SciFi Friday Labor Day Weekend Edition: Doctor Who Comes to the US, Star Trek, and Rebooting Catwoman (as Cher?)

After taking a long Labor Day weekend off there will be an abreviated edition to end the weekend.

News of the World reports that two of next season’s Doctor Who specials will be filmed in the United States. The report says that The Doctor will “save the world with a BIG-NAME American female assistant.” The article also claims that The Doctor will regenerate after these specials. There has been a lot of speculation as to whether David Tennant will return for another season, and I don’t know to what degree we can trust the claims in this article.

On September 2 BBC 4 is rebroadcasting the 2005 show, The Quartermass Experiment. The cast includes David Tennant, Mark Gatiss who has both written for Doctor Who and appeared in one episode (The Lazarus Experiment), and Indira Varma (Suzie from Torchwood). Torchood, incidentally, has begun filming on the five part story which will make up the third season of the show.

One question about the upcoming Star Trek movie is to what degree they will follow continuity from the previous shows and to what degree this will be a reboot. In discussing this issue, producer Damon Lindelof points out that even the term “reboot” is open to different interpretations:

To date the Star Trek team have been careful in the terminology they use. Although many franchise fans use the word ‘reboot’ when talking about an approach to canon, ‘reboot’ is also used in terms of reintroducing a franchise to a new audience and also re-invigorating a franchise’s popularity. In fact, Lindelof has been known to call the film a ‘re-invigoration.’ From what TrekMovie has learned about the new film, it certainly is not a ‘reboot’ in terms of continuity the same way Batman Begins relates to the previous Batman films (if it were, would Lindelof care about the continuity of Kirk dying in Generations?). However, in discussions with various people involved in the new Star Trek film, Batman Begins is often held up as an example of how a franchise successfully came back after some unsuccessful outings.

The last two Batman movies were excellent, but I fear Star Trek fans would be upset if the show was changed to this degree. Rumor has it that Christopher Nolan will be bringing about big changes to Catwoman since she was played by Michelle Pfeiffer (above):

A Warner Bros. studio executive is quoted by the UK’s Telegraph as saying “Cher is Nolan’s first choice to play Catwoman. He wants to her to portray her like a vamp in her twilight years. The new Catwoman will be the absolute opposite of Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry’s purring creations.”

It is also being suggested that Johnny Depp will be starring as The Riddler.

If the rumor that Cher is under serious consideration is true, and if she portrays Catwoman as this aging vamp of a troublemaker for “The Batman,” then having her in the role could prove to be quite interesting. However, if Cher succumbs to ego and insists on trying to pull off a younger, more athletic Catwoman, then the franchise will simply slip back into the doldrums that Nolan originally rescued it from.

Republicans Don’t Let A Storm Get In The Way of Good Parties

The weather in New Orleans helped expose how incompetent George Bush was. Ironically it is helping John McCain by providing him an excuse to limit his appearance with Republicans–especially George Bush. John McCain the individual is far more popular than the Republcian Party as many voters fail to realize how close his views really are to those in his party.

McCain realizes this and has quickly taken advantage of the situation to reduce the harm which could be caused by a Republican convention. Matthew Yglesias summarizes the situation as he considers how much the Republicans really care about Gustav and how much they are acting out of political expediency:

Politically problematic speech by unpopular incumbent president = canceled. Parties = not canceled.

More Examples Of How Extreme Sarah Palin’s Views Are

Here’s yet one more example of how right wing extremist Sarah Palin is not ready for prime time. In a 2006 questionnaire Palin was asked the following question:

11. Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?

SP: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.

As Andrew Sullivan points out, the phrase “Under God” was not added to the pledge until 1954. Another problem with her vision of the founding fathers reciting the pledge was that it was not even written until 1892.

Another question is of significance in light of today’s news that Sarah Palin’s seventeen year old daughter is pregnant. While this is a private matter for her family to handle, her overall attitudes towards teen pregnancy is a legitimate matter of public debate.

3. Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?

SP: Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.

The choice of Palin helps demonstrate that McCain is also a far right conservative, not a maverick or a moderate. First Read points out that McCain also supports abstinence-based education, citing this statement from a spokesperson from 2007:

“Sen. McCain believes the correct policy for educating young children on this subject is to promote abstinence as the only safe and responsible alternative. To do otherwise is to send a mixed signal to children that, on the one hand they should not be sexually active, but on the other here is the way to go about it. As any parent knows, ambiguity and equivocation leads to problems when it comes to teaching children right from wrong. Sen. McCain believes that there are many negative forces in today’s society that promote irresponsible and dangerous behavior to our children. The public education system should not join this chorus of moral equivocation and ambiguity.”

Abstinence-based education has repeatedly been shown to be ineffective and result in increased numbers of teen pregancies. Not only would the policies of John McCain and Sarah Palin increase the number of teen pregnancies, their policies would also keep the government involved in how such an event is handled. News reports quote McCain aides as saying, “Bristol Palin made the decision on her own to keep the baby.” That decision is her right to make, but John McCain and Sarah Palin should not use the power of government to make this decision for every other pregnant woman. This is a choice which every woman should be allowed to make for herself. Palin would oppose abortion even in the case of a seventeen year old girl who had been raped–an extreme view which even many conservatives reject.

The Extremism of Sarah Palin’s Pastors

Barack Obama has been repeatedly attacked for the extremist views of Reverend Wright despite the fact that Obama made it clear he did not share those views. Now that we are learning about the extremist views of Sarah Palin’s pastors, will she repudiate those views?

While Obama’s connection to Wright was based upon community service and not Wright’s political views, every indication so far has been that Sarah Palin really has been influenced by the extremist views of the pastors she listened to.

The revelation that Sarah Palin was a supporter of Patrick Buchanan already killed any hope the Republicans had for increasing their share of the Jewish vote. What will Sarah Palin say about the sermon by Mike Rose from July 8, 2007 which said that,“Those that die without Christ have a horrible, horrible surprise.”

As Palin is on record for supporting the teaching of creationism in the public schools, presumably she agrees with Rose’s sermon of April 27, 2008 which said, “If you really want to know where you came from and happen to believe the word of God that you are not a descendant of a chimpanzee, this is what the word of God says. I believe this version.”

Not only does he support creationism, he does not even understand the fundamentals of evolution if he believes it says that humans are descendants of chimpanzees, as opposed to the two having evolved from common ancestors.

We’ve already had John McCain claim that this is a Christian nation. I assume Palin agrees with both McCain on this as well as David Pepper who said on November 25, 2007 that “The purpose for the United States is… to glorify God. This nation is a Christian nation.”

Do we even have the right to question this. Does Palin agree with this attack on our civil liberties from Pepper’s October 28, 2007 sermon: “God will not be mocked. I don’t care what the ACLU says. God will not be mocked. I don’t care what atheists say. God will not be mocked. I don’t care what’s going on in the nation today with so much horrific rebellion and sin and things that take place. God will not be mocked. Judgment Day is coming. Where do you stand?”

While James Dobson might be excited, this is not a ticket which will play well among much of suburbia or among most independents.

What The Choice of Palin Reveals About John McCain

Both the Obama campaign and the McCain have had the opportunity to make a single major decision which demonstrates whether they are ready to govern. While Obama has chosen Joe Biden, who is prepared to take over as president if necessary and who probably knows more about foreign policy than anyone in Washington, McCain has chosen a running mate who is unfit to  be vice president. Joe Klein discusses the what we can learn about McCain by this poor choice:

All this raises again–yet again–the question of whether McCain is temperamentally suited for the presidency. As the conservative David Frum writes:

“Maybe it will work. But maybe (and at least as likely) it will reinforce a theme that I’d be pounding home if I were the Obama campaign: that it’s John McCain for all his white hair who represents the risky choice, while it is Barack Obama who offers cautious, steady, predictable governance.”Indeed, the Palin pick reflects the most dangerous tendencies in McCain’s foriegn policy–the tendency to react, to overreact, to crises, without thinking it through. It also reflects a defiant, adolescent “screw you” attitude toward governance…

Again, this is not to disparage Palin. Her views seem very extreme to me–teaching “intelligent design” in schools?–but she may turn out to be a invigorating public presence, with the ability to learn fast (she’s going to have to do the latter). The problem is, there is absolutely no way on earth that John McCain can know what sort of person she really is, which is why this choice–his first major presidential decision–should be a matter of real concern for all Americans. He has proven himself, yet again, ready on day one–to shoot from the hip.