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This week's cover: Life after 'Lost'

EW-1146-coverYou let go. Really, you did. When Lost ascended to the TV afterlife last May, you returned to your normal life, paying those overdue bills, mowing your overgrown lawn, even resuming communication with those who couldn’t understand why you wanted to own a jar of Dharma peanut butter. But perhaps somewhere in the recesses of your brain, as you saw an Elizabeth Mitchell or a Daniel Dae Kim pop up on your flatscreen, you started thinking about our dear castaways. Where are those Lost actors now? Do you they miss working on the show? And is it true that Josh Holloway cut his hair?

Those burning questions — and more — are answered in this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly. We interviewed a bunch of cast members, including Matthew Fox, Josh Holloway, and Elizabeth Mitchell, and caught up the men in charge of the show, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, as well as co-creator J.J. Abrams. The good news? READ FULL STORY

'Dead Island' trailer: Tropical zombie videogame has a mind-blowing, eye-popping promo

I rarely play videogames and usually don’t even make it to the end of online movie trailers. (I’m a supes biz career woman, what do you expect?) So imagine my surprise when I open-mouth-gaped my way through this amazing Lost-meets-The Walking Dead trailer for Dead Island (release still TBA) without reaching for my trusty ADD-enabling mouse even once! Video — and an instant reaction from actual videogame player Darren Franich — after the break.  READ FULL STORY

'Star Trek' producer regrets lack of gay characters. What other shows have a surprising lack of diversity?

Brent-Spiner-dataIn an interview with AfterElton.com, Terra Nova exec. producer Brannon Braga — who cut his teeth writing and producing Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine — lamented the fact that Star Trek has never once included an out gay character in a movie or TV series. “It was a shame for a lot of us,” Braga said. “It was not a forward-thinking decision.” Yes, there was the occasional episode where, say, Commander Riker falls in love with an alien from a genderless world, or Dr. Crusher falls in love with a male alien who (thanks the symbiotic organism living inside it, naturally) changes bodies to a female — who Crusher then spurns. But as far as an out-and-proud same-sex loving character, the otherwise socially progressive and diverse Star Trek universe is stuck in the closet.

Braga does contended that had the shows been airing today, the TNG and DS9 creative teams “wouldn’t have been squeamish” about introducing a gay Trek character. Perhaps. For one thing, I always kinda wondered if Data, in his exploration of what it means to be human, would ever get intimate with a male crew-mate the same way he did with Tasha Yar. (Slash fiction tells me I am not alone in this overshare.) I also got to thinking: What other TV series have a surprisingly specific lack of diversity? READ FULL STORY

Have you ever played the 'Lost' numbers? You should have last night.

the-numbersAs someone tweeted me last night: It pays to watch TV. At least $150. The January 4 Mega Millions winning numbers shared four in common with those that Hurley played on Lost. His numbers: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42. The Mega Millions numbers: 4, 8, 15, 25, 47, and 42. According to the Mega Millions website, which has received “unprecedented traffic,” 41,763 people matched four of those numbers and earned $150. Of course, we can’t tell if they were all playing the Lost numbers, but you know some of them were. Another 390 people matched five of the numbers (taking home $10,000 or $250,000, depending on which ones), while a lucky two matched all six (and will split an estimated jackpot of $355,000,000).

So, time to confess: Have you ever used the Lost numbers, whether it be for the lotto or something else? If not, have you used any other numbers with pop culture associations? (We all promise not to steal them.)

The Best TV Character Deaths of 2010

2010-deathsImage Credit: Michael Courtney/FoxOn TV, death is a good thing. Death shakes up the status quo. Death eliminates annoying characters, and it sends off beloved characters with an emotionally-explosive bang. The threat of main-character death has hovered over some of the greatest TV shows of the last ten years. Some shows, like 24, practically made a game out of their gleeful employment of the Death Twist, an out-of-nowhere elimination of an apparently central character. (Be honest: you had a couple bets going on who would die in the Lost finale, right?) Killing off a main character can be just a cheap gimmick, but when it’s done well, it can be incredibly moving. It can even revitalize a show. (See: Grey’s Anatomy, post-bloodbath.)

For our round-up of the best character expirations on TV this year, we focused exclusively on characters that were, if not series regulars, at least important parts of an ensemble — our (perhaps arbitrary) cut-off was that the character must have appeared on at least four episodes before expiring. By nature, this list skews towards drama, but it’s not all dour. On TV at least, death can be pretty funny. As you might expect, this post is SPOILER ALERT central, so if you’re worried, just click down to the comments right now and tell us your favorite deaths from 2010. Otherwise, check out the list after the jump… READ FULL STORY

'Inception,' 'The Walking Dead,' 'Scott Pilgrim' and more: Doc Jensen's Best Geek-Outs of 2010

lost-finaleImage Credit: Mario Perez/ABC‘Tis the season for picking favorites — for taking stock of the year that was and expressing ourselves with lists. Like every pop culture junkie, I have a list for everything — movies, TV, books, music, comics, videogames. But I’m also a big geek, with a fancy for what the industry and more sophisticated nerds call “genre entertainment” — superhero, sci-fi, horror, and fantasy stuff, worlds of wild and weird wonder marked by extraordinary creativity and mind-stretching ideas that can inspire intense engagement, deep discussion with friends, and in some instances, multiple 6,000 word essays each week exploring every nook and cranny, real and imagined, of an entertainment experience — especially ones that involve smoke monsters. Here were my favorite Geek-Outs of 2010, and beginning with (no surprise)…

1. Lost
Some people will love me for putting this Number 1; others will hate me. I love that Lost was capable of producing such polarizing responses. Everyone had his or her own intense, personal relationship to the show. I am not here to validate or critique your perspective, whatever end of the spectrum you occupy. That was your experience. This was mine: The most stimulating pop culture experience of my adult life came to a conclusion this past year with a season to savor for years to come. Yes, I do mean savor: The more I think about the Sideways world, the Man In Black, and the center of The Island, the more richness I find — to the point that I’ve recently been re-thinking many of my initial interpretations. (As much as I enjoyed producing those 6,000 word recaps, I really wish I had more time to process and crunch each episode before committing my thoughts to digital paper.) For example, in my write-ups on “The End,” I called the Sideways world “Purgatory” and deemed it a wholly spiritual construct. I am no longer convinced. I find myself tilting toward an idea, suggested by other critics and bloggers, that the Sideways realm should be thought of as a psychological construct; I think you can accept that without negating the spiritual message of the show. That said, in recent months, I’ve been reassessing “The End” through a more agnostic filter, and as I do, provocative and challenging new meanings emerge — about the Man In Black, about what it means to be The Island’s guardian, about the season’s strangest character. What do I mean by all this? And who was the season’s strangest character? I’ll tell you in my long-promised, long-delayed last Lost column, which will post before the end of the year. Oh, and one more thing? Still cry when I watch this. One of the most beautifully heartbreaking things I’ve ever seen on TV. READ FULL STORY

This Week's EW: Revisiting our visit to the set of the 'Lost' finale

lost-finaleImage Credit: Mario Perez/ABCBack in May, Entertainment Weekly marked the end of Lost with a special issue devoted to ABC’s magical, maddening mystery machine, which included a story that took readers to the Hawaii set for a crucial scene that was being shot for the finale. There wasn’t much we could say about the sequence itself, other than the work marked the last time the whole cast shot together, and that at one point during a long, emotional, teary evening, Terry O’Quinn led his actor friends in a sing-along of Prince’s “Purple Rain.”

Well, now I can elaborate a little more. I was in the church when Christian Shephard (John Terry) threw open the doors and the entire castaway soul cluster — Jack (Matthew Fox), Kate (Evangeline Lilly), Sawyer (Josh Holloway), Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell), Sun (Yunjin Kim), Jin (Daniel Dae Kim ), Hurley (Jorge Garcia), Libby (Cynthia Watros), Sayid (Naveen Andrews), Shannon (Maggie Grace), Boone (Ian Somerhalder, on loan for the weekend from The Vampire Diaries), Charlie (Dominic Monaghan), Claire (Emilie de Ravin), Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick), Penelope (Sonya Walger), Rose (L. Scott Caldwell), Bernard (Sam Anderson) and Locke (O’Quinn) — vanished into the afterlife in a flood of white light. In EW’s Best of 2010 issue, on sale now, I share a little more about the visit, including the misdirection that was employed to fool the spoiler stalkers lurking outside the church and how Fox and Terry were the only actors that knew the big secret of the Sideways world during the filming of the sequence.

Did being there at the end spoil “The End” for me? READ FULL STORY

Most popular baby names of 2010: 'Lost,' 'Twilight,' and more pop culture inspirations

swift-twilight-lostBaby Center has released their list of most popular baby names for 2010, compiled from the thousands of names eager parents shared over the last 12 months. For boys, Aiden tops the list for the sixth year in a row (which, according to Editor-in-chief Linda Murray, is due to the fact that you can “spell that name in 46 different ways.” Sure, just ask Phaedra). Jacob, as in the mysterious man we spent six years of our lives trying to figure out (not that I’m bitter or anything), or a certain hunky werewolf, and Jackson (comma Michael) round out the top three, while Sophia, Isabella, and Olivia (Wilde, Munn, Palermo?) topped the list for girls. Despite early reports, trendy names like Sookie and Castiel (also known as Anna Paquin’s character on True Blood and Misha Collins on Supernatural) lost some steam by year’s end, falling out of the Top 100. But the pop culture connections continue. Other notable names include Taylor (our Entertainer of the Year), Bella (long live the Twihards), Grayson (pass Big Joe; red wine all around!), and Levi (stop the madness).

Of course, these names could all be the result of the personal preferences of the children’s parents… but we don’t like to think of it that way here at PopWatch. There is always a higher power at hand, be it The Wire, Christopher Nolan, Kanye West, or Andy Cohen. Given my pop culture obsessions, sometimes I wish my name was referential, connected to a larger shared experience or feeling. My friend is named after Hall & Oates’ “Sara Smile” which makes me all warm and fuzzy inside, and Bill and Hill notably named daughter Chelsea after Judy Collins’ take on “Chelsea Morning.”

Would you name your child after a pop culture reference, or do you save those for your pets? And if you are the victim of your parents’ obsessive fandom, speak up!

Read more:
Parents naming their kids after fictional characters

'Lost' finale: Damon and Carlton are glad everyone (finally) loves it. Are you?

lost-the-end-toutImage Credit: Mario Perez/ABCDamon Lindelof and Cartlon Cuse are glad that you’re finally over hating the Lost finale. “Strangely, what happened over the last couple months, is that every single person loves it. It seems like that’s actually been a change,” Cuse said on the red carpet for the Spike Scream Awards over the weekend. (There was a big tribute to Lost during the ceremony, although it did not win best TV show.)

“The finale is like a relationship,” Lindelof said. “When it ends at first, you only remember why it ended. But as time goes on, you focus on why you were in it the first place. I think that is what is starting to happen now.” READ FULL STORY

'Lost' cast members to reunite at Spike TV Scream Awards (Exclusive)

jorge-garciaImage Credit: Noel Vasquez/Getty ImagesSpike TV’s annual Scream awards — honoring the best in sci-fi, fantasy, comics and horror — has scored a major geek pop coup: Scream 2010 (airing Oct. 19 at 9 p.m.) will include a “Farewell Tribute To Lost” that will bring together many members of the cast for the first time since they filmed the May finale. Jorge Garcia (Hurley), Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond), and Harold Perrineau (Michael), as well as exec producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, are confirmed to appear, and additional cast members are expected to be announced soon.

The salute will be an elaborate affair, complete with pyrotechnics and a filmed tribute. Spike has produced a nifty promo emulating the choppy look of a Dharma Initiative orientation video, featuring actor Francois Chau reprising his role as The Dharma Dude Of Many Names, aka Dr. Pierre Chang. In the spot, Chau, sporting the signature lab coat, employs Chang’s Edgar Halliwax pseudonym (the one he used for the secret Dharma time travel lab, The Orchid) to introduce a Scream-viewing facility knows as The Tube. (The promo also has Halliwax chugging a 40. That explains a great deal of Dharma lunacy, don’t you think?)

Lost obsessives might argue that the promo should have Chang adopting the Mark Wickmund alias, as that was the handle Chang used in the orientation video for Dharma’s Tube-like TV watching facility, The Pearl. But since Scream 2010 will also include a Back To The Future cast reunion, Halliwax is a fitting choice. And if you’re tempted to make a joke about the potential for quantum catastrophe involved in honoring two time travel sagas at the same event, sorry: Halliwax has beaten you to the punch.

Get your first look at the promo below, and when you’re done, head over to Spike to cast your Scream votes (if you haven’t already). READ FULL STORY

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