Summer TV round-up PART ONE – A Snark-obsessed professor and the murderous ghost of Alice Liddell

Lewis Carroll made a few cameos on television this summer.

BBC’s Inspector Lewis, on Masterpiece Mystery (also on PBS in America), had an episode in Season V called “The Soul of Genius.” The dead body in this whodunit was a professor obsessed with The Hunting of the Snark, and of course the Inspector has to delve into the poem to search for clues, i.e. a “legendary riddle hidden in Carroll’s philosophical story of an impossible quest for the unknowable.” Oxford’s Botanical Gardens are also visited. Here’s the trailer from the PBS website:

Watch Inspector Lewis: The Soul of Genius Preview on PBS. See more from Masterpiece.

 I’m not sure when PBS reruns it, but it is already available on DVD at Amazon.comwhere it received mostly five-star costumer reviews, and is already available on Netflix (Season 5, Disc 1.)

Over on basic cable, Syfy’s Warehouse 13 had a creepy mystery involving Lewis Carroll’s mirror, which aired August 27. The trailer shows the protagonist finding the Looking-Glass in the warehouse, and accidentally unleashing an EVIL SPIRIT from the other side, namely the “murderous” ghost of Alice Liddell.

Syfy’s website had further description of the plot:

Evil dead Alice Liddell, in the Warehouse 13 episode “Fractures.”

[...] Almost immediately, a ping comes in that a young woman has transformed from her meek self to a salacious thug. By the time Pete and Myka realize that Alice Lidell escaped from Lewis Carroll’s mirror – and the mirror somehow got out of the Dark Vault – they realize that she’s also able to jump from body to body using a shard of the broken mirror. [...] Artie narrowly escapes the attack from a waitress, possessed by Alice, but once outside, he and Vanessa confer with Pete and Myka. Artie won’t explain how he knows, but says that Alice is there to kill him. They call back to the Warehouse and direct Jinks and Claudia to find a trapping artifact – a hookah that appeared in “Through the Looking-Glass” [sic]- so they can re-contain Alice.

Even if you missed the first-run on TV, this episode “Fractures” can be watched online in HD on Amazon Instant Video, for $2.99.

Tomorrow: Summer TV round-up PART TWO – Antiques Roadshow, Alice in Zombieland, and the future of Alice-derived Television

Benedict Cumberbatch also known as Bandersnatch Cummerbund

Benedict Cumberbatch, star of BBC's Sherlock

A bandersnatch was in the news today, but it was widely assumed to be a typo. The actor who plays the titular role in BBC One’s Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, had his already-Carrollian-sounding name apparently spectacularly autocorrected by the Washington Post into “Bandersnatch Cummerbund.” Thanks to @Alex_Ogle on Twitter for the picture before. Anyone hoping for a sober correction – something along the lines of “The Washington Post deeply regrets mistakenly printing the name of the actor Benedict Cumberbatch as Bandersnatch Cummerbund blah blah blah” – will be disappointed. The Post responded that it was not a typographical error, and issued the following statement:

UPDATE: It has come to our attention that there is raging debate, in re whether we intentionally referred to Benedict Cumberbatch as Bandersnatch Cummerbund in The TV Column and blog.

Bandersnatch concept art for the 2010 Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland, by Jason Seiler and Bobby Chiu ©Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Apparently it all started when Poynter posted an item early Tuesday afternoon about the “typo.”

MSNBC.com’s Alex Johnson, a gentleman and a scholar (and former Post staffer), leapt to our defense, noting I correctly identified Cumberbatch on first reference in the column item, and explaining that we are “a titan of snark” who “gets away with that kind of stuff all the time.”

Johnson was perhaps recalling the time, back in 2009, when Politico wrote about the sorry state of The Washington Post’s copy editing, citing something we had written about “American Idol” in which host Ryan Seacrest was called “Seabiscuit” – until some people explained to the author in the comments section, that we had used the nickname for Seacrest during many years of “American Idol” recapping. (The report vanished from the Web site).

But Poynter’s Craig Silverman, a skeptic, bet Johnson a beer on it, asking Johnson, like he meant it to sting, did he think the Post’s copy desk would let that through without any kind of wink to readers.

Silverman owes Johnson a beer.

But, we would like to give credit where credit is due. The nickname “Bandersnatch Cummerbund” originated with one of the serious students of television who join me each Friday to chat about all things TV. And that person would no doubt want to give credit to Lewis Carroll, who first wrote about the “frumious Bandersnatch,” in “Jabberwocky,” in the late 1800’s. We loved it then, we love it now. Oh — and, wink wink!

Call to artists to represent the Tulgey Wood monster wearing a tuxedo sash.

New Trailer for The Hunting of the Snark

The Bellman from the The Hunting of the Snark (2012)

The stop motion animated version of The Hunting of the Snark, long in the works and coming out June 2012, has finally released a trailer. We learn several new things about the movie, including that there is a female character named Hope (as in “They pursued it with forks and Hope.”) Also, Severus Snape makes a cameo at 41 seconds into the trailer.

The image of the Bellman figure above was taken from the movie’s Facebook page, which has many pictures from the creation of the animation.

Robbery-Homicide in Wonderland: CSI team to investigate

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Alice in Wonderland-themed weddings: a sweet idea or a fatal mistake?

In an upcoming episode of CSI, the team are called to investigate a robbery-homicide at a Wonderland-themed wedding in Vegas. According to the trailer below, the Caterpillar conducts the ceremony, the White Rabbit wields some kind of semi-automatic weapon, and investigator Russell gets to say the line “curioser and curioser” in a vaguely appropriate context. This is clearly required viewing for Alice/violent crime fans everywhere.

My favorite entry in the press release’s guest cast list is Pedro Pascal who will play the Cheshire Cat and Paramedic #2.

The episode is called “Malice in Wonderland” (we’ve never heard that one before…) and will air on CBS next Wednesday, March 21.

 

Who are you? Roger Daltrey to voice the Caterpillar in “Once Upon a Time” Wonderland special

Roger Daltrey, the Caterpillar

Roger Daltrey, the Caterpillar

Roger Daltrey, former lead singer of The Who, is to lend his voice to the Caterpillar in a Wonderland-themed episode of the ABC show Once Upon a Time. The executive producers of the show apparently said that The Who’s rock opera “Tommy” was “a huge inspiration for the show,” so, who could be better, really?

“Once Upon a Time” is a fantasy drama set in Storybrooke, Maine, a fictional town populated by fairy tale characters who have been exiled to the real world. The episode, entitled “Hat Trick,” will air on Sunday, March 25th on ABC. Other guest stars will include Sebastian Stan as the Hatter, who you may (or may not) remember as the bad guy in the movie Hot Tub Time Machine. In the episode, producer Edward Kitsis promises, “we find out how the Mad Hatter became mad.”

Sebastien Stan as the Mad Hatter in "Once Upon a Time"

Stephen Colbert on Alicegate: Chewbacca in Wonderland

Stephen Colbert weighed in the Obama White House Alice in Wonderland Halloween Party scandal on last night’s The Colbert Report. It’s worth watching just for Colbert’s epic nerdy rant about Chewbacca in Wonderland:

The Dude abides in Wonderland

This was posted at Neatorama a couple of days ago. “How many The Big Lebowski references do you see in this ‘Abide in Wonderland’ artwork by Dave MacDowell?”

Madonna Alice and Six Tweedles Living in a Disney World

You know how it is. You read an email alert which leads to a blog, which leads to a YouTube clip, which leads to you spending 6:31 minutes watching a 1987 spoof of Madonna’s “Material Girl” starring Alice and six men in Tweedle suits, shot entirely on location and out of hours in Disney World, Florida.

It’s brilliantly awful, but if for any reason you can’t quite watch it all, at least skip to the end to read the extensive credits. Prominent thanks are given to the Walt Disney World Character Wardrobe, on the principal that sometimes it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission, I assume.

 

Disney’s Mary Blair featured in Google Doodle

If you went to google.com on Friday, you probably noticed a girl in an Alice-blue dress doodling on their logo. Their daily Google doodle honored classic stylish Disney artist Mary Blair, on her 100th birthday. (Google often replaces its logo on their home page with topical art spelling the name Google.) From the L.A. Times blog Nation Now:

Mary Blair in her home studio. Credit: Courtesy of the nieces of Mary Blair (LA Times, Nation Now.)

Mary Blair, honored Friday with a Google Doodle, is the woman to thank for the Disneyland boat ride It’s a Small World.

Blair’s doodle coincides with a Los Angeles tribute to the longtime Disney artist. Thursday night, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hosted “Mary Blair’s World of Color — A Centennial Tribute” to celebrate the woman, born a century ago, who made a place for herself among Disney’s famous founding animators, the Nine Old Men.

The Los Angeles Times’ Susan King, a writer and expert on classic Hollywood, reported Monday on the tribute and says Blair is best known for her contributions to the 1950 animated “Cinderella,” 1951′s “Alice in Wonderland” and 1953′s “Peter Pan” — as well as the aforementioned design for It’s a Small World.

 

Behind Shattered Glass – help fund a new indie Wonderland film

The website indiegogo.com is a good place to raise money for an independent art project. Some filmmakers in San Francisco – Chandra Reyes (Writer/Director), Laura Chenault (Director of Photography), and Jorna Tolosa-Chung (Co-Producer) – are campaigning there for a future Carroll-derived indie movie, Behind Shattered Glass. Their creative vision is written for their campaign:

The film is about a young woman who, with the sudden loss of her love, takes sanctuary in a new strange world. Deep in this wonderland she discovers an elusive Man in White who tempts her to follow him down a dark path. There she encounters many other frightening characters who threaten to keep her in Wonderland. Will she break free from his hypnotic trance or is history destined to repeat itself even deep within her own imagination?

I believe that every filmmaker that grew up reading or watching Lewis Carroll’s fairy tale has an Alice in Wonderland story within them that needs to be told. Carroll’s story is about a girl who’s curiosity leads her into strange and new places that she’s not all that ready to be led into. It’s a story we all can identify with. In my reimagining Alice is no longer a young naive girl, but a woman who is stuck making the same mistakes over and over again. Wonderland isn’t just her sanctuary, its her opportunity to break free. [continue reading]

As of today, they’re only $266 out of a proposed $2k. There’s perks to investing in this project, besides feeling good about helping someone enter another looking-glass. For $25 you get a poster of the film, for $50 you get that and a copy of the film, and yet greater thank-you prizes as the donations increase – ($500 gets you an illustrated version of the script.)  Follow progress of the movie on twitter at @bshatteredglass and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/behindshatteredglass.