!!). Well, there's one small problem with that, which is -- they're not finished yet! Needless to say, the post production on Battlestar is a lengthy process, involving editing, scoring, and lots of special FX that win many Emmys. That all takes time and thought and hard work by lots and lots of folks...

Also, evidently folks are trying to divine content from the titles of the various episodes. Good luck. I mean, "A Disquiet Follows My Soul" could describe virtually every episode of Battlestar, not to mention my mood most evenings. Maybe a title like "A Fifth Of Cylon" or "Roslin's Evil Twin" would point out a "direction", but not these. Feel free to hypothesize regardless...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bruce Campbell in the NY Times!

Great interview with Mr. C. in today's New York Times, including discussion of MY NAME IS BRUCE, regurgitating into a theater near you this Fall!

Battlestar Galactica - Cruise Book!

The Cinemaspy site got their hands on one of the beautiful yearbooks that were distributed to the cast and crew of Battlestar during the series wrap party. It really is an amazing production, and the product of an incredible effort by BSG's own Sian McArthur. Anyhow, they've posted some images from the book. And no, you can't have mine.

Slight correction. Ron Moore wrote and directed episode #14 (it'll be the second one up when the series comes back), "A Disquiet Follows My Soul." "The Oath" is episode #15, written by yours truly, directed by John Dahl. These titles seem to get mixed up all the time for some reason...

CORRECTION #2 (9/18/08 edition): If you're coming here from the I09 site, the call-sheet Cinemaspy reproduced from the BSG yearbook is indeed from Ron Moore's written/directed episode, "A Disquiet Follows My Soul." Here's the tip-off -- that what it says on the top! And it is episode #14, not episode #13. I wrote episode #15, "The Oath." Jeepers! I wish Sci-Fi would just RUN them already!

CORRECTION #3 (9/18/08 Part 2 Edition): Damn that RAZOR! I see where the confusion is coming from re: the episode numbering. We (the producing dopes on the show) always counted RAZOR as episodes 1 and 2 of season 4. And indeed that's how they appear in all the accounting stuff, as 401 and 402.

Here's the official order of the entire fourth season:

401: Razor
402: Razor
403: He That Believeth In Me
404: Six of One
405: The Ties That Bind
406: Escape Velocity
407: The Road Less Traveled
408: Faith
409: Guess What's Coming to Dinner?
410: Sine Qua Non
411: The Hub
412: Revelations
413: Sometimes a Great Notion
414: A Disquiet Follows My Soul
415: The Oath
416: Blood on the Scales
417: No Exit
418: Deadlock
419: Someone to Watch Over Me
420: Islanded In A Stream Of Stars
421: Daybreak 1
422: Daybreak 2
423: Daybreak 3 (assuming it's still a three parter)

Hope the titles aren't spoilers... and I should caveat, this is what the episodes were being called when I finished up as producer. Titles may well change.

There's also "The Plan", the BSG movie... not sure where that would fit in, schedule wise, but it's being shot right now!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bad BSG Fan, BAD!

Uhhh... don't do this!


Battlestar Galactica took home two Emmy's last night during the technical awards. A very well deserved nod for Special Effects (second year in a row, so congrats!), plus a win for one of the Razor webisodes. Fingers crossed we see some more gold next week as the next batch o' winners are announced.

More info and links at Galactica Sitrep, url to the right!

More On Steve Ditko...

For those comic devotees who share my fascination with the work, life and times of Steve Ditko (co-creator of Spider-Man), multi-talented artist/writer/publisher Steve Bissette offers some of his insights into the Ditko dynamic here...

Have to admit, I fall somewhere in the middle when thinking about Ditko's worldview. Bissette sees his withdrawal from the mainstream comics scene as the only sane response following years of being abused by a corrupt industry. I guess I've had better luck in the funny-book world, working with publishers like Mike Richardson at Dark Horse, but then I also diversified into film and television (and MADNESS) very early in my so-called career... so except for the first two or three years of my professional life, I've never relied solely on comics income to survive. It does seem like a pretty tough and very narrow field at the moment...

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I find myself in the curious position of having been involved in three different shows that are still on the air. Curious for me, anyway, since my first two television producing efforts were classic "out in nine" ventures, canceled practically before they had a chance to air. But HEROES is currently in season three (I'm involved in the arc that will run in 2009, after the incredibly cool VILLIANS arc that debuts on MONDAY SEPT. 22, that's MONDAY, SEPT 22!), BATTLESTAR'S final 11 episodes will unspool starting in January (last I heard) and SMALLVILLE, which I was involved in during the first three seasons, will debut its eighth (!) season this Thursday.

There's been a bit of a sea change at SMALLVILLE since my niece Alissa started interning there this Summer. Yes, she saved the show! (That's what SHE told me!) Aside from her Herculean efforts, my pals Todd Slavkin, Darren Swimmer, Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson were elevated to executive producer/showrunner status this year. I'm curious to see what unfolds this season and look forward to much Superguy excitement.

Meanwhile, HEROES is going to be blowing some eyeballs outta their sockets this season with their new storylines. Great guest cast, wild surprises and tons of action. Coolest for me, I'll be enjoying my debut run on HEROES and the BATTLESTAR swan-song simultaneously. Now if the fine folks at the Sci-Fi network would just pick up CAPRICA...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Facebook & My Stuff...

Been awhile since I mentioned upcoming publishing ventures, but some enterprising soul has created a Facebook site that makes it easy-peasy.

For those too lazy to click, here are the upcoming goodies:

Writers: Mark Verheiden, Mike Johnson, Brian Reed and others
Artists: Trevor Hairsine, Duncan Rouleau and others
Cover: Gene Ha

The Horror! The Horror! Could this be the final Halloween for the DCU? Evil has won, and there are no treats! Witness tales of terror featuring Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Titans, El Diablo, Faust and others by past, present and future DC greats.
On sale October 22 80 pg, FC, $5.99 US

By: Mark Verheiden, John Bolton
Type: Graphic Novels
Genres: Horror, Action-Adventure
Publisher: Dark Horse
Pub. Date: October 29, 2008
Details: Full color, 112 pages, TPB, 7" x 10"
Price: $12.95

Writer Mark Verheiden (Battlestar Galactica, My Name Is Bruce) and illustrator John Bolton (God Save the Queen, Harlequin Valentine) present an exciting expansion on the classic horror film that introduced us to the powerful Book of the Dead, the relentlessly violent deadites, and Ash--one resilient, blood-soaked survivor. Now an iconic horror hero, relive Ash's first visit to the cabin that brought him face to face with the delectably deranged deadites who possessed his girlfriend and friends . . . and turned "the perfect place to get laid" into a house of fear and fury. Return to the original nonstop gore-fest and experience the thrills, gags, and gagging anew, with unexpected extra scenes.
* As writer Mark Verheiden explains, "With permission from Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, we've expanded the movie, meeting our characters back in their pre-deadite lives and opening up the story to see what happened between the events seen on screen."
* Collects the four-issue miniseries.

Writer: John Arcudi, Jim Woodring, James Vance, John Byrne, Ron Marz, Mark Schultz, Mark Verheiden
Artist: John Byrne, Richard Corben, Guy Davis, Bernie Wrightson, Duncan Fegredo, Arthur Adams, and others
Genre: Science-Fiction, Action/Adventure

Living with the Alien has become a fact of life--and death--as mankind expands throughout the galaxy. And no matter how each encounter with the deadly xenomorphs inevitably leads to disaster, man's hubris and greed just as inevitably fuel the desire to try to unlock the secrets of the demonic beasts' biology or bring the creatures under control as tools to build an even more monstrous future.

Dark Horse Comics' critically acclaimed Aliens series set the bar for how the universe of a popular film could be expanded through graphic fiction. Aliens Omnibus Volume 5 collects more of these comics classics, featuring over 350 story pages in full color by some of the finest creators in graphic fiction.

* Collects Aliens: Alchemy #1-3, Aliens: Kidnapped TPB, Aliens: Cargo one-shot, Aliens: Survival #1-3, "Aliens: Alien" (DHC #17-19), Aliens: Earth Angel one-shot, "Aliens: Incubation" (DHP #101-102), Aliens: Havoc #1-2, Aliens: Lovesick one-shot, "Aliens: Lucky" (Decade of Dark Horse TPB)
Publication Date: November 12, 2008
Format: FC, 364 pages, TPB, 6" x 9"
Price: $24.95

Perfect for this glorious Halloween season!

When Movie Tie-Ins Go Too Far...

The scariest part is, apparently they're sold out right now!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Fanzines Online...

For geezers-like-me who still enjoy checking out the old fashioned fan press, here's a site where you can electronically catch up on a variety of science fiction based publications. I've always enjoyed the home-made, iconoclastic nature of true fanzines, and while reading them online doesn't capture the whole experience (we need a spray bottle with mimeograph-ink smell for that) this is close.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Man On Wire...

Caught the excellent documentary MAN ON WIRE over the weekend, and it's well worth seeking out in theaters. The story of the French fellow (Phillipe Petit) who famously walked a tight-rope between the World Trade Center towers back in 1974, the movie plays like a thriller, but with surprisingly emotional overtones. I knew about the walk, but seeing the prep and getting a feeling for the obsession that drove this guy to put the "mission" together is fascinating.

The reason to see it on the big screen is for the scale of his achievement, I just don't think the magnitude of what he did will come across as dramatically on television. Oddly, his wire-walk between the towers of Notre Dame looks even more harrowing than the World Trade Center, because he's not quite so high and you can actually see him from the ground. At 110 stories, he was hard to spot between the twin towers!

At any rate, it's a fascinating story, well told. Check it out!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Beatles Remastered!

According to the magazine MOJO, the entire Beatles catalog is being remastered and the preliminary reviews are "amazing." This is not surprising, the first run were released back in the late 80's and while great for the time, that's 20 years ago. Technology has improved dramatically. Unfortunately, it looks like they won't start coming out until 2009 at the earliest.

The news is available at:

Also, apparently the DVD reissue of the infamous LET IT BE movie is now off the agenda. Nixed by Sir Paul and Ringo, evidently, who don't see a reason to show their bickering to a new world of fans. Oh well, there are always the bootleg copies...

Friday, September 05, 2008


Got the latest Smithereens collection of Beatles covers, and it's another winner. There are good Beatles covers (Joe Cocker) and there are bad ones (William Shatner); these definitely fall in the "good" category. 12 songs, short and sweet, cool liner notes, it's a must have/double bag item! Amazon has 'em cheap, but I've been buying more new stuff at one of the few surviving record stores, just to keep SOME brick and mortar music retailers in the picture...

Continuing on the musical front, my latest obscure obsession is a South African soul band from the 60's called "The Flames." They released four LPs back in the day, and while there isn't much info on line about them, I gather that while their lead singer died some time ago, the rest of the band reforms now and again for reunion shows, etc. In terms of the music, imagine John Fogerty singing Stax, with a funky horn section. I don't know if there are any legit CDs available... I can't find them, but I'll admit I haven't had time for my usual diligent search. Still, the vinyl is around and enterprising gray market folks have gathered their entire recorded history for the "devotee."

Oh, and HEROES Season two was just released on DVD! Good, 'cause I was tired of watching my Amazon downloads. And the DVD set has a zillion extras! Catch up and get ready for a rousing season three!