SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who, The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos; Star Trek Discovery; Elseworlds CW Crossover; The Good Place; Agents of SHIELD; Timeless Finale

The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos was rather weak as a season finale of Doctor Who, but at least they get a second chance on New Year’s Day with an episode widely assumed to involve the Daleks. There were a number of interesting ideas, including loss of memory and characters being fooled into believing another is their God, but it never really flows into a coherent episode. This might be said about the first season as a whole. Being the season finale, the stakes were increased with the earth itself being in danger.

Chris Chibnall decided to do stand alone episodes. This might have been a good idea in terms of bringing in new viewers if executed better. There is certainly an argument for getting away from the more complex story lines of the Moffat era, at least for Chibnall’s first season. Russel T. Davies might have been a better template, but Davies did add season long subplots when he revived the series. Seeing the various clues to Bad Wolf pay off in the season finale was far more rewarding than just seeing the return of Tzim-Sha from the first episode. It is not surprising that Chibnall turned the Stanza into more than a single-episode villain, but they were hardly developed enough to make their return a significant season-ending event.

Again, fortunately we do have one more episode in which to redeem the season, followed by a wait for an entire year to see if some of the problems of Chibnall’s first season are corrected. Fortunately the cast, including both Jodie Whittaker and her three companions, all did a fine job. While the season did have its problems, the switch to a female lead was not one of these problems.

The above trailer for Star Trek: Discovery season 2 has been released. There previously had been speculation that Burnham and Spock never meet in light of his failure to ever mention a sister, but the two are seen together in the trailer. Spock has also smiled in trailers released to date, consistent with the Spock of The Cage as opposed to his behavior later on the original show. Michelle Yeoh seen in her new role at Section 31, which might receive its own spin off.

A second video released last week shows both the more cinematic mood of the show, along with its continued concentration on the characters:

Alex Kurtzman has spoken with Entertainment Weekly about the planned series staring Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard:

The mysterious upcoming Star Trek series bringing back fan favorite Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) is going to be very different in tone from previous shows in the franchise, and below, executive producer Alex Kurtzman explains exactly how.

The writer-producer has worked on J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek films and is the current showrunner of CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery, as well as an executive producer on the Picard series. We asked Kurtzman how the spin-off will compare to Discovery and Stewart’s previous Star Trek series, The Next Generation.

“It’s an extremely different rhythm than Discovery,” Kurtzman told EW exclusively. “Discovery is a bullet. Picard is a very contemplative show. It will find a balance between the speed of Discovery and the nature of what Next Gen was, but I believe it will have its own rhythm.”

Continued Kurtzman: “Without revealing too much about it, people have so many questions about Picard and what happened to him, and the idea we get to take time to answer those questions in the wake of the many, many things he’s had to deal with in Next Gen is really exciting. ‘More grounded’ is not the right way to put it, because season 2 of Discovery is also grounded. It will feel more… real-world? If that’s the right way to put it.”

This season’s Arrowverse crossover, Elseworlds, was limited to three episodes. Each episode was partially a self-contained story, with the three combining into a more complete story. Elseworlds did a better job of providing fun interaction between the characters with lots of Easter Eggs, and perhaps setting up next year’s cross over episode, than it did in plotting this year.

Smallville and the 90’s Flash series were both brought into the Arrowverse. John Wesley Shipp was Barry Allen on Earth 90, most likely a reference to him playing the role in 1990-91. Shipp’s character warned of a Crisis to come, and expressed surprise that Diggle wasn’t wearing his ring. Arrow showrunner Beth Schwartz says that an episode with a version of Diggle as the Green Lanturn is, “To be continued.” We will not see this in the immediate future as it was confirmed that this has not actually been written yet.

The Arrowverse is finally able to make references to Gotham City with Gotham near the end of its run, but still cannot show Batman. Instead we were introduced to his cousin, Batwoman, who might be getting her own series.

The episode ended with an announcement that next year’s crossover event will be Crisis on Infinite Earths. The Flash has been teasing a Crisis since the beginning, but showing this as occurring in 2024, making it unclear if this is the same event. I also wonder if they might collapse the television multiverse, placing Supergirl on the same earth as Arrow and The Flash.

In other genre news, The Good Place, which once again rebooted itself in the most recent episode, has been renewed for a fourth season. Before going on hiatus for the holidays, for the first time the cast has made it to what appears to actually be the real Good Place.

Mack will be taking over as head of SHIELD when Agents of SHIELD returns. The series has already been renewed for a seventh season, with season six to air this summer.  Clark Gregg is not listed as part of the cast. This might mean he really has died after last season, but it is also possible that they are purposely not announcing his return to the series to hide future plans for him.

NBC will air the two-hour finale of Timeless this Friday, with fans hoping the show will once again return following cancellation. The episode is left open-ended to leave the possibility open of a return.

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