Doctor Who has been filming in New York City this week, including the Doctor running through Central Park (video above).
Karen Gillan got on Twitter last week. When I found about it two hours after she began on Thursday she already had over 27,000 followers and now has over 70,000. According to tweets by Arthur Darvill, Karen failed to adjust her email settings, burning out her phone battery with notifications of all the new followers. Today Karen tweeted a picture with Brent Spinner and below is a picture of her tweeting with Arthur Darvill looking on.
This week Awake failed to move further away from the police procedural as they did with last week’s penguins and other scenes questioning reality, but Ricky’s Taco’s did have its moment. While not as well done as last week’s That’s Not My Penguin, the voice at Ricky’s Tacos was more difficult to explain as Britten hadn’t been drugged before hearing them. Was this just something thrown into the story, is Britten going crazy and hearing things, or are there outside forces at work and communicating with him? The conspiracy which set up the accident has been disliked by fans writing about the show. I don’t mind if they have a subplot involving this, but not if it is just a random scene thrown into an episode as we’ve seen so far. It is interesting that Captain Harper tried to call off the hit on Britten after he resigned with plans to move away to Oregon.
The final episode of Titanic airs tonight, with ABC catching up the United States audience last night. While she did appear in the first two episodes, the third concentrates far more on Jenna-Louise Coleman’s character.
On Fringe, Family Man showed that, like our Walter, alt-Broyles was willing to go to great lengths to try to save his son. Before the change in the time lines his character was killed, and in the new time line he winds up in prison. At least he didn’t go through with the plot by David Robert Jones which might have collapsed both universes. I can’t help but wonder what Jones thinks would happen to him if he succeeded. Next week appears to be another Observer episode, this time in the future.
A sequel (or perhaps prequel) to Sin City is finally going ahead with casting now underway. Above are pictures of Jessica Alba and Alexis Bledel from the original.
Here is a trailer of a Loopers, an upcoming science fiction movie with an interesting premise:
In the futuristic action thriller Looper, time travel will be invented — but it will be illegal and only available on the black market. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past, where a looper — a hired gun, like Joe — is waiting to mop up. Joe is getting rich and life is good… until the day the mob decides to “close the loop,” sending back Joe’s future self for assassination.
It doesn’t have the potential for a time paradox like going back in time to kill your own self or grand parent–unless Joe’s future self responds to the situation by trying to kill the person trying to kill him (his past self). Could be good, unless it is simply a chase/action movie with a science fiction back story.
Natalie Dormer, who often appeared nude on The Tudors, joins the rampant nudity on Game of Thrones starting tonight. She has certainly demonstrated that she can handle such a role well. But why is there so much nudity on Game of Thrones? Check out this video for an explanation from Saturday Night Live. HBO announced last week that Game of Thrones has been renewed for a third season and I think it is safe to predict it will be around for several years considering the success of the show and the amount of material present in the book series.
Maggie Smith, the Dowager Countess on Downton Abbey, has requested to leave the show after the third season so she can return to movies and the stage. There had already been talk of a funeral for next season and assuming that was written before Smith’s request this might mean a second. Her death would be the most plausible way to write her out of the series.
People who interpret the Mayan calendar as indicating the end of the world in December 2012 are mistaken. It is now clear that the Mayans were just noting the transition from Karen Gillan to Jenna-Louise Coleman on Doctor Who. We have some more information about the process of casting Jenna. Material has been posted on line from part of the audition of Jenna-Louise Coleman for her role as the new companion. The material, taken from Doctor Who Magazine, appears to be Jenna acting out a scene with Matt Smith:
The Doctor and Jasmine are investigating a haunted house.
DOCTOR: So you saw it coming in here? What did it look like?
JASMINE: Grey. Sort of dusty. Like it was made of spider webs.
D: And it came through the wall.
J: Yeah, that wall there.
D: But you don’t think it was a ghost. Why not?
J: Because there’s no such thing as ghosts.
D: You know, a lot of people who saw what you saw wouldn’t still think that.
J: Obviously. Otherwise there wouldn’t be idiots who believe in ghosts.
D: What were you doing here?
J: I love this place. It’s… beautiful.
D: It’s falling apart.
J: It’s old. I love old things, they make me feel sad.
D: What’s good about sad?
J: It’s happy for deep people. You’d know.
D: I’m not sad.
J: Oh, you are though. Under all that talking and leaping about. Takes one to know one.
D: So you come here for… recreational sadness?
J: Yeah. In a way. Okay, why are you looking at me like that?
D: You remind me of an old friend of mine. Someone I lost a long time ago.
J: Down boy. I’m not her.
D: Oh, I know you’re not – I don’t believe in ghosts either.
J: Oh my God, what’s that?
D: Okay, just stay calm.
J: But that’s the thing I saw before.
D: Yep, and it’s coming towards us. I expect you noticed that. Say it with me – I don’t believe in ghosts!
J: I don’t believe in ghosts!
D: Louder! I don’t believe in ghosts!
J: I don’t believe in ghosts!! Will this work?
D: No idea, never met a ghost before.
Whatever this is, Moffat has said that Jasmine won’t be the character’s actual name on the show:
“Two things before you read it. Her name is NOT Jasmine. I don’t like the name Jasmine (sorry all Jasmines, I didn’t mean you) so I knew I’d never use it for real. And also, you might notice there’s a line snuck in from Blink. One of those self-consciously clever, writer-showing-off lines that anyone stuck working with me better get used to.
“So here’s a spoiler from a future that is never going to happen. This is the scene we saw Matt and Jenna perform in a dull little room in the basement of the BBC, which changed the future of Doctor Who. Now remember, this is nonsense, none of this is going to happen, no clues or hints. Think of it as series of hurdles we placed in front of an actress to check her jumping skills.”
After months of rumors (spread by Steven Moffat and Sophia Myles via Twitter), Sophia Myles now says she is not returning to Doctor Who, at least in the near future:
“Steven [Moffat] and I did talk about Doctor Who and I honestly feel – and I think he feels the same – that The Girl in the Fireplace was so special, I really doubt we could do something better together on that show. It was just so perfect and I would rather leave it at that, ” she explains in the latest Doctor Who Magazine.
“If I was to come back to Doctor Who, I don’t think it should be as [Madame de Pompadour]… but it would just ruin it to come back as anything else.”
However, Myles doesn’t completely rule out another role.
“Maybe when I’m old and don’t look anything like her. I’d like to come back in 20 or 30 years’ time as a baddy, and cause some trouble! But as for anything imminently? No. I think that would be inappropriate.
This might be a major spoiler (or perhaps major misdirection) from the first episode of the next season of Doctor Who: Reportedly a prop was seen of divorce papers for Amy and Rory. There are also reports of them getting along well in scenes from episode 3, so if true early-season conflict between the two might get resolved.
The big thing we learned about the alternate universe on Fringe is that they have different superheroes, and no Batman. It was obvious that Agent Lee was interested in Olivia in our universe. Now that she is reunited with Peter, is he heading into a relationship with Fauxlivia?
On Awake, Britten wound up working with Dr. Lee on a police case (although part of their contact was real, and part induced by a drug–or was Britten having hallucinations and losing his mind?). It might have been more interesting if they had Britten run into Dr. Lee in the time line where he sees the other psychiatrist and Dr. Lee doesn’t know that Britten knows him. Of course we’ve seen that sometimes things are quite closely the same in both time lines, and sometimes individual’s lives are quite different, so Dr. Lee may or may not be around as a police psychiatrist in the other time line. From the previews, it looks like next week gets back to the conspiracy around the auto accident which precipitated events.
Las Vegas considered building a full sized replica of the Enterprise in 1992. The story came out last week and can be seen here.
The Hugo Award nominees have been announced. Nominees for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) include three episodes of Doctor Who and one episode of Community.
Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) (512 ballots) “The Doctor’s Wife” (Doctor Who), written by Neil Gaiman; directed by Richard Clark (BBC Wales) “The Drink Tank‘s Hugo Acceptance Speech,” Christopher J Garcia and James Bacon (Renovation) “The Girl Who Waited” (Doctor Who), written by Tom MacRae; directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Wales) “A Good Man Goes to War” (Doctor Who), written by Steven Moffat; directed by Peter Hoar (BBC Wales) “Remedial Chaos Theory” (Community), written by Dan Harmon and Chris McKenna; directed by Jeff Melman (NBC)
Television shows typically are recognized by the Hugo Awards based upon individual episode. Game of Thrones misses out under that criteria. The entire first season was actually one long story, but it is hard to pick an individual episode. Instead the first season was nominated under Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form):
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) (592 ballots) Captain America: The First Avenger, screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephan McFeely, directed by Joe Johnston (Marvel) Game of Thrones (Season 1), created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss; written by David Benioff, D. B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman, Jane Espenson, and George R. R. Martin; directed by Brian Kirk, Daniel Minahan, Tim van Patten, and Alan Taylor (HBO) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, screenplay by Steve Kloves; directed by David Yates (Warner Bros.) Hugo, screenplay by John Logan; directed by Martin Scorsese (Paramount) Source Code, screenplay by Ben Ripley; directed by Duncan Jones (Vendome Pictures)
It is difficult to compare an entire season of a television show to a single movie. Perhaps they should divide into three categories, one for individual episodes of television shows and other short form presentations, one for movies, and a new category for genre television shows.
Marvel Studios isn’t waiting to see how “The Avengers” does in theaters later this year. Following in the footsteps of “Thor,” the studio Friday announced it’s moving forward with a sequel to its 2011 hit “Captain America,” prepping it for a 2014 release.
Keeping the film canon with “The Avengers,” Chris Evans will take on the title role in the present, and not during World War II like the previous film. The events at the end of the first “Captain America” film, along with some storyline in the upcoming “Avengers” movie, bring super soldier Steve Rogers to the present.
The first Captain America film is of increased interest being the film debut of Jenna-Louise Coleman. A picture of her in the movie was previously posted here.
Although not airing in the United States until next weekend, I did get a hold the first two episodes of Titanic. Some of the information posted about the mini-series on line was incorrect. Some reports claimed that Jenna-Louise Coleman doesn’t appear until the third episode but actually she was present in the first two. Perhaps she has a larger role in the third. Some early reviews also described the mini-series as each episode involving different characters, leading up to the ship sinking at the end of each hour. It is correct that each episode leads up to the Titanic sinking, but there is tremendous overlap between the characters. The second episode introduced new characters and didn’t include all the characters from the first episode, but it did provide more information about some of the major characters from the first episode.
The mini-series, written by Julian Fellowes, does have much of the same style as Fellowes’ show Downton Abbey. One difference is that the some among the wealthy are far less sympathetic characters–and in some cases their servants are even nastier.
As for Downton Abbey, there are spoilers for the third season:
What can “Downton Abbey” fans expect when the PBS series starts its third season in January?
“Matthew and Mary do get married,” ”Masterpiece” executive producer Rebecca Eaton said Wednesday at a Winter Park party. She previewed the British drama, which is in production, for supporters of WUCF TV, Central Florida’s new PBS station.
In the new “Downton” season, everyone is waiting for the arrival of the mother of Cora (Elizabeth McGovern), a character played by Oscar-winner Shirley MacLaine. They’re waiting for MacLaine’s character because the British family, especially Violet (Oscar-winner Maggie Smith), needs money again, Eaton said.
“There are some wonderful scenes between Maggie and Shirley MacLaine — Shirley MacLaine being as ditsy as ever,” Eaton said. “And Maggie barely restraining her sneer in having to deal with this American. Maggie Smith is a handful, it’s true. She’s very difficult. She knows her worth, and she’s tricky on the set, but she delivers when the time comes.”
Eaton supplied more teases: “Somebody will be born, and somebody will die, somebody pretty key in the cast, unfortunately not going to make it. It’s the 1920s now.”
The obvious speculation is that the birth will be a child for Matthew and Mary, especially as it is confirmed that they will marry. There are other possibilities. Perhaps Bates makes it out of prison and starts a family with Anna. It is also possible that Lady Sybel might be having a child. Those interested in seeing Jessica Brown Findley in other roles might click here to see her in Albatros. (Beware, the scene is not safe for work, and the Crawley family would really be shocked to see her flashing in this scene).
The cast of Downton Abbey includes Hugh Bonneville, who has appeared on Doctor Who. Alex Kingston has a role on the second season of the remake of Upstairs, Downstairs (coincidentally also playing an archeologist). I was aware that Jean Marsh, who has been on the original and remake of Upstairs, Downstairs, has appeared in Doctor Who and was curious as to whether many other actors have appeared on both shows. I was surprised by the length of the list, which can be seen here.
The second season of Upstairs, Downstairs won’t air in the United States until 2013 and is well worth watching. The season takes place as conflict escalates between Germany and Great Britain just before World War II, giving it a much more modern feel compared to the original, or compared to Downton Abbey.
Steven Moffat was unwilling to provide any details on the role beyond the identity of the actress to play the Doctor’s next companion. Jenna-Louise Coleman is the first actress since Billie Piper to appear full-time as the Doctor’s companion without having previously appeared on Doctor Who, but she has appeared in several other shows. BBC America has posted videos of Jenna-Louise Coleman in some of her previous roles. She is pictured above arriving at the 2009 British Soap Awards.
Her first movie role was in Captain America: The First Avenger, playing Connie, one of the girls in the double date early in the movie (picture above).
She has a role in an upcoming mini-series about the Titanic written by Julian Fellowes (of Downton Abbey) as cheeky little cockney’ Annie Desmond. There is a twist in this version. Each episode will cover a different group of passengers, and each episode ends with the sinking of the Titanic The show will be on ITV in the UK on April 15. ABC will carry the first three episodes in the United States on April 14 and conclude on April 15.
“I had some really good advice from Matt actually, which is to stay off the internet. So I’m going to follow that advice. No Googling – I’m on a Google ban!” she said.
Jenna-Louise, who starts filming in May and will make her first appearance in the Christmas Day special, is also looking forward to meeting Karen Gillan, who plays the current companion Amy Pond.
“We haven’t met yet. I am potentially going to meet her this weekend so it’ll be great to chat,” she revealed.
The actress admitted that she’s trying not to watch any old Doctor Who episodes before she starts shooting.
“I’ve seen a lot of them but I’ve decided not to re-watch anything. Then I can go in with a fresh mind. Sometimes subconsciously, you take on what somebody has done before,” she added.
Former Doctor Who star David Tennant advised the actress to enjoy the ride.
“She’s going on a very exciting journey. I hope she has some good friends to hold her hand because it can be a bit scary when you get thrust into that level of attention, speaking from personal experience,” he said at the UK premiere of his new film, The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists.
“But it’s wonderful, and she’s working on the greatest TV show ever made, so what can go wrong?”
It is now the start of 2012 (except for those in the GOP who remain in 1812), making it a good time to look back on the past year. 2011 ended with a few significant season finales for genre shows. The most recent to air was the Doctor Who Christmas Special: The Doctor, The Widow, and the Wardrobe. I did not think it was up to the level of last year’s Christmas special, A Christmas Carol. There were many excellent moments, primarily at the start and the end, but it didn’t work well as a complete story. Matt Smith was wonderful as the mad caretaker, showing off features of the home which the children would love, such as the taps for hot, cold, and lemonade. Once the story moved from the house to the forest it went downhill but there were still good moments. (“Please tell me we can tell the difference between wool and sidearms.”)
Fortunately the story picked up as a trip through the time vortex allowed them to lead the alleged widow’s husband home. From there we returned to the continuity of the past season where the Doctor allowed everyone to think he is dead. He was convinced to return to visit Amy and Rory for Christmas. He arrived two years later to find that River had told Amy that the Doctor was alive. (Amy: “River told us.” The Doctor: “Of course she did.” Amy:”She’s a good girl!” ) Seeing Amy again made the episode worthwhile. This presumably foreshadows next season, with the Doctor working more in the background with most believing he is dead, along with a temporary return of Amy and Rory.
Showtime had excellent conclusions for both Dexter and Homeland. The first season of Dexter closely matched the first Dexter novel with one key difference–Debra learned about Dexter’s secret. The past season showed changes in Debra which prepared her for this knowledge, making the final moment predictable with Debra seeing Dexter kill Travis. The show is now scheduled to conclude after two more seasons, which will certainly concentrate on the changing relationship between Dexter and Debra.
Homeland was the best new show of the past season but it seemed to be a season-long story and I had wondered how they would keep matters open for a second season. The season began with questions over the sanity of CIA agent Carrie Mathison and questions over whether rescued al Quida prisoner Sgt. Nicholas Brody had been turned into a terrorist. Over the course of the season it became clear that Carrie is both mentally ill and right about at least some of her suspicions. For a brief time it appeared that another prisoner, not Brody, had been turned. By the end of the season it became clear that both former prisoners had been brainwashed. The other was to shoot at a group of top government officials, leading to them being rushed past security to a safe room. This included Brody, who was wearing a suicide vest to enable him to kill the entire group.
Carrie made a final attempt to stop the killings, which only she suspected, by having Brody’s daughter call him. At the end of the episode she was unaware that her effort was successful. The episode ended with Carrie undergoing electroshock treatment which would cause short term memory loss. At the last moment she remembered that, while they were in bed together earlier in the season, Bordy had shouted the name Issa during a flashback. Brody told Carrie that this was the name of his guard, but just before receiving the electroshock Carrie realized that this was the name of the son of Abu Nazir, who was killed in an American drone attack. This was the key to understanding why Brody had turned. Next season we will presumably see when Carrie remembers this, or finds other reason to again investigate Brody while others do not suspect him.
Two shows which have not yet aired the United States also concluded in the U.K. Merlin had another excellent season. While I will avoid spoilers here, the story is getting even closer to the conventional King Arthur legends. The Downton Abbey Christmas Special tied up some of the story lines from the second season while keeping aspects open for new stories next season.
In other holiday news, David Tennant and Georgia Moffat maried on News Years Eve. Sherlock returned in the U.K. on New Years Day.
Last week two videos from the wrap party following the last episode of Doctor Who of the David Tennant/Russel T. Davies era surfaced on line. The first, which I posted last week, showed the cast and crew of Doctor Who set to I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers:
A second video, “The Ballad of Russell and Julie,” features David Tennant, Catherine Tate and John Barrowman in a musical act to thank Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner for their excellent work on the series:
I have subsequently found this video, also set to 500 Miles, which contains clips from the show:
Earlier in the season,Community did a parody of Doctor Who entitled Inspector Spacetime, which was claimed to be a British science fiction show which started in 1962, one year before the real Doctor Who started.
In light of all of the interest seen in Inspector Spacetime on line, it comes as no surprise that Community returned to Inspector Spacetime on this week’s episode:
If anyone is still trying to figure out the timeline for the relationship between River Song and the Doctor, BBC America has put out a helpful (but confusing) chart.
Bernard Cribbins has received an OBE (Order of the British Empire) medal for his contributions to drama. His roles include Wilfred Mott on Doctor Who in recent years. He also had a role in in the 1966 Doctor Who movie, Daleks Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.
Sadie Miller, daughter of Elisabeth Sladen, was interviewed on BBC Breakfast about her mother and Sladen’s autobiography, which has been published posthumously:
Karen Gillan told The Mirror that when she completes her run on Doctor Who, she would like to have Amy Pond die:
DOCTOR Who star Karen Gillan wants her character Amy Pond to die.
The actress, 23, said: “Death would be an option. I don’t want Amy to pop up again every so often, because for me it would take away from the big, emotional goodbye.”
Karen reckons the next series could be Amy’s last – and she hinted that she could become the first doctor’s sidekick to die on screen.
“Once she’s gone, she’s gone,” said Karen. “I want people to remember the Amy Pond era as a good one.”
Will there be a fifth season of Torchwood? Barrowman is briefly stumped. “If there’s a pause button, we’ve pushed the pause button now because we don’t know what’s happening”, he says. “I would love to do a new series and I will play Captain Jack as long as they want me to play Captain Jack, but it’s in limbo at the moment and beyond my control.” He’d love to see his creation on the big screen. “I think that Torchwood, more so than Doctor Who, lends itself to being a big film because it’s more adult”, he says. “Now if it was Doctor Who with David (Tennant) playing the Doctor – I’m going to get in trouble for saying this – I’d happily do a film with him.”
Fringe has returned after a hiatus for baseball. Peter Bishop is back, but to a timeline where he died as a child, nobody knows who he is, and several things have changed due to Peter not surviving. From interviews, such as the one below, it appears that they will be continuing in this timeline for a long time to come. Anna Torv also confirms that, as would be expected, Altlivia’s child does not exist in a timeline where Peter didn’t exist to get her pregnant:
Peter Bishop won’t have the reunion he was hoping for. His lady love, Olivia, doesn’t remember him, so his reappearance has no effect on her life. Anna Torv, who plays Agent Dunham, revealed, “He’s never existed and doesn’t exist in this universe. He’s the one entering this world … whereas Walter and Olivia and Astrid have made do. This is how we’ve always known [life] to be.” Can you say odd man out?
With the timeline change, certain events have been put on the back burner or erased completely. For example: Whatever happened to baby Henry? The child of Alt-Olivia and Peter just wasn’t meant to be. Torv says, “There’s no possible way that Henry could happen in this timeline, because Altlivia never met Peter.” We knew that would happen, but part of us still wondered if he had a shot.
As for Walter, he won’t embrace Peter with open arms. It might take a whole season (or more) for the duo to return to normal. Walter’s portrayer, John Noble, claims the pair’s relationship “might” get back on track “if Walter acknowledges this is his son from a different dimension,” which sounds like a tough pill to swallow. Considering the amount of time Walter’s spent mourning his death, we don’t expect him and Peter to become a big, happy family overnight.
The second season of Downton Abbey concludes tomorrow and a third season has been announced. The second season, largely taking place during World War I, has been excellent–far too good to wait for it to air in the United States. PBS has this preview for those who are waiting for the US airing:
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.
Petrichor, while not used as frequently as Bad Wolf in a previous season, has become the word of the season on Doctor Who. Before its use in Closing Time, Petrichor was mentioned in The Doctor’s Wife, first by Idris, and later Amy Pond used it as a telepathic password to enter one of the TARDIS’s old control rooms.
Idris: It means “the smell of dust after rain.”
Rory: What does?
Rory: But I didn’t ask.
Idris: Not yet. But you will.
Closing Time was primarily, but not exclusively, a light show in which the Doctor visited his old friend Craig from The Lodger. Craig is played by James Corben, who co-wrote and acted in the fantastic BBC sit-com Gavin and Stacey. The episode also included Cybermen along with a view of Amy Pond’s perfume for the girl who’s tired of waiting (video above). Ultimately the story really didn’t matter. Corben’s role wasn’t as good as in The Lodger, but I’m always happy to see Craig/Smithy.
Near the end of the episode, the Doctor, wearing a stetson, was preparing to meet his fate. He spoke to some children before entering the TARDIS, and then the scene shifted to River Song reviewing interviews with the children about what they saw. The final moments (major spoilers ahead) confirmed what most suspected ever since Flesh and Stone. River Song kills the greatest man she ever knew, and this could only be the Doctor. The episode ended with an adult Dr. Song/Melody Pond being forced into the astronaut suit and is next seen under water, presumably at Lake Silencio.Here is the final scene and commentary from Steven Moffat:
Next week, The Wedding of River Song. The BBC has released this above prequel scene:
The BBC reports that Alex Kingston is also joining the cast of Upstairs Downstairs.
There was a second type of connection between Doctor Who and the Upstairs Downstairs genre of British television shows. On Community, it was claimed that Cougar Town was based upon the British television show Cougarton Abbey. This was intended to distract Abed until Cougar Town returns but Cougarton Abbey, like many British shows, wrapped up in a very short time. This led to Britta showing Abed another British show, Inspector Spacetime, seen in the video above. Who knew that there was a British time travel show a year before Doctor Who began?
Community managed to beat out the other Thursday night genre comedy, The Big Bang Theory, at least in terms of genre references. Besides including references to Cougar Town, Downton Abbey, and Doctor Who, the episode also had an homage to the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Last week Fringe returned. Not only don’t we know where Peter Bishop is, everything else we knew could be changed in this timeline where adult Peter never existed. We already saw that Walter is somewhat different, never leaving his lab. There could be even bigger differences, such as perhaps characters who died in past seasons such as alt-Broyles still being alive.
Steven Spielberg’s latest television genre show, Terra Nova, starts tomorrow. The New York Times has a review. I’m glad that the show takes place in a different timeline, denying Sarah Palin the opportunity to use this as evidence that humans and dinosaurs co-existed.
Coverage of the uneventful Rapture dominated social media yesterday. Here is a recap of my posts, primarily from Facebook and Twitter. Coverage did begin on the blog with this post. Further coverage was on Facebook and Twitter, beginning with a comment on a true event occurring Friday evening, and some opinions on the whole subject:
I was listening to the BBC News and suddenly the signal was lost. If it was already 6:00 pm in London I might be a little nervous.
The worst thing about the world coming to an end tomorrow at 6:00 pm is that the Rapture will be occurring just before Doctor Who airs.
Rushing to get through more episodes of Downton Abbey before the Rapture at 6. It really sucks when the world is going to end and you don’t get to see the full season.
As it became 6 p.m. around the world, coverage intensified:
It is 6 pm at Aukland. Any sign of the Rapture?
All my Australian Facebook friends are still here. They must be godless heathens.
Just got response to question from Verizon. If the world does end today I am still responsible for the remaining months on my phone contract.
6 pm in London & my Facebook friends are still there; must be sinners like my Australian friends. Also means Doctor Who will still be on.
Next year we will find out if the ancient Mayan calendar is more credible than the fundamentalist view of the Christian Bible.
What was Steven Moffatt thinking, airing the first of a two-part Doctor Who story on the day the world was scheduled to come to an end?
It is almost 6:00 local time. Personally I find the threat of assimilation by the Borg, destruction of the earth by a Vogon construction fleet building an intergalactic highway, or Skynet becoming self-aware and wiping out humanity to all be more plausible scenarios than Biblical prophesy.
6 pm and the Apocalypse is rather uneventful. Regrettably the religious fundamentalists remain here to continue messing up the earth.
Meanwhile, while we had a lot of fun with this yesterday, Harold Camping, who predicted the date of the Rapture, has not had anything to say. I do not fear for his future. After he was wrong in 1994 he just picked a new date. He can do that again, and those who believed him before will probably believe him again.