SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, The Americans, Mad Men

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This week’s episode of Doctor WhoRings of Akhaten, had a number of potential ideas but they didn’t gel into a coherent story. This was Clara’s first trip with The Doctor off of earth, returning to a place he says he once visited with his granddaughter. There is more on Clara’s back story, but not enough to tell yet how this plays into her mysterious past. I do suspect that the most important leaf in the world might have been guided when first hitting Clara’s father. We did find even more episodes where The Doctor observed Clara in her past. In a prequel the Doctor stumbled upon her while searching, not knowing who she was. It would make more sense if intentional episodes of observing Clara in her past were by the Doctor in the future after he actually met Clara.

The special effects staff saved up for years to make it look like they might step into the Star Wars Cantina at any moment.  There were “more aliens than  you can shake a cosmic screwdriver at.” The physics was more questionable with an implausible atmosphere and the whole story of a creature living off of memories and being sedated with a lullaby didn’t make terribly much sense. In last week’s episode, The Bells of St. John, the Doctor solved things too easily by reprogramming a Spoon Head. This week was far worse when the Cosmic Screwdriver could do everything from opening an unopenable door to fighting off monsters. Reportedly next week’s episode is much better.

Above is this week’s behind the scenes video.

I suspect that Moffat is up to some timey-whimey stuff with the Doctor and past visits to Clara. He also had some interesting plans if David Tennant had stayed on for another year:

I only had the roughest idea. Had David stayed for one final year, it would certainly have been his last, so my pitch was that it would start with the Tardis crashing in Amelia’s back garden – as now – and a terribly battered and bruised Tenth Doctor staggering out.

Amelia finds him, feeds him fish custard (no that was for Matt, it would have been something more Davidy) and generally helps him. But we, the audience, can see he’s in a truly bad way. Dying maybe. Eventually he heads back to his TARDIS, and flies off.

But when he returns – many years later for Amy – he seems perfectly fine, and indeed doesn’t remember any of those events…And of course over time, we realise what we saw was the Tenth Doctor at the end of his life, about to regenerate. Events that we return to in Episode 13…

Richard E. Grant, who has played several roles on Doctor Who including The Great Intelligence, will be appearing next season on Girls.

Christoper Eccleston has met with Steven Moffat but still could not be convinced to forget whatever caused him to leave and return for the 50th anniversary.

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Above is David Tennant and Matt Smith working on the 50th anniversary episode.  Joanna Page  of Gavin and Stacey reportedly will also appear in the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode. There have been false rumors of Joanna Page appearing on Doctor Who in the past. This time it looks like it is true, with confirmation from BBC America.  Now they must bring back James Corbin and have a mini-Gavin & Stacey reunion.

Vulture shows how to remember the names of all the characters in Game of Thrones. BuzzFeed has all the stats you need on the sex scenes. Not surprisingly, most feature female nudity.

FX had another excellent episode of The Americans on last week but the episode ran seven minutes over, without including this in the listings, causing many recording the episode on a DVR to miss a key event in the final minutes. FX has the entire episode on line here. This week’s episode is scheduled to run until 11:03 (and this will hopefully be handled correctly in the program guides).

Channel 4 has announced that Misfits will end after its current fifth season.

Robert Redford will play the head of S.H.I.E.L.D in Captain America 2.

Don and Megan Dinner

Mad Men returns tonight. Here are Mad Men’s most memorable moments. Check out The Hollywood Reporter if you are having difficulty recalling where things left off last season. BuzzFeed gives eleven reasons to love Megan.   Inside TV looks at Megan’s independence.

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SciFI Weekend II: Doctor Who; Game of Thrones; Revolution; Princesses; Rory Gilmore; Lena Dunham and Seth MacFarlane Parodies

Doctor Who Return Motorbike

Doctor Who returns on March 30 to BBC1 and BBC America:

Following a record-breaking year, fan favorite Doctor Who returns 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.

Robin is dead, but  Superhero deaths have become meaningless.

gavin and stacey cast

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:

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SciFi Weekend: Star Wars; Batman; Battlestar Galactica; Who Killed JR?; Mad Men and Other Returning Shows; S.H.I.E.L.D.; Doctor Who Meets Inspector Spacetime

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The big science fiction news of the week is that J.J. Abrams will be directing the next Star Wars movie. I think it is a good idea for J.J. Abrams to direct the Star Wars movie. His tendency to destroy entire planets (Romulus, Vulcan) fits in better with Star Wars and Death Star than Star Trek.

There are reports that they might wait until 2017 to reboot Batman. There is also speculation that the cast of Justice League of America, scheduled for a 2015 release, will be cut down to five, leaving out Batman until he is rebooted in his own movie. Other rumors say that plans continue to reintroduce Batman in Justice League but possibly leave out Aquaman. Incidentally, if anyone is interested in getting the Michael Keaton Batman movies on Blu-Ray, I found they were much less expensive when purchased as part of a Michael Keaton Collection (recently discounted even further on Amazon) than as stand-alone Batman movies.

Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome was turned into a web series after SyFy decided against picking it up as a weekly series. They will be televising this as a movie on February 10.

Dallas returns tomorrow night, starting with the final episodes filmed before the death of Larry Hagman. Considering all the publicity the show obtained in its original run with the mystery of Who Shot JR?, it only makes sense that JR Ewing will leave the series by being murdered as opposed to dying of natural causes. They should be able to keep this mystery, and other references to JR Ewing, part of the show for quite a long time.

Colin Morgan won the award for Best Drama Performance at the National Television Awards for his portrayal of Merlin.

Doctor Who returns on March 30 with Game of Thrones returning the following night.

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Mad Men returns on April 7 with a two hour season premier. More pictures like above here. The upcoming season will include more of Betty Draper but January Jones will not be returning as Emma Frost to X-Men Days of Futures Past . Elisabeth Moss was surprised her character left Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce last season and cannot say what Peggy will be doing in the upcoming season.

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While January Jones won’t be returning to X-Men, Anna Paquin (Rogue), Ellen Page (Kitty Pride) will be returning in these roles.

I was initially concerned that Person of Interest would be about independent stories every week, but over time an increasingly convoluted back story has developed. If you are having as much trouble as I am keeping track of everything, the chart here will either help or confuse matters further.

Filming is starting on S.H.I.E.L.D. Cobie Smulders will be reprising her role as Maria Hill despite continuing on How I Met Your Mother for another season.

Downton Abbey is casting for a new suitor for a character in Season 4. If you saw Season 3, or heard how it end, you will know who. If you do not know, don’t follow this link.

Office Documentary Crew

After nine years the documentary crew is being introduced into the cast of The Office. Will they have a plausible explanation as to why they have been covering this office for nine years?

Emma Stone Nearly Naked.

Doctor Who meets Inspector Spacetime:

Doctor Who Meets Inspector Spacetime

 

 

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SciFi Weekend: Fringe; Person of Interest; Benedict Cumberbatch and Lara Pulver; Don and Megan in Hawaii; Downton Abbey; The Hour; Klingon Wedding

There was not a new episode of Fringe this week, but we do have the video above and some information on upcoming episodes:

Friday, October 26 at 9pm: “The Bullet that Saved the World”

When the Fringe team tracks a lead into a hostile and heavily guarded location, Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick) resurfaces – but can he be trusted?

Friday, November 2 at 9pm: “An Origin Story”

In the aftermath of devastating events, the Fringe team reels and someone makes a pivotal and shocking move.

Friday, November 9 at 9pm: “Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There”

A Fringe team member takes on a new role, and Walter (John Noble) follows leads to a key piece in their battle against the Observers.

Friday, November 16 at 9pm: “Five-Twenty-Ten”

As the fight for the future intensifies, a member of the Fringe team orchestrates a Fringe event of his own.

Amy Acker didn’t return on this week’s episode of Person of Interest but above is a video of her talking about the season. On the show, Finch is still feeling the effects of being kidnapped by Root, while Carter ran into Snow. At the conclusion of the episode we found that Snow is being controlled by Reese’s old partner Kara Stanton, who has strapped a bomb vest onto Snow. I’m now sure if Kara is simply going after those who had tried to have her killed (along with Reese), if she is also involved in going after the machine as Root is, or if she has some other agenda. Unfortunately, as the mythology segments are often interspersed into episodes about the person of interest of the week, it is getting hard to keep track of all the conspiracies going on.

Above is the teaser for a longer preview to be released on Tuesday for Iron Man 3. Here’s the description of the movie:

Marvel Studios’ Iron Man 3 pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?

It appears that Benedict Cumberbatch liked what he saw in Lara Pulver’s nude scenes when she played Irene Adler in A Scandal In Bohemia (an episode of Sherlock last season). The two are now rumored to be dating:

Love mystery of Holmes and his naked co-star: TV seduction ‘turns to real romance’ for star couple

As a whip-wielding dominatrix, she played the only woman capable of seducing the emotionally detached Sherlock Holmes.

Now life is imitating fiction for actress Lara Pulver, who has struck up an ‘affectionate’ relationship with Benedict Cumberbatch, who played the troubled detective in BBC1’s latest adaptation.

The pair, both 36, radiated an on-screen chemistry in the sexually charged episode A Scandal In Bohemia, in which Pulver appeared naked as Irene Adler.

And last Thursday they were openly flirtatious when they attended the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards together.

Cumberbatch brought his former co-star along as his ‘plus one’ as he collected the Best Actor award.

Last season Mad Men ended with Don at a bar, being asked if he was alone. At least it doesn’t appear that things are over yet between Don and Megan. Jon Hamm and Jessica Pare have been sited filming a scene together in Hawaii which is thought to be for the sixth season premiere.

Downton Abbey fans are still shocked by the events of last week (no spoilers for American viewers who are waiting until the show season begins in January). It now looks like the show will be extended for a fourth season, and then followed with a movie.

HIT drama Downton Abbey could be heading to cinema screens after cast members revealed plans to turn it into a Hollywood movie.

The worldwide phenomenon was originally ­­ supposed to finish after the third ­series, currently showing on ITV1.

But cast members now believe a fourth series will be commissioned, before the Crawley family’s story ­concludes with a feature film.

A show source said: “Hollywood bosses are especially keen to make a film adaption due to the show’s success in America.

“A fourth series is now 99% certain but the worry is ­leading cast members will soon leave and follow film ­careers to capitalise on their new-found fame.

“One option is to conclude the drama with a feature film after series four, which would be a huge box office hit.

“It would end the show on a high and then free up the cast to pursue Hollywood careers.”

The Hour returns for a  second season in November. Above is Romola Garai.

“What happened with The Hour,” she tells me, “was basically that I picked up the script and the first line I read was, ‘Bel is sitting at her desk.’ And I was like, well, this is fucking amazing. This part is mine. Because how often are you ever introduced to a young female character and she’s sitting behind an actual desk? The main thing I’m interested in is that I don’t want the women I play to be defined by their romantic involvement with the male lead. I want them to have a job. So the fact that Bel having a job is the first thing we know about her was a huge deal for me.”

Garai says she recognises a lot of Bel’s character in herself. “We are similar in being ambitious, young women who love our jobs and are truly passionate about them. And who are interested in the world around them, and in politics. But we are different in that Bel is a real diplomat with people, which I’m not at all. I say what I think, and then get into trouble.” She tries to look sheepish about this, but it’s not particularly convincing. “Actually, I think it’s OK to fight for what you care about. The best piece of advice I was given about work was by someone who told me that it’s OK to have conflict. I think sometimes women need to be reminded of that.”

Maybe its the first wedding with a Borg cube for a wedding cake, but I don’t believe this is the first Klingon wedding to occur in the U.K.
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SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who News; Fringe; Emilie de Ravin; Spider-Man; Star Trek; Game of Thrones; The Newsroom; Rory Gilmore; Cards and Cake

Caroline John, who played Liz Shaw, died at age 71 last week. Liz Shaw was a companion to the third Doctor, played by Jon Pertwee during the seventh season of Doctor Who in 1970. Here are some clips from her first appearance when she was recruited by U.N.I.T.

Additional clips can be found here.

Did Matt Smith give away a hint as to Amy Pond’s fate:

There’s something coming up in the final days of the Ponds that was in The Eleventh Hour,” he said. “There’s a shot in that. [Moffat's] been thinking about it that long. He always knew how she was going to… I’m saying too much already.”

Entertainment Weekly interviewed John Noble about Fringe:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s talk about some of your favorites.
JOHN NOBLE: I had some favorites. I loved the “Letters of Transit” episode, which was the one where we went into the future. I thought that was really a beautiful looking episode, beautifully told. I very much liked “Return to Westfield” because it was the first time that really the old team had got back together again — Walter and Olivia (Anna Torv) and Peter (Joshua Jackson). It was a very interesting story for all sorts of reasons. Those two stand out.

Episode 20, where the two worlds were bridged was also a fan favorite.
I loved the final conversation between Walter and Walternate where they’re in the corridor together. I waited a long time to see how that would be handled, and I thought the writers really handled it beautifully and eloquently. I loved doing that scene.

Tell me what it was like filming that.
I think I was so ready for it. For me, I realized there needed to be a payoff between the fellows. And I’ve always seen them as two shades of the one man. You know, he’s the same man, but circumstances took him in a different direction. So it was like a personal reconciliation for Walter, Walternate. I was really touched by the way they were able to be so kind to each other. I found that encouraging, and it was the way that I would have wanted it to happen. There had been plenty of abuse flying around, previously. But it was just like a human being finally coming to some sort of resting point in their life and saying, “OK, let’s stop fighting.Let’s just agree on what we can agree on.” So, on a much larger scale, I thought it was beautiful. The whole sequence was beautiful. Looking back on it now, it was really sad that separation of the two worlds. No one kind of expected it to be because I have to tell you, they’re brutal to film, those doppleganger sequences. They are really demanding, and they take forever and ever and ever and ever. But I loved that scene.

Was it hard for you to say goodbye to that character?
I always had a soft spot for Walternate. I always figured that if my world was in trouble — I mean, really in trouble — he’d be the one I’d want to be in charge. And obviously he was painted as the baddie, initially. But I never personally took it that way. I took it as a man with a job to do and a huge burden and very good reason to be incredibly angry and vengeful should he choose to go that way. But he never did take that these actions; he just wanted to save his world. And then I got the chance — I think it was maybe last season– to humanize him a bit.
Look, Walter…Walternate, I don’t really think he’s gone. I think he’s just one suit away — just put another $2000 dollar suit…

Well, let’s keep you away from suits, then — for the good of the universe.
[Laughs]

Peter and Walter had an amazing scene in the finale, right after he shot Olivia and he was working to save her. Did you actually slap Josh?
There is a little story to that. When we were doing it, it was very complicated. What Josh had realized was that his girl was lying there dead — hurt — and then [Walter] had just come trying to reason with him. There was just no way he would have done anything except strangle Walter really. So I said to [Josh], “We need [him] to snap on this one.” And we’d never done it; there’d never been any physical contact between the men. So I said, “How about if I slap you?” And he said, “Yes, that’s what it needs.” So we put that in. And it did; it was very powerful. When a person’s in distress, sometimes they slap them. So we put that in, and it was terrific. It was effective. And it was dramatically right for what we needed to do.

It appeared from the season finale of Once Upon A Time that it only made sense for Emilie de Ravin’s version of Belle to reappear frequently next season. Her pilot for ABC, Americana, didn’t get picked up, leaving the former Lost actress free to become a regular on Once Upon A Time.

The Amazing Spider-Man will be out soon. Links to early reviews can be found here. Emma Stone discussed how scary the Lizard was.

While Star Trek‘s greatness really came from the television series, it lives on in the movies. Geek Tyrant notes that with the release of the movie currently in production, Star Trek will tie (with the Friday the 13th movies) for second in number of movies made.  Both series will have twelve movies but they have a long way to go to catch up with James Bond who is going on twenty-four. As I pointed out several weeks ago, Bond director Sam Mendes has compared the James Bond franchise to Doctor Who.

What if there were SuperPAC ads in Kings Landing like those we have here? See one example above, and more here.

The Newsroom premiers tonight and most of the ads are negative. It doesn’t matter to me. If it is written by Aaron Sorkin I’ll watch every episode and enjoy them, just like Studio 60. (I probably agree with every criticism of Studio 60 out there, but still enjoyed the show.)

Seeing Rory Gilmore lower herself to having an affair with Pete Campbell on Mad Men before undergoing the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind treatment makes me nostalgic for Rory before she became corrupted. This is how Rory should be remembered: The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge. And how did Amy Sherman-Palladino manage to get a young clone of Rory for Bunheads?

I don’t think that the flaws in the science will affect whether audiences enjoy the recently released movie, Seeking a Friend For the End of the World.

Last week was Father’s Day. Here’s a couple of kids out shopping for a card for their famous but evil father.

Or if you are in need for a birthday cake, this recipe can be found here. Extermi-cake?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The full scene is above.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or anywhere, lately.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Why George Romney Was Called A Clown On Mad Men

Mad Men featured some real history in this week’s episode, just like last week. While Republicans were angry after Francis called George Romney a clown, The Hollywood Reporter explained the political alliances of the time which would make this comment realistic:

Politically, Lindsay and Romney had similar belief systems; they were liberal Republicans, advocates of gun control and civil rights (Lindsay would eventually become a Democrat). That made them Rockefeller Republicans at a time when Nelson Rockefeller was Governor of New York. Lindsay, at first a member of Congress from New York, had little regard for the political machinations of Rockefeller, even years before his 1965 run for mayor.

When Lindsay (reluctantly) began his campaign for mayor, he disavowed public and financial support from Rockefeller; the governor was unpopular in the state and tended to control his patrons, which, combined with Lindsay’s distaste for him personally, led to him rejecting a generous $500,000 donation pledge. That infuriated Rockefeller, which led to a war of words in the press.

Fast-forward a year, when the episode of Mad Men took place. Francis, who is Betty’s second husband in the show, has gone from working for Rockefeller to the newly elected Lindsay. The new mayor had ambitions beyond Gracie Mansion, however; he eyed the presidential election of 1968. Earning his party’s nomination (especially given the rift between Goldwater conservatives and liberal Republicans) might have been a long shot, but he at least had a shot at the vice presidential slot.

Rockefeller also had Oval Office ambitions, but having vowed to exit electoral politics forever (at the time), he backed another liberal Republican for the nomination: George Romney. And the Michigan Governor was much more accepting of Rockefeller’s political support, as his entire campaign would be staffed by Rockefeller aides.

Those were the sides: Rockefeller and Romney on one, Lindsay on the other. They still had to work together, given their positions, but behind the scenes, it was ugly. In fact, when Romney made a visit to tour New York City’s more run-down urban areas, it was coming on the heels of the gaffe that would eventually cost him his shot at the presidency: he said that he had been “brainwashed” by generals during an earlier visit to Vietnam, and no longer supported the war.

Lindsay declined to join the tour of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Harlem; when asked by a reporter if he was afraid of brainwashing the governor, Lindsay winkingly called him “naughty.”

Clearly, calling Romney a “clown” wasn’t much of a stretch for the Lindsay-aligned character.

Or perhaps Francis could see into the future and see how George’s son Mitt would turn out and thought it was hereditary.

Another true item from the episode. The Rolling Stones really did a commercial for Rice Krispies:

 

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Mad Men Water Balloon Scene Really Happened

Megan’s birthday song for Don became the main topic of conservation about the season premiere of Mad Men, but there were also many other memorable scenes. The episode was framed by the dropping of a water balloon on a civil rights march by employees of a competing advertising firm and the consequences after Sterling Cooper Draper Price responded with their equal opportunity ad. The New York Times reports that the dropping of a water balloon was based on an actual incident in 1966:

Everything in the scene really happened, written almost verbatim from an article on Page 1 of The Times on May 28, 1966.

“Poverty Pickets Get Paper-Bag Dousing on Madison Avenue,” the headline read. The article described more than 300 people picketing the Office of Economic Opportunity, between East 40th and 41st Streets, the day before, chanting, “O-E-O, we’ve got the poverty, where’s the dough?” Executives upstairs at Young & Rubicam, half a block from the building, shouted at the protesters, and hung up signs saying “If you want money, get yourself a job.”

And then, the article said: “A container of water was pitched out of one of the windows of the building, splashing two spectators. Later, two demonstrators were hit by water-filled paper bags thrown from the building.”

A 9-year-old boy was struck. Several women in the protest, including the boy’s mother, hurried up to the advertising agency’s sixth-floor offices and confronted a secretary about the water throwing.

“This is the executive floor,” the secretary said. “That’s utterly ridiculous.”

“Don’t you call us ridiculous,” a protester shouted. “Is this what Madison Avenue represents?”

“And they call us savages,” a protester named Vivian Harris said.

 

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Mad Men: Zou Zou Bisou

Here is Megan’s gift for Don at his surprise party on the season premiere of Mad Men, along with some reaction at the end of the video.

Last night I posted this version by Sophia Loren. (The spelling of the name appears more authentic on this version).

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Zoo Be Zoo Be Zoo

Sophia Loren singing Zoo Be Zoo Be Zoo in the 1960 movie, The Millionairess, presumably the inspiration for Megan’s birthday gift for Don Draper on the season premiere of Mad Men.

Joan did a tamer number back in the third season.

Update: Here’s the version from Mad Men. (The spelling of the name also appears more authentic.)

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