SciFi Friday: Two Doctors; Sarah Connor; The New Bond Girl; Letterman’s Beard; and Amy Fisher’s Sex Video


Last week I reviewed the Doctor Who Christmas special, Voyage of the Damned. The Doctor had a brief adventure between the end of last season, when Martha left the Tardis, and his collision with The Titanic. The above video shows current tenth Doctor (David Tennant) meeting the fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) in the 2007 Children in Need special, “Time Crash”.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles premiers Sunday, January 13. Variety has a review:

“Why is this happening again?” a 15-year-old John Connor (Thomas Dekker) mutters near the outset of this Fox series, proving that while he might by the future leader of a rebellion against murderous machines, he doesn’t understand much at this age about Hollywood math. Credibly expanding the “Terminator” franchise into TV, this series faces a considerable challenge — beginning with the usual contortions of time-travel logic — to maintain its initial pace without devolving into silliness, but under director David Nutter and show-runner Josh Friedman, the first two hours roll a slick brand extension off this profitable assembly line.

Occupying a window between “T2” — which featured the assault on a barely pubescent John — and the 20-something version in “T3,” the pilot finds Sarah Connor (“300’s” Lena Headey) vigilantly guarding her teenage son, never knowing when the next portal-popping threat from the future will send them scurrying into retreat.

In fact, John has only just become acquainted with a pretty new classmate, Cameron (Summer Glau), when another Terminator turns up as a substitute teacher, attempting to administer the toughest pop quiz ever. (After toying with excising the scene last summer because of the Virginia Tech shootings, cooler heads prevailed, and it’s back mostly intact.)

So the Connors are on the run again, with an FBI agent (Richard T. Jones) in hot pursuit — introducing an extra “The Fugitive” riff — along with the mechanical monster. The first of several intriguing plot twists, however, temporarily puts mother and son out of danger — though for how long remains anybody’s guess.

Friedman and Nutter (whose enviable directing record as a pilot launcher continues) recognize that simply scaling down the cat-and-mouse chase sequences for TV won’t be enough to sustain a series, so they rely on the movie franchise’s time-travel motif to provide new wrinkles that become apparent in episode two — namely, that emissaries from the future, good and bad, can pop up in this current reality, creating various narrative possibilities, among them another shot at altering humanity’s grim destiny.

Even with that, the questionable logic that has allowed the “Terminator” franchise to flourish (such as a guy from the future fathering a child in the past) could easily unravel on an episodic basis. Fortunately, the reworked pilot (shot in New Mexico before production shifted to Los Angeles) exhibits a tighter pace, impressive and abundant action with convincing effects and, frankly, plenty of eye candy between Glau and Headey — who solidly slips into the Rambette role, complete with the portentous voiceover — sure to be enjoyed by teenage boys of all ages.

Nine episodes have been filmed, and after the premiere the show will air on Mondays until March. If you don’t want to wait until next week, the first episode is available on line at Yahoo! Video for a twenty four hour period which began at 9:00 PM tonight. The premiere will also feature an exclusive introduction by Lena Headey (Sarah Connor).

British actress Sarah Arterton has been cast as the next Bond girl. She will star in the next Bond movie which takes up where 2006’s Casino Royale left off and will play a character named Fields.

The late night talk shows have returned, with Mike Huckabee receiving national exposure on The Tonight Show. There has been controversy over both Huckabee crossing a picket line and over Leno writing his own material:

The striking writers union told member Jay Leno on Thursday that he violated its rules by penning and delivering punch lines in his first “Tonight Show” monologue in two months on NBC the night before.

NBC quickly fired back, alleging Leno was right and the Writers Guild of America was wrong.

“The WGA agreement permits Jay Leno to write his own monologue for `The Tonight Show,'” NBC said in a statement Thursday. “The WGA is not permitted to implement rules that conflict with the terms of the collective bargaining agreement between the studios and the WGA.”

The agreement between the guild and producers expired Oct. 31 but its terms remain in effect, said Andrea Hartman, executive vice president and deputy general counsel for NBC Universal. She cited federal labor law.

According to the contract, “material written by the person who delivers it on the air” is exempted from the agreement. The exception applies to shows outside prime-time, which includes NBC’s “Tonight Show.”

David Letterman returned, and reached a deal to have his writers back too. Michael Bloomberg appeared to present a key to the city–to the beard Letterman grew while off the air.

Letterman loved joking about Joey Buttafuoco after the Amy Fisher story broke, and it looks like he should get tons of new material. Amy’s husband secretly made a sex video of the two and sold it. Fisher subsequently decided to join him in marketing and profiting from the video. AP quotes Amy as saying, “I always wanted to be No. 1 at something, but I didn’t think it would be something like this.” Letterman could have quite a time with that line.

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