The Night of the Doctor Takes Fans Back in Time
The 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who is almost upon us and, as the 23rd of November draws near, fans are chomping at the bit for any information regarding The Day of the Doctor, which sees David Tennant and Matt Smith teaming up to defend all of time and space from Zygons and Daleks alike.
Enter: The Night of the Doctor. Steven Moffat, lead writer for the series, penned a short segment that acts as a prelude for the upcoming special. The minisode features two very special guests, including the return of the Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann, and the resurgence of John Hurt as The War Doctor. McGann’s appearance acts as a monumental bridge between the Big Finish stories and the current series, making it officially apart of canon. What does this have to do with the upcoming special, you may ask? Well, no one knows just yet.
What I can tell you, however, is that McGann’s performance is utterly stunning, and a harrowing return to the morals of a Doctor at the edge of war. After his failed attempt to rescue the reluctant pilot of a crashing ship, Eight comes face to face with the Sisterhood of Karn, and we see him willingly regenerate into his ninth incarnation for a human who resented his mere existence. This is a Doctor that I would love to see more of, but it seems that his appearance in this prelude marks the tragic end of his saga, much to our collective dismay.
For as little as we learned about the upcoming feature, this minisode gave us a telling glimpse into the dangerous waters that Ten and Eleven will explore in the anniversary special. We’ll just have to wait with as much patience as we can muster until the mystery reveals itself to us at the end of the month. And as for what roles our heroes will play in the unfolding fate of a universe on the brink of destruction? Only time will tell.
This Week in Science Fiction
It’s been a long week, folks, and the internet has been positively rife with exciting science fiction news; so rife, in fact, that I’ve hardly been able to keep up with it all. Luckily for you, however, I have managed to boil down the most exciting stories of the week into a nice, boring list. No need to thank me, friends. Here’s this week in science fiction:
- The first trailer for the upcoming remake of Robocop has hit the web to a sea of wavering skepticism. The cast looks incredibly promising, but something about the trailer seems a little too straight forward on the action for my tastes. The original Robocop felt much darker, and it provided a sense of social commentary that this film doesn’t seem to have. On the other hand, this is only the trailer, and I have been pleasantly surprised by remakes before. Who knows? This could be absolutely incredible, but only time will tell.
- The winners of the 2013 Hugo Awards have finally been listed, featuring a number of incredible short stories, novels, and comic books. Take a gander at the list of nominees and recipients, folks; you may just find your new favorite author on there.
- Gather ye dollars while ye may, Whovians. The BBC is releasing all of Doctor Who (series 1 - 7) on Blu-Ray in an amazing collectors edition, set to hit stores on November 5th. Not only does the box set include every episode and television special in 1080p, but it also includes special features, original art cards featuring 9, 10, and 11, an exclusive Doctor Who comic, and (get this) a universal remote in the shape of a Sonic Screwdriver. Look, I’m not one to beg, but can someone please drop three hundred and fifty bones on this for me? Please?
- Roland Emmerich, co-creator of the Stargate movie circa 1994, has fans of the franchise dizzy with excitement. (Do you guys even have a name? Gaters? Gateheads?) Emmerich is currently in talks with MGM to reboot his vision as a trilogy of films. Some fans wonder whether rehashing the franchise is even necessary at all, considering the vast array of television series that branched off from the original film. Gateheads will have to wait a little while longer before anything is confirmed, however, considering that Mr. Emmerich is currently shooting Independence Day 2, and we all know how important that is.
- If you’ve been following this blog for some time now, you may know just how much I adore the television series Futurama. I’ve toted it as the wittiest animated series of our generation, and I don’t think I’m too far off in that assessment, if you ask me. And, while I knew this day would eventually come, I wasn’t truly prepared for the series to end. Like all good things, however, it has. I hesitate to link you to any reviews of the finale, as they are all heavily laden with spoilers, but I can tell you this — for a show that’s been on the air for almost fourteen years, I’d say it had a pretty good run. Farewell, Futurama. I’ll never forget you.
- Dark Horse Comics are gearing up for something spectacular. This image, depicting the legendary Serenity-class ship Firefly from the television series bearing the same name, with the words “#wheresserenity" across the front, has graced their blog, effectively hinting at the possibility of an upcoming return to the Firefly universe in comic form. So far, Dark Horse is keeping a tight lid on any facts surrounding the arrival of a new series, but all signs point to “hell yes”. Keep an eye out for everyone’s favorite “big damn heroes” returning to a comic book store near you.
The 12th Doctor is In
It looks like the wait is over, friends. After today’s live broadcast, the BBC has finally confirmed that Peter Capaldi will play the Doctor’s twelfth regeneration, even though he is, regrettably, not a ginger.
Capaldi is no stranger to Doctor Who. Not only is he a self-proclaimed fan, having written letters about Doctor Who to the news broadcast Radio Times in his youth, but he has also made a previous appearance on the show as Caecilius in season four’s “The Fires of Pompeii”.
Jenna Louise-Coleman will stay on as the ever-engaging Clara, helping to gently ease fans into the newest season. I, for one, am highly intrigued to see what kind of direction the show will take once our newest Doctor encounters the barrage of obstacles that the universe has in store for him.
Now, I’ve already seen quite a few complaints cropping up about his age, and honestly, friends, that depresses me. While it’s true that Capaldi is the oldest actor to portray the Doctor since William Hartnell, I see no reason why he couldn’t take up the reigns and truly make the role his own, regardless of how old he is. Might I mentioned that far fewer complaints were cast when Matt Smith became the 11th incarnation at age 27, making him the youngest actor to ever accept the role? Regardless, I think it’s high time that fans took a step back from their misconceived perceptions and accepted the fact that we won’t know a thing about the 12th Doctor until we see him in action, whenever that may be.
Independent of all criticisms and praise, Capaldi is, more than anything, completely beside himself with joy. “Being asked to play the Doctor is an amazing privilege,” he said. “Like the Doctor himself I find myself in a state of utter terror and delight. I can’t wait to get started.”
Truly, I think my favorite part of this entire announcement is the way in which Capaldi first learned that he had received the role. He’d been shooting in Prague, filming the BBC’s Three Muskateers, and missed the original call informing him that he’d gotten the part. Finally, an assistant was able to deliver the good news to him, and the first thing she said was: “Hello, Doctor.”
The Eleventh Hour: Matt Smith Leaves Doctor Who
I’ll be glib with you, friends: Matt Smith is not my Doctor. His rollicking adventures through time and space, accompanied by an air-headed kiss-a-gram and her stalwart husband, left little more than a bad taste in my mouth. Half a season ago, you would’ve found me overjoyed at the news of him leaving the show. “Farewell, Mr. Smith,” I would have said. “Don’t let the TARDIS hit you on the way out.” With the latest addition of the lovely Clara, however, the episodes seem to have taken a dramatic step in the right direction, harkening me back to the same sense of tension and drama that I felt was so easily imbued up until season five. And while I am, by no means, his biggest fan, my recently acquired comfort with Matt Smith leaves me with a mixed reaction to the news of his departure.
Regardless of whether or not I enjoyed his portrayal, there can be no discounting the amount of hard work and dedication that Smith has put into the role over the past four years. Filling the shoes of ten Doctors before him is no small feat, and Smith has grown significantly as an actor over the course of his tenure.
This year’s Christmas Special will be our final voyage with Eleven. His regeneration will, presumably, be unveiled in that episode, which will air roughly a month after the 50th Anniversary, and there’s a good chance that we’ll be granted a better glimpse into the future of Doctor Who.
Fans are beside themselves with grief, of course, which is entirely understandable: put yourself in their shoes, and you’ll find yourself fraught with empathy in no time. But I think this show deserves something fresh after all this time, something more engaging than, say, River Song taking up the mantle, or some other easily digestible route. Personally, I think that a female Doctor would be a welcome addition to the show, but I would much rather see the role handed to a capable individual (*cough cough*) over one who would be placed in the spotlight merely for the sake of fanservice. On the other hand, many devote lovers of Doctor Who have vehemently stood by the fact that they would rather abandon their admiration than see a woman as the Doctor. From a report on last year’s Doctor Who convention:
There was a slightly jarring moment when a fan asked the panel if there would ever be a female Doctor, and Steven pointed out it would be entirely possible, but then asked for a show of hands who would like to see it happen. This got about 50% of the audience raising their hands, but he then asked how many people would switch off the show if there was a female doctor, and 20-30% of fans put a hand up, to a certain amount of gasping from everyone else.
There’s simply no way to tell where the show will go from here, of course. My only desire is to see it continue on its current path of forward momentum, regardless of who the Doctor regenerates into next. As we bid farewell to Matt Smith, I find myself hoping he goes out with a bang, and moves onward to bigger and better things. Someone should remind him to grab his stetson on the way out, though. Stetson’s aren’t cool.
The Return of the Doctors
BBC has just released an exclusive interview with Matt Smith and David Tennant on the set of Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary Special. The occasion? A reward for fans who received their Blu-Ray and DVD copies of the shows latest season before the final episode had a chance to air, and not spoiling the finale for the rest of us.
The shows official Twitter explained to fans that if they were able to keep details of the final episode under wraps, a “special video featuring Matt & David" would be unleashed. True to their word — gasp — the video was released to a sea of fainting Whovian’s, and while the actors reveal some incredibly scant details about the upcoming special, I think the clip’s true merit lies in watching Tennant don his signature pinstripe suit and tie once again, but hey, that might just be me.
Ten and Eleven Photographed on Set, Plus: Nine Returns?
Can you feel that, folks? That stirring in the cosmos? That would be the earth-shattering awesome currently radiating from the set of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special. This image of actors David Tennant, who recently celebrated his 42nd birthday, and Matt Smith getting cozy with the TARDIS hit the web this week, and I don’t think there’s been a greater cause for celebration amongst Whovians since the anniversary special was first announced. Though the photograph itself gives little information about the upcoming episode, we do get a glimpse at one of the potential villains, seen in the rightmost corner of the image. No news yet on what the Classic Who monster has in store for our hero(es?), but I’m sure it won’t be long before we find out more.
Now, some of you may have felt the same heartache I did upon learning that the Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, would not be returning to the cast for the anniversary event, but fear not, friends. Everyone’s favorite leather-clad Time Lord is making a return to the series during next week’s episode, entitled “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS”. The cameo itself is little more than a voice over, much to my chagrin. Keep your ears tuned for this line from Nine’s first episode: “The assembled hordes of Genghis Khan couldn’t get through these doors, and believe me they’ve tried.”
David Tennant and Billie Piper Return for 50th Anniversary Special
BBC News has confirmed that Doctor Who's most beloved iteration and his trusty companion, Rose, will be returning for the shows fiftieth anniversary episode, set to air on November 23rd. Acclaimed actor John Hurt is said to be making a guest appearance in the episode, as well.
The episode is being penned by showrunner Steven Moffat and directed by Nick Hurran. Tennant and Piper are set to star alongside the current Doctor, Matt Smith, and his latest companion, Jenna-Louise Coleman, with shooting rumored to start around April 1st.
There’s still much to learn about how Rose and Ten’s story will weave into the fold of the current season, or even how the anniversary episode will fall in line with the rest of the show. Even still, I’m aching to know just what kind of adventures The Doctor will get into next, and if Tennant’s involvement is any indication, then all I have to say is: allons-y!
So proud to finally get to unleash this piece on my blog. It was a long time in the making, and the client who commissioned it was beyond patient. When I get a commission that intimidates me, it takes awhile for the creative juices to start flowing and for my confidence to get up. After all was said and done, though, I’m really happy with how this piece turned out. The client wanted the tardis and the vortex with the good doctor flying through it. I was originally going to include Ms. Amy but by the time I got around to the commission she was gone and Clara was introduced. (Yea, I know, that’s how long it took me to get to this piece.) Luckily, the client loved it and I’m so happy for that. Let me know what you think!
This Month in Science Fiction
January has been rife with some of the best science fiction news we’ve had in quite a while. From the latest rumblings circulating J. J. Abrams’ take on the Star Wars universe to the rumors surrounding the upcoming 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, here’s a look at some of the most notable news stories that recently hit the web.
- Pacific Rim’s newest trailer is a mech-tastic, dystopian roller coaster, and if you aren’t practically squirming in your seat at the thought of seeing this film, I don’t want to know you.
- I’m sure we’re all fully aware by now that Mr. J. J. Abrams has taken up the mantle of director for Episode VII, the first of three upcoming live-action Star Wars films. Additionally, the 3D conversion for the prequel trilogy has been postponed in order to direct more focus towards episodes VII, VIII, and IX. Even with the rumor mill already in high gear, including the notion of cameos by Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, Abrams thinks it’ll be at least another three years before we see Disney’s newest property on the big screen.
- Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome is finally finding it’s way into your living rooms after a long battle with Syfy over its impending release. February 10th sees the highly anticipated prequel series premiering as a full-length, two hour film, later to be released on Blu-Ray with a visual effects documentary and thirteen deleted scenes. Frak yeah.
- Lit-nerds, start your engines: the shortlist for the British Science Fiction awards is finally up!
- For those of you not big on the whole ‘reading’ thing, check out the demo for EA’s latest edition to the Dead Space series with the recently released demo for the third installment, available on both PSN and the Xbox Live Marketplace.
- Any news regarding Frank Darabont’s participation in upcoming Godzilla flick has me chomping at the bit. io9 recently sat down with the famed screenwriter/director, who discussed his desire to recreate the infamous kaiju in the most gritty and terrifying way he possibly could. 2014 truly cannot come soon enough.
- Last, though certainly not least, comes the news that all eleven iterations of the Doctor will make a cameo in the show’s 50th anniversary special, which is set to debut later this year on the BBC. Even though at least three of the Doctor’s have passed away, the show’s writer, Steven Moffat, assures us that a great deal of smoke and mirrors will be used to give the appearance of their inclusion in this upcoming adventure. Oh, Mr. Moffat, what are you trying to do to us now?
Art by Stefan Hürlemann.
Feast your eyes on the latest trailer for the long-awaited continuation to the seventh season of Doctor Who.
The collection marks the 50th anniversary of sci-fi show Doctor Who, with all 11 Doctors getting their own first class stamp.
Four of the show’s most notorious villains, including the Daleks and the Cybermen, star on the second class set.
The show first ran from 1963 to 1989. A successful revival returned it to Saturday night schedules in 2005.
Andrew Hammond of the Royal Mail said the commemorative selection “pay tribute to the brilliant actors that have played the Doctor over the years, as well as the adversaries that helped make the show so popular”
New Who: The Latest from Series Seven
Still reeling from the latest episode of Doctor Who? Take comfort in the newest set photos from the second half of series seven, featuring Matt Smith’s new duds, Jenna Louise-Coleman and, of course, the TARDIS. If that isn’t enough to dry your tears on, check out this behind the scenes clip of our protagonists in action and revel in the fact that there is still more Who yet to come.
The Doctor Returns
You’ve waited patiently, friends, and now the time has finally arrived. Series 7 lands tonight on BBC One, but for those of you unlucky enough to be caught outside of the United Kingdom, fear not. You can find live streams of the first episode here and hereabouts, which will be airing at 2:20pm EST/1:20pm PST respectively. If you’re feeling impatient, you can check out (or, rewatch, depending on your level of dedication) the Pond Life miniseries available exclusively on the BBC One website. Asylum of the Daleks premieres tonight at 7:20 GMT.