SciTechBlog
June 1, 2010

Geek Out!: Getting my con on, TimeGate style

Posted: 02:38 PM ET
TimeGate
TimeGate

Editor's note: Geek Out! posts feature the latest and most interesting in nerd-culture news. From sci-fi and fantasy to gadgets and science, if you can geek out over it, you can find it on Geek Out! Look for Geek Out! posts on CNN's SciTech blog.

Nothing like a long weekend to kick off the convention season!

I started my annual journey to conventions with TimeGate. TimeGate is an intimate, up and coming science fiction convention that focuses on two distinct fandoms: Doctor Who and Stargate.

Walking into the convention fans were greeted by a “Gate” in addition to tables filled with collectibles from Stargate and Doctor Who - but also Steampunk, "Battlestar Galactica," and several other space-faring genres. Among the guests at TimeGate this year was Carmen Argenziano, a fantastic actor who portrayed Jacob Carter/Selmak in SG-1. One of the things we discussed was what he drew upon to get the emotions flowing for the character.

Argenziano mentioned his uncle, who was in the military and lost a brother in the war, as a mentor and influenced on how he played the role of Jacob. He also mentioned the small steel mill town in Pennsylvania where he grew up as a place where he learned about honor and sense of national identity.

When asked what his favorite SG-1 tech was he said with a smile that he loved “being in the cockpit of the spaceships pretending to modulate dials and drive the ship.”

One of the biggest parts of any good sci-fi show is the music and there are few more notable theme songs than that of Doctor Who. One of the people who shaped the iconic theme is Dominic Glynn, composer and musician.

When asked what his favorite Doctor Who gadget is he responded that it he loved the TARDIS and that if given the chance to take the TARDIS anywhere he would like to see the end of the world. He promised, however, that he would help the Doctor save the world - as long as he was able to “write a really good piece of music to accompany it.”

In talking with several other people at the convention about what their favorite piece of tech from either Stargate or Doctor Who would be, the answers ranged from the Doctor's sonic screwdriver to the Stargate itself. The driving force behind those answers seemed to be the ability to explore new places and see new things.

Alan Silers, one of the co-founders of TimeGate even mentioned the Daleks as a great piece of tech - well written and with an important purpose in the world of Doctor Who.

When I asked him if he thought something like the TARDIS would be possible in our lifetime, he didn't seem too sure, saying with a laugh that “even with as much as technology changes and grows at a rapid pace in our life, gaining some sort of mastery over time … that’s a huge one.”

So, although we might not be chosen as a companion to the next Doctor or get the chance to travel to another universe, we can read about them, dress up as our favorite characters from the shows and even buy our own small piece of the fandom at not only TimeGate, but the other conventions that are getting ready to start. After all, summer is just starting and so is con season.

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May 27, 2010

Geek Out!: Who will be the next Spider-Man?

Posted: 02:21 PM ET

Editor's note: Geek Out! posts feature the latest and most interesting in nerd-culture news. From sci-fi and fantasy to gadgets and science, if you can geek out over it, you can find it on Geek Out! Look for Geek Out! posts on CNN's SciTech blog.

The Hollywood Reporter has a list of potential actors to take over the role of Spider-Man in the new incarnation on the big screen. They include Jamie Bell, Alden Ehrenreich and Josh Hutcherson ("Zathura").

The good news? Zac Efron, one name that was floated, is not among them. The bad news? The names that are here don't exactly fill me with confidence, either. My reaction, in a word? Meh.

The reason Tobey Maguire worked so well as Spider-Man is because he worked so well as Peter Parker. He was so good in the role it will be hard to live up to that (I won't quite compare him to Christopher Reeve as Superman, but he was close).

What I fear is that the studio is looking for the next Taylor Lautner to guarantee that teen girls will show up on opening night alongside the Spidey faithful. Marc Webb, the director of the new movie, as well as "500 Days of Summer," is looking for unknowns for this role and I respect that. Of all of the people here, I think that Bell ("Billy Elliott") might fit the bill best. I just hope they remember that they're ultimately casting Peter Parker, not Spider-Man.

What do you think? Are you more impressed with the list of potential actors than I am? What qualities are you looking for in the new Spidey?

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May 26, 2010

Geek Out!: 'Hornet's Nest' rounds out trilogy

Posted: 04:04 PM ET

Editor's note: Geek Out! posts feature the latest and most interesting in nerd-culture news. From sci-fi and fantasy to gadgets and science, if you can geek out over it, you can find it on Geek Out! Look for Geek Out! posts on CNN's SciTech blog.

Do you know Lisbeth Salandar? The tattooed, bisexual, computer hacker is one of the most popular characters in fiction since Harry Potter. She’s also the unlikely heroine of Stieg Larsson’s bestselling Millennium trilogy.

The third and perhaps final book of the series set in Sweden, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” hit store shelves on Tuesday but it’s been a bestseller for the past several months, ranking among the top pre-orders online. The book has generated huge anticipation among U.S. readers.

It was released in Europe last fall but hardcore fans who couldn’t wait have been paying $50 or more to buy the book from overseas, a practice the book’s publisher calls illegal.

Nevertheless, the millions who read the “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and its sequel “The Girl Who Played with Fire,” are about to be rewarded in the Nordic Noir finale. The new novel picks up right where the last book ended.

Salander is in intensive care at a Swedish hospital, with several gunshot wounds, including a bullet in her brain. She’s fighting for her life and facing murder charges.
Read the rest of this entry »

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May 25, 2010

Geek Out!: Happy Geek Pride, Towel, etc. Day!

Posted: 04:59 PM ET

Editor's note: Geek Out! posts feature the latest and most interesting in nerd-culture news. From sci-fi and fantasy to gadgets and science, if you can geek out over it, you can find it on Geek Out! Look for Geek Out! posts on CNN's SciTech blog.

Romulans, puppeteers, hobbits - lend me your ears! Today, we geeks can gather today and celebrate all that makes us unique.

Worldwide, May 25 is known as Geek Pride Day, Towel Day (for "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" fans like our own No. 42 above) and Glorious 25th of May, for Discworld fans.

See how some are celebrating Geek Pride Day on iReport.

Although Geek Pride Day is a relatively new holiday; founded in Spain in 2006, the Inalienable Rights of Geekdom (at least as we see them) that it celebrates are not:

1. The right to strive to be even geekier.
2. The right to not leave your house when there's plenty to entertain you there.
3. The right to not like football or any other sport.
4. The right to freely associate with other nerds.
5. The right to have a few select (inevitably awesome) friends.
6. The right to have a ton of friends - each geekier than the last.
7. The right to not be “in-style.”
8. The right to be overweight/underweight/have poor eyesight and the like.
9. The right to show off your geekiness at all times.
10. The right to take over the world.

Not all geeks will agree with or adhere to all - or in some cases even most - of these rules. Everybody geeks out in their own way; that's the beauty of it.

But we can all agree that being a geek can be a good thing. Why is that?
Well, let’s take a look at a couple of the great things about being a geek:

1. We can always find a game to play no matter what. We are like the MacGyver of games. Give us a pen and paper and we’ll entertain ourselves and others.
2. We look good in glasses. Seriously, we do.
3. We are clever. Who was the one who everyone turned to on "Lost?" The doctor.
4. Speaking of doctors, we have Doctor Who. He’s smart, funny, has a time machine and is one of the biggest geeks in the universe.
5. We can balance a checkbook. Whether we use a computer program, our raw brain power or a good old-fashioned abacus, we will not be overdrawn.

Geek Pride Day is all about looking at the best parts of being a geek, so grab your towel, stick out your thumb and tell us what your plans are - or what you've already done - for Geek Pride Day.

Share your comments below, or go to our iReport page to submit your story.

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Geek Out!: Five unanswered 'Lost' finale questions

Posted: 01:28 PM ET

Editor's note: Geek Out! posts feature the latest and most interesting in nerd-culture news. From sci-fi and fantasy to gadgets and science, if you can geek out over it, you can find it on Geek Out! Look for Geek Out! posts on CNN's SciTech blog.

There are many, many questions still out there about "Lost," some which were answered vaguely, many that are "up for interpretation," shall we say... and the series finale itself raised some questions as well.

Here are just five of the frequently asked questions about the way the show ended, and my best educated guesses on the answers:

Q: Did all the characters die in the original plane crash?
A: No. Going by what Christian Shepard told Jack (and the fact that the final scene showed Jack's death), everyone died at different times, some on the island, others many years later. In the case of Hurley and Ben, it would appear that they died after perhaps thousands of years protecting the island, like Jacob, based on their exchange about being a great number one and number two.

Q: Why didn't Ben go into the church? Why was Penny there? Where were Michael and Walt?
A: It would seem that Ben, despite knowing the truth about purgatory (that's what we'll call it here, anyway), chose to stay there a little longer as a father figure to Alex. Desmond and Penny weren't on the plane, but Desmond brought all these people together, and Penny was the reason he "let go" and had a connection to everyone else there.

Michael's ghost is presumably still on the island, whispering. Walt either wasn't ready to "let go," or already has, which brings us to the next question...

Q: Why were people the age/state they were in purgatory? Why did Aaron have to be born again, for example?
A: One presumes that Aaron lived a long full life, but he had to be born in purgatory for Claire to "let go." Everything that people needed to "let go" was there for them if they were willing to accept what had happened to them.

The sixth season premiere actually implied that Rose might have been trying to help Jack "let go" while on the plane, and she said those words to him herself (this scene was replayed on the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" special after the finale). This might also partially explain why Walt wasn't in the finale, as most people in purgatory would remember him as a kid, not the teenager that the actor (and character, when Locke last saw him) is today.

Q: What was that light/"source" on the island after all? How did that cork get there? What were those skeletons below the waterfall?
A: For those looking for concrete answers, this could be the most frustrating question of all. Last year, executive producer Damon Lindelof told E! Online, "I feel like you have to be very careful about entering into Midi-Chlorian territory (referring to the oft-maligned Star Wars Episode I)... But 'What is the Island?' That starts to get into 'What is the Force?' It is a place. I can't explain to you why it moves through space-time—it just does. You have to accept the fact that it does."

The "source" is whatever you interpret it to be. In "Across the Sea," it was implied that Jacob and the Man in Black's Mother was not the first protector of the island, and that many people have been there and have dealt with the light or "source" while they were there. The Dharma Initiative is just one example of that.

The skeletons and the cork are likely representations of people who were there before the Mother even got there.

Q: Did Ajira Flight 316 return to the mainland safely? We saw the wreckage of a plane during the end credits.
That was the wreckage of Oceanic 815, which I would interpret as further confirmation of Jack saying, "There are no shortcuts, no do-overs – what happened, happened. All of this matters."

The plane did crash, they did land on that island, and the "flash-sideways" was only a "do-over" in the heads of the crash survivors and others. One can assume that Kate, Sawyer, Claire, Richard, Miles and Lapidus all landed safely and went on with their lives.

And speaking of moving on with our lives, here was Lindelof's final "Lost"-related tweet before going to an "undisclosed location:" "Remember. Let go. Move on. I will miss it more than I can ever say."

There is no doubt in my mind that this series and this finale will continue to resonate and be debated for years to come. And that's exactly the way the makers of "Lost" wanted it.

Share your final thoughts on "Lost," not to mention my interpretation of the finale's big questions, in the comments below.

Filed under: Geek Out! • television


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May 24, 2010

Geek Out!: Stars, Shadow & Iron Man (too)

Posted: 10:14 AM ET

Editor's note: Geek Out! posts feature the latest and most interesting in nerd-culture news. From sci-fi and fantasy to games and science, if you can geek out over it, you can find it on Geek Out! Look for Geek Out! posts on CNN's SciTech blog.

Mario takes on the Universe
Mario takes on the Universe

Despite having some well-deserved time off that did not see any console gameplay time (except for "Picross 3D" on the handheld – I’m hooked), three games found their way into my consoles demanding play when I returned.

“Super Mario Galaxy 2” (Nintendo) is a fun, galactic ride for everyone’s favorite plumber in his never-ending quest to defeat Bowser and rescue Princess Peach. The game starts off typically enough with Bowser kidnapping the Princess apparently for her baking skills and Mario goes planet hopping on his effort to collect stars and save the fair damsel.

The graphics are colorful and whimsical and the gameplay on the Wii is very solid. The platforming action has moments of 2D and 3D movement, but does so without sacrificing camera angles. The Wii controller expertly keeps Mario and friends on their targets and the music didn’t detract from the action.

The planets and spaceships that Mario visits are varied in size and shape. First of all, his own spaceship looks like his head – no worries about losing it in a mall parking lot. The game progresses along a pretty linear path from planet to planet – some large planets that you can tunnel through and some small ones that seem to take two steps to get from one side to the next.

Mario collects power stars to fuel his ship, collects coins and star bits to power himself and specialty items to do different things. In all, this is a fun game for everyone and is a nice addition to the extensive library featuring Mario and friends.

The only drawback – and it feels like nitpicking – is the constant barrage of reminders by characters in the game how much more fun I could be having if there was another person playing along with me. If I’ve started the game as one player, I’m likely to be continuing as one player. I understand the Wii wants to be a console for the entire family, but there are some of us who just like solo missions. As I said, a little nitpicking but it was the only detraction I found.

If “Super Mario Galaxy 2” is all about fun and frivolity, then “Dead To Rights: Retribution” is the opposite.

“DTR: Retribution” (Volatile/Namco Bandai) features a tough, gritty cop named Jack Slate and his dog Shadow who are trying to clean up the city – one dead body at a time. This is a follow-up game (not really a sequel) to the original from 2002.

The gameplay starts by filling in the backstory on how Jack and Shadow began teaming up after the murder of Jack’s father. Different missions let you control Jack alone, Jack with Shadow as an NPC partner or missions where you are Shadow.

Playing as Jack, you battle the bad guys through some good hand-to-hand combat that feels intuitive. The end of the battle can sometimes get pretty brutal for the bad guys, but hey, they had it coming, right? Gunplay is a bit dodgier where lining up for a shot can be a bit tricky and it seems like the criminals never miss. But never fear, because eventually they come out of their hiding places and are exposed targets for the cop on a mission.

Playing as Shadow was a bit more fun. There are some laugh-out-loud funny achievements to get while acting as the dog and the controls are pretty straight forward. There was an excellent stealth mission that would have made Batman proud and Shadow can sense bad guys by listening to their heartbeats.

It is definitely an adult game and not very much fun to look at. Your opponents start looking very similar from mission to mission. Everything is relatively dark and foreboding and there were times it seemed like Shadow was walking on air. But the challenges were evenly paced with a couple of difficult situations that test your nerve and hiding skills.

Finally, “Iron Man 2” (Sega) is not just a movie, but a video game tie-in as well - in as much as “tie-in” means it has the same title and same characters, but not the same story.

Gamers get to play as Iron Man or War Machine – sometimes you have a choice and other times you don’t. Weapons are your standard repulsers, machine guns and missiles, but most of the time, it really doesn’t matter. Battles are often plagued by a bad targeting system that seems not to work at long distances or switches around erratically as enemies come into view. Even when the hero gets locked in, the shot misses because the bad guy moved and the targeting system doesn’t follow it. Enemies will swarm from all different angles and sometimes it is just better to let your fists do the destruction.

For a guy that (in the movies) zoomed into the upper reaches of the atmosphere, Iron Man moves extremely slow. There are moments when he can zoom along, but he can't fight at those speeds, which is very frustrating. In an escort mission, the helicopters he’s supposed to be protecting cruised along faster than Iron Man was flying.

The dialog is snappy and quick. There are some great exchanges between the characters and it helps move the story along. However, the characters themselves look like aging versions of their movie counterparts and you will be waiting for the suit's faceplate to close just so you don’t have to see Tony Stark in need of a facelift.

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May 21, 2010

Geek Out!: iReporters predict the end of 'Lost'

Posted: 02:14 PM ET

Editor's note: Geek Out! posts feature the latest and most interesting in nerd-culture news. From sci-fi and fantasy to gadgets and science, if you can geek out over it, you can find it on Geek Out! Look for Geek Out! posts on CNN's SciTech blog.

iReporters shared their theories and predictions on how "Lost" would end. Check out the video above!

And if you would like to react to the finale, upload your video on Sunday night. In the meantime, you have one last chance to share your prediction about the finale below.

Filed under: Geek Out! • television


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May 20, 2010

Geek Out!: Leonard Nimoy's swan song

Posted: 12:27 PM ET

Editor's note: Geek Out! posts feature the latest and most interesting in nerd-culture news. From sci-fi and fantasy to gadgets and science, if you can geek out over it, you can find it on Geek Out! Look for Geek Out! posts on CNN's SciTech blog.

Tonight's episode of "Fringe" will be the final performance for "Star Trek" legend Leonard Nimoy. He was crystal clear on that when he spoke with reporters last week.

"I have announced my retirement," he said. "I will not be doing any more television or movie acting or directing. I can tell you that I feel very fulfilled with the work that was given to me to do in this final episode."

Since the end of last season, Nimoy has been playing the enigmatic character William Bell, the head of Massive Dynamic, a company that has been at the center of much of the plot threads going through the show. Last week, he approached Agent Dunham (Anna Torv) inside the parallel universe where he now lives, and he and the "Fringe" team appear to be headed to a confrontation with the parallel version of Walter, who recently kidnapped Peter.

Nimoy said he really enjoyed working on "Fringe" for his final performance: "I admire all of the people on this show: [actors] Anna Torv, Josh Jackson, and John Noble and all the rest. I had some wonderful scenes to play with John Noble, who I think is a wonderful actor."

Nimoy promises some very intense scenes between himself and Noble in tonight's season finale.

As for "Star Trek," don't expect him to be in any future films, either. "I have said that I think it’s time for me to get off the stage and make some room for Zachary Quinto, who is the new Spock and a wonderful actor, looks a lot like me," he told reporters. "And I’m very flattered that the character will be continued by an actor of that caliber. He’s very well trained and very talented."

Nimoy is ready to move on full time to his new passion, photography: "I’ve had 60 years of working in films and television. I’m very grateful for all the great opportunities that I’ve had and all and the people that I’ve met, the people I’ve worked with, the 'Fringe' company; I said on my final day of shooting was as good as any company I’ve ever worked within the 60 years of my experience."

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Geek Out!: Can anything replace 'Lost?'

Posted: 09:01 AM ET

Editor's note: Geek Out! posts feature the latest and most interesting in nerd-culture news. From sci-fi and fantasy to gadgets and science, if you can geek out over it, you can find it on Geek Out! Look for Geek Out! posts on CNN's SciTech blog.

Where will the next "Lost" come from? Just as Jacob found his replacement in Jack, one has to wonder what, if anything, will replace this phenomenon. The Geek Out! team members have some very different opinions on this subject.

Henry Hanks:

Intriguing mysteries, parallel worlds, weird science and J.J. Abrams… yes, of course, I’m talking about “Fringe.”

Currently in its second season, this show is quickly becoming one of my favorites, and quickly grabbing a cult fan base. I think “Lost” fans looking for the next show to obsess about (or just watch for fun) could do no better than to check out “Fringe,” if they haven’t already, that is. John Noble’s performance as Walter is certainly on par with Michael Emerson or Terry O’Quinn.

And we actually know what it’s about now! That didn’t even take two years!

Christian DuChateau:

Viewers are much more likely to see the next “Lost” not on the major broadcast networks but on cable TV. Networks like AMC, FX and USA are attracting viewers with edgy, intelligent, character-driven dramas like “Mad Men,” “Justified” and “Burn Notice.”

Because they don’t have to attract as big an audience as the major networks, the cable nets can afford to take a risk on a new show with a complex mythology. AMC will put this to the test in the fall, with their new sci-fi drama, “The Walking Dead.”

The network has ordered six episodes of the series, based on the comic book of the same name. The story follows a small group of survivors stranded in an apocalyptic future overrun with zombies.

It’s a sci-fi premise, a story driven by interpersonal conflicts, and if you’ve read the comic you’re already aware, no character is safe. Hmmm, sounds familiar.

Doug Gross

George R.R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" fantasy novel series is epic in scope and complexity in a way "Lost" fans should recognize and enjoy.

After years of turning down several movie offers, Martin - a fan of series like "Rome" and "Deadwood" - signed up with HBO to turn the books into a series. The show, "Game of Thrones," named for the first book in the series, is set to start up some time next spring.

Martin's characters are complex, with the line between good and evil often blurry at best. There are surprises aplenty in a fully realized high-fantasy world that rivals Tolkein's Middle Earth.

No seriously. It does.

If the series stays true to the books, there will be bloody medieval-style battles, alliances made and broken and just enough magic to keep things interesting.

Plus ... dragons.

Topher Kohan:

There will never be another “Lost” and we should stop trying to look for one. What made shows like “Lost,” “X-Files,” “Battlestar Galactica” - and, heck, even “24” - what they are is that they were, and are, cultural phenomena.

Let’s forget that fact that “Lost” is one of TV’s most expensive shows to produce, and let’s forget that TV is more and more going away from sci-fi-type shows. “Lost” is one of a kind, and if we keep looking for the next “Lost” we’ll will hate a bunch of good TV just because we thought it should be the “next” whatever.

I will miss “Lost” when it goes off the air. Then I will look for a the next show I will like and watch it for the show that it is, not try and compare it to the show it will never be.

Is “Lost” truly one of a kind, or is there something out there that can replace it for fans? Share your opinion below.

Filed under: Geek Out! • pop culture • television


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May 19, 2010

Geek Out!: Our conversation with 'Lost's' Francois Chau

Posted: 02:25 PM ET
"'Lost's'
"'Lost's'

Editor's note: Geek Out! posts feature the latest and most interesting in nerd-culture news. From sci-fi and fantasy to gadgets and science, if you can geek out over it, you can find it on Geek Out! Look for Geek Out! posts on CNN's SciTech blog.

Let me take you back to a simpler time: Early on in "Lost's" second season, to be exact, when the main mysteries on the island were: What's with that monster and that polar bear? And what's the deal with the hatch?

Well, inside the hatch, Locke, Mr. Eko and Michael watched an orientation videotape, which introduced viewers to the concept of the Dharma Initiative, hosted by one Dr. Marvin Candle. Dr. Candle would later show up in other tapes and films, revealing more mysteries of Dharma and the island, but with different names. Finally, his real name, Dr. Pierre Chang, was revealed, and we learned more about him. I recently spoke with Francois Chau, the actor who played Dr. Chang, and he shared his memories of working on "Lost."

CNN: What were your impressions on recording the first Dharma tape? Did you anticipate coming back? What did you think of this concept?
A: When I first got the job, it was just that one time to do that first orientation film, and once I was done, I figured that was it. When I got the job, I thought, "Here is my free trip to Hawaii." Then they called and said I would be filming at Burbank [Disney] studios. I did it and it was done, and I figured that was it. A few months later, they said we need to do more footage, and I said, sure. And then it started from then on, they kind of liked what they wanted to do with it. I started on the second season, so once those two were done, I did the next one at the end of the second season or beginning of the third. From then on, I went to Hawaii to do it. Since then, every time they call, I’m glad it’s still going on.

The only thing I was kind of worried about was it was a big, long, two or three pages of monologue that I had to memorize and I was just thankful that I got through it without stumbling. Then I would think, oh geez, what was all this information about the station? I hope there’s a lot of other stations with other orientation films that they would have me do. The show would give out a little bit, but there’s a lot that they don’t tell you and fill in the blanks. It’s the nature of the thing where people were filling in what they expect and what the writers want or what’s going to come. If you watch the film, it’s this guy giving out this dry information, and people were getting something out of it.

People would sometimes say, "Those films are so creepy and scary, and sometimes I have to go into the other room."

CNN: Had you seen much of "Lost" before getting this job?
A: I watched the pilot, and I didn’t have time and then I missed a few of them. I watched a few, I watched sporadically, I missed a lot of information. I got busy and hadn’t watched for a while, and once I kept doing the orientation films and people would ask me, "What’s going on? Can you tell me what’s happening?" and I would say, "Gee, I don’t know." So I thought I should watch it to understand the basic questions. And I started watching it, and I kind of got hooked at the end of season three when they started the flash-forward. I thought wow, that’s pretty good. After that I was hooked, and I’ve been watching.

CNN: How have the fans been to you?
A: Some will ask, "What’s going on, what does this mean, what does that mean?" There are two categories, the really avid fan who knows every detail of every episode, and who writes about it and does all this research. Those guys know 10 times more than I ever know, so when they ask me stuff, I say "You've got a lot more info than I do." The first couple of seasons I did them, I didn’t know the script, and I would get it and shoot it, and after that I was on my way home. I didn’t know what was going on except what I had to do. The other fans would watch and enjoy, but they’re not as avid as to what’s going on than the other people I meet. When people recognize me, it's usually, "Oh my God, I love you and your character."

CNN: What was your reaction on coming back in the fifth season and finally being able to interact with others, not just being on tape?
A: Up until season five, I never met anyone else from the cast. It was basically just me doing the little films, and I just flew in and didn’t see anybody. It would have been more fun to meet some other people and do a scene where I could talk to somebody else. It was great [in the fifth season] … some people in the cast I had worked with before on other projects but I had never had a chance to work with them on "Lost." I did a couple of episodes of "JAG" with Terry O’Quinn. I had known Yunjin Kim for many years. I did a play with Henry Ian Cusick about 15 years ago. All of these people I knew for many years but didn’t have a chance to see them. I didn’t see Ian until this last season, it’s been six years, but I never ran into him in all this.

One thing I kept thinking was how many of these orientation films are they gonna find? After two or three, it’s gonna be boring, like "Oh, here’s another one!" It was interesting to see what the writers would come up with, or if they would get anything at all. When I did the third one, I went to Hawaii, I looked at it and I thought wow, and that’s when they started using the different names. I’m glad they went back to the '70s.

CNN: Did you get the idea that you might be Miles' father before that was revealed?
A: I have friends who are avid viewers. As soon as the character of Miles showed up … my friends were like "oh my God" ... they were thinking of what’s going to happen. A couple of my friends jokingly said, "I think he could be your son." I mean come on, just because he’s another Asian guy, he’s not going to be my son. Sure enough, he was! I guess some of my fans were way ahead on that.

CNN: Did you enjoy your appearance in the "flash-sideways" this season?
After last season, I wasn’t even sure I was gonna come back because they had so much going on, to tie up and give answers to. … When I watched the opening of season six, I started seeing characters from the past who showed up in different jobs or different guises, I thought, hmm, I wonder if they have anything in store for me. I guess because the character is popular, I’m sure they had to do something. It was fun that they made me the head of the museum. I work with Charlotte. It was fun. I did get a couple of questions about why I wasn't in my 70s. … I should be older. "You didn’t look old." Dr. Chang looks good for his age!

CNN: Any favorite memories from the set?
A: There were days I was working where there were other cast members working the same time, and I had a chance to meet them. In filming, there’s a lot of waiting around, so there was a chance to socialize and talk to the other cast members, and those days were great.

CNN: What do you think of this season's "Lost Untangled" videos featuring your character as a Muppet?
A: I was asked, "Would you do 'Lost Untangled' with the Muppet?" and I said, "Sure." At first they did it with a no-money budget and would use these cut-out figures of the cast, and this year they got some money and started to do the Muppet of Pierre Chang, and it’s him explaining what’s happening, and I got to do one of them and it was a blast. It’s kind of weird standing talking to the Muppet. The puppeteer is sitting right there, but you can’t talk to him, you’re talking to the puppet. That was a first time to me, and it was a blast! They called and said, "Would you do another one?" I might do one more, I’m not sure.

Filed under: Geek Out!


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