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Hiroyuki Sanada

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  • TV Picks: 'Helix,' 'Shakespeare,' 'Parks and Rec,' 'Greenville'

    TV Picks: 'Helix,' 'Shakespeare,' 'Parks and Rec,' 'Greenville'
    "Helix" (Syfy, Fridays). Ronald D. Moore, who rebooted "Battlestar Galactica" and brought the highland romantic fantasy "Outlander" to the TV screen, is an executive producer of and contributing writer to this well-wrought sci-fi suspense serial, now in its second season. It's what might be called variously derivative -- a scrap-yard machine whose component parts have included an isolated Arctic setting, an out-of-control super-virus, quasi-zombies, a shadowy corporate cabal and dangerous immortals. You know the drill. But the package is classy, even classical; the performances are good; and the attitude is just perverse enough for the show to be genuinely surprising and even shocking at times. This year, the aforementioned arctic laboratory having gone up in flames, the setting has shifted to a mysterious island, which, though non-tropical, brings with it thoughts of "Lost" -- an impression strengthened by the series' newly introduced dual timelines (the current season takes place now and 30 years from now), cult in a compound, things that go bump in the woods and the presence of Hiroyuki Sanada (temple master Dogen in "Lost" season 6). But unlike "Lost," it does not seem to be making itself up as it goes along, and though bits and pieces are held back for dramatic mystification and delayed gratification, the long arc, even from here, feels structurally sound and essentially straightforward. (The creative team includes "The Middleman" man -- and "Lost" writer-producer -- Javier Grillo-Marxuach, who has thought deeply about these things: See his much-circulated essay on "operational themes.") Once again, the CDC is on the case -- new season, new virus -- although former team leader Billy Campbell is pursuing a dark agenda of his own. (He knows things, presumably horrible things.) Icky, loopy fun.
  • Amazon Prime Nabs Exclusive U.K. Rights to Halle Berry Starrer 'Extant'

    LONDON -- Video streaming service Amazon Prime Instant Video has nabbed exclusive U.K. rights to Halle Berry starrer "Extant," which is produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television. Episodes from the sci-fi series, which is distributed by CBS Studios...

    Reel Critics: 'Transcendence'? Not quite

    Reel Critics: 'Transcendence'? Not quite
    Wally Pfister is one of Hollywood's most renowned cinematographers of complex visual screenplays. He won an Oscar for his work on the groundbreaking sci-fi twister "Inception." He was nominated for "The Prestige" and two Batman movies. He was director...

    TV Review: 'Extant'

    "Extant" feels a bit like a Steven Spielberg greatest (and not-so-greatest) hits album, from "A.I." to, in this case, a close encounter of the reproductive kind. That's not an indictment so much as a road map to this CBS summer drama, which brings the...

    Halle Berry keeps CBS' 'Extant' in orbit despite its odd turns

     Halle Berry keeps CBS' 'Extant' in orbit despite its odd turns
    The starry, starring presence of Halle Berry instantly makes an event of "Extant," a new science-fiction series from CBS premiering Wednesday. That Steven Spielberg is an executive producer has also been shouted to the skies, but he has been mixed up...