SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who Christmas Special And Other News; Terra Nova Secret Revealed; Once Upon A Time; Merlin

Several new pictures from the Doctor Who Christmas special, The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe, have been released, such as the one above. More can be seen here. The official synopsis has also been released, and the trailer was posted here.

It’s Christmas Eve, 1938, when Madge Arwell comes to the aid of an injured Spaceman Angel as she cycles home, in this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special, starring Matt Smith as the Doctor.

He promises to repay her kindness – all she has to do is make a wish.

Three years later, a devastated Madge escapes war-torn London with her two children for a dilapidated house in Dorset. She is crippled with grief at the news her husband has been lost over the channel, but determined to give Lily and Cyril the best Christmas ever.

The Arwells are surprised to be greeted by a madcap caretaker whose mysterious Christmas gift leads them into a magical wintry world. Here, Madge will learn how to be braver than she ever thought possible. And that wishes can come true…

Madge Arwell is played by Claire Skinner, Lily Arwell by Holly Earl and Cyril Arwell by Maurice Cole.

Matt Smith told WalesOnline that he would like to see more action in Doctor Who:

Doctor Who star Matt Smith said he wants to see “more action” in the next series of the Timelord’s adventures.

The actor, who is reported to have recently split up with girlfriend Daisy Lowe, said the sci-fi show’s Christmas special had a “Narnia-esque shape and feel” to it.

He told the Radio Times: “Whereas last year felt more like a Christmas romp, there’s a slow-burning, ethereal magic to this. We’ve covered a whole forest in snow. The scale is vast and there’s just something wonderfully magical about it because it’s never that snowy in this country, except maybe in Scotland … and on the telly. It does it for you: all the snow and the lovely smell of the pine trees. I’m really, really looking forward to Christmas now.”

Smith also revealed he had been doing his stunts for the show – one of which involved him dodging a giant fireball.

 He said: “Believe me, the fireball does so much of the acting for you. It was only afterwards that I realised I could have been seriously charred.

“I’ve been really enjoying it. Hopefully we’ll see more action/an adventure-y Doctor next season.”

The Christmas special also includes appearances from familiar faces including comic Alexander Armstrong, Arabella Weir and Bill Bailey.

Bailey, who is a devoted fan of the long-running BBC show, said appearing on it was “the equivalent of a knighthood”.

Smith has held several other recent interviews in light of the upcoming special and the release of the DVD box set from last season. Above is a video of his interview last week on BBC Breakfast. Stories include the presence of three Doctors (including himself) at a party for Steven Moffat’s birthday. Smith has confirmed that he will be returning for the upcoming season, next year’s Christmas special, and the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who.

Karen Gillan said that Amy and Rory will only have a cameo role in the Christmas special, which reconciles previous reports that she will not be in the show along with reports of filming a scene outside Amy and Rory’s home.

Alex Kingston was on Craig Ferguson’s show earlier this month (video above).

This trailer for BBC1’s Christmas shows includes an appearance by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and a Cyberman.

Terra Nova revealed the shows’ big secret in last week’s episode, although there is the possibility that Taylor was lying. His claim is that his son and the Sixers are conspiring to make the portal two-way so that the resources from the past could be taken to 2149. The explanation given didn’t fully explain why only certain people were in on this. Possibly there is conflict in 2169 regarding who gets sent back. This make it especially important the the past shown in the show was previously revealed to be a different timeline.

Movie Overmind spoke to Jennifer Morrison and producer Steven Pearlman about Morrison’s key role as  Emma on Once Upon A Time:

We’ve only seen four episodes of Once Upon a Time, but it’s become clear what type of show it is, as well as the format. Each episode is almost a self-contained story in the fairytale world, giving us another piece of the main characters’ backstory as fairytale characters, while introducing a few new ones along the way (like Cinderella). In addition, the Storybrooke characters continue to develop and grow alongside their fairytale counterparts.

But two characters don’t have fairytale counterparts in Once Upon a Time: Emma and Henry. Emma is clearly one of the central characters of the show, and it’s her relationship with Henry – and the other town’s characters – that has prompted this independent woman to put down roots and become part of a family. During a trip to the Vancouver set of Once Upon a Time last month, we had the opportunity to speak to Jennifer Morrison about her character and how Emma will develop throughout the first season.

Morrison acknowledged that there’s really no way to do the “Emma episode” of Once Upon a Time, because she doesn’t have a fairytale counterpart. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect to gain more insight into her character. The writers will give the audience ”a slower, steadier revelation of who she is. She’s revealed a little bit at a time through her relationships as the story goes on. Her willingness to get involved with certain people and her way of connecting to those people in those moments ends up revealing parts of her past. Those story lines, in a sense, become her flashbacks by proxy.”

Once Upon a Time’s executive producer Steven Pearlman told us that Emma will spend the first half of the season “coming to grips with the fact that she has a kid and her relationship to Henry and what it means to be a parent, what it means to be a single parent and what it means to give up your kid for adoption.” While Emma has decided to indulge Henry’s belief that the Storybrooke characters have fairytale counterparts, she doesn’t really believe it. However, Pearlman says “…these things keep happening….suggestions that maybe [Henry’s stories] are true. She herself is kind of caught in this place of ‘am I a believer or am I not a believer?’”

The biggest problem I see in keeping this story going as a weekly series is dealing with the fact that Emma is the one who has the power to reverse the spell. They obviously cannot have Emma be successful at this or the series comes to an end. More on Once Upon A Time from Jiminy Cricket’s perspective here.

While Jennifer Morrison is probably best known for her role on House. she also played Winona Kirk in rebooted Star Trek movie.

Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy, creators of BBC’s Merlin series, answer some questions here. Beware, the interview and the episode descriptions at the link have a lot of spoilers for those who have not started season for yet. Here’s a few questions without spoilers:

Q: Is there any more info on the Merlin movie?
A: it’s in early stages – we’re discussing talent right now, e.g writers, directors

Q: Will there be a sixth series of Merlin?
A: We’ve always planned five series, but it depends on how popular the show is . There’s every possibility it could continue…

Q: Will we see either Arthur or Gwen confront Morgana this series?
A: Yes, there’s a very exciting confrontation coming up between Gwen and Morgana!

Q: Will we get a glimpse of redemption for Morgana?
A: The end of this series is very surprising for Morgana! Stay tuned…

Q: Do you feel that Merlin has become a stronger show each series?
A: Yes – fantasy shows often grow with confidence. The closer we get to the legend, the richer and more interesting it gets… The ambition each year is to keep pushing the envelope. We’re always working to make the show better!

There were also questions regarding whether characters who have died this season might return. To avoid spoilers I have not posted the full questions, but the answers included comments such as “Who knows?? There’s no such thing as real death in Merlin.” In an answer about another character, they said “We loved working with  ***, we’ve got plenty of ideas as to how *** could return! But when, we’re not sure…” The identity of these characters is revealed at the link.