SciFi Weekend: Trailer For The Doctor Who Christmas Special; Lost Episodes; Doctor Who And Other Movies; Downton Abbey; Arrested Development; 24; Community; Trek Nation; Catwoman at OWS

A trailer has been released for this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special--The Doctor, The Widow And The Wardrobe. The title gives away the story which this year’s special is inspired by.

The trailer was presented during the skit above at Children In Need.

Wired has a story on Richard Molesworth’s search for lost episodes of Doctor Who.

There have been rumors of making another Doctor Who movie for quite a while, and there was a report from Variety which has obtained considerable attention this week:

“Harry Potter” director David Yates is teaming up with the BBC to turn its iconic sci-fi TV series “Doctor Who” into a bigscreen franchise.

Yates, who directed the last four Potter films, told Daily Variety that he is about to start work on developing a “Doctor Who” movie with Jane Tranter, head of L.A.-based BBC Worldwide Prods.

“We’re looking at writers now. We’re going to spend two to three years to get it right,” he said. “It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into the bigger arena.”

Unlike some of the earlier rumors, this story involves a new take on the character:

Yates made clear that his movie adaptation would not follow on from the current TV series, but would take a completely fresh approach to the material.

“Russell T. Davies and then Steven Moffat have done their own transformations, which were fantastic, but we have to put that aside and start from scratch,” he said.

Yates and Tranter are looking for writers on both sides of the Atlantic.

“We want a British sensibility, but having said that, Steve Kloves wrote the Potter films and captured that British sensibility perfectly, so we are looking at American writers too,” he explained.

The validity of this is unclear, including a denial from the BBC. The prospect of such a movie has some Doctor Who fans worried. Despite these concerns, I imagine that viewers could keep straight the fact that there are two different Doctor Who stories, keeping the television show and movie series separate. I don’t see much of a point in a single stand-alone Doctor Who movie which is not connected to the television series.  It would be a different matter if this results in both a successful television and movie series, but it will be harder to succeed as a movie. As was clear with Star Trek, a movie might have bigger production values, and bigger stories, but with a continuing television series it is often all the small stories presented over time which are more important. Without writers connect to the show, it may or may not manage to capture what makes Doctor Who great. StevenMoffat expressed his skepticism with this sarcastic tweet: “Announcing my personal moonshot, starting from scratch. No money, no plan, no help from NASA. But I know where the moon is – I’ve seen it.”

Moffatt has also commented on the move of Doctor Who to the fall:

“Very soon now, Doctor Who is going to enter production for the longest sustained period we’ve ever attempted, and the biggest and best and maddest time ever to be a fan of this wonderful old show is rumbling towards us. And yes, you got me. We needed a little more time to prepare for everything we’ve got planned. That, above all, is why we needed this tiny gap. Just be a tiny bit patient, and trust me, we’ll make it up to you.”

There are some other movies of interest which look like they are going to be made. This includes Arrested Development, but the bigger news is that prior to the movie there will be additional episodes of the show which will be available over Netflix in 2013. Exclusive streaming of new episodes of Arrested Development could bring back some of the subscribers who abandoned Netflix after their price hike for combined streaming and DVD rentals. It also looks like they really are going ahead with the movie version of 24.

Downton Abbey won’t be released at the movie theaters, but the Christmas special will be feature-length. The first photo from the special has been released (above). The special will bring the show into 1920, with a third season having been announced with eight additional episodes taking place over the next eighteen months. Personally I wish ITV and the BBC could get together for a combined special. If the Doctor is already going back to World War II for the Christmas special, why not go back another generation and have the TARDIS wind up at Downton? I think  Lady Mary would make an excellent companion if Amy Pond isn’t around. Downton Abbey already has ties to fantasy and to Doctor Who. Maggie Smith, who plays the Dowager Countess, has also played Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter movies. Hugh Bonneville has appeared in two episodes of Doctor Who, The Curse of the Black Spot and A Good Man Goes to War, as the pirate Captain Avery.

NBC is making changes to its line up in January. 30 Rock returns but Community goes on hiatus with return date not set. Why not just dump some junk such as Whitney and keep Community on the schedule? If there is no Community, that means no Inspector Spacetime.

Showtime has announced that Dexter has been renewed for two additional seasons:

“The series is bigger than it’s ever been in its sixth season, both in terms of audience and its impact on the cultural landscape,” said Showtime topper David Nevins. “Together with Michael, the creative team on the show has a very clear sense of where they intend to take the show over the next two seasons and, as a huge fan, I’m excited to watch the story of Dexter Morgan play out.”

I wonder if this means they are working towards a conclusion of the series over the next two seasons.

Trek Nation will premier on the Science Channel on November 30 (trailer above).

The documentary “Trek Nation” explores “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision and its impact on viewers’ lives through the eyes of his son Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, Jr. When the legendary Gene Roddenberry passed away almost 20 years ago, his son was only 17 years old. Now director Scott Colthorp takes us along as he follows Rod on a very personal quest: through startling and revelatory conversations with actors, fans, NASA personnel, politicians and celebrities, Rod seeks to finally understand the man he barely knew: his father.

Catwoman turned out at an Occupy Wall Street Rally. The presence of wealthy actress Anne Hathaway wound up freaking out many right wing bloggers who have no understanding (and I doubt have the mental capacity to understand) what Occupy Wall Street is actually all about. (Hint: it is not about opposition to having wealth or making money. Many in the top one-percent realize the dangers of an economic system rigged to help only them which is acting to destroy the middle class in this country).

Occupy Wall Street Signs

This guest post is from Ben Donahower who blogs about campaign lawn signs at Campaign Trail Yard Signs. Ben is an authority on political marketing with more than a decade of experience on campaigns.

While Occupy Wall Street’s message is serious, the homemade signs are often anything but. Over the course of these protests, there have been many witty signs, but these are the best of the best. Have a good laugh!

“Greedy Wall Street, Stop Stealing My Bone”

Including his or her pet gets this sign maker a few extra bonus points!

“You Know Things Are Messed Up When Librarians Start Marching”

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the many ways that you could interpret this one.

“I Was Told There Would Be Cake”

The most intellectual of these humorous signs. Thanks to a quick double check on Wikipedia, you can impress your friends next time this quote comes up, because it is misattributed to Marie Antoinette and actually originates from “Confessions” by Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

“Due to recent budget cuts, the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off.”

This one makes you laugh and cry!

“PLEASE Do Not Step On The Chalk Art! I Got Arrested For It!”

The sign itself isn’t terribly funny, but the good-humored response to her arrest makes me smile.

“This Space Intentionally Left Blank”

I’m using this sign as the standard-bearer for all similar signs. Every protest has similar signs including “I’m so mad I made a sign, “My arms are tired from carrying this sign,” or “I’m already regretting making a sign.” They are always crowd favorites and show up on lists like this one!

“Obama Is Not A Brown-Skinned Anti-War Socialist Who Gives Away Free Healthcare… You’re Thinking Of Jesus”

I love how this sign challenges stereotypes. It’s both thought provoking and worth a chuckle.

“EVERYTHING Is OK. Please Continue Shopping”

Tongue and cheek critiques of culture and politics are some of the most effective. This is my favorite sign of this ilk.

“We’re not here for Occupy Sidney. We’re waiting for the iPhone 5”

Unfortunately, this iPhone 5 hopeful had to deal with crowds and never got her phone!

“if I can learn to SHARE, you can too.”

There is a lot going on here! It’s cute, it’s true, and it’s funny!

Occupy Wall Street is tackling a host of serious issues. These protest signs are a fun way to address serious issues.

The Success of Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street has concentrated far more on calling attention to the record degree of income inequality in recent years and how the system is rigged to promote the interests of the ultra-wealthy. When viewed from the perspective as to accomplishing this goal, Ben Smith demonstrates that they have been successful:

Whatever the objectives of protesters involved in Occupy Wall Street, they have succeeded in engaging the country in a conversation about income inequality.

A quick search of the news–including print articles, web stories and broadcast transcripts–via Nexis reveals a significant rise in the use of the term “income inequality,” from less than 91 instances in the week before the occupation started to almost 500 instances last week.

The significance of this is enhanced by the fact that a conservative media outlet such as Politico is pointing this out. (This is one of the ways in which the more legitimate conservative media outlets differ from Fox, which goes beyond just having ideological leanings to more consistently distorting the news to promote their ideological goals.)

They have been successful in raising the issue, and changing the economic debate from based solely on spending cuts. It remains to be seen whether Occupy Wall Street will have any impact on promoting policies or influencing elections–goals which so far they have shown no interest in pursuing.

A Comparison of Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party

What a contrast between the Occupy Wall Street protestors, as seen in their signs, and the Tea Party people who carried signs like “Keep Govt Out Of My Medicare.”

There is a rather major difference in intelligence and understanding of the issues between the two groups. Of course opposition to intellectuals, as well as to facts and logic, is a widely held position in the conservative movement, especially among the Tea Party crowd.

Another example of how right wingers are unable to defend their irrational and morally bankrupt ideas can be seen in how Eric Cantor was afraid to make his arguments before the public, as opposed to before a “selected audience.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has abruptly canceled a speech planned for this afternoon at the University of Pennsylvania that was meant to lay out the GOP’s plans to address income inequality. While the university gave no reason for the cancellation, CNN is reporting that Cantor canceled after the university decided to make the speech open to the public. Cantor had signed up for a “selected audience.” The speech was seen as a response to the 99 Percent movement, and Occupy Philadelphia had organized a march from City Hall to the school. The march will still go on, as one of the the messages was that he refused to meet with his constituents to talk about jobs.

Matthew Yglesias has commented on the irrationality of Cantor’s argument.

Quote of the Day

“Now there’s a pushback movement (against Occupy Wall Street). There’s a group called the 53%. These are the people who say 47% don’t pay any federal taxes (yeah, because they’re f**king broke). The 53% say they barely get by, but they don’t blame the banks. Their slogan is, ‘Let’s bend over and take it, America!'” –Bill Maher

Two Polls Show Americans Prefer Occupy Wall Street Over Tea Party Two to One

With polls showing growing public opposition to the Tea Party movement, I had questions as to whether the Occupy Wall Street movement would receive public support. I initially suspected that most people might not pay attention to the views promoted by OSW and might be turned off by what might come across as another extremist group, especially with a word such as “occupy” in their name. Americans deserve more credit, both seeing through the misnamed Tea Party movement and showing support for the actual goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Two recent polls show a considerable difference between public opinion regarding the two groups.

Greg Sargent reported on one poll from Time Magazine:

Despite nonstop GOP and conservative disparagement of the Wall Street protests, the most detailed polling yet on Occupy Wall Street suggests that the public holds a broadly favorable view of the movement — and, crucially, the positions it holds.

Time released a new poll this morning finding that 54 percent view the Wall Street protests favorably, versus only 23 percent who think the opposite. Interestingly, only 23 percent say they don’t have an opinion, suggesting the protests have succeeded in punching through to the mainstream. Also: The most populist positions espoused by Occupy Wall Street — that the gap between rich and poor has grown too large; that taxes should be raised on the rich; that execs responsible for the meltdown should be prosecuted — all have strong support.

Meanwhile, the poll found that only 27 percent have a favorable view of the Tea Party. My handy Plum Line calculator tells me that this amounts to half the number of those who view Occupy Wall Street favorably.

Think Progress reported on this poll as well as another poll with similar results:

The new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows that Americans support the Occupy Wall Street protests by a two-to-one margin (37 percent in favor, 18 percent opposed) while more Americans view the Tea Party negatively (28 percent in favor, 41 percent opposed). This means the Occupy Wall Street protests have a net favorability of +19 percent while the Tea Party has a net favorability of -13 percent…

Not-Romney Continues To Lead GOP Race

The Republican base remains desperate for a not-Romney candidate and Herman Cain remains the top not-Romney following the collapse of the brief leads held by Michele Bachmann and then Rick Perry. Cain has even moved to a lead nationally in the latest Public Policy Survey, leading Romney 30 percent to 22 percent. Newt Gingrich has managed to  move ahead of Perry.

National polls have their limitations in evaluating primary battles. The real question is whether the far right can deny Romney victories in the early contests. A Romney victory in New Hampshire would not help if the right wing can keep him from winning elsewhere. David Frum discussed why the far right does not want Romney to win:

Why is it that the GOP base seems not to care a whit about Mitt? Perhaps it’s because he is the anti-Tea Party, anti-talk-radio, anti-anti-government candidate.

Romney will never be able to appeal to those who want “limited government.” He fundamentally cannot; he is, at bottom, a center-right candidate who believes that government, when run effectively and efficiently, can produce the best results for the most people. It’s a noble view—one that the GOP base seemingly hates him for.

Anti-Romney sentiment is clearly connected to the idea that if Romney wins, the Reagan Revolution somehow loses. A Romney presidency could actually restore the average American’s faith in the competency of Washington—a notion that GOP base voters find intolerable.

Conservatives and Tea Partiers were supposed to put an end to people like Romney. They had convinced themselves that the era of the Bush 41-style Republican was over and done with, and that the GOP would now and forever be controlled by the purebred conservatives, the ideological offspring of Reagan and Goldwater, the true believers who would finally cut Washington down to size and starve the statist beast until you could see its ribcage.

If Romney becomes the GOP nominee, it will prove that the Tea Party project was an abject failure, and that the momentum of 2010 was only temporary.

Romney doesn’t represent “taking the country back.” To the contrary, he represents taking the country forward, and recognizing government’s appropriate role in doing so.

It is tough enough for the Tea Party now that they are being eclipsed by the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has a major advantage over the Tea Party in at least recognizing were the problems are. The Tea Party, which is made up of ignorant pawns of the top one percent which seeks to replace American democracy and capitalism with plutocracy, would be seen as especially meaningless if they cannot prevent Romney from winning the nomination.

At this point it looks like the primary race will play out one of two ways. Most likely, without credible opposition, Romney will gradually accumulate delegates until he is unstoppable. The second most likely alternative is that one not-Romney candidate will peak early in the primary battle and, with the support of the GOP base, manage to defeat Romney. The manner in which different conservatives have peaked at different times raises a third possibility. Perhaps different conservatives will win at different times and in different states, preventing Romney from getting enough delegates to win, leaving an open convention battle between a large Romney delegation and multiple conservatives whose total delegates outnumber Romney’s. While unlikely, it is possible that it will be left to the Republican convention to choose  the not-Romney candidate.