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Tag Archive: Steven Moffat


You really can’t beat waking up to the biggest entertainment news of the year.  Yesterday the BBC teased that we’d see a reveal of the next Doctor on Doctor Who, the 13th Doctor, to take over for the lead role of the iconic 54-year science fiction franchise currently played by Peter Capaldi.  After the men’s Wimbledon final today, the BBC released the big news:  Finally, the BBC is breaking new ground, for the first time casting an actress as the next Doctor–a woman in the role played previously by 13 men on television (counting unnumbered War Doctor John Hurt), and not only a woman, but a great genre actress at that–35-year-old Jodie Whittaker, who hails from West Yorkshire.

Whittaker is best known for her starring role along with Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ John Boyega in the science fiction cult classic Attack the Block.  She also was featured in the great British ghost story series Marchlands and most recently in the drama Broadchurch.  Replacing Doctor Who’s showrunner Steven Moffat is the previously announced Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall.  Whittaker said in an announcement today, “I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey – with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet….  It’s more than an honour to play the Doctor.  It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for: hope.  I can’t wait.”

When David Tenant regenerated into Matt Smith for Smith to become the eleventh Doctor on the series, Smith’s Doctor initially thought he was female because of his hair, teasing fans a bit and planting the seed for a gender change to be coming in the near future.  “I’m a girl!” he shouted.  Also, the addition of a female Master (Michelle Gomez) in recent seasons helped prepare viewers for the change.

Check out yesterday’s teaser, followed by the big reveal:

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While we’re waiting around to find out if we’ll see more of the BBC’s Sherlock, here’s something worth watching.  This weekend Benedict Cumberbatch posted on Facebook a link to the unaired pilot for the series.  If you’re a diehard fan, here’s a way to catch a different look at the beginning of Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman’s John Watson as they created the chemistry the show is celebrated for across the globe.

“A Study in Pink” was re-shot from the 2009 pilot, tightening up bits and pieces only slightly and in subtle ways so you may think you notice a big difference from the version that first aired in the U.S. on October 24, 2010.  It’s been available on the DVD and Blu-ray releases, but only now has the show’s star pointed out the availability of the free streaming version.  This version never aired in the U.K. and wasn’t part of the original airings on PBS in the States.

This early poster shows the look of the actors you’ll find in the pilot:

The now familiar music wasn’t yet integrated in such a boisterous manner.  Mark Gatiss’s Mycroft Holmes–and any reference to Moriarty–are both absent from the unaired pilot.  Cumberbatch’s first run at Sherlock seems to be more cheery, charismatic, slightly less blunt than the version that ended up in the series. 

Or is it?

Watch the original pilot, streaming free now on Vimeo:

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The one-two punch of the third season of the 12th Doctor on BBC’s Doctor Who plus the new spin-off Class is the two-hour TV block sci-fi fans won’t want to miss this season.  Last week witnessed the first episode of Peter Capaldi’s final season on Doctor Who, with Pearl Mackie as the new companion, a vibrant and refreshing character named Bill Potts.  It also saw the premiere of Class, full of intrigue, exceptional actors, and great characterization for an introductory episode.  Aliens and time travel fans should take note, as a fun ride is ahead this season.

It’s the 36th season for Doctor Who and tenth season since the 2005 reboot.  Whovians who have fallen in love with Karen Gillan and Jenna Coleman and their predecessors will find how easily Mackie slips into her role.  After the sweetness and syrupy music over the past few seasons that supported Clara Oswald, the series was due for some fun and a break from the weight of emotion that Oswald’s plight brought to the Doctor.  And Mackie’s Bill looks great, with a cool jean jacket full of flair and a wild shirts that fit in with the past styles of Doctor Who garb.  And that hair!  Bill provides a full character study in her first episode, “Pilot,” where an alien race of space oil beings seek out a star pilot in a woman who is the eye of Bill’s affection.  The result is another creepy and brilliant Doctor Who villain that will hopefully surface again.  Matt Lucas–who is hard to forget as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland–returns as Nardole, a part that is also quickly folding nicely into the show.

class-show

In the United States we had been offered up only the briefest teaser preview for the new Doctor Who spinoff TV series Class. With two stars of the Jeremy Piven star vehicle Mr. Selfridge in lead roles–the brilliant actress Katherine Kelly and the up-and-coming actor Greg Austin–the series was primed to be good, and episode one, “For Tonight We Might Die,” did not disappoint.  As we had speculated earlier this year, the series seemed to be revealing what Doctor Who would look like with a woman playing the lead role.  Katherine Kelly went head-to-head with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor and proved she has the right stuff for the part.  She’s perfect as a headstrong leader, and the younger leader played by Austin fills the niche that the companion would serve in the Who-niverse.

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It’s not every year you get to watch the first episode of the 36th season of a television series.  Airing off and on since November 1963, Doctor Who returns next month with the opener to its 10th renumbered season since the 2005 reboot, but several elements of the show will see their end.  This will be the final season for Scottish actor Peter Capaldi leading the show as the 12th Doctor.  And lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat and executive producer Brian Minchin will see their final season with the series.  Moffat is famous for taking the series to its current international success.

Pearl Mackie takes over for Jenna Coleman as the new companion, a character named Bill Potts.  Mackie is a newcomer to the BBC with only a supporting role film credit and a guest role on an episode of a British TV show.  Matt Lucas returns as Nardole, and it appears he may be a recurring second companion something like Arthur Darvill’s Rory in the 2010-2012 episodes.

Rona Munro, who wrote the final story of the original Doctor Who series, is returning to write an episode of the show this season.  Several other regular series writers will return, including Toby Whithouse and Mark Gatiss.  This season will see an appearance by Poirot’s David Suchet and the return of Michelle Gomez as Misty–the latest incarnation of The Master.  The TARDIS, Cybermen, Daleks, Weeping Angels, Mars, new spacesuits, old orange spacesuits, new aliens, new robots, new cyborgs, places from the past, new planets… they’re all here.  Check out this preview for Season 10:

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class-kelly

What if your planet was massacred and you were the sole survivor?  What if a legendary figure out of space and time found you a place to hide?

In the United States we have been offered up only the briefest teaser preview for the new Doctor Who spinoff TV series Class.  With two stars of the Jeremy Piven star vehicle Mr. Selfridge in lead roles–the brilliant actress Katherine Kelly and the up-and-coming actor Greg Austin–the series was built for success.  We are hard pressed to come up with an actress who might make a better first female Doctor than Kelly.  Maybe Sherlock’s Lara Pulver?  So getting Kelly into this universe is great for Whovians everywhere.

Class is the second spinoff series of Doctor Who, following the successful Torchwood, which sparked new phases of the careers of John Barrowman, Eve Myles, and Burn Gorman.  Class is steeped in good British and Doctor Who tradition: For 54 years viewers have heard of the school at Coal Hill.  So who are the students attending classes there these days?  Class is going to show us just that, including one student who is an alien.  Class is a teen-centric series, not aimed at the typical young end of the Doctor Who audience.  So this series is for a wider audience and is to explore broader themes.  The several BBC trailers that so far have only aired in the UK are exciting and fun, dotted with fun characters, and even a fan favorite villain from Doctor Who.  

class-show

Class, written by A Monsters Calls’ Patrick Ness and executive producer Steven Moffatt, follows Katherine Kelly’s Miss Quill and four students, played by Austin and newcomers Sophie Hopkins, Vivian Oparah, and Fady Elsayed.  Even Peter Capaldi’s Doctor makes an appearance at the beginning of the first season.  Moffat called the series dark and sexy and has labeled it a British Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Ness agreed, saying, “Adults watch Buffy because it’s a great show, but the POV and the agency are all teenage, and that’s what we want to do with Class.

Unfortunately, Class may not make it to the States before being cancelled back home.

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the-return-of-doctor-mysterio-promo-cast-image

It has been a Christmas tradition in the UK on and off again for more than fifty years.  The Doctor Who Christmas Special returns for another episode this Christmas Day, available in the states on BBC America.  This year Fathom Events has teamed up with BBC to bring the show to movie theaters, for two days only.  So you can watch it in television in traditional style and/or see it a few days later on the big screen.  One of several Doctor Who screenings held by Fathom Events over the past three years, it’s as close as Doctor Who fans can get to experiencing a full-fledged Doctor Who movie.

Superheroes is the theme of this year’s entry, as revealed in the trailer below.  “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” features the 12th Doctor played by Peter Capaldi, but without his normal companion Jenna-Louise Coleman.  The good Doctor teams up instead with a journalist played by Charity Wakefield (Wolf Hall, Sense & Sensibility, Jane Eyre), and the duo teams up with a new superhero to defend Earth from another alien threat.  The show co-stars Justin Chatwin (Orphan Black, War of the Worlds), Matt Lucas (Alice in Wonderland, Doctor Who, Galavant, Community), Adetomiwa Edun (The Hour, Bates Motel, Law & Order UK), and Aleksandar Jovanovic.

mysterio

The theater screenings will take place at 7 p.m. local time December 27 and 29, 2016.  Check out the Fathom Events website here for theater locations and to purchase tickets.

Here is a preview of “The Return of Doctor Mysterio:”

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Husbands of River Song

Forget about parades and bowl games.  The BBC has taken over your television set for the holidays in the U.S.A.  For the past few years Americans have been treated to the British tradition of gathering the family round for a Doctor Who Christmas special on the evening of Christmas day.  This year was no exception with one of the best Doctor Who Christmas specials so far, and our favorite recurring character across the Doctors–Alex Kingston’s River Song–in “The Husbands of River Song.”

If you missed “The Husbands of River Song” on TV last week and can’t find it on your OnDemand channel, tonight you have another chance to see it but on the big screen courtesy of the Fathom Event series.  Check out the Fathom Events website here for theater locations and tickets.  Here’s a preview for the show:

But it’s not just Christmas Day getting the BBC treatment this year.  On New Year’s Day Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman return for their only 2016 appearance as Holmes and Watson in the Sherlock New Year’s Day special “The Abominable Bride.”

Sherlock special 2016

This special finds the duo back in the 19th century past of Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories.  Here’s a preview:

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Before Flood Fisher King Doctor Who

For fans of time travel, look no further than the past two-part episode of Doctor Who for one of the most complex and bloody brilliant time travel stories yet to make it to the screen.  Steven Moffat, after a year of getting us accustomed to Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor, has now delivered four superb episodes.  It’s enough to convince us Capaldi is the real deal and fans of not only the Doctor Who of Christopher Eccleston/David Tennant/Matt Smith series but the classic series as well should be able to embrace the current series as the real thing.

Take the first two-parter of this second season of the 12th Doctor, beginning with “The Magician’s Apprentice,” the creator of all Daleks, Davros, continuity-wise looking very much as he looked back to Tom Baker days, sets up the beginning of a clever trap for the Doctor, relying on the Doctor’s compassion as his ultimate weakness.  Then Michelle Gomez’s Missy–the Doctor’s “brother” Time-Lord also known as The Master now in its current female or “evolved” form–must partner with Jenna Coleman’s Clara to both save the Doctor and themselves, sort of.  It is my own favorite motif–the forced partnering of a franchise’s good guy with its villain against a common foe.  The chemistry between Missy and Clara was simply superb.  And of course, the finale in “The Witch’s Familiar” successfully ties up all the loose ends, but not without wrestling in some good conflicts like an emotional struggle with the Self as the Doctor deciding whether to leave a little boy to die in the middle of an alien mine field.

Before the Flood

This season is about Capaldi’s Doctor letting loose and freely occupying the role as his own.  The electric guitar show he performs in the season opener with his new sonic sunglasses replacing the retired sonic screwdriver–a brilliant and probably long-overdue maneuver by Moffat–came full circled last night in “Before the Flood,” with an updated version of the Doctor Who introduction music in the wrap-up of the two-parter begun on October 3, 2015, “Under the Lake”.  The Doctor’s Finest–a recap show highlighting the best of the reboot Doctor Who episodes shown this summer as a lead-in to Capaldi’s Season 2 (also reboot Season 9)–needs completely redone now that we have the story arc in “Under the Lake”/”Before the Flood”.

Is time linear or “twisty” as the Doctor has asserted before?

Before the Flood Fisher King

Beginning with a parable about Beethoven and showing a bust of the composer that looks strikingly like Capaldi, Moffat takes us on a magical mystery tour full of adventure, emotion, fear, self-reflection, heroism, and all-out fun.  Only this Doctor would get away with talking directly to the audience.  In fact, this two-parter may be a good entry point for those unfamiliar with the series.  It has everything Doctor Who is known for, including the best-in-class scenes of crew life aboard a spaceship, the world’s finest creature costumes and make-up work with the new villain The Fisher King (part Predator, part Xenomorph, part Mimic creature), a look at the complex and vital relationship between Doctor and companion, subplots making you care about the everymen he encounters along the way, further study of the Doctor’s singular aloneness in the universe, and his willingness to do anything to protect humanity.

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Jenna Coleman season 9 Doctor Who

The best month of the year for news about new TV series and movies is July, thanks to all the buzz started at Comic-Con 2015 last weekend.  We have a few more previews in the coming days.  To continue the dark theme started by Batman v. Superman, the BBC previewed the next season of Doctor Who, featuring our newest Doctor played by Peter Capaldi as well as companion Clara, played by Jenna Coleman.

And yes, it really looks like a darker Doctor Who, but it has been getting darker especially since The Day of the Doctor.  As much as we like Capaldi’s 12th Doctor, it’s still difficult to understand some of the motivations of the Doctor’s latest incarnation.  After a year of episodes, Capaldi and Steven Moffat still seem to be tinkering with and exploring the essence of the 12th Doctor–how much of Matt Smith and David Tenant’s Doctors are we getting and what is truly unique about this Doctor?

Doctor Who ring Capaldi

Anyone else notice his wedding ring before?

What we want to know the most is whether we’ll see more of the Paternoster Gang, who doesn’t appear in the Comic-Con trailer.  We’re betting they find their way back.  Check out this preview for Doctor Who, the ninth of the modern seasons of the show:

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Sherlock clip

It’s Comic Con weekend so why not release a clip from the next episode of the BBC’s Sherlock?  That episode, featuring a throwback to Arthur Conan Doyle’s original incarnation of the world’s greatest detective and his trusty companion Dr. Watson, is going to air… well, someday.  Like Doctor Who, the only thing unanimous that we all hate about these productions from Steven Moffat & Co. is the fact that we never know when they will air and they simply produce too few episodes for audience demand.

Yet we still can count of each new episode to be great fun, and from this new clip Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman will again be in prime form.

Check out this first preview from the BBC of the next episode of Sherlock, followed by a message for attendees of San Diego Comic-Con from stars Andrew Scott, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Mark Gatiss:

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