Torchwood: Miracle Day episode 6, The Middlemen, showed the aftermath of Vera’s incineration. The episode also explored the conspiracy behind the miracle without providing any answers. Jack encountered a PhiCorp executive who was suspicious but knew very little. He’s only a middleman in the whole matter. One reason he didn’t know much was that an investigator he sent out wound up leaping from a building to create permanent unconsciousness–the closest thing left to suicide. The conclusion of the episode put Gwen in a situation where she had to betray Jack to save her family, with the U.K. preview of episode 7 , Immortal Sins, above. Rumors has it that the seventh episode starts to reveal what is going on.
There have been complaints in the U.K. about the Americanization of Torchwood. John Barrowman says the show is still true to its British roots:
“Yes, it’s a bit more glossy. We have other actors in it. We’re filming over there so we have to have other American actors in it. But it’s still 100% core, the heart of it is still British,” he told the Daily Star.
“It’s now partly made in America and partly made in the UK. Throughout the entire series we always return to Wales or some place in the UK. Anyone can turn it on and know exactly that they’re watching Torchwood.”
“The global success… I’m just as bowled over by it as everybody else.”
He added: “I’m never going to give up the roots and the core that I have in the UK. UK’s home. This is where I got the start, this is where my doors were opened. And I’ll never turn my back on it.”
Merlin has been picked up for a fifth season, with the fourth to air on the BBC this fall, and later in the United States. In the upcoming season, Arthur will be taking a leading role in place of Uther. Here are some additional spoilers as to season 4:
-We can expect series 4 to be darker and to see the return of Excalibur.
-New series of Merlin looks great! Much darker, lots of action and a hint of the sword in the stone!.
-With Uther a broken man, Prince Arthur has the emotional dilemma of either taking charge or waiting for his father to recover.
-Uther is a brokem man this series. This leaves a power vaccum in camelot which leaves arthur with a choice .
-Knights are proper knights now, Morgana looking after an injured Morgose, The return of “old Merlin”, lots of sword fights!.
-We’ll see a lot more from Arthur’s knights as their characters are explored.
-The creator said they have a specific mythiological end point for s5 which they have always been working toward.
The very last shot of series 4 has been filmed already (plenty of scenes to be filmed yet though.
While some authors have been trying to keep them off the internet, spoilers are not necessarily bad. The BBC reports on a study which showed that knowing the ending of a book can enhance enjoyment as opposed to ruining it. The experience would often be different, but not necessarily better or worse. Instead of reading a mystery trying to figure out who did it, readers instead might instead enjoy watching to see how the author gets to the ending they know is going to happen. Rather than worrying about spoilers leaking out on the internet, it would make more sense to encourage web sites to clearly label major spoilers to enable the reader to decide whether or not they want to know the ending.
It looks like hot actresses dig Star Trek. Karen Gillan recently said she is a Trekie during an interview at the San Diego Comic Con. Now Olivia Wilde says she’d do anything to be in a Star Trek movie:
While promoting her latest film Cowboys & Aliens, actress Olivia Wilde professed that she would be willing to paint herself outlandish colours to star in Star Trek XII.
“[Paint myself] green? That’s fine, I’ll do anything!” Olivia laughed to Cover Media.
Olivia grew up watching sci-fi television and films and finds the characters very inspiring.
“I grew up watching Star Trek with my family,” Olivia recounted. “There have been great female characters in Trek over the years.”
“Captain Kathryn Janeway, she did it well,” Olivia explained. “She’s got that voice I could never compete with.”
Sex And The City was an enjoyable television show on HBO, but the movies have been rather lame. I think they are figuring that out. Sarah Jessica Parker might produce a new television series (with new cast) before going ahead with a third movie.
Starz has released the following synopses of the first seven of ten episodes of Torchwood: Miracle Day. Episodes air one day later, on Saturdays, in Canada. There is no official word yet regarding airing in the U.K. but one site has stated that there is a one hour gap on their schedule for July 9th, leading them to suspect that this is when it will start.
Starz has posted this behind the scenes preview of the series:
There will be differences in the American and British episodes. One reason might be to remove some of the cultural references which American audiences might not understand, but this sounds like a questionable move considering the number of shows from the U.K. which have aired in the United States–including previous seasons of Torchwood. I also wonder if there might be sex scenes which Starz would air which the BBC would not.
Russel T. Davies has said that the show will not abandon its Welsh roots and will include scenes from Wales. I hope they do not feel like they need to cut back on such scenes for American audiences. Besides previous seasons of Torchwood, I have managed to enjoy shows set in Wales such as Gavin and Stacey, despite not understanding all the cultural references on the shows.
Tardis Newsroom has videos of interviews with producers and cast of Torchwood: Miracle Day.
Actor John de Lancie says that his upcoming role in Torchwood: Miracle Day is one of a “gruff” CIA specialist who is involved in the final three episodes of the season.
“I’m a recurring character in the final three episodes of the series,” he told SFX. “My character is CIA, very gruff, [and] unimpressed by the ‘Torchwood clowns’ as he’d call them.”
De Lancie, best known for his role as Q in the Star Trek franchise, added that the new season of Torchwood still has a “British” feel.
“My sense is the show is still quite British,” he said. “It has, mostly, an American crew, but the sensibility of it, led by Russell [T Davies], is very British.”
He also claimed that Miracle Day is “completely different… to Star Trek” and that his role involved “no technobabble”.
“It’s someone’s future, potentially real,” he explained. “I enjoyed that.”
The video of an interview with Bill Pullman on BBC Breakfast is above.
True Blood returns tonight. TV Guide has a list of ten spoilers–none of which I believe will ruin the show for anyone.
Weeds takes a trip into the future. The upcoming season, returning this week, takes place three years after last season, with Nancy getting out of prison.
Casting news for various shows is starting to come out. The most interesting is that Natalie Dormer of Tudors will be appearing on Game of Thrones. She’ll be playing Margaery Tyrell, the betrothed wife to a new contender for the throne. Filming for the second season begins in July.
The final episode of Doctor Who until fall, A Good Man Goes To War, aired this weekend on BBC America. My review of the episode, after it aired on the BBC, previously appeared here. We now know who River Song is, but don’t really all that much more about how she fits into the Doctor’s life. Mysteries from the opening episodes of the season also remain to be answered.
Wired has video answers to some questions from fans answered by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and producer Beth Willis.
The Guardian reports that Doctor Who has been renewed for fourteen episodes (following the six episodes still to air this season). There is no official word, but it is assumed that this will mean a Christmas episode and a thirteen episode season (possibly in two parts again). Matt Smith will be returning. There is no official word regarding Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill, but between the history of limited stays for companions and their commitments with other projects, it is assumed this is their final season
Companions sometimes do come back. John Borrowman, currently staring in Torchwood, has said he would be willing to return to Doctor Who as Captain Jack Harkness.
Torchwood begins a ten episode series on July 8. (Comments here include some spoilers which have been included in interviews with cast and crew.) This season, Torchwood will also be shown in the United States on Starz. The series has been set up to make it easy for American viewers who have not watched Torchwood in the past to start here. The series started as a spin off of Doctor Who.
The premise is pretty simple with Torchwood having been an agency to fight threats from aliens and other unknown entities. It was initially formed by Queen Victoria in 1879 to protect us against the Doctor. In recent years, Captain Jack Harkness, a former companion of the Doctor who is immortal, has run a newer version of the organization. The first season started with the recruitment of policewoman Gwen Cooper (played by Eve Myles).
The first two seasons of Torchwood were comparable to stand-alone episodes of shows such as The X Files and Fringe while the third season contained a single story, Children of Earth. By the end of Children of Earth, Torchwood’s facilities were destroyed and only Jack and Gwen remained alive, leaving them open to reinvent the show for American audiences.
Changing the format to season long stories helps solve one of the problems of shows such as X-Files. A continuing mythology is more interesting, but if drawn out too long, as on X-Files, can get to the point where it no longer makes sense. Changing to stories with five to ten episodes provides the benefits of a continuing story line, but allows for resolution before it goes on too long.
Torchwood: Miracle Day is about a miracle happening on earth–nobody dies. There is also one twist. Captain Jack, who is normally immortal, can die. SFX interviewed show runner Russel T. Davies. Here is a portion:
SFX: The basic concept of Miracle Day – the end of death – is massive. It changes religion, economics… You could run with that in a hundred different directions!
“You’re right, and we sat in a room for a long time all talking about those consequences.”
SFX: No death means no consequences, so I could imagine a three-minute-warning scenario where everyone’s looting and having sex in the streets!
“Well, in episode three there’s a great scene where Gwen and [CIA analyst] Esther walk through Washington at night, and it’s kind of a wild atmosphere, because half of the world is out drinking and the other half are at home praying, so we are acknowledging that sort of stuff. But at the same time, I think you should never forget that during the greatest national crises people just go to work, and go home, and get on with it. If this really happened, you and I would just carry on as normal. If something conceptual and huge has happened, nonetheless, you’ve got a deadline tomorrow, and I need to go to work and write a script tomorrow, and if our granddad is ill in bed, he’s still ill. So it’s a very unusual concept, in that it’s hard to dramatise in many ways. That’s why I like it. It’s a very powerful concept, because it takes hold subtly, and you have to find ways to dramatise it, because it’s not immediately obvious. The overpopulation isn’t obvious – it’s not like an extra 200 million people land on Earth today. So it’s unusual in that sense, and it’s been fun to dramatise and really challenging. And we’re still telling a great big rattling thriller, so you find ways to dramatise that.”
SFX: How long is the mystery about what’s caused it all sustained?
“It’s not one of those things that’ll annoy you! Round about episode six you start to get concrete answers, and episodes nine and ten finally explain it all properly. But all the way through Jack’s kinda ahead of the game in working out what’s going on. It’s a mystery, but in a way it’s not that mysterious. Obviously something’s happened to the world, but the most fascinating thing about what happens in terms of science fiction plotting is that it happens instantaneously. It’s not a virus, it hasn’t spread, it didn’t take a day for it to travel from the North pole to the South pole; it’s literally a flick of the switch and it’s happened. To Jack, that instantly suggests what has happened, and that takes a few episodes to evolve. It’s more about explaining what has happened to society while this has happened, that’s the real meat of the story. But it is explained in the end, and finding it out… this story goes back in history as well. We’ve got episodes that go back to 1927, so it’s a broad story covering continents and covering time as well; it’s one of those stories with a plot that’s been planned for decades, so there’s a lot of expanse and muscle in the story. The 1927 stuff is beautiful. I’m giving away too much!”
There are a few other things which newcomers to the show should be aware of. Gwen recently had a baby. She married the father of the baby, Rhys Williams, during the second season. Jack Harkness wound up sacrificing his grandson last season on Torchwood: Children of Earth, which affects his relationship with one of the characters this season.
Jack Harkness, played by gay actor John Borrowman, will sleep with pretty much anyone of any species or sex. Fortunately, to make it easy to remain true to the show’s history, the series will appear in the United States on pay cable, where pretty much anything goes. Entertainment Weekly reports that they will not shy away from the sexual aspect of the show:
According to the show’s cast and showrunner, the new series doesn’t hold back. “I knew they would be true to the show and not change drastically,” says star John Barrowman. “If it was watered down, I wouldn’t have done it. For those people who are our stanch fans, it’s going to have the heart and soul of Torchwood which we’ve always had, plus the energy and excitement of a show that’s bigger and better.”
As for his character’s love life, Barrowman says Capt. Jack “gets to have full-on boy-sex a couple of times. On those days going to work I’d wake up and Scott my partner would say, ‘What are you filming today?’ And I’d say, ‘Oh it’s going to be a tough day, I get to have sex with a 24 year old.’”
For Americans checking out Torchwood for the first time, a TV action hero who beats up bad guys, saves the world, and wins the boy is likely a new experience. But showrunner Russell T Davies says that, contrary to what Americans might assume about all European countries, our primetime lineup is more progressive about showing gay characters. “The portrayal of gay, bisexual, and lesbian characters [in America] is currently way ahead of Britain,” Davies says. “The kids on Glee, the beauty and detail of that couple on Modern Family. We’ve got nothing like that. Even a nice Republican sitcom like $#*! My Dad Says, a show I quite liked, was stacked with intelligent gay-friendly stories, and that’s in a corner you’d never expect to find them. If course, it’s all the gay men and women sitting on writing teams pushing their stories forward, which I think is wonderful.”
The real difference between British shows and American network television is what can be shown. American shows, even network shows, have no problem with gay characters. Shows from the U.K. have had openly gay characters, but can be less open about their homosexuality. They have had a gay hero on Torchwood. On the other hand, Stacey (Joanna Page) on Gavin and Stacey had an openly gay brother but her Uncle Bryn’s (Rob Brydon) implied homosexuality is never openly mentioned.
The BBC is not going to be as upset with a minor “wardrobe malfunction” or brief nudity which could never be shown on American network television. In contrast, pay cable frequently has nudity. For example, Starz has had nudity on shows such as Camelot. While I don’t expect them to go as far on Torchwood, Starz should not have any problems with scenes which could appear on the BBC but not American broadcast networks.
A Good Man Goes To War provided some answers, left others unanswered, and ended with a cliff hanger which might carry through the entire second half of the season of Doctor Who. American audiences watching on BBC America remain a week behind, learning in The Almost People that Amy was a Ganger and not really with the Doctor for quite a long time. The Almost People was discussed here, and this contains major spoilers for those who have not seen A Good Man Goes To War.
Kidnapping Amy and her new born daughter Melody provided reason for the Doctor to gather those who owed him favors and go to war to rescue them. The Ganger technology used by Amy’s kidnapper, Madame Kovarian, was clearly far more advanced than that used in the previous two episodes, extending through time and even beyond our universe. Amy probably had been kidnapped before the events of The Impossible Astronaut. Unlike the Gangers who became independent beings in The Rebel Flesh, Amy’s Ganger remained linked to the real Amy, who awoke when the Doctor destroyed the Ganger at the end of The Almost People. It was necessary for the Doctor to destroy Amy’s Ganger so that Madame Kovarian would not know what the Doctor was planning.
The rescue, like many Doctor Who plots, had many holes in the story and was written to throw in as many ideas as Steven Moffat could possibly fit in. This included a wide variety of beings recruited to assist the Doctor, the most interesting being Commander Strax, a Sontaran punished by being turned into a nurse and forced to have compassion for the weak, plus Madame Vastra, a lesbian Victorian Silurian. Huge Vonneville’s pirate and his son from The Curse of the Black Spothad a quick appearance, but it is questionable what real assistance they would have provided.
The kitchen sink extended beyond the Doctor’s allies. The fat and thin gay married marines were quickly introduced, only to have one beheaded when “recruited” by the Headless Monks, and the other was forgotten. The Headless Monks have been mentioned when the Doctor and Amy visited a museum in The Time of Angels, part of the vast continuity to the series provided by Moffat. Lorna Bucket also seems to have entered and left the Doctor Who universe far too quickly.
The episode provided the final teases that the father of Amy’s daughter might be the Doctor’s before firmly establishing that Rory was the father. Her daughter had both human and Time Lord DNA due to having been conceived while the Tardis was in flight. We also learned an interesting, if not crucial fact about the Doctor. Not only does the TARDIS enable him to translate the language of any planet he is on. He can even speak “baby.” I wonder if he can also communicate with my cats.
The key thing we learned from this episode is that, as the only water in the forest is the river (previously noted by Idris in The Doctor’s Wife), River gets translated to Pond. In addition, Melody becomes Song and the names are reversed. Therefore Amy’s daughter, Melody Pond, is also River Song.
This certainly explains why River could pilot the TARDIS. This also explains why River could not appear until the end of the battle of Demon’s Run, or at least until the real Melody was taken away. She could not overlap with her own time line. I wonder if rescuing Melody will mean the end of the Doctor’s relationship with River. It is also not clear where on the Doctor’s personal time line the implied romance with River took place.
Now we know the full meaning of when River said, “the first time I met him I was just a young girl and he knew every single thing about me, imagine what that does to a girl.” Amy Pond and Lorna Bucket also learned first hand, and did not have to imagine. River knew the Doctor in other ways, including his darker side which has included the destruction of the other Time Lords and initiating the killing of the Silence on earth. River warned: “This was exactly you, all of this. All of it. You make them so afraid. When you began all those years ago, sailing off to see the universe, did you ever think you’d become this? The man who can turn an army around at the mention of his name.”
Is this why River ultimately kills “”the greatest man I ever knew, ” assuming that it was the Doctor that she killed? Perhaps she killed him as a child in the astronaut suit in Day of the Moon for reasons which at this point are totally unclear. Now that the Doctor learned about his upcoming “death” from Amy in The Almost People, he is presumably making preparations and this was all part of some huge plan. I suspect we won’t really understand what happened in that scene until the end of the season, which is also likely to be the end of Amy and Rory’s time with the Doctor.
The cliff hanger to end the episode was the Doctor going off to rescue Melody. It was not a traditional cliff hanger as we know that Melody Pond/River Song will be rescued. I bet that Moffat ended this portion of the season in this manner to leave us questioning how all this fits together. Successful cliff hangers, from who shot J.R. on Dallas to the ending of Best of Both Worlds on Star Trek The Next Generation benefit a show when they keep the fans talking and speculating until the answer is revealed.
It looks like a lot remains to happen to Melody before she is ultimately rescued. It appears from The Impossible Astronaut and Day of the Moon that the Silence become involved, she is trapped in a space suit, shot at by her mother, and has the strength to bust out. It appears that she escapes and is on her own, making it to New York City where she regenerates.
The season resumes this fall with an episode entitled Let’s Kill Hitler, suggesting the search for Melody Pond is a journey through space and time, also to involve the 1960′s as seen in Day of the Moon.
The Almost People aired in the U.K. this weekend but BBC America decided not to show this week’s episode of Doctor Who because of the Memorial Day holiday. Between those who watched on BBC and those who found other ways to download the episode, I assume that a substantial proportion of fans have now seen it. Warning, there are major spoilers here for those who plan to watch on BBC America next week.
The second part of this two-part story was better than last week’s episode, The Rebel Flesh (reviewed here). The story took advantage of the set-up in the first episode, although this might have worked better if they could have had an extended full hour episode to tell a slightly condensed version of the story in a single sitting. The fight against the Gangers and ultimate conclusion made a good story, but far from a great one. Plot wise, the high point was Jennifer’s deception of Rory with a second Ganger, which I had already anticipated. The best parts of the episode involved the Doctor’s Ganger, and of course the final couple of minutes (video below).
Steven Moffat has added so much to the series with references back to the early years of Doctor Who. The Ganger of the Doctor was amusing as it went through the previous regenerations of the Doctor. This included the third Doctor (originally played by Jon Pertwee) saying, “”reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.” While Pertwee became known for this phrase, he had actually only said it once.
The conclusion progressed the story arc involving the Schroedinger’s pregnancy in Amy, but I suspect that other events of this week’s story are also important to the entire season. The episode ended with learning that the Amy who has been with the Doctor is a Ganger while Amy is actually having a baby. As most already predicted, the woman with the eye patch was involved with the delivery. Seeing the Doctor “kill” the Ganger (or actually sever the link) now gives Karen Gillan two scenes this season in which she appeared to die. Rory retains his lead in overall appearances of getting killed.
One question is when the switch took place. It might have been when the Silence held Amy captive, but I suspect it was sooner as there had already been a scene showing the woman in the eye patch earlier in the episode. It could have happened during the gap we did not see between The Impossible Astronaut and Day of the Moon. With the Doctor saying Amy had been gone for a long time, the switch could have occurred even earlier, such as before Amy came out of the Pandorica in The Big Bang. Adding to my suspicion that the events of last season play into this, including the unexplained source for the destruction of the universe, are the promotional pictures for next week’s episode in which Rory again appears Roman (such as above). The episode also contains multiple old enemies, as were seen in The Pandorica Opens.
This might suggest that Amy was impregnated by someone or something other than her husband. If Rory is the father, my suspicion is that it did not happen before their wedding. After all, this is technically billed as a children’s show. If the baby is the child seen at the end of Day of the Moon, the father might be a Time Lord, unless living in the Tardis was the cause. This also raises a question of whether the picture of Amy holding a baby in the orphanage in Day of the Moon was the real Amy or a Ganger.
Ever since The Rebel Flesh, there has been speculation that the “future” version of the Doctor who was killed is really a Ganger. That would certainly solve the problem of having more regenerations before the Doctor dies, regardless of whether it is in two hundred years or much further in the future. I became more convinced of this possibility after both watching The Almost People and going back to the Doctor’s death scene in The Impossible Astronaut. For a few seconds, the Doctor’s face reminded me of the faces of the Gangers before they fully established human form–something which would not have meant anything to viewers at the time the show first aired.
Events in The Almost People add further to this possibility. Having a Ganger of Amy which was present for some time makes it more likely that other Gangers could be present in other episodes. The Doctor was concerned in The Almost People with finding out whether a Ganger of himself could fool others, also suggesting he had a plan involving another use of a Ganger.
Next week, in A Good Man Goes To War, we presumably will see the birth of Amy’s child, and it is rumored that River Song’s identity will be revealed at the end of the episode. It has long been suspected that there is a connection between Amy Pond and River Song beyond having a body of water in each of their names. One possibility is that River might be Amy’s daughter. Promotional material for the upcoming episode reports (another possible spoiler) that Amy will have a daughter named Melody. Perhaps River Song is the daughter of Melody Pond, using both music and water in the names, if not Amy’s daughter.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen as much disagreement about an episode of Doctor Who as in the reviews to The Rebel Flesh. The underlying idea is that artificial doppelgangers are used to do the dangerous work under the control of their human counterparts. A solar storm turned them into self-aware autonomous beings. The Doctor tried to have them all get along, but of course something went wrong and the first part of this two-part story ended with the two groups at war. This was all predictable very early in the story, as was the eventual cliff hanger. As was foreshadowed throughout the episode, the first part ended by revealing a doppelganger of the Doctor. Of course the episode showed that Amy Pond is/is not pregnant and had a scene showing the lady with the eye patch. In contrast to many other recent episodes, Rory did not die.
I really don’t think it is possible to review the episode alone. If the second part turns out to be a great conclusion, many will believe it worked out well to use the first part for setting all of this up, leaving a full episode to work out the consequences. A doppelganger version of the Doctor certainly does open the door for a more interesting second half. However, if the second half goes nowhere, this week’s episode will be seem pretty pointless.
American audiences who wait for the BBC America showing will have to wait two weeks to find out how this turns out. BBC America has decided against showing the next episode on Memorial Day weekend when fewer people will be viewing. This certainly defeats the plan to air the same day internationally to reduce piracy. Many fans will download the conclusion next week to satisfy their curiosity about the ending and avoid spoilers. Maybe this episode wasn’t so compelling that American viewers could not wait, but with Moffat promising a huge cliff-hanger to conclude the spring episodes it is hard to see hard core fans being willing to remain a week behind.
Neil Gaiman had a live question and answer session about The Doctor’s Wife with full transcript available here. While it is really not up to Gaiman to resolve this issue, he was asked about his view of the limitation to thirteen regenerations:
Question: If there are dozens of new control rooms that the doctor hadn’t even seen, does this mean that the plan is to just keep going with the regenerations and ignore the rule of 13 bodies? @Acey90
Gaiman: It’s interesting, that rule. It was obviously bendable to begin with (the Time Lords gave the Master a whole new round of regenerations). So I’ve always thought that it was more a law like a speed limit is a law than like Gravity is a law.
And if there are no longer any police to make you observe the speed limit, you can drive as fast as you like. Although it’s a lot more dangerous.
And that’s my opinion. As to what Mr Moffat thinks, he may either have a plan, or he may figure it’s not his problem, but is one for eight or ten years down the line.
Doctor Who’s top eleven catch phrases for the eleventh Doctor are presented in the video above.
[The Torchwood video previously posted has been taken off of You Tube. The trailer can still be seen at the Starz site.]
Torchwood: Miracle Day premiers on July 8. Trailers started to get released last week, and I’m sure more promotional material will become available. Episode names have been released (subject to change). Star Trek fans are also expressing interest in the series as it includes former Star Trek actors John De Lancie and Nana Visitor. There are also reports that Eliza Dushku will be staring in a web series entitled Torchwood: Web of Lies to coincide with Miracle Day.
Many additional trailers for upcoming series were made publicly available, and others with private links were distributed to bloggers. I’m sure I’ll be talking about upcoming shows more over the next few months. Above is the trailer for the J.J. Abrams show, Alcatraz. Abrams discussed the show further here. It looks like Alcatraz is to the conventional prison shows as Lost was to island shows such as Gilligan’s Island.
Star Tours has reopened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Above are some highlights of the grand reopening.
Unless you were locked up in the Pandorica, you should know about the two big stories of the week: the season premiere of Doctor Who and the death of Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith). A video on Sladen’s career is posted above. My initial post on Elisabeth Sladen, which includes some major scenes from her career and tributes, was posted here. This week’s episode of Doctor Who, The Impossible Astronaut, began with a message in memory of Elisabeth Sladen on the BBC broadcast. A memorial show was broadcast afterward on CBBC. The full video of My Sarah Jane A Tribute To Elisabeth Sladen is posted here. David Tennant had this to say about Elisabeth Sladen on BBC Breakfast:
Those who need a refresher coarse on forty-seven years and eleven Doctors before beginning this season can check out this video which recaps it all in just six minutes:
Both NPR’s Morning Edition and The New York Times had stories about how this season is starting on the same day in the United Kingdom, The United States, and Canada (and soon after in Australia) to reduce pirating of the show. When there was a several month delay, there would typically be 200,000 illegal downloads the week an episode aired. The article reports that BBC America will not air a new episode on Memorial Day weekend, and then be a week behind for the remaining June episodes. That will get many US fans to resume downloading on the day it first airs.Even the several hour delay between airings will make downloading irresistible. I had a high definition copy hours before I could have watched a standard definition version on cable, but if I ever get a Nielsen box I promise to turn on BBC America when Doctor Who is on.
The Impossible Astronaut began both what is probably a season-long arc and a two-part story with events of a magnitude which is more characteristic of a season finale. Now that there is no longer a gap before the U.S. version airs, posts here on completed episodes will no longer avoid spoilers.
The episode began with a few minutes of fez hats and other fun before bringing Amy, Rory, and River Song to a meeting with the Doctor (now wearing a stetson) in Utah. While breaking out of prison was no surprise, I’m not certain as to how River Song managed to get to Utah in 2011, but she always has been a resourceful person. Soon afterward the Doctor was killed, and then shot again during the regeneration cycle by someone in an astronaut outfit, leading to the Doctor’s actual death. This left the three with no choice but to burn the Doctor’s body as it goes out into the lake.
Obviously we knew that the Doctor could not really be dead, and figured that it was all part of some sort of plan, considering that the Doctor clearly knew what was going to happen and told the other three not to interfere. He even arranged for gasoline to be delivered for his funeral pyre. This was delivered by ex-FBI agent Canton Delaware, played by the father of Mark Sheppard who played the ex-agent in the 1969 portion of the story.
Moffat used some of his “timey-wimey” stuff to continue the story with a younger version of the Doctor, which was anticipated after a point was made of the Doctor’s age when he first met up with his three companions. Theoretically the story could continue after establishing that the Doctor would die when two hundred years older, but this would mean no further regenerations and that Matt Smith would be the last actor to play the Doctor. It is more likely that they will resolve this by preventing the Doctor from actually dying, and this was confirmed in an interview with Matt Smith.
While we generally know when watching a show that the main character will not be killed, Doctor Who has always appeared to place the main character in less danger due to his ability to regenerate. This episode shows that the Doctor can be killed, and that the character can feel he is at risk when taking actions which might endanger his life.
Knowing this detail of the Doctor’s future changes the dynamics as this time it is the companions who knew more, leaving the Doctor feeling very uncomfortable. He finally agreed to trust his friends and do what they say when Amy swore on something very important to her, “fish fingers and custard.”
They traveled back to 1969, with the TARDIS materializing in Richard Nixon’s oval office. I had expected that they would make use of a pre-existing set, but Doctor Who Confidential showed the crew actually building their version of the oval office. The Doctor wound up getting involved with the mystery of a young girl calling Richard Nixon every night, regardless of where he was. A new villain, which Amy first got a glimpse of in Utah, was present–The Silence. With the Weeping Angels, Steven Moffat created a threat which would kill you if you blink and stop looking at them. The Silence is even harder to fight as the moment you look away you forget that you even saw them. They were presumably behind the destruction of the universe last season, and Doctor Who fans are reporting evidence of their appearance in several previous episodes.
The Silence told Amy that she must tell the Doctor something, which probably explains why she suddenly told him that she is pregnant at what was not a very convenient time. Presumably their instructions, while forgotten the moment Amy looked away, remained somewhere in her mind. The episode ended with a cliff hanger in which we found that the little girl who had been calling Richard Nixon was in an astronaut suit. Amy, assuming this is the same person who had killed the Doctor, shot the girl.
The cliff hanger left a lot to speculate about. Was the little girl in 1969 the same person in the astronaut suit who killed the Doctor in 2011? Could the girl be Amy’s daughter? Perhaps it was River Song who was in the astronaut suit and killed the Doctor. We were reminded of River’s story (presumably to allow new viewers to catch up) and the Doctor even asked her who she killed. (“No spoilers.”) In Flesh and Stone River said she had killed “the best man I’ve ever known.” She also foreshadowed her own “death,” at a time when the Doctor would no longer know her, in Forrest of the Dead. Perhaps River is even Amy’s daughter. Someone known as Pond just might name a daughter after another type of body of water. Hopefully we will get some answers next week in Day of the Moon:
Karen Gillan does say there will be a lot of revelations in an interview in the Scotsman.com:
“There are going to be a lot of revelations,” she suggests tantalisingly. “There’s one huge one that will change everything. Steven Moffat went around everybody and only told them the bits they needed to know, and we’re not allowed to discuss it with each other, which is really relevant for the whole story.”
In an interview with The Telegraph, Karen Gillan said she wanted to be like Robin Williams, or perhaps Birttany Murphy. Karen Gillan’s interview with Craig Ferguson aired on Friday–a video is posted here.
In other Doctor Who news, Meredith Vieira and The Today Show will be traveling to the set of Doctor Who in May. Vieira will have a cameo role on the show.
Doctor Who has been nominated for three Hugo Awards, including two stories written by Steven Moffat, A Christmas Carol and The Pandorica Opens/Big Bang. A third episode of Doctor Who, Vincent and the Doctor written by Richard Curtis also received a nomination. In addition, a nomination went to a book entitled Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It, edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O’Shea.
The TV boss and lead writer has opted to give the aliens a rest in 2011.
He wants to give them another make-over and bring them back with a bang next year.
Diehard fans hated the multi-coloured fat Daleks from the last series and dubbed them Dipsy, Tinky Winky, Laa-Laa and Po after children’s favourites the Teletubbies.
Moffat said: “We will bring back the Daleks.
“But there will be lots of different kinds.
“I want them to come back in a really brilliant way.
I started the post by noting there were two important events this week. Fortunately we escaped a third. According to Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, April 21, 2011 was Judgment Day, when the machines rose up to destroy most of humanity. We might have already been on borrowed time as the original Terminator movie set Judgment Day on August 4, 1997.
As teased in the new issue of EW, everyone favorite creature of habit is parting ways with his longtime roomie, Leonard.
“You have a situation where Priya is staying with her brother, and Leonard is spending time with Pryia,” executive producer Billy Prady says. “The current sleeping arrangement isn’t the best one. I think a little experimentation with people in different spots [is necessary].”
But who is the (un?)lucky soul to take Leonard’s spot in the apartment? Prady wouldn’t say, specifically, but guarantees, “It will be a human, and it will be someone we know.” Prady elaborates: “One of the things that Sheldon will [learn from] his new roommate — temporary or permanent, we don’t know — is just how long Leonard has been skating by. He’s going to have a terrific experience with this new roommate.”
The author speculates that it will be Amy Farrah Fowler. That is a definite possibility, but the two are so much alike. There could be far more conflict if Penny moves in with Sheldon to save money. There is already a bizarre chemistry between the two.
Ausiello on Friday Night Lights series finale which airs Wednesday night (no spoilers as to story–safe to read even if waiting for NBC to air the season):
Yes, there’s a montage-y leap forward — less than a year, more than a month — at the end of Wednesday’s super-sized swan song on DirecTV. Prepare yourselves, because it packs an emotional punch the likes of which I have not experienced, well, ever. The final scene in particular just destroyed me. I’m so not ready to let go of these characters. Speaking of The End, I’ll be posting a post mortem with exec producer Jason Katims immediately following the finale. If you’re not a complete basket case — heck, even if you are — I strongly recommend you drop by and give it a read.
Even before Fringe returned on Friday, John Noble suggested the possibility of either his character or Peter ultimately getting killed. The episode, Firefly, was on this topic. The episode featured the butterfly effect, in this case involving a firefly which led to another man’s son getting killed as a result of Walter saving Peter. The Observers had Walter puzzled with him coming to the false conclusion that they were using very convoluted means to save his life. In reality it was a test for Walter, to see if he could make a decision which would put Peter’s life in danger should Peter’s death be necessary to set things right between the two universes.
We also saw that, while the two remain separate, the relationship between Peter and Olivia remains important. Jasika Nicole revealed before the episode aired that the romance is not over.
Fringe producers Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman gave some hints about the show in this interview. Here’s just a few questions from the full interview:
Obviously, we’ve all gotten really attached to the cast of characters “over there,” including Lincoln, Charlie and the autistic version of Astrid. Now that none of our three main characters is there, are we going to see less of that world? Or will we still find ways to look in on them?
We will absolutely still be visiting the alternate world — we love those characters too. One of our goals from the first half of this season was to “earn” the ability to tell stories set exclusively Over There, even after Olivia returned home… And after all, Bolivia’s story (and Walternate’s) is now inextricably tied to the story going on Over Here.
Are we going to start seeing signs that “our” universe is unstable in the same way that “over there” is unstable?
Absolutely. Back in 1985 Nina warned Walter that his crossing over to the other universe to save Peter would damage both universes. We have seen the accelerated damage that has been going on Over There (Vortexes, Mutant Insects, etc) and now we will start to see that the physical constraints of our side may be beginning to fray as well.
During the episodes set “over there,” we got a lot of hints that Walternate might be more responsible for the devastation to his universe than he’s letting on. It seems like right now, “our” Walter is living with almost unimaginable guilt for having wrecked an entire universe. Without giving any huge spoilers, do you think it’s possible to spread the blame for the destruction “over there” without letting Walter off the hook, and thus taking away the guilt that makes him so compelling?
Nope. It’s pretty much all Walter’s fault! Apparently playing God has it’s consequences. Walternate has been doing his best to contain the damage to his world – and has had to make some hard choices, namely when/if to amber innocent civilians in order to “plug the dike”. But it would be unfair to say he is responsible for exacerbating the damage.
I’ve read elsewhere that Olivia’s evil stepdad will be showing up. Is this for just one episode, or is he going to have an ongoing arc?
We will meet him in an episode later this season – he will largely be used to highlight an emotional trajectory for Olivia. But, in the vein of spoilers, the story is set 25 yrs ago.
And finally, I have to ask — how set in stone is the endgame for this series? If it winds up ending early, are we going to get the ending you’d originally planned? Is there a chance the show could end on a cliffhanger?
We know where the show ends. And we know several of the season-long chapters that will occur along the way. Much of our storytelling has been seeded from very early on. The only real question is how many of these chapters we will be able to explore.
J.J. Abrams believes Fringe deserves a fourth season, but should not dumb down to attract more viewers:
“[Fringe is about] a woman who was experimented on when she was a kid, about a man who might not have come from here [and] about a father who is holding incredible secrets, including those that mean war,” he explained. “To not embrace that means that we will fail on other people’s terms.”
He continued: “If we’re going to fail, let’s go down doing the most bad ass, weirdest, interesting, sophisticated version of a series that we could possibly do.”
Anne Hathaway has beaten out other actresses including Keira Knightly, Natalie Portman, and Jessica Biel to play Selina Kyle (Catwoman) in The Dark Knight Rises. The movie begins shooting in May and is expected to be released in July, 2012. Hathaway will also have a guest appearance on Glee.
One of the problems I see with The Cape is that having Vince not reveal that he is alive to his wife seems to be a contrived and unrealistic situation. Summer Glau believes the situation might get even more complicated:
Summer Glau has hinted that her character Orwell could have a romance on The Cape.
Speaking to Zap2It, Glau explained that Orwell and Vince (David Lyons) “need each other”.
“They don’t like to say it,” she said. “I can’t speak for David and his portrayal of Vince, but my portrayal of Orwell is that she finally feels like she’s not alone.
“She’s been doing this for so many years by herself, and to finally meet someone who’s standing up for what she believes in changes her life.”
Glau acknowledged that Orwell could develop romantic feelings for Vince in the future, saying: “From my perspective, it would be impossible for Orwell to be in this situation with him every day and not have dangerous feelings and thoughts. His motive is to get home to his family and be with his wife and son, but for her I think it’s a little bit more complicated.”
Merlin has been off to a great start for the third season on SyFy (and previously broadcast on the BBC). The show is increasingly moving its characters towards the situations in the King Arthur legends. For those who want to more quickly move beyond their younger versions, Starz has Camelot premiering in April. A Trailer for the series is above.
IO9 has some ideas on what to expect from the Battlestar Galactica prequel, Blood and Chrome.
Since 2005 the Doctor Who Christmas Special has become the major television event on the BBC and this year it is being shown around most of the English-speaking world the same day. Of course for some of us it just wouldn’t be Christmas without downloading a copy instead of waiting until 9:00 p.m. when BBC America will be broadcasting the episode. While I will not give away the ending to the main story, there are lots of spoilers as to the other fun stuff in this episode.
Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol is Steven Moffat’s first shot at the Christmas special. Moffat wrote an episode based upon the classic by Charles Dickens and interweaving all that “timey-wimey” stuff which Moffat does best. The episodes starts with the space liner which Amy and Rory are taking their honeymoon on being in danger of crashing. The two went from the honeymoon suite to the bridge. We can see that they were role playing with Rory back in his Roman suit from The Pandorica Opens and Amy back in her kiss-o-gram police woman outfit with the very short skirt.
Amy contacted the Doctor to help, but the Doctor found that the only one who could save them just didn’t care to, considering that the ship wasn’t going to crash on his house. The Doctor became The Ghost of Christmas Past to change the man’s life so that he would be willing to help. There is not very much of Amy and Rory in the remainder of the episode, but Amy did briefly become The Ghost of Christmas Present.
Michael Gambon made a great Scrooge and Katherine Jenkins was excellent in her acting debut, with her singing becoming an important part of the story. We also go to see sharks, the Doctor in a fez hat and a scarf. There were many trips through time, including one to a party at Frank Sinatra’s house which led to the Doctor getting married to Marilyn Monroe. (The doctor does insist it was not a real wedding chapel). The best line of the episode was, “Marilyn, get your coat.”
There were also some other memorable lines, including “Father Christmas. Santa Claus. Or as I call him, Jeff” and, “Do you know, in 900 years of time and space, I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important.”
At the conclusion of the episode the above promo for Series 6 was shown. It includes a naked River Song and two more great lines. The Doctor is wearing a stetson saying,”I wear a Stetson now. Stetsons are cool!” The clip concludes with, “There’s one thing I can tell you. Monsters are real.”
Although I still didn’t have the patience to wait until tonight, it was a good idea to broadcast the special on Christmas in the United States as opposed to a delay as in the past. There are also plans to do the same with the entire next season. Episodes will be broadcast the same day in the United States as on the BBC. Some of the interviews I posted earlier in the week leading up to the Christmas special, such as this one with Matt Smith, have very vague hints as to what is to come.
Steven Moffat was interviewed by The New York Times. He discussed Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol but was also asked a few questions about Sherlock:
Are you being asked all the time when the Doctor and your Sherlock Holmes will meet up?
I think everyone who’s passing me in the streets is suggesting that at the moment. I think there are problems of doing that, because then you would say that Sherlock Holmes lives in the same world as the Doctor, and there are Daleks and all sorts of things. If a Sherlock Holmes story depends on time travel being impossible, it’s quite hard if he’s a personal friend of the Doctor’s, isn’t it?
I agree. Besides, the personalities of the two are too similar and there’s little sense in having both in the same story. I’d much rather have the Doctor and Amy meet the characters in Moffat’s previous show, Coupling.
The Scottish Sun interviewed John Borrowman regarding upcoming seasons of Torchwood. The big news is that the current plan is to make the joint show between the BBC and Starz for seven years. That’s still probably not long enough to see Captain Jack’s transformation to The Face Of Boe. From the interview:
“But I have turned down a load of other shows to make Torchwood. We’ll be filming it in LA as it’s now a collaboration between the BBC and the Starz Network in America.
“They’re planning to make it for the next seven years. So I’ll be spending six months a year in Hollywood and six back in the UK.”
John will be 50 by then – doesn’t he worry his leading man looks will start to fade? He shrugs: “Captain Jack turns into the hideous creature The Face Of Boe in the fullness of time so he won’t always be good- looking anyway.
“But I’ll keep playing Jack as long as I can.
“One thing you’ll never find me doing is going for plastic surgery.”
I caught the final five episodes of Caprica which have not yet aired on SyFy this weekend and for the first time am sad that the show was not renewed. I think the show would have done much better if it was presented more in the mode of many BBC and premium cable shows with thirteen episodes, and with all in one stretch. Dividing the season resulted in multiple threads leading to a mid-season cliff hanger. By the time the show returned it was difficult to recall the details of each storyline or to really care that much. A shorter season might have avoided some of the superfluous story lines. The final episodes still contain separate story lines but they all seemed far more coherent with the episodes working as a five episode mini-series. The stories are wrapped up to different degrees in the finale. The episode concluded with a series of scenes from what presumably would have been future episodes if the series survived. They provide a satisfactory bridge between the season of Caprica and what we know of Caprica from Battlestar Galactica.