SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who; Star Trek; Bush’s Decapitated Head (Game of Thrones); Sane Republicans Only Found In Science Fiction; Mad Men Finale

Steven Moffat give some hints (or perhaps misleads) about Jenna-Louise Coleman’s role as the new companion on Doctor Who during a recent radio interview:

The new companion will, again, be a human from contemporary earth. This is necessary for audience identification and a ‘jumping on’ point for new viewers

How the companion gets where she is and what that means for the character is what will make her utterly different and fascinating

The new companion will not have any links to any previous characters

Her ‘journey’ will be shocking and intriguing. The Doctor has never met anyone quite like her before

Her very presence in the TARDIS will change the Doctor and there’s something different about her that will have a knock-on effect for the Doctor/companion dynamic

Or how about Jon Luc Picard as a companion? Above is from the comic miniseries  Star Trek: The Next Generation and Doctor Who: Assimilation².

The two greatest science-fiction properties of all time cross over for the first time in history, in STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION/DOCTOR WHO: ASSIMILATION²! Captain Jean-Luc Picard faces one of the most difficult decisions of his life, but the fate of the galaxy may depend on it! Can the Doctor convince him to make the correct choice?

Another example of cover art from the miniseries can be seen here.

There was controversy this week when it was revealed on the DVD extras that one of the heads used on Game of Thrones during the first season was that of George Bush. It sounds like it was just a matter of using  materials which were handy and nobody would have noticed if this was not mentioned during the commentary. From the DVD commentary:

“The last head on the left is George Bush. George Bush’s head appears in a couple of beheading scenes. It’s not a choice, it’s not a political statement. We just had to use whatever head we had around.”

The full scene is above.

This was an interesting bit of trivia about the show which apparently nobody noticed when it aired,  but once revealed HBO really had no choice but to have this edited out. In a nation split near 50:50 it is understandable that a media company would not want to alienate a large percentage of the country in such a manner. The season finale was taken down and DVD sales stopped to allow for digital removal of Bush’s head–which would create a problem for those desiring to watch the first season. I just checked HBO GO and found that the episode is back up. The scene with Bush’s head is unchanged except that there is now hair digitally inserted over much of the face making it unrecognizable.

One of the biggest puzzles about the first season of Once Upon A Time is why they didn’t use Meghan Ory more often. The producers apparently agreed and are making her a regular for the second season, along with adding new characters.

The two top writers of rapid-paced dialogue are back on the air this summer–Aaron Sorkin with The Newsroom and Amy Sherman-Paladino with Bunheads. Sorkin discussed his work in an interview here–but I would give higher grades to Sorkin’s previous shows than he gives himself. Another interview with Sorkin  touches on science fiction as well as politics:

In one episode of Newsroom, we hear Will say, “I’m a registered Republican—I only seem liberal because I believe that hurricanes are caused by high ­barometric pressure and not by gay marriage.” So—

Your question is “Are hurricanes caused by high barometric pressure or low barometric pressure?” The answer is both. Hurricanes are caused when a high-pressure system surrounds a low-pressure system. That wasn’t your question, though. Your question is, why is Will a Republican?

No. My question is, if he really is a ­Republican with moderate-to-liberal beliefs, when did you become interested in science fiction?

You’ve answered the question I thought you were asking, which is, why is he a Republican? There are several reasons, but the biggest is: I haven’t seen this guy on TV.

Or anywhere, lately.

For the last year or so, but really since Obama got elected, I’ve found the most interesting op-ed political writing to be from Republicans who are looking at the extreme right and saying, “Those guys aren’t with us. I don’t know what happened here, but they’ve kind of co-opted our brand name. But these aren’t Republican values.” Guys like David Frum, Mark McKinnon, Andrew Sullivan. Even George Will. I hadn’t seen that guy on television. There’s CNN, which tries very, very hard either to not be anything or to be both things. And then, of course, there’s Fox and there’s MSNBC, on either side.

Amy Sherman-Paladino’s new show Bunheads premiered last week, with many similarities to Gilmore Girls. Inevitably interviews about the new show led to questions about Gilmore Girls, including the mysterious four words which she had intended to conclude the series with:

You always said you knew the four words that were going to end the last Gilmore Girls episode, and you obviously never got to have them said. Any chance you’d share them now?
To me, because I didn’t have control of that last year and [whispers] I still haven’t seen the last year … Here’s the deal. All the people who ran the last year, David Rosenthal, I hired him, he’s good people, he’s a good writer, I really like him. I don’t think he thought Dan and I were going to leave. We didn’t think we were going to leave. Everyone was caught unaware. It was literally a situation of bad negotiating. Our interests were in staying and keeping the show going. Once the CW bought it, we called Warner Bros. and said the CW is going to need this show to launch new product for the next couple of years. You don’t want the show to go down this year. We instigated that. When the negotiations got so crazy we thought, Maybe we’re high? Maybe they don’t want it for the next couple of years. But by not having control of that, it shifts the focus of what my last words would have been. I was also holding on to it for a long time because I was thinking if we did do a movie, I would be able to use it there. I don’t think that’s ever going to happen so, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll eventually say the four words. I feel like now I’ll let people down because it’s been so built up. “Really? That’s what we waited all these twelve years for? Well, thanks so much.”

Maybe the four final words were, “Rory, you were adopted.”  Doubtful, but amusing speculation.

Alexis Bledel’s appearance on Mad Men this season also came up:

I’m sure you know a very grown-up Alexis Bledel was on Mad Men a few weeks ago.
We have a place in Brooklyn and she lives right around the corner from us. I have to say she is taking a very thoughtful, interesting approach to her career post-Gilmore. She’s being very particular. I think it’s very smart. She’s not rushing. I applaud it. She did have her shirt open, however, and her boobs hanging out. I was behind. I’m behind on everything that’s not Game of Thrones. And then I read some headline that said, “Most Boring Mad Men Ever Except for Rory Gilmore Getting Naked!” I thought, Holy shit, is she naked? She wasn’t. She had a fur and some underwear. When you’re young and your boobs look like that? Why not?

Speaking of Mad Men, I noticed that critics were generally dissatisfied with the season finale last week. I disagree. Certainly there was more drama in the previous episode in which Lane committed suicide, but the finale did an excellent job of tying up some loose ends and presumably setting the stage for next season. They might have saved the suicide for the finale, but handling it this way allowed viewers to see the aftermath of the act.

The finale included Pete Campbell getting punched, not once but twice, making this twice as good as the previous episode in which this occurred. Pete seemed to becoming too successful at SCDP, but we learned of his dissatisfaction with his life during his visit to the hospital. Perhaps he was demonstrating even more self-understanding when he told the conductor, “I’m president of the Howdy Doody Circus Army.” There was an Eternal Sunshine Of Spotless Mind conclusion to the Rory Gilmore storyline. We saw that SCDP has become a successful firm, suggesting an end to the new company struggling to survive story lines which can become tedious. Most importantly, we may have seen the beginning of the end of Don and Megan. The episode contained clues, such as Don telling Peggy, “That’s what happens when you help someone. They succeed and move on.”  Don warned Megan against taking  help from him, telling her she would be better off being “someone’s discovery than someone’s wife.” Don might now believe that Megan will move on as Peggy did. Now that Don has helped Megan get the role in the ad, she has become too much like Betty when they met, and might ultimately suffer the same fate.  The episode ended with what might be the old Don Draper going into the bar to order a highball. We don’t know how he answered the question, “are you alone” but things will never be the same between Don and Megan.

The Avengers ended with the heroes going out to a shawarma restaurant after saving New York. When watching this scene (at the end of the credits) did you wonder where Loki was? The answer is above.