Firefly- News Archive

Morena Baccarin To Star In ABC's 'Warriors'

Hot off a three-season run on Homeland, which earned her an Emmy nomination, Morena Baccarin has been tapped as the female lead in another drama project that deals with war veterans, ABC’s medical pilot Warriors, from writer Chris Keyser, Mandeville TV and ABC Studios. Inspired by the Walter Reed Military Medical Center, Warriors follow the best and brightest active-duty military doctors and nurses as they practice trailblazing medicine. Baccarin, repped by UTA, Seven Summits and Jackoway Tyerman, will play Tory, a psychiatrist and expert on PTSD who suffers a mild case herself having just returned from Afghanistan. This marks Baccarin’s return to ABC, where she starred on the sci-fi drama series V.

Castle: In the Belly of the Beast (3/3)

“In the Belly of the Beast” – Beckett is recruited to assist on a Narcotics investigation, but a routine mission turns deadly when an undercover operation goes array. To survive, Beckett must engage in a battle of wits against some of the most dangerous men in the New York underworld – including a powerful enemy from her past, on “Castle,” MONDAY, MARCH 3 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Carlos Gomez as Captain Fowler, Kenny Johnson as Harden, Britt Rentschler as Elena Markov, Regi Davis as Dr. Bailey, and Daniel Hugh Kelly as Evan Potter.

“In the Belly of the Beast” was written by Andrew W. Marlowe & David Amann and directed by Rob Bowman.

“Castle” is produced by ABC Studios. Andrew Marlowe serves as executive producer/writer, along with executive producers Rob Bowman, David Amann, David Grae, and Armyan Bernstein.

'Firefly' to be revived? Producer game for limited series

With "Veronica Mars" soon returning to viewers in a theater near you, the prospect of fan favorite shows returning from the dead has never been more likely. Both it and "Arrested Development" have returned from the grave, which means fans are wondering if other beloved projects like "Pushing Daisies" and "Chuck" could have second lives too.

And then there's "Firefly." Technically the series already was resurrected in the form of 2005's "Serenity," and then again as a comic book series in 2013. But those sequels haven't stopped fans from desperately clamoring for Mal and the rest of the Serenity crew to come back to a TV screen near them.

There aren't any plans to bring back "Firefly" now, but producer Tim Minear has one great idea for how it could return. In speaking with Entertainment Weekly, the current "American Horror Story" producer suggests "Firefly" could also be a limited series.

"I think a limited series of some kind would work best," he suggests. "Something like that could also work if, say, 20th [Century Fox] could partner with Netflix, or another distributor. It would have its home on Fox, of course [then a second window on streaming]. A limited series would do very well, I bet."

So would that ever actually happen? Not likely.

"I would never foreclose the possibility. The fact that it was even a feature film after it spectacularly failed on Fox was a miracle. And of course it lives on in other forms," Minear says. "In terms of getting the band back together to make a new adventure, who knows? I would love it. It would be great. But first everybody has their respective projects that limits them from crossing over into other things. It's just trying to coordinate everybody's obligations so they could somehow participate."

In fact, the last time Joss Whedon ever mentioned the return of "Firefly" was back in 2006. "Joss and I had discussed at some point some kind of spinoff, but that was maybe eight years ago," Minear admits.

Would you want to see "Firefly" return again?

CASTLE: Room 147 (2/24)

“Room 147” – When a guilt-ridden young woman confesses to the murder of a struggling actor -- knowing details only the killer could know -- Beckett and Castle seem to have an open-and-shut case, until they uncover proof that their suspect couldn’t possibly be the killer. When a second person confesses, equally convinced they committed the murder, the team realizes the case is far more mysterious than they thought, on “Castle,” MONDAY, FEBRUARY 24 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Phil LaMarr as Dr. Holloway, John Getz as Dr. Gustavo Bauer, Bradford Anderson as Dwight Carruthers, Julia Cho as Gwen, Kelly Hawthorne as Ella.

“Room 147” was written by Adam Frost and directed by Bill Roe.

CAA Signs 'Castle' Star Nathan Fillion

CAA has signed Nathan Fillion, who is now into the sixth season of headlining the hit ABC series Castle. He’s won two People’s Choice awards for his role as Richard Castle. Fillion, who previously starred in Joss Whedon’s Firefly, also starred in Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters, as well as the Whedon-directed Much Ado About Nothing. Fillion had been repped at ICM, and his attorney continues to be Jamie Mandelbaum of Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer.

CSI Books Barney Miller Alum

An upcoming episode of CBS's CSI will delve into the past of Greg Sanders (Eric Szmanda) and introduce an influential man from his childhood.

"It turns out that as a young boy, Greg was into chess and had a mentor," reveals executive producer Carol Mendelsohn. Filling the mentor role is Emmy nominee Ron Glass, who played Det. Ron Harris on Mendelsohn's favorite '70s comedy, Barney Miller.

"A murder at a chess tournament will reunite Greg with his old mentor," Mendelsohn says. "And we'll learn that Greg was a chess wonder kid and could have been a champion, but for some reason gave it up."

The series will cast a young version of Greg for flashback scenes.

Glass, 68, most recently appeared in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Major Crimes.

CASTLE: Dressed To Kill (2/3)

“Dressed To Kill” – When the assistant to Modern Fashion Magazine’s dictatorial editor Matilda King (guest star Franes fisher) is found murdered, Castle and Beckett are thrust into the glitzy, ruthless world of high fashion in their search for the killer. Meanwhile Beckett’s history in the modelling world gets her access to a very special wedding surprise, on "Castle," MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Frances Fisher as Matilda King, Rob Estes as Julian Bruckner, Danny Max as Justin, Angelique Cinelu as Lola.

“Dressed To Kill” was written by Elizabeth Beall and directed by Jeannot Szwarc.

CASTLE: Limelight

“Limelight” – When a rising young pop star is found dead in an alley, Castle and Beckett delve into the victim’s out-of-control hard-partying lifestyle, but as they dig deeper, a shocking revelation threatens to rock their investigation, on “Castle,” MONDAY, JANUARY 20 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. Alexandra Chando (“The Lying Game,” “As the World Turns”) guest stars in the episode.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Alexandra Chando as Mandy Sutton, Lola Glaudini as Marilyn Sutton, Myko Olivier as Pi.

“Limelight” was written by Rob Hanning and directed by Bill Roe.

CASTLE: Deep Cover (1/13)

“Deep Cover” – The murder of a young video store clerk takes a strange turn when the team discovers his past history as a high-level hacker. But it’s nothing compared to the shock Castle receives when their investigation leads them straight to his father, Jackson Hunt (guest star James Brolin), on “Castle,” MONDAY, JANUARY 13 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: James Brolin as Jackson Hunt, Maya Stojan as Tory Ellis, Rick Peters as Tony Blaine.

“Deep Cover” was written by Terence Paul Winter and directed by Tom Wright.

CASTLE (1/6)

CASTLE AND BECKETT HUNT DOWN A SERIAL ARSONIST, WHILE JENNY GOES INTO LABOR, ON ABC’S “CASTLE”

“Under Fire” – When Castle and Beckett discover that the victim of a building fire was actually shot to death, they get on the trail of a serial arsonist turned murderer. Meanwhile, Ryan’s wife, Jenny, goes into labor, but disaster threatens to ruin the joyous moment, on “Castle,” MONDAY, JANUARY 6 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Juliana Dever as Jenny, Wendy Davis as Delia, Nic Bishop as Fire Chief Miller.

“Under Fire” was written by Andrew W. Marlowe & David Amann and directed by Paul Holahan.

Homeland: Two Original Castmembers Not Returning as Regulars in Season 4

Homeland is saying goodbye to two of its own.

On the eve of the Showtime hit’s Season 3 finale, TVLine has learned exclusively that original castmembers Morena Bacarin and Morgan Saylor will not be back as series regulars in Season 4.

The move hardly comes as a surprise, as Bacarin’s Jessica and Saylor’s Dana appeared less frequently as Season 3 went on and Brody’s shattered home life became less of a focus. (The former’s real-life pregnancy also likely contributed to Jessica’s disappearance during the second half of the season.)

According to sources, the door is open for both actresses to return on a guest-star basis, the same way ex-full-timer Diego Klattenhoff (Mike) did this season.

Reps for Showtime and 20th Century Fox declined to comment.

Homeland wraps its third season Sunday at 9/8c.

CASTLE: The Good, The Bad & The Baby

“The Good, The Bad & The Baby” -- A bleeding man stumbles into a church, but just before dying, he hands a mysterious bundle to the priest. When the bundle turns out to be a smiling baby boy, Castle and Beckett find themselves accidental nannies to the newborn. But when they determine the baby and the victim were not related, they discover that finding his rightful parents may be just as hard as solving the murder, on "Castle," MONDAY, NOVEMBER 25 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Teri Reeves as Miranda Vail, Matt Gerald as Jimmy Wolfinsky, John Allen Nelson as Walter Dennis, Anthony Mangano as Roman Valanciaga.

“The Good, The Bad & The Baby” was written by Terri Edda Miller and directed by John Terlesky.

Joss Whedon Goes on the Most Perfect Rant About Feminism, Calls Out Katy Perry in the Process

Joss Whedon, the man who gave us such awesome, ass-kicking, empowered female characters as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Echo from Dollhouse and the ladies of the spaceship Serenity, hates feminist.

He said so while being honored by Equality Now at their "Make Equality Reality" event earlier this week (Whedon is on the Advisory Board of the organization, which strives to end violence and discrimination against women and girls).

"I hope I'm being clear, I didn't say I hate feminists, that would be weird," he continued. "I said I hate feminist. I'm talking about the word." Watch the rest of his speech for the (awesome) explanation. (Video)

Additionally, here is a (very) abridged version of his argument. You miss a lot of the nuance and humor and Joss Whedon-y-ness of his argument, but if you're looking to get to the point quickly:

Ist in it's meaning is also a problem for me. Because you can't be born an ist. It's not natural... So feminist includes the idea that believing men and women to be equal, believing all people to be people, is not a natural state. That we don't emerge assuming that everybody in the human race is a human, that the idea of equality is just an idea that's imposed on us. That we are indoctrinated with it, that it's an agenda...

...My problem with feminist is not the word. It's the question. "Are you now, or have you ever been, a feminist?" The great Katy Perry once said—I'm paraphrasing—"I'm not a feminist but I like it when women are strong."...Don't know why she feels the need to say the first part, but listening to the word and thinking about it, I realize I do understand. This question that lies before us is one that should lie behind us. The word is problematic for me because there's another word that we're missing...

...When you say racist, you are saying that is a negative thing. That is a line that we have crossed. Anything on the side of that line is shameful, is on the wrong side of history. And that is a line that we have crossed in terms of gender but we don't have the word for it...

...I start thinking about the fact that we have this word when we're thinking about race that says we have evolved beyond something and we don't really have this word for gender. Now you could argue sexism, but I'd say that's a little specific. People feel removed from sexism. ‘I'm not a sexist, but I'm not a feminist.' They think there's this fuzzy middle ground. There's no fuzzy middle ground. You either believe that women are people or you don't. It's that simple...

...Genderist. I would like this word to become the new racist. I would like a word that says there was a shameful past before we realized that all people were created equal. And we are past that. And every evolved human being who is intelligent and educated and compassionate and to say I don't believe that is unacceptable. And Katy Perry won't say, "I'm not a feminist but I like strong women," she'll say, "I'm not a genderist but sometimes I like to dress up pretty." And that'll be fine.

This is how we understand society. The word racism didn't end racism, it contextualized it in a way that we still haven't done with this issue. Does that mean that this will end the problem? Yes, definitely, we've done it.

Boom. Joss Whedon is full of win again.

Castle: “Disciple”

“Disciple” -- Castle and Beckett arrive at a crime scene to discover that the female victim bears a shocking resemblance to Medical Examiner Lanie Parish. As the team tries to make sense of this mystery, they realize the killer may be targeting detectives of the 12th Precinct. Annie Wersching (“24”) guest stars as Dr. Kelly Nieman, an exclusive Manhattan cosmetic surgeon who draws Castle and Beckett's interest because of her connection to the victim, on “Castle,” MONDAY, NOVEMBER 18 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Annie Wersching as Dr. Kelly Nieman, William Mapother as Carl Matthews, Maya Stojan as Tory Ellis.

“Disciple” was written by David Amann and directed by Rob Bowman.

CASTLE: A Murder Is Forever

“A Murder Is Forever” -- When a famed relationship therapist is murdered, it appears that her access to the secrets of her elite and powerful clients led to her death. But when Castle and Beckett discover the victim was in possession of a rare object worth millions of dollars, they realize that this case may be even more complicated – and dangerous – than they thought, on "Castle," MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Carter Roy as MC, David Blue as Kyle, Anthony Ruivivar as Barrett Hawk, Maya Stojan as Tory Ellis.

“A Murder Is Forever” was written by Chad Gomez Creasey & Dara Resnik Creasey and directed by Bill Roe.

Morena Baccarin Welcomes Son Julius

It’s a boy!

Actress Morena Baccarin and her husband Austin Chick welcomed their first child, a son, on Tuesday, Oct. 22, her rep confirms to PEOPLE exclusively.

Born in Glendale, Calif., Julius weighed in at just under eight pounds.

“Julius and his mother are happy and healthy,” the rep adds.

Despite being breech, the Homeland actress successfully delivered her baby boy naturally with the help of Dr. Ronald Wu at Glendale Adventist Medical Center. He is the only doctor in the Los Angeles area who offers expectant mothers the option to birth a breech baby in a hospital.

“I’m so happy I was able to deliver with Dr. Wu,” Baccarin, 34, tells PEOPLE. “Breech delivery is a dying art and he gave me the birth experience I wanted.”

The Emmy-nominated actress announced her pregnancy in May.

CASTLE: "LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGHTER" (11/4)

“Like Father, Like Daughter” -- Alexis enlists Castle’s help on an Innocence Review case to prove that a death row inmate, Frank Henson (guest star James Carpinello, “The Good Wife”), was wrongly convicted. With only 72 hours left before his execution, Castle and Alexis (with help from Beckett) urgently investigate the original murder, only to uncover explosive secrets that may seal Frank’s fate. Joelle Carter (“Justified”) guest stars as Frank’s long-time girlfriend who has always believed in him, on "Castle," MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: James Carpinello as Frank Henson, Wes Ramsey as John Henson, Joelle Carter as Maggie Ingram.

“Like Father, Like Daughter” was written by Marc Dube and directed by Paul Holahan.

Arrow Adds Firefly Vet

And Arrow‘s latest villain is… a former Firefly-er.

Sean Maher has been tapped to guest-star in an upcoming episode of the CW superhero drama, per The Hollywood Reporter.

He’ll play Mark Scheffer (aka DC Comics’ Shrapnel), a bomber who terrorizes Starling City — and Kevin Alejandro’s Sebastian Blood.

Homeland Star Morena Baccarin's Awkward Encounter with a Fan - While Naked!

The actress, 34, still gets starstruck and has found relief from her pregnancy through acupuncture, and chatted with PEOPLE this week about "one last thing" ...

Last spa treatment

At this point [in my pregnancy] my back is killing me, so I get acupuncture and massages once a week. It's the one thing that really gives me relief.

Last time I was starstruck

That happens a lot because I'm so embarrassed going up to people. I saw Ralph Fiennes once in a bar, and I just stared at him. I was too scared to say hi.

Last sunburn

At Coachella last summer. It was awesome but also a terrible idea at three months pregnant! The number of port-o-potties I visited was out of control.

Last fan encounter

I swim for exercise, and as I was coming out of the shower, an older woman proceeded to have a conversation about how much she loves the show. It was flattering but incredibly awkward.

CASTLE (10/28)

“Get A Clue” – Castle and Beckett investigate the bizarre murder of a young woman who was found ritually posed. When the team finds a collection of strange symbols in her apartment and the prime suspect turns out to be a mysterious monk, Castle becomes convinced they’ve stumbled onto a “Da Vinci Code” style conspiracy. Meanwhile, Castle tries to come to grips with the fact that Alexis and Pi have moved in together, on "Castle," MONDAY, OCTOBER 28 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Myko Olivier as Pi, Pamela Shaddock as Marcella, Aaron Craven as Henry Collins, James MacDonald as Benjamin Wade.

“Get A Clue” was written by Christine Roum and directed by Holly Dale.

ABC Gives Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. a Full-Season Pickup

ABC has ordered a full season of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. It's the network's first show to get picked up for a full season this fall.

S.H.I.E.L.D., which was one of TVGuide.com users most-anticipated new dramas of the 2013-14 season, was the best drama premiere for ABC since 2009's V, and was the highest-rated drama premiere of the new season.

The show, which is Marvel's first foray into television, stars Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson and is executive-produced by Joss Whedon.

CASTLE: Time Will Tell

“Time Will Tell” – A grisly murder investigation leads Castle and Beckett to a suspect (Joshua Gomez, “Chuck,” guest stars as Simon Doyle) who claims he's traveled back in time to stop terrible events from unfolding, events that will change the course of human history. Is he simply a deluded killer, or is it possible that he's telling the truth, on "Castle," MONDAY, OCTOBER 21 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Joshua Gomez as Simon Doyle, Tim Russ as Dr. Malcolm Wickfield, Vanessa Bell Calloway as Beryl Wickfield, Myko Olivier as Pi.

“Time Will Tell” was written by Terri Edda Miller & Andrew W. Marlowe and directed by Rob Bowman.

Nathan Fillion To Guest Star on 'Community'

What happens when you put one of the stars with the largest cult following, Firefly‘s Nathan Fillion, on one of the top cult shows, NBC‘s Community? We’ll find out later this season when Fillion guests on the upcoming fifth season of Community. When Annie (Alison Brie) and Professor Hickey (guest star Jonathan Banks) team up to navigate Greendale’s corridors of power, they must contend with Bob Waite (Fillion), the politically savvy head custodian who’s not afraid to get his hands dirty but is smart enough to wear rubber gloves. Fillion is a fan of Community who has visited the set of the NBC show, including posting this photo with Community cast members last year with the caption, “It’s my #community dream come true!” This marks a return to comedy for Fillion who got his break on ABC’s Two Guys And A Girl before entering the Joss Whedon universe with Firefly, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Serenity. ICM Partners-repped Fillion currently stars on the ABC crime drama Castle, now in its sixth season.

CASTLE: Number One Fan

“Number One Fan” – A desperate young murder suspect, Emma Briggs, (guest star Alicia Lagano, “The Client List,”) takes hostages at gunpoint then mysteriously insists that she will only negotiate with one person: Richard Castle, on "Castle," MONDAY, OCTOBER 14 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. Billy Miller (“The Young and the Restless”) also guest stars as Mickey Gerhardt, a hot headed Wall Street banker who gets caught in the hostage situation.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Alicia Lagano as Emma Briggs, Billy Miller as Mickey Gerhardt.

“Number One Fan” was written by Terence Paul Winter and directed by John Terlesky.

Morena Baccarin's "Really Easy" Pregnancy: Craving Watermelon, Knows Sex of Baby

Homeland star Morena Baccarin is ready to give birth right…now!

"It's been really easy," says Baccarin, a first-time mommy-to-be who is due any day now. "But now I'm like, ‘Get it out!' I think it's this long for a reason because by the end, it doesn't matter how much it hurts—it's just get it out."

Her big craving has been watermelon. "I always like it, but I could literally sit and eat an entire watermelon," Baccarin said. "I haven't, but I've had to stop myself."

While she and hubby Austin Chick know the sex of the baby ("We're not telling anybody!"), they haven't decided on a name. "We have a list of names," Baccarin said. "I kind of feel like I need to see the baby's face before we make that determination."

Baccarin told E! News earlier this month that good friend and Homeland costar Claire Danes' offered up some pregnancy advice.

Baccarin laughed, "I remember when I first got pregnant, she told me, ‘Enjoy this moment when you can move, because pretty soon you're not going to be able to put your shoes on.' And she was right!"

CASTLE (10/7)

"Need To Know" - With Beckett still in D.C., Castle and the boys investigate the murder of former child star Charlie Reynolds, who rose to fame playing the lovable nerd on an early 90s High School sitcom. But the case takes a turn for the strange when Agents Beckett and McCord arrive from Washington to take over the investigation, creating competitive tension in the precinct. But why would a washed-up actor's death warrant Federal scrutiny? Whatever the reason, Beckett and McCord aren't telling. Meanwhile, Castle has to contend with a new face at the 12th, NYPD Detective Frank "Sully" Sullivan (Joshua Bitton, "The Pacific"). Antonio Sabato, Jr. ("Melrose Place," "General Hospital") guest stars as Ramon Russo, the victim's former sitcom costar, on "Castle," MONDAY, OCTOBER 7 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Antonio Sabato, Jr. as Ramon Russo, Lisa Edelstein as Rachel McCord, Joshua Bitton as Grant "Sully" Sullivan, James Patrick Stuart as Ethan Wright, Myko Olivier as Pi.

"Need To Know" was written by Elizabeth Beall and directed by Larry Shaw.

"CASTLE" (9/30)

"Dreamworld" - Continuing from the season premiere episode, Beckett races against time to find a stolen toxin capable of killing tens of thousands of people. To make matters worse, Castle was exposed, leaving him with less than 24 hours to live, on "Castle," MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Lisa Edelstein as Rachel McCord, Yancy Arias as Carl Villante, Jocko Sims as Matt Hendricks, Myko Oliver as Pi, Michael Bofshever as Dr. Goldberg, Glenn Morshower as Secretary Michael Reed.

"Dreamworld" was written by David Grae and directed by Tom Wright.

Joss Whedon on his marijuana habits, 'Twilight' copying 'Buffy'

In anticipation of the premiere of "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD," Entertainment Weekly unveiled a very, very excellent interview with executive producer Joss Whedon that covers everything from his involvement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the one time he got mugged in New York City at age 13. While the whole, lengthy piece is worth a read, there were a few moments that stuck out as being not the run-of-the-mill Whedon discussion topics.

At one point in the interview, the reporter brought up the time Whedon said his all-male boarding school in England access to good pot. When he asked "The Avengers 2" director if he still dabbles in the drug, Whedon was completely candid.

"I think weed's a fine thing, for the enjoyment of and, occasionally, for thinking about movies," Whedon says. "I don't use it socially because it does not improve my socializing. And I never, ever smoke unless it's the last thing I do that day because there's a long period of stupid that comes after it that's pretty useless. You don't need it, but every now and then it takes you to a different place."

He even goes as far as to say that there are "one or two" specific ideas he credits to smoking marijuana, though he won't say which they were.

Whedon also discusses the way "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" paved the way for other projects like "The Twilight Saga" and "The Vampire Diaries," though he thinks they missed exactly what made "Buffy" so seminal.

"The thing about Buffy for me is -- on a show-by-show basis -- are there female characters who are being empowered, who are driving the narrative? The 'Twilight' thing, and a lot of these franchise attempts coming out, everything rests on what this girl will do, but she's completely passive or not really knowing what the hell is going on," he says. "That's incredibly frustrating to me because a lot of what's taken on the oeuvre of 'Buffy' is actually a reaction against it. Everything is there except for the Buffy. A lot of things aimed at the younger kids is just 'Choosing Boyfriends: The Movie.'"

Other great lines from the interview include:

- On his father and grandfather being in the industry: "I'm well aware when they fired the starting gun I was halfway down the track, but I still ran as fast as I could for 25 years."

- On a reporter telling him in 2003 that his hope of making blockbuster movies was "completely unrealistic": "Nice. In your face, some guy!"

- On "The Avengers": "The fact that I got to write 'puny god' made me very happy. That was me rubbing my fingers together in a Burns-ian super-villain fashion."

- On Marvel keeping an eye on his plans for "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD": "I'm not just going 'This sounds cool and nobody says I can't, so wheeeeee, look at me fail!'"

- On what advice he's learned from his past that he will apply to his future in TV: "Well, don't work for Fox."

"Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" premieres on ABC on Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. ET.

Homeland Actress Morena Baccarin Talks Emmys & Claire Danes' Pregnancy Advice

Morena Baccarin is experiencing a lot of firsts.

The Homeland actress, who plays Jessica Brody on the Showtime program, is nominated for her first Emmy award for Supporting Actress for a Drama Series and is expecting her first child with director husband Austin Chick!

The very pregnant nominee caught up with E! News at LA Confidential's Pre Emmy party in Hollywood and admitted, although she's due any minute: "I'm going to make it to the Emmys, it's my first nomination. I will be there, no matter what!"

The mom-to-be shares that she found out she was nominated while on a babymoon with her husband. "I was in Charleston actually, having a babymoon with my husband. It was perfect timing and a very huge surprise," she admits.

"We forgot what day it was and we woke up to all these phone calls, and my first reaction was somebody died...something horrible has happened. Of course, it was not that, and it was really amazing."

And considering it's her first go at pregnancy, the actress has been more than open to good friend and costar Claire Danes' new-mommy advice.

"I remember when I first got pregnant, she told me, ‘Enjoy this moment when you can move, because pretty soon you're not going to be able to put your shoes on.' And she was right!," the actress laughs.

And considering she's reached the point where putting on shoes is a task, how hard was it to find an Emmy dress?

Morena admits: "Believe it or not, it was relatively easy. I have a wonderful stylist, and it all fit, and I was like, 'Great! This is going to be the one!'"

However, when it comes to preparing for the baby, Morena admits, "I'm a little bit behind on that." Explaining, as for the nursery, "when they first come out they don't really need a lot. So, I've been working...[but] it's going to be eclectic, I'm sure."

"I did bring back a scull and crossbones that's made out of metal from Charlotte that I thought would be pretty bad ass, but that might also scare my child, so I don't know!"

So what's the expectant nominee's game plan for the big night?

"I'm going to have my husband tote flip flops, and definitely Power Bars or granola bars—whatever it takes to get me through the night."

Good luck, Morena!

Nathan Fillion Reflects on Castle's Past, Eyes the Future: 'You Tend to Want for a Fairytale, But..'

(tvline.com) Nathan Fillion wants to light dynamite from a cigarette.

He also wants to crack a safe.

In fact, the Castle star has at the ready, on his iPhone, a whole list of things he has yet to do as an actor, yet aspires to. Someday.

“Land a plane…. Play my own double…. Hit a detonator button…,” he rattles off from his “to-do” list — in response to a TVLine reader’s question — during my visit to the ABC drama’s set. Continuing on: “Use a dynamite plunger…. Walk away from an explosion, in slow motion…. Defuse a bomb…..” Fillion stops, then reaches his thumb for the backspace button. “Actually, I can scratch that last one off. I did that,” in last season’s Castle episode, “Still.”

THE MARRYING MAN? | As mystery novelist Richard Castle, Fillion has in fact helped his partner in crimefighting, Kate Beckett (played by Stana Katic), “defuse” all sorts of intense situations. But as Season 5 drew to a close, the proverbial fuse was burning on their biggest collaboration of all: romance.

To recap: For four years, Castle and his NYPD detective muse indeed danced around their ever-increasing feelings for one another, ultimately caving in to their desires in the Season 4 finale. Last season then found them trying, with some (albeit ephemeral) success, to keep their relationship under wraps at the 12th precinct. It all built to last May’s season finale, in which Castle blindsided his love with a ring and a question: “Katherine Houghton Beckett — will you marry me?”

Getting Rick on bended knee wasn’t easy, the way Season 5 winded down. In fact, for a stretch there, viewers — and Kate herself — had to wonder if he was going to go the other way with his swing set speechifying and bail on their relationship. After all, a prior episode found Kate calling into question Rick’s appreciation of her, priming the head-turning cop for a pass from a dashing wannabe suitor (played by Ioan Gruffudd in the episode “The Squab and the Quail”).

While some were quick to carp that those obstacles weren’t organic, that Kate’s concerns about Rick’s commitment did not jibe with the fact that he sat on a bomb with her, Fillion appreciates the need for friction.

“When you’re watching television, you tend to want for a fairytale. But what we, I think, are experiencing on Castle is more reality-driven,” he offers. “These things happen in real life. These. Things. Happen. All the time. People make decisions in the moment that have repercussions, and it doesn’t seem like a big deal in the moment, but the repercussions are there. That is real life.”

CASTLE PULLS THE TRIGGER | Reflecting on Rick’s ultimate play there at the playground, Fillion says, “It seemed like a natural progression,” adding that the show’s creator Andrew W. Marlowe and the writers “have been very artful” over the years “with the ‘Will they, won’t they,’ they will, where will it go from here” dynamic between the lead characters.

“It’s a bit of a dance,” he observes, “because when you’ve got a successful television program that’s doing well, you don’t want to mess with it too much, you don’t want any jarring changes, I don’t think. And they’ve been very artful with it.”

For Castle — who hasn’t the best track record as a husband and has never lacked female company — proposing marriage was testament to a new maturity. Yet when I ask Fillion if it made him “feel good” to see Rick take that step, as the man who plays the pretend author, he politely waves off the suggestion.

“I really don’t think of it in those terms. I think of it more in terms of the well-being of the show,” he counters. “I mean, I come to work every day and I don’t really think, ‘What’s in it for me?’ This is a real team effort, and when you’re here every day, when there’s 60 guys here and we’re all doing the same thing, and we’re all plugging away — and a lot of people here are working a lot harder than I am — I tend to think of it in terms of the well-being of the show.”

How that bended-knee business plays out for Rick and his would-be fiancee, Fillion of course can’t say. That’s what the Season 6 premiere, airing Monday at 10/9c, will reveal. Show boss Marlowe, meanwhile, teases that while the writers “toyed with” a few different outcomes, ultimately “we’re always looking for what’s most honest and what’s going to be most challenging. And with where the characters were in the finale, [the path they choose] is honest.”

ROLES OF A LIFETIME | At the time I spoke with Fillion – sitting across from each other in the 12th’s interrogation room, natch, as his ABC series was lensing Episode 3 — he had quite a summer already behind him. His Firefly boss Joss Whedon’s art house effort Much Ado About Nothing had been released two months prior. Monsters University, in which he cannily voiced a chest-puffing frat house stud, had just hit theaters. And Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, where he played the messenger god Hermes, was on its way to the Cineplex. All that, and a whole season of Castle capers in front of him.

So I must ask: “Is this the most satisfied you have ever been as an actor?”

“I’m having a really good time,” he states, grinning. “I’m always amazed that I’m continually invited to participate in projects that I’m thrilled about being a part of.

“I never really dreamed about being a waiter, but I was a waiter for years. And plugging away at a job like that is fine, but it’s not my dream,” he adds. “Now all my jobs are dream jobs. It’s a good feeling.”

Now, who has a cigarette and some dynamite…?

Joss Whedon rewrote 'Thor: The Dark World' problem scenes

Expect to see some Joss Whedon trademarks in "Thor: The Dark World." "The Avengers" director and Marvel Cinematic Universe consultant was called in to help the "Thor" sequel's director, Alan Taylor, with some scenes he was having trouble with.

"Joss came in to save our lives a couple of times. We had a major scene that was not working on the page at all in London, and he basically got airlifted in, like a SWAT team or something," Taylor recalls to SFX Magazine. "He came down, rewrote the scene, and before he got back to his plane I sort of grabbed him and said, 'And this scene and this scene?'"

Taylor continues, "He rewrote two other scenes that I thought had problems. Then finally we let go of him, he took off again, and we shot the scenes; and they were just much better and much lighter on their feet. Much more fun, much more surprising than what we had been trying to do. I can relate to guys who come out of the TV world, since that's where I come from. And being able to land and work and solve a problem quickly. ... I really was grateful."

Whedon also left his mark on "Thor," as he is the man who came in to direct its post-credits scene. Hopefully the scenes he assisted on in this movie will be revealed once "Thor: The Dark World" hits theaters on Nov. 8.

'Castle' Star Nathan Fillion Sidelined WIth Back Problems

Two months ago, Castle star Nathan Fillion’s no-show for work on a Friday, which we reported about, drew a lot of attention. It led to a production shutdown for the day and came in the midst of a contract dispute between the actor and Castle producer ABC Studios over Fillion’s request for a four-day Monday-Thursday workweek on the show, currently in production on its sixth season. There had been no major incidents since, with filming moving on as planned. But when today, also a Friday, Fillion called in sick, the news stirred a lot of speculation around the set about a possible new work schedule dust-up. According to sources close to the production, Fillion had a legitimate reason to skip work today — a sore back he is seeing a chiropractor for. His back problems are reportedly chronic, and he gets medical attention when they get aggravated. The production had enough of a heads-up to schedule some filming around Fillion for the day, a source said. Insiders stress that the schedule issues between Fillion and ABC have been resolved and he has worked multiple Fridays in the past two months. Fillion is expected to report back to work on Monday.

Morena Baccarin Flaunts Adorable Baby Bump in Sleek, Sexy Cocktail Dress-See the Pic!

(Photo) Hey there, hot mama!

Morena Baccarin stepped out last night at the Homeland season-three premiere screening at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. turning heads in a curve-hugging cocktail dress that put her adorable baby bump on display for all to admire.

The 34-year-old brunette beauty played up her growing shape in the sexy silhouette featuring a deep V-neckline, strategic jersey draping and a slinky bodice that accentuated her pregnant shape beautifully.

Now that's what we call confidence!

Gold strappy sandals, bejeweled cuff bracelets and a Swarovski bronze crystal clutch added the perfect amount of sparkle for a glamorous touch to her red carpet look.

The mama-to-be's hair looked ultra-glossy and effortlessly styled, while berry-stained lips added a touch of seductive sophistication for the occasion.

One glance at the gorgeous star, and it's quite clear that she's positively basking in her maternity glow as she expects her first baby with husband Austin Chick, and doubly ready to reprise her role as Jessica Brody in the upcoming season of the hit show.

What do you think of Morena's evening look from last night?

CASTLE: Valkyrie - SEASON PREMIERE

"Valkyrie" - Last season ended with Beckett wrestling over whether to take a high-profile job in DC -- a dilemma made more complicated when Castle proposed to her. In the Season 6 Premiere of "Catle," Castle and Beckett will deal with the consequences of their decisions against the backdrop of a high-stakes investigation, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. Lisa Edelstein ("House") guest stars in a three-episode arc as a tough and highly-skilled Federal investigator whose appearance plays a vital role in Beckett's decision about her future.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Lisa Edelstein as Rachel McCord, Yancy Arias as Carl Villante, Jocko Sims as Matt Hendricks, Myko Olivier as Pi.

"Valkyrie" was written by Rob Hanning and directed by John Terlesky.

Joss Whedon Tweets Support For Ben Affleck As Batman, Says He'll "Crush It"

Joss Whedon is clearly in Ben Affleck‘s corner following word that he’s been named the new Batman. Here’s what Whedon tweeted tonight: “Affleck’ll crush it. He’s got the chops, he’s got the chin — just needs the material. Affleck & Cavill toe to toe — I’m in”. Whedon’s vote of support comes amid online reaction to the news that has been, for the most part and putting it kindly, less than positive. Warner Bros has set the Zack Snyder-directed Batman-Superman pic to open worldwide on July 17, 2015.

Joss Whedon talks Marvel movies tying into 'Agents of SHIELD'

(Video) Will "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" tie into the Marvel Cinematic Universe? That's the big question about the new ABC TV show, and that's a subject that the folks behind the series keep hedging. But after viewing the "SHIELD" pilot during the show's San Diego Comic-Con panel, it is clear that the movies will affect the "Agents of SHIELD" storyline directly even if superheroes like Iron Man and Thor don't show up in person.

"We always have a roadmap for the show itself, and we know the release dates of the movies, we know what happens in all the movies," Joss Whedon tells Zap2it during a roundtable interview at Comic-Con. "We mostly try to stay out of the way because trying to get too intricate becomes a dance of, 'What if we get preempted and then they push all the episodes a week?' It's tricky. But being able to throw a little something in there and making it feel like it's all part of the same big story is exciting. We're not going to pass up that opportunity."

In the "SHIELD" pilot, fans already get a taste of how "Iron Man 3's" Extremis storyline affects the rest of the MCU world. So will the same thing happen when "Thor: The Dark World" comes out in November?

"The whole show is going to be based on the change in the world that happened because of 'Avengers.' Now everybody knows and so when something really important happens anywhere in the Marvel universe, we will have to take that into account. Ultimately, we'll dodge it a little bit," Whedon says. "If there's a big change, you'll see it. We are part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We might not be the mascot, but we're part of the team."

During the panel, Whedon teased that some Marvel characters might be introduced in "SHIELD" before they're seen in the movies, but that the focus of the show will still be on the agents of SHIELD. "The most important thing to me is that we get to see these people who are here every week," he said.

"Agents of SHIELD" premieres on ABC on Sept. 24.

'Castle' Production Shuts Down For Day As Star Nathan Fillion Feuds With ABC Studios

The set of the ABC crime drama came to a standstill when lead Nathan Fillion (ex-Joey, One Life To Live) didn’t show up Friday. I’ve learned the actor is in the midst of a contract dispute with producers ABC Studios over his desire for a four-day workweek on Castle, which is in production on its sixth season. It looks like the absence was his way of sending a message. ABC reps say the show continues to shoot this week, and Fillion is on set. The actor plays crime novelist Richard Castle on the show, which debuted in 2009 and sees Fillion partnered with NYPD Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic). The series was picked up for another season by ABC on May 13, the same day it wrapped its fifth season. After a couple of tenuous seasons ratings-wise, Castle ranks as the network’s most-watched drama series. Fillion, who hosted the WGA West Awards in February, is repped by ICM Partners.

Summer Glau To Recur On CW's 'Arrow'

Summer Glau has been cast in a recurring role on the CW‘s Arrow, which kicks off its second season October 9. Glau, who has amassed plenty of genre street cred in TV series like Joss Whedon’s Firefly and Dollhouse, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and most recently as a recurring on Syfy’s Alphas, is set to play the dangerous Isabel Rochev, Vice President of Acquisitions of Stellmoor International, a company looking to take over Queen Consolidated. Arrow gained an early second season pickup in February and was the CW’s breakout hit last season, performing strongly after it posted the network’s best series-premiere numbers since 2009. Glau is repped by UTA and the Schiff Co.

Major Crimes Books TV Vets Doris Roberts, Tim Conway, Marion Ross, Ron Glass and Others

Several TV legends are going to help solve a Major Crimes case.

Five-time Emmy winner Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond), Marion Ross (Happy Days), Tim Conway (The Carol Burnett Show), Ron Glass (Barney Miller) and Paul Dooley (Curb Your Enthusiasm) will guest-star on an upcoming Season 2 episode of the TNT series.

Per EW.com, the quintet will play a group of outspoken residents at an apartment complex, all of whom worked together on a 1970s crime drama called Prognosis: Homicide. When one of their unpopular neighbors turns up dead, they help Raydor, Provenza et al with the investigation.

The August episode will also feature ER vet Paul McCrane as an agent from the ICE Inspector General’s office.

Ross’ recent credits include a June episode of Anger Management and The Middle. Raymond alumna Roberts also appeared on The Middle, as well as Desperate Housewives, Hot in Cleveland and Grey’s Anatomy.

Conway was last seen on TV on Mike & Molly, while Dooley (aka Angela Chase’s grandfather!) was most recently on Criminal Minds. Glass, who played Firefly‘s Shepherd Book, counts CSI: NY and Dirty Sexy Money among his credits.

'Monsters University': Nathan Fillion grew up a 'weiner' not a 'winner,' loves playing 'flawed characters'

(zap2it.com) "Castle" star Nathan Fillion can't exactly relate to his "Monsters University" character, frat leader Johnny Worthington. "I wasn't really a 'winner' growing up," Fillion says. "More of a 'weiner.'"

In Disney-Pixar's prequel to "Monsters Inc.," Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James "Sulley" Sullivan (John Goodman) meet for the first time their freshman year at Monsters University, and we get to see how their comraderie was born. One of the charmingly cliche college characters who gets in the way is Fillion's.

"Johnny Worthington is the socially dangerous guy," Fillion says. "Because he is good looking, super popular, and he's a jerk. He's a bully; he's like the guy you don't want to be around." Zap2it sat down with Fillion at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. to discuss the role. We wanted to know if he embraced the chance to play such a creep. "I love it," says Fillion. "I love playing flawed characters. ... We can relate to having flaws, and we can relate to -- there are people around us that have these flaws. I just think it's important to be 'flawed' without being a stereotype."

Fillion pulls the balance off masterfully in the animated flick, despite not having had a similar experience to how he imagines Johnny grew up. "He's probably the guy who had the dad who was like, 'I didn't raise a loser; I raise winners,'" Fillion proffers. "Because winning is everything to Johnny." Despite being such a "weiner" as a kid, Fillion says his parents offered plenty of support. "They go like, 'Yeah, yeah, you're not the best at soccer, but you're great, man; you're special,'" Fillion recalls.

As for his own college career, Fillion thinks he probably fit in more closely with the stereotypically kooky Art, a new age philosophy major at Monsters U. played by Charlie Day ("Always Sunny in Philadelphia"). "I was a bit lackadaisical," Fillion admits. "I really enjoyed the social aspect of university. I wasn't a strong student."

"Monsters University" is in theaters now in Disney 3-D. (Video)

Imagen Awards Nominees

The Imagen Awards honor portrayals of Latinos and Latino culture in TV and film.

Winners will be selected by a panel of entertainment industry executives and Latino community leaders, and the awards will be presented at a black-tie dinner on Friday, August 16 at the Beverly Hilton.

The show will later air as a one-hour special on PBS SoCal.

Best Supporting Actress/Television:
Jordana Brewster, Dallas (TNT)
Wanda De Jesus, Sons of Anarchy (FX)
Julie Gonzalo, Dallas (TNT)
Constance Marie, Switched at Birth (ABC Family)
Aubrey Plaza, Parks and Recreation (NBC)
Gina Torres, Suits (USA Network)

Innovators and Icons: Joss Whedon the genre slayer

In the course of about a month, director Joss Whedon went from spending quality time with Hollywood power players such as Captain America, Thor, The Hulk and Iron Man to hanging with that superhero of sonnets, William Shakespeare.

Earlier this year, he was still riding high on the triumph of his most commercially successful film, 2012's The Avengers, a blockbuster superhero movie that became the No. 3 box-office draw of all time with a take of more than $1.5 billion worldwide.

His follow-up? That would be the just-opened, modern retelling of the Bard's classic comedy Much Ado About Nothing, shot in black and white on a relative shoestring budget at his Santa Monica, Calif., home.

If you know Whedon, though, the 180-degree change in direction makes total sense.

Look at his résumé, and it's the definition of eclectic, with a hint of schizophrenia. Shakespeare himself liked to mix up genres — Much Ado alone has elements of comedy, tragedy, deceit and mystery — and Whedon has taken a similar approach to his projects over the past 24 years. As a result, the 48-year-old writer/director/producer/composer has become a god to geek culture and a household name in the mainstream.

Any story is as good as you make it, he says, and a restless guy sometimes has to help nourish that tireless zeal. While his actors pumped weights to build heroic bods for The Avengers, the director recalls having his own strict protein diet to get himself in mental and physical shape.

"I can't ever be sleepy. I've got to be on my toes 24/7. And it's good. I've taken some of that with me — not enough, and now I'm starting to go, 'Ruuaarghh' and melt as if I was left in the sun," Whedon says while relaxing in a chair in the library of Manhattan's Trump Soho Hotel.

The passion for variety and doing the unexpected were revealed in the title of his breakthrough TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Launched in 1997 for the WB Network, it sounded like a B-movie that he would have devoured when growing up in the 1970s and '80s. But it was built around themes of horror, vampires, female empowerment and coming of age and ran for seven seasons.

David Boreanaz, current star of Bones and a member of the Buffy cast, recalls bonding with Whedon over the Grateful Dead in Buffy's early days. "I just remember him with a red pen making lots of notes. He was very quiet and kind and very sincere. There was this overall sense of understanding that we both had. It was a new frontier for so much that was going on at that particular moment.''

That frontier spirit continued with Whedon's short-lived, 2002 cult-hit TV series, Firefly, for Fox. It showed obvious sci-fi and Western leanings but still imparted some deep lessons while kicking up space dust.

Even comic-book-based The Avengers explored the idea of a bunch of disparate people working together to make a difference in the world — or at least stave off an alien invasion and a trickster god from another dimension.

Sometimes his mashups go too far, though — like the combination of strep throat, bronchitis and a horrendous cough he is battling during an interview on this sunny May morning. (He blames the sickness on traveling, a lack of sleep and the double shot of nerves that comes with appearing on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and making a commencement address at his alma mater, Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., within a matter of a few days.)

He may be nursing a horrendous hack, but he's far from actually being one. Instead, Whedon's the kind of writer and director to whom A-list studios hand over superhero franchises and the kind of witty, self-deprecating guy who sparks fierce loyalty among those who have worked with and for him.

"It's a wonderful quality to have a man as creative and gifted and successful as Joss Whedon is, and still have a man who's humble,'' says Nathan Fillion, star of the ABC series Castle, who played Capt. Mal Reynolds on Firefly and is also in Much Ado. He doesn't do what he does for any other reason than he loves doing what he does.''

Shakespeare, in his own way, is partly responsible for Whedon's mind-set. Nearly 400 years after the Bard's death, he still has a lot of storytelling knowledge to impart on Whedon and the rest of us — verily so, according to the contemporary filmmaker.

"He speaks to you very personally. He says take the things you understand — the stories, the tropes, the characters — and look further,'' Whedon says. "Look within them, give them life, let them breathe.''

Whedon can't remember his first dose of Shakespeare, but he does recall a childhood chockablock full of Masterpiece Theatre, Monty Python's Flying Circus, the science documentary series Connections and other upper-crust TV fare.

"I was a BBC snob," he says. "I looked down on American television."

But that's where he first made his mark professionally, and it's also where previous generations of Whedons found their calling. His grandfather John Whedon worked on The Donna Reed Show in the 1950s, as well as The Andy Griffith Show and Leave It to Beaver.His father, Tom, was an original writer on Captain Kangaroo, head writer for The Electric Company, and scripted episodes for Benson, Alice and The Golden Girls.

But his dad's work didn't inspire young Joss. "I was very proud of my father, and I admired him," he says, "but I always thought he was more interesting than the shows he was working on."

When Whedon left film school in 1987, he had no intention of working in TV. "No, no. TV's not 'ahhhrt.' That's 'art' with three h's," he says, laughing. "And then I discovered that I was wrong. TV's a lovely thing."

Whedon worked on the sitcom Roseanne beginning in 1989 and the short-lived Parenthood in 1990, then moved toward the big screen as a script doctor on movies. His break came as a co-writer on Pixar's Toy Story (1995), which earned him an Oscar nomination for best screenplay.

Two projects in 1997, the Buffy pilot and the movie Alien: Resurrection ("one of which went well, the other not so much," he quips) contained the seeds of his maturation as a storyteller.

When Whedon scripted the original 1992 horror-comedy film Buffy the Vampire Slayer, five years before he turned it into a TV show, "it was designed to be better than other movies in its oeuvre," he explains.

"This was back when Revenge of the Bimbos and those sort of funny-titled but underwhelming movies were out there. If you make one of those, it's sitting on a shelf, somebody takes it home and it's actually good, you're the best."

Buffy the movie was a bust, but Buffy the show was a boon for the fledgling filmmaker, and it launched him into the pop-culture spotlight. He looks at a panel for the show at the 1997 Comic-Con in San Diego, during the summer following the show's midseason debut, as a turning point for him.

"They were hanging on every word. They were appreciating it," Whedon recalls. "And then I went downstairs on the convention floor and was like a junkie. I'd scratch my arm going, 'Somebody recognize me! I need another hit of fame! I'm good for it — I'll pay you next week!' That's exactly how I felt, and I knew. Oh! Note to self: 'This is a drug. Be very, very careful.' "

Whedon figures he has the best kind of fame, which he calls "quasi-fame."

"I get recognized just often enough to keep my ego bouncing along, but not so much that I can't go places," he says. "It's very easy to fall into the trap of 'well, I must be awesome.' But the Internet is also a great leveler. Not even a troll, but someone sweet as can be says, 'Really love what you do, but I don't understand why you would do this so badly …' ''

He jokes about ego, but in reality, he's a man who has no pride and is an open book. And he hates it when people compare him to an English literary giant such as Shakespeare, says Amy Acker, who stars as Beatrice in Much Ado. Her first TV job was as a series regular on Angel,and she later starred on Dollhouse, both of which were Whedon creations.

"You can definitely see his admiration for Shakespeare in his writing and directing and how he makes movies,'' she says. "He writes characters and lets them take these amazing journeys, but you never know from one page to the next what your character might do."

Fillion agrees: "In the same way you don't paraphrase Shakespeare, you don't paraphrase Whedon. Look how carefully crafted (the dialogue is) in Buffy. Everything people say is poetry in Firefly. And it's loaded with meaning. He loves metaphor and he loves a greater message."

Entertaining people of all kinds is the Whedon family business. In addition to his father and grandfather, his brothers Jed and Zack are both screenwriters, and Joss' children — son Arden, 10, and daughter Squire, 8 — are starting to be interested in entertainment, too, as they get the sense of what Dad does.

He shares a recent conversation with Squire: "She said, 'My teacher asked me who my favorite director was, and I said it was my daddy and Hayao Miyazaki.' I was like, 'I'm happy to be in his company.' "

With a tentative February start date for The Avengers 2 looming, Whedon is also expanding his own creative empire.

In addition to his company Mutant Enemy Productions, he and his wife, Kai Cole, founded Bellwether Pictures to create smaller movies like Much Ado and the quirky paranormal romance In Your Eyes. The company will also produce Internet projects akin to his 2008 Web series, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. (He also yearns to do a legit musical one day — he composed the score for Much Ado because "I'm the only person I can afford.")

He continues to learn from Shakespeare, but Whedon's also still figuring out his own idiosyncrasies. In May, he told Wesleyan's class of 2013, "Don't just be yourself, be all of your selves."

It ties into his discovering that, over the past 20 years, "every part of me that I had never explored, I had had a character say and do very explicitly," Whedon says.

He looks back at a key episode of Buffy's second season, in which Angel turns into a soulless monster after a night of passion with Buffy, sending her emotionally reeling after the loss of her virginity.

"I was like, 'I didn't know I could write this guy! I'm a terrible person! This is great!' I was so excited by accessing something like that," Whedon says. "But every so often, I'll do that and have no idea what I was doing and then later on go, 'Ohhh.'

"We are all of us incoherent text," he continues, "and just knowing that — knowing that no matter how much you say, 'I am this' and part of you is not that — means that you can say it."

Whedon motions to his chest. "It's a democracy in here. It's not a dictatorship."

Joss Whedon makes 'Much Ado' about Shakespeare

Much Ado About Nothing is a delightfully spirited romp, filled with visual splendor, strong performances and flashes of post-modern absurdity.

Director Joss Whedon has fashioned a sparkling modern take on William Shakespeare's classic comedy (*** out of four; rated PG-13, opens Friday in select cities), making the smart decision to shoot it in black-and-white in his 1920s Mediterranean-style Southern California home. The photography is gorgeous and the setting works surprisingly well as a stylish surrogate for the original one in Messina, Sicily.

Whedon takes full advantage of every corner of his property, fashioning evocative shots from unusual angles — through wavy glass doors, from the surface of a swimming pool, looking up under a kitchen cabinet or down from a vaulted ceiling.

Shakespeare's original text, with its distinctive cadence, is preserved, spoken as naturally as if it were contemporary dialogue. Amy Acker, as a wonderfully feisty Beatrice, and Alexis Denisof, as a terrific, preening Benedick, are particularly adept with his words. Determined singles, they are tricked into declaring their love for each other. Nathan Fillion is hilarious as Dogberry, the malapropism-happy constable, and Clark Gregg is equally funny as Leonato, Beatrice's uncle and the father of Hero (Jillian Morgese).

There's a feeling of live performance that Shakespeare devotees should enjoy. And those who appreciate witty wordplay in their romantic comedies will find it especially charming, especially given the chemistry between Denisof and Acker. (They were a romantic duo in Whedon's Angel TV series.)

Their performances are so beguiling that other plot threads pale in comparison. It's hard to be as captivated by the misunderstanding between Hero and her fiancée, Claudio, which arises from a false accusation of infidelity masterminded by Don John (Sean Maher), even though that confusion drives the story's darkest element.

The eclectic musical score is a wonderful counterpoint to the mood and dialogue. A party montage complete with sequined acrobats is particularly dazzling.

Often played as a light romp despite its themes of betrayal and deception and its exploration of marriage and gender roles, Much Ado benefits from Whedon's black-and white spin. It gives the tale more shadows and sexiness, particularly in the hypnotically tight close-ups.

It must have been a lark for Whedon to helm a scaled-down version of a classic play after making a complicated big-budget action blockbuster like last year's The Avengers. He's one of Hollywood's most versatile directors, having created TV series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse; the online musical miniseries Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog; and movies such as horror parody The Cabin in the Woods.

In many ways, the material is a perfect match for him. Whedon knows a thing or two about strong female characters, and Beatrice, an early feminist, is a philosophical ancestor of Buffy.

Much Ado is something — a fresh midsummer's dream, faithful to the spirit of the Bard of Avon and intensified by an intoxicating effervescence.

Joss Whedon to return to 'Serenity'? Nathan Fillion calls it 'an impossibility'

Joss Whedon seems like he can do anything nowadays. He made the most successful superhero movie ever, he brought Agent Phil Coulson back from the grave and he made a modern black-and-white Shakespeare adaptation in his backyard that might be one of the most fun movies of the summer. But will he be able to bring the crew of the Serenity back together for another flight through the stars? Nathan Fillion calls that "an impossibility."

"That was a project that lived for so short a time, and such a long time ago, I would look at that as an impossibility," Fillion tells HitFix of the possibility of making a "Serenity 2." "Joss Whedon made a movie of it -- something I also considered an impossibility. So I look at that and think, 'Where is the hope?' But knowing Joss Whedon, I try not to underestimate that man."

With projects like the "Veronica Mars" movie getting a successful Kickstarter and "Arrested Development" being brought back for a fourth season after seven years, it doesn't seem like much of a stretch to assume "Firefly" could be resurrected with a new movie or TV season as well, especially since Whedon has remained such close friends with his cast. It's unclear what exactly is causing Fillion to say that the dream of a "Serenity 2" won't become a reality, but it's likely Whedon's busy schedule.

Whedon is working on "S.H.I.E.L.D." and developing "The Avengers 2," and is pretty much exclusively dedicated to Marvel until "The Avengers 2" comes out on May 1, 2015. Even "Dr. Horrible 2" was bumped until after Whedon's commitment to "The Avengers 2" is complete, which means that, at its earliest, a "Firefly" reunion wouldn't be able to happen until after 2015. It seems like that Science Channel reunion will be all we're getting of the Serenity crew for the time being, but as Fillion notes, if anyone can do the impossible, it's Joss Whedon.

Whedon says Shakespeare informs his superheroes

Some might find it strange that Joss Whedon's first movie since "The Avengers" — his 2012 megahit about a team of Marvel Comics superheroes — is an independent adaptation of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing." But it makes perfect sense to him. The man who created TV hits like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and its spinoff "Angel" says his dramas all have a bit of the Bard in them.

"When you're working in Marvel Comics — whether it's comics or the cinematic universe — you're cribbing from Shakespeare," Whedon said in a recent interview. "The big themes, the big emotions, its kings, and betrayal and love and tragedy and that good stuff, and even in the way I write, any time you get to write about an Asgardian, there's going to be a touch of the Elizabethan in there."

While "Much Ado" debuts in theaters Friday, Whedon's focus is already on "Avengers 2" — due out in 2015 — and his upcoming Marvel-based TV series "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," which premieres on ABC this fall.

Whedon acknowledges he does feel "pressure" to follow up on the success of "The Avengers" — the third highest-grossing film ever.

The comic book enthusiast says "The Avengers" seems perfectly normal to him — a world where Thor, Iron Man and Captain America "hang out" — and he was able to readily convey that to a wider audience. "This is how the world meant to be. These guys are going to hang out and save the world and then they're going to get really mad at each other."

Whedon says — like with Shakespeare — the comic book language is "so familiar" to him that he's not scrambling to figure "this superhero thing out. We were only scrambling to make sure other people know what we already know."

'Much Ado About Nothing' Review: The Fault Lies in the Co-Star

If we were grading "Much Ado About Nothing" purely on daring, Joss Whedon would deserve heaps of praise for following up one of the highest-grossing movies ever made, "The Avengers," with a low-budget Shakespeare film, reportedly shot in just 12 days in and around the adapter-director's house.

Would that the movie itself were as fresh and bold as its own production; while Whedon, no stranger to witty repartee himself, has a feel for the wordplay and japery of this classic romantic farce, the final results are disappointingly mediocre.

The film's most front-and-center problem is the casting of Alexis Denisof ("Angel") in the lead role of Benedick. (Denisof, like many of the actors featured here, has a track record with Whedon's earlier film and TV work.) "Much Ado" centers around the brash Benedick, who claims he will remain ever a bachelor, and the "merry war" of wits he conducts with the fair and sharp-tongued Beatrice (Amy Acker, "Dollhouse," "The Cabin in the Woods"), who similarly plans never to wed.

The balance between these two equal rivals - and the way they are tricked into turning their passion for each other from hate to love - is essential to the story, but while Acker successfully portrays a woman too smart and too strong to be shoved to the altar, Denisof never matches her fire. Without a Benedick that is up to her level, we don't want to see Beatrice fall in love, and the inequity between the leads sinks the movie.

It's a pity, because the cast is otherwise strong, from Clark Gregg ("The Avengers") as the magnanimous Leonato to Riki Lindhome (half of the comic musical duo Garfunkel and Oates) as the devious Conrade to Nathan Fillion (who would have made a much better Benedick) and Tom Lenk, who steal their every scene as bumbling lawmen Dogberry and Verges. (The movie is modern dress, but the enforcers of the law all wear '70s TV cop show polyester.)

Even allowing for the fact that the film was made quickly and on the cheap, this "Much Ado About Nothing" looks rather flat and wan; there's a difference between shooting in black and white versus not shooting in color that seems to have eluded the cinematographer.

The art direction's nothing too exciting, either; if Whedon hid the nice fixtures away while his home was full of crew members and lighting cables, no one would blame him. As it is, the surroundings are so lifeless and generic that he could have shot the whole thing at a Crate & Barrel.

Nonetheless, credit is due Whedon for knowing how to get to the heart of the material, and shaping the performances in a way that makes Ye Olde Iambic Pentameter pop for contemporary audiences. None of the updates feel overly clever or excessively in-your-face; Whedon uncovers the timeless nature in the various love stories and conspiracies and finds the right notes to keep them fresh.

"Much Ado About Nothing" is probably the only Shakespeare adaptation to date that could fill Hall H at Comic-Con, and there's enough here that works to make one hope that Whedon might tackle the Bard again. Maybe next time he can get some tips from that Branagh guy - you know, the one who directed "Thor."

Alan Tudyk & Rex Lee Leaving 'Suburgatory'

I hear ABC‘s last-minute third-season renewal of Suburgatory as midseason replacement came with a reduction in the license fee, which is leading to budget cuts and some tough choices. I’ve learned that two of the series’ eight regulars, Alan Tudyk and Rex Lee, have not been picked up for next season. They could potentially appear as guest stars. I hear there may be further trims, with other regulars potentially being cut or reduced to recurring. Suburgatory‘s remaining regular cast includes stars Jane Levy and Jeremy Sisto as well as Cheryl Hines, Carly Chaikin, Ana Gasteyer and Allie Grant. Both Tudyk and Lee have been on the show since the beginning. Lee, who plays the high school’s guidance counselor, was a guest star in the pilot but was promoted to regular right after. Tudyk playes Sisto’s trusted, country club-loving friend. Suburgatory was a breakout hit when it launched in fall 2011 but lost steam, ratings-wise and creatively, in Season 2, ending up on the bubble.

Joss Whedon to Graduates: "You're All Going to Die"

For those graduating students about to face the real world, Joss Whedon has a message for you: "You're all going to die."

Whedon (The Avengers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) gave the commencement speech at Wesleyan University's graduation Sunday, explaining that there's a contradiction between body and mind as people get older.

"What I'd like to say to all of you is that you're all going to die," Whedon said. "You have, in fact, already begun to die. You look great. You are youth and beauty, the physical peak. Your bodies have just gotten off the ski slope on the peak of growth and potential. And now comes the Black Diamond mogul run to the grave."

A Wesleyan alumni from 1987, Whedon's speech was on par in sentimentality with his own commencement speaker, Bill Cosby, who, according to Whedon, said, "You're not going to change the world, so don't try."

Check out the full speech here.

Joss Whedon's 'Much Ado About Nothing' kicks off Oscars summer screening series

The 2013 Oscars Outdoors summer screening series kicks off with Joss Whedon's "Much Ado about Nothing" on June 5, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced on Wednesday.

Stars Amy Acker, Alexis Denisoff, Clark Gregg, Nathan Fillion, Fran Kranz and Sean Maher will join Whedon for a Q&A session following the film.

According to Randy Haberkamp, the Academy's managing director of programming, Whdeon and friends are just a few of the "special guests and surprises" planned for the screening series running throughout the summer until August 24's closing film "Cinema Paradiso."

With a mix of classic films ranging from 1953's "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" to more recent hits like 1995 teen comedy "Clueless" or Wes Anderson's "Rushmore," there appears to be something for cinemaphiles of all ages.

Morena Baccarin Expecting First Child

Another Homeland baby is on the way!

Actress Morena Baccarin, 33, and her husband director/writer Austin Chick are expecting their first child together, PEOPLE confirms exclusively.

Baccarin — who plays Jessica Brody, the wife of former marine Nicholas Brody on the hit Showtime series — is currently in production for the show’s third season.

Fortunately, the mom-to-be won’t have to worry about balancing a heavy makeup routine with a new baby. When Baccarin — who wed Chick in November 2011 — isn’t busy shooting scenes in front of the camera, she’s “pretty low maintenance.”

“When I’m not working I’m definitely a no makeup girl. The most I ever do is a little tinted moisturizer and a little mascara and blush,” Baccarin, who was named one of PEOPLE’s 2013 Most Beautiful, said recently.

'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D' first footage released - Watch now

(Video) ABC has released an ultra-brief teaser of footage from their new, highly-anticipated fall series, "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," giving fans a glimpse of Clark Gregg's resurrected Agent Coulson, as well as some blink-and-you'll-miss-them shots of the supporting cast, including Ming-Na.

The show will have its full preview Sunday (May 12), during the finale of the network's "Once Upon a Time," but it seems ABC wanted to whet fan's whistles and get a jumpstart on their suggested hashtag: #CoulsonLives.

Take a look at the teaser above. Are you excited for "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."?

ABC Orders Joss Whedon's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to Series

ABC's fall schedule is starting to look pretty super.

The network has picked up Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. from Avengers director and Buffy creator Joss Whedon. The series is based on Marvel Universe's fictional and secret law-enforcement agency, Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistic Directorate.

Clark Gregg will reprise his Avengers role as Agent Coulson, with Ming-Na, Brett Dalton, Elizabeth Henstridge, Ian De Caestecker and Chloe Bennet also starring. Whedon will write and executive-produce the drama, which made TVGuide.com's most promising pilots list, along with Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen.

Considering The Avengers' impressive box office take last summer, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seemed to be an easy slam dunk for ABC thanks to its built-in fan base. ABC is owned by Disney, which bought Marvel in 2009. This is ABC's first series order for the 2013-2014 TV season.

Are you excited for Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

Joss Whedon squashes reports of $100 million 'Avengers' payday

Joss Whedon wants to clear something up: He is NOT getting $100 million, or as he calls it, "Downey money," for "The Avengers 2."

The Robert Downey Jr. quip is referring to the reported $50 million that the "Iron Man" actor made on last summer's "The Avengers," which the actor confirmed in a GQ interview. "The Avengers" became the third-highest grossing film of all-time, raking in $1.5 billion worldwide. Downey reaped a huge payday due to his backend deal for the film.

On a post on Whedonesque.com, the director said, "I'm making A LOT, which is exciting. I'm not pretending to be a poor farmer, an Everyman, an ANYman. But that number is nuts."

In his letter, the talent behind the Marvel films continued to shoot down other "facts," including a real bummer to anyone invited to a Joss Whedon party this Memorial Day.

Read Whedon's entire post below:

"Hi guys.

I was going to let it slide, but I've got this sour taste in my mouth. (Mmmm, lemonade!). Some facts are not facts. I'm not going to go into the whole thing, but jeepers, I'm not getting $100 mil on Avengers 2. If I were, I would come on this site and laugh and laugh and laugh. I'm not making Downey money. I'm making A LOT, which is exciting. I'm not pretending to be a poor farmer, an Everyman, an ANYman. But that number is nuts. A few other things about me that have been "reported" that people should take with a grain of salt:

That I throw wild Hollywood parties where everyone is naked and dancing and wild and I remember to serve enough snacks.

That I can get a movie greenlit by sighing and staring into the middle distance.

That I ate a unicorn and made it winter for three years.

That I "can write."

Well, that's a load off. Sorry to get so personal - the whole thing's a bit tawdry. But honestly, it bugged me. I'm off for a nice juicy steak. There's a place downtown that does it with rosemary butter, it tastes just like unico - like a steak.

BYE-ee! J."

Michael Bay's 'The Last Ship' Picked Up To Series At TNT

Ahead of its upfront presentation next week, TNT has given a 10-episode series order to post-apocalyptic action drama The Last Ship, starring Eric Dane and executive produced by filmmaker Michael Bay. (Watch the first trailer below) The Last Ship is one of two pilots at TNT that have been awaiting a series order. A pickup for the other, Legends, is still pending. Based on William Brinkley’s popular novel, The Last Ship, which will premiere in 2014, comes from Bay’s Platinum Dunes. Bay and his partners Brad Fuller and Andrew Form serve as executive producers, along with showrunner Hank Steinberg (Without A Trace) and Steven Kane (The Closer). Steinberg and Kane wrote the series pilot, which was directed by Jonathan Mostow. The story opens with a global catastrophe that nearly decimates the world’s population. Because of its positioning, the Navy destroyer U.S.S. Nathan James avoids falling victim to the devastating tragedy. But now the crew and its captain must confront the reality of their new existence in a world where they may be among the few remaining survivors. “The Last Ship has all the elements of a big Hollywood blockbuster, from its epic storytelling to its top-notch cast headed by the perfect leading man, Eric Dane,” said TNT’s head of programming Michael Wright. “Michael Bay and his fellow executive producers have shaped William Brinkley’s story and characters into an exceptional drama full of action, suspense, tragedy and triumph.

Dane stars as Captain Tom Chandler, a career Navy man who is authoritative and decisive, but also fair and courageous. The Last Ship also stars Rhona Mitra as Rachel Scott, a strong-willed, intelligent and fearless paleomicrobiologist; Adam Baldwin as Slattery, the ship’s second-in-command who occasionally clashes with Dane’s Captain Chandler; and Tracy Middendorf as Darien Chandler, the captain’s wife.

CASTLE: Watershed - SEASON FINALE

"Watershed" - In the Season Finale, an interview with a high-profile federal law enforcement agency forces Beckett to reconsider what she wants out of her job -- and out of her relationship with Castle. Meanwhile, the body of a young woman is found floating inside the water tank of a skid row flop house, but as the team investigate, they discover that her final resting place is just one of many strange things about her death, on "Castle," MONDAY, MAY 13 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Kyle Secor as Anthony Freedman, Scott Paulin as Jim Beckett, Niko Nicotera as Ziff Falgrad, Stacy Edwards as Jessica Banks, Mekenna Melvin as Talia McTeague.

"Watershed" was written by Andrew Marlowe and directed by John Terlesky.

Joss Whedon talks 'S.H.I.E.L.D' pilot name change, blames Michael Chiklis

Perhaps one of the most buzzed-about pilots angling for a fall pick-up this season is Joss Whedon's project at ABC about the agents of Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D., which underwent a name change in recent weeks.

Whedon spoke with TVLine about the change of title while at the "Iron Man 3" premiere on Wednesday (April 24), revealing why the show went from the simple "S.H.I.E.L.D." to its current title, "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

"I think it had to do with legal things. Ask Michael Chiklis, because I think it's his fault," Whedon joked, referring to the similarly named FX series.

Whedon also touched on the idea of "Avengers"/"S.H.I.E.L.D" crossovers, saying, "What we're trying to do is open the door for that -- but that's not the door to the main room. The big house is that 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' has to work on its own. It can't be an Easter egg farm. It's got to be a show with characters you care about week to week, that if you've never seen a Marvel movie you can turn into."

He stresses that he truly believes the show will be able to attract those who usually steer clear of superhero movies. ""I believe the Marvel movies work partially because the idea of a superhero universe is not alien to our culture on so many levels. We're so used to it," Whedon explains. "And so the idea of a superhero show that isn't about superheroes, I think its time has come."

CASTLE: The Human Factor

"The Human Factor" - When Homeland Security inexplicably seals the crime scene of a car bombing, Castle and Beckett find themselves with two mysteries on their hands: who murdered the victim, a government whistleblower, and why are federal agents trying to take over the case? The plot thickens when they discover that the victim wasn't killed by a car bomb but by a missile from a military drone, on "Castle," MONDAY, MAY 6 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. Carlos Bernard guest stars as Jared Stack, a mysterious operative who may hold the key to solving the case.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Carlos Bernard as Jared Stack, Catherine Dent as Beth Tanner, Hrach Titizian as Omar, Eric Lange as Simon Warburg.

"The Human Factor" was written by David Amann and directed by Bill Roe.

ABC Pulls Monday's Bomb-Themed Castle

ABC has decided to delay Monday’s Castle, which features a bomb-related plot, in light of this week’s attack at the Boston Marathon, TVLine has learned.

The episode, titled “Still,” finds the team attempting to disarm a bomb that Beckett has stepped on. It will now air one week later on Monday, April 29.

The episode originally scheduled for April 29, “The Squab and the Quill,” will now air on April 22, replacing “Still.”

Joss Whedon won't have time for 'Dr. Horrible 2' until after 'The Avengers 2'

Joss Whedon is a very busy man. He's serving as a consultant for Marvel's Cinematic Universe and directing the upcoming "The Avengers 2," which doesn't leave much time for him to tackle other projects he cares about. One of those is "Dr. Horrible 2," which he previously thought he could shoot in 2013 but now isn't so sure about.

When asked by E! News what time his commitment to Marvel left him for projects like the "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" sequel, he said, "None. It doesn't leave time for sleeping or eating." Still, he, his brother Jed Whedon and Jed's wife Maurissa Tancharoen have made some progress on the much anticipated project.

"We've written a bunch of it. It's really just getting that into production, there's too much even for me. There is such a thing," Whedon says. "At some point I will go completely insane and not in the cute way."

Still, there's always the chance that Whedon could surprise himself and squeeze "Dr. Horrible 2" into his schedule. He's just wrapped production on the pilot to "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." and he won't start filming "The Avengers 2" until February 2014, so he could potentially find a couple of weeks between then and now to reteam with Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion to make a low-budget follow-up to the 2008 web musical. He did make "Much Ado About Nothing" when he was supposed to instead go on vacation to Italy, so there's no doubting what the Whedon is capable of.

Nathan Fillion Enrolled in Pixar's Monsters University

Aubrey Plaza's getting company.

The Parks & Recreation actress—and MTV Movie Awards stage-crasher—will be joined by just-announced costars John Krasinski, Nathan Fillion (ex-Joey, One Life To Live) and Bonnie Hunt for Pixar's upcoming Monsters, Inc. sequel Monsters University, according to EW.

It was previously announced that Plaza, along with Sean Hayes, Charlie Day, Alfred Molina and Helen Mirren, will be voicing characters for the animated flick.

Monsters, Inc.'s original stars Billy Crystal, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi will reprise their roles for the film.

Monsters University will once again follow monster Mike Wazowski (Crystal) as he attends college to become a Scarer.

The flick is set to hit theaters Jun. 21.

CASTLE: The Squab and the Quail

"The Squab and the Quail" -- When Beckett is assigned to protect Erik Vaughn, a charming billionaire entrepreneur whose life is in danger, she's forced to reflect on her relationship with Castle which has begun to plateau. Meanwhile, consumed with jealousy, Castle goes to extraordinary lengths to solve the case and separate the two of them, on "Castle," MONDAY, APRIL 29 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Ioan Gruffudd as Eric Vaughn, Russ Bain as Bruno Toft, Andy Wagner as Lucas Shaw, Jamie Hill as Petra Visser.

"The Squab and the Quail" story by Jason Wilborn & Adam Frost with teleplay by Jason Wilborn and directed by Paul Holahan.

FOX angers 'Firefly' fans by shutting down unlicensed Jayne hat sales

"Firefly" fans have long been easily identified by their handmade Jayne hats, but it will soon become harder to find the iconic item. In recent weeks, Browncoats with knitting skills who turned to websites like Etsy to sell their versions of the hat started receiving cease-and-desist notices because the product is owned by FOX, thus angering the "Firefly" fan community.

FOX's sudden interest in the selling of the unlicensed Jayne hats seem to stem from the fact that ThinkGeek, a popular online retailer of nerdy products, started selling its own officially licensed Jayne hat made by the company Ripple Junction. Both ThinkGeek and Ripple deny any involvement in the sudden onslaught of cease-and-desist notices. Because FOX owns the license to all "Firefly" material -- including the Jayne hat -- it seems as though sellers of DIY versions of the accessory are out of luck for the time being.

ThinkGeek wrote a blog post about the incident and explained their stance on the situation. The site also announced that 100 percent of profits from their Jayne hat sales will go to the Can't Stop the Serenity charity.

The Jayne hat only appears in the twelfth episode of "Firefly," "The Message," which ironically is one of three episodes of the show that FOX never aired. Jayne receives the hat from his mother and wears it proudly because he thinks it's "pretty cunning."

CASTLE: Still

"Still" - Beckett's life is on the line when she steps on a pressure sensitive bomb. While the team searches for a way to disarm the explosive, Castle distracts Beckett by arguing with her about who fell for whom first , on "Castle," MONDAY, APRIL 22 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Allan Louis as Capt. Frank Mahoney and Adam Rose as Mike Boyer.

"Still" was written by Rob Hanning and directed by Bill Roe.

SUBURGATORY: Apocalypse Meow + Stray Dogs - SEASON FINALE

The bitingly iconic single-camera comedy, "Suburgatory," concludes the season with a one-hour finale event, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

In the first part of the hour, "Apocalypse Meow," Dallas offers to help George tell Tessa that he's sold their house and that they're combining residences, but it doesn't go as planned. The rift between Dalia and Tessa widens as Dalia goes out of her way to make Tessa miserable and Tessa seeks break-up revenge. Meanwhile, Noah obsesses over Carmen even though she's dating his therapist.

In the second part, "Stray Dogs," Sheila launches a chastity campaign in Chatswin and convinces Mr. Wolfe to throw a Chastity Ball at the high school, assuming that Lisa will be crowned queen of the ball. Meanwhile George buys a house for Dallas and receives a visit from her ex-husband, and Tessa sets up residence in her bathroom stall at school.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"Apocalypse Meow" guest stars Parker Young as Ryan Shay, Gilland Jones as Amber, Natalie Flloyd as Stephanie, Lilly Roberson as Joan, Ely Henry as Reggie, Zabeth Russell as Greta, BunnieRivera as Carmen and Todd Louiso as Bob. "Apocalypse Meow" was written by Annie Weisman and directed by Ken Whittingham.

"Stray Dogs" guest stars Parker Young as Ryan Shay, Maestro Harrell as Malik, Jay Mohr as Steven Royce, Malin Akerman as Alex, Dyana Liu as Wan'Er, Miriam Flynn as Helen, Sam Fuller as Derek, Lilly Roberson as Joan, Brooke Baumer as Lucille, Deena Dill as Bliss, Edie Mothersbaugh as girl no. 1, Abby Donnelly as girl no. 2 and J. Rene Pena as passenger. "Stray Dogs" was written and directed by Emily Kapnek.

CASTLE: The Fast and the Furriest

"The Fast and the Furriest" - When Castle and Beckett find giant footprints at the site of a vicious murder, the team is forced to confront the unlikely theory that Bigfoot is the killer. But as they trek into the world of primate research, big game hunting and mythological creatures, they realize that finding the man (or beast) responsible may put them on the endangered species list, on "Castle," MONDAY, APRIL 15 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Arye Gross as M.E. Perlmutter, Aaron Hill as Kurt Wilson, Raphael Sbarge as Dr. Darrell Meeks, Palmer Davis as Garland Meeks, Albie Selznick as Dr. Paul Devlin.

"The Fast and the Furriest" was written by Christine Roum and directed by Jonathan Frakes.

Nathan Fillion Dreams of Flying Cars

Castle star Nathan Fillion is celebrating the 100th episode of his popular ABC drama on April Fool's. This week the actor turned 42 and chatted with PEOPLE about one last thing ...

Last celebration: My 42nd birthday is March 27, but I haven't had a birthday party in six years. I love backyard barbecues with friends, but I've been working, so there is just no time.

Last Splurge: I asked a small start-up company called Arcimoto from Eugene, Ore., to build me a futuristic-looking three-wheeled electric car. I thought by 2013 we'd have flying cars!

Last Celebrity Crush: I just flew back from the SXSW film festival, and the magazine had Olivia Wilde on the cover. I thought, "She's one of the more attractive, pleasant actresses." Then I looked and she was sitting next to me. I didn't say anything, but I offered her gum.

Sightings

“The Avengers” director Joss Whedon seeing the Encores! production of “It’s a Bird . . . It’s a Plane . . . It’s Superman”

SUBURGATORY: Go, Gamblers!

"Go, Gamblers!" - When it comes time for Ryan to choose a college, Tessa endeavors to remain neutral even though Ryan begs her to decide for him. Tessa ultimately rigs his decision-making process, and Dalia uses this to her advantage. Meanwhile, George asks Dallas to move in with him in the most unromantic way, and as a newly licensed realtor, Sheila sells George's house before it hits the market, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"Go, Gamblers!" was written by Andrew Guest and directed by Linda Mendoza.

CASTLE: The Lives of Others (4/1)

"The Lives of Others" -- In the show's 100th episode, Castle finds himself in the unfortunate position of NOT being able to work a case. While he's holed up in the loft with a broken leg, Beckett goes off to investigate the death of an IRS agent without him, leaving Castle miserable and bored. But when he thinks he witnesses the murder of a young woman in the apartment across the street, he is thrown into a "Rear Window"-esque murder mystery that hits much too close to home, on "Castle," MONDAY, APRIL 1 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: John Griffin as Gavin DeWinter, Raquel Alessi as Selena Rigas, Eric Nenninger as John Dessens, and William DeVry as Dan Renner.

"The Lives of Others" was written by Terri Edda Miller & Andrew W. Marlowe and directed by Larry Shaw.

SUBURGATORY: Decemberfold (4/3)

"Decemberfold" - When George agrees to participate in the "Dads of Chatswin" calendar, he becomes obsessed with his body image and alienates Dallas. Meanwhile Dalia buddies up to Tessa, and Lisa discovers her true motives, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"Decemberfold" guest stars Courtney Merritt as Jenna Werner, Derek Waters as Jarrison, Seanna Kofoed as Beatrice, Deena Dill as Bliss, Brooke Baumer as Lucille, Duane Shepard Sr. as Scat teacher, Chase Fein as waiter, Alex Boling as Alex, Todd Sherry as Tom and Edward Padilla as Javier.

"Decemberfold" was written by Andrew Guest and directed by Linda Mendoza.

SUBURGATORY: Brown Trembler

"Brown Trembler" - Post-divorce Noah and Opus take up residence in a high end hotel until the Chatswin moms corner George and force him to intervene. Luckily George allows Noah and Opus to move in with him until they get back on their feet. Meanwhile, Dallas discovers that Dalia is a hoarder, and Fred enlists Tessa to school him on what's hip so he can land the job of his dreams, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27 (9:31-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"Brown Trembler" guest stars Darlene Hunt as Connie, Dana Powell as Rhonda, Sean Smith as hotel manager and Patrick Carlyle as Todd.

"Brown Trembler" was written by Patricia Breen and directed by Phil Traill.

CASTLE: The Wild Rover

"The Wild Rover" - When a man is found dead in an industrial cake mixer, Castle and Beckett trace the murder to an Irish gang in Staten Island and a beautiful bar owner named Siobhan O'Doul (guest star Cara Buono, "Mad Men"). Much to everyone's surprise, Detective Ryan has a complicated history with Siobhan and the Staten Island crime family from his days working undercover in narcotics. When the case hits a dead end, Ryan must go back undercover to expose the killer, complicating his relationship with his wife, on "Castle," MONDAY, MARCH 25 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Juliana Dever as Jenny Ryan, Cara Buono as Siobhan O'Doul, Brian Letscher as Liam Finch, Christina Cox as Maggie Finch, Michael Rodrick as Robert "Bobby S" Shannon.

"The Wild Rover" was written by Terence Paul Winter and directed by Rob Hardy.

Whedon makes much of Shakespeare's 'Nothing'

In Joss Whedon's hands, Much Ado About Nothing has become something very contemporary.

Best known for creating pop culture touchstones Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly – and delivering a record-breaking big-screen translation of The Avengers – Whedon has a longtime devotion to the Bard.

Many of the cast of the film, which had its U.S. premiere here Saturday afternoon at the South By Southwest Film Festival, participated in readings of Shakespeare's plays over the years at Whedon's home. When the filmmaker found himself with some time off in 2011 after shooting wrapped on The Avengers, he decided to adapt the classic comedy. "I had thought about it practically and Amy (Acker, who plays Beatrice) and Alexis (Denisof, who plays Benedick) had read it, and I was dying to put them on film," Whedon said in an interview before the screening.

Whedon and wife Kai Cole, who produced the film, created their own production company and – though the play is set in Italy -- filmed the movie over 12 days at their Santa Monica home. "She said, 'You've been talking about Much Ado. Let's do it.' I went back and looked at the text and then, for the first time ever, I saw the film," Whedon said.

"Sometimes the most obvious things are right in front of you," he said. "I looked at it and went, 'Oh, this isn't about nothing. This is about everything.' This is about us and about love and ritual and romance and pain and lies and a lot of very dark stuff and a lot of very beautiful stuff. Suddenly it wasn't just 'Let's film a play.' This was the next film."

Whedon set the tale of love's labors in the modern day. The actors wear current clothing, have smart phones and speak in modern dialects but stay true to the Bard's prose. Shot in black and white, the film sports jazz and rock music in its soundtrack.

The bumbling constable Dogberry (Nathan Fillion) gets locked out of his car. A wedding photographer stalks the expected nuptials of Hero (Jillian Morgese) and Claudio (Fran Kranz) and villain Don John (Sean Maher) snags that most modern of confectionary bliss, a cupcake, when he leaves, having foiled the ceremony.

"It's very approachable," said Denisof, whose resume includes Whedon-verse roles in Angel, Buffy and The Avengers as well as in the Royal Shakespeare Company's Hamlet. "My guess is that most people, after the first couple minutes, will forget that they are hearing Shakespeare," he said. "They will just be in the world and the characters and the relationships. I think (Whedon) achieved an ease with this movie that will make it appealing."

Moviegoers will see the predecessors of modern-day comedic couples in sharp-tongued lovers Beatrice and Benedick. "They are special roles in the catalog of romantic comedy," Denisof says. "They are kind of the template for everything that follows, Hepburn and Tracy and Moonlighting. I think it all starts with this couple."

When the actors convened for the filming, "we had done (the readings) for so many years," said Acker, whose regional theater career included Much Ado About Nothing. "It had that same sort of playfulness and no one was really as scared of it as we probably should have been."

Fillion (Castle) got plenty of laughs from the screening crowd for his portrayal of Dogberry. While he admitted that tackling Shakespeare was intimidating, Fillion found his mindset in Matt LeBlanc's performance of Joey on Friends. "I played Dogberry like he feels he is the smartest guy in the room and he feels he is the star of the show," he says. "I literally stole that from Matt LeBlanc, but the concept I learned from Joss."

Young viewers may learn to love Shakespeare, too, from Whedon's adaptation. During the cast and crew's post-screening question-and-answer session, moviegoer Catherine Amos thanked the filmmaker on behalf of "all the high school teachers."

A former teacher with 20 years in the classroom – and 12 as a high school teacher herself – Amos could see the film playing in classrooms "and the kids would get everything out of it," she says.

For those contemplating buying a ticket when Much Ado About Nothing arrives in theaters June 7, Amos said, "Anyone not particularly familiar with the story would be able to come in, sit down and get everything that was intended. They got it right."

Joss Whedon's 'Much Ado About Nothing' trailer finally arrives - Watch!

(Video) The trailer for Joss Whedon's Shakespeare adaptation "Much Ado About Nothing" has finally arrived, and it is a Whedonite's dream. Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof made a fantastic match as leads Beatrice and Benedick, and that can be proven in this new teaser.

"Much Ado About Nothing" made its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in 2012 and earned positive reviews for its contemporary take on the Shakespearean classic. But fans of Whedon's work will appreciate the fact that he got together a group of his closest friends and frequent collaborators to make the film when he was supposed to instead be going on vacation to Italy with his wife Kai Cole. That's why you'll see people like "Firefly's" Nathan Fillion (ex-Joey, One Life To Live) and Sean Maher, "Dollhouse's" Fran Kranz and "The Avengers'" Clark Gregg in the trailer for this movie.

Slated for a June 7 release, "Much Ado About Nothing" was adapted, directed and produced by Whedon. "This is the best vacation I've ever taken. I mean, yes, it was super hard, it was a ton of work ... but I've never been so well rested and so well fed as I have on this movie," Whedon told Entertainment Weekly in October 2011.

CASTLE: Scared to Death

"Scared to Death" -- When a young woman appears to have literally been scared to death three days after watching a "haunted" DVD, Castle and Beckett delve into one of their creepiest cases yet. To make matters worse, Castle becomes convinced that he too is marked for death when he accidentally watches the cursed video. Master of horror Wes Craven makes a special quest appearance, on "Castle," MONDAY, MARCH 18 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET).

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Wes Craven as himself, Arye Gross as M.E. Perlmutter, Alison Trumbell as Val Butler, Romy Rosemont as Nurse Lockhart, Brad William Henke as Mark Heller.

"Scared to Death" was written by Shalisha Francis and directed by Ron Underwood.

SUBURGATORY: Eat, Pray, Eat

"Eat, Pray, Eat" - When George forgets the birthday gift that Dallas gives him, Dallas feels as if she'll never compare to his ex, Alex, and she seeks solace in carbs and Jill Werner. Meanwhile, Tessa believes that she has lost her youthful vigor, and Noah makes a shocking discovery about his psychiatrist, Bob, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20 (9:31-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"Eat, Pray, Eat" guest stars include Bunnie River as Carmen, Sam Lerner as Evan, Jillian Clare as waiter, Andy Gala as host, Samantha Quan as Candi, Gillian Vigman as Jill Werner, Carlos Parra as Mariachi leader and Todd Louiso as Bob.

"Eat, Pray, Eat" was written by Charlie Carlisle and Aimee Jones and directed by Elliott Hegarty.

Saturn Awards Nominations

Best direction

William Friedkin, Killer Joe

Peter Jackson, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Rian Johnson, Looper

Ang Lee, Life of Pi

Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises

Joss Whedon, Marvel's The Avengers

SUBURGATORY (3/6)

"How to Be a Baby" - Dalia takes Mr. Wolfe under her wing to help him get over his breakup with Chef Alan. She convinces him to try a new look and plots to help Mr. Wolfe get revenge for his broken heart. Meanwhile, Noah is convinced Carmen is the love of his life and George and Dallas find themselves caught in the crossfire, while Tessa interns for Jill, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6 (9:31-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"How to Be a Baby" was written by Brian Chamberlayne and directed by Victor Nelli.

SUBURGATORY (2/27)

"Leaving Chatswin" - When Marty passes away, George is deeply affected and Noah and George have to figure out what to do with his ashes. Meanwhile, Tessa learns that Ryan hasn't been honest with her, and she has to examine the future of their relationship, as well as her plans for college, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27 (9:31-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"Leaving Chatswin" guest stars include Parker Young as Ryan Shay, Courtney Merritt as Jenna Werner, Derek Waters as Jarrison, Jack Walsh as Marty, Bunnie Rivera as Carmen, Janis Peebles as Colette, Rane Jameson as Bastian, Vernee Watson as Fatima, Edward Padilla as Javier and Sam Lerner as Evan.

"Leaving Chatswin" was written by Drew Hancock and directed by Elliot Hegarty.

CASTLE: Hunt

"Hunt" -- In the powerful conclusion of a two-episode story arc, when the FBI fails to get his daughter back, Castle takes matters into his own hands, reaching out to a shadowy fixer to help him recover Alexis. But Castle soon learns that his daughter's kidnapping may be part of an even more sinister agenda, on "Castle," MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET). Emmy and Golden Globe-winner James Brolin ("The West Wing," "Marcus Welby, M.D.") guest stars in the episode as Castle's dad.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: James Brolin as Castle's dad, Dylan Walsh as FBI Agent Harris, Christopher Heyerdahl as Jacque Henri, Nestor Serrano as Gregory Volkov.

"Hunt" was written by Andrew W. Marlowe and directed by Rob Bowman.

Castle's Fifth Season Is Getting Bigger!

Consider this an early Valentine's Day gift, Castle fans: The show's fifth season is getting bigger!

ABC has ordered an extra episode of the procedural dramedy, TVGuide.com has learned. The addition will bring the Season 5 total to 24 episodes.

The extra hour will air in April, replacing a previously scheduled repeat episode. Castle, which stars Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic as crime-solving partners-turned-lovers, is averaging 9.9 million viewers a week and scoring a 1.98 among the adults-18-to-49 demographic.

Speaking of Valentine's Day, the show will air Castle and Beckett's first crack at the holiday as a couple on Monday at 10/9c.

CASTLE: Target

"Target" -- In the first of a two-episode story arc, Castle & Beckett begin a murder investigation that also exposes a plot to kidnap the daughter of a wealthy Middle Eastern businessman. Dylan Walsh ("Nip/Tuck") guest stars as FBI Agent Harris, an even-keeled professional brought in to help find the kidnappers, on "Castle," MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Dylan Walsh as FBI Agent Harris, Bernard White as Anwar El-Masri, Katherine Kamhi as Lina El-Masri, Karen David as Sara El-Masri.

"Target" was written by David Amann and directed by Bill Roe.

SUBURGATORY: T-Ball and Sympathy

"T-Ball and Sympathy" - When Tessa becomes a relationship expert, she gives advice to everyone (even people who don't ask for it). She decides to help Mr. Wolfe, and this leads to a sad realization about his relationship with Chef Alan. Meanwhile Noah and Dallas are still at odds, and George helps Dallas coach a T-Ball team, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20 (9:31-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"T-Ball and Sympathy" guest stars include Maestro Harrell as Malik, Evan Arnold as Chef Alan, Gillian Vigman as Jill Werner, J.P. Manoux as Chef Norman, Ely Henry as Reggie, Brooke Newton as Justine, Lora Plattner as Naomi, Paul Goetz as student, Julian Stone as Yves Clyde, Alison Sieke as receptionist, Abby Donnelly as Jenni, Wyatt Oleff as Kevuel, Destiny Fernandez as Nicole and Gary Kraus as umpire.

"T-Ball and Sympathy" was written by Patricia Breen and directed by Phil Traill.

SXSW 2013: Joss Whedon film highlights festival lineup

The South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Tex. has announced its 2013 film lineup. The festival will be presenting 109 movies, 69 of them being world premieres.

Among the standouts are a documentary on the life of famed scientist Stephen Hawking, and "Reality Show," a dark satire about a reality TV producer trying to reinvent the genre. Arguably the most anticipated film, though, is "Much Ado About Nothing," from "Avengers" director Joss Whedon.

Shot over 12 days in Whedon's own house, the black and white film is a modern spin on the classic story, using the original text. The cast is made up of several Whedon regulars, including Nathan Fillion, Alexis Denisof, and Amy Acker.

The film portion of SXSW takes place March 8-16. The festival also includes a music portion, featuring live performances and keynotes from musicians, and an interactive portion, that features presentations from leading technology minds, as well as a series of live comedy shows.

Joss Whedon still wants 'Firefly' to return

You would think that, after more than 10 years and billions of dollars in "Avengers" ticket sales, Joss Whedon might have moved past "Firefly." You would be wrong. In fact, this hottest of hot directors still thinks about reviving his short-lived but much-beloved show.

Is there a chance of Joss Whedon bringing "Firefly" back?

In an interview with the Toronto Sun published on Monday (Jan. 28), Whedon expressed how much he still thinks about a show that lasted less than a single season. "I'll never really accept it," he said. "And I always, in the back of my head, think, 'What if I could get the old gang back together?'"

Of course, anything like this is a long-shot. At the moment, Whedon is rather busy with work on "Avengers 2" and with "S.H.I.E.L.D." (the potential TV spinoff of the films). No director/writer/producer has the time to fit in a revival on top of that, no matter how cool he is.

Would he consider going back to "Firefly" afterwards? "Part of me is like, 'God, it would be great when I finish Avengers 2 to do that," Whedon said, adding, "I suspect very strongly that after Avengers 2, the next thing I do will be a one man show. Possibly one monkey."

While Browncoats and other Whedon fans would probably clamor to watch a one-monkey show, the big desire is always "Firefly." The show's enduring popularity is rather astounding -- even though only 13 episodes were ever produced (and not all aired) -- the show has maintained a strong cult following since its debut in 2001. If anything, that fandom has grown over the years.

There are more problems that Joss Whedon's workload in getting anything new from "Firefly." For one thing, there has already been a feature film, 2005's "Serenity," which wrapped up at least some of the show's mysteries. Then there are the character problems. Two of "Firefly"s main characters didn't make it to the end of "Serenity" (SPOILER ALERT: That would be Wash [Alan Tudyk] and Shepherd Book [Ron Glass]). It's kind of hard to imagine "Firefly" without the full crew of the ship.

Oh, and there are availability issues for others as well. Most of the show's stars have other acting jobs now -- Nathan Fillion on "Castle," Gina Torres on "Suits," Alan Tudyk on "Suburgatory," Morena Baccarin on "Homeland..." They would have to be available. Finally, FOX would have to agree to it, since the studio still holds the rights.

But hey -- Joss wants to do it! That can sometimes be enough.

CASTLE: Reality Star Struck

"Reality Star Struck" - Castle & Beckett get an up-close-and-personal view of a "Real Housewives"-esque reality TV series, "The Wives of Wall Street," when they investigate the murder of the show's rising young star. Meanwhile, Castle's attempt to give Beckett a Valentine's Day gift goes horribly wrong, on "Castle," MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. Gina Torres ("Suits," "Firefly"), Gail O'Grady ("Drop Dead Diva," "Desperate Housewives"), Lachlan Buchanan ("Pretty Little Liars") and Heather Ann Davis ("The Lake") guest star.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Gina Torres as Samantha Foster, Gail O'Grady as Margo Cowan, Lachlan Buchanan as Stone Gower, Heather Ann Davis as Ashley Robinson.

"Reality Star Struck" was written by David Grae and directed by Larry Shaw.

SUBURGATORY: Blowtox and Burlap

"Blowtox and Burlap" - When Tessa convinces Ryan to attend an art house movie with her on Valentine's Day, their reactions to the movie surprise her. Sheila's mother, Gam Gam (Mary Kay Place), pays the Shays a visit, causing friction between Fred and Sheila. Her visit also spurs Sheila to try to get Malik back together with Lisa. Meanwhile, Dallas has a bad reaction to a cosmetic procedure, and George has to enjoy an 18-course meal from renowned Chef Julio (Michael Voltaggio) solo, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13 (9:31-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"Blowtox and Bowel Chips" guest stars include Parker Young as Ryan Shay, Maestro Harrell as Malik, Mary Kay Place as Gam Gam, Grey Henson as Alec, Lucas Adams as Cody, Nate Clark as fiance, Michael Voltaggio as Chef Julio and Sam Lerner as Evan.

"Blowtox and Bowel Chips" was written by Anne Weisman and directed by Julie Anne Robinson.

ON CASTLE (2/4)

Recoil" - While investigating the murder of a young woman, Castle and Beckett find evidence that links her death with Senator William H. Bracken (guest star Jack Coleman returns), the man responsible for Beckett's mother's murder. Determined to finally bring Bracken to justice, Beckett soon realizes that things are far more complicated than they seem, on "Castle," MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Jack Coleman as Senator Bracken, Michael Dorn as Dr. Carter Burke, Brett Rickaby as Robert McManus, Erin Krakow as Julie Rogers.

"Recoil" has story by Rob Hanning and Cooper McMains with teleplay by Rob Hanning and directed by Tom Wright.

SUBURGATORY: Body Talk

"Body Talk" - When Dallas realizes a portion of her property is located in East Chatswin, her life is thrown into a tailspin after she's kicked out of the country club and Dalia is forced to attend East Chatswin High. Meanwhile, Tessa becomes a producer of the Chatswin High TV show, "Teen Talk," but struggles with her new role when Ryan becomes the host of the show, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6 (9:31-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"Body Talk" guest stars include Parker Young as Ryan Shay, Jack Walsh as Marty, Sam Lerner as Evan, Sean Smith as club manager, Ely Henry as stage managaer, Edward Padilla as Javier, Sharon Pierre-Louis as Daisy, Jazz Raycole as Amber, Shanica Knowles as Amantha, Justin Sintic as security guard no. 1 and Rick Gifford as security guard no. 2.

"Body Talk" was written by Brian Rubenstein and directed by Michael Patrick Jann.

Joss Whedon Was Interested in Star Wars 7 but Decided to Stick With Avengers

Finally! A director who's actually dying to do Star Wars!

For Joss Whedon, directing the next entry in George Lucas' venerable franchise would have been a dream job—and like any fanboy he would've jumped at the chance.

That's in contrast to J.J. Abrams and Brad Bird, who, while huge fans of the Force, both declined to helm Disney's forthcoming Star Wars: Episode VII for various good reasons, but seemed rather blasé about the opportunity.

Unfortunately, Whedon too had to bow out as he's already contracted to make the Avengers sequel, which as fate has it is scheduled to come out in summer 2015, the same time frame the Mouse House has targeted for Star Wars.

That reality has proven to be a bitter pill to swallow for the man who knows a thing or two about creating his own fantastical universe, having masterminded Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

"I'm as angry as you should be," the 48-year-old Whedon told CNN about not being able to come aboard Star Wars. "When I heard that I was like, 'I wonder…no, I really can't do that. Oh, I already have a job.' I wouldn't clear The Avengers. I'm having so much fun with that sequel right now, just with the script, that I couldn't imagine not doing it."

Not only that, but the filmmaker says he has his work cut out for him developing S.H.I.E.L.D., an upcoming TV series for ABC focusing on Marvel's secret espionage agency that was seen in the Avengers.

"I'd forgotten how much work TV was so I'm cranky at everybody all the time," he said, though quick to add it's been "really fun."

And while Whedon may not be able to travel to a galaxy far, far away, he certainly has his thoughts on what he'd like to see in Episode VII.

"I'd like to see a little edge," said the helmer. "We all missed the Han [Solo] of it. It got very portentous, which was justified by the story, but I think we'd all like to see a little anarchy in the mix."

So far, rumors swirling around the Interwebs suggest X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn may get the Star Wars gig.

Last month, Abrams told Empire he was contacted early on about coming aboard the new saga, but said no out of loyalty to the Star Trek franchise. Bird was also said to be in the mix, but took himself out of the running due to a prior commitment directing George Clooney in the sci-fi epic 1952. And just yesterday, a rep for Zach Snyder denied his involvement on a separate Star Wars movie, saying he's too busy finishing up a post on Man of Steel and 300: Battle of Artemisia.

'Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D.': ABC 'very hopeful' the pilot will be picked up

ABC hasn't made a decision on whether Joss Whedon's "S.H.I.E.L.D." pilot will go to series in the fall. But, come on.

"We haven't yet seen the pilot. We fast-tracked that one before the others; we'll get to see it a lot earlier than the others," ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee said Thursday (Jan. 10) at the TCA winter press tour. "We're very hopeful that's going to go forward to series. We'll build our marketing campaign early for it. ... By the way, the script's great. I don't want to jinx it ... but I'm very excited about it."

Whedon is writing and directing "S.H.I.E.L.D." (or "Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D.," its official title), and Lee says he's "passionate" about the show and will keep his hands in if it's picked up.

"He's very engaged with the series if we go to series. He's already working on scripts," Lee says. "We shot it in Los Angeles to make sure he's free to work across his feature life and television life. But I love to see Joss, who of course has made many great television shows in his day, enjoying television as much as movies."

Lee declines to divulge any story details about the pilot, although he does say its tone is "very Joss," with Whedon's signature mix of action, humor and emotion. He also thinks it could be a show capable of bringing in both male and female viewers, as well as a family audience.

If, that is, he can make a superhero show go on broadcast TV. The CW (and before it, The WB) has had some success with comic-book heroes in the recent past, but you'd have to go back to the Adam West "Batman" to find a bona fide hit in the genre.

"I think you would have said exactly the same thing about fairy tales," Lee says. "I think it's our job to create a television series that delivers every week, to make it fit on ABC and to market it well. We've done that with fairy tales -- let's see if we can do it with superheroes."

2013 People's Choice Awards winners

Favorite TV Crime Drama: "Castle"

Favorite Dramatic TV Actor: Nathan Fillion

'Firefly' deleted scenes: River's marriage proposal, Christina Hendricks and more Battle of Serenity Valley

The Browncoats united, and fans of "Firefly" got to celebrate the show's 10-year anniversary. As part of the Science Channel special, three new deleted scenes were released, and they have now been posted online.

Two of the scenes shed more light on the Battle of Serenity Valley that inspired Mal Reynolds' (Nathan Fillion) ship's name. One of them is a clip from the actual battle that was cut from the series' pilot, while the other shows Zoe (Gina Torres) telling Simon (Sean Maher) about the battle that so influenced the Serenity's crew.

The third clip is a bit more humorous, as it shows River Tam (Summer Glau), well, being River Tam. Also, shout out for the Christina Hendricks appearance. You can watch 2 clips below: Video1, Video2.

CASTLE: Death Gone Crazy (1/21)

Death Gone Crazy" - When Beau Randolf, the founder of hit adult video franchise "College Girls Gone Crazy," is murdered, Castle and Beckett are confronted with a lengthy list of husbands, fathers and ex-college girls who all have motive. So to find the killer, they must delve deep into the victim's life, where they find surprises at every turn, on "Castle," MONDAY, JANUARY 21 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. Also in the episode, Alexis starts a video blog, but Castle is not happy that personal and intimate details about her life are being made public.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Kelly Hu as Scarlet Jones, Jordan Belfi as Beau Randolph, Chad Donella as Troy Strickland, Spencer Garrett as Evan Pierce.

"Death Gone Crazy" was written by Jason Wilborn and directed by Bill Roe.

SUBURGATORY: Chinese Chicken (1/23)

"Chinese Chicken" - When Dallas goes overboard making flyers for George's business, he begins to feel stifled and convinces Noah and Fred to start a dad band as a way to escape their significant others. Sheila catches the band during practice and impresses George with her singing, so he votes her into the band. Meanwhile Tessa discovers what it means to be a football player's girlfriend and incites a revolt, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 23 (9:31-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"Chinese Chicken" guest stars include Parker Young as Ryan Shay, Maestro Harrell as Malik, Joshua Erenberg as A.J., Gilland Jones as Amber, Lilly Roberson as Joan, Natalie Floyd as Stephanie, Taylor Zakhar as Renaldo, Sam Fuller as Derek and Lauran Irion as girl.

"Chinese Chicken Salad" was written by Andrew Guest and directed by Alex Hardcastle.

CASTLE: Significant Others

"Significant Others" - When a powerful divorce attorney who only represented women is murdered, Castle and Beckett are confronted with a plethora of angry ex-husbands, any one of whom could be the murderer. Meanwhile, Castle's ex-wife (Darby Stanchfield, "Scandal"), Meredith, moves into the loft to take care of Alexis while she recovers from Mono, and to make matters worse, Beckett is also forced to move in while her apartment is being fumigated, causing tension, humor and more than a little awkwardness, on "Castle," MONDAY, JANUARY 7 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. Jack Wagner ("Melrose Place") guest stars as a pro golfer whose career went down in flames after a nasty divorce, and Nancy Lee Grahn ("General Hospital") guests as a wealthy divorcee caught in a "War of the Roses"-like struggle with her ex-husband.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Darby Stanchfield as Meredith, Jack Wagner as Billy Piper, Nancy Lee Grahn as Samantha Voss.

"Significant Others" was written by Terence Paul Winter and directed by Holly Dale.

SUBURGATORY: Black Thai

"Black Thai" - When Tessa and Dalia get their PSAT results, Dalia receives a new car and Tessa gets ice cream as a reward. Tessa is miffed that Dalia got a car, and becomes obsessed with finding out Dalia's score. The rift between the girls leads to an argument between George and Dallas, and the only thing that can help them is an old fashioned hip hop dance off. Meanwhile Noah and Jill hire Mr. Wolfe to tutor their baby after he's rejected by the finest day care in Chatswin, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 9 (9:31-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"Black Thai" guest stars include Parker Young as Ryan Shay, Maestro Harrell as Malik, Gillian Vigman as Jill Werner, Paula Newsome as Tracy, Tim Meadows as Edmond and Steve Little as Danny G.

"Black Thai" was written by Patricia Breen and directed by Alex Hardcastle.

ABC Makes Hit Shows' Current Seasons Available Online

'Tis the season... to catch up with your favorite TV shows. ABC is making holiday TV marathons a little easier by putting the current seasons of its most popular shows online.

Fans can access all the newest episodes of old and new shows, including Castle, Grey's Anatomy, Nashville, Scandal and Once Upon a Time, through the ABC Player app for the iPod Touch, iPad and iPhone. Episodes will also be available through the TVGuide.com mobile app, which is available for download in the iTunes store. Previously, the network had only made the most recent five episodes of shows' current seasons available in its player.

Here's a full list of the available shows and when they will be offered:

Available Dec. 15 through Jan. 5, 2013:

Castle

Grey's Anatomy

Happy Endings

Nashville

The Neighbors

Available Dec. 18 through Dec. 31:

Once Upon a Time

Revenge

Scandal

"Castle" star Nathan Fillion to preside over Writers Guild Awards show

Pretend writer Nathan Fillion (ex-Joey, One Life To Live) will help honor real writers on February 17, when he hosts the Writers Guild Awards West Coast show, the Writers Guild of America, West said Monday.

Fillion, who plays a mystery novelist on ABC's "Castle," joked that he was "confused" when he was tapped for the hosting gig.

"When I first accepted the honor of hosting the Writers Guild Awards, I was confused and actually thought I was receiving one. Since I play a writer on TV, I felt perhaps someone was under the impression I deserved an award and I wasn't about to correct them," Fillion said. "However, now I'm in the perfect position to present myself with whichever award I choose. Who's going to know?"

The Writers Guild Awards West Coast show will take place February 17, 2013 at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live. The East Coast show will take place simultaneously at B.B. King Blues Club in New York City.

Writers Guild Awards executive producer Cort Casady praised Fillion's multiple talents - along with his thriving Twitter account - in the announcement.

"Not only does he play a writer brilliantly on 'Castle,' but also, in addition to acting, he sings, dances, is a popular voice talent, and has a great gift for comedy," Casady said. "And with over 1.5 million Twitter followers, Nathan brings a smart, enthusiastic audience to our celebration of writing."

'Homeland': Claire Danes and Morena Baccarin go way back

You would never know from watching Showtime's "Homeland," where their characters have at best a frosty relationship, but the two female leads go way back.

To junior high, in fact.

Claire Danes, who plays Carrie Mathison, and Morena Baccarin, who plays Jessica Brody, separately told Zap2it about their memories of each other.

"We went to junior high school and were in the same class," Danes says. "And we were friendly. We definitely knew each other, and now she is one of my very dearest friends."

They attended what is now called the NYC Lab Middle school for Collaborative Studies. It's considered one of the best public middle schools in the city, and was when they attended it. Both actresses are 33.

"We would see each other and were always friendly," Baccarin says. "Then we lost touch."

But shooting "Homeland," which concludes its second season Sunday (Dec. 16), in North Carolina brought them very close.

"We were two girls in Charlotte," Baccarin says. "It was a lifesaver having her out there with me, and hanging out."

Oh, and some things never change no matter how many awards you win and how gorgeous you grow up to be. They were both harassed in school.

"We have this thing, which is hysterical," Danes says. "The same girl abused us in junior high. And we sat across from the same boy."

The "Homeland" season finale airs at 10 p.m. ET Sunday on Showtime.

'Castle' casting scoop: Nathan Fillion reunites with fellow 'Firefly' alum Gina Torres

Browncoats unite ... again!

Nathan Fillion will be joined by another one of his "Firefly" co-stars on "Castle": Gina Torres is guesting in this season's 14th episode, reports TVLine.

Torres, who now plays the icy, shrewd managing partner of a high-powered law firm on "Suits," will square off against Castle and Beckett (Stana Katic) as a devious fashion mogul. Her character, Samantha Foster, also happens to star on a "Real Housewives"-type reality show. (Fingers crossed for more "Swan Song"/"Spinal Tap" on-camera hilarity!)

Last season, "Firefly" alum Adam Baldwin also paid a visit to "Castle." His episode was packed full of Browncoat Easter eggs, so expect more winks when Captain Tightpants reunites with his second-in-command.

What other "Firefly" actors would you like to see on "Castle"?

'LA Complex' canceled after Season 2 in Canada, no decision at The CW yet

Though "The L.A. Complex" debuted to very low ratings on The CW this summer, it was an unexpected critical favorite, particularly in the guilty pleasure department. Now, the Canadian drama has been canceled by Bell Media up north. But what does that mean for its US fans?

Sources tell Zap2it that no decision has been made by The CW, which is in discussion with Epitome productions today (Monday Dec. 3). The network aired the series' first two seasons as the only scripted series in its summer programming block. Epitome is attempting to shop the show to other Canadian networks, which could improve its chances for a summer return to The CW -- but sources tell us that renewal is unlikely, and that the actors are expected to be released from their contracts by end of day Monday.

The Season 2 finale left several key characters on a cliffhanger. Abby left Los Angeles to live with her new German husband, while Beth decided to go to college and Nick and Sabrina were forced to split up to pursue their career paths.

Any critical interest and acclaim the show received was mostly centered around the character of Kal (Andra Fuller), a closeted gay rapper struggling desperately to keep his secret. In the Season 2 finale, Kal's father's death inspired him to come out in a scene inspired by Frank Ocean's confessional blog post.

Joss Whedon's 'Much Ado About Nothing' gets release date

This is news worthy of much ado: Joss Whedon's "Much Ado About Nothing" will finally hit theaters June 7, 2013.

The "Avengers" writer-director's contemporary adaptation of the Shakespeare comedy was picked up by Lionsgate-Roadside Attractions after its favorably reviewed debut at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival.

Shot in just 12 days at Whedon's home, the black-and-white film stars a stable of actors from the creative heavyweight's virtual repertory, including Amy Acker ("Angel"), Alexis Denisof ("Angel" and the husband of his "Buffy" costar Alyson Hannigan), Nathan Fillion ("Firefly"), Fran Kranz ("Dollhouse" and "Cabin in the Woods" standout), Clark Gregg (reprising his "Avengers" role in "S.H.I.E.L.D."), Sean Maher ("Firefly"), Reed Diamond ("Dollhouse") and newcomers Jillian Morgese and Spencer Treat Clark.

"Ado" uses the Bard's original text, replete with clever quips that -- despite their age -- seem perfectly natural for a Whedon production. For example: "You are thought here to be the most senseless and fit man for the job"; "Neighbors, you are tedious"; "I can see he's not in your good books" ... "'No, and if he were I would burn my library."

Acker and Denisof play "Ado's" insult-swapping ("too wise to woo peaceably") lovers Beatrice and Benedick, whose "merry war" is paralleled by lovestruck couple Claudio (Kranz) and Hero (Morgese). And Nathan Fillion is sure to steal every scene as the comically incompetent policeman Dogberry.

LIMITED EDITION PRINTs OF ABC'S "Revenge", "Castle"

It was announced today on "The View" that limited edition prints of ABC's hit series "Revenge," "Once Upon a Time" and "Castle" are now available for purchase at OfficialABCPrints.com, while supplies last. Each print is numbered and will be issued with a certificate of authenticity.

A never-before-seen print featuring the cast of "Revenge" is available -- only 2012 numbered reproductions of this image will be custom printed on museum-quality photo paper. Pricing for a 16x20 print is $69.95.

815 reproductions of the full cast photograph of "Once Upon a Time" are also available. Featuring a sepia, antiqued finish, this image will be sold as a 16x20 print on museum-quality photo paper for $69.95. In addition, 500 singles of each of the five main characters from Fairytale Land - Evil Queen, Snow White, Emma Swan, Prince Charming and Rumplestiltskin - are available as 11x14 prints at $49.95 each.

"Castle" fans can enjoy a special print of the novelist, Richard Castle, and his muse, Kate Beckett. While only 1000 reproductions of this two-shot are available, 500 reproductions of singles for Castle or Beckett are also available for the truest "Castle" fan. All "Castle" images are custom printed on photo matte paper as 11x14 prints, priced at $19.95 each.

"Revenge," "Once Upon a Time" and "Castle" fans can purchase the prints by going to: www.officialabcprints.com.

Castle 12/3/12

"Secret Santa" - When a bearded, rotund man in a red Santa suit with an ID reading Kris Kringle falls from the sky in Central Park, Castle and Beckett are on the hunt to find the person who killed Santa. But everything isn't holiday cheer, as they discover St. Nick may have been more naughty than nice. Meanwhile, Castle and Beckett prepare for their first Christmas together, on "Castle," MONDAY, DECEMBER 3 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Dakin Matthews as Dave Dunne, Leslie Hope as Gwenn Harwin, Steven Eckholdt as Michael Case, Tembi Locke as Beth Cabot, Titus Makin, Jr. as Tim Cabot.

"Secret Santa" was written by Christine Roum and directed by Paul Holahan.

Suburgatory 12/5/12

"Krampus" - When George sends Tessa to NY for a Christmas excursion with her mom, he assumes that he's given her the best present ever. Tessa soon learns to be careful what you wish for, and she finds herself missing George and Chatswin. Meanwhile Ryan finds out that he was adopted -- throwing the Shay family in turmoil -- and Carly asks for Carmen for Christmas, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5 (9:31-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"Krampus" guest stars include Parker Young as Ryan Shay, Maestro Harrell as Malik, Abbie Cobb as Kimantha, Bunnie Rivera as Carmen, Malin Akerman as Alex, Al Carabello as waiter, Gillian Vigman as Jill Werner, Dyana Liu as Wan'Er, Derek Waters as Jarrison, Paula Newsome as Tracy, Tim Meadows as Edmond, Tiffany Boone as Alice, Maxine Weldon as grandmother and Monnae Michaell as Susan.

"Krampus" was written by Emily Kapnek and directed by Julie Anne Robinson.

11 Things You Need to Know About Homeland's Morena Baccarin

If Homeland's Morena Baccarin were a lesser actress, Jessica — the betrayed wife of Al Qaeda operative-turned-double-agent Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) — would be a forgettable obstacle in the way of Brody's passionate bond with CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes). But Baccarin plays what she calls her "incredibly emotionally layered character" with moving subtlety and fierceness. "She's got some brass knuckles this season," says Baccarin, 33, who also doesn't hold back when it comes to opening up. Here's what you need to know about her.

Showbiz is in her genes.

"My mother, Vera, is an actress who's done television, film and theater in Brazil. Her brother was an actor, my great-uncle is a well-known theater director and my father is a news editor for Brazilian TV. My first role was in a Nativity play. My mom was playing Mary, and I was crying backstage, so she brought me out as Baby Jesus."

She and costar Claire Danes go way back.

"When I was 7, we moved to New York because my dad's job was transferred. I grew up in the West Village and went to the New York City Lab School for junior high. Claire was there at the same time! We were somewhat friendly, so when Homeland came up, it was great."

Meryl Streep is a fan.

"I understudied Natalie Portman in a Shakespeare in the Park production of The Seagull [featuring] everybody on the planet. I went to a dress rehearsal and did scenes with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kevin Kline and Meryl Streep. I'll never forget Meryl holding my face between her hands when rehearsal was over and saying, 'You were amazing. The new joke around the set is going to be: Nobody get sick, because the understudy is great.' That made me feel so special. I look up to her to this day."

Natalie Wood was an early acting inspiration, but Jean Seberg inspired her trademark pixie hairstyle.

"When I first cut my hair short, I was trying for a mix of Mia Farrow and Jean Seberg. The photo I took to my hairdresser was Jean Seberg in Breathless. I said, 'Make me look like this.'"

She's enjoying her Homeland character more this season.

"I like the turn that Jessica is taking. She's stronger and she's really not standing back anymore and letting Brody do whatever he feels like doing."

Baccarin's sci-fi résumé is out of this world.

Her "first real break" came in Joss Whedon's Firefly, playing the courtesan Inara Serra. "It became a cult hit and made everyone in the cast sci-fi stars," she says. That was followed by a gig as Adria, a superpowered bad girl on Stargate SG-1, the voice of Black Canary on the animated Justice League and, finally, Anna, the ruthless alien leader on ABC's short-lived thriller V. "I couldn't pass that up," says Baccarin. "Anna was such a fantastic character."

Being a sci-fi goddess has its drawbacks.

"It's a little daunting. One time, a fan asked me to ask his girlfriend to marry him — at a convention's autograph table! I said, 'Why don't I write it on the photo and you give it to her? It's a little weird for me to ask.' I felt strange being a part of that relationship."

She played a male-to-female transsexual named Carmen in a TV show, but we never saw it!

"I was in the original pilot of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia because [exec producer and star] Glenn Howerton is a good friend from college. It was fun and we went crazy with it. The biggest research was what to put in my pants to make it look real. After the show got officially picked up, I was working on another project and couldn't do it, which made me very sad."

Timing was also the reason she hasn't yet worked with her husband, director/screenwriter Austin Chick (August).

"We got married in November [2011]. We were friends a really, really long time before we started dating. He wrote a small role for me in one of his films, but I couldn't do it because I was working at the time. I'm sure we'll find something to do together at some point."

Mad Men's Jessica Paré is her tenant.

"I own a duplex in Los Angeles. When it was up for rent, I asked around and Jessica was looking for a place and we became friends. She's moving out shortly, but she's been great."

Baccarin is Homeland's top chef!

"I'm an avid cook. Brazilian, some Italian, a little French. And I often throw dinner parties. I make this Brazilian fish stew that has become popular around the set. Mandy [Patinkin] went crazy for it, then Claire, then everybody! But it's not my favorite. I like to make a very slow-cooked braised beef shank, because you just throw it in a pot with a bottle of wine and some garlic and you let it cook for eight hours. You don't have to do any of the work!"

Homeland airs Sundays at 10/9c on Showtime.

People's Choice Awards: 2013 Nominees

The People's Choice Awards, hosted by The Big Bang Theory's Kaley Cuoco, air live at 9 p.m. ET on Jan. 9, 2013. To vote for your favorites, check out PeoplesChoice.com.

Favorite TV Crime Drama
Bones
Castle
Criminal Minds
CSI
NCIS

Favorite Dramatic TV Actor
Ian Somerhalder
Jared Padalecki
Jensen Ackles
Nathan Fillion
Paul Wesley

SUBURGATORY: Friendship Fish (11/28)

"Friendship Fish" - When Dallas gives George a Chatswin makeover, he decides he likes his new look and begins to feel at home in the suburbs. But as soon as some of George's friends from New York visit, they start poking fun at his girlfriend and new life. In an effort to get back at them, George and Dallas make a pitch for the Scarsdale Performing Arts Center job that his friends are after. Meanwhile, Malik leaves Lisa for two days, so she decides to spend every minute with Tessa. Part of their girl bonding time involves them eating some smoked fish, which leaves Tessa in the hospital with food poisoning, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 28 (9:31-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"Friendship Fish" guest stars include Maestro Harrell as Malik, Miriam Flynn as Helen, Brandon Keener as Theo, Jessica Meraz as Tutti, David L. King as official, Cindy Drummond as female official, Cletus Young as Charlie.

"Friendship Fish" was written by Drew Hancock and directed by Phil Traill.

'Firefly: Browncoats Unite': Nathan Fillion and the cast talk about what might have been

If there's one thing that resonates in the "Firefly" 10th anniversary special that aired on Science Channel Sunday night (Nov. 11), it's a wistfulness for what might have been.

In talking-head interviews and a roundtable with several cast members, executive producer Tim Minear and writer Jose Molina, everyone talks about the feeling they had during the show's lone season that they could be canceled at any time, and how it affected their work.

"We were on the chopping block from the get-go," recalls Adam Baldwin, "so we all knew we had o make the best show we could because we didn't know how long we were going to be around."

That feeling ended up informing some the writers too. Minear notes that the episode "Out of Gas" -- considered one of the show's best -- sprung from the ax hanging over their heads.

"[Creator Joss Whedon] said, 'Can we start the episode with Mal being shot in the gut?'" Minear recalls. "'How did this happen' became 'How did this happen'" in the larger sense, giving way to an origin story for the crew of Serenity.

"We thought if we could get the audience more excited, and they'd tell 17 million of their best friends ...," Gina Torres says with a rueful laugh. That wasn't to be, of course, but the show has had a remarkable afterlife with the feature film "Serenity," comic books and crazy-devoted fans. The special ends with clips from a Comic-Con panel in which the fans cheer almost every word Whedon and the cast say.

(The Comic-Con clips, though, are the only time Whedon appears in the special. We're guessing it was a scheduling thing and not a lack of interest on his part.)

What did you think of "Browncoats Unite"?

'Firefly: Browncoats Unite' reunion tonight: Why Joss Whedon's cult classic has endured for a decade

Some television shows blaze bright and fade quickly. Others ignite and burn for years. Joss Whedon’s Firefly did neither. The sci-fi opus barely sparked during its 11-episode run on Fox in 2002, yet produced a uniquely vibrant afterglow, nurtured by stalwart fans, as well as new fans who continue to discover the series on DVD and cable. To celebrate the cult classic’s 10-year anniversary, Science will air a reunion special tonight called Firefly: Browncoats Unite, which brings together Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau, and more for a conversation (moderated by this reporter) about the show’s origins and legacy and where the series might have gone had it continued. Three reasons why Firefly has endured for a decade, and just might endure for another:

A TOMORROW THAT FEELS LIKE TODAY Firefly takes place in a distant future, when a vast portion of humanity lives in galaxies far, far away, on desolate planets made hospitable with terraforming technology, in Deadwood-esque settlements adorned with high-tech flourishes. Many curious viewers were perplexed by the sci-fi/western mash-up… and the fusion of American and Chinese cultures… and the backstory about a failed revolution by rebellious “Browncoats.” And yet the same qualities that made Firefly so high concept also make it feel timeless. Nothing dates it, except Fillion’s look-how-young-he-looks! mug. In fact, the show’s depiction of a makeshift family of war-scarred loners living aboard a dumpy yet resilient spaceship, struggling to recover from past catastrophe and survive current hard times, feels more relevant than ever before.

“BIG DAMN HEROES” If you’ve seen The Avengers, you know Whedon specializes in finely drawn (and often very funny) characters with crackling group chemistry. He also knows how to pick actors, and Firefly might be his best cast ever. (And cue the deluge of complaints from Buffy The Vampire Slayer loyalists.) With so many star-making turns from so many now-established names, it’s boggling in retrospect to believe this show bombed. Fillion’s haunted anti-hero Mal Reynolds. Glau’s damaged and dangerous River. Morena Baccarin’s sophisticated-sexy “companion” (read: prostitute) Inara. To say nothing of Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres, Ron Glass, Jewel Staite, and Sean Maher – because we don’t have room, and we really need to talk about…

THE BROWNCOATS That would be the name adopted by hardcore Firefly fans, who deeply identify with the spunky-scrappy esprit de corps of their Big Damn Heroes. In an era of passionate geek tribalism, Browncoats are a breed apart. At Comic-Con this past year, nearly 10,000 showed up for Science’s Firefly reunion panel in a room that could seat about 5000. “When I see you guys, I don’t think the show is off the air,” an emotional Whedon told them. “I think it’s going on in all of us. The story is alive because of you.”

How about you, Firefly fans? Why do you think the show has endured? And those who’ve never watched: Why not?

'Firefly' marks milestone in Science TV special

The "Firefly" saga consists of 14 TV episodes, one big-screen movie and the undiminished passion of the space Western's fans, stars and producers.

To mark the 10th anniversary of the Fox show's abbreviated 2002-03 run, the Science Channel is airing the hourlong "Firefly 10th Anniversary: Browncoats Unite" at 10 p.m. EST Sunday.

The special will be preceded by a marathon showing of all the "Firefly" episodes starting at 7 a.m. EST.

For "Firefly" devotees, only one word can describe the prospect of seeing star Nathan Fillion, other cast members and creator Joss Whedon talk about making and missing their baby: "shiny," which is "Firefly"-speak for cool or good.

Fillion, who came down to Earth successfully in ABC's detective series "Castle," is happy to wallow in nostalgia and fan fervor. This summer, he took part in a packed San Diego Comic-Con tribute to "Firefly."

"The sheer volume of people is just the first part of it," Fillion said recently of the event. "Then you have to get down to how excited these people are. It's incredible energy. It's a very visceral feeling."

"The way I see it is there are people who love 'Firefly' as much as I do. 'Firefly' has a very special meaning to me, so I share in that excitement. It's easy for me to understand it," the 41-year-old actor said.

The series, a 26th-century adventure leavened with droll humor, followed the misfit crew of the Firefly-class spaceship Serenity. (The 2005 movie that rose, improbably, from the ashes of the low-rated "Firefly" was titled "Serenity." Comic books are among the other spinoffs.)

The ship's captain, Fillion's dashing but discontented Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds, fought with the losing, good-guy Browncoats in a civil war and now lives and works on the fringes of a repressive society.

For Fillion, the drama was the start of a leading-man career that he makes plain he owes to Whedon, whose cult-inducing credits range from online sensation "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" to TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" to blockbuster "The Avengers."

Fillion savored the experience.

"I remember the first time I put on my costume, walked onto the ship for the first day of work ... and the director of photography, David Boyd, saw me and hollered out, 'Captain on deck!' and everyone stopped and clapped."

"That's a moment I'll never forget," the Canadian-born actor said. Add the chance to be a classic Western hero and he was in heaven.

"Nothing makes you feel tougher than putting a gun on your hip in the desert and getting on the back of an animal and riding. There's something very manly about that," he said.

Fillion shares this tidbit: No matter what planet he ended up on while in the saddle, he always rode the same horse, Fred.

The special includes clips from the drama, a round-table conversation with cast members including Fillion, Jewel Staite (who played Kaylee), Sean Maher (Simon) and Summer Glau (River), along with snippets from the Comic-Con panel headed by Whedon.

"I just wanted to make something that felt real, like a piece of history," Whedon told the convention. "I wanted to tell an American immigrant story. I wanted to tell a Western story. But I need spaceships or I get cranky."

The writer-director-producer grew emotional, telling the crowd at one point that "the story is alive" because of them.

The enduring popularity of a show that couldn't get ratings traction in its first time around is something Fillion has pondered.

"There's certainly more fans now than there's ever been. It's interesting that the show, being this brief moment in time, it didn't have an opportunity to suck, to get bad," he said. "So it's this wonderful contained unit of what I like to think of as quality storytelling."

The show has left its mark on a new and unsuspecting generation.

"'Firefly' fans are out there and they're breeding," Fillion said. "I'll be scanning Twitter and someone will show a baby and say, 'This is Kaylee.'

"So I'm going to be out one day and someone will walk up and say, 'I am Kaylee.'"

Shiny!

Video: Nathan Fillion Reveals Untold Firefly Secrets for Browncoats Unite

Do you think you know every Firefly plot? Think again.

In this exclusive clip from Science Channel's Firefly 10th anniversary special Browncoats Unite, airing Sunday at 10/9c, the cast gathers to discuss behind-the-scenes secrets of the beloved gunslinging sci-fi series that ended after only 14 episodes. Star Nathan Fillion, who played Capt. Mal Reynolds of the Serenity ship, reveals an idea that series creator Joss Whedon had for an episode that never got a chance to be made.

Check out the Serenity crew's shiny, untold adventure: Video.

But before you watch Browncoats Unite, break out the chopsticks because you'll need plenty of grub for the daylong Firefly marathon that airs first, beginning Sunday morning at 7/6c. Afterward, the 60-minute special will uncover more secrets as part of an oral history of the franchise and will include exclusive cast interviews and this summer's raucous Comic-Con panel. Joining Whedon and Fillion for the fun are loyal crewmembers Sean Maher, Summer Glau, Adam Baldwin, Morena Baccarin, Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres and Jewel Staite, along with executive producer Tim Minear and executive story editor Jose Molina.

But wait, there's more! An hour just isn't enough to capture all the magic of Capt. Tightpants & Co., right? Turns out that some extra footage that didn't make it into special will be available for dedicated fans who take to Twitter. One of four videos will "unlock" for every 5,000 tweets that include @ScienceChannel and the hashtag #FireflyNov11.

Got it? OK, let's Flock to Unlock or Capt. Mal will space you.

The Firefly marathon kicks off Sunday morning at 7/6c, followed by Browncoats Unite in the evening at 10/9c on Science Channel.

CASTLE: After Hours

"After Hours" - In the aftermath of a disastrous "Meet the Parents" dinner, a bickering Castle and Beckett are sent to retrieve the only witness to a murder. But when they get ambushed, they're forced to take the witness on the run. Stranded in the middle of the night in a bad part of town, with no phone, badge or gun, Castle and Beckett must find a way to protect him from a team of mobsters who want him silenced -- that is, if they don't kill each other first -- on "Castle," MONDAY, NOVEMBER 19 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Tony Denison as Michael (Mickey) Dolan, Patrick Fischler as Leo, Scott Paulin as Jim Beckett, Bonita Friedericy as Sister Mary.

"After Hours" was written by Shalisha Francis and directed by David M. Barrett.

Suburgatory: The Wishbone

"The Wishbone" - When Tessa decides she wants to spend Thanksgiving in the city with her grandmother and birth mom (who is planning to fly in from Berlin), Dallas decides to fire Chef Alan and have George host Thanksgiving to keep him occupied. But when George finds his cooking skills inadequate, he winds up schilling out cash to Chef Alan to help make the meal edible. Meanwhile, after missing Alex (Malin Akerman) in NYC, Tessa returns home to find a surprising Thanksgiving dinner, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14 (9:31-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"The Wishbone" guest stars include Parker Young as Ryan Shay, Maestro Harrell as Malik, Evan Arnold as Chef Alan, Miriam Flynn as Helen, Malin Akerman as Alex, Eugene Byrd as Cyrus, Reddy Gibbs as nurse and Jordan Feldman as manicurist.

"The Wishbone" was written by Brian Chamberlayne and directed by Utz Briesewitz.

Castle: Swan Song

"Swan Song" - When the lead guitarist of a rock band is murdered, the documentary crew that were following the band turn their cameras on Castle, Beckett and the team as they try to solve the case. The result is a documentary style episode of "Castle," which offers us a unique glimpse at our characters as they navigate a world that goes far beyond the rock & roll stage, on "Castle," MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. C. Thomas Howell ("The Amazing Spider-Man," "Southland") guest stars as the leader of a cult that the victim belonged to and wanted to leave."Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: C. Thomas Howell as John Campbell, Andrew J. West as Keith Blue, Max Arcinega as Billy Bash, Chris Coy as Zeke, Hunter Jackson as James Swan, Sarah Scott as Butterfly, Daniel Roebuck as Joe Silva.

"Swan Song" was written by Rob Hanning and directed by David M. Barrett.

Joss Whedon Endorses Mitt Romney in Spoof Political Ad-Watch the Video

(Video) When it comes to choosing a presidential candidate, you have to think of what they'll bring to the table. And if it's a zombie apocalypse you want, then you should vote for Mitt Romney, according to filmmaker Joss Whedon.

The Avengers director released a spoof video endorsing the Republican candidate, saying, "Like a lot of liberal Americans, I was excited when Barack Obama took office four years ago. But it's a very different world now, and Mitt Romney is a very different candidate."

Why is he different, you ask?

Whedon says Romney is, "one with the vision and determination to cut through business-as-usual politics and finally put this country back on the path to the zombie apocalypse."

He adds that Mitt's election would "guarantee poverty, unemployment, overpopulation, disease, rioting—all crucial elements in creating a nightmare zombie wasteland."

Joss Whedon and Nathan Fillion reunite for 'Firefly' 10th anniversary special on the Science Channel

Sometimes, as Captain Tightpants himself once said, a grand entrance would not go amiss -- and the "Firefly" gang are doing just that in a 10th anniversary special on the Science Channel.

"Firefly: Browncoats Unite," airing Sunday, Nov. 11, reunites creator Joss Whedon and Nathan Fillion, along with the spaceship Serenity's crew members: Morena Baccarin, Sean Maher, Summer Glau , Adam Baldwin, Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres and Jewel Staite. The group will also be joined by executive producer Tim Minear and executive story editor Jose Molina.

No word on whether Ron Glass, who plays Shepherd Book, appears in the special as well. (He is not mentioned in the Science Channel's announcement, a troubling omission for those of us who happen to have a cat named after him.)

The hour-long retrospective will cap off a marathon of the entire 14-episode series and include footage from this summer's epic San Diego Comic-Con panel.

"When Science Channel began airing 'Firefly' in 2011, we immediately realized that these fans are a subculture united by a unique and fanatical passion for the series," says Science Channel GM and executive vice president Debbie Adler Myers in announcing the broadcast. "Our goal is to present them the series they love -- but in a totally new and surprising way. Whether that's through exploring the science behind the show or reuniting the entire cast for the first time, we want Science Channel to be the home for Browncoats everywhere."

Another love letter to the cult classic can be found in "Firefly: A Celebration," an enormous, 544-page book filled with photos (including the behind-the-scenes shot above), scripts, interviews and other goodies.

Science Channel's "Firefly" marathon begins Sunday, Nov. 11, at 7 a.m., concluding with the premiere of "Firefly: Browncoats Unite" at 10 p.m.

Adam Baldwin Replaces Titus Welliver on TNT Pilot The Last Ship

Chuck alum Adam Baldwin will replace Titus Welliver in the TNT pilot The Last Ship, Deadline reports.

Welliver was forced to depart the project because of a family health emergency, according to the site.

Executive-produced by Michael Bay, The Last Ship follows the crew of a naval destroyer who are among the only survivors on Earth after a global catastrophe decimates the world's population. Baldwin will play Mike Slattery, who is second in command to Captain Tom Chandler (recent Grey's grad Eric Dane). Tom and Mike, described as a fair man and a family man, occasionally clash.

Without a Trace's Hank Steinberg will serve as showrunner and is penning the pilot, along with The Closer's Steven Kane.

Baldwin guest-starred on three episodes of Law & Order: SVU as Capt. Cragen's temporary replacement. Aside from his five-year stint on Chuck as growly spy John Casey, Baldwin is also known in the Whedonverse for his roles on Angel and Firefly.

CASTLE: The Final Frontier

"The Final Frontier" - When a body is found at a sci-fi convention, Castle and Beckett are warped into the heart of fandom -- a world of egotistic celebrities, diehard costumed fans and enough drama for two galaxies, on "Castle," MONDAY, NOVEMBER 5 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. Armin Shimerman ("Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"), Ed Quinn ("Eureka"), Christina Moore ("True Blood"), Erin Way ("Alphas") and Chris McKenna ("One Life to Live") guest star in this episode, which is directed by Jonathan Frakes ("Star Trek: The Next Generation").

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Armin Shimerman as Benjamin Donnelly, Ed Quinn as Gabriel Winters, Christina Moore as Stephanie Frye, Erin Way as Audrey O'Neill, Chris McKenna as Simon Westport.

"The Final Frontier" was written by Kate Sargeant and directed by Jonathan Frakes.

SUBURGATORY: Foam Finger

"Foam Finger" - When Dalia decides that her dad's fiance is her new best friend, the KKK (Kimantha, Kenzie and Kaitlyn) are lost without their leader and turn to Tessa and Lisa. As Dalia struggles with her emotions over her dad's elopement, she turns to Evan for support, and it's up to Tessa to help her regain her confidence and friends. Meanwhile, George and Dallas get intimate, but it's not really what George envisions, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7 (9:31-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"Foam Finger" guest stars include Katelyn Pacitto as Kaitlyn, Kara Pacitto as Kenzie, Abbie Cobb as Kimantha, Bunnie Rivera as Carmen, Adam Godley as Mr. Jacobs, Edward Padillas as Javier, Joshua Erenberg as A.J., Sam Lerner as Evan, Dana Powell as Rhonda, Samantha Quan as Candi, Clint Palmer as Lucien, Dyana Liu as Wan'Er and Makinna Ridgway as instructor.

Who's Playing Laurence Fishburne's Wife on Hannibal?

Suits star Gina Torres has been added to the cast of NBC's upcoming Hannibal Lecter series Hannibal, TVLine reports.

She'll play the wife of Laurence Fishburne's FBI agent Jack Crawford. The role won't be too much of a stretch for her — the two are also married in real life.

Fishburne isn't the only connection Torres has to the cast. She and Hannibal co-star Ellen Greene also appeared together in Pushing Daisies, which, like Hannibal was created by Bryan Fuller.

The thriller stars Hugh Dancy as FBI agent Will Graham and Mads Mikkelsen as the cannibalistic Dr. Lecter. It is scheduled to premiere on NBC at midseason.

CASTLE: Probable Cause (10/29)

"Probable Cause" - While investigating a shocking ritualistic murder, Beckett and her team uncover surprising evidence linking Castle to the killing. As the evidence against him mounts, loyalties are tested, and when surprising revelations come to light, Beckett begins to wonder how well she really knows her new lover and partner of four years, on "Castle," MONDAY, OCTOBER 29 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Alexa Havins as Elle Daniels, Romi Dias as ADA Toni Gonzalez, Gerald Downey as Lloyd Kurtzman.

"Probable Cause" was written by Andrew W. Marlowe and directed by John Terlesky.

SUBURGATORY: Ryan's Song (10/31)

"Ryan's Song" - When Lisa feels guilty for not telling Ryan that he's adopted, she agrees to help him pursue Tessa. Lisa's generosity leaves Ryan believing that he must be dying of "Ryan disease." Meanwhile George and Dallas go on their first date, but in her nervousness she invites her life coach, Tabitha (Jon H. Benjamin), to join them -- which puts George off -- and Tessa agrees to babysit for Opus while Noah and Carmen attend an opera, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31 (9:31-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"Ryan's Song" guest stars include Parker Young as Ryan Shay, Bunnie Rivera as Carmen, H. Jon Benjamin as Tabitha, Lennie Loftin as Electrical Strangler, Ryan Churchill as Drew and Janet Song as technician no. 2.

SUBURGATORY: The Witch of East Chatswin

"The Witch of East Chatswin" - When Tessa convinces Dalia and the KKK (Kimantha, Kaitlyn and Kenzie) to come up with feminist inspired Halloween costumes, she finds herself the interest of the infamous East Chatswin witch (aka Paula), played by guest star Rachel Dratch. As it turns out Paula isn't exactly what she seems. Meanwhile George and Noah dress up as each other, and Dallas invites George to be "Ken" to her "Barbie" -- but he declines, not realizing that she is asking him out -- on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24 (9:31-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

Guest starring in "The Witch of East Chatswin" are Parker Young as Ryan Shay, Maestro Harrell as Malik, Evan Arnold as Chef Alan, Katelyn Pacitto as Kaitlyn, Kara Pacitto as Kenzie, Abbie Cobb as Kimantha, Frances Mary McKittrick as young Sheila, Rachel Dratch as Paula, Natalija Nogulich as Marcheeza, Tiffany Martin as young witch, Edward Padilla as Javier, Mike Daze as valet and Billy Marquart as bartender.

CASTLE: Murder, He Wrote

"Murder, He Wrote" - Castle and Beckett's plans for a romantic weekend in the Hamptons are interrupted when a dying man stumbles into Castle's backyard, collapsing into his pool. Unable to escape the lure of the investigation they join up with the small town's well-intentioned, but inexperienced sheriff to find the killer, on "Castle," MONDAY, OCTOBER 15 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: David Burke as Chief John Brady, J.R. Nutt as Casius McMurray, Shane Johnson as Deputy Adam Jones, Brian Howe as Aaron Lerner, Tamara Braun as Natalia Roosevelt.

"Murder, He Wrote" was written by David Grae and directed by Rob Bowman.

SUBURGATORY: Homecoming - SEASON PREMIERE

"Homecoming" - When Tessa returns to Chatswin after spending the summer in NYC with her grandmother, her burgeoning interest in her mom leaves George feeling threatened. In an effort to feel more connected to her mom's musical side, Tessa takes up the guitar and signs up to sing in the Fall Follies. Meanwhile, Noah decides he wants Carmen to come back and work for him, and he gets into an all out competition with Dallas over her, on the season premiere of "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17 (9:31-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

Guest starring in "Homecoming" are Maestro Harrell as Malik, Ryan Shay as Parker Young, Miriam Flynn as Helen, Jack Walsh as Marty, Bunnie Rivera as Carmen, Mark Sande as train conductor, Patrick Cox as security guard, Chase Fein as waiter, Sam Lerner as Evan, Evan Arnold as Chef Alan, Joshua Erenberg as A.J., Sarah Kapp as girl, Todd Sherry as Tom and Alex Boling as Alex.

CASTLE: Secret's Safe with Me (10/8)

"Secret's Safe with Me" - When a young woman is mysteriously murdered, Beckett and Castle discover her death may be linked to a repossessed storage unit up for auction. Was the unit connected to her death? Was something inside it worth killing for? The investigation leads Castle and Beckett to colorful "Storage Wars"-like treasure seekers and Manhattan socialites as they uncover the shocking truth, on "Castle," MONDAY, OCTOBER 8 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Caroline Lagerfelt as Anjelica Henley, Rob Nagle as Kirby, Chad Lindberg as Marco Vinstrolli, John Littlefield as Joel Pratt, Dennis Cockrum as auctioneer, Kevin Brown as Big Percy Jenkins.

"Secret's Safe with Me" was written by Terence Paul Winter and directed by John Terlesky.

CASTLE: Cloudy with a Chance of Murder

"Cloudy with a Chance of Murder" - On Beckett's first day back from her suspension, she and Castle are thrown into the salacious world of local TV news when WHNY's veteran weather girl is found dead. As if navigating an industry full of backstabbing and ruthless ambition weren't difficult enough, they have to do it while hiding their new relationship from their coworkers, on "Castle," MONDAY, OCTOBER 1 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC. Jodi Lyn O'Keefe ("Prison Break") guest stars as a sexy entertainment reporter who sets her sights on Castle.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Jodi Lyn O'Keefe as Kristina Coterra, Tyrees Allen as Harvey Milton, Shannon Lucio as Rebecca Fog.

"Cloudy with a Chance of Murder" was written by Elizabeth Beall and directed by Kate Woods.

Joss Whedon drops some 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' hints and muses on Wonder Woman

Joss Whedon is just about the busiest man in show business at the moment. He's showing his adaptation of "Much Ado About Nothing" at the Toronto International Film Festival. He's in the (very) early stages of work on the "Avengers" sequel. He's developing a "S.H.I.E.L.D." series set in the Marvel universe for ABC. And "Dr. Horrible 2" is ever on the horizon.

The writer-director-fanboy idol touched on all those topics, plus why NBC's "Wonder Woman" pilot went down in flames last year, in an interview with Crave Online in Toronto. Some highlights:

On the "S.H.I.E.L.D." show, which will follow the exploits of non-superheroes keeping the world safe: "It's going to be a very standalone show. We'll do what we always do, which is every episode will conclude and you'll have taken away your story, but there will be a through line running throughout. It will not be in the foreground but as in all of these shows, it will probably take foreground at some point, many seasons down the road, God willing."

On "Dr Horrible 2": "Dr. Horrible 2" is still on the slate. [His other commitments] mean we're going to have to stay up a little bit later to get it written, but that is what we will do."

On why David E. Kelley's "Wonder Woman" fizzled: "I don't think that was a match. I just don't. I don't think that he needs to write about superheroes. You need to need to write about superheroes to write about superheroes. If that's not in your vernacular, you may bring something new and interesting to it, but at the end of the day, if you don't have that burning desire to talk about these people who have these insane powers, then some other agenda is going to come forward and you might accidentally turn off the dark."

'Avengers' boss Whedon makes 'Much Ado' about Bard

Joss Whedon figures if Shakespeare were alive today, he might be writing superhero stories. Only better ones than Whedon and his colleagues are doing.

Whedon, the writer-director behind this summer's superhero sensation "The Avengers," has unveiled a passion project at the Toronto International Film Festival — his adaptation of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing."

Considering the fantastic worlds of ghosts, sorcerers and witches of Shakespeare's works, Whedon said the playwright might feel right at home working in a superhero realm such as the Marvel Comics universe of "The Avengers."

"Yeah, I think he very well might. He'd be doing it better than the rest of us. But he was not afraid of the big themes and the bigger-than-life characters," Whedon said in an interview at Toronto, where his "Much Ado" premiered over the weekend. "And his stuff was full of pop-culture references. I'm not comparing myself to him, but I am saying, yeah, I think he would have as much fun in the genre.

"He's not going to crawl out of the grave and write 'Steel Magnolias.' Not that there's anything wrong with that, but that wouldn't be his thing."

Whedon's "Much Ado About Nothing" was done for pure love of Shakespeare during whatever spare time he could find while he was he in post-production after the long shoot on "The Avengers." He rounded up friends and family for the low-budget "Much Ado," which was shot at his own home in Los Angeles, with wife Kai Cole as executive producer and a cast filled with close pals.

Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof from Whedon's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" spinoff "Angel" star as the wily wits Beatrice and Benedick, who devote themselves to mocking each other even as friends and family scheme to make them fall in love during preparations for the wedding of Benedick's pal Claudio and Beatrice's cousin Hero.

The cast also includes Clark Gregg of "The Avengers" and Nathan Fillion and Sean Maher of Whedon's short-lived sci-fi series "Firefly" and its big-screen spinoff "Serenity."

Whedon uses Shakespeare's original language but updates the story to modern times, with the returning soldiers of Shakespeare's play now coming off as classy mobsters in business suits and town cars (Whedon shot in black and white because he wanted a film-noir feel despite the romance and comedy of the story). The characters knock back shots of liquor, crank up music and videos on their smartphones and party by a pool lit with tiki torches, while conversing in Shakespeare's clever, rhythmic dialogue.

Acker and Denisof had participated in a reading of "Much Ado" that Whedon staged at his house years ago. Whedon had long wanted to do a movie version, and when he finished shooting "The Avengers" last year, he substituted the film instead of the family vacation he had planned.

"When we showed up for the first day of filming, everyone was like, oh, a real movie. We weren't sure if it was Joss with a flip camera," Acker said. "And when we got there, there was a crew and craft service and trucks and lights, so it was for real. Luckily, he only gave us about two weeks' notice and he didn't give us enough time to panic and realize, oh, we're playing these majorly important and great parts. We just had to learn the lines and do it."

It still was a do-it-yourself affair, shot in just 12 days, with Whedon also producing and composing the music, as well as editing the film with a colleague during lunch breaks and weekends while he was finishing "The Avengers."

Whedon was shopping the film around at the Toronto festival to find a distributor, hoping for a theatrical release.

If he can't get it into theaters, though, Whedon said he'll get the film out there online. Even if that's where his "Much Ado" ends up, Whedon counts it a project that's already paid off.

"It was the best vacation I ever took," Whedon said. "I've literally never been happier. Every day, my best friends that I hadn't seen since I'd been away doing 'Avengers' for so long came to my house to do my two favorite pastimes, film and Shakespeare. And then often dance all night."

Whedon a 'workaholic'

You're deep into post-production on the most expensive, most anticipated film of the year. You've got a little bit of time off before you need to go back into the editing room and guide this monstrously complex project to completion. So what do you do for fun?

If you're Joss Whedon, you make another movie.

"It's the best vacation I've ever taken. I came back so refreshed," Whedon said of shooting Much Ado About Nothing, his (sort of) modern-day Shakespeare adaptation that made its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival.

What kind of a guy gets a brief holiday from an insanely pressure-filled gig and then uses it to make more work for himself?

"A workaholic," said Whedon. "Or a creator. I don't know. There's a good version and a bad version of everything, and the good version is it is my great joy to make things whenever can. The bad version is I don't know how to do anything else."

For years, Whedon and his tightknit circle of actor friends have done table reads of Shakespeare plays at Whedon's house, just for grins. When he decided the time was right to take Shaky Bill's rom-com to the next level, Whedon enlisted many of these same folks, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Alexis Denishof, Dollhouse's Amy Acker, Firefly's Nathan Fillion and The Avengers' Clark Gregg, as well as newcomer Jillian Morgese.

"They were working their asses off for peanuts," Whedon said. "And I was apologizing until I realized, wait a minute"¦ this is a dream for all of us, not just me."

The entire movie - shot in black and white digital video - was filmed in just 12 days at Whedon's Santa Monica home. While the location and time period are modern, Whedon stuck to Shakespeare's original text, with its many thous and wherefores.

"Shakespeare is his text," he said. "What else would I keep? His stage directions?"

Much Ado About Nothing is the first release from Bellwether Pictures, a microstudio formed by Whedon and his wife, Kai Cole. Having the freedom to make these small movies (as well as work on other pet projects, such as the upcoming new season of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog) was key in Whedon agreeing to write and direct The Avengers 2. It's a three-year commitment that will also have him working as a consultant of sorts on almost everything related to Marvel's superhero squad, including the upcoming Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as well as ABC's spin-off TV series, S.H.I.E.L.D.

"Very talented people are writing and directing these movies, and what I don't want to be is the guy they dread, who's going to come in and say" - here, Whedon affects a pompous British accent - "'Oh, well I have the power to say change this.' I'm not that."

Whedon can't yet talk specifics about The Avengers 2, but he knows what he wants to accomplish with the 2015 sequel to this year's $1.5-billion blockbuster. Given how much of his work has been grounded in the relationships between people who are thrust into extraordinary circumstances, it shouldn't come as a surprise that he'll see how far he can push Earth's mightiest heroes.

"The creation of the team is not the happy ending," he said. "It is the beginning of something that is complex and difficult, and now I get to dig a little deeper. And maybe, while I'm digging, just twist that knife. And that's exciting for me."

"Avengers" director Whedon swaps superheroes for Shakespeare

Joss Whedon's blockbuster comic book smash "The Avengers" would seem to have little in common with William Shakespeare.

The writer and director, however, also known for creating the cult TV hit "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," calls the legendary playwright a major influence, visible in much of his work from the banter of his superheroes to the structure of his stories.

Such is his admiration, that in the wake of delivering "The Avengers" - the biggest movie hit of 2012 - Whedon has adapted "Much Ado About Nothing," a low-budget black-and-white labor of love devoted to the Bard that debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival.

"I find myself aping his rhythms and occasionally stealing his phrases, without even realizing it most of the time," Whedon told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

"Shakespeare's not afraid to go from high drama to low comedy in a heartbeat, and to ping-pong back and forth between them in a scene, which is something else that I took from him in my own work."

FILMED IN DIRECTOR'S HOME

Shot over 12 days in Whedon's own house in Santa Monica, California, during a break from his work on "The Avengers," "Much Ado About Nothing" features performers from Whedon's past television series including "Buffy," "Angel" and "Firefly."

The movie originated from readings of Shakespeare Whedon and spouse Kai Cole would host at their home while his TV shows were still in production.

But it was Cole, also a producer on the film, who encouraged Whedon to use his time off from "The Avengers" to do a smaller project shot in black and white on digital cameras.

"There was times when I was, like, 'This is a terrible idea. I've gone mad,' but it's always been the way with me ... apparently that's what I do for fun," he said.

"I have a condition called workaholism that is very deadly, and useful," he added.

While the film sticks closely to the text of the play, the characters wear modern clothes, drive cars and talk on cell phones. Scenes are shot in a child's bedroom and a swimming pool, lending the project a do-it-yourself quality.

"People who are (Shakespeare fans) are going to see a pretty specific and occasionally radical take on it. But I hope everybody will realize it comes from a great love of a great text," said Whedon.

The movie's sight gags generated laughter at its debut screening in Toronto. And an early review in Variety called it "an inspired example of Shakespeare-on-a-shoestring."

"It really is the classic romantic comedy. It's the romantic comedy off of which all modern romantic comedy is built. So there is an in for people. I do not expect it to make $1.5 billion dollars," he said, referring to the worldwide box office of "The Avengers."

'AVENGERS' SEQUEL IN WORKS

Whedon, 48, has agreed to write and direct an "Avengers" sequel for Walt Disney Co, expected to appear in May 2015. But the filmmaker said he could disclose few details about the highly anticipated movie.

"It's still in the story stage. But I've been working on it pretty much from about an hour before I said, 'Let's make a deal.' It just caught fire with me," he said.

"We're hard at work. We would like to be not as rushed as we were with the first one."

The New York-born founder of his own production company, he might also direct the pilot for a TV series based on Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D. espionage agency.

Other projects at various stages of development include a sequel to Internet musical "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" and a web series called "Wastelanders" he is writing with comics author Warren Ellis.

"Basically I have too much to do, but I can work with too much. Too much is O.K.," he said.

CASTLE: After the Storm -- SEASON PREMIERE

"After the Storm" - After four seasons of "will they" or "won't they," Richard Castle and Kate Beckett finally gave in to their feelings for each other in the much anticipated Season 4 finale. Season 5 picks up on the proverbial morning after, with Castle and Beckett facing new questions -- Was this a one-time fling, or are they now a couple? But before they find the answers, they must take on the forces responsible for Beckett's mother's murder that now threaten Kate Beckett's life. The Season 5 premiere of "Castle" airs MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 (10:01-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network. Also in the episode, Jack Coleman ("Heroes") guest stars as a well-liked U.S. Senator who finds himself in conflict with Beckett.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Jack Coleman as Senator Bracken, Tahmoh Penikett as Cole Maddox, Maurice Warfield as Vice President Russell, Geoff Pierson as Mr. Smith.

"After the Storm" was written by Andrew Marlowe and directed by Rob Bowman.

New 'Castle' Season 5 poster: Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic are "caught in the act"

(Photo) The "Castle" gifts just keep on coming!

Today ABC released an arresting new promo poster for Season 5, featuring Beckett embracing Castle from behind -- with their wrists handcuffed together!

Stars Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic's playful, sexy pose makes it very clear that Castle and Beckett's long-anticipated romance is the focus of this season.

As it should be, no?

The tagline -- "Caught in the act" -- highlights the hilarity that will ensue once their colleagues and family find out that they've taken their partnership to a whole new level.

What do you think of the hot new poster? Are you fanning yourself as furiously as we are?

"Castle" returns to ABC Monday, Sept. 24.

ABC Officially Orders Joss Whedon's Marvel Live-Action S.H.I.E.L.D. Pilot

ABC has ordered a pilot S.H.I.E.L.D., a live-action TV series from Joss Whedon based on the Marvel peacekeeping organization, Deadline reports.

S.H.I.E.L.D. stands for Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate and is headed by director Nick Fury, who was played by Samuel L. Jackson in Whedon's recent big-screen blockbuster, The Avengers. Disney chief Bob Iger first announced Whedon, 48, was working on a live-action Marvel series when he confirmed that Whedon would also write and direct The Avengers' upcoming sequel.

Whedon is set to co-write the S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot with his brother, Jed Whedon, and Maurissa Tancharoen. All three will executive-produce with Jeffrey Bell (The Protector) and Marvel TV's Jeph Loeb. Joss Whedon is also set to direct the pilot, his very busy schedule permitting. Production on the pilot will begin immediately.

If S.H.I.E.L.D. is ordered to series, it would be the first live-action Marvel TV show and Joss Whedon's fifth series. He created Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and Dollhouse. He worked on the latter with his brother, Jed, and Jed's wife, Tancharoen, as well as the Emmy-winning web series Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, which The CW will air for the first time on TV this October.

Leverage Sneak Peek: Why Does Adam Baldwin Need the Team?

Sunday's two-hour Leverage midseason finale features a heavenly guest star in Angel's Adam Baldwin, but all hell may be about to break loose.

As we first reported, Baldwin will reunite with his Angel co-star Christian Kane to play Col. Michael Vance, an ex-Army Ranger who now runs a government counter-terrorism unit. As you can see in the exclusive sneak peek below, Vance knows quite a bit about our team of cons. So what's he doing hanging out with them?

It turns out Vance is the kind of guy who often ruffles the feathers of his fellow intelligence-community bureaucrats with his unorthodox methods. But his actions have finally caught up with him, leaving him without a team just as he learns a terrorist attack is imminent in Washington, D.C. Can Vance recruit Nate (Timothy Hutton) & Co. to help him stop the attack? Watch the clip below to see his pitch.

Leverage airs Sunday with back-to-back episodes beginning at 8/7c on TNT. (Video )

'Castle': Season 5 premiere video - best night of their lives...or biggest mistake?

(Video) Hear that? It's "Castle" fans sucking up the world's oxygen -- ABC has released the first video for Season 5!

In case you need a refresher, Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett (Stana Katic) finally consummated their relationship in Season 4's gratifying (for everyone, apparently) finale.

"Last season they had the best night of their lives," says the promo, before cutting to the couple's morning-after conversation.

"So it wasn't a dream," purrs Castle, as they lounge in his bed.

"You liked it?" asks Beckett softly, with her hair looking much too fabulous for someone who arrived soaked from the rain and spent the night auditioning for a remake of "Body Heat."

Although both seem to agree with the narrator's "best night" observation, he then continued ominously: "...they'll find out if it's the biggest mistake they ever made."

Phhht. As if.

"Castle" returns Monday, Sept. 24 on ABC.

Joss Whedon Developing Live-Action Marvel TV Series for ABC

Joss Whedon just became a very busy man.

The creator behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly is developing a live-action series featuring Marvel characters for ABC, Disney CEO Bob Iger said on a company earnings call Tuesday, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Iger also announced that Whedon would return to write and direct the upcoming Avengers big-screen sequel. Whedon, 48, wrote and directed the first movie, which brokethe record for largest opening weekend ever ($207 million) in May and has since grossed $1.4 billion at the worldwide box office.

Details are scarce on the possible Marvel TV series, which would be Whedon's first show since Dollhouse got the axe in 2010.

Are you excited for Avengers 2? Which Marvel characters would you like to see make it to the small screen?

Avengers Sequel: Joss Whedon Returning to Write and Direct

Avengers assemble...again! And be sure to bring Joss Whedon with you!

Disney is doing just that, as Disney CEO and Chairman Bob Iger told analysts during a stockholders' conference call today today that Whedon is returning to captain the sequel to the unbelievably successful Marvel hit The Avengers.

Largely credited for making Avengers the $1.5 billion movie it turned out to be, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly creator will write and direct a follow-up to the adventures following Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans) and the rest of the Avengers. But wait...there's more!

If the small screen is more your bag, then brace yourself. Whedon is returning to his television roots by developing a Marvel-themed series for ABC.

And what is it? Well, it'll be live action and...that's about all we know at the moment. But our imaginations are in overdrive.

"Joss Whedon has signed an exclusive deal with Marvel Studios for film and television through the end of June 2015," Marvel studios says in a statement. "As part of that deal, Whedon will write and direct Marvel's The Avengers 2 as well as help develop a new live action series for Marvel Television at ABC. He will also contribute creatively to the next phase of Marvel's cinematic universe."

Start your geeky speculating now!

'Suits' Gina Torres: Donna's firing 'had to be done'

Hold onto your seats, folks! The next few episodes of USA's "Suits" are going to knock our socks off.

Zap2it recently chatted with "Suits" star, Gina Torres, aka Jessica Pearson, about what to expect from this season's upcoming episodes, beginning with this week's (August 2).

"It's a pretty intense episode. Lots will be revealed. We'll see sides of people that we have not seen before," Torres says. "Buttons will be pushed. Beginning this week, pretty much to the end of this season, hold on!"

But what about Donna (Sarah Rafferty)? Will we see her quipping with Harvey from behind her desk anytime soon?

"[The situation] is not pretty," says Torres. "If Donna comes back [to the firm], it's because she's proven herself. She just can't come back because Harvey (Gabriel Macht) wants her to come back."

Season 2 has definitely been full of adversity for the firm of Pearson Hardman -- enough to put strains on any of the characters' relationships. Yet, it seems Jessica and Harvey's has only grown stronger, despite Mike's (Patrick J. Adams) lie and Donna's departure.

"The firing of Donna was something that had to be done," Torres admits. "That was very necessary, and no one faults Jessica for that. She's trying to save the firm, and she's trying to save Harvey. Harvey and Jessica have to get to a different place now, and move through what he did, which could have ended Pearson Hardman."

As for office politics and the threat of Daniel Hardman (David Costabile), expect to see the returning partner remain in the role of Season 2's antagonist. We've already seen Hardman meddle with Louis (Rick Hoffman), but keep in mind, "Harvey and Jessica are still waiting for the shoe to drop."

Torres also teases about Episode 8, or as we've come to call it, the flashback episode, that takes us back five years.

"Daniel is at the firm, and he's managing partner. It's the beginning of the end of the old regime. You see the beginning of the relationships that we introduced last season, and have built upon this season." She jokes, "It's an origins piece, like 'X-men Origins: Wolverine.'"

Watch "Suits" on USA, Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET.

'Dr. Horrible' comes to the CW

Joss Whedon's "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" will make its television debut on the CW on October 9, the network announced.

Created as a three-part online musical in 2008 by the "Avengers" director and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" creator, the series stars Neil Patrick Harris as Dr. Horrible, a fledgling super villain with girl trouble. He has a laundromat crush on Penny (Felicia Day, "The Guild"), and his arch nemesis is Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion, "Firefly," "Castle").

CW president Mark Pedowitz said the network would edit the web series into a 42-minute television show. He said he hoped the CW would also have the inside track if Whedon opts at some point to continue the series.

It was written by Maurissa Tancharden, Jed Whedon, Joss Whedon and Zack Whedon, with music by Jed Whedon and Joss Whedon.

Zooey Deschanel and Jon Hamm join Johnny Depp as FOX animation voices

"The Simpsons" are going back to New York next season, and they'll be looking for Zooey Deschanel when they get there.

The "New Girl" star is joining the likes of Johnny Depp ("Family Guy"), Jon Hamm ("Family Guy" and "American Dad"), Sofia Vergara ("The Cleveland Show") and Nick Offerman ("Cleveland" and "Bob's Burgers") in lending her voice to one of FOX's animated shows in 2012-13. Most of the animation lineup premieres Sept. 30, with "The Cleveland Show" coming in a week later on Oct. 7.

Deschanel will play Bart's "long-lost love" in her "Simpsons" episode, and he convinces everyone to go to New York to find her. (Incidentally, FOX's press release calls the Simpsons "America's favorite Midwestern family," so let the where-is-Springfield debate begin anew.)

Other "Simpsons" guests include Steve Carell as Homer's bowling buddy, Patton Oswalt as a seemingly cool new kid in the neighborhood and "Portlandia" stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein.

On "The Cleveland Show," Kanye West will return as local rap prodigy Kenny West, while Vergara ("Modern Family") will try to convince Cleveland to throw Cleveland Jr. a quinceanera for his 15th birthday. Offerman ("Parks and Recreation") will play a sexist department store owner; Krysten Ritter ("Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23"), Bruno Mars, Nicki Minaj and several major league baseball players will also lend their voices.

Offerman and his wife, Megan Mullally, will play a hippie husband and wife on "Bob's Burgers." The show will also welcome back guest stars Kevin Kline, Sarah and Laura Silverman, Aziz Ansari and Jeffrey Tambor.

On "Family Guy," Depp is doing a cameo as Edward Scissorhands. Hamm, Ryan Reynolds, Elizabeth Banks, "Twilight" star Kellan Lutz and TV producers J.J. Abrams, Dick Wolf and Mark Burnett will also guest.

And finally, "American Dad" will welcome Hamm, Nathan Fillion, Sarah Michelle Gellar, "Harry Potter" star Rupert Grint, Patrick Stewart (as himself) and Danny Glover, who will play a "Christmas demon" in a holiday episode.

Law & Order: SVU Casts Adam Baldwin as Cragen's Replacement

It may take longer to unwind last season's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit cliff-hanger than we thought.

SVU has cast Chuck and Firefly alum Adam Baldwin to play Capt. Steven Harris, the squad's new interim captain, TVGuide.com has learned exclusively. He will take over the duties usually handled by Capt. Donald Cragen (Dann Florek), who is suspected of murder after he was last seen waking up next to a dead prostitute in SVU's Season 13 finale.

Baldwin's character is slated to appear in the new season's first three episodes while Cragen's fate is being determined. Needless to say, Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and the rest of the team are none-too_pleased to be taking orders from the new guy.

Baldwin's character will join previously announced guest star Paget Brewster, who will play the head of the Public Integrity Unit, which is handling Cragen's case for the District Attorney's office. Laura Benanti, Pippa Black, Peter Jacobson, Ron Rifkin, Brooke Smith, and Dean Winters are all expected to reprise their roles from the finale as well.

Besides his work on Chuck and Firefly, Baldwin has also recurred on such series as The X-Files and Angel. His most recent guest work includes gigs on Castle and Leverage.

SVU returns with a two-hour premiere on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 9/8c on NBC.

Comic-Con: 9 Shiny Moments From Firefly's 10-Year Anniversary Reunion

"We're still flying."

Those words have become the rallying cry for Firefly fans who have kept the memory of the Joss Whedon sci-fi western alive for a decade after it went off the air. For its 10-year anniversary, Whedon and cast members Nathan Fillion (Capt. Malcolm Reynolds), Adam Baldwin (Jayne Cobb), Summer Glau (River Tam), Sean Maher (Simon Tam) and Alan Tudyk (Hoban "Wash" Washburne) reunited at a Comic-Con panel in San Diego before thousands of screaming fans.

The intense fandom eventually drove a major motion picture, Serenity, to be made as the final live-action chapter of the Firefly story. Mal & Co. also still live on in Dark Horse Comics' graphic novels. Science Channel will air a marathon of the series followed by the premiere of the anniversary special Browncoats Unite, exploring the Firefly phenomenon, on Sunday, Nov. 11.

Check out these nine shiny highlights of the reunion panel:

1. Firefly isn't really dead. Fillion said, "When Firefly died, I thought it was the worst thing that could possibly happen. What I realize now, 10 years later, looking out on this room, is that the worst thing that could have happened was if it had stayed dead. That it died was OK."

2. Thank Whedon for Capt. Tightpants. "Firefly was a lot of firsts for me," said Fillion. "No one would give me a chance to be anything other than No. 5 Guy or the lead girl's ex ... 'He's good, but we don't know if he could carry a show.' ... Joss Whedon was the guy who gave me the best character I've ever played."

3. A leaf caught in Fillion's wind. Tudyk says that his co-star was a captain behind the scenes as well and set the tone early on. "Right in the beginning, Nathan came up to all the actors and he says, 'We're going to be learning everyone's names; it's a contest. His name's Jim. His name's Alan. His name's Brian. Alright? And I'm winning!' And he took off. That brought everybody together. I was like, 'Uh, hi, Brian.' It brought us together as a family."

4. Baldwin goes to bat for Jayne's hat. Baldwin said, "One of the women in the office knitted a couple [hats]... And I made a conscious choice and talked with Tim [Minear]. 'Since this is the last episode we shot, Tim, can I wear it pretty much throughout the whole episode?' He's like, 'Uh, I don't know. Maybe that's a little --' I said, 'I'm doing it! Joss isn't here; I'm doing it.' ... Doings. I always liked to have doings. Jayne was a man of few words, but he had a lot of props, so I worked really hard with the prop guys. This hat, this is a goldmine, this is like a birthday cake in a wasteland."

5. How Glau dipped into River. The actress accessed that strange part inside herself by "remembering myself at 17, which was like two years before," she admitted. Whedon gave her more credit. "Summer is so crazy!" he said. "The amount of vulnerability and strength that she can convey is beyond magnetic. I look at her, and i think, 'I will come with her if I want to live!'"

6. Fox's least favorite fan art. Tudyk explained the origins of a painting in Whedon's home. "My sister is an artist and when we were canceled, I asked her to make a painting," he said. "I commissioned her to do this painting of Joss protecting a firefly in a jar from some evil Fox executives."

7. Let's put on a show! Whedon thinks it'd be fun to do a Firefly radio show, and the cast immediately began performing a farce in which Mal hits on Zoe. Later, Maher/Simon diagnosed the captain, saying, "I think you might have a fever," to which Fillion/Mal replied, "A fever? And the cure is more Firefly!"

8. Wash lives! If Whedon had known Season 1 would be Firefly's only season, he would have written the finale differently, and it would have diverged a lot from the big-screen Serenity. "If I absolutely knew that that was the end of the show, I don't think I would have killed anybody," he said, as Tudyk raised his fists to the crowd's cheers. (Spoiler alert: Wash dies in Serenity.) "A film is a different animal and has different needs. And I think we would have delved more heavily into the Blue Sun conspiracy aspect of it, which we had to drop for the movie, which I was sorry about. And we would have learned about Book and we would have learned about Inara."

9. We're still flying in Whedon's 'verse. Whedon got choked up after the moderator asked what the Firefly fans mean to him. After the crowd's encouraging cheers died down, he said, "When you're telling a story, you're trying to connect to people in a particular way ... The way in which you guys have inhabited this world, this universe, has made you part of it, part of the story. You are living in Firefly. When I see you guys, I don't think the show is off the air. I don't think there's a show; I think that's what the world is like. ... The story is our lives."

Do you still miss Firefly?

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog to Air on The CW

Joss Whedon's campy musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is set to air on The CW, TVLine reports.

While promoting The Avengers at Comic-Con, Whedon announced the three-act web series would air on the network, but the exact date remains unknown.

Dr. Horrible stars Neil Patrick Harris as a wannabe mad scientist who falls for Penny (Felicia Day). Unfortunately, Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion) is always there to thwart Dr. Horrible's pursuits in life and love.

The indie project streamed free online in 2008 before it was released on DVD. This will be the first time it will air on television.

'Alphas' casting: Summer Glau returns

Geek goddess Summer Glau ("Firefly," "Dollhouse") is returning to "Alphas" this season, reprising her role as Skylar Adams for three episodes. Skylar first attracted the attention of the Alphas team (led by star David Strathairn) because, in addition to her wicked highlights, she's a superhuman genius and inventor trying to protect her math prodigy daughter.

Other notable guests on the Syfy hit series' sophomore season include "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy's Sean Astin, C. Thomas Howell ("Southland" and, you know, the '80s) and Lauren Holly ("NCIS").

Bruce Miller ("ER," "Eureka") joins "Alphas" this season as showrunner, taking over the reins from Ira Steven Behr.

Season 2 of "Alphas" premieres Monday, July 23 at 10 p.m. on Syfy.

Comic-Con to Host Firefly Reunion

The Serenity will be flying into Comic-Con!

Joss Whedon and the cast of Firefly will reunite for a Comic-Con panel on Friday, July 13 at 12:30 p.m. in Ballroom 20 to mark the show's 10th anniversary, Science Channel announced Wednesday.

Besides the man behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer and this summer's blockbuster hit The Avengers, the panel will also include stars Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Adam Baldwin, Sean Maher and Michael Fairman. (We'll be crossing our fingers for Morena Baccarin, Summer Glau and Gina Torres to join them!) According to The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported the news, the panel will also feature never-before-seen footage and other "numerous buzz-worthy surprises."

The Science Channel will also host panels for Dark Matters: Twisted But True (Friday, July 13 at 7:15 p.m. in Room 6A) and Stuff You Should Know (Thursday, July 12 at 4 p.m. in Room 5AB).

Leverage Hosts an Angel Reunion

The fifth season of TNT's Leverage will reunite Christian Kane with his former Angel co-star Adam Baldwin, TVGuide.com has learned exclusively.

Baldwin will play the possibly recurring role Col. Michael Vance, an ex-Army Ranger who now runs a government counter-terrorism unit. However, Vance often ruffles the feathers of other intelligence community bureaucrats with his unorthodox method of recruiting small teams of agents — and even civilians — from a wide range of expertise. Sounds like the kind of guy who might call on Nate & Co. for help, right?

Kane, who plays Eliot Spencer on Leverage, recurred as Lindsey McDonald on Angel. Baldwin, a Joss Whedon mainstay, recurred in the fifth season as Wolfram & Hart liaison Marcus Hamilton.

Baldwin is no stranger to other members of the Leverage cast and crew: He had a role in Ordinary People, the film for which Leverage star Timothy Hutton won an Academy Award. Baldwin also has a long-standing working relationship with Leverage executive producer Dean Devlin. Both men appeared in the film My Bodyguard and Baldwin had roles in Independence Day and The Patriot, both of which Devlin produced.

Baldwin, who has also starred on Chuck and Firefly, most recently guest-starred on Castle.

Leverage's fifth season premieres Sunday, July 15 at 8/7c on TNT. Baldwin's episode, titled "The Rundown Job," is scheduled to air in the fall.

'Suits' stars Gina Torres and Patrick J. Adams spill Season 2 secrets about Hardman's return

As you probably could've surmised from the title of the "Suits" Season 2 premiere, "She Knows," Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) is finally in the loop about Mike's (Patrick J. Adams) true qualifications as a lawyer. But now that the episode has aired, we know that Mike's status is the least of Jessica's concerns this season -- Hardman is back, and she's not too happy about it.

"Everything that we come to learn about Hardman's disappearance and his return is [that] it's very layered," explains Torres on Zap2it's visit to the Toronto "Suits" set. "I like to think of Jessica in the first season as being large, in charge, in control and kind of happy-go-lucky. This is her domain -- she just struts down this hallway and she's invulnerable."

But with Hardman back in the picture, "Now we start to see the little chinks in the armor and the scars. Any woman who gets to that office, any person who gets to that office, has some battle scars and has some bodies buried in places. It would be ridiculous not to think so, and so Hardman's reappearance I think speaks to the battles along the way."

In the immediate future, Torres says Jessica's role within the firm won't change too much yet -- she just has to get used to working as a team member again.

"We're not past the first big hump as is established. Now you just saw the first episode -- there's a hump coming. There's a hump and so once we're past -- or it could be a very long hump -- right now she's still in charge. She just has somebody else [present]. She's got to visit another office. Talk things out, be a team player."

Still, there's a reason Jessica and Harvey (Gabriel Macht) don't like the guy. But as we saw in the premiere, he's trying to convince everyone that he's reformed. Is he, though?

"Without giving away too much you're gonna see this hard man," Adams says. "He's had these problems, and he screwed up royally, but he's really coming back trying to make amends. And so, as an audience member you're supposed to trust him, and believe that he's just trying to be okay. But it is television. I mean, I just don't trust him. In episode 2, you learn why Harvey doesn't really like him or trust him. I don't trust him as far as I can throw him."

Which is where Mike's secret comes in. "I'm like this ticking time bomb. If Hardman, who's a very smart, shrewd, incredible lawyer, if he has the opportunity could blow us all up and take over everything. I'm the key to all that so they have to protect me," explains Adams.

He continues: "At the same time, he's a great lawyer. We haven't had any scenes where I think Hardman is, like, an awful person. He's such a great actor, too. He's not coming in and being the terrible guy. In fact, he seems like the nice guy. He's dealing with some serious life issues. We just kind of skirt that issue where it's never quite one thing or the other. It's not like he's Darth Vader and we all just want to destroy him. I mean he might actually be in the right. Let's face it -- I didn't go to law school, I'm a liar, I'm in this office in a capacity that is not, you know, entirely legal. I think there'll be a lot of interactions there as far as how I'll be used to take him out."

Setting the Hardman issue aside, Jessica is still pretty mad about the whole Mike deception. "I'm of the opinion that she's angry they put the firm in jeopardy. I mean, this is her life's work. This is her baby," Torres says. "All that we know of Jessica is that she's very driven and that she dedicated herself to this firm. Her name is on the letterhead, is on the door, and so it is a direct reflection of her. And this coming from somebody that she trusts is a big blow."

While she'll accept Mike's presence because there are more important things to deal with, Jessica won't forget about it. "This is not something that she would have chosen to do and therefore I can still get into a lot of trouble with her. We're not done dealing with it. Just because she's sort of accepted me for now, it's because Harvey did his Harvey thing and manipulated all the pieces of the board so that I could stick around and not get taken out by the queen. But, you know, eventually if it comes down to it, I get the impression she'd get rid of me if it's gonna be good for the firm."

But that doesn't mean Mike won't be able to win her over eventually. One day, Jessica might be able to care about him the way Harvey and Donna do.

"One of Jessica's strong suits is that it's very clear that her respect has to be earned. She's not just taking on anybody on a whim -- there's too much at stake," says Torres. "The stakes have been established as being very high this season. So if and when that happens, when it moves from amusement to caring and respect, I think it has to be very well written."

"Suits" airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on USA.

'The L.A. Complex' Season 2 returns July 17 and more CW summer premiere dates

If you were just as addicted to the ultra-dramatic lives of Hollywood up-and-comers on "The L.A. Complex" as we were, we've got some excellent news: the Canadian soap will return to American airwaves on July 17 for Season 2 (actually the second half of Season 1 if you want to get technical).

"The L.A. Complex" comes back Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m., while the network is also bringing back "Remodeled" for new episodes after it replays the original ones beginning Monday, July 9 at 9 p.m.

'Suburgatory' plus six other ABC shows officially renewed for 2012-13 season

It's network upfronts season and the pick-ups just keep on coming. ABC has now officially renewed freshmen shows "Once Upon a Time," "Suburgatory" and "Revenge" for a second season and returning shows "Modern Family," "Grey's Anatomy," "The Middle" and "Castle" for the 2012-13 television season.

'Firefly' and 'Stargate Atlantis' Jewel Staite 'starting' to get recognized more for 'The L.A. Complex'

Zap2it: In playing clawing-her-way-back-to-the-top actress Raquel in "The L.A. Complex," you're showing an edgy but funny side that hasn't been seen in your previous series roles. Are you enjoying playing that?

Jewel Staite: When I was reading the script, I was a little worried that she wouldn't be likable, and I had to figure out a way to find the humor in her desperation. That was definitely the biggest challenge. She's hilarious, but I love that she does what she wants to do, regardless of the outcome.

Zap2it: You had fame among sci-fi fans before starting "The L.A. Complex." Have you found people's reactions to you changing by virtue of your role in your new show?

Jewel Staite: I'm starting to get recognized for Raquel more than anything else, and I'm used to people recognizing me for "Firefly" or "Stargate Atlantis." Especially with "Firefly," people come up and kind of want to hug me all the time, just strangers. I'm like, "Wow ... OK," but with Raquel, it's totally different. They'll kind of look at me with fear in their eyes, and I sort of like that.

Zap2it: Does the American network pickup of the Canadian-made "The L.A. Complex" signal anything to you about the show's possible longevity?

Jewel Staite: This is probably my eighth time as a lead in a series, and we just found out we got picked up (for a second season, at least in Canada), which is really exciting. I've definitely been there when we haven't.

"The L.A. Complex" airs Tuesdays on The CW.

SUBURGATORY: The Motherload - SEASON FINALE

"The Motherload" - Residents of Chatswin go all out in celebration of their moms, leaving a noticeable void for Tessa, while Dalia chooses to go to Israel without Dallas. Meanwhile George and Eden attend the Lerners' baby shower, and Eden reacts to the endangered animal theme; Fred surprises Sheila with a special performance by her favorite solo artist, and Lisa makes a startling discovery, on the Season Finale of ABC's "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, MAY 16 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"The Motherload" guest stars Parker Young as Ryan Shay, Maestro Harrell as Malik, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Bunnie Rivera as Carmen, Katelyn Pacitto as Kaitlyn, Kara Pacitto as Kenzie, Abbie Cobb as Kimantha, Gillian Vigman as Jill Werner, Darlene Hunt as Connie Kushell, Cooper Thorton as Doctor, Erika Alexander as Gloria, Alicia Silverstone as Eden, Miriam Flynn as Helen, Courtney Merritt as Jenna Werner, James Ingram as James Ingram, Edward Padilla as Javier, Brooke Baumer as Lucille, Candace Brown as Camille, Reedy Gibbs as Nurse, Luke White as Paramedic, Dmitri Schuyler-Lynch as Doug, Deena Dill as Bliss, Dana Powell as Rhonda, Sam Lerner as Evan, Alex Boling as Alex and Todd Sherry as Tom.

"The Motherload" was written by Emily Kapnek and directed by Ken Whittingham.

'Avengers' boss Whedon mines mirth in Marvel idols

You better know how to wisecrack if you're going to save the world, Joss Whedon-style.

Whedon, creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," its spinoff "Angel" and other witty TV ensembles such as "Firefly" and "Dollhouse," applies his own superpower — playful dialogue and group camaraderie — as writer and director of the superhero mash-up "The Avengers."

The film is filled with clever interplay among its garishly costumed cast, which includes Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Mark Ruffalo as the Incredible Hulk, Chris Evans as Captain America and Chris Hemsworth as Norse god of thunder Thor.

As with Buffy or Whedon's other fantasy-based creations, the gags make the action go down more credibly as the Avengers battle Thor's wicked brother and a swarm of ugly aliens invading Earth.

"I never write anything without humor, just because I like humor, but at the same time, it is a way for anything fantastical to become relatable," Whedon said. "Because you can always turn around and go, 'That guy's the god of thunder, and this is really happening!' And then if anybody in the audience was having a problem with that, they're sort of inoculated to it."

It's doubtful many fans need an inoculation to get into the Avengers spirit. The Marvel Comics universe has been steering toward this all-star ensemble for years with sly teasers tacked onto such earlier hits as "Iron Man," ''Thor" and "Captain America."

Anticipation for the film is off the charts, and having Whedon running the show reassures Marvel fanboys that it's been done right, since he's been one of them from childhood, and informs general audiences that it's worth their time, since he has a gift for taking far-out tales into the mainstream.

The film opens in U.S. theaters May 4 and a bit earlier in many overseas territories.

"The Avengers" were among the first comic books Whedon read as a boy. The influence of the superhero ensemble and its complicated, crazy interrelations is obvious through much of Whedon's work.

"The great thing about this team is, there's an element of absurdity to the idea of the Avengers, and there always was. You read the first issue, and you're like, 'Really? REALLY? This is a team?'" Whedon said. "That thread kind of carried through the whole history of the Avengers, and their constant changes in lineup became almost a joke. There was this issue I read when I was a kid when a government official came in and dictated their lineup, including how many minorities needed to be included.

"You have to let that absurdity bleed into the characters, because if you don't let the audience laugh at it, they're going to LAUGH at it, and not the way you want."

Much of the humor derives from the growing pains the Avengers experience, squabbling among one another before they learn to work as a team. These are big egos used to having their own way, so the idea of cooperation does not come easily.

Many of the actors were used to having their own way in solo superhero adventures, but cooperation did come easily for them, Whedon said.

"I had concerns, but my refrain was always, 'If they hate each other, I can use it,'" Whedon said. "And at the end of the day, they just had a great time together. Everybody was really on board. Everybody was looking out for everybody else. Everybody was thrilled to work with the people they worked with and cranky because they couldn't work with the people they didn't work with.

"It really was a positive bunch that had the kind of energy that helps pull you out of bed when you've got to shoot a movie that long."

'The L.A. Complex': Jewel Staite makes the move back TV stateside

Call it "Melrose Place" meets "Fame" ... meets Canada.

Young showbiz hopefuls from up north make their way to Los Angeles to seek stardom, while occupying neighboring apartments, as The CW gives the seriocomic Canadian series "The L.A. Complex" its American premiere Tuesday, April 24. The initial six stories already have aired in the show's native country, where a 13-episode second season has been ordered.

Some of the ensemble cast will be familiar to U.S. viewers, including Cassie Steele, who worked with the same producers on the youth-oriented "Degrassi" franchise. She now plays Abby, who goes on acting auditions while resisting her boyfriend's pleas to return home. Jewel Staite ("Firefly," "Stargate Atlantis") also stars as Raquel, who's been there and back -- and wants to get there again, to the point of boldly suggesting that a producer change a character's ethnicity to accommodate her. Chelan Simmons ("Kyle XY") calls her own dance background into play in portraying dancer Alicia. And Jonathan Patrick Moore, Joe Dinicol and Benjamin Charles Watson respectively appear as Connor, Nick and Tariq, whose experiences range from suffering a witheringly snide critique from actress Mary-Lynn Rajskub ("24") to assisting established talents whose behavior borders on disillusioning.

Not only is Staite glad the spirited approach of "The L.A. Complex" lets her have comedic moments far from the sci-fi mode she's known for, she's also enjoying the chance to represent those who refuse to give up on their Hollywood dreams. In fact, she was surprised to find many of her newest alter ego's experiences are based on her own.

"I'm really good friends with Martin Gero, the creator of the series," Staite tells Zap2it. "He told me he was writing it, but he didn't say a whole lot about it, and he didn't say there was anything in it for me. Then my manager came across the script and said, 'You should read for this. You'd be really good for it.' And when I read it, I realized that [Gero] was using a lot of stories from my life, as well as the lives of mutual friends who are in the entertainment business.

"I called him and said, 'Uh ... hello? What's going on?' And he was like, 'OK. I was going to talk to you about this, but I didn't know if it was something you'd want to do.' And I was like, 'Yeah, of course I want to do it!' So I went in and met with the rest of the producers, and they gave me the role."

It also helped Simmons to have a prior basis for the part she ultimately landed in "The L.A. Complex." She recalls, "They were debating whether to hire a dancer who could act or an actor who could dance, and they went with the actor. I did a TV movie called 'Sorority Wars' where we did a little dance, and that was about it for my dancing on-screen."

Not anymore. Simmons often is seen dancing her heart out in "The L.A. Complex," and she says the job has required "four hours of rehearsal a day. It is a TV show, so a lot of the dancing I did got cut down, but it got me in shape. I'd go from the set to dance rehearsals, and I actually really enjoyed it. I danced for 13 years, so I liked getting back into it."

Staite is quick to stress that the show's Raquel is not entirely her, and vice versa.

"I've never thrown up on a piano, and I'm not as ruthless and cutthroat as she is," she says, "but there are definite similarities that make it a lot easier to relate when you're playing that kind of role. I've definitely been in her shoes. Raquel is very conniving and manipulative, and she'll do anything to get the job. She just goes for it, if she needs to."

The atmosphere of "The L.A. Complex" also has a familiar feel for Simmons. "When you are a Canadian and you come down to L.A. for auditions, you stay in housing like that," she says. "I was here with a bunch of Canadian actors, and we all became friends, and we partied at night and auditioned during the day. I think it's great that this shows how hard it is, sort of the darker side of the industry. It can be heartbreaking and make you jaded. It's so real."

Indeed, Staite knows just how real. "I've been in this business since I was little kid," she says, "and a lot of (the show's stars) are relatively fresh and had stars in their eyes. They were talking a lot about a Season 2, and I was like, 'Guys, guys. Let's settle down. Let's not jinx things.' I wouldn't say I'm bitter, but I definitely have more of a real outlook on the industry than some people do."

"The L.A. Complex" is the latest in a wave of Canadian-produced series picked up by American broadcast television. "Flashpoint," first aired on CBS, now is shown on ION; "Rookie Blue" returns soon to ABC (which also had Canada's 'Combat Hospital' last year) for its third season; and after running the Toronto-based "The Firm" lately, NBC will offer the medical drama "Saving Hope" with "Smallville" alum Erica Durance this summer.

"It's not something you ever expect when you're starting a Canadian series," Staite maintains, "especially something with a relatively small budget. We didn't even fathom that The CW would be interested, so it came as a really pleasant surprise ... and a reward for all the hard work we put into it."

CASTLE: Always - SEASON FINALE

"Always" -- When the murder of an Army veteran puts Beckett on the trail of the man who shot her, Castle must decide how much he's willing to sacrifice to keep her safe. As secrets are revealed and feelings are put on the table, the lives of the detectives at the 12th Precinct may never be the same, on the Season Finale of "Castle," MONDAY, MAY 7 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Tahmoh Penikett as Cole Maddox, Judith Scott as Evelyn Montgomery.

"Always" was written by Terri Edda Miller & Andrew Marlowe and directed by Rob Bowman.

SUBURGATORY: The Great Compromise

"The Great Compromise" - As Tessa adjusts to having Eden (Alicia Silverstone) living with them, she finds Eden helpful in her pursuit of a summer internship, while George has difficulty with Eden's parenting. Meanwhile Sheila interferes with Noah's relationship with Eden, and Malik and Lisa debate which camp to attend, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, MAY 9 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"The Great Compromise" guest stars Maestro Harrell as Malik, Alicia Silverstone as Eden, Bob Wiltfong as Jason and Armen Weitzman as Troy.

"The Great Compromise" was written by Charlie Carlisle and Aimee Jones and directed by Randy Zisk.

'Avengers' meets 'Castle' - Robert Downey Jr. and Nathan Fillion are more alike than you'd think

(Video) "Castle" star Nathan Fillion may be a god among geeks, but he's not a superhero. You know who is? Robert Downey Jr., a.k.a. Iron Man. But maybe the two men are more alike than you'd think -- they both play attractive, rich playboys who like to solve crimes alongside sexy, tough women.

In a cute display of corporate synergy -- ABC's "Castle" and Marvel are both Disney-owned properties -- Fillion and Downey teamed up for a commercial promoting the upcoming summer blockbuster "The Avengers."

"You know what, Robert, I couldn't help but notice how similar our characters are," Fillion tells Downey. "On 'Castle' I play a hero, in 'The Avengers' you play --"

Wild guesses? "A hero," Downey interjects.

"Right. I play the wealthy, charming philanthropist," says Fillion. "As do I, me too," Downey responds.

The one difference? "I'm Iron Man, and you're not," Downey points out.

Hey, you can't argue with facts.

'Castle' reunites 'Firefly' costars Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin in 'Headhunters'

Serenity flies again! "Castle," the current home of Capt. Mal Reynolds -- a.k.a. actor Nathan Fillion, a.k.a. crime writer Richard Castle -- pulled the ultimate casting move when it brought in Fillion's "Firefly" costar Adam Baldwin -- a.k.a. Jayne Cobb -- to guest star in an episode.

You guys, Jayne and Mal are back together!

Obviously, the "Castle" gang loves to hint at Fillion's old show every now and then, but this was just one long love letter to the adversarial bromance between the two men. (All of Jayne's relationships are adversarial. Does he actually like people?)

Baldwin's character was a burly tough guy who doesn't play by the rules. Sound familiar? The guy plays slightly unhinged so well that you know he's either crazy in real life or the most normal, even-tempered human ever. We're betting on the latter. Actors who play scary people are usually really nice in reality.

Because Castle and Beckett are still kind of on the outs, the writer teamed up with the badass Det. Slaughter (Baldwin) to work on a case. But since Beckett cares about Castle and didn't want him working with a guy who plays it so fast and loose, she followed the case and ended up saving the day in the end.

No, Beckett and Castle haven't confessed their feelings for one another, but perhaps we're on the road to a reconciliation and/or romance in the near future.

What did you think of Baldwin's performance? It was fun to see the old pals team up again, but in terms of "Castle" episodes go, we're hoping for a little more advancement in the Castle-Beckett relationship, stat.

'Castle': Adam Baldwin and Nathan Fillion relight 'Firefly' bromance

In "Headhunters," the Monday, April 16, episode of ABC's "Castle," fans of FOX's much-loved but short-lived science-fiction series "Firefly" get to see a bit of a role reversal.

On "Firefly," Nathan Fillion played Captain Mal Reynolds, the swashbuckling, war-hardened commander of a spaceship, and Adam Baldwin played Jayne, a mercenary member of his crew.

But on "Castle," Fillion is Rick Castle, a New York mystery writer moonlighting as a civilian NYPD consultant, and Baldwin guest-stars on Monday as Detective Ethan Slaughter, a swaggering, two-fisted member of the gang unit.

"I just loved the dichotomy," Baldwin tells Zap2it over fish and chips in West Los Angeles, "of being on his show with the character license to play the boss. The character was written such that Slaughter's the boss, and I was able to walk in and go, 'OK, it's my scene.' Every scene is my scene."

Castle teams up with Slaughter on a case but soon finds that it's a lot more dangerous than his regular gig as the unofficial partner of NYPD Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), the inspiration for his fictional character Nikki Heat.

"Castle's kind of a puppy-dog character," says Baldwin, "but he's still a tough guy. We put him through his paces. The difference was, on 'Firefly,' Jayne was always subservient. He would have this faux bravado, but he would know, in the back of his head, 'I'd better not cross Mal, because he'll space me.' Not so here.

"Slaughter doesn't care. 'Go ahead, Castle, take a swing at me, I dare ya,' that sort of thing."

The situation also made it a bit easier for Fillion to provide laughs for the audience.

"Comedy is a strange beast," says Fillion, calling in from the set during filming on the "Castle" season finale. "It's very difficult to make someone laugh, although it's very easy to allow someone to laugh at you. It's easy to allow people to laugh at you while you're being bullied by a big giant of a man like Adam Baldwin.

"He's got a mean smile. He's obviously happy, but there's mean behind it."

Asked if there might be a "Firefly" reference or two scattered through the script, Fillion says, "You couldn't stop us. We were doing stuff, going, '"Firefly," is that too "Firefly"?' Alexi [screenwriter Alexi Hawley] was kind enough to build some right into the script, and we tried to see what we could do on our own.

"Sometimes we were saying, 'That's a little on the nose. We can't do that. That's just too much.'"

Fillion not only wants to have some familiar guest characters and actors back next season -- perhaps including Baldwin reprising Slaughter -- he would also like to see more "Firefly" regulars on the show. In fact, if he had his way, he'd prefer to see all the other "Firefly" regulars on the show, all at once.

"I've been pitching an episode for ages," Fillion says, "about an actor murdered, and he's a former actor of a sci-fi television program. He's the captain of a spaceship, and it turns out that everybody hated him. He's such a jerk, and everybody in the cast of the show is suspect.

"I want to bring back the entire cast of 'Firefly' and have them all rail on the one guy who's dead now. They're glad he's dead."

Of course, he now can't use Baldwin in that episode, so a different actor would have to play the Jayne-type character.

"Yeah," says Fillion, "and the character will look like a really tough guy on TV, but in real life, he's really effeminate."

Regarding the possibility of some sort of a romantic resolution between will-they-or-won't-they unrequited lovers Castle and Kate by the end of the season, Fillion says, "There is hope. there's hope of that."

Castle's Firefly Reunion: Can Adam Baldwin Lead Castle Back to Beckett?

Just how easy was it for former Firefly co-stars Adam Baldwin and Nathan Fillion to find their old rhythm while shooting Monday's episode of Castle?

"It was like putting on an old pair of comfortable boots," Baldwin tells TVGuide.com with a laugh. "All those old feelings from Firefly and 10 years of working together come rushing back with just a look, wink and a nod."

Baldwin plays Detective Slaughter, a rough-and-tumble cop from the gang unit who agrees to take Castle (Fillion) under his wing for a new case. "He's a colorful character," Baldwin says of Slaughter. "He's kind of a rogue cop. He takes a few liberties with procedure, which Castle doesn't necessarily approve of, but he gets results. And he has nice clothes and a big gun and a fast car. He's kind of a cliché, but it's a fun opportunity to chew some furniture."

Slaughter is a welcome distraction for Castle, whose relationship with Beckett (Stana Katic) has been strained ever since he learned that she remembered everything after her shooting in the season finale -- including that Castle said, "I love you." "Castle's looking to recreate the magic he had with Beckett and he is looking for inspiration, so he decides to follow another cop around," creator and executive producer Andrew W. Marlowe says. "And it's kind of: Is the grass is always greener? What kind of lessons does Castle learn when he's out there running and gunning with Detective Slaughter?"

One thing that's instantly clear: Castle is in over his head. "Let's just say that all of the characters have a very strong point of view on who Detective Slaughter is and what Castle is getting himself into," Marlowe says. "And when Castle tries to impress Slaughter with all of his police connections, he learns pretty quickly that Esposito [Jon Huertas] and Ryan [Seamus Dever] don't work for him."

Baldwin says Castle's political connections play a major part in why Slaughter indulges Castle. But the pair does become closer, and eventually, Castle will open up about his troubled relationship with Beckett. "Does Slaughter have some advice in the lovelorn department? You bet," Baldwin says, with a huge laugh. "He's an outspoken guy. He definitely mentions some things in a not-very-diplomatic way."

So, will Slaughter's advice inspire Castle to talk things through with Beckett? "Men in general usually don't confront their feelings," Marlowe says. "He's certainly not the type of person to go up to Beckett and say, 'Hey, you hurt me!' because that would be exposing himself. He's expressing his anger with Beckett, and whether he knows it or not, he's trying to punish her without really putting his cards on the table."

And for all the Browncoats, Baldwin says there are a few subtle winks to his and Fillion's Firefly past. "We certainly played around in several takes, and if they made it into the final cut, that's the producers' choice," he says. "We certainly tried." Adds Marlowe: "We were aware that if we did anything too overt it would take people out of the story. I think we're looking to take the characters beyond that."

CASTLE: Undead Again

"Undead Again" - When Castle and Beckett investigate the murder of a man with human bite marks on his body, Castle's wild theories start flying. But none are as wild as what their only witness insists happened - a Zombie attack. As the evidence pointing towards an undead assailant piles up, the team plunges into New York's Zombie subculture to find the killer and bring him in -- dead, undead or alive -- on "Castle," MONDAY, APRIL 30 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Arye Gross as M.E. Perlmutter, Ryan Doom as Tom Williams, Tiffany Dupont as Greta Mastroianni, and Josh Braaten as Kyle Jennings.

"Undead Again" was written by Christine Boylan and directed by Bill Roe.

SUBURGATORY: Hear No Evil

"Hear No Evil" - As George and Eden's (Alicia Silverstone) relationship gets serious, he decides to introduce her to Tessa, who is preoccupied with her job at Crystal Cup of Crystals. Meanwhile, George and Noah make a deal regarding George's relationship boundaries with Eden, and Eden is overwhelmed by Sheila's meddling and the Werners' overprotective behavior, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, MAY 2 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"Hear No Evil" guest stars Parker Young as Ryan Shay, Maestro Harrell as Malik, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Gillian Vigman as Jill Werner, Kurt Ela as Technician, Maria Russell as Ibiza and Alicia Silverstone as Eden.

"Hear No Evil" was written by Andrew Guest and directed by Peter Lauer.

Joss Whedon's 'Cabin' is on lockdown

(Video) The Cabin in the Woods is furnished with all the décor found in the traditional teen slasher film: A remote house. Attractive young adults. Sexual tension. Creepy inhabitants nearby.

But it's unlike any other horror movie. Beyond a labyrinth of twists, there's a shocker ending that behooves fans of the genre to see the film (opening Friday) as soon as possible to avoid spoilers.

Followers of the movie's producer, Joss Whedon (director of May 4's The Avengers), who came up with the premise and co-wrote the script with first-time director Drew Goddard, would expect no less. Whedon's deft, witty touch on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and re-imagining of science fiction in Firefly helped set off modern-day genre mashups. With Cabin, he's at it again.

After coming up with the idea for the film five years ago, he huddled with Goddard, a writer on the series Buffy,Angel and Lost, to flesh out the story. They gave themselves room to pay homage to the genre — particularly films such as Halloween, Friday the 13th and The Evil Dead— and to put their own stamp on it as well.

"We love all the sandboxes, but we are both particularly horror aficionados," Whedon says. "So it was fun to really step into the hard horror that (made us) cover our eyes with glee as children."

After the film was shot three years ago in Vancouver, B.C., Cabin got caught up in MGM's bankruptcy proceedings until Lionsgate "rode up on their white horse," Whedon says.

Despite some frustration while waiting for the film to resurface, "the truth is everything has worked out for the best for us," Goddard says. "We are at a studio that supports us, and our actors have gone on to be superstars in some cases."

The film stars Chris Hemsworth (Thor in The Avengers), Jesse Williams (Grey's Anatomy), Kristen Connolly (As the World Turns), Anna Hutchison (Power Rangers Jungle Fury) and Fran Kranz (Dollhouse).

Also appearing are two names you might not expect to find in a horror movie cast: Richard Jenkins, an Oscar nominee for best actor in The Visitor, and Bradley Whitford, best known for the role of Josh Lyman on The West Wing.

"They wrote this unbelievably complicated story," Jenkins says. "As good as the script is, the movie is better."

Determined to not give away any plot surprises, Whitford would describe his and Jenkins' roles only as "creepy babysitters." Acknowledging that he's not "a horror guy," Whitford says he took the role because "I love Joss and I am very interested in (his) brilliant, entertaining, hilarious, perverse, astute vision thing."

The spark for the film? "I'm always asking, 'Why does a blond girl in the alley go into that alley in the first place?' This is an answer to that," Whedon says. "People will be surprised, and they will also be scared and amused."

Asked a question about a scene in the film that probably will drive horror fans to repeat viewings, Whedon whispers, "We're not going to talk about that, because that's a secret."

He knows he has made it tough on studio Lionsgate to promote the film.

"They took it knowing this was going to be the hardest film they have got to market because the best way for people to see it is not knowing anything," he says. "That's a hard way to get people into theaters."

SUBURGATORY: Independence Day

"Independence Day" - When George picks Tessa up late from school she decides to get a job working for Dallas in order to buy her own wheels. Meanwhile Dallas invites her sorority sisters to stay with her in order to celebrate the opening of her store, A Crystal Cup of Crystals; however her rival sorority sister, Tulsa (Robin Givens), decides to crash the party, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD: 3/14/12)

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"Independence Day" guest stars Maestro Harrell as Malik, Robin Givens as Tulsa, Burnadean Jones as Marjareen, Sharon Brathwaite-Sanders as Teeny, Sundra Oakley as Rose, Alex Boling as Alex, Todd Sherry as Tom, Miriam Flynn as Helen, Rachel Leah Cohen as waitress, Bunnie Rivera as Carmen and Clint Palmer as Lucien.

"Independence Day" was written by Emily Cutler and directed by Ken Whittingham.

'Firefly's Jewel Staite still appreciates 'super-loyal' sci-fi fans

Jewel Staite isn't neglecting her sci-fi past as she moves onto, and into, "The L.A. Complex."

Known among genre fans for her roles on the series "Firefly" and "Stargate Atlantis," she literally is more down-to-earth as determined actress Raquel ... who's fully committed to re-igniting her faded career when The CW gives the serio-comic series, made and already shown in Staite's native Canada, its American premiere Tuesday, April 24.

As stoked as she is about adding humor in portraying the struggles actors go through, Staite -- who muses to Zap2it that for once, "It's kind of nice not to have a stunt double" -- paid homage to her previous shows last weekend by appearing at Australia's version of Comic-Con, along with fellow "L.A. Complex" star and Syfy-movie veteran Chelan Simmons ("Snakehead Terror").

"It's still a big part of my life," Staite confirms. "I go to these conventions every once in a while, and it's such a subculture. I had no idea, when I booked my first science-fiction show, of that world even existing. I really didn't. I thought movies like 'Trekkies' and 'Galaxy Quest' were just for fun, and not about anything real. And it's real. It's a whole other aspect of this business."

Guest roles on "Supernatural" and "Warehouse 13" also are among Staite's credits, and she says she appreciates the "super-loyal" nature of sci-fi devotees: "They'll follow you from job to job, even if it isn't sci-fi. Once you're in with them, you're in with them for good, which is a really nice feeling."

Having affection for the genre herself hasn't hurt Staite in her professional pursuits. "It's fun to play the extremes of a fantastical situation," she notes. "It's always challenging as an actor. I've never chosen roles based on the genre, but based on the character. I love to play really strong female characters, and it just so happens there are a lot of those in sci-fi."

CASTLE: Headhunters

"Headhunters" - With tensions rising between Castle and Beckett, Castle finds himself a new partner -- Detective Ethan Slaughter (guest star Adam Baldwin, "Firefly"), a tough and colorful cop from the city's gang unit. But Castle gets more than he bargained for when Slaughter shows him a grittier side of police work that puts Castle in the line of fire like never before, on "Castle," MONDAY, APRIL 16 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Adam Baldwin as Detective Ethan Slaughter, Michael McGrady as Brian Reilly, Michael Dorn as Dr. Carter Burke.

"Headhunters" was written by Alexi Hawley and directed by John Terlesky.

SUBURGATORY: Entering Eden

"Entering Eden" - When George meets Eden (Alicia Silverstone) at the Chatswin Farmer's Market, there is an immediate attraction and he finds himself smitten with her and her healthy eating habits. Meanwhile, Yakult goes missing and it's up to Tessa and Dalia to find her, and Noah and Jill make a surprising announcement, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"Entering Eden" guest stars Katelyn Pacitto as Kaitlyn, Kara Pacitto as Kenzie, Abbie Cobb as Kimantha, Alicia Silverstone as Eden, Bunnie Rivera as Carmen, Joshua Erenberg as A.J. and Parisa Fakhri as Dr. Bachman.

"Entering Eden" was written by Patricia Breen and directed by Gail Mancuso.

First Look: Firefly's Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin Reunite on Castle

(Photo) Ten years ago — (or was it 500 years from now?), Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin were trapped together in space on Fox's short-lived, but much-beloved sci-fi adventure series, Firefly. Though Nathan's Captain Mal Reynolds often clashed with Adam's Jayne Cobb, the actors developed a strong bond that survived post-cancellation. The two buds reunite on the April 16 episode of Castle (titled "Headhunters"), but don't expect a recreation of their Firefly characters' relationship. "It's flipped," explains Adam. "Nathan's the dumb one this time."

"Yup," echoes Nathan. "Adam's in control, pulling the strings and I'm tagging along in the dark."

The episode finds Castle abandoning Beckett to shadow Adam's tough gang squad cop, Ethan Slaughter. Between takes, the two had the chance to reflect on their favorite Firefly moments. Nathan says his is "the one where Adam's in the airlock. It was the scene that let everybody know Jayne, this big lovable character, was not to be trusted and would sell you out if he got the chance."

When Firefly ended, both actors swiped some treasured memorabilia from set. "I kept Jayne's boots, knife, knitted hat, T-shirts and a model of his head," says Adam. "But I auctioned off a lot of that for charity."

Nathan's collection includes three of Malcolm's guns: "One fake foam one for stunts, one wood-filled resin one for practice and one actual gun," says the star, who also owns two of Mal's holsters.

While neither actor seems particularly hopeful that they'll ever get to use these props again on camera in another Firefly project, there could be more Firefly reunions on Castle if Nathan has his way. "I've been pitching an episode where the lead actor of a failed TV sci-fi series gets killed, and it turns out the whole cast and writers hated him and are all suspects," says Nathan. "It would be very exciting for Firefly fans because I'd want to get everybody back for this episode, but with Adam on this show, he's single-handedly ruined that! But I can still have my hope."

For more on the actors' Castle reunion, pick up the April 16 issue of TV Guide Magazine!

SUBURGATORY: Down Time

"Down Time" - When Dallas's divorce is finalized, George becomes concerned and includes her in a shopping trip with Noah to buy a new mattress. Meanwhile Dalia makes a breakthrough in therapy with her psychiatrist, Dr. Richard Rohl (James Lipton), Lisa and Malik try to set up Tessa, and Ryan takes Tessa on a date, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"Down Time" guest stars Sam Lerner as Evan, Jonathan Slavin as store manager, James Lipton as Dr. Richard Rohl, Parker Young as Ryan Shay, Maestro Harrell as Malik, Bunnie Rivera as Carmen and Michael Adler as Dr. Roger

"Down Time" was written by Brian Chamberlayne and directed by Alex Hardcastle.

CASTLE: Kill Shot

"Kill Shot" -- A sniper on a killing spree is terrorizing New York City. With the clock ticking down to the next murder and nothing to go on except a killer with no apparent motive but to instill terror, this could prove the team's toughest case yet. The hunt is made even more complicated when Beckett begins to experience increasingly strong moments of PTSD - moments she tries hard to hide from Castle and the detectives -- on "Castle," MONDAY, APRIL 9 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD: 11/21/11)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Michael Dorn as Psychiatrist Carter Burke, Troy Winbush as Marcus Ford, Christina Ferraro as Sarah Vasquez, Alexis Carra as Julie, Tony Elias as Chris Nunez.

"Kill Shot" was written by Alexi Hawley and directed by David M. Barrett.

CASTLE: The Limey

"The Limey" - A devilishly handsome detective from Scotland Yard, Simon Hunt (Brett Tucker, "Off the Map," "Spartacus," guest stars), teams up with Castle & Beckett to find the person responsible for the murder of his friend's daughter. Also, Charles Shaughnessy ("Days of Our Lives") plays Nigel Winthrop, the Deputy General at the British Consulate whom Castle & Beckett suspect is up to more than just ambassadorial balls and diplomatic luncheons. Meanwhile, Lanie convinces Beckett that she needs to make a move on Castle before it is too late, on "Castle," MONDAY, APRIL 2 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Brett Tucker as Simon Hunt, Charles Shaugnessy as Nigel Winthrop, Danielle Bisutti as Claire Panchard, and Omar J. Dorsey as Biggie Slim.

SUBURGATORY: Fire with Fire

"Fire with Fire" - When Jill turns to the newly single Dallas for inspiration and support, her marriage to Noah goes on the rocks. Meanwhile Dallas begins spending a lot of time with her hot younger boyfriend, Yoni (Wilmer Valderrama), which causes tension with George, and Dalia befriends Lisa to get back at Tessa for dating Scott Strauss -- so Tessa decides to take action and recruits Kimantha to make Dalia jealous -- on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD: 2/22/12)

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"Fire with Fire" guest stars Maestro Harrell as Malik, Gillian Vigman as Jill Werner, Wilmer Valderrama as Yoni, Kara Pacitto as Kenzie, Katelyn Pacitto as Kaitlyn, Abbie Cobb as Kimantha, Edward Padilla as Javier, Sam Lerner as Evan, Joshua Erenberg as A.J., Barry Livingston as Dr. C.B. Carlisle, Evie Peck as Mrs. O'Brien, Michael Sorrentino as DJ and Fernando Rivera as Cashier.

"Fire with Fire" was written by Emily Kapnek and directed by Alex Hardcastle.

CASTLE: 47 Seconds

“47 Seconds” – When a bomb explodes at a protest rally killing five people, Castle & Beckett realize the key to solving the case is to reconstruct the 47 seconds prior to the explosion. Using video and witness accounts, they uncover the shocking truth about who planted the bomb. Christine Woods (“Perfect Couples”) and Tim Guinee (“The Good Wife”) guest star, on “Castle,” MONDAY, MARCH 26 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Christine Woods as Leann West, Tim Guinee as Andrew Haynes, John Ruby as Mark.

“47 Seconds” was written by Shalisha Francis and directed by Paul Holahan.

After long wait, Whedon brings 'Cabin' to SXSW

After several years of studio purgatory, Joss Whedon's long-shelved, much-anticipated horror film "The Cabin in the Woods" finally arrived before audiences at the South By Southwest Film Festival.

Nobody complained about the delay.

"It really holds up," deadpanned Whedon after the Friday evening premiere before a rapturous, hooting crowd at Austin's Paramount Theatre. "I would say, timeless classic."

"The Cabin in the Woods," which Whedon produced and co-wrote with director Drew Goddard, had been stuck in limbo after its studio, MGM, went bankrupt in 2010. It is being released by Lionsgate, opening on April 13.

The film couldn't have played better as the opener of SXSW, a festival known for its warm receptions to edgy popcorn fare. The Oscar-nominated comedy "Bridesmaids" premiered at the festival last year.

The SXSW crowds, currently attending the film festival and its mobbed interactive section, regard Whedon as something of a geek god. The creator of the cult TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Firefly," as well as the acclaimed Web series "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," is beloved for his witty genre inventions.

Hundreds of fans packed a Whedon question-and-answer panel Saturday, as many more swarmed outside watching on a TV.

"I have a lot of ideas," said the prodigious Whedon in a career-ranging talk.

Talking about "The Cabin in the Woods," which co-stars Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford, has proved challenging, since any discussion quickly leads to giving away its unpredictable plot.

The film takes a playful approach to horror film conventions. It may sound like a cliché horror setting — a remote cabin visited by five college friends — but "The Cabin in the Woods" is far stranger (and funnier) than its old-fashioned façade.

Whedon granted that "awesome" was an acceptable, spoiler-free description, and few seemed to disagree Friday night. One attendee asked if he had intended to make "the last horror film of all time."

"Yes, that's it for horror," said Whedon. "Hope you like rom-coms, 'cause that's what you're getting."

Whedon and Goddard (a veteran TV writer of "Buffy" and "Lost" and the film "Cloverfield" making his directorial debut) holed up in a hotel room and wrote the film over three days. Whedon said a day in which he wrote 26 pages is "a personal best."

They wrote it shortly before Whedon made "Dr. Horrible," and he said both came from a similar impulse to cut loose from Hollywood restrictions. He called both "ragingly ridiculous."

Since making "The Cabin in the Woods," Whedon has kept busy. He's written and directed an upcoming adaptation of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" and the major Marvel blockbuster, "The Avengers," due out in May.

Whedon said that film would celebrate the comic heroes — Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and others — in a fan-boy way. He said his approach isn't like the more self-conscious "The Dark Knight," but compared it to "a war movie."

"I'm not ready to be postmodern about superheroes yet," Whedon said Saturday to warm applause.

His next project — "the next voice I'm hearing in my head," he said — is another Web series called "Wastelanders." Whedon called it a "dark, weird piece."

The long list of upcoming work only reinforced the wait for "The Cabin in the Woods." Whitford joked of Whedon and Goddard: "They won't work with us anymore."

CASTLE: A Dance with Death

“A Dance with Death” – When Odette Morton, a contestant on the hit competition show “A Night of Dance,” is found murdered in her dressing room, Castle and Beckett must navigate the case’s many twists and twirls without stepping on each other’s toes. But as they delve into Odette’s past, they discover that this reality starlet was harboring a shocking secret that may have led to her death, on “Castle,” MONDAY, MARCH 19 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Adam Harrington as Brad Melville, Lauralee Bell as Pam Francis, Erin Chambers as Suzanne Steiner, Tim Ransom as Max Renfro.

“A Dance with Death” was written by Moira Kirland and directed by Kevin Hooks.

SUBURGATORY: The Casino Trip

“The Casino Trip” – When George wins an all expenses paid trip to Atlantic City, he enlists Noah, Fred, Tom and Alex, and it turns into a getaway with the guys. During their trip they run into Steven Royce (Jay Mohr) (who is supposed to be in Singapore), and they help Fred cope with his gambling problem. Meanwhile Tessa tries to get some alone time with Scott Strauss (Thomas McDonell), on “Suburgatory,” WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD: 1/18/12)

“Suburgatory” stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

“The Casino Trip” guest stars Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Jay Mohr as Steven Royce, Katelyn Pacito as Kaitlyn, Kara Pacito as Kenzie, Todd Sherry as Tom, Alex Boling as Alex, Thomas McDonell as Scott Strauss, Patrick Rafferty as chiropractor, Evan Arnold as Chef Alan, Anastacia McPherson as stripper no. 1 and Jacqui Holland as stripper no. 2.

“The Casino Trip” was written by Andrew Guest and directed by Ken Whittingham.

Castle Stages Firefly Reunion

Long before Nathan Fillion was solving crimes with Stana Katic on Castle, he was soaring through space on the short-lived cult fave Firefly. Now, for the first time, Castle is reuniting Nathan with one of his former co-stars on the ABC crime series.

In an episode slated for spring, Adam Baldwin, who played Firefly's Jayne Cobb to Nathan's Capt. Malcolm 'Mal' Reynolds, will guest star as a detective named Ethan Slaughter. (How's that for a character name?)

Slaughter is described to me as a rough and tumble cop from the city's gang unit who lands a case that Castle is desperate to follow. Along the way, Slaughter shows Castle a dirtier side of police work that forces Castle to reconsider what he's willing to do to close a case. As the season nears its cliffhanging conclusion, expect this new alliance to place Castle in the line of fire like never before.

My sources tell me Nathan is over the moon about this fun nod to his sci-fi past. Nathan and Adam also co-starred together in Firefly's 2005 spin-off feature film, Serenity.

'The L.A. Complex': The CW's newest drama from 'Degrassi' creators

The CW has officially announced that their latest drama, "The L.A. Complex," will premiere on Tuesday, April 24, at 9 p.m. EST. We've been psyched about this one for a while, because "The LA Complex" hails from the creators of one of our favorite teen dramas, "Degrassi."

The six-part series features "Degrassi" star Cassie Steele as well as "Firefly's" Jewel Staite. It follows six twenty-somethings from various towns, who move to the same apartment complex in Los Angeles as they "strive for stardom."

It may seem like a soapy, light-hearted concept, but fans can expect the series to explore issues like sexuality, drugs, and self harm.

Airing on Tuesday nights, the series will take over "Ringer's" slot after it ends its first season on April 17.

Video: Justice League: Doom Star Nathan Fillion Talks Memorabilia

He may solve crimes by day as Richard Castle on ABC's Castle, but it's a well-known fact that sci-fi icon Nathan Fillion's true passion is the world of comic books and superheroes. Fillion voices Green Lantern in Warner Home Video's Justice League: Doom (available now on DVD, Blu-ray, for download and on demand), and sat down to discuss the notable memorabilia he's collected from each of his performances and the type of genres that entertain him. Check out exclusive excerpts from the interview here: Video 1, Video 2.

SUBURGATORY: Independence Day

“Independence Day” – When George picks Tessa up late from school she decides to get a job working for Dallas in order to buy her own wheels. Meanwhile Dallas invites her sorority sisters to stay with her in order to celebrate the opening of her store, A Crystal Cup of Crystals; however her rival sorority sister, Tulsa (Robin Givens), decides to crash the party, on “Suburgatory,” WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

“Suburgatory” stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

“Independence Day” guest stars Maestro Harrell as Malik, Robin Givens as Tulsa, Burnadean Jones as Marjareen, Sharon Brathwaite-Sanders as Teeny, Sundra Oakley as Rose, Alex Boling as Alex, Todd Sherry as Tom, Miriam Flynn as Helen, Rachel Leah Cohen as waitress, Bunnie Rivera as Carmen and Clint Palmer as Lucien.

“Independence Day” was written by Emily Cutler and directed by Ken Whittingham.

'The Big Bang Theory' reimagined as 'Firefly' crew

(Photo) It's no secret that the nerds on "The Big Bang Theory" are fans of comic books and sci-fi. It appears that the feeling is mutual as a Los Angeles storyboard artist and comic illustrator has re-imagined the "Big Bang" cast as the crew from "Firefly."

The drawing, from designer Megan Levens, features TV's most famous nerds cast as Mal, Wash, Inara, Jayne, Kaylee, Dr. Tam and River. In some cases, the characters match up perfectly (Howard as Wash). Other times, they are certainly against type (Sheldon as Jayne).

Perhaps the most interesting concept features Leonard as Dr. Tam while Penny plays his sister, River. If this is the case, it spells the end for any sort of romantic considerations for the two. We also love that Amy is Inara, although we're torn as to whether she'd want this to be her future.

Is the casting just about right?

CASTLE: Cops & Robbers

"Cops & Robbers" -- When Castle and Martha are taken hostage by a crew of bank robbers dressed in hospital scrubs and using classic television doctor names (Trapper John M.D., Dr. Huxtable, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and Dr. Doogie Howser), Beckett finds herself on the outside, desperately trying to rescue them -- which proves to be even more difficult with a by-the-book hostage negotiator (guest star Dean Norris, "Breaking Bad") watching her every move. Castle becomes the de facto leader of the hostages, which includes Barry Livingston ("My Three Sons"), and discovers that the robbery is actually a skillfully orchestrated distraction for an even more sinister plan. But with Castle stuck on the inside and Beckett on the outside, will either be able to foil the bank robbers' plans before it is too late? "Castle" airs MONDAY, MARCH 5 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 10/31/11)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Dean Norris as Captain John Davis, Barry Livingston as Abe, Darren Pettie as Trapper John, Jonah Wharton as Dr. Howser, Noa Dori as Dr. Quinn, and Ty Upshaw as Dr. Huxtable.

"Cops & Robbers" was written by Terence Paul Winter and directed by Bryan Spicer.

SUBURGATORY: Out in the Burbs

"Out in the Burbs" - When Tessa is asked to show new guy Josh Sherman (Dan Byrd) around school, she becomes convinced that he's gay, when in fact he's an undercover narcotics officer. Lisa becomes deeply infatuated with Josh, and Tessa inadvertently convinces Mr. Wolfe to make special announcement to the student body. Meanwhile George re-evaluates his relationship with Dallas, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 1/11/12)

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"Out in the Burbs" guest stars Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Parker Young as Ryan Shay, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Dan Byrd as Josh Sherman, Evan Arnold as Chef Alan and Chad Dashnaw as Dave Donsky.

"Out in the Burbs" was written by Bob Kushell and directed by Elliot Hegarty.

CASTLE: Once Upon a Crime

"Once Upon a Crime" - When a woman dressed as Red Riding Hood is found dead in the woods with claw marks covering her body, and soon after a murdered Snow White is discovered with a poison apple in her hand, Castle & Beckett find themselves on a Grimm hunt to catch a fairytale killer before he kills again. But nothing is as it seems in a case filled with deceit, betrayal, secrets and murder, on "Castle," MONDAY, FEBRUARY 27 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Sarah Jane Morris as Leslie Morgan, Taylor Kinney as Darren Morgan, Jason Thompson as Noah Curtis.

"Once Upon a Crime" was written by Kate Sargeant and directed by Jeff Bleckner.

SUBURGATORY: Poetic Injustice

"Poetic Injustice" - When Fred and Sheila strike up a croquet match with Dallas and George, Fred misreads Sheila's interest in George. Fred tells George that Sheila is fantasizing about him and asks him to seduce her. Meanwhile Tessa desperately wants to impress the new poetry teacher, Ms. Evans, but she seems to prefer Dalia's prose, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 29 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"Poetic Injustice" guest stars Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Luigi Debiasse as Ernesto, Jackie Geary as Ms. Evans and Jamie Denbo as Deena Doogan.

"Poetic Injustice" was written by Andrew Guest and directed by Elliott Hegarty.

SUBURGATORY: Fire with Fire

“Fire with Fire” – When Jill turns to the newly single Dallas for inspiration and support, her marriage to Noah goes on the rocks. Meanwhile Dallas begins spending a lot of time with her hot younger boyfriend, Yoni (Wilmer Valderrama), which causes tension with George, and Dalia befriends Lisa to get back at Tessa for dating Scott Strauss -- so Tessa decides to take action and recruits Kimantha to make Dalia jealous -- on “Suburgatory,” WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

“Suburgatory” stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

“Fire with Fire” guest stars Maestro Harrell as Malik, Gillian Vigman as Jill Werner, Wilmer Valderrama as Yoni, Kara Pacitto as Kenzie, Katelyn Pacitto as Kaitlyn, Abbie Cobb as Kimantha, Edward Padilla as Javier, Sam Lerner as Evan, Joshua Erenberg as A.J., Barry Livingston as Dr. C.B. Carlisle, Evie Peck as Mrs. O’Brien, Michael Sorrentino as DJ and Fernando Rivera as Cashier.

“Fire with Fire” was written by Emily Kapnek and directed by Alex Hardcastle.

CASTLE: Linchpin

“Linchpin” – In the explosive conclusion of a two-part story arc that began last week with “Pandora,” Castle & Beckett race to find the “Linchpin” in order to stop the first domino in a chain of events which will plunge the United States into war, on “Castle,” MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. In the episode, Jennifer Beals (“The Chicago Code,” “Flashdance”) continues as Sophia Conrad – a smart, commanding and sexy CIA operative who was Castle’s inspiration for Clara Strike in the Derrick Storm series of books -- and Josh Stamberg (“Drop Dead Diva”) is back as intelligence officer Martin Danberg.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Jennifer Beals as Sophia Conrad, Josh Stamberg as Martin Danberg.

“Linchpin” was written by Andrew Marlowe and directed by Rob Bowman.

CASTLE: Pandora

"Pandora" - In the first episode of a two-part "Castle" event, Castle and Beckett pursue a ruthless killer who, they discover, is part of a sinister, international conspiracy. Castle and Beckett are joined on the case by Sophia Conrad (guest star Jennifer Beals, "The Chicago Code," "Flashdance"), a smart, sexy CIA operative who has a complicated past with Castle. Josh Stamberg, ("Drop Dead Diva") also guest stars as Martin Danberg, an intelligence officer, on "Castle," MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. The second episode in this story arc, "Linchpin," airs Monday, February 20.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Jennifer Beals as Sophia Conrad, Josh Stamberg as Martin Danberg, David Chisum as Thomas Gage.

"Pandora" was written by David Amann and directed by Bryan Spicer.

SUBURGATORY: The Body

"The Body" - When Tessa realizes that she's failing gym class, she decides to run for student body president in hopes of changing Chatswin High's obsession with sports. During the election, Lisa steps in as Tessa's campaign manager against Kenzie and Kaitlyn. Meanwhile, Ryan is injured during a wrestling match and finds himself mourned by his family, and George takes Ryan under his wing and introduces him to people who have moved forward from setbacks, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"The Body" guest stars Parker Young as Ryan Shay, Maestro Harrell as Malik, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Evan Arnold as Chef Alan, Katelyn Pacito as Kaitlyn, Kara Pacitto as Kenzie, Sam Lerner as Evan, Gracie Zane as Gabby, Guy D. Williams as Referee, Jason Matthew Smith as Scotty.

"The Body" was written by Patricia Breen and directed by Phil Traill.

Homeland's Morena Baccarin to Guest on The Good Wife

Homeland's Morena Baccarin has landed a guest-starring role on The Good Wife, according to Entertainment Weekly.

The actress, 32, will play a powerful executive, opposite Dylan Baker's Colin Sweeney, who makes a return appearance in the episode. Baccarin's appearance will come in Episode 17, set to air in early March.

"She'll be playing the executive event planner at a large corporation who accuses our old friend Colin Sweeney — the deliciously creepy Dylan Baker — of sexual harassment," say creators Robert and Michelle King.

Aside from her recent gig as Jessica Brody on Homeland, Baccarin is known for her roles on Firefly and V. She'll also be guest-starring on an episode of The Mentalist later this winter.

Summer Glau joins 'Grey's Anatomy' for episode 816

Summer Glau has one of the coolest television resumes ever, and now she's upping the ante yet again with a guest-starring appearance on "Grey's Anatomy." ABC confirms to Zap2it that Glau will make an appearance in episode 816, which began production with a table read today (Monday, Jan. 23).

While no character details have been released, we're already in anticipation mode. "Grey's Anatomy" is back at the top of its game this season -- and yes, we've been crying almost every week. We're not sure we'll ever forgive Shonda Rhimes for the devastating death of Henry. Will Scott Foley ever get a happy ending?

In all seriousness, though, the show has us hooked now more than ever. Striking the perfect balance between joy (babies!) and tragedy (honestly, who kills off Scott Foley!?!), "Grey's" has made it back to the top of our must-watch list, even given the packed Thursday night schedule.

We're beyond psyched for the Feb. 2 episode, in which Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) imagines a world in which she grew up less "dark and twisty" and more "bright and shiny." We're expecting this fun alternate-universe episode to be much more successful than last season's musical hour -- but honestly, we'd tune in just for geeky Alex (Justin Chambers) and goth Lexie (Chyler Leigh).

CASTLE: The Blue Butterfly

"The Blue Butterfly" - When Castle and Beckett investigate the killing of a treasure hunter, they discover the case is linked to a mysterious homicide from 1947 involving a hard-boiled private detective. Castle realizes the only way to solve the present-day murder is to solve the murder from the past. The 1947 case comes to life through stylized flashbacks, featuring Castle as the private eye and Beckett as a femme fatale, on "Castle," MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Mark Pellegrino as Tom Dempsey, Patrick Cassidy as Clyde Belasco, Chad Everett as Jerry Maddox, Ellen Geer as Viola Maddox, Darin Toonder as Frankie.

"The Blue Butterfly" was written by Terrence Paul Winter and directed by Chuck Bowman (executive producer Rob Bowman's father).

SUBURGATORY: Sex in the Suburbs

"Sex in the Suburbs" - Tessa enjoys rubbing it in Dalia's face that Scott Strause chose her over Dalia. However the closer Tessa gets to Scott, the more nervous George becomes. When George discovers a box of XXL condoms that Lisa has given Tessa, he becomes obsessed and starts planning game night with her friends in hopes of keeping her at home more. Meanwhile Tessa soon discovers that the more time she spends with Scott, the less attracted to him she is, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"Sex in the Suburbs" guest stars Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Parker Young as Ryan Shay, Maestro Harrell as Malik, Arden Myrin as Jocelyn, Katelyn Pacito as Kaitlyn, Kara Pacito as Kenzie, Abbie Cobb as Kimantha, Edward Padilla as Javier, Michael Lerner as Aaron Laynberg, Thomas McDonell as Scott Strauss

"Sex in the Suburbs" was written by Adam Barr and directed by Julie Anne Robinson.

Joss Whedon making a 'supernatural romance' with Abigail Spencer

Joss Whedon is finishing up a giant studio movie ("The Avengers") and has a micro-budgeted adaptation of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" in the can as well. His next movie sounds like it will fall somewhere in between those two poles.

Actress Abigail Spencer ("Mad Men," "Cowboys and Aliens"/ex-Becca, All My Children) says she's on board for the new project, and it's scheduled to begin filming in February. Which, apparently, means there's not much downtime in the near future for the "Buffy" and "Angel" creator.

"It's the most romantic film in the history of time," Spencer tells Vulture. "It's a supernatural romance."

That sound you just heard was a legion of Whedonites gasping at the thought of him directing a "supernatural romance." Spencer also says "always wanted to work with him. I'm so excited to do it."

The new project further cements 2012 as the Year of Whedon. In addition to "The Avengers" (out May 4) and "Much Ado About Nothing" (release date TBD), "The Cabin in the Woods," the long-delayed horror movie he co-wrote and produced, is set to hit theaters on April 13.

CASTLE: Demons

"Demons" - Castle & Beckett confront the possibility of paranormal foul play when a world renown ghost hunter is mysteriously murdered while investigating a haunting at a legendary New York mansion, on "Castle," MONDAY, JANUARY 30 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 10/24/11)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Juliana Dever as Jenny Duffy-O'Malley, Frederic Lehne as Addison Smith, Mark Harelik as Pete Benton, Vernee Watson as Mercy LaGrande, Philipp Karner as Jack Sinclair.

"Demons" was written by Rob Hanning and directed by Bill Roe.

SUBURGATORY: Halloween

"Halloween" - Tessa channels her inner "suburban girl" for a Halloween costume, but it ends up spooking her friends and everyone at school since she reminds them of a recently "departed" resident of Chatswin. And George is determined to prove to Halloween-hater Dallas that being scared can be fun, but gets a scare of his own when Steven Royce (guest star Jay Mohr), Dallas' husband, finally comes home from one of his many business trips, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 10/26/11)

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"Halloween" guest stars Jay Mohr as Steven Royce, Maestro Harrell as Malik Davis and Chloe Bridges as Misty Covington.

"Halloween" was written by Andrew Guest and directed by Adam Davidson.

2012 People's Choice Awards winners list

Favorite TV Drama Actor: Nathan Fillion

CASTLE: An Embarrassment of Bitches

"An Embarrassment of Bitches" - When a famous dog trainer is killed, the investigation keeps coming back to charismatic reality TV star Kay Cappuccio (guest star Hilarie Burton, "White Collar"). Kay, a favorite of tabloids and gossip websites the world over, has achieved stardom without possessing any discernible skill or talent. But there seems to be more to her story than she is letting on -- does that include murder? -- on "Castle," MONDAY, JANUARY 23 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. Justin Hartley ("Smallville") guest stars as Reggie Starr, Kay's boyfriend, and Nana Visitor ("Star Trek: Deep Space Nine") plays Dr. Patty Barker, an eminent therapist whose talents are called upon when it's discovered that one of her clients witnessed the murder.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Hilarie Burton as Kay Cappuccio, Justin Hartley as Reggie Starr, Nana Visitor as Dr. Patty Barker, Ed F. Martin as Francisco Pilar.

"An Embarrassment of Bitches" was written by Rob Hanning and directed by Tom Wright.

SUBURGATORY: Driving Miss Dalia

"Driving Miss Dalia" - When Tessa gets her driver's license, Dalia hires her to drive her around to stalk her crush, Scott Strauss (guest star Thomas McDonell). As a result Tessa realizes that she and Scott might have feelings for each other. Meanwhile George and Noah's relationship is put to the test when George decides he wants to join the local country club, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 1/4/12)

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"Driving Miss Dalia" guest stars Edward Padilla as Javier, Katelyn Pacitto as Kaitlyn, Kara Pacitto as Kenzie, Abbie Cobb as Kimantha, Arden Myrin as Jocelyn, Jack Walsh as Marty, Thomas McDonell as Scott Strauss, Hayes MacArthur as Walter and Chris Parnell as Fred Shay.

"Driving Miss Dalia" was written by Brian Chamberlayne and directed by Ken Whittingham.

Homeland Hottie Back to The Mentalist

With Homeland on hiatus after completing its hugely successful first season, star Morena Baccarin is free to return to her previous gig. No, she's not hopping back on the V spaceship, but rather picking up her derailed relationship with The Mentalist's Simon Baker.

In an episode shooting now to air later this winter, Morena reprises her role as professional matchmaker/con artist Erica Flynn. When last we saw Erica, Simon's Patrick Jane had put her behind bars. Now she's back on the loose!

While her character may have revenge on her mind, Morena only has love for Simon, who, she says, "actually twinkles."

Melrose Place 3.0? CW Is Buying the Canadian Series L.A. Complex

It looks like the CW is readying a move back to Los Angeles.

The network is nearing a deal to buy the upcoming Canadian soap The L.A. Complex, Deadline reports. The series follows the lives of several twentysomethings who live in the same Los Angeles apartment complex and try to make it in Hollywood.

The series, which will premiere on the Canadian music channel MuchMusic next week but will also air on Canadian sibling network CTV, sounds an awful lot like Melrose Place. The drama originally ran from 1992 to 1999 on Fox before the CW remade the series in 2009, but then canceled it after 18 low-rated episodes.

The CW is looking to buy at least the first six episodes of The L.A. Complex, but could pick up as many as 13. The network plans to launch the show this summer, according to Deadline. The L.A. Complex stars Jonathan Patrick Moore (Neighbours), Cassie Steele (Degrassi), Joe Dinicol (Life with Derek), Jewel Staite (Firefly) and Chelan Simmons (Kyle XY).

Watch a preview: Video.

CASTLE: Dial M for Murder

“Dial M for Murder” – Derek Webster (“Desperate Housewives,” “Damages”) guest stars as Mayor Robert Weldon, Castle’s longtime friend and the Mayor of New York City. It was Mayor Weldon’s political clout that allowed Castle to partner up with Beckett. But now, when a woman is found dead in a car that traces back to the Mayor’s motor pool, that partnership comes under fire as the scandal surrounding the investigation threatens to bring down Weldon’s administration, on “Castle,” MONDAY, JANUARY 16 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Derek Webster as Mayor Robert Weldon, Adam Kulbersh as Brian Shay, Michael Grant Terry as Jordan Norris, Dave Florek as Harvey, Cara Pifko as Roberta Cambridge.

“Dial M for Murder” was written by Christine Boylan and directed by Kate Woods.

SUBURGATORY: The Casino Trip

“The Casino Trip” – When George wins an all expenses paid trip to Atlantic City, he enlists Noah, Fred, Tom and Alex, and it turns into a getaway with the guys. During their trip they run into Steven Royce (Jay Mohr) (who is supposed to be in Singapore), and they help Fred cope with his gambling problem. Meanwhile Tessa tries to get some alone time with Scott Strauss (Thomas McDonell), on “Suburgatory,” WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

“Suburgatory” stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

“The Casino Trip” guest stars Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Jay Mohr as Steven Royce, Katelyn Pacito as Kaitlyn, Kara Pacito as Kenzie, Todd Sherry as Tom, Alex Boling as Alex, Thomas McDonell as Scott Strauss, Patrick Rafferty as chiropractor, Evan Arnold as Chef Alan, Anastacia McPherson as stripper no. 1 and Jacqui Holland as stripper no. 2.

“The Casino Trip” was written by Andrew Guest and directed by Ken Whittingham.

SUBURGATORY: Out in the Burbs

“Out in the Burbs” – When Tessa is asked to show new guy Josh Sherman (Dan Byrd) around school, she becomes convinced that he’s gay, when in fact he’s an undercover narcotics officer. Lisa becomes deeply infatuated with Josh, and Tessa inadvertly convinces Mr. Wolfe to make special announcement to the student body. Meanwhile George re-evaluates his relationship with Dallas, on “Suburgatory,” WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

“Suburgatory” stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

“Out in the Burbs” guest stars Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Parker Young as Ryan Shay, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Dan Byrd as Josh Sherman, Evan Arnold as Chef Alan and Chad Dashnaw as Dave Donsky.

“Out in the Burbs” was written by Bob Kushell and directed by Elliot Hegarty.

CASTLE: Till Death Do Us Part

“’Till Death Do Us Part” – When a lothario is killed, Castle and Beckett suspect that the victim’s mysterious double life holds the key to his murder. Their investigation leads to a shocking twist that threatens to disrupt Ryan’s wedding with Jenny (Seamus Dever’s real-life wife, Juliana Dever, guest stars), on “Castle,” MONDAY, JANUARY 9 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Juliana Dever as Jenny Duffy-O’Malley, Sam Hennings as Seth Harris, Jaime Ray Newman as Holly Franklin, Daniel Romer as Cute Young Guy, Haley Strode as Hot Young Woman.

“’Till Death Do Us Part” was written by David Grae and directed by Jeff Bleckner.

SUBURGATORY: Driving Miss Dalia

"Driving Miss Dalia" - When Tessa gets her driver's license, Dalia hires her to drive her around to stalk her crush, Scott Strauss (guest star Thomas McDonell). As a result Tessa realizes that she and Scott might have feelings for each other. Meanwhile George and Noah's relationship is put to the test when George decides he wants to join the local country club, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 4 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"Driving Miss Dalia" guest stars Edward Padilla as Javier, Katelyn Pacitto as Kaitlyn, Kara Pacitto as Kenzie, Abbie Cobb as Kimantha, Arden Myrin as Jocelyn, Jack Walsh as Marty, Thomas McDonell as Scott Strauss, Hayes MacArthur as Walter and Chris Parnell as Fred Shay.

"Driving Miss Dalia" was written by Brian Chamberlayne and directed by Ken Whittingham.

SUBURGATORY: The Nutcracker

"The Nutcracker" - When Tessa overhears George break up with his girlfriend, Zoe, on Skype, she blames herself for his failed relationship and decides that she's going to get them back together. Unbeknownst to her, though, George is really enamored with Tessa's cute art teacher, Aimee. He admits to Mr. Wolfe that he's over dating crazy city women, and that he's looking for love in the burbs. George decides to embrace the holiday spirit with a tree trimming party complete with ex-girlfriend, potential new girlfriend and the Royces, and he soon finds himself under the mistletoe with a special someone, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 12/7/11)

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"The Nutcracker" guest stars Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Gloria Votsis as Zoe, Ellen Woglom as Aimee, Edward Padilla as Javier, Jay Mohr as Steven Royce, Raymond Ma as Mr. Yee, Alice Lo as Mrs. Lee and Deena Dill as Bliss.

"The Nutcracker" was written by Patricia Breen and directed by Randy Zisk.

SUBURGATORY: Sweet Sixteen

"Sweet Sixteen" - When Tessa tells Dallas that she wants a simple get together for her sixteenth birthday, Dallas convinces her to let Dalia plan the ultimate birthday extravaganza at the country club, complete with a live performance by her favorite band, specialty drinks and go-go cages. Meanwhile George throws his back out and Sheila Shay (Ana Gasteyer) takes it upon herself to care for him, even though George is terrified of her, on "Suburgatory," TUESDAY, DECEMBER 27 (9:30-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 11/16/11)

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"Sweet Sixteen" guest stars Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Maestro Harrell as Malik, Jamie Denbo as Deena Doogan, Katelyn Pacitto as Kaitlyn, Kara Pacitto as Kenzie, Abbie Cobb as Kimantha, Courtney Schleinkoffer as waitress, Jake Richardson as front man, Dana Powell as Rhonda, Deena Dill as Bliss and Brooke Baumer as Lucille.

"Charity Case" was written by Corinne Marshall and directed by Adam Davidson.

CASTLE: Eye of the Beholder

"Eye of the Beholder" - Castle & Beckett work a murder case around the theft of a valuable sculpture. Kristin Lehman ("The Killing") guest stars as Serena Kaye, a smart, sexy insurance investigator, who joins Castle & Beckett in the investigation, but she also has her eyes set on Castle, all the while hiding a very important secret from the team. Jessica Tuck ("True Blood") also guest stars as Joy McHugh, a wealthy museum benefactor who becomes a suspect in the murder investigation, on "Castle," MONDAY, DECEMBER 26 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 10/17/11)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Kristin Lehman as Serena Kaye, Jessica Tuck as Joy McHugh, Aasha Davis as Alyssa Lofters, Jessica Lundy as Myrna Ramsey, and Michael Dorn as Dr. Carter Burke.

"Eye of the Beholder" was written by Shalisha Francis and directed by John Terlesky.

ABC Orders More Castle

ABC has ordered an additional episode of Castle, Entertainment Weekly reports.

This will bring Season 4's order to a total of 23 episodes, according to the site.

Castle grabbed 8.12 million viewers and a 2.0 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic for its fall finale on Monday. So far this season, the crime show has averaged 11.1 million viewers.

Joss Whedon's Cabin in the Woods Trailer Unleashed!

(Trailer) The trailer for Joss Whedon's long-delayed The Cabin in the Woods has finally hit the web.

And as you might guess by the title, it features a bunch of beautiful young people heading out to a far-flung vacation retreat only to find their lives in danger from an unknown evil.

So what can we expect?

While it's not the most original of plots, the fact this horror flick comes from the mind of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly creator has to count for something, right? After all, we see what appears to be a creature rising from a dark lake, a force field surrounding the woods, some masked baddies and a cabin that's obviously not what it seems.

Cabin, which Whedon directed from a script by Cloverfield scribe Drew Goddard, stars Chris Hemsworth, who took the role before he became famous in Thor, along with veteran actors Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins among others.

The movie was originally supposed to hit theaters in 2009 but was put on hold after MGM went bankrupt. Lionsgate has since picked it up and will release it on April 13.

So does the trailer for The Cabin in the Woods impress? Or is it just the usual schlock?

SUBURGATORY: Thanksgiving

"Thanksgiving" - Depressed that she has to spend Thanksgiving in the suburbs, Tessa convinces Dallas to take her to the city for a girls' day out. During their fun day, they run across George making out with a woman while he was supposed to be "working." Angry with George for lying to her, Tessa confronts him during the Royces' Thanksgiving dinner. Meanwhile Lisa refuses to wear a special dress Sheila picked out for her, so Sheila decides to literally turn up the heat, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 21 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 11/23/11)

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"Thanksgiving" guest stars Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Parker Young as Ryan Shay, Jay Mohr as Steven Royce, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Dan Sachoff as Gary Shay, Jeremy Howard as Jasper, Courtney Merritt as Jenna Werner, Gillian Vigman as Jill Werner, Gloria Votsis as Zoe, Madison Carlon as Bellah Crawford as Shay niece No. 1, Madeleine Claire as Shay niece No. 2, Evan Arnold as Chef Alan, Mo Collins as Trish Shay and Bambadjan Bamba as street vendor.

"Thanksgiving" was written by Emily Kapnek and directed by Alex Hardcastle.

SUBURGATORY: The Chatterer

"The Chatterer" - George joins the PTA and quickly becomes well-liked by the other moms, but in the process former PTA queen bee Sheila Shay starts to feel threatened. Meanwhile Tessa joins the school newspaper and TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20 (9:30-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 10/12/11)

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Lerner and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"The Chatterer" guest stars Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Maestro Harrell as Malik, Arden Myrin as Jocelyn, Jaime Denbo as Deena Doogan, Kate Pacitto as Kaitlyn, Kara Pacitto as Kenzie and Abbie Cobb as Kimantha.

"The Chatterer" was written by Emily Kapnek and directed by Michael Fresco.

CASTLE: Kick the Ballistics

"Kick the Ballistics" - While investigating the mysterious shooting death of a young woman, Castle and Beckett face a cop's worst nightmare when they discover that the gun used in the killing is Det. Ryan's old service weapon - the one that was stolen by the serial killer, 3XK. Now with the clock ticking, the team must work to solve the murder, track down 3XK and retrieve Ryan's gun before the killer strikes again, on "Castle," MONDAY, DECEMBER 19 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 10/10/11)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Billy Lush as Finn McQueen, Ross McCall as Seth Carver, Francois Chau as Clifford Lee, Lanny Joon as Philip Lee, Tim Jo as Ben Lee.

"Kick the Ballistics" was written by Moira Kirland and directed by Rob Bowman.

CASTLE: Head Case

"Head Case" - Gunshots, a fleeing van and a massive blood pool all point to murder, but when Castle & Beckett arrive at the crime scene, they discover that it lacks something - the victim! The investigation leads to the cutting-edge world of life-extension science, a cunning high-tech researcher (guest star William Atherton), and a sleazy porn mogul who invested in a modern-day "fountain of youth." Meanwhile, Alexis finds out if she got into Stanford, on "Castle," MONDAY, DECEMBER 12 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 10/3/11)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: William Atherton as Dr. Ari Weiss, Andy Umberger as Johnny Rosen, Judith Hoag as Cynthia Hamilton, Shaun Toub as Dr. Philip Boyd, Jordan Belfi as Beau Randolph, Jared Hillman as Eddie Peck.

"Head Case" was written by David Grae and directed by Holly Dale.

Joss Whedon discusses 'The Avengers,' 'tussling' with Mark Ruffalo and 'Dr. Horrible'

The opening of "The Avengers" is less than six months away, and it's no stretch to say that the movie is one of the two or three most heavily anticipated movies of summer 2012.

But no pressure or anything, Joss Whedon. The fanboy hero directed and co-wrote the film -- which is by a long shot the biggest feature production he's ever taken on -- and says he found himself having to balance the story needs of all the primary characters with huge, heavily choreographed action scenes. No small task, that.

"I had one week where we shot basically the entire team arguing. I was like, 'If I can get through this week, no bullet can harm me,'" Whedon says in an interview with Yahoo Movies. "And that week actually was complex, but went off really, really well.

"Then we got to the cars exploding, and I realized, 'Well, this is actually much harder.' And what's harder about it was ... trying to keep action from being generic -- from being the same gag over and over and over -- it's extremely tough. ... I ended up spending as much time writing the stunts as I did writing the dialogue. Just trying to keep track of who everybody was, what they were capable of, and keeping it from being repetitive. So the thing that I feared was, it's never the bullet that you see coming."

Whedon also talked about working with the cast on molding their characters, making the action fit the story and the chances for another installment of "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. You can read the full interview here; some highlights are below.

Collaborating with Mark Ruffalo on shaping the Hulk character: "Both of us agreed upfront that the template for who we wanted this guy to be in his life was Bill Bixby, the TV [show character] who was busy helping other people. That was more interesting to us than the Banner in the first two movies who was always fixated on curing himself. ... We even fought some. I mean literally we actually got some pads out and did some tussling. Just to talk about the physicality, and also the physicality of somebody who has to control this thing, and the way he moves in space and the way he relates to the people and the objects around him. It was extremely fun."

Samuel L. Jackson's role as Nick Fury: "This is something that I was very pleased that Marvel actually mandated -- they were very interested in keeping him, not just in the sort of mystery of how the organization operates, but a real moral gray area where you really have to decide, 'Is Nick Fury the most manipulative guy in the world? Is he a good guy? Is he completely Machiavellian or is it a bit of both?' And that was really fun to tweak."

The chances for a "Dr. Horrible" sequel: "We have been working on that for a while. It's been hard, because we all have jobs, and some of them are extremely taxing. But we have had a vision of the thing for a while, we have been working on it, we have a bunch of songs and a few scenes. We need a little free time and right now that's plenty hard to come by."

"The Avengers" opens May 4, 2012.

CASTLE: Cuffed

"Cuffed" - When Castle and Beckett wake up in bed, handcuffed together, in a locked room with no memory of how they got there, they must piece together the mystery of where they are and why, all while trying to escape. But as the two of them adjust to being shackled together, what's the biggest threat they face... the people who abducted them or each other? Meanwhile, Ryan, Esposito and Gates are left to investigate their disappearance in a case where all is not what it seems, on "Castle," MONDAY, DECEMBER 5 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Darin Heames as Agent Chuck Martinez, Brian Jones as State Trooper McNichols, Deborah Van Valkenburgh as Ruth Spurloch, Brett Wagner as Jack Spurloch, Brad Carter as Bobby Spurloch.

"Cuffed" was written by Terri Edda Miller & Andrew Marlowe and directed by John Terlesky.

SUBURGATORY: The Nutcracker

"The Nutcracker" - When Tessa overhears George break up with his girlfriend, Zoe, on Skype, she blames herself for his failed relationship and decides that she's going to get them back together. Unbeknownst to her, though, George is really enamored with Tessa's cute art teacher, Aimee. He admits to Mr. Wolfe that he's over dating crazy city women, and that he's looking for love in the burbs. George decides to embrace the holiday spirit with a tree trimming party complete with ex-girlfriend, potential new girlfriend and the Royces, and he soon finds himself under the mistletoe with a special someone, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"The Nutcracker" guest stars Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Gloria Votsis as Zoe, Ellen Woglom as Aimee, Edward Padilla as Javier, Jay Mohr as Steven Royce, Raymond Ma as Mr. Yee, Alice Lo as Mrs. Lee and Deena Dill as Bliss.

"The Nutcracker" was written by Patricia Breen and directed by Randy Zisk.

SUBURGATORY: Pilot

"Pilot" -- When single dad George moves 16-year-old daughter Tessa out of their NYC apartment to a house in the suburbs, it's because he wants a better place for her to spend her teen years. Tessa and George have been on their own ever since Tessa's mom pulled a "Kramer vs. Kramer." So far George has done a pretty good job of raising Tessa, but lately he's feeling a little out of his league, especially after he finds a pack of condoms in her room. So it's goodbye New York City and hello suburbs. At first Tessa is horrified by the big-haired, fake-boobed mothers and their sugar-free, Red Bull-chugging kids. But she and her dad slowly begin to find ways to survive, and while being in the 'burbs certainly can be hell, it also may just bring Tessa and George closer than they've ever been, on "Suburgatory," TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6 (9:30-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 9/28/11)

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Lerner and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

Guest starring in "Pilot" are Ana Gasteyer ("Saturday Night Live"), Maestro Harrell as Malik, Arden Myrin as Jocelyn and Ryan Shay as Parker Young.

SUBURGATORY: Don't Call Me Shirley

"Don't Call Me Shirley" - Tessa is excited to see some action in the suburbs when Sheila Shay's Shirley Temple doll collection is stolen, but not so thrilled at the consequences -- Dallas and Dalia are afraid of being burglarized so they crash at the Altmans' -- on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 30 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 10/19/11)

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Lerner and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"Don't Call Me Shirley" guest stars Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Maestro Harrell as Malik Davis, Abbie Cobb as Kimantha and Edward Padilla as Javier.

"Don't Call Me Shirley" was written by Patricia Breen and directed by Ken Whittingham.

CASTLE: Heroes & Villains

"Heroes & Villains" - When an ex-con is mysteriously slain in an alley, Castle and Beckett believe a vigilante is behind the murder. But efforts to identify their suspect are thwarted when they discover that he roams the city in a Superhero costume -- and may indeed be a Superhero. Can they capture and unmask the killer before he strikes again?, on "Castle," MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 9/26/11)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Eric Tiede as Mike Hoover, Valerie Azlynn as Ann Hastings, Jamie McShane as Tony "The Butcher" Valtini, Hank Harris as Chad Hockney, Kenneth Mitchell as Paul Whittaker.

"Heroes & Villains" was written by David Amann and directed by Jeff Bleckner.

2012 People's Choice Award Nominations

Voting begins today for all 43 categories and will end on Dec. 6, 2011, except for "Favorite New TV Drama" and "Favorite New TV Comedy" which will remain open for voting until the night of show. The People's Choice Awards air live Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012 at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

Favorite TV Drama Actor:
David Boreanaz
Hugh Laurie
Ian Somerhalder
Nathan Fillion
Patrick Dempsey

Favorite TV Crime Drama:
Bones
Castle
Criminal Minds
CSI
NCIS

Favorite New TV Comedy:
2 Broke Girls
Allen Gregory
Last Man Standing
Man Up!
New Girl
Suburgatory
Up All Night
Whitney

SUBURGATORY: Thanksgiving

"Thanksgiving" - Depressed that she has to spend Thanksgiving in the suburbs, Tessa convinces Dallas to take her to the city for a girls' day out. During their fun day, they run across George making out with a woman while he was supposed to be "working." Angry with George for lying to her, Tessa confronts him during the Royces' Thanksgiving dinner. Meanwhile Lisa refuses to wear a special dress Sheila picked out for her, so Sheila decides to literally turn up the heat, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"Thanksgiving" guest stars Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Parker Young as Ryan Shay, Jay Mohr as Steven Royce, Chris Parnell as Fred Shay, Dan Sachoff as Gary Shay, Jeremy Howard as Jasper, Courtney Merritt as Jenna Werner, Gillian Vigman as Jill Werner, Gloria Votsis as Zoe, Madison Carlon as Bellah Crawford as Shay niece No. 1, Madeleine Claire as Shay niece No. 2, Evan Arnold as Chef Alan, Mo Collins as Trish Shay and Bambadjan Bamba as street vendor.

"Thanksgiving" was written by Emily Kapnek and directed by Alex Hardcastle.

CASTLE: Kill Shot

"Kill Shot" -- A sniper on a killing spree is terrorizing New York City. With the clock ticking down to the next murder and nothing to go on except a killer with no apparent motive but to instill terror, this could prove the team's toughest case yet. The hunt is made even more complicated when Beckett begins to experience increasingly strong moments of PTSD - moments she tries hard to hide from Castle and the detectives -- on "Castle," MONDAY, NOVEMBER 21 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Michael Dorn as Psychiatrist Carter Burke, Troy Winbush as Marcus Ford, Christina Ferraro as Sarah Vasquez, Alexis Carra as Julie, Tony Elias as Chris Nunez.

"Kill Shot" was written by Alexi Hawley and directed by David M. Barrett.

Summer Glau Joins TNT's 'Scent'

Former Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles star Summer Glau and Daryl Mitchell (Brothers) have joined TNT’s drama pilot Scent Of The Missing.

TNT’s Scent Of The Missing, executive produced by co-writers Carol Mendelsohn, Melissa R. Byer & Treena Hancock and Barry Josephson, centers on Susannah (Tricia Helfer), a tenacious, strong-willed K-9 Search and Rescue volunteer who works with an equally determined partner — her mischievous golden retriever, Puzzle. Glau, repped by UTA and the Schiff Co., will play a new member of the K-9 Search and Rescue team who is beautiful and very wealthy but much tougher than she looks. UTA-rpped Mitchell will play a wheelchair-bound former military sergeant who serves as the communications technician for the team. Production on the pilot, based on the book by Susannah Charleson, is slated to begin in late November.

Joss Whedon working on new project ... yes, another one

Seriously, does this man ever sleep? Joss Whedon, the geek king who's hand has graced "The Avengers," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and the completely-done-in-secret feature film adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" has announced a brand new project.

Whedon and his wife, Kai Cole, have formed a "micro-studio" called Bellwether Pictures. Their first project? A supernatural romance called "In Your Eyes."

According to Deadline. the film "tells a metaphysical love story about two seemingly polar opposites who are deeply connected in ways neither could have ever imagined." (No one freak out and start making "Twilight" comparisons. Whedon's vamps and monsters are scary!)

Brin Hill will direct, with Cole and Michael Roiff producing through his company Night & Day Pictures. Whedon will exec produce. The film begins shooting in February.

The always witty Whedon tells Deadline, "I didn't have the wherewithal (or the moxie) to make it without an established production house. I believe, as I did then, that it's a pretty timeless romance, and now, with the creation of Bellwether Pictures (and Brin Hill's elegant, passionate take on the piece) I have the opportunity to prove it. (I also have a 37 percent increase in moxie.)"

SUBURGATORY: Sweet Sixteen

"Sweet Sixteen" - When Tessa tells Dallas that she wants a simple get together for her sixteenth birthday, Dallas convinces her to let Dalia plan the ultimate birthday extravaganza at the country club, complete with a live performance by her favorite band, specialty drinks and go-go cages. Meanwhile George throws his back out and Sheila Shay (Ana Gasteyer) takes it upon herself to care for him, even though George is terrified of her, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"Sweet Sixteen" guest stars Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Maestro Harrell as Malik, Jamie Denbo as Deena Doogan, Katelyn Pacitto as Kaitlyn, Kara Pacitto as Kenzie, Abbie Cobb as Kimantha, Courtney Schleinkoffer as waitress, Jake Richardson as front man, Dana Powell as Rhonda, Deena Dill as Bliss and Brooke Baumer as Lucille.

"Charity Case" was written by Corinne Marshall and directed by Adam Davidson.

Joss Whedon films secret 'Much Ado About Nothing' adaptation

(Poster) This is so weird and also very exciting. Sunday night (Oct. 23), Nathan Fillion tweeted, "Oh, it's real. Very. Very. Real. muchadothemovie.com," which sent a cavalcade of fans scrambling to the aforementioned website.

What one found at the URL was the above picture, which seems to imply Joss Whedon has made a "Much Ado About Nothing" adaptation that features some of his most beloved alumni - Fillion of "Firefly," Sean Maher of "Firefly," Amy Acker of "Angel," Alexis Denisof of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" and Tom Lenk of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

The Wrap is reporting that someone close to the production confirms the news - the source says Whedon wrote and directed the movie and that filming has wrapped.

Sean Maher was also tweeting about it, saying, "Surprise! We just wrapped today... " and "I promise you it's the real deal and we're VERY excited about it!"

Cool! We loved the 1993 version starring Emma Thompson, Kenneth Branagh, Denzel Washington and Kate Beckinsale. We can't wait to see the play Whedon-ized. We would have to think that because their names are at the top, Amy and Alexis are the Benedick and Beatrice this time around? Excellent.

CASTLE: Heartbreak Hotel

"Heartbreak Hotel" - During the investigation of the murder of an Atlantic City casino owner at an abandoned warehouse, strong leads emerge for the team in both New York and Atlantic City. As Beckett and Capt. Gates work the New York leads together, Castle naturally chooses to join the detectives for the road trip to "America's Playground," hoping to help solve the case while throwing an impromptu bachelor party for Ryan. Richard Burgi ("Desperate Housewives") guest stars as Charlie Turner, the slick business partner of the victim, on "Castle," MONDAY, NOVEMBER 7 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Richard Burgi as Charlie Turner, Laura Regan as Rebecca Siegal, Susie Castillo as Nadine Espinoza, Eric Ladin as Daniel Sullivan, David Figlioli as Ralph Marino.

"Heartbreak Hotel" was written by Elizabeth Davis and directed by Bill Roe.

CASTLE: Cops & Robbers

"Cops & Robbers" -- When Castle and Martha are taken hostage by a crew of bank robbers dressed in hospital scrubs and using classic television doctor names (Trapper John M.D., Dr. Huxtable, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and Dr. Doogie Howser), Beckett finds herself on the outside, desperately trying to rescue them -- which proves to be even more difficult with a by-the-book hostage negotiator (guest star Dean Norris, "Breaking Bad") watching her every move. Castle becomes the de facto leader of the hostages, which includes Barry Livingston ("My Three Sons"), and discovers that the robbery is actually a skillfully orchestrated distraction for an even more sinister plan. But with Castle stuck on the inside and Beckett on the outside, will either be able to foil the bank robbers' plans before it is too late? "Castle" airs MONDAY, OCTOBER 31 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Dean Norris as Captain John Davis, Barry Livingston as Abe, Darren Pettie as Trapper John, Jonah Wharton as Dr. Howser, Noa Dori as Dr. Quinn, and Ty Upshaw as Dr. Huxtable.

"Cops & Robbers" was written by Terence Paul Winter and directed by Bryan Spicer.

SUBURGATORY: Charity Case

"Charity Case" - Irritated by all the cafeteria waste at school, Tessa motivates the student body to get involved with giving back. Unfortunately their charity of choice involves helping residents of Florida improve their complexions. When Tessa introduces a homeless transsexual to the student body as part of a lesson, they decide that Tessa is really the person in need. Meanwhile George receives a large dental bill from Noah, which puts a strain on their relationship, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 2 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"Charity Case" guest stars Maestro Harrell as Malik, Katelyn Pacitto as Kaitlyn, Kara Pacitto as Kenzie, Abbie Cobb as Kimantha, Jake Borelli as Boy, Christopher Gehrman as Shopkeeper, Kate Micucci as Cindy, Livia Trevino as Maid and Griffin Matthews as Gladys.

"Charity Case" was written by Adam Barr and directed by Ken Whittingham.

Suburgatory Get Full Season

For Emily VanCamp, Revenge is sweet. ABC has given a full-season order to the contemporary take on The Count of Monte Cristo, TVGuide.com has confirmed. Suburgatory, starring Jane Levy and Jeremy Sisto, has also been picked up for a full season. Executive-produced by Mike Kelley, Revenge debuted to 10.15 million viewers. Its latest outing on Wednesday drew 7.9 million viewers. Suburgatory, which follows a single dad who uproots his daughter from New York proper to the suburbs, debuted to 9.8 million viewers, marking a 27 percent improvement over last year's tenant of the time slot, Better With You. The latest episode drew 8.7 million viewers.

Rapper Releases Tribute to Joss Whedon's Firefly

(Listen) Former attorney-turned-rapper releases a big damn tribute to the cult sci-fi western series.

Starring the ever-cool Nathan Fillion, TV series Firefly sadly didn't last too long on the air, despite receiving high praise and developing a huge fan following. However, fans of Joss Whedon's cult series have something new to rock out with when running their next marathon of the sci-fi western; a full-length nerdcore rap album titled The Browncoats Mixtape.

Produced by Adam WarRock, a former attorney and now the internet's foremost "comic book rapper," The Browncoats Mixtape is probably the coolest musical tribute to the series ever, and features samples from both the TV show and the follow-up film Serenity. A subgenre of hip-hop, Nerdcore has a heavy focus on topics like science, Star Wars and Harry Potter. WarRock himself has written tracks covering all sorts of things nerdy and geek, ranging from Fallout 3, X-Men super hero Nightcrawler, to never having watched an episode of Doctor Who.

The lyrics in The Browncoats Mixtape are full of devotion to the crew of the good ship Serenity, with tracks like "Vera" describing the life of mercenary Jayne Cobb (played by Adam Baldwin) or "Still Flyin'" being all about the ever-cheerful mechanic Kaylee (played by Jewel Straite). It makes an excellent addition to the music collection of fans of either nerdcore or Firefly.

The best part? You can nab the entire 15-track set here for free.

CASTLE: Demons

"Demons" - Castle & Beckett confront the possibility of paranormal foul play when a world renown ghost hunter is mysteriously murdered while investigating a haunting at a legendary New York mansion, on "Castle," MONDAY, OCTOBER 24 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Juliana Dever as Jenny Duffy-O'Malley, Frederic Lehne as Addison Smith, Mark Harelik as Pete Benton, Vernee Watson as Mercy LaGrande, Philipp Karner as Jack Sinclair.

"Demons" was written by Rob Hanning and directed by Bill Roe.

SUBURGATORY: Halloween

"Halloween" - Tessa channels her inner "suburban girl" for a Halloween costume, but it ends up spooking her friends and everyone at school since she reminds them of a recently "departed" resident of Chatswin. And George is determined to prove to Halloween-hater Dallas that being scared can be fun, but gets a scare of his own when Steven Royce (guest star Jay Mohr), Dallas' husband, finally comes home from one of his many business trips, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce, Alan Tudyk as Noah Werner, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay and Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe.

"Halloween" guest stars Jay Mohr as Steven Royce, Maestro Harrell as Malik Davis and Chloe Bridges as Misty Covington.

"Halloween" was written by Andrew Guest and directed by Adam Davidson.

Firefly's Jewel Staite on Sam's First Supernatural Kiss, Eating Brains

Eating brains was only part of the pleasure for Jewel Staite when she guest-starred on Friday's episode of The CW's Supernatural (9/8c).

"I saw that Jensen [Ackles] was directing," Staite tells TVGuide.com. "He's an old friend of mine, so I thought, 'Ooooh, fun! That would be great.' Luckily it all worked out. When you get on a show where one of the actors is directing, it can go either way. Sometimes they can stress out if they have too much on their plate, but he was so calm and so cool and so collected. He just really impressed me. We had some days we didn't even go the full 12 hours of shooting. We were let out early because he knew exactly what he wanted and when he got it, he moved on."

In the episode "The Girl Next Door," Staite plays a demon who knew Sam (Jared Padalecki) when they were both children. Despite her habit of eating brains (what's a hungry demon to do?), they struck up an adolescent romance. More than a decade later, Sam will investigate a case in which he'll again encounter his childhood friend.

Like her character, Staite also has certain appetites. The self-professed foodie and budding food blogger shared with us details on Sam's young demon love, her latest projects and where she plans to eat next. (Plus, check out our on-the-set video of Ackles and Padalecki dishing on the new season.)

You're quite busy, but I see you found time to contribute to your food blog, HappyOpu.net.

Jewel Staite: Yeah, I'm trying to kind of branch out and blog about Toronto since I'm here. I just wrapped a series...I've been doing over the last few months. It's about a group of young actors and musicians and dancers in Hollywood trying to make it. Then I'm going to try and blog New York because I'm headed there next. I've never been to San Francisco. I'm dying to go. I heard that that's one of the best food cities.

Speaking of food, your Supernatural character is kind of hungry ...

Staite: (laughs) I like that segue. Yes, she is kind of hungry, isn't she?

What can you tell us about your character Amy?

Staite: She's a special type of demon, but she's a demon with a heart of gold. She's just doing what she has must to survive and take care of herself and her family. She's Sam's long-lost love from childhood and she kind of comes back and takes him by surprise and throws him for a bit of a loop.

Is it just brains that she eats? Can you clarify how she does it?

Staite: Yes, kind of. She sort of sucks out the brains. It's not as messy as it sounds. It's a clean demon-killing.

She seems to have a conscience. Does she only target low-life victims?

Staite: She tries her best to do that, but sometimes the hunger is too much and she kind of slips up.

Is she in any way like you -- a foodie and oenophile? What wine would she pair with these thugs' brains?

Staite: That's so funny! I don't know if she's that much of a wine drinker, honestly. She sort of strikes me more as a beer girl. I think beer goes better with brains.

What can you say about the relationship history that Amy has with Sam?

Staite: I think the most important part of their relationship history is that I was his first kiss. Amy was Sam's first demon kiss. I can hold that claim to fame, which I'm quite proud of.

Is your character somehow involved with the case that he's investigating?

Staite: Not really, well, a little bit. I think she's the last person that he expects to see, let's put it that way.

What does she feel about him now? And you mentioned that she has a family?

Staite: She has a son that she's trying to take care of. He takes precedence over everything else. I think she has a soft spot for Sam and she cares about him. They have good memories together I think. She doesn't want to hurt him, but she will if she has to in order to protect her son.

Is there a possibility of seeing Amy again after this episode? Would you want to come back if they made it possible?

Staite: Well, I don't want to give too much away, but I would absolutely be willing to. That crew was so much fun. All they do is laugh on that set. That's literally all they do. I think I laughed for three straight days. I would love to go back.

When I saw a sneak peek of the episode at Comic-Con, there's a joke in there, when Amy goes by the name "Amy Pond." Were you aware that's a Doctor Who reference (one of the current Doctor's companions)?

Staite: It was already in the script when I read it. I'm not a Doctor Who fan, and I had no idea about that until I mentioned it to some sci-fi fans. They were all like, "Oh my God, that's hilarious!" They had to explain it to me.

Why do you think sci-fi fans are so devoted that they're willing to follow actors from one project to the next? You caught them with Firefly, and then had Stargate: Atlantis after that...

Staite: There's nothing better than a sci-fi fan, let me tell you. Once you're in with them, you're in for life. I don't know why that is. I just don't question it. I'm really grateful that they follow me from project to project and keep watching whatever I'm doing. That's probably the only reason why I'm working.

Can you talk about a funny experience you've had with a sci-fi fan?

Staite: I've had so many. So many. There's all kinds of things you see at these conventions. My favorite one was I was in this elevator with a whole bunch of sci-fi fans at a convention. One guy looked at me and said, "Has anybody ever told you that you look like Jewel Staite?" and everyone in the elevator started laughing. Then he said, "Oh, no, no, no! It's a compliment!" It was the best.

CASTLE: Eye of the Beholder

"Eye of the Beholder" - Castle & Beckett work a murder case around the theft of a valuable sculpture. Kristin Lehman ("The Killing") guest stars as Serena Kaye, a smart, sexy insurance investigator, who joins Castle & Beckett in the investigation, but she also has her eyes set on Castle, all the while hiding a very important secret from the team. Jessica Tuck ("True Blood") also guest stars as Joy McHugh, a wealthy museum benefactor who becomes a suspect in the murder investigation, on "Castle," MONDAY, OCTOBER 17 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Kristin Lehman as Serena Kaye, Jessica Tuck as Joy McHugh, Aasha Davis as Alyssa Lofters, Jessica Lundy as Myrna Ramsey, and Michael Dorn as Dr. Carter Burke.

"Eye of the Beholder" was written by Shalisha Francis and directed by John Terlesky.

SUBURGATORY: Don't Call Me Shirley

"Don't Call Me Shirley" - Tessa is excited to see some action in the suburbs when Sheila Shay's Shirley Temple doll collection is stolen, but not so thrilled at the consequences -- Dallas and Dalia are afraid of being burglarized so they crash at the Altmans' -- on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Lerner and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"Don't Call Me Shirley" guest stars Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Maestro Harrell as Malik Davis, Abbie Cobb as Kimantha and Edward Padilla as Javier.

"Don't Call Me Shirley" was written by Patricia Breen and directed by Ken Whittingham.

'Playboy Club' star Sean Maher opens up about his sexuality: 'This is my coming out ball'

Firefly alum and Playboy Club actor Sean Maher has worked steadily in Hollywood for 14 years, and during that time, he made the choice to be closeted about his personal life as a gay man — until now.

For the first time, Maher opens up about his sexuality in an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly. “I was nervous coming here today because I’ve just never talked about it,” Maher says, while sitting down to chat at Little Dom’s Italian bistro in Los Angeles’ trendy Los Feliz neighborhood, the area where the actor lives with Paul, his partner of nearly nine years, and their two children, Sophia Rose, 4, and Liam Xavier, 14 months. “But, it’s so liberating. It was interesting to be coming to have a conversation that I was always afraid to have.” Despite his trepidation, he adds with a big smile: “This is my coming out ball. I’ve been dying to do this.”

“I’ve never discussed it publicly,” the 36-year-old continues. “I’ve never been asked about it publicly, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t paint a different picture.” Maher says that not coming out wasn’t so much a choice as much as it was a reality of the business when he first came to L.A. fresh out of college back in 1997. Publicists working with him during his first Tinseltown role as the title character on Fox’s short-lived cop drama Ryan Caulfield: Year One assumed he was straight — and he didn’t tell them otherwise, out of fear. “I’m 22, I move to L.A., and it’s such a cliché, but the day I arrive, publicists from the show took me out to The Ivy for lunch,” he remembers. “They’re telling me, ‘You know, gosh, we’d really appreciate it if you could keep your girlfriend on the side because we want to appeal to the female demographic of the show.’”

Granted, Maher could have corrected his handlers, but in that instant, he decided not to. “At that moment, I didn’t think to say, ‘Oh, I’m gay,’ because right before I left New York [where he went to college at NYU], I had my manager tell me: ‘You need to get a girl on your arm or people will start talking.’ I remember telling him: ‘I’m gay.’ He had no idea. And he said: ‘All the more reason to get a girl on your arm.’ My agent was also like, ‘It’s best if you keep your options open. Maybe bisexual?’”

Despite pressure from his manager and agent, both of whom he has since parted ways with, it was ultimately Maher’s decision to stay in the closet, out of concern that he wouldn’t otherwise be able to book leading-man roles. “I kept thinking, This is my first show, I don’t want to get fired,” Maher says. “I’m thinking, What is the potential that if they caught wind that they had cast a gay lead actor that they would fire me? I was young, I was 22. I didn’t know anything. So that sort of started the idea of, okay, well, I’m working a lot, I guess I’ll just keep that gay part of my life on the back burner for now. I went so far as to sleep with women a couple times. It was a very confusing time for me.”

But being in the closet tormented Maher. “It was so exhausting, and I was so miserable,” Maher says. “I didn’t really have any life other than work and this façade I was putting on. So I kept my friends from college [where he was out] separate from my work friends, and that was very confusing. I just kept going on and on painting this picture of somebody I wasn’t. I didn’t have time for a personal relationship anyway. And you just don’t realize that it’s eating away at your soul.”

Through the years, though, Maher has slowly let the people closest to him in on his secret. Two mentors of his are Craig Zadan and Neil Meron — a pair of powerful and openly gay producers behind movies like Hairspray and Chicago, as well as TV shows like Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva — with whom he has worked with on two TV movies, ABC’s Brian’s Song (2001) and A&E’s Wedding Wars (2006). “After I did this movie called Brian’s Song, where I was another football player, one of the producers Craig would watch the dailies and said he knew immediately,” Maher remembers. “He says he knew the instant he met me, although he told me this months later. Craig was a really wonderful mentor to me because he knew, but he never asked me and never forced me to say anything. He just did his best to indirectly guide me.”

In Wedding Wars, Maher actually did play a gay character — a scary position for a gay actor attempting to appear straight. “This was where it’s still kind of tricky,” Maher remembers of the Wedding Wars time period. “We decided to do no press for it because I wasn’t ready to answer the question. Neil and Craig knew, so we just decided, okay, I was a supporting character anyway. The press was going to fall on [star] John Stamos anyway.”

The role for which Maher is probably most well-known is Dr. Simon Tam, a surgeon on the run after breaking his sister River (Summer Glau, who he’s pictured with here) out of a research facility, on the cult TV series Firefly and follow-up feature Serenity, both created by Joss Whedon. Maher remembers those projects as some of his best — even though his personal life was still off-limits during that time. “Looking back, on Firefly for instance, I do wish on day one I had told them because these are some of the most amazing people who are still like family to me,” Maher says. “I am so grateful for that show because they saved me. I was so unhappy and lonely and to come to work everyday with that group was wonderful. It really was all I had at that point in my life.”

Although there have been famous cases of homophobia in Hollywood (ex. when Isaiah Washington called fellow actor T.R. Knight a gay slur on the set of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and was subsequently fired), Maher says he never encountered much hostility — mostly because he was never out and was very adept at acting straight. “Because I was never out, I was never addressed in a negative way to my face,” Maher says. “Although I witnessed a lot of it, whether it be making fun of gays or gay jokes. I just bit my tongue or looked the other way. That was part of the reason that I didn’t come out earlier — because there was an energy on set, and I felt like my being gay would have offset that, especially with the crew.”

Does Maher regret spending 14 years in the closet professionally? “I don’t think I have regrets,” he responds. “I do believe that sort of this journey took me to the place where I got and I don’t think I would feel so strongly about doing what I’m doing now had I not suffered for the years that I did.”

Having a family is what ultimately what made Maher want to be honest about his sexuality. “I have these beautiful children and this extraordinary family,” Maher says, “and to think in any way shape or form that that’s wrong or that there’s shame in that or that there’s something to hide actually turns my stomach.” Maher kept thinking about what daughter Sophia would say when she realized he was closeted professionally. “What would she think if I said, ‘Oh honey, you can’t come with me to work because they don’t know I have an adopted daughter and they don’t know that I’m gay.’ My children and our family, I’ve really never been as proud of anything in my life. I couldn’t be happier at this point in my life, and I feel like we’ve created this pretty extraordinary family.”

So, why does this revelation come now? Maher decided to use his role on NBC’s The Playboy Club — a character coincidentally also named Sean, a closeted man who’s married to lesbian Playboy Bunny Alice (Leah Renee Cudmore) – to finally engage in a dialogue about how being closeted has strained his life in Hollywood. “I was working on other stuff, and then this role came up, which was like a light bulb going off,” Maher remembers. “I was like, This is perfect. I want to do this, and I want to use it as a platform to come out.”

As viewers saw in the premiere episode on Sept. 19, his character is involved with launching the Chicago chapter of the Mattachine Society, an underground gay-rights group from the ’50s and ’60s. The organization is scarcely remembered, but was the subject of a recent play, The Temperamentals, that launched in New York City starring Ugly Betty alum Michael Urie. “That’s part of the reason I wanted to do it so badly,” Maher says, “because I do think it’s a story that needs to be told.”

Although Maher was only seen in a handful of scenes in the premiere episode, his character Sean’s storyline gets bigger in the coming weeks. For starters, he becomes the campaign manager for Playboy Club staple Nick (Eddie Cibrian), who’s running for state’s attorney. “There’s some great stuff in the next episode when we have my parents over for dinner,” Maher says. “It’s a beard-y situation. When are we having grandkids comes up, but there is actually two things we’re hiding: There’s the gay thing for both of us, but then also the Playboy Club thing. [His parents] would be mortified if they knew she worked in the Club. So there’s lots of things we’re keeping hidden.”

In the end, coming out publicly is what Maher feels he needed to do to tie his life together, personally and professionally. “Creatively, I feel so much more open and free, and I am so happy on The Playboy Club,” he says. “I think it’s because I’ve never been so open on set. All of the relationships that I have off-camera, I never would have allowed five years ago. It feels so liberating.”

CASTLE: Kick the Ballistics

"Kick the Ballistics" - While investigating the mysterious shooting death of a young woman, Castle and Beckett face a cop's worst nightmare when they discover that the gun used in the killing is Det. Ryan's old service weapon - the one that was stolen by the serial killer, 3XK. Now with the clock ticking, the team must work to solve the murder, track down 3XK and retrieve Ryan's gun before the killer strikes again, on "Castle," MONDAY, OCTOBER 10 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Billy Lush as Finn McQueen, Ross McCall as Seth Carver, Francois Chau as Clifford Lee, Lanny Joon as Philip Lee, Tim Jo as Ben Lee.

"Kick the Ballistics" was written by Moira Kirland and directed by Rob Bowman.

SUBURGATORY:The Chatterer

"The Chatterer" - George joins the PTA and quickly becomes well-liked by the other moms, but in the process former PTA queen bee Sheila Shay starts to feel threatened. Meanwhile Tessa joins the school newspaper and helps Malik (Maestro Harrell) revamp it into a tabloid-style paper, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 12 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Lerner and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"The Chatterer" guest stars Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Maestro Harrell as Malik, Arden Myrin as Jocelyn, Jaime Denbo as Deena Doogan, Kate Pacitto as Kaitlyn, Kara Pacitto as Kenzie and Abbie Cobb as Kimantha.

"The Chatterer" was written by Emily Kapnek and directed by Michael Fresco.

Nathan Fillion, Tim Daly and Michael Rosenbaum Join an All-Star Cast for Justice League: Doom

Here comes the Justice League! An all-star cast has been assembled to provide voices for the iconic team of superheroes in Justice League: Doom, the latest animated DVD-movie in Warner Home Video's series of DC Comics adaptations. Castle star Nathan Fillion will reprise the role of Green Lantern, which he first played in Green Lantern: Emerald Knights. He'll be joined by Tim Daly and Kevin Conroy, the longtime voices for Superman and Batman, respectively. Rounding out the cast are several of Conroy's old costars from Cartoon Network's 2001-06 Justice League series (known as Justice League Unlimited in later seasons): Smallville's Michael Rosenbaum as the Flash, Alias alum Carl Lumbly as Martian Manhunter and veteran voice actress Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman. Cyborg, a character not seen on Justice League, joins the group for this movie and will be played by Bumper Robinson (The Game).

The movie, due to be released in early 2012 on DVD, Blu-ray, digital download and on-demand, is based on the popular DC storyline JLA: Tower of Babel, written by Mark Waid. The plot: Batman's secret contingency plans to defeat his own teammates (should any of them go rogue) are stolen and put into action by a group of super villains.

Once again running the show behind the scenes is executive producer Bruce Timm, the man responsible for dozens of beloved animated superhero projects, including the original Justice League. Lauren Montgomery, a veteran of several animated movies in this series, including the upcoming Batman: Year One, is the director. The script was written by acclaimed animation/comic book writer Dwayne McDuffie, who passed away earlier this year.

A trailer for Justice League: Doom will premiere at New York Comic Con on Friday, Oct. 14, and is featured on the Batman: Year One DVD, which goes on sale Tuesday, Oct. 18.

See Why Nathan Fillion Gets a Kick Out of Twitter

A few months ago Nathan Fillion was literally stalked by a Twitter follower. He reacted the same way any other Hollywood actor would: He took a picture with the guy, and then tweeted it.

Fillion is best known these days for playing the crime-solving Richard Castle in ABC's Castle, but in the "Twitterverse," he's revered for his geek-chic resume (he starred on Joss Whedon's Firefly and in his online-only Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog) and his must-follow Twitter feed. Whether it's his goofy musings or completely random photo uploads, fans can't get enough of Fillion's good-natured tweets. We spoke with him about his love for Twitter, how he thinks actors should use it and what he'll do when he hits the 1 million mark.

TVGuide.com: You've really embraced the idea of using Twitter as a conversation with your fans. How were you first introduced to it?

Nathan Fillion: Twitter was forced on me by [Horrible co-star] Felicia Day, already a Web celebrity herself. We were sitting at dinner and she had me download the Twitter application and sign up. Then she went on her Twitter and said, "OK, everyone, Nathan Fillion is now on Twitter." I came home to 2,000 emails saying "You have a new follower on Twitter." I turned off the email notifications after that.

TVGuide.com: Were you hooked right away?

Fillion: I was. I had tried MySpace and Facebook -- mostly because people were out there posing as me. But I found it all too demanding of my time. What I love about Twitter is that it's forced brevity. The 140-character maximum really forces you to be concise. I like the immediacy of it, and the fact that you can reach so many people in an instant; it blows my mind.

TVGuide.com: How did you get such a large following?

Fillion: Thanks to Felicia Day, I got 2,000 followers immediately. I don't know how it built up from there, but I do know that I'm getting close to a million. I think at a million, I'm gonna...make a cake -- and tweet a picture of it.

TVGuide.com: A lot of celebrities have their publicists tweet for them. Have you always controlled your own account?

Fillion: I know of people who don't do it for themselves and to me that's just... come on. It's 140 characters; you really can't handle that? It's important to me, because if someone's following you on Twitter, they really ought to be following you on Twitter. If it's my Twitter, I want you to see what I'm doing. I want you to see what's going on with me.

TVGuide.com: Have you had any strange Twitter experiences?

Fillion: I was in New York City and I was sitting in a park and they were mowing the lawn, so I tweeted a picture of it and said to people, "Guess where I am?" As I started to walk, the tweets started coming in, saying, "Oh! You're in this park right across the street from my office! I can't believe you're here! I'm looking out my office window looking for you!" Then I went down the street and took a picture of Radio City Music Hall and said, "Guess where I am now?" I walked two more blocks, sat on a bench, and had a cup of coffee. All of the sudden this kid came up to me and goes, "Hey! I work in the neighborhood! I saw your tweets and I thought, I have to find you! I got a guy to cover for me at work because I had to try and get your autograph!" It was so funny. This kid was all out of breath and sweating and can you imagine him tracking my tweets? It killed me! So I took a picture with him and tweeted it.

TVGuide.com: Do you think actors and actresses who aren't into social media are doing themselves a disservice?

Fillion: I don't. I think as an actor, your job is to act, to tell stories. You are providing entertainment, that is your job. I don't think it's your job to sign 8-by-10 photographs and send them out to your fans. I don't think it's your job to do a radio tour at 5 a.m. Your job is to portray a character, tell a portion of the story, and do your part in entertaining. I think there are benefits, but I don't think that it's necessary for your job. Me personally? I get a kick out of it.

'Castle' premiere: Nathan Fillion says Castle suspects Beckett lied, has secrets of his own

We got a tease of where Season 4 will take "Castle" from star Stana Katic -- but now that we can talk candidly about how Beckett survived her Season 3 shooting, remembers Castle's (Nathan Fillion) declaration of love and is still in danger, where do things go from here?

Zap2it spoke with Fillion about the season premiere, and he tells us his character is committed to keeping Beckett away from the investigation into her mother's murder. This is doubly unfortunate, because it's something she needs to take care of before opening herself up to a relationship with him.

Maybe that's why the premiere, "Rise," included a three-month time jump in which a recovering Beckett never called Castle once.

"Life beats Castle up, but he recovers so quickly," says Fillion. "But I think he's a forgiving man, and I think fences are mended easily with him. She does eventually come to him, and he expresses some dissatisfaction, but then he gets back on board."

Not that an apology was all he needed to get back into the 12th Precinct. Montgomery's replacement, Captain Gates (Penny Johnson Jerald), is not a fan of either Castle or Beckett. The season premiere offers a taste of their head-butting, but both stars tell us that the conflict will get worse before its resolved.

"Here's a guy who is very comfortable around women and rides on his charm constantly," says Fillion. "This is not a woman who will be charmed. This is not a woman who will be flirted with. You can't be coy with her. She will not be won over, and I think that's something that really bothers Castle."

Castle actually faces more resistance to his involvement with the NYPD than ever before, with not just the by-the-book captain to contend with, but his increasingly skeptical mother (Susan Sullivan) and daughter (Molly Quinn).

"He's not going to stop what he's doing, but they do have a valid opinion as far as how his actions affect them," he says. "He's making some pretty dangerous choices investigating the murder of Beckett's mother. It's putting him in with some very dangerous bedfellows... They're going to be affected by his choices."

This leaves few people for him to confide in, but secrets seem to be a running theme for Season 4.

"He certainly suspects something," Fillion says of Beckett pretending that she doesn't remember what Castle said to her after the shooting. "But at the same time, he's lying to her as well. He knows that if she is to continue with the investigation of her mother's murder, her life will be in danger. So he's trying to steer that away from that without telling her."

SUBURGATORY: Barbecue

"The Barbecue" - Tessa is horrified when she finds herself unexpectedly attracted to her exact opposite, her jock suburban neighbor (Parker Young as Ryan Shay, son of Sheila Shay), and George is pressured by the town to throw the perfect barbecue, on "Suburgatory," WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto as George Altman, Jane Levy as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk as Noah Lerner and Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce.

"The Barbecue" guest stars Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Parker Young as Ryan Shay, Abbie Cobb as Kimantha, Tom Yi as Mr. Seigel, Justin Prentice as Joey, Edward Padilla as Javier, Alex Boling as Alex and Todd Sherry as Tom.

"The Barbecue" was written by Bob Kushell and directed by Michael Fresco.

CASTLE: Head Case

"Head Case" - Gunshots, a fleeing van and a massive blood pool all point to murder, but when Castle & Beckett arrive at the crime scene, they discover that it lacks something - the victim! The investigation leads to the cutting-edge world of life-extension science, a cunning high-tech researcher (guest star William Atherton), and a sleazy porn mogul who invested in a modern-day "fountain of youth." Meanwhile, Alexis finds out whether she got into Stanford, on "Castle," MONDAY, OCTOBER 3 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: William Atherton as Dr. Ari Weiss, Andy Umberger as Johnny Rosen, Judith Hoag as Cynthia Hamilton, Shaun Toub as Dr. Philip Boyd, Jordan Belfi as Beau Randolph, Jared Hillman as Eddie Peck.

"Head Case" was written by David Grae and directed by Holly Dale.

Fall TV Preview: Suburgatory Totally Makes Us Want to Move to the Suburbs

Suburgatory is one of the best, if not the best, new comedy coming to your TV screen this fall. Yeah, we said it.

It's really got so much going for it. A Juno-esque lead? Oh, hi Jane Levy! A hot dad? What up, Jeremy Sisto?! Shopping montage? Mean Girls-style comedy? Cheryl Hines? A bevy of Saturday Night Live alums guest starring? The gang's all here!

Here's everything you need to know about ABC's best new comedy...

Suburgatory (ABC)
Premieres: Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 8:30 p.m.
Time-Slot Competition: Survivor: South Pacific (CBS), H8R (CW), The X Factor (Fox), Free Agents (NBC)
Cast: Jane Levy, Jeremy Sisto, Carly Chaikin, Cheryl Hines, Alan Tudyk, Rex Lee, Allie Grant
Status: We've seen the pilot episode.

Tessa (Levy) is 16 years old and she is in hell. Make that a suburban hell chock full of mini-vans and perfectly manicured lawns. The reason she's been exiled to "suburgatory?" A box of condoms hidden in her nightstand, which causes George (Sisto), her protective father, to pack up their crap and move from New York City to the 'burbs.

While he thinks the move will be good for her, Tessa is horrified by the "Franken-moms" with Red Bull addictions and their kids, who change noses like most people change purses. One of these frightening mother-daughter duos? Dallas (Hines), who has an instant connection to George even though she's married, and Dalia (Chaikin), who thinks Tessa is a lesbian because she wears combat boots. Other key players include Noah (Tudyk), George's old college buddy who drank the suburban Kool-Aid, and Mr. Wilde (Lee), a high school guidance counselor.

While it's obviously an extremely exaggerated version of suburban life, you can't help but be charmed by the world Suburgatory presents because it's just so darn funny. Even though she isn't totally sold on the suburbanites, Tessa starts to see the benefits of living in a town where neighbors bring over pot roast and buy you pretty new bras because your mom never stuck around to do it.

We're just going to come out and say it: George and Tessa may just be our favorite TV father-daughter duo since Veronica Mars' Keith and Veronica. Yes, we went there again. There's a genuine affection amidst all their teasing and you can tell they both really want the other to be happy. Plus, they'll have you cracking up when they bust out their "passive-aggressive reference books" to express their feelings over breakfast. Seriously, we're thisclose to asking George to adopt us! Or at the very least ask Tessa to come our new BFF.

Suburgatory is also busting out the big (funny) guns! The show has some seriously awesome guest stars lined up, like Jay Mohr as Dallas' husband and SNL's Ana Gasteyer and Chris Parnell as George and Tessa's neighbors.

Verdict: Watch! If you're going to watch one new comedy at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, make a date with Suburgatory. Sorry, Free Agents. It's not you, it's us

SUBURGATORY: Pilot -- PREMIERE

In the premiere episode, "Pilot," Tessa (Jane Levy) and George (Jeremy Sisto) have been on their own ever since Tessa's mom pulled a "Kramer vs. Kramer." So far George has done a pretty good job of raising Tessa without a maternal figure in their lives, but suddenly he's feeling a little out of his league, especially after he finds a pack of condoms in her room. So it's goodbye New York City and hello suburbs. At first Tessa is horrified by the big-haired, fake-boobed mothers and their sugar-free, Red Bull-chugging kids. But little by little, she and her dad begin to find a way to survive on the clean streets of the 'burbs. Sure, the neighbors might smother you with love while their kids stare daggers at your back, but underneath all that plastic and caffeine, they're really not half bad. Being in the 'burbs can be hell, but it also may just bring Tessa and George closer than they've ever been.

"Suburgatory" stars Jeremy Sisto ("Law & Order") as George Altman, Jane Levy ("Shameless") as Tessa Altman, Carly Chaikin ("The Last Song") as Dalia Royce, Rex Lee ("Entourage") as Mr. Wolfe, Allie Grant ("Weeds") as Lisa Shay, Alan Tudyk ("V") as Noah Lerner and Cheryl Hines ("Curb Your Enthusiasm") as Dallas Royce.

Guest starring in "Pilot" are Ana Gasteyer ("Saturday Night Live"), Maestro Harrell as Malik, Arden Myrin as Jocelyn and Ryan Shay as Parker Young.

Emily Kapnek ("Hung") writes and executive-produces this bitingly ironic single-camera comedy. "Suburgatory" was directed by Michael Fresco ("Raising Hope"), who also executive-produced the pilot, from Warner Bros. Television.

CASTLE: Heroes & Villains

"Heroes & Villains" - When an ex-con is mysteriously slain in an alley, Castle and Beckett believe a vigilante is behind the murder. But efforts to identify their suspect are thwarted when they discover that he roams the city in a Superhero costume -- and may indeed be a Superhero. Can they capture and unmask the killer before he strikes again?, on "Castle," MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Eric Tiede as Mike Hoover, Valerie Azlynn as Ann Hastings, Jamie McShane as Tony "The Butcher" Valtini, Hank Harris as Chad Hockney, Kenneth Mitchell as Paul Whittaker.

"Heroes & Villains" was written by David Amann and directed by Jeff Bleckner.

CASTLE: Rise - SEASON PREMIERE

"Rise" - In a riveting opening that picks up just moments after last season's climactic finale, Detective Beckett (Stana Katic) fights for her life as Castle (Nathan Fillion), plagued by guilt over his role in the events, struggles to uncover who's behind her brutal shooting. Meanwhile, back at the precinct, Ryan (Seamus Dever) and Esposito (John Huertas) have to adjust, as Victoria "Iron" Gates (Penny Johnson Jerald, "24") becomes the precinct's new uncompromising Captain. The Season 4 premiere of "Castle" airs MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Geoff Pierson as mystery man, Michael Dorn as police psychiatrist, Victor Webster as Josh Davidson, Scott Paulin as Jim Beckett, John M. Jackson as Rod Halstead and Larry Anderson as Dr. Kovaks.

"Rise" was written by Andrew Marlowe and directed by Rob Bowman.

'Castle' Season 4 promo: Rick takes the news hard

The newest promo for Season 4 of "Castle" uses a lot of the same footage of the last "Castle" promo, but to much different effect.

Where that last one was all about the not-yet-consummated romance between Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett (Stana Katic), this one deals more directly with the consequences of Beckett getting shot in last season's finale. There are a couple flashes of things we haven't seen before, including Alexis (Molly Quinn) and Martha (Susan Sullivan) meeting Castle at the hospital, a quick glimpse of new boss Penny Johnson Jerald and some of Beckett's colleagues also not taking the news well.

We're not buying the flatline that runs through the promo -- we've said it before, and we'll say it again: Beckett's not dying -- but the thing that really sticks with us is the voiceover near the end of the 30-second spot: "This is my fault." Maybe not directly, but Castle pushing the investigation into Beckett's mom's death certainly contributed to Beckett taking a bullet. We'll be curious to see how the show deals with that fallout.

Take a look at the teaser below and tell us what you think. "Castle" premieres at 10 p.m. ET Monday, Sept. 19 on ABC: Promo Video.

Three Joss Whedon Alums Heading to Supernatural! Find Out Who, and What Jared Padalecki Thinks

Buffy fans, did you ever fantasize that Cordelia and Spike would run away and get hitched? No? Not even just a little bit?

Well, apparently the creative minds over at Supernatural did, 'cause they are bringing together a pretty fantastic Buffy/Angel duo: Charisma Carpenter and James Marsters. And yes, they will be married.

And that's not the only Joss Whedon alum casting.

Jewel Staite, of Firefly, also will play the grown-up version of Sam's first-season kiss in a seventh-season episode directed by star Jensen Ackles.

We just hit Supernatural's set in Vancouver, and Jared Padalecki tells us this of working with the Whedonverse peeps: "It's always nice to have somebody from the genre because they get the acting style, it's a pretty specific acting style in my opinion when you're doing a genre like this. It can't be overdramatic. It has to be kind of subtle, it has to be real." As for his thoughts on Jewel: "She's a tremendous actress and a sweetheart. I met her a few years ago at a sci-fi convention funnily enough and I kind of see her here and there and it was nice to get to work with her."

We'll see Jewel in Supernatural's third episode, and James and Charisma will pop in a bit later in the season.

"This episode is ‘Bewitched gone wrong," showrunner Sera Gamble reveals to TVLine, which first reported the casting. "[It was] all upside for this successful man (Marsters) while he was married to the witch (Carpenter), but now that he's pissed her off, the whole town is paying the price."

Supernatural has a history of casting Whedon peeps: Amber Benson (Buffy), Julie Benz (Buffy, Angel), Mark Sheppard (Dollhouse, Firefly) and Amy Acker (Dollhouse, Angel) have all appeared on the CW show.

Anyone else having a Buffy-gasm over this news?

'Castle' Season 4 promo: ABC totally ships Castle and Beckett

(Video) You know, ABC, if you want Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett (Stana Katic) together you can just take care of that yourself, right?

The network started running a new promo for the upcoming fourth season of "Castle," and, as GMMR points out, the editing resembles a Bastle (Ceckett?) fan video.

Combining the schmaltzy soundtrack of a recent clip reel dedicated to the most romantic moments between ABC's biggest "will they?/won't they?" couple and the Season 4 preview first screened at Comic-Con, the desired endgame here is indisputable.

But when Kate presumably recovers from her shooting, will she return her partner's teary confession of love? Will she even remember?

We don't expect the answers to those questions will be remotely satisfying, but it's nice to see we're not the only ones pulling for these two.

And if you're in the small portion of "Castle" fans not interested in the amorous undertones, at least you can enjoy the montage's look back at Katic's '90s hair from Season 1... which was filmed in 2008.

JEWEL STAITE WILL STAR IN AUGUST SYFY SATURDAY ORIGINAL MOVIE

Jewel Staite (Firefly) and A.J. Buckley (Supernatural) confront a devastating global catastrophe, while Battlestar Galactica alums Aaron Douglas and Paul Campbell take on a savage and legendary monster in the August Syfy Saturday Original Movies.

In Doomsday Prophecy, premiering Saturday, August 13, at 9PM (ET/PT), a book editor (Buckley) and an archeologist (Staite) hunt down a mysterious author of prophetic novels. When the writer is found dead, the editor obtains a device enabling him to see the future – an impending geological nightmare that will tear apart the planet. Doomsday Prophecy is a production of Cinetel Films.

In Killer Mountain – inspired by an ancient Himalayan legend – premiering Saturday, August 27, at 9PM (ET/PT), a team of climbers (Douglas, Campbell) is sent to a forbidden mountain to rescue a missing expedition. There, they discover that the mountain is the secret location of Shangri La -- protected by a bloodthirsty alien creature, the Druk. Killer Mountain is a production of ARO Entertainment.

Nathan Fillion Proves He's King of the Castle and Comic-Con

As Nathan Fillion took to the stage at Comic-Con for the Castle panel on Sunday amid deafening cheers, he brought along a shopping bag full of goodies for a few lucky fans. Throughout the course of the Q&A session, those audience members asking questions were presented with a signed copy of TV Guide Magazine from the whole cast, as well as a trinket from Fillion, including Green Lantern merchandise. "Use these for the power of good... or awesome," said Fillion.

A lucky fan was also brought up to the stage by moderator and TV Guide Magazine Senior Editor William Keck to fill in for missing panelist Stana Katic and reenact dialogue from the show's introduction. "They're eating it up," whispered Fillion to the blushing girl. "I'd be happy to let you spank me," Fillion added. "Was that out loud?"

His cast members were even joining in on the fun, as Molly Quinn took to the stage dressed as Fillion's Firefly character Captain Mal Reynolds. "Oh my God, I just noticed what Molly's wearing," said Fillion a few minutes into the panel. "I have a gun just like that that I can't find." "When I was having dinner with your mom, she gave me something of yours I always wanted," replied Quinn. "I found your cat, too."

Hijinks aside, the panel — also consisting of cast members Jon Huertas, Tamala Jones and Seamus Dever — revealed several upcoming storylines for the new season, including a superhero-themed episode and Beckett's fate after last season's cliffhanger. "The outcome," teased Jones, "is going to be more epic than the season finale."

'Homeland' offers new take on terrorism

Howard Gordon, executive producer of 24, will be looking at terrorism from a different angle in his new series, Showtime's Homeland.

"24 was very much wish fulfillment, good guys and bad guys," said Gordon, appearing before Comic-Con fans Thursday evening with one of the show's stars, Morena Baccarin (who played Anna on on ABc's axed V reboot).

Homeland, developed from an Israeli format and premiering Oct. 2, will move into more of the gray areas.

"Who's the hero? Who's the traitor? Who's the soldier? Who's the terrorist?" Gordon said.

In Homeland, a CIA agent, played by Claire Danes, believes a returning American prisoner of war (Damien Lewis from Band of Brothers and Life), now being treated as a hero, may have been turned against the U.S. by terrorists and made part of an attack plot.

"It's about perceptions and how people watch people," Gordon said.

'Supernatural' Season 7: 'Firefly's' Jewel Staite to guest star

"Supernatural" has a long history of inviting some of our favorite genre actresses to guest star -- including "Buffy's" Amber Benson, "Battlestar Galactica's" Tricia Helfer, and even Linda Blair, from "The Exorcist."

Sources confirm to Zap2it that Joss Whedon alum Jewel Staite has now joined the esteemed list. Staite is certainly a mainstay in the sci-fi/fantasy arena, having starred on Whedon's "Firefly" and "Serenity" as Kaylee and on "Stargate: Atlantis" as Dr. Jennifer Keller. (Some of us non sci-fi folks also remember her from the short-lived but totally awesome '90s series "Flash Forward" with Ben Foster.)

Staite will appear in the third episode this season, set to air Oct. 7, as a childhood friend of Sam's (Jared Padalecki) who he encounters on a hunt. The story will involve flashbacks -- there's no word yet on who will play the younger version of Staite's character, Amy, but we have confirmed that Colin Ford will return as 15-year-old Sam.

The episode is currently shooting in Vancouver, directed by series star Jensen Ackles. Staite has been dropping vague hints about her appearance on the show via her official Twitter. "Off to Vancouver soon to shoot a juicy role in a show u guys know! Can only drop hints at this point. #1? No spaceships. To ride in or fix," she tweeted. "It's killing me not being allowed to tell u what it is! I keep secrets like I keep diets: Not well."

What do you think of Staite's casting, "Supernatural" fans? Do you think her character will survive the episode?

CASTLE (6/19; EPISODE CHANGE)

"The Dead Pool" - When a champion swimmer and Olympic hopeful is found dead in a training pool, Castle & Beckett dive in to investigate his murder, and uncover myriad secrets that might have led to his death. Also in the episode, crime fiction authors Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane guest star, offering Castle their insights into the case over a game of poker, on "Castle," SUNDAY, JUNE 19 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 4/11/11)

Note: This episode replaces "Murder Most Fowl."

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Justin Bruening as "Rocket" Rob Tredwyck, Erik Palladino as Coach Rome, Brendan Hines as Alex Conrad, Andrew Lawrence as Tommy Marcone, Josie Loren as Bridget McManus, Michael Connelly as himself and Dennis J. Lehane as himself.

"The Dead Pool" was written by Matt Pyken and directed by Paul Holahan.

V Alum Morena Baccarin joins Showtime's Homeland

ABC's V may be dead, but its diabolical queen lives on!

Morena Baccarin has been cast in Showtime's Homeland, slated to premiere this fall, Deadline.com reports.

In the psychological thriller, CIA officer Carrie Anderson (Claire Danes) is suspicious about the intel that led to the rescue of U.S. solider Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), presumed dead for nine years. Is it possible that this is an elaborate setup connected to an Al Qaeda plot?

Baccarin, who also previously starred opposite Nathan Fillion in Firefly, will play Brody's wife, replacing Laura Fraser, who played the role in the pilot.

Whedon directed final scene in 'Thor'

Danish actor Stellan Skarsgard has let it slip that Buffy the Vampire Slayer visionary Joss Whedon directed the last scene of Thor.

Kenneth Branagh took charge of the film, but Whedon was drafted in to shoot a scene that aired after the credits, which sets up comic book fans for his The Avengers movie and features a cluster of modern movie superheroes, including Thor and Iron Man.

In the scene, Skarsgard's character Erik Selvig meets Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, who shows the scientist a mysterious glowing cube - as Thor's evil half-brother Loki looks on.

And now the Mamma Mia! star tells Empire magazine Whedon took over from Branagh for the clip.

He says, "I flew over there and went down into a basement and talked to Sam for a couple of minutes and went back... That was with the director Joss Whedon, who's doing The Avengers."

But Skarsgard refused to go into any details about the top secret The Avengers movie: "I know what's gonna happen to my character in that film, but I'm not allowed to say anything because I'd have to sell my house to pay for the fines for that."

Marvel and ABC Team for Castle-Inspired Graphic Novel

Bummed that Castle's season is ending? This ought to brighten your summer.

Marvel Entertainment and ABC Studios have teamed up to create a hardcover graphic novel inspired by the ABC's Castle, TVGuide.com has learned. Titled Richard Castle's Deadly Storm, it's the first partnership between Marvel and ABC since Disney, which owns ABC, acquired Marvel last year.

The book focuses on Derrick Storm, the protagonist of Richard Castle's most popular series of novels. Viewers may recall that Castle (Nathan Fillion) began following Beckett (Stana Katic) for inspiration for a new series of books after he made the decision to kill off Derrick Storm, with whom he'd become bored.

"We are incredibly excited to be partnering with Marvel to bring Richard Castle's early literary works to life," Castle creator and executive producer Andrew W. Marlowe said. "It's a great way to expand the Castle universe for all our fans."

The 112-page graphic novel will be written by Brian Michael Bendis (Avengers, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man) and Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain America and The Secret Avengers). Lan Medina (Fables) will handle the interior art; Carlo Pagulayan (Planet Hulk) created the cover art, which can be seen below as well as in Monday's Season 3 finale of Castle (10/9c, ABC).

This is the latest branding experiment ABC has tried with Castle. The network has already teamed with Hyperion Books to publish two novels — Heat Wave and Naked Heat — that parallel Castle's work with Beckett, the inspiration for the author's heroine Nikki Heat. A third book, Heat Rises, is due in the fall. ABC also launched RichardCastle.Net in April.

Richard Castle's Deadly Storm will be available in stores in September 2011.

CASTLE: Knockout -- SEASON FINALE (5/16)

"Knockout" - Kate Beckett's investigation into her mother's death is reactivated when Hal Lockwood (guest star Max Martini, "The Unit") - a professional hitman with knowledge of Beckett's mother's murder - stages a spectacular escape during a court hearing. As police launch a manhunt for Lockwood, Castle and the team uncover evidence of a deeper conspiracy involving a mysterious figure with law enforcement connections who is linked to both Lockwood's escape and the killing of Johanna Beckett. The search for Lockwood and the quest to identify his co-conspirator leads to a shocking and deadly conclusion, on the Season Finale of "Castle," MONDAY, MAY 16 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Max Martini as Hal Lockwood, Brian Goodman as Gary McCallister, Scott Paulin as Jim Beckett, Matt McTighe as Chuck Ryker.

"Knockout" was written by Will Beall and directed by Rob Bowman.

CASTLE: Pretty Dead (5/9)

"Pretty Dead" - During rehearsal for "Baron's All-American Beauty Pageant," the contestants are shocked to discover the body of Miss Illinois - strangled, but by whom? As Castle and Beckett delve into the cut-throat competition of the pageant world, they learn that a number suspects had motive for murder, including jealous fellow contestants, the pageant's larger-than-life millionaire sponsor, Victor Baron (Michael McKean, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"), and the show's host -- hedonistic TV personality, Bobby Stark (Sasha Roiz, "Caprica") -- on "Castle," MONDAY, MAY 9 (10:01-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Michael McKean as Victor Baron, Sasha Roiz as Bobby Stark, Teri Polo as Kayla Baron, Ken Baumann as Ashley, Arye Gross as M.E. Perlmutter, Bellamy Young as Candace Ford, Jonathan Slavin as Justin Hankel.

"Pretty Dead" was written by Terri Miller and directed by Jeff Bleckner.

Joss Whedon on a 'Dr. Horrible' sequel: 'We've done a lot of work on it'

Joss Whedon is a little busy at the moment, what with "The Avengers" about to start production. But he's not so swamped that he can't take time to talk about a sequel to "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" -- which looks like, someday, that it could actually happen.

It's just a question of when.

Asked if he'd ever consider producing a stage version of "Dr. Horrible," Whedon tells The New York Times that the idea has been brought up, but "my heart is more in the idea of the sequel. We've done a lot of work on it.

"We've got several songs near completion and we've got a very specific structure. We've just all got jobs," he says, referring to himself, brothers Zack and Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, who collaborated on "Dr. Horrible" during the 2007-08 writers strike. "And it's not like Neil [Patrick Harris], Nathan [Fillion] and Felicia [Day] ain't busy either. We get together at Christmas and family occasions, and then play each other our partial songs and go, 'Yup, that's still exactly as it was the last time we played it. We're great.' It's bad."

Whedon jokes that the sequel will be called "Dr. Horrible and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," given the difficulties of getting all the principals together. (For now, fans can peruse the recently released companion book to get their Horrible fix.)

He's also interested in producing more original content online, including an "Internet mini-thing" he's been working on with comics author Warren Ellis.

"I still believe it's a viable financial model and a creative playground, and I miss it," he tells the Times. "But in the year I that I was supposed to do that, I instead decided to make this little Sundance movie that I'm making."

That would be "The Avengers," which he's been prepping for some time now and is scheduled to start production next week. It's due for release in May 2012.

CASTLE: To Love and Die in L.A. (5/2)

"To Love and Die in L.A." - While investigating the shooting death of her ex-partner in New York, Beckett comes to believe the suspect has fled to Los Angeles. Against orders, she travels to L.A., going renegade to track down the killer, with Castle unexpectedly along for the ride. As they dig deeper into the motives, they uncover a trail that leads from a rooftop pool in Hollywood to the sandy beach of Santa Monica. Along the way, they visit the set of the "Heat Wave" movie (based on Castle's book) and enlist the cast to help break the case. But as they get closer to apprehending the killer, Castle begins to wonder whether Beckett is out for justice -- or revenge -- on "Castle," MONDAY, MAY 2 (10:01-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.

In the episode, Gene Simmons (legendary rock star of KISS) appears as himself, Dominic Purcell ("Prison Break") guests as a local businessman who may have a connection to the murder, D.B. Sweeney ("The Cutting Edge") plays a detective in Robbery Homicide who questions Castle and Beckett about their rogue investigation, and Jason George ("Off the Map") guests as an entrepreneur with a connection to the murder case.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Gene Simmons as himself, Dominic Purcell as Russell Ganz, D.B. Sweeney as Detective Kyle Seeger, Jason George as Charles Kelvin, Justice Gamble as Ochoa (Esposito in the movie), Ryan Deal as Raley (Ryan in the movie).

"To Love and Die in L.A." was written by Alexi Hawley and directed by John Terlesky.

ABC Launches RichardCastle.Net

ABC has launched RichardCastle.net, a website dedicated to the work of the fictional author played by Nathan Fillion on Castle. The site features a homepage news feed of the author's adventures, a bibliography of his works, both in and out of print, and a biography that will be updated as the character's life changes on-screen.

The new site gets a nifty little plug in Monday's episode, "The Dead Pool," in which Castle gives a young protégé (Lie to Me's Brendan Hines) some tips on how to turn real police work into thrilling fiction.

This is the latest branding experiment ABC has tried with Castle. The network has already teamed with Hyperion Books to publish two novels — Heat Wave and Naked Heat — that parallel Castle's work with Detective Beckett (Stana Katic), the inspiration for the author's heroine Nikki Heat. (Both books are available for purchase on the new website.) A third book, Heat Rises, is due in September.

The site will be frequently updated with videos and features. Users will also eventually be able to submit questions, which "Castle" will answer.

Castle airs Mondays at 10/9c on ABC.

CASTLE: Knockdown (4/25)

"Knockdown" - Old wounds are reopened when the retired lead detective on Beckett's mother's homicide case contacts her with new information, but then is gunned down right in front of Beckett before he can tell her what he knows. The investigation into his death leads back to a decades-old conspiracy that may hold the answer to who was behind Beckett's mother murder and why. With the stakes and emotions running high, Castle and Beckett take their partnership to the next level, on "Castle," MONDAY, APRIL 25 (10:01-11:00 p.m. ET). Max Martini guest stars. (Rebroadcast. OAD 1/24/11)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Max Martini as Hal Lockwood, Joel Polis as John Raglan, Ajay Vidure as CSU tech, Brian Goodman as Gary McCallister, Jonathan Adams as Vulcan Simmons, Scott Paulin as Jim Beckett.

"Knockdown" was written by Will Beall and directed by Tom Wright.

'V's' Morena Baccarin visits 'The Mentalist': 'It's really nice to be human again!'

(Video) "V" star Morena Baccarin was a whole different kind of visitor when she "visited" the set of "The Mentalist" for a one-episode guest starring role. Baccarin plays Erica Flynn, the charming and, of course, beautiful co-owner of a high-end matchmaking service.

"I'm sort of waiting around to see what's going to happen with 'V,'" Baccarin says in this behind-the-scenes interview on set. "I thought in the meantime I'd stay busy and play another awesome, strong female character."

When Erica's husband -- who co-owns the business -- is found dead, floating in the marina, the CBI team steps in to investigate. Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) finds himself intrigued by the matchmaker, and he's convinced that she must have been involved with her husband's murder.

"I think that Patrick has maybe met his match in some way," Baccarin says.

As for working with the always captivating Simon Baker, she teases, "He sucks, terrible guy! Oh my god, the sweetest guy on the planet. And hot, hello. I'm nervous around him."

Taking a break from playing a cold, unfeeling lizard alien leaves Baccarin vulnerable to all those girly feelings. "I'm not Anna, I'm not the lizard, I'm just like, 'I don't know, does he think I'm cute?'" she jokes. Still, in the role, she's not exactly batting her eyelashes at Patrick. "I have to really fight against that actually. She's trying to draw him in and be strong and I have to keep it cool."

While we await word from ABC on whether "V" will see a third season, tune in Thursday night at 10 p.m. EST on CBS to catch Baccarin in a totally new role. "It'll be fun for my fans to see me in a different light," she says. "And to be human! Let's talk about that. It's really nice to be human again. It's crazy. I have emotion; I can show it again."

CASTLE: The Dead Pool (4/11)

"The Dead Pool" - When a champion swimmer and Olympic hopeful is found dead in a training pool, Castle & Beckett dive in to investigate his murder, and uncover myriad secrets that might have led to his death. Also in the episode, crime fiction authors Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane guest star, offering Castle their insights into the case over a game of poker, on "Castle," MONDAY, APRIL 11 (10:01-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Justin Bruening as "Rocket" Rob Tredwyck, Erik Palladino as Coach Rome, Brendan Hines as Alex Conrad, Andrew Lawrence as Tommy Marcone, Josie Loren as Bridget McManus, Michael Connelly as himself and Dennis J. Lehane as himself.

"The Dead Pool" was written by Matt Pyken and directed by Paul Holahan.

CASTLE: Slice of Death (4/4)

“Slice of Death” – Castle & Beckett work the case of a man found dead inside a pizza oven, but it turns out not to be someone associated with the restaurant – it was a reporter. Was his story, “The Pizza Wars,” enough to get him killed, or was it something much deeper than that?, on “Castle,” MONDAY, APRIL 4 (10:01-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Gary Basaraba as Ralph Carbone, Peter Onorati as Sal Malavolta, John Ciccolini as Vinnie Delfino, Joe Guzaldo as Luca Sabalini, Liz Vassey as Monica Wyatt, Gregg Daniel as Walt Shaw, Darin Brooks as Nick Jr., Beth Behrs as Ginger, Alton Clemente as server and Stephan Smith Collins as Harley.

“Slice of Death” was written by Scott Williams and directed by Steve Boyum.

Morena Baccarin on V's Deadly Season Finale

Spoiler Alert: This story contains major spoilers from Tuesday's V season finale. So if you've yet to watch, don't read!

Wow! Did you watch V's go-for-broke season finale last night? Series star Morena Baccarin didn't. Only because she's visiting her home in Brazil (where V's not shown), while awaiting word on whether or not ABC will renew her struggling series for a third season. The concluding episode of Season 2 — in which a whopping three series regulars were murdered — certainly begs for a resolution, if only to see how loved ones react to the deaths of their family and friends. I phoned Morena down in South America to find out what it was like shooting this emotional wrap-up and what she hopes to see in Season 3.

TV Guide Magazine: Well Miss Morena, V sure delivered the goods last night.

Baccarin: I think it's so intense and so sad.

TV Guide Magazine: As teased, three series regulars were killed off. Your character, Anna, pierced her tail right through Diana [Jane Badler]; Anna's daughter, Lisa No. 2, mated with Tyler [Logan Huffman] and then sunk her teeth into him as Lisa No. 1 [Laura Vandervoort] watched in horror; and Ryan [Morris Chestnut] had his neck snapped by the tail of his rapidly-aging daughter. It must have been a rough day on set when that script was released.

Baccarin: It was really sad and hard on all of us. I think Morris is a little bit less final than the others, so we don't know if he's coming back or not. For all intents and purposes, Ryan's dead, but you don't really see him die, so you never know. But with Jane, I knew I was sticking my tail through her, so that's a little hard to out-maneuver. Jane was really sad because she really loved her time with us, and we'd embraced her into the family. And with Logan it was especially sad. He'd been with us from the beginning, and we see him as the kid in the show no matter how old he is. But I think it's great that we went this far; it really makes it. We needed Erica [Elizabeth Mitchell] to suffer a major loss to really go the length she needs to go. It's going to be great in the end, but it's really hard on everybody when it happens.

TV Guide Magazine: For the first time, we got to see one of the Vs sans skin in its full glory, and it looked a lot like the creatures from the Alien films. So that's what you look like under your synthetic human skin, eh?

Baccarin: (Laughs) It's so creepy. It doesn't just look like a lizard; it looks like a prehistoric figure.

TV Guide Magazine: What have you heard about the chances of a third season?

Baccarin: I hear good things about the show and we're still in the running. It's just a waiting game and I'm trying to stay busy.

TV Guide Magazine: If the second season finale ends up being the series finale, how would you feel about it being the concluding chapter?

Baccarin:I think there are worse ways for it to end. We got some completion in terms of knowing what Anna's plans are and whether or not it can work. But it would be frustrating because you want to see who wins. That's the big question. It would be unsatisfying to leave it like this, but if we don't have a choice, it's not the worst way to go. You see some finality to some relationships — Lisa/Tyler obviously. You see that Lisa is definitely going to be joining Fifth Column. And you see Anna become more maniacal than ever, scaring my people into submission. And you see Erica and the Fifth Column grow by uniting with the Marc Singer character. It escalated the tension with some resolution.

TV Guide Magazine: What would you be most curious to see in a third season?

Baccarin: I want to see who wins, dammit. And we'd continue with the theme of Erica becoming less human, and Anna becoming more human, irrational and emotional. I'd really like to see that. I would like to see Anna experience some kind of loss with this child she's grown to love, and perhaps have an attraction to somebody human, which would really throw a wrench in her plans.

TV Guide Magazine: Whom have you kept in touch with from your V family since you wrapped a couple months ago?

Baccarin: I've kept in touch with Laura and Scott Wolf [Chad] quite a bit, and I just got a very sweet email from Elizabeth this morning telling me she loved the show.

TV Guide Magazine: What's next for you?

Baccarin:: I'm going back to L.A. where I'm going to do a lot of gardening and landscaping.

Morena will also appear as a murder suspect in the April 7 episode of The Mentalist. Look for her preview of the episode in an upcoming issue of TV Guide Magazine.

CASTLE: Law & Murder (3/28)

CASTLE & BECKETT INVESTIGATE THE CASE OF A JUROR WHO WAS MURDERED DURING A MURDER TRIAL, ON ABC'S "CASTLE" "Law & Murder" - During the high-profile trial of a murdered socialite, a juror suddenly tumbles out of the jury box -- dead! When Castle & Beckett learn the juror was poisoned, their investigation soon uncovers that this seemingly innocent juror may not have been so innocent after all, on "Castle," MONDAY, MARCH 28 (10:01-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

"Law & Murder" was written by Terence Paul Winter and directed by Jeff Bleckner.

Life continues to be one big disappointment for 'Firefly' fans

The "Help Nathan Fillion buy 'Firefly'" campaign isn't going anywhere. And we mean no disrespect to Joss Whedon, "Firefly" or its fans when we say this, but...

Duh.

Blastr (via Movieline) takes a look at the progress of some die-hard browncoats' attempts to buy the rights to the series from 20th Century Fox (so Nathan Fillion, who made an offhand remark about doing just that if he won the lottery, could revive the deceased series), and it looks as though the death knell has come down directly from Camp Whedon.

"Dollhouse" and "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" writer -- and bride of Whedon's brother Jed -- Maurissa Tancharoen broke the news to fans with what some might interpret as a dismissive tweet. "Guys, no one in the Whedonverse is in support of www.helpnathanbuyfirefly.com," she writes, "Please save your money!"

Naturally, everyone involved took this very well and dropped the subject. Kidding! They got real mad, and some of them even harassed poor Tancharoen on Twitter. So she posted a rational, conversation-ending rebuttal, which just begs to be reprinted in full:

"I think what some people don't understand is - by "no one in the Whedonverse is in support of HNBF" I meant that no one is officially involved in any capacity. This is a pure fan movement. There just needed to be clarification. There were many questions coming my way so I finally answered. I wasn't trying to bash dreams, by all means come together and show your love for Firefly. But when money is involved (and pledges are meant to become real $ at some point, yes?) things get tricky... I wasn't going to say anything else on the subject as I didn't want to further fuel the already out of control fire, but unkind things have been said. And honestly, I'm afraid that I've grown afraid of the internet. Still got mad love for the Browncoats. Over and out for a bit..."

"Help Nathan Fillion Buy 'Firefly,"' as fun as it sounded, was the TV equivalent to the Bridge to Nowhere. Let's just be thankful that the little money raised will now go to charities, and that we have 13 episodes and a feature film to cherish for all time.

CASTLE: One Life to Lose (3/21)

"One Life to Lose" -- Corbin Bernsen ("The Young and the Restless," "Psyche"), Rebecca Budig ("All My Children"), Cameron Mathison ("All My Children") and Jane Seymour ("Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman") guest star in a soap opera-themed storyline of "Castle," MONDAY, MARCH 21 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

In the episode, a murder has been committed on the set of "Temptation Lane," one of New York's longest running soap operas. Sarah Cutler, the head writer on the soap, has been killed with a fire axe. Castle & Beckett quickly discover that the behind the scenes drama at "Temptation Lane" is just as scandalous as the fictitious storylines, and just about everyone would kill to get ahead. Ultimately, Castle's unique skill set as a writer leads to a discovery about the killer and the secret he or she would do anything to protect.

Character teasers: Lance Buchanan (Bernsen), a rugged, self-assured, veteran actor on "Temptation Lane," has a romantic history with Castle's mother, Martha Rodgers; Mandy Bronson (Budig) is the young and gorgeous diva lead actress on the soap opera who is very aware of her sexuality and uses it to her advantage any chance she gets; Vince Bowers (Mathison) is the devastated husband of the victim, and as a director on "Temptation Lane" is very involved in the backstage drama; and Gloria Chambers (Seymour), the grieving mother of the murder victim, is revealed in a shocking twist to have a deep, dark secret that she's desperate to keep.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion (who was on the daytime series "One Life to Live" as Joey Buchanan from 1994-1997 and on two episodes in 2007) as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Corbin Bernsen as Lance Buchanan, Rebecca Budig as Mandy Bronson, Cameron Mathison as Vince Bowers, Jane Seymour as Gloria Chambers.

"One Life to Lose" was written by Elizabeth Davis and directed by David M. Barrett.

Nathan Fillion is king of "Castle"

Nathan Fillion expertly walks the fine line between obnoxious and charming, on screen that is.

He has flawlessly embodied confident characters you love despite (or maybe because of) their brash confidence. Think "Firefly" leader Malcolm Reynolds, "Dr. Horrible" hero Captain Hammer, or his current incarnation as self-assured mystery writer Richard Castle on ABC's hit "Castle.

In real life, Fillion is decidedly more easygoing. Perhaps it's a Canadian thing; Fillion was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, the son of teachers who, as a child, he can remember adults approaching on the street to thank for changing their lives. Those parents, he says, helped instill in him a sense of gratitude and appreciation.

Of his prolific career, he says, "I think I've been really good at surrounding myself with really talented people. I've picked the right coattails to ride on."

Despite having won countless numbers of dedicated fans from his time on such cult series as "Firefly" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," not to mention starring on hit shows like "Desperate Housewives," he maintains, "I don't expect anybody to know who I am."

BACK STAGE: YOU WERE STILL IN COLLEGE IN CANADA WHEN YOU BOOKED THE ROLE OF JOEY BUCHANAN ON "ONE LIFE TO LIVE" ... HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO LAND THE JOB OUT OF CANADA?

Fillion: I had just barely passed one of my courses and was thinking I would go back for a summer session to pull up my GPA, and the phone rang and a lady casting out of New York for "One Life to Live" had found a tape that I had sent the year prior to Vancouver for a Canadian movie that I didn't get. And that tape went from Vancouver to L.A. to New York without my knowledge. Just casting directors passing it on over the course of a year. They called me and said, "If you're still interested, we'll fax you a script, you FedEx us a tape. Three weeks later, I'm living in New York City."

BACK STAGE: YOU PERFORMED THEATRESPORTS WITH THE RAPID FIRE THEATER COMPANY, IMPROVISING A SOAP OPERA EVERY WEEK. WAS THAT GOOD TRAINING FOR DOING AN ACTUAL SOAP OPERA?

Fillion: They're two totally different animals. Nothing could have prepared me for the kind of work that was ahead of me on daytime. It's a 44-minute program every day that they put out. One scene will be seven minutes or 10 minutes, and you just keep going and you don't stop. I can't even imagine going back now, even having had that boot camp. But my experience there was so positive. If I wanted to learn something, there were people that have been there 30 years who are willing to say, "No problem, let me help you."

BACK STAGE: WAS IT THEN HARD TO LEAVE, PARTICULARLY AT THE HEIGHT OF YOUR POPULARITY ON THE SHOW?

Fillion: I had a great storyline between Erika Slezak and Robin Strasser, the two heavy hitters on our show. And it was incredibly difficult to fail between those two. But the guy who played my uncle, Bob Woods, sat me down two years into my three-year contract and basically told me how things were going to unfold and how I had a choice in front of me. He encouraged me to move to Los Angeles and try it out.

BACK STAGE: YOU SEEMED TO WORK A LOT RIGHT OUT OF THE GATE.

Fillion: When I moved out to L.A., I got four or five jobs in a row that were fantastic. I did "Saving Private Ryan" and "Blast From the Past" and I did these guest spots that I had a great time on. And then I went for nearly a year without working. Still auditioning; sometimes five times a week, and I couldn't get anything. I was paying my rent on credit and waiting on a tax return so I could pay off my credit card bill. I was so anxious to work again. I didn't want to do anything else; I didn't want to wait tables, I wanted to continue acting. I wanted that feeling back of going to work every day and collaborating with people and doing good scenes. I was reaching for the phone to call "One Life to Live" to ask about coming back. And the phone rang and it was for a guest shot on a sitcom with Faith Ford. I did that and the following week I got a job on a sitcom next door to it, which was "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place." I did 10 episodes with them, and they invited me back as a regular. And I did two seasons.

BACK STAGE: YOU HEADLINED "FIREFLY" FOR JOSS WHEDON BUT HAD ACTUALLY AUDITIONED TO PLAY ANGEL ON HIS SHOW "BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" ORIGINALLY. DID YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHEN YOU DIDN'T GET THE FIRST JOB IT COULD LEAD TO SOMETHING BETTER DOWN THE ROAD AND THIS ONGOING COLLABORATION WITH WHEDON?

Fillion: Not at the time. You understand your job as an actor is to audition. Your job is to go out there and look for work ... When Joss found out that I auditioned for Angel -- he didn't know -- he felt bad. He said, "I don't remember you." I told him not to worry, I never made the first cut ... And when "Firefly" was canceled, he said, "Come and do the last five episodes of 'Buffy' for me." And then, of course, "Dr. Horrible."

BACK STAGE: WAS THE JOB ON "CASTLE" AN OFFER?

Fillion: I had a holding deal and a stack of scripts to look at. I was going through them all and I remember reading it, I was 15 pages in, and I turned to my girlfriend and said, "I'm going to read this out loud to you. You tell me if you don't think this would be a ball to play." We laughed and laughed and read our way through the script. I was working on "Desperate Housewives" at the time but only for the year. And the "Castle" producers were kind enough to come to my trailer for a meeting. I told them, "Stop looking. I'm your guy. I can do this, I know just what to do." Which I've never done!

V: Mother's Day -- SEASON FINALE (3/15)

"Mother's Day" - Anna is focused on having Lisa breed with Tyler to ensure the evolution of the Visitors, while Erica and Diana enlist Lisa to stage a coup against Anna and remove her from power before humanity is destroyed. Erica and the Fifth Column join Lisa in the attempted coup, which has devastating results, on the shocking Season Two finale of "V," TUESDAY, MARCH 15 (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on ABC. Also in the episode, Marc Singer, who played freedom fighter Mike Donovan on the original "V" series, will guest star as Lars Tremont, a member of a top secret organization of high-ranking military and government leaders from around the globe who have long suspected that the Visitors are very much not here in peace.

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest stars include Jane Badler as Diana, Marc Singer as Lars Tremont, Roark Critchlow as A.D. Paul Kendrick, Jay Karnes as Chris Bolling, Mark Hildreth as Joshua, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, Martin Cummins as Thomas.

"Mother's Day" was written by Scott Rosenbaum & Gregg Hurwitz and directed by Bryan Spicer.

Behind the Scenes with Castle Stars Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic

TV Guide Magazine takes you behind the scenes on our smokin' hot photoshoot with Castle stars Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic. From this season's steamy kiss to what's coming up in Castle and Beckett's relationship, no topic is off limits! Plus, the actors reveal their hidden talents to our cameras. Check out the exclusive video here, and don't forget to pick up this week's issue of TV Guide Magazine (featuring the Castle cover stars) on newsstands now!

Morena Baccarin will guest-star on 'The Mentalist'

Morena Baccarin will take a break from plotting the downfall of humanity on ABC’s V to take a guest-starring role on an upcoming episode of CBS’ The Mentalist, EW has learned exclusively. Baccarin will play Erica Flynn, described as an “attractive and sexy woman who seems as warm-hearted, sincere, and intelligent as she is lovely.” Baccarin’s character runs a matchmaking business, and may have some dark secrets. Expect attractive-person sparks to fly between Erica and Simon Baker’s Patrick Jane when the episode airs in early April.

Syfy Resurrects Terminator, Sets Stargate, Sanctuary Returns

Syfy has acquired all 31 episodes of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which will debut on Thursday, April 7, the network announced Tuesday.

It will air four hours of the late Fox series, which starred Thomas Dekker and Summer Glau, every Thursday starting at 7/6c.

In other scheduling news, the network has set Monday, March 7 (10/9c) as the premiere date for the final 10-episode season of Stargate Universe.

Top Chef alum Marcel Vigneron's new series Marcel's Quantum Kitchen will make its debut on Tuesday, March 22 (10/9c). Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files will return the following night at 10/9c. Sanctuary will round out the spring premieres, debuting Friday, April 15 (10/9c).

Castle: Inside TV's Hottest Romance

It's precisely the kind of chilling twist Richard Castle might concoct. On a Hollywood soundstage in early February, the mystery novel-penning protagonist of ABC's Castle, played by Nathan Fillion, is shadowing his muse, no-nonsense NYPD detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), as she tracks a person of interest to a storage freezer in Manhattan. Too bad the guy, who's already taken a bullet to the brain, won't be coughing up any clues.

But the news gets worse when the steel door to the freezer suddenly slams shut, trapping both Beckett and Castle inside. Ensuing cries for help go unanswered, and a desperate attempt to blast the lock with ammunition fails, leaving the shivering crime-solving duo with only one option: cling to each for warmth — and some major they-so-belong-together sparks. "It's cold in that freezer," says Katic with a sly smile during an on-set break. "But maybe the heat between them can keep them alive."

Castle producers surely hope the episode, which caps an explosive two-parter that began February 21, will generate some off-screen heat as well. With a season-to-date average of 10.4 million viewers, the quirky crime procedural is such a reliable performer in its Mondays-at-10pm time slot that, in January, ABC execs gifted its cast and crew with an early renewal for Season 4. But what the show still needs — and thanks to a smart, seamless blend of mystery, romance, action and humor, deserves — is the buzz that could help it build beyond its loyal fan base to become a breakout hit. "It feels like, for the most part, people either love us or they've never heard of us," says creator Andrew Marlowe. "It boggles my mind that we could've been on for three years and there are still people out there who are like, 'What's Castle?'"

It doesn't help that ABC's current schedule isn't exactly bursting with character-driven procedurals. (The net's other cop drama is the struggling Detroit 1-8-7.) If it were, there would be more opportunities to advertise Castle to an audience that may be predisposed to watch it. "Marketing a procedural at ABC is a challenge," admits Marlowe. "I think there are a lot more people out there who could be enjoying our show."

The normally easygoing Fillion confesses to feeling frustrated by the lack of promotional love. "I dropped 60 bucks on the lottery [recently]," says the actor, who developed a cult following thanks to roles on such buzzy series as Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. "I didn't win. But if I did, my plan was to buy some commercials for Castle so you couldn't watch TV without seeing one. I believe people will listen if you tell them, 'This is a good show. Get in on it.'"

Now's certainly the time. Castle has found its groove in Season 3, striking an artful balance between the offbeat cases that have become its trademark — a scientist who may be the victim of an alien abduction! The owner of a magic shop drowned in Houdini's water-torture tank! — and more serious-minded efforts, like this month's two-part event, which becomes a race against the clock to prevent another terrorist attack in New York City. Heroes' Adrian Pasdar guest stars as a federal agent who, Marlowe quips, is "the Castle version of Jack Bauer." "Initially, I'm perceived as a hardass," Pasdar explains. "My character is single-minded and driven to a point where it ruffles some feathers. But ultimately you understand exactly why he needs to get the job done right. There's a reason he is who he is."

The formative tragedy that compelled Beckett to become a cop — the unsolved murder of her mother — took center stage in another dramatic standout that aired in January. The same episode also dialed up the sexual chemistry between the emotionally guarded homicide detective and her amateur partner when they shared a long-awaited kiss. When he read the steamy scene, which started out as a case-driven diversion but quickly turned into something more, Fillion admits his first thought was, "Wow, [fans] are gonna go nuts when they see this! Once two people engage like that, there's no going back."

Or is there? Neither Castle nor Beckett has broached the subject of the liplock since — and still won't, even when they face the possibility of death by freezer. "I don't feel like that's a cheat at all," insists Marlowe. "To confront the kiss head-on wouldn't be true to either of the characters. She's never been open about how she feels about anything, and he usually finds a way to joke about everything. By not doing that, you understand how important it really was to him."

While Marlowe concedes network execs have concerns about letting the pair embark on a relationship — "Everyone talks about the Moonlighting curse" — ultimately, he considers his show less a murder-mystery caper than a grand love story. Which means the answer to the eternal question of "Will they or won't they?" is a resounding "They will." "I'm absolutely convinced there's quality storytelling to be had after they get together," says Marlowe, who's been married since 1997 to fellow Castle writer Terri Miller. "Anybody who's been in a relationship knows that they have complexities and compromises. There's plenty of stuff to mine."

For more with the Castle crew, pick up this week's issue of TV Guide Magazine, on newsstands Thursday, February 24!

Nathan Fillion talks, 'Firefly' fans listen (and pledge their money)

"Firefly" is coming back to television in a couple of weeks; the Science Channel starts re-airing the show's first and only season on March 6. But there's a new groundswell to get more than just reruns on your screen.

The campaign kicked off last week following an interview with "Firefly" star Nathan Fillion, who told EW that "If I got $300 million from the California Lottery, the first thing I would do is buy the rights to 'Firefly,' make it on my own, and distribute it on the Internet."

That was all the Browncoats needed. Following the interview, a website called Help Nathan Buy "Firefly" and a Facebook group of the same name launched. As of this posting, the Facebook group has more than 18,000 fans, and the site says it will start taking pledges (though not actual dollars) from fans soon.

While it probably wouldn't take $300 million to relaunch "Firefly," money is not the only issue in play. Leaving aside the fact that Fillion ("Castle"), creator Joss Whedon ("The Avengers") and other members of the cast and crew have other jobs now, there's also the matter of buying the rights to the show. The show was produced by 20th Century Fox TV, and it's not interested in selling the property.

Even if the fund-raising effort doesn't amount to anything, though, it at least shows that eight years after it was canceled (and five-plus after the follow-up movie "Serenity" was released), there's still a devoted fanbase for "Firefly." If they're willing to shell out their own money to bring the show back to life, maybe someone will take note.

V: Devil in a Blue Dress (3/8)

"Devil in a Blue Dress" - Anna is about to pull the switch on the planet's first Blue Energy reactor, but Sid realizes that the size of the reactor is much too large for just the various Concordia sites - the Fifth Column needs to figure out what Anna is really up to. And Diana tells Lisa she must act against Anna now, fulfill her destiny and save humans from annihilation, on "V," TUESDAY, MARCH 8 (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest stars include Jane Badler as Diana, Roark Critchlow as A.D. Paul Kendrick, Mark Hildreth as Joshua, Ona Grauer as Kerry Eltoff, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, Bret Harrison as Dr. Sidney Miller, Martin Cummins as Thomas.

"Devil in a Blue Dress" was written by Hans Tobeason and directed by Ralph Hemecker.

CASTLE: Nikki Heat (3/7)

"Nikki Heat" - Castle's novel "Heat Wave" is being turned into a movie, and the Hollywood hottie cast as the movie's lead shows up at Beckett's invitation to better understand the character she's going to play. Laura Prepon ("October Road," "That '70s Show") guest stars as actress Natalie Rhodes. As our threesome investigates the murder of a high-class matchmaker, Natalie goes to extremes in the name of "character research," transforming herself into the spitting image of Beckett -- much to Castle's delight and Beckett's dismay. Also in the episode, Melody Thomas Scott ("Young & the Restless") and Thomas Calabro ("Melrose Place") guest star, on "Castle," MONDAY, MARCH 7 (10:01-11:00 p.m. ET). (Rebroadcast. OAD 1/3/11)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Laura Prepon as Natalie Rhodes, Thomas Calabro as Scott Donner, Stephen Macht as Bill Wellington, Melody Thomas Scott as Tonya Wellington, Randall Batinkoff as Brad Williams.

"Nikki Heat" was written by David Grae and directed by Jeff Bleckner.

V: Uneasy Lies the Head (3/1)

"Uneasy Lies the Head" -- Erica, now officially in charge of the global Fifth Column, leads them in a high risk attack against Anna. Anna meanwhile, growing closer in her plan to destroy humanity, finds a major obstacle in a certain Live Aboard candidate; and Ryan sneaks back onto the Mothership to try and rescue his daughter, on "V," TUESDAY, MARCH 1 (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest stars include Jane Badler as Diana, Mark Hildreth as Joshua, Ona Grauer as Kerry Eltoff, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, Bret Harrison as Dr. Sidney Miller, Martin Cummins as Thomas.

"Uneasy Lies the Head" was written by Cameron Litvack & Gregg Hurwitz and directed by Jeff Woolnough.

CASTLE: Countdown (2/28)

"Countdown" (Part 2) -- With time running out, Castle and Beckett must put aside their differences with Agent Fallon (guest star Adrian Pasdar) to avert a city-wide catastrophe, on "Castle," MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28 (10:01-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Adrian Pasdar as Agent Mark Fallon, Victor Webster as Josh Davidson, Lochlyn Munro as Kevin McCann, Baher Soomekh as Nazihah Alhabi, Monica Kenna as Charlene McCann.

"Countdown" was written by Andrew W. Marlowe and directed by Bill Roe.

Nathan Fillion Lights It Up as Green Lantern

(Photo) He's enjoying mainstream success as the star of ABC's Castle, but Nathan Fillion is still a fanboy favorite — and a fanboy himself. So the Firefly and Dr. Horrible alum totally geeked out when he was offered the voice role of DC Comics superhero Green Lantern in the DVD movie Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, due June 7 from Warner Bros. Animation. Emerald Knights is a series of vignettes about the Green Lantern Corps, an intergalactic police force. Fillion plays Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern of Earth's space sector, who mentors Arisia, a new recruit played by Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss. "I was always reading the comic books, I was always a spectator," Fillion says. "Now I feel like I own a little piece of Green Lantern."

And he's getting to share it with an old friend, Ryan Reynolds, who is starring in the Green Lantern feature film, which opens 10 days after the DVD comes out. Both actors got their big breaks together on the ABC sitcom Two Guys and a Girl. "He's a great guy, a gem, deserves all the success that he's getting," says Fillion, "so it's neat to have a little piece and share it with someone you know.

The voice cast for Green Lantern: Emerald Knights also includes Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy from the Harry Potter movies), Kelly Hu (Hawaii Five-0, The Vampire Diaries), actor/spoken-word artist Henry Rollins and ex-wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper.

V: Birth Pangs (2/22)

"Birth Pangs" -- Erica, seeking revenge against Anna, heads to Hong Kong to carry out a mission to strike a lethal blow against Anna. Meanwhile, Anna learns that Tyler's phosphorous level is too low - even after the Red Rain -- and he might become useless to her; and Lisa and Diana bond, beginning to form an alliance against Anna, on "V," TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22 (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest stars include Jane Badler as Diana, Samantha Ferris as Felicia Castro, Scott Hylands as Father Travis, Zak Santiago as John Fierro, Mark Hildreth as Joshua, Marny Eng as Dr. Veena Rai.

"Birth Pangs" was written by Cathryn Humphris and directed by David Barrett.

CASTLE: Setup (2/21)

"Setup" (Part 1) -- Castle and Beckett investigate the apparent robbery-homicide of a New York cab driver, only to discover that the victim was involved in a mysterious conspiracy with unimaginable consequences. As the stakes continue to rise, hard-charging federal agent Mark Fallon (guest star Adrian Pasdar) takes over the investigation. Together, Fallon, Beckett and Castle must race to unmask the truth about the victim before it's too late, on "Castle," MONDAY, FEBRUARY 21 (10:01-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Adrian Pasdar as Agent Mark Fallon, Victor Webster as Josh Davidson, Bahar Soomekh as Nazihah Alhabi, Lochlyn Munro as Kevin McCann, Alon Aboutboul as Fariq Yusef.

"Setup" was written by David Amann and directed by Rob Bowman.

'The Avengers': Morena Baccarin, Cobie Smulders on short list for 'sidekick' role

"The Avengers" is adding another female face to its mostly male cast, and the four women up above are the current front-runners.

Morena Baccarin ("V") and Cobie Smulders ("How I Met Your Mother") are among those testing for the role later this week, according to The Hollywood Reporter. So are former "Melrose Place" star Jessica Lucas and Mary Elizabeth Winstead ("Scott Pilgrim vs. the World"). (From left in the photo above: Baccarin, Smulders, Lucas and Winstead.)

Whoever wins the role will be playing Nick Fury's "sidekick" -- so says Nick Fury himself, Samuel L. Jackson. He was a guest on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" Wednesday (Feb. 2) and told Fallon that he was set to do screen tests with "about five" actresses on Friday. (The interview is below; Jackson also talks about shooting brief scenes for "Thor" and "Captain America" and about his upcoming HBO movie "The Sunset Limited.")

The HR also notes that the part comes with a multi-picture deal, likely meaning that the character would appear in future movies featuring "Avengers" characters.

Until now, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow had been the only major female role in "The Avengers," which will bring together Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).

Joss Whedon is directing "The Avengers," which is scheduled to begin filming in April.

NBC Reduces The Cape Episode Order

NBC has cut the initial episode order for The Cape down from 13 episodes to 10, TVGuide.com confirmed.

News is not too surprising: Ratings for the superhero drama have fallen steadily since the show's premiere in January. Monday's episode drew 5.3 million viewers, down from the previous week's 5.7 million, and two-hour premiere's 8.4 million.

A rep for the show says NBC plans to air the remaining episodes as scheduled.

The Cape stars David Lyons as Vince Faraday, an honest police detective who turns into a caped vigilante after he is framed for a murder he didn't commit. Keith David, Summer Glau and James Frain also star in the series.

V: Siege (2/15)

"Siege" -- Anna, enraged at the increasing audacity of the Fifth Column attacks, enlists Ryan in an attempt to wipe out the Fifth Column in one fell swoop. Meanwhile, Father Travis, following Vatican orders, asks Jack to leave the church, and Lisa meets Diana, her grandmother -- who Anna said was dead -- for the first time, on "V," TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 15 (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest stars include Jane Badler as Diana, Oded Fehr as Eli Cohn, Jay Karnes as Chris Bolling, Nicholas Lea as Joe Evans, Scott Hylands as Father Travis, Roark Critchlow as A.D. Paul Kendrick, Christopher Shyer as Marcus.

"Siege" was written by Dean Widenmann and directed by John Behring.

CASTLE: The Final Nail (2/14)

"The Final Nail" -- Castle and Beckett find themselves on opposite sides of the case when Castle's old school friend (guest star Jason Wiles) emerges as the prime suspect in his own wife's murder. As they work to solve the crime, Castle comes to realize that one of two terrible things must be true... Either Detective Beckett is about to arrest an innocent man for murder, or his old friend is a cold-blooded killer, on "Castle," MONDAY, FEBRUARY 14 (10:01-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Jason Wiles as Damian Westlake, Tom Irwin as Simon Campbell, Alicia Coppola as Amber Patinelli, Efrain Figueroa as Ray Salazar, Andrea Bogart as Callie Langston.

"The Final Nail" was written by Moira Kirland and directed by John Terlesky.

V: Concordia (2/8)

"Concordia" -- Anna uses her newest gift to mankind, "Concordia," as a cover to hide an invading fleet of breeding vessels that will be used to ensure the perpetuation of Visitors for future generations. Meanwhile, Eli Cohn (guest star Oded Fehr) tries to convince Erica and the Fifth Column that the "Concordia" gala is the perfect time to assassinate Anna, on "V," TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 8 (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest stars include Oded Fehr as Eli Cohn, Jay Karnes as Chris Bolling, Nicholas Lea as Joe Evans, Roark Critchlow as A.D. Paul Kendrick, Christopher Shyer as Marcus.

"Concordia" was written by David Rambo and directed by Jesse Warn.

CASTLE: Lucky Stiff (2/7)

"Lucky Stiff" - The brutal murder of a lottery winner has Castle and Beckett up to their eyeballs in suspects, envious and angered by the victim's sudden move from the poorhouse to the penthouse. As the precinct buzzes with fantasies of what our cops would do if they won the lottery, Martha struggles with the reality of such a decision when she suddenly inherits money she feels she doesn't deserve, on "Castle," MONDAY, FEBRUARY 7 (10:01-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Clare Carey as Noreen Hixton, Wilmer Calderon as Marvin "Oz" Osminkowski, Greg Alan Williams as Jim Van-Eps, Ned Bellamy as Logan Meech.

"Lucky Stiff" was written by Alexi Hawley and directed by Emile Levisetti.

V: Unholy Alliance (2/1)

"Unholy Alliance" - After the radical faction of the Fifth Column murders three Peace Ambassadors, Erica goes on a mission to hunt down their leader, Eli Cohn, a former Mossad agent. Meanwhile, as Jack and other priests around the globe begin to speak out against the Visitors, Anna heads to the Vatican in an effort to convince the leaders of organized religion that the Visitors truly are "of peace," on "V," TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 1 (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on ABC. Also in the episode, Jay Karnes guest stars as Chris Bolling, an FBI agent now assigned to work with Erica; while Oded Fehr will play Eli Cohn, the leader of a much more radical group opposed to the Visitors.

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest stars include Jane Badler as Diana, Jay Karnes as Chris Bolling, Oded Fehr as Eli Cohn, Roark Critchlow as A.D. Paul Kendrick, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, Scott Hylands as Father Travis.

"Unholy Alliance" was written by Rockne S. O'Bannon and directed by Dean White.

CASTLE: Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind (1/31)

"Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind" -- After a prominent astrophysicist's body is found in her car -- the victim of explosive decompression - Castle jokingly theorizes that perhaps she was killed in the vacuum of outer space. Yet as they delve deeper into the victim's life, they're confronted with evidence that keeps pointing them back to the impossible -- alien abduction. Lance Henrickson ("Millennium") stars as Benny Stryker, a well known alien abduction expert, and Lyle Lovett ("The Player") plays a mysterious government agent intent on shutting down the investigation, on "Castle," MONDAY, JANUARY 31 (10:01-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 11/15/10)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Lyle Lovett as Agent Westfield, Lance Henrickson as Benny Stryker, Jeanette Brox as Ayyana Holder, Karl T. Wright as Dr. Chuck Vaughn.

"Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind" was written by Shalisha Francis and directed by Bethany Rooney.

ABC Renews Grey's, Castle and More - But Which Shows Were Left Out?

Six ABC series have received early renewals, the network announced Monday.

Medical dramas Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice, crime drama Castle and the network's three sophomore comedies, The Middle, Modern Family, and Cougar Town will each return next season.

"We really stood by our Wednesday comedy block and who would have thought a year ago that The Middle, which I think is such an underrated show, would kick off what I think is one of the best nights of comedy," ABC President Paul Lee said at the Television Critics Association's winter previews. "That's a core part of our schedule."

Lee also said Grey's and Private Practice "were really at the top of their creative form" this season, while he heavily praised Castle's performance in the difficult Mondays-at-10 timeslot. (The show topped CBS' buzzed-about Hawaii Five-0 reboot several times in the fall.)

"Castle really showed its mettle this year," Lee said. "It's a show that I think hits the target of our brand. ... We have a really powerful procedural there."

Notably absent from the pickups, however, were Sunday dramas Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters. Housewives creator Marc Cherry is contracted for two more seasons, but contracts for stars Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross and Eva Longoria expire at the end of this season.

Brothers & Sisters' renewal prospects have been debated all season. The network originally ordered only 18 episodes for its current season. Decent ratings then led ABC to up the order to the traditional 22 episodes.

This batch of early renewals doesn't necessarily mean those two shows or other network series such as Detroit 1-8-7, V and Better with You are doomed. Lee said the network "[has] ambitions" to renew Housewives and that a decision about Detroit wouldn't come for two or three months.

Castle: Will "Nikki Heat" Bring Castle and Beckett Closer?

Monday's episode of Castle offers a scene straight out of the title character's fantasies: Castle is alone in a room with two Becketts!

That's because Castle (Nathan FIllion) and Beckett (Stana Katic) are being shadowed by Hollywood starlet Natalie Rhodes (guest star Laura Prepon), who has been chosen to play Nikki Heat, the character Castle based on Beckett, in the movie adaptation of his novel. But Castle's imagination doesn't run wild right away. In fact, he thinks Natalie, best known as a horror movie scream queen, is completely wrong to play his beloved character.

"At first, he's like, 'I can't believe this actress is playing Nikki Heat,'" Prepon tells TVGuide.com. "But my character starts to grow on everybody and prove herself. At first he's not into it, but he gets into it and is confused because he's secretly in love with Beckett."

Beckett, on the other hand, is thrilled to have Natalie follow her around — at least at first. "She shows up and wants to follow Beckett to get an understanding of what the character's about," creator Andrew W. Marlowe says. "Beckett is very excited because she's a fan, but then over the course of the episode, it feels a little bit to her like Single White Female, like this woman is taking over her personality."

Yes, Natalie masters the lingo and the stance at the murder board. She even goes as far as donning a brown wig and making a move on Castle — all in the name of Method acting, of course. "She needs to feel a connection between her and Jameson Rook, who is essentially the Castle character in the books," Prepon says. "But obviously she has a crush on Castle. There's definitely some love triangle stuff. The character's never been turned down before, and Castle's just confused because there's the real Beckett and the pretend Beckett."

But Natalie's attempts to woo Castle might just bring Castle and the real Beckett closer. Let's not forget: The duo's first kiss is drawing nigh.

"What's cool about playing someone who's coming into the situation totally objectively is that she can totally see, like, 'Oh my God, these two are totally into each other but are not admitting it,'" Prepon says. "It's fun to be the character that shakes things up and gets them both to realize [they] should do something about it. [She's] that objective observer who can lay it out for them and stir up the pot a little bit."

Castle returns Monday at 10/9c on ABC.

Morena Baccarin tackles a 'larger-than-life' character in 'V'

When V returns to ABC Tuesday (9 p.m. ET), Morena Baccarin as Anna, leader of the Visitors, will continue to be up to no good.

"In the first episode of the new season, you see what the red sky is and what my plans are with that," she says. "By the second episode you'll see a full lizard body—not mine," she hastens to add, "but you will see some weird Anna body parts, other-worldly things."

Jane Badler, who played the alien leader Diana in the original V series in 1983, will be unveiled as Anna's mother. "We wanted to find someone who Anna might be intimidated by," Baccarin, 31, says. "That was hard because Anna is such a hard-ass."

Would Baccarin say the same about herself? "I do have those qualities about me," she admits. "I'm very strong-willed and determined, but I think I'm a lot nicer than Anna and softer."

She credits her short hair with helping provide menace. "When I auditioned, I had this haircut," Baccarin says. "I'd just finished Death in Love. They wanted me to have a certain look that would remind people of a concentration camp.

"I wanted to keep the haircut for Anna, but there was a question from the network about whether it would alienate people. Some people have strong opinions about women with short hair. They find it very masculine and severe. Others think it's soft and feminine and makes your features stand out. It can be an Audrey Hepburn kind of thing."

The look works. "Everyone knows that Anna is an alien, so that element of weird is already there," Baccarin says. "I try to make her as human as possible, and I find that's actually scary. There's a cold quality to her, but I play against that and say things with a smile or in a nice way. I want to give mixed messages and confuse people. I'll say, 'Go kill that person,' but I'll say it nicely, and they'll go, 'What did you say?'"

Baccarin was born in Rio de Janeiro but moved to New York with her parents and younger brother when she was six. "My dad was a news editor for a Brazilian news station, and they had offices in New York and London," she says. "At the time the economy was in terrible shape in Brazil, although it's booming now. They were worried about us growing up there and what kind of life would we have."

Baccarin recalls the move being traumatic because she didn't speak any English. "And it was difficult not being close to my grandmother and my cousins. About a year in, my mother told my father, 'I'm moving the kids back to Brazil. You stay here, and we'll figure it out.' She put us in an American school, and we lived in Brazil for a few more years until I learned to speak a little English."

Baccarin, who attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (the school made famous in Fame) and then The Juilliard School, wouldn't mind doing Shakespeare somewhere down the line. Anna almost fits in, if you compare her with Lady Macbeth. "There's a lot of ambition in there, for sure," the actress says. "Anna is a larger-than-life character, a very complex character, with big wants and needs. She takes the expression 'Kill them with kindness' to a whole new level."

CASTLE: 3XK (1/17)

"3XK" - When a beautiful woman is found dead in an alley, all clues point to her being a victim of the notorious Triple Killer. The Triple Killer, or 3XK, terrorized New York City four years ago, then mysteriously disappeared. Now he's back. In a deadly battle of wits, Castle and Beckett race against time to stop 3XK before he claims his next victims. Lee Tergesen of "Oz" (as Marcus Gates, a violent felon and prime suspect in the serial killer investigation) and Michael Mosley of "Scrubs" (Gates' former cellmate) guest star in "3XK," one of the most thrilling episodes of the series to date, on "Castle," MONDAY, JANUARY 17 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 10/25/10)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Lee Tergesen as Marcus Gates, Michael Mosley as Jerry Tyson, Brian Klugman as Paul McCardle, Joe O'Connor as Cal Townsend, Anne Marie Howard as Angela Russo.

"3XK" was written by David Amann and directed by Bill Roe.

V: Laid Bare (1/18)

"Laid Bare" - Erica learns her partner, Malik, is a Visitor and must fight for her life - literally - to stop Anna from finding out she's Fifth Column. Meanwhile, Anna learns that Malik is missing and orders Ryan to find her, while Lisa realizes her body is beginning to change, causing her to become more and more like her mother, on "V," TUESDAY, JANUARY 18 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest stars include Jane Badler as Diana, Bret Harrison as Dr. Sidney Miller, Roark Critchlow as A.D. Paul Kendrick, Rekha Sharma as Agent Malik, Mark Hildreth as Joshua, Christopher Shyer as Marcus.

"Laid Bare" was written by Gwendolyn M. Parker and directed by David Barrett.

V: Serpent's Tooth

"Serpent's Tooth" - Anna and Diana square off in the dark bowels of the Mothership - Diana has been down there for 15 years and not had a single glimpse of Anna. Meanwhile, Erica has Tyler's blood analyzed, and learns the V's did something sinister to her when she was pregnant with him, on "V," TUESDAY, JANUARY 11 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest stars include Jane Badler as Diana, Bret Harrison as Dr. Sidney Miller, Roark Critchlow as A.D. Paul Kendrick, Rekha Sharma as Agent Malik, Mark Hildreth as Joshua, Christopher Shyer as Marcus.

"Serpent's Tooth" was written by Gregg Hurwitz and directed by Steve Shill.

CASTLE: Poof! You're Dead (1/10)

"Poof! You're Dead" - When the owner of historic Drake's Magic Shop in New York is found drowned in Houdini's famous water torture tank, Castle and Beckett must delve into the world of magic, magicians and their secrets to find his killer. As part of their investigation, Castle & Beckett meet master magician Tobias Strange (guest star Gilles Marini, "Brothers & Sisters," "Dancing With the Stars"). Meanwhile, the magicians aren't the only ones keeping secrets, as a new romantic relationship is revealed for Esposito and Lanie, on "Castle," MONDAY, JANUARY 10 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET). Also in the episode, Carrie Genzel ("All My Children") guest stars as Naomi Dahl, a former model and wife to a savvy billionaire philanthropist.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Gilles Marini as magician Tobias Strange, Carrie Genzel as Naomi Dahl, Jeff Hephner as Edmund and Zalman Drake, Brett Cullen as Christian Dahl, Chadwick Boseman as Chuck Russell.

"Poof! You're Dead" was written by Terri Miller and directed by Millicent Shelton.

V: Red Rain -- SEASON PREMIERE (1/4)

The Season Two opener, "Red Rain," continues the action from last season's finale when Anna unleashed Red Sky on the planet. With the world on the brink of war and chaos all around, is there anyone who can stand up to Anna? Meanwhile, Ryan has been kept in isolation on the mothership, away from his hybrid baby so that Anna can experiment on her; Chad, seeking redemption for being used by Anna, now wants to fight with the Fifth Column; and Erica goes on a journey to find a scientist who can give her the answers to what Red Sky is, and where she learns the horrifying secret of what the V's are doing on our planet. Jane Badler (original "V" series) and Bret Harrison ("Reaper") join the series in recurring roles.

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest stars include Jane Badler as Diana, Bret Harrison as Dr. Sidney Miller, Roark Critchlow as A.D. Paul Kendrick, Rekha Sharma as Agent Malik, Mark Hildreth as Joshua, Christopher Shyer as Marcus.

"Red Rain" was written by Scott Rosenbaum & Gregg Hurwitz and directed by Bryan Spicer.

CASTLE: Nikki Heat (1/3)

"Nikki Heat" - Castle's novel "Heat Wave" is being turned into a movie, and the Hollywood hottie cast as the movie's lead shows up at Beckett's invitation to better understand the character she's going to play. Laura Prepon ("October Road," "That '70s Show") guest stars as actress Natalie Rhodes. As our threesome investigates the murder of a high-class matchmaker, Natalie goes to extremes in the name of "character research," transforming herself into the spitting image of Beckett -- much to Castle's delight and Beckett's dismay. Also in the episode, Melody Thomas Scott ("Young & the Restless") and Thomas Calabro ("Melrose Place") guest star, on "Castle," MONDAY, JANUARY 3 (10:01-11:00 p.m. ET).

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Laura Prepon as Natalie Rhodes, Thomas Calabro as Scott Donner, Stephen Macht as Bill Wellington, Melody Thomas Scott as Tonya Wellington, Randall Batinkoff as Brad Williams.

"Nikki Heat" was written by David Grae and directed by Jeff Bleckner.

CASTLE: Anatomy of a Murder (12/27)

"Anatomy of a Murder" -- Mysteries abound when pallbearers at a funeral lose control of a surprisingly heavy casket only to have a second unknown woman tumble out along with the original deceased. When Castle and Beckett learn that the victim was a doctor at County Hospital, their investigation takes them into the world of amorous, bed-hopping physicians. Did jealousy turn to murder, or did the doctor's mysterious work outside the hospital lead to her demise? Meanwhile, Castle's relationship with Gina is challenged when she tries to bond with Alexis, on "Castle," MONDAY, DECEMBER 27 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 10/18/10)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Nathan Lam as Rabbi, Cynthia Frost as Tova, John Kassir as Mr. Dreyfus, William Allen Young as Jerry Camden, Michael Cassidy as Greg McClintock, Monet Mazur as Gina Griffin.

"Anatomy of a Murder" was written byTerence Paul Winter and directed by John Terlesky.

V: Red Sky (1/1)

"Red Sky" - The episode opens with the V soldier still on the hunt for Val, while for her part, Val's water breaks and her baby with Ryan will soon be born. Meanwhile Erica, tired of being on the defensive, decides to go on the offensive and gets herself and Tyler invited up to the Mothership for a get-to-know-everyone-better dinner. But she has more than food on her mind; she's really there to find Anna's soldiers and destroy them. And Chad, after Father Jack asks him to help get a message on the ship to Joshua, discovers the awful truth that Anna's been using him, on "V," SATURDAY, JANUARY 1 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast. OAD 5/18/10)

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest cast: Mark Hildreth as Joshua, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes, Lexa Doig as Dr. Pearlman, Scott Hylands as Father Travis, Lucas Wolf as Samuel.

"Red Sky" was written by Scott Rosenbaum & Gregg Hurwitz and directed by Robert Duncan McNeill.

V: Fruition (1/1)

"Fruition" - After a violent attack on someone very close to Anna, she delivers a message that the Vs don't feel safe and will be leaving; and Anna also gives a list of possible Fifth Column members to Chad, hoping he'll investigate to help in finding them. Meanwhile, Erica and the team try to track down a scientist who may have created a weapon that the Visitors are afraid of, on "V," SATURDAY, JANUARY 1 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET), on ABC. (Rebroadcast. OAD 5/11/10)

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest cast: Roark Critchlow as A.D. Paul Kendrick, Mark Hildreth as Joshua, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes, Rekha Sharma as Agent Sarita Malik and Lexa Doig as Dr. Pearlman.

"Fruition" was written by John Wirth & Natalie Chaidez and directed by Bryan Spicer.

V: Pilot (1/1)

"Pilot"-- An image of Anna (Morena Baccarin), the leader of the Visitors (V's), is projected worldwide, heralding the arrival of Earth's first alien visitors. At first considered a threat, the V's quickly become a fascination and a link to things that lay just beyond our reach. For Tyler (Logan Huffman), a teenaged boy, the V's are his ticket to being a part of something big and something that offers hope. To Chad (Scott Wolf), an egotistical news anchor who wants to further his career, his exclusive interview with Anna begins his desire to dominate the airwaves. Father Jack (Joel Gretsch), a priest with questioning faith, is hesitant to believe in the Visitors' righteousness and goes outside of the church in search of the truth. There are other dissidents who believe the Visitors aren't who they say they are, including Ryan (Morris Chestnut), who is faced with a life-altering decision when the V's show up. And to FBI Counter Terrorist Agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell), who discovers, while investigating a terrorist cell, what lurks beneath the alarmingly human exterior of the Visitors, resisting this new world has never been more important, on "V," SATURDAY, JANUARY 1 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 11/3/09)

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna, and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest starring in "Pilot" are Alan Tudyk as Dale Maddox, Jesse Wheeler as Brandon, Britt Irvin as Haley Gordon, David Richmond-Peck as Georgie, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, Scott Hylands as Father Travis, and Stefan Arngrim as Roy.

"Pilot" was written by Scott Peters and directed by Yves Simoneau.

CASTLE: A Deadly Game / A Deadly Affair (12/20)

ABC will air back to back episodes of "Castle" -- last season's closer, followed by this season's opener -- MONDAY, DECEMBER 20 (9:00-11:00 p.m., ET).

First, in "A Deadly Game," nothing is as it seems when Castle and Beckett investigate what appears to be the assassination of an intelligence operative. Meanwhile, Beckett's romance with Demming threatens her relationship with Castle, forcing them to confront their feelings for each other. Stephen J. Cannell, Michael Connelly and James Patterson guest star as themselves playing poker with Castle (Rebroadcast. OAD 5/17/10).

Then, in "A Deadly Affair," Castle has been absent since leaving for the Hamptons months ago to finish his second Nikki Heat novel, so when Beckett and her team burst into a shadowy apartment on the trail of a murderer, the last thing they expect to see is the real-life Castle standing over a dead woman's body holding a gun! As Castle protests his innocence, Beckett has no choice but to arrest him on suspicion of murder (Rebroadcast. OAD: 9/20/10).

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest starring in "A Deadly Game" are Michael Trucco as Tom Demming, Monet Mazur as Gina, Stephen J. Cannell as himself, Michael Connelly as himself, James Patterson as himself, Mitch Pileggi as Hans Bremel. The spisode was written by Andrew Marlowe and directed by Rob Bowman.

Guest starring in "A Deadly Affair" are Michael Rady as Evan Murphy, Charlene Amoia as Ana Marie, Gino Cafarelli as Dean Carbino, Justice Gamble as bartender, Lisa O'Hare as Kitty Canary, Craig Gellis as Earl Moreland. The episode was written by Andrew Marlowe and directed by Rob Bowman.

`Castle' alert: Beckett, Castle share first kiss

A stakeout leads to a smooch on ABC's crime drama "Castle," with Rick Castle and Kate Beckett finally sharing their first kiss.

Played by series stars Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, the pair locked lips in a scene filmed outside a downtown warehouse late Thursday for a January episode.

As "Castle" fans know, the show's weekly whodunits share equal weight with the will-they-or-won't-they romance conundrum for the lead characters.

Castle is a best-selling mystery writer and single dad who is an eager consultant with the New York Police Department. Beckett is the no-nonsense detective ordered to work with him. Their growing sexual tension — and banter — is reminiscent of the 1980s "Moonlighting" mystery series with Sybil Shepherd and Bruce Willis.

Sooner or later, however, TV viewers demand results from such chemistry lessons.

"Castle" executive producer-creator Andrew W. Marlowe said Friday he's aware that many loyalists are rooting for Castle and Beckett to "take their relationship to the next level." The show couldn't hold off forever, Marlowe said.

But ratings can suffer when a lively mating dance turns to humdrum romance, so expect "Castle" to take it slow on the potential road to love.

The Castle-Beckett smooch comes during an episode about Beckett's long-frustrated effort to solve her mother's murder. There's more to the lingering embrace and kisses than passion, according to the script. The episode's January date has yet to be determined, ABC said.

"Castle" (10 p.m. ET Monday) has become a hit for the network, routinely landing in the top 20 in the Nielsen ratings and attracting more than 10 million viewers weekly in its third season. It has also inspired mystery novels published under Castle's name and featuring a fictional heroine, Detective Nikki Heat, based on the fictional Beckett.

CASTLE: Punked (12/13)

"Punked" - Castle and Beckett look into the murder of a young mathematician gunned down with a 200-year-old bullet, sparking some wild theories by Castle about a time-travelling killer. When their investigation uncovers a tricked-out DeLorean and a suspect in Victorian clothing, is it possible Castle's crazy idea has some validity? This winding tale twists through the towers of Wall Street and into the world of a secret steampunk society that embraces the romance and simplicity of the past, while coupling it with the hope and promise of the future, on "Castle," MONDAY, DECEMBER 13 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. Victor Webster (as Beckett's new boyfriend), Ken Baumann (as Alexis' first boyfriend) and Eden Riegel (as the sister of the murder victim) guest star in the episode. (Rebroadcast. OAD 10/11/10)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Victor Webster as Josh Davidson, Ken Baumann as Ashley, Eden Riegel as Rachel Goldstein, Andrew Leeds as Adam Murphy, Ramon De Ocampo as Owen Peterson, Thomas Kopache as Abe Sandrich, Jen Lilley as Julia Foster.

"Punked" was written by David Grae and directed by Rob Bowman.

CASTLE: Last Call 12/06

"Last Call" - When the body of a dockworker turned bar owner is found floating in the East River, Castle and Beckett's investigation takes them into the forgotten tunnels and passageways of turn-of-the-century New York, where they uncover a secret that's been buried since the days of Prohibition. The story celebrates New York bar culture, setting Castle on a quest to preserve history by buying a bar of his very own, on "Castle," MONDAY, DECEMBER 6 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Sam Page as Brian Elliott, Jillian Clare as Gracie, Chris Mulkey as Wilbur Pittorino, Alexandra Barreto as Annie Swift, Rand Holdren as Pete Mucha, Oliver Muirhead as Steven Heisler.

"Last Call" was written by Scott Williams and directed by Bryan Spicer.

ABC Orders More 'Castle'

ABC has picked up another couple episodes of Nathan Fillion's detective drama Castle.

The Monday night show has been nipping at the heels of CBS' Hawaii Five-0 this fall.

The additional pickup brings the show's third season total to 24 episodes.

CASTLE: Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind (11/15)

"Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind" -- After a prominent astrophysicist's body is found in her car -- the victim of explosive decompression - Castle jokingly theorizes that perhaps she was killed in the vacuum of outer space. Yet as they delve deeper into the victim's life, they're confronted with evidence that keeps pointing them back to the impossible -- alien abduction. Lance Henrickson ("Millennium") stars as Benny Stryker, a well known alien abduction expert, and Lyle Lovett ("The Player") plays a mysterious government agent intent on shutting down the investigation, on "Castle," MONDAY, NOVEMBER 15 (10:01-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Lyle Lovett as Agent Westfield, Lance Henrickson as Benny Stryker, Jeanette Brox as Ayyana Holder, Karl T. Wright as Dr. Chuck Vaughn.

"Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind" was written by Shalisha Francis and directed by Bethany Rooney.

Will They or Won't They? Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic Talk Castle Romance

News Flash: People like, like Castle.

Correction: People like, love Castle.

After mentioning that we'd be visiting the set for scoop, you asked us via Twitter/email for the goods and bless you for it, 'cause we have some serious business to discuss, friends: Could the writers of Castle be trying to pull Beckett (Stana Katic) and Castle (Nathan Fillion) apart to keep things fresh? Here's what we learned:

Our crime-solving heroes might be spending some serious time apart over the next batch of episodes.

Nathan reveals that the dynamic between Castle's two main characters has changed this season, thanks to the addition of a third and fourth party. He says, "I think we're going to see a little more of Beckett on her own, with this new beau perhaps, and Castle on his own with his ex- wife, who's now, again, his girlfriend. They've been very good about exploring this will-they-or-won't-they relationship, and this year a new twist on it is that they are both in separate but viable relationships. And it's not, 'Oh my god, it's so obvious that person's so wrong for them, but real, honest, great people who are deserving of love and trust in these relationships.' "

In case you haven't heard about Beckett's fella, Stana tells us, "In one of the upcoming episodes, Beckett is dating a character named Josh who's played by Victor Webster. Victor is this tall, gorgeous Canadian who's guested on the show, and apparently he's a bike-riding bad boy who's also a cardiac surgeon. So hopefully it'll bring some fun competition and romantic tension to the set and to the show." (Editor's note: McDreamy + Jax = McSeriousCompetitionForCastle.)

So what's Stana's take on the sexual tension between Castle and Beckett? Do they have what it takes for the long term, or could they really be torn asunder by the likes of Victor's Josh? Stana says, "I always feel naive saying that I think that characters can get together and still have a spicy relationship. I don't mind if they get together. I think that they fit and fill each other's lives really well. He's her perfect opposite, she's his perfect opposite, and in some ways they are each other's perfect parallel, because they are both really passionate about the same thing, which is solving crimes. Everyone's always [talking about] this Moonlighting curse, but then I'm like you know there's [also] Mr. and Mrs. Smith [as a counterexample], and everything was fine with them, and they were superspicy."

Oh, and speaking of romance, there's more than just Castle-Beckett happening on Castle. We hear that things might start getting serious for Lanie (Tamala Jones) and Esposito (Jon Huertas) around episode 11.

Excited? Are you for or against Castle and Beckett getting together? Do you think these new relationships will complicate things long-term or are they just temporary? Hit the comments with your take on this season of Castle.

An all-new episode of Castle airs tonight at 10 p.m. on ABC.

CASTLE: Murder Most Foul

"Murder Most Fowl" - While investigating the murder of a NYC subway worker found shot to death in Central Park, Castle and Beckett unexpectedly uncover the shocking and violent abduction of a young boy. Working against the clock, the team must unravel the motives behind the high stakes kidnapping, not just to bring a murderer to justice, but to save the innocent lives that hang in the balance, on "Castle," MONDAY, NOVEMBER 8 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: John Pyper-Ferguson as Dean Donegal, Ever Carradine as Mirielle Lefcourt, Rick Hearst as Dr. Elliot Lefcourt, Carmen Argenziano as Mario Rivera, Ken Baumann as Ashley.

"Murder Most Fowl" was written by Matt Pyken and directed by Bryan Spicer.

CASTLE: Almost Famous (11/1)

"Almost Famous" -- Responding to an "Officer Down" emergency call, Castle and Beckett's latest case takes a shocking turn when it's revealed that the victim isn't a cop but a male stripper dressed up as one. The murder leads them into the world of male strip clubs, the hardships of struggling actors, and the price that people pay in pursuit of fame. Did our victim's dreams of stardom get him killed, or was there something more nefarious afoot?, on "Castle," MONDAY, NOVEMBER 1 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Corey Saunders as Derek Brookner, Mary Page Keller as Rebecca Dalton, Philip Anthony-Rodriguez as Michael Grant, Blake Gibbons as Billy Grimm, Sam Doumit as Mandy Carson.

"Almost Famous" was written by Elizabeth Davis and directed by Felix Alcala.

'V' returns in January

ABC announced Friday (Oct. 15) that the second season of the alien-invasion series will kick off on Jan. 4. It will air at 9 p.m. ET Tuesdays following "No Ordinary Family," in the spot currently occupied by the "Dancing With the Stars" results show.

The scheduling of "V's" premiere so soon after the new year should probably let it play out its full 13-episode run before the spring edition of "Dancing" starts in late March.

CASTLE: 3XK (10/25)

"3XK" - When a beautiful woman is found dead in an alley, all clues point to her being a victim of the notorious Triple Killer. The Triple Killer, or 3XK, terrorized New York City four years ago, then mysteriously disappeared. Now he's back. In a deadly battle of wits, Castle and Beckett race against time to stop 3XK before he claims his next victims. Lee Tergesen of "Oz" (as Marcus Gates, a violent felon and prime suspect in the serial killer investigation) and Michael Mosley of "Scrubs" (Gates' former cellmate) guest star in "3XK," one of the most thrilling episodes of the series to date, on "Castle," MONDAY, OCTOBER 25 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

Editor's Note: This episode replaces "Almost Famous," which moves to Monday, November 1 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET).

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Lee Tergesen as Marcus Gates, Michael Mosley as Jerry Tyson, Brian Klugman as Paul McCardle, Joe O'Connor as Cal Townsend, Anne Marie Howard as Angela Russo.

CASTLE: Anatomy of a Murder (10/18)

"Anatomy of a Murder" -- Mysteries abound when pallbearers at a funeral lose control of a surprisingly heavy casket only to have a second unknown woman tumble out along with the original deceased. When Castle and Beckett learn that the victim was a doctor at County Hospital, their investigation takes them into the world of amorous, bed-hopping physicians. Did jealousy turn to murder, or did the doctor's mysterious work outside the hospital lead to her demise? Meanwhile, Castle's relationship with Gina is challenged when she tries to bond with Alexis, on "Castle," MONDAY, OCTOBER 18 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Nathan Lam as Rabbi, Cynthia Frost as Tova, John Kassir as Mr. Dreyfus, William Allen Young as Jerry Camden, Michael Cassidy as Greg McClintock, Monet Mazur as Gina Griffin.

"Anatomy of a Murder" was written byTerence Paul Winter and directed by John Terlesky.

CASTLE: Punked

"Punked" - Castle and Beckett look into the murder of a young mathematician gunned down with a 200-year-old bullet, sparking some wild theories by Castle about a time-travelling killer. When their investigation uncovers a tricked-out DeLorean and a suspect in Victorian clothing, is it possible Castle's crazy idea has some validity? This winding tale twists through the towers of Wall Street and into the world of a secret steampunk society that embraces the romance and simplicity of the past, while coupling it with the hope and promise of the future, on "Castle," MONDAY, OCTOBER 11 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. Victor Webster (as Beckett's new boyfriend), Ken Baumann (as Alexis' first boyfriend) and Eden Riegel (as the sister of the murder victim) guest star in the episode.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Victor Webster as Josh Davidson, Ken Baumann as Ashley, Eden Riegel as Rachel Goldstein, Andrew Leeds as Adam Murphy, Ramon De Ocampo as Owen Peterson, Thomas Kopache as Abe Sandrich, Jen Lilley as Julia Foster.

"Punked" was written by David Grae and directed by Rob Bowman.

CASTLE: Under the Gun (10/4)

"Under the Gun" - When a coded document hidden by a murdered bail bondsman gets Castle's imagination running wild, Beckett must steer the case back to the violent felons who populated their victim's world - only to discover that maybe Castle's crazy theories aren't so crazy after all. Complicating matters is the surprise arrival of Beckett's ex-partner (now a bounty hunter). As the two reunite over a history that Castle has no part of, Castle is forced to watch the relationship take a turn towards the romantic, on "Castle," MONDAY, OCTOBER 4 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Jason Beghe as Mike Royce, Sophina Brown as Gayle Carver, Keith Robinson as Random Pierce, James Handy as Clifford Stuckey, Brian Krause as Father Arron Roe.

"Under the Gun" was written by Alexi Hawley and directed by Bryan Spicer.

CASTLE: He's Dead, She's Dead (9/27)

"He's Dead, She's Dead" - When a famous psychic is murdered, Beckett and Castle search for her killer while also carrying on a spirited debate on the existence of extrasensory abilities. Evidence mounts on both sides, especially when a letter arrives from the victim, penned the day she was killed and predicting her own death -- or was it written by a clever killer, hoping to throw off the investigation? -- on "Castle," MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Rachel Boston as Penny Marchand, Paige Rowland as Loreen Carter, David Gianopoulos as Albert Moreno, Rick Ravanello as Steve Adams, Kieren Hutchison as Cody Donnelly.

"He's Dead, She's Dead" was written by Moira Kirland and directed by John Terlesky.

CASTLE: A Deadly Affair -- SEASON PREMIERE (9/20)

When the new season of "Castle" begins, Beckett hasn't heard from Castle since he left for the Hamptons months ago to finish writing his second Nikki Heat novel, "Naked Heat" (on sale September 28). The most Beckett, Ryan and Esposito have seen of Castle is a bookstore standee of him advertising an upcoming book signing. So when Beckett and her team burst into a shadowy apartment on the trail of a murderer, the last thing they expect to see is the real-life Castle standing over a dead woman's body holding a gun! As Castle protests his innocence, Beckett has no choice but to arrest him on suspicion of murder, on the Season Three premiere of "Castle," MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Michael Rady as Evan Murphy, Charlene Amoia as Ana Marie, Gino Cafarelli as Dean Carbino, Justice Gamble as bartender, Lisa O'Hare as Kitty Canary, Craig Gellis as Earl Moreland.

"A Deadly Affair" was written by Andrew Marlowe and directed by Rob Bowman.

CASTLE: A Deadly Game (9/15)

"A Deadly Game" - Nothing is as it seems when Castle and Beckett investigate what appears to be the assassination of an intelligence operative. Meanwhile, Beckett's romance with Demming threatens her relationship with Castle, forcing them to confront their feelings for each other, on the Season Finale of "Castle," WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. Also in the episode, Stephen J. Cannell, Michael Connelly and James Patterson guest star as themselves playing poker with Castle. (Rebroadcast. OAD 5/17/10)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Michael Trucco as Tom Demming, Monet Mazur as Gina, Stephen J. Cannell as himself, Michael Connelly as himself, James Patterson as himself, Mitch Pileggi as Hans Bremel.

"A Deadly Game" was written by Andrew Marlowe and directed by Rob Bowman.

CASTLE: Overkill (9/8)

"Overkill" -- A robbery-homicide prompts Beckett to invite Demming to assist on a case, giving Castle a ringside seat to their budding romance. When it becomes clear that the two men have very different ideas about how to proceed, the investigation becomes an unspoken competition for Beckett's attention, one in which each man races to solve the case, as Beckett referees between her two admirers, on "Castle," WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast. OAD 5/10/10)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Michael Trucco as Tom Demming, William R. Moses as Blake Wilder, Julie Claire as Lisa Jenkins.

"Overkill" was written by Rene Echevarria and directed by John Terlesky.

Who Are TV's Top Earners?

The top earners, by category:

Drama (per episode)
Hugh Laurie (House) $400,000+
Christopher Meloni & Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU) $395,000 (each)
David Caruso (CSI: Miami) $375,000
Marg Helgenberger (CSI) $375,000
Mark Harmon (NCIS) $375,000
Laurence Fishburne (CSI) $350,000
Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) $350,000
Denis Leary (Rescue Me) $350,000
Gary Sinise (CSI: NY ) $275,000
Patrick Dempsey (Grey's Anatomy) $250,000
David Boreanaz (Bones) $200,000
Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice) $200,000
Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife ) $175,000
Dana Delany (Body of Proof ) $150,000
Lauren Graham (Parenthood) $150,000
Jada Pinkett Smith (HawthoRNe) $150,000
Jimmy Smits (Outlaw) $150,000
LL Cool J (NCIS: Los Angeles) $125,000
Chris O'Donnell (NCIS: Los Angeles) $125,000
Mark Feuerstein (Royal Pains) $125,000
Jason Lee (Memphis Beat) $125,000
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds) $125,000
Tom Selleck (Blue Bloods) $125,000
Michael Weatherly (NCIS) $125,000
Matt Bomer (White Collar) $100,000
Nathan Fillion (Castle) $100,000
Thomas Gibson (Criminal Minds) $100,000
Jon Hamm (Mad Men) $100,000
Cole Hauser (Chase) $100,000
Alex O'Loughlin (Hawaii Five-0) $100,000
Timothy Olyphant (Justified) $100,000
Scott Caan (Hawaii Five-0) $80,000
Angie Harmon (Rizzoli & Isles) $75,000
Anna Paquin (True Blood) $75,000
Blair Underwood (The Event) $75,000
Zachary Levi (Chuck) $60,000
Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries) $40,000
Shailene Woodley (The Secret Life of the American Teenager) $40,000
Ashley Tisdale (Hellcats) $30,000

Late Night/Talk Syndication (per year)
Oprah Winfrey $315 million
Judge Judy Sheindlin $45 million
David Letterman (The Late Show) $28 million
Jay Leno (The Tonight Show) $25 million
Conan O'Brien (The Conan O'Brien Show) $10 million
Ellen DeGeneres (The Ellen DeGeneres Show) $8 million
Jimmy Kimmel (Jimmy Kimmel Live) $6 million
Chelsea Handler (Chelsea Lately) $3.5 million
George Lopez (Lopez Tonight) $3.5 million

Reality (per year)
Ryan Seacrest (American Idol) $15 million
Joel McHale (The Soup) $2 million
Piers Morgan (America's Got Talent) $2 million
Kate Gosselin (Kate Plus 8) $250,000 per episode
Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi (Jersey Shore) $30,000 per episode

Comedy (per episode)
Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men) $1.25 million
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men) $550,000
Marcia Cross (Desperate Housewives) $400,000
Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives) $400,000
Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) $400,000
Eva Longoria Parker (Desperate Housewives) $400,000
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons) $400,000
Julie Kavner (The Simpsons) $400,000
Tina Fey (30 Rock) $350,000
Jeremy Piven (Entourage) $350,000
Steve Carell (The Office) $297,000
Angus T. Jones (Two and a Half Men) $250,000
David Duchovny (Californication) $200,000
Kevin Dillon (Entourage) $200,000
Adrian Grenier (Entourage) $200,000
Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly) $180,000
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie) $175,000
William Shatner ($#*! My Dad Says) $150,000
David Spade (Rules of Engagement) $150,000
Ed O'Neill (Modern Family) $100,000
Patrick Warburton (Rules of Engagement) $85,000
Betty White (Hot in Cleveland) $75,000
Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) $60,000
Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory) $60,000
Ty Burrell (Modern Family) $50,000
Jane Lynch (Glee) $50,000
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) $40,000
Matthew Morrison (Glee) $30,000
Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place) $30,000
Dylan and Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody) $20,000 (each)
Rico Rodriguez (Modern Family) $15,000

News (per year)
Matt Lauer (Today) $16 million +
Katie Couric (CBS) $15 million
Brian Williams (NBC) $12.5 million
Diane Sawyer (ABC) $12 million
Meredith Vieira (Today) $11 million
Bill O'Reilly (Fox News) $10 million
George Stephanopoulos (ABC) $8 million
Keith Olbermann (MSNBC) $7 million
Shepard Smith (Fox News) $7 million
Wolf Blitzer (CNN) $3 million
Christiane Amanpour (ABC) $2 million
Lawrence O'Donnell (MSNBC) $2 million
Eliot Spitzer (CNN) $500,000

CASTLE: Den of Thieves (8/28)

"Den of Thieves" - Investigating the murder of a thief, Castle and Beckett are surprised to learn that Esposito has a personal connection to the suspected killer. Another surprise is in line for Castle when Beckett hits it off with the handsome Robbery detective assigned to the case, Tom Demming (Michael Trucco in a recurring role rest of season). Now this romantic triangle must work together to solve the case, on "Castle," SATURDAY, AUGUST 28 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 4/19/10)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Michael Trucco as Tom Demming, Scott Cohen as Lt. Stan Holliwell and Abby Brammell as Carol Thornton.

"Den of Thieves" was written by Will Beall and directed by John Terlesky.

CASTLE: Food to Die For (8/25)

"Food to Die For" - A high profile chef is found frozen to death in the kitchen of a hot New York restaurant. Complications ensue when Castle and the restaurant owner, an old high school girlfriend of Beckett's, share an attraction. Meanwhile, Beckett's relationship with Det. Demming continues to grow, on "Castle," WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 25 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. Rocco Dispirito guest stars in the episode as a fan of the dead chef and a fan of Castle's books. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 5/3/10)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Rocco Dispirito as himself, Arye Gross as Perlmutter, Julie Gonzalo as Madison, Suzy Nakamura as Jennifer Wong, Max Greenfield as David Nicolaides and Erin Cahill as Cecily.

"Food to Die For" was written by Terri Miller and directed by Ron Underwood.

CASTLE: A Rose for Everafter (8/18)

"A Rose for Everafter" - When Castle and Beckett are called to a wedding to investigate the death of a bridesmaid, Castle is stunned to discover that the soon-to-be bride is his old flame, Kyra, "the one that got away" (guest starring Alyssa Milano). Complications ensue as Kyra, caught off-guard by Castle's reappearance in her life, wonders if she's marrying the right guy. With the nuptials forestalled and the entire wedding party under suspicion, Beckett questions Castle's ability to be objective about the case. But when it looks to Beckett like Castle and Kyra might rekindle their romance, her judgment may be compromised as well, on "Castle," TUESDAY, AUGUST 18 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 1/11/10)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Alyssa Milano as Kyra Blaine, Brady Smith as Greg Murphy and Graham Beckel as Uncle Teddy.

"A Rose for Everafter" story was by Alexi Hawley with teleplay by Terri Miller & Terence Paul Winter and directed by Brian Spicer.

CASTLE: Boom! (8/11)

"Boom!" - In the second part of the story begun in "Tick, Tick, Tick...," the serial killer remains at large and is taunting Castle, Beckett and Jordan Shaw (guest star Dana Delany) to catch him, on "Castle," WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 11 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. Delany plays Federal Agent Jordan Shaw, an insightful and accomplished Federal Investigator who teams up with Castle and Beckett to hunt down this cunning and elusive serial killer. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 3/29/10)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Dana Delany as Federal Agent Jordan Shaw, Leonard Roberts as Jason Avery, Dameon Clarke as the killer.

"Boom!" was written by Elizabeth Davis and directed by John Terlesky.

CASTLE: Sucker Punch (7/28) EPISODE CHANGE

"Sucker Punch" - While investigating the death of an Irish mobster, Beckett and Castle uncover a local turf war that may be connected to both a late-night infomercial guru and an international drug smuggling operation. But the case turns agonizingly personal when evidence emerges that the killer they're chasing may have had a hand in Beckett's mother's murder, on "Castle," WEDNESDAY, JULY 28 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD 1/18/10)

Note: This episode replaces "Famous Last Words."

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Jay R. Ferguson as Dick Coonan, James Cosmo as Finn Rourke and Scott Paulin as Jim Beckett.

"Sucker Punch" was written by Will Beall and directed by Tom Wright.

Joss Whedon to Direct Avengers, But Dr. Horrible Sequel "In Turnaround"

Joss Whedon giveth, and Joss Whedon taketh away.

Good news first: After months of speculation that he would direct the movie about Marvel superteam The Avengers, he confirmed it at a Comic-Con panel Thursday alongside J.J. Abrams.

"But it's just a gig, you know," Whedon dead-panned.

"I'm still writing an outline," he added. But how's this for a tease?

"The thing I love about it is how completely counterintuitive it is," he said. "These people should not be on the same team let alone the same room together, and that to me is the very definition of family."

And now for the letdown, at least for those who know and love Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, the made-for-web musical starring Neil Patrick Harris as a lovelorn villain. It was recently nominated for an Emmy, and according to Whedon, turned a significant profit.

The series ended with Harris' Dr. Horrible getting inducted into the Evil League of Evil after it cost him the love of his life, Penny, who was accidentally killed in his pursuit of ultimate villainy. Alas, plans to continue the story are on hold.

"It's in turnaround," Whedon said. And you can thank The Avengers for that. But the sequel still could happen. "If we had the time, we really feel like we know what the movie is... We want to do it on our terms but our terms right now are interminable."

Abrams had less to unveil, but he did say that his collaboration with Steven Spielberg, Super 8, begins production in September. The movie pays tribute to movies that Abrams loved as a teenager.

One fan in the audience wasted no time asking Abrams what he thought of the Lost finale. Abrams talked at length about how executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse did a bang-up job in being both dogmatic about their story and flexible in its telling over the six seasons.

But to sum up: "I personally believe that [they] kicked incredible ass," Abrams said.

Joss Whedon's 'Dollhouse' lives on in one-off comic, drops at Comic-Con

Joss Whedon, lover of finding any and all ways to revive his departed series, promised that the "Dollhouse" story ended with the January finale. Well, he wasn't totally lying.

Yes, Whedon's releasing more "Dollhouse" goodness in comic book form. But, as UGO first reported, apparently it's just a one-off deal to bridge the stories between the season 1 and 2 finales -- both of which took place in the distant future of the series' regular timeline.

Since the episodes in question were titled "Epitaph One" and "Epitaph Two," the book is aptly named "Epitaphs." Publisher Dark Horse describes it as "an intricate trip through the precise moment when the Active technology went global, and how the protagonists from Epitaph One and Two narrowly avoided death, and worse."

If that sounds confusing, don't worry. It's intended for fans only. The book won't even be available in comic shops. You'll have to buy season two on DVD or Blu-Ray to score a copy.

The bundle is currently scheduled for an October 12 release, but if you've got ants in your nerdy pants, copies will be available at Comic-Con in San Diego from July 21 through July 25. Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen ("Epitaph" writers and Joss's brother and sister-in-law) will even signing copies at the convention center on Friday from 11 a.m. through noon.

CASTLE: Tick, Tick, Tick... (8/4)

"Tick, Tick, Tick..." -- Actress Dana Delany ("Desperate Housewives") guest stars in two episodes of "Castle," WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), with the second episode, entitled "Boom!," airing Wednesday, August 11 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 3/22/10 & 3/29/10)

In the special two-part storyline, Delany plays Federal Agent Jordan Shaw, an insightful and accomplished Federal investigator who teams up with Castle & Beckett to hunt down a cunning and elusive serial killer. This reunites her and Nathan Fillion, who played Dr. Adam Mayfair, the younger husband of Katherine Mayfair (Delany) on "Desperate Housewives."

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Dana Delany as Federal Agent Jordan Shaw, Leonard Roberts as Jason Avery, Andrew Rothenberg as Donald Salt, Dameon Clarke as the killer, Jim Hoffmaster as Clerk.

"Tick, Tick, Tick..." was written by Moira Kirland and directed by Bryan Spicer.

CASTLE: Suicide Squeeze (7/24)

"When the Bough Breaks" - Castle's book agent, Paula Haas (guest star Debi Mazar), approaches him with a career changing opportunity, but taking it would mean the end of his relationship with Beckett. Will the murder of an unidentified woman found dead in a manhole be their last case together?, on "Castle," SATURDAY, JULY 24 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 10/19/09)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Debi Mazar as Paula Haas, Reed Diamond as Dr.Cameron Talbot, Elaine Hendrix as Melissa Talbot.

"When the Bough Breaks" was written by Rene Echevarria and directed by John Terlesky.

CASTLE: (7/21)

"The Late Shaft" - When Castle appears on a late-night talk show to promote his book, Heat Wave, legendary host Bobby Mann (guest star Tom Bergeron) leans in during a commercial break and whispers, "They want me dead." When Mann dies later that night, seemingly of natural causes, Castle has to convince Beckett that there was foul play. During the investigation, Castle is seduced by a Hollywood hottie (guest star Kelly Carlson), who was the other guest on Bobby Mann's show the night he died, on "Castle," WEDNESDAY, JULY 21 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 4/12/10)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Tom Bergeron as Bobby Mann, Kelly Carlson as Ellie Monroe, Fred Willard as Hank McPhee, Bill Bellamy as Mickey Reed, Dan Cortese as Howard Weisberg, French Stewart as Zach Robinson, Beth Broderick as Barbara Mann and Nika Williams as Angel Santana.

"The Late Shaft" was written by David Grae and directed by Bryan Spicer.

Summer Glau Takes Off As Supergirl

As if Summer Glau hadn't already cemented her status as a fanboy favorite, the actress is about to go up, up and away to a new level with the sci-fi set. The Firefly and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles star is providing the voice for Supergirl in the upcoming animated movie Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (out September 28 on DVD, Blu-ray, on demand and digital download). In the film, the latest in a Warner Bros.-produced series based on popular DC Comics stories, Glau plays Superman's cousin Kara, a mysterious survivor of the doomed planet Krypton who shows up on Earth. Tim Daly and Kevin Conroy reprise their roles as Superman and Batman, respectively, from the characters' animated series in the '90s and a previous DC movie, last year's Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.

Apocalypse is based on a 2004 comic book arc, written by former Heroes producer Jeph Loeb, which reintroduced Supergirl into the DC Comics universe. "I thought in the comic that Jeph Loeb had done a really good job of sticking to the basics of the origin story, but putting enough twists on it to give it a fresh feel," says executive producer Bruce Timm, widely considered the dean of superhero animation. Unlike the rocket that brought her cousin to Earth, Kara's pod was delayed in its arrival, leaving her in suspended animation until landing. When she wakes up she is not terribly happy to learn that Earth's yellow sun gives her powers far beyond those of mortal women. "Early on in the story she just wants to fit in," Timm says. "Unlike most people who suddenly attain superpowers, she's terrified of them. She doesn't want to shoot lasers out of her eyes and be able to lift buildings with her pinky."

Glau, an animation novice who is the fifth Serenity star Timm has worked with (following Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Gina Torres and Morena Baccarin), quickly got a handle on the role. "It was a fun part for her to play because it wasn't one-note," Timm says. "She could be young and bratty, like a typical teenager, and then show a little bit more maturity, then get feisty, then scared. She's got quite a gamut of emotions to act out."

CASTLE: Suicide Squeeze (7/17)

"Suicide Squeeze" - A beloved former major league baseball player is found dead after a goodwill trip to Cuba. The investigation, which includes running into Joe Torre (guest starring as himself), leads the detectives into New York's Cuban community to solve the murder. Meanwhile, Alexis' genealogy project forces Castle to consider the identity of his unknown father, on "Castle," SATURDAY, JULY 17 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 2/8/10)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Ray Wise as Bobby Fox, Don Franklin as Tommy Zane, Jose Zuniga as Alfredo Quintana and Joe Torre as himself.

"Suicide Squeeze" was written by Jose Molina and directed by David Barrett.

CASTLE: The Double Down (7/14)

"The Double Down" - When two separate murders are committed on the same night, Castle wagers Ryan and Esposito that he and Beckett will solve theirs first. The frenzied race to catch their respective killers and win the bet leads each investigative duo to a likely suspect, only to find that they both have airtight alibis. But bizarre twists in both cases force the two teams to work together to unravel the mind-bending mystery behind each murder, on "Castle," WEDNESDAY, JULY 14 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 9/28/09)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Arye Gross as M.E. Perlmutter, Brennan Elliot as Jason Cosway, Diana-Maria Riva as Detective Roselyn Karpowski.

"The Double Down" was written David Grace and directed by Rob Bowman.

CASTLE (7/7)

"The Third Man" - Mysteries abound when a family returns from vacation to discover a dead man in their daughter's bed. Thinking they're investigating the murder of a squatter, Castle and Beckett soon find themselves unraveling a multi-million dollar heist. Meanwhile, Castle tries to keep Beckett from finding out that they've been romantically linked when he's featured as one of New York's 10 most eligible bachelors, on "Castle," WEDNESDAY, JULY 7 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 1/25/10)

Note: This program replaces "Happy Town: Blame it on Rio Bravo."

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Scott Elrod as Clyde Dekker, Sarah Brown as Amanda Livingston, Jack McGee as Dale Fickas and Rick Gonzalez as Mickey Carlson.

CASTLE: Den of Thieves (6/30)

"Den of Thieves" - Investigating the murder of a thief, Castle and Beckett are surprised to learn that Esposito has a personal connection to the suspected killer. Another surprise is in line for Castle when Beckett hits it off with the handsome Robbery detective assigned to the case, Tom Demming (Michael Trucco in a recurring role rest of season). Now this romantic triangle must work together to solve the case, on "Castle," WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 4/19/10)

Note: This program replaces "Happy Town: Blame It on Rio Bravo."

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Michael Trucco as Tom Demming, Scott Cohen as Lt. Stan Holliwell and Abby Brammell as Carol Thornton.

"Den of Thieves" was written by Will Beall and directed by John Terlesky.

CASTLE (6/26)

"Food to Die For" - A high profile chef is found frozen to death in the kitchen of a hot New York restaurant. Complications ensue when Castle and the restaurant owner, an old high school girlfriend of Beckett's, share an attraction. Meanwhile, Beckett's relationship with Det. Demming continues to grow, on "Castle," SATURDAY, JUNE 26 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. Rocco Dispirito guest stars in the episode as a fan of the dead chef and a fan of Castle's books. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 5/3/10)

Note: This episode replaces "Den of Thieves" which moves to Wed., June 30 at 10:01 p.m.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Rocco Dispirito as himself, Arye Gross as Perlmutter, Julie Gonzalo as Madison, Suzy Nakamura as Jennifer Wong, Max Greenfield as David Nicolaides and Erin Cahill as Cecily.

"Food to Die For" was written by Terri Miller and directed by Ron Underwood.

FHM Magazine: 100 Sexiest Women for 2010

100. Elle Liberachi
99. Bilie Piper
98. Rochelle Wisemann
97. Freida Pinto
96. Lacey Turner
95. Eva Longoria
94. Giselle Bunchen
93. Georgie Thompson
92. Lady Gaga
91. Ali Larter
90. Alice Coulthard
89. Sasha Grey
88. Sienna Miller
87. Danielle Bux
86. Helen Flanagan
85. Christine Bleakley
84. Vikki Blows
83. Charlotte Church
82. Sugababes
81. Jennifer Aniston
80. Lindsay Lohan
79. Shakira
78. Christina Hendricks
77. Rosie Jones
76. Blake Liveley
75. Alexandra Burke
74. Zoe Salmon
73. Nicole Scherzinger
72. Katie Cassidy
71. Lily Allen
70. Angelina Jolie
69. Jessica Michibata
68. Olga Kurylenko
67. Gabriella Cilmi
66. Kara Tointon
65. Elin Nordgeren
64. Beyonce
63. Natalie Portman
62. Emily Atack
61. Candice Swanpoel
60. Taylor Swift
59. Nadine Coyle
58. January Jones
57. Bar Refaeli
56. Charlize Theron
55. Ana Ivanovic
54. Keira Knightley
53. Kristen Bell
52. Olivia Munn
51. Holly Willoughby
50. Doutzen Kroes
49. Michelle Ryan
48. Rachel McAdams
47. Evangeline Lilly
46. Jennifer Metcalfe
45. Pixie Lott
44. Britney Spears
43. Rihanna
42. Vanessa Hudgens
41. Kate Beckinsale
40. Dannii Minogue
39. Elizabeth Banks
38. Alessandra Ambrosio
37. Katy Perry
36. Miranda Kerr
35. Sarah Harding
34. Rachel Bilson
33. Elisha Cuthbert
32. Rachel Stevens
31. Jessica Biel
30. Michelle Keegan
29. Emma Watson
28. Kristen Kreuk
27. Rosie Huntingdon-Whitely
26. Summer Glau
25. Amber Heard
24. Zoe Saldana
23. Scarlett Johansson
22. Gemma Arterton
21. Eliza Dushku
20. Ashley Greene
19. Una Healey
18. Olivia Wilde
17. Diora Baird
16. Audrina Patridge
15. Tulisa
14. Mila Kunis
13. Kaya Scodelario
12. Hayden Panettire
11. Eva Mendes
10. Abbey Clancy
9. Jessica Alba
8. Adriana Lima
7. Kelly Brook
6. Kristen Stewart
5. Keeley Hazell
4. Frankie Sandford
3. Marisa Miller
2. Megan Fox
1. Cheryl Cole

2010 Indianapolis 500 IZOD Red Carpet Celebrity Quotes

NATHAN FILLION (Actor, “Castle”): “It’s my first time here. So far, so good. I’m a racing fan now.”

CASTLE: The Fifth Bullet

“The Fifth Bullet” – When an art dealer is gunned down in his gallery, Castle & Beckett discover that a bullet is inexplicably missing from the crime scene. The mystery is deepened by an amnesiac who witnessed the crime but can’t remember what he saw or even who he is… on “Castle,” SATURDAY, JUNE 19 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 12/7/09)

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Marc Blucas as Jeremy Preswick, Anne Dudek as Emma Carnes, Carlo Rota as Bahir “Bobby” Harun.

“The Fifth Bullet” was written by David Grae and directed by John Terlesky.

CASTLE: Sucker Punch (6/12)

"Sucker Punch" - While investigating the death of an Irish mobster, Beckett and Castle uncover a local turf war that may be connected to both a late-night infomercial guru and an international drug smuggling operation. But the case turns agonizingly personal when evidence emerges that the killer they're chasing may have had a hand in Beckett's mother's murder, on "Castle," SATURDAY, JUNE 12 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD 1/18/10)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Jay R. Ferguson as Dick Coonan, James Cosmo as Finn Rourke and Scott Paulin as Jim Beckett.

"Sucker Punch" was written by Will Beall and directed by Tom Wright.

'V' season finale leaves us seeing red

Note: If you haven't watched the V finale yet, stop here: spoilers ahead.

Red V in the morning.

ABC's space-invasion series V needed to exit with an arresting image — seeing as it's not due back now until January — and it certainly got one. The vengeance-is-mine V leader Anna, enraged because her soldier-eggs had just been destroyed, pushed a button and turned the skies all over the world a weird bright red, as people gaped and more ships gathered.

All right, we don't know what it all means and what we do know doesn't seem to make a lick of sense. But it sure looked good, and if it left you wondering why and wanting more, well, that's pretty much the point.

Granted, Tuesday night's V season finale was more silly than gripping, but that's the show: a basic, stop-the-bad guys, space-visitor version of every behind-enemy-lines, Dirty Dozen war story you've ever seen. First-rate effects mix with cheerfully cheesy ones, just as good performances blend with bad. As Anna likes to say, "The humans won't know what hit them."

What hit you was a lot of plot. Val got kidnapped by the V's, had her baby, and then got murdered by Anna — whose own babies were murdered by Erica. The Fifth Column lost Ryan (Anna turned him back) and gained Chad, who found out the V's were experimenting on their human live-aboard guests.

Like Anna, V doesn't always seem to have the best grasp of rational behavior. One wonders, for example, whether a woman who discovered her boyfriend was an alien who impregnated her with a half-lizard space baby wouldn't be more peeved for just a bit longer, and less trusting of Visitors in general. As for those Visitors, you'd think with all their advanced technology, they'd have learned how to lock a door. And install some security cameras.

Well, maybe they'll put a few in by January. And while they're at it, they might want to give us some idea of what they really want.

Now that would be a good morning.

Joss Whedon: Directing Glee Was a "Return to Home"

Joss Whedon was an obvious choice to direct an episode of Glee. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator loves high school TV shows and musicals, but the show gave him an added motivation: the chance to reteam with Neil Patrick Harris, the star of his Internet hit Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

"I am so tired of that guy. Why do they always make me direct Neil? Why the pain," Whedon joked with reporters on a recent conference call. "Neil is a consummate pro and a dear friend, which is an ideal combination. ... We had so much fun."

In the episode, airing Tuesday at 9/8c on Fox, Harris plays Bryan Ryan, a former McKinley High glee club star and the arch-rival of Will Schuster (Matthew Morrison). After failing to achieve his dreams of super stardom after graduation, Bryan returns, intent on getting revenge on the group that he believes led to his downfall.

"The sort of rivalry/affection between them just informed the whole thing so much," Whedon says of the dynamic between the How I Met Your Mother star and Morrison. "I think you can see there's a little bit of a Western element in there. That really came from the music, but then it ended up in forming more of the show, I think, of how these guys face off against each other."

In the episode, entitled "Dream On," three of the series' main characters confront their past, present and future goals as Bryan attempts to avenge his broken dreams.

"With Will, it's his desire to perform and what he may have given up. With Rachel, its questions about who her real mother was, and Artie obviously thinks about if he'll ever one day get out of the chair," Whedon says. "These are very, very hard personal things that they don't necessarily talk about with other people. I was really lucky because there's a real fantastic coherence to the episode that really brought them all together on an emotional level."

Whedon's previous work with Harris on the 2007 web series Dr. Horrible helped in several ways. "Doing Buffy and doing Dr. Horrible were both great prep for something like this. This is obviously not my first rodeo," Whedon says, also referring to Buffy's 2001 musical episode, "Once More, with Feeling." "It's the kind of thing that I would like to spend a lot more of my time doing. I love musicals deeply and dearly. This was a return to home for me."

After serving as creator and executive producer on Buffy as well as Angel, Firefly and Dollhouse, it was "tricky" for Whedon to direct someone else's series, Whedon says.

"You're living in somebody else's house and you have to make sure that you're fulfilling their needs. It also takes some of the burden off you. You don't have to be the guy who sees the big picture," he says. "Having said that, Glee is probably harder to shoot than any other show in recorded history, with all the different elements going on and whatnot; it's a different kind of challenge, but ultimately enormous fun."

Though he's busy with other projects, Whedon won't rule out a second time behind the camera on Glee. "If I had the window and they would take me, yes, in a heartbeat," he says.

ABC's Fall Lineup: Familiar Faces Anchor 10 New Series

ABC's new prime-time lineup will be packed with familiar faces, including those of TV veterans Dana Delany, Michael Chiklis, Michael Imperioli and Matthew Perry, the network announced Tuesday.

The network will introduce 10 new series, including four dramas for the fall: Body of Proof, No Ordinary Family, Detroit 1-8-7 and The Whole Truth. Family and Detroit will bookend a Dancing with the Stars results show, My Generation takes the canceled FlashForward's pre-Grey's Anatomy Thursday slot, and Body of Proof will air on Fridays. The Whole Truth will follow the network's Wednesday night comedy block, which adds the new comedy Better Together.

The network also picked up former the Fox reality show Secret Millionaire, which will kick-off the network's Friday nights in the fall.

Shonda Rhimes' Medical drama Off the Map, as well as comedies Happy Endings and Perry's Mr. Sunshine, will debut at midseason.

"Our passion for great storytelling is at the core of everything we do," ABC President Steve McPherson said in a statement. "Finding and supporting writers, directors, producers and actors who share that passion is critical to our success. Our shows are the product of these collaborations, and we are thrilled to add 10 new series to our schedule next year."

The network also welcomes back returning series Dancing with the Stars, Castle, The Middle, Modern Family, Cougar Town, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, V, America's Funniest Home Videos, Extreme Makeover:Home Edition, Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters and Supernanny. The network still has the option to renew Jamie Oliver Food Revolution and Shark Tank for midseason.

Descriptions of the new fall shows and ABC's fall line-up are below:

Better Together: This comedy stars Jennifer Finnigan and Josh Cooke as Maddie and Ben, who have been dating for nine years and are thrown for a loop when Maddie's sister Mia (JoAnna Garcia) announces her engagement after dating a guy for only seven weeks.

Body of Proof: Dana Delany stars as Dr. Megan Hunt, a brilliant neurosurgeon who is forced out of the operating room by a devastating car crash. She becomes a medical examiner who uses her sharp instincts to solve murders, but her methods don't always please the police and her interactions with the living are often uncomfortable. Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager ) Geoffrey Arend (Trust Me) and Sonja Sohn (The Wire) also star.

Detroit 1-8-7: Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos, Life on Mars) stars as Detective Louis Fitch, a wily homicide vet who is the most respected — and most misunderstood — man in the Detroit Police Department's homicide division. Jon Michael Hill plays his new partner, Damon Washington, whose first day on the job turns out to be — you guessed it — a trial by fire.

My Generation: This ensemble drama follows a group of friends 10 years after they filmed a documentary during their high school years in Texas. The show stars Michael Stahl David, Kelli Garner, Jaime King, Keir O'Donnell, Sebastian Sozzi, Mehcad Brooks, Anne Son, Daniella Alonso and Julian Morris.

No Ordinary Family: The Shield's Michael Chiklis and Dexter's Julie Benz play the Powells, a couple who, after a plane crash in the Amazon during a family vacation, discover they have superpowers. Tate Donovan (Damages), Romany Malco (Weeds), Autumn Reeser (The O.C., Entourage) also star.

Secret Millionaire: An hour-long reality series that follows some of America's wealthiest people for one week as they leave behind their lavish lifestyles, sprawling mansions and luxury jets, conceal their true identities, and go to live and volunteer in some of the most impoverished and dangerous communities in America.

The Whole Truth: Starring Rob Morrow (Numb3rs) and Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck), this legal drama chronicles the way a case is built from the perspective of both the defense and prosecution. Richardson plays Kathryn Peale, the deputy bureau chief in the New York State District Attorney's office, and Morrow plays Jimmy Brogan, Kathryn's longtime friend and a criminal attorney.

ABC's schedule:

MONDAY
8 p.m. Dancing with the Stars
10 p.m. Castle

TUESDAY
8 p.m. No Ordinary Family (new)
9 p.m. Dancing with the Stars Results Show
10 p.m. Detroit 1-8-7 (new)

WEDNESDAY
8 p.m. The Middle
8:30 p.m. Better Together (new)
9 p.m. Modern Family
9:30 p.m. Cougar Town
10 p.m. The Whole Truth (new)

THURSDAY
8 p.m. My Generation (new)
9 p.m. Grey's Anatomy
10 p.m. Private Practice

FRIDAY
8 p.m. Secret Millionaire (new)
9 p.m. Body of Proof (new)
10 p.m. 20/20

SATURDAY
8 p.m. Saturday Night College Football

SUNDAY
7 p.m. America's Funniest Home Videos
8 p.m. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
9 p.m. Desperate Housewives
10 p.m. Brothers & Sisters

'V': ABC explains midseason decision

"V" will be back next season, but fans will have to wait a while for it.

ABC will hold back the sci-fi series, which ends its season on Tuesday (May 18), until midseason next year. Jeff Bader, the network's executive vice president for planning, scheduling and distribution, says doing that will accomplish a couple of things.

"Because it's a big, sci-fi event show, they could use the extra time to ramp up and get the show as good as it could possibly be," Bader tells Zap2it. "It's also a show we'd like to run as uninterrupted as possible, like we've done with 'Lost.' If it can run uninterrupted, it will play much better."

Bader also says that ABC will "swing for the fences" with two of its new dramas next season -- "No Ordinary Family" and "My Generation." Both shows will air at 8 p.m. ("No Ordinary Family" on Tuesdays, "My Generation" on Thursdays), and while they're both in competitive timeslots, Bader says the fact that they're a little different from most shows can help them break through.

The hope is that the two shows will hook viewers early on and "keep them there all night," Bader says.

"No Ordinary Family" stars Julie Benz ("Dexter") and Michael Chiklis ("The Shield") as a married couple who, along with their kids (Kay Panabaker and Jimmy Bennett), suddenly develop superpowers. "My Generation" is a documentary-style drama that follows a group of high school graduates in 2000 and catches up with them 10 years later; the cast includes Jaime King, Kelli Garner, Mehcad Brooks and Michael Stahl David.

ABC's other fall dramas are all procedurals. Cop show "Detroit 1-8-7" and legal drama "The Whole Truth" will try to solidify the 10 o'clock hour on Tuesday and Wednesday, where ABC struggled this season, while "Body of Proof" will team with the unscripted show "Secret Millionaire" (an import from FOX) on Fridays in an effort to give the network some new life there.

"We know there's an audience that's home on Fridays," Bader says, citing the solid premiere numbers for "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" this spring. CBS has done well with its Friday drama lineup for several seasons, he notes, "but their shows are older now. The door is open for us."

CASTLE: Wrapped Up in Death (6/5)

"Wrapped Up in Death" - The investigation into the shocking death of a museum curator, crushed by a falling gargoyle, takes a bizarre turn when Castle and Beckett learn that he isn't the first member of a recent archeological expedition to die. It turns out there was a legend inscribed over the burial chamber the team unearthed warning that "all who gaze upon the face of the mummy are doomed." Was the curator just the latest victim of "The Mummy's Curse"? And if so, what does that mean for Castle, who snuck a peek at the mummy when no one was looking?, on "Castle," SATURDAY, JUNE 5 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 4/5/10)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Currie Graham as Stanford Oakes, Navi Rawat as Rachel Walters, Erick Avari as Austin Bentley and Gil Birmingham as Chaac Te.

"Wrapped Up in Death" was written by Alexi Hawley and directed by Bill Roe.

V Renewed for Second Season

The Vs will be back!

ABC has renewed V for a second season, TVGuide.com has confirmed.

Starring Elizabeth Mitchell, the sci-fi show was one of the most-watched series premieres of the 2009-10 TV season when it debuted to 14.3 million viewers in November. V, based on the 1984 miniseries of the same name, will wrap its first season Tuesday.

ABC will announce its fall schedule Tuesday as well.

Fillion finds comedy in drama

Nathan Fillion isn’t preaching or prodding. He isn’t passing himself off as an acting coach, or anything.

But Fillion has hit upon something that helps him. And he’s putting it into practice on Castle, the steadily building hit series that will air its second-season finale Monday on ABC and CTV.

“I started in comedy, doing improv theatre in Edmonton,” said Fillion, a native of that city. “And then my first major job was (the soap opera) One Life to Live, in which I did a lot of drama.

“But I’ll say that I started to come into my own when I realized comedy and drama are the same thing.”

Not that comedy and drama are the same thing in terms of result — although Castle walks that line quite nicely.

Rather, Fillion was referring to his preparation as an actor, and his personal revelation that comedy and drama demand the same skills.

“It’s not a different set of tools that you use for either one,” said Fillion, 39.

“You use timing in drama, you use timing in comedy. You have to keep your drama honest and real. Why wouldn’t you do the same thing for your comedy? Your comedy can’t be big and fake; your comedy has to be real and honest.”

Odd, then, how the entertainment world is inclined to cordon off the two.

“Yeah, I agree, and I think it’s a trap,” Fillion said.

“I mean, I can’t say that I’m writing a book about it and these are the rules. I can just say I’ve found something that really has worked for me. I have an understanding that works for me.”

Given Fillion’s philosophy, he certainly has found himself on the right series with Castle.

Fillion stars as Richard Castle, a famous mystery novelist who initially hooked up with dubious police detective Kate Beckett — played by another Canadian, Stana Katic — while doing research for one of his books. When Castle and Beckett showed a knack for solving crimes together, Castle used his celebrity status to make the arrangement more permanent.

Castle and Beckett instantly went into the familiar will-they-or-won’t-they romantic tension song-and-dance, and we must admit that at first we found Castle to be fairly derivative of other shows such as Bones. But credit where credit is due: Largely because of the unique charm of the two leads, Castle has carved out its own territory.

Slowly but surely, Castle has become a solid ratings winner. It has already been renewed for a third season.

In the second-season finale, titled A Deadly Game, Castle and Beckett investigate what appears to be the assassination of an intelligence operative. Meanwhile, Beckett’s romance with fellow detective Tom Demming (played by Michael Trucco) threatens her relationship with Castle, forcing Beckett and Castle to confront their feelings for each other.

Fillion, of course, is a familiar face by now, not only through his role on Castle but also previous roles on the aforementioned One Life to Live, Desperate Housewives and Firefly.

“Less guns in this show,” said Fillion, comparing Castle to Firefly. “Less horses and spaceships in this show. Tighter pants in Firefly. But a lot of the same dry humour, the same wry humour.

“And also not as much danger in this show. Firefly was very dangerous, it was always life and death. Here it’s a little easier, a little levity comes through.”

Ah yes, that special blend of drama and comedy. It’s what makes Nathan Fillion king of the Castle.

V: Red Sky -- SEASON FINALE (5/18)

"Red Sky" - The episode opens with the V soldier still on the hunt for Val, while for her part, Val's water breaks and her baby with Ryan will soon be born. Meanwhile Erica, tired of being on the defensive, decides to go on the offensive and gets herself and Tyler invited up to the Mothership for a get-to-know-everyone-better dinner. But she has more than food on her mind; she's really there to find Anna's soldiers and destroy them. And Chad, after Father Jack asks him to help get a message on the ship to Joshua, discovers the awful truth that Anna's been using him, on the Season Finale of "V," TUESDAY, MAY 18 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest cast: Mark Hildreth as Joshua, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes, Lexa Doig as Dr. Pearlman, Scott Hylands as Father Travis, Lucas Wolf as Samuel.

"Red Sky" was written by Scott Rosenbaum & Gregg Hurwitz and directed by Robert Duncan McNeill.

CASTLE: Boom (5/22)

"Boom!" - In the second part of the story begun in "Tick, Tick, Tick...," the serial killer remains at large and is taunting Castle, Beckett and Jordan Shaw (guest star Dana Delany) to catch him, on "Castle," SATURDAY, MAY 22 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. Delany plays Federal Agent Jordan Shaw, an insightful and accomplished Federal Investigator who teams up with Castle and Beckett to hunt down this cunning and elusive serial killer. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 3/29/10)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Dana Delany as Federal Agent Jordan Shaw, Leonard Roberts as Jason Avery, Dameon Clarke as the killer.

"Boom!" was written by Elizabeth Davis and directed by John Terlesky.

CASTLE: A Deadly Game -- SEASON FINALE (5/17)

"A Deadly Game" - Nothing is as it seems when Castle and Beckett investigate what appears to be the assassination of an intelligence operative. Meanwhile, Beckett's romance with Demming threatens her relationship with Castle, forcing them to confront their feelings for each other, on the Season Finale of "Castle," MONDAY, MAY 17 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. Also in the episode, Stephen J. Cannell, Michael Connelly and James Patterson guest star as themselves playing poker with Castle.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Michael Trucco as Tom Demming, Monet Mazur as Gina, Stephen J. Cannell as himself, Michael Connelly as himself, James Patterson as himself, Mitch Pileggi as Hans Bremel.

"A Deadly Game" was written by Andrew Marlowe and directed by Rob Bowman.

Nathan Fillion Promises "Emotional" Castle Cliffhanger

From Firefly to Dr. Horrible to Castle, let it be known that Nathan Fillion is dipped in all kinds of awesomeness.

So when we hit the set of Castle and he started spouting off words like "emotional" and "cliffhanger" when talking about the upcoming season finale, we started to worry. ABC best not be messing with our all-time favorite supersexy TV novelist! (Sorry, Angela Landsbury.)

Not surprisingly, those "emotions" surround the show's cornerstone, could-be coupling of Castle and his partner in crime-writing/solving, NYPD Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), and here's what Nathan can tell you...

Can you tell us about the season finale?

Absolutely! Beckett has set her eyes on another man, and it's really getting to Castle. He's really not having an easy time with it, so we're getting to a point in time where she's gotta make a choice. And he's gotta make a choice! There's gonna be a choice made. An emotional choice. It's an emotional cliffhanger.

Did you get a say in this "choice"?

I said Esposito, but they didn't go for it. You know, he's always playing the sex card.

Is Beckett's new love opening Castle's eyes to what's been right in front of him all this time?

It's a matter of you don't know what you got until it's gone. You don't know how much you value what's yours until you see it slipping out of your fingers, so that's a superimportant part. They do this lovely little dance. They drive each other crazy. Castle wears everything on his sleeve, while Beckett's a little more guarded. They get really tight and really close and excited. I mean, the closest thing they have to sex really is when they're solving a mystery and making strides, moving forward and figuring things out. That's their turn-on, but why doesn't it move forward from there? You got two people that are always opposed and yet always together. What are you gonna do? Poop or get off the pot, I believe is the phrase.

OK, cut to the chase. Are Castle and Beckett going to get together?

I believe that's called jumping the shark. Moonlighting did a very valuable lesson there.

We've also heard a bit about a new Richard Castle book hitting shelves soon.

Naked Heat. We're going to come out with a paperback in June, and then it comes out in September. "September 28," said a voice in the distance.

Do you ever wish you could actually write something for the show?

The episode I've always been pitching was pretty much what the book turned out to be. We see the world through Castle's eyes. All the girls are crazy about him and everything works out his way and he's incredibly cool. I was thinking about flashing back and forth between the actual reality and Castle's reality, how we see his life, which he sees through rose-colored glasses. That would be also be the episode I was pitching.

Was it nice getting the early season pickup?

What is that? Season three?! Never heard of it! If you look at my résumé—don't look at my résumé too closely—you'll see a long list of failed television programs. This is my first season three ever! The closest I've come is two and a half seasons, so here we go!

V: Fruition (5/11)

"Fruition" - After a violent attack on someone very close to Anna, she delivers a message that the Vs don't feel safe and will be leaving; and Anna also gives a list of possible Fifth Column members to Chad, hoping he'll investigate to help in finding them. Meanwhile, Erica and the team try to track down a scientist who may have created a weapon that the Visitors are afraid of, on "V," TUESDAY, MAY 11 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET), on ABC.

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest cast: Roark Critchlow as A.D. Paul Kendrick, Mark Hildreth as Joshua, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes, Rekha Sharma as Agent Sarita Malik and Lexa Doig as Dr. Pearlman.

"Fruition" was written by John Wirth & Natalie Chaidez and directed by Bryan Spicer.

CASTLE: Tick, Tick, Tick... (5/15)

"Tick, Tick, Tick..." -- Actress Dana Delany ("Desperate Housewives") guest stars in two episodes of "Castle," SATURDAY, MAY 15 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), with the second episode, entitled "Boom!," airing Saturday, May 22 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 3/22/10 & 3/29/10)

In the special two-part storyline, Delany plays Federal Agent Jordan Shaw, an insightful and accomplished Federal investigator who teams up with Castle & Beckett to hunt down a cunning and elusive serial killer. This reunites her and Nathan Fillion, who played Dr. Adam Mayfair, the younger husband of Katherine Mayfair (Delany) on "Desperate Housewives."

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Dana Delany as Federal Agent Jordan Shaw, Leonard Roberts as Jason Avery, Andrew Rothenberg as Donald Salt, Dameon Clarke as the killer, Jim Hoffmaster as Clerk.

"Tick, Tick, Tick..." was written by Moira Kirland and directed by Bryan Spicer.

CASTLE: Overkill (5/10)

"Overkill" -- A robbery-homicide prompts Beckett to invite Demming to assist on a case, giving Castle a ringside seat to their budding romance. When it becomes clear that the two men have very different ideas about how to proceed, the investigation becomes an unspoken competition for Beckett's attention, one in which each man races to solve the case, as Beckett referees between her two admirers, on "Castle," MONDAY, MAY 10 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Michael Trucco as Tom Demming, William R. Moses as Blake Wilder, Julie Claire as Lisa Jenkins.

"Overkill" was written by Rene Echevarria and directed by John Terlesky.

'Deadly Honeymoon's' Summer Glau: 'I think girls deserve more credit than they get'

At first look, Lifetime Movie Network's new original movie, "Deadly Honeymoon," seems pretty cut-and-dry. Newlyweds Lindsey (Summer Glau) and Trevor (Chris Carmack) head off on a six-day post-nuptial cruise only for Lindsey to fall in with a bad crowd and Trevor to fall -- or be pushed -- off the boat and vanish completely.

Complicating matters though, as Trevor's disappearance is investigated, Miss Sweetness and Light's story starts to unravel. So is Lindsey a victim or an accomplice?

"I think she's a little bit of both and that's what I tried to focus on," Glau tells Zap2it. "She's a mystery and that's how I tried to portray it."

Despite the extreme circumstances, "Deadly Honeymoon" is a bit of a departure for Glau who is more known for her work on such genre shows as "Firefly," "The 4400," "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" and "Dollhouse" in that she's playing someone in the "real" world. But the actress definitely sees a commonality between all her roles: they're not pushovers.

"I think girls deserve more credit than they get. I think most girls are smarter than what meets the eye and are capable of a lot more than maybe people think at first," she says. "I feel that way too and like when I get pushed. I didn't want [Lindsey] to come off as one-dimensional. I didn't want her to come off as a spoiled princess who didn't get her way. I wanted it to be something more complicated."

Often dismissed, Lifetime's original movies continue to draw not only audiences but well-known names like Glau, Andie MacDowell, Heather Locklear, Sigourney Weaver, Kristin Chenoweth, LeAnn Rimes, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Cybill Shepherd as stars.

"For me, since I was a little girl, it was just a way to escape and dive into a different world and really inspired me to want to be an actress," says Glau. "I loved to turn them on on Saturday afternoons and watch them with my mother.

"I think they're a great opportunity -- especially for girls -- to get these big, dramatic roles ... so I couldn't resist."

"Deadly Honeymoon" premieres Sunday, April 25 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime Movie Network.

V: Hearts and Minds (5/4)

"Hearts and Minds" - Erica, Ryan, Father Jack and Hobbes learn Anna's sent a V shuttle filled with a deadly V tracker team to find them, and must figure out how to stop the shuttle from landing. Meanwhile, Anna gives Tyler his invitation to the Live Aboard Program, and Chad confronts Father Jack on what he knows about The Fifth Column, on "V," TUESDAY, MAY 4 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET), on ABC.

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest cast: Roark Critchlow as A.D. Paul Kendrick, Mark Hildreth as Joshua, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes and Rekha Sharma as Agent Sarita Malik.

"Hearts and Minds" was written by Gregg Hurwitz and directed by Bobby Rich.

CASTLE: Food to Die For (5/3)

"Food to Die For" - A high profile chef is found frozen to death in the kitchen of a hot New York restaurant. Complications ensue when Castle and the restaurant owner, an old high school girlfriend of Beckett's, share an attraction. Meanwhile, Beckett's relationship with Det. Demming continues to grow, on "Castle," MONDAY, MAY 3 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. Rocco Dispirito guest stars in the episode as a fan of the dead chef and a fan of Castle's books.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Rocco Dispirito as himself, Arye Gross as Perlmutter, Julie Gonzalo as Madison, Suzy Nakamura as Jennifer Wong, Max Greenfield as David Nicolaides and Erin Cahill as Cecily.

"Food to Die For" was written by Terri Miller and directed by Ron Underwood.

Joss Whedon may assemble 'Avengers' movie

That thing you just felt? It may have been a nation of geeks collectively fainting.

The cause for all the excitement is the fact that Joss Whedon -- he of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Firefly," "Serenity" and "Dollhouse" -- may be given the reins to Marvel Comics' "Avengers" movie. Deadline.com reports that Whedion is in "final negotiations" with Marvel Studios to direct the movie, which is scheduled for a 2012 release.

"The Avengers" will bring together several Marvel on-screen heroes, including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans). S.H.I.E.L.D. chief Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) will also be involved; there's no word on whether Marvel's other original Avengers, the Incredible Hulk and the previously unfilmed Ant-Man, will be too.

The movie will be the culmination of Marvel's years-long strategy of bringing its heroes together, one that began with Jackson's post-credits cameo in "Iron Man." He and Downey then popped up in "The Incredible Hulk" the following summer. Jackson is also featured in "Iron Man 2," which hits theaters next month; "Thor" and "The First Avenger: Captain America" are due for release next year.

Zak Penn, a veteran of several previous Marvel big-screen adaptations ("The Incredible Hulk" and the last two "X-Men" movies), is writing the "Avengers" script.

V: We Can't Win

"We Can't Win" - Chad and Anna are in Geneva, Switzerland for the U.N. Energy Summit, where Anna is going to present a gift of technology to the world. Meanwhile, Erica learns that the V Task Force is investigating The Fifth Column, and Valerie goes on the run, knowing something is different about her baby and not sure she can trust Ryan, on "V," TUESDAY, APRIL 20 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET), on ABC.

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest cast: Mark Hildreth as Joshua, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes, Roark Critchlow as A.D. Paul Kendrick, Rekha Sharma as Agent Sarita Malik, Lexa Doig as Dr. Pearlman, Lucas Wolf as Samuel.

"We Can't Win" was written by Christine Roum & Cameron Litvack and directed by David Barrett.

CASTLE: Den of Thieves

"Den of Thieves" - Investigating the murder of a thief, Castle and Beckett are surprised to learn that Esposito has a personal connection to the suspected killer. Another surprise is in line for Castle when Beckett hits it off with the handsome Robbery detective assigned to the case, Tom Demming (Michael Trucco in a recurring role rest of season). Now this romantic triangle must work together to solve the case, on "Castle," MONDAY, APRIL 19 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Michael Trucco as Tom Demming, Scott Cohen as Lt. Stan Holliwell and Abby Brammell as Carol Thornton.

"Den of Thieves" was written by Will Beall and directed by John Terlesky.

CASTLE: Suicide Squeeze

"Suicide Squeeze" - A beloved former major league baseball player is found dead after a goodwill trip to Cuba. The investigation, which includes running into Joe Torre (guest starring as himself), leads the detectives into New York's Cuban community to solve the murder. Meanwhile, Alexis' genealogy project forces Castle to consider the identity of his unknown father, on "Castle," SATURDAY, APRIL 24 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 2/8/10)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Ray Wise as Bobby Fox, Don Franklin as Tommy Zane, Jose Zuniga as Alfredo Quintana and Joe Torre as himself.

"Suicide Squeeze" was written by Jose Molina and directed by David Barrett.

ABC Renews Castle

Good news, Castle fans: The ABC drama has officially been renewed for a 22-episode season 3! The whodunnit, starring Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, has been on a recent ratings boost, with last night's episode netting over 14 million total viewers.

CASTLE: The Third Man (4/17)

"The Third Man" - Mysteries abound when a family returns from vacation to discover a dead man in their daughter's bed. Thinking they're investigating the murder of a squatter, Castle and Beckett soon find themselves unraveling a multi-million dollar heist. Meanwhile, Castle tries to keep Beckett from finding out that they've been romantically linked when he's featured as one of New York's 10 most eligible bachelors, on "Castle," SATURDAY, APRIL 17 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 1/25/10)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Scott Elrod as Clyde Dekker, Sarah Brown as Amanda Livingston, Jack McGee as Dale Fickas and Rick Gonzalez as Mickey Carlson.

"The Third Man" was written by Terrence Paul Winter and directed by Rosemary Rodriguez.

V: John May (4/13)

"John May" - Erica, Ryan and Jack go on a harrowing mission to find the legendary John May in order to rescue Georgie, Anna brings Chad aboard the Mothership for a story on her Live Aboard Program, and Tyler confronts his mom about his mysterious past, on "V," TUESDAY, APRIL 13 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET), on ABC.

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest cast: Michael Trucco as John May, David Richmond-Peck as Georgie, Mark Hildreth as Joshua, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes, Nicholas Lea as Joe Evans.

"John May" was written by Gregg Hurwitz and directed by Jonathan Frakes.

CASTLE: Late Shaft (4/12)

"The Late Shaft" - When Castle appears on a late-night talk show to promote his book, Heat Wave, legendary host Bobby Mann (guest star Tom Bergeron) leans in during a commercial break and whispers, "They want me dead." When Mann dies later that night, seemingly of natural causes, Castle has to convince Beckett that there was foul play. During the investigation, Castle is seduced by a Hollywood hottie (guest star Kelly Carlson), who was the other guest on Bobby Mann's show the night he died, on "Castle," MONDAY, APRIL 12 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Tom Bergeron as Bobby Mann, Kelly Carlson as Ellie Monroe, Fred Willard as Hank McPhee, Bill Bellamy as Mickey Reed, Dan Cortese as Howard Weisberg, French Stewart as Zach Robinson, Beth Broderick as Barbara Mann and Nika Williams as Angel Santana.

"The Late Shaft" was written by David Grae and directed by Bryan Spicer.

New Warehouse 13 Love Interests

Don’t hold your breath for a hook-up between Warehouse 13’s adorable Secret Service agents any time soon. Joanne Kelly – Myka to Eddie McClintock’s Pete on Syfy’s top-rated show – recently told TV Guide Magazine that even though fans are constantly clamoring for the partners to get together, she thought that was a definite no-no.

She’s not the only with that opinion. When Warehouse 13 returns in July, the network has announced not one, but two love interests for Eddie. Gina Torres (Firefly, The Vampire Diaries) will play “an agent from Pete’s past,” and in a recurring role, Paula Garces (Defying Gravity, The Shield) plays Kelly, “a sexy spunky headstrong veterinarian…who catches Pete’s eye.” And more, we suspect.

Other guests include Firefly alumni Jewel Staite and Sean Maher, and Philip Winchester (Alice), who plays a 1950’s matinee idol in an episode about an object “transmitting increasingly dangerous scenes from old Hollywood movies.”

'V' star dresses down in real life

It’s something celebrities face every day, but Average Joes and Average Janes do not.

Every time celebs leave the house, there’s a chance people will recognize them.

So they must ask themselves: How much do they care about how they look at any particular time?

“This is not what I look like every day,” said Morena Baccarin, the fetching Brazilian-American actress who plays the leader of the aliens in V. Baccarin, of course, looked like a gazillion alien bucks while meeting with a small group of reporters, which is just how she looks in V playing Anna.

“I tend to wear flats and jeans and no makeup and walk around, go to the grocery store and do whatever I have to do,” continued Baccarin, 30. “Suddenly, to have people look at you, as a woman, it’s a very different experience to realize, ‘Am I ashamed to be who I really am in the public eye?’”

It’s easy for those of us who don’t have to deal with this stuff to get all philosophical and say, “Oh, Morena, just be yourself.” But when you’re a celeb - especially a female celeb - that attitude invites consequences.

“You see those magazines, ‘Oh, look at so-and-so without makeup, Halle Berry without makeup,’” Baccarin said. “It’s so crazy to wake up in the morning and have that thought - ‘Do I need to put makeup on, do I need to do something, because I know people are going to know who I am?’

“I’m choosing to disregard it right now, and I’m just having fun with the show. Overall, it’s a wonderful thing. But it’s a new experience.”

Just to be clear, Baccarin was not being “faux modest.” She had been asked a direct question about her recognizability factor since V debuted, and she gave a very thoughtful answer.

V - a rookie sci-fi series that re-imagines the iconic 1980s mini-series - aired only four episodes last November. It has eight episodes remaining in its first season, the first of which airs Tuesday, March 30 on ABC and A.

Baccarin never has been a sci-fi geek, but she feels V has found the right mix of sci-fi and character-based drama.

“A lot of sci-fi has that sacrifice made for some reason, I guess because people are really interested in the effects, ” Baccarin said. “That’s part of the reason I wasn’t a sci-fi fan growing up. I liked sci-fi things, but I found them limiting.

“I feel this show embraces all people, actually, all kinds of genres.”

The makers of V say the first four episodes served as a prologue, but now things get much more intense and personal for both the aliens and the resistance.

“Every episode has a lot of huge things happening in it,” Baccarin said. “You never get a break.”

Hmmm, just like recognizable celebrities leaving the house.

But as long as Morena Baccarin finds a non-alien way to handle it, she knows it’s a nice problem to have.

V: Heretic's Fork (4/27)

"Heretic's Fork" - Erica, Father Jack and Hobbes realize that the Vs know names and addresses of The Fifth Column members and must take drastic measures to protect them. Meanwhile, Ryan finally reveals to Val that he's a Visitor, and Chad, with the camera rolling for "Prime Focus," begins the process aboard the Mothership's Medical Bay to have his aneurysm removed, on "V," TUESDAY, APRIL 27 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET), on ABC.

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest cast: Mark Hildreth as Joshua, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes, Rekha Sharma as Agent Sarita Malik and Lexa Doig as Dr. Pearlman.

"Heretic's Fork" was written by John Wirth & Angela Russo Otstot and directed by Fred Toye.

CASTLE: The Mistress Always Spanks Twice (5/1)

"The Mistress Always Spanks Twice" - When a half-naked woman is found covered in caramel sauce and hanging by bondage cuffs in a public park, Castle and Beckett's investigation takes them into New York's underground world of sexual domination. Naturally the case serves as sexy fodder for their already charged relationship banter, on "Castle," SATURDAY, MAY 1 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 3/8/10)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Paul Shackman as Barry, Gil McKinney as Tyler Benton, Amy Gumenick as Danielle, Mark Damon Espinoza as Professor Stevenson, Keiko Agena as Kelly, Devon Gummersall as Matt Haley.

"The Mistress Always Spanks Twice" was written by Kate Sargeant and directed by Rob Bowman.

CASTLE: Fool Me Once (4/26)

"Fool Me Once" - When an Arctic explorer is killed during a polar expedition, the mysterious circumstances of his death take Castle and Beckett from the penthouses of Park Avenue to the halls of the CIA. But Castle's delight at the case's many twists and turns soon turns to frustration as he realizes that their elusive killer might just be fooling them all, on "Castle," MONDAY, APRIL 26 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 10/12/09)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Kathleen Rose Perkins as Elise Finnegan, Robert Pine as Gerry Finnegan, David Ramsey as Jim Wheeler.

"Fool Me Once" was written by Alexi Hawley and directed by Bryan Spicer.

CASTLE (4/10) ** EPISODE CHANGE**

"Sucker Punch" - While investigating the death of an Irish mobster, Beckett and Castle uncover a local turf war that may be connected to both a late-night infomercial guru and an international drug smuggling operation. But the case turns agonizingly personal when evidence emerges that the killer they're chasing may have had a hand in Beckett's mother's murder, on "Castle," SATURDAY, APRIL 10 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD 1/18/10)

Note: This episode replaces "Hedge Fund Homeboys."

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Jay R. Ferguson as Dick Coonan, James Cosmo as Finn Rourke and Scott Paulin as Jim Beckett.

"Sucker Punch" was written by Will Beall and directed by Tom Wright.

V: Pound of Flesh (4/6)

"Pound of Flesh" - Anna introduces her pilot program to invite select groups of humans to stay on each of the 29 space ships, Ryan must deal with the fact that Valerie's pregnancy is wildly accelerated, Tyler learns a secret about his mom, and one of the team makes a sacrifice to save Ryan, on "V," TUESDAY, APRIL 6 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET), on ABC.

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest cast: David Richmond-Peck as Georgie, Mark Hildreth as Joshua, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes, Lexa Doig as Dr. Leah Pearlman, Nicholas Lea as Joe Evans.

"Pound of Flesh" was written by Charles Murray & Natalie Chaidez and directed by Dean White.

CASTLE: Wrapped Up in Death (4/5)

"Wrapped Up in Death" - The investigation into the shocking death of a museum curator, crushed by a falling gargoyle, takes a bizarre turn when Castle and Beckett learn that he isn't the first member of a recent archeological expedition to die. It turns out there was a legend inscribed over the burial chamber the team unearthed warning that "all who gaze upon the face of the mummy are doomed." Was the curator just the latest victim of "The Mummy's Curse"? And if so, what does that mean for Castle, who snuck a peek at the mummy when no one was looking?, on "Castle," MONDAY, APRIL 5 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Currie Graham as Stanford Oakes, Navi Rawat as Rachel Walters, Erick Avari as Austin Bentley and Gil Birmingham as Chaac Te.

"Wrapped Up in Death" was written by Alexi Hawley and directed by Bill Roe.

V: Welcome to the War (3/30)

"Welcome to the War" - As the story continues, Erica finds her life in danger when she's attacked at home; a dangerous new member is recruited for the Resistance, as the Visitors shore up their defenses; Anna wonders why Chad hasn't followed up on his diagnosed aneurysm; and Ryan's concern grows over Val's "abnormal" pregnancy, on the riveting return of "V," TUESDAY, MARCH 30 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest cast: Roark Critchlow as A.D. Paul Kendrick, Rekha Sharma as Agent Sarita Malik, David Richmond-Peck as Georgie, Mark Hildreth as Joshua, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes, Lexa Doig as Dr. Leah Pearlman.

"Welcome to the War" was written by Scott Rosenbaum and directed by Yves Simoneau.

Summer Glau joins NBC's 'The Cape'

NBC has signed "Firefly" and "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" star Summer Glau for its pilot "The Cape."

The superhero-themed pilot stars David Lyons ("ER") as a cop who's framed for a crime and takes on a masked-hero alter ego in an effort to clear his name. Glau will play a blogger who exposes corruption and "masked bad guys," according to The Hollywood Reporter. The story also notes that her character "is quite capable of kicking ass."

The pilot, written by Tom Wheeler ("Empire") and to be directed by Simon West ("Human Target," "Con Air"), also stars James Frain ("The Tudors") as a villain.

Glau is the second "Firefly"/"Serenity" alum to join an NBC pilot this week. Alan Tudyk signed on to "The Rockford Files" earlier in the week.

Her other credits include a guest arc on "Dollhouse," "The 4400" and "The Unit." She also played herself on an episode of "The Big Bang Theory" last year.

Alan Tudyk joins 'The Rockford Files'

Ex-"Firefly" star and Joss Whedon regular Alan Tudyk has signed on to NBC's remake of "The Rockford Files."

Tudyk, who had recurring roles on Whedon's FOX series "Dollhouse" and ABC's "V" earlier this season, will star opposite Dermot Mulroney in the pilot. He'll play Dennis Becker, an LAPD detective who gets along with private eye Rockford -- which makes him a rarity on the force, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "House" creator David Shore is behind the new show.

Joe Santos played Becker alongside James Garner's Rockford in the 1970s series.

Tudyk is the second "Dollhouse" alumnus to join an NBC pilot this season. Fran Kranz, who played Topher on the show, will be one of the stars of the network's comedy "Friends with Benefits."

In addition to "Firefly" (and its followup movie "Serenity"), "Dollhouse" and "V," Tudyk's credits include "Knocked Up," "3:10 to Yuma" and "I, Robot."

V: THE ARRIVAL (3/23)

It's Us vs. Them -- The visitors have arrived, but what is their plan for the human race? One thing is certain: Every person's life will change as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. "V" is the highest-rated new drama series on television, and this is your chance to get caught up on it. Be ready when THEY return! "V: The Arrival," a special clip show from the first four episodes, airs TUES., MARCH 23 (10:06-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. The series returns Tues., March 30 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET).

While the world quickly became fascinated with the Vs and their link to wonders just beyond the reach of human understanding, FBI Counter Terrorist Agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell) discovered a secret hidden beneath the skin of every V - a secret that may threaten the lives of everyone close to her. Yet for her teenage son, Tyler (Logan Huffman), the Vs were his ticket to something big and hopeful -- a new chance for mankind to unite in common goals. To Chad Decker (Scott Wolf), a career-hungry news anchor, his exclusive interview with Anna (Morena Baccarin), the leader of the Vs, was crucial to his desire to dominate the airwaves. Also unsure about the Visitors was Father Jack (Joel Gretsch), a priest who questioned his own faith in the wake of the Visitors' arrival. Seeking answers outside the church, Father Jack learned there were other dissidents who believed the Visitors were not who they said they were, including Ryan Nichols (Morris Chestnut), who was faced with his own life-altering decision when the Vs showed up. Never has there been more at stake -- it truly was the dawning of a new day.

In the last cliffhanger episode, several key plot and character points were revealed: Erica had lost her control over Tyler as she discovered he was now on the Mothership with Anna and Lisa (Laura Vandervoort), and she also learned that Ryan was a Visitor; Father Jack was stabbed by the Vs' security guard from the warehouse, where evidence of experimenting on humans had been discovered; Valerie (Lourdes Benedicto) revealed that she's pregnant by Ryan (carrying a 1/2 alien, 1/2 human baby); and Chad, while doing a report on the Vs' healing center, had himself medically scanned and was told he has a potentially fatal aneurysm in his brain - will he let the Vs cure him and be indebted to them?

CASTLE (3/29; EPISODE CHANGE)

"Boom!" - In the second part of the story begun in "Tick, Tick, Tick...," the serial killer remains at large and is taunting Castle, Beckett and Jordan Shaw (guest star Dana Delany) to catch him, on "Castle," MONDAY, MARCH 29 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. Delany plays Federal Agent Jordan Shaw, an insightful and accomplished Federal Investigator who teams up with Castle and Beckett to hunt down this cunning and elusive serial killer.

Note: This episode was originally scheduled for March 22.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Dana Delany as Federal Agent Jordan Shaw, Leonard Roberts as Jason Avery, Dameon Clarke as the killer.

"Boom!" was written by Elizabeth Davis and directed by John Terlesky.

CASTLE (3/22; EPISODE CHANGE)

"Tick, Tick, Tick..." -- Actress Dana Delany ("Desperate Housewives") will guest star in two episodes of "Castle," beginning MONDAY, MARCH 22 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET), with the second episode, entitled "Boom!," airing Monday, March 29 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

Note: This episode was originally scheduled for Sunday, March 21 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET; that time slot is now TBA). It now replaces "Boom!," which moves to March 29.

In the special two-part storyline, Delany plays Federal Agent Jordan Shaw, an insightful and accomplished Federal investigator who teams up with Castle & Beckett to hunt down a cunning and elusive serial killer. This will reunite her and Nathan Fillion, who played Dr. Adam Mayfair, the younger husband of Katherine Mayfair (Delany) on "Desperate Housewives."

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Dana Delany as Federal Agent Jordan Shaw, Leonard Roberts as Jason Avery, Andrew Rothenberg as Donald Salt, Dameon Clarke as the killer, Jim Hoffmaster as Clerk.

"Tick, Tick, Tick..." was written by Moira Kirland and directed by Bryan Spicer.

V: It's Only the Beginning (3/27)

"It's Only the Beginning" -- Erica works with newly-formed allies to uncover a biological threat they suspect the Visitors have been plotting. Aboard the Mothership, Anna meets with a special guest while managing the investigation into the murder of a V. And Chad does a segment on the V Healing Centers, demonstrating their amazing medical abilities, but then finds himself conflicted by some of his findings, on the riveting cliffhanger of "V," SATURDAY, MARCH 27 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET), on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 11/24/09)

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest cast: Ryan Kennedy as David, Craig Fraser as Peter Combs, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, David Richmond-Peck as Georgie, and Mark Hildreth as Joshua.

"It's Only the Beginning" was written by Cameron Litvack & Angela Russo Otstot and directed by Yves Simoneau.

V: A Bright New Day (3/27)

"A Bright New Day" -- Chad reports from the Peace Ambassador Center as 100 diplomatic visas are being issued to the first wave of American Visitors, with Anna getting the 1st, but not everyone agrees with the decision. Meanwhile Erica has started tracking a death threat while paired with a V officer, as she actually has to protect the V's, and Ryan starts reaching out to his old friends to build up opposition forces and help fight-off the V's, on "V," SATURDAY, MARCH 27 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET), on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 11/17/09)

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna, and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest cast: Alan Tudyk as Dale Maddox, Mark Hildreth as Joshua, Michael Filipowich as Cyrus, Tyler McClendon as Steven, Michelle Harrison as Mrs. Falkner, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, Jesse Wheeler as Brandon, David Richmond-Peck as Georgie, Roark Critchlow as Paul Kendrick, Britt Irvin as Haley.

"A Bright New Day" was written by Diego Gutierrez & Christine Roum and directed by Fred Toye.

CASTLE: Home is Where the Heart Stops (3/27)

"Home Is Where the Heart Stops" -- When a string of high-end home invasions end in murder, Castle and Beckett must determine who is orchestrating these violent robberies before they strike again. But to catch this deadly thief, Beckett must go way out of her comfort zone to enter Castle's glamorous, paparazzi filled world as his date to a charity ball. Meanwhile, Castle seeks the counsel of a dangerous ex-jewel thief who had once threatened to kill him, on "Castle," SATURDAY, MARCH 27(10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 4/20/09)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Patrick Bauchau as Caine Powell, Caterina Scorsone as Joanne Delgado, Nick Chinlund as Evan Mitchell and Joseph C. Phillips as Mayor.

"Home Is Where the Heart Stops" was written by Will Beall and directed by Dean White.

CASTLE: Boom! (3/22)

Boom!" - In the second part of the story begun in "Tick, Tick, Tick...," the serial killer remains at large and is taunting Castle, Beckett and Jordan Shaw (guest star Dana Delany) to catch him, on "Castle," MONDAY, MARCH 22 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. Delany plays Federal Agent Jordan Shaw, an insightful and accomplished Federal Investigator who teams up with Castle and Beckett to hunt down this cunning and elusive serial killer.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Dana Delany as Federal Agent Jordan Shaw, Leonard Roberts as Jason Avery, Dameon Clarke as the killer.

"Boom!" was written by Elizabeth Davis and directed by John Terlesky.

CASTLE: Tick, Tick, Tick (3/21)

"Tick, Tick, Tick..." -- Actress Dana Delany ("Desperate Housewives") will guest star in two episodes of "Castle," beginning SUNDAY, MARCH 21 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET), with the second episode (entitled "Boom!," airing 10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on Monday, March 22 on ABC.

In the special two-part storyline, Delany plays Federal Agent Jordan Shaw, an insightful and accomplished Federal investigator who teams up with Castle & Beckett to hunt down a cunning and elusive serial killer. This will reunite her and Nathan Fillion, who played Dr. Adam Mayfair, the younger husband of Katherine Mayfair (Delany) on "Desperate Housewives."

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Dana Delany as Federal Agent Jordan Shaw, Leonard Roberts as Jason Avery, Andrew Rothenberg as Donald Salt, Dameon Clarke as the killer, Jim Hoffmaster as Clerk.

"Tick, Tick, Tick..." was written by Moira Kirland and directed by Bryan Spicer.

CASTLE: Nanny McDead (3/20)

"Nanny McDead" -- The body of a young woman is found spinning inside the dryer in the laundry room of an upscale apartment building. When Castle and Beckett discover that the woman, in her 20s, worked as a Nanny in the building, their investigation leads them to a world of sex, lies and "playdates." Meanwhile, while writing the first novel to his "Nikki Heat" series, Castle delves into the thoughts and actions of Beckett, as she navigates the murder case while revealing more of her own mysteries, on "Castle," SATURDAY, MARCH 20 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD: 3/16/09)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Jayne Brook as Claudia Peterson, Michael Graziadei as Brent Johnson, Sarah Drew as Chloe Richardson, Melinda Page Hamilton as Diana Harris and George Newbern as Howard Peterson.

"Nanny McDead" was written by Barry Schindel and directed by John Terlesky.

CASTLE: A Rose for Everafter (3/15)

"A Rose for Everafter" - When Castle and Beckett are called to a wedding to investigate the death of a bridesmaid, Castle is stunned to discover that the soon-to-be bride is his old flame, Kyra, "the one that got away" (guest starring Alyssa Milano). Complications ensue as Kyra, caught off-guard by Castle's reappearance in her life, wonders if she's marrying the right guy. With the nuptials forestalled and the entire wedding party under suspicion, Beckett questions Castle's ability to be objective about the case. But when it looks to Beckett like Castle and Kyra might rekindle their romance, her judgment may be compromised as well, on "Castle," MONDAY, MARCH 15 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 1/11/10)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Alyssa Milano as Kyra Blaine, Brady Smith as Greg Murphy and Graham Beckel as Uncle Teddy.

"A Rose for Everafter" story was by Alexi Hawley with teleplay by Terri Miller & Terence Paul Winter and directed by Brian Spicer.

Castle (3/8)

"The Mistress Always Spanks Twice" - When a half-naked woman is found covered in caramel sauce and hanging by bondage cuffs in a public park, Castle and Beckett's investigation takes them into New York's underground world of sexual domination. Naturally the case serves as sexy fodder for their already charged relationship banter, on "Castle," MONDAY, MARCH 8 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Paul Shackman as Barry, Gil McKinney as Tyler Benton, Amy Gumenick as Danielle, Mark Damon Espinoza as Professor Stevenson, Keiko Agena as Kelly, Devon Gummersall as Matt Haley.

"The Mistress Always Spanks Twice" was written by Kate Sargeant and directed by Rob Bowman.

Castle (3/13)

“A Chill Goes Through Her Veins” – A frozen woman found tangled in steel bars at a construction site leads Castle and Beckett to a years-old mystery and a long abandoned case. As the two uncover startling revelations about the victim’s past, the investigation forces Beckett to face some difficult memories of her own, which provides Castle insight into his muse and additional material for his novel, on “Castle,” SATURDAY, MARCH 13 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 4/6/09)

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Charles Malik Whitfield as Charles Wyler, Bill Smitrovich as Ben Davidson, Peter Jason as Sheriff Sloan and Channon Roe as Kevin Henson.

“A Chill Goes Through Her Veins” was written by Charles Murray and directed by Bryan Spicer.

'Buffy' boss to document Comic-Con

Comic book superfans Joss Whedon and Morgan Spurlock are teaming up to chronicle the genre's biggest convention Comic-Con in San Diego, California.

The Buffy The Vampire Slayer creator and Super Size Me director/star are planning to capture footage of sci-fi, comic book and animation fans at this year's weekend event as part of a new documentary, which will take a look at the world of the enthusiast.

And Eonline.com reports Spurlock and Whedon is looking to 'cast' a group of superfans, who will become the stars of the project.

A source says, "They want to follow people for about three months leading up to this year's Comic-Con and then they want to film them there."

Castle (3/6)

“Deep in Death” -- Castle is wrestling with how to repair his relationship with Beckett, while struggling to finish his soon-to-be-published bestseller, Heat Wave. But circumstances force the pair back together to investigate the mysterious murder of a man found dead, tangled in the limbs of a tree, SATURDAY, MARCH 6 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 9/21/09) Authors Stephen J. Cannell and Michael Connelly guest star as themselves in the episode. (Rebroadcast. OAD: 9/21/09)

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Stephen J. Cannell as himself, Michael Connelly as himself, Laurel Holloman as Sandy Allen, Elizabeth Ho as Amy Saunders, Robert Grant as Ron Bigby.

“Deep in Death” was written by Andrew Marlowe and directed by Rob Bowman.

Castle (2/22)

“One Man’s Treasure” – When a murdered man is found stuffed in the garbage chute of an apartment building and two women arrive to ID his body -- one his wife and the other his fiancée -- Castle and Beckett have their hands full keeping the women from killing each other as they work to peel back the layers of the victim’s double life. Was it a jilted woman, corporate espionage, or a much darker secret that led to his demise?, on “Castle,” MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 11/23/09)

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: DB Woodside as Lance Carlberg, Abigail Spencer as Sarah Reid, Perrey Reeves as Helen Parker, Alex Skuby as Charlie DePetro.

“One Man’s Treasure” was written by Elizabeth Davis and directed by Helen Shaver.

Castle (2/15)

“Love Me Dead” -- The murder of an Assistant District Attorney thrusts Castle and Beckett into the world of ex-cons and escorts. But when Castle's desire to help a vulnerable call girl endangers the case, Beckett is forced to decide between honoring promises and putting a killer behind bars. Matters are complicated even further when Castle's daughter shares a potentially explosive secret with Beckett instead of her father, on “Castle,” MONDAY, FEBRUARY 15 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 11/16/09)

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Jonathan LaPaglia as John Knox, Michaela McManus as Scarlett Price, J.B. Smoove as Norman Jessup.

“Love Me Dead” was written by Alexi Hawley and directed by Bryan Spicer.

Castle (2/8)

“Suicide Squeeze” – A beloved former major league baseball player is found dead after a goodwill trip to Cuba. The investigation, which includes running into Joe Torre (guest starring as himself), leads the detectives into New York’s Cuban community to solve the murder. Meanwhile, Alexis’ genealogy project forces Castle to consider the identity of his unknown father, on "Castle," MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Ray Wise as Bobby Fox, Don Franklin as Tommy Zane, Jose Zuniga as Alfredo Quintana and Joe Torre as himself.

“Suicide Squeeze” was written by Jose Molina and directed by David Barrett.

Castle (2/15)

“Love Me Dead” -- The murder of an Assistant District Attorney thrusts Castle and Beckett into the world of ex-cons and escorts. But when Castle's desire to help a vulnerable call girl endangers the case, Beckett is forced to decide between honoring promises and putting a killer behind bars. Matters are complicated even further when Castle's daughter shares a potentially explosive secret with Beckett instead of her father, on “Castle,” SATURDAY, February 15 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 11/16/09)

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Jonathan LaPaglia as John Knox, Michaela McManus as Scarlett Price, J.B. Smoove as Norman Jessup.

“Love Me Dead” was written by Alexi Hawley and directed by Bryan Spicer.

Castle (1/30)

“Ghosts” – Castle and Beckett investigate the murder of a woman found drowned in a bathtub of motor oil at a transient hotel. But when they uncover a dark secret about the woman’s past, they must unravel a 20-year-old mystery with the help of a true crime journalist who may have been stalking the victim. Meanwhile, Beckett puts her poker face to the test as she squares off against Castle, with her money and pride at stake, on “Castle,” SATURDAY, JANUARY 30 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 4/27/09)

Note: This episode replaces “Love Me Dead,” which moves to February 15.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Joanne Kelly as Lee Wax, Alex Carter as Michael Goldman, Jillian Armenante as Susan Mailer, Dan Castellaneta as Judge Markway and Joseph C. Phillips as Mayor.

“Ghosts” was written by Moira Kirkland and directed by Bryan Spicer.

Castle (2/1)

“The Double Down” – When two separate murders are committed on the same night, Castle wagers Ryan and Esposito that he and Beckett will solve theirs first. The frenzied race to catch their respective killers and win the bet leads each investigative duo to a likely suspect, only to find that they both have airtight alibis. But bizarre twists in both cases force the two teams to work together to unravel the mind-bending mystery behind each murder, on “Castle,” MONDAY, FEBRUARY 1 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 9/28/09)

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Arye Gross as M.E. Perlmutter, Brennan Elliot as Jason Cosway, Diana-Maria Riva as Detective Roselyn Karpowski.

“The Double Down” was written David Grace and directed by Rob Bowman.

SECOND BOOK FROM RICHARD CASTLE

SECOND BOOK FROM RICHARD CASTLE – STAR OF ABC’S “CASTLE” – PLANNED FOR RELEASE SEPTEMBER 2010.

HEAT WAVE by Richard Castle, star of the hit ABC series “Castle” (Mondays, 10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), has been a successful cross-platform collaboration between ABC and Hyperion. Published at the end of September 2009, HEAT WAVE has spent 14 weeks on the New York Times Hardcover bestsellers list, currently holding the #32 position for Sunday, January 17, 2010. Hyperion has gone back to press eight times and now has over 170,000 copies in print. With this great success, a second book from Richard Castle will be published at the end of September 2010.

HEAT WAVE is Hyperion’s #2 bestselling ebook for 2009, surpassed only by “The Last Lecture.” It is also Hyperion’s #5 Kindle bestseller for the year. The free chapters of HEAT WAVE offered on ABC.com have been downloaded almost 100,000 times since the first chapter posted in August 2009. HEAT WAVE will be released as a mass market paperback edition in August 2010.

UNTITLED CASTLE BOOK 2 by Richard Castle --In the sequel to HEAT WAVE, Castle’s new thrilling mystery continues the story of NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat. Tough, sexy, professional, Nikki Heat carries a passion for justice as she leads one of New York City’s top homicide squads. In what’s sure to be another smash sensation by this blockbuster author, readers will once again follow Nikki Heat and hotshot reporter Jameson Rook as they trade barbs and innuendos, all while on the trail of a murderer!

Castle (1/30)

“Love Me Dead” -- The murder of an Assistant District Attorney thrusts Castle and Beckett into the world of ex-cons and escorts. But when Castle's desire to help a vulnerable call girl endangers the case, Beckett is forced to decide between honoring promises and putting a killer behind bars. Matters are complicated even further when Castle's daughter shares a potentially explosive secret with Beckett instead of her father, on “Castle,” SATURDAY, JANUARY 30 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 11/16/09)

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Jonathan LaPaglia as John Knox, Michaela McManus as Scarlett Price, J.B. Smoove as Norman Jessup.

“Love Me Dead” was written by Alexi Hawley and directed by Bryan Spicer.

Castle (1/25)

“The Third Man” – Mysteries abound when a family returns from vacation to discover a dead man in their daughter’s bed. Thinking they’re investigating the murder of a squatter, Castle and Beckett soon find themselves unraveling a multi-million dollar heist. Meanwhile, Castle tries to keep Beckett from finding out that they’ve been romantically linked when he’s featured as one of New York’s 10 most eligible bachelors, on “Castle,” MONDAY, JANUARY 25 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Scott Elrod as Clyde Dekker, Sarah Brown as Amanda Livingston, Jack McGee as Dale Fickas and Rick Gonzalez as Mickey Carlson.

“The Third Man” was written by Terrence Paul Winter and directed by Rosemary Rodriguez.

Castle (1/23)

“One Man’s Treasure” – When a murdered man is found stuffed in the garbage chute of an apartment building and two women arrive to ID his body -- one his wife and the other his fiancée -- Castle and Beckett have their hands full keeping the women from killing each other as they work to peel back the layers of the victim’s double life. Was it a jilted woman, corporate espionage, or a much darker secret that led to his demise?, on “Castle,” SATURDAY, JANUARY 23 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 11/23/09)

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: DB Woodside as Lance Carlberg, Abigail Spencer as Sarah Reid, Perrey Reeves as Helen Parker, Alex Skuby as Charlie DePetro.

“One Man’s Treasure” was written by Elizabeth Davis and directed by Helen Shaver.

Castle (1/18)

“Sucker Punch” – While investigating the death of an Irish mobster, Beckett and Castle uncover a local turf war that may be connected to both a late-night infomercial guru and an international drug smuggling operation. But the case turns agonizingly personal when evidence emerges that the killer they’re chasing may have had a hand in Beckett’s mother’s murder, on “Castle,” MONDAY, JANUARY 18 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Jay R. Ferguson as Dick Coonan, James Cosmo as Finn Rourke and Scott Paulin as Jim Beckett.

“Sucker Punch” was written by Will Beall and directed by Tom Wright.

Castle (1/16)

“The Fifth Bullet” – When an art dealer is gunned down in his gallery, Castle & Beckett discover that a bullet is inexplicably missing from the crime scene. The mystery is deepened by an amnesiac who witnessed the crime but can’t remember what he saw or even who he is… on “Castle,” SATURDAY, JANUARY 16 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Marc Blucas as Jeremy Preswick, Anne Dudek as Emma Carnes, Carlo Rota as Bahir “Bobby” Harun.

“The Fifth Bullet” was written by David Grae and directed by John Terlesky.

Castle (1/11)

“A Rose for Everafter” – When Castle and Beckett are called to a wedding to investigate the death of a bridesmaid, Castle is stunned to discover that the soon-to-be bride is his old flame, Kyra, “the one that got away” (guest starring Alyssa Milano). Complications ensue as Kyra, caught off-guard by Castle’s reappearance in her life, wonders if she’s marrying the right guy. With the nuptials forestalled and the entire wedding party under suspicion, Beckett questions Castle’s ability to be objective about the case. But when it looks to Beckett like Castle and Kyra might rekindle their romance, her judgment may be compromised as well, on “Castle,” MONDAY, JANUARY 11 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Alyssa Milano as Kyra Blaine, Brady Smith as Greg Murphy and Graham Beckel as Uncle Teddy.

“A Rose for Everafter” story was by Alexi Hawley with teleplay by Terri Miller & Terence Paul Winter and directed by Brian Spicer.

Castle (1/9)

“Kill the Messenger” -- Castle and Beckett investigate the hit-and-run death of a bike messenger, brutally murdered to prevent him from delivering a package, the contents of which could free a wrongly convicted man from prison. In a surprising twist, this tragic death is linked to a murder case that Captain Montgomery investigated a decade earlier. To solve the present murder, Castle and Beckett must dredge up the past by uncovering the secrets and scandals of a prominent New York family, on “Castle,” SATURDAY, JANUARY 9 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 11/9/09)

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Sonya Leslie as Valerie Thompson, Arye Gross as M.E. Sidney Perlmutter, Ron Melendez as Jeff Dilahunt, Josh Daugherty as Trent Wellesley and Jill Andre as Lenanne Wellesley.

“Kill the Messenger” was written by Terrence Paul Winter and directed by Jonathan Frakes.

Castle (1/2)

“Love Me Dead” -- The murder of an Assistant District Attorney thrusts Castle and Beckett into the world of ex-cons and escorts. But when Castle's desire to help a vulnerable call girl endangers the case, Beckett is forced to decide between honoring promises and putting a killer behind bars. Matters are complicated even further when Castle's daughter shares a potentially explosive secret with Beckett instead of her father, on “Castle,” SATURDAY, JANUARY 2 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 11/16/09)

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Jonathan LaPaglia as John Knox, Michaela McManus as Scarlett Price, J.B. Smoove as Norman Jessup.

“Love Me Dead” was written by Alexi Hawley and directed by Bryan Spicer.

'Chuck': 6 things about season three

The "Chuck" countdown clock is now inside 30 days, and the show's creators are opening up -- at least a little -- about what we can expect from the new season.

Co-creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak and star Zachary Levi spoke to reporters on a conference call Friday and laid out a little bit of what viewers can expect from the new season, which premieres Jan. 10. Chuck Bartowski (Levi) downloaded a new Intersect into his head at the end of last season, one that gives him access to physical skills as well as government secrets, and the new season will follow his path to becoming, as Fedak and Schwartz put it, "a real spy."

Here are a half-dozen things you can expect from the new season.

The new Intersect won't always work. Fedak: "You have to keep in mind that it was designed for a super-cold, emotionless spy like Bryce Larkin -- someone who could essentially handle all these new abilities. Now it's been downloaded into Chuck Bartowski, who's filled with emotions: anxiety, fear, he's in love with his partner. All those things actually don't help with the Intersect. ... Sometimes it works perfectly, and sometimes when he gets flustered or upset, it essentially fritzes out."

Schwartz: "We take on in an episode -- what if Chuck stops flashing? What if his emotions get to a place where it's not working at all, and he's just a guy and he's benched from the team? There's the idea too that Sarah [Yvonne Strahovski] -- because she's at the heart of so much of his emotion and angst -- she's in some ways his kryptonite."

Chuck vs. Morgan. Levi: "[Chuck's spy training] continues to put a strain on our bromance, which is pretty difficult, because Chuck and Morgan [Joshua Gomez] have been friends since they were young kids. ... [Having to] lie to him day in and day out, that starts to really have an effect on their ability to just be friends. They do make steps -- Morgan moves in and now they have their bachelor pad. It's good for a little while, but it kind of makes it worse in some ways. ... You'll definitely see that take its toll in the season."

Casey at the Buy More. Early in the call, Schwartz noted that the Buy More, that "dysfunctional hotbed of competingly bizarre personalities," would be getting a new assistant manager -- "someone you may know from the show." Something he said later makes us think that person is none other than John Casey (Adam Baldwin).

"I think a lot of the friction [for Casey] this year is actually going to come at the Buy More, where he's going to be given more responsibility," Schwartz says. "Without giving too much away, he finds the Buy More to be potentially his future."

Levi directs. Levi took his first turn behind the camera this season, and Schwartz and Fedak have nothing but praise for the job he did. "The episode turned out great," Schwartz says. "We also decided for Zach's first episode that we were going to give him one of the more ambitious, important [episodes] in the mythology of the show."

"We did Zach no favors," Fedak adds. "'Chuck' is an incredibly difficult show to direct because we're doing comedy and action, which are difficult in their own right, and we're trying to do both. So Zach really jumped into the deep end, and he was swimming laps by the end of the day."

Subway series? Schwartz: "The name of the show is now 'Jared.' It's actually going to be far less integration than people feared or predicted at the end of last season. There won't be much more than what you saw last year. ... No one's working at Subway, if that's what you're asking."

Jeffster! returns. Schwartz: "[Vik Sahay as Lester and Scott Krinsky as Jeff] are invaluable comic support for us. Vik has, without giving too much away, a Buy More-via-'Fight Club' storyline where Lester really goes bananas, and obviously you can expect and look forward to the return of Jeffster!"

Fedak: "We will promise this -- we'll see Lester's bedroom.

Schwartz: "And his PJs. You will see what Lester sleeps in. It involves feet."

Chuck Becomes Game on Twitter, Facebook

NBC is on a mission to make Chuck the most talked-about returning series of 2010. The network is launching a game that doles out points to fans who talk about the series on social networks.

"Mission: Chuck Me Out" tracks users who mention Chuck on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. Earning one point per mention, the fan with the most points on March 10 will have their photo appear in one of Chuck's mental flashes.

The spy series returns Jan. 10 at 9/8c.

Castle (1/4)

“The Double Down” – When two separate murders are committed on the same night, Castle wagers Ryan and Esposito that he and Beckett will solve theirs first. The frenzied race to catch their respective killers and win the bet leads each investigative duo to a likely suspect, only to find that they both have airtight alibis. But bizarre twists in both cases force the two teams to work together to unravel the mind-bending mystery behind each murder, on “Castle,” MONDAY, DECEMBER 14 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 9/28/09)

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Arye Gross as M.E. Perlmutter, Brennan Elliot as Jason Cosway, Diana-Maria Riva as Detective Roselyn Karpowski.

“The Double Down” was written David Grace and directed by Rob Bowman.

Castle (12/26)

“When the Bough Breaks” – Castle’s book agent, Paula Haas (guest star Debi Mazar), approaches him with a career changing opportunity, but taking it would mean the end of his relationship with Beckett. Will the murder of an unidentified woman found dead in a manhole be their last case together?, on “Castle,” SATURDAY, DECEMBER 26 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 10/19/09)

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Debi Mazar as Paula Haas, Reed Diamond as Dr.Cameron Talbot, Elaine Hendrix as Melissa Talbot.

“When the Bough Breaks” was written by Rene Echevarria and directed by John Terlesky.

Castle (12/21)

“Vampire Weekend” – As Halloween approaches, Castle and Beckett are called to a graveyard where the body of a young man sporting vampire fangs has been discovered with a wooden stake driven through his heart. Their investigation takes them deep into the heart of New York's underground vampire fetish community, where they learn that the motive for the victim’s murder may be hiding within the pages of the graphic novel he was writing before his death, on “Castle,” MONDAY, DECEMBER 21 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 11/2/09)

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Anita Barone as Janice Freeman, Robin Thomas as Alan Freeman, Samantha Shelton as Vixen.

“Vampire Weekend” was written by Terri Miller and directed by Karen Gaviola.

Castle (12/19)

“Inventing the Girl” – Castle and Beckett get an inside look at the cutthroat world of the New York fashion industry when they investigate the brutal murder of a young model during Fashion Week, on “Castle,” SATURDAY, DECEMBER 19 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 10/5/09)

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Julian Sands as Teddy Farrow, Matt Barr as Travis McBoyd, Shanna Collins as Rina.

“Inventing the Girl” was written by Moira Kirland and directed by Dwight Little.

Castle (12/14)

“Famous Last Words” -- When an up-and-coming rock star’s dead body is found staged in a scene straight out of her hit music video, Castle and Beckett delve into the world of obsessed fans, sleazy managers and jealous band members. But it’s only when Alexis uncovers the true meaning behind the lyrics of the final song that clues to the killer’s identity begin to surface, on “Castle,” MONDAY, DECEMBER 21 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 11/2/09)

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Robert Curtis Brown as Ian Busch, Anne Ramsay as Bree Busch, Erin Foster as Sky Blue.

“Famous Last Words” was written by Jose Molina and directed by Rob Bowman.

Is Anna Getting Busy on V?

The Visitors are leaving for a while. (You know what they say about guests and fish stinking after three days.) Tonight is the last new episode of V's premiere pod of episodes, and it's a doozy. There are major reveals about the future (think circle-of-life type stuff), someone gets tortured to death, we learn more about the so-called "fifth column," we learn that the Vs are out to get us using a method that would make Bill Maher nod and go "Toldya!," and, oh yeah, Lisa (Laura Vandervoort) brings Tyler (Logan Huffman) home to meet her "mother." Eek!

What's to come after all of tonight's alien madness is said and done? We caught up with superfoxy alien babe Morena Baccarin for an exclusive chat, and she hinted that things (maybe even big romantic things) are heating up for Anna. Here's what we learned:

OK, what is up with your and Scott Wolf's characters?

The relationship is definitely going to keep going in whatever strange direction it's going now. You don't really know if they're going to fight each other, love each other, or if she's going to eat him. You don't know what's going to happen! It gets really interesting in the episode that comes out on Tuesday. Something happens to his character that makes him very dependent on us. He has to sort of battle with his will to see what he's going to do. It's a very interesting dynamic.

Did you watch the original V to research your role at all, or did you steer clear from it?

I didn't watch the original...I had seen it when I was really little, so I remember it and I remember the creepy factor, but I haven't watched it since. I think I won't, because I want to create this character on my own.

Now that we're hooked, you're taking a break from filming…

Yes! It's torturous isn't it? It's torturous for me too. I really want to know what happens. We start back up in January, so just right after the holidays.

Does it make you nervous that you have several months of hiatus? Or do you think the suspense will help the show in the end?

I think it will help it. When people see the next episode, they're definitely coming back for more!

So, will you be back for more when V returns with nine new episodes in March? Is the show living up to your expectations so far?

Her cryptic 'V' character is alien to animated Baccarin

As the leader of the alien Visitors, Morena Baccarin sports prime time's most prominent pixie haircut.

And don't tell her bosses at ABC, but she has gotten a little sick of it.

"I want to bleach my hair blond. I'd love to, but they would kill me right now if I did that," she says.

No kidding. The series V, starring Baccarin as Anna, the poker-faced president of the extraterrestrial Visitors, has proven to be a hit for ABC. The fourth episode airs tonight (8 ET/PT), and the series returns in March.

Baccarin, 30, is animated and peppy in person. On screen, she's as cool as, well, a lizard.

So she's particularly excited that this week, "you get to see what makes Anna tick a little bit. It's fun to be mysterious. I know that what Anna is doing and what her agenda is are really important, but you can't let on. I have to make her likable and intriguing to people who feel like they shouldn't like her."

The Los Angeles-based actress, who was born in Brazil but grew up in New York, auditioned for the part and landed the job in one day.

"I read this role and gravitated toward it, which I don't know if that's a good or bad thing," she says with a laugh.

Her shorn hair, which she had cut earlier, worked in her favor. "There was a tiny bit of debate in the beginning. There was a second there where we discussed if she should have long hair. But having her be different would be better. I voiced my opinion that she should be crisp and clean and precise. The costume designer totally agreed."

Given that Baccarin played a courtesan in Joss Whedon's sci-fi series Firefly and its big-screen adaptation, Serenity, has she been crowned the queen of the geeks?

Sort of.

"It's been really weird to walk down the street. At the post office the other day, a woman said I looked exactly like the alien on V. It's so weird to have people recognize you. They look at you like you're an alien."

WHAT MAKES BACCARIN TICK

Punctuality: "I hate being late. It makes me crazy."

Sushi: "I love it. And shooting in Vancouver is great because it has amazing sushi."

Politics: "I would love to meet (President) Obama. I think he is so charming and smart. It took us no time at all to turn on him. Certainly leading the country is a really tough job."

Vacation: "My boyfriend and I are going to Europe for a couple of weeks later this year. We're going to London and maybe Spain or Croatia."

Fans: "It's definitely weird and odd that I can go somewhere and be recognized. But I think it's fun."

Castle (12/12)

“Fool Me Once” – When an Arctic explorer is killed during a polar expedition, the mysterious circumstances of his death take Castle and Beckett from the penthouses of Park Avenue to the halls of the CIA. But Castle’s delight at the case’s many twists and turns soon turns to frustration as he realizes that their elusive killer might just be fooling them all, on “Castle,” SATURDAY, DECEMBER 12 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 10/12/09)

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Kathleen Rose Perkins as Elise Finnegan, Robert Pine as Gerry Finnegan, David Ramsey as Jim Wheeler.

“Fool Me Once” was written by Alexi Hawley and directed by Bryan Spicer.

Castle (12/7)

“The Fifth Bullet” – When an art dealer is gunned down in his gallery, Castle & Beckett discover that a bullet is inexplicably missing from the crime scene. The mystery is deepened by an amnesiac who witnessed the crime but can’t remember what he saw or even who he is… on “Castle,” MONDAY, DECEMBER 7 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Marc Blucas as Jeremy Preswick, Anne Dudek as Emma Carnes, Carlo Rota as Bahir “Bobby” Harun.

“The Fifth Bullet” was written by David Grae and directed by John Terlesky.

CASTLE (11/30)

Deep in Death” -- Castle is wrestling with how to repair his relationship with Beckett, while struggling to finish his soon-to-be-published bestseller, Heat Wave. But circumstances force the pair back together to investigate the mysterious murder of a man found dead, tangled in the limbs of a tree, MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 9/21/09) Authors Stephen J. Cannell and Michael Connelly guest star as themselves in the episode.

“Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Stephen J. Cannell as himself, Michael Connelly as himself, Laurel Holloman as Sandy Allen, Elizabeth Ho as Amy Saunders, Robert Grant as Ron Bigby.

“Deep in Death” was written by Andrew Marlowe and directed by Rob Bowman.

Dollhouse Shuts Its Doors For Good

Joss Whedon's Dollhouse, which was miraculously spared from cancellation at the end of its first season, will be closing its doors for good as Fox has pulled the plug during its second season. The Friday night cult favorite was suffering from low ratings, but strong DVR playback numbers. TV Guide Magazine has confirmed from a show insider that Dollhouse will complete its original 13 episode order starting with new episodes on December 4, with the series finale airing January 22.

UPDATE: Joss Whedon has issued this statement: "Hmm. Apparently my news is not news.

I don't have a lot to say. I'm extremely proud of the people I've worked with: my star, my staff, my cast, my crew. I feel the show is getting better pretty much every week, and I think you'll agree in the coming months. I'm grateful that we got to put it on, and then come back and put it on again.

I'm off to pursue internet ventures/binge drinking. Possibly that relaxation thing I've read so much about. By the time the last episode airs, you'll know what my next project is. But for now there's a lot of work still to be done, and disappointment to bear.

Thank you all for your support, your patience, your excellent adverts. See you again."

CASTLE (11/23)

"One Man's Treasure" - When a murdered man is found stuffed in the garbage chute of an apartment building and two women arrive to ID his body -- one his wife and the other his fiancŽe -- Castle and Beckett have their hands full keeping the women from killing each other as they work to peel back the layers of the victim's double life. Was it a jilted woman, corporate espionage, or a much darker secret that led to his demise?, on "Castle," MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: DB Woodside as Lance Carlberg, Abigail Spencer as Sarah Reid, Perrey Reeves as Helen Parker, Alex Skuby as Charlie DePetro.

"One Man's Treasure" was written by Elizabeth Davis and directed by Helen Shaver.

Five Things You Didn't Know About Morena Baccarin

Never has an alien looked so out of this world. When the Visitors landed on Earth on ABC's hit sci-fi drama, V last Tuesday, none was more captivating than Morena Baccarin.

The stunning, 30-year-old Brazilian-born actress – who previously starred on Firefly – made quite a first impression with humans and viewers alike in her role as Anna, the sly and smooth alien leader. (V airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC through November.)

Here are five things you may not know about TV's hottest new star.

1. She is a gourmet cook: "I love to get random recipes and try them. I cook very few things twice," she says. "Saveur magazine is my favorite magazine, and they have simple and unusual recipes I like to try."

2. She had a crush on her V costar Scott Wolf: She wasn't obsessed, but Baccarin admits that 15 years ago she was a huge Party of Five fan. "I loved it," she says. And Wolf's appeal on the show was simple: "He was the nice guy. I do remember watching it and [thinking] he was very hot." These days, however, Baccarin's affections are reserved for her boyfriend of two years, director Austin Chick.

3. Her pooch helped her through a rough patch: Baccarin, who splits her time between New York City and Los Angeles, often travels with her dog, Rudy. "He is a Löwchen, which is a rare breed of dog from Germany," she says, confessing that her love affair with the dog began "after I had gone through a breakup a few years ago. I went to the Santa Monica pound and friend of mine convinced me to get him. I thought he was a mutt, but he's a purebred from Germany that was bred to be a lap dog for royalty. Every day I've been so thankful I got him. He's the sweetest little guy. He doesn't bark. He doesn't chew [on things]. Sometimes I want to get more.”

4. She's a wine lover: One of Baccarin's favorite vacations was a trip to Seville, Spain, with Chick. "The food! Aus and I are big wine lovers, and Spanish wines are amazing. We love eating out, and the tapas and wine there are to die for."

5. She's not really evil!: Baccarin may play a calculating alien with plans to eradicate the human race – but at home she loves to laugh and keep things light. When it's time to unwind, "I don't watch much TV, but I recently got addicted to Modern Family," she says. "It's one of my favorite shows."

2010 People's Choice Awards nominees

Nominees for the People's Choice Awards are out, and the people choose vampires.

"Twilight" and "True Blood" were among the top nominees announced Tuesday. Fans cast more than 18 million votes online to select the nominee slate and will also choose the winners in 35 categories.

The People's Choice Awards lets the general public vote for their favorite stars and works of popular culture.

"Twilight" is up for favorite movie, franchise and on-screen team for its trio of stars: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. Stewart and Pattinson were also nominated individually for favorite movie actress and actor, and Lautner is up for breakout movie actor.

"True Blood" was nominated for favorite TV obsession and sci-fi/fantasy TV show, plus star Anna Paquin earned a nod for TV drama actress.

Fans can vote for their favorites online at www.peopleschoice.com.

Queen Latifah is set to host the People's Choice Awards at the Nokia Theatre. The ceremony will be broadcast live on CBS on Jan. 6, 2010.

The complete list of nominees:

TV drama: "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Grey's Anatomy," "House," "Lost," "NCIS."

TV comedy: "Desperate Housewives," "How I Met Your Mother," "The Big Bang Theory," "The Office," "Two and a Half Men."

TV drama Actor: Hugh Laurie, Kiefer Sutherland, Mark Harmon, Matthew Fox, Patrick Dempsey.

TV drama Actress: Anna Paquin, Blake Lively, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Katherine Heigl, Mariska Hargitay.

TV comedy Actor: Alex Baldwin, Charlie Sheen, Jim Parsons, Neil Patrick Harris, Steve Carell.

TV comedy Actress: Alyson Hannigan, America Ferrera, Amy Poehler, Eva Longoria Parker, Tina Fey.

TV obsession: "Dexter," "Gossip Girl," "The Hills," "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," "True Blood."

TV talk show: "Chelsea Lately," "Live with Regis & Kelly," "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "The Tyra Banks Show."

TV sci-fi/fantasy: "Heroes," "Lost," "Supernatural," "The Vampire Diaries," "True Blood."

TV competition show: "American Idol," "Dancing With the Stars," "Project Runway," "So You Think You Can Dance," "Survivor: Samoa."

Animal show: "Animal Cops," "DogTown," "Dog Whisperer," "It's Me or the Dog," "Rescue Ink."

New TV drama: "Eastwick," "FlashForward," "Melrose Place," "Mercy," "The Forgotten," "The Good Wife," "The Vampire Diaries," "Three Rivers," "NCIS: Los Angeles," "V."

New TV comedy: "Accidentally on Purpose," "Brothers," "Community," "Cougar Town," "Glee," "Hank," "The Cleveland Show," "The Middle," "Modern Family."

Movie actor: Brad Pitt, Hugh Jackman, Johnny Depp, Robert Pattinson, Ryan Reynolds.

Movie actress: Anna Hathaway, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Aniston, Kristen Stewart, Sandra Bullock.

Action star: Christian Bale, Gerard Butler, Hugh Jackman, Shia LaBeouf, Vin Diesel.

Comedic star: Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Jim Carrey, Ryan Reynolds, Vince Vaughn.

Breakout movie actress: Anna Kendrick, Emily Osment, Ginnifer Goodwin, Miley Cyrus, Zoe Saldana.

Breakout movie actor: Chris Pine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sam Worthington, Taylor Lautner, Zachary Quinto.

On-screen team: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"; Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, "The Proposal"; Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner, "The Twilight Saga"; Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"; Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Ryan Reynolds, will.i.am, Dominic Monaghan and Daniel Henney, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine."

Family movie: "Hannah Montana: The Movie," "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," "Up," "Where the Wild Things Are."

Independent movie: "(500) Days of Summer," "District 9," "Inglourious Basterds," "Paranormal Activity," "Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail."

Franchise: "Harry Potter," "Star Trek," "The Twilight Saga," "Transformers," "X-Men."

Comedy movie: "17 Again," "Bride Wars," "He's Just Not That Into You," "The Hangover," "The Proposal."

Favorite movie: "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," "Star Trek," "The Hangover," "The Proposal," "Twilight."

Male artist: Eminem, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw.

Female artist: Beyonce, Britney Spears, Carrie Underwood, Pink, Taylor Swift.

Country artist: Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift.

Breakout Music Artist: Adam Lambert, Demi Lovato, Kris Allen, Lady Gaga, Susan Boyle.

Hip-hop artist: Eminem, Flo Rida, Jay-Z, Lil' Wayne, T.I.

Rock band: Daughtry, Green Day, Kings of Leon, Muse, Paramore.

Music collaboration: Cobra Starship & Leighton Meester, "Good Girls Go Bad"; Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat, "Lucky"; Jay-Z, Rihanna & Kanye West, "Run This Town"; T.I. & Rihanna, "Live Your Life"; The Lonely Island & T-Pain, "I'm on a Boat."

R&B artist: Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, Mariah Carey, Usher.

Pop artist: Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, the Black Eyed Peas.

Web celeb: Andy Samberg, Ashton Kutcher, Miley Cyrus, P. Diddy, Will Ferrell.

V: Sit Down with Visitors' Leader Morena Baccarin

ABC's V has finally arrived and, boy, did the Visitors make one heck of a first impression. While most of the world puts their faith in these new alien friends, Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell) and others come to find out that they're not all they're "cracked up to be." Pulling the strings to keep their dirty little secret is Anna (Morena Baccarin), the Vs fearless and seemingly ruthless leader.

TVGuide.com sat down with Baccarin to get the info on all things V, including the cliff-hanger in Episode 4, the last episode until 2010. She also teases the relationship between Anna and Chad (Scott Wolf), the natural occurrence of deaths on the new ABC series, and why Erica should be keeping an eye on Tyler (Logan Huffman).

TVGuide.com: V doesn't seem to be your typical sci-fi show, though it boasts many actors who've been in the genre before.

Morena Baccarin: We don't see ourselves as sci-fi people for the most part. It's not like we're talking a different language, like an alien language. Elizabeth was on a sci-fi show and [Alan Tudyk] was on Firefly with me, but I don't feel like V is a sci-fi show. There's not one big sci-fi fiasco. It's a show about heart and people and relationships. There's some spaceships thrown in there, sure, but the sci-fi element is evened out with other things.

TVGuide.com: What is the Visitors' ultimate goal?

Baccarin: You'll have to watch to see, but by Episode 4 you get a very good idea that we're not what we're all cracked up to be. There's more to it than we're saying. We are here for more than just a short while, and we're here for additional reasons than just water and minerals.

TVGuide.com: Are there any good qualities in the Visitors?

Baccarin: Yes, absolutely. Anna is very loyal to her people; that's a good quality. I think there are Vs that have been living among humanity, so they take on some human qualities. There are parts of Anna that, depending on who you ask, can be seen as good.

TVGuide.com: Is Anna the type of leader to get her hands dirty?

Baccarin: You mean like fighting? Not initially. I think Anna is very capable of throwing down with the best of them, but I think we want to keep her more elevated, more political, more presidential than getting down and dirty right now.

TVGuide.com: Will people start to discover that the Visitors are bad or do they hide it pretty well?

Baccarin: I don't know what you're talking about [Laughs]. I think that the Vs are pretty good at masking to the masses, but I think that humans are very smart and they have instincts. You can tell right away there's something going on behind the surface, and it becomes more public knowledge.

TVGuide.com: When do we get to see an unmasking?

Baccarin: It's throughout the series in different people. I don't have a big peel-off-my-face moment, but I've been told that there may be some effects in that direction.

TVGuide.com: The Ambassador program feels like an homage to Hitler Youth. How does that develop?

Baccarin: It grows quite a bit actually. It's very smart of the Vs to invest in the youth of the world. One of their plans is to get the young people really excited about the Vs, so they can influence other people. As the generations change, they will be present. It definitely gets out there a lot.

TVGuide.com: Who would win in a fight between Anna and Erica?

Baccarin: I'm going to have to go with Anna, because I need some loyalty to my character, but I think it'd be a good fight. [A fight between Anna and Erica] could happen. I do meet Tyler, so maybe there's something there she needs to be protective of.

TVGuide.com: What precarious positions is Anna going to put Chad in?

Baccarin: It's going to get really interesting because he's very ambitious, and he really wants to succeed at what he does. By the end of the four episodes, he's going to find himself in a real decision spot of not knowing which way to go, and maybe their relationship will progress into something else. The power shifts back and forth a bit, so he doesn't just fold like a cheap suit [again].

TVGuide.com: Could there be something more to their relationship?

Baccarin: There definitely could be, and I think that that's what we're laying the ground work for. But we'll see how it plays out.

TVGuide.com: Have you seen anything in the scripts that really surprised you?

Baccarin: Yeah, a lot of things. There are some great plot turns and character twists that I love. I love that every character has a good and a bad side. I love that Elizabeth's character is struggling with being a good mom and saving the world. She's got some faults when it comes to her family and I think that's a wonderful thing.

TVGuide.com: What can we look forward to in future episodes?

Baccarin: We get to see more about how the Vs live. There are more hints at how they do certain things and there's some really great plot twists. [There are] characters' worlds that collide that you wouldn't expect.

TVGuide.com: What can we expect in the cliff-hanger of Episode 4?

Baccarin: Some relationships get explored, and you'll want to come back to find out. We've laid some groundwork for some V things, and you'll want to come back to find out what exactly they were.

TVGuide.com: Will deaths be a natural occurrence on this show?

Baccarin: As in life, there's death, so probably. There's not an intense amount of it, but nobody is safe. Everybody on the show — things can happen. We live in a very dangerous area with Vs and humans. At any moment something can happen.

TVGuide.com: What is your one little pitch to fans to come in and watch the show?

Baccarin: It is not only a show that has all the exciting stuff you want to see on TV when you want to veg out. There's cool effects and action. That aside, the creep factor of a huge spaceship hovering over our major cities, gives me goose bumps when I think about it. That element and the element that anything can happen and there's characters that are all people you can relate to. On some levels you relate to Elizabeth, we all relate to Tyler, we relate to all these people who are having struggles with their lives in addition to an alien invasion. It's a show that has a little bit of everything for everybody.

V: It's Only the Beginning (11/24)

"It's Only the Beginning" -- Erica works with newly-formed allies to uncover a biological threat they suspect the Visitors have been plotting. Aboard the Mothership, Anna meets with a special guest while managing the investigation into the murder of a V. And Chad does a segment on the V Healing Centers, demonstrating their amazing medical abilities, but then finds himself conflicted by some of his findings, on the riveting cliffhanger of "V," TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 24 (8:00-9:01 p.m., ET), on ABC. [Editors note: The series will return with new episodes in March 2010.]

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest cast: Ryan Kennedy as David, Craig Fraser as Peter Combs, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, David Richmond-Peck as Georgie, and Mark Hildreth as Joshua.

"It's Only the Beginning" was written by Cameron Litvack & Angela Russo Otstot and directed by Yves Simoneau.

Re-imagined 'V' continues ABC's red-letter year

When you're on a roll, even your more dubious plans have a way of panning out.

There's no doubt that, creatively, ABC is playing network TV's hottest hand. It has launched fall's best new sitcoms in The Middle, Modern Family and Cougar Town, and its most intriguing drama in FlashForward. And now it can add to that list of achievements the season's most entertaining new hour, straightforward division: V.

Think about how easily this idea could have gone south. Apply too little creative thought, and this souped-up updating of NBC's much-loved 1983 miniseriescould easily have become the same cheesy, tacky rehash mess that NBC made of Knight Rider. Overthink the project, and you risk bleeding all the fun out of it and creating an overly dark lump like Bionic Woman.

Tonight, writer Scott Peters, whose The 4400 was one of TV's best recent alien-invasion dramas, hits all the right chords. He adds just enough modern media twists and political/sleeper-cell parallels to contemporize the story without drowning it in paranoia. The clothes and hair have changed, no doubt for the better, but the essentials are all in place – including, we can only hope, the visitors' legendary fondness for hamsters.

What he and ABC have landed on is a show in which the effects are good but not dominant, the characters are strong, and the story is (as it was) crystal clear. Space visitors have landed, and it's up to a few hardy souls to save a gullible world.

Indeed, where FlashForward thrives on ambiguity and complexity, V offers the simpler pleasures of a good guy/bad guy adventure, and skilled actors head up both extremes. On "our" side, you have Joel Gretsch (who proved his sci-fi worth on 4400) as a questioning priest and Lost's Elizabeth Mitchell as a smart counterterrorism agent. On "their" side, you have Anna, the V leader played by Morena Baccarin, whose beauty and charisma are as alluring here as they were in Firefly.

Wisely, Peters has also trapped some of his best characters in the middle: Scott Wolf as an ambitious anchor, Logan Huffman as Mitchell's V-enchanted teenage son, and Morris Chestnut, who is on to the visitors' biggest secret.

Anyone who has ever seen an invading-alien movie knows the visitors are up to no good, as the show acknowledges in a witty exchange that both celebrates and mocks Independence Day-type conventions. But there's still power to be found in those conventions – in our longing for alien contact, our fear over what it might mean, and the joy we seem to take in reinventing ourselves as scrappy underdogs.

As with those Americans looking up at Anna's lovely face on that hovering spaceship HDTV, it would be unwise to be too easily seduced. V opens incredibly well. But so did the original miniseries, only to peter out as an open-ended show. Embrace the show, but keep your eyes open.

And your hamsters under guard.

V - * * * 1/2 (out of four) - ABC, Tuesday, 8 ET/PT

It's 'V' day for sci-fi fans as ABC reboots the alien story

Morena Baccarin, stunning in a tailored gray suit, has lined up a group of identically clad aides on her spaceship, demanding to know which of them is a traitor.

Except that despite appearances, none of them is actually human: They are reptilian-skinned alien "visitors" with a veneer of attractive flesh. And the spaceship doesn't exist. The actors are standing in front of a 112-foot-long "green screen," peering occasionally at a nearby monitor that displays how the vessel will be digitally inserted behind them.

"You feel like you're floating a little bit," she says during a break between scenes. "It gives you a headache after a while, staring at that green."

She's not the only one with a headache. ABC's V, premiering Tuesday night (8 ET/PT) as a four-week event, with nine more episodes to come later, is a remake of a 1980s pop-culture touchstone. Like others (Bionic Woman, this fall's Eastwick), it's not without behind-the-scenes hiccups.

The on-screen drama is about an outwardly benevolent band of creatures who venture from spaceships hovering over 29 world cities, promising to trade technology for water. But their real motives are far more sinister.

Some welcome their arrival, but the suspicious form a resistance movement, which leads the visitors' charismatic leader, Anna (Baccarin), to enlist an ambitious TV reporter (Scott Wolf) as a propaganda tool.

On their case is FBI agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell), a single mom whose teen son, Tyler (Logan Huffman), is enthralled by them. The resistors' ranks include a priest (Joel Gretsch) and a Wall Street whiz (Morris Chestnut).

The show, set in New York City, is based on a smash NBC miniseries that drew 40% of the TV audience when it first aired in May 1983, and nearly as many for its sequel a year later.

Like other remakes, the title "has a lot of marquee value; certainly a lot of people in my generation remember it fondly," writer and executive producer Scott Peters says, even if their recall is limited to signature moments: the aliens consuming rodents; a human mother giving birth to a forked-tongued reptilian baby.

But unlike many alien sagas since then, from Independence Day to ABC's short-lived Invasion, "we don't have aliens landing with giant phasers blowing things up," Wolf says. "We have aliens landing with this incredibly loving posture, saying, 'We're here to help.' Instead of destruction, it's full of possibilities."

The original series was a thinly veiled allegory of the Nazis' takeover of Germany, down to the jackbooted visitors who sought to eat the Earth's population until a band of humans intervened, aided by a few alien turncoats.

The 'lemming mentality'

The new version represents a post-9/11 worldview, against the backdrop of wars, an economic meltdown and enemies hidden in plain sight.

"There's a lot of bad news out there and it's really depressing," Peters says. "I thought it was a tremendous wish-fulfillment fantasy, if there was some deity that said, 'Look around, everything's going wrong, and we're going to fix it for you.'

"There's a lemming mentality that goes on in our humanity, and the idea of blind devotion, to me, is really fascinating. If you don't ask questions about things you have faith in, it could wind up coming back to bite you."

Contemporary viewers may have differing interpretations, as do the show's stars. Mitchell sees V's as a religious cult; Wolf believes they represent terrorists.

Others on both sides of the political spectrum may point to the visitors' explicit promises of hope, change and universal health care as a pointed reference to pledges of the Obama administration. But Peters says the show has been in the works since 2007. Reality was "never really a factor," he says. "There's no political message being shoved down anyone's throat."

Kenny Johnson, who created the original V, says via e-mail that in any guise, the series offers "a timeless story" in depicting "the struggle of resistance against oppression, how ordinary people react to extraordinary circumstances."

Johnson is not involved in the new series and hasn't seen it. But he says "they are using very different characters and stories and style than my original. It's very hard to recapture lightning in a bottle – but I hope the new V team will do well," in part to boost prospects for a V feature film he hopes to make.

But the series remake has run into roadblocks. V's pilot episode was well-received by advertisers and critics, but ABC's late-summer decision to start the show two months earlier than planned – in part to dodge American Idol and the broadcast of the Winter Olympics, also in Vancouver – led to script problems, which forced reshoots and a five-week production break.

The first of three planned story arcs was condensed from six to four fall episodes. And the show will test viewers' loyalty with a three-month hiatus; remaining episodes won't surface until March. A promotional campaign that called for planes to skywrite red V's over national landmarks was scuttled after publicity over potential environmental effects.

And Thursday, in a response to the show's production problems, Peters (USA Network's The 4400) was replaced at the helm of the show by Scott Rosenbaum (Chuck, The Shield), though he is expected to stay aboard as an executive producer.

"We had a great pilot, then a couple of great episodes, but we had a disconnect on where we were going from there," says ABC Entertainment Group chief Stephen McPherson. Though no stranger to tinkering (he made extensive changes to the original Grey's Anatomy pilot), "I hadn't had the experience of that before." But McPherson accepts "a little blame for rushing them."

Mitchell, who plays hero FBI agent Erica Evans, says the resulting changes merely speed the pace of storytelling to pack a bigger wallop, including big cliffhangers in the Nov. 24 episode. Filming on that episode is set to wrap today, giving actors another unexpected 10-week break as the show is retooled. (Mitchell will trek to Hawaii to shoot new Lost episodes.)

"They didn't do anything different. They heightened it, they took it up," she says. The changes are meant to recapture the big-event appeal that started V in a different era. "The idea is to make it a movie, something where we are on the edge of our seats, wondering what's going to happen."

Early research and blog chatter indicate the show's core base of alien-conspiracy fans are stoked about a cast that includes alumni of many geek touchstones, not least of them ABC's own Lost, which ends its run in May.

Erica is 'more fun' to play

Mitchell says Erica is "not as tortured, so that makes it a lot more fun." Juliet "was so deeply, deeply, deeply sad and so deeply angry, to carry that around all the time was quite a bit."

Erica is "trying to be a fantastic mother and obviously failing; she's trying to save the world and obviously failing," Mitchell says. "But they're both kind of kick-(butt) ladies, which is fun."

Mitchell, a self-described "sci-fi dork," is well aware of the challenges of appealing to such a devoted audience. "I kind of like the fact that people obsessively get into shows; I'm hoping this is one of (them)." But, she says, "I don't think it will ever be hard-core enough for some people, and it may be too sci-fi for others."

And wooing the sci-fi crowd alone isn't enough to sustain a major-network drama. A weekly series spawned by the original V was a dud; it lasted just 19 episodes. So ABC pushed producers to develop deeper, rich character stories, much as it did for genre dramas such as Lost and this season's new FlashForward.

Wolf's television reporter is "vulnerable because of his own ambition," he says. "He's clearly someone who feels he's being held back. The visitors' arrival has provided him with the opportunity of his lifetime." The show, he says, is "a mind-bender, because things most probably aren't what they seem."

Chestnut says: "This was not a science-fiction show that was going to be driven by special effects. This was a science-fiction show that was going to be driven by the characters with special effects as a backdrop, and that was what appealed to me."

Says Peters, "If it becomes too magical, too fantastical, the comic-book crowd will love it but no one else will." He concedes it's "difficult not to go over the top with the visitors."

So the burden of striking that balance falls to Brazilian-born Baccarin, already beloved by the sci-fi crowd through her roles on Stargate SG-1 and Joss Whedon's short-lived space Western Firefly.

"I don't want to go into the land of melodrama and evil and mustache-twirling," she says, wrapping a down coat over her V duds in a cavernous soundstage on this rainy Vancouver day.

"I have to be threatening but at the same time nurturing and nice," as Anna's placid demeanor is at odds with a malevolent streak. "There's something so dynamic, scary, sexy, smart; everything about her is a challenge."

And though in tonight's premiere she's "more of a powerful political figure," in subsequent episodes "I get a little more down and dirty and deal with some dissension from other people."

Or aliens. "Skin him!" she orders in a steely voice, dispatching the turncoat.

Joss Whedon on his $10,000 bid for 'Terminator': 'It's all ridiculous, but it comes from love'

Earlier today, geek guru Joss Whedon posted an open letter on fansite Whedonesque.com announcing a $10,000 bid for the rights to the Terminator franchise. (The Financial Times first reported the very real auction, with Sony Pictures and Summit Entertainment reputedly among those in the running.) Almost immediately, the web lit up wondering just how serious Whedon was (sample suggestion for how he’d change the franchise: “Christian Bale’s John Connor will get a throat lozenge”). So EW phoned Whedon, and asked him: Was he just being funny? Or making a bid for the franchise by way of being funny?

His first response: “What do you mean, funny?! You think $10,000 is funny?!”

His second response: “Here’s the thing: It’s not a slam on The Terminator. I love The Terminator. That part’s totally true. I was thinking to myself, ‘Not since they auctioned off frames from The Little Mermaid have I wished I had more money this much. So you know what, never hurts to ask.’ I loved the movies, even the later movies. I loved the mythology. I loved the TV show [The Sarah Connor Chronicles]–like, really loved. Not for pretend. And not just because of [star] Summer [Glau].

“But mostly, it’s just me being a dumb-ass, because that seems to be what I do best — I’m not even very good at that. So, no, I do not think they’re going to call me and say ‘Congratulations! We’ll have that $10,000 now.’ Although, it would be non-exclusive. Other people could make Terminator movies and TV shows too. I’m just putting that out there in case you publish this.

“But I adore the franchise. I literally did learn a huge amount from that [franchise]. [The Terminator] came out when I was in college, and I was like, This is how you construct a story. It’s very important to me. That part was true. The part where I think I’m going to get it, not so true. And certain ideas, like [bidding for] The Lord of the Rings and the Batman franchise, also possibly not true. If they will give them to me for $10,000, I absolutely would write a check. That’s true. They just didn’t say those [properties] were for sale. They said they were on back-order, is what I understand. It’s all ridiculous, but it comes from love.”

So there you have it, but all joking aside, no matter who actually ends up controlling the rights to the Terminator, it seems like Whedon just made a savvy play to be the new creative force behind it. Would you like to see him try his hand at the franchise, or do you think there is someone better suited to it?

V: A Bright New Day (11/17)

"A Bright New Day" -- Chad reports from the Peace Ambassador Center as 100 diplomatic visas are being issued to the first wave of American Visitors, with Anna getting the 1st, but not everyone agrees with the decision. Meanwhile Erica has started tracking a death threat while paired with a V officer, as she actually has to protect the V's, and Ryan starts reaching out to his old friends to build up opposition forces and help fight-off the V's, on "V," TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET), on ABC.

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna, and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest cast: Alan Tudyk as Dale Maddox, Mark Hildreth as Joshua, Michael Filipowich as Cyrus, Tyler McClendon as Steven, Michelle Harrison as Mrs. Falkner, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, Jesse Wheeler as Brandon, David Richmond-Peck as Georgie, Roark Critchlow as Paul Kendrick, Britt Irvin as Haley.

"A Bright New Day" was written by Diego Gutierrez & Christine Roum and directed by Fred Toye.

CASTLE: Love Me Dead (11/16)

"Love Me Dead" -- The murder of an Assistant District Attorney thrusts Castle and Beckett into the world of ex-cons and escorts. But when Castle's desire to help a vulnerable call girl endangers the case, Beckett is forced to decide between honoring promises and putting a killer behind bars. Matters are complicated even further when Castle's daughter shares a potentially explosive secret with Beckett instead of her father, on "Castle," MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Jonathan LaPaglia as John Knox, Michaela McManus as Scarlett Price, J.B. Smoove as Norman Jessup.

"Love Me Dead" was written by Alexi Hawley and directed by Bryan Spicer.

Aliens target Earth again in "V" revival

After about 25 years, those sneaky, lizard-like aliens are back. Once again, they want to take over Earth and, maybe, destroy or consume the populace. But so what? In exchange for their malevolence, they promise to provide a world of fast-paced, eye-catching action and provocative drama.

"V" was a popular miniseries when NBC aired it in the pre-Fox and early cable year of 1983. It worked so well that creator Kenneth Johnson had a sequel the following year, "V: The Final Battle." That proved so popular that NBC, disregarding the "Final" part of the title, reintroduced "V" as a weekly series that fall. That's when it stopped working.

And that's too bad, because the idea behind "V" -- a modern retelling of how the Nazis rose to power in Germany -- is a powerhouse concept that combines conflict, suspense and imagination with some heavy-duty philosophical issues. Johnson, in fact, said his original inspiration was the Sinclair Lewis novel, "It Can't Happen Here," and he came up with something that is less science fiction than political science fiction.

This latest update, airing Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST/PST, preserves the original framework but shifts the atmosphere to accommodate contemporary concerns. Based on the pilot, the militaristic notes will be more subdued. Instead, there will be more of a post-September 11 emphasis on questions of trust and terror.

"V" is short for Visitors, which is what the aliens call themselves. They announce their presence while simultaneously hovering in huge unassailable spaceships above 29 of Earth's major cities, including New York, where the series is set.

Alien leader Anna (Morena Baccarin), the very picture of sweetness and innocence, promises to share advanced technology and live in peace. Many Earthlings are eager to believe her, including young adults who sign up for the Peace Ambassador program (analogous to Hitler Youth).But there are skeptics. These include FBI agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell), whose son joins the Ambassador program, and Father Jack (Joel Gretsch). Complicating things is the wave of Visitors who came to Earth years earlier and are working incognito. At the same time, though, other secret Visitors have become disillusioned and join the resistance.

Somewhere in between is news anchor Chad Decker (Scott Wolf). In exchange for exclusive interviews with Anna, he makes an uncomfortable bargain to ask only softball questions.

It could be complicated, but Scott Peters' tightly written teleplay makes it easy to follow. In addition, the pilot raises provocative issues without getting didactic. That, combined with mythology less dense than, say, ABC's "Lost," should make this an attractive viewing option.

NBC opts for more "Chuck," no more "Trauma"

NBC has good news for one Monday series and bad news for another.

The network has ordered six more episodes of comedy-drama "Chuck" and has opted not to pick up additional episodes from "Trauma" beyond the freshman drama's original 13-episode order.

The pickup for "Chuck" brings the show's total third-season order to 19 episodes. With the expanded order, "Chuck" is rumored to launch in January.

As for "Trauma," the big-budget action medical drama has been in limbo after a weak start behind "Heroes." It got a glimpse of hope this week when, against CBS repeats, it showed a small ratings uptick, prompting the network to book the series for three more weeks.

The series now will finish production on its 13-episode order before winding down.

NBC's other two freshman series, "Community" and "Mercy," have been picked up for a full season, along with sophomore "Parks and Recreation."

V: There Is No Normal Anymore (11/10)

"There Is No Normal Anymore" -- Erica and Father Jack, having quickly determined they're both against the arrival of the Visitors, suddenly find themselves being tracked by a "Seeker" from the V's. Meanwhile Chad, thinking he blew it for 80 million viewers with his exclusive first interview with Anna, looks to pick himself up and so becomes more investigative in his next newscast; and Dale Maddox's (Alan Tudyk) wife and law enforcement begin questioning Erica about his whereabouts, on "V," TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 10 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET), on ABC.

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest cast: Alan Tudyk as Dale Maddox, Rekha Sharma as Sarita Malik, Britt Irvin as Haley, Scott Hylands as Father Travis, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, Jesse Wheeler as Brandon, Roark Critchlow as Paul Kendrick.

"There Is No Normal Anymore" was written by Scott Peters & Sam Egan and directed by Yves Simoneau.

CASTLE: Kill the Messenger (11/9)

"Kill the Messenger" -- Castle and Beckett investigate the hit-and-run death of a bike messenger, brutally murdered to prevent him from delivering a package, the contents of which could free a wrongly convicted man from prison. In a surprising twist, this tragic death is linked to a murder case that Captain Montgomery investigated a decade earlier. To solve the present murder, Castle and Beckett must dredge up the past by uncovering the secrets and scandals of a prominent New York family, on "Castle," MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: Sonya Leslie as Valerie Thompson, Arye Gross as M.E. Sidney Perlmutter, Ron Melendez as Jeff Dilahunt, Josh Daugherty as Trent Wellesley and Jill Andre as Lenanne Wellesley.

"Kill the Messenger" was written by Terrence Paul Winter and directed by Jonathan Frakes.

Fox Pulls Dollhouse Off November Sweeps Schedule

The networks will be pulling out all the stops for November sweeps, but Dollhouse will be nowhere to be found. Fox has pulled the Joss Whedon drama from its November schedule entirely, according to Entertainment Weekly. The series will return in December, with back-to-back episodes on Friday nights. Beyond that, it's unclear, but it doesn't look good.

Castle Picked Up for Full Second Season

ABC has picked up Castle for a full 22-episode season, TVGuide.com has confirmed.

The procedural dramedy, which stars Nathan Fillion as an author who helps solve crimes to cure his writers block, debuted in March to 11.6 million viewers. Although the show's numbers have fallen off a bit this season (it's averaging between 9 and 10 million viewers), it has held a respectable chunk of its Dancing with the Stars lead-in.

ABC previously announced full-season orders of new comedies Modern Family, Cougar Town and The Middle as well as freshman drama FlashForward.

Joss Whedon + 'Glee' = TV-geek nirvana

The squeals of delight you're hearing could well have to do with the fact that TV auteur and avowed musical-theater fan Joss Whedon has signed on to direct an episode of "Glee."

The "Dollhouse" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" creator will helm an episode of the FOX series later this season. The show's initial 13-episode run is already in the can, so Whedon will take on one of the back nine episodes that FOX picked up last month, the network confirms. His work on "Glee" will happen after the 13-episode run of "Dollhouse" finishes.

"Joss directed one of the great musical episodes in the history of television on 'Buffy,' so this is a great, if unexpected, fit," "Glee" co-creator Ryan Murphy tells EW.com. "I'm thrilled he'll be loaning us his fantastic, groundbreaking talent."

The musical episode Murphy refers to is "Once More, with Feeling," the "Buffy" season six installment which Whedon wrote (including most of its songs) and directed. He also created the online musical "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," which won an Emmy in September.

The "Glee" gig will be a rare directorial outing for Whedon on a show he didn't create. His only other outside directing work came on a couple episodes of "The Office" in 2007.

CASTLE: Famous Last Words (11/2)

"Famous Last Words" -- When an up-and-coming rock star's dead body is found staged in a scene straight out of her hit music video, Castle and Beckett delve into the world of obsessed fans, sleazy managers and jealous band members. But it's only when Alexis uncovers the true meaning behind the lyrics of the final song that clues to the killer's identity begin to surface, on "Castle," MONDAY, NOVEMBER 2 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Robert Curtis Brown as Ian Busch, Anne Ramsay as Bree Busch, Erin Foster as Sky Blue.

"Famous Last Words" was written by Jose Molina and directed by Rob Bowman.

V: Pilot (11/3; PREMIERE)

"V" is a re-imagining of the 1980s' miniseries about the world's first encounter with an alien race. With huge spaceships simultaneously appearing over 29 cities around the world, the Visitors (or V's) seem to promote a message of peace. Through their generous offer to share advanced technology, the V's quickly build a following that may be overlooking a more malevolent agenda. The premiere of "V," from Warner Bros. Television, airs TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET), on ABC.

In the premiere episode, "Pilot," an image of Anna (Morena Baccarin), the leader of the V's, is projected worldwide as she speaks about everyone joining together and no longer being divided by country or separated by fear. She wants us all to unite, and is counting on a very important component of human nature -- devotion. At first considered a threat, the V's quickly become a fascination and a link to things that lay just beyond our reach. For Tyler (Logan Huffman), a teenaged boy, the V's are his ticket to being a part of something big and something that offers hope. To Chad (Scott Wolf), an egotistical news anchor who wants to further his career, his exclusive interview with Anna begins his desire to dominate the airwaves. Father Jack (Joel Gretsch), a priest with questioning faith, is hesitant to believe in the Visitors' righteousness and goes outside of the church in search of the truth. There are other dissidents who believe the Visitors aren't who they say they are, including Ryan (Morris Chestnut), who is faced with a life-altering decision when the V's show up. And to FBI Counter Terrorist Agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell), who discovers, while investigating a terrorist cell, what lurks beneath the alarmingly human exterior of the Visitors, resisting this new world has never been more important -- and never has there been more at stake. This truly is the dawning of a new day.

"V" stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna, and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Guest starring in "Pilot" are Alan Tudyk as Dale Maddox, Jesse Wheeler as Brandon, Britt Irvin as Haley Gordon, David Richmond-Peck as Georgie, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, Scott Hylands as Father Travis and Stefan Arngrim as Roy.

CASTLE: Vampire Weekend (10/26)

"Vampire Weekend" - As Halloween approaches, Castle and Beckett are called to a graveyard where the body of a young man sporting vampire fangs has been discovered with a wooden stake driven through his heart. Their investigation takes them deep into the heart of New York's underground vampire fetish community, where they learn that the motive for the victim's murder may be hiding within the pages of the graphic novel he was writing before his death, on "Castle," MONDAY, OCTOBER 26 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Anita Barone as Janice Freeman, Robin Thomas as Alan Freeman, Samantha Shelton as Vixen.

"Vampire Weekend" was written by Terri Miller and directed by Karen Gaviola.

Castle: Is a Beckett-Castle Kiss in the Cards?

Nathan Fillion's character on Castle doesn't take many things seriously, something that perhaps has rubbed off on the actor.

When asked what he thinks will lure viewers into the ABC procedural dramedy's second season, the 38-year-old former Firefly and Desperate Housewives star cracks jokes. "This season we decided to go with no hooks, no hooks at all," Fillion tells TVGuide.com. "That's become our mantra: no hooks, let's just coast. One episode, we actually take an episode from the first season and just changed everybody's names and filmed it again."

Co-stars Stana Katic and Seamus Dever, who join Fillion on the other end of the line for a telephone interview during a break from shooting, laugh at most of Fillion's jokes. All the actors say humor is what sets Castle apart from the glut of other crime procedurals.

"The writers are very realistic about the kind of show that we have," Katic says. "We're a crime procedural, but through a light-hearted, comedic eye. I think the other shows that we reference are kind of dark and try to be very realistic and scientific and pragmatic, and I think we just have fun with it."

Dever is a fan of the show's focus on the nuts and bolts of being a homicide detective. "I think there's a little bit of a post-modern comment on other shows because we come around after America has been exposed to 10 years of CSI," Dever says. "I think we're commenting on what really is police work: pounding on doors and taking phone calls, rather than being about forensics. I think that comes from the police officers and detectives that work on our show."

Fillion the jokester can't help but capitalize on Dever's setup. "We hung out with a bunch of homicide detectives, and they're not haunting, they're not brooding, they're not tortured," FIllion says. "They were brilliantly entertaining, and they were incredibly funny. It's just that all their stories start with, 'So this guy gets killed ...'"

Fillion says that playing the class clown is part of the fun of portraying Richard Castle, but Katic says there more to the character than being a cad. "There's a wonderful undercurrent that we get to see when he is in scenes with his mother and daughter. I think you see a real heart that beats there, and I think that as episodes continue, people will get to be charmed by that side as well."

The question on many viewers' minds, however, is when, if ever, Katic's Detective Beckett will be charmed by Castle. Fillion is equally stumped, but says that's what makes Castle's attraction to Beckett fun to play. "One of the things that attracts him so much to Beckett is that he can't crack that shell," he says. "He can't get to that spot, so he keeps chasing her. And she's a real authority figure; no one else really has control over Castle the way Beckett does."

A guest-starring Debi Mazar (Entourage, Dancing with the Stars) will further complicate the relationship. As Paula Haas, a book agent from Castle's past, Mazar makes Castle an offer he'll find hard to turn down. But it's also one that could derail any hopes of a Castle-Beckett hookup.

About the potential love triangle, Katic is expectedly coy. "Honey, we never kiss and tell. You'll have to watch and see," she says.

So is that to say there is a kiss in the couple's future? Katic is silent. Dever laughs. Cue Fillion.

"I'm always kissing everybody," he says. "I recently sneaked one in with [Dever's] Detective Ryan. It surprised him, that's for sure."

Castle airs Mondays at 10/9c on ABC.

CASTLE: When the Bough Breaks (10/19)

"When the Bough Breaks" - Castle's book agent, Paula Haas (guest star Debi Mazar), approaches him with a career changing opportunity, but taking it would mean the end of his relationship with Beckett. Will the murder of an unidentified woman found dead in a manhole be their last case together?, on "Castle," MONDAY, OCTOBER 19 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Debi Mazar as Paula Haas, Reed Diamond as Dr.Cameron Talbot, Elaine Hendrix as Melissa Talbot.

"When the Bough Breaks" was written by Rene Echevarria and directed by John Terlesky.

CASTLE: Fool Me Once (10/12)

"Fool Me Once" - When an Arctic explorer is killed during a polar expedition, the mysterious circumstances of his death take Castle and Beckett from the penthouses of Park Avenue to the halls of the CIA. But Castle's delight at the case's many twists and turns soon turns to frustration as he realizes that their elusive killer might just be fooling them all, on "Castle," MONDAY, OCTOBER 12 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Kathleen Rose Perkins as Elise Finnegan, Robert Pine as Gerry Finnegan, David Ramsey as Jim Wheeler.

"Fool Me Once" was written by Alexi Hawley and directed by Bryan Spicer.

'V' split: ABC's alien takeover partly deferred till spring

The aliens on "V" can't seem to compete with the less-puny humans in the Olympics. ABC confirmed to the LA Times that "V" will premiere on Tuesday, Nov. 3 as scheduled, but after the first four installments are aired, it will go on hiatus. Why? Well, there's the little thing called the Winter Olympics. ABC keeps touting the revamp of the '80s miniseries as an "event" and plans to relaunch sometime after the gold medals are handed out. Of course, the buzz in Tinseltown hasn't been so sanguine since production on the show was previously shut down for a fortnight, a possible sign of creative rejiggering. The first three episodes of the 13-episode order have been shot, with the fourth one shooting in mid-October. Then, hiatus. An official relaunch date has not been announced.

CASTLE: Inventing the Girl (10/5)

"Inventing the Girl" - Castle and Beckett get an inside look at the cutthroat world of the New York fashion industry when they investigate the brutal murder of a young model during Fashion Week, on "Castle," MONDAY, OCTOBER 5 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Julian Sands as Teddy Farrow, Matt Barr as Travis McBoyd, Shanna Collins as Rina.

"Inventing the Girl" was written by Moira Kirkland and directed by Dwight Little.

Dollhouse Boss Breaks Good Horrible News

There will be a second Dr. Horrible Sing-Along Blog, Joss Whedon said in a Thursday conference call with reporters to promote Dollhouse. The main question, he says, is whether he does it “on a shoe string again” or goes bigger budget and “invites other people into the process.” Either way, he promises that it won’t affect the storyline.

As for Season 2 of Dollhouse, which Whedon believes Fox brought back, not because of stellar ratings (“I don’t write hit shows.”) but because of the ancillary money his cult series—like Buffy and Firefly—bring in due to DVD sales and the like. The big excitement for fans: Ray Wise (Reaper’s Devil, who has joined the show in a possibly recurring role starting in episode 6) is running a rival Dollhouse, and that Summer Glau’s new character, Bennett, will be working for him as a programmer.

In other news, the show will revisit the apocalyptic future of the DVD “Epitaph One.” (Felicia Day, who appeared in the episode as a resistance fighter in the future, will guest star this season.) “I’m fascinated by that world and I’m in love with the actors in it,” Whedon says. He says that Echo will try to put together a team to uncover the Dollhouse’s secrets. “We’ll see who’s on her side and who not so much.” And expect a lot more with the sexed up Dolls Sierra and Victor, “who can’t keep their hands off each other.” Echo sees that lust, he says, “an indication that they’re ready to be pushed” to a higher level of awareness. Sounds like good team member potential there.

Dr. Saunders, will be in just three episodes this season (Amy Acker is committed to the ABC midseason series Happy Town) but they ”will be extraordinarily memorable,” he says, adding that there won’t be a new doctor to fill the gap.

Season 2 of Dollhouse premieres Friday, September 25, 9/8c, Fox.

CASTLE: The Double Down (9/28)

"The Double Down" - When two separate murders are committed on the same night, Castle wagers Ryan and Esposito that he and Beckett will solve theirs first. The frenzied race to catch their respective killers and win the bet leads each investigative duo to a likely suspect, only to find that they both have airtight alibis. But bizarre twists in both cases force the two teams to work together to unravel the mind-bending mystery behind each murder, on "Castle," MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Arye Gross as M.E. Perlmutter, Brennan Elliot as Jason Cosway, Diana-Maria Riva as Detective Roselyn Karpowski.

"The Double Down" was written David Grace and directed by Rob Bowman.

CASTLE: Deep in Death - SEASON PREMIERE (9/21)

"Deep in Death" -- When the new season begins, Castle (Nathan Fillion) is wrestling with how to repair his relationship with Beckett (Stana Katic), while struggling to finish his soon-to-be-published bestseller, Heat Wave. But circumstances force the pair back together to investigate the mysterious murder of a man found dead, tangled in the limbs of a tree. The Season Two premiere of "Castle" airs MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 (10:01-11:00 p.m. ET) on ABC. Authors Stephen J. Cannell and Michael Connelly guest star as themselves in the episode.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Stephen J. Cannell as himself, Michael Connelly as himself, Laurel Holloman as Sandy Allen, Elizabeth Ho as Amy Saunders, Robert Grant as Ron Bigby.

"Deep in Death" was written by Andrew Marlowe and directed by Rob Bowman.

Dollhouse Season Two Is All About "Murder and Sex"

It's a Whedonverse reunion on "Dollhouse."

Summer Glau and Alexis Denisof, both of Joss Whedon series fame, and Michael Hogan are joining the group of big names visiting second season of FOX's "Dollhouse." They join the recently announced guest stars Keith Carradine and Jamie Bamber.

But let's get back to the Whedonverse characters, shall we?

Glau will join the cast of "Dollhouse" as recurring character Bennett, "a Dollhouse employee who shares a past with Echo (Eliza Dushku)." Since we haven't seen Glau previously, it's possible her character had been working previously at one of the other Dollhouses out there before coming to the one we know and love.

Glau, known most recently for "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," had starred in Whedon's beloved sci-fi western series "Firefly" and its big-screen follow-up "Serenity."

As if that little Whedon reunion weren't enough, Alexis Denisof, who appeared on Whedon's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" before moving on to become a regular castmember on its spinoff "Angel," will make a guest appearance as Sen. Daniel Perrin, who's on a witch hunt to expose the Dollhouse. Hmm, perhaps Paul (Tahmoh Penikett) won't be all alone in his endeavors this season. That always seemed a little fruitless.

Glau and Denisof join the growing list of former Whedon series stars who've reunited with the man himself on "Dollhouse." Others include series star Eliza Dushku, Amy Acker, Alan Tudyk and Felicia Day (who was only seen in "Epitaph One," the 13th episode from Season One that wasn't aired).

Also, this season Michael Hogan of "Battlestar Galactica" fame will play Bradley Karrens, a man who seeks the Dollhouse's help to stop a family member's psychotic killing spree. Hogan's fellow "BSG" castmate Jamie Bamber was inadvertently revealed to be a guest star Wednesday when FOX made photos of the first episode available to press. Bamber will play businessman Martin Klar, who is Echo's new husband. We really wish FOX would tell us more than that!

Finally, as previously reported, Keith Carradine will come on as businessman Matthew Harding, a "nemesis" of Dollhouse chief Adelle (Olivia Williams). A FOX publicist had already told Zap2it that Harding is also somehow involved with Sierra's history, which makes us wonder if Adelle and Sierra knew each other in their previous, non-Dollhouse lives.

Besides the main cast, FOX also announced that Amy Acker's character Dr. Claire Saunders/Whiskey and Miracle Laurie's character Madeline/November will return for multiple-episode arcs.

"Dollhouse" debuts its second season on Friday, Sept. 25.

Dollhouse Season Two Is All About "Murder and Sex"

Dollhouse, one of the most morally depraved and exciting shows on TV, returns in exactly one month, and to get you ready, we've chatted up the stars.

The cast promises that season two delivers all the babes-in-bondage and zombie-mind-control weirdness you'd expect, plus a new look that may change the way you see the story forever.

Paul and Echo Heat Up: According to both Tahmoh Penikett and Eliza Dushku, Echo and Ballard will grow closer this season. As Eliza says, "Echo doesn't know entirely what's going on yet…[but] as she becomes more and more self-aware, she's recognizing this constant, tall, dark, looming man in the Dollhouse." We would have said handsome in lieu of looming, but her point is taken. As Tahmoh explains it, "They have a connection. It's not a physical attraction, but I hope it's something that we explore a lot more this season. You're not quite sure what it is. There's a past, there's a history, there's an understanding between them that's very different. I think the audience is really going to like it and be really curious about where we're going in the first few episodes."

Other Zombie Lovers: Echo isn't the only active who's going to be exploring her nascent feelings for someone else. Enver Gjokaj tells us, "Sierra and Victor are definitely still involved. They're going to explore that relationship more. They explore the Sierra-and-Victor love as dolls, but then also they're going to go into the backstory of both of them." There's no chance that Sierra and Topher were connected before they entered the Dollhouse…is there?

Crazy Comes Early: Enver also promises that season two starts out, well, energetically. He says, "They don't wait. They start right in with some crazy stuff. Tim Minear has crazy stuff in store. And Jed [Whedon] and Maurissa [Tancharoen]'s episodes are out of this world." What kind of crazy can we expect? According to Fran Kranz, "Sexually dark stuff…murder…sex and murder." Works for us.

The New Look: According to Eliza, there's a fresh new look to the series this year: "We're shooting with a different style and shooting HD, and it makes it that much more realistic. That supernatural haze, that science-fiction haze, has been lifted, and it makes it all that much more possible. I was driving down the street the other day and I saw one of the vans they use for the dolls, the sprinters, and the thought crossed my mind…this could be. With the technology today, you just never know."

CASTLE: Little Girl Lost (9/7)

"Little Girl Lost" - When a two-year-old girl is discovered missing from her home, Beckett is called in to assist with the investigation only to discover that the FBI agent in charge is, in fact, her ex-boyfriend. The two of them try to put aside their unresolved feelings as they race to find the girl, but when Castle inserts himself into the investigation, competition quickly heats up for Beckett's attention, on "Castle," MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 5/4/09)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Bailey Chase as Will Sorenson, Judy Reyes as Theresa Candela, Julian Acosta as Alfred Candela, Francis Capra as Juan Restrepo and Todd Waring as Dave Ellers.

"Little Girl Lost" was written by Elizabeth Davis and directed by John Terlesky.

CASTLE: A Death in the Family (9/7)

"A Death in the Family" - Castle and Beckett investigate the murder of a missing plastic surgeon who is found dead in the front seat of his car after a week of being parked curbside. As they delve into the twisted world of surgery obsessed patients and secret operations, Castle experiences a fatherly rite of passage as Alexis attends her first prom. And while looking into Beckett's past, he unearths information that could end his relationship with her forever, on "Castle," MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 5/11/09)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Bailey Chase as Will Sorenson, Ion Overman as Candace Robinson, Robert Picardo as Clark Murray, Robert Costanzo as Sal Tenor, Delane Matthews as Jacey Goldberg and Joe Marinelli as Jimmy Moran.

"A Death in the Family" was written by Andrew Marlowe and directed by Bryan Spicer.

CASTLE: A Chill Goes Through Her Veins (9/7)

"A Chill Goes Through Her Veins" - A frozen woman found tangled in steel bars at a construction site leads Castle and Beckett to a years-old mystery and a long abandoned case. As the two uncover startling revelations about the victim's past, the investigation forces Beckett to face some difficult memories of her own, which provides Castle insight into his muse and additional material for his novel, on "Castle," MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 4/6/09)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Charles Malik Whitfield as Charles Wyler, Bill Smitrovich as Ben Davidson, Peter Jason as Sheriff Sloan and Channon Roe as Kevin Henson.

"A Chill Goes Through Her Veins" was written by Charles Murray and directed by Bryan Spicer.

Gina Torres Joins Gossip Girl

Gina Torres will appear on Gossip Girl this fall as Vanessa's mom, TVGuide.com has learned exclusively.

Gabriela Abrams, mother to home-schooled vid-kid Vanessa, is described as being warm and outgoing, which will certainly be a change of pace for this show, not exactly known as the paragon of parental virtue. She is a free spirit, a former Brooklynite who lives "off the grid" in Vermont and has definite opinions about things, especially concerning her daughter. Ah, that's more like it.

Torres is best known for her roles on Alias and Firefly, though she also had a recent blink-and-you-miss-it cameo on Pushing Daisies as the wayward mom of Emerson's daughter. The actress is married to CSI's Laurence Fishburne.

Gabriela Abrams is currently scheduled to appear in two episodes, but she will recur on the series. Gossip Girl returns for its third season on Monday, Sept. 14 at 9/8c on the CW.

CASTLE: Home Is Where the Heart Stops (8/24)

"Home Is Where the Heart Stops" -- When a string of high-end home invasions end in murder, Castle and Beckett must determine who is orchestrating these violent robberies before they strike again. But to catch this deadly thief, Beckett must go way out of her comfort zone to enter Castle's glamorous, paparazzi filled world as his date to a charity ball. Meanwhile, Castle seeks the counsel of a dangerous ex-jewel thief who had once threatened to kill him, on "Castle," MONDAY, AUGUST 24 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 4/20/09)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Patrick Bauchau as Caine Powell, Caterina Scorsone as Joanne Delgado, Nick Chinlund as Evan Mitchell and Joseph C. Phillips as Mayor.

"Home Is Where the Heart Stops" was written by Will Beall and directed by Dean White.

CASTLE: Ghosts (8/17)

"Ghosts" - Castle and Beckett investigate the murder of a woman found drowned in a bathtub of motor oil at a transient hotel. But when they uncover a dark secret about the woman's past, they must unravel a 20-year-old mystery with the help of a true crime journalist who may have been stalking the victim. Meanwhile, Beckett puts her poker face to the test as she squares off against Castle, with her money and pride at stake, on "Castle," MONDAY, AUGUST 17 (10:01-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 4/27/09)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Joanne Kelly as Lee Wax, Alex Carter as Michael Goldman, Jillian Armenante as Susan Mailer, Dan Castellaneta as Judge Markway and Joseph C. Phillips as Mayor.

"Ghosts" was written by Moira Kirkland and directed by Bryan Spicer.

'Dollhouse' will go back to the future in season two

This is how Joss Whedon greeted a group of reporters visiting the set of "Dollhouse" on Friday:

"Welcome back to the biggest surprise of my career, our season two."

FOX's renewal of "Dollhouse" for a second season did indeed qualify as one of the bigger shocks of the spring. Whedon is unsurprisingly psyched to be back, and he says he and his fellow writers have "more excitement and enthusiasm about the show than we did by a country mile last year, because we are in it now."

But the show is also in something of a strange position thanks to "Epitaph One," the final episode of the first season which depicted the future for Echo (Eliza Dushku) and the rest of the characters and presented a possibly radical new direction for the show.

The episode screened at Comic-Con and is on the show's DVD set, but FOX didn't air it, and it's not available (at least not legally) online -- which means that a portion of the audience will head into the second season without knowing what happened in the episode.

"'Epitaph One' did present that particular problem of serving two masters -- people who had seen it and people who hadn't," Whedon says. "I am used to that -- I made an entire movie ['Serenity'] that had that problem and only that problem."

Joking aside, though, Whedon says that the first episode of season two -- which airs Sept. 25 -- will revisit that future and bring those who didn't see "Epitaph One" up to speed. However, "the actual bulk of the show takes place three months after the events of 'Omega.' But we will be visiting that future every now and then."

While the "Epitaph One" situation is unusual, Whedon notes that even if it had aired on FOX (or didn't exist), he would still be reintroducing the show to potential new viewers.

"We have so many regulars and relationships and so much mythology already around the central premise of 'this woman can be anyone' that this episode has a lot of catching up for any viewer whether or not 'Epitaph' was a part of it," he says.

The writers' goal for season two, Whedon says, is to "build Echo up from nothing ... and really give her a sense of momentum and purpose that will ground the show in a way it couldn't be last year." At least for the first week, it's working, Dushku says.

"I am already sort of astonished by the emotions and reactions just in ... this episode," she says. [Thursday], full on burst into tears in the middle of a take. It was a giant scene ... and there was something that happened and I haven't had that kind of -- I was just surprised at my emotion and I hadn't really had that. I was like, All right, this is kind of a nice kickoff for the season. Everything's out on the table and we've already had the first season to sort of have our insecurities and have our guard and a little bit of that, and now we just get to open it up and search into humanity with you."

RICHARD CASTLE OF ABC'S CASTLE GOES LIVE ON TWITTER

Second Season of "Castle" Premieres Monday, September 21. It's summertime, and New York City is hot and humid. With his deadline closing in, famous crime-mystery novelist Richard Castle is working to finish his Nikki Heat novel, "Heat Wave." The city offers a wealth of distractions for a procrastinating author, and since his 15-year-old daughter, Alexis, introduced him to Twitter, Castle has become addicted.

Castle and Alexis take off for their house in the Hamptons, and what starts as a respite for Castle turns into yet another mystery for him to help solve. And this time, he tweets his theories to his followers.

It all begins when a foot without a body washes up on the beach. Local law enforcement thinks it's an accident, a shark attack, but Castle's certain there's more to it than that and twitters his theories to his many fans. Much to the chagrin of the local police, Castle puts himself into the middle of the investigation. The game's afoot!

For the next six weeks, fans will be able to give Castle advice, eavesdrop on his affairs and his family, and help him solve his summer mystery.

Richard Castle's Twitter handle is @WriteRCastle or visit http://twitter.com/WriteRCastle. There is also a link to his Facebook page, so fans will be able to see how this famous creator of Murder, Mystery and the Macabre spends his time away from the precinct.

"Castle" airs Mondays (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC.

CASTLE: Nanny McDead (8/15)

"Nanny McDead" -- The body of a young woman is found spinning inside the dryer in the laundry room of an upscale apartment building. When Castle and Beckett discover that the woman, in her 20s, worked as a Nanny in the building, their investigation leads them to a world of sex, lies and "playdates." Meanwhile, while writing the first novel to his "Nikki Heat" series, Castle delves into the thoughts and actions of Beckett, as she navigates the murder case while revealing more of her own mysteries, on "Castle," SATURDAY, AUGUST 15 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD: 3/16/09)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Jayne Brook as Claudia Peterson, Michael Graziadei as Brent Johnson, Sarah Drew as Chloe Richardson, Melinda Page Hamilton as Diana Harris and George Newbern as Howard Peterson.

"Nanny McDead" was written by Barry Schindel and directed by John Terlesky.

CASTLE: Hedge Fund Homeboys (8/10)

"Hedge Fund Homeboys" - A once wealthy teenage boy whose family has fallen on hard times is found dead in a rowboat floating along the lake in Central Park. As Castle and Beckett try to piece together the events leading up to his death, his friends do everything in their power to thwart the investigation. As they unravel the truth from the lies, a story of betrayal and obsession emerges. Meanwhile, Castle debates whether he can leave Martha home alone while he chaperones Alexis' class trip to Washington, DC. Martha might be an aspiring "Life Coach," but that doesn't mean she's trustworthy, on "Castle," MONDAY, AUGUST 10 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD: 3/23/09)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Jamie Chung as Romy Lee, Julia Nickson as Mrs. Lee, Nolan Gerard Funk as Brandon, Michelle Page as Amanda Kunal Sharma as Spencer.

"Hedge Fund Homeboys" was written by David Grae and directed by Rob Bowman.

Dollhouse Opens Its Doors to More Whedonverse Alumni

Joss Whedon said a lot of things his fans wanted to hear at Dollhouse's San Diego Comic-Con panel — and at least one thing that had many of the show's faithful viewers biting their nails.

Whedon kicked off the panel by raving that the staff he assembled for the Fox series' freshman run was "the best" first-season staff he has ever worked with. So expect no major changes there.

As far as on-camera talent, the auteur announced that at least two Whedonverse alumni could show up on Dollhouse. Alexis Denisof, aka Angel's Wesley, is a sure bet to guest star in multiple Season 2 episodes, he said. This past TV season, Denisof had a brief run on ABC's Private Practice.

Also — and as has been rumored ever since Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles' cancelation — former Firefly cast member Summer Glau is on Whedon's wish list, though nothing has been set in stone yet.

Other familiar faces to watch for early in Season 2 include Felicia Day, who had a role in the first season's never-broadcast thirteenth episode, "Epitaph One" (and back in the day appeared on Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

Amid the cheers and woots, Whedon gave the show's fans pause when at one point he teased, "There is one trustworthy person in the Dollhouse — and I'm going to kill them." Was he casting a dark cloud over do-right Boyd? Kindly Topher? Former lawman Paul? Whedon let slip no clues.

All told, Whedon seemed positively bullish on Season 2. He thanked fans for running their TiVos amok (Dollhouse benefitted tremendously from DVR playback) and forecast only good things to come.

Taking a tiny dig at a certain NBC show's sophomore growing pains, he said, "As long as we don't send anyone to feudal Japan, I think we'll be OK."

Dollhouse premieres its second season on Friday, Sept. 25, at 9/8 CT.

CASTLE: Home Is Where the Heart Stops (8/3)

"Home Is Where the Heart Stops" -- When a string of high-end home invasions end in murder, Castle and Beckett must determine who is orchestrating these violent robberies before they strike again. But to catch this deadly thief, Beckett must go way out of her comfort zone to enter Castle's glamorous, paparazzi filled world as his date to a charity ball. Meanwhile, Castle seeks the counsel of a dangerous ex-jewel thief who had once threatened to kill him, on "Castle," MONDAY, AUGUST 3 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 4/20/09)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Patrick Bauchau as Caine Powell, Caterina Scorsone as Joanne Delgado, Nick Chinlund as Evan Mitchell and Joseph C. Phillips as Mayor.

"Home Is Where the Heart Stops" was written by Will Beall and directed by Dean White.

'Reaper,' 'Dollhouse' stars fight 'Evil'

Tyler Labine worked with the Devil, and Alan Tudyk was a bad Doll. Now the pair will fight evil. Labine and Tudyk have signed up for the indie horror-comedy "Tucker and Dale vs. Evil," according to The Hollywood Reporter. The pair will play rednecks who must cope with your stereotypical horny horror-movie teens. The cannon fodder suspect our heroes of being psycho killers, while Tucker and Dale just want to enjoy their new summer home. The movie has begun production in Canada. Labine starred on "Reaper" until its cancellation this season, while Tudyk guest-starred as baddie Omega on "Dollhouse."

'Castle' goes by the book to hype season two

ABC is reaching way back into the history of mass media to promote the second season of "Castle."

The show, about mystery novelist-turned-NYPD consultant Rick Castle (Nathan Fillion), will hype the new season with a staple of 19th- and early 20th-century newspapers and magazines: a serialized novel. Chapters of the book will appear online starting in August, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and fans will be able to buy the book in late September.

The novel is called "Heat Wave," and author "Richard Castle" will post a chapter a week on ABC.com starting Monday, Aug. 10. The second season premieres Monday, Sept. 21, and the full novel will hit bookstores the following week.

"Heat Wave" will feature a few elements that will be familiar to fans of the show, but it will primarily be a stand-alone mystery.

"Castle" already has some mystery-novelist cred in hand, having featured authors James Patterson and Stephen J. Cannell as Castle's poker buddies in the pilot. The network isn't revealing the true identity of the "Heat Wave" writer.

Repeats of "Castle" will air on Saturday nights in July starting this week.

CASTLE: Always Buy Retail (7/25)

"Always Buy Retail" - When an immigrant is found tortured and murdered in a ritualistic killing, Beckett navigates the uncharted territory of the mysterious Vodun religion with Castle leading the way. Having researched similar deaths for one of his books, Castle's knowledge and sources prove valuable, but only their apt teamwork can unravel the murderer's motives. Meanwhile, Castle is confronted with the possible return of his first wife, Alexis's mother, whose dizzying personality threatens to upend the tranquility of the entire family, on "Castle," SATURDAY, JULY 25 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 4/13/09)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Darby Stanchfield as Meredith, Nicki Micheaux as Michelle, Aldis Hodge as Azi and Dohn Norwood as Charles Oni.

"Always Buy Retail" was written by Gabrielle Stanton & Harry Werksman and directed by Jamie Babbit.

CASTLE: A Chill Goes Through Her Veins (7/18)

"A Chill Goes Through Her Veins" - A frozen woman found tangled in steel bars at a construction site leads Castle and Beckett to a years-old mystery and a long abandoned case. As the two uncover startling revelations about the victim's past, the investigation forces Beckett to face some difficult memories of her own, which provides Castle insight into his muse and additional material for his novel, on "Castle," SATURDAY, JULY 18 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 4/6/09)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Charles Malik Whitfield as Charles Wyler, Bill Smitrovich as Ben Davidson, Peter Jason as Sheriff Sloan and Channon Roe as Kevin Henson.

"A Chill Goes Through Her Veins" was written by Charles Murray and directed by Bryan Spicer.

CASTLE: Hell Hath No Fury (7/11)

"Hell Hath No Fury" - When the dead body of a New York City Councilman running for re-election rolls out of a rug and into Beckett's case files, she and Castle are thrown into the world of dirty politics. Meanwhile, Castle's final novel in the Derrick Storm series hits the bookstores, causing his mother to search for any and all signs of failure. And at one of his book readings, Beckett tries to throw Castle off his game, only to learn that he has flipped the script on her once again, on "Castle," SATURDAY, JULY 11 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 3/30/09)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Bruno Campos as Calvin Creason, Joshua LeBar as Jason Bollinger, Lisa Waltz as Laurie Horn, Michael Reilly Burke as Frank Nesbit and Jonathan Banks as Bruce Kirby.

"Hell Hath No Fury" was written by Andrew W. Marlowe and directed by Rob Bowman.

2009 Teen Choice Award nominations

Surfboards (in lieu of trophies) for the 11th annual event will be distributed during a two-hour special on Aug. 10 on Fox. Fans, ages 13-19, can vote for the winners at TeenChoiceAwards.com.

Choice TV Actress: Action Adventure
Kristen Bell, Heroes
Summer Glau, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Kristen Kreuk, Smallville
Ali Larter, Heroes
Hayden Panettiere, Heroes

CASTLE: Hedge Fund Homeboys (7/4)

"Hedge Fund Homeboys" - A once wealthy teenage boy whose family has fallen on hard times is found dead in a rowboat floating along the lake in Central Park. As Castle and Beckett try to piece together the events leading up to his death, his friends do everything in their power to thwart the investigation. As they unravel the truth from the lies, a story of betrayal and obsession emerges. Meanwhile, Castle debates whether he can leave Martha home alone while he chaperones Alexis' class trip to Washington, DC. Martha might be an aspiring "Life Coach," but that doesn't mean she's trustworthy, on "Castle," SATURDAY, JULY 4 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD: 3/23/09)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Jamie Chung as Romy Lee, Julia Nickson as Mrs. Lee, Nolan Gerard Funk as Brandon, Michelle Page as Amanda Kunal Sharma as Spencer.

"Hedge Fund Homeboys" was written by David Grae and directed by Rob Bowman.

ROLE JUST TOO RISQUE FOR SUMMER GLAU

ACTRESS Summer Glau doesn't remember what "Kids" did for Chloe Sevigny and Rosario Dawson. Sources say Glau ("Terminator") passed up her chance at becoming an indie queen when she turned down the lead in "Trophy Kids," which started filming this week in the city. "She wanted to cut a risqué dream sequence where she kisses Taniya Raymonde and Ryan Eggold," said an insider. But writers Josh Sugarman and Brandon Yankowitz refused to change the script and the part went to "Wolverine" starlet Tahnya Tozzi. A rep for Glau told Page Six, "She passed on the film due to creative differences."

CASTLE (6/27) "NANNY MCDEAD"

"Nanny McDead" -- The body of a young woman is found spinning inside the dryer in the laundry room of an upscale apartment building. When Castle and Beckett discover that the woman, in her 20s, worked as a Nanny in the building, their investigation leads them to a world of sex, lies and "playdates." Meanwhile, while writing the first novel to his "Nikki Heat" series, Castle delves into the thoughts and actions of Beckett, as she navigates the murder case while revealing more of her own mysteries, on "Castle," SATURDAY, JUNE 27 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD: 3/16/09)

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Jayne Brook as Claudia Peterson, Michael Graziadei as Brent Johnson, Sarah Drew as Chloe Richardson, Melinda Page Hamilton as Diana Harris and George Newbern as Howard Peterson.

"Nanny McDead" was written by Barry Schindel and directed by John Terlesky.

CASTLE (6/20) "FLOWERS FOR YOUR GRAVE"

"Flowers for Your Grave" - Wildly famous mystery novelist Richard Castle, who is bored with his own success, learns that a real-world copycat killer has started staging murders from scenes depicted in his novels. He's is questioned by NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, a bright and aggressive detective who keeps her investigations under a tight rein. Though they instantly clash, sparks of another sort also begin to fly, leading both to danger and a hint of romance as Castle steps in to help find the killer, on "Castle," SATURDAY, JUNE 20 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD: 3/9/09)

Authors James Patterson and Stephen J. Cannell guest star as themselves in a poker game.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest cast: James Patterson as himself, Stephen J. Cannell as himself, Monet Mazur as Gina Cowel, Keir Dullea as Jonathan Tisdale and Dan Castellaneta as Judge Markway.

"Flowers for Your Grave" was written by Andrew Marlowe and directed by Rob Bowman.

Buffy Relaunching Without Whedon, Gellar...Regard for Fans?

Blame Robert Pattinson. And, for that matter, Captain Kirk.

What with vampires and franchise relaunches suddenly all the rage, plans for a new Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie have inevitably come to pass, with the rights holders of the franchise announcing plans for a new Sunnydale-set film.

But there is a catch.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film, which will neither be a sequel nor prequel but an relaunch, is moving ahead with absolutely no involvement from film and series mastermind Joss Whedon. It will also fail to feature TV's Buffy herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and will in fact have no connection to the long-running series, meaning Angel, Willow, Xander and Spike will also be MIA.

That sound you just heard was the Whedonverse imploding.

The brain boxes behind the already fan-angering remake are Fran Rubel Kuzui, the director of the 1992 box-office bomb (which starred Kristy Swanson as the titular slayer abetted by Luke Perry), and her husband, Kaz Kuzui. Kuzui Enterprises has retained the rights to the franchise since their ill-fated film outing.

The idea behind the new reboot is to maintain the show's mythology while introducing a new slayer and Hellmouth-threatened group of pals, building on the idea that each generation has its own vampire slayer.

If all goes according to plan—and it's shaping up to be a rather large if—Kuzui is looking to franchise the film.

As for Whedon, he has yet to comment on the film's development. While Kuzui said they have not ruled out inviting cult king Whedon—still very much active in the Buffyverse, having shepherded several Buffy comic books to bestseller status in recent years—to take part in the film, they have not yet spoken to him about their plans.

'Dollhouse': Pickup is 'a bet on Joss Whedon'

The decision by FOX executives to bring "Dollhouse" back for a second season comes down to two words: Joss Whedon.

But, you know, no pressure or anything.

News of the modestly rated show's pickup for next season got out over the weekend, and on Monday FOX Entertainment president Kevin Reilly explained just why the show will be back in the fall.

"This is a bet on Joss Whedon," Reilly said in a conference call Monday. "We looked at the profile of that shows -- he has an unbelievably loyal fan base. It was consistent in the ratings and consistently [improved] as one of the biggest time-shifted shows on the air. So we're placing a bet on Joss that he'll keep it going next year."

The network's move to keep "Dollhouse" while letting "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" go has drawn predictable derision from "Terminator" fans, but Reilly says the decision didn't come down to keeping one show over the other.

"'Terminator' has completed its run. I think it had a nice little run; it was a good show," Reilly says. "It wasn't an either-or. We did see ['Terminator'] tailing off a bit. It had a nice creative core, but ultimately we made the bet on 'Dollhouse' for the night, and felt we had some other shows that would make a better profile for the night."

Reilly acknowledges that while "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" "was not an inexpensive show," economics weren't the deciding factor in its cancellation: "We had to make some choices on the night. So it was a factor. But ... we looked at the ratings track on Mondays, where it had a pretty consistent run, and then on Fridays where we moved it, and that trend line was not pointing in the right direction. ... We tried, but we felt like it was time to move on."

Peter Rice, the new chairman of FOX Entertainment, also thinks "Dollhouse" can grow some next season and give FOX more of a presence on Friday nights.

"The show became much stronger creatively over the course of the season, and Joss feels really energized about it," Rice says. "We believe in him as a creator and had a lot of success with him in the past. We feel we can build this show, that it can grow in the new season."

No salvation: FOX kills 'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles'

An outpouring of fan support over the past several weeks apparently wasn't enough to save "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" from FOX's ax.

The network's announcement of its 2009-10 schedule is imminent, and by nearly all accounts the two-year-old series won't be part of it. The word comes a month after the show's finale dropped a rather major plot twist and a few days after FOX picked up "T:SCC's" Friday-night companion this season, "Dollhouse," for next year.

"The Sarah Connor Chronicles" averaged about 5.3 million viewers per week this season, only about half of what it drew last season (and even if you take out the show's big post-football premiere in 2008, the first season still averaged better than 8 million viewers a week.

Nonetheless, the show had a hard-core cult following that turned out in force recently to show its love for the series. "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" was the leading vote-getter in Zap2it's bubble show poll last month, and fans stormed other corners of the Internet as well in an effort to convince FOX to bring the show back.

There is at least one more "Terminator" story to be told. The movie "Terminator Salvation" hits theaters later this week.

CASTLE RENEWED

ABC has been A Busy Company. The network on Friday reportedly renewed four more series, including Scrubs and the freshman series Castle and Better Off Ted. Also due back for the 2009-10 season is the Ashton Kutcher-produced reality show True Beauty.

CASTLE (5/11; Season Finale)

"A Death in the Family" - Castle and Beckett investigate the murder of a missing plastic surgeon who is found dead in the front seat of his car after a week of being parked curbside. As they delve into the twisted world of surgery obsessed patients and secret operations, Castle experiences a fatherly rite of passage as Alexis attends her first prom. And while looking into Beckett's past, he unearths information that could end his relationship with her forever, on the season finale of "Castle," MONDAY, MAY 11 (10:02-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Bailey Chase as Will Sorenson, Ion Overman as Candace Robinson, Robert Picardo as Clark Murray, Robert Costanzo as Sal Tenor, Delane Matthews as Jacey Goldberg and Joe Marinelli as Jimmy Moran.

"A Death in the Family" was written by Andrew Marlowe and directed by Bryan Spicer.

CASTLE (5/4)

"Little Girl Lost" - When a two-year-old girl is discovered missing from her home, Beckett is called in to assist with the investigation only to discover that the FBI agent in charge is, in fact, her ex-boyfriend. The two of them try to put aside their unresolved feelings as they race to find the girl, but when Castle inserts himself into the investigation, competition quickly heats up for Beckett's attention, on "Castle," MONDAY, MAY 4 (10:02-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Bailey Chase as Will Sorenson, Judy Reyes as Theresa Candela, Julian Acosta as Alfred Candela, Francis Capra as Juan Restrepo and Todd Waring as Dave Ellers.

"Little Girl Lost" was written by Elizabeth Davis and directed by John Terlesky.

CASTLE (4/27)

"Ghosts" - Castle and Beckett investigate the murder of a woman found drowned in a bathtub of motor oil at a transient hotel. But when they uncover a dark secret about the woman's past, they must unravel a 20-year-old mystery with the help of a true crime journalist who may have been stalking the victim. Meanwhile, Beckett puts her poker face to the test as she squares off against Castle, with her money and pride at stake, on "Castle," MONDAY, APRIL 27 (10:02-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Joanne Kelly as Lee Wax, Alex Carter as Michael Goldman, Jillian Armenante as Susan Mailer, Dan Castellaneta as Judge Markway and Joseph C. Phillips as Mayor.

"Ghosts" was written by Moira Kirkland and directed by Bryan Spicer.

Dollhouse Robbery? The Truth Behind the "Missing" Episode

The truth behind a Dollhouse rumor circling the Internet is about as complicated as, well. Adelle DeWitt's appointment book.

The alarmist buzz is that fans of Joss Whedon's latest series are being deprived of seeing one of this season's episodes. Perhaps, the rumor goes, they won't even be getting the proper season finale.

The reality: Fox ordered 13 hours from Joss. The original pilot got scrapped, leaving a dozen to air. And all 12, including the legit season finale, which is titled "Omega," will be broadcast as planned.

So where is the hubbub coming from? Sources tell TVGuide.com that Dollhouse producer 20th Century Fox Television elected to script and shoot a 14th episode, on their own dime — perhaps to flesh out a DVD package, some speculate. Fox, though, at no point agreed to air that episode, titled "Epitaph One." Our insider further says that the fact that Fox took that stance should not be seen as a sign that the network has already made a decision about a Season 2 pick-up for Dollhouse, which has been battling so-so ratings.

"Epitaph One" is a standalone hour, and has no impact on the overarching Alpha storyline that reaches a boil — and launches several juicy new plot directions — in the May 8 finale.

'Firefly' star hits FOX for sweeps

Ex-"Firefly" regular Alan Tudyk will guest on "Dollhouse" Friday, May 1, playing the "agoraphobic designer of the Dollhouse," who comes into the picture in the course of Ballard's (Tahmoh Penikett) investigation.

'Mad Men' lunch up for auction

Care to schedule a lunch meeting with Don Draper? Golden Globe-winning "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm is making himself available for lunch in Los Angeles to the winning bidder on eBay.

The online auction benefits the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, which supports the artistic achievements of female filmmakers with scholarships and grants.

Other meals with celebrities up for auction include Hamm's "Mad Men" co-star John Slattery, Paul Rudd, Kevin Smith, Nathan Fillion, Patrick Duffy, David Schwimmer, Julianna Margulies and others. The auctions are scheduled to end April 16.

Castle's Nathan Fillion Writes His Own Ticket in Comedic Drama

It makes sense for Nathan Fillion to play a writer on ABC's Castle (Mondays, 10 pm/ET&PT). The son of retired English teachers, he's co-founded a charity, Kids Need to Read, to provide books for underfunded libraries. And while he's unpretentious about his own reading habits — he lists Robert Parker's Spencer novels among recent favorites — he revels in mystery novelist Rick Castle's occasional arrogance on the show. Best known for playing Captain Malcolm Reynolds in the TV show Firefly and the movie Serenity, and for his role as Joey Buchanan in One Life to Live, Fillion got his start performing improvisational comedy in his hometown of Edmonton, Alberta. Castle, which pairs him with alluring detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), lets him handle drama and comedy alike. But as he explained to us, he plays them both the same.

TVGuide.com: So much of the show is about Castle's relationship with Beckett. Will they or won't they?

Fillion: I teasingly say we're gonna risk it and put them together right away and see what happens. But the reality is when two people actually meet and are attracted but are perhaps not a perfect match, they've got to get to know each other. They've got to spend time with one another. You've got to spend time with someone. You've got to see what their decisions are like on a daily basis. I think that's why long-distance relationships don't work. Because you have them on the telephone.

TVGuide.com: You've said before that this character is vain, and noted that his name, when pronounced quickly, sounds like Rick A--hole. Do you worry about making him likeable?

Fillion: You know what? I don't. I think that that's a trap. It's a trap I've fallen into earlier in my career — trying to be liked. Don't do it. When I watch TV and I see someone trying to make me like them, acting cute or quirky or goofy, I'm not impressed. Don't act like America's watching you. Just latch onto your character. Characters are flawed. Be unlikeable. Be flawed. Be a person.

TVGuide.com: So you don't get any pressure from directors to kind of wink at the camera?

Fillion: That's my job, to make it realistic. ... I think I've found a truth in both drama and comedy in just a very basic honesty. I think when people deal with comedy like it's a different animal than drama I think that's a trap. You have a dramatic portion of your television program and you treat it dramatically, and then you have a comedic portion of your program, and you treat it differently. Why do you change who are between the two pieces? You're the same person. Just go. You don't know that you're in a comedy TV show. You're just a person in a life.

TVGuide.com: You worked with Joss Whedon on Firefly and Serenity. Would you do it again? And what do you think of his new show, Dollhouse?

Fillion: I would work with Joss Whedon at the drop of a hat. ... I'm enjoying [Dollhouse]. You know, what I like most about Joss Whedon's work is that it's a many layered story. He tells stories in metaphors. It's not all up in the surface. You have to become involved, you have to invest.

TVGuide.com: You've said before you would do a Serenity sequel — is that still on the table?

Fillion: There's nothing on the table as far as Serenity. I made a joke one time at a convention using a goofy voice and then some reporter, and I use the term loosely, runs over to Joss Whedon and says, "Guess what Nathan said?" Really, that's reporting? You're gonna get people all riled up? If there were to be another Serenity, I know nine people who would sign on immediately — and that's the cast of Serenity. It's not my decision to make, however. We don't have the 20 million bucks it would take to put that out.

You started off as an improviser. How does that affect your acting now?

Fillion: I find that improvising is amazing training. I got amazing training both with Theatre Sports... back in Edmonton, Alberta — I can't give those people enough credit — and the daytime drama I did. Incredible training, both of them. Improv as an actor makes you present in the moment. You listen, you're attentive. You're not acting so much as reacting, which is what you're doing in life all the time.

CASTLE (4/20)

"Home Is Where the Heart Stops" -- When a string of high-end home invasions end in murder, Castle and Beckett must determine who is orchestrating these violent robberies before they strike again. But to catch this deadly thief, Beckett must go way out of her comfort zone to enter Castle's glamorous, paparazzi filled world as his date to a charity ball. Meanwhile, Castle seeks the counsel of a dangerous ex-jewel thief who had once threatened to kill him, on "Castle," MONDAY, APRIL 20 (10:02-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Patrick Bauchau as Caine Powell, Caterina Scorsone as Joanne Delgado, Nick Chinlund as Evan Mitchell and Joseph C. Phillips as Mayor.

"Home Is Where the Heart Stops" was written by Will Beall and directed by Dean White.

CASTLE (4/13)

"Always Buy Retail" - When an immigrant is found tortured and murdered in a ritualistic killing, Beckett navigates the uncharted territory of the mysterious Vodun religion with Castle leading the way. Having researched similar deaths for one of his books, Castle's knowledge and sources prove valuable, but only their apt teamwork can unravel the murderer's motives. Meanwhile, Castle is confronted with the possible return of his first wife, Alexis's mother, whose dizzying personality threatens to upend the tranquility of the entire family, on "Castle," MONDAY, APRIL 13 (10:02-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Darby Stanchfield as Meredith, Nicki Micheaux as Michelle, Aldis Hodge as Azi and Dohn Norwood as Charles Oni.

"Always Buy Retail" was written by Gabrielle Stanton & Harry Werksman and directed by Jamie Babbit.

CASTLE (4/6)

"A Chill Goes Through Her Veins" - A frozen woman found tangled in steel bars at a construction site leads Castle and Beckett to a years-old mystery and a long abandoned case. As the two uncover startling revelations about the victim's past, the investigation forces Beckett to face some difficult memories of her own, which provides Castle insight into his muse and additional material for his novel, on "Castle," MONDAY, APRIL 6 (10:02-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Charles Malik Whitfield as Charles Wyler, Bill Smitrovich as Ben Davidson, Peter Jason as Sheriff Sloan and Channon Roe as Kevin Henson.

"A Chill Goes Through Her Veins" was written by Charles Murray and directed by Bryan Spicer.

Whedon Clears the Air: Dollhouse Isn't a "Funny" House

Trip through any reportage or recappage on Fox's Dollhouse and you'll spy a recurring refrain:

Where is Joss Whedon's trademark wit?

It's a fair cop. After all, snappy and snarky dialogue laden with "Whedonisms" and pop-culture references became a calling card of such series as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.

But at the risk of putting too fine a point on it, we're not in Sunnydale anymore.

"[Dollhouse] is not the light-hearted romp that the other shows were," Whedon tells TVGuide.com. "There are moments of funny, but it doesn't build like — nor was it designed to be — a comedy. It's not going to play that instrument."

"If there is a typical Whedon show," he adds, "this is not it."

So while Echo occasionally may be imprinted as a tart-tongued thief and Topher may regularly crack wise about his God complex, you won't ever hear Sierra bitch to Adelle, "Ugh, you're such a Blair."

Explaining his venture into darker waters, Whedon says, "You have to do different things at different times. And if people are feeling like [Dollhouse] is too serious, then either their expectation has to be changed or we need to lighten up a little. But I don't think they're ever going to see the same long, six-page runs of pure humor. This is not that show."

Especially and if only because Dollhouse's inherent premise — childlike, personality-wiped "actives" are rented out for engagements of an oft morally questionable nature — hints at issues of human trafficking and other unethical business practices.

"You can do a little [humor on Dollhouse]," says Whedon, "but you can't turn it into a pop-culture, referential funhouse."

CASTLE (3/30)

"Hell Hath No Fury" - When the dead body of a New York City Councilman running for re-election rolls out of a rug and into Beckett's case files, she and Castle are thrown into the world of dirty politics. Meanwhile, Castle's final novel in the Derrick Storm series hits the bookstores, causing his mother to search for any and all signs of failure. And at one of his book readings, Beckett tries to throw Castle off his game, only to learn that he has flipped the script on her once again, on "Castle," MONDAY, MARCH 30 (10:02-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Bruno Campos as Calvin Creason, Joshua LeBar as Jason Bollinger, Lisa Waltz as Laurie Horn, Michael Reilly Burke as Frank Nesbit and Jonathan Banks as Bruce Kirby.

"Hell Hath No Fury" was written by Andrew W. Marlowe and directed by Rob Bowman.

Joss Whedon: Dollhouse Is about to Get "Stronger" and "Pretty Intense"

Calling his latest creation's first episodes mere "baby steps," Joss Whedon is getting the word out that from Episode 6 on, Fox's Dollhouse will be an extra-compelling place to visit.

In a note to reporters (or "Newsly Types," as he puts it) accompanying a DVD of "Man on the Street" (airing March 20) and "Needs" (April 3), Whedon says, "These two episodes represent a much stronger vision of what I consider the show to be."

Thus far, Dollhouse has been met with a lukewarm reception, with Whedon loyalists in particular noting a lack of the author's trademark witty dialogue. The ratings have reflected such a frustration, dropping 25 percent from the premiere to barely 3.6 million heads at last count.

But since almost before Dollhouse opened its doors, the buzz has been that the structure of the first five hours was largely dictated by Fox, so as to drive home the unusual concept and morally gray characters. Episode 6, thus has been described as "game-changing," as Tahmoh Penikett's Agent Ballard comes face-to-face — and "fist-to-fist," teases Fox — with Echo (Eliza Dushku) for the very first time.

Says Whedon in his missive, "For me, the question isn't just whether a show is enjoyable, but whether it's more than the sum of its fun, whether it truly touches, surprises or connects with you. These [episodes] may do none of the above — I'm not the boss of your opinion — but I feel strongly that they, and the eps to follow, are pretty intense, and very much worth the watching."

CASTLE (3/23)

"Hedge Fund Homeboys" - A once wealthy teenage boy whose family has fallen on hard times is found dead in a rowboat floating along the lake in Central Park. As Castle and Beckett try to piece together the events leading up to his death, his friends do everything in their power to thwart the investigation. As they unravel the truth from the lies, a story of betrayal and obsession emerges. Meanwhile, Castle debates whether he can leave Martha home alone while he chaperones Alexis' class trip to Washington, DC. Martha might be an aspiring "Life Coach," but that doesn't mean she's trustworthy, on "Castle," MONDAY, MARCH 23 (10:02-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Jamie Chung as Romy Lee, Julia Nickson as Mrs. Lee, Nolan Gerard Funk as Brandon, Michelle Page as Amanda Kunal Sharma as Spencer.

"Hedge Fund Homeboys" was written by David Grae and directed by Rob Bowman.

Baccarin Joins 'V'

Casting for pilots is approaching the frenzy stage, with HBO finding siblings for Sarah Michelle Gellar in "The Wonderful Maladys," ABC finding its "V" alien leader in a former "Firefly" regular and Tony Hale getting yet another job.

HBO's comedy "The Wonderful Maladys" is about three siblings who have looked out for one another since their parents died. Gellar, in her first TV project since "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," was cast last fall, and she'll be joined in the pilot by "Studio 60" alum Nate Corddry and "Deadwood" and "Swingtown" star Molly Parker.

Parker will play the eldest of the three siblings who works as a therapist, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Corddry, who's currently playing a recurring part on Showtime's "The United States of Tara," will play the baby, a grad student.

ABC's "V" remake, has found its alien leader in Morena Baccarin. The "Firefly" actress, who also co-starred in TNT's "Heartland" a couple seasons back, will play a character named Anna, who uses her knowledge of human culture to advance her own nefarious plans.

At FOX, meanwhile, the ubiquitous Hale has joined the comedy "Cop House," which is set at a halfway house for troubled police officers. The former "Arrested Development" star has a recurring part on "Chuck" this season and has also guested on "Samantha Who?," "ER" and "The United States of Tara."

CASTLE (3/16)

"Nanny McDead" -- The body of a young woman is found spinning inside the dryer in the laundry room of an upscale apartment building. When Castle and Beckett discover that the woman, in her 20s, worked as a Nanny in the building, their investigation leads them to a world of sex, lies and "playdates." Meanwhile, while writing the first novel to his "Nikki Heat" series, Castle delves into the thoughts and actions of Beckett, as she navigates the murder case while revealing more of her own mysteries, on "Castle," MONDAY, MARCH 16 (10:02-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.

"Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito and Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Guest Cast: Jayne Brook as Claudia Peterson, Michael Graziadei as Brent Johnson, Sarah Drew as Chloe Richardson, Melinda Page Hamilton as Diana Harris and George Newbern as Howard Peterson.

"Nanny McDead" was written by Barry Schindel and directed by John Terlesky.

Summer Glau sets off a 'Big Bang'

This has been a big week for The Big Bang Theory's nerd herd. First, they score their best ratings ever, and now they're getting to rub elbows with frakkin' Summer Glau!

The Sarah Connor Chronicles siren will play herself in the March 9 episode, the set-up of which already has me ROFWLing: A train trip to San Francisco takes a major detour when Leonard, Sheldon, Wolowitz, and Raj discover that their favorite sci-fi actress in all the land is on board. But the fanboy frenzy quickly gives way to a heated mass debate (tee-hee) when they realize one of them will have to approach her -- but who?

It's not too difficult to figure out how this cheeky cross-over came about, provided you know this little detail: The Big Bang Theory and Sarah Connor Chronicles (which returns this Friday) are both produced by Warner Bros.

This is what we in the TV biz refer to as extremely positive synergy.

'Dollhouse' unlocks different identities each week

It's a feat of human engineering: A team of "actives" is hired out to well-heeled customers after being imprinted with tailor-made personalities. When the team members' task is complete, they return to a vast "dollhouse," where they sleep in pods, shower communally and have their memories wiped clean. Then it's off to a new "engagement."

That's the premise behind Fox's Dollhouse (Friday, 9 ET/PT), the latest from producer Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), who calls the new series "insane and creepy, like me."

Dollhouse stars Eliza Dushku, who played Buffy's Faith, as Echo. Echo becomes a hostage negotiator, a perfect date and a backup singer, among other temporary occupations, sometimes with harrowing consequences.

But isn't it a challenge for a show to be built around a blank-slate personality who changes from week to week?

"That's exactly the problem," Whedon concedes. "We have to find a situation that isn't the same as every other, we have to find a character for her to be, and we have to find a guest cast for the audience to care about, and that's very hard. On some levels, it's a very rich, simple premise, but on the other hand, it's one of the dumbest ideas for a show because it's hard work."

He had pitched the show as "Alias meets Quantum Leap" but says the show is ultimately a thriller without the leeway to tell family stories. Eventually, the experiments go awry as Echo becomes more aware of her role as empty vessel and the FBI tries to unmask the illegal operation.

Whedon says the idea for Dollhouse stemmed from his interest in avatars, self-image and notions of "how much of that can be changed and how much of that can be tampered with."

The dollhouse has a sort of overseer (Olivia Williams), handlers (Echo's is played by Harry Lennix) and a resident geek (Fran Kranz), who "imprints" personalities on the actives in a souped-up dentist's chair. Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica) plays an FBI agent who seeks to unmask the operation and gets knocked around in the process.

Like Whedon's last Fox series, the futuristic space-travel odyssey Firefly, Dollhouse has had a troubled start, causing fits in the blogosphere of Whedon acolytes.

This time, Whedon says he learned from the experience: "I'm the one who suggested reshooting and throwing out the pilot" when the network didn't respond well, he says.

Instead, he replaced a slower-paced introduction with one that offered a closed-ended story line; Dollhouse, like Fringe, has struggled to balance serialized arcs with weekly stories. Both are part of Fox's "remote-free TV" experiment, which promises fewer commercials.

Still, the network — which had announced the show with great fanfare last year — deposited it on low-wattage Fridays, suggesting its expectations are less than stellar. Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles, which sagged last fall, also returns Friday (8 ET/PT) in its own new slot.

No Grumpy Guy, He's 46 and in Repose

NOW that Adam Baldwin has figured out how to make it look easy - this surly, deadpan, tough-guy thing he does every Monday night on NBC as the monosyllabic secret-agent sidekick on the action-comedy series "Chuck" - he doesn't mind admitting how hard it used to be.

He was 18 when he got his first taste of movie-star limelight as the title character in the 1980 film, "My Bodyguard," then roles in summer comedies like "D.C. Cab" in 1983 and smaller parts in prestige films like "Ordinary People" despite not having a clue about what he was doing.

"I was horrible," he said of some of his early performances, particularly the one in "D.C. Cab" (in which his co-stars included Bill Maher, Gary Busey and Mr. T). "I didn't know how to work. I didn't know how to process a character, and, certainly, I wasn't as funny as I should have been.

"But I did learn a lot of technical stuff, how to be on a set, where to stand, how to do a fight scene, things like that," he said during a recent interview in a high-end Santa Monica coffee shop, one of those mad-scientist places where they grind the coffee in front of you and serve it in vacuum-sealed flasks on a silver tray. "But then I had to learn how to act. And that just takes some people longer than others. I'm no Leonardo DiCaprio."

He can say this now that he's 46, aware of his limitations, proud of the niche he has found. In "Chuck" he plays no-nonsense secret agent John Casey, protecting loose-limbed amateur Chuck Bartkowski (played by Zachary Levi), a computer nerd who has accidentally had the contents of a super-secret government computer downloaded into his brain. But even before "Chuck," Mr. Baldwin had received sterling reviews and a growing cult following for playing similarly grumpy characters on "The X-Files" and "Firefly."

"The guy does more with a grunt than most actors could do with a monologue," said Josh Schwartz, the executive producer of "Chuck." The extent of Mr. Baldwin's built-in fan base became apparent to Mr. Schwartz only when the "Chuck" cast appeared at last summer's Comic-Con International, and "4,000 people went insane whenever Adam said anything."

Mr. Schwartz said it was the creator and co-executive producer Chris Fedak's idea to cast Mr. Baldwin as Casey, an idea he embraced as soon as Mr. Baldwin read for the part. "You totally believe him as this N.S.A. agent who's happy to torture and kill people, but he's also really, really funny," Mr. Schwartz said. "He gets the comedy without ever breaking character. And his preparation is astounding. Adam really relishes all these details: How does Casey sharpen his knife and fork before he eats? He's worked all that stuff out."

Mr. Baldwin said, "I came up with the idea that Casey has a bonsai tree, and I brought in the Reagan photo that's in his room." He added, "I try to make sure the military vernacular is as accurate as possible. For the comedy to work, you've got to buy that Casey is a serious guy who's somewhat incredulous about this geek being inserted into his life."

After last year's debut season ended abruptly because of the writers' strike, "Chuck" struggled to find an audience until just before its holiday hiatus in mid-December, when critics, particularly online, started noticing that the show's ratings had improved 12 percent from the season premiere. NBC is bringing the show back with a hefty marketing push, including a 3-D commercial during Sunday night's Super Bowl telecast and a 3-D episode on Monday night.

"I think the network is clearly showing they believe in us," Mr. Baldwin said. "And I think we've found the base line of an audience that's not going to go anywhere."

Mr. Baldwin, 6 foot 4 and broad shouldered, was already an imposing presence as a 17-year-old high school student in the northern Chicago suburb of Winnetka - big and quietly menacing, exactly what the director Tony Bill sought for the part of a sullen bully who becomes the protector of a smaller kid in "My Bodyguard."

"Tony would say to me, 'Just keep your face in repose,' " Mr. Baldwin said. "And I would go: 'Repose? What's repose?' And he said: 'It just means be relaxed. Don't move.' It was great advice, and it's what I've been trying to grasp ever since. Stillness as a technique is still really captivating to me."

After "My Bodyguard" became a hit, Mr. Baldwin moved to New York, fielded offers from agents and managers who were promising to make him the next big thing. He said he took some parts he probably shouldn't have taken. He went to London in 1985 for a significant role in Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket." But the production went on for months, and the film didn't come out until 1987. By then Mr. Baldwin's moment seemed to have passed.

"I was given opportunities, I think, that were a little too big when I was a little too young," he said. "I didn't measure up. The sports analogy would be if you pulled a guy off the farm team and put him in the big leagues a little too soon. That's a good way to ruin your arm. Fortunately my injuries weren't career threatening. They were just emotionally draining."

He worked steadily through the 1980s and '90s, bad-guy parts in B movies (including the long-forgotten "Digital Man" and "Cold Sweat"), lots of voice-over work, doing what he had to do to pay the bills. He got married, had kids, played golf, built himself a decent working actor's career. But it wasn't glamorous, and it wasn't always fun.

"I think work begets work," he said. "I did some things that were certainly labors of love and hard-won parts, but there were others that were just straight-up exploitation movies and terrible to watch and don't hold up at all. But they do pay the bills."

All along, Mr. Baldwin said, he felt that his career would pick up when he got older, when he could inhabit more nuanced character roles, to be something more than just big and scary. He was 39 when he got the "X-Files" role, Knowle Rohrer. And he was 40 when he became Jayne Cobb on "Firefly," a role for which TV Guide named him its Sexiest Newcomer of 2002.

"That was hilarious," he said. "It just seemed like a mistake, an obvious mistake."

Now because of his "Chuck" fame, people no longer assume that he's one of those other Baldwins (he's not) or that he's as grumpy as his characters. He envisions a future filled with playing strong, silent types, guys with enough experience to know how the world works, when to take it seriously and when to go with the joke.

"I always did think that when I turned 40, I'd start coming into my own," he said. "Part of that is just growing and living, suffering and failing and going through the trials of life, having a wife and kids. It humbles you, and going through that humbling process lets you release that self-centeredness, and it's a very liberating feeling. It lets you stop worrying. I'm enjoying that."

Summer Glau: TV's Terminator Guns for Shocking Reveals

This Monday at 8 pm/ET, Fox's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles presents a midseason finale which reveals one character's shocking secret, sets the stage for other surprises, and ultimately leaves Sarah herself in perhaps one of the last situations you'd imagine to find her in. Summer Glau shares a peek at the episode, shedding light on Cameron's "issues" with John's girlfriend and teasing insight into one of the series' biggest mysteries of all. (After this week, Sarah Connor returns Friday, Feb. 13, leading into the debut of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse.)

TVGuide.com: Cameron isn't liking John's girlfriend Riley (played by Leven Rambin) too much these days, is she?

Summer Glau: No, and I think it's more than her just being worried that Riley's a threat. She doesn't like having her place taken over by somebody else.

TVGuide.com: And what do you mean by "her place"?

Glau: Well, Cameron only exists to take care of John and be with him at all times, and he keeps trying to spend time alone with Riley. That leaves Cameron feeling like she doesn't have a purpose. So it's really uncomfortable for her — if it's possible for a robot to feel uncomfortable.

TVGuide.com: And this week, Riley tells Cameron a lie which only exacerbates the suspicion.

Glau: Yeah.... I believe that Cameron doesn't really know what's really going on with Riley, but she's definitely on to her.

TVGuide.com: There's a big reveal about Riley coming. Did you know it was coming before they introduced that character?

Glau: I knew partly what was going to happen, but I certainly didn't expect it to go as far as it has. Things have gotten even more complicated. I think the storyline is great.

TVGuide.com: Do you enjoy playing the pseudo-jealousy thing between Cameron, John and Riley?

Glau: I love it. It adds so much dimension to Cameron, and it's fun to figure out how far to take it. You don't want to take it too far, but I do want to insinuate that it's there.

TVGuide.com: I enjoyed the scenes a few weeks ago between Cameron and Eric (The Black Donnellys' Billy Lush), the librarian guy.

Glau: That was a really interesting episode because Cameron doesn't usually say much, and as far as doing meaty scenes as an actor, it's fun to just sit down and talk. That's one thing that Cameron really got to do in that episode. I enjoyed Billy as an actor, he's really, really gifted.

TVGuide.com: I saw that story as almost an "escape" for Cameron, a secret place she could go to and be "regular."

Glau: Yeah, it was very creative. Tommy always writes really good stuff for me.

TVGuide.com: Do you hope to someday get a fight scene with Shirley Manson's T-1001?

Glau: Yes! Shirley hasn't done many down-and-dirty fights yet — she usually takes people out pretty easily — so I wonder how it's going to go. [Laughs]

TVGuide.com: One burning question fans have concerns what happened to Derek in the future, in "the basement." Do you have any insight into what went down?

Glau: I do. Later on, maybe this season, it will be revealed what really went down.... Remember - Cameron knows Derek, and Derek knows Cameron, so that's also going to be fun to explore.

TVGuide.com: Eliza Dushku told me she's excited to have Dollhouse sharing Friday nights with Sarah Connor. She sees it as a night of "female empowerment."

Glau: Yeah, me too. I think it's a good match.

TVGuide.com: Plus, you have that Joss Whedon connection. [Glau starred in the Firefly follow-up film, Serenity.]

Glau: We do, and I think the fans will band together and support us on Friday nights. We had a lot of competition on Monday, so I think this might be a good thing.

TVGuide.com: Oh, let's be clear — the competition on Monday is ridiculous.

Glau: It is. It's impossible. We've held onto our fan base, but you just cant hope for much more on a Monday.

TVGuide.com: Coming off of Serenity, Terminator and the bitchy gal you played in [the TV-movie] The Initiation of Sarah, do you crave playing a different role during the summer hiatus? Maybe a romantic comedy where you wear flirty dresses and chase boys?

Glau: I would love to wear a dress and play "normal"! I'm so in love with Cameron and I would never want to lose that, but it will be nice to challenge myself. I'm hoping to do a straight drama, or possible a comedy.

TVGuide.com: What else can you tease about upcoming Sarah Connor episodes? Any kisses in Cameron's future?

Glau: Not in Cameron's, no! [Laughs] But the mystery is going to get deeper and deeper. Sarah has been tormented by the visions of these three dots, so she goes off on her own, and she meets up with similarly "possessed" people. It's always interesting when you leave "the kids" [John and Cameron] alone. A big piece of the mystery is going to come to light in the next couple of episodes.

TVGuide.com: I was going to say, the final scene of the midseason finale leaves a person wondering....

Glau: Yeah, and what's coming up is going to be cool.

Stargate Atlantis' Jewel Staite on the End of the Show

Stargate Atlantis is coming to an end on Jan. 9, and before Stargate fans blast off into the new Universe series (beginning with a two-hour movie early in 2009), TVGuide.com asked Jewel Staite to help us countdown to the end of Atlantis by telling us what it was like to play Dr. Jennifer Keller, who she bonded with most in the cast and much more.

TVGuide.com: Congrats on your Gemini Award (Canadian version of Emmys) nomination! Can you tell us about your experience filming the episode "Missing," and did you know it was special right away?

Jewel Staite: Well, I knew it was freezing cold and rainy right away! This was the first "Keller-heavy" episode we filmed, so I was excited that I finally could do some serious acting-in-peril, which is secretly every actor's fantasy. But the whole episode was shot outside in the forest, and it wasn't exactly summer time, so there were a lot of layers involved — and I mean thermal layers, not acting layers! Luckily, Rachel Luttrell (Teyla), who co-starred with me in that episode, is such a joy to work with, and she has a wickedly sarcastic sense of humor that kept me going during those long days. I'm so pleased I was nominated for that episode, but a lot of the credit goes to the director, Andy Mikita, who has such a way with actors; he just lets you run with it and trust your own instincts, and I think that's why a lot of actors in his episodes tend to shine a bit more than usual. So, thanks, Andy!

TVGuide.com: On Firefly, you played an ultra-sweet (reluctant) tomboy — what did you like most about now playing a very brainy beauty, Dr. Keller?

Staite: Dr. Keller is one of those people who really likes her comfort zone. She's calm, cool, and collected in the operating room, and she trusts herself in the situations she's used to. But she becomes a bit of a loose canon when she's taken out of that comfort zone, and no matter how capable she is at dealing with those situations, she can't help but doubt herself. I like that juxtaposition in her.

TVGuide.com: What was one of your fondest memories on set during your time on Atlantis?

We did a lot of laughing on that set. I loved that no one took themselves too seriously. We knew what we were doing was a fun sci fi action-adventure, and we made sure we had as much fun as possible.

TVGuide.com: How has the fan response been to your character and your relationship with Rodney McKay (David Hewlett)? What direction do you want to see your character's love life turn?

Staite: I'm not sure what the entire fan response has been. The fans I've had the chance to meet have been really enthusiastic about the Keller/McKay pairing. I really enjoy working with David, and we have a tendency to gravitate towards each other on set because we have the same work ethic, and most definitely the same sense of humor! I think the writers started to pick up on our natural chemistry and decided to go that route later on in season four. Off screen, we have a more brother-sister chemistry, so all the kissing scenes were kind of painful for us, but he was kind enough to lay off the onions on those days.

TVGuide.com: Who did you bond with most in the cast?

Staite: That's a toss up between David Hewlett and Amanda Tapping (Col. Sam Carter). I think we all have a mutual respect for each other, but we love to tease each other, too. And Amanda's just one of those really likeable people. She's gracious, professional, easy-going, lovely to be around, and besides that, she's really easy to crack up. The three of us did an episode together in season four called Trio that involved us and a filthy, dusty room that was rigged to tilt and shake. It should have been a miserable week, but I've never laughed so hard. I think the crew was starting to get a little fed up with us because we ruined so many takes, but it was one of the most fun weeks I've ever had on the job.

TVGuide.com: What do you miss most about the show since the series wrapped?

Staite: The people. The crew. It's easy to get attached to people you see more than you do your own family. We spent twelve hours a day together, five days a week, at minimum, so it's hard to have that end all of a sudden. It was a great time in my life, and I'll miss those guys a lot.

New on Blu-Ray: "Firefly: The Complete Series"

"Firefly: The Complete Series" — "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" mastermind Joss Whedon created this short-lived sci-fi series with a cult so devoted it launched its own big-screen follow-up ("Serenity"). Starring Nathan Fillion as a skipper aboard a shady fugitive spaceship, the entire 14-episode run debuts on Blu-ray in a three-disc set, with deleted scenes, featurettes and commentary. Blu-ray set, $89.98. (20th Century Fox)

Dollhouse

Joss Whedon's "Dollhouse" will debut Friday nights at 9 p.m. where, starting on Friday, Feb. 13, it will be paired with the current occupant of the Monday 8 p.m. slot, "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles."

Fillion: Porn Star!

That's right, former Firefly star Nathan Fillion, who will soon debut in the ABC midseason replacement CASTLE, is also a porn star. Sort of. Fillion is featured in the first episode of a SPIKE TV sponsored web series called JAMES GUNN'S PG PORN — which is exactly what it sounds like. The tongue-in-cheek comic shorts pair a mainstream actor and an adult industry star in "some nice clean smut." Check out Fillion's chuckle-inducing, not-so-porny debut here.

Production Stops As Whedon Plays With Dollhouse

Getting Dollhouse off the page and onto the screen hasn't exactly been child's play.

20th Century Fox confirmed to E! News Wednesday that production has been temporarily suspended on the sci-fi drama because creator Joss Whedon has asked for more time to polish some upcoming scripts.

"I can confirm the show has shut down filming until Sept. 25 while the writers work on upcoming scripts," a rep for the studio said. "Joss asked for some extra time and because the show was several months away from airing, we were able to grant his request without disrupting our ability to deliver the shows well in advance of broadcast.

"We still very much believe in Joss and the show."

Dollhouse, costarring Buffy butt-kicker Eliza Dushku and Angel alum Amy Acker as members of a team of "Dolls" who work for a mysterious organization that is constantly retooling their personas and skill sets tailor made for whatever clandestine mission awaits, isn't slated to premiere on Fox until midseason, which gives Whedon & Co. more time to make adjustments.

While production is supposed to start up again in a couple of weeks, this isn't the first time that Dollhouse has been closed for redecorating.

In July, Whedon asked for—and received—permission to reshoot the series pilot after determining that its various plot threads were too confusing for introductory viewing and would work better as the second episode.

Zap2It.com, which first made note of the shutdown, reports that Whedon directed two of the three episodes that are already in the can, leaving him with little time to go over the remaining scripts with the attention he feels the project requires.

"We had a lot of time to prepare the next scripts," Whedon told E! Online's Watch With Kristin in July, soon before the pilot switcheroo. "Needless to say we squandered that time and now we're way behind and terrified. It's amazing how that happens!"

"I'm feeling good," he said in reference to what was then the series' premiere episode. "I definitely look at it and go, There are a couple of things I'd like to make a little tweak here and tweak there—which is nice, being midseason, the pressure isn't on to get it out. The pressure's on to get it right."

ABC Picks Up Five New Shows

Ten years after the original version, "Cupid" will get another chance to find love from TV viewers.

"Veronica Mars" creator Rob Thomas' remake of his 1998-99 show is one of five series ABC has picked up for midseason. The network has also ordered a pair of comedies, "Single With Parents" and "Better Off Ted," and a pair of cop dramas: "Castle," starring Nathan Fillion, and "The Unusuals."

"It was worth taking the time to go through the pilot process to really do it right," ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson says. "They're perfect additions to our dominant core slate of shows."

Following the end of the writers strike earlier this year, ABC opted to go through its normal development process, rather than order shows straight to series without having shot a pilot. McPherson adds that the network may pick up more series later in the season; the fantasy drama "Captain Cook's Extraordinary Atlas" and the "Hamlet"-inspired soap "Prince of Motor City" are still reportedly in contention, along with Damon Wayans' comedy "Never Better" and another show from Thomas, "Good Behavior."

For the fall, ABC is concentrating on re-introducing second-year shows "Pushing Daisies," "Dirty Sexy Money" and "Private Practice" while debuting only two new series, "Life on Mars" and "Opportunity Knocks."

The new shows:

"Better Off Ted" comes from writer Victor Fresco ("Andy Richter Controls the Universe," "My Name Is Earl"). Jay Harrington ("Coupling," "Desperate Housewives") plays the title character, the head of research and development who tries to do good work inside an unethical corporate giant.

"Castle" stars Fillion ("Firefly," "Desperate Housewives") as Nick Castle, a best-selling mystery novelist who consults with the NYPD when a killer stages murders similar to those in Nick's books. Stana Katic ("Heroes"), Ruben Santiago-Hudson ("Lackawanna Blues") and Monet Mazur also star.

"Cupid" is a remake of Thomas' short-lived late-'90s show about a recently released mental patient who believes he's the Roman god of love. Bobby Cannavale ("Will & Grace") will play the title character this time around (Jeremy Piven starred in the original), and Sarah Paulson ("Studio 60") will play the psychiatrist assigned to monitor him.

"Single With Parents" stars Alyssa Milano, late of "My Name Is Earl," as a woman whose divorced parents (Annie Potts and Beau Bridges) are far too reliant on her for advice and support.

"The Unusuals" follows a group of detectives in the NYPD's homicide division, each with his or her own sizable quirks and personal issues. The ensemble cast includes Amber Tamblyn ("Joan of Arcadia"), Harold Perrineau ("Lost") and Adam Goldberg ("Entourage").

It's Pilot Season at ABC

ABC's delayed pilot season will come to a head in the next few weeks, and several shows are picking up buzz as screenings roll around.

A couple of dramas, including the Nathan Fillion crime show "The Castle" and Rob Thomas' "Good Behavior," and comedies from Victor Fresco and Damon Wayans are reportedly strong contenders for pickup, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Most of the shows being considered now would join the schedule early next year, although one or two could debut before the end of 2008.

The writers' strike forced changes to the development cycle across the TV landscape, with some networks opting to go straight to series with several projects -- NBC in particular went with that strategy -- and others doing shorter presentations. ABC decided to do full pilots for most of its shows but delayed the process until the summer.

"The Castle" stars Fillion ("Firefly,""Desperate Housewives") as a novelist who consults with the NYPD. "Good Behavior," from "Veronica Mars" creator Thomas, stars Catherine O'Hara as the matriarch of a law-breaking family who wants her kids to go legit. The "Hamlet"-inspired drama "Prince of Motor City" might also have a chance.

Fresco's untitled comedy about a moral man (Jay Harrington) who works for an amoral corporation is considered a good bet -- particularly since ABC Studios just signed Fresco ("Andy Richter Controls the Universe") to a new deal. "Never Better," starring Wayans as a recovering alcoholic, and an Alyssa Milano vehicle by writer Kristin Newman ("That '70s Show," "How I Met Your Mother") have some buzz as well.

ABC is launching only two new shows in the fall: the drama "Life on Mars" and game show "Opportunity Knocks." Animated comedy "The Goode Family" and NBC import "Scrubs" are on deck for midseason.

"Dollhouse" creator Whedon filming series prequel

Ever since Fox canceled Joss Whedon's 2002 series "Firefly," fans have groused that the network sabotaged the show's chances by airing its episodes out of sequence.

Now Whedon himself is shaking up the order of his midseason Fox series "Dollhouse."

The creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is shooting a new "prequel" episode to serve as the show's pilot. Whedon said he opted to craft a new introduction to the series after meeting with Fox executives, who expressed concerns about the accessibility of the first episode.

"When we talked to the network I got a sense of hesitation about what we had, and I understood why," Whedon said Tuesday on the "Dollhouse" set. "There's a concern about the audience coming into this world. I respect their need to draw in an audience and present this a certain way."

Whedon acknowledged that there are similarities to the "Firefly" experience.

"That's why I hit myself on the head for this," Whedon said. "Having been through this I should know I need to deliver a way to get into a story. These are not stupid people (at the network), and I decided I needed to make a pre-emptive strike. I wasn't going to entrench around my art; television is a fluid process. So I said that I know a way to satisfy everyone."

Whedon said the new first episode will allow him to select from previously shot footage to figure out "the most iconic way from what we had to introduce each character."

Added star Eliza Dushku, "And I didn't get to wear my leather pants in the pilot, so that was a deal-breaker."

In "Dollhouse," a group of people are programmed with various abilities and personalities and rented out for assignments to high-paying clients. They are kept stored in an underground compound that resembles a Zen-like spa. One of the Dolls, Echo (Dushku), gradually begins to become self-aware.

"I wanted everybody to feel like Echo is in this terrible situation, slash, 'can somebody wipe my memory and feed me and put me in a wonderful spa and give me massages too?' " Whedon said of the elaborate set.

The tone of each episode, he added, will shift based on the Dolls' assignment, a tactic that some might consider risky.

"Every time I'm here, I worry that this show is the big mess, that this is the time I will fail," he said. "At the same time you learn to let go of that or not one word you will write."

Joss Whedon: Welcome to the New Dollhouse

As all Buffy, Angel and Firefly fans know, when Joss Whedon gets it right, he gets it very, very right. And if he gets it wrong—he'd rather us not know it.

The writer-producer confirmed on his Whedonesque website today (via a faux Q&A with "Rutherford D. Actualperson") that he is reshooting the pilot for his upcoming Fox series Dollhouse after both he and some network execs—who picked up the Eliza Dushku-starring sci-fi drama earlier this year based on concept alone—became concerned that his intended opener didn't make a whole lot of sense.

"What’s that, you say? A second first? How can such a thing be? Does it defy the laws of all physics?" the show runner blogged.

"I said [the pilot] was grand, I didn’t say it was comprehensible. I showed some scenes to David Lynch and he’s all, 'whuh?' Bad sign. But I kid," assured Whedon.

"The fact is, I’m very proud of the ep we shot and the series is making me crazy with the excitement. But I tend to come at things sideways, and there were a few clarity issues for some viewers. There were also some slight issues with tone—I was in a dark, noir kind of place (where, as many of you know, I make my home), and didn’t bring the visceral pop the network had expected from the script. The network was cool about it, but not sure how to come out of the gate with the ep."

The intended pilot will instead be Dollhouse's second episode and the production delay isn't supposed to affect the Monday-night series' midseason premiere.

“Joss came to the realization that there was a better way to start the show,” a spokesman for 20th Century Fox Television told Variety. “After he wrote episode two, he asked the network to use that as episode one.”

The drama, about a group of Actives—or Dolls—who have had their minds wiped clean so that their Handlers can impress upon them any persona, information, or skill necessary to carry out a particular mission, also stars Angel alum Amy Acker, Tahmoh Penikett, Dichen Lachman, Fran Kranz, Olivia Williams and Enver Gjokaj.

During a live Q&A Monday with WashingtonPost.com readers, Whedon was asked where Dollhouse measured up on the funny scale alongside Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly.

"Less overt humor," Whedon responded. "Dollhouse is more a real-world piece. But asking me not to make jokes is like asking Monet to lose the lily pads. We've all got our tics."

Joss Whedon Heads Into 'The Woods'

MGM has acquired the thrilled "The Cabin in the Woods" to be produced and co-written by Joss Whedon.

"The Cabin in the Woods" will be the directorial debut of Drew Goddard, who co-wrote the script with Whedon.

Not surprisingly, Variety has few details on the plot for "Woods," except to not that it's the studio's first movie to get greenlit since Mary Parent became head of MGM's worldwide motion picture group.

Goddard cut his teeth working with Whedon on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel." He's gone on to work on "Alias" and "Lost" before writing the script for the monster hit "Cloverfield."

Feature writing credits for Whedon have included "Speed" and "Serenity." His next small screen venture is the FOX midseason drama "Dollhouse."

"Enchanted" and "Lost" honored at fantasy awards

The Disney fairy tale "Enchanted" picked up three awards Tuesday at the 34th annual Saturn Awards, which honor science fiction, fantasy and horror movies and TV shows.

Its haul included best fantasy film, actress (Amy Adams), and music (Alan Menken).

"Cloverfield" was named best science fiction film, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" best horror film, and "300" best action/adventure/thriller film.

On the TV side, ABC's "Lost" won four trophies: best network television series, actor (Matthew Fox), supporting actor (Michael Emerson), and supporting actress, (Elizabeth Mitchell). Mitchell tied with Summer Glau of "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles."

The ceremony, hosted by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror, was held at the Universal Hilton Hotel in Universal City.

2008 Teen Choice Award Nominees

This is the 10th annual incarnation of the adolescent-friendly kudos, which spreads the wealth among film, TV, music, comedy, sports and fashion. Fox will broadcast the two-hour bonanza Aug. 4.

Choice TV Show: Action Adventure
Heroes
Lost
Prison Break
Smallville
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Choice TV Actress: Action Adventure
Hayden Panettiere, Heroes
Ali Larter, Heroes
Evangeline Lily, Lost
Kristen Kruek, Smallville
Summer Glau, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Choice TV: Breakout Show
America's Best Dance Crew
Gossip Girl
Miss Guided
Samantha Who?
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Choice TV: Breakout Star Female
Blake Lively, Gossip Girl
Leighton Meester, Gossip Girl
Olivia Wilde, House
Summer Glau, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Taylor Momsen, Gossip Girl

Whedon, Abrams and FOX's 'High-Class Problem'

FOX has arguably the most fanboy-friendly lineup of any network for 2008-09, with high-profile series from both J.J. Abrams ("Fringe") and Joss Whedon ("Dollhouse").

Deciding how to schedule the two shows, FOX Entertainment President Kevin Reilly admits, was a "high-class problem." "Fringe," which Abrams co-wrote with Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman ("Transformers," "Alias"), wound up with a prime spot on the fall schedule, where it will follow "House" on Tuesday nights. Whedon's "Dollhouse," meanwhile, will join the network in January, pairing with "24" on Monday nights.

"When it really came down to it, we had a jump-start with 'Fringe,'" Reilly explains, noting that the show has been in development since last summer. "They wrote the script, [the two-hour pilot] is in the can and finished and locked. ... Jeff Pinkner, who worked with J.J. and the guys on 'Alias' and 'Lost,' is reteaming with them to kind of take the reins of the show. It just felt like the whole machine was cranked up."

"Dollhouse" finished shooting its Whedon-directed pilot only last week, although the show is at least ahead of the curve on the script front; Whedon brought the show to FOX with seven scripts already in hand (it has a 13-episode order).

"Why put the extra pressure on it?" Reilly says. "It really was a high-class problem, so we went with the bird in hand. And Joss is frankly happy to have the extra time."

Both shows will probably get the full promotional treatment from FOX as well. "Fringe" is the network's only new drama for the fall (and one of only two new shows of any kind), and Reilly is already promising a "huge campaign" leading up to its Aug. 26 premiere. "Dollhouse" will be a "linchpin of the second season," Reilly says, launching around the same time as network perennials such as "24" and "American Idol."

FOX Sets 'Dollhouse' and 'Fringe,' Cans 'Amsterdam'

Just days before its upfront presentation to advertisers, FOX's schedule appears to be taking shape, including new shows from J.J. Abrams, Joss Whedon and Mitch Hurwitz.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, FOX has ordered Abrams' "Fringe" and Whedon's "Dollhouse." "Fringe," which stars Joshua Jackson, Anna Torv and John Noble, is looking at a fall launch, while "Dollhouse," Eliza Dushku's return to primetime, is heading for midseason.

Both "Fringe" and "Dollhouse" had always been considered foregone conclusions at FOX, since the network had already ordered 13 and seven episodes respectively, with penalties attached to not moving forward.

Then again, a series order may not be enough to get Bernie Mac's "Starting Under" a place on the network's schedule. The trade paper says that the comedy probably won't make FOX's fall schedule, though a desire to stay in business with Mac may lead the network to try to retool "Starting Under" for midseason.

Instead, FOX's new comedy output features a heavy dose of Jason Bateman. The "Arrested Development" veteran directed the pilot for the ensemble "The Inn" and does voice work on the animated "Sit Down, Shut Up," both of which appear set for FOX's fall lineup. The "Inn" cast includes Niecy Nash and Jerry O'Connell." On "Sit Down, Shut Up," Hurwitz has enlisted "Arrested Development" veterans Bateman, Will Arnett and Henry Winkler for voices.

It appears that "'Til Death" will return to FOX's lineup for a third season, but "Back to You" is being shopped to other networks and won't be back on FOX. Although "Back to You" delivered higher ratings than "'Til Death," its star-studded cast, led by Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton, made the sitcom a pricier proposition. Also reportedly being pitched around town is the animated incarnation of "The Pitts."

Media reports are suggesting that FOX's low-rated midseason legal drama "Canterbury's Law" and the slightly higher rated immortal police procedural "New Amsterdam" are also being cancelled.

FOX's full schedule will be announced on Thursday (May 15), but the network is still tinkering with several pilots.

Alfred Molina has joined the cast of the Paul Attanasio-produced "Courtroom K," a dramedy about a judge (Molina), public defender (Megan Dodds) and prosecutor working out of a Milwaukee courtroom.

In addition, Peter Berg ("Friday Night Lights") will direct the two-hour sci-fi pilot "Virtuality" for FOX.

Also, FOX has given a cast contingent pilot order to "Inseparable" from Shaun Cassidy. Toby Stephens was formerly attached to star, but the actor's deal reportedly expired before FOX could formally order the pilot.

'Firefly' Actress Joins ABC Pilot

ABC has added to the casts of three pilots, with "Firefly's" Morena Baccarin among the signees, and is bringing a familiar face back to one of its existing shows.

Baccarin is joining writer David Hemingson's legal drama, where she'll star opposite Matt Long as new associates at a Los Angeles law firm. Elsewhere, Ruben Santiago-Hudson ("Lackawanna Blues") has signed on to the drama "Castle," and Steve Howey ("Reba") and Lee Thompson Young ("Smallville," "Akeelah and the Bee") have landed parts in the comedy "Five Year Plan," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Also at ABC, David Sutcliffe will return to "Private Practice" next season to continue his arc as a love interest for Addison (Kate Walsh).

The Hemingson drama centers on Long's character, a recent law-school graduate from a working-class background who joins a boutique law practice. Baccarin will play another new associate, a privileged young woman from Beverly Hills.

"Castle" stars Baccarin's former castmate Nathan Fillion as a mystery novelist who consults with police on murder cases. Santiago-Hudson, whose credits also include "American Gangster" and several "Law & Order" appearances, will play the police chief.

As the title implies, "Five Year Plan" follows a group of friends trying to figure out their futures. Howey will play Mickey, a newly engaged law-school graduate, and Young will play the roommate of Mickey's brother.

Finally, Sutcliffe will reprise his role as cop Kevin Nelson in "Private Practice" next season. The former "Gilmore Girls" actor will appear in as many as 11 episodes of the second-year show.

ABC Lands Nathan Fillion

Nathan Fillion has apparently enjoyed his time working at ABC, because he's signed on to a pilot at the network.

Alyssa Milano and Aunjanue Ellis have also joined ABC projects, while Tom Hollander is booked on a CBS dramedy.

Fillion, who's had a recurring role on "Desperate Housewives" this season as Dana Delany's husband, will star in a presentation called "Castle," according to The Hollywood Reporter. The "Drive" and "Firefly" star will play a mystery novelist who consults with the NYPD on difficult cases.

His credits also include "Waitress," "Miss Match" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Milano, meanwhile, is attached to a comedy from writer Kristin Newman ("That '70s Show," "How I Met Your Mother"). She'll play a woman who's trying to break free of her dysfunctional family, toxic friends and annoying boss. The former "Charmed" star is currently in a recurring part on NBC's "My Name Is Earl" and starring in the feature film "Pathology," which is in limited release.

Also at ABC, Ellis ("Ray," "Justice") will co-star in "Prince of Motor City," a "Hamlet"-inspired drama co-written by "Old Christine's" Hamish Linklater. She'll play a board member of the car company at the center of the series.

Over at CBS, Hollander has joined "The Meant to Be's," about a dead woman (Amy Smart) who must return to Earth and help people get their lives back on track before she can escape limbo. Hollander ("Gosford Park," "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End") will play the rule-bending head of heaven's Fate office.

'The Sarah Connor Chronicles' Will Be Back

Judgment Day won't come for at least one more season.

FOX has picked up its freshman series "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" for 2008-09, the showbiz trade papers report. The show earned a 13-episode order for 2008-09, on the heels of its strike-shortened and reasonably successful nine-episode run earlier this year.

The pickup isn't a big surprise; FOX Entertainment chief Kevin Reilly said in an interview last week that the show was already hiring staff.The series stars Lena Headey as the title character, who's obsessed with protecting her son John ( Thomas Dekker), the future leader of the human resistance against the machines that will one day wipe out most humanity. Summer Glau and Richard T. Jones also star.

FOX has several shows in development that could form a sci fi-tinged block with "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," including Joss Whedon's "Dollhouse" and "Fringe," from J.J. Abrams' company.

Pilots: 'Firefly' Star Joins ABC Comedy

Former "Firefly" star Alan Tudyk has piloted himself to ABC, where he'll star in Max Mutchnick and David Kohan's comedy pilot.

Another ABC comedy, "This Might Hurt," has also beefed up its cast, signing Josh Dean (FOX's "Free Ride") as one of its leads and adding two others as well.

The Kohan-Mutchnick project is based on the partnership between the two writers, who created "Will & Grace." It centers on two long-time friends and business partners, one straight and one gay; Tudyk will play the latter role, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Tudyk has some comedy experience, including "Dodgeball" and guest spots "Frasier" and "Arrested Development." "Firefly," on which he played pilot Hoban "Wash" Washburne, had a healthy dose of humor as well. The role will be his first regular gig on a comedy, however.

Tudyk starred in another pilot earlier this season, a legal drama from Luke Reiter that was set up at NBC. He's the second cast member to depart that project; Kurtwood Smith ("That '70s Show") was recently cast in CBS' comedy "Worst Week."

"This Might Hurt," from writer-director Jason Winer, is set at a medical practice run by a traditionalist father and his son (Dean), who wants his dad to shed some of his old ways. The cast will also include Vanessa Lengies ("American Dreams," "Stick It") as the office receptionist and Hayes MacArthur ("The Game Plan") as a nurse who also runs a gambling operation out of the office.

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' cast reunites at television festival in L.A.

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" was resurrected for one night only.

The cast of the popular supernatural series, which ran from 1997 to 2003, were in good spirits Thursday while reuniting for a panel discussion at the William S. Paley Television Festival. That doesn't mean fans should expect the gang to get back together on screen.

"So many stars would have to align," creator Joss Whedon said about the possibility of a new "Buffy" project.

For seven seasons, Buffy and company battled vampires, demons, werewolves, high school and other forces of darkness with tongue planted firmly in cheek. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," based on the movie of the same name, was never lauded with many awards, but it has been cited by many critics as being one of the most influential shows in TV history.

Sarah Michelle Gellar said she was surprised to find out moments before the reunion that her character recently had her first sexual tryst with a woman in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight," a comic book series that picks up where the show ended. Gellar also reminisced about auditioning 11 times before landing the role of Buffy Summers.

"All my friends felt sorry for me because I was on a midseason replacement on a network no one had heard of on a show based on a movie that wasn't all that," the 30-year-old actress said.

Before the panel, audience members watched the fifth-season musical episode "Once More, With Feeling." Other cast members at the reunion were Amber Benson, Nicholas Brendon, Emma Caulfield, Seth Green, James Marsters and Michelle Trachtenberg, who played Buffy's surprise sister Dawn and will join the cast of "Gossip Girl" this fall.

Adam Baldwin Reveals What's Up with Chuck

While Zachary Levi's unlikely spy tries to make the best of an impossible situation – none to easy when your CIA handler is as smokin' as Sarah! – it's up to Adam Baldwin's Casey to keep everyone in line and on target. The Firefly alum gave TVGuide.com a sneak peek at what's ahead on NBC's buzzworthy Chuck (airing Mondays at 8 pm/ET). Plus, what is Zachary Levi really like when the cameras stop rolling?

TVGuide.com: It's nice to see Chuck ticking back up in the ratings.

Adam Baldwin: Yeah, yeah, I mean we have really tough competition on Monday nights. The sports guys [watching Monday Night Football], hopefully they'll be finding us [when the NFL season is over]. So we're all full of high hopes. And then… there's the writers strike.

TVGuide.com: And then there's the writers strike. How many episodes did you get done?

Baldwin: We will complete the initial order of 13. They banged out Episode 112 just before the midnight deadline, and we're now three or four days into [production on] Episode 111.

TVGuide.com: Will Chuck happen to leave us with any kind of a cliffhanger?

Baldwin: Er, that's above my pay grade to comment on. [Laughs] But yeah, I think so. There's something.

TVGuide.com: Is Casey developing a kinder gentler attitude toward Chuck?

Baldwin: Yeah, he's finding a way into Chuck's humor somewhat, and he's becoming a little more sympathetic. He's kind of an intolerant guy. They do delve into a bit of his back story in the episode we're currently shooting, so that explains why he's so screwed up. [Laughs]

TVGuide.com: Casey's support of the military is becoming a bit conspicuous. Is that part of his tough-guy image, or is some sort of statement being made here?

Baldwin: There's nothing wrong with supporting the U.S. military as far as I'm concerned.

TVGuide.com: Of course, Firefly fans are excited to see you in another Jayne-like role. How much did that character inform your take on Casey?

Baldwin: That's a good question. You carry around that gruff attitude as much as possible. My background in films and acting really begins with my dad taking me to tough-guy, shoot-'em-up movies, and I guess that sensibility was sort of ingrained in me at an early stage, with guys like Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen, Eli Wallach…. Those are the guys I watched growing up. And character-y actors like William Holden, The Wild Bunch….

TVGuide.com: What's been your favorite episode of Chuck thus far?

Baldwin: I really liked the Halloween one, "Chuck Vs. the Sandworm" – that's a personal favorite of mine. I love the one we're doing now, "Chuck Vs. the Undercover Lover." I just love watching Zach Levi perform. I don't know about you, but to me he seems like a modern-day Dick Van Dyke. You don't get to see him sing and dance on the show, but he'll do that when the cameras aren't rolling. This guy is a song-and-dance man, a crooner and a comic genius. It's wonderful to follow along in his wake. He carries us on his shoulders.

TVGuide.com: Maybe an upcoming mission will fully tap into his propensity for zaniness.

Baldwin: Well, during the upfronts they had an impromptu competition of Singing Bee, and he won by far. Hands down.

TVGuide.com: How many of your own stunts are you doing on Chuck?

Baldwin: Um, most of the fight scenes. I try to stay away from the high falls, and any explosion work I'll stand clear. [Laughs] I don't really like fire and impact.

TVGuide.com: I know that Yvonne Strahovski (Sarah) has enjoyed doing as much on her own as she can – even in the "Swiss Miss" outfit.

Baldwin: [Laughs] Exactly! What kind of underwear is she wearing for those high kicks?

TVGuide.com: She says that outfit makes it all very comfortable.

Baldwin: Oh, she's so hot.

TVGuide.com: She's one of the most searched-on terms on our website.

Baldwin: She's hotter than Hansel right now.

TVGuide.com: Were you glad that ABC gave Day Break as much of a chance as it did, letting it wrap up its run online and thus give fans closure?

Baldwin: Yeah, yeah…. It was a really cool show and it was hard for us to see it go down. Bottom line, we didn't catch an audience. It might have been too dark, a bit too complicated.

TVGuide.com: It may have been too much of a good thing. At the time, a lot of serialized stuff was on….

Baldwin: Right. It's so hard to predict what's going to catch an audience or not. I'm looking for the DVD set. I need one of those for my archives!

TVGuide.com: Was your character going to fit into subsequent seasons/"days"?

Baldwin: I think so. He had turned to the dark side, so….

TVGuide.com: What else do you have coming up?

Baldwin: I did a little movie called Gospel Hill, which Giancarlo Esposito directed.

TVGuide.com: Will that be playing the festivals?

Baldwin: I think that's what he's targeting. It's about a small Southern town where local businessmen re trying to develop this old civil rights-era community into a golf course.

TVGuide.com: Are you an evil developer, or one of the small townsfolk fighting it?

Baldwin: I'm actually sort of caught in the middle. I'm the local lawyer who uncovers some underhanded dealings.

TVGuide.com: Any undying rumblings on the Firefly/Serenity front?

Baldwin: Everyone asks me that. I know that Alan Tudyk got into a bit of hot water speculating on that, so I'm reluctant to go there. It's always up to Joss [Whedon] and whether he can raise whatever it would take to shoot a [sequel]. But it's getting kind of past it. I don't want to be a 60-year-old Jayne Cobb!

New on DVD: Waitress

One of the year's top independent film successes, this little charmer stars Keri Russell as a pregnant waitress with a creep for a husband, a complicated new romantic relationship and a skill for baking pies that could be her ticket to a new life. The film co-stars Andy Griffith, Nathan Fillion, Cheryl Hines and writer-director Adrienne Shelly, who was murdered last year, two months before "Waitress" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The DVD features a tribute to Shelly and a message from Russell about a foundation established in Shelly's name to help female filmmakers. Other extras include behind-the-scenes featurettes and commentary by Russell and producer Michael Roiff. DVD, $29.98. (20th Century Fox)

ON THE NEWSSTANDS

Check out People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive issue on sale now with Matt Damon as the chosen one. Congratulations go out to GH’s Jason Thompson (Patrick), Desperate Housewives' Nathan Fillion (ex-Joey, OLTL) and Criminal Minds’ Shemar Moore (ex-Malcolm, Y&R) for making the cut.

Joss Whedon, Eliza Dushku Reunite for FOX

FOX has given a seven-episode commitment to "Dollhouse," a new sci-fi drama to reunite Joss Whedon with his "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" co-star Eliza Dushku.

This will be the first TV project for Whedon since FOX all-too-swiftly cancelled his 2002 space western "Firefly," which spawned "Serenity," Whedon's most recent big screen effort.

According to the industry trade papers, "Dollhouse" will feature Dushku as Echo, part of a group of young people programmed with different personalities and skills for different assignments (the trades are a little fuzzy on what these "assignments" consist of or who's sending the people on said assignments). In between gigs, their minds are wiped clean and they return to live in a lab/dorm known as the Dollhouse. Things go a wee bit pear-shaped when Echo begins having actual memories and she tries to seek information about her past.

The show sprung from a casual lunch conversation between the writer-director-producer and his young star. Whedon has reportedly pitched the network on an arc for the first seven "Dollhouse" episodes, which could go into production as soon as the spring (strike pending), but the series wouldn't be expected to hit FOX's schedule until next fall.

Dushku signed a talent deal with 20th Century Fox back in August after starring in the studio's FOX dramedy pilot "Nurses" this past development season.

The studio was also home to Whedon's complete television output, including "Firefly," "Buffy" and "Angel." Dushku played occasionally rogue slayer Faith on the latter two shows.

The possibility of a Faith spinoff was bandied about after the end of the "Buffy" and "Angel" runs, but Dushku went off to do "Tru Calling" for FOX, while Whedon concentrated his attention on features.

FOX Terminates Suspense, Sets 'Sarah Connor Chronicles' Premiere

Judgment Day will be Jan. 14, 2008.

That may sound a bit dramatic, but Monday, Jan. 14, 2008 is the date FOX has chosen to premiere the heavily hyped midseason drama "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," an extension of the blockbuster "Terminator" franchise.

Series creator Josh Friedman gave online venues and early glimpse of the premiere date late Tuesday (Oct. 16) afternoon as a salute to the Internet community's early interest in the "Sarah Connor."

The series, which picks up in the aftermath of "Terminator 2" and pretends that the third "Terminator" film never happened, will air at 8 p.m. on the 14th, leading into the time period premiere of the seventh season of "24." Expect to see plenty of cross-promotion during the two-hour season premiere of "24" the evening before.

Although FOX originally scheduled "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" for Sunday nights at 9 p.m. when the network announced its line-up to advertisers in May, the series will remain on Monday nights at 8, paired with "24."

"Sarah Connor Chronicles" features Lena Headey ("300") in the Linda Hamilton role as mother of humanity's eventual savior (Thomas Dekker). The show also stars Summer Glau ("Firefly") and Richard T. Jones ("Judging Amy").

'Firefly' Star Passes NBC Bar

Former "Firefly" star Alan Tudyk will shed his pilot's gear for a lawyer's suit in a new NBC pilot.

Tudyk and British actor Andrew Lincoln ("Love Actually") have signed on to star in the pilot, which is set at a big law firm. They'll each play sometimes unscrupulous attorneys at the firm who are also in love with the same woman, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Luke Reiter, a veteran of "The Practice" and "Close to Home," created the untitled drama, which will also have a thriller aspect. He's executive producing with Barry Sonnenfeld ("Pushing Daisies"). The pilot is scheduled to begin production later this month in New York.

Sonnenfeld, who directed the first two episodes of ABC's "Pushing Daisies," has also helmed FOX's pilot "Hackett" this fall.

Tudyk played ship's pilot Wash in the cult series "Firefly" and its subsequent feature film, "Serenity." His movie credits also include "Knocked Up" and "3:10 to Yuma."

Lincoln, who continues the parade of British actors to American television, played Mark, the guy in love with his best friend's wife, in "Love Actually." He's also appeared in several series in the U.K., including "Teachers" and "This Life."

A Darker Superman Flies into Stores

This is definitely not Super Friends. The animated DVD movie Superman: Doomsday, which goes on sale today, tells the famous 1992 comic-book story that saw the Man of Steel die in battle against an intergalactic killing machine.

Unlike previous Superman cartoons, Doomsday features extreme violence (but very little blood) and presents a darker take on the world's most iconic superhero. Also a more adult one: In this movie he's carrying on a romantic relationship with Lois Lane, which the couple is hiding from the press. When he won't reveal his secret identity to her, Lois accuses him of having commitment issues. That argument gets tabled when Doomsday — a monster who "lives to extinguish any and all life forms" — goes on a rampage through Metropolis and engages Superman in a battle to the death. (Spoiler alert: In what likely will not come as a shock, Supe's demise is not permanent.)

The movie reaches the same creative heights of previous Warner Bros. animation adaptations of DC Comics characters. It's not a surprise, since Doomsday was produced under the guidance of Bruce Timm, who became a fanboy favorite with his work on the animated Batman and Superman shows of the 1990s, as well as Cartoon Network's Justice League. The movie also includes a stellar voice cast, corralled by another Warner veteran, Andrea Romano. (Romano, in fact, received among the most deafening cheers at the movie's premiere screening at Comic-Con in July.) Anne Heche (Men in Trees) plays Lois Lane, James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) handles Lex Luthor, and cult favorite Adam Baldwin handles Superman (and his alter ego, Clark Kent).

Baldwin, best known for playing mercenary Jayne Cobb in Joss Whedon's much-beloved Firefly (and sequel movie Serenity), was also a big hit at Comic-Con — even though he didn't attend. His shooting schedule on the new series Chuck prevented him from traveling to San Diego, but a pretaped video greeting at the Superman: Doomsday premiere was received with thunderous applause, as were all of his Chuck scenes at a screening of that show's pilot. "I feel very blessed to have been introduced into that world," he says. "The phenomenon of Firefly really cemented everyone in the cast with that community. I love sci-fi fans because they're just so knowledgeable. They tell me stuff about Firefly I had forgotten or, more likely, had never even noticed in the first place!"

Baldwin hopes those fans make the trek over to NBC on Sept. 24 to watch the Chuck premiere. He plays National Security agent John Casey, who is assigned to keep tabs on Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi), a romantically challenged geek who unwittingly has a cache of government secrets downloaded into his brain. The buzz on the show is high, and after working on high-profile flameouts like Firefly and last season's Taye Diggs drama Day Break, Baldwin is ready for a hit: "I'm keeping my fingers crossed and remaining an amiable skeptic."

USA Today's Top TV picks for 2007

Gossip Girl
(CW, Wednesdays, 9 ET/PT, Sept. 19)

Stars: Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley, Chace Crawford

Every teen show can't be a High School Musical.

Produced by The OC's Josh Schwartz from a popular series of books, Gossip Girl takes Schwartz's former Fox favorite and gives it a nastier New York spin full of sex and spite. If HSM is ridiculously innocent, Girl is just as ridiculously mature and worldly, which is how older teens prefer their fantasies.

Girl is, at times, too adult for its and its audience's own good, but the central relationship between a fallen deb (Lively) and the poor — but of course handsome — boy who loves her (Badgley) has potential. And if kids like the show better than parents do, that will be just fine with CW. As long as those parents let their kids watch.

Pushing Daisies
(ABC, Wednesdays, 8 ET/PT, Oct. 3)

Stars: Lee Pace, Anna Friel, Chi McBride, Kristin Chenoweth, Swoosie Kurtz, Ellen Greene

Welcome to the best blooming show of the year.

Yet to say Pushing Daisies is the season's best pilot doesn't do it justice. It may be the best pilot since Lost, the kind of show that revives your faith in network TV. And while it is true that ABC has topped this list the past two years with fine shows that didn't fly (The Nine and Invasion), the brighter, more accessible Daisies could be the third charm that breaks that curse.

Created by Bryan Fuller (of cult-adored Wonderfalls fame), directed by filmmaker Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black) and graced with the year's most engaging ensemble, Daisies is an enchanting fable about love, death and the powers and problems of human contact.

It's built around a lonely hero (Pace) who is able to bring people back to life, or send them back to death, with a touch — a power that allows him to solve crimes and right wrongs, but which also isolates him.

More than with most shows, though, it isn't enough to just read about Daisies. You have to see it — to revel in the witty, candy-colored glow of Sonnenfeld's visuals, in the warmth of Fuller's vision, and in the endearingly eccentric characters so winningly played by this great cast. Indeed, if you've ever expressed a desire for something different on TV, you owe it to yourself to check Daisies out.

Reaper
(CW, Tuesdays, 9 ET/PT, Sept. 25)

Stars: Bret Harrison, Ray Wise

And you think you have a bad boss.

Consider Sam (Harrison), an ambition-free store clerk who has just discovered that his parents sold his soul to the devil (Wise). Luckily for us, the devil doesn't need another tenant. What he needs is a bounty hunter, a job Sam and his best friend (Invasion's Tyler Labine) will now struggle to perform.

Reaper has the good sense not to take itself too seriously or dwell too long on the darker aspects of its premise. Like the show, Harrison and Labine take a humorously laid-back approach to their dilemma, and Wise's wry turn as an extremely self-satisfied Satan is one of the season's breakout performances. If the show holds up, it could be the first new scripted CW series to reap a little positive attention.

Chuck
(NBC, Mondays, 8 ET/PT, Sept. 24)

Stars: Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strzechowski, Adam Baldwin

Sure, the kids in Reaper have a deal with the devil, but poor Chuck has to deal with the CIA. You can decide for yourself who has it tougher.

A geek among geeks, Chuck (Less Than Perfect's Levi) works for one of those computer fix-it squads, or he does until all the computer files of the CIA are downloaded into his brain. Now he has to figure out how to access them, while the government decides whether to use him or eliminate him.

What Chuck has going for it, beyond its super-regular-guy concept, is an incredibly winning performance by Levi, who plays Chuck as a likable underachiever who suddenly sees what it might be like to achieve something. Plus, like Reaper, it has a light comic touch, which is a very nice change after so many somber fantasies and conspiracy-theory adventures. Chuck may be a reluctant spy, but he's not a tortured one, and that's as welcome as a fully functioning computer.

Samantha Who?
(ABC, Mondays, 9:30 ET/PT, Oct. 15)

Stars: Christina Applegate, Jean Smart, Kevin Dunn, Barry Watson

I can tell you who Samantha is. She's Christina Applegate, and as this show proves, she's a genuine star.

She'll need all the star power she can muster to carry Samantha, a funny but complicated sitcom about a woman who forgets who she is. Worse, as she begins to remember, she realizes she doesn't like the woman she was or most of the people she knew — including her mom, played by another certified star, Smart.

Applegate is appealing and the pilot is the year's most amusing, but like many pilots these days, it plays more like a setup for a movie than for a series. It's not easy to see how Sam's remember-and-redemption routine can be stretched out over multiple seasons.

Still, the network and the writers must think it can be done or they wouldn't be trying. Good thing they have a star who makes it worth the effort.

Aliens in America
(CW, Mondays, 8:30 ET/PT, Oct. 1)

Stars: Dan Byrd, Adhir Kalyan, Amy Pietz, Scott Patterson

Seldom has a fish-out-of-water comedy risked swimming in more troubled waters.

A sweet sitcom with a distinctive edge, Aliens is an outcast comedy with a satiric twist. Justin (Byrd) is a smart kid with no friends, so his mom (Pietz) orders up a Swedish exchange student in hopes of increasing her son's popularity — and gets a Pakistani (Kalyan) instead. That makes the boys a target for bullies, bigots and every bad side effect of the war on terror, as the show pokes fun at our prejudices and our blurry view of anything beyond our borders.

In the version critics saw, Justin could at least count on his nerdish dad for help. But the role is being reshaped for the gruffer Patterson; let's hope it doesn't sink a show that seemed to be floating along just fine.

Back to You
(Fox, Wednesdays, 8 ET/PT, Sept. 19)

Stars: Kelsey Grammer, Patricia Heaton, Fred Willard, Ty Burrell

If anyone can propel a sitcom hit, you'd think it would be Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton.

Certainly, you won't find any two actors with more comedy talent or a better track record than these veterans of Frasier and Everybody Loves Raymond. Plus, they've had the sense to chose appropriate roles — battling local news anchors who were once lovers — and to surround themselves with such strong supporting players as Willard and Burrell.

So what could go wrong? Well, in the pilot, the other supporting characters and many of the jokes failed to rise to the level of the show's stars. There's some funny stuff here, but it's in danger of being swamped by too much that is simply smarmy. (Yes, they've had sex, we get it.) And it takes a turn at the end that seems wrongheaded in the extreme.

Still, there's so much talent here — and so much longing out there for a real sitcom hit — that you just have to hope that talent gets put to better use. Until I'm sure it won't be, I'll be back for more.

The Big Bang Theory
(CBS, Mondays, 8:30 ET/PT, Sept. 24)

Stars: Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons

TV has always loved to watch smart people acting stupid. Created by Bill Prady and Two and a Half Men's Chuck Lorre, Bang is a broad comedy about a pretty girl (Cuoco) who moves next door to two unsocialized geniuses (Galecki and Parsons), who lose first their hearts and then their pants. Think of Beauty and the Geek or, if you love old movies, Ball of Fire, and you'll get the idea.

It would be nice if Galecki seemed more comfortable, and if the show used the boys' super-brains for something other than the butt of jokes. Still, Parsons makes an incredibly impressive debut, and Lorre has a proven knack for making laugh-out-loud sitcoms, something few others these days even attempt. That alone is reason enough to give Bang a chance to get bigger and better.

Private Practice
(ABC, Wednesdays, 9 ET/PT, Sept. 26)

Stars: Kate Walsh, Tim Daly, Amy Brenneman, Audra McDonald, Taye Diggs, Paul Adelstein

Now and then, even critics get to engage in wishful thinking.

Granted, Practice did not get off to the best of starts, thanks to a Grey's Anatomy spinoff episode that bordered on the unwatchable. But as you may remember, Grey's own pilot, though far better than this, wasn't anything to write home about, either. And look at how well that show came together.

Can Practice do the same? In its favor are a proven writing staff and a sterling all-star cast. Any one of those actors could head up a show of his or her own, and in many cases has already done so.

Even so, the show could still end up giving new meaning to the phrase "lousy with talent." But why expect the worst when the joy of fall is that it allows us to hope for the best? Given the choice, you might as well bet that Private will get better with, well, practice.

Women's Murder Club
(ABC, Fridays, 9 ET/PT, Oct. 12)

Stars: Angie Harmon, Paula Newsome, Laura Harris, Aubrey Dollar

There's a lot to be said for being the right show at the right time.

Based on the books by James Patterson, Club follows four professional women — led by the almost impossibly beautiful Harmon — who form a secret crime-fighting club. The results hardly add up to some great TV breakthrough, but then, the show isn't trying to break any barriers. It seems to be content to be what it is: a well-cast, well-told mystery that seems perfectly suited to a Friday night slot, network entertainment at its most reliably competent.

Don't turn your nose up. In this season more than most, "competent" is an exclusive club.

A First Look at Desperate Housewives' New Neighbors

A new family is moving to Wisteria Lane this fall, but not everyone's rolling out a welcome mat. Katherine Mayfair (Dana Delany) lived on the block 12 years ago with her daughter, Dylan (Lyndsy Fonseca), and aunt, Mrs. Sims (Ellen Geer), but left under mysterious circumstances. Now she's back with her teenage daughter and her second husband, Adam (Nathan Fillion), a hunky gynecologist. Ostensibly, they returned to take care of the dying Mrs. Sims, but like all new characters on Desperate Housewives, the Mayfairs harbor a dark secret that will be revealed as the season progresses. Says creator Marc Cherry: "They had to leave Chicago because something unsavory happened in Adam's professional life."

Katherine's a perfectionist and a control freak. (Think Bree, but much darker.) She's reviled by all Wisterians — particularly Bree, who by Episode 2 will go spatula to spatula with her over a lemon meringue pie recipe. "I always wanted to come up with a character everyone loves to hate," Cherry says, adding that he modeled Katherine after J.R. from Dallas and Amanda from Melrose Place. Through flashbacks, Katherine will also offer viewers a chance to look into Wisteria Lane's lurid past.

Ironically, Delany was originally offered the part of Bree, but Cherry says she turned it down three times. "I'd just done Pasadena, and it seemed too similar," Delany says. "It's very rare in life you get second chances. I'm really flattered and honored."

Also thanking the Hollywood gods is Fillion, who's still recovering from the flat tire that was Fox's Drive. "My manager asked, ‘If someone were to tell you that you could be any kind of doctor on Wisteria Lane, what kind would you be?' " he recalls. "I said I'd be a gynecologist so I could interact with all the women."

Fillion won't say whether this "interaction" will involve any illicit affairs. He will tell us that his medical expertise may play a big part in a storyline. "One might extrapolate [that] if there is an OB-GYN around, someone may have need," he says. Paging Bree's pregnant daughter Danielle?

At the bottom of the Mayfair family tree is Dylan. She's a goody-goody — cute, polite and well trained. "My mom keeps me on a rigorous schedule and a short leash," Fonseca explains. "Almost like a dog." She also suffers from a bit of memory loss. Twelve years ago, she was BFFs with Susan's daughter, Julie, until her mom decided to skip town. Now she doesn't remember a thing, leaving everyone to suspect that something horrific happened in her childhood.

She did grow up on Wisteria Lane, after all.

Welcome to Wisteria Lane

ONE LIFE TO LIVE fans are in for a double treat when they tune into DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES this fall. Nathan Fillion (ex-Joey) has been cast as Adam, the somewhat younger husband of Katherine (Dana Delany) and father of Dylan (Lyndsy Fonseca, ex-Colleen, Y&R). Plus, Tuc Watkins (David) will play Bob Hunter, one half of the show's first gay couple...the "nice one." Kevin Rohm (JUDGING AMY) plays his partner Lee, the not-so-nice one. To find out just how not-nice Lee is, you'll have to wait until October, when Watkins and Rohm first air. DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES returns Sept. 30.

FOX Pulls 'Drive'

The final two remaining orphaned episodes of FOX's "Drive" are about to park themselves online.

After several attempts to schedule the fifth and six hours of the swiftly cancelled racing drama, FOX has decided not to put "Drive" back on the network. Instead, those "Drive" hours will begin streaming on myspace.com/fox and FOX affiliate sites beginning Monday, July 16.

After only three airings and four programming hours, FOX removed "Drive" from its schedule on April 25. The series, which featured an ensemble including Nathan Fillion and Kristin Lehman, averaged only 5.6 million viewers overall and a 2.3 rating in the key 18-49 demographic.

FOX initially decided to burn off the last two produced "Drive" episodes on July 4. Instead, the network opted to go with a screening of the Adam Sandler movie "Anger Management" on the low-rated night. At the time, FOX set its "Drive" marathon for this Friday (July 13). Instead, the network opted to air a "Bones" repeat and a "Standoff" episode on Friday the 13th.

With only six episodes in the can, it's unclear if "Drive" aired enough episodes for even a slim DVD release.

Bad Luck: FOX Pulls 'Drive' From Friday the 13th

For the second consecutive week, FOX has opted to leave fans of the quickly cancelled "Drive" hanging.

The last remaining episodes of the car-racing drama have been pulled from this Friday's (July 13) schedule, only a week after the previously scheduled July 4th burnoff was also truncated.

Last week's two "Drive" episodes were replaced by the feature "Anger Management" on FOX's schedule. For this Friday, FOX plans to keep with its regularly scheduled airings of "Bones" repeats plus burnt-off new episodes of "Standoff." That combination gave FOX a 0.8 rating among adults 18-49 and drew just over 3.2 million viewers last Friday night, good for fifth place in both measures.

As of now, FOX hasn't made plans to reschedule those final two produced episodes of "Drive," with the ever-present possibility that the episodes may just be put on the Internet.

After only three airings and four programming hours, FOX removed "Drive" from its schedule on April 25. The series, which featured an ensemble including Nathan Fillion and Kristin Lehman, averaged only 5.6 million viewers overall and a 2.3 rating in the key 18-49 demographic.

Delany, Fillion in "Housewives" talks

Dana Delany might be co-starring on ABC's "Desperate Housewives" after all.

The Emmy-winning "China Beach" actress was reportedly the first choice for the role of Bree (played by Marcia Cross), but turned down the pilot.

Delany is in talks to join the cast as a woman who moves to Wisteria Lane with her much younger husband (Nathan Fillion) and her daughter (Lyndsy Fonseca).

Delany most recently starred on NBC's drama "Kidnapped." Fillion is on the big screen in "Waitress." Fonseca's credits include HBO's "Big Love."

ONE LIFE TO LIVE CELEBRATES ITS 10,000th EPISODE

Show Pays Tribute to the Historic Episode Accomplishment by Mentioning "10,000" in 10 Episodes

An Emmy® nomination for Outstanding Drama Series, Mary J. Blige and Nelly Furtado, an execution of a major character and a successful four-day musical event are all part of the drama, achievement and acclaim for ABC's One Life to Live in the past year. The Emmy® Award-winning drama reaches a new milestone on FRIDAY, AUGUST 17, the airing of the 10,000th episode. Beloved characters will return to Llanview to celebrate the life of character Asa Buchanan. Returning favorites include Nathan Fillion (Joey Buchanan), Dan Gauthier (Kevin Buchanan), John Loprieno (Cord Roberts), Tonja Walker (Alex Olanov) and James DePaiva (Max Holden). To mark the occasion, the NYC Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting will honor the show during an on-set celebration on TUESDAY, JULY 3. Additionally, as a special "wink" to the audience, the show will reference the number 10,000 in every episode between JULY 30 and AUGUST 10.

"10,000 shows is a remarkable achievement," said executive producer Frank Valentini, who started at One Life to Live in 1985 with episode 4209. "I am extremely proud to be part of a show that has been able to make such an enduring mark on popular culture."

Katherine Oliver, Commissioner, NYC Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting said "The 10,000th episode of One Life to Live is a testament to New York City's long history of outstanding "Made in New York" productions in daytime television. For over thirty five years, One Life to Live has been making it in New York- its contributions have greatly enhanced our local production industry, which employs 100,000 New Yorkers and generates $5 billion to our economy on an annual basis. Congratulations to the cast and crew for reaching this exceptional milestone."

Agnes Nixon created One Life to Live, which premiered on July 15, 1968, as a half-hour show. The show has been lauded for its groundbreaking exploration of social issues, award-winning performances and innovative storylines. Along with the history-making live week in 2002, One Life to Live is responsible for many "firsts" in daytime television, including themes of interracial romance and gang violence, as well as problems of literacy, medical misdiagnosis, lupus and racial prejudice.

'With immense pride, I congratulate all of the talented and dedicated people over many years who are responsible for the heartwarming success of One Life to Live," said Agnes Nixon.

No Fireworks: FOX Bumps 'Drive' Burn-Off

If you'd planned to spend the Fourth of July watching the last two episodes of "Drive" on FOX, you'd better make alternate plans.

FOX has pulled the scheduled "Drive" burn-off from this Wednesday's (July 4) line-up, replacing the swiftly cancelled racing series with a presentation of "Anger Management," the first film to pair Adam Sandler with Oscar winner Jack Nicholson.

Since barbeques and fireworks render Independence Day one of the year's least watched TV nights, FOX had already preempted "So You Think You Can Dance," making it seemingly the perfect night to fill out the "Drive" run as six episodes.

Instead, FOX has rescheduled those two episodes of "Drive" for nine days later, appropriately Friday the 13th.

FOX pulled "Drive" from its schedule on April 25, after only three airings and four programming hours. The series averaged only 5.6 million viewers overall and a 2.3 rating in the key 18-49 demographic.

TNT's new medical drama arrives with weak pulse

Treat Williams lost his general medical practice last year when the nascent CW network dropped "Everwood" from the lineup it inherited from the merged WB and UPN outlets. He used the enforced sabbatical to learn a specialty. Now Williams is back as Nathaniel Grant, a cocky, occasionally insensitive workaholic doctor who performs organ transplants in a Pittsburgh hospital.

Oh, wait. Something else. He also sees dead people. More about that in a minute.

Hospitals are attractive settings for TV shows. In reality, most of what goes on inside them are mundane procedures. On TV, though, every admission is a life-or-death drama. But once you've decided on a medical setting, there are two options: an ensemble series (such as "ER" or "Grey's Anatomy") or a doctor-centered show. For the latter, you start with a Marcus Welby-style god and then humanize him or her with character defects, as in "House."

The doctor-as-god solution is simpler and cheaper, but it's harder to pull off because so much of the success depends on the creation of a compelling central character. CBS was the last to try it with "3 Lbs." in November, a series about an arrogant brain specialist (Stanley Tucci), and it lasted about an episode a pound.

"Heartland" follows the same general design and -- despite Williams' proven charisma and the presence of Kari Matchett (Kate Armstrong) as Grant's ex-wife and, conveniently, the organ donor coordinator -- the show remains mostly in stable condition. The characters connect mostly on a clinical level, rarely deeper.

To start with, Grant isn't particularly well developed. In the pilot, he collects baseball cards, but that doesn't come up in the second episode. He smokes, or at least he tries to. Most of the time, someone is around to shame him into stopping. If you're going to have a vice, then have one. Imagine someone trying to come between House and his Vicodin.

Then there are the dead people. From time to time, Grant looks at an organ recipient and sees the donor. Sometimes, the donor even speaks, usually some drippy sentiment. As a result, the dramatic device is mostly corn.

The pilot is all about Grant. The supporting cast, except for Armstrong, might as well be extras. At one point, Thea (Gage Golightly), Grant's daughter, is caught stealing condoms, suggesting a potentially engaging story. Instead, exec producer/director/writer/creator David Hollander drops the ball, and nothing much comes of it. Instead, the focus is on a teenage girl patient's urgent need for a donated heart and, well, you can guess how that ends.

The second episode is better, but it's still a fairly generic medical drama. The supporting cast has more to do. A new character, Thomas Jonas (Rockmond Dunbar), is introduced. He might clash with Grant in future episodes, but that might be wishful thinking.

What "Heartland" needs most is a referral to a script doctor.

Cast:
Nathaniel Grant: Treat Williams
Kate Armstrong: Kari Matchett
Simon Griffith: Chris William Martin
Thea Grant: Gage Golightly
Jessica Kivala: Morena Baccarin
Mary Singletary: Danielle Nicolet
Bart Jacobs: Dabney Coleman
Thomas Jonas: Rockmond Dunbar

Executive producer/creator/director/writer: David Hollander; Producer: Bob Rolsky; Directors of photography: Nancy Schreiber, Johnny E. Jensen; Production designer: Jim Pohl; Editor: Lori Jane Coleman; Composer: W.G. Snuffy Walden; Set decorator: Roya Parivar; Casting: Jeanie Bacharach.

'Drive' Refuels For July Burn-Off

FOX is bringing back the short-lived car-race drama "Drive," albeit for one night only.

The abruptly cancelled Tim Minear-produced series will return on Wednesday, July 4 for two consecutive hours, running from 8-10 p.m. ET. Those two hours will represent the end of the show's initial six-hour run, as well as the last two produced hours for "Drive" (i.e. don't expect an extensive DVD set featuring 13 episodes, because they don't exist).

FOX pulled "Drive" from its schedule on April 25, after only three airings and four programming hours. The series averaged only 5.6 million viewers overall and a 2.3 rating in the key 18-49 demographic. With the all-important May sweeps period approaching, FOX determined that repeats of "House" would likely attract a larger audience in the Monday 8 p.m. time period.

For the record, this past week's "House" repeat did, indeed, average a 2.7 demo rating and brought in 7.35 million viewers.

The 4th of July is typically one of the lowest rated nights of television of the year, somewhat mirroring FOX's decision to burn off the final episodes of "Arrested Development" opposite the opening of the Winter Olympics on NBC.

Additional "Drive" scripts have been posted on Minear's personal website.

Fox revokes "Drive" license

It's been a short "Drive" for Fox's midseason drama, which has been pulled off the schedule after two weeks on the air.

For the time being, the serialized drama chronicling an underground cross-country race will be replaced by "House" repeats in the Monday 8 p.m. slot.

"Drive" received a strong promotional push on Fox's juggernaut "American Idol" and was launched with a two-night premiere, a strategy regularly used for the network's hit serialized drama "24."

But "Drive" never clicked with viewers, and its two low-rated airings on Monday seemed to hurt its leadout, "24," which posted its lowest adults 18-49 rating for an original episode in more than three years.

It is not clear when and on what platform the remaining nine episodes of "Drive" will air. Streaming the episodes on Fox.com or offering them as downloads through iTunes are among the possibilities under consideration.

Another Pilot For Baldwin

Zachary Levi, co-star of ABC's "Less Than Perfect," has landed the title role on NBC's drama "Chuck." He will play a comedic Jason Bourne who undertakes missions every week while still working his day job as a computer geek. Also cast in "Chuck" is Adam Baldwin ("We Are Marshall"), who will play a hardened veteran agent who realizes that Chuck is the National Security Agency's most valuable commodity.

Whedon Exits 'Wonder Woman'

In a Saturday (Feb. 3) statement on the Whedonesque site, Joss Whedon let fans know that he's ended his involvement with Warner Bros. long-gestating "Wonder Woman" feature.

"You (hopefully) heard it here first: I'm no longer slated to make 'Wonder Woman,'" the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" creator writes. "What? But how? My chest... so tight! Okay, stay calm and I'll explain as best I can. It's pretty complicated, so bear with me. I had a take on the film that, well, nobody liked. Hey, not that complicated."

Whedon continues, "Let me stress first that everybody at the studio and Silver Pictures were cool and professional. We just saw different movies, and at the price range this kind of movie hangs in, that's never gonna work. Non-sympatico. It happens all the time. I don't think any of us expected it to this time, but it did. Everybody knows how long I was taking, what a struggle that script was, and though I felt good about what I was coming up with, it was never gonna be a simple slam-dunk. I like to think it rolled around the rim a little bit, but others may have differing views."

Whedon signed on to write and direct "Wonder Woman" back in 2005, but his difficulties getting a handle on the script were well documented. Over the following years, neither Whedon nor producer Joel Silver was able to conduct an interview without providing a frustrated update on the script. As recently as Comic-Con in July, Silver expressed enthusiasm about a draft of the script, but that enthusiasm seems not to have materialized into a "go" picture. Whedon's exit post also pokes bemused fun at the endless string of casting rumors he had to deny.

"But most importantly, I never have to answer THAT question again!!!! And you don't have to link to every rumor site!" he writes. "Finally and forever: I never had an actress picked out, or even a consistent front-runner. I didn't have time to waste on casting when I was so busy air-balling on the script. (No! Rim! There was rim!) That's the greatest relief of all. I can do interviews again!"

Fans may have been able to read the writing on the wall from earlier in the week when The Hollywood Reporter said that Warner Bros. had acquired a new "Wonder Woman" spec with Matthew Jennison and Brent Strickland's take on the popular DC Comics Amazon.

At the time, the trade report emphasized that the newly acquired spec script wasn't meant as an alternative to Whedon's take, a fact which still may be the case, though fanboys will likely have their doubts. The trade paper says that while Whedon's script was contemporary, the Jennison and Strickland script is set against the backdrop of World War II.

Whedon won't have trouble finding ways to busy himself. He's already signed on to write and direct the thriller "Gonners" for Universal.

Laurence Fishburne, wife expecting baby

Laurence Fishburne and his wife, Gina Torres, are expecting their first child, the actor's spokesman, Alan Nierob, said Monday.

Nierob had no other details. Fishburne, who has two children from a previous marriage, and Torres were married in 2002.

Fishburne, 45, was nominated for an Oscar for 1993's "What's Love Got to Do With It." His screen credits also include "Apocalypse Now," "The Matrix" and "Bobby," directed by Emilio Estevez.

Torres, 38, stars in Fox's "Standoff," about hostage negotiators. She will co-star opposite Chris Rock in the upcoming movie "I Think I Love My Wife."

"Drive" time for Fillion at Fox

Nathan Fillion will play the lead on Fox's midseason drama series "Drive," which chronicles an underground race across America.

Fillion will play Alex Tully, a charming, rogue landscaper who is coerced into joining the race to search for his wife who had been abducted. In the original pilot, the role was played by Ivan Sergei ("Jack & Jill").

Fillion, who is friends with one of the executive producers, Tim Minear, was first approached with the project in the spring but couldn't do the pilot because of a scheduling conflict with the filming of his feature "White Noise 2: The Light," slated for release January 5.

"I was a little disappointed because Tim is a friend, and there is nothing better than working with people you know and like," Fillion said.

At a barbecue this summer, after the pilot was shot but before Fox picked it up to series, Minear again floated the idea for "Drive" to Fillion and showed him the pilot.

In addition to "White Noise 2," Fillion will soon appear in the indie "Waitress," which is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. His other credits include the series "Two Guys and a Girl" and "Firefly."

TNT Achieves State of 'Grace'

TNT is on the verge of picking up two new series to go with its hit "The Closer."

"Grace," which stars Holly Hunter as a burned-out cop, and the medical drama "Heartland," featuring "Everwood's" Treat Williams, are both set to join TNT's lineup sometime in 2007. With the two new shows coming aboard, though, it looks like "Saved" will be gone after one season, the showbiz trade papers report.

"Heartland" is likely to get the post-"Closer" spot that "Saved" occupied last summer. It stars Williams (lately seen on ABC's "Brothers & Sisters") as a heart-transplant surgeon whose work takes a toll on his personal life -- not unlike the backstory for his "Everwood" character, neurosurgeon Andy Brown.

The show, created by David Hollander ("The Guardian"), also stars Kari Matchett ("Invasion") as Williams' estranged wife and Morena Baccarin ("Firefly").

"Grace," meanwhile, features Hunter ("Raising Arizona," "Broadcast News," "The Incredibles") as an Oklahoma City detective whose life is on the skids when she's visited by an angel (Leon Rippy, "Deadwood"). Laura San Giacomo ("Veronica Mars," "Just Shoot Me") and Bokeem Woodbine ("City of Angels") also star in the show, which was created by "Closer" writer-producer Nancy Miller.

"Saved," a drama about a Portland paramedic (Tom Everett Scott), pulled down decent ratings for TNT over the summer. However, it retained just a little more than half the audience for "The Closer," a figure TNT wants to improve.

'Firefly' Goes Online

The Whedonverse is about to meet the Multiverse.

Multiverse Network Inc. has pacted with 20th Century Fox to develop a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) based on "Firefly," Joss Whedon's short-lived, but beloved sci-fi western series.

Loyal Browncoats will need to be patient, though, because the "Firefly" MMOG (some folks prefer MMORPG, or Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) may not be available until 2008.

"FOX's 'Firefly' series is set in an incredibly rich and exciting universe. It's going to make a very compelling and unique online experience filled with adventure, humor, and mystery," swears Corey Bridges, Multiverse co-founder and executive producer. "It's our hope that 'Firefly's' passionate and dedicated community of fans will enjoy the chance to become part of the story as they develop and explore the worlds of 'Firefly.'"

"Firefly," which starred Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Adam Baldwin and a others, premiered on FOX in 2002. The network had difficulties airing the show in sequence or attracting a wide audience. The show was cancelled by December, but its fanbase -- though limited -- remained dedicated. The series sold well on DVD and Whedon was able to bring the characters to the big screen in "Serenity," though the feature also struggled to find a mainstream audience and made less than $40 million worldwide.

"One of the first meetings I had when I joined Fox was with Multiverse," says Adam Kline, vice president of new media enterprises at 20th Century Fox licensing & merchandising division. "We see virtual worlds as an extraordinarily promising new entertainment medium. This is a great opportunity for 20th Century Fox and for the fans of Firefly because Multiverse will deliver an experience that will remain true to the original series, while enabling a whole new level of personal involvement for fans."

Thus, in a little over a year, gamers and Browncoats will be able to visit other planets, make deliveries on time and pick up space whores, just like the characters on "Firefly."

The press release regarding the "Firefly" game makes no mention of any involvement on Whedon's part.

Fox Foments Future for 'Firefly's' Fillion

Dozens upon dozens of Browncoats are already hopelessly devoted to Nathan Fillion, a number FOX hopes to increase.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, FOX and 20th Century Fox have signed Fillion to a talent holding deal, aiming to either develop a new property for the "Firefly" star or else to slot the actor into an existing show.

Fillion is best known for his work as Mal Reynolds on both FOX's short-lived Joss Whedon offering "Firefly" and in the subsequent Universal feature "Serenity." His additional TV credits include "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place," "Miss Match" and a run on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Message boards have also been buzzing that Fillion will appear in an upcoming episode of "Lost."

On the feature side, the 35-year-old actor was most recently seen in the feature "Slither." He's also completed work on "White Noise 2: The Light."

Reignite Firefly

Greetings Fellow Firefly Fans,
We have started a campaign to Reignite Firefly. Rather than spam your group with this message we sent this invite to your group owner and asked that they pass it along to you our fellow Browncoats.

We’re writing to tell you about our petition to Reignite Firefly. Located at PetitionOnline.com:

http://www.petitiononline.com/brff06/petition.html

If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and consider signing. If we Browncoats band together we can show Mr. Whedon that we want Firefly back and prove to not only FOX but also other networks that Firefly is a show that should be considered for their lineup.

We have also created a group for our home base so we can rally, organize and exchange info with fellow Browncoats: The Browncoats for Reigniting Firefly http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/reigniting_firefly

You are all invited to join our campaign and help us get the word out. Any suggestion, questions or moments are welcome.

So if you will please take a moment, take a look, and consider signing yourself and then ask your fellow Browncoats, friends, co workers and family to support our cause also. Firefly is/was too good of a show to let it fall into limbo.

Together we can make a difference! Together we can get Firefly back!

“They can’t take the Firefly from Us”

Sincerely
Browncoat Evoo (Timothy C.), Co-Owner
Browncoat Gunner (Brandon G.), Co-Owner
"The Browncoats for Reigniting Firefly"
http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/reigniting_firefly

Kong, Star Wars and Stargate big winners of fourth annual Spacey Awards

Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong and the final episode in the Star Wars series were the big film winners at the 2006 Spacey Awards, while the science fiction series Battlestar Galactica and Stargate SG-1 were tops in television categories.

The fourth annual awards, honouring the best in sci-fi and fantasy entertainment, are the creation of CHUM Television and were to air Saturday night on CHUM's Space: The Imagination Station.

In an acceptance speech recorded in New Zealand, Jackson spoke of how he felt unworthy of the award and owes a debt to King Kong, in particular the original 1933 classic that inspired him to become a filmmaker.

"I make films for people exactly like you," he said to the audience through the camera. "That's who I am. I'm a fan, I'm a sci-fi, action, fantasy, adventure, horror fan. I'm a genre fan and I really appreciate the fact that other fans respond to our work."

As in the last three years, The Spaceys eschew the traditional audience, podium and red carpet format. Instead, camera crews head out around the country and the world to present the awards - a stylized space-alien bust - where the recipients can be found in their homes or a casual environment.

King Kong won for best sci-fi/fantasy movie and actor Andy Serkis, who brought King Kong to screen life through CGI motion capture technology, was named best non-human performer.

Speaking from Los Angeles, he thanked the writers of the screenplay, actress Naomi Watts, who played opposite the Serkis-motivated digital King Kong, and WETA, the New Zealand F/X company.

"And, what's the other guy's name? Peter Jackson, he's quite important, I suppose," Serkis joked.

Land of the Dead was named best horror movie while Sin City was deemed the best movie adapted from a comic.

Best movie hero was Batman from Batman Begins and best villain Supreme Chancellor Palpatine from Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.

The Star Wars finale also won favourite action sequence (the Darth Vader/Obi Wan light sabre duel) and favourite special effects.

The seven "favourite" categories were the result of online voting by viewers. The other winners were chosen by a panel the producers are calling "a crack team of space experts here."

Battlestar Galactica was favourite TV show, Lt.-Col. Cameron Mitchell favourite new TV character from Stargate SG-1, which also won for favourite TV ensemble cast. The favourite movie was a bit of a surprise, Serenity, Joss Whedon's big-screen followup to his short-lived outer-space TV series Firefly.

Spaceys co-host Jonathan Llyr says Whedon's rabid fan base likely led to Serenity beating out such front-runner titles as Kong, Star Wars and Batman Begins.

"Did they stuff the box? I dunno. Maybe, but it just shows that they were the fans that did the most work and got their movie to the top."

Best animated movie was Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Creators Nick Parks and Steve Box feigned wide-eyed wonder, oohing and aahing over the polished, silver trophy.

"Of all the awards we've had, this is certainly one of them," Parks said with understated appreciation.

"These things usually scare me but this one is lovely and friendly and shiny," added Box.

Favourite video game was Resident Evil 4.

There were also two honourary awards. Hollywood's B-movie king Roger Corman was given a Lifetime Achievement Award for five decades of low-budget filmmaking that nevertheless launched the careers of, among others, Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro. He produced some 350 titles and personally directed a series of horror movies based on Edgar Allan Poe tales.

Makeup effects master Stan Winston was given a Special Achievement Award for 30 years of creating screen monsters and aliens.

The 2006 Spaceys were broadcast from Vancouver immediately following the season finale of Battlestar Galacticawith hosts Llyr, Kim Poirier and Natasha Eloi.

Llyr says he was happy with the winner's list, citing Battlestar Galactica as his personal favourite show of the genre. Poirier, however, "was kinda bummed" that the alien-abduction series The 4400 didn't make the cut.

"I thought the acting was really great," she says. "It's got the subject matter of feeling like an outcast and I think a lot of people relate to that."

Browncoats Book Benefit 'Serenity' Screenings

The Browncoats, fans of Joss Whedon's "Firefly" and "Serenity," may be a little scary in their obsession, but what they're planning for June 23 can only be viewed as a positive.

Back in late April, Whedon devotees announced they were arranging screenings of "Serenity" worldwide for the week of June 23, with proceeds from screening benefiting the writer-director's pet charity Equality Now. As of May 25, more than 38 cities in five countries were planning screenings, with 23 showings already confirmed for locations like Austin, Louisville, Boston, Charlotte and Los Angeles.

The event, dubbed "Serenity" Now/Equality Now is meant to coincide with two occasions, one obvious and one a little bit more obscure. First, June 23 is the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" creator's birthday. It's also the one-year anniversary of the third and final advance screening of "Serenity" prior to its release.

A continuations of the swiftly cancelled FOX drama "Firefly," the feature film "Serenity" opened in late September, distributed by Universal Pictures. The film's worldwide gross of just under $40 million is roughly in line with its production budget.

Equality Now is an international organization which works to end violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world through the mobilization of public pressure.

For more information on screenings in your area, check out http://www.cantstoptheserenity.com/.

FOX Announces Fall '06

Standoff (Drama, Tuesdays 8pm)

Premise: Hostage negotiators balance work and their growing attraction to each other.

Stars: Ron Livingston ("Band of Brothers," "Pretty Persuasion"), Rosemarie DeWitt ("Cinderella Man"), Michael Cudlitz ("Prison Break"), Gina Torres ("Firefly"), Raquel Alessi ("Ghost Rider")

Studio: 20th Century Fox TV

Producers: Craig Silverstein ("The Dead Zone," "The Inside"), Tim Story ("Fantastic Four")

ABC Announces Fall '06

Day Break (Midseason Drama)

Premise: A cop tries to prevent one murder while clearing himself of another killing for which he's been framed.

Stars: Taye Diggs ("Kevin Hill"), Meta Golding ("JAG"), Moon Bloodgood ("Eight Below"), Victoria Pratt ("Mutant X"), Ramon Rodriguez ("Rescue Me"), Adam Baldwin ("Firefly")

Studio: Touchstone TV

Producers: Paul Zbyszewski ("After the Sunset"), Matt Gross ("Don't Say a Word"), Jeff Bell ("Alias"), Rob Bowman ("The X-Files")

Chris Rock to direct "Wife" comedy

Chris Rock will direct and star in the comedy "I Think I Love My Wife," which begins shooting this month in New York.

He replaces Charles Stone ("Mr. 3000"), who recently dropped out of the Fox Searchlight project.

The film, a remake of Eric Rohmer's 1972 French comedy "Chloe in the Afternoon," centers on Richard Cooper (Rock), a professional who is married to Brenda (Gina Torres), with whom he has a young daughter. When his old flame (Kerry Washington) enters the picture, Cooper soon discovers he is in way over his head. Rock wrote the script with longtime collaborator Louis C.K.

The film will mark Rock's return to the director's chair; he last shot the 2003 comedy "Head of State," in which he co-starred with Bernie Mac.

Washington, whose recent credits include "Fantastic Four," "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" and "Ray," will appear in the upcoming Wayans brothers comedy "Little Man."

Torres, who co-stars on the new Fox hostage negotiation drama "Primary," also stars opposite her husband, Laurence Fishburne, in "Five Fingers," which recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

Apple's iTunes starts selling Fox TV shows

Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes has started to sell episodes of shows from News Corp.'s Fox television network, the latest major U.S. TV network to reach a deal with Apple's Internet download service.

Shows including "24" and "Prison Break," as well as FX Network shows such as "The Shield," were available on the download service on Tuesday morning, at $1.99 per episode.

iTunes has also started to sell episodes of older series, such as "Firefly", "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Lost in Space."

The three other major networks, including Walt Disney's ABC, General Electric's NBC, and CBS Corp. already sell shows on iTunes. They also redistribute some programming via other means over the Internet, including their own Web sites.

Networks are pursuing the younger generation wherever members get their entertainment, which is more often on the go with devices such as the iPod from Apple. ITunes allows downloads for watching on the computer or on an iPod.

James Gianopulos, co-chairman of News Corp.'s Fox Filmed Entertainment, in December told the Reuters Media and Advertising Summit that Fox would be open to a deal with iTunes.

ABC Family initiates scary "Sarah" again

Jennifer Tilly, Morgan Fairchild, Mika Boorem and Summer Glau have been cast in cable channel ABC Family's remake of the horror movie "The Initiation of Sarah." The original aired in 1978 on ABC.

"Sarah" centers on a sorority girl ("Sleepover's" Boorem) with mysterious powers who unwittingly becomes the focus of a century-old battle between good and evil. Glau ("Serenity") will play Sarah's naive and put-upon twin sister, Lindsey.

The respective roles were originally played by Kay Lenz and Morgan Brittany, who was actually the half-sister.

Fairchild, who played a bitchy sorority sister first time around, will play the girls' mother. Tilly will portray Sarah's mentor and the school's resident enchantress, Dr. Hunter, a role originally played by Shelley Winters.

Also joining the cast are Joanna Garcia (WB Network's "Reba") and Tessa Thompson (UPN's "Veronica Mars").

Production is set to begin May 1 in Shreveport, La. The movie is slated to air during ABC Family's eighth annual "13 Nights of Halloween," a Halloween-themed programming event airing each night from October 19-31.

"It's suspenseful, scary and frequently wickedly funny, and we've got just the cast of leading ladies to pull it off," said ABC Family president Paul Lee.

"Slither" a lively addition to horror canon

Just when it seemed as if the zombie cannibal/parasite from outer space horror comedy had pretty much run its course, along comes "Slither," a particularly lively addition to the remarkably durable undead genre.

Like "Shaun of the Dead" before it, this feature directorial bow by screenwriter James Gunn strikes a surprisingly effective yuks-to-yuck balance. Factor in a cast that totally gets the desired heavily ironic tone, and you've got a parody picture that pays blood-soaked homage to 1980s-style excess yet still manages to work on its own queasy terms.

That sense of something different should translate into solid grosses in a saturated market that hasn't exactly been crying out for horror product in recent weeks, while DVD sales should be tasty.

With apologies to David Cronenberg's "Shivers" and Frank Henenlotter's "Basket Case" films, Gunn, whose early career as a writer at Troma made him the right man for the job, fuses the various influences to come up with an agreeable mutation.

Always reliable Michael Rooker ("Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer") gleefully nails the part of Grant Grant, a card-carrying redneck denizen of the folksy town of Wheelsy, who one night gets a little too close to the noxious fallout of what appears to be a meteor, only to become the unwitting host of a diabolical alien life force.

As if Grant's transformation into a hideous, tentacle-bearing, meat-craving monster isn't bad enough, he also is beginning to spawn hundreds of these crimson killer slugs that creep their way into victims' mouths and turn them into flesh-eating zombies.

Determined to stop this sinister plague in its bloody tracks is noble police chief Bill Pardy ("Serenity's" Nathan Fillion), who's driven in part by the torch he has been carrying for Grant's pretty wife, Starla (Elizabeth Banks). Joining them in their quest is the town's foul-mouthed mayor (played hysterically by Gregg Henry), who vows to find Grant even if he does look like "a damn squid."

Gunn, whose previous writing credits run the gamut from "Tromeo & Juliet" to "Scooby-Doo" to the 2004 reworking of "Dawn of the Dead," maintains the ideal glib pitch for most of the picture, flirting with camp but never hanging around it long enough to water down the squirm-inducing stuff.

That winning blend extends to the performances, which all follow Rooker's no-nonsense lead, and to the special effects, which neatly combine old school prosthetics with just the right amount of CGI enhancement.

Cast:
Bill Pardy: Nathan Fillion
Starla Grant: Elizabeth Banks
Jack MacReady: Gregg Henry
Grant Grant: Michael Rooker

Director-screenwriter: James Gunn; Producers: Paul Brooks, Eric Newman; Executive producers: Marc Abraham, Thomas A. Bliss, Norm Waitt, Scott Niemeyer; Director of photography: Gregory Middleton; Production designer: Andrew Neskoromny; Editor: John Axelrad; Costume designer: Patricia Louise Hargreaves; Music: Tyler Bates.

'Firefly' Star Baldwin Makes His 'Bones'

It's a small TV world after all, especially if you're Adam Baldwin.

The deep-voiced actor went from playing the volatile mercenary Jayne Cobb on Fox's short-lived sci-fi/Western "Firefly" (a role he reprised in the movie version, "Serenity"), executive-produced by creator by Joss Whedon ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") and Tim Minear, to a five-episode stint on The WB's "Buffy" spin-off, "Angel."

Whedon created that show with David Greenwalt, and for a while, it was executive-produced by Minear, who created Baldwin's next show, FOX's short-lived crime drama "The Inside."

Also an executive producer on "Angel" was Jeff Bell, who has just signed on to executive-produce Baldwin's ABC/Touchstone pilot "Day Break." A murder mystery with elements of "Groundhog Day" and "Memento," it stars Taye Diggs, whom Baldwin says is a friend of Jay Harrington, who co-starred on "The Inside."

And, directing the "Day Break" pilot is Rob Bowman, who directed for the "The X-Files" series, on which Baldwin played the mysterious Knowle Rohrer for several episodes.

In between all of this, Baldwin found time to stop by FOX's witty crime procedural "Bones," which stars "Angel" himself, David Boreanaz, as FBI Agent Seeley Booth.

In "Two Bodies in the Lab," airing Wednesday, March 15, Baldwin plays FBI Agent Jamie Kenton, who is assigned to protect Booth's informal partner, forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel), after an assassination attempt.

"David Boreanaz, he went to bat for me," Baldwin says. "Basically, there were other people, and they said, 'What about him?' And David said, 'Yeah, yeah, I worked with him on "Angel."

"He's a nice guy. We had the same acting coach in common as well, so we had something to chat about. I also lost $20 to him on the Super Bowl. We had a good time. He's in great shape, and he was trying to push me around, but I'm still bigger. It's all good-natured stuff.

"He's a really good-humored, good-natured guy, very prepared, willing to cut it up and improv a little bit here and there."

Just as a bonus, Baldwin also found common ground with Deschanel, whose father is acclaimed cinematographer Caleb Deschanel.

"Her dad shot 'The Patriot,' which I did," says Baldwin, "so we were able to talk a little about that. We got along great.""We just had a party over at Nate's house," he says, "and Joss showed up, so we had some nice reminiscences. He's still down in the salt mines writing 'Wonder Woman,' and when he will finish with that, we don't know. I have no idea what's in his head."

As to whether Kenton might make a return appearance on "Bones," Baldwin says, "I don't think my storyline's going to be allowing for that. Besides, I'll be working on another show. I've got my fingers crossed."

TV Pilot News

Adam Baldwin has joined Taye Diggs in ABC's drama pilot "Day Break" and Tia Mowry has landed a role in the new CW network's comedy pilot "The Game." "Day Break" is a thriller revolving around a cop (Diggs) on the run after being framed for murder. Baldwin will play a grizzled veteran of the force.

TV Pilot News

Alan Tudyk will play a competitive, arrogant Ivy League graduate in CBS' untitled Carol Mendelsohn drama, which revolves around brilliant legal associates. The actor appeared in the 2005 feature "Serenity."

'Firefly,' 'Inside' Guy Minear Back at FOX

Writer-producer Tim Minear hasn't had a lot of luck with FOX in recent years: None of the last three series he's worked on -- "Firefly," "Wonderfalls" and "The Inside" -- has gone a full season.

But Minear is back at the network again, co-writing a pilot called "Drive." FOX has also ordered a comedy called "Union Jackass," starring British comedian Al Murray, and CBS has given the green light to "Generations," a comedy from writer Cheryl Holliday ("Father of the Pride").

Minear is writing and executive producing "Drive" with Ben Queen ("Century City"), the showbiz trade papers report. The show would follow the participants in a high-stakes and highly illegal race across the country. FOX's corporate sibling 20th Century Fox TV is producing the pilot.

In addition to his trio of short-lived FOX shows, Minear has also worked on "Angel" and "The X-Files." Queen's credits include the forthcoming feature film "100 Weddings" (with Erin Cramer and Ellen Simon).

"Union Jackass," meanwhile, is based in part on Murray's stand-up character The Pub Landlord, an Archie Bunker-ish guy who follows his ex-wife and son from England to the beachside L.A. suburb of Santa Monica -- which is home to numerous British expatriates.

Dan O'Keefe ("Seinfeld," "The Drew Carey Show") is writing the pilot and will executive produce with Richard Allen-Turner, Jon Thoday and David Martin. Murray will serve as a producer.

At CBS, "Generations" will center on an elderly gent and his grandson who live together in a retirement community. Writer-exec producer Holliday's credits include "King of the Hill" and "The Norm Show."

Sci-fi actors come to life for "Noise 2"

"White Noise 2: The Light" has attracted two space stars into its orbit.

Nathan Fillion, who starred in Joss Whedon's cult sci-fi series "Firefly" and subsequent movie "Serenity," is set to star in the horror movie while Katee Sackhoff, who plays "Starbuck" in the acclaimed "Battlestar Galactica" TV series, is in negotiations to join him.

In the sequel to the 2005 hit, a man's family is murdered, but he is brought back from the brink of death. The man realizes he has changed and can now identify those among the living who are about to die. When he tries to save people from their fate, he discovers there is a price to paid for interfering with the natural order.

Fillion is playing the man while Sackhoff will portray a nurse who befriends him after the death of his wife.

Patrick Lussier ("Dracula 2000") is directing. "White Noise 2" will be distributed in the United States by Rogue Pictures, the genre arm of Focus Features.

Fillion next appears in the horror movie "Slither," which opens March 31.

Serenity And Beyond

(From Kenny) Exclusive: Whedon on Firefly's future

Browncoats around the world cried out in despair when, due to an underwhelming performance at the box office, Joss Whedon announced that the saga of Serenity had ended. No sequels, no follow-ups, no hope. But Whedon isn't a man to let his brain-child die; the man's already resuscitated the franchise once and there's still hope for a third coming.

"A sequel's unlikely," Whedon told Empire with a note of clear regret, "but it's amazing what permutations of something can happen." But if not a theatrical encore, that leaves... yes, you guessed it, a possible return to the smaller screen. "As long as I was able to service the characters with integrity and had enough money so that I wasn't hampered, then I would love to return Serenity to TV. I love that universe; it continues and those characters live on. There could be a series, there could be a miniseries, there could be all sorts of things. I'm not ruling anything out. I'll let it simmer for a while and see if anyone calls."

As for why the film failed to rake in the cash despite uniformly glowing reviews, according to Whedon it's all in the presentation. "It's a question of marketing ultimately. The fact that I like to dance around genres with gay abandon has worked to my disadvantage. Nobody knows exactly how to market anything I do because it usually has so much in it. It has a diffuseness because of it's origin that keeps it from being the easy sell. Some people also said that you can't call an action movie 'Serenity' but I think that's still okay. What was I going to call it? 'Big Smash Bang With Boobies'? Which was, of course my second choice."

DVD sales should, however, put Serenity back in the black and when the bucks start rolling in we can only hope that one of the suits at Universal looks at the numbers, adds the success of the Firefly DVD box set and greenlights a return for Captain Reynolds and his crew. Until that time we advise Whedon to keep his phone switched on.

TVGuide.com: Guest Columnist Joss Whedon Eyes the Future of TV

Many people have asked me, "Joss, what is the future of television? What will we watch? And how will we watch it? Surely you must know, for you are wise, and slender." I usually smile and say nothing, because I wasn't actually listening to the question. But it's a good one, and I think it's time I let you in on a few highlights of Television-to-Be.

The networks will all be creating exciting, innovative new spin-offs of today's shows. Approximately 67 percent of all television will be CSI-based, including CSI: Des Moines, CSI: New York but a Different Part than Gary Sinise Is In and NCSI: SVU WKRP, which covers every possible gruesome crime with a groovin' '70s beat. (Jerry Bruckheimer will also have conquered Broadway with the CSI musical "FOLLICLE!" starring Nathan Lane as a frenetic but lovable blood spatter and Matthew Broderick as lint.)

Lost has that one-of-a-kind alchemy that really can't be copied. Therefore, look for the original series Misplaced, as well as Unfound, Not So Much with the Whereabouts and Just Pull Over and Ask!

In a stunningly cost-effective move, CBS will air How I Met Your Biological Mother, That Bitch, which is just old episodes of How I Met Your Mother with snarkier narration. HBO's Westminster will continue the trend pioneered by Deadwood and Rome by making 19th-century England really dirty and weird, like Jane Austen with Tourette's. (Actually, I can't wait for that one.) Also, the constant slew of cable mergers will result in the creation of CinePax, a channel that's just very confused about its morals.

Every year another film actress gets "too old" for film leads and finds a (sometimes much better) home on TV. This trend will continue a few years hence when the aging but feisty Dakota Fanning headlines CSI: Vancouver Made to Look Like Chicago.

Obviously, we'll see advances in technology. TiVo, iPods, streaming video — the way we watch TV is changing dramatically. It's on our phones, in our cars — even projected on specialized eyeglasses. But don't listen to the talk about having shows beamed directly into your brain. That's science-fiction nonsense. Shows will be stored in the pancreas and will enter the brain through the bloodstream after being downloaded into your iHole.

And what of me? My short-lived series Firefly was the basis for the epic action film Serenity (now available on DVD! I have little or no shame), and the future will see even more incarnations of this visionary work, as it returns to TV as Serenity: The Firefly Years, then back to film as Firefly: Serenity's Sequel, back to TV as SereniFly, and finally end as the direct-to-eyeglasses series Choose a Damn Name Already. I promise it'll be as heartwarming and exciting as the original Serenity, now available on DVD. (Explain again this thing you call shame....)

That's all I can tell you, except for one last thing: Veronica Mars will still be on. Veronica Mars will still be on. We clear about that?

Bye-ee!

Righteous 'Brothers' tops video charts, 'Serenity' 3rd

"Four Brothers" stormed to the top of the DVD sales and rental charts for the week ending December 25, beating several other high-profile new releases in the final week of the holiday shopping season.

The John Singleton-helmed thriller narrowly beat last week's sales topper, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," which slipped to No. 2 on VideoScan's First Alert sales chart.

The sci-fi saga "Serenity" bowed at No. 3, with the next two slots going to a pair of family films released earlier in the season but still going strong: "The Polar Express" and "Madagascar."

Several new titles failed to command much attention on the sales front, including "The Brothers Grimm" (No. 6), "Must Love Dogs" (No. 8), and -- perhaps most surprisingly, given its $75 million box office haul -- "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" (No. 12).

In rental stores, first-place finisher "Four Brothers" generated an estimated $8.8 million in revenue, or nearly 12% of its theatrical gross of $74.5 million.

'Serenity' Star Goes 'South of Pico'

Gina Torres and Kip Pardue will topline "South of Pico," an indie drama.

The film will mark the theatrical directing debut of Ernst Gossner and will begin production this week in Los Angeles, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Written by Gossner and Richard Marcus, the film is an ensemble about four people who witness an accidental death. Paul Hipp ("Face/Off"), Henry Simmons ("NYPD Blue"), Jimmy Bennett ("Hostage") and Soren Fulton ("Thunderbirds") also star.

Torres is best known for her collaborations with Joss Whedon on "Angel" and "Firefly," as well as the feature "Serenity." The actress has also been seen in the second and third films in the "Matrix" trilogy.

"Driven" star Pardue has been seen (at least by somebody) in "Undiscovered" and "Loggerheads" this fall.

Disaster strikes again in 'Poseidon' misadventure

Leonard Maltin, in his one-volume encyclopedia on movies and videos, described "The Poseidon Adventure," released in 1972, as "mindless but engrossing." A lot has changed in this remake for TV from Robert Halmi Jr. and Larry Levinson.

Instead of a tidal wave capsizing the luxurious cruise vessel, the ship is flipped over by a terrorist's bomb. The rescue is accomplished with the help of the Internet and satellite imagery. A boy who is a passenger records the entire doomed voyage with a video camera. And instead of being mindless but engrossing, as Maltin called the original, it's just mindless.

For all of its defects, the original film won a place in cinematic history as the progenitor of disaster films (and for the Oscar-winning song "The Morning After"). The TV remake, though nearly 20 minutes longer after commercials are subtracted, is bloated with special effects and stunts but fails to produce an emotional connection. In the end, we care almost as little about the few survivors as we do about the thousands of others who are washed into oblivion by torrents of water.

The formula for a disaster film requires there be smaller, personal stories mixed in with the larger story of the fight for survival. In Bryce Zabel's script, most of those personal stories involve Richard and Rachel Clarke (Steve Guttenberg and Alexa Hamilton), their nursing student daughter (Amber Sainsbury) and their precocious videographer son (Rory Copus). Mom is an entrepreneur whose chief flaw, at least according to Dad, is her success at establishing a retail empire. Dad is a resentful novelist who quickly, conveniently and inexplicably becomes the object of affect for the ship's masseuse (Nathalie Boltt), who turns out to be a surprisingly nice person for a homewrecker.

Adam Baldwin stars as Mike Rogo, a Homeland Security agent assigned to the holiday cruise on the basis of intercepted chatter and a raid of a terrorist cell that takes place in the film's opening minutes. There's also the elderly lady (Sylvia Syms) still grieving her husband's death, an obnoxious producer (Bryan Brown) and his arm candy (Tinarie Van Wyk). Yet, for all the character development that occurs, they might as well be a movie star, a professor, a millionaire and his wife.

The toppled gigantic Christmas tree is in the remake. So is the upside-down ballroom, even though modern cruise ships don't really have them. Nor is it commonplace for the ship's officers to grant children free run of the ship's galley. No matter. "The Poseidon Adventure" isn't about reality any more than it is about compelling drama or scintillating dialogue. It is about calamity, well executed special effects and remarkable stunts, all of which are capably presented by director John Putch. This time, though, "The Morning After" isn't a song but the time period by which most of the movie will be forgotten.

A Hallmark Entertainment presentation of a Silverstar Limited production in association with Larry Levinson Prods.

CAST:
Mike Rogo: Adam Baldwin
Kasim Badawi: Peter Butler
Richard Clarke: Steve Guttenberg
Rachel Clarke: Alexa Hamilton
Aimee Anderson: Tinarie Van Wyk
Shoshana: Nathalie Boltt
Jeffrey Eric Anderson: Bryan Brown
Bishop Schmidt: Rutger Hauer
Dr. Ballard: C. Thomas Howell
Shelby Clarke: Amber Sainsbury
Belle Rosen: Sylvia Syms
Dylan Clarke: Rory Copus
Suzanne Harrison: Alex Kingston
Executive producers: Robert Halmi Jr., Larry Levinson
Co-executive producer: David Wicht
Producer: Mary Church
Director: John Putch
Teleplay: Bryce Zabel
Director of photography: Ross Berryman
Production designer: Jonathan Carlson
Editor: Jennifer Jean Cacavas
Music: Joe Kraemer
Set designer: Jonathan Hutchinson
Art director: Tom Hannam
Casting: Matthew Lessall, Gillian Hawser, Janet Meintjes

Joss Whedon debuts on 'Mars'

Joss Whedon, who says he is a big fan of "Veronica Mars", makes his acting debut on the UPN series Wednesday night.

Whedon, the king of cult hits for his creation of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel", plays a car rental guy.

"Veronica Mars" is a mystery-drama about an 18-year-old sleuth who has struggled with an alcoholic mother and the death of her best friend. She overcomes her problems by helping her sheriff father.

When Whedon appears, Veronica is trying to figure out who deliberately crashed a school bus with the intention of killing her.

Like Buffy, Veronica, played by Kristen Bell, is a blond high school girl fighting some very mean folks with verve and pluck.

But she hasn't the big following Buffy generated and creator Rob Thomas may be hoping to boost ratings, as the show has been given a 9 p.m. slot where it competes against ABC's "Lost."

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Whedon says other shows have been compared with "Buffy", but this is the first time it has made him proud "as opposed to irate."

""Veronica Mars" combines all the genres," he explained. "She's not just mystery-solving gal; she's dealing with the mysteries of the human condition .... The mix of humour and pain and romance is exactly what we tried to do on "Buffy"."

Whedon says the mystery story structure adds a new element that has him calling "Veronica Mars", the "Best. Show. Ever."

Whedon has finished his feature film "Serenity" and it looks like it will be making a swift transition to DVD. It is scheduled to come out Dec. 20.

'Serenity' Makes Quick Voyage to DVD

Joss Whedon's short-lived FOX drama "Firefly" found its greatest success on DVD and it looks like Universal is hoping the same will be true of Whedon's feature "Serenity."

After 38 days in release, "Serenity" has grossed just over $25 million domestically and it'll make its transition onto DVD on December 20, a theater-to-home window of well under three months, an extra fast turnaround.

Now you know what to get as a stocking stuffer for that Browncoat in your life.

The film reunites the stars of "Firefly" -- including Nate Fillion, Gina Torres, Adam Baldwin, Sean Maher and Alan Tudyk -- in another adventure that combines outer space fantasy with Western action. Although writer-director Whedon was able to complete his first feature with a relatively modest budget (somewhere in the $40 million range), the box office for "Serenity" fell short of what most observers thought would be required to greenlight a theatrical sequel.

Of course, passionate fans of the series and movie have been told before that the story was over, getting the franchise resurrected with their faith (and DVD-buying dollars).

The DVD contains deleted scenes, outtakes, a special introduction and commentary from Whedon and several other documentaries and features.

"Serenity" knocks "Pride" off top of box office

Sci-fi action adventure "Serenity" has knocked "Pride and Prejudice" from the top of the UK Box Office charts after three weeks at number one, Screen International said on Tuesday.

The film, directed by Joss Whedon who created "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and based on the TV series "Firefly", follows the motley crew of a spaceship named Serenity living at the edge of the law in a Wild West-style frontier of deep space.

It meant the adaptation of Jane Austen's novel starring Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen dropped down to second place despite having taken 11.4 million pounds since it was released in Britain.

Roman Polanski's version of the Charles Dickens classic "Oliver Twist" debuted in third spot. The director said he wanted the film to be something with which his own children could identify.

David Cronenberg's acclaimed "A History of Violence", a subversive thriller starring Viggo Mortensen dropped to fourth ahead of a new entry, the British comedy "Kinky Boots".

"Four Brothers", starring Mark Wahlberg as one of four siblings out to avenge their mother's death, was in sixth with "Goal", about a young kid's dream to become the best soccer player in seventh.

"Night Watch", a dark tale of a never-ending battle between light and dark, was new in eighth, with romantic comedy "The 40 Year Old Virgin", starring Steve Carell, ninth.

At 10 was "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo", starring Rob Schneider.

Serenity Slips In Week 2

The plasticine adventures of a man and his dog attracted families to movie theaters over the weekend as Dreamworks' "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" took in an estimated $16.1 million, enough to snag the top spot at the box office. This caused "Flightplan" with its estimated $10.8 million to slip to No. 2 after two weeks, brining its total gross thus far to $60.9 million.

New releases "In Her Shoes" ($10 million), "Two for the Money" ($8.4 million) and "The Gospel" ($8 million) rounded out the Top Five, and Lions Gate's new comedy "Waiting" ($5.7 million) debuted at No. 7.

Many of last week's top films took a tumble as "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride" slipped from third to sixth, and was joined in its decline by "A History of Violence (from fourth to eighth) and "Into the Blue" (from fifth to tenth).

In its second week of release "Serentiy" had the largest decline of the Top 10 though, losing 51 percent and moving from second to ninth place.

Overall, the news was mixed. While the box office's Top 12 was up 16.6 percent from last week, it was down 9.9 percent from this same weekend last year when in its second week Dreamworks' No. 1 film "Shark Tale" took in $31.3 million and Universal's "Friday Night Lights" debuted with $20.2 million.

Movie goers will have a variety of new films to choose from next week as "Domino," "Elizabethtown" and "The Fog" are all released wide.

All estimates come courtesy of Exhibitor Relations, which tracks daily box office receipts.

'Flightplan' Remains Airborne, Tops 'Serenity'

Diehard Browncoats were able to push Joss Whedon's "Serenity" to a $10 million opening weekend, but there just weren't enough surviving "Firefly" fans to put the film ahead of "Flightplan" at the domestic box office.

The Jodie Foster thriller pulled in just over $15 million in its second frame to take the weekend crown for the three-day period ending Sunday, Oct. 2. Despite earning mixed-to-negative reviews, "Flightplan" fell off only 39 percent, a decent retention for the genre. Playing in 3,424 locations, the Buena Vista release averaged $4,392 per theater, bringing its cumulative gross to $46.1 million.

Universal Pictures' "Serenity," which brought the cast and crew of the short-lived FOX drama "Firefly" to the big screen, played in more than 1000 fewer locations (2188 in total) that "Flightplan," but averaged a slightly higher $4,616 per screen to earn an estimated $10.1 million. Given the number of devoted fans for the cult series, the true test for "Serenity" will come next weekend. The first week figures were somewhere in line with industry expectations, but don't necessarily indicate that the film has immediately found a crossover audience.

Overall, the Top 12 films at the box office earned $75.3 million, off a whopping 25.97 percent from the same frame last year, when "Shark Tale" and "Ladder 49" both made over $20 million in their premieres. This was the first down weekend of the fall compared to last year, following four straight year-to-year weekly improvements.

Last week's second-place film, "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride," held off most of the new releases, despite falling 49 percent to $9.75 million, for third place. The animated film's total is now at $32.9 million.

While not exactly a new release, David Cronenberg's "A History of Violence" went from 14 locations to 1340 in its second weekend and stormed into the Top 12 with an $8.2 million, good for fourth. The graphic novel adaptation, earning some of the year's best reviews, had the best per-screen-average of any film in wide release, averaging $6,119. Already, "Violence" has become one of the Canadian director's top grossing films.

Also expanding over the weekend, with far less viewer interest, was Roman Polanski's adaptation of "Oliver Twist." After opening in only five theaters, the Dickens adaptation added 774 locations, but apparently audiences weren't asking for more. It made only $875,000 for a dismal per-screen-average of $1,123. It's unlikely to go much wider.

None of the other new releases for the weekend were much luckier. The prospect of watching Paul Walker and Jessica Alba swimming in skimpy attire was only enough to get "Into the Blue" to fifth with a $7 million opening, average $2,510 per screen. Buena Vista's underdog sports saga "The Greatest Game Ever Played" did $3,697 per screen, but in only 1,014 locations, it only brought in $3.75 million total, good for ninth overall.

The rest of the Top 12 was filled with returning films including "Just Like Heaven" ($6.1 million, No. 6), "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" ($4.4 million, No. 7), "Roll Bounce" ($4.03 million, No. 8) and "The 40 Year-Old Virgin," which took in $3.1 million to pass the $100 million threshold overall in its seventh week in release.

On the limited front, Miramax continued its bafflingly slow release patter for "Proof," which took in a strong $4,904 per screen in its third weekend, but the drama is still only in 240 theaters, for a gross of less than $1.1 million. That's still far better than DreamWorks' "The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio," which opened in 41 locations, but took in only $155,000 with a so-so $3,780 per-screen-average.

The weekend's per screen campion was Sony Pictures Classic's much lauded "Capote," which took in $348,978 total in only 12 locations, for an average of over $29,000 per screen. In only two theaters, the kiddie romance "Little Manhattan" averaged $19,000 per screen.

A full slate of wide releases is set for next weekend including "Two for the Money," "In Her Shoes" and "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit."

All estimates come courtesy of Exhibitor Relations, which tracks daily box office receipts.

Review: Sci-Fi Film 'Serenity' Engaging

You can see how "Firefly," the short-lived TV show that provided the basis for "Serenity," could have gotten addictive if given the chance.

The movie is a spirited mix of the familiar and the futuristic, of fast-paced chase scenes and butt-kicking brawls, of witty banter and well-drawn characters.

No single element of it is truly original — remnants of "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" are scattered throughout, alongside ideas from utopian novels and Clint Eastwood Westerns.

Yet as a whole, "Serenity" feels like its own uniquely formed universe. And having sprung from the mind (and heart) of Joss Whedon, creator of the cult-favorite TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel," it comes with its own legion following of vocal sci-fi geeks, which now is likely to increase in its ranks.

The loyalists — who clamored for more when "Firefly" was canceled in 2002 after just 11 episodes — should be satisfied with "Serenity," Whedon's feature directing debut, but the uninitiated will find it engaging, as well.

A bit of background for those in the latter category: Five hundred years from now, Earth has been overpopulated, forcing people to discover and inhabit new planets in a new galaxy. After a civil war in which the all-powerful Alliance (which seeks to establish "a beacon of civilization" through even-tempered uniformity) has defeated the rebels (who, you know, want to be themselves), Capt. Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), a former rebel soldier, now earns a living through petty robberies and transport.

(If Malcolm — or "Mal" as he's known — is the swaggering Han Solo figure in the equation, then his ship, the rickety, rambling Serenity, is his Millennium Falcon.)

The crew consists of his second-in-command, the strong, beautiful Zoe (Gina Torres); her husband, the sarcastic pilot, Wash (Alan Tudyk, grabbing most of the best laughs); Kaylee (Jewel Staite), the down-home, no-nonsense mechanic; and Jayne (Adam Baldwin), a muscular mercenary fighter.

They have agreed to provide shelter for River Tam (Summer Glau), a willowy, teenage psychic who's been turned into a human weapon by the Alliance; and her older brother, Simon (Sean Maher), a young doctor who has smuggled her away from the scientists who were manipulating her.

(All these likable actors, by the way, are reprising their roles from the TV series, along with Morena Baccarin as the gorgeous courtesan Mal secretly loves.)

On their tail is The Operative (the suavely menacing Chiwetel Ejiofor from "Dirty Pretty Things") who works for the Alliance and is trying to steal River back.

But River becomes even more dangerous — and even more sought-after — when she intuitively leads Mal and his crew to the faraway planet of Miranda, where secrets lie that could destroy the Alliance. The place is striking, with the stark look of a biochemical lab compound shot under dreamlike, blindingly bright lights.

Until it turns dark with themes of deception and survival, Whedon's script is a combination of snappy dialogue, awkward flirting, Eastern mysticism ("This is a good death, there's no shame in this," The Operative tells a scientist after forcing him to fall on a sword) and rhythmic Americana ("There'll be no undue fussin'," Jayne drawls charmingly during a bank robbery).

And of course, this being a Whedon production, "Serenity" offers some dazzlingly choreographed martial arts sequences. Sparked by a cartoon image she sees on TV at a bar, River freaks out and takes on dozens of other patrons at once, dropping them all to the floor with a smoothness and efficiency that even would have impressed Buffy.

"Serenity," a Universal Pictures release, is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense violence and action, and some sexual references. Running time: 118 minutes. Three stars out of four.

Behind-the-Scenes at Serenity's Shoot

Movie sets can be notoriously cold and impersonal places where busy cast and crew members scurry around barely looking each other in the eye, but that wasn't the case with Serenity, writer-director Joss Whedon's big-screen take on his short-lived sci-fi Western series, Firefly. No, it was the kind of set where Whedon begins a take by yelling to his actors, "OK, everybody, be awesome!" It was a place where the cast openly joked about rubbing each other's behinds, and a mysterious bottle labeled "Extra Longlasting SEXY Powder" could be found where the actors relax in between takes. In short, everyone had a grand old time. And why not? After all, the chance to revive a canceled TV series as a feature doesn't come along every day, and that's something that everyone involved with Serenity is keenly aware of. "There's a different energy this time — we don't feel the specter of doom hanging over our heads," jokes Whedon. "When we were making the series for Fox, there was this overriding feeling that we weren't liked by our parents. But Universal [which bankrolled Serenity] has been so supportive. It's been such a positive experience." TVGuide.com spent the day roaming the passageways of the rebuilt Serenity, catching up with some of the ship's crew as well as the guy who pulls their strings.

Nathan Fillion isn't only the once and future star of Firefly/Serenity — he's also the show's biggest fan (next to Whedon, of course). "I remember meeting with Joss when he was casting the pilot," says the actor, who plays Mal Reynolds (or, as he's known in cyberspace, "Captain Tightpants"). "I had a lot of questions about the show and he had a lot of answers. Everything he said left me going, 'Oh, of course it would be like that!' I watch other sci-fi shows [with a] suspension of disbelief, but this is far more reality-based and it's the reality of our world that I love." Like Firefly's devoted fans, Fillion spent the first few postcancellation months in a state of mourning. But when he got the call that Serenity was a go, a weight was lifted off his shoulders. The first few days on set were "unreal," he says. "What we do here feels to me like the TV show, but then I see the dailies and I see the difference. This is darker, edgier stuff; things we couldn't have done on TV." "Darker, edgier" also describes Mal's state of mind as Serenity starts unspooling. "The film picks up a few months after the series left off and Mal is definitely a darker, sadder man. Let's just leave it at that." To lighten the mood, Fillion has become the set clown, cracking jokes — that is, whenever he's not pondering Serenity's prospects. "All I want is for this movie to be a huge success," he says eagerly. "I want it to lead to a trilogy, because I want to do this again."

Gina Torres wasn't exactly a newcomer to genre TV when she signed on to Firefly as Zoe, Mal's fearless second-in-command, having done stints on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, M.A.N.T.I.S. and Cleopatra 2525. But she noticed something different about her new gig right away. "The other shows I had done, particularly Cleopatra, were mutant-heavy and highly stylized. In contrast, there's something so bare-bones and human about Firefly. It was unlike anything else I'd ever worked on. Joss lets situations evolve from the characters' relationships as opposed to creating extraordinary situations." Because of her previous roles, Torres served as a helpful advisor to cast mates who were sci-fi virgins — like Jewel Staite, aka flighty mechanic Kaylee. "At first I was a little nervous about doing a sci-fi series, because I had heard that the fans could be kind of crazy," says the newbie. "But our fans have been great. One of my favorite days making this movie was when about 20 fans worked as extras. They brought 'Congratulations' cakes for the cast and crew. We had a great time." As the Serenity shoot hit the halfway mark, both Staite and Torres mulled over their next projects. Staite hoped to find a gig in her native Canada — she succeeded, recently popping up in an episode of Vancouver-based Stargate: Atlantis — while Torres planned to shoot a thriller with hubby Laurence "Morpheus" Fishburne.

When he's not on set, Adam Baldwin can regularly be found popping off shots with his trusty digital camera. Some of these photos find their way to the movie's official website, but most of them come home with Baldwin. "I like to show them to my kids and say, 'Hey, look — Daddy's in a movie! I'm really working, not just sitting in a bar all day!'" Baldwin, who has been kicking around Hollywood since the early '80s with small roles in such pictures as Full Metal Jacket and Predator 2, credits Whedon with finally giving him a part that leaves an impression. As Jayne, the resident brawler, he gets to kick butt while delivering many of the funniest lines. "Jayne is very much the kind of guy I watched in those Western shoot-'em-ups while growing up," he says. "I was a fan of actors like Eli Wallach and Warren Oates — big, tough guys with a wry sense of humor." On Firefly, Jayne's loyalties seemed rather loose at times, but he's straightened himself out for Serenity. "He's definitely a strong member of this crew now. He probably thinks he could run the ship, but he doesn't want all that responsibility. As long as he's getting paid, he's happy."

Some TV creators might feel a bit nervous about making the leap to feature filmmaking, but when asked about the transition, Whedon simply says, "I felt ready. And it helps that I'm working with people I know and love." Part of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer-Angel creator's goal with Serenity was to bring a new look to sci-fi features. "A lot of science fiction has gotten so monochromatic.... There's an airlessness that comes with all the digital technology that I just don't buy. So while we have some greenscreen [special effects], we're very devoted to doing as many practical effects as we can. We want things to feel real." As for future Serenity movies, well, that's something he can't allow himself to think about right now. "My sequel plan is to make a movie that's good enough that it deserves a sequel. But if there never is another one, if this does just OK and the people who see it like it, that's how it should be. It would be kind of a cheat for Mal to become the hero of a giant franchise."

'Serenity' will sate sci-fi buffs

A canceled TV show is reborn on the big screen in Joss Whedon's feature debut, "Serenity," an appealingly low-rent, if not earth-shattering, 26th century "Star Wars" with faint glimmers of "Blade Runner," "Buckaroo Banzai" and "The Manchurian Candidate" for good measure.

Whedon's series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" have inspired die-hard devotion, and when Fox yanked his Western-flavored sci-fi adventure "Firefly" off the air in 2002 after only 11 episodes, a Web-fueled cult sprang up. The series' loyal legions -- aka Browncoats, named after the small band of freedom fighters at the show's center -- have packed previews of "Serenity," which reunites the "Firefly" cast, with the tasty addition of Chiwetel Ejiofor as the intrepid crew's archenemy.

Browncoats will no doubt turn out again when the film, which premiered at the recent Edinburgh International Film Festival, opens wide Friday. Whether "Serenity" will entice nonaficionados is another question. The characters' mildly offbeat spins on standard action-figure types and the cheeky humor are pluses, and familiarity with the TV show isn't necessary to follow the film. But the Serenity crew's chemistry isn't enough to take this spaceship into the stratosphere, and Whedon unleashes his most provocative ideas too late in the proceedings.

A striking nine-minute pre-credits sequence lays out the crisis at hand. Simon Tam (Sean Maher), a young doctor, rescues his sister, River (Summer Glau), from the clutches of the interplanetary ruling Alliance. A gifted telepath, River has been the subject of Alliance experiments that have turned her into an unpredictable killing machine. When she's not kicking ass, she's a damaged waif in Stevie Nicks hand-me-downs trying to regain control of her mind. Brother and sister secure passage on the Serenity, whose captain, Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), is a rugged, world-weary cowboy in the classic mold of cynical, reluctant heroes.

Because the Alliance has dispatched an unnamed, ruthless operative (Ejiofor) to retrieve prize experiment River, the Tams' presence on board puts Mal and his crew in danger. Crusty mercenary Jayne (Adam Baldwin) would just as soon drop them off at the next planet. Bickering and banter reign as the crew members chart their clanking spaceship through the hostile universe. Second-in-command Zoe (Gina Torres) is a beautiful black woman with the soul of a quaintly stoic old soldier, and her easygoing husband, Wash (Alan Tudyk), serves as pilot (their relationship, however, barely registers onscreen). Kaylee (Jewel Staite), the ship's farm-girl mechanic, would love nothing more than some private quality time with Simon.

Touching down on Wild West desert landscapes and checking in with wise man Shepherd Book (Ron Glass), the noncutesy Yoda of the piece, the Serenity struggles to elude the ultraorganized Alliance and the murderous, galaxy-roaming Reavers. Along the way, Mal consults with cyberhacker Mr. Universe (David Krumholtz) and reconnects with his vaguely defined Buddhist love interest, Inara (Morena Baccarin).

Whedon's theme of outcasts resisting the intrusions of an omniscient law-and-order government is ever-timely, and his ideas come across with more subtlety than those in "Star Wars" or "Star Trek." Even more timely is a revelation concerning behavior modification gone awry that resonates in this age of Zoloft. But, arriving late in the story, it remains a plot point rather than a developed concept.

As a makeshift family caught between the "calmed" masses and the raging Reavers, the cast acquits itself well. Barry Chusid's flavorful design, especially the ship's thrift-store lava lounge decor, enhances the story's outsider sensibility, with able creative contributions all around.

Cast:
Mal: Nathan Fillion
Zoe: Gina Torres
Wash: Alan Tudyk
Inara: Morena Baccarin
Jayne: Adam Baldwin
Kaylee: Jewel Staite
Simon: Sean Maher
River: Summer Glau
Shepherd Book: Ron Glass
The Operative: Chiwetel Ejiofor
Mr. Universe: David Krumholtz

Director-screenwriter: Joss Whedon; Producer: Barry Mendel; Executive producers: Christopher Buchanan, David Lester, Alisa Tager; Director of photography: Jack Green; Production designer: Barry Chusid; Music: David Newman; Costume designer: Ruth Carter; Editor: Lisa Lassek.

Whedon Goes From Cancellation to 'Serenity'

A reporter from a major metropolitan daily has just accused "Serenity" writer-director Joss Whedon of being a "geek guru." Whedon is unfazed.

"I think of myself as a nerd lama," he smiles. " I do think that there has been some confusion about that whole thing about geeks. I do wear that mantle proudly of geek ... but at the same time saying that tends to pigeon hole my audience as a bunch of people who have never seen the opposite sex or been away from their computer for more than 20 minutes. And the more time I spend with the fans, the more I realize that in some ways they are much more well-adjusted and much more attractive than I am."

Whether Whedon's wisdom entitles him to guru or lama (not "llama," he carefully emphasizes) status and whether Whedon's faithful followers are geeks, nerds or the coolest kids on the block, now is a rewarding time to occupy that liminal and mostly fictional space dubbed the "Whedon-verse." In a sign of sweet vindication, "Serenity" hits movie screens on Friday (Sept. 30), roughly three years after FOX bungled "Firefly," a short-lived futuristic western featuring the same motley cast of characters. And there's ample reason for Whedon to butter up his denizens as adjusted and attractive, because without their Internet devotion and DVD buying power, "Serenity" never would have happened at all.

Encouraged by Whedon's perseverance and by the promising secondary life for the existing "Firefly" episodes, Universal Pictures came aboard with a budget of more than $40 million. The studio allowed Whedon the opportunity to direct his own script, cutting off the potential for a repeat of the frustration he felt as a screenwriter when his draft of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" was so disappointing he had to reboot the concept for The WB.

'I'm not one of those guys who directs just because he's bitter, when he actually shouldn't be," says Whedon, who helmed many "Buffy," "Angel" and "Firefly" episodes in preparation. "It's just the next step. Telling a story is one part word, one part visual and I've always wanted to do both. And play all the parts, and do the editing and compose the music ... ."

Universal also allowed Whedon to retain the original "Firefly" cast, a crack ensemble -- led by Nate Fillion, Gina Torres, Adam Baldwin and Summer Glau -- that guarantees continuity, but not a return on a large investment.

"The studio did at one point say that it would be useful to have a big name for the villain, because we want to use this cast to get the deal," Whedon admits. "There was never 'Let Tom Cruise play Kaylee' or anything like that. Although, Tom was actually asking. It was weird."

Thankfully, Jewel Staite still plays sexy mechanic Kaylee and "Dirty Pretty Things" star Chiwetel Ejiofor appears as the villainous Operative.

"It's not enough to be in love with a group of actors and think, 'Let's all play together,'" Whedon says. "I worked for a long time to come up with something epic enough and be a Universal movie and not just a glorified episode of 'Firefly.'"

The "Serenity" plot revolves around Glau's River Tam, a graceful waif with psychic tendencies and an unexpected violent streak. While "Firefly" fans will enter the theater with the largest investment in the characters, Whedon is counting on the action and one-liners to hook neophytes.

"I wanted to make a movie that made me feel or made people feel the way I felt the first time I saw the first 'Star Wars.'"

With all of the actors clamoring for more and fans packing a series of test screenings all summer, Whedon has found himself in the unusual position of thinking sequel.

"I have some ideas -- that is how the brain works," he concedes, though any sequel would have to wait until after Whedon writes and directs "Wonder Woman." "You can't stop the brain no matter how hard you try. By like sleeping or those other things people do. I spent a lot of time thinking, 'What I would do if?' But first I have to get people to see the first one. So, most of my energy has been in trying to make that good enough so there could be a sequel."

'Firefly' Doc Talks 'Serenity'

When Sean Maher signed on for FOX's "Firefly" in 2002, the actor had reason to be skeptical. The network aired only two episodes of his 1999 drama ""Ryan Caulfield: Year One" and 2000's "The $treet" got only six showings before a premature demise.

With "Firefly," though, Maher knew that something was different.

"We would all talk about how perfect it felt, how there was not one person who didn't love the show -- cast, crew, producer, caterer, craft service -- everybody was just gung-ho about everything," he recalls. "It was the first time a lot of us had ever experienced 100 percent support of a project that we were working on."

Naturally, "Firefly" was cancelled by December.

Under normal circumstance, cancellation just means another round of pilot season for the actors and creators and disappointment for whatever straggling fans the show might have had. However, a rabid Internet following, strong DVD sales and the dogged persistence of creator Joss Whedon ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") led Universal Pictures to grab the rights and greenlight a motion picture titled "Serenity," reuniting that gung-ho "Firefly" team.

"As an actor, I find that most of my work, the challenging aspects for me, are initially finding the character, finding the way he walks and talks and then finding the dynamics with the actors which translate to the dynamics with the other character," Maher says. "To have all that done was just this incredible foundation to work from. There was a huge sense of ease getting back together to do this movie."

While Maher already knew his character, rather uptight ship's doctor Simon Tam, he knew from the script that Simon had changed somewhat between the series and the film. Because the plot of "Serenity" revolves around Simon's preternaturally gifted sister River (Summer Glau), the medic plays a major role as well. Fans who have been waiting for Simon to throw a few punches and to take the next step with sexy mechanic Kaylee (Jewel Staite) won't be disappointed.

"Early on, I was tired of Simon being so prim and proper and really wanted him to get rougher, and to get in there and roll up his sleeves and not be excluded from the action or the heists or whatever was going on in the series," says Maher. "I do feel like we took that and translated that into the movie."

Although Universal might have felt more confident in the studio's investment if some bigger stars had been added, Whedon insisted that the cast of "Firefly" would be the cast of "Serenity." For many of the actors, the film represented their first taste of big screen stardom.

"I felt no pressure," laughs Maher. "We were in Joss' hands. He was there on set. He wrote it. He was directing it. He'd never steered me wrong before, so I felt very safe. It was an incredible environment to work in."

But Whedon, who seems to be a renewable font of one-liners and enthusiasm, wasn't the only source of energy for the cast. In the midst of production, a trip to ComicCon -- Maher's first convention experience -- offered plenty of encouragement.

"We shot the movie for three months and it was right around the middle where you're kinda getting a little tired," Maher says. "We went on a Sunday and we walked into this auditorium of close to 5000 screaming fans and I was like, 'Wow.' It was a drug. It was so inspiring and so rewarding and so reassuring to hear them and know that they're there and that they're rooting for us."

After a summer of preview screenings for "Firefly" fans (an enthusiastic breed known as Browncoats at their most passionate), "Serenity" is in theaters on Friday (Sept. 30). Coincidentally, any viewers who catch an evening screening of the movie will need to set their VCRs to catch Maher's guest turn as an undead athlete in CBS' "Ghost Whisperer." With hopes for a "Serenity" sequel likely riding on the opening weekend gross, Maher hopes fans and neophytes alike turn out.

"If people just come and check it out, whether they know the series or not, I don't think anybody will be disappointed," he argues. "I think what remains to be seen is will those people actually come, pay the money for the ticket and go watch the movie. I do have faith that they will love it. I just hope that they come."

Whedon Relaunches 'Firefly' As 'Serenity'

Justin Dobbs stood up in front of a packed movie theater and called out, "OK, everybody! `The Ballad of Serenity.'"

The crowd burst into the defiant theme song of a failed little TV show called "Firefly," which burns brightly again through the tenacity of creator Joss Whedon, its cast of unknowns and legions of sci-fi fans like Dobbs who lobbied for its resurrection.

Dobbs was among fans attending advance showings of "Serenity," the big-screen continuation that follows the exploits of the lovable rabble aboard a rickety spaceship 500 years in the future.

Universal Pictures — which plucked the tale from the heap of beloved, acclaimed (and canceled) TV shows — began preview screenings five months before "Serenity" opened to fire up interest among devotees and let them spread the word on the film.

"Each of us tried to bring new people to screenings we've gone to," said Dobbs, 20, of Los Angeles. "Each of us tried to tell everybody that it's not just for fans of the show. It's just a good movie in general."

Whedon — creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and its spinoff, "Angel" — faced a balancing act to present a film that would satisfy its fan base and an audience that had never seen the TV series.

The back story is reminiscent of "Star Trek," which went on to become a hit movie franchise and spawned four more TV series after the original show left the air.

"Star Trek" ran for 79 episodes over three seasons in the 1960s, while only 11 of the 14 "Firefly" episodes were broadcast in its original run on Fox in 2002, with episodes aired out of order and occasionally pre-empted for special programs. And "Trek" fervor built up over a decade of syndication before the first movie debuted. "Firefly" had just a couple of years since the series came out on DVD, selling impressively but still clocking in as a cult hit — not necessarily the stuff of mainstream movies.

"`Star Trek' was such a phenomenon by the time they made it into a movie," said Whedon, who makes his feature-film directing debut with "Serenity." "Fans love `Firefly,' but I still don't know how many fans there are, whereas `Star Trek' was already part of the vernacular."

The film reunites the cast of "Firefly," led by Nathan Fillion as Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds, captain of the stubby transport ship Serenity, whose crew scrapes out a living through petty crimes and questionable cargo runs at the edges of an interstellar human society.

An embittered ex-Browncoat — the name for rebels who fought on the losing side of a galactic civil war — Mal has assembled a motley surrogate family aboard ship: Zoe (Gina Torres), his tough-as-nails second in command; Wash (Alan Tudyk), the ship's pilot and Zoe's laid-back husband; mechanic Kaylee (Jewel Staite); and not-so-trustworthy mercenary Jayne (Adam Baldwin).

Unlike Capt. Kirk of "Star Trek" or Luke Skywalker of "Star Wars," the people aboard Serenity are not fighting grand battles to save the universe. They're blue-collar grunts looking to turn a buck and stick it to The Man whenever they can.

"They're real people," Baldwin said. "It's a look into the future that's not going to be a perfect utopian future. Joss was able to portray people with flaws, imperfect people, tyrannical people, people who can be both heroic and self-centered."

Also returning are Ron Glass as Shepherd Book, a preacher with a cloudy past, and Morena Baccarin as Inara, a classy futuristic geisha who shares a love-hate relationship with Mal.

The TV show had languidly unfolded a mystery surrounding two passengers aboard Serenity, a young doctor named Simon (Sean Maher) and his sister, River (Summer Glau), an unstable telepath on the run from the big-government galactic Alliance that Mal loathes.

"It was unique, it was incredibly well-written, it clearly had the potential to reach not just sci-fi fans but fans of good television," Torres said. "Unfortunately, we didn't live long enough to realize its full potential."

Promising to revive the show, Whedon shopped it around to other TV networks. But there were no takers. Whedon, who previously had turned his movie dud "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" into a hit TV series, then hooked up with Universal executive Mary Parent, who had seen "Firefly" on DVD and recognized its big-screen potential.

For the film, Whedon took the broad story arc he had in mind for the TV show and compacted it into a movie plot, taking Serenity on a potential suicide mission to uncover horrifying secrets about the Reavers, human cannibals who live on the outskirts of civilized space.

"Serenity" is packed with gunfights, chases, sci-fi gadgets, bar brawls and dark moments of terror. As with the TV show, the film also is loaded with sharp dialogue, eccentric wit and loving sarcasm among shipmates.

Glass sees similarities between the characters of "Firefly" and the ensemble he was part of in the 1970s sitcom "Barney Miller."

"One of the things they have in common is these really well-drawn characters that are true to themselves," Glass said. "Like in life, you get a couple or three, four, five or 10 of those people in a room being true to themselves, it either produces something truly heartfelt and deep on a philosophical level, or humor. So it's no accident there is a lot of humor involved."

"Serenity" faces tough hurdles. The cast is generally unknown. Science fiction is a hard sell beyond its genre fans. Broader audiences, hearing that the film is based on a TV show they never saw, may decide it's too much of an inside story for them.

Still, with a comparatively frugal $40 million budget, "Serenity" could earn its money back with only modest box-office success, plus TV and DVD revenues down the road.

And few movies with a cast of nobodies have a built-in squad of marketers, fans who have been talking up "Serenity" for years on the Internet and introducing friends to the TV show on DVD.

"It's very Jehovah's Witness," Fillion said. "I'm not sure if anyone's actually going door to door, but it's not far off."

"Even now, my friends back in Texas are giving DVDs to other people, and our fan base is still growing and growing and growing," said co-star Glau, a San Antonio native.

Whedon hopes "Serenity" performs well enough to justify sequels. He remains wistful over losing the chance to tell weekly stories with his characters on the small screen, though.

"I really love `Serenity.' I'm really proud of it and excited to see it my guys on the big screen, bringing something new to it," Whedon said. "But `Firefly' was a different animal, something I will regret losing until the day they put me in a box, because I did have a lot of good stories I wanted to tell."

'Serenity' now for sci-fi fans

As a general rule, television series that tank after less than one season don't translate into successful feature films.

There isn't much demand for movies based on, say, "Supertrain" or "Manimal." Perhaps the only time it has really been attempted was with the three "Naked Gun" flicks that rose from the ashes of the short-lived 1982 ABC comedy "Police Squad!"

So it's highly unusual that Universal Pictures' "Serenity," which hits theaters on Friday, is happening at all, a monument to the perseverance -- and some might say hardheadedness -- of a fellow named Joss Whedon.

Whedon, the creator and executive producer of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel," two prominent recent additions to the annals of cult TV faves, crafted "Serenity" following the failure of a short-lived Fox sci-fi drama from the 2002-03 season (which was something of a Nielsen waterloo period for Fox) called "Firefly." If you remember it, consider yourself a sci-fi geek in good standing. It ran for 11 episodes, out of order, before being axed.

But Whedon didn't let a little thing like a cancellation discourage him. Thanks to "Firefly" DVD sales that exceeded 200,000 units, he got the green light to write and direct the $40 million "Serenity" (named after the creaky ship in "Firefly" that traverses space).

Yes, once you get the sci-fi True Believers on your side, all things are possible, Whedon understands.

"We have a much broader base than just sci-fi people," he says. "That's what I found in our screenings so far. They're a diverse group, fairly well-adjusted socially, and I expect that a lot of them are even having sex. I really think the line between geeks and the rest of the world is blurring."

"Serenity" has been screened nearly 100 times to date, Whedon estimates, many of them designed to stir interest among that fanatical subculture that either embraces you with all of their heart and soul or rejects you with incalculable venom and rage. There isn't a whole lot of middle ground with the "Firefly" group that refers to itself as the "browncoats."

"First off, you can't make the movie for the fans of the TV show because then there will be a lot of people who don't know what's going on," he believes. "Yet it's a fine line because you also can't talk down to the real fans because it's their support that's getting the film made in the first place."

When these browncoats see a filmmaker as having committed blasphemy, "halfway through the screening they light torches and chase you down the street crying 'Monster! Monster! Monster!"' Whedon observes only half-jokingly. "Fortunately, there have been no torches so far."

There has instead been a vibe of massive anticipation for "Serenity" in the sci-fi community, which means, of course, that certain individuals with too much time on their hands -- depicted so memorably in the film "Galaxy Quest," which Whedon jokingly labels "a documentary" -- will be devoting an abundance of energy to "Serenity" worship.

Sean Maher, who portrays Dr. Simon Tam in both "Firefly" and "Serenity," was present at last week's L.A. premiere of the new film and saw one attendee dressed in his character's trademark white button-down shirt and vest.

"It always takes a moment for me to process something like that," Maher admits. "I think I'm prepared for it, but it's like receiving a really generous compliment that leaves you at a loss for words."

That kind of extreme-geek support tells Whedon that he did the right thing in fighting to spin a movie no one expected from a TV series nobody watched and a DVD that captured a momentum no one knew existed. "This is really a classic underdog story in every way," he observes, "and I think I'm safe in saying this is the finest film ever made."

Going, Going, Goner

Buffyverse ruler Joss Whedon — whose Firefly flick Serenity hits theaters one week from today — has inked a seven-figure deal with Universal to write and direct the fantasy thriller Goner. "It's the story of a young woman's journey that involves a great deal of horror and some heroics," he tells Variety. "It's certainly darker than Serenity, and there are a lot of left turns along the way. It is something I had in mind for a while, and it just poured out of me when I finished my film." Of course, Goner will have to wait until Whedon finishes Warner Bros.' big-screen Wonder Woman flick and (hopefully) gets the ball rolling on that long-rumored Spike TV movie (hint hint, nudge nudge, slap slap).

New Clips this week: Exclusively on Moviefone.com

Our latest set of clips from Joss Whedon's "Serenity" are now available. Check back each week for new, never-before-seen footage. (http://www.aoltrack.com/r/f4aa0e3cd42258ab12bc55244148d077/)

Serenity Fan Fest this Thursday - Universal Studios Hollywood

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD RECRUITS MOVIE FANS, SCI-FI ENTHUSIASTS AND “BROWNCOATS” FOR “SERENITY FAN FEST” FEATURING AUTHENTIC MOVIE PROPS, BEHIND-THE-SCENES FOOTAGE AND APPEARANCES FROM CAST AND WRITER/DIRECTOR JOSS WHEDON, SEPTEMBER 24

Universal Studios Hollywood is reaching out to movie fans, science fiction enthusiasts and fans of Universal Pictures new “sci-fi western” SERENITY and its preceding TV series “Firefly” (also known as “Browncoats”) with “SERENITY Fan Fest” on September 24, 2005. Fans will have the chance to meet the film’s stars, view clips and behind-the-scenes footage from the film, meet the special effects team behind the film’s striking visual imagery as well as the film’s writer/director, Joss Whedon.

The ”SERENITY Fan Fest” will take place inside the theme park and will feature a cast Q&A from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m., followed by an autograph session from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. with many of the film’s stars including Summer Glau (River Tam), Adam Baldwin (Jayne Cobb), Morena Baccarin (Inara Serra) and Whedon, the Oscar®- and Emmy-nominated writer/director responsible for the worldwide television phenomena of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” “Angel” and Firefly.

Visual effects supervisor Loni Peristere of Zoic Studios (SERENITY, “Battlestar Galactica,” SPIDER-MAN 2 and VAN HELSING) will discuss the process of creating visuals for a world set 500 years in the future with a rare look at various stages of visual effects production.

Browncoat loyalists will also have the opportunity to view authentic movie props including the 14-foot MULE hovercraft and enjoy behind-the-scenes footage from the futuristic action-adventure film.

The “SERENITY Fan Fest” is included with general admission to the movie-based theme park. Admission tickets are available at a $15 discount ($38.00) with an exclusive “SERENITY Fan Fest” downloadable coupon at http://www.universalstudioshollywood.com/serenityfanfest. Tickets are limited and all events operate on a first come, first serve basis and are subject to change.

SERENITY opens nationwide on September 30.

Universal Studios Hollywood (www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com) is a world-class theme park and entertainment destination. Situated upon 415-acres, Universal Studios combines an authentic working movie and television studio with cutting-edge experience that employs the latest in state-of-the-art technologies.

Universal Studios Hollywood (www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com) is a unit of Universal Parks & Resorts, a division of Universal Studios (www.universalstudios.com), Universal Studios is a part of NBC Universal.

NBC Universal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates the No. 1 television network, the fastest-growing Spanish-language network, a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80%-owned by General Electric, with 20% controlled by Vivendi Universal.

Joss Whedon— the Oscar®- and Emmy-nominated writer/director responsible for the worldwide television phenomena of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel—now applies his trademark compassion and wit to a small band of galactic outcasts 500 years in the future in his feature film directorial debut, Serenity.

The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family – squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal.

When Mal takes on two new passengers—a young doctor and his unstable, telepathic sister—he gets much more than he bargained for. The pair are fugitives from the coalition dominating the universe, who will stop at nothing to reclaim the girl. The crew that was once used to skimming the outskirts of the galaxy unnoticed find themselves caught between the unstoppable military force of the Universal Alliance and the horrific, cannibalistic fury of the Reavers, savages who roam the very edge of space. Hunted by vastly different enemies, they begin to discover that the greatest danger to them may be on board Serenity herself.

Universal Pictures Presents A Barry Mendel Production of A Joss Whedon Film: Serenity, starring Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau and Chiwetel Ejiofor. The music is by David Newman. The costume designer is Ruth Carter. The editor is Lisa Lassek; the production designer, Barry Chusid; the director of photography, Jack Green ASC. The executive producers are Christopher Buchanan, David Lester and Alisa Tager. Serenity is produced by Barry Mendel. It is written and directed by Joss Whedon. ©2005 Universal Studios. http://www.serenitymovie.com

Joss Whedon Meets 'Veronica Mars'

"Buffy" fans, consider the torch passed.

Joss Whedon, the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" creator who gushed online about UPN's "Veronica Mars" this summer, has been rewarded with a guest spot on the show. The network says he'll play a rental-car manager who has a scene with Veronica (Kristen Bell) in this season's sixth episode.

The cameo came about after Whedon effusively praised "Veronica Mars" on the Buffyverse-centric web site Whedonesque.com. Posting to the site's (which is independently run) boards last month, Whedon wrote:

"My peeps and I just finished a crazed Veronica Marsathon, and I can no longer restrain myself. Best. Show. Ever. Seriously, I've never gotten more wrapped up in a show I wasn't making, and maybe even more than those. Crazy crisp dialogue. Incredibly tight plotting. Big emotion, I mean BIG, and charismatic actors and I was just DYING from the mystery and the relationships and PAIN" (caps all his). "... These guys know what they're doing on a level that intimidates me. It's the Harry Potter of shows."

"Veronica Mars" creator Rob Thomas, whose show has often been compared to "Buffy," returned the praise on his own site, and also dropped the news that Whedon would make a guest appearance, which UPN has confirmed. The "Serenity" writer-director has popped up before on his shows "Angel" and "Firefly," but he's never appeared on someone else's.

Whedon is the second cult auteur booked for a guest spot on "Mars" this season. "Clerks" and "Chasing Amy" director Kevin Smith, a friend of "Mars" producer Dan Etheridge, will play a convenience-store clerk in the show's second episode.

"Veronica Mars" begins its second season on UPN Wednesday, Sept. 28.

It's Serenity Now for Firefly Doc

Pink Lady and Jeff. Manimal. Hello, Larry. None of those short-lived TV series ever commanded feature-film follow-ups. But Fox's Firefly — woefully promoted, questionably handled and then unceremoniously yanked off the air after just 11 episodes in 2002 — is big-screen bound. Serenity, which hits theaters Sept. 30, catches up with the transport ship's crew, led by Captain "Mal" Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), as they fend off big-government interest in some precious cargo they are carrying. Tending to the occasionally wounded is the Serenity's Dr. Simon Tam, played by Sean Maher, who was more than happy to speak with TVGuide.com about the revival of little show that could.

TVGuide.com: Would you say that the Internet played a key role in resurrecting Firefly?
Sean Maher: I think the Internet still plays a huge part in the support — the Browncoats [official fan club members], specifically. Even when the show was still on the air, I can remember Nathan being the liaison between the fans and the cast. I knew they were out there, but I didn't really get a taste of what it felt like until we went to [the 2004 San Diego] Comic Con. The response was extraordinary. Nothing compares to walking into a room of almost 5000 screaming people. It really makes you feel like a rock star.

TVGuide.com: Were you disappointed with the handling of series (e.g., Fox skipping over the pilot, running episodes out of order)?
Maher: Yeah. I mean, I think there was always a little confusion from the beginning. I don't know if we ever were understood 100 percent, and then they preempted us for... I can't remember what, exactly. I just sort of felt like they didn't get it, you know?

TVGuide.com: What do you think allowed Firefly to be not just another canceled show?
Maher: I attribute a lot of that to the fans. There were a ton of people out there who understood what we were trying to say and fell in love with and were completely captivated by this world that Joss [Whedon] created. What I love about the show is that it's this entire other world that is so complete and thought-out and genuine. Although it's set in the future, so much of it is about humanity — these characters and their relationships, their dynamics, their pasts, their secrets.

TVGuide.com: The 500-years-in-the-future setting is almost, "By the way...."
Maher: Exactly. It's just a backdrop. And that's what I think is so unique about it. Here we are in a sci-fi genre film, and it's really more about the people and their lives intertwining.

TVGuide.com: Is it true that you used to accidentally call the character of River by her portrayer's name, Summer [Glau]?
Maher: [Laughs] It's so funny, I keep reading that everywhere! I think I did that once. It might even be on a DVD blooper reel.

TVGuide.com: Would you do another Firefly series or Serenity film if warranted?
Maher: Honestly, wherever Joss goes, I follow. And the cast, I would do anything with this group of people, whether it's television or film... even if we take a circus act on the road. I feel blessed to have been a part of this. The more and more it continues, it's overwhelming. We had this little show that could, you know?

TVGuide.com: When doing the movie version, could you "feel" the bigger budget?
Maher: In terms of the script and the tone and the dynamics within the characters, that all felt so familiar — it was like coming back to school after summer vacation. So I, myself, didn't really feel a big difference, especially having Joss there and surrounded by a lot of the same people. Even the spaceship [set] was built in such a way that was the same, almost to a T. I'd be like, "I gotta run to the rest room," and I'd run out the north side of the cargo bay and hit a wall! "Oh, right, I'm not on the Fox lot. Where the hell is the bathroom again?!" Everybody did that.

TVGuide.com: OK, but the costumes had to be a bit nicer, yes? Better-quality cotton?
Maher: The costumes were a little different. They did a different take on me — I didn't have to wear any vests this time around, which I was happy about!

TVGuide.com: You're also in the upcoming indie Living 'Til the End, which sounds interesting. A guy is told by a psychic that he will die on his next birthday?
Maher: He just lives out the year trying his darnedest to make sure that he doesn't get sick, doesn't get hurt, doesn't get hit by a bus. He's so afraid of dying that he becomes agoraphobic and basically locks himself in his apartment. But he's an estate planner, and he meets a girl [played by Jaime Ray Newman] who has a list of things she wants to do before she dies, and she wants him to do them with her. In turn, she teaches him to be fearless and to live life again.

TVGuide.com: Where else might we be seeing you?
Maher: I did an episode of Ghost Whisperer a couple of weeks ago that airs the same day [Serenity premieres]. I play a ghost who died in a triathlon and a year later he's still lingering around his fiancée, who can't move on and has been terribly depressed for a year.

TVGuide.com: So basically, Jennifer Love Hewitt is Whoopi Goldberg and you're Patrick Swayze.
Maher: Exactly.

Now Exclusively on Moviefone.com

* Joss Whedon's critically acclaimed TV show "Firefly" may have been canceled after just one season, but its galactically loyal cult fans need not fret. "Serenity," the big screen version, hits theaters this fall, and Moviefone.com has a series of exclusive clips. Check back each week for new, never-before-seen footage. (http://www.aoltrack.com/r/d79d8057a2bd4f10d7589c5b290c3dc3/)

"Serenity" Trailers

Trailer 1
Windows Media
http://www.serenitymovie.com/media/serenity_trlr1_128k.wmv
http://www.serenitymovie.com/media/serenity_trlr1_300k.wmv
http://www.serenitymovie.com/media/serenity_trlr1_700k.wmv

Quicktime
http://www.serenitymovie.com/media/serenity_trlr1_128k.mov
http://www.serenitymovie.com/media/serenity_trlr1_300k.mov
http://www.serenitymovie.com/media/serenity_trlr1_700k.mov

Trailer 2
Windows Media
http://www.universalpictures.com/asx/serenity/serenity_trlr3_128k_wmv.asx
http://www.universalpictures.com/asx/serenity/serenity_trlr3_300k_wmv.asx
http://www.universalpictures.com/asx/serenity/serenity_trlr3_700k_wmv.asx

Quicktime
http://www.serenitymovie.com/media/serenity_trlr3_128k.mov
http://www.serenitymovie.com/media/serenity_trlr3_300k.mov
http://www.serenitymovie.com/media/serenity_trlr3_700k.mov

"Serenity" Full-Screen Trailer

Serenity" is the feature-length adaptation of Joss Whedon's hit TV show, "Firefly." Set five hundred years in the future, Malcom Reynolds is the captain of Serenity, a transport ship filled with his painfully close-knit crew of loners and two siblings who he quickly finds, are the highly sought-after fugitives of the coalition that dominates the universe. Watch the brand new, full-screen trailer from the film. (http://www.aoltrack.com/r/eb68b7f7606829bb17f1d220a507fcd6/)

Gina Torres talks Serenity

(From Wilson) Blackfilm.com has an interview with Gina Torres (Zoe, Firefly/Serenity) and the Serenity movie. Click here to check it out.

Whedon flock ready for 'Firefly' resurrection

Now that "Star Wars," "Star Trek" and "The Matrix" are fading into the sunset, what will take their place in the hearts of sci-fi fantasy fans?

TV auteur Joss Whedon and Universal Pictures are hoping that it's "Serenity," his movie version of 2002's aborted Fox space Western TV series "Firefly," which opens Sept. 30.

Universal launched its grass-roots awareness campaign for Whedon's directing debut in April, recruiting Whedon's loyal fans to help sell "Serenity," which features the original "Firefly" cast. The studio previewed the rough cut nationwide in markets where "Firefly" performed best, culminating last weekend with a rousing screening at the Comic-Con International confab in San Diego, where Whedon and his cast conducted a panel for fans.

Back in 2001, when Whedon sat down to write his follow-up to the two hit Fox series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel," he wanted to try his hand at a space Western.

"I thought, 'Wagon Train' in space," he said on the phone from Cape Cod, where he is conceiving his upcoming "Wonder Woman" script.

He didn't know that Gene Roddenberry had set out to do the same thing back in the 1960s, when he created "Star Trek," a smart TV show that was saved by its fans.

History is repeating itself.

Starting Friday night at 7, the Sci Fi Channel is showing all 13 episodes of "Firefly" -- in the correct order.

"Fox never got the show," Whedon said. "It was a bad match." After premiering the series late after a World Series game and running 11 episodes out of order, Fox dropped it.

"I told the cast the day the show was canceled that I would not rest until I found another home," Whedon said. "I felt like I had let them down."

Not wanting to admit failure was part of it, too, Whedon admits. "I didn't want people thinking that the show didn't work. Nothing I've ever done has ever emerged so instantly. Even the pilot was the way it should be. There was never an awkward growing phase. It felt right. Every actor felt so right, they worked so well together. I couldn't bear to let the universe go, or let the actors out of my sight."

When overseas markets demanded a DVD release, Fox Home Entertainment complied. The "Firefly" DVD sold more than 200,000 copies.

Whedon felt vindicated. Having soldiered in the feature screenwriting realm on "Toy Story," "Titan A.E." and an unproduced "X-Men" script, Whedon told Universal executive Mary Parent that he wanted to make his directing debut on the movie version of "Firefly." She checked out the DVDs.

"Write it," she told him.

Renamed "Serenity," after the Firefly-class ship that scours outer space, the $40 million alien-free movie will register with "Firefly" fans without confusing people, Whedon says. And the movie retains the show's homemade feel. "It's like the ship Serenity herself," he said. "Crappy but scrappy."

"Serenity" reunites the original TV cast of nine shipmates in a dysfunctional family. That was the deal. There was never a question of upgrading the cast, though Universal did consider hiring a name villain -- and then dropped it. Added to the youthful ensemble headed by Canadian actor Nathan Fillion, who plays a jocular Kirk-like captain on the mercenary freighter, are archvillain Chiwetel Ejiofor ("Dirty Pretty Things") and David Krumholtz ("Numbers") as a hacker hermit. At Comic-Con, dancer-actress Summer Glau's martial arts scene drew thunderous applause and an Ain't It Cool News rave.

What generates this powerful response? "What captivates the fans is an entire world they can go to," Whedon said, "that feels complete, thought-out, genuine, that they can live in for a long time. From the first show, we made sure every character had their own patch of ground. Conflicts become the story. Everybody plays off everybody."

Said Anna Kaufman, arts editor of the Daily Californian in Berkeley, Calif.: "You feel for the family of nine characters and their well-being. They all have interesting dynamics, pasts and secrets. They're thrumming with life." Kaufman checks the many Web sites devoted to Whedon, "Firefly" and "Serenity" (including http://www.cantstopthesignal.com) for updates on the movie. "I'm greedy. I want more," she adds.

In October, when Universal's co-president of marketing, Eddie Egan, booked a routine rough-cut preview in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley, he was amazed by the explosive response from the research-screening recruits who were clearly rabid "Firefly" fans. He wanted to know just how they had learned about the screening.

It turned out that one fan had identified the movie and tipped off her entire "Firefly" community (known as "browncoats") with one Internet post. Some of them had driven from Arizona and Seattle, Egan says. Universal, deciding that it had something bigger than it thought, pushed the action adventure off of its spring lineup and into the fall.

The studio staged three waves of word-of-mouth sneak preview screenings (which do not advertise the name of the film) in 35 cities where "Firefly" had earned the best ratings, including Toronto and San Francisco. Each time, Whedon posted fan screenings on his blog: once, with a link to a Fandango site where they could order tickets. Each time, all the tickets were sold within five minutes. Fans return for repeat viewings, Egan says, bringing new people with them.

"As the industry struggles to redefine the paradigm of the movie business," Egan said, "and what makes people go to movies or avoid them, a piece of text on a Web page sold out theaters."

'Firefly' Relights on Sci Fi

Just in time to stir up some advance hype for the movie based on it, the cult series "Firefly" is returning to television.

The Sci Fi Channel has picked up the rights to Joss Whedon's "space Western" -- including three episodes never aired on TV -- and will begin airing it Friday, July 22. It will air at 7 p.m. ET, leading into the cable network's lineup of original series -- the two "Stargate" shows and "Battlestar Galactica," which open their new seasons the previous week.

"Firefly's" Sci Fi debut will come about two months before the scheduled release of Universal Pictures' "Serenity," a feature film based on the series written and directed by Whedon ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer"). Universal and the Sci Fi Channel are both part of the NBC Universal media conglomerate. Sci Fi picked up the show from Twentieth Television, a News Corp. sibling of the FOX network, where "Firefly" first aired, and 20th Century Fox TV, which produced the series.

Set 500 years from now, "Firefly" follows the crew of a small, vagabond transport ship called the Serenity. Captained by Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), Serenity and its crew are perpetually on the run from the totalitarian Alliance, and Mal often resort to taking extralegal jobs to keep the ship flying.

The show also stars Gina Torres ("Alias," "Angel"), Adam Baldwin ("The Inside"), Morena Baccarin, Alan Tudyk ("Into the West"), Sean Maher ("The $treet"), Summer Glau ("The 4400"), Jewel Staite ("Wonderfalls") and Ron Glass ("Barney Miller"). All of them are reprising their roles in "Serenity."

Alan Tudyk replaces Hank Azaria in 'Spamalot'

Alan Tudyk will be Broadway's new Lancelot in Monty Python's Spamalot.

He replaces Hank Azaria who is leaving in early June to film a second season of his Showtime television series Huff.

Tudyk joins the hit musical, based on the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, sometime during the week of June 6. Azaria will return to the show in late November for another six months.

The 34-year-old, Texas-born Tudyk is a New York theater veteran, having received the Clarence Derwent Award for most promising male newcomer in 1997 for his performance in Bunny, Bunny, a play about Gilda Radner. Among his other New York stage credits are roles in several comedies, including Paul Rudnick's The Most Fabulous Story Every Told in 1998 and David Lindsay-Abaire's Wonder of the World in 2001, both done off-Broadway. He also appeared on Broadway in 1999 with Kristin Chenoweth in Epic Proportions, a comedy by Larry Coen and David Crane.

Among Tudyk's films are I, Robot (2004), Dodgeball (2004), A Knight's Tale (2001) and Wonder Boys (2000). He also was a regular on the sci-fi TV series Firefly (2002).

SERENITY film photos

(From Wilson) Blackfilm.com has photos from the Serenity movie. Click here to check them out.

FOX Brings 'Inside' Out in June

A dark show about a team of FBI agents hunting serial killers -- just the thing for summertime viewing.

That, at least, is what FOX is hoping for "The Inside," a crime drama from Tim Minear ("Angel," "Wonderfalls") and Howard Gordon ("24"). The show is scheduled to premiere at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday, June 8.

"The Inside" is the network's only new scripted offering for the summer, although original episodes of "Family Guy" and "American Dad" are set to continue at least through June.

Three new unscripted series are on tap as well: the previously announced "Hell's Kitchen," bowing Monday, May 30; "The Princes of Malibu," about the wealthy stepsons of music producer David Foster, set for Sunday, July 10; and "So You Think You Can Dance," a dance competition from the producers of "American Idol," Wednesday, July 20.

"Renovate My Family," which had a brief run last fall, will return to the network on Thursday, June 30.

Network mainstays "House," "The O.C." and "That '70s Show" will all repeat for at least part of the summer in their regular time periods, as will "Nanny 911" and "Trading Spouses." The current Sunday lineup will remain intact as well, although "Princes of Malibu" will drop into the 8:30 p.m. ET spot when it premieres.

"The Inside" has taken a twisty path to its premiere. It began life in spring 2004 as a "21 Jump Street"-esque pilot about a young FBI agent, played by Rachel Nichols ("The Amityville Horror"), going undercover in a high school. The creators of that pilot, Todd Kessler and Glenn Kessler, eventually left and Minear was brought in to rework it.

Nichols stayed on and still plays a young FBI agent, only now her character is a new member of the bureau's Violent Crime Unit in Los Angeles, hired by the unit's leader (Peter Coyote, "The 4400") because of a secret from her past.

The cast also includes Jay Harrington ("Coupling"), Katie Finneran ("Wonderfalls"), Adam Baldwin ("Firefly") and Nelsan Ellis ("Warm Springs"). Brian Grazer and David Nevins, whose Imagine TV is producing the series, are executive producers with Minear and Gordon.

Whedon Drafts Graphic Bridge to 'Serenity'

One of the problems with transferring a little-watched television show to the big screen is that the multitudes who missed the show may be confused. Another problem, apparently, is that the fans of the show may be confused by the things that happened between when a television network abandoned the characters and a movie studio picked them up.

Joss Whedon will help neophytes and "Firefly" fans get ready for Universal Pictures' "Serenity" with a three-issue comic book from Dark Horse comics. Whedon and regular comics collaborator Brett Matthews have written the three issues, which will hit hobby shops and newsstands and bookstores (and wherever else comic books are sold) on July 6. The comics will retain for $2.99 and will fill in the gaps between "Firefly" and "Serenity" and will introduce the uninitiated to Whedon's futuristic Western.

"Serenity" is scheduled for a Friday, Sept. 30 release in the United States.

"Working with Joss is always fun and a privilege, and especially so when it's 'Serenity,'" says co-writer Brett Matthews in a statement. "I love the characters and the world so much, how distinct and consistent the vision is and always has been. That sometimes to just keep going is enough, that there's meaning in the struggle even if you don't know exactly what that meaning is -- that speaks to me, and you get it in 'Serenity' in a way that's dusty and real and organic, not forced. It just fits. It all just means a hell of a lot to me."

The "Serenity" line features art by Will Conrad and colorist Laura Martin, which is bound to be more meaningful for Dark Horse comics aficionados. Each issue will feature a choice of three covers which will be drawn by some of the biggest names in the industry, including John Cassaday, J.G. Jones, Bryan Hitch, Joe Quesada, Josh Middleton and Jo Chen.

Set 500 years in the future, "Serenity" follows the adventures of the transport ship Serenity and its rag-tag crew. The film's cast is made up largely of holdovers from the FOX series, and includes Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Morena Baccarin and Adam Baldwin.

Whedon's 'Serenity' Takes Another New Form

Joss Whedon's protean space saga "Serenity" is ready to take yet another form.

Scheduled for release on Sept. 30, "Serenity" is a feature film adaptation of Whedon's short-lived FOX drama "Firefly." As the movie preps for it theatrical run, though, it's also being turned into a roleplaying game from Margaret Weis Productions ("Dragonlance").

"The universe created for 'Serenity' is amazing," says Margaret Weis. "The movie presents a fascinating and intriguing view of the future. 'Serenity' combines the best conventions of science fiction and westerns in a unique way, and is a natural fit for a roleplaying game."

Set 500 years in the future, "Serenity" follows the adventures of a transport ship and its plucky crew. The cast, composed largely of holdovers from the FOX series, includes Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Morena Baccarin and Adam Baldwin.

Jamie Chambers, a vice president at Margaret Weis Productions, is developing the game from the Universal Pictures release.

"Everyone involved on this project has an excitement and passion for the material, one that shows in the quality of their work and the fun we're having in early playtests." Chambers says, "Our goal is provide a game that is easy to learn, fast to play, and encourages the kind of fast-paced action, fun, and character development that fans will see in theaters."

  1. Whedon to Feature Fans on 'Serenity' DVD
    A camera crew recording Joss Whedon's activities on Sunday (March 20) at Wizard World Los Angeles surprised many by turning its lens on the fans themselves.

    Curious about the unusual turn of events, Zap2it.com accosted the trio of men, who revealed that they were taping footage for a piece on Whedon's fans, which will be edited together as a bonus feature for the DVD release of "Serenity."

    The upcoming sci-fi film is based on the writer-director's series "Firefly," which lasted only 11 episodes before FOX pulled the plug. The fans' outcry caught the attention of Universal, which placed its faith in a silver-screen version of Whedon's unique space western.

    "This is a movie that got made based on a canceled TV show," says writer-producer Adam Hauck, taking a break from interviewing fans. "That doesn't happen unless you've got a lot of very devoted fans. This [DVD feature] is a big deal to Joss -- kind of a tribute to the fans."

    The feelings of admiration, gratitude and devotion are mutual. Hundreds of Whedon enthusiasts arrived early at the Long Beach Convention Center, some rising with the sun, to score the highly coveted passes that would allow them to attend the afternoon's signing.

    Clutching posters, DVDs, comic books and other Whedon paraphernalia, the fans queued for two hours for a chance to have their items signed and to exchange a few words with the man himself. Those possessing more than the two-item maximum scrambled to befriend their fellow devotees, hoping to have their surplus taken on by their newfound pal.

    Following the signing, Hauck, a cameraman and a boom mike operator approached fans to conduct short interviews about their fondness for the creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel."

    "There's no corollary for the kind of fan support that Joss seems to gather around him," says Hauck, who questioned fans of various shapes and sizes, including: a woman whom Whedon helped nab a role as one of his extras and someone who wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the "Blue Sun" logo, the symbol of the corporate entity featured in "Firefly."

    Hauck, the writer-producer of the popular film festival documentary "Homecoming," has written and produced a number of DVDs for Universal, including "Seabiscuit," "The Cat in the Hat" and "The Chronicles of Riddick." He admitted to being a "Firefly" fan himself after watching the series on TiVo, but couldn't share more about the rest of Whedon's vision for the "Serenity" DVD.

    "You'll have to speak to Joss about that," he says.

    Set 500 years in the future, "Serenity" centers on the crew of a cargo ship that's plunged into a battle between two powerful enemies when they take on a couple of refugees. "Serenity" whizzes into theaters nationwide beginning Friday, Sept. 30.

  2. 'Serenity' Panel Becomes 'Firefly' Family Reunion
    Capt. Tightpants strikes back.

    Nathan Fillion, who stars as Capt. Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds in Universal's upcoming "Serenity" movie, is giddy as a schoolboy at the Wizard World convention in Long Beach, Calif., on Sunday, March 20.

    During one portion of the Q&A -- in which he participates with director Joss Whedon and actors Ron Glass, Sean Maher, Jewel Staite and Morena Baccarin -- he discusses nicknames the cast members gave each other.

    "In case you don't ask, we forgot the best one. So, please put this on the Internet," he says, referring to earlier reports circulating online that he was dubbed "Capt. Tightpants" by his co-stars. "We call [Sean] -- because of one of the lovely scenes he did in 'Serenity' -- Sean 'The Bod' Maher."

    Maher, who plays Dr. Simon Tam in the film, is only slightly embarrassed, but not surprised. After all, Whedon and the cast have been ribbing each other in cruel, but good-natured fashion during the entire event. Earlier, Maher had taken his own pot shot at Fillion, saying that reuniting to film "Serenity" -- the big-screen successor to Whedon's sci-fi series "Firefly" -- was like returning to school from summer vacation, except "Nathan still sucks, but ... "

    "What can you do?" finishes Staite, who plays mechanic Kaylee Frye.

    Fillion is obviously the troublemaker of the group: egging the audience for more applause, twitting his co-stars, breaking the arm off an action figure, "revealing" false spoilers and drawing Whedon's wrath by tipping over the director's name placard.

    Whedon, who's more of a cool uncle than a patriarchal director, does little to maintain order. He dishes out his own insults, referring to Fillion as "what's his name" and "the least talented" cast member. At one point, he even pretends to angrily strangle the star.

    Despite the shenanigans, Whedon proves that he can be protective of his actors when a fan gets out of line and asks Baccarin, who plays a courtesan in the film, if she performs at bachelor parties.

    After the audience gasps and Baccarin replies that she's "a little offended," Whedon tosses back, "Don't talk to my cast that way." After a pause, in which he tries to remember the first, unrelated part of the question, he apologizes jokingly, "[Sorry], I was consumed by rage."

    "Serenity" originated with "Firefly," the short-lived science fiction/western series that FOX canceled after airing only 11 episodes. The film is set 500 years in the future and centers on the transport ship Serenity manned by a band of law-bending misfits. When the crew takes on two fugitives, they find they're being pursued by the military as well as the cannibalistic Reavers.

    "Serenity" flies into theaters Sept. 30.

  3. Pilot Watch
    Gina Torres has been cast opposite Kristin Davis in ABC's Soccer Moms pilot.

  4. Alan Tudyk signs on at ABC
    Familiar faces continue to snap up work in pilots for next season, with Charlotte Ross and Julie Bowen each landing roles in ABC shows in development.

    Sofia Vergara, Alan Tudyk and Michael Landes have also signed on to projects at the Alphabet network, according to the Hollywood trade papers.

    Ross, late of "NYPD Blue," has joined Ashley Scott in the cast of "Westside," a drama about a high-end real-estate firm in Los Angeles. The actress has also starred in Showtime's TV-biz comedy "Beggars and Choosers" and was a regular on "Days of Our Lives" in the late 1980s, where she earned two Daytime Emmy nominations.

    The Colombian-born Vergara ("Soul Plane," "Chasing Papi"), meanwhile, has taken a part in ABC's other real estate-themed pilot, the comedy "Hot Properties." She joins Nicole Sullivan ("The King of Queens") in the cast.

    Former "Ed" star Bowen will all be part of an untitled comedy from writers Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont ("Can't Hardly Wait"). The single-camera show is about a group of single folks living in Philadelphia and their dating lives.

    Bowen, who will be featured in several episodes of ABC's soon-to-premiere "Jake in Progress," will be joined in the cast by Tudyk ("Firefly," "Dodgeball") and Landes ("Special Unit 2," "Final Destination 2").

  5. Whedon Feeds 'Wonder Woman' Casting Rumors
    Now that "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" creator Joss Whedon has been tapped to direct Warner Bros.' long-gestating "Wonder Woman" movie, speculation about casting has begun with a vengeance.

    The scruffy writer-director caused a frenzy on Sunday, March 20 with a mere glance during his Wizard World Los Angeles Q&A to promote his upcoming sci-fi adventure "Serenity" when talk turned to the superhero project.

    After listening to how Whedon signed on for "Wonder Woman," actress star Jewel Staite, who plays mechanic Kaylee Frye in "Serenity," raised her hand tentatively.

    "Can I be in your 'Wonder Woman' movie?" asked the sandy-haired blonde, to which Whedon quipped, "I'll tell you, if Morgan Freeman says 'No,' you are second."

    The audience laughed accordingly until he swiveled to look at Morena Baccarin -- a brunette "Serenity" cast member sitting to his left -- and added, "Where will I find a dark-haired, olive-skinned beauty?"

    The hundreds of fans crammed into the Long Beach Convention Center's ballroom went wild.

    Whedon strengthened the message that Baccarin was a contender to play the heroine, when afterwards he was seen discussing "Wonder Woman" with her at his side.

    Whedon has been known to reuse stars from "Firefly" -- the FOX sci-fi series that launched the big-screen "Serenity" -- in "Buffy" and its spin-off "Angel." He's also known, however, to be a master of shiny objects, distracting fans with dazzling plot lines, snappy dialogue, colorful monsters or the occasional apocalypse.

    Whether Whedon's apparent preference for Baccarin will bear fruit or is a merely a ploy to mislead fans remains to be seen, especially if the folks at Warner Bros. insist on a big-name star. Nevertheless, online followers have already debated the possible casting choice on message boards. Some support Baccarin, who is of Brazilian ancestry, while others claim she's too "elfin" to portray the kick-butt superhero.

    Later in the Q&A, Whedon admitted to Zap2it.com that he wasn't a fan of the '70s "Wonder Woman" series starring Lynda Carter, although he wasn't "a non-fan, picketing the show." He just felt that the star-spangled incarnation "was not as strong as she's going to be [in his film]."

    When asked if he'd consider casting Carter in a small cameo for the film, he merely joked, "Lynda and I haven't spoken for a while, so I'm not sure."

    While the fans are left guessing, Whedon and Baccarin are busy building up hype for "Serenity," which will blast across movie screens beginning in September.

    Baccarin, 25, recently celebrated the premiere of her ensemble indie film "Way Off Broadway," which is currently screening at the Laemmle Fairfax theater in Los Angeles.

  6. Whedon Wins 'Wonder Woman' Gig
    "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" creator Joss Whedon has been snared by another butt-kicking female.

    He has signed on with Warner Bros. Pictures to write and direct the long-gestating "Wonder Woman" project, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

    "Wonder Woman is the most iconic female heroine of our time, but in a way, no one has met her yet," Whedon says in a statement. "What I love most about icons is finding out what's behind them, exploring the price of their power."

    The DC Comics character is really an Amazonian princess from Paradise Island who becomes a superheroine with super strength. She is equally famous for her rather racy outfits, comprised of a bustier, bullet-deflecting bracelets, tiara, boots and truth-inducing golden lasso. She's also been known to pilot her own invisible plane.

    "There is a woman behind the legend who is very fascinating, very uncompromising and in her own way almost vulnerable," adds Whedon. "She's someone who doesn't belong in this world, and since everyone I know feels that way about themselves, the character clicked for me."

    Actress Lynda Carter filled the role and bustier of "Wonder Woman" for five years on TV beginning in 1975.

    Whedon has had experience with comic book heroes. He's been writing for Marvel's "Astonishing X-Men," and he penned "Fray," a vampire slayer spin-off comic book set 200 years after "Buffy," an "Angel" tie-in "Angel: Long Night's Journey" and various stories for "Tales of the Vampire."

    Besides "Buffy" and its spin-off "Angel," Whedon is also the creator of the short-lived space/Western series "Firefly," the basis for the upcoming big-screen project "Serenity," which will be released in the fall.

  7. ON THE SET: 'Firefly' Actors Enjoy a New 'Serenity'
    "I'll talk about 'Firefly' until the cows come home," says Adam Baldwin in January interview. "It was a labor of love. It was hard for us to be under the gun early on. We didn't hook a big enough audience, that's the bottom line. I'm not going to second-guess why."

    In the short-lived FOX series, Baldwin played Jayne Cobb, the brawn to everyone else's brains aboard the rickety, Firefly-class cargo ship Serenity, some 500 or so years in the future.

    "He's a pragmatician," Baldwin says in Jayne's defense. "He's like, 'What works? Finish the job. Get it done. I'm scared. I'm scared. I need to fire back. Return fire.'"

    Created by Joss Whedon ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel"), "Firefly" - a blend of the Western and science fiction genres, with a little Chinese cussin' thrown in - got an early pickup from the network, premiered in the fall of 2002 with a lot of fanfare (with its second episode, not the two-hour pilot, which aired at the end of the run) then was yanked with several episodes left unaired.

    Through sheer force of will, Whedon managed to get studio 20th Century Fox to relinquish the rights, then set the thing up as a feature film at Universal. Called "Serenity," the film is set to premiere Sept. 30. "Firefly" has also had brisk DVD sales, which reinforced Universal's decision to move forward.

    "When people speculate on the whys and wherefores," Baldwin says, "it's an energy waste. All I know is we have huge DVD sales. We have millions of fans who are very much looking forward to this movie coming out, and if they all show up on the first weekend, we get to make two or three more movies."

    Baldwin is also not bothered that the show's debut is delayed from its original April launch.

    "This way, he says, "we come out at a time when they'll be able to attach the trailer to another big movie over the summer, and people will know it's coming out. People that have never heard of us will find out."

    Baldwin has seen a cut of "Serenity," and reveals, "Mmmm, it's hot. It's tasty. It's opened up. You will see more worlds. I can't recall if we have any horses, but everybody looks great. We had this lead-time, so everybody's like, 'Go to the gym!'

    "We also had 15 episodes of workshopping it. We all know who our characters were, plus two weeks of just sitting in a room with Joss rehearsing."

    "The series being canceled was such a heartbreak," says Nathan Fillion, who plays Serenity's Capt. Mal Reynolds, in an interview conducted on the set last August. "I broke the cardinal rule of, 'Don't fall in love with what you do, because your rug can get yanked out from under you.' When it did, I was heartbroken.

    "Joss had it in his head that he was going to have it made as a movie. That's a great dream, and I really wanted to have it happen, but I couldn't fall in love with that idea again, just to be heartbroken again. I don't think it actually settled in until three weeks into filming, that we were actually making the movie."

    "When we actually got to do the movie," says Gina Torres, who plays Mal's right-hand woman, Zoe Warren, speaking in February, "which for all intents and purposes should never have happened, it was a miracle. We just had a hoot. We thought, 'Oh, my God, they are actually paying us money to do this. Let's just do our lines and hang out.'"

    Fillion earned the nickname "Capt. Tightpants" during the series, and Baldwin says that continues in the movie.

    "His pants are tight," Baldwin says. "He had a lot of trouble bending over. He's great. It's a hot movie."

    Although Fillion now claims that Sean Maher, as Dr. Simon Tam, has taken over as "Dr. Tightpants" in the movie, Torres disagrees.

    "I have the tightest pants in the movie," she says. "Thankfully, there was a little Spandex thrown in that mix, so I could have lunch."

    Asked if "Serenity" is worth the wait, Fillion says, "Yeah, I think so. It's going to be an enjoyable experience. It's going to be very satisfying on a lot of levels. It'll wrap up some things that were left hanging."

    As to whether there's any romance in Mal's future, Fillion says, "Does Mal get a girlfriend? I can't tell you that." "We had an opportunity to redeem ourselves," Baldwin says. "Some people that I've talked to look at it as, what's the word, what's a synonym for vengeance? I don't look at it that way. I look at it as a chance for redemption.

    "People will find their way back to the TV show, to the DVDs, and to the 'Serenity' world. It has a really great shot of being very successful, and having seen it, I say that with confidence."

  8. ON THE SET: 'Serenity': So Not How Things Should Work
    See, when you write a movie and it turns out just the way you hoped it wouldn't, you're supposed to lick your wounds, cash the check and move on to writing another script that a director will again turn into something that embarrasses you when you hear it mentioned in the supermarket.

    You're absolutely not supposed to take that movie idea back and turn it into a little hit series/cultural phenomenon called "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

    And when you pour your heart and soul into a series for FOX, get told your pilot is awful and then get canned after 11 episodes, you're supposed to go write a police procedural or something that won't tear your guts out if it gets the ax.

    You're really not supposed to take that failed TV series, move it to another studio altogether and turn it into a feature film. Not supposed to happen. Nope.

    These are lessons that writer/producer/director Joss Whedon apparently has not learned.

    Standing this past August on the set of "Serenity," the Universal Pictures film version of his 20th Century Fox series "Firefly," Whedon -- an experienced screenwriter making his feature-film directing debut -- is feeling pretty good.

    "After 'Alien Resurrection,'" he says, "I said, 'The next person who ruins one of my scripts is going to be me.' And I think I'm doing a fine job. Actually, I think the director, on occasion, could use a little more imagination, and the writer could have shut up occasionally. We fight, but we're still getting along better than I usually do."

    Set about 500 years in the future, in a raggedy world that's a blend of space opera and horse opera, "Serenity" returns to the Firefly-class spaceship Serenity, a knockabout bucket of bolts transporting cargo and passengers -- with very few questions asked.

    The entire cast from the TV series has returned, led by Nathan Fillion as Capt. Malcolm Reynolds, a disillusioned former soldier fleeing old demons, the megalithic coalition called The Alliance and roving brutal savages called Reavers (oft mentioned but not seen in the series, but they may make their debut in the movie).

    As did the series, the movie centers on the mysterious River Tam (Summer Glau). Rescued from scientific experimentation by her physician brother, Simon (Sean Maher), River's mental and physical powers are still evolving. The Alliance wants River back, and they've sent the Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor) to get her.

    "Serenity" is set for a Sept. 30 debut, delayed from an original April launch date.

    "Firefly" did well on DVD for 20th Century Fox Home Video, but according to "Serenity" producer Barry Mendel ("The Sixth Sense," "The Life Aquatic"), that wasn't the dealmaker for Universal.

    "It was helpful," he says, "but Universal was already on board before the DVD came out. They were believers of Joss. They think of Joss as somebody who's going to be making films for a long time. He's a unique person with a voice. They also really loved the show. They loved the idea of doing the show as a movie. They thought the show could have been a lot more. They understood what went down between Joss and the network during the show.

    "They went, 'This is a great movie property.' It's surprising for people to hear, but they believed in it since the beginning."

    Asked how hard it was to wrest the rights from 20th Century Fox, Mendel says, "Medium. We approached them. At the end of the day, we had to pay them a certain amount of money. It wasn't huge, but it was considerable.

    "I think they relinquished the rights because they knew Joss was on a mission from God to make this movie. They weren't going to be the people who went down in history as the people who were standing in the way of an artist, who'd been very good to them, doing what he wanted to do.

    "Ultimately, to say whether it was the goodness of their souls or their concern about their reputations, that would be pure speculation on my part."

    "I'd like to brag how well I sold it," Whedon says, "but [vice chairman, worldwide production] Mary Parent at Universal watched 'Firefly,' and the words she used were 'This is a no-brainer.'"

    One cancellation and a few business deals later, Whedon talks about his different relationships with FOX network and 20th Century Fox Studios.

    "My relationship with the network is not so great, but my deal is with television production, and we've had a good relationship for years. We did 'Buffy' and [its spin-off] 'Angel' and 'Firefly' together, and that's been fine."

    Although he's in the movie business right now, Whedon -- who has two young children --hasn't completely shaken off television.

    "I'm totally prepared to go back to TV," he says, "not 24/7 like in the first few years of 'Buffy,' but now I've learned enough about surrounding yourself with the right people and delegating that I can actually run a show without ruining my life.

    "TV is a medium that I love in a very different way that I love movies. The things that I can't do in this movie are things I mourn, the smaller moments, the protracted interactions, the things that make TV really fascinating, watching characters change over the years. I've waited my whole life to make movies, but movies don't do that. "I tend to write novels that are way too long, and that's TV."

    Of course, while movies can't duplicate the storytelling process of seven years of a TV series, there is the possibility of sequels.

    As for "Serenity," Whedon says, "They don't even say, 'Is there going to be a sequel?' They go straight to trilogy, and they say, 'Are you going to shoot the second and third back-to-back?' Um, movie might suck. Let's start at Point A.

    "I think of this as an absolute one-shot. Could it sustain more stories? Obviously, I designed their world and these characters and this ensemble to sustain seven years' worth, so, yeah, there could be more.

    "We'd love to do more, but we have to make this one good enough to deserve that. That is the only thing that I'm thinking about."

  9. Wonder Who?
    "WONDER Woman" finally got the green light. A movie version of the comic-book character has been buzzed about for a year, and now spies say Warner Bros. has finally told producer Joel Silver to go ahead with the project. Silver is said to already be in negotiations with "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" writer Joss Whedon to pen the script and is looking at Kim Basinger and Jessica Biehl for the title role. "Kim would be used if Wonder Woman is older, Jessica is if she's younger," the insider added. Warner didn't return calls.

  10. Gina Torres Assumes a Former 'Alias'
    Fresh off her return engagement to writer/producer/director Joss Whedon's futuristic Western world in "Serenity," the upcoming film version of his short-lived FOX science-fiction series "Firefly," Gina Torres is getting together with a few more old friends when she reprises the role of K-Directorate agent Anna Espinosa in two episodes of ABC's "Alias."

    Anna was last seen in season one, having one of her many battles with secret agent Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner). With the show now in its fourth season, where's Anna been all this time?

    "She was presumed dead," Torres says. "It's almost a guarantee they'll bring you back. You never see me die. I just sort of disappear into the night. I think their way of explaining it was, they have a conversation, trying to bring everybody up to speed, and they said, 'I thought she was dead.'"

    In real life, Torres went on to do "Firefly," followed by stints on Whedon's "Angel" on The WB, along with FOX's "24." She also appeared in "Matrix Reloaded" and "Matrix Revolutions," which starred her husband, Laurence Fishburne.

    "The timing was just wrong for three years," Torres says. "It was incredibly frustrating because I loved the show, and I wanted a piece of all that, what was going on, especially because Anna was introduced in such a wonderful way. So I thought it was incredibly flattering and so wonderful that they, every year, kept me in mind. When it happened, it happened in a great way."

    Torres' episodes are "Echoes," airing Wednesday, Feb. 23, and "A Man of His Word," airing Wednesday, March 2 (9 p.m. ET, both nights).

    Also returning for the two is David Anders, reprising his role as the nefarious assassin Julian Sark.

    "Anna and Sark have a thing," Torres says, "but it may not be the kind of thing people were thinking."

    During Anna's first appearance, she had several knock-down, drag-outs with Sydney, and proved to be her match. But while some things may have changed, Anna's chief opponent hasn't.

    "Who else would I be fighting with?" Torres says. "There's only one woman for me. It's Miss Jen. But she's gotten better. I have to say, when we were going over our first fight sequence, I was like, 'OK, she's gotten better. Four years ago, she was a very green agent, now she's got all these moves. Whoah, whoah, wait a minute ...'

    "It was a lot more fun when I wiped the floor with her."

    Since Whedon moved Torres from "Firefly" to "Angel," one wonders whether "Alias" creator J.J. Abrams might shift her to his other show, the plane-crash drama "Lost," which airs right before "Alias" on ABC.

    "I saw J.J. Abrams at the Golden Globes," Torres says, "and he had seen my 'Alias' episodes. They had just been put together and edited, and he was really happy with them. He said, 'Would you come back?', and I said, 'Of course, I would come back, just call. And if you need me to run out of the jungle at some point, I'd be happy to do that, too.'

    "So who knows, I'm just an actress looking for work. What can I tell you?"

  11. 'Alias' Welcomes Familiar Faces for Sweeps
    A pair of Sydney Bristow's past nemeses will return to complicate her life on "Alias" during February sweeps.

    David Anders, who's played the oily, villainous Mr. Sark on the series since midway through its first season, and Gina Torres, who had a recurring role in season one, will be back for two episodes each in sweeps, ABC says -- and based on what the network is saying about the episodes, their characters may be linked.

    The two will first appear in the episode scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 23, which finds Nadia's (Mia Maestro) life in jeopardy. To save her, Sydney (Jennifer Garner) has to hunt down her former rival Anna Espinosa (Torres), who hasn't surfaced in several years.

    Vaughn (Michael Vartan) tries to help Sydney save her half-sister, but to do so, he has to confront Sark, who both cuckolded him and ran his wife, Lauren, as a double agent last season.

    Torres and Anders will also appear in the March 2 episode, which finds Sydney and Vaughn still on the hunt for Anna. Sark agrees to help find her, but only for a stiff price.

    Anders was a regular on "Alias" the past two seasons but was dropped from the cast this year. Creator J.J. Abrams has said that with the structure of this season's story arc, there wouldn't be a plausible way to feature Sark in every episode.

  12. Baldwin Goes 'Inside' as FBI Vet
    Adam Baldwin has signed on for a key role in FOX's reconceived "The Inside."

    According to The Hollywood Reporter, Baldwin will play "a tough, seasoned FBI agent, a man's man with 25 years on the job."

    Baldwin is 42, so it's unclear if the trades have his role wrong or if the character is also some sort of impressive prodigy.

    FOX originally conceived of "The Inside" as a "21 Jump Street"-esque drama about a young agent (Rachel Nichols) who was capable of going undercover in Los Angeles high schools. Peter Facinelli was set to play her young boss.

    After a reportedly disappointing initially incarnation, FOX pulled original creators Todd and Glenn Kessler and recruited Tim Minear ("Angel"), who kept Nichols on as a young FBI agent, but otherwise ditched the central premise. Jay Harrington ("Coupling") is now set in the supervisor role. Peter Coyote also stars in the new "Inside."

    In addition to a brief stint on "Angel," Baldwin's recent credits include the Joss Whedon drama "Firefly" and its upcoming feature companion "Serenity." The actor's other credits have included "The Chocolate War," "Full Metal Jacket" and a number of appearances on "The X-Files."

  13. Alan Tudyk on 'Serenity'
    (From Carl S.): Darren Rea: Have you finished your work on Serenity now?

    Alan Tudyk: Yes, we finished a few months ago. The movie picks the story around two months after the events that were unravelled in Firefly. Everybody's there.

    It deals with how Simon and River were being pursued by the Alliance. That was always a problem for us and it continues to be a problem in the movie. The characters of the Reavers, which were sort of talked about in the series but you never got to really see in the TV series, make an appearance in the movie.

    DR: Were you shocked when Firefly was cancelled. And if Serenity is a hit do you think it will open the door for another series, or more movies?

    AT: It would be more movies. I don't think that Joss [Whedon - the creator of Firefly] would take it back to a series. It wasn't a shock that we were cancelled. It was unfortunate and very sad, but we never got the sense that we were understood in America.

    When it was showed in the States we had shot the two hour pilot which set up the world and the network decided that they didn't want to show the pilot first and ended up screening last. That made no sense. The pilot welcomes you to the world and sets up the characters and the world that they inhabit. Instead the first episode to be aired was The Train Job which kind of gives you a backgound to the show, but not as much as the pilot.

    That's why we weren't surprised that the show was cancelled. We felt that those making the decisions either didn't like the show, or didn't understand it. We always knew we were fighting to stay alive and it was depressing.

    What was a surprise though was when we were cancelled Joss said: "This isn't over." At the time we were like: "That's nice, that's sweet. It's kinda sad we've been cancelled, but that's it." But he is tenacious. To get the rights from Fox to make the movie... that couldn't not have been fun. He had to do a lot of fast talking to let Fox to let go. Universal were amazing. It was great to have so much support on the project.

    I'm going to see the very first edit of it when I get back to the States in the first week of December.

    Read the full interview here!

  14. Delayed
    Universal has delayed the release of Joss Whedon's Firefly flick, Serenity, from April 22 to Sept. 30. No reason was given for the postponement. The studio has also pushed back the opening of the Sean Penn-Nicole Kidman thriller The Interpreter from Feb. 18 to April 22.

  15. NEW X-MAN?
    Here's a juicy rumor I really hope is true: There's increasing chatter that Buffy the Vampire Slayer mastermind Joss Whedon is in talks to replace Bryan Singer at the helm of X-Men 3. Singer recently signed on to direct the new Superman flick, leaving the fate of the next X-Men installment up in the air. Whedon's camp isn't commenting on the buzz, but Spike issued the following statement: "There bloody well better be a part in it for me."

  16. Cast Appearance
    Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin and Jewel Staite will be at Dragon*Con in Atlanta, GA, September 3-6th. Go to www.dragoncon.org for more information.

  17. Stars Attack Sci-Fi Shindig
    Once a year, the quiet California city of San Diego becomes a geek Mecca, as fanboys (and fangirls) from all over the world descend on the futuristic convention center for Comic-Con International. Now in its 35th year, the sci-fi-palooza has gotten bigger in every way: more attendees (upwards of 75,000 people this time), more celebrity special guests (Sarah Michelle! Keanu! Ben Browder!), more events, more sneak previews and, most importantly, more free goodies. In fact, there was so much to do and see last weekend that this TV Guide Online reporter often found himself wishing for a handy cloning device (or at least that Time-Turner gadget that Hermione had in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) so he could be in two places at once. Until reality catches up with science fiction, here are the highs and lows of a weekend in comic-book paradise.

    Warmest Reception: The Firefly faithful were out in force to welcome Joss Whedon and the cast of Serenity, the feature-film version of the canceled-but-not-forgotten Fox TV series. Fans were so happy to see the Buffy mastermind that they greeted him with a rousing standing ovation. Whedon returned the favor by premiering an action-packed teaser for the movie, due in theaters next April. The love in the room was so thick, you could only break through it with one of the Serenity crew members' wicked guns.

  18. Ejiofor Finds 'Serenity' with Whedon
    English actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, who starred in the 2002 body-parts drama "Dirty Pretty Things," is set to appear in "Serenity," writer/director Joss Whedon's feature film version of his canceled television series "Firefly."

    The Universal Pictures project revolves around an ensemble of characters who are galactic outcasts 500 years in the future. It centers on a captain and the crew on his transport-for-hire spaceship, Serenity. When they pick up two passengers, they find themselves caught between a military force and cannibalistic savages.

    Ejiofor is the first actor to sign on to the "Firefly" feature who did not appear in the TV series, which had a brief run on Fox in fall 2002. He will play a character known as the Operative, an assassin and tracker who speaks with eloquent sophistication. His other credits include "Amistad" and "Love Actually."

  19. New Role For Alan Tudyk
    Eric Balfour has a prescription for a drug drama.

    The 27-year-old actor has signed on to star in the indie "RX Sin Receta," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

    "Receta" centers on a guy who's strapped for cash and makes an ill-advised trip to Mexico in order to smuggle pharmaceuticals back across the border. He is accompanied by his girlfriend (Lauren German) and best friend (Colin Hanks).

    Alan Tudyk and Ori Pheffer will play two men living in Baja running an illegal business, while Danny Pino portrays a mechanic in Tijuana.

    Ariel Vromen will direct the project, which begins shooting in early May in New Mexico.

    Balfour last co-starred with German both in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" remake.

  20. 'Angel,' 'Firefly' Veteran Dives Over 'Wonderfalls'

    Tim Minear ("Strange World," "Angel") is right back where he started from -- almost.

    Last fall, he was executive producer, with creator Joss Whedon, of the highly anticipated FOX outer-space Western "Firefly," which premiered on Friday night at 8 p.m. ET in the fall of 2002. It didn't last long.

    "We like to think of it as the night that we promote 13-episode DVD sets," Minear quips about the quickly axed series, which will return as a just-greenlit $35 million feature film from Universal called "Serenity," with Whedon writing and directing.

    "I won't be working on 'Serenity,'" Minear says, "but I'll be first in line to see it. But Joss better pay for my ticket. Just sayin'."

    On March 12, Minear returns to Fridays, but this time at 9 p.m. ET, as executive producer, with creators and fellow execs Bryan Fuller ("Dead Like Me") and Todd Holland ("Malcolm in the Middle"), of the new FOX series "Wonderfalls."

    He's hoping the second time's the charm.

    "It's surreal," Minear says. "At least we're not on at 8. Look, there's so many differences. Even though it seems not dissimilar, there are so many differences. First of all, as weird as this show is, it's probably going to be easier for the general public to get their mind around than 'Firefly.' Also, we're not on at 8. Also, we're not spaceships and horses. Also, we're midseason, which makes a big difference."

    One of the most critically lauded pilots of last spring, "Wonderfalls" stars Caroline Dhavernas as Jaye Tyler, a 20-year-old, cranky, overeducated but underachieving gift-shop clerk in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

    "Her family certainly are high-achievers," Minear says. "The way she chooses to live is a reaction to that. She can be just as unhappy putting in very little effort. Why work so hard to be dissatisfied when you can be dissatisfied with less?"

    "There's a little bit of Jaye in everybody," Fuller adds, "When you get into a character like that, who is a little bit surly and a little bit direct, it's so much more interesting than someone who has a smile pasted on their face all the time."

    Jaye's life changes forever when a misshapen wax lion from a vending machine starts talking to her. He's only the first in a series of toys, cartoons and knick-knacks (all animals) that give Jaye cryptic messages then refuse to shut up until she heeds their often vague commands.

    As a result of the actions she takes, unexpected consequences ripple out for friends, family and complete strangers.

    If this sounds just a bit like the cryptic commands given by God to underachieving teen Joan Girardi (Amber Tamblyn) in CBS' "Joan of Arcadia," which airs Friday at 8 p.m. ET, you're not the only one who thought about that.

    In front of assembled TV critics this past January in Hollywood, FOX programming chief Gail Berman said, "What I've seen on Friday night with 'Joan of Arcadia' makes me hopeful that the audience might find its way over to 'Wonderfalls.' Thematically the shows are similar. Those viewers are around. That's clear from 'Joan's' numbers, and I'd like to believe that we'll be able to take advantage of them."

    "I think it's a double-edged sword," Minear says, "because we are not 'Joan of Arcadia.' I'm not sure we'll appeal to the same people. But hopefully people who enjoy quality will like both."

    Unlike "Joan," who believes she's talking to God, Jaye isn't sure where her messages come from, although Fuller says, "She has seen enough evidence to know definitively that this is not just something inside her head. As far as the character's point of view, it's coming from a source greater than her."

    "We never get specific about where the messages are from," Minear says.

    "Wonderfalls" might have seemed stranger before "Joan" came along, but it's still a tough show to explain and promote to new viewers. After his "Firefly" experience, Minear has a better understanding of helping a network deal with the problem.

    "The thing I learned from 'Firefly,'" he says, "is that if a network doesn't understand the property in their bones, they will not, no matter how much they want to, be able to support it. If they don't have it, they can't sell it. That's all there is."

    "There's a lot of fear about 'Wonderfalls,'" Fuller says, "so sometimes that creeps in, and it can be disheartening. But Tim usually finds a way to give everybody what they want. He's mastered the art of negotiation. He can make them happy about what we're doing and still be able to have the creative freedom to do a show we haven't seen before."

    One question that both "Joan" and "Wonderfalls" don't answer in the episodes is why these particular young women have been chosen to receive their messages.

    Whether or not it's ever articulated in the show, Fuller knows why Jaye was tapped. "Why this girl? She's being taught a big lesson about letting life slip by and not taking advantage of the moments that are given to her every day, the moments you and I are given every day, that we can act or not act on.

    "We are constantly confronting these situations and opportunities, an she's letting all those slip by. So this is the universe grabbing her by the collar and saying, 'Wake the f**k up."

    As a bonus to "Firefly" fans, Jewel Staite, who played mechanic Kaylee, will visit "Wonderfalls."

    "Jewel appears about or around episode nine," Minear says, "and plays through episode 13 or so."

  21. Joss Whedon Seeks "Serenity"

    No more Angel? Serenity, now!

    After the WB's surprise cancellation of his Buffy spinoff last month, a devastated Joss Whedon found himself without a pet project.

    But Whedon didn't lick his wounds for long. He's now at work on developing his defunct television series Firefly into the feature film Serenity.

    The futuristic action-adventure film will be the directorial debut for the man famed for bringing Buffy's vampire-slaying antics to living rooms everywhere.

    "We have wanted to be in business with Joss Whedon for a long time and we're incredibly excited to be working with him on his feature film directorial debut," said Universal vice chairmen of production, Mary Parent and Scott Stuber, in a statement.

    "Joss is a true creator, whose talent crosses all mediums. His mythic worlds are inhabited with rich, detailed and very human creatures. Serenity will provide him with a great opportunity to paint another larger-than-life canvas with very identifiable, real characters at the heart of the story."

    Firefly enjoyed a cult following during its short-lived run on Fox's airwaves, but unfortunately it didn't earn the ratings to keep it afloat.

    The series glowed again upon its release on DVD last December, inspiring Universal to give Whedon the big-screen go-ahead.

    Whedon will both write and direct the film, which will be produced by Barry Mendel, whose credits include The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable.

    Chris Buchanan, president of Whedon's Mutant Enemy production company, and Alisa Tager of Barry Mendel Productions will share executive producing credits.

    Whedon will be working with a familiar roster of actors, as many Firefly cast members will reprise their roles for Serenity.

    The film centers on a veteran captain of a galactic war, who, with a small crew, rents out his ship, Serenity, for the purposes of transport-for-hire and pulling off small crimes.

    When the captain takes on two new passengers, he soon learns that they are hotly pursued fugitives from the coalition controlling the universe.

    A whole host of trouble follows for the captain and his fearless crew, as they find themselves the prey of evil forces that they are ill equipped to evade.

    Production on Serenity is slated to begin this year.

  22. Whedon Space Saga 'Firefly' Revived for Big Screen

    Joss Whedon, the man behind the cult hit series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and its spin-off "Angel," will make his feature film debut adapting another one of his signature television series.

    The 39-year-old writer-director-producer will base his Universal film "Serenity" on his short-lived sci-fi/western series "Firefly."

    "Serenity" will continue the adventures of a crew of outcasts on the spaceship Serenity as they have intergalactic adventures 500 years from now. The film centers on Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), a jaded rebel in a galactic civil war who struggles to finance his ship with small crimes and transporting cargo. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family -- squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal.

    Conflict arises when Mal takes on two new passengers -- a young doctor (Sean Maher) and his unstable, telepathic sister (Summer Glau) --who happen to be fugitives from the coalition dominating the universe, who will stop at nothing to reclaim the girl. The crew that was once used to skimming the outskirts of the galaxy unnoticed find themselves pursued by vastly different and dangerous enemies.

    Also reprising their roles from the series are Gina Torres as Zoe Warren, Morena Baccarin as Companion Inara Serra, Jewel Staite as mechanic Kaylee Frye, Adam Baldwin as the incorrigible Jayne Cobb. New characters created expressly for the motion picture adaptation will also join the current cast.

    "Joss is a true creator, whose talent crosses all mediums," say Mary Parent and Scott Stuber, vice chairmen, production, Universal Pictures. "His mythic worlds are inhabited with rich, detailed and very human characters. 'Serenity' will provide him with a great opportunity to paint another larger-than-life canvas with very identifiable, real characters at the heart of the story."

    Whedon will act as screenwriter and director, with "The Sixth Sense's" Barry Mendel and Chris Buchanan serving as executive producers. Whedon wrote the screenplays for the original motion picture "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Alien: Resurrection" and "Toy Story," for which he received an Oscar nomination in 1996.

    FOX ran 12 of the 15 available episodes of "Firefly," which are now enjoying new life on DVD.

  23. Prepare For Takeoff

    Joss Whedon's long-rumored Firefly feature film is finally airborne. Universal has officially green-lighted the project, which will be released under the title Serenity and pick up six months after the short-lived Fox series left off. The show's original crew — headed by Nathan Fillion — all will be back for the flick. Filming begins in June for a 2005 release.

  24. Nathan Fillion in Fox drama pilot

    In "Hollywood Division," about undercover cops at a Hollywood high school, Fillion will play a police detective; he replaces Matthew Settle who was originally cast in the role.

    Fillion, best known for his role on the ABC comedy "Two Guys and a Girl," previously starred in Fox's short-lived drama "Firefly."

  25. TV Duds Rate as Studs in DVD Market

    Low-rated TV series quickly killed by networks are finding new life on DVD.

    Just as under-performing theatrical films are proving profitable as DVD releases, canceled TV shows are generating loads of cash when they become available in the format.

    In some cases, the interest is so strong that the DVDs are generating new projects for the once-declared dead brands.

    "When you look at the TV ratings of failed shows, they are still in 2 or 3 or 4 million households that view them," says Mike Saksa, VP of U.S. marketing for Warner Home Video (WHV). "That may not be enough to get a show renewed, but it does present a viable opportunity to earn back money for the studio by releasing it on DVD. We only need to reach one out of eight of those 4 million viewers to have a highly successful DVD."

    Despite the high boxed-set prices of most of these TV DVD releases -- they range from $26.99 to $69.99 -- many are indeed attracting legions of consumers and great retail interest.

    The trend has been spurred on by the success of "Family Guy," an animated series created by Seth MacFarlane that debuted in 1999 and was canceled after three seasons. According to Video Store magazine, the first DVD volume ($49.98, Fox), which covers the first two seasons, was the No. 1-selling TV DVD in 2003. The April release was followed by "Family Guy -- Vol. 2" ($49.98, Fox) in September, which was the No. 5-top-selling TV DVD last year.

    Other popular TV duds/DVD studs have been "The Ben Stiller Show," a 1992 sketch comedy show canceled after 12 episodes; "Firefly," crafted by "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" creator Joss Whedon and canceled after 11 episodes in 2002; and "The Tick," an animated show based on the comic book that was canceled after less than two seasons in 1996. Each of these programs aired on Fox.

    Both "Firefly -- The Complete Series" ($49.98, Dec. 9, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment) and "The Ben Stiller Show" ($26.99, Dec. 2, WHV) are performing well at Virgin Megastores, according to the L.A.-based chain's senior VP of product and marketing, Dave Alder.

    "'The Ben Stiller Show' is selling at the same levels now as it did in its first two weeks out of the box," he notes. "Though 'Firefly' died on TV, it has definitely had major interest on DVD. Niche TV DVD has a huge cult appeal right now. Despite a number of these titles not working on TV, that doesn't mean they aren't quality products."

    The studios would not provide sales figures for these titles.

    At last October's TV DVD conference, sponsored by Video Store magazine and by the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG), MacFarlane said that he was receiving more work offers since the show had appeared on DVD. Indeed, his "Family Guy: The Movie" is currently in production for Fox.

    A "Firefly" film, written by Whedon, is currently in production for Fox and Universal Pictures.

    "The success of 'Family Guy' is encouraging," says Judd Apatow, executive producer of "The Ben Stiller Show" and of "Freaks and Geeks," which was canceled after one season and is debuting on DVD April 6 from Shout Factory and DreamWorks Television for $69.98.

    "There is now a lot of attention being given to these canceled TV projects on DVD," Apatow notes. "I always do my best to make the shows I'm involved in as good as they can be. I would rather do something great that holds up over time than make a concession that gives in to a trend. Now, it seems to paying off."

    Executives say that major consumers of DVDs are naturally gravitating toward more nichey, less mainstream programing as the format matures.

    "The young, male adults who were heavy purchasers at the beginning of DVD now have their movie collections," WHV's Saksa says. "Now they are buying their TV collection."

    Additionally, studios are researching which shows have the highest potential consumer appeal and are going to Web sites to gauge demand.

    Shout Factory president Garson Foos says that the decision to release "Freaks and Geeks -- The Complete Series" stemmed from Internet interest. "Nearly 40,000 people subscribed to a Web list asking for it to get released on DVD," he says. "With the Internet, there is a way for people to communicate about these shows."

  26. Free Firefly Screensaver

    Karstens Creations has designed a 'Firefly' computer screensaver. You can download is by visiting this link http://www.karcreat.com/KCScreenSavers.html.

  27. Will Firefly: The Movie Take Flight?

    It looks like that big-screen Firefly movie has been temporarily grounded. In September it was announced that Joss Whedon had struck a deal with Universal to turn his short-lived Fox series into a feature film, with shooting expected to begin in early '04. But in an interview with TV Guide Online, the acclaimed Buffy auteur hints that the much-talked-about venture has not in fact been cleared for takeoff.

    "I have interest, I have hope, but I have no news," says Whedon. "I can't really talk about it. When there is news, I will [tell you]. But if I start talking about it before there is [anything definitive to say], it lessens the chance that [it will get made]." (Calls to Universal were not returned.) This much Whedon can say: Any Firefly flick would be accessible to fans and non-fans alike. "Assuming it actually happens — which I cannot — yeah, the idea is I'm trying to write a movie that everybody who hasn't seen the show could enjoy, but that doesn't repeat anything that we have seen on the show."

    While Whedon sorts through the red tape, the space western's diehard followers can entertain themselves with Firefly: The Complete Series, which arrives on DVD today. In addition to three never-aired episodes, the four-disc set includes a documentary about the show, interviews with cast members Nathan Fillion and Gina Torres and a gag reel. What the DVD doesn't feature, however, is a satisfying conclusion to the epic story.

    "We shot the episodes before we knew that we were getting cancelled," says Whedon, who describes his Firefly tour of duty as "the best working experience that I've ever had and the most painful one. In terms of good, I've never had a happier set or a cast that got along that well. On the downside, I learned that you have to be aware of who your buyer is and make damn sure that they actually want what you're giving them. Because ultimately, if they don't, nothing you do is going to help."

    So, is it safe to say that Whedon's next TV project won't be airing on Fox? "Well, the network and I are not having sleepovers," he admits. "But it's not like we've sworn blood vengeance either. I'm not the first person who ever had a show cancelled."

  28. 'Angel' Co-Star Torres Counts to '24'

    After spending last season bouncing around the Joss Whedon universe between "Firefly" and "Angel," actress Gina Torres will take a recurring role on the FOX drama "24."

    According to The Hollywood Reporter, Torres will play the wife of a major donor to President Palmer's (Dennis Haysbert) political campaign. With Penny Johnson Jerald's Sherry Palmer also set to return, perhaps sparks will fly.

    Developing a reputation for small, but colorful parts, Torres' other credits include a recurring role on syndicated "Hercules" (and appearances on "Xena: Warrior Princess"), the starring gig on "Cleopatra 2525," a stint as the nefarious Anna Espinosa on "Alias" and visits to the likes of "NYPD Blue" and "The Agency."

    After the cancellation of "Firefly" last season, Whedon wrote Torres (who played Zoe on the sci-fi Western) the part of unstable, god-like Jasmine on "Angel."

    On the big screen, Torres has been seen this year in the second and third films in the "Matrix" series.

    In other FOX casting news, Sherilyn Fenn will return to "Boston Public" for at least four more episodes, playing the former stripper dating Anthony Heald's vice principal character.

    Meanwhile, "The Mummy" co-star Patricia Velazquez will drop by freshman comedy "Arrested Development" as a Latin soap star involved with star Jason Bateman. Velazquez has also signed for 13 episodes on Gregory Nava's PBS drama "American Family."

  29. 'Firefly's' Fillion Makes a 'Miss Match'

    If it's starting to look a lot like "Buffy" on NBC's "Miss Match," there might be a reason for that.

    One of the show's producers is Gareth Davies, who has worked on all of the shows created by Joss Whedon: The WB and UPN's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," its spin-off, The WB's "Angel," and the short-lived FOX space opera "Firefly."

    Created by Darren Star ("Sex and the City") and Jeff Rake, "Miss Match" -- which films on the former "Buffy" stages in Santa Monica, Calif. -- stars Alicia Silverstone ("Clueless") as Kate Fox, a divorce lawyer who moonlights as a matchmaker.

    In "Santa Baby," the episode airing Friday, Dec. 12, at 9 p.m. ET, "Buffy" and "Angel" star Charisma Carpenter returns for her second episode as the outspoken Serena Lockley. After spending the last few seasons on the Paramount lot filming "Angel," Carpenter describes returning to her old workplace on a totally different show as "surreal."

    Then, in a special episode on Monday, Dec. 15, at 9 p.m. ET, called "Who's Sari Now?", "Firefly" star Nathan Fillion -- who also guest-starred in the final season of "Buffy" as the evil preacher Caleb -- appears in the first of two "Miss Match" episodes.

    "I'm all for nepotism," he says, calling in between takes while shooting his second episode, the upcoming "Miss Communication." "Nepotism be praised! There's a lot of 'Buffy' people here, a lot of 'Firefly' people. Also, Christina Hendricks did an episode of 'Miss Match,' and she played Saffron on 'Firefly.'"

    Fillion plays Adam Logan, a college buddy of Michael (David Conrad), Kate's current love interest, and the soon-to-be-ex-husband of Michael's ex-girlfriend, Lauren (Dina Meyer, "Birds of Prey"), who is Kate's divorce client. Also guest-starring in the episode is Tariq Kabir, one of the rejected suitors from the NBC reality show "Average Joe."

    "There's no wonder that Alicia is a movie star," Fillion says. "She sparkles. She sparkles in real life and on screen. She sparkles and sparkles and sparkles - and she's sweet."

    Fillion also isn't surprised that Carpenter is returning. "Because they love her! I'll tell you why right now. She's gorgeous! Oh my God, she's gorgeous. I've never met her."

    Fillion did get to meet Silverstone's "Miss Match" co-star, film veteran Ryan O'Neal, who plays her lawyer father.

    "We have great chats over lunch," Fillion says. "Boy, that guy is funny. He told a couple of stories -- nothing I can repeat, actually."

    On Dec. 9, just a few days before his "Miss Match" debut, Fillion appears in his first DVD boxed set, as 20th Century Fox Home Video releases the entire brief run of "Firefly."

    "It feels good," says Fillion, who played spaceship captain Malcolm Reynolds. "I like that it's still alive."

    His "Firefly" co-star, Gina Torres, appeared last season on "Angel," and there are some actors, including current "Angel" recurring cast member Jonathan Woodward, who have done all three Whedon shows (Woodward's "Firefly," called "The Message," never aired but is on the DVD).

    At present, Fillion is two for three, and angling for an "Angel" appearance.

    "Give me time," he says. "I'm wearing Joss Whedon down with my casual, very subtle hints, like, 'Boy, wouldn't it be neat to have Caleb on "Angel?" Or Malcolm on "Angel"? What the hell?'"

    Fillion did keep a few "Firefly" souvenirs, including the rubber stunt replica of his futuristic gun. "The real gun cost, I think, $9,000," he says. "They didn't want me to keep that."

    While the proposed "Firefly" feature film remains in the script stages, Fillion is optimistic. "I feel I've still got unfinished business with this show. I don't feel like I had my fill."

  30. Whedon's 'Firefly' Lights Up a Holiday DVD

    If cancellation is hard on TV fans, imagine what it's like for the show's creator.

    After successfully launching both "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and its spin-off "Angel," Joss Whedon poured his heart and soul into his first entirely original idea for television (he first wrote "Buffy" as a movie), FOX's "Firefly."

    Nathan Fillion starred as war veteran Malcolm Reynolds, the conflicted captain of a space freighter full of misfits, struggling to survive by both legal and illegal means in a future universe that blended SF and Western elements.

    Despite the enthusiasm of FOX programming chief Gail Berman at her initial announcement of the series, by the time the pilot was in production in early 2002, problems began to surface. The two-hour pilot was shelved in favor of a one-hour episode written over a weekend just before the deadline for announcing the new fall schedule in May 2002.

    The series launched in Sept. 2002, but was on hiatus by late November, and off the air after the eventual airing of the pilot on Dec. 20. But, all this info and more is contained in Whedon's commentary for the pilot, which is part of a DVD boxed set of the entire run of "Firefly" -- including three unaired hours -- available Dec. 9 from 20th Century Fox Home Video.

    It's a bittersweet moment, but, says Whedon, "There's a lot of sweet in there. The moment I held that little thing in my arms, I was so excited. It does look pretty -- then it has that TV show that I love so much in it.

    "Seeing them all there, knowing that it was really happening, was a very big deal for me, because I felt strongly about the show. I loved it so well, and I wanted people to be able to see it. I didn't want it to disappear."

    Asked if "Firefly" is his favorite creation, Whedon says, "Well, in some ways it was. I love all my children for different reasons, but I never had more fun in my life -- except for that episode with the ballet on 'Angel.' That was pretty fun.

    "It just felt like it gelled right away. It wasn't a show that was waiting to happen, it was a show that was already happening. So to have that out there, and for people to be able to see what we did, really makes me excited."

    Along with the episodes, the DVD includes commentaries -- not just by Whedon, but by other writers, cast members and crew -- featurettes, a set tour by Whedon, Alan Tudyk's audition for the role of pilot Wash, a gag reel, deleted scenes, Whedon crooning the title song (which he wrote), and another musical performance, by cast member Adam Baldwin.

    Also, the episodes are presented in widescreen, as they were originally filmed, and are arranged in order. "That was the most important thing to me," Whedon says. "Everything else is gravy, but there does seem to be quite a bit of gravy."

    Over the course of the show, FOX did request certain changes. "What they wanted to change didn't hurt the show at all," Whedon says. "It was just when they didn't want to make it anymore ... I disagreed with that note. 'Stop filming' was a note that, I said, 'I don't really get where you're going here.'"

    While some criticized "Firefly" for being too dark or not having enough of that characteristic Whedon-esque witty banter, it may just have been ahead of its time. HBO's "Carnivale" is on the verge of earning a second season, even though it is one of the darkest dramas of the last few years.

    Although he hasn't seen "Carnivale," Whedon isn't sure that's the show he would have made anyway.

    "I'm very much of the 'make it dark, make it grim, make it tough,'" he says, "but then, for the love of God, tell a joke. Show some love. I can get by on that stuff. I like a hard world, but I like a hard world that molds good people and people with a sense of humor about the world they're in.

    "Otherwise, it's unrelenting. People don't live like that. Maybe I'm just a dumb softie -- or a subtly brilliant softie. So subtle, in fact, that it cannot be picked up by human beings or any machines."

    Rumors continue to fly about a "Firefly" movie, including talk that production would begin this month.

    "That is delightful rumor," Whedon says. "That would be terrific except that that simply can't happen. I'm a little busy, but I have hope. I am working on a script, and that's all there is yet."

    Asked what he learned from his "Firefly" experience, Whedon says, "Don't tell your actors you're going to run for seven years when you're not. Make sure that the people buying your show actually want it. That was a big one.

    "Apart from that, hire people in all walks -- crew, cast, staff -- that inspire you and get along and realize that the process of making this show is going to take up as much of their lives as the product. Every single day on 'Firefly,' it was a damn good time, and I believe that shows up on screen."

    For those who still resist the idea of putting Western conventions in outer space, Whedon says, "It's all 'Stagecoach.' At the end of the day, whether or not there are horses -- which, in my case, there were -- it's all 'Stagecoach.'

    "You take people, you put them on a journey, you give them peril, you find out who they really are. If there's any kind of fiction better than that, I don't know what it is."

  31. Firefly Feature at CFQ.com

    Cinefantastique is running a behind the scenes episode guide to Firefly featuring the comments of Joss Whedon and Tim Minear. Click here! (CFQ.com).

  32. Emmy Winner!!!

    Firefly one in the only category it was up in.

    Special Visual Effects for a Series: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chosen," UPN; "Enterprise: Dead Stop," UPN; "Enterprise: The Crossing," UPN; "Enterprise: The Expanse," UPN; "Firefly: Serenity," Fox.

  33. Torres On The Guardian

    Gina Torres will be on the hit CBS show The Guardian this season.

  34. 'Firefly' Lands in Film Afterlife

    The short-lived TV series "Firefly" is moving to the big screen.

    After taking his "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" feature film and turning it into a successful TV series, "Firefly" creator Joss Whedon is about to do the reverse with his Fox cult hit, which will be released theatrically by Universal Pictures.

    In addition to adapting it for the big screen, Whedon will also make his feature directorial debut with the project. Plans are to see "Firefly" go into production in first-quarter 2004.

    Universal recently acquired the rights to "Firefly" from 20th Century Fox Television, where Whedon's Mutant Enemy Inc. production company has a television deal.

    The action-adventure series was set 500 years in the future and centered on a crew aboard a spaceship. The feature version will incorporate the mythology from the show but will take on a more epic feel. Whedon hopes to enlist the entire cast to come back for the feature, depending on their previous commitments, with new characters added as well.

    "Ever since the show went off the air, our fan base has grown even more," said Mutant Enemy president Christopher Buchanan. "We've had tremendous outpouring from the U.S. and Canada as well as the U.K., which just finished a run of 'Firefly' over there. Every comic book and sci-fi convention has had a 'Firefly' presence since the show first aired."

    For the series, which ran this past season, Whedon produced 15 hours of television, including a two-hour episode. Three shows never aired on Fox but will likely be featured on the series' DVD release, due out in December. Buchanan said fans created such a demand that DVD presales on Amazon.com sold out within 24 hours.

    Whedon's feature film screenplay credits include "Titan A.E.," "Alien: Resurrection" and "Toy Story."

  35. Firefly Movie & DVD
    (From Jennifer)

    Joss Whedon, creator of Fox's canceled SF western series Firefly, told SCI FI Wire that he is close to a deal to write and direct a feature film based on the short-lived show.

    "What's happening with that is that I'm writing a script," Whedon said in an interview. "And I have some interest. But I won't know really until I finish a draft whether or not it's genuine. ... We have a pretty decent shot. It's not a crazed pipe dream."

    Whedon said that any deal for a Firefly movie would be contingent on getting the original cast back as the crew of the space transport ship Serenity. "Well, I can't just keep putting them on [The WB's] Angel," he joked. "So I have to make a Firefly movie so I can hang out with them more. Yes, the deal is contingent upon the cast." Firefly starred Nathan Fillion as Capt. Mal Reynolds. Whedon added, "I couldn't go so far as to jinx [the deal] and say it's in the bag. It's not. I still have to write it really well [groans]. But there's no pressure."

    In the meantime, Whedon said that the upcoming DVD of Firefly will include three unaired episodes, plus "the gag reel, interviews with everybody, commentaries on most of the episodes by cast members and writers and directors and me. ... It's a huge package. It's b-lls-out deluxe, which I'm really proud of."

  36. Bright possibilities for Whedon's "Firefly"
    (From *Shannon*)

    Firefly may be grounded, but it's not quite ready to be scrapped.

    Created by Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel), this Western-in-space spectacular was canceled by Fox this winter after a mere half-season's run. Whedon, however, remains committed to the show's possibilities - and hurt by it's quick demise.

    "I still haven't given up on Firefly," he says, "which may seem strange since it's been off the air for months. If I can find a new home for Firefly, TV, or movies or any damn thing, it will soften the blow."

    While he works for a revival, he at least has found a temporary home for two of the show's stars. Gina Torres, who was Firefly's first mate, has begun a run on the WB's Angel as the show's "big bad," Jasmine. And Nathan Fillion, who played the captain, starts a five-episode guest stint Tuesday on the UPN's Buffy. He plays Caleb, a cleric servant of "The First."

    "They're very different roles," Whedon says. "Gina gets to be all pretty, so she's happy. And Nathan gets to be evil, so he's having a ball."

    Whedon also may have found a home for Firefly on DVD. Fox is planning to release the show on disc in widescreen format, possibly in December. Whedon is expected to provide commentary, as he did for Buffy and Angel.

  37. 'Firefly's' Tudyk Signs Gollum-Type Role

    Alan Tudyk, who most recently starred in the cancelled FOX series "Firefly," will be starring as an animated robot in his next project, 20th Century Fox's feature film "I, Robot," directed by Alex Proyas ("Dark City").

    Tudyk will be performing the role much like Andy Serkis did for Gollum in "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers." For the film, Serkis performed the role completely, and then his physical image was altered digitally for the final print. Tudyk will star opposite Will Smith for the role, but like Serkis, it will not be his face that viewers will see in the final product.

    Inspired by the classic story collection by Isaac Asimov, "I, Robot" is a futuristic thriller in which a detective (Smith) investigates a crime that may have been perpetrated by a robot (Tudyk), even though the three prevailing laws of the robot society suggest that such a crime is impossible.

    Filming for "I, Robot" is slated to start in May, although casting is still underway for the role of a female robot therapist. The script was written by Jeff Vintar and Hillary Seitz with the most recently draft by Akiva Goldsman ("Lost in Space," "A Beautiful Mind").

    Tudyk's other credits include "A Knight's Talke," "Hearts in Atlantis," "Wonder Boys," "28 Days," "Patch Adams" and a voice role in "Ice Age."

  38. One Emmy Nomination

    Nominees for the 55th annual Primetime Emmy Awards have been announced. The awards will be handed out Sept. 21 on the Fox broadcast network.

    Special Visual Effects for a Series: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chosen," UPN; "Enterprise: Dead Stop," UPN; "Enterprise: The Crossing," UPN; "Enterprise: The Expanse," UPN; "Firefly: Serenity," Fox.

  39. Saturn Awards

    The 29th Annual Saturn Awards, honoring the best in science fiction, fantasy and horror film and television gave Firefly's Mal an award: Cinescape’s Faces Of the Future (Male): Nathan Fillion

  40. Visual Effects Awards

    Visual Effects Society award winner: "Firefly" pilot episode "Serenity," for visual effects in a series.

  41. 'Firefly' Thesp Fillion Fills NBC Bill

    NBC has made a six-figure talent holding deal with former "Firefly" thesp Nathan Fillion.

    The pact calls for Fillion to star in either a drama or comedy project for the network. Fillion and his reps, along with NBC executives, have already started looking at scripts that may be appropriate for the actor.

    "Right now, my heart is set on comedy," Fillion said. "I'm looking forward to working in front of an audience, making people laugh. But I'm not terribly picky; I just want to work."

    NBC snapped up Fillion not long after it became clear that producer Joss Whedon's "Firefly," canceled by Fox, would not be coming back on another network. Fillion had the lead role on the drama, playing the commander of an outlaw starship.

    "Here's a guy who can do everything, from four-camera comedy like 'Two Guys and a Girl' to a drama like 'Saving Private Ryan' to an action show like 'Firefly,"' said Marc Hirschfeld, NBC's executive VP of casting, citing several of Fillion's most notable credits. "And he's one of those rare leading men who can do both comedy and drama."

    Fillion's other feature credits include the lead in indie picture "Water's Edge" as well as roles in "Blast From the Past" and "Dracula 2000."

  42. Networks Nix 'Firefly'
    (From Jennifer)

    Christopher Buchanan-president of Joss Whedon's production company, Mutant Enemy, which is behind Fox's defunct Firefly-told SCI FI Wire that ABC, CBS, NBC, UPN and the SCI FI Channel have all turned down deals to resurrect the SF series, at least so far.

    "The status of Firefly as of today is, ... the clock is running down in the fourth quarter, and we're 90 yards away from the goal line, and the Hail Mary is coming up," Buchanan said in an interview.

    Fox put the low-rated series on indefinite hiatus after airing the show's two-hour pilot on Dec. 20, and creator Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) has been frantically trying to find another home for the show. Buchanan said that the series' elaborate sets remain intact for now. Before wrapping, the show shot three original episodes that have yet to air.

    "We've explored some of the networks and haven't really made a lot of progress," Buchanan said at UPN's winter press preview. Why? "The cost of the show, the timing, the fact that we didn't finish a full season and have other networks out there figuring out what they have in terms of pilots, what they have in terms of their own series cancellations. Timing is just horrible."

    One problem is Firefly's cost: $2 million per episode, Buchanan said. But, he added, "Joss is completely committed to finding a home for it. And we're joking, we're saying puppet theater if need be. Because we just love our whole cast and crew and have had a great time on it. But we're on life support right now. It's pretty grim right now." A cable network is one possible venue. "We've gone so far as to explore the options in terms of, ... without going into great detail, everything from could we move the show to Canada? ... But the reality is, it's a pretty expensive show. And the budget would have to come down significantly. And just given [studio] 20th [Television]'s investment and all the people involved and stuff, it's pretty unlikely that we would go on, I think, in syndication."

  43. Gina Torres On 'Angel'

    Wednesday, Apr 9 - (9:00 - 10:00 pm ET) "Angel" WB

    HER LOYAL DISCIPLES The Woman A.K.A. Jasmine (guest star Gina Torres), who was born to Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter), has the amazing ability to turn everyone she meets, including Angel (David Boreanaz) and the gang, into loyal disciples dedicated to carrying out her every command. Only Fred (Amy Acker) is able to see that Jasmine’s radiant beauty hides a sinister and powerful secret the others refuse to believe. Alexis Denisof, J. August Richards, Vincent Kartheiser and Andy Hallett also star. The episode was directed by Marita Grabiak and written by Elizabeth Craft & Sarah Fain

  44. Nathan Fillion Fills 'Buffy' Role

    Nathan Fillion is joining the cast of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," taking on a key role in the final five episodes of the about-to-wrap series.

    Fillion, who most recently starred in "Buffy" creator Joss Whedon's short-lived Fox television drama "Firefly," will play Caleb, a former man of God who's turned to the dark side and now follows a "Buffy" baddie known as the First. Fillion's first segment airs next month.

    "Nathan Fillion has a leading man's looks, but he's actually horribly evil, so he makes Caleb the epic foil for Buffy that he needs to be," Whedon said. "Caleb calls himself a preacher, but his habit of murdering girls and his alliance with the darkest evil known to man makes him exactly the sort of guy whose (butt) Buffy needs to kick."

    The actor's feature credits include "Saving Private Ryan" and "Blast from the Past." He also is working on a pilot for NBC.

    Whedon last month confirmed that this season will be the final one for "Buffy," which has aired on UPN for the past two seasons and previously spent five years at the WB. The series finale of the cult fave will air in May.

  45. Gina Torres Turns Bad for 'Angel'

    Fans of "Angel" who were left bewildered by the ending of Wednesday's (Feb. 12) episode will find out later this season who's been behind all the havoc befalling Los Angeles.

    Turns out the Big Bad looks a lot like Gina Torres.

    Torres, who starred in "Firefly" earlier this season and appears on "The Agency" Saturday (Feb. 15), has signed to do three episodes of "Angel," according to The Hollywood Reporter. "Firefly," like "Angel," is the brainchild of Joss Whedon.

    Her character is described as a "godlike" being who's been the guiding hand behind recent events on the show. That could mean she was the unseen being to whom The Beast made an offering in Wednesday's show, and that she was behind Cordelia's (Charisma Carpenter) turn to the dark side at the close of Wednesday's episode.

    In addition to "Firefly," Torres also starred in the syndicated series "Cleopatra 2525" and had a recurring part as Sydney's nemesis Anna Espinosa on ABC's "Alias."

    "Angel" returns to The WB's schedule Wednesday, March 5.

  46. 'Firefly's' Torres Transfers to 'The Agency'

    The sun sinks low and long shadows creep across the lawn of a hospital in Brentwood, Calif. For the last few hours, cast, crew and extras of CBS' Saturday-night espionage drama "The Agency" have been buffeted with dust-choked winds as a helicopter lands and lifts off repeatedly, simulating a last-minute evacuation of embassy personnel in a war-torn West African nation.

    The helicopter tucks carefully into a small grassy courtyard (six feet one way or the other, and its rotors smashed into a wall or a decapitated palm tree), as frantic extras push against wire barriers. It's five years ago, says the script for "Absolute Bastard," airing Saturday, Feb. 15 at 10 p.m. ET, and Marine A.B. Stiles (Jason O'Mara) must abandon the West African woman he loves, Dacia (Gina Torres).

    But when the deaths of agents force Stiles, now working for the CIA, to return to West Africa, he discovers that he may have left Dacia with more than just fond memories -- there could be a child involved. Stiles also has to explain Dacia to fellow operative Terri Lowell (Paige Turco), with whom he's had a rocky and briefly passionate relationship.

    "She's complicated," Torres says of Dacia. "Here is a woman who fell in love with a Marine during a time in her country when there was great upheaval. They had every intention of going back to the States and having a life together, and chance ensued. She got left behind."

    "Then you pick up five years later where everything is changed. You don't know who's holding what cards, and who's going to p