SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who; Karen Gillan Takes Manhattan; Billy Piper Beat Her There; Californication; Big Love; Merlin and Camelot; Mad Men; The Borgias

BBC America has released its trailer for the upcoming season of Doctor Who (video above) which starts out with a two part episode in the United States. The BBC America trailer does contain different scenes compared to the BBC One trailer previously posted. The season will have a hiatus over the summer, but we will still be able to see Karen Gillan. During the summer she will be staring in We’ll Take Manhattan:

The BBC has announced the commission of single drama, We’ll Take Manhattan, which explores the explosive love affair between photographer David Bailey and sixties supermodel Jean Shrimpton.

Focusing on a wild and unpredictable 1962 Vogue photo shoot in New York, the drama brings to life the story of two young people falling in love, misbehaving, and inadvertently defining the style of the Sixties along the way.

Karen Gillan will play Jean Shrimpton, in her first lead role since starring alongside Matt Smith as Amy Pond in Doctor Who. The drama is produced by Kudos Film and Television for BBC Four.

Karen said: “Jean Shrimpton is an icon of the Sixties and I am so excited to be playing somebody who had such a lasting impact on the fashion world. I can’t wait to take on the challenge of bringing Jean and Bailey’s fascinating love story to life. Sixties here I come!

Richard Klein, Controller BBC Four, says: “The story of David Bailey and Jean Shrimpton is classic territory for BBC Four – a moment in time, a fusion of talents, that had a huge impact on cultural life. It is a drama that is all about being alive and taking a chance, being young and kicking down the statues, and yet it is also a beautiful love story. And if you want to know why our world looks like it does, then this is the drama that tells you.”

Set predominantly in 1962, but also exploring the story of how Bailey and Shrimpton first met, this one-off drama reveals how a young, visionary photographer refused to conform. He insisted on using the unconventional model Jean Shrimpton on an important photo shoot for British Vogue and, over the course of a freezing week in Manhattan, threw out the rule book and made startling, original photographs.

We’ll Take Manhattan is the story of that wild week, of Bailey and Jean’s love affair, and of how two young people accidentally changed the world forever.

About the drama, Claire Parker of Kudos Film and Television, says: “In Jean, Bailey found someone that he and his camera fell in love with. We’ll Take Manhattan captures the essence of their dynamic affair and how they unwittingly changed the face of a decade. This is a really exciting opportunity to tell an intimate love story that plays out against the backdrop of Britain on the cusp of huge social and cultural change. We’re delighted to have the opportunity to make another film for BBC Four and are thrilled to have Karen Gillan on board as Jean.”

Billy Piper

An actress who previously stared as a companion on Doctor Who has  beaten The Doctor to America and has beaten Karen Gillan to Manhattan. Billie Piper’s character on Secret Diary of a Call  Girl had an episode taking place in New York City concerning making a movie of the book written the previous season. The fourth season recently completed its run in Great Britain and resumes on Showtime on April 7.  The relationship between Belle and Ben was a major component of the season. Other major characters in the fourth season include Lily James as Stephanie’s teen-age daughter, Paul Nicholls as a vice cop who becomes interested in Belle, and Genna Chan as a dominatrix.

Also on Showtime, Californication and Big Love recently concluded, with statutory rape becoming a major issue on both last season. Californication might resume three years in the future, after Hank has written a successful book about his life in California,  while Big Love has concluded the series. I was disappointed with the ending of Big Love. I didn’t object to Bill’s fate, but didn’t like that his murder occurred leaving major story lines unresolved. The charges of statutory rape dominated the season. The pressure’s on Bill’s business even were escalated during the final episode, but suddenly these problems were made irrelevant with Bill’s death as opposed to resolving them.

Also on cable television, the contract battles between Matthew Weiner and AMC were resolved, somewhere between the positions of both. Mad Men has been renewed for two more seasons, with Weiner also getting an option to do a seventh. This would provide time for Weiner to plot out where he wants to take the show long term. Mad Men will return in early 2012.

Starz began Camelot, its racier version of the King Arthur legend, while SyFy is in the midst of the two-part season finale of Merlin. The end of the season of Merlin has brought the story far closer to the more traditional legends and the two-part season finale was among the best episodes of the series. The stories are quite different, with Arthur actually living with his father in Camelot on Merlin, but  Merlin has now reached a situation comparable to where the Starz version of  Camelot is starting with the conflict between Arthur and his half-sister.

Showtime is starting The Borgias tonigiht. As has occured with other series on Showtime, the first episode “leaked” out early and I watched last night. The series shows promise as a new version of The Tudors, this time taking place in the Vatican.

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