SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who; Sherlock; Orphan Black; Almost Human; Arrow; The Doctor Meets Superman & Batman For Coffee


Pictures, such as the one above, and an official synopsis have been released for the Christmas episode of Doctor Who, The Time of the Doctor:

Orbiting a quiet backwater planet, the massed forces of the universe’s deadliest species gather, drawn to a mysterious message that echoes out to the stars. And amongst them – the Doctor. Rescuing Clara from a family Christmas dinner, the Time Lord and his best friend must learn what this enigmatic signal means for his own fate and that of the universe.

Could this also involve saving Gallifrey after the events of The Day of the Doctor?

Despite the revelation of John Hurt as the War Doctor, Steven Moffat is sticking with the current numbering:

“He’s just The Doctor, Matt Smith’s Doctor is the 11th Doctor, however there is no such character as the 11th Doctor – he’s just the Doctor – that’s what he calls himself. The numbering doesn’t matter, except for those lists that you and I have been making for many years. So I’ve given you the option of not counting John Hurt numerically – he’s the War Doctor.”

If the numbering was only being done by fans it wouldn’t matter, but the numbering has appeared during the shows. On the one hand there has been talk of “the fall of the eleventh”, while on the other hand there was reference to “all thirteen” Doctors during The Day of the Doctor. The number of Doctors, if not how they are referred to, is important if there is a regeneration limit, and in this context we cannot leave out a regeneration. Moffat is separating the reference of number to Doctors from actual regenerations–sort of like the Big 10 having twelve teams and expanding to fourteen.

I previously had thought that the regeneration from Matt Smith’s Doctor to Peter Capaldi’s would be the twelfth and final regeneration, speculating that the limit might be exceeded by having the next Doctor find Gallifrey and be rewarded with a new set of regenerations. Steven Moffat has made matters even more complicated in an interview with Radio Times:

As Whovians will know, ever since the 1976 episode The Deadly Assassin it has been taken as fact that a Doctor can only regenerate twelve times in a cycle, allowing thirteen incarnations.

Officially until now, Matt Smith has been the 11th Doctor, meaning fans have started to wonder what will happen in 5-10 years time when we reach 13 after Peter Capaldi.

But Moffat has moved the goalposts, or perhaps more aptly stuck his own sonic screwdriver into the history of the show and given it a big twist.

On Saturday he told me Matt is actually the 13th and final doctor. John Hurt is officially now a doctor and David Tennant used up an extra regeneration during his stay.

In essence, the end of Matt at Christmas should mean the end of Doctor Who.

Where this leaves Peter Capaldi is unclear. But what Moffat would say is: “The 12 regenerations limit is a central part of Doctor Who mythology – science fiction is all about rules, you can’t just casually break them.

Everything changes if we consider the events of Journey’s End as showing David Tennant’s Doctor using up a regeneration (and ignoring the regeneration energy given to the Doctor by River Song in Let’s Kill Hitler). While we know that Moffat lies, or at least loves to cause misdirection with regards to speculations on future events on the show, this does force an update to previous predictions. The issue becomes more urgent to prevent Matt Smith from playing the last Doctor, which we know will not occur. Now it appears possible that Matt Smith’s Doctor might find Gallifrey and receive extra regenerations in The Time of the Doctor. Reportedly the episode will also tie up several of the loose ends Moffat has left since taking over regarding predictions of the fall of the eleventh, The Silence, The crack in time, and the Weeping Angels. There are also rumors that the Doctor will lose a limb before being regenerated.

During the above interview, Steven Moffat discussed further minisodes following the success of The Night Of The Doctor (posted here).

“I think this will usher in not so much a Paul McGann mini-series but usher in more minisodes, and I think we should take them more seriously than we used to. Night was the first one we’ve actually said, ‘Let’s make a high production value belter and let’s give them a surprise!’”

He teased: “You can count on us doing something like that again, but we won’t tell you when! I’ve actually told the BBC, ‘if we do it again we’re doing it in Cardiff and we’re not even telling you what we’re doing and we’ll give you it on the day…’

With Doctor Who Confidential no longer on the air, the BBC has released a series of brief videos giving an Inside Look on the 50th anniversary and the making of The Day of The Doctor, such as the video above. More of these videos have been  posted at Geeks of Doom.

We have a long wait after the Christmas episode. Doctor Who begins filming in January but the next season will not be aired until fall. There have been reports that the full season will air in the fall instead of being split but I’m not sure how official this is.

A new source for Doctor Who news–The Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Sherlock Lives

Sherlock resumes on January 19 in the United States but many of us will be downloading copies earlier now that it has been announced that season 3 will begin on January 1. The BBC spread news of  the date for the first episode, The Empty Hearse, by having the above hearse drive around London.  The Sign of Three airs on January 5 and the finale, His Last Vow is on January 12. For those in other countries, Sherlockology has a lengthy list of broadcast dates. It also appears that there will be sort of a triangle.Martin Freeman’s real-life wife Amanda Abbington will also star as John Watson’s love interest Mary Morstan.

The Weinsteins are looking into several television projects, including some genre shows. This includes a television version of Sin City and an adaptation of the movie version of Steven King’s The Mist. Hopefully this works out better than Under the Dome (and there is no reason to believe that different people will make the same mistakes with a different story).

Orphan Black‘s second season will begin on April 19 in the United States on BBC America and in Canada on Space. I have not heard of a date being set in the UK but last year the show aired well after it aired in the United States. The season 2 trailer is above, which unfortunately contains no new footage even though the series has been filming for a while.


I watched the first three episodes of Almost Human over the holiday weekend. It does have promise. The premise appears to be that male cops are teamed with androids while hot female cops (as played by Minka Kelly) wear loose, low-cut shirts (which looks better on the show than in the picture above).

Ronald D. Moore’s new show Helix will begin on January 10. More premiere dates from SyFy here.

Barry Allen (The Flash) will appear on the next episode of Arrow. Initially the appearances on Arrow were to be a back-door pilot for a new show, but now CW has decided to film a conventional pilot for The Flash. There has been a lot of speculation as to whether the DC universe being created around Arrow will tie into the Justice League movie which will be developed out of the upcoming Superman vs. Batman movie. Arrow showrunner Greg Berlanti says the two universes will not be connected as Agents of SHIELD is connected to the Marvel cinematic universe.

Oliver will also be getting a mask like the one worn by the Green Arrow in the comics. I’m not sure that it is needed. If Laurel hasn’t figured out that Oliver is the vigilante yet, wearing the hood has been unrealistically sufficient.  (It was a more realistic change from the old comics to have Lois Lane quickly figure out who Clark Kent was in Man of Steel.)

Nothing has spoiled True Blood more than bad writing, too many characters who nobody cares about, and weak plot lines. Compared to these problems, the season seven spoilers posted here are rather trivial.

And, finally, the Doctor is sort of like a superhero, so there’s no reason why he shouldn’t go out for coffee with Superman and Batman (unless he’s afraid of their tough questions).

Be Sociable, Share!


  1. 1
    Tony Sidaway says:

    I think this fannish obsession with numbering is unnecessary and rather misses the point that it’s _fiction_. The numbering doesn’t matter, and any regeneration limit will undoubtedly evaporate in the face of production reality. Some “fans” will not like the resolution, but most fans (no scare quotes) won’t care as long as the show continues to delight the small child in all of us.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    I totally disagree. Discussion of changes in the mythology of a fictional series is exactly what fans always have done and always will do. This does not meet the definition of an obsession. This does not make them any less a fan and certainly does not miss the point that it is fiction. The point is that it is fiction, with a changeable mythology, which creates topics of discussion. Such discussion is further generated when the show runner is discussing the topic in interviews and has been dropping hints about this for months.

    It is not as if anyone (to my knowledge) is protesting this and saying they will stop watching the show. There is also nothing wrong with a fan disliking a resolution of a storyline. It is not necessary to like every plot detail and every episode to be a fan.

    The regeneration limit will not just evaporate. Moffat has been strongly hinting that circumventing the limit will be part of the storyline. This makes the number of regenerations important when discussing the Christmas episode if we are really reaching the point where Matt Smith’s life is in danger and he is unable to regenerate without a change in the rules.


  3. 3
    Chris Bosch says:

    The whole regeneration limit question went out the window long ago.  In the Tom Baker episode “The Deadly Assassin” the Master had used up all his regenerations and only survived by stealing someone else’s body/life energy (The Keeper of Traken).  Then we meet the Master as Professor Yana who regenerates into the Harold Saxon who upon being shot is encouraged by the Doctor to regenerate which he refuses to do.   And of course they have already left themselves an out. In the Night of the Doctor, the Sisterhood of Karn informs Paul McGann that their elixer of life can “re-start” his regeneration cycle which can be read as giving him a wholoe new regeneration cycle making William Hurt the first regeneration, Christopher Eccleson the 2nd regeneration, David Tennant the 3rd (and possibly the 4th), and then Matt Smith as the most recent.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    Obviously they would never end a television series due to a rule made long ago, but that doesn’t mean the regeneration limit isn’t, in some way, still there. There is plenty of precedent for circumventing the limit, and there are many possible explanations. I think that they just intended for the elixir to restart the regeneration cycle to allow Paul McGann to go through a regeneration and not that it starts the cycle all over. Besides, I doubt they would put something that important in a web episode, and it would be too easy if the Sisterhood could give any Time Lord a new set. From what we have seen, either Smith or Capaldi should be the final regeneration without a mechanism to circumvent the limit.

    Moffat has the final say, and from interviews it does appear that he plans to write it as Matt Smith being the final of the original regenerations with Capaldi starting a new cycle. Moffat has been hinting at this for quite a while, such as telling the fans to go back to the DVD’s because they were missing something whenever there was discussion of when the Doctor would run out of regenerations. He has made it clearer in more recent interviews that he is counting David Tennant as two–most likely because he wants the opportunity to tie this all in with the 50th anniversary and the restoration of Gallifrey.

Leave a comment