SciFi Weekend: The Doctor’s Wife; Canceled and Renewed Shows

Fans have been anxious to see a continuation of the storyline  started in the first two episodes of Doctor Who this season. Many were disappointed by The Curse of The Black Spot which repeated the ambiguity over Amy being pregnant and showed the woman with the eye patch, but did not really advance the storyline. There was far greater anticipation for this week’s episode, The Doctor’s Wife, written by Neil Gaiman. Instead of advancing this season’s arc, the story went back to the origins of the entire series.

The Doctor’s Wife is his constant companion and perhaps true love- the TARDIS.  The actual story was merely a device to have the TARDIS appear in the form of a woman. Karen Gillan had one of the best lines of the episode, asking the Doctor, “Did you wish really hard?” At the conclusion of the episode it was clear that the Doctor wanted her back.

Idris, also known as Sexy, revealed more about the origins of the Doctor, who “borrowed” a TARDIS which he found unlocked. From Idris’ account, it was she who picked the Doctor because she wanted to see the universe. While it might be the case that the TARDIS doesn’t always go where the Doctor wants, Idris pointed out that she always takes the Doctor where he needs to go. Most importantly, Idris finally got the opportunity to say “hello” to the Doctor.

As the story was primarily a mechanism to have the Doctor and Idris interact, it was necessary to work in an excuse to have Amy and Rory elsewhere. They spend most of the episode running through the corridors of the TARDIS, including yet another sequence in which Rory appeared to die and return.  It was also amusing to see Idris be unaware of which companion was which, ultimately identifying the pretty one, which she believed to be Rory.  It is a shame that the budget only allowed them to run through corridors as opposed to actual rooms during the bulk of the episode. Gaiman had wanted to have a view of the swimming pool but they didn’t have the budget for this. At least the old TARDIS set from the David Tennant era still exists, allowing them to say that the TARDIS has archives of all these old control rooms.

While this was primarily a stand-alone episode, there was on line which appears to pertain to the current story line. Idris told the Doctor, “The only water in the forest is the river.” Would this mean River Song, and does the forest refer to the forest in The Forest of The Dead?  That was part of the two part story in which the Doctor first met River, and the last time River saw the Doctor due to their crossed time lines.

Neil Gaiman will be taking questions about the story on Monday.

Also this week we received news on which shows were renewed or canceled. Cancellations include The Event, V, and No Ordinary Family. All of these were expected.  Cancellations of non-genre shows include Brother’s and Sisters, which ended the season with an episode which worked well as a series finale. Two of the female stars of Friday Night Lights, Minka Kelly and Adrianne Palicki appeared in pilots (Charlie’s Angels and Wonder Woman). The first was picked up but the second was not.  Parenthood, which Minka Kelly had a recurring role in, was also renewed.

There is speculation that Netflix might pick up The Event out of a desire to have their own shows with a following. In principle this does make sense as there are so many ways to watch movies. If not for their original shows, I probably would have dropped HBO, Showtime, and Starz by now. While it makes sense in principle, I’m not sure that The Event is the best choice for Netflix to go with. If it returns on Netflix I will probably watch it, but if I didn’t already have a Netflix account I doubt having The Event would be enough to sell me.

In addition to the announcements this week, The Cape, Dollhouse, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Files and FlashForward also failed to survive. While genre shows have generally done poorly on television the last couple of years, there have been multiple blockbuster genre movies, such as Thor this week. I wonder why genre titles are doing so much better at the movies than on television. Some of these genre shows suffered from mediocre writing, but an excellent show such as Fringe is also failing to do all that well in the ratings.  Perhaps it is partially the higher budgets for movies. Maybe there is a larger audience for intermittent blockbuster events as opposed to following a show weekly. Regardless of the reason, I still find the support for genre movies as reason to hope that a well-done genre television show can still be successful on network television.

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