SciFi Weekend: Daleks; Starbuck Joins CTU; Virtuality; and Whedon on Dollhouse


When Doctor Who returns next season we will have both a new Doctor and a new companion for the first time since the series was revived. Steven Moffat, the new show runner, reportedly plans to handle thist by having the first episode with Matt Smith playing The Doctor feature the Daleks to at least give viewers a familiar enemy for The Doctor. An anonymous source has been quoted as saying, “Fans may take a while to get used to Matt as the Doctor so it makes sense to have him fight his most famous enemies.” Perhaps, but only if they can come up with a good story. The Daleks have become so overused that this could be a challenge.


I’ve read of plenty of weddings based upon Doctor Who and other science fiction shows but this is the first time I’ve heard of a Doctor Who themed funeral. From Slice of SciFi:

Wales’ Sebastian Neale loved “Doctor Who.”  How much you ask?

Enough to have a “Doctor Who” themed funeral.  The 26-year old fan recently passed away.  But instead of the standard funeral, Neale had a “Doctor Who” themed one, including having his casket look like the exterior of the Doctor’s TARDIS.

Attendees to the funeral were greeted by the a line from the fourth Doctor story, “Pyramids of Mars,” saying, “I’m a Time Lord, I walk in eternity.”  And the usual comforting words from scripture were replaced with William Hartnell’s first Doctor speech from “Dalek Invasion of Earth” and later re-used in the prelude of “The Five Doctors,” saying, “Someday I shall come back, yes I shall come back.  Until then there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.”  (The original clip is include below)

It is a shame Sebastian can’t regenerate.

Katie Sackhoff

Katee Sackhoff, who played Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica, will be on 24 next season:

When the Fox thriller returns, Sackhoff will play data analyst Dana Walsh, who works at the brand new Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU) in New York City. According to the EW story, her character will be involved with Cole Ortiz, the field operations leader played by Freddie Prinze Jr.

Other cast members of the show’s eighth season, which kicks off Jan. 17, include Mykelti Williamson, John Boyd, Chris Diamantopoulos and Jennifer Westfeldt. Returning cast members include Cherry Jones (as President Allison Taylor), Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe) and Annie Wersching (Renee Walker). “Slumdog Millionaire” star Anil Kapoor will make his American television debut as a Middle Eastern leader in the U.S. on a peace mission.


Io9 interviewed Michael Taylor about Virtuality, a made for television movie which Ronald Moore hopes will be picked up as a television series:

So you mentioned that you got involved with Virtuality to do something to for the genre similar to what BSG did. What will Virtuality change, what does it have to offer to the world that BSG did?

For Virtuality, I think our focus is more technological. It’s more about the technology we are already dealing with and how that will change our lives. I would say that, that reality is the internet. The technology which enables us to communicate with other people. We conduct a lot of our lives though websites dating sites, facebook, email, phone links that allow us to get in contact with people on the other side of the world. But there’s no physical contact. In other words we’re already living our lives in a kind of virtual reality. This is what the show Virtuality looks to explore. How that kind of technology will change us… In that sense, it’s a very different kind of show than Battlestar, a very new show. But with a cultural reference that is just as profound… It’s looking ahead.


EW has interviewed Joss Wheden about the next season of Dollhouse.

“I’m really proud of the second half of season 1, and we’re just expanding on that in a huge way: Finding out the different things that Eliza [Dushku] can be, at the same time as extending our mythology,” Whedon says. “Really, just every meeting is like, ‘What’s the most fun we can have with this actor?’ about the whole cast. All I can say — ’cause I’m gonna be Mr. Un-Spoiler — is that we’re having a crazy amount of fun, and usually, that tends to translate onto the screen.”

Speaking slightly spoilery, Whedon tells us that season 2 won’t pick up right with “We’ve got to find Alpha!” but a little bit later. Alan Tudyk has a role on ABC’s midseason series V, but Whedon hopes he’ll be able to use the character sparingly: “Alpha will always be a part of the equation.” Whedon’s also hoping to work out a similar loan with the producers of ABC’s Happy Town, who nabbed Amy Acker, aka Dr. Saunders/Whiskey…

Whedon says that Echo’s last word in the finale, “Caroline,” was the beginning of her season 2 quest. “Echo wants to find not just Caroline, but what’s going on behind everything. She doesn’t have all of the skills. [Laughs] But she does have this weird super power of becoming a different person all the time, so she might start using that more specifically to find out who Caroline was and what happened to her and why this place exists.” So she still has all those past imprints in her? “Well, they’re supposed to have wiped them out of there. But we’ll see how well that went…”

The Continuum of Right Wing Extremism

The uncomfortably close relations between the Republican Party establishment and those in the right wing media who have increasingly been feeding the hatred of the far right extremists who have been committing violence has been receiving increased attention. This has been discussed recently by Judith Warner, Paul Krugman, and Frank Rich. Krugman recently wrote, “Today, as in the early years of the Clinton administration but to an even greater extent, right-wing extremism is being systematically fed by the conservative media and political establishment.” Frank Rich discussed this topic at length in today’s column:

Conservatives have legitimate ideological beefs with Obama, rightly expressed in sharp language. But the invective in some quarters has unmistakably amped up. The writer Camille Paglia, a political independent and confessed talk-radio fan, detected a shift toward paranoia in the air waves by mid-May. When “the tone darkens toward a rhetoric of purgation and annihilation,” she observed in Salon, “there is reason for alarm.” She cited a “joke” repeated by a Rush Limbaugh fill-in host, a talk-radio jock from Dallas of all places, about how “any U.S. soldier” who found himself with only two bullets in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Osama bin Laden would use both shots to assassinate Pelosi and then strangle Reid and bin Laden.

This homicide-saturated vituperation is endemic among mini-Limbaughs. Glenn Beck has dipped into O’Reilly’s Holocaust analogies to liken Obama’s policy on stem-cell research to the eugenics that led to “the final solution” and the quest for “a master race.” After James von Brunn’s rampage at the Holocaust museum, Beck rushed onto Fox News to describe the Obama-hating killer as a “lone gunman nutjob.” Yet in the same show Beck also said von Brunn was a symptom that “the pot in America is boiling,” as if Beck himself were not the boiling pot cheering the kettle on.

But hyperbole from the usual suspects in the entertainment arena of TV and radio is not the whole story. What’s startling is the spillover of this poison into the conservative political establishment. Saul Anuzis, a former Michigan G.O.P. chairman who ran for the party’s national chairmanship this year, seriously suggested in April that Republicans should stop calling Obama a socialist because “it no longer has the negative connotation it had 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago.” Anuzis pushed “fascism” instead, because “everybody still thinks that’s a bad thing.” He didn’t seem to grasp that “fascism” is nonsensical as a description of the Obama administration or that there might be a risk in slurring a president with a word that most find “bad” because it evokes a mass-murderer like Hitler.

The Anuzis “fascism” solution to the Obama problem has caught fire. The president’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court and his speech in Cairo have only exacerbated the ugliness. The venomous personal attacks on Sotomayor have little to do with the 3,000-plus cases she’s adjudicated in nearly 17 years on the bench or her thoughts about the judgment of “a wise Latina woman.” She has been tarred as a member of “the Latino KKK” (by the former Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo), as well as a racist and a David Duke (by Limbaugh), and portrayed, in a bizarre two-for-one ethnic caricature, as a slant-eyed Asian on the cover of National Review. Uniting all these insults is an aggrieved note of white victimization only a shade less explicit than that in von Brunn’s white supremacist screeds.

Obama’s Cairo address, meanwhile, prompted over-the-top accusations reminiscent of those campaign rally cries of “Treason!” It was a prominent former Reagan defense official, Frank Gaffney, not some fringe crackpot, who accused Obama in The Washington Times of engaging “in the most consequential bait-and-switch since Adolf Hitler duped Neville Chamberlain.” He claimed that the president — a lifelong Christian — “may still be” a Muslim and is aligned with “the dangerous global movement known as the Muslim Brotherhood.” Gaffney linked Obama by innuendo with Islamic “charities” that “have been convicted of providing material support for terrorism.”

If this isn’t a handy rationalization for another lone nutjob to take the law into his own hands against a supposed terrorism supporter, what is? Any such nutjob can easily grab a weapon. Gun enthusiasts have been on a shopping spree since the election, with some areas of our country reporting percentage sales increases in the mid-to-high double digits, recession be damned.

Violence committed by right wing extremists is the more serious problem but a similar, even if less violent, mind set can be seen in the recent conservative fatwa against David Letterman. Despite agreement from Letterman that he should not have told a joke which was clearly about Bristol Palin, and despite the fact that Bristol Palin has been the target of jokes from multiple comedians largely because of the manner in which Sarah Palin has intentionally placed her children in the public spotlight for political gain, conservatives continue to attack with outright lies as to what Letterman actually said.

There was no point in attacks on David Letterman once he conceded that he should not have told the joke, with conservatives proceeding to over play their hand and ultimately discrediting themselves. The controversy is about the desire of the authoritarian right to prevent any criticism of their extremist agenda and has little to do with any real concern about sexist jokes. Conservatives wage their war on the modern world without regard for fact, with such distortions being common place. This has included a similar distortion of a joke told by John Kerry in 2006, the fabrications of the Swift Boat Liars, all the lies about Obama which were spread during the presidential campaign, and the recent lies about Sotomayor such as that sixty percent of her decisions have been overturned. While less extreme and violent than those who have been committing violence, the conservative movement has increasingly become dominated by hostility towards reason, freedom of expression, and much of the modern world.