Slice of SciFi #95: Interview with Robert Wertheimer (“Charlie Jade”)

Charlie JadeNews Bytes:

  • Scientists have uncovered the remains of a tiny woman that dates to around 18,000 years ago
  • Rachel McAdams leading the pack to replace Katie Holmes as ADA Rachel Dawes in the Batman Begins sequel
  • Both Q and Moneypenny may remain missing in next Bond film

Movie Talk:

  • There may be even more Hannibal Lecter stories after Hannibal Rising
  • Fans looking forward to Nicholas Cage as Johnny Blaze in Ghost Rider, opening Feb 16

TV Talk:
Two new pilots are generating some buzz: NBC’s “Journeyman”, a story told on an epic scale about a man who has the ability to travel back and forth through time fixing the troubled lives of people who have made some really bad choices; and CBS’s “Babylon Fields”, a sardonic, apocalyptic dramedy (comedic drama) is about the dead resurrecting and trying to fit into the normal stream of society and everyday life with their families and loved ones.

Interview: Michael, Summer and Brian talk with “Charlie Jade” co-creator and executive producer Robert Wertheimer, and we delve a little into the best scifi show not airing on American television. We know why this show didn’t get to American television, but we don’t have to like it… why do network programming departments continue to sell the audience as a whole short? The percentage of viewers who enjoy and crave smart, complicated shows can’t be too small to be ignored… not forever.

Robert tells us all about the pacing and moodiness of “Charlie Jade”, and how sometimes commercial interruptions disrupt the mood and flow of the show’s story, the decision to shoot the series in HD, and more. We need more shows like this on our television channels.

Future Talk: What’s Coming Up?

  • Brendan Fraser set to star in Inkheart, a story that centers around a girl and her father, named Mo, who live with a book-loving reclusive Aunt Elinor (Helen Mirren). Mo has the unique gift of being able to bring the characters from any book to life whenever he reads the story aloud. It is during one of these LIVE readings that a villain and his band of rogues are brought to life and kidnap Mo. His daughter and some of her real and imagined friends must attempt a rescue of her father. Inkheart is the first book in a trilogy penned by Cornelia Funke
  • Bob Hoskins has joined Rhona Mitra in Doomsday. Mitra stars as Major Eden Sinclair, who heads up a team of scientists, doctors, police and military out to stop a deadly plague known as the “Reaper Virus.” The virus broke out in 2007, killing hundreds of thousands in its wake. In desperation, the British Government evacuated as many survivors as it could out of the infected area, and then built a wall, preventing the remainder from escaping. Thirty years later, with the wall still up and the victims all but forgotten… the virus breaks out again. The Government decides to send a crack team of operatives, led by Major Sinclair, into the hot zone to investigate the possibility of a cure.

Listener comments: If you have any suggestions or comments, please let us know.

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  1. fred says

    Good show. The mostly likely reason charlie jade is not aired in the US is that the networks wouldn’t be able to cancel the show outright after only airing a few episodes.

  2. Daniel says

    Great Interview with Robert Wertheimer !!
    Slice of Scifi is The Best and Charlie Jade is also The Best show !!! in televison need more shows like this !!

  3. says

    Great show !
    It’s my second time listening to the podcast, and I’m getting quite hooked, especially since this time Charlie Jade, which is my favourite show, is discussed.
    Thank you for having Mr Wertwheimer !

    Just to let people know, Charlie Jade is now available on DVD in Japan, and the first dvd containiing the first two episodes is the cheapest dvd ever ( then you’re free to get the next episodes 2 by two or as a whole dvd set ). If you like beautiful shows and smart scripts, treat yourselves :)

  4. says

    I would love to get the Charlie Jade series on DVD but I don’t have a system to play Japans region. I could buy a DVD player that is region free but I just don’t have th emoney for one since I’m still with out a job at this time. I wish that one of my cable stations would re-air the show again. I’m hoping to see a second season of this show.

  5. Dave from Australia says

    Weren’t Michael and Summer going to ask Robert about season 2 of Charlie Jade?

  6. says

    Yeah, but time ran out before all the questions we wanted to ask could be. We always end up with a few questions we didn’t have time for.

  7. says

    on the battlestar watching, i don’t have cable/sat so I itunes it, got a season pass setup and have to wait a least a day after the episode airs for it to download to my ibook for viewing, may want to change the poll to reflect this other very possible option

  8. says

    I didn’t see much on BT airlines either, Kevin. I did get a cookie, though. No, wait, that was Midwest… 😉

    I was looking on the Charlie Jade site, and it appears to be pretty cool. I’d love to follow it, as I’m craving some intelligent TV, but alas.

    Maybe Slice of SciFi’s attention to this show will get awareness out and some episodes on the airwaves.

  9. tlsmith1963 says

    This whole situation with Charlie Jade reminds me of the situation with the Max Headroom series (ABC version) 20 years ago. That program was intelligent & groundbreaking, but I think it was cancelled because “the suits” felt that audiences were too stupid to follow it. With Charlie Jade, it’s like “here we go again”, except it can’t even get on the air in the first place here! That kind of thing really burns my…well…behind. I hope they *do* get that internet distribution deal, because I will buy the episodes willingly. I don’t like some stupid exec. telling me that I am too stupid to watch a certain show.

  10. says

    Great Show. As a South African living in Durban, I was very interested in the making of Charlie Jade here in our wonderful country. To be honest, its the first I hear of the show. Does anyone know if it will be broadcast here in South Africa?

  11. says

    It should have already aired in South Africa.

    As for the second season everything that I have heard about it is that there are scripts written but they were never able to get the funding needed for the show. I’m hoping that this is not the case.

  12. podakayne says

    been yrs since i’ve commented on a show (i found you before you spun off podlings from the dragon page) and now for the comment.

    Battlestar on Sundays – being in the NW it’s on at 10, and interupts my trash tv nite. i watch it part way then tape the rest(yeah i still have tape and not tivo-it works okay!) love the Dresden files lead in, but my scifi friday fix is fraked. really don’t like the programming for sundays. luv ya all, keep up the great podcast.

    and can i get a hellyeah for Charlie Jade…we need to get that on scifi or hbo or somewhere…if i could jack into canadian tv i’d do it!

  13. tllgrrl says

    “Rachel McAdams leading the pack to replace Katie Holmes as ADA Rachel Dawes in the Batman Begins sequel.”

    Thank the Gods!!!
    Don’t get me wrong. I love Batman Begins. It’s in my DVD collection. But Katie Holmes was the weakest thing in the movie. The part was vague. And her performance was less than mediocre.
    Here’s an idea: Gabrielle Union. Yeah, I said it.
    Also, I love the Dresden/Battlestar line-up. But those of us who have to work (or go to school) on Monday morning aren’t going to be able to watch “live”….like the suit from the network wanted. I mean, if that was so important to them, then why’d they put the shows on so (relatively) late? And on a Sunday night??
    Though I’m a Monk/Psyche and Numb3rs fan, I would have liked the Dresden/Battlestar line up to be Sci-Fi Friday.
    I’ll be putting Charlie Jade into my Netflix queue.
    It’s very sad that the network PTB think so little of the audience. But then again, they don’t consider us as “audience”. What we are is “consumers”.
    People would rather watch crap and not be engaged in what they’re seeing.
    And by the way, Cleopatra 2525, in its own way, absolutely rocks!! Yes, it’s cheezy. But it’s fun.
    I got it for ChristmaHanuKwanza and it’s great fun to watch.
    Y’all need to loosen up a bit on the Cleopatra 2525 hatin’. It’s definitely NOT the worst TV show ever. Not by a longshot.

  14. lateralis says

    _I_ _S_ometimes _O_rder my tickets to BT air on a _H_umorous _U_ltra _N_ice _T_ransatlantic airline and this time was no exception.

  15. says

    Great show guys, very enjoyable.

    The highlight was learning about this television series Charlie Jade. Went onto Channel BT and so far have watched the first two eps.

    I can see why it hasn’t been more widely picked up by US networks in particular – its way too dense. Not saying that is a bad thing in any way shape or form, but I would be scared of it if I was a network programmer. I will stick my neck out and say that perhaps it would be hard to understand unless you understand the whole “three universe” thing.

    Hopefully this paragraph won’t get me deleted – but those trying to search the BT airwaves looking for downloads for this show – you wouldn’t go far wrong with checking out Demonoid. That is where I got mine from.

  16. John says

    Interesting idea, that networks think the American viewer will not understand things; unfortunately they are not alone.

    in 2000 I flew to then US on American Airlines, and the 3rd item on the TV screens was 3rd Rock from the Sun, but the airline had put a section in front of it to explain the background to the plot, and explain the expisode they were about to show …. right down to why it the show was called 3rd rock ….

    Then again you have to balance that against the 2nd entertainment item on TV on that flight … ‘The Making of the Safty Video’, complete with an interview with the guy who exitedly said, it was great I was the person in the 2nd row and had my arm raised’. Wow the highlight of American life !!!

    There is also the possibility that this is a kick against the ‘not made here’ factor. There are a lot of excellent TV shows that have been appearing in the UK that seem to be made in Canada, a trend started by the X-Files (I think).

    I’m still waiting for Charlie Jade to appear here. It has been announced on FX, but without any date (yet).

  17. David says

    CHARLIE JADE is readily available via BitTorrent download. I don’t want to get into a debate of the merits of the practice (downloading is a complex issue and pro and con, everybody’s right depending on the circumstance) but CJ is a show that is, for most, otherwise unavailable, and even Robert Wertheimer is behind CHARLIE JADE being distributed thus if it’ll spread the word. Indeed, it’s how I was able to see the show in NYC. (Personally, I think the Japanese DVD set is prohibitively expensive, aside from being in the wrong region for this market.)

    That said, region free DVD players can be ridiculously cheap, you just have to know what to look for. I was recently in a job lot store selling the GPX model D1816SIL for $24.98. It wasn’t advertised or packaged as “region free,” but the box said “NTSC/PAL Video System” — meaning it’s configured to play both American and European disks. (If it weren’t all-region capable, PAL would not be an option.) Once you read a “tell” like that, you can be pretty sure that the model has a “handset hack” (a code you input via the remote control) that can be looked up on certain internet sites (such as www, … or that the player is region free out of the box. And indeed, the region lock on the GPX was removable in about ten seconds.

    THAT said, bear in mind, some models come in two versions, one for the international market, one for America. At that same store, I noted, for example, that some of the GPX boxes listed the NTSC/PAL feature and some didn’t. I stayed away from the latter, assuming the store was selling off both American and International versions. And I subsequently noted, from posts at, that the offered hack worked for some users but not others. So don’t trust only a model number: be sure both NTSC and PAL playback are listed features.

  18. says

    Just adding comments to support Charlie Jade. I am really surprised that not many people are watching the series – is it because of lack of advertising – not targeting the right channels? There are a lot of sci-fi fans who would love this show – but haven’t even heard of it. Hopefully the dvd release will entice those that haven’t yet seen the show. I have to admit it took about 6 episodes for me to get into it – and am now loving it. I find it really refreshing to see something original – not only the story line, but also the production. The characters and acting are pretty good too, most notably 01, Charlie, Reena, Lubinsky and Blue. I hope that there will be a demand for the second series, coz I’m hooked! Keep up the good work guys – looking forward to seeing more.