SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who Movie, Return of Sarah Connor, Premiers of Fringe and True Blood

Considering how rare it has been for me to get this out on Fridays since the political campaign has heated up, I’ve retitled this SciFi Weekend in place of SciFi Friday. Still I’ll begin with a story on a show from SciFi Channel’s SciFi Friday line up–Doctor Who.

So far David Tennant is only committed to return as The Doctor for some specials scheduled for next season, being too busy appearing in Hamlet to do a full season. Tennant has desired to continue to perform on the stage and to do movies, leading to fears he will not return for another full season. The BBC is now trying to entice him to return for a full fifth season of Doctor Who in 2010 by also adding a Doctor Who movie to the deal. Russell T. Davies said he would like Catherine Zeta Jones to play The Doctor’s companion in the movie.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles returned for a second season last week creating questions as to whether Cameron can be trusted. Changes in Cameron will only be one aspect of the upcoming season. SciFi Wire has an interview with Josh Friedman, the creator and executive producer of the show, which reveals we will see more of the post-apocalyptic future and time travel will be used in again on the show. He discussed how using time travel helps the show:

One, is people can sit around and talk about it. Two, you can see future war stuff, and three, you can bring people back. … Last season, for a lot of people, I think, it really took off when Brian [as Derek Reese] came back. I think that’s, one, due to the fact that Brian was fantastic when he came back. … Two, the character that he’s playing, in terms of being a Reese and that kind of thing. But I also think that what he represents is he’s an embodiment of Judgment Day, of the war. And I think he comes back kind of traumatized in a way that really brings the future to the present in a really visceral way, makes people care about the stakes.

I think you see it on somebody. He’s a war veteran; you see it. So I think that it’s an important part of the show to bring people back sometimes, whether it’s another person or a Terminator. … You have to get used to the fact. It’s not a revolving door, but it definitely … opens more often than people are used to in the movies. But the movie only got to send two people back, and they were rolling around for two hours. I think our per-minute sending people back is actually much lower than the movies.

Two new genre shows premiered last week. In Fringe J.J. Abrams gives us a combination of Lost, The X-Files, and Alias. I wasn’t very impressed by the pilot but I’ve learned to give shows like this a little longer. For whatever it is worth, I stopped watching Alias soon after it started and ignored X-Files. Later I had go back and catch up on them after I found that as they developed there was far more to each than was apparent at the start. (Actually the conclusion of X-Files showed I might have been right about it at the start.) Fringe provides suggestions of lots of unusual things going on and, as with Lost, the success of the show will depend upon how well they create mysteries to keep viewers hooked while providing enough information to keep them satisfied. TV Guide provides some answers to questions viewers might have about the show while Popular Mechanics looks at the science.

Alan Ball, creator of Six Feet Under , has returned to HBO with True Blood and I quickly became more hooked on this one than Fringe. The premise, based upon the novels by Charlaine Harris, is that the Japenese have developed a synthetic blood which satisfies all the nutritional needs of vampires, allowing them to live out in the open. We see a vampire rights advocate being interviewed by Bill Maher and in the second episode there was a magazine cover announcing that Angelina is adopting a vampire baby.

The actual storyline centers around a waitress, Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) who becomes involved with vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer). Sookie can read minds, which is one reason she is attracted to Bill. Being that she can read minds, she has trouble dating because she quickly realized what every guy around her is thinking (just as you are thinking as you view the picture of her above). She is unable to read Bill’s mind, which is far more peacful than overhearing the thoughts of everyone around her.


  1. 1
    movie buff says:

    True Blood resembles Heroes at first glance (just rented the first episode from Blockbuster), though it still feels mostly original… for some reason this show makes me want to eat Cajun food and drink cheap beer

  2. 2
    Christopher says:

    Sarah Connor opened strong.

    No dialogue, just the chase and pounding music. John cut his hair and looks hotter than ever. We now know the Tin Man might not always be trustworthy and this added a great level of storyline anxiety and intrigue.

    Fringe was a surprise. Like X-Files, this is a chapter-by-chapter story, worked out long in advance by the creators. One view alone doesn’t provide an accurate glimpse of what’s to come. It was great to see Blair Brown again in something.

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    movie buff,

    I didn’t really think of Heroes when watching but I see your point. There is a similarity in seeing the day to day life of people and finding they have unusual powers. And yes, with all the genre shows I watch the tacky bar atmosphere made the show feel more alien to me than many science fiction shows do.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:


    The opening of Sarah Connor without dialog was excellent.

    I assume that the idea with Fringe is to have stand alone episodes dealing with one mystery while a bigger mystery also unravels. X-Files attempted this but the problem is that I don’t think that they really had it all worked out in advance. I liked the pilot of X-Files much better than Fringe (when I bought the video tapes to catch up after hearing about how great the show turned out to be).

    While I had mixed feelings about the pilot of Fringe I’m willing to give it more time knowing what JJ Abrams can do. With Alias he managed to periodically change the entire show to keep it from becoming stale and it turned out to be fun even if some of the series-long mysteries turned out to be a little disappointing. Lost depends a lot more on the ultimate pay off and I’m optimistic that Abrams won’t disappoint with the ending as occurred with X-Files.

  5. 5
    Eric D. Rittberg says:

    Friggin’ HBO producers screwed us over last night.  They cut the episode off right at the climax, when Sookie was at the doorway of her vamp boyfriend’s home, surrounded by three other vamps. 
    One whole week to wait until we find out what happened. 

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    That’s what’s known as a cliff hanger.

    I do hope they don’t pull this every week. If a show has the quality to pull in an audience they shouldn’t need to rely on cliff hangers all the time.

  7. 7
    Eric D. Rittberg says:

    Well. the “cliffhanger” is working on me, cause I’ve re-arranged my entire schedule for Sunday just to be in front of the TV set at 7 pm central tuned into HBO.  And I’m right smack dab in the middle of the Hurricane Ike Zone. We’ve got limited water rations, downed trees and tree limbs all over.  I should be busy outside cleaning up the mess. 

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:

    Don’t you have a DVR?  I couldn’t get by without one. Plus, should for some reason I fail to record it the show is available anytime on demand and HBO does rerun it several times.

    The cliffhanger does give one reason to want to see what will happen but a well written show doesn’t need this. I was certainly interested to see the next episode of Six Feet Under (also written by Alan Ball) which usually did not have cliff hangers.

    I think cliff hangers work better when using more sparingly. Sometimes they work wonders, such as in the shooting of J.R. on Dallas. The cliff hanger to Best of Both Worlds at the end of the third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation gave the show a huge boost with buzz about it on line all summer. After a while they lose their impact. You generally know the main character will come out safely.

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