Richard Castle: Heat WaveHah! It turns out those ads for Heat Wave during Castle aren’t fake: ABC actually had someone write the Nikki Heat book as a tie-in.

The first time I remember seeing something like this was with (appropriately enough) Murder She Wrote, with a paperback mystery novel credited to Jessica Fletcher. In that case, though, the show had been on for years and was a television staple. DC Comics got into it in 1997 with The Life Story of the Flash, credited to Iris (West) Allen, which had previously been referenced in the comic books.

More recently, Lost had an in-universe book published in the real world: Bad Twin was billed as the final novel by one of the passengers on Oceanic 815 who didn’t make it through the first episode. I actually read that one. It was interesting enough, though it had little to do with the show beyond the presence of the Widmores.

  • TV: Castle good. Bones OK but more Katie’s thing. Still undecided on Glee. Excited about Flash Forward. Not sure on Heroes or Dollhouse. #
  • The “Mind the Gap” monster in Neverwhere sounds a lot like the smoke monster on Lost now. #
  • Speaking of smoke, I’ve been trying to figure out where all the crud in the air is coming from today. Norco maybe? #
  • Flash-only sites are also invisible to smartphone users, even with iPhone & Android. #sbbuzz #

One of the coolest things to happen at last year’s Lost panel was Hurley Guy: a large, scruffy, longish-haired guy coming up to the Q&A mike wearing a green shirt. The producers were as amused as the audience, and his prize for asking his question was a tub of Dharma ranch dressing. I caught sight of him again on Friday afternoon of this year’s con, dressed this time in a yellow “I (heart) my Shih Tzu” shirt and pajama pants with a plaid bathrobe. I hung around him, waiting to ask for a picture, as he talked with his friends about when they planned to get to the line the next morning. The consensus was 4 a.m., which I found ridiculous. Later, after giving up on the picture, I learned that people were already camping that night. Even more ridiculous. But for the kind of panel that this year’s, the final Lost panel, was, I can see how they’d decide it was utterly worth it.

I arrived on the Plaza Park lawn as soon as the 8 a.m. shuttle could get me there. No one noticed I was dressed to resemble Kate, and Hurley Guy was nowhere in sight to beg for a photo. The doors opened at about 10:30 for the 11:00 panel, and on the way in we were handed pencils and fliers for “Lost University” (and I also got the “9” card being handed out as a promo for 9). We found out what that was all about at the beginning of the panel, when a clip advertising the website (lostuniversity.org) was played. I haven’t looked at the site, so I don’t know if it’s another ARG or another fan-gathering site. But with “test” questions and “schedules” involving polar bears and hunting boars, it’s bound to be at least slightly funny.

I believe this was also where there were some clips played of “things that might happen” in an altered world of Lost. I can’t remember precisely where this bit was, because I was a good fan and didn’t take pictures of any of the videos. The lineup included a commercial for Mr. Cluck’s featuring Hurley, who had apparently bought the company and had nothing but GOOD luck since winning the lottery. The restaurant was featuring “Australian” combos to commemorate his return from his walkabout trip. Then there was a segment from a “Most Wanted Fugitives” show, letting us know that Kate was still on the run. Apparently, instead of killing her stepdad in the explosion, she’d actually killed the underling he’d sent back to the house to collect his tools.

The panel itself started with Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof saying that they planned to make this mostly Q&A, to give back to the fans. Continue reading

A quick look at TV shows we’ve been watching this season.

Lost – Good season, learned a lot more than I expected about DHARMA, major cliffhanger. Renewed for a final season…in 2010. (Hard to believe that’s less than a year away)

Pushing Daisies – managed to maintain the tone & quality, but canceled halfway through the year. Supposed to get the last 3 episodes starting at the end of the month. A 12-issue comic book miniseries has already been announced.

Bones – I only saw a few episodes, but liked them, and Katie’s been watching it regularly. Fun off-format season finale w/ a nasty cliffhanger. Returning, according to the voiceover during the credits.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – turned out to be a surprisingly solid, complex show. No word on renewal yet, but I’d like to see more. Update 6: canceled.

Dollhouse: Started off weak, but got really interesting as the season progressed. It’s not a comfortable show by any means. No word on renewal, but if I had to choose between this and T:SCC, I’d take SCC. Update 2: Unofficial sources say it’s renewed, but I wouldn’t count my actives until they’re all back for their treatments.

Heroes: I gave up 2 episodes into the “Fugitives” arc, but Katie kept watching. Deeply problematic show but its high points were very good. Renewed, and I hope it’ll improve next year.

Better Off Ted – fun, painful, quirky all rolled into one. Sort of like a less-nerdy Dilbert or Office Space. I’d like to see more, but it doesn’t seem likely. Update 3: Holy crap, it’s been renewed! That’s a bigger surprise than Dollhouse!

Castle – favorite of this year’s mid-season replacements. Would definitely like to see more, but would be okay if this turned out to be all. Unlike, say, Drive. Update 1: Cool! It’s been renewed!

Battlestar Galactica – finished off with a very good final season. Caprica, on the other hand, was tedious. May take another look at it when the series launches.

Update 4: Forgot to mention The Unusuals, which we checked out, but neither of us found interesting enough to stick with. The ads built it up to be…well…unusual, and it wasn’t. Castle and Bones both routinely dealt with more unusual cases. For anyone who did like it, prospects look dim. Update 7: canceled.

Update 5: EW has a running tally of all the network shows.

Update 8 (May 18): The decisions are in for all of them now. I’m sad to see Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles canceled (especially in the same week that Terminator: Salvation opens), and I’m still annoyed at losing Pushing Daisies halfway through the season, but the other shows we watch have had a remarkably good survival rate this year.