From Dreamwatch Magazine 107
Buffy The Vampire SlayerThis Year’s Cannon Fodder
Tuesday 9 September 2003, by Webmaster
Premise: A geeky computer technician is transformed into a super-powered secret agent for the NSA after he is exposed to nanites.
Talent: Starring Odyssey 5’s Christopher Gorham. Angel co-creator David Greenwalt serves as showrunner.
Timeslot: UPN, Wednesdays at 9 pm.
Prospects: A potentially straightforward Y-chromosome response to Alias and Dark Angel is boosted by Greenwalt, who is ironically facing competition from his co-creation Angel.
"I’m heartsick," says Greenwalt, addressing the scheduling of the WB’s Angel in direct competition with his new UPN show Jake 2.0. "It’s like, ’Are you kidding me?’ My great hope is that there’s audience enough for both shows to succeed, because I want them both to succeed. This is tearing me apart."
Felicity star Christopher Gorham leads the show as Jake Foley, who forms the heart of an NSA Special Ops team with his new superhuman strength, speed, hearing and vision, and the ability to telepathically communicate with computers.
"It’s kind of a Buffy-like paradigm," says Greenwalt, "because he’s a geek. He’s kind of a nerd, he hasn’t amounted to much in his life like maybe he should have, and suddenly he has all these fantastic powers."
Six Feet Under’s Marina Black provides love-interest as congressional staffer Sarah Heywood, while Young American’s Matt Czuchry is Jake’s roommate, Philip Anthony-Rodriguez and Judith Scott are senior agents, and Keegan Connor Tracy is research doctor Diane Hughes.
Gina Matthews, Grant Scharbo and Silvio Horta executive produce the Roundtable Entertainment and Viacom Productions show, with Greenwalt reporting, "They tell the kind of stories I want to tell. They’re much more interested in the emotional core and the metaphor."
Premise: A morgue worker on a graveyard shift listens to dead people’s tales then relives that day to set things right.
Talent: Starring Buffy’s Eliza Dushku. Created by xXx’s Rob Cohen and Roswell’s Jon Feldman.
Timeslot: Fox, Thursdays at 8 pm.
Prospects: A rather hokey sounding superhero premise. Dushku faces the challenge of establishing a TV identity away from fan favorite Buffy character Faith.
"She’s just this normal girl who’s trying to help, but she’s only human," says Eliza Dushku, attempting to distinguish new character Tru Davies from vampire slayer Faith.
"It’s like Groundhog Day," says the actress. "Her day is starting over. That person dies at 10 o’clock that night, and now it’s the day repeating itself. She has to find out who that person is, and she has X amount of hours to keep them from dying."
Dushku has completed filming on Tru Calling’s pilot under The Bone Collector’s director Phillip Noyce, praising his "experiments with different shots and different angles."
The 20th Century Fox Television and Original Television production also stars Shawn Reaves as Tru’s brother Harrison, Jessica Collins as Meredith, A.J. Cook as Lindsay, Heath Freeman as Cameron and Zach Galifianakis as Davis.
Buffy creator Joss Whedon has forgiven Dushku’s decision to pass on a Faith spin-off for UPN. "She was interested in playing another character. Fox came at her with a big, solid offer, whereas UPN was still going, "Um, what?" And it’s a bigger network. I get why she would take the other gig. Of course, I wish she had done Faith. But now I wish her show will be great and successful."
Premise: After a nervous breakdown a souvenir shop worker at Niagara Falls discovers she can communicate with inanimate animal figures.
Talent: Starring Caroline Chavernas. Developed by Voyager’s Bryan Fuller and Malcolm in the Middle’s Todd Holland, with Angel’s Tim Minear as showrunner.
Timeslot: Fox, Mondays at 9 pm.
Prospects: Wonderfalls’ set-up seems twee and predictable, but Minear may be the man to give it more darkness and depth. "I’ll be running Wonderfalls," confirms the Firefly and Angel producer, taking on the role of head writer and showrunner on Fox’s new reality-bending dramatic comedy.
Fox Broadcasting has ordered 13 episodes of the series, which stars 24-year-old French TAG actress Caroline Dhavernas as Jaye Tyler, whose animal figurines encourage her to improve the lives of her eccentric family of overachievers and the odd strangers she meets.
You’ve Got Mail’s Katie Finneran co-stars as Sharon, Dinotopia’s Tyron Leitso is Eric, Rosewell’s William Sadler is Darrin, What Lies Beneath’s Diana Scarwid is Karen, and Torque’s Adam Scott is Aaron.
"We’ve had a lot of support and enthusiasm for the project from Fox, 20th and Regency and it’s been a really positive experience," says Fuller. Wonderfalls is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Regency Television.
Premise: The struggles of the Morgan family are told through the eyes of golden son Jake, who died a year before. Talent: Starring Dark Angel’s Jensen Ackles. Developed by Bio-Dome’s Kip Koenig, with Buffy’s Marti Noxon as executive producer. Timeslot: Fox, arriving mid-season. Prospects: Still Life reads as yet another family soap opera, albeit one with a narrative twist, although Buffy fans may feel that bleak, tortured drama is Noxon’s forte.
Buff producer Marti Noxon’s new spooky family drama has missed an early entry to the new TV year, with Fox now targeting the show as a midseason replacement.
"We have the potential for getting picked up and airing early," Noxon had said, with filming on the pilot concluding at the end of March under Everwood director Mark Piznarski.
Dark Angel’s Ackles leads the cast as Jake’s troubled, angst-ridden brother Max, with Daredevil’s David Keith as police officer father Ben, and Once and Again’s Audrey Anderson as mother Charlotte, who is running for Mayor.
Audrey Marie Anderson and Jeanette Brox have been announced as Max’s sisters Emily and Daisy. Firefly’s Monica Baccarin plays Jake’s girlfriend Maggie Jones, who Max once dated and still loves.
The 20th Century Fox Television and Original Television show is executive produced by Noxon together with Marty Adelstein, Neal Moritz, Kip Koenig and Dawn Parouse.
ADDITIONAL NOTE ON JAKE 2.0 FROM TV ZONE #166 (David Boreanaz cover/Interview)
"This show has been done before a million times. Like, The Six Million Dollar Man version, the guy who has been selected to be the first man to get it and everything. Jake is more of an everyday kind of geek." So says executive producer David Greenwalt about UPN’s new series. His trick will be to inject something different into the format and he feels that with Silvio Horta, who wrote the pilot, and fellow producers Grant Scharbo and Gina Matthews, all of whom worked on The Chronicle, they may be able to do that due to their sheer level of commitment. The biggest problem the show faces will be tempting viewers to try out the show, as it faces stiff opposition in the form of established series Angel, The West Wing and The Bachelor.