SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who, Fringe, Merlin, Camelot, Harry Potter

There is now considerable attention being paid to the international start of the upcoming season of Doctor Who next Saturday. Here are two clips from the episode:

The Daily Mail has a profile on the next villain, to be featured in the two-part episode to start the season, The Silence:

For The Silence are the most sinister — and the scariest — of more than 200 intergalactic monsters who have done battle with the Time Lord over the centuries.

They will have us all cowering in terror behind the sofa when the sixth series in the current run of Doctor Who returns to TV next week, promises Matt Smith, the Doctor’s 11th incarnation…

Matt says: ‘They are pretty repulsive, but it’s their history that will really chill people. They could turn up anywhere and everywhere, and they’ve been undermining and controlling us for thousands of years but we don’t realise it.

‘And yet, here they are — for the very first time — made flesh in front of our eyes.’

The Silence have been mentioned but never seen in several episodes since Matt took over as the Doctor last year, and will play a central part in the show’s future.

Matt, who has wanted to add a hat to the Doctor’s costume, gets to wear a stetson in the new series as he is mysteriously invited to America’s Utah Desert along with his companion Amy Pond (played by Karen Gillan).

In real life, the Utah desert has been a hotspot for UFO sightings — in Doctor Who, it’s where the presence of The Silence first manifests itself.

Their look has been carefully created for maximum scare-factor, with dark suits, white shirts and black ties made by Doctor Who costume designer Barbara Kidd.

The suits, in particular, are a nod to the Men In Black movies, which starred Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as smartly attired U.S. Government agents fighting alien invaders.

The Silence’s hands and heads — created by Neill Gorton, principal designer at Millennium Effects, the company which make all the Doctor Who monsters — are the only features that betray the fact they are aliens.

Made from Latex foam, the hands are bony-white and crumpled, while the triangular faces have no mouths, but human eyes sunk deep into the skull with traces of ears and a nose.

‘Humans will have been subconsciously aware of The Silence for many centuries and that awareness will have manifested itself in paintings such as The Scream,’ says Steven Moffatt, Doctor Who’s lead writer, who invented The Silence.

The Daily Mail also had pictures of the previous Doctor, David Tennant, along with his wife (The Doctor’s Daughter Georgia Tennant) pushing their actual daughter Olivia Moffat in a baby buggy. Other pictures show that Tennant had more difficulty handling the baby buggy than flying the TARDIS.

There were multiple interviews with the current stars over the past week. Here are the MTV interviews with Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and Arthur Darvill.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xXC2bIAbUZ8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ytkPgAaQ-CI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=E69B5LmDK9k

Craig Ferguson’s interview with Karen Gillan was recorded last week but has been held back to air on this Friday’s episode prior to the start of the new season. Ferguson’s Friday episodes, along with other episodes when he is away, are commonly recorded ahead of time.

The return of Leonard Nimoy to Fringe was a disappointment. The episode primarily took place within Olivia’s head, with the help of some LSD. The scenes involving William Bell (Nimoy) were all animated. Presumably Nimoy’s return from retirement is limited to voice work, in the upcoming Transformers movie as well as on Fringe. This probably really was the end of William Bell. The only exception I can see is that the writers might find it irresistible to bring him back if Nimoy ever expresses interest in an actual appearance. Have we ever been told what happened to the William Bell from the alternate universe? Simply going back to explain how and why William Bell lived in the alternate universe would be of interest.

The episode ended with Olivia’s personality somewhat different as she identified one of the people seen in her head by saying without displaying any concern,  “He’s the guy who’s going to kill me.”  Reportedly the final episodes of the season are going to speed up the mythology along with possibly killing off a character (who we can safely predict will not be Olivia):

The executive producers of Fringe have revealed that a key character will be killed off in a forthcoming episode.

In a recent conference call, showrunner Jeff Pinkner claimed that “somebody who [fans of the show] love deeply will die”.

Fringe always does things the way you don’t expect,” added co-producer Joel Wyman. “It’s going to be effective, and it will be self-explanatory. That’s sort of all we can say without spoiling anything.”

Pinkner also suggested that the events of the third season finale will be “wholly unexpected“.

“It will recontextualise the story of season three in a really cool way, and be fun and entertaining and mind-blowing,” he claimed.

However, Pinkner ruled out the possibility of introducing a third universe to the sci-fi drama, which currently focuses on events in two parallel worlds.

“We are not introducing a third world,” he insisted. “We still have plenty of story to tell just in those two worlds. Maybe at some point in the future there will be a third world, but not yet.”

The third season of Merlin recently concluded its US run. Digital Spy has interviews with the two female leads which give limited hints as to the fourth season. Katie McGrath had this to say:

Is there a part of you that misses playing the ‘good’ Morgana?
“No, I love a bad girl! Absolutely. I couldn’t wait for her to become like this, because at the same time that she became the bad girl, she became powerful. All her uncertainty goes. In the first series, she was the opinionated, spoiled princess, and then in the second series, she was very unsure of herself. In the third series, she was still playing both sides. So by the time we get to the fourth series, she’s got to where ultimately she’s going to go. But in typical Merlin fashion, it’s not what you expect. It’s never what you expect, and in series four, it isn’t either. But I like the fact that she is strong and she’s accepted who she is. She’s assured, and even if you don’t agree with her point of view, she’s committed to it. She believes that she is doing the right thing and that she is saving people like her. She wants to bring back the old traditions, so she will no longer have to hide. I really respect that in somebody, that she is committed to what she believes. To be that strong and powerful is great, especially when you’re a girl. Without being a weak woman and soft, she’s still feminine. She’s a great woman to play!”

Series four will take place one year after the events of series three. What’s changed in that time?
“I think I’m bound to silence! I’m not sure what I can say. Well, Morgana has entirely changed in the year away. She’s been out of Camelot, and she’s probably been hunted and had to hide who she is. So to go from being such a privileged woman to being a hunted fugitive is going to change her. It’s going to make her harder, stronger and more committed. A year has also passed with everyone knowing that she is magical, so that’s also going to have changed how everybody else views her and how she views herself. I’m quite lucky. I’m probably completely biased, but I always say that I have the best character in the show. From season to season, I think she’s changed the most, and this season is no different. I know that everybody will be shocked by what she does in the first two episodes, and how she looks. It’s a complete new image for her. Very cool!”

Morgause appeared to die at the end of series three, so will Emilia Fox be back?
“Yes! Nothing’s ever the way it seems!”

And is there any chance of Mordred returning?
“I’d like Mordred to be back. He’s such an integral part of the story. I don’t know if he’s going to be back, because we’ve only got the first three scripts. But I’d like to think that at some point over the next few years, he’ll turn up, because you can’t tell the story without him. But again, what’s nice about Merlin is that it’s never going to be what you expect, so you can’t think that you know the legends. Even if you do, the show will trip you up and you’ll get a surprise! But I hope he’ll be back. Although [Mordred actor] Asa [Butterfield]‘s off working with Martin Scorsese! I love it, we’re so proud of him! That boy, we’ve seen him grow!”

She had a lot more to say about her character, as well as the other version of Morgana in the Starz version of Camelot:

What are your thoughts on that other Arthurian adaptation, the Starz series Camelot?
“When they first told me they were doing it, I wanted to know who they’d cast! I wanted to know who was playing Morgana, and then they cast a Bond girl! How am I ever going to compete with that? Eve Green is my favorite Bond girl and she was so amazing and totally beautiful. I was like, ‘Oh great! Up against a Bond girl, I should just give it all up!’ But I have a friend who auditioned for it and read all the scripts, and she told me that the two shows are so different. [Eva and I] are playing two completely different characters, with a few similarities. Their portrayal of everything is nowhere near what we do. Their Arthur is different, their Guinevere is different, and so on. You can’t really put them in the same box, which is quite nice. I would put Camelot closer to [HBO fantasy drama] Game of Thrones, because it’s for a similar audience. We’re quite lucky in that there isn’t really anything like Merlin around.”

Game of Thrones is premiering on HBO tonight with the reviews sounding very positive. Digital Spy also interviewed Angel Coulby who plays Gwen. She revealed that Lancelot will be returning but does not know for how long.

While I loved most of the Harry Potter movies, I was disappointed with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and did not have very high expectations from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part I. I recall disliking much of the first half of the book, feeling as Ron Weasley did, that we they wandering aimlessly. Therefore I waited until the Blu-Ray came out on Friday as opposed to seeing it at the movie theater, and it was at least as bad as I feared. If I didn’t already own the rest of the  Blu-Ray collection I might have refrained from purchasing this one, but it is hard to leave such a hole when almost at the end of a series.

The movies often improved upon the Harry Potter books by tightening them up in order to make them movie length. In some cases it was necessary to cut too much out for the movie, but in this case it would have helped to cut much of the material from the first half of the final book. If the studio wasn’t rearing the loss of income from the end of the franchise, I bet they would have just released a single book with much of the first half removed. Those who have also followed both the books and the movie could easily skip Part I and wait for Part II. If anyone is only following the movies, they might want to see  the first half hour or so of  the movie, but from there it would be helpful to use the fast forward button liberally.

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5 Comments

  1. 1
    Brent says:

    I know bloggers like to do things to make the blogs “sticky” and have readers spend more time on the blog, but I estimate that this post alone has about a half hour of viewing material. Is ALL of this going to be on the test?

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    No, you only have to know the contents of two of the MTV interviews.

  3. 3
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  4. 4
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  5. 5
    Zardoz says:

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