SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol and Previews of Next Season; Sherlock; Torchwood; Caprica’s Final Episodes

Since 2005 the Doctor Who Christmas Special has become the major television event on the BBC and this year it is  being shown around most of the English-speaking world the same day. Of course for some of us it just wouldn’t be Christmas without downloading a copy instead of waiting until 9:00 p.m. when BBC America will be broadcasting the episode. While I will not give away the ending to the main story, there are lots of spoilers as to the other fun stuff in this episode.

Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol is Steven Moffat’s first shot at the Christmas special. Moffat wrote an episode based upon the classic by Charles Dickens and interweaving all that “timey-wimey” stuff which Moffat does  best. The episodes starts with the space liner which Amy and Rory are taking their honeymoon on being in danger of crashing. The two went from the honeymoon suite to the bridge. We can see that they were role playing with Rory back in his Roman suit from The Pandorica Opens and Amy back in her kiss-o-gram police woman outfit with the very short skirt.

Amy contacted the Doctor to help, but the Doctor found that the only one who could save them just didn’t care to, considering that the ship wasn’t going to crash on his house. The Doctor  became The Ghost of Christmas Past to change the man’s life so that he would be willing to help. There is not very much of Amy and Rory in the remainder of the episode, but Amy did briefly become The Ghost of Christmas Present.

Michael Gambon made a great Scrooge and Katherine Jenkins was excellent in her acting debut, with her singing becoming an important part of the story. We also go to see sharks, the Doctor in a fez hat and a scarf. There were many trips through time, including one to a party at Frank Sinatra’s house which led to the Doctor getting married to Marilyn Monroe. (The doctor does insist it was not a real wedding chapel). The best line of the episode was, “Marilyn, get your coat.”

There were also some other memorable lines, including “Father Christmas. Santa Claus. Or as I call him, Jeff” and, “Do you know, in 900 years of time and space, I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important.”

At the conclusion of the episode the above promo for Series 6 was shown. It includes a naked River Song and two more great lines. The Doctor is wearing a stetson saying,”I wear a Stetson now. Stetsons are cool!” The clip concludes with, “There’s one thing I can tell you. Monsters are real.”

Although I still didn’t have the patience to wait until tonight, it was a good idea to broadcast the special on Christmas in the United States as opposed to a delay as in the past. There are also plans to do the same with the entire next season. Episodes will be broadcast the same day in the United States as on the BBC. Some of the interviews I posted earlier in the week leading up to the Christmas special, such as this one with Matt Smith, have very vague hints as to what is to come.

Steven Moffat was interviewed by The New York Times. He discussed Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol but was also asked a few questions about Sherlock:

Are you being asked all the time when the Doctor and your Sherlock Holmes will meet up?

I think everyone who’s passing me in the streets is suggesting that at the moment. I think there are problems of doing that, because then you would say that Sherlock Holmes lives in the same world as the Doctor, and there are Daleks and all sorts of things. If a Sherlock Holmes story depends on time travel being impossible, it’s quite hard if he’s a personal friend of the Doctor’s, isn’t it?

I agree. Besides, the personalities of the two are too similar and there’s little sense in having both in the same story. I’d much rather have the Doctor and Amy meet the characters in Moffat’s previous show, Coupling.

The Scottish Sun interviewed John Borrowman regarding upcoming seasons of Torchwood. The big news is that the current plan is to make the joint show between the BBC and Starz for seven years. That’s still probably not long enough to see Captain Jack’s transformation to The Face Of Boe. From the interview:

“But I have turned down a load of other shows to make Torchwood. We’ll be filming it in LA as it’s now a collaboration between the BBC and the Starz Network in America.

“They’re planning to make it for the next seven years. So I’ll be spending six months a year in Hollywood and six back in the UK.”

John will be 50 by then – doesn’t he worry his leading man looks will start to fade? He shrugs: “Captain Jack turns into the hideous creature The Face Of Boe in the fullness of time so he won’t always be good- looking anyway.

“But I’ll keep playing Jack as long as I can.

“One thing you’ll never find me doing is going for plastic surgery.”

I caught the final five episodes of Caprica which have not yet aired on SyFy this weekend and for the first time am sad that the show was not renewed. I think the show would have done much better if it was presented more in the mode of many BBC and premium cable shows with thirteen episodes, and with all in one stretch. Dividing the season resulted in multiple threads leading to a mid-season cliff hanger. By the time the show returned it was difficult to recall the details of each storyline or to really care that much. A shorter season might have avoided some of the superfluous story lines. The final episodes still contain separate story lines but they all seemed far more coherent with the episodes working as a five episode mini-series. The stories are wrapped up to different degrees in the finale. The episode concluded with a series of scenes from what presumably would have been future episodes if the series survived. They provide a satisfactory bridge between the season of Caprica and what we know of Caprica from Battlestar Galactica.

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