A Doctor Who Christmas Special is different from a regular episode. While there have been some exceptions, generally they are lighter and disconnected from the story lines of a particular season, making them something the entire family might watch even if they do not watch Doctor Who regularly. Keeping this in mind will answer some of the criticism I’ve seen of The Return of Doctor Mysterio, which worked fine as a Christmas story, even if light. It was not, and was not intended to be, a major story with profound ramifications for the mythology of the show. The show broke ratings records for BBC America.
The episode got its name because Peter Capaldi loved to refer to his character as he is referred to in Mexico, and it fit as it did include two times in which the Doctor returned to see Grant after he accidentally turned him into a superhero. Having the Doctor be responsible allowed for Steven Moffat to play with many troupes of superhero comics and movies without fully including superheroes as part of the Doctor Who universe. Instead it is superhero comics, and generally not superheroes, which are a part.
This was the first appearance of the Doctor (other than his brief cameo in Class) since last year’s Christmas special, The Husbands of River Song. While it was not necessary to have seen it, this episode is a direct continuation. Both episodes included a key situation involving not recognizing someone else. They also both involved aliens exchanging heads or brains, and has the return of Matt Lucas as Nardole. Fortunately the Doctor’s many skills include the ability to reassemble Nardole’s head on his body, allowing him to become a valuable assistant after the twenty-four year night he spent with River Song before she met her fate in the library. Matt Lucas will remain a semi-regular in the upcoming season.
Moffat took advantage of his experience in writing the romantic sit-com Coupling. This was seen when he had the entire body of the adolescent superhero who couldn’t control his x-ray vision levitate, obviously representing the rise of something else. It was seen again in scenes with Grant and Lucy, especially when they had dinner on the roof, while Grant had to be in two places at once.
The roof-top dinner was a clear homage to the Richard Donner/Christopher Reeve Superman films. There were even panels from a Superman comic displayed early in the episode. How many collectors felt ill to see the Doctor deface what would now be a rare old comic by drawing glasses on Superman to show off how he figured out that Clark Kent is Superman, oblivious to the fact that everyone else already knows this (except for Lois Lane). It is just something we accept that wearing glasses keeps most people from figuring out his secret identity, but to the Doctor, “there are some situations which are too stupid to be allowed to continue.”
There were other ways in which this was a homage to Superman, including the double-L name of Lucy Lombard to match the names in DC comics. Moffat worked in the names of Siegel and Shuster, the creators of Superman, as names of employees at Harmony Shoals. There is a globe on top of the building reminiscent of The Daily Planet.
Moffat didn’t limit himself to Superman comics. There are items from multiple DC and Marvel comics all over young Grant’s bedroom. The Ghost had aspects also comparable to Batman, including the look of the Ghost, his voice, and a reference to the bat signal. The advice, “With great power comes great responsibility,” comes from Uncle Ben’s advice to Peter Parker in Spider-Man. The Doctor reacted to Spider-Man’s origin in being bitten by a radioactive spider by expecting the signs of radiation poisoning. He considered himself to be the inspiration for superheroes with Doctor in their name.
There were other great moments in the episode, such as Lucy interrogating the Doctor by squeezing Mr. Huffle. I bet the BBC will be selling those toys in the future. I also liked the earlier scene when the Doctor came across Lucy, also spying on the aliens: “It’s okay. I’m an intruder too. Yeah, I brought snacks – mark of a pro. Keep listening.” Plus there was the Doctor’s comment on the situation: “Brains with minds of their own? No-one will believe that – this is America.”
Yes, there was also an alien invasion, but this was a trivial aspect of the show, present to provide a backdrop for Grant’s story. This did make the episode seem a little disjointed at times, but the pleasure of seeing the classic superhero triangle of Grant, The Ghost, and Lucy made up for this.
The episode ended with a teaser of the next season, and the new companion, Bill, played by Pearl Mackie.
Bill met the Doctor at a University and, contrary to previous rumors, is from the present. The trailer above does give some clues as to her personality and relationship with the Doctor. At this time we don’t know yet whether she will encounter the strangest aspect of being a companion to the Doctor, witnessing a regeneration.
The biggest genre related news of the week was the death of Carrie Fisher, followed the day later by her mother, Debbie Reynolds, dying, presumably of a broken heart. Carrie Fisher’s death was too big a story to wait for SciFi Weekend, and I posted about this story in greater detail here: Carrie Fisher Dies At 60, May The Force Be With Her Always.
Netflix dropped a hint raising speculation that there will be more of Gilmore Girls after the cliff hanger ending of A Year In The Life.
Bot Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman played British royalty in The Crown and Victoria in 2016. While Matt Smith’s role was not as big as Jenna Coleman’s, his portrayal of Prince Phillip was an entertaining aspect of The Crown. Radio Times reports that Matt Smith will continue to have a major role in season two of The Crown:
You might think you know what’s coming next in Netflix’s The Crown: after all, the life of the most famous family in the country is not exactly untold history and requires no spoiler alerts.
But with the making of season two, creator Peter Morgan has revealed how he plans to continue the story of Elizabeth’s reign – and the focus will shift away from the Queen herself as other royals take centre stage.
“We start to focus on Charles as a young boy and his education, and on Philip and his back story,” Morgan told People magazine.
Matt Smith’s Prince Philip was one of the most engaging characters in the first season as he struggled to adjust to his wife (played by Claire Foy) becoming Queen. The production team has recently been in South Africa, filming part of Philip’s Commonwealth tour which took him away from his wife and young family for months.
Executive producer Suzanne Mackie teased: “We glance backward to Philip’s childhood and his upbringing, and how that might have impacted him as a man, a father and as Prince Consort – which is fascinating.”
We’ve watched the first episode and we really felt as though something bad was going to happen… Mark: It’s prefigured. You start with the sharks and then you go into lots of light-hearted fun. But it’s important to think: ‘This is not going to end well.’ I was listening to people sobbing in our first press screening – that’s a very good reaction.
Are you two still moved to tears, despite knowing what’s coming up? Mark: Oh, I cry every time with episode one. That one shows what fun the duo have, but that events have consequences… It’s about the past coming to get you. And there are at least two scenes in episode two that make me cry. And I always cry at a certain point in episode three… Steven: Episode three is the finale of finales…
You have said that this is not the last series. Have you got the next one mapped out? Steven: It’s slightly early to be talking about season five when season four hasn’t been on yet. But no one can really end the story of Sherlock Holmes, can they? Mark: We’d like to carry on. We just don’t know.
Finally in show business, including Hollywood, news, someone changed the famous Hollywood sign to read “Hollyweed” last night. This happened once before in 1976 following the passage of a California marijuana law.
Flatline managed to provide an episode of Doctor Who which successfully combined elements of both horror and humor. While not a totally original idea, it was something not seen on Doctor Who before, and realistically few television shows manage to come up with ideas which have not been influenced by other works. Think of it as if the residents of Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott were to invade earth, with a touch of The Adams Family thrown in.
Besides the idea of two dimensional beings invading, there was the added component of the TARDIS shrinking when the “structural integrity is compromised.” This did contradict The Name of the Doctor which showed such leaking to cause the TARDIS to swell in size, not shrink. The shrinking of the TARDIS, with the Doctor trapped inside, did enable Clara to take a leading role in this episode. This whole situation was quite difficult for the Doctor: “I mean this is just embarrassing. I’m from the race that built the TARDIS. Dimensions are kind of our thing.”
The Doctor did win out in the end. Ultimately the aliens from the two dimensional world were defeated by their inability to distinguish a two dimensional picture of a door from a real three dimensional door.
With the Doctor separated from the action for most of the episode, Clara took on the role of the Doctor, including taking on a companion, Rigsy, and calling herself the Doctor:
Rigsy: “What are you the doctor of?”
The Doctor: “Of lies.”
Clara: “Well, I’m usually quite vague about that. I think I just picked the title because it makes me sound important.”
The Doctor: “Why, ‘Doctor Oswald,’ you are hilarious.”
Clara did show Rigsy the inside of the shrunken TARDIS leading to the classic comment, “It’s bigger on the inside.” This set up the Doctor’s response: “I don’t think that statement has ever been more true.”
Clara also showed that she can act like the Doctor, from using the Sonic Screwdriver to using his tactics:
Clara: “I just hope I can keep them all alive.”
The Doctor: “Ha. Welcome to my world. So, what’s next, ‘Doctor Clara’?”
Clara: “Lie to them.”
The Doctor: “What?”
Clara: “‘Lie to them.’ Give them hope. Tell them they’re all going to be fine. Isn’t that what you would do?”
The Doctor: “In a manner of speaking. It is true that people with hope tend to run faster, whereas people who think they’re doomed …”
Clara: “Dawdle. End up dead.”
The Doctor: “So, that’s what I sound like?”
Ultimately, when Clara asked if she did a good job, the Doctor did respond, “You were an exceptional Doctor, Clara. Goodness had nothing to do with it.” We still have the question from the start of the season as to whether the Doctor is a good man, and whether they are doing good.
The most amusing gag of all in the episode was seeing the Doctor’s full sized hand emerge from the tiny TARDIS to walk it away from an oncoming train. The episode was very light on Danny Pink, but we did have another amusing scene with Clara talking on the phone with Danny, hiding the fact that she was in danger. The previews do show him taking an active part next week, but it still remains unclear whether we will ultimately see a return to two teachers from Coal Hill School being companions aboard the TARDIS as was teased last summer.
The ending scene with Missy took a different turn from her previous scenes, with Missy saying, “Clara, my Clara. I chose well.” It has already been suggested that it was Missy who gave Clara the Doctor’s phone number back in The Bells of Saint John, but we still have no idea as to what Missy’s overall plan is. Also uncertain is whether this has any connection to Clara’s role in The Name of the Doctor to become fragmented in time and have a role in each of the Doctor’s regenerations.
The writers this season do seem to be writing as if some of the past events have not taken place, almost starting fresh with Clara and the Peter Capaldi Doctor. Even going back to the season premiere in Deep Breath, the Clara who saw each regeneration in The Name of the Doctor should not have been as surprised by seeing the changes in the Doctor after his regeneration. Perhaps the events of The Time of the Doctor, with the Doctor gaining additional regenerations and not dying on Trenzalore, also mean there was never a giant TARDIS tomb for the Doctor and Clara never was fragmented in time. The Missy story line might wind up providing a completely different version of Clara’s life.
The Doctor Who Extra for Flatline is above.
While both the Doctor and now Clara having claimed to be a doctor without formal qualifications, there are some actual doctors who have done considerable harm despite having true medical degrees. One example, Dr. Henry Cotton, has appeared on cable television shows in the past week both on The Knick (at the start of his career and Boardwalk Empire (near the end). He was a real person. Henry Cotton believed that psychiatric problems were based upon infections and his treatment often began with pulling the teeth of psychiatric patients. If this did not provide a cure, then he would proceed to remove other organs which he believed were the cause of the infection. Needless to say, in an age before antibiotics, such unnecessary surgery could have catastrophic results. At one point during his career Cotton even had a nervous breakdown. He responded by pulling his own teeth, then proclaimed himself to be cured and returned to work.
Knowing the factual basis behind Dr. Cotton’s life leaves me concerned about Gillian Darmody’s fate after she told Dr. Cotton that she felt she was cured. We already saw another woman at the asylum undergo surgery, and Cotton would not be likely to accept Gillian’s assessment that she is cured without surgically removing what he believes to be the site of her infection. Being the final season, Boardwalk Empire does have the ability to show tragic endings for its characters. This included the deaths of two long time characters last week. While Boardwalk Empire is ending, The Knick just ended its first season and has done an excellent job of showing what medical care was like back in 1900 and the development of new ideas such as transfusions.
News came in last week that a cable series which debut last summer, Manhattan, was renewed. While I have not seen the series, I feel comfortable in recommending this show about the development of the atomic bomb based upon several favorable reviews. (Although I have not seen Manhattan yet, do I get any points for reading Joseph Kanon’s novel, Los Alamos, several years ago?)
Still no news on whether Continuum will be renewed.
I would also recommend another new cable series which I did see the premiere of last weekend, The Affair. The main story involves an affair from the viewpoint of both parties, each telling their version for half the episode. We have narrators who are unreliable at least due to the faults in human memory. There might be additional reason for intentional deceit as we found that the stories are being told as part of a possible criminal investigation years afterwards, similar to in the first season of True Detective. It also reminds me of William Landay’s novel, Saving Jacob, in which there are glimpses of future questioning but we don’t know who the accused is or the crime until the end of the novel.
The creator of The Affair, Sarah Treem, discussed the dual narratives in an interview at The Hollywood Reporter:
With Noah and Alison remembering different accounts of the same stories, the series explores the notion of objective truth. Do you think there’s such a thing?
I think there is such a thing as objective truth. There are events that actually happen. As individuals our understanding of what happens is often quite limited. Sometimes the only way to get at objective truth is to have multiple people tell their own version of the same event. It is the job then of the interrogator, the therapist, the audience member, whomever, to basically try to find the commonality between the accounts in order to figure out what actually happened. That’s basically what we’re trying to do with this show. We’re not saying there’s no such thing as truth — there absolutely is — but we don’t think that one person is usually the arbiter of the truth. We think that it comes forward in conversation. There’s this quote, I think it’s from Hegel, but it’s the idea that all understanding is dialectic, meaning that nothing gets understood unless it’s as a result of a conversation. That’s how I think of the two sides of this show, that it’s a conversation from which the audience gains an understanding.
Will we see the perspectives of other characters besides Alison and Noah?
Not this season but maybe in subsequent seasons, if we get them.
We see a lot of overlapping stories that vary slightly depending on who’s telling them. What’s it like to have to regularly write two versions of the same event?
It’s a really fun exercise for a writer. It’s just about putting yourself in another character’s perspective, seeing the scene through the other character’s eyes. For the scene at the end of the pilot [where Alison and Cole have sex on their car], I was interested in writing a scene that looked like an attack on one side, and then coming back into it knowing more about what was actually happening to where all of the sudden the scene plays as a very different negotiation. Writers are trained at this because you’re always approaching the story through somebody’s eyes so it’s just a great, enjoyable exercise to go back and think, “Well, I wrote it this way the first time and now let me jump into a different character’s body and a different character’s mind and let me try it again and just see what happens.”
Both Warner (DC) and the various studies which own the rights to Marvel characters have recently released news on their upcoming movie plans. Comics Alliance has more information and has put together the above infographic.
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” directed by Zack Snyder (2016)
“Suicide Squad,” directed by David Ayer (2016)
“Wonder Woman,” starring Gal Gadot (2017)
“Justice League Part One,” directed by Zack Snyder, with Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams reprising their roles (2017)
“The Flash,” starring Ezra Miller (2018)
“Aquaman,” starring Jason Momoa (2018)
“Justice League Part Two,” directed by Zack Snyder (2019)
“Cyborg,” starring Ray Fisher (2020)
“Green Lantern” (2020)
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice producer Charles Roven recently gave an interview with more information on the movie, including the origin story for Wonder Woman which is being used.
Unlike Marvel, DC is keeping their movie and television universes separate. While Gotham will probably need to be kept in a separate world of its own, Green Arrow, The Flash, and next Supergirl are forming their own television universe. Many fans are angry that Stephen Amell and Grant Guston won’t be appearing as Green Arrow and The Flash in the Justice League movie. While fans would probably prefer such continuity, it does make it easier to wrote both the television shows and the movies if there is not a need for consistency. We saw how Agents of SHIELD was harmed by a need to postpone mention of HYDRA taking over SHIELD until after Captain America: The Winter Soldier was released.
Marvel fans are getting more excited by what appears to be planned. While Robert Downey, Jr. has not agreed to do another stand alone Iron Man movie, he may be appearing in Captain America 3, which reportedly involves the two being on opposing sides over the Superhero Registration Act. This could also be the end of Chris Evans as Steve Roberts. of There have also been rumors of Marvel making a deal with Sony, which owns the cinematic rights to Spider-Man, to allow him to appear, which sounds plausible as Spider-Man had a role in this storyline in the comics. Several other Marvel characters are also rumored to be appearing.
Meanwhile Emma Stone, when not playing the role of Gwen Stacy in Spider-Man, will be playing Sally Bowles on Broadway in Caberet.
With Twin Peaks coming back we have twenty-five years to catch up on. Mark Frost is writing a book to fill in this gap. I am looking forward to see what they do with the series and which characters return. I do hope that Audrey Horne returns and has a daughter who can tie a knot in a cherry stem with her tongue.
NBC has commissioned Bill Lawrence (Scrubs) to do a remake of the fantastic British sit-com, The IT Crowd. I have mixed feelings about such attempts to remake UK shows here. NBC’s first attempt at a remake, with cast including Joel McHale, was reportedly a total flop and never aired. NBC also failed in adapting Coupling, another excellent British sit-com written by Steven Moffat.
Fox has had their own problems in attempting to remake British shows, both with Gracepoint (a remake of Broadchurch) and Us and Them (a remake of Gavin and Stacey).
Listen was an ambitious episode of Doctor Who, even if it does fall short of Blink, which it has been compared to. The episode deals with the character and origin of the Doctor, the further importance of the impossible girl in the development of the Doctor, along with Danny Pink’s (and presumably Clara’s) family tree. The episode begins with the Doctor writing on his chalk board (chalk boards are cool) and seeming to be talking directly to the audience about an idea he has come up with:
Listen! Question, why do we talk out loud when we know we’re alone? Conjecture: because we know we’re not. Evolution perfects survival skills. There are perfect hunters There is perfect defense. Question, why is there no such thing as perfect hiding? Answer: how would you know? Logically, if evolution were to perfect a creature whose primary skill were to hide from view, how would you know it existed? It could be with us every second and we would never know. How would you detect it? Even sense it? Except in those moments when for no clear reason, you choose to speak aloud. What would such a creature want? What would it do? Well? What would you do?
In many ways this is a repeat of previous Moffat ideas. The Weeping Angels, introduced in Blink, are a terror which can be hidden in plain site, only moving when you aren’t looking at them. The Silence took this further, with people losing all memory of seeing them. Now the Doctor postulates a creature which cannot be detected at all. However, while we learned about the nature of the Weeping Angels and the Silence, at the end of the episode it is not clear whether these beings even exist.
If the exist, they could mean that a common nightmare is really about something which has actually occurred:
I think everybody at some point in their lives has the exact same nightmare. You wake up, or you think you do, and there’s someone in the dark, someone close. Or you think there might be. So you sit up, turn on the light, and the room looks different at night. It ticks, creaks, and breathes. And you tell yourself there’s nobody there. Nobody watching, nobody listening, nobody there, naturally. And you very nearly believe it. You really, really try.
For the Doctor it was real, but instead of being a creature whose existence was unknown, it turned out to be Clara, back in time to the Doctor’s childhood on Gallifrey. Seeing the Doctor’s childhood in the barn does provide a connection to The Day of the Doctor, providing a reason as to why the War Doctor chose this place to decide whether to detonate the Moment. The scene also provides background to the Doctor’s antipathy towards soldiers (at this season, ignoring his past work with UNIT) and reused a line from 1963: “Fear makes companions of us all.”
It is questionable whether Clara could really control the TARDIS at all (even putting aside Sexy’s dislike of Clara, as revealed in The Doctor’s Wife), and even more questionable whether she it could have gone to Gallifrey, which was time locked, but whose status is no longer clear after the events of The Time of The Doctor. However these minor questions of continuity are outweighed by the manner in which Moffat ties in the entire history of the Doctor and the show.
Besides Gallifrey, the TARDIS traveled along Danny Pink’s timeline, presumably due to the importance to Clara’s. This included a visit to him as a young child, then called Rupert, to literally the end of the universe where a time-traveling descendant was stranded. If the implications are correct that Orson Pink is a descendant of both Danny and Clara, it looks like time travel is the Pink/Oswald family business on Doctor Who just as it is for Alec’s family on Continuum. Clara also has both influenced Danny’s decision to be a soldier and has made Dan the Soldier Man not only an important part of Danny’s life, but a family heirloom. Clearly, “A soldier so brave, he doesn’t need a gun” also refers to the Doctor.
Listen isn’t limited to other times ranging from the Doctor’s childhood on Gallifrey to the end of the universe. Moffat also took advantage of his experience from Coupling to present Clara and Danny’s first date. Things did not work out very well, but Clara ultimately figured out that she had to make it right.
One of the scenes of the date included an astronaut walking through the restaurant to get Clara. Using the astronaut suit made no sense, but this, along with the minor questions of continuity, can easily be overlooked. A more serious problem with the episode is that the initial question as to whether the creature which the Doctor speculated about does exist is never answered. Learning that Clara was the creature under the Doctor’s bed suggested that there was no need for such a complicated explanation for the nightmare. The noises in Orson’s ship could have been these creatures, or perhaps just noises from the ship. It is harder to explain what wrote on the Doctor’s chalkboard, and what was under Rupert’s sheets.
ICHABOD AND ABBIE TRY TO GET A “HEAD” OF THE COMPETITION ON AN ALL-NEW “SLEEPY HOLLOW” MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, ON FOX
Ichabod Crane and Lt. Abbie Mills concoct a daring plan to try to rescue Ichabod’s wife, Katrina, from the Headless Horseman by resurrecting a Frankenstein-like monster created by Benjamin Franklin. Meanwhile, Frank Irving faces new trouble after revealing the true details of his encounter with a demon, and Jenny Mills finds herself at odds with the new sheriff in town in the all-new “The Kindred” episode of SLEEPY HOLLOW airing Monday, Sept. 29 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (SLH-202) (TV-14 L, V)
While sometimes Outlander seems to move too slowly, The Garrison Commander does advance the plot considerably. It seems to be a safe prediction that Jack Randall does not just forget about Claire following her marriage. The Hollywood Reporter interviewed Tobias Menzies, who plays both Jack Randall and, back in the 20th century, Clarie’s husband Frank. The interview does have some major spoilers as to future events from the novels:
Because Outlander is primarily Claire’s story, we don’t get to see Frank’s internal monologue while she’s in 1743 Scotland. Have you filled in the blanks in terms of Frank’s state of mind and what he’s dealing with back in England?
We see Frank still struggling to come to terms with what happened, and be at loggerheads with the authorities and the police. Basically, they tell him to go home and that his wife has eloped with someone else. He won’t believe it. Through the episodes, we see him coming to accept the version of events that people are saying to him. I suppose he does know Claire better than the others, and in a way, he’s right. She isn’t a woman who would run off with someone else, and he’s forced to give up. I think it’s a good episode.
At the end of the episode, Dougal proposes that Claire marry Jamie. How do you think Frank would react to that?
I think he would be pretty understanding. My understanding is that Claire, later on in the novels, reappears and is taken back by Frank, even though she’s pregnant and she tells this story of time travel. And for whatever reason, he chooses to accept it and raise a child together, which I think is a pretty big gesture on his part. What’s interesting about Frank is that he’s thoughtful. It’s not the great, most ostentatious of loves. In that respect, he’s overshadowed by Jamie and Claire. But I think [Frank and Claire’s relationship is] deep and meaningful and speaks volumes.
This was a big episode for Black Jack and Claire. Let’s talk about the interrogation scene.
It’s only a page and half in the book. It was a great decision on the part of the writers to explode that moment. In the book, there’s a lot of Jack being referred to and not a lot of him being there. You need him onscreen. I’m really happy with where it ended up. It gave us the time to go back and understand where the backstory with Jamie and Jack began and also to understand the emotions that are driving Jack, so he isn’t just a two-dimensional thug. Compared to the rest of the season, it’s a change of gear. It’d be interesting to see how people find it.
Here are some great examples of what Star Trek, the original show, could have looked if filmed in wide screen. Here is creator Nick Acosta’s description of this project:
Forty eight years ago this week Star Trek debuted its first episode on NBC. The show, like all other shows at the time, was broadcast in the old style 4×3 aspect ratio. Using HD screen caps from my friends at Trekcore.com, I created this project of what the show would have looked like in Cinerama widescreen. As a kid the show always felt bigger and more epic than it appears to me as an adult. I was able to create these shots by waiting for the camera to pan and then I stitched the separate shots together. The result is pretty epic. It reminds me of the classic science fiction movies of the 50’s and 60’s. Suddenly the show has a “Forbidden Planet” vibe. Other shots remind me of how director Robert Wise would use a camera technique to keep the foreground and background elements in focus.
Major television events of the upcoming week include the season finale of the best new sit-com to come around in a long time, You’re The Worst. Gretchen and Jimmy might be “the worst” but that is what makes them so fun to watch. If the season is a ten episode version of a warped romantic comedy movie, the eighth episode was the required portion in which the couple temporarily break up based upon a misunderstanding. Last week was somewhat of an origin episode with flash backs to before they met, as shown in the pilot. Hopefully this Thursday will end the season with the two back together, and ready for many seasons to come. The other summer sit-com from FX, Married, also ends this week. If it returns I will probably watch it, but it is You’re The Worst which I will really miss if it does not return.
You’re the Worst would also be a great show to binge watch if you haven’t seen it, with only ten episodes for the season and all highly entertaining. Another show to binge watch if you missed it (as I did until binging over the past week) is An Hounorable Woman. Certainly there are unrealistic aspects, but watching it for eight hours was like reading a highly entertaining novel, and the portions which might not be realistic in the real world can easily be ignored while following the events surrounding Nessa Stein and her family.
Binge watchers are also getting excited to hear that the full seven seasons of The Gilmore Girls will be available on Netflix starting October 1. In 2006 I posted some of the political lines from the show. USA Today has listed five top episodes to watch once they are available.
If you want to stick with science fiction, Vulture has listed the best science fiction movies on Netflix.
Nurse Jackie is to end after the upcoming seventh season. It is probably the right decision. We can’t keep going through cycles of Jackie getting off drugs and then relapsing year after year.
Community, on the other hand, deserves at least one more year and a movie–preferably far more. I am glad to hear that Dan Harmon is denying the rumors that Alison Brie is not returning.
Hayley Atwell, star of the upcoming series Agent Carter, will appear on the second season premiere of Agents of SHIELD. I don’t know if this will be a flash-back or Agent Carter at an older age. In other Marvel news, there is talk that the Hulk might return both for a television series and movie. New DC projects being considered include Supergirl and Teen Titans.
While the show has had its ups and downs, The Leftovers did end with a satisfying season finale (far more than I can say for True Blood). While the show will probably never really explain what happened, at least we have the view of some characters as for the reason only some disappeared, along with finally learning what The Guilty Remnant was up to. The show has now caught up with the end of the novel, making next season even more of an unknown.
With the Olympics over many weekly series have returned and two of the best shows from last season which aired in the spring or winter have started their second seasons. Hannibal and The Americans both began their second seasons. Hannibal began with an extended fight scene between Hannibal and Jack Crawford which foreshadows what we know must eventually occur before moving backwards twelve weeks in the narrative. The brutality of the fight indicates it is not a simple temporary falling out between friends, such as Watson being angry at Sherlock for pretending to be dead. Jack must have found out the truth about Hannibal. As the series is part of a seven year plan (should it last that long) to retell the Hannibal novels (with some variations), we know that eventually everyone will know that Hannibal, and not Will, is the serial killer. (More on Bryan Fuller’s seven year plan for Hannibalhere.)
After the fight scene we go back to just after the first season ended, with Will in jail for the murders committed by Hannibal. So far only Will, and some of Hannibal’s victims who did not live to tell what they know, really suspected the truth about Hannibal. Now that Will is healthy and no longer suffering from encephalitis, he can begin what will probably be a season-long cat and mouse game with Hannibal to reveal the truth. Hannibal has essentially taken over Will’s role in advising the FBI in serial murder cases, but we know he will not be able to resist Will’s request for Hannibal’s therapeutic help. Hannibal might even realize what Will is up to, but based upon his relationship with Will in the first season, this will be irresistible for Hannibal. We know where everything is leading and have already seen how the season ends. The suspense will be in seeing how we reach that point.
The Americans returns to 1982 with two Soviet spies living undercover as an American couple. Elizabeth has returned home two months after she was shot in the first season finale, claiming to have been caring for a sick aunt. We immediately see that 1) not everything works out perfectly for spies and 2) even the spy we have been led to root for (even if from an enemy nation) can be a cold blooded killer when there is an innocent witness around. While the first season centered around the relationship between Philip and Elizabeth, the second season will deal more with the entire family.
Elizabeth and Philip have tried to keep their children safe from their activities and we saw how important this is as another undercover couple were killed, along with their daughter. We know Paige is suspicious, but so far instead of learning the truth about her parents she caught them having sex. It is not certain which revelation will ultimately be more shocking.
The Americans did an excellent job of working all of this into the season premiere, along with returning to other subplots. We saw the fake marriage between Martha and Phillip (or Clarke as she knows him) in order to spy on the Americans. Their FBI agent neighbor Stan continues to use Nina, unaware that she is now really using him. The nature of Stan’s relationship with Nina came up as they watched a pirated copy of The French Lieutenant’s Woman before Stan went to see the same movie with his wife and a friend. We also learned that Claudia has remained in the United States and she will have an influence on the season.
Arrow, yet another excellent genre show in its second season, returned after the Olympic hiatus with Time of Death. With Sara now making out with Oliver in the Arrow-Cave, it was time for Felicity to more firmly establish her importance. (“You’ll always be my girl, Felicity.”) The episode introduced another worthy opponent, The Clock King. It also brought the present day and island stories together further in the final scene where Moira brought Oliver in to introduce her son to the man she was meeting with–Slade. The first photo has also been released of Barry Allen in costume as The Flash in the planned spin off.
Yet another sophomore show, Revolution, is well below the quality of the other shows discussed above. They do try to keep coming up with new things to keep the show fresh, but in the end they just wind up without anything really compelling happening. The supposedly upcoming battle to the death between Monroe and his son sounds guaranteed to disappoint. Having Aaron wake up in an alternative reality in 2014 with the power on after trying tying to upload a virus into his nano-bot children (or are they now Gods?) made for a good final scene, but will anything significant really come from this? At least it sounds it might make for a good episode. In this alternate reality, Giancarlo Esposito will be back in his old life as a sleazy insurance salesman. If they were really creative, the episode would take place in a different alternative universe where instead he runs the Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant chain.
Hannibal, The Americans, and Arrow were all excellent new series which began last year, but the best of all the series to premiere last year was Orphan Black. BBC America has released the above sneak peaks, with the show returning on April 19. More news on season two here.
Aaron Paul has again expressed interest in appearing in the Breaking Bad spin off, Better Call Saul. Bryan Cranston and Jonathan Banks have also expressed interest. Dean Norris is not interested, failing to understand that one episode of anything by Vince Gilligan is far more significant than an entire season of Under the Dome. (The series finale of Breaking Bad was reviewed here.)
Disney has always excelled at their synergy in using each of their holdings to make money for others. ABC will be running a documentary (extended commercial?) March 18 on Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe.
“The enormous impact ‘Heroes’ had on the television landscape when it first launched in 2006 was eye-opening,” said NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke. “Shows with that kind of resonance don’t come around often and we thought it was time for another installment. We’re thrilled that visionary creator Tim Kring was as excited about jumping back into this show as we were and we look forward to all the new textures and layers Tim plans to add to his original concept. Until we get closer to air in 2015, the show will be appropriately shrouded in secrecy, but we won’t rule out the possibility of some of the show’s original cast members popping back in.”
I don’t care either way about Heroes but am happy to see that an American network is getting away from the usual season format. Heroes itself would have been much better as a miniseries rather than continuing it beyond the point where Tim Kring seemed to know what to do with the show. Note that almost all of the shows I mentioned above were aired for short seasons, generally on cable, which I think helps make a better quality show. Fox is also doing something similar with 24.
While I don’t care whether Heroes returns, I am looking forward to the return of Farscape. A movie is planned:
Set to follow the awesome comics written by our favorite Keith R.A. DeCandido, the film would follow John and Aeryn’s son, D’Argo (or Little D, as we will always refer to him). Because their baby was exhibiting a set of interesting powers that made him a magnet for galactic villains, we find that John and Aeryn hide their son on Earth to grow up. Now the kid is 19 and ready to go into space with his parents.
Last week I questioned making US versions of British shows as opposed to airing the same shows here. Steven Moffat has had experience with cases where that did not work. His excellent sit-com Coupling flopped when an American version was aired, but I would highly recommend watching the original on Netflix. It is sort of a combination of Seinfeld, Friends, and Sex in the City with just a little bit of The Big Bang Theory thrown in. Moffat wisely says it would be insane to make an American version of his current shows, Sherlock and Doctor Who:
Not just popular on a worldwide level, it’s so distinctively local in outlook that a remake of any sort would destroy what makes it work in the first place.
“Doctor Who’s everywhere,” he said. “You can bump in to the Doctor anywhere,” adding that the series has, “probably penetrated enough that it’s no longer regarded as an import, it’s just that show.”
“Sherlock and Doctor Who are both doing rather well but they couldn’t be more definitively British. They’re obtusely British. They’re about as British as it gets. You shouldn’t be afraid of being British because that’s what you’re selling.”
And of course, if a remake were to be proposed and the Doctor were no longer British in demeanor (albeit British via Gallifrey), would he even be the Doctor?
“If anyone were to ask me, I’d say it’s an absolutely insane idea. You couldn’t have more than one Doctor Who in the world. It would just be dreadful.”
This has not been a good season for new sit-coms, especially for NBC but last week’s episode of The Crazy Ones (on CBS) was its best episode of the season. The cast put on both a Bar Mitzvah and a musical. While far from a great series, Robin Williams has kept the show amusing through a lot of otherwise weak scripts. I actually don’t mind that the new NBC sit-coms were flops. It just increases the chances that Community will be renewed.
Mixology premiered last week, showing some promise even if the premise is far-fetched. Personally I’ve always found the prospect of successfully meeting anyone in that type of bar to be less realistic than most of the shows discussed in this post. Besides, if I can spend the entire final season of How I Met Your Mother showing a weekend at the inn where Robin and Barney’s wedding is taking place, I can try a series taking place all in one night in this bar. It will be interesting to watch to see if the idea works or turns into a flop.
The episodes come from two multi-part serials for which only one episode each was known to exist: “The Enemy Of The World” and “The Web Of Fear.” As a result of this discovery, “The Enemy Of The World” serial can now be watched whole in the UK for the first time since it was originally broadcast, and for the first time ever in the United States. Episode 3 of “The Web Of Fear” serial is still missing even after this discovery, but a reconstruction from stills and program audio is included to complete the story. All 11 episodes from the two serials exist on film and were digitally restored prior for this release.
Trailer for The Enemy of the World above. Mark Gatiss has said that Web of Fear has inspired the first episode of the third season of Sherlock.
The third episode of Agents of SHIELD was better than last week but still left a lot to be desired. Regardless of the show’s (lack of) quality, it has been picked up for a full 22 episode run. That is no real surprise considering how it helps promote the Marvel movies, and I’m sure Disney will also find other ways to profit from the show. I’m still hoping that everyone other than Agent Coulson gets furloughed during the government shutdown, especially Fitz and Simmons. Skye could conceivably be a good character if she was able to be more convincing as someone both working with SHIELD and a hacker group.
Despite being limited to minor DC characters and being on CW, so far Arrow has been a much better show than Agents of SHIELD. As a plus, beyond the connection to DC, there is also a strong Doctor Who connection with recurring characters including John Barrowman and Alex Kingston. The producers are Doctor Who fans who are hoping to get Matt Smith to guest star.
The second season premier was a little uneven. There were great scenes, including a shoot out which seemed to be from Gotham City and the return to the island, but the show was hindered with some scenes to bring things up to date after a six month jump. This included the prison visits to Moira and the obligatory scene between Oliver and Laurel to place their romance on hold once again. It was good to see Summer Glau, but her character seemed to be even more of a robot than the robot she played on Sarah Connor Chronicles.
I have another nitpick with last week’s episode. When Oliver met with Summer Glau’s character, he was accompanied by John Diggle and Felicity. These two are his sidekicks when he does the vigilante thing, but they do not have comparable roles at Queen Consolidated. While I understand they want to place their main cast into as many scenes as possible, the business meeting should have been held with extras in suits who presumably have been running the country for the past six months while Oliver was gone and Moira was in prison. Despite the flaws of the first episode, I remain optimistic for an entertaining second season. Of course the major change is that Oliver now wants to be a hero instead of vigilante, going under a new name.
The new NBC comedies have been doing terribly in the ratings, making me hope that Community will return sooner than planned. Parks and Recreation is worth watching, even including an occasional genre reference. The rest of the shows have serious problems. Unfortunately Parks and Recreation has to go up against The Big Bang Theory. They had an excellent episode with genre discussion last week. Amy destroyed Raiders of the Lost Arc for Sheldon by making an observation I had not thought of before. The story would have played out pretty much the same way if Indiana Jones wasn’t involved, with the Nazis taking the Arc, opening it, and suffering the same fate. Sheldon tried to retaliate by showing flaws in things which Amy liked. He pointed out things on Little House on the Prairie which didn’t belong in the era and said, “If I knew this show was about time travel, I would have watched it much sooner.” He also knocked Garfield: “Your precious Garfield has no reason to hate Mondays. He’s a cat. He has no job.” Meanwhile Leonard wanted to watch the full Blu-ray extended version of “The Hobbit” with long commentary instead of watching sports with Penny’s friends who he has little in common with : “It’s like they never even heard of Quidditch.” Plus there was an appearance by Leonard’s mother, played by Christine Baranski.
I was pessimistic from the start that a US network would pull off an adaption of Gavin and Stacey, fearing it would be a flop as with the attempt at a US version of Steven Moffat’s fantastic sit-com Coupling. I was going to give Us & Them, the US adaptation, a chance due to staring Alexis Bledel. Fox has already given up on the show before it has aired, not planning to produce further episodes. I’ve seen conflicting reports saying that either six or seven have been filmed. Regardless of the number, there will be no more.
Joanna Page, the original Stacey, is appearing in The Day of the Doctor. She discussed the show in an interview posted here.
With a lack of successful comedies, NBC is looking at everything from a new sitcom staring Meg Ryan to a sitcom reboot of Remington Steele.
There have been a lot of stories over the past week about Robert Orci speaking with CBS about the possibility of a new Star Trek television series. I would love to see it happen. Star Trek belongs on television far more than in movies (not that the two are mutually exclusive). If anything, the talks are at a very early stage. Orci has now posted: “I THINK MY COMMENT HAS BEEN BLOWN OUT OF PROPORTION. Someone asked about Star Trek TV, and I said we had inquired about the rights. Doesn’t mean a show is imminent nor do we assume CBS would want us to do that at this time. I refer you to the Roddenberry podcast for context.”
There have been a number of cast announcements for the second season of Orphan Black and for Fargo, a ten-episode series to run on FX. The most interesting pick is the addition of Bob Odenkirk (Saul from Braking Bad) to the cast of Fargo.
There’s a Twitter feud between the writers of Elementary and Sleepy Hollow. Both shows have something in common as far as I’m concerned. Both have episodes still sitting on my DVR as shows which I haven’t found good enough to keep up with. I still might give Sleepy Hollow another chance as time allows, primarily because of knowing that John Noble will be appearing. Fake Sherlock is a poor substitute for the “real” thing.
With Walking Dead returning, Oh No They Don’t took a look at How Horror Took Over Hollywood.
Saturday Night Live showed the impact of the government shutdown on Gravity.
The sixth season of True Blood, while not without faults, was the best season in several years. The biggest negative of the season was that Warlow, after starting as evil, then portrayed as good, all of a sudden is shown to be evil again. Of course it is essential not to take True Blood too seriously if you are to enjoy it, and in that vein the highlight was seeing the vampires partying in the nude outside in the sun following their rescue. There has been some criticism for jumping ahead six months in the middle of the finale as opposed to the usual continuous nature of the show. I didn’t mind this at all. The show is in serious need of some change and I’d rather see them jump six months, basing it on things we have already seen, than having to go through episodes written purely to achieve the changes desired by the writers. It was also unusual to do this right in the middle of an episode but better this than stretching out the narrative for the sixth season even longer.
There were potential cliff hangers but there is considerable agreement on line regarding the outcomes. Although Eric (who created further attention with his full-frontal nude scene) was seen to burn in the sun, he did not melt, leaving everyone pretty certain that he will survive. After all, he has all that snow around to put out the fire, and Pam is on her way to rescue him once darkness falls. I also think viewers will be surprised if it doesn’t turn out that Tara’s mother infected her with Hepatitis V when she had Tara feed on her.
If there was any doubt about Eric surviving, Brian Buckner, who replaced Alan Ball as show runner, revealed this and more about next season:
Was blowing up everything at the end of the season a chance for you to really start fresh next year?
Brian Buckner: It is. I think we’ve had more success at the outsets of our seasons when we’ve done an adequate job setting the table for the following season. It’s a bit of a reset and it’s also establishing a story that is for every vampire, a human, for every human, a vampire. It’s to try to return to the show’s promise in Season 1, which is if vampires exist, let’s examine the relationships between humans and vampires. Now we get to do it with many different pairings rather than just Bill and Sookie. The hope is — and this is what I was hinting at Comic-Con — that by putting all of our characters essentially into one story, now it’s Bon Temps vs. the world, the characters people love will get more screen time because these stories don’t have separate demands. We just get to tell a simpler story and then experience them through our characters.
If vampires and humans are now working together, where does the tension come from?
Buckner: I don’t mean to say there are not complications with those relationships. The driving force of the show is going to be the relationships. What does Alcide (Joe Manganiello) or Sookie having to take on a vampire feeding partner do to their relationship? Every relationship is complicated because it’s a three-way or four-way. That’s what we’re looking at. I don’t think it’s all going to be hunky-dory. It’s going to create tensions between makers and makees because, “You love that human, don’t you?!” It’s a bit of a shift back from plot-driven big bad to some of the soapy elements of the show. It’s the relationships that are interesting, not the plot that the bad guy is necessarily providing.
Can you talk about the threat of the mutated Hep-V?
Buckner: That’s the work of next season. Specifically, viruses do mutate and that’s part of why we gave ourselves a six-month time passage. This is a disease that, as Dr. Overlark (John Fleck) explained when he was injecting Nora (Lucy Griffiths), can be spread in any number of ways. It has spread around the world very rapidly. Bon Temps is a microcosm of what’s happening out there in the world. The vampires who are infected, their appetite for human blood is increasing. They need to feed more often in order to survive this disease.
Have vampires essentially overrun the world at this point?
Buckner: It’s a major outbreak. You see how people got upset about Bird Flu and no one really had it. The idea here was to isolate Bon Temps to make it the town we know vs. the world so we don’t have to leave Bon Temps in order to get story. They can only depend on one another; that’s what Sam is talking to Andy (Chris Bauer) about. Andy obviously has his own feelings about vampires right now and whether or not they can be trusted. Sam’s point is we don’t have a choice but to trust them. Without their help, we can’t protect ourselves. It’s a very uneasy alliance. I don’t want to suggest that it is conflict-free. Of course, we promised a pretty big payoff at the Bellefluer’s bar.
Presumably that means Season 7 picks up right where we left off?
Buckner: That’s a fair presumption.
Turning to the biggest question after the finale: Is Eric really dead? What kind of role will Alexander Skarsgard have next season?
Buckner: In the olden days, this was a fun tease for an audience [Laughs]. The actor Alex Skarsgard and the character of Eric Northman will be back on the show next year. He’ll be a series regular. We’ve obviously promised a “Where is Eric?” story and it would feel incredibly cheap to deliver the goods right away. We sent Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) off in search of him and if she were to find him right away, we would be doing a disservice to ourselves and to the audience. How we use him is going to be up to us, but we want people to rest assured that he will be back in their living rooms next year or wherever they watch. Boy do they love him! Wow!
Pretty sure he broke the internet after going full-frontal.
Buckner: It was crazy. I got a question about the discussion on that and said, “He’s Swedish. There was no discussion whatsoever.” I even called him to say, “Are you sure this is OK?” and he said, “No problemo.”
People thought it might be a body double.
Buckner: Nope! One day the tell-all will come out that that guy is as cool as Eric Northman. He doesn’t sweat the small stuff.
Because you jumped ahead six months, we missed Sookie and Alcide’s courtship. Will we see some flashbacks to that?
Buckner: Whether or not there will be flashbacks, we don’t know at this point. The writers will be back in the room starting September 3 and we’ll start to figure this all out. I think there is fun in, “How did this happen?” but you will see what sparks flew. It’s not like we’re going to skip over all the Sookie-Alcide fun. In terms of going back and filling in those six months, that I don’t think we’ll be doing, but the audience will see what they want to see.
The final scene did have a definite zombie feel but Buchner does say that these are not really vampire zombies:
TVLINE | How do you explain the fact that some of those infected — Nora, for example — died quickly, yet others are wandering around.
We did say that the virus had mutated, and we get to decide what those mutations are. Perhaps the demand for human blood goes up and that’s the only thing that keeps vampires with Hep V alive. In seasons past – I’m not going to point to any one of them – we took some massive swings, not knowing where we were going. That’s the nature of what we do. In this case, I don’t believe we bit off more than we can chew. I’m not going to give answers to all these things, but the virus has mutated. That’s another reason for the time passage. Just like bacteria mutates and that’s why there are antibiotic-resistant strains. So what applied to Nora doesn’t necessarily apply to this gang. And they’re not zombies.
TVLINE | What are they? Is there a name for them?
In my somewhat limited zombie-genre experience, zombies are not organized. They’re just hunting-killing machines. So what was meant to come across there was that they’re organized, they’re in a formation, they’re hunting, they’re sentient, they can talk. They still have intellect.
I’ll accept this premise as the show is in need of change, but I do have a problem with the idea that survival depends upon humans agree to allowing a vampire to feed on them for protection. All the new anti-vampire weapons which the governor stock piled in Louisiana might no longer be available, but there should have been some other source of these weapons made available over the past six months.
In other True Blood news, Amelia Rose Blair, who played the governor’s daughter who was turned into a vampire, will be a series regular.
This low-resolution picture of three Doctors, (Tennant, Smith, and Hurt) has leaked out from the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who. TV Drama interviewed Steven Moffat. Here are some excerpts about writing Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Coupling
WS: When you succeeded Russell T Davies as head writer of Doctor Who, what did you want to do with the show? MOFFAT: I just wanted it to be good. People always want me to have some form of agenda. Sometimes in desperation I say I want it to be a fairy tale or I want it to be this or that. I just wanted it to be a good Doctor Who. The thing about Doctor Who is it’s a different show every week. It speaks with a different voice on a weekly basis. It must be fast moving. It must be funny and exciting. Those were all present in Russell’s era and I hope they are all present in mine. I serve at the pleasure of the TARDIS [the time machine in Doctor Who].
WS: Was it ever intimidating, being responsible for such an iconic television franchise? MOFFAT: You don’t really feel much pressure at the beginning of a TV series because you’re just making a home movie in a big shed! You don’t really think anyone is ever going to watch it. Towards April 3, 2010, [the British premiere date for Moffat’s first season as head writer] I started to feel the pressure a little bit. We were doing Sherlock at the time as well and Matt Smith’s Doctor for the first time, so Benedict [Cumberbatch] and Matt were waiting in the wings of fame. I remember thinking, if these two things screw up, I’m finished! I just thought, what if they’re rubbish? [Laughs] This could be a really terrible year. I could crash Doctor Who and screw up Sherlock Holmes and if I’d just shot Daniel Craig in the face I’d have ended all of British culture. But it didn’t work out that way [Laughs]. It was a very, very good year and they’ve been very good years ever since.
WS: You’ve had such a broad career in British television. Does writing sci-fi or fantasy flex different creative muscles than mystery or comedy or any other genre? MOFFAT: I never feel as though it does. I never feel as though the job is any different. Comedy is good training for writing anything. It’s a very clear-cut proposition—you must be funny several times a page. Comedy writers, by instinct, are very severe on themselves. If there aren’t sufficient gags, in a wider sense of the word “gag,” in the scene then I’m not keeping it. It has to do something to the audience. But writing Coupling doesn’t feel different from writing Doctor Who.
WS: Why did you want to put Sherlock Holmes in a modern-day setting? MOFFAT: [British actor and screenwriter] Mark Gatiss and myself are huge Sherlock Holmes fans. We adore and worship those stories above all literature. Going back and forth from [filming] Doctor Who—we were both writers on it when Russell was running it—we were talking on the train about Sherlock Holmes. We got to talking about the many wonderful movies and the many terrible movies, which are almost more entertaining. We admitted shyly to each other that our favorites were the updated Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce movies [produced in the U.S. in the 1940s]. Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce did two Victorian-set adventures and then they did 12 updated ones. At the time people criticized them terribly—How dare you update Sherlock Holmes? The fact is, those cheaply made updated adventures are just a bit more fun. They somehow seemed to capture more of the pulpy fun of the original stories. So what we said to each other was, “Some day someone is going to think of doing that again. And when they do they’ll have a huge hit. And when they have that huge hit we’ll be very, very cross because we should have done it.” And then we’d leave the conversation! My wife, Sue, who is also a television producer, said, Why don’t you just do it? So she made us sit down and explain Sherlock Holmes to her. She knows nothing of the Sherlock books but she was instantly interested. She literally got us in a room in London, where Mark and I sat and said, What would it be? Basic conversations like, What do they call each other? In the original they call each other Holmes and Watson. That would make them like a couple of public-school boys these days! So they call each other Sherlock and John. It became exciting for us when we realized how easily and properly it updates. In the original stories Dr. Watson comes home from a war in Afghanistan and is looking for cheap digs, so he moves in with Sherlock Holmes. He can come back from the same place now. In the original stories he wrote a journal, which fell out of fashion for a very long while until it was reinvented as a blog. Sherlock Holmes always sent telegrams in the original stories because he preferred the brevity of that communication. We’re back at telegrams—we call them texts.
Most of the adaptations have become about the Victoriana, but the original stories, there’s nothing in them that’s particularly Victorian. They are stories that are mysteries. The setting is just the world that Arthur Conan Doyle could see outside his window. I think by updating it you move the character closer to the audience. You move all the sepia-toned dusty Victoriana out of the way and you see him clearly again.
Coupling, which Moffat mentioned in passing, was one of the greatest sit-coms of all time. It sort of was a combination of Friends, Seinfeld, Sex and the City, and occasionally Big Bang Theory.
Rumour that JK Rowling is writing a short story for the 50th Anniversary.
“I can’t confirm that…, right now.”
A return for the Doctor’s daughter, Jenny?
“The door is open, it’s entirely possible.”Similarly, a return for Romana?
“I have actually given no thought at all to Romana. The Time Lords are dead in my mind. They died.”
Will Peter Capaldi’s Doctor have a Scottish accent?
“I’d be very surprised if he didn’t”
Moffat has also acknowledged that it has been established that the Doctor can only regenerate twelve times. Obviously they will not end the show when this limit comes. There was a throw away line when David Tennant was in an episode of Sarah Jane Adventures claiming 507 but the line wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. They already have had two events in the new episodes which could alter the original limit. As the Time Lords have been overthrown, nobody knows if the old rules apply. There is also the possibility that the Doctor obtained additional regenerations when River Song gave up her future regenerations to save the Doctor’s life in Let’s Kill Hitler. There is plenty of precedent for transfer of regenerative powers in Doctor Who, giving Moffat a number of possible routes around this. If there are only twelve regenerations, then Peter Capaldi’s Doctor would be the last with the ability to regenerate, and if the John Hurt Doctor is an actual regeneration, it would mean Capaldi is the last until the rules are changed.
There has also been speculation that the regeneration will occur in the 50th Anniversary episode as opposed to the Christmas episode. Much of this is based upon rather circumstantial evidence, but I could see Moffat going for such a surprise during an episode which is being broadcast at the same time internationally. Matt Smith’s hair was cut before the Christmas episode was filmed, but he might also grow it back or grow a wig. There are some on line references to Peter Capaldi starting on Doctor Who in November but such references for future shows are often inaccurate. One of the faults I cited in my review of The Name of The Doctor was that if Clara was seeing remnants of his entire time stream after the Doctor died she should have seen versions of the Doctor beyond the eleventh. If the anniversary episode begins in the Doctor’s tomb, there could be reason for showing the 12th Doctor’s face other than a regeneration.
Christopher Eccleston has declined to participate in the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who after he did not leave the show on good terms. He has offered to appear in the 100th when speaking at the British Film Institute:
“I love the BFI. I love the Doctor and hope you enjoy this presentation. Joe Ahearne directed five of the 13 episodes of the first series. He understood the tone the show needed completely – strong, bold, pacy visuals coupled with wit, warmth and a twinkle in the performances, missus.“If Joe agrees to direct the 100th anniversary special, I will bring my sonic and a stair-lift and – providing the Daleks don’t bring theirs – I, the ninth Doctor, vow to save the universe and all you apes in it.”
I will be looking forward to watching this in another 50 years.
Doctor Who makes it was to recast the lead due to regeneration but other franchises such as Batman periodically reboot with a new star. There has been considerable amount of objection to the choice of Ben Affleck, to some degree in response to how he flopped as Daredevil. Twitter responses to the choice here and here.
The above “honest trailer” is a hilarious and brutal look at Star Trek Into Darkness. It does include a lot of legitimate criticism of the movie. The segment in the second half on the problems with having brought Spock back from the future is a serious problem whenever there are variations on old episodes.
The implications of knowledge of the future has also been on my mind this week as I got to watching Continuum, knocking off the first season and starting the second season this week. Besides questions of time travel, contemporary political issues are raised (as Star Trek often did in the past). There is a future in which corporations have “bailed out” failing governments and taken over. Many questions arise while watching which would have been worthy of discussion in this blog while the show was airing, and I’m sure I will have more to say about the show when I complete it. For those looking for shows to watch during the summer when there are fewer new shows being aired, I would definitely add Continuum to the list of great shows from 2013.
Who will be the monarch on Under the Dome? From SpoilerTV:
So, who is the Monarch? The obvious choice would be Angie, who became the latest person to suffer from seizures. Joe seemed to quash that theory, pointing out to Norrie that Angie’s butterfly tattoo is not a Monarch. But Angie could actually still be a candidate. “Of course,” executive producer Neal Baer tells. “She has seizures, she’s marked in a way that separates her from everyone else. She’s intrepid, smart and strong.”Unfortunately, that means Junior could be the king to her queen, or rather, the fourth hand. “There’s much more to come in the Angie-Junior relationship, especially when, in an upcoming episode, they’re brought together in a stunning way,” Baer teases.Though Junior seemed crazy at first — he claimed he locked Angie up in the fallout shelter because she was “sick” — now it appears he predicted this would happen. “Junior is sensitive to dome-ish things,” Baer says. “His mother painted pink stars falling in lines around him when he was a little boy, a precursor to all that’s happening now. Angie’s seizure confirmed what Junior felt — that she was different, like himself — though he didn’t know exactly why until she had her seizure, which confirmed what he felt all along: That Angie was ‘sick’ too; that she was somehow ‘touched’ by the dome.”
The show also introduced Natalie Zea playing a character from out of town who has been hiding out since the dome appeared. I can accept this once, but only once. The town is cut off. I hope they don’t go the Gilligan’s Island route and have people from outside repeatedly appear.
Natalie Dormer of Game of Thrones and Tudors has been cast in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and 2.
New trailer for Agents of SHIELD above.
Tatiana Maslany of Orphan Black has be cast for a guest appearance on Parks and Recreation. I wonder how many roles she will play.
All season we have seen staffers at ACN on The Newsroom being prepared for a trial which came after the Genoa story fell apart. We are finally seeing what the actual case is about. Last week a situation was set up in which Jerry Dantana was all alone in an interview with a general. He committed a major breach of journalistic ethics when he edited a tape to remove the key use of the word if, failing to appreciate the hypothetical nature of the general’s answers. Dantana, played by Hamish Linklater, will be fired and file a wrongful termination suit. Linklater doesn’t see Dantana as being totally wrong:
“He believes the story is true,” Linklater says. “He just needs to get rid of one word from this interview in order for him to have enough evidence to get the story on the air. … He knows he’s done something that’s wrong. He knows that he’s breached ethics, but he believes that, for this story, it was worth it.”Linklater insists that his character’s decisions are not motivated by ambition, but rather his ideals. “He’s trying to tell news stories that the audience doesn’t seem to have much of an appetite for and the network doesn’t have much of an appetite for broadcasting,” he says. “His beef is with this sort of lazy liberalism that he feels is in the staff and that kind of knee-jerk Obama fandom that he finds around him. He feels [they’re] apologizing for too many mistakes.”But indeed it’s Jerry’s mistakes that will bring the “News Night”team under fire. On Sunday’s episode, the “Genoa” story will air, and the wheels start to come off the train almost immediately after the broadcast ends. But it isn’t just Jerry’s fudged interview footage that is problematic. The episode will also slowly reveal the many other ways the story turned out to be false, which gives Jerry ammunition for his wrongful termination lawsuit.
“Once he’s found out… he knows the ax is going to fall,” Linklater says. “But he just sticks to his guns. He thinks that everybody was doing a sloppy job and that he’s been made the fall guy for it. It’s not fair.”
Following a record-breaking year, fan favorite Doctor Whoreturns with a modern day urban thriller, The Bells of St. John, written by lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat (Sherlock). Set in London against the backdrop of new and old iconic landmarks – The Shard and Westminster Bridge – The Bells of St. John introduces a new nemesis, the Spoonheads, who battle the Doctor as he discovers something sinister is lurking in the Wi-Fi. The premiere will be followed by seven epic episodes written by Steven Moffat, acclaimed writer Neil Gaiman (Coraline, Beowulf), Mark Gatiss (Sherlock), Neil Cross (Luther) and Stephen Thompson (Sherlock).
The Doctor (Matt Smith) is joined by his new companion Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) for the latest set of incredible adventures through space and time. The duo finds new adversaries and familiar friends around every corner as they journey from the bottom of the ocean in a submarine to the center of the TARDIS and beyond. The Cybermen make a thunderous return and the Ice Warrior arrives in an unexpected place.
Steven Moffat, executive producer and lead writer, said,“It’s the 50th year of Doctor Who and look what’s going on! We’re up in the sky and under the sea! We’re running round the rings of an alien world and then a haunted house. There’s new Cybermen, new Ice Warriors and a never before attempted journey to the centre of the TARDIS. And in the finale, the Doctor’s greatest secret will at last be revealed! If this wasn’t already our most exciting year it would be anyway!”
Also appearing this season are guest stars Dougray Scott (Desperate Housewives, Mission: Impossible II), Warwick Davis (Life’s Too Short, Harry Potter), Celia Imrie (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), Richard E Grant (Iron Lady, Dracula), Jessica Raine (Call the Midwife) and Tamzin Outhwaite (EastEnders, Law & Order: UK). Additionally, mother and daughter Dame Diana Rigg (Game of Thrones, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) and Rachael Stirling (Tipping the Velvet) will appear on screen together for the first time. Doctor Who premieres Saturday, March 30, 8:00pm ET as part of Supernatural Saturday.
The Ice Warriors are to return to Doctor Who but two episodes of the original serial The Ice Warriors from 1967 are missing. There are now plans to make animated episodes to complete the story for DVD release.
It looks like John Barrowman might be appearing in the 50th anniversary episode, or maybe not. He also says he has “moved on” from Torchwood.
There is also talk about Arthur Darvill returning for the 50th anniversary, but they would have to be careful with that. Perhaps they could meet up with Rory before he was sent back in time by the Weeping Angels. Otherwise it would be hard to explain bringing back Rory without Amy Pond. Even that might violate some time laws, but those rules have always been inconsistent.
Game of Thrones Season 3 extended trailer above. The series returns on March 31.
Revolution returns on March 25. A five part web series is being posted prior to its return. Series Creator Eric Kripke is comparing his show to Game of Thrones:
“We’ve seen personal relationship struggles and personal revolutions happen, but we haven’t seen how this particular power outage has affected the whole world. We’re about to,” Esposito teases. With the revolution finally beginning, everyone has their own role to play, roles that will take them outside of the Monroe Republic. “We’ll see the Georgia Federation this season, we’ll see the Plains Nation this season — and they’re wildly different nations … We really want this to evolve into kind of an American Game of Thrones.” Kripke says. But with the world expanding, don’t expect our recently reunited gang of misfits to stay together too long.
It would take a considerable about of improvement to see Revolution enter the same league as Game of Thrones but it is not a bad things that Kripke aspires to such quality.
Variety reports that Emma Watson is in early talks to play Cinderella in a Disney live-action adaptation.
Zoe Saldana, taking up the Star Trek/Star Wars crossover of Part I of today’s SciFi Weekend, also wants to be a princess. The actress who plays Uhura wants to be a princess in Star Wars VII.
Gavin and Stacey is one British television series which I would highly recommend watching. It has become easily available in the United States, including on Netflix. However, when I first heard of plans for an American version of the show I was wary as to how well it would work. Some adaptations of British shows have done well, while others have been flops. The flops include Coupling, a fantastic British sit-com written by Steven Moffat. The show was about a group of friends who hung out a a bar and felt like a combination of Seinfeld and Sex and the City, with occasional references to Daleks. NBC tried to use an American adaptation to replace their show about Friends who hung out in a coffee shop, but the adaptation didn’t work in the United States.
Gavin and Stacey also had a couple of connections to Doctor Who. Several years ago the internet went wild over rumors that Joanna Paige (Stacey) was going to appear on Doctor Who as a Time Lady or relative of the Doctor. James Corden, who has appeared in episodes of Doctor Who including The Lodger, was creator and co-writer of Gavin and Stacey and appeared in the show as Gavin’s friend Smithy. Joanna Paige might be best known in the United States for her role in the British romantic comedy Love Actually as the sex-scene body double who spent much of the movie nude and having sex.
I have questioned the change from a relationship between a boy from near London and a girl from Wales to an American story. In the American adaptation, Friends and Family, the role analogous to Stacey is moved from Wales to rural Pennsylvania. I had little interest in this show until the cast for the pilot was released: Alexis Bledel and Jason Ritter.
Alexis Bledel is best known as Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. She also appeared in Sin City and recently appeared on Mad Men. With Alexis Bledel on the show I will definitely check it out. It is also amusing that Jason Ritter recently was involved with Lauren Graham (who played Rory’s mother on Gilmore Girls) on Parenthood. Ritter also stared on The Event.
This impersonation of Lena Dunham auditioning for Zero Dark Thirty really nails her charter from Girls.
This is for female readers who were offended by Seth MacFarlane’s We Saw Your Boobs number at the Oscars (video above) not because it was tasteless and crude but because it only pandered to the prurient interests of male viewers–We Saw Your Junk:
This week’s episode of Doctor Who,Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, was a lighter episode which delivered exactly what was promised: dinosaurs on a spaceship. It was not a major episode, but the idea of having dinosaurs on a spaceship sure does appeal to the inner Leonard Hofstadter of every genre fan. There was another bonus: the Doctor got a gang. He actually did the same for A Good Man Goes To War, but at least the Doctor seemed to think he was having fun doing something new.
The show was not intended to be a major episode in the (not entirely consistent) continuity of Doctor Who, but it did raise some questions in my mind. What does it mean for a time traveler to have died–or in this case appeared to have died? When Commissioner Gordon wants to summon Batman, there are no timey-whimey matters to be concerned about. Both Commissioner Gordon and Batman are on the same time line and the dates of the attempt to contact Batman and Batman’s calendar totally coincide. When the people of 2367 AD sent a request for help to the Doctor, why did it happen to reach the Doctor at some point following his adventures in Asylum of Daleks as opposed to another time in his life–especially as the Doctor was now thought to be dead? On the other hand, while they apparently knew the Doctor lived, a computer in this episode was unable to find information on the value of the Doctor because of the belief that he was dead.
There’s also the question of the Doctor’s changing attitude towards the villains he encounters. The Doctor witched the signals of the Silurian ship and Solomon’s ship, causing the missiles to target and certainly kill Solomon. There have been clear differences between different regenerations of the Doctor in his attitude towards killing, considering previous episodes in which the Doctor tried to save Davros and the Master.
I also have my doubts about the possibility of a beach on a spaceship, but who are we to question advanced technology?
Perhaps it is nitpicking such as this which is directed towards Steven Moffat on his Twitter account (as opposed to generally supportive blogs) which led Moffat to close his Twitter page.
Some of the blog criticism this week went beyond nitpicking of this nature. S.E. Smith objected to how women are handled by Moffat over at Think Progress. I think she is confusing the subservient roles inherent to supportive characters with Moffat’s view of women. I don’t see Amy Pond playing second fiddle to the Doctor as making her weak. We don’t see most of her family because of the nature of her back story. Instead her life beyond the Doctor primarily consists of her relationship with Rory. If you want to see how Moffat is capable of writing strong women, check out Coupling, one of the best sit-coms ever written. (Definitely watch the U.K. version as opposed to the attempt of a US network to handle Moffat’s creation.) The character Steve Taylor was largely based upon Moffat himself. Steve’s girlfriend, Susan Walker, was neither weak nor subservient to Steve. Anyone now want to accuse Moffat of writing weak male characters?
We all know about the big event to take place this year–so big that the ancient Mayan calendar chose this for the end date. Moffat provided SFX with some hits as to what it will mean for the Doctor to change companions this season:
“We are going to do the story properly of the Doctor having lost a friend and making a new one. We’re not taking that lightly. It’s not in one door out the other. It’s the story of how all that affects him, why he engages with somebody else and what’s going on with that – that’s all important.
“What does Jenna bring to it? It’s surprising just how much the show changes with a new co-star. The Doctor is quite different with her, and the way you watch them is quite different. You watched the Eleventh Doctor and Amy arrive together. It’s like they grew up in the same sandpit, playing. They felt not quite like equals – the Doctor never feels like an equal to his companion – but you knew them equally well and they were equally important to each other. They formed around each other. And one of the interesting things about writing the Doctor is that he’s so responsive to the people around him. It’s almost like left on his own his personality would slowly disintegrate. He becomes what people want him to be, a little bit. So he’s Amy’s Raggedy Doctor.
“With a different companion he becomes a slightly different man. He dresses differently. The mere fact that he’s so much taller than her suddenly reveals that Matt Smith is very tall, not, as people assume, about average height, because he was about the same height as Karen. He’s the senior man, not in the sense that he’s more important but he’s the one you know already, and he’s training up a new one, as it were. In these five episodes the Doctor is practically the adopted son of Amy and Rory. He’s gone from being the wonderful man from space – Space Gandalf, as he wants to be – to being that troublesome kid that they try and keep under control. They even talked about getting babysitters for him in one unfortunately cut scene. They love him, but they know he’s a big kid, they know they have to look out for him, check he eats and all that. Whereas with the new companion he’s back to being the mysterious spacefarer…”
We have also learned this week that Coleman is 5’2″ and stands on a phone book when filming close up scenes next to Matt Smith. Recent interviews have also suggested that Jenna-Louise Coleman will play the same Oswin Oswald seen in Asylum of the Daleks, and we will learn in the future how she wound up in that situation. If so, I suspect that the Doctor might come up with a way to get her out of that, as opposed to having already shown us the death of the character. Something close to that was already done with River Song.
The title for J.J. Abram’s Star Trek sequel might have leaked out, based upon domain names registered by Paramount. The suspected title is Star Trek Into Darkness. Meanwhile I09 looked back to the original series this week, presenting a list of 10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Star Trek: The Original Series.
Fox has ordered a science fiction pilot about LAPD officers with android partners. I am far more interested in a show of this description after finding it is coming from J.J. Abrams and J.H. Wyman.
ABC, which now has Joss Whedon ruling the Marvel universe, has ordered a pilot for a show based upon SHIELD. This does make the most sense as an answer for the desire of ABC to have a television show based in the universe of The Avengers. One cast member from the Avengers universe even spoke to the Democratic Convention. Scarlett Johansson urged young people to get out to vote:
There was a lot of secrecy surrounding the choice of Jenna-Louise Coleman to become the next companion on Doctor Who. They also love anagrams, such as coming up with Torchwood, which is an anagram of Doctor Who. Jenna had to tell people she was auditioning for a show called Men on Waves, an anagram of Woman Seven (for seventh series):
“I wasn’t allowed to say it was Doctor Who at any point – not talking to my agent, not when I arrived at the audition, and I certainly couldn’t tell anyone at all what I was up to next,” the 25-year-old actress says, admitting that she was surprised at how good a fibber she became.
“When she was auditioning, Karen Gillan had been given a codename – Panic Moon, which is an anagram of Companion – so I worked out that Men on Waves is an anagram of Woman Seven, because this is the seventh series. Weirdly, seven is my lucky number and this is my seventh job.”
Jenna also told RadioTimes that she was named after Jenna Wade from Dallas.
Steven Moffat says another Doctor Who spin-off is unlikely at present. That isn’t very surprising as there aren’t any current situations which would make good spin-offs, and Moffat is already busy with two shows. Perhaps if both Amy and Rory survive their final encounter with the Weeping Angels, which doesn’t sound likely, he could write a sit-com similar to Coupling about them. No, not very likely to happen.
MCN: Is there anything more out of the Torchwood camp. I know you’re close with the people there…
CA: You know, Russell [Davies] is so busy. Obviously, we’re in touch with the BBC all the time. They are our partners on DaVinci’s Demons and the Harem project that you just mentioned. We told them, we stand by ready for any news, but I think it would be a while before Russell came back to Torchwood.
Nothing As It Seems returned to an old episode of Fringe in which things play out differently. Olivia is strangely unconcerned about losing her memories of the timeline she is actually living in, but the FBI wasn’t as complacent. In the end, they realized that an Olivia without much of her memory is still a more useful agent than most. Of course her memories of the other timeline could also provide valuable information if they continue to face the same menaces.
I have been disappointed in the current season because it seems to be ignoring the way in which the previous season played out, with the existence of both universes in jeopardy. The season concluded with Peter bringing the two universes together, presumably to work together, but this idea, along with Peter’s existence, was quickly forgotten. Next week returns to the alternative universe to investigate the shape shifters and show more of the hotter Altlivia. Perhaps at some point they will remember the major problem (or did changing the time lines make this less urgent?).
More importantly, Fringe‘s ratings rebounded on Friday. Most likely ratings were down the previous week due to a combination of having been on hiatus and coming back against the NCAA Tournament. Fox is also joining the twitter campaign to keep Fringe alive.
Netflix has decided against saving Terra Nova and the future of Fox’s other genre shows remains in doubt. Alcatraz completed its first, and possibly only, season. We learned some things such as that the Warden appears to be behind things (no surprise) and that the lead infusions are to track the prisoners who came from 1963. Rebecca appeared to die, but there is little doubt that she will come back to life should the series return. If the series does not return, I bet fans will be far more frustrated by the lack of more information about what is going on.
Disney often decorates their monorails for big events, and currently the monorail promotes the upcoming Avengers movie (video above). This is only being done on the Magic Kingdom monorails and not the monorail to Epcot. This might be because the Epcot Monorail takes a loop through the park. While Disney has purchased Marvel, currently Universal has the license to use Marvel characters within their theme parks.
The above video shows the highlights of the last season of Doctor Who in 89 seconds.Here’s a more musical version:
There was increased promotion of Doctor Who in the United States over the past season, which probably accounts three references to the show on American television shows so far this season. The best remains this parody from Community:
Free Agents, an already cancelled U.S. sitcom based upon a British show, had a brief mention. The video clip is no longer available on line but the entire episode is available on Hulu. Criminal Minds had a recent mention which can be viewed here, along with this older clip:
There have also been some other older mentions of Doctor Who on American shows. For example:
The apparently nude picture of River Song was seen in some trailers for the season but never aired. Steven Moffat, who showed he is into naughty material on television from his work on Coupling, felt it was too naughty for Doctor Who. More from Blastr.com:
When Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat was asked on Twitter about the bit where we see a naked River Song (Alex Kingston) winking at an unknown someone in the trailer, he answered: “Deleted, yes. Too naughty, don’t know what I was thinking.”
The scene was apparently cut from the season six premiere episode ”The Impossible Astronaut.”
There’s a few more details coming from The Eleventh Doctor Volume 3:
The readthrough script for [”The Impossible Astronaut”] had minimal changes before issue as shooting script. The main alteration was the ultimately deleted scene at Stormcage where the governor remonstrated with River Song over her previous 15 escapes under his predecessor, “Oh, it was never fifteen—unless you’re counting holidays and hair appointments…” said River as she opened a cupboard on the cell wall and pulled out an impossibly long clothes rail of dresses commenting, “Don’t mind my wardrobe. Teensy bit bigger on the inside!”But the ”naughty” River Song scene is not the only one that ended up either on the cutting floor, or not being filmed at all. Apparently:
There were more changes later made to [”Day of the Moon”]; the opening sequence with Rory and Canton was set in Chicago’s waterfront docklands and the final scene with the little girl was set in New York. The Doctor and his friends had been gathering information over two rather than three months between installments. Still to be added were the Doctor’s comparisons of the Silents to the Roman Empire, the Doctor describing the sensation of the Silents being around, and much of a sub-plot about the Doctor’s beard.Then there’s also a scene which shows a group of mean-looking Nazis searching for the Doctor (Matt Smith), also cut from ”The Impossible Astronaut.”
In the video above, Karen Gillan discusses her involvement in the Doctor Who Adventure Game, The Gunpowder Plot.
The Christmas Special is now filming, with some information released by the BBC:
Production has started on the 2011 Doctor Who Christmas Special in which the Doctor (Matt Smith) finds himself in war-torn England embarking on a magical and mysterious adventure with a young widow and her two children.
A stellar guest cast including Claire Skinner (Outnumbered), Bill Bailey (Black Books), Arabella Weir (The Fast Show) and Alexander Armstrong (Armstrong & Miller), join Matt Smith in the emotional festive special, packed full of Christmas thrills and chills.
Steven Moffat, Lead Writer and Executive Producer, commented: “The Doctor at Christmas – nothing is more fun to write. Maybe because it’s so his kind of day – everything’s bright and shiny, everybody’s having a laugh, and nobody minds if you wear a really stupid hat. Of all the Doctors, Matt Smith’s is the one that was born for this time of year – so it’s the best news possible that he’s heading back down the chimney.”
The special, set during World War II, sees Madge Arwell and her two children, Lily and Cyril, evacuated to a draughty old house in Dorset, where the caretaker is a mysterious young man in bow tie, and a big blue parcel is waiting for them under the tree. They are about to enter a magical new world and learn that a Time Lord never forgets his debts…
Claire Skinner said: “I am thrilled to be in Doctor Who playing Madge who is a bit of super-mum. It’s a magical part.”
There are three recommended shows airing tonight.Last Sunday the first episode of Dexter looked promising, with Dexter asking some tough questions about religion. Homeland was also off to a promising start last week. Besides staring Claire Danes, the cast includes Morena Baccarin who planned Anna on the remake of V.Unlike Alex Kingston’s naughty scene on Doctor Who, Baccarin’s nude scenes can be aired on Showtime. Baccarin plays the wife of Nicholas Brody, who had been held captive by al Qaeda for eight years. Claire Danes plays CIA agent Carrie Mathison who has reason to believe that Brody has been turned and is working with al Qaeda on a terrorist attack on American soil. Mathison also has some psychiatric issues, making it unclear as to whether to trust her suspicions of Brody.
Besides these two shows on Showtime, Downton Abbey airs in the U.K. on Sundays and has been off to a great season with a World War I backdrop. I won’t say much about this show for the benefit of those waiting for it to air in the United States. Merlin has started out this season on Saturdays in the U.K. with a strong two-part episode. Again I won’t say much, but Morgana is now more powerful, and Arthur has a more important role in ruling Camelot.